Irish Government Urged to Act Torture Case



The Celtic League has written to the Irish governments Justice and Foreign Affairs Departments (Ministers Flanagan and Fitzgerald) expressing support for a new approach to the European Court of Justice over the torture of internees in the north of Ireland in the early 1970s (see below).

The League are supporting calls already made by Amnesty International and the Pat Finucane Centre.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs
Charles Flanagan TD
Iveagh House
80 Stephen’s Green
Dublin 2


Dear Minister,

I am writing on behalf of the Celtic League to express our support for the calls by Amnesty International and the Pat Finucane Centre for the Irish government to reopen the case which it successfully pursued in the 1970s regarding the mistreatment by the British government of internees in the North of Ireland.

You will be aware that the European Court of Human Rights upheld the Irish government’s complaint and found that the men involved had been subjected to ‘inhumane and degrading treatment’. The Court stopped short of upholding the allegation that the men had been tortured.
However an RTÉ documentary, “the Torture Files”, broadcast earlier this year brought evidence to light which showed that Britain had withheld information in its defence of the original case.
It showed that UK authorities, including senior government ministers, sanctioned the use of the ‘five techniques’ in Northern Ireland, which they had also denied before the European Court.
These techniques included:
wall-standing in stress positions for hours
white noise
sleep deprivation
food and water deprivation

The Celtic League supports the contention of both Amnesty and the Pat Finucane Centre that there are now grounds to reopen the proceedings. However we are also aware that there is a very narrow window of opportunity to do so.

I do hope that all Ministers in the Irish government will support the call by the rights bodies for action.

I will also be writing to the Minister for Justice as I appreciate that this may have cross-departmental implications.

Amnesty’s Colm O’Gorman recently said “These men and their families have a right to truth and justice”. I sincerely hope Minister that you agree with that sentiment.

For information: I understand that the General Secretary of the Celtic League, Rhisiart Talebot, will be writing directly to the Taoiseach on this issue. I am also aware that a number of Celtic League branches (the League has branches in the six Celtic countries) have discussed the matter and may make representations.

Yours sincerely

Bernard Moffatt
Director of Information
Celtic League”

The League DOI was very pleased to get a response within minutes from Minister Flanagan in which he said he was ‘very aware’ of the issue. We trust that this will lead to positive action for those who suffered torture at the hands of British Forces.

Link to RTE Primetime: The Torture Files

J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information


(Please note that replies to correspondence received by the League and posted on CL News are usually scanned hard copies. Obviously every effort is made to ensure the scanning process is accurate but sometimes errors do occur.)
The Celtic League has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It works to promote cooperation between these countries and campaigns on a broad range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, monitors all military activity and focuses on socio-economic issues

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