Tag Archives: Shannon Airport

 

This morning.

Flight operations at Shannon Airport have been temporarily suspended after a plane had to be evacuated this morning.

Air traffic controllers noticed a fire and smoke coming from the aircraft’s landing gear as it taxied along the runway.

Omni Air International is a civilian airline that transports personnel for the US military.

It is understood that the Omni Air International Boeing 767-300 was about to depart when the incident occurred.

Flights disrupted after plane evacuated at Shannon (RTÉ)

He is back among us.

A welcome return to Mildly Indifferent Island.

Love Island’s Greg O’Shea Feels The Love On His Return To Ireland (RTÉ)

Greg O’Shea?

Previously: Everybody Loves Greg

Tarak Kauff and Ken Mayers

While I was happy to see your prominent coverage about my husband Tarak Kauff and Ken Mayers getting arrested at Shannon Airport, I was disappointed that there was barely a reference to why these two members of Veterans For Peace risked arrest and spent nearly two weeks in jail without bail.

There is no mention of the fact that the US uses Shannon Airport to refuel military flights, in direct violation of Irish neutrality, and that a US military-contracted aircraft was, in fact, on the tarmac the morning they were arrested, which was confirmed by the arresting officer at their arraignment.

Since 2001, Shannon has been a pitstop for flights of US soldiers, weapons, and munitions to its illegal wars in the Middle East and for rendition flights carrying prisoners to US torture sites.

Millions of troops have flown through “neutral” Ireland on their way to the US-created and supported murder and mayhem in Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia and other places.

The Irish Government is thus complicit in the war crimes and atrocities committed by the US military.

Authorities have turned a blind eye to the situation, and Ken and Tarak were trying to get local police to enforce Ireland’s neutrality and inspect the aircraft.

Tarak and Ken were treated well in prison and made friends among the guards and other prisoners, many of whom supported their action and encouraged them to “keep protesting”, and I hope they can also be given a fair hearing in Ireland’s leading newspaper as to the important motivations for the actions that landed them in jail.

Ellen Davidson,
Woodstock,
New York.

Shannon Airport’s US protesters (Irish Times letters page)

Previously: Meanwhile In Shannon

Pic: Popular Resistance

From top: Shannon Airport air traffic control; The skies over Ireland last night

IAA investigation under way into radar failure (RTÉ)

From top: Monthly peace vigil at Shannon Airport; Ciaran Tierney

It’s just an ordinary Sunday afternoon at Shannon Airport.

Funny how, in an upside-down world, the small group of peace activists waving flags at a roundabout are made to feel like criminals while the police force ‘protects’ members of the most powerful military in the world . . . just a few metres down the road.

It’s almost a pantomime at this stage, as everyone knows his or her role.

On the first Sunday of every month, the peace activists descend upon the roundabout on the fringes of the civilian airport.

They unfurl their banners and flags, and commuters, bus-drivers, or cars containing families honk their horns in support as they drive by in sunshine, hail, wind, rain or snow.

It’s some record. They haven’t missed a first Sunday of the month for over a decade now and, indeed, the protests have been going on for a lot longer.

They wish they didn’t have to meet at the roundabout, that they could find something better to do on a Sunday afternoon. But every month they feel a need to return.

One man makes the round trip from Donegal, it takes him ten hours by bus. Another comes all the way from Dundalk. He feels he has to make the effort.

Others have less of a journey. Former Irish Army man Edward Horgan and academic John Lannon, who never seem to miss a monthly Sunday gathering, make the short trip out from Limerick City. Quite a few drive down from Galway.

Horgan and Lannon are the two main men behind Shannonwatch, the group of peace activists who protest at the airport every month.

Their mission is simple, to highlight the fact that a ‘neutral’ country is continuing to support the US war machine, to raise awareness, and to remind the Irish Government and international community that this civilian airport on the west coast of Ireland could be facilitating war crimes.

For them, Irish neutrality actually means something. With talk of a European ‘super army’ on the horizon and President Donald Trump set to visit in November, their monthly protest seems as timely and relevant as when they began to assemble outside Shannon over ten years ago.

Even today, as I write this, the National Security Advisor to Donald Trump has attempted to discredit the International Criminal Court. He has described the internationally recognised court as “illegitimate” and “dead” in the eyes of the superpower which uses Shannon every day.

It’s pretty easy to discredit a court if you feel you have something to hide or you are in breach of international law.

They know the routine.

The activists stand at the roundabout. A young lady sees the irony when she pops into the new Starbucks nearby to pick up a coffee. Drivers and their families honk their cars in support. And the gardai maintain a safe distance, sometimes driving up close, though, to monitor the activists and their parked cars.

There are rarely confrontations, but the gardai maintain a visible presence. After all, some of these activists have undertaken direct action – breaking through the airport’s perimeter fence in order to try to inspect the US military or chartered civilian planes. The protest starts at 2pm and finishes within an hour.

It’s a small but clear reminder that not every Irish person is happy with the fact that US troops land in Shannon on their way to and from their wars in the Middle East.

This month’s protest could not have been more timely. During the one-hour vigil at the airport, two Omni Air planes on contract to the US military landed at Shannon.

Shannonwatch activists, who track the military flights in and out of the airport, told me that one of the planes was coming from a NATO base in the north of Norway. The other was on its way to the US from Kuwait.

They said they had no idea whether there were up to 600 troops or cargo on board, and they were pretty sure that the Irish authorities had no idea either.

Horgan, who has a camera with a powerful lens, invited me to join him at the perimeter fence. He focused his camera on the two planes, under the watchful eyes of plain clothes gardai who pulled up alongside him as he took his photos.

Now in his late 70s, with a respected military background, he told me he was banned from flying from Shannon. It’s a bit of an inconvenience, given that he lives just down the road in Limerick.

But he made headlines across the globe when he decided to inspect a US military plane as he was about to board a Ryanair flight to London. Ed does not believe in mellowing with old age as he is disgusted that nobody in Ireland has a clue about who or what is being carried on the military planes at Shannon.

Horgan took legal action against the Irish state in 2003, on the basis that the US military’s use of Shannon violated Ireland’s status as a neutral country.

He finds it strange to be under scrutiny from the gardai every time he brings his camera along to his local airport, but he’s determined to continue annoying those in power.

To him, the criminals are inside the airport fence, not those trying to document their movements from the outside.

As the wind howled around us, Lannon told me that the Shannonwatch people had no intention of giving up their monthly protests.

They will be back at Shannon next month and they hope to organise a huge demonstration if, as expected, President Trump used the airport when he visits Ireland, and nearby Doonbeg in particular, in November.

“Two planes arrived here today which have been contracted out to the US military. One of them has just arrived in from a military base in northern Norway. We believe it may have been involved in some NATO exercises,” he tells me.

“We track these planes as best we can on websites. We photograph them. These are military planes. We have our own way of tracking these planes. It’s not just with cameras, we use software to track them. We believe they are involved in NATO exercises even though Leo Varadkar and all our Ministers promise us that the planes that land here have nothing to do with NATO.”

Shannon has served as a refuelling stop for warplanes and protests have taken place there ever since President George W. Bush began his ‘war on terror’ with the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.

Most of the military flights since then have been to or from countries in the Middle East, including Iraq and Syria.

A decade ago, concerns were raised that Shannon was used for rendition or torture flights by the CIA.

In 2006, the Irish Independent reported that a cargo playing carrying Apache helicopters had landed in Shannon on its way to Israel.

In 2008, Irish activists became suspicious about a C-130 Hercules plane, normally based in Little Rock, Arkansas. They linked it to white phosphorous, a weapon known to cause horrific burns, which originated in Arkansas and was used in the bombing of Gaza.

Given Irish people’s traditional support for and empathy with the people of Palestine, such claims would alarm many Irish people in a supposedly ‘neutral’ country.

Few Irish people want to be associated in any way with war crimes.

But of course the peace activists have no proof.

Nobody does, because no inspections have ever been carried out on US military or contracted planes during their stopovers at Shannon.

Ciaran Tierney is a journalist, blogger, and digital storyteller, based in Galway, Ireland.

Just another Sunday afternoon at Shannon (Ciaran Tierney)

Previously: For The Record

Screen Shot 2017-01-13 at 09.47.34

Last Sunday.

Shannonwatch, which monitors the use of Shannon Airport by US military planes, reported that more than 730 US military flights landed at the airport in 2016 – more than two a day over the entire year.

Further to this…

Rabble writes:

In light of the revelations that the United States were open to leaving Shannon in 2007, but did not at the behest of the Irish Government, add to this the obvious security concerns of having military personnel at a civilian airport, and factor in the cost of at least €45million to the Irish taxpayer.

We ask the question, why is the US military still using Shannon Airport?

We headed down to Shannon and talked to Ed Horgan and John Lannon of Shannonwatch, who have been part of a monthly peace vigil which has ran unbroken for the last nine years.

Video by Jamie Goldrick, Thom McDermott and James Redmond.

Archive footage courtesy of Eamonn Crudden.

Additional footage from YouTube users MrStecon92, PlaneHDSpotter, & SandySueWho.

Why Is The US Military Still Using Shannon Airport? (Rabble)

Previously: For The Record

‘We Didn’t Go Into Iraq With Kalashnikovs’

Thanks Rabble

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 15.53.12Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 16.26.42

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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This morning.

Shannon Airport, Co Clare.

Peace writes:

This morning at approx 6am there was a faith based action at Shannon Airport by Dave Donnellan and Colm Roddy in response to Ireland’s continuing support of US wars conducted in the middle east.

They entered the airfield and walked the length of the main runway (taking approx half an hour) spraying it with red crosses to represent all the innocent blood spilt by these wars. Two planes consecutively took off without them being detected until they reached a US military Lear jet, where they were arrested…

Afri ireland (Facebook)