Irish parliament to discuss war / Shannon

Nigel Irritable nigel_irritable at
Mon Jan 27 09:13:52 MST 2003

The motion below is to be debated in the Dáil on
Wednesday and Thursday. It deals with the Irish
government's support for war in Iraq and the use of
Shannon airport by the US during its preparations.

It was proposed by Joe Higgins, the Socialist Party
TD, and by Tony Gregory, an independent leftish TD. It
has also been signed by Seamas Healy TD, from the
Workers and Unemployed Action Group and two other
independent TDs, Finian McGrath and Gerry Cowley.

There is no chance of the motion being passed, but it
will help to bring more attention to the issues. I
suspect that Sinn Fein and Green Party TDs will be
generally supportive but it will be interesting to see
how the Labour Party and Fine Gael react. The
leaderships of the last two parties have been making
some trouble for the government over the Shannon issue
but neither will be overjoyed about a motion
condemning "imperialist or corporate interference" in
the Middle East and attacking United Nations

As an aside, Domhnall may have seen a lengthy article
by Labour Party Senator Brendan Ryan in the Cork
Evening Echo attacking Sinn Fein for their low profile
in the anti-war movement! He made some of the points
which John and I made, but frankly the man has a brass

Is mise le meas
Brian Cahill

Dáil Private Members’ Motion to be debated this
Wednesday Demands: Immediate withdrawal of Shannon
Facilities for US Military; Explanation for Flagrant
Breaches of “Carriage of Munitions of war Order”

That Dáil Eireann;

· Notes the huge build up of United States and British
troops and weapons in the Middle East in preparation
for a war against Iraq;

· Notes the relentless drive by President Bush & Prime
Minister Blair for such a war;

· Notes that US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld
declared on Fox News, ‘there’s currently a state of
war with Iraq that has not ended’(January 19th 2003).

· Notes the systematic undermining by the U.S.
Administration of the work of the U.N. weapons
inspectors in Iraq and the pre-empting by the United
States of the provisions of UN Resolution 1441;

· Notes the statement by Scott Ritter, a U.N. weapons
inspector in Iraq during 1991- 1998 and a supporter of
the U.S. Republican Party, that 90% to 95% of Iraq’s
previous weapons of mass destruction were verifiably
put beyond use during that time;

· Notes a leaked U.N. Report projecting “potentially a
large scale and protracted ground offensive, supported
by aerial bombardment” giving rise to half million
direct or indirect casualties; a chronic situation in
south and central Iraq for 4.2 million children under
five and one million pregnant and lactating women, two
million internally displaced persons and an unknown
number of infirm, terminally ill and elderly; and the
devastation of all major infrastructure facilities
such as bridges, railroads electricity supplies and
provision for potable water;

· Notes that the United Nations sponsored economic
sanctions against Iraq have already caused untold
suffering among the ordinary people of Iraq and
resulting in the premature death of hundreds of
thousands of children;

· Notes the ongoing and regular, little reported,
bombing by the United States and British Air Forces in
northern and southern Iraq;

· Notes the sentiments of the Irish people expressed
in an Irish Times/ MRBI poll published on 1st October
2002 which found 68% of respondents profoundly opposed
to unilateral U.S. action against Iraq and 59% wishing
this State to oppose any UN authority for action;

· Notes the widespread growth of popular opposition
against a war in the worldwide protests held on
January 18th this year including an anti-war
demonstration in Washington with up to 200,000

· Condemns the brutal dictatorship of Saddam Hussein
and its suppression of human rights and national and
ethnic rights;

· Notes the widespread belief that the real motivation
for a war on Iraq is the desire of the U.S.
Administration to control that country’s oil reserves
and increase its presence in the Middle Eastern

And calls on the Government:

· To explain why it is facilitating the precipitation
of a war in Iraq by allowing U.S. military planes to
land and refuel at Shannon Airport;

· To explain why it is allowing a flagrant breach of
the 1954 Defence Act and the Air Navigation (Carriage
of Munitions of War, Weapons and dangerous Goods)
Order, 1973.

· To explain why it is in apparent breach of Article 5
of the Hague Convention (v) respecting the Rights and
Duties of Neutral Powers whereby “belligerents are
forbidden to move troops or convoys of either
munitions of war or supplies across the territory of a
neutral powers”;

· To explain why it is in apparent breach of Article
28.3.1 of Bunreacht na hEireann, the Irish
Constitution, which directs that the State shall not
participate in any war save with the assent of Dáil

Further calls on the Government:

· To apply all possible pressure open to it to prevent
an attack on Iraq by the United States or Britain;

· To immediately withdraw all landing and refueling
facilities in Shannon Airport for U.S. military planes
and any other aircraft carrying U.S. military
personnel, arms or munitions that may be used in a war
in Iraq;

And calls for:

· The future of the peoples and resources of Iraq and
the Middle East generally to be determined by the
people there, based on the principles of freedom,
justice, democracy and human rights, free from both
local dictatorships and imperialist or corporate

The debate takes place this Wednesday January 29th
from 7.00 – 8.30 PM and on Thursday morning after the
Order of Business.

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