Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams yesterday appealed for the release of Iraq hostage Ken Bigley on Arabic TV.
Mr Bigley, whose mother Elizabeth is fromunty Co Dublin, was taken hostage in Iraq earlier this month along with two American colleagues.
The group that kidnapped them subsequently killed Mr Bigley’s colleagues and warned that the engineer will be killed unless female Iraqi dissidents are released from prison.
Speaking on al-Jazeera TV yesterday Mr Adams urged Mr Bigley’s captors to show generosity by releasing him.
“I was approached by campaigners seeking the release of Ken Bigley,” Mr Adams told al-Jazeera TV.
“I spoke yesterday (Wednesday) to Paul, Ken’s brother.
“Mr Bigley’s mother is from Ireland and this gives us a special interest.”
The Sinn Féin leader told al-Jazeera that the majority of people in Ireland were opposed to the invasion of Iraq.
“I am not here to lecture to people or to dictate to people.
“But I believe that the cause of those who hold Mr Bigley can be better advanced if they are magnanimous and generous and release him.”
Former SDLP leader John Hume and 26-County Taoiseach Bertie Ahern have also appealed on the channel for Mr Bigley’s release.
On Wednesday Paul Bigley publicly thanked the Irish people for their support in the campaign to secure his brother’s release.
“Thanks to all of the people of Ireland,” he said, “I would love to shake their hands and kiss every one of them.”
He said his family hoped their connections with Ireland would save his brother’s life.
“I’ve always thought that the Irish solve problems in their own particular manner,” he said.
“They get down to the point, they don’t dilly dally and they open up dialogue with the opposite parties.
“Maybe I’m clutching at straws, maybe I’m not.”