Re Shannon - reply to Domhnall

John O'Neill johnfergaloneill at
Mon Jan 20 13:02:41 MST 2003

Domhnall wrote

>A chairde,

>The presence of Martin Ferris at the Shannon demonstration in the Shannon
>was sufficient to point to Republican support for the antiwar campaign.

I don't think so. Martin Ferris is a member of SF who happens to represent
them in Dail Eireann (the National Parliament in the Republic). I think its
contrary to Domhnalls professed marxism to argue his attendance is enough to
indicate wholehearted SF commitment to the anti war movement. If so, why
didn't we all stay at home and just send a delegation of public

The whole point of these demonstrations is to show MASS opposition to
Shannon being used as a part of the War and general Irish opposition to the
War. There is an onus on Sinn Fein to get as many of it's members involved
as possible if it is serious about the campaign.

I look forward to participating in your protest outside the Military
fortification in your village when it happens although travelling 100 miles
I'll expect more than just a pint.



Below is a report on the Demo taken from the Irish Times that is largely
accurate with the exception of the attendance figure which was closer to

2,000 march in war protest at Shannon
By Deaglán de Bréadún, Foreign Affairs Correspondent

Parliamentarians from five parties took part in a demonstration organised by
the Irish Anti-War Movement at Shannon at the weekend to protest against war
in Iraq and the use of the airport by the US military.

More than 2,000 demonstrators walked from Shannon town to the airport,
chanting anti-war slogans such as, "Hey, hey, USA, how many kids did you
kill today?" and "Can you hear us Fianna Fáil? No US bombers on our soil!"

The attendance included Labour TDs Mr Michael D. Higgins, Ms Kathleen Lynch,
Ms Jan O'Sullivan and Mr Joe Sherlock with their party colleagues Senators
Brendan Ryan and Kathleen O'Meara and Sligo Councillor Declan Bree; Green
Party deputies Mr Dan Boyle and Mr John Gormley as well as the Green MEP for
Dublin, Ms Patricia McKenna; the Fine Gael MEP Ms Mary Banotti; Sinn Féin TD
for Kerry North Mr Martin Ferris and Socialist Party TD Mr Joe Higgins.

Speaking at a rally outside the terminal at Shannon, Labour's foreign
affairs spokesman, Mr Michael D. Higgins, said it was "very impressive" that
so many different groups and organisations were combined in saying No to

He criticised those who were "staying silent and by their silence being
complicit in, not only the breaking of their own laws, breaking of the
Constitution, but they are supporting an outrageous preparation for war
against a civilian population".

The Green MEP, Ms Patricia McKenna, said the size of the demonstration on a
very wet Saturday afternoon sent out a "very strong" message to the
Government about the US military passing through Shannon, which she saw as
part of the build-up to war in Iraq.

"What is happening here is going to mean blood on our hands because our
Government are facilitating what the US is planning," she said.

Ms McKenna claimed the Government was in breach of the Constitution which
stipulated that the State could participate in a war only with the consent
of the Dáil. "They are participating in a war very clearly by facilitating
the US military at this airport and they have not asked the consent of the

Mr Kieran Allen, of the Socialist Workers' Party, said there was a "false
debate" about whether President Bush should get the approval of the United
Nations for war, or should go it alone instead. "The United Nations will be
bullied and bribed by the US."

Addressing "Bertie Ahern and his Government", the Socialist Party TD, Mr Joe
Higgins, said: "You are complicit in building up and assisting Bush to
launch a war against the people of Iraq. In the event of war, Taoiseach
Ahern, your ministers and your Government and the political parties that
back you in the Dáil will have the blood of the Iraqi people on your hands
every bit as much as Bush or Blair."

Ms Caoimhe Butterly from the Shannon Peace Camp, a group of protesters
permanently stationed outside the airport, said she hoped footage of the
demonstration would be shown in places like Iraq and the Palestinian
territories to show "that where our leaders are failing, that we as human
beings with an enormous capacity for strength and love are going to stand by
them". She invited participants to join an "Irish peace team" travelling to

The Green Party TD, Mr John Gormley, said he had stayed with the peace camp
activists the night before and had seen a Hercules plane arriving, "troops
landing, battle fatigues, the whole lot". Mr Gormley asked, "How is that
compatible with Irish neutrality?"

An Iraqi woman introduced to the crowd as Nuria took the megaphone to the
security barrier set up outside the airport terminal and appealed to members
of the Garda Síochána to admit her to the building to make a protest.

"As a direct result of Irish collusion, my relatives will die," she said.
The crowd chanted "Let her in!" and sat on the ground briefly, but she was
not admitted.

The chief organiser of the demonstration, Mr Richard Boyd Barrett of the
Irish Anti-War Movement, called for support for a further demonstration in
Dublin on February 15th, "to build a protest that this Government cannot

The Fine Gael MEP, Ms Mary Banotti, told The Irish Times: "I feel very
concerned that the Dáil is not being recalled and that the Taoiseach and the
Minister for Foreign Affairs went abroad while throughout the country there
was growing concern."

© The Irish Times

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