Protesters demonstrate against US warship’s Cork visit

Anti-war campaigners say the USS Donald Cook’s presence is a breach of neutrality

The USS Donald Cook, which is currently visiting Cork.

The USS Donald Cook, which is currently visiting Cork.

 

A group of anti-war campaigners has demonstrated in Cobh against the visit of a US warship to Cork Harbour, saying it marks yet another breach of the State’s policy of neutrality.

About 20 people attended the protest on Saturday over the visit by the USS Donald Cook, which has spent the last five days moored at the deepwater quay in Cobh.

According to Ed Horgan, international secretary of the Peace and Neutrality Alliance, the USS Donald Cook has the capacity to carry nuclear warheads on its Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles.

“These Tomahawk missiles can be fitted with nuclear weapons, but we don’t know if it has nuclear weapons on board or not, because it will not be searched by our security forces during this visit.”

Mr Horgan said the visit was a clear breach of Irish neutrality, given the US is at war in several countries in the Middle East and destroyers like the USS Donald Cook have been used in those conflicts.

He pointed out that the USS Donald Cook had taken part in the US invasion of Iraq, and on March 20th, 2003, it launched Tomahawk missiles at Baghdad, killing people and destroying property.

“It is likely that the USS Donald Cook refueled while in Cobh, but it is no more welcome in an Irish port than the US warplanes that are being refueled at Shannon Airport on a daily basis.”

Neutrality

Cllr Ted Tynan, a Workers’ Party member of Cork City Council, condemned the visit, saying that while many sought to ridicule the State’s policy of neutrality, it was something that should be protected.

“100,000 people marched in Dublin back in 2003 against the Iraq war, but successive governments have ignored their wishes by allowing these flagrant breaches of Ireland’s neutrality,” he said.

Cllr Diarmuid Ó Cadhla, a member of the People’s Convention who sits on Cork County Council, also criticised the visit by the US warship.

“The ship, which has taken an active part in US- and Nato-led wars, is a state-of-the-art killing machine. It has been used in the murder and maiming of innocent people,” said Mr Ó Cadhla.

“The presence of such a warship in Cork Harbour makes a mockery of our neutrality, as does the continued use of Shannon Airport by the US military.

“In fact, this type of collaboration with the US and Nato war effort exposes Irish people to attack - even though, as a people, we never agreed to such support for wars of aggression.”