American war veterans from the group Veterans for Peace, along with several Irish campaigners, petitioned for peace at a protest held in Shannon on Sunday.
The monthly event was organized by Shannonwatch, which opposes the military use of Shannon airport by U.S. forces. About 20 people attended this month's meeting, which was closely monitored by police, reports the Clare Herald.
Hundreds of U.S. military planes travel through Shannon every year and as many as 600 troops pass through the airport every day on the their way to and from conflict areas in the Middle East.
Veterans for Peace spokesman Gerry Condon said: "I was in the US Army during the Vietnam war but I refused orders to Vietnam because I felt it was an illegal and immoral war. I am a proud member of Veterans for Peace and we have about 5,000 members across the US, many of whom are Vietnam combat veterans, and our mission is to abolish war as an implement of US foreign policy."
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“Not only are we opposed to any troops going to war but we are really angry that the neutrality of Ireland is being undermined and trampled upon by the US military. We don't understand why the Irish government has just gone along with this especially when the majority of Irish people we have met are opposed to it and the more people in the US that hear about this, they will be opposed to it too," he added.
"We want to make sure that the Irish-American community and other people in the US know that we have a problem here at Shannon and we should continue to press to have Shannon returned to solely being a civilian airport,"said Condon.
Shannonwatch says it will continue to hold the vigils until Irish neutrality is restored.
John Lannon, a Shannonwatch member, said: "Ireland is no longer a neutral country because of the military presence at Shannon. Our neutrality has been abandoned, and we have become complicit in endless cycles of suffering and death. The ongoing US military use of Shannon is a feature of Ireland's failure to take a stand against the destructive policies of the US in Iraq and Afghanistan."
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