Ireland and Libya Update

An Irish Aer Corps aircraft landed in Tripoli today at 4.50 pm to pick up Irish nationals, but was prevented from doing so by Libyan security.   It remained on the ground four hours, and was afterwards obliged to return to Malta, according to an e-mail from Department of Foreign Affairs sources. They say efforts will resume tomorrow, and attempts also are underway to have Irish nationals accommodated on other EU flights endeavouring to leave from Tripoli.  (This is a strangely different story than in the Irish Times coverage, which curiously leaves out Libyan security and says only there were ‘difficulties at Tripoli airport’.)

For its part, the UK Foreign Office needed two attempts to evacuate 300 British nationals, and was forced to borrow an aircraft from BP which promptly broke down on the Gatwick runway, leading to no little domestic criticism.

On other fronts bridging Ireland and Libya, fully 23.3 per cent of last year’s Irish crude oil imports came from Libya.  (These are now halted.)  We’ve also since 2001 deported 306 of 404 asylum seekers from Libya, Egypt and Tunisia.  But we oughtn’t forget what unites Ireland and Libya: an equally rubbish bond status.  On a rather more historical note, it’s recently come to light in the archives that in 1973 Dublin sat quiet on trade links between Aer Lingus and the government-owned Libyan Airlines, fully briefed Libya was donating Semtex and AK-47 rifles to the Provisional IRA, but willing to jeopardise neither these Libyan trade ties nor relations with the UK.  (The government did, though, dispatch several ships of the Irish Naval Service to interdict Libyan arms imports.)

On a very different note, Libyan immigrant Hussein Hamed is standing as an independent in Dublin South.  His stepbrother, Abdul Kareem Hamed, was killed Sunday in protests in Benghazi.  I’m sure words can’t express how hideously sorry all of Mr Hamed’s new countrymen are for him and his family.  Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam; البقية في حياتك.

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  • Interesting post. On what platform is Mr Hamed standing?

  • Greenflag

    In a worse case scenario Ghaddafi is probably crazy enough to go the ‘hostage ‘ route if all else fails . His ‘daughter’ was refused permission to land in Malta . Ghaddafi appears to have no preplanned escape route . Even the Saudi’s who are also under pressure will not have him .

    Britain can threaten military force if British subjects are not permitted to leave . We Irish can threaten the Libyans with our ‘neutrality’.

    As Ghadaffi’s forces are now concentrated in the Tripoli area they are open to attack by Nato airforces on the lines of the attack on Milosevic’s Serbia .

  • oracle

    Note of caution,

    “On a very different note, Libyan immigrant Hussein Hamed is standing as an independent in Dublin South. His stepbrother, Abdul Kareem Hamed, was killed Sunday in protests in Benghazi.”

    It can’t be confirmed therefore it should read as “allegedly”, but considering that it didn’t happen in this country for us to know about it means that the election hopeful told us about it therefore it should be described as “Claimed”

    But there is always a slim chance in the mayhem of rumor coming from Libya with little or no hard fact that someone could check up on the death of a brother… but a step brother with a family name and an official documented name …no chance… personally speaking it sounds like an election gimmick to me.

  • Greenflag

    ‘personally speaking it sounds like an election gimmick to me’

    The entire election has been a gimmick -one more will not upset the outcome.

    I’ve finally decided to vote Independent and second preference SF . The independent has a good chance of election and d SF should poll well but it would require a miracle .I was tempted to give a preference to our local hard working FF man but Martin’s ‘death throe ‘ like grasp for the SF neck has persuaded me that FF have learnt nothing . I won’t vote FG because I believe they were ineffective as an opposition for the past 15 years bar a few notable exceptions none of whom are in my constituency . Ditto for Labour although I’m sympathetic to the local candidate .

    It’s odd that arguably in the most important election since the foundation of the State I’m neither enthused or even moved by any of the main political parties . And while SF are berated as having no idea of ‘economics’ I look around at those who have and they seem equally answerless . At least SF seem to recognise that while the German public do not want to bail out irresponsible Irish banks and politicians(can you blame them ?) oSF seem to be the only party that’s saying that the Irish people should not ‘bail out ‘ irresponsible German , French and British banks -which is what the previous Irish FF/GP/FG/LABOUR political establishment agreed to .

    I read in the newspaper that Mr Kenny’s new government will hit the ground running and that Ministers will for the first 100 days NOT be allowed to conduct ‘constituency ‘ business .
    Is that not ‘unconstitutional ‘ in itself – It has the smack of a political tricks about it that bodes ill for the new government.

    As for hitting the ground running I just hope that our ‘new athletic government ‘ will not be doing so as result of Egyptian style democracy finally catching on in Ireland ?

  • JAH

    Oracle wrote

    But there is always a slim chance in the mayhem of rumor coming from Libya with little or no hard fact that someone could check up on the death of a brother… but a step brother with a family name and an official documented name …no chance… personally speaking it sounds like an election gimmick to me.

    I doubt if I have ever read a more cynical response in Slugger. To assume everyone is lying just for personal gain suggests a utter lack of empathy.

  • andnowwhat

    Greenflag, at times like this all parties but 2 are the opposition. Critisism of the incumbent goverment is deemed enough to define a platform and thus the infusion of gimmickry.

    It is sad that it has taken the destruction of the nation to finally destroy the FF/FG duopoly but the Republic is a very very young state (somethinmg IMHO we tend to forget) and it is only at the beginning of it’s political path. Just to illustrate let us not forget how young the Labour party is in Britain which is obviously a much older state.

    Now is a good time for political organisation and trade union activity (including more membership. Sure they are mostly crap but increased memebership both in the ROI and UK does put the wind slightly up “the man”) to regain values and political expression for all.

    BTW is it not odd that here in NI, we will bring the country to it’s knees because a bunch of blokes can/can’t walk down a street but cut our services, make us umemployed or make us pay for the misshanling of the economy and the cocaine fuelled antics of investment bankers and it is all we can do to write a nasty letter to a paper or phone up a radio show. I’m not saying we shopuld burn busses but we could do as I did and close our bank accounts and open a post office one thus depriving them of our monies

  • slappymcgroundout


    Google is your friend [Irish Times]:

    CANDIDATE: AN INDEPENDENT candidate in Dublin South, who sought asylum in Ireland in the 1990s because of his involvement with the Muslim Brotherhood in Libya, has said he does not want his election campaign to be defined by his faith.
    Mr Hamed works in an administrative role at the Muslim Association of Ireland (MAI), which is an affiliate of the Brussels-based Federation of Islamic Organisations in Europe. This is an umbrella organisation of various branches and affiliates of the Muslim Brotherhood’s European network. The MAI is based at a mosque in Tallaght.

    Mr Hamed says his campaign hinges on three main issues: integrating migrants; rolling back cuts to the education sector; and safeguarding old-age pensions.

    “I am very concerned about the education cuts in the last budget. Our children are our main resource and cutting back on their education will only further weaken our economy in the long term,” he said. “Regarding pensions, our senior citizens built this country, they brought us out of the 1980s recession, and they paid their taxes. So why should they suffer now?”

  • Greenflag


    ‘It is sad that it has taken the destruction of the nation ‘

    The ‘nation’ is not destroyed . It has taken a setback the extent of which will probably not be seen till post 2013 . GDP is now back to 2002 levels. In a perverse way this crisis once this ‘ritual’ election is out of the way -may change the face of politics in the country for the better .

    The mid 1980’s crisis and the earlier 1950’s crisis can largely be blamed on the governments then in power or previous ones for failing to take corrective action . The international economic environment was of much less import than today .

    In retro we now see the so called tiger economy lasted from about 1994 through to 2000/2002 approx with much of the growth thereafter being ‘property bubble ‘ related . The eh ‘party’ continued until Lehman’s in New York was allowed to fail in September 2008. Capitalism just doing it’s thing was the chorus of the ‘free marketeers’ back then . The other major banks refused to come to Lehman’s aid . A few weeks later US Treasury Secretary Paulson was virtually holding a gun to the heads of the US Congress telling President Bush and the Democrats that they either bailed out the ‘banks ‘ or there would be a meltdown of the world economy resulting in ‘armageddon’ on the streets of every city in the country . Many of the US politicians from both parties did NOT want to bail out the banks but they could not afford to ALLOW the’free market ‘ to do it’s business .

    Ditto for Ireland a few months back as the then Irish Government was forced by the combined pressure of the German /British /French ECB lobbies to take the ‘bail out ‘ as had they not done so many German , French and British banks would have ‘dominoed’ into failure .

    While the Irish should suffer the consequences of sometimes reckless and negligent policies of their own choice of government 2000-2010 particularly in their failure to curtail the property bubble which we all knew would end -the only question being when and how ‘low ‘ it could go . What our policy makers and other European policymakers never envisaged was the Wall St collapse on the back of Lehman’s fall and the ensuing revelations of the entire sub prime mortgage debacle which is still ongoing in the USA today at least in it’s effects on the economy .

    As for NI at this time there will be no doubt a fall back in property values due to the close proximity of the Republic and the fact that the building boom spread across the border and likewise a drop in the Republic’s GDP and per capita incomes will impact the Ni economy along with the local ‘cuts’ .

    Todays election will be interesting for the turnout figures and the extent of the FF collapse . It seems Gilmore for Taoiseach is a non runner this time – they still fail to have an ‘organisation in many parts of the country . And the FG government may hobble along with ‘independents ‘ until such time as the latter take fright and there’s another election at which point we may see that old fashioned ideological left v right divide coming into play .

    For those who take any comfort from the Republic’s setback and they are probably few even in NI the bad news is that the Republic will become a ‘better ‘ country assuming we learn the right lessons from this crisis . But I’ll be the first to admit that there were’nt many ‘lessons’ coming from our politicians during this election . It’s back to school time for the next generation of Dail deputies .Whether they’ll bend over far enough to satisfy the urges of Monsieur Sarkoczy or Die Frau Kanzlerin Angela Merkel remains to be seen . As of now they can’t even bend -the reason being they have prostrated themselves since the ‘bail out’.

  • abucs

    I am in the Philippines at the moment and they are looking to get 13,000 nationals out of the country through ferries and chartered ferries with the rest to escape with the assistance of their multi-national employers.

  • Mark

    Irish mother of 6 on the phone from Tripoli begging Sky News Presenter to send in the troops .

    ” Please Miss , send in the troops , we’re all human , can no one see what’s going on ” says Patricia ….

    What is…. going on ???????

    First Test for Enda …….