Does Minister for Transport Paschal Donohoe Really Think We're Neutral?

We are astounded to hear the Minister for Transport Paschal Donohoe say in a Dail debate yesterday (23rd Sept 2015) that Ireland is a neutral country. He handed out permits to over 550 US planes to take munitions through Shannon and Irish airspace since the start of the year, and yet he claims we're neutral.

In response to Dail questions from TDs Clare Daly and Mick Wallace the Minister said that the number of US troops who have passed through Shannon Airport to date in 2015 is 39,613.   He also said that the number of requests his Department received up to the end of August 2015 from civilian aircraft to land at Shannon Airport or pass through Irish airspace while carrying munitions was 566. Of these, one request came from an Irish airline, six requests came from a UK airline, five from a Turkish airline and the remainder came from US airlines.

Extent of Shannon and Ireland’s Complicity in War Revealed

The Department of Transport has revealed that in 2014 a total of 272 flights were given permits to take weapons or explosives through Shannon Airport. In response to a freedom of information request by Shannonwatch they confirmed that the majority of the flights were taking US troops between military bases and locations in the Middle East. The information also shows that US troop carriers and aircraft with machine guns, rocket motors and other war material are routinely allowed to fly through Irish airspace. Again the majority of these are flying to or from US military bases around the world.

The permits are requested by airline operators under the Air Navigation (Carriage of Munitions of War, Weapons and Dangerous Goods) Order. Close to twenty requests were refused in 2014 but the Department would not reveal where these were from or why they were refused. It would only state that they were refused on the advice of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Freedom of Information Request Reveals Details of Munitions Through Ireland in 2014

Shannonwatch have received details under freedom of information on all requests for exemption under the Air Navigation (Carriage of Munitions of War, Weapons and Dangerous Goods) Order, 1973, as amended, for the carriage of weapons and munitions through Irish airports and airspace in 2014. In total there were 606 requests made. The official figure for the m=number approved by the Minister for Transport is 584.

The information obtained shows that

  • Over 270 flights were given permits to take weapons or explosives through Shannon Airport in the year. Most of these were US troop carriers
  • Most of the troop carriers were operated by Omni Air International but others included  National Airlines (13), Atlas Air (6), Delta Airlines (4) and North American Airlines (2).

There's a lot Ireland can do for People Fleeing from War

As people flee from countries ravaged by war and poverty and European governments shut their doors in their faces, we have responsibilities as human beings to act. We must demand that our governments do everything they can to end the cruel deaths we see happening in the backs of lorries, in the sea, in other parts of the long tortuous journeys that the people of Syria, Eritrea, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, South Sudan, Eritrea and elsewhere undertake in order to stay alive.

US Warplanes still being refuelled at Shannon Airport

On Tuesday 1st September at about 9am a US Navy transport plane was being refuelled at Shannon Airport, and being protected by the Irish Defence Forces and Gardaí. It was a C40 type aircraft number 8980 capably of carrying troops or military war materials. The refusal by the Irish Government to search such aircraft so as to confirm that they are not in breach of international laws on neutrality means that no such military aircraft should be allowed land on Irish territory, and if they do land, for example in an emergency, and are found to be carrying war materials or soldiers on their way to war, then, under customary international laws, these aircraft and their military passengers should be arrested and interned for the duration of such war. Ironically the duration of the present U.S. Led war on Terror could go on for decades, because instead of the promised quick "surgical strikes" on Afghanistan and Iraq, the US has plunged the Middle East and North Africa into ongoing and growing chaos.

Remembering Everyone Killed by Military Aircraft

The vintage Hawker Hunter fighter plane that crashed on to a busy roadway during an air show in Shoreham, Sussex on 22 August also performed at recent air shows in Ireland at Shannon, Bray and Foynes. Between them these were attended by up to 150,000 people.

The aircarft might just as easily have crashed on one of these shows causing many deaths including children.