Written answers

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform

Garda Investigations

9:00 pm

Photo of Joe CostelloJoe Costello (Dublin Central, Labour)
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Question 223: To ask the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the circumstances surrounding the importation of explosives here by a Slovak national; the action he has taken to have this matter investigated here and in Slovakia; the reason he did not summon the Slovakian Ambassador and make a formal protest in view of the cross-border nature of the incident; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2359/10]

Photo of Dermot AhernDermot Ahern (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform; Louth, Fianna Fail)
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The circumstances surrounding the import of an explosive substance to Ireland from the Slovak Republic on 2 January 2010 are a matter of serious concern to me and the Government. The background to this incident is that the Garda Síochána were contacted by the Dublin Airport Authorities on 5 January 2010 informing them that they had received a communication purporting to be from the Slovak Authorities apparently to the effect that, due to an error during an airport security test exercise at Poprad-Tatry Airport on 2 January 2010, a sample package containing explosives was left in the luggage of a passenger who boarded a flight for Dublin. The Gardaí moved swiftly to recover the substance and, with the assistance of the Army, ensured it did not pose any future danger to the public. It emerged that the passenger, who has resided in Ireland for a number of years, was completely unaware when he was travelling to Dublin that the sample had been placed in his luggage.

I spoke directly with the Slovak Interior Minister about this matter and he apologised for the incident. I conveyed to him in no uncertain terms my clear concern about the situation which had arisen. It is utterly unacceptable that explosive material should have been placed on an unsuspecting passenger in this way.

The Garda Commissioner has appointed a Detective Chief Superintendent to inquire into all the circumstances surrounding the incident. That inquiry is ongoing and a report is awaited. Until that report is available, it is not possible to say for definite how the error occurred in Slovakia and what actions were taken by the authorities there when the error was discovered. When the report is completed I will consider what further action, if any, is required on my part.


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