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Senators call on Irish ambassador to demand US drop its extradition demand for former Workers' Party President

A leading independent Senator has raised the situation of Seán Garland at a sitting of Seanad Éireann (the Senate / Upper House of the Irish parliament).
 
Senator Joe O'Toole raised the matter during the Adjournment Debate in the Senate on February 18th and called on the Irish Ambassador in Washington to contact the new US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, to demand that the extradition request for Sean Garland be dropped.
 
Senator O'Toole was supported in this matter by a number of other senators.  The following is an excerpt of the debate:-
 
 
Senator Joe O’Toole: I ask the Cathaoirleach [Chairman] and the Leader to use their good offices to deal with a completely different matter. This House has had many long discussions on the Good Friday Agreement and other Northern Ireland issues. This country has a long history of people who have moved from the world of the gun to the political world. I refer to Michael Collins and Éamon de Valera, for example. The US Government is seeking the extradition of Seán Garland, who had a significant involvement in the drawing up of the Good Friday Agreement. He has rejected violence. He organised the first ceasefire. Many of us defended the Government’s position that the Good Friday Agreement should not apply to certain people, including those who killed [police officer] Jerry McCabe in Adare. We had to bite our tongues when some of those people walked free. It seems ridiculous that the outgoing US Administration - I refer in particular to George W. Bush and Condoleezza Rice - sought the extradition of Mr. Garland not on a charge like murder but on a trumped up charge of possibly having some involvement in the North Korean counterfeiting of American dollars. Mr. Garland, who is 74 years of age, is suffering from cancer and diabetes. He has moved down the road to the political world. I ask the Irish ambassador in Washington to contact the incoming US Administration, especially the new Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, to demand that the request to extradite Seán Garland be dropped at this time.

Senator David Norris: Hear, hear. Well said.

An Cathaoirleach: That is a matter for the courts. We have to respect the separation of powers.

Senator Labhrás Ó Murchú: If one examines the position in Gaza, as has been touched on here, and the butchery of the Palestinians, one questions when Israel will be held accountable for its war crimes. Look at Guantanamo Bay and the replacement of the word “torture” with “rendition”. I place the case of Mr. Sean Garland against that background. I acknowledge the separation of powers and I will speak only on the political aspect of that case, which I am entitled to do in this House. Mr. Garland is 74 years old and he suffers from cancer and diabetes. He has been a strong supporter of the peace process on this island. I invite Members to think about that for a moment. In that context, against the background I have given and taking the political aspect of this case, we should speak immediately to the US ambassador and ask him to read President Obama’s inauguration speech in which he talked about a new era of diplomacy. The Garland case is not acceptable, correct or productive. The extradition request was signed by Condoleezza Rice, who was part of the old regime. There is an opportunity to extend the regime of diplomacy, friendship and holding out the hand in this very small case of Mr. Sean Garland. We should respond generously.

Senator David Norris: Well said.

Senator Donie Cassidy: Senators O’Toole and Ó Murchú, two respected and long-standing Senators, made known to the House this morning their views on Seán Garland, a 74 year old man suffering from cancer who has been a peaceful person who played a central role in the Good Friday Agreement. I assure the House that I will pass on the Senators’ urgent request to the Minister immediately after the Order of Business. I fully agree with the sentiments expressed by both Senators about a new beginning under the new US President, Barack Obama, who has uplifted not alone his own country but the people of the world. I hope the stimulus package he signed into being yesterday is the start of the upturn and becomes a ray of hope for everyone experiencing difficulties across the world

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Items in [brackets] are for clarity of issues for our international visitors to this site.

 

This debate is a welcome show of support for Sean Garland from within the Irish parliament. It also shows that Sean Garland is respected across the political spectrum even by those who do not share his political philosphy.   It also shows clearly that support for Sean Garland is growing and is broad based across a range of political, trade union and community organisations.

 
 
 

Defend Sean Garland!