Tuesday, 19 October 2004

Questions (216)

Pat Carey

Question:

348 Mr. Carey asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the position regarding the trial and imprisonment of a person (details supplied); and the action which will be taken by his Department with a view to securing her release. [25099/04]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Foreign)

My Department, through the Irish honorary consul in Quito, has been monitoring developments in the case to which the Deputy refers, and has been active in providing consular assistance to the person in question and her family since we became aware of the case in February 2002. As the Deputy may be aware, the person was convicted on 28 April 2003 of the possession of cocaine and sentenced to eight years in prison. She is being held in the Centre de Detencion Provisional which houses about 420 women and their children.

The honorary consul has ensured that she has had access to adequate legal representation since her arrest and was in attendance at her trial. He subsequently made several prison visits to her. He has also delivered food, money and other essential items to her and has brought various medical problems experienced by her to the attention of prison staff.

On a visit last week to Quito, the Irish ambassador to Argentina also visited her. He found her in good spirits with a positive attitude towards her appeal, which she indicated was scheduled for November. I have asked the Embassy in Buenos Aires to continue to monitor further developments in this case. I assure the Deputy that my Department will continue to provide all possible consular assistance to the individual and her family.