Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Shannon debacle

Was watching a bit of Questions and Answers last night, the first question to the panel was about the rumoured use of Shannon by the US for the illegal process of "extraordinary rendition", which I covered at some irate length a fortnight ago.

Minister Mary Coughlan was on the panel and was asked to explain the Government's reaction to all the allegations. Her response was quite interesting.

First off, she was quite clear that the Government had sought expressed assurances from the Americans that this was not taking place at Shannon, and that they had recieved this. I'd heard that myself last week, so it wasn't exactly news to me but still good to hear. The US seems to have been quite adamant on this point and we all now that Bertie doesn't like being lied to (remember the Northern Bank raid?).
So I'd have my doubts as to whether Shannon is being used for this purpose.

Minister Coughlan also said that if the US was found to have lied about this, then there would be serious consequences and that it would do irreperable damage to the special working relationship we have.
I'm guessing that means no more Shannon.

She went on to say that Ireland is co-operating in a Council of Europe (seperare entity to the EU-though with same flag...ffs) investigation into the reports of torture, rendition and illegal transport and imprisonment of suspects within the European continent.

But I was wondering why aren't we doing the same here by ourselves??
I mean in fairness it's not like we have a great area to search. They're only using Shannon. All we'd have to do is search planes that are suspected to be involved in these criminal procedures. It seems to me that the Govt doesn't want to face up to the uncomfortable rumours and are afraid of what they might find.


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