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Over 1,100 planes carrying military arms landed at Shannon Airport in 2011

The Minister for Transport has also said that under 250,000 American soldiers passed through the airport in 2011.

Image: Graham Hughes/Photocall Ireland

OVER 1,300 PERMITS were issued for civilian aircraft to fly over or land in Ireland while carrying munitions, it has been revealed.

In total there were 1,393 applications for civilian aircraft carrying munitions to fly over or land in Ireland in 2011 with 1,382 permits granted. Approximately 86 per cent of these flights – or around 1,142 – landed at Shannon airport.

The Transport Minister Leo Varadkar disclosed the details in answer to a parliamentary question by Sinn Féin TD Pádraig Mac Lochlainn. He also said that under 250,000 American soldiers passed through Shannon Airport in 2011.

The government must approve any transport of munitions or dangerous goods on civilian aircraft through Ireland or over Irish airspace.

Varadkar confirmed that the vast majority of requests for these flights came from American civil airlines and involved flights to or from the United States. The main destinations were Kuwait and Kyrgyzstan.

Shannonwatch, the organisation which monitors foreign military use of Shannon airport and campaigns against it, said the figures “make a mockery of the notion of Irish neutrality”.

On its website, a spokesperson is quoted as saying: “Like Kuwait and Kyrgyzstan, Ireland and Shannon have now become staging posts for US invasions and occupation.

“The figures make a mockery of the notion of Irish neutrality, and show that successive governments have relinquished all interest in maintaining an independent Irish foreign policy.”

US ‘rendition flight’ aircraft flew to Shannon airport

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Hugh O'Connell

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