More Ministerial Half-Truths about Neutrality and Shannon

This is what neutrality and non-participation in military alliances looks like at Shannon

Today (24th Sept) Clare Daly TD asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Charlie Flanagan if he would specify in detail the arrangements that allow the facilitation of the US military on actions that contravene Irish neutrality and the Hague Convention and were not mandated by the United Nations. It was a written parliamentary question, and it got the following uninformative reply:

Ireland's policy of military neutrality is characterised by non-participation in military alliances. This policy has been underpinned by a set of complementary values which includes the protection of human rights; support for development; and the promotion of disarmament and the elimination of weapons of mass destruction.

Is Ireland Backing the Bombing of Syria?

On Sept 1st 2014 the Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan said "the invasion of Ukraine is against international law & must stop" (RTE News). He made no reference to role of NATO as one of the root causes of the Ukraine conflict.

On 22nd September 2014, the United States and its allies launched air strikes in Syria using warplanes, armed drones, and Tomahawk Cruise Missiles.

On Sept 23rd 2014, the same Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan stated in relation to the bombing in Syria, that "people will not be surprised. With regard to the air attacks targets need to be particularly precise, and of course innocent civilians need to be spared".

Weekend of Peace Events Planned for Shannon in October

Shannonwatch are inviting groups and individuals from around Ireland to join them in organising a series of peace events at Shannon Airport on the weekend of October 11th and 12th. The main event of the weekend will be a public demonstration on Sunday 12th at 2pm, calling for an end to the US military use of the airport.

The event is being co-organised and supported by a large number of groups including Shannonwatch, Galway Alliance Against War, the Peace and Neutrality Alliance (PANA), the Irish Anti-War Movement (IAWM), Afri, and the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC). Bus transport is being arranged from Dublin on Sunday 12th and as a result a large turnout is expected (contact details for the bus are given below).

Local Organisations Call on Mayor of Boston to Help Restore Irish Neutrality

The mid-West based human rights organisation Shannonwatch and Galway Alliance Against War welcome the visit of the Mayor of Boston Marty J Walsh, whose parents both come from Connemara, to Shannon and to Ireland. As he arrives into Shannon Airport this Friday morning (19th September) to commence a ten day trip to his ancestral Galway home, they urge him to use his influence to end the unnecessary and counterproductive transit of US troops through the same civilian airport that welcomes him.

"Friendship between the peoples of Ireland and the United States is very important to all concerned and we welcome back the son of Irish parents who were among hundreds of thousands forced to emigrate due to the very flawed economic and social policies pursued by successive Irish Governments up to the present time." said Edward Horgan of Shannonwatch.

Shannonwatch and Galway Alliance Against War remind Mayor Walsh that this Irish/United States friendship has been seriously damaged in recent years as a result of the transit of armed US troops and CIA rendition aircraft through Shannon Airport in breach of international laws on neutrality and the UN Convention Against Torture.

Warplanes Arrive While We Demonstrate

As twelve peace activists gathered outside Shannon Airport today to protest against the ongoing involvement of the airport in war, two Hercules C130's arrived close to the terminal building. One took off again before we had a chance to get a photo of it. The other, looked like it would be staying for an overnight, possibly to allow crew to be rested. It was being guarded by the Irish army, with one of our soldiers on patrol on foot close to the aircraft with an automatic rifle.

The plane, which is a US Navy C-130T Hercules, with registration 165160, is a regular visitor to Shannon. But the governmentg won't tell us why.

Ireland on the Margins of NATO, Sharing Responsibilities for War

It will probably surprise many people to know that at least seven Irish Government officials, including one military officer, attended events related to the NATO Summit in Newport, Wales this week. It didn't get much coverage in the mainstream Irish media, probably because the government told them not to cover it, but it's something that should be highlighted and challenged.

In answer to a question from Clare Daly TD, Simon Coveney who is our Minister for Agriculture and other stuff that the government doesn't think is very important (food, the marine and defence), explained that Ireland was invited to attend two meetings at Newport, one for contributors to the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan, and one for Defence Ministers from what are called "Partner" countries.