On 16 April, tens of thousands of people marked the 90th anniversary of the Easter Rising against British rule at a massive parade in Dublin.
Irish campaigners used the opportunity to communicate with the public about current struggles, including Shell to Sea and the Rossport camp, anti-racism campaigns, opposition to US “special renditions” taking place via Ireland and - a reminder that much remains unresolved on the island - the right of the Irish to the “ownership” of Ireland. An alliance of “contemporary women activists from a broad coalition” of campaigns also used the event to “honour the Women of 1916, who have been ignored by the State's commemorations”.
Around the same time, a rather more modest group of about 60 anti-authoritarians paid a visit to the Baldonnel airbase, south of Dublin, to protest against Ireland's current complicity in an imperialist war. The Irish air corps are based there, but the strip is - as with Shannon - used frequently by foreign military aircraft - notably the US. There have been rumours that it may have been used in connection with CIA “renditions”, though evidence of this seems sketchy. On arrival, the Baldonnel group reportedly attempted to “storm” the base (in the face of 100+ soldiers and police) and the gardai responded in kind - there are photos and video evidence of some very heavy-handed policing. There were four arrests, several bruises and some bloody noses, though after the event many reports of the action seemed upbeat. Peace campaigner Mary Kelly - who took an axe to a US Navy 737 in January 2003 - reportedly commented that it was “great to see the sap rising for direct actions on Baldonnel”.