Mick Wallace, an independent, democratically elected public representative in Ireland’s first house of Parliament, has been arrested and will be brought to Limerick Prison. The reason for his arrest was his attempt, along with Clare Daly TD, to inspect US military planes at Shannon. As his actions were undertaken entirely in the pursuit of peace, Shannonwatch calls for his immediate release.
“Mick Wallace and Clare Daly have spent years trying to get answers from Government Ministers about the US military planes passing through Shannon” said Edward Horgan of Shannonwatch and the Peace and Neutrality Alliance (PANA). “They have demanded inspection of these planes in parliament, and as a result they were told to bring evidence to the Minister to support their demands. All they did was to try to get that evidence.”
“Clare Daly and Mick Wallace have repeatedly highlighted how the US military use of Shannon Airport breaches Irish neutrality and contributes to the death and displacement of millions of people” added Dr Horgan. “They have repeatedly asked for the Irish authorities to search aircraft carrying US soldiers and war materials at Shannon in order to restore Ireland’s credibility as a neutral state.”
“In light of the current airstrikes by the US and UK on Syria, a country already ravaged by war, it is particularly important that Ireland disassociate itself from failed US foreign policy, and focuses on finding effective solutions to the violence in the Middle East” said John Lannon, also of Shannonwatch. “Mick Wallace and Clare Daly have demanded a positive neutrality from Ireland to help bring about an end to the conflicts in Syria and elsewhere. The plight of millions of refugees and of Europeans subjected to brutal terrorist attacks highlights the urgency of the need to find solutions”.
Mick Wallace and Clare Daly have been the two most successful opposition members in the current parliament. Their exposures of corruption, financial irregularities, abuses of police powers, and government mishandling of the business of governing has helped to precipitate the resignations of the Minister for Justice and the Garda Commissioner.
Dr Horgan added “Government ministers have repeatedly misinformed the Dail (parliament) with regard to Ireland’s neutrality. They claim to follow a policy of military neutrality while allowing over two and half million armed US troops to transit through Shannon Airport on their way to and from combat operations in the Middle East. They say that US military aircraft transiting through Shannon Airport are not engaged in military operations or involved in military exercises, and are not carrying any weapons, munitions or war materials. But this is simply not credible.”
“The government have not allowed the authorities to carry out any searches or checks to see if there are weapons on board the US military planes at Shannon. And they have offered no explanation for why so many of them are transiting through Ireland if they are not engaged in military operations or transporting war materials.”
In compliance with their duties as legislators to hold the Irish Government to account for wrongdoing, Clare Daly and Mick Wallace felt obliged to undertake what the Irish authorities have failed to do, that is to search US military aircraft at Shannon. On 22nd July 2014, they entered the airport by climbing over the fence and proceeded towards two US military aircraft. They were detained by airport police and were subsequently convicted of breaching airport regulations and fined €2000 each. They refused to pay the fines and as a result will now be imprisoned for up to one month.
“While it might suit the Governing parties to have Clare Daly and Mick Wallace absent from Dail Eireann for a month, it is now up to the people of Ireland to demonstrate to the Government that the two TDs did the right thing by attempting to search those US warplanes. The Irish Government must take action to restore genuine Irish neutrality” said John Lannon.
If Mick Wallace is detained in Limerick Prison there will be a peace vigil outside it at 5 pm on Friday 11th December to enable supporters to show their solidarity with the imprisoned TDs.
“We intend to let the voice of the Irish people be heard speaking truth to power” said Shannonwatch’s Dr Horgan.