Each month, we share the stories of World BEYOND War volunteers around the world. Want to volunteer with World BEYOND War? Email email@example.com.
Location: Limerick, Ireland
How did you get involved with anti-war activism and World BEYOND War (WBW)?
First of all, I prefer the more positive term peace activist rather than the negative term anti-war.
The reasons I became involved with peace activism arose from my previous experiences as a United Nations military peacekeeper combined with my work as an international election monitor in 20 countries that had experienced serious conflicts and also my academic research convinced me that there was an urgent need to promote peace internationally as a alternative to wars. I became involved in peace activism initially in 2001 as soon as I realized that the Irish Government had decided to facilitate the US led war in Afghanistan by allowing the US military to transit through Shannon airport on their way to Afghanistan in clear breach of international laws on neutrality.
I became involved with WBW because I became aware of the good work WBW was doing through WBW’s participation in two international peace conferences in Ireland, including the First International Conference Against US/NATO Military Bases held in November 2018, and the Conference organized by World BEYOND War – Pathways to Peace in Limerick 2019.
What kinds of volunteer activities do you help with?
In addition to being active with WBW, I am international secretary with PANA, the Irish Peace and Neutrality Alliance, a founding member of Shannonwatch, member of the World Peace Council, Chairperson of the Veterans For Peace Ireland, as well as being active with a number of environmental groups.
I have also organized and taken part in protest events at Shannon airport over the past 20 years during which I have been arrested about a dozen times and prosecuted on 6 occasions so far, but unusually I have been acquitted on all occasions so far.
In 2004 I took a High court constitutional case against the Irish Government over US military use of Shannon airport, and while I lost part of this case, the High Court did rule that the Irish Government was in breach of customary international laws on Neutrality.
I have attended international peace conferences and undertaken peace visits to the following countries: USA, Russia, Syria, Palestine, Sweden, Iceland, Denmark, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Belgium, Germany, and Turkey.
What’s your top recommendation for someone who wants to get involved with WBW?
This recommendation applies to anyone who wants to get involved with any peace activists group: don’t prevaricate, get involved, and do whatever you can whenever you can to promote peace.
What keeps you inspired to advocate for change?
During my service as a United Nations peacekeeper, and as an international election monitor, I have seen the devastation of wars and conflicts first hand, and met with very many victims of war, and family members of people killed in wars. In my academic research also, I have established that up to one million children have died across the Middle East due to war related reasons since the First Gulf war in 1991. These realities leave me no option except to do all I can to help end wars and promote peace.
How has the coronavirus pandemic impacted your activism?
The coronavirus has not limited my activism too much as I have been involved in a number of legal cases connected to peace actions at Shannon airport and I have been using Zoom type meetings to participate in peace activities. I have replaced the direct monitoring of US military aircraft transiting through Shannon airport with electronic and using aircraft tracking systems on the internet.
Posted November 23, 2020.