A local TD has pleaded with the Government to help a Roscommon resident jailed in Iraq.
Robert Pether, who is an Australian citizen but lives in Ireland, was detained on April 7th last year before being found guilty of deception in an Iraqi court and sentenced to 5 years jail and a 12 million dollar fine.
While the Irish Government cannot offer consular assistance due to Robert's Australian Citizenship, Roscommon Galway TD Claire Kerrane is urging the Department of Foreign Affairs to bring all possible pressure to bear on the Iraqi Government.
Last year the United Nations declared Mr Pether's detention 'illegal' and has called for his immediate release.
Robert's wife Desree lives in Elphin with his three children and has serious concerns about his health.
According to Deputy Kerrane, the Government need to use every tool they have to help resolve the issue:
"Robert is a renowned engineer. He has spent much of his working life in war-torn areas re-building hospitals, and that is a very much the measure of the man that he is.
I do want to take this opportunity before the Dail rises to plead that anything more that this Irish government can do, anyone they can speak to, or anywhere they can be to raise this case, I would ask that they do it."
Responding to the Sinn Fein deputy on behalf of the Department of Foreign Affairs, Minister Malcolm Noonan promised they would continue to petition both the Australian and Iraqi governments for more action:
"It is significant that you have raised it in our parliament, I think that's important in maintaining that pressure.
The Australian government are continuing to provide a high level of consular assistance to Mr Pether.
As you will understand, it wouldn't be appropriate to comment on the details of the case or the consular assistance being provided.
I can assure you that officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs will continue to remain in close contact with the relevant Australian officials and will continue to advocate for Mr Pether and his family, we will also as appropriate raise concerns with Mr Pether with Iraqi authorities."