Cuirim fáilte roimh an Tánaiste. I thank the Tánaiste for taking the time to come to the Chamber. I know he is very busy, so I appreciate his presence to debate the issue I am raising.
I submitted this Commencement matter after last week's meeting of the Joint Committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement which heard from Mr. Peter Bunting and Mr. Conal McFeely of the independent assessment team. They repeated their general frustration that the case of Tony Taylor is not getting the public attention it deserves. Given that over two years have passed since the arrest and subsequent imprisonment of Mr. Taylor, our view is that his continued detention is wrong and a violation of his human rights. We have consistently stated that if there is evidence against Mr. Taylor, it should be presented to him and his legal team in open court. I contend that the most basic right of those who find themselves in prison, particularly for such a prolonged period of time, is to have an opportunity to address and challenge any evidence or any case against them, if such evidence or such a case exists.
As the Tánaiste will be aware, the problem is that we are being asked to place our trust and our faith in faceless secret British intelligence agencies and services. The same people have refused to release their files on the Dublin and Monaghan bombings and told us there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. I suggest that these obscure outlets are not exactly the most trustworthy. Therefore, it is appropriate that any evidence that exists is not kept hidden and is instead put before Mr. Taylor in court.
Over the past two years, the British Government has failed to produce any evidence that could justify Mr. Taylor's continued detention in any way. We have to appreciate the strain this continued detention is placing on Mr. Taylor's wife and on members of his family, including his parents. I believe their public description of their stress has shifted this case from the political domain, where it warrants much concern, to the humanitarian and human rights sphere.
I appreciate the Tánaiste's attendance today. I was moved to submit this Commencement matter by the frustration of reputable and eminent figures like Mr. Bunting and Mr. McFeely, who are very frustrated about the lack of publicity, focus and attention being given to the case of this Irish citizen. I hope that through the Tánaiste, we can lift their frustrations and bring the case of Tony Taylor into a warranted public space where we can challenge the very real political and legal concerns that exist regarding his case and his ongoing detention.