Emergency Powers Bill, 1976: Second Stage.

I move: "That the Bill be now read a Second Time."

The Bill is an emergency measure in which it is proposed to give power to the Garda Síochána to hold in custody for up to seven days persons suspected in connection with offences under the Offences Against the State Act, 1939, or of offences that are scheduled offences for the purposes of that Act. The provision will lapse after 12 months from the date of enactment of the Bill unless continued in force by Government order. Where it had lapsed it could be reactivated by Government order. The Emergency Powers Act would, however, automatically expire when the Dáil and Seanad resolved that the national emergency had ceased to exist.

Subsection (1) of section 2 of the Bill empowers a member of the Garda Síochána on production of his identification card, if demanded, where he is not in uniform without warrant to stop, search, question and arrest any person if he suspects with reasonable cause that the person has committed, is commiting or is about to commit an offence under the Offences Against the State Act, 1939, or an offence which is for the time being a scheduled offence for the purposes of Part V of that Act or if he suspects with reasonable cause that the person is carrying any document or other article or thing or is in possession of information, relating to the commission or intended commission of the offence.

Subsection (2) of the section empowers a garda to stop and search any vehicle or vessel which he suspects with reasonable cause to contain a person whom he is empowered to arrest without warrant pursuant to subsection (1).

The section also provides that a person arrested under the section may be kept in custody in a Garda station, prison or other convenient place for a period of 48 hours from the time of his arrest and may, if a member of the Garda Síochána not below the rank of chief superintendent so directs, be kept in such custody for a further period not exceeding five days. At any time during the period of custody a person may be charged before the District Court or a Special Criminal Court with an offence or be released by direction of a Garda superintendent. If he is not so charged or released, he must be released at the expiration of seven days.

A power to keep suspected persons in custody for a period of up to seven days is regarded by the Garda Síochána as a most important weapon in their fight against the activities of subversives. The crimes that have been perpetrated by those people include murders, attempted murders, bombings, shootings, armed robberies, etc. and, as members of secret and ruthless unlawful groups, they are prepared by intimidation of witnesses and by collusion and other means to obstruct and hamper Garda investigations. The ordinary legal process is inadequate and the Garda need to be able to carry out their investigations free from such obstruction and free from the conspiratorial activities of the suspects. They regard the proposals in the Bill giving them an extended period to keep suspects for serious crimes in custody as very important and say that this would aid them considerably in pursuing their investigations into those crimes.

The power to keep suspects in custody for up to seven days is being sought in this Bill because the Garda feel that it will strengthen their hand in combating subversion. It is the considered view of the Garda that the measure is needed and the Government are proposing that the Oireachtas gives it to them.

I commend the Bill to the House.

While the only matter presently before the House is the Second Stage of the Emergency Powers Bill, 1976, and while I must confine myself——

If it will convenience the Deputy, I can move the Second Stage of the other Bill if he would like to debate both.

No need. We will take the other measure when we come to it. I believe the provisions of this Bill cannot be considered in isolation from the terms of the motion declaring a state of emergency to exist and neither can this Bill and the declaration of a state of emergency be considered in isolation from the provisions of the Criminal Law Bill. Both the Taoiseach and the Minister for Justice have described all three as being part of a package.

When I was speaking yesterday on the motion asking the House to declare a state of emergency I expressed the view—I still hold it—that this was a phoney state of emergency and the real reason for the Government asking for a state of emergency to be declared was hidden in some suspect motivation of the Government. How phoney that motion is and the deviousness of the motivation of the Government in introducing it can be seen when we examine the provisions of the Emergency Powers Bill. We have to bear in mind that the remaining third of the package is not expressed to be legislation required to be passed consequent upon the emergency. If that is so, then the House and the public are entitled to come to the logical conclusion that the sole piece of legislation for which this House and the Seanad have been recalled in emergency session and asked to declare a state of emergency is the Emergency Powers Bill.

The Government do not make the case that the powers sought to be given to the Garda and the Army and the various increases in sentences, plus the creation of new offences, all of which are contained in the Criminal Law Bill, are required by virtue of the state of emergency they have asked the House to declare exists. The House will recall the Taoiseach's speech when he introduced the motion yesterday. He gave a long list of happenings since 1974, instancing that 37 people had been killed in this jurisdiction as a result of bombs, and those killings were connected with the situation in the North. People have been killed by IRA assassins, including a Member of the Oireachtas, Senator Billy Fox, and members of the Garda Síochána. A further 189 people received injuries. People were kidnapped or held hostage. There were 81 armed bank raids and 56 armed post office raids, including mail train robberies. I might mention here that these trains carrying large amounts of money were unprotected at the time of the robberies. This catalogue of serious criminal activity was laid totally by the Taoiseach at the door of the Provisional IRA. I would query that all these armed robberies and thefts were committed by the IRA or persons associated with them.

The Deputy will appreciate the House has decided a state of emergency does exist and we cannot debate what would have been in order in dealing with the declaration of an emergency now. Unless we take the two Bills and discuss them together we must keep to the one Bill before the House.

We are here dealing with a Bill giving additional powers to the Garda authorities and to the Army to deal with the situation the Government say exists. I feel I have a right to talk about that situation, as I see it. Otherwise we have no business what soever here discussing an Emergency Powers Bill.

The Taoiseach laid all the blame for the situation as it exists—which they hope to handle if this Emergency Powers Bill becomes law—at the door of the IRA. But it is fair to say that a number of these robberies, armed or otherwise, committed in the State since 1974 were surely committed by persons who were just plain criminals with no political connotations whatsoever or indeed possibly any connection with illegal organisations. That aside, the Taoiseach laid the blame for this catalogue of events and crimes at the door of the IRA and stated:

The challenge is from a body operating within the State but organised on a 32-county basis and with a substantial armed membership in Northern Ireland. In the Government's view, the situation requires that the Government should be able to take emergency powers to whatever extent may be necessary to crush the armed conspiracy against lives and democratic government which faces the nation.

After those dire words and threats of doom, and claims that the Government would take emergency powers to whatever extent may be necessary to crush the armed conspiracy against the Government and the nation, we find that in the totality of the legislation and the powers proposed be taken by the Government under the provisions of the Bill we are now discussing there is a provision that a member of the Garda Síochána, with the authority of a chief superintendent, may keep a person in custody for a period of seven days instead of the present two days. As was suggested yesterday by speakers on this side of the House, perhaps it is now nine days altogether rather than seven.

I do not know whether the Government think that the entire nation are fools. In how many cases in the Taoiseach's catalogue of crime committed since 1974, ranging from murder to hi-jacking, to robbery, to bombing, and on the basis of which this House and Seanad Éireann have now passed a state of emergency, would the murder, robbery, the hi-jacking, or bombing not have taken place if the Garda had had the extra five days to keep people in custody? I wonder in how many of those cases was the Taoiseach or the Minister for Justice able to suggest that the murder, the bombing, the hi-jacking or wounding would not have occurred had the Garda been able to solve the crimes by bringing their perpetrators to trail, to conviction and to punishment by a properly constituted court if, at the relevant time when the bombing, murder or robbery had taken place the Garda could have kept a suspect, or any other person, for that matter in custody for seven instead of two days.

It seems strange, and I believe it to be stretching the credulity of the nation beyond belief, that a state of national emergency had to be declared by the Oireachtas in special session purely for the purpose of extending from two to seven days the time during which the police can hold a suspect for questioning. If, as the Taoiseach would have us believe, either this horrific catalogue of crimes which has taken place since his Government came in to office would not have occurred or else, had they occurred, would have been solved by the simple expedient of giving the Garda seven instead of two days in which to question and hold persons in custody the first question that arises is why was this power not sought a long time ago?

Yesterday afternoon when the Leader of the Opposition spoke in this House he asked the Taoiseach directly whether he, or some Minister, would give an undertaking to the House that no other legislation was contemplated by the Government should the declaration of emergency be passed. As far as I am aware no such undertaking in this regard has been given from the Government side. Indeed, the Taoiseach's speech at the end of the discussion this afternoon certainly was one that could by no means be described as appropriate for a Taoiseach's speech, particularly on an important constitutional occasion. It consisted mainly of an attack on the Opposition party, raking over the coals of past dissensions, resurrecting old sores and battles long since assigned to oblivion. I believe it was a small and petty party political tirade on behalf of the Taoiseach; certainly unworthy of a Taoiseach on any occasion but particularly unsuitable for a serious occasion such as this.

The proposition put forward by the Taoiseach yesterday was that experience had shown that the 48-hour period during which people could be held in custody was often insufficient for the completion of Garda inquiries. I beg leave to doubt very much that proposition of the Taoiseach. It has happened in the past 12 to 18 months that where a person had been detained for 48 hours in a Garda station for questioning that when he was released the Garda thereupon immediately picked him up a few seconds later and held him for a renewed period of 48 hours. It is a practice that has been criticised by the courts but nonetheless has taken place. I do not accept— nor indeed do the Fianna Fáil Party— that the present 48-hour period is, or has been, insufficient for the Garda to conduct their inquiries or their interrogation of the person they are holding in custody. Nor do I accept or believe that the Garda themselves require an extension of this period from two to seven days. What must be kept continually in mind by Deputies and by the public at large is that the present period of two days which the Garda have has been allied to and used in conjuction with the powers which this party ensured they would have in their fight against unlawful organisations, given to them by section 3 of the Offences against the State (Amendment) Act, 1972. The position is that, since the passing of that Act— passed in the teeth of calumny, half-truths, obstruction and deceit by members of the present Government—it has become possible for a chief superintendent of the Garda Síochána to give evidence in court proceedings stating that he, the chief superintendent, believes an accused person to have been at a material time a member of an unlawful organisation, whereupon such a statement shall be evidence that the accused was then such a member.

In passing might I say that the Taoiseach this evening, in full stride in his vicious attack on members of our party, in his claim that dissensions exist in our party should well cast his mind back to November/December of 1972 when he was completely thrown overboard by members of his own party during the course of the discussion of the amendment of the Offences against the State Act. If the Taoiseach wants to talk about a dissension within any political party, let him look at his own party, his Cabinet and see on how many of them he could depend for loyalty on the particular night that the bombs went off in the city of Dublin that drummed him through the "yes" or "no" lobbies here.

I do not propose to remind the Taoiseach of the problems he had in his party in 1972. I believe that the business before the House is far too serious to introduce into it the type of debate, or continue the type of debate brought into it this afternoon by the Taoiseach.

The Taoiseach has laid it unequivocally on the line that what is intended by the state of emergency being declared and the consequent emergency legislation is to give the security forces further and better ammunition in their fight against unlawful organisations. There is no room for doubt in what the Taoiseach said. It is unlawful organisations, principally the Provisional IRA and their members, who are the targets of this legislation. I cannot see that this legislation adds one whit to the powers necessary to give the Garda to conduct their fight against illegal organisations and their members because apart from the suspects whom the Garda have kept in custody for much longer than 48 hours by the expedient of having several periods of 48 hours in almost direct succession, there have been more cases where after a particular crime or offence had been committed the Garda took a considerable number into custody. Having questioned them for 48 hours they let them go with no charge whatever, not even membership of an illegal organisation, and where evidence to support such could be given on the verbal evidence of a chief superintendent it was never brought against any of those people held in custody.

Yesterday afternoon when speaking in the debate on the declaration of a state of emergency I said that the real weapon given to the Garda against the IRA was that given them by this party when we were in Government in 1972. I also stated when speaking on that motion the reservations I have in relation to the absence from the Long Title of this Bill of the phrase "time of war", that in order to attract the protection of Article 28.3.3º of the Constitution a Bill must be "expressed to be for the purposes of securing the public safety and the preservation of the State in time of war or armed rebellion." That was the way the Emergency Powers Act, 1939, was described in its Long Title and I believe this Bill should include in its Long Title a reference to the phrase "time of war" if it is to attract the constitutional protection envisaged by Article 28.

I believe that the failure of the Government to have the "time of war" mentioned in the Long Title was a political decision of the Government and one that was made deliberately. It was not as a result of an oversight or a decision on the part of the parliamentary draftsman. If that is correct it was a deliberate political decision of the Government to abstain from using that phrase in the Long Title. It copperfastens my belief that this entire exercise of emergency motions and Bills and of criminal law Bills is, as was described by so many speakers yesterday, nothing less than window-dressing.

I believe that the first person detained under this measure if it becomes law will challenge its constitutionality on those grounds. Even now it may be a reasonable test of thebona fides of the Government as to whether they will amend the Long Title. If the Government are serious about the state of emergency and the necessity for the provisions of this Bill the last matter they will wish to have left in any doubt is that the provisions of the Bill attract the constitutional protection I have mentioned.

I have already mentioned the request made by Deputy Lynch in the House yesterday afternoon as to whether any further legislation is contemplated. If this Bill is not merely a piece of window-dressing, the alternative may be that the Government at this moment are contemplating much more far-reaching and drastic legislation once the state of national emergency has been declared. The Oireachtas is entitled to pass any legislation it pleases provided such legislation is expressed to be for the purpose of securing the public safety and the preservation of the State in time of war. Not merely will the Act be immune from judicial scrutiny but also immune from judicial scrutiny will be all administrative acts done or purporting to be done in pursuance of the Act. This means that the powers of questioning proposed in this Bill are much more extensive than appear at first sight becuase if this Bill is passed any questioning can be done over a period of a full seven days. This questioning or interrogation will be carried out as acts purporting to be done in pursuance of the provisions of the Bill.

I am sure that at this late stage the Minister and the Government are well aware that there is a grave fear in the land that the powers proposed to be given to the Garda under this Bill are much too far-reaching. Expressed simply, these fears come down to this: if the Garda have a person in for interrogation for 48 hours as they can do at any moment and if at the end of the 48 hours they are still no wiser than when the suspect came into their custody what means will be employed that will ensure that a person who maintained a silence for two days? will speak at the end of seven days? The Garda are a body of persons accepted by and acceptable to the citizens of the State since the force was established. Nevertheless, this House must be careful that even a body of persons such as the Garda Síochána who enjoy the support and the confidence of the community are not given excessive powers.

We have only to look at this Government collectively, and at individual members in particular, to see the change that the accession to power can make in certain persons no matter how normal they may appear at first. If the newspaper reports of a week ago are correct, the European Commission on Human Rights have found the British security forces guilty of breaches of article 3 of the Convention on Human Rights in relation to the questioning of suspects. I do not for one moment equate what I have read to have happened in Northern Ireland with anything that is likely to happen in this jurisdiction if these powers are given to the Garda Síochána. Nevertheless the risk is there when it is proposed to give powers such as this Bill proposes to give to them.

I fully appreciate that any statement or suggestion I make about the mere possibility of the ill-treatment of any person while in the custody of the Garda Síochána for seven days for the purposes of interrogation will be misinterpreted by the Government, the Government parties and the publicity machine at their disposal under the personal supervision of the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs. Nevertheless, I believe it would be equally irresponsible for me, as the Fianna Fáil spokesman on Justice not to refer on this Stage of the Bill to the fact that in the past year or two there have been numerous allegations made that persons have been ill-treated while in Garda custody for interrogation. Those allegations have been made. I am not in any position to say if they are correct. I suppose an immediate answer is that if those allegations were correct civil actions would have been brought by various people against the Garda. Perhaps the Minister will say if any such actions have been taken and if so at what stage they are.

I anticipate the Minister will say that if a statement from a suspected person is wrongly and illegally taken it will not be admitted in evidence at the trial of that person. These are reservations about the allegations made about some members of the Garda which I do not repeat in the House. I merely draw attention to the fact that the allegations have been made. It is important for the House to bear this in mind when considering the powers proposed to be given to the Garda in this Bill and when the House comes to deal with the amendments I intend to propose to the Bill and our reason for putting those amendments to the House. It seems equally important to me, from the point of view of the administration of justice and from the point of view of the continuing good name of the Garda Síochána, that an opportunity is not given either to the Garda to do anything excessive or that an opportunity is not given to anyone who has been in custody, under the terms of this Bill, to make such allegations.

We intend at the appropriate time to place amendments before the House which will ensure that a person, under the provisions of this Bill, will have the right of access to his legal and medical advisers. We will also propose amendments to the effect that the next-of-kin and the legal and medical advisers of such a person in custody have the right to know the whereabouts of such person and where he is being held in custody.

I am entitled at this stage to express some apprehension about the use of the phrase "other convenient place" in section 2 (3) of the Bill. This provides that a suspect person may be kept in custody for a period of seven days in a Garda station, a prison or other convenient place. I do not know the purpose for leaving it nuclear where the person in custody should be kept.

I can appreciate the circumstances in which the Garda may wish to bring a person in for questioning and may not wish to use the local Garda station but I do not see any difficulty in removing such a person to another Garda station some distance away or to a prison or place where a person might be expected to be kept in custody. I am not happy with the phrase "other convenient place". I hope the Minister will explain to the House what he has in mind in regard to this particular phrase.

On Committee Stage we will propose, if compelled to do so, that if the period of detention is to be increased from 48 hours to seven days the Minister for Justice must make that decision. If the House is being asked to give those powers to the Garda Síochána it seems entirely proper to me, especially as any acts done in compliance with the Bill, if it is passed, will be immune from review by the courts. It seems proper then that the Minister must take the responsibility of deciding when that extended period of detention is to take place. The provisions of the Bill, if it is passed, may not be reviewed in any court. At least, the Minister for Justice is answerable in the House but a member of the Garda Síochána is not.

We are also concerned that the time limit for the operation of this Bill should be limited to 12 months unless Dáil Éireann by resolution provides for its extension for a further 12 months. I do not believe that the powers sought to be given to the Garda in this Bill have the slightest thing whatsoever to do with the solving of any crime or, indeed, the prevention of any crime any more than I believe the Taoiseach or the Government when they say that it is necessary to declare a state of emergency. Nothing that has been said so far on the Government side in relation to this Bill or during the debate yesterday and today on the declaration of a state of emergency leaves me with any choice but to believe other than that the whole performance is just an exercise in window dressing motivated by an unworthy Government for suspect political motives. I believe this House and the Seanad are being mislead and that there is in readiness, now that the state of emergency has been declared, far more drastic legislation which the Government are not prepared to disclose to the elected representatives.

It is immaterial what the motive is. The Government are prepared in every other regard to sacrifice any principle they ever held and sacrifice the well-being of the country at any stage for the sake of cheap political advantage. We will try to put into this Bill at the appropriate time appropriate safeguards. Unless the Minister is prepared to accept those—nothing he has said so far encourages us to believe that he will—this party will vote against the Bill.

I listened very carefully yesterday and today to the contributions by members of the Government parties on the motion before the House. It was obvious that a number of those who spoke did not understand what is at stake. That depressed me. A picture was painted that if the declaration of emergency was passed, if this Emergency Powers Bill, 1976, was passed those who assassinated the British Ambassador and Miss Cooke would be caught, brought before the courts and dealt with. We were told that the Green Street courthouse inciden would never have happened if the Government had those powers. There is on the Statute Book sufficient legislation to deal with those assassins, find them, get them wherever they are, bring them before the court and let the court decide what their fate is. A declaration of emergency is not needed for that. A declaration of emergency is not needed to find out who planted the bombs in Green Street courthouse. An emergency powers Bill is not necessary in order to bring these people before the courts so that there might be meted out to them the justice they deserve. Is this motion not mere window dressing? The main reason for our being back here this week in this recalled Dáil to discuss the Emergency Powers Bill is the over-reaction on the part of the Government at their failure to maintain law and order. Will this Bill, if it is passed do anything to bring before the courts those people who flew helicopters into our prison yards or who drove armoured trucks through the gates of our prisons?

Or those responsible for the explosion at the courthouse.

With one exception all of these people have been apprehended and are in custody and the one remaining will be caught, too.

If what the Minister says is correct, these people were brought to justice without there being in existence an emergency powers Bill. They were convicted on foot of existing legislation which was introduced by Fianna Fáil.

But opposed by the Minister who was then in Opposition.

It is not my intention to recall for the Minister what he said in November-December, 1972.

The Deputy may recall it if he wishes.

I shall not rub the Minister's nose in his own political vomit.

I am prepared to tell the Deputy why I said those things then.

At that time Deputy Cooney was purely politically motivated and did not have at heart the interest of his country.

Or of his leader.

In an interview broadcast during the past 48 hours or so we were told by the Minister that the situation which existed then was different from the present situation. The situation then was that our courts had failed to operate. They were not able to operate as they should. But what have we got now? We have a Bill, part of a package, supposedly to deal with an emergency situation. In effect, its only provision is to give the Garda the power to hold a person in custody without charge for a period of five days longer than he can be held at present. This is the emergency legislation which the House was recalled to debate. The Criminal Law Bill is not emergency legislation. The Taoiseach has told us so. Rather, it is legislation that could have been brought before the House last June or which could have come before us when we meet again in October.

There has spread through this gathering here during the past couple of days a firm belief that the whole business before us is nothing but a sham. It is a total reaction. Yesterday the Taoiseach listed the failures of the Government in maintaining law and order and security since 1974. This was an admission by him that this was the record of the Coalition— a Government which from the beginning have tried to pride themselves on being the only people interested in maintaining law and order. This evening when the Taoiseach was on his mongrel fox run he tried to say that the motives of Fianna Fáil were suspect. No one can ever say that in relation to the question of law and order my motives have ever been suspect. Nobody can point a finger at me as it can be pointed at other people when it comes to questioning their motives whether in 1976 or in relation to the debate on the amendment to the Offences Against the State Act, 1972, when the Labour Party were bombed through the lobbies while the Fine Gael Party skulked against it because they were not prepared to swallow their own political vomit.

The Emergency Powers Bill which is consequent on the declaration of a state of emergency has created abroad more than at home the impression that a state of emergency exists. The Government have been responsible for creating abroad the impression that an armed rebellion is taking place in the Republic, that there exists armed conflict and a state of war. We are told that when this legislation is passed we are to derogate from the Council of Europe. When that happens it will be published throughout Europe, if this has not happened already, that we are in the midst of an armed rebellion.

Let us consider the cost of this political playacting on the part of the Government. One of the effects of this Bill, allied to the derogation from the Council of Europe which must follow, will be that nobody from outside the country will be willing to invest a penny in our country. We are advertising to the world that there exists here a state of war. The two principal reasons offered by the Taoiseach for this declaration of a state of emergency were first the blowing up of the Green Street courthouse, an incident in which somebody, man or woman, was able to walk through police surveillance with a knapsack which apparently contained explosives. In the absence of any statement from the Minister we do not know who that person may have been. The second reason was the tragic assassinations of the British Ambassador and Miss Cooke. We can only form opinions from the information we glean from the media as to what is the real situation. There has been no statement from the Government regarding the details of the security in operation for the protection of these unfortunate people. Readers are influenced by what they read in their newspapers. In this context it was suggested in one of our papers that for a day or two prior to the assassinations workmen were seen in the area concerned masquerading as ESB officials. Were they approached by the gardaí on this vital stretch of road, possibly the only part of the road that could be travelled by the persons who were assassinated and whose assassination, as the Taoiseach says, has given birth to this Emergency Powers Bill and this declaration of a state of emergency which has just been passed? Yet, on this most sensitive boreen people were allowed there unquestioned. Deputies should ask themselves, whatever side of the House they are on, is this good security on possibly the only part of the road that this unfortunate man and his staff had to travel?

Perhaps we could get down to the nub of the matter: if we had our patrol cars instead of having them parked at the side of the street because we will not put petrol into them or pay the drivers to drive them and enable the gardaí to do their job; if we had more men on the beat, the old policemen we were so used to seeing in our childhood, cycling around country areas, they could see that that was a couple of hundred yards of dangerous road and use their God-given sense to help prevent such a terrible tragedy as occurred.

Those are the two reasons given by the Taoiseach for the introduction of the Emergency Powers Bill. I believe this is nothing but window dressing Whether the Garda are given seven or 37 days, it is the detection of the people who committed this heinous crime that counts, not the number of days they can be kept for questioning. The reasons for this Emergency Powers Bill and for the declaration of a national emergency are pure sham. They will do little or no harm to us in this country because the people at large recognise them for what they are. However, I am afraid I cannot assess the cost of the damage that this political madness on the part of the Government will do our country abroad.

I want to speak in a number of capacities on this legislation. First, I want to speak on behalf of my own party, a party within which a number of members are genuinely concerned about certain aspects of this Bill which I propose to raise. Secondly, I am conscious that as a member of the Council of State I am precluded, in view of the passing of the previous motion, which I supported, from expressing an opinion to any effect on the constitutionality of the Bill, since that now will not arise by virtue of the previous vote. Thirdly, as an Irish delegate at the Council of Europe, I am concerned in view of the future derogation which the Government will seek under the European Convention. As a Deputy who has spoken, both in Opposition and in Government, on all legislation of this nature that has come before the House since I came into it in 1969, I want to express my concern to the Minister and put forward some points of view to him which I would hope on this and subsequent Stages he would give the most careful consideration.

In view of the passing of the previous motion, it is uniquely important that we subject this Bill to the most careful parliamentary scrutiny, because, as was correctly pointed out by Deputy Collins on his rhetorical conclusion, this Bill now has constitutional immunity. It is important, therefore, that we have a detailed and objective analysis of the precise intent behind the Bill and that the Minister would, within the constraints of security, deal with the issues raised in considerable depth.

It is interesting to note that we now have a clear indication as to who is seeking from the Government the extension of these powers. In his introductory statement the Taoiseach said:

The security authorities consider that the extended period available for questioning suspects, as information becomes available in the course of inquiries, would unquestionably help to bring to justice the perpetrators of a significantly greater number of offences before they can carry out further outrages.

The Minister elaborated on that and it is important that the House should take note of the fact that at no less than four different points of his speech it is indicated that the powers are being sought by the Garda Síochána. I quote:

The power to keep suspected persons in custody for a period up to seven days is regarded by the Garda Síochána as a most important weapon.

On the second occasion the Minister said they, meaning the Garda Síochána, regarded the provisions giving them an extended period to keep suspects in serious crimes in custody as very important. Further on he said—and again one assumes "they" means the Garda Síochána—that this would aid them considerably in pursuing their investigations into those crimes. The third occassion when the Minister referred to the reasoning behind the Bill was when he said:

... because the Garda feel it will strengthen their hand in combating subversion.

He concluded by saying:

It is the considered view of the Garda that the measure is needed and the Government are proposing that the Oireachtas gives it to them.

It is important that the Bill, in that setting, should be subject to clear examination. Therefore, I would ask the Minister, perhaps within the extreme limitations of security that face him and which face the Cabinet and to which no Member of this House other than Cabinet members and other than, one assumes, the Cabinet security committee, are privy, to elaborate to the House, in so far as he can disclose this information in regard to the area within which the Garda Síochána feel, or the Garda Commissioner or commissioners feel, or the chief superintendents may feel that the extension from 48 hours to seven days is necessary.

It would be of signal importance that the Minister should elaborate. One can envisage, for example, a certain amount of frustration which might arise in relation to, for the sake of argument, an arrest in Donegal or an apprehension in Donegal where a car may be stopped and the Garda Síochána, entirely legitimately, may feel that the individuals in that car were on what they would regard, if they have such a thing, as the Donegal "wanted" list. They may feel that they would wish to question such persons further about the car and about their movements and so on. It may well arise that in the exigencies of the Donegal situation and on consultation with the superintendent for the area they may decide to bring such persons to Dublin. This would take time. They may decide to bring the individuals to safer custody so that investigations could be pursued. It is quite conceivable that this can happen at a weekend, and by the time the individuals would be in custody, with the inevitable arrangement of escorts and so on, possibly Army or Special Branch escorts—they would be in normal custody—a substantial period would have elapsed, anything from two to 12 hours. Then, further investigations would have taken place in relation to the individuals concerned, when identity might have to be established whereby files would have to be checked and whereby the car that they were in would have to be examined, and it is conceivable that the 48-hour period could rapidly run out.

I am not a member of the Garda Síochána. I am a legislator trying to divine what exactly is the situation. I think it is conceivable that, particularly in Border operations, 48 hours in terms of custody may well be inadequate. If this is so, the Minister, without in any way disclosing security connotations, should elaborate to us in his reply that this can be so. This is the kind of setting and the kind of information which I wish to have in terms of my judgment on the efficacy of a Bill of this nature.

There were other major points in the debate—Deputy Collins alluded to them—and I want to deal with them. Odious and repressive, indeed, as this Bill is—I regard it as repressive legislation, but repression with a purpose——

We are seeing the chips in the Deputy's party now surfacing—a man of two ideas and many mantles.

I do not think anybody could ever regard emergency power legislation in any country, in any democracy, as being other than repressive, designed to repress men of violence and of evil intent. It is repressive, and the problem and the dilemma facing the Minister, the Cabinet and this Government is to what extent should we enact repressive legislation without going over the brink and destroying and injuring democratic structures in the process. That is our dilemma and we have no option but to face up to that dilemma. In so doing, our hands are rather cleaner because, if I may say on a rhetorical basis, there are no godfathers on our front bench, political godfathers at least.

I would put to the Minister a number of points. I welcome, first of all. the concept of 12 months lapsing of the Bill—the Minister has stated that the provision would lapse after 12 months from the date of enactment unless continued in force by Government order. This is a welcome provision because we should be forced as legislators to go through the rather disappearing Irish practice of an annual examination of conscience. It is a provision which in relation to other legislation could certainly have been there over the years. I am no lover of repressive legislation and, therefore, I am glad to note that we will have an opportunity in 12 months to annual this Act or, indeed, to allow the expiry of the Act in the event of the Emergency Powers Act, 1976, disappearing and the national emergency, so called, ceasing to exist. That at least is a measure within the Bill which can be commended without much reservation.

Another section of the Bill to which I should like to draw the Minister's attention—it has been commented on by many legal luminaries both liberal and otherwise—is the section whereby a person can be kept in custody for a period in an area designated as "other convenient place". Frankly, I think the Minister will find many Deputies on all sides of the House in a profound state of unhappiness, to say the least, in relation to what is meant by that phrase. It may be that this is a conventional piece of parliamentary draftsmanship but, frankly, I do not want to be kept in any place, if I am arrested, other than a Garda station or in a prison. These two places of custody are embarrassing enough, particularly as I would regard myself as an innocent person, without being kept in "other convenient place" for a period of 48 hours. I think very seriously, and I very strongly suggest to the Minister, that unless he has some elaboration of major parliamentary precision and definition to offer in relation to that phrase he would be wise to withdraw it. I have no desire to be entertained by the wife of any garda officer in her home while her husband goes down the road to make a phone call and I am handcuffed to the back of a chair or the side of the bed while he decides to contact the local chief superintendent, much as I may enjoy having a chat with the garda's wife in his home. It may be a convenient place for the garda in question but it would certainly not be a convenient place for the average citizen. Indeed, members of the Garda Síochána themselves would worry and would ask the Minister at all levels for his precise parliamentary definition of such a phrase.

Therefore, the Minister on Committee Stage should delete that reference unless it has a precision of connotation that would be acceptable to the House. I think we would be better off without it. I would very earnestly ask the Minister to give serious consideration to that aspect.

The other point I would make to the Minister is in relation to the power now being devolved on the rank of chief superintendent to direct that an individual be kept in custody for a further period not exceeding five days. We in Ireland at political level and at security level—and indeed one might even say that of our paramilitary organisations themselves —suffer from peculiar bureaucratic structures. Irish life is uniquely lazy and bureaucratic at all levels even at the level of the terrorists. I do not want a repeated situation to arise whereby a garda merely after 48 hours has to make reports to the chief superintendent or inspector of an area saying that arising out of the unique circumstances of the 48-hour detention, it was now desirable to keep persons for another five days. The Minister should have a very serious rethink on the structure of the section.

As I said earlier, I can visualise situations whereby terrorist godfathers of this country can be in for 48 hours but by the time they are put into normal custody, 24 hours have elapsed and all they have to do is sit tight for another 24 hours, out they go, make a few polite phone calls and, hey presto, the terrorist organisation swings into action again. I have no doubt, even in the context of published newspaper reports, that that kind of situation can develop and has developed in the past. I am sure the Garda are acutely aware of that situation, and that it is a matter of acute frustration in the apprehension of the terrorist of the paramilitary organisations.

With due respect to the Opposition, their faces would be quite red if certain individuals from across the Border were now apprehended in Dublin. We would probably have Deputy Collins and Deputy Lynch coming into this House berating the Minister for Justice and the National Coalition Government because, after 48 hours, the said gentlemen had to be released and they were back across the Border. The ice cuts both ways. I have not known any Irish political terrorist to have much respect for whichever side of the Border he happens to be on. With three score people dead and over 100 people mutilated in the Republic in the past two years, we have seen scant respect for the Border. Therefore, I can see where a case could be made for an extension of the 48 hours.

I am thinking of myself as a citizen and regard myself as being innocent. I do not want the situation to arise where I, as an innocent person, could be picked up on a Saturday morning because somebody had dropped half a ton of explosive fertiliser into the back of my car. I would find it very embarrassing to have to try to explain to the local Garda sergeant how it came to be there. I do not want the said sergeant to decide that—I do not want to be facetious—because the all-Ireland final was on the next day, and a certain gentleman had been caught, that the Special Branch had to make inquiries and, in the normal manner of all bureaucracy, they apply for a five day extension from a chief superintendent. I am not for a moment suggesting that the Garda are so lax in their duty that such a situation would normally arise, but human nature being what it is, security forces are no more exempt from the peculiarities of human nature, and even the oddest things can happen.

Therefore, with no disrespect to the security forces who have taken an unfair amount of stick in the context of even this debate, I suggest that the Minister examine the method by which persons would be kept in further custody. I heard the six o'clock news this evening and gathered that some eminent churchmen were suggesting that the Minister should be responsible for continuing such persons in custody. For a moment I thought they were going to devolve the powers to themselves as they are so preoccupied about the morality of the Catholic community in Ireland. Indeed, one might wonder why their house is not in order in that regard when there are certain well-known clerics making well-known comments about civil rights, and so on, in a very rigid interpretation of Irish morality.

The Minister should examine the section. He has two options open to him. He has the option of being the detainer or of devolving it on an authority higher than a chief superintendent. In Britain such responsibility would lie with the Home Secretary or Northern Ireland Secretary but in the context of Irish politics I would be extremely reluctant to see it devolve on the Minister for Justice.

Does the Deputy not trust the Minister?

I do not trust what might happen if Fianna Fáil came into office.

The Deputy expects us to get in next time.

With respect to Fianna Fáil, I could imagine in certain circumstances where a Fianna Fáil Minister for Justice might have the most extraordinary pressures brought on him from certain Dáil constituency comhairlí ceantair because "after all, his father was a good cumann member and you better not sign that order or we will lose the seat at the next general election."

Cumainn of the Dublin Regional Council are interesting too.

We won the vote tonight by 70 to 64 votes. EvenThe Irish Independent were wrong by three.

(Interruptions.)

Did all the Labour Members vote?

They will probably think tomorrow that the Deputy will vote against them because of what he is saying tonight.

I have never been afraid to put my views before my Government. This is the practice of open government. I have never been afraid to speak on any legislation, to be the most stringent critic of my party because the longer Fianna Fáil are in Opposition the worse they are getting. Somebody has to be the opposition.

The Deputy's heart is going one way but his feet are bringing him the other.

Let us get back to the Bill, without interruption.

I have taken it upon myself with my usual——

Is Deputy B. Desmond speaking for Deputy O'Connell?

I have taken it upon myself to act as the Opposition. I suggest that the Minister consider the possible situation. Not being a legal expert, I suggest that the responsibility of being notified by the chief superintendent of an area of his intention to keep an individual in custody for a further five days be devolved on, say, the district justice for the area. Notifications would be in public. Therefore, one would know by means of public scrutiny in the Press—the media would have such information— that after 48 hours had elapsed the chief superintendent will have at least notified the district justice of his intention that Mr. X or Miss Y is being kept in custody for a further period. This would set at rest a good deal of the concern which now exists, quite legitimately. I am not concerned with pseudo-liberal concern, but with true social democratic concern. I am concerned at the prospect of an innocent person being kept in custody for seven days.

The Minister should seriously consider this aspect. In my view he would not be diluting or injuring the import and intent behind the legislation on this occasion. He said outside this House—and I am not quite certain to which Bill he was referring—that he would be open to reasonable amendments. He could regard an amendment of that nature as being reasonable and if it is impossible he should give reasons therefor. We already had a situation in 1972 where I had the gravest reservations which I expressed at the time about the link in the law between a political issue of subversion and the chief superintendent. In fairness to Deputy O'Malley, the then Minister for Justice, he was a more objective, more honest and more competent Minister than many of us were prepared to concede.

Than the present Minister the Deputy means.

He has been followed by an equally competent, equally objective and an equally honest Minister. At the time I was very perturbed, and I still am perturbed, that there should be devolved on the rank of any chief superintendent the power to say: "I believe you are a member of the IRA". In that regard it should be pointed out that about 99 per cent of those who have appeared before the Special Criminal Court so charged by a chief superintendent did not deny membership of the IRA. This Bill is not concerned about the IRA, and it does not refer to the UVF or any other paramilitary groupings in this country. It refers to any individual and that is where concern on a civil liberties basis must rest. I would suggest that the Minister should consider a mechanism of that nature whereby our concern would be met and thereby one would have the situation rectified in the Bill.

One final aspect of the Bill has been getting a great deal of public comment of late and has generated a good deal of public concern. I am always aware that those who are expert at propaganda and who are engaged up to their eyeballs in political violence have a unique capacity to scream torture, brutality, beatings up, savage kicks in the groin and so on, as soon as some members of the Garda Síochána put a finger on them to even ask them their name. There is also a lot of genuine concern that allegations are made that individuals are taken into custody and the Minister should elaborate on this if only in defence of the security forces, or if only to meet those allegations because propaganda has to be met by the truth. I am worried lest a situation should arise where I would be taken into custody and held in the Bridewell incommunicado for 48 hours, subsequently transferred to a convenient place and kept incommunicado for another five days, without my wife or my children knowing where I was, without any opportunity to contact my solicitor or if I was a very disturbed Catholic, without an opportunity to contact my confessor, or without any opportunity to ring for the local doctor. That is a matter for concern. I am an non-expert in this area, a purely lay parliamentarian and I must plead a certain amount of culpable innocence, because I have never been able to find out the precise statutory rights of a person so held. It is in the public interest that the Minister should precisely say what they are because even if one arrests a person whom the Garda or the Army have the gravest of legitimate and detailed evidence to prepare a book of evidence against, that person is innocent until he appears before the Courts and, therefore, his legal rights and his citizenship rights, his family rights and so on must be preserved during that period. I want to know what those delineations are.

It can, of course, arise that one can have a visit from a priest who has far more advice to give than mere spiritual solace. One can have some peculiar confessions in Irish political life and that is not unknown to happen. I can understand the security authority's concern to make sure that such Irish ingenuity in terms of escape or subversive advice should be contained. It is not unknown that certain members of the legal profession are not immune from the most unique interpretations of what constitutes a democracy, and it is not unknown that they make no secret of their contempt for the institutions of the State from which they profit on some occasions, in either legal aid or in the context of representing their clients. Such persons may have to be very closely constrained in the national interests, so that they do not, in fact, bring in a briefcase and come out with their client. But one must be careful that within those limitations the rights of the individual in custody are fully protected. I can appreciate the security problems which inevitably arise in that situation. To that extent the Minister and his Department have my full understanding. In the critical situation which we are in I suppose anybody who is responsible for security could become very concerned and that concern could at times border on obsession. Some unfortunate garda might be held responsible for some machination on the part of a terrorist individual. Members of this House and the media are only too ready to say that "it was a security lapse", as in the assassination of the British Ambassador. I get a pain in my neck when I hear some of the Fianna Fáil Deputies and some of the media interpreters say with such certitude that he was assassinated because of a security lapse. They do not really know. In time we will know whether that was so. Of course, the gardaí who should, perhaps have been careering around Murphystown Road at 90 miles an hour picking up every bird that flew across their windscreens have to carry the can because of such a positive objective definite decision by an Opposition or a media commentator that "it was a security lapse".

The Deputy is straying from the subject of this Bill. That is quite irrelevant.

The Deputy has not spoken about the Bill yet.

That is a matter for the Chair. Deputy Fitzgerald should restrain himself.

I would suggest in relation to this Bill that the Minister should ensure either by having a specific section written into the Bill or by clearly indicating to the House that there is in existence a clear charge developing on the Garda Síochána at all levels that the rights of the accused or arrested person prior to any charge, should be so protected. This is important.

If the Ceann Comhairle will allow me a final indulgence I think it is in the national interest, in the interest of the Garda Representative Body, in the interest of political parties, in the interest of the Department of Justice and of the Minister himself that there should be a clearly independent public means of assessing the validity or otherwise of charges made by individuals against the Garda Síochána. One gets a pain in the neck listening to vague innuendos in which there may be a grain of truth, a half truth or some truth while not having a clearly independent means of assessment. I think this would be welcomed by the Garda as they also must get a pain in the neck from these complaints. In the seven years I have been in this House, from 1969 to 1976, I have had four or five complaints of this nature and so far as any machinery existed even to test their validity there appeared to be none. Only in one case out of five did I have any reasonable ground for believing that a person had been arrested and had not got his full rights. That is my experience in that context and I have always preserved my personal readiness to meet any constituent or indeed any citizen. Of the five complaints only one had any validity. An apology was subsequently offered and accepted. The others did not hold water.

But if emergency powers are being devolved on the Garda Síochána it is in their interests to have the sort of independent body I have suggested. Further—and if this is utter anathema to the Minister I shall not press him unduly on it—if I were the Minister I would at some time in the future envisage the Garda Síochána having their own trade union.

The Deputy is positively straying from the Bill. He must return to it.

In conclusion, I ask the Minister to consider the points I have made and to reply to them when concluding on the Second Stage. On Committee Stage I should like the opportunity of a fuller exchange on these points with the Minister. Therefore I now commend them for his consideration.

On his own admission at the beginning of his speech Deputy Desmond is a man of many mantles. Certainly, as his contribution emerged it showed that he was a man of two ideas not knowing whether he was with the Government on this Bill or against them. We shall return to his attitude and that of many members of his party later. I believe that the calm, peaceful, responsible approach by Members to this legislation is commendable. From my recollection as almost a new Deputy it differs very much from the atmosphere provoked on the previous occasion by the Opposition at that time, the present Government. That Opposition was lead most vociferously and arrogantly by the Minister now sitting opposite me. Not only was it not peaceful, with members of that Opposition almost spitting across the floor at the Minister, but there was also communication and contact with the many demonstrators and the various protests and the screaming thousands assembled in Molesworth Street. This further indicates the hypocrisy of the Government which introduced this Bill. It is impossible to speak of the Bill without referring to the motion that has been passed by both Houses of the Oireachtas. This is the first Bill under these emergency powers.

The Chair is anxious to avoid duplication of debate. The motion to which the Deputy refers has been passed by this House.

With due respect to the Chair, and referring to the facilities given to our spokesman by the Leas-Cheann Comhairle earlier, that point was made and was ably replied to by Deputy Collins when he pointed out so clearly that it was absolutely impossible to divorce the Bill we are now discussing from the motion. Also, in the interests of fair play the Deputy who preceded me spoke for almost one hour and devoted about five minutes to the Bill. He travelled down every avenue, avenues not even related to the motion we discussed earlier.

The Deputy will relate his remarks to the subject-matter of the Bill.

Having said that I shall continue to speak on the Bill and demand and expect from the Chair the right to refer, where it is relevant, to the motion that was passed. The first piece of legislation under the state of emergency now created is this Emergency Powers Bill containing one section which is the root cause of our objection as a party to it. Deputy Collins outlined in great detail the genuine fears we have about the introduction of section 2. I have referred to the hypocrisy of the Government which is contained in depth in volume 264 of the Official Report. It was suggested last night that it would be a best seller if it were freely available to the public. This measure is the second part of a window-dressing operation by the Government. I have said that all the speeches have been calm and normal but there was one exception, the disgraceful diatribe by the Taoiseach in closing the debate a few hours ago. I never thought the Taoiseach could stoop so low as to attack the party here whose approach is so responsible on this occasion, as indeed it always has been. The content of that speech and the manner in which it was delivered was absolute proof of the window dressing operation and the propaganda——

The Deputy is harping back to the previous debate rather than applying his mind to the Bill before the House. I would ask him to come to grips now with the Bill before the House.

So far there have been two speakers before me and neither was prevented from referring to the motion and the terms of it.

The Chair cannot be expected to condone duplication of debate. It is something that will not be tolerated.

I do not want to allege that you are treating me unfairly because I would not expect that from you.

The Deputy may not argue any further with the Chair. I insist that the Deputy's remarks and the remarks of all speakers apply to the measure before the House.

You are not going to stifle debate on this important measure.

Deputy Fitzgerald on the Bill before the House now.

Knowing now the attitude of the Government and the type of legislation they introduce, we fully realise that it would be the desire of the Government and their lackeys to stifle the effort of the democratically elected Opposition, an Opposition representing half the people—if we had a general election tomorrow the present Opposition would be representing 70 per cent of the people—to protect the rights of citizens. This Bill proposes to extend the period during which a person can be held in custody for 48 hours to 48 hours plus five days plus 48 hours, as Deputy O'Malley pointed out last night, by using section 30 of the Offences Against the State Act, 1939, with the Bill before us.

The Minister made no positive effort to explain why such internment is necessary, because internment this is. Deputy Desmond spoke in divers tongues. Like Lanna Macree's dog, he went a bit of the road with everybody. He referred to the fact that four times in the Minister's brief he gave the reasons why this measure was necessary. In a surprisingly brief and inadequate introduction to such a measure he said four times this was in response to a demand from the Garda Síochána.

Now I, for one, am not prepared to accept that there was a genuine widespread demand from the Garda Síochána. I am satisfied the existing term has served the situation well. If it should happen that on occasion a few extra hours might be necessary one could well understand the Minister making provision for an application to him for such an extension, a very different matter from a total of nine days' internment with the possibility of renewal at any time.

Let me repeat what has been said regarding our approach to violence and subversive organisations. I endorse what our spokesmen have said. Our stand has been clear, is clear and always will be clear. Our past performance has proved that. Our present performance sustains that of our past. It is not like the hypocritical approach of the people opposite. We could quote at length, to their embarrassment, their contributions to the debate in the winter of 1972 on a Bill which has possibly contributed most to the Minister's efforts against the enemies of the State and the security of the institutions of the State.

I, too, condemn the atrocities that have taken place and the perpetrators of them.

I am sorry to have to interrupt the Deputy again but I am anxious that he would relate his remarks more closely to the Bill before us. There has already been a wide-ranging debate on the matters the Deputy is raising. That debate is over and the Deputy may not avail of this opportunity to debate matters not relevant to the Bill before the House.

I submit the Chair is being most unfair.

The Deputy makes a point of arguing with the Chair. I am asking him now to relate his remarks to the Emergency Powers Bill.

I am speaking, and I demand the right to do so, on the terms of this Emergency Powers Bill, for which the Minister is asking for the alleged purpose of controlling a subversive organisation that many people presently in this House publicly supported in the past. Do not drive me too far now.

I am anxious that the Deputy would relate his remarks to the Bill.

I am doing that. I am doing that continually but I am not getting co-operation from the Chair.

The Deputy will get all the co-operation he requires provided he does not stray from the subject matter of the Bill before the House.

I am saying that the emergency powers being sought in this Bill are related to certain enemies of our State. I said I condemn subversive organisations within our country and I will subscribe to any reasonable measures to control such people. When, however, it comes to unreasonable measures, measures that could affect innocent, law-abiding people, in their daily lives we have a responsibility to protect the rights of our citizens and the freedom of the individual.

If I may, with the permission of the Chair, refer to a similar Act passed by this House in 1972, I would like to quote from the contributions of some few Members who have since been given certain positions by the Taoiseach. Deputy O. J. Flanagan is now Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Local Government. He has been a Member of this House for a number of years. In Volume 264 of the Official Report he had this to say in 1972:

If we have responsibility to legislate here, equally we have responsibility to ensure that there will not be any curtailment of the freedom and liberty of the individual. Let no one on the Government side say that Fine Gael are not anxious to assist in any serious difficulty that may arise. This party have done this and will continue to do it but not to the extent of taking away the liberty and the freedom our people enjoy.

If that was true in 1972 how much more it is today in the measure which Deputy Flanagan's Taoiseach, Cabinet and colleagues are bringing before the House. I could quote many others. Deputy Desmond spoke before me. There is a point I want to make which is very different from the confused one he made on the former one much more in line with our institutions and courts. Dealing with that Bill and its details he said, at column 753, Volume 264 of the Official Report:

...I want to indicate that Deputy O'Malley, in the wake of all of these events seems to be determined to outdo his predecessor in achieving a reputation for the introduction of repressive legislation affecting the civil rights of all citizens.

If that was true of Deputy O'Malley then how much more true is it of the present Minister for Justice? Deputy Desmond's mind is probably confused by the comings and goings of his party all day, by the obvious difficulties he has had as whip of that party in the votes which have just taken place in this House.

He did not whip terribly well, did he?

No, nor indeed did his colleague in the Seanad who failed to bring to vote with him two members of that party nominated by the Taoiseach.

Let us get back to the Bill, please.

I could quote all night from the debate on that former legislation. The Minister for Labour, in one of his usual——

I did not see him at all.

He did show his face for a very short while today.

The lobby trotter.

In that best seller Volume No. 264, at column 773 he said:

The Government have again in this measure considered solely their own political interests. They have judged the time to be right, in terms of their own electoral fortunes, that this issue would be the best issue on which to keep the electorate off the real issues affecting ordinary people up and down the country,

And, listen to this:

the cost of living,

We are talking about 1972, 80 per cent up now; 112,000 idle, plus 80,000 students looking for jobs; 200,000 people unemployed—

jobs and houses. They have, by this measure, made a football, a political plaything of liberty and the fundamental institutions of democracy. They have given joy to these people.

I could continue all evening to show how hypocritical are those people across the floor.

The Minister in a very brief speech —two minutes flat—made no effort to inform our spokesman, gave no confidential information, nor indeed to our Leader or any member of this party with regard to the way he believes the security of the State could be improved by the introduction of a limited period of internment for people.

Let us examine the difficulties we have experienced and the crimes that have been committed. Like Deputy Collins I sympathise with all those people who have suffered through the loss of lives or through injury here. Can the Minister give any indication that this outlandish increase from 48 hours to nine days could have prevented any one of the crimes committed?

I heard Deputy Desmond say that speakers in this House were critical of the Garda Síochána. I want to state emphatically that no speaker from this side of the House was critical of the Garda Síochána. We were critical of the way the morale of that force has been shattered, of the overtime curtailment. The Minister and the Government carry a grave responsibility in this respect. The leading article in theGarda Review has been referred to many times. At a time like this, bearing in mind the problems confronting us we cannot afford to allow the morale of our peacekeeping force to sink, which has been allowed to happen. Yet the same Deputy has the audacity to come in here and tell us we have a national emergency.

Let me bury another myth which is relevant to this Bill. We are told that we have a record number of gardaí. I want to refer to a reply to a parliamentary question given by the Minister for Justice to Deputies John O'Leary and Denis Gallagher on, I think, 1st June, 1976, when those Deputies asked the Minister for Justice the number of persons recruited into the Garda Síochána in the years 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975 and the proposed number for 1976. I shall give the figures: 1972—851, Fianna Fáil still in power; 1973, 538; 1974, 510; and, wait for it, 1975, 366. We do not yet have an estimate for 1976 but may I ask the Minister if it is correct that to date only 20 have passed through the training centre this year, which I understand is at present empty? Then we are introducing emergency powers in this House that give the Minister and the Government authority to intern people for nine days. Is it a question of a Government gone mad, lost within itself, or not being aware of the real situation? We had this evening's disgraceful performance by the Taoiseach—a performance much more suited to the Gaiety, Olympia or some such place other than to Dáil Éireann in such a situation. But then I have heard him so often preface the speeches he has made by saying: "We are the law and order Government; you know where we stand." Never in the history of the State has there been such fear in homes and on the part of law-abiding people throughout the country. It is true of cities such as Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Waterford, Galway and so on but it is true of towns and villages also and is worsening daily. With the advent of winter there is grave concern on the part of everybody with regard to criminal activities. Why? Simply because of the curtailment of Garda activity. There has been no criticism of the Garda force on this side of the House. Everybody here appreciates, recognises and salutes the wonderful contribution they have made to the security of our country. They are entitled to the support of the Government. On the one hand the Government have the audacity to tell us that we have a national emergency and they are prepared to wreck the economy by declaring such an emergency.

The Deputy will appreciate that it is the House that declared there is a national emergency.

Yes, at the request of the Government.

This is part of a package.

It is past legislation so far as the House is concerned. That issue has been decided.

We have been told that we are being given a package. We want to talk about a package.

As far as the Chair is concerned discussion on the motion has been completed.

We are talking about part of a package. The Taoiseach brought us back to this House to talk about it.

The House must deal with the Bill now before it.

I shall try to observe the ruling of the Chair so far as possible but I am sure it will be appreciated that it is almost impossible to divorce the Emergency Powers Bill from the motion that gave the House the entitlement to discuss the Bill.

There can be no further discussion on the motion. That business has been concluded.

Can there be reference to it in relation to this Bill?

Only in so far as this Bill is concerned.

The Government have adopted a two-faced approach on this matter. They are prepared to bring in an Emergency Powers Bill. They are prepared to wreck the economy, to jeopardise our industry and our tourist trade. An Emergency Powers Bill is very frightening to a person who might wish to come here to establish an industry. It must be pointed out that the intake of garda recruits in 1975 was less than half of that for 1972, Fianna Fáil's last year in office.

What is in this Bill that would have prevented the robbery of the mail train from Cork to Dublin? Even the young people in Cork know that the reason for the robbery was because this Government cut the overtime being paid to gardaí. On one night each week a garda travelled on that mail train but that was discontinued and as a result, £250,000 was stolen. For eight years prior to a few months before the robbery a garda escort travelled on that train. The morale of the force is sinking; recruitment has never been at a lower level and yet we are told there is a state of emergency. I agree there is an emergency but it is not the one we are discussing. We are in a serious situation and we will do all we can to co-operate with the Government to control those people. However, the major emergency has to do with the economy and it will be hung forever around the necks of a Government who have wrecked the economy in three years.

The Deputy is moving from the Bill before the House.

We are discussing the first measure but we might well ask what will be the next one. It could be curtailment of the payment of dole.

The Deputy must deal with the Bill before the House.

Surely I am entitled to speculate——

The Deputy is experienced enough on the procedure of this House to know that on Second Stage we deal with the principles in the Bill, what is in the Bill or what relevantly could be put into the Bill.

It is possible this could be the forerunner to a number of Bills. It can also affect the economic life of the people.

Surely the Deputy does not expect that at this stage we can have an economic debate on this Bill. The Chair hopes the Deputy will co-operate.

I do not intend to try to have an economic debate. If I am hurting anyone's feelings or if I am standing on anyone's toes I am sorry. The truth is bitter but it has to be told. The reason we are here has nothing to do with the national emergency. It is to window dress and to cover over the real crisis. Let there be no mistake about that.

The Chair is only concerned with the fact that we keep to the procedures necessary with regard to legislation before the House.

A section that is the cause of concern to us and to all reasonable people is section 2 (3). I do not for a moment believe that the Garda authorities need five or seven extra days in addition to the 48 hours they have already. There are very practical problems presented by the passing of this section. First, there is the one innocent individual who can be kept from his place of employment for seven or nine days and who may then be found to be innocent. This possibility cannot be ruled out. There is also the question of accommodation. It may be in a Garda station, a prison or "other convenient place". What has the Minister in mind when he uses the words "other convenient place"? We have no idea of what further measures may be introduced by the Government with regard to taking any persons or property at any time. This is a very objectionable section.

A Government have the job of safeguarding democracy and guarding the individual's rights. They have very onerous duties placed on their shoulders. It is vital that all assistance be given to ensure that crimes are detected and the perpetrators brought to justice. I submit that the Minister for Justice has a duty to look at existing legislation before bringing in a Bill like this. He also has the duty of ensuring that all existing facilities are used to the maximum. Then and only then should he look at new legislation. New measures and legislation do not solve any problems. It may provide a solution if there is a void but the people concerned must be absolutely clear that such a void exists. I submit that the gap being filled here is not necessary. It is being done perhaps for many reasons of which we can only speculate. I am absolutely sure it is not being done because of the points mentioned by the Taoiseach last night or by the Minister for Justice tonight. The window-dressing operation has been a failure. The veneer has been seen through. The Irish public are discerning. I believe our media have covered the situation fairly and accurately. The Government have won no votes and no friends although they may possibly have set out to try to get some.

The pressures are coming from somewhere for the introduction of this legislation just as I believe there are other objectionable measures coming up within the next week or so to please somebody. None of those measures would have prevented the dastardly crime which all of us abhor which took place in south Dublin some weeks ago. I believe if the existing facilities were used properly that those crimes could have been prevented.

Deputy Desmond said that Fianna Fáil maintained that there was a security slip-up in the case of the British Ambassador. I do not believe any Fianna Fáil spokesman made that statement. I believe what was said was that unfortunately for all our people security numbers on the ground were never so necessary but they are not there. The Olympia performer this evening joked at the suggestion from those benches that we would have agreed to vote money towards the recruitment of extra gardaí. It will be to the disgrace of the Government that they cut the recruitment of gardaí during a time of serious national difficulty but certainly not of emergency, from 850 in Fianna Fáil's last year in office to less than 100 in 1976. The Government should have their priorities right. They should operate with what they have, concentrate on giving them more equipment and making them more efficient. They should stop this propaganda, this waste of money exercise of calling back the Dáil in the middle of the summer recess. I am not objecting to coming back. I would like the opportunity of continuing until October if we could discuss the things which really matter to the people, especially to the mothers and fathers and the people in the Minister's constituency as well as in mine. No good is done by bringing the Dáil back at this time to discuss what I would describe as an innocuous piece of legislation, changing the detention period from 48 hours to seven days and possibly nine.

How will a reduction in the intake of gardaí allow the Government to operate this new detention time? It is not too bad when such people are kept in custody for two days because they then go away. If people are brought in for seven or nine days while they are in custody more people can also be brought in. The manpower will be used up and nobody will be left to protect the people against burglary and crimes of all descriptions which are permitted in our housing estates, our towns and villages. Is it possible that the Exchequer is so short of money that Garda recruitment is deliberately being run down? Another Bill will come before the House giving peace-keeping powers to the armed forces. Are the pressures coming from outside the country? Are the pressures so strong on the Government that they cannot withstand them any longer?

I do not wish to detain the House much longer because there are many others who wish to contribute. Tonight's performance by the Taoiseach was so degrading and reached such depths that I hope nobody from my party will ever imitate it. Poverty was always associated with the Cosgrave Administration. It was not always financial poverty but poverty of ideas, poverty of thought and poverty of effort. This is our greatest problem at the moment. We have poverty of ideas, of expression and of decent effort by the Government. This was shown very forcibly this evening in the contribution of the Taoiseach, which was a disgraceful performance.

The Opposition are prepared to discuss sensibly and responsibly and also support measures which we believe are necessary to control the men of violence. The Minister for Defence was not in the House when I spoke earlier. I believe he intends to speak and that he may charge me with not condemning those men of violence. I condemn all those people and also any people associated with them. We will support many but not all of the other measures. We believe, however, that this Bill is not workable and is not practicable.

Could the pressure be from Britain? Could the pressure be from other places to introduce this legislation to our statute book? If this is so I hope that the reasons for the introduction of this legislation will not be to appease anybody. Any legislation introduced should be advantageous to our people. This Bill can interfere at any time with the rights of the individual, the innocent person who may not only be detained for seven or nine days but during that period could lose his earnings.

Deputy Desmond in a two-faced way saw the dangers in this as clearly as we do but in order to try to carry both sides of his party he tried to express them ambiguously. He tried to tell the Minister that what he was doing was wrong while at the same time assuring him that he realised the necessity for it. This was a very ambiguous approach. Ours is a very clear-cut one. We are opposed to a measure which in our opinion will not be of any assistance but which may well be an instrument of provocation. The Fine Gael mayor of Dublin has appealed to the Minister not to over-react to the situation but the extent of the over-reaction is beyond anyone's wildest dreams. The introduction within this package of the Emergency Powers Bill will have the effect only of frightening people, of frightening foreign industrialists and tourists so that there will be no possibility of their coming here.

I appeal to the Minister even at this late stage to withdraw this measure and, indeed, to use more effectively and more expertly the existing institutions for the purpose of eradicating crime and violence. In the field of law and order this Government have been as big a failure as they have been in the economic sphere.

When a person commits a serious crime he may be acting alone or with the help of accomplices. He may have a place in which to take refuge after the crime although he may leave behind someone dead or injured. Regardless of whether he finds such shelter, he is on his own to some extent or if he is one of a gang, the gang are on their own because so far as the ordinary criminal is concerned we may take it that about 99 per cent of the populace will not be prepared to help him. Therefore, his position is different from that of the terrorist. Notwithstanding the fact that terrorists in this country form only a tiny fraction of the population, there are a number of safe houses to which they can go and there are places on the other side of the Border that are regarded as safe harbours of refuge.

Therefore, when dealing with the terroristvis-à-vis the ordinary criminal the Garda are dealing with a very different situation. It would appear that the murderers of the British Ambassador and the lady civil servant had their plans well laid in advance and, possibly, had a network of safe houses to which they could go. Perhaps they went to the North of Ireland or even to a safe house in the centre of this city but they were in an entirely different situation from that of the ordinary criminal who snatches a payroll, for instance but who, too, may leave someone dead at the scene as was the case in the Leyland snatch. Although the terrorist belongs to an organisation that is very small, it is an organisation that is spread throughout the Thirty-two Counties.

In these circumstances senior policemen, having assessed their needs, asked the Government to give them the right to hold a suspect for investigation of a terrorist crime for a period of seven days. The Government have decided to give that power to the police. During the period between the deaths of the two people at Glencairn and the production of this legislation there were seven meetings of the Government which were taken up entirely with discussion of this package. The proposals before us now are our optimum effort in the fight against terrorists.

In the case of an ordinary crime the Garda might merely have to question five, 10 or 15 people who were known to be accomplices of a suspected person in their efforts to find out where the suspect was at the time of the crime, but in investigating a terrorist crime it may be necessary for the Garda to visit houses and people all over the country. It may transpire that the perpetrators of the crime are not in the jurisdiction.

People on the other side are asking why we are introducing this legislation. They ask whether we are endeavouring to cover up some other sort of emergency. These matters are not relevant. This Government have worked themselves to the bone in endeavouring to bring forward measures that would have the necessary effect of combating terrorism. Anyone who says that the power being given to the Garda to extend to seven days the period of detention without charge is to some extent posing the question as to whether he is slightly tainted by subversion. It is possible that such a person may have a sneaking regard for the fellow with the gun. This would be regrettable when we have regard to the numbers killed and injured both here and in the North as a result of terrorism since 1969.

We have arrived at an emergency situation before now. The helicopter escape from Mountjoy, the escapes from Portlaoise, the killing of Garda Fallon and also of Garda Reynolds, the mail train robbery, the various bank raids, the bombings in Dublin and Monaghan, the placing of incendiary devices in various parts of the country as well as riots in jails can surely be regarded as bringing about a state of emergency. Unless we have stronger measures with which to deal with this situation it may become much greater. The Opposition concentrated on the fact that the Taoiseach had indicated two incidents only which culminated in these measures being brought before the House. These incidents were the murders of the British Ambassador and the civil servant and the bombing at Green Street courthouse. It was clear from his speech that these were the last two incidents in a whole series of grisly events of the past seven years. He drew attention also to the numbers of people killed or injured in those years. We cannot afford to allow this situation to proceed on its way.

The Minister appreciates that the House has already dealt with this matter?

I shall return to the Bill immediately. We cannot allow this to proceed, and if the police force, through its senior officers ask us for this measure, we are not being true to the trust that is reposed in us if we do not give it. It may be said there was no criticism of the Garda from the other side, but it is a criticism of the Garda Síochána to object to the measure they ask for and which is being given by this Government.

I would like to say a few words on this internment Bill of the Cosgrave administration which is before the House. People have often asked what is the difference between Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael. Now they know the difference. We uphold and always will uphold the constitutional rights of the individual and will ensure that the Government at all times get whatever assistance is necessary in bringing to justice the people referred to by different speakers here. Reasonable assistance has never been denied by this party throughout the years. Now we have a Bill of internment, short-term internment but, nevertheless, internment. We have an emergency here now according to what has been said by the lobby trotters of the Government. But what does this emergency mean to you and me? I do not feel any different because there is an emergency. We have the Cosgrave Administration, and it is clear now that there is only one party in Government now, that is, a consolidation of what used to be the Labour Party, a party of gutless and spineless individuals——

The Deputy must not refer to the Members of the House in such terms.

I listened to the Taoiseach here today and he referred to Members of the House in a variety of ways no less objectionable than that in which I have referred to the people here in this House.

The Deputy is——

I have nothing further to say on that. That is what I believe in relation to them.

The Deputy is continuing to impugn them.

I have listened to other Members speaking on this Emergency Powers Bill. I want to congratulate the Garda on their efforts throughout the years, on the capture of the kidnappers of Herrema, on the bringing to justice of those responsible for the lifting by helicopter of the prisoners out of Mountjoy, on capturing theClaudia and the other people who were allowed to go free. The Garda have done their duty. No doubt they are frustrated, because they are impeded in every way and have been crying out for a considerable period for assistance from the Department of Justice.

We know why the Garda cannot do their duty. Garda have been withdrawn because of the pay problem, because a bankrupt Government have refused to meet the legitimate claims of gardaí in areas where there has been a problem in relation to the apprehension of criminals. This internment Bill means nothing to the individual except that there is an obnoxious section 2 which enables the Garda to keep people in custody for seven days. We are told by the Minister for Defence it is to give the Garda an opportunity to interrogate them. We on this side of the House believe such a provision is not necessary or desirable. Any curtailment of freedom or liberty is obnoxious to the Irish people. When the Garda had the opportunity they were able to bring to justice the people connected with the Herrema case. They have always done a great job, but we know the reason why they were withdrawn in recent times. In relation to the helicopter lift from Mountjoy we know the situation about the withdrawal of the gardaí. We know who was on duty there and how many people were withdrawn from duty. Maybe the Minister can give us further information in relation to developments over the years.

It is no reflection on the Garda that they are unable to apprehend the many people who need to be apprehended both in this city and throughout the country for crimes of one type or another. It is sad to read in the papers every day of the number of cars stolen in O'Connell Street, the number of postmistresses robbed and the number of other reprehensible crimes that have taken place because of the lack of gardaí in the areas where they are required. Deputy Gene Fitzgerald has referred to the curtailment of the recruitment of gardaí. If there are not enough, more should be recruited. It is horrifying to think that a man cannot leave his car in O'Connell Street, as he would in the principal city of any other country, without it being tampered with. This is only in recent times. Before this Government came into power three-and-a-half years ago there was no emergency. During their term of office a large-scale security problem has developed. However, jackboot tactics is not the way to solve the problem. As we read through this Bill we see the curtailment of freedom and liberty. It is interesting to note that a prominent trade union official who is a member of the Seanad has stated time and again that this Bill can affect trade unionists, that trade unionists can be pulled in under this Bill, and tonight we have 500 trade unionists objecting to this diabolical legislation in the Square in Navan. Trade unionists throughout the country have been objecting to it and down in Béal na mBláth the Lord Mayor of Dublin made a speech—who wrote it for him I do not know—telling the Government not to over-react to the situation. Why was this stated at this particular place? Why was the Lord Mayor of Dublin, who is not a Member of this House, chosen to convey to the Government a particular point of view? Is it that the younger members of Fine Gael are concerned at the fascist tactics of members of the front bench and other members of the Cosgrave Administration?

The Deputy should deal with the Bill before the House.

I am dealing with the Bill in its broadest possible aspects, and that is the only way it can be dealt with. The Minister for Defence, in the course of his speech, referred to a package, and this is only one aspect of the package. Did the Minister for Defence mean that this Bill plus another Bill not yet before the House and of which we have no notice at the moment are part and parcel of the package? Insistently the Government have been telling us that when this Bill becomes law it may be necessary to back it up with additional legislation.

I would direct the Deputy's attention to the fact that we have only one Bill before us. I would further point out that an offer was made to take both Bills but that offer was rejected.

In the course of his speech the Taoiseach said that no other measures were contemplated at the moment. This indicates to me and to several others that something else will be contemplated in the future. I should like to know what the complete package is because one cannot debate properly a section of legislation which it may become necessary to have backed up with future measures, probably more severe and more repressive than the legislation now before us.

I suggest that what is required is not more law but stricter security arrangements. What is needed is a bigger security force, more gardaí and more soldiers. A garda is a garda for 24 hours and so is a soldier, so if efficient security is to obtain there must be more of both. Therefore, the Ministers for Justice and Defence should get the Minister for Finance to open the purse strings, that is if they are not completely bankrupt. That is the way to tackle this problem and not the introduction of further repressive legislation.

Enormous problems have arisen for the Garda in recent times. There have been frustration and lack of efficiency due to many pressures, not least the matter of pay. Overtime has been reduced and it is therefore logical that there should be more recruitment. The world does not stand still and in a changing world it is necessary to change our methods in order to meet a changing situation.

We listened today to a radio interview with a security officer, outside the country. He said that on the night of the fire bombs he had visited many hotels, shops and other buildings in the centre city area. He was carrying parcels but he was not stopped or questioned anywhere. He was appalled at the lack of security in major city hotels and shops. He is not a member of Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael but a person from outside the State.

We were all appalled at the death of the British Ambassador but let us have a look at the entire situation existing since this Government came to office. We can recall what happened about theClaudia. That vessel was loaded with arms of one sort or another but the people in it were set free despite the fact that our security forces had apprehended them. Were they let free by the Government so that they could do it again? Have they done it again? The members of the Defence Forces were impeded by the Minister for Justice in that case when they tried to do their job. That is only one instance.

There is the case of Portlaoise Prison when a wall was blown out from within. There was laxity of security. Have we got the whole story in relation to that? Did that happen because of a curtailment of the security services? Was it because of lack of finance that we had this inefficiency? We know the overtime issue is a big factor in all this. Portlaoise Prison was blasted from the inside, not the outside. They are the kind of problems that cannot be cured by a Bill of this kind. When we had people in prison we could not keep them there. When those in theClaudia were apprehended they were released and shipped back to Germany.

The Deputy is wandering completely from the Bill before the House.

I am merely pointing out that if senior police officers, as we were told today by the Minister for Justice, looked for additional powers there must have been a reason for it. Why are these extra five days needed? If the Garda could do a job in two days in the past, why now do they need seven days to do the same job? Curtailment of personal freedom, deprivation of constitutional rights, any tampering with the human rights of individuals are obnoxious in a democracy. Any attempt to do these things must be examined in depth.

We now have a state of emergency created by the motion just passed by the Dáil and Seanad. I do not feel any differently now than I felt two hours ago or yesterday. It is no different from last night. What we require is an effective, satisfied security force. No reasonable person interested in justice would support this typical Cosgrave Administration jackboot Bill. Taken together with the other security Bill, we can look at this subject broadly.

We do not want to see any more armchair generals created in the Cabinet or elsewhere, or shirt-sleeved Castros, as another Minister was called when he used an armoured car to parade in another theatre of war. The Minister for Posts and Telegraphs spoke here at length today and he knows who referred to him as a shirt-sleeved Castro.

I listened to Deputy Harte's speech and did not find it very helpful. I would like to refer now to another problem which will not be helped by this Bill, that is, the juggernaut which penetrated the security section of Portlaoise when it was driven in from the outside. This shows a lack of security. It should not have happened but it happened because of the problems in the Garda. We have a new airport in Mountjoy where the helicopter drops in to take out the boys.

That was described as a flying visit.

We are told these people were apprehended by the Garda —a credit to the gardaí when one realises the difficult circumstances under which they operate, lack of personnel. We also had prisoners who escaped through the toilet roof in the Curragh. These matters cannot be solved by additional powers. They should not have happened in the first place. In Green Street these people were able to blow themselves out from the inside. This is another serious situation. Here, too, the Minister is responsible. Was it a lack of security? It must have been. We had a mail train robbery——

The Chair would like to know to what section of the Bill the Deputy is relating these remarks.

I want to point out how nonsensical this Bill is. When we have apprehended these people we now keep them for seven days to chat them up. This should not be necessary; these things should never happen in the first place. Perhaps the Minister can tell us about the bodysnatchers from the British Army who come across the Border as civilians. Will they be interviewed?

The Chair must draw the Deputy's attention to the fact that he must stay with the Bill. The Deputy is well aware that on Second Stage he must stay with the principles of the Bill.

I read recently that these bodysnatchers, in civilian clothes, came across the Border and attempted to take one of our citizens back with them. I want to know if the Garda will be interviewing these bodysnatchers—the British Army or the SAS—when they come across the Border in civilian clothes or will they be set free as the sailors on theClaudia were. The use of forged Press tickets and other means used by the SAS and others can create immense problems for this country. Will these people be taken into custody for five to seven days? The last time the SAS came across the Border we supplied them with a helicopter to take them home.

The Deputy is straying very far from the Bill.

I am pointing out that when we get these people we set them free but if we do not apprehend them we say that if we had these powers they could be apprehended.

The Deputy will appreciate that there was an open-ended debate here this afternoon to which every Deputy could have contributed. We now have a Bill before the House with which the Deputy should deal.

Catch 22.

I am dealing with the Bill. I am showing how nonsensical the Bill is. Can we take it that the next time theClaudia comes the crew will be detained for seven days instead of being let free after a few hours? Will the same apply to the SAS? Is that the idea behind this Bill or will some people be immune from it while others are victims? We have seen today that almost half of one Government party either voted against or did not vote at all in the Upper House.

The Deputy will not be allowed to refer to matters that have already been decided. If he does not desist from that, the Chair will have to ask him to resume his seat.

I want to show that the Emergency Powers Bill now before this House has only limited consent.

There was an open debate on the state of emergency to which the Deputy could have contributed. On this occasion we have a Bill before the House——

The state of emergency is only a joke, a cover up for the long dole queues of the 112,000 unemployed.

This House has decided that matter.

It is only a cover up and you and I know it.

The Deputy should not be reflecting on the decisions of the House.

I know the situation. I know this is a cover up measure. Everybody knows this is a camouflage job that has backfired. It is a no-go situation. The Government know it. The armchair generals know it. The shirt-sleeved Castros know it. I would like to ask the Minister for Justice if there was any warning received before the assassination of the British Ambassador and Miss Cooke?

That is not relevant to the Bill before the House.

According to the Taoiseach and the Minister for Defence because of the death of the British Ambassador and Miss Cooke the Government held several meetings and as a result brought in this package. I am asking the Minister now to tell us if a warning had been received by the Garda, the Department of Justice or the Minister himself prior to the explosion which killed the British Ambassador. That is not an unreasonable request.

I am not going to play games with the Deputy on such a serious and sad subject. It is disgraceful for the Deputy to introduce this note of levity in regard to such an atrocity.

Were the Department or the Minister warned beforehand?

Debate adjourned.
The Dáil adjourned at 10.30 p.m. until 10.30 a.m. on Thursday, 2nd Septeber, 1976.