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Tuesday 20 March 2018

Anti-war protesters say report doesn't go far enough

Junior Health Minister Finian McGrath Photo: David Conachy
Junior Health Minister Finian McGrath Photo: David Conachy

Martin Grant

The organisers of Ireland's biggest anti-war demonstration believe the Chilcot report does not go far enough for the families who lost relatives in the Iraq War.

More than 100,000 people turned out on the streets of Dublin in February 2003 for a demonstration against the invasion of Iraq. It was one of Ireland's biggest anti-war protests and included keynote speeches from singer Christy Moore and Michael D Higgins, who was later elected President.

The organisers of the event - including Senator David Norris, Junior Health Minister Finian McGrath and Richard Boyd Barrett - yesterday all described the report as "damning".

Mr McGrath last night said he was disappointed by the report and that he felt the invasion of Iraq was a bad "political and military decision".

"I was expecting more in it. There is no talk about the thousands of men, women and children who were slaughtered," he told the Irish Independent.

"My heart goes out to all the families of the thousands who lost their lives. It was the slaughter of the innocent."

He said the Government should now study the Chilcot report and bring an Irish response to the UN and the EU so "we can all learn and ensure these situations don't happen again".

Senator Norris described the invasion as a war crime. "I remember watching the war on television with absolute horror. The enormity of the explosions and the missiles were catastrophic," he added.

Matt Waine, who organised a movement of second-level students against the war, said the report confirms much of what the anti-war movement was advocating.

"The seeds of those actions result in the chaos and the war that we see today. I remember the feeling of power that I felt seeing 150,000 people marching on the streets of Dublin, I will never forget that," he said.

Mr Boyd Barrett said former British Prime Minister Tony Blair should now be indicted for war crimes. "The only fitting response here in Ireland to the Chilcot report is to now deny the US war machine the use of facilities at Shannon Airport," he added.

A spokesman for President Higgins said he has read John Chilcot's statement and executive summary. "The President's views on the issue are a matter of record, both in the Oireachtas and in the media. The President's interest in these issues is ongoing and he will find opportunities in the near future to speak to media about them," said the spokesman.

Irish Independent

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