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Oíche Nollaig Peace Camp 2013

category national | anti-war / imperialism | opinion/analysis author Sunday January 06, 2013 16:15author by Mary Kelly Report this post to the editors

Shannon women's peace camp remembered

Although we did not ultimately stop US military use of the airport, through Indymedia reporting, documentaries, the massive demos, sit-ins, die-ins, walks, vigils, and the highs and lows of years of several court cases, all helped to focus intensive national and international attention on the Government’s policy of allowing such transits through neutral airspace.

On one of the coldest nights of 2003 around Oíche Nollaig, a Peace Camp was established at Shannon Airport. It began with a 24 hour Women’s Camp and quickly began to draw attention from the national media on the US military use of the airport as a transit hub to ferry troops and munitions to illegal wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. It has since transpired that Irish Government policy has also arguably facilitated US drone warfare, CIA kidnapping and torture missions. Shannon’s role in America’s wars has largely been ignored by the Irish media, who are unwilling to dissect the illegal and illogical ‘agreement’ between the Irish and U.S. governments.

With the Peace Camp and nearby Peace House as a supporting focus, women sowed powerful seeds of resistance by: camping out, setting up kitchens, sleeping and discussion areas, organising workshops, training, writing, public meetings, media forums, providing accommodation and hospitality, plane spotting, transport, first-aid, jail visits, outside-jail protests, bail hearings, court reporting, legal advice, fundraising, media interviews, dealing with Gardai and Airport authorities, and plenty more besides!

Other women friends and family members joined us. Through mutual solidarity, tenacity, and withdrawing of consent to be a silent party to the Government ‘s assisting of illegal US wars, a considerable victory and huge learning was achieved in a short period.

Inspired by many different traditions and actions of our forebears, direct actions began which saw fence cutting of the airport perimeter, trespassing and Beanshee actions, transforming the run-way for potato planting and shrine building, a warplane was hammered and there were many arrests (from ages 14 to 78). Four women went on trial for disabling a warplane and a precedent on lawful excuse in Irish law was established. The courts ruled the action was justified; the women acted to save lives, the supply warplane being a logistical part of the invasion on Iraq.

Although we did not ultimately stop US military use of the airport, through Indymedia reporting, the massive demos, sit-ins, die-ins, walks, vigils, and the highs and lows of years of several court cases all helped to focus intensive national and international attention on the Government’s policy of allowing such transits through neutral airspace.

To critics and detractors: plenty can be said about what we should have done and could be doing. And yes many
men were doing excellent activism, that is another very interesting story. However this post seeks to recount and thank women for their great work around that time.

Oíche Nollaig 2013: I appreciate and remember some of the many women involved, including:
Deborah, Nuria, Geraldine, Margaretta, Maggie, Dette, Esta, Colette, Nuin, Karen, Deirdre, Eleanor, Elaine, Zelda, Mairdhia, Helen, Katherine, Jenny, Heather, Mags, Sarah, Bernie, Diane, Sr Mary, Sr Majella, Colette, Kay, Diana, Maura, Paula, Val, Judith, Katriona, Yvonne, Maria, Roisin, Tracy, Caoimhe, Cathi, Fiona, Aishling, Maire, Gail, Leah, Rosie, Farah, Kathleen, Nini, Lia, Julie, Katie, Maureen, Nancy, Ethna, Aimee, Patricia, Helen, Shirley, Martha, Jennifer, Leila, a few Rebeccas, Annes, Margarets, Marys, Clares, and Carols. Emma and Liz (both deceased RIP),

author by margaretta D'Arcy - Women in Media & Entertainmentpublication date Mon Jan 14, 2013 13:42author email margarettadarcy at gmail dot comReport this post to the editors

Readers might be interested in looking at the video Knitting for Peace. a Oiche Nollaig Women's Peace Camp 2009

Caption: Knitting for Peace


 
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