Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has welcomed a European Parliament vote in favour of granting asylum to whistle-blower Edward Snowden.
Ms Anderson said:
“My Sinn Féin colleagues and I are thrilled at the outcome of the vote on this amendment, which was proposed by members of the Greens and of our parliamentary Group, the GUE/NGL.
“The amendment calls on EU member states to drop any criminal charges against Edward Snowden and grant him protection and consequently prevent extradition or rendition by third parties, in recognition of his status as whistle blower and international human rights defender.
“I am absolutely astonished that the four Fine Gael MEPs voted against this amendment. Do they seriously favour the persecution of this man who, at enormous personal risk, has exposed the mass surveillance by US agencies of the communications of billions of people around the world?
“In 2013 Edward Snowden, a former senior NSA analyst, exposed the extent of the NSA’s domestic and international spying.
“He also provided irrefutable proof that NSA officials at the highest level had repeatedly lied to the US Congress for years about the extent of their domestic spying programs.
“The Irish government should acknowledge his status as a whistle-blower and international human rights defender, as affirmed by the European Parliament
“He applied for asylum in Ireland in 2013 but the Irish government refused to provide an assurance of granting asylum, saying it could not process an application unless it was made from within Ireland. In the wake of this vote by the European Parliament, the Irish government should immediately provide an assurance to Snowden that he will be granted asylum, protection and safe passage should he choose to live in or travel through Ireland.”