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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
08DUBLIN306 2008-05-28 16:35:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Dublin
Cable title:  

FOREIGN AFFAIRS TOUR D'HORIZON WITH IRISH MINISTER

Tags:   PGOV PREL ECON EAIR PHUM MOPS MARR PARM NATO 
pdf how-to read a cable
VZCZCXRO5193
PP RUEHAG RUEHROV
DE RUEHDL #0306/01 1491635
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 281635Z MAY 08
FM AMEMBASSY DUBLIN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9209
INFO RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES PRIORITY
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 DUBLIN 000306 

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/28/2018
TAGS: PGOV PREL ECON EAIR PHUM MOPS MARR PARM NATO
ETRD, KPAO, UNKIK, ESDP, EUN, NO, EI
SUBJECT: FOREIGN AFFAIRS TOUR D'HORIZON WITH IRISH MINISTER
OF DEFENSE

REF: A. DUBLIN 282

B. 07 DUBLIN 919

Classified By: Ambassador Thomas C. Foley; Reasons 1.4 (B) and (D).

-------
Summary
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1. (C) Ambassador, Defense Attache, and POLOFF met with
Irish Minister for Defense Willie O'Dea on May 28, 2008.
O'Dea voiced unqualified support for a proposed immigration,
customs, and agriculture full aviation pre-clearance
agreement between Ireland and the U.S., saying that the Irish
Government was anxious to sign the agreement as soon as
possible. O'Dea described the pro-Lisbon Treaty referendum
campaign as going well, predicting that the referendum would
pass "comfortably." He was non-committal about the outcome
of the ongoing cluster munitions conference. O'Dea described
the situation for Irish ESDP peacekeeping troops in Chad as
"stable so far but could get volatile," and predicted that
ESDP troops would need to remain in Chad far longer than the
scheduled end of the mission on March 15, 2009. Similarly,
he said there have been fewer problems than expected for the
Irish-led KFOR mission in Kosovo since Kosovo's declaration
of independence, but he worried about what will happen on
June 15 when Kosovo's constitution comes into effect and the
UN hands over power to the Government of Kosovo and EU-led
police and supervisory missions. End summary.



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Aviation Pre-Clearance Agreement


--------------------------





2. (C) O'Dea's prime interest in meeting with the Ambassador
was to promote the signing of a full immigration, customs,
and agriculture pre-clearance agreement between the U.S. and
Ireland (Ref B) for commercial and general aviation at
Shannon and Dublin Airports. (Note: O'Dea's Limerick
constituency lies adjacent to Shannon Airport. The heart of
his constituency, the city of Limerick, benefits from
employment generated by the airport. End note.)



3. (C) O'Dea voiced enthusiastic and unqualified support for
the proposed pre-clearance agreement, saying that the Irish
Government was firmly committed to finalizing the accord. He
noted that the agreement would bring new business and
employment to the Limerick region. He stated that he had
already signed off on plans for infrastructural developments
required to establish a full pre-clearance operation at
Shannon Airport and said that once the agreement was signed,
construction would begin. He went on to say that the
agreement would need to be ratified by the Parliament (Dail),
predicting that this would be accomplished by the end of the
year.



4. (C) Comment: Once the Government decides to sign the
agreement, it will be able to push the required legislation
through the Parliament since it holds the majority of
Parliamentary seats. The Irish -- and not just O'Dea -- are
clearly excited about the prospect of an economic boost to
the western region of Ireland and are prepared to go to
considerable lengths to see a pre-clearance facility become a
reality there. Meanwhile, a team of DHS officials is in
Dublin this week to further negotiate the terms of the
agreement. End comment.)



--------------------------


Cluster Munitions


--------------------------





5. (C) In response to the Ambassador's question about the
ongoing cluster munitions conference in Dublin, O'Dea was
noncommittal about what he expected the outcome to be, saying
that the Government's 2007 "Programme for Action" called for
the banning of cluster munitions. Nonetheless, he pointed
out language in the "Programme" that would enable Ireland to
negotiate with users of cluster munitions like the U.S. if
the conference did not produce a binding convention.



--------------------------


Chad


--------------------------





6. (C) O'Dea described the situation in Chad, where Irish
troops are serving in an Irish-led EU mission, as "stable so
far but could get volatile." Stating that the rebels seem to
have little appetite for engaging properly configured army
troops, he described an incident where Irish troops ran into
a rebel group while on patrol. The two sides sat down to
talk and the rebels acknowledged the legitimacy of the Irish

DUBLIN 00000306 002 OF 002


troops' mission to protect civilians in camps and villages.
O'Dea said that a lot of work is being done on the ground to
explain the EU's humanitarian mission. Nonetheless, O'Dea
worried about the extended supply lines in landlocked Eastern
Chad. He also said he expected that EU and Irish troops
would be in Chad far longer than March 15, 2009, the
scheduled date for the end of the EU mission. Predicting
that the UN would not be able to mount an effective
peacekeeping operation to Chad by that time, he said that the
Irish troops wouldn't simply abandon the people and leave a
vacuum -- undoing their good work -- if the EU mission could
not hand off effectively to the UN on March 15.



--------------------------


Kosovo


--------------------------





7. (C) In reviewing the situation in Kosovo, where Ireland
is the KFOR framework nation and currently contributes about
280 troops, O'Dea said that Kosovo's declaration of
independence had not created as many problems on the ground
as had been initially feared. Nonetheless, he appeared
worried about what will happen on June 15 when Kosovo's
constitution comes into effect and the UN hands over power to
the Government of Kosovo and the new EU-led police and
supervisory missions. He mused that the hand-over would be
complicated by widespread lawlessness and corruption, which
would require army troops on a continuing basis to enable the
police to take control.



--------------------------


Shannon Airport


--------------------------





8. (C) The Ambassador thanked O'Dea for the Government's
stalwart commitment to allow U.S. military flights to transit
Shannon Airport during travel to and from Iraq and
Afghanistan. (Note: The policy is controversial to those who
oppose the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and those who allege
that Shannon Airport has been used for terrorism rendition
flights. End note.) Clearly pleased by the recognition of
his role in this Government policy, O'Dea said that the Irish
Government was glad to help.
FOLEY