Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Diplomatic Relations with USSR.


asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if, having regard to the intensity of feeling in this country about diplomatic relations with the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, he will ensure that no Government decision in favour of such relations will be taken without first affording the Dáil an opportunity to discuss the matter.

I have already indicated to the Dáil that I do not consider it appropriate to discuss publicly the possibility of establishing diplomatic relations with particular countries. It is, however, open to any Deputy who has a view on a particular case to make this known to the Government.

Would the Minister verify or deny the several kites that have been put up suggesting that the Government have already taken a decision on this matter? Have they taken a decision?

I am not responsible for kites but if the Dáil wants to discuss this matter—it is a function of the Government—the Estimate for my Department may come before the House before any such decision is made.

Does the Minister recall that when this matter was last before Dáil Éireann there was a debate on the matter in which the Minister of the day proposed that the matter be considered? Might I invite the Minister to express an opinion on this matter? Is it not preferable that we should show the world that we are a democratic country by having a debate on a matter before a decision is taken, in contrast to the Soviet Union where a decision is taken and notified then to Parliament for such debate as may then be allowed to take place? Surely this is a case where we should indicate the essential democracy of our system.

The Deputy was not so democratic in regard to other countries with which we might have relations. The Deputy is just picking one country for discussion. I do not think that is appropriate.

Would the Minister say whether we had a debate in this House when Ireland decided to vote for the inclusion of China in the United Nations?

No. The Deputies are confused by their own propaganda. They are talking as if there was a Fianna Fáil Government and a Fine Gael Government as well.

You are acting as the second unionist government in Ireland.