I’ve just heard that Ciaron O'Reilly, an Australian peace activist, has been acquitted on charges of “causing criminal damage without a lawful excuse” (what kind of excuse could you have to cause criminal damage?).
O’Reilly was part of a group that attempted to dismantle an American navy plane that was refuelling at Shannon Airport in Ireland. Interestingly the group, which included four others, all part of the pacifist Catholic Worker Movement, did not deny the attempt to dismantle the plane saying they had to dismantle the plane to prevent it from taking part in the war in Iraq.
Here’s a statement released by the five after their acquittal:
The jury is the conscience of the community chosen randomly from Irish society. The conscience of the community has spoken. The government has no popular mandate in providing the civilian Shannon airport to service the US war machine in it's illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq. In 1996 in Liverpool the Jury acquittal of the four 'ploughshares' women contributed to the end of arms exports to the Suharto dictatorship in Indonesia and the independence of East Timor. 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.
- Ciaron, Damien, Karen, Deirdre and Nuin.
If you're interested the transcript from an interview O'Reilly recorded for Enough Rope is available here. And there’s plenty of coverage of the event on the Indy Media Ireland site.