Shannon 2 acquitted

IssueDecember 2020 - January 2021
News by David Polden

On 23 October, a jury at Dublin circuit court acquitted peace activists Colm Roddy and Dave Donnellan of criminal damage to the security fence and runway at Shannon airport, on the west coast of Ireland, in May 2016.

At the nine-day trial, Colm (78) and Dave (60) were alleged to have cut through the airport perimeter fence and painted crucifixes on the runway.

They were arrested after asking soldiers and gardaí (police officers) surrounding a US military C-21 jet to search it for weapons.
Both men told the jury that their actions on the day were a protest against the use of Shannon airport by US military.

The pair claimed that the presence of US military planes and troops was a breach of Irish neutrality and has, according to international law, turned the airport into a legitimate target for enemies of the US.

Dave told the jury that he had a lawful excuse in that he was trying to prevent a much greater illegality.

In her summing up, judge Karen O’Connor directed the jury that the offence of criminal damage allows for a defence where an accused acted in order to protect himself or another.

After being out for less than two hours, the jury returned unanimous not-guilty verdicts.