Clare poet in Pence protest at Shannon Airport

Clare poet Sarah Clancy at Shannon today – Photo: © Pat Flynn 2019

A Co Clare poet was stopped by Gardaí at Shannon Airport this afternoon as she tried to make her way towards the terminal carrying two placards protesting at the visit of U.S. vice-president Mike Pence to Ireland.

Bellharbour-based Sarah Clancy was told by Gardaí that they were concerned that Mr Pence might be offended by the language on her signs.

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Speaking at Shannon, Ms Clancy said: “That’s what I was hoping for but they (Gardaí) asked me to move away from the area which I did.”

Ms Clancy was stopped by Gardaí and move along twice less than an our before Air Force Two, carrying Mr Pence, was due to touch down in Shannon.

Air Force Two carrying U.S. vice-president Mike Pence arriving in Shannon today – Photo: © Pat Flynn 2019

“Mike Pence should not be honoured. I very much fear that in years to come people will wish they stood up against this regime. Ireland we live in one of the most frees countries in the world. I can protest Mike Pence’s visit, his inhumanity, racism and homophobia without fear of persecution or retribution. All I face is ridicule from people who maybe don’t understand the crossroads we are at in the world at the moment. If we don’t speak out here when there is no risk to ourselves then who will?” Ms Clancy said.

After moving away from the security checkpoint at Shannon, she was again approached by Gardaí and asked to move further along the road. Ms Clancy obliged and was met by a second protestor. The placards read: “No fáilte for fascists” and “Queers against Pence”.

“One of Mike Pence’s election campaigns was based around opposing the idea of recognising that LGBTQ+ people like me needed specific protections under the law. This is not the same as a crank on the internet being homophobic. Mike Pence brings the stature and power of his office as Vice President of the United States to a type of unnecessary toxic hate. In doing so he legitimises attacks, abuse and the politics of loathing,” Clancy said.

“He brings his thoughts and prayers and support for the NRA to any mass shooting that happens in the US. Pence never suggests that laws should be changed or even the most ridiculous war level weapons banned,” she added.

As part of the security operation, which is expected to cost up to €5m, additional fencing has also been erected along a section of the main approach road to the airport in anticipation of any possible protest against the visit.

Members of the Garda Public Order Unit arriving in Shannon today – Photo: © Pat Flynn 2019

However, while it’s understood that no significant protest is expected, the Garda public order unit will remain on standby in Shannon until Mr Pence leaves the country again on Wednesday.

It is understood that Amnesty International will be hold a protest against the visit in Dublin tomorrow.

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