European Parliament TDIP Committee Final Report
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dermot Ahern TD, today said the most important element in today’s report is its implicit recognition that at no stage were prisoners transferred through Irish territory as part of an extraordinary rendition operation. The Report thereby vindicates the Government’s policy of early and effective engagement with the US authorities.
The Minister said: “It is particularly regrettable that the opportunity was not taken in the Report to highlight the need to reform the 1948 Chicago Convention on Civil Aviation, as I argued strongly when I addressed the TDIP Committee.
“This governs the type of (very limited) information required to be made available to the aviation authorities by private planes, and is clearly out of date. Indeed, the TDIP Committee’s own investigations over the past year bring out the clear need for substantially improved information to be made available by private planes transiting through Europe’s airports.
“Instead of highlighting ways in which extraordinary rendition could be prevented in the future, the Report indulges in political point-scoring. The suggestion, for example, that Ireland should institute a ban on all CIA-operated aircraft is extraordinary, especially given that Ireland is the only one of twenty-seven Member States to which this recommendation is addressed.
“Given that this recommendation was inserted at the behest of an Irish MEP, I can only conclude that it was intended to serve partisan purposes.
“Moreover, the Report ignores much of what I told the TDIP Committee when I appeared before it last November. For example: Seanad Éireann has twice voted not to establish Committees of Inquiry in this matter, and the Ministers for Defence and Justice, Equality and Law Reform are fully accountable to the Houses of the Oireachtas for the activities of the security and intelligence services.
“I was one of only two Ministers for Foreign Affairs to agree to attend the TDIP Committee’s proceedings, and I welcome the Report’s warm acknowledgement of this. The Report also records my unequivocal condemnation of extraordinary rendition.
“It fails to acknowledge that I was also the first (a) to raise the issue bilaterally with the US, and get a clear categoric assurance from them that no extraordinary rendition had taken place through Ireland, (b) the first to raise it at EU level, following which the President of the Council took the issue up formally with the US Authorities, and (c) the first to call for the reform of the Chicago Convention.
“While the full European Parliament will have an opportunity to examine the Report again in mid-February, it is a matter for disappointment that TDIP Committee has not come up with a more accurate, forward-looking document.
Note for Editors
The European Parliament’s Temporary Committee on the alleged use of European countries by the CIA for the transport and illegal detention of prisoners (TDIP Committee), voted on the content of its final Report in Brussels this morning. Arising from this Report, a Resolution will be put to the European Parliament in mid-February.
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dermot Ahern, T.D., was one of only two Ministers for Foreign Affairs to agree to attend the TDIP Committee’s proceedings, when he appeared before the TDIP Committee on 30 November 2006.
23rd January 2007Top