Shannon council seeks rendition flight inspections

 

Shannon Town Council last night passed a motion calling for inspections for suspected rendition flights passing through the State.

The motion, proposed by Labour Cllr Greg Duff and seconded by party colleague Cllr Tony McMahon, was unanimously passed. It stated that the nine-member council “supports the demand of the Irish Human Rights Commission for a system of inspection of foreign aircraft to ensure that Ireland is never, even unwittingly, an accessory to rendition or torture.”

“After 9/11, everyone got on this huge bandwagon of the fight against terror. . . and they forgot about the torture that you could become, even unwittingly, part of,” Cllr Duff said today.

“Various governments, including the Swedish government, have . . . apologised for their involvement in it [rendition flights] after 9/11," he added.

Cllr Duff expressed the hope that other town councils would follow Shannon's lead. "I look on Co Clare as a tourist county . . . marketing should be concentrating not on bringing in military flights but on tourism."

Welcoming the vote, Amnesty International Ireland executive director Colm O’Gorman said: “I am delighted that Shannon Town Council has stood up for human rights.

"That Shannon’s councillors can support the call from Amnesty International and other human rights organisations for inspections is of immense symbolic value.”

“The representatives of the people of Shannon join Cork City Council, Derry City Council and Kilkenny County Council in declaring themselves‘rendition-free’, and I would urge other local authorities across the country to follow suit,” Mr O’Gorman added.

Amnesty claims Shannon airport has been identified through flight logs as a staging area for renditions operations.

The Government has said that it received assurances from US president George W. Bush and his secretary of state Condoleezza Rice that no extraordinary rendition took place at Shannon airport.

The Irish Human Rights Commission has been campaigning for Shannon inspections since 2005, and a European Parliament resolution has urged the Government to set up a parliamentary inquiry into the use of Irish territory by CIA-operated aircraft.