Belfast Telegraph

CIA rendition flights did land in Ireland: Ahern

Irish Justice Minister Dermot Ahern believed at least three US flights involved in so-called extraordinary renditions landed on Irish soil, a confidential diplomatic memo reveals.

Mr Ahern's suspicions that CIA flights refuelled at Shannon Airport before or after conducting renditions prompted him to ask the US ambassador if Irish officials could conduct random inspections of aircraft.

This, he said, would “provide cover” should it ever be proven such fiercely controversial flights had passed through Ireland.

Publicly, Mr Ahern has always said he accepted US assurances that the CIA had not used Shannon for rendition operations.

However, a leaked US embassy cable published by the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks reveals that Mr Ahern expressed serious concern on the issue in private meetings with US officials.

According to a cable written by former US ambassador Thomas Foley in December 2007, Mr Ahern “seemed quite convinced” that the flights had refuelled at the Co Clare airport either en route to or returning from rendition missions.

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