HOWLIN TABLES URGENT DÁIL QUESTION ON PRECLEARANCE

31 January 2017

Labour Party Leader and Justice spokesperson, Brendan HowlinTD, has delivered to the Dáil clerk a Private Notice Question (PNQ) which demands that the Taoiseach Enda Kenny answer questions in the Dáil today on Irish participiation in the US pre-clearance regime.

This is the first Private Notice Question to have been tabled in this Dáil and is reserved for matters of urgent public importance.

The text of the PNQ is as follows:

“To ask the Taoiseach:

– to outline the circumstances, considerations and motives that gave rise to his request yesterday for a ‘complete review’ of the operation of preclearance facilities in Ireland by US Customs and Border Protection and the reason the issue was also raised at today’s Government meeting;

– to outline to the Dáil the reasons why his office has briefed journalists overnight that ‘no significant changes are expected as a result of this review’ and if such briefing undermines the purpose of even establishing a review;

– if he shares the concerns of many public representatives, human rights activists and members of the public that the new US Administration intends to operate an immigration policy that blatantly discriminates on grounds of religion and that also abandons US international legal obligations to asylum seekers;

– if consideration has been given to invoking Ireland’s right under the preclearance agreement with the United States to meet with representatives of that nation within 15 days rather than waiting until March as has been reported;

– if there are constitutional or public policy implications arising from possible Irish complicity in the implementation by US authorities of these improper, defective and counterproductive policies;

– if in particular the perception of collusion in their implementation inhibits the Taoiseach’s ability to robustly articulate Irish opposition to these policies, as he has already committed to do;

– if the State is now potentially exposed to legal action under Article IV (4) of the Irish-US Agreement on Air Transport Preclearance, under which an individual aggrieved by the unlawful exercise of powers associated with the administration of Preclearance must have an effective right of redress in Ireland against the Government of Ireland;

– and if he will make a statement on the matter.”

Brendan Howlin TD

Tuesday 31st January, 2017.

ENDS

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