The Irish Times reports:
Flanagan calls for international investigation into Dwyer death
Bolivian president Evo Morales is the first South American head of state to visit Ireland.
Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan has told Bolivian president Evo Morales there should be an international investigation into the killing of Tipperary man Michael Dwyer, who was shot dead by police in a Bolivian hotel in April 2009.
At a meeting in Dublin on Saturday evening, Mr Flanagan told Mr Morales the Government supported calls by Dwyer’s family for an independent international inquiry into the circumstances of his killing. Dwyer (24) and two other men were shot dead during a police operation at a hotel in the city of Santa Cruz, while the remaining two members of their group were arrested.
“I raised the issue of Michael Dwyer, which is an issue of concern to the Irish Government,” Mr Flanagan said after the meeting. “I reiterated my support for the family’s call for an independent investigation into the death of Michael Dwyer, and that there should be an international dimension.”
Mr Flanagan told The Irish Times there was “some engagement” on the Dwyer case at the meeting, with Mr Morales pointing to the separation of powers and the independence of the criminal justice system. “But he did acknowledge that the family are exercised,” Mr Flanagan added.
Bolivia’s government claims Dwyer was part of an opposition terrorist group. But the family rejects that and has gathered its own evidence that it says points instead to their son’s summary execution.
A recent documentary with which the family cooperated pointed to witnesses who contradicted the official version of a shoot-out, video footage that showed police planted evidence, and a public prosecutor in exile who built his government’s legal case to support the raid but who says now it was all lies.
Dwyer’s mother Caroline was due to meet Bolivian foreign minister David Choquehuanca later on Saturday evening.
Mr Morales, who is the first South American head of state to visit Ireland, held a private meeting with President Michael D Higgins at Áras an Uachtaráin on Saturday evening and is due to attend an event for Ireland’s Bolivian community on Sunday.
Mr Higgins thanked the Bolivian president for arranging talks with the Dwyer family during his visit to Ireland but urged progress in addressing the loss and grief of the Dwyer family.
Mr Higgins commended Mr Morales for the recognition of 36 native languages, as well as Spanish, in the new Bolivian constitution of 2008 and said it was a great gesture of cultural diversity and an example to other countries.
Mr Flanagan said both sides acknowledged that relations between the two countries were “somewhat light” but they agreed there was potential for greater cooperation in areas such as agri-food and education.
“I did stress that links between Ireland and Bolivia, however slight and light, have grown in recent times, and we’re anxious to proceed on trade issues, albeit from a low base. I felt the individual case of the Irish citizen should be dealt with in a way that doesn’t detract from another otherwise positive relationship,” he said.
Mr Morales will also visit a dairy-processing plant on Sunday, and an agreement is expected to be signed between Bolivia and the Higher Education Authority on third-level co-operation.
Ireland is the final stop for Mr Morales on a programme that included France, Germany and Italy.
Mother of Michael Dwyer meets Bolivian ministers
The meeting in the Department of Foreign Affairs finished just before 9pm.
Caroline Dwyer said the ministers committed to an independent international inquiry into her son’s death and said they would facilitate this process.
However, she said she remains concerned that a separate but related judicial process ongoing in Bolivia could cause further delay.
The Bolivian delegation told her that process is close to conclusion
The talks took place as part of Bolivian President Evo Morales’ two-day visit to Ireland. He is the first Bolivian Head of State to visit Ireland.
Mr Morales’ visit to Ireland is intended to strengthen ties between Ireland and Bolivia and the meeting is also likely to focus on trade and political links including issues such as climate change.
Mr Morales has held talks with Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Charlie Flanagan, who raised the case of Mr Dwyer.
He also held a one-hour meeting with President Michael D Higgins at Áras an Uachtaráin, where they discussed issues including climate change, sustainable development and poverty.
Mr Flanagan said: “I welcome this historic visit – the first by a Head of State from Bolivia – and I hope that President Morales trip to Ireland will assist our efforts to strengthen relations with Bolivia and Latin America more generally.
“Links between our two countries have grown in recent years – not least in the area of trade, which is increasing steadily, albeit from a low base,” he said.
“I am also conscious of the important role played by Bolivia on the global stage in areas such as climate change and sustainable development and I look forward to discussing these with the President,” Mr Flanagan added.
Ireland is the final stop for Mr Morales on a programme which also includes France, Germany and Italy.
It is imperative that these killings under the coca grower regime need to be clarified and justice be served!