An airshow to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the first commercial transatlantic flight is expected to attract some 40,000 spectators but will also see several anti-war groups stage a peaceful protest.
The Shannon ‘air display extravaganza’ on Saturday next will be the airports first airshow in 25 years and has been organised to mark the key milestone in Irish aviation history.
However, groups opposed to the continued use of the airport by the US military have said the airports recent history is not one to be proud of.
Several groups from across the country are expected to descend on Shannon to stage a peaceful protest aimed at “reminding people of the airport’s support for war and its dreadful consequences for millions of people.”
John Lannon of Shannonwatch said: “While it is fitting to celebrate the 70th Anniversary of the first commercial transatlantic flight from Shannon Airport and to acknowledge its important role in aviation in Ireland, we cannot ignore the fact that in the last 15 years it has been used to illegally invade Iraq and Afghanistan and has been part of the CIA’s global campaign of kidnapping and torture”.
“Shannon became the original airport gateway between the US and Europe and was the birthplace of Duty Free. It is now a gateway to human suffering and war,” added Mr Lannon.
Roger Cole of the Peace and Neutrality Alliance (PANA) said: “Since 2002 over 2.5 million US troops have used Shannon Airport on their way to and from the perpetual wars of the US. The US/EU/NATO wars on Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria and their de facto destruction of these states have just led to more war and created ISIS.”
“Shannon Airport has become a de facto US Air Force base and the government continues to allow this regardless of the horrific consequences,” Mr Cole added.
Among the many aircraft that will be on display on Sunday will be the Norweigan Airforce’s ‘historical squad’, which will bring the Mig-15 for its first ever visit to Shannon.
Shannonwatch and Irish Anti War Movement member Dr Edward Horgan said: “The Norwegian Airforce dropped almost 600 bombs on Libya as part of a NATO operation that cost over a billion dollars.”
“Instead of presenting fighter jets as fun and entertainment, we should be talking about the consequences of their use. These planes are designed to drop bombs that kill people,” he said.
Shannonwatch will lead this Sunday’s protest at Shannon and will be joined by by members of Afri, the Peace and Neutrality Alliance, the Irish Anti War Movement and Galway Alliance Against War who together call for an end to the US military use of Shannon.