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Dublin: 9 °C Wednesday 16 October, 2019
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Remember when Ming asked for an aircraft carrier? He's told us why

It was all about Ireland’s neutrality, you see.

Sail boats pictured beside the American aircraft carrier USS George HW Bush outside Piraeus port in Greece.
Sail boats pictured beside the American aircraft carrier USS George HW Bush outside Piraeus port in Greece.
Image: AP/Press Association Images

LUKE ‘MING’ FLANAGAN asked then Justice and Defence Minister Alan Shatter for an aircraft carrier to “protect Ireland” back in March.

He was unsuccessful, with Shatter telling him there were “no plans to purchase an aircraft carrier for the Naval Service”.

Aircraft carriers cost billions of euro and many questioned why Flanagan wanted one.

The former TD and current MEP recently told TheJournal.ie his question was an “attempt to manipulate the workings of the Dáil to ask a question about our neutrality”.

His query wasn’t deemed a ‘priority question’, however, and so was not debated on the floor of the Dáil.

On the same day, Flanagan asked the then Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore “if his attention has been drawn to the fact that US soldiers carry their rifles while on board planes using Shannon Airport” and “the fact that a US Air Force plane which landed at Shannon Airport was equipped with a 30mm cannon”.

Gilmore replied by saying the carriage of weapons through Shannon Airport on commercial aircraft is “prohibited unless an exemption has been obtained in advance from my colleague, the Minister for Transport”.

“The carriage of the personal weapons of US military personnel on board chartered aircraft in transit through Shannon Airport is subject to the issuance of such an exemption in respect to each individual flight,” Gilmore continued.

Ming asked Shatter for an aircraft carrier

TDs and Senators visited Shannon Airport today – to see if the US military should still be there

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Órla Ryan

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