Extradition (Amendment) Bill, 1987: Second Stage (Resumed).

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

Could we, as has been suggested, have seriously considered not ratifying the European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism? Could we realisitcally have considered distancing ourselves in this way from our European partners? What would be the effects of such a decision? Would we be conveying to the world the impression that we were enamoured of violence and supporters of subversives and terrorist tactics? Would we be setting up our country as a base or haven for the criminals and terrorists of Europe? Would that approach ensure the safety and security of our country? Would it ensure the safety and security of our people now and for generations to come? I think not. The correct course is to combine the ratification of the European Convention with the safeguarding measures proposed in the Bill. I would have preferred to combine the former with a full prima facie provision in our legislation but I accept that is not attainable.

What is attainable has been incorporated in the Bill. I have listened attentively to the views of legally qualified Members on this issue and I have been intrigued by the contradictory interpretations.I do not have a legal qualification but I am satisfied that the best legal advice has been secured to assist in the preparation of the Bill. Consequently, I am satisfied that the proposed role of the Attorney General will ensure that the individual whose extradition is sought will be afforded adequate safeguards in keeping with his rights. By the same token I am satisfied that this process will in no way inhibit the justifiable extradition exercise. I am enamoured of the inclusion of the provision for introducing a rule of specialty as a statutory measure. That will have the effect of ensuring that a person extradited is not subjected to additional charges for non-extraditable offences.

The inclusion of a provision on lapse of time is also to be welcomed. I have heard concern voiced about that on many occasions recently. I welcome the decision to statutorily monitor the entire procedure. The regular report by the Attorney General to the Government can be carefully scrutinised with a view to making any necessary corrective measures to the procedures. That provision in itself is a safeguard that will ensure the continued effectiveness of the legislation. I am satisfied that among the great majority of people there exists serious apprehension regarding this issue. To have to transfer one's own countrymen to a foreign jurisdiction, especially to England or Northern Ireland, will prove to be extremely emotive and traumatic. There will be great concern whether guilt is involved, whether there will be interrogation and whether a fair application of justice will prevail. It is in that context that the safeguards in the Bill will prove of major significance. I wish the measure passage through the House.

I should like to offer to the Taoiseach, and the Minister for Justice, my sincere congratulations for having put together machinery that will succeed in allaying the fears of the Irish people that an injustice might be done while simultaneously enabling us to join with our European partners in the battle against international terrorism thereby portraying to the world the full extent of Irish responsibility in this regard.

This debate on today, 1 December, could be associated in the minds of people with the saying about the closing of the stable door after the horse has gone. The 1987 Act, with all its objectionable features, came into operation at midnight. It appears for a considerable time that the objections, and they are many, would succeed in having that Act suitably amended. It is difficult for the Members of the House, and particularly the public, to dissociate the introduction and the coming into operation of the 1987 Act last night from the clamour that there has been about the recent atrocity in Enniskillen, the kidnapping on this side of the Border and the capture of the Eksund off the French coast. They were matters of the gravest importance but to come to the conclusion in this House, either through the efforts of well meaning people in the media, through the public or Members of the House deluding themselves that those incidents were reasons why a law which is wrong, was wrong a month ago, is wrong today and will be wrong next month, should be passed is incorrect. I do not think that those happenings, unfortunate though they were, should be the basis on which the fears of the public, usefully expressed in recent weeks against the excesses possible under the 1987 Act, are a justification for that Act coming into being.

We fell into the same trap a considerable number of years ago. Some Deputies will recall the Dublin bombings when many people were killed. That night a vote in this House was altered radically because of that event. We know that happened, that the result of the vote in this House was different because of the bombing. The repeated mentioning of these three happenings in recent times can be dangerously misleading because while in themselves they are horrific acts they are not a basis on which we can justify allowing to become law, legislation which is intrinsically bad, dangerous and unfair to Irish citizens.

I am not against extradition. Last Friday some Deputies spoke in scathing terms about my being a member of the then Government when the 1965 Act went through, as if this did not give me the right to speak against this legislation. A couple of things have happened since 1965 which would have changed anybody's mind, never mind mine. In 1965 we passed an Act which had a political exemption enshrined in it. This Act has been in operation for the past 20 years. However, some time ago there was the hastily called hearing of the Supreme Court which directed the delivery of McGlinchey across the Border, no doubt to show our goodwill from a Government whose leader was to meet the British Prime Minister the following week. That was an offering but it radically changed what was put through this House in 1965. I can safely say that had that political exemption not been enshrined in the 1965 Act it never would have passed through this House, in fact it would never have been brought before this House. Yet, having used the provisions of this Act for the past 20 years, it is now being upended.

Another point I wish to raise, and it is probably even more important, is the jurisdiction of the Six Counties and Great Britain. In the last 17 years they have exposed to the world in all its nakedness their maladministration of justice so far as Irish people are concerned. That state of affairs did not exist in 1965. Had it done so, the 1965 Act would never have been brought before the House, even with the political exemption enshrined in it. Last night, 22 years later, we should not have allowed that Extradition Act to have become law because it is the most extreme form of extradition on the Statute Book of any civilised country.

To those who plead, and some who believe, that under the European Convention for the Suppression of Terrorism, we must introduce that Act, let us ask ourselves why, for nine years, we objected to and did not sign that Convention while other countries did so, despite some of the worst troubles which have erupted in the Six Counties since 1969? Why was this acceptable in 1986? Was it not because it was the most important part of the Anglo-Irish Agreement, which gave us nothing but took from us a promise to sign a Convention, as a result of which we were obliged to bring in the Extradition Act to which I and the majority of people object?

We in this part of the country have been in a position to freely elect our own Government for a very short period. Can we, no matter how we attempt to safeguard our citizens, face up to the prospect of sending any Irish citizen across the Border or across the Channel and expect from either jurisdiction a fair trial? Think of what has been happening in recent times. Many Members have been across the Channel and back on a number of occasions appealing on behalf of the Birmimgham Six. Some people who were not interested in this case ten, six or even five years ago, but who are interested in fair play, got involved and this case is now being heard on appeal. What would be those Deputies' reaction if one of the Birmingham Six escaped and came to Ireland? We would be obliged to extradite them despite all the talk about the injustice which has been suffered by these people who have spent 13 years in prison for a crime they did not commit. That highlights in no uncertain terms what we have embarked upon and no amount of talk about this Bill, or the safeguards allegedly in it, would prevent the return of those people to Britain.

As well as this we have Long Kesh, the H-Blocks, the Maze, call it what you will. We have had people convicted on supergrass evidence but who escaped from the Maze. Their colleagues have had their sentences and convictions quashed because of the odium attending the supergrass system. We have a number of these people on this side of the Border and the only crime they are guilty of is having escaped from unlawful detention in Long Kesh. Yet we are proceeding along the same lines with this legislation.

In the present climate it is not possible for an Irish person to have a fair trial in Britain or the Six Counties. I say this very deliberately and with no bitterness — it is not possible for an Irish citizen to have a fair trial in a British court, especially in the Six Counties. This is part of our history. There is nothing we can do about it. We have a responsibility to ensure that under any extradition law, to whatever country but particularly to Britain and the Six Counties, the fair trial clause must be part and parcel of any extradition warrant that may be executed.

There is no provision for that, no safeguard and nothing in the amendment to the 1965 Act or within the 1987 Act that in any way safeguards our people in the special situation that obtains only in so far as Britain and the Six Counties are concerned. I have been amazed listening to the debate that so many speakers on all sides of the House treated this matter as if Britain and the Six Counties were the same as the rest of the countries in Europe, that their relationship with us is the same and that it is a normal situation. Of course it is not and while that is the case we must specifically look at those two jurisdictions when it comes to handing over any of our citizens for alleged crimes they may have committed.

We are aware that claims have been made in regard to the miscarriage of justice in relation to the Birmingham Six, the Guildford Four, the Maguire case, the O'Shea case and the more recent McNamee case of which I am sure we will hear a great deal in the future in this House, and rightly so. Deputy Andrews also referred today to Martina Shanahan who has been on remand in prison since last August although there is no likelihood that she will be brought to trial for another six or nine months. That is not unusual treatment in so far as our people are concerned. However, it is most unusual that Martina Shanahan spends 23 hours out of the 24 in her cell. Is this the sort of jurisdiction we agreed to by allowing the 1987 Act to go through last night? Even that pales into insignificance when we cross the Border of our own country and see the administration of justice there in relation to our people. The Diplock Courts are presided over by well known — indeed notorious — Lord Chief Justices where a confession of the accused is accepted without corroboration as full evidence for putting them away. In the same jurisdiction the Prevention of Terrorism Act, 1984, was brought in on a temporary basis and has been extended each year since then. However, it is now recommended that it should become a permanent feature of the law in Great Britain and the Six Counties.Under the PTA, provision is made for seven day detention, the first 48 hours of which do not allow or provide for the suspect to be in touch with his or her legal adviser or to communicate with their families. If they are not broken in 48 hours it is very doubtful if any direct contact with anyone who could help would be allowed. There are seven days in which to break a person, to extract a forced confession and a signature. During that extreme interrogation night and day, they are allowed to sleep for five minutes, woken up again, taken out and soft talked and hard talked both in the light and in the dark. This is what is going on and we proved it in the European Courts many years ago. It has not changed, you need not take my word as Amnesty International said the same thing in the very recent past. There is also the evidence of so many individuals across the Border who have gone through the horror of the seven days detention and interrogation. They can confirm that nothing has changed and yet the Diplock Courts will accept a confession gained in such circumstances, no matter how many days it took to get, without any corroboration and despite the ultimate denial by the accused before the court that it was signed under duress. That confession condemns, convicts and sentences so many people. That is the jurisdiction into which our extradition laws are now committing our citizens.

Can we think again about the Diplock Courts and the nonsense that is talked about two, three or five judges? Ten members serve on that court at the moment and one of the most eminent — if that is the proper word to apply — is Lord Justice McDermott. When he heard a murder charge against a member of the security forces, he congratulated the accused during the hearing on his sharpshooting ability. In another case, again a murder charge against a member of the security forces, the late Lord Justice Gibson also congratulated the accused for bringing their victims to the final court of justice. These are the sort of people that the very climate and situation in our occupied country bring to the fore. They are there to do a job and, as Kitson once said, the law is another weapon against those who tried to disestablish the regime in the Six Counties. These are the sort of people who, through no fault of their own but through the circumstances in which they find themselves, are there to do the bidding of their masters who put them there. The defence you will hear of all this is that there are four Catholics — so called Nationalists — among the ten. I would rather go before one of the non-Catholics if I had to face the Diplock Court than go before one of the Catholic Nationalists now sitting on those benches because they have taken the shilling and the soup and are even more committed to deliver people to those who give them their high standing than is the case in relation to the majority who had already made their way——

(Limerick East): Is it in order to refer to members of the Northern Ireland Judiciary in a manner which can clearly identify them and which puts them at risk?

Ordinarily, speakers are exhorted not to in any way criticise anybody who is not present to defend himself or herself. Unfortunately, that tradition has suffered in recent times and, apart from reminding Deputies of its existence and desirability, the Chair can do no more.

(Limerick East): Identifiable members have been fingered in a manner which could put them at risk and Deputy Blaney should be advised by you not to proceed along those lines.

My point is that all Deputies should refrain from saying anything abusive or detrimental to any person who is not present. The equity of that should appeal to every democrat.

Not having heard the Deputy too well, I regard his contribution as a sort of a break in the theme. Everybody knows about the people to whom I have referred, I am merely putting it on the record, no more no less. I do so with regret, I wish things were otherwise.

The Deputy should also accept that there is a tradition here of not speaking unkindly or uncomplimentarily about people who are not present to defend themselves. That is a tradition of which I know the Deputy is well aware.

Yes. Although it does not bother me too much, I would remind the Chair that I was not present the other day when I was talked about unkindly in this House and I did not hear anybody complain about it. I hope we play injury time after that interjection by Deputy Noonan, because time is of the essence as the Leas-Cheann Comhairle is aware.

The Deputy will still be reminded when the 45 minutes allocated to him is about to expire.

Thank you. It amazes me that we can have interjections such as this from people who are very clearly aware of the non-administration of justice in that regime, of the non-administration of justice in this peculiar Diplock Court. I set out to say that it makes no difference whether there is one judge or three judges sitting there. If anything, since this suggestion was made by those who advise us from the Six Counties publicly and privately, having thought about it a lot, I have come to the conclusion that I would prefer to have one judge trying me in the Diplock Court than three, despite the fact that one judge may be under duress from his betters to deliver the right verdict that would make the law and the dispensation of it by the Diplock Courts another part of the armoury against those who would disestablish the whole system. In the circumstances one judge is less to be feared than three because one judge carries the full responsibility in this maladministration of justice in the Diplock Courts, and even harking back to his oath, when he would have been promoted to be a judge, that in his mind must weigh somewhat heavily regardless of the climate in which this court meets, sits and is expected to deliver. If we have three of a kind together on the same bench trying the same case, there would be divided responsibility and therefore divided guilt and they are far more likely to give the expected required verdict than would one judge.

Leaving that aside we must concern ourselves with the issue of a fair trial. There is no possibility, nor is it conceivable that a fair trial is available particularly in the Six Counties, nor is it, now that our eyes have been opened, possible to have a fair trial in the climate that exists in Great Britain. In our statements, in our wish to conform, and to be seen to be anti-terrorist, to be good Europeans, to be friends of Great Britain, we tend to back up that climate because we lean over backwards in order to be seen to be what we are not. We are neither good friends of the Brits, as they occupy our country, nor are we falling over ourselves to be good Europeans. Apparently it is the image that counts rather than the action.

What brought about this proposed amendment of the 1965 Act was the growing public opinion demanding that the 1987 Act do not come into operation on 1 December. That opinion, as is to be expected, made itself felt right through the ranks of all the parties in this House and especially through the ranks of Fianna Fáil who no later than last Wednesday week discussed and expressed their views on this issue. Indeed they expressed fairly truly the views of their public who are responsible for sending them here and whom they come here to represent. It appears that at that meeting the overwhelming number who spoke — not all had the opportunity within the hours available — spoke against the coming into operation of the Act as it now operates from midnight. That meeting appears to have been adjourned with no conclusion having been reached and the meeting was reassembled the following Tuesday. Lo and behold there was then done what one can only take one's hat off to as the greatest con operation ever in the history of that party. Those who had adjourned the meeting and who were resuming the meeting to discuss the 1987 Act and all its objectionable features were presented with, not a continuation of the discussion on the 1987 Act but a series of amendments to the 1965 Act.

These amendments have been deliberated upon here by many spokesmen and some very eminent legal people to whom I have listened with great concern have spoken on them. The safeguards, which is what these amendments are now being described as, are not safeguards against an unfair trial in any jurisdiction. There is no effort to answer the real problem that exists between Britain, ourselves and the Six Counties courts. While I would not agree to the 1987 Act being on our Statute Book for any country in Europe, it should have been amended suitably as it could have been, regardless of all the clap trap we hear about how it could not have been amended because it would mean welching on our commitments.How is it that 12 countries of the signatories of this Convention have the political exemption enshrined in their extradition laws? How is it that eight further countries have enshrined in their extradition laws that they will not extradite any of their citizens. How is it that a further seven have enshrined in their extradition laws that they will not extradite any of their people or indeed anyone who would be going before a special court? There are 27 countries altogether with those principles enshrined in their laws. We had our opportunities and we still have an opportunity to suitably amend the very Act that became law last night. We would not breach our commitment to the European Convention by including any of these exemptions that have been included variously in up to 27 instances. What are we trying to hold ourselves up as? What sort of paragons of justice and virtue do we want to pose as to the rest of the world? Who are we trying to impress, and to what end?

Is it not true that this House, this Government and this Parliament should be first committed to the protection of our citizens regardless of other commitments, conventions or anything else. Do we not have a binding obligation to our people looking at the British maladministration of justice, at the Prevention of Terrorism Act and all the horrors it has brought, at the Diplock Courts in Castlereagh, and knowing what is happening? Looking at all those things can we in truth and in honesty go along with extradition to either of those two jurisdictions and still keep faith with the very purpose for which we exist, which is to govern our own people in their best interests? We have been put here by those same people to do just that. This is not what we are doing and we are doing it with our eyes open. We are doing it by deluding ourselves, traipsing our recent various happenings that are horrific in themselves but have no bearing on this legislation and will not be prevented under its terms in the future.

We go along and talk then about the Director of Public Prosecutions, or the Attorney General, who is not obliged to review any of the warrants that come here, nor is there an obligation to have them sent to him under the amendment now proposed. At the end of the day, even when he seeks out those warrants, or when they are brought to his attention by somebody else — but not by way of the rules as laid down by the law we are proposing to amend and pass — and comes to an opinion, based on information, we might well ask, what is information, has it been defined, is it being defined? What is an opinion as against a judicial decision when, if the Attorney General is not of opinion to prohibit the warrant, it means that the person is extradited?If he is not of the opinion the person is extradited. Surely there is clear evidence here — which is not sought in the amendment — that whether it be the Attorney General, as is the stipulation in the Act at present — the Director of Public Prosecutions or any other individual person outside the Judiciary and outside our courts the formation or non-formation of an opinion determines whether a person is extradited? Surely that is a judicial function? Surely it is a decision of the gravest concern to the individual concerned, particularly if it is across the Border or across the channel that person is going?

We cannot get away from the fact that this is no substitute for proper safeguards. The only proper safeguard, in so far as Britain and the Six Counties is concerned, is that we do not extradite any of our people to their jurisdictions while they occupy part of our country. While they do, it is inevitable that a fair trial is not ever possible, particularly against a background of the continuing problems, troubles and violence that are part and parcel of that same entity, especially since 1969, but which are always there; even if not in evidence, it is only a matter of when it will arise again.

While going through these motions of trying to save the face of people who are not in favour of the 1987 Act, of saying that this is an improvement on it, why do we not take it up seriously, consider the position in the full light of day, as we now have it, look at ourselves and ask ourselves whether we have the moral right in this Parliament — even though we have the law on our side — to commit any citizen of this State or of this country into the maw of the justice operations that pertain in the Six Counties or in Great Britain? The answer to that question will be that while Parliament has the right, legally and constitutionally speaking, those who constitute it have not the moral right to commit our citizens to an area in which they are assured of anything but a fair trial because of their nationality. This is the message I would like to get through to the Government, to the Members of the House as a whole, particularly to those Members of the Fianna Fáil Party who stood up last Wednesday week in no uncertain terms making it very clear where they stood, in the majority, in so far as the 1987 Act is concerned but who have sadly been deluded and misled since into the belief that anything, any part of the loaf, is better than no bread. I would say to those who perpetrated that delusion on them: you can have what you want but we do not want a slice of the loaf, we want the whole loaf. I would rather see the Fianna Fáil Government in the position that they are left stark naked in so far as they allowed the 1987 Act to go through last night rather than get away with this Houdini act of allegedly making the bitter pill less bitter by inserting these rather doubtful, if not spurious, safeguards within the amendment of the 1965 Act now before us.

I contend also that our Government and spokespeople should be talking to the British about the manner of their administration of justice under the terms of the Prevention of Terrorism Act which have been used almost exclusively to harass, hassle, upset and incarcerate members of our community, citizens of this country, that it is an Act brought in allegedly for general security purposes but clearly, in its use and abuse, has almost confined its operations to the hassle and harassment of our people whether living in Great Britain, travelling to or from Great Britain, through that territory or wherever. This has been the result of its operation. Surely that should have been one of the things long since considered under the terms of this wonderful Anglo-Irish Agreement, the Conference that meets in Dublin, Belfast and Westminster, that appears to be so allembracing, such a wonderful gift to mankind?Surely this matter could have been dealt with before now. Surely the Diplock Courts maladministration could have been dismantled before now. Surely there could have been some semblance of notice taken of what one would assume our representatives had to say — perhaps they did not say any of these things; I do not know — but I would have expected that they should have done and that they would have been listened to. Remember that, first, last and all the time: they got their Anglo-Irish Agreement, they got nothing from it but they have given away this Act that became law at midnight last night. That is on our Statute Book and cannot be changed unless this House decides to rescind it. Since it was impossible to stop the stampede that allowed it to go through last night I do not have any great hope that it will be rescinded in the foreseeable future. Surely, having given so much, having sacrified many of our citizens — as will be the case — under the extradition laws of this country we can expect something in return. Surely we can expect a clean up of the maladministration in the British courts, in the Six Counties courts, in the implementation of the provisions of the Prevention of Terrorism Act, the release of the Birmingham Six, the Guildford Four, compensation for their incarceration suffered so unjustly over the years and the bringing to trial of Martina Shanahan, who is spending in her cell 23 hours out of every 24 as a remand prisoner. This is what is going on, what is being given a finger sign in so far as the efforts of our Government are concerned. This is the treatment of the Irish, the treatment we have long since known. This is the treatment that we seem to be hell bent on continuing to have showered on us. Not only do we appear to be satisfied as to what the British and Six Counties regime can catch of our people, can harass, prosecute and persecute them, but we are now hell bent under these laws — with or without this amendment of the 1965 Act — to send our people to them if they have not been able to get them themselves.

I might remind the Deputy that he has three minutes remaining.

We are on injury time, A Leas-Cheann Comhairle. Let me finish almost as I began. There is no possibility of a fair trial for Irish people in either the Six Counties or the British courts in these days, nor will there ever be while we are occupied and have the climate prevailing, as surely as night follows day in which we, as a Parliament, have the right, legally and constitutionally, to put through any law we desire by agreement of the majority of the House. We have no moral right to commit the people whom we represent to being sent for by the British authorities or the Six County authorities and, on foot of these laws about which we are now talking, have them delivered up to be treated, as they will be treated, badly and unfairly in the courts of the Six Counties or of Great Britain.

Deputy Blaney is not the only Member of this House who fears for Irish men and women and, indeed, children, who appear before British courts. He is not the only person in the House who suffers pangs because of their problems. Every nation has a responsibility to protect the lives and welfare of its citizens.

I thought Deputy Blaney was not a member of the Government.

At one end of the spectrum there is the clear responsibility of the nation to protect its people from those who operate outside the law. Nobody contests that duty of the State. The State has a co-equal responsibility at the other end of the spectrum to protect its citizens from those who exercise judicial functions, who in doing this could put in jeopardy the rights and interests of its citizens.

While the Extradition Act of 1987 and the European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism exist and must be seen in a full European context as part of an international effort to protect the lives and interests of citizens of many states, the concerns which the Act engenders in thinking Members of this House arise closer to home. The Members of this House would be less concerned on this issue and less convinced of the vital need for safeguards if it were not for our recent history and our history going back over all the years. The simple, unadorned fact is that the system of justice in the nation with which we are most likely to be involved and to which we are most likely to be requested to extradite Irish people is tainted in so far as its handling of Irish men and women is concerned. I, like other Deputies, am as conscious of that taint as Deputy Blaney.

Any reasonable person must be concerned at the handling of the cases of men and women who regard themselves as Irish and whom the British authorities regard as Irish in the courts of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. This is the nub of the issue that we must consider. The cases that give rise to our concern are multiple. They are growing practically by the month. Any Member who takes the trouble to examine the case of Dinny McNamee will find in it a Crown case which bears disquieting echoes of the Maguire, Guildford and Birmingham Six cases. Any Member who considers the media circus which has attended the preliminary hearings of three Irish people held for trespass on Mr. Tom King's property or who witnessed the show of force when those people were brought into a specially prepared courthouse, with helicopters overhead and full military display on the ground, would again be concerned at the type of justice that can be expected by an Irish man or woman in an English court.

The problem which confronts us jumps from the pages of recent history; it screams at anybody who wishes to hear it from the pages of our papers daily. The struggle for liberty by six Irishmen as played out in the Old Bailey, is an example. Any reasonable person following the retrial of the Birmingham Six knows full well that Hugh Callaghan, Pat Hill, Gerry Hunter, Richard McIlkenny, Billy Power and Johnny Walker are innocent men. Their only crime is that they were Irish. They were tried at a time when emotions in Britain understandably ran high. They were found guilty, but the crime for which they were found guilty could be reasonably characterised as being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The logic of their attending a bomber's funeral may be questionable. The fact of their attending such a funeral is not a capital offence. Because they intended to attend a funeral, they have spent over 13 years in British gaols. They are now fighting quite literally for their freedom.

In the case of the Birmingham Six, confessions were beaten out of the men. This is not so in the case of Annie Maguire. She was carried from the dock protesting her innocence in March 1976. Like the six, Mrs. Maguire, her husband Pat, their two sons, one of whom, Pat junior, was only 13½ years of age at the time, were convicted on so-called evidence which would not and should not be tolerated in a civilised court in a civilised country. With the Maguire family went Seán Smyth, Mrs. Maguire's brother, P. J. "Giuseppe" Conlon whose only crime was that he came to England to see after his son, and unfortunate Pat O'Neill who had called to the Maguire household looking to have his children cared for while his wife was attending a hospital. The Maguire case is, of course, inexplicably tied up with the case of the Guildford Four, Paddy Armstrong, Paul Hill, Gerard Conlon and an English citizen, Carole Richardson. These four existed in what Robert Kee points to in Trial and Error as a twilight world of London squats, of drugs, of petty criminality. They were manifestly not the stuff of a terrorist army.

Again, confessions which simply do not meet the requirements of evidence were extracted and on these confessions were based convictions. How could all this happen? The answer was provided by a simple man, Paddy Maguire, at the end of his trial in March 1976. When the verdict of guilty was being delivered on his family, Mr. Maguire turned to Vincent, who was at that time 17, and to Pat who had just turned 14 and said: "Sons, I am sorry. I have to apologise. I have always told you that British justice was the finest in the world and that you should trust and respect it. I was wrong.". None of these 17 men, women or children imprisoned in the Maguire, Guildford or Birmingham Six cases was extradited but I put before the House the points I have made just now to remind us of a problem that we face and the dilemma in which we find ourselves. It is sad that Deputy Blaney has left the House because a point I intended to make was that had the evidence that was presented in their case come before any Irish Attorney General or any Irish official who would have cared to sift through it, I doubt that there would have been a case for them to answer at all.

The blatant injustices from which these people have suffered and continued to suffer weigh heavily on us all. It is true that the issue of terrorism has been elevated to international level; as such, it has to be addressed at international level. The problem we have is closer to home. It arises from the long and sometimes bloody relationship between this and our neighbouring island. It is because Paddy Maguire was right that the coming into effect of the 1986 extradition legislation must be accompanied by the strongest possible safeguards. It is because of the vicious nature of international terrorism that in casting those safeguards we must at the same time ensure that they work but do not create loopholes through which the guilty can escape. Therefore we must achieve a balance between defending the interests of our citizens on the one hand and defending the interests of all citizens on the other.

The Extradition (Amendment) Bill introduces a number of safeguards which did not exist in the 1965 Act. First, it will provide that a bona fide case must be made before any request for a person's extradition is heard. It will deal also with the situation where the extradition request is based on a desire to interrogate as opposed to prosecute. It will, in effect, in this safeguard deal with most of the points made by Deputy Blaney. No warrant will be executed unless the Irish Attorney General is of the firm opinion that those asking for extradition have a clear intention of prosecuting the person sought and that such intention is founded on the existence of sufficient evidence. Such safeguards are highly desirable. The necessity for and the purpose of extradition is to prevent one's territory from becoming a haven for criminals. None of us in this House would wish our territory to become a haven for criminals. It is to ensure that persons against whom a case exists are made to answer that case. It is not for the purpose of handing over for interrogation to a foreign police people against whom there is no evidence or insufficient evidence. It is because of this that these safeguards are introduced.

It is not only reasonable but desirable that a government which has been asked to extradite a person should request its law officers, the Attorney General in this case, be satisfied that the application is a bona fide one. A further valuable safeguard is provided in section 2 (1) (b) of the Bill. In effect, this would give the Minister and the High Court the power to direct that an extradition should not take place by reason of the lapse of time since the commission of an alleged offence. This would prevent any unfair or retrospective application of the change of definition of a political offence which comes into effect on foot of the 1987 Act. Both the Minister and the court would be able to prevent an extradition which in their view would be unjust, oppressive or invidious by reason of the lapse of time since the commission of the alleged offence.

A further additional protection provided by the Bill arises with regard to the rule of specialty. The Bill provides that the Minister may, if he thinks it necessary, formally introduce the rule of specialty into the extradition arrangements with Britain and Northern Ireland. This is a rule of international law whereby a person who is extradited should only be prosecuted for the offence in respect of which his extradition was sought and granted. This, I suggest, is another additional welcome safeguard.

The Opposition have vacillated over the past few weeks in their position on this Bill. The Labour Party, after threatening his expulsion have now joined with Deputy Stagg in demanding a full blown prima facie case. It is a pity Deputy Spring and his colleagues did not adopt the same line while in Government when the Extradition Act was rammed through the Dáil. Fine Gael, characteristically, are having a field day on the legal points, not always the same points but legal ones nonetheless. The Progressive Democrats are, once again, attempting to find a position.

For the cacophony which has been put up from the benches opposite a number of points do arise which should be addressed.

There is no ambivalence, anyway.

Nor is there any ambivalence on my side, Deputy.

On your party's side.

The most important point being put forward is that the safeguards which would be put in place by this Bill are not strong enough. This is an argument which is made by many Deputies and it circulates around the point that administrative safeguards are less valuable than judicial safeguards. Anybody who examines that proposition will find it fails.

The advantage of providing an administrative as opposed to a judicial safeguard is that the technical differences which exist between our laws of evidence and those of the various British jurisdictions would not be permitted to prevent the extradition of persons against whom there is a bona fide case. As I have said at the outset, the Bill provides safeguards; it does not provide loopholes. For that I suggest that Deputies who care and who are not ambivalent should welcome this Bill. The simple fact is that the Bill in effect brings in a prima facie requirement. On this point a peculiar twist was introduced by the reported comments in this morning's newspapers of Deputy McDowell. He is reported as saying that the Bill was, in effect, an elaborate sham and that the Commissioner of the Garda Síochána could by-pass the Attorney General and hand people over. This, I submit to the House, is arrant nonsense and suggests that Deputy McDowell has either not read the Bill, has read it poorly or is simply being mischievous. The latter is probably the case.

The point has been made that the role of the Attorney General would be unconstitutional.Again, this is patent nonsense.David Gwynn Morgan touched on this point in The Irish Times of 25 November when he said:

...the Attorney General's duty in the field of extradition is not very different from the task performed by his office for centuries and now performed by the Director of Public Prosecutions, namely, to determine whether to prosecute a person for any ordinary crime before the Irish courts.

I submit to the people who make the point about the constitutional infirmity of this Bill, that their arguments simply do not hold water. The Attorney General would be given an administrative as opposed to a judicial function under this Bill. He would not be given a role in the judicial part of the extradition process. The Bill provides that his consent would be necessary before the judicial process is commenced. His role in a specific extradition process would be no different from the role of the DPP in deciding whether a criminal prosecution process would be commenced in any particular case. In fact, as regards certain offences, the prosecution role is still the Attorney General's role and not that of the DPP. The new role of the Attorney General would be no more judicial than the role of the Minister for Justice, for example, under section 44 of the 1965 Act. For these reasons it is difficult to understand the arguments of constitutional infirmity which have been put forward.

There are two formal points being made about the Attorney General's role. The first of these, again being made by the Progressive Democrats who seem to specialise in raising spurious hares, is that the Attorney General would be operating in secret and the second point being made is that he would be a cats-paw of the Government. The Progressive Democrats make much of the first point and in doing so they ignore the fact that the DPP acts effectively in secret. While this may cause some frustration from time to time, it does not mean nor does it suggest that the secrecy has been abused or that his Office has been abused. So it is with the Attorney General.

The position of the Attorney General in our Constitution is fundamentally misrepresented by the second point. The true position of the Attorney General in our system of government was well represented by Mr. Justice Kingsmill Moore in the case of McLoughlin v. the Minister for Social Welfare in 1958. He found in that case that the Attorney General is in no way the servant of the Government but is put in an independent position. He is a great Office of State, with great responsibility of a quasi-judicial nature as well as of an executive nature. I submit to the House that successive Attorneys General have been fully conscious of their role and all of its aspects. I submit to the House that it is an impertinence to suggest that Attorneys General in the future would exercise their role any more lightly than Attorneys General in the past. The point about the Attorney General being in effect a cats-paw of Government is a spurious and insulting one.

The attack on the safeguards provided in this Bill are in my mind quite unpardonable.Some Members have effectively argued that we should have gone ahead with extradition without safeguards. Our history, in particular the recent history of relations between this country and our nearest neighbour, argues strongly that we should have safeguards. I have no problem about putting it on the record that I was one of those who had doubts about extradition but I am convinced that in drafting this legislation and in putting it before the House the Government have answered all the problems with regard to safeguards.

There is an additional safeguard which is that we can review this measure in the fullness of time when we will be able to see how these procedures have operated. If we are not satisfied with those procedures or happy that they give the safeguards to Irish citizens which they deserve, then we can address any of those shortcomings but it is necessary to put safeguards in now. It is necessary to do what this Bill seeks to do. For that reason I have pleasure in commending the Bill to the House.

Having listened to two speakers on the other side, Deputies Jacob and Roche, and to Deputy Blaney, it seems clear that of the three only Deputy Blaney was honest in his approach. He said he was against extradition.Deputy Jacob and Deputy Roche made it clear that they were equally against extradition and, having regard to the contumely, contempt and abuse they poured on the British legal system, they could not logically be otherwise. However, instead of following through their views, which we were given to believe were expressed at length by many people at a meeting of the Fianna Fáil Parliamentary Party, to their logical conclusion, honestly here in the House or within their parliamentary party, they are taking refuge in the sham excuse provided by this Bill.

For example, Deputy Roche said that this Bill has answered all the problems of safeguards against the dangers that he has just gone into in great detail, the dangers in question being defects and defaults of a serious nature in the British criminal system. He said that the role given to the Attorney General to ensure that various evidence is sufficient to justify a prosecution, if it had been in place, would have prevented the Birmingham Six episode. Of course it would not, because all the Attorney General can do and is required to do pursuant to the Bill is to look at the case and see if there is a colour of a case against the defendant. He is not obliged to, nor could he, go into the merits of the case. To present to us as a safeguard against the dangers that Deputy Roche and Deputy Jacob waxed eloquent on here the power being given to the Attorney General is dishonest nonsense.

Deputy Roche talked about suffering pangs for the victims of British justice. Deputy Jacob's talk about transferring one's own countrymen to England or Northern Ireland is emotive and traumatic.Having regard to what we have heard of what transpired at the Fianna Fáil Party meeting I regard both these Deputies as typical. Deputy Roche feels pangs and Deputy Jacob suffers from emotionalism and trauma. If those are their views they should not be in here lending their support to this cod Bill, because that is what it is.

Are we for extradition or not? The Fianna Fáil Party in their heart of hearts are against extradition for so-called political offences but they are coerced into supporting it for a number of reasons. The first is that they are afraid to face the understandable and proper international contumely and contempt they would attract to themselves if they showed themselves to be against the process of extraditing criminal terrorists, or that they were prepared to renege on the collective wisdom of all our European fellow countries.

After many tedious years a Convention was finally brought into being which declared that certain offences are so henious and obvious of their nature that they cannot in any civilisd community be deemed to have the protection of being called political. That is all it does and that is all the Act passed in 1986 does. It implements that amendment to the nature of what is or is not political. It does not remove the political exemption from the extradition code.

It is not possible to define objectively what is a political offence. Political exemption has been part and parcel of the legal code of extradition since it became part of international jurisprudence, and its history shows varying views of what is or is not political. For example, notwithstanding the fact that between the US and the UK the political exemption exists, there was a recorded case of a Soviet spy being extradited from the UK to the US. Surely that was a political offence if ever there was to be a political offence. We have the position between the US and Cuba where the extradition treaty provides for the extradition of people who hijacked aeroplanes, notwithstanding that the hijacking may have been for political reasons.

The law is not at all clear or certain as to what constitutes a political offence. It is not capable of being defined objectively.It must be defined subjectively from time to time. We had an instance of that here in the McGlinchey case with its subjective judicial definition which was on all fours with the emerging jurisprudence from the Council of Europe in this area. The Council of Europe has as far as possible made a definition of a limited kind by excluding from the protection a certain number of heinous, violent crimes, and we are here now to implement that.

That is the first reason the Fianna Fáil Government could not renege on the 1987 Extradition Act and retain any standing of credibility or respect in the international community of nations. That is why it was allowed through at midnight last night. That does not represent the true feeling of that party with regard to the problem. We have had two examples of it here in the House today and we know that at the Fianna Fáil Parliamentary Party meeting there was thundering opposition to that measure.

Another reason Fianna Fáil were afraid to be honest and say they are against extradition is that they are windy of the political consequences of the damage it might do to the Anglo-Irish Agreement. I will not say much about the Anglo-Irish Agreement. It was designed to do two things: to reduce violence and procure reconciliation between the communities. We will have to give it a little longer to see if it will achieve either of those objectives. Nevertheless, it represents a glimmer of hope in the Northern situation. Again Fianna Fáil, possibly for domestic political reasons because it is a popular agreement domestically, were afraid to do anything which might be seen to endanger that agreement. If they were to renege on the 1986 Act and propose to this House that it should not come into force on 1 December, there is no doubt that they would have given a great deal of ammunition to the enemies of that agreement.

The third reason they were not prepared to renege on it has to do with the current security position. In a number of instances in the last few weeks the Government were exposed in the general security area. The first was the kidnapping of John O'Grady. The response of the State through its agents, the Garda Síochána and the Defence Forces, was entirely inadequate to deal with that kidnapping.

Rubbish.

It was common case and common cause throughout the country that the superintendents, district officers and dividional officers had not the resources to mount the type of operation required to rescue that unfortunate man. There should have been systematic house to house searches throughout the nation. An intensive system of cordons should have been put up. We had the debacle in Midleton where the hijackers were able to drive away and then drive up and down the country at will because there were no cordons in position and the money to turn them out was not being made available.

There were sporadic road blocks. If a superintendent had some money in his budget he called out a road block until that money was exhausted, or he organised a few house to house searches. It was as sporadic and spotty as that, whereas the cause demanded an all out drive on the part of all the forces of the State to release that unfortunate man. The proof of that is information that I got from the Minister for Justice on the spending on Garda overtime this year. There was no increase in any quarter of this year of Garda overtime. It was an outrageous, casual approach to a most serious and cruel situation. That position had to be retrieved.

We had the scandal of the Eksund coming with a large amount of arms from Libya, a country the leader of which says he has a great affection for the Taoiseach, and the Taoiseach has socialised with that international bandit and I use the word advisedly because that is what he is. In spite of being called on in this House to break off relations with that particular country and that particular leader the Fianna Fáil Government have refused to do so. As recently as last week this man reiterated his support for the IRA — this terrorist organisation that has destroyed a generation in this country and has made the cult of the gunmen endemic in this society. He has reiterated his support for them and yet this Government is not prepared to break off diplomatic relations with that man. Instead we have this other piece of cosmetics here.

We had the further piece of cosmetics when, after the security debacles, this huge national search was mounted to try to locate the three shiploads of arms and explosives which had come into the country in 1985 or 1986. There was the "hint hint" that that was during the time of the Coalition. When I heard of that operation being mounted I had to confess to being sceptical. It seemed to me as a matter of commonsense that it would be very difficult to land three shiploads of arms and ammunitions, keep them concealed and have no sign of them emerge from that day to this. The Army and Garda combined have now been searching for ten days. They have discovered a few home made rocket launchers in the bog in Clara, they have uncovered a few Maze escapees and discovered a dugout in Gort. The millions of pounds in overtime and effort that have gone into that search would have been better spent searching for John O'Grady. It was a cosmetic exercise from start to finish. It exposes serious shortcomings in the efficiency of the Garda Síochána.

In my constituency two alleged Maze escapees were found. They had been living there for the last X number of years. Another was found in Raheny. Outside Gort a most elaborate dugout was found, an underground chamber 20 feet by ten feet, eight foot high and a 20 foot long tunnel connecting it to another chamber. There was a most elaborate system of lighting, ventilation and heating.That was not built overnight. It took a considerable time to construct. I am amazed in this intimate community of ours where most people know what is going on that the members of the Garda Síochána did not know that living outside the town of Granard were two northerners who had escaped from the Maze some years before, that in Raheny the same thing took place and that in Gort this large scale excavation — this substantial building — was carried on and apparently nobody detected it.

It points to one thing only — that there is a serious lack of ordinary intelligence gathering in the Garda Síochána. Indeed there was one time one humble duty that the Garda Representative Association regarded as being beneath their members and that was taking the livestock census. Discharging that duty brought the members into contact with the people and up every lane and byway in Ireland. They knew exactly who was who, what was what and what was going on. There will have to be a fundamental reappraisal and look at the efficiency and efficacy of our police force.

This search exercise is cosmetic. It is part and parcel of this Bill because it, too, is cosmetic. It is designed to show that the Fianna Fáil Government are in favour of the extradition going through, but having built into it conditions and requirements that make, in my opinion, a nonsense of the whole thing. These conditions and requirements are built in to placate Deputies Roche and Jacob but not Deputy Blaney — he is too forthright and too honest on this matter to placate the backbenchers of the Fianna Fáil Party who are on the verge of rebellion on this issue and who are fairly wrath as a result of the proposed changes in the primary education sector.

The Bill itself is silly. I do not think it is unconstitutional. I do not see that there is anything wrong in giving the Attorney General the power to direct a superintendent not to endorse a warrant. That is still part of the administrative procedure of extradition. It does not interfere with the judicial part which is still open and without prejudice and is not prejudiced by the action of the Attorney General. It is still open to the accused to pursue his right to any level he cares to pursue it. I do not think that is unconsitutional and I do not care particularly whether it is the Attorney General or the Director of Public Prosecutions who is involved. I understand that my party feel that the Director of Public Prosecutions would be a more appropriate official to intervene in this area and that Attorneys General are political officers. I have confidence in the integrity of the holders of that office, whoever they maybe or whatever party they may belong to.

In this sensitive area I can see that it might be desirable and keep that power at arm's length from the Government. Many of the points I want to make are points which I look forward to going into on Committee Stage. I can see this Bill being a great source of litigation particularly when an arrested person exercises his right and goes to the court to have his warrant set aside possibly on the grounds that the Attorney General should not have given his direction. At that stage there would be a very awkward and distressing situation. With the endorsement depending entirely and directly on the Attorney General, will he be amenable to the courts to explain himself? It is being put into an Act of Parliament that he must have formed an opinion that there was a clear intention to prosecute and that such intention was founded on the existence of sufficient evidence.

If a person sought to be extradited goes to court for relief and says to the court: "I am not satisfied that there was an intention to prosecute me up there, nor am I satisfied that that intention, even if it was there, was founded on the existence of sufficient evidence. I want to be told that. Why should my warrant be endorsed on the say so of a particular official who does not have to explain himself?"There is a lot of weight in that argument. If it is not answered it is contrary to much of our legal system where justice to be done and has to be seen to be done. People must be aware of the reasons their legal status will be changed. I can see a very fruitful area of contentious litigation. This might well be a Machiavellian plan by the Government to create such a ridiculous legal system that it gets jammed up in the courts anyway. This would be one way out of it, it would be one way of placating the wilder men in their ranks. These are all questions which will be gone into in more detail on Committee Stage.

I conclude by repeating that I consider this Bill to be a fraud, a dishonest ploy by Fianna Fáil to placate the voice in that party who are opposed to extradition, who have revealed themselves in this debate. The depth of their antipathy to Northern Ireland and to Britain had to be heard to be believed. That antipathy, I am convinced, reflects a deep distaste and a deep hostility to the concept of extraditing into Northern Ireland or to Great Britain. The Government were aware of that. It has to be placated and, I am sorry to say, this ridiculous measure is being brought forth to placate that political need.

I am pleased to get the opportunity to speak on this Bill. The 1987 Extradition Act — Ireland's ratification of the European Convention of the Supression of Terrorism, came into force at midnight last night. The Act is an important aspect of Ireland's involvement in the fight against terrorism. For that reason, it is vital that it operates effectively and efficiently. It cannot do that in a context of mistrust and fear. It cannot do that without clearly understood safeguards in place around it.

It is, therefore, essential that, as parliamentarians, we put such safeguards in position, and — just as importantly — that we ensure the people of Ireland understand and feel secure about them.

When the Taoiseach talked last week to the House about "the politics of the latest atrocity", he was underlining the major problem facing us, as parliamentarians, in dealing with this Bill. That major problem relates to defining our terms.

There is every danger that we will approach this pivotal matter, not rationally, but through a filter of confused emotions, fears, misunderstandings and unshared assumptions. That danger has been exacerbated by recent horrors, recent examples of man's inhumanity to man.

You will all recall Yeats' summing up of 1916: he said that "a terrible beauty is born". Yeats also talked of Ireland as being a country of "great hatred, little room", and, sadly, what has happened during the last month amply justifies that description: great hatred, little room, a great deal of confusion, and a groundswell of informed fear. It is therefore my priority today, in addressing the Members of the Dáil, to define precisely the terms in which I believe we must discuss the Extradition (Amendment) Bill, 1987. Let me, therefore state, by way of background to all I wish to promulgate today, the basics I wish to affirm about my stance.

I am a passionate, lifelong, constitutional Republican. I am a Minister of a Republican nation. It is central to our status as a nation that we create the means whereby we can, together with other nations, control terrorism, and by so doing, ensure Ireland's future as a parliamentary democracy.

It is a measure of the damage done by terrorism in this island that so many people are now wary of declaring themselves to be Republicans, and that, once someone had made such a declaration, the assumptions made about it tend to be pejorative. One of those assumptions is that Republicanism means unthinking, rigid narrowness, unenlightened gut reactions and a ruthless mono-culturalism. At best, in recent months, Republicanism has been assumed to stand for ambivalence.At worst, it is assumed to stand for mean-minded cruelty. When the terrorists seem to own the high ground of Republicanism, the growth of those damaging assumptions is inevitable. Not only is it inevitable, but it is the most subtly subversive factor in the terrorists' arsenal.

It is false and fatuous for the IRA to release statements promising that they have no enmity towards the armed forces of the Twenty-six Counties. The terrorists have an abiding enmity towards constitutional Republicanism and towards the nation — and the political party — which expresses such Republicanism.

Their recent appeal, using emotive disinformation, to Republicans in the South to see the IRA as the only "true" bearers of the standard, establishes with total clarity their crude contempt for the Government and people of Ireland — not of Northern Ireland but of Ireland as a whole.

The Provisional IRA now see all the Twenty-Six Counties, as they stated this week, as "Free Staters". The battle lines of so-called "real Republicans" versus The Rest are now being drawn, drawn in a way which can only damage this country as a place to live in, damage our international reputation and damage the cause for which, ostensibly, there is shared support. There can be no doubt whatever that the IRA have sought to make the extradition issue one which will polarise Republican feelings to the detriment of those, like myself, who seek the reunification of this country by constitutional means.

Hence the timing of the Enniskillen bomb, clearly designed to stampede through the Dáil an Extradition Bill which would be shorn of significant safeguards for our citizens — as a result of inappropriate deference to those hurt and bereaved in Enniskillen. Once that had been achieved, the IRA could claim — as they came close to claiming this week — that they were the only true Republicans in the State, and that Fianna Fáil's commitment had been emasculated. It was a plan relying on the real care and empathy of people in the South for those in Enniskillen. That care and empathy has been profound.

It was to be expected that after 18 years of death, destruction and demoralisation, we might have become innured to the process, that we might have grown an extra, self-protective skin which would allow us to dismiss the latest trauma as little more than a repetitive statistic. Two and two make four, four and four make eight, and it all adds up to 3,000 dead. In fact, thank God, the people of Ireland have not grown that extra self protective skin, and so they were bruised and sickened and shamed by Enniskillen and by the O'Grady kidnapping. The terrorists cynically relied on that reaction. They set out to use it to paint us into a corner. The terrorists underestimate the strength, the intelligence and the complexity of constitutional Republicanism, and I suspect that this week's speeches in the House will go far to disabuse them of their self-seeking misapprehension.

The Republicanism of Padraic Pearse, with its explicit rejection of `cowardice, inhumanity or rapine', has no problems with a properly structured Extradition Act — as indicated by the lack of controversy during the years since 1965 when special arrangements for extradition between this State and Northern Ireland and Britain were put in place. That Republicanism has been grossly distorted by recent terrorism; indeed, distorted to such an extent during the last few weeks that the cause, the credo must be restated and reaffirmed. The distortion of Republicanism has put it on the same scale as urban violence. There is a great danger that it will merely be seen as part of a pattern of crime and violence which is self-perpetuating and which fills people with fear of their own neighbourhood and place.

Look on this portrait that I paint for you. We have, in this country as in most countries in the West, come to a dulled acceptance of violence in our city streets, of the need for electronic warning and protective devices. A fortnight ago, in towns on both sides of the Border, little country towns, there was fear which kept people in groups, which led to locked doors once nighttime fell, which led to telephone checks between families to ensure that each person was still safe.

That happened because a dangerous man was on the loose. What kind of Republicanism is it which creates a shaking fear in the people to whom the Republican could claim to devote his life? What kind of Republicanism is it which merely adds to the uncontrolled escalation in the level of violence in our streets, and which leads, inevitably, not to freedom, but to anarchic hopelessness?

By not abjuring a squalid, sordid, infinitely divisive parody of Republicanism, we propagate a public perception of all Republicans as squalid, sordid and stereotyped. They are not that. Republicanism in Fianna Fáil is deeply rooted in traditional values, but never unthinkingly rooted in those values. Republicanism in Fianna Fáil reveres courage and the culture of courage, but it has no reverence for the sick cruelty which would have Ireland's future written in blood with a hammer and chisel. Republicanism in Fianna Fáil is fundamentalist. That, ipso facto, rules out the possibility of casting the innocent by-stander as enemy. The sad irony of that last horror is that Marie Wilson and John O'Grady have, by their unsought sufferings, taught this nation more about grace and dignity and courage than the terrorists who would claim to have a monopoly on such traits.

Republicanism such as animates this Government is a philosophy of nationhood, not a gang-war slogan. If we are a nation, then we must frame our laws as a nation, neither seeking to cower before international pressure nor seeking to express defiance. It would be grand if the issues here could be narrowed down to the crudity of a proposition like "It's Ireland versus Britain”, but it is not that simple. There is a massive European dimension to the question.

We have signed the 1957 Convention and the 1977 Convention, and failure to pass the Act which came into force at midnight would have placed us in breach of both, hence distancing ourselves from the civilised nations we justly see as our peers. Yes, we must be very well aware of the deficiences in the delivery of justice in countries which will be involved in the extradition process, but we must not allow our law making to be trivialised by the desire to make a public point about such deficiencies.

Lest there by any misunderstanding about what I mean here, let me make it doubly clear. I am gravely concerned about what I would perceive as an unchallenged recent racism in British justice as meted out to Irish people. Unlike beauty, racism is almost never in the eye of the beholder — it is in the hurts of the victim.

It has been said that justice must not only be done but must also be seen to be done. I would go further. It must be felt to be done. There have been many cases in recent times of people of Irish birth being processed by British justice — and I use the phrase advisedly — in a way which leaves them without the feeling that justice has been done.

It would be inappropriate to make reference to any particular case because it is the generality of such cases, the fact that there are an number of them, which makes that odd prototype "the reasonable man" doubtful about this decade of British judicial history.

We must not damage our own corpus of law because we have reservations in this area; nor should we damage our standing as a nation in Europe for the same reason. On the contrary, what we must do is co-operate with other countries to defeat terrorism while protecting the rights and freedom of our individual citizens.

Co-operation with other countries to defeat terrorism is not new to this country.We are not bringing in extradition for the first time. Extradition has been part of Irish law since the foundation of our State and before that. What we are talking about is updating a law so that it works better. If the 1987 Act had not come into power last night, if the 1987 Act were to disappear entirely, extradition would not. It would continue to operate.

By "updating a law so that it works better" I mean that the 1987 Act will remove a wall behind which terrorists could hide. The Act ensures that nobody will be able to claim as "political" a crime which falls into one of four categories, those cateogries being the hijacking of an aircraft, kidnapping or killing by use of explosives, automatic weapons, etc., or murdering a diplomat or high official.

Removing that wall, afforded by allowing criminals to interpret their acts as "political" is the only change this Act will make. Extradition will not start — it has always been in position. What it does, however, is to affirm our nationhood by placing us among our peers in the international fight against terrorism.

We share with the Community countries in Europe a view that people who hijack planes, people who perform atrocities such as Enniskillen, people who murder, should not be allowed to evade justice by an exercise in semantics. Let us call a spade a spade. Let us call murder murder. Let us confine the term "political" to the forum wherein it belongs.

There is a strong belief in this country in the primacy of human rights. Those who have a racy memory of second-class citizenship, as is the case with every country conquered for a long period of time, tend to be particularly sensitive to human rights issues. That is the reason for the horror, the sympathy, and, yes, the curiosity in relation to individuals like Mr. O'Grady.

The sad reality is that John O'Grady, having suffered dreadfully, will never be fully free of that suffering. Apart from the physical damage he has to live with, despite his right to privacy and peace, he will now always represent for many of us the line beyond which a cause cannot go. The pre-meditated inhumanity of taking a man's hands and hurting them for life is not a political matter. The inhumanity of damaging the hands a man works with, greets his friends with, loves his children with — that inhumanity is not something I want to see Irish law used to support.

We are not talking, when we examine this Act, of a danger to heroic idealists. We are talking of a means of coping with international terror and subversion which cares neither for people nor for national tradition. Without such means of coping, we will be seen by the nations of Europe as a country without national selfrespect.That has not been the case in the past. Irish Governments have faced their own conflicts, and, without compromising their genuine Republican principles, have coped with threats to the State.

Today, we must follow the example set by de Valera and his colleagues in the forties. We must do it with clarity, with resolution and without ambiguity. Safeguards are central to the success of any challenge to terrorism. Without built-in, carefully thought out safeguards, we will be seen as endangering innocent citizens of this country, and preventing that — either in shadow or substance — must be a priority.

In the past few weeks most of us have had our concerns over the detailed operation of this legislation buttressed by human realities, reinforced by constituents who have come with stories of a minor infraction of several years ago which might, they believe, put them in danger today. The safeguards with which we wish to hedge this Act around set out to remove the cause for that fear. They do not — and let me reiterate this — they do not deny that there is substantive cause for such fear. I believe there is cause for that fear. I believe it is something we must address as public representatives.

You don't drink tea with a fork. You pick the right method for the task in hand and failure to allow the 1987 Act into our legislative framework in order to indicate our dissatisfaction with the operations of justice in another country would, very decidedly, have been a case of using an inappropriate method.

It is important to acknowledge that the whole area of extradition hits a raw nerve in the Irish psyche. Together with the concept of informing, the concept of handing over your citizen to the custody of another country, even if that country, in diplomatic terms, can be described as "friendly" is problematical and it always has been. The fact that more than 700 Irish citizens have been extradited to Britain or Northern Ireland within a 20 year period has done little to reduce the anxiety associated with extradition.

If that sense of dread and revulsion is to be met, it can only be met by ensuring against arbitrary or unreasonable return of fugitives to foreign jurisdiction. It can only be met if there is a reasonable expectation that an extradited person will get a fair trial in the receiving country. That means someone will not be extradited for an ordinary criminal offence if there are substantial grounds for believing that a person's position would be prejudiced because of his race, his religion, his nationality or his political opinions. That safeguard will be specifically enacted into law by this Act, when amended.

The Courts, if they believe a person's right to fair trial would be compromised on any of the grounds I have mentioned, will have, under the 1987 Act, full jurisdiction to refuse extradition. In addition, this Act provides for a change in the nature of the endorsement required by the Commissioner of the Garda Síochána.This change means that the Commissioner will be obliged not to endorse a warrant if the Attorney General directs him not to. That direction would come from the Attorney General when he does not hold that there is a clear intention to prosecute, based on sufficient evidence.

In other words, there will be, in future, no possibility of individuals being handed over to another sovereign power on an assumption when that sovereign power merely wants to hold the person as a method of finding evidence on which to prosecute them.

In addition, this Bill sets out to prevent the "and furthermore" syndrome. This is the approach which would seek to extradite someone for a particular offence and would then make additional charges against that someone for offences which are not in themselves extraditable. This could not happen in future — except if this country consented to the placing of the additional charges.

This is the rule of specialty. It ensures that additional charges of a political nature will not be brought after extradition — a very real fear current at the moment. I mentioned the valid dread of many people throughout the country that they might be vulnerable as a result of something done many, many years ago.

The provision in the Bill on lapse of time will mean that a person whose extradition is sought will be able to apply to the High Court to have his extradition refused if there is sufficient time since the alleged offence was committed to make extradition on such charges unjust, oppressive or invidious. Lapse of time alone would not constitute grounds for refusal of extradition. There would also have to be particular circumstances contributing to make it unjust, oppressive or invidious.

It is worth emphasising, at this point, that the passing of this Act by this House will be a gesture of strength, a confirmation of our value on constitutionalism.It will speak clearly to the men of violence, indicating to them that we will not glamourise or shelter those who torture, disfigure and kill ordinary citizens of Ireland or of other countries. It will disabuse them of the notion that they can destabilise this part of Ireland, although they have wanted to do that for a long, long time. It will establish with absolute clarity that we will not, as a nation, constitute a safe house for wicked people doing wicked, cruel things in the name of a great cause.

In addition, this Act publicly confirms that this country does not hold life cheaply.As a nation, we value courage and commitment — not slieveen racism disguised as patriotism. The republicanism I stand for is worth standing for: Ní fochultúr é a thagann salach ar gach oiliúint atá faighte againn ar scoil agus sa mbaile. Ní fochultúr é ach oiread lena dtréigeann muid gach bun-chreideamh eile dá bhfuil againn. Ní fochultúr é, faoi dheireadh, a mhúsclaíonn suim an phobail le heagla, le cruáil, le mi-dhaonnacht adeir, an té nach bhfuil linn, ní amháin gur namhad é ach nach duine ceart chor ar bith é.

Is Poblachtánach go smior mé ach ní gá dom beagmheas ar dhaoine eile mar chuid den fhealsúnacht sin.

Yes, I am a Republican to my core. A Republican steeped in history and proud of it. It is a truism to say that history repeats itself. Sometimes, it only gives the appearance of repeating itself.

What is happening in this country at this time in the name of republicanism is no repeat of the selfless heroism I learned about at school, and later, took pride in teaching other young people at school. Much of what we are now seeing is a subculture claiming republicanism as its life blood but more truly informed by paranoia, sadism and greed.

What we must never forget is that the means used to achieve an end must, inevitably — as night follows day — affect the end. Thus, if a Republic were to be created in a crucible of dread, of covert cruelty and of crime, what kind of nation could result, other than one where all of these were built — like flaws in steel — into that nation?

That way we must not go while, at the same time, avoidance of that way must not dilute our strength. Our laws must assume innocence until guilt is proven. Our laws must afford protection to the innocent. But our laws must not be used to protect a murdering cult group which has more in common with Al Capone's Mafia than with Padraic Pearse's idealists.

Our approach is clear and unambiguous and it has been stated clearly in the House. We support the legislative arrangements which confront international terrorism and terrorism on this island. At the same time we feel that it is absolutely essential, as part of our philosophy and in support of our stand on constitutional republicanism, that we should write into Irish law the clearest and unambiguous safeguards that we can to protect the basic civil rights of all our citizens. That is what this Bill seeks to do and it is being done by those who hold dear the ideal of true constitutional republicanism.

After 26 years in this House and having spent the majority of those trying to understand why Irish people are in conflict I have regrettably come to the conclusion that this is a Southern Irish Parliament that has no ambition to be anything other than a Southern Irish Parliament.This notion that we are in pursuit of a united Ireland is a total fallacy; it is unreal. The only difference between this Parliament as a Southern Irish Parliament and the old Stormont is that in Stormont they admitted that it was a Protestant Parliament for a Protestant people. We are not even that honest.

I have just heard Deputy Flynn say, and he is entitled to put forward his point of view, that he is a constitutional Republican.I have also tried to understand what a Republican is. What is a Nationalist? What is Unionist? What is a Loyalist? In the United States of America they do not go around saying they are a hyphenated American. In France they do not go around saying they are hyphenated Frenchmen or Frenchwomen. They do not say that in Germany. They simply say that they are American, French or German. Why cannot the Irish be mature enough to say they are Irish? Why do they have to hyphenate what they are to prove they are something great or super in this small island? I do not want to hyphenate myself. I have discarded those labels which people attach to themselves because of their insecure political positions.In case the people who vote for them might misunderstand what they are saying they run in front of the posse and say they are Republicans.

Now we have a constitutional Republican.This is not terribly unlike Ian Paisley shouting "I am a Loyalist." There is no difference. Why can we not jettison all this nonsense and say we are Irish and that we want the people of Northern Ireland to share in the pride of calling ourselves Irish? Why does the Minister for the Environment have to come in here and highlight the fact that he is a Republican?

Because that is the difference between being a constitutional Republican and a terrorist.

Now we have a definition of a non-constitutional Republican and of a constitutional Republican.

Yes, we have.

I will give my definition of a Republican, a Nationalist, a Unionist and a Loyalist. I say, with no great pride or satisfaction because it annoys me to have to say it that I, too, have come to terms with all of this. This is not a row between Republicans and Loyalists, between Nationalists and Unionists. This is a sectarian conflict between bigoted Catholics who cannot tolerate the politics of Protestants, and bigoted Protestants who cannot tolerate the politics of Catholics.The sooner we see it in this very narrow sense and stop this damn nonsense of putting respectable labels on ourselves, that we are Republicans, that we are Loyalists or that we are Unionists, the better. The fact is that the people you call unconstitutional Republicans are bigoted Catholics. You should say so and settle for "I am Irish."

The Deputy is addressing the Minister. You will appreciate that if you do that, the Minister, in an extended sense of courtesy, may reply to your questions and they would then constitute interruptions. It is better to address the Chair.

We have had a rather provocative speech from the Minister.

The Deputy should address the Chair.

I am sorry, a Leas-Cheann Comhairle——

You had an honest addressing of the situation, which you will not address at all.

The sooner we become mature enough to follow truly in the footsteps of Tone, to push aside the titles Catholics or Protestants, and call ourselves Irish, and feel a pride in calling ourselves Irish, the better.

When I go to the United States, England, Scotland or anywhere else I am not asked if I am Republican Irish or Unionist Irish. I am asked if I am Irish and I say with pride that I am Irish. I can share that identity with people like Ian Paisley. On one occasion I asked Ian Paisley why he had said something and he said it was the Irish in him. I asked him if he called himself Irish and he asked me what I would call him. I said: "It is not what I am calling you but you have just called yourself Irish". He said: "Let me put it this way: your tradition has never given my tradition the real choice of calling ourselves Irish. We had to be Republican or Nationalist, Catholic or Gaelic, we had to be anti-British. There always had to be a clause."

That is why I say that this Parliament after 60 years, is a southern Parliament. It is a terrible thing to have to admit but it is the naked truth. The party to which I belong is predominantly a southern party trying to get away from those shackles. I cannot see any evidence of that in the Fianna Fáil Party. One or two Fianna Fáil Deputies I have spoken to privately — people for whom I have tremendous admiration — see the position as I see it but they are caught up in the pack when they start running in front of extradition.

Knowing this debate was scheduled for this week, I made it my business to talk to a number of people in Donegal and the Border areas. I made it my business to stay away from Fine Gael people. I socialised with people who are life long friends, and I hope they will remain so, but I respect that they do not share the same politics with me. They are loyal members of the Fianna Fáil Party. Even as late as Sunday last I asked one or two if they sensed emotion against extradition within their family or within themselves and they said no. I believe that is true all over the country except for a few Fianna Fáil Deputies who thought they should get on the bandwagon because there could be a whiplash. They whipped up anti-extradition feeling in this part of the country. I do not know why they did that but they made no attempt to try to understand the problems of the two cultures in Ireland which had little or nothing to do with British-Irish politics.

Let us look at extradition. We are arguing that there should be protection for Irish people being extradited to Britain. That is a fair argument. I know people who would probably fall into that net and I would have great sympathy for the members of their families if they were to be extradited. It would be unnatural of me to see it any other way. Some of these people could be called my neighbours, but that is not the point. The point being put forward by Fianna Fáil is that we must have protection. I do not disapprove of that, but let us look at the naked truth. What are we protecting? We have to protect Irish people being extradited to Britain or Northern Ireland. Irish people must have a fair trial in Britain or Northern Ireland, otherwise we are neglecting our responsibility to those people. I do not think anybody could take issue with that but that is not what I want to debate.

Let me pose this question: what Irish person, man or woman, has been extradited to the British mainland or to Northern Ireland who received an unfair trial? Who is this person? When did it happen and what action did the Fianna Fáil Party take? We are getting sidetracked about the court cases going on in Britain at the moment but those people were not extradited. They were already in Great Britain. As a people we are entitled to seek protection, but let us not misunderstand the position.

Let us admit and recognise that Britain is the only country in the world where an Irishman can go without a passport or a visa and get employment without a work permit. If he needs rehousing he will get the same treatment as any other person on the housing list. If he goes to Scotland he will be received and respected in the same way as an Englishman. If he goes to England he will be received and respected in the same way as a Scotsman.

What is the point?

He will get the same welcome if he goes to Wales. That is a privilege we do not have in any other country. If we go to France we must have a passport and if we want employment in any European country we must apply for a work permit.

It is reciprocated.

I did not interrupt the Minister.I am making my speech now.

The Irish have privileges in Britain which they do not have anywhere else in the world. Hundreds and thousands, maybe even millions, of Irish people have gone to Britain over the centuries. While it is true that some of them may not have got fair play in the English courts, hundreds of thousands, if not millions, got opportunities in Britain which we could not give them in Ireland. Are we so bigoted, anti-British and small-minded we are afraid to admit that is the case and that, therefore, we have to protect anybody going into that society in case they might not get a fair trial? That is the nub of this whole argument. If the Government feel that people may not get justice in a British court of law, why do they not say they will extradite anyone who has broken the law in Great Britain but that they will send a lawyer with them to ensure that that person has had a fair trial and to report back to the Government.

Let us suppose that Margaret Thatcher said tomorrow that it is a fair argument for the Irish to seek protection in regard to extradition but that she, as Prime Minister of Great Britain, also had a responsibility to protect the British people on the mainland of Britain, that from 1 January every Irish person coming into Britain will have a passport or will have to apply for a visa and that every Irish person looking for a job will have to apply for a work permit. Would we think she and the British Government were acting unfairly towards the Irish? What if she said she would only allow the good people, those she can trust, to come to Britain? Let us ponder the logic of that and visualise what would happen if she applied that to Northern Ireland as well. It would mean that the Bill is partitionist from a party which claim to be anti-partitionist. Their whole history shows examples of partition, including the break with sterling. All their policies are partitionist.

I have been talking about extraditing people to Britain but I have not said anything about extraditing people to Northern Ireland. When I spoke to my Fianna Fáil friends in Donegal I asked them if they would have more confidence in extraditing a person from the Republic to Northern Ireland than in extraditing someone from the Republic to Great Britain. Without exception, they all said they would have more confidence in extraditing people to Northern Ireland and they would have less confidence in courts in Britain. That is the feedback I got.

On the question of Ireland, North and South, I believe that until there is some political settlement our history will not be very different from that of the past 20 years. The troubles may wane but they will flare up again. Until politicians sit down and talk about the future of Ireland, until we get a mature Parliament here that recognises you do not have to call yourself a Republican to be an Irish-man, until we sit down as brother Irishmen and talk to one another, there will not be peace. If someone in the South says he or she is an Irish Republican people in the North can retort that they are Irish Unionists. The old argument will be raised that you cannot be an Irish Unionist, that it is a contradiction. It would be better and less complicated if we just called ourselves Irish.

It would be better if we were all consititutional Republicans.

Well, the cat is out of the bag. Of course, the Minister is now trying to convert Paisley into an Irish Republican.

I am happy to argue this with the Deputy because I have heard this speech before——

The Minister should have listened to it. In extraditing someone from here to the North of Ireland, my kitchen sink politics tell me that as an Irishman who believes in some type of political settlement between the Protestants of the North and the Catholics of the South — which is really what we are talking about — we can share Ireland as Irish people, develop a future and have an undivided nation.

If I fundamentally believe in that, if I am sincere in that belief and if I say to fellow Irishmen who do not want to engage in dialogue with me at the moment that I want them to engage in dialogue with me and that I am inviting them to do so, unless I give them an assurance and I understand that with that invitation to enter into dialogue is a full commitment to protecting their lives, limbs and property, then, it will be seen as Paisley once said a case of, "come into my parlour, said the spider to the fly". We will not be taken seriously. When we invite the Protestant North to have dialogue with us we must be mature enough to realise that extending that invitation is not a conditional promise of security but an absolute commitment to security, not on the day they sit down to talk but on the day the invitation is issued.

I see a terrible contradiction in Irish public life. James Molyneaux, Ian Paisley, John Taylor and all the leaders of the Unionist or Protestant tradition are talking about the situation as they see it. They talk about the need for security but never about the need for better politics and what we will all have to do to settle our differences. We think it very strange that they will not sit down and talk about politics but continue to rant and rave about security. Do we ever stop to think that it is the reverse in our case? We talk about a united Ireland, a new political future, politics and the ongoing political development but not about the security of Ireland. The Minister is smiling——

When did the Minister ever advise a Northern Catholic to join the RUC or the UDR? Would he advise a Northern Catholic to join the RUC?

The Deputy must be joking.

That is the central problem.

We have done more than our fair share in so far as security is concerned.

We have had a very informative and interesting discussion. I wish to remind Deputy Harte that if he continues to look provocatively at the Minister inevitably he will provoke him into questions. Deputy Harte has given a very interesting background but maybe he will now direct himself to the provisions of the legislation before the House.

Extradition is central to all this. The point I am making is that I would find it very difficult as a Catholic living in the Border area to tell Catholics across the Border to join the RUC or the UDR. I do not think I would be big enough to do that. The Minister merely had to say that he could not do that either. Until politicians in this House and Northern Protestant leaders understand that politics and security run along parallel lines and that we cannot have one without the other, then the troubles will continue.

The bishops of Ireland in their letter read out at all Masses immediately after the events in Enniskillen said that there must be no ambivalence, that people must clearly choose between good and evil. I do not suggest that the ambivalence which took place at the meeting of the Fianna Fáil parliamentary party meeting two days later was about good and evil, but it was ambivalent on a very fundamental issue. It had to be. Fianna Fáil members of Government talked with ambivalence about extradition and two days before that they were applauding the Cardinal and every Catholic bishop in Ireland on the courage of their statement.I know that "extradition" is an emotive word in certain places, but so is "divorce" and "sovereignty". We say that we will not have divorce but that we will recognise that there are broken marriages and that there are reasons why couples separate. When we come to sovereignty we get bogged down altogether. The word "extradition" can be used by anyone who wants to generate emotion. People can be made to feel emotional and to react against extradition.

Deputy Blaney gave a very convincing argument, but he was not talking about extradition. Deputy Blaney was talking about the possible bad results of the bad court system they have in Northern Ireland and in Great Britain. If there was not a fear of a bad court system in the North and in Great Britain, if we were sure that people would get a fair trial, would Deputy Blaney still be against extradition? Was the Deputy arguing against extradition or against the system of Justice?

Ask the Minister.

During the summer a northern Protestant stole guns and ammunition from a UDR barracks in south Down and he ended up in the Imperial Hotel in Dundalk. The man was extradited and there was not a word about it because he was a Protestant.

It was because he agreed to be extradited.

A Deputy

He had no confidence in Irish courts.

Whether he did or not, the fact is that the people who are shouting against extradition were roaring like mice when he was extradited. It could be interpreted by an impartial observer that the Irish are not really against extradition but that they are against extraditing Catholics to the North of Ireland and to Great Britain. They are against extraditing aggressive militant Catholics who are prepared to kill Protestants because they disagree with their politics. It has nothing to do with religion, because some of these people have not been in their churches for years but it cannot be ignored that the conflict in Ireland is between Catholics and Protestants. It is not about religion, but it must be about sectarianism.Sectarianism is the hatred of another person's tradition and culture. To make it respectable we put a label on it and on one side we call it republican nationalism and on the other we call it Loyalist-Unionist.

From the discussion so far one would think we were about to introduce extradition.Extradition has been here since 1965. It was introduced by the Taoiseach as Minister for Justice. Deputy Blaney, who has taken a very hostile position in the matter, was a Minister in that Cabinet.Extradition operated right through the seventies and eighties. There is nothing new about extradition here. Before we had extradition we had an arrangement which I believe was better and, maybe, more mature. This debate has all to do about nothing. The European Convention automatically became law last night. We can huff and puff as much as we like and we can be as "republican" as we like but it is there.

If someone breaks the law in Northern Ireland he should go back to the North. Ireland is an island of 32 counties. The people who live here are Irish of different cultures, different religions and different politics but the people in the North are as Irish as the people in the South. If we are not prepared to accept that, to accept the Irishness of the northern Protestant tradition we are not really in pursuit of a united Ireland. If I identify Ireland as I do, and if I identify the people who live here as I do, then there is an obligation on me, as a public representative, to say that if someone breaks the law in Kerry and is arrested in Donegal, he must face trial in Kerry because he has offended the life, limb or property of some person in Kerry. Likewise, if a person breaks the law in Derry or in Antrim and is arrested in Donegal he should be sent back to Derry or Antrim.

If the fear of the House is that a person may not get a fair trial, that is a totally different debate and there are other ways of dealing with that, but not by refusing to send people north. I recognise that as one moves further from the Border areas the picture gets greener but if it does there is a greater challenge in this House to be something greater than it is doing at the moment. I do not want to belong to a Parliament that is a southern Ireland Parliament. My ambition is to be part of an Irish Parliament that can raise itself to a level where we can accommodate the values of people who differ from us and try to persuade them that our future in the island is together, that together we will have to find solutions to the problems which separate us. We cannot do that if we huff and puff about this Bill.

I recognise that people want safeguards and acknowledge the fear in the minds of some people. These fears are exaggerated in many ways. Perhaps we could just have one debate in this House, a Leas-Cheann Comhairle.

Could we have Deputy Harte, without interruption, please?

Gabh mo leath scéal.

If I were from a southern constituency I might see things slightly differently, but I am not from a southern constituency and I see things as they are. I hope I have conveyed my thoughts to the House and I hope the House has heard them as I have meant them to be heard. Let us be clear that nobody has monopoly on being Irish. In our dealings with the Northern majority let us not generate fear in the minds of Protestants. I really think that Northern Protestants at present are looking for friends. This morning I received a necktie from an old man on the Shankill Road in Belfast who, every Christmas since the early seventies, has posted me a tie. He sent me a beautiful letter this year. I came away without it but I said to my wife this morning: "I am going to put this on the record of the House this evening." His letter was pleading for understanding, for friendship, for an end to all the troubles. I want to say to Joe Shaw and his wife Dorothy in Belfast that in sending that little token, I have read into his thoughts that the Protestant people — and this backs up the sentiments expressed by other people — I have spoken with are looking for friends. Could they really say they have many friends in Dáil Éireann?

I listened to Deputy Harte in the last few minutes. The theme running through what he had to say was that there was a religious conflict going on in the Six Counties——

No, no; I said sectarian conflict — very different.

Perhaps that is why I am on this side of the House and he on the other side of the House. It does not boil down merely to religion.

On a point of order, I made the point that the conflict was not about religion, that it was a sectarian conflict. If Deputy Ahern does not understand the difference I will explain it to him some time.

We want to give Deputy Ahern the same audience we gave Deputy Harte. Deputy Ahern without interruption, please.

As long as the Deputy does not misconstrue my remarks.

I should like to place on record my abhorrence of the recent events that have been perpetrated in this country. They bring into perspective exactly how terrorism is a threat to our State and democracy. It is our duty to ensure that there is no corner of this island where people can hide. We have a duty to all our citizens, both in the Twenty-Six and Six Counties to protect them from this terrorism. As a constitutional Republican, one who aspires to a united Ireland by peaceful means, I admit I have had problems about extraditing to the Six Counties. However, I do recognise that the Government have a job to do in the interests of the common good.

I am more than happy with the safeguards being written into the procedure to be followed under the provisions of this Bill, as they afford our citizens the knowledge that no one will be extradited unless there is a justifiable case against them.

The extradition law in Ireland has had a chequered career. The first standpoint was taken in the Extradition Act of 1965 which gave effect to the 1957 Convention on Extradition. Part III of that Act brought into being a very simplified procedure on the extradition of persons wanted in Britain and the Six Counties. Both the 1965 Act and the 1957 Convention ruled out extradition in the case of a political offence or an offence connected with a political offence. The Act also ruled out the prima facie rule in future cases. From 1965 onwards the prima facie requirement could not be applied to extradition to any of the countries which were party to the Convention.

Going on then — arising out of the Sunningdale Agreement — the Criminal Law Jurisdiction Act, 1967, was passed in order to take into account the special problems obtaining between Britain and Ireland. These specific problems were mainly as outlined by the Law Enforcement Commission established at that time jointly by the British and Irish Governments. It was the Irish members particularly who felt there was a problem in relation to Article 29.3 of our Constitution which they felt precluded the Irish Government from changing the political offence exemption laid down under the provisions of the 1965 Act.

The next standpoint was the 1977 European Convention on Terrorism. This arose out of the intention of the Council of Europe to ensure that legislation was in place to prevent terrorists from escaping justice by going from one jurisdiction to another. It attempts to de-limit the age old offence of political offence. The offences stipulated under the terms of that Convention include: hijacking of aircraft, kidnapping, hostage taking, also offences involving the use of bombs or automatic firearms if such use endangers persons' lives. The terms of that Convention also set out to ensure that alleged terrorists were tried in the jurisdiction where the crime was committed.The 1987 Extradition Act was passed to give effect to this Convention. To date 20 of the 21 member states of the Council of Europe have signed that Convention, Ireland is the only country that has not yet signed.

I should like to mention a number of extradition cases which have allowed the Judiciary to take up the running on the question of extradition, something that our Legislature has failed to do in recent years. The first was the McGlinchey case in 1982. In that case the Chief Justice, T. F. O'Higgins, held that "modern terrorist violence is often the antithesis of what could reasonably be regarded as political".The next case was the Shannon one in 1983 which confirmed the thinking in the McGlinchey case. Again, Chief Justice O'Higgins stated that it would be a distortion of language if the offence in that case was to be regarded as a political offence.

Finally, in the Quinn case, it was held that deeds carried out by the INLA whose intention was to destabilise both sections of this island could not, by any stretch of the imagination, be regarded as political. It would appear from that that every case coming before the courts would have to be decided on its merits as to what was or was not to be regarded as politically motivated activity. This was an unacceptable situation, in that what might be regarded by one person as being politically motivated might not be regarded as such by another.

Those judgments left the way open for the Government to implement the Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism.Obviously the British authorities were putting immense pressure on the Coalition Government at that time to implement this Convention as part of the Anglo-Irish Agreement. They exerted that pressure while they themselves were not, and still are not, a signatory to the European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism. That is the reason they can insist on a prima facie requirement in their extradition proceedings, as they did in the case of the Heysel Stadium.The recent attempt to change this rule in the British Parliament met with tough opposition. The United Kingdom is renowned as being the most difficult country from which to extradite.

We must look at the question of extradition in a wider context than that which has prevailed in public debate so far. No one in this State has any problem with extradition to any foreign jurisdiction apart from the United Kingdom.

According to the Sunday Tribune they had.

Deputy McGahon, we cannot have this wee county take over. The Deputy will have to listen. He will be called shortly.

It ill behoves Deputy McGahon to come in here and cast aspersions at the GAA and its connections with Fianna Fáil. He made a remark earlier — I do not think you were in the Chair, a Leas-Cheann Comhairle at the time — and I think he should be made to withdraw it.

I think the Deputy should be ignored.

Since the enactment of the 1965 Act it would appear that we have extradited 145 people approximately to the Six Counties and over 600 people to Britain. To say that extradition to the Six Counties is being brought in for the first time is a nonsense. The fact is that it has been in place since 1965 in a very simplified form. Part III of the 1965 Act provided a much more simplified procedure for extradition to the United Kingdom, including the Six Counties, than that pertaining to extradition to other countries. Obviously the 1965 Act was drafted in a period of virtual stability on this island. To say the least, the law on extradition has been unsatisfactorily dealt with by both arms of this State, the Legislature and the judicial system.

I contend that the 1987 Extradition Act has gone too far. While every decent person would agree with the sentiments expressed by the then Minister for Justice, Deputy Dukes, that none of the offences laid down in Article 1 of the Convention should ever be regarded as political, it has to be said that the Act, as drafted, does not contain any proper reservations or safeguards to protect our citizens going to other countries. In Article 5 the Convention endeavours to preserve the right of asylum in that there is no obligation to extradite if a country has substantial grounds for believing that the request to extradite has been made for the purpose of prosecuting or punishing a person on account of his race, religion, nationality or political opinion. However, it remains to be seen if this reservation could be used to effect. In practice this clause would not be of much use. What do substantial grounds mean?

A number of other countries under this Convention will not extradite their own nationals. A number of parties to the Convention will not extradite where the extraditee is going to be tried by a special court. That is why this Administration have seen fit to follow on from the constructive points made by them during the debate in the Dáil on the 1987 Act. At that time Deputy Michael Woods listed a number of areas which he said could have been looked at. He said:

It is simply not politically credible to continue to base extradition agreements on the premise that we can trust foreign courts. Our experiences in this regard are all too common.

As far as Fianna Fáil were concerned at that time proper safeguards were required so as to ensure that our citizens were protected from these types of injustices.

There is no doubt that the treatment of Irish citizens in the UK has been unsatisfactory.The numbers detained under the Prevention of Terrorism Act are there for all to be seen. In 1971 the Irish Government found it necessary to take the British authorities to the European Court of Human Rights on the grounds of ill-treatment of people in custody, which action resulted in the British authorities being found guilty. The litany of cases in which the quality of justice and fair play has been called into question, even by leading British commentators, is damning.

The monitoring and observation provisions built into this Bill will ensure that we are in the driving seat in the area of extradition. I respectfully suggest that perhaps some official from the Department of Foreign Affairs could be delegated to be present at court hearings in the Six Counties and in Britain of persons extradited from here to there.

Deputy Kelly, in the debate on the 1987 Act, emphasised two points. He said that before we operate the Bill we should get concrete assurances that when extradition is being sought it will be on grounds which will substantiate the successful bringing of a charge. He also felt that we should emphasise that the State should reserve the right to review how the Act worked and that the State could repeal the Act if in future the standards which we are entitled to demand and expect are not met. This Bill is doing exactly what Deputy Kelly was asking, but which his Government were not willing to implement at that time.

This Bill will bring in the necessary safeguards which will endeavour to establish whether or not there is a valid reason or basis for the request for extradition. Before he can certify a warrant under the Bill the Attorney General must be of the opinion that there is a clear indication to prosecute and that this intention is founded on the existence of sufficient evidence. He must base this opinion having considered such information as he deems appropriate. That is a very important phrase. This is the procedure by which this Bill attempts to get as close to a prima facie requirement as possible. The Taoiseach has already explained why it would not be possible to put a prima facie element into the legislation. It would force us to leave the 1957 Extradition Convention. It would also lead to difficulties with regard to the production of a Book of Evidence to comply with our law. Also the examination of witnesses would be difficult.

Previous speakers have questioned the Attorney General's involvement in this Bill. The Attorney General for years and more recently the DPP have decided in their offices whether or not to prosecute a citizen before the courts in this State. I cannot see what is different, as proposed in the Bill. Even Garda superintendents perform this type of procedure, day in and day out.

I read a very interesting article in last week's Sunday Press by the leading senior counsel, Hugh O'Flaherty, in which he stated that the role of the Attorney General under this Bill may be “a stronger protection than having the matter considered by a court: a court can only act on the documents that are before it. The Attorney General will have other means of checking the facts and the background to the case.”

All the speakers who are suggesting that this is a judicial process are advocating a prima facie requirement. As the Taoiseach said earlier, it is not possible to have this included without having unacceptable consequences. Hugh O'Flaherty also stated in his article that the argument that the Attorney General's role is unconstitutional would seem to be without foundation since the Supreme Court in the Shannon case held that there is no need for the legislation to provide a prima facie, that is, a judicial procedure.

I would also suggest that those who suggest that the Attorney General's role under the Bill is unconstitutional should leave the decision on this to the courts who are the sole adjudicators as to whether the legislation is constitutional or not. This argument of constitutionality is often raised by Members in this Chamber regarding other legislation, but that is as far as it goes. The legislation is passed and it is either up to the President or to an aggrieved individual to decide whether to question the constitutionality of the Act. I respectfully suggest that we should leave this decision to the proper forum.

Under the Bill, the Attorney General's role is not judicial but administrative. The reason for this is that there have been over the last few years many instances in which the legal differences between our system and the British system have become apparent. Anyone who opposes this element will in effect be advocating an extradition procedure that is open to question. They would also be calling into question the time honoured functions of State solicitors, Garda superintendents, the DPP and the Attorney General. All these people operate independently of the State.

The Attorney General in other cases must form an opinion and must give his consent when he is dealing with offences under the Official Secrets Act. Under the Criminal Law Jurisdiction Act his consent is also required. I see no reason an accused person cannot question the Attorney General's direction, under section 44B, in the subsequent District Court proceedings to decide on the validity of the warrant. Also, the people who question the Attorney General's role do not seem to have any problem with the power of the Minister for Justice under the 1965 Act. The Minister has much more power under that legislation than that proposed to be given to the Attorney General in this Bill. As far as I am aware, no attempt has been made by any party to limit the Minister's involvement in extradition proceedings, apart from the 1987 Act in regard to political offences.

I am respectfully suggesting that their argument against the Attorney General's involvement in extradition procedure is inconsistent with their lack of action over the years with regard to possible limitations on the Minister's power. With all due respect, Ministers are undoubtedly political figures, whereas the Attorney General is not.

The Bill proposes the implementation of the rule of specialty into our dealings with Britain, provided they bring into their legislation a similar rule. I understand that to date Britain has not in fact breached this rule. This section is merely giving a formal basis to the rule of specialty and should be welcomed.

The monitoring procedures as laid down by the Bill are to be welcomed. As I have said before, Deputy Kelly advocated this type of procedure when speaking on the 1987 Act. Should the experience not be satisfactory, the Attorney General will be in a position to inform the Government of the situation, who then may repeal or suspend the legislation.

One other safeguard in the Bill which is to be welcomed is the lapse of time provision. This extends to the Minister or the High Court the power under section 50 of the 1965 Act to refuse to extradite, by reason of lapse of time. This will prevent any avalanche of warrants which some commentators are all too prone to harp on.

To sum up, this legislation provides excellent safeguards for our citizens in connection with an extradition procedure to the Six Counties and to Britain, which heretofore has been merely a very simplified "backing of warrants" procedure.

I propose to be fairly brief as usual but I would like to share my time with my colleague, Deputy Stagg.

The Deputy will appreciate that in respect of contributions there is an order of the House which limits each speaker to a maximum of 45 minutes. I am not entitled to depart from that unless there is agreement in the House on it. If the House is agreeable that Deputy McGahon should share his time with Deputy Emmet Stagg, then——

I am sure the Minister has no objection.

I have no objection to it.

Coming as I do from the Border county of Louth, a county that has been touched by the tragic divisions in Ulster, I have had plenty of opportunity to witness at first hand the very sad conflict that has occurred in that part of Ireland.

I have to respect the contribution of Deputy Blaney who, at least, was totally honest in his views, views that are unacceptable to me personally, but nevertheless delivered in his customary forthright way. Not so the contributions of the Fianna Fáil Deputies which had a theme of ambivalence running right through them. Only three weeks ago in an article in The Sunday Tribune nine of those Deputies trotted out their opposition per se——

In principle.

They trotted out their opposition per se. Every one of them opposed. Now, three weeks later, we have yet another U-turn on the part of that unhappy party. However, it is a very welcome one so far as I am concerned although I have to say they are being brought screaming up to the mark. They will ratify the Convention because of the weight of international and public opinion here following the sequence of events starting with the Eksund affair, continuing with the O'Grady drama and culminating in the horrific events in Enniskillen. I wonder what event made the greatest impact on that politically expedient decision of Fianna Fáil? Was it the frightful slaughter in Enniskillen or was it the fact that the O'Grady crime was committed in this State? I really suspect it was the trauma of the O'Grady kidnapping, the sequence of events resulting from it and the fact that it would be politically expedient to be seen to do something to put down the animals that kidnapped that unfortunate man.

I recently visited Enniskillen to take part in the remembrance ceremony commemorating the death of 11 gentle people. I was saddened by the absence of a representative from the Irish Government. I can now understand the cynicism with which Ulster Unionists look towards any moves by the South, particularly people associated with Fianna Fáil. That a representative of the Irish Government could not attend on that very sad day was frightening after 20 years of horrific slaughter in the North, sometimes spilling into the South. That was a day of national shame; it was a day on which the Irish Government, had they been sincere in their overtures to the Unionist people in the North, should have been represented at the very highest level. Is it any wonder that the Ulster Unionists say "no surrender." After 20 years of non-stop assault on the Protestant community in the North they say "no surrender" to the human animals of the IRA, and I join them in saying "no surrender" to people who commit crimes against mankind and who have reduced this country to the level of Beirut with savage crimes perpetrated against a section of the community. Is it any wonder there is no confidence on the part of international business in this unhappy State? Does anybody on my side of the House dispute the ambivalence that is traditional in Fianna Fáil? There is no doubt that the myth of the shadow of a gunman hangs over this country. It is part of our tragedy that in 1987 we cannot face up to the harsh realities of life, that is, that the IRA are enemies of both North and South and that has been demonstrated very forcibly in the past month.

I respect Deputy Blaney's contribution here tonight. I do not agree with it, but he had the courage to come in and enunciate his views, unlike the Fianna Fáil Deputies who, if the various leaks are right, had a lot more to say at their parliamentary party meetings but are coming in here now and hiding under the spurious safeguards they are demanding because they have been left with no alternative but to ratify the Convention. Notwithstanding that, I support the Extradition Act with no ifs and no buts. No civilised country should provide a hiding place for people like the IRA or the various shades of it. We should not provide a safe haven for such people but undoubtedly we have done that over the past 20 years. I know that because I have seen people in my own town and in my own county who are wanted for frightening crimes by the Ulster authorities. That is undeniable. I have to object to that.

While every Irishman has a doubt about the trials going on in England at present in relation to, for example, the Birmingham Six, and I share the concern that any innocent man might be convicted, nevertheless I want justice for the almost 3,000 people who are lying in their graves in the North and more than 100,000 people maimed and injured in the steady war of attrition committed mainly against the Protestant community and against any other unfortunate people who get in the way. If we are to be civilised and seen to be so by the outside world we must accept and ratify this measure and take our place with the civilised countries of Europe who have already signed.

Another point I should like to make is that there are over four million normal Irish people living in England, grateful for the opportunity, which perhaps they did not get here, to live and work there. Those people accept and respect British law. As Deputy Harte has said, there are no passports or visas required. England, while undoubtedly the cause of problems in this country, is a country with which we should have more and better ties. It takes most of our produce and many of our people, giving them hope and opportunity.We cannot blame the present English Government and English people for crimes committed against Ireland thousands of years ago.

I doubt if the Ulster conflict can be solved, because, as Dr. Herrema said, we are a nation with our backs to the future. That is a very profound statement.On one hand, we have the 1690 brigade as exemplified by Paisley's mob and, on the other hand, we have the Fianna Fáil Party living in the past also, in 1916. If any progress is to be made towards reuniting this country and ending its tragic division, surely some compromise must be made by people on both sides. Surely we cannot live in the past with old catch cries at election times of "no surrender" in the case of Paisley and a visit to Bodenstown in the case of the Fianna Fáil Party. I would have no difficulty in supporting this Bill because if we are to show any sincerity to the Ulster Unionists, if we are to have any credibility as a civilised nation, we must be prepared to provide no safe harbour or refuge for people who have committed unspeakable crimes.

The tragedy in Enniskillen really plumbed the depths. It sickened and revulsed most people here. There is an overwhelming desire by the ordinary people of Ireland to see the tragedy in the North end. We as politicians have a duty to be responsible. We have a duty to be honest and to look to the future, not to look to the past. We should not be continually harping back to the past or singing songs about our glorious or inglorious past. This Bill is absolutely necessary, despite various dangers that might arise.

I would ask the Irish Government to look at the possibility of proscribing the IRA and Sinn Féin, of banning "An Poblacht", of dropping all relations with international terrorists, for example, the Libyan leader, Colonel Gadaffi, and of standing up for a modern Ireland without the shadow of a gunman hanging over it.

I understand that Deputy Stagg is sharing this time with Deputy McGahon.

I want to thank Deputy McGahon and the House for agreeing to this sharing of time. The issue in this debate is not of terrorism or of how best and most effectively it can be tackled. All parties in this House support the principle that all civilised peoples and nations should act together effectively to combat terrorism, both within national boundaries, however artifical these may be, and between national states.

Within this House the Government party, Fianna Fáil, the main Opposition party, Fine Gael, the Labour Party, the Progressive Democrats and the Democratic Socialist Party have all indicated their support for the European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism and for the extradition of terrorists and other criminals between these countries. The issue is not terrorism; we are agreed on that. The principles of such co-operation, the 1965 and 1987 Extradition Acts and the European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism, are therefore not at issue. The issue for the Labour Party and, I believe, the Irish people is to ensure that the innocent are protected, while ensuring also that those guilty of most reprehensible crimes against humanity and the Irish people are apprehended, convicted and punished.

I can assure the Taoiseach and the House that the Labour Party are not soft on terrorism but that they are very hard on the protection of the innocent and the provision of justice, because every man and woman is innocent until proven guilty in an acceptable judicial forum. In the Bill now before us the Government have failed on two counts. First, they have failed to provide the required, or even minimum, safeguards necessary for Irish citizens before they are extradited. Secondly, they have proposed an unacceptable non-judicial forum which amounts to a gross perversion of our judicial process. The history of our extradition procedures demonstrates our unwillingness to construct an indigenous, truly republican criminal justice system and a contradictory attitude to terrorism. In support of this position, I would point out that extradition with the United Kingdom is conducted much as it was prior to the limited independence we now enjoy, the simple endorsement of warrants for the arrest of persons by senior police officers.

The 1965 Extradition Act failed to reform extradition with the United Kingdom, with the noticeable exception of the notorious political offence section. The third point in support of my main argument is that the 1965 Act also made a distinction that there was no requirement for a prima facie case for extradition to the United Kingdom while it could be required for other jurisdictions. Effectively, therefore, our judicial relations with Britain were maintained as though we were still part of the United Kingdom. The political offence clause in the 1965 Act foiled the intention behind that Act and established double standards in practice.While there were no safeguards — for example the prima facie type safeguard — for Irish citizens sought to be extradited for non-terrorist crimes, terrorist could claim political status and escape unscathed, even though that term was not defined by the Act. This double standard created a haven for terrorists in the Twenty-six Counties and led to charges against us as a people and a nation that we were soft on terrorism.

The Supreme Court definition of a political offence in the McGlinchey and Shannon cases, while open to various interpretations and legally imprecise, was an advance on the earlier position and would effectively deal with the perpetrators of the Enniskillen massacre should they be apprehended and seek political offence status. A further positive advance was made by the 1987 Act which ratified the European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism when it specifically ruled out certain terrorist acts which could previously be claimed as political offences. It was at that time that the omission was made that has led us to the present impasse. It was then that the Coalition Government failed to enter reservations which they could have done, to provide legal safeguards for Irish citizens. A golden non-controversial opportunity was missed and is, in large, part of the reason that we are debating this Bill in a rushed and highly charged atmosphere, with threats, or promises, of a Christmas election.

Many other countries included reservations in their ratification which ensured that the judicial prima facie rule was retained for the protection of their citizens. The question must be posed, are Irish citizens not entitled to the same protection? The Coalition's 1987 Act provided no such safeguards. In the runup to this debate, Government back-benchers have been making headlines for themselves and, indeed, the last Government speaker left me unsure whether he was voting for the Bill as proposed by the Government or was against it. There has been a great deal of ambiguity. Indeed, by and large, their silence now makes all that noise very suspect. They are not at all interested in the legal protection of Irish citizens. This was demonstrated last year when this House approved an extradition treaty with the United States and not one voice was raised at the lack of a prima facie requirement for Irish citizens. Ironically that extradition treaty required Ireland to furnish a prima facie case when requesting a fugitive from the United States.

What we witnessed in the past two weeks was nothing short of the old hypocritical green drum beating by members of a so-called repubican party. This was a farcical display for home consumption with little, if any, real interest in the legal protection of Irish citizens. Indeed, I welcome the statement made today by the Minister for the Environment on what he sees as being republicanism within Fianna Fáil. I welcome his clear statement on that and it was quite unambiguous. It was this green drum beating that produced the unacceptable hodgepodge of a Bill which is now before us. This measure, if implemented would be a massive retreat from the standard rules of justice, may well be unconstitutional and represents a diabolical intrusion of the Executive into the judical process, thereby compromising our system of justice.

The Bill fails to provide even the minimum legal protection of a prima facie rule. This mess of pottage is a result of the green drum beating which I have referred to but let us be clear about this Bill. It represents a dangerous authoritarian trend in criminal justice and, if passed unamended, it will mark a new phase in legal development in Ireland. I wish to develop this point. The Bill provides for the setting of extradition warrants not by an independent Judiciary but by the Attorney General who is a political appointee, an adviser to the Government and an attender at the Cabinet.This invests in the Executive wing of Government a function which belongs to and is especially reserved for the Judiciary. This division of the Executive and the Judiciary is an established rule in our country and in many others and is designed to protect citizens from Executive or Government abuse.

This Bill proposes to make political parties and their appointees the arbiters of who would go to jail and who would not. It is a dangerous road to follow. Decisions regarding extradition would not be made in open court before an independent judge where the defendant and his lawyer could challenge the warrant or request; they would be made behind closed doors by the political appointee of the Government of the day and that is unacceptable. Can the Minister guarantee that the Attorney General's decision will be open and public? Can the Minister guarantee that the Attorney General will not come under any influence in the Cabinet room, in the inner governmental secretariat, from the Taoiseach or the Minister for Justice? Can the Minister guarantee that future Attorneys General will be bound to have due regard to past decisions and precedent?

Can the Minister guarantee that defendants will have the right to challenge the warrants, at least in the Attorney General's office? Can the Minister guarantee that the Attorney General will not have any communication with his or her counterpart in the United Kingdom regarding particular cases? Can the Minister guarantee that there will be no trade offs between the British and Irish Attorneys General — you give me X and I will give you Y? Can the Minister even guarantee that a twisted form of collective responsibility will not enter into such decisions by the Attorney General who is an attender and adviser to the Cabinet? Can the Minister guarantee that precise definitions and guidelines on the nature of sufficient evidence will be provided?

I submit that the Minister cannot give any such guarantees because the procedures so outlined rule out any such guarantee. This is an open invitation to bring the law into disrepute, public suspicion and public influence and for that reason it is also unacceptable. I would like to ask the Minister whether this investing in the Attorney General of a judicial function is a precedent. Can we now expect future legislation to place the power of deciding whether or not people should go to trial in the hands of a political appointee? If this principle of deciding whether Irish men and women should go to trial in a foreign jurisdiction is accepted what is the qualitative difference with our own courts? Can he assure us that this is the direction the Government do not intend to take? If it was proposed that Irish citizens should be committed to trial here in Ireland by a political appointee a furore would be raised, and rightly so. If the Minister gives such a guarantee, can we believe him?

It is for these and for other reasons that the Labour Party will be opposing this Bill on Second Reading. If it survives Second Reading we will be putting forward a number of amendments to remove the monstrous perversion of justice as it relates to devolving judicial functions to the Attorney General and to provide at least the minimum safeguards for Irish citizens. These safeguards which we will propose are of themselves highly contentious but they will keep Irish judicial procedures in line with contemporary European judicial systems.

We seek to ensure that all Irish citizens will be extradited only if there is a case to be answered. We seek to ensure that all such extradition hearings are made before a judge in an open court where the defendant will have the right to challenge the warrant on prima facie evidence. We seek to ensure that the book of evidence has been completed by those requesting the extradition of an Irish citizen. We seek to ensure that there will be no retrospection and that there will be a regular review of the operation of the Act by the Oireachtas. It is appropriate that the 1965 Act treats extradition between the United Kingdom and other countries separately.Our experience of the United Kingdom judicial system is greater due to the proximity of our countries. This proximity makes us even more wary of rushing through a Bill without the proper safeguards.

The British system of justice is riddled with abuses as far as our people are concerned.The obvious examples of these excesses and abuses are the Diplock courts regardless of whether they are comprised of three biased judges or just one, the emphasis in famous and supergrass trials, the long term remand cases, the most notable at present being the Martina Shannon case, and the past and probably continuing violations of the human rights of prisoners.

We believe in the present political climate where racist anti-Irish hysteria is whipped up daily by the British gutter press it is well nigh impossible for any Irish man or woman to receive a fair trial in a British court. We do not need to engage in academic argument to show this as we have all the proof we need in the form of the Birmingham Six trial, where six innocent people are in jail only because they are Irish, and likewise in the case involving the Guildford Four. Further proof is provided by the McNamee case where new charges were introduced midway during his trial and where the press had publicly convicted the accused before his actual trial. The treatment of remand prisoners at present adds to that long litany. Let me say that I view the British system of justice as it applies to Irish men and women with a very jaundiced eye and, therefore, I am all the more concerned that safeguards for the innocent are assured.

I must refer to the hypocrisy of the British authorities and politicians in this affair. They have a requirement with every other country except Ireland that prima facie evidence must be supplied before they extradite any of their citizens. The United Kingdom has not signed the 1965 Convention on Extradition, unlike Ireland, precisely because they want to keep their prima facie requirement. Their attitude seems to be that what is good enough for others is not good enough for them. However, we have our own decisions to make in the best interests of Irish citizens and without British interference.We must decide whether we will pervert our judicial process because we refuse to provide basic judicial safeguards and whether we will modernise our criminal proceedings and bring them into the mainstream of European practice.

This Bill does the first but fails to do the second. It gives us the worst of both worlds and for that reason, if unamended, it should be opposed. If this proposal becomes law it will be an abnegation on the part of the Government of their duty to defend the rights of Irish men and woman both at home and abroad. It foreshadows more ominous, dangerous and authoritarian tendencies which the Government have no qualms in advancing. Finally, I say again that the Labour Party are not soft on terrorism but very strong on justice and the protection of the innocent.

I ask your permission, Sir, and that of the House to concede five minutes of my time to Deputy Tom Kitt.

Is that satisfactory?

Will they be concluded by 7.30 p.m.?

Is that agreement agreed?

I would like to place on record my abhorrence of the 20 years of violence that has gone on in Northern Ireland and of the recent events of the kidnapping of Mr. O'Grady and the Enniskillen bombing. I take the opportunity to congratulate the Garda, the Army and everybody involved in the successful operation in the past few weeks in regard to the kidnap. They worked in very difficult circumstances and at times the security forces were not helped by the various armchair generals we had in the media and, unfortunately, on various sides of this House. Terrorism has no place in a civilised society. It is unfortunate that anybody who declares he is a republican has to dissociate himself from these people who for years have besmirched the name of republicanism and nationalism. It is not popular to say you are a republican now simply because of the acts those people have engaged in for many years.

I am a republican and I make no apologies to anybody for saying that. Nobody involved in terrorist activities should escape the rigours of the law but should be brought to justice. There is no doubt that that happens in this State, although listening to some of the contributions here in the past few days one would think we were in a country that was a haven for terrorists. The last speaker but one, Deputy McGahon, said so and said he was aware of people in his town who were wanted for horrific crimes in the Six Counties. I do not accept that.

I have no difficulty in relation to extradition per se. I have a difficulty, which I do not mind admitting, about extradition to Britain or Northern Ireland because of the system of justice as it operates for Irish people in both Northern Ireland and Great Britain. Deputy Cooney referred to backbenchers in Fianna Fáil having a certain antipathy to Britain. I have no antipathy to the British people. I have certainly antipathy towards the British establishment. I do not believe Irish people will get a fair trial in Britain or Northern Ireland unless we see that safeguards are put in place to ensure that they do. I am happy enough that this legislation we are passing here puts safeguards in place that will go most of the way towards ensuring that Irish people will not be extradited from this State for interrogation or questioning in relation to matters for which they should not be extradited.

People might ask what justification I have for my stance about British justice. We have had plenty of examples in the past years. Deputy Blaney mentioned 1965. Possibly the trouble has been only since then but I think it goes back further. We have examples of the almost exclusive use of the Prevention of Terrorism Act against Irish people. We have the case of the Birmingham Six currently on appeal in which it was stated more or less that it was easier to believe that these six people beat themselves up than that the police committed organised perjury. We have the recent case referred to by Deputy Stagg of those on remand in relation to the trespass of Tom King's residence. The treatment of those and other people on remand is scandalous and would not be tolerated in any civilised country.

The case of Danny McNamee is now coming to light and will in time probably cause the same outcry as the case of the Birmingham Six. He was arrested in midAugust 1986 and was on remand in respect of charges relating to offences in 1983 and 1984. While he was on remand and being brought to court to continue his remand there was a huge security presence with armoured cars etc., more or less letting the British people know a dangerous terrorist was being held on remand. The tabloid press that Deputy Stagg mentioned have done their job in relation to this individual. He was initially charged with crimes committed in 1983 and 1984 in the UK. This was later amended to "charges relating to crimes committed between 1982 and 1984." Later again it was amended to read "in the UK or elsewhere". That addition to the charge was made after the defence had summed up their case. No connection has been established between him and the Hyde Park murders, yet he has been convicted of these. The judge spent five hours summing up for the prosecution and one hour for the defence. He was so biased in his summing up that the defence QC, Mr. Richard Ferguson, stood up and stated that the judge's summary was unfair.

I go into detail on that because of the reservations I have about extradition without the safeguards the Government are putting forward here. We cannot have faith in the British system of justice unless we have those safeguards. It has been said here that people such as the Birmingham Six were not extradited. The point I am making is that the quality of justice in relation to Irish people cannot be depended on and that is why we need these safeguards. I accept the necessity for extradition but I also see the need for safeguards in relation to extradition to Britain and Northern Ireland. I have no intention of going into the legal background because we have had enough legal people on both sides of this House who have gone into that particular argument. Indeed, some of the people who have gone into it might take a note from my stance and stay out of it, so little they know about the legalities of the situation.

I suggest to the House that the safeguards, as proposed by the Government, are as strong as they can possibly be. I am very dubious about the position now being taken by sections of the Labour Party. The position Labour adopted last year was that there was no need for safeguards but now, they say, there are needs for safeguards —prima facie evidence and so on. In relation to the position of the PDs — the latest position they have adopted and which, I think, is their third one — it is as weak as each of the others. They have shifted ground continuously from the time their Leader met with the British Ambassador. I do not think they know where they stand on this issue. The argument in relation to the Attorney General being used in a judicial capacity betrays a lack of understanding by members of the Opposition in relation to the proposals being put by the Government.I would ask them to have a closer look at this before they oppose the safeguards.

The Attorney General is not being used in a judicial role. The part he will play will be at a pre-judicial stage. He is not taking over the functions of the court and even a cursory reading of the amendments proposed to the Act will show that. The safeguards that have been included in this Extradition (Amendment) Bill are very important. The most important to my mind is the question of retrospection that has been mentioned by previous speakers. There are quite a number of people who have been living in this country for some time and who may have been involved in activities years ago. They have now settled down and become good citizens. I believe they should be free from the fear of being extradited. I also welcome the safeguard in relation to the rule of specialty where a person cannot be tried for another offence when they are extradited. It is important that this should be established. It is important that we should carefully monitor this rule so that we can ensure it is fully complied with.

There is one last point I should like to make in general terms. I have listened in the last two or three days to a lot of criticism of Fianna Fáil backbenchers who express their views within their own party in relation to extradition. All I can say to some Members of this House is that we were allowed to do so. Unlike some Deputies in this House we did not have anybody rapping us on the knuckles publicly afterwards about it.

Deputy Tom Kitt is sharing in the time of Deputy Noel Dempsey and, I understand, will conclude at 7.30 p.m.

I thank my colleague, Deputy Dempsey. I will try to be concise and speak for five minutes.

With regard to the European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism, things are not quite the same for us as for other signatories of the Convention. There is no use pretending they are. It would be dishonest and foolish, it would even be dangerous to pretend they are. We might wish that things were the same for us as for others but they are not. I wish that, like France, Italy, Portugal, Belgium, Denmark or Holland, I lived in a nation that was at peace with itself and with its neighbours, that functioned within secure and permanent boundaries, that did not have to conduct its social and commercial life under the dark shadow of partition. Of course we do have to remember the realities.

For most nations terrorism is an alien and brutal intrusion into what is otherwise a sober and lawful existence. It is purely criminal and malicious. It is an outrage that is in no way associated with any aspect of national history or aspiration.The terrorism we face, the method chosen by a few in pursuit of an end, is a deep and emotive part of our history. Many of the Members of this House who were eloquent and sweeping in their condemnations of such acts and who rightly recoil in horror at these abominable acts often chose to ignore the realities of our position.

Let me say clearly what I think that position is. We are, all of us I presume, Republicans in one form or another. I have heard this word used a lot today. All of us who are the representatives of the Irish people believe in our country's right to be one nation in peace and harmoney.All of us, and most of the people we represent, hope for the day when partition will be no more, when there will be a genuine union of hearts and minds throughout Ireland. This is a legitimate and historic aspiration of the Irish people. That aspiration is being frustrated now as in the past in a way which is deeply offensive to many of our people. A grave wrong is being perpetrated on this nation. There is no use in ignoring this fact. There are still many people in Ireland who lived through the struggle for our independence.There are many more who have felt the full brunt of what is sometimes misnamed "justice" in Northern Ireland. These people and many others who observe these events are left with what can be politely called a somewhat jaundiced view of the standards of justice which are available to Irish people in British courts; examples have been mentioned throughout the day.

I know that many very reasonable people in Britain are not a little offended that we should have any doubts about their fairness. Britain has a well founded reputation around the world for the care and consistency with which its law enforcement agencies operate. British justice has become a synonym for decency and fair play amongst many far flung nations of the world. It is a sad fact of life that this perception of British justice is not universally accepted in Ireland, North and South. It is not accepted because it has not been our experience of it. It would be very helpful to all of us if Britain, its political leaders and its people, would try to understand this. Thinking and fair minded people in Britain — and there are many of them — must surely understand that a perception based on the misdeeds of centuries cannot be forgotten in an instant.

I do not seek to be an apologist for those in Ireland whose political outlook and values is based on a bitter hatred of England and of all things English, but I am entitled to articulate the reasonable doubts and fears of the numerous decent people who find themselves in a cruel dilemma, not of their own making, the dilemma of loathing and detestation of the killers and kidnappers who blacken the name of Ireland by their evil deeds and yet who hesitate to trust fully in British justice. We are entitled to have some regard for the feeling of these people. No Government can hope to command the respect of its people unless there are attempts to take account of the views of these people. We do not need to apologise to anyone for attempting to do this.

The Bill is worthy of support, not because it is perfect but because it is the best solution possible to a difficult problem. It provides a reasonable degree of supervision and involvement in the important early stage of extradition. It provides for specificity, ensuring that extradition is used for the purpose for which it was intended. It safeguards against the dredging up of events of long ago and it provides for a procedure of effective and timely review to take place. If any of the provisions of this Bill are of doubtful constitutional value, there are adequate means by which this can be settled in court. All I would ask of Britain in return is that they at least try to understand that the situation created and maintained by them in this country does not make it easy for any of us to be enthusiastic about handing people over to them. Their record is not good, however much they might believe the contrary. We will enact this whole packet of measures on trust and I hope we will not regret it.

On a point of order, before Deputy Dukes speaks, the order of this House is that the speaking time is to be allocated in accordance with the relative strength of the parties. My party as a result of the manner in which the business of the House has been conducted this evening, are about to get a disproportionately small amount of time in terms of the number of speakers. We are to be the party with the least number of speakers, apparently, in this debate. It should have followed, in my submission to you a Cheann Comhairle, that when Deputy McGahon gave up Fine Gael speaking time and shared with the Labour Party and that when a similar arrangement was dealt with, that that was clearly on the understanding that it would not give that party a greater advantage in terms of——

I appreciate the Deputy's point.

We now have the situation where Fine Gael will have nine speakers in this debate and a full three quarters of an hour for their last speaker. They gave away time earlier on in the evening, and other parties are entitled to spread their time——

We cannot go on any longer on this point of order. I appreciate the Deputy's point of view.

I am loath ever to start whingeing and do not want to be seen as a whinger but I do ask for justice. This party are getting less than their proportionate amount of time. That has been done by a Whip's agreement. We have been more than generous in allowing Deputy McGahon and other speakers to share their time and it seems to be unfair and against——

I am sorry if the Deputy and his party feel they are disadvantaged.

I do not feel disadvantaged but I feel an injustice has been done.

The Chair has sought to maintain a decent balance but I share the Deputy's point of view that if at all possible his party are entitled to some portion of time.

I wonder would Deputy Dukes give me ten minutes?

If it is in order for me to comment on a point of order, the matter the Deputy is raising is completely beyond my ken. I have a contribution to make to this debate which I intend to make now.

Why did you——

It is not as if this measure concludes this evening; it goes on for another two days.

Our party are getting the least possible amount of time.

The Deputy has made his point and he is now eroding the time of another Member.

Fine Gael gave away 25 minutes earlier on. I must protest very strongly that an injustice has been done.

Deputy Dukes without interruption.

The Extradition Act, 1987 is now in force. I can assure the House and everybody else that I am glad that we have arrived at this point. I would count that Act among the achievements of the last Government — an achievement with which I am very happy to have been closely associated. It is a very positive step on our part and it makes it clear beyond any doubt that we are totally and unambiguously committed to playing our part in the fight against the scourge of international terrorism. This scourge, as we all know to our cost, affects us; it affects our brothers and sisters and it affects our neighbours and friends. It is a fact to be deplored that there are people on this island who participate in, who foment and who support barbarous acts of terrorism. No sane person can have any hesitation about the necessity to use our resources to the best of our ability to frustrate these terrorists and, if they succeed in their murderous designs, to apprehend them and bring them to justice.

The 1987 Extradition Act and the Bill which is currently before the House are both of considerable importance in the context of the Anglo-Irish Agreement. I take great pride and satisfaction in the fact that the last Government negotiated this historic agreement. I regretted and deplored the fact that when the agreement was brought before this House the Fianna Fáil Party, then in Opposition, opposed it and voiced very ill-considered and uninformed reservations about it. It is encouraging however, that the Government have now seen the light on this issue, as indeed on many others, and have decided to operate the agreement and to work for the achievement of its objectives.I hope this means that we have seen the re-establishment in a real and fundamental way of a bipartisanship in relation in Northern Ireland and Anglo-Irish affairs which has been largely in abeyance since 1980. If that is the case, then we can congratulate ourselves on having achieved something of immense value in this House.

The Bill now before the House is in some respects at least of doubtful origin. On the face of it, it arises from a concern on the part of the Government to ensure that there are adequate safeguards in the process of the backing of warrants procedure which was legislated for by a Fianna Fáil Government in 1965. That is how it appears on the surface. In reality, however, this Bill has more to do with deflating the exaggerated fears and expectations built up by the Government party, then in Opposition, during the debate on the Extradition Bill, 1986, which is almost a year ago. I can find no better example of a volte face than a comparison of the Taoiseach's speech in this House on Friday last introducing this Bill with speeches made by him and other spokespersons for his party around this time last year. There are many things in the Taoiseach's speech of last Friday with which I agree. I would like to mention a few. The Taoiseach said:

I wish first of all to make it clear that we are not "introducing" or "bringing in" extradition. We have had extradition in this country for a long time. It is not perhaps widely appreciated that extradition has been part of the normal law of this country since the foundation of the State. The present special arrangements for extradition between this State and Northern Ireland and Britain have been operating since 1965. They are laid down in the 1965 Act.

Had the Taoiseach been making that kind of remark at this time last year he might not now find himself between the rock and the hard place where he is. He went on to say that under the 1957 Convention, that is the Convention on extradition, it is not possible to have a prima facie requirement. Again, had that point been made by the Taoiseach or any of his spokesmen at this time last year we could all have saved ourselves a good deal of trouble. I will return to that issue later on.

In connection with the arrest of the Eksund by the French authorities he went on to say:

In that connection it is important to recall that the very purpose of the Extradition (European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism) Act, 1987, the legislation due to come into operation on 1st December, is to enable us to subscribe to a convention among the nations of Europe to assist each other in responding to exactly this type of situation.

He referred to states that share common democratic traditions and values and that are political partners and said: "... persons who commit acts of terrorism in or against any one of them should not be able by escaping to a neighbouring country to avail of the political offence exception and claim exemption from extradition." He went on to say that of course we must join in this common fight against terrorism and — and in this I agree with him: "I would not be prepared to see Ireland isolated on this issue and become the victim of accusations and reproach". The Taoiseach made a number of other statements, with many of which I entirely agree with. He went on to speak in a different connection about the rule of specialty and again I quote from the Taoiseach's script:

The rule of specialty is not designed to shield people against additional charges in general but only against additional charges for offences which are not themselves extraditable — for example, a political offence. The way this safeguard works is that charges cannot be added except with the consent of the State which has granted extradition. But if the other charge is for an offence which would itself have been extraditable, that consent must be given.

In that the Taoiseach was interpreting very faithfully the provisions of our existing legislation. Had the Taoiseach taken that view at this time last year the House would have saved itself a great deal of time, the Fianna Fáil Party would have saved themselves a great deal of internal aggravation, and perhaps more to come, and we would have had a much more sane approach to the debate on the issues that are raised in this Bill and in the Act that came into operation at midnight last night. Elsewhere in his script the Taoiseach made a statement with which I cannot at all agree. He said:

I would like at this stage to point out that in Opposition Fianna Fáil accepted the 1987 Act in principle. We did not vote against it.

If I was to parse and analyse that statement I would have to admit that as far as the Second Stage debate was concerned the Taoiseach was accurate in what he said but we all remember that as far as the Committee Stage debate on that Bill was concerned the Taoiseach, and his colleagues, took a very different view. That has a lot to do with the position the Taoiseach finds himself in today.

Some part of the reason for that great difference in approach between last year and this year may be found in the fact that the Taoiseach is now in the position to know more about the issue. I do not think that is an important part, or even a small part, of the explanation. The real explanation is that the Taoiseach now has responsibility and finds himself in a position in which he cannot make exaggerated claims, extravagant claims or provoke exaggerated fears. On this issue, as on others — I need only to refer to education, the debate on the Single European Act and the Anglo-Irish Agreement — the Fianna Fáil Party in Opposition exaggerated and misrepresented without the slightest thought for the future and they now find themselves in considerable internal difficulty because they have been brought face to face with reality. They are now finding it is a difficult and dangerous thing to stop a runaway horse which they have whipped into a mad gallop in the first place.

During the course of our preparations for the 1986 Extradition Bill, now the Extradition Act, 1987, we examined the question of safeguards. On introducing the Bill to this House I set out clearly what had been done in this connection. I should like to quote from the Official Report of 4 December 1986, column 1386, where I said:

...a full review has taken place and it has been decided bilaterally that a warrant for the return of a fugitive will not be sought unless the Director of Public Prosecutions in Northern Ireland, or the Crown Prosecution Service in Britain, has considered the evidence and is satisfied that it is sufficient to ground a clear expectation of a prosecution.This means sufficient evidence of a kind that is admissible in court.

In effect, this means that a warrant will not be sent from Northern Ireland or Britain for execution in the State, or vice versa, unless the case has been examined at a high level to see if there is sufficient evidence on which to bring a charge. This accords with the principle that extradition is for the purpose of charging a person and not merely for questioning him.

At a later stage in that debate, as reported in the Official Report of 16 December, 1986, column 3058, I said:

The British authorities have now agreed an addition to this arrangement.In all cases where a warrant is sent to this jurisdiction for backing the British Attorney General will send to our Attorney General through diplomatic channel a confirmatory note to the effect that he, that is the British Attorney General, has satisfied himself that the relevant prosecuting authorities have complied with the arrangements I have just described. That note will serve as an additional reassurance that those arrangements have been complied with in each case.

The passages I have just quoted show very clearly that we were concerned about safeguards at that time. Our concern then, as now, was that the procedures should work properly in the manner intended in both jurisdictions while providing proper legal safeguards for the persons concerned. The Bill sets out to provide or to reinforce safeguards. In that it is consistent in principle with our stand on this issue last year. If the Government now consider it is necessary and feasible to provide by statute what we set out last year to achieve administratively, then I do not object in principle as long as it can be done without putting an obstacle in the way of handing over of persons who are properly charged in the other jurisdiction. I would like, either during his reply to the Second Stage debate or at the appropriate time in a later Stage of the debate, that the Minister for Justice would indicate to the House what follow-up has been given to those administrative arrangements which we set up and which were fully set out to the House during the course of the debate on the Extradition Bill almost a year ago.

My spokesperson on Justice, Deputy Sean Barrett, will be putting down a number of amendments to deal with concerns which we have about the provisions of the Bill. There is room for doubt about the constitutionality of giving the Attorney General the power proposed in the Bill. There may, indeed, be room for doubt about the constitutionality of giving that power to any other officer. Some Members of the House, far more qualified than I am, have given an opinion on these issues, including my good friend and colleague, Deputy John Kelly, who has expressed strong views on it.

Deputy Kelly takes the view, which I respect, that the proposed action is constitutional.There are other Members who disagree. On the other hand, the Government are being advised, I assume, that the proposed powers would be constitutional also. The difficulty is, of course, that the person who is advising the Government on the constitutionality of the action proposed is the very person on whom it is proposed to confer these powers, the Attorney General. I would prefer to see those powers being given to the Director of Public Prosecutions who has a clear, unambiguous functional independence from the process of Government.I say, "process of Government", very deliberately because I want to make it clear to the House that I do not subscribe to the facile belief — there is a danger that Members of the House will cultivate it — that persons involved in a political process are to be suspected of ill motives just because of that involvement. That is why I say I would prefer the powers being proposed in the Bill to be given to the Director of Public Prosecutions because of his functional independence from the process of Government. That is the central point of most importance.

As I say, there is room for doubt on this issue of the constitutionality of the conferring of those powers on the Attorney General and, indeed, perhaps on the Director of Public Prosecutions. In view of that doubt, I would strongly urge the Government to request the President to refer the matter to the Supreme Court for a decision. We are putting down an amendment to that effect. I further support that amendment, and that request to the Government and to the House, by saying that it would be far preferable — I am sure the House will agree with that — if the matter were disposed of one way or the other in that way than to have the matter raised as a result of a particular case in one of our courts and have the question of the constitutionality of one of our Acts brought into question in the kind of atmosphere that sometimes surrounds some of those cases.

During the course of his introductory speech on Friday last, the Taoiseach said, and I quote:

I also wish to make it clear that should it emerge after a period of 12 months that these arrangements are not working satisfactorily and persons whose extradition is fully justified can evade the law, the Government will bring forward revised proposals to deal with such a situation.

I believe it is essential that we follow that course and we will, accordingly, put down an amendment providing for such a review in the Bill. The amendment will provide that the central provisions of the Bill shall cease to operate at the expiry or 12 months from the commencement date unless a resolution is passed by the Houses of the Oireachtas that they should continue in operation.

In this specific connection, and also because I believe it to be desirable in any case, we intend to propose the insertion in the Bill of a provision that the report proposed to be made to the Government by the Attorney General each year shall be brought before the Dáil. Given the interest and concern that the House has clearly shown with the process of extradition, it seems to me that if the Attorney General is reporting to the Government on the circumstances surrounding all of these cases it is a matter which should come before the House since it may well be, although one hopes to avoid the necessity for this kind of legislation very often, that the House will be called upon again at some stage in the future to legislate further on the issue.

One thing the debates last year and this year, not only in this House but elsewhere, has shown very clearly is that while there is a very strong degree of concern, a very proper degree of concern, in this country about the process of extradition, that strength of concern is matched in many cases by an almost equal depth of ignorance about what is involved in this process. I believe that bringing that report before the House will give us all an opportunity not only to be clear in our minds on the subject but also to ensure that the general public are far better informed about the issues which arise in connection with extradition.

In order to make it clear that the functions under this Bill which I believe should be assigned to the Director of Public Prosecutions should not be open to any untoward influence, we will propose the insertion in the Bill of a section providing that it shall not be lawful to communicate with the officer concerned for the purpose of influencing a decision to give or not to give a direction as provided for in the Bill. As of now I can say that this provision will mirror one already in enactments concerning the Director of Public Prosecutions. Because we are talking about the allocation of new functions to the Director of Public Prosecutions, which in my preference, we should make it clear at the same time that the same concern would apply in this connection.

In section 2 (2) (b) of the Bill, it is proposed that the High Court shall be enabled to refuse extradition on the grounds that, by reason of the passage of time since the commission of the offence, it would, having regard to all the circumstances, be unjust, oppressive or invidious to extradite the person concerned.During the course of his speech last Friday the Taoiseach said he wanted to make it clear that:

...The mere passage of time itself will not constitute grounds for a refusal of extradition.

In my view, this provision is not sufficient.It needs amendment to make it clear what the intention is; it needs the addition of a phrase to put that beyond any doubt and we will propose such an addition.

This is an important section. We heard the same concerns and allusions expressed during the debate on the 1986 Bill this time last year. The House should be clear on just what is involved. I have heard this case being made many times and I know I am not the only person in the House who has heard it. The proposition goes something like this. We all remember the events in Northern Ireland, particularly in the period from 1969 to 1973-75. A great many young people in Northern Ireland were caught up, as young people will be in those kinds of tragic circumstances, in incidents such as throwing bricks or general rowdy conduct in the course of some of those most unfortunate events at that time. Numbers of those people, having lived some years in those circumstances, decided they no longer wanted to live in those surroundings.They came down here, settled, put down roots and now have families. They are afraid that with a provision like this — and this arose in the context of the debate last year — they might suddenly find a warrant had been produced to hand them over to Northern Ireland. That is the way the case is put, but that is not the complete picture.

I cannot see why, say, in ten years from today, persons who committed an outrage like the bombing in Enniskillen should not be handed over to justice for trial wherever the appropriate place is simply because ten years have passed. I cannot think of any defence that could possibly justify our taking such a position. There still are, and the House knows it, cases around the world of people who are being pursued for atrocities committed during the Second World War. I do not think there are many people who would say that if people are found against whom there is strong evidence of involvement in such atrocities, they should escape scot free simply because of the lapse of time. That is the other side of the case being addressed in this provision. That is why we will be proposing that a further addition should be inserted in the section of this Bill to refer to other exceptional circumstances which should be taken into account by the court.

That is not to say I believe our courts would be lax or excessively lenient in their application of this Bill, or whatever comes out of the process of debate we are going through now. We should make it clear what we intend to be the law, and we should make it clear that we have not been seduced by the simple siren song that is built on the particular case of people who, in their early teens, were involved, probably against their will, in violent incidents and have now turned their back on all that. In this connection we should leave no room for ambiguity. We should make it perfectly clear just what we have in mind in this regard.

During the course of his speech on Friday last, the Taoiseach referred to a number of other issues that have arisen in debates last year and this year about extradition. He referred to the fact that under the 1957 Convention on Extradition it is not possible to have a prima facie requirement. He went on to say:

...the reality is that if this country were to require a prima facie case to be made out by a country which is party to the Convention on Extradition, then we would no longer be able to remain party to that Convention under which we have operated for more than 20 years.

He went on further to say:

...a prima facie requirement would be a major practical obstacle to extradition. It would mean that prosecuting authorities in a foreign jurisdiction would have to produce a book of evidence founded on their law but which would also have to comply with our law. The problem of having to have key witnesses from that jurisdiction available in court for examination on their written statement would also arise.

If the Taoiseach and his colleagues in the Fianna Fáil Party and, indeed, other Deputies in this House had taken that same view a year ago, we could have saved ourselves a great deal of time here in this House, and I think I may fairly state that the issue would not be before us today in the same framework — indeed, I suspect it might not be before us today at all.

I have not changed my view on this issue over the past 12 months, although other people seem to have done so. I believed then, and I believe now, that the introduction of a prima facie requirement into the arrangements between Ireland and the United Kingdom would be a substantial move back from the position which has obtained up to now. It would be, in every sense, a retrograde step and would clearly be seen to be a step away from anything like a full commitment to international co-operation in the fight against terrorism. My party, therefore, will not support any proposal in this House to move in that direction.

It has been pointed out many times during this debate, and this evening by Deputy Kitt, that when we talk about extradition the situation is not the same for us as it is for many other countries. I would agree with that much, but we should bring out into the open all the differences between our situation and that in other countries. We are speaking mainly in the context of crimes of violence that arise from subversive or terrorist activities. Mind you, I heard very little comment during the course of this debate or during the course of the debate last year about the other side of the extradition process. I cannot remember — although I had this information last year — how many people were handed over from the United Kingdom to the Irish jurisdiction for trial here. There are many such cases. A number of the people handed over are convicted and some are acquitted. We should be very careful and very wary about adopting in debate a line of argument which would suggest that we expect that everybody who is brought before a court and charged should be convicted and that, in some way, an extradition procedure has failed or shown that it is not of value if somebody is extradited, tried and acquitted. That is not the case. Otherwise we would have to believe that everybody who appears before a court should automatically be convicted.

There are other differences in our case of which we must take account because if we do not we are turning our backs on reality. Clearly, we are concerned about Irish citizens and we also have citizenship laws in this country that are wider than those in any other country in Europe and — I think I am right in saying — than any other country in the world.

Every person born on this island is entitled to Irish citizenship. Every person who has one grandparent born on this island is entitled to Irish citizenship. It is just one more reason, among many, which gives rise to the fact that Irish citizenship is an awful lot wider than the people who live on this island or indeed in the jurisdiction of this State. It is legitimate to express concern about what happens to Irish citizens when they are extradited but it is not legitimate to go on from that and to say that in the case of Irish citizens we should put some special condition or obstacle to the process of extradition, other than those that are properly required to ensure that the law is observed properly and fully in the two jurisdictions concerned.

If all who participate in this debate recognised and accepted the effect of the breadth of our citizenship laws on relations between this island and the neighbouring island, we would be doing a far better job for the people whom we represent and who expect the protection of the law because that is what it comes down to in the end. People expect the full, wholehearted and unambiguous protection of the law for their persons and property.

I intend to respond in general terms to the main points which have been raised so far in the debate, some of which I will be going into in more detailed fashion when we examine the Bill on Committee Stage. First, however, I think it is worth recalling again the context in which this Bill has come before the House.

The Extradition (European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism) Act, 1987, came into force this morning. This means that we are now in a position to ratify that Convention. The parties to the Convention have pledged themselves to counter the problem of international terrorism by facilitating the extradition of fugitives from justice who claim a spurious political justification for serious crimes of violence. In office and out of it Fianna Fáil have always acknowledged the need for international co-operation in the battle against terrorism. This is why we supported in principle the legislation enabling us to ratify the terrorism Convention when it came before this House last year. Our only difficulty with the legislation was that it did not address the safeguards issue to the extent that was necessary.

After some of the events of recent weeks, the problem of international terrorism is present in a particularly immediate and acute way in the minds of people in this country. The general feeling of revulsion against terrorism, which has always been there, has been intensified by these events and they have served to remind us that we are confronted with a grave problem in dealing with subversive violence.

We have all been shocked beyond words by the savagery shown in the John O'Grady kidnap and the Enniskillen bombing. Adding to the universal feeling of outrage at these events came the news that terrorist elements with international links have been actively seeking to build up a deadly arsenal of sophisticated weapons with which to maim and kill people on this island on a scale away beyond anything we have experienced up to now. The horrors of the past few weeks have served only to confirm our determination to deal with subversive violence.

As everybody knows, special policing and security measures have been taken in the aftermath of these events and are continuing. A massive search for arms and ammunition has taken place and a number of people are now before the courts on charges arising from finds that have been made. Searching will go on for some time yet. When the major search operation began I expressed confidence that members of the public who might be put to any inconvenience as a result of the search would understand what we were doing and why. I stressed that the operation was in the interests of each one of us and I asked the public to help in any way they could. The public have co-operated very well indeed and I want to express thanks to them for this co-operation.I confidently ask for a continuation of this co-operation. The Garda deserve it and have a right to expect it in carrying out the difficult and, as we have seen only too clearly, the dangerous job we have entrusted to them.

In his opening statement in this debate on Friday last the Taoiseach paid tribute to the courage, dedication and diligence of the Garda in dealing with the kidnapping and said he was confident that, as a result of their continuing search for him, the reputed leader of the kidnap group would be captured too. Later that same day he was apprenhended. In the course of the operation he was seriously injured, a man travelling with him was killed and an Army officer was injured, though I understand not seriously. It is regrettable that operations of this nature, involving our Garda and Army in the necessary use of gunfire should have to take place. Thankfully, they are fairly rare occurrences but it is a pity that they have to happen at all.

Nobody wants to see people killed or injured, to see innocent people put at risk and to witness then the grieving of relations and friends but no one can be allowed to take the law into his own hands. We jealously guard our tradition of having our police force unarmed but if and when the occasion demands it the Garda, backed up when necessary by our Army, can be relied upon to take whatever action is called for with courage and resolution. We are all deeply grateful to the Garda Síochána, and the Army, for bringing this difficult and dangerous operation to a successful conclusion.

Side-by-side with nationwide concern about the terrorist threat, we have had an unprecedented level of public interest in the issue of how Irish people might be treated before foreign courts, particularly in the wake of an atrocity that stirs people's passions and may affect their sense of fairness. This concern has arisen in the context of the appeal in the Birmingham Six case and the ongoing efforts to have the cases of the Maguire family and the Guildford Four reviewed.

This is the context in which today's Bill is set. There is a consensus throughout the country that we must play our part in the international struggle against terrorism.There is ongoing concern about cross-Border or Border-related subversive activity. At the same time the public are deeply anxious that the authorities here should be vigilant in their scrutiny of requests to surrender Irish people for trial in foreign jurisdictions. They want everything possible to be done to ensure that the treatment of an extradited person will not in any way be arbitrary or unfair. Irish people of every political persuasion — and none — are concerned about this matter. The Bill before us today reflects the widely held view in this country that existing safeguards in the matter of backing of warrants do not go far enough, especially in the context of the coming into operation of the Extradition (European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism) Act, 1987.

What this Government have done has been to listen to the concerns being voiced by the public and to take the appropriate action. We wanted to ensure that a person's extradition would not be sought merely for the purpose of getting enough evidence to charge him with the offence cited in the warrant or indeed some new charge. We have devised statutory arrangements to ensure that, at the time when a warrant is sent here for backing, there is a clear intention to prosecute him and that that intention is founded on the existence of sufficient evidence. We have also addressed our minds to the rule of specialty which is already in force in our arrangements with places other than Britain and Northern Ireland. The application of this rule ensures that a person's extradition for a particular offence is not followed by the bringing of additional charges against him for offences for which extradition would have been refused. The Bill also provides that a person's return may be refused where, by reason of lapse of time it would, having regard to all the circumstances, be unjust, oppressive or invidious to return him.

Our concern in drafting the provisions governing the issues of sufficiency of evidence and specialty has been to respond to the legitimate concern of many responsible people in this country that our extradition arrangements should protect the rights of the accused to the greatest possible extent. We wanted to do this without at the same time undermining the principle that those against whom there is a well-founded serious charge to answer should, where possible, come before the courts of the country in which the alleged offence occurred. There is a delicate balance to be struck between these two objectives. Nothing that I have heard in the debate so far has shaken my belief that we have got that balance right.

I come now to deal with the main points that have been raised in the debate. The debate has centred mainly on the provisions of section 2 of the Bill which relate to the functions which it is proposed to allocate the Attorney General. This is as it should be because that is the most important safeguard provided for in the Bill. Section 2 will provide a meaningful safeguard in the matter of sufficiency of evidence but will not suffer from the drawbacks that a prima facie requirement would involve. The Government have decided that the appropriate person to perform the function under section 2 is the Attorney General. A number of speakers queried this.

Article 30.1 of the Constitution provides that there will be an Attorney General "who shall be the adviser to the Government in matters of law and legal opinion". Some Deputies have sought to make much play of this provision in the Constitution, suggesting that the Attorney's role is confined to that of legal adviser to the Government. But that is not the Attorney's only function because the same Article of the Constitution goes on to state that he "shall exercise and perform all such powers, functions and duties as are conferred or imposed on him by this Constitution or by law". The function which section 2 of this Bill confers on the Attorney General is one conferred by law in accordance with Article 30 of the Constitution.

It has always been accepted that the Attorney General is independent in the exercise of his functions. The leading work on the Office of the Attorney General in Ireland cites the following statement with approval:

in the discharge of his legal and discretionary duties the Attorney General is completely divorced from party political considerations and from any kind of political control.

The Minister for Social Welfare has already in the course of this debate referred to the statement by Mr. Justice Kingsmill Moore in McLoughlin v. Minister for Social Welfare that

the Attorney General is in no way the servant of the Government, but is put into an independent position. He is a great officer of State, with grave responsibilities of a quasi-judicial as well as of an executive nature.

Some Deputies referred to the fact that the Attorney is removable from office at will, as indicating that he would be subject to influence and pressure in the discharge of his functions under the Bill. That is not the way Mr. Justice Kingsmill Moore saw the matter. He said:

The provision for his voluntary or forced resignation seem to recognise that it may be his business to adopt a line antagonistic to the Government, and such a difference of opinion has to be resolved by his ceasing to hold the post... But while he is in office he holds, and if he is to do his duty and discharge his responsibilities must hold an independent position. He is specifically excluded from being a member of the Government, which again underlines his special position.

The kind of suggestions we have heard from some speakers in this debate about Attorneys General being subject to political pressure in relation to the exercise of their functions under this Bill are unworthy, are quite unwarranted and are out of keeping with the constitutional position.

In this context, Deputies will have noted the remarks of Deputy John Kelly on the radio last Friday on the question of the independence of the Attorney General. He said:

An Attorney General is not there to take orders on a day to day basis from the Government and I am not aware that any Attorney General ever has done so. He is an officer whose position is specified in the Constitution and he always has behaved as though he is conscious of that status. I do not think you need be afraid that if this Bill becomes law the Attorney General is going to be exerting his new statutory powers merely to accommodate himself to a shifting political wind. I do not think that is going to happen.

Deputy Kelly expressed similar sentiments in this House this morning.

We have also heard suggestions during the debate that the function which the Bill confers on the Attorney General ought more properly to be conferred on the Director of Public Prosecutions. It would be quite inappropriate to do this. The functions of the Director of Public Prosecutions relate to the prosecution of offences within this jurisdiction. He has no function in relation to extradition applications, whereas the Attorney General has. Responsibility for representation of the State in extradition cases in court rests with the Attorney General. He also has an important role, as matters stand, in relation to the vetting of warrants and accompanying documentation before warrants are endorsed by the Commissioner of the Garda Síochána.We are all aware of the kind of technical difficulties about warrants that have arisen in certain extradition cases. The Attorney General is directly concerned in a number of administrative measures that are being taken to reduce to the minimum the risk of extradition warrants and associated documentation being found by our courts to fail to meet the requirements of Irish law.

I would also point to the non-statutory arrangements on the sufficiency of evidence which the previous Government were proposing to participate in. These arrangements would involve the British Attorney General providing, through the diplomatic channel, a certificate to our Attorney General — the arrangement was to be on an "Attorney General to Attorney General" basis. The Attorney General in Britain is the Law Officer who would have ultimate responsibility on their side for arrangements there might be in the prosecution service to ensure that every extradition case is scrutinised for sufficiency of evidence. The appropriate law officer here to be in communication with the British Attorney General on this matter and to be given a statutory function with regard to it is clearly the Attorney General and not the Director of Public Prosecutions. The previous Government accepted that this was so when they were proposing purely administrative arrangements. Why should the position be different now that the safeguard on sufficiency of evidence is being strengthened by giving our Attorney General a strengthened rule and by putting it on a statutory basis?

Finally, conferring this function on the Attorney is consistent with the principle that has been maintained in other areas, namely that in criminal law matters which involve our relations with other countries, it is the Attorney General, not the Director of Public Prosecutions, who has responsibility. For example, it is the Attorney General and not the DPP who has the function of prosecuting for offences under the Fisheries (Amendment) Act, 1978. Similarly, the consent of the Attorney General is required for prosecutions under the Geneva Conventions Act, 1962, the Official Secrets Act, 1963, the Genocide Act, 1973 and the Criminal Law (Jurisdiction) Act, 1976. The reason that responsibility for prosecutions has been reserved to the Attorney General in all these areas is because of their international dimension. That dimension very obviously exists in the case of the present Bill too.

Deputies asked on what basis would the Attorney General form his opinion that there was a clear intention to prosecute and that that intention was founded on the existence of sufficient evidence.

The short answer to that question is that the new section 44B, which is to be inserted in the Extradition Act 1965, provides that the Attorney General will consider "such information as he deems appropriate".

In practice what that will mean is that it will be a matter for the Attorney General himself to decide in the light of each case, the nature and extent of the information which will be necessary, in the case, for the purpose of forming the opinion which is required by the Bill.

The Government are anxious that the new requirement should not act as an obstacle to legitimate extradition requests. What the Attorney General will be looking for is material which will enable him to form his opinion one way or the other as to the matters mentioned in the section. Obviously, it is not possible for me to say in advance what he will be requiring in any particular case. I am confident that the British authorities will co-operate to ensure that the provision operates successfully and with a minimum of complication.

Deputy Taylor and Deputy McDowell have suggested that the procedure proposed in section 2 will provide an inadequate safeguard because, as drafted, the section does not require that all warrants should be submitted by the Garda Commissioner to the Attorney General for his consideration. This is not so. In fact, the proposed sections 44A and 44B which section 2 inserts into the 1965 Act have been carefully drafted to ensure that the Attorney General will be required to form an opinion one way or the other in the case of all warrants to which this Bill relates.

Section 44A says that such a warrant shall not be endorsed if the Attorney General so directs. Section 44B then goes on to say that a direction of the Attorney General shall be given unless the Attorney General is of opinion, etc. This clearly places the Attorney General under a duty to form an opinion in relation to each warrant under the Bill. It is only if he is of opinion that there is a clear intention to prosecute etc., that he is entitled to decide not to give a direction. To enable the Attorney General to fulfil this duty, it will be necessary for the Garda Commissioner to refer every warrant covered by the Bill to the Attorney General. The Garda Commissioner will, of course, be obliged to do this in view of the very clear statutory requirements on the matter. As Deputy Kelly pointed out, the duty of the commissioner under section 43 of the 1965 Act to endorse a warrant is subject to the provisions of Part III of that Act and the new sections 44A and 44B will be included in Part III.

Deputies Barrett and Shatter also asked what "sufficient evidence" means in section 44B. It is quite clear from the terms of the section that it can refer only to sufficient evidence to found an intention to prosecute. There can be no question of it referring to evidence sufficient to establish guilt beyond reasonable doubt. Deputy Shatter asked what would happen if a person was extradited and subsequently acquitted. That, of course, would not reflect in any way on the opinion the Attorney General had formed in the case. As the Tánaiste has already pointed out, evidence to prove a case beyond reasonable doubt and evidence sufficient to found on intention to prosecute are altogether distinct concepts.

The new procedure involving the Attorney General's opinion has also been criticised from opposite points of view on the score of its being open to review by the courts. Deputy O'Malley was of the view that the most worrying feature of the Bill was that it had been drafted so as to attempt to exclude from judicial review the substance of the decision entrusted to the Attorney General. Deputy Barrett, on the other hand, was afraid that section 44C would cause enormous problems because it would involve the Attorney General being called to court to explain why he had not given a direction prohibiting the endorsement of a warrant and would have to indicate what the reasons were for his opinion.

The true position, of course, lies between these suggested extremes. The Bill does not seek to exclude the possibility that the court might review the Attorney General's decision. It would not be appropriate, and might well be unconstitutional, to seek to do that. It is properly a matter for the courts themselves to decide whether a decision of this kind should be reviewable and, if so, to what extent. Some executive acts which require the deciding authority to be "of opinion" as to certain matters have been held by the courts to be subject to review by them, while other such acts have been held not to be reviewable or to be so on relatively narrow grounds only. It seems to depend in part on the nature of the act in question.

The Bill does not, therefore, seek to exclude the possibility of review. What it does is try to ensure that, if somebody wants to put the question of a direction by the Attorney at issue in extradition proceedings, the onus will be on him to show that a direction was given or ought to have been given. It will not be open to somebody to simply make an assertion to that effect in court and thereby put the State on proof that a direction was not given and ought not to be given. That is the effect of section 44C. It is a reasonable and acceptable application of the principle that he who asserts must prove.

The other thing the Bill does is that it reserves judicial review of the Attorney General's decision to the forum where such review of executive or administrative action normally takes place, namely, the High Court. That is the intention of section 2 (1) (c) of the Bill which provides that in any proceedings in the District Court in relation to a warrant to which the Bill relates, it shall not be necessary to prove that a direction of the Attorney General was not given or required to be given. This will mean that it will be possible to raise an issue about the Attorney General's direction only in the High Court.

It has also been suggested that the functions which the Attorney General will be required to perform under section 2 are essentially judicial in nature. The implication appears to be that section 2 is therefore unconstitutional because it empowers the Attorney General to take decisions as to people's rights and liabilities and, therefore, amounts to a usurpation of the functions of the courts to administer justice. But the fact that a statute empowers the Attorney General to take a decision that will affect the right of a person to take some legal proceedings, or his liability to such proceedings, does not mean that the statute empowers him to determine the issue in the legal proceedings. It is not as if it were empowering him to try a criminal or civil case.

Essentially what section 2 requires the Attorney General to do is to form an opinion as to two matters — that there is an intention to prosecute and that that intention is based on the existence of sufficient evidence. For the purpose of future requests from Northern Ireland and Britain, it will be necessary for the Attorney General to form that opinion before a warrant may be endorsed and the processes of our legal system set in motion. The formation of that opinion will be a necessary preliminary step to the initiation of the extradition process. In no sense will the Attorney General be deciding that the offence for which the person is sought is an extraditable offence. That will remain a matter for our courts and, in certain limited circumstances set out in the 1965 Act, for me as Minister for Justice. Nor will the Attorney General in any sense be deciding that the person sought should be committed for trial. That will remain a matter for the courts of the requesting jurisdiction in the event that the person is extradited. Those are not the purposes of the procedure.

Rather its purpose is to ensure that there has been adequate scrutiny of evidence on the other side, reflecting the principle which underlies extradition. The principle was stated in the Supreme Court in the Shannon versus Fanning case as being that extradition must be bona fide, that is, for the purpose of putting the person on trial on the basis that there is already sufficient evidence to put him on trial. Proceedings which are not bona fide should not be permitted to go before the courts any more than the Attorney General or the Director of Public Prosecutions should bring a prosecution before our courts on a charge which was without sufficient supporting evidence.

There is no question, therefore, of any functions of the courts being usurped. Deputy Kelly, who is a leading authority on the Irish Constitution, has said that he feels the apprehensions about the involvement of the Attorney General are not well founded. He has referred to the case of McDonald versus Bord na gCon, Costello's case, Shanahan's case and MacCurtain's case and has said that he thinks the functions proposed in the Bill do not correspond at any point to the description of a judicial function given in McDonald. He has dealt with these cases in a most authorative way and I do not propose to try to cover the same ground. However, I do want to take up some of the points that were made by some other speakers in support of the suggestion that the Attorney General's function would be a judicial one.

The new procedure we are introducing is an executive or administrative — not a judicial — procedure. A strong parallel exists, I would suggest, between the functions we are conferring on the Attorney General in this Bill and his functions in respect of certain prosecutions where his consent is necessary before a prosecution may be taken. I have already mentioned the Criminal Law (Jurisdiction) Act, 1976, and other statutes which require the authority of the Attorney General for a prosecution. These functions are not of a judicial nature. The decision of the Director of Public Prosecutions to institute or not to institute proceedings is not a judicial act either. That decision involves an evaluation of the strength of the case against a suspect. Why, then, should it be maintained that the function conferred on the Attorney by this Bill is judicial just because it involves his forming an opinion on whether there is a clear intention to prosecute, which is founded on sufficient evidence, on the part of prosecuting authorities in a foreign jurisdiction who are seeking a person's extradition from here?

Deputy O'Malley suggested that what was at issue in the Bill was different from a decision by the Director of Public Prosecutions to bring, or not to bring, a prosecution.He said that a decision as to whether a person should or should not be deprived of his liberty and surrendered into the hands of another sovereign power is a justiciable controversy. Of course it is and will continue to be but that decision will not be taken by the Attorney General. The formation of the opinion of the Attorney General under section 2 of the Bill will simply be a necessary preliminary step to the determination of that justiciable controversy by a court. The decision to extradite or not to extradite will remain one for the court, in the same way as the decision as to guilt or innocence in a prosecution remains one for the court after the DPP or the Attorney General has decided in the light of the available evidence that the case is one in which a prosecution should be brought. Is Deputy O'Malley suggesting that a decision by the DPP to prosecute somebody does not result in that person being deprived of his liberty, by way of arrest and remand, pending the determination by a court of the justiciable controversy that is involved in a criminal trial?

Another existing function of the Attorney General which I think is clearly in point is his function in relation to criminal appeals. Under section 29 of the Courts of Justice Act, 1924, no appeal lies from the Court of Criminal Appeal to the Supreme Court unless the Court of Criminal Appeal itself or the Attorney General or the Director of Public Prosecutions certifies that the decision involves a point of law of exceptional public importance and that it is desirable in the public interest that an appeal should be taken. How can it be said that a decision affecting the availability of an appeal in individual cases to the highest court in the land is not a judicial function but that the forming of the Attorney's opinion under this Bill is?

Deputy O'Malley also indicated that the Attorney General's function under the Bill could not be less than judicial because in the Senezio case the issue of a summons by a District Court clerk was held to be a judicial act. He said that the very fact of a District Court clerk being supposed to make up his mind whether he should issue a summons was held to be judicial. But the fact of the matter is that in the Senezio case the Supreme Court was interpreting a specific statutory provision which conferred on district justices the function of receiving information or complaints. The court held that the issue of a summons upon the making of a complaint was a judicial as distinct from an administrative act but it did so upon the terms of section 10 of the Petty Sessions (Ireland) Act, 1851. Far from holding that the issue of a summons was inherently a judicial act, on the contrary the court held that there was nothing to prevent the provisions of the 1851 Act being replaced by statutory provisions which would provide for the procedure of issues of summonses being an administrative procedure only. That is what the Court (No. 3) Act, 1986, subsequently did.

Deputy O'Malley also said that the Attorney General's opinion would be essentially indistinguishable in character from the opinion which a district justice must form in a preliminary examination under the Criminal Procedure Act, 1967, that there is a sufficient case to put the accused on trial on indictment for an offence. The district justice's function under the 1967 Act, he said, has been found to be a judicial function, so how could it be argued the opinion of the Attorney General as to the sufficiency of the evidence in an extradition case is not a judicial evaluation? What the Bill provides for is something that will be a necessary procedural step in extradition proceedings, not a decision by the Attorney General that the person sought should be committed for trial in the requesting jurisdiction. As I have already said, that will be a matter for decision in the committal proceedings in the requesting jurisdiction if the person concerned is sent back. Even a requirement that a prima facie case be made out in a court here would not in fact amount to a decision to commit for trial.

A number of Deputies have suggested that the safeguards in the Bill as regards sufficiency of evidence is not enough and that we should go further and impose a requirement that a prima facie case be made out in our courts before a person could be extradited. The Labour Party, for example, now appears to want a prima facie requirement. Last December their position was quite different in that they were prepared to support the 1987 Act on the basis of an administrative arrangement under which assurances would be given by the British Attorney General as to the existence of an intention to prosecute, founded on a sufficiency of evidence. Their spokesman on legal affairs, Deputy Taylor, could not see then why there should be a difficulty in transferring the decision on this issue to an Irish legal officer. The decision he said, could rest with a senior legal officer who would be performing an administrative function, not a judicial function.

There is a compelling reason for not imposing a prima facie requirement — it would constitute an excessive restriction on extradition. The only country in Europe at present which in practice requires that a prima facie case be made out in court before granting extradition is Britain itself, which is not as yet a party to the Extradition Convention of 1957 and, of course, has never imposed this requirement in relation to extradition to Ireland. The British have found that their imposition of this requirement on other European countries is a substantial technical barrier to extradition, which some of these countries have found virtually impossible to meet. In recognition of this situation the British Government have brought forward legislation, which is now going through parliament to enable the prima facie requirement to be dispensed with.

Turning to our own situation, it would not be acceptable if we were to impose a requirement in our extradition law which would have the effect of causing considerable expense and delay in extradition proceedings and would result in the failure of legitimate requests. The suggestion being made by those who advocate a prima facie requirement seems to be that an extradition hearing in the District Court should be the equivalent of a preliminary examination in the case of an offence under our own law and that the wanted person should not be sent back unless it is shown that there is enough evidence to warrant his return for trial if the offence had been committed here. This would mean that the prosecuting authorities in a foreign jurisdiction would have to prepare, at short notice, a book of evidence which would comply with our laws of evidence. It would also mean, if the same level of protection were to be afforded as in an internal case, that witnesses from the foreign jurisdiction would have to be available to be examined upon their sworn depositions should they be called upon to do so. Can anybody seriously doubt that they would be called upon to do so in extradition cases? I am not satisfied that it would generally be possible for the authorities concerned to meet these requirements. We would face an unacceptable situation in this event where fugitives from justice would be able to treat this jurisdiction as a safe haven.

Deputy Mac Giolla has said that having a prima facie case does not necessarily mean that one has to bring over many witnesses and has said he understands that, in the normal domestic procedure where a prima facie case has been established in court on the documents in a preliminary examination, the district justice can and does refuse to order the attendance of witnesses where they are from outside the jurisdiction. But what guarantee would there be that this would be what would happen in an extradition case, where all the witnesses would be from outside the jurisdiction and the wanted person strongly challenged their written statements?

Deputy Mac Giolla also pointed out that one may have to have police presence in the normal extradition procedure anyway, in that a policeman may have to come to identify the person who is brought before the court. But that just serves to illustrate the problem very clearly. The practice Deputy Mac Giolla is referring to stems from the need to establish that the person before the court is the person named or described in the warrant. If the whole of the prosecution evidence in the case were to be in issue in the District Court, the possibilities for calling various witnesses, both police and others, would be greatly multiplied.

Deputies O'Malley and Kennedy have suggested that, to avoid such difficulties associated with a prima facie requirement, we should instead provide for something similar to the American concept of “probable cause” and simply seek an affidavit or statutory declaration from the requesting authorities which would contain a statement of facts, setting forth reasonable grounds for believing that an offence had been committed and that the person sought committed it. Deputy O'Malley said that the defendant could not in these circumstances have the right to seek to have the witnesses brought. However, he went on to say that the defendant could make a statement in open court that a part of the affidavit was untrue or not fully accurate or that he contested it. His legal representatives could contest or argue about the charges and he could let the public know via the press what his position was. If that was to be the case surely its only purpose would be to put the other side to further proof of the case against him. Otherwise doubts would be raised as to the case against the person without being resolved. Deputy O'Malley says that this system works without these difficulties in the United States. That may well be but can we be sure that the same would necessarily apply here. Introducing concepts from one legal system to another can run into difficulties because of differences in traditions, procedures, judicial approach and so on. I am far from being satisfied that this particular transplant would work satisfactorily and without undue complication in our system.

Ultimately the problem about the prime facie requirement is that in legal systems similar to ours it has tended to afford an excessive degree of protection to the accused. It has proved very difficult in practice to apply the requirement successfully when there is an external prosecuring system involved. To put it simply, it is the victims of crime committed by fugitives from justice whose rights would suffer if meritorious extradition applications were to fail because of such a requirement. I am very much afraid that any of the variations upon a prima facie requirement that we have heard advanced during this debate would be likely to suffer equally from such disadvantages in practice.

Besides, to require the production in court of an affidavit of the kind suggested would be out of keeping with the European Convention on Extradition. Article 12 of that convention specifies the documents whose production may be demanded in support of an extradition request and they do not include an affidavit of this kind.

I want to refer now to something which Deputy Mac Giolla said. He suggested that, as well as being concerned about people who may be extradited to Britian or Northern Ireland, we should also be concerned about the fate of those who may be extradited to other countries that are parties to the European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism. Of course, we are concerned about all extradition cases. The fact of the matter is that the extradition arrangements we have with other European countries are different from those we have with our immediate neighbours. That is reflected in the more formalised extradition procedure provided for in Part II of the 1965 Act. Besides, in practical terms when we speak of extradition from the jurisdiction we are talking almost exclusively about extradition to Northern Ireland and Britain. There have been very few cases under Part II of the Act.

Deputy Mac Giolla's specific concern was that in some countries covered by Part II people might be jailed for their political beliefs. However, the principle of non-extradition for political offences properly so called will remain. Furthermore section 11 (2) of the 1965 Act provides an explicit safeguard against the eventuality about which Deputy Mac Giolla was concerned. It says that extradition shall not be granted if there are substantial grounds for believing that a request for extradition for an ordinary criminal offence has been made for the purpose of prosecuting or punishing a person on account of his race, religion, nationality or political opinion or that that person's position may be prejudiced for any of these reasons. One of the purposes of this provision — and of the corresponding provisions in sections 8 and 9 of the 1987 Act — is to safeguard the traditional right of asylum.

Between common law countries, whose jurisdiction in criminal law matters is generally territorial, there has never been a tradition of non-extradition of nationals. Extradition between this jurisdiction and Britain and Northern Ireland has accordingly always operated without any distinction on the basis of nationality.

This brings me to a point that was made by Deputy O'Malley. He suggested that Part III of the 1965 Extradition Act substantially re-enacted the arrangements set out in the Petty Sessions Act, 1851, and that the system of execution of warrants which Part III provides for is appropriate only to the internal movement of defendants within one jurisdiction. He said that in Part III we do not look on the United Kingdom as an independent foreign country at all but rather as some kind of associated jurisdiction with a common sovereignty.

The facts do not bear out this view of the position. The 1965 Act made vital changes in the system of backing of warrants that operated before then. Under the 1965 Act warrants are endorsed for execution by the Garda Commissioner but when a person is arrested he must be brought before the District Court before his return can be ordered. Before it makes an order the District Court satisfies itself that the procedure prescribed in Part III has been followed and must refuse to make an order if the offence in question does not correspond with any offence under the law of the State which is an indictable offence etc. After an order is made by the District Court the Act expressly requires that the person concerned must not be delivered up, except with his consent given before a district justice, until 15 days have expired from the date of the order. This allows him an opportunity to apply to the High Court to be released either on specific grounds provided for in section 50 or on any ground on which habeas corpus would normally be available.

There is no good basis for suggesting that this whole procedure is one which is not appropriate to an inter-state arrangement.To take just one facet of the procedure, who ever heard of non-return of a fugitive for a political, military or revenue offence within a common sovereignty area? Deputy O'Malley's comments are wide of the mark as regards the position that has obtained since Part III of the 1965 Act came into operation.

Part III provides for an extradition procedure — the Supreme Court has said as much. That extradition procedure is a simplified one: for instance, it does not involve the use of the diplomatic channel as Part II does. That procedure is a recognition of the immediate geographical proximity of the neighbouring jurisdictions, the close economic and social ties and the common travel area that have existed with them down the years and the fact that dual citizenship is fairly common among residents on either side. Special arrangements on extradition between neighbouring, independent jurisdictions are a recognised feature of international relations — they exist between the Nordic countries, for example.

I have dealt with what have seemed to me to be the points made in the debate that have most required a response. There were other points which were also deserving of a reply. To the leader of Fine Gael, Deputy Dukes, I say that I have listened closely to what he had to say about the amendments which his party will be proposing. At first sight, a number of these do not seem to present any undue difficulty, and I will consider them carefully when I see their actual content.

In regard to the suggestion about asking the President to refer the Bill to the Supreme Court, it is a matter for the President himself, in the exercise of his functions under the Constitution, to make such a reference. It is, of course, open to any group to express a wish for such a reference, and naturally if the President should decide to do so, I would have no objection whatsoever to such course.

With regard to comments made by the British Prime Minister in the House of Commons this afternoon, I do not accept her viewpoint that extradition will become more difficult because of our new safeguards. We do not anticipate that these safeguards will cause any difficulties that cannot be overcome. It is not correct to say that our protective measure for Irish citizens will make Great Britain the least favoured state in Europe. It must be remembered that there is a special arrangement for the backing of warrants already in existence.

In conclusion I want to say that I believe that the debate we have had on Second Stage of this Bill has been a credit to this Assembly. Members on all sides have given serious, reflective contributions on a complex subject which affects the liberty of the citizen and the need at the same time to bring terrorists to justice. The spotlight of public and international attention is on Dáil Éireann and its handling of the extradition safeguards issue. I am confident that the legislation which we are now enacting in this respect will work as it should and it will also reflect well on all the Members who took part in our deliberations on this subject.

Question put.
The Dáil divided: Tá, 73; Níl, 26.

  • Abbott, Henry.
  • Ahern, Dermot.
  • Ahern, Michael.
  • Andrews, David.
  • Aylward, Liam.
  • Barrett, Michael.
  • Brady, Gerard.
  • Brady, Vincent.
  • Brennan, Mathew.
  • Brennan, Séamus.
  • Briscoe, Ben.
  • Browne, John.
  • Byrne, Hugh.
  • Calleary, Seán.
  • Collins, Gerard.
  • Conaghan, Hugh.
  • Connolly, Ger.
  • Coughlan, Mary T.
  • Cowen, Brian.
  • Daly, Brendan.
  • Davern, Noel.
  • Dempsey, Noel.
  • Dennehy, John.
  • de Valera, Síle.
  • Doherty, Seán.
  • Ellis, John.
  • Fahey, Jackie.
  • Fitzgerald, Liam.
  • Fitzpatrick, Dermott.
  • Flood, Chris.
  • Foley, Denis.
  • Gallagher, Denis.
  • Gallagher, Pat the Cope.
  • Geoghegan-Quinn, Máire.
  • Haughey, Charles J.
  • Hilliard, Colm Michael.
  • Hyland, Liam.
  • Jacob, Joe.
  • Kirk, Séamus.
  • Kitt, Michael P.
  • Kitt, Tom.
  • Lawlor, Liam.
  • Lenihan, Brian.
  • Leonard, Jimmy.
  • Leyden, Terry.
  • Lynch, Michael.
  • Lyons, Denis.
  • McCarthy, Seán.
  • McCreevy, Charlie.
  • MacSharry, Ray.
  • Mooney Mary,
  • Morley, P.J.
  • Moynihan, Donal.
  • Nolan, M.J.
  • Noonan, Michael J.
  • (Limerick West).
  • O'Dea, William Gerard.
  • O'Donoghue, John.
  • O'Hanlon, Rory.
  • O'Keeffe, Ned.
  • O'Leary, John.
  • O'Rourke, Mary.
  • Power, Paddy.
  • Reynolds, Albert.
  • Roche, Dick.
  • Smith, Michael.
  • Stafford, John.
  • Swift, Brian.
  • Treacy, Noel.
  • Tunney, Jim.
  • Walsh, Seán.
  • Wilson, John P.
  • Woods, Michael.
  • Wright, G.V.

Níl

  • Bell, Michael.
  • Blaney, Neil Terence.
  • Clohessy, Peadar.
  • Colley, Anne.
  • Desmond, Barry.
  • Gibbons, Martin Patrick.
  • Gregory, Tony.
  • Harney, Mary.
  • Higgins, Michael D.
  • Howlin, Brendan.
  • Kavanagh, Liam.
  • Keating, Michael.
  • Kemmy, Jim.
  • Kennedy, Geraldine.
  • McDowell, Michael.
  • Molloy, Robert.
  • O'Malley, Desmond J.
  • O'Malley, Pat.
  • O'Sullivan, Toddy.
  • Pattison, Séamus.
  • Quill, Máirín.
  • Quinn, Ruairí.
  • Spring, Dick.
  • Stagg, Emmet.
  • Taylor, Mervyn.
  • Wyse, Pearse.
Tellers: Tá, Deputies V. Brady and Briscoe; Níl, Deputies Harney and Howlin.
Question declared carried.