Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, Trade and Diaspora, Seán Crowe TD, has branded Ireland’s facilitation of secret CIA detention, rendition and interrogation programmes as disturbing.
Crowe made the comments after today’s release of a new report from the Open Society Justice Initiative, a human rights advocacy group, which states that Ireland was one of 54 states which helped facilitate the illegal actions of the CIA by permitting the use of its airspace and airports for flights associated with CIA extraordinary rendition operations.
Deputy Crowe said:
“This disturbing report, on the use of Irish airports and airspace by US military aircraft since 9/11, needs to be fully investigated. It highlights grave breaches of domestic and international law, and diminishes our standing as a neutral state.
“The report took information from a variety of high-level sources including the European Parliament, the Council of Europe, and the UN, all which point towards co-operation with illegal CIA rendition programmes.
“The report also cites documents from legal cases, brought by victims of rendition against some of the companies that aided the extraordinary rendition flights, which suggests that previous Governments allowed the use of Irish airspace and Shannon airport for these rendition flights.
“Additionally the report references diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks which show that previous Governments knew that rendition flights were using Irish airspace and airports, but despite public criticism, they continued to ensure American military transits continued.
“Rendition flights breach domestic and international law, yet it seems the Government of the time did nothing to stop this state’s facilitation of rendition flights.
“In response to concerns that Ireland was facilitating rendition flights, raised by the Irish Human Rights Commission in 2005, the Government stated that inspections of military planes in Shannon were not necessary because it had received assurances from the American administration that detainees had not been and would not be transported illegally through Irish territory. This latest report would suggest that those assurances were either naïve or a bad lie.
“In recent weeks the current Government has reiterated its support for the continued use of Shannon airport as a transit for foreign military flights. Sinn Féin stands against the use of any Irish airport and Irish airspace being used by foreign militaries engaged in aggressive military action. Ireland must uphold its historical tradition of neutrality.
“I am calling on the Government to make a public statement that it will refuse to participate in the CIA’s detention and rendition programme and disclose all information relating to past human rights violations.
“I am also calling on the current Government to create an independent body to investigate the potential human rights abuses and to put safeguards in place to ensure that Irish airspace is not used for illegal rendition flights.”