Criminal Law (Jurisdiction) Bill, 1975: Second Stage (Resumed).

Question again proposed: "That the Bill be now read a Second Time."
Debate resumed on the following amendment:
To omit all words after "That" and substitute the following:
"Seanad Éireann declines to give a second reading to the Bill on the grounds that it contains no provision for an all-Ireland Court, is unworkable, inconsistent with Ireland's obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights, and repugnant to the Constitution, in that it contravenes Articles 3 and 38."
—(Senator Lenihan.)

The most interesting aspect of this piece of legislation is that, the longer the debate drags on, the more I am convinced this Bill is unnecessary. It is unnecessary, first of all, because there is no public demand for this legislation. We all fully realise that if legislation is necessary and meant to be effective then there must be cause for its introduction. There is no cause whatsoever that I can see for the introduction of this legislation. It is abnoxious legislation because it deals with that very problem which has bedevilled generation after generation of Irishmen, namely the reunification of our country and the occupation of portion of our land by British forces. I believe that the climate will soon be ripe for a complete withrawal of British soldiers from this nation.

Over the weekend we have had statements from political leaders in the North which would indicate to me that they are anxious for change. They know that the British Government feel the need for change. They also know that we in the South also feel the need for change. Therefore there is an obligation on the Government here and the British Government to come together and work out a satisfactory withdrawal. We do not want a repetition of 1922—the serious outbreak of strife which we had in 1923 and 1924. We want something that will be worthy of our democratic thinking in 1975. Now is the time to do this.

The Minister and the Government could make that start now first of all by withdrawing this legislation. It is becoming entirely irrelevant because of the changed political climate in which we live. It is irrelevant because of the new thinking by politicians in the North in particular. It is also irrelevant because of the thinking among the British public.

Therefore I feel the Minister would be well advised to withdraw this legislation. In doing so I should like to remind him that when in 1972 he was Opposition spokesman on Justice and the then Fianna Fáil Government introduced the Offences Against the State Bill he stated more than once during that long debate that we had no need for that legislation. He said what we needed was a Government to have the will to enforce the law as it stood at the time.

That is correct and that is what this Bill is all about.

Therefore why is there need now for this Bill? I say there is no need for it. If the 1972 Bill was unnecessary then why did the Minister not repeal that legislation two years ago? He thought fit to leave it on the Statute Book and have it law. When that legislation was unnecessary in 1972 this new piece of controversial legislation is entirely unnecessary in 1975. There has been a complete change of heart in Northern Ireland in the last two years and the Minister would be well advised to set about working on that new political climate which is being created by people who regard themselves as Loyalists. We often wonder if they are only using that tag to forward their own personal political ends.

During the week-end people like Glen Barr made statements to the effect that they want complete independence and that they are in a position to break away entirely from Britain and that they want to go it alone. When one read the smaller print of his statement, read between the lines, one discovered that this political leader in the North was looking towards Dublin. He mentioned in his speech that perhaps Dublin could assist them in their efforts to go it alone. I took that statement to mean that this gentleman and thousands like him in Northern Ireland fully believe that the long-term goal of Irishmen both North and South must be the reunification of our island. I believe those people are getting the message. They have been shielded from world thinking over the years. They have been led to believe that it was a heroic thing to kill a Catholic. They have been led to believe that by waving the Union Jack they were doing something sacred and holy. But those people's horizons have broadened a great deal over the years and they are getting the feed-back from different parts of the world and are being allowed to express themselves more freely.

Therefore what is needed is for the Government here and the Government in Britain to state clearly that the British plan a complete withdrawal from Northern Ireland and that they will leave the further destinies of North and South to Irishmen who will solve this difficult and complex problem which has bedevilled generation after generation of Irishmen. This legislation will do nothing to bring about that situation. Therefore I am convinced more and more each day that it is unnecessary. I am convinced that it will not help to achieve unity in the long run. We should be all convinced now that what is needed is unity. We know that there is an imminent British withdrawal and we feel that the people must be conditioned into accepting that withdrawal and it is encouraging to note the change of heart among those Loyalists—those hard liners who would scoff and mock at the idea of a British withdrawal even five years ago.

Therefore I say to the Minister that this legislation is nothing short of repressive legislation. It will not create the harmony which we all desire. It will do nothing to stop the bombers, the murderers or the intimidators. What we need is a complete change of heart which there is ample evidence of at the present time. Therefore we should try in so far as it is possible to work along with that change of heart. We should all endeavour to march forward in the creation of a new Ireland—the Ireland that generations have died for in the past; the Ireland that we should all like to see, namely the reunification of our territory North and South.

This Bill will do nothing whatsoever to bring about the changes which are there for the taking and which I believe will take place in the near future. What we need is to ignore for a time the intimidators. They are a small minority. We should concentrate on political activities—the activities which will render the work of the bombers, the murderers and the intimidators futile. I do not condone for one moment the actions of those people but the cause of all the troubles is the presence on Irish soil of British soldiers. There will never be peace in this country while one British soldier is left in active service on Irish soil.

It is encouraging to note that the British themselves are anxious to get out of Northern Ireland. We wonder why they ever remained on for the past 50 years—was it for prestige purposes only or was it because they failed to understand the situation? They poured millions of pounds into Northern Ireland. They now have a tottering economy and they are no longer in a position to support Northern Ireland but they should not be allowed to leave Northern Ireland in the mess it is in at present.

We all have a recollection of what happened in an African State known as the Congo when there was withdrawal and the Congolese were not conditioned to self-government. We do not want a similar situation here. I believe we will not have that situation here because sane men will appear on the horizon and they will have an influence on people of good will, people who want to see real and definite progress. Therefore, everything leads me to believe that this legislation is no longer necessary. I fail to see why it is being introduced at present, why it is still on the Order Paper in spite of the many problems which affect this small nation of ours, namely, the Twenty-six Countries, the area over which we have jurisdiction.

We have economic difficulties, we have unrest in agriculture, we have a very high rate of unemployment. Those are the things that should be engaging the attention of the Government, because those are the things which are worrying our people. It is not a question of passing the Criminal Law (Jurisdiction) Bill, it is a question of how we can improve our economy, how we can get thousands of unemployed back to work. If the Minister, as a member of the Government, can succeed in building up the economy he will be doing more for the restoration of peace in this community than he will achieve by introducing this legislation which is obnoxious and controversial and which does nothing to help our economy. I would say, without fear of contradiction, that this legislation will impose further burdens on this community which is already burdened with the many problems which we have to face in increasing numbers day by day and week by week.

This nation should be prepared for change. Change is coming whether we like it or not. Britain is no longer the world force she was at one stage. She now has her own difficulties. She now has her own tottering economy. She may be more than glad to rid herself of all the problems which are associated with Northern Ireland.

One thing that worries all of us is the continuing violence in Northern Ireland. We ask ourselves what is the cause of it. There is a cause for everything. The real cause is, first of all, lack of leadership, lack of judgment, and lack of guidelines for the future. If we had those things, the men of violence would have to go underground before very long. They are a menace to any society. They are a menace to Christans and people who want to be called Christians. They are a menace to the progress of this nation. They have caused heartbreak, anguish and sorrow in many homes throughout the length and breadth of our Thirty-two Counties.

We are more inclined to blame the IRA for all the troubles than we are to blame all the other para military organisations which have sprung up and mushroomed in recent years both North and South. We believe there is support for the para military Loyalist organisations from certain sections in this country. They are not saying anything openly but we are led to believe that some of those para-military Loyalist organisations have support in the South. I do not know how true that is but it has been alleged that some of those organisations have support down here in the South.

People who support any section of those para military, military or sectarian organisations are not worthy to be called Irishmen. They are not worthy of the freedom we all value so much, bearing in mind that freedom was secured for us by bloodshed and by loss of lives. I fear that, before we have complete freedom, there will be further bloodshed and further loss of life. Therefore, words no longer have any bearing. What is needed is action, a plan of action. This legislation is not the type of action needed at present. What is needed is a solid and firm declaration by the British Government of their intention to withdraw entirely from Northern Ireland. Then we must have a planned and well worked out agreement that will eliminate the backlash we hear so much about, that will eliminate any further strife in this country.

When the Government decided to introduce this legislation did they have consultations with any political organisations in Northern Ireland? It appears to me that no political party in Northern Ireland are in favour of this legislation. For a long time we have had dialogue with the SDLP who represent the minority in Northern Ireland, namely, the Catholic community. We know full well that this organisation are responsible. We know that they have set out to achieve peace, to promote harmony and good will, and we know they can be relied upon to continue to play that role. We should be guided, led and influenced by those people. They are living in Northern Ireland. They have lived all their lives with violence of one kind or another. They have lived with the second-class citizenship which was imposed upon them by the dominant forces in Northern Ireland, namely, the Unionists, the Orange Lodges and all those Loyalist or pro-British organisations which thrive on sectarianism and on the creation of second-class citizens.

Before we can even contemplate passing this legislation we must break down the institutions of Northern Ireland. We need to disband the RUC as we now know it because that organisation is political. We all know that. I go to Northern Ireland regularly; I have friends there; I have had business contacts there for years, not as many of late as I had in the past. I have made many trips as far as Ballycastle, into Newry, over to Bessbrook and so on. I have been meeting RUC men for years. I know they are a sectarian force. They are politically motivated. Their actions are politically motivated. They cannot be regarded as an impartial body. Therefore, we should be asking the British Government to have this organisation disbanded and replaced by an acceptable police force.

There were suggestions in the past that the United Nations be asked to intervene in the Northern situation to ensure some measure of equality and impartiality. Unfortunately, that did not happen. I feel the responsibility rests with the British Government. Having been urged by the Irish Government they should effect the necessary changes to promote goodwill, understanding and confidence, bearing in mind that the RUC force, the UDA and the B Specials, in particular, do not command the confidence of the people in the South or of the minority in the North because they are politically motivated and their purpose is to ensure the dominance of one-party rule in Northern Ireland.

Does the Minister want to see the continuance of this situation in Northern Ireland, or does he want to see a breaking down of the barriers? If he does, then legislation which could be effective and implemented is what he should be thinking about and not this legislation before us. We all know that we could not place any great credence on the evidence being given by a member of the B Specials or of the RUC or, for that matter, a judge of any of the Northern Ireland courts because those people have played their part in the miscarriage of justice for years.

This Bill is some sort of an exercise only. It will achieve nothing. It is a costly exercise. It is taking up the time of legislators in this House when they could be more effectively employed on other essential legislation if we are to get ourselves out of our present economic mess. Therefore, instead of this legislation being put through both Houses of the Oireachtas the Minister should be thinking of assisting in the creation of a new climate in our community. The Minister should be working with other democratically-elected institutions and Governments to bring about peace and justice in Northern Ireland.

We are told this legislation is part of the Sunningdale Agreement. But do we not all know in our hearts that the Sunningdale Agreement is dead and will never be resurrected? I cannot understand why the Minister as a member of the Government seems so anxious to push this offensive legislation. I have seen no evidence of any public demand for it. I do not know why it is being kept before this House for so long. We were led to believe, when Sunningdale was first introduced, that it was an entire package. Therefore, when we tear that package apart and talk about implementing portions of it, surely it becomes entirely irrelevant? Why is there no mention whatsoever of another part of that Sunningdale Agreement which dealt with the Irish dimension? That is legislation I would be most keen to support and for which there would be public demand. It has not been mentioned in the Minister's address or in the Bill. Everything convinces me of the complete lack of demand for this legislation. The minority groups in Northern Ireland do not want this legislation; the SDLP, the voice of the nationalists and of the Catholic community in Northern Ireland, do not want this legislation. It will not appease the Orangemen, the Loyalists, in any way. I have known Orangemen in business circles in the past and nothing talks louder with them than money, gains and profits. Those people have worn Her Majesty's tag consistently because they felt it was profitable to do so. They felt that by so doing they would guarantee themselves a larger slice of the cake than their Catholic brethren who had the courage of their convictions and who for generations maintained solid allegiance to a 32-county Ireland.

We were all saddened and depressed at the poor response to the recent Convention elections when a large percentage of Catholics decided to abstain from voting because they were under pressure to do so by the para-military groups. It was a pity they so decided at such an important time in the history of the country. But that was probably an expression of frustration on their part. Probably they are completely disillusioned by the attitude of the people in the South. They may be forgiven if they are inclined to believe that we have forgotten them, that we have forgotten the sacrifices they have made because of their beliefs. Let there be no doubt about it, those people have suffered for their beliefs, because they wanted to be regarded as Republicans, because they wanted a united Ireland. They have been allowed to live as second-class citizens and to suffer because of those beliefs. Those are the people whom we should be helping. I do not think this legislation does anything at all in that respect. Possibly common sense will prevail before this Bill becomes law— if it ever becomes law. Probably the changes taking place North and South will convince the Government that this legislation is no longer necessary. It would take courage to withdraw the Bill but I can assure the Minister that if he decides to withdraw it, he will be doing something which will have the support of every section of the community. The Bill will do nothing to stop the bombers, murderers, bank robbers, knee-cappers, call them what you like. They are all wicked men. They are a tiny minority who have been successful because of the brutal role they are playing, both North and South.

Last year there were bombs in Dublin. We experienced the pain and anguish being suffered by many people in the North. We know that as a result of that cowardly exercise people have been maimed and invalided for life. The unfortunate part of this is that up to this very moment nobody has been apprehended for any of the bombings in any part of the country, whether it be in Cavan, Monaghan, Dublin or Dundalk. People have suffered because of the deeds of those misguided and wicked men. If those people want to play an adequate role in society, if they wish to be regarded as Irishmen, they should cease their wicked activities now. There can be no winners in such a game. It is not a game, it is an act of hooliganism, an act I cannot find words to adequately condemn.

What is needed now is new thinking that will take people's minds away entirely from violence. As I said, the statement made by Glen Barr over the weekend is a clear indication that a change is taking place. We should do everything possible to foster change. That is the only way we will eliminate violence from our society. There is every need to eliminate violence, which creates bitterness, dissention, hardship and anguish. All political parties are united in their efforts to eliminate that element from our society.

Is it not extraordinary that we have in the North political leaders who can still see only one side of the picture? There are the Loyalists, the UUUC— they have so many names that it is very hard to keep track of them. All those people have failed to condemn acts committed by Loyalist para-military organisations. We are convinced that those people are still active in Northern Ireland and that they are continuing this violent role in an effort to create fear in the minds of the people in Northern Ireland in order to achieve their own political objectives, namely, power and control. There can be no doubt about that. It is encouraging to see younger leaders, like Glen Barr, having a change of heart. As I said earlier, I got the message from the statement that those people were beginning to think about Dublin and not London. There is need for us to go along with them, so far as we can, without interfering with the long-term objective.

One of our great political leaders of the past—Eamon de Valera—clearly stated that he would have no objection to the establishment of a federal parliament in the Six Counties, if it was established within the framework of a 32-county nation. There is a need to go along with the statement made by the leaders in 1975. That is the only way we can achieve the change we desire so badly in 1975.

As I said before, the progress of this nation has been impeded by the level of violence over the past few years. As a matter of fact, the progress of this nation has been impeded for the last 50 years, since we got independence. Look at the cost of maintaining, patrolling and keeping a police force on the Border. It goes from Donegal to County Down, to the Mourne Mountains. We must realise the cost that this community have to bear in order to patrol and police a Border we never accepted. We never accepted Partition. I do not think that any responsible political party ever accepted Partition. We must move now with the new thinking that is becoming evident day by day and week by week. Even if we have to accept a federal parliament as a solution, then we should cultivate that idea, so long as it means a 32-country nation.

This very large and complicated legislation is entirely irrelevant at this stage. Many people within the Labour and Fine Gael Parties fully realise that this is a rapidly-changing situation and the need to create new thinking. Somebody has to take the bold step forward and decide: "Right, now is the time for change. We are prepared to move with change. Are you prepared to come with us?" That is what we must say to the British Government, because they are the people who will decide the destiny of future generations of Irishmen who have to live in this country. We all want to see progress. We cannot have progress when we have violence, let it be North or South.

I fail to see what this Bill can or will do to stem the level of violence which we have from day to day or to stem the level of sectarian killings which are taking place day by day, and more noticeably at weekends. I do not know how those people can commit such acts. I do not know what kind of people they are. It is disturbing to think that all those murderers are still loose in society, whether they are in the Twenty-six Counties or in the North. One thing we must all believe and try to fully understand is that there are hundreds of murderers loose in this country, North and South, at the present time. I do not know if this legislation will do anything to have those people apprehended for the crimes they have committed. There is no crime that I know of that needs punishment more than the crimes being committed by those sectarian murderers. I would support any measure that would ensure the arrest and trial of those people.

As I said before, with the present set-up in Northern Ireland we cannot hope to arrest those people, or have them tried and punished for the crimes they have committed. There can be no doubt about it: they have committed the foulest crimes man could ever dream of committing. They are not human beings. In my opinion they are bordering on savages. This legislation will do nothing because the legal set-up in Northern Ireland does not justify the arrest, the trial and punishment of those people.

For the past 50 years those Unionists have used many, many names whenever they felt it was to their advantage to use them. It was not for the love of Britain that they were Unionists or Loyalists. They used those tags because it was politically profitable to do so. That is why those people have continued on the road towards giving the pretence that they were more loyal than Her Majesty when in actual fact they were only loyal to themselves. There can be no doubt about that. The British Government now realise it. The vast majority of the people in Britain realise that and the majority of the people down here realise that. The national press, radio and television have brought home to many Orangemen, Loyalists, UDA men, UUF and so on that the expressed statements of those people was not statements of loyalty to Her Majesty's Government. They were statements which had the clear intention of furthering the personal ambitions of political leaders in Northern Ireland.

Before we can even talk about this legislation the institutions of the North as they are at the present time must be broken down. There must be a replacement of the RUC force and the dreaded B-Specials, because they were entirely political. In order to be a B-Special you had to be a member of the Orange Order. Those are the people, in my opinion, who did great injury to the cause of national unity. They did this for profit. The British Government continue to pay those people for political acts. They did it because they were receiving payment from the British Government. It is encouraging to all of us to know that the British public have at last awakened to the necessity for withdrawing from Northern Ireland. I believe that there is a very broad consensus of opinion in Britain that the English people are fed up with Northern Ireland and they are asking why they must continue to prop that regime in Northern Ireland.

I stated earlier on that, if Britain decided to withdraw, the threats of the paramilitary organisations in the North would mean nothing because they would find themselves completely isolated. They would find that the setting up of Departments to run Northern Ireland would be much more difficult than they had at first realised. For the past 50 years they enjoyed first-class citizenship. They enjoyed the cream of everything that Britain put into Northern Ireland and the unfortunate Catholics, the people who wanted unity with us, have been allowed to become just second-class citizens.

Is it not extraordinary that three or four generations of families in Northern Ireland have never known what a day's work was like? People have married while unemployed. They have reared their families on unemployment. Their sons and daughters have never known what it was to enjoy a day's work and they have never known what it was to be allowed to play their part as citizens, bearing in mind that every man wishes to have the privilege of doing a fair day's work for a fair day's pay. Those people have never known what it was like to enjoy that right. It is man's right to work no matter where he lives, who he is, or what his religion, his colour or class are.

This Bill, if it is necessary, should at least be postponed until we have the commencement of negotiations with the British Government on the planned withdrawal from Northern Ireland. It would only be reasonable for all of us to call on Britain now to commence that planned and phased withdrawal. They cannot do it tomorrow, in a week, in a month or in a year but they can at least issue a declaration of intent. They can decide to plan for that withdrawal. They can condition all sections of the community to accept that withdrawal. Then, and only then, can we hope to have real peace or real progress both North and South. I am still at a loss to know why this section of the Sunningdale Agreement has been put before both Houses of the Oireachtas. I cannot understand why the Irish dimension has been excluded. Possibly, there is a reason for it.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

The Senator should be aware that he has said that a few times before.

I always attempt to avoid repetition.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

I would ask the Senator to endeavour a little further to avoid repetition.

It is difficult to avoid repetition. This legislation is unnecessary. It has no public support. It is entirely unconstitutional but being a layman I am not in a position to argue the legal pros and cons of the Bill. It is a very long and detailed document and it is one that, in my opinion, is unworkable. It is unacceptable and unworkable. Therefore my last request to the Minister and to the Government is to have the courage of their convictions and to try to earn the support and respect of every section of the community by withdrawing this Bill, commence negotiations with the British Government and ask them to bring about a planned and phased withdrawal from Northern Ireland and the restructuring of the institutions in Northern Ireland. Only then can we have real peace and real progress in this country, both North and South.

I was a bit surprised that the Government decided to proceed with this Bill because I felt that after the Assembly elections in the North the Government would have seen clearly that there was need for the Bill. Most of us in public life find it difficult to understand why the Bill was introduced in such great haste. Its introduction at a time when there was a very difficult election in the North only added further to those difficulties. As the previous speaker said, we will light no bonfires if the Government decide to take this Bill away and leave it where it should never have been taken from. That is the best thing the Minister could do now because he must be aware that all of the people, North and South, are only interested in legislation that will improve the situation in Northern Ireland. The Government must be aware that there is absolutely no need and no demand for this legislation and that there never was a demand for it. I could go on and make the same speeches as some others but I will try to avoid that. I would urge the Minister and the Government to consider how they can justify that this Bill is necessary.

In opposing the Bill, all we merited was the comment of the Minister and of those supporting the Minister and the Government, that we are fellow travellers with the gunmen and with those who commit murder and the acts that are now taking place in the North. We oppose the Bill in the knowledge that this is the only slogan that can be shouted against us. The public will not accept that we are supporting the gunmen and the criminals when we oppose this Bill. The public will understand perfectly, because we have an enlightened public and they are interested in what is happening in the North at the present time, more interested and more aware than the Government seem to be.

The spokesmen from the Government side are the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs, Deputy Conor Cruise-O'Brien, and Deputy Paddy Harte. I do not know that anybody in Ireland North or South, no matter what party or section he belongs to, supports their views. They would appear to be the only spokesmen that the Government have on Northern policy. It is crystal clear that their views are totally unacceptable to any section of the public. The Government should look at themselves because we have no duty here to score points, to criticise the Government. We have a far greater duty to contribute towards the resolving of a very difficult, very serious situation.

I come from an area more closely associated with the troubles in the North than any other Member. I am one of the few Senators who had to travel through the troubled areas of Northern Ireland to be here today. As someone involved very closely with the business community in the North of Ireland, surely I should know the position. I am hoping what I say here will be fair and honest and an expression of the wishes of the people in Northern Ireland who want to live, who do not want to kill, and who do not want to commit criminal acts.

That is the defence I put forward on my own behalf when I oppose this Bill and say it is completely unnecessary and unacceptable and will only do further damage in what is already a difficult situation. It will only further the belief of the minority, who are fighting hard for survival, that this Government do not care. They are not aware of what is happening. There is only the occasional excursion of a Minister into the North, the occasional contribution of Ministers who are prepared to sell us out, who have been far in advance of the most bigoted Unionist who ever opened his mouth in the North. Our spokesmen here have been making plans and making speeches that would outdo them in any Parliament.

Not very long ago we were made aware of the speeches and the harm they were doing when the SDLP were negotiating. Every time they sat at a table with the British or with those they were anxious to agree with, they were always introduced to a book or a phrase of a speech from some of our present Ministers in the Government: "That is what your Government representatives think. That is what your Government representatives in Dublin will accept." Rather than being helpful, the contributions that were made from the Government on this side were a serious embarrassment and seriously impeded any negotiations that took place. I see this legislation as nothing more than another exercise of that kind. To my knowledge and to the public's knowledge, the minority in the North have not asked for this measure to be introduced. They have asked publicly and privately that it should not be introduced, that it should be dropped. With that knowledge I fail to see why the Government persist in pursuing this Bill.

With others, I would ask the Minister not to stand here with all the support of those who feel an obligation to support him trying to persuade people that it is necessary, if we believe in a united Ireland, to unite in stopping crime, That is the only slogan that this Government can put forward. That is totally unacceptable, because if this Bill were passed tomorrow, we would have to implement this Bill with an establishment in the North that is totally fluid, not to say non-existent. None of us knows who is in power in the North. Nobody knows whom we would have to join with under this Bill. At such time as it is crystal clear that there is an establishment in the North of some kind that we can honour and respect and co-operate with, then and then only will it be time for us to say: "Yes, we will accept a common law that will be enforceable not only for criminal acts but for other purposes as well. We should certainly have a common law. We look forward to the day when we will have common laws, common understanding and co-operation. First of all, let us find out with whom we are going to have this common law and co-operation in the North. At present there is nobody we can see with whom it would be safe for us to co-operate in the North. I would urge the Minister to consider that aspect before he presses here to put this legislation through.

In the light of the recent statements that have been made in the North, there is very strong evidence that Britain has made up her mind to get out. British withdrawal from the North will not happen overnight. It will take a number of years. Britain has decided to get out of the North only after the majority of the people in Britain have shown a desire that she should get out of the North. Those of us who do not see that are not capable of seeing anything at all. The British public have been increasing their pressure on the Government, and the Government of the day in Britain are always looking to the next election. It will be a popular vote-catcher for any Government to be preparing to get out of Ireland and to be ridding themselves of the trouble and tidying up the mistakes of the past that they have created in the North.

I believe too, like the last speaker, that the people in the North are now accepting the signs and the rumblings that are going on in Britain that Britain is on the way out. It is not going to be an overnight process but the Northern Protestant is no fool. Once he comes to realise that Britain is on the way out he will very soon start to realise what advantages there are in Ireland for him. The old traditional slogans, the Union Jack, part of the Commonwealth, are all worn-out slogans. The Protestant in the North is no longer going to be misled and he is not going to live on the history and the misdeeds of Britain in the future. It would be most unwise of us to do anything here, more especially when our Government have been so wanting in this last couple of years in putting any pressure on Britain.

It would appear as if Britain does not believe we have a Government which is capable of doing anything; that they are prepared to negotiate with any militant group. This has not been denied by the Government or the British Government; it has not been denied that the British Government are negotiating the withdrawal with an illegal and militant organisation. This indicates the total lack of faith which the British Government have in our Government.

I would ask the Government, rather than proceed with this piece of stupid legislation, to re-establish themselves as the representatives of the Irish people and not worry about retaining Articles 2 and 3 of the Constitution if it is only something on paper about which they do not intend to do anything. I would ask the Government to resume their role of representation, of being the second guarantor, of being concerned for the people of the North and being involved in what is happening today because the British have decided to get out. It is time our Government took an active interest in the affairs of the North.

Most of us should welcome the silence of the British Government on the statements made at the weekend That silence indicates that the British Government have, once and for all, decided to get out. This is not too soon for anybody. The British had 800 years of democracy and they applied it very poorly in the North of Ireland. They are entirely responsible for everything that has happened. There is no point in blaming politics or political figures; there is no point in blaming religion or the ignorance of people in politics, no point in blaming those who gerrymandered jobs and housing and there is no point in blaming those who used every tactic to keep the British flag and their association with Britain because this is what they were taught by Britain. This is how Britain built itself up. The world has changed; the Empire and the Commonwealth have gone. Britain is now looking at the role she played in the North of Ireland; she is on the way out. Most of us see that Britain realises she has made mistakes.

Our Government should now be actively involved to ensure that Britain pays for the time she was in the North, for her mistakes and all the trouble she caused over the last 50 years. The North, as a result, is backward and the country, as a whole, has not progressed because it was partitioned. Britain is largely responsible for that. The Government should ensure that in any settlement Britain contributes substantially, for at least 20 years, to the building up of the North and the South.

I come from a part of Ulster which is divided by a border. I come from a county that is geographically disadvantaged and is perhaps worse off than any of the Six Counties. Donegal has been cut off from Ulster and forgotten by Dublin. Donegal has paid its price, in history, for being part of Ulster, for being part of an area which was divided. No other county has paid a higher price for being closely involved in the troubles of Northern Ireland than Donegal. As a Donegal man, I would urge the Government to be active and to see that compensation is paid in full by Britain for her maladministration in the North.

The Government should not pay attention to those who wish to make this a small issue between Protestants and Catholics in the North; it is a larger issue than that. We expect the Government to play an active role but they are not doing this. Certainly, the introduction of this legislation does not indicate that the Government are very interested in the matter.

The introduction of this legislation is intended merely to cover up the Government's inactivity in other matters, such as inflation, unemployment and industrial unrest. On my way to the Seanad I was approached by a shirt manufacturer who has a business in the North and in the South. Much to my surprise, he told me he had tried to meet the Government regarding the importation of shirts from cheap labour countries but they refused to meet him. At present, this man employs 100 workers in County Donegal and operates a week on, week off. The Government should take active interest in the economy rather than pursue this kind of legislation.

I am satisfied that in the not too distant future the Northern Protestant will realise that Britain's future no longer lies in the North. He will then turn to the South and see major advantages from uniting the country in one economic unit. I would forecast that when he realise this he will quickly move South and our greatest fear then will not be of the church which Paisley set up. The people in the South must wake up because when the Northern Protestant realises that England is out, he will find it easy to settle in the South. We should encourage him and make it known that he is as welcome in Cork as we would be in Bantry; that he can come down and pursue his business. Once he realises this he will know that there is a future in Ireland for the Northern Protestant. Southern businessmen must then wake up because the Northerner is a hard-working, honest and sincere type of man. When he comes down south he will realise that he has a major role to play. He will benefit tremendously from a united Ireland. We should encourage him to come down and participate in business. The future lies in both communities, North and South, working together to the economic advantage of both. The North and South have less than five million people in a European community of 200 million. We should use the hard, business know-how of the Northern Protestants and ask them to study the advantage of co-operating and working with us. We are on the way to achieving that but the Government are not playing a positive role. This legislation is out of date: I urge the Minister to take his courage in his hands and scrap it. If he does that he will make a major contribution and will indicate that he is serious and prepared to do something constructive for the Ireland of the future.

I shall be very brief. It is almost impossible to say anything without repeating something that has been said already. I note with a certain amount of satisfaction that the attitude of the Opposition to this Bill has changed during the last few weeks. Initially when this Bill came before the House some very irresponsible statements were made. I do not blame the Opposition for opposing a measure that is introduced from this side of the House. It is their job to tease out the various questions that arise and to let the public see what is the other side of the picture. They are now acting very responsibly and the speeches we have heard today, by and large, have been made in this way. This is a very different attitude from what we had earlier on. Indeed, it is regrettable that we had people spending so long going back over things that happened in past years. It would be quite easy to stand up here day after day to talk about some of the regrettable happenings that occurred on both sides and which continue to occur.

The arguments we heard today from the Opposition could quite easily be made in favour of the Bill. Generally they have been quite conciliatory types of arguments geared in the direction of co-operation between this part of the country and finding what we can do to ease the situation somewhat. The Bill does not set out to do any of the things that were alleged by the Opposition when the debate commenced in this House. It purports to give a fair trial to people who have committed crimes in the other part of the country. We would all wish to see a regime operating there which would be fair to everybody and with which we could co-operate fully. Unfortunately this has not been the position for a long number of years. What we are concerned with is to ensure that our own house is kept in order and that our legislation is fair to everybody, not alone to our own people but also to the people of the North with whom we hope, by co-operation over the years, we will be working together for the good of the whole country.

Initially, when the Opposition opposed the Bill they were inclined to think that some other measure could be taken such as an all-Ireland court. We would much prefer an all-Ireland court; we would much prefer a 32-county country with all working for the common good. This would be ideal but it would not be realistic to look for that solution now because there is no possibility of getting it and the Opposition realise this to be the position. But we can ask ourselves: "What can we have?" This Bill appears to be a realistic measure in the short term—perhaps not so short if things do not go as we would like— to let the people in the North see that we are serious about trying to ensure that our territory will not be used by people who commit crimes in the other part of the country coming in here to hide and be free. We know that this has happened in the past. We know that people from this part of the country have gone up and taken part in activities which all of us would condemn. The Minister has been at pains to point out that this Bill only proposes to give a fair trial to people who commit crimes outside the Twenty-six Counties. He pointed out in his speech that objections we stressed did not apply, even in part.

The Commission in the North have been taking evidence for a time and the admissibility, congency and relevance of that evidence is a matter for the trial court here. Whatever evidence is taken in the North will have to be examined by our own courts in our own State. The accused person has the right to confront the witness who gives evidence at the Commission and is entitled either to cross-examine him or have him cross-examined by his counsel. These safeguards are provided for in the Bill. The Minister has pointed out that whatever evidence is taken in the North is not a trial or even part of a trial. It sets out only to allow those people to be brought to justice here under the same set of rules that obtain for our own people. I do not think this is asking too much. It was said in the past that this type of Bill is in some way reflecting on the people who propose to fight for the unity of the country. It has nothing whatever to do with that. It merely sets out to make people who commit crimes here or in the North answerable for those crimes. This is not asking too much.

It has been said that the Bill may not be constitutional. I have no legal experience so I cannot say whether it is constitutional but I have sufficient confidence in the Minister and his advisers to know that if it were not constitutional it would not have been brought before this House. We may ask is the Bill necessary. Anyone who examines the situation from a reasonable point of view, knowing what has gone on during the years and which is still going on, unfortunately, will accept that it is necessary to take some action—whatever action we can take —to ensure that people who are responsible for those crimes are brought to justice. This may not be the best method to adopt. The Bill may be difficult to operate. Anybody will accept that. It may be difficult to get witnesses to come down from the North or to get witnesses who would wish to come forward but it is making an effort to ensure that the unfortunate tragedies that are occurring will in some way be curbed. It is better to light one small candle than to curse the darkness. It is not an answer to say the Bill is not workable; it will not be easy to work, but it is at least making an effort to do something that needs badly to be done.

It has been pointed out repeatedly that the people who will be concerned will have the same rights in the courts as our own citizens have. This seems fair enough. It should be fair enough for the people for whom it is seeking to legislate. It does not provide another form of extradition. It does not provide for the handing back of fugitives against their will. People who wish to use our part of the country as a refuge should be prepared to abide by our laws. This is all that this Bill proposes to do. It does not provide for trials in courts of another jurisdiction. There is no suggestion in it that we are backing up the trials held in other courts. We are merely asking people who come down here to live, to obey the rules in force and to submit themselves to the laws that obtain in our country. This appears to me to be a fair procedure. They will have a right to trial in our jurisdiction under our Constitution and in accordance with our laws. It does not provide for trial in the absence of the accused. The accused will be present and will have all the necessary safeguards the same as anybody living in this part of the country would have. He will be entitled to be represented legally. All of these things are provided for in this Bill and the arguments being made against it could just as easily be arguments made in favour of it. All points put forward today show that we ought to be co-operating in whatever way we can with people who wish to co-operate with us. Dreadful acts have been committed in the North; they are being committed up to the present week. We all recognise it is a minority of the people who are responsible for these acts—a minority on both sides— and we on this side must do all we can to ensure that the fair-minded people on the other side of the Border can see that the Government in the Twenty-six Counties are fair and are prepared to take whatever steps they can, limited though they may be, to ensure that their territory is not used for violence against our people. This is a fair and just Bill and I have pleasure in supporting it.

With the other Senators on this side of the House, I oppose this Bill now as I did on First Stage. The Bill is unwanted, unworkable, is ill-timed and unconstitutional. The Government would be better occupied giving more thought to our economic state and paying more attention to the unemployment situation than introducing legislation which, presumably, was at the behest of the British Government or the UUUC in the North. If the Government settled some of our health, educational or agricultural problems, and dealt with inflation and unemployment or if they settled the disputes between the veterinary surgeons and the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, or the dispute between the doctors, the chemists and the Department of Health, they would be better occupied than introducing this type of legislation. The public would be more concerned with and interested in the steps taken to heal some of the ills afflicting us than talking about the Criminal Law (Jurisdiction) Bill. The Bill is unwanted in every sense of the word.

Under this Bill we are asked to co-operate with the same forces we brought before the European Court on Human Rights, accusing them of atrocities—the RUC and the British Army. We are asked in the Twenty-six Counties to forget about all this, to co-operate and do what they are unable to do within the Six Counties. This Bill only acts in one way; it does not act across the board. I am sure the person who shot McElhone can walk around the streets of Dublin without being apprehended by the Garda or the Army, although in the eyes of every citizen here he is nothing but a murderer. This young son was shot in front of his parents and he had not even a weapon to defend himself. The person accused of his murder was acquitted in the North but at the same time we are asked to co-operate with that type of justice. It is time for us to do something about this type of justice. The Bill is stupid and whoever drafted it would need to have his brains examined.

Are we going to withdraw our accusations against the RUC and the British Army before the European Court on Human Rights and say: "Well done boys, you did a good job; we now agree with you; we are going to withdraw our charge and let you all off free"? Some of those men who committed those atrocities had to be taken secretly to a foreign country to give their evidence because they were afraid and are we now going to tell these men that they were right and that we are going to co-operate? Are we going to convict, in all probability, innocent people in our criminal courts here on their evidence? If we do this we are showing nothing but gross stupidity.

I believe we were pressurised into introducing some type of a Bill. If more time was spent drafting it a better Bill might have been introduced, but we were pressurised because a similar Bill was going through the British House of Lords and the British House of Commons when it was being introduced here. It would be unworkable for either of the two nations to put this Bill into effect unless both nations passed the legislation at the same time. There is no urgency about this. We have plenty of things on our plate to clean up and we should do those things. We should get some of the 103,000 people unemployed back to work and not be paying out £1,750,000 a week in dole. We must get these people back to work and give them a proper standard of living and look after our troubles and ills here.

There is no doubt that we are being pressurised. This Bill was introduced during the campaign for the Convention elections. The Convention elections are over, but I believe the introduction of this Bill caused certain militant organisations in the North to use their influence and powers of intimidation to stop people from using their franchise in those elections. The result was that in certain areas the SDLP who are opposed to this Bill, lost some seats. Only one type of people in the British Isles and the Twenty-six Counties agree with this—the Loyalists, the Unionists, the British MPs and those who support their deeds and actions here. Let nobody try to convince me that if the UVF, the UDA or any para military organisations do some atrocious acts that they are going to seek asylum in the south because they know well what they would get if they came down.

Another peculiar thing is that Mr. Stanley Orme admitted that they knew the people who placed the bombs in Dublin in December, 1972. He admits they have them but why do they not accuse them? Why do they not co-operate with us or do we always have to co-operate with them and say that they are right and we are going to give in? We have been doing this since the Treaty and the Cumann na nGaedheal Government accepted partition, accepted the finding of the commission on the boundary. At the whim of a British Government they bombarded the Four Courts, and at the whim of a British Government they executed 77. Do we always have to go back with tongue in cheek and say: "You are right; we will do what you want us to do"? This is no way of introducing legislation here—always going back. We even have to remove Articles 2 and 3 of our Constitution; bring in contraceptives and divorce. It is time for us to stand on our own feet. We have our own national Government and they must prove that they are a Government for the people and not a Government against the people.

I do not presume to be a legalist of any kind. I have listened to the arguments that have been made here by the legal lights of this House and if I was a layman acting on a jury I would be inclined to say that this Bill is unconstitutional. I would not go as far as Senator Halligan did in giving us a lecture on national and international law but I would be inclined to agree with the remarks made by the majority of the legal lights who maintain that this Bill is unconstitutional. As a layman I believe it is unconstitutional because there are certain rules of evidence laid down by our law society and by the Constitution. The accused is entitled to certain rights. From what I have been told I believe that if a person is accused but the identity is not positively proved, he must be pointed out in court and identified by the person purporting to identify him.

Are we now going to send three judges or three commissioners from the Special Criminal Court to sit in some house where justice is supposed to be administered in the North of Ireland, and not even allow them to cross-question or examine anybody who comes in with a hood over his face and says that a person did such a thing? They will not know if he is an RUC man, a UDR or UDA soldier or what is his status in life. God knows that down the years we have had enough of these things from the British Government in this country when some of our priests were executed on false evidence. We do not want any more repetition of that sort of thing. For God's sake let us forget about it.

The person is accused and apprehended down here and is brought before the Special Criminal Court and witnesses in the Six Counties can say he is the person without even seeing the accused. I am sure they will not take their life in their own hands and travel down here to give evidence. If this Bill goes through, instead of bringing people to so-called justice, stopping sectarian murders and so on, it will cause many more atrocities both north and south of the Border. I have no hesitation in saying that.

There was the case of McElhone. There was also the case of a member of the British Army who wrote to the parents of a murdered boy in the Six Counties and asked for forgiveness from them and admitted in an open confession that he killed that boy who was innocent. That man is free and is walking in some street in England today; even though he admitted to being a murderer he has not been apprehended and brought to justice. That man can come over and walk the streets of Dublin, can come and walk up and down Kildare Street and would probably find some good friend of his here in this House to bring him in for a cup of tea or coffee or a drink. He would not be apprehended, although on his own admission and confession he is a murderer. He wrote and asked for forgiveness and the letter was handed into a firm of solicitors but nothing has happened since. He got remorse of conscience and he is joining some religious sect now and I suppose he will spend the rest of his days lamenting and crying over the boy he murdered. He might even join the Klu Klux Klan. All I ask is that God may forgive him.

In introducing this Bill or asking for its introduction, we are going against legislation we have already introduced and existing rules of evidence. Evidently it does not matter a lot as long as we knuckle down and answer the whims of the British Government and the Paisley-Craig element in the Six Counties.

I doubt if this Bill will get through both Houses of the Oireachtas. Of course, it was a very fine idea to introduce it in the Seanad where there are only 15 Fianna Fáil Senators and where it can be said it got a wonderful majority. However, it may be a different story when it goes to Dáil Éireann. Because we have opposed this Bill we have been accused of being Provos by people on the other side. I do not belong to any military organisation north or south of the Border but if I am a Provo because I oppose this Bill for what I think it is worth I am delighted to be called one. I do not believe in sectarian murder or murder of any kind. If that name fits the people over here who oppose the Bill I am sure the people who have introduced the Bill could not very well object to being called members of the UUUC or the Paisley-Craig regiment because one is opposed to the other. If the cap fits them they can wear it.

I am delighted that Senator Whyte in his speech suggested that we should put our house in order. I have no hesitation in saying, as I said at the beginning, that we should put our own house in order. I see no difference in the speeches made to date, either short or long, from those opposing the Bill, those speaking for it or those who made half-hearted speeches, who do not know whether to oppose it or to be with it until the time of voting comes because in their hearts they are totally opposed to this legislation. The longer it goes on the more opposed to it they will be.

I agree with Senator McGowan in the remarks he made that the time is right to negotiate with Britain. It is time for England to make some statement of intent to withdraw its military forces and financial aid from the North. English people are no fools. They cribbed long enough about their subscription of £100 million a year to the EEC. They get something out of that but they are beginning to crib a hell of a lot more now when they consider that their commitment to the Six Counties is in the region of £400 million or £500 million a year. In the present economic condition that Britain is in they are finding it very difficult to get that type of money to hand over to a regime that did and would again fight against them in the North.

The Convention will not settle for power-sharing and the Convention will probably never function. There will be direct rule in the Six Counties. The £400 to £500 million they are giving to the Six Counties at present may, in the very near future, reach the staggering figure of maybe £700 to £1,000 million. The British Empire is tumbling. When I was young there was a saying that the sun never set on the British Empire; it is setting now in England. The time is ripe for us to negotiate, to ask them what their intent is and make sure they compensate the Six Counties and the Twenty-six Counties for all the damage done. I remember one of the agreements made after the signing of the Treaty under which we had to pay them £10 million per year land annuities for land that was grabbed from the Irish people and handed over to British landlords and, because we got it back, we were asked to compensate them to the extent of £10 million. We are absolutely justified in asking them to compensate for the time they have been in the Six Counties and for the irreparable damage they have done to them. The time is now ripe for negotiation. I have no doubt that this legislation has been imposed on us; we are being forced to carry it out at the whim of the British Government and at the whim of Paisley and Craig.

How can we share our courts of justice with these people when they see no justice in power sharing in the Six Counties? The longer this Convention lasts and the longer power sharing is refused, the longer we will have sectarian trouble and murder. This legislation has no hope of ending that. The one thing I fear is that it will cause an escalation of atrocity.

I would sincerely ask the Minister to reconsider the position. It took much longer to draft the Contraception Bill than it did to draft this. This is a very important piece of legislation and, if it is to bear fruit, there should be more thought given to it. Let us ensure our own justice is upheld in this House rather than try to co-operate with a justice that we know is not being administered fairly. In the Six Counties there is no justice for the minority. Let us cease bowing and scraping. Let us stand on our own feet and say: "It is time for you people to come and do something for us instead of our always going and trying to do something for you."

I do not believe this Bill will work in the long run. If the people in the North or the people in England are given to believe we are so soft and so gullible they have only to make a suggestion to us and we will do what they wish, there is very little hope of our achieving our rights. The reaction will be: "These Irish are gullible; we know that from past experience, so let us try our hand again." Lloyd George, Ramsey MacDonald, J.H. Thomas all discovered we are too gullible. Let us be the Irish we are supposed to be. Let us have our own strength and let us use it. Let us abolish this stupid legislation before it is too late.

Like other Members of the Fianna Fáil Party, I also oppose this Bill. Since the introduction of the Bill so much has been said for and against that it is difficult to say anything without repeating something that has already been said.

Has the Minister cold feet now as far as this Bill is concerned? If he has not got cold feet, he is certainly dragging his feet. On 10th April last he suddenly withdrew the Bill from the Dáil on the grounds that, due to all the work that that House had before it, it would not be possible to have the Bill made law before the summer recess. On the same day that it was withdrawn from the other House the First Stage was introduced here in spite of strong opposition from our Party and from others also. The Second Stage commenced on 24th April and, during that most interesting speech of Senator McGlinchey, the Minister was so impatient that he had neither the time nor the manners to sit through his speech. In fact, at that time the Government were in such a hurry with the Bill the Order of Business here was changed one day and an important motion on education which we had down for 1st May was not taken; instead we went ahead with this Criminal Law (Jurisdiction) Bill. The motion we had tabled on education was more important and concerned the country far more than this Bill does. Yet we were not given the opportunity by the Government of having a discussion on education or hearing the views of the Minister for Education.

Senator McGlinchey was accused of using certain tactics when he spoke for six or seven hours on 1st May. Today is 3rd June. While Fianna Fáil may have delayed this Bill by making very useful contributions as to why the Bill should not have been introduced, they cannot be blamed for the delay in having it passed by this House. Since the introduction of the Bill the House sat on 15 days; yet we have discussed this Bill on only five days. Last week we did not sit at all. Surely, if the Minister was sincere in having this Bill passed by both Houses before the summer recess, we could have taken it on all the 15 days that we have sat instead of five. Had we sat last week it would have brought it a week nearer conclusion.

I see no hope of this Bill being discussed in the Dáil before the summer recess. Perhaps that is what the Minister wants. While he has a big majority here his majority in the Dáil is slender and there are reports that some people may not support him and the Bill may be defeated in that House.

As far as the Bill itself is concerned I believe that it is a piece of ill-advised legislation and the purpose of bringing it in at this time is very doubtful. A prominent member of the Labour Party, when he was speaking against the Offences Against the State Act a few years ago, said:

All classes of society, judges, lawyers, groups of priests, educationalists, journalists, trade unions and members of virtually every organisation in the country are against this Bill.

Those words can be used as far as this Bill is concerned just as that speaker thought they could be used as far as the Offences Against the State Act was concerned.

I am convinced that the only reason the Minister transferred this Bill from the Dáil to the Seanad was to convince the British Government of the big majority that the Government have in this House and that he would be proving to the British Government, by having it passed here, that he is doing something, which he knows quite well is repugnant to the Constitution, to please the British Government. I want to make it very clear that I am totally in agreement with the purpose of the Bill, that is, to deal with fugitive offenders accused of violence and crimes and, in particular, the crimes mentioned by Senator O'Higgins here when speaking on First Stage. The crimes he mentioned were murder, kidnapping, knee-capping, burning churches and burning buildings with people inside some of them. Fianna Fáil do not condone any of those crimes yet we are opposed to the Bill because we feel that it will in no way prevent crimes being committed. I consider its contents unconstitutional and unworkable.

I should like to mention what happened this morning at the Killeen customs post where three people were killed. I wish to condemn those murders this morning and sincerely hope that those responsible for them will be arrested and convicted in due course.

A Senator

Hear, hear.

I am also convinced that this Bill will not help in any way to bring those people to justice. I hope the Minister is not going to use the murders committed this morning as a further effort to convince the people that this Bill should be passed by both Houses of the Oireachtas. I am convinced that nobody wants the Bill except the Minister, and perhaps, the British Government and the Unionists in the North. I feel that with the present state of affairs in the North of Ireland, this Bill will not help in any way and that its implementation in the Republic, if it ever becomes law, will not be a help. Not alone are the people in this part of Ireland against the Bill but I understand that every single anti-Unionist element in the Six Counties is against it. This Bill will divide the majority and the minority further in the North. It will divide the people in the North from the South. It will divide the minority in the North from the people of the Republic. Surely the Government do not want to appear to be going right over to what the Unionists want?

As has already been said, this Bill was part of the Sunningdale Agreement. Sunningdale has now collapsed mainly due to the actions of the Ulster Unionist Council. I think the Assembly in the North were doing a very good job but that did not suit those in the North who are opposed to a united Ireland and those in the North who are opposed to everything that is suggested by the people in the Republic. The Ulster Workers' Union succeeded in bringing down the Assembly in the hope that they could take over control in the North. As a result of the recent Convention elections in the North, they now have control of the Convention. I wonder are they the kind of people we will have to deal with if this Bill is passed? I wonder if those people would be prepared to co-operate with the Government in the Republic and ensure that fugitives in the North will be arrested in the North and brought to justice by those people?

I have a copy of The Irish Independent of Friday, May 16th, 1975, and there is a report in it of a speech given by Mr. John Hume, a respected member of the SDLP. With the permission of the Cathaoirleach, I should like to read it.

As long as the quotation is brief it is in order.

It reads:

The SDLP's Mr. John Hume last night hit out at Loyalists who cried out for law and order, while at the same time failing to condemn sectarian murders. Mr. Hume referred to Loyalist Coalition leaders and their supporters who, he said, "happen to be the majority of the Protestant population" for their failure to condemn any of the 50 sectarian murders of Catholics in the North since the Provisional IRA ceasefire began in February. In a challenging statement on the enforcement of law and order in the North Mr. Hume said: "The past week has seen an outcry from leaders and members of the Loyalist Coalition calling for law and order and an end to release of detainees. Their outcry would carry a lot more credibility if they themselves were impartial and even-handed in their approach to justice and law and order in the community. Was there a single word of condemnation from a single Loyalist politician of a single sectarian murder?" he asked. Was there an outcry from them for the detention again of Loyalists or of the leaders of the organisations responsible for those murders? Instead we had these organisations described as having a positive role to play in Ulster's future. We had some of their members standing for election on the Unionist Coalition ticket.

Do people who voted for the UUC really expect of us to believe they really abhor and oppose violence and murder? The Loyalist Coalition and their leaders say that they fully support the forces of law and order, but what are the facts?

In the past few years there have been 370 victims of sectarian murders. For only 12 of those murders have there been convictions.

Do these scandalous figures amount to full support for the forces of law and order by the people who support the Loyalist Coalition? Is it not really the truth that they only support the forces of law and order against "the other side"?

The leader of the UDA can publicly admit that his organisation was involved in sectarian murders and the Dublin bombings, and issue a public statement saying that his organisation planned to kidnap 20 prominent Crumlin Catholics. Yet he has not even been questioned by the security forces.

Instead he is in the position of having regular audiences with the Secretary of State and members of the British army from the rank of major upwards.

Those are the people with whom we are now asked to co-operate. Will they play their part if this Bill becomes law? No doubt they would fully co-operate in the case of the IRA but I doubt that we would get their cooperation if the fugitive was a member of some of their organisations.

With the downfall of the Assembly, Sunningdale also collapsed. I was under the impression that Sunningdale was a package deal and that all sections of it would have to go through or none at all. This Bill represents only a small part of the Sunningdale Agreement. It is now the only part left. I cannot understand why the Government here appear to be so anxious to have it enacted. I wonder do they want it as a memorial to themselves in years to come? I have already said that the Government here are trying to please the British Government by passing this Bill. If the British Government did very little to keep the Sunningdale Agreement alive, they did nothing whatsoever to keep the Assembly in office. They allowed the so-called workers' council to hold the Northern people to ransom. I am quite sure that if something like that was threatened in England, the Labour Government would be very quick to take steps to prevent it. This Bill should not even be considered until we have a Council of Ireland and an all-Ireland court.

Senator Mullen said that Ireland never got anything from a British Labour Government, and I am in full agreement with him. Had a Conservative Government remained in power in England, the Sunningdale Agreement might be now a reality because the Conservative Government would not be bullied by the Ulster Workers' Council. I want to go back to 29th November, 1972, when the Fianna Fáil Government introduced the Offences Against the State (Amendment) Bill. That Bill was necessary at that time in order to maintain law and order. At that time the Fine Gael Party were very much divided on that issue. We all know that a small number of Fine Gael Deputies in the Dáil, led by their then Leader and now Taoiseach, Deputy Liam Cosgrave, were prepared to vote with Fianna Fáil to have that Bill enacted. The majority of Fine Gael, led by Deputy Cooney, now Minister for Justice, intended to oppose the Bill.

In his speech in the Dáil, amongst other things Deputy Cooney said there was no need for such a Bill and, when concluding his speech, he made a passionate appeal to the Members of the other House not to vote for the Bill. That was on 29th November, 1972. Two days later on 1st December, 1972, as a result of tragic events here in Dublin in which a number of people lost their lives, Deputy Cooney came into the Dáil and announced that his party were now withdrawing their opposition to the Bill. To quote his own words he said that Fine Gael were prepared to put the nation before the party. To me those are very strange words because I always thought that the nation came before any party. As far as I am concerned, the nation always comes before my party and that applies to all members of Fianna Fáil. It was a shocking state of affairs if Deputy Cooney and the majority of Fine Gael Deputies were opposing this Bill in the hope of gaining votes at the next election which they knew was just around the corner.

Deputy Cooney became Minister not too long after that and I thought that if this Bill was so wrong in November and December, 1972, the first thing he would do would be to repeal it and bring in some other Bill. No word has been heard since from Deputy Cooney or others against the Offences Against the State (Amendment) Act. The Labour Party opposed the Bill and even the bombs here in Dublin at Liberty Hall and elsewhere were not able to convince the Labour Party that the Bill was necessary. They voted the whole way through against the Bill. I remember some members of the Labour Party describing the Bill as a pollution of justice, a fraud and an act of treachery by Fianna Fáil.

From the fierce opposition to the Bill at that time by the Labour Party, one would imagine that one of the conditions under which they would join with Fine Gael to form a Government would be that that Act would be withdrawn immediately they took office. We did not hear a murmur from Fine Gael or from the Labour Party about that Act once they became partners in the present Government. Many years ago when the Labour Party were part of another inter-Party Government a prominent Fine Gael politician said: "They are now as quiet as mice".

It amuses me to hear the Labour Members speak in this House in such glowing terms about this Bill because that is a complete contradiction of what they said in 1972. I should like to remind the Labour Party that, in the election which took place a few months after that Bill became law, in March, 1973, they received a large vote throughout the country from the Sinn Féin people and the Provos for the manner in which they voted against this Bill. I am quite sure that those Provos and Sinn Féin people thought that, by voting for Labour then, Labour at all times would oppose legislation of this kind. While it may not have been publicly stated on election platforms or outside chapel gates at that time, nevertheless the hint went around that "we are supporting the Provos and the IRA and we are asking you for your votes." They got them and they were well rewarded. I wonder what Sinn Féin think of them today.

Listening to some Labour people speaking here one could see easily they were doing so with their tongues in their cheek. Senator McAuliffe said that as far as he was concerned the Bill was not directed at the IRA and that, therefore, he was very happy about it. The Reverend Ian Paisley was probably told the Bill is not directed against his crowd in the North and, therefore, it might please him. If this is a one-sided Bill, it is not one that should be introduced in this or any other House. While in Opposition the Labour Party have always been opposed to legislation of this kind. Now they are in Government all that they have preached in the past is of no consequence. It appears now that in order to remain in power they are prepared to forego everything for which they stood in the past.

Listening to members of the Fine Gael Party speaking about the Bill, judging by some of their speeches and the excuses advanced for the necessity of such legislation, one can see that they are not too happy either. I listened to Senator Butler speak about the Bill. I was somewhat confused because he led us to believe that at present people in the Republic, women in particular, were sitting in fear and trembling in their houses every day and night of the week. He gave the impression they were in fear and trembling of the IRA or those other people in the North. That, we know, is not true; people here are not in fear and trembling. There may be some old people living alone in fear and trembling of prospective robbers, murderers and others breaking into their homes. Those people do not belong to the IRA, the UDF or any of the organisations in the North; they are people who go around night after night breaking into homes, plundering. I would suggest to the Minister that he take greater steps to have this type of violence prevented.


The people committing the crimes I have mentioned do not run up to the North afterwards; they remain here, to be arrested here, because such people would not run to the North. Those are the people about whom I ask the Minister to take greater steps to have arrested for crimes committed here.


I am not a member of the Garda Síochána. I do not know who——


Senator Ryan should be allowed to make his speech without interruption.

As has been pointed out to me, even after arrest, some of them can break out of jail. If this Bill becomes law, I am at a loss to know how it is going to be implemented. As I understand it, a person, even though he be a citizen of the North, may be arrested here for an offence committed in the North. The Bill that the Minister, the Labour Party and others opposed in November, 1972, is one which will now prove very useful to him if his Bill becomes law because it is under the Offences Against the State Act that fugitives will have to be tried.

On what grounds can a person be arrested in the first instance? A North of Ireland citizen could hardly be arrested merely because he came down here on business. If that were the case quite a number of people would be arrested. Such a person can be arrested, even though he might be innocent; he might be a man who never committed a crime in the North but who is unpopular with the British authorities or with the RUC there. They might like to be rid of him out of the North. If such a man came down here on business the Garda could be tipped off very easily by the people in the North that this man was a member of an unlawful organisation or that he had committed an offence in the North. It would take that man quite a while to prove his innocence because, no doubt, the garda would accept the word of the authorities in the North and would arrest him. That man may have to remain in custody for quite a while here before his trial would come up. That would be rather unfair because in any ordinary trial it takes a long time from the day of arrest to the trial. It might take months. Under this type of legislation it would take much longer. Arrangements would have to be made to bring witnesses from the North. If they were not prepared to come then our judges would have to go North in order to hear evidence given before a North of Ireland judge. All this would take considerable time. It would be most unfair to a person to be kept so long in suspense, be he in custody or out on bail. If he were out on bail, he must remain in the South for safety.

Take the case of a person who is guilty of some offence committed in the North and who is arrested here. Such a person must first be brought before a competent court authority here, when he can exercise his option to be tried here, with witnesses coming from the North to give evidence or, alternatively, if those witnesses refuse to appear here, he can opt to be tried in the North. If this person refuses to recognise our court or if he claims to be a British citizen, I should like to know what will happen.

When the trial takes place here, witnesses from the North must come to give evidence. In most cases the witnesses will be either RUC members or members of the British Army. Would those people be prepared to give evidence in the South? I doubt it very much.

We have seen what happened in the North on numerous occasions when such people gave evidence in court. They were hooded and identified as "Mr. X". Would that kind of evidence be accepted in any court in the Republic? I feel no court in this part of the country would convict a man on that kind of evidence. If witnesses decided to give evidence in the South they would be the cause of further trouble. There would be riots, damage to property and a danger to life. I do not believe any Northern witnesses would be prepared to give evidence in the South. The only other course open would be that the evidence be taken before a commission in the North. Our court would have to travel to the North and act merely as observers while evidence was being heard by a judge of the Northern judiciary from the RUC, the British Army or civilians. The judge from the Republic would sit idly by; he would not be allowed to cross examine witnesses. If there was any doubt about the evidence being given, he could not satisfy himself that the evidence was correct.

I presume that, when the accused is on trial here, the evidence would be given in writing and no cross-examination could take place. I doubt if any of our judges would convict a man on that kind of evidence. The accused is always given the benefit of the doubt and in most of those cases there would be much doubt. If the accused wished he could appear before the commission but, as in the case of the judges he would sit in the court and listen to what is happening. Would he be allowed engage the services of counsel or solicitor to cross-examine the witnesses on his behalf? I do not know if that is possible.

If the witness decided to testify in the North, he would have to be placed in the custody of the authorities there. He may be already in custody here, so it would just be a question of handing him over to the Northern authorities. He could also be out on bail, in which case he would have to hand himself over to the Northern authorities. I doubt if anybody would be prepared to do that. What guarantee have we that if a man or woman was handed over to the Northern authorities, they would not find some other charge against him or her? Is there any guarantee that if the man had already committed a crime in the North prior to the one with which he is being charged, it would not be brought against him? In other words, have we any guarantee that instead of trying him for the offence for which he was arrested here the Northern authorities would not detain him for some other crime he was supposed to have committed. As a result of certain things which have happened in the North, I do not trust the authorities there. In my view, no offender will travel North. That means he must wait until the judges return with the written evidence taken in the Northern court.

Let us take the case of an offender arrested in the North for a crime committed in the Republic. I presume he is arrested on the instruction of the Garda. The accused may be offered bail, which I doubt he would take because he might be safer in custody in the North. The witnesses for that case would be from the Republic. I am sure the Garda and Army personnel would be prepared to travel to the North to give evidence, even though their lives might be at risk. But if ordinary civilians were involved, would they be prepared to give evidence in the North? I doubt it very much.

In the event of witnesses not travelling to the North, the Northern witnesses would have to travel South for evidence to be taken. This would be a cause of further riots and demonstrations here. Finally, the accused would have to appear before the Northern court. Would he get the same treatment from the Northern courts— especially if he were a member of the IRA—as he would receive from the Republic's courts? The courts here always give the accused the benefit of the doubt, but would the same happen in the North if the person were a member of the IRA?

Recently we read of the case where a British soldier was put on trial for the murder of a farmer's son. From the facts given in the newspapers everybody was convinced that the soldier was guilty of the crime and should be found guilty. To the amazement of all, he was found not guilty by a Northern court.

In conclusion, I wish to say that this Bill is not a solution to the problems in the North. It might even create more problems, both here and in the North. Let us hope that more time will not be wasted in discussing this useless and dangerous legislation and that the Minister will see his way to scrapping it.

I will be very brief. As I said on the First Stage, I welcome the Bill and I wish to give my support to it. Senator W. Ryan used an expression which is largely the cause of the present troubles in the North and the continuing ill-feeling between different sections of the community there. He said he does not trust the judiciary or the security forces in the North. Our whole attitude here is based on mistrust, and the problem will never be solved until we have a great deal of trust, on both sides of the Border. At present that is lacking.

There are too many people in this part of the country who have got a perverse view of the British race as a whole and of the majority in Northern Ireland, in particular. They are inclined to become hysterical when a reasonable piece of legislation such as this is introduced. Such people could be typed as rabble-rousers; they are trying to promote hate, and politicians on both sides of the House should be reasonable in matters like this and see that justice is done both North and South and that perpetrators of hideous crimes are made to pay the penalty. That is what this Bill is all about.

For too long we have adopted an attitude on this side of the Border that to be England's enemy is to be Ireland's friend. With this sort of perverse thinking we will not have a solution to the problem for a long, long time. I cannot help but feel that too many members of the Opposition during this debate have either been playing for an extremist type of vote or else that some of them have had their tongues in their cheeks. I know there are many fine people in the Fianna Fáil ranks and great credit is due to the Fianna Fáil Party for their actions at various periods over the past 50 years, especially with regard to the Offences against the State Act and the way in which they dealt with it. Their leader, Deputy Lynch, is to be congratulated on the stand he took while he was Taoiseach and on the manner in which he stood up and took such a tough line as leader of what was named the Republican Party. He showed himself to be a fair-minded and fearless individual, and if all the Opposition politicians, and politicians in general, adopted his attitude in this type of matter, the ending of our problems would have been expedited.

I should like to refer to one Senator in particular—Senator McGlinchey— and to the lengthy statement he made, which took several hours. It is not so long since Senator McGlinchey could be classified as a dove in the Fianna Fáil Party but of late he has become a hawk. I found his speech quite repulsive. It is to be condemned and it is contrary to what any reasonable person would wish to hear. Senator Halligan said that Senator McGlinchey was breeding his own form of Paisleyism on this side of the Border —a green form of Paisleyism. The less we have of that the better.

I conclude by saying that the Bill is needed. We must see that justice is done, that the law is enforced all over the country. I welcome the Bill and I intend supporting it at all Stages.

Business suspended at 5.55 p.m. and resumed at 7 p.m.

This has been a long and controversial debate on a subject that has aroused a lot of controversy. Quite frankly I was surprised by the depth of feelings displayed in the debate. I was surprised, considering that the objective of the Bill—an objective which I am assured by Members on the other side of the House is acceptable to them—is how to deal with fugitive offenders. These are people who commit serious crimes in another part of this island and come down here and, through a loophole in our extradition laws, find refuge and immunity from prosecution for their crimes. This is, of course, an indefensible situation. It is one that this House in its entirety would want to see come to an end. I am surprised by the heat that has been generated in the course of this debate, not unanimously by those opposing the Bill but on quite a wide scale among Members of the Opposition party.

I am surprised, in particular, because the Government thinking on the need to end this scandal is no more than a continuation of similar thoughts held by our predecessors, thoughts which crystallised themselves into positive proposals by one of my predecessors who is now the Leader of the Opposition in this House. The proposal to the then Government was that this scandalous situation of fugitive offenders should not be allowed happen in this island. At the time the Extradition Bill was being passed in 1965 he foresaw with great prescience that the political immunity which the extradition code allows might be available for persons committing crimes of violence in Northern Ireland and taking refuge down here so that they could avoid the consequences of their acts.

In that knowledge and with that prescience he proposed at the time to his colleagues that a Bill similar to the one I am now proposing should be introduced. His colleague, the then Minister for External Affairs, opposed the introduction for political reasons. There were no constitutional objections. Indeed the Attorney General of the day felt that the only problem about it was that its drafting might present some difficulties. There were no objections to it on the grounds that it was going to mean collaboration with what was then the old Stormont in full flower supported by an RUC and a regularly-established B-Special Constabulary. There were no objections to it then on the grounds that it would violate the Convention on Human Rights. On the contrary, it was urged on our predecessors by the then Minister for Justice on a number of grounds, precisely the same grounds on which I have been urging it here on the House in the course of this debate.

The then Minister, with great prescience, recognised that it was a matter of prudence to face up to the possibility—and remember this was in the peaceful days of 1965—of a further campaign of violence and to recognise that in that eventuality there would be a new factor in the situation in so far as there would be reciprocal extradition arrangements enforced for ordinary crimes between here and the North and that there would be the position, in his own words and words which I echo with deep sincerity today——

On a point of order, the Minister said that he is going to quote the Minister's own words. Could he say from what he is quoting?

I am quoting from a submission which the Minister made to his colleagues at that time.

Which Minister?

The Minister for Justice.

Do I understand the Minister proposes to quote from confidential memoranda submitted to the Government?

It is from Government papers which are relevant to show a continuity of Government thinking in this sensitive area of extradition and the non-availability of extradition for certain so-called political offences.

On a point of order, surely in regard to a matter of this kind the Minister should quote exactly the date, what he is referring to or extracting from—in other words, the full record so that we can be fully informed.

Has Senator Lenihan any objection to that?

The position is that the Minister is entitled to make any quotation that he thinks is relevant. If he makes a quotation he must indicate clearly the source and if it is not already available to other Members of the House he must take steps to make it available.

I can arrange to make it available on a confidential basis——

If the Minister considers it is not in the public interest to make the full text available he is entitled to reserve his position. There are precedents for that.

As I understand it, the Minister proposes to quote in this House selected extracts from confidential Government memoranda which were provided by one Minister for his colleagues at a confidential Government meeting. This seems a most incredible and outrageous performance. How would the Minister feel if every memorandum that he provides for his Government colleagues were to be, at some future date—perhaps ten years from now—bandied about in this casual way in public?

Senator Lenihan is not anxious to hear it?

Let us be clear about this. There cannot be a debate on the prudence or the wisdom of the Minister's action. All we are concerned with here is the question of order. I have indicated already that the Minister is entitled to quote. The Minister is required to give his reference. The Minister is ordinarily required to make available in the Library of the House the document from which he is quoting. There are precedents in another place, whose ruling are taken as being equivalent to the rulings here, of Ministers being entitled to decline to make the full text available in the public interest. There are a dozen precedents for that position.

On a point of order, surely it is not permissible for the Minister to say on the one hand that he cannot give the text because it would be imprudent and wrong for him to do so and, at the same time, to use parts of the text that he wants to use to misrepresent, whether deliberately or otherwise, what a former Minister has said. Either it is imprudent and wrong for him to quote the text—in which case he should not refer to it at all—or it is not. But if he is prepared to refer to it he must give the full text.

To clarify the matter, there are precedents elsewhere to the effect that if the Minister does not wish to make the full text available he should desist from further quotation.

Very well; I will not quote verbatim from the document any further but——

That is even worse.

At this stage a certain amount of this document, or alleged document, has gone on record. I want to have it clarified.

Why do you object to it being on the record?

I have asked for the fullest record and reference to be made available by the Minister on this matter. To get back to a definitive point of order, I understand the Minister's problem in regard to discretion. If the matter is against the security of the State, understandably he may withhold any further reference to such document. I deplore the practice of introducing secret or private Government memoranda here, in public in any event; but to introduce exerpts from it without giving specific date, reference and the context and without making the whole submission from which the Minister is quoting fully available is entirely dishonest and out of accord with all practice. The Minister, before doing this sort of thing, should make a choice as to whether the document as a whole is a matter which comes within the ambit of public security and ministerial discretion, or not quote from it at all.

Quoting from a document by way of exerpt without any reference to the overall context, date, nature of the document, is completely out of order, in my veiw.

The Chair has stated the position in regard to quotations. That is the position that governs if the Minister is purporting to quote. Apart from this, the Minister or any Member addressing the House is entitled to paraphrase. It is not necessary for them to give exact references or to make available what is concerned is——

What is the position in regard to what has already been quoted? The Minister is now running into his burrow and has decided under pressure to depart from his obvious intention to elaborate on this matter. What will the Minister give us in regard to the reference and date of what he has already quoted?

It has been suggested that I am bandying around in a casual sort of a way something that is a secret. I am endeavouring to show in the course of this debate on this controversial subject that my thinking is merely a continuity of previous Government thinking. That is all I am trying to do. I want put accurately on the record of the House the thoughts of my predecessor in which the House would see that the proposals that I have brought forward in this Bill and the arguments for them are on all fours with the thoughts and arguments which motivated my predecessor in making his submission to his colleagues of the day. I can give the day and date of the memorandum in which those submissions are contained, but if that requires that memorandum to be placed in the Library then, regretfully, I would not do so. The date of the memorandum is 29th March, 1965.

On a point of order, the Minister has started quoting confidential Government memoranda. He has said it is not his intention to read further quotations contained in his script but I understand he has already circulated the script. He has not had the courtesy to circulate the script to the Senators but he has, I understand, circulated it to the Press.

I have not circulated it to the Press.

I was told by a number of people that there was a script with 28 pages in it so somebody must have seen it.

As the ex-Minister who happened to be involved in the memorandum being promoted and pushed here by the Minister for blatant political reasons——

The Minister has quoted a date, 29th March, 1965. I knew that I was the Minister for Justice responsible for this submission to the Government. I want to make it quite clear that I want that whole submission in its entirety placed in the Library. What we were discussing at Government level and in both Houses at that time was the question of extradition, extradition in accordance with an international obligation to which we as a nation had committed ourselves. This was not taking in any way from our sovereignty or the nature of our courts which were freely established under our Constitution. They were undertakings which we established with other free sovereign states and which form the basis of the Extradition Act passed in this House in 1965 and part and parcel of similar Acts passed by a number of other free countries throughout the world who agreed to exchange in accordance with democratic and rule of law procedures. It is in that context that that submission must be viewed and not in the context of this present Bill which flouts every idea of sovereignty on the part of each state to the convention which was freely signed by each state in regard to extradition. This Bill is not an extradition Bill. This is one where we take from the sovereignty of our State and from the independence of our courts.

It is hardly in order for Senator Lenihan to make a speech since, to the best of my knowledge, he rose on a point of order.

I rose on a point of order because I had been talking to my friend, Senator Yeats, and did not realise what the Minister was about to embark on and that is, to put it bluntly, a situation where he is quoting excerpts from a private submission to the Government in 1965 in relation to a Bill which was part of a convention on extradition, freely entered into by the Republic of Ireland as well as a number of other independent States——

That is not a point of order. It is repetition of what was not a point of order already.

——without any delimitation of sovereignty. In quoting excerpts from that submission in relation to an entirely different conceptual arrangement of legislation, the Minister is flouting the rules of order of this House in quoting the Minister of that time——

I am prepared to listen to the Minister replying to the debate but I am not prepared to listen to Senator Lenihan making a speech at this stage.

——in an entirely different context.

A point of order is being raised. The Chair is listening to submissions in regard to order and is endeavouring to listen to Senator Lenihan making a submission on the point of order.

The Minister is introducing that now in replying to this debate which is an entirely separate area, an area where we propose to take from the authority of our courts and sovereignty. In my view to submit it in that way without putting the corpus of the submission on record in the Library for examination by each Senator would be a totally dishonest way for a responsible Minister for Justice to reply to a debate in this House. I can see the point that if it is a matter concerning the security of the State, it is a matter for which the Minister for Justice should be the prime arbiter and should not have been introduced by him in any event. If it is a matter concerning the security of the State the whole submission should not be made available but I criticise very severely giving excerpts from that submission about matters pertaining to a situation now unrelated to a situation ten years ago and I would ask the Chair to rule accordingly. Either the Minister withdraws what has been said—although he can hardly do that as he has placed some of it on the record—or he places the whole submission and the context in which it was submitted to the Government before the House. Unless the Minister can assure us that it is against the security of the State to submit the whole submission I would suggest that he withdraws what he has said and refrains from any further observation on this matter.

The position is that the Minister purports to quote from a document but if he wishes to continue quoting from it he should undertake to make it available. If the Minister is not prepared in the public interest to make it available then the position is that he should cease from direct quotation from it. None of this affects the right of the Minister to paraphrase any document. In regard to the question of words already said, I must point out that these words were said before a point of order was raised and that the point of order having been ruled on now these words remain on the record.

I accept your ruling and in view of the fact that it would not be in the public interest to place the entire document in the Library of the House I will refrain from quoting verbatim from it. However, I will take up a point that Senator Lenihan made—that it is unfair to mention it without mentioning the context in which he made that proposal in 1965. The context was the passing of the Extradition Act and that Act, in accordance with our international obligations, contained provisions for exempting persons charged with political offences from being extraditable. In that context, it appeared to him, as Minister for Justice at the time, that this political loophole could lead to difficulties in the cases of people committing crimes of violence in Northern Ireland and taking refuge here or, indeed, committing them in Northern Ireland from bases here. He had sufficient prescience to appreciate that this loophole could, in the event of a further campaign of violence, lead to an embarrassing situation for this country, embarrassing in so far as the malefactors would have the benefit of the political loophole, that unless the law was changed they would be, in effect, in a state of immunity here from very heinous crimes. Unfortunately, his prescience has been proved accurate and that is our situation today. One thing that he foresaw was that if that situation should arise, it was likely that there would be reprisals on the people down here or on the minority in the North by way of revenge for apparently allowing that situation to happen. Again, he has been unfortunately vindicated in that, too.

What he proposed to overcome that unfortunate and unwanted situation which was not of his making but which was a consequence of the Extradition Act which he was bringing in to honour our international obligations and what he recommended to his colleagues at the time was what I am now recommending to this House, that we should have a Bill which would declare it an offence against our law to do certain acts in Northern Ireland. This would, consequently, introduce the principle of extra-territoriality. That is what this proposal is and there is no doubt about that.

I should like to raise a point of order in view of the way the Minister has proceeded. The Chair used the word loosely that the Minister was entitled to paraphrase a submission, but what the Minister is now saying demands that the complete submission be placed in the Library and viewed in the context of the submission made to the Government. The Minister is now proceeding to spell out what is totally untrue. There was no question of an extra-territorial recommendation in that submission of ten years ago. If the Minister wants to start paraphrasing in a false manner without reference to the whole context of the submission I suggest it is not paraphrasing but is a far healthier word, it is lying. Let us draw a distinction between paraphrasing and lying. Let us have the record right and let the Members of the Houses of the Oireachtas be the judges of what is lying and what is paraphrasing.

I advise Senator Lenihan not to go any further; he is up to his knees at this stage.

Is the Minister going to make further revelations?

Might I suggest that, in the interest of the House, Senator Lenihan withdraw any suggestion or imputation that the Minister is lying?

Is it now in order in this House to accuse a Minister of lying, as Senator Lenihan has done?

On a point of order, the unfortunate behaviour of the Minister in producing a secret Government document like this is going to lead further and further into the mess. It is well known to anyone who knows the procedure in Cabinet discussions that several papers may go before a Cabinet, several different views as to how a matter should be approached. Consequently, even quoting from a particular paper may not be the Minister's only or final view and it may not represent his full point of view at all. It illustrates how wrong it was for the Minister to quote from a paper put before a Cabinet meeting. How the Minister is going to extricate himself from this position or do justice to a former Minister who has been misrepresented is impossible to say. I sympathise with the Cathaoirleach in trying to rule in this impossible situation.

The position is that it has been submitted to the Chair that the Minister, in paraphrasing, is, in fact, misrepresenting the original document. It has been said by the Minister, and acknowledged by Senator Lenihan, that Senator Lenihan was the author of this document. If, in fact, Senator Lenihan makes a statement that what is said is a misrepresentation of the document of which he was the author then that statement of Senator Lenihan's must be accepted by the Minister and by the House, in accordance with precedents in this House.

Is Senator Lenihan entitled to characterise the Minister's statement on this as lying? I submitted a point of order to the Chair on that and I feel it would be disastrous, from the point of view of decorum in this House, if that is allowed to remain on record here.

The Chair heard no direct accusation of lying. The way in which Senator Lenihan phrased his objection to the Minister goes close to that. The Chair has indicated the manner in which Senator Lenihan would be able to put the record straight without any danger to the rules of order.

I accept fully anything the Chair says. If Senator Lenihan says he did not accuse the Minister of lying, I am, of course, quite happy. I understood that the purport of Senator Lenihan's remarks was to say that the Minister's manner of paraphrasing was, in fact, lying. If I am mistaken in that I apologise to Senator Lenihan.

I thank Senator O'Higgins and I accept the Chair's ruling. If this documentation is made available I feel the fullest documentation relating to the circumstances of the passing of the Extradition Act, 1965, should be made available to the Oireachtas and placed in the Library for Senators, Deputies, the Press and the public to view.

I do not want to lecture the Minister but it is a highly undesirable practice to quote not alone excerpts from a document but to quote excerpts from Government submissions and documents or departmental submissions to Government prior to decisions, without placing the whole context of the situation. I would suggest that all the submissions prescribed by all Government Departments, the eventual Government decision and the actual Act, all Seanad and Dáil debates, to which I had the honour to contribute at the time and the very welcome amendments advanced and accepted by me in this House on the occasion of the passing of that Bill, should be submitted under one file in the Library. We can then view what the Minister is saying in the context of the whole debate that went on at that time. I submit that as an addendum or amendment to what the Chair has suggested.

Senator Lenihan's memory has started to come back and he might genuinely have forgotten what was in the document. I reject completely the suggestion that I attempted to mislead the House or inaccurately or lyingly paraphrased him. I was attempting to read accurately from a document when I was stopped. It was indicated to me that I could paraphrase it. I was doing that but that was equally unacceptable to the other side. What I was going to say is now, apparently, not acceptable to the other side. Nevertheless, I do not want Senator Lenihan to be at any disadvantage. However, I cannot agree to his suggestion that this entire documentation be placed in the Library of the House; it would not be in the public interest. I would be prepared, because of Senator Lenihan's position as former Minister for Justice, to leave to him——


The Minister should be allowed to finish what he is saying.

——for his personal perusal—the document from which I was quoting, the memoranda of the submissions in question. When he sees them and peruses them he will be satisfied that my paraphrase was entirely accurate.

I do not accept that. Thank God I am reasonably young yet and I have a good recollection of everything that went on at that time. A number of submissions and views were put forward. I am trying to capsule this as quickly as possible. Fundamentally, all we could do in the way of legislation was do what we had signed to do as part of an international convention, to bring in legislation in accordance with that convention and to exempt political offences from the operation of that convention. Each subscribing country to that convention did precisely the same thing. That is the situation.

The Senator made that submission before. The Chair has ruled on the question. It is a matter for the Minister to make up his mind as to the manner in which he is going to make his speech. The Chair sees no further reason for debating the point of order.

One final point on the point of order, and this is again in total disagreement with the Minister paraphrasing the submission. At no stage was it under the contemplation of anybody associated with any submission, either from the Minister for Justice or any other Minister in that Government, that political offences could in any way be exempted from a convention to which we as a nation had given our signature. Political offences were exempted and could not be included in any extradition arrangement between Ireland and Britain and the rest of the world. I think the Minister agrees with that.

I agree and I never alleged otherwise.

As long as that is clear——

In view of the importance of this business about divulging secret Cabinet memoranda, could the Minister tell us whether he had the sanction of the Taoiseach before indulging in this?

I do not require the sanction of the Taoiseach. I understand that as the Minister concerned I do not need to seek sanction from anybody else.

The Taoiseach is in charge of the Cabinet.

I am in charge of the Department of Justice.


I am still in the position that Senator Lenihan has denied the truth of what I said was proposed in 1965. I think this should be clarified. I am quite satisfied that the documents which I have read, and from which I quoted before I was ruled out of order, will confirm the accuracy of what I was saying and will show his memory to have been at fault. For reasons of public interest I cannot place these documents in the Library of the House. I am, however, on a personal basis prepared to give Senator Lenihan, as a former Minister for Justice, the documents in question for his persual. Perhaps the debate could be adjourned until the morning for him to read the documents.

I refuse to accept that. I want these documents in their fullest context and fullest documentation from every Government Minister that led up to this decision to be placed here in the Library for everybody to read.

That is not a matter over which the Chair has any control. The Minister to continue.

As Senator Lenihan well knows, it would not be in the public interest and that is something I could not do. I am regretfully forced to the conclusion that he is sticking to that request because he does not want to see on a personal basis the document which I have offered to him. I will offer it to him again and I will agree, with the House's permission, to postpone the debate until tomorrow morning to enable him to peruse the document in question. Does he want to read it or not?

Senator Mullen might be back from the conference tomorrow morning.

I do not mind as long as everybody sees it. I want to be frank about this. The Minister is blatantly misrepresenting the position. I must say that the logic of the Chair's ruling very kindly and very properly leads to the conclusion that the Minister has been misrepresenting the situation. The word I used earlier on was no idle word in that respect because the fact of the matter is that no Minister of the State, and in particular the Minister for Justice at that time, could have made a proposal to the Government that in any way political offences could be exempted from the extradition Bill of that time.

That is not what I said.

We are talking about political offences.

The Minister to continue in conclusion of this debate.

May I paraphrase from the document in question——

Is the Minister going to continue to paraphrase private secret Government memoranda? It is outrageous conduct——

I have offered the document to the Leader of the Opposition to peruse it and he said he will not accept it. I was making the point that this Bill fulfils something which was foreseen in 1965. I want to give credit to my predecessor for having had the foresight to foresee the dilemma that we are now in, how to deal with the fugitive offender, the person who commits the murder——

On a point of order again, the Cathaoirleach has stated specifically, and I accept his ruling, that if I stated I was misrepresented the Minister must accept it. The Minister is now treading the same ground again in an effort to continue the misrepresentation under another guise, of paraphrasing, which is an euphemism for lying. If he wanted to continue——

I suggested we might adjourn the debate until tomorrow morning.

The Minister has continued to paraphase, which is a euphemism for lying. The Chair has correctly pointed out that if I, as the author of the document say I was misrepresented the Minister must accept that.

On a point of order, if Senator Lenihan keeps charging the Minister with paraphrasing and then adds a new phrase as a euphemism for lying I submit that is tantamount to suggesting the Minister is lying.

The Chair deprecates the use of the word "lying" in the debate in the way in which it has been used.

I accept the Chair's ruling but I would ask that the Minister would also accept the Chair's ruling——

If the Senator accepts the Chair's ruling he should not repeat the words which the Chair deprecates.

I certainly will not use any word that the Chair deprecates, but I would ask that the Chair should at least ask the Minister to accept the Chair's own ruling of some minutes ago, that if I say that what the Minister states is a misrepresentation he must accept what I say in that respect. With respect to the Chair, I ask that the Chair would enforce that ruling on the Minister.

The Chair has stated what the position is, that all Members of the House and the Minister must accept a personal statement by a Member in regard to something which was their own statement or their own action. That is well established.

Is Senator Lenihan submitting that this was his own statement and his own action?

The Chair has spoken——

Neither the Chair nor the Seanad is an investigating tribunal. The House is here to debate a Bill which is before us at the moment and, therefore, the Chair expects that the Members present and the Minister will debate the Bill rather than investigate documents.

I accept totally the Chair's ruling in that respect. Now we are on the right track if the Minister follows that track.

I accept the Chair's ruling that if a Member alleges he is being paraphrased inaccurately his statement to that effect must be accepted. But that leaves me in the extremely difficult position of having to say that the Member who makes that allegation has a memory that is seriously at fault or worse, particularly when I have offered him the means of refreshing his memory. He can read this document and refresh his memory as to the events which took place when he was bringing in this Bill in 1965 and he can then decide whether he will repeat his allegation that I paraphrased him in a way that he described euphemistically as telling lies. This is a serious issue. If I do not raise it because of the Chair's ruling that I must accept what Senator Lenihan said this matter is left hanging. Again I am offering to the Senator the document in question so that he can refresh his memory as to the events that took place at the time and the debate can be adjourned. Does he want to read the document or not?

It is not a matter between the Minister and myself. It is a matter for the Chair.

The Chair deprecates entirely this question of offers being made and refused in the middle of the debate in the House. It is not conducive to order.

The position is clear. The offer has been made several times clearly and unequivocally.

It is not the first time there have been defective memories in the Fianna Fáil leaders.

The offer has been rejected.

Is the Leader of the House accepting the Minister's suggestion that we adjourn until tomorrow to give Senator Mullen and Senator Kennedy an opportunity of returning from the conference?

If Senator Lenihan is prepared to accept the Minister's offer, certainly no one on this side of the House will object to facilitating Senator Lenihan to read this document.

If the Minister would make it available to all Senators we could adjourn until the morning——

It is clear that Senator Lenihan does not want to read the document. I think this is quite clear.

The Chair would be glad if the Minister passed from the question of the document.

Perhaps the Minister will now get on to the Bill. It is obvious he is having problems in defending it.

It is only right that we should recall the purpose of this Bill because it seems to have been forgotten. The purpose is to bring to trial fugitive offenders, people who commit acts in Northern Ireland, come down here and claim that these acts were political when they are sought to be extradited, find their claim upheld and are then able to reside in total immunity in this jurisdiction free from having to pay any penalty for their crimes. That is the purpose of the Bill.

We were asked several times during the debate was some pressure brought to bear on us to bring forward this Bill. Of course there was pressure on us to bring forward this Bill. There was the pressure of civilisation, humanity, decency and the pressures of wanting good relations with our fellow-Irishmen in Northern Ireland. These were the pressures that were on us and these were the only pressures that were on us to bring forward this Bill. The state of affairs that exists at the moment is nothing short of scandalous; fellow-Irishmen can be murdered, their homes and business can be bombed, they can be bullied and intimidated, they can have their kneecaps shot off by kangaroo courts, they can be kindnapped, they can have their vehicles hijacked, they can be subjected to a reign of terror by persons who can then come down here and take refuge from the consequences of these awful acts. Is it any wonder that some people in Northern Ireland look askance at us down here and wonder what sort of society we have or what sort of legislature we have, what sort of parliament we have that will tolerate such a state of affairs? That is the pressure that is on us to bring in this Bill to try to end the scandal.

This Bill is designed to try to end that scandal. It has been attacked on a number of grounds. It has been attacked on constitutional grounds and on the ground that it breaches the Convention on Human Rights. It has been attacked on political grounds, on the ground that it will involve the forces here in what is, apparently, a dirty word on the other side of the House, "collaboration" with the security forces in the North. It has been attacked on the ground that it will in some way give aid and comfort to the enemies of this State. It has been attacked on the ground that it will be divisive. It has been attacked on the ground that this is not an opportune time for it.

Senator Lenihan asked why this Bill now. Why do we need to bring in this Bill—a Bill he described as divisive, and then he said whom it will divide; it will divide the majority from the minority in the North? I do not see how that can happen because it is in ease of both sections; the terrorists who are intimidating the community, murdering them and shooting them in the North, should be brought to justice. Dividing the North from the South: on the contrary, this is one of the obstacles that are keeping the North and South apart, the feeling up there that we down here are willingly providing a haven for their enemies. That it is dividing the people down here: I do not see why it should divide the people down here when the objective of it is to bring criminals to justice. That it is dividing the Opposition from the Government: that is a matter for the Opposition. Again, I do not see why it should. Why, I wonder, all this opposition on what I think are specious political grounds? Is there some atavistic fear within Fianna Fáil, some fear of coming face to face with the situation of having to tackle people down here for crimes committed in the North? Is there still some old feeling that if a thing is done in the North, if a British soldier is murdered in the North, or an RUC man gunned down in the North, or a Protestant business place bombed in the North, and this was done in the name of republicanism— is there still some deep inner feeling that that is not as bad a crime as if the soldier shot wore the green uniform of our Defence Forces or was a Garda or the place bombed was a business place in Dublin? Is there, I wonder, still some ambivalence, still some double think that prevents this House as an entirety unanimously coming to grips when dealing with this subject——

Double think. The Minister opposed the Offences Against the State Act.

Is this what is at the root of the opposition to this Bill, this humane Bill, this civilised Bill designed to try to show the people in the North that we here are concerned about their predicament? We want to do what we can within our legal system to ensure that those responsible for their predicament do not escape and take refuge here in our territory.

It took British bombs to bring the Minister around.

The Bill has been attacked on the ground that it is unconstitutional. This attack has been based on Article 3 read in conjunction with Article 38.3 which sets up the special Criminal Courts. Under Article 38 Special Criminal Courts may be set up when the Government are satisfied that the ordinary courts are inadequate to secure the effective administration of justice, and the preservation of public peace and order. Senator Ryan and Senator Robinson were the main protagonists of this argument and they said that this has to be read in the context of Article 3 which, in effect, limits the extent of our laws to the Twenty-six Counties. That is to say that the preservation of public peace and order, the maintenance of the special courts must be looked at only within the confines of the territorial boundaries of the Twenty-six Counties. I think that is a patently wrong proposition because it is self-evident that what takes place outside those boundaries has a serious effect on the preservation of public peace and order within those boundaries.

Again, it was conceded by Senator Robinson that the principle of extra-territoriality is not unconstitutional. It is a well-recognised principle of international law and it enables the State to apply an equally well-known principle of international law, the protective principle that it can pass laws for its own security having an extra-territorial effect. Because of the validity of that principle in international law I think this too is a further argument in favour of rejecting the proposition that Article 38 and Article 3, when read together, must apply only to the territorial area of the Twenty-six Counties and inhibit the passing of any laws with an extra-territorial effect outside that area.

It was alleged too by Senator Robinson that the Bill was unsatisfactory in so far as it would institutionalise the Special Criminal Court. As far as I could interpret her, she read the Bill as meaning that offences under sections 2 and 3 are only triable before the Special Criminal Court. There is no such exclusivity incorporated into the Bill. Offences under sections 2 and 3 can be tried before the Central Criminal Court. What is special about the Special Criminal Court and the Bill is that the procedure for taking of evidence on commission is reserved to the Special Criminal Court but the trial of the offences under sections 2 and 3 of this Bill is not confined to the Special Criminal Court; they may be tried before any court in the land. Happily we will reach the day when the Special Criminal Court can be disestablished, so to speak. But this Bill does not have to come off the Statute Book. This Bill, when enacted, can remain and the offences under it can be tried before the ordinary courts of the land. If that situation should arise, one would imagine that by that time any difficulty there might be in regard to witnesses coming south will have disappeared and the need for the rather involved and intricate commission procedure will have disappeared and offences can be tried before the Central Criminal Court in the ordinary way.

Senator Robinson said at column 639 of the Official Report of the 29th of April: is clear it will only be the special courts—in practical terms the present Special Criminal Court— which will be the court which will apply this procedure and before which offences under sections 2 and 3 of the Bill will be tried.

By that she could be taken to mean that she envisaged the ordinary criminal courts having seisin of these offences too.

She went on in column 640 to say:

Nowhere in this assessment of scheduled offences is there provision for the types of offences which are mentioned in sections 2 and 3 of this Bill, which would of course under the terms of the Bill be tried before the special court.

Then Senator Robinson talked about section 36 of the Offences Against the State Act, 1939. Again, in column 642 she said:

Apart from the constitutional issue in its strict sense, I think that this provision that offences under sections 2 and 3 would be tried by the Special Criminal Court would be most undesirable in that it would have the effect of institutionalising the Special Criminal Court as a special feature in our law.

That is not the intention of the Bill. The Special Criminal Court will only continue so long as the proclamation keeping it in being continues, that is so long as the Government are satisfied that the state of affairs in this and adjoining territories is such that the ordinary courts are inadequate to secure the effective administration of justice and the preservation of public peace and order.

When we reach the time for its disestablishment then these offences under sections 2 and 3 can be tried in any court of the land. They can be tried in any court of the land at present but, admittedly, because of the situation which exists, because they would be jury courts, it might not be possible to use the ordinary courts because of the difficulty of bringing witnesses south. Accordingly, the procedure for commission, which is envisaged, will have to be used.

It was envisaged by the Law Enforcement Commission that the Special Criminal Court would be used in this context. Paragraph 25, on page 20, of that report says:

We are therefore of the opinion that a more satisfactory and just method of taking evidence on commission is the one outlined in paragraph 22 (b). In the absence of a jury, this should not create any very great difficulty.

It is quite clear from that statement that the commission had non-jury courts in mind for the taking of evidence and for the trying of offences under this Bill.

Articles 5 and 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights were quoted and it was alleged that the provisions of the Bill would be in contravention of these articles. Article 6 of the convention provides for the right of an accused person to a fair trial. Nowhere in that article is there any rule against the taking of evidence on commission. The article provides that an accused person is entitled to defend himself in person or through legal assistance and he is also entitled to examine or have examined witnesses against him. These rights are fully protected in the Bill and they are in no way diminished or cut down. They have been established by the Supreme Court decision, the Haughey decision, to which I referred in my opening speech. These rights are preserved in the Bill and are not in any way cut down so I do not see how it can be pleaded that article 6 is breached.

I do not see how the right to an early trial or to release pending trial which is enshrined in paragraph 3 of article 5 of the convention is adversely affected by the provisions of the Bill in regard to the taking of evidence on commission. It was suggested that because a person is on bail he may have to surrender his bail to go up before the commission in the North to hear the evidence against him and that this in some way is cutting down his rights to be on bail. If he is returned for trial in this jurisdiction he must surrender his bail anyway to come for his trial. I do not see any difference in principle or in degree in a person surrendering his bail to appear in the court of trial or to appear in a place where procedure relating to the trial is taking place, namely the hearing of evidence on commission.

Different custody jurisdiction.

In principle or in degree I do not see any difference in a person surrendering his bail for the purpose of being present at the hearing of evidence against him. That is what he does.

Different jurisdiction.

It is different jurisdiction, the Minister said.

Of course it is different jurisdiction.

No jurisdiction.

That does not take from or add to the point. I shall deal with the question of the person going into custody in a moment. The point is that the right given by paragraph 3 of article 5 of the convention is in no way diminished; that is the right to bail pending trial. It always has been the case that bail must be surrendered during trial or during the actual hearing. That does not impede or conflict with the protection given by the section and there is nothing in the Bill which goes beyond that in any principle or in any degree. If the accused person does not wish to go to Northern Ireland he is perfectly free not to go. He can send his legal advisers instead and be represented by them. They will have full rights to cross-examine and look after his interests if he does not want to go. The provision enables a person to go and it is left entirely up to the accuased whether he goes or not. I can foresee many situations where it would be in ease of his situation that he would go.

Indeed, persons on bail can be under restrictions as to their movements within this jurisdiction. They can be restricted to reside in a particular area, surrender passports and report to Garda stations. It has never been suggested that such restrictions on a person's freedom while on bail are in any way cutting down the rights given by Article 5.

They would rather be at home than with the RUC.

Again, when a person goes North it is provided in the Bill that he will be immune from any other proceedings. This immunity is guaranteed to him. It is unreal to suggest that the position could be otherwise or that this would not be honoured in full. We must remember that this legislation is being reciprocated; there is reciprocal legislation being passed through Westminister. The successful working of this type of legislation depends on goodwill, the bona fide working of it and the observance of the spirit of it in both jurisdictions.

There is no doubt that if it was our experience that the spirit was not being honoured well then we would have to see whether we would work the procedure or not. There is an Executive position in the background to the legal position. The legal position is the immunity guaranteed by the Bill. In the background there is the fact that because the legislation is reciprocal in effect there can be Executive sanction imposed to ensure that the Bill is honoured in the spirit as well as in the letter. The scare speeches that were made about the dangers to a person while in custody in the other jurisdiction for the purpose of taking evidence are just so much scare talk. It does not have any reality in fact.

It is not a novel principle within Europe for evidence to be taken on commission abroad. There is another convention, the Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters, a Council of Europe Convention of 1959, which specifically provides for the taking abroad of evidence on commission for criminal trials. That convention has been ratified by many of the same countries which have also ratified the Convention on Human Rights. It is inconceivable to think that the provision in that convention would be such as to breach the protection and privileges granted by the Convention on Human Rights. It is an argument that does not stand up to the reality of the situation, the reality being the immunity granted by the Act and, secondly, the fact that there can be an executive watch kept to ensure that this immunity is honoured in the spirit and in the letter, because of the reciprocal nature of the legislation.

I would make the point that, with regard to the question of oral evidence, the general rule is that evidence in a criminal trial must be oral evidence but in the Supreme Court decision, to which I have already referred, the Haughey case, it is pointed out that it may be otherwise provided by statute. Chief Justice Ó Dalaigh states, and I quote:

In a criminal trial evidence must be given orally. A statute may authorise otherwise but the Act of 1970 in this instance has made no exceptions.

The Act of 1970 was the particular Act which was being adjudicated on in that case. The point is that it is said there that a statute may authorise otherwise that evidence in a criminal case may be otherwise than oral.

I make that point because it is suggested that there is something wrong, or unlawful, or illegal, in the evidence being taken on commission in the absence of an accused and then being presented in writing to the court of trial back in this jurisdiction. There is nothing inherently unlawful in that and the statute may provide for it. There is nothing in that which cuts down on an accused's right because it is entirely up to himself whether he goes North to be present. If he does not want to go, despite the immunities that are granted to him, he can be represented by solicitor and counsel.

Senator William Ryan seemed to have misread the Bill and was under the impression that an accused person before a commission would not be entitled to bring his lawyers from the South with him. It is written into the Bill that he would be so entitled and that they have right of audience before the commissioner to cross-examine the witnesses.

It is not written into the British Act.

On commission it is, but not before a court.

I cannot find it in the British Act. It is not in it.

It is. There is a right of audience. I will deal with that as Senator Yeats has raised it. Our barristers and solicitors will have a right of audience before the commissioner in the North but not a right of audience at a trial in the North. That is the distinction between the two Acts. We are giving a right of audience at trials down here and before the commissioner down here to lawyers from Northern Ireland. They are not reciprocating fully in so far as they are not giving right of audience to lawyers from down here at a trial up there. They are giving right of audience to lawyers down here at the commission up there. In that sense there is full reciprocation.

I have not been able to find it in the Act.

I possibly may be able to get out the exact reference before I finish. I beg your pardon. It is not in the British Act, but we have been assured that a right of audience before the commissioner will be available.

The British never broke their word.

Is it not a pity that the Minister would not wait to bring the Bill in here before he is sure the British are doing this?

The British wrote the two Bills.

I am satisfied for the reason I have already stated, that this legislation can only work provided there is reciprocation in the spirit and in the letter. The Senator can be satisfied that this Act will be operated by us when we are satisfied of full reciprocation.

Why did the Minister not have a look at the Bill when it went before the House of Lords to find out if it was right? He did not even know what was in it.

It is not something that needs legislation because the commission is not a court and legislation is not needed to permit lawyers to appear before a tribunal which is not a court. They do not need legislation to give them the right of audience. It is purely an administrative arrangement that lawyers from here would be given a right of audience before the commissioner in the North. There is no need for legislation because, as I say, it is not a court. It can be done administratively. If it is not done administratively, we have it within our power to invoke sanctions either by withdrawing from the reciprocal arrangements, or otherwise to ensure that it will be done.

I thought the Minister said it was in their Act.

He said it was in the Act.

I apologise to the Senator. I misread it. We are satisfied that there will be a full right of audience before a commissioner for our barristers and solicitors from this side at commissions in the North.

So much for Articles 5 and 6 of the Convention. I think the arguments that they will be breached do not stand up. This Bill in no way cuts down the accused's right to a fair trial. He will be tried before the courts of this jurisdiction, before judges of this jurisdiction. Some of the evidence may have to be taken on commission in the North, in his presence, if he so wishes to be there, in the presence of his lawyers if he does not wish to be there. They will have full rights to cross-examine the witnesses who are adduced before that commissioner. Also present will be the judges from the court here having seisin of the trial.

We had many scare speeches—again, this is a favourite scare from the Opposition—about hooded witnesses coming in, not being identified but being labelled alphabetically, and that our courts would be convicting on their evidence. That is not so. Our courts will not accept evidence from hooded witnesses or witnesses who are not identified to them. I would have no doubt whatsoever that such evidence would be totally disregarded and to suggest that our judges would accept such evidence is, I think, doing less than justice to our judges who have an unequalled record for fairness and judicial propriety.

But Northern Ireland judges do accept such evidence. Is that not right?

I am talking about the position of our judges and the position of the person who is tried down here for an offence committed in the North. It was alleged in the course of the debate that at the commission procedures in the North, at the trial of that person, being a part of or attached to or connected with, the trial down there, at that part of the trial procedure there would be hooded witnesses. That is a ridiculous proposition because, in effect, what it is saying is that our judges will accept evidence from hooded, unidentified witnesses.

Northern Ireland judges do accept such evidence.

I am speaking about our judges. Our judges will be present and lawyers from down here will be present—prosecution and defence lawyers. To suggest that our judges would participate in a commission in which the witnesses would be hooded and unidentified is to insult our Judiciary. That is the long and the short of it.

Will the commissioner allow them to be hooded in the Six Counties?

The commissioner will not be the person involved as far as we are concerned. Those concerned will be our judges and they will not tolerate such a state of affairs. In any event I am confident that the authorities in the North in reciprocating this legislation will not produce witnesses hooded and unidentified. Their evidence would be completely worthless.

The Minister is saying that Northern judges convict on worthless evidence and he is using them in this Bill to run the commission for him.

He is collaborating with them.

I am not saying that Northern judges accept evidence from hooded persons or at what tribunals hooded witnesses appear in the North. All I am saying is that in proceedings before a commissioner in the North, our judges will not be offered evidence from hooded, unidentified witnesses, and I want to scotch that scare argument by the Opposition. It is purely a scare argument completely unrelated to reality.

It goes on every day of the week.

It is an insult to our Judiciary to suggest that its members would be present and allow evidence to be taken on commission in their presence for their court from unidentified persons. Even if they did so, such evidence would be useless.

Totally without heat, on the aspect of our judges and our Garda officers and State and Judicial personnel from here participating in proceedings in the Six County area, has any consultation taken place with the Judiciary, or with the Garda officers or with the Army personnel who might be concerned on an official Judiciary, Garda and Army basis?

That does not arise on this Bill. I have no doubt as to the loyalty of our judges, our Army and our Garda. It is a scare argument and I suggest it is a constitutionally improper argument, to suggest that our Judiciary would in any way have to be coerced into operating legislation passed by this Parliament. Again, the proceedings that take place in the North belong to the trial procedures from here and the commissioner who is presiding over the taking of evidence is acting not on his own behalf, not on behalf of the Northern authorities, but on behalf of the courts here because it is at their request he is sitting.

Consequently, to suggest that this procedure in the North on commission is in any way a Northern judicial inquiry is wrong. It is part of the trial procedures initiated by request from the courts here. It is taken in the presence of the judges here and they only will assess the evidence that is adduced, its cogency, its weight, its relevance and its credibility. They and nobody else will assess that. I have complete confidence in our Judiciary, that that assessment will be accurate and entirely judicial and that no political or improper motives or factors will be allowed intervene.

I have no doubt that the rights of the accused person—part of whose case has to be taken on commission, whether it is evidence for or against him—will not be in any way cut down by virtue of the fact that some of that evidence is taken on commission. I do not think the fact that he has to surrender his bail and go into custody to the other side can in any way be taken as a diminution or a lessening of the right given to him by Article 5 of the European Convention. It is no different in principle from the surrender of bail to come into a court for the hearing of evidence. This is part of the case against him; he surrendered his bail to go in custody for that case.

Senator Yeats made a point that, in some way, the position of an accused in custody in the North for the purpose of taking evidence is inferior to the position of a person in the South for the purpose of taking evidence before a commission in the South. He spoke in support of that and referred to the provisions in the Schedule to the British Bill. The provision in the Bill before the House is contained in section 12, subsection (3), paragraph (d). It says:—

The Commissioner may (d) upon any adjournment of the proceedings, if he thinks it appropriate to do so, on the application of the accused or the prosecutor, authorise the temporary return of the accused to Northern Ireland.

The power there is a discretionary one for the Commissioner which he will exercise on the application of the accused or the prosecutor. Quite clearly, if there is an adjournment for a week or so, he will order the return of the accused to the jurisdiction whence he came. This is what is clearly understood between the two Administrations as to the working of this section. On the other hand if that were mandatory and there was a lunch-time break, there could be a tendentious, malicious or mis-used application for a return to the other jurisdiction over the course of the lunch-time break, when the hearing on commission could be upset and impeded. Quite obviously, the Commissioner must have discretion. This Bill is reciprocal and the spirit has to be observed as well as the letter. It is unthinkable that a Commissioner would refuse an application by a prosecutor or the defendant for the return of the accused to his original jurisdiction when the proceedings were being adjourned for several days.

The provision in the parallel British Bill is contained in Schedule 4, paragraph 4, subparagraphs (3) and (4). Senator Yeats referred to paragraph 4, subparagraph (3), which says:

If the accused has exercised his right to attend the examination of the witness, he shall, unless the Commissioners otherwise direct, remain in Northern Ireland until the examination is completed.

But he did not then go on to read subparagraph (4) which says:

Either the prosecutor or the accused may apply to the Commissioner for a direction...

That is the same thing as is in our Bill expressed differently. I am quite satisfied——

In a much more negative way.

It would appear to be more negative. I am satisfied that the rights of the person to be returned will be respected. This is a piece of reciprocal legislation which will have to be honoured in the spirit as well as in the letter. Again, there will be executive sanction to be imposed to ensure that this is what will happen. It is quite clear. I have no doubt that the intention of the parties is that persons in custody, for the hearing of a commission, will be returned to their respective jurisdictions while the commission is adjourned. Naturally, they will not be returned during a meal break because that would impede the hearing of the commission unduly but, if there is an adjournment for any length of time—depending on the convenience of the parties and the application that may be made by their representatives—the accused will be returned. Once the right is there and can be applied, that is the main safeguard. Certainly the intention is that the accused will be returned on any substantial adjournments.

I am quite sure that it is the Minister's intention. I would like to feel it would be carried out by some of those Northern judges.

Again, the Senator is under the misapprehension that these judges are sitting as judges in courts in Northern Ireland. That will not be their position. They will be sitting as Commissioners having been requested so to sit by the courts of the Republic. It is inconceivable that they would so comport themselves as to, in any way, come in conflict with the courts of the Republic with whom they are reciprocating in the administration of this reciprocating legislation. The Senator should disabuse himself of this notion that the Commissioners are Northern judges sitting in northern courts. They are not; they are judicial persons sitting as Commissioners, at our request, and they will run the proceedings as it suits us because the proceedings are not theirs; they are essentially our proceedings. To suggest that they are going to do otherwise is stretching the argument unduly.

Again, it might be one of those Commissioners.

It could, of course.

Then, there would be no confidence in him.

I have to correct myself and Senator Yeats again with regard to the right of representation of the commission. I refer the Senator to paragraph 4 of Part I of Schedule 4 of the British Bill. Paragraph 4, subparagraph (1) (b) reads:

"The accused shall have a right to be represented by counsel or solicitor in the proceedings (whether or not the accused is present.)"

That is in the proceedings before the Commissioner.

Of course, but that does not mean a solicitor and counsel from the Republic. It merely means he can be represented. It does not say, as the Minister's own Bill says, that he can be represented by the solicitors in the actual trial.

It cannot mean anything else, because every person has a right to be represented by a solicitor or counsel from the jurisdiction in which he finds himself. There is no need to put such a provision into an Act; it would be tautologous so to speak.

But the Minister has.

It may be tautologous in our Bill.

The Minister has put it in, and rightly so.

It can refer only to a barrister or solicitor from this jurisdiction going North.

I have sufficient confidence in the parliamentary draftsman to think that there was a reason for putting that in the Minister's own Bill.

I can assure the Senator that it has been agreed, and there is no doubt about it, that the right to representation will be a right to representation by a solicitor and counsel from the South on the hearing before the commission.

On the question of the right of the accused to be returned, he will not be before a judge of the North; the person taking the evidence will be a judicial person from the North but he will be doing it only at our request. It is inconceivable to think that he would not return an accused on the application of the prosecution or the defending counsel at the end of the proceedings or on any substantial adjournment of the proceedings.

The other question raised was the compliance with a request by the visiting judges to the commissioner to put a question to a witness. Again, Senator Yeats pointed to a difference of approach in the two Bills.

Before I begin to deal with the difference of approach I should like to recall what happens at the commission. The evidence is taken by the commissioner on behalf of the court from this jurisdiction, and the judges from this jurisdiction will be present. Also present, hopefully, would be the accused and his counsel or solicitor and the prosecution would be represented. The evidence would be taken in precisely the same way as in the substantial trial itself. There would be examination and cross-examination. There would be no limit, other than the normal limits imposed on cross-examination, on the questions that might be asked.

The cross-examiner would have a free hand. He would not have to have the permission of the commissioner or of the judges to ask questions in the normal way. Objection might be taken by the prosecutor in the normal way. The commissioner would have to rule on this in accordance with the law of the place in which the commission was taking place. This would be normal procedure with regard to taking evidence on commission. There is a completely untrammelled right for defending counsel or solicitor to represent their client at the taking of the evidence in regard to cross-examination. The question raised refers to the right of the judges from the court having seisin of the case to interfere and intervene in the commission for the purpose of putting the questions in the way that judges, some more than others, find themselves compelled to ask question of witnesses, either during the direct examination or the cross-examination. The question raised now by Senator Yeats is: are there differing standards in the two jurisdictions?

In the two Bills.

Yes, between the two Bills, and consequently in the two jurisdictions. There is a difference in wording between the two Bills. The Bill before this House, in section 12 subsection (4), states that it is the duty of the Commissioner to arrange his sittings so as to facilitate the presence of the members of the court and to comply with any request by those members to put any particular question or questions to the witness. The British Bill in Schedule 4, Part I, paragraph 3, states that any judge of the court which issues the letter of request—that is the court from the Republic—shall be entitled to attend the examination of the witness and shall have a right to suggest to the commission questions to be put to the witness. That is in contrast with the provision in our Bill whereby we make it obligatory on the commissioner to comply with a request. Senator Yeats' objection states that there is no such obligation on the commissioner in the North to accede to the request from the judges of the South who would be present at the hearing of the evidence on commission.

There is no practical difference between the two Bills because our provision is qualified by section 12 (6) paragraph (b) of which states:

Questions as to the exclusion of any oral evidence, or the withholding of any document or thing, on the ground of public interest shall be determined by the Commissioner in accordance with the law of State.

That, of course, immediately limits the previous direction to the commissioner to comply. It might not be possible for him to comply because the question might be improper, having regard to the wording of subsection (6) (b). On looking at the Bill again and having considered it in light of Senator Yeats' criticism, subsection (4) might require amending to make it on all fours with the Schedule in the United Kingdom, to remove the obligation to comply and merely have it a right to suggest to the commissioner what question shall be put, again because the commissioner, being the person applying the law of the place where the commission is taking place, will be the person who has to decide under subsection (6) (b) the questions of the public interest—the questions as to the exclusion of any oral evidence, or the withholding of any document or thing, on the ground of public interest. These matters have to be decided by the commissioner holding the commission. Once he is given that right, as he has to be given that right, that necessarily cuts down on the earlier direction to comply.

But not very much. The Minister is reducing the rights of the accused in our courts, simply because the British have reduced the rights of the accused in theirs. I suggest that the Minister stick to his guns.

If I might suggest, this is a question of not having a contradictory position. If we were to leave our Bill as it stands, we would probably have a contradictory position.

Would the Minister not ask the British to change their Bill?

It is a question of drafting. If I thought that to change their Bill to ours would be a more satisfactory solution certainly I would. But if it leads to a contradictory situation, if in one part of the section it states that the commissioner shall comply with a request from the visiting judges to put a question, and in another part of the same section the commission are given the power to exclude questions, there could be a conflict between the commissioner and the visiting judges.

The Minister can say that it shall be the duty to comply, subject to such and such a subsection.

These are drafting matters. I take Senator Yeats' point, which we will consider for the next Stage. The essence of the position is that at first, because this is reciprocating legislation, the spirit as well as the letter will have to be complied with. Quite frankly, if we find the spirit is not being complied with, then we could not be expected to work this legislation. That is an effective sanction, to ensure that the same regime with regard to the rights of the visiting judges to put questions will be practised in both jurisdictions.

As I said, it is essentially a matter of drafting. I take Senator Yeats' point that there appears to be a lesser standard offered to us than we are offering. This is not so when subsection (6) (b) is read in conjunction with section 12 (4).

This was considered by the Law Enforcement Commission. Paragraph 27 of their report reads as follows:

An important point which arose in our discussions was the question of rulings upon claims of privilege made by witnesses on the ground of public interest or security. This is a question which may cause difficulty whenever a witness from one jurisdiction is giving evidence in the other jurisdiction, since the law of that second jurisdiction would not necessarily permit the public interest of the first to be taken into account.

It can be resolved by providing legislation in each jurisdiction that the commissioner, who would be a judge of the jurisdiction in which the evidence on commission is being given, would rule on the question in accordance with the law of the jurisdiction in which he is taking evidence. If such a claim of privilege should be upheld then the effect of the absence of such evidence is a matter which must be considered by the court of trial in arriving at its decision on the question of guilt. We recognise that members of the security forces may choose to give evidence on commission, because a ruling might be given by the court of trial adverse to the public interest of the State from which the witness has come.

The Law Enforcement Commission thought that the commissioner should have the right of excluding certain matters on grounds of public interest from the commission. Of course, if he excluded matters which the trial judges from the visiting jurisdiction thought were relevant, that could have an adverse effect on the prosecution's case or on the defence's case.

The fact that they were excluded does not necessarily mean that the judges would close their eyes to the implications behind the matter. It would be another factor to be weighed by them in eventually deciding on the case. It is quite clear that the commissioner must have the jurisdiction and must have power to decide what is to be admitted or not when the evidence is being taken. If a lot of exclusions were sought, this would be at the risk of damaging or weakening the prosecution case. It could be in ease of the accused.

Senator Robinson in the course of her speech indicated that she had read the report of the Law Enforcement Commission and she was of opinion that there was a stronger argument in favour of extradition. She has expressed that opinion elsewhere but in no case have I seen arguments to support that opinion. Without arguments, her opinion is only as strong as her lack of argument. She made a rather odd point in the debate when she was dealing with the reasons why our courts have refused extradition in cases where the accused have pleaded political motivation for their crimes. She made the point at column 648 of the debate of 29th April and she said that an allegation made in general, and which is accepted at present by the High Court judge who determines the matter—the matter being the application for habeas corpus consequent on an extradition application— is that

"the rule of law has broken down in Northern Ireland and that the person is involved in an armed revolt against the administration there".

At column 649 she made the point that she thought the argument in favour of the extension of extradition in the Law Commission's findings was stronger than the argument put against it. She said:

However, that does not take from the point that, at present in our High Court, the argument based on a breakdown of the rule of law in Northern Ireland is accepted on its face by the judges here.

I was surprised to hear her say that, and surprised to read it in case my ears had led me astray. I made careful inquiries as to whether in any decided case in this matter such words were used by our judges in acceding to these applications for habeas corpus or exemptions from the extradition proceedings. In other words, Senator Robinson is saying that our judges are granting this habeas corpus and expressing themselves to grant it on the grounds that the rule of law has broken down in Northern Ireland. Nowhere can I find that such a statement was made in any of these proceedings.

Maybe she was paraphrasing.

If she is prepared to show me the document I will read it, unlike Senator Lenihan who ran away from the document. It is still available for him to read and he can then withdraw his allegations if he wants to. His memory is possibly coming back and, wisely enough, maybe he does not want to read it.

The passage of years.

As I have said, I have made a check with the persons who have been handling these cases before the High Court and none of them is aware of such a statement by any of our judges. If Senator Robinson means that the effect of their High Court decisions refusing extraditions was to show that the Court considered that the rule of law has broken down there, she is plainly wrong. The Extradition Act itself contains a prohibition of extradition for political offence or an offence connected with a political offence. It is the same test which has applied to other countries. All that a person has to do is to show the political character of his offence in order to claim exemption and this, of course, has been our difficulty. It is not necessary for the applicant to show that the rule of law has broken down. Indeed such a case has not been made as far as I know. Certainly, it has not been accepted and given by the courts as their reasons for their decisions.

Senator West in his thoughtful contribution to the debate, from a viewpoint which was only heard once and that was from himself, said he thought that the principle behind this Bill was good and that all we are seeking to do has to be done. He was worried whether the mechanics will be too cumbersome to be successful. His answer to the solution was to amend the extradition code so as to exclude crimes of violence from the political exemption. There is a lot to be said for that having regard to the growth of international terrorism and the growth of terrorism in this island. There is something incongruous about a situation which permits exemption on political grounds for the most frightful crimes of violence. As things stand at the moment, we have an international obligation by reason of our adherence to the European Convention on Extradition to permit exemptions for political offences or offences connected with political offences. Of course, the second leg is, to my way of thinking, unduly wide. It is time that the countries of Europe, because of the growing problem of terrorism that they have, and we are one of them, considered looking again at this question of political exemptions to see can the comity of nations and civilisation itself any longer allow a procedure to exist where people guilty of the most obnoxious and frightful crimes can escape the consequences by pleading that they were well motivated. It is a rejection of the basis of morality to allow such contention. As I say, because of the particular problem we have here, it would be our lot to take the initiative at international level with our fellow European countries to see if the Extradition Convention should be amended. Until it is amended we, unfortunately, are inhibited from changing domestic law, which must honour our international obligations. This is the essence of the argument in the Law Enforcement Commission on our side for our refusal to bring in extradition for these people.

At the same time, there is a long and honourable tradition, as the Minister knows, behind political offences.

I agree. When the tradition started it was a most worthy thing, but the fact that the beginning was good and that the tradition is honourable does not excuse present-day abuses. I do not think it can be argued that the knee-capper or the arsonist or the person who shoots another person in the back of the head——

That is different.

——or the person who shoots a policeman or soldier in the back of the head or who bombs his neighbour's premises or who hijacks a car can be allowed to excuse himself by claiming he did it for the noblest of motives.

The attackers in the German Embassy in Stockholm were sent back to Germany where they belong and are facing trial now.

I agree, but we have to be very careful that in wanting to honour this long and honourable tradition of sanctuary for political offenders we do not at the same time provide a haven for criminals and gangsters.

A Senator

Hear, hear.

That is the danger we are in and that is the dilemma we are in. The time has now come for the nations of Europe, because of the endemic problem of terrorism within this continent, to look seriously at that position. There is no point in having a good tradition if we are allowing it to inflict damage on ourselves. I am making the point at this stage because Senator West suggested in the course of his contribution that to make some exception to the political code by excluding specific crimes of violence would be perhaps the most effective answer. I sympathise with him. I cannot answer that until such time as we are relieved of our international obligations, because we would have to be so relieved before we could make any changes in our domestic laws.

I hope we are not relieved of our international obligations in that area.

This is a question where there is room for a lot of debate, but having regard to the awful terror that is being inflicted by international terrorists and the sheer horror and total evil of their crimes, I think it is unreal to suggest that we should not at least look at the political exemption if it is being used or abused in any way to give cover to those people. It is a subject which will require a lot of thought and care. It is time that it was looked at. Terrorism is now endemic in Western Europe. It is a horrible disease and it would be ridiculous for the free nations of Western Europe if, in safeguarding their democracy, they went to an extreme and allowed their very democracy to be so abused as to injure themselves.

It is a disease which people like Hitler tried to stamp out.

That is precisely the dilemma we have in this country with legislation such as the Offences Against the State Act. In order to protect democracy it may be necessary at times to curtail democracy. People of goodwill will accept such curtailment. The people who are innocent will willingly accept such curtailment. People who are of another frame of mind will make noisy objections to such curtailments, will talk about repressions, the very people who themselves practise repression in the Northern of Ireland in various forms.

Senator West made another interesting observation when he was talking about the tone of the debate and the allegations that were being made against Northern Ireland. Indeed it was ironic to hear Senator McGlinchey, for six and a half hours I think, hurling insults and abuse against Northern Ireland and against the majority and against the institutions in the North— not making criticisms but hurling abuse and insults—and then having the gall, in the course of that, to express his desire for unity. Senator Dolan is a person who lives in a Border county and should be aware of the sensitivities in Northern Ireland. He said he never referred to that place as Northern Ireland but always called it the Six Counties.


He either knows that that term is offensive to the majority in the North, and if he knows it is offensive, it makes nonsense of his professed wish to be united with them to insult them by using a term offensive to them.

I am an Ulsterman.

If he does not know he is being offensive to the Northern majority, then it is equally reprehensible that he can have lived in a Border county for so long and know so little about his neighbours across the Border.

Again Senator West made a very interesting observation. He said: "What, I wonder, would be the level of tolerance in the Republic if the minority had been 40 per cent instead of 5 per cent?" It is a very interesting thought. What would have been the level of tolerance in the Republic if the minority had been 40 per cent instead of 5 per cent? He said the 5 per cent had been well treated; they kept their heads down. I was sorry to hear such a statement coming from a member of the minority. If that is their feeling, I regret it. He did raise an interesting point: would we have had the same intolerance here that the majority in the North had shown to their large minority? There are signs that our hands might not have been as clean as they are now or as we would like to think them to be. There are some counties in the Republic where the minority is a sizeable proportion of the population. They have practices and customs and celebrations which might not commend themselves to the majority in the same way that the minority in Northern Ireland have practices and processions and parades which do not always commend themselves to the majority in the North and which have led to repressive words and actions by the majority.

Our hands are not clean. We complain about a lack of tolerance in the North, but when the minority in County Donegal hold their Orange parades as part of their culture, which would be analogous to the minority in the North holding a nationalist parade, Senators have complained. Senator McGlinchey said at Donegal County Council on 24th June, 1970, as reported in the Donegal People's Press on 29th June, 1970:

For far too many years they had tolerated Orange marches at Rossnowlagh. He warned that if this year's 12th July procession in Rossnowlagh went ahead there would be trouble.

It was never held since.

I wonder did Senator West put his finger on a sore point when he said we were tolerant of our minority because it was small.

The Orange Order have since told me I was perfectly right.

He does not regret the statement?

No, not in the slightest.

The Minister is introducing sectarianism into the debate.

I do not think it would be any harm for me to remind the Minister that the Six Counties are only part of Ulster. I am an Ulsterman. There are nine counties in Ulster. The Minister should know that.

There were some other points raised by Senators in the course of the debate.

Could he quote the mongrel-fox speech at Cork by the Taoiseach?

The Senator is a bit slow coming back. I will quote Senator McGlinchey again in 1970 when he thought there was nobody in this world like Deputy Neil Blaney. His feelings changed.

The Minister is on dangerous ground when he talks about changed feelings.

He returned to Donegal after the dismissals of May, 1970. I quote:

North East Donegal has no intention of dancing on Neil Blaney's grave. He was one of the best TDs in Leinster House and he will remain and head the poll in North East Donegal until old age makes it impossible for him to go forward. Neil Blaney was the man who stopped the party from being split down the middle.

Would the Minister now quote the Taoiseach's speech in Cork when he called the Minister a mongrel fox?

The Senator is wrong.

No, the Senator is very right. The Minister was the greatest mongrel North of the Border——


On the question that by operating this Bill we would in some way be allowing what I would call the Northern courts to interfere in our courts. Of course, this is quite wrong. The whole point of this Bill is to ensure that these people are tried in this jurisdiction in our courts before our judges, in accordance with our procedure and in accordance with our traditions. Yet, somehow this was being presented as a repressive thing; as something that would be harmful to these fugitive offenders; that it would be in some way prejudiced. What is the alternative? To let them go free. I think it is common case at last, with some exceptions, that they should not go free, that it is a disgrace to have them free. The alternative is to hand them back again. We agree that is not possible because of the present extradition law. Again, if the Northern judicial system is so terrible and so oppressive I am sure that people here would not want them to go back. A third possibility was put forward by the Opposition in the course of the debate, and that was the all-Ireland Court.

When I opened the debate I referred to this method and I stated that the Commission in their report had said that the all-Ireland Court did not offer a practical, immediate solution to the problem. I said the contrary might be argued in the debate and I said that if it were argued I looked forward to hearing an assessment of the feasibility of that solution in the contemporary political context. I picked those words carefully and I regret to say that I have not heard any such assessment in the contemporary political context. I suspect that the Opposition put forward that solution because they know that in practical terms it is impossible. It would involve a special code of law common to the entire island; it would involve a court comprising judges from the entire island and the Opposition seem to envisage it as being operated by a common police force for the entire island. In other words, this would be a situation in which Partition had ended and there were no longer two jurisdictions in this island, and to suggest that that is a practical alternative in the contemporary political situation is running as fast as one can from reality. I think it is clear to anybody that such a suggestion is not practical, is not feasible and it has to be rejected.

Again—and this is a point that was not adverted to—if it is to operate it will hear evidence from RUC men and British army personnel, and will that evidence be less objectionable when given to that court than when given to our own courts here? If this is one of the big objections to the procedure which the present Bill before the House suggests then it is an equally valid objection to the all-Ireland court method. But to suggest in the present political context that an all-Ireland court solution is a feasible or a practical solution is nothing less than ridiculous. We would all like to see it but we live in 1975 in this divided island in the aftermath of a Convention election which gave an overall majority to the Loyalists who have made it very clear that the Irish dimension or anything to do with this part is anathema to them, and here we are in this Legislature solemnly and seriously putting forward an all-Ireland court solution as a practical method of dealing with this problem.

I think this is unreal talk, and it is typical of the failure of the last 50 years of people down here to recognise the reality of Partition. We see the reality as we think it ought to be and not as it is, and this leads us into fallacious and silly statements, and I could take as an example this suggestion of an all-Ireland court to deal with this problem. I think we are light-years removed from that as a solution. We might not be so far from it as a solution if the type of legislation or the spirit behind this legislation which is now before the House had been in existence many decades ago. We would then be able to show the people in the North that when we say we are against the IRA we mean it; that when we say we do not want any part in violence that we mean it, and when we say that the Provisional IRA is anathema to us and that their philosophy is detestable to us, we mean it. But until such time as our actions support our words our words will be regarded with some cynicism by the majority in the North with whom we wish to be united.

This Bill gives us an opportunity to put action on our words, and I regret that the debate has taken the line it has taken. I would have expected—and we got—the condemnations of violence. There is a certain ritualism about them now, but it is very hard to accept them as being deep when they are made in the course of a speech hurling insult and abuse at all things pertaining to the majority in Northern Ireland, in the context of speeches decrying the measures proposed in this Bill, denigrating this Bill, laughing at it and trying to show that it is unworkable, in the context of scare speeches, propaganda speeches not founded on reality of what is in the Bill. This talk of hooded witnesses; this talk of the Northern judges having power within our courts—the Opposition must know that the Bill makes no such provision. The Opposition must know that this Bill is to make it an offence against our law to do certain acts in Northern Ireland. Those acts are then offences against our law, triable in our courts before our judges, before our lawyers, according to our procedures, in accordance with our traditions and if conviction is involved, punishable in our prisons, within our jurisdiction. That is all that this Bill wants to do. It does not institutionalise the Special Criminal Court. It allows the offences to be tried before any court in the land, but in the unhappy situation in which we are, where the ordinary courts are inadequate to deal with this type of crime, they have to be referred to the Special Criminal Court.

The fact that they refer to the Special Criminal Court does not in any way make the provisions unconstitutional, because the necessity for the Special Criminal Court is not confined by the deliniating words of Article 3 of the Constitution. The necessity for the Special Criminal Court must have regard to what is happening beyond our borders. We are entitled to take advantage of the protective principle of international law and have a Special Criminal Court if the reason that our laws are inadequate is because of something happening outside our borders. So I reject the suggestion that the Bill is unconstitutional on that ground.

It is not unconstitutional either because it infringes Articles 5 and 6 of the Convention on Human Rights. I have demonstrated, I think, that these rights are preserved in the Bill and are not in any way cut down. Again, it is now common case that the principle of extra-territoriality is not a novel legal principle, that there is ample precedent for it within our law. It is a well settled and old principle of international law and we are entitled to apply it here as this Bill applies it. Senator Lenihan knows that too.

The Minister might get back to the Official Secrets Act; it might be more pertinent.

I will make the documents available to Senator Lenihan and he can decide whether I was paraphrasing accurately.


Senator Lenihan intervened when I was addressing the House and I answered him.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

The Minister to continue without interruption.

There was a further point raised in regard to the changes in substantive criminal law contained in the Bill. There has been some criticism from Senator Robinson that by reason of our failure to change the definition of a larceny to comply with the definition contained in the Theft Acts of Northern Ireland and England we failed to achieve what we set out to achieve—uniformity between the laws here and Northern Ireland in regard to robbery and burglary. Here in the State the meaning of stealing is governed by the definition of stealing in the Larceny Act, 1916, but stealing only becomes relevant here when it is an ingredient of robbery or burglary. We have not sought to amend the law regarding larceny as an offence. We are seeking to amend the law as regards robbery and burglary. Stealing is one element of it.

There will be uniformity when the incidence of the offence relating to the robbery and burglary part of it are uniform with those incidents relating to the same or similar offences in the other jurisdiction. The definitions of stealing on which the offences are based differ here from there, as our definition of stealing is narrower than the definition in the North but there will not be any cases in which an offence of robbery or burglary will not be similarly an offence in the North and vice versa.

The wider cases of theft in the definition in the North are irrelevant so far as robbery and murder are concened. Therefore with regard to the offences of robbery and burglary there will be uniformity and that is what we sought to achieve. The definition in the Theft Act speaks of dishonestly appropriating. But this is really immaterial, because in robbery and burglary the offender takes and carries away and dishonestly appropriating covers taking and carrying away which is the integral part of our definition of larceny.

The case of Furlong to which Senator Robinson referred dealt specifically with the offence of larceny and not with burglary or robbery. There is no doubt that to have uniformity with regard to the offences of larceny we would need to adopt the wider definitions of the theft Acts in England and Northern Ireland. This is an area of criminal law which is under review for updating and amending.

The Bill also takes the opportunity of making changes with regard to the penalties for some offences—the offences including robbery and burglary and firearms offences. These changes are consequential on changing the definitions of the offences so as to make them uniform, less complicated and less archaic than they are in our present law. With regard to robbery, at present simple robbery is punishable with 14 years imprisonment. If the offender is armed with an offensive weapon or instrument or is with another person or more or uses violence the offence is punishable with imprisonment for life. They are provided for in the Larceny Act.

The change we are making here is to make all robbery punishable for life. The arguments I see for the increase are these. The present distinctions are anomalous. A person who commits robbery when accompanied by another person is liable to life imprisonment. A person who robs a victim by threatening to kill him is liable to 14 years imprisonment. The present distinctions are an unnecessary complication. The law is complicated because of the variations in the different types of robbery.

The recent crime statistics show an increase in offences with violence against property. There is very little robbery that is not aggravated. It is important that society should mark the seriousness of the crime by imposing serious maximum penalties. These are maximum penalties. The courts can apply the punishment appropriate to the crime within that ceiling. It is right that this Legislature on behalf of the public should signal to the courts the public's concern at the increased number of robberies in our country. Again it is desirable that when we are introducing extra-territoriality in regard to these offences the maximum penalties would be the same.

With regard to burglary and aggravated burglary exact comparisons between the maximum penalties now and what we propose in the Bill are impossible because of the variety of the offences and, consequently, of penalties.

Sacrilege, which is breaking and entering a church at any time and committing a felony, is punishable with life imprisonment. Burglary proper, that is breaking and entering a dwelling-house at night with intent to commit a felony, is also punishable with life imprisonment. Breaking and entering a dwelling-house at any time and committing a felony in it during the day time is punishable with 14 years imprisonment. Entering a dwelling-house without breaking in at night, or breaking and entering a dwelling-house or other specified building at any time, with intent to commit a felony is punishable with seven years imprisonment. Under the Bill we are simplifying these offences of burglary, etc. To state it shortly, burglary will consist of entering any kind of building as a trespasser with intent to steal or commit any of certain other offences and will be punishable with 14 years imprisonment. If the offender has with him firearms this will be aggravated burglary and will be punishable with life imprisonment.

Under the changes some maximum penalties are increased and some are reduced but there is a greater measure of uniformity. It is not correct, as some commentators say, that there is a general raising of levels of maximum imprisonment. In any event these are the maxima and the courts very rarely apply the maximum. It would want to be a most serious offence before that would happen. These are the ceilings within which the courts will pass the sentence appropriate to the crime in question. They indicate the Legislature's and thereby the public's concern at the increase in incidence of these serious offences. Again, the penalties under the Firearms Acts are being altered in order to have uniformity. One penalty is being reduced and two penalties are being increased. For possession of firearms while taking a vehicle the penalty is being increased. Also, using a firearm to resist arrest or aid escape will warrant the increased penalty.

It is wrong to say that, because these changes are made in the law, the Bill can be categorised as being repressive or draconian. The world we are living in and the incidence of these crimes demands that the Legislature would pay attention to their increasing incidence and to the increasingly serious nature of them, their magnitude, the amount of violence that is accompanying them and the amount of threats. The Legislature should mark its position clearly by indicating that these are serious crimes deserving of serious punishment.

I think I have covered most of the points that were raised in the course of the debate. Another point that was raised was the question of the person who escapes from custody. There was some apprehension raised as to a person who is escaping from a draconian situation in Northern Ireland or a repressive situation up there of the type that has led to the courts there restoring justice by awarding damages to the injured persons. There was concern that such a person should not find himself charged with an offence under this Bill. Of course, it is not intended that such a person would be charged under the Bill.

Senator Robinson asked for further clarification concerning the scope of the offence under section 3 of escaping from custody in Northern Ireland when charged with or convicted of an extra-territorial offence. She was worried about a person who had been accused of such an offence but found himself in custody on foot of a detention order. The intention of this section is that it applies only to the escape of a person in custody for the purpose of proceedings in respect of the extra-territorial offences with which he has been convicted or sentenced.

In my opening speech I said that the offence would not apply to escaping when in custody under a detention order and that the Bill has nothing whatever to do with such an escape. I want to emphasise again that that is the position. If there is any doubt about it I will have a look at the drafting of the section to make sure that that position is crystal clear. I repeat now that that is the intention. If there is any way in which it can be made clearer in the section I will do so, but I think it is pretty clear on reading it as it stands.

Senator Harte was under a misapprehension with regard to the position of witnesses from this country who go to Northern Ireland to give evidence, that they might be handed over to the police there. This would be a case where the extra-territoriality would be working in reverse and the trial takes place in Northern Ireland. That would not be so and if such a person had any apprehension that person could refuse to go and offer to give his evidence on commission here.

Senator Hanafin used the phrase that the Special Criminal Court "will have to accept" evidence from the RUC. The Special Criminal Court does not have to accept evidence from anybody. It hears all the evidence that is adduced before it and decides of itself what evidence it will accept, and how much credence it will give to any particular piece of evidence irrespective of the status of the witness.

Senator Ferris wondered would the Garda accompany the accused who goes to Northern Ireland. No, they will not do so. The accused will be handed over to the custody of the Northern Ireland authorities and will remain in their custody when in the North but with the immunity to which I have already referred, an immunity which is written into the Bill and which we can guarantee by executive action because of the reciprocal nature of this legislation.

Senator Horgan was anxious to know who issued warrants for arrests. As I see the position, the procedure under this Bill will be implemented by the Attorney General in the normal way that offences are prosecuted when committed within the State. The book of evidence will be complied and the facts submitted for his direction. If he directs a prosecution the offender will be arrested in the normal way. Senator Horgan was also worried about the question of a person who escapes from detention in Northern Ireland, but, as I indicated, such a person will not be guilty of an offence under this Bill.

I have dealt with the points raised by Senator Yeats regarding the conviction. I doubt if I have dealt with them to his satisfaction but I have answered them to show there is no need for the misapprehension which he felt about the difference in drafting between the two statutes. We will look again at the question of the right of the trial judge to request questions to be put by the commissioner and the difference in the draftings.

This is the Bill and, as I said when I opened the debate some weeks ago and in my concluding speech today, it is to deal with a very net point. There are pressures on the Government but they are not political; they are the pressure of civilisation, humanity, good neighbourliness, the pressures of wanting to become reconciled with our separated brethren in the North, if we might use that hackneyed expression— it has been used so often that at this stage it means so little. We have an opportunity in this Bill to give meaning to that desire for unity, to give meaning to that desire for reconciliation. I have heard no arguments to suggest a better means of dealing with the problem which the Bill sets out to deal with. We are precluded, by virtue of international obligations, from allowing extradition for these offences. We cannot continue to allow these people to live with immunity within our community. They are no use to our community. We do not want people of that sort. It is bad for the morale of the nation that people should be seen to go free for these most serious crimes.

The other alternative of the all-Ireland court, I have indicated, is so unrealistic as to be meaningless and it is quite a ridiculous argument. I would go so far as to say that it was a dishonest ploy to avoid the realities of this Bill. This fact has been underlying much of the Opposition to the Bill. There is a desire to get away from coming face to face with the harsh reality of dealing with IRA terrorism when that terrorism consists of acts committed in Northern Ireland. It is a serious reflection on our society and is completely incompatible with sentiments expressing a wish for unity.

I would like to have had in the course of this debate more than the ritual condemnations of violence. I would like to have had from all speakers on the other side an unequivocal acceptance of the urgent need to deal with fugitive offenders. Some speakers indicated that it was a problem which must be dealt with. Most speakers engaged in the ritualistic condemnation of violence and the platitudes about unity. Many speakers made these points while at the same time hurling abuse and insults at the people in Northern Ireland and at their institutions.

Granted there is room for criticism of them but less room now than there was some years ago. Senator Robinson quoted a survey of the judicial system in Northern Ireland. That survey only brought the position up to 1973 and she could have taken other quotations from the conclusions which would show that the judicial system did not deserve the complete lack of confidence which it had with the minority.

The McElhone case was an example of that?

There was ground for this lack of confidence for the past performance of the system. Nevertheless, it must be our wish that it would improve and I have no doubt it is improving, in spite of the wild and extravagant speeches made here, speeches designed to whip up some sort of anti-Northern Protestant emotion, to try and frighten us away from what is our duty. Our duty is to become reconciled to these people and to ensure that our territory is not used in any way as a haven for these people who are our enemies as well as the enemies of our friends in Northern Ireland.

This Bill is an effort, the only feasible legal and practicable effort, that I can see in the present context which will deal with this problem. I commend it to this House.

The Minister will never put it into practice.

The question has been proposed that the Bill be now read a Second Time.

Would it be in order for me to propose that we adjourn the vote until Senator Mullen and Senator Fintan Kennedy come back from the conference?

The Chair has commenced to put the question. It is highly disorderly to interrupt the Chair.

The question is being proposed that the Bill be now read a Second Time. To that question an amendment has been moved to omit all words after "That" and to substitute "other words". The question therefore is:

"That the words proposed to be omitted stand part of the question."

The Seanad divided: Tá, 25; Níl, 14.

  • Blennerhassett, John.
  • Burton, Philip.
  • Butler, Pierce.
  • Codd, Patrick.
  • Daly, Jack.
  • Deasy, Austin.
  • Ferris, Michael.
  • FitzGerald, Alexis.
  • Halligan, Brendan.
  • Harte, John.
  • Kerrigan, Patrick.
  • Kilbride, Thomas.
  • McAuliffe, Timothy.
  • McCartin, John Joseph.
  • Markey, Bernard.
  • Moynihan, Michael.
  • O'Brien, William.
  • O'Higgins, Michael J.
  • O'Toole, Patrick.
  • Owens, Evelyn.
  • Prendergast, Micheál A.
  • Russell, George Edward.
  • Sanfey, James W.
  • Walsh, Mary.
  • Whyte, Liam.


  • Brennan, John J.
  • Browne, Patrick (Fad).
  • Cowen, Bernard.
  • Dolan, Séamus.
  • Eachthéirn, Cáit Uí.
  • Garrett, Jack.
  • Hanafin, Des.
  • Keegan, Seán.
  • Lenihan, Brian.
  • McGlinchey, Bernard.
  • McGowan, Patrick.
  • Ryan, Eoin.
  • Ryan, William.
  • Yeats, Michael B.
Tellers: Tá, Senators Sanfey and Halligan; Níl, Senators W. Ryan and Garrett.
Question declared carried.

The Leader of the House has suggested that we take the next Stage of the Bill this day week.

If that is being opposed, the Leader of the House would like to make a statement in favour of his proposition.

I am merely making the suggestion that we take it this day next week. I understood it was announced, I gather solemnly and with some degree of officiousness, from the Opposition that this was a Bill which they regarded as not being capable of amendment and I assumed from that that they did not contemplate tabling amendments. If that is the position it seems to me that a week would be quite adequate. If Senator Lenihan feels that that time is not adequate I am open to any suggestions on it.

I was not going to make my remarks in any context of the amendability or otherwise of this Bill. I was going to make my remarks in the quite serious context of the whole timing and appropriateness of this Bill, having regard to the present situation which has deteriorated since the Convention elections in the northern part of Ireland which is at the moment under direct rule from Westminster.

It is in that context I am trying to be helpful and, in order to ensure that we do nothing here in this part of Ireland in any way to aggravate or exacerbate the deteriorating situation in parts of the North, I was going to make what I thought would be a very constructive suggestion; we should move that the Committee Stage of the Bill be taken on the first sitting day after the Recess. This would give ample time for the Government to reconsider its whole unwarranted and indeed irresponsible approach to this particular measure at this particular time. It would enable the Government to sit back and think in a constructive manner about this whole problem of our relations with the North over the next few months.

I appreciate that the Government are harried in regard to the economic situation at the moment. I appreciate that they are pushing through unwelcome taxation measures and I appreciate that they may be overburdened by many matters on the social and economic front. But, in view of the serious nature of the Northern situation, side by side with the pressure of legislative business which the Government have brought on themselves to a large extent, I would suggest that it is a highly constructive approach to suggest, and I move accordingly, by way of amendment to what has been put forward by the Leader of the House, that we adjourn the Committee Stage of this Bill for consideration by the Seanad on the first sitting after the Recess. This proposal is put with the utmost consciousness of the gravity of the situation in some northern parts of this country and with a view to helping the Government to re-examine the situation in a sensible and constructive way and realise in the maturity of their consideration that nobody really wants this measure in this part of Ireland.

Our people are dragged in here to vote for this measure by reason of a Government whipping following on a totally ill-founded and ill-timed decision to bring this Bill forward before the Convention elections and, since the Convention elections, to continue with the Bill when, whatever strange reason there may have been for bringing it forward before the Convention elections, has certainly disappeared entirely, and has gone with the wind since the Convention elections. If we are going to reach some meeting of minds in regard to dealing with the unfortunate Northern situation it will not be done on the basis of a divisive Bill of this kind which will split the country from top to bottom. This shows a total lack of sensitivity on the part of the Government to the realities of the situation as they obtain and are likely to obtain in the months ahead.

Therefore, I suggest that the sensible thing to do is to take a cool look at this measure and, hopefully, during the Recess, the Government will come round to considering it in a cool and constructive manner.

And let the scandal continue?

Is the Minister concerned about the UVF?

Senator Lenihan should be allowed to speak without interruption.

I am offering this suggestion and I deplore interruptions in this highly sensitive area from the Minister. I want to emphasise that this is a totally committed suggestion. We have put forward this suggestion after mature consideration and with a certain amount of experience. We would ask the Minister to bring back to his Government colleagues the facts of life in regard to the northern situation. Pushing through a Bill of this kind will do nothing to help in an area which will become even more sensitive after the British referendum on Thursday. After the British referendum on Thursday, and in the weeks and months immediately subsequent, we will see much more significant developments for good or ill to which this Bill will have no real relation. The timing, the waste of energy and nonsense and the whole political point scoring in which submissions of ten years ago have to be dragged out of Government archives by the Minister for Justice is stupid silly nonsense, a nonsense which has characterised the introduction of this Bill from the word "go" and which can lead only to an aggravation and an exacerbation of the situation.

We intend to put this matter to a vote. On behalf of our group I say in a measured way that, first of all, we should take all the heat out of this matter and suggest that this divisive Bill loaded with tension and trouble should now be quietly put on ice. The Government during the Recess, with less bother and burden on their shoulders, might set a special meeting to consider the very real wisdom of not proceeding with the matter at all.

And let the IRA run rampant.

And, quietly and hopefully, give up the whole matter during the Summer Recess. It is a matter for mature consideration by the Government. The Second Stage having been passed, we cannot postpone the Committee Stage indefinitely but I suggest, as I originally moved, that we take the Committee Stage on the first sitting day after the Summer Recess.

The immediacy suggested by the Leader of the House for taking Committee Stage next week is entirely unrelated to the serious situation existing in the North and, indeed, is a well-nigh irresponsible and cavalier attitude to adopt towards this very serious and very important matter.

Could I say——

The Senator is not replying.

He has not been called on to reply. If the House is prepared to yield to the Leader of the House to enable him to make some further explanation that would be quite in order and would not conclude the debate.

I would prefer to hear Senator Yeats.

I support the proposal made by Senator Lenihan. Before going into its merits, I would like to deal with the point that, by way of interruption, both the Minister and his acolyte, Senator Halligan, brought in to the effect that any delay would enable the IRA to run riot in the meantime. We should be realistic about this. I do not know whether the Minister is still talking in terms of getting this Bill through both Houses of the Oireachtas before the Summer. He and everybody else knows that that will not happen. This Bill will not become law before the Summer Recess. That being so, no time would be lost by accepting our proposition. It is worded in such a way that the Government can choose to have the Seanad meet to take the Committee Stage at any time after the Summer Recess, from the 1st September onwards. They can put it through this House before the Dáil in the normal course of business comes back in the autumn. In this way no time will be lost.

This would have the great advantage that by then we would have some kind of an idea as to what the situation in Northern Ireland is going to be. We know that since this Bill was first introduced into this House in the rather strange way that it was introduced, we have had the Convention elections in Northern Ireland with the result those elections had. Not only that but we have had day by day the perceptible obvious hardening of extreme Loyalist attitudes. The Minister replying to the Second Reading of this Bill, said in effect that certain matters, for example, were not going to be regulated as he had suggested earlier by this corresponding British Bill but were to be dealt with administratively. Now "administratively" means dealing with the administrations of Northern Ireland with all that that entails.

At the moment one cannot have any idea what type of administration there will be in Northern Ireland in three or four months' time. One can fear what type there may be, one can fear the worst, but we do not know. There is at the very least a possibility that Northern Ireland inside three or four months will be a bedlam, will be engaged in some sort of unilateral declaration of independence, will be controlled by half lunatics such as Craig, West and Paisley under circumstances in which it would be impossible for the Minister or anybody else in the Government to continue dealing with the administration in Northern Ireland.

We do not know. We can certainly hope that things will not be as bad as at the moment they appear to be. It would seem to be common sense for the Minister to hesitate at this stage. We do not want him to delay the Bill, because, as I have already pointed out, no delay arises. It will not become law a minute later under the proposals we are making than under what is suggested by the Leader of the House. We should hesitate; we should wait; we should see what will happen in Northern Ireland.

I am sure, from time to time in the past week or so we have all been talking to members of the public or particular members of the public have been talking to us about this Bill. We probably all had the same reaction. The man in the street has assumed as a matter of course that this Bill will be allowed to drop, that the Government could not possibly under present conditions intend to go ahead with the Bill. Certainly that is the impression I have had, and not from committed Fianna Fáilers but, from ordinary, straightforward, non-political or even perhaps Coalition-minded men in the street. They have assumed as a matter of course that under present circumstances no Government, no Minister, could consider going ahead with this Bill.

I support this proposal that we should delay the next Stage until after the summer. In case the Minister, the Leader of the House or someone else might make the point, there is no element of bargaining involved in this. There is no element of suggestion that we would be delaying the Bill in order to impel certain people at the Convention in Northern Ireland to take a different attitude. That does not come into it at all. I do not believe it will have any effect one way or the other. All we are suggesting is that under present circumstances it seems utter madness to press ahead with the Bill when we cannot be sure what will happen in Northern Ireland, when we cannot be sure if it will end up in charge of lunatics, extreme racketeering Loyalists, in the next few months.

I support the proposal made by Senator Lenihan that we take the Committee Stage on the first sitting day after the recess. This is a reasonable enough request, convinced as I am that this Bill, even though it should pass Dáil Éireann, will never be put into practice. We know this, the Government speakers know this, and the Minister for Justice knows this. Perhaps he may feel that if given time more Government Ministers vitally opposed to this Bill may gather influence and encourage some of their colleagues to join in the campaign to have this Bill dropped. The Minister seemed, by his interjection and indeed by Senator Halligan's interjection, to believe that the reason this Bill should be postponed was that the IRA would continue in their campaign and continue to seek refuge down here.

I deplore the activities of the IRA but I also deplore the activities of the UVF. I also deplore the activities of all the Protestant militant organisations who have been committing murder in the Six Counties for the last number of years, particularly in the last few months, in the triangle in Tyrone especially. It appears from the interjection of the Minister for Justice and the interjection of Senator Halligan that they do not deplore the actions of the UVF or the Protestant militant organisations. It appears from their interjections that the only organisation about which they are concerned is the IRA. It is a pity that they do not give the same consideration to these organisations that have caused much more havoc than the IRA.

The Chair fails to see the relation of this to the date of Committee Stage.

Senator O'Higgins gave as his reason a statement that Fianna Fáil had indicated that they would not be tabling amendments to this Bill. I would ask Senator O'Higgins if the 15 Fianna Fáil Members of this House are the only people he wishes to consider. Senator Robinson spoke against this Bill. Senator Martin spoke against this Bill. Senator Noel Browne spoke against this Bill. They are not here tonight for reasons I do not know, but I am sure they may wish to table amendments to this Bill.

This House could have met last week. I do not know why it did not meet but it happens that today the Annual Congress of the Irish Transport and General Workers' Union is being held in Wexford, and to avoid embarrassment to the Labour Party, the Labour and Fine Gael Coalition arranged to have this vote taken tonight when they knew that Senator Michael Mullen and Senator Fintan Kennedy could not be in this House.

The Chair fails to see how the date of the Second Stage Vote is relevant to the question of the date of commencement of Committee Stage.

The point I am trying to make is this——

The point that the Senator has made to his own satisfaction is one that is not relevant to the question before the House.

Senator Mullen and Senator Fintan Kennedy may wish to table amendments to this Bill. They may wish to have time to table amendments to this Bill, particularly in view of the fact that they did not get an opportunity of doing what they intended to do, that is to vote against this Bill and embarrass the Coalition Government——

A Senator


——particularly in view of the fact that the Government deliberately had the Second Reading of this Bill on today, Tuesday, 3rd June, when they knew the Annual Congress of the Irish Transport and General Workers' Union was being held. Senator Mullen could not possibly be in this House tonight. Senator Kennedy, president of the union, could not possibly be in this House tonight. I have no doubt that they may wish to table amendments. The Labour Party in particular should give consideration to the two most influential members of the Labour Party in this country.

I am not giving any consideration to the defender of green Paisleyism, which is what the Senator represents in this House.

If Senator Halligan is calling Senator Mullen a green Paisleyite then he can explain that to him.


If that is the opinion Senator Halligan has of Senator Mullen and Senator Kennedy, he should be very careful because, if they pull the rug out from under the Labour Party, Senator Halligan will be on the dole.


Senator Halligan should not stab the two most intellectual members of the Labour Party in the back because as far as——

Senator McGlinchey on the order for Committee Stage without interruption.

And relevant.

Senator Hanafin should not make comments in regard to relevancy which can be interpreted as reflections on the Chair.

Senator Hanafin is only a new boy and he is still wet behind the ears.

Senator McGlinchey should resume when called on to resume.

The Government should give consideration to these two Members of this House who are absent through no fault of their own tonight. Senator Mullen spoke against this Bill. He could not possibly be in this House tonight. The Government decided to complete this Second Reading on a night they knew he could not be here. The Leader of the House should adjourn Committee Stage to the date suggested by Senator Lenihan.

It is now 10 o'clock which is the normal time for adjournment. What does the House wish to do?

We will decide this.

Senator O'Higgins to conclude the discussion.

With regard to Senator McGlinchey's contribution, I do not know what he thinks he is proving to the House except possibly his ability to take over the leadership of the Fianna Fáil group from Senator Lenihan. How successful he will be in that effort I do not know. Senator McGlinchey said the Minister and Senator Halligan seemed to be under the impression that the reason for the delay proposed by Fianna Fáil was to allow IRA activity to continue. I want to say quite clearly that I accept without question that that is not the reason for this proposal. I want to say equally clearly that that could be the result of this proposal.

How long are we to long-finger this problem—only a decade from 1965, or are we to make it two decades? How long are we tacitly to encourage people with blood on their hands, not merely to seek but to get sanctuary in this part of the country? Surely we have to think of that aspect of the matter. Senator Yeats adopted what possibly was—if one were prepared to ignore what I have just said—a constructive approach to this, but I do not think he saw clearly the other side of the picture he was presenting. He urged that this matter be postponed until after the summer recess because we might then know what the situation in the North of Ireland was likely to be.

I should like Senator Yeats and his colleagues to ponder on that suggestion a little more deeply. If he does that, he may be prepared to concede that there could be suggested to be contained in that proposition a lack of concern with murders and bombings and knee-cappings in the North in certain circumstances depending on the situation in the North of Ireland.

I pointed out there would be no delay.

This Bill will strengthen the IRA.

I know this was the furthest thing from Senator Yeats' mind and I am trying to be entirely fair to him.

Keep this matter in low key please. The Senator is doing a disservice to the House.

My keys are normally very much lower than the sounds we hear from across the way, whether it be from Senator Lenihan or Senator McGlinchey. Senator Yeats tried to adopt a constructive approach to this, but I do not think he saw how it might be interpreted. He did not see that it might be questioned as to whether or not the suggestion was that in certain situations we should view with unconcern, what I will call for brevity's sake the scheduled crimes in this Bill, murder, knee-capping, bombing, and so on and that, in certain situations, we should be prepared to continue to afford sanctuary to the perpetrators of those crimes while, in other situations, we should try to stop those activities and arrest and try the perpetrators of those crimes instead of affording them sanctuary.

It is a matter of whether it will be possible to interpret the Bill.

The Senator should be heard without interruption.

That is an interpretation which people who may not have friendly feelings to the Government or the people of this part of the country could very well put on the kind of argument made by Senator Yeats. The Government have made it clear that they regard this Bill as an important one.

I was innocent enough to take at its face value the declaration from the Opposition that they do not propose to try to amend this Bill. In those circumstances it seemed to me that a week was adequate for consideration of the Committee Stage. I do not mind extending that. I do not mind suggesting that it should be a fortnight rather than a week. Continued long-fingering is out of the question. There is no point in refusing to face up to the situation.

The Minister made a very extensive reply to the arguments put forward on Second Stage. It is disappointing that those arguments have not yet sunk in to Members opposite. I want to be reasonable on this. We have to make progress in this House. The Bill has then to be processed through the Dáil. There is no point in suggesting that a serious measure introduced for the considerations of which the Minister spoke—humane, civilised reasons —should be long-fingered indefinitely. If the Members opposite are prepared to agree to this day fortnight, then we can agree on it without any further ado. Otherwise the motion will have to stand.

I do not think the Leader of the House addressed himself to the main problem, which is that we cannot afford to be like goldfish in a bowl dealing with a situation which is out of touch with reality. The reality of the situation is that we are in a complete state of flux in the North of Ireland at present. It is a changing situation from day to day and week to week; it is a situation about which this Bill can do nothing. This is just idle pretence and an idle gesture on the part of the Government that has no relation to reality as it exists in the North of Ireland at present.

The Leader of the House is not addressing himself to this basic problem. He is insisting on this matter being dealt with on Committee Stage this day fortnight. We, on this side, made some attempt to address ourselves to the basic problem, which is the fact that the Bill is just not related to the practical problem that exists in the North at present. This Bill, from the national point of view, in order to prevent anything divisive happening would be better off left on ice until next October for more mature consideration.

Having said that, there is also the point mentioned by Senator McGlinchey, who referred to people who had made very valuable contributions to the debate and who are opposed to the Bill. Only the whipped supporters of Fine Gael and Labour are here to vote tonight. On this alleged important measure, out of the 45 people in Seanad Éireann opposed to Fianna Fáil they secured tonight 24 people, hard-core, whipped people, to go in and vote for this "highly desirable, highly important and highly essential" measure. They are the facts. The vote on the Second Stage was 25: 14. The absent 20 people, who are not here, include many people who expressed themselves on the Second Stage debate as being totally opposed to the Bill. They included five of the six university representatives in this House and the spokesman for the Irish Transport and General Workers' Union, the union founded by James Connolly that is the major trade union in this country.

The Senator seems to be straying from the question.

The permanent secretary of that union was not here tonight to express his disapproval of this Bill by voting against it. Having said that, it adds up to this point: that these 20 people who are not here to vote tonight and who are summoned to be here today——

They can have every opportunity of being here on the Committee Stage and the Senator wants to put that off.

In view of the expressed statements of five of the six university Senators, in view of the expressed statement of Senator Mullen, as secretary of the major union in the country, sufficient time should be given to them also to prepare appropriate amendments, if they wish to amend or improve the Bill as they stated here in public on Second Stage they wished to do. These people have a place in the Seanad. It is wrong to dismiss their views by allowing an interval of a week or two weeks for Committee Stage. I regard this Bill as a totally unreal, irrelevant and trivial measure in the present situation. But anyway 20 Senators agree with the view that it is not as important as the Leader of the House and the Minister for Justice appear to think.

In that situation, and in order to avoid any further heat or contention, what I am suggesting to the Leader of the House is that he does not insist on any time for Committee Stage here tonight, that he also should have some mature consideration of this matter. He also should look inwards on himself, report back to the Government and ask them to take into account the attendance here tonight and the point of views that have been expressed. We would leave the way open for that by adjourning the Committee Stage to the first sitting day after the recess. The suggestion put forward by the Leader of the House to extend the period from one to two weeks is unacceptable to this side of the House. Either we adjourn until the first sitting day after the recess or we leave the matter open tonight for more mature and considered consultation between the Leader of the House and the Government as to whether they are going to be responsible at all in this matter.

I take it that was Senator Lenihan's bid to recapture the leadership of Fianna Fáil from Senator McGlinchey.


We do not go in for that——


Has the Leader of the House anything further to say?

Apart from trying to provoke us.

If I reply no doubt Senator Lenihan will want to reply again. Therefore, I will leave it as it is.

To the motion "That the Committee Stage be taken on Tuesday next," an amendment has been moved to delete "Tuesday next" and substitute "first sitting day after the summer recess". The question is "That the words proposed to be deleted stand."

The Seanad divided: Tá, 24; Níl, 13.

  • Blennerhassett, John.
  • Burton, Philip.
  • Butler, Pierce.
  • Codd, Patrick.
  • Daly, Jack.
  • Deasy, Austin.
  • Ferris, Michael.
  • Halligan, Brendan.
  • Harte, John.
  • Kerrigan, Patrick.
  • Kilbride, Thomas.
  • McAuliffe, Timothy.
  • McCartin, John Joseph.
  • Markey, Bernard.
  • Moynihan, Michael.
  • O'Brien, William.
  • O'Higgins, Michael J.
  • O'Toole, Patrick.
  • Owens, Evelyn.
  • Prendergast, Micheál A.
  • Russell, George Edward.
  • Sanfey, James W.
  • Walsh, Mary.
  • Whyte, Liam.


  • Brennan, John J.
  • Browne, Patrick (Fad).
  • Cowen, Bernard.
  • Dolan, Séamus.
  • Eachthéirn, Cáit Uí.
  • Garrett, Jack.
  • Hanafin, Des.
  • Keegan, Seán.
  • Lenihan, Brian.
  • McGlinchey, Bernard.
  • Ryan, Eoin.
  • Ryan, William.
  • Yeats, Michael B.
Tellers: Tá, Senators Sanfey and Halligan; Níl, Senators W. Ryan and Garrett.
Question declared carried.
Question proposed: "That the Committee Stage be taken on Tuesday next."
The Seanad divided: Tá, 24; Níl, 13.

  • Blennerhassett, John.
  • Burton, Philip.
  • Butler, Pierce.
  • Codd, Patrick.
  • Daly, Jack.
  • Deasy, Austin.
  • Ferris, Michael.
  • Halligan, Brendan.
  • Harte, John.
  • Kerrigan, Patrick.
  • Kilbride, Thomas.
  • McAuliffe, Timothy.
  • McCartin, John Joseph.
  • Markey, Bernard.
  • Moynihan, Michael.
  • O'Brien, William.
  • O'Higgins, Michael J.
  • O'Toole, Patrick.
  • Owens, Evelyn.
  • Prendergast, Micheál A.
  • Russell, George Edward.
  • Sanfey, James W.
  • Walsh, Mary.
  • Whyte, Liam.


  • Brennan, John J.
  • Browne, Patrick (Fad).
  • Cowen, Bernard.
  • Dolan, Séamus.
  • Eachthéirn, Cáit Uí.
  • Garrett, Jack.
  • Hanafin, Des.
  • Keegan, Seán.
  • Lenihan, Brian.
  • McGlinchey, Bernard.
  • Ryan, Eoin.
  • Ryan, William.
  • Yeats, Michael B.
Tellers: Tá, Senators Sanfey and Halligan; Níl, Senators W. Ryan and Garrett.
Question declared carried.
Committee Stage ordered for Tuesday, 10th June, 1975.
The Seanad adjourned at 10.30 p.m. until 10.30 a.m. on Wednesday, 4th June, 1975.