Irish Republican News · April 26, 2004
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
IRISH REPUBLICAN NEWS: Thousands rally for peace
Thousands rally for peace

Protests against President Bush's visit to Ireland passed off peacefully at the weekend amid the largest ever security operation in Ireland.

Some 25,000 anti-war protestors marked his arrival to Ireland in Dublin on Friday evening, the largest demonstration over the weekend. There was also a large demonstration in Galway -- where 2,500 snaked through the city for the biggest such rally in recent years -- and in other cities and towns across the country.

However, the turnout at Shannon and in the area of Dromoland Castle, where Mr Bush stayed on Friday night, was lower than expected. Four thousand police and two thousand soldiers easily outnumbered protestors. Scenes of tank movements in the area and security road-blocks were blamed for discouraging the public from travelling to the remote site.

Four naval ships, Air Corps planes and specialist decontamination and bomb disposal teams were on high alert to guard against a possible chemical or biological attack during the presidentpis visit.

Up to 700 armed US Secret Service personnel accompanied Mr Bush on the trip, while riot police and water cannons were on standby to deal with any trouble from anti-war supporters.

Groups of protesters waved placards calling for the arrest of Mr Bush as military helicopters circled the skies overhead.

Richard Boyd-Barret, chairman of the Irish Anti-War Movement and one of the main organisers of the protest, told the crowd it was “an utter shame and disgrace” that so much public money and resources had been used to facilitate the visit of Mr Bush, whom he called a “war criminal”.

BUSH HAILS IRISH PEACE

The Dromoland Summit was the first to take place between the US and the enlarged European Union of 25 member states.

Mr Bush said at the end of his visit to Ireland that the peace process in Ireland was a model for resolving other conflicts.

Mr Bush, who was attending a summit meeting between his country and the European Union at Dromoland Castle in County Clare, said the political situation in the north was an important issue for his administration.

“I am fully aware that the prime minister of both Great Britain and Ireland are going to advance the process this early September,” he said before his departure on Saturday afternoon.

“We stand ready to help - I wish them all the best.

“When this conflict is resolved, it will be an example for others - that long- simmering disputes can be put behind them and free societies and peaceful societies can emerge for the interest of the peoples which have been involved in those disputes.”

MOORE CENSORED

An Irish television interviewer was barred from questioning Mr Bush on Michael Moore’s anti-Bush film Fahrenheit 9/11 prior to his visit to Ireland, it has emerged.

Mr Bush’s ‘testy’ reaction to the questioning and interjections of Carol Coleman in an interview for RTE television surprised Irish viewers. His lengthy responses to the prepared questions were repeatedly interrupted by Ms Coleman, who pressed Mr Bush on specific points.

However, US authorities subsequently complained about the conduct of the interview with President Bush, which they said was inappropriate.

EMPEROR WEARS T-SHIRT

Video images of Mr Bush looking out the window of his room at Dromoland Castle after his arrival on Friday evening caused a stir.

The image of Bush was from the waist up in a t-shirt. News organisations were told not to use the video as a mark of respect. However, grainy images still made it onto tabloid newspapers.

PILGRIMS ANGRY

A group including sick children and pensioners, returning from a trip to Lourdes, were furious that their plane was diverted away from Shannon over the weekend, due to the Bush visit.

Their plane finally landed at Shannon more than five hours later than scheduled after being diverted to Cork.

© 2004 Irish Republican News