LIMERICK Sinn Féin Senator Paul Gavan has re-affirmed his support for two US ‘Veterans for Peace’ protesters who were fined €10,000 for taking action against the US military use of Shannon Airport.
Senator Gavan joined Ken Mayers (85) and Tarak Kauff (80) in the Central Criminal Court last Wednesday in a show of solidarity with the two men who had travelled from the United States to be tried on charges of criminal damage, trespass and interfering with the operation of the airport.
The charges related to peaceful action undertaken by the two men on March 17, 2019. They were acquitted on the first two charges but found guilty of the charge of interfering with airport operations.
“Both of these men are heroes. They took peaceful action to highlight the use of Shannon Airport in wars across the Middle East and Asia by US forces, wars every bit as brutal as the current horrific invasion of Ukraine by Russia,” Senator Gavan said.
“Over the past twenty years more than two million US troops have used Shannon on their way to support wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria and Yemen. The death toll from these wars runs into the millions. The message from these two fine men is that this flagrant abuse of Ireland’s policy of military neutrality has to end.”
Senator Gavan also condemned the decision of the court to fine the men €10,000.
“It’s an outrageous amount of money to fine two men well into their retirement. This is on top of 13 days already served in prison and the State refusing to allow them return to the US for nine months. Obviously the point of this fine is to act as a deterrent to other peace campaigners. The State doesn’t want anyone else drawing attention to our complicity in these wars.”
“In a world threatened by war and destruction we need brave men like Ken and Tarak like never before. I believe they will act as an inspiration to a new generation of peace campaigners,” Senator Gavan concluded.