Claims on US military flights could endanger lives, says Joan Burton

Mick Wallace again insists US planes carrying weapons and munitions

The Tánaiste warned Independent TD Mick Wallace he could endanger lives by claiming US military planes were carrying arms and munitions through Shannon airport.

Insisting Ireland was neutral, Joan Burton said some of Mr Wallace's language was what would be called "dog whistle politics'' in Australia.

He was basically implying there were utterly illegal actions by Irish authorities.

“He is suggesting that Shannon is a military airport, which is fanciful in the extreme,’’ said Ms Burton.


“Does he understand what the consequences of his statements might be in terms of the safety of people in Ireland ?’’

Mr Wallace said not one US military plane had been checked passing through Shannon in the Government's lifetime.

He said Labour in opposition had favoured searching US planes in case they were carrying arms and munitions.

“How can the Tánaiste say she is promoting peace and not war?’’ Mr Wallace asked.

"Last year alone, we gave permits for US civilian charter planes to carry to carry 190 tons of bullets; they flew over Ireland to go to Afghanistan. ''

Not neutral

Mr Wallace claimed “the dogs in the street know we are not neutral anymore and we have taken sides’’.

He said Ireland was facilitating American war-mongering, as 2.5 million troops had passed through the airport with arms and munitions of a quantity that could not even be imagined because the planes were not being searched.

Mr Wallace said Ireland was allowing the airport to be used as a US military base to bomb the homes of people and destroy untold lives and countries.

He urged the Tánaiste to promise she would insist on the planes being searched if she was re-elected.

“We need Shannon Airport to be a civilian airport again,’’ he added.

Ms Burton said Mr Wallace should make available any information he had about Shannon’s use as a military airport.

“As an island nation we are a neutral nation, and we use our troops for peacekeeping and conflict prevention,’’ she added.

“For the deputy to suggest, just for the sake of some potential media coverage, that this is other than a neutral country may end up putting Irish people and institutions at risk, something I am sure he would not wish for.”

Michael O'Regan

Michael O'Regan

Michael O’Regan is a former parliamentary correspondent of The Irish Times