Wednesday, 14 September 2011
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Human Rights Issues
Question 40: To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the steps he will take in response to reports of documents indicating that the CIA used privately owned aircraft to transport suspects or prisoners around the world and that at least ten of these flights passed through Shannon Airport; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23935/11]
Question 41: To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he will provide an update on response to calls by the Irish Human Rights Commission to ensure that necessary steps beyond mere diplomatic assurances are taken to ensure that Shannon Airport is not used by aircraft for the purpose of rendition; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23936/11]
Question 42: To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the steps that he has planned or has taken in respect of Council of Europe recommendations arising out of its reports on the use of airports in member states including Ireland for rendition flights; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23937/11]
Question 43: To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the steps being taken in order to carry out the commitment in the programme for Government to enforce the prohibition on the use of Irish airspace and related facilities for purposes not in line with the dictates of international law. [23938/11]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 40 to 43, inclusive, together.
The Programme for Government states that the Government "will enforce the prohibition on the use of Irish airspace, airports and related facilities for purposes not in line with the dictates of international law". I have already made clear, speaking in the Dáil on 22 March, 2011, that "Shannon will not be used as a means of rendition, facilitating torture, or any other activity which violates human rights".
None of the various investigations into allegations of extraordinary rendition, including those carried out by the Council of Europe, have revealed any evidence that rendition through Irish airports has occurred, nor is there any new information or allegation linking Irish airports to acts of extraordinary rendition.
Specific and unique assurances have been sought, and have been received, from the US authorities that no such prisoners had been transferred through Irish territory, nor would they be without our express permission. The Government has no reason to call into question the value of the assurances received at a high level from the US authorities in this matter.