2.5 million US troops since 2002
Published 23/07/2014 | 02:30
IF you've ever used Shannon Airport, chances are you're familiar with the sight of booted and suited soldiers.
Some 2.5 million troops from the United States have passed through the west of Ireland's primary airport since 2002.
The numbers soared to 341,000 soldiers in 2005 during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but fell to fewer than 70,000 last year.
The airport has also been frequented by CIA rendition aircraft, which may have been used to move prisoners internationally.
Most of the US troops passing through the airport on a daily basis are on board flights classified as 'civilian' flights.
Since 2003, the Government has acknowledged that troops on board these flights carry personal weapons.
The usage of Shannon Airport by the US military has been fraught with opposition since it began more than a decade ago.