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Ploughshares action comes to Ireland

The first ploughshares action took place on September 9, 1980 when eight people entered the General Electric Plant in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania and hammered on nose cones from nuclear warheads and poured blood on documents. They did this as a way of enacting the words of Isaiah (2:4) 'to beat swords into ploughshares'.

They remained on site and waited until they were arrested in order to accept full responsibility for their actions. One member of that Ploughshares group, Molly Rush, was a speaker at Afri's first Féile Bríde conference in Kildare in 1993. Since that 'ploughshares 8' action in Pennsylvania, others have taken place in Australia, Germany, Holland, Sweden and England. By 2001, over one hundred and fifty people had participated in ploughshares actions and the actions continue.

Among other ploughshares activists are Chris Cole, Andrea Needham and Jo Willson, all of whom disarmed British military aircraft which were bound for Indonesia for use against the people of East Timor. Chris, Andrea and Jo were also speakers at Féile Bríde conferences in Kildare.

Now ploughshares actions have come to Ireland. In February 2003 five members of the Catholic Worker movement entered the runway area at Shannon Airport. They constructed a shrine on the runway to Iraqi children, who are victims of war and sanctions. They then began to dig up the runway before entering a hangar housing a US military plane, which was being repaired after a similar action by Mary Kelly. They painted 'Pit stop of death' on the hangar roller doors and disarmed the repaired warplane. The five activists waited until they were arrested by Gardai and were put in Limerick prison.

Previous actions had been undertaken by Eoin Dubsky who spray-painted a US air force Hercules warplane at Shannon as a symbolic act of disarmament in September 2002 and by Mary Kelly, who as referred to above disarmed the same warplane in January 2003.


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