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Sinn Féin slams sharp increase in US troops using Shannon Airport

16 April, 2004


Sinn Féin Dublin EU candidate Mary Lou McDonald has today slammed reports that the number of US troops passing through Shannon Airport, has increased dramatically since the beginning of the year. She called on the Irish government to stop allowing Irish airports to be used by the US military on route to the Gulf.

Speaking as EU Foreign Ministers were gathering in Tullamore this afternoon, Ms McDonald said: 'The EU should now demand that troops be withdrawn from Iraq and that responsibility for the transition to democracy be handed to the UN and ultimately to the people of Iraq themselves."

Ms. McDonald said:

"The Aer Rianta report clearly shows a dramatic increase in the numbers of US military personnel using the airport. In January 2004, 7,992 troops passed through Shannon, compared with a figure of 16,697 in March 2004. To say that this is a worrying development is an understatement. The use of our ports and airports by foreign military is a complete breach of our neutrality and must end immediately.

"Sinn Féin believes that the war in Iraq was wrong and the ongoing occupation of Iraq is wrong. The Irish government, through the Presidency of the EU, has an integral part to play in to bringing an immediate end to the occupation and a return to diplomacy and dialogue. They also need to uphold the principle of neutrality, and cease the facilitation of Shannon airport for the US war effort.

"The EU should now demand that troops be withdrawn and that responsibility for the transition to democracy be handed to the UN and ultimately to the people of Iraq themselves."ENDS

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