WikiLeaks: Irish Government focused on U.S.-Shannon flights to gain support in election
The U.S embassy in Dublin believed that the Irish Government attempted to reduce the use of Shannon airport for U.S. military flights "to dampen public criticism" ahead of the 2007 general election.
The revelations were contained in the WikiLeaks 'Cablegate' documents, in which details of the United States’ private suspicions about Ireland are voiced for the first time. They were part of over a quarter million state department documents which were published by whistle blowers through the WikiLeaks website.
The leaked document also revealed that the U.S. considered launching a civil case against the “Shannon Five”, a group of Irish anti-war activists who were acquitted of criminal damage to a U.S. plane in 2003.
The 2006 memo revealed:
-The close ties between the U.S. embassy and Fianna Fáil officials
-That a senior government official deemed the “Shannon Five” acquittal as “bizarre”.
-The dependency of Shannon Airport on the revenue generated from U.S. Military flights.
-The Irish government had attempted to guarantee the continuation of military flights at Shannon, despite strong public criticism.
That Russia used Ireland as a pitstop when it transferred military goods to Venezuela.
In a memo, dated September 5th, 2006, the then U.S. Ambassador to Ireland, James C Kenny, asked Washington for advice on how to deal with the Irish Government’s new bureaucratic measures, that would affect all military flights going through Shannon airport.
Mr Kenny said that the measures had been introduced “to dampen public criticism ahead of the 2007 general elections.” He added the move was a result of the acquittal of the “Shannon Five”.
The document quoted the then political director at the Department of Foreign Affairs, Rory Montgomery, who described the verdict as “bizarre”.
The former ambassador noted that Ireland's new rules were “designed to give the Irish Government more latitude to decide on allowable transits”, but he maintained that privately the government had wanted to maintain “diplomatic benefits” and the “significant revenues for the airport and regional economy”.
The memo was addressed to the then US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and was copied to U.S. embassies in 24 European Member states, as well as its embassy in Baghdad.
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