The Taoiseach has told the Dáil that he 'presumes' that Ireland is one of the 15 countries identified by the US administration as assisting its war on Iraq.

However, Mr Ahern insisted that Ireland was not a member of the so-called 'coalition of the willing' and was not participating in the war.

In the Dáil this afternoon, the Labour leader, Pat Rabbitte, raised a recent statement by the US administration that in addition to those countries actively involved in the war in Iraq, there are a further 15 countries who do not wish to be named, who the US considers to be assisting the war effort.

Government sources have been at pains to stress that they do not know if Ireland is on the American list. They say they have had no contact with Washington about the issue.

They have also indicated that if the list is simply one of those countries allowing overflights, then Ireland is most likely on the list; however if it is a list of countries supporting the war, then we most certainly are not.

Graffiti attack on Limerick TDs' offices

The constituency offices of two Limerick-based Junior Ministers, Willie O'Dea and Tim O'Malley, have been damaged by anti-war slogans.

The word 'shame' was written on the footpath outside Willie O'Dea's office and further anti-war slogans were painted on the outside walls.

Deputy O'Malley's constituency office in Dooradoyle was also daubed with anti-war slogans.

Mr O'Malley, a Progressive Democrat TD, said he was disgusted by the vandalism and was extremely upset for both himself and his staff, who were very traumatised after what he described as an appalling incident.

He said he was hoping that video footage taken from a nearby security camera might help in the identification of the vandals.

Willie O'Dea said never in his 21 years based at his office had anything like that happened before.

He said he would not bow to criminal behaviour and added that it was ironic that people who said that they were in favour of peace behaved like that.

The Fianna Fáil Limerick East TD added that he was a very accessible politician and was willing to discuss people's views, but he said doing something like that under cover of darkness was simply cowardly.

Arab anti-war demos

Hundreds of thousands of Syrians marched in Damascus today demanding an end to the war on Iraq, their anger fuelled by the death of five Syrians in a US missile strike.

Police in the Lebanese capital Beirut used tear gas to stop thousands of demonstrators from marching on the British embassy and witnesses said about 20 people were detained.

Protesters also marched in Amman, the Jordanian capital, braving flurries of snow as they shouted anti-war slogans.