Pressure is growing for the use of Shannon Airport by US military forces to end in light of the latest bombing campaigns in the US-backed war in Yemen.
A coalition of states led by Saudi Arabia has been carrying out airstrikes, one of which hit a bus carrying children in northern Yemen last week, killing 29 children who were on their way back from a picnic.
It is latest atrocity in a horrific war being waged by the coalition. Sinn Fein Senator Paul Gavan has said there is a direct line from the atrocities back to Shannon Airport.
“The US provides logistical and weapons support to the Saudis,” he said. “US contracted military planes leaving Shannon regularly travel to states belonging to that Coalition -- states such as Kuwait, Bahrain, Jordan and the UAE, as well as Saudi Arabia itself.
“We also know from figures released under freedom of information that hundreds of permits for military munitions of war were approved by our government last year, with many of these planes heading to these same destinations.
“Did the missile that blew up these children pass through Shannon? It’s quite possible. Either way it’s a shameful practice and a betrayal of the principles of neutrality.”
Dozens of protesters attended the Shannonwatch peace vigil on Sunday, August 12 regarding the use of Shannon Airport.
In a moving ceremony each of the dead children’s names from the attack on the bus were read out while a ribbon with the name of each child was attached to a barricade erected by Gardai police. A beautiful banner was also displayed at the vigil in memory of some of the Palestinian children who have been killed in Gaza.
“Every month a heroic group of people travel from near and far to highlight the ongoing abuse of our neutrality and complicity in a number of wars being waged by US backed regimes across the Middle-East,” Senator Gavan said.
“Their action stands in stark contrast to the silence of our political establishment who keep up the pretence that there is nothing to see here. It’s long past time when our Government should end it’s support for US Military use of Shannon Airport.”
Shannonwatch, which organised the peace vigil, said the complicity of the Dublin government in promoting militarisation and war “is increasing day by day”.
“Homelessness, inadequate healthcare, lack of access to education are a fact of life for many people in Ireland today. Yet the government can find money to allow the US military to use Shannon, and to increase military spending as part of the EU’s Permanent Structured Cooperation on security and defense.”
A special ceremony was also held to remember the 12 peace activists who have passed away peacefully since the group began its peace protests at Shannon in 2001.