Dermot Ahern—knave or fool?

Statement by the Communist Party of Ireland
2 December 2005

On his recent visit to the United States the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dermot Ahern, stated that he had sought and was given assurances that neither Shannon Airport nor any other airport was being used or had been used by the CIA as a hub in transferring prisoners for “rendition” to third countries.
    According to an article in the local edition of the New York Times of 1 December, Dermot Ahern did not in fact receive a direct assurance from Condoleeezza Rice, the US Secretary of State. The article quotes a senior State Department official, who requested anonymity because he was relating a private conversation, as saying that Rice pointedly did not give the assurance personally to Ahern, because her message was “You’ve gotten those assurances from the ambassador [to Ireland]. You should have confidence in that.”
    The United States is increasingly on the offensive in pressuring Europeans and others to take the United States at its word without question in relation to secret flights and secret detention centres. The article also highlights the fact that the US Secretary of State has made it very clear that she wants US allies to take the US government at face value.
    The article also carries a map that claims to show thirty-three secret CIA flights through Shannon. This is in complete contradiction to what Dermot Ahern has publicly claimed and runs contrary to the assurances given by the US administration.
    All flights by US military either through Shannon or Irish air space should be stopped now, otherwise we as a people are complicit in the use of torture. The time for taking the US government’s word at face value is long past its sell-by date.

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