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Dáil Éireann debate -
Thursday, 22 Nov 1990

Vol. 402 No. 10

Adjournment Debate. - Foreign Affairs Matter.

We now proceed to hear a one minute statement from Deputy Tom Kitt on a matter appropriate to the Minister for Foreign Affairs.

The case of the Birmingham Six must be raised, if possible, every single day in the Dáil between now and Christmas. The message from the Birmingham Six is a simple one: "Get us out before Christmas." I urge the Minister for Foreign Affairs and indeed the Taoiseach to approach the new British Prime Minister, whoever that may be, immediately on his election and ask him to involve himself urgently and directly in this case. He should ensure that the police report and the legal preparation for the planned appeal are completed before Christmas.

The police team have been working on this case since March and it is now feared that the case will push on past Christmas. This would mean six innocent men spending their 17th Christmas in prison, away from their families. The evidence is there to release them now. It is imperative that they should not be allowed spend any more time behind bars and away from their families. Let us not underestimate the major psychological consequences of allowing this to happen.

Hear, hear.

I thank Deputy Kitt for raising this very important matter yet again. As I said to the House on 1 November, I would like to commend the many Deputies who have been actively involved and continue to have an active interest in this very important case. The Government would like to recognise their concern and support as being very important to them in presenting their views to the British Government, as they have done continuously. The Government are in continuing and close contact with the British authorities on this very important case, with a view in particular to seeing the earliest possible satisfactory resolution to the case, that is the early release of these men who, as Deputy Kitt has said, if they do not get out before Christmas, will be spending their 17th Christmas in jail.

The Irish Embassy in London maintains contact with the legal representatives of the six men. Indeed, all six have been visitd by embassy officials in the past few days. I would like to reassure the House and Deputy Kitt that the Government will keep putting every possible pressure on the British Government to ensure the very early release of these innocent people.

The Dáil adjourned at 5.30 p.m. until 2.30 p.m. on Tuesday, 27 November 1990.