Irish Authorities Spent Over 1.4 Million Euro protecting US Military at Shannon in 2015

The Irish state spent 1.412 million euro providing Garda and Defences Forces "protection" to the US military at Shannon in 2015. As people were being told they had to wait for life saving operations in our hospitals and others were being made homeless, "neutral" Ireland was spending money helping the US to invade and occupy countries in the Middle East.

In 2015, US military spending was $598.5 billion. This included all regular activities of the Department of Defense; war spending; nuclear weapons spending; international military assistance; and other Pentagon-related spending. Militarization has become a huge global business that costs lives, displaces millions of people from their homes, and destroys entire countries. Ireland is now part of this business of war by spending money that the government has not been authorised to spend on the protection of US Air Force planes at Shannon.

March Data Shows Increase in US Military Traffic Through Shannon

Analysis of the most data collected by Shannonwatch reveals an increase in the numbers of US military planes passing through Shannon in March. The number of US Air Force and Navy planes recorded was 45, compared to 22 and 27 in February and January respectively. Most of these were Hercules C-130s, executive jets and other larger jets (Boeing 737s 752s etc).

Boeing C-17 Globemaster III is a large military transport aircraft at Shannon on 6th March

Case Against Peace Activist Edward Horgan Dismissed

Shannonwatch welcomes the dismissal of charges brought by the State against Edward Horgan at Ennis District Court today. The charges were a result of his attempt to inspect US military aircraft parked near the terminal building on April 18th 2015.

"Today's acquittal at Ennis District would was a small step in the right direction towards ending US military use of Shannon" said Dr Horgan. "This is just the latest in a series of trials of peace activists over their efforts to prevent complicity with war crimes at Shannon airport. This campaign will continue until Irish neutrality is restored, and Shannon airport is returned to proper civilian use only."

Dr Horgan was on his way to a peace conference in London on the day in question when he saw four US Hercules C-130 turboprop aircraft lined up just beyond the Aer Lingus plane he was boarding. Evidence to the court showed that he engaged in a "communicative protest" by walking towards the military planes to highlight the need to inspect them.

Edward Horgan to Appear in Ennis Court for Attempting to Inspect US Military Planes at Shannon

Shannonwatch and Veterans for Peace member Edward Horgan will appear in Ennis District Court tomorrow, Friday April 15th, to answer a charge that he entered a part of Shannon Airport to which persons were not permitted, contrary to airport byelaws. Dr Horgan was attempting to do what the authorities have repeatedly refused to do, which is to inspect US military aircraft in order to establish if they were in breach of international laws at Shannon.

On April 18th 2015, Dr Horgan was on his way to a peace conference in London when he saw four US Hercules C-130 turboprop aircraft lined up just beyond the Aer Lingus plane he was about to board. Knowing that the Gardaí were almost certainly not going to search them or to inform the public of the nature of these plane's reasons for being at Shannon, he felt compelled to search them.

US Diplomatic Cable that Sheds Light on Ireland's SOFA Agreements

On a recent revisit to the Wikileaks databases of US diplomatic cables, we came across a December 2009 cable which is worth highlighting in the context of the ongoing debates over the US military use of Shannon and the wars that are being fuelled in the Middle East. The cable reports on a discussion between an Irish official, Ciaran Murphy who was Assistant Secretary General and Policy Director in the Department of Defence, and US embassy staff. It covers the signing of Status of Forces Agreements (SOFA) by supposedly neutral Ireland.

SOFA agreements are intended to drag neutral states including Ireland into the US military alliance and NATO entanglements. What we should have of course are Status of Neutrality Agreement, (SONA) whereby the US, NATO, the EU and others would agree to respect our neutrality. Of course the first step would be to get successive Irish Governments to respect and apply Irish neutrality.

The cable says:

Good Friday at Shannon - More Warplanes being Protected by the Irish Authorities

Its Good Friday - well perhaps not so good if one is a victim of US wars of aggression and resources. At Shannon Airport it was bloody war business as usual. In the centre of the airport at 9.30 am there was a Hercules C130T registration number JW 165313, being protected by an Irish army patrol, a Garda patrol car and an airport police patrol car, all lined up in a row like sitting ducks. Two grey crows were having a closer look - they probably saw and understood a lot more than the occupants of the patrol car, who for the past 15 years have seen nothing wrong with US military and CIA abuse of Shannon Airport.

Also back at Shannon this morning was National Air Cargo Group Boeing 747-428 registration number N952CA. This is an identical aircraft to the one that crashed at Bagram Airbase in Afghanistan on 29 April 2013 killing all its 7 crew members while transport a cargo of over 80 tons of US military armoured vehicles. See report on Aviation Herald.