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Tánaiste on NSA spying: 'Friends don’t bug each other's telephones'

Eamon Gilmore has said that the government does not have any information that the US carried out surveillance on its activities.

Eamon Gilmore
Eamon Gilmore
Image: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

TÁNAISTE EAMON GILMORE has said that the government does not have any information that the US National Security Agency (NSA) carried out surveillance on Ireland, but said eavesdropping is unacceptable.

Speaking after a meeting with the US diplomat charged with talks on outstanding issues in Northern Ireland, Richard Haass, Gilmore said that it is “unacceptable” that any other state would spy on a friendly state.

He told reporters: “We’ve no information in relation to activity here. But I want to make it very clear that eavesdropping on telephones here or indeed anywhere else in Europe is not acceptable to us.”

It emerged today that Gilmore raised the issue of NSA spying at the Council of Europe headquarters in Brussels with officials “at a senior official level” in the US Embassy in Dublin earlier this year.

“I’ve already said very clearly and very publicly that it is unacceptable that any state would bug a friendly state, eavesdrop on telephone conversations or try to establish intelligence in that way,” he said today.

He said that the matter has already been raised at an official level with officials from the US embassy here as well as at an EU level with the US Secretary of State John Kerry, saying it is something the Irish government is very clear on.

“The bugging of other people’s telephones… you know, friends don’t bug each other’s telephones,” Gilmore added.

Read: Gilmore raised concerns over US spying with embassy in Dublin this summer

Read: NSA ‘tapped into links to Google, Yahoo data centres’

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Hugh O'Connell

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