American planes that make stopovers in Shannon Airport on their way to the Middle East are carrying weapons, Junior Minister John Halligan has said.
The Independent TD has claimed that Ireland is “a contributing factor” to innocent people being killed in Afghanistan, Iraq and maybe Syria because we’re “afraid of the goddamn Americans”.
His statement contrasts dramatically with the official Government line that all military aircraft landing in Shannon must be “unarmed, carry no arms, ammunition or explosives and must not engage in intelligence gathering”.
In recent years a series of ministers for defence and foreign affairs have denied that the US military is bringing weapons through Ireland.
However, Mr Halligan told ‘Hot Press’ magazine the stance makes a mockery of Ireland’s neutrality.
“We’re afraid of the goddamn Americans – that’s what it is. Is there someone seriously telling me no munitions have been carried in any of these planes?
“Sure, this is what we’re being told: ‘Oh, they’re only carrying soldiers’. They’re not – they’re carrying munitions.
“You know that and I know that. “And all of these planes should be searched,” the Minister for Training, Skills and Innovation said.
Mr Halligan said he would favour a total ban on such flights stopping in Shannon.
He argued that while Ireland may not agree with the regimes in Afghanistan, Iraq or Syria, we should not become involved in the various wars.