Aldergrove Airport blockade: Day 2

The second day has proved a lot more illuminating for the protesters against live exports blockading Aldergrove airport in the north of Ireland.

The good news is that overwhelming public support has been manifesting itself in spontaneous "high grade" intelligence tip offs from sympathetic people close to the airport/police/army operation, which has vowed to get the veal calves through to Belfast International Airport. The bad news is that a reliable source provided information that a lorry of calves did indeed reach its destination on Wednesday (25 Jan 95) evening, using one of the many "closed" roads leading to the airport.

Due to the conflict situation in the north of Ireland (on-going for the last 25 years, now in respite) the airport is protected by military-style security. All roads leading to the airport except one have long been closed to the public. Now exceptions have obviously been made in the interests of the veal trade.

An informant also brought more bad news that the lorry had broken down en route that night. When it finally did deliver the calves, the airplane experienced technical difficulties on the runway.

Last night (Thu 26 Jan 1995) protesters received two independent tip-offs about the impending arrival of a lorry-load of calves by the same closed route. Despite their small number, their appearance at the blocked portion of the "secret" road caused much consternation among the police stationed there, presumably in readiness to open the road when necessary.

After some flustered discussion among themselves and their radio contacts, the police just drove off. The protesters then explored the area, which is conveniently close to the Air Cargo section of the airport. They spent a few hours playing cat and mouse with airport security, during which time no lorry appeared. In air cargo, they saw an ancient unmarked freight plane, which may well be the Ukrainian craft chartered for the live exports. At one point, a British army helicopter with its spotlight trained on protesters was used to track their movements.

The blockade still needs to attract more bodies to help spread the workload, but the quality of the information they are receiving is lifting their spirits. They are now receiving reports of previously unknown exportation of animals: sheep by plane from Aldergrove to Russia and by boat from Greenore (Co Louth, Ireland) to Libya.

Tonight (Fri 27 Jan 95) the blockade has just got a tip-off that calves have arrived by ship into Dun Laoghaire (near Dublin) en route to Aldergrove despite the recent categorical statement by the Irish Department of Agriculture banning such traffic.