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US civil aircraft carrying weapons are finding it harder to land at Shannon Airport for re-fuelling – or even to fly over Irish airspace. Last year, 19 aircraft, presumably those part of the CRAF programme, were refused use of Irish airports or airspace last year, after the authorities had read the cargo manifest and discovered troops carrying sidearms or freighters shipping military hardware. However, 584 exemptions were given last year – down from 1,495 in 2007. More than 65,000 US soldiers passed through Shannon airport last year. A parliamentary inquiry in Ireland has been sparked by an anti-war campaigner.

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