Queer Irish poet Sarah Clancy was stopped by Gardaí at Shannon Airport yesterday afternoon, Monday, September 2. She attempted to make her way towards the terminal with two homemade signs in protest of the U.S. vice-president Mike Pence’s visit to Ireland.
The Gardaí present at the scene stopped Ms Clancy and moved her along twice before Pence touched down on the tarmac citing their concern that the language on the signs may offend Pence. Speaking at Shannon, Ms Clancy said: “That’s what I was hoping for, but they (Gardaí) asked me to move away from the area which I did.”
"All I face is ridicule from people who maybe don’t understand the crossroads we are at in the world at the moment. If we don’t speak out here when there is no risk to ourselves then who will?”
Poet @sarahmaintains on protesting Pence's visit in Ireland https://t.co/ffqyHJm7rF pic.twitter.com/Nyoe59kniS
— Caelainn Hogan (@CaelainnH) September 3, 2019
Ms Clancy moved away from the security checkpoint at Shannon Airport as requested by Gardaí. She was followed and asked to move further down the road again, an order with which she complied. After following Gardaí’s instructions, Clancy met with another protestor who held one of the placards she had brought.
We may be few but we're here pic.twitter.com/0sNhlHi0S5
— Sarah Clancy (@sarahmaintains) September 2, 2019
Clancy explained her dismay at Pence’s visit to the island to The Clare Herald stating: “Mike Pence should not be honoured. I very much fear that in years to come people will wish they stood up against this regime. Ireland we live in one of the most free countries in the world. I can protest Mike Pence’s visit, his inhumanity, racism and homophobia without fear of persecution or retribution. All I face is ridicule from people who maybe don’t understand the crossroads we are at in the world at the moment. If we don’t speak out here when there is no risk to ourselves, then who will?”
She goes on to discuss the danger in the amount of power Pence has as Vice President of the United States saying that it is “not the same as a crank on the internet being homophobic.”
Clancy states that Pence has openly opposed the protection of LGBT+ people under the law in the past, therefore legitimises attacks on the community.
Although no significant protest is expected, the Garda public order unit will remain on standby in Shannon until Pence is set to leave on Wednesday.
As part of security precautions, fencing, which is expected to cost up to €5m, has been erected along a section of the main approach road to the airport.
Amnesty International is set to hold a protest against the visit outside the Dáil today, Tuesday, September 3, at 1 pm. The event called “Disco at the Dáil” aims to celebrate “all the people that Pence and Trump’s cruel policies are hurting; women, refugees, migrants, and LGBTI people.”
© 2019 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.
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