By Des Cryan in Dublin
Irish national broadcaster RTÃ‰’s chief news correspondent, Charlie
Bird, has rejected a request by the acting Irish justice minister to
help police in their search for the IRA-linked Colombia Three, who have
reappeared in the Republic following their escape from South America.
It is believed they had been hiding in either Cuba or Venezuela
while awaiting a decision by the Colombian courts, which reversed an
earlier acquittal of the trio and instead sentenced them to I7 years’
imprisonment for training Farc guerrillas and entering the country on
Irish police have quizzed Bird, who interviewed one of the Colombia Three on an RTÃ‰ news programme.
“What journalist would reveal his or or her sources?” Bird commented.
reporter has revealed that on the day before the screened interview he
had been phoned and had arranged to meet a contact the following
He said he was then driven to a second location, where
he met James Monaghan, one of the Three and a convicted IRA mortar
Bird has refused to disclose how long the car journey
took and said he was unable to guess where he had been taken. Claiming
that he was unable to help police in their search for the three wanted
men, Bird was adamant that his first duty as a journalist was to
protect his sources.
Meanwhile acting Minister for Justice, Mary
Harney, has insisted that Bird has an obligation to help in the fight
against terrorism by assisting the police in their search.