Ireland on the Margins of NATO, Sharing Responsibilities for War

It will probably surprise many people to know that at least seven Irish Government officials, including one military officer, attended events related to the NATO Summit in Newport, Wales this week. It didn't get much coverage in the mainstream Irish media, probably because the government told them not to cover it, but it's something that should be highlighted and challenged.

In answer to a question from Clare Daly TD, Simon Coveney who is our Minister for Agriculture and other stuff that the government doesn't think is very important (food, the marine and defence), explained that Ireland was invited to attend two meetings at Newport, one for contributors to the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan, and one for Defence Ministers from what are called "Partner" countries.

Imprisonment of Niall Farrell on the Centenary of World War I, for Opposing Ireland’s Involvement in Current Wars

Press Statement from GAAW

"Exactly 100 years ago this Bank Holiday weekend Britain - and therefore Ireland - entered the 1st World War.

On this very day Ireland is holding prisoner Niall Farrell of the Galway Alliance Against War for a peaceful protest, along with Margaretta D'Arcy, at Shannon Airport to highlight the involvement of the Irish State in US wars in the Middle East and elsewhere.

Farrell's and D'Arcy's anti-war protest was a supremely political statement and in line with the Nuremburg War Trial principle whereby individuals have a duty to oppose crimes against humanity, even if this means acting in conflict with national laws. Yet, the Irish State has denied Niall Farrell political status and he is in effect being criminalised for this peace protest. He is in solitary confinement, 24 hours lockup, without clothes and allowed no visits.

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.