Shannon Airport Still Supporting War

On last Sunday (April 8th) a small group of people opposed to the US military use of Shannon Airport held a peace vigil outside, under the careful watch of the Gardai who blocked their entry into the airport. Meanwhile, inside the airport a small US Air Force C-21 jet sat at the terminal building. It too had Gardai in close proximity, but in this case they appeared to be providing protection, not surveillance or obstruction.

US Air Force C-21 at Shannon Airport

According to the US Air Force website, the C-21 is a twin turbofan-engine aircraft used for cargo and passenger airlift. The aircraft is the military version of the Lear Jet 35A business jet, and in addition to providing cargo and passenger airlift it is capable of transporting one litter or five ambulatory patients during aeromedical evacuations.  The one at Shannon last Sunday (registration 40142) is assigned to Scott Air Force Base in St. Clair County, Illinois. It is not known why it was at Shannon; it may have been transporting military officials or taking part in some other military perations or exercises. One thing is pretty clear however; with a Garda van parked alongside it probably wasn't bringing tourists to Ireland.

There was also a US troop carrier operated by Omni Air International at the airport on Sunday 8th. Sadly this is a regular occurrance at Shannon - troops and their weapons passing through the airport on their way to war, despite the fact that Ireland claims to be neutral. None of these are ever listed on arrival or departure schedules, despite the fact that the troop carriers are classified as "civilian" aircraft. To all intents and purposes the US military use of Shannon is a covert operation that does not have the approval of the Irish people.

US troop carrier (Omni Air) parked at terminal building

It is also an operation that means Ireland is complicit in the killing of innocent people throughout the Middle East. By allowing US troops to land in Shannon we are supporting the illegal invasion, occupation and bombing of several countries. This support comes in the form of Garda and Defence Forces protection - so much so that on Sunday the peace activists who entered the airport before the peace vigil were questioned, and in some cases even told to leave.

As the US President gets dangerously close to another full-scale bombing crusade, this time in Syria, it is well past time that the Irish government said enough is enough. We cannot continue to support escalating levels of militarization that cause death and mayhem, while at the same time making companies like Raytheon, Northrum Grumman, Lockheed Martin and Boeing very, very rich.

Its time to end the US military use of Shannon, and to stop this complicity in mass murder.

Peace vigil at Shannon Airport, April 8th
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