Dáil Éireann - Volume 544 - 22 November, 2001

Written Answers. - Detention of Irish Persons in Colombia.

49. Mr. Gregory asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs his contacts with the Colombian authorities on behalf of three persons further to Parliamentary Question No. 117 of 16 October 2001; if he has satisfied himself that these persons can receive proper legal process and fair trial in Colombia in the present circumstances; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28481/01]

Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Cowen): My Department has continued to maintain close contacts with the Colombian authorities in relation to the three Irishmen currently being detained there with a view to ensuring that they are held in safe and secure conditions, that they have reasonable living conditions and that they have adequate access to their legal representatives, with a view to facilitating the preparation of their defence. In addition, I have met both the Colombian Permanent Representative to the United Nations and the Colombian Foreign Minister, Mr. Guillermo Fernandez de Soto, in the course of recent visits to New York and reiterated these concerns to them. Minister de Soto undertook to follow up the concerns I have raised. I will keep the situation of the three men under close review, and my Department will continue to provide every possible consular assistance to them.