The War At Home

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US-Air-Force-Plane-refueling-at-Shannon-AirportimageJulien-Mercille-hi-res-233x300

From top: US Army plane refueling at Shannon in July; Mick Wallace and Clare Daly; Dr Julien Mercille

Since 2002, 2.5 million US troops have transited through Shannon. But highlight the government’s complicity in the “war on terror” and you could find find yourself jailed..

Dr Julien Mercille writes:

We can plausibly imagine the following question on the exam Gardaí pass to join the police forces:

“Question: One Minister authorises the passage of 450,000 US military troops through Shannon airport on their way to criminal wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. On the other hand, two TDs try to close Shannon airport to the US military to prevent Irish State complicity in war crimes. Who should you arrest?”

“Correct answer: the two TDs.”

This is what happened last week. Our police forces arrested TDs Clare Daly and Mick Wallace and drove them separately all the way from Dublin to Limerick prison. The two politicians remained there only a couple of hours and were then driven back to Dublin the same day.

They were arrested for refusing to pay a €2,000 fine for attempting to inspect US military aircraft at Shannon airport. They were attempting to highlight the issue of Irish government complicity in the “war on terror”.

Since 2002, about 2.5 million US troops have transited through Shannon. Military and civilian aircraft have carried soldiers, weapons and “rendition” suspects flown from one country to another where they have been interrogated and tortured.

It’s all part of operations related to the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere in the Middle East. It is summarised in a new booklet produced by the group Shannonwatch.

shannonwatch

The wars are criminal. A recent report estimates that between 1 million and 2 million people have been killed in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan during the “war on terror”.

The website of An Garda Síochána says that it works “to achieve a reduction in crime”. One would therefore think that our police forces would act to prevent Irish government participation in crimes committed in the Middle East. But it is instead those that try to prevent such crimes who are being arrested.

On the politicians’ side, Minister for Health Leo Varadkar lambasted Daly and Wallace, saying that it was “unacceptable” for a TD to break the law.

One might think that Varadkar would be focused on Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and Labour TDs who have allowed the Irish State to participate in crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan. But no, it’s only about Wallace and Daly.

Varadkar has more responsibility than regular TDs in this regard because he was Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport in 2011-2014.

What does this have to do with Shannon? A lot. It is this Minister who is in charge of approving civilian aircraft carrying weapons into Irish airspace. Because most US troops fly into Shannon onboard civilian aircraft, this means that Varadkar is responsible for having approved most US troops that transited through Shannon under his tenure, a total of about 450,000.

Also, now, as Minister for Health, one would think that he would be concerned about, well, health. But the deaths of Iraqis and Afghans, children included, seemingly don’t count for much.

Meanwhile, as usual, Joan Burton complained about protests, in particular, that Wallace and Daly had cost the State a lot of money which could be better reinvested elsewhere. It never occurred to her that if her own government stopped military flights through Shannon the money would be saved instantaneously.

It is often said that politicians just do and say whatever people want to hear to get elected. But that’s not true.

The Peace and Neutrality Alliance commissioned an opinion poll to find out whether the Irish population supports the use of Shannon airport by the US military: 58% are opposed and only 19% in favour (23% don’t know).

This shows that politicians do not always seek to get votes by doing what the electorate wants. Politicians answer to power interests, in this case, that of maintaining close links with the United States military and government.

It is therefore important to fight off protestors and prevent opposition movements from reaching large proportions. This was actually confirmed by US General John W. Handy in 2007. He said that the Irish government told him that the reason it did not want to stop the flights was that this “would send out a signal that the protestors had won and the Irish State did not want that”.

So the government needs to show it will be tough with protestors. Hence the decision to send Daly and Wallace to jail, for symbolic reasons.

But the government still has to manage this rationally. My guess is that if it had sent the two TDs to jail for a month over Christmas, they could have become symbols around which more protests could have emerged. So it sent them for two hours only, to make a point, at a cost of €8,000 to the taxpayer.

Julien Mercille is a lecturer at University College Dublin. He is the author of Cruel Harvest: US Intervention in the Afghan Drug Trade. Follow Julien on Twitter: @JulienMercille

106 thoughts on “The War At Home

    1. Sam

      “we” ?

      Actually Shannonwatch has protested that.

      The US were happy to let the Russkies use Shannon, and arranged to install cameras to photograph the transiting Russian personnel.

  1. AlisonT

    Amazing that the supposedly educated Dr Julien Mercille claims the Afghanistan war is illegal. If I recall correctly the Afghan government allowed its forces to kill thousands of civilians in New York thus starting the Afghan war.

      1. AlisonT

        Yes, They were protected by, housed, partially funded by, fed, trained and defended by the Afghan Taliban government. Some people have short memories, the Taliban were not exactly a nice group of people in 2001.

        1. Sam

          Nobody said they were, but the Taliban didn’t attack New York.
          Neither did most of the people killed by the US bombing campaign.
          If your memory is long enough, you might recall that none of the people killed by the US bombing campaign in Afghanistan was Osama bin Laden.

        2. Lorcan Nagle

          “Yes, They were protected by, housed, partially funded by, fed, trained and defended by the Afghan Taliban government. Some people have short memories, the Taliban were not exactly a nice group of people in 2001.”

          None of which makes Al Queada Afghanistan, or even the Taliban’s standing army. And none of it means Afghanistan declared war on the US as a result of the World Trade Centre attack.

    1. Rob_G

      I think the good doctor is getting mixed up between Iraq and Afghanistan; the war in Afghanistan had UN approval.

      (also, any coalition forces in Iraq since 2005 would have been there on the invitation of the Iraqi govt, but I get what he is getting at)

      1. ahjayzis

        (also, any coalition forces in Iraq since 2005 would have been there on the invitation of the Iraqi govt, but I get what he is getting at)

        That’s very tenuous. Weren’t German troops in Poland there legitimately at the invitation of the Polish government they set up and operated?

        1. Rob_G

          True.

          But the analogy with Germany/Poland will only go so far, as I think each subsequent (elected) govt in Iraq has extended the same invitation.

          1. han solo's carbonite dream

            you mean Paul Bremer the effective Oliver Cromwell of Iraq?
            Bremer only gave limited powers to Iraqi government in 2004.

            nonetheless the CIA had to approve all PM’s in Irq due to teh fear of Iran’s influence. You can hardly say it’s a legit government. the poland / germany comparison is apt.

      1. classter

        The Taliban allowed Osama to operate from Afghanistan for years.

        Arguably, if the US had stopped at Afghanistan & not continued with the unconnected side-project of blowing up Iraq, they might have:
        1) been more successful
        2) have a lot more support from many more parts of the world.

          1. f_lawless

            ..em except for the part where, prior to the US invasion, the Taliban offered to hand over Bin Laden to the US if they would provide them with evidence of his culpability for the 9/11 attacks. The US refused to do so.
            @Classter phrasing the invasion of Iraq as a “side-project” betrays a complete ignorance of the US’s geopolitical aspirations/strategy in the region.

          2. han solo's carbonite dream

            f_lawless
            while I agree with your point , I don’t think the Taliban were serious.

            that said I am 100% the empire of the US or the hegemony they have.

          3. classter

            @f_lawless, stop fighting a strawman to try prove how intellectually tough you are.

            It was a ‘side-project’ in that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11 and the US (and certain parts of the US establishment in particular) had separate reasons for attacking Iraq.

          4. f_lawless

            not attempting a strawman argument, just pointing out that “side-project” is the wrong choice of words when describing the 2003 invasion of Iraq. A side-project is subsidiary to a main-project – if anything, the invasion of Afghanistan was a side-project to the main focus of taking out Saddam who had stopped trading in petrodollars by late 2000.
            Of course we now know that Saddam had nothing to do with 9/11. But in the lead up to the invasion of Iraq, there was a concerted effort by the Bush administration via US corporate media to falsely link him to Al Qaeda and even imply he was directly connected to the 9/11 attacks. By the time of the invasion, 70% of Americans actually believed Saddam was personally connected to 9/11.
            So in that sense, 9/11 had a lot to do with the invasion of Iraq and gaining public backing for it.
            http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/washington/2003-09-06-poll-iraq_x.htm

          5. cluster

            @f_lawless
            ‘cept that ‘side-project’ was clearly used tongue in cheek, as I explained.

            You are so keen to self-righteously assert your position, you are arguing against people who have essentially the same view.

          6. f_lawless

            @classter/ @cluster ..is it the same person I’m talking to here? why do you need more than one account for commenting?
            Anyway fair enough, you say we both essentially have the same view on the invasion of Iraq and apologies if I came across as self-righteous but what I would say is that when you assert that “side-project was clearly used tongue in cheek” you’re coming across as guilty of the very thing you accuse me of! I don’t think it was particularly clear at all.

    2. Sam

      No, you don’t recall correctly.
      The Taliban didn’t carry out 9/11 they did offer to hand bin Laden over to the Saudis but not to the yanks, and offer that the Americans refused in favour of bombing the crap out of Afghanistan. The Taliban repeated the offer and asked for talks even after the bombing had commenced. The US flatly rejected the offer.
      This was reported at the time – The Times of India, The Guardian etc.. but not whatever paper you get your news from, apparently.

      So, instead of taking up the offer to hand over the chief suspect, the US spent billions bombing the crap out of a poor country.
      The amount that the US spent bombing per day in October 2001, would have more than covered the cost to subsidise Afghan farmers to grow anything else rather than going back to opium production. . Prior to 2001, the ruling fanatics had wiped out opium production – which had been the source for the raw material for 75% of the world’s heroin supply. Afghanistan again became the main source of opium worldwide, which funds more terror and the heroin alone kills more people than the terrorists groups.

      1. rotide

        They offered to hand OBL to Saudi? Well that’s useful.

        Maybe we should have offered to hand Wallace over to PBP/AAA instead of having him pay the fine that the court imposed.

        1. Sam

          1. The Saudis are US allies, allegedly.
          2. There were discussions with the Pakistanis who told the Americans that the Taliban might hand bin Laden over to a different country. and this is without the Americans providing evidence for the extradition.

          Was it worth killing all those people in Afghanistan rather than exploring that option?
          The Northern Alliance returned to power, opium production returned to previous levels and none of the bombs hit bin Laden.

          1. Lindyloola

            The Saudi princes talk out of both sides of their mouths. On the one hand they have allowed the US military presence on their soil to protect them against domestic terror threats from their own Whabiist Ulema but at the same time they allow funding of the fundamentalists to take the heat off themselves. This radiates out into the world as terror campaigns against those who protect the princes and their allies. The U.S. knows this and are just managing it as seen in the Hilary Clinton Wikileaks.

          2. Lindyloola

            I only use my loola when I’m visiting with royalty or the Aras
            …As Rotide says, handing Bin Laden to the Saudis would have left them and the U.S. exposed. It would have all come tumbling down like a house of Saud’s.
            Whodathunk the Taliban were capable of sarcasm, when not shooting schoolgirls in the head?

          3. cluster

            You can argue about whether the US could have more effectively achieved their stated goals without attacking Afghanistan.

            You can argue whether about the position under international law of attacking Afghanistan.

            But the Taliban had harboured Osama for years before 9/11 – well after he had accepted responsibility for the bombings of US embassies, numerous hotels, etc. Offering to maybe hand him over to a third party after he had planned the 9/11 attacks was never going to be enough.

          4. rory

            Hi lindyloola,
            I was wondering, why would the US be exposed if The Taliban had handed Osama over to the Saudis?
            Sorry to bother you with what I presume to be an obvious question, but my brain appears to be malfunctioning, and you seem to be well informed.

        1. Sam

          I see a trail of straw there…

          Nobody said Taliban run Afghanistan was a good place to live.
          What was being discussed was that the Americans spurned a chance to extradite bin Laden to a third country, in favour of bombing the country, killing thousands of innocent people and supporting Northern Alliance warlords who were just as awful as the Taliban (who were US and Saudi funded mujahadeen in the 80’s).
          People killed by bombs, dying of cold, and displaced due to war, and heroin flowing freely and cheaply again due the return of mass cultivation of opium.

          Is that your idea of improvement? Did the people of Afghanistan deserve that after enduring Soviet occupation and the Taliban?

          Care to address that, or do you have another cop out false dichotomy to go to?

      2. Lindyloola

        Apologies Rory, I did try to answer twice but I’m new and made a boo boo. So in brief, and with the caveat that I’m not knowledgeable just very, very interested; if the Taliban had handed Bin Laden back to the Saudis for trial they would be like Pontius Pilate trying jesus; a fustercluck. The U.S. would need a conviction for its electorate, but the Saudi people would not tolerate it, which put them in direct conflict, and would have been the proverbial straw that leads to open revolt against the house of Saud.
        The U.S. would lose its military bases, control over oil prices and the $ hegemony which is based on this control. For all the talk of self sufficiency and fracking, it is control over the markets, including Europe and ensuring that it stays in dollars that has always been the U.S. Policy. Now there is an eastern trading block ( non dollar) , a Russian-Eastern trading block and currently we ( Europe) have U.S. imposed sanctions on trade with Russia and we can’t trade with the Middle east any more because if it’s not already bombed to crap it soon may be. . . The U.S. cannot afford to let Saudi Arabia or the region go east, or to trade directly with the North. It’s policy.

          1. Lindyloola

            Aw thanks! The grammar was better the first and second time, but you got what I’m trying to say. But all that aside, Wallace & Daly are correct; Ireland has nothing tangible to gain and a lot to lose, including our independence and our integrity by falling in with these disgusting genocides perpetrated so that U.S. citizens can keep consuming exponentially and not turn their guns on each other.
            If there is some covert strategic gain for Ireland, our ‘great’ leaders might as well spit it out and we *may just shut up. If it is just ‘ISIS is coming TM” , you will find me hiding behind Gerry Adams. He’s the only one qualified to deal with murderous B’stards.
            Enda will have run up a tree, or Angela’s skirt.

    1. Rob_G

      Wallace sent Wallace to prison to polish up his anti-establishment credentials and to help his reelection bid.

      /thread.

  2. Keith

    Why do other militaries use Shannon when they have an ally with many airports just a few hundred km further on? Does the extra distance make such a difference?

    1. Sam

      1. Saving on a few hundred kilos of fuel . Crossing the Atlantic is usually the longest single leg of the journey.
      One of the more common routes is US – Shannon – Sigonella (US Naval Air Station in Sicily) and on to the Middle East. Other routes go via Germany. By landing in Shannon rather than in an RAF base the US can use less fuel and carry more cargo / troops.

      2. PR – it looks good to have the photos of the troops in good old Ireland. It increases the number of countries ‘supporting’ the US wars.

      3. Basic pi$$ing out on territory.

      It’s worth pointing out that although Shannon is attractive in terms of shorter air miles, if you look at where these military flights land on the way to theatres of war, you will find a long list of military airfields RAF bases in the UK, military bases in Germany, Romania, Italy and in Ireland a quiet civilian airport with totally unsuitable infrastructure and security.

      1. scottser

        and sure doesn’t dinny make a few shillings on the fuel, as well. just to tie things up nicely, like.

  3. classter

    This is a ridiculous premise.

    You really think the Guards should decide when the decisions of democratically-elected govt (and followed by a few consecutive govts) constitute a war crime/

    You don’t see how that might set an unfortunate precedent?

    1. ivan

      Well precisely. I’m a great big dirty pinko anti-war liberal and even i can see that a sentence such as “One would therefore think that our police forces would act to prevent Irish government participation in crimes committed in the Middle East. ” is as big a load of hooey as your average RTE sitcom…I’m not advocating the gardai cracking skulls of protesters, but making judgement calls on international warfare? FFS, please…

      1. Sam

        In some cases, no judgement call is needed.
        http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/eli/2000/act/11/enacted/en/html

        The Criminal Justice (United Nations Convention Against Torture) Act, 2000 provides that anyone suspected of committing torture whether within or outside the State, shall be guilty of the offence of torture.
        The torture victim doesn’t need to be present in the state, just the suspected torturer.
        The Gardaí have been repeatedly informed of the registration numbers of certain aircraft involved in snatching innocent people, taking them to places of torture, committing such acts of torture.
        In some cases the Gardaí were alerted about the planes hours in advance of the planes landing in Shannon, and yet chose not to question the crew nor search the plane.

        There certainly was a judgement call made there, and it was a political one – to ignore the basic committments of the Garda Siochana to uphold the law and protect human rights.

    2. Sam

      You think we should let the politicians decide what is a war crime? You think they will indict themselves? Do you think the government should be above the law? Do you get how the legal system is supposed to work (in theory)?
      The Gardaí don’t decide what is legal or not legal. The laws are on the books.
      If they suspect someone of committing a crime, they can arrest them and the courts decide. That’s the whole ‘separation’ of powers that we’re supposed to have here.
      There’s another interesting little law about torture – that anyone suspected of committing torture, or aiding and abetting it, regardless of where it takes place shall be arrested. That’s in the Criminal Justice (UN Convention Against Torture Act) 2000, passed by the Dáil, and then ignored by the Dáil and the Gardaí who refused to inspect or question the crews of aircraft known to be involved in kidnapping innocent people and subjecting them to torture.
      A senior Garda did admit that they were acting on instructions from the Attorney General not to inspect the planes. That type of interference in operational matters is illegal and anti-democratic.

  4. Rob_G

    Mercille: vehemently opposes the ‘illegal’ wars of US & UK.

    His feelings towards the illegal wars of the IRA are not quite so clear cut, however.

    1. Neilo

      Ahm, but that’s, like, a revolutionary struggle against, y’know, the Protestant hegemony? Plus, against tout widows and stupid, sexy kids that were, like, begging for it? And a struggle against Big Oil? Which is why diesel laundering is morally justified?

        1. Neilo

          No thanks, I prefer real newspapers to OBrienCorp’s output.. It’s possible to both despise the Provos and not be a ‘Blueshirt’ partisan.

    1. Sam

      Funnily enough that’s what a Garda said to me… “the Taoiseach can do what they like” – that was the excuse of an adult member of society, who had qualified to be a Garda – and didn’t want to take a complaint from a member of the public.

      Do you agree with him that the law doesn’t apply to the government TDs? Should it only apply to the opposition TDs?

      Or should it apply to everyone?

  5. Happy Molloy

    Julien is saying that the Government decided to send Wallace and yer wan to jail. That’s not even an implication of the corruption of the separation of powers, it’s stating that it doesn’t exist.

    It’s quite a bold claim to make, a serious allegation and, if true, is something we should be very concerned about.

    Of course the fact that they both broke the law and were fined, moderately, then were obviously in contempt of court for refusing to pay the said fines would illustrate this as being an example of the justice system just working as it is supposed to. Irrespective of their motive.

    1. Sam

      He may be alluding to what Gene Kerrigan pointed out – that there are actually a huge number of unpaid fines on the courts system, and most of these people are not lifted for contempt of court, and the odds that Wallace and Daly were selected randomly, rather than for political / PR purposes are rather low.

      1. classter

        So your logic is that Wallace & Daly should not have to face any consequences for not paying a fine until every single other fine in the system – some of which presumably relate to people who now live abroad, some probably dead or at a different address or genuinely not able to pay?

        And that anything other than this is ‘political policing’?

        It is high time that the ‘left’ in Ireland grew up, stopped whinging & started providing a genuinely thought-through alternative to the status quo.

        Should I pin all my hopes on the SocDems?

      2. FreshFish

        So what? Public representatives can not be seen to be above the law. Wallace is a complete gobspoo though I do have some respect for Clare

  6. Rob_G

    Mercille’s dystopian Ireland:

    1. Politicians should only follow the laws that suit them
    2. Police should only enforce the laws that they agree with personally
    3. ?????
    4. Profit

    1. Sam

      How about the cops enforce the existing laws?
      Have you any idea how many things they turn a blind eye to?
      He’s pointing out the hypocrisy, you ignore it, and accuse him of hypocrisy instead. Well done.

      Now, how about you tell us all what’s wrong with holding the government to the same standard as the rest of us?

      If I grab you off the street and bundle you into a Hiace van and take you away to be tortured because you have a similiar name to a guy I don’t like…. do you think that if someone knew the colour,make and reg of the van, that the cops would stop it when they see it, and search it and question the driver?

      Isn’t that in keeping with the law?

      So why would it be different if I used a civilian registered jet to do the same thing?

      The cops refused to search it despite frequent requests, and then, by arrangement had it search on the one occassion it was chartered out to visiting businessmen on a golf trip. Never when it’s submitted flight plan was towards the middle east.

      You might tell men like Murat Kurnaz, or Maher Arar, or Khaled el Masri (not Khalid al Masri , an actual wanted man) . They were innocent men snatched from their daily lives, taken away and tortured, and kept in black sites for a long time (5 years for Kurnaz) even after it was clear that there was no evidence that they were connected to terrorism.
      In the case of el Masri, he was detained for months in Baghdad, and Afghanistan for months before the CIA eventually decided the wasn’t al Masri, and then dumped him by the side of the road in rural Albania.

      Should nobody be held account for this?
      Should the Gardaí continue to look the other way when the planes involved in these kidnap and torture missions stop and refuel in Shannon?

      1. rotide

        The other day Jimmy Walsh (8) ruthlessly tackled Billy Jackson (7 3/4) without regard to the laws of football.

        Do you think the guards should get involved?

        1. Sam

          There’s a very big difference between minors committing harsh tackles in a game, and adults deliberately snatching innocent people, taking them away to a pit and subjecting them to torture, and containing them without charge long after you have realised that they are not the person you were looking for.

          I’ve listed where you can find the law under which the Gardaí are obliged to arrest suspected torturers.

          There is a certain amount of judgement involved in assessing whether a tackle is reckless, or assault.

          Taking a person away to be tortured – there isn’t a grey area in our laws about that.
          The CRIMINAL JUSTICE (UNITED NATIONS CONVENTION AGAINST TORTURE) ACT, 2000 is quite unequivocal.

          Have a read for yourself.
          http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/eli/2000/act/11/enacted/en/print#sec1

          If you can show me where the law obliges them to arrest 8 year olds for rough tackles, then I might give you an answer to your question.

          1. rotide

            You appear to have completely missed the point sam. While your arguments against shannons use as a stopover might have some merit, it’s not the guards place to arrest Enda Kenny for allowing this any more than than its their place to arrest a 7 year old for breaking a rule in junior football.

            They were carrying out court orders.

          2. Sam

            You appear to have completely missed the point sam. While your arguments against shannons use as a stopover might have some merit,
            it’s not the guards place to arrest Enda Kenny for allowing this any more than than its their place to arrest a 7 year old for breaking a rule in junior football.
            They were carrying out court orders.

            How is it not the Garda’s job to arrest Bertie, Cowen and Kenny and others for allowing this?
            The Law is clear.
            Anybody who commits torture is guilty of an offence.
            Anbody who conspires to do it is guilty of an offence.
            Anybody who does an act with the intent to obstruct or impede the arrest or prosecution of another person, including a person who is a public official, in relation to the offence of torture, is guilty of an offence.

            So, the people giving instructions not to search the planes are doing so with the intent to impede the arrest and prosecution of another person in relation to the offence of torture, and therefore are guilty of an offence.

            That would appear, according to a statement made by a certain Garda Inspector, to also include the attorney general.

            Obviously it is corruption preventing the Gardai doing their duty. The law is actually quite clear on what should be done in this case.

            Maybe you should read that law rather than making trivial comparisons to kids football games.

    1. Sam

      Take your head out of the there, then you won’t be squirming so much when you try to use the computer. It should relieve the pain.

        1. Sam

          I’m not a doctor but you should definitely get that looked at. It could be more serious than just conjunctivitis.

  7. Tish Mahorey

    The rush of Young Fine Gaelers in here on Monday mornings is entertaining. Do they know how obvious they are?

  8. Truth in the News

    Can Irish territory be used by foreign powers to prosceute a war, if not, an order
    of mandamus needs to sought from the Courts compelling who ever gives
    permission to be stopped and if they don’t comply to be jailed, what exactly is
    the benfit to Ireland in allowing this type of agression.
    Would we be allowed to voilate another nations territory or allow ISIS to fly in and refuel and head for America.

    1. Sam

      You should read “Horgan v Ireland”. (Ed Horgan, former Irish Army Commandant took the State to Court on this very question).
      The judge admitted that the State was acting in violation of Irish neutrality, but washed his hands of doing anything about it.

      1. AlisonT

        That is perhaps because Irish Neutrality is a government policy and is not enshrined in Law or the constitution, therefore nothing for a judge to do but observe it.

        1. Sam

          Actually, the constitution says that the State shall not participate in war without the assent of Dáil Éireann.
          The Dáil did not consent to participate in a war, and yet the goverment allowed the US military to use Irish airports and Irish airspace for war.
          So there is more than just a policy issue here. There are legal limits on what the government is allowed to do.

          1. classter

            Waging war & allowing passage to others who are waging war is not the same thing.

            Does the constitution spell out where the line is here?

            How about returning POWs of pilots pciked up in Irish territorial waters?

            Did Ireland wage war upon Nazi Germany by your definition?

        2. Lindyloola

          Alison T , Ireland’s neutrality is recognised by the European Commission and is legally binding, as seen here at 3.1.3 in the Lisbon treaty exemptions for Ireland: http://www.voltairenet.org/IMG/pdf/Treaty_of_Lisbon_after_the_Second_Irish_Referendum.pdf

          UK MP’s have to be well informed as to our military status and of course in the main they believe the EU mechanism is cumbersome and unfit for purpose. Better informed than some of our TD’s and our Minister for Defence it would seem. . .
          Deputies Daly and Wallace have acted lawfully. Sucessive right wing governments have acted unlawfully.

          1. classter

            Not exactly true, Lindyloola, it recognises that we traditionally have had a policy of neutrality & it accepts that we cannot be forced into a European military force without a referendum.

            That is not the same as saying that we are constitutionally neutral.

          2. Lindyloola

            Rendition Flight N85VM ; whose probable human cargo endured amongst other things waterboarding and so called ‘rectal feeding’.
            Whatever he may or may not have done, this qualifies as torture. That does not fall under the definition of ‘traditionally neutral’.

  9. Chris

    Small request, can you start to vary the mugshots of Mercille. Using the same one again and again gives the impression he’s saying it all with that same smirky face. You could have a sad Mercille, a serious Mercille, a stern Mercille, a happy Mercille and so on, then vary them where appropriate. I know the ladies at least would like some more shots of him.

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