The final report by the European Parliament into CIA rendition flights has criticised the Government's response to the issue.

The report has called for a Dáil inquiry into the CIA's alleged use of Irish territory for rendition flights.

The committee investigating claims that the CIA operated a network of secret flights across Europe has accused the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dermot Ahern, of failing to answer questions on whether Irish airports facilitated CIA flights which were travelling to or from extraordinary rendition missions.

Mr Ahern today rejected the accusation, accusing the report's author's of political point-scoring.

He asked why Ireland, of all the member states, should be singled out as the only one which should institute a ban on CIA-operated aircraft.

MEPs on the committee voted in favour of the report by 28 votes to 17, and it is expected to be endorsed by the parliament as a whole next month.

The report does not make comfortable reading for the Government, which failed to get a number of amendments passed since a draft report was published in November.

The committee expresses 'serious concern about the 147 stopovers made by CIA-operated aircraft at Irish airports that on many occasions came from or were bound for countries linked with extraordinary rendition circuits and the transfer of detainees'.

It also deplores stopovers of aircraft which were shown to have been used for the renditions of seven individuals, believed to have been terror suspects.

The report acknowledges the unequivocal criticism of the rendition process by Minister Ahern, but said he failed to answer all questions in relation to concerns about Irish airports being used by CIA aircraft going to or from rendition missions.

The committee regrets the Government's decision not to follow the advice of the (Irish) Human Rights Commission that diplomatic assurances from Washington were not enough to fulfil Ireland's obligations under international law to prevent torture or ill-treatment.

The committee narrowly passed a resolution by Labour MEP Proinsias De Rossa calling for a Dáil committee to investigate rendition flights on Irish territory, and for a ban on CIA flights in the absence of a system of random searches of aircraft.

A Fianna Fáil spokesman said, however, that the committee had concluded that no prisoners were transmitted through Irish airports on rendition flights.