Extradition (European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism) Bill, 1986: Second Stage (Resumed).

Question again proposed: "That the Bill be now read a Second Time."

Before adjournment of this debate on Friday last, 5 December, I had made most of the points I wanted to make pertaining to this legislation but was about to come to the point I was going to make regarding the operative date of this legislation. It is the understanding between the Irish and British Governments that as part of a quid pro quo arrangement we would enact this Bill and sign our name to the European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism. I presume the reason the operative date is put forward to next year is that we are expecting action on the other half of the arrangement, so that we in this part of Ireland will be satisfied regarding the administration of justice when we extradite people to Northern Ireland or to Britain.

To ask this House to take on trust the extradition of Irish nationals to Northern Ireland and Britain, given what has happened in the recent past and the treatment in the British courts of Irish nationals is expecting an awful lot. This House does not need to be reminded that there are a number of cases at present on mainland Britain pertaining to Irish people in which the evidence has now turned out to be very flimsy. There is no point in crying when the event is over but if the Birmingham Six, the Guildford Four and the Maguires had been in Ireland after their alleged committing of those offences, under this legislation they would have been extradited. It is of little consolation to people who have spent upwards of 13 years in British jails that their cases are now perhaps going to be reopened. In the case of the Birmingham Six, as a result of overwhelming evidence the British Home Office should at least refer the matter to the Court of Appeal but they have dragged their feet on the matter despite pressure from the Irish Government, from all sides of this House and from various groups in England.

There have been a number of books written about these cases presenting new evidence. The lawyers may argue about what may be referred to the Court of Appeal in Britain and about what will happen, but in the minds of most people these people are innocent, yet they have spent a long number of years in prison. In the past five or six years there has been pressure to have a new trial or to have the case referred to the Court of Appeal and there has been intense pressure during the past two years. Yet nothing has happened.

Irrespective of the finer points of the law and the legalities if an innocent person is in jail it is no consolation to him that lawyers on both sides are fighting about technicalities and so on. If a person is innocent he should not be in prison. We in this House are going to insert this extradition measure into our legislation. Even though it is ratifying the latest European Convention of 1982, it is really another name for a new extradition agreement between Ireland and the UK. This legislation is due to come into operation in June next year but I hope it will be made quite clear to the United Kingdom Government that we have no intention of putting this Bill on our Statute Book unless we are satisfied on a number of specific issues. The Diplock Courts in Northern Ireland will have to be abolished and there will have to be tight guarantees by the British Government, perhaps in the context of the Anglo-Irish Agreement, that there will be no more supergrass trials. These are the minimum which the Government should require from the British.

I was brought up to be very sceptical about promises made by any British Government. It is a foolish Irish politician who puts his trust in the faith of any British Prime Minister or Government. Experience during the past 800 years bears that out.

The Minister should be willing to listen to amendments put forward by Deputies. Before an extradition order is granted a prima facie case should have to be established, at least in the case of Irish nationals. The Minister rejects this view, stating that since nearly all the people living on this island can claim to be Irish citizens or Irish nationals the bringing in of such an amendment would defeat the whole purpose of the Bill. So what? Surely we are entitled in this part of Ireland to bring in whatever laws we think fit for the benefit of our citizens. We do not always have to tug at the coat tails. We are an independent State and can make up our minds without pressure from any other quarter.

I had hoped that this Bill would not be introduced in the dying days of this Government. The Bill has been put before the House with undue haste and we will live to regret it. It is intended to push it through before the Christmas recess and certain amendments should be made. Regarding the operative date of the legislation, we should insert an amendment to the effect that if we are not satisfied with reforms of the system of justice in the Six Counties or in Britain it will not be put into effect. The section would have to be so framed that it would not even be considered by the House until satisfaction on these points was achieved.

There is a difference of opinion about whether this legislation is retrospective or not. Section 1 (4) is quite clear, stating as follows:

This Act applies, except where otherwise provided, in relation to an offence whether committed or alleged to have been committed before or after the passing of this Act.

To me it seems that if offences which are no longer to be construed as political offences were committed before the passing of this Act it will no longer be an adequate defence that the offence was committed for political purposes. What will happen in the case of extradition warrants which have been turned down? A new extradition warrant may be issued on new grounds, since the offence will no longer be regarded as a political offence. This is not a welcome provision in any Bill and it requires amendment.

The Minister went to great lengths to outline the reason we have not entered a reservation clause, to which we would have been entitled under Article 13 of the 1982 Convention. Article 13.1 states:

1. Any State may, at the time of signature or when depositing its instrument of ratification, acceptance or approval, declare that it reserves the right to refuse extradition in respect of any offence mentioned in Article 1 which it considers to be a political offence, an offence connected with a political offence or an offence inspired by political motives, provided that it undertakes to take into due consideration, when evaluating the character of the offence, any particularly serious aspects of the offence, including:

(a) that it created a collective danger to the life, physical integrity or liberty of persons; or

(b) that it affected persons foreign to the motives behind it; or

(c) that cruel or vicious means have been used in the commission of the offence.

It is accepted that we could have entered various reservations regarding what we define as a political offence.

I am totally dissatisfied with this Bill. I recognise the background to the legislation but had it been introduced in the early days of this Dáil there would have been scope for greater debate both inside and outside the House. It is a most illiberal measure which does not advance civil liberties. It is being rushed through the House with extreme haste. Such complex legislation should be referred preferably to an all-party committee of the House. The Taoiseach has outlined on a number of occasions other legislation of a social nature which he wished to get through but this is the only Bill which is getting priority. It is draconian legislation which is being enacted totally at the behest of the British Government. I do not like doing anything at anyone's behest but particularly at the behest of any British Government. The Minister should agree to accept some of the amendments designed to improve the Bill. We will live to regret the passage of this legislation and it will become an albatross around our necks.

A number of false impressions have been created about this Bill. The impression seems to have been created in the minds of some people that the passage of the Bill will mean that extradition will become automatic and that we will be handing people over to other authorities simply at their asking and with no conditions at all. This is simply not the case. This Bill does not replace our existing legislation in the Extradition Act of 1965, it amends it, essentially for the purpose of restricting the meaning of political offence. The formal procedures which are required in order to deal with a request for a person's extradition will remain in place. People whose extradition is requested will still be able to argue their case in court, they will still be able to contest the validity of the warrant or extradition requests and they will still be able to argue the question of whether they will get a fair trial in the state requesting their extradition.

Indeed, on that point there is a feature in this Bill which is not present in the existing legislation governing our extradition arrangements with Britain — Part III of the 1965 Act — which provides that there is no obligation to extradite if a person can show that he would be prosecuted or punished on account of his race, religion, nationality or political opinion, or that his position might be prejudiced for any of these reasons. That provision already applies in our legislation governing extradition arrangements with other European countries which are parties to the European Convention on Extradition of 1957. The passage of this Bill will mean that this international legal principle will now be contained for the first time in our legislation governing extradition arrangements with Britain and Northern Ireland. The inclusion of the safeguard in the Bill will have the effect of increasing the present level of safeguard against returning a person who would not receive fair treatment. It already applies in the British legislation of 1978 governing extradition arrangements with us.

This safeguard is included in the extradition arrangements even between friendly and democratic states of the Council of Europe because it is recognised that each individual case must be decided on its own merits and that there may be occasions where the fair treatment of a person could be in question.

I repeat therefore that the passage of this Bill will not mean that people will be extradited automatically, or that the formalities involved in dealing with warrants or extradition requests will be changed in any way to the disadvantage of the person whose extradition is requested. On the contrary, administrative arrangements are being reached in the Anglo-Irish Conference to tighten up the present system and to safeguard against mistake or abuse. Furthermore, the position of a person whose extradition to Britain and Northern Ireland has been requested, will receive potentially greater protection by the passage of this Bill because of the fair trial safeguard procedure which it is now proposed to include in the legislation and on which I commented just a moment ago.

Let me now consider a second false impression. The impression has been given that this Bill will mean the end of the political exception. Again, this is simply not true. The political exception is being restricted, modified, not abandoned. The passage of this Bill will not mean that somebody who commits, for example, a property offence involving no danger to human life, as a gesture of political protest, will have to be extradited to another jurisdiction. Our courts will continue to have discretion in this and many other types of cases. What it does mean is that certain heinous offences committed with terrorist-type methods will no longer be covered by the political exception.

In the last 20 years or so, we have seen the emergence of new forms of terrorist violence, some committed within a jurisdiction for motives, some committed in a third country for the purpose of getting publicity and attention, and most involving attacks on the life and liberty of innocent people. In those circumstances it has been necessary for the states of the Council of Europe to join together to take action to stamp out these crimes. Thus, the Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism provides that a person who hijacks an aircraft, or who attacks the life or liberty of internationally protected persons, or who kidnaps a person or takes a hostage, or who commits an offence involving the use of terrorist-type weapons such as a bomb or a grenade or rocket or who attempts to commit any such offences or participates as an accomplice, shall be regarded as being outside the scope of the political exception.

Let us be clear about one thing, about what the label "political" means when it is attached to such offences: it means they are or may be justifiable. I am convinced that the vast majority of people in this country will agree that such offences when committed in any one of the Council of Europe states should not be regarded as "political" and therefore non-extraditable. The people see the necessity to stamp out these acts of terror whether they occur on this island, or elsewhere in Europe. They see that given the international methods of the modern terrorist, there must be international co-operation in order that we protect ourselves.

Furthermore, I believe that the vast majority of the people of this State are utterly opposed to all forms of physical violence committed by people on this island, whether the purpose of the violence is allegedly in the name of a united Ireland, or allegedly in the name of maintaining the union of Northern Ireland with Britain. Whatever the so-called political motivation, I believe we have come to recognise that it must not be tolerated and must be ended before it engulfs us all. I believe that nationalist men and women are appalled by the violence conducted in their name and do not wish it to be open to subversives to escape prosecution or punishment for their evil deeds simply because they say they were done in the name of a united Ireland. I do not believe they wish to see us give protection to people whose aim it is to subvert the institutions of our own State. Nor, may I add, do I believe that they would wish to give protection to people committing offences in the name of unionism and so prevent their return to Britain or Northern Ireland.

The restrictions which will now be placed by law on the meaning of political offence are precisely designed to ensure that the specific acts of terrorist violence against the person, referred to in this Bill, shall not be grounds for the refusal of extradition, and that in the case of other acts of violence against the person which are not specified, our courts, in evaluating the character of the offence, will consider any particularly serious aspects of it, including any collective danger to life or liberty, any effect on innocent persons, and the possible use of any cruel or vicious means used in the commission of the offence.

It is that restriction on, that modification to, the meaning of a political offence which is at the heart of this Bill. Our courts have taken the view in recent years that the meaning of political offence should be restricted to what reasonable, civilised people would regard as political activity. That view, in turn, reflects a change in the attitude of ordinary people to the use of violence to further a political objective. That view is grounded on respect for human life; that view is grounded on the principle that political arguments should be conducted by peaceful means; that view is grounded on the resolve that there should be no excuse for terrorist attack on life and liberty in democratic states. The Government believe that it is right and necessary that that view should not be reflected by the Oireachtas itself in legislation and that it should not simply be left to the courts of the land to put it into effect. We believe that it is right and necessary to take a stand on this issue and positively to assert the non-violent nature of our view of political life and the non-violent nature of the aspirations of our people. It is very important that that basic principle, which is at the heart of this Bill, should not be obscured and lost sight of by arguments about legal technicalities. Nevertheless, it is necessary to point out, because again a false impression has arisen about this, that the Government and everybody recognise that there have been problems in recent years in cases involving the execution of warrants sent here from Britain or from Northern Ireland, and that the Government have acted to prevent a recurrence of these problems. The Minister for Justice has said in his opening speech that the administrative arrangements in extradition cases are being tightened up and that agreement on them is now virtually complete in the Anglo-Irish Conference. The Government are satisfied that those arrangements will reduce to an absolute minimum, if they cannot wholly eliminate, the risk of a recurrence of the kinds of difficulties that have arisen in recent years.

I want it to be quite clear what I am referring to here. I am referring here to mistakes or omissions in drawing up warrants and in completing the necessary formalities. The question of a sufficiency of evidence to justify a request being sent here is a separate matter which also requires comment.

The Minister for Justice has pointed out that in the opinion of legally experienced people with access to all the facts, there has been only one case, and that an arguable case, in which a question might have arisen about the sufficiency of the evidence to justify the warrant submitted. In other words, there is no adequate basis in fact for the argument being made for the proving of a prima facie case in our courts.

I have heard some people supporting the argument for the inclusion of a prima facie requirement refer to the McGlinchey case, saying that if there were a prima facie case McGlinchey would never have been extradited. That is just not so. Anyone who puts forward that argument clearly does not understand what a prima facie requirement would mean. A prima facie case is what it says it is, that at first sight a case has been established. That was done in the McGlinchey case. Not only did it get beyond the stage of the prosecution completing their case, but it actually resulted in a conviction at first instance and his conviction was only overturned in the court of appeal, so palpably there was a prima facie case in that instance.

I will return to that point in a moment but, in order to allay any possible public concern about warrants being sent here without a sufficiency of evidence, it has been agreed with the British Government that the warrant for the return of a fugitive will not be sought unless the Director of Public Prosecutions in Northern Ireland or the Crown Prosecution Service in Britain has considered the evidence and is satisfied that it is sufficient to ground a clear expectation of a prosecution. Deputies will be aware that the Minister for Justice elaborated on television last night on our intentions in this regard. The Northern Ireland Secretary of State, Mr. Tom King, in his speech of 8 November, made it clear that the British Government are also anxious to ensure against error or abuse in their extradition arrangements with us. This arrangement is of course reciprocal. It means that the warrant in each case, whether sent by us to Britain and Northern Ireland, or by Britain and Northern Ireland to us, will not be sent unless the case has been examined at a high legal level to establish if there is sufficient evidence on which to bring a charge.

Let me correct a serious false impression that this Bill authorises extradition merely for the purpose of questioning. Nothing of the sort could be contemplated, nor is it contemplated. That kind of arrangement exists within the countries of COMECON, but has no place in any other legal system. The administrative arrangements being reached in the Anglo-Irish Conference are firmly based on the principle that extradition is for the purpose of charging a person and not merely for the purpose of questioning.

These are the arrangements we are making. What we cannot do is to introduce the concept of a prima facie evidence requirement, namely, that the question of a sufficiency of evidence should be gone into in our courts. The technical problems associated with this have long been recognised by the Council of Europe countries and it was for that reason, that the Council of European countries, including ourselves, drew up the 1957 European Convention on Extradition. The irony is that those who want the incorporation of a prima facie evidence requirement in our Bill are talking about an English legal principle which is now being abandoned by the English themselves. The effect of introducing such a requirement now would not merely be to make us odd man out in the whole of Europe, but would also make it much more difficult to obtain extradition from us, or for that matter, assuming retalitation by the other countries of the Council of Europe, much more difficult for us to obtain extradition from other countries.

This question of prima facie evidence has clouded and confused the basic purpose of this Bill, which is, as I have said, to enable us to join with other European countries in co-operative efforts to stamp out international terrorism, and to assert a basic principle of our society, that we do not see certain specified terrorist acts of murder or other violence against any person on this island as being justifiable. They are not justifiable whether the victim is Catholic, Protestant or dissenter. They are not justifiable whether the victim is an RUC or Army man. They are not justifiable if the victim is a nationalist employer shot by the IRA, without the benefit of a court trial let alone the legal formalities which have been talked about in this debate. They are not justifiable if the victim is a nationalist victim of loyalist sectarian murder, of which we have had an appalling example this week. By passing this Bill, we will be saying that the acts of murder and violence specified in the Bill, will not be seen as justifiable whether committed by nationalist or loyalist paramilitaries or anyone else, and that other acts of violence may not be seen as justifiable depending on the character of the offence. The British Parliament has already made its position clear by passing legislation enabling Britain to ratify the Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism in 1978.

I now want to turn to the question of the commencement provision in this Bill. The Taoiseach announced our intention to accede to the Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism at the signing of the Anglo-Irish Agreement on 15 November 1985. He said that our accession would be against the background of the building of public confidence in the administration of justice in Northern Ireland, in the improvement of relations between the community and the police and in the context of enhanced cross-Border security co-operation. There have been improvements in all these areas. The RUC have acquired new respect in the eyes of nationalists over the last 12 months as they have resisted loyalist violence in protest at the agreement often at great cost to themselves and their families at the hands of loyalist thugs. New police complaints procedures have been published. The RUC and the Garda Síochána have been developing their co-operation steadily. Progress has been achieved, and conditions exist for achieving further progress in the administration of justice. I would draw attention to decisions of the Northern Ireland courts, especially in supergrass trials; the descheduling of certain offences so that they will be tried before a jury rather than the Diplock courts; a reduction in delays between arrest and trial which means less time remanded in custody; important changes to the Emergency Provisions Acts now before Parliament, i.e., arrest, search and other powers to be exercised on reasonable suspicion rather than simply suspicion as heretofore; a shift of onus in bail cases from the defence to the prosecution, where they should always have been; improved rights for persons in custody and more stringent conditions for the admissibility of confessions.

We recognise, however, that more must be done before there is adequate public confidence in the administration of justice in Northern Ireland. The changes now occurring need to be consolidated and in some cases brought into effect. We believe that further changes need to be made. That is recognised also by the British Government as for example in Mr. King's speech of 8 November when he said "we must seek constantly to develop and improve the arrangements we make for the administration of justice in terrorist cases" and as he made clear again following the last meeting of the Anglo-Irish Conference. In those circumstances, against a background of progress made, some more indicated but not yet in place and still more needed, it is appropriate that the Dáil and Seanad should have an opportunity to review the question of commencement of the Bill in the light of developments.

I also wish to deal with something which has figured in this debate although the extent to which it is proper to debate it is another matter. I refer to cases about which concern exists, the Birmingham Six, the Guildford Four and Annie Maguire about which there has been a degree of public discussion. It is a fact that these cases have aroused a great deal of concern here, and not only here but in Britain also. A statement of the Home Secretary only this week has indicated that he is very well aware of this concern expressed through the media and of course transmitted by the Minister for Foreign Affairs directly to him. He has indicated that the necessarily careful and thorough review of the Birmingham Six case is nearing completion and that he expects to be in a position to announce a decision before long.

Let me give a word of caution to those in this House who have linked the Extradition Bill to these cases. First, it should be made clear that these cases did not involve extradition. It is also fair to say that public opinion in Britain has become much better informed about the real nature of the Anglo-Irish problem since these trials took place in the mid-seventies, and especially since the report of the New Ireland Forum and the signing of the Anglo-Irish Agreement. The risk of prejudice has greatly diminished in Britain, as has been shown by recent decisions of British juries to acquit Irish people on charges of terrorist offences.

The action taken in Britain by members of the British Parliament and by other persons interested in these cases is a matter for them, although of course we greatly welcome their concern and their efforts to bring these cases to a satisfactory conclusion. The action taken by our Government and by this House in this regard is a separate matter. It is important, right and proper that the Government and the Members of this House should continue their efforts to persuade the British Home Secretary by all appropriate means to take positive action to enable those involved in those three cases to have an opportunity to clear their names. But the crucial word here is persuade. Those who would seek to force the Home Secretary to make a certain decision by linking the passage of this Bill which should be passed on its own merits to such a decision, are acting unwisely and improperly and may not be acting in the best interests of the persons they wish to help. Think about this for a moment. What would be our reaction if another country seemed to try to force us to take action on convictions which had been decided upon by Irish juries in an Irish court? I do not need to answer that question.

The Government will continue their efforts to persuade — the key word — the Home Secretary to take what we see as the right course of action. I believe that has also been the approach of the all-party delegations who have visited Britain, met the prisoners and discussed these cases with the Home Office, including the Home Secretary personally and with a wide variety of political figures and other persons who have serious doubts about the safety of the convictions. I would strongly recommend the approach of persuasion to all the interested Deputies in this House.

This Bill does not do the things that are said of it. It does not make our extradition a slot machine process, and it does not abolish the political process but it does respond to the realities of the world in which we live, realities of international terrorism. It does respond to what I believe to be the overwhelming view of the Irish people that acts of murder and other atrocities are not political and that to suggest they are in an abuse of language. This Bill represents an improvement in our extradition procedure and in many respects represents a further strengthening of the safeguards of the individual and will allow us to take our place among the member states of the Council of Europe. I urge the House to give it support.

I welcome the opportunity to speak on this very important Bill. Extradition, because of its nature, is an extremely sensitive and complex matter and is deserving of a full public debate both in this House and in the Community. We are proud of our record in the area of civil liberties and human rights and it is proper that any new proposed legislation which would in any way threaten our constitutional recognition of that most basic of human rights should receive in this House long and serious deliberation.

Already most of the people who have spoken in this debate have displayed their sensitivity and concern about this matter. If one is to judge from the public debate in the media — newspapers, radio and television — there is also a considerable amount of interest and concern in this area. I am very pleased this is so because it would be very wrong if a matter as sensitive as this did not get the treatment, the consideration and the analysis it deserves. In that context, I am extremely disappointed that the Second Stage of this Bill is to be terminated early this evening because it deprives many Members of the opportunity of contributing. In my opinion it does nothing for the credibility of this Parliament that a Bill of this nature should be rushed through in such unseemly haste. I hold the view that the Government would have acted more responsibly and more creditably if, instead of rushing this legislation through the House, they had decided to set up an all-party committee where all aspects of this proposal could be examined in minute detail.

One of the most encouraging aspects of parliamentary democracy in Ireland in recent years, and in particular in recent months if not in recent weeks, has been the effectiveness of Opposition, in this case Fianna Fáil, in amending or bringing about amendments to Bills and Government orders. This has been done in the interest of the country and in the best interests of the citizen. Anybody looking back over the last two months in particular at the legislation debated in this House and at amendments tabled by Fianna Fáil would have to agree that our Opposition has been extremely effective in highlighting public concern and in bringing about essential amendments in the national interest.

For that reason I appeal to the Minister not to close his mind or to turn his face against objective and constructive amendments, particularly in such a sensitive area as extradition. I was saddened last night watching the Minister's television appearance when he almost closed the door against his willingness to accept any amendments from this side of the House.

He changed his mind from last Saturday morning's radio programme.

Yes, quite considerably.

Somebody must have got to him.

If that was not enough, we now have the Minister of State——

Somebody must have twisted his arm.

——Deputy Birmingham confirming the views expressed by the Minister in his television appearance last night. If the public were to analyse the television appearance of the public representatives, they would agree that our spokesman, Deputy Woods, won that debate hands down and reflected in a very positive and responsible way the views of the ordinary people. When a matter as sensitive as this becomes an issue in this House they very quickly perk up to let their views on it be known.

As I said, instead of rushing the legislation as it is being rushed at present the Government and the Minister would have served the interests of the country far better if an all party subcommittee had been set up to deal with the matter. It is disappointing that the Minister is so dogmatic and so entrenched in his views. If we had been given more time to debate the matter in the House the Minister would see the logic of the reasoned arguments which have been put forward not only by people on this side of the House but also by members of the Minister's party who have already spoken on this matter. The Minister and the Minister of State would do well to open their ears and their minds to some of the views that have been expressed by backbenchers on the Government side of the House. The Minister owes it to the House to listen to those arguments. I realise, of course, that the other side of the story is being forced on the Minister by another administration. He should pay as much attention to the views expressed in this Parliament as he does to the views expressed outside it.

I fully subscribe to the view put forward by our spokesman, Deputy Michael Woods that we in Fianna Fáil fully support the principle of persons being brought to trial regardless of whether that is here or abroad but, and I use the word "but" in the most serious sense, we only support extradition on condition that it is in accordance with the generally accepted principles of international law. The Minister would be very wrong if he expected any Member of this House to contribute to any other kind of position. I do not accept that in signing the European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism we cannot and are not entitled to seek safeguards or to have written in and recorded our reservations and conditions in relation to handing over Irish nationals to any jurisdiction, that is, unless we are fully satisfied that accepted standards of fairness and justice will apply in the jurisdictions to which they are handed over. Other countries have sought such safeguards for their nationals. Will anyone question then that Ireland, with our history and experience, would seek to do otherwise? The Minister for State, contributing to the debate today, chose, perhaps deliberately, to ignore that many other countries, European and otherwise, have clearly written into their agreements on the convention their interest in safeguarding their own nationals. The fact that a country with a history such as ours is refusing to do that must cause considerable concern in this House.

Bearing in mind that the country most likely to be involved with us in extradition is Great Britain and keeping in mind the history of that country in dealing with extradition orders and having regard to the treatment of persons so extradited, our decision to ratify the convention without such reservations would be seen to be grossly irresponsible on our part and would represent an unfair abandonment of our people to a judicial system which, on facts, has to be suspect in many respects. I am not just making sweeping statements. I am drawing the Minister's attention to the facts and to the sound evidence which is available to prove conclusively what I am saying.

We must not allow the sad and tragic history of international terrorism and the cruel and callous approach of those involved to panic us into hasty and irresponsible decisions. While I suspect that the political motivation of the Government in bringing in this Bill at this time, and also in ratifying the Single European Act, is to try in some way to embarrass Fianna Fáil. As one member of Fianna Fáil, I am flattered that the Government should feel that two such extremely sensitive areas of national administration are areas about which Fianna Fáil would have extremely strong views. We have deeprooted feelings on those matters but I say to the Minister, the Taoiseach and the Government that we are not vulnerable in relation to any of them. Therefore, they will be disappointed if they think this is a sensitive matter with which Fianna Fáil will have political problems. We have no problems with this matter, we are clear in our views in relation to it and we have no reservations in expressing those views in this House. The people of Ireland can feel safe in the knowledge that Fianna Fáil in opposition will fight tooth and nail to safeguard our national interest in both of these matters. As I said earlier, the Government would be acting in the best interests of this nation if they allowed more time to discuss this matter. Whether the Government's motivation is the embarrassment of Fianna Fáil or a further chapter in the courting of the British Prime Minister, the reality is that Fianna Fáil will act responsibly and credibly and the people will have the opportunity of judging us on that performance, perhaps in the not too distant future.

The Minister and the Government cannot be allowed in the national interest to succeed in their efforts to hand over willy-nilly to any jurisdiction Irish nationals without the establishment of a prima facie case. The Minister made very light of that matter. I do not base my argument on the historic relationship between Ireland and Great Britain but rather on the current evidence of how British justice has been administered to Irish nationals both on mainland Britain and in Northern Ireland. It does not matter what way the Minister tries to gloss over it, the facts are there and we would be wrong if we chose to close our eyes to them. The Minister would not be worthy of the office he holds if he did not take those facts into consideration.

Let us therefore use this Bill to bring to the notice of the free world the barbarity of British justice as cited in the detention of the Birmingham Six, the Guildford Four and the Maguire family. Both sides of this House should acknowledge the efforts of Deputy David Andrews——

——who was the first person in this Parliament to raise the cases of the Birmingham Six, the Guildford Four and Annie Maguire. This is an example of the Deputy's strong sense of justice and his desire to see fair play. It was interesting to hear the Minister of State say that the British Home Secretary is now very concerned about the matter and has promised that there will be a result of his investigation in the near future. There would not have been one word about any of those despicable incidents by the Home Secretary, or anybody else, if it were not for the efforts of Deputy David Andrews. In fairness, I have to say that he was supported in his view by Members on all sides. It is encouraging to know that if we are forceful enough in our condemnation of injustices at some stage somebody will listen and action will be taken. I hope that there will be an early decision on this and that it will be based on the facts and the deeprooted feelings here that a grave injustice has been done under the so-called fair judicial system of the British.

The Minister has lost sight of the cherished and deep-felt feelings of the Irish people in relation to these matters. In the past we have refused to be compromised on them and refused to be bought. In regard to the term "political offence" huge doubts still remain as to what constitutes one and the Bill before us does not clarify the matter for us. If the Bill is passed in its present form we will have extradition on demand and we will be at the mercy of the Judiciary making such an order without any evidence as to why it is being sought in the first instance.

Are we going to allow the extradition of Irish nationals to satisfy the whims of another jurisdiction for the purpose of arrest and interrogation or will we seek safeguards that the requests for extradition will be based on prima facie evidence that the person sought will stand trial on a charge related to international terrorism? In the Bill we have an opportunity to express our total condemnation of those involved in violence while at the same time showing to the world our respect for freedom and civil liberty. I do not have any desire to allow my views on this matter to be unduly influenced by the events in Northern Ireland but in the light of the provisions in the Bill how can one ignore the evidence and the existence of the Diplock Courts and the supergrass trials? Are we being asked to trade in in some way our principles so basically related to human rights for promises relating to the most definitive form of justice in the world?

We must be united and unequivocal in our view that the country requesting the extradition of Irish nationals must establish a prima facie case against the individual. That requirement does not in any way take from our commitment and desire to co-operate with neighbouring nations in helping to stamp out international terrorism. It does not weaken our determination to deal with subversion in all its forms. It records in an important international convention Ireland's constitutional position protecting civil rights, liberties and human rights. There can be no doubt that the Bill does not contain that safeguard or give protection to our citizens.

One cannot help asking how the British people, or the British Parliament would react if the boot were on the other foot and British citizens were given the same judicial treatment in Irish courts as Irish citizens have received in British courts and while in the custody of British police. Are we to continue putting the lives of our gardaí at risk by getting them to implement warrants and extradition orders which have not been properly prepared? We have had a number of examples of that in recent months. I appeal to the Minister to reconsider his stand on the prima facie requirement as contained in the Fianna Fáil amendment. We cannot allow people to be extradited without positive evidence being presented as to why a person should be sent out of the jurisdiction. Let us demand positive evidence of justice and fair play and a genuine desire for judicial reform in the jurisdiction where the provisions of the Bill are most likely to be relevant. It is only in this way that our efforts to deal with national and international crime can have any credibility and respect.

I do not know why the Government found it necessary to bring forward such a measure with indecent haste. We have on our Statute Book a provision to deal with persons who are wanted for trial in other jurisdictions in the Criminal Law Jurisdiction Act, 1976. The powers exist in that Act to bring to justice those who are wanted for questioning or trial in other jurisdictions. Since 1976 only 11 or 12 persons were brought to justice under that Act and five of them were brought before the court in 1982 when Fianna Fáil were in Government. Since 1983 not one person was brought to justice under that Act. The Bill has been brought before the House in such a hurried fashion that one wonders why the Minister did not avail of the provisions in the 1976 Act, a more credible way of dealing with the problem. Now that the Minister has returned to the House I should like to appeal to him to reconsider his stand in regard to the production of prima facie evidence. The Minister can take it from me that the people of Ireland are anxious that a requirement on the lines of the Fianna Fáil amendment should be incorporated in the Bill.

I support the Minister's efforts to suppress terrorism. The Minister has indicated how seriously the Government view international terrorism. The Bill arises out of the Convention on the suppression of terrorism, adopted by the European Community following outbreakes of aircraft hijacking and attacks on the lives of prominent people. The legislation is being introduced at a time when there is a drive against these outrages. Since the foundation of the State we have always worked for a peaceful settlement of our problems and it is difficult to understand why when our European partners adopt a Convention on the suppression of terrorism we cannot be a party to it. The Government were correct to bring forward this measure. Deputy Hyland said that extradition was not in the national interest but the people who framed the Convention tell us that such extradition is in the international as well as the national interest.

I did not say that extradition was not in the national interest. The Deputy should be more careful if he quotes me.

Deputy Hyland went further and said that Fianna Fáil had views on extradition in the national interest and that they did not concur with the views expressed by the Minister in the Bill. I assume, then, that the view on the other side of the House is that this Bill is not consistent with the national interest.

That is not the view of this side.

What I have heard from that side seemed to imply that. The rest of the argument I have heard from the other side seemed to be based on whether Ireland can afford to give people up who have committed serious crimes in other jurisdictions. I believe there is an exploitation of the emotive connection between Britain and Ireland and the historical misuse of the law which colonial Britain imposed on Ireland. In an effort to get away from this, the Government have chosen to introduce this Bill. If the Opposition are seeking assurances from Britain that there will be even-handed justice for Irish nationals in Britain, I support them.

Hear, hear. That is what we are talking about.

The way to go about it is not by opposing this Bill or putting forward arguments about prima facie cases, totally to prevent the operation of anti-terrorism laws. As Deputies Andrews and Hyland said, the right thing for this Parliament to do is to make formal contacts with the British Parliament, to ask the political parties in Britain, the Conservatives, the Liberals and SDP, to form Irish sections. The Labour Party in Britain already have an Irish group who have been very concerned about miscarriages of justice, for instance, the case of the Guildford Four and others now in prison.

Deputies Andrews, Durkan and others went to Britain and to the British Parliament at their own expense to make a case for those people. Deputies on both sides of the House can contribute much to alleviating the problems of the Irish in Britain and can help to ensure that the British will be even-handed in the justice they hand out. Particularly since the outbreak of bombings in Britain, various groups have been formed to protect the interests of the Irish there. They have made contacts with the Irish Embassy in London and have brought to our Government's notice some serious problems that have arisen in Britain. I have no doubt that the British Government can be pressed to improve the situation for our nationals in Britain.

I understand the British intend to remove the prima facie requirements from their legislation. It has been virtually impossible to extradite people from the UK because of this legal requirement. The introduction of this Bill is a serious indication by this Parliament that we are seriously concerned about terrorism and its abolition.

My intervention will be brief. I have no intention of repeating the long legal arguments made on this Bill on its introduction. I want to make it very clear, because I think there is a need to, that this party will co-operate in every way possible to defeat international terrorism or terrorism in any shape or form. Our record in this matter is one of which we are very proud and I speak after long involvement in this area. At times I find it difficult to understand the veiled comments and criticism from the other side, as if there were double standards in this party on this matter. It is not so.

I and my colleagues have no doubt that we must play a part on the international scene to try to deal with international terrorism. With great ease one can list the many international incidents of terrorism we have seen too often on our television screens and read about in our newspapers. Anything we can do to co-operate with European and world colleagues to deal with these matters we should do. Of course, if a person is guilty of crimes that person should be brought to justice and be dealt with by the courts.

There is very grave concern among the Irish people about this Bill. I had hoped that some of the concerns expressed by Deputy Woods and others earlier in the debate would have made some impression on the Minister. On the Rodney Rice radio programme on Saturday morning I was pleased to hear the Minister for Justice indicating that he was relaxing somewhat in his opposition to suggestions for amendments. He must have been very upset later in the week when the Taoiseach on a visit to Galway, having flown from London with his batteries charged afresh by those he met in London, felt it necessary to take on the strong-arm approach again and say there would not be any surrender whatsoever in regard to the prima facie matter. I regret that. I did not see the television programme last night but I understand that the Minister gave the impression that there would be no surrender. I am sorry that apparently the Minister has closed his mind to accepting reasonable amendments which would allay the fears of many of our people.

I am sure very few people here would object to extradition for the purpose of bringing people before the courts for crimes committed, but there is grave doubt that until such time as we are certain there will be a fair trial wherever such a trial takes place we should be very slow to hand over people on foot of a kind of slot machine application. I am surprised the Government are not more steadfast in these matters. Obviously they are under very serious pressure from the British Government to get this legislation through. The Taoiseach argued that the British were about to change their stance on the prima facie issue which they had maintained until now. The pressures were very great and I am sorry the Government did not say: “We will introduce our Extradition Bill when we feel the time is right and not until then. We will introduce that Bill when we feel the atmosphere is right, when we feel that people can have faith in the security and legal systems”. Then they would feel, above all, they had confidence in the courts, they would be satisfied and happy that people would be treated fairly in the courts.

On a number of occasions some of us have had the opportunity of witnessing or observing some of these supergrass trials. I do not know whether the Minister for Justice or any of his Government colleagues has gone to Belfast and attended personally at any of those supergrass trials. I and a number of my colleagues have done so. Anybody who has had first-hand experience of what goes on at such trials will surely know that we in this Parliament are crazy to believe that the Irish people will support extradition on the words of a supergrass, somebody who may have been convicted of murder, perhaps serving three, four or five life sentences for murder, somebody who has been convicted, as McGlinchey was, for perjury four or five times. Yet McGlinchey, or somebody like him, could have engineered a situation in which a person would be brought to answer charges in the courts in Northern Ireland. That is not good enough — that one man's evidence — somebody who has already been found guilty of everything and anything, murder, perjury and so on — under the type of system they operate up there could very well be responsible for having somebody locked away for the rest of his life. That is not good enough. That is not the way justice is meant to be administered. I do not care how the Minister or the Government decide to package it, the Irish people will not accept that. I have no doubt in my mind that they will not because, if they are known for anything, it is their sense of fair play. They have no sympathy for those involved in any type of crime, in particular terrorist type activities, none whatsoever but, at least they would want to see them fairly tried and dealt with as they should be dealt with.

Until such time as the system in Northern Ireland is seen to be, like Caesar's wife, above suspicion, that is all the people will want. At that stage the Minister will see that he will have the full support of everybody in the country in trying to achieve what he wants, which is what we all want to achieve, that is, an end to and defeat of terrorism. But as, of now, we are just fiddling around, tinkering with it. It is the carrot or the stick we are using at present and who is producing the carrot and who is using the stick? I do not know who is trying to please whom and for what purpose at present.

No progress of any substance has been made in convincing anybody in this part of our country that the courts system in Northern Ireland is one we can look at with satisfaction or belief that it is aboveboard. It is not good enough and there is no point in saying that it will be by 1 June next and, if it is not, by then, then we will not make the order and it can go back for another six months. I do not believe that is the proper way to legislate. That is not the proper way to deal with the problem. It is a sign of weakness in this Government at present that they are now going ahead as they are in the hope that, by showing their good faith, being the good boys that seemingly they always want to be, the British will improve the situation in Northern Ireland. I appreciate that there are big problems for them there to be overcome. I appreciate — and I have said so many times in this House — that they are not problems that will be overcome overnight; certainly they will not be. The problems existing there have been festering over a long time. I understand that one has to be patient and careful in how one deals with them.

I am quite satisfied that the goodwill of the British Government in this regard could have been seen or manifested before now in the case of the administration of law and order on the island of Britain. I am talking about the Guildford Four, the Birmingham Six and the Maguire cases. It has been going on a hell of a long time, more particularly when one remembers that every way out has been given to the British Secretary of State, Mr. Hurd, to do something positive about it as quickly as he possibly can. Instead, we heard on the news this morning that the police constable who was recently released from prison is now being questioned as to what he knows. It is a disgraceful situation in the United Kingdom where there are no obvious political problems. Perhaps there are hidden ones that we do not see. I do not know who was the prosecuting counsel at the time or what position he holds in government today — the Minister might not like this — or whether that has anything to do with it. Perhaps it has; there are some people sometimes who have difficulty admitting their mistakes. But, if there was a miscarriage of justice, it should be cleared up straightaway.

When the Minister and Government are in a position of strength now, until such time as justice is seen to be done they should say to the British: "you put your house in order and we will co-operate in dealing with the problems that have to be dealt with".

There is undoubtedly a strong swell of public opinion developing in this country against this part of the Extradition Bill. Everybody I know welcomes every effort on the part of the Government and will support every effort by them to deal effectively with internal terrorism; there is not any question about that. But, people are genuinely concerned with the efforts of the Government in dealing with the extradition of Irish nationals to be dealt with before the courts in Northern Ireland. I have heard pleas over the years by British parliamentarians — some of those people that Fine Gael Deputies from Clare mentioned a while ago who were members of Irish groups within the political parties at Westminster. I have had a number of meetings with them, individually and collectively, over the years when they were always pressing hard for extradition to be introduced in this country. On occasion I have had to say to them: "when you have charges to prefer against somebody let us know but do you want them to prefer charges against them or do you want them purely for the purpose of cross-examination and investigation?" Seemingly the idea is held by many that people may be extradited for the purpose of conducting police investigations.

In an effort to deal with the problem that exists there I should say that we have on our Statute Book legislation which allows for people who commit crimes in other jurisdictions, in Northern Ireland and England, to be tried for those crimes here. I am open to correction on this but, to my knowledge, this country has never refused any application to put that legislation into operation here. As far as I know the number of occasions on which it has been used is perhaps more than a dozen but less than 20; I have a figure of 13 or 14 in my mind. I believe the Minister is in some difficulty himself. I would expect that he should be because he would have had the opportunity of listening fully to the pleas that have been made. I would have expected that he would have had a more open mind having regard to his ministerial responsibilities in the Department of Justice on the issue here. In the interests of fairness, indeed in the interests of the very basic principle of a fair trial the Minister must see that he cannot hand over the people for trial until such time as he can guarantee quite definitely they will be given that fair trial. There is no question of that guarantee being there now. The Minister is already on the slippery slope of giving the British this legislation by saying it does not come into operation for six months.

When Deputy Collins was Minister for Justice what was the legislation that applied then?

The Minister might just hold his peace now and not lecture——

Order, please.

The Minister should look at our record under the Criminal Law (Jurisdiction) Act; the Minister should look at the statistics in relation to it.

The Deputy is trying to pretend that Governments prosecute.

Perhaps Deputy Collins would tell the House the number of people extradited under that legislation.

I have here a Parliamentary Question, No. 491, answered in the House on 20 June 1984. The question asked the Minister for Justice the number of prosecutions brought under the extra-territorial provisions of the Criminal Law (Jurisdiction) Act, 1976 for each year since 1976. There was one in 1978, three in 1980, two in 1981, five in 1982, two in 1983 and none since then. There was no need for any since then because of certain things that happened at the time with the connivance of the Government.

Let me get the Minister back to the difficulty he is in. He must surely see now, having regard to his responsibility as Minister for Justice, that he must guarantee a fair trial will be given to those who will be extradited. Having listened, as he should as an intelligent person, to the strong arguments put forward in this area he must know that there is every reason to be worried that a fair trial will not be given, not just in Northern ireland but in the UK as well. There are no major political reasons except personal political reasons for office holders in the British Government why the British Government cannot make up their minds in the Birmingham, Guildford and Maguire cases.

The Minister has to be worried, and let me say to him that worry will stay with us until these amendments are accepted. If they are not accepted, Minister, you will never be forgiven by the Irish people for trying to do what you want to do seemingly at the behest of a Taoiseach who is taken in by the British Prime Minister. You will never be allowed to forget it if you are going to be party to putting on our Statute Books an Act allowing for the handling over of people, because of seemingly short-term personal commitments given by today's leader of our country to the British Prime Minister. You will be held responsible, Minister, in this House and in this country for evermore if you go ahead with the sort of plan that seemingly you have in your mind.

I had some hope on Saturday morning last listening to you that you were prepared to be reasonable and fair in the interests of justice for people. Irrespective of what crimes they have committed they are entitled to fair play, but seemingly you have been upended. You were winded politically by your party leader when he went to Galway for his press conference in an effort to boost up your flagging strength for the next general election. The firm hand, fresh from his visit to Mrs. Thatcher, put you in your place. That was his mistake. Do not fall for it, Minister.

The Deputy should address the Chair and keep down the heat.

You, Sir, are part of that too. The Minister has responsibility to ensure that fair play will be given to this country. I have listened to and taken part in discussions in this House with regard to questions raised about what the Government are doing to date in the Birmingham Six, Guildford and Annie Maguire cases and it has never been spelled out clearly why we are not making the progress that everybody wants us to make. The people now are beginning to see what is going on and the Minister will have ample opportunity to spell out what has gone wrong and why we are not making progress. Having regard to the personalities involved, it is a definite effort being made by the British Government to sweep the whole matter under the carpet, despite the fact that 200 to 300 British MPs are clamouring for the case to be reopened and that justice be seen to be done. Now more recently, as stated yesterday, the European Parliament is adding its voice and with this House is unanimously calling on the British Government to do something about it. What is needed to get fair play? Is it because we are pandering to them we will not get fair play or do we think that by pandering to them we will get fair play? It is about time the Minister and the Government brought a little realism into their thinking and listened to what the people are saying. The people will never understand the mentality of this Government if they persist with this legislation.

I would like to make clear at the outset, as I have already outside the House on numerous occasions, that the Progressive Democrats support fully the principles which underline the European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism and are anxious that Ireland ratify it at an early date. Indeed, in our opinion the need for this Convention is even greater today than when it was originally drawn up in 1977. Ireland particularly has a strong interest in playing its full part in the suppression of terrorism. It is entirely appropriate that the spurious claims of political motivation, political excuse or political defence to acts of gross terrorism, so many of which we have seen in this island, should be cast aside. If in that respect I have a criticism of the Bill it is that it does not go far enough. Section 4 in particular uses phraseology that is extraordinarily vague. It will give rise to lengthy arguments in courts about whether the act concerned is of a sufficiently vile nature to ensure that the defence of a political offence or something connected with a political offence is open to it.

It should be remembered that the offences in Article 1 of the 1977 Convention and those referred to in section 3 of the Bill are quite limited in their scope and apply only to a proportion of what we would popularly call terrorist type offences. The ordinary murder of a citizen or a policeman with, for example, a revolver or pistol is not included in section 3 of this Bill, and it is open to the defendant, because it is an offence under section 4 or Article 2, to argue that the political defence is still open. I query if it should be left open to the extent that it is, or if a limitation is to be put on it — and it is defensible that perhaps some limitations should be put on it. I query whether that limitation should be as vague and subjective as what is set out in section 4.

It would be necessary, for example, for the State, to prove in order to set aside the political defence that the commission of the offence created a collective danger to the life, physical integrity or liberty of persons. A determined attempt, for example, to shoot one person and nobody else, would not come under that and would allow the political defence still to be pleaded. The second thing that the State might have to prove is that it affected persons foreign to the motives behind it. That would seem to mean that people other than the intended target were injured or liable to be injured, which it may be very difficult to do. The third possibility is that cruel or vicious means were used in the commission of the offence. I can imagine nothing more subjective than a phrase like "cruel or vicious means". What we might have thought of 15 or 20 years ago as cruel or vicious is almost a daily occurrence on this island today. Is the sort of justice administered by the IRA thugs in Northern Ireland, and we regret in parts of the Republic, cruel or vicious? I would have thought it is. On the other hand, if it is arguable that it happens every day of the week, is it no longer cruel or vicious? Why should the State have to prove that in some sense there is unusual cruelty or viciousness in an act before it obviates the defence of an alleged political offence?

I underline this at the start of what I have to say in order to show that my anxiety is that the IRA and other so-called paramilitary organisations will get no concern or support from me and, I think, from the vast majority of this House and that they should not be facilitated in any respect in the putting forward of this spurious claim of political activity. I do that because I have reservations about other aspects of the Bill. I want to underline how the Bill does not go far enough where the section 3 or section 4 offences are concerned. The Bill imposes a high degree of subjectivity and puts too great an onus on the prosecuting authority. My party will put down an amendment to try to clarify and simplify section 4 and to make the possibility of ordinary murders as opposed to those carried out with explosives or automatics much less open to be claimed as being political than is the case. It is a bit ridiculous to seek to distinguish between a murder carried out with an automatic weapon and one carried out with a nonautomatic weapon. Is one any more dead because one is shot with a machine gun than if one is shot with a revolver, a pistol or a rifle which is not automatic? This distinction is pointless and section 4 should be amended.

I support the principle of the Bill and I am anxious that it would go further but I am concerned about the extradition arrangements and have been for some time. Between nine and 12 months ago I referred to the desirability of our having in our law a prima facie requirement in relation to extradition from this country, as is the case in so many parts of the world. It is not just in the last week when my point was taken up and became fashionable, that I talked about it. It is worth noting the way the debate on this has changed in the last couple of weeks. The Minister said in his opening speech here last week that under our law no prima facie requirement is required to extradition requests from another country. The Minister went on to say that the provision in section 22 of Part II of the 1965 Extradition Act, whereby any particular extradition agreement may require the production of evidence as to the commission of the offence by the wanted person is not applicable to countries which are parties to the European Convention on Extradition. Up to a limited point that is correct but it has to be noted that several countries who ratified the 1957 European Convention on Extradition, including Israel, Norway and Denmark, have provisions in their domestic laws which can and frequently do require a prima facie case to be made out by a requesting country. I have checked this matter carefully. In the case of Israel it is required in all cases and in the case of Norway and Denmark it is required if the court thinks that it is necessary or appropriate in order to prevent injustice.

It is simply not true to claim, as has been claimed, that none of the signatories of the 1957 Convention have this requirement within their law. It must be conceded however that these special provisions of these three countries' laws are the subject matter of reservations which the countries in question entered when they acceded to the 1957 Convention. We are in the position that when we acceded we made no such reservation. Accordingly to introduce a general requirement of a prima facie case into Irish law would require that we denounce the 1957 Convention and accede to it once more, expressing such a reservation. For various good reasons such a procedure would not be justifiable. For one thing, reservations committed under the 1957 Convention were to be temporary in character, even though Norway, Denmark and Israel have maintained the reservations as a long term feature of their law. It might be argued that it would be impossible in good faith for us to denounce and then to reaccede to the Convention with a reservation which was intended to be a long term feature of our law. For this reason I have come to the conclusion that without denouncing the 1957 European Convention on Extradition, the only way in which prima facie case requirement can be introduced into Irish law is to make it apply only to requests for the extradiction of Irish citizens. It is clear from Article 6 of the 1957 Convention that Irish law can provide that Irish nationals should not be extradited but that where extradition is refused on the grounds that the person in respect of whom the request is made is an Irish national, the State is under a corresponding obligation to permit the Irish national to be tried in Irish courts with the offences charged against him by the requesting country.

Section 4 deems that the Extradition Act of 1965 provides that extradition shall not be granted where a person claims he is a citizen of Ireland, unless the relevant extradition provisions provide otherwise. In other words, unless an extradition treaty or agreement specifically provides that Irish citizens may be extradited under it, the existing law is that extradition shall not be granted in respect of a citizen of Ireland. To listen to some of what the Minister has said recently, one would not think that that was so, one would have to read section 4 to realise that it is baldly stated that no citizen of Ireland shall be extradited from this country unless an extradition agreement otherwise provides. That is our basic law and we start from the premise that we do not extradite our own citizens. It is in starting from that premise that we have the solution. It was interesting to listen to Deputy Woods speaking here about a week ago during the earlier part of his debate, making a strong case for a prima facie arrangement without confining it to Irish citizens. The Deputy did this in a way that would not been feasible under the 1957 Convention.

In the light of the suggestion I made to the Minister on Saturday last and to Deputy Woods on a radio programme, I see that Deputy Woods is now making that point. That is because he quite rightly agrees with me. I would also urge the Minister to agree. He must agree privately at least that it is right, is the way out of our difficulty and does not contravene any of our international obligations. There is a corresponding duty to proceed against an Irish citizen who is not extradited because of our law if such criminal proceedings are requested by the country to which extradition has been denied by virtue of the Irish citizenship of the person involved. That obligation is also acknowledged by the provisions of section 38 of the Extradition Act of 1965. Accordingly, there is a middle course between denouncing the European Convention on Extradition of 1957 and applying to reaccede to it with reservations on the one hand and on the other hand providing no safeguards at all for our citizens. We can, within the terms of the 1957 Convention which is intended to be read jointly with the Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism, provide that in respect of Irish citizens extradition shall not be granted unless the requested country establishes a prima facie case in regard to an Irish citizen. That gets over the difficulty the Minister has expressed in the House and in public on more than one occasion. It solves it from a legal and a political point of view.

While this may mean that the position of a foreign-national, fugitive offender who comes to Ireland will be different from that of an Irish citizen in respect of whom an extradition request is made, it seems that most people here would differentiate in the degree of protection which they are willing go offer to a foreigner who has fled to this country and, on the other hand, to a citizen of this country whose extradition is sought by a foreign country. It seems that there are many other good grounds on which such differentiation can be made and that popular sentiment in this country would not only tolerate but support such differentiation.

In what the Minister for Justice described as the final point of his speech last week he pointed out that for some time we have heard suggestions that the law should distinguish between the extradition of Irish citizens and the extradition of others. He correctly pointed out that our law heretofore has not made that distinction. He pointed out that in practical terms the issues we are dealing with are virtually entirely related to extradition to Northern Ireland or, to a much lesser extent, to Britain and that even in relation to British cases, the cases involved are almost all likely to relate to problems in Northern Ireland and involve Irish people. There he overstates the position a good deal because over the years there has been considerable traffic in offenders who have nothing to do with terrorism or Northern Ireland but are up for what the police euphemistically call ordinary crimes in Britain and Ireland such as fraud, burglary, assault et cetera.

The Minister went on to say that our citizenship laws are wide by international standards and further pointed out that nearly everybody in Northern Ireland is an Irish citizen which of course is true but he then jumped to an unwarranted conclusion that to exclude Irish citizens from extradition arrangements is in our situation tantamount to saying we will not extradite at all. That I suggest is a gross over-simplification. It is quite permissible under the law of this State and under the international conventions to which we are a party to differentiate between Irish nationals and citizens of foreign countries in relation to extradition laws.

What I am proposing is not to immunise Irish citizens from extradition as the Minister suggests but on the contrary to change our laws to provide that Irish citizens will at least have the safeguard that they will not be extradited to face trial in a foreign country in circumstances in which they could not be returned for trial on indictment by a district justice on a preliminary examination under our own domestic law.

There is no insuperable difficulty in providing a prima facie case safeguard for Irish citizens under our laws as they presently stand or under our international obligations. Since that is the case and since no argument has been properly made out against affording our citizens these safeguards and since there are many widespread public concerns expressed more or less vocally by different groups in the community as to the standards of justice which apply in various countries from which extradition requests are likely to be made it seems that there is no good reason here on offer as to why a prima facie case safeguard should not be provided under the extradition law of this country in respect of Irish citizens whose extradition is requested by foreign countries.

Therefore, while the Progressive Democrats are completely at one with the Government in their desire to bring about a co-ordinated European programme of action by Governments to suppress terrorism and prevent individual countries from providing safe havens for those who injure, maim and kill nationals of other countries and innocent people who have nothing to do with the causes which these people claim to support it equally follows that we should not here today fail to provide safeguards which are both desirable and permissible within our own domestic laws and within the framework of our international obligations. For these reasons, I am giving notice to the Government that on Committee Stage the Progressive Democrats will be proposing amendments to the Bill the purpose of which will be to ensure that Irish citizens will not be extradited to foreign countries unless the requesting country is in a position to establish a prima facie case.

In this respect I would like to advert to some of the comments made by the Minister of State, Deputy Birmingham, in his speech this morning. He stated:

The irony is that those who want the incorporation of a prima facie evidence requirement in our Bill are talking about an English legal principle which is now being abandoned by the English themselves after being abandoned by the rest of Europe, including Ireland, 30 years ago.

That sentence is remarkably incorrect, particularly so from a Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs who in this House two weeks ago spoke in a debate on the ratification of an extradition treaty between this State and the United States of America which contains a prima facie requirement which I say extradition treaties and our law should contain. Not alone that, we ourselves within the last two weeks in this House by our very own act ratified a requirement for prima facie evidence to be provided by a requesting state. The British, who now say it is unthinkable and impossible, have done it in their supplementary extradition treaty with the United States which was finally agreed by the Senate of the United States after a year's delay and several amendments in June of this year.

To say that the rest of the world is doing away with this when we ourselves in this House and the British in a celebrated and much publicised treaty last June ratified the very thing is flying in the face of the evidence. To run down the concept of a prima facie requirement by describing it as the Minister of State has done as an English legal principle and, therefore, something invalid seems to be a bit disingenuous. He might well have left unsaid what he said this morning because it is so far from what the position is that it serves only to underline and highlight the inconsistency of the Government and their thinking in relation to this matter.

In relation to the provisions of Part III of the Act of 1965 it is noteworthy that the rule of specialty which is applied to every other country and which means a country cannot use one offence as a pretext to obtain custody of a person in order to try him for another offence does not apply to the United Kingdom. I wonder why this should be so. It seems to me that we should have a uniform law of extradition to the greatest extent possible. While the recent Anglo-Irish Agreement underlines the necessity for close co-operation between the Republic and the United Kingdom in relation to security matters, and while Part III of the Extradition Act of 1965 means in effect that Government intervention is not necessary for the enforcement of warrants which are issued in the United Kingdom seeking the return of persons in this country to the United Kingdom, there seems to me to be no reason why the rule of specialty should not apply to any such request. Furthermore, it seems to me that the same requirement of a prima facie case does not in any way impede either the administration of justice or the pursuit of offenders.

In my view, there is no good reason why an English warrant should be capable of bringing about the prolonged incarceration of an Irish citizen in an English jail awaiting trial in certain circumstances where a prima facie case is not made out, while at the same time that citizen could not be remanded in custody for trial on indictment by an Irish Circuit Criminal Court.

I note that the Minister states that the United Kingdom intends in the near future to accede to the European Convention on Extradition of 1957. There has been talk along those lines for many years. There have been Home Office working papers on the matter published over a prolonged period. If and when the United Kingdom accedes to that Convention, in relation to every other European country it will be bound by the rule of specialty and will be bound by the provisions of the Convention itself. Many other countries will refuse to extradite their own nationals to the United Kingdom on the basis that they are citizens of those countries. The proposals which we are making to amend the extradition law merely mean that no Irish citizen will be extradited to the United Kingdom or to any other country which has acceded to the Convention unless the requesting country, including the United Kingdom, presents sufficient evidence in an Irish court as would warrant the return for trial of the person in respect of whom the request is made for trial on indictment in our own domestic law.

Since we have the opportunity to look at our extradition law generally and since this Bill makes a number of amendments in the Extradition Act, 1965, in addition to the rule of speciality and the prima facie requirement, particularly in our extradition relations with the United Kingdom, we should look at the whole tenor and raison d'être of Part III of the 1965 Act. I say this particularly because the Minister has made considerable point of the nature of the provisions of Part III relating to our extradition arrangements. He suggests that because they are the way they are it would be unwise or improper or dubious to interfere with them. I should like to remind him of the history of the provisions of Part III of the 1965 Act. It is to a large extent cogged from an adaptation, mutatis mutandis, of the provisions of the Extradition Act, 1870, passed by the United Kingdom Parliament at Westminster to facilitate the movement of offenders or defendants between the different sub-jurisdictions of the United Kingdom as it then was. There was no question of extradition from one country to another. Legally it was at that time one country and Ireland was a distinct sub-jurisdiction for legal procedural reasons, in the same way as Scotland, the Isle of Man, the Channel Islands and Northern Ireland are today. It is not correct to describe arrangements for the moving around of offenders or wanted people between Scotland and England or between Northern Ireland and Scotland or between England and the Channel Islands as extradition in an international sense. Therefore the provisions of the 1870 Act should not have been more or less entirely brought into Part III of our 1965 Act.

Since 1922 we have been an independent sovereign nation and our extradition relations with the United Kingdom should be the same as our extradition arrangements with any other sovereign country. They should look on us in the same way as they would look on any other sovereign country. It was not appropriate in 1965 — and still less is it appropriate today — to have our relations with a foreign sovereign country based on what were the internal arrangements within an earlier United Kingdom of which we were then a member. They are no longer appropriate and therefore Part III should not be cited in support of a status quo that has no basis today in international law or political reality.

I would have preferred the opportunity in this Bill to be utilised to amend or repeal Part III and to put the arrangements with Britain on the same basis as those which apply with any other country, rather than carry on well into a second century arrangements which were drafted for and appropriate only to the situation which arose when we were another part of the United Kingdom.

I consider section 12 of this Bill to be inappropriately drafted. It is the commencement section which in most Bills amounts to just a couple of lines and is not of much consequence. It is of considerable consequence here because it has to do with endeavouring to use this Bill as leverage to get the British to take steps to reform aspects of their judicial procedures both in Britain and in Northern Ireland. I fully support the Government's efforts to use this Bill in this way. It may be unusual but in the circumstances these efforts are valid. The way they go about it in section 12 is very convoluted, ties their hands unnecessarily and reduces the value of the passage of this Bill as a lever in seeking to achieve what they properly are trying to achieve.

Section 12 as it stands should be withdrawn and replaced by a simple, normal section saying that this Bill will come into operation on such date as the Minister for Justice may by order appoint. That would give him and the Government of the day entire flexibility as to when this should happen. He is in considerable difficulty as the section stands because if it is intended to postpone it beyond June next, a date will have to be specified. This will have to be done in a vaccum without knowing what is going to happen about the unsatisfactory aspects of the administration of justice in Northern Ireland and in Britain in respect of several cases which are very contentious and giving rise to widespread concern.

It is regrettable that the British Government should have seen fit to turn down the reasonable request of the Irish Government within the Conference of the Anglo-Irish Agreement for a change in the Diplock courts from one of three judges. The reasons given by the British Government through the Lord Chancellor, Lord Hailsham, simply do not stand up. Reference was made, among other things, to the undesirability of three-judge courts because they might divide on sectarian lines. The court of appeal in Northern Ireland at the moment is a three judge court and there is no evidence to suggest that that has happened. It expresses very little confidence in those who have been, or might be, appointed to the bench of the superior courts in Northern Ireland that they would be likely to divide in that way.

Equally, the other reasons given are spurious ones and it seems quite unreasonable that the British should refuse to countenance this suggestion. Particularly, it is unreasonable that they should refuse to countenance it when it comes from the Government of a country which has successfully operated a three judge court in terrorist type cases here for the past 14½ years — successfully operated, I say, in the sense that this court, the Special Criminal Court, is not subject to any criticism of any significance from anybody in this jurisdiction any longer. It was, as one might expect, in the first six months or so after it was introduced in May 1972 but, because of the patent competence, sincerity and fairness of this court from 1973 onwards, all such criticism died down. I have no doubt that an equally satisfactory situation could be arrived at in Northern Ireland if the British took the advice that is now offered to them.

Instead, we have to look back over what has happened there in relation to the administration of justice in recent years and it is certainly not something that would inspire confidence — the mass convictions of dozens of people at the same time on the evidence of a single accomplice-type witness who, in the words of the very judges who subsequently convicted on their evidence, was not worthy of credibility. Therefore, what the Government are trying to do in section 12 is valid and reasonable. I just think that they are doing it the wrong way and that they should replace it by a single simple provision saying that the Act shall come into force when the Minister for Justice so orders.

I hope that the Bill can be enacted at an early date, but I certainly hope that when it is enacted it will contain the reasonable safeguards, that would be regarded as normal by any other country, which I and others have suggested, that the amendments which I and perhaps others will put down to this Bill will be accepted by the Minister for Justice and that he will not approach this whole important matter with a closed mind which certainly the Taoiseach, if not the Minister himself, seems to have displayed in recent times. This is regrettable and unfortunate in a matter of this kind.

Terrorism, hijacking, maiming and murder are truly terrible deeds which all of us in this House, and indeed outside this House, abhor. Barbarity of this kind can never be justified and should be stamped out by all the means at our disposal. Therefore, extradition of a terrorist from one jurisdiction or one country to another is obviously a very necessary and desirable means of grappling effectively with the problem. However, in all such matters the rule of law should prevail and justice should not merely be done, it should be seen clearly to be done. There should be no element of prejudice or vengeance involved, designed to secure conviction at any price or by means, however foul.

Anyone conversant with the history of this country knows full well that British justice in Ireland, in so far as the mere Irish were concerned, going back down the years, was indeed a sordid story of infamy, shame and disgrace — the packed jury, the hanging judge, the paid informer, backed up by all the paraphernalia of the military and the police, all designed to terrorise and suppress that native population. I am not seeking to go back into the past which is best forgotten or open up old sores but the terrible truth is that after 800 years of British rule in this country very little has really changed. In this enlightened age there still exists incontrovertible proof that significant numbers of Irishmen and women are languishing in British jails for a long number of years for crimes which they did not commit, not because I say so but rather because it has been displayed and proven graphically on the British media — television, radio and press. In exclusive research, it has been proven that they are innocent. That proof and the investigations that went before it have been carried out, in the main, by Englishmen, all credit due to them. They comprise the most eminent men in the land, journalists, Members of Parliament, Members of the House of Lords, great literary giants acknowledged by the world at large, such as Robert Kee. They have proved conclusively — and the European Parliament confirmed yesterday — that the Maguires, the Birmingham Six and the Guildford Four were framed, that they are innocent, in that the confessions secured from them were beaten and bludgeoned out of them and that there is a strong case to be made for their immediate release. I must pose the question as to what this Government have done to secure the release of the innocent people.

Until such time as these injustices are cleared up to the satisfaction of the Irish people, the Minister and the Government are not justified in asking us to bring in here and implement a Bill of this kind so that glaring injustices of this type would continue. No, we should not be asked to pass an Extradition Bill in present circumstances because up to now many of the extradition orders, as we know, were badly bungled, many of the people that the Government handed over to the British were acquitted for lack of evidence and, indeed, released when the British police did not, or could not, offer any concrete evidence to convict them. Many of the extradition orders issued in recent times were found to be invalid as in the case of Evelyn Glenholmes.

Northern Ireland has become a byword for degeneracy among great nations — indeed among all civilised nations — in respect of its long history of bigotry, discrimination and injustice. The British regime there has been maintained by brute force. In recent years it has become a playground for the SAS and all the Frankensteins of torture and murder. The guinea pigs were the mere Irish in Northern Ireland. The use of plastic bullets, also designed for use against the mere Irish, would not be used on the British people on the mainland. The outrageous strip searches in respect of Irishwomen are essentially evil and obscene, yet they continue. The systematic torture in certain jails in Northern Ireland is well known, in particular in the detention centre known as Castlereagh. It is aptly named and takes us back into history — I met Murder on the way —

He had a mask like Castlereagh.

The widespread use of paid informers, the scandal of the supergrass trials, the Diplock courts and the ingrained prejudice and hostility to the Nationalist population are nothing less than a shame and a disgrace. They indicate a complete absence of law and order and justice as we know them. In the knowledge of all these things, how have the Government the audacity to ask the House to hand over people to such a jurisdiction?

Yesterday, the 12 countries of the EC unanimously agreed that British justice in Northern Ireland, and as administered to the Irish in Britain, should be roundly condemned. Our colleagues in the EC expressed horror at the fact that so many Irishmen and women are languishing in British jails for many years although they are completely innocent of the charges laid against them. All these people cannot be wrong. They too have investigated the cases of the Maguires, the Birmingham Six and the Guildford Four and God knows how many others. In these circumstances, with the overwhelming weight of public opinion on our side against such injustice, it was most unwise and inopportune for the Government to bring in the Bill now.

I deeply resent the brazen audacity of the Government to ask me, as a Member of this House, to give carte blanche to hand over many more Irishmen and women in such circumstances without first ensuring that they will get a fair trial. I suggest, with all the sincerity at my disposal, that the honourable thing, especially having regard to the views expressed by our colleagues in the European Parliament yesterday and all the weighty evidence on our side which has been proved incontrovertible regarding the doubtful justice in Northern Ireland, would be to withdraw this Bill.

The suggestion that the Bill will not become law until next June is an insult, a spurious bribe, the implication being that all the wrongdoing in Northern Ireland for the past 60 years can be undone by the Government in six months. They want us to believe that you can do in six months what every other Irish Government failed to do in the past 60 years. I do not accept that. Therefore, we should do the right thing and take our stand with our colleagues in Europe who proved to the world yesterday that, in their unanimous view, there was maladministration of British justice in so far as Irishmen and women are concerned. Justice must be seen to be done before we dare to talk about extradition and justice. Justice must come first and a fair trial must be guaranteed.

Some people may attempt to misrepresent what I have said here this morning and may even try to throw me into an extremist camp. The House, the country and my constituents know me better. In any event, I am in very good company in the stand I am taking. Some of the most concerned people, the greatest minds and the greatest humanitarians in the world have pronounced their views on British justice in Ireland. In this regard I am happy to take my stand with my European parliamentarians, with whom I sojourned for a few years. While I abhor terrorism, I hate injustice and untruth. I make no apology to anybody inside or outside this House for taking the stand I am taking on this fundamental issue today.

Our Government have no right to ask us for an extradition agreement until the glaring injustices to which I have briefly referred have been remedied. Then, and only then, can the fundamental rights of Irishmen and women be adequately safeguarded and the innocent will have no fear of being pronounced guilty. Britain must first put her own house in order before expecting us, with fulsome co-operation, to support a measure of this kind. That is why I am appealing to the Minister today to withdraw this measure. It does not have the approval or the ratification of the Irish people at large. Our friends throughout the world will understand our reasoning in hesitating to adopt this measure until such time as there is a better climate in Northern Ireland. Our European collegues said so yesterday.

I ask all Members of this House, all right thinking people, to stand back for a moment and recognise that until such time as the injustices to which I have referred have been remedied and the innocent are released, we must not give away our great bargaining point by agreeing to this measure at this time. This is not the right time. To do so now would be to play into the hands of those who continue to treat our people in Great Britain and Northern Ireland in a despicable fashion. That is why I am so opposed to this measure and I ask the House to reject it as untimely. That is not to say that in respect of terrorism and other such crimes I do not take the same stand as other Deputies who abhor these crimes. I would be very happy to give my full support to any measure this Government introduced if I were satisfied that at least a modicum of justice would be available for our people on the other side.

Deputy Treacy suggested that people who take a different view might be seen to attack him but I do not wish to do so having enjoyed his friendship and I greatly respect him but I regret to say that I do not agree with much of what he has said on this very sensitive issue.

I congratulate the Minister and the Government for introducing this measure. I come from a Border town which is very close to the heat in that unhappy part of Ireland. There is an attempt to overcome the ambivalence that has been apparent in this country for 70 years in relation to what are euphemistically referred to as political crimes. I do not accept that there are political crimes. That is a cowardly excuse to commit murder. If a person commits an act of war on behalf of the legitimately elected government perhaps that person can justify it under the heading of "political crime" but no terrorists can decide in a public house to take a life and ascribe it to Mother Ireland. I totally reject that theory. A crime is a crime is a crime, and until this country faces up to this so-called "political" crime, we will continue to witness the savagery which we have seen over the past 20 years in Ulster and possible see it extended to this part of the country.

I live in the town in the South which has been most blemished by the savagery and butchery in Northern Ireland and over the last 20 years I listened to claims by the Unionists that we provide a bolt hole, a haven, for persons who are wanted for crimes against humanity in the Six Counties. That is why I have no difficulty, in the spirit of the Anglo-Irish Agreement, in supporting this Bill. I applaud the Government for having the political guts to bring in this measure at this time.

Deputy Treacy and speakers from Fianna Fáil said this was an opportunity to bring in extradition but I suggest that at no time in the next 100 years would a Fianna Fáil Government have the courage on this particular issue, to bring Ireland into the twentieth century. In the civilised world there can be no hiding place for criminals. By bringing in this measure I believe we are continuing the spirit of the Anglo-Irish Agreement.

At present, the international focus is, and rightly so, on the Birmingham and Guildford alleged bombers. I believe there are valid reasons for supporting the belief that they probably were not guilty. I welcome the European decision to ensure that they will either be released or will be given a re-trial. There is a great weight of international opinion of which is concerned at what happened there, and this does no credit to British justice. While we all wish justice would be given to those hapless people, that is no reason to deny justice to the 3,000 and more victims who are lying in their graves in Northern Ireland, or to their families. In the North more than 3,000 persons have been killed as a result of atrocious crimes resembling those of Beirut, and some of those crimes which were committed in Ulster for the last 20 years would make Adolf Hitler look like an altar boy. They are unspeakable crimes.

I am not saying those crimes were not heinous, but to say that they would make Adolf Hitler look like an altar boy is overstanding the case a bit. Has the Deputy forgotten the thousands who were exterminated?

Deputy O'Kennedy has forgotten all the people who have been brutally murdered in the North.

We should not rely on the person mentioned by the Deputy to make a comparison in the House. It would be better if this were not done.

In my town over the last 20 years I have seen evidence that the claim of the Unionists is not without justification. I have seen people like Mr. McGlinchey, Miss Glenholmes and many other people who are wanted in the North walking the streets of Dundalk. It gives credence to the grievance of the Unionists who claim that we provide that bolt hole. Mr. McGlinchey, by his own admission in an article in The Sunday Tribune, stated that he took the lives of 30 humanbeings. I do not believe any civilised country can countenance that even with traditional ambivalent views. The myth of the shadow of a gunman still hangs over this country and particularly over the Fianna Fáil Party. I urge them to support this Bill which will improve Anglo-Irish relations and might some time ultimately lead to the unification of this country.

I have seen the unhappy influence of the IRA, the INLA and the Provos who have succeeded in the last 20 years in bringing my native town to its knees, economically, environmentally and in every other context. They prevented employment in the town. They ensured that the town was branded as a rogue town all over the world. The town of Dundalk is known internationally for the wrong reasons. Recently I witnessed vigilantes, outlaws from the INLA and the Provos, take the law into their own hands almost nightly in the housing estates of Cox's Demesne and Muirhevnamore. They break into people's homes and exercise their own brand of kangaroo justice. Only last week a Belfast man, Mr. Adams — an unfortunate name — received ten years in the Criminal Court for a robbery in the town of Dundalk. Two young men who worked in the coalyard which this man entered identified him as he was not wearing a balaclava. They had to take refuge because of the threats received from Belfast gangsters and mobsters, the INLA told them that they and their wives — one man was married only six months — would be shot. They were told in no uncertain terms there is no shortage of 17 year old boys in Belfast who want to make a name for themselves. That is a semblance of what the unfortunate people in the North of Ireland, irrespective of their religion, have had to put up with during the agony of the last 20 years.

Many of these people committed crimes in the North and fled across the Border. They continue to commit crimes in the North and then issue statements from their southern based areas that they have committed various crimes. They take responsibility and indeed credit for murder. I realise that murder has been downgraded in this country. There is an ambivalence that somebody can commit a most heinous crime and hide under the guise of political crime. They claim to do it on behalf of Mother Ireland. That is the mentality we have to overcome. If peace can ever come to this unhappy land, it can only come in the words of the Holy Father when he visited this country, in a climate of peace. It is for that reason that I fully support this Bill. No country can provide a hiding place for criminals, in particular those who commit the crime of murder. I congratulate the Minister on his courage and the Government for continuing to introduce a series of courageous Bills in the Dáil.

I want to assert without any qualification that the Fianna Fáil position on this or any other related Bill is based on vindicating the rule of law in our Constitution and asserting our fundamental obligation to protect stability in our society and to vindicate the rights of individual citizens. That is our obligation and that is what we propose to do no matter what implications are made by people like Deputy McGahon or anybody else. We would be unworthy of our role as legislators much less of our inheritance of this party if we let ourselves be intimidated by implications from Deputy McGahon or any member of the Government. It is because of that fundamental obligation as legislators that I intend, in support of what our spokesman, Deputy Michael Woods, and others have said, to point out where the Government are, for one reason or another, failing to take account of all the established principles of the law here, internationally and in our relationship with other countries. They fail to discharge their obligations to our citizens wherever they may be and to the cause of peace and stability not just in Ireland but in Britain and Europe also. I am not speaking of my personal position or my previous role as Foreign Minister or otherwise. Each Deputy in our party has expressed his view very clearly. We repudiate, abhor and condemn what has been done in the name of Irish Republicanism in recent times for two reasons: firstly, because it is so wrong and, secondly, because it desecrates a great tradition, and the fundamental concept of Republicanism which is a concern for the rights, justice and dignity of each citizen.

The Irish achievement of independence is admired around the world. It was achieved by the great sacrifice in 1916 of Irish poets, and some might say insane poets, who made a gesture of defiance in the interests of the rights we speak about and we now enjoy. Are we getting to the point where we forget that we would not have the right to express views as we are doing here, even if we diagree with them, without those sacrifices and without that conflict which sometimes has been almost a condition precedent to freedom here and elsewhere? We have a magnificent tradition of sacrifice and service in the cause of our own people and others elsewhere.

It is outrageous to even consider branding us with the label of being soft as regards terrorism or anything of that nature. Anyone who does so is a coward, be it Deputy McGahon or anybody else. The impression has been created that Fianna Fáil will not oppose this because, in a sense, they are afraid of the implications of, as some might say, the company they are keeping. We have never kept that company and we never will. Many of us have some close family associations with the War of Independence. We have very deep respect for what they did and suffered and for those who died but, my God, I am not going to listen to any Member claim that because we have that kind of inheritance we are afraid to stand for the principles of law and justice that are so essential if we are to maintain our role as the effective legislators for stability and justice in our society.

There has been a very interesting development since the State was established in the attitude towards our laws and how they are administered. The developments within parties, how they approach the law and the fundamental rights of the citizen, have been interesting. Our main function is to produce the laws and after that, under the Constitution, we leave it to the courts to interpret those laws and adjudicate on them. For those who say that Fianna Fáil do not seem to know much about this area I should like to assert, because we have been a little too modest about this, that Fianna Fáil Governments consistently have done more than other Governments to uphold and vindicate the rule of law and particularly to ensure the quality of the people appointed to our courts is such that they are recognised at home and internationally as being the most qualified custodians of the law. In appointing judges to our courts we did not make any distinction between the party affiliations of those appointed.

It has been implied that somehow we do not have the respect for the law that established Fine Gael followers, the successors of Cumann na nGaedheal, have because they had more lawyers in the first Government than were available in a less advantaged Fianna Fáil in the late twenties. At the time people did not have much education but they had something more important, they had conviction and respect for each other. Judges appointed by Fianna Fáil are a tribute to our recognition of their ability, for example the late Chief Justice Cearbhail Ó Dálaigh and Mr. Justice Brian Walsh to mention a few. Another judge we appointed, and I say this with a certain degree of pride, is the present Chief Justice.

This does not arise on the Bill. It is highly undesirable for me to allow the Deputy to go on in this way and talk in glowing terms about a number of judges because I will not be able to rule out another Member who may come in and say most disparaging things about judges. We would end up having the judges used as a political football in the House, which is most undesirable.

I am anxious to convey the impression that our party in the course of discharging our responsibilities have been particularly sensitive to the need to adhere to and vindicate the principles of justice for our citizens. We have done that despite what some might say about political preference, something we do not exercise and have not done. Others have exercised political preference to a different extent and they will continue to do it. We will continue that consistent path and contest, as we are obliged to do, this legislation without any thought for the time of year it is introduced or how close we are to an election. We will do it even if it is suggested that it is introduced to test Fianna Fáil. We will not stand for that type of approach and by the time we have finished this debate we will have convinced the public that at least we are alive and aware of our obligations to them.

Extradition is perhaps the most final act short of execution that any State undertakes in respect of citizens in the sense that by transferring a person from the jurisdiction over which that state exercises responsibility to another jurisdiction for trial in accordance with the procedures of that jurisdiction the State that transfers is effecting a very final act in respect of that citizen.

That is nonsense.

The Minister will have an opportunity to reply later. As far as we are concerned our procedures are no longer applicable in respect of charges that may arise or claims made because we are transferring those people to another jurisdiction. That jurisdiction will be able to deal with those people in accordance with the principles and practices of that jurisdiction. Of course it is a final act. We must be satisfied that the principles of justice as administered by the courts, police practices, the rights of the citizen and the whole process of law in the jurisdiction to which we are sending such people is at least on a par with the principles and processes we apply here. Such jurisdictions must be seen to uphold and vindicate the same rights and principles as apply here. It is our fundamental obligation to ensure that our citizens respect what we are doing. What is being proposed ignores the fact that it is not simply a question of transferring to another jurisdiction in which we have total confidence, or that the process to be applied in that jurisdiction is the same as that afforded to citizens in this State, because we know it is not.

In introducing the Bill the Minister was very honest. He said throughout his speech that on the occasion of the signing of the Anglo-Irish Agreement at Hillsborough in November 1985 the Taoiseach indicated the Government's intention to accede to the Convention against a background of the commitment entered into by the Irish and British Governments to work together to achieve early progress in relation to certain matters of mutual concern in Northern Ireland. He said that the first step towards accession was taken when he signed the Convention on behalf of the Government in February and that the Bill represented a second step in that process. Clearly the Bill is exclusively part of the Anglo-Irish Agreement signed in Hillsborough. The only reason the Bill is before us is that it is part of that process. For years, we have not done this — not just Fianna Fáil but the previous Coalition. Mr. Cosgrave's Administration also refused. You said that more than once in the course of your speech.

The Deputy should address the Chair.

I made that statement because the Minister shook his head. If that is the case I will ask some fundamental questions. One significant absence from the Minister's speech was a reference to the outrageous and widely publicised processes of law that have operated in trials in Britain, particularly in regard to the Birmingham and Guildford defendants. Have we lost all courage and all responsibility that we are afraid to refer to those trials? It is the Minister's role to administer the law here and to show that he above anybody else will demonstrate that the principles of justice will be applied, but in the course of a 30-page speech introducing the Bill he made no reference at all to the total repudiation and rejection that have been voiced about what was done in the name of justice to those people.

I am sure the Minister will have heard of the Federation of Irish Societies in Britain — the Taoiseach certainly has. They represent, I would say, a most responsible, respected and well established group in society in Britain or elsewhere. They were outraged by the Minister's failure to make any reference to their concern and that of most people in Britain about the maladministration of justice in that case. They have been making a case through parliamentarians of all parties for a new trial for those unfortunate people.

The Minister has told us that there will be six months moratorium until June. That applies only to the process of law as it affects Northern Ireland — there is no reference to the position about what is being done in the name of law in Britain. Have we such little strength that we are afraid to state that what Britain has been doing in the name of law is totally reprehensible and that we cannot enter into agreements with them in regard to international law unless they demonstrate to us and to the world that they have respect for the application of the law to all citizens? The federation I have referred to continue to say that and we must support them, no matter what our obligations are to Britain, no matter who is their Prime Minister.

Let us look at another statement by the Minister in his introductory speech. It relates to our obligations to our own citizens. That part of his statement has caused grave offence to the Irish in Britain. There is reference to the Fianna Fáil policy of having special care for our citizens under extradition arrangements with Northern Ireland particularly, which is, after all, part of the territorial area of this country under law as far as we have seen it enshrined in our Constitution —de jure part of this land, if not de facto. The Minister said this, by way of reference to the fact that we do not extend our citizenship protections to Irish people in England:

Our citizenship laws are very wide by international standards. Apart from the fact that nearly everybody in Northern Ireland is an Irish citizen, numerous thousands of people in Britain who are of Irish descent are also Irish citizens. To exclude Irish citizens from extradition arrangements is, in our situation, tantamount to saying we will not extradite at all.

Those Irish in Britain, no matter how they may suffer, apparently will not be given the protection of whatever reservations we have here — there are too many of them. Whose shame is that, theirs are ours, particularly in recent times? We export them. Therefore, those Irish citizens will be subjected to the Prevention of Terrorism Act every time they pass to and fro coming here on holidays or on business. They will be subject to the practices and procedures we complained about because there are too many of them and we cannot vindicate their rights — according to the Minister we are not to exclude our citizens from the application of this Convention. That was a shameful statement by the Minister which gave offence to the countless thousands of Irish citizens in Britain who have made major contributions there, and to us at home as well.

When we extradite persons they will be subject to all of the processes of the laws of that country, police practices, courts, statute law. We will extradite them to a country where the climate of opinion may be very different from our own. Do we not know that some of the British tabloids, for instance, even at the hint of an offence or maybe when there is an outrageous offence such as bombings in Birmingham or elsewhere, direct general condemnation at Irish citizens which arouses widespread prejudice? That does not exist here. We as a sovereign nation must take account of that prejudice in any country before we agree to extradite. The Government are failing totally to do this. Some outrageous prejudice has been aroused particularly by some English newspapers.

One can share with Irish citizens in Britain, and indeed the public at large there, the great anxiety and worry about offences of the kind I have spoken about, but the general condemnation that is expressed of Irish citizens must be taken account of — I refer specifically to some of the cartoons we have seen.

Police practices are part of the extradition process. Does anybody say in relation to the Birmingham bombing cases that we would condone here those police practices in respect of our own or any other citizens? Would we subject people to a trial based on preliminary police investigation, to use euphemistic terms? Of course we would not. Of course Britain is embarrassed by the fact that this is being exposed before the world, but apparently we are more concerned about their embarrassment than in ensuring that justice will be done and seen to be done, and be guaranteed to be done in the future. It is time that those police practices that would not be tolerated here be rejected and condemned for what they are, outrageous interference in the name of the State in the rights of individuals. Who could have confidence in extraditing people in those circumstances?

Another matter that comes into this legislation is the application of the courts. I will not comment on the courts here or in Britain beyond saying that the principle of exclusion for political offences was established in the first instance in the United Kingdom courts, particularly in the House of Lords. The principle about which we are speaking here is not one that was dreamed up in Ireland, or even in France, America or anywhere else. It has been an essential part of the law of Britain, as laid down in the House of Lords and in many other judgments for years. Assuming that the British courts adhere to that principle — and it has to be said that as far as the application of principals are concerned they do — nonetheless why should we allow it to pass unnoticed that if those are the principles on which the courts will act, where the pre-trial practices in police questioning or otherwise are such as to make the total process unacceptable by our standards, we are not going to say: oh, yes, but it is your principles of not extraditing for political offences that we are following? In effect that is what we are doing. It is they who first said one does not extradite for political offences. It is they who have been recognised internationally, who have laid down the law and in court judgments that will make it more difficult to extradite out of Britain than anywhere else in the world. That is as they see it. We do not see it that way; we make it very easy for anybody.

I might quote from 1973 All-England Law Reports, from a leading case, in the House of Lords, the famous case of TzuTsai Cheng and the Governor of Pentonville. Lord Simon was speaking on the conclusion of the case, refusing to grant extradition in respect of a person who was accused of a political offence, an offence that appears to have been of terrorist violence — he was a member of a Taiwanese organisation in the United States dedicated to the overthrow of the existing régime in Taiwan and was accused of a terrorist offence in the course of demonstrations and an attempt to commit a crime of violence. He subsequently found himself in Britain from which his extradition to the United States was being sought. We do not often quote House of Lords decisions here but it is no harm to quote Lord Simon now. He said:

It is unlikely that the world will ever be free of political crime: subjects will always tend to feel grievance against their governors, there will always be conflicts of ideology, and some people seem to have a natural propensity to express themselves in violence. But there is the less excuse for, and therefore will be the less public condonation of, political violence if there is institutional power to influence the decisions of government and if substantial freedom of expression is safeguarded by the law. This country prides itself on its tradition of constitutional government and freedom under the law. Our tradition of asylum for political criminals is closely associated with our cherishing of our own rights.

There is Lord Simon saying that their standing internationally is based on the fact that their tradition of asylum for political criminals is closely associated with their cherishing of their own rights. At least they respect their own principles. Apparently we are going to repudiate ours. On that basis this approach by the Government overlooks all of the most established conventional principles of the law and of the application of the rule of law through the courts in any country.

There is something else I want to say about the relationship between Britain and ourselves. What we are proposing here is extradition without the protections that have obtained heretofore. Are we not aware of the fact that already between Britain and Ireland there is something exceptional that does not exist at all between other countries? As if we have not gone far enough, we are now going further. The extra-territorial jurisdiction provision introduced after Sunningdale, the Criminal Law (Jurisdiction) Act procedure, whereby a person can be tried here for an offence committed in Britain or the North of Ireland and vice versa is unique to these countries. We already have something special to demonstrate to the world — if we need to demonstrate it — that we are not a haven for terrorists, reverting to what Deputy McGahon said. No other countries have that kind of arrangement. We have it already and, what we are proposing to do now is an addition to that. We are going to go much further without any regard to what are our obligations to our citizens having regard to the practices to which I have been referring in England or the North of Ireland. It is time we were sufficiently confident to tell the British Government of any one day, who try to imply that this part of this island has been a haven for terrorists, that the only consequence of violence we suffer from is that of the injustices in the North of Ireland which spill over here. Perhaps we do not suffer nearly as much as do the people in the North of Ireland in one way or another.

I want to tell Deputy McGahon or anybody else who would make the case about the Criminal Law (Jurisdiction) Act provisions that I have visited the North very many times. I made a point of visiting not just Nationalist areas but Unionist areas as well and of speaking in particular, to Unionists in various places. In the course of one such visit about three years ago to Saint Anne's Cathedral in Belfast — this gives the lie to what Deputy McGahon and others suggest — there was a case being made to me by a number of people in the crowd that evening that Ireland was regarded as a convenient haven that, as Deputy McGahon put it, they are walking the streets of Dundalk and Dublin. Someone in that crowd, perhaps not surprisingly, put it just like that. When somebody like Deputy McGahon is saying it, is it any wonder that they will say it too? It was said that it was about time we did something to shift these fellows to where they would be dealt with. A person I did not know then but have got to know since, who was not in uniform, got up in that crowd that evening in Belfast. He said he was tired of listening to this misrepresentation of the position. He was tired of hearing the Republic being blamed in respect of people alleged to be walking the streets of Dublin, Dundalk or anywhere else. He said the problem with regard to those people was that they, in the North of Ireland, did not have the evidence to bring them to trial. He said if they had the evidence to bring them to trial, by way of the extra-territorial provisions, they could and would be in a position to get convictions. It was not the lack of extradition but the law of evidence. That was none other than Sir John Hermon, Chief Constable of the RUC who publicly stated that in Saint Anne's Cathedral in Belfast in my presence about three years ago. To his credit, he was not wearing uniform that evening. I know that he has publicly stated it at another conterence in London attended by my colleague, Deputy Lenihan, a conference organised by the Oxford Union.

I do not suppose that Sir John Hermon would be recognised to be, if you like, a total supporter of the attitude of Governments here. But the fact that somebody like him put that publicly on the record underlines the fact it is not the lack of extradition that is the problem, but rather the lack of evidence. If there is not evidence we should not extradite people to be subjected to questioning in a way that will bring forward the kind of evidence that would never be acceptable here. That is what we are determined to guard against in this case.

If we enter into arrangements with countries with regard to extradition we should do so on the basis of what is known in the law, whether in regard to ordinary contract law or international law, as mutual consideration. That means basically that there is a fair exchange, there is a consideration for what one does given by the other and the two parties stand on equal footing when they enter into those contracts. We are now entering into a contract with Great Britain under which we will extradite without having the qualification of Prima facie evidence in respect of those persons. We are going to do it that way. Let us look at the fact that Britain will not extradite without having prima facie evidence. They require prima facie evidence before they will extradite to us but we do not require Prime facie evidence before we extradite to them. What nonsense that we say, “It is all right, do it your way and we will do it your way to suit you but we will not do it the same way if it does not suit you”. That is a total repudiation of the basis of international law, and the Minister tells us that they are reviewing the position in Britain and that they hope and expect fairly soon that the condition of prima facie evidence will not apply there. Live, horse, and you will get grass.

Our position is not to be determined by what they say they intend to do or what they are considering. Even if we were determined to implement extradition immediately and directly, it should be clearly on the basis that we want to see the same balance, the same laws, the same conditions apply with them as with us, and this Government simply failed to do that. Fianna Fáil are saying in respect of our citizens that at least for as long as it lasts in Britain — who for years did not mind being the exception — we want prima facie evidence before we extradite people to places where we know police questioning practices are reprehensible. That even strengthens the case. I am not saying they are reprehensible universally, but in cases where some Irish are hauled in for outrageous events — Deputy Andrews will be able to elaborate on this because he has been directly and personally involved for a long time — we insist on implementing that position.

Someone has said that that was not there in 1965 and that we signed a convention on extradition in 1965. There have been major changes since 1965 in Northern Ireland, in Britain and in all that has happened between Britain and Ireland. There were no Diplock courts in 1965. There were no Birmingham Six in 1965. There was no Prevention of Terrorism Act in 1965. There were no Bloody Sundays in 1965. I am not saying that there was no injustice in the North then, but much that has happened since must alert us to the fact that what existed in 1965 would have been acceptable when Seán Lemass and Terence O'Neill were at least attempting to bring down the barriers and the Governments were trying to get together. The climate in 1965 was very different from the climate now and on that basis we must take account of these changes and ensure that if we are going to extradite now we do so only if we are satisfied that the extradited will be given the protection that we are obliged by law to give them here or there.

I want to make one or two references to personal experiences which are minor by comparison with what other people have experienced. The Prevention of Terrorism Act is directed particularly at the Irish. Apparently they are the ones who for the purpose of what was introduced as a temporary provisions Act are to be guarded against. I mean the Irish collectively. Almost every Irish citizen, bona fide and otherwise, people who go over and back regularly are, to say the least of it, at the risk of being subjected to the rigours of the Prevention of Terrorism Act at the airports, notably Birmingham. If we know that fact then we ignore it. If we know that they are treated differently from others then we ignore the fact. If we know that they are made to feel almost guilty or criminal simply by being extracted, even when they are extracted from the company of the business people they are travelling with, we ignore what they have gone through. Cases have been made to the Irish Government about this for some years and I can testify that this treatment does not except Members of this House. What would happen if we treated an MP, a former member of Government, leave out any other involvement he may have had, of the British Parliament coming into our country in the way I was treated in Birmingham not so long ago? I ask, not for myself but as a Member of this House and a former Member of Government, if that in itself does not illustrate in its own little way that others have been subjected to much worse, that there is a collective view towards the Irish no matter who or what they are. I make no bones about my personal worry because I was not concerned in the slightest. What a hue and cry there would be if we hauled in some former foreign minister here at Dublin Airport and kept him there for three quarters of an hour trying to satisfy ourselves that he was who he was until be produced evidence that everything that he would say and do would clearly demonstrate that he was not Walter Mitty on holidays.

In relation to Britain's attitude in this area I recall discussions with the current British Prime Minister in 1979 in the course of the regular bilateral discussions that Irish Governments have had with British Governments. I recall her making the case in her simplistic way, and I give not the tone but the quote: "Murder is murder and must be treated as murder." That was her statement. I reminded her on that occasion that funnily enough, the exceptions for political offences or for the protection of political offences — I am not making any protection for murder — were established in her court and had only in the last two or three years been expressed by her then Attorney General in the House of Commons. She was not aware of that fact. Her first reaction was to call her Attorney General to find out how and why he should say this. If murder is murder, does that mean that what was done on Bloody Sunday in Derry was murder? It was closer to it than some of the things that people have been accused of. What was done on Bloody Sunday here? Was that murder? Would the British Prime Minister, Mrs. Thatcher, or anybody else say that of course it was murder and that we are going to punish those concerned? No you can have convenient exceptions if it suits you. Nobody in this House is going to condone murder or anything of that nature, but people can speak only for themselves. Offences motivated by poiticial issues — political offences so-called — have to be treated in terms of trial, that is all, under the practices that have long since been established in international law.

That is not to say that people will not be tried. The rule of law is aut dedere aut iudicare— either to try or to hand over. There is no reason between Britain and ourselves why we cannot try here for offences that could be said to be murder or terrorist offences or whatever. We can do it. We should do it because we know the principles of our own law. We know the protections that apply in our own law. This legislation ignores the fact that we have built up in recent years the most respected practices — although there will be exceptions everywhere — in regard to police investigation, court preliminary issues and court trials. We should at least ensure that our citizens will be given the benefit of the same if we extradite them elsewhere.

To implement this understanding in the Anglo-Irish Agreement — and the Minister says clearly that this is part of the process of the Anglo Irish Agreement — we just do not change relations between Britain and Ireland as is proposed here. We are going to go much further than that. We are going to change relations with all of the countries that have signed the European Convention on Terrorism. As part of the process of implementing the Anglo-Irish Agreement we are going to sign the convention without reservation in respect of all of the countries that have signed this convention. We totally agree with the need, as has been stated by our Leader and everyone else, to combat international terrorism and to work together as a family of nations to deal with it, but what are we doing in trying to implement that? We say to them, "It does not matter whether you refuse" and there are so many of them as Deputy Woods indicated.

There are about eight who said they will not extradite their own citizens. We will extradite our citizens as part of the Anglo-Irish Agreement no matter that the recipient country's process of trial is different from ours. I will not name the countries that are different in case I offend them but their process of law is so slow and cumbersome that people can be imprisoned for two years before trial. It does not matter about the reservations which have been entered, we will extradite without reservation, as part of the Anglo-Irish Agreement process. Is not that a nonsensical decision for any Government? If we are to be respected we should introduce the same reservations in respect of other countries as they might have in respect of us. Reservations are essential because the processes of trial in some jurisdictions are so slow and cumbersome and not up to our standards. Even the nature of a criminal prosecution is different. There is not the presumption of innocence in all European countries as there is here.

The Government seem to have overlooked that. Would any of these countries criticise us for entering reservations when they have done so themselves? Of course, we have to be nice to Mrs. Thatcher and show our anxiety to work something out. We will sign away all our rights in relation to other countries who insist on maintaining their rights. What kind of nonsense is that? The Government should reflect that the consequences of that must be a matter for serious concern and that it is unacceptable to us.

The six months delay before this comes into effect does not apply to what might happen in England but only to what may happen in the Diplock courts and in the administration of justice in the North. Do we expect dramatic changes in the next six months in an area which has been categorised around the world as being an area of repression and injustice in the last 60 years? Do the Government believe that police practices and trial procedures will be changed in six months? Even if they did should they not have also taken into account that we are also talking about extradition to Britain? Are we making no condition about a provision of six months for a change of practice in Britain, for instance in relation to the Guildford and Birmingham cases? Suppose there is not a new trial, do we sign this at the end of June? That would endorse what we, the European Parliament and the world have condemned. That is an untenable position for a Government of a soverign State whose first responsibility is to its own citizens.

The judgment in the McGlinchey case, particularly the arbitrary dictum of Chief Justice O'Higgins in that case, will not be recalled as being one of the great statements of the principles of law. Most students of law and most people concerned with the principles of law would do it a great favour if they confined it to oblivion. Some principles which have never been restated, were stated in that case. That judgment seemed to accept that if the offence for which the extradition is sought is more serious than the offence committed in this jurisdiction, one makes a balancing judgment to extradite because that offence is more serious. In that case we had a flagrant breach of the law. A person was found in flagrante delicto, taking on the forces of security and engaging them in open shoot out. If we had any respect for ourselves we would have tried him here for that. But instead we extradited him to the North because there was a story that the authorities there had evidence in respect of a more terrible and horrifying offence, the killing of an unfortunate old lady in the North. There was no evidence in that case and subsequently the offender was returned for trial here. All lawyers recognise that that was not the high point of judicial interpretation and that it was not in line with the principles laid down by some of the most established and respected judges of the Supreme Court, for instance, Cearbhaill O Dálaigh, Chief Justice Brian Walsh, and the current Chief Justice Tom Finlay whom we were privileged to appoint to the judiciary despite the fact that he had sat as a Fine Gael Deputy previously. We should correct that state of affairs. Only the Dáil can ensure that such decisions are not left open for the courts. If we laid down the law and said that people can only be extradited where there is a prima facie case then the scandal of the McGlinchey extradition could not have arisen. That is one central example of the need to enter this reservation for which Fianna Fáil have argued so persuasively. A nation that does not protect its citizens as well as asserting itself against any violence, has lost the very fundamental principle it should follow.

I would refer to some established principles that have been laid down, including one which is not incorporated in this law. I will quote from what is recognised as perhaps the best and most informed publication on this whole issue, a book called The Political Offence Exception to Extradition, by Dr. Christine Van de Wijngaert. This book was published in the Netherlands in 1980 and has won numerous prizes as being the authoritative statement of the whole question of political offences and the exceptions for political offences. This Minister has recognised that this legislation, rather than applying the existing exclusion, or protection, for political offences, or offences associated with political offences is now going to narrow that definition in another way in accordance with this Convention. What we are doing here is narrowing the fundamental protection for political offences. I do not condone crimes of violence but this is what the distinguished author had to say in respect of this Convention. The book says on page 89:

There is indeed a basic need to protect the individual against being extradited to a state where he is liable to "persecution". This need is all the more apparent today, because there is a continuing tendency to restrict political asylum with respect to certain offences. Exceptions to the political offence exception are, it is true, introduced in order to make better administration of justice possible, but, on the other hand, they deprive the political offender of an important protection. Therefore, with regard to a continually shrinking political asylum, humanitarian asylum as an exception to extradition should be emphasized instead.

That is about as clear a statement of apprehension as you could get. We must guard against extraditing people to a state where they are liable to persecution, not prosecution. That is why I say that in countries where there are such police practices, court practices, Diplock courts, questioning practices and so on it is time we said "no". Even the international legal authorities are totally with us on that.

I should like to quote again from the same person where on page 135 of the book she states:

Therefore, it is regrettable that the drafters of the 1977European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism have persisted in using the latter formula.

She calls this formula "a legal fiction". She states:

In this Convention, elements which in fact are relevant to the extraditability of an offence, such as its seriousness or its dangerousness, have been advanced as criteria to determine the nature of the offence in question. In this completely illogical way of reasoning, article 13 of the Convention provides that States making a reservation with respect to article 1 undertake ...

She goes on to quote another authority, Fr. Hammerich, who was one of the greatest professors of jurisdiction in Europe, which is as follows:

Fr. Hammerich's observation with respect to the depoliticizing formula, made more than half a century ago, is still relevant as to this brand new convention: “a solution est juste, seulement le raisonnement ne l'est pas” (The solution is correct, the reasoning is not.) Acts of Terrorism do not become less political because of the above enumerated circumstances.

That is the view of, perhaps, the most distinguished international writer in this area. She suggests that what should be done is to approach it in a different way. She said the formula of the exception to the exception for political offences would at least have been more honest, less ambiguous and more logical than trying to introduce new categories which seems to suggest that there are certain categories of offences which take them outside the area of protection from extradition.

She goes on to state on page 152:

The European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism indeed constitutes a serious restriction on political asylum, and may, as has been argued, constitute the end of political asylum in Europe.

She says that in respect of a convention, the principles of which we are prepared to support. She is a writer who sees all the pitfalls which can follow. She mentioned during the course of other arguments that the very first thing which was done in Germany and in Italy under the Nazi and the Fascist regimes was to abolish the protection of political offence. She argues that when you start to chip away at basic fundamental international law which has been well established for the sake of meeting a particular position at a particular time, you are going to undermine the basic thing you are trying to protect. I do not think the Government have even begun to consider that.

Finally, let me say that that is the basis on which we want to see the protections for which our spokesman have argued here. If we have agreements with other countries, they should be entered into on the same basis; if they can enter reservations, we can enter reservations. I hope all sides of the House will agree that what we want to ensure is that we act effectively against crimes of violence and terrorism, international or otherwise, and we do it within the rule of international law. I am afraid the Government's approach is doing quite the opposite.

The whole area of extradition is exceedingly complicated and the Bill before the House is rather difficult to interpret and understand. I found the explanatory memorandum which was supposed to assist us is almost as unintelligible as the Bill itself. I will be putting a number of questions to the Minister which I hope he will respond to when he winds up the debate as the answers will be important in determining our attitude on Committee Stage.

There is nothing wrong with us discussing and thinking of new areas with regard to extradition. The world is changing very rapidly. There is some evidence to suggest that the traditional reluctance of many countries, including our own, to extradite a person wanted for trial in another country where the person sought claims a political motivation may not be adequate to deal with the phenomenon of terrorism which unfortunately has become such a feature of life in the seventies and eighties.

The political exemption clause which has been applied in this country is not unique. It was part of a very honourable tradition which believed that when political opponents of an unsavoury regime sought refuge in a particular country they were entitled to asylum and should not in the normal circumstances be handed over. This tradition dates from a period very different from now. It was at a time when there was less movement of people between states and when such movement was generally less easy. It was at a time when it was not possible to plant a bomb and be on a plane to another country before it exploded. It was at a time when there was generally a much greater use of the death penalty and when judicial and court procedures offered less protection to accused persons than at present. It was also a time when the ability of a country or a group of countries to influence the direction of court or judicial procedures in another country was much more limited than it is now.

There are now a number of international agreements which, even if they are not always fully respected, set basic minimum standards for court treatment and the general treatment of accused persons. The procedure also dates from a time when there were far fewer democratic governments than there are now. The tradition also dated from a time when terrorism as we know it today did not exist.

In the past 20 years or so the international community has had to live with the problem of international terrorism and the development of groups of people who are prepared to use indiscriminate violence to further what they consider to be a political cause. Groups like the Bader Meinhof in West Germany, the Red Brigades in Italy, some Palestinian splinter groups, the Provos, the INLA, the UVF and the UDA closer to home who have engaged in acts of violence not just in their own countries but in other countries against whom they believe they had some grievance. The Workers' Party are implacably opposed to terrorism. We see it as the enemy of democracy. Most of those who die and suffer injuries from terrorism are ordinary working-class people. Violence makes the process of political change far more difficult.

In these circumstances it is not unreasonable that countries which have traditionally operated a policy of not, extraditing those wanted for a political offence, should look again at their procedures. It is not unreasonable that this country, which has not only refused to extradite anyone wanted for a political offence, but also an offence connected with a political offence, should look at the matter again. We are looking at the matter again but it certainly does not mean that there should be no controls and no reservations, or that the protections afforded to persons wanted by another state should be casually swept aside.

The focus of the extradition debate has tended to be on the question of people wanted for offences in Northern Ireland and Britain, but the Convention that this Bill seeks to ratify involves many more countries than that. There are 22 countries which are members of the Council of Europe, all but four of whom have ratified the Convention, but 11 of the other 18 countries have entered reservations, But our Government want to sign this agreement without entering any reservations. Given our proximity to Britain and Northern Ireland it is not unreasonable to assume that most of those for whom extradition warrants will be received, will be wanted for offences in Britain or the North.

Extradition is an issue which Unionist politicians in the North have used to attack the Republic, but much of the criticism has not been well founded. Unionists have tended to see the political violence in the North as being masterminded from the South and have ignored factors within Northern Ireland, particularly their own disastrous record in government which has led to much of it. There are, for instance, relatively few people from the South in jail in the North, but a large proportion of those who are serving terms in Portlaoise are from the North.

Unionists have tended to paint a picture of hundreds of people from the North who are wanted by the RUC being sheltered by the Government here. The fact is, of course, that the vast majority of those wanted in the North who are here in the South are wanted for questioning and no country, including Britain, extradites persons simply for questioning. People are only extradited on the basis that they are wanted for charging in connection with specific offences or because they have been sentenced for specific offences and escaped from custody. This Bill will not change that. It will not alter in any way the matter of extradition for questioning.

In relation to Northern Ireland it is also generally ignored that the need for extradition could, in many cases, be avoided by the greater use of the Criminal Law (Jurisdiction) Act of 1976, under which persons wanted for offences in Northern Ireland or Britain can be placed on trial in the courts here. It has always been mystifying why this Act has not been more widely used. It has been invoked in only a handful of cases, and not at all in recent years. It probably is that the Government considers it less politically embarrassing to extradite people to Northern Ireland or Britain, than to put them on trial here for offences committed in that jurisdiction.

As the Minister pointed out in his opening speech, the courts here have, in recent years, applied a much more restrictive definition of what can reasonably constitute a political offence, and persons who in earlier years would have had no difficulty in avoiding extradition, have now been handed over. It must also be said that in relation to the one person about whom the unionists made a particular case, Dominick McGlinchey, when the Government went through extraordinary efforts, including arranging special sittings of the High Court and Supreme Court on St. Patrick's Day, it turned out that the Northern authorities did not have sufficient evidence to secure a conviction, and McGlinchy, as we know, ended up being extradited back to the South. The whole episode reflected no credit on the authorities, North or South.

People in the Republic, including those who in no way would support or tolerate the Provisionals, have expressed concern about the extradition of people, particularly Irish citizens, to Northern Ireland or Britain, in view of the operation of the Diplock courts, the use of supergrasses, and the number of cases, mainly in Britain, where it is believed serious miscarriages of justice have taken place, e.g. the Birmingham Six, and the Guildford and Maguire cases. It is right that people should be concerned about these cases.

There is considerable evidence to indicate strong racial prejudice by the British ruling class against Irish people and, indeed, against the Irish nation. They are so extraordinarily ignorant about Ireland that they still see Irish people through the cruel Punch cartoons which labelled the Irish as ignorant and violent. The British ruling class have never accepted or even understood our independence as a State. They still see us as one of the home countries, with a limited amount of independence by the grace of Her Majesty. We are still expected to do their bidding and are not expected to have a foreign policy position which would conflict with their interests, as Deputy Haughey well knows. We are not treated with contempt; we are patronised. In such a situation we must constantly assert our independence. I am not in any way saying that we should respond to prejudice with prejudice but we do have a responsibility to protect our own citizens, both at home and abroad. At least in the case of our own citizens we must insist on a prima facie case being made since our experiences to date give us little confidence in the system of justice in Britain as it applies to Irish citizens. We have some reservations about the totally different systems of justice which exist in some of the other countries of the Council of Europe.

It would be a mistake to assume that miscarriages of justice occur only in courts in Britain or Northern Ireland. There have been a number of cases in courts in this State where there is evidence of miscarriage of justice, one of which was featured recently in the "Today Tonight" programme. In addition, there is not a lot to choose between the non-jury Diplock courts in Northern Ireland and the non-jury Special Criminal Court here. The conviction rates are, I understand, about the same. So while we are right to be concerned about the treatment of people who may be extradited to other countries we should not fall into a smug state of believing that our court procedures are fairer and better than those in other countries.

This Bill includes the rather unusual provision that, in effect, the Dáil, if it passes the Bill, will be asked to vote on it again before it comes into operation. This, we have been told, is a method of putting pressure on the British Government to agree to increase the number of judges sitting in the Diplock courts from one to three. I have always felt that this would be a move of doubtful value, given the generally consistent attitude of members of the Judiciary in the North and the experiences with the three-judge Special Criminal Court down here. The Minister said in his opening speech that the Bill must be placed in the context of the Anglo-Irish Agreement, and that the unique commencement clause had been drafted to enable the Oireachtas to defer a final decision "and to look at progress in building up of public confidence in the administration of justice in Northern Ireland".

Why could the Government not have made progress on a Bill of Rights a precondition for implementing this Bill? As I said earlier, there is sufficient evidence of serious miscarriages of justice in cases involving Irish people in Britain and sufficient public concern at the outcome of these cases for it not to be unreasonable to make progress on these cases also a condition for approving this Bill. Why not make it a condition that there be some impartial international investigation into these cases before the Bill is brought into effect?

Despite what the Minister said in his opening speech about it not being in accordance with the European norm, it is not unreasonable that the establishment of a prima facie case before the Irish courts should be a requirement for extradition to other countries. This is particularly so in relation to Britain and Northern Ireland, as those who are normally sought for extradition are Irish citizens. Such a requirement should not unnecessarily delay extradition procedures. If any State is in a position to issue a warrant for the arrest or extradition of someone, presumably the police work has been done and the case against the accused established.

Establishing a prima facie case could possibly be done simply by producing a book of evidence, which is the normal procedure here when a person is returned for trial. We see no reason for a book of evidence not having to be produced at an extradition proceeding. As I have said, there are a number of questions to which we have been unable to find clear answers in this Bill in the explanatory memorandum or in the Minister's speech. I put them to the Minister and hope he will answer them clearly in his winding-up speech, so that we will be more clear with what we are voting for and what we are opposing.

First, I should like to know if persons will be liable to extradition only to face prosecution for an offence corresponding to or similar to an offence under Irish law. Is that or is it not the position? Secondly, could a person be extradited from this country to another country to face prosecution for an offence which carries the death penalty? Would that deter us in any way from extraditing a person? Thirdly, if a person is extradited to face prosecution for a particular offence and if he is found not guilty to that offence, could he in any circumstances be charged with a further offence for which he was not extradited? That also is not clear in this Bill. Fourthly, if a person is extradited to another country to face prosecution for a particular offence and is found not guilty, or is found guilty, serves a sentence and is released, could that person under any circumstances be detained without trial where the law exists in that country for detention without trial? The Bill does not clarify that. Fifthly, if a person is extradited to another country to face prosecution and is found not guilty, or is found guilty serves a sentence and is released, could he then be extradited to a third country which is not a party to the European Convention? To take a hypothetic case, if someone is extradited from Ireland to France, could he subsequently be extradited to Iran if a separate extradition agreement existed between France and Iran? Sixthly, can we ratify the agreement and apply this Act only to some countries in the Council of Europe or must it apply to all? Can we exclude any country if we are ratifying this agreement, or must it apply to everybody? Do the Convention and the Bill tie us to an agreement with countries irrespective of the nature of the Government? In other words, if you had one of these countries with a normal democratic Government and if subsequently that is overthrown in a military coup, would this extradition agreement still apply, or what are the procedures for preventing that?

These are serious questions to which we have not found answers in the Bill. Will these matters be excluded from the Bill? One has to refer to a number of Bills and to a couple of extradition conventions. Will the Minister consider those questions and reply to them when concluding Second Stage debate?

RTE radio broadcast at 1.30 p.m. today and the statement from the Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs, Deputy G. Birmingham, as reported by the respected reporter, Sean Duignan, suggested that in the debate on this Bill we should not mention the various outstanding cases in Britain because it would fail to persuade in some way — I think that was the word used — the British Home Secretary, Mr. Douglas Hurd, to give proper consideration to the case of the Birmingham Six which he is now considering in the context of referring it back to the Court of Appeal. I would have thought this was the very place to raise that case, the case of the Guildford Four and the Annie Maguire case. This is the very reason for believing that the June 1 deadline, as outlined in section 12 dealing with the commencement of the enactment of the Bill before this House, should be postponed. In the event of not referring these three cases to the Court of Appeal within that time, by whoever is in the British Home Office, this Bill should not be passed and we should refuse to introduce it.

There is every reason for us in this House to recognise it has a fundamental duty to see that this Bill does not pass — not only does not pass the House, but does not pass Second Stage. I fought hard and long to ensure we would have a situation at 5 p.m. today which might cause some difficulty to the Government. Be that as it may, in the Fianna Fáil Party we have a parliamentary party, decisions are taken there and you bow to the democratic will of the majority.

I should like to reject the suggestion that we should not be allowed, in the context of this Bill, to discuss the cases which have been of serious concern to a cross-section of the Members of this House. I hope that when the British Home Secretary does refer the Birmingham Six case to the Court of Appeal, the six imprisoned people now serving their 13th year in prison, they will be immediately released on bail pending the outcome of the decision of the Court of Appeal. I do not think that is unreasonable.

In that regard I should like to take the opportunity of pointing out to the House that the European Parliament had the opportunity yesterday of raising the issue of the Birmingham Six, the Guildford Four and the Annie Maguire cases and I send my message of congratulations to our colleagues in that Parliament. It is a most extraordinary coincidence that at the same time there is before the British House of Commons an Early Day Motion. This is a motion which must be kept in existence by the additional signature of one MP per day. To date there are 280 signatures, maintaining that Early Day Motion in existence. That is an extraordinary comment on the type of support, not only on this island but in the United Kingdom, for the re-opening of those particular cases — the Birmingham Six, the Annie Maguire and the Guildford Four cases. I understand that the Early Day Motion in the British House of Commons relates specifically to the Annie Maguire case.

It is also interesting to note that a fortnight before the debate took place in this House, the matter was raised in the British House of Lords urging the British Home Secretary to take note of the concern expressed in regard to the various cases. I should like to congratulate our Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael colleagues in Europe and John Hume for raising the issue and having it passed unanimously in the European Parliament. There is also a move towards unanimity in the British House of Commons and in the House of Lords in relation to these cases.

Yesterday, I submitted a motion to this House in connection with the matter which reads as follows:

Dáil Éireann concerned by the serious doubts and the misgivings that have arisen regarding the convictions in Britain of the Birmingham Six, the Guildford Four and Annie Maguire, Patrick Maguire (Snr), Vincent Maguire, Patrick Maguire (Jnr), Sean Smyth, Patrick O'Neill and the late Guiseppe Conlon, requests the Government to call again on the British Home Secretary to take early and positive action to give the persons concerned the opportunity to establish their innocence.

In referring to this matter a motion was passed unanimously by the European Parliament, there are ongoing motions and discussions in the Upper and Lower Houses of the British Parliament, there is a motion before this House and one in the same context before the Seanad. This is history in the making although some people might see it in the context of a lower case "h". In raising these cases on a regular basis, I know people may yawn and say that Andrews and company are at it again. However, without the insistence and persistence of so many people — I say this with humility — these cases would not have been processed or would not have progressed as far as they have.

We are talking about 16 individuals — unfortunately, Guiseppe Conlon died in 1980 — and I hope that their release will be as a result of an all party, all nation concern. That is why I have tried to maintain an all party atmosphere in regard to this matter. I led a deputation to London on 14-15 July last to meet various groups and individuals in relation to the three cases to which I referred and which have been mentioned consistently during this debate. We visited a number of prisoners in Wormwood Scrubs and Long Lartin Prison. We met a diverse cross section of British public opinion as well as British political opinion which I mentioned in the context of the early day motion before the House of Commons. We met an extraordinary variety of people in the sense of left, right and centre. Sir John Biggs-Davidson, with respect, could not be described as other than far right in the British Conservative sense — almost falling off the edge. Nevertheless, he is concerned about the Annie Maguire case. Sir John Farr is one of the high priests of Toryism, a shire Tory, of the highest order, but he is concerned about the Birmingham Six. We must be very careful to keep these individuals on our side because their input into these cases is as important as — if not more important than — anything we may say on this side of the water. Mr. Douglas Hurd is also one of the high priests of British Toryism — I do not say that in any disrespectful way, it is a matter of identifiable fact — and the way to keep these people on our side is to keep talking to them and persuade them to take the view that there have been serious miscarriages of justice in the cases to which I referred.

As I stated, we visited various prisoners and I had the pleasure of meeting Noel Mcllkenny and William Power in the company of Senator O'Mahony. We were allowed to stay for an hour and a quarter and we could have stayed there all day. It was a remarkable and humbling experience to hear these two individuals tracing the history of their case from the time they were taken into custody to the time of our departure.

Having heard Constable Clarke on ITV recently saying that statements were beaten out of the Birmingham Six, including the two prisoners whom we visited, we were convinced that statements had been beaten out of them in a most harrowing and savage way. We are talking, too, about such methods of torture as knocks on doors, the triggers of empty guns being pulled while they were pressed to the prisoners' heads, the use of dogs and all sorts of sophisticated intimidation and torture methods in the interests of the pursuit of the so-called truth. When we were leaving Wormwood Scrubs the assistant governor said that the two men whom we had visited could not have committed the crime with which they were charged as, having observed them for 12 years, he knew that they had not given any difficulty or trouble over that period. Of course it could be suggested that they were subdued and suppressed by virtue of their incarceration for so many years.

There is another interesting fact concerning the Birmingham Six to which sufficient emphasis has not been given, at no time did the IRA take "credit" for the deaths of 21 people on 21 November 1974 in The Mulberry Bush and The Tavern in the Town: 162 people were seriously injured and though that was a tragic occurrence it is equally tragic that these individuals are now serving sentences for crimes they clearly did not commit. Even if they had committed those crimes they were entitled to a fair trial which they did not receive. Their confessions were beaten out of them and the forensic evidence was flawed.

The people who are now imprisoned never represented themselves as members of the IRA although one of them may have been collecting on behalf of the political wing of that organisation. Taking account of that, as a matter of justice, it is only fair to point out that their cases should be re-opened by way of a reference to the Court of Appeal by the British Home Secretary. It is important that we place on the record of the House the name of the six. People talk about the Birmingham Six but they never mention their names. Hugh Callaghan, Patrick Hill, Robert Hunter, Noel MacIlkenny, William Power and John Walker, were found guilty of these murders — and they were murders and we cannot be seen to support that — at the Mulberry Bush and The Tavern in the Town on 21 November 1974 and sentenced to life imprisonment.

Does Deputy Andrews intend going into each of the cases he mentioned in detail?

No, I knew, I would be out of order if I did that. The Guildford Four — Patrick Armstrong, Gerard Conlon, Paul Hill and Karl Richardson — were committed for trial in March 1974 charged with murder, conspiracy and causing two explosions in pubs in Guildford on 5 October 1974, killing five people, including two British soldiers and injurying more than 60 people. In December 1975 the Balcomb Street siege took place. The Balcomb Street Four — Eddie Butler, Hugh Doherty, Harry Duggan and Martin O'Connell — later claimed responsibility at their trials for the Guildford and Woolwich bombings. The Guildford Four could not be guilty by any standards of investigation. The tragedy was that as a result of these bombings and murders there was a dreadful outpuring of anti-Irish feeling in Britain almost to the point of racism. I believe there is a substratum of the British population which will always have that feeling, but these incidents touched a core in the British which gave vent to deep hatred of Ireland, the Irish and anything that was represented to be Irish. These individuals were tried in that atmosphere.

We all know the British gutter press. It is the lowest press by any standards and thank God we do not have it in this country. When the British gutter press decide somebody is guilty, they convict him before the case is heard in court. That is what happened in these cases, particularly in the Annie Maguire case and Annie's bomb making factory. The jury were inflamed, yet we talk of British justice. Sir Michael Havers is now the Attorney General but he was the prosecuting counsel in both cases, and Sir John Donaldson was the presiding judge in both cases and now enjoys the second highest office in the British legal hierarchy — Master of the Rolls. This presents other difficulties because not only was there anti-Irish feeling at the time of the bombings, but there might appear to have been a huge establishment cover-up. We know what Lord Denning said when he dismissed the civil action by the Birmingham Six against the British police. He said it would open up a huge vista of wrongful convictions.

The Annie Maguire case is ongoing. It is probably the most worthy of the three cases — if one can compare them in terms of worthiness one against the other — but she and her colleagues were convicted on the most tenuous evidence. Guiseppi Conlon was a Roman Catholic and when he was dying, and bearing in mind the fear one would experience when one was about to meet one's Maker, he persisted in proclaiming his innocence. I understand he asked Gerry Fitt, now Lord Fitt, to take up his case and that too has been ongoing.

Subsequent to the visit of the all-party delegation in July 1986, we visited the British Home Secretary, the Minister of State, Mr. David Mellor at the Home Office on 16 October 1986. I have a full account of the meetings between the Right Honorable Douglas Hurd, MP, Secretary of State, Mr. David Mellor, MP, Minister of State, and two of his civil servants, Mr. B. Caffrey and Mr. P. Stanton and Deputy Bernard Durkan, Senator Flor O'Mahony and me. We had a full and frank discussion, as the cliché goes, but the discussion was not cliché laden. We left nothing unsaid. I raised the question of the Robert Kee book, Trial and Error and suggested that Mr. Kee made certain allegations about the possibility of the police having tampered with the evidence in the Maguire case. Mr. Caffrey replied that I was making a very serious charge but I said I was not making a charge but that it had been made in Robert Kee's book. I know Mr. Caffrey and Mr. Stanton read the Dáil Debates and that is why we must be very temperate in our language. We must not get the British offside in these cases. It is a matter of diplomacy and good manners and, most importantly, it is a case of seeking justice for the various cases we espouse. I must pay tribute to the British authorities for their courtesy. As I said, there was very little left unsaid at the meeting. There may have been a little tension before the meeting, but there was none at the end. We met them as equals. We did not go cap in hand. We were representing a soverign Government, we were representatives of a sovereign people and we met on that basis. I am sure some good will come out of that meeting but what we would like to see is most of these cases, particularly the case of the Birmingham Six, referred to the Court of Appeal.

In the British Criminal Appeal Act, 1968, under the heading Review by Court of Appeal of cases tried on indictment— reference by Home Secretary — Section 17 (1) reads:

Where a person has been convicted on indictment, or been tried on indictment and found not guilty by reason of insanity, or been found by a jury to be under disability, the Secretary of State may, if he thinks fit, at any time either—

(a) refer the whole case to the Court of Appeal and the case shall then be treated for all purposes as an appeal to the Court by that person; or

(b) if he desires the assistance of the Court on any point arising in the case, refer that point to the Court for their opinion thereon, and the Court shall consider the point so referred and furnish the Secretary of State with their opinion thereon accordingly.

This is not my view; it is the view of lawyers on both sides of the Irish Sea who are engaged in criminal law. Their view is that that section gives the British Home Secretary absolute discreation, regardless of this new evidence formula which is trotted out from time to time, to refer whatever case he considers appropriate to the court of appeal. I am asking that his officials consider that point which was raised very forcefully at the most recent meeting between them and the all-party delegation consisting of myself, Deputy Durkan and Senator Flor O'Mahony.

Another area in this Extradition Bill which must be of concern to all those who consider us to be part of the whole national cause and the whole island of Ireland must be the attitude of the SDLP on extradition and, in particular, the views of my good friend, Seamus Mallon. I have consistently supported the SDLP without apology. I have consistently supported the views of Seamus Mallon and have seen him as being one of the authentic voices of Irish nationalism on the dangerous side of the Border. I have supported Seamus Mallon in his elections in the last number of years. I have supported him in his victories and in his defeats. I will continue to do that. What the SDLP say and in particular what Seamus Mallon says is very important to me. They represent for me my view on Irish nationalism. They have represented it in a part of this island in which it is difficult to represent it. They must be given great support and encouragement from the safe side of the Border.

In The Irish Times of 27 November 1986 there was an article headed “SDLP Attitude to Extradition Attacked”. The article went on to say that the SDLP had came under attack from the Alliance Party leader, Mr. John Cushnahan, that Mr. Mallon has stated, “that the party is opposed to extradition from the Republic to the North for scheduled offences” and that in saying that he was re-stating his party's position in that regard. The article stated:

Mr. Mallon, who said on Tuesday he was restating party policy on the issue, said he believed "the use of extradition bestows legitimacy on the process of law in the North, a process which is fundamentally unjust."

I am asking the Minister to appeal to the Government, even at this late stage, to stop this travesty of justice in the interest of a consistent support for the SDLP. If Seamus Mallon says this type of legislation is not worthy to come before this House that is relatively good enough for me. Of course, I must examine it to see what is behind his motive in saying that. Seamus Mallon does not say this sort of thing lightly. Still the Minister and the Government persist in pushing this extradition measures to its illogical, unfair, unjust and unreasonable conclusion.

We in Fianna Fáil are opposed to all extreme organisations. We do not want to fall into that trap. My position and my party's position in that regard down the years has been consistent. From time to time there has been ambivalence from parties and from individuals but the basic structure is still there. We believe in the rejection of violence from whatever colour it comes, green, white or orange. That has always been my consistent stand and I make no apology for it, nor am I afraid to restate it in this debate. Let us not be caught offside in that regard. If for some reason the Government should state that those opposed to the extradition Bill are in some way supporting violence, nothing could be further from the truth. If people like Seamus Mallon say that extradition bestows legitimacy on the process of law in the North, a process which is fundamentally unjust, that appears to be a sound reason for not pursuing this Bill.

The prima facie rule has given rise to quite an amount of proper concern. Various individuals, in the course of this debate, have made their views knows in relation to the prima facie rule particularly in relation to Irish citizens. It is very wrong that we should, in the face of a warrant and without referring the case to the District Court, send our citizens into jurisdictions over which we have no control or where the law is totally different from the law in Ireland. It is unfair and unreasonable. A prima facie case, as we know, is one in which the State must establish that there is a case to meet. At present a prima facie case must be established against all people charged with indicable or serious offences in the State. There is no such requirement in extradition cases and Irish citizens are extradited to other jurisdictions on foot of an extradition warrant.

Under the Criminal Procedure Act, 1967, all people charged with an indictable offence which will be dealt with before a judge and jury appear initially before a District Court. At this hearing the State must satisfy the district justice that there is a case to answer. A book of evidence is served on the accused person and the court decides whether, on the basis of the State's evidence, a jury could reasonably convict the accused person on the particular charges. The accused person is only sent forward for trial when this prima facie case is established to the court's satisfaction.

In extradition cases however the requesting country forwards an extradition warrant to the authorities here. Once arrested, the subject of this warrant is brought before a District Court hearing where a district justice examines whether certain documents required under the extradition legislation of 1965, are available. These include the original copy of the extradition warrant and a copy of the relevant enactments in the requesting jurisdiction. The court does not examine whether there is a prima facie case against the accused person. Critics of the Government's extradition Bill believe that such a requirement should be necessary before Irish citizens are extradited. That is a very reasonable requirement particularly in relation to Irish citizens. Again, it comes down to a choice——

At this stage I would remind the House that the Minister will be called to conclude at 4.30 p.m. and that there appear to be at least two other Deputies waiting to speak.

I do not want to deprive anybody of the right to speak. On the previous legislation before the House there were long speeches which kept many of us who wanted to speak from doing so. That was the debate on the Single European Act. I respectfully suggest, of course it is not a matter for you but for the Committee on Procedure and Privileges of which I am a member, that there be time limits put on speeches to give all of us an opportunity of having a say. I do not put myself in any particular position. I am sure people do not even listen to what I say but so long as I am an elected representative——

Perhaps we will find some other time to make that case.

It is an important point arising out of what you properly said. I will certainly take a note of it and I respect it.

It must be emphasised that once a person is extradited from this country we are no longer in a position to exert any influence on that person's fate. This is especially relevant when one considers the Birmingham and the Guildford cases which I mentioned and also the Maguire case where, notwithstanding considerable political pressure from this country, Irish citizens are still in prison for crimes which it is now generally accepted they did not commit. Extradition from this country is now legally possible to more countries than ever before. This necessitates greater safeguards than ever before as many of these countries possess legal systems different from our own. For example, and this is a very important point for those who might consider it, the presumption of innocence until proven guilty beyond all reasonable doubt is the greatest protection of the individual afforded by our law. In most continental countries however no such protection exists. Indeed there is an onus on the accused to prove his innocence. The concept of innocence until guilt is proved is a very fundamental safeguard. In most common law countries one has to prove one's innocence and I understand that applies in particular to France under the historical Codé Napoleon.

Extradition of an individual from this country is easier than from almost any other country in the western world. The courts' interpretation of the Extradition Act, 1965, has not only resulted in the abolition of the technical difficulties which have existed by reason of the so-called prima facie rule but in the abolition of all the safeguards which that rule enshrined. As a result, persons are now extradited under Part II of the 1965 Act without either the Irish courts or themselves ever knowing if any case exists against them. The only information which a requesting country has to produce is a bare statement of each offence specifying the time, place and nature of each alleged offence. The effect of this is that persons are extradited to jurisdictions where they can be kept in custody for very lengthy periods. For example, in the Flynn case in the Canary Islands the unfortunate Mr. Flynn — I am not going into the merits or demerits of the case — was kept in custody for more than two years and then released without a by your leave. That is the type of problem the Bill raises. It is an indication that there is a danger of that type of injustice occurring.

The effect of this is that persons may be extradited to jurisdictions where they may be kept in custody for lengthy periods without being furnished with information without which they would not even be remanded on bail in this jurisdiction. Under Part II of the Act an even easier form of extradition is provided for between this State and Northern Ireland, England, Wales, Scotland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. Once it is established that a warrant has been validly issued in one of those jurisdictions, the Irish courts must extradite the person named on the warrant unless he can claim protection under one of the safeguards contained in the Act.

The main safeguard was that there could not be extradition for political offences or offences connected with political offences. In 1965 this must have appeared to have excluded all so-called sensitive cases. The whole position has now changed. In 1965 there were no Diplock courts no Castlereagh interrogation centres, no supergrass trials, no identified travesties of justice as in the Maguire case, the Guildford Four and Birmingham Six cases. Since 1965 Ireland has prosecuted Britain for acts of torture against prisoners in Northern Ireland. It has been said that we will be bringing provisions of this Bill into effect on 1 June next if there is some type of reform, both political and legislative, in that slum over the northern part of the Border. We have been trying to get reforms for the Nationalists, the minority population in that part of the island, for the past 60 years and now we are putting a six months time limit on them. That does not measure up to any standard of sanity or credibility. I appeal to the Minister, and the Government, to have another look at this legislation.

The McGlinchey case demonstrated that a warrant can be issued in Northern Ireland in the absence of virtually any evidence against an accused. I have no love for Mr. McGlinchey or his likes, but on the other hand, we have to recognise that there are such things as civil liberties. Mr. McGlinchey, unworthy and all as he may be, is entitled to a fair trial. He may not give other people a fair trial but he must, to preserve the democratic process, be given a fair trial. Indeed, that case also showed that British prosecuting authorities were willing to use as evidence in the trial which followed the extradition material, particularly the affidavits arising out of the extradition procedures here and about which there was still insufficient evidence available to counsel.

In view of the refusal of the British authorities to operate the Criminal Law (Jurisdiction) Act, 1976, whereby all those sought by them could be tried here on production by the British authorities of the evidence against them, and the instance of the British authorities on extending the system under which they did not have to furnish our Government or our courts with any evidence at all, the bona fides of the British authorities must be suspect. Ironically, at a time when there exists more and more compelling reasons for introducing additional safeguards into our extradition law, the courts have effectively removed the political offence safeguard and the Government are now proposing to formally do so. The offences excluded from the category of political offences by the Bill are such that many people would not wish to see those guilty of such offences escape justice. We thoroughly agree with that, but one must also remember the civil liberty element. It must be remembered that most persons subjected to extradition are merely accused of ordinary crime.

The rationable of the Government would appear to be that as the Bill is designed to give effect to one of the State's obligations under the Anglo-Irish Agreement its enactment should be linked to the performance by Britain under its obligations by that agreement. The Taoiseach said recently he anticipates that real progress under the agreement will have been achieved by June 1987. That is one of the great sick jokes to emerge during this debate, that one can expect the Northern Ireland problem to take off politically and legislatively between 1 January and 1 June 1987. May God save us from that type of logic and may God save Ireland from it. It is an appalling proposition and almost offensive in its illogicality. It is unacceptable. I hope an election takes place early in the New Year and that although Northern Ireland does not rate high as an election issue at any time this issue will be given some political priority. According to the Coalition what has not been achieved in the last 60 years can be done in six months.

I suggest that the concept is politically naive. Not only have the British Government not advanced any concrete proposals, let alone draft legislation or Orders of Council for reform of the Northern Ireland judicial system but they have rejected the watered-down proposals put forward by the Irish Government when the British Government first reneged on what the Irish Government thought had been agreed last November. Nevertheless, the Irish Government are proposing to dramatically change our law with effect from 1 June 1987 regardless of the British response, unless the Oireachtas should otherwise decide in the meantime. Technically, the section is ill-considered. It is nonsensical to ask the Oireachtas to provide for a commencement date in one subsection and then proceed in the next two subsections to provide for postponement of that date by the same body. If the Government are not satisfied that the Act should come into operation on 1 June next, then subsection (1) should not be enacted at all.

The linking of the measures to proposed progress under the Anglo-Irish Agreement, particularly to the legal reforms in Northern Ireland, also ignores the fact that the Bill relates to our extradition agreements with all members of the Council of Europe and not merely to extradition procedures between Britain and Ireland. Of what possible significance is the state of the Northern Ireland legal system to whether or not a politically motivated aircraft should, for example, be extradited to France? What is the relevance of that? If the only reason for the Bill is its effect on the Anglo-Irish extradition procedures, then the measures proposed should be confined to those procedures but, obviously, the Bill is intended to apply to arrangements with numerous countries other than Britain. Its coming into operation as regards those other countries should not be contingent on the state of Anglo-Irish relations. With regard to the coming into operation of the provisions of the Bill, we should require as a precondition a resolution by both Houses of the Oireachtas that the Oireachtas is satisfied with the standards of justice that apply in that country.

I should like to make it clear that I am not, on behalf of my constituents, satisfied with the standards of justice which apply in the North of Ireland and, as long as the three cases I mentioned, the Birmingham Six, the Guildford Four and the Annie Maguire case, are outstanding, I am not satisfied with the standards of justice that apply in the British courts. I am very dissatisfied with those matters and I am entitled to say that.

Paragraph 37 of the explanatory memorandum with the Bill states, under the heading "Section 12 — Commencement":

This section provides that the Act shall come into operation on 1 June, 1987 (subsection (1)) unless before that date resolutions to the contrary are passed by both Houses of the Oireachtas (subsection (3) (a)). It will also be open to the Houses of the Oireachtas to pass resolutions that the Act should come into operation on a specified date earlier (subsection (2)) or later (subsection (3) (b)) than 1 June, 1987, in which event the Minister for Justice will be required to make an order that the Act shall come into operation on the date specified in the resolutions.

As I have said, this period applies to the rehabilitation of the Northern Ireland legal system under the Anglo-Irish Agreement. It is to be done between 1 January and 1 June next. That is one of the most extraordinary aspects of this Bill: we are postponing the operations of the Act until 1 June, but before that we have to pass resolutions of both Houses to seek that postponement.

We are doing this contingent on the sudden upsurge of the administration of justice in the six north-eastern countries where it has been suppressed and repressed, with the help and assistance of the British authorities and the Unionist majority — a built-in majority — in the past 60 years. Anybody who has been looking at Northern Ireland since the present troubles began in 1969 cannot with hope contemplate that all in the Northern Ireland judicial system will be rosy in six months time. Is that not what this Bill, fundamentally, is all about? If the Bill does not come into operation until 1 June, the Government have been wasting the time of the House.

On the other hand, when I am re-elected to the 25th Dáil I will do everything I can to ensure that this will be regularised according to the wishes of my electors. I do not want to prevent the passage of the Bill, quite the contrary. I want the Bill to come into operation when all the things the Government say will happen have happened. I do not support terrorism or extreme organisations but I support civil liberties for individuals. I support logic, good reason, good argument, but the argument put forward by the Government in relation to this Bill has been unreasonable, illogical and untenable. For all those reasons, even at this late stage I call on the Minister to withdraw the Bill, to have another look at it. If he withdraws the Bill and makes it an election issue, I and the rest of us on this side of the House would not be a bit afraid of it. On the RTE "Today Tonight" programme with our spokesman, Deputy Woods, who has been very good in this debate, the Minister for Justice demurred — he may have had second thoughts about the Government's position on this.

Where are all the liberals or so-called liberals in the Coalition parties? Where have the Labour Party gone? Is it any wonder the Labour Party have been subsumed by Fine Gael? They are losing their identity, one of the great tragedies of Irish politics. In the 24th Dáil they have been eaten up by the Fine Gael monster, in the interests of power. It is a sad day for this House that we have seen the demise of the Labour Party. They had a very important place, an historic and respected one, in the political life of the country. It is very sad to notice the silence from the Labour benches. This is particularly dangerous to the democratic process of this nation and this House.

In Deputy Andrews' final words, I only wish some democracy would come back to this House, instead of railing on, as some Deputies have done, worrying about the Labour Party. It is a surprise how undemocratic this House has become. We have had the spectacle of agreed restricted debates on very important subjects without any restriction on speakers. Deputy Andrews said to me that 30 minutes was all the time he needed. If he wishes to cry about the Labour Party he should do so outside the restricted time in the House. That goes for other speakers before him. Speeches have been inordinately long and since the Members making them have been of the same party I would take it that the entire party would be of the same view roughly, and I do not see what advantage it would be to the House or democracy that it should have to be repeated by two or three speakers, with each of them in their speeches repeating various things six to ten times. It does not show much thought for other Members. The fact that people belong to a party, large or small, but the large parties in particular, should mean that they would abandon their arrogant attitude and give the Ceann Comhairle an opportunity to give everybody a fair chance.

I will say quite quickly what my feelings are about this Bill. Extradition arrangements may well be required all over the world. As far as Ireland is concerned, prima facie evidence of guilt for the commission of a crime is absolutely essential in such circumstances, no matter which country is involved, particularly in regard to extradition to countries in whose jurisdiction the administration of justice is different from ours.

Therefore, I will concentrate on the reasons for the introduction of the Bill. It has been brought in on foot of and in the wake of the Anglo-Irish Agreement, when it was agreed by our Government that we would sign the anti-terrorist convention of 1977 which we had failed to do up to now, for very good reasons. The reasons are still there and are much more evident to members of the main Opposition party and the Government parties than in the past. If we could not sign the convention in 1977 there is every reason, well known to the Government and the main Opposition, why we should not sign it now.

No extradition for anything smacking of a political offence should be contemplated by this Parliament, as between ourselves, the United Kingdom and the annexed Six Countries of ours up North. I say that for reasons that are well known and which have been referred to here by various speakers who are obviously becoming more aware of these things. They are beginning to see the stark realities not only in the Six Countries but in the United Kingdom also, the manner in which our people are being treated there. In the United Kingdom there are the Birmingham Six, the Guildford Four and the Maguires who, incidentally, I endeavoured to see through their Secretary of State long before the arrangement was made for an all-party group to go across. I was not even acquainted of the all-party's intended visit. That is neither here not there. I was delighted to note that they have all become interested, at last, in what has been a running sore in so far as these people are concerned. I would say to the all-party group: well done at having got across, you have had your eyes opened, I am glad you are bringing back information here to convince your parties that there is injustice in these cases that should be investigated immediately. Hopefully the Government here will put in the boot as far as the British are concerned, to have those cases inquired into, to have justice done and be seen to be done with proper compensation to those who have been backguarded by the anti-Irish feelings expressed in the courts and elsewhere in England in past years.

The Prevention of Terrorism Act in Britain has got the broad reputation of being applicable to any persons on the island of Great Britain. The fact is that 90 per cent of its provisions are used against the Irish. And of all of the cases hauled in and kept for inordinately long times, 90 per cent are never charged. Therefore 90 per cent of the application of the Prevention of Terrorism Act in Britain is applied to Irish citizens and, of them, 90 per cent are never charged, because there is nothing against them. It has been and is being used as a discriminatory measure against our people in Britain. That is well known to everybody in this House who cares to think about it. Indeed it is nearly impossible not to know that it is a weapon administered discriminatively against the Irish in Britain and has been used as such. That mark stands there and nothing can take from it.

Going back further to 1971, there was Britain, at the insistence of our Government, being convicted by the European Court of Human Rights of inhuman and degrading treatment of people detained by them. That conviction stands and has not been eradicated. While those things obtain in Britain, while she occupies part of this country, we are merely a craven, inferiority-ridden race represented by an inferiority-ridden Government if we pass this Bill on foot of an Anglo-Irish Agreement which merely says in the real sense: we, the Irish recognise the right of Britain to occupy our land and get damn all in return for it. That is a fact and nothing we have seen or heard takes from it.

Against that background I contend there should be no extradition to the United Kingdom — I am not talking about the Six Counties; I do not recognise them as part of the United Kingdom, as some people here do — on any case that has the slightest flavour of a political offence. Indeed it would not be going too far to say: no extradition, on foot of any case, of any Irish citizen, to a British judicial system which has shown itself to be lacking and very discriminatory in so far as treatment of Irish citizens is concerned. But where there is a political flavour of any kind attaching to an offence then, no way, should we hand over any citizen of ours to the tender mercies of those who were proven guilty in the European Court of Human Rights, to those who have mismanaged and administered alleged British justice to the Birmingham Six, the Guildford Four, the Maguires, and God knows how many others about whom we do not have the detail we have on those three. As far as I am concerned extradition is out; no way should we crawl to the British, try to appease them, for being Irish because that is really what we are doing. We do not have to appease them for any wrong we have done them. Rather is it the reverse, they have wronged us, continue to wrong us and rub it in at the same time. Yet we are supposed to come back and lick their boots, and that is exactly what we are proposing to do.

In so far as the Six Counties are concerned, surely there cannot be any shred of intention, based on any thought of justice on the part of this or any other Government, to bring in extradition within the jurisdiction of the Six Counties? Have we gone crazy in the head altogether? Do we forget Gough Barracks which is still there and operative? Do we forget the inhuman treatment being meted out to our prisoners up there whether convicted or not? Do we ignore the existence of the women's prison in Armagh and all that we hear emanating from there? Do we also ignore the Diplock courts — it is a travesty to describe them as courts — the non-jury trials, the supergrass system? Do we superimpose the supergrass operation on persons whose extradition is sought from here? If so, then we will have a nice kettle of fish to bring back to the Diplock, non-jury trial courts — that system — being presided over, justice administered and peace allegedly being kept by the infamous UDR, the true successors of the B Specials, who are no different from what they ever were in that regard, except more careful not to display their wares as much as did the old B Specials. It is realised that things are more patently under scrutiny now than they were in the past. The RUC are still as they were in the black book issued back in the mid-seventies, of which I hope the Government have got a copy and should reread.

The system perpetuates that kind of injustice. The system of occupation and suppression of our people on part of our island cannot but give the RUC of the sixties, seventies and eighties, the UDR of the eighties, the B Specials of the 1960-type, the Diplock courts, an opportunity to prevent any real attempt at providing justice for all of the people within the jurisdiction of the Six Counties. The abuses of human rights are legion. Yet we here are prepared — on foot of that semi-stupid, crawling, craw-thumping inferiority complex-ridden production of an Anglo-Irish Agreement — to go this bit further and make this additional offer.

There is no mention of the many incursions across the Border. There is no mention of the manner in which our people are being harassed along the Border. There is no mention of the audio-visual surveillance equipment of the most sophisticated nature now beamed into every house along that Border. Is that the sort of jurisdiction to which we want to send anybody, bearing our citizenship across to their tender mercies? We must be mad, daft, crazy. One might well ask: what is it all in aid of? The answer is — to pacify Mrs. Thatcher; that is what it is about. This is part and parcel of what will be seen to be an infamous, stupid agreement signed at Hillsborough, giving all, getting nothing in return, and now wanting to continue to give. It is like cross-Border co-operation in various other fields, that is, all give and no take. Do they not realise who they are dealing with, that this is an occupied country and that we are dealing with the occupiers? In no way can we sleep at night if we establish this sort of extradition to hand people over to that system operated by those who are oppressing our people and keeping the Six Counties in subjection, as part of the once great empire of the UK. Do not do it, because it will be the greatest travesty of all time. They have had their fun with the Anglo-Irish Agreement and they believe they are doing something by trotting up and down to meetings with Secretary of State King and whoever was there before him. They put their views before them and they ignored them. That is what they have got under the Anglo-Irish Agreement. We cannot afford to hand out this carrot because we need it for ourselves. We are handing this out now and it will come in on 1 June provided certain things happen. No matter what happens, we should not have it on 1 June 1987 or 1 June of any other year while we are occupied by the British.

We have got ourselves turned around. We do not know which way we are going, who we are or who they are. We have got ourselves into a crazy situation. We are treating these people as if they were normal neighbours of ours. They are not; they are the occupiers of this country and in order to keep it occupied and in subjection they have to have the type of RUC they have and have had, the UDR and the B-Specials who went before them and the type of courts they have now, Diplock, non-jury etc., and places like Armagh women's prison which are part and parcel of the occupation of our country. It follows as night follows day that the Maze prison, the Gough barracks, the inhuman treatment are all part of the "Catch 22" situation that our people in the Six Counties are in, and yet we want to deal with those who caused all that as though they were normal neighbours.

How can we get ourselves into this frame of mind that makes us, the slaves and subjects of our occupiers, go back and say, "Is there anything else we can do for you?" I would love the day to come when we could, with the British out of the Six Counties, deal with them as real neighbours having many things in common among us. However, while things are as they are, anything of this nature that we do is merely copperfastening the occupation of our country and delaying the day when normal relations might be possible between ourselves and Great Britain, despite their looking down on the Paddys who have helped to build their country and despite discriminatory treatment under the Prevention of Terrorism Act that they operate there almost exclusively to harass Irish citizens.

Despite all these things I still wish that normal circumstances would obtain between us, but that is not so, and we try to cod ourselves into the belief that we have some sort of an agreement as equals. How can you be equal with your occupier, your suppressor? That is what we have been doing and anything we do in that regard can only make things worse and put off the day when we might change for the better. By this craven weakness, this inferiority that we display, we are merely confirming to the British that we are a separate race of some lowly species not just like other humans, that we can be kicked around, harassed, discriminated against, occupied and bludgeoned into subjection in part of our country. Yet, we want to treat those people as if they were a normal neighbouring country of a democratic nature. Democracy is for everywhere in Britain but not for Ireland.

Let us not be such craven cowards, such slaves that we want to lick the boots of those who kick us and have kicked us for so long. Only by standing up and pointing out persistently that we will not accept the treatment that we have been getting is there any hope for a solution to the problem. Stop trying to make this occupied situation acceptable. You never will in so far as all of the Irish people are concerned, whether North, South, in Britain or elsewhere. There is no point in joining as collaborators with our occupiers in trying to make it stick. It will not stick peaceably and the sooner this Government and any other Irish Government realise this the sooner they will get on the track of persistently pointing out that the one thing that has not been tried to bring peace to this island is for Britain to get out. That is what we should be saying, day in and day out all over the world. Everywhere we have a spokesperson speaking on whatever the subject that point should be made, day in and day out ad nauseam until the world know that this is what we want, this is what we are determined to get and this is the goal short of which we will not be satisfied and that we have a right to it. We have not been doing this. We have been vacillating and fumbling around, trying to appear what we are not, in other words, a free country. We are not free. We have not been free and on this sort of performance we never will be free, nor I might say do we deserve to be free.

If we behave as we are proposing here, I am not surprised that the British are treating us as they are, or that that sort of treatment might begin to be meted out by other neighbouring countries as well. I say to the Minister that he must not go ahead with this in so far as the Six Counties and the UK are concerned. If we want to have treaties with every other country in the world, if necessary let us look at that but with the safeguards that would only be consistent with common sense. A prima facie case must be established on foot of any extradition requirement or request for any and every country in the world but extradition to the UK, our conqueror and occupier and, above all, extradition to the Six Counties which is occupied by that conqueror and occupier, Great Britain must not be even contemplated. The Minister would be mad to do so and he will regret it if he does. It could have all sorts of consequences that I am not even going to dwell on here.

I admit that occasionally there may be good sense even in this Government and I ask that that good sense be brought to bear on this subject by this Government. Let them not make bad worse. Stand up for us, the Irish people, and tell Britain that no extradition of any political flavour is on either to the mainland of Britain or to our occupied Six Counties. If they are playing some sort of game about 1 June they are being very hypocritical: if they know they are going in February they know they will not be around to deliver. If that is so, why have this sort of hypocrisy? Nothing will be done before then. It is likely the Government are going in February, having regard to the mad rush to get this through the House before Christmas. Surely getting it through in such haste, with a June date on it has some significance. It would be sheer hypocrisy if the Government know that they cannot cobble their budget together before February. I suspect that the Government will. They must have ability somewhere and they have proved themselves to be the best cobblers ever. I suspect that the Government are cobbling a job together here again but I hope they are not if it means that in June they will have it within their competence to implement this Bill if it is passed here. I would prefer an election in June because the weather might be better but if it means withdrawing this measure I would prefer that we started our election campaign tomorrow and not wait until February so that we could see an end to the madness that is contained in this legislation.

I will have amendments next week on foot of what I have said here. I ask the House and the two major parties to remember there are more people in this House than belong to Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael-Labour Government and that the Members of the House were elected democratically. The Government should behave democratically with regard to all the Members of the House whether they belong to a party or whether they are Independent Members. We are not getting a fair shake. Perhaps the House has not given it any thought but I put that fact to the House. I thank the Chair for his indulgence.

Various aspects of the implications of extradition have been debated here in this debate. The consensus is that extradition has profound implication for all Europeans, particularly for the Irish people. On that basis, the legislation that is being debated in the House needs careful consideration.

For years international terrorism has been of major concern to many nations. Unfortunately international terrorism has become all too prevalent. Extradition legislation should have the full confidence of the people. There is an onus on the Government to ensure that Irish nationals are properly protected under this legislation. To enact legislation that would see Irish nationals being handed over to another jurisdiction which does not have acceptable standards of justice and fair play is unacceptable to us. The area of what constitutes a political offence in this context is of paramount importance.

As a representative of a Border constituency, perhaps more than most, I am conscious of the implications of this Bill. There are many Irish people languishing in British jails for offences which they did not commit. That is a clear warning to those who want extradition arrangements without proper safeguards built in. The sufferings of the Birmingham Six, the Guildford Four and the Maguires will forever be a monument to the injustice of the British courts system. Hysteria in the wake of the Birmingham bomb outrage demanded of the British police that retribution be made, no matter who was to pay. Unfortunately, hysteria always plays a poor host to objectivity and fair play. All the indications are that this is what happened in this case. It is incredible that we have so many men languishing in prison for 12 or 13 years for offences they did not commit. It was reported in the Sunday newspapers recently that a police man who witnessed the treatment of the Birmingham Six said that he had never seen men so frightened. That graphically described what happened in the interrogation that ensued in the wake of the Birmingham outrage. We have good reason to fear that similar treatment has been meted out to many others in Britain and the Six Counties.

Most speakers in this debate are amazed that the Minister for Justice has not made the prima facie consideration an obligation, particularly in view of the fact that the British Government insist on a prima facie case being established in their courts before a British national can be extradited, no matter how horrific the alleged crime. The fact that we highlight and condemn the injustices done to the Birmingham Six and others does not mean we do not condemn other horrific crimes committed over the years in the northern troubles. The social unrest in the Six Counties has meant that hundreds and thousands of people have been displaced and such displacement invariably brings a sense of alienation, a distrust of the system and antagonism towards those who operate the system. Sectarianism and discrimination have contributed enormously to the displacement of large numbers of people in the Six Counties Many who have been dislodged have come to County Louth to find refuge and to establish homes and, hopefully, to live their lives in relative peace. In the context of this legislation it is appropriate to ask the Minister for Justice the position in relation to retrospective effect to this legislation we will have a very difficult time ahead. When replying, will the Minister take the opportunity to clear the position on retrospection in relation to this legislation?

Earlier in the debate and on other occasions reference has been made to the difficulties that the Border troubles have created, particularly for Dundalk and Louth. I would be the first to recognise that in the social marriage that one needs, where we have a pretty steady influx of people from a different area into a relatively small area, inevitably pressures will arise. It is inevitable that those people with a sense of antagonism, and alienation at having been forced out of their homes and environment in the North and having had to come to settle on this side of the Border will feel a certain sense of bitterness towards the establishment. It is unfortunate that that should be the case.

The impact of the northern troubles on the social and economic life of the Border counties has been grossly exaggerated. One could go so far as to say that this has been offered as an excuse on the part of various Government Ministers for their failure to ensure the normal economic growth necessary to provide the jobs and the infrastructure in the areas. Regrettably, the Taoiseach on his last visit to the constituency of Louth made very pointed references to those sentiments. I submit to the House today that references such as those do a great disservice, particularly when they are made in the context where they are exaggerated both in the minds of the public and in the minds of those who could conceivably at some later date be making investment decisions about locating in places such as Dundalk, Drogheda and Castleblayney or in other towns around the Border.

Face reality.

I hope that in the long term the expression of these sentiments will not have an unfortunate impact on the prospects of Dundalk, Castleblayney or Ardee as locations for investment. The thrust should be to ensure that those who have the responsibility for making decisions on industrial development and on the question of investment realise that in Dundalk and its surrounding areas are people who have been part and parcel of the industrial scene there and who have lived in peace and harmony for many years without fear of being touched by the northern troubles.

I sincerely hope that a start will be made on ensuring that the right image is portrayed for a town which unfortunately today is one of our unemployment black spots. We should confine the discussion of the impact of the northern troubles on the area to its proper role and we should get on with the job of ensuring that investment and development and our concern for the people in that area will be given top priority.

Mr. Cowen

I would like to raise a few points and put a number of queries to the Minister for Justice. It is fair to say that in the past week or so when this Bill has come under scrutiny from the media in terms of radio and television interviews and press comment, the Minister has not been his usual strident self, in being self assured about the total merits of his case. That is because he realises that there are many reasonable and logical points being raised which question not alone the Bill but also the method and motivation behind it.

It is important to try to glean the precise reason this Bill is before us at this time. On the television programme "Today Tonight" last evening, Olivia O'Leary was able after some shadow boxing by the Minister to obtain a precise answer as to whether the Government were prepared to use this Bill as leverage in respect of seeking progress on the cases of the Birmingham Six, the Guildford Four and the Maguires. The Minister's final answer was that the Government were not going to use them as leverage and that there were wider concerns. That answer last night was very important when one thinks back to last Monday when the Minister for Foreign Affairs and this Minister were engaged in their monthly discussions with their British counterparts in the Anglo-Irish Conference. On that day a report in The Irish Times by its political correspondent, John Cooney, quoted sources close to the Government as saying that the Minister for Foreign Affairs was going to Belfast to seek assurances, that he would be using these cases as a quid pro quo in relation to the Extradition Bill and that the Government were going to use the timing of this Bill as leverage in view of the growing concern on the part of respected colleagues of all parties within this House and the Seanad and on the part of pressure groups outside.

On Monday evening the Taoiseach said publicly that there would be no amendments to this Bill, that it would go ahead as drafted and that the Government were not prepared to accept the points being raised by this side of the House. Following the meeting of the Anglo-Irish Conference Mr. Tom King, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, stated specifically that the idea of three judges in the Diplock courts was a non-starter. It was quite clear that from Monday morning the Government, not according to the Minister but according to the usual sources close to the Government, were going to seek progress on those cases and use the timing of this Bill to have the cases referred to the Court of Appeal. Twenty-four hours later we saw the fruits of the Minister for Foreign Affairs' conversation with his counterpart in the North: there was to be no change in the Diplock courts and the idea of three judges was to be a non-starter. We have been seeking to have three judges in those courts. That was one of the hopes of the Government in their deliberations over the past 12 months since the agreement was signed.

Not alone that, but the Taoiseach said that this Bill would go ahead without amendment. That is a very significant statement because it shows that the motivation behind the passing of this Bill is tied in with the Anglo-Irish Agreement. The Government are not prepared, whatever about the merits and demerits of the Bill and regardless of whether there should be a prima facie case, to use the timing of this Bill as an effort to support Members inside this House and respected pressure groups outside it in having the case of the Birmingham Six referred to the Court of Appeal. This is despite the fact that this week the Taoiseach in reply to a parliamentary question from Deputy David Andrews said that the Government are doing everything possible to assist the referral of that case to the Court of Appeal.

Even within the past week, never mind the past 12 months, there has been total inconsistency, not only on the part of the Ministers for Justice and Foreign Affairs but on the part of the Taoiseach himself. That point is very significant when trying to assess the merits or demerits of this Bill. The motivation behind it does not come solely from within the Cabinet as the political decision of the Government but is tied in with whatever progress they are seeking to make under the Anglo-Irish Agreement, particularly in the light of the lack of progress up to now. Proponents of the agreement are entitled to seek as best they can to relate to the people the progress that has been made — and there has been some progress, presumably. This case is fundamental to the objections to this Bill and epitomises the fairness or unfairness of the judicial system to which we propose to extradite Irish citizens. The case is the focal point of the bona fides of the British Government and the capacity of their legal system to accept that a serious miscarriage of justice has occurred. If we were to have the Irish Government use this Bill as legitimate leverage in "assisting" the British Home Secretary to use his absolute discretion to refer this matter to the Court of Appeal, then we might be able to look at the merits or demerits of this Bill in isolation.

The wider concerns that the Minister for Justice talked about last night on television are not just concerns about making sure we are in line with other countries who are also signatories of the European Convention but concerns about the Irish Government being seen by the British Government to be doing everything possible to facilitate what they have always seen as the resolution of the security problem between us and the Six Counties. It is important that the Minister for Justice should detail the wider concerns he expressed last night. He cannot achieve any success in relation to those wider concerns unless he is prepared to use the time before the passing of this Bill to show his concern for proven miscarriages of justice. They are proven to anyone who is prepared to read Robert Kee's book or look at the history of the cases and the new evidence which has been brought forward on various television programmes. These are proven miscarriages of justice and the question is whether the British legal system is capable of overturning those decisions. The capacity to do so lies in referral to the Court of Appeal. This the Home Secretary can do. The Irish Government cannot simply express their concern and hope he will do something about it. I accept they have already done so but we now have an oportunity to use legitimate leverage, not blackmail, to ensure its referral. The Home Secretary should be made to use his absolute descretion.

If we can home in on this case it will strengthen the Government's case for seeking to pass the Bill as it stands, without amendment. Not to proceed along those lines raises large questions about the motivation behind the Bill. There has been talk about appeasement but I am not sure whether that is the appropriate word. I would give more credit to any sovereign Irish Government, no matter what their political colour, than to say they are prepared to appease. I believe, however, that the level to which they wish to co-operate goes above and beyond the bounds of duty in view of the fact that these cases remain outstanding and in view of the lack of progress, despite the all-party approach. I do not claim to have any greater concern about these cases than the Minister or any other Member, but I know when it is tactically appropriate to push the case. This is certainly the time since the British Government would be very glad if we passed this Bill, in view of the total cock-up they made of issuing warrants. They are not even capable of issuing a warrant, as we saw in the total fiasco of the Glenholmes case.

Not too long ago we made a treaty with the USA under which we must have a prima facie case before extraditing to that country. I do not understand why we do not have a similar requirement under this Bill. The reasons the Minister has given publicly do not meet the case. There is probably no more eloquent or articulate person in putting forward a case on behalf of the Governemnt than this Minister but he did not make the case in this instance. His attitude towards his opponents on this issue would lead me to believe that he does not see the logic in his own case. Usually when he is right he knows how to put that fact across. Not so in this case. His argument is more toned down than it used to be when I tried to take him on in relation to financial statements.

Some job.

Mr. Cowen

He would buy and sell me. The Minister himself is not totally convinced about this Bill. When he speaks later he will, of course, say he is but it will not change my opinion. Very reasonable points are being made by various Members, including the Minister's erstwhile colleague, Deputy Kelly. I was not here when he spoke last week but newpaper reports seem to suggest that he has reservations about the Bill. If the Minister is not prepared to listen to us, he might listen to some of the Members behind him. The explanatory memorandum in relation to section 4 states that:

Subsection (1) (a) provides that certain offences are not to be regarded as political offences for the purposes of extradition, where the court or the Minister for Justice, as appropriate, having taken into due consideration any particularly serious aspects of the offence concerned, is of opinion that the offence cannot properly be regarded as a political offence etc.

I am wondering why the Minister is taking onto himself the power as set out there.

The Deputy should look at the 1965 Act.

Mr. Cowen

The Minister can answer that when he returns. The political offence exception was based originally on common law. I agree that the Minister should have some concern about how a political offence has been defined because the definition of the Chief Justice in the McGlinchey case is more than suspect. That is not just coming from me. One can look at the judgement of Mr. Justice Hederman in the Shannon case. He considered it too subjective a test but he proceeded to extradite Mr. Shannon on a different point altogether.

What is important to realise is that despite the publicity given to those cases of Shannon and McGlinchey and of Quinn in England, none of these people was convicted on foot of those warrants when they finally were got right. That bring us back to the point that a prima facie requirement seems the logical solution for ensuring that that sort of debacle does not occur. It does nothing for the judicial system, or for the layman's perception of that system, that we have a lengthy legal argument and then that people are running down O'Connell Street or are being ferreted across the Border at 12 midnight amid scuffles. That does nothing for the efficiency or the efficacy of the judicial system. Had there been the prima facie requirement, the difficulties in those cases could have been got around.

As well as those two matters I had a query about the retrospective effect, but having listened to the Minister on the radio on Saturday last, I am reasonably satisfied with what he said on that point.

I would hark back to the motivation behind this Bill. It is quite clear that the Government were never serious about using this Bill as leverage in relation to the three outstanding cases. It was despicable if there was a leak from sources close to the Government stating that Minister Peter Barry was going to the Anglo-Irish Conference to put that point to the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. The Taoiseach that evening said the very opposite. The Minister finally admitted on television last night that the Bill will not be used as leverage there, that there are wider concerns. One wider concern about which he should be worrying is the future of people who will be extradited under this Bill, Irish citizens. There is also the wider concern about how fair the judicial system is to which they are going to be presented. I am suggesting that the test of fairness on the British mainland should be decided on what happens to these outstanding cases where serious miscarriages of justice have happened. Those Irish citizens should be cleared. Giuseppi Conlan will, unfortunately, be posthumously cleared because he died in an English gaol. We should put a hold on this Bill until something happens in those cases.

In relation to the North of Ireland, if the test of fairness were even to be just that three judges be put in the Diplock courts, and that would be a very low threshold in a test of fairness in that jurisdiction, it is clear that the British Government would not regard this as a starter at all. Where exactly are we going? Deputy Blaney put it more clearly than I ever could. We should not engage ourselves in this sort of exercise until we are satisfied, and not alone in relation to the extradition hearing, that we have taken all the necessary safeguards to ensure that the civil liberty of the individual is protected in so far as is possible — and it is not over protected — but we should also satisfy ourselves that the jurisdiction to which a person is being sent on foot of what we would hope to be fair extradition proceedings, is also a fair jurisdiction. It is patently clear that the North of Ireland system is not fair — that is accepted by the Government. Where there is a parting of the ways between the Government and ourselves is on what will make it fair. We have not seen the necessary reforms of that system which would help us in having some confidence in it.

I did not expect the Anglo-Irish Agreement to give huge results in the first 12 months, although I did expect to see some good faith on the part of the British Government. We are assured that there is good faith on their part. However, the fact that after 12 months' discussion and the agreement's specifically referring to having a more fair administration of Justice in the North of Ireland, we now hear that one of the least points we were looking for — three judges in the Diplock courts — is a non-starter. That does not display good faith. The British definition of good faith, or their idea of what this agreement can or should achieve, is far less than was put forward to us in this House when the Anglo-Irish Agreement was being discussed. Listening to Government speeches at that time, I was led to believe that the British Government were not going to take any more nonsense and were going to be engaged in zealous reform to win back, if you like, the nationalist community's confidence in the whole system up there. Unfortunately, it is a debatable point and is far outside the ambit of this Bill as to whether they are more or less alienated now than they were 12 months ago.

In relation to the specifics as they refer to this Bill, that is, the administration of justice in the North of Ireland, I am afraid that we have not seen the progress that we would like to have seen. The Minister has stated publicly that he has not seen the progress he would like to see, so why are we proceeding with this Bill? It is not logical; it does not make sense. Unfortunately there is only a weekend left but the Minister will have to have another look at this Bill. There is growing concern outside this House regarding the effects and ramifications of the Bill. The lack of progress on these three outstanding cases in Britain is only one aspect. Concern about those cases is a symptom of the concern of ordinary people about the legal system in Britain. Until the British legal system shows the capacity to right the wrongs that have been done in those cases, the Minister should use his time now to put this Bill to its best use, which would not be to pass it, but to use it as leverage to bring about justice in those cases.

I do not wish to follow Deputy Cowen's ingenious suggestions about leverage and so on, particularly his final suggestion asking the Government to use this Bill as leverage but not to pass it. I must confess that surpasses all understanding as a tactic of any kind.

I would simply say to the Deputy that if this Bill did not exist at all, it would never be a factor in the discussion and that is as far as I am going to go in relation to that particular part of the discussion.

I also want to make it clear, because there seem to be some Members of the House who are under a serious misapprehension in this matter, that this Bill does not invent extradition. We already have an extradition process. We already have the Act of 1965 which governs our extradition procedures and which governs the procedures for the backing of warrants between this country and the United Kingdom. This Bill is not putting in place something that does not already exist. Without it we would still have in existence the arrangements that govern a backing of warrants procedure in relation to the UK and extradition procedures in relation to other European countries which are parties to the European Convention on Extradition of which we are signatories.

The essential purpose of the Bill is to enable the European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism to be ratified and, from listening to the debate, it is clear there is a wide measure of agreement on that point. Beyond that, different points of view have been expressed which I will deal with. A number of Deputies expressed views on matters which, although important in themselves, relate primarily to our law on extradition generally rather than to the Bill. Some of the views expressed on extradition generally, if valid, would imply that the Extradition Act, 1965, was very largely and in many important respects misconceived. It is not a sufficient answer to say that circumstances have changed since 1965; a number of Deputies appeared to say that the whole Act was misconceived. I do not hold that view. I am not sure that is the argument they intended to make but that was the thrust of many of the contributions to the debate.

The debate so far has focused very largely, as I did in my introductory speech, on the application of the Bill to persons in this jurisdiction whose extradition is sought by another State. In replying to this debate, I should invite the House to turn its attention to the fact that there is another side to the picture. Ratification of the Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism will have the effect of facilitating the extradition of persons sought by us. Terrorist violence is not so "foreign" to this jurisdiction that it is a factor we can ignore. Our accession to the Convention will mean that the possibility of a political defence being relied on successfully will be curtailed in the case of a person whose extradition is sought by this State from any other Convention country. Even if such extradition were refused, the Convention country in question would have to submit the matter to its own competent authorities with a view to prosecution.

Coming to specific matters raised in the debate, I want to deal first with the discussion regarding the prima facie requirement. Here, it is important to point out that in the system created by the 1965 Act, there is no prima facie requirement of any kind. We do not require and, since 1965, have not required any country seeking the extradition of a person from our jurisdiction to present a prima facie case. We have not required it in relation to the United States in the framework of the treaty which was the subject of debate in this House a short time ago. It was argued that we should provide for a prima facie requirement in the Bill. It was suggested that this is a necessary safeguard, particularly for Irish citizens facing extradition, and that we should not be prepared to extradite to other European countries without it. It was also strongly, and erroneously, suggested that it is a requirement which could be met with little difficulty.

Deputy Woods in the context of the recent debate on the Irish-United States treaty, spoke as if all that was involved was the simple serving of a book of evidence. That, in itself, is no small thing but it is far from enough to establish, in our law, a prima facie case. Witnesses have to be present and available for cross examination.

Deputy Woods also placed stress on the fact that such a requirement has always been part of Britain's extradition arrangements with other countries. That is the case, but it has never been part of extradition arrangements between this country and the United Kingdom. As I pointed out on Thursday of last week in my introductory speech, the British Government have now introduced a Bill to enable them to dispense with that requirement so that the UK can become a party to the 1957 Extradition Convention.

In 1965, when we became parties to that Convention, we accepted that there should be no such requirement in our extradition arrangements with other European countries. Deputy Woods speculated that that might not have been the intention. He need have no doubt in that regard. The position was and is quite clear. A requirement of a prima facie case is out of keeping with European extradition norms, is not provided for in the 1957 Convention and was deliberately not provided for in the 1965 Act. If we did not like that situation, we should have entered a reservation at the time. The Government of the day did not enter a reservation because they took the view that that was not a course which they wished, as a matter of policy, to follow.

Deputy O'Malley referred to two Council of Europe countries — Denmark and Norway — who entered reservations to that Convention which have to do with the production of what might broadly be called prima facie evidence. The Danish reservation is confined to situations where the requirement is “seemingly indicated by special circumstances”. The Norwegian reservation takes the form of reserving the right to impose the requirement so the situation is not quite as outlined by Deputy O'Malley. Of course, even in relation to Norway and Denmark, provisions of that kind can properly be assessed only when set in their own context. There is a very wide difference in the practical effect of a prima facie requirement in a civil law system and an apparently similar requirement in a common law system. I intend to deal with that particular distinction in more detail later on. In any event, if we had wanted to apply a prima facie requirement to extradition applications from other Convention countries, the time to do it was in 1965 when the Act was passed and the Convention ratified. Despite what Deputy McCreevy said on this point — I am not sure that he intended it to be taken seriously — neither Article 3 nor Article 13 of the Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism can possibly be interpreted as authorising the introduction of such a requirement now.

Even if it were possible to do so without abrogating the Convention, which in my view is not the case, I have no doubt that it would be undesirable on policy grounds to seek to introduce such a requirement in our extradition arrangements with countries which are parties to the Convention on extradition. Some Deputies who have spoken about the requirement do not seem to have fully grasped what is involved. It would be a serious obstacle to extradition. The prima facie case would have to be established in accordance with the rules of Irish law as to the admissibility of evidence. Establishing a prima facie case would be likely to cause some considerable delay and complications in extradition proceedings. A question would arise as to whether the effort involved in doing so was disproportionate. The introduction of such a requirement would be seen very clearly by all the other parties to the Convention as a retrograde step on our part and as a decided move away from effective international co-operation on criminal matters.

Deputy O'Malley suggested that since Article 6 of the European Convention on Extradiction allows us to refuse to extradite our own citizens to other countries which are parties to that Convention, it should be possible for us, consistent with the Convention, to introduce a prima facie requirement confined to cases where the person whose extradition is sought is an Irish citizen. I do not believe that that approach would be either legitimate or acceptable under the Extradition Convention. That point simply serves to distract attention from the fact that the reason the prima facie requirement is not in the Convention is that it is undesirable and it is not something we should seek to have, even if we could.

Deputy Woods acknowledged that it would be very difficult for Ireland to introduce a prima facie requirement in relation to other states which are parties to the European Convention on Extradition. He suggested, however, that as our extradition arrangements with the United Kingdom are not based on the Convention, we could — and should — amend our legislation to require the United Kingdom authorities to produce a prima facie case in an Irish court when requesting extradition, whether for a politically motivated offence or otherwise.

I do not think we should do that. The British Government have announced that they are about to become a party to the Convention on Extradition. There is a Bill in their Parliament which is designed to enable them to do so, including a provision in that Bill to drop the prima facie requirement.

Leaving all that aside, a prima facie requirement has never been a part of the backing of warrant arrangements that exist between this country and the United Kingdom. Those arrangements are intended to reflect the geographical proximity of our two countries, the social and economic ties, as well as the special travel arrangements that exist between the two jurisdictions and the close similarity and historical connection between our legal systems. If we were to introduce a requirement that a prima facie case be established in our courts before extradition could take place to Northern Ireland or Great Britain, that would be a grave impediment to extradition for the reasons I have already mentioned and would be clearly seen as such. We have extradited to Northern Ireland and to Britain without such an obstacle ever since the foundation of the State. It would be invidious to create such an obstacle now that the Anglo-Irish Agreement is in existence, and it would be doubly invidious on our part to do so since we would not be imposing the same requirement on other Council of Europe countries.

We should not lose sight of what is the central fact about this Bill. This is a Bill to improve the prospects of extradition. To introduce a prima facie requirement would not only be a step in the other direction, but it would be a very substantial move away from a situation which has existed up to now and it is one that would have an impact on all extradition cases and not just those which this Bill has set out to cover. It is important to remember the fact that a person has been acquitted in a requesting country following extradition does not mean that he or she would not have been extradited in the first place if there had been a prima facie requirement. There is a major difference between establishing a prima facie case and proving a case beyond a reasonable doubt, which is a far heavier burden to discharge. Even if we look at it in our own system a return for trial following a preliminary examination which involves the establishment of a prima facie case is not by any means always certain to lead to a conviction in the trial itself.

Another point has arisen that I want to advert to. Underlying the discussion on the prima facie requirement during the debate there appears to have been the idea that an order for extradition made in the requested State is somehow equivalent to a return for trial in the requesting State. That is not the case. Deputy Woods said that — I am not quoting him but I am using as near as I can get his exact words —“Unless the Bill is amended, it would be easier to bring an Irish national before the English or German court, even for a political offence than it is to bring a person before our courts”. Deputy Woods is wrong, to say the least of it. Apart from the fact that the Bill does not provide for extradition for political offences, what Deputy Woods says involves a confusion between two distinct stages in criminal proceedings. It is certainly the case that a person would not be formally sent for trial in the Circuit Court, for example, on the basis of the evidence produced at an extradition hearing, but neither would he be sent for trial after extradition before the corresponding court in England. He will — just as if he would have been if proceeded against here — firstly be brought before a court on the basis of commital proceedings. In other words, he will be appearing before a court for a preliminary examination of the case against him in the same way as he would if he were charged here.

There is another way to look at Deputy Woods' argument and simply say that a person should not be subjected to the trouble of being taken to another country without substantial evidence being produced, and I would not be dismissive of the trouble that is involved there any more than I would of the trouble that would be involved within our own jurisdiction of moving a person from one end of the country to another. I will instead pose a different question: why does virtually every country in continental Europe, now about to be joined by the United Kingdom, reject that proposition? The answer is very simple. The requirement is incompatible with due administration of justice. That requires not just the protection of the rights of the accused but also the protection of victims of crimes and of society as a whole.

That is very far from saying that extradition is or should be available merely for the purpose of questioning. It is not available for that purpose and it never should be. It is for the purpose of charging a person before a court. The common understanding among the Convention countries is that an extradition request implies that there is a clear expectation that court proceedings will follow. We know the British as well as this country subscribe to that view.

It is clear, and it has been clear during this debate, that there are fears that the enactment of this Bill might facilitate a development of extradition-for-questioning in the context of extradition to Northern Ireland or Britain. To allay any such fears we took care, before introducing this legislation, to establish with the British Government a detailed arrangement which would ensure that in future warrants will not be sent here for execution from Northern Ireland or Britain unless the case has first been examined at a very high legal level to verify, independently of the people involved in seeking and issuing the warrant, that there is, in the judgment of the legal authority concerned, sufficient evidence of a kind admissible in court on which to bring a charge. More specifically, as I said in this House last Thursday, the arrangement on the British side is that a warrant for the return of persons from here will not be sought unless the Director of Public Prosecutions in Northern Ireland or the Crown Prosecution Service in Britain has considered the evidence and is satisfied that it is sufficient.

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland referred to this assurance in a statement he made on 8 November last. The necessary detailed arrangements to give effect to this have been largely completed and we, for our part, have given a reciprocal undertaking which for us means continuing an already well established practice of having our warrants assessed for evidence by the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions before they are sent to Northern Ireland or Britain for execution.

Accordingly, we will have a new situation where all warrants which are sent here from Northern Ireland or Britain will be scrutinised by the prosecuting authorities and not just by the relevant police force for sufficiency of admissible evidence. I should make it clear that when I say all warrants I am including warrants relating to ordinary crime as well as those that relate to crime that has a terrorist element. Both Governments wish to have extradition arrangements that will be free of mishaps so that there will be every incentive to ensure that that safeguard works effectively.

It has been suggested to me that the arrangements to which I have just referred, while going a long way in substance to meet what I accept are genuine fears on the part of those who have argued for a prima facie requirement fall short in one respect, namely, they do not provide sufficient formality to enable responsibility to be placed on some identifiable person if the required standards are not maintained. Specifically, the suggestion has been that the arrangement should be expanded so as to provide for a certificate from the Director of Public Prosecutions or some other senior legal authority that the requisite scrutiny, which both the British and ourselves have agreed should take place, has in fact taken place. That is a question I am examining very closely. I am not entirely convinced that there is a need for such a certificate but then neither am I convinced that here is not a need for such a certificate. In the context of the fears that have been expressed, because there is a ground for those fears and because we should meet them as effectively as we can, I am in the process of working on an amendment to this Bill which would provide for such a certificate on a mutually agreed basis with the UK. The House will appreciate that the system we operate and which we have operated since 1965 is a mutually agreed one for which provision was made in the 1957 Convention. Consequently, we need to seek agreement on both sides in relation to any move of that kind.

Deputy Woods suggested that the Bill should include a safeguard whereby we could refuse to extradite our own nationals, mentioning the practice of some European countries in this regard. I will not rehearse again all the things I said in my opening statement. It is important, however, to make the point that we are dealing largely with violence related to events in Northern Ireland. In that context virtually everybody who is likely to be sought in the context we are talking about would be an Irish citizen, given the extremely wide range of our citizenship laws. Therefore, in the context of what we are talking about, what Deputy Woods has put forward amounts to saying that we should have virtually no extradition at all. I do not think that would be a tenable position for us to take even in view of our own concerns with the position in Northern Ireland. Nor is it a position that we have ever taken nor, so far as I am aware, is it a position that we have ever seriously contemplated taking. There is a very substantial question which I will develop further on Committee Stage but which I will just refer to very briefly now. That is the question as to the differences between common law and civil law systems and the difficulties that such differences would create and do create——

Common law?

Common law and civil law. Those differences create difficulties in the treatment and the processing of cases under extra-territorial jurisdiction. There are, in particular, very substantial differences as to the admissibility of evidence which makes the handling of those cases particularly difficult. On a more limited scale we have seen some of those difficulties in relation to the Criminal Law (Jurisdiction) Act, 1976, to which Deputy Woods referred in the House last week.

A question was raised by Deputy Woods as to the apparently retrospective nature of provisions in this Bill. Sections 3 and 4 will apply only in relation to a request for the surrender of a person made after the commencement of the Act or in relation to a warrant for the arrest of a person issued after the commencement of the Act. That request or warrant may relate to an offence committed or alleged to have been committed before that date because section 1 provides that the Bill will apply, except where otherwise provided, in relation to an offence committed or alleged to have been committed before or after the passing of the Act. The exception referred to is in section 5 which establishes extra-territorial jurisdiction over offences committed outside the State. That section applies only to offences committed after the commencement of the Act. It could only apply to offences committed after the commencement of the Act.

Provisions of the kind contained in the Bill, about which Deputy Woods raised a question, are normal when new extradition arrangements are made. The Extradition Act, 1965, for example, applied to offences whether committed before or after its passing. Our extradition treaty with the United States contains a similar provision. There is no injustice involved in that. The position would be otherwise if a new offence was being created and an attempt being made to give that retrospective effect but that is not what is involved here. There is no question under the Bill of making criminal something that was not an offence at the time it was done. Before a person would be liable for extradition, the act for which he was sought would have to be one that constituted an offence against the law of the requesting state and an offence under our law at the time it was committed. That was one of the questions raised by Deputy Mac Giolla.

The question was raised of the appropriateness of the proposal to ratify the Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism without entering a reservation of the kind provided for in Article 13. Obviously that was an option we had to consider very carefully. We reached the conclusion as set out in the Bill, that is, that we should ratify without a reservation, after a good deal of thought. Under the Bill it is only the limited range of offences covered by Article 1 of the Convention which are never to be regarded as political. To enter an Article 13 reservation in respect of Article 1 offences amounts to saying that at least in some cases offences of the kind covered by Article 1 should be capable of being regarded as political. That is a matter on which opinions may differ. There is no doubt in my mind as to the side of that argument I come down on. I do not consider that any of the offences of the kind set out in Article 1 of the Convention should ever be regarded as political or should ever be given the dignity of having a political cloak put over them. There is a wide measure of agreement internationally on that view.

The Minister's time is almost up.

In every way.

Deputy Haughey has been saying that for a long time. I am glad for his sake that he did not hold his breath the first time he made that prediction, nor would I counsel him to hold his breath now either although by not holding his breath he more often interrupts me than anything else.

Deputy McCreevy, in the course of his remarks last Thursday, expressed a concern that under this Bill an extradited person could be charged with offences other than the ones for which he was extradited. In other words, he was afraid that what is commonly referred to as the rule of specialty would not apply. He appeared to be under the impression that under our existing legislation in this area the only charges which could be brought against an extradited person would be the charges listed in the warrant. That is not the case. There are some restrictions and procedural requirements in relation to new charges but there is no general barrier. That accords with European norms.

Section 20 of the 1965 Act provides that, in the case of jurisdictions other than Britain or Northern Ireland, the person claimed may not be proceeded against for an offence committed prior to his surrender other than that for which his surrender was requested without the consent of the Minister for Justice. However — I must stress this — that section also provides that the Minister must give his consent if the offence for which the consent is requested is itself one for which there is an obligation to grant extradition which, of course, would usually be the case. That section had to be in the 1965 Act because it reflects an obligation that is imposed by the Convention of 1957. It is clear, therefore, that the provision does not, and is not designed to shield people against additional charges in general but only against additional charges for which there would have been no obligation to extradite.

I must put the question now.

May I ask the Minister a question?

I will allow a short question.

I heard the Minister say that proof of a prima facie case would have to be according to Irish law and he used that, as I understand it, as if this was a problem.

No, I was simply making the point that if we had a prima facie requirement that would mean the case would have to be established in accordance with the rules of our law and conform with the standards of admissibility that we require in our jurisdiction. It was a point of information and clarification.

Was the idea that it would make it too difficult?

That is not the point at all.

What is the point?

I was making the point that that is what we will be requesting and the evidence given would have to conform to our standards of admissibility because I do not think that it was generally recognised by some of the Deputies who spoke in the debate that that was what they were saying.

The Minister mentioned a new procedure and I should like to know if it will be the Commissioner who will decide under that new procedure.

The new procedure to which I adverted this afternoon and last evening is one under which a certificate will be supplied to the Commissioner.

Will the Commissioner be the deciding person rather than the courts?

A certificate will be supplied to the Commissioner before he will proceed with the backing of the warrant.

Is it agreed that the Bill be now read a Second Time? Agreed.

I thought the Chair would be putting the question in the usual form.

I am putting the question: "That the Bill be now read a Second Time."

Will those who are demanding a division please rise in their places?

Deputies Blaney, Glenn, Gregory-Independent and S. Treacy rose.

As fewer than ten Deputies have risen, in accordance with Standing Orders I declare the motion carried and the Bill is read a Second Time. The names of those demanding a division will be recorded in the Journal of the Proceedings of the Dáil. When is it proposed to take Committee Stage?

Next Tuesday, subject to agreement between the Whips.

Committee Stage ordered for Tuesday, 16 December 1986.
The Dáil adjourned at 5.15 p.m. until 2.30 p.m. on Tuesday, 16 December 1986.