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Independent Irish TDs (MP's) arrested and released after highlighting Irish Government's complicity in wars and torture

By R Teichmann - Posted on 22 July 2014

by R. Teichmann, first published on



The history of the Irish government’s complicity in war and torture by inaction is long. For years the US military has  used Shannon Airport for transporting war materials and troops as well as for ‘rendition’ flights, i.e. transporting human beings to places where they are tortured.


This is not surprising as the red carpet is rolled out for any US-multinational corporation that comtemplates manufacturing or basing services here. In addition, in violation of the Irish constitution, which enshrines ‘neutrality’, succesive Irish governments have entered into military alliances through their participation in the so called ‘Partnership for Peace’ with NATO and through various treaties with the EU into the military structure of that construct.


Photo: US Military Hercules transport aircraft at Shannon Airport, source Shannonwatch


According to the Minister for Transport 101,108 troops passed through Shannon in 2012 and  69,840 in 2013. Since October 2001 successive Irish governments allowed over two and half million armed U.S./NATO troops and large quantities of war materials through Shannon airport on their way to and from the Afghan and Iraq wars, in clear contravention of the customary international laws on neutrality. In addition, according to the Rendition Project website, a collaborative research project between Dr Ruth Blakeley at the University of Kent and Dr Sam Raphael at Kingston University, over 350 rendition flights came through Shannon Airport. We can only imagine the human suffering behind this figures.


Image:Global web of detention centres and rentition circuits(including Shannon). From the Council of Europe.
Image: Margaretta outside Ennis Court , source Shannonwatch


The Irish people value their ‘neutrality’. In a poll commisioned by the Peace and Neutrality Alliance over three quarters of Irish people believe Ireland should have a policy of neutrality.  Thus it is no wonder that the actions of successive governments have not gone down well with the public. The protests of the peace activists against the military use of Shannon airport have been going on for years. Just this year the 80-year old Irish actress, writer, playwright, and peace-activist Margaretta D’Arcy was imprisoned twice for her protests. During one of her trials she tried to make a citizen’s arrest of the judge declaring:


I am making a citizens arrest on you Patrick Durcan, district court Ennis; for making Irish people active allies and participants in illegal wars. Ireland is breaching the legal definition of neutrality as described by the Hague convention and subsequent international law on neutrality. The Nuremberg principal states; complicity in the commission of a crime against peace, a war crime or a crime against humanity is a crime against international law….


It is in this spirit that two independent Members of Parliament (TDs), Clare Daly and Mick Wallace tried to inspect two military US aircraft. They were arrested today on the tarmac close to a Hercules C130 transport aircraft, in a protest designed to highlight the lax inspection of US military movements through the airport. They were released later but a file was sent to the Director of Public Prosecution.


In these times all peaceful actions against war deserve the highest support of the public.



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