07DUBLIN916

Classification: 
CONFIDENTIAL
Subject: 
TOUR D'HORIZON WITH IRISH FOREIGN MINISTER
Created: 
20 Dec 2007
Released: 
30 Nov 2010
Summary: 
Ambassador Foley thanked Minister for Foreign Affairs Dermot Ahern for his staunch rejection of the IHRCs demand to search planes involved in "so-called" rendition flights. Ahern said the Irish Human Rights Commission (IHRC) report on extraordinary renditions contained no new information but he warned that the opposition parties would continue to raise the issue to try to embarrass Fianna Fail. He said that several alleged rendition flights had been inspected during the past year and cleared - one included six touring golfers. He said a public response from the Embassy would not be useful but that they should try to engage with Fine Gael leadership to explain tthe "US position". Ahern saud he had "put his neck on the chopping block" and that he would pay a severe polticial price if it ever turned out that rendition flights had entered Ireland or if one was discovered in the future. He said he could "use a little more information" about the flights and that it might be a good idea to allow some random inspection of a few planes to "provide a cover if a rendition flight ever surfaced." Ahern was convinced that at least three rendition flights had refuelled at Shannon before or after conducting renditions elsewhere. The Ambassador notes that while Ahern's is solid in his public stance, he was less assured during this meeting. He was "agitated" and spent a considerable amount of time on the topic. He seemed to be fishing for renewed assurances from the Ambassador. The Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee held a hearing on the matter after the renewed interest because of the IHRC report. They confirmed the government's view that there is no evidence that rendition flights transited Ireland.