In response to inquiries made to the Consulate General of Ireland in Atlanta, under whose jurisdiction Florida falls, the DFA Press Office stated via email that the department is “offering full consular assistance to Mr. Michael Fitzpatrick and will continue to do so as required. . . . We have notified the relevant US authorities of our interest in the case, which is going through normal judicial procedure in the United States.
“Departmental representatives would not routinely attend such hearings, particularly when we are satisfied that the Irish citizen involved has full access to legal counsel. We do maintain contact with the citizen’s lawyers to ensure that we are informed about proceedings, and we are also in contact with the NGO Reprieve on this case.”
The email also noted that, although the Irish government is not automatically entitled to consular prison visits with American citizens being tried in a US court, they had “sought and were granted one, which was undertaken by the Consul General Paul Gleason based in Atlanta in October 2013.”
Fitzpatrick’s attorney confirmed this. “I’ve had contact with the Consulate General of Ireland [in Atlanta] and I think that they intend on appearing in future hearings. As far as the hearing on January 10, for some reason they weren’t able to attend. I do know that [Atlanta Consul General] Paul Gleason, has been to the local jail and has met with Mr. Fitzpatrick. It was several months ago, but he has offered and is providing consular services, whatever that entails. . . so that’s their role right now as far as their input and their participation in the trial.”
The communications officers at Reprieve declined to provide further information as to what steps they would like to see the Irish government take on Fitzpatrick’s behalf.
Fitzpatrick’s retrial will begin on June 16.