TD says he scaled airport fence because Minister told him to

Mick Wallace and Clare Daly in court over alleged illegal entrance at Shannon Airport

Independent TD Mick Wallace has told a court that he scaled a fence at Shannon Airport to search a US military plane after a Government Minister told him to go get the evidence of arms on the planes.

Mr Wallace and Dáil colleague Clare Daly were both appearing at Ennis District Court concerning their alleged illegal entrance into a restricted area of Shannon Airport on July 22nd, 2014.

“On two occasions when former Minister for Justice, Alan Shatter was finished being as derogatory as he could with me, he told me to go and get the evidence,” said Mr Wallace. “And that is exactly what we went to do when we went over the fence in Shannon – to find their so called concrete evidence.

“Under no circumstances were we going to be allowed in and search the planes and the only chance we would have of searching the planes was to get over the fence illegally and search the planes ourselves. We went to every measure possible not to put anyone else at risk. We wanted to search the planes. We didn’t want to break the peace. We wanted to keep it.”


Mr Wallace told the court that he hasn't missed a World Cup or European Championship since 1982 and it has always given him great pride to say he is from Ireland at the events. However, he said that, arising from the US military use at Shannon airport, "we are not a neutral country. We do not promote peace. It breaks my heart that we promote war."

Mr Wallace said that there no transparency or accountability over what is happening at Shannon. He said that we have allowed the US military use Shannon Airport “to carry out carnage on a world wide level”.

Mr Wallace also added that “Shannon has been used as a US military base for a long time now. I don’t believe that we broke the law by going over the fence and the Nuremberg principles support that. They state that citizens have an obligation to break domestic law in order to protect justice and humanity.

“We felt that it was our obligation to do our utmost to ensure that international law is upheld. The fact that we are legislators put an extra burden of responsibility on us. Even more so than ordinary citizens.

“If Shannon airport was operated in a transparent and accountable manner, there would be no need to go over the fence. The common thread is secrecy and deception and there is a total lack of honesty in the way the Government deals with the issue.”

“I’m admitting that I got over the fence to do what I thought was right. I felt as a legislator, I had an obligation to see that Ireland was not breaking international law. I went over the fence to promote peace not war.”

In her evidence, Ms Daly said she had no choice but to highlight the use of Shannon by the US military when she scaled a fence at the airport in July last.

She told the court that Shannon is a key cog in the US military machine.

In evidence, Ms Daly said that she had a responsibility to highlight the use of Shannon, stating that over two million US troops have gone through the airport to fight US wars.

She also admitted that she did go over the fence and was airside without permission.

Anti-war activist Margaretta D’Arcy said the court supports the status quo, stating “this is not a court that supports justice”.

She said that “hear no evil, see no evil” dominates the mindset in Ireland in relation to the use of Shannon by the US military.

Judge Patrick Durcan adjourned the case to April 15th for mention.

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan is a contributor to The Irish Times