Shannonwatch Vigil Calls for Greater Efforts to Promote Peace

  • Posted on: 13 March 2022
  • By: admin

On Sunday March 13th the Shannonwatch peace vigil at the entrance to Shannon Airport called for Russia to cease its invasion of Ukraine, for the US military to leave Shannon Airport, and for every effort to be made by the Irish government to invest in making peace not war. At the time of the vigil, there was a US troop carrier at the airport. It had been refuelled at Shannon earlier in the day on its way to Poland, and was on its way back the USA possibly to collect more armed US soldiers.

“We condemn the invasion of Ukraine, and the war crimes and crimes against humanity already committed by Russia.” said Shannonwatch spokesperson Edward Horgan. But with credible fears that biological, chemical and even military weapons could be used, any military intervention by NATO will only prolong the suffering and displacement of innocent Ukrainians. Equally, decisions by the European Union to increase supplies of weapons are questionable to say the least.”

“The Irish government has a mandate from the Irish people to be a neutral voice for dialogue and peace. Instead of honouring that, they are justifying massive increases in military expenditure and providing tacit support for frightening levels of EU militarization. And by allowing NATO’s strongest member, the US, to take troops and weapons through Shannon Airport they are flagrantly ignoring the wishes of the people, and the spirit of the Irish constitution”.

“The motives of political leaders and commentators that muddy the waters by talking about military and political neutrality must be questioned. Are they interested in peace, or in trying to reap rewards from the design and production of increasingly sophisticated and lethal weapons?”

Shannonwatch are also joining a host of peace groups throughout the island of Ireland to re-launch the popular anti-war emblem, the Black Shamrock. Over the next week, peace people in Derry, Belfast, Dublin, Galway as well as Shannon will hold public events at which the Black Shamrock will be promoted.

The emblem first came to prominence in 2006 as a direct response to Irish complicity in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq via Shannon Airport, as well as the setting up in Derry of a plant by one of the biggest US arms manufacturers Raytheon. The latter was soon “decommissioned” by peace activists giving the Black Shamrock an international as well as national significance. 

“The Black Shamrock has been used to generate funds for disparate peace and environmental campaigns” said Edward Horgan. “Over 50,000 of the badges are already in circulation. However, since 2006 the arms trade has become more embedded within the economies across the island. The European Union’s drift towards militarisation under the stewardship of Fine Gael has seen Enterprise Ireland directly involved in recruiting small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to become involved with the EU’s military industrial complex.”

Shannonwatch hold regular peace vigils at Shannon Airport on the second Sunday of every month at 2pm.