Six Irish campaigners deported
SIX Irish passport-holders detained following the Gaza flotilla controversy were en route out of Israel last night along with hundreds of foreign activists.
It is expected they will first travel to Istanbul where they will be met by an official from the Irish embassy before travelling home. Campaigner Shane Dillon was the first of the Irish activists from the flotilla to return home following the incident at the weekend, which caused international condemnation of the Israeli reaction.
The remaining six Irish passport holders are Isam Bin Ali, an Irish-nationalised man of Libyan background; Dr Fintan Lane (42), whose family is based in Cork; Fiachra O'Luain (27), a former European elections candidate; Paul McGeough, an Australia-based journalist; Almadi al Harati and Ken O'Keeffe, an American man with an Irish passport.
Mr Bin Ali was due to return to Ireland yesterday morning, said a spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs, but his return coincided with an announcement from the Israeli government that all of the foreign activists would be released.
The other five are expected to travel to Istanbul on some of the Turkish Airline jets that have been arranged to bring the activists back there. The spokesman said Mr Bin Ali is either ahead of the other five or will travel back to Istanbul with them as part of the overall return of activists.
An official from the Irish embassy in Ankara will meet with the Irish passport holders when they arrive "and liaise with them to ensure they have the quickest possible travel arrangements and if needed, to arrange their overnight accommodation", he said.