Two U.S. Veterans for Peace in Limerick Prison after action at Shannon Airport

Photo by Ellen Davidson

from Veterans for Peace

Two U.S. Veterans For Peace were refused bail at Ennis District Court 

Charged with Trespass and Causing Criminal Damage at Shannon Airport

A group of seven U.S. Veterans for Peace took part in a protest against U.S. Military Base at Shannon Airport on Sunday, March 17th. 

WHY? Shannon used for refueling troop planes bound for Middle East wars in which up to one million [1,000,000] children have died since 1991.

MARCH 29 UPDATE: At a preliminary hearing on March 28, Ken Mayers and Tarak Kauff were granted bail and after 12 days in Limerick Prison, released on March 29 pending trial. Their passports were taken and they were ordered to stay away from airports. The men may not be able to leave Ireland before their trial. 

Two U.S. veterans were arrested at Shannon Airport on March 17 for entering the airfield to inspect and investigate an OMNI Air International plane on contract to the U.S. military. The two, Tarak Kauff and Ken Mayers, were refused bail at Ennis District Court on March 18. (See below for support actions.)

The plane, tail number N351AX, arrived at Shannon Airport about 8.30 a.m. from Eielson U.S. Air Force Base in Faribanks Alaska, believed to be on its way to the Middle East with up to 300 armed U.S. troops. 

At about 10 a.m., Mayers, a former Marine Corps Major and Kauff, a former Army paratrooper, both members of U.S. Veterans For Peace, entered the air field carrying a large banner that said: 
U.S. Veterans say
Respect Irish Neutrality
U.S. War Machine out of Shannon Airport
Veterans For Peace

The two walked across the air field with the intent of inspecting the plane for weapons or munitions, but were apprehended by airport security and Gardai. There were detained and interviewed at Shannon Garda station and held overnight for arraignment on charges of trespass and criminal damage. 

Photo by Ellen Davidson

At Ennis District Court this morning Mayers and Kauff were represented by solicitor Darragh Hassett. The prosecution outlined the charges against them and indicated that they were opposed to bail. Garda Sergeant Noel Carroll gave evidence of arrest on Taxiway 12 at Shannon Airport. He also stated that there was a U.S. military aircraft at the airport, most likely referring to OMNI Air N351AX. He also confirmed that the defendants were both veterans of the U.S. military. The prosecutor, Inspector Thomas Kennedy, said there had been substantial damage to the airport perimeter fence.

When the bail issue was being discussed Solicitor Hassett initially stated that the defendants were prepared to agree to bail conditions that involved surrendering their passports, and remaining in Ireland for the duration of the legal processes. This was an unacceptable condition as it would mean that the defendants would have to remain in Ireland at their own expense for up to two years before the trial would occur, and this restriction amounts to punishment without trial. 

The defendants then requested an adjournment to discuss matters with their solicitor. 

After the court resumed, Hassett emphasized that the defendants needed to return home to the U.S. and would sign a sworn undertaking to return for trial. The prosecution opposed this and continued to oppose the granting of any bail. 

Judge Maire Keane then ruled that she was denying bail to the accused and remanded them in custody to Limerick Prison, where they are to appear for a further court mention hearing by video from the prison on Wednesday, March 20. 

Further discussions were then held with Solicitor Hassett. He raised the option of appealing the bail refusal to the High Court in Dublin and he was told to lodge such an appeal. He indicated that it would likely be Thursday, March 28 before this High Court appeal would be heard. 

Ed Horgan, coordinator of Irish Veterans For Peace, said, “This process is a clear attempt to punish the two VFP activists before any trial takes place. We are calling on all peace and human rights activists in Ireland and internationally to campaign not only on behalf of Ken Mayers and Tarak Kauff, but, more important, on behalf of all the innocent people being killed and injured by U.S. illegal wars.”

Major Ken Mayers served 12 years in the U.S. Marine Corps. He is a former National Board member of Veterans For Peace and participant in veterans peace team delegations to Palestine, Okinawa, Jeju Island, South Korea, and Standing Rock.

Photo by Ellen Davidson

Tarak Kauff was a paratrooper in the U.S. Army during the early sixties. He was a member of the VFP National Board of Directors for six years. He has organized veterans delegations to Palestine, Okinawa, South Korea and Standing Rock. He is currently the managing editor of Peace In Our Times, VFP’s quarterly 24-page newspaper.

Support action: U.S. supporters are asked to call the Irish Embassy and consulates and the State Department to demand they be freed. See for details about their case and for why they did what they did. Call the VFP national office to make a donation to their defense. Make sure to note it’s for Tarak Kauff and Ken Mayers. 
You can write individually to Tarak Kauff and Ken Mayers at Limerick Prison, Mulgrave Street, Limerick, Ireland. 

Updates on Tarak Kauff and Ken Mayers from Veterans for Peace

Check for updates regularly at

Latest press release:

At the arraignment March 18, Tarak and Ken were represented by the equivalent of a legal services attorney, since it was a bank holiday and we were unable to find a solicitor at 9:30 the night before when we found out they were being arraigned.

On March 19, Ellen Davidson and Ed Horgan of Shannonwatch and Veterans For Peace Ireland will be meeting with Ed’s lawyer in Belfast, who is handling a similar case for Ed.

There will be a video hearing tomorrow, sort of an administrative next step of their arraignment.  Their appeal of the no-bail ruling will be heard on March 28. More news then.

Irish Amnesty International has been contacted, and Ellen Davidson will be contacting the U.S. Embassy in Ireland today.

Tarak and Ken are settled in at the jail in Limerick. The guards so far are very friendly, it’s comfortable, and according to Tarak, the food is better than NYC jails. They are rooming together. They can make phone calls, but I imagine it’s a fairly limited privilege.

There is a crew of activists in the Limerick area who will be visiting them regularly and perhaps holding vigils at the jail.

Currently we are asking folks to:

  • Call the Irish Embassy and consulates in the states
  • Call the State Department
  • Call their senators and representativesThe demand for the above is that Tarak and Ken be given bail and allowed to return home (to the U.S.) until their trial, which will definitely take months but could take years. They could end up serving more time than the penalty for their charges before they even get tried, much less convicted.

You can also donate to defray defense expenses by calling the Veterans For Peace national office at (314) 725-6005 and making a donation. Be sure to specify that it’s for Tarak and Ken. Shelly at the national office will keep track of the funds. We hope to have an online donation option soon.

And you can write to them at Limerick Prison, Mulgrave Street, Limerick.

Legal update, March 19, 2019

Ed Horgan and I met with an experienced human rights lawyer today who explained to us that the bail appeal will be almost a formality. He laid out how the judge did not follow the law and completely mishandled the ruling (more below on this for you legal geeks). This means that our boys will probably be out of jail by late next week, depending on how long it takes to get the appeal filed and heard.

This does not mean we should stop calling the Irish Embassy, consulates, State Department, etc., because as long as our guys are in jail, it’s an opportunity to point out why they were on the airfield in the first place, and that was to try to get the Irish government put its neutrality money where its mouth is and stop allowing the U.S. to fly weapons and soldiers through Shannon on their way to illegal wars in the Middle East. I’m putting some of Ed Horgan’s talking points in a separate section down at the bottom of this page. You can also go to the website

Meanwhile, after they get out of jail, there is still the question of when/whether they will be allowed to return to their lives and families in the U.S., which will be our next target.

Okay, the bonus for people who care about details of the law. The three criteria a judge may use in determine whether to refuse bail are:

  • Danger of witness tampering or intimidation
  • Possibility of re-offending
  • Risk of flight

The third question was addressed by the possibility of holding their passports (plus they pledged to return for trial and there were financial guarantees on offer to back that up). The other two issues were not raised by the prosecution or the judge.

In fact, what the prosecution raised, and the judge echoed in her refusal of bail, was that penetrating airport security was a serious matter and therefore bail could not be offered. Well, friends, the law explicitly states that the seriousness of the offense cannot be used as a criterion in determining bail.

So, there you have it, the bail appeal is a slam dunk (of course, as we learned yesterday morning, shockingly bad rulings are always a possibility, so nothing is ever 100 percent).

Personal update March 19

I spoke again on the phone to Tarak, and he repeated that they were being treated well, that the guards had a good sense of humor, and that they were actually about to be transferred to an upgraded cell (whatever that means…). He said they are both in good spirits. They are cellmates.

Reminder:  you can write them letters at Limerick Prison, Mulgrave Street, Limerick, Ireland (not even a street number or zip code to remember).

Activism report March 19

In Washington, DC, March 19.

People have been calling embassies, consulates, representatives and congresspeople. Ann Wright, Medea Benjamin, Paki Wieland, Tighe Berry and some other disreputable CODEPINK types went to the embassy in DC to hand-deliver a brilliant letter written by Ann (see photo above). Kathy Kelly (a dual Irish-U.S. citizen) will do the same to the consulate in Chicago tomorrow. Irish MPs have also been contacted. VFP chapter 34 in New York will be demonstrating in front of the Irish Consulate at 435 Park Ave. (betw. 51st and 52nd) at 4:30 pm tomorrow, March 20.

March 20 update from Edward Horgan

There was a brief court appearance this morning by video link from Limerick. Prosecution asked for accused to be remanded in custody for two weeks until 3rd April. Solicitor objected and requested one week remand only. JUDGE DURCAN said this was an OUTLANDISH request as the accused had only been in custody since Sunday and he abruptly remanded them in custody until 3 April. Separately an appeal has been made to the High Court and this is likely to be heard on 28 March. We were in contact by phone this morning with Tarak and Ken and both are in very good spirits and say prison conditions and staff are very good so far.

Just posted this update at :

Tarak and Ken walked out of jail at about 12:35 Irish time–Ed Horgan was literally waiting outside the jail for hours after all the paperwork was done. Tarak spoke briefly with Ellen Davidson and said they were very glad to be out, but that they had made some good friends in the prison, among both the guards and the prisoners. “The memory of 1916 is very real to them,” said Tarak, “and both guards and prisoners encouraged us to keep protesting.” They will probably be busy in the upcoming days–the Irish Times has been asking for an interview with them, and there will be other media as well.

Their passports, as was expected, have been confiscated and they have been told they must stay in Ireland for the trial. We will be organizing support for a campaign to bring them all the way home in the next weeks, but we need to get a clearer picture from the lawyer about what it will take.

Their next hearing is Wednesday, April 3, but it is not related to their bail conditions. It will be an important hearing, however, because the lawyers are going to make the case that the trial should be moved to Dublin, since it’s clear that there is no justice in County Clare for anyone protesting at Shannon (the U.S. military refueling stops are quite lucrative, and Shannon Airport is a major economic driver in the region). There is precedent for moving such cases, as Ed Horgan and three other activists have had their venues changed for this reason.

For now, it’s a celebration, but there’s going to be more organizing needed to get them out of Ireland and home. Watch this space!


from Edward Horgan, an Irish peace activist who protests regularly at Shannon Airport – March 19:


Legal issues at Shannon airport
1. Neutrality: Irish Government leaders since 1939 have stated that the Irish government has been and still is pursuing a policy of neutrality or “military neutrality”. Under international laws on neutrality this means that the Irish Government is obliged to comply with international laws on neutrality.
2. The Hague Convention V on Neutrality 1907:
Art. 2. Belligerents are forbidden to move troops or convoys of either munitions of war or supplies across the territory of a neutral Power.
Art. 5. A neutral Power must not allow any of the acts referred to in Articles 2 to 4 to occur on its territory.
Art. 11. A neutral Power which receives on its territory troops belonging to the belligerent armies shall intern them, as far as possible, at a distance from the theatre of war.
All these articles are being breached almost daily at Shannon airport. By allowing up to three million armed belligerent US troops and large quantities of munitions and war materials to transit through Shannon airport since 2001, on their way to and from wars in the Middle East, the Irish Government has been in serious breach of international laws on neutrality. None of the aircraft transporting these US troops and war materials through Shannon has ever been searched of investigated by Irish police.
3. Torture: Shannon airport was used, and may still be being used, by CIA aircraft involved in the US extraordinary rendition program under which hundreds of individuals were kidnapped, transported to prisons where they were tortured in breach of local, national and international laws, including the UN Convention Against Torture (UNCAT), and Irish law, Criminal Justice (UN Convention Against Torture) Act 2000.
UNCAT Article 4.1. “Each State Party shall ensure that all acts of torture are offences under its criminal law. The same shall apply to an attempt to commit torture and to an act by any person which constitutes complicity or participation in torture.”
4. Geneva Conventions on War: The four Geneva Conventions on War provide specific rules to safeguard combatants, or members of the armed forces, who are wounded, sick or shipwrecked, prisoners of war, and civilians, as well as medical personnel, military chaplains and civilian support workers of the military.
The Third Geneva Convention deals with the Treatment of Prisoners of War, and the Fourth Geneva Convention deals with the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War. These two Geneva Conventions have been seriously broken by almost all belligerents in the wars in the Middle East, including the US military forces.
Since Ireland as a neutral state is not a belligerent in these wars, Ireland’s responsibility in these serious matters applies primarily to its facilitation of the US military through Shannon airport. We do not facilitate Russian, or Iranian, or Syrian or Iraqi, or even British forces in a similar manner. Irish citizens therefore bear a proportionate part of the responsibility for any war crimes committed by US forces in the Middle East.
5. Nuremberg Principles: Principle VI “The crimes hereinafter set out are punishable as crimes under international law: (a) Crimes against peace: (i) Planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances;(ii) Participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the acts mentioned under (i).”
Principle VII: “Complicity in the commission of a crime against peace, a war crime, or a crime against humanity as set forth in Principle VI is a crime under international law”
(Note: Ireland is guilty especially under Nuremberg Principle V11, Complicity in the commission of crimes against peace by the US Government and US military forces in the Middle East.
6. Irish criminal laws: All Irish Criminal laws, without exception, apply at Shannon airport, including laws prohibiting torture, murder, criminal assault, conspiring to pervert the course of justice, and in most cases include facilitating the commission of such crimes by others, regardless of whether such crimes are committed on Irish territory or not.
7. UN Charter: The UN Charter is customary international law, binding on all UN Member states including Ireland and the United States of America. The fact that the USA and four other states have powers of veto over decisions and actions of the UN Security Council, does not give them any legal immunity from breaches of any of the Articles of the UN Charter, and neither does it give other countries such as Ireland any immunity that allows them to be complicity in US breaches of the UN Charter. Of particular importance is Article 2.4 of the UN Charter which states that: “All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.” The USA has been in clear breach of this Article of the UN Charter by using military force to overthrow the governments of Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, and attempting to overthrow the Government of Syria, without the approval of the UN Security Council, and Ireland has also been in breach of Article 2.4 of the UN Charter by actively facilitating the United States breaches of Article 4.2 of the UN Charter.
8. Obligations and duties of An Garda Siochana (Irish Police Force)
Garda Siochana Act 2005
Section 7.(1) The function of the Garda Síochána is to provide policing and security services for the State with the objective of—(a) preserving peace and public order, (b) protecting life and property, (c) vindicating the human rights of each individual, (d) protecting the security of the State, (e) preventing crime, (f) bringing criminals to justice, including by detecting and investigating crime, and (g) regulating and controlling road traffic and improving road safety.
Section 16. Garda Oath (1) On being appointed, each member of the Garda Síochána shall make before a Peace Commissioner a declaration in the following form:
“I hereby solemnly and sincerely declare before God that—
• I will faithfully discharge the duties of a member of the Garda Síochána with fairness, integrity, regard for human rights, diligence and impartiality, upholding the Constitution and the laws and according equal respect to all people,
• while I continue to be a member, I will to the best of my skill and knowledge discharge all my duties according to law, and
• I do not belong to, and will not while I remain a member form, belong to or subscribe to, any political party or secret society whatsoever.”.
9. Obligations of Irish citizens and non-citizens.
All Irish citizens are obliged by the Irish Constitution and by law, and all visitors to Ireland who may not be Irish citizens are obliged by law, to respect and obey the laws of the Irish State, and to uphold the rule of law.
These obligations include assisting police and emergency services where necessary in the prevention of serious crimes and in preventing serious injuries to other persons, including persons who may be subject to serious injuries or death outside the jurisdiction of the Irish State.
In addition there are moral and humanitarian duties that are applicable to all members of humanity that oblige all of us to take all reasonable means to prevent serious crimes, especially crimes against humanity. We must all act in accordance with our CONSCIENCE to prevent wrongdoing.
It is not sufficient to stand idly by while such crimes are being committed.

Photo by Ellen Davidson