Independent Media Centre Ireland

Shannon Airport peace protesters arrested

category national | anti-war / imperialism | news report author Sunday October 07, 2012 21:56author by Eoin

Margaretta D'arcy and Niall Farrell go airside to protest Afghanistan war

Two peace activists from Galway Alliance Against War were arrested on the runway at Shannon Airport today, marking the 11th anniversary of the attacks on Afghanistan. US military and CIA flights have passed via the Irish airport to and from the region since the war began.

Press Release follows.

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author by Edward Horgan - Peace and Neutrality Alliancepublication date Sun Oct 07, 2012 23:23author address author phone

Non-violent peace action at Shannon airport

7 Oct 2012 – 11th anniversary of Invasion of Afghanistan

Today Sunday 7 October 2012 is the 11th anniversary of the US led invasion of Afghanistan. The subsequent war and occupation of Afghanistan probably cost the lives of over 100,000 Afghan people. The related and equally unjustified war against the people of Iraq probably cost well over one million Iraqi lives, but we will never know the exact figures because the aggressors deliberately “don’t do body counts”. These criminal wars have been compounded by unspeakable acts of torture and abuses of prisoners in Abu Graib, Guantanamo, Bagram and elsewhere. These acts of torture have more recently been replaced by targeted assassinations using special-forces and drone attack-aircraft. The term “targeted assassinations” is of course a misnomer because the vast majority of victims are innocent civilians, unintended so-called “collateral damage”.

Ireland has played an active and despicable role in all these crimes against humanity by allowing over two million armed US troops to transit through Shannon airport. In addition vast amounts of war materials and dangerous munitions have passed through Shannon and over one thousand CIA associated flights have been refuelled at Shannon.

In order to highlight and to try and prevent the on-going Irish participation in these abuses of human rights, and the failure of Gardai at Shannon to investigate Irish complicity in torture and other war crimes, a number of peace activists have entered Shannon airport at about 4 pm on 7 October 2012, and placed banners beside the main runway at Shannon warning US military and CIA associated aircraft that they are not welcome at Shannon. Every precaution has been taken to ensure that this has been a non-violent peaceful action, and to ensure that there has been no risk of injury to any person. This is in marked contrast to the actions of the US troops who passed through Shannon, who have caused so much death and suffering across the Middle East and Central Asia, and some of whom have committed the most serious crimes imaginable.

President Obama during his visit to Ireland earlier this year thanked the Irish Government for its complicity in these US wars by allowing the warmongers to transit through Shannon airport.

Peace activists have tried repeatedly by various means to get the Gardai and other involved authorities to prevent this use of Shannon airport for such criminal activities. These efforts included the submission of a large amount of documentary evidence and information to the Gardai at Shannon on 18 March 2011. Seventeen months later a response was received from the Gardai stating that they had: “failed to uncover any evidence concerning breaches of Irish and international laws resulting from the transit of armed U.S. troops and CIA associated aircraft in connection with the wars and military aggression in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, and in connection with the unlawful detention and torture of prisoners at Guantanamo prison and elsewhere.” This statement beggars belief, given that Judge Kearns of had ruled in the High Court in April 2003 that the Irish Government was in breach of International laws of neutrality, and that full details of this judgement were submitted to the Gardai at Shannon on 18 March 2011. If the Garda investigation into these matters failed to uncover any evidence into the matters complained of, this is most likely because the focus of any such investigation was to cover up any such evidence rather than to uncover it.

Margaretta and Niall entered the airport at about 4 pm, and placed banners saying US Military Out of Shannon close to the runway. RTE news website states that “Air Traffic Control alerted gardaí and airport police to the presence of a 59-year-old man and a 78-year-old woman on a runway at around 4pm this afternoon.” Peace activists who witnessed the event tell a different story. There was no reaction from airport security until one of the peace activists, for reasons of safety, phoned the airport and told them of the protest on the main runway. The peace activists were in the area for about 15 minutes prior to this, even though this part of the runway area is monitored by CCTV cameras. It appears non one was monitoring the cameras.

This peaceful action by Margaretta Darcy and Niall Farrell was undertaken also as an act of solidarity with the victims of unlawful and unjustified was in Iraq and Afghanistan, especially the tens of thousands of women and children who have died as a result of these wars.
May all those killed in the Afghan and Iraq wars of aggression rest in peace, and may the perpetrators of these wars, and all those who assisted them, experience justice and accountability.

Margaretta and Niall were released after about three hours questioning, and they were told that a file is being sent to the DPP. It should make an interesting case if it ever gets to court.

US military out of Shannon
US military out of Shannon

Stop Killer Drones via Shannon
Stop Killer Drones via Shannon

Arrest of Margaretta Darcy and Niall Farrell
Arrest of Margaretta Darcy and Niall Farrell

author by Socratespublication date Mon Oct 08, 2012 09:12author address author phone

An auld wan and a nutter, great protest, huge support, well done!

author by Edwardpublication date Mon Oct 08, 2012 11:09author address author phone

Socrates, Interesting that you should hide under the name of Socrates. I suspect you know very little about the real Socrates. Here a few quotes by and about him.

The State is the macrocosm of the individual; they share one another's principles. Socrates has "proven" the existence of justice in the State; therefore, since the faculties of the individual correspond on a smaller scale to those of the State, justice must also exist in the individual.

“I tell you that to let no day pass without discussing goodness and all other
subjects about which you hear me talking and examining both myself and
others is really the very best thing a man can do, and that life without this sort
of examination is not worth living.”

“Socrates was of the opinion that if an individual knows what entails doing good,
he /she will always do what is good”

You will note that he placed huge emphasis on the role of the individual.and on issues such as truth, justice and morality. At 78 Margaretta is indeed old, but she has far more wisdom and courage than all those who write anonomous disparaging remarks about genuine peace activists. Niall Farrell is anything but a nutter as you allege. Like Margaretta he is a dedicated peace activist who believes that individuals must stand up to the abuses by authorities such as the state.
Truth, justice and individual moral responsibilty are the hallmarks of the real Socrates.
What do you stand for Anonomous, hiding behind Socrates?

author by TD - Shannonwatchpublication date Mon Oct 08, 2012 12:21author address author phone

Peace Activists Block Shannon Airport's Main Runway.

Caption: Peace Activists Block Shannon Airport

Related Link:
author by Justin Morahanpublication date Mon Oct 08, 2012 17:50author address author phone

A little candle shining in the darkness is infinitely brighter than the Dark in which there is no brightness at all.

Thanks for the effort and thanks for keeping the Shannon issue alive in the new Government era.

Related Link:
author by Ciaron O'Reilly - Pit Stop Ploughsharespublication date Mon Oct 08, 2012 22:38author address author phone

Many thanx Margaretta and Niall,

from those of us maintaining a daily vigil outside the Ecuadoran embassy in London where Julian Assange of WikiLeaks has been granted refuge. WikiLeakes having released the Afghan war logs amongst other evidence of the daily deadly grind of the U.S. empire
Protect Assange clip (2 mins 40 secs)

As you may be aware Bradley Manning who has been tortured and jailed in the U.S without trial these past 2 1/2 years was shipped through Shannon Airport to Iraq

Also marking the 11 years of war on Afghanistan were friends blockading the Australian SAS base at Swan Island, near Melbourne

Further background on Swan Island, Australian SAS in Afghnaistan

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author by Des - Nonepublication date Wed Oct 10, 2012 14:03author address author phone

Good to see that there are still some people, even if a minority, who give a damn regardless of age.

author by donalpublication date Fri Oct 12, 2012 12:55author address author phone

They are so called do gooders wasting police time,and like that mary a couple of years ago who got a hatchet to a plane,are no different,and given the oppurtunity,would have done the same

author by serfpublication date Fri Oct 12, 2012 13:16author address author phone

Highlighting complicity in murder is not "a waste of police time". Why police are always available to harass peaceful protesters is the real question. (not just in shannon either!) And why aren't these same police searching US warplanes?

The message is "protest is always bad" but its ok to refuel in shannon on your way to kill and maim innocent brown people and bring who knows what murderous ordinance with you (we won't check), as long as you buy your lunch and maybe some jet fuel (and we'll even waive your commercial air fees despite being in a deep recession)

Some people have a really screwed up moral compass. I expect that from snivelling right wing government sociopaths but it's very sad to see members of the public like donal actively running to defend this cynical policy too. (assuming he is genuine of course! ;-)

author by feudal castratopublication date Fri Oct 12, 2012 13:32author address author phone

Ploughshares were exonerated for disabling the warplane in an Irish court despite the governments involvement and regular reports to their lords and masters in the US embassy according to some of the wikileaks cables.

here is an article by harry browne on this very site documenting this fiasco:

It's clear from this that sucking up to the US was the governments only concern, not democracy or the lives of innocent civilians.

So in that moral vacuum, clearly somebody needs to step up to the plate

Our government have little in the way of ethics and morality and they do not serve us. They serve money and power. Even if it means being complicit in the deaths of poor brown people in other countries.

Donal should be deeply ashamed of himself.

author by James Summers - San Diego Veterans for Peacepublication date Sat Oct 13, 2012 03:48author email poozles at hotmail dot comauthor address author phone

Thank you for your efforts to hold your government accountable for its illegal support or our government's illegal wars, kidnappings and torture. We, at our end, will continue to try to do the same with our own US government. It's heartening to know that we have Irish allies in this daunting task. Representing San Diego Veterans for Peace, I was able to view the Shannon Airport facility used by the US military and CIA, thanks to retired Commandant Edward Horgan. The armed and belligerant Gardai of the special unit who confronted us were the only exception to the friendly, warm welcome we experienced everywhere else during our stay in Ireland in November. I'm sorry to say that this heavy-handed surveillance and harassment reminded me of home. I have reported this experience and your vigilance to several peace groups here in the US, and look forward to possible coordination between peace events in both countries. There's more to Irish/American friendship than collusion between our governments!

author by W Finnertypublication date Sat Oct 13, 2012 11:16author address author phone

RE: "There's more to Irish/American friendship than collusion between our governments!"

There most certainly is, and my hope is that this statement of yours -- which I believe accurately represents an entirely factual situation -- will spread and grow, and grow, and grow: until the scourge and course of government crime is gently but firmly pushed back by "the people" of the Republic of Ireland, the people of the Republic of the United States of America, and the people of all other similarly constituted sovereign nation states elsewhere in the world -- by all the lawful and most peaceful means available to us -- until we "the people" of the world are free of the sick and sickening burden of government crime that has now become such a major threat to the wellbeing of humanity as a whole; and, maybe the very existence of humanity even: when the growing threat of a thermonuclear WW3 is taken into account.

Related Link:

author by Justin Morahanpublication date Sun Oct 14, 2012 17:35author address author phone

Meanwhile in Dublin on last Tuesday Colm Roddy and I held a large banner outside Government Buildings from 8.15 -9.15 a.m. The banner read US MILITARY OUT OF SHANNON.

The only Minister who passed in was Leo Varadkar carrying, as it happened,, a sign of his own saying EVERY CHILD MATTERS.

When we told him we liked his sign but pointed out its relevance with regard to the children in Afghanistan, he remarked that there were very few planes going through Shannon to Aghanistan at present.. Challenged with "Are you saying there are none going there?" his aide replied "Very very few".

They had hurried into the Buildings before we could tell them that one plane was far too many.

Colm and I had had a marathon session outside Dáil Éireann on the opening day of the Dáil with a similar banner. Sorry, no pictures :-)

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