Peace activists in the mid-west support calls for Shannon Airport to be maintained as a viable travel hub for the region, with increased routes and traffic. However, they warn that this should not be done by relying on U.S. military traffic. When it comes to ensuring the viability of Shannon Airport, the war business is part of the problem, not the solution.
Since 2002 close to 2 million armed U.S. soldiers have passed through Shannon Airport on their way to fight in wars of occupation. More than 4,000 of these young men and women have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, where their presence has resulted in corruption, human rights abuse and regional instability. In Iraq the war has resulted in over one million deaths. Millions more have lost their homes and their livelihoods, children have been denied an education, and a functioning society has turned into chaos. Afghanistan is now rife with corruption and human rights abuse, as U.S. drones attack civilians from the air and prop up a puppet government.
"The Irish people were not asked if they were in favour of active involvement in these wars" said a spokesperson for Shannonwatch who campaign against the military use of Shannon. "Ireland has had a proud record of peacekeeping and non-participation in war. But the Fianna Fail led government ended all this by relinquishing the airport to the global war industry. This was done without a thought for the millions of innocent victims of war, or without taking steps to protect the people now living and working in a military air base at Shannon."
"Shannon Airport seems to be at the beck and call of the U.S. army these days, with two officers of military rank stationed there" said Shannonwatch. "Costs in excess of three million euro have been quoted for security, but the real financial cost of their presence to the Irish taxpayer is unknown. Furthermore, there are conflicting reports over whether they are even paying the appropriate landing fees and air traffic control charges."
Shannonwatch call on the airport authorities, the Ministers for Transport, Justice and Defence, and the Commission for Aviation Regulation to provide full disclosure on the financial costs and income from the U.S. military business at Shannon.
"The U.S. use of Shannon Airport has embroiled the mid-west in a sad litany of involvement in human rights abuse and war crimes. The CIA has used it for their so-called rendition flights, and as a result workers in Shannon have serviced planes involved in kidnapping and torture. War crimes have been committed by the armed forces using Shannon, and there is every likelihood that illegal weapons have passed through the airport before being used to kill and main civilians in other parts of the world".
The primary concern over the U.S. military presence at Shannon is the death and suffering of innocent men, women and children caused by their presence in Afghanistan and Iraq. But it is also important to realize that dependence on these wars will destroy Shannon Airport. "The U.S. military will eventually abandon Shannon" said the Shannonwatch spokesperson. "When the volcanic ash cloud spread from Iceland last May they left immediately, leaving the airport authorities, politicians and local workers without any indication of when the military traffic would return. Rumours now abound that the US Military plan to move their troop transit flights to Leipzig in Germany, which is already being used for U.S. military flights. If these are true the airport authorities at Shannon are powerless to do anything about it"
A major demonstration will be held at Shannon on Sunday October 10th at 2pm to protest against the U.S. military use of Shannon. The key message of this event will be that U.S. occupation is destroying the lives of millions of people in Afghanistan, and at the same time the future of Shannon Airport.
For more information contact Shannonwatch at 087 8225087 (John Lannon), or email email@example.com.