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Government must end overflight privileges for US troops

19 May, 2004

The five Sinn Féin TDs have tabled a motion in advance of tomorrow's Statements on the current situation in Iraq. In a detailed motion, due to be published tomorrow, they demanded that the Irish Government immediately suspend overflight and landing privileges for US troops and called on the Irish people to come out and register their opposition to the forthcoming visit of US President George W. Bush.

The motion accuses the Government of "assisting hundreds of thousands of US troops to participate in the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq" which has "resulted in tens of thousands of deaths including the killing of approximately 10,000 civilians and nearly 900 occupation troops including approximately 800 American soldiers"

It says "Irish assistance in this war has contributed to a situation where thousands of people including children are being injured or killed by exploding cluster bombs"

The motion goes on to express its "anger at the cost of this war to date, including an estimated spend of over $100 billion by the US alone" which, it says "could have been better spent in the war on global poverty, hunger and disease"

The motion also strongly criticises "the torture and killing of Iraqi prisoners of war by US and British occupation troops" before demanding "the immediate suspension of overflight and landing privileges granted by the Government to military and civilian chartered aircraft conveying US troops to Iraq"

Calling on the Government "to spare no effort in international diplomacy both under the EU Presidency and as a sovereign state to ensure a speedy end to the occupation of Iraq by the so-called Coalition of the Willing", the motion also "calls on Irish people to peacefully register their opposition to the occupation of Iraq and to Irish collusion in that occupation on the occasion of the US President's visit to Ireland during the US-EU Summit"

Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh said "Supporting this war in any shape or form goes against the wishes of the people of Ireland and against our neutrality." ENDS

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