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Ó Snodaigh welcomes adoption of cluster munitions treaty

30 May, 2008

Sinn Féin Justice Spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has welcomed the formal adoption of an international treaty banning the use of cluster bombs. Speaking today after the treaty was passed in Dublin Deputy Ó Snodaigh congratulated those involved in the campaign and said US Military flights passing through Shannon should now be inspected not only for evidence of illegal renditions but for cluster munitions.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said, "Last month Sinn Féin welcomed the publication of the Cluster Munitions Bill 2008 and we have been fully supportive of the campaign to ban the use of cluster bombs.

"Unexploded cluster munitions are found in many war torn and former war torn regions throughout the world. The lengthy period of time these unexploded bomblets might lie on the ground for unwary civilians to stumble across them is one of the most appalling attributes of this weapon.

"I congratulate all those who have been heavily involved in the campaign to ban these weapons. The adoption of today's treaty is a truly amazing achievement for the campaign. We also call on the Government to continue to show leadership by moving to ratify the Treaty as quickly as possible.

"The passing of the treaty has implications for the Irish Government. My party has always been critical of the use of Shannon Airport by the US Military on their way to the war in Iraq. This is a breach of our neutrality and should not be happening. There is also overwhelming evidence that US planes passing through Shannon have been used for the purpose of illegal renditions and as a result we have called for the planes to be inspected by Gardaí as they arrive in Shannon.

"Now that the Irish Government is formally opposed to the use of cluster munitions there is an onus on them to ensure that the US Military is not using Irish Airspace and Shannon Airport to transport these type of munitions to Iraq. Therefore the planes must be inspected. Assurances from the US administration are not enough as it has been shown that illegal renditions have passed through Britain even where assurances have been given that they have not.

"It is also incumbent on the Irish Government to ensure that the Defence Forces do not end up facilitating the use of cluster bombs when operating as part of EU military forces with countries that continue to use cluster munitions." ENDS

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