European Communities (Amendment) Bill, 1986: Committee and Final Stages.

SECTION 1.

Are we on the Single European Act?

We are dealing with the European Communities (Amendment) Bill.

On a point of order, or of information, I understand there has been some difficulty about who voted and how many voted on the Second Stage last night.

That does not arise here.

It is relevant.

We cannot have post mortems on yesterday's business.

I am not asking to have a post mortem. I want to know who voted last night, and where it is recorded.

I refer the Deputy to the Official Report of the House.

It will not be available for a number of days.

The voting list is available in the Journal Office.

That is the corrected version.

I am talking about the list.

Yes, the corrected version.

Amendments Nos. 1 and 3 will be taken together by agreement.

I move amendment No. 1:

In page 2, line 23, after "Articles 33 and 34", to insert the following:

"provided that

(i) nothing in the Single European Act or in the Treaties as amended by the Act shall authorise in the State, laws, measures or Acts of the Communities or of the State which are repugnant to the fundamental rights recognised in Articles 40 to 44 of the Constitution, and

(ii) a Declaration to this effect be notified to the High Contracting Parties of the Single European Act.".

The third amendment to the Constitution, Article 29.4.3, which permits Ireland's accession to the European Community, has the effect of legitimising all Community legislation in this country without restriction by any Article of the Constitution. Fundamental rights play an increasingly important part in Community law. The content of these rights is derived from the treaties, from the constitutional traditions common to the member states and in particular from the European Convention on Human Rights. The fundamental rights in Articles 40 to 44 of the Irish Constitution differ in some important respects from the fundamental rights of other member states. Notable examples are the right to life of the unborn and the rights of the family based on marriage which has been reaffirmed in the recent past by the Irish people, as we all know.

The Single European Act will extend the scope of Community law and will give the Community new powers to achieve a harmonisation of laws in the member states acting on a qualified majority. An analysis of the Act reveals the possibility that this extension of powers would lead to a conflict with fundamental rights in the Irish Constitution and that the Act would not provide adequate safeguards for such rights. The explanatory guide which the Government issued recently refers to such possibilities. In relation to abortion services, while the Government believe that possibility is removed by a particular provision in the Act, there is uncertainty and inadequacy in respect of this remedy. There is a serious danger in the Act to some constitutionally protected rights and values.

Economic and foreign policy aspects of the Single European Act are outside the scope of this memorandum. If ratification of this Act will serve the common good in economic and political spheres, it should only be done on condition that the fundamental rights in the Irish Constitution are adequately protected. A number of declarations have been appended to the Single European Act. They include a number of unilateral declarations, including one on insurance by this Government which reserves a position on various matters. While a unilateral declaration would be unlikely to influence the interpretation of the Act by the Court of Justice, it might well allow the member state in question to resist measures which conflict with the reserved position.

The proposed solution, therefore, is the addition of this further declaration to the Act stating clearly that the Irish ratification of the Act is without prejudice to the fundamental rights and values protected in Articles 40 to 44 of the Constitution. Consequently, this amendment is for the primary purpose of safeguarding family rights as enshrined in our Constitution, especially the right to life of the unborn. It is to ensure that no legislation, no new laws or directives emanting from Europe or anywhere else shall be allowed to compromise or undermine the cherished rights, so much valued by our people, in Articles 40 to 41 of the Constitution. This House puts down a marker to all our friends in Europe that a family, in so far as our Constitution is concerned, is basic and fundamental, possessing inalienable and imprescriptible rights antecedent and superior to all positive law.

In recent weeks and in particular in the last couple of days many people have shown their deep concern about the implications of the Single European Act for the protection of the fundamental rights recognised by the Irish Constitution. A clear case has been made and I want to hear the Government's response to it. These fundamental rights are enunciated in Articles 40 to 44 of the Constitution. As the House knows, these Articles cover personal rights, the family, education, private property and religion. The common Preamble to the Single European Act refers for the first time to the fundamental rights recognised in the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms under the auspices of the Council of Europe. It is argued that the Single European Act can be taken to authorise the Court of Justice to regard the human rights convention as providing that court with the principles to which it should adhere in the field of fundamental rights.

While Community law overrides not merely domestic law but also the Constitution and has the force of law, the Human Rights Convention does not have direct force of law in Ireland at present. This is the nub of the whole matter. The argument is that the fundamental rights set out in the convention, where they are in conflict with the fundamental rights as laid down in Articles 40 to 44 of the Irish Constitution, may well prevail. This would mean, in theory at least, that the European Court of Justice could overturn fundamental rights as enshrined in the Irish Constitution in favour of principles set out in the convention. I would like the Government to deal very definitely and satisfactorily with this issue by accepting this amendment. A case has been made and we would like to have it answered in this House. The view is held by many that the fears could be put aside if the amendment is accepted by the Government.

We were enabled, under Article 29.4.3º of the Constitution, to join the EC. That Article states:

No provision of this Constitution invalidates laws enacted, acts done or measures adopted by the State necessitated by the obligations of membership of the Communities or prevents laws enacted, acts done or measures adopted by the Communities, or institutions thereof, from having the force of law in the State.

That is the basis on which our membership rests. It enables us, under the Constitution, to be members of that Community. The very important words in that provision in regard to the measure, and in particular the amendment, that we are discussing are "necessitated by the obligations of membership of the Communities". What we are proposing to do by way of enacting an Act in this House is not necessitated by the obligations of membership of the Communities. It is far from it. We are passing the Bill into law to provide for the possibility of new and additional articles to be added to the Treaty of Rome. It is only under the articles of the Treaty of Rome as it was in 1972-73 that the words "necessitated by the obligations of membership of the Communities" come into play. It is not within the competence of this House to deal with anything beyond that.

While I support the intention of the amendment put down by Deputy Sean Treacy in a last desperate effort to try to retain some sort of sovereignty over our country, we are unconstitutional in what we are doing, in what we have been doing and in anything we will do following on the alleged power that will be given if this Bill becomes an Act. Those additional matters that are being talked about are not necessitated by the obligations of membership of the Community under the Treaty as it is and as it was when we became members. It is only in that context that we can possibly enact any measure whatsoever. Any additional measure that we enact is outside the mandate our Constitution gave us under the provisions in Article 29.4.3º. This is the nub of our entire objection to dealing with the matter in this manner. I hope the Minister will say how the Government can overcome what will be done in the future on our behalf by the Commission. Article 29.4.3º states that no provision of the Constitution invalidates laws enacted, acts done or measures adopted by the State necessitated by the obligations of membership of the Communities. The operative words are in Article 29.4.3º and they are outside the Articles of the Treaty under which we became a member and which were accepted by way of referendum. Anything beyond that is not within our competence to deal with until our people are consulted and agree to extend that mandate to cover future occurences. The Minister must have been satisfied by somebody that what I have said is not operative. Until he, with the best knowledge available to him, can convince me otherwise nothing will make me believe other than that what we are doing is beyond the competence of the House unless we go back to the people in a referendum.

The House amended the Treaty on a number of occasions since the referendum in 1972. I understand that the last time we amended the Treaty was to give budgetary powers to the Parliament. That was done by a vote in the House and not by way of referendum. The third amendment to the Constitution which allowed us to become part of the Community, defined the limits within which changes could be made. On the advice we have got we are satisfied that this is well within them. I made that clear last night and the Taoiseach made it clear, as did a number of legal experts in articles in newspapers. What we are doing now is well within our rights under the Constitution.

It is what is said in the House that counts; not what is published in the newspapers.

I was pointing out that a lot of the argument on this matter was outside the House. A case had been made by those who believe that a referendum should be held and by those who feel a referendum is not necessary. The advice of the senior law officer of the Government is to the effect that a referendum is not necessary and that we are not going beyond what was envisaged in the third amendment to the Constitution.

I should like to tell Deputies Treacy and Collins that the Single European Act does not authorise the Court of Justice of the European Communities to interpret or apply the European Convention on Human Rights, notwithstanding the reference in the Preamble to the Single European Act to the Convention. This follows from Articles 31 and 32 of the Single European Act. Article 31 provides that the powers of the Court of Justice of the European Communities, under the European Community Treaties, shall apply pursuant to the provisions of the Single European Act only to the provisions of Title II containing the amendments to the European Community Treaties and to Article 32 of the Single European Act. Article 32 provides:

subject to Article 3(1), to Title II and to Article 31 — just referred to, all of which concern the European Community Treaties and nothing else — nothing in the Single European Act shall affect the Treaties establishing the European Communities or any subsequent Treaties and Acts modifying or supplementing them.

These two provisions taken together have the following effects: (i) the jurisdiction of the Court of Justice remains confined to the European Community Treaties, (ii) the statements in the Preamble, including that on the European Convention on Human Rights, do not affect European Community Treaties and, accordingly, the contents of the Convention are not by virtue of the Preamble in any way imported into the Treaties and (iii) it should be added to this that the Court of Justice of the European Communities has already decided in the exercise of its jurisdiction under the European Communities Treaties as they stand that it is liable in its judgement by the principles laid down in the European Convention on Human Rights, in particular the Rutili judgment case number 36 of 1975, 1975 ECR 1219. The application of these principles by the Court of Justice can, however, only arise in the exercise of its existing jurisdiction under the European Treaties. Moreover, the best view seems to be that the court acting within this sphere does not have jurisdiction to lay down interpretations of the Human Rights Convention which, after all, has its own system of interpretation by the European Court on Human Rights.

Without casting any reflection on the information the Minister has given the House I should like to point out that he has not clarified my mind on this. It may be that my mind is slightly different from the minds of other Members. Following that explanation, the position is as clear as mud. The Minister and I campaigned very heavily in favour of Ireland joining the Community. We did so for all the best reasons, I hope. The very grave doubts expressed were answered at the end of the day by a statement that we could resort to the protection we have. I would not have campaigned at all but for the fact that I believed that the carrot that was held out in the form of the veto to protect our interests and our national sovereignty was available to us although our country would be in a great big pool in the EC. That pool has got a lot bigger since and it may be enlarged further. Our campaign on that was successful if one is to judge by the percentage that voted in favour of it.

If the Bill is passed the crazy deal worked out when the Twelve were together last weekend — 11 NATO members and our little self — will be accepted. If we do not adopt this Act, that deal cannot be implemented. I heard Members last night saying that the other 11 would go their own way and we would be left behind but left behind where? Where would the Eleven be going?

This Act cannot come into operation until the Houses of the Oireachtas have cleared it and it has been signed by the President. We are not obliged to do that before the end of the year and most other countries will not be approving it before the end of the year. For instance, I understand that Germany will not be ratifying it because of a pending election. They are taking the view that there may be changes in the Government. There may be changes in the Government here. It would be prudent to leave this menace until after the election. We must remember that there is no urgency about this. The veto, the last weapon, the irresistible weapon given to every country big or small, is being set aside and no amount of assurances, as were given by speakers on the Government side last night, about the vital national interest not being trampled upon will satisfy me. Who will decide what is the vital national interest as far as the Irish people are concerned? Is it the Commission, or the Council of Ministers, or the heads of Governments? The vital national interest will not be determined by us if we go along with what is before us here today.

What we are doing is not necessitated by the obligations of EC membership and is, therefore, outside the competence of this House to deal with. This law would take away those rights, and no amount of persuasion, assurances or soft talk will get away from the fact that the veto, our final weapon of defence, is being removed because, as the Taoiseach said last night, it was being abused. Damn me, we did not abuse it. I think we reluctantly used it once. If we had abused it we would not be in the sorry state we are in at the moment. It is because we did not use it that we are in the difficulties we are invis-á-vis the CAP and all the rest of it.

It is because I do not agree with this that, according to the Taoiseach, I am suffering from a historic Irish inferiority complex. The Taoiseach said that we abused the veto and we have to set that side. As I have said, we did not abuse it and it is those who go along with this, not those who object to it, who suffer from the national malady of an inferiority complex. Having sold out the Six-Counties under the Anglo-Irish Agreement, we are now making a present of the Twenty-six Counties to the bureaucrats in Brussels. I have great regard for them but they must be kept in their place, and this is not the way to do it.

I say this is not within our competence because it is not necessitated by the obligations of membership of the Community, which is the mandate we have under Article 29.4.3º as enacted by the people in the 1972 referendum. Until that is amended we are running totally against the entire idea of controlling our destiny and handing it over willy nilly to whoever may come together, whatever their intentions may be, whether it is multinational profit, which seems to be what this is all about. The majority decision will determine our future and we will be dragged here, there and elsewhere, the little country that we are. We would never be there, in my estimation, if we did not rely on the final argument that the veto was our protection — we would have been campaigning against it. That might not have been good at that time, but if we are going to be a tiny appendage on the rock of Europe, dictated to by 11 NATO members in regard to everything, not just security and defence but all matters, the vital national interest which we have maintained for our protection will not be determined by us. We may claim that our vital national interest is being infringed, but who will decide? The other 11 will decide whether it is our vital national interest or not.

By adopting the Single European Act, therefore, we are cocking a snook at the electorate, cocking a snook at the Irish people and the Irish Constitution, and no amount of glib talk, true or false, will get away from the fact that this is not necessitated by the obligations of our membership. The veto, in effect, is being taken away.

Deputy Blaney's remarks go well beyond the two amendments before the House. He began by disputing the procedure being followed and suggested that this is not a matter on which this House is competent, and he suggested that the issue at stake is so fundamental that it should go to a referendum. What is involved here is a series of relatively minor amendments to the Treaty of Rome. There is nothing new about that. It has been amended half a dozen times since we became a member. The occasions on which the Treaty was amended are set out in the first paragraph of the explanatory memorandum.

Is the Minister seriously calling these relatively minor amendments?

Some of those amendments were relatively minor, for example, technical amendments when Greenland lapsed. Some of them were amendments of fundamental importance to Ireland, such as those relating to the budgetary powers of Parliament. Others were amendments of potential indirect importance to us, such as the enlargement of the Community by the inclusion of Greece and later Spain and Portugal. What is happening now happened on every previous occasion when the Treaty required to be amended. The original decision by the people contemplated that the Treaty would be amended from time to time, and that was correct because in a short period amendments were made.

Deputy Blaney suggested that these amendments are of a particularly distinct and fundamental kind. He made particular reference to the veto and said that what is involved here is a complete transformation of our membership because, he said, the basis of the case that he argued for membership no longer exists. He argued for membership on the basis that as a last resort as a small country, we would have the veto to protect us, and that that is no longer the case.

That is utter nonsense. There is nothing in the Single European Act, good, bad or indifferent, about the use of the veto, because the use of the veto is not in any sense governed by the Treaties in the first place, as Deputy Blaney must be aware as one who attended Council meetings in the past and who had served in the European Parliament. The veto represents a political compromise and it remains undiminished and is available to countries who seek to use it in their vital national interests. The confusion arises in some people's minds because while the Single European Act does not in any sense address the question of the veto, it addresses decision making in the Communities. A number of circumstances are laid down for decisions to be made by majority vote and for decisions by unanimity. All that the Single European Act does is to extend the circumstances to which majority voting will apply and correspondingly to reduce the occasions on which unanimity is required. It is the contention of this side of the House that the circumstances which are being added to the majority column, as it were, are very much to Ireland's advantage because they enhance the prospects of moving towards a genuine single market, one of the reasons why we joined the Communities in the first place.

In regard to the two amendments, there seems to be a complete misunderstanding of what the Community is about, what the Treaty of Rome is about and of the amendments to it which the Single European Act constitutes. Of course, our membership had legal implications for us, and constitutional implications. They have existed since the very first day. Nothing is being changed by the Single European Act, nothing whatsoever.

Deputy Treacy's anxieties relate to the Articles of the Constitution that deal with fundamental rights, Articles 40 to 44. Some of those Articles deal with matters that are not the business of the Treaty of Rome at all. So that the prospect of those questions ever being litigated does not arise. The Treaty of Rome does not have jurisdiction in relation to religion, morality or education. It is true that some of those Articles relate to areas where one could comtemplate decisions of the European Court of Justice arising. For example, areas of property are, in the nature of things, economic. There are areas where, it may be, there will be court decisions which will be of importance, just as there may have been court decisions of importance since our accession. But there is nothing new, in terms of a new jurisdiction being added by virtue of the Single European Act, nothing new whatsoever. The suggestion that the Single European Act incorporates, or tags on in some way, the European Convention on Human Rights is groundless. There are a whole series of decisions of our High Court and Supreme Court which assert very clearly — going right back to the early sixties — that the European Convention on Human Rights does not form part or our domestic law. The jurisdiction of the Court of Justice, established by the Treaty of Rome, is to interpret the Treaty of Rome and that which goes with it, not to deal with the European Convention on Human Rights.

If one wanders down to the Supreme Court, where constitutional cases are argued each day of the week one will find lawyers seeking inspiration from the European Convention on Human Rights, seeking inspiration from decisions on the French. American and any other Constitution. Equally, if one wandered into the American Supreme Court on a good day very likely one would find there judgments of judges like the late Cearbhail Ó Dálaigh or Mr. Justice Brian Walsh being cited. There is nothing unusual or abnormal in that. The jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice was established by the Treaties that gave the Community its base. Therefore, nothing has changed on this occasion.

The other fear that has been floated with regard to morality issues relates to the implementation of a single market. The argument runs something along these lines — that if people have an opportunity to sell their goods and services anywhere within the Community those goods and services may spray into the morality field and cause problems for us, such as the distribution of pornography or whatever. It was perhaps a remote possibility but it was a possibility. Therefore it was addressed by the Government in the course of these negotiations. The Single European Act provides very specifically that the grounds enumerated in Article 36 will continue to apply, that a country can rely on any one of those grounds in refusing to go along with the majority vote. Of course those grounds include public policy and public morality. There is no basis whatsoever for the suggestion that this has implications for our morality. I might quote from the list of grounds specified in Article 36 of the Treaty of Rome:

The provisions of Articles 30 to 34 shall not preclude prohibitions or restrictions on imports, exports or goods in transit justified on grounds of public morality, public policy or public security; the protection of health and life of humans, animals or plants; the protection of national treasures, possessing artistic historic, or archaeological value; or the protection of industrial and commercial property...

Each one of those safeguards, might, in some circumstances, be of importance to this country. But, since the issue raised is that of public morality, I should say it is there in black and white, that the grounds which were available to a country by virtue of Article 36 of the Treaty of Rome, are available to a country concerned about a harmonisation directive.

I might revert to something to which the Minister for Foreign Affairs was referring at the end of his remarks last evening when it was said that the advice of the Attorney General, as it was offered to the House, was not accepted by this side of the House, and it has not been improved since. It is important at least to say that what we are concerned about here is something very fundamental. This is not a minor matter and cannot be, since it refers directly to the amendment in the names of Deputies Gerry Collins and Sean Treacy, which refer to the protection of fundamental rights as laid down in our Constitution. Anybody who would imply that there was anything less than fundamental about that is misleading the House.

Last evening the Minister sought to convey the advice that, in no way, was the European Convention on Human Rights going to be involved in the ratification of the Single European Act. We cannot accept that because there was considerable reference to it in the Preamble to the Act. While the Minister seemed to suggest that it would have no real bearing on the implementation of the Act, it is well worth bearing in mind that the actual words used in the Preamble are and here I quote:

Determined to work together to promote democracy on the basis of the fundamental rights recognised in the constitutions and laws of the member states, in the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms...

No matter how one seeks to convey a minimised version of the interpretation of that it still must be clearly understood that there is stated a determination to take on board the European Convention on Human Rights, make it part of the Community's law whether now or at some time in the future. It is to protect our interests against its possible implications that we have put down this amendment.

If we were to go further would the Minister suggest to us that there is no policy movement towards incorporation of that Convention into Community law either now or in the future? We would have to say that the stated intention, as laid down in the Preamble, definitely declares that that determination is there, to have that Convention taken on board and made part of Community law which would be enforced by the European Court of Justice and which would take precedence over constitutional measures, as is laid down in our fundamental statement.

It is not true to say that there have not been declarations and instruments in the past that have changed the attitude of Community law in so far as fundamental rights are concerned. Quite a number of them have been recorded. Some I should like to place on record as being noteworthy would be the Declaration of the Nine on European Identity — Copenhagen, 1973; the Declaration at European Council in April 1978; the Commission Report on the Protection of Fundamental Rights in the European Communities, 1976 and the Joint Declaration by the European Council and Commission of April 1977. These are declarations and instruments that have in some way infringed on fundamental rights as they would be enunciated and would apply in our situation also. Therefore there is at this time some movement away from what we would regard to be the fundamental issues laid down in Articles 40 to 44 of our Constitution.

It is well to take note of one of the matters that will clearly set out the fact that the Communities do have the declared intention, and have even gone further, to take on board the European Convention on Human Rights. Here I might refer to the Bulletin of the European Communities, Supplement 2, 1979 under the heading "The Accession of the Communities to the European Convention on Human Rights". That document has been supported by the European Parliament, which has strongly advocated the accession of the European Communities to the European Convention on Human Rights. In effect, therefore, they are binding themselves to the decisions of that Convention. The European Communities are already bound by elements of that Convention. I might now quote from paragraph 10 of that bulletin which puts in stark reality the position that the Convention now holds in Community law thinking. It states and I quote:

Since 1974, all the Member States of the Community have been contracting parties to the ECHR, which has led to the Court of Justice of the European Communities to derive guidelines for the constitutional conditions common to the Member States from the fundamental rights embodied in the ECHR;...

The important thing is that the ECHR is used as an indicator of the standards existing at Community level in the field of fundamental rights. Further down the paragraph states:

On one hand the ECHR represents a minimum standard of the general principles of law projected by the Court of Justice. On the other, it is arguable that the Community, in so far as powers have been assigned to it by the Member States, is already bound, on the basis of the principle of substitution, by the substantive provisions of the convention on Human Rights by reason of the original obligation of the Member States.

There is no doubt that only one interpretation can be taken from that and that is the Community's wish to have the European Convention on Human Rights incorporated as part of Community law andde facto it almost says that is the position at this time. This is confirmed again in the Preamble to the Act the Minister referred to last evening.

This Act will be the first occasion when the member states will formally acknowledge the role of the European Convention on Human Rights in the Community's Treaties. We must understand exactly what are the authority and the role of the Court of Justice. The incorporation of the Convention into the Treaties will have very serious constitutional implications for us. I refer further to the stated intentions of the Commission in regard to the status of the fundamental rights as set down.

The same bulletin in paragraph 16 talks about the strengthening of the institutions. I quote:

Finally, accession would reduce the risk of national courts using the absence of a written catalogue of fundamental rights formally binding upon the Community as justification for reviewing acts of the Council or the Commission by reference to their national constitutions...

The straight implication there is that they do not wish national Constitutions in any way to impinge on what they would regard as the fundamental rights of the Community as laid out in Community law. The Court of Justice, taking that on board, would then be obliged to take the right as seen by the ECHR as the basis for operation, and certainly many aspects of that convention are in direct conflict with our Constitution. For that reason we think it is not too much to ask the Dáil here to put beyond yea or nay the fact that genuine doubt has been expressed inside and outside the House about the possibility of that convention becoming part of Community law, and of its being in conflict with our Constitution, Articles 40 to 44. Why take the risk of leaving that loophole?

There is no doubt that the Community is putting us on notice that they would regard it as an impertinence of any member state to review any of the Community laws as accepted by them and as implemented by the Court of Justice. That is our basic reason for our attitude to this. We can well understand that there might be advice to the contrary, but if there is the slightest risk we would say that the Minister should not allow it to persist. There would be unanimity in here on the protection of Articles 40 to 44 of our Constitution. We seek to protect that and we think that this wording will achieve that end. We are not convinced that everybody in Europe is on the side of the angels. If in some way now or in the future that Convention were to be incorporated in Community law then it would be in direct contravention of our Constitution, the Court of Justice would have no alternative but to apply it across the board, it would be an impertinence for us to become involved to do otherwise and consequently our rights would be infringed. Because of the persistent and, we believe, valid doubts expressed we ask the Minister to relent on this so that he will have unanimity in the House.

I have listened carefully to what the Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Minister of State had to say in reply to the case being made for the adoption of these amendments, and I am not impressed. The Minister's attitude is utterly unsatisfactory and simplistic in the extreme. It is obvious that the Government believe that the doubts which we have expressed here in respect of these fundamental issues appertaining to our Constitution are clearly justified. They feel that the doubts being expressed are removed, say by Article 100A of the EC Treaty which allows a member state to apply national provisions on grounds of what is called major needs referred to in Article 36 of the EC Treaty. The adequacy of the certainty of relying on this remedy is open to fundamental criticisms and is very doubtful indeed.

In the first instance it should be noted that the proposed remedy could be authorised only in response to measures adopted by the Council under the new Article 100 A EC. For example, it would not be available to negate a directive on the proposed Article 118A EC or avoid a judgment in the Court of Justice that Ireland had failed in its obligations in respect of say, Article 171.

Article 36 of the EC Treaty applies primarily to the movement of goods. It does not contain the phrase "major needs". It permits restrictions justified on grounds of public morality or public policy and on grounds of the protection of the health and life of humans. Freedom of movement of services is provide for in Articles 59 to 66 without the restrictions available to member states under Article 36.

The restrictions on movement of persons under Article 48 are more limited than those in Article 36 and do not include the reference to public morality. In that context, therefore, the new provisions for services and capital in the new Article 100 A include provisions on grounds of major needs referred to in Article 36.

The new Articles on the internal market are stated to be without prejudice to other provisions in this Treaty. My concern is that the proposition contained in Article 100 A would authorise the application of nationalist restrictions on the movement of persons, services and capital on grounds additional to those in the original Treaties. That would be contrary to the thrust of this Single European Act. While there can be no certainty in the matter it seems more probable that the major needs referred to under Article 36 would be related to the needs to control the movement of goods for reasons specified in Article 36. This uncertain phrase could not be relied upon to authorise national provisions restricting the supply or sale of abortion services within the Community or to negate other undesirable measures of this kind. There appears to be no basis in Community law to distinguish between abortion services and the other medical or professional services. This is a serious flaw in our legislation.

Assuming that this procedure were available to restrict the supply of abortive services, the national provision would have to be deemed necessary on the ground of public morality, public policy or the protection of health of human life. If such a provision were challenged in the Court of Justice there might be a substantial difficulty in defending that provision, because the ground of public morality would imply that it was justifiable to regard abortion as immoral and offensive to the common good. But, in a legal tradition that regards at least some abortions as a matter of women's health or privacy, the Court of Justice might not accept such grounds for restriction of Common Law. We have no guarantee on that account.

On a point of order, can the Deputy give the House the reference to the document from which he is reading?

I am using extended notes. The ground of protection, therefore, of health and human life would be more likely to favour abortion services——

It sounds as if he is quoting something.

——than to restict them, as the health of the woman would be preferred to the life of the foetus which in general in the European norm, is not regarded as a human person.

These are some of the reasons why we are concerned about the failure to make clear the will of the Irish people in respect of abortion as shown by the vote on this issue a short time ago. Our refusal to introduce abortion law could be held in the prevailing European view to be an arbitrary discrimination against women in favour of a non person in the womb. If the Commission were to take such a view it would appear that the national provision could not be applied. In any case where the Commission or any member state consider that a member state is making inappropriate use of a national provision they may bring the matter directly before the Court of Justice. The Minister should rethink his position on this matter. Only time will tell whether this Act will constitute a threat to our Constitution and the fundamental aspects in it. I greatly fear that the Single European Act would open the door to legislation from the European Communities which could be repugnant to Articles 40 to 44 of our Constitution. That door was unlocked by the third amendment in 1972 and it is not an overstatement to contend that the whole constitutional system of protection of fundamental rights in our Constitution is clearly endangered by this Act. That is why we wish the Minister to reconsider what we are asking. There is nothing fundamentally wrong in seeking to implement the will of the vast majority of the Irish people in respect of the intrinsic worth of our Constitution and all that it contains in respect of family life and the values to which we all subscribe.

I concur with the view expressed by Deputy Blaney and others that the issues are so grave that nothing less than a further reference to the people by way of a referendum will clarify these matters, the matter of sovereignty, the matter of neutrality and the matter of morality which are clearly involved, without proper safeguards being provided, so far as we can see. I urge the Minister to think again on what has been said here. Nothing will be lost, much will be gained and intrinsic values will be preserved if we accept the amendment in my name or in that of Deputy Collins, to safeguard the essentials in our Constitution.

Deputies, including Deputy Haughey, looked for a referendum on the subject. I would ask Deputies who advanced that suggestion, what question they would like to put to the Irish people? Is it, that we should not ratify or not adopt the Single European Act? Let us say the people decided to reject the Act, what then would we do? We would find ourselves in a position in which we would decide not to proceed with our membership of the Community. Is it the case that the question that the Deputies would like to put is that we would opt out of Europe? I do not know what Deputy Haughey wanted to put in the referendum when he called for one yesterday and I am not clear as to what Deputy Treacy wants put to the people but in fairness to the House they should spell out precisely what question they want put to the people and also what the logical sequence of events will be after that if the people decide not to adopt the Single European Act. What is happening is that people are being rather opportunistic about this. The Fianna Fáil position has dramatically changed in recent years. Only a few years ago when my colleague, Deputy O'Kennedy, was Minister for Foreign Affairs, he told this House——

On a point of order——

(Interruptions.)

I am speaking specifically to amendments Nos. 1 and 3.

The Deputy seems to be confused. The Deputy was not here. The Deputy is asking about proposals for a referendum——

That is not a point of order.

(Interruptions.)

Deputy O'Kennedy, please.

(Interruptions.)

What we are asking is that this amendment be incorporated in the legislation. That is all.

Deputy O'Kennedy, will you resume your seat, please?

I will quote from what the Deputy said in the House.

(Interruptions.)

Order, please. Deputy Molony without interruption, please.

(Interruptions.)

Deputies, and Minister, please.

(Interruptions.)

I am astonished at the sensitivity of people here this afternoon.

I understand that some people may have very strong views on specific points and may have certain fears but I do not share those fears. I do not attribute to Deputy Treacy any lack of sincerity or mischievousness that is coming from other quarters in the House, over people calling for a referendum on the subject——

Like John Kelly.

I want to pursue the question——

(Interruptions.)

——with the major Opposition party to know if they would tell the House just where they stand on the subject. My colleague, Deputy O'Kennedy, as Minister for Foreign Affairs——

I will not be your colleague for long.

What is the point? We might both just be colleagues outside the House.

Let us leave the constituency out of it.

(Interruptions.)

I would remind the House that when Deputy O'Kennedy was Minister for Foreign Affairs he told the House in reply to a parliamentary question, as reported in the Official Report of 4 May 1978 at column 421:

We are, however, a member state of the European Community and as such we have committed ourselves to a policy of European integration with the long term aim of European Union.

That was the Fianna Fáil position. Last Tuesday, Deputy Haughey said that we had gone far enough, that in fact we had gone too far on this so-called moving train and he told the House that he had misgivings about the completion of the common market. The least that Fianna Fáil can do is to spell out precisely what status they have in mind for this country if we are to hop off the moving train. Do Fianna Fáil propose that we withdraw altogether from the European Community? Clearly there are certain things about the Community that they do not like, though I noted that Mr. Haughey and any other Fianna Fáil Deputy who spoke on it approved of the transfer of funds we have had from the CAP and called for more. I suspect that it is some form of associated membership of the Community that Fianna Fáil have in mind.

The message they appear to want to put across to the people at present is that they can have the transfer of funds and they need not have anything else they find in the least bit unappealing. If they want a referendum put to the people they should spell out what that question should be and if the people decide in the negative because of the so-called policy of neutrality or because of the fears which were voiced by Deputy Treacy, let them explain the consequences of that decision. We are hearing from the Opposition many half-truths and much opportunistic cant which is not becoming of a party who have had considerable experience in dealing with Europe and in dealing in Europe. I refer specifically to the commitment that Deputy O'Kennedy, as Minister for Foreign Affairs, described himself and his party as having to the idea of full European integration.

When Deputy Molony taunts this side of the House about calling for a referendum, the subject matter of the referendum and how it should be put to the people, is he not aware that the most eloquent spokesman calling for a referendum loud, and clear and unambiguously, was the Tánaiste last night?

Would Deputy Treacy express the question he wants put in a referendum? I am glad Deputy Treacy has asked me that question——

I am sure you are.

Because Deputy Kelly last night spelled out what he wants put to the Irish people. When we come to the next amendment I will express the views I have on how we should confront this question of neutrality.

Will the Deputy stick to amendments Nos. 1 and 3.

What I am asking is that other Members of the House who call for a referendum should spell out precisely the specific questions they want put to the people. I understand the point Deputy Treacy has been making on these amendments but it has nothing to do with neutrality. It is some other question he wants put to the people. Fianna Fáil want us to have misgivings. Mr. Haughey said we must have misgivings about completion of the internal market. What question do Fianna Fáil want put to the people The Deputies who have called for a refernedum should state specifically the questions they want put.

Perhaps the Deputy was not in sufficiently early to have heard and for that reason I will give him my reasons why I have suggested there should be a referendum. The authority to enter the Community back in 1973 was derived from Article 29.4.3º.

I heard the Deputy say that but I wonder what question he wants put to the people

I am not giving you a short answer but what I am holding is that your dilemma on the other side of the House in producing this Bill is that you do not have the authority under our Constitution to do it. If you want to do it, it follows therefrom that you go to the people by way of referendum to get that authority. If you are required to do that, it would be for you to provide the wording to enable you to do what I hold you are not entitled to do under the Constitution as it stands. You raised, as we all did, certain other aspects of the matter which I do not think should be allowed to go unchallenged. You gave the throwaway reply to Deputy Treacy when he drew your attention to the Leader of the Labour Party talking loudly, clearly and succinctly on the need to consult the people on the matter of neutrality. I take it that you are sincerely of the belief that neutrality does not arise or is not challenged as a result of the passage of this Bill

I propose to speak on the subject of neutrality on the next amendment.

As all 11 of our EC colleagues in some fashion or another are members of NATO who have nuclear missiles of all descriptions placed at every strategic point they can find in Europe and elsewhere, how can you in those circumstances give to the Community authority from this House on behalf of the people to deal with political co-operation, defence, foreign policy and security without there being the implicit outcome that neutrality will have gone out the window or, if not, its usefulness will have gone because we will be as suspect as those who lie with the dogs. According to the old phrase "if you lie with the dogs, you get up with fleas".

I allowed the Deputy to make a passing reference but he is getting to amendment No. 2 at present. We are not dealing with amendment No. 2.

When did we pass amendment No. 1

We are still on amendments Nos. 1 and 3.

When did we discard——

We are not discarding either amendment No. 1 or amendment No. 3. I am just saying that amendment No. 2 deals specifically with the question of neutrality.

I was misled by the contribution of Deputy Molony. I can think again and come back on it later. I believe Deputy Molony is satisfied so far as I am concerned a consultation of the people is the only answer to my assertion that this matter does not have the authority of our Constitution and therefore, that a change will be needed in order to bring the Act into being. The reason I have said that for the Deputy's information is because the Ceann Comhairle told us he could consult the records but not even last night's records are available today, never mind the records of one hour ago. I hold that in the provisions of Articles 29.4.3º the operative words are "necessitated by the obligations of membership of the Communities". I hold that our obligations derive and relate solely and only to the Community as operated under the Treaty of Rome as and when we entered it and as it is today, and not as it will be amended tomorrow. Therefore, what we are doing is not necessitated by our obligations of membership but rather the projected obligations which will be placed upon us in the future as a result of the Single European Act.

I heard Deputy Blaney make those points earlier but I disagree with them. I accept the reply the Minister has given and I do not believe we are engaging in an unconstitutional act by adopting this Act. I know the point Deputy Blaney is making but there are others in the House who are seeking to have questions put and I am simply asking them to state what questions they want put to the people. I do not believe it is necessary or that we would be breaking the Constitution if we accept this Act but I would like those who are calling for a referendum, expecially those in Fianna Fáil, to spell our what questions they want put to the people.

Deputy Flynn spoke about the veto having been set aside but that is not true. The veto is not part of the Treaty of Rome. It was not referred to at any stage during the Inter-Governmental Conference and it is not part of the Single European Act. It is still there. A country can still invoke a vital national interest if it wants to block something.

Deputy Treacy said I am being too simplistic in my approach. The matter is not simple but it is not all that complex either. The Single European Act introduces majority voting in a certain number of cases to facilitiate the establishment of the internal market. Those who have participated in European Councils as Ministers will know that for the last ten to 12 years the ability to reach decisions has become more difficult. The larger the Community became the more difficult it became. It facilitates the taking of decisions by majority vote but in relation to Article 36 of the Treaty which is the one which concerned Deputy Treacy. That must be by unanimous vote of the Council of Ministers. Since that is so, it needs an Irish Minister to vote for a decision to amend or take action under Article 36. No Irish Minister can do that within the confines of the Constitution. It is as simple as that.

Article 36 refers only to the movement of goods.

No, it refers to a lot more. Deputy Flynn also referred to the Human Rights Convention. That is referred to only in the Preamble. Articles 31 and 32 have blocked off any possibility of the Court of Justice using the Human Rights Convention. During his contribution Deputy Flynn referred to the Convention on Human Rights as if it was not quite savoury and something we should not have acceded to.

There are elements of it which are contrary to our Constitution.

Yes, we have found out that there are a number of elements in it which are contrary to our law and we have been taken to court under it.

Deputy Blaney said we have no authority to do what we are doing. I would remind him of what the Irish people voted for in 1972 when both he and I campaigned in favour of this. I did not campaign just for transfer under CAP to the farming community even though they were very welcome. The economic benefits we have derived from our membership of the EC have been considerable. The people voted that we should accede to the Treaty established in Rome "determined to lay the foundation for an ever closer union amongst the peoples of Europe, resolving to ensure the economic and social progress of their countries and by common action to eliminate the barriers which divide Europe". They also voted to affirm the essential objectives of constant improvement of the living and working standards of the people of Europe. The Single European Act is very much in that spirit.

I wish to raise a matter about which many people will be unclear. We owe it to them in the interests of clarity to get an answer. I accept fully what the Minister is saying. We all accept that not everybody in a pub, factory or elsewhere will go through the articles detail by detail. Could I have an unequivocal assurance from the Minister that nothing which confers powers under this revised arrangement bringing the Single European Act into being could in any circumstances override something which is part of our Constitution? I have been approached, as I am sure other Deputies have been, by groups who are very concerned about family matters and who have a legitimate right to have these questions asked in this Parliament.

Abortion is specifically precluded under our Constitution but it is alleged in some documents we have received from concerned Christian family groups that under the proposed revised arrangements in Europe under part of the Single European Act, in the interests of health, an overriding decree could come from Brussels which it is feared could override our Constitutional provision against the introduction of abortion. I am sorry that is so long winded but I am asking the question in the interests of people who are concerned with family matters about which this nation, with its Christian heritage, feels very strongly. I should like to have a categorical, unequivocal, simple assurance from the Minister on that issue.

When approaching or changing treaties or laws which are passed in Europe the Government are very conscious of the provisions of our Constitution. When the Single European Act was going through we kept in constant touch with the Attorney General to make sure we were keeping within the confines of our Constitution. He has assured me that this Act is covered by the third amendment to the Constitution. Everything in the Single European Act, in so far as it relates to the European Communities, is protected by the third amendment to the Constitution. We were in constant touch with the Attorney General during the Inter-Governmental Conference and during the debate in the Council of Ministers.

Is it conceivably possible that at some future date a provision in our Constitution, which is the bulwark of our rights might be deemed to beultra vires the Convention on Human Rights and so be overridden by some decree? What I am asking in plain language is if our Constitution is sacrosanct? Can it be overridden by a decree from Brussels? Can it be breached in any way?

I accept that the assurances given by the Minister are in good faith but those of us who deal with local authorities know that we get plenty of assurances in good faith in relation to housing, the settling of itinerants and so on. Sometimes it takes a long time to honour these assurances and in other cases they are not honoured at all. Is the Minister in a position to say that no provision of our Constitution, at anytime, can be overridden under the Single European Act by the European Convention on Human Rights?

If the Deputy accepts our amendment he need have no fears. We are doing it for him. He is getting a cast iron guarantee.

On a point of order——

The Deputy asked the Minister a question and he is trying to answer it.

In reply to Deputy Collins I am not satisfied that the amendment, even if it were passed, would give me the kind of assurance I am talking about. I want a clear, unequivocal assurance from the Minister.

The Deputy wants the spoken word instead of what can be written into the law.

Please, Deputies. I call on the Minister of State.

One cannot toss the coin up with two fingers.

That is why I am asking.

The Single European Act will go through, all the same.

Deputy Prendergast asked whether it was possible that by reason of the Single European Act our Constitution could be invalidated having regard to the European Convention on Human Rights. He seeks categorical assurances that that could not happen. I say to him that that cannot happen for two reasons. The first reason that it cannot happen is that there are, as I mentioned earlier, umpteen decisions of our own domestic courts, the High Courts and the Supreme Court, declaring that the European Convention on Human Rights does not form part of domestic law. The second reason that it could not happen is that the European Convention on Human Rights is not the business of the courts established by the Treaty of Rome, the Courts of Justice that sit in Strasbourg. So, the European Convention on Human Rights does not arise one way or another.

Let me make one other comment at this stage of the debate. It is simply to remind people that what we are debating is an amendment Bill. It seems sensible in that situation to focus our considerations on what is changing. Some of the arguments that have been advanced, fanciful as they are, were indeed advanced at the time when we applied for membership of the Community in the first place. There was no basis for them then; our period of membership shows that, if anybody was in any doubt. There is no basis for them now. Let us look at what is changed by this. A certain number of harmonisation directives that previously required unanimity now require only a majority vote. In that some people saw a conceivable danger and so the Government responded and got the agreement of our partners to our position in requiring that where questions of morality or public policy arose unanimity would be required as heretofore. The only change and the only issue that we are debating is that some things that were previously unanimous will now be by majority vote and not by majority vote when issues of public morality or public policy arise.

A number of matters have been raised by the Minister that I should like to respond to. This amendment in the name of our spokesman and, I would have to say, in the name of Deputy Treacy, is to ensure that the provisions of our Constitution are protected and are in no way undermined or compromised by anything done here. It is also to ensure — and I do not think that the Minister for Foreign Affairs understands this himself — that what we are doing here follows automatically and directly from our Treaty of Accession to the European Communities — no more and no less. In the course of this debate we do not want to take on obligations in any area that extend beyond what we did and envisaged in signing the Treaty of Accession. That is reasonable and that is what the Irish people adopted by referendum.

It is quite clear that there are areas here that were never contemplated, never referred to, never brought before the Irish people at the time of the referendum. I propose to refer to them specifically and to ask the Minister specifically, either in legal or constitutional terms, how he can suggest that these are minor changes. If he has addressed these questions, how can he answer them? The European Community is a community of institutions and the institutions that existed when we signed the Treaty of Accession were the Commission, the Parliament and the Council of Ministers. There is a new institution now which is not referred to in the Treaty of Rome and accordingly is not incorporated at all in our Treaty of Accession. It is nowhere referred to in that. You will find it under Article 2 of the Single European Act and it is called the European Council. It is included now as an institution. It was not ever part of the institutions of the European Community.

It has been meeting for years.

Here the Minister is showing his lack of constitutional or legal awareness. It has been meeting informally. Right now, the big boys have dominated and pulled down this Community and directed it the way they want — towards security as distinct from towards the development of the interests of the peoples of the Community — those that refuse to give the adequate money to finance the policies for the budget — the Mrs. Thatchers and so on that refused every time to provide adequate resources — and we all know that that is the biggest problem of the European Community. Deputies Blaney and Treacy were both in the European Parliament and will know that what has blocked the development of the Community that we all joined has been lack of adequate funding. From whom and by whom? From and by one group alone, the Heads of Governments who were never an institution in the Community but who in this legislation are being given the status and are being specifically referred to in Article 2. They were not in the original Treaties but are in now. That is not just a small or minor change.

May I make one comment on that? If the Heads of Governments had done all the things that Deputy O'Kennedy suggested, it does not seem that they were inhibited from doing all those dreadful things by the fact that they had not a place in the Treaty.

This has been tolerated and that is why our voice should be heard publicly, reminding those who should have the interests of the peoples of the Community at heart that they have done quite the opposite, even informally. Now they are being institutionalised and what they could do informally they will now, I can assure the House, do formally. They will now make us feel the small boys that we are. There was no point in the Taoiseach yesterday trying, in his usual public relations projection of himself directed by the handlers, to make it appear that he had them all eating out of his hand at the European Council. The whole thing was amusing. Anybody who has been there, such as the Minister for Foreign Affairs, knows that to be a total farce. Nobody believes that. One can imagine Kohl and Thatcher eating out of the Taoiseach's hand.

"Chancellor" Kohl and "Prime Minister" Thatcher.

That is a drastic change. I say to Deputy Molony that it should suggest to the Government what will happen and they make no provision in the Bill. They do not even incorporate the major change referred to in Article 2. On political co-operation, I have, as has the Minister for Foreign Affairs, sat on committees on co-operation which were informal and that was the significance of it. They sat to reach informal decisions with nothing binding in any way whatsoever. They tried to reach a consensus and where they could not they did not. I know this from two and a half years of experience there and the Minister knows it from longer experience.

Now we are into a different scene. Political co-operation has advanced a stage further. Now for the first time certain things "shall be" done and certain things "will be" done. The Commission is now being incorporated as an institution of political co-operation, which it never was. The Commission is meant to be the custodian of the values of the European Community. I acknowledge that it failed many times but its role is to protect the Treaties and the Minister says that there is no major change. It is stated in the Act:

The Presidency and the Commission, each within its own sphere of competence, shall have responsibility for ensuring that such consistency is sought and maintained...

It goes on to say what the responsibilities extend to, as follows:

Closer co-operation on questions of European security would contribute in an essential way to the development of a European identity in external policy matters.

They are ready to co-ordinate their positions more closely on the political and economic aspects of security. The Commission are being brought in to achieve this.

It goes on to say:

The high contracting parties are determined to maintain the technological and industrial conditions necessary for their security.

We do not know what is involved in that.

They are determined now to introduced a whole range of industrial innovation, as it is euphemistically called, for their security. We are talking about arms procurement, about the whole basis of industry, for instance, the United States which are inevitably and fundamentally linked with an armaments programme, about industrial research innovation. These are all linked inevitably with armaments programmes and that is what is being incorporated here. What has been done in American will now be done through the European Community. It says that they shall work to that end at national level. That is telling us in the clearest possible terms, as one of the high contracting parties signing this, that we shall work to that end at national level and, where appropriate, within the framework of the competent institutions and bodies. There is no point in making general statements or a briefing from the Attorney General. I know him and some of his advisers personally and I have practised law with them but I am not satisfied with a formal statement read by the Minister and a text prepared by officials. The Attorney General, allowing for his obvious conviction, is not regarded as being widely experienced in the law as he is the most junior Attorney General ever appointed. He came in at the level of junior counsel, he was not even an established senior counsel.

That remark is not in good taste.

It may not be in good taste——

If every Member could attack the qualifications of others——

Deputy O'Kennedy took silk when he had served as Minister——

For what it is worth, I took silk after twelve years as a junior barrister. The Minister must have gone through the Act in some detail over a considerable amount of time in negotiations and he must be fairly familiar with the pitfalls associated with it. He should persuade us that it is right from the depth of his conviction and knowledge of the constitutional and legal implications, without reading from a text written for him by the Attorney General.

The terms in these Articles mean something specific. It says that nothing in this title shall impede closer co-operation in the field of security between certain of the high contracting parties within the framework of the Western European Alliance or the Atlantic Alliance. You could take two meanings our of that. It could mean that it will enable NATO and the Western European Alliance to continue on their present course and it could also be argued that nothing shall impede the closer co-operation in the field of security between the people in those fora. Whatever we do will certainly not compromise NATO. I could go through the Act endlessly, it is disgraceful that the House is confined to a few hours debate on such an important issue. I have sat here for a while but I did not learn anything from the Minister. We have not heard a clear statement which is not the case in relation to other member states. The Minister is certainly not enlightening us and his junior Minister, who has some experience in law, has not——

Will the Deputy look at the declaration to Article 8 B?

I read it. I have it in front of me and it says that the Community shall adopt measures with the aim of progressing, do you not understand what "shall" means?

The Deputies should address the Chair and those who have not the Floor should not interrupt.

Article 8 A tells us that we shall adopt measures with the aim of progressively establishing the internal market over a period expiring on 31 December 1992. Using a mix of political and legal experience, I have no doubt that when it comes to 1992 and if Ireland is still holding out against the harmonisation of laws because it does not suit us or we cannot afford it, we will be reminded that our veto has been tolerated for four years but that we had better refer to Article 8 A. The Act is full of provisions in relation to the role of the Commission and they clearly state that Articles within the existing Treaty of Accession shall be replaced by deletions of the original Treaty of Rome to which we acceded when we signed our Treaty of Accession which was confirmed by a referendum.

The amendments in the names of Deputy Collins and Deputy Treacy are at least a recognition that nothing done here will affect the Act. I do not understand why the Minister will not give us a clear declaration as happened is so many member states.

That was a most extraordinary contribution to a European debate in the House compared with others made by Deputy O'Kennedy when he spoke about the high ideals in Europe, the necessity to move Europe forward and his party's commitment to peace and security——

Of course.

This is a small and insignificant step——

(Interruptions.)

I did not interrupt the Deputy, please be quiet. The Deputy misrepresents the position. He did not quote the relevant part from Article 8 which says that setting the date at 31 December 1992 does not create an automatic legal effect.

I read it.

Order, please. The Deputy should not interrupt. I said that when Deputy O'Kennedy was speaking and I am repeating it now.

To pretend there is a big plot by the European Council, which has been meeting "informally" three times a year for the last ten or 12 years and we are now formalising those meetings, is really like Alice in Wonderland. The Heads of State and the Heads of Government got together informally three times a year over the last ten or 12 years and made recommendations, which were in effect decisions, to the Council of Ministers which adopted them. One of those was at the Milan Summit and another one was the setting up of the Dooge Committee. Up to now these Heads of State and Heads of Government met "informally" and the formal decision was taken at another time. That was a charade. This is being formalised in the Single European Act.

The same applies to political co-operation. Up to now the Council has been meeting four times a year; that, too, is now being formalised. The pretended threat Deputy O'Kennedy sees in this is totally unreal as he knows well, because he was a member for two and a half years. Every decision can only be taken by consensus. Since the Single European Act was signed last February there has not been consensus on a number of major issues as Deputy Collins knows because I answered a question about it yesterday. The Twelve members of the European Community voted three different ways in the United Nations — abstaining for and against. That is the basis of political co-operation. Deputy O'Kennedy used a spurious argument to heighten fears. He knows we are merely formalising what has been the practice for the last ten or 12 years.

I asked the Minister if he would address himself to precise decisions and answer on the basis of a precise constitutional justification or a juridical interpretation of what these Articles mean. There is no point telling me in broad waffle about threats. I did not say they were a threat in every sense of the word.

I am worried because this was not an institution of the European Community initially for the very good reason that the founding fathers knew that was the forum where the big countries would dominate the small: the Heads of Government, amid the glare of publicity, meeting twice a year, would dominate the smaller countries and the Community interest would not be consistently expressed. In their wisdom the founding fathers excluded it. The Council of Ministers meet every one or two weeks and has a certain permanence and cohesion. For that reason it creates a different atmosphere.

As I said, this institution was not in the original Treaties but it is being established here as an institution. Why is the Minister not prepared to justify or explain the fact that this should at least involve a specific amendment because that particular section is not even being covered in this legislation.

It is covered under——

The Irish people would be entitled to say they do not like what is happening even informally but they will worry a great deal about what will happen if it is formal. In my view the failure of the European Community over the last eight years particularly has been due almost exclusively to the informal meeting of the Heads of Government.

I think there was a little more to it than that.

They are the people who failed to supply the funds. They are the people who dominated everything.

Article 8 is very specific and I do not understand how the Minister can be in any doubt about it. It says that we shall do certain things by a certain date. How can the Minister say I am misrepresenting this when I am only reading it? It says that the Community shall adopt measures with the aim of progressively establishing the internal market over a period expiring on 31 December 1992.

But the Deputy did not read the declaration that accompanies it.

It is on page 66.

This is a declaration which does not create an automatic legal effect. Of course it does not create an automatic legal effect. Does the Minister think that is protection? It will not automatically take effect now, but in 1992 if we have not been acting in accordance with these provisions, we will be reminded that it shall take effect by 1992.

If it is necessary we will remind them.

I would remind them of Protocol No. 30 at that point. I referred specifically to the statements——

I hope it would not be necessary to remind them.

I am not happy about just hopes. Like everyone else, I want guarantees that we have to implement. I want to ask the Minister to address himself to specific points. I want him to tell me how these are not major changes.

The external policies of the European Community and the policies agreed in political co-operation must be consistent.

The Presidency and the Commission, each within its own sphere of competence, shall have special responsibility for ensuring that such consistency is sought and maintained.

The Commission never had a role in this area before. It was purely a economic proposal.

(a) The High Contracting Parties consider that closer co-operation on questions of European security would contribute in an essential way to the development of a European identity in external policy matters. They are ready to co-ordinate their positions more closely on the political and economic aspects of security.

(b) The High Contracting Parties are determined to maintain the technological and industrial conditions necessary for their security...

If that is not linking the technological and industrial conditions to security needs I do not know what is. They will say it is necessary for security. These arguments have been made for some time. One of the things we have to look for is a common base on arms procurement. Anyone who ignores that is ignoring what has been happening in Europe for the last number of years.

I am saying that that is incorporating new elements which were not in the 1972 Treaty of Accession. These are not just minor changes in the Treaty, they are major developments. If the Government were to come in here and admit they were major developments and that they wanted to argue the rights and wrongs of them, at least we could have an honest open argument but when I am told in this House by the Minister and his Minister of State that these are only minor adjustments, that is an offence to the House. I have no doubt that Deputy Collins, Deputy Treacy and other Deputies will probably want better guarantees.

Deputy Collins's amendment says that nothing in this Act shall operate so as to limit or qualify the fundamental rights of the citizens and guarantee them protection by Articles 40 to 44 of the Constitution. These are fundamental rights which cannot be undermined by external action. That does not seem to be unreasonable. We should debate this for another month, and not just for the sake of debating it. People will look back on this Dáil in a number of years time and they will say, they were a petty, puny lot because they spent four or five hours debating something so fundamental that they did not seem to be aware of their own sovereign rights and obligations. In order that that does not happen we should do something about it now.

Deputy Haughey spent 22 years discussing the leadership and made no decision. The people could not get rid of him.

There was a great deal of time spent in 1972 on the question of our accession to the EC, advocated so strongly by Deputy O'Kennedy, the Fianna Fáil Party and the Fine Gael Party. They went to very considerable pains to bring this country into the EC. They twist this way and that way now, many years later——

The Deputy should not talk of twisting. He is on a continuous twist at present.

Order, please.

They have twisted and turned in the course of this debate, conveniently ignoring that they were key instrumentalists in bringing us down that European road which brought us to the present position. The Labour Party and others campaigned against our entry to the EC. Many people outside might concede now that the prognosis that we saw emanating from our entry to the EC was a well judged one. The ills and serious economic problems of the country have flowed from our entry to the EC. If we had opted then to stay out — at that time it was a very real option — the economic development and the course——

The Deputy is probably a little bit away from the amendment, both in time and in material.

I do not accept that. I am putting the Single European Act into context with the development of the EC at present. I have to relate that to the position as it emanated since 1972. That is a reasonable thing to do.

If the Deputy is leading up to that then it is all right.

The country is in its present position because we joined the EC. So many of our traditional industries have gone by the board as a result of our entry to the EC. Our entry to the EC contributed in a very large and substantial measure to unemployment. Is there any going back now? Are we in a position now to say to the other 11 countries in the EC, whatever our wishes on the matter might be as far as the Single European Act is concerned, that they have decided to go in one direction and we will now veer off and do what we could or should have done in 1972? This is not 1972; it is 1986 and the position is very different. Our food policy and our agricultural position would have been very different if we had stayed outside the EC in 1972. The economic development has proceeded along certain lines and that cannot be denied. There can be no going back. The industries that have gone cannot be recalled. We have to face up to the position we are in now. Can we go sideways or backwards on this? I think not.

We have to face up to the fact that the establishment of the internal market in 1992 is very serious. I am very fearful of what it may involve for us in terms of our economy. What is the point in the Minister referring to the declaration in Article 8 A? He said that the provision for setting the date of 31 December 1992 does not create an automatic legal effect. What is the point in introducing that? It means that there is no automatic provision that,ipso facto, on 31 December 1992 the internal market will come into operation by its own accord. This declaration says it does not mean that. That does not help. Of course it does not operate ipso facto. It has to be done. As Deputy O'Kennedy stated, and it is a fair point, we are nonetheless obligated to bring it in by 31 December 1992, be it automatic or not. If we fail to do that we are in trouble in an EC context. In 1992, the internal market, whether it is automatic, a compulsion of the EC court or whatever compulsory procedures are laid down in the context of the Treaty, will come into operation. I do not see the point in introducing that unless the Minister is saying that there is some method under which we can defer the internal market coming into operation either indefinitely or for a further length of time. If that was the position, that would be different and I would accept it. But that is not the case. We should face up to the fact that the internal market will come into operation in 1992. I have considerable fears as to what the effects of it will be on our economy, our employment, our financial position and the general development of the country.

The contribution made by Deputy Taylor has more to do with his own internal market ambitions than with the internal market of the European Community. I do not think anybody can argue that being outside the biggest economic bloc in the world could be better for a small trading nation like Ireland than being inside that bloc. That is absolute nonsense. I do not think even Deputy Taylor believes that.

In regard to amendments Nos. 1 and 3 of section 1, I cannot understand why Deputies are concerned only with articles 40 to 44 of the Constitution. Does that not indicate, if we were to agree to such an amendment, that the rest of the Constitution — Articles 1 to 40 and Articles 44 on — would be of no consequence, that somehow they could be overridden or that this House would approve of their being interfered with? There are other Articles in the Constitution which are equally as important. You cannot take one section of the Constitution and say it is more important than another section. We must be clear in what we are doing. We are passing legislation. This House has no right to pass any legislation which amends the Constitution. Therefore, we have no right or duty to pass any section or legislation which would uphold only certain parts of the Constitution. The Constitution stands on its own. It does not require the approval of this House or any comment from this House. It belongs to the people and not to the Parliament. It can be amended only by way of referendum after a Bill is passed through this House.

We have an obligation to ensure that our laws are consistent with the Constitution.

To take Deputy O'Kennedy's point, there is a strong indication that the intention in the amendment is to have this law in keeping with Articles 40 to 44 and not with the other Articles. That is a lot of nonsense. The House does not have the right to abrogate any Article of the Constitution; that function belongs to the people. But, the House has the right, if we are foolish enough, to dilute the powers of the House which are not subject to the Constitution.

I note that the Explanatory Memorandum accompanying the Bill refers to changes in the Treaty, including the incorporation of new procedures designed to enhance the role of the European Parliament in the Community's decision-making process. I would like to get an assurance from the Minister — leaving aside the Constitution which as far as I am concerned is sacrosanct and cannot be interfered with by the House — that the powers of the House not affected by the Constitution will not be diluted by the Billvis-á-vis the powers of the European Parliament. If we are serious about the European Parliament we will have to give that institution powers at some stage but I do not believe that the way to do it is to insert a small section in the Bill. Will the Minister agree that the section does not interfere with the sovereignty of the House or the powers which by tradition have become its rights?

The Minister of State some time ago told the House that instances where majority decisions would operate were being widened and that the veto would remain. That would lead one to believe that if more matters are decided on a majority decision procedure the veto will not be used as frequently. The Taoiseach told us last night that the Single European Act was required because of the abuse of the veto and that what we were proposing to do in the Single European Act is to make obligatory what heretofore was done voluntarily by agreement. What in hell do we want it for at all bearing in mind what the Taoiseach said last night? Is that as porous as some other statements by the Taoiseach in the House and outside? If we need to make obligatory what we have been doing voluntarily why is the time of the House being wasted? Why has the time of the Heads of State been wasted? What is the reason for the Summit Conferences, Fontainebleau, Milan, Stuttgart and other cities? Why were they jazzing about sorting out the operation in Europe?

What is dangerous underlying that, something the Taoiseach did not refer to, is that because we agreed to certain matters before it does not follow that agreement was reached without the members of the Community getting their say in and shaping policies in a way acceptable to them. That is what consensus was about and that is why the veto was seldom used by us though abused by others.

Certainly, we could not be accused of having abused the veto, being the craven lot we are, suffering from a weighty inferiority complex as part of our national heritage. We have conformed; we are the conventionalists and the good Europeans. The Government, and previous Governments, in their approach to European matters dealt with them by screaming at home to get the headlines but conceding in Europe if the weight was heavy enough. We did not use the veto but while it exists we still have the possibility that our complex might lessen, that our feeling of inferiority will diminish and that somewhere some time some of the young Members in the House will stand up and assert themselves on behalf of our people, something we have not been doing. We have suffered losses since we joined the Community because we did not stand up. That is an irrefutable fact, to our great detriment. Let us think of what will happen in the future after we hand over the decision-making process in regard to everything concerning the country, our economic progress and so on. It will be decided by a Commission dominated by the major countries in Europe. The people who pay the piper are now calling the tune and we are rushing in, like before, to say, "yes, we will put this through before 1 January". How many other countries have passed similar legislation?

All of them.

They have not.

They will all have it through by 31 December.

They have not passed similar legislation. If we do not pass the Bill we will be showing that we have grown out of our inferiority complex. The Taoiseach last night said that any Member who disagreed with what the Government are doing will be displaying the historical traditional inferiority complex of our race. I take the opposite view. It may be stupid but my view is that those who stand against the head will not be displaying inferiority but rather confidence and strength in themselves. We need that confidence like we never needed it before. We should tell other member states that this is not on, that we cannot agree to it. We should tell them that if they need this badly they should redress certain things. The Government should have done that before they asked the Parliament to give them a right that is ours now but will never be again. There is much that has to be redressed, so much that has to be cleaned up, things that are vital to us, including our economic wellbeing in the future.

It will be disastrous if we allow this thing to go through without correcting the things that have been going wrong for a long time, due to our inferiority complex. We entered the Community freely and by a vast majority, excluding the Labour Party whose speakers hope to adjust now. All of us in all the parties, some of us more than others, have our drones and bees, and you would never know whether it was the drones or the bees, which is which, and which is the worst: there were those who worked for it and those who did not, those who gave just lip service to it, but the referendum was carried on the clear understanding that whatever the final doubts might be, and there were many for those of us who were going for a "yes" vote at the time, there would be benefits for us. I remember a balance sheet for and against entry and it was as close as this: if the UK went in could we stay out? If we stayed out and they went in could we stay out, survive and progress in the future? The question was could we survive if we did not join this great new Community, this big new market that promised us so much then but has failed to deliver since. My doubts were allayed by the belief that if it came to the crunch, and forgetting about our national inferiority complex, we could use the veto, and by becoming bloody nuisances we could get our just dues. What we got was a dismantling of every industry that had been built up during the years under protective tariffs. As Deputy Taylor has said, they have been wiped out. That is the price we have paid, but we have not been paid a price even through the CAP and all that goes with it.

When we went into the Community there was no doubt that we were going into a huge market which was undersupplied in dairy produce and beef. Today they are talking about butter mountains and milk lakes. When we went in they did not have enough. Unfortunately, we did not supply it all since. We made little contribution to the overall surpluses that have since developed. But the wise boys in the better off countries have taken advantage of the CAP that is weighing down the Community. It is being used by those countries: in the Parliament and through the Commission, and through their national parliaments they have been crying that in the Community we can no longer suffer the cost of the CAP.

We are all little farmers in Ireland. One of the mistakes our people in Europe make is to think of our farmers being big if they had 100 acres and 100 cows. All our farmers are small in the European context. We have allowed ourselves to be ripped off. We have compromised into milk quotas and we are being threatened with beef quotas and cereal quotas. At the same time, all of this is pouring in from North America at zero rate tax for the benefit of the multinationals who have set up herds of milch cows, as many as 3,000 in each herd, without owning an acre of land.

That is what we have allowed ourselves to get into. We have been big in Europe, we have been reasonable, we have agreed. I am not from milk country but I voted against on every occasion when there was talk of milk quotas. I fought for what might have been better if we had got them, tiered prices, in order to preserve the small farmers of Europe, to give them all a fair way of living and not to give it to the big, the rich, the better off farmers and ranchers who have been given a licence to continue to rip us off. All this has happened despite Article 29 of the Treaty of Rome which gave agriculture a special place.

How has this been handled by us? Our inferiority complex has dragged us down to a point when we may well become worse off in the near future than we were before we went into the Community. In the meantime, as Deputy Taylor said, many of our industries are gone. Only ten years after we joined, 70 per cent of what has been our industrial workforce in 1973 had gone from those industries. We were paying the price and yet we were being apologetic for existing in Europe. We do not owe them anything and we are not satisfied with the platitudes in the Preamble and the explanations we have been given about the Regional Fund and its benefits to us in the future and about the social fund being of such advantage to us. We do not want dole from Europe. We want a fair deal and we want the dole mitigated and got rid of.

The Tánaiste last night appeared to be a very naive man — I did not think he was. He made a statement which is not just untrue but misleading to a strange degree. He said:

In our approach to the Single European Act negotiations the Government were very conscious, however, that despite the Community's efforts the gap between the more prosperous central regions and the periphery had not narrowed appreciably since 1973.

He must have been in cloud cuckooland. The fact is that it has disimproved vastly since 1973. Relatively speaking, we are far worse off todayvis-á-vis Germany than we were in 1973, yet there goes the poor man who leads the Labour badly, the Tánaiste, second in command to the Taoiseach, saying that “the gap between the more prosperous central regions and the periphery had not narrowed appreciably since 1973.” It must have been the Taoiseach who told him that one.

It has expanded appreciably.

What the Tánaiste said last night agrees with what Deputy Blaney has just read.

He said the exact opposite.

He said "had not narrowed".

The truth is that it has broadened and widened.

Deputy Blaney, without those interruptions.

Just for the benefit of Deputy Prendergast and others who might rely on his interpretation, I will read the quotation again. It is: "The gap between the more prosperous, central regions and the periphery had not narrowed appreciably." That suggests that it had narrowed somewhat.

What he said here last evening is what Deputy Blaney is saying.

Would Deputy Prendergast please resume his seat?

There is no man clearer than Deputy Blaney. The Deputy should not try to misinterpret him.

I only wish he would say the sort of things that I say but he does not. I shall continue to quote what he had to say:

In our approach to the Single European Act negotiations, the Government were very conscious, however, that — despite the Community's efforts — the gap between the more prosperous central regions and the periphery had not narrowed appreciably since 1973...

The clear implication being that they had narrowed somewhat. The fact is that they have widened the gap. That is the point I was making.

On a point of order, I hate to disagree with the very fine Second Stage speech being made by Deputy Blaney. I listened to him in 1972——

It is not a Second Stage speech. We are on section 1, dealing with amendments Nos. 1 and 3 to that section.

We should adhere to the amendments before the House and discuss them. If we are to continue at this rate we will not have disposed of the few amendments before the vote takes place this evening.

We are on section 1, dealing with amendments Nos. 1 and 3 in connection with that section. Would Deputy Dowling please resume his seat?

I appreciate what it is like to have to sit and listen. At least Deputy Dowling is entitled to rise, I was not, I was here six hours last evening and I was not allowed to speak at all. That is why I have to say so much this evening.

(Interruptions.)

At least Deputy Dowling knows he can rise here. I do not. Deputy Taylor said that Labour did not want to join the Community. That is not news to me. All I would say to him in that event is: why support this Bill because what they were objecting to in 1972 is being added to? Therefore they should be with us this evening to defeat the God damn thing and put it out of pain until we get things sorted out.

Deputy Blaney should not forget that this is 1986 and the country is in a very different situation now compared with then.

(Interruptions.)

Deputies, could we have order, please?

I say that seriously to Deputy Taylor because I appreciate his viewpoint then and now. I do not appreciate his mode of deduction in the meantime. Nor do I appreciate what he has said just now — that time has moved on, this is 1986, and the situation is different from that of 1972. I quite agree with him. That is why I want to see this Bill not passed, so that we do not adopt the Single European Act until we have straightened out all the corners and bends on the wrong road we took since 1972. If we did that, then we could come back and talk about it, agreeably together, and to the benefit of the country.

——and renegotiate the Treaty of Rome.

What is happening here is that we are giving the authority to what will become the twelve wise men to rehash the Treaty of Rome, to add to it or take from it. Yet under the Constitution we do not have the competence or authority of the people to give that right to anybody. It should be remembered that they did not give it to us in 1972. To those who would make the point, that we have made various changes since, I would say that any changes effected since were done under the existing code which meant that one got agreement and unanimity or one did not effect the change. That meant that we had a voice equal to the voice of any other in the implementation of any such changes. Henceforth we will not have such a voice. That is what I object to. That is what I believe to be totally dangerous and which should not be considered until we have sorted out the problems obtaining within the Community at present.

In deference to Deputy Dowling who has run out of patience much quicker than I did last evening, I will cease for the moment.

I am not sure whether Deputy Blaney was suggesting that we should leave the EC. If he is not suggesting that, then his argument would suggest that that is what he would want.

Deputy Blaney made two major points, one regarding the effect on industries here of our joining the Community, referring to the number that have gone to the wall. I put it to Deputy Blaney that, irrespective of our membership of the EC, those industries would have choked themselves because many of them were archaic, old fashioned, badly-managed and were coming to the end of their life-cycle one way or the other.

I did not hear that last bit.

Deputy Coogan said that they would have choked themselves anyway.

I said that, in many cases, those industries were archaic and reaching the end of their life-cycle.

I thought the Deputy was talking about the régime coming to the end of its life-cycle.

No, I can assure Deputy Blaney that we are not coming to the end of our tether, nor are we archaic. Mind you the Deputy described himself as being archaic in as much as he said he did not represent the people any longer.

Deputy Blaney spoke also about the disparity between the richer and poorer areas of the Community and maintained that that gap was widening. I might draw the Deputy's attention to the Single European Act where, under the heading of "Economic and Social Cohesion", there is a commitment to narrow that gap. If the Deputy is interested in narrowing that gap, then he should support the Bill.

I might turn now to Deputy O'Kennedy's contribution. He said here that he had little or no respect for our Attorney General. It appears to me that on that side of the House our Judiciary have been insulted both this morning and afternoon. If Deputy O'Kennedy gives credit to experience within the judicial system then I might draw his attention to Pierre Pescatore, who, as the Deputy will know, is a former Justice of the European Court and a protagonist of the Single European Act, an eminent diplomat. He has said that the Single European Act — unlike what Deputy O'Kennedy said — constitutes a moderate and insignificant change from the Treaty of Rome. If Deputy O'Kennedy does respect silk and the judicial system generally, he should appreciate that remark.

The Deputy could quote 20 other figures which would give the other view.

Indeed, I could. Deputy O'Kennedy said also that this debate was too little, too late. An opportunity for debate was available to Deputy O'Kennedy's colleague Deputy Gerry Collins, who, as chairman of the Joint Committee on Secondary Legislation of the EC, could have demanded a report at any time which would have afforded an opportunity to have had this debate held much earlier.

Another aspect of this debate has been the implied insult to the contribution of the Government in bringing forward the Single European Act. It should be remembered that the cohesion aspect was subject to the beck and call of this Government, which has been totally under estimated and ignored by the Opposition. Perhaps Deputy Collins might reply to the fact that there was inadequate debate on the matter when he had opportunity to bring the matter forward for such discussion.

I am glad to have an opportunity of making a few comments on the two amendments before the House. Having listened to Deputy Blaney and others on the opposite side, one would be of the opinion that they were totally opposed to our entry into the EC. Yet they are now extremely anxious that we withdraw our membership.

That is totally untrue. We voted for it last evening.

They would appear to be the arguments being advanced by the Opposition. They did not vote for it; they voted against it. They would like to give the impression that they were voting for it.

We voted for it.

The Opposition would like to give the impression that they are for and against at the same time.

Nobody has yet examined what level of advancement would have taken place here had we not joined in the first place. It should be remembered that we are a small nation, with a small population, and that there is a 320 million market in Europe we must exploit. If we are not prepared to advance in the context of that wider market then inevitably we must go backwards.

I want to revert to the Single European Act around which a great measure of confusion exists created by politicians and all sorts of interests, vested and otherwise, outside the House. The same people were there in 1972 as are there now.

The question of neutrality will come up later. Deputy Treacy and Deputy Collins should be satisfied with the explanation given by the Minister and the Minister of State in regard to Article 36 and the protection that it affords us. I do not know what value this amendment would have or how it could become part of the Treaty. Would it mean a renegotiation of the Treaty? A renegotiation does not appear to be possible when all the other member states at this stage have signed that declaration.

The Deputy should know that the amendment would become part of our domestic law. That is what it is all about.

I await an explanation on that.

I have made my case on that.

I am not happy that that is so.

It can be nothing but that.

The Minister will tell the House whether the amendment as proposed if accepted will mean renegotiation. I am happy that there is no need for it. If this Act were never to be put into effect the situation would be as we enacted it in 1972 and the same would apply to social issues about which Deputy Treacy expressed fears. I share his views and as far as I am aware every Member of this House shares these views but I do not share the concern that we are not being properly protected under this Act in this regard. I await further elucidation and further explanation on that single issue and I ask the Minister to clarify it.

There are other important issues that we would like to enter upon in connection with this Act and perhaps we could expand on them and explain them in the time allowed to us rather than going into minute matters that are totally irrelevant. All right, I accept Deputy Blaney's position. He was precluded from speaking last night on Second Stage. We were all equally precluded from making a speech on Second Stage as we would have liked to do. The manner in which Second Stage speeches are conducted in this House leaves a great deal to be desired.

That is not a matter for Deputy Dowling.

I will be very brief. I remember well at the time of our entry, studying, going to Brussels and having discussions as a result of which, like other people I wondered at the wisdom or otherwise of our entry into the Community. On balance I thought it a wise thing and in retrospect I can see that it was a wise decision. I disagree with my colleague, Deputy Taylor, who, wilfully or otherwise, is confusing Fianna Fáil's present concern to protect the terms under which we entered with an effort by the Government of whom he is a part to have them changed. I know that at the time he and members of his party had misgivings about the terms under which we entered and now that it is obvious to everybody here that some of those are being put at risk surely he cannot honestly uphold his views here and vote for this.

Like Deputy Blaney, the Deputy is confusing 1972 with 1986.

Principles do not change over here.

Yes, but economic conditions change.

I will have to put a question mark behind the sincerity of the Deputy. He is arguing on the misgivings which we had prior to our entry. Even if they have been warranted, when the position has worsened he is going to vote for this. That is an illogicality the like of which I have not heard of here previously.

It is obvious to any of us who studied the terms under which we entered that we have other propositions now which I would describe as growths which occurred within the Community and which now, we are told, have ade facto position. We are being asked to give them a de jure position. I do not think we should do that because it has not been demonstrated to us that the growths that occurred were in accordance with the spirit of the terms under which we entered. Those in capsule, are the fears I have.

Naturally, like any other Irishman, if I felt that what is now being proposed was going to add to, safeguard and develop our interests in the Community, I would be as enthusiastic now as I was then but some of us feared at the time that the stronger powers with time would lose some of their idealism and would use us for their own good purposes. I say that we are reaching that point now. I have no doubt that in respect of security and other matters our position is now being impugned. That is why I have the fears I have.

I turn to the interventions of my colleagues, Deputy Taylor and Deputy Prendergast. If they thought it was such an unwelcome development so many years ago and if time has proven to them that they were right, surely they are given an opportunity now at least to salvage some little thing from what has occurred.

Whenever I hear anybody speaking about concern for my or the Labour Party's welfare I am reminded of Oliver Wendell Holmes when he said of somebody "the more he spoke of his honour the faster I counted the spoons". It is interesting to reflect that whenever the Labour Party are referred to by the Opposition we hear the term "the once proud Labour Party". I do not know when we ceased being proud. We have plenty to be proud of. "Is ar mhaithe leis féin a dhéanann an cat crónáin".

As somebody who was not given the opportunity to contribute to the Second Stage debate let me say that an artificial kind of syllogism is being introduced into this debate by some of the Fianna Fáil people, not deliberately, but they are mistaking the situation. For the record let me say that I am a very dedicated European and I am talking about from the Urals to McGillicuddy Reeks, from the Volga to the Shannon. An articial campaign is being mounted——

The road to Damascus.

——by the conservative Left, and we have a very conservative Left as well as a very conservative Right. Artificial arguments are being orchestrated. I got eight telephone calls one night, one of them at 11.40 p.m. from an elderly woman doctor who was at pains to impress upon me that I should not support this. From the way she spoke it was evident that she was anxious to go back to somebody who had been orchestrating these phone calls to indicate that at least she had spoken to me about this. That was an artificial campaign.

Whether we like it or not we are part of the mainstream of European history, past and future. We have no real place outside Europe. I am talking about the Europe of Glinka, Pushkin and Doestoevsky as well as that of Anatole France or anybody else who could be numbered among the greater writers in the western half of the world.

(Interruptions.)

When we talk about——

Will the Deputy get on to the amendment?

To come back to some of the points made by Fianna Fáil, I argued then that we had no real choice. When people talk, as Deputy Blaney talks, about the idyllic situation prior to our joining the Common Market, they conveniently forget that we were then part of the general agreement on trades and tariffs and that already under that arrangement we were beginning to lose our traditional industries under the force of competition. In my city we lost industries, clothing industries that were there for two centuries, and we lost the great food processing industry. This happened throughout Ireland and it was already in progress before we entered the Common Market. It was an inevitable process largely because of the failure of our home industrialists——

Sorry, a Leas-Cheann Comhairle, but this is very important. I am only replying to some of the points that were made.

It is amendments Nos. 1 and 3 with which we are dealing.

The failure of our industries at that time brings us up to our position within the Common Market. A lot of what we are hearing this evening is a regurgitation of the arguments that were made then but they should not be stifled for that reason. Some of the arguments being made in opposition are useful and it is to our benefit that they should be made now. As a nation we can be criticised for being like boy scouts in our approach to Europe. We should be willing but critical members of that Community. I do not know anybody here who is against the concept of a unified Europe. We all have reservations. I want to ask the Minister——

I was wondering when you would.

We are here as elected representatives to ask these questions. I take issue with Deputy Mitchell, one of the speakers here, who seemed to criticise the questions being asked relating to specific clarification by the Minister. We may know the answers but we want the official answers put on the record for the benefit of the people. I am speaking in particular about workers. We have been torpedoed at times by artificial arguments. There are two main concerns as to our ratifying the Single European Act——

Have you a question?

——one being the neutrality issue which can be overstated. It is supremely important and I am not undermining that. History will take care of that. Reykjavik is already talking about that and we will go beyond that. The real crunch for the Irish people is the economic argument. I am concerned, coming from the mid west region, where there are very many foreign industries giving worthwhile employment whether, if there is a harmonisation of corporation tax laws and that sort of thing, there will then be an inducement for foreign industries presently established here to move into mainland Europe? I predicted this ten years ago, and I can see it all around me since. There has been industrial devastation. The point I want to make is this——

A question, Deputy.

I am entitled to talk, the Chair did not interfere with other speakers.

(Interruptions.)

The great statement that has been made to us all the time when we asked constructive and critical questions has been that we are net beneficiaries since our entry. That may be so in a macro-economic sense but the subventions from Europe went, largely to the farming community. But, as Deputy Blaney pointed out, Europe is at present under siege. They are at it in England this very evening, trying to dismantle or reduce the CAP. The agricultural base here is dwindling and we could finish up in the worst——

I am entitled to ask for an answer on this but I want to lead up——

Ask a question, Deputy.

——to ask questions. The way the trend is moving this very evening in London, under the presidency of Britain is towards reducing the CAP and effectively reducing further our main industry which is agriculture. If that continues our agricultural base will be hopelessly diminished in a few years. At the same time we are not doing enough to protect our industries. We got £120 million this years for education and training——

A question, Deputy.

I have asked the question.

I did not hear it. You are talking so long I have lost the track of your question.

I have already asked the Minister if as a result of the harmonisation of tax laws, and that kind of thing in Europe, our foreign industries will have an incentive to pull out of Ireland, a move which would devastate us. We are bad enough at the moment without that. That is my main concern.

Why we should support this is a good argumentative point. I see no logical alternative to supporting our position in Europe. Nobody really, believes that we should pull out of Europe, although that is not being said, but I agree with the Opposition speakers. The truth is the truth, no matter who says it. We should be far more critical and we should fight our corner more. The Greeks got away with it. The French farmers can blockade the streets of Paris anytime it suits them, and so on. There are hidden subventions throughout Europe at the present time. Countries will tell us that under existing EC legislation we cannot give grants to subsidise industry but at the same time they are building railway lines right into the huge factories. They are giving hidden subventions and hidden subsidies to industry on the European mainland, to devastate us. We know that for instance, the whole of the citrus fruit industry on the Mediterranean is controlled by the Mafia. We know that——

I am asking the Minister for whom I have the greatest respect as he has been one of the most distinguished of our Foreign Ministers, to give us an assurance that we will retain the right in common with——

Is this another question?

I will finish on this. I do not want the Minister to have to keep getting up and sitting down all the time.

It is the longest question I have ever heard.

Can we put a case to the EC Commission that some specific economic protection arrangement would be devised to protect the north west frontier of the Common Market, namely, Britain, Scotland, Wales and ourselves, such as was done for the Mediterranean countries? I had the good fortune in conjunction with the Tánaiste, the Chairman of the Labour Party, and the Minister for Foreign Affairs, to meet our counterparts in the British Labour Party here last week. We discussed at length the developments in Northern Ireland and we got various satisfactory assurances but — I am finishing on this——

That is the fourth time you have told me you are finishing.

In principle they agreed with us that Britain and Ireland together should make a very strong case for some extra consideration for the north west frontiers of Western Europe. If we do not do that we will be dragged into the centre. It is the law of economics. We know that so far the EC is hopelessly short on what it has done for the peripheral regions. They can write all the books or treaties they like, but there is an inexorable order of economics that is destroying the peripheral regions. They are giving us back dole money and training but what we want is employment. I am saying that in a constructive way. I am not against the idea of going in, but we should fight more and not go in in a boy scout way. I am not accusing the Minister alone. As a nation, when Fianna Fáil were in power, the same criticism applied. We have been artificially diverted by the reference to neutrality. I am not underestimating the huge importance of neutrality but our partners in Europe should be made aware that while every single political party in this country are willing to play their part in Europe, they are deeply worried about the adverse economic portents. We should thus make infinitely much greater headway for the benefit of all our people. Now I would like an answer to my question.

To which question? There were ten questions.

The arrangements we have today will continue to the end of the century and nothing in this will interfere with them.

Until the end of the century?

That is the answer to your question, Deputy.

Does that mean that existing foreign industries will not be induced to leave us?

Anybody listening on the intercom to the speech we have just heard from Deputy Prendergast would readily admit that Deputy Prendergast was going to support the amendment either in my name or that in the name of Deputy Treacy.

Not at all. That is like saying that a table has four legs and a horse has four legs.

The chair has four legs and will the Deputy sit down.

That is a completely factitious statement on the part of an experienced man. That is a totally ridiculous assumption.

My patience is beginning to wear out.

I have the greatest respect for a fellow countyman——

I wish you had the greatest respect for the Chair.

I appreciate the personal respect the Labour Deputy from the city of Limerick has for me but on the political respect and appreciation he has for my case there are differences. We respect each other's differences. I welcomed most of his comments over the last 15 to 20 minutes. During the course of my speech on Second Stage, I was at great pains to rebut allegations which were made yesterday and the day before and which were made again this evening by Deputy Dowling, Deputy Coogan and Deputy Molony, that those who criticise are not necessarily voting against the principle.

I accept that.

My party did not vote against the Single European Act but that did not mean or should not mean that we cannot comment on what is going on, that we cannot say that they should have done a better job, that we cannot say we have not had sufficient protection in the different areas and I do not want to repeat them because they are more appropriate on Second Stage. In particular, I am delighted that Deputy Prendergast has said that, because last night the Deputy's own leader, our other good friend from the south-west, Deputy Spring, said that this increased provision for majority voting has been singled out for criticism by those who wish to reject the Single European Act. He told us in very simple English that those who criticise majority voting were against the Act.

Some of those.

I am giving you exactly what is in the official script handed out by the Tánaiste last night.

The Tánaiste would not question the bona fides of the Fianna Fáil Party.

I am pleased to note that the Deputy agrees throughly with my attitude and that of my party and others.

But the truth cannot contradict itself.

Just try to hold yourself. The situation quite clearly is that whereas I welcome your concern about many facets which are going to be changed by what is involved in the Single European Act, I say to you that there is only one way now that you can make sure that what you are concerned about can be safeguarded. As I said to you much earlier on this evening, you do not have to depend on just the word of the Minister of State who answered your particular question or the Minister or any individual, I do not care who he is, or any Government. You do not have to depend on that word as you know can be interpreted in any way they like during the course of a debate thereafter.

Deputy Prendergast can come back to me a little bit extra in my argument and I know he is mightly influenced by it. He has to be because the logic he expounded makes the argument for me. He can support our amendment and it will not in any way — I am sorry that Deputy Dowling has gone from the House — interfere with us ratifying the Single European Act. It does not interfere with it. It will not cause the Deputy any concern nor, had he been in this House to listen to the arguments over the last two days, would he have voted against our amendments last night.

The amendment in my name and that in the name of Deputy Treacy will not in any way interfere with what the Government's intentions are with regard to the Single European Act but it will, if effected, protect the type of case which we have made and which he is sincerely concerned about. I thank him for supporting us and I invite him to come back one more step. I am sure that when I get the opportunity in County Limerick to explain his position to those he will depend on to ensure his return to this House — I hope he does — I am sure they will understand him and be gracious to him with their support.

I am satisfied with the assurances I received from the elected spokesman of the Government.

I am satisfied that you are satisfied. Would you resume your seat. Deputy? Deputy Taylor and then Deputy Treacy.

There is an amendment in my name.

I fail to see the purpose for which Deputy Collins's amendment is put down. It does not seem to have much realism because the amendment says that nothing in the Act shall operate so as to limit or qualify the fundamental rights of the citizen as guaranteed and protected by Articles 40 to 44 of the Constitution. Let me put it this way. I ask this as a rhetorical question. If there was something in this Act which was contrary to the Constitution it would be unconstitutional and, therefore, invalid. Quite frankly, I do not see that the amendment has anything to recommend it other than perhaps as a debating point. Nothing could be put in this Act that would be contrary to the Constitution or inconsistent with the Constitution and retain its validity. It wouldipso facto be void. Therefore, the amendment is, quite frankly, a meaningless one.

Deputy Tunney put it to me that here is a situation where I and my party opposed our entry into the EC in 1972 and consequently he thought it would be logical that I would oppose the Single European Act in 1986. It is a strange proposition to put to me. It rather suggests that the country like the Fianna Fáil Party has fossilised between 1972 and 1986. I am sorry he has left the House because I would like to point out to him that things are very different in the country in 1986 than they were in 1972.

In 1972, my party took the view, having considered it very carefully, that the country as a separate entity outside the EC would have been a viable entity and could have got by economically by means of a Treaty of Association with the EC, which you will remember was the other aspect which was seriously considered at that time. Many other countries adopted that proposition and seemed to have got by not all that badly. The country in the referendum took a different view. The party accepted that decision and went along with it. There was nothing else we could do about it. I do not think that overall out participation in the EC has done very much for us.

We knew of course and it was conceded then that many of our industries would be put at serious risk and would go under on account of our entry and the competition within Europe we would not be able to cope with. We were told that on the other side of the coin the agricultural end would compensate for that; so great would be the influx on the agricultural side that it would more than balance out the loss of industries and the increase in food prices etc. As I recall it, things for the first couple of years were happy enough in the agricultural sector in the EC but that gloss was not long fading away. In the meantime industries were lost and they cannot be recalled. I am concerned about the prospect of an internal market. I am disappointed that the documentation did not deal in more detail with the economic aspect and what the implications of it will be in 1992 which will come upon us all too quickly. It is not that far away. The explanatory guide was produced to explain the political implications, the voting and so on. I am disappointed it did not give a forecast or prognosis on how the country will be in 1992. There is only one sentence that deals with that. On page 35 it states:

The improved trading conditions within the Community which will result from the Single Act should be of considerable potential benefit to our exporters.

I presume "trading conditions" means the internal market. Note the words "should be", words that do not denote a tremendous degree of confidence. It does not state "will be" or "probably will be" but "should be". It puts the matter in some doubt. What will it mean for employment? In any event, it only deals with one side of the coin.

If the internal market will open up some markets for our exporters it must also open up our market here for their exporters and that has not been dealt with or analysed. I do not see any forecast made or estimate given of what that will give rise to on balance. How many jobs will be gained or lost? What are the implications for the agricultural sector? One would be happier if the Departments involved had given a forecast on how they see it developing. I am genuinely fearful of the outcome.

We faced a serious position in our development between 1972 and 1986. How will it be from 1992 onwards? What will we be faced with then? Many of our industries are foreign owned. Have any calculations been done on what their operations are likely to be in 1992 with the development of the internal market? Will there be compelling reasons for them to retain their industries here or will there be compelling reasons which will induce them to move elsewhere? Many of our industries and firms are threatened every day. We have seen a new development under the old system in relation to record companies. A new emporium which is foreign owned has set up here. It will deal a serious blow to many small companies.

Has the concept of an internal market been thought through? Where are the facts and the figures? Is all that is to be written on it simply "improved trading conditions should be of considerable benefit to our exporters"? I am very concerned about this. There must have been some studies done on this. Has the Minister any information on such studies?

I am very pleased that the amendments before the House have been dealt with at some length and in great depth, a much better procedure than the Second Stage of the Bill which has been passed. Many of us wanted to make a long contribution but failed to get in on the debate. Democracy is not served by denying so many Members of the House the right to speak on great national matters of this kind.

As regards my colleague Deputy Prendergast and others who wish to seek assurances that nothing contained in the Act will interfere with the rights and provisions contained in our Constitution, naturally they look to the Minister for an assurance on these lines. I respect the Minister for Foreign Affairs. He is a man of high integrity and great ability. I have admired him tremendously in respect of the part he has played in upholding Ireland's interests throughout the world in recent years and likewise the Minister of State who joined him in the Department in recent times. However, I am too long in the House to rely on the word of any Minister in respect of assurances of the kind demanded by Members on this issue. Ministers may give assurances and make promises but unless we lay down in law the regulations in respect of matters of this kind then they may be controverted.

Ministers will come and go. Governments will come and go. The indications are that this Government may be on the way out and go sooner rather than later. I say to my colleagues who are looking for assurances to copperfasten what is contained in the Constitution in relation to family law, marriage, divorce, abortion and the safeguarding of the rights of the unborn, there is no more effective way of ensuring that a coach-and-four is not driven through these sections of the Constitution than by adopting the amendments before us. That is the sure and certain way that the Irish people will know that these Articles in our Constitution are copperfastened and may not be interfered with, compromised or deviated from by any law, any regulation emanating from Europe in the years to come. By the adoption of this Single European Act, every Member of this House will accept that we are all more vulnerable as a result, vulnerable in respect of sovereignty, in respects of neutrality, in all these matters.

Comments have been made as to consistency in respect of whether we are for or against the Common Market. I opposed vigorously Ireland's entry into the Common Market as a then member of the Labour Party. I foretold that it would have the most serious repercussions on our people, that it would destroy our industry, that industrial graveyards would result and hundreds of thousands of Irish men and women would lie dead on the economic battlefield. That has happened. Our agricultural sector is now being seriously undermined. There are people in this House and in this country who are genuinely concerned as to the benefits accruing to us in Europe now and in the future. The facts are that in respect of our entry into the Common Market we in this country took a terrible beating. As a result of our years of membership, we have seen a mountain of butter, a milk lake, a vast mountain of beef and, worst of all, we have seen a vast mountain of human beings, a vast mountain of unemployment, hardly ever known before in Europe and the highest incidence and percentage of that unemployment is the Irish figure. We have very little to be proud of in respect of what has happened here and we have a hell of a lot — I agree with Deputy Blaney — to be ashamed of.

I have no wish to deviate but in respect of the word "neutrality" I have been frankly appalled by the denigration of the principle of neutrality which I have heard from the other side of the House. I wondered last night, having heard the vitriol which was happened upon the whole principle of neutrality, its worthlessness now, in the past and in the future, how men who believe like that could traipse through the lobby last night and allege to maintain it.

Neutrality is not involved in it.

There are many people who disagree with the Deputy there.

Let the Deputy think of the £900 million we will get.

No regard was had to the fact that neutrality saved our people from death and destruction in the last Great War and to the role we had to play for world peace at large. This was being said and was happening, ironically so to speak, at a time when one of our soldiers was being buried, who had been tragically killed in the Lebanon. At this time I was listening to the worst type of denigratory remarks being heaped on the whole principle of neutrality and on those of us who sought to support and maintain it in this House. That is why I came to the very strong conclusion that the honourable thing to do would be to put these issues to the people. I admire the Tánaiste, and hope he will pursue the matter he mentioned here last night in respect of the neutrality issue, that it should be referred to the people by way of referendum.

I hope that when the Minister for Foreign Affairs comes to reply, he will honestly admit that it is not within his competence to give categorical assurances that our Constitution will remain sacrosanct and that these aspects of our Constitution, especially in respect of family law with which we are concerned, will not be eroded or attacked in the years to come. I contend that the matter is of such importance that the sincere and effective manner in which to deal with this issue is to adopt the amendments here before us tonight. That will allay any anxiety or doubt in respect of this matter now and in the future.

In a sense, a Committee Stage debate is an occasion for question and answer. That is what it should be. In particular this debate should be an occasion for question and answer. Because of the short timescale, people understandably have felt obliged to say today what they were not in a position to say yesterday. I want to ask one precise question and I am sure the Minister, who has negotiated this matter on our behalf, will give me an answer. If not, that raises some issues which I shall want to pursue.

Regarding section 1, would the Minister indicate why it is that only limited sections of the Final Act we are adopting are referred to as being incorporated into our domestic law by way of amendment to the original European Communities Act? It mentions the following provisions of the Single European Act: Article 3 (1), Title II, Article 31 and 32 and, so far as they relate to the said Article 3 and the said Title II and the said Articles 31 and 32, Articles 33 and 34.

Clearly there is one major omission and there are many others. The one major omission from what is being incorporated into the European Communities Act of 1972 is Title III, which deals almost exclusively with political co-operation. Perhaps the Minister could indicate at this point why that is not being referred to in the amendment.

Because it is not going into any of the Treaties of Rome or into domestic legislation. It is standing separate.

Why is that the case?

Because it deals with political co-operation. This Bill deals with an amendment to our legislation, to amend the Treaties of Rome.

The Minister has answered my question and I think has exposed the anxiety we have. The original Treaty of Rome, the original Treaty of Accession, has no reference whatever to political co-operation. It is not part of the legal international obligations we have, not part of what we adhered to, or what the Irish people ratified by referendum. Because it is not in the original Treaty of Accession, the occasion to add to the Treaty of Accession does not arise. It is not part of the competence of the original Treaty, as the Minister has acknowledged now. We are moving into an area in this political co-operation in Title III that was not envisaged, is not embraced, is not covered in the original Treaty of Accession to the European Community and is not covered in the original Treaty of Rome. All that we have been discussing in this House and worrying about, both inside and outside this House, namely the areas of political co-operation which impinge particularly on security are now acknowledged belatedly by the Minister to be a separate issue. He may not recognise the extent of what he is acknowledging, that it is a major addition to the Treaty of Accession, the referendum or the Treaty of Rome. So much for the statement of the Minister of State that these are minor additions to the development of the European Community.

It will not be in the Treaty but it will be in the Act.

Did Members hear the Minister's remark? He said it will not go into the Treaty which we will ratify but that it will be in the Act.

That is a extraordinary admission, that we are prepared to ratify, at international level, something which involves security obligations and which incorporates a new role to the European Community. The public were not asked to consider this in the Treaty of Accession. We know what we signed in the Treaty of Accession. It basically dealt with economic matters with the option of moving towards political matters. The people ratified it on that basis and that is why we joined the Community. However, a new element is being introduced to the Community. The Act and its titles, especially Title III relates to formal procedures for political co-operation and certain references to security, but we are not being allowed to debated it even though it was not in the original Act. It is an extraordinary omission by the Government.

Was the Minister, when engaging in these negotiations, aware of the fact that what he was proposing to do in adopting this Act was to ratify it on our behalf. He did not consider consulting the people as happened in relation to the original Act. He said he would ratify a new provision regarding political co-operation towards security in certain areas to which I referred. I do not wish to overstate or to understate, just to give the facts. A Minister of a sovereign Government should not adopt such a position. The Minister should now make it clear to the people that the referendum allowed the Government to add something new to the Act but that they or the Dáil will not be asked to change the terms. In case the Minister does not see the implications I will tell him what he is ratifying on our behalf without consulting us. Political co-operation shall be governed by Title III which the Minister is ratifying without consulting us. He does not have the right to do this; indeed no Minister has such a right. The Minister is also ratifying the provision that the high contracting parties shall consider closer co-operation on questions of European security and will contribute in an essential way to the development of a European identity in external policy matters. They are ready to co-ordinate their decisions more closely on the political and economic aspects of security. The Minister is determined to maintain technological and industrial conditions necessary for collective security.

I am a convinced European which obliges me to be frank, honest and confident — as Deputy Blaney said — in criticisms of what has been done. The worries of the people have not been incorporated in this legislation. This is rubberstamping the Act. It is sad to think that these amendments will not make the slightest difference to the Act. I do not know what went on at the negotiations or how the Minister conducted them but, from his performance during the debate and his apparent failure to comprehend the issues, I cannot say that I have much confidence in his ability to understand what was going on. It certainly does not indicate that our negotiations were in safe hands. These reservations should be written into the legislation, even at this eleventh hour.

Intentionally or otherwise, Deputy O'Kennedy completely misunderstands the proceedings——

I directed my questions to the Minister.

Deputy O'Kennedy will have to restrain himself, he asked a number of serious questions and then interrupted the answers.

The difficulty is that ever since the Taoiseach pointed out some rash comments made by Deputy O'Kennedy in the past he has become very sensitive. His sensitivity is such that he apparently objects to other Members contributing. However, his sensitivity apparently does not require him to understand the procedure which was followed during the negotiations. Nor has it required him to inform himself of the procedure which this House adopted over the last two days. A number of issues came before the House for decision last night. There was first a motion in the name of the Minister for Foreign Affairs inviting the House to ratify the Single European Act. The House ratified that Act last night although Deputy O'Kennedy charged that the Minister had ratified it. It would be an extraordinary error for any Member of the House to believe that Ministers ratify international treaties. For someone who boasted that he had practised law for 12 years before he took silk it is an even more extraordinary error.

(Interruptions.)

Order, please.

The entirety of the Single European Act, its merits, wisdom and demerits came up for judgement last night. The Act was voted on and Dáil Éireann chose to ratify it. The Dáil also gave a Second Reading to the Bill before us and we are now on Committee Stage. The Bill is concerned with making amendments to the legislation of the European Community in 1972 and subsequently amended on the various occasions to which we referred. It is concerned only with those aspects of the Single European Act contained within the treaties and which refer to our domestic legislation. The process of European political co-operation in the past was not governed by legislation and that will continue to be the case in future. The conduct of our diplomatic negotiations regarding foreign policy are not governed by legislation, they are governed by obligations to this House which were dealt with in full last night, just as, throughout the negotiations, the Government kept this House informed of what was happening and the direction in which these negotiations were going.

Last night we ratified the Act in its entirety, including the process of European political co-operation. We approved the principle of the legislation and today we dealt with details of legislation amending the 1972 European Community legislation. These concerns that are being expressed about European political co-operation, and particularly the suggestion that somehow they erode our neutrality, strike me as very curious. Even more curious is the suggestion that the Act will in some way erode it. Since 1970 European political co-operation has been a reality. From the beginning we have been involved. Successive Governments sent their Minister out to participate in meetings four times a year, or more, at which we sat down with our partners and sought to co-ordinate our position. Sometimes we were able to do that but sometimes we failed. That process represented no threat to our neutrality. What is involved now is neither more nor less than a continuation of that process. Just as the earlier process represented no threat, neither does what will happen in the future represent a threat.

What strikes me as extraordinary is that people are so timid that they are not prepared to see in that process the very real benefits that are there for us. It would be accepted by everyone that our membership of the Community has given our foreign policy a new dimension. One such area is development. It was given an impetus by our membership which has been a very important part of our profile. During his period as President of the Council Deputy O'Kennedy presided over a renegotiation of the Lomé Agreement while the Taoiseach was President of the Council too. That has been a very important part of our participation in European foreign policy.

Equally we should not lose sight of the fact that there are a number of major international issues on which we have been successful in seeing the Community move towards the position we have adopted. That is true to some extent, but not as far as we wanted to go, on South Africa, Latin America and the Middle East. Far from representing a threat to us, what it has done is to give a richness to our foreign policy. Can anyone doubt but that our policy is more informed by reason of our contact, for example, with the Spaniards and the Portuguese, when we address ourselves to questions of Central America and Latin America?

Deputy O'Kennedy and Deputy Collins believed that to be the case and that is why they both participated in European political co-operation, and did so without any reluctance. We have been participating since the beginning of our membership and we continue to participate, but the question of European political co-operation does not arise today, that was a matter for yesterday when we ratified the Single European Act. Today, we are concerned with the Bill to amend the European Community legislation, and that has nothing to do with European political co-operation, good, bad or indifferent.

Deputy O'Kennedy mentioned twice that I should stand up and make my point of view clear and not depend on the civil servant next to me.

Or the Minister of State. This is unprecedented——

He is as entitled to contribute as Deputy O'Kennedy. This is not a Second Stage debate.

Normally Ministers conduct the debate.

It is very difficult to speak when Deputy O'Kennedy is in the House because——

Deputy O'Kennedy is continually interrupting. He asks a question but he does not let the Minister reply.

Deputy O'Kennedy said earlier that I should stand up and not depend on the civil servants next to me or on the Attorney General, on whom the Deputy made a most disgraceful and, I hope, uncharasteristic attack. He attacked a man who is not here to defend himself and neither are the civil servants free to defend themselves. I do not believe this is in keeping with the standards we expect in this House.

Another Deputy said that this House should not pass legislation which is not in keeping with the Constitution. The Minister has an obligation not to introduce legislation which is contrary to the Constitution. At every stage during the negotiations on the Single European Act I was in constant contact with legal advice, including the Attorney General. Last night I deliberately read into the record not my opinion, because that is political, but a far more authorative opinion from the Attorney General, on two issues justifying what we had done.

My opinion on the legalities of this measure is a layman's opinion. I depend on legal advice. Deputy O'Kennedy is a lawyer and is entitled to his legal opinion. Sometimes I am sorry I am not a lawyer, but not very often; most of the time I am glad I am not, but when I want to be precise and accurate about something I want written into the record of this House I look for and get advice, and I will continue to do that.

Deputy O'Kennedy mentioned Title III, but he does not appear to understand what is going on. He did not put down an amendment to the motion yesterday. He could have put down an amendment to the motion saying we should not ratify Title III——

There was an amendment.

——but he comes here not at the proverbial eleventh hour, but at two hours past midnight trying to amend it——

This is not an enlightened answer.

——and trying to see some bogey in this which will lead the Irish nation to war on behalf of some German baron. The only thing Title III of the Single European Act does is to formalise what has been practice up to now. It is not appropriate for domestic law and it is not being written into the Treaty of Rome. All it does is to formalise what was going on when we joined the Community, what was referred to in the White Paper in 1972 when we joined the Community, and what has been the practice since.

Why should we go through with this since it is merely formalising, as the Minister said tonight and his Taoiseach said last night, and making obligatory what had been previously been done voluntarily?

That sounds like repetition but I do not suppose I can make an exception in the case of Deputy Blaney.

Were the Taoiseach and the Minister repeating themselves?

I am certainly repeating myself. I have made the same point three or four times already.

In other words, I am in good company. As the Minister put it, we are formalising practices which developed over the years. If that is all we are doing, why do we require 27 pages covering the terms of the Single European Act — about 100 new Articles, Preambles, Titles and so on?

On a point of order, I am afraid the Deputy did not hear my full reply. Under Title III of the Single European Act we are formalising what has been the practice up to now. Only two and a half pages cover this point. The rest of the booklet deals with the legislation.

I must have got things wrong because I can count the difference between three and 27——

Title II, page 61.

I reckon from pages 42 to 59——

It goes further.

I am cutting out the twaddle at both ends. The Articles are covered in 27 pages, but there are other appendages in pages 69 and 70 and the appendices on pages 71 and 72. Anybody who has the slightest experience of the deviousness of European politics, particularly as practised to a fine art in the European Parliament, the Commission and the Council, will be fully alive to the fact that what has emanated as the Single European Act started in various strands maybe ten years ago. I can only talk for the time that I was there, from 1979 to 1984. I remember contesting three different reports, in 1981, 1982 and 1984, that clearly endangered the very things I am trying to defend tonight. I spoke against them and voted against them while Fine Gael, in their innocence, voted for them. Fianna Fáil, perhaps not fully instructed on the matter from Dublin, did not vote. On some occasions they were not there. On another occasion the only voice from Ireland apart from my own — he is a member of the Labour Party and the Seanad — was Senator Flor O'Mahony.

There was a report on defence which dangerously points to what we are dealing with now. There was a Spinelli report which was supposed to be harmless. The Community are years behind on all those issues. They converge and the convergence now is the Single European Act. There was the Dooge report and the Adenauer report. Taking all those reports together if we take out what is between the lines we get the Single European Act. It has taken years but they take their time. Time is of no importance to them. Having conceded the Six Counties to the British we are now saying to the European Community, you can have the other 26 counties. Whatever else this Government may not have done they will be responsible for those two actions for the rest of time.

Deputy Prendergast asked for assurances from the Minister. While not in the slightest doubting the Minister's assurances, his good faith in giving the assurances or that he has got the best advice, legal and otherwise, in the circumstances, I say to Deputy Prendergast and any other Deputy in the House what a Minister says in the best of good faith and with the best knowledge available to him is not worth the paper it is written on. We have found that out a number of times. The spirit of what we decide in this House often coloured its passage through the House. The spirit does not come into question when the bewigged gentlemen get down to looking at the strokes, the placement of letters and words and which comes before the other until you are so addled that it is somewhat similar to being in the European Parliament after they have received something that the Council wants them to do. They ask Parliament to do it in a certain way and then try to make them believe that they recommended it. That is the manner of their procedure and this is where we have been trapped many times but nowhere more so than in the Single European Act. It is being put through the House in the same way as we are putting through this Bill.

In spite of the fact that we have a one page Bill we are giving power to an outside body over which we have no control. In many instances we no longer have any veto except where the vital national interest is concerned. Who will determine what is the vital national interest? We have not the right to do so. We may claim that something is of vital national interest and therefore the veto can come into operation. There are 11 other countries in the European Community and I do not feel in any way inferior to them. I do not go along with the Taoiseach who talks about it being a display of our inferiority to feel that we will be obliged to do something through the actions of the Community with which we do not agree. That is foolish talk. It is only a man as foolish as the Taoiseach who would talk that way. He will not face the reality that 11 important and powerful countries want it this way. We are saying to them, operate the Single European Act.

We, as a little country in that Community, feel that we will be able to divert or thwart the wishes of the big powers within it. We are telling them that we trust them. I trust them as far as I can throw them and no further. Anybody who trusts them is a fool. It has been put to the test and it has been proved how foolish our actions have been. Once bitten twice shy. We should stop the clock, go back to our European counterparts and lay it on the line as to where we have been wronged, by our own omission or by their commission. If we pass this Bill we can forget about redressing the position thereafter. The one and only weapon of defence and protection we had during the years was the veto. We are now giving it up voluntarily. This is very sad, taken in the context of the Taoiseach talking. It is seen as a sign of weakness for anybody to think there is any danger. There is grave danger and it can be disastrous for us.

We are given to understand that great things will come from this Act. We tend to think about how much national dole we will get from Europe. We tend to think about what size the European Regional Fund or Social Fund will be in future and how much we will get. These two funds are merely financial instruments that have been brought into being to try to fill some of the holes where the operations of the European Community in other regards have failed to make any impact. We are widening and deepening the problems and depression in this country. If the fund gets bigger that does not mean that we are doing well. The bigger the fund that is required the worse condition we and also the other countries who receive it are in. While there is special mention of the European fund, there is not mention of there being any obligation on the members of the Community to provide additional funds through their budget. Their budget is as cramped today as it was last year. There is nothing in the Single European Act that obliges them to raise the budget. If they do not raise the budget where will we get our extra funds from? Where will the Regional Fund and the Social Fund get their money? If they get it then it must be from somewhere else.

We are told that the Common Agricultural Policy is the cause of all the financial difficulties in Europe; it will be trimmed down to size and more money will be saved with the result that there will be bigger Social and Regional Funds. That is a delusion. The Common Agricultural Policy with its attendant quotas and proposed quotas is a licence to the huge farming enterprises on the mainland of Europe to continue for all time to draw huge wealth from the coffers of the Community to the disadvantage of the ordinary farmers throughout Europe, particularly small farmers here. We got a lousy deal and we are largely to blame for that. We have been too concerned about being gentlemanly in Europe, about being good Europeans and doing all conventional things uniformly. We would never dream of introducing any type of national outlook in our dealings with the Community. That is not done by the Irish but it is done by the big countries in Europe when it suits them.

I can recall the many difficulties that arose about lamb going into the French market and the pressure that was put on. The rows finished up in the European Court of Justice. Those involved in that dispute insisted on importers using the port of Dieppe, travelling with their documents to the heart of France to have them completed and reporting back to the port of entry for clearance before delivering the produce in Paris. Did we ever try anything like that? No, we would not do that but other member states did. Tonight I was reminded of a report of the Council of Europe which showed that 150 tricks by other member states to avoid commitments had been adopted by them. The tricks were all legitimate but none of them was ours. Of course, we are far above that; we are a lot of clowns; we do not look at things like that and we consider them to be beneath us. That would be a fine attitude to adopt if we were dealing with people who feel the same way but other countries are not as naive as we have proved to be in our dealings with other members, particularly in regard to directives.

Last night we were told there is a logjam of directives waiting to be distributed. I understand that the Commission have 300 directives ready. I ask Members to recall the problems we had in the House dealing with one directive in recent months, the equality directive.

We also had the Fourth Directive on company law.

What will happen after the Bill is passed and signed by the President, if it is not knocked in the meantime by the Supreme Court — I hope the Government refer it to the Supreme Court?

The only equality we got for women was through Europe.

I am not objecting to that but I am asking the House to contemplate what will happen when 300 directives are showered upon us over night as soon as the valve is opened. After some shuffling around, the Council will instruct the Commission to prepare the directives which, in accordance with the terms of the Single European Act, will be implemented in co-operation with the Parliament. It should be noted that the Commission will not have to consult with the Parliament. I ask Members to bear in mind that the term, "in co-operation with the Parliament", is used in every change that is made. The word "consultation" has been replaced by the term, "in co-operation with the European Parliament". I have not discovered any new power being given to the European Parliament where we might have some chance as a small country of garnering support on some issues.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs will be with his Council of Ministers while the Taoiseach will be with the Heads of Government. He will be one of 12 but if a military issue arises he will be on the outside. Anybody with experience of the European scene, like our Ministers and their officials, who tries to get it across to the House that we are dealing with childish or naive people in Europe should think again. I do not know where we are going when we say we should give away the power to do things. The effects will be disastrous for us. Deputy Taylor is worried about the market. The market will write "finish" to industrial development here. That was the price we undertook to pay in 1972 for the protected industries we had by allowing tariffs and barriers to be removed. We have paid the price in full but having done that and not fared that well on the other side of the coin, in the area of agriculture, we are prepared to give the Commission the authority under the Act to go for the internal market without the slightest indication that they will help the peripheral regions by transport support. That support is needed to put those involved in that industry on an equal footing with those on the mainland. That has been referred to time and again in the European Parliament and at meetings of transport committees. Such support has been recommended by the Parliament on many occasions but those recommendations have been scrapped by the Council of Ministers. I have not heard any mention of that today. If we got a transport subsidy our industries, particularly those in the west, would be put on a competitive footing with their counterparts in central Europe.

Unless we got a guarantee like that written into the Single European Act we will be passing a recipe for disaster as far as industrial development here is concerned. We are daft, mad in the head, and yet we are adopting this measure with all the aplomb of people who are confident of their own beliefs. It is tantamount to arrogance. It is nonsense for the Government to think they can adopt this Act and expect that the country will survive. It makes nonsense of the performance of the House. In future there will be very little business for the House; it will be done for us in Europe. We probably will not get even to the stage when there will be any procedure for us to go through, when the directives keep pouring in; when the Commission and the central bureaucrats in Europe will have dealt with things their way at the dictates of their masters, the Chief Ministers of the Council. They will be calling the tune and the Commission will dance accordingly. Directives will pour out and our interests will be far down the line. If they are up front, it will be by accident rather than design.

I despair when I see the sort of approach we continue to have in our innocence or arrogance or ignorance. It is sad and it will be a disaster. People will live to regret the night we put this thing through.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Section 1 agreed to.
NEW SECTION.

I move amendment No. 2:

In page 2, before section 2 to insert the following new section:

"2.—Nothing in this Act shall affect the jurisdiction or powers heretofore vested in the Courts established by law pursuant to Article 34 of the Constitution in any matter of domestic law.".

This Bill proposes to incorporate into Irish domestic law those parts of the Single European Act which amend the original Treaties which established the Community. That was the procedure followed in the case of the original Treaties when we joined but the 1972 referendum and the Article it inserted in the Constitution ensured that as part of our domestic law it could not even be challenged as being unconstitutional. The question we now have to face is whether this new Treaty, when it is incorporated into our law, also will be above constitutional challenge. If it is not, then it is only a matter of time until some person or corporation affected by its provisions will challenge it in our courts.

This Bill sets out to confer new lawmaking powers on the Council of Ministers, and the Council would be empowered to establish a new court with jurisdiction to hear and determine in the first instance certain classes of action and proceedings in Community law.

Article 15.2.1 of the Constitution vests the sole and exclusive power of making laws for the State in the Oireachtas. Article 34.1 of the Constitution provides that justice shall be administered in courts established by law by judges appointed in the manner provided by the Constitution. If there were nothing else involved then this legislation would clearly be repugnant to both those Articles. But of course there is the other factor, which is, the change made in our Constitution by the referendum of 1972. That referendum inserted a new provision in the Constitution, namely, Article 29.4.3 which authorises our membership of the Communities and goes on to declare:

No provision of this Constitution invalidates laws enacted, acts done or measures adopted by the State necessitated by the obligations of membership of the Communities or prevents laws enacted, acts done or measures adopted by the Communities, or institutions, thereof, from having the force of law in the State.

The terms of that paragraph are wide but the question is, are they wide enough to cover what is actually a new Treaty? Is ratifying this new Treaty something which is "necessitated by the obligations of membership"? In the explanatory guide, the Government express the opinion that the incorporation of this new Treaty into our law by this legislation comes within the terms of Article 29.4.3 because this new Treaty is an obligation of membership of the Communities as it contains limited amendments of the Treaties by the common agreement of member states. In this regard the explanatory guide refers to Article 236 of the EC Treaty and the corresponding Articles of the other Community Treaties which expressly envisage the possibility that the Treaties may be amended and established procedures for that purpose.

However, unlike previous amending Treaties, the Single Act does not refer to Article 236 of the EC Treaty and the corresponding Articles of the other Community Treaties. In the absence of the authoritative interpretation by the Supreme Court of Article 29.4.3 it is difficult to assess whether the opinion of the Government is correct. Given that this Article deprives the citizen of the right to invoke the fundamental rights guaranteed by other provisions of the Constitution the courts may take a strict view of what is meant by "obligations necessitated by membership of the Communities".

A finding of unconstitutionality after the enactment of the legislation would have serious consequences for the State. The State would be in breach of international obligations. An embarrassing conflict would arise between the Irish courts and European Court of Justice which is obliged to ensure the uniformity of Community law in all the member states. In these circumstances the question must be very seriously posed if it is wise for the Government to proceed with this Bill without putting the matter beyond doubt by way of referendum. The Government are apparently prepared to take a chance.

This amendment involves two amendments to the Treaties dealing with the European Court of Justice. The first amendment provides that the Council of Ministers may attach to the European Court of Justice, a court with jurisdiction to hear and determine, in the first instances, certain classes of action subject to a right of appeal to the Court of Justice on points of law. Limitations are set on what those classes of actions might be, specifically. It excludes the possibility that it could be proceedings brought by Community institutions — an action could not be initiated by a member state — and it excludes the possibility of references going to the court.

The second amendment to the Treaties deals with the question of delays and rules of procedure. The object is to streamline procedures and to reduce the length and the complexity involved in relation to the status of the courts. It is clearly set out in the Act that the implementation of the Article is subject to a unanimous decision by the Council of Ministers.

Of more fundamental importance is that the new court will be an inferior tribunal, a tribunal from which an appeal will lie to the Court of Justice. Therefore, any suggestion that this inferior tribunal could have a jurisdiction wider than the existing courts of justice is clearly nonsense. It is unthinkable in any legal system that you could have an inferior tribunal with a jurisdiction greater than the court to which an appeal lies.

There is no question of the new court involving any supranational judicial control over the Treaties. From the beginning, the Treaties required a judicial arm. They had that judicial arm in the European Court of Justice. Involved here are two technical amendments to make that court work better, specifically, to hive off some of the more routine cases, such as proceedings brought by staff members. unions and so on, against the institutions. and have them dealt with by a court of first instance from which an appeal will lie. In those circumstances I have to say that Deputy Gerry Collins's fears are quite exaggerated and the amendment quite unnecessary.

Under section 36 of the Treaty I understand that there will still be unanimity of voting on issues. In those circumstances this section would not be necessary. We have sufficient protection already under the 1972 Treaty.

Am I correct in that assumption?

Does the Deputy mean that the new court could not be established without the unanimous agreement of the Council of Ministers?

The answer to that is "yes".

Section 2, amendment No. 2 in the name of Deputy G. Collins. I am putting the question: "That the new section be there inserted."

The Committee divided: Tá, 63; Níl, 72.

  • Ahern, Michael.
  • Andrews, David.
  • Barrett, Michael.
  • Blaney, Neil Terence.
  • Brady, Gerard.
  • Brady, Vincent.
  • Brennan, Mattie.
  • Brennan, Paudge.
  • Brennan, Séamus.
  • Briscoe, Ben.
  • Browne, John.
  • Burke, Raphael P.
  • Byrne, Hugh.
  • Byrne, Seán.
  • Calleary, Seán.
  • Collins, Gerard.
  • Conaghan, Hugh.
  • Connolly, Ger.
  • Cowen, Brian.
  • Daly, Brendan.
  • Doherty, Seán.
  • Fahey, Francis.
  • Fahey, Jackie.
  • Faulkner, Pádraig.
  • Fitzgerald, Liam Joseph.
  • Flynn, Pádraig.
  • Foley, Denis.
  • Gallagher, Denis.
  • Gallagher, Pat Cope.
  • Geoghegan-Quinn, Máire.
  • Glenn, Alice.
  • Haughey, Charles J.
  • Hilliard, Colm.
  • Hyland, Liam.
  • Kirk, Séamus.
  • Kitt, Michael.
  • Lenihan, Brian.
  • Leonard, Jimmy.
  • Leonard, Tom.
  • Leyden, Terry.
  • Lyons, Denis.
  • McCarthy, Seán.
  • McEllistrim, Tom.
  • Morley, P.J.
  • Moynihan, Donal.
  • Nolan, M.J.
  • Noonan, Michael J. (Limerick West).
  • O'Dea, William.
  • O'Hanlon, Rory.
  • O'Keeffe, Edmond.
  • O'Kennedy, Michael.
  • O'Leary, John.
  • Ormonde, Donal.
  • O'Rourke, Mary.
  • Power, Paddy.
  • Reynolds, Albert.
  • Treacy, Noel.
  • Treacy, Seán.
  • Tunney, Jim.
  • Walsh, Joe.
  • Walsh, Seán.
  • Wilson, John P.
  • Woods, Michael.

Níl

  • Barnes, Monica.
  • Barrett, Seán.
  • Barry, Myra.
  • Barry, Peter.
  • Begley, Michael.
  • Bell, Michael.
  • Bermingham, Joe.
  • Birmingham, George Martin.
  • Boland, John.
  • Bruton, John.
  • Bruton, Richard.
  • Burke, Liam.
  • Carey, Donal.
  • Cluskey, Frank.
  • Collins, Edward.
  • Conlon, John F.
  • Connaughton, Paul.
  • Coogan, Fintan.
  • Cooney, Patrick Mark.
  • Cosgrave, Liam T.
  • Cosgrave, Michael Joe.
  • Coveney, Hugh.
  • Creed, Donal.
  • Crotty, Kieran.
  • McLoughlin, Frank.
  • Manning, Maurice.
  • Mitchell, Gay.
  • Mitchell, Jim.
  • Molony, David.
  • Moynihan, Michael.
  • Naughten, Liam.
  • Nealon, Ted.
  • Noonan, Michael. (Limerick East).
  • O'Brien, Fergus.
  • O'Brien, Willie.
  • O'Malley, Desmond J.
  • Crowley, Frank.
  • D'Arcy, Michael.
  • Deasy, Martin Austin.
  • Desmond, Barry.
  • Desmond, Eileen.
  • Donnellan, John.
  • Dowling, Dick.
  • Doyle, Joe.
  • Dukes, Alan.
  • Durkan, Bernard J.
  • Enright, Thomas W.
  • Farrelly, John V.
  • Fennell, Nuala.
  • FitzGerald, Garret.
  • Flaherty, Mary.
  • Griffin, Brendan.
  • Harney, Mary.
  • Hegarty, Paddy.
  • Hussey, Gemma.
  • Keating, Michael.
  • Kelly, John.
  • L'Estrange, Gerry.
  • McGahon, Brendan.
  • McGinley, Dinny.
  • Owen, Nora.
  • Pattison, Séamus.
  • Prendergast, Frank.
  • Ryan, John.
  • Shatter, Alan.
  • Sheehan, Patrick Joseph.
  • Skelly, Liam.
  • Spring, Dick.
  • Taylor, Mervyn.
  • Taylor-Quinn, Madeline.
  • Timmins, Godfrey.
  • Yates, Ivan.
Tellers: Tá, Deputies V. Brady and Browne; Níl, Deputies F. O'Brien and Taylor.
Question declared lost.

Amendment No. 3 was discussed with amendment No. 1. Is amendment No. 3 being pressed?

I move amendment No. 3:

In page 2, before section 2 to insert the following new section:

"2.—Nothing in this Act shall operate so as to limit or qualify the fundamental rights of the citizen as guaranteed and protected by Articles 40 to 44 of the Constitution.".

Question put: "That the new section be there inserted."
The Dáil divided: Tá, 63; Níl, 73.

  • Ahern, Michael.
  • Andrews, David.
  • Barrett, Michael.
  • Blaney, Neil Terence.
  • Brady, Gerard.
  • Brady, Vincent.
  • Brennan, Mattie.
  • Brennan, Paudge.
  • Brennan, Séamus.
  • Briscoe, Ben.
  • Browne, John.
  • Burke, Raphael P.
  • Byrne, Hugh.
  • Byrne, Seán.
  • Calleary, Seán.
  • Collins, Gerard.
  • Conaghan, Hugh.
  • Connolly, Ger.
  • Cowen, Brian.
  • Daly, Brendan.
  • Doherty, Seán.
  • Fahey, Francis.
  • Fahey, Jackie.
  • Faulkner, Pádraig.
  • Fitzgerald, Liam Joseph.
  • Flynn, Pádraig.
  • Foley, Denis.
  • Gallagher, Denis.
  • Gallagher, Pat Cope.
  • Geoghegan-Quinn, Máire.
  • Walsh, Joe.
  • Walsh, Seán.
  • Glenn, Alice.
  • Haughey, Charles J.
  • Hilliard, Colm.
  • Hyland, Liam.
  • Kirk, Séamus.
  • Kitt, Michael.
  • Lenihan, Brian.
  • Leonard, Jimmy.
  • Leonard, Tom.
  • Leyden, Terry.
  • Lyons, Denis.
  • McCarthy, Seán.
  • McEllistrim, Tom.
  • Morley, P.J.
  • Moynihan, Donal.
  • Nolan, M.J.
  • Noonan, Michael J.
  • (Limerick West).
  • O'Dea, William.
  • O'Hanlon, Rory.
  • O'Keeffe, Edmond.
  • O'Kennedy, Michael.
  • O'Leary, John.
  • Ormonde, Donal.
  • O'Rourke, Mary.
  • Power, Paddy.
  • Reynolds, Albert.
  • Treacy, Noel.
  • Treacy, Seán.
  • Tunney, Jim.
  • Wilson, John P.
  • Woods, Michael.

Níl

  • Barnes, Monica.
  • Barrett, Seán.
  • Barry, Myra.
  • Barry, Peter.
  • Begley, Michael.
  • Bell, Michael.
  • Bermingham, Joe.
  • Birmingham, George Martin.
  • Boland, John.
  • Bruton, John.
  • Bruton, Richard.
  • Burke, Liam.
  • Carey, Donal.
  • Cluskey, Frank.
  • Collins, Edward.
  • Conlon, John F.
  • Connaughton, Paul.
  • Coogan, Fintan.
  • Cooney, Patrick Mark.
  • Cosgrave, Liam T.
  • Cosgrave, Michael Joe.
  • Coveney, Hugh.
  • Creed, Donal.
  • Crotty, Kieran.
  • Crowley, Frank.
  • D'Arcy, Michael.
  • Deasy, Martin Austin.
  • Desmond, Barry.
  • Desmond, Eileen.
  • Donnellan, John.
  • Dowling, Dick.
  • Doyle, Joe.
  • Dukes, Alan.
  • Durkan, Bernard J.
  • Enright, Thomas W.
  • Farrelly, John V.
  • Fennell, Nuala.
  • FitzGerald, Garret.
  • Flaherty, Mary.
  • Griffin, Brendan.
  • Harney, Mary.
  • Hegarty, Paddy.
  • Hussey, Gemma.
  • Keating, Michael.
  • Kelly, John.
  • L'Estrange, Gerry.
  • McGahon, Brendan.
  • McGinley, Dinny.
  • McLoughlin, Frank.
  • Manning, Maurice.
  • Mitchell, Gay.
  • Mitchell, Jim.
  • Molony, David.
  • Moynihan, Michael.
  • Naughten, Liam.
  • Nealon, Ted.
  • Noonan, Michael (Limerick East).
  • O'Brien, Fergus.
  • O'Brien, Willie.
  • O'Leary, Michael.
  • O'Malley, Desmond J.
  • Owen, Nora.
  • Pattison, Séamus.
  • Prendergast, Frank.
  • Ryan, John.
  • Shatter, Alan.
  • Sheehan, Patrick Joseph.
  • Skelly, Liam.
  • Spring, Dick.
  • Taylor, Mervyn.
  • Taylor-Quinn, Madeline.
  • Timmins, Godfrey.
  • Yates, Ivan.
Tellers: Tá, Deputies V. Brady and Browne; Níl, Deputies F. O'Brien and Taylor.
Question declared lost.
Question proposed: "That section 2 stand part of the Bill."

Perhaps, it might save some time if you were to give me an idea as to whether or not our neutrality is appropriate under this section?

You can refer to it on amendment No. 4.

Question put and agreed to.
SECTION 3.

I move amendment No. 4:

In page 2, lines 33 to 34, to delete subsection (3) and substitute the following:

"(3) The Minister for Foreign Affairs shall by Order appoint a date for the coming into operation of this Act, provided that such date shall be subsequent to the deposit by the Government of the following declaration in the archives of the Government of the Italian Republic with a request to remit a certified copy to each of the Governments of the States which are signatories of the Single European Act.

‘Declaration by the Government of Ireland on Article 13 and on Title III of the Single European Act.

—Ireland considers that the completion of the internal market must have full regard to the terms of Protocol 30, agreed at the time of accession, which recognises that there are certain special problems of concern to Ireland, and that there is a Community interest in the attainment of the aims of Ireland's policy of industrialisation and economic development designed to align the standards of living in Ireland with those of the other European nations and to eliminate underemployment while progressively evening out regional differences in levels of development.

—Ireland states that the provisions of Title III do not affect Ireland's long established policy of military neutrality and that co-ordination of positions on the political and economic aspects of security does not include the military aspects of security or procurement for such purposes and does not affect Ireland's capacity to act or refrain from acting in any way which might affect Ireland's international status of military neutrality.'.".

During the course of our negotiations on our Treaty of Accession to the European Economic Community in 1972 we were deeply conscious of our economic position at that time. We also had to bear in mind our geographical location on the north-western periphery of Europe. Having regard to the circumstances which were there for everybody to see, the Government of the day wisely decided that Protocol 30 would be annexed to the Act concerning the conditions of accession and the adjustments to the Treaties of 22 January 1972.

Protocol No. 30 states:

THE HIGH CONTRACTING PARTIES.

DESIRING to settle certain special problems of concern to Ireland, and

HAVING AGREED the following provisions,

RECALL that the fundamental objectives of the European Economic Community include the steady improvement of the living standards and working conditions of the peoples of the Member States and the harmonious development of their economies by reducing the differences existing between the various regions and the backwardness of the lessfavoured regions:

TAKE NOTE of the fact that the Irish Government has embarked upon the implementation of a policy of industrialization and economic development designed to align the standards of living in Ireland with those of the other European nations and to eliminate underemployment while progressively evening out regional differences in levels of development;

RECOGNIZE it to be in their common interest that the objectives of this policy be so attained;

AGREE to recommend to this end that the Community institutions implement all the means and procedures laid down by the EEC Treaty, particularly by making adequate use of the Community resources intended for the realization of the Community's above mentioned objectives;

RECOGNIZE in particular that, in the application of Articles 92 and 93 of the EEC Treaty, it will be necessary to take into account the objectives of economic expansion and the raising of the standard of living of the population.

Thirteen years later, having enjoyed the benefits of Community membership and despite considerable progress including investment in modern industry, agriculture, infrastructure and in the less well off regions, unemployment in Ireland has quadrupled to nearly 250,000, disparities in the living standards between the different regions of the Community have widened and the Regional Fund has not been given sufficient resources. The Government's foreign indebtedness has increased 70-fold in the same period partly because of the need to bring Ireland's infrastructure up to European standards.

The principles of the Common Agricultural Policy which were the principal reasons for Ireland's membership of the EC have been seriously eroded with a loss of livelihood for many farmers. Bearing in mind that no coherent economic policy with a view to co-ordinating economic recovery and reducing unemployment has been conducted at Community level, the continuing commitment to the Community must be tempered by adequate safeguards for Ireland's vital interests. Having approved the terms of the Single European Act we, therefore, now take the necessary steps which are there to protect us and to ensure that our situation is fully understood at Community level.

Nobody can take me to task for the picture I have presented on the economic situation which exists at present. There is ample evidence to show that the situation in 1986 is worse than it was in 1972. These facts have been given to the House by a number of speakers during the course of the Second Reading of this Bill. I might also add that there are fears for other concerns because, sadly, it is all too self-evident that we have a weak economy at present. Because of our geographical location on the periphery of Europe, there is nothing we can do except to make sure that all the difficulties which our geographical position creates for us are recognised by our partners in Europe.

The White Paper, produced most reluctantly by the Government almost at the very end of this year and just three weeks before this debate started, does not in any way spell out for us the difficulties we may or shall experience on the completion of the internal market. There is nothing in the Government documentation which would help us to understand the difficulties and problems we will face on the steady and sure dismantling of the CAP. As regards the harmonisation of taxation I agree that unanimity is required but if we agree in principle to something I am not sure if we will be in as strong a position as we would like to be to prevent the harmonistation of taxation by using the veto. We cannot do that forever. We would have agreed in principle to something and our position would be weakened considerably. The economic considerations should have been spelled out clearly for us.

Hopefully this area does not harbour anything that would do us harm. We cannot be too sure about it. The Government seem to think that there is no reason to worry or be concerned. Of course, there is. Much that has been said in the course of the debate shows that the picture is not as rosy as it is made out to be. We must take the necessary precautions and ensure that our partners know the real position. All we are asking for is that Protocol 30 be restated and brought to the attention of our European partners.

We must have a base and something to fall back on. There is no need to convince anyone in the House of our position. Sadly we all know what it is and it is a tragedy that it is this way but we must ensure that our Community partners know it. That is why we consider that the completion of the internal market must have full regard to the terms of Protocol 30, agreed at the time of accession, which recognises that there are certain special problems of concern to Ireland, and that there is a Community interest in the attainment of the aims of Ireland's policy of industrialisation and economic development designed to align the standards of living in Ireland with those of the other European nations and to eliminate underemployment while progressively evening out regional differences in levels of development.

Even though this is what was agreed in Protocol 30 which was agreed during the Treaty of Accession in 1972 the gaps are still widening. I use that word deliberately because it was said earlier this evening that the gaps had narrowed. Even with this safeguard which we are seeking there is no guarantee that the gap will be narrowed because the weakness is that funds have not been provided. There is a commitment to expand and develop policies but until such time as the Heads of Governments realise that despite what they might want to do, they must give the wherewithal to do it and allow our own resources to be increased, we will not have an economic Community in the sense we were led to believe we would have or in the sense the founders of the EC envisaged.

The Community is turning out to be less of an economic Community and more of a military and political Community. There are plenty of plans and schemes but the money is not provided to implement them. The attitude of the major partners is one that arouses a certain suspicion in us, as it should, that not sufficient is being done in this area.

There are many Members who wish to contribute so I shall not delay on the first part of the amendment. As regards the second part of the amendment, Ireland is a sovereign independent nation. We are not aligned to any power bloc or attached to any military alliance. This is the wish of the great majority of people. That wish must be honoured and respected. In recent times members of the Government in their most peculiar fashion, cast doubts on our neutrality and on whether we should stay out of NATO. Whether or not they were misinterpreted I do not know but the impression given led to a state of confusion. There is no doubt as to what the people want in this area: they want to remain neutral and unaligned to NATO or any other western European union.

There is no reason why we cannot or should not tell our partners in Europe in the strongest way what our stand is on this issue. There is no reason why we should be ashamed to do so. The Danes did so. They are members of a Nordic alliance. The Danish position was very similar to ours on the question of neutrality. The Danish Parliament felt that it was very important that this issue would be brought before their European partners. They put in a declaration and saw no reason why they should not do so. I fail to understand the arguments put forward by the Government as to why we have backed away from such a declaration. I am asking that our position be spelled out clearly. There is good reason for it. We must never forget that 11 of the 12 members of the EC are involved in military alliances. That is their decision. We are the only country which is not so involved. On occasion I have had to say that such and such a discussion should not take place as it did not come under the umbrella of the European Community, political co-operation or not. I have said that if they want to discuss military matters it should take place in another forum.

It does not help us to hear the statement made by Mrs. Thatcher when she visited the Parliament this week. She urged most strongly and in a forceful fashion, as she can do, that Europe should get closer to NATO. It is not good enough for the leader of a large state in the EC to push this point of view at the Parliament. It was exceptionally wrong of her to do so and the Taoiseach and Minister for Foreign Affairs should take the matter up with her and demand an explantation. Whether or not we like it, we are being inched along the way and being sucked into these things. We should make the views of the people quite clear. I know it is difficult when we are sitting with them and when discussions take place but we must ensure that they respect our position. On occasion they have forgotten it. I am sure it is an error on their part. I see no reason why the Government cannot do what the Danish Government did and ensure that our position regarding neutrality is brought to the attention of our partners. That would help them to understand our position.

I do not accept the arguments put forward by the Minister for Foreign Affairs during the course of his speech rejecting our amendment to the motion of ratification — that it lays down a condition to our acceptance of the Single European Act. That is not so. If it were so in our case then it would surely have been so in the case of Denmark. It does not follow. It is not a good argument to make. It falls flat. The view of the people on this issue is well known in the country and is very clear. The Tánaiste took a personal pride in proposing the motion that we recognise our neutral position. There was no question about that in the House. The only place where it is at issue is within the EC when at times we are sucked into the discussions which take place. It happened only last weekend when the Taoiseach, as head of Government at the summit in London, found afterwards that he was brought into these discussions and he should not have been. Indeed, the statement issued afterwards with regard to the last paragraph, No. 4, had to do with matters outside the ambit of the European Economic Community. I would urge the Minister and the Government to accept our motion. There is much that I could say but I do not want to repeat myself. There are others who want to contribute.

I want to give the Government's position on this matter. We are rejecting this amendment. We think it unnecessary. I gave the reasons last night in response to a similarly worded motion in the name of Deputy Vincent Brady. The House last night passed a motion in my name setting out this Dáil's position on neutrality and cohesion. I undertook last night to lodge that when we ratify the Single European Act with the Italian Government and I shall do that. There is absolutely no necessity for what Deputy Collins is trying to do here.

I rise to support the amendment and thereby my colleague. The Single European Act is designed to accelerate the process of European integration. What remains unclear is the kind of integration that is envisaged. Are we to have an integration based on the Treaty of Rome's commitment to balanced development between the different regions of the Community with the aim of closing the gap between richer and poorer regions of the Community or are we to have the form of integration where the stronger regions and stronger enterprises prosper at the expense of the less developed regions and enterprises?

We must acknowledge that economic integration and the achievement of the internal market hold considerable potential benefits for Ireland as an exporting nation. However, we must point out also the potential pitfalls. Indeed, the failure to achieve a single internal market within the European Community has especially serious effects for small and medium sized firms who do not have the resources to grapple with a plethora of different regulations, tests, certificates,et cetera.

The provisions of the Single European Act have potentially both positive and negative implications for Irish industry. At its Milan meeting in June 1985 when the White Paper on the internal market was presented to the European Council, the Heads of Government instructed the Council of Ministers to draw up a precise programme of action based on the White Paper, to achieve the internal market by 1992 "in accordance with stages fixed in relation to previously determined priorities and a binding timetable".

We share the aim of completing the internal market of the Community. When we contemplate what has been achieved by Japan and the United States in the realm of fighting unemployment and creating jobs through fully exploiting all the advantages of their huge markets and contrast the achievement of our competitors with the lack of action and hesitations in Europe, there is indeed much cause for regret.

The EC's record on jobs has been dismal. Improved economic performance through the achievement of a fully integrated Common Market, the upgrading of Europe's technological capacity through co-operation between the member states and R and D — all will help to boost jobs. Ireland has a potential internal market of 320 million, compared with 235 million in the United States and 120 million in Japan.

It is clear that a growing and expanding market based on the free movement of capital, persons and goods has enormous implications for economic buoyancy in Europe. It is clear that the paralysis afflicting the EC's institutional machinery has held up progress on completing the internal market and on promoting economic convergence and balanced economic development between the wealthier areas of the Community and the less favoured peripheral areas, such as Ireland. It has led to growing disenchantment among the citizens of the Community, which was evident in the small number of people who voted in the second election in many of the member states. The Treaty of Rome included provisions aimed at.

the creation of a single integrated internal market free of restrictions on the movement of goods;

the abolition of obstacles to the free movement of persons, services and capital;

the institution of a system to ensure that competition within the Common Market is not distorted;

the approximation of laws as required for the proper working of the Common Market;

the approximation of indirect taxation in the interest of the Common Market.

While the establishment of the common customs tariff was a very positive achievement, non-tariff barriers multiplied during the recession impeding a step forward in the process of achieving the internal market. The Commission now maintains that the adoption of about 300 proposals-directives aimed at removing the physical, technical and fiscal barriers will contribute to the completion of a unified Community market.

The Single European Act provides for changes in the Community decision-making procedures; the achievement of the internal market will be speeded up, it says, by increased use of qualified majority voting. Qualified majority voting is to be extended through amending the relevant Articles in the Treaty to the areas of customs duties, decisions affecting the right of establishment of bankers and the pharmaceutical and medical professions, freedom to supply services including insurance, restrictions on capital movements and exchange policies and sea and air transport.

Unanimity is to be retained in regard to the harmonisation of legislation concerning turnover taxes, excise duties and other forms of indirect taxation.

The inclusion of a new Article, which allows the Commission to grant temporary derogations from the provisions establishing the internal market to certain of the weaker economies in the Community is an important provision from Ireland's perspective, although it would be helpful if there were more precise clarification of the powers of derogation contained in this Article.

Important aspects of current Irish legislation, such as our level of corporation tax, or the taxation of oil exploration and production, cannot be overturned by the qualified majority vote.

As the EC's Economic and Social Committee have pointed out, a plan for the completion of the internal market needs to be accompanied by policies dealing with growth and employment and must be accompanied by policies promoting a reduction in the gap between the affluent regions and less prosperous economies of the Community.

As the Joint Committee on Secondary Legislation of the UK pointed out in June:

This would imply a definitive commitment to the implementation of structural policies, especially regional policies, to accompany the realisation, since otherwise some member states such as Ireland would not be in a position to accept and bear such a degree of liberalisation.

The Single European Act lays special emphasis on the completion of the internal market but it also stresses the need to strengthen the economic and social cohesion of the Community as a necessary balance to the liberalisation of the internal market. It must be a matter of some concern, however, that the provisions for economic and social cohesion are unaccompanied by any solid proposals on promoting economic convergence. Completion of the internal market, in the absence of such measures, could increase both regional disparities and unemployment within the Community.

It is clear that a flexible market of persons, materials, investment and capital will mean that resources will flow into the areas of the Community of greatest economic advantage. The Community will need to be resolute in pursuing coordinated economic policies to ensure that no one sector or region would benefit at the expense of another sector or region.

That is the subject matter that is included in our amendment. It is relevant when we face certain special problems of concern to this country. The Commission's proposals for greater liberalisation and transparency on the public purchasing front would be attractive for Ireland, in particular in the information, technology and health care sectors. As the joint committee pointed out, Community-wide access to public purchasing contracts has important implications for industrial development policies, as it can overcome pressures on industrialists to locate their operation in the main national market to be supplied in order to avoid obstacles to supplying that market.

In regard to the financial services industry, it is significant that the Commission's proposals for liberalisation in such services as control at foreign branches of financial institutions would be exercised by the authorities in the home member state subject to controls "in the public interest" in the host member state. The introduction of this principle in these areas has yet to be agreed and the Department of Finance find the principle unsatisfactory because supervisory authorities in home or host countries could find it difficult to achieve sufficient familiarity with the legal and other requirements of other member states.

Will the Deputy relate his contribution to the amendment?

The amendment says that Ireland considers that the completion of the internal market must have full regard to the terms of Protocol 30, agreed at the time of accession, which recognises that there are certain special problems of concern to Ireland in relation to our policy of industrialisation and economic development designed to align the standards of living in Ireland with those of the other European nations and to eliminate underemployment while progressively evening out regional differences in levels of development.

The Chair is aware of the contents of the amendment but he finds some difficulty in relating the Deputy's contribution to it.

I am sorry if that is the case because I have no difficulty in relating my remarks to it.

The Protocol attached to the Act of Accession to the European Community signed by Ireland in 1972 is more relevant now than ever. It recommended that the Community institutions should implement all the powers in the EC Treaty to close the economic gap between Ireland and the rest of the Community. Fianna Fáil feel that positive recognition by our partners of our economic vulnerability must accompany ratification by the Dáil of the Single European Act. Failure to secure this recognition would be tantamount to failure to do our duty as the elected representatives of this country.

Greater competition as a result of the moves towards an internal market will provide opportunities for Irish enterprise. It also poses certain problems, especially for small enterprises, which form the bulk of our industries and which are frequently characterised by inadequate capital resources and inadequate technological capacity. It is absolutely vital that Ireland is not hamstrung in its attempts to build up an industrial base. Upon our success or failure in this area will depend our prospects for job creation, economic growth and putting the public finances in order. If necessary, let us remind our partners in Europe that Ireland's unemployment rate, which is continuing to rise, is now more than 50 per cent above the EC average which, by contrast, is declining. We cannot abdicate our responsibility to manage our economy and, therefore, Fianna Fáil have advanced their reservations on the Single European Act in a positive spirit, which has potentially significant political, economic and social implications for this country. It would be abdicating our responsibility if we failed to outline the realities posed by this legislation, its advantages and disadvantages, the positive benefits and possible pitfalls.

We should ask our partners, in the spirit of solidarity upon which the Community was founded, to recognise that Ireland has special difficulties. The exodus of tens of thousands of our young people over the past three years, the massive unemployment which is about twice the EC average, the need to develop a strong indigenous industrial sector and the urgency of developing our agricultural industry must be taken into consideration. Doubts and uncertainties have been varied in relation to the effects of the provisions of the Single European Act on our policy of military neutrality, which is part of the amendment. It is because we wish to safeguard this policy, which receives the support of the overwhelming majority of the people, that Fianna Fáil wish to append a declaration to the Act affirming our neutrality and, therefore, deflect any challenges to our neutral stance which may be posed under the Act.

This affirmation is vital because, notwithstanding the Government's claim that the Single European Act protects and recognises Irish neutrality for the first time, the reality is that it commits us to a position of clear co-operation on questions of European security. For our partners in NATO, the military and security aspects of security are indivisible. It is, therefore, almost inevitable that, like it or not, Ireland will be put under pressure in moves by our partners with the aim of co-ordinating all aspects of security, including the military ones.

The European Council meeting last weekend highlighted this pressure when an attempt was made to include a statement covering military aspects of security. It would be unrealistic to ignore the fact that this pressure is likely to intensify rather than diminish. The Fianna Fáil amendment is based on the need to affirm our policy of neutrality and to signal to our partners our resolution to maintain our neutrality. Indeed, this position receives the support of the all-party Oireachtas Joint Committee who echoed Fianna Fáil's position when they called on the Government to reaffirm our position of military neutrality.

The Single European Act includes provisions aimed at maintaining the technological and industrial conditions necessary for security. The House will recall that on the motion on EUREKA, I indicated that I saw a connection between that and Star Wars. In this case there may be a blurring of Ireland's position in that we may be drawn into an association with the activities of our partners connected with military aspects of security. This must be faced, however much Minister Barry flinches from it. We fully recognise that Europe's technological and industrial capacity must be modernised as it has fallen behind America and Japan. From the perspective of our partners who are members of NATO, it has serious implications for the security policy pursued by them within the framework of NATO. In the Irish context, however, it is vital that we scrupulously ensure that our position of military neutrality is safeguarded at all times.

I note with some gratitude that Deputy Lyons favours European integration and accepts that when we voted to join the EC in 1972 we voted for more than the Common Market as it developed. We voted overwhelmingly for complete European integration. I am not sure, however, what the official Fianna Fáil position is on this. At I pointed out earlier, Deputy Haughey said quite clearly last night that he had misgivings about the completion of the Common Market. It is on the record that he said that in relation to certain matters it had gone too far. My main purpose for waiting to speak to this amendment was to try and tease out what Fianna Fáil mean when they refer to "Ireland's long established policy of military neutrality". As a Member of the Oireachtas for the past five years, I noticed that when our neutrality was raised, it was a very sensitive and touchy subject. On one occasion a couple of years ago, I took the opportunity to search the records of this House in the belief that somewhere I would find the source of this long established policy of neutrality we hear about. Most people would acknowledge that the single greatest act of neutrality we ever engaged in was not participating in the Second World War. Mr. de Valera, who essentially made that decision and proposed that policy at the time, indicated that it was not a matter of fundamental policy but his decision, and the decision of the Government at the time, was made simply on the basis that this country was a partitioned State. He said if the State were not partitioned, his consideration of the matter would have been entirely separate.

When Mr. Lemass became Taoiseach he said in this House: "There is no neutrality and we are not neutral". He accepted the desirability of NATO. He regarded NATO as protecting not just the member states but also this country. If people care to look at the record of this House they will see that. Many years ago, Deputy Haughey as Minister for Finance, in a debate in this House argued that political union necessarily implies the formulation of a common defence policy and the working out of common defence arrangements. He asked what was wrong with nations getting together and deciding to have a common bond of defence between them.

When Mr. Lynch was Taoiseach in 1970, he told this House:

We can make up our minds as to our neutrality in the light of the circumstances prevailing.

When the President, Dr. Hillery, was Minister for Foreign Affairs, he declared in this House "we have never adopted a permanent policy of neutrality".

Does the Deputy have a reference for his quotations?

I have some, but not all. As time moved on and we were considering the prospects of our entry into the Common Market Minister after Minister in Mr. Lynch's Government made it absolutely clear that even though we were not involved in any military alliance at that time, it was inevitable, if we joined the EC and committed ourselves to European integration, that that would have to be done.

On 11 March 1981 speaking in this House, the then Taoiseach, Mr. Haughey said:

.... This country stands for certain values, enshrined in the Constitution. Our place is with the Western democracies, and we share common concepts of human rights, freedom under the law, individual liberty and freedom of conscience. Our economic interests also are tied in with the Western industrialised world. We are, therefore, neither ideologically neutral nor politically indifferent.

In the event, therefore, of the European States being organised into a full political union, we could not, and would not, wish to opt out of the obligations and aims inherent in the achievement of the ideal of European unity.

Deputy Haughey as Taoiseach, said on 11 March 1981 and I repeat:

We could not, and would not, wish to opt out of the obligations and aims inherent in the achievement of the ideal of European unity.

Speaking to the Royal Irish Academy, Deputy Lenihan, then Minister for Foreign Affairs, said on 21 November 1980:

There are certain historical reasons why we were neutral in the Second World War and have remained outside alliances since. But this does not mean that we are ideologically neutral or politically indifferent.... However, it has been recognised by successive Governments that in the context of political union in Europe, Ireland, as a member of the Community, would be prepared to participate in arrangements for its defence, if called upon to do so.

After his famous summit with Mrs. Thatcher in 1980, when the totality of the relationships between the two islands was being put on the table, securityà la Deputy Haughey was being put on that table, too.

Looking back at the records of this House, I find it very difficult to find any source of the claim being made this week and in recent times, that there is a long established policy of neutrality. I asked Deputy Collins to tell me where I can find the source or evidence of this claim. My own view is that this long established policy of neutrality which is spoken of so much in this Parliament stems from the popularity of neutrality in popular opinion polls. I honestly believe it is not based on anything more than that.

I take the view that our neutrality will have to be decided by this House and by the people. The Tánaiste's suggestion that we have a referendum may be a very good idea. But before we have any referendum we need to have a very good debate over a long period, teasing out precisely what we want for the future. Deputy Lyons and other members of Fianna Fáil can stand up here and say they want an integrated Europe, but they have not spelled out how their ground has changed from what Mr. Lemass, Mr. Lynch, Dr. Hillery, Deputy Haughey, Deputy O'Kennedy and every Fianna Fáil Taoiseach or Minister for Finance said before and since we went into Europe. They made it perfectly clear that part of European integration, to which that party were committed, involved a commitment on defence. That is what they said and I have put it on the record tonight. If there is a change in the Fianna Fáil position, I would like to know what it is.

Last night Deputy Haughey said he had misgivings about the completion of the Common Market and that he had grave misgivings about the Single European Act. I believe he realised they could not find themselves off-side going into 1987, an election year, on a subject like that. Fianna Fáil should clarify their position and let us know what they want. If they do not want European integration, then let them say so, but let them also say what type of status they see for this country in the context of our opting totally out of Europe, or in some sort of associate membership, a two-tier Europe or whatever. It is naïve to believe that we can continue to get from Europe the transfer of funds we have been getting for the past number of years, currently running at about £1 billion a year, and demand more under the Regional Fund for structural aid and still expect to opt out of Europe. By all means we can decide to get out of Europe, or to have our participation in Europe limited, but if that is the case we have a duty, and the party who propose such a limitation of participation or who propose that we withdraw from the EC have an obligation, to explain to the people what the likely consequences will be.

I believe this amendment is completely unnecessary. I am satisfied from listening to the debate and from reading what has been published on numerous occasions over the last few weeks about the Single European Act, that our position as neutral militarily is clearly written into that legislation. We have nothing to fear from it. It is time we stopped codding around about this whole question of neutrality. Deputy John Kelly was right in saying that this so-called policy is a sham. It is the truest comment that was made by a backbencher in this debate. If the Irish people want neutrality they are entitled to it. Maybe that is the position we should adopt. If we are going to propose it to the Irish people we should tell them the full story. If Fianna Fáil want to tell them that if we want to be neutral we will have to opt out of Europe, then they should do so. That is more or less what Mr. Haughey said on Tuesday. We should let the Irish people decide what we should do. Between now and the next election some time in 1987 it might be possible for a committee of the Oireachtas to deal with this matter. It may be better that a debate go on for two or three years on a subject such as this because the implications involved are quite enormous. We should play fair.

I have restrained myself from participating on Committee Stage of this debate so far. I do not propose to contribute at length now because I had a considerable amount of time to express my views on this matter yesterday and I thank the House for that opportunity. I want a number of points clarified and I have a number of questions I would like the Minister to answer. I, and The Workers' Party, have not argued for withdrawal from the EC, nor have we questioned the correctness of our being in the EC at present. In the past we opposed our entry. The country decided to enter the EC and we have been a member for the past 13 years. That does not deprive us of the right to question EC proposals to make major changes in its structure, its decision-making process and the development of the formalisation of European political co-operation. That is what I and The Workers' Party have been doing.

Deputy Molony raised some very important questions in relation to neutrality. Like him, I feel that debate should proceed in a very detailed way. It was made clear to me in recent times that there is a distinct difference between the neutrality I speak about and the neutrality which the Minister and which Fianna Fáil speak about. If you examine the statements made recently by the Minister, by the Taoiseach and by Fianna Fáil spokesmen, there is a very large similarity. In that sense I differ also with Fianna Fáil in what I mean by neutrality. Regardless of the genesis of neutrality and the allegiance of the people to neutrality, however they understand it, the reality is that we have two nuclear armed camps and any country, large or small, that adds to either of those two camps is not doing the world any service by saying they are in favour of NATO or of the Warsaw Pact. I define neutrality as being non-aligned. I do not want that to be defined as sitting on the fence or as not taking a position on what is right or wrong. It is non-aligned in the sense that we will not take sides in disputes that arise between east and west. Our good offices and whatever influence we have in international forums should be used in relation to disarmament, denuclearisation, the reduction of tension and so on. I know the Minister and most Governments in the past attempted to do that. I would argue that in aligning ourselves more closely under the terms as they exist in the section on European political co-operation in the Single European Act with 11 other members of NATO, we are in effect taking sides. We are strengthening the reaction and placing ourselves firmly in one camp.

I said we do not oppose the principle of European political co-operation. I find no problem in sitting down and discussing matters on European political co-operation with members of NATO or any other member of an alliance. Does the Minister not see as I do, taking the definition of neutrality I offered as being an active and a positive policy, that Clause 6C of Article 30 restricts Ireland's function in influencing the direction in which the EC may go in the future in relation to denuclearisation and disarmament? It does not say we recognise Ireland's neutrality or Ireland's right to do A, B or C; it says nothing in this Title shall impede the Western European Union and NATO from doing whatever they choose in their own way. It is unfortunate that that section is included in the Single European Act. It is one of the aspects of the Single European Act on which we argued for renegotiation.

I wish to ask the Minister about the whole question of cohesion and the regional disparities. In the explanatory guide — the Minister complained on Second Stage that no one had taken up the challenge of this and answered any of the points in it — there is an admission that the disparities have not been eliminated from regions of the EC despite all the aid and the money pumped into them. Will he not accept that the provision in the Single European Act which says that once the Single European Act is ratified the EC will then sit down and discuss the question of coming up with a regional policy will obviously take into account the various problems in the region? It does not make any commitment in relation to resources, to the structures or the type of regional aid or policies which Ireland would need in order to survive economically in an open and free market.

It must be emphasised that we are not just talking about an internal market where there will be no frontiers but also about a free market where there will be no obstacles to competition. As a result of that, unless there is very specific assistance in aid, in particular for industrialisation in Ireland, before the internal market is completed we will have very serious difficulties. I want to emphasise that. There are other peripheral things in the Single European Act about which we are concerned but we are concerned about those two specific areas in particular. I was irritated to say the least at the tenor of the debate today with Members trying to bring in matters like abortion and so on. I find it irritating because the State has a law against abortion and has even changed the Constitution to prohibit abortion but we will have 4,000 Irish women leaving Ireland to have abortions in England. It is a head in the sand approach to this question and it is demeaning the House to go through that charade again.

This is my first opportunity to contribute to the debate on the Single European Act. The Committee Stage has been divided into a discussion on neutrality and economic aspects. I accept that bona fides of the Minister and some aspects of neutrality have smoke screened some important economic details of the debate. My concerns relate to our ecomomic future in Europe. I am firmly of the belief that we have no future if we are to depend on a consumer population of 3,500,000 Irish people. We have to depend on 320 million Europeans. However, I have seen some industries being devastated. The flour industry is one example of an industry that could not stand up to competition. In terms of decisions by the Community we have seen that the relative stage of development of any sector within the Community bears no relationship to overall Community needs. Irish agriculture made the case that we have only reached half the stage of European development but when it came to GATT and the import of cheap foodstuffs we were told that they were more important to the Community than Irish agricultural productivity.

I should like to turn my comments to industrial policy because there is a great deal of ignorance about Irish industrial performance. We have had a lot of success but most of them have been through the successful importation of international mobile investment by the IDA. If that is taken away, if the black hole is taken away and we are left with Irish indigenous industry we will find that there are 5,000 small manufacturing firms. About 90 per cent of them are small and 80 per cent of all Irish manufacturing firms do not export at all. We have the lowest R and D expenditureper capita in terms of GNP in the Community. We are 17th on the OECD table of competitiveness of 22 states. If we are talking about full and free competition and we are entering a Formula One race we are in a Morris Minor heading into 1992. We have got to be honest about that and face up to it. At the same time we must say that our only future is in the context of a European consumer market. I would like those major deficiencies in Irish industry to be recognised in this debate.

Section 3 (3) deals with the operational date of the Act while Protocol 30 sets out special terms of reference for Ireland to be laid in Rome. I have confidence in the Minister and, therefore, I will not support the amendment. However, I would like the Minister to put across three specific points because of industrial weakness with Irish firms. The small and medium sized industry policy in Europe defines a small firm as one employing from one to 500 people. That suits large concerns in the Community that are by no means small but it is downright unfair to us. If there are limited resources they must be targeted to assist those in greatest need. If we look at research and development in new technologies we will see that the only way that we will create the jobs in the nineties will be by adopting technology. For example, bio-technology here is now at the stage that micro-electronic development was in the fifties. What we must get in Europe is preferential treatment for bio-technology so that in the nineties we will be the source of the job creation. In the same way that the disadvantaged areas scheme has worked in agriculture we should get R and D preferential treatment for our industrial policy. The area of greatest ignorance is competition policy. It is seen in a narrow context of consumer interest which is fair but most people have not read the OECD report on buying power which clearly illustrates that the large multiple retail chains could wipe out small traditional businesses in the same way that Irish businesses can be wiped out by the multinationals of Europe without reference to any type of competition. We are talking about a free market here.

I am all for removing tariff barriers that are costing in excess of £5 million per year but I am not in favour of unfair competition, expecting Irish people to compete at prices of raw materials which cannot equate because of economies of scale. We need to alter our competition policy to cater for the needs of small producers. At the end of the day our goal must not be to copperfasten our position as the begging bowl of Europe. We must say, as Kennedy said, do not give us fish; give us a rod. We need the support now to develop our industrial infrastructure, to develop a strong indigenous Irish industrial base that can produce our way into the future, that can utilise the opportunities provided in the Single European Act and build upon them. Without that aid we are very vulnerable. I appeal to the Minister to pay particular attention when the developments are taking place between now and 1922 not only to our global industrial performance but the performance of indigenous Irish industries because they are quite different. If that is studied and pursued fully we should bring about the specific changes I have asked for.

I should like to make a few comments on the question of neutrality dealt with in section 3 and take up from where Deputy De Rossa left off. We have to be serious about this. I would welcome a full scale debate on neutrality in the House. Such a debate has never taken place. There has been reference to it after meetings of the Heads of Government. The fact of the matter is that this country is about as neutral as an Orange-man on 12 July. We are not a neutral country although we pretend to be neutral. We go on with this nonsense about being neutral, outside a military alliance. I say it is nonsense because we have not debated it or heard the arguments for and against it. If any Member dares to raise his or her head and asks us to consider the arguments for and against NATO and the WEU that Member is shot down immediately and condemned. We should try to have a debate in the House so that we will know the tenets on which our neutrality is based.

Seán MacBride, one of the greatest proponents in latter days of neutrality, said that Ireland would become a full charter member of NATO the day after partition ends. No other reason has been given for our neutrality since that declaration was made. Seán Lemass is on record as having said when Taoiseach that he could never remember the matter being discussed in Cabinet when Mr. de Valera was head of Government. We hear people talking about our neutrality during World War II and looking back it is easy to have a certain view on that but I would not be proud if we remained militarily neutral while six million Jews were grasping their naked children as they were being sent to their death. We have to face up to it that as a member of the European Community we have a right to defend the Community if it comes under attack. Do we not have a duty to defend the Community? We should spell out our position on this.

In the Naval Service in 1985 there were 942 officers and men, in the Air Corps there were 879 while in the Army we had 12,523. We spent £247 million on those services in that year. In 1986 it is estimated we will have to spend £650 million to be able to defend our neutrality. We are not in a position to defend our neutrality. I have heard people compare us to Austria, Switzerland and Finland but those countries make substantial provisions for the defence of their neutrality. We should not mistake neutrality for passivity. Many of those nations manufacture and export arms and some of their industries are involved in the manufacture of arms components. Let us not mistake neutrality for hostilities: many of those nations export arms. They manufacture armaments and those that do not are engaged in the manufacture of components for armaments. If people compare us with those so-called neutral countries they are saying "Let us be neutral and get into the export arms business".

We would be doing a public service if we publicly set down the premise on which our neutrality is based. We should be given an opportunity here, with the Whips off, to give our honest viewpoints on Irish neutrality. On a number of occasions I have asked for the establishment of a full committee on foreign affairs — there is a motion in the Seanad in that regard at the moment. There have been many suggestions put to Ireland regarding our international alignments, apart from the approach in 1949 to join NATO.

It may be of interest to the House to know that in the papers in UCG of the late Paddy McGilligan, S27/9, there is a copy of a detailed note from John A. Belton, the Minister Resident of the Irish Legation in Madrid, outlining a proposal made to him on a personal basis, with the consent of the Spanish minister and the director of the foreign political section of the Spanish Foreign Office, in which he was asked: "What would Ireland's attitude be to the creation of a neutral/Catholic bloc, consisting of Portugal, Spain, the Argentine and Ireland, whose objectives would be to defend Catholicism and resist Communism?" I am glad we did not join a bloc like that. That document marked "Secret" is dated 8 April 1948. There have been many approaches to Ireland to become involved in alignments.

A Fianna Fáil Government, led by the late Mr. Lemass, approved the servicing of US military aircraft here, flown into Ireland by US military personnel. Is that an indication of a neutral country? We give lip service to our neutrality and it is time we made our minds up and debated critically what our position is. The late Mr. de Valera strongly criticised a Cosgrave Government for being equivocal on the position of neutrality, but the same Mr. de Valera became President of the League of Nations, presumably embracing its conventions with vigour. How can a nation signing an agreement promising financial assistance to another country or countries in time of war call itself neutral? That is what happened. I am afraid we are very selective in our historical recollections in regard to these events.

The late Mr. Frank Aiken said, "Partition dominated Ireland's approach to all questions of external policy". That is verbatim what he said. Why do we not spell it out? I regret this continuing debate since we were asked to join NATO in 1949, this persistent debate about neutrality. Of course, it has not been a debate: it has been a personality assassination campaign in which if anybody stuck his head up he was shot down. It is time we debated this. We should decide if there is more to it than Partition. It would be a good thing for the House if we had such a debate.

In March 1979 Deputy Haughey said: "In the event, therefore, of European states being organised into full political union we would accept the obligations even if these included defence". Time and time again Deputy O'Kennedy is on record as making similar statements. The Taoiseach himself is on record as following that line. Let us not get into the argument of one being more neutral than the other. We would be doing a very good service for the public if the House were to come back, by agreement, to have a full-scale debate on neutrality. Some countries are not neutral by design but by force almost, because of proximity to eastern neighbours.

In such a debate would the Deputy need someone to stand up and say he is against neutrality? Is the Deputy prepared to declare himself on that?

I would be prepared to have such a debate provided the Whips were removed from the parties. I have already offered Government time for such a debate.

(Interruptions.)

Other European countries have declared themselves neutral because they are compelled to be neutral through their proximity to their eastern European neighbours who spend such enormous amounts on arms. They are not in our positionvis-à-vis Northern Ireland. We have shown a total lack of commitment to financial expenditure to defend our neutrality. The Minister made a very generous offer in reply to a question by me last week which I hope the Opposition will take up — a free, Whipsoff debate here on neutrality.

I have only four minutes. I will take this point about neutrality first. Many people have been quoted about neutrality in the last 50 or 60 years. I think Deputy Mitchell said I might be annoyed with him for dwelling on this. I am not in the slightest bit annoyed. I have said on a number of occasions here and outside that if we achieve political union in Europe it is inconceivable to me that we would not take part in the defence of that political union. If our attitude was to be otherwise the logical thing for us to do would be to disband our Army, to stand it down. I repeat the offer I made about the Government providing time for a debate on neutrality if the Whips were removed. I have some doubt about some parties in that respect but, as Deputy Mitchell said, we would be doing a service to mankind.

I regard the contributions tonight from most of the speakers as being extremely good. Deputy Lyons said he had deep suspicion of EUREKA and its connection with "Star Wars". There are at least three neutral countries contributing to EUREKA. Evidently he does not know that, or he thinks their neutrality is tainted in some way. The Minister of State, Deputy Birmingham, will be attending the ministerial conference of EUREKA in Stockholm next week. Deputy De Rossa spoke about Article 6C. He must read the Article as a whole. Eleven of the European states who are members of the Community embrace another aspect of security which does not suit us, and the Taoiseach came in on this. I agree with many of the points made by Deputy Yates and I suggest that his contribution and some of those from the other side of the House clearly show the difference in attitudes between this party and Fianna Fáil towards Europe. Fianna Fáil think the bottle is always half empty while we see the opportunities that can accrue for us. That is what the Single European Act is about.

Tripe — utter nonsense.

Deputy G. Collins is proving my point.

The Minister will try and pretend we are against Europe and——

Deputy Collins is proving my point. The Deputy is skulking in a corner, wanting guarantees not alone about tomorrow but about next year and ten years hence.

(Interruptions.)

Order, please.

The world is not like that. One must create one's own opportunities and quite clearly Irish industry and agriculture are capable of doing that.

The Minister has sold out on us. The Minister did not insert a declaration to protect our interests as other countries did.

I do not remember shouting at Deputy Collins when he was speaking, a Cheann Comhairle.

(Interruptions.)

Many Deputies from the other side of the House spoke here about the industries that have closed down since we joined the Community. That is quite true. Why did some Member not refer to our membership of the Community and how much that helped us in enticing other industries here to create other jobs?

We have accepted that.

I did not hear a word about the latter.

The Minister's time is up.

If I might say a brief word about two further points made by Deputy De Rossa——

(Interruptions.)

I have always been generous with leaders on either side of the House if they wanted a little time.

Deputies

It is 10 o'clock. What about the order of the House?

European Communities (Amendment) Bill, 1986. I am putting the question: "That the Bill is hereby agreed to in Committee, is reported to the House, the Fourth Stage is hereby completed and the Bill is hereby passed".

The Committee divided: Tá, 70; Níl, 63.

  • Barnes, Monica.
  • Barrett, Seán.
  • Barry, Myra.
  • Barry, Peter.
  • Begley, Michael
  • Bell, Michael.
  • Bermingham, Joe.
  • Birmingham, George Martin.
  • Boland, John.
  • Bruton, John.
  • Bruton, Richard.
  • Burke, Liam.
  • Carey, Donal.
  • Cluskey, Frank.
  • Collins, Edward.
  • Conlon, John F.
  • Connaughton, Paul.
  • Coogan, Fintan.
  • Flaherty, Mary.
  • Griffin, Brendan.
  • Harney, Mary.
  • Hegarty, Paddy.
  • Hussey, Gemma.
  • Keating, Michael.
  • Kelly, John.
  • L'Estrange, Gerry.
  • McGahon, Brendan.
  • McGinley, Dinny.
  • McLoughlin, Frank.
  • Manning, Maurice.
  • Mitchell, Gay.
  • Mitchell, Jim.
  • Molony, David.
  • Moynihan, Michael.
  • Naughten, Liam.
  • Nealon, Ted.
  • Noonan, Michael. (Limerick East)
  • Cooney, Patrick Mark.
  • Cosgrave, Liam T.
  • Cosgrave, Michael Joe.
  • Coveney, Hugh.
  • Creed, Donal.
  • Crotty, Kieran.
  • Crowley, Frank.
  • D'Arcy, Michael.
  • Deasy, Martin Austin.
  • Desmond, Barry.
  • Desmond, Eileen.
  • Donnellan, John.
  • Dowling, Dick.
  • Doyle, Joe.
  • Durkan, Bernard J.
  • Enright, Thomas W.
  • Farrelly, John V.
  • Fennell, Nuala.
  • O'Brien, Fergus.
  • O'Brien, Willie.
  • O'Leary, Michael.
  • Owen, Nora.
  • Pattison, Séamus.
  • Prendergast, Frank.
  • Ryan, John.
  • Shatter, Alan.
  • Sheehan, Patrick Joseph.
  • Skelly, Liam.
  • Spring, Dick.
  • Taylor, Mervyn.
  • Taylor-Quinn, Madeline.
  • Timmins, Godfrey.
  • Yates, Ivan.

Níl

  • Ahern, Michael.
  • Andrews, David.
  • Aylward, Liam.
  • Barrett, Michael.
  • Blaney, Neil Terence.
  • Brady, Gerard.
  • Brady, Vincent.
  • Brennan, Mattie.
  • Brennan, Paudge.
  • Brennan, Séamus.
  • Briscoe, Ben.
  • Browne, John.
  • Burke, Raphael P.
  • Byrne, Hugh.
  • Byrne, Seán.
  • Calleary, Seán.
  • Collins, Gerard.
  • Conaghan, Hugh.
  • Connolly, Ger.
  • Cowen, Brian.
  • Daly, Brendan.
  • De Rossa, Proinsias.
  • Doherty, Seán.
  • Fahey, Francis.
  • Fahey, Jackie.
  • Faulkner, Pádraig.
  • Fitzgerald, Liam Joseph.
  • Flynn, Pádraig.
  • Foley, Denis.
  • Gallagher, Denis.
  • Gallagher, Pat Cope.
  • Geoghegan-Quinn, Máire.
  • Glenn, Alice.
  • Hilliard, Colm.
  • Hyland, Liam.
  • Kirk, Séamus.
  • Kitt, Michael.
  • Lenihan, Brian.
  • Leonard, Jimmy.
  • Leonard, Tom.
  • Leyden, Terry.
  • Lyons, Denis.
  • McCarthy, Seán.
  • McEllistrim, Tom.
  • Mac Giolla, Tomás.
  • Morley, P.J.
  • Nolan, M.J.
  • Noonan, Michael J. (Limerick West).
  • O'Dea, William.
  • O'Hanlon, Rory.
  • O'Keeffe, Edmond.
  • O'Kennedy, Michael.
  • O'Leary, John.
  • Ormonde, Donal.
  • O'Rourke, Mary.
  • Power, Paddy.
  • Reynolds, Albert.
  • Treacy, Noel.
  • Treacy, Seán.
  • Tunney, Jim.
  • Walsh, Joe.
  • Walsh, Seán.
  • Wilson, John P.
Tellers: Tá, Deputies F. O'Brien and Taylor; Níl, Deputies V. Brady and Browne.
Question declared carried.