Tag Archives: Edward Horgan

Neutrality, how are ye? US warplanes at Shannon and transiting Irish air space

.lNonviolent News is publishing this list, compiled by Edward Horgan, because it shows part of the extent of existing Irish collusion with the USA military and NATO.

US military aircraft and aircraft on contract to the US military transiting through Shannon airport and Irish air-space between 7th Oct 2023 and 17th March 2024.

The following are details compiled by Edward Horgan of US military aircraft and aircraft on contract to the US military that have passed through Shannon airport and Irish air space between 7th October 2023 and 17th March 2024. Over 70 aircraft landings or overflights are listed here, but this is likely not the full list. Most of these aircraft were going to or coming from the Middle East. Due to limited resources, there may be some inaccuracies in the details below, including the fact that we are not able to monitor all aircraft transiting through Shannon airport or Irish airspace. However, the information provided below does demonstrate the very serious extent of Irish Government complicity in war crimes and genocide and unjustified breaches of Irish neutrality.

  1. 17th March 2024 OMNI Air number N234AX on contract to the US military, landed at Shannon airport at 0951am this morning coming from Tbilisi capital of Georgia, Omni Air N234AX flew on to US Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point in North Carolina

  2. 16th March 2024 Omni Air N378AX also on contract to the US military landed at Shannon about 0450am coming from Indianapolis in the US, and took off again at 0726am heading for Sofia in Bulgaria and onwards to US air base Al Udeid in Qatar. This is the largest US base in the Middle East. Both aircraft are likely to have been transporting armed US soldiers.

  3. 12th March 2024 Omni Air N828AX on contract to the US military landed at Shannon airport. It was coming from coming from El Paso, and Fort Cavazos TX and Baltimore. I It then flew on to Kuwait one of the major distribution points for US troops and munitions around the Middle East,

  4. 13th March 2024 US Air Force C40C number 02-0202 landed at Shannon airport. It was coming from US Airbase Andrews, Camp Springs, Washington. It then flew on to Amman capital of Jordan before flying towards the Gulf of Aqaba.

  5. 9th March 2024 US Navy C40 number 16-5833 landed at Shannon airport at 02.36 am this morning coming from New Orleans Naval Air Station via Dover Portsmouth.

  6. 8th March 2024 US Marine Corps KC130J Super Hercules number 16-9532 arrived at Shannon from Milwaukee in the US a distance of over 5,700 kilometres. It spent6 the day and overnight at Shannon and took off again today at 11.58 and then flew on to Cambridge airport in England. Its destination after Cambridge is not known.

  7. 3rd March 2024 US Air Force, Gulfstream 5 executive jet number 99-0402 flew through Irish airspace on 3rd March, using callsign SAM265 on its way to Frankfurt and from there it flew to Cyrus and to Tel Aviv Israel on 4th March. On its return journey to the US it landed at Shannon about 17.55 pm on 5th March and stayed overnight at Shannon and then took off at about 09.00am on 6th March and flew on to Washington. This type of US Air Force aircraft may well have been carrying senior US administration officials or senior US military officers. Given the US active support for the genocide being committed by Israeli in Gaza no US military aircraft or aircraft on contract to the US military should be allowed land at Irish airports or pass through Irish airspace. This makes Ireland complicit in US war crimes and in possible acts of genocide.

  8. 4th March 2024 Omni Air aircraft number N846AX landed at Shannon airport, having come from Baltimore Washington. It then flew on to Sofia Bulgaria and from there to Kuwait. It then flew back to the US through Irish airspace on the 5th March.

  9. 2nd March 2024 There were at least 4 US military aircraft at Shannon on 2nd March. Two US Air Force Hercules C140H aircraft landed at Shannon Tuesday 27th February coming from Ramstein US air base in Germany. They remained at Shannon until today. Their registration numbers were 89-9106 and 92-3023. They both took off from Shannon at about 11.40am this morning and then flew to RAF Mildenhall in Suffolk where they spent a few hours before flying on north towards Iceland.

  10. US Air force Boeing C40C registration number 02-0201 arrived at Shannon airport on 2nd March about 04.43am coming from Washington US and took off again about 06.15 am and flew on Brindisi in Italy.

  11. US Air Force Boeing C40B number 01-0015 arrived at Shannon about 16.00pm, coming from Tel Aviv Israel. It took off again about 17.50 heading west towards the USA. Previously on 26th February it arrived at Shannon coming from MacDill air force base in Florida at about 22.00 pm and took off again heading towards the Middle East. It landed in both Cyprus and Israel on 28th February, but its movements otherwise are not clear. This type of aircraft is usually used by senior US Government officials who have been supporting Israeli genocidal attacks on Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank.

  12. 1st March 2024 Omni Air N207AX arrived at Shannon on 28 Feb from US Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point in North Carolina, and Tbilisi in Georgia. It returned to Shannon on 1st March about 0013 AM and took off for Washington DC about 0307am.

  13. 29th Feb 2024 Omni Air N846AX on contract to the US military arrived at Shannon about 01.48 on 29 Feb and then flew on to US base at Poznan in Poland, and to Sofia in Bulgaria and then to the Persian Gulf area. It then returned to Shannon today at about 0844am and took off again about 11.45am on its return journey to the US.

  14. 28th Feb 2024 Two US air force Hercules C130H landed at Shannon airport on 28 Geb., number 90-9108 landed at 12.40pm and number 92-3023 landed at 12.58pm. Both were coming from Ramstein US Air base in Germany. They are still at Shannon airport this Wednesday morning. At least one of them made deliveries in recent days to British airbase Akrotiri in Cyprus which is one of the delivery points for Israel.

  15. 19th Feb 2024 US Air force Gulfstream 5, number 01-0029 arrived at Shannon about 10.35 coming from Vienna probably from the Security Conference, and took off again about 11.30am and has since landed at Washington. On 14th February this aircraft landed at Tel Aviv Israel.

  16. 17th Feb 2024, US Navy C40a aircraft number 165832 landed back at Shannon coming from Bahrain on its way back to the US. It arrived at Shannon on 15th Feb stayed overnight at Shannon and travelled on to Bahrain via Chania in Crete most likely delivering military materials to Bahrain for distribution around the Middle East.

  17. 12 Feb 2024 US Military Beechcraft BE20 landed at Shannon coming from Keflavik in Iceland, and stayed overnight at Shannon. Its registration number is 84-00162.

  18. 8th Feb 2024 Omni Air N846AX On contract to the US military passed through Shannon on 8th February and flew on to the Kuwait which is a US Military distribution point for other locations in the Middle East, including Israel. It then flew on to Oman and also very likely went on Camp Lemonier in Djibouti. It returned to refuel at Shannon airport yesterday on its way back to the USA.

  19. 6th Feb 2024 a US Marine Corps Cessna C580 executive jet number 166715 landed at Shannon about 10.54 am coming from Bordeaux in France4th February,

  20. Omni Air N342AX on contract to the US military passed through Shannon airport on its way to Kuwait and Qatar. It also refuelled at Shannon on its return journey to the US on Monday 5th February.

  21. 5th Feb. US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken’s aircraft US Air force 99-0004 refuelled at Shannon airport this morning, in spite of the fact that he and the US government are actively complicity and assisting the genocide that is happening in Gaza and the West Bank at present. The aircraft arrived at Shannon from Washington at about 0400 am and took off again about 0550 am, and was last seem over the Adriatic Sea on its way to the Middle East. Meanwhile two US Navy Hercules KC130T aircraft spent last night 4th Feb. at Shannon airport.

  22. 4th Feb 2024 US Navy Hercules C130 spent 2 overnights at Shannon airport. It arrived from Norfolk Naval Air Station Virginia on 2nd Feb. This US Navy aircraft made quick stopover at Sigonella US Naval Air station located at Sigonella Italian air base in Sicily. This US NA Station NAS Sigonella is the hub of U.S. naval air operations in the Mediterranean and is also likely to be actively involved in supporting Israeli war crimes in Gaza. This US Navy Hercules C130 refuelled at Shannon on its return journey to the US.

  23. 31st Jan 2024- US military Beech 200 Super King turboprop number 84-00488, arrived at Shannon coming from an air base near Naples. Prior to that it had been in the Red Sea area on Monday where the US has been launching attacks against Yemen.

  24. 26th Jan 2024 Omni Air n234ax refuelled at Shannon having come from Washington yesterday and took off from Shannon about 05.18am and flew on to Aviano air base in Italy which is a major logistic distribution base.

  25. 23rd Jan It US Navy C40 aircraft landed at Shannon airport just after 5am. Its number was 16-6696 and it was coming from Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia and from Naval Air Station Moyport near Jacksonville, Florida. It stayed overnight at Shannon and then flew on to Sigonella air base in Sicily,

  26. 17th Jan 2024 US Navy Hercules C130T number 16-5160 landed at Shannon about 13.38 coming from Sigonella air base in Sicily. It has been in Bahrain a few days ago also so may well have been supporting US military aggression across the Middle East.

  27. 16th Jan 2024 US Navy Hercules KC130T mid-air refueller, number 16-5315 arrived from Rota naval airbase in Spain about 12.05pm stayed overnight and took off about 10am

  28. US Air force C40 arrived at Shannon about 12.15 coming from Zurich and Bucharest and took off again about 13.00 heading west towards USA.

  29. 11th Jan 2024 At least 3 aircraft associated with US military were refuelled at Shannon airport on 11th Jan. The aircraft most likely carrying Anthony Blinken US Secretary of State, who has been very actively supporting the Israeli government committing Genocide against the Palestinian people, landed at Shannon about 18.05 pm this evening. The aircraft number was 99-0004. During his tour of the Middle East he helped organise air attacks by the US and UK on Yemen,

  30. Omni Air N819AX landed at Shannon about 01.32 coming from Bardufoss air base in northern Norway. It took off this evening about 17.00 heading west towards the USA.

  31. The Third aircraft was a Hercules HC130J belonging to the US Marine Corps. This is a multipurpose aircraft with a mid-air refuelling capacity. It also came from Bardufoss air base and It landed this evening about 19.30pm. Its registration number was 16-9229.

  32. 9th Jan. an Eastern Airlines aircraft number N706KW had been at Shannon for a few days, but was on contract to the US military using US military call sign CMB566. It took off from Shannon shortly after 8am on 9th Jan and flew on to Rzeszow airport in SE Poland which is one of the main supply airports for the Ukrainian military.

  33. 8th Jan. Omni Air N846AX coming from Biggs Army Airfield in El Paso, landed at Shannon about 02.05 am and took off again about 05.05 and flew on to Kuwait and to the United Arab Emirates using US military call sign CMB554. On its return journey to the USA today Jan 9th it stopped off at an airbase in Jordan and at Ramstein air base in Germany.

  34. 5th Jan. Omni Air registration number N225AX arrived at Shannon yesterday coming from Fort Worth Dallas Texas, refuelled at Shannon and then travelled on to Kuwait and to Al Udeid air base in Qatar. Al Udeid is the largest US air base in the Middle East and is used a major distribution point for distributing US soldiers and military materials (bombs etc) to other locations around the Middle East, including Israel. It also refuelled at Shannon on its way back to the USA.

  35. 5th and 6th Jan. were busy for US military activity going through Shannon airport and through Irish airspace. a US Marine Corps Super Hercules KC130J number 16-6512 refuelling tanker overflew through Irish airspace 6th Jan. travelling from Stuttgart in Germany probably to Iceland.

  36. Omni N819AX overflew Irish airspace early this morning heading for Al Udeid air base in Qatar.

  37. Omni N828AX flew through Irish airspace on 5th Jan. from Kuwait to El Paso in Texas, and is now on its way again from El Paso to the Middle East and refuelled at Shannon

  38. On 6th Jan. Omni N846AX refuelled at Shannon on 5th Jan on its way to Kuwait, and returned to US today overflying through Irish airspace at about 11.50am.

  39. Omni N423AX overflew Ireland on 5th Jan. on its way to Sofia Bulgaria and probably also to the Persian Gulf.

  40. Omni N225AX overflew Ireland on 5th Jan. on its way to Ramstein US air base in Germany.

  41. Also on 5th Jan. US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken probably passed through Shannon airport in US Air Force aircraft number 99-0004, coming from Camp Springs Andrews air base in Washington and landing at Shannon for refuelling about 10.30 and taking off again about 12 noon.

  42. 20th December At least 3 US air force aircraft refuelled at Shannon on their way back from the Middle East USAF C17 Globemaster number 07-7185 arrived at Shannon from Camp Springs Washington on 17 December, and then flew on to Ramstein in Germany and from there possibly to Israel. On 20 December it returned to Shannon about 17.50, refuelled and left Shannon towards the US at about 20.35pm.

  43. On 18 Dec. 2023 another USAF C17 Globemaster number 02-1106 was in Tel Aviv Israel. On 20 Dec., it was in Bahrain and flew from there to Akrotiri British air base in Cyprus and from there to Shannon where it landed about 19.20pm.

  44. On 17 December USAF C32A came from Camp Springs Washington, overflew through Irish airspace, landed at Ramstein in Germany and then flew on to the Middle East, most likely to Israel. On 20 December it arrived at Shannon about 19.15, coming from Akrotiri in Cyprus and probably also from Israel. It took off again from Shannon about 20.30 heading west towards the US. At least two of these flights were likely to be connected to the presence of US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin in Israel where he was providing support for the Israeli attacks on Gaza.

  45. 19th Dec 2023 US air force C40B number 02-0042 landed at Shannon airport about 15.40pm coming from a strange location in the Palestinian West Bank, possibly an Israeli air base. It took off again at 1735pm heading for Camp Springs air base near Washington.

  46. 17th Dec. 2023 USAF C17 Globemaster arrived at Shannon about 03.40 am coming from Camp Springs air base in Washington, and took off again at about 06.45am heading for Ramstein air base in Germany.

  47. USAF C40 Boeing 757 number 99-0004 also travelled from Camp Springs in Washington, landed at Shannon about 03.30am and took off again about 05.00 am and went on to Ramstein air base in Germany. Both later travelled on towards the Middle East.

  48. 15th Dec. 2023 US air force number 01-0015 arrived at Shannon about 6pm coming from Israel and Palestinian West Bank. It may have been transporting Jake Sullivan Whitehouse National Security Advisor who met Netanyahu and probably told him that US has approved the sale and immediate delivery of 13,000 more tank shells for Israeli bombing of Gaza.

  49. Also landed at Shannon tonight about 9.15pm was Omni Air N207AX on contract to the US military coming from Kuwait and Oman and possibly also from Djibouti.

  50. 14th Dec. 2023 Another US military aircraft at Shannon airport. US air force C40C seems to have arrived at Shannon on Monday 11 December from the United Arab Emirates. Its registration number is 02-0203. It took off from Shannon 14 Dec heading west towards the USA.

  51. 11th Dec. US military Hercules KC130J mid-air refuelling aircraft number 169225 landed at Shannon airport about 17.10pm, coming from Bardufoss air base in Norway.

  52. Earlier on 11th Dec. a C40 US military transport aircraft coming from Dubai and a US Air force Gulfstream 5 executive Jet also landed at Shannon.

  53. 10th Dec. US Navy C40 Clipper number 16-5831. arrived at Shannon yesterday about 02.26am and stayed all day and overnight at Shannon, leaving about 09.10am. It came from Naval Air Station New Orleans and Dover air base Delaware, it went on to land in Bahrain.

  54. US air force registration number is 01-0015 Boeing 737-700, coming from MacDill air force base in Tampa Florida landed at Shannon about 19.17pm tonight and took off again about 21.40pm, heading east towards Europe and likely towards the Middle East.

  55. 6th Dec. Omni Air N207AX on contract to the US military was refuelled at Shannon coming from air bases in Qatar, Kuwait and Ramstein in Germany.

  56. 7th Dec. US Air force special operations plane number 62-4131 R135W flew through Irish airspace coming from Omaha and it landed at Cambridge UK, and then flew on the UAE and Qatar. An almost identical aircraft RC135 number 64-148432 has been doing almost daily reconnaissance type flights and patrols off the coast of Gaza beginning on 7th October the day the Gaza war began using Chania air base in Crete to refuel. It was still on patrol off Gaza today 9th December 2023.

  57. 1st Dec. 2023 Omni Air N846AX on contract to the US military overflew through Irish airspace on 29 Nov. landed at Frankfurt Hahn and flew on to Bahrain. It then flew back to Nuremberg and Riga Latvia and landed at Shannon about 01.57am on 1st Dec.

  58. On 29th Nov Omni Air N468AX coming from US landed at Shannon about 03.55am and took off again about 0755 and flew on to Rzeszow in Poland near the border with Ukraine, and also landed in Nuremberg and Romania. On 30th Nov it landed at Shannon about 03.54 and took off the US about 06.09, and has since landed at Hunter Army Air Field in Georgia.

  59. On 29 Nov Omni Air N828AX overflew through Irish Airspace coming from Washington DC, and flew on to land at Ramstein air base in German and to air bases in Kuwait and Qatar when are major US distributions bases to other locations in the Middle East, including Israel. It overflew through Irish airspace again on 1st Dec. at about 01.34am on its way back to the USA.

  60. Also on 1st Dec. Omni Air N819AX flew through Irish airspace about 1400pm coming from Dallas TX. It was last seen flying over Romania probably heading towards the Middle East

  61. 28th Nov. 2023 a US navy aircraft number 16-5829 landed at Shannon airport. coming from Oceana airbase Virginia Beach. It stayed overnight at Shannon and on 29 Nov then travelled on to joint air base Chania in Crete and has returned to Shannon again later on 29th.

  62. 13th Nov. 2023 US air force aircraft registration 02-0042 arrived at Shannon airport coming from MacDill air force base in Tampa Florida. It took off again about 9pm heading south east over Europe.

  63. 10th Nov. US Navy C40A aircraft registration number 16-5832 arrived at Shannon from Sigonella air base in Sicily. It stayed for two overnights at Shannon and took off on 12th Nov. and flew on to Portsmouth in the USA.

  64. 6th Nov. 2023 three aircraft on contract to US military refuelled at Shannon. Omni Air N378AX arrived at Shannon also from Fort Campbell in Tennessee, It refuelled at Shannon and has since flown on to land near Constanta in Romania.

  65. Omni air N828AX went on to make deliveries to Nuremberg Germany, Tallinn in Estonia and Poznan in Poland.

  66. Omni air N846AX has since landed in Kuwait.

  67. 2nd Nov. US Air force diplomatic aircraft number 98-0002 landed at Shannon airport at about 23:02 coming from Camp Springs Joint Air base Andrews in Washington DC. It may well have been carrying US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken who was due to visit Israel and possibly other locations in the Middle East.

  68. 27th Oct. Omni Air aircraft number N468AX landed for refuelling about 22.13 pm while on contract to the US military transportation command. It was coming from Oman in the Persian Gulf via Sofia in Bulgaria, but also looks like it had also made a return journey from a location south of Oman, probably to Camp Lemonier in Djibouti.

  69. 22nd Oct. US Navy Hercules C130T landed at Shannon yesterday 21st October about 15:45 pm coming from Sigonella in Sicily and Bahrain. It stayed overnight last night and took off about 10:34 this morning heading west towards the USA.

  70. 17 Oct 2023 Eastern Airlines aircraft registration number N705KW which was on contract to the US military passed through Shannon airport on Tuesday 17th October, coming from Bangor Maine USA, and then travelled on to United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, and landed again at Shannon airport on its return journey on 19th Oct.

  71. 7th Oct. 2023 Omni Air N468AX on contract to the US military arrived at Shannon about 5.52 am coming from Pope Army Air Field in North Carolina and from Baltimore Washington. It took off again about 09.33am made a further refuelling stop at Sofia Bulgaria and then flew on to Kuwait.

On 7th October 2023 war has once again broken out between Israel and Palestine with hundreds of people killed in the last 24 hours.

Our thoughts and prayers are are with the victims of war everywhere.

In the meantime, the death toll in Gaza up to 17TH March 2024 has exceeded 31,000 including at least 12,300 children.

Shannonwatch website is at www.shannonwatch.org

The next monthly Shannon peace vigil on Sunday 14th April 2pm to 3pm.


Billy King shares his monthly thoughts

I always welcome the end of January with a noticeable lengthening in daylight, no, spring is not here but there is light at the end of the winter tunnel. And it’s time for me to do some more work in the garden, to get things a bit in order, including digging out all the scutch grass from the Welsh onions (perpetual scallions to you) which will necessitate digging out everything and replanting the Welsh onions when the weeds are, hopefully, cleared. Leave the garden until spring is sprung and for me, anyway, it is already too late to ‘take control’ – I use this term very much in inverted commas because I know I can only work with nature and I can never beat it.

It was good to see Taoiseach Leo Varadkar visiting Kildare in late January to support the Pause for Peace on St Brigid’s Day, 1st February. Is it too much to expect then that the Irish government will get its Paws off War preparation and its support for arms production then????????

As you probably know, the Good Friday Agreement isn’t the greatest deal for the North since unsliced wholemeal bread but has been an important agreement and move nonetheless. The DUP have never agreed to it per se and its implementation has been extremely patchy with the Assembly at Stormont ‘down’ nearly as much as it has been ‘up’. However a poll in the Tele (Belfast Telegraph) showed a majority of unionists would vote against it today https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/politics/a-majority-of-unionists-would-vote-against-1998-good-friday-agreement-today/43633102.html Yus, we need something better in the North but the GFA has been an important staging post and it to be rejected by 54% of unionists (the category is unionists, not Prods) is scary; overall 64% support it. A clear arithmetic majority of people in Northern Ireland, 60%, felt the DUP should get back into Stormont straight away – but only 21% of unionists. We’ll have to see how the proto calls develop in the next few weeks when the EU and UK come out with their new protocols on the Norn Iron Protocol.

Past caring

The phrase to be ‘beyond caring’ or ‘past caring’ indicates a certain amount of resignation and a lot of frustration and annoyance about whatever it is you are ‘past caring’ about. Use of the phrase actually usually denotes that the person does care, or certainly did until very very recently, but either tiredness or frustration have kicked in, big time, and the person concerned feels there is nothing more they can do. We have all been there.

But, to give the phrase a twist, ‘past caring’ can be ‘caring for the past’. I have written here before, some time ago, about the pain of being archivally minded – you can’t just throw things out that are of possible significance, like any normal human being, oh no, you have to try to find A Home for them. And that is usually a frustrating search because someone or some institution will take part of what you have, leaving you with a smaller amount of whatever it is and an even more difficult task to find A Home for those.

It has been an interesting task to be involved in going through the INNATE archives. Much has been added to the INNATE photo and documentation site as material was sorted and before going to PRONI (Public Record Office) or wherever. This current issue of Nonviolent News has a listing of resources from INNATE.

Past, present, future. Scientists and philosophers have no coherent theory of time. What we can gather however is that past, present and future are linked in very real and causal ways. We don’t need to be deterministic and believe in preordained realities but we do need to recognise how the past has set up the present and that is creating the future. And we need as true an understanding as possible of the past if we are to avoid self-justifying conceits such as that the Troubles in the North were ‘unavoidable’. They happened and we need to understand why. But to say they were ‘unavoidable’ is nonsense, history could have taken a different path. The tragedy is that there wasn’t a different path tank, and the necessity is to avoid travelling down a similar path in the future.

Brendan McAllister

The death of Northern peace activist Brendan McAllister came as a shock – he was 66 and someone had asked me how he was doing only ten days before he died and I said I didn’t know but presumed he was busy with his work as a deacon (in the Catholic church) – he had just ‘qualified’ in February last in this new career or should I say calling. There are a number of photos of him on the INNATE photo website but my favourite is https://www.flickr.com/photos/innateireland/7122164753/in/album-72157629555375796/ because, although not detailed of him and from the back it shows him in typical, contemplative stance in a less than contemplative situation and also represents the power of the individual. For those interested in such things, https://www.newrycathedralparish.org/2022/02/14/profile-deacon-brendan-mcallister/ gives a fascinating account of some of his faith journey to be a Catholic deacon.

I will tell you one other story. Around 1990 the political parties in Northern Ireland were still not talking to each other, and particularly not to Sinn Féin from the unionist side because of their unequivocal support for, and link with, the IRA. As a result when Pax Christi and others were running immersive/information programmes for people from outside Norn Iron about the situation they had a problem. How to have all political views represented in a panel discussion? So they developed a model using actors to represent individual political parties or positions, I became a Fianna Fáil TD for the duration (“I’m very glad you asked me that question” emanating from my mouth while in role I clearly writhed and objected strongly to being asked….). Brendan McAllister played the role of a middle class member of the Ulster Unionist Party who believed everything was fine before 1968 when civil righters and republicans came and stirred up trouble. It was quite fun but we did our best to represent faithfully our respective roles and it was a learning experience for the actors too, to talk – if not walk – in someone else’s shoes..

Anyway, one time this model for a panel discussion was being used there was quite a crowd and one attendee missed the introduction to say all roles in the panel were being taken by actors, and why this was so. They got up at the end during questions to demand to know why the poor Sinn Féin rep was being ostracised and ignored by the others……. All quite instructive really and also an indication that maybe us actors weren’t too bad.

But back specifically to Brendan McAllister; he was a peace activist and peace thinker, with Corrymeela and elsewhere including Pax Christi, long before he became the first director in 1992 of what is now Mediation Northern Ireland (it went through a few changes of name which I won’t go into here). Policies which he bravely undertook in that position included work on parade disputes (most likely to anger loyalists but also possibly republicans) and work with the police in relation to changing their culture and practice (this was way before the Patton report reforms and it was most likely to anger republicans). He subsequently held different victims commissioner roles among other international work.

I feel Brendan was always someone who tried, to his fullest extent, to be true to himself and to think strategically. He was small of stature but not small in spirit or in the contribution he made. He deserves to rest in peace and like many I will miss him and his quizzical but intelligent expression as he sought to understand what you were saying or your reaction to something he had said, and make sense of the ridiculousness of so much of what happens in the North.

Chess pieces

The bould Prince Harry put quite a few cats among a lot of pigeons with his various revelations about British royal shenanigans in his memoir. [I hope you will ‘Spare‘ us too much detail – Ed.] However here I wanted to pick up on his comments on his work with the UK armed forces in Afghanistan, and now breaking the army (most armies) code of omerta in speaking about how many people he had killed. From a purely personal point of view, regarding his own security, he wasn’t very wise to say how many Taliban he reckoned he killed since it could trigger a violent reaction (it was 25, he reckoned) but it was very honest.

He was castigated by Norn Iron’s own (retired) Colonel Tim Collins for being so specific, and by him and others for letting down the military ‘family’. Tim Collins himself is known for a stirring militarist speech before the 2003 Iraq war and a number of questions emerged around that time about Tim Collins’ behaviour himself (see Guardian 22.05.03 and The Sun 21.05.03) although he was later cleared by the army. Collins said about Prince HarryThat’s not how you behave in the army; it’s not how we think. He has badly let the side down. We don’t do notches on the rifle butt. We never did.” What Collins says is true – but the reason is that to contemplate how many lives you have snuffed out is generally not conducive to doing the same thing again, i.e. such contemplation is going to make you a less effective soldier and killer in the future so from a militarist perspective it is better to just ‘forget about it’. And you might also have more nightmares if you count the notches.

But there is a point also about the military as ‘family’. If you have gone through the heat of battle, and lived closely beside other people, it is not surprising you feel your comrades in arms are ‘family’ but to me it is actually the antithesis of family – real family, whether blood relations or not, are not generally in the habit of killing and trying to avoid being killed. But to tell the truth about how many you killed? That is letting the side down because it doesn’t look great, does it. This is without it even being bragging about killing lots of people; it is about being specific about the results of being a soldier; killing is what you do in such a situation. It is cutting through the military mystique to tell the tragic truth about your actions – dead bodies, and that is true whether you feel such killing is justified or not. Such things need to be hidden in order to perpetuate the military system.

Using the phrase “chess pieces removed from the board”, as Prince Harry did for those killed, is actually quite an appropriate metaphor – in terms of military thinking – since, while it has moved beyond that, chess is in origin a ‘martial’ game. Those seeking to kill cannot think of the humanity of the enemy, doing so could either stop them in their tracks or give them severe PTSD and mental health problems. The British general who denied they thought in terms of chess pieces was seeking to give a benign but false take on the reality – troops are specifically trained to dehumanise the enemy so they can kill them. And with high tech weaponry, killing is increasingly akin to a video game, a modern version of, or alternative to, chess.

Modern armies try to give the impression of being caring, sharing organisations whereas the essential role, if it comes to the bit, is obeying orders and killing capacity. Meanwhile as Irish neutrality gets sold down the river, the Irish Army, with a proud role of military peacekeeping abroad for many decades, risks becoming simply another unit in the might of the burgeoning EU empire and its role in wars later in the 21st century.

Details on the non-existent Irish arms Industry

While armaments manufacturing gears up in the North, of course the Republic has no arms industry worth talking about (or so Simon Coveney would have us believe). However a different story emerges when the matter is studied and government propaganda is waded past.. You may already be aware that Phoenix magazine has the best coverage of Irish foreign affairs and neutrality – most of the rest of the media is more than content to extol the virtues of the emerging EU military empire, while the Phoenix takes a more rational view.

Phoenix Annual for 2022 took a look at the arms industry south of the border down Doubling way. It makes pretty disturbing reading. Military licences granted in 2020 amounted to over €108 million – more than double the figure of over €42 million for 2019 which in turn was up on the year before, and that up on the year before that. Business is booming – literally as over €3 worth of explosive devices and related equipment went to the USA in 2020. But as we have often stated here in these pages, ‘dual use’ equipment which goes for military purposes is indeed military equipment.

The Phoenix also refers to Simon Coveney’s statement at the Aviva Stadium arms beano (for the protest there see https://www.flickr.com/photos/innateireland/52408699982/in/dateposted/ and accompanying photos) that “…Ireland does not have a defence industry like other European member states…” to which the answer must be “Oh yes it does! And you have been trying to grow it exponentially.”

Of course the term ‘defence’ is also mainly a euphemism, as if arms manufactures are only used for ‘defence’. The only successful attack on the USA’s territory in modern times, arguably since Pearl Harbour, was 9/11 and that was conducted using commercial air planes hijacked with violence but not something that conventional armed forces could have prevented. If arms were indeed only used for ‘defence’ then the arms industry would be very much smaller than it is.

There are more details on Irish arms exports in The Phoenix Annual for 2022, page 8..

Mustard Seed 1976

It was mustard, or was it (‘mustard’ as a slang term/adjective originating in England can have different meanings, positive and negative). Anyway, Mustard Seed was a big ‘alternatives gathering’ which took place in April 1976 https://www.flickr.com/photos/innateireland/20003062983/in/photolist-2m9Zbio-wtAVJg – this entry has an explanation of the purpose behind the festival, written afterwards. Though I am showing my age by saying I remember Mustard Seed well [you certainly are – Ed.]

Far more people crowded into the Glencree Centre in the Wicklow hills than would be permitted today by health and safety or insurance. I think probably 400 people attended in all over the weekend with maybe 150 or more staying overnight, people sleeping anywhere they could find in the buildings and some in a big marquee. I slept behind and under the reception desk (the warmest out of the way place I could find…) – I find I sleep quite well under tables. [No comment – Ed] [‘No comment’ is a comment – Billy] (En français – ‘Comment’? – Ed]

The programme was varied and catered for many different interests though I think it played a significant role in the evolution of an ecological consciousness, and confidence, and networking for many. Of course the informal meeting was just as important as any plenaries or workshops, though when a ‘geographical areas’ exercise took place for people to group and network together – going around the compass of Ireland, N, NE, E, Dublin, SE, etc, one neglected person from the Midlands came up to the organisers – they had forgotten to include the centre of the island as a networking area! And believe it or not, Ireland does have a centre…..

While the event took place at Glencree it was organised by the SCM/Student Christian Movement, an ecumenical left-of-centre student group whose Dublin based organiser at the time was Michael Walsh. What I found interesting, as a kind of Christian, was the fact that aside from a couple of different faces of the SCM itself, the ‘Christian world’ was entirely absent. Looking back this seems, if not prescient, at least a foreteller of the decline of Christianity as a major, or the major, force in Irish society. That is a vast generalisation but I hope you know what I mean. Now many of those present may have been inspired by an individual religious faith of some sort, Christian or otherwise, but it certainly wasn’t something which was obvious in any way. And that was 1976.

Again I am not wanting to write off the contribution made in many fields by people of a Christian faith, of whatever denomination, then or since. And some Christians have caught up, think of Eco Congregation work for example https://www.ecocongregationireland.com/ in relation to ecology and green issues. However it seems to me, looking back, that it was a straw, or perhaps a mustard seed, in the wind of what was about to happen to the Christian edifice in Ireland ‘on all sides’.

Fair play….

…….To Edward Horgan, he was back at Shannon Airport only a few days after being acquitted of criminal damage for a nonviolent action there almost six years ago (see news section this issue). As those familiar with such expeditions to Shannon know, the verdict in the actual trial is only the culmination of a long drawn out process which can put lives on hold for years. His Facebook entry for 30th January reads:

Back at Shannon airport today, US Marine Corps Hercules KC130T arrived at Shannon today at 14.45pm, coming from Al Udeid US air base in Qatar, Persian Gulf via Sofia in Bulgaria. This is a multipurpose war plane also equipped as a mid air refueller. Such breaches of Irish neutrality are happening almost daily at Shannon airport.
On Friday Omni Air most likely having delivered armed US troops to Wroclaw in Poland, refuelled at Shannon on its way back to the US. On Thursday Omni Air N378AX refuelled at Shannon coming from Al Udeid US air base in Qatar, and flew on to Fort Brag in North Carolina.

On Thursday 26 January The President of Switzerland Alain Berset not only ruled out any involvement in sending weapons to Ukraine, but explained on television that Switzerland had a unique quality of “neutrality.” Their role, as reflected in the Geneva Conventions, is so much more important than joining a parade of weapon providers. “Today, it is not time to change the rules” against exporting weapons. “Neither is it time to change the rules of neutrality. On the contrary, it is time to recall our basic principles, to stay committed to them and find a right path for the country in this situation.” Switzerland has “a different role from other states.”

Our Irish President and Irish Government should now make similar statements and act accordingly.”

I was sad to see the death of Fr Mícheál MacGréil during January, aged 93, and as well as being a sociologist of renown and a campaigner, e.g. on Traveller issues, he was also a peace activist and, presumably the first, chaplain to Pax Christi in Ireland https://www.flickr.com/photos/innateireland/21063426348/in/album-72177720296414662/ A great and gentle guy.

Winter is still here so careful as you go. Careful as you type/keyboard too, our Flickr site inputter reports attempting to key in “Mediation Skills Workshop” and what came up was “Mediation Kills Workshop”, which, as you may gather, is something else entirely and not what we might wish to project.

CU soon, Billy.