Irish activist arrives home after being deported from Israel


IRISH CITIZENS: IRISHMAN Shane Dillon arrived back in Dublin Airport last night via Frankfurt on a Lufthansa flight after being deported from Israel. Dillon was first mate on the Challenger 1. A second Irish citizen, Isam Ben Ali, is expected to return home within the next 24 hours.

The Irish activists being held in a detention camp in the southern Israeli city of Be’er Sheva include:

  • Paul McGeough (56), an Irish-born journalist and chief correspondent of the Sydney Morning Herald. He has reported from the Middle East for two decades.
  • Dublin-based Shane Dillon (36), first mate on the Challenger 1. He has served as chief officer on Irish and British merchant ships. He is the brother of musician Eoin Dillon from traditional band Kila.
  • Dr Fintan Lane (43), a historian, political activist and spokesman for the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign. He has written and edited several books on modern Irish history.
  • Fiachra Ó Luain (28), a peace activist from Co Donegal who contested the 2009 European elections in Ireland North-West. He was one of the first people to protest over the US military using Shannon airport.
  • Isam Bin Ali, a naturalised Irish citizen who was born in Libya.
  • Al Mahdi al Harati (37), who was also born in Libya and is a naturalised Irish citizen, is understood to be under detention at Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv.

Meanwhile, on board the MV Rachel Corrie,which is on its way to Gaza, are the following Irish activists:

  • Fiona Thompson from Dundalk, a documentary film-maker.
  • Denis Halliday, a former assistant secretary general of the UN. After more than 30 years in the UN, he was appointed humanitarian co-ordinator in Iraq in 1997. Halliday is a graduate of Trinity College Dublin and was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
  • Electrician Derek Graham and his wife, Jenny Graham, from Ballina, Co Mayo. Both are members of the Free Gaza Movement.
  • Mairead Maguire, a 1976 Nobel Peace Prize winner and co-founder of the Peace Movement in Northern Ireland. She was detained last year after attempting to get into Gaza with a boatload of aid. This is her third humanitarian trip to the Palestinian territories.