Category: Archive

Marchers oppose Irish war aid

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

Gardai estimated there were about 8,000 marching and attending the rally outside Government Buildings, but Green Party leader Trevor Sargent said he believed the crowd exceeded 20,000.
The Irish Anti-War Movement had urged people to come out and protest against what it called “the disgraceful collaboration of our government with this barbaric war.”
Anti-war activist groups, trade unions and all the opposition parties except Fine Gael backed the protest.
The protest came as a poll showed 42 percent of people feel that Taoiseach Bertie Ahern’s handling of the Iraq crisis has been poor, while 32 percent believed it has been good.
It also showed Ahern’s approval rating had dropped 18 percent in the last year and 60 percent are now dissatisfied with the government’s performance.
Sargent told the anti-war rally there was a need to highlight “the criminal role of the government in supporting this murderous and illegal war.” He estimated about a third of the U.S. troops in the Gulf had transited through Shannon.
“The facilities at Shannon should be withdrawn and so should permission for military overflights,” he said. “When we last had a national protest in Dublin attended by 100,000 on Feb. 15, there were 17 heavy military transport aircraft overflights above the city on that day. Ireland should follow the example of Austria. It has refused overflight rights. We should do the same if we are to have any credibility.”
Sargent said the fact that the government was using taxpayers money to fund U.S. military overflights “as they make their way to commit murder in Iraq” added insult to injury.
“The people of Ireland will not accept their taxes being used in any way to pay the Irish Aviation Authority for U.S. military overflights,” the Green Party leader said.
Labor Party foreign affairs spokesman Michael D. Higgins said it was likely that many of the additional 130,000 U.S. troops being sent to Iraq would pass through Shannon.
“This war is an illegal act,” he said. “It is outside of the United Nations Charter, outside of Customary International Law. It is a pre-emptive strike by two countries and their allies that have not been attacked and who have no mandate legal or otherwise for any concept of collective security.
“The use of Shannon Airport for the provision of facilities for an illegal act under International Law is indefensible.”

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