[Sinn Fein]

12th January 2003

Ó Snodaigh calls for return of Dáil to discuss growing threat of war in Iraq

Sinn Fein spokesperson on International Affairs Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has called for the Dáil to return for a special sitting to debate  the growing threat of war in Iraq. Deputy Ó Snodaigh said:

"Given the high stakes of the crisis, the national importance of this issue and the degree of public concern, Sinn Fein requested an urgent, full Dáil debate on this issue more than four months ago. The Government turned down this request and there has still not been a proper debate.

"Instead, what we have is the ongoing use of Shannon airport as a pitstop on the way to war, on the basis of a Ministerial order. We have a Government that refuses to even consult the Dáil, must less seek its approval on the issue - despite the concerns and objections that have been consistently raised. I am calling for the Dáil to return immediately to have a special sitting on the growing threat of war in Iraq."

Responding to reports that Shannon airport is benefiting financially from the build up to the war, Deputy Ó Snodaigh said:

"It is disgraceful that potential financial gains to a war in Iraq are being used as a justification for the use of Shannon airport by US warplanes. The use of Shannon is wrong, is against our position of neutrality and should end immediately.  It is imperative that a situation is not allowed to develop whereby the economic viability of the airport becomes dependent on such sources of finance.

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