Minister Ross is evading his responsibility for Shannon Airport – Senator Paul Gavan
Senator Paul Gavan has accused Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross of evading responsibility with regard to US Military use of Shannon Airport.
Minister Ross has approved 427 permits for Military Munitions of War applications this year to date, including 149 flights carrying US troops and their weapons landing at Shannon Airport.
Challenging Minister Ross directly in the Seanad, Senator Gavan pointed out that 55 of these flights were to countries which make up the Saudi led coalition that has brought death and destruction to the people of Yemen.
Speaking in the Seanad, today Senator Gavan said:
"Do you think that it is a coincidence that a significant number of permits are for flights carrying munitions to countries which are involved in the Saudi led coalition - of which the US is a supporter?
“The fact that Minister Ross could only mutter a response of ‘no comment’, highlights that this Government understands the precarious nature of US military use of Shannon Airport.
“In the last five months, Minister Ross has approved 427 permits for Military Munitions of War applications for flights going through Ireland. 149 of the flights were carrying troops' weapons, while 270 were carrying munitions.
“These were all US military contracted planes, and they were on their way to places such Kuwait, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, UAE and Israel.
"By approving 427 permits over the course of the last five months, Minister Ross has approved Ireland’s facilitation of war in the Middle East, and that includes the slaughter of civilians in Yemen and Syria, as well as the bombing and displacement of millions of people.
“Minister Ross said in a debate on neutrality in the previous term that Ireland was ‘no longer a neutral nation’, instead Ireland was a ‘neutered nation’, going on to say that our government was bowing to American pressure and that the Irish government should admit this.
“It would appear Minister Ross has also bowed to the pressure of America, or perhaps traded principles for the trappings of high office.
“Since January 2017, there have been 44 flights to Kuwait carrying munitions and weapons approved by the Irish government. Considering Kuwait's geopolitical position in the Middle East as a member of the Saudi coalition in Yemen this is particularly damning.
“In that war, 16,000 civilians have died, 13 million Yemen civilians are being denied clean drinking water, 2.4 million are homeless due to the Saudi bombing campaign, and Yemen now faces a famine.
“We are facilitating this. I want to see some responsibility and some shame accepted by the Irish government.
“What we also want is our Civilian Shannon Airport back. It’s time to end the use of Shannon by the US military and begin rebuilding our respect as a neutral country.”