SHIFTING more services from Dublin Airport to Shannon Airport would lessen its reliance on the transiting through of the US Military for refuelling, one of the country’s most respected writers has said.

Recent weeks has seen an increase in the amount of number of aircraft transporting US military personnel through Shannon Airport en route to NATO countries in Eastern Europe, prior to Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine.

In 2020, a total of 65,965 US troops passed through Shannon Airport in a ten month period, more than any year between 2014 to 2017.

Fintan O’Toole, a writer with The Irish Times since 1988 has been critical of the ongoing use of Shannon by US military. He believed it represented “a sort of dishonesty” and little regard to potential implications. Ireland’s “dependent relationship with the United States” both economically and culturally adds to this, “we’re very afraid to say we don’t agree with what you’re doing in Iraq or Afghanistan, talking about the flights to Shannon would involve us saying why this is a problem, like it or not it is part of a system which is feeding into these forever wars”.

Speaking to The Clare Echo, he explained, “It’s a broader thing about maturity, I’ve ties to the States and I love the United States but a good friend isn’t someone who tells you the thing you want to hear, it is somebody who tells you that actually you might be making a big mistake when you’re doing stuff, the fact is the invasion of Iraq was disastrous both for Iraq but of course for politics in the West with the amount of dishonesty that went into that, we’re still living with the implications of that, how is Vladimir Putin able to exploit this idea that everybody lies to you so it doesn’t really matter if I lie to you as well, a lot of the western public came to believe that they all lie so who cares, that is rooted in what happened in Iraq”.

“What’s going on in the Ukraine is complex, it is horrific, it is completely inexcusable, there is no excuse at all for what Putin is doing but his perceptions are rooted in, the west is weak because they are pulling out of Afghanistan, if you’re an enemy of the west you would look at the Afghanistan thing and say they made these terrible mistakes, they go into these things and don’t know how to get out of them, then they just flee in the end, they’ve no staying power, those big adventures, the post 9/11 ones have proved to be pretty disastrous and I think Ireland’s little part in those was very much based around Shannon, Shannon was our contribution to all of that, if we had been more honest and either said we’re not militarily neutral and then think about the implications of that or said we are militarily neutral and we do have a problem whether it is playing a small part in this whole enterprise then we wouldn’t have to face up to it and we’re not generally good at facing up to things,” he added.

This can only change if Shannon becomes less reliant on the US military for activity by receiving a fairer share of the pie from Dublin Airport. “There’s been so much hypocrisy about Shannon, an iconic place that is important to the West and yet very little in terms of follow through. The whole aviation thing is up in the air, it is very uncertain because of the pandemic.

“I often fly from Dublin to the States, I can see at the moment that very large numbers are actually travelling, they are not Irish people, they are travelling from continental Europe or England and using Ireland as a hub and stopover to do the preclearance, there is no reason why a lot of that couldn’t be done from Shannon just as much as from Dublin, Shannon has all those facilities, if you’re flying from Germany it makes no difference to you whether you land in Dublin Airport or Shannon Airport and then funnel into a plane going to America, it is a lot easier to do the preclearance in Shannon, it is fantastic because there’s much less pressure but there is no overall strategy in terms of what it means to keep Shannon viable”.

According to O’Toole, the thinking needs to adapt. “I think there is a huge argument both locally in terms of Co Clare and the local economy but also strategically for Ireland it is important to have more than one international airport. You would be fearful what the default position is and the default position is to pay homage to the importance of Shannon without thinking through what a strategy for shifting some of the business from Dublin to Shannon might actually look like”.

Former Mayor of Clare, Cllr Clare Colleran Molloy (FF) told The Clare Echo she has “no issue” with the US military using Shannon Airport to support efforts in Ukraine. “If that allows for the transit and transfer of military through Shannon, that is the least we can do”.

Related News

cluain na laoi kilkishen 1
Speed survey scheduled for Kilkishen
clareabbey
Clareabbey dumping has 'accelerated beyond belief'
cratloe quiz team 1
New initiative targeting primary school students preserves O'Regan's legacy
inis housing association 16-02-24 cathal crowe darragh o'brien
Frustration building with no sight of shovels in the ground in Broadford & Cooraclare
Latest News
clareabbey
Clareabbey dumping has 'accelerated beyond belief'
1712225900624
Oxygeneration’s Jennifer gets award nod
cratloe quiz team 1
New initiative targeting primary school students preserves O'Regan's legacy
clare v limerick 09-06-24 david reidy david fitzgerald 1-2
Costly misses at crucial stages lamented by Lohan
inis housing association 16-02-24 cathal crowe darragh o'brien
Frustration building with no sight of shovels in the ground in Broadford & Cooraclare
Premium
Magowna Hotel Inch Protest 04
Magowna House operator receives €3.2m in first quarter for accommodating Ukrainians and IP applicants
feakle v o'callaghans mills 07-06-24 shane mcgrath stephen conway patrick donnellan 1
Feakle & Blues battling to join Inamona in Clare Cup semi-finals as are Broadford, Clarecastle & Doora/Barefield
le24 election joe cooney 2
The Electoral Chair: Election reflections in Co Clare following dramatic two day count
WhatsApp Image 2024-06-09 at 19.17
Limerick lower Clare in Munster final again
clare v tipperary 26-05-24 ian galvin 1
'Nobody is going along for the ride' - Galvin says strength of panel key to Clare's run back to Munster final

Subscribe for just €3 per month

If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

Subscribe for just €3 per month

If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

Scroll to Top