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Press Release

Shannonwatch 15th June 2016

Shannonwatch have recorded an unusual number of US military aircraft at and overflying Shannon Airport since June 4th. This time period coincides with the preparations for NATO Anaconda-2016 military exercises in Poland which are being conducted from June 7th to 17th.

The 10-day military exercise, involves 31,000 troops and thousands of vehicles from 24 countries. The Guardian described it as follows “The largest war game in eastern Europe since the end of the cold war has started in Poland, as Nato and partner countries seek to mount a display of strength as a response to concerns about Russia’s assertiveness and actions”. The UK Independent said it was one of the biggest exercises on NATO’s eastern flank since the end of the Cold War, and was a move likely to put further strain on the already-tense relations between the Kremlin and the West.

While some of the US military flights through Shannon may be connected with military operations in the Middle East and elsewhere, it is likely that many of them are associated with the Anaconda exercise.

In particular the presence of US military mid air refuelling aircraft at Shannon would suggest that aircraft taking part in the Anaconda exercise may be being refuelled in or just outside irish airspace. This would not only be in breach of Irish neutrality but would also be in breach of assurances given to the Irish Government by the US Government that none of the US military aircraft using Shannon Airport or Irish air space areon military operations or military exercises.

These matters need to be addressed as soon as possible by the Irish Government, while the Anaconda exercises are still going on (until 17th June). If they discover that any of the aircraft using Shannon are involved in Anaconda-2016 permission should be withdrawn immediately for all such overflights and landings.

For a list of US Military aircraft recorded at Shannon Airport or overflying in Irish airspace close to Shannon between June 4th and 11th see http://www.shannonwatch.org/blog/ireland-supporting-nato-exercises-eastern-europe.

For more information phone Shannonwatch at 087 8225087.