TDs Join Protest Against US Military Use of Shannon
Shannonwatch, 6 June 2013
As part of their ongoing response to the continuing use of Shannon Airport by the US military, Shannonwatch are holding a vigil outside the airport from 2pm to 3pm on Sunday June 9th. The vigil will be attended by independent TDs Clare Daly and Mick Wallace who will call for government action in line with its stated commitment to international law and Irish neutrality.
“The programme agreed by the present government says that they will enforce a prohibition on the use of Irish airspace, airports and related facilities for purposes not in line with the dictates of international law.” said Clare Daly TD this week. “Yet the routine movement of military planes through Shannon without any obvious oversight or inspection shows that they have little intention of doing so. We would have expected more from Labour, many of whose ministers were quite vocally opposed to the military and CIA use of Shannon in the past. But they and the rest of the government are continuing to bend the knee to the US, despite damning reports about Shannon’s involvement in renditions, the continuance of Guantanamo as a detention centre, and Obama’s drone policy.”
Mick Wallace TD said “Since coming into office, Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore has repeatedly stated that the law is very robust in respect of the control of airspace. Why then did President Higgins, when he was a Labour Party Deputy, propose legislation to close the loopholes in Irish law to ensure rendition flights could no longer be possible? An inspection regime must also be put in place in order that we might rest assured that what the Americans are doing and informing us that they are doing falls within the rule of law”.
“Over 540 US military aircraft landed at Shannon in 2012” said John Lannon of Shannonwatch, “and yet the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Tanaiste Eamonn Gilmore claims that they were not carrying arms and that they were not involved in military exercises or operations. What exactly were all the uniformed US soldiers seen disembarking from Hercules C-130’s doing if they were not involved in military operations? And how can the Minister be so sure there was never as much as a single gun on any of the US Air Force planes if they haven’t been inspected?”
“This week the Irish government signed up to the new global Arms Trade Treaty. But their failure to inspect what is passing through our own territory and airspace on its way to war zones means that they are supporting the global arms industry every day” said John Lannon.
“Despite repeatedly making requests to have aircraft searched, including suspect rendition planes, we have never once been assured that this was done. Bradley Manning who provided evidence to Wikileaks showing war crimes being committed by US soldiers is possibly facing life in prison in the US because of his action. It’s part of a cover-up, and a warning to other potential whistleblowers, and our government are going along with it by turning a blind eye to who and what passes through Shannon”.
The June 9th vigil is part of the ongoing protests against the US military use of Shannon Airport. Similar vigils take place on the second Sunday of every month.