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Taoiseach: Snowden has sought asylum in Ireland, but his application is invalid

Enda Kenny has told the Dáil that the fugitive former NSA employee has written to the Irish embassy in Moscow but this is not sufficient for an asylum application to be considered.

TAOISEACH ENDA KENNY has told the Dáil that the US fugitive Edward Snowden has written to the Irish embassy in Moscow seeking asylum in Ireland but said this would not be accepted because he must apply in this State.

Kenny was asked about the case of Snowden, a former National Security Agency employee who leaked details of the US’ surveillance programmes to the media last month, in the Dáil today during Leaders’ Questions.

Independent TD Clare Daly asked if the Taoiseach agreed that Snowden “is an international hero” and asked that he support the asylum application.

Kenny said that Snowden had written to Irish authorities in Russia, as part of applications for asylum to 21 other countries, and said that he had requested asylum.

However he said that asylum applications are not accepted from persons resident in other countries as potential refugee status must be based on applications made within the Irish jurisdiction.

“Applications made [from] abroad are not accepted,” he said adding this was the generally accepted principal internationally. He said that if a valid application was made by Snowden it would be dealt with by Irish authorities in accordance with the Geneva convention.

Kenny also said that the “serious matter” of reported US surveillance of EU premises had been raised with authorities in Washington with Ireland also making representations to US officials in Dublin. He said “urgent clarification” is being sought on this.

Daly said she seemed to remember it was important to “get a passport for Tony Cascarino because of a fictitious grandmother, so he could be part of Jackie’s Army” referring to former Irish international striker who played for Jack Charlton’s soccer team in the 90s.

Kenny responded that he had not met Cascarino’s grandmother and that he did not know “whether she was fictitious or not”.

Read: Lots of countries reject Edward Snowden’s request for asylum – but two say ‘maybe’

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Hugh O'Connell

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