*Protesters gather in Shannon Airport for Donald Trump’s arrival. Photograph: Steve Ford
Doonbeg locals that welcomed the visit of Donald Trump and advocates of the US military using Shannon Airport have been equated as supporters of Adolf Hitler.
Edward Horgan who served for 22 years in the Irish Military and as a UN peacekeeper has been an active campaigner with Shannon Watch since 2001. Last week, he took up residence for the peaceful protest in Shannon which was located less than 2km from the Airport.
Of the work involved in planning such a protest, Horgan said, “It’s a huge undertaking, I would say we did get good co-operation from the Gardaí, we also co-operated with them because we are a peaceful non violent group and we were quite keen that this would pass off peacefully, we don’t want to join those who are making war or creating violence or give them an excuse to label us with violence, we are peaceful peace activists and feel very strongly bound by that”.
Though Edward was ever present at Shannon for the visit of the forty fifth President of the US, others came and went to the camp. “There was quite a few here on Wednesday at 6pm, we’ve been here with our peace camp from Wednesday morning right through till Friday afternoon. Our objective was to maintain the peace camp throughout the visit by Mr Trump, we were here before he arrived and we’ll be here after he’s gone”.
“If his successor comes we will protest that, it’s not just Donald Trump, it is the American Government, we’re also protesting against our own Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, he shouldn’t have invited Trump in the first place. The environment is a huge issue now, not only are the US damaging the Irish environment but the Irish Government are, we are burning peat in Edenderry a million tonnes a year, it is appalling that we are doing that, we are planning to build a huge plant in Ballylongford, Co Kerry to bring fracking gas from the United States, that is an act of environmental vandalism and it should be stopped. An Taoiseach and the Irish Government should refuse to allow the US troops to use Shannon Airport and we are actively campaigning on that, our Government are making all Irish citizens complicit in US war crimes in the middle east”.
When asked what he would say to the 305 people employed at Trump International Golf Links and Hotel Ireland and the Doonbeg locals who welcomed the arrival of Donald Trump, the Kerry native stated. “I would make the analogy with Germany in the 1930s, the people of Germany decent people I’m sure, most of them supported Hitler because he was creating jobs, improving the German economy, building autobahns, they deliberately ignored or chose to ignore what was happening to the Jews, Kristallnacht, the torturing and imprisonment.
“By ignoring what was going on, they were actively complicit in the Holocaust, the people of Shannon Airport, its employees and the people of Doonbeg I’m pleased to see people having jobs but jobs at the expense of people in the Middle East being killed or ignoring it, just remaining silent on the people in the Middle East being killed is in itself morally wrong. I was appalled to see a priest from Doonbeg, extolling Donald Trump saying he loves his neigbours, he hates them in fact and he is an agent of hate, for a Roman Catholic priest to be extolling someone like that I find it appalling”.
He told The Clare Echo, “This is not anti-Doonbeg but it is anti-American presidents because of their policies. It is not against the American people, I’m partly American in fact, my mother was an American citizen and worked in Boston for ten years, I consider myself partly American, I love and respect many American people”.