I propose to take Questions Nos. 4 to 6, inclusive, together.
In the course of my speech at the Annual Fianna Fáil Wolfe Tone Commemoration at Bodenstown on 18 October 1992, I said the following:
I would like to give an undertaking that any agreement that is reached between the two Governments and the political parties in the North of Ireland could be put in a referendum to the people both North and South at the same time. In that way all the people of this island would be given the opportunity to pronounce simultaneously, for the first time since 1918, on the form that future relationships might take on this island. Such a mandate would provide a conclusive endorsement of the peaceful democratic approach so earnestly desired and supported by the vast majority of the Irish people.
In relation to Articles 2 and 3 of the Constitution, I clearly stated the Government's position in reply to Parliamentary Questions on 7 October 1992. Any question of a referendum affecting the Articles would arise only in the context of a comprehensive agreement which achieved, in particular, a satisfactory balance between the positions of the Irish and British Governments and of the Nationalist and Unionist traditions in Ireland on the central constitutional issue.
But if such an agreement were reached and if constitutional sanction were conferred on it by a positive vote of the people in a referendum it is quite possible that the position in regard to the matters dealt with in Articles 2 and 3 could be affected by the agreement reached and any related constitutional amendment.
I also said in the course of my Bodenstown speech that:
a balance must be restored between the recognition of existing constitutional realities and the acknowledgement of the value of a future that we believe would be best for all the people of Ireland. That future is desired by some, and recognised by many more as likely to happen eventually. Taking a positive view of Irish unity and encouraging it as a long term solution is in no way incompatible with accepting the necessary principle of agreement and consent and does not conflict with any obligation that either Government have undertaken.
Having regard to the agreement by all of the parties to the talks process that the discussions should be treated confidentially, I do not propose to comment on media reports regarding matters discussed.