Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 28 August 2014

'Creativity' urged on Snowden plea

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has been urged to treat the asylum plea of whistleblower Edward Snowden 'creatively' (AP)

The Government should treat whistleblower Edward Snowden's asylum plea like Jack Charlton's famous Green Army exploits, it has been claimed.

With the former spy's diplomatic approaches being ignored, Taoiseach Enda Kenny was urged to use some creativity to allow Snowden to land in the Republic.

The exiled intelligence officer has written to the Irish embassy in Moscow seeking help but an application for asylum can only be made if he sets foot in the country.

Clare Daly, Independent TD, claimed there was no strict adherence to rules when Jack Charlton was building his Republic of Ireland teams in the 1980s and 90s.

"I seem to remember that it was deemed sufficiently important to get an Irish passport for Tony Cascarino on the grounds of a fictitious grandmother so he could be part of Jackie's Army," Ms Daly said.

"I think a little bit of creativity (is needed) on the grounds of the very serious danger that this this young man is under."

Ms Daly said the asylum plea was a chance for Ireland to be a world leader in human rights. After indicating Snowden's request to make an asylum application was going nowhere, the Taoiseach also said he did not know if "Cascarino's grandmother is fictitious or not".

Charlton famously exploited the so-called Granny rule when building successive Irish teams for international campaigns, including bringing in John Aldridge, Scottish-born Ray Houghton and Cascarino, who scored 19 times for the Republic. The striker's mother had no blood links to Ireland but her adoption to an Irish family in England earned the right to Irish citizenship.

Ireland is one of 21 countries where Snowden has sought asylum. The Irish Refugee Council claimed rules on asylum applications in Ireland are very strict with a "culture of disbelief" among adjudicating bodies.

Mr Kenny made it clear that Snowden's request could not be considered because he is not in the country.

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