More US military flights entering Irish airspace

The number of US military flights passing over Ireland this year is on course to exceed the 2004 total, it emerged today.

The Government has given permission for 964 overflights so far this year, according to figures released by Department of Transport.

With three months remaining, the number of flights granted permission in 2005 is set to easily top the 2004 total of 973.

Labour Party Dublin South East TD Ruairi Quinn slammed the Government for their ever-increasing complicity in the war in Iraq.

Mr Quinn said the Irish taxpayer will pay almost €5m in charges for these flights this year alone – up from €3.5m in 2004.

“The statistics I received from Minister Cullen show that already this year he has given permission for 964 over-flights. This is almost the same as last year’s total of 973,” he said.

“In addition to these appalling facts, I have also learned that neither the Customs & Excise Department, the Gardaí nor the Defence Forces have examined or intend to examine a single aircraft landing at our airports or at Casement Aerodrome to ensure that the declarations regarding weapons and passengers are correct.

“This is extraordinary considering the evidence that exists indicating that people have been illegally kidnapped and transported through Ireland to destinations unknown for torture.”

Mr Quinn said it was a disgrace that Taoiseach Bertie Ahern was not only ignoring Ireland’s complicity in this illegal war, but increasing it on a regular basis.

“Already, we are about to pass the total for 2004, and we are only three-quarters through the year,” he said.

“Either Ireland is declaring war on Iraq, or Ireland is not declaring war on Iraq. The Taoiseach must make up his mind, and present the case to the Oireachtas if he wants to continue facilitating the progress of machines of war through our country.

“There have been international reports which state that prisoners have been illegally transported to the Guantanamo Bay base. Many may have passed through Shannon or Baldonnell, making Ireland a party to a breach of International Law.”

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