26 May 2024

Re. Liam Campbell

It's a backhanded compliment of sorts that the Murdoch press is expending so many column inches on smearing me on the eve of a very important election.

The details of the Sunday Times article are with my solicitor for review. Pending review, I can say the following:

Any involvement I have had with any Irish political prisoners has always been anchored in the work of the Oireachtas Ad-hoc Prisoner group, a cross party grouping on prisoner and justice issues in the framework of the Good Friday Agreement and reinforcing the peace process. I was member of the group throughout my time in the Dáil. Our work has been recognised by the Independent Reporting Commission, a statutory body established in 2015 to report on measures aimed at ending paramilitarism.

We met Liam Campbell in 2012 as part of the work of that group. In 2013 I, along with Eamon Ó Cuív, Maureen O’Sullivan and Martin Ferris, travelled to Lithuania to attend at the trial of Michael Campbell. As an MEP I have continued to work on fundamental rights and prison conditions on the European Parliament's Civil Liberties committee, in which capacity I have worked with prisoners and defendants in numerous EU countries.

There is nothing whatsoever either surprising or untoward about public representatives who work on fundamental rights and prison conditions interacting with persons accused or convicted of criminal offences, and taking steps to help them when they and their legal teams seek to ensure their rights are vindicated. Human rights are universal, or they are meaningless.

Against the backdrop of Israeli threats against the Irish state, it is deeply troubling that the Murdoch-owned British press is collaborating with a website controlled by a Russian oligarch with links to Israel on a piece that is deeply invidious to the peace process, and publishing what can only be described as a political hit-job on an Irish politician less than two weeks out from an Irish election.