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Charges against Shannon 5 must be dropped

10 November, 2005


Sinn Féin International Affairs and Defence spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has said, “Irish taxes are subsidising the overflights of the US military on their way to and from Iraq to the tune of over 10 million euro over the last 5 years.”  Speaking at a press conference in support of the Shannon 5 today he expressed, on behalf of Sinn Féin, solidarity with the 5 men in demanding that the criminal charges against them be dropped.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said, “On behalf of Sinn Féin I would like to express our solidarity with the Shannon 5 in demanding that the criminal charges against them be dropped.  I would also like to pay tribute to their bravery and moral conscience.

“I would remind the Irish people that the accused are tax-payers and that Irish taxes are subsidising the overflights of the US military on their way to and from Iraq to the tune of over 10 million euro over the last 5 years and 3.6million last year alone.  Jimmy Massey, a US marine and veteran of the Iraq war, while speaking in Ireland last week acknowledged that the US military are committing war crimes and breaching international law in Iraq and Irish taxes are paying for the trial on criminal charges of 5 individuals who simply and bravely sought to prevent this.

“Last week I put a priority question to the Minister for Defence relating to the presence in Shannon departures lounge of hundreds of US soldiers dressed in full military uniform, photographs of these soldiers can been seen in today’s issue of An Phoblacht. But the Minister refused to answer my question transferring it instead to the Minister for Foreign Affairs.  Willie O Dea is refusing to address the government’s complicity in the illegal war on Iraq and the resulting massive loss of life.  And yet it is this very complicity which poses a greater threat to Irish security and creates the potential for a serious breach of Irish defence.  Again and again we have asked the Ministers’ for Foreign Affairs, Transport and Justice to answer for this state’s complicity in these crimes against humanity – all have run from the issue.

“We have passed the milestone of 2000 US military deaths in Iraq.  And while this figure palls into insignificance when compared to the countless deaths that have been suffered by the people of Iraq it nonetheless represents a tragic loss of young lives for a war that was based on a lie.

“It should be remembered that our Government can not absolve itself of their role in this continuing conflict.  They have abused and rendered meaningless this states claims to military neutrality.  The have made a mockery of the Irish people’s proud tradition and desire to play an impartial and constructive role in resolving conflicts around the world.” ENDS

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