Back in 2003 Kieran Allen and Colin Coulter produced a well researched booklet entitled 'The Irish Republic, the United States and the Iraq War: A Critical Appraisal'. It outlined the effective transformation of Shannon into a US military installation, saying it was deeply offensive to the overwhelming majority of Irish people. The booklet showed how the Irish government at the time was guided more by a concern to accommodate the demands of the Bush administration than to serve the interests of its own citizens. Initially the Minister for Foreign Affairs Brian Cowan seemed content to say little about what was going on at Shannon in the hope that the controversy surrounding it would blow over. As popular pressure began to mount however, Mr Cowen began to resort to a series of evasions and half-truths in order to conceal the full scale of Irish collusion in the US war drive. But he economy with which Mr Cowen chose to handle the awful truth of what was happening at Shannon tended merely to further expose en entirely shameless government that held in utter contempt those people it was supposed to serve.
A decade later the only thing that has changed is the people in government. Instead of a Fianna Fail Minister for Foreign Affairs who uses evasions and half-truths to conceal Irish collusion in the US war drive, we now have a Labour minister who does exactly the same. Like his predecessor, Eamonn Gilmore has mislead the Dail and the Irish people on numerous occasions in relation to Shannon, the US military and the CIA. And he consistently refuses to investigate its known involvement in renditions.
Allen and Coulter's conclusion in 2003 was that the conduct of the political establishment in Dublin was consistently determined not by the welfare of the Irish people but rather by the insatiable imperial demands of the "fanatics" running the United States, Sadly this still holds true, There are still major lessons to be learned, and changes to be brought about in terms of Irish foreign policy. And given that little has changed since 2003, it is informative to revisit 'The Irish Republic, the United States and the Iraq War: A Critical Appraisal' and to examine how and when the abandonment of Irish neutrality began.
The text of the booklet is reproduced here in full.