Wednesday, 26 October 2005
Dáil Eireann Debate
179. Mr. Gormley asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the action he has taken in the case of Mr. Seán Garland, president of the Workers Party arrested in Northern Ireland; the response to date from the British and American authorities on this case; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30797/05]
Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. D. Ahern): Mr Seán Garland was arrested by the PSNI in Belfast on 7 October. At the time of his arrest, Irish officials at the British-Irish Intergovernmental Secretariat in Belfast were asked to seek clarification from the British authorities as to the basis for his arrest. It was indicated that Mr. Garland was provisionally arrested on foot of a request from the United States Government for his extradition. The request for extradition was made on the basis that Mr. Garland is the subject of an indictment filed on 19 May 2005 in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. The United States authorities want Mr. Garland to stand trial on counterfeiting charges.
Mr Garland has been released on bail subject to the payment of surety and daily reporting to a PSNI station. Mr. Garland has also been instructed to reside at an address in Northern Ireland pending the receipt of appropriate documentation from the US authorities to support the extradition request. I understand that the documentation must be forwarded to the UK authorities within 65 days of the date of the initial request for extradition, that is within 65 days from 4 October 2005.
At their request, on 20 October I met a number of public representatives who had concerns about the case. I confirmed that we will continue to monitor the case. I emphasised that Mr. Garland has the same rights as any other citizen, including being fully entitled to due process and to the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. The United States authorities are now aware of the interest of the Government in this case. However, as the Minister of State, Deputy Treacy, said in the Dáil in the Adjournment Debate on 20 October, the Government is not in a position to interfere in legal proceedings that are taking place in another jurisdiction. Such matters are for the courts alone to decide and therefore further comment on the details of the case would be inappropriate at this time.
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