The story of the US military and Shannon airport

How Ireland has become “part of the US military conveyor-belt of death”

PANA – the Irish Peace and Neutrality Alliance – has produced a fact sheet outlining the history, and the extent, of the US military involvement at Shannon Airport in Co. Clare.

More than 3 million US troops have passed through Shannon

It is estimated that over 3 million US troops have gone through Shannon Airport since 2002. The exact figure is unknown. As these aircraft have the troop’s personal weapons on board, the flights must be given prior permission to land by the Irish Minister for Transport. Permits must also be given for flights carrying weapons through Irish airspace. The US military account for well over 90% of all flights requesting permits to carry munitions through Irish airspace and airports

The erosion of Irish neutrality is inextricably linked to the daily use of Shannon Airport by the US military for almost two decades.

It is now effectively a forward operating base used to support US operations in the Middle East, with approximately three million US troops and their weapons, regular US Air Force/Navy cargo planes, and an unknown number of CIA extraordinary rendition flights passing through since 2002.


Two Articles of the Irish Constitution have been repeatedly and consistently undermined through this misuse of a civilian airport. Despite this, Shannon has provided direct support for ground offensives and bombing campaigns, and has been complicit in the deaths and displacement of millions of people

See the PANA fact sheet here:

PANA website:

Furlough scheme must be extended, developed and protected

The Furlough scheme has been a lifeline throughout the pandemic

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – or Furlough – is already being wound down and is due to conclude at the end of October.

More than 200,000 workers in Northern Ireland benefited from the scheme which ensured that they received up to 80% of their normal wages and retained their jobs while unable to go to work because of the Coronavirus restrictions.

The scheme has been a lifeline throughout the pandemic, particularly for women who represented the majority of recipients.

Extension, development and protection

The Workers Party has written to Economy Minister Diane Dodds calling for the scheme’s extension, development and protection.

The Party letter argues for the Furlough scheme to be extended beyond the end of October and well into 2021. It also makes the case for direct government funding for retraining and upskilling workers whose jobs may be in jeopardy in the longer term and calls for increased support for apprenticeship places.  Additional and targeted support for ‘back to work’ initiatives is also called for.

Many political figures and some media commentators argue that the government can’t afford to continue with the Furlough scheme. The reality is that working people cannot afford to do without it. Furlough is funded by public taxation: it does not come out of the pockets of MPs, MLAs or radio talk show hosts, all of whom are the least affected by the financial impact of C19.

Other countries

Across Europe similar schemes are being retained and enhanced. France is committed to funding 85% of wages for the next two years. Germany is supporting full time pay for part time work and its support package is due to run for a further 21 months. Spain will be continuing to provide support well into 2021 and Italy will be extending its support packages until the end of this year at least.

Where it is possible to return to work that should be encouraged, but only when that is safe to do so, when an agreed plan involving workers and their trade unions has been reached and when all social distancing, monitoring, and health and safety measures are in place.

That will not be immediately possible for all work places. The threat of the pandemic is continuing and that must be recognised through responsible and realistic government planning. The Furlough Scheme is a central part of that approach and must be extended, developed and protected.

Anniversary of the CIA coup against Chile

Movies - Salvador Allende - The New York Times
Chilean President Salvador Allende – murdered on 11 September 1973

Fifty years ago this month , Salvador Allende was democratically elected as President of Chile. Three years later on 11th September 1973 he and his government were overthrown in a violent and deadly coup organised by the American Central Intelligence Agency – the CIA.

The United States was determined to undermine the election result from the outset. The CIA had actively interfered in the election campaign but despite its efforts Allende had won.

At the time, Henry Kissinger, Nixon’s Presidential Assistant for National Security Affairs, displaying his anti-democratic, imperialist credentials, declared: “I don’t see why we need to stand by and watch a country go communist due to the irresponsibility of its own people”.

In line with his political programme, Allende commenced the process of nationalisation of the banking, communications and automobile industries. In July 1971, he authorised the nationalisation of the massive Chilean copper industry.

Chilean justice reopens 1973 bombing of the Presidential palace — MercoPress

The coup of 1973 signalled the commencement of 17 years of military dictatorship, terror and mass human rights violations in Chile. 

Following a sustained campaign of destabilisation the US sponsored right wing militias to sabotage and undermine the Chilean economy, President Allende and his supporters.

Despite this Allende and his Popular Unity Party won the March 1973 elections.   The U.S. destabilisation campaign had failed.

Now the CIA was instructed to organise a military coup d’état. 

On 11 September 1973, under the command of Augusto Pinochet the Chilean military and navy mutinied and the air force attacked the Presidential Palace. Armed troops surrounded the Communist Party Central Committee building. President Allende and many of his ministers were murdered

September 11, signalled the commencement of 17 years of military dictatorship, terror and mass human rights violations in Chile. 

The intervention of the US in support of barbarous regimes in Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Paraguay are part of the legacy of imperialism in Latin America and the threat of imperialist intervention remains a reality across the continent and the world.

Today we send our solidarity and fraternal greetings to the Communist Party of Chile as we remember the coup d’état of September 1973 , the overthrow of the democratically elected government and the murder of President Salvador Allende

Party’s submission to CCEA consultation on next year’s exams

All pupils should have the opportunity to perform to their optimum

The Workers Party has submitted its views on proposals for changes to next year’s GCSE and GCE examinations.

Following the disastrous handling of this year’s exam grades the Council for the Curriculum, Examinations & Assessment (CCEA) announced a public consultation on proposed changes to next summer’s GCSE and GCE exams.

The Party’s submission began by acknowledging the disruption and distress experienced by pupils, teachers, support staff, parents, and all those involved in the administration of the education system by Covid 19.

It also stressed the importance of listening to and acting on the advice of teachers, pointing out that the failure to do so earlier this year was a major factor in the grades fiasco affecting this year’s results.

Working class disadvantage

The submission also highlighted the disadvantage confronting many children from working class households. Many homes lack any internet connectivity, others lack IT equipment, or an available device may be shared among several children.

Acknowledging that there are difficulties in planning now for next year when conditions may be significantly different, the Party’s submission identified a number of key principles which it said should underpin any proposed changes:

  • all pupils should have the opportunity to perform to their optimum
  • the equality impact on pupils from areas of high social deprivation and /or low-income families must be factored in and addressed
  • practical support in the form of broadband access and laptop / tablets must be available equally to all pupils engaged in on-line learning
  • acknowledgement of the extent of lost teaching time to date and the unfair burden that may place on pupils
  • that all changes are clear, equitable and effectively communicated


In supporting proposals to reduce the number of units and assessments the Party’s submission stressed that this should be done across the entire range of subjects. All language subjects should therefore be open to reductions in the amount of material being taught and in the number of exams set, the submission argued.