Shannonwatch Condemns Inclusion of Military Aircraft in Foynes Air Show

Shannonwatch welcomes the celebration of aviation at Foynes Air Show this weekend but condemns the inclusion of military aircraft. The event, which was enjoyed by over 30,000 people, included the Spanish and Swedish air forces, a Norwegian MIG fighter jet, and other aircraft whose primary purpose is to engage in aerial combat. These have no place in family fun events, as their participation ignores the reality of war and attempts to normalise military aggression.

"While entertainment and tourist attractions like the Foynes Air Show are important during the holiday period, including the type of military aircraft that are involved in killing thousands of people in Syria, Iraq and other parts of the Middle East at present sends the wrong message to children in particular." said John Lannon of Shannonwatch.

"Watching military aircraft perform in a sanitised, family fun environment condition children as well as adults into accepting war as a "normal" human activity. Promoting war and aggression through the inclusion of military aircrafts and displays in these types of shows normalises the militarisation of everyday life and seeks to convince populations there is nothing they can do to stop wars."

"Across the estuary at Shannon Airport, US military planes filled with troops and weapons pass to and from the Middle East. For the young men and women on those planes, and for the millions of people affected by the wars in the Middle East, militarization is not fun. It is brutal, and people die as a result."

Retired army commandant and Shannonwatch member Edward Horgan said: "While it may be fun to watch aerial acrobatics, military aircraft are not harmless toys. Hopefully the children at the Foynes Air Show will never see fighter jets do loops in the sky as they drop bombs, like children in places like Helmand, Fallujah and Aleppo have."

The main supporter of the Foynes Air Show and of the Bray Air Display which takes place on Sunday, July 23rd is the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA). The Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport pays the IAA to waive air traffic control charges for US military planes passing through Irish airspace. 

"As a country that claims to be neutral and to uphold peace and human rights as core values of its foreign policy, the overt and ongoing support for militarization is wrong" said John Lannon. "Support and active engagement in militarization is becoming increasingly evident across a wide range of government policies, including economic investment, transport and now tourism. It is time we stopped this creeping acceptance of militarization, starting with family days out in places like Foynes and Bray."

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