In what has been suggested was a unanimous verdict from the jury at Dublin's Four Courts, five ploughshares activists walked free on 25 July - more than three years after they had visited Shannon airport and damaged a US navy supply plane. The Irish airport was used extensively by the US during the build-up to and war on Iraq, something which campaigners firmly believe violates Ireland's stated neutrality.
Trials and retrials
After two previous trials, which both collapsed due to suggestions of peculiar links between the judges and the US administration, the third trial ran for seven days before the verdict was given, and saw legal arguments from the defence focus on the issue of lawful excuse on the grounds of defending third parties (ie Iraqi civilians).
In a statement issued immediately after their acquittal, the Five said: “The jury is the conscience of the community chosen randomly from Irish society. The conscience of the community has spoken. The decision of this jury should be a message to London, Washington DC and the Dail that Ireland wants no part in waging war on the people of Iraq. Refuelling of US warplanes at Shannon Airport should cease immediately.”