Following article appears on P. 8 of "Clare People" 31/10/06.
The article reveals the tension that exists sonce the declaration following the Ploughshares acquittal that nonviolent dorect action will be employed to demilitarise the airport if the Government fails to demilitarise the airport. The initial State repsonse to the declaration has been to deploy 40 Garda and redeploy the army to protect the U.S. war machine from the nonviolent direct action of the the peace movement. The Green Party emerged out of the nonviolent direct action of the German anti-war movement, strange that Councillor Meaney can remain a member of the irish Green Party while supporting the U.S. war effort and attacking the Irish peace movement! Go figure?
The increased costs of policing Shannon Airport this year are linked to the outrageous threats by anti-war activists to shut down the civilian airport, according to Clare's Deputy Mayor, Brian Meaney (Green Party).
He was responding yesterday to figures released by the Minister for Justice Michael McDowell, showing that the cost of policing Shannon this year had almost doubled.
The cost this year of the ongoing Garda operation at Shannon to the end of September was €1.31 million, excluding salaries.
This is almost double the €738,018 that was spent on the operation in the entire of 2005.
Minister McDowell revealed that, since 2002, the State had spent €4.2 million on Garda-related security at Shannon Airport.
In a Dail reponse to Green Party leader, Trevor Sargent, Minister McDowell said that he was satisfied that the Garda policing arrangements at Shannon "remain both necessary and appropriate".
The annual breakdown in costs is: 2002-€486,603; 2003-€762,999; 2004-€975,091; 2005-€738,018; and €1.3 million to the end of September in 2006.
Minister McDowell said, "The Garda authorities are required to allocate resources in an appropriate fashion to protect critical State infrastructures in accordance with assessed threat, so it is the latter which ulitimately determines the associated costs."
Cllr Meaney said yesterday, "The security costs for Shannon are very significant, especially when one takes into account that the numbers going through the airport are dropping considerably.
"However, the increase in costs of security must be linked to the outrageous threats by anti-war activsts that they wished to shut down a civilian airport, which plays a massive role in the west of Ireland."
During the five-year long operation, security at Shannon has been breached on a number of occasions and twce in the space of five days in 2003 when anti-war activsts attacked a U.S. Navy plane.
To date this year, 250. 220 have passed through the airport, last year the trooptraffic contributed €9 million in profits to the Shannon Airport Authority with 340,600 troops going through Shannon.