Petitions Committee Report Fails to Reflect Seriousness of Shannonwatch Submission

Over 3 years ago Shannonwatch submitted a Petition to the The Oireachtas Joint Committee on Public Service Oversight and Petitions on the issue of US Military and CIA use of Shannon airport. The wheels of government work slowly, and the Committee issued its final report today. The full report can be viewed here.

The Committee, and in particular to Chairperson, Pádraig MacLochlainn TD, did quite a comprehensive investigation into the petition, including meeting with a delegation from Shannonwatch that included Edward Horhgan, John Lannon and Margaretta D'Arcy at Leinster House, and a further series of meetings at Shannon Airport with representatives of An Garda Siochana, Shannon airport authority and Edward Horgan on behalf of Shannonwatch.

Rule of International Law Should Protect the Powerless, not the Powerful

In a letter to the Irish Examiner, Shannonwatch's Edward Horgan points out that that double speak around Putin shouldn't surprise anyone.

He goes on to note however that the issues involved are deadly serious, not only in individual cases such as the murder of Litvinenko, but also in assassinations and war crimes committed by the governments of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council - Britain, China, France, Russia, and USA.

"Since the foundation of the UN, a litany of crimes has been committed with impunity by these five states, in clear breach of the UN Charter and international laws.

These include: British crimes in Kenya, Malaya; Chinese crimes in Tibet and internally; French crimes in South East Asia, Algeria; USSR/Russian crimes in Eastern Europe, Afghanistan; and US crimes in Latin America, South East Asia, and the Middle East.

Another Day in Court: Case Against Edward Horgan

On January 13th Shannonwatch member Edward Horgan was in court in Ennis as a result of his attempt to search some warplanes. Here's an account of the day:

It was another long day in court, Edward Horgan's third long day so far and his case has not even had a date set for trial yet. This represents just one of the abuses of our justice system. He was summoned to appear in court first on 18th November 2015 on a charge that on 18th April 2015, he did "enter a part of Shannon airport to which persons were not for that time permitted".

Opposing Warplanes at Shannon Today

Today at Shannon the weather was cold but bright and sunny for a change. We had about 25 peace activists at our monthly peace vigil, some travelling from as far away as Letterkenny in north Donegal, others from Dublin, Cork, Galway, Clonmel and more locally. Prior to our peace vigil we had a good meeting to discuss how we can make 2016 a year of critical importance for the peace movement in Ireland.

At the airport itself there was an Omni Air International airplane that may have been transporting up to 300 armed US troops to or from military operations in the Middle East. There was also a small US Marine Corps Cessna UC-35D Citation Encore jet, registration 166715, being protected by an Irish army security detail (see photograph).

Review of 2015 US Military Traffic Through Shannon

The government continues to claim Ireland is a neutral country, and that when it comes to the US military use of Shannon Airport there's nothing to see or worry about. None of the regular landings of Hercules C-130's or mid-air refuellers are involved in military operations they say, and there's not as much as a single gun or round of ammunition on any of them.

It defies logic, but it's what the government tries to make us believe, despite recorded evidence of weapons on some of the planes.

In addition to these supposedly "unarmed" military planes there are also constant landings of "civilian" planes each carrying hundreds of armed troops. Classifying these as non-military, as the government does, is unprincipled and misleading, and is in breach of international neutrality law.  

Shannonwatch keep records of all US military traffic that passes through Shannon Airport. In 2015 we recorded 367 troop carriers landing and departing from the airport, as well as 291 military (US Air Force or Navy) planes. That's a total of 658 planes linked to US military operations - in other words more than 12 US military flights a week through Shannon.

Government Politicians Weren't Always Afraid to Talk about US Military Use of Shannon

So Joan Burton has accused Mick Wallace of "putting Irish people at risk" by mentioning the US military use of Shannon Airport!

This is the type of publicity Joan Burton claims is putting us at risk - taken from RTE website, when they were explaining that the US military would have left Shannon if the Irish government hadn't told them to stay.

When the Irish government first offered the use of Shannon to the US military, they thought nothing of the risk of putting troops and military cargo (likely to include explosives) on the tarmac near civilian flights in an airport that doesn't have adequate security or safety measuree for military operations.

It should be pointed out that common routes for US troops and cargo to the Middle East includes Shannon civilian airport, and then military bases in Germany, Italy or Romania. Sometimes they overfly Ireland and land at RAF bases in the UK.

You can find articles from 2002, long before Mick Wallace was in politics, bragging about the welcome that Ireland was giving US troops. You can see photos of the troops in uniform, as well as the names of the hotels they stayed in. The government didn't accuse the embedded reporters with the US military of endangering Shannon, did they? And yet these reports appeared in dozens of newspapers outside Ireland.