Remarks by Jimmy Kelly at vigil for peace activist Margaretta D’Arcy

image courtesy of www.pana.ie

image courtesy of http://www.pana.ie

February 19th: Speaking at today’s lunchtime vigil for peace activist Margaretta D’Arcy outside Leinster House, Unite Regional Secretary Jimmy Kelly said:

“Margaretta D’Arcy has now spent over four weeks in prison, in Limerick and in Mountjoy, because she interfered with the ‘proper’ use of Shannon Airport.  I think we all know who has interfered with the ‘proper’ use of Shannon Airport – and it certainly isn’t Margaretta D’Arcy.

“During the past decade, over two million US soldiers have passed through Shannon Airport, most on their way to fight wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

“That is not proper use of a civilian airport in a neutral state.

“During an eight month period last year, over 350 foreign military aircraft were allowed to land at Shannon.

“That is not proper use of a civilian airport in a neutral state.

“Planes implicated in extraordinary renditions – the forcible removal of people from one country to another, sometimes to face torture – have also landed at Shannon.

“Amnesty International has highlighted the case of one man – Binyam Mohammed – who was released from Guantánamo Bay without charge in 2009, after six years of unlawful imprisonment when he was allegedly subjected to torture and other illegal treatment.  Binyam Mohammed was ‘rendered’ – or abducted – from Morocco to Afghanistan in 2004 – and the plane stopped over in Shannon.

“That is not proper use of a civilian airport in a neutral state.

“Protests such as this weekly vigil ensure that Margaretta’s imprisonment is kept on the political agenda.  Equally importantly – and she would probably argue, more importantly – they ensure that the improper use of Shannon Airport as a military stopover stays on the political agenda.

“Despite calls from organisations such as the Council of Europe and the European Parliament, successive Irish Governments have failed to institute an inspection regime to ensure that flights are unarmed and that they are not carrying in arms, and not engaged in in form of military operation – and not transporting people to face torture.

“Instead, the Irish State operates a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy.  We won’t ask you what you’re doing, and you don’t have to tell us.

“In a few weeks’ time, Government Ministers will be travelling to the United States on their annual St Patrick’s Day photo-opportunity.  That would be an ideal time to tell the US authorities that military flights are no longer welcome at Shannon Airport”, Jimmy Kelly said.

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One Response to Remarks by Jimmy Kelly at vigil for peace activist Margaretta D’Arcy

  1. Pingback: Irish elderly peace activist jailed for opposing torture flights | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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