On June 6, former mayor of Galway and TD Catherine Connolly, after standing in solidarity with Shannon Airport activists, voiced her frustration in an interview, “We’re facilitating the murder and slaughter of innocent people…and Shannon, unfortunately, is an absolute integral part of that. On any given night there are more military aircraft or more civilian aircraft carrying military than there are ordinary flights. We’ve set up Shannon now to depend on our collusion with wars abroad.”
As a growing majority continues to oppose this affront to Irish neutrality, Shannon remains square one for all US now and future wars. One likely rationale, according to Shannonwatch’s John Lannon: “From the US point of view it’s a means to suck in another previously neutral or unaligned country into their coalition and ultimately into NATO. So we are being dragged into something that is destructive, something that is causing millions of people to be displaced from their homes and probably millions to die directly from the wars in the Middle East.”
This year opposition to the militarism of Shannon Airport clearly went global. On March 17, St. Patrick’s Day, two US veterans, longtime anti-war activists and Veterans For Peace members Ken Mayers and Tarak Kauff, attempted to expose this clear breach of international law at Shannon by unfurling on the apron a large banner that read Respect Irish Neutrality, U.S. War Machine Out of Shannon Airport! As one would expect, the peace-vets were abruptly apprehended by airport security and Gardaí, and long story short, their passports were confiscated. They are still in Ireland grappling with an Irish legal labyrinth and one excruciating delay after another, for trespassing.
Perhaps so, but that was last year. That non-alignment ship has long sailed, along with a rich Irish tradition of resistance. Ireland is all in now, a player, and fully vested in the bloodshed of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, as well as future war zones. Only now this alliance with the US military, facilitating a globe-circling havoc launched from Garrison Shannon, is in full view.
The author of this piece is Gene Marx from Bellingham, Washington. Gene is a Vietnam veteran and former Naval Flight Officer aboard the USS Coral Sea in 1971-72. He is a past Secretary of the Veterans for Peace National Board of Directors and is currently a member of VFP-111. He lives in Bellingham with his wife, Victoria.