Trial of Peace Activists Begins on January 11th
Peace activists Dr Edward Horgan, former army Commandant and United Nations peacekeeper, originally from Tralee Co Kerry, and Dan Dowling also a native of Tralee Co Kerry, are due to go on trial on 11th January 2023 at Dublin Circuit Court. This is as a result of an incident that occurred at Shannon Airport five years and nine months ago. The date of this incident was 25th April 2017, and there are two charges. The first alleged offence is trespass at the airport contrary to Section 11 of the Criminal Justice (Public Order) Act, 1994 as amended by the Intoxicating Liquor Act, 2008. The second is criminal damage by writing graffiti to a US Navy aircraft contrary to Section 2(1) Criminal Damage Act, 1991.
Both defendants will be representing themselves and are expected to conduct a robust defence to these charges.
Since 2001 well over three million armed US soldiers and unknown quantities of weapons, munitions and other military hardware have been transported through Shannon, mainly to and from the Middle East. The US has been involved as a belligerent in several wars including Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and Syria, as well as providing active support for the Saudi Arabian war in Yemen, and Israeli aggression and human rights abuses against the Palestinian people. US military use of Shannon airport is in clear contravention of international laws on neutrality as well as arguably making the Irish Government complicit in breaches of the UN Convention Against Torture and the Geneva Conventions on War.
Speaking ahead of the trial, a Shannonwatch spokesperson said "This case is not just about the technicalities of breaches of international laws, even though these are important. The Criminal Justice (UN Convention Against Torture) Act 2000 brings the UN Convention Against Torture into Irish criminal law, and the Geneva Conventions (Amendments) Act 1998 also brings the Geneva Conventions within the scope of Irish law."
"More seriously however, is the reality that up to five million people have lost their lives due the war related reasons across the Middle East since the early 1990s. Shockingly, it is now estimated that one million children may have lost their lives due to these unjustified wars."
When Edward Horgan was arrested at Shannon Airport on 25th April 2017, he handed a folder to the arresting Garda officer. It contained the names of up 1,000 children who had died in the Middle East.
The trial is before a jury and is expected to take several days.