An anti war group warned about future protests at Shannon airport to protest the continuation of US troop business after the Shannon Airport Authority announced it would specifically target US troop business.
Rose Hynes told the Oireachtas Committee on Transport and Communications that Shannon will continue its 24/7 operation to accommodate US troops. The Irish Examiner reported she said, “Military traffic has been in the DNA of Shannon for many years . . . it’s lucrative and we are certainly going to go after it as much as possible.” During the tough economic times, Shannon Airport could use the business.
However, not everyone at Shannon shares Hynes’ perspective. Shannon watch spokesman, John Lannon said, “By claiming military traffic is ‘in the DNA of Shannon’ she is doing a grave disservice to the very many people living and working in Shannon who want nothing to do with unnecessary warfare.”
Lannon said, “US military traffic that traditionally passed through Shannon airport . . . were obliged to be unarmed, not even engaged in military exercises and no munitions were allowed on their aircraft.” This arrangement helped maintain Ireland’s neutrality and allowed US aircraft to refuel at Shannon.
The situation changed in October of 2001 with the war in Afghanistan. The Irish government invited armed US troops flying to Afghanistan, and later Iraq, to transit at Shannon Airport. Inviting armed troops there breached international laws on neutrality.
Both Irish citizens and American war veterans have protested the US troops’ use of Shannon Airport in the past. Irish anti war groups have held protests at Shannon Airport for several years. Shannon Airport is also a popular destination for tourists and visitors.