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Authorities investigate whether use of ‘Republic of Ireland’ would invalidate Ellis’ extradition

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Irish authorities have investigated whether an extradition order issued by the United Kingdom against Desmond “Dessie” Ellis would have been valid if the warrant had used the term “Republic of Ireland” instead of “Ireland”.

Confidential documents released this year also show that gardaí were instructed not to arrest fugitives if they were found because the warrant used “Republic of Ireland”.

Based on instructions given by the Supreme Court on aspects of the Ellis extradition case, a request was made by the Attorney-General’s Office in January 1990 to investigate the use of ‘Ireland’ as a country name by the United Kingdom.

The Supreme Court declined to support Ellis’ argument that his right to challenge the validity of the warrant was precluded by his inability to access the information on which the warrant was based.

Mr Ellis, who is currently a Sinn Féin TD, was serving a sentence at Portlaoise Prison at the time of the extradition request.

According to National Archives documents, these warrants were issued for possession of explosives with intent to endanger life and possession of explosives within the jurisdiction of England and Wales between January 1981 and October 1983. Issued in connection with conspiracy to commit an explosion that could endanger the United States.

A document marked “confidential” states that the Ellis extradition case is scheduled to be filed in the District Court on January 8, 1990, and could be the first extradition request to the UK since the Guildford Four case. It was described as having sex.

“The terms of the judgment on the state’s name issue certainly suggest that the district court may refuse to extradite Ellis for this reason alone.”

The confidential conference notes outline comments from Supreme Court Justice Brian Walsh, who emphasized the duty of Irish local courts to protect the constitutional rights of indigenous peoples.

The judge’s comments are quoted as follows: “This case could be an example of what can happen…What is the judicial justification for adding (conspiracy charges) to the substantive crime if an indictment occurs? It is difficult to understand why one exists. Adopting it as a policy is highly questionable to say the least.”

Regarding the name of the state, the judge stated: “If the courts of other countries seeking the assistance of the courts of this country are reluctant to give this state a constitutionally correct and internationally recognized name, then in my view the writ is invalid. should be returned to such countries until corrected. ”

The document states that gardaí were advised “not to proceed with the arrest of one fugitive due to the inclusion of the term Republic of Ireland in the warrant”.

The Office of the Attorney General of Ireland has also contacted the Attorney General in London, who has indicated that the use of the Republic of Ireland in warrants is not acceptable and that the ‘Checklist’ needs to be amended to make this clear. ” he added.

The Office of the Attorney General of Ireland proposed instead to refer to the relevant Irish city or county.

Then-Chief Justice Thomas Finley agreed that “it is undesirable for a state to be incorrectly named on a warrant,” but the court did not present arguments on the issue and said it was “for good reason.” He said he doubted whether there was. Because he refused to be extradited. ”

Justice Niall McCarthy said Irish courts “should refuse to sanction any further refusal to recognize Article 4 of the Constitution”.

The legal adviser responded on January 9 that the agreement uses “two forms” and “appears to be satisfied” with the name of the other country, as long as the document binding on both sides has the correct name. said. ” Follow national requirements.

“In fact, in order to avoid difficulties in bringing the aforementioned agreement into force in each jurisdiction, the notification includes language that avoids the use of the names of both countries.”

He also said that legal requests from the UK are normally addressed to the courts of the Republic of Ireland and are “always dealt with without difficulty”.

A report from the Anglo-Irish department said that British law which says Irish law names the country ‘Republic of Ireland’ is ‘clearly incorrect’ and that the law should instead name the state ‘Eire’ or ‘Ireland’. He said there was. , the country description is “Republic of Ireland”.

The conclusion drawn was that “the United Kingdom has ‘named’ this country the Republic of Ireland, both domestically and in bilateral contexts, knowing that it does not consider it to be the name of the country. That is clear.”

However, if Ireland “presses us to use the name Ireland, we will do so provided we (call) it by the name specified in Irish law, namely the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.” I might accept it,” he added.

It also said Ireland’s “own practices in this regard regarding country names are not entirely consistent”, noting that the Republic of Ireland is sometimes used to distinguish the state from Northern Ireland.

In November 1990, Mr Ellis became the first person from Ireland to be extradited to the UK under the Extradition Act 1987.

He had gone on a hunger strike days before his extradition to protest his extradition to the UK.

Mr. Ellis was acquitted at a trial in London the following year.

This material can be viewed at the National Archives, file 2021/53/29.

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