Irish Republican News · December 15, 2005
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]

A leading member of the American Anti-war movement and a mother of a US soldier killed in Iraq has called on the Dublin government to stop being “complicit in war crimes.”

Cindy Sheehan, who was speaking in Dublin yesterday before a meeting with Foreign Minister Dermot Ahern, called on the Irish people to stop allowing US military planes using Shannon Airport.

The airport in south County Clare has been used by the US military as an airbase for several years, in continuing contradiction of Ireland’s stated policy of military neutrality.

“I am here to rally the people of Ireland to resist their government in any way they can from being complicit in this and being accomplices in the crimes my government is committing in Iraq.

“Not only as people from Ireland but as human beings. What we are allowing our countries to do is wrong.

“I am here to join with the Irish peace movement to call a halt to what is going on (at Shannon).”

Sheehan lead the protests against the war at President George Bush’s ranch in Texas during the summer.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs Dermot Ahern told the Dublin parliament this week that United States has given Ireland “repeated, clear and explicit assurances” that no prisoners had been transferred through Shannon Airport, in south County Clare.

“My son was one of the 240,000 troops that went through Shannon. The last letter we got from him he talked about stopping in Shannon, he talked about buying a soda and the amount of euros it cost and how many euros he got back from the soda machine.

“He talked about meeting a woman who spotted his name Sheehan who saw it on his uniform. And she talked to him about his Irish name and Ireland and the family history.”

Cindy Sheehan’s husband’s family is of Irish descent from Cork.

“That meeting in Shannon was very important to him, it was so important that he put it in his journal and he put it in the last letter he wrote us.

“But he never posted it, because it came with his things when he came back. Because he was in Iraq only five days before he was killed.”

“This is Casey here on the badge that I am wearing. This is the face of somebody who came through your country. The people who work in Shannon I wonder if they think, ‘I wonder if this soldier will come back through?’

“Or will this young person go back home in a box? Or will this young person walk off a plane and then come home in a wheel chair?”

Ms Sheehan said Ireland was “letting humanity down” by not inspecting what she described as the “torture planes” being operated by CIA through Shannon.

“Ireland has every right to inspect those planes they are landing on Irish soil. Ireland has been a great friend to the United States for many years but Ireland is not a satellite of America you are an independent state and you have to act independently.

“I think President Regan said ‘Trust but verify’ and that is what you have to do you have to verify. And if there is nothing to hide then our government should not want to hide it.”

Ms Sheehan later praised the minister for allowing a meeting with her.

“For one thing, if your government is in the pocket of our government then it was a brave move. Because nobody from my government will meet me,” Ms Sheehan said.

“One of the things your minister told me is that Shannon is being used because that is the way it’s always been, even during the Vietnam war. I said: ‘Great! You allow them use your airport for one immoral illegal war and now you allow them use it for another’,” she said.

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© 2005 Irish Republican News