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To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade his views on whether Ireland should be more vocal in its condemnation of the indiscriminate use of drones by the United States, which threatens world peace, and is in breach of international law; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

- Mick Wallace.

For PRIORITY answer on Wednesday, 26th June, 2013.


Ireland has consistently taken the view that combating terrorism must be conducted in full respect of international law, in particular the law of armed conflict and human rights law.  In line with the UN Global Strategy on Counter Terrorism, we believe that effective counter terrorism and the protection and promotion of human rights are mutually reinforcing and not competing goals. Together with our EU partners, we have regular discussions with the US about the legal aspects of combating international terrorism, and the US is well aware of our views on these issues.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (commonly referred to as “drones”) are used for both civilian and military purposes.  Under international law, there is no prohibition on UAVs as such. Their use in armed conflict is subject to international humanitarian law.    This sets specific requirements in relation to the use of force in armed conflict, including the principles of necessity, proportionality and distinction.

I am deeply concerned about any indiscriminate use of UAVs, which would clearly be contrary to international law, and by instances where innocent civilians have been killed by attacks using UAVs. Outside of an armed conflict situation, international human rights law applies.  We and our partners in the EU are strongly opposed to extra-judicial killings. Not only are these contrary to international human rights law, but they undermine the concept of the rule of law, which is a key element in the fight against terrorism. This applies regardless of the means used.


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Namaleaks is a project that seeks to uncover possible injustice and poor practice related to NAMA (National Asset Management Agency) and financial institutions in Ireland.


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