Peace Activists on Trial - Report from July 20th 2017 at Ennis District Court

Report from our own court correspondant.

Well, as the Seanachai (storyteller) used to say, "things rested so" ...

This was the case at Ennis District Court on 20th July, as four peace activists were once again before the courts. Dave Donnellan's case came up first. He and Colm Roddy are charged with causing criminal damage when they entered Shannon Airport to search some US military aircraft on 25 May 2016, 14 Months ago. Dave and Colm were today given the "book of evidence" and Judge Durcan went through the process of referring their cases up to the Circuit Court level. Their next court appearance date at Circuit Court level will be Monday 25th September 2017. This will be for an eventual trial by Jury. There was a discussion about Free Legal Aid for Dave which was not fully resolved as Dave's suggested solicitor was not from the Clare court area list of Free Legal Aid Solicitors.

Approving US Military Flights Through Ireland With Weapons on Board is a Rubber Stamping Exercise

The Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (DTTAS) has recently started to publish a Monthly Report on Munitions of War Exemptions issued under the Air Navigation (Carriage of Munitions of War, Weapons and Dangerous Goods) Order, 1973 on its website. It can be be accessed via the following link http://www.dttas.ie/aviation/publications/english/statistics-munitions-war.

As the latest figures available show, a total of 427 permits were granted for civilian aircraft to take munitions through Irish airspace or airports in the first 6 months of this year. 149 of these were for flights with personal weapons of troops on board landing at Shannon Airport. Ten were for flights landing in Ireland with munitions classified as dangerous goods on board, and there were 260 flights classified as "other overflights in Irish airspace with munitions on board". The remaining ten were for flights by Irish Registered aircraft not entering Irish airspace

War-Torn Children Exhibition in Limerick

An exhibition of textiles, photographs and posters highlighting the devastating impact of war on children, their families and communities will take place from 17th to the 28th July in the CB1 Gallery, Central Buildings, 51a O'Connell Street, Limerick. The exhibition is commissioned by Doras Luimní and curated by Roberta Bacic, and is an adaptation of a larger collection exhibited at the Linen Hall Library, Belfast this year.

The aim of the exhibition is to raise awareness of the human impact of war and injustice, and to promote a culture of hospitality and welcome for refugees seeking sanctuary from war and persecution in Limerick. It will be accompanied by a series of lunchtime events that include a
workshop on how to make an arpillera doll, conducted by Roberta Bacic; a first-hand account of Iraq since the 2003 US Invasion by Hashim Alhadeedy;

Still No Accountability for Ireland's Complicity in Torture

Letter by Edward Horgan of Shannonwatch published in the Irish Independent on June 26th 2017.

Monday 26th June is designated as the UN day in support of victims of torture. The UN Convention Against Torture (UNCAT) was ratified on 26th June 1987. UNCAT was incorporated into Irish law by the Criminal Justice (UNCAT) Act 2000. The heinous crime of torture has not been eliminated and the 21st century has seen an increase in torture by states, including the United States, with its so called Extraordinary Rendition program, which saw torture inflicted on prisoners in Guantanamo and other prisons and so-called Black Sites, with the approval of officials of the US Government.

Munitions of War applications processed by DTTAS: 1 Jan 2017 to 31 May 2017 inclusive

In reply to a parliamentary question from Clare Daly TD, the Minister for Transport Shane Ross TD provided details of permits granted to take munitions fo war through Irish airports and airspace over the period 1 Jan 2017 to 31 May 2017.

While the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) imposes imposes restrictions on military aircraft landing at Irish airports or transiting through Irish airspace, the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (DTTAS) does not do the same for military contracted planes.

Gardai Monitor Peace Activists instead of Warplanes at Shannon Airport

Garda surveillance of peace vigil at Shannon today

The monthly peace vigils at Shannon Airport continued today, with about 20 people gathering to highlight the unacceptable US military use of the airport. A few hours earlier a US Air Force Special Reserve plane left Shannon, probably on its way to or from the Middle East where US interventions continue to result in widespread loss of life. It should have been the focus of attention of the Gardai, whose job it is to detect and prevent crime, and to ensure our nation's security. But as usual it wasn't.

There could have been scores war criminals or kidnapped prisoners and stashes of lethal weapons on the plane. So just in case, the Gardai kept themselves busy doing something else.