From Socialist Voice, May 2011

Victory for Shannon activist

In the Court of Criminal Appeal on Friday 25 February, Judges Peart, Hardiman and de Valera overturned the conviction of Mary Kelly by Ennis Circuit Court on 29 October 2004. Ms Kelly had been convicted of criminal damage to a US military aircraft at Shannon Airport on 29 January 2003.
     The appeal had been heard on 29 July 2008, but the judges offered no explanation of why they took more than two-and-a-half years to deliver the judgement.
     This landmark appeal court decision reinforces the unanimous “not guilty” decision in the trial by a Dublin jury on 25 July 2006 of the five members of the Catholic Workers’ Movement who were accused of damaging the same aircraft five days after Mary Kelly had damaged it.
     Ms Kelly is very pleased with the decision of the Court of Criminal Appeal but was very critical both of the court’s delay in delivering the judgement and of a four-year delay in producing a full and accurate transcript of her trial. The peace and human rights organisation Shannonwatch stated that “Mary Kelly’s action highlighted the abuse of International Law that took place on Irish soil when the Irish government allowed over two million US troops to pass through Shannon airport on their way to and from Iraq and Afghanistan.”
     In a statement to the press outside the Four Courts, Ms Kelly reiterated her concern that the Government consistently refused to direct the Gardaí to search the US military planes at Shannon for illegally “rendered” persons, and weaponry.
     In adopting a “don’t look, don’t find” approach, the Government was reneging on its duty to uphold and indeed to enforce international law. This issue remains a concern that the citizens of Ireland should be aware of and should raise with their public representatives, especially in the light of the forthcoming visit to Ireland of Barack Obama.

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