'Ireland contributes to war deaths by helping US military' - Halligan
More tax needed for tech giants
American planes that make stopovers in Shannon Airport on their way to the Middle East are carrying weapons, Junior Minister John Halligan has said.
The Independent TD has claimed that Ireland is "a contributing factor" to innocent people being killed in Afghanistan, Iraq and maybe Syria because we're "afraid of the goddamn Americans".
His statement contrasts dramatically with the official Government line that all military aircraft landing in Shannon must be "unarmed, carry no arms, ammunition or explosives and must not engage in intelligence gathering".
In recent years a series of ministers for defence and foreign affairs have denied that the US military is bringing weapons through Ireland.
However, Mr Halligan told 'Hot Press' magazine the stance makes a mockery of Ireland's neutrality.
"We're afraid of the goddamn Americans - that's what it is. Is there someone seriously telling me no munitions have been carried in any of these planes?
"Sure, this is what we're being told: 'Oh, they're only carrying soldiers'. They're not - they're carrying munitions.
"You know that and I know that. "And all of these planes should be searched," the Minister for Training, Skills and Innovation said.
Mr Halligan said he would favour a total ban on such flights stopping in Shannon.
He argued that while Ireland may not agree with the regimes in Afghanistan, Iraq or Syria, we should not become involved in the various wars.
"But are we not complicit if we allow soldiers, who say they are at war with them, stop in our country and then go out and fight?
"It's like two countries at war with one another, bombing the goddamn daylights out of one another and a country in the middle saying, 'But you can land your planes here. And you can refuel here and go and bomb him'. Sure, we're helping that," he said.
Mr Halligan was also deeply critical of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, describing him as "nuts", "homophobic", "racist" and "a clown".
The minister went on to describe American society as "warped" for allowing guns to be bought in supermarkets.
The Waterford TD's initial interview with 'Hot Press' last week , in which he called for the regulation of brothels, raised eyebrows among his Government colleagues.
His latest comments will do likewise as he hits out at our corporation tax, which Fine Gael has championed as the backbone of our drive to attract foreign direct investment.
Mr Halligan says that young people see their parents struggling to pay tax and PRSI while multi-nationals who make huge profits can find ways of reducing their bills.
He said legislation should be brought in to ensure companies like Google, Apple and Facebook should pay more tax in Ireland.
"And if some of these companies want to say, 'Ah, we'll leave then'. So, what are we going to do?
"Are we going to be threatened by people who will say, 'We don't agree with your legislation or your system here in Ireland?'," he asked.
The minister added: "We don't have any problem with our kids leaving the country because they can't earn enough money to pay tax - because they can't get a job."