Nukewatch Quarterly Winter 2020-2021
In Dublin Circuit Court on October 23, a jury of 12 Irish citizens acquitted Colm Roddy and Dave Donnellan of four-year-old charges of criminal damage at Shannon Airport. The trial was presided over by Judge Karen O’Connor.
The anti-war activists entered the airport in northeast Ireland early on May 25, 2016, to investigate US military aircraft being refueled on their way to and from US wars in the Middle East. There were two US air force aircraft inside the airport at the time of the action—an 8-passenger Learjet C-21A used to fly air force commanders, air force academy heads, federal officials, members of Congress, and other high-ranking officers, and a Boeing C-32B airline-size plane used by US special forces and the CIA.
Colm and Dave were charged with causing criminal damage to a fence at the airport, and damage to the runway by writing on it. The government claimed that the cost of the repairs was €3,500 ($4,153).
Speaking after the trial, Colm Roddy said, “Our peaceful nonviolent actions in May 2016 were undertaken to highlight Irish complicity and participation in US wars in the Middle East that have caused the deaths of millions of people … including the deaths of up to 1 million children since the Gulf War in 1991.” Dave Donnellan said, “As Irish citizens we felt compelled as a matter of conscience to highlight Irish government complicity in war crimes, and it is a matter of deep regret to us that this complicity is still ongoing—almost daily since 2001.”
The successful defense case was based on the argument that the two had a “lawful excuse” for their actions. In previous trials resulting from similar peace actions taken by five Catholic Workers, Deirdre Clancy, Nuin Dunlop, Karen Fallon, Damien Moran, and Ciaran O’Reilly in 2003, a jury also acquitted the five defendants; and also in 2003 the Court of Criminal Appeal overturned the conviction of Mary Kelly for damaging a US navy aircraft.
—Ed Horgan for Ireland Veterans for Peace; and The Nuclear Resister, Oct. 26, 2020