Last evening when I began my speech I referred to the introductory speech of the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Deputy Andrews. I said I had no hesitation in congratulating him on the initiative he took in drawing national and international attention to the tragic events of Somalia, which was succeeded by the visit to that country of the President, Her Excellency Mary Robinson. I also said it is outrageous and scandalous that the European Community is not represented by a permanent office in Mogadishu, where the office should be rather than in Nairobi.
In the few minutes available to me last evening I had begun to pay tribute to Ambassador Mohammed Sahnoun. I noted that the Minister was generous in his tributes to Ambassador Sahnoun and I join him in wishing the Ambassador's successor success in a most difficult project. I had the opportunity in Mogadishu of meeting Ambassador Sahnoun, an Algerian, who was uniquely qualified to make a contribution to bringing together the combatants who might, in turn, have generated peace in Somalia. I am worried about the way in which those who wanted to save face by rejecting Ambassador Sahnoun's criticism were victorious in having him replaced and those who would have welcomed him continuing his efforts were defeated.
As someone who travelled for over a week through Somalia, I can say that there are two urgent problems, one is bringing relief to people affected by famine but the other, more urgent problem is the reconstitution of civil society, which can be done perhaps through building on the pre-conflict structures of Somalia — the elders and the chiefs. Ambassador Sahnoun was working not only with the competing factions that support General Adid and Mr. Mahdi but also with the other representative forces within Somalia. That opportunity has been lost by his replacement.
It is the function of Irish foreign policy to establish a moral distinctiveness in our international relations. In going to Africa, but very particularly in his speech at the United Nations which went beyond supporting the agenda for peace, but dealt with disarmament, the Minister for Foreign Affairs restored Irish foreign policy to the high moral ground. Can there be a greater obscenity than the presence of so many armaments in a country dying as a result of famine? This enables me to turn to the Bill before the House, which is simply a technical one, and puts into effect the will of the people, with which I might differ but which as a democrat I accept.
How little preparation went into the Maastricht Treaty in relation to the curtailment of armaments. Indeed, in the debate in Britain, there was a reference to a commissioner who made uncomfortable remarks which the British Prime Minister, Mr. John Major, rejected. It should be noted that the same gentleman prepared notes on the future of the armaments industry in Europe.
Europe will have to face up to the reality that it is not acceptable to claim the space of a regional authority or a regional authority purporting to reform the United Nations when it still goes on producing armaments far beyond its own defence needs and selling them at fairs in Africa to countries dying of starvation.
There were many references in the Minister's speech to different dimensions of the European debate. Deputy Flaherty referred to people who had argued against the Maastricht Treaty as being in the grip of some fear. I am not in the grip of any fear, the Labour Party are noted for their international stance on various matters. Indeed, after the foundation of the State, the leaders of the Labour Party were asked to go to the Berne Conference. We have published more international policy documents than any other party. The difference between Deputy Flaherty's position and mine — as spokesperson for a long time on international policies for the Labour Party — is that I see international policy as being just that, international. I also see that I have the right to claim on behalf of my party that our foreign policy should reflect a genuine international agenda and should not be made artificially narrow. Not so long ago in this House the answer to every question dealing with foreign affairs started with the words: "The view of the Twelve is ...". Our people elect a Minister for Foreign Affairs to administer Irish foreign policy, and foreign policy will be made in this House. Beyond the moral moment about which I spoke, political principles will be established. That is a function of foreign policy, to be publicly accountable — the word "pragmatic" arises only in diplomatic practice — which is to administer what has been decided in this House where the Minister is accountable. We are moving in that direction and I welcome it.
I wish to comment on some of the points raised in regard to the attitude of the European Community, foreign members and heads of state, towards the rejection by the Danish people in a referendum of the Maastricht Treaty. In Europe there is a ceremonial and a ritual, a kind of public transcript, going on at the level of heads of states and Ministers and always there is a private transcript of national interest. When these masks are taken off people talk as they think in real terms to each other privately and they come up with concepts like "the democratic deficit" when beneath them millions of Europeans want to be European but are excluded from the discourse of Europe. They are the excluded voices, like the voices of slaves when slavery existed. They are building up a range which is being reflected in the anti-European votes all over Europe. They want Europe to speak about real things such as unemployment, recovery of economic prospects, peace and genuine international relations.
In the area of unemployment there is a scandalous failure at Community level; the fear generated among the unemployed in France, Italy and elsewhere is being turned into anger and frustration against migrant groups. It is not a question, as Mr. Delors said, that we must listen and change our language, there is a much bigger matter at stake, which is that Europe cannot be a monetary Europe. I have a message to pass, through you, Sir, to the Minister and his successor — the Nordic countries seeking accession will ask and insist that unemployment is as important in the newly shaped Europe as monetary stability. They will ask what was not asked before, that the unemployment rate in the Community shall not be allowed to move beyond the Community average without certain mechanisms being introduced.
The Minister referred to many points in his speech and I support many of them. However, I warn him that the formal rhetoric will not be suficient. Europe of the peoples wants action on unemployment, living standards, democratisation of the economy and solidarity. They are aching to detoxify themselves and Maastricht from the influence which Thatcher-Reaganism had on its essential economic principles. Instead of solidarity being destroyed in Europe they want a new Europe of solidarity on issues like employment and income. When the Scandinavian countries demand this in their accession Ireland should support them in any new arrangements which follow.