Alan Shatter, Minister of Justice, Equality, and Defence in Ireland, has denied claims that local gardai have been instructed to not search suspected American rendition flights at Shannon Airport. Even further, Minister Shatter confirmed that 10 allegations of rendition flights in Shannon over the past 5 years have been investigated and proved no presence of rendition.
The Irish Examiner reports on Minister Shatter’s comments on the speculation of rendition in and out of Shannon Airport. Rendition is the practice of flying individuals from one country to another in order to bypass all judicial and administrative due process. Shannon Airport watchgroups have suspected that rendition flights were occurring at the Co Clare airport.
When asked by Donegal Sinn Fein TD Padraig MacLochlainn whether he was aware of instructions that have been issued since 2004 for gardai not to search suspected rendition flights at Shannon, Minister Shatter replied: “All complaints of this nature are dealt with in line with the advices provided by the Attorney General/Director of Public Prosecutions.”
“An Garda Síochána are fully committed to investigate all alleged breaches of the criminal law,” he added, “including alleged offences involving the use of aircraft at Shannon Airport."
Minister Shatter’s reply did little to quell the concern of John Lannon, a member of Shannonwatch, a group which closely monitors US military aircraft at Shannon. Said Lannon, "Members of Shannonwatch have been told on a number of occasions by gardaí that an ‘instruction’ or ‘advice’ has existed in relation to the searching of suspect rendition aircraft at Shannon Airport.”
"We still have grave concerns about the failure to adequately investigate many of the complaints we have made over the years,” added Lannon, “and particularly the failure to search suspected rendition planes. Minister Shatter’s answer sheds very little light on why these searches didn’t take place.”