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Azerbaijan, corruption, and ex-TD Michael McNamara April 23, 2018

Posted by Tomboktu in Azerbaijan, Ethics, Uncategorized.
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I don’t know if it’ll get much attention in the Irish media, but the Council of Europe published a report (219-page PDF here) last night on an investigation into corruption allegations. The investigators were three judges, including the former president of the European Court of Human Rights. The allegations were that members of PACE, the Council’s parliamentary assembly — MPs from the national parliaments of the Council’s member states sent to the Strasbourg-based body — took cash to vote favourably for Azerbaijan in their work in PACE.

One person (not alone, it must be said) who comes out well from the report is the former Labour TD, Michael McNamara, who was one of the Oireachtas members of PACE during the last Dáil.

In his oral evidence to the Investigation Body, Mr McNamara explained that when he had first become a member of the Assembly in 2011, the then head of the Irish delegation had invited him for a lunch in the Palais dining room with Mr Goris. Mr Goris had stressed that Azerbaijan was a country that was outward looking and that wanted to engage more with the world, and that sometimes there was criticism of it, some of which was unwarranted. Mr Goris had suggested that they should go there and see Azerbaijan for themselves, and that they would be provided with business-class tickets. He said that there might be a stopover in Istanbul, and if there was, it would be in a nice hotel, and that there were many nice hotels also in Azerbaijan. Mr Goris had insisted that it would be an interesting opportunity to see Azerbaijan and, perhaps, to dispel unfounded criticisms. However, when Mr McNamara had started asking about the issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan, Mr Goris had ended the discussion and had never contacted him again. For his part, Mr Goris explained that he had not lobbied Mr McNamara but had simply wanted to advise him to discover Azerbaijan before he started to talk on issues related to that country.

 

Comments»

1. dublinstreams - April 23, 2018

was no other Irish members invited to give evidence ?

Google News helpfully pointe me towards an Azerbaijan news source
Corruption allegations against Azerbaijan in PACE collapsed
https://en.trend.az/azerbaijan/politics/2891861.html

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2. Tomboktu - April 24, 2018

It looks like McNamara was the only one from Ireland interviewed. That would make sense because he was quite active in trying to prevent and challenging the PACE being used to support corruption and ignore human rights abuses in Azerbaijan. President Alyev made derogatory remarks about McNamara when he addressed the PACE when Azerbaijan held the presidency of the Council of Europe.

A useful source on the background is the work of the European Stability Initiative on Azerbaijan: https://www.esiweb.org/index.php?lang=en&id=262

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