US Antiwar Billboard Banned During Trump’s Irish Visit

June 17th, 2019 - by The Times of London

World Beyond War Campaign against Troops at Shannon ‘Blocked’ During Trump Visit

(June 16, 2019) — An American anti-war organisation was refused permission to place advertisements featuring the slogan “US troops out of Shannon” on billboards in Limerick during Donald Trump’s visit to Ireland.

JCDecaux Ireland, part of a multinational outdoor advertising agency, told World Beyond War (WBW) that the slogan breached the company’s policy of not displaying campaigns of a religious or politically sensitive nature. JCDecaux did agree to display an alternative poster featuring a dove and the words “Peace, neutrality, Ireland”, but WBW did not go ahead with the alternative format.

David Swanson, WBW’s executive director, said it had been prepared to spend at least $5,000 (€4,500) of its donated funds on its Irish billboard campaign but no company would agree to rent it space for its “US troops out of Shannon” poster.

Swanson, who has been a nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize, said WBW planned the campaign to promote an international peace conference it is holding in Limerick in October. Although it would have coincided with the US president’s meeting with Leo Varadkar, the taoiseach, at Shannon airport, Swanson said the campaign was not designed for that event.

Although the WBW billboard campaign did not proceed, at the time of the visit, Tarak Kauff and Ken Mayers, American members of Veterans for Peace, hung a banner from a road bridge near the airport. It read: “Respect Irish neutrality. US war machine out of Shannon.”

“Exit polls show that an impressive 82% of Irish voters say Ireland should remain a neutral country in all aspects,” said Swanson, a radio host and author. “But Ireland is not remaining a neutral country in all aspects.”

JCDecaux told The Sunday Times it was company policy “not to accept campaigns of a politically sensitive nature”. It did not say when the policy began. During the 2016 general election, a JCDecaux billboard in Dublin featured a Labour campaign image with Joan Burton, then the party leader, saying: “I will stand up for families.”

In 2012, anti-abortion publicity appeared on a JCDecaux billboard, featuring a picture of a baby and the slogan: “Abortion tears her life apart.”

The Irish government offered America the use of Shannon airport following the 9/11 attacks in 2001. Since then, almost 3 million US military personnel have transited through Shannon.

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