Dáil debates

Wednesday, 26 January 2005


Army Intelligence Operations.

2:30 pm

Photo of Willie O'DeaWillie O'Dea (Limerick East, Fianna Fail)

There is no justification for maintaining surveillance on people just because they happen to be political activists whose views do not coincide with the mainstream political opinions of the day. Military intelligence reports to me and I assure the House that nobody is under surveillance from military intelligence anyway simply because they happen to be involved in politics or democratic political activity. Only people whose activities are judged to be a threat to the security of the State are the subject of military intelligence. I cannot comment on the cases to which the Deputy refers and I am sure he understands why. They were certainly before my time and I am not aware of them. I am advised the criteria are as I have outlined.

A control system exists in that military intelligence reports on a regular basis to the Minister for Defence, who is a political figure and happens to be me at the moment. It reports to the Army Chief of Staff and to the Deputy Chief of Staff in charge of operations. I am the only political figure in that troika. I must take responsibility for those whom military intelligence keeps under surveillance. I accept this because it reports to me on a regular basis and I am satisfied that what it is doing, as I understand it on the basis of what I see, is quite in order.


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