Human rights speakers give LYIT talk on neutrality

Law students and guests at LYIT heard from two leading speakers on the importance of peace, human rights and how the difference the individual can change society for the better.

Law students and guests at LYIT heard from two leading speakers on the importance of peace, human rights and how the difference the individual can change society for the better.

The events was hosted by the Department of Law & Humanities and featured talks from Edward Horgan, a former Commandant in the Irish Army and a member of Veteran’s For Peace and also the Peace and Neutrality.

Joining him was lawyer, Roberto Zamora from Costa Rica, who successfully sued the government of his country after they joined the “coalition of the willing” after the US lead invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Both men made the visit on Monday afternoon, the day before they were due to attend Ennis District Court as witnesses in the trial of TDs Clare Daly and Mick Wallace.

The Independent TDs were charged with allegedly scaling the airport perimeter fence and entering a restricted area contrary to the airport bylaws arising from an incident at Shannon Airport last July.

At Mondays event Mr Horgan, originally from Co Kerry, that he had served with the Irish Defence Forces for over two decades and included many international peacekeeping missions outlined his views as a Human Rights and Anti-War activist.

Mr Horgan lost a constitutional High Court challenge to the legality of the Irish Government allegedly allowing American troop carriers to land at Shannon Airport claiming it was contrary to Ireland’s constitutional commitment to seeking peaceful settlements to conflicts.

He said we need a “positive neutrality” and he claimed that thousands of armed US troops have passed through the Irish airport as they journeyed to Iraq and Afghanistan.

He said it was his view this had taken place and was “a gross breach of Irish neutrality” and also presented a serious health and safety risk at the airport.

He presented photographs he claimed were of US places landed and refuelling in Ireland and said as an advocate of peace it was “stupid to try and make peace by going to war”.

Roberto Zamora, outlined that when popular opinion in his country was against his governments support for the Iraq war, as a 22-year-old law student half way through his studies, he took an action against the Costa Rican government and won his case to have them removed from the “coalition of the willing”.

He said it just highlights how individuals can make an impact on Government and added that he advocated participatory democracy which he stated was “not just the right to vote” but was the active involvement on determining what kind of society he lived in.

“I did it to let people know it is not impossible. It has a lot to do with the kind of world we want to live in. I refuse to leave my future in the hands of people who understand nothing about our country” Mr Zamora, an independent attorney stated.

Both speakers concluded their visit by stating whether they won or lost their respective cases they had no regrets in bringing their actions.