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Ó Snodaigh reveals documentation that implicates Shannon in transfer of arms

14 June, 2006


Sinn Féin International Affairs and Human Rights spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has said documentation has come into his possession which shows that “not only is Shannon Airport being used as a pitstop for US troops on their way to and from their war in Iraq, but also to facilitate the sale and transfer of arms to human rights abusers throughout the world.” 

Speaking in the Dáil this evening Deputy Ó Snodaigh said, “Documentation which has come into my possession seems to show that not only is Shannon Airport being used as a pitstop for US troops on their way to and from their war in Iraq, that it has been used by planes involved in the illegal extraordinary renditions programme, but also to facilitate the sale and transfer of arms to human rights abusers throughout the world, including a breach of the arms embargo on the Indonesian government and other dubious arms transfers. 

“In September of last year, at least six months before the lifting of the embargo, the Office of Anti-Terrorism Assistance in the US State Department ferried ammunition, explosives and arms through Shannon Airport via Canada and then onward on a military transporter plane to a Bulgarian airport used by the military and then to the US embassy in Indonesia.  This was supposed to be for an “anti-terrorism training course” for a government whose impunity for serious human rights violations according to Amnesty International remain a concern.

“Other flights involving the same plane during Sep/Oct 2005 for which I don’t have complete details would suggest this is regular traffic with 2,600 kilos of dangerous goods going back and forth from Canada via Shannon to Bulgaria.  The actual origin and the final destination of these flights cannot be confirmed on October 15th, 17th, 21st and 28th.    On September 3rd boxes with undisclosed contents weighing 6,985 kgs were transported and on October 8th M16 rifles were ferried through.  Sikorsky Helicopters were ferried through Shannon to another Human Rights abuser Turkey on October 30th.  This comes on top of details which emerged of Shannonairport being used to facilitate the sale of Apache Attack helicopters to Israelfrom the United Stateslast February.

“The Minister must clarify whether the government, and the Ministers for Transport and Foreign Affairs, in particular were aware of the details I have just disclosed; Whether the Department of Transport gave the required authorisation for the above activities; Whether upon consultation, as required by the 1973 Order, the Department of Foreign Affairs approved of the use of Shannon for the above activities;  Whether he agrees that the role played by this state in the sale and transfer of arms to human rights abusers is absolutely unacceptable and must cease immediately,  And what steps he will take to ensure that this affront to Irish neutrality is brought to an immediate end.” ENDS

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