Berlin, February 3rd 2014
Solidarity Declaration to our Friends and Colleagues from PANA Peace and Neutrality Movement on Behalf of Antimilitarist Margaretta D’Arcy who stands for „the release of Shannon Airport from the US military!“
Dear colleagues and Friends,
We fully support your struggle for the immediate release of Margaretta D’Arcy , who on Wednesday, January 15th, was arrested and ferried by squad car to Limerick Prison to serve a three month sentence. 79-year old Margaretta D’Arcy, writer, member of Aosdana which honours outstanding contributors to the arts in Ireland, and widow of the late playwright John Arden, did not commit a crime, According to our shared views she was right when not signing „a bond pledging to no longer trespass onto unauthorised areas of Shannon Airport.“
Margaretta D’Arcy has been arrested twice for sitting on the runway at Shannon. Her first trial in December at Ennis District Court in Clare, found her and her co-defendant, Niall Farrell, guilty of interfering with the ‘proper’ use of Shannon Airport. The defendants’ main argument is that Shannon Airport is not being ‘properly used’. It is supposed to be a civilian airport, yet it is being transited by US warplanes, military cargo and troop carriers as well as by planes implicated in the infamous ‘rendition’ flights, involving the kidnapping and transporting of people to secret detention centres for ‘interrogation’.
Ireland — purportedly a neutral state – has allowed over 2m US soldiers to pass through Shannon Airport in the past decade, most on their way to wars in the Iraq and Afghanistan. Between January and September last year, 366 foreign military aircraft were allowed to land. The US Government is quite clear about the strategic importance of Shannon. A US Embassy briefing document in 2006, revealed by Wikileaks, stated that Shannon’s geography makes it a ‘key transit point for military flights and military contract flights carrying personnel and material to Iraq and the Middle East/Gulf theatre in the global war on terror, as well as to Europe and Africa’.
The Irish Government’s rules on such flights are that the planes must be unarmed, carry no arms, ammunition or explosives. They must not engage in intelligence gathering, nor form part of a military exercise or operation.
In September last year, however, when an attack on Syria seemed imminent, a US AC130 gunship with its 30mm side-mounted cannon in clear view, appeared on the runway at Shannon.
We support the campaign that has now been launched for the release of Margaretta D’Arcy from Limerick Prison. We join in voices with many artists, writers, colleagues in Aosdana and a former UN Assistant Secretary General who have spoken out on her behalf.
The real call should be for the release of Shannon Airport from the US military, this being the real reason for her imprisonment should not be forgotten.
Rudolf Palmer, Gardeschützenweg 27/29, 12049 Berlin
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