Tag Archives: Vincent Browne

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Last night.

Independents 4 Change TD, Clare Daly; Group Editor at Associated Newspapers Ireland, Sebastian Hamilton; writer and broadcaster Eoin O’Murchu and Senator Marie Louise O’Donnell were on the panel of Tonight with Vincent Browne.

Given the publication of the Chilcot report, the panel talked about the US Army’s use of Shannon Airport.

From the discussion…

Eoin O’Murchu: “In our case, the position taken by our, not just Bertie Ahern, but the entire Government, was that we want it to be, in our interest, to be on good relations with the United States. Shannon benefits economically, financially and so on. Very hard to find a politician, in the Shannon area, who will come out and criticise what’s being done. So, all of these things were done because of this sense: we had to make sure we were on America’s good side in relation to it. The fact that then makes us complicit, in the things that are done – because we know that war material, as well as people actually going out to fight, have been facilitated going through Shannon. We also know though none of the planes have been searched, that planes that have been used for rendition purposes, that is the taking of people for torture…”

Vincent Browne: “The abduction of people on the streets of Greece or of Italy or whatever and taking them to far off, far-flung torture chambers in Algeria or whatever and that’s what happened and it’s likely that a lot of those passed through Ireland.”

O’Murchu: “Well we know that the planes did because the planes have been identified and they’ve actually been seen going through Shannon. Now that then raises the question, for all of us in this country: if we say quite rightly, look at what happened in Iraq and the dreadful destruction that has flowed from it, the emergence of ISIS being one of them, the thousands, hundreds of thousands of people who’ve died, we have to share some of the responsibility for that because we’ve allowed that to happen. And the Government still refuses to officially even search planes and we rely upon our TDs to brave the fences and actually go in and search them…”

Marie Louise O’Donnell: “Can I ask you a question: who invaded Iraq?”

O’Murchu: “The United States and Britain.”

O’Donnell: “Thank you.”

Browne: “Along with a number of other countries…”

O’Murchu: “But we facilitated the movement of troops…”

O’Donnell: “But…”

Browne: “What’s that penetrative question about?”

O’Donnell: “What level of the blame game are we playing here?

Talk over each over

O’Murchu:We are responsible for allowing the movement of men and material through Shannon Airport. That is our contribution to that war effort. And it’s something that we should be ashamed of.”

Clare Daly: “And it continues. It continues.”

Browne: “The point I’m making is that we were complicit in an act that we deemed illegal.”

O’Donnell: “Well we had a prime minister called Tony Blair who didn’t even listen to the Security Council.”

Browne: “We didn’t have a prime minister…”

O’Donnell: “No, there was a prime minister called Tony Blair who didn’t even listen to the Security Council who told him: no, we’re going to monitor things, we’re going to continue to investigate what’s going on in Iraq. But he didn’t listen to anybody. He didn’t listen to anybody except to a kind of jockeying George Bush and they looked, the two of them, getting in and out of cars, swaggering around the place, messianic you’re right… I’m not missing the point. I’m…”

Browne: “You’re objecting to them getting in and out of cars?”

O’Donnell: “No but the way they were carrying on, like kind of modern-day cowboys, ‘we’re gonna get him’.”

Browne: “In the way they got in and out of cars.”

O’Murchu: “If George Bush had not decided to go to war, Tony Blair wouldn’t have gone to war either.”

Sebastian Hamilton: “If Bertie Ahern…”

O’Donnell: “I’m not disputing that..”

Hamilton: “If Bertie Ahern had decided not to facilitate Shannon, the Dáil would not have done it. My point is there is a political failure here, at the top, in which for this period of time, individuals, individuals were allowed, if you...individuals were allowed to wield massive power and massive influence over Governments. They told ministers what to do and if you look…”

Browne: “I don’t think so, I think if you ask the Irish people and we’ll get texts I’m sure, they preponderance of social media comments on what we’re saying will be anti what we’re saying…”

Hamilton: “That Bertie did not run this country?”

Browne: “No don’t mind that, that’s a silly thing..”

Talk over each other

Browne: “No, that they don’t care that the important issue is that we don’t alienate America and we don’t diminish the chances of further Foreign Direct Investment from America into Ireland which provides jobs. And the attitude would be: yes we could take a principle stand and we’d feel better about it but it would make no difference to what happened in Iraq.”

O’Donnell: “But listen, we’re not the ones who went into Iraq with the Kalashnikovs, we’re not the ones who went in and bombed the people, we’re not the ones, the Irish people aren’t, we weren’t in Iraq bombing women and children, that’s my point.”

Browne: “Who said that we were?”

O’Donnell: “But you’re making, you’re blaming, you’re giving us the same level, I mean maybe there isn’t  level, maybe there’s a different level of complicity. Blame. You’re saying that we’re nearly the greatest enemy in Iraq..”

Browne: “I didn’t say that.”

O’Donnell: “You’re carrying on as if, our, the fact that there were troops refuelling, if they were, in Shannon, that we are equally to blame as two massive warmongerers desecrated their own country and in Iraq. I think that’s ridiculous.”

Later

Hamilton:We’re having the argument about Shannon that has been going on since that decision was taken: that’s 13 years and nobody is saying: why did that decision happen? And why has the elected parliament of this country..”

Browne:What do you mean nobody is saying ‘why’?

Hamilton:Why nobody is asking – if you want me to write this down for you I will – why nobody is asking why was that decision allowed to happen. Nobody…”

Browne: “But we know…”

Daly: “We know why it was, exactly.”

Browne: “We know how. We don’t ask questions, the answers to which we already know..”

Hamilton: “But what we’re not asking is why was our system of Government set up in such a way as to allow, what you are saying, was effectively an illegal decision? Nobody is asking how do we prevent this happening in the future?”

Browne: “I’m saying that the majority of Irish people, and the majority of the Dáil, would have approved of facilitating…”

Daly: “I don’t agree with that, I don’t agree with that.”

Talk over each other

Hamilton: “They should have been given the chance to debate it.”

Browne: “But they did have a chance to debate it. They did have a chance to debate it…”

Hamilton: “Then we would know. And we should be debating it again. That’s what the parliament is for..”

Daly:It is a fact that record numbers of people protested in unbelievable numbers in Ireland and in Britain and globally against his war. So ordinary people’s instinct was completely against it.”

Watch back in full here

Previously: ‘A Former US Marine Will Show Ireland Has Breached International Law In Shannon’

For The Record

Declare And Present Danger

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 TV3’s Tonight with Vincent Browne last night; Independent TD Catherine Connolly

Last night, Tonight with Vincent Browne’s panel discussed the fallout of Brexit.

The panel included Sinn Féin vice president and Dublin Central TD, Mary Lou McDonald; retired Senior Lecturer Emeritus in Social Policy at Trinity College Dublin, Anthony Coughlan, Fine Gael TD for Dublin South East, Eoghan Murphy; and Independent TD for Galway West and barrister, Catherine Connolly.

During the debate, this is what Ms Connolly said:

I thought I’d reached an age where I wasn’t shocked. But to see Peter Sutherland saying that, ‘we must find a way to rerun this referendum’ or to see Tony Blair come out saying, ‘it has to be rerun’ actually has shocked me. I thought I was beyond shocked.

That’s number one.

Number two, like Anthony [Coughlan]. I didn’t think this Brexit was going to win, certainly after the murder of Jo Cox – I didn’t think. So I woke up to the result on Friday morning.”

I cannot believe what the establishment have done prior to Brexit, during Brexit and after Brexit.

I’m absolutely full of admiration for the English people who have stood up to a terrible bullying campaign. I would have no truck with anti-racism [sic], nor the famous poster with refugees, I abhor it and I appall it.

But to judge the 17 million people who voted for Brexit in that manner does the person who says that no service and does the people no service.”

They stood up and said ‘We see the EU for what it is’ or, at least, that’s what I’m taking out of it. Is it the start of a new dawn? I do not think so.

But I think it’s the first step in exposing the EU.

I thought it was exposed when we were forced to rerun the Nice Treaty. I thought it was exposed when we were forced to rerun the Lisbon Treaty. I thought it was exposed during the financial crisis but, unfortunately, the establishment, the politicians that were in power, plus the media, by and large, helped to stop that exposure.”

“I think it’s exposed again now and I think it’s open for us to grab that opportunity and not let the Right have the narrative or tell the story. It’s up to us to grasp it.

How could you possibly say that the EU is good, as it stands when we have a country where we have to get permission to build homes for our people – that came out recently the committee, that we have to get permission to fiddle with the fiscal treaty to get money, how can we possibly say that this EU is a social EU that allows 10,000 minors, unaccompanied minors go missing in Europe and we haven’t had one single urgent debate at EU level in relation to that.

On top of that, we have the Lisbon Treaty and I’m all for a social Europe, I’m all for Europe. However, the Lisbon Treaty, which I canvassed against and I canvassed against it after reading it in detail.

I would hope that there was scope in that Treaty to bring out social Europe but I’m afraid the emphasis is on the militarisation of Europe, page after page, and we made this point at the time. It’s in relation to the neoliberal agenda page after page, in relation to freeing up the markets.

There are good, there are good articles in it like the one I quoted in the Dáil that all democratic decisions should be made as near as possible to the citizen. That’s the dream. The reality is we have taken power repeatedly from local politicians, just as one example, so I would love if someone took this [the Lisbon Treaty] away, that was able to study it better than me and show us the way forward to bring out the social Europe.”

“But I think it’s dominated by clauses that have a neoliberal agenda and dominated by the militarisation of Europe.

Watch in full here (go to 27.05)

Earlier: A Choice Between Two Sides Of The Same Dismal Coin

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Last night.

On RTÉ’s Prime Time, presenter David McCullagh spoke to Gerry Edwards, of Termination for Medical Reasons Ireland, and Tracy Harkin, of Every Life Counts, about the UN’s criticism of Ireland’s abortion laws.

From last night’s discussion:

Tracy Harkin: “I think, myself, as a mother, who has a daughter who has been diagnosed with a life-limiting disability, I find this report from the United Nations disturbing for a number of reasons. Firstly, I suppose what’s deeply distressing for many parents involved in our support network, and other charities that work with families that have lost babies to these conditions is the language the United Nations has chosen to use.”

Terms like ‘fatal foetal abnormality’, ‘incompatible with life’, they’re such harsh sounding, dehumanising terms. And I think for parents like myself and for the many parents throughout Ireland who have lost their little ones to these conditions, that’s not how they see their children at all.”

“Their experiences have not been heard by in this report which is deeply disturbing; parents have been speaking out, for example, in our organisation, Every Life Counts, for the last few years, calling for better support and services to be rolled out in maternity hospitals throughout Ireland to help them make the most of the time to parent their child, to love their child, to hug their child, to, you know, smell their child as any mother wants to.”

“And this is so important, such an important pathway to healing for these mothers and I think it’s alarming that the only option, or solution that the United Nations is fixated on is abortion. You know, these are children, human beings with severe disabilities and there’s not an agreed list, neither will be, and I think for us parents, for myself, before I had my little daughter Kathleen Rose, who’s now 9 years of age, you know she’s such a wonderful little character, she’s brought such joy to my life. Many of our parents didn’t have that time with their little ones and maybe only had minutes or days but they all said that that time was so important to healing. And there’s more and more research coming out to show that, in contrast, abortion increases despair and depression among mothers because they don’t have that closure.”

David McCullagh: “Tracy Harkin, sorry to cut across you, you talk about having services available to allow parents to spend time with their children, however short that time unfortunately may be. And I don’t think anybody’s suggesting that people shouldn’t be able to make that choice. But simply that others, who feel differently, shouldn’t be deprived of their choice, for what is best for their family.”

Harkin: “Well, I think the main thing here is accurate information and I think what’s missing from this whole conversation is also to look at what’s happened in other countries. What has the impact been of legislation in other countries. You look at the UK for example, over 90% of children with any disability whatsoever are aborted right up to birth. I mean most of us have their children with Down syndrome, Spina Bifida, in our communities, we love them, we fundraise for them. There’s a chilling effect to legislation here which the United Nations has chosen to ignore, time and time again. And it’s also important to mention that this case was brought forward by the Centre for Reproductive Rights which are a large, wealthy organisation with many millions at their disposal and their only focus, worldwide, is to promote abortion…”

Later

Gerry Edwards: “I think it’s very important, again in the interest of language, that we are quite clear that there is a difference between disabilities and life-limiting conditions and fatal foetal anomalies which are conditions which are not capable of sustaining independent life outside the womb.”

Our son had a condition called severe anencephaly. Most of his skull was missing and his brain was missing. He could not sustain independent life, there was no question whatsoever of him surviving for any length of time. And that was confirmed to us by five different medical professionals in three hospitals in two jurisdictions.”

“My wife would have been forced to continue with that pregnancy for five more months in this country, not able to bear the social contact with other people, working with the people that she worked with, being stopped by people on the streets, in the full knowledge that our son would not die, or would not live, I beg your pardon. And this was the situation which was absolute torture for us and we made a decision which was in our best interest and in the best interest of our family.”

“And that decision required us to leave our carers, leave our family and travel to another state. We did spend time with our son, he was delivered naturally, he had an induced labour, we got to spend time with him but we would have got to spend more time with him had we been able to go through that process here in Ireland.”

“Our family members would have gotten to meet him, we would have had the dignity of having a funeral and a community to stand with us and support us in our loss. Instead we got a jiffy envelope, delivered by a courier a couple of weeks later. That’s unacceptable.”

Later

Edwards: “It’s the responsibility of our legislators to legislate. They also have an obligation to uphold international human rights law. This isn’t imposed upon Ireland. This is something that Ireland signed up to. There was a discussion earlier on in the programme about upholding the law and Ireland is one of those countries that has pledged to uphold international human rights law and we’ll find out very soon whether our Government is going to honour that commitment it made and actually take steps to change our legal environment soon.”

Watch Prime Time back in full here

Meanwhile,

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On TV3’s Tonight With Vincent Browne last night…

During the newspaper review, the panel – Senator Lynn Ruane, Breda O’Brien, of the Iona Institute; Sinéad O’Carroll, of The Journal.ie and Ger Colleran,former editor of the Irish Daily Star – also discussed the UN’s criticism.

From the discussion…

Mick Clifford: “Breda, ‘Cabinet to defy UN on abortion reforms’ [the main headline on today’s Irish Examiner]. This is not going to go away and some people would say all roads to a referendum one way or the other.”

Breda O’Brien: “Well I’m absolutely delighted if that’s an accurate headline in the Irish Examiner because this committee is part of a huge push that there is to kind of, in a sense, the UN treaty say ‘do not give any right to abortion’ but these committees have been pushing this agenda for years. And they’re stuffed with people who share a point of view which is that the baby in the womb does not have equal rights with the mother. And of course they’re going to find that something is cruel and inhumane and degrading, but I had the privilege of accompanying a friend of mine when she had a baby with a life-limiting condition and..”

Clifford: “But there’s stories like that but there’s also the other side…”

Sinead O’Carroll:Fatal foetal abnormality is different to life-limiting…”

O’Brien:No, life-limiting condition is the term used by hospice, it’s the term used by…”

O’Carroll:Fatal foetal abnormality is the term used by doctors when they give diagnoses to women with fatal foetal abnormality…”

O’Brien: “But also, people, I think fatal foetal abnormality is one that people who have had babies with life-limiting conditions have asked to have it removed because it is so offensive. Your child is not a fatal foetal abnormality, no more than somebody with leukaemia is a cancer.”

Ger Colleran: “It’s the condition, not the child…”

O’Brien: “But that’s what, people have actually said in the media, they’ve said things like, ‘the fatal foetal abnormality’ as if that were, it’s a child who has a life-limiting condition…”

Clifford: “Breda, do you believe there’ll be a referendum?”

O’Brien: “I hope that there will be good sense and that people will see that this is a matter of equal rights and that they should leave it as it is.”

Lynne Ruane: “There will be.”

Clifford: “Ok, well, we’re going to have to leave it for that because that’s it now, we’ve run out of time..”

Watch back in full here

Previously: ‘The Ashes Were Unexpectedly Delivered To Her Three Weeks Later By Courier’

Tonight at 11pm.

On TV3’s Tonight With Vincent Browne.

There will be interview with former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, recorded at the recent International Literature Festival Dublin.

Via Daniel Murray

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From top: Michael Clifford, Colette Sexton and Gavan Reilly; Vincent Browne

Further to the statement Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan released last night – in which she stated:

“I want to make it clear that I do not – and have never, regarded Sergeant McCabe as malicious.”

Vincent Browne discussed the matter with his panel on TV3’s Tonight With Vincent Browne last night.

The panel included Irish Examiner journalist Michael Clifford, who last week reported that Ms O’Sullivan’s senior counsel Colm Smyth told Justice Kevin O’Higgins – during his Commission of Investigation into Sgt Maurice McCabe’s complaints – that McCabe told two officers he was acting out of malice.

The allegation was proven to be false after Sgt McCabe produced a recording of his conversation with the two Gardai – and the episode wasn’t included in the final report.

Mr Clifford reported:

The documents show that, at the commission, Mr O’Higgins asked the commissioner’s lawyer whether “you are attacking his [McCabe’s] motivation and attacking his character”.

The reply from Colm Smyth, SC, was: “Right the way through.”

He told the judge that he was acting on instructions.

This morning, Mr Clifford reported that after he received a draft of the O’Higgins report, he threatened to get an injunction against the publication of the report – because the episode wasn’t included.

Colette Sexton, of the Sunday Business Post and Gavan Reilly, of Today FM were also on the panel.

Grab a tay…

Gavan Reilly: “On the question of who was acting on whose instructions, by the way, Vincent, it’s worth bearing in mind that the senior counsel involved in this particular exchanged that formed Mick’s story on Friday. Not only were they hired and instructed by the Chief State Solicitor but they were the same legal team that represented not only Noirin O’Sullivan but the two former commissioners Fachtna Murphy and Martin Callinan and all the other members of the Gardai who were implicated by Maurice McCabe’s allegations the whole way down so…”

Talk over each other

Vincent Browne: “That makes it even more confused because it could have been somebody else that…”

Michael Clifford: “No, the counsel was specific on whose instructions he was representing.”

Browne: “On what basis are you saying, are you asserting this?”

Clifford: “I’m asserting… it was in the story on Friday. He was asked was it the Commissioner that wanted to follow this line and he said, he was operating on instructions.”

Browne: “I know but where do you get this from?”

Clifford: “It fell off the back of a lorry, I mean what do you expect me to say to that?”

Browne: “Have you two…have you, I assume that it fell, let’s assume it fell off the back of a lorry. But then did you, did you independently confirm that what fell off the back of the lorry was true?”

Clifford: “I am 100% secure and confident in the veracity of that story that was published.”

Browne: “All right, tell us about this story that you have in the Examiner tomorrow, the ‘McCabe threat to injunct inquiry report’. What’s that?”

Clifford: “This is, when the draft report, as I understand it, was released, Sgt McCabe was, as I understand it, very perturbed because he felt that it was entirely imbalanced and that one of his main issues with that was the fact that this matter was not included, at all, in the draft report. As a result of that he was minded to take a legal action, to injunct the report. We saw something similar in the Moriarty draft report, where there was a similar scenario. Now, ultimately, they didn’t do that because the costs would have been so prohibitive. But I think it just demonstrates how perturbed he was that this matter in particular, I think there may have been a few others but this was one of the main reasons…”

Browne: “Which matter are you talking about?”

Clifford: “The matter about the….”

Browne: “The malice issue, yeah.”

Clifford: “The attempt to impugn his character that this hadn’t been included in the report and I have to say, just looking at it, there’s a question there for Kevin O’Higgins. Let’s for example assume that he had, Sgt McCabe didn’t have a tape recording of that and that officers came in and said he had expressed malice, would that have been in the final report? Would it have…we’d have had a very different report, remember, completely. You’d have had a report that suggested that McCabe had brought forward these allegations on the basis of malice and therefore they had to be treated on that basis and seen in that light. That’s the kind of report you’d have had if hadn’t protected himself with a tape recording. And would have that have been included? And if so, why was it not included as it emerged here.”

Reilly: “It does raise the other question though as to whether the inquiry would have been allowed to include that, if, as you mentioned, that if it was included on the basis of arguments by lawyers and not by evidence from witnesses. That if this was something that was brought to the tribunal only by lawyers chatting among themselves really..”

Clifford: “Oh yeah but surely…”

Talk over each other

Clifford: “There’s an indication that there’s going to be evidence to that effect, and then the tape recording was produced, surely it was still incumbent to hear the evidence to see what was going to be said…”

Browne: “OK, we gotta take a break but I think, just before we go to a break, it’s fair to say that yes, questions arise, further questions arise that the Garda Commissioner has got to address but I think it’s fair to say that, given her record and given her stature and known integrity, that it’s very unlikely that she is telling a lie about a matter as central as this to the whole O’Higgins’ report.”

Watch back in full here

Previously: ‘I Have Never Regarded Sgt McCabe As Malicious’

Nóirín’s Disgust

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Last night Independent 4 Change TD Clare Daly, Dr John Lannon, of Shannonwatch, and Karen Devine, of the School of Law and Government at Dublin City University, spoke on Tonight with Vincent Browne.

They discussed the Turkey-EU refugee deal, the use of Shannon Airport by the US military, and the wars in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan – the countries from which most of the refugees travelled to Europe last year.

Mr Browne read out sections from an email written by Hilary Clinton and published by Wikileaks – prompting Wikileaks to tweet the email during the show, above.

From the discussion:

Clare Daly: “[EU-Turkey deal] It’s effectively an agreement to facilitate mass expulsions of people. I mean we’ve had the very unusual situation whereby, internationally now, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International – all of the organisations that deal with refugees have all come out, all of the NGOs, and been absolutely definitive that this is a breach in international law. We’re denying people their right to seek asylum because what’s being done is they’re basically being forced – Turkey will force them back, Turkey in return are being facilitated with financial inducements, with a greater access to EU membership and so on, when there’s very serious questions to be asked about the regime in Turkey.”

Vincent Browne: “They’re navigating because there’s too many muslims in Turkey and EU doesn’t want muslims and the former Pope Ratzinger, that fellah, he gave, remember his speech he gave about the threat of muslims to Europe.”

Daly: “There are two points, there are 2.7million refugees in Turkey, in appalling conditions, some held in detention centres, there’s been examples of Turkish guards, beating people back, imprisoning people, shooting people on a regular basis and the conditions are not in compliance with the safe passages and right to asylum that people have under international law and one of the points being made, by the NGOs, is the fact that Greece doesn’t have the staff available to process in a lawful manner the asylum application of individuals. So, essentially, what’s being done, has been to undermine the European context the international right to asylum for refugees and, as you said, they’re doing that against the backdrop that the EU itself has been responsible for facilitating the very circumstances that made these people refugees by the military intervention in their countries.”

Later

Karen Devine: “[In] academic literature, they talk about something called Fortress Europe and Fortress Europe is a name given to an idea that the EU wants to close its borders effectively to economic migrants or asylum seekers. The asylum seekers are very different from economic migrants. They’re not looking for a better job, a better quality of life, they’re looking to survive, they’re fleeing a war situation. And I suppose one of the problems here, when you look at the EU, how it functions, they can afford a budget of €50million a year for the CAP, they can come up with policies in environment, in transport, a lot of areas where it costs money. What they need to do is to pay serious attention and to adequately resource what has been happening over the last 3/5 years in the Middle East and they always knew that this problem was going to occur but they have not put in any policies to deal with it.”

Later – after a clip of acting Taoiseach Enda Kenny speaking in the Dáil about the EU-Turkey deal

Browne:The fact of the matter is that there’s a cap of about 72,000 on refugees coming in to Europe from now on and this compares to the million who went to Germany alone in 2015. So this is a massive change in Europe’s willingness to accommodate refugees from war that Europe had a significant part in fermenting and, of course, Ireland did to. And John you’re familiar with Ireland’s role in that because of the use of Shannon and facilitating American aircraft, military aircraft, going through there.”

John Lannon: “Absolutely, I mean it’s interesting there, first of all, to hear the language that Enda Kenny is using. He’s talking about irregular migrants, he’s talking about people smugglers, he’s talking about managing the flow. I mean what he doesn’t mention is that what in effect we’ve got millions of ordinary men, women and children that are fleeing from war with absolutely nothing because they don’t have time to take anything, bombs are being rained down upon them and, as you say, we’ve been part of that. You mentioned Ireland’s contribution.
Well Ireland’s contribution has, as you say, to give Shannon Airport over to the US military so that they could invade and they could occupy the countries from which the refugees are now coming. I’m talking about Iraq, Afghanistan, we’ve had Libya, now we have Syria. We’ve also got bombs raining down on Yemen now, killing hundreds of people, we don’t heard about that in the news. So, over the last 15 years, almost 3 million armed US soldiers have come through Shannon Airport. We claim to be a neutral country, we claim to respect conventions like the Hague Convention 1907, which says belligerants are not allowed to cross neutral territories on their way to war but we’re opening up our airport, a civilian airport, to them. We’ve got hundreds of military planes landing and taking off from the airport, we don’t know what’s in those planes. We’ve got, as I said, millions of armed soldiers coming through, we’ve got rendition planes, we’ve had coming through for years as well. We’ve got no oversight whatsoever of any of this.”

Browne: “And this is quite a change from the way it used to be. People say this was going on for years – no it wasn’t.”

Lannon: “It wasn’t, no.”

Browne: “We wouldn’t allow even overflights of military aircraft over Ireland. And there was an interesting case. This was quite some time ago where a helicopter, a British Army helicopter that was used to help reduce people who got into difficulties of the Donegal coast sought permission to land on a abandoned rock off Donegal, but within Irish territorial waters, and the Government of the day refused to allow the helicopter to land there because of our neutrality, remember that?”

Later

Daly: “Now we have a situation where aircraft are landing at Shannon almost twice daily. Some of the information sought and received by Shannonwatch last year, under Freedom of Information, shows the amount of permits sought for munitions to be transported, including materials that could go to form cluster bombs which we believe are being used in Yemen, US air refuellers which, we know, are refuelling the Saudis who, only a week ago, massacred over 100 people yet again. Did they come through or use Shannon, we don’t know because we allow them carte blanche to do whatever they want.”

Browne: “People might wonder what this has got to do with Syria. I came across a Wikileaks email written by Hilary Clinton in 2002 when she was Secretary of State in America. We can’t show you this properly, we can show you some of it on the screen but you won’t be able to read it I think.
But, what she’s saying is what Israel military really worries about, but cannot talk about, is losing its nuclear monopoly and it’s saying, she goes on to say, ‘It is the strategic relationship between Iran and the regime of Bashar Al Assad, in Syria, that makes it possible for Iran to undermine Israeli security’ and she goes on to say that, ‘it is the combination of Iran’s strategic alliance with Syria and the steady progress in Iran’s nuclear enrichment program that has led Israeli leaders to contemplate a surprise attack’ and then she says, ‘In short, the White House can ease the tension that has developed with Israel over Iran by doing the right thing in Syria’ which was to ferment or to assist in the war that dissident groups in Syria were waging against the Assad regime. And the American forces did not directly intervene there but they gave all military help and assistance, everything possible, to keep the war going. And no doubt, a lot of that military assistance came through Shannon.”

Watch back in full here

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Donie O’Sullivan, of Storyful, writes:

“Today, Storyful, in partnership with the Open State Foundation, is delighted to announce Politwoops for the Irish elections. Politwoops records, stores, and publishes tweets deleted by candidates. The tool has been used effectively in the United States and countries across the world to increase transparency and accountability. We hope it will serve the same purpose in Ireland.”

Check out Politwoops here.

Thanks Donie

Meanwhile…

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Hmmm.

Anyone?

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Just answer the question.

*sigh*

The Ray D’Arcy Show on RTÉ One at 10.05pm

Rayna Connery writes:

 Journalist and broadcaster Vincent Browne (above) will join Ray in studio for an in-depth interview about his life and career to date. SModel and television personality Caprice will tell Ray all about her extraordinary story of motherhood and surrogacy.tar of The Republic of Telly and The Fear, comedian Fred Cooke, will share his experiences about learning to drive at the ripe old age of 35, as part of his new documentary Operation Transportation. Oscar-nominated Irish director Jim Sheridan will spill the beans on his upcoming projects and his role with the Dublin Arabic Film Festival. Music will be provided by London-based Wexford native Maverick Sabre….

Fight!

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Blogger Jamie Bryson at Northern Ireland Finance Committee last week

Loyalist blogger Jamie Bryson, who has claimed Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson [and four businessmen] were set to receive a ‘success’ fee following the sale of Nama’s NI portfolio on the telly tonight.

*Popcorn*

Previously: The Eagle Has Landed