"Shutdown of the Shannon Airport" talk, 3/18 Baltimore
Speaking Friday, April 18th, 8PM at Red Emma's in Baltimore, Maryland
Andrew N. Flood, activist and writer from Dublin, will be speaking on the anti-war movement Ireland, specifically on the campaigns surrounding the U.S. use of Shannon airport. Shannon airport in offically 'neutral' southern Ireland has been used for at least a decade to refuel US war planes. Grassroots Network Againt the War (GNAW) held a series of direct action tresspasses and property destruction.
"In Ireland, previous anti-war movements had limited themselves to marching around the larger cities and listening to speeches. This time, we saw the full range of debate and actions that have been common to anti-war movements elsewhere for some time. Recognising the huge public support for the anti-war position, significant numbers of activists argued for, organised and took direct action against the war machine. Anarchists were amongst those at the fore of promoting direct action against the war machine. These actions were successful at driving out three of the four commercial airlines, which had been flying tens of thousands of Gulf-bound US troops through Shannon airport, before the war began. The acting head of the US Embassy in Dublin, Jane Fort, blamed the "threatening behaviour of protestors" for their decision to leave. "The combination of two back-to-back incidents of real destruction would prompt any company to ask if it would put people in harm's way, people who might be working on planes or riding on planes."
"These withdrawals were significant because Ireland's location made it quite useful for the US war effort. Official government figures revealed that just over 20,000 US troops were flown through Shannon airport in the opening weeks of the year. The Wall Street Journal of December 19th reported that, in the January build up, "more than 50,000 US ground troops are likely to flow into the Gulf region". It thus appears that over 40% of these may have come through Shannon airport, showing the importance of this airport to the US military supply chain.
"In Ireland, for this reason, almost all of the direct action protests were targeted on Shannon airport. More than half dozen successful actions took place, ranging from a large scale breach of the fence in October, to physical attacks on planes as the build up to war escalated. Shannon has been a target of Irish antiwar movements before, for it has been used to refuel US military planes as far back as the Vietnam war. During the 1991 Gulf war, many of us marched around Dublin demanding 'no refuelling at Shannon' - to no effect. In the years since many things have changed, not least the growth of a libertarian network and a direct action culture."
- Direct Action against the war in Ireland
Andrew N. Flood is a member of the Workers Solidarity Movement, a specific anarchist organization in Ireland.
More of Andrew's writing
About the Workers Solidarity Movement