New poll shows support for use of Shannon

Friday 16 May 2003 23.10

A new opinion poll published in tomorrow's Irish Times shows that a majority of voters now approve of the Government's decision to allow US forces to use Shannon Airport.

51% of voters surveyed in the TNS/MRBI poll in tomorrow's paper say they approve of the decision, compared to 39% who disapprove. 10% of those surveyed had no opinion.

Last February, before the start of the war, 68% said they would disapprove of the continued use of Shannon Airport in the event of a war being launched without a second UN Security Council resolution.

21% approved and 11% had no opinion.

Thousands of members of the US military passed through Shannon on their way to the war in Iraq.

Shannon trial date set for June

A total of six people charged with causing criminal damage to a US naval plane at Shannon Airport, in two separate incidents, are to stand trial at Clare Circuit Court on 24 June.

Five people appeared in court today charged with damaging the plane on 3 February. The five are Damian Moran, Ciaron O'Reilly, Nuin Dunlop, Deirdre Clancy and Karen Fallon, all with addresses in Dublin.

They appeared at Ennis District Court today, where Books of Evidence outlining proceedings against them were served.

An application for free legal aid to cover the cost of a Senior Counsel and a Junior Counsel in the case of Damian Moran was refused. Certification for free legal aid to cover the cost of a solicitor and a Junior Counsel was granted in respect of all five.

An application to relax the bail conditions, which obliged the five to sign on daily at garda stations in Dublin, was also refused.

Senior Counsel aid refused

Earlier, a woman accused of causing criminal damage to the same US naval plane in a separate incident was refused legal aid to cover the cost of a Senior Counsel to defend her.

The case against Mary Kelly is also due to go before the Clare Circuit Court on 24 June.

Ms Kelly, with an address in West Cork, is accused of damaging the plane on 29 January last.

Ennis District Court today was told today that the Book of Evidence outlining proceedings against Ms Kelly has now been served.

Her solicitor, Joe Noonan, applied for legal aid to cover the cost of employing a Senior and a Junior Counsel at her trial.

Mr Noonan said he was making the application given what he said was the gravity of the case which could expose his client to a ten-year sentence.

Judge Joseph Mangan refused the application and certified for free legal aid for a junior counsel only.

An application to relax Ms Kelly's bail conditions was also refused. She must continue to sign on at Skibbereen Garda Station three times a week.

It is understood the damage caused to the US naval plane in the two incidents is estimated at €4m.