TÁNAISTE EAMON GILMORE has said that the Irish embassy in Athens made contact with Greek police in relation to the detention of an Albanian man, married to an Irish woman, who has been convicted with involvement in a spate of burglaries in Crete.
Mark Marku’s wife Julie has previously appealed to the Irish authorities to intervene in the case as she affirms that accusations her husband was a member of an armed gang that committed seven armed robberies of jewellers in 2010 are unsupported by any evidence.
The man and his brother Andreas were sentenced to 18 years in prison last year and are currently appealing the conviction. His defence presented evidence to the court that included social welfare records, wage slips, flight tickets and passport stamps from Ireland though the prosecutor claimed these documents were falsified.
Greek authorities will not provide information
In response to a parliamentary question from TD Billy Timmins, Gilmore said that, on hearing of his detention, “and notwithstanding the fact that he is not a citizen of Ireland, the Irish Embassy in Athens made contact with the Greek police in an effort to convey the Irish government’s interest in this case on the basis that he is married to an Irish citizen”.
It was made clear to our embassy that the authorities in Crete would not provide them with any information regarding this case as no Irish citizen was involved.
He said that the embassy has no rights of communication and contact with people in Greece who are not Irish citizens even if they are related to Irish citizens. Gilmore added that Julie Marku had previously met with the former Minister of State in his department, the Irish Ambassador to Greece and his deputy and her husbands lawyer.
As a result of concerns raised at these meetings the wife of the above named has also been facilitated by the Consular Services Section of my department, she has had her documents authenticated as required.
The Tánaiste added that his department had also contacted the Albanian Embassy in Athens, as they are responsible for offering consular assistance to Marku, but no response was received.
“It is a sovereign matter for each country to decide what level of consular assistance it affords its citizens,” he said. “It would be inappropriate for me to comment on the Albanian Embassy’s consular services to their citizens.”