Houses of the Oireachtas

All parliamentary debates are now being published on our new website. The publication of debates on this website will cease in December 2018.

Go to oireachtas.ie

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Irish Consul at Malawi.

Thursday, 26 May 1966

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 222 No. 15

First Page Previous Page Page of 39 Next Page Last Page

2.

Mr. James Tully: Information on James Tully Zoom on James Tully asked the Minister for External Affairs if he is aware that the honorary counsul for the Republic of Ireland appointed to Malawi is the holder of a British passport; and if he has received a protest from Irish people living in Malawi about this appointment.

Mr. Aiken: Information on Frank Aiken Zoom on Frank Aiken Our honorary consul in Malawi was born in County Down and [2421] travelled to Africa on a British passport. While it is not necessary for an honorary consul to be either an Irish citizen or hold an Irish passport he had applied for an Irish passport a year before his appointment as consul. I have received no protest or objection to his appointment. On the contrary he was highly and warmly recommended by distinguished Irishmen resident in Africa as eminently suitable for the post.

Mr. James Tully: Information on James Tully Zoom on James Tully Would the Minister say whether or not this gentleman appointed holds a British passport or was he aware he had been offered this honorary position before he applied for an Irish passport?

Mr. Aiken: Information on Frank Aiken Zoom on Frank Aiken He was, yes.

Mr. James Tully: Information on James Tully Zoom on James Tully That is why he applied for it?

Mr. Aiken: Information on Frank Aiken Zoom on Frank Aiken That is one of the reasons why.

Mr. James Tully: Information on James Tully Zoom on James Tully Does he still hold a British passport?

Mr. Aiken: Information on Frank Aiken Zoom on Frank Aiken No, a person can hold only one passport.

Mr. James Tully: Information on James Tully Zoom on James Tully That is not so.

Mr. Aiken: Information on Frank Aiken Zoom on Frank Aiken It is, yes.

Mr. James Tully: Information on James Tully Zoom on James Tully I think if the Minister checks he will find that this person holds a British passport. Does the Minister say he has received no communication of protest of any kind? If a responsible person from Malawi informs me that he wrote to the Minister's Department and received no reply, does the Minister suggest he is not telling the truth?

Mr. Aiken: Information on Frank Aiken Zoom on Frank Aiken If the Deputy gives me his name, I can make inquiries.

Mr. James Tully: Information on James Tully Zoom on James Tully Surely the Minister should know whether he received such a letter?

Mr. Aiken: Information on Frank Aiken Zoom on Frank Aiken I have received no letter of any kind.

Mr. James Tully: Information on James Tully Zoom on James Tully Did your Department receive no letter?

[2422]Mr. Aiken: Information on Frank Aiken Zoom on Frank Aiken The Department received no letter and I received no letter.

Mr. O'Leary: Would the Minister take our word for it that we have in our possession a letter of 13th May indicating there was correspondence with his Department protesting about this appointment?

Mr. Aiken: Information on Frank Aiken Zoom on Frank Aiken Of course, I take your word, but I am telling the Deputy the facts as I know them, that no such letter was received in my Department or received by me at any time. On the contrary, we received high praise of this gentleman before he was appointed consul.

Mr. O'Leary: Is the Minister satisfied with the position that it is not clear to the House whether this person got a passport in anticipation of this appointment and is the Minister satisfied that this is a correct criterion for appointments of honorary consuls?

Mr. Aiken: Information on Frank Aiken Zoom on Frank Aiken If we were to wait until we were sure that nobody in a country in which we were appointing an honorary consul would object to the appointment, we would never make it.

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey Zoom on Frank Cluskey Does the Minister think it desirable that an honorary consul of this country should hold a foreign passport?

Mr. Aiken: Information on Frank Aiken Zoom on Frank Aiken We have such. There are countries in which we have honorary consuls in which we appoint citizens of the country concerned. It is too bad that the Labour Party should lend themselves to this abuse of a man who was good enough——

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish Do not be doing the Lenihan smear act now.

Mr. James Tully: Information on James Tully Zoom on James Tully There is no intention on behalf of the Labour Party or myself to decry this person if he is the proper person. But if the Minister is not aware that (a) he carries a British passport or (b) there is strong disapproval by some responsible people in the Irish community against his appointment, the Minister should be made aware of it.

[2423]Mr. Aiken: Information on Frank Aiken Zoom on Frank Aiken There are ways of doing that. There are ways of bringing that to my attention without using this House to abuse someone who cannot defend himself and is good enough to act as honorary consul in an area where we want an honorary consul at present.

Mr. James Tully: Information on James Tully Zoom on James Tully Is the Minister saying there is nobody in that community who carries an Irish passport who would be prepared or fit to do that except him? The Minister is aware that following a conversation with him yesterday I agreed to withdraw that question. Therefore, it is his choice to have it discussed here today, not mine.

Mr. Aiken: Information on Frank Aiken Zoom on Frank Aiken The Deputy allowed it to go on to the Order Paper. Today I asked the Deputy to put it to give me the chance of answering and not to allow these allegations about a gentleman, who cannot defend himself and who was good enough to give service to Ireland to be carried over.

Mr. James Tully: Information on James Tully Zoom on James Tully I do not want to be put in the wrong about this. Following a discussion with the Minister, I agreed the question might not be discussed today. I was under the impression that the Minister, since he took the precaution of phoning me, would arrange with the people in this House, since he is the Minister, to have the matter deferred. I did not ask that it should be continued; the Minister did. Since he did, it is now being discussed. This will not be the end of it. If when further information is obtained, what the Minister has said is not correct, he will be hearing from me again.

Mr. Aiken: Information on Frank Aiken Zoom on Frank Aiken OK.


Last Updated: 11/05/2015 15:45:18 First Page Previous Page Page of 39 Next Page Last Page