Header Item Middle East Issues (Continued)
 Header Item Other Questions
 Header Item Military Aircraft Landings

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Unrevised

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Deputy Joe Costello: Information on Joe Costello Zoom on Joe Costello Israel is not allowing access through the natural hinterland for Gaza through to Israel and the West Bank. As I said in my reply, we have constantly raised these issues with Israel. They are not security issues. Security measures can be put in place. These are restrictions on a population of 1.2 million, 800,000 of whom are reliant on American Near East Refugee Aid, ANERA, for essential food supplies on a daily basis.

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: Information on Richard Boyd Barrett Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett Can we have sanctions?

Deputy Joe Costello: Information on Joe Costello Zoom on Joe Costello We raise these issues regularly at every level.

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: Information on Richard Boyd Barrett Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett When will there be sanctions? With South Africa's apartheid we reached a point where we said "enough is enough" and imposed sanctions. Surely the clock has run out for Israel to be just asked nicely to stop doing what it is doing to the Palestinian people. Should we not publicly demand that sanctions be imposed? Is it not unbelievable that Europe gives favoured trade status to Israel when it flagrantly flouts all human rights obligations? Israel even refuses MEP Emer Costello entry to Gaza. European delegation officials alleged that they were beaten by Israeli soldiers when they tried to access certain areas of the West Bank. When will we say, "Sorry, this is not acceptable and we are going to impose sanctions on you people"?

Deputy Joe Costello: Information on Joe Costello Zoom on Joe Costello Ireland acts in conjunction with the EU on sanctions. We have already made a strong stand on the guidelines and that has had an impact on the peace talks. In the context of what is happening, peace talks are under way and we hope that some progress will be made in that area. Meanwhile we will continue to raise the issue at the levels we can, including the EU and our position on the Human Rights Council, and any fora we have on a bilateral basis with Israel.

Other Questions

Military Aircraft Landings

 86. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore if there is a new special arrangement in place regarding refuelling for Canadian military aircraft at Shannon; if sovereign immunity has been granted to them by the Irish Government; the international law or treaty under which this is being permitted and whether it should not be superseded by our neutrality and the UN Convention against Torture.  [48803/13]

 115. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore further to Parliamentary Question No. 727 of 5 November 2013, the basis for granting sovereign immunity; the law it is in accordance with; the way this impacts on Ireland's responsiblity to uphold international treaties like the Geneva Convention, Hague Convention and the UN Convention Against Torture. [48925/13]

Deputy Clare Daly: Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly As the Tánaiste is aware, there has been a sharp increase in the number of Canadian military aircraft using Shannon Airport. In a written answer to my question last week the Tánaiste told me he was not in a position to provide any information about that. I want to know why that is the case. Does the Tánaiste not know, or does he know but does not want to tell us? Neither answer is acceptable in a country which claims to be neutral.

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore I propose to take Questions Nos. 86 and 115 together. I am not aware of any new special arrangement in place for the refuelling of Canadian military aircraft at Shannon Airport. In accordance with Article 29.3 of the Constitution, Ireland accepts the generally recognised principles of international law as its rule of conduct in its relations with other states. Sovereign immunity, also known as State immunity, is a long-standing principle of customary international law. Sovereign immunity is recognised as applying in respect of foreign state or military aircraft. Sovereign immunity is not granted by any decision of the Government, but applies automatically as a matter of law. However, there are legal rules governing the entry of foreign state aircraft into Irish territory.

Under the Air Navigation (Foreign Military Aircraft) Order 1952, all foreign military aircraft require the permission of the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade to overfly or land in the State. Permission is requested by the embassy of the country concerned. When overflight or landing permission is granted to foreign military aircraft, certain conditions are normally applied, such as that the aircraft are unarmed, are not carrying arms, ammunition or explosives, are not engaged in intelligence gathering and are not taking part in military exercises or operations. These conditions apply to all military aircraft landing at Shannon Airport.

The doctrine of sovereign immunity is recognised in Irish law, although there is no domestic legislation on the topic. This was acknowledged by the Supreme Court in the case of Canada v. Employment Appeals Tribunal, 1992. There is no incompatibility between Ireland’s respect for the principle of sovereign immunity and its traditional policy of neutrality, which is characterised by non-participation in military alliances. Similarly, as the doctrine of sovereign immunity is recognised by the international community, respect for the principle does not interfere with Ireland's fulfilling the obligations arising from the international treaties to which the State is a party.


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