Ireland: ‘Active neutrality should not mean actively supporting wars’

The losing bid of Canada to gain a seat on the UN Security Council was accompanied with speculation to mislead the public about the credentials of its competitors, fellow NATO member Norway and especially benevolent Ireland as a UN “peacemaker.”

Between 2002 and 2016, despite repeated claims of neutrality by Irish Governments, over two and a half million US troops and their weapons passed through Shannon Airport.

Shannon is a nominally civilian airport in the mid-west of Ireland used by the United States Air Force to transit troops to Ramstein US Air Base in Germany and the Middle East.

In 2016 Irish journalist Ciaran Tierney documented in Electronic Intifida how “weapons used by Israel have been routed through Shannon even before the airport became a refueling stop for the US military.”

Shannon accommodated secret CIA rendition flights on which prisoners were being “ferreted away for the purpose of torture.”

For 15 years the Irish defence force has been integrated into EU battle groups.

Eager to shield the US from scrutiny, leading Irish politicians have concealed the truth about what is happening and tried to mislead the public.

The item below is taken from the Irish organisation Shannonwatch and published on June 20, 2020 :

“Ireland’s Membership of UN Security Council should be used to Restore our Credibility as a Neutral State

The following letter from Shannonwatch member Edward Horgan was published in the Irish Times, Irish Examiner and Daily Mail. It sums up our position on Ireland’s securing of a seat on the UN Security Council.

Our Irish diplomats are to be congratulated on the success of Ireland’s campaign for membership of the UN Security Council. It would have been a travesty if two more NATO countries had been elected in addition to the three NATO countries, US, UK and France who are permanent members of the Security Council. The primary role of the UN is to maintain international peace, yet those three permanent members have abused their powers of veto to usurp the role of the UN and wage wars of aggression with impunity since the end of the Cold War. These wars have caused the deaths of millions of people, including an estimated one million children, in Iraq, Serbia, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria, and the US, UK and France are supporting conflicts in Yemen, Palestine and elsewhere.

Successive Irish governments have been silent in failing to criticise these wars of aggression and have allowed the US to misuse Shannon airport to wage these wars. The recently published program for government makes reference to ‘active military neutrality’. Active neutrality should not mean actively supporting wars.

On 29 May 2020 in Ireland’s opening statement to the World Federation of United Nations Associations (WFUNA), Ambassador Geraldine Byrne Nason said “we are an independent neutral country beholden to no one”. Our independence and our neutrality have been recklessly compromised. We have become beholden to the successive US government administrations in a manner that threatens our historical friendly and kinship relationships with the people of the United States. Ireland’s two-year membership of the UN Security Council should be used to restore Ireland’s credibility as an independent neutral state and towards restoring the UN to its proper role of maintaining international peace and justice.”

On June 15, Shannonwatch tweeted about the new Irish government:

“Disappointing not to see commitment to end US mil use of Shannon in #programmeforgovernment. Repeating Ireland’s “military neutrality” claims, ensuring aircraft “adhere to strict conditions” & saying mil planes should be unarmed is just repeating the same mantra as previous govs.”

On July 12, the anti-war group held its regular bimonthly demonstration at Ahannon Airport. #USMilitaryOutOfShannon #NoToWar https://facebook.com/events/684484308799253

For Further Information

Shannon Fact Sheet

Shannonwatch | Monitoring foreign military use of Shannon Airport

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