Taoiseach authorised Shannon aircraft searches in 1962
anti-war / imperialism |
Dé hAoine Nollaig 28, 2007 11:21 by Coilín - Self-Appointed Foreign Policy Watchers of Ireland aatchoo at gmail dot com
Cuban aircraft were searched and data were passed to the US embassy for 8 years
In a discovery that sheds new light on the current conspicuous refusal of the Garda Síochána to search US military aircraft and CIA aircraft suspected of carrying victims of torture through Shannon Airport, the Irish Times today tells us that Taoiseach Seán Lemass personally authorised searches of aircraft at Shannon in 1962.
The difference is that these were Cuban aircraft, that the searches were instigated at the request of the United States, and that data gleaned from these searches were passed to the US embassy for the next eight years.
Newly declassified files from government archives show that Taoiseach Seán Lemass authorised searches of Cuban aircraft landing at Shannon Airport during the Cuban missile crisis of 1962, and went on passing information about these flights to the United States right up to 1970, Political Editor Stephen Collins writes in the Irish Times today.
Lemass personally authorised the aircraft inspections – searching for "munitions and implements of war" – on 6 December 1962, after a visit from US ambassador Mathew McCloskey to Lemass’s office.
The US ambassador first sought an appointment with the Taoiseach in October 1962, when the crisis about Soviet nuclear missiles on the island of Cuba was at its height. Another US diplomat visited the Department of External Affairs, where he "spoke about these flights and the data the US administration were anxious to have", the secretary of the department, Con Cremin, wrote in a memorandum dated 2 November. And, after his own meeting, Lemass rang Cremin to say that he had told the ambassador that Ireland would consider refusing rights of transit if any "warlike" material was found on board Cuban aircraft landing at Shannon.
"We will supply such manifest data as becomes available in respect of future flights and are prepared to make available similar data in respect of a reasonable past period, going back if necessary to the initiation of the service," the Taoiseach told the secretary of the Department of External Affairs.
The Taoiseach said that Washington was worried about the transport of technical personnel and possibly of arms through Shannon, which might have helped in the build-up of nuclear weapons in Cuba, the Irish Times tells us.
Details about aircraft cargo and weight, and about passengers and their nationalities, were subsequently handed over to US embassy officials, along with details of overflights.
Read the original article in the Irish Times:
Lemass authorised aircraft searches during Cuban crisis
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