Press Release - Shannonwatch, 14th July 2015
As Shannon Airport prepares to stage an air show on July 18th to celebrate its achievements in the world of aviation, peace groups in Ireland issue a reminder that its recent history is not one to be proud of. Since 2001 the airport has been used by the US military as a gateway to wars in the Middle East. These wars have resulted in the death of innocent men, women and children, left millions of people homeless, and destroyed communities and entire countries.
"While it is fitting to celebrate the 70th Anniversary of the first commercial transatlantic flight from Shannon Airport and to acknowledge its important role in aviation in Ireland, we cannot ignore the fact that in the last 15 years it has been used to illegally invade Iraq and Afghanistan and has been part of the CIA's global campaign of kidnapping and torture" said John Lannon of Shannonwatch.
"Shannon became the original airport gateway between the US and Europe and was the birthplace of Duty Free. It is now a gateway to human suffering and war." added Mr Lannon.
Roger Cole of the Peace and Neutrality Alliance (PANA) said "Since 2002 over 2.5 million US troops have used Shannon Airport on their way to and from the perpetual wars of the US. The US/EU/NATO wars on Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria and their de facto destruction of these states have just led to more war and created ISIS. The unwillingness of the Irish government to allow the Irish people to even vote on whether or not they support neutrality is a indication of their commitment to perpetual war. Shannon Airport has become a de facto US Air Force base and the government continue to allow this regardless of the horrific consequences."
Edward Horgan of Shannonwatch and the Irish Anti War Movement said "The Norwegian Airforce which is taking part in the air show dropped almost 600 bombs on Libya as part of a NATO operation that cost over a billion dollars. That left the country in civil war, and produced the violent ripples throughout the region that resulted in the deaths of Irish and UK tourists in June."
"We should not glorify or condone war in any way. Instead of presenting fighter jets as fun and entertainment, we should be talking about the consequences of their use. These planes are designed to drop bombs that kill people" added Mr Horgan.
Shannonwatch's John Lannon recalls the grim warning by Bertrand Russell and Albert Einstein 60 years ago as the Cold War developed. "They called on the people of the world to face a choice that they described as "stark and dreadful and inescapable". At the time they said the choice was between putting an end to the human race or renouncing war. Today we face similarly stark choices. And today Shannon is part of a global militarization that is in danger of destroying humanity".
Shannonwatch will be at Shannon on July 18th to peacefully remind people of the airport's support for war and its dreadful consequences for millions of people. The group will be joined by members of Afri, the Peace and Neutrality Alliance, the Irish Anti War Movement and Galway Alliance Against War who together call for an end to the US military use of Shannon.