In advance of Donald Trump’s arrival in Ireland, peaceful protests are being planned in Shannon.

To coincide with US President Donald Trump’s visit to Ireland, protests will be held at Shannon Airport on 5 June, starting at 3pm. The US President is expected to land at Shannon that day, fly out and back again on 6 June, and to leave on 7 June. A Peace Camp will be set up outside the airport for the duration of his visit, and people are invited to spend whatever time they can there in order to maintain an ongoing protest against his presence in Ireland.

The main protest will take place at 6pm on 5 June, just outside Shannon Airport. It is being organised by local groups Shannonwatch, Extinction Rebellion Clare and Futureproof Clare, and is supported by the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Gaza Action Ireland, the Peace and Neutrality Alliance, the Irish Anti-War Movement, Veterans for Peace, and Galway Alliance Against War.

In announcing the planned protests, Edward Horgan of Shannonwatch said: “Trump’s greatest danger to humanity arises from two closely related areas. The first is climate change denial and wanton destruction of our living environment. The other is unjustified wars of aggression, motivated largely by the desire to steal other countries’ resources. Oil-rich Venezuela and Iran are the most recent targets for Trump and the US.”

He added: “The US military has become the world’s greatest destroyer of our environment, in addition to using up a huge proportion of the world’s scarce resources. And, since 2002, successive Irish governments have allowed them to use Shannon Airport to do just that.”

Approximately 3 million troops and their weapons have passed through Shannon Airport in the last decade and a half. US military and military contracted planes land on a daily basis at the airport, and are provided with protection by the Gardaí and Irish Defence Forces.

Aisling Wheeler of Extinction Rebellion Clare said: “We are opposed to Donald Trump visiting Ireland because he is a climate criminal. By taking the US out of the Paris Agreement, he has knowingly endangered the stability of our climate and consequently put the lives of millions of people at risk.”

She added: “Any world leader who is not taking decisive action to reduce their country’s emissions is guilty of criminal negligence. As an active denier of climate breakdown, Trump has gone one step further and deliberately sabotaged the kind of robust climate action that we so desperately need at this time.”

Anne Marie Harrington of Futureproof Clare said: “In Clare, Trump’s environmental decisions are very local problems. We are the county that is most vulnerable to the storms and flooding of climate breakdown, while Shannon LNG, a terminal for US-fracked gas, may be built in our Shannon estuary. We don’t want our home to be a transit point for this climate-wrecking fossil fuel. This visit is an opportunity to voice our opposition.”

John Lannon of Shannonwatch said: “US President Trump has approved the use of torture in contravention of international law. He has increased military spending to levels not seen since the height of the Iraq War. And he has dramatically reduced the number of refugees, particularly from Muslin countries, who can seek sanctuary in the US.”

“We must also bear in mind his failure to condemn white supremacists, his sexist rhetoric, and his failure to protect minorities. Together these make it unacceptable to welcome him as a head of state,” he added.

Organisers point out that the protest is not just against Trump and US policy. It is also against the Irish government’s breaching of neutrality by allowing the US military to use Shannon.

During the protests, letters will be handed over for delivery to US President Trump and to an Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, who is scheduled to meet Trump at Shannon. These will call for an immediate end to the US military use of Shannon, to Irish complicity in US military operations, and to the environmental destruction of the planet.

Organisers of the anti-Trump protests at Shannon emphasise that they will be family friendly. Banners, art, music and any forms of peaceful expression are welcome at the peace camp and surrounding area.

“It will be an expression of the people-centred positive alternatives to Trump’s warmongering and destruction of the planet” said one of the organisers, John Lannon.

People coming to Shannon are asked to park at Shannon Town Centre, where they will be directed to go by foot along Drumgeely road to the peace camp and demonstration point closer to the airport. This road runs parallel to the dual carriageway.

– Press Release

Main photo: MIH83/Pixabay