Thirteen Irish people trapped in Kuwait following the Iraqi invasion on 2 August 1990 are finally homeward bound from Baghdad Airport in Iraq via a flight to Rome.

They are the first group of Irish people to leave Iraq and Kuwait since President Saddam Hussein’s decision to release all foreign hostages. Many more foreigners were also attempting to leave Iraq. The Governor of Texas of Texas John Connolly personally intervened with President Saddam Hussein on behalf of the hostages and succeeded in chartering a jet to bring home some of the American hostages.

This chartered jet stopped over at Shannon Airport where John Connolly spoke about his meeting with Hussein. He was impressed by the President describing him as strong minded and tough minded, but without any air of arrogance. Hussein told him

He was interested in peace, he had no argument with the American people, he had no political or philosophical differences with the American people, but he did have a dispute with Kuwait, long standing, but that was a matter between the two countries.

Cathy Halloran reports for RTÉ News on 9 December 1990.