Dáil Éireann - Volume 611 - 07 December, 2005

Written Answers. - Prisoner Transfers.

  159. Mr. Gregory asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the steps he is taking to ensure that future flights through Shannon Airport are not carrying prisoners to places where they would be at risk of torture; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38367/05]

  Mr. D. Ahern: During my visit to the United States last week, I met the US Secretary of State, Dr. Condoleezza [1663] Rice, in Washington DC on 1 December. I raised with her the allegations that have been made regarding the rendition of prisoners and the use of Irish airports. The Secretary of State confirmed the assurances that we have previously received from the US authorities that prisoners have not been “rendered” through Irish airports or airspace, nor would they be, without the permission of the Irish authorities first being sought. No such request for permission has been received.

In light of such categorical assurances, the Government will continue to follow the long-standing practice whereby details supplied to the Department of Foreign Affairs in this area by the US authorities are accepted in good faith as being accurate. The Government would be very concerned if Shannon were to be used in any way that would infringe international or Irish law and we would have to take immediate action if we felt that was the case.

If anyone has credible evidence that Shannon Airport, or any other Irish airport, is being used for the purposes described by the Deputy, this should, as has been made clear by my colleague, the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, be shared with the Garda authorities.