Ireland’s record on torture prevention


Sir, – The article by Deirdre Malone, “Ireland has not ratified a protocol to prevent torture in places of detention” (Opinion, August 8th), highlights the Irish Government’s failure to comply with its duties to prevent torture.

While the Operational Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT) deals primarily with people detained in state prisons, the elephant-in-the-room with regard to Ireland is that the Irish Government was complicit in the US extraordinary rendition program whereby hundreds of prisoners were tortured.

EU Parliament TDIP committee report found that CIA aircraft associated with the torture were refuelled at Shannon Airport.

None of these aircraft was ever searched or investigated. This means the Irish Government is in breach of Article 4 UN Convention Against Torture (UNCAT): “Each State Party shall ensure that all acts of torture are offences under its criminal law. The same shall apply to an attempt to commit torture and to an act by any person which constitutes complicity or participation in torture.”

Prisoners being transported on aircraft under severe conditions that may amount to torture, means that such an aircraft should fall under the provisions of the OPCAT as a place of detention, and therefore be subject to inspection.

This may be the reason why the Irish Government is failing to ratify this important protocol. Torture is one of the most heinous of crimes, and while it may not be occurring within Irish prisons, the Irish Government is failing in its duties to ensure that Irish territory and Shannon Airport are not being used to facilitate or be complicit in torture.

This may call into question Ireland’s application for membership of the UN Security Council. – Yours, etc,


Castletroy, Limerick.