Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Ireland-USSR Relations.

16.

asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will indicate whether or not the British Government have made any representations to the Irish Government with regard to the proposed establishment of diplomatic relations between Ireland and the USSR.

17.

asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if any communication has been received from the British Foreign Office concerning the setting up of a Soviet Embassy in the Republic.

With your permission, a Cheann Comhairle, I propose to take Questions Nos. 16 and 17 together.

As I have said in the Dáil, I do not consider it appropriate to discuss publicly the possibility of establishing diplomatic relations with particular countries. This also applies to any views expressed by other Governments in such matters.

Has it been brought to the Minister's attention by the British Government that it will involve the issuing of passports for Irish citizens?

That is a separate question.

It has never arisen in any representations.

Did the Minister look at that aspect of it?

It does not arise at all. The British Government have diplomatic relations with the country referred to and they are in no position to raise any point here.

The Minister will admit that the British Government had a number of the staff of the Soviet Embassy returned. Because of this and because of their fears in regard to activities of Soviet employees they would automatically insist on passports for Irish citizens.

The Deputy is speculating. What they do is their business.

I am just asking whether they brought this to the attention of the Irish Government?