Submission to Oireachtas Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs

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Subject: Irish Involvement in Iraq War and Occupation and in Transport of Prisoners for Torture, at Shannon. (Tuesday 20 December 2005)

Delegation of Peace Activists: Edward Horgan, Mary Kelly, Tim Hourigan and Deirdre Morgan.

Dear Members of the Oireachtas,
The purpose of our meeting with you is to inform your committee of grave matters of public importance, and to engage in dialog on these matters with you, and to ask your committee to investigate, or cause to be investigated the matters we put before you. In this respect we do not expect you to act only on our say so, and on the information we provide, but rather ask you to carry out your own thorough investigations. We consider it a democratic privilege to be allowed address you, and we hope your committee will treat these matters with due importance.

Due to time and resource constraints, this submission will of necessity be incomplete. We will update it for the benefit of your committee as additional information become available to us.

Introduction and summary
On 20 th March 2003, the Government of Ireland decided to authorise, and Dáil Éireann approved a motion approving, the use of Shannon airport by US troops for the purposes of the Iraq War. This was in contravention of the spirit of Article 28 and 29 of Bunreacht na hÉireann , in contravention of the article of the Hague Convention on Neutrality, and in contravention of the spirit and several article of the UN Charter.

There are four primary issues that we wish to raise with this committee:

  • Ireland's involvement in the Iraq War, and the resultant breaches of international laws on neutrality
  • The use of Shannon airport the US Government and CIA associated aircraft for the purposes of 'rendering' prisoners for torture, and the breaches of international laws associated with this practice
  • Breaches of Irish laws at Shannon airport particularly the Criminal Justice (UN Convention against Torture) Act 2000, but also serious breaches of common laws, and breaches of duty by Gardai and other agents of the Irish State, at Shannon airport, resulting in their failures to investigate the most serious of crimes
  • The threats to public safety, and security at Shannon airport arising from the misuse of this civilian airport, and other airports such as Baldonnel, by US military, and the wider threats to the Irish public, especially in Dublin, resulting from Ireland's unwarranted assistance to one of the belligerents in the war against Iraq, that is the United States, thereby causing a risk of retaliation on behalf of the victims of this war.

While these are portrayed above in a legalistic manner, as befitting the role of the members of your committee as legislators, we wish to emphasise that our primary concerns are always the humanitarian concerns, and our duties as citizens to prevent unlawful killings, torture and other human rights abuses, wherever they are occurring, but especially to prevent Irish complicity and active participation in the most serious crimes imaginable.

Download Submission (PDF file, 99 kb) pa-submission-to-oireachtas.pdf

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