Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Terrorist Training.

Wednesday, 12 March 1986

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 364 No. 8

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Mr. Taylor: Information on Mervyn Taylor  Zoom on Mervyn Taylor  asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he is aware of the threat made by Colonel Gadaffi on 16 January [1660] 1986, to train, arm and finance terrorists; and if he will make a statement on the steps which are being considered by the EC Ministers to counteract this threat.

Mr. P. Barry: Information on Peter Barry  Zoom on Peter Barry  I am aware of the reports to which the Deputy refers.

At their meeting in Brussels on 27 January 1986, the Foreign Ministers of the Twelve reaffirmed their determination to combat international terrorism. They condemned such terrorism in all its forms: perpetrators, accomplices and instigators as well as Governments that support them. They also condemned statements emanating from any quarter expressing support for terrorist attacks. They indicated their wish to co-operate with all States to deny terrorists support, cover or refuge.

At their meeting, the Foreign Ministers also agreed to intensify their efforts to improve their own defences against terrorism and to discourage those who support it. Specific areas of practical Twelve co-operation — including security at airports, controls at points of entry into the Community, visa policies — are identified in the declaration adopted by the Ministers, a copy of which I have made available to the Library of the Dáil. Ministers also established a special working body to monitor and give impetus to the implementation of these measures.

Furthermore, in addition to restrictions they already apply, the Twelve, at the meeting on 27 January, decided not to export arms or other military equipment to countries which are clearly implicated in supporting terrorism. They also decided to examine jointly, with special care, national measures designed to prevent the export of arms or other military equipment from being diverted for terrorist purposes. The Foreign Ministers of the Twelve indicated, moreover, that they will do everything within their power to ensure that their nationals and industry do not seek any commercial advantage from measures taken by others in reaction to terrorist attacks and other terrorist activities.

The Minister also agreed to keep the problems of international terrorism [1661] under review and to take appropriate additional measures whenever the situation requires it.

Mr. Taylor: Information on Mervyn Taylor  Zoom on Mervyn Taylor  Would the Minister agree that this matter is of particular concern to Ireland? Is he aware of the statement made yesterday by Mr. Nial Millar, the marketing director of Bord Fáilte, to the effect that the American tourist trade to this country is substantially threatened as a result of terrorist attacks and threats on European airports? Consequently, having regard to the extensive trade proposed between this country and Libya, would the Minister bring his influence to bear on the Libyan authorities, in the context of trade, to try to provide some restraint on these terrorist threats from that source?

Mr. P. Barry: Information on Peter Barry  Zoom on Peter Barry  There are about three different parts to that supplementary. I am not aware of a statement having been made yesterday. I am aware that there is concern being expressed in tourism circles, not alone in this country but in Europe as well, about the drop off in American tourists because of the concern felt by the American authorities and by individual citizens of America about terrorist attacks on airports before Christmas and the subsequent threat of terrorism in Europe.

Terrorism is of grave concern to Ireland, no matter where it occurs in the world. We have unreservedly condemned it and, indeed, we have had a lot of political and financial experience of trying to deal with the threat of terrorism on our own island. We would not wish to see that problem raising its head in any other part of the world.

With regard to the Deputy's reference to Libya, it is fair to say that the Libyan authorities have condemned all acts of terrorism, particularly the two terrorists' attacks on airports before Christmas. We should accept the word of a Government with whom we have diplomatic relations if they say they had no involvement in those attacks.

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