Irish leader Enda Kenny confirmed that U.S. whistleblower Edward Snowden cannot be granted asylum in Ireland, as applications at Irish embassies abroad are not accepted.
The Fine Gael leader told the Irish Parliament during leaders questions that Snowden had written to the Irish Embassy in Moscow seeking asylum as part of applications for asylum to 21 other countries. But Kenny noted that Ireland can only offer asylum to people who had arrived in the country.
Snowden, 30, a former National Security Agency employee who leaked details of the US’s mass surveillance programs to the media last month, is currently in the process of seeking asylum from U.S. prosecution.
“Applications at Irish embassies abroad are not accepted,” Kenny said.
He said that if a valid application was made by Snowden it would be dealt with by Irish authorities in accordance with the Geneva Convention.
Independent TD Clare Daly asked the Irish leader to consider granting asylum to this “international hero,” adding that he was facing prosecution from the US authorities.
The U.S. Government has warned countries against accepting Snowden.
Snowden says the Obama administration has left him a "stateless person."
In a statement on the WikiLeaks web site, Snowden said, President Obama declared before the world that he would not permit any diplomatic "wheeling and dealing" over his case.
"Yet now it is being reported that after promising not to do so, the President ordered his Vice President to pressure the leaders of nations from which I have requested protection to deny my asylum petitions.
"This kind of deception from a world leader is not justice, and neither is the extralegal penalty of exile. These are the old, bad tools of political aggression. Their purpose is to frighten, not me, but those who would come after me," he said.