12 January 2006

Labour forces publication of 'secret' treaties


12/01/2006 - 19:17:47

The Labour Party tonight forced the Government to publish two ’secret’ international treaties with the US.

Front-bench TD Michael D Higgins earlier claimed that the US state department’s website listed the two recent bilateral defence agreements with Ireland but the Government had not revealed them to the Dáil.

“The Constitution requires that such documents must be laid before the Dáil and this has not been done in this case,” Mr Higgins said.

“Why is the Irish Government keeping these agreements secret and not publishing them?”

The Department of Foreign Affairs said the first agreement concerned security measures for the protection of classified information and the other was signed in order to enable Irish troops to avail of US facilities in Kosovo.

A spokesperson for the department tonight said that the Constitution didn’t require them to be published but accepted that the normal practice would be to inform TDs.

“The minister will lay copies of both agreements before the Dáil at the earliest opportunity,” he explained.

The spokesman said that the agreements could not be ’secret’ if referred to on the US website.

“Neither is connected with the use of Irish airports by the US, which is a long-standing practice, which is governed by arrangements dating back some 50 years,” he added.

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