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THE GOVERNMENT will approach the incoming US administration on the issue of extraordinary rendition and will also act to ensure that Garda and airport authorities have powers of search and inspection of aircraft.
The move comes after pressure from Green Party Ministers to make progress on commitments made in the programme for government.
The Government has set up a Cabinet committee on aspects of international human rights composed of Green Party Ministers Eamon Ryan and John Gormley, Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin, Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern and Minister for Transport Noel Dempsey.
The committee has agreed that the Government will contact the transition team of the new US presidential administration seeking a clear commitment that extraordinary rendition and interrogation techniques which are considered torture (such as waterboarding) will cease.
The Government will also ask the new administration to close the detention facility in Guantánamo Bay as soon as possible.
The Cabinet committee will examine and strengthen legal provisions to ensure that gardaí and airport authorities have adequate legal powers for search and inspection of aircraft. This may involve strengthening the provisions of the Air Navigation and Transport Acts.
Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern will provide an update on the implementation of a programme for government commitment in relation to Garda human rights training.
Green Party foreign affairs spokesman Ciarán Cuffe said that he was very pleased with the decision as it showed the commitments on rendition in the programme for government were being honoured.
Mr Cuffe said he had met the Minister for Justice in August to discuss the issue and he was delighted that the Government had decided to send a clear signal to the incoming US administration. "This marks a sea change in the way the Irish Government intends to approach the issue. It is a signal that this Government is taking human rights seriously."
Mr Cuffe said that while the programme for government contained a clear commitment on extraordinary rendition, practical impediments had remained up to now. The Green Party had consistently argued that ordinary citizens could not in practice be expected to have enough prima facie evidence to prompt gardaí to board US planes.
"This view has been echoed by various human rights bodies including the Irish Human Rights Commission. The Green Party had difficulty with the assertion that private property rights were blocked by random aeroplane checks. The commitment to examine the law in this area will be of great benefit," said Mr Cuffe.
He added that when challenged on Ireland's involvement in renditions the Government had insisted that strong personal assurances from US leaders were acceptable and it was also argued that no European country was searching transiting aircraft to and from friendly states.
A new Cabinet committee which will examine the sufficiency of the law and interact with the Garda on this issue was a big step forward in ensuring that Ireland did not facilitate extraordinary rendition, he said.
The programme for government contains this commitment on extraordinary rendition: "The Government will prioritise effective enforcement of a) Criminal Justice (United Nations Convention Against Torture) Act, 2000 b) The Geneva Conventions Acts 1962-1998. To that end the Government will encourage and support An Garda Síochána in the investigation and enforcement of these statutes . . . by making resources available for specialised training . . . to ensure effective protection for the dignity of all persons within or passing through the State.
"We will ensure that all relevant legal instruments are used so that the practice of extraordinary rendition does not occur in this State."
IRISH TIMES
 

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Zombie Hunter
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The Government will also ask the new administration to close the detention facility in Guantánamo Bay as soon as possible.
Right, because the Irish have committed so much to the war on terror. If you want to be neutral, fine, but then you lose any right to complain about the combatants. Walk on down to the pub Danny-Boy, throw back a couple of whiskeys, vomit in the alleyway, and let Uncle Sam take care of the bad men.

Don't forget we're talking about a country that doesn't arm police. Maybe their Army has upgraded to super-soakers.
 

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Ok then, how about if Uncle Sam gives the terrorist types a one way ticket to the Emerald Isle...let their compassion reign on these misunderstood souls.:rolleyes:
 

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Thankfully, we all know GITMO's detention facility, and valuable information extraction methods aren't going away just because some country, not even the collective wishes of the U.N., Anmesty International, or whoever else wants to make it so.

We do what's best for us, and Ireland is trying to do what's best for themselves. The article appears to me to have more to do in relation to the govt. wanting to protect their interests by expanding the capabilities of their police and airport authorities to search and inspect aircraft on their sovereign territory. I would think most countries already have the legal right to do so?

Let's face it, the Irish people are no strangers to terror, and have been fighting it for a very, very long time. Ironically, the idea of 'waterboarding' as an interrogation technique probably strikes them as less severe, in a land known for knee-cappin' and paddy-whackin' their own, as tools of punishment & coercion.

On the subject of Ireland's "Neutrality"... my guess is that such a status in the world community has never been confused with the possibility of her people's political indifference? For instance, during WWII, far more Irish families gave their brave sons to the Allied war effort against Hitler, than those who may have hidden any Nazi pilots shot down over Irish soil from their hated and oppressive English neighbors.

Q: Why do the Irish fight among themselves? :A:
A: Because they don't have any worthy opponents! :t:
 
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