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

Question proposed: "That section 1 stand part of the Bill."

As a result of the Minister's refusal to accept either of the amendments before the House adjourned, we are now in a position in which the Bill will apply except where otherwise provided in relation to an offence whether committed or alleged to have committed, before or after the passing of this measure. I want to make a distinction between the case made by Deputy O'Malley and what is the issue. Deputy O'Malley understandably made the case that if we were to say that offences committed before the commencement of the Act, which the Minister says will be 12 months from now, would not be covered by the Act that would be unacceptable. I agree with that. For that reason Deputy Woods indicated that from the point of view of this party we wished his amendment to be read that we were talking not in terms of offences alleged to be committed before the commencement of the Act, which is 12 months from now, but about offences alleged to be committed before the passing of the Act which will be tomorrow.

In passing this section the Government are asking us to accept that this Act applies to offences alleged to be committed before the passing of this Act. We should not do that. An offence is alleged to be committed when the allegation is made, when the charge is brought. This Act applies now to offences alleged to be committed before the passing of this Act. There has been so many offences alleged to be committed before the passing of this Act that we have to be very careful that we do not, in this law, give a cover for the type of alleged offences that will not hold water in our courts or in other courts. This again is an example of an ill-thought out and hasty conclusion on the part of the Government who must be aware that when they insert words such as that they cannot lay it all at the door of the parliamentary draftsman. He does as he is told and there is nothing here as complex as the kind of gobbledegook the Minister and I used have to engage in on Finance Acts. This is clear and simple. What the Government are doing here is not acceptable.

What type of offences are we talking about — offences, which due to police questioning procedures either in Northern Ireland or in Britain, are alleged to have been committed, Do we not know enough about the police practices in both Britain and Northern Ireland to make us very apprehensive in respect of arranging convenient extradition for alleged offences such as those? If we endorse that kind of extradition we endorse also the practices which give rise to these alleged offences. That is something we cannot and should not be asked to accept. The Diplock courts and the police practices in relation to them — paid informers who are subsequently going to be granted immunity and the information of paid informers on which the police act all give rise to alleged offences. The kind of questioning which was engaged in Birmingham and in Guildford gives rise to alleged offences. We are now going to extradite people, withoutprima facie evidence, in respect of these alleged offences, even before the passing of this Act.

I do not see how anyone in this House who has a concern for the principles of jurisprudence and justice——

I can well understand the Deputy's contribution and I can well understand how he has misdirected himself but when we discussed the other amendments we discussed new sections which were proposed to be inserted in the Bill. They have been rejected and what we are now dealing with is section 1 which is the interpretation section of the Bill.

Yes, a Cheann Comhairle, I am dealing with that.

As long as the Deputy appreciates that and confines himself to that, it is all right.

May I refer to the words in section 1?

Yes, of course.

That is what I have been doing.

I thought you were dealing with the previous amendment.

No. The words I am addressing in section 1 are in subsection (4) which are 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.

That is quite in order.

This Act applies to an offence alleged to have been committed before the passing of this Act. That is the law we are now being asked to pass and that is the point I am addressing myself to. I do not think that is acceptable in view of the nature of the alleged offence to which this Act will not apply either in respect of practices in Britain or in Northern Ireland.

We owe it to ourselves as a sovereign Parliament that has a function under the separation of powers enshrined in our Constitution to protect not only the Judiciary but to vindicate the rights of our citizens. I do not think we should be asked to pass a section such as that. The Minister at this stage should acknowledge that that section as it stands is in fact capable of being used and can be used to ask for extradition proceedings based on questioning practices, police practices and marshalling of evidence through, to say the least of it, unacceptable procedures such as paid informers which would not stand up in this jurisdiction, which never have and, please God, never will. If it does not stand up here we are quite prepared to say, "yes, but we will extradite only to places where they do stand up."

I do not want to engage in what might conveniently be called "Brit bashing" but I do want to assert that our legal practices, and our police and court procedures are of the highest possible standards. If they are not as high elsewhere it is up to us to expose those shortcomings and particularly to say we will not have any truck with them in terms of endorsing them by extraditing people on the basis of alleged offences. I do not want to get into the realm of dreamland by going back 15 to 20 years but there is no doubt that there are many people who will be put on the hazard at this point. The reality is that there has not been any lack of willingness in this jurisdiction under any Government to have people charged in accordance with the law for outrageous crimes.

That is not the problem. The problem has always been the lack of evidence. I quoted on Second Stage the Chief Constable of the RUC, Sir John Hermon, who, in my presence in Saint Anne's Cathedral in Belfast acknowledged that the problem was lack of evidence. If the problem is one of lack of evidence, as we have seen unfortunately during the years particularly in Northern Ireland, there are ways and means of getting "evidence" for alleged offences. This Bill seeks to endorse that here. I find that unacceptable as must any Member who has an awareness of what our obligations are. That is why I ask the Minister in the circumstances to have second thoughts on this. There is no point in saying that we do not intend to do it that way. The actions of the past ten years demonstrate how things are done and done wrongly.

In fairness to the Guildford Four, the Birmingham Six and Annie Maguire it is time we in this sovereign Parliament gave a clear signal that we are not going to tolerate that kind of thing, that we are not going to ask our courts to extradite on that basis. We could extradite people who would be subjected to the same treatment as those people who were accused wrongly of the Birmingham and Guildford bombings. That is what we are being asked to do today. I find that reprehensible and any Member of Parliament should share the same view.

When discussing Deputy Woods's amendment before lunch to change subsection (4) I made most of the points I wished to make regarding this section but I would like the Minister to clarify a few points particularly in regard to subsection (4).

Subsection (4) deals with the retroactive aspect of the Act. What will the position be regarding extradition requests on named people which have failed in the courts here? There have been a number of cases where extradition warrants were defended successfully in the courts here and people were not extradited as a result of claiming that their alleged offence was of a political nature. What will be the position of those who have found themselves in court on foot of extradition warrants but who, because they applied a successful defence, claiming the offence was political, were not extradited? At least we will know what will no longer be construed as a political offence. What will be the position of people who have successfully defended extradition warrants if the British or Six Counties authorities should seek to extradite them now? Will those people be put on trial again? From my reading of the Bill I believe this is possible. One could argue as to whether defending an extradition application is really a trial. Most people would agree that it would not be correct jurisprudence to bring a person before the court again if a previous extradition application had failed. Since the Minister has steadfastly refused to put any safeguards into the Bill, particularly the safeguard requiringprima facie evidence, anyone can be extradited whether there is a case to answer or not.

We have discussed this Bill totally in the context of extradition applications between here and the UK. It would be a pity if we did not consider at some stage during the debate that these extradition arrangements will apply in respect of all the signatories and any other states which the Minister for Foreign Affairs may designate from time to time. The Minister told us yesterday about this extra arrangement to be made between the Irish and British authorities whereby an extradition application will not be proceeded with unless the Director of Public Prosecutions in Northern Ireland or the British Attorney General is satisfied that there is sufficient evidence against a person. At least that is something extra. I accept that 99 cases out of 100 involve Ireland and the UK, but we are putting on the Statute Book an Act which will apply to all the other convention countries as well where there will be no such extra arrangement. What will be the position some years hence if we do not like the way some of those countries operate their system and if we have grave doubt about extraditing people to their jurisdictions? This Bill appears more flawed the more it is discussed. It is bad legislation.

I should like the Minister to clarify part of section 1 (1) which states:

"serious offence" means an offence which, if the act constituting the offence took place in the State, would be an offence for which a person aged 21 years or over, of full capacity and not previously convicted may be punished by imprisonment for a term of 5 years or by a more severe penalty.

Why specify 21 years? I cannot understand it. Perhaps the Minister would clarify that point.

Will the Minister when replying say at what age a citizen can be extradited?

As the Bill enters its second full day of debate it is inevitable that there will be repetition. I do not want to contribute to that repetition or to delay unduly the passage of the Bill, but I should like to re-echo the view expressed earlier by Deputy Liam Cosgrave when he regretted that this important legislation was being put through the House with such haste. It is regrettable that the Government should have taken the decision to have this Bill dealt with in the concluding hours of this session. It deserves the more serious consideration of the House. When I spoke on Second Stage I said that the Bill in its initial stages was more appropriate to an all-party committee of the House where all these matters could have been teased out and some consensus reached.

The Minister is firmly entrenched in his view and is determined to pursue that view to the end, even though he knows that not only are Members on this side of the House in disagreement but also members of his own party. The Minister would be serving the best interests of the nation if he recognised the degree of unanimity expressed by totally different political parties with completely different ideologies in relation to a matter as sensitive as extradition. At the end of the day this is not a political issue. We have no desire to make it such. The Minister will not suffer any loss of face even at this late stage if he decides to recognise that the amendments are worthy and should be accepted in the national interest. The Minister should now give serious consideration to accepting at least the remainder of the amendments.

I was totally discouraged when I found that the House had outvoted our very legitimate amendment in relation to the production ofprima facie evidence for extradition. I felt that the whole foundation had been taken away in relation to the case we are making. The Minister has an opportunity, even at this late stage, to redeem himself and this House with regard to the credibility of what is being voted through by the effectiveness of the Whip system as it operates. It is obvious to him and to every Member of this House that people are walking behind the Minister into the division lobbies who do not agree with what they are being asked to vote for. I hold the view, particularly in relation to a matter as sensitive as this, that the Minister should not impose that liability on his own backbenchers or on anybody else.

Hear, hear.

I spoke fairly extensively on Second Stage. I expressed unease at that stage about the aspects on which we have now tabled amendments. On section 1 that we are debating now, the Minister has said nothing which would in any way convince me that the case which he is putting forward is in any way credible or justified. His reluctance to accept theprima facie amendment tabled by Members from all parts of this House is an indication that he is totally entrenched in his views. It is very relevant to this section that the Minister earlier made the point that the island of Ireland is unique in this matter because of the existence of Northern Ireland.

Unfortunately.

Unfortunately, yes. In making a statement like that the Minister should also acknowledge that the island of Ireland is unique because of the judicial system which operates in the northern part of our country and which operated down through the years.

How can we credibly, in this part of the island, give our imprimatur to a request for extradition to an administration where both the courts and the police system have been as suspect as they have been down through the years? That is what the Minister in this Bill is asking this House to do on behalf of the Irish people.

On a point of order, what has this to do with the section?

This is a very limited debate——

It is a very limited debate.

——on the mere terms of the interpretation of the Act itself.

I fully accept that. I am sure you will also agree, a Leas-Cheann Comhairle, that it is almost impossible to dicuss any aspect of this Bill, even section 1, without relating it to the tragic situationvis-à-vis law and order in Northern Ireland. If we were to close our eyes to that fact, we would be living in cloud cuckooland and that is what the Minister wants us to do in relation to this Bill. He wants us to ignore the reality of the situation——

On a point of order, I submit that this is a Second Stage speech which the Deputy is making. It has no relevance to the section.

I accept that. The debate is purely and simply on the terms of the interpretation.

In support of what my colleague is saying, the debate is also on the application of the Act.

The Deputy is wasting time.

With all due deference, I addressed my point of order to the Chair. I do not need a lecture from the Minister. He could do with some lectures himself, as he has demonstrated in this House. Subsection (4) underlines the extent of the application of the Act and the procedures which would be acceptable to bring the Act into effect. I submit that on that basis everything that Deputy Hyland has said in relation to an alleged offence, police practice and courts practices is entirely relevant. Somebody should take the Minister aside and give him a first-year lecture on criminal and constitutional law. He would benefit from it.

I shall be guided by the Chair's views in relation to the matter. If what I am saying is an embarrassment to the Minister, if he feels that I am getting under his skin——

It is an embarrassment to the Deputy's colleagues who want to talk about the other sections. I am trying to help them.

To the extent that the Minister feels it is necessary for him to interrupt me, that is an indication of his own weakness and vulnerability in relation to the matter which we are discussing.

In the section which we are now discussing, the Minister is asking this House to give its imprimatur to a situation where people can be brought to justice under the terms of this Bill even to appear in relation to matters prior to the passing of the Bill in this House. For any Minister for Justice to seek the approval of this House to a proposal as serious and draconian as that is not on. It indicates how naive the Minister is with regard to the entire Bill. He is closing his eyes to the reality of the situation in Northern Ireland and is expecting us to pass this section, which would allow extradition even for acts which were alleged to have been committed long before this Bill becomes a reality in 12 months' time. He must be out of his mind if he thinks this House would give approval to that kind of regressive legislation. If he has not accepted our amendment on the need to produceprima facie evidence on extradition, would he accept from us that this requirement is totally retrograde and one which it is hoped cannot be accepted? I appeal to the Minister to accept the amendment tabled by our spokesman, Deputy Woods.

Deputy O'Kennedy went off on a kind of ramble without bringing his map with him. He is objecting to the provision in subsection (4) where the Act applies "to an offence whether committed or alleged to have been committed before or after the passing of this Act". He is picking up this word "alleged". Extradition can be granted in the case of persons who had been convicted of an offence or who are being accused of an offence. Up to the time when the offence is tried and up to the time when the matter of criminal liability is determined, there is an alleged offence. There is an allegation; that is the only way to describe it. All of the rest of what Deputy O'Kennedy built on to this word "allegation" is a pure construction of his imagination.

It is not. From the time the person is first brought in for police questioning, it is an alleged offence.

Up to the time that criminal liability has been determined, that is, the final determination——

On a point of order, I should like to clear this up.

That is not a point of order.

It is in order to clear up what we are addressing.

On a point of order, Deputy O'Kennedy must be heard.

I accept what the Minister says, but what I want understood is that before the determination in trial takes place, where the offence has been committed, you have various stages from police questioning and through all the various stages——

Deputy, that is out of order.

You have police questioning and then the various stages——

That is not a point of order. Would you resume your seat, please, Deputy? Would you continue, please, Minister.

I thought that another Tipperary man would know as much as a Kildare man about the set of Deputy O'Kennedy's head when he gets up to make a spurious point of order which is not a point of order.

That makes my case. That has certainly ruined the Minister's reputation in this House and his smile will not mislead the House.

I am sorry if I appear to be annoying the Deputy.

Not a bit. The set of my head is as relevant as the Minister's constant smile.

I am taking this quite seriously. It is a dreadful shame that a frontbench spokesman, and a lawyer to boot, of the main Opposition party can make that kind of statement about the use of the term "alleged to have been committed".

The Minister must have had a little lecture on the argumentad hominem.

The allegation is there until it is either proven or disproven. In terms of extradition, we are not talking about the determination of criminal liability, we are talking simply about the determination of the issue of extraditability. Except in the case where it is a convicted person whose extradition is being requested, we are talking about an alleged offence. That is the context in which we see this section. He suggested that people are being put on the hazard but that is not so in relation to criminal liability.

I was referring to the hazard of extradition.

The issue is the question of extraditability, the procedures that exist under the European Convention on Extradition and the provisions set up under the 1965 Act in our jurisdiction remain to be carried out and gone through before the question of extraditability — not criminal liability — can be determined.

I am beginning to have pity for our spokesman because the Minister needs a basic course in law.

I am sorry that Deputy O'Kennedy feels his point is not getting across but it is at least arguable that if that is the case it is because there is not much in it in the first place. Deputy O'Kennedy simply took the appearance of the word "allege" in this section to make a speech about something totally different.

Deputy McCreevy raised the question of a case where an application for extradition had already been refused prior to the passing of this Bill in relation to an offence which might no longer be deemed to be one to which the political defence would apply. In other words, if a new application is made for extradition after the passage of the Bill, would the person be extraditable? That is a matter for decision by the courts because the question is whether, on the basis of the procedures set out in the Act and the convention, that person is extraditable. Of course it would be a material consideration in the determination of that question whether the offence was one which was now excluded from the scope of the political defence. I cannot say what a court would decide in a case like that, we would only know that by having a case like that submitted to it. If an application is made for extradition, it would have to be reviewed under the procedures set out. I must insist that what is in question there is simply the matter of extraditability and not criminal liability. In no sense could it be argued that there is a question of double jeopardy because, as is clear from the debate, the matter being tested in our jurisdiction is not the criminal liability question but that of extraditability. Indeed, as I pointed out before when we were talking about the amendments, a provision of this kind is the standard one on any occasion when changes are made in the extradition arrangements. It was a feature of the 1965 Act and was included in the recent treaty concluded between ourselves and the United States. As I pointed out earlier this morning, the matter now being raised on this section was not adverted to during the course of that debate.

Deputy McCreevy alleged that the Minister steadfastly refused to put any safeguards in the Bill. That is not the case, I spoke of the safeguards already built into our procedures under the 1965 Act which neither Deputy McCreevy nor his colleagues saw fit to challenge or to attempt to modify. I wonder why. In addition, we have put in place a separate arrangement with the UK authorities.

In relation to the definition of a serious offence, particularly the reference to the age of 21, that is put in because there are a number of restrictions on the imprisonment of young people. In defining a serious offence, we wanted to make sure that there was nothing in the definition which could give rise to any reasonable fear that we had included as a serious offence something that would not be treated as a serious offence either in our courts or, subsequently, in the penal system. In making the reference to the age of 21 and full capacity, our intention is to make sure that the offences covered here are really serious offences.

Deputy Woods asked at what age one can be extradited. There is no age limit in regard to extradition. For example, in a recent case a young person of 17 years was extradited here from the UK for an offence he had committed here.

Does extradition apply from the age of criminal responsibility, which is seven years?

Yes, once the person becomes subject to a sanction of the law and to indictment it will apply.

That means that someone can be extradited at seven years of age.

This has been part of our system since the 1965 Extradition Act and, as far as I am aware, it has not been the subject of any proposal for amendment by the Opposition in government or out of it. It was not a matter which caused them any hesitation at the time when they or their predecessors were sponsoring the Bill which led to the 1965 Act. I do not intend to follow Deputy Hyland in his trip down memory lane as far as the previous part of the debate is concerned because I want to stick to the section and not make another Second Stage speech.

The Minister clarified some of the points which I raised but, in case anyone is in any doubt, it will be possible, depending on the nature of the case, for people who have already been before the courts here on foot of an extradition warrant, where the courts decided that they would not be extradited, to be brought before the courts again on foot of another extradition warrant. I do not know if, in strictly legal terms, that is placing a person on trial twice for the same offence. I do not think it would be proper to bring such people before the courts again as it constitutes double jeopardy. Perhaps the Minister will consider introducing an amendment on Report Stage indicating that people who have been before the courts previously on foot of an extradition warrant which was refused on the grounds that the person claimed it was a political offence, should not be brought before the courts again. In the interests of justice it would be equitable to introduce such an amendment.

The Minister said today and on previous occasions that Fianna Fáil did not challenge the 1965 Act. However, that Act specifically excluded extradition for a political offence. This Bill redefines a political offence. Up to now we have steadfastly refused to extradite a person who claimed that the alleged offence was a political offence, or connected with a political offence. The 1965 Act is completely different. In 1965 we were not prepared to extradite a person who alleged that he was being extradited for a political offence. The same applied in the seventies when rather than change the Act regarding extradition the then Coalition Government brought in the Criminal Law (Jurisdiction) Act, 1976. The then Taoiseach, Mr. Liam Cosgrave, steadfastly refused to go down this road although the Sunningdale Agreement had been signed and the British authorities were anxious to have an extradition agreement similar to that which we are now putting on our Statute Book.

It is a red herring to introduce phrases like "the 1956 Act says before or after the passing of this Act" because that Act did not say a person could be extradited for a political offence. This is a major change. As I said, the Minister is introducing a red herring to distract attention from the shortcomings of this Bill, but it does not distract me because I realise it is a ploy to get people's minds off the real proposals in this legislation. This legislation takes away a person's right to claim that an offence is of a political nature. This is a fundamental change in the law. Talking about the 1965 Act in this way is like saying a game of hockey and a game of Gaelic football are the same. They bear no relationship except that they are both games.

I want it to be clear that under this Bill people can be brought to court again, although extradition warrants have been refused in the past. Unless an amendment is introduced on Report Stage, it will be possible to bring these people before the courts again. I do not think that in the interests of justice that is right or fair.

This brings us to the heart of what this Bill is about. I would remind Deputy McCreevy, in particular, that he is one of a number of Deputies who said he agreed with the general thrust of this Bill and with the change we are making in the definition of a political offence. This morning he said — and I think I am quoting him correctly — that in his view maybe we should have done this before.

I never said that.

I heard him say it.

I was here and I did not hear him say it.

Deputy O'Malley said it and I said I did not agree with him.

Deputy McCreevy and the Fianna Fáil Party——

On a point of order, I do not mind being quoted if I have said something, but Deputy O'Malley said that and I said Deputy O'Malley had also changed his view about this matter but I did not agree with him. The Minister is confusing me with Deputy O'Malley and the record will show I never said it.

That is something I will take up with Deputy McCreevy. For whatever comfort it might be, I would never confuse him with Deputy O'Malley. Deputy McCreevy and the Fianna Fáil Party have said they support the principle of this Bill. The essential function of this Bill is to clarify the scope of a political offence, but what Deputy McCreevy said a moment ago goes against that. I should like the Fianna Fáil Party, and in particular Deputy McCreevy, for whom I have a special regard and affection, to make up their minds on where they stand on that issue. If Deputy McCreevy is saying we should not change the scope of the political offence, let him say so, and then he is opposing the Bill, but I want that to be clear because we need to know.

I said there is no question of double jeopardy here nor can there be since what would be at issue is not the question of criminal liability but the question of extraditability. Under the 1965 Act as it now stands, and as it would continue after this — and I am not comparing games of hockey to Gaelic football — if we were to send a warrant to Britain requesting a person's extradition and that warrant turned out to be defective and was refused, there is absolutely nothing to stop us from requesting again the extradition of that same person by warrant. It might be refused again or it might be granted, but there is nothing in the system that would prevent us from doing that. Our system is designed not to have vexatious warrants but that can happen under the system as we know it.

To make another example, take the case of a person who was wanted for the murder of a head of State in 1960. Before the passage of the 1965 Act that person would not have been extraditable here. After the passage of the 1965 Act, he would have been extraditable and it would have been perfectly in order for a request to be made to us to extradite that person. The same situation would apply under the provisions of this section. It is completely wrong of Deputy McCreevy to pretend that this Bill removes the possibility of a refusal of extradition on the grounds that an offence is political. It does no such thing.

It would be practically impossible.

I doubt that it would be even remotely described as practically impossible. What it does is say in section 3 that there are certain offences, serious offences, which will not be regarded as political offence, and section 4 provides that there are certain offences which may not be regarded as political offences. This Bill does not in any way demolish or exclude a political offence, and to object to it on that ground is objecting to it — on a ground which does not exist.

Perhaps the Minister would give examples of what in future could be regarded as a political offence.

Shouting "Up the Republic" in Belfast.

This is a matter I dealt with on Second Stage and which no doubt we will come to on section 3. In the definitions we proceed in this Bill by exclusion which is the way this matter has been approached in virtually every other jurisdiction in which it has been tried.

Can the Minister give some examples of a political offence?

The Minister was asked about the age at which a person could be extradited. He referred to the serious offences in the interpretation section. In section 3 (3) ——

We are not on that section.

No, but I am dealing with the definition and it is essential that I refer to this section. Section 3 (3) (iii) states: "a serious offence involving an attack against a life, physical integrity or liberty of an internationally protected person". A serious offence is mentioned and obviously it has to be defined. Paragraph (i) and (ii) of that subsection refer to an offence; paragraph (iii) refers to a serious offence; paragraph (iv) refers to an offence; paragraph (v) refers to an offence involving the use of explosives or automatic firearms; and paragraph (vi) refers to any offence of attempting to commit any of the foregoing offences.

The Minister pointed out that the age of 21 years applies to the serious offences mentioned. For the other offences the age is the age of criminal responsibility, from seven onwards. I know the Minister has no intention of having people extradited at the age of eight, nine, ten, 14 or 15. He mentioned extraditing a person of 17 years of age. It is purely by way of clarification that the question was asked. Am I right in that?

In section 3 (3) (a), paragraphs (i), (ii), (iv), (v) and (vi) are all offences which would be regarded as serious offences. Paragraph (iii) applies to a serious offence involving an attack against the life, physical integrity or liberty of an internationally protected person. If an offence of that kind is treated in our law as being an offence which would carry a punishment by imprisonment for a term of five years or less, it would not be regarded as a serious offence for the purposes of section 3. If on the other hand it is an offence which, if committed by a person aged 21 years or over, of full capacity and not previously convicted, it would carry a penalty on conviction of a term of five years imprisonment or more. That would be regarded as a serious offence for the purposes of section 3 (3).

The Minister is confused with what I said on Second Stage of this debate. I said I have serious reservations about this Bill. In regard to the definition of a political offence I said we are engaging in a very subjective argument in this legislation, and that we are going to decide what is a political offence. If the Minister reads what I said on Second Stage he will see that is what I stated. Apart from Deputy Blaney, I was the only other person to say I had serious reservations about the Bill. I adopted a very different tactic to that adopted by our spokesperson, Deputy Woods.

In this section we are eliminating what will no longer be regarded as a political offence. Perhaps the Minister can give me some examples of what will be a political offence. The only ones I can think of are if somebody shouts: "up Dev" or "up the Republic" or by singing "Roddy McCauley." If a person sings that song in a pub in Northern Ireland, causes a riot and damages property, it probably will not be regarded as a political offence. There are sections in the Bill which eliminate things like that. Perhaps the Minister could give an example of what in the future, in the context of the Six Counties, will be regarded as a political offence. It is not in the Bill so it will not have any legal standing.

Perhaps I might elicit from the Minister some information relative to this section. Will the British treat their citizens in regard to extradition on a warrant sought or produced by us in the same manner as we propose to treat our citizens where we are requested by them? Like Deputy McCreevy, I also ask what are the serious offences that the Minister will envisage as possibly existing outside of those he has set aside in section 3? He has picked out offences which are not political. Some examples of political offences would be very enlightening.

Section 1 is the effective section of the Bill. I hope I am not misquoting the Minister when I say that he stated in some part of the debate that we are seeking to remove obstacles from the extradition of people from this jurisdiction to wheresoever. I think I am not wrong in paraphrasing many of the Minister's statements that this is on foot of our undertakings under the Anglo-Irish Agreement. It is just a part of that agreement which was signed in Hillsborough. Surely these are no bases on which to come into this or any other Parliament to propose legislation with such serious implications as this has. Section 1 (4) states: "before or after the passing of this Act". The Minister falls back on this much-abused defence by referring everybody back, in particular anybody who happened to be in Government at that time, to the Extradition Act, 1965. He refers to what was or what was not done in that Act and the reasons for it.

One Member a couple of nights ago wisely pointed out that this is 1986 and a lot has happened since 1965. We have to take that into consideration and it is not good enough to ask other Members why they did not do something in 1965 or change something since. The fact is that this was not done until we got the abortion that was, the McGlinchey extradition, and the political offence that was a traditional and historical matter here was a quite sufficient safeguard as far as extradition to the Six Counties was concerned.

The Minister is delaying the implementation of the provisions of the Bill for almost 12 months because he is not satisfied with the administration of justice in that jurisdiction. If he is not so satisfied can he not appreciate that while he, and his Government, are removing obstacles to extradition which is part of their agreement under the Anglo-Irish Agreement, the rest of us who were no part of that agreement and are totally opposed to it are most concerned about this issue. The Minister is putting across the view that this is of no account and that things have not changed since the 1965 Act was passed. If the 1965 Act is all the Minister purports it to be why bother changing it at all? I am not saying that changes should not be made but the Minister is trying to indicate that we are all engaged in a pre-Christmas exercise by the Government. It is far from that because it does not tally with what the Minister has said.

I put great weight on this removing of obstacles in order to facilitate extradition so as to please the Prime Minister of Britain under the Anglo-Irish Agreement. The British Prime Minister got from that agreement the first and only admission that she, the British occupier, has a right to be there and may remain there until the contrived majority says she must go, which will be Tib's eve. We must look at this in that context. I ask the Minister to accept that we are not here to annoy him or take up the short amount of time allocated to debating this measure. There is an urgency to get the measure through before Christmas because the Government fear they may not be in a position to get any measures through after Christmas, but it is my belief that they will be able to have legislation passed and that depends on how they deal in the meantime. That is no part of this debate and I will not elaborate on it. Indeed, it would be adverse to the chances of success of the dealing that is going on if I were to. For that reason also I do not intend to say anything further on that issue.

It is extraordinary to think that the phrase "before or after the passing of this Act" could have that effect. It may be that there are Members who can be taken under this provision. Does the Minister realise that? Has he looked around? Does he feel that if some Members, if there are more than one, could be taken under this new provision it would enhance his Government's prospects of remaining in office because it would be taking an Opposition vote or votes away?

The Deputy is aware that that is pure frivolity on his part.

The Minister should not be so sure about that. I did not make that statement lightly. I reckon that there is one Member who can be removed if a warrant is issued. Will there be any immunity for a Member in those circumstances? I am not advocating that there should be because what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander and if it was felt a representative of the people should be granted immunity because of the dangers to him then the same should apply to his constituents.

The Deputy will be immune if he names him.

Which Deputy?

I am immune. Unlike most Members, I go through that God forsaken occupied country many times every week and I do not trim what I think about it.

Are we still on the section?

We are miles away from it.

I am reacting, as is natural, to interjections that awake some memories, if that is necessary. The Minister, and my colleague, Deputy O'Malley, have been putting me off track with the result that I have been a little out of order and for that I apologise to the Chair but this is a scandalous piece of legislation. I have no doubt about that. Is it a fact that many former Members who may be 85 or 90 years of age now could be included under that phrase "before or after the passing of the Act"? Back in the twenties some of them were sentenced to deathin absentia. Can they be extradited? If that is so it is crazy. It is wrong that we should go back to the twenties. The Government want to be all things to our occupiers, and to the British, and they want us to go back to a time when none of us, regardless of which side of the divide we took, wanted to be part of their regime. It is conceivable but almost unbelieveable that this can happen. The Minister may say that that cannot happen but it can happen and the Minister is providing for it in the Bill by including the word “before”.

I do not believe that the Minister, or any other member of the Cabinet, intends to do that irrespective of their motives on foot of their Anglo-Irish sellout. I admit that the cases I have outlined are extremes but in between there are hundreds of people who are watching what is happening in the House and wondering if they will have to flee, not because they committed any crime but because of what they were. Many of those people have not been able to go back across that Border since. They are living in fear because subsection (4) is retroactive. I appeal to the Minister to take care of that before the night is out. He should protect those who have never committed any crime other than being nationalists in their own land but were on the wrong side of the line. They were hounded and harassed and are wanted people if they go back even though a crime was not committed. There are hundreds of those people living among us and I know them. I am sure the Minister, who lives far from the Border, will find them in his constituency. I appeal to the Minister to have a care in that regard. The provision is a dangerous one and is causing great fear to many innocent people.

Deputy McCreevy has asked me to give an example of what might be regarded as a political offence after the passing of the Bill. I am going to refuse that invitation because it is not a matter for me to decide. I am concerned to bring forward legislation that says that certain offences — they are set out in the Bill — will not be regarded as political offences. It will always be open to a person whose extradition is sought to claim the protection of the political exception and in each case it will be up to the courts, on the basis of the law, to decide whether or not that claim should be upheld. I am concerned to provide that certain specific kinds of offences, set out in section 3, shall not be regarded as political offences and that certain other kinds of offences, dealt with in section 4, may not in certain circumstances be regarded as political offences. That is as far as I intend going. I am not trying with the Bill, nor do I think it is possible, to set out a comprehensive definition of what is a political offence. What I am concerned to do is to bring forward legislation that provides that certain offences will not be regarded as political offences. It will always be open to a person whose extradition has been sought to claim the protection of the political exceptions, and in each case it will be up to the courts on the basis of the law to decide whether such claims should be upheld. I am trying to provide that certain specific types of offences set out in section 3 shall not be regarded as political offences and that certain other types of offences dealt with in section 4 may not in certain circumstances be regarded as political offences.

That is as far as I intend to go. I am not trying in the Bill, and I do not think it is possible to do it, to set out a comprehensive definition of what is a political offence. What I am concerned to do is to indicate a number of particularly serious crimes and to remove the cloak of political exception from what are simply acts of violence and terrorism that should never have had the dignity of being given that political cloak.

On Deputy Blaney's statements and question, I cannot say who might be sought by any other jurisdiction for extradition from here but I can say that anybody who is sought will have the protections built into the system that we operate and have operated since 1965. I do not agree with Deputy Blaney's opinion about one such case. I would point out to him that it is not the Bill that changes the situation in regard to political offences. For a long time it was believed here that the political defence would always apply, would always work, would always be regarded as valid here because it was thought our Constitution created that kind of situation. A succession of court cases and decisions indicated otherwise. If Deputy Blaney is worried about changes in the background or the climate as a result of definitions given in this Bill of things that may not be regarded as political, the Deputy had equal cause to be worried each time our courts, when presented with the argument that a particular offence was political, decided they would not accept that claim and that they would proceed to give effect to requests for extradition. This Bill is intended to give a much clearer guideline benchmark to the courts than they have had up to now as to what may not be regarded as a political offence. That is as far as it goes.

I asked the Minister a number of questions which he did not answer, and I will add a further one. One of the many examples of serious offences excluded from the defence of political offence and what goes with it is referred to in section 3 (3) (v) involving the use of an explosive or an automatic firearm if such use endangers persons. In section 3 (4) (c), an offence involving an automatic firearm is defined as a firearm which is so designed or adapted that if pressure is applied to the trigger missiles continue to be discharged. Are we taking firearms in the sense of section 3 (3) (v) and, if so, what is the significance of including "automatic firearm"? If a guy uses a single shot and he kills somebody the victim is just as dead as if an automatic has been fired.

The Minister can deal with this on section 3.

It is relevant on section 1, because without this section we would not have a Bill. Everything that follows is underpinning what is proposed in this section. I am curious to know what we are dealing with in the subsections and paragraphs I have referred to in section 3. There seems to be a connection between them but it is not exact and I cannot see the Minister being inexact in a matter about which he is so concerned.

I asked other questions. Has the Minister told us how the British treat their citizens, what provisions they have made if we seek extradition of their citizens and how does it compare with what we are proposing in regard to our citizens when they are asked for by Britain or the Six Countries? Deputy McCreevy was not unfair; he did not ask the Minister to trot out everything that conceivably could have been brought in in relation to political offences. Very reasonably, he asked the Minister, taking all the exclusions later in the Bill, if he would give examples of the many matters not included or precluded from the category of political offences.

I will make a passing reference to the matters dealt with in section 3. In each case of a firearm being mentioned we are speaking of an automatic firearm because that was the approach adopted by the Council of Europe when they agreed on the terms of the European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism. This Bill is designed to allow us to ratify that. It seemed to me that the proper course of action was to stay as closely as possible to the terminology used in the Convention. The Deputy asks again for a definition of what might be regarded as a political offence after the passage of the Bill. I do not think it would be proper for me to give such a definition.

The Bill is not concerned with that: it is concerned with merely defining those offences that will not be regarded as political offences. You could say after that that any other offence — God knows there are a multitude — could be claimed to be a political offence. Whether the courts here would accept that is a totally different question.

There are numerous offences which the Deputy knows perfectly well would never be regarded as political offences, nor would anybody be daft enough to claim a political defence in relation to them. I am not setting out to define what is a political offence because, as I have said, any attempts that have been made, including suggestions in some of the amendments, that go in the direction of trying to define political offences fall down. We cannot possibly define in every possible case what should be regarded as a political offence.

Is the Minister not being naive in expecting Members of the House to believe he cannot define what is excluded? We have not asked him to do that. We have asked him to give us a couple of typical examples. In the absence of even one example I suggest there is nothing that can be left out. It is a poor defence the Minister has been making for the reservations he has put into the Bill: he is trying to mitigate his cheek in bringing this before us. The Minister is trying to make the plea that he has excluded a political defence in cases where heretofore it was possible to do it. I cannot visualise a serious offence that would not be caught by the inclusions in section 3. Furthermore, I would say to the Minister that to rely on what the Council of Europe Convention or some such organisation did, God knows how many years ago, is not good enough because there have been a lot of changes since——

In 1977 this would not have been accepted here by us and it has not been accepted by successive Governments until this one, for the very good reasons the Minister well knows and I know also, but which I will not trot out here because there will be another opportunity to do so. It is not a good enough argument and justification for the Minister to come along and say, "The convention said it in 1977 so who am I to go against it?" I would remind him that we are a sovereign Parliament, in session, enacting legislation concerning our citizens. It is not essential for us to follow, willy-nilly, in the enactment of our legislation what the convention said in 1977.

Is the Minister not concerned in regard to whatever we pass here, in whatever manner we propose treating our citizens here in regard to requests for extradition to whatever country we may have done a deal with — and I do not say that with any disrespect — that he and his Government should expect to have reciprocal arrangements to the last detail as to how their citizens would be treated as against the way we propose treating ours? Being nearer the Brits than anybody else, having had so much experience of their tender mercies over the years, naturally we would want to know how they treat them in comparison with how this Minister and Government propose treating them under this legislation. I have asked that question on several occasions and I should like an answer to it.

This gets us to very interesting points. I do not for a moment take the view that Deputy Blaney is naive, or that this House is naive. But Deputy Blaney has finally suggested now that, as far as he can see, we have included so much in the definitions of these offences that are not to be regarded as political, there is very little left. That is not true anyway. That says one very clear, significant thing to me. I am going to leave out the offences listed in section 3 (3) (a) (i) and (ii), they are separate offences dealt with by other international conventions. Let me take section 3 (3) (a) (iv) which says:

an offence involving kidnapping, the taking of a hostage or serious false imprisonment.

This is a final reply on section 3.

We are on section 1.

I was asked a question and I have just quoted section 3 (3) (a) (iv) — an offence involving kidnapping, the taking of a hostage or serious false imprisonment. Is Deputy Blaney now saying to me that he believes that an offence involving the taking of a hostage, the kidnapping or serious false imprisonment of a person should be accepted as being a political offence?

I did not think the Minister was so devoid of argument——

Another red herring.

Is Deputy Blaney now saying to me, because he asked me what is the situation in the United Kingdom, how do they treat their citizens in these cases? The answer is that they treat them in broadly the same way.

On a point of order——

(Interruptions.)

Is Deputy Blaney now saying to me that if an Irish citizen here is kidnapped or falsely imprisoned——

——that we would not ask for the extradition of the perpetrator of that offence from England because we would not accept that that is a legitimate political act?

Minister, please. I am surprised at the Minister. We have come to the end of the road in discussing section 3 in advance. Let us now revert to section 1.

I am sorry, a Leas-Cheann Comhairle, but I will be back to that on section 3 because I want to smoke out Deputy Blaney.

(Interruptions.)

Is Deputy McCreevy asking a question on section 1?

On section 1, I, Deputy Blaney and others have asked the Minister to give us examples of anything that could be regarded, after the passage of this Bill, as a political offence and he cannot.

Will not.

Furthermore, we know in section 3, what offences are not to be regarded as political offences. Furthermore, when we come to section 4——

——its provisions appear to give the Ministercarte blanche——

Would the Deputy adhere to section 1, please?

——over a whole range of offences which are no longer regarded as political offences in certain circumstances.

Let us get this section dealt with. I want to get Deputy Blaney smoked out.

Is it agreed that section 1 stand part of the Bill?

No way. Is there a time limit on it?

I have put the question. There is no time limit on it.

Who stopped talking?

I presume the Deputy is still on section 1.

That is all right.

We are dealing with section 1.

The Minister is so bereft of any justification of the provisions of section 1 that he comes up with some schoolboy debating society type talk, such as, "If you disagree with this, do you agree with something else?"

(Interruptions.)

I want Deputy Blaney to say for the record of this House that he accepts that a British person can shoot an Irish person and claim a political defence.

On section 1, there were a number of things the Minister did not say but he did say a few things. He talked about including in the provisions of section 1 the use of an automatic firearm.

That is in section 3.

Yes, but it is like a trigger——

I want to finalise the debate on section 1. We shall deal with section 3 in due course.

May I just put it to you, a Leas-Cheann Comhairle, that the trigger of the automatic firearm is in section 1 and I am only dealing with the trigger?

The trigger on section 1 was pulled long ago.

Missiles were being discharged.

I am putting the question: "That section 1 stand part of the Bill".

Does section 1, when applied, as it is hoped to have it applied, include a multi-shot weapon, that is one that fires six, seven, eight or nine rounds when the trigger is pulled once?

The Deputy is still on section 3.

No, it is important because——

It is important on section 3.

Important on section 3.

Without section 1——

I am trying to resolve the question about section 1. Section 3 will be dealt with in due course.

Sir, the firearm cannot be activated without section 1. That is why I am saying the trigger is in section 1.

I have put the question on section 1. I allowed the Deputy a further question on section 1 and he is now proceeding to section 3 again.

Subsection (4) is a subsection on which I have not received much satisfaction from the Minister either, and the ludicrous situations that can arise thereunder. It is not possible for the Minister to do as he was asked at an earlier stage on some of the amendments to this section, that is, to exercise some sense and delete the word "before" from that subsection. The Minister can circumscribe it any other way he likes but for Heaven's sake delete the word "before". The Minister can define it in any other way he wishes. But the subsection should not read so that the ludicrous can be put to the Minister and cannot be defended, that people involved in the 1920s struggle are subject to extradition by the very same authorities, that is the Brits, as they were then. That is the position. If only for the sake of the tidiness attributed to the Minister, not only in his role in this House and Ministry but in his career beforehand, surely he would not want to leave this slovenly provision behind him which could be used in the way I have said? It could be used in the way I have said. It is not necessary to have it there, I take it, nor is it the Minister's intention that people who ran foul of our occupiers back in the twenties could be extradited on a warrant today which no doubt would be still extant and the files would still be there in a dungeon in some sort of a civil administration in Britain. The Minister would not want that with the long political career we hope he has ahead of him and I would prefer that it be over here rather than over there.

I am comfortable here.

He will be around for quite a while, I hope. It would be a pity to spoil his up to now tidy sort of career by this slovenliness here which he does not want or need. Are we concerned about extradition and about this section 1 and its implications for its own sake, or are we concerned in this charade we are going through at the moment merely to fulfil maybe foolish promises made at Hillsborough in the agreement that was signed there, or are we, as the Minister said, merely removing obstacles to extradition? If that is the real purpose behind it, why do we want to remove the obstacles? I ask for the umpteenth time how do the British authorities under their laws treat their citizens whose extradition we request as against how we propose in this Bill to treat our citizens whose extradition is requested by them?

I answered that last question in rather a loud voice a few minutes ago but Deputy Blaney may have been shouting at me and he did not hear the answer. The UK authorities would treat our citizens in broadly the same way that we would treat their citizens on extradition because we have a reciprocal backing of warrants procedure. The procedure is the same in the two directions.

Aprima facie case.

No, that does not apply in the UK's relations with us nor has it ever applied in the UK's relations with us. In relation to Deputy Blaney's suggestion about the words "before the passing of this Act", I do not accept his point. I made that abundantly clear when we were talking about the two amendments that had been previously proposed to this section and I do not intend to rehearse it all over again. I did not accept those amendments. I prefer to have the section as it stands for the reasons I set out at that time. That is the sum total of the answers to the questions the Deputy has put, but I am looking forward with great anticipation——

To section 3.

——to section 3.

Question put.
The Committee divided: Tá, 85; Níl, 75.

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

Níl

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

I move amendment No. 4:

In page 3, before section 2, to insert the following new section:

"2.—Section 50 of the Act of 1965 is amended by the insertion, after subsection (4), of the following subsection:

‘(5) A direction under this section may be given by the Court or the Minister, if the Court or the Minister—

(a) is not satisfied that the person concerned will receive a fair trial within a reasonable period.

(b) is not satisfied, that the general standards which prevail in the administration of justice in the place to which the person is to be removed are satisfactory and acceptable, or

(c) has reasonable grounds for believing that the person concerned may be subjected to methods of interrogation which, if operated within the State would be unlawful or which are in breach of Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights.'.".

This is a very important amendment which we are proposing as a safeguard in the introduction of this new legislation. I did not want to prolong discussion on section 1, but I would point out to the Minister that we agreed in principle to support the taking of Second Stage on the understanding that safeguards would be provided for Irish citizens. This is one of the safeguards which we feel must be provided in this Bill. I am quite certain I am striking a chord which rings true with the Minister because his own amendment whereby he is putting back the date of commencement from 1 June to 1 December indicates he is concerned about the matters in this amendment.

We are seeking to ensure that a person who is extradited to any place will receive a fair trial in a reasonable period of time, that the general standards which prevail in the administration of justice in that place will be acceptable and, thirdly, that the methods of interrogation used on persons in custody will also be acceptable. These are three very basic safeguards which I am sure the Minister would support. I will be very interested to hear what he has to say about the importance of such safeguards. When we look at Northern Ireland we are faced with the infamous Diplock courts which have certainly been discredited in the eyes of the world. I know the Minister will say he is hoping to have change in that area but today's papers carry reports about a statement by Mr. King on this matter.The Irish Times states:

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Mr. Tom King, yesterday repeated the British Government's opposition to the introduction of a three-judge Diplock court system in Northern Ireland, but indicated that such a change could be considered at some stage in the future.

Proposing the second reading of the Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Bill, Mr. King told the House of Commons that the Diplock court system had successfully maintained the highest standards of justice in Northern Ireland.

There seems to be a gap between the understanding of justice as it is applied here to citizens in this country and Mr. King's understanding of the highest standards of justice.The Irish Times report continues:

The Under-Secretary of State, Mr. Nicholas Scott, also said that the Government was "not presently persuaded" of the necessity for such change,

Not surprisingly, the Deputy Leader of the SDLP, Mr. Séamus Mallon, in relation to the Emergency Provisions Act and its operation in the North of Ireland, said:

The Act itself is so inherently harsh, so far removed from the highest standards that any changes, however good of themselves, will inevitably be deficient. It is like trying to write a travel brochure about Siberia — one might admire the glossy brochure and photographs but Siberia itself is unchanged and unchangeable.

These are not my words but those of the Deputy Leader of the SDLP yesterday. We are all very familiar with the problems which have arisen in relation to the administration of justice in Northern Ireland and, as far as Irish citizens are concerned, in Great Britain. We want to provide safeguards for our citizens, especially with the limitation of the political offence which this Bill involves.

When we look at the situation in the North of Ireland we should look for independent, objective views. On Second Stage and yesterday Members of the House pointed to the difficulties they saw. I should like to refer to the bookUse and Abuse of Emergency Legislation in Northern Ireland by Dermot P. Walsh, published by the Cobden Trust in 1983. Dermot Walsh is a barrister-at-law and a lecturer in law at University College Cork. The Cobden Trust is, of course, the National Council for Civil Liberties in the United Kingdom. He undertook an objective, scholarly study of the situation in the North and he presents his material in that way. Many of his conclusions are relevant to this debate and to some of the statements the Minister made today and yesterday. He states:

The Special Powers regulations, therefore, gave the RUC the means to short circuit traditional British policing and judicial practice by relying on very broad powers of arrest to maintain control.

When Westminster repealed the Special Powers legislation it did not strip the RUC of its wide powers of arrest. These were simply re-worded and re-enacted in new legislation. Today the relevant powers are contained in section 11 of the Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act, 1978 (EPA) and section 12 (1) (b) of the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act, 1976 (PTA)...

A terrorist is defined in section 28 (1) as ‘a person who is or has been concerned in the commission or attempted commission of any act of terrorism or in directing, organising or training persons for the purposes of terrorism'.

He goes on to analyse experience of the operations of this Act. One of the conclusions as far as the courts are concerned is as follows:

It would seem to be police and DPP practice to prefer the most serious charges available in respect of a particular incident. For example, where an accused is on the periphery of a murder to the extent of passing on information about security force movements he will be charged with murder along with the more appropriate lesser charges; equally, where the circumstances of a case would favour a charge of manslaughter a charge of murder is always preferred.

I would recommend this booklet to the Minister, because it goes on to deal with many of the concerns of people in this House, with the lack of access to a solicitor, with abuse in the interrogation room, with the unusual features of interrogation which had been made very public over the years — so public that it was necessary for this country to take the United Kingdom to the European Court of Human Rights. That court gave its judgment on 18 January 1978. I do not need to dwell unduly on that; I am sure the Minister is familiar with the case. For a whole series of reasons and having exhaustively examined the case brought by Ireland against the United Kingdom, by 16 votes to one it was decided that the use of the five techniques constituted the practice of inhuman and degrading treatment, which practice was in breach of Article 3. Unanimously, they claimed that other practices were in violation of Article 3. There was a great deal of detail in that report but that is a matter of public record. It is not a question raised by Opposition Members or based on biases or prejudices, or just a matter of emotional concern, as the Minister seemed to indicate yesterday. These are hard facts which have been substantiated. They are matters of considerable concern to us in relation to our citizens.

In that same study, various legal cases were pointed to, one in which it was found that if arrested under section 12 of the Prevention of Terrorism Act, a person has no right to know the offence of which he is suspected. It is stated that it would be sufficient if he was told that he was suspected of being a terrorist. Another finding was that an arrest under section 12 (1) (b) is simply the first step in the investigation of a person's involvement in terrorism. The conclusion was that the purpose of interrogation in the Northern emergency apparatus would appear to be twofold — first, to procure a confession to a criminal offence and, secondly, intelligence gathering.

Now we are back to Mr. Prior and his statement that the force need only have reasonable suspicion about the person in question to apply for extradition. He further said that this does not mean that the police force necessarily have enough evidence to bring a charge against the suspect, but just a reasonable suspicion.

The records are full of cases where citizens have been subjected to harsh and inhuman treatment and to treatment which verges on that if it does not quite come to that level. A serious danger was pointed out in the McGlinchey case, although there are many other aspects in that case. McGlinchey, as we know, could have been brought to trial here in the first instance before being sent across the Border. That did not happen, he went across the Border and the evidence — if you like to call it evidence — principally arose from affidavits which he had given in the courts in Dublin when his case was being presented there. We all know the length of time during which he was kept up there and in the long run there was no evidence in relation to that particular charge. There is a real fear that people on this side of the House have and this was described by Deputy Taylor yesterday as "fishing operations". The authorities are fishing to get people to tell them about other people where these people do not have any involvement themselves. We have already provided, under the first section, that they can fish back into the past on the same basis. We advise the Minister to make it at least apply from today when this Act passes in the House.

The Minister ignored our warnings in that regard. In another case, R.versus Milne of 1978 in Northern Ireland, it was stated that torture, inhuman or degrading treatment in the interrogation room will still not render a confession inadmissible under section 8 unless that treatment was actually used for the purpose of obtaining a confession.

Kick the guts out of him.

This survey was carried out in the period 1981 to 1982, which is relatively recent. In another case of R.versus Brophy, with Judge Kelly presiding, various allegations were made about this kind of thing. The kind of treatment which was meted out was that the person was slapped on the face, caught and pulled by the hair, jabbed in the stomach, struck on the back of the head, hit on the chest, pushed against the wall, had his head and neck squeezed in such a manner that he fell to the floor losing consciousness. His head and arms were bent and twisted into his armpits, his feet were stamped upon and various other things were done. I shall not go into these because it is not really decent to mention them. These things are recorded. The Minister has access to them, just as I would have access to some of these records.

These are the fears, fears that there will be a whole process. The Minister has skilfully, as we went through the various steps of Committee Stage and indeed on Second Stage, skirted around these matters, cleverly brought in red herrings and avoided the issue about which people are worried. He said that all would be well and even that he is about bigger things. He defined those bigger things here. He is about delivering on part of the Anglo-Irish Agreement. We have already discussed that. We can see how he can deliver on that agreement and yet look after, protect and safeguard Irish citizens. We see no problem there. When the Minister says he is about bigger things, there cannot be bigger things than the life, liberty, safety and vindication of the rights of the individual citizen. There are no bigger things.

Hear, hear.

The end does not justify the means, as far as the citizen is concerned. If we are extending the criteria under which they can be extradited, especially in regard to the circumstances that exist between Ireland and the United Kingdom, we must be particularly careful to ensure that we include adequate safeguards when we are, as the Minister rightly puts it, limiting the political exceptions. These limitations have been applied in Europe with various safeguards. In principle, we go along with the Minister in doing that but adequate safeguards must be built in for our citizens. I am sure the Minister is aware of the problems involved and I probably strike a chord to which he will respond.

Other Members mentioned the cases of the Birmingham Six, Annie Maguire and the Guildford Four which took place in Great Britain. In the case of the Birmingham Six, a former police officer is prepared to come forward as a witness and corroborate what had been alleged earlier by the Six who are in their 13th year in prison. An excellent programme on Granada television outlined details of the case, especially in regard to explosives. Some fertilisers are explosives and, as in the case of the Birmingham Six, nitrocellulose can remain on your hands from playing cards. It is interesting to note that the Minister introduced that term as the convention uses the term under Article 1(E) which refers to an offence involving the use of a bomb, rocket, automatic firearm or a parcel bomb. The Minister uses the term "explosive" which is a much wider definition and there could be difficulties in that regard. I advise the Minister to read the submission of 9 September 1985 from Professor Christopher H. Pyle before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations in regard to the treaty relating to the extradition proceedings regarding political crimes. The Americans were very concerned about the extension to this wider definition of explosives and the use of that term. It is relevant to the Birmingham Six because the materials that can be associated with explosives can be very innocent otherwise. I appreciate that the Minister recognises that difficulty and will be anxious to protect against it.

The Birmingham Six were subjected to 48 hours of interrogation, inhuman treatment and deprivation of sleep. A shotgun was pointed at one of the people through the flap of the door which reduced him to a state of desperate fear. A hungry alsatian who had not been fed was barking viciously outside and shown to one of the men. They were seriously assaulted and photographs support the allegations of the injuries. Other injuries were inflicted in the police station and the Judges' Rules were ignored. This happened in Britain and I could detail other cases which happened in Northern Ireland. There is a duty on the Minister to provide adequate safeguards along the lines we are suggesting in this measure.

To give the Minister an idea of how people are thinking, I will quote from a letter I received from a professional person who says:

I should like to bring the following to your notice in this week's crucial debate on extradition ... In your amendments you are proposing you may find my experience in London of interest. While studying as a student in the vet. college I worked during the summers on motorways in England between the years 1971-78. I spent the summers in England so I was there during the worst bombing outrages which in my opinion were lunatic activities but it was an experience to have lived during those times and see first hand how working class Irish people are treated.

At that time I lived in Kensington and used to go for a drink in a pub on Kensington Church St. One Thursday night the two other Irish lads and myself were in as usual for a drink around 9.30 p.m. The following night a bomb disposal expert was killed outside the K shoe shop opposite the pub and we were duly questioned as we were in the area before the explosion. We were not politically aware at that time but as things have gone I shudder to think what could have happened in the light of Annie Maguire, Birmingham Six etc. My query to you now is this; it is my understanding of this present crazy rushed bit of legislation that if it is passed as presented an Irish national could be extradited on even a trumped up charge. Many Irish people who were in England in those times had very nasty experiences and I think it is ridiculous that if for instance the tabloid press of Fleet Street got one of its all too frequent hysterical anti-Irish bouts, that after a week of headlines naming some innocent person he could then be bundled off from here to face British justice. I would like you to ask Deputy Dukes what will be the legal position of an Irish person innocent of any acts of violence who could be named for extradition in say the hysterical tabloid press or on being named under privilege in the House of Commons.

I will not go any further with the letter but that professional person lived there at the time and abhors violence. There is a grave danger of miscarriages of justice and we must be particularly careful that we will not contribute to further miscarriages of justice. We must be careful to build into our arrangements adequate safeguards which will assure such people that we will always be vigilant about attempts to use people as scapegoats and that we will also be vigilant about the process of the administration of law in the places where people are sent.

It was for that and for many other reasons that we have proposed this very important amendment which reads:

"2.—Section 50 of the Act of 1965 is amended by the insertion, after subsection (4), of the following subsection:

‘(5) A direction under this section may be given by the Court or the Minister, if the Court or the Minister——

(a) is not satisfied that the person concerned will receive a fair trial within a reasonable period,

(b) is not satisfied, that the general standards which prevail in the administration of justice in the place to which the person is to be removed are satisfactory and acceptable, or

(c) has reasonable grounds for believing that the person concerned may be subjected to methods of interrogation which, if operated within the State would be unlawful or which are in breach of Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights.'.".

This is a very simple request and I am sure it is one which, in essence, the Minister would agree with. I beseech him to avail of this opportunity and to accept this amendment or, if he wishes to vary it between now and Report Stage, to introduce his own amendment. We do not mind whose amendment is accepted. We are anxious that adequate safeguards will be provided and that they will be clearly stated in this legislation so that all who follow us will be able to refer to them and that they will not be lost with the passage of time. There are two very important considerations here, first, the establishment of aprima facie case before we allow an Irish citizen to be extradited and, second, that there be a fair, reasonable and proper standard in the administration of justice and the treatment of persons extradited from Ireland. This is relevant not only in the context of Northern Ireland and Great Britain but in other countries as well.

Because of the time limit, I will not go into these cases, although I could tell a story about one individual who recently had very disturbing experiences. Fortunately they ceased immediately some interest in the case was shown in Ireland. In that case there was a difference between what was written down and what was practised. We will have to be careful about the practice as well as what is written because there are many fine things written in the laws of some of these countries but the practice may be quite different. Therefore, we have to be careful about the practice and how it operates.

I appeal to the Minister to heed our request at this stage and to include this very important safeguard in the Bill.

This amendment proposes to introduce three new grounds for refusal of extradition to Northern Ireland or Britain. Deputy Woods referred to other countries, too. He proposes to insert this amendment into section 50 of the 1965 Act. His proposal is that the application of this provision would be confined to our extradition arrangements with the United Kingdom. A provision of this kind, as far as I know, is without precedent in any extradition treaty or in any other extradition arrangement. It is a fundamental prerequisite for having extradition arrangements with a particular country that there be a basic degree of acceptance that the system of administration of justice in that country is satisfactory.

Implicit in the proposed amendment are fundamental doubts about the fairness of trial, the general standards of the administration of justice and the treatment of persons in custody in the requesting countries. Those doubts go to the basis of the system of law enforcement and administration of justice in the requesting country. If Deputy Woods has those doubts in this case, he should be proposing that we stop extraditing to that country altogether. There are no two ways about it. If his doubts are as he says, he should make it quite clear in this House and in our relations with that other country that that is his view. He is talking here about extradition and therefore by definition extraditable cases. He is not talking about political cases or non-extraditable cases. He is talking about extraditable cases and cases which run the whole gamut, from the kind of offences we are talking about in the context of this Bill down to what we might call the ordinary, everyday run of the mill criminal activities.

It is not my impression that that is actually what he has in mind, and I am not at all sure that this amendment has really been framed taking full account of the total context of what Deputy Woods is saying but if it is not, then it should not have been put forward.

I have made it clear that if the Government were to consider at the time when this legislation comes into effect that there were grounds for doubts of such a fundamental nature about the administration of justice in Northern Ireland or Britain, then the Government would not advocate bringing into existence this legislation. As we made very clear in the joint communiqué issued after the Hillsborough meeting, we do not attach great importance to seeking measures in Northern Ireland to give substantial expression to the aim of underlining the importance of public confidence in the administration of justice, and the British Government took, and take, the same view.

I should like to read paragraph 7 of the joint communiqué of 15 November 1985 because it shows not only the concern of this Government but the shared concern of two Governments. It states:

The two Governments envisage that the meetings and agenda of the Conference will not normally be announced.

The earlier part of this document is procedural on the occasion.

But they wish it to be known that, at its first meeting, the Conference will consider its future programme of work in all the fields — political, security, legal, economic, social and cultural — assigned to it under the Agreement. It will concentrate at its initial meetings on:

—relations between the security forces and the minority community in Northern Ireland;

—ways of enhancing security co-operation between the two Governments; and

—seeking measures which would give substantial expression to the aim of underlining the importance of public confidence in the administration of justice.

In the interests of the people of Northern Ireland the two sides are committed to work for early progress in these matters. Against this background, the Taoiseach said that it was the intention of his Government to accede as soon as possible to the European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism.

That is the process on which we embarked on 15 November 1985 and on which we have been working and indeed making progress ever since.

In my opening statement on Second Stage of this Bill I outlined a number of areas in which progress has been made in relation to the administration of justice in Northern Ireland. I also indicated that it is the Government's view that further progress needs to be made — that is the British Government's view also — and that dialogue will continue on measures to improve confidence in the administration of justice in Northern Ireland. In these circumstances, the Government thought it right that the Dáil and the Seanad should have an opportunity to review the question of the Bill's commencement in the light of developments in this area.

Why in such a hurried way?

It is for that reason that section 12 of the Bill was drafted, to enable the two Houses to make a final decision on bringing the Act into operation having looked again at progress in the build-up of public confidence in the administration of justice.

Deputy Woods, in proposing his amendment, referred to a number of cases in the British system of justice. I would like to recall the attention of the House to what was said during the course of Second Stage by my colleague, Deputy George Birmingham, Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs. The Government, and I am quite sure Members of this House, will continue with their efforts to persuade the British Home Secretary by all appropriate means to take positive action to enable those involved in these cases to have the opportunity of clearing their names. It would be neither helpful nor appropriate to include in the Bill a provision of the kind proposed in this amendment as a means of trying to force the British Government to take action on these cases. That would very likely have the opposite effect.

I am not suggesting that.

The Deputy raised it during the course of his proposal.

As a safeguard for citizens.

The same would apply in our own case if the boot was on the other foot. That is a dimension of the Bill that seems to have been totally lost sight of or is being ignored by Deputy Woods and his colleagues. The amendment is not designed for that purpose, as Deputy Woods seems to think. It is designed to safeguard persons facing possible extradition in future cases. I suggest that that kind of provision would certainly be perceived to have that purpose and would most likely be counter-productive in the way I have just mentioned. That is not to say, quite the contrary in fact, that we will not continue our efforts to persuade the British Government to take positive action on the cases in question.

I should also point out that in conformity with Article 5 of the Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism which is included in the explanatory memorandum published with the Bill, there is a safeguard in the Bill against extradition if a person's position is prejudiced on certain grounds. Article 5 of the convention permits the refusal of extradition where there are substantial grounds for believing that the request for extradition has been made for the purpose of prosecuting or punishing a person on account of his race, religion, nationality or political opinion or that his position might be prejudiced for any of these reasons. There is a similar provision in the European Convention on Extradition and in Part II of the Extradition Act, 1965. This Bill will apply a similar safeguard to requests from Northern Ireland and Britain.

Deputy Woods raised a number of points in presenting his amendment to which I must repeat that extradition under the system in operation here is not granted simply for the purposes of questioning; it should not be granted for that purpose and it will not be granted for that purpose.

It can be.

It has been.

That is not the case. Even in the case raised by Deputy Woods, the McGlinchey case, as I said had we had a requirement for aprima facie case to be put forward that person would have been extradited. It is no reply to that and it is not of any particular significance in the context of that statement to say that people have been acquitted after extradition even where there has been a prima facie case. We all know perfectly well that there are cases in our own jurisdiction where people who are returned for trial, having gone through a committal hearing and having gone before a district justice who has concluded that there is a case to answer, have been acquitted because the trial judge or the jury did not take the view that guilt had been established beyond a reasonable doubt.

Because the court is incorrupt.

Exactly. It is not at all surprising, given that that can happen in our own system and in the system in other countries, that there should also be cases where extradition is granted where the court which finally hears the case decides there is not sufficient evidence or there is not a strong enough case for the court to come to the conclusion that guilt has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

Deputy Woods raised the question, although it is not specifically relevant in relation to his amendment, of the use of the term "explosives" in the Bill. He made a fair point. Unfortunately, there is a substance or substances called home-made explosives that can be manufactured from materials that are reasonably easily available here. The Garda seized a large quantity of this substance very recently. The reason we use the term "explosives" in the Bill rather than using the combination of terms used in the convention is very simple. It was because we wanted to use a term in the Bill that means something in our legislation. We deliberately used the term "explosives" because our law provides for certain things in relation to explosives being offences. I wanted to make it clear beyond any doubt that those offences are the ones we had in mind.

Deputy Woods read out a letter from his correspondent, a very understandable letter. The correspondent asked — Deputy Woods used the occasion to ask also — if Irish nationals could be extradited on a trumped-up charge and the answer is "no". The procedure I outlined yesterday, and on Second Stage, is designed specifically to avoid that. Indeed, Deputy Woods made the point in the later part of his presentation that he is concerned with the practice and not with what is written. I will take a little bit of liberty and latitude with that to say that that is exactly my concern. I am concerned with what happens in the production, the processing and the sending of a warrant as to the quality of what underlies it. It is for that reason that we have come up with this procedure.

Deputy Woods mentioned something he said was a danger in the UK and almost everywhere in that we could have the less responsible people in the media deciding in relation to a particular difficulty or activity they knew who the guilty person was and deciding to name such a person. If that happens here and an allegation of that kind is made in the press there will be grounds for action. Not only that, if an allegation of that kind is made about a person who is before a court that person will certainly have grounds for submitting to the court that it was now not possible for him to get a fair trial. The same kind of course of action will be open to a person in similar circumstances in Britain.

A provision of the type suggested in the amendment is to my knowledge without precedent in any extradition arrangement. The concerns that lie behind it are ones which the Government share. Not only that, the Government are taking action to give real expression to those concerns, as I indicated briefly in relation to the action we are taking both in the context of the Anglo-Irish Agreement and in relation to the specific cases mentioned by the Deputy, by direct contact with the British Government.

I support the amendment tabled by Deputy Woods for the same reasons he has given. There has been a development called "situation ethics" and to my mind what the Minister is talking about is "situation justice", a type of justice which is expected to improve. The fact that the Minister has agreed to postpone the coming into effect of this legislation is an indication that we are dealing with "situation justice". The Minister quoted the Minister of State, Deputy Birmingham, and used the word "improve" as Deputy Birmingham used it. For that reason we should support what Deputy Woods is advocating. In dealing with this we — I include the Minister in this — have inadequate knowledge of the "justice situation" as it obtains in the Six Counties. In today's newspaper a cousin of mine who is practising law in Belfast has a letter outlining some of the weaknesses in British justice as exemplified in the cases Deputy Woods used as examples. For that reason I support Deputy Woods in what he is advocating in the House. I have also taken into consideration the research he has done and the knowledge people on the ground have with regard to this. If by December 1987 no improvement has taken place then we are handing people over to what is, even by the implication of the Minister's own action in postponing this for 12 months, a flawed system of justice.

I heard the Minister say in response to Deputy Woods's comments on his amendment that progress has been made. The Minister was referring to the administration of justice in the Six Counties. I should like to ask the Minister what progress has been made. The Minister told us that he hopes for more progress but if it is more of the same progress that has not been made we are back to square one because nothing has changes despite the wishful thinking of the Minister and his collegues. Nothing has changed despite all the hopes that they pinned on their agreement. Deputy Woods's amendment is a very sensible one in that it has a realistic outlook. I am sure it is to the Six Counties he is referring in that amendment. The amendment suggests that if we are not satisfied that the person concerned will receive a fair trial within a reasonable period we should not extradite him. That "reasonable period" might apply to other countries where people are jailed for six and nine years before trial. Nobody could be satisfied that the person concerned will receive a fair trial. If we are dissatisfied the onus is on the Minister, and the Government, not to hand over to the authorities of such a jurisdiction any citizen, or other person, if they are not assured of a fair trial. There cannot be such an assurance given in regard to the Six Counties. A fair trial for many of our people up there is not on and the Minister is aware of that.

Deputy Woods's amendment also suggests that if we are not satisfied that the administration of justice in the place to which a person is to be removed is acceptable the order should not be made. Yet again we could not possibly be satisfied with the administration of justice up there. It is not acceptable. We must consider the interrogation methods. We have to be satisfied that we can tolerate them and not be afraid if they see the light of day. I say that notwithstanding any assertion that certain methods on occasions were used in our jurisdiction, substantiated or not. That will happen in any jurisdiction but the persistent interrogation methods used in the North and for which Britain was condemned in the European court continue. Gough Barracks is still there and the operators are even more perfect in their methods of interrogation than they were when we were condemning them.

There is not an opportunity for a fair trial for any people we send back. There is not a satisfactory or acceptable administration of justice in the area of the Six Counties and we are not satisfied with the methods of interrogation. The Minister will remember the cigarette burns. We all saw graphic pictures of them; they were real. The Minister will remember the sound treatment, the beatings and so on. Are we satisfied to reject realistic amendments like that before us against a background that is known to the House, and, in particular, to the Department of Justice? Surely we cannot be serious in pushing through this Bill in order to send citizens, or non-citizens, to that little statelet above the Border where there is neither fair play, a fair hearing or justice and where the methods of interrogation could be added to the horrors in Nazi Germany that we have seen so well depicted. Do not have any doubt about it. That is what we are proposing to send our people to through this legislation.

The Minister is aware of all this. He is not happy about sending our people into jurisdictions without being sure that they have a charge to answer. His amendment to extend the time within which the legislation may not come into operation and until a motion has been passed by both Houses is a clear indication that the Minister is aware of what I have been saying, that he is not happy about this, that this is all window dressing about the progress that has been made, because progress has not been made and our hopes for the future based on that non-progress are negative.

In those circumstances the Minister would be fulfilling his duty as a member of the Government in this Parliament by backing up his fears. The Minister and the Government have got what they wanted, what Mrs. Thatcher wanted — they have got this section. The Minister should give us the safeguards sought in the amendment of Deputy Woods and by other later amendments. The least we should expect from an Irish Minister in an Irish Parliament dealing with Irish citizens is protection against the monstrosity that passes for law in the Six Counties.

I set out my reasons for rejecting this amendment and they have not changed since Deputy Blaney began to speak.

I am in sympathy with the feelings behind the amendment but I doubt if it is workable. It would require some form of inquiry by courts here as to what the circumstances would be, under three major headings, in other jurisdictions. I do not know how the courts here could do that. These are matters for political judgement. If this kind of amendment were to be made it should be simply on the basis that the Minister should have power to direct the release of somebody rather than "the court or the Minister". I do not know how matters in relation to foreign jurisdiction could be successfully argued in an Irish court, and though I am concerned about the problems that exist in certain jurisdictions, the best way to overcome such difficulties would be at least to limit the extradition of people from here to those against whom there areprima facie cases — at least not to subject people against whom there are not prima facie cases or against whom such cases have not been shown, to the possibilities of encountering these difficulties in another jurisdiction.

The Minister's reply to Deputy Woods seemed to be concentrated mainly on taking issue with some of the things Deputy Woods said rather than on the practicalities of what is in the section. It seemed to me that while the sentiments might be laudable and understandable in the light of the sordid court cases there have been in Northern Ireland and in England in the past decade, I do not know how a court here could comply with the onus put on it by the requirements of the amendment.

Deputy Woods should think about the amendment in order to make it more practical rather than having it in the terms in which it is, because it states that the court has to be satisfied that the person concerned will receive a fair trial within a reasonable period. I do not know how you could satisfy a court here, short of an undertaking from the judge who would be sitting in England or elsewhere guaranteeing that he would hear the case by such and such a date. I do not think that is practical.

The amendment also requires that the court must give a direction if it is not satisfied that the general standards which prevail in the place to which the person is to be extradited are satisfactory and acceptable. It would be impossible for a court in one jurisdiction to form an opinion about the general standards in another jurisdiction. If some foreign courts were looking at our standards of justice about six months ago and if they were to read the newspapers or the letters to the editor and the various comments made about certain court cases in which certain people got directions from the judge to prevent cases going to the jury — it happened in more than one celebrated case — they might come to the conclusion that there were serious defects in Irish justice.

Even assuming that there have been abuses in individual cases in England — I do not think too many people would disagree with that — does the fact that there have been injustices done in a small number of identified cases in England and in Northern Ireland, though some of the worst injustices there were rectified on appeal — mean that we can never have extradition to a country like that where there have been three or four identified cases of injustice out of tens of thousands of cases in a period of years, and is it reasonable to impose that requirement on a court here on matters like this? There are other ways in which to try to overcome these difficulties, to avoid potential injustice.

Unhappily, Committee Stage of this very important, complicated Bill will come to an end in 11 minutes and this is one of the most important and useful amendments. However, there are plenty of others further down the list, which clearly will not be reached, which contain more practical methods to achieve what Deputy Woods has tried to achieve in this amendment. This amendment is too widely drawn and it places an impossible requirement on an Irish court, a requirement that it could not undertake, any more than a court in some other country which tried to pass judgment on the general standards of behaviour here, and so on. The European Court has already found that Britain was in breach of Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights. That has already been found to be a fact by an international court.

If this amendment were accepted it would, or could, preclude any extradition to Northern Ireland, which I think would be unreasonable. Indeed, it could be argued that it could preclude extradition to Britain because it was the British authorities who were found guilty, not the more localised authorities in Northern Ireland. It was the Government of the United Kingdom that was the defendant and it was found guilty because of the acts of its servants or agents.

I would invite Deputy Woods to consider the implications of the amendment, when he may well come to the realisation that it is much too broad and sweeping, in that it would place an impossible burden on a court here and, in the way it is drafted, might well preclude any kind of extradition to any part of Britain or Northern Ireland.

I am very anxious to have the matter put to the House at this stage. In any event, we do not have time to go into the matter at any length. I do not agree with Deputy O'Malley. I think he is wrong in what he says. The practice in the courts here in a number of cases recently — and as stated in those cases — has shown that what he is saying is not true. I was open to discussion on this if the Minister was willing to consider some variation, either now or on Report Stage. Having said that, I must say that what Deputy O'Malley says in that respect is not borne out in the practice which has been applied to date. There is no more time for looking at the matter today and I would rather the question was put.

Question put "That the new section be there inserted".
The Committee divided: Tá, 75; Níl, 85.

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

Níl

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

In accordance with an Order of the House made today I must now put the following question: "That the amendment set down by the Minister for Justice is hereby made to the Bill, that the Bill, as amended, is hereby agreed to in Committee and, as amended, is reported to the House."

Question put.
The Committee divided: Tá, 80 80; Níl, 80.

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

Níl

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

There is an equality of votes. Pursuant to Article 15.11.2º of the Constitution I have a casting vote and I am obliged to exercise that vote. I exercise it in favour of the motion and declare it carried. The Bill has been agreed to in Committee and reported.