Military cargo plane carrying US general landed in Shannon on way to Israel, wasn’t searched

A US general onboard a military cargo plane that’s frequently used to transport munitions stopped in Shannon Airport last month on his way to Israel – but Irish authorities didn’t search the aircraft for weaponry.  

The plane carrying general Erik Kurilla stopped in Shannon before flying to Tel Aviv, where Kurilla met with the Israel Defense Forces.  

A Department of Foreign Affairs spokesperson confirmed to The Ditch that Ireland as a matter of policy does not search military aircraft landing in Shannon Airport – including the C17.  

‘Not subject to inspection’

On 10 April a US Air Force C17 Globemaster landed in Shannon Airport on its way to Tel Aviv.

The plane – which was carrying US general and commander of US Central Command (CENTCOM) Erik Kurilla – left Shannon the following day.

Irish authorities didn’t search the C17 plane – a model used by the US military as its “primary” means of transporting munitions to Israel – the Department of Foreign Affairs has confirmed.

“Foreign military aircraft which are given permission to land in Ireland are not subject to inspection,” said a spokesperson, 

In 2023 and to date in 2024, no additional applications have been received or exemptions granted for the carriage of munitions of war on civil aircraft to a point in Israel, added the spokesperson. 

Kurilla was travelling to assist Israeli defence minister Yoav Gallant and Israeli military officials.

The International Criminal Court has requested an arrest warrant for Gallant, claiming it has grounds to believe he is criminally responsible for crimes against humanity in Gaza.

Responding to a written question by Catherine Connolly TD last month, tánaiste, minister for foreign Affairs, and minister for defence Micheál Martin said he was satisfied US planes flying through Shannon have not carried munitions, including the C17.

“Permission for this aircraft to land in Shannon was sought and granted for the purpose of transporting a senior official delegation travelling from the US to the Middle East,” said Martin. “No airport in Ireland, or Irish sovereign airspace, is being used to transport weapons to the conflict in the Middle East, or any other war,” he said. 

Figures published by the Department of Foreign Affairs state that US military aircraft made 34 landing requests in April of this year alone.                              

The Ditch editors

The Ditch editors