Anti-war protest for Green meeting over US military flights

Patrick Logue, The Irish Times, June 13, 2006

Anti-war campaigners are to stage a protest outside the Green Party meeting in Dublin today over its compromise on the continued use of Shannon airport by the US military.

As Green Party members gather to vote on a five-year coalition deal with Fianna Fail, a group comprising the Peace and Neutrality Alliance, the Irish Anti-War Movement and the NGO Alliance has called for a mass protest.

The meeting begins in Dublin's Mansion House at 1pm.

It emerged last night that the Greens have accepted that Iraq-bound United States military flights will continue to use Shannon airport.

A compromise on Shannon means that Dáil approval will be required before any non-United Nations mandated military flight will be allowed to land, but this will not interfere with the Americans' current use of the airport, since they now operate on a UN mandate.

Anti-war campaigner Richard Boyd-Barrett said in a statement: "For the Greens to enter into government with Fianna Fail and allow the US military to continue to pour through Shannon on route to kill and be killed in Bush's bloody war would be a monstrous betrayal of the anti-war movement and those that voted for them."

"Surely the blood of innocent men, women and children, counts for more than gaining ministries and political power. I appeal to the Green Party - both its leaders and members - not to sully their hands with the blood of innocents murdered by the US war machine

Mr Boyd-Barrett narrowly missed out being elected on May 24th but received first-preference votes in Dún Laoighaire. Ciarán Cuffe of the Green Party was elected in the same constituency.

Mr Cuffe has vocalised his personal opposition to entering a deal with Fianna Fáil on his blog after the election.

"Let's be clear," Mr Cuffe wrote on May 28th. "A deal with Fianna Fáil would be a deal with the devil. We would be spat out after 5 years, and decimated as a party."

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