Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - IRA Operations.

7.

asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if the Government have received details from the British Government of IRA units alleged to be operating from the South; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

8.

asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if his attention has been drawn to a statement (details supplied) made in the British House of Commons that maps have been handed over by the British Foreign Office to the Government in this country; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

With your permission, a Cheann Comhairle, I propose to reply to Questions Nos. 7 and 8 together.

Representations in such matters are received from time to time from the British Government. I am not prepared, however, to disclose details of such communications as, of their nature, they must remain confidential.

The Minister will agree this was mentioned in the British House of Commons?

It was not treated as confidential there.

Yes, but we are in charge of this country.

It seems to me as if they are in charge, not the Minister's Government.

This would indicate to me that the British Government are in charge.

Would the Minister agree that the Government are burying their heads in the sand? They are not governing. There is a danger of civil war here and a Protestant backlash coming and the present Government are doing nothing about it, good, bad or indifferent.

It is best, I think, to leave the Deputy unanswered.

Would the Minister say why he wishes to cover up this matter in the way he did in the reply he just gave? Surely this is a matter of grave public concern.

There is no question of covering up. Representations of this kind are made regularly and as often as the British Government decide and we make our own assessment of these representations. This is a straightforward and open matter.

Would the Minister just answer the question? Has he received these representations and what is he doing about them?

They are doing nothing. Double talk and double think and no action.

I do not intend to say what we are doing arising out of our assessment of any information we get in this area.

(Interruptions.)