Apr 16, 2024

Protests Around Ireland Intensify Opposing Irish Complicity in US Support for Israel

On the weekend before St. Patrick’s Day 2024, the Irish Anti-War Movement, Dublin for Gaza and Action for Palestine Ireland groups organised protests against the US’s military support for Israel.

Alex PayneAssistant Editor

The various Irish activist groups opposing Israel’s actions in Gaza took aim at what they see as Irish ‘complicity’ in the maintenance of a public relationship with the US.

In a press release on March 12th, 2024, the Irish Anti-War Movement (IAWM), advertising their protest entitled “Not in Our Name/No Shamrocks for Genocide Joe” said: “Coming up to St. Patrick’s Day, when Irish politicians will disgracefully mingle with war criminals in the White House, this protest will highlight those killed by the US-backed Israeli state.” 

“We say at this time that the traditional shamrock presentation to the US President should not occur. The IAWM will join Mothers Against Genocide (MAGs) and other groups in protest at the US Embassy stating “Not in Our Name” by displaying art of shamrocks and handprints, some of which have been made by primary school children across the island of Ireland.”


“The handprint paintings display the names of children who have been murdered in Gaza and other occupied Palestinian territories.”

In a press release on March 10th, 2024, Dublin for Gaza said: “This afternoon, Sunday 10th March, activists from Dublin for Gaza and Action for Palestine Ireland are occupying the departures hall of Shannon Airport and demanding an immediate halt to the transport of U.S. weapons bound for Israel through Irish airports.”

“The demand is that Ministers Martin, Ryan and Chambers take immediate action to prevent Ireland’s complicity in Israel’s genocidal campaign against the Palestinians, by refusing exemptions for U.S. planes transporting weapons through Irish airports.” 

Dublin for Gaza highlighted that the US military uses Shannon Airport as a stopover for civilian flights transporting troops and weapons for operations elsewhere. They said: “Under Irish Law airlines chartered by the U.S. military must receive an exemption from the Minister of Transport allowing them to transport weapons through our airports.”

The group also pointed to recent reports by the Irish Examiner that claim, alongside a sharp rise in US flights granted permission to land or fly through Irish airspace in 2023, “258 civilian aircraft carrying weapons were allowed to use Shannon Airport and 17 at other airports in the same period. On December 20th, the Peace and Neutrality Alliance documented three such U.S. military supply planes returning from Israel landing in Shannon.”

The press release also took aim at perceived government hypocrisy: “The Government denies that any U.S. weapons bound for Israel are passing through Irish airports, with Minister Ryan recently telling Action for Palestine Ireland activists that ‘we do not allow any vessels which could be involved in such activities’. Yet, in September last year Minister Chambers admitted in the Dáil that “there is no record of an inspection of a civil aircraft having been carried out pursuant to [the Carriage of Munitions of War] Orders.”

Dublin for Gaza spokesperson Jordy Smith commented: “Are inspections being carried out now to determine no weapons bound for Israel are passing through our airspace? The Government’s denial of munitions travelling through Irish Airspace is clearly a lie of omission: How can they guarantee war planes landing in Shannon carry no weapons of war when they refuse to search them?”

Dublin for Gaza believes that “the unchecked use of Irish airspace by Israel’s principle military backer, the United States, makes Ireland complicit in the genocide of Palestinians and is a serious breach of the state’s obligations under the Geneva Convention for the Prevention of Genocide.”

“We know the Irish Government can act to stop the passage of U.S. weapons to Israel through Ireland because it has done so before.” This is in reference to when the Irish government blocked passage of arms in support of Israel in their war in Lebanon.

Spokesperson John Bohan commented: “If a Fianna Fail government halted the transportation of weapons bound for Israel during their war on Lebanon in 2006, why can’t they do it again now? In 2006 Israel killed over 1,000 Lebanese civilians. In the past 5 months at least 30,800 Paelstinians have been murdered in Israel’s campaign of terror, with over 72,000 severely injured and millions now facing starvation.”

“The U.S. continues to pump billions of dollars of military ‘aid’ into the Israeli army whilst it conducts this slaughter. We demand that our Government does as it did in 2006 and halt shipments of weapons which will be used to intensify the horrific suffering in Gaza and the West Bank.”

Dublin For Gaza spokesperson Jordy Smith said: “Our action coincides with the planned launch date of Israel’s ground invasion of Rafah, and a catastrophic new phase of its genocidal slaughter, perversely chosen to mark the start of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. But we have also chosen this date to resonate with the monthly Shannon Watch Peace Vigil, and to honour the decades-long struggle of local activists against the stain of U.S. militarism in Ireland.”

Dublin for Gaza spokesperson Rosi Leonard commented: “The Irish Government has a clear choice: complicity or solidarity. Their failure to stop U.S. killing machines passing through Shannon has made Ireland complicit in Israel’s genocide. The people of Ireland refuse to be conscripted into complicity by politicians who’ll happily travel to Washington bearing gifts of kitsch whilst tens of thousands are murdered by U.S. bombs.

“Like millions of people around the world, we stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people and call on the Irish Government to take action to achieve an immediate and permanent ceasefire and an end to the colonial occupation of Palestine.”

In a letter to The University Times, Union of Students in Ireland Vice-President for Campaigns Zaid Al-Bargouthi said: “I write to you with great concern about the ongoing attempts at scholasticide among the international academic community, including the recent actions against  Trinity Professor, Dr Brendan Ciaran Browne, when his invitation to speak at a symposium titled ‘Transitional Justice and Globalization’ was revoked.”

Al-Bargouthi drew attention to an email sent to Dr. Browne, reportedly from the symposium organiser at the University of Vienna, that said: “We as legal and historical scholars in Austria have a special responsibility to ensure a safe and respectful environment at a time when anti-Semitic hate  crimes are on the rise.” The email went on to say that the invitation was being revoked “due to statements made by you [Dr Browne] on social media, which have very recently come to my attention, we cannot give you the floor at our symposium.” 

Al-Bargouthi continued: “The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) expresses its utmost disappointment at this attempt to silence a scholar that, unlike many others, has dedicated an academic career to justice in Palestine, which is more relevant than ever.”

He highlighted a comment by Dr. Ciaran Browne on X, formerly Twitter, which stated his refusal of any such claims: “I categorically reject any association of my name and character alongside a purported ‘rise in anti-Semitic hate crimes’ and am disturbed that the project supervisor considers my involvement in this symposium to in any way amount to a possible “hostile environment”.

  Al-Bargouthi condemned the perceived ‘scholasticide’ in relation to Dr. Browne, and others: “This attempt, like many others, seeks to exclude voices of reason, compassion, and solidarity from the academic scene. While such attempts are, more recently than ever, being treated for what they are – scholasticide – they must be highlighted to the student body in Ireland, Europe and globally. Scholars provide  reasoned, founded arguments for peace, an end to the genocide in Gaza, and the wider systematic apartheid imposed on the Palestinian people.”

He said the USI “view such attempt to be the last push at legitimising the Zionist agenda in our institutions. We also view issues like the membership of the National Union of Israeli Students in the European Students’ Union, and the arbitrary inclusion of Israeli institutions in programmes like Erasmus and Erasmus+ to be a tool for legitimising the Zionist narrative”. 

Al-Bargouthi concluded: “I will continue my work with the USI to systematically re-think the foreminded issues, but the duty to expose such attempts for what they are, is a collective one. Students, academics and unions have effectively mobilized in the face of genocide in Gaza, and we must not stop until we rid our systems of the plague Zionism inflicts.”

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