Beyond the Law: the US Military at Shannon Airport

From Look Left magazine, originally published in September 2013

US Military Hercules transport aircraft at Shannon Airport

Over the last ten years 2.2 million U.S troops have passed through Shannon Airport, with 250,000 transiting though the facility in 2011 alone. Nearly every day large carrier planes packed with military personnel touch down in a supposedly neutral country, their passengers often disembarking in full uniform to purchase souvenirs of their visit.

Abolition of Seanad could Pose Increased Dangers for Peace & Neutrality Issues Say Campaigners

Irish neutrality is once again a referendum issue as a number of prominent Peace and Neutrality campaigners come together to call for No vote on the amendment to abolish the Seanad. The group includes retired Army Commandant Edward Horgan, peace campaigner John Lannon of Shannonwatch, Professor John Maguire of UCC, Galway Councillor Catherine Connolly, Galway Alliance Against War activist Niall Farrell and former Green Party MEP Patricia McKenna.  In a letter issued to national newspapers today the group warns of the negative impact Seanad abolition could have for the peace and neutrality agenda.

John Lannon of Shannonwatch warned that the abolition of the Seanad will make the adoption of EU decisions and legislation easier for a government that is determined to do so, even if those decisions are inconsistent with the stated views of the Irish people. Edward Horgan stressed that abolishing the Seanad will eliminate the chance of ever establishing a reformed institution that could scrutinise future EU military issues and will make it less problematic for Enda Kenny and his successors to pass controversial legislation.

New Red C Poll Shows that Irish People Want Neutrality

Over three quarters of Irish people believe Ireland should have a policy of neutrality according to a new Red C poll commissioned by the Peace and Neutrality Alliance (PANA). The poll also shows that roughly 8 out of 10 people believe Ireland should not support military intervention in Syria without a UN mandate.

According to Shannonwatch spokesperson John Lannon these findings seriously undermine government policy. "The government has got to realise now that allowing the U.S. military to use Shannon Airport is unacceptable. It was never sanctioned by the Irish people, and clearly it is something that people don't want.

Council of Europe Says Governments that Supported Renditions must Investigate and Atone for their Actions

In a strongly worded statement marking the 12th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, the Council of Europe's human rights commissioner has said that to date countries in Europe “still have to fully account for their co-operation with the unlawful US programme, in particular as concerns the use of their airspace and airports for suspected rendition flights, capture and transfer of individuals to US custody, and participation in interrogation, as well as knowledge of the secret detention and extraordinary rendition operations”.

Lest there be any doubt, lets be clear. That includes Ireland.

Court Report Margareta D’Arcy and Niall Farrell, Ennis District Court, 11 September 2013

Judge Patrick Durkan presiding

Unusually, the case against Margaretta D'Arcy and Niall Farrell was dealt with before lunch at Ennis District court yesterday (Wednesday, 11th Sept). Normally cases involving peace activists tend to be postponed until the end of the court session, thereby inconveniencing the peace activists as much as possible. Perhaps it was because Margaretta and Niall were dressed in orange Guantanamo style boiler suits that the authorities decided to get them out of court as quickly as possible.

Report on a Busy Weekend of Action at Shannon

Two days of action at Shannon Airport this weekend, in which we once again highlighted its links to human rights abuses and unjustified wars, were marked by contrasting attitudes by the State authorities. On the first, a solidarity fast for the prisoners at Guantanamo saw little more than occasional observation by the Gardai. On the second, they maintained a large and unnecessary presence that blocked participants' access to the airport.