Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Dáil Éireann díospóireacht -
Thursday, 1 May 1986

Vol. 365 No. 12

Written Answers. - Irish Prisoner in Spain.


asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the up-to-date position regarding a person (details supplied) who is in custody in Las Palmas without charge since August 1984; and if he is in regular contact with the Spanish authorities in the matter.

The Irish citizen in question was arrested in the Canary Islands in August 1984 and was held in connection with investigations into a murder there. The citizen in question was not himself in the Canaries at the time of the alleged offence. It was alleged to him that he was implicated in preparations for the alleged murder.

The Irish citizen has since been detained in custody, pending formal charges. Magistrates have authorised his continued provisional custody pending the completion of the investigations.

As I stated in my replies to the House on 5 November 1985, I was then concerned at the length of time the citizen was being held in custody pending completion of the investigations. We had been given to understand that the State prosecutor was evaluating the evidence and would proceed quickly either to formal charges or to dropping the case, but in the event this did not happen.

Since November the Embassy in Madrid has continued to press for progress on this case. On my instructions the Ambassador at Madrid went to the Canary Islands in mid-February of this year to speak with the relevant authorities there. He was informed that a charge of inducement to murder was being prepared and would be presented in a matter of days. This again did not happen. Despite efforts of the Embassy and many follow-up inquiries, it has not to date been confirmed that these charges have yet been made.

The Minister for Labour, Deputy Ruairí Quinn, used the occasion of a visit to Spain in mid-April to make a personal informal approach to the Spanish authorities at a high level.

The Embassy at Madrid is awaiting the outcome of this approach.

It would not be appropriate for me to express any view on the merits of a case before a court. However, I continue to be concerned at the failure either to bring this man to trial or to drop the charges. I am, however, awaiting the results of the latest approach before deciding on what further action to take.