Call for Irish Government to Ensure No Ammunition Supplies to Israel Through Ireland

In recent days the US Department of Defence has confirmed the supply of more ammunition to Israel, despite its ongoing indiscriminate killing of civilians in Gaza. This will almost certainly result in more carnage and suffering, as Israel continues to use its military might against the captive Palestinian population. Many of the military airlift contractors that are likely to supply this ammunition pass through Shannon Airport regularly. It is vitally important that the Irish authorities do everything they can to ensure these carriers are not assisting the Israeli attacks on Gaza. That includes inspection of contracted US military aircraft, and an end to the granting of permits to take weapons and munitions through Shannon Airport.

Arrest of Niall Farrell of GAAW

Galway Alliance Against War

Niall Farrell of the Galway Alliance Against War is to be arrested on Friday, 1st of August on his return from abroad and sent to Limerick Prison for his involvement in a peace protest with Margaretta D'Arcy last September on the runway at Shannon airport. In June they were found guilty of having "interfered with the proper use" of Shannon airport and given a two week suspended sentence and what approximates to a €100 fine. Both refused to pay the fine or sign a so-called peace bond and Ms D'Arcy has since been imprisoned for her failure to comply with the Ennis District Court's ruling.

Ms D'Arcy (80) and Mr Farrell (61) held the peace protest on the 1st September 2013 as it appeared a US war against Syria was imminent. The two peace activists were involved in a similar action on October 7th 2012, the 11th anniversary of the US war against Afghanistan, in opposition to the use of Shannon's airport by the US military for which Ms D'Arcy was imprisoned for nearly 10 weeks.

Shannonwatch Welcomes Attempts by TDs Clare Daly and Mick Wallace to Inspect US Military Aircraft at Shannon Airport

Shannonwatch welcomes attempts by TDs Mick Wallace and Clare Daly to inspect US military aircraft at Shannon earlier today. At a time when the airport may be helping to supply the weapons used by Israel to kill and main civilians in Gaza, it is vitally important that we have proper oversight of what is on the military planes at the airport. Despite repeated requests the authorities refuse to search the planes to ensure they are not in breach of international law.  

"We are being told repeatedly that there is no proof there are illegal weapons on the planes" said Mick Wallace. "It is nonsense to suggest that none of them are involved in military operations or that there are no weapons on board these planes, which is what the government says. But because the authorities won't search the planes to find out if that is the case, people like us have to do it."

State Airports (Shannon Group) Bill 2014 - A Missed Opportunity

After all the publicity about rendition flights through Shannon Airport, the photographing at the airport of a US Navy aircraft with a 30mm cannon (despite the Minister for Foreign Affairs repeatedly saying these planes are not armed), the hundreds of thousands of deaths caused by the US invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan which Shannon facilitated, over one hundred requests to search military and CIA aircraft, and so much more, one would think that our politicians would accept the necessity to search US military aircraft at Shannon.  At the very least one would not expect them to block legislation that would make it easier to search military planes, given that we are supposed to be a neutral country. But that's exactly what the elected members of Fine Gael, Labour and Fianna Fail all did last week during a Dáil debate on the State Airports (Shannon Group) Bill 2014.

Margaretta D'Arcy Abstaining from Food in Solidarity with Victims of War

Demonstration held outside Limerick Prison in support of Margaretta on Friday 11th July

Speaking in Limerick Prison yesterday, peace activist Margaretta D'Arcy reiterated her insistence that international law be upheld at Shannon Airport in order to end Irish complicity in torture and unjustified wars. She also confirmed that she is abstaining from food for a number of days as an act of solidarity with the victims of war and in particular with the people of Gaza who are once again being subjected to a brutal bombing campaign by Israel.

According to John Lannon and Edward Horgan of Shannonwatch who visited Margaretta in prison on Friday, she is in good spirits despite being locked up again by the State.

Two Week Suspended Sentence for Margaretta D'Arcy and Niall Farrell's Anti-war Action at Shannon

Report by Tim Hourigan and Sarah Clancy

An airport police officer asks Niall and Margaretta to leave the runway on Sept 1st 2013

On Tuesday, June 24, 2014, in Ennis District Court, Margaretta D'Arcy and Niall Farrell received a 2 week suspended sentence from Judge Patrick Durcan, following their conviction for 'interfering with the proper use of an airport'. On September 1st 2013 both peace activists had carried out a protest by going onto the runway at Shannon Airport wearing bright orange 'Gitmo suits' and carrying placards that detailed their objection to a prospective invasion of Syria. They were then detained by the Airport Police and handed over to the Gardai who arrested and charged them under (4.1 (14) of the Airport Byelaws (1994).

Shannonwatch Call for Investigation of Rendition Flights Through Shannon at Oireachtas Committee Meeting

Shannonwatch called today on the government to explain why information received by the Gardai about rendition planes at Shannon Airport was not followed up on. In a submission to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Public Service Oversight and Petitions they said that over one hundred complaints and requests to search suspect aircraft had been made between 2003 and 2013, none of which were properly addressed. They also reiterated their calls for an end to the US military use of Shannon, and for full disclosure of all agreements made with the US authorities in relation to this use.

Shannonwatch made a number of recommendations to the Oireachtas Committee, including that the government should establish an independent and impartial inquiry into the use of Shannon in the CIA's illegal renditions programme. "This inquiry should examine the reasons for the failure to inspect suspect rendition aircraft. And the outcome of the inquiry should be made public" said John Lannon who was part of the Shannonwatch delegation that addressed the Oireachtas Committee.

Shannonwatch meeting with Joint Oireachtas sub-Committee on Public Petitions

Wednesday, 18 June, 2014 - 16:15

Following a petition to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Public Service Oversight and Petitions by Shannonwatch members and supporters, we have been invited to meet and brief the Committee on the US Military and CIA use of Shannon airport and Irish airspace.

The Committee seeks to focus its work on investigating and identifying improvements in the delivery of public services. As part of its remit, it receives and processes public petitions submitted to the Houses of the Oireachtas, and regularly engages with the Ombudsman and other oversight bodies.

Our original petition was as follows:

Case Dismissed: Peace Activists Have No Charges to Answer

On Tuesday May 27th, two members of Shannonwatch appeared in Ennis District Court to answer a charge under the Public Order Act, Section 8. This related to an incident that took place on October 13th 2013.

On that date, Dr. Edward Horgan and Tim Hourigan were at Shannon Airport prior to the start of Shannonwatch's monthly vigil, and had gone up to the airport for their regular routine of taking photographs of any suspicious aircraft and meeting others in the hotel for tea, before joining the vigil.

They had photographed two suspicious aircraft, and were heading back to the hotel, when they were met by two Gardai who accused them of having trespassed in a restricted area. The planespotters had in fact been on the public footpath next to Long Term Car Park 4, so they told the Gardai that they denied any accusation of trespass. The Gardai then invoked the Public Order Act and directed the peace activists to 'leave the area'.

Remembering Departed Friends

Shannonwatch was saddened by the passing of two of our dear friends in the last week and a half. On Tuesday 29th May, Esta Carter, who was a lifelong struggler against injustice and a stalwart of the peace movement, died. Just one week later on Tuesday 6th May, another wonderful person, Anne Clinton, passed away. She too was always on the side of the oppressed and campaigned tirelessly to end war and oppression.