Meet the women from one family who have been protesting at US Presidential visits for four decades

Wheeler women from Ennistymon, Co Clare have been protesting visiting US Presidents here for nearly forty years.

Meet the women from one family who have been protesting at US Presidential visits for four decades

Wheeler women from Ennistymon, Co Clare have been protesting visiting US Presidents here for nearly forty years.

Fiona Wheeler, along with her daughter Aisling, and her four-year old granddaughter Freya, were among the contingent at the Shannonwatch Peace Camp, at Shannon Airport to protest the visit of US President Donald Trump.

But, they have been a constant presence at the airport every few weeks since the early 2000s when US soldiers first began transiting through Shannon on their way to conflict zones.

“We are supposed to be a neutral country yet we have consistently allowed American military planes through Shannon. No planes have ever been examined. They do what they like here,” says 68-year-old Fiona.

Born in 1950, she has participated in demonstrations since she was sixteen, and has protested every Irish visit by a US President.

“I think, of all of the US presidents, Donald Trump is the most dangerous thing that the world has ever seen,” she says.

She’s also protesting over Trump’s controversial views that a lot of the evidence presented on Climate Change is fake news.

It’s an issue she is “terrified” about.

“Thankfully I won’t live long enough to have to live through a lot of it, but my daughter and grandchildren will.”

Trump “is in total denial about global warming”, she says.

“According to him its fake news. He may have the money to build himself and underground silo, but the rest of us don't.”

“I was brought up in a golden era, post World War II, and people were kinder to one another”

“The world is a poorer place” with Trump leader of the US, she adds.

Freya helps her mother Aisling paint the words “Climate Criminal” on a placard which they later hold together during the protest.

Aisling is representing Extinction Rebellion Clare whose “main objection to Trump is his policies on climate change”.

“He has pulled America out of the Paris agreement; he’s completely denying climate change, and he’s actually rolling back the policies that were made under Obama to try to reduce carbon emissions, which is a massively worrying trend.”

“We all know about the dire warnings now and how bad it could possibly get, and he is not only actively promoting coal and gas and oil, and increasing emissions.”

“So in my eyes that is actually a criminal act. He is a climate criminal and he is going to be responsible for the deaths of millions of people because of droughts and famines and climate wars in the future.”

Wheeler, (43), looks at her daughter and says she hopes it’s not too late for future generations.

“I have a four year old daughter and a young son, and while here in Ireland we probably won’t suffer the worst of climate change straight away, the world bank is forecasting over 100 million climate refugees by 2050.”

“Of course that’s going to effect my children - if there are 100 million homeless people around the world trying to find a safe place to live and grow food, that’s going to effect everybody.”

“Obviously its a big concern for any parent and grandparent.”

Trump support

Others who travelled to Shannon included Trump supporters Catherine Purcell from Thurles, Co Tipperary, and Co Laois couple Sheila and Larry Sheehan.

Holding a large poster “GOD BLESS TRUMP”, Purcell said: “We love Donald Trump. He is a man of god and god is using him for good”.

“My sister-in-law has lived in New York for forty years and she said they absolutely love him in America. I’m a Christian and Donald is a Christian and he stands up for the Christians rights and he’s the only US President who had the guts to move the (us) embassy to Jerusalem. Many presidents said they would do it but they never did,” she added.

Asked what she thought of other’s describing Mr Trump as a racist, sexist, misogynist, she replied:

“I’m here to support Donald because there is so much negativity going around about the man. We elected a President, not a Saint.” Employment in Doonbeg is “flourishing” because of Mr Trump owning a five-star hotel and golf course there, she said.

“I don't know why they are protesting there, I guess they have their reasons, but he is paying many a mortgage and putting food on the table.”

Asked by a reporter what she made of Mr Trump’s controversial views on climate change, she replied: “Donald doesn't control the climate, god controls the climate.”

Sheila Sheehan proudly help up a poster which read “CEAD MILE FAILTE PRESIDENT TRUMP” while her husband brought a giant flag that stated “TRUMP KEEP AMERICA GREAT 2020”.

When asked for her opinion on US troops transiting through Shannon airport, on their way to conflict zones, she said:

“I don't really know much about that. Isn’t the government allowing that so what can I say about that..I hate war, but the reason I love Donald Trump is that he speaks what other people think.”

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