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Friday 31 May 2013

Shannon Airport Both Invade and Aid?

Written on www.politics.ie in 2012

Labour Election Manifesto 2011.

Making Ireland a Hub for Humanitarian Aid One of the major current weaknesses of the international response to humanitarian crises or conflicts is the absence of a coordinating centre to assemble resources and personnel. In government, Labour will position Ireland to become an international hub for the storage and distribution of emergency humanitarian supplies, and for the assembly of military and civilian personnel for EU or UN peacekeeping missions. The Shannon airport area, with easy access to ports, extensive space, long runways and large depots would be an ideal location for such a hub.

I thought this was some sop to the allow some labour people to pretend labour has ethics but they really said it Shannon proposed as hub for global aid - The Irish Times - Wed, Nov 23, 2011

So they could well have soldiers going through Shannon to invade and bomb a place and then have aid going through to them from the same Airport, the hypocrisy of the Irish state knows no bounds.

Apart from the hypocrisy it makes no practical sense and is against policy.

But they have this planned investment of the commercial logistics hub, Lynx to develop air freight hub at Shannon - RT News good news, to be welcomed (the evils of capitalism aside ;P), this humanitarian hub is pure greenwash.

This idea may have originated though from Labour party member Roger Cole, Irish Left Review · Dublin City Council opposes US troops use of Shannon Airport in wars

Read this, Victory for Peace Movement in new Programme for Government Victory for Peace Movement | Facebook
PANA Chair, Roger Cole, a delegate to the Conference, asked for clarification of this statement in the Programme for Government.
Mr. Cole asked: " Does this mean the termination of the use of Shannon Airport by US troops in these permanent ongoing wars?" citing Afghanistan and Iraq.
Eamon Gilmore in his closing speech to the Conference, replied to Roger Cole's call for clarification. The Labour Party Leader stated that: "Yes, Roger Cole has pointed out an area where there is a difference" and "that it may be hard to believe" but that the statement in the Programme for the Government "does mean what is says".

Doesn't it seem like a rehearsed a little, its was a sop to any labour delgatess foolish enough to use this as excuse to vote for Labour to join Fine Gael in goverment who will continue the policy of war profiteering.

Joe Costello brings it up in the dail and says it all himself Disaster Relief: 11 Oct 2011: Dáil debates (KildareStreet.com)

"There is no Atlantic hub so far. None of the areas the Minister of State has mentioned are near the Atlantic."

Finding more about this, here is a presentation from a man named Brian Byrne that he gave on behalf of the an organization he heads in Jacksonville, a Florida Chamber of Commerce subsidiary called Cornerstone in a military airport/seaport town where they are planning to collaborate on this Atlantic Aid hub.

Brian Byrne's Presentation - Shannon as a hub for Humanitarian Aid.ppt

Possibility of global aid centre for Shannon

Development plan would “support the development of innovative initiatives that harness the potential of the airport including, but not exclusive to, a residential flight school, global logistics centre for humanitarian aid, unmanned aerospace systems and a centre for space collaboration and research co-operation.”

Wow a impressive list of maybes.

Everyone wants their project to be a world leader, a global hub, doesn't mean they will be.

Hardly a mention from any of these people about the current military activity at the airport, they don't want to mention it lest it hurt their marketing sheen.

Being pushed by Labour's Joe Costello, Jan O'Sullivan, Alan Kelly and Eamon Gilmore. The earliest mention of it I can find is October 2010 shannon ideal global hub for humanitarian aid Clareherald.

Where did you get the such a strong idea that this was to be USAID, the presentation suggests it is but you seem pretty sure? ( a resonse to somebody on P.ie)

I think you should finish one policy before you start another, you can't have paint yourself as humanitarian hub if you continue to refuel belligerent military invasion forces through your country that began long before any UN figleaf was put over them, not to mention the kidnap and torture rings.

Do we produce the drugs that would be needed?, would storing them here, if they came from elsewhere be a good idea?

With Shannon, we are trying to see what niche areas might be appropriate. It might not be suitable for stocking larger items like tents which would be more appropriate closer to disaster areas,” she said.“But medicines is one area that has potential. We have a big pharmaceutical industry here in Ireland

It seems more of a stretch then a flyer

Humanitarian Missions: 17 Nov 2010: Written answers (KildareStreet.com)

Peter Power thought it was non-starter as Minister in 2010.

Now we got a feasiblity study an expensive sop to the labour party
Feasibility Study on the Establishment of a Humanitarian Hub at Shannon Airport

13,000 military planes with weapons use shannon airport in 2011
Dail 2012

While in the same week Minister Leo Varadkar Expresses Support for US War Activities at Shannon | Shannonwatch.

International humanitarian hub for Shannon ruled out | Irish Examiner

This unrealistic sop to labour voters cost 40k Dáil Éireann - 25/Oct/2012 Written Answers Nos. 30-44

Humanitarian hub grounded at Shannon Airport Limerick's Live95FM

However the study does provide a potential opening for a role for Shannon Airport in EU Civil Protection

December 12th 2012 Leo Varadakar Minister for Transport.
Varadkar announces plans for national aviation policy
advocates additional military flights.

This report was released on the 20th of December 2012
Shannon Airport Feasibility Study - Irish Aid - Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Shannon Airport Feasibility Study Report

Plans scrapped for Shannon Humanitarian Hub | clare.fm
Local representatives had said the project made perfect sense, and that it promised to bring an employment boost to Clare, but an independent report has now deemed the plan not to be viable.

New hope for Shannon humanitarian hub

HOPES have been raised that Shannon may still be able to play some role as an international aid hub despite a consultants report rejecting the idea as being impractical. Former Minister of State for Trade and Development, Jan O'Sullivan, told the Limerick Post that she intends to push for further research "to see if the airport could have a role in some niche market like the storing of pharmaceuticals. This would be particularly possible if we got the Lynx cargo facility which has been talked about".

Update 2014
The New Logistics Hub Of United Nations In Spain, Key For Shipping Humanitarian Aid To Africa | WFP | United Nations World Food Programme - Fighting Hunger Worldwide
See Gran Canaria, Spain makes sense.

Invest in Gran Canaria 2013

Thursday 30 May 2013

Irish Oireachtas parliamentary petition system

been keeping on eye on this on Politics.ie some of this was written on 13th September 2012

so they are setting up a petitioning system The Oireachtas :: Online Petitions

which a committee might do something about or not, they say

  • refer the petition to any other Committee as it considers appropriate, with a request for further consideration and report back to the Committee;
  • report to the Dáil/Seanad with recommendations, including a request that the report be debated by the Dáil/Seanad;
  • request the Petitioner to attend a meeting and address the Committee in seeking further clarity/understanding on the Petition in hand;
  • refer the petition to the Ombudsman, another Ombudsman or a regulatory public body or a body established for the purpose of redress.

I think some of the members of the committee visited Scotland to see how their system worked and which they agreed to aim for similar Scottish Parliament which allows you create a petition on their site and collect signatures there and discuss the issue, and have the signees be updated by email on the progress of the petitions. this is what we got
Basically they made an online form, where you can upload 1 excel file or scans of your petition and signatures. Unlike the other petitions sites where people can add their signatures online. Not requiring a minimum number of signatures is good I guess but it means the system hasn't got much notice.

Compare with WethePeople and HM Government e-petitions.

The committee has met 4 times in a year and half, this weak effort I think does not bode well for them or us.

A petition is admissible if it:

  • relates to matters on which the Houses of the Oireachtas have the power to act;
  • complies with Standing Orders and is in proper form;
  • is not sub-judice, i.e. does not relate to a case where court proceedings have been initiated and which is to be heard before a jury or is then being heard before a jury;
  • does not contain the name or names of individuals;
  • does not contain language which is offensive or defamatory;
  • ]is not the same as, or is not in substantially similar terms to, a petition brought by or on behalf of the same person, body corporate or unincorporated association during the lifetime of that Dáil/Seanad and which was closed by agreement of the Committee;
  • is not frivolous, vexatious or otherwise does not constitute an abuse of the petitions system;
  • does not require the Committee to consider an individual complaint which has been the subject of a decision by the Ombudsman, by another Ombudsman, or by a regulatory public body or a body established for the purpose of redress.

I scraped the petitions together with scraperwiki and then manually add in the corresponding the committee discussions and videos here to make them easier to follow, This should be done by the Oireachtas themselves to make it possible to follow. Petitions Spreadsheet and wrote a note of what "action" they've taken.

You can find the committee transcripts and videos.

18th January 2013

51 submitted, almost all by individuals, 20 address by committee, responding to most by sending letters to the department and shelving the issue for up to 6 months eg 21/Nov/2012 Decisions on Public Petitions Received

Only 2 more petitions looked at since I last looked, plus they decided to close another one on microwave transmission illness, if there is such a thing, they will be a WHO report on it in... 2014 and they were closing the petition, when they looked at it previously they noted the gov had promised in 2007 to research the issue, they said they'd write to the department to see what had happened to that promise, I would have liked to have heard the dept response on the record, these are the sort of issues that are going to come up in petitions why not tackle it head on rather then dismiss or delay response.

They've looked at half the petitions in committee so far but most of the rest the petitions have been there for months with no response.

Tried to display the progress in chart


Edward Horgan's petition about use of Shannon Airport by US military and CIA is 3rd longest awaiting first hearing at Oireachtas committee, 234 days since November 20th 2012

2nd is one enda kenny #should implement' equality budgeting and the first a petition about gardai misconduct and wrongful arrest. figured numbers here

One of the petitions I followed with interest was petition about Open access to publicly-funded research reports submitted by Dr Ciarán Mc Mahon

First Discussion
Second Discussion

The progress of a policy of open access had been continuing while the committee was in operation and national principles for open access policy was published after the petition was received. "The National Steering Committee on Open Access Policy I tried to find out where progress was being reported but they haven't setup a website for it as yet. Update July 2013 Asked again and still not public update of work progress. Can it be said that this petition has been satisfied?

Update Website for the National Steering Committee on Open Access Policy in Ireland October 2013

Updating Petitions Spreadsheet at early May 2013

Other discussion about it Boards.ie and reddit