Plane grounded at Shannon–Garda action highlights inconsistent inspection policy

Plane grounded at Shannon after emergency landing – Garda action highlights inconsistency of inspection policy at the airport

Shannonwatch welcomes reports that Gardai have exercised their powers to board and inspect a foreign aircraft at Shannon today (http://www.rte.ie/news/2010/0113/shannon.html). However it shows the selective nature of the Gardai's exercise of duty in this regard. On numerous occasions they have been informed of suspect rendition planes at the airport, but have never, as far as is known, carried out an inspection of one of these planes. 

Under the Garda Síochána Act 2005, the Gardaí are duty bound to act to prevent crime, as well as to react to one already committed. In the case of suspect rendition planes, evidence is available to indicate that the crew and other persons on board certain planes may be in contravention of the Criminal Justice (UN Convention Against Torture) Act 2000. These include reports from Amnesty International, the European Parliament and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe naming these planes.

In response to a request made at Shannon Garda Station in June 2008 to have a plane with registration N54PA searched, one concerned member of the public was told that a "policy decision" had been made by the Gardai that there were no grounds to search the plane. There is currently a lack of transparency in relation to such decisions. Shannonwatch therefore call upon the Garda Commissioner or the government to clarify the circumstances in which Gardai inspect suspicious planes. Furthermore if there are statutory or other restrictions on Gardai searching suspected rendition planes, the government should take steps to remove these as soon as possible.

Shannonwatch is a group of human rights and anti-war activists based in the mid-West of Ireland. For more information contact

John Lannon, 087 8225087

or email shannonwatch@gmail.com

www.shannonwatch.org