This sequence of photos shows Clare Daly & Mick Wallace entering Shannon airport yesterday (22 July) to attempt to inspect the military planes that are clearly visible on the runway. They had been challenged to supply evidence of military flights transporting prisoners or munitions by former Justice Minister Alan Shatter when they attempted to raise the issue in the Dail.
For several years the presence of the US war company Raytheon's plant in Derry has been a focus for anti-war protests in that city including direct actions. Raytheon makes the Patriot, Tomahawk, Cruise and Sidewinder missiles, the small Derry plant didn't manufacture the weapons but rather was part of the process of producing the software that made them function. Rather oddly this was sometimes used to defend the company, as if the assembly line worker attaching fins to a rocket was somehow more responsible for the children it killed when dropped on a house that the software programmer who wrote the code that guided it to its destination.
In every country after February 15th 2003 the anti-war movement was faced with the question of what to do next. In Ireland almost all of the direct action protests were targeted on Shannon airport. More than half dozen successful actions took place, ranging from a large scale breach of the fence in October, to physical attacks on planes as the build up to war escalated. In response to these actions three out of the four airlines using the airport for troop transportation pulled out just before the start of the Iraq war.
From the summer of 2002 to the spring of 2003 there were numerous direct actions against war at Shannon airport in the west of Ireland. The airport is well located as a refueling stop for US troops being transported from the NE coast of America to the warzones in Afghanistan and Iraq.
This booklet brings together two articles published in Red & Black Revolution no7 (2004) that gave a history and analysis of the actions and the debate and conflict they caused within the anti-war movement in Ireland
Report on the 12 April 2003 Shannon demonstration which was only attended by about 470 people, many of these being from the political parties that make up the IAWM. The movement that could mobilise 100,000 ends up leading 467 into a protest pen at Shannon as in the background military flights taxi for take off.
Report written in the aftermath of the attempted March 1st 2003 Direct Action at Shannon airport which looks at what happened and what it means for the anti-war movement.
Article written in the aftermath of the massive February 15th 2003 anti-war demonstrations arguing that now (before the wart started) was the time to be organising mass direct actions and arguing for the one planned for March 1st 2003 at Shannon airport.
Report on the October 2002 anti-war demonstration at Shannon airport when part of the perimeter fence was torn down and up to 150 people entered the airfield.
This article looks at how direct action had forced one military airline out of Shannon in the context of how dependent modern wars are on long supply chains. This is used to argue that similar actions across Europe and the US could prevent the war from taking place. "In this war our rulers do not need us to fight as soldiers, they would like but do not require our support for the war. They do however need us to remain passive, for if we turn our disgust at this war into action against it then their war machine will grind to a halt."
A front cover story for Workers Solidarity in 2002 on the use of Shannon airport for refuleing US war planes