US army veterans guilty of interfering with operation of Shannon Airport

US peace activists Kenneth Mayers and Tarak Kauff

Two US Army veterans have been found guilty of interfering with the operation of Shannon Airport as part of an anti-war protest three years ago.

The men, who are in their 80s, were cleared of trespassing with criminal intent and of causing criminal damage to a perimeter fence at the airport.

Ken Mayers (85), from Sante Fe, New Mexico, and Tarak Kauff (80), from Woodstock, New York, served in the US military before becoming anti-war activists.

At 10am on St Patrick’s Day 2019, they used bolt cutters to cut a hole in a perimeter fence at Shannon Airport.

When caught walking along a taxiway near the runway, they told a security officer they were peace protesters who were going to inspect US military aircraft.

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The security breach resulted in the airport being shut down for 40 minutes.

They told the jury that they were protesting against the US military’s use of Shannon as a stop-over en route to places like the Middle East.

They denied accusations of “political posturing” and claimed they had an “honestly held belief” that their actions that day could save lives.

They were convicted of interfering with the “operation, safety and management of an airport,” but cleared of charges of trespass and criminal damage.

They’re due to be sentenced tomorrow.