26 June 2008
Order of Business
Senator Ivana Bacik: Given that today is International Day against Torture, will the Leader facilitate a debate in the House on the use of extraordinary rendition and the role of Shannon Airport in this appalling practice? Amnesty International is holding a special event today in Buswells Hotel, to which colleagues would all have been invited, at which a number of Irish actors will be reading from a book entitled “Poems from Guantánamo: The Detainees Speak”, which contains poems written by inmates in Guantanamo Bay. This is an important event that will highlight the practice of extraordinary rendition. Amnesty International is calling on Senators and Deputies to participate in the formation of an interparliamentary group on rendition that would take up the issue and lobby government.
It is appropriate to debate this issue given that we heard this morning that the US Department of Homeland Security has, in an extraordinary move, requested permission to have a base at Shannon Airport for compiling data on persons on Irish private airplanes in the jurisdiction of Ireland. It is requesting unprecedented access and we should not give it. It is important that we debate this matter before the recess.
The Amnesty International event is at 11.30 a.m. in Buswells Hotel. On the way there, colleagues might consider dropping in to another event, which is being hosted by the All Party Oireachtas Interest Group on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, Population and Development. The event deals with population, reproductive health, environment and the millennium develop goals. It is an important event at which experts will be present to brief colleagues on the links between population growth and the fulfilment of the millennium develop goals. I would like a debate on this, if not before the recess, certainly early in the autumn. Irish development aid has an important role to play in the achievement of the millennium development goals worldwide. We need to consider the issue of population growth very seriously and determine how best we can meet the goals and facilitate reproductive rights in the developing world, particularly those of women.