THE Department of Justice and the gardaí have refused to comment on reports that armed Israeli security personnel were present at a Europa League game in Dublin last week.
The game between Shamrock Rovers and Israeli side Bnei Yehuda in Tallaght last Thursday was accompanied by a small-scale protest against human rights abuses.
One member of the public verbally complained to gardaí that he had seen a civilian armed with what appeared to be an automatic weapon. He claims he was then informed by a garda that Israeli security personnel had been granted permission to attend the event armed.
Under Irish law, foreign security personnel cannot bare arms, other than for personal protection purposes, without the express permission of the departments of justice and defence. The possibility that armed Israeli security agents were allowed assist the policing of an event in Dublin has been deemed “unacceptable” by Irish peace activist Fintan Lane.
Mr Lane was held by Israeli forces during the May 31 attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla during which Israeli forces killed nine aid activists.
“There should be some clarity brought to this issue. In recent weeks we have had Israelis use false Irish passports while engaging on an assassination mission in Dubai... they illegally impounded an Irish aid vessel en route to Gaza and kidnap a number of Irish citizens who are assaulted. Then it would seem the Irish Government gave permission for this state’s agents to be armed in Dublin. If this is the situation I believe most Irish people would find it completely unacceptable.”
A Department of Justice spokeswoman said: “Details of the members of high-level foreign delegations visiting Ireland, including any accompanying security personnel, are communicated to the authorities here in advance of a delegation’s arrival.
“For obvious reasons it is not the practice to comment on security arrangements put in place, other than to make the general point that responsibility for providing security for visiting delegations rests primarily with An Garda Síochána.”
The Garda Press Office refused to comment.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved