I fully share in the widespread revulsion at the images to which the Deputy refers. International humanitarian law obliges parties to an armed conflict to treat the dead with respect and dignity. The footage appears to show disgraceful acts which are in clear violation of these obligations.
The Deputy will be aware that the incident disclosed by the footage has been condemned in the strongest terms by senior figures in the US Administration, including the Secretary of State, Ms Hillary Clinton, and the Secretary of Defence, Mr. Leon Panetta, and that the responsible US authorities have instituted an investigation into the matter.
The images in question are deeply upsetting and shameful. Assuming that the images are accurate, those responsible must be held fully accountable for their behaviour. They have betrayed not just their own country but the Afghan Government and people and all in the international community who have supported the international action to sustain the elected government in Kabul.
There are no plans to change the arrangements for the overflight and landing of US military aircraft, which have been continuously in place under successive Governments for over 50 years.
Under the Air Navigation (Foreign Military Aircraft) Order 1952, foreign military aircraft are not permitted to fly over or land in the State save on the express invitation or with the express permission of the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade. The majority of US troops which pass through Shannon Airport are carried on commercial flights.
As for the Deputy's reference to the Guantanamo Bay detention centre, Ireland has called for the closure of this centre and has urged that those detained there be brought to trial or released. I have discussed this issue personally with the US Secretary of State, Ms Clinton. We would, of course, hope to see the earliest possible fulfilment of the pledge made by President Obama in 2009 to close the centre. I am aware that the President's efforts to do so have been frustrated by the absence of the necessary agreement on the part of the US Congress. I welcome his continuing political commitment to close the centre and I assure the Deputy that we will continue to press for this action to be taken with all possible speed.