Ceisteanna — Questions. Oral Answers. - Renunciation of Libyan Support for IRA.

Jim O'Keeffe

Question:

1 Mr. J. O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will outline the assurances which have been sought from Colonel Gadaffi and the Libyan authorities on renunciation of support for and the ending of arms supplies to the Provisional IRA; and if he will outline the results which have been attained.

On Monday I had a bilateral meeting in Brussels with the Foreign Minister of Libya who was attending a meeting between the European Community and the Arab Maghreb Union of which Libya is a member. I outlined to the Libyan Foreign Minister our grave concerns on the issue and asked him for assurances that Libya had renounced its support for the IRA and had ended its arms supplies to that organisation.

The Libyan Foreign Minister assured me in his official capacity that Libya does not recognise, does not deal with and will not deal with the IRA; that Libya does not supply the IRA with arms or money; and that it does not develop contacts and has no relations with the IRA. He went on to assure me that Libya is closing its doors to any organistion practising terrorism anywhere in the world whether it be in the Middle East, Latin America or Europe including in particular Ireland.

I welcome these assurances and I expect the Libyan authorities to adhere scrupulously to them.

I am pleased to have received this very positive response from the Minister on an issue that has been of grave concern to me and to many others. There was clear evidence of arms supplies from Libya in the past. In order to be sure that the position is copperfastened will the Minister say if he accepts the assurances given by the Libyan Foreign Minister as amounting to a clear and unequivocal renunciation of support for the IRA and as an absolute commitment to ensure that there will not be any further supplies of arms to the Provisional IRA from Libya?

I had a very frank discussion with the Foreign Minister of Libya on Monday. I had a discussion with his ambassador at the UN, who was a former Foreign Minister, on 27 September last so that the Foreign Minister on Monday knew what I was talking to him about. We talked about events in the past, indeed events in the recent past. I was able to recall vividly for him the ship, the Eksund, and certain events that happened in 1985 and 1986 from which people on all parts of this island are still suffering. The assurances were given in good faith and I sincerely hope they will be scrupulously adhered to.

The Minister expects that they will be?