Tuesday, 19 October 2004

Questions (71)

Ruairí Quinn

Question:

197 Mr. Quinn asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs his views on a recent article which suggests that an aircraft (details supplied) involved in abduction of persons from such countries as Sweden and their transportation to Guantanamo Bay landed in Shannon and used facilities here; if such information was supplied to the Government on this aircraft; the steps the Government has taken; his views on whether providing facilities for such activity is a breach of international law; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25282/04]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Foreign)

The Government has no information to indicate that prisoners are being transported through Irish airports to and from Guantanamo or elsewhere. Furthermore, the US authorities have confirmed to our embassy in Washington that they have not been using Irish airports for this purpose and that they would not seek to use Irish airports for this purpose in the future without seeking the authorisation of the Irish authorities.

The aircraft cited in the report mentioned by the Deputy is a civilian registered aircraft. The regulation of the activities of civilian aircraft is primarily a matter for the Minister for Transport who has made inquiries into the matter and outlined his findings to this House in a written reply to Parliamentary Question No. 218 on 7 October 2004.

I am aware of various press reports claiming that the aircraft was used in December 2001 by US authorities for the transportation of al-Qaeda suspects from Sweden to Egypt. I understand, however, that the articles do not allege that any stops were made in Shannon on that particular occasion or offer any proof that prisoners have been transmitted through Shannon by the US authorities.

Question No. 198 answered with QuestionNo. 166.