Thursday, 14 July 2022
Saincheisteanna Tráthúla (Atógáil) - Topical Issue Debate (Resumed)
I thank the Minister of State for his response. It is important that he made reference to the fact that Mr. Pether's wife and children are living here and they are, indeed, Irish citizens. All four members of the family are Irish citizens and while we and the family understand that consular assistance has to come from Australia, we too have a part to play. I acknowledge what has been done to date but I take the opportunity today, as the Dáil rises, to raise this case. I have been in touch with the Minister for Foreign Affairs previously in respect of this case and I understand that he has done what he can to date. The Minister of State mentioned that the Minister has raised concerns about the case directly with the Iraqi authorities. When did the most recent engagement happen? If this information is not available, perhaps he might ask the Minister to come back to me with it.
In recent weeks the new Prime Minister of Australia has spoken out on this case and has also spoken to Iraqi authorities on the case. That is welcome given that he is a newly elected prime minister. It is important now that Australia picks this up and brings it to the next level, particularly given as I have said, that Mr. Pether's health is deteriorating rapidly. The family are gravely concerned for his welfare and health. I ask that Ireland and Australia come together to do what we can because, at the end of the day, his family are suffering more than anyone in this world in this case and they are Irish citizens. They are our citizens and I believe that we can do more together with Australia to put the pressure on, particularly on the back of that UN report that is so grave in respect of its findings and conclusions. It believes and has concluded that both men should be immediately released. There is scope now on the back of that to go back and raise this issue again.