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International Terrorism.

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 6 December 2005

Tuesday, 6 December 2005

Questions (222)

Richard Bruton


263 Mr. Bruton asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he has assessed the recent report by a person suggesting that Ireland could be regarded as a legitimate target for al-Qaeda; if he has assessed this threat; if he has sought to clarify the nature of the Government’s position in regard to the use of Shannon Airport to representatives of the Muslim community; and if he will make a statement on Ireland’s efforts to seek a resolution to the difficult issues in Iraq through international co-operation. [37572/05]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Foreign)

Security threat assessments on the risk level to Ireland of terrorist attack are furnished by the Garda authorities at regular intervals to my colleague, the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, who briefs the Government as appropriate. The Garda authorities maintain an up-to-date assessment of the threat of attack from international terrorist groupings through analysis of intelligence gathered from domestic and international sources.

On numerous occasions I have set out Government policy on the use of Shannon Airport by the US military. It is important that the public, including the Muslim community, are aware of the Government's position, and I am satisfied that this is the case. The use of Shannon is a long standing arrangement which has been in place for more than 50 years and which has been extensively discussed in, and is supported by, Dáil Éireann. The presence of international forces in Iraq has been mandated by a succession of UN Security Council resolutions, most recently renewed in UN Resolution 1637 of 8 November last. Resolution 1546 of June 2004 requested member states to provide assistance to these forces.

The Government has maintained the strong view from the outset that the international community has an obligation to assist in the reconstruction of an independent, democratic and sovereign Iraqi Government, which can take responsibility for the stability and security of the country. We have been very clear that the central involvement of the United Nations would be essential to the success of these efforts.

This overall approach was embodied in Security Council Resolution 1546 of 8 June 2004, which set out a roadmap and timetable for the political reconstruction of Iraq. This process will approach completion with the holding of democratic elections on 15 December, under the new constitution which was approved by referendum in October. The Government has supported the process, both nationally and in cooperation with our EU partners. The EU has provided vital support for the political process, for the holding of democratic elections, for physical and economic reconstruction, and for the restoration of essential services. Bilaterally, Ireland has supported humanitarian relief, reconstruction of the education sector and assistance to the Marsh Arabs. Ireland has also contributed financially to the force established to protect UN operations in Iraq.

It is clear that the restoration of a sovereign Iraqi Government will not of itself solve all of Iraq's problems, in particular the continuing high level of violence directed at innocent civilians. Progress will depend on the establishment of effective Iraqi security forces and political action to reconcile the various communities in Iraq. The Government, and its EU partners, will continue to work in co-operation with the international community to support the efforts of the Iraqi people to rebuild a peaceful and prosperous society.