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Ó Snodaigh calls for an end to the use of Shannon by US military

2 March, 2007


Sinn Féin spokesperson on International Affairs Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD said' there are at least 34,452 reasons to withdraw the use of Shannon Airport. That is the number of civilians killed in Iraq during 2006 according to UN figures.'

I am proposing motions 13 and 19 to the House.

Why end the use of Shannon Airport by the US military? Well there are at least 34,452 reasons to withdraw the use of Shannon Airport. That is the number of civilians killed in Iraq during 2006 according to UN figures.

Speaking in Riyadh, in Saudi Arabia in January the Taoiseach referred to 'catastrophic failures in policy towards Iraq', to the suffering of it's people, and to the increased divisions among the Iraqi people since the US invasion. What was missing was any acknowledgement of the role that he personally, and his government, played in the creation of the chaotic slaughter in Iraq through it's support for the US invasion, and it's continued provision of Shannon Airport as a staging area for US troops deploying to Iraq.

This Ard Fheis will not mirror the Taoiseach's denial. With motion 13 we highlight the government's own complicity.

The United States should be denied the use of any and all Irish airports for their so-called ŒWar-on-Terror'. US military and intelligence agencies have been using Shannon airport as part of the infrastructure for their illegal programme of extraordinary rendition. The blind eyes turned by many European governments, including our own, has allowed the United States to kidnap individuals and transport them to locations where they may be subjected to torture, inhumane and degrading treatment in direct contravention of the most basic international human rights laws.

Just because there may not have been prisoners on board the planes at the time of their stop-overs in Ireland does not mean we are guilt-free. There was undoubtedly evidence on board and fugitive agents returning to the US having just dropped their kidnap victim in some third country to be tortured and detained. The Italian and German authorities have since issued warrants for the arrest of some of the CIA agents involved. This government has been aiding and abetting the escape of international criminals.

An unambiguous message must be sent to the United States Administration that their activities are unacceptable. Seeking blinkers from your partner in crime in the form of assurances is simply not good enough. All associated planes must be barred from Irish airports and airspace.

I am also urging delegates to support motion 19 in support of the fundamental human rights of the Kurds. Developments are at a critical stage there and it is crucial that EU member states maximise their influence on Turkey to ensure that the rights of Kurds are protected and promoted.

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