[Sinn Fein]

10th April 2003

Sinn Fein backs national anti-war protest at Shannon

Sinn Fein has endorsed the national anti-war mobilisation at Shannon Airport this Saturday. Party spokesperson on International Affairs Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD said:

``This war is not yet over. It is important that everyone who opposes it keeps focused, and does not allow distractions from our main objectives in this campaign to hold this Government accountable for their decision to aid and abet the invasion of Iraq, to insist that they act in accordance with their stated commitment to Irish neutrality by withdrawing overflight and landing privileges as is Ireland s right and duty as a militarily neutral state, and to let the Irish, British, and US Governments know that the Irish people do not support this unjust and illegal war. That is what Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams did earlier this week when he took the opportunity to deliver this very message directly to President Bush and Prime Minister Blair something the Taoiseach himself has so far refused to do.

``Yesterday in the Dáil, in response to Sinn Fein s call for a neutrality audit to enable the Irish people to judge for themselves the status of Irish neutrality and to assess this Government s performance in relation to it, the Minister for Foreign Affairs actually told me that he does not believe it is in the public interest to reveal the extent of Irish complicity in foreign wars past and present by publishing a comprehensive account of neutrality violations at Shannon and elsewhere. Furthermore, while I finally forced him to admit that his Government does not comply with the internationally accepted definition of neutrality, the Minister refused point blank to reveal what alternative definition of neutrality the Government is working from, merely insisting that Irish neutrality is OEdifferent from that of all other neutral countries.

``Such deliberate evasiveness is clearly no longer acceptable to the Irish people, who care deeply about neutrality and not the Jeckyl and Hyde neutrality of Fianna Fáil, but a real and positive neutrality as it is broadly understood and accepted around the world. It is time this Government got the message, and on Saturday the Irish people will deliver it in no uncertain terms.''

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