Shannonwatch, 22 July 2014
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.”
Clare Daly said “The idea that we can accept US assurances that there are no weapons on board these military aircraft is ridiculous. We know that many of them are effectively weapons systems. A US Hercules C-130 was photographed at Shannon with a 30mm cannon out the side last September. These planes are designed for war, not peace.”
According to John Lannon of Shannonwatch, there have been repeated attempts to have US military and CIA planes inspected at Shannon. “Providing any support to the US military as it invades and occupies other countries flies in the face of our claims to be neutral. The US military use of Shannon needs to be ended fully, but in the meantime their planes must be inspected. Otherwise we are very likely to be supporting war crimes, human rights abuse and ongoing conflict.”
“Our neutrality needs to be cherished” said Edward Horgan, also of Shannonwatch. “We should not be complicit in the ongoing wars that are taking place in Iraq, Gaza and elsewhere. The price in terms of human suffering is too great for politicians here to ignore their responsibilities under international law.”
“We commend Mick Wallace and Clare Daly for taking it upon themselves to inspect the US military aircraft at Shannon” said Dr Horgan. “Close to 1500 troop carriers and other US military planes been allowed to land at Shannon in the past 12 months, and around two and a half million soldiers have passed through since 2002. US forces are now being built up again in Iraq, a country which is already devastated by war. We must return to the days when we were a nation known for its peacekeeping efforts, instead of contributing to ongoing perpetual conflict and war as we are now.”
Mick Wallace and Clare Daly have consistently campaigned for US military planes at Shannon Airport to be independently searched in order to verify that they are not violating international law.
“If they aren’t carrying weapons or arms then there is no reason why we shouldn’t be allowed on these aircraft.” said Mick Wallace. “All we wanted to do was confirm whether we are being told the truth or not.”
“This is far from being a publicity stunt or even just a legal issue” said Edward Horgan. “Allowing the US military use of Shannon Airport means that Ireland is complicit in the unlawful killing of women and children. And that is not something we can tolerate.”
For more information see www.shannonwatch.org.