Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dermot Ahern T.D. welcomes announcement on change of British Government policy on Irish prisoners
“I welcome today’s announcement by the British Home Secretary John Reid of a change of approach which will ensure that Irish prisoners will no longer be considered for deportation from the UK, except in exceptional circumstances. Following discussions between the two governments, this is a very satisfactory result, which reflects the close ties between our peoples, the Common Travel Area and the excellent state of relations between both Governments. This will come as a great relief to individual prisoners and their families.
I want to pay tribute to the Irish Commission for Prisoners Overseas and their London Office who have worked closely with my Department and the Embassy in London to assist individual prisoners and their families while this matter was being resolved.”
Following controversy in the UK last year about the non-deportation of over 1000 foreign national prisoners at the end of their sentences, which led to the resignation of then Home Secretary Charles Clark, the UK Government introduced a strict new policy under which all foreign national prisoners sentenced to two or more years were automatically considered for deportation. This included for the first time Irish prisoners. The Irish Government took up this issue with the UK Government, and Minister for Foreign Affairs Dermot Ahern wrote to the Home Secretary John Reid, seeking a reconsideration of this change in policy, bearing in mind the close ties between the two countries and the Common Travel Area. Today’s announcement is a welcome and satisfactory response.
19th February 2007Top