8 June 2006 Edition
Irish Government must cease collusion with illegal renditions
After the Council of Europe named the 26 Counties as being a stopover point for flights involving the unlawful transfer of detainees, Sinn Féin International Affairs spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD, called on the Government to immediately account for and cease its collusion with the CIA's network of secret flights and illegal renditions.
Speaking in the Dáil on Wednesday, Ó Snodaigh said there "The government must immediately account for and cease its collusion with the CIA's network of secret flights and illegal renditions. Today the Council of Europe has named this state as being a stopover for flights involving the unlawful transfer of detainees. There is an urgent need to refuse all planes associated with the United State's rendition programme use of Irish airports and airspace".
Speaking later Ó Snodaigh added: "The Government and in particular Minister's for Justice, Transport, Foreign Affairs and Defence, have failed to convince anyone that this state has not facilitated the United State's illegal rendition programme. The concerns raised by myself and many other human rights campaigners long ago were affirmed today by the Council of Europe. The government must explain why it failed to insist on a capacity for the Gardaí to inspect the planes landing at Shannon Airport. And the Taoiseach must give a direct, personal guarantee that in future no plane suspected of involvement with the US covert programme known as Extraordinary Rendition will be allowed stop at Shannon or any other Irish airport or to over-fly Irish airspace. Furthermore, he must give a firm undertaking that all CIA associated chartered civilian or military aircraft landing in Ireland will be inspected by Gardaí in future."
The 26 Counties was one of 14 EU states named in a Council of Europe report on the practice of rendition flights. Speaking from Brussels on the development, Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún said the findings of the Council of Europe report would cause great concern in Ireland, adding that it raised questions about the principle of Irish neutrality and the fundamental human rights of those transported to third countries.