Anti-Trump protest at Shannon Airport ‘should have huge numbers’
Peace activists have bemoaned the relatively small turnout at an airport protest against Donald Trump’s visit to Ireland.
Around 100 people gathered at Shannon Airport on Wednesday as the president landed at a facility regularly used by the US military, with around 10 campaigners staying on site for an overnight vigil.
One of the organisers, Edward Horgan, from the Peace and Neutrality Alliance, said people had become “complacent”.
“The camp will remain here until he leaves,” he said.
“It’s about having a presence. We know there aren’t large numbers but I would argue there should be huge numbers here, in fact, because it is a unique occasion and people should be protesting against the environmental damage and the military damage.
“There’s a huge complacency which, for the younger generation in particular, and the environmental issues, I find amazing, in the fact that the numbers protesting against this visit are so relatively small.
“There should be thousands here, but there aren’t.
“There will always be some of us who feel as a matter of conscience that we must protest.”
Campaigners claim the use of airport by the US military violates Ireland’s neutrality.
The arrangement between the US and Irish governments was struck after the September 11 terror attacks in 2001, with US aircraft using the airport as a landing and refuelling stop to and from operations in the Middle East.
Protesters at the camp were also critical of Mr Trump’s record on environmental issues.
“We are making a point not only to Donald Trump but also to our own prime minister, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar,” said Mr Horgan.
“First of all he shouldn’t have invited the US president here, and he specifically shouldn’t have agreed to meet him at Shannon Airport, where the Irish neutrality is being seriously violated.
“And the environmental issues are now almost as important as the war issues.”
As the president flew in on Wednesday, a small group of his supporters also turned out at Shannon to counteract the peace camp.
Holding Trump electoral campaign and Israel flags, around 20 supporters sang hymns and shouted their support.