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Minister must make statement on speculation of British sub in Irish waters – Ó Snodaigh

12 September, 2008


Reacting to speculation that a nuclear powered British Naval Submarine was positioned in Irish waters eleven miles off the Mayo Coast as the pipe laying ship 'The Solitaire' arrived for work on the Corrib gas pipeline Sinn Féin Justice and International Affairs Spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD called on Minister for Defence Willie O'Dea to make a public statement on the matter.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh if a submarine belonging to a foreign nation entered Irish waters then there are a lot of questions to be answered by the Minister.

He said, "There is widespread speculation in the west that a British Submarine has been present in Irish waters over the past week in advance of the arrival of the pipe laying vessel the Solitaire. British sources have refused to confirm the presence of the submarine but did say that it would not be there without the permission of the Irish Authorities.

"Defence Minister Willie O'Dea needs to make a public statement on this matter. There is widespread concern about the fact that the Irish Navy has been used to police the ongoing work by Shell at Glengad, however the use of a British Naval vessel in Irish waters is completely unacceptable.

"The vessel involved is believed to have extensive capabilities to intercept wireless communications such as mobile phones.

"The public need to know if a request was made by the British to enter Irish waters and if so on what basis was this permission granted. If no request was made then why did the Irish Navy not take steps to arrest the vessel and its crew.

"I will be raising this issue directly with the Minister when the Dáil resumes at the end of the month." ENDS

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