Criminal Law (Jurisdiction) Bill, 1975: Committee Stage ( resumed ).

Question again proposed: "That section 2 stand part of the Bill."

This section is the key section to the Bill. It is the section which gives the Bill its meaning, the operative section. I say that I cannot understand the Fianna Fáil attitude to the Bill but it is only right to say that in their opposition to this section they are showing consistency, because one of their speakers earlier made it quite clear that Fianna Fáil were opposed to this Bill in principle, and being opposed in principle to the Bill it is fair enough that they should therefore oppose the section which structures the entire Bill and gives the Bill its meaning. It is a section which makes the offences which are scheduled in the Bill, if committed in the North of Ireland, offences against our law triable and punishable in this State, in our courts and before our judges.

For the entire of the last half dozen years anyhow, since violence erupted in the North, all sections of the community south of the Border and most sections north of the Border have roundly condemned the violence which was taking place and have time after time condemned particular outrages, outrages which come into the category of those in the Schedule to this Bill. I think it is true that all sections of the community other than those actually engaged in violence have condemned the violence that has been going on. I think it is also true to say that, while most people, certainly the vast majority of the people of the State will, given the chance, condemn violence and these outrages that have taken place, by and large, very few people have the privilege or the position to do more than condemn the violence. It does fall to a few people to be able to do something more than indulge in verbal condemnations. The clergymen who met at Feakle were able to do something more than merely condemn violence. But it is not everyone can do more than dissociate himself from violence and associate himself with the expressions of horror and condemnation which have been made by their leaders, political and religious, on their behalf.

But we in this House have an opportunity of doing more than merely verbally condemning these outrages. Very often, despite what people may think, the lot of Parliamentarians is not an enviable one, but at least on this occasion, in this respect in relation to this Bill, in relation to these outrages with which this Bill is dealing, we are in a privileged position in that we can do something more than subscribe to verbal condemnations of violence and outrage where they occur. The essential question that faces us in connection with this Bill is: are we going to be prepared merely to indulge in verbal condemnations or are we going to be prepared merely to allow our condemnations to be frothy words without action because we have an opportunity of taking action? This section under discussion is the section in the Bill which gives us that opportunity.

The ultimate failure may very well be the failure to do something if we are in a position to do something, and I suggest very strongly in relation to this Bill and in particular to this section of the Bill that we are among the few who have now an opportunity of doing something. I know that this section has been opposed by, among others, Senator Martin, on the grounds that it is untimely. The taking of this Bill today was opposed by him and by the Fianna Fáil group basically—I think I am not misrepresenting him—on the grounds that it was untimely. I did not have the opportunity of hearing the entire of Senator Martin's contribution on this section, but I think he expressed his views with regard to this section very fully and clearly at column 943, Volume 80 of the Seanad Debates of 1st May, 1975.

Section 2 of the Bill seems to accept the legitimacy of the Northern Ireland Government. It seems to terminate or at least to curtail seriously the possibility of political protest by the minority in the North.

And he went on to ask:

Do we finally wish to terminate all protests, opposition and challenge to whatever regime happens to obtain in Northern Ireland?

What is wrong with that? It is excellent.

I would hope that Senator Lenihan might occupy the position of audience just for a short while. Those were the reasons put forward, put forward with manifest sincerity by Senator Martin, and I would not like him to think that my suggestion on the Order of Business today that he was joining with Fianna Fáil in delaying the passage of this Bill was intended as a taunt. I repeat that I believe he was trying to delay the passage of the Bill, but I accept that he was doing it sincerely for the reasons he gave on the 1st May and which I read out here.

The Senator is not doing badly himself.

I never do badly. Senator Lenihan was good enough to try to assist me by asking what was wrong with the statement I have read out. I just want to deal with that. There are two points of view here. Senator Martin gave, fundamentally, two reasons why he is opposed to this section. The first is that it seems to accept the legitimacy of the Northern Ireland Government. I do not know where he gets that idea out of this section. As I read the section it makes no judgment whatever as regards the legitimacy or otherwise of the Northern Ireland Government and, indeed, if that point is relevant at all it should be seen in the context of what we are doing here in this Bill, that we are extending our own jurisdiction over the territory north of the Border in the sense that, if acts which fall within the ambit and scope of this Bill are committed north of the Border, the offenders will be amenable to our laws, be tried here and be found guilty and punished here. So we are actually extending our jurisdiction. That seems to me to be a far cry from making any judgment, good, bad or indifferent, regarding the status of the Northern Ireland Government.

My second point is in relation to what I should imagine is one of Senator Martin's principal points against this section. While I did not hear his full contribution on the section, I heard the reply given to it by Senator Alexis FitzGerald, and my impression, as we do not have the Official Report for that day yet, is that this point was repeated by Senator Martin in his contribution on the section. He said:

It seems to terminate or at least to curtail seriously the possibility of political protest by the minority in the North.

Political protest. What do we mean by "political protest"? I wonder if Senator Martin has some completely different meaning for those words than I have. What do we encourage or discourage by way of political protest? How does this Bill curtail or terminate political protest? What is this Bill dealing with? What is this section of the Bill dealing with? It is dealing with certain grave offences which are scheduled to the Bill and nothing more.

And dealing with certain people, too.

It is dealing with certain people. It is dealing with those who engage in those scheduled offences. That is what this Bill is dealing with. What are the scheduled offences? What is this new type of political protest? Murder is one of the offences. Kidnapping is another of them. Maiming, kneecapping, are others. Burning churches is another offence. Burning dwelling houses with people inside them is another. Are we to recognise these as political protests rather than as the crimes which they are? Are we to stand aside and give our tacit encouragement to political protests of that sort? Of course Senator Martin does not mean that we should. Of course the Fianna Fáil Party in this House who are opposing this Bill do not mean that. But surely they should examine carefully the company they are keeping when they get into the area of opposition that they have got into in connection with this Bill.

I want to suggest, and I want to say this absolutely seriously and not in any sense of trying to score a political point or make a debating point, that we should not recognise and should not be seen to be, and should not allow ourselves even be misinterpreted as, recognising murder or these other offences that I have named as fair or reasonable forms of political protest.

Neither do we have to make reparation.

I am not talking about reparation at the moment. If Senator Lenihan wants to make this discussion a kind of slanging match of interruptions he is welcome to do so as far as I am concerned. I want to deal with this Bill seriously. It is a serious measure and it should be dealt with seriously. Neither side of the House should try to make political capital out of it. We are dealing with grav, heinous crimes and not political protests in any reasonable or fair manner.

What will failure to implement this Bill mean? It will mean that in regard to those who engage in these scheduled offences—murder, maiming, church burning and the rest—north of the Border, if they are able to establish before a court in this country, a fairminded, impartial Irish court, interpreting the law as it stands, including the extradition law, that their offence was a political one, does it not mean that if we fail to implement this Bill such people are going to continue to be able to claim and to get sanctuary and shelter south of the Border? It means that the murderer who is able to establish that his murder was connected with a political offence, if he committed it in Northern Ireland, can come south of the Border and take shelter here without anyone lifting a finger to restrain him.

We are told that this legislation is repressive, that this section, which is the key section to the Bill, is repressive. Of course it is repressive. It is repressive in the sense that it is trying to abolish or repress as far as we can, murder and the other crimes committed in the North and claimed, established, if you like, to be connected with a political offence. We are talking here as legislators for this State. We are talking in the knowledge that some of the people who commit these offences claim to have the right to do them on behalf of the people of our State. Are we going to sit back and let them carry on? "Carry on, boys. Provided you are doing it and are able to establish that you are doing it for political reasons we are not going to do anything to prevent it." The claim was made by both Senator McGlinchey and Senator Martin, probably by others, that this legislation is aimed at one section of the community only.

Our case is that it is plain stupid.

I do not follow the purport of that interruption. We are told it is aimed at one section of the community. We should ponder on that because there is an element of truth in it. It is aimed at one section of the community. It is aimed at the section of the community who indulge in violence; it is aimed at those who indulge in the scheduled offences.

I think it is time we were all clear on this: that the offence of murder, for example, is an obscenity no matter where or by whom it is committed. I do not think that we particularly, as legislators, have the right to pick and choose. It does not matter to me whether the person who is murdered is a member of the British Army, or of the RUC or whether he wears the Irish uniform. As far as I am concerned, if he is murdered he is murdered. As far as I am concerned, the person who kills him is a murderer and should be amenable to arrest and punishment. What are we doing here? Are we, in this Bill, pledging our faith in that proposition which I have just propounded? Are we not saying, in effect, that if a person commits a murder in the North, we are going to regard that as an obscenity which will be punishable by our laws if he is arrested here and that that goes no matter who the murdered person is. When I hear talk about this Bill being aimed at one section of the community only, while I accept that it is not so intended, it seems to me to be taking up a kind of horse-trading attitude with regard to murder and these other obscenities mentioned in the Schedule to the Bill and that we are saying to the people across the Border: "We will only punish these people provided you do the same". Of course, they are going to do the same.

The Senator is on a slight filibuster.

The whole purpose of this machinery, the whole structure that is being set up is on the basis that there will be reciprocal arrangements made.

Who is filibustering what?

We could get on very well without this kind of attitude.

This is section 2 of the Bill.

I said before the remark is not entirely original, but when I hear that kind of thing coming from the Leader of the Opposition on a Bill we should be taking seriously, it reminds me of the activities of a flea in a bed doing no good and little harm. The sooner Senator Lenihan gives up that kind of attitude in connection with a serious discussion the better.

The Senator is Leader of the House and he is filibustering blatantly.

When I hear that kind of argument being made——

I would ask the Chair——

Is the Senator making a point of order?

I would ask the Chair to give a ruling.

Senator O'Higgins has, as far as the Chair has heard, been speaking on section 2 of the Bill.

Since last Tuesday.

The Chair has been listening carefully and will continue to listen carefully throughout this debate, and would ask all Senators to remember we are in Committee on section 2.

I have not much more to say, but I am glad I am within the rules of order. I intend saying it whether Senator Lenihan likes it or not. That kind of argument about this being directed towards one section of the community and so on—I am quite sure they do not intend it—seems to me to be adopting a kind of horse-trading attitude, the attitude of two wrongs making a right. We have all been brought up on the belief that has become a cliché, that two wrongs do not make a right. The fact, if it were so, that there were to be failures in the administration in the North, if it were to be a fact even that there was to be no reciprocity with regard to this measure, it still would not make it right for us in any way by our silence, by our inactivity, to encourage or to give the impression of encouraging these horriblecrimes being committed north of the Border and committed sometimes in our names. So far as I am concerned, if there was no reciprocity it would be right for us to take the action that we are taking in the Bill and in this section.

I accept the sincerity of those who oppose this Bill in principle, who feel that this section—the key section of the Bill—is bad in principle. They are entitled to make that argument, but I would appeal to everyone of them to examine where we are going when they argue against this section. I appeal to them in particular to make it clear that they are not content merely with verbal condemnations of these atrocities because I think it is essential that we should do that. We have an opportunity now of doing more than talk and it is time we did so.

I rise to oppose section 2 of the Bill. I oppose it whether it is constitutional or not. I oppose it whether it is workable or not. I oppose the very principle enshrined in this section, the principle that was accepted by those who formed the old Cumann na nGaedheal Party and afterwards the present Fine Gael Party, the principle that was strongly opposed by those who came together in the La Scala Cinema in Dublin in May, 1926, and formed the Fianna Fáil Party. That principle is the trust by the people on the other side of this House placed on British Governments, past, present and in the future. That is a principle that was rejected by the founders of Fianna Fáil and is still rejected by the members of Fianna Fáil, because if Ireland's history has taught us anything it taught us not to trust the British.

I believe that section 2 of this Bill is a rich fertiliser for anarchy. It will stimulate illegal activity and further rioting in the streets. This section is bad, it is evil, it is oppressive. It is dangerous, excessive and open to abuse. I am not the first person to express sentiments such as those. I forgot to explain that in describing the Bill in this way I was quoting from the Dáil debate on the Offences Against the State Bill on Wednesday, 29th February, 1972, at columns 315, 314 and 316, from a speech delivered by none other than the present Minister for Finance, Deputy Ryan, who described the Offences Against the State (Amendment) Bill in that manner. I have not to remind the House that the Opposition to that Bill was led by none other than the Minister who is in this House tonight asking this House and the country to accept the most oppressive, dangerous and excessive legislation ever introduced in the history of this country.

When this Bill becomes law and if it is put into operation I wonder has the Minister got sufficient jails in this country to imprison all the people that he should. I wonder is the Minister satisfied at the standard of our jails in this country. I wonder if he is satisfied with our prison system. I remember just three years ago when the Fine Gael Party met in Cork on the occasion that the now Taoiseach described the present Minister for Justice as the leader of the mongrel foxes.

That is wrong.

Pardon me, one of the mongrel foxes.

That also is wrong.

Whether the statement is correct or not it errs in the fact that it seems very far from section 2 of this Bill.

Not any further than Senator O'Higgins went.

Senator Lenihan is being disorderly in suggesting that the Chair is partial in the way it deals with Senators in the House.

What I am suggesting is that there was an opinion voiced in Cork that our prison system was a cinderella of the Government system and since no change has taken place since then it would appear to me——

The Senator should read the newspapers for the past week.

The Minister is on a filibuster now.

Senator Lenihan should allow the Chair to control this debate. The Chair still fails to see how the remarks of Senator McGlinchey on the prison service are relevant to section 2 of the Bill. There cannot be a repeat of a Second Stage debate on section 2 of the Bill even though it has been commented on from both sides of the House as being the heart of the Bill. This allows Senators to make passing reference to things outside section 2 but the debate must be centred on section 2.

The Minister asked him——

The fact that the Minister was misled by a disorderly speech into a disorderly interruption does not justify the initial disorder.

He walked into it.

He walked into nothing.

If section 2 of this Bill is to be effective there must be an improvement in our prison system and unless that improvement takes place, section 2 of this will be completely ineffective. To describe our prison system I only have to quote from the speech made by the present Minister for Justice to the Fine Gael Ard Fheis in Cork three years ago when, in a comment on the recent Mountjoy riots, he described the prison system as

the cinderella of the Government system. Anything neglected as much as this must bring trouble in its train.

That was the view expressed by the present Minister for Justice when he was in Opposition. Nothing has happened since to alter that position. Of course, I accept that when the Minister was making that speech he did not realise that within a very short period of nine months the Taoiseach would carry out the promise he made in Cork when he said that the enemies of Fine Gael would be inert and he would let the rank and file of the party tear them apart.

Chop them up.

The Taoiseach, in order to have Deputy Cooney torn apart, appointed him Minister for Justice.

After long consideration.

And he is leaving the rest to the pack. I wonder, as we discuss section 2 here this evening——

I am glad the Senator is now discussing the section.

——when the Bill reaches the Dáil will the Taoiseach vote for section 2 or will history repeat itself? It would come as no surprise to the Minister if, in fact, the Taoiseach did not vote for section 2. The first line of section 2 reads:

Where a person does in Northern Ireland——

I want to state clearly and categorically as a Northerner and an Ulsterman that I reject and oppose the description "Northern Ireland" to a section of my province. I note that on Tuesday, 3rd June, in Volume 81, column 413 of the Seanad Official Report the Minister for Justice stated:

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

I take it from that that the Minister for Justice would like the people of Ireland to describe the city of Doire Colmcille as "Londonderry" because that is the description that the majority of the people in the Six Counties have for that city despite the fact that the vast majority of the people in the city of Derry completely and absolutely reject the description "Londonderry".

I am an Ulsterman and a Northerner and I have as much right as any person in Derry or Belfast to describe my province in a way that I would like. For the Minister to suggest that we should only use a description acceptable to the majority of the people in the Six Counties is to me completely unacceptable. The minority in the Six Counties do not consider that portion of this country which is under British occupation at the moment as Northern Ireland and they do not consider it as Ulster. The proper description of the Six Counties from a geographical point of view is North-East Ulster. I cannot agree that the county in which I was born could be described as Southern Ireland.

Here again the Minister, in his anxiety to placate the majority in the Six Countries, is giving another example of the grovelling that has been going on since this Bill was first initiated and indeed since the general election. Senator O'Higgins spoke of political protest. He wanted to know how this section could in any way curtail political protests. Indeed in expressing that point of view and in asking that question, Senator O'Higgins displayed how litte he really knows about the situation in the Six Countries.

The trouble in the Six Countries began in October, 1968, as a result of action by the then Minister for HOme Affairs, Mr. Craig, one of the leaders of the majority that the present Minister is anxious not to insult.

The Minister said I spent 6½ hours insulting the majority in the Six Counties. If I said that the British forces are suspect in the Six Counties and that the RUC and the UDR are suspect iln the Six Counties I cannot help it if the Minister interprets that as insulting the majority in the Six Counties. There was a political protest in the city of Derry in October, 1968. The protest came when one of the present leaders of the Six Country majority banned a parade which was leading into the Diamond in Derry, the centre of a Catholic city, where for 50 years no one with a drop of Nationalist blood in his veins was allowed to partake in ka public demonstration. As a result of that political protest the RUC baton-charged the Nationalist people of Derry. Some of the RUC were injured.

Had this Bill been law then, the people who injured the RUC men could have been charged under section 2 of this Bill, either with intent to cause grievous bodily harm or with causing bodily harm. The people who participated in that demonstration could have been arrested in any town, village or city in the Republic. The Government would say they would be tried by our judges. Whether they would be found guilty or not the point. Surely we are very alert about the denial of the kind of liberty that Senator Michael O'Higgins was speaking about when, on Saturday, 2nd December, 1972, he spoke in this House on the offences Against the State (Amendment) Bill. In volume 73, column 1115, of the Seanad Official Report, Senator O'Higgins said:

but we still must take into account the question of individual freedom and the rights of the individual in relation to legislation of this sort.

Later he said:

That does not acquit us of our responsibility to analyse this legislation, to see if it is necessary, to see what it contains, to see if what it seeks to achieve can gbe achieved without necessarily seeking powers which could turn this little State, if misused, into a police State.

Those were the fears expressed by Senator Michael O'Higgins when he spoke on kthe Offences Against the State (Amendment) Bill. Does he not believe that the legislation before this House tonight if misused would turn this country into a police State? But what kind of police State? The police who baton-charged the Bogsiders in October, 1972, the police who fired shots into the homes of the people of Derry in August, 1969, the police who are responsibel, with the connivance of the British Goverment, for alll the trouble that has taken place in the Six Counties, that is the kind of police State we could have as a result of the trust Senator O'Higgins and his party are placing in Her Majesty's forces.

In case we believe that alll this is in the past and that the activities of the RUC or the UDR five years ago would not be repeated today, I should like to inform the House that on Sunday night week, Francis McCusker from Ballinderry Bridge, Country Derry, was travelling from Randalsstown to his home in Ballinderry Bridge when he was stopped by a UDR patrol. He had nothing to fear or to hide. But when the UDR opened the boot of his car they informed him that there were two spent bullets in the boot. They asked him to lift them, no doubt so that his fingerprints would be left on them. He-refused and they rammed a gun in his throat and struck him from behind to persuade him to lift the bullets. Francis McCusker was an innocent man, but no matter how innocent he maybe under section 2 of the Crimical Law (Jurisdiction) Bill, he could be arrested in Dublin city and charged with possessing explosives. The Government might say, "But he would be tried by our judges". He would spend months and months being tried by our judges and apart from the inconvenience it might cause him, the judges would have to accept the evidence presented to them. Who will present the evidence? The members of the UDR patrol? I have no legal training——

That is clear because spent bullets are not evidence.

Why did they want him to pick them up?

I said "spent bullets", but I am not sure. If the Leader of the House were to read the report of it inThe Irish Times last week he will discover that what I am saying is correct. I have no legal training but it would appear to me that when the judges are reaching their decision they must act on the evildence before them and if four members of the UDR swear to God that they found bullets in the boot of Francis McCusker's car, then those judges, whether they come from Dublin or Belfast will have great difficulty in not accepting it.

This is one of the many examples that I could give of the injustices committed by members of the RUC and the UDR, the very bodies whose co-operation is not only desirable but essential in order to implement this Bill. Without the co-operation of the British Army, the RUC and UDR this BIll is not worth the paper it is written on From January, 1970, to January, 1975, there have been 1,345 complaints alleging assaults, against the RUC. Of those complaints there were only 31 prosecutions and eight convictions. There were 1,345 complaints made against the RUC in five years, alleging assaults committed by them, and out of all that there were only eight convictions.

Since 1970 there have been 400 cases of brutality to prisoners documented. Before the European Commission on Human Rights in Strasbourg there are 130 cases of torture on the part of the RUC. We know that the Six Country Community Relations Commission have accused the RUC of open collaboration with the UDA in putting Catholics out of their homes in Whiteabbey. That is the organisation that the Fine Gael and Labour parties are asking this House to co-operate with, because without their co-operation this Bill is not worth the paper it is written on.

Notice taken that 12 Members were not present; House coounted and 12 Members being present,

Yesterday morning, 222 weapons were stolen from a UDR centre in Magherafelt, Country Derry. Included were a general purposes sub-machine gun,35 Stirling sub-machine guns, 148 self-loading rifles, three .22 rifles and 35 pistols,together with ammunition. In this morning'sNewsletter we are told that SDLP Convention Member, Mr. Ivan Cooper, yesterday called for the suspensionof every UDR member in Magherafelt until a full investigation had been carried out. Hesaild that the raid, staged in the way it was, underlined once again that the UDR formed an integral part of the Loyalist machine. The Republican Clubs last night called for the complete disbandment of the UDR after the raid. In a statement they said that they could only assume that Loyalist para-mililtaries, having been given their potential targets from Army files, had also been given the potential murder weapons from UDR arsenals. From all the information that We can gather, it is clear that the people who entered that UDR centre last night knew their way around to such an extent that they were able to enter that centre and take away that large quanity of arms. This is not the only example that we have of complicity between the UDR and the para-military groups. When Alphonsus Francis McGeown was assassilnated in December, 1972, a Stirling sub-machine gun similar to that used by the UDR was used in his execution. Father Desmond Faul in his booklet, The Triangle of Death, gives clear and categorical evidence that many of the murders that took place within this triangle took place as a result of arms being stolen from UDR centres with the obvious co-operation of members of the UDR and that most of the people murdered fell to their deaths with Striling sub-machine guns, the standard weapon of the UDR. This morning's editional in The Irish Press tells us:

... the thing that differentiated the IRA's onslaughts from that which occurred in Country Derry yesterdeay was the fact that the IRA's raids were always carried out against the wishes of the security forces in the area. In the case of the Magherafelt raid, haowever, there is more than a suspection that it was a put up job carried out with the connivance of some sections of the security forces in collusion with a Loyalist para-military group. The significance is particularly disturbing in view of the emergence of the Protestant Action Force which has claimed responsibility for so many of the sectarian killings in the murder triangle, but even more important is the fact that the PAF have stated publicity that the reasons none of its members had been arrested was because of the organisation's close relationship with members of security forces from which the PAF recruits. Coming in a period in which we have seen it established that the security forces have handed over dossiers on suspected Republicans to Loyalist para-military groups, there is very little reason to doubt the authenticity of the PAF's claim.

That tells us that there is clear evidence that the UDR are cllaborating with the Protestant para-millitary groups and that the Protestant action committee have publicly boasted that their members are not arrested because of the close cennection between the Protestant Action Force, the UDR and the RUC. There is clear evidence in recent months that the RUC and the UDR are collaborating with the Protestant Action Force, and yet in section 2 of this Bill we are being asked to collaborate with those same security forces. Senator O'Higgins will have us believe that this Bill will only deal with those guilty of murder manslaughter, the common law of arson, kidnapping and false imprisonment.

Like every other member of this House I want to state clearly and categorically that I do not condone any of these activities. Senator O'Higgins told us that murderers would claim that the offence was political and could go free but I would like to dispute this. I believe if a person is arrested on this side of the Border and claims that the offence charged is political that he or she could be charged under the legislation passed by Fianna Fáil and violently opposed by the present Minister, namely the Offences Against the State (Amendment) Bill. If a person arrested on this side of the Border admits that the offence that he is being charged with is political the Government solution is a simple one, namely to charge him under the legislation already provided.

Senator O'Higgins a few minutes ago rejected the claim of myself and others that this Bill would deal with only one section of the community. I would like to ask him how can it possibly deal with the people who claim responsibility fot the murders in the traingle of death? How can this Bill deal with members of Protestant action forces who need not cross the Border for sanctuary, a force that have already openly boasted that they will not be arrested by the security forces in the Six Counties? It will not be necessary for those people to cross the Border into the Republic to seek sanctuary. So, it must follow that the only people who will seek sanctuary on this side of the Border are the members of the various branches of the IRA. The Government have already got sufficient legislation to deal with these people. If it can be established that they are guilty of murder or other hideous crimes then I certainly would agree that they should be dealt with. The first line of section 2 states: "Where a person does in Northern Ireland". There is a vast difference between the word "does" and the words "charged with". One would think, listening to Senator O'Higgins, that every time a claim is made by the security forces that individuals are guilty of certain crimes that we should naturally accept that this is so.

This Bill, in order to be successful, requires a blanket approval of the system that has operated in the Six Counties for half a century. The Minister, in asking us to accept section 2, is asking us to approval to that particular type od system—a system which continues to operate a most blatant from of discriminatory justice against one portion of the community in the Six Counties. The Minister and the Coalition Government are asking us in this section to co-operate with the authorities in Belfast and London against whom the Fianna Fáil Government proceeded at Strasbourg with charges of torture and gross injustice. This Coalition Government have continued with these charges at Strasbourg. Now they are sking us to write section 2 of this Bill into our Statute Book and that in doing so we are, in fact, saying that this system in the Six Counties, against which we have made charges at Strasbourge, is now worthy of our support and respect.

I should like to ask the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Education a question. If a person is stopped by a UDR patrol in the Six Counties, the UDR claim he has bullets in his car, despite the fact that the person denies it, when he crosses the Border will he be arrested under section 2 of the Bill?

The Senator has asked a question to which he gave an answer in an earlier part of his speech.

The premise has been altered from spent bullets.

I did not give an answer to the question earlier. I said spent bullets. I can understand if the Parliamentary Secretary is not in a position to answer my question.

On a point of order, or on a point of information, we are on Committee Stage and if a Senator asks an explanatory question of a Minister, should there not be a reply?

A Senator has a right to ask any questions relevant to the section. Any Minister, or Parlaimentary Secretary, has a right to be present, a right to take part in the debate and equally a right to remain silent.

Has the Senator a right to get a reply to his question?

The Chair cannot compel any Minister or Parliamentary Secretary to reply to any question.

One would assume that on Committee Stage the Minister would be present to answer any questions he might be asked.

As it were, to clear a doubt.

This is not a question for the Chair. The Chiar is concerned with the control of the debate and with good order in the House. It is not possible for the Chair compel persons to do things.

Is it in order to ask the Parliamentary Secretary if he intends to answer any of the questions?

I should like to inform the House that the Minister will be in a position, when he intervences in this debate later, to answer any relevant questions put to him. I can assure him that any questions which are posed in his absence will be noted and his attention drawn to them before he makes his contribution.

On a further point of information, I should like to inform the Parliamentary Secretary that this is not the first occassion that the Minister has left his seat and, particualry, one takes the point that he has left his seat on the second occassion when Senator McGlinchey was making points. It shows a degree of lack of enthusiasm today, where they could only muster two men extra to carry a vote in the House. This shows the type of integrity and the wisdom they attach to the Bill. A question-answer basis has always been the procedure during Committee Stage. I fail to undersatand why, for the second occassion, the Minister is absent. It looks pointed that the Minister has snubbed this House and walked out.

The only conclusion I can come to is that the Minister who is steering the Bill through this House is anxious to do so with as little explanation as possible. If the Minister thinks we will agree to section 2 being taken without his answering the questions we intend posing to him, he has another think coming to him. Have this Coalition Government become so arrogant in such a short period that they expect controversial legislation of this kind to be dealt with without a Minister present?

I think we should have a quorum to see this despicable performance.

The performance being Senator McGlinchey's I take it?

No, your performance. You should be ashamed of yourself. I have never seen it happen in our time.

Notice taken that 12 Members were not present; House counted and 12 Members being present,

I was dealing with the word "does" in the first line of section 2 of the Bill which reads:

Where a person does in Northern Ireland an act that, if done in the State, would constitute an offence ——

We should attach considerable importance to this word "does", particularly when we realise that to prove an offence committed in the Six Counties, one will probably require as witnesses members of the security forces in the Six Counties, one will probably require as witnesses members of the UDR, that infamous body set up after the disbandment of the B Specials. Indeed, proof of a crime in many cases could not or would not be forthcoming unless the evidence of the members of the security forces is acceptable. When one considers that in the last few weeks the para-military Loyalist groups in the Six Counties have openly boasted that they were recruiting their members from the UDR, one finds it diffcult to reconcile the benefits of members of the Government that this Bill can only do good. Listening to Senator Michael O'Higgins and to the Minister for Justice in the course of his reply on the Second Reading, one gets the impresson that this Government have impicit trust in Her Majesty's security forces in the Six counties.

Senator Alexis FitzGerald in the course of his speech on the Second Reading said terrible men who had committed terrible crimes would be dealt with in this section. He went on to tell us what the implications of 1916 are incarporated in this Bill. On the Offences Against the State (Amendment) Bill Senator Alexis FitzGerald said at column 1160, Volumn 73, of the Seanad Debates of Saturday, 2nd December, 1972:

We know that boys laws which are not respected and supported are not capable of being enforced. It is important that the majority of the people are in support of what we decide in relation to this.

I have now to ask Senator FitzGerald does he believe that, if the Bill before this House this evening becomes law, it will be respected, and does he believe that it will be supported by the people. Does he believe that the majority of the people of this country are in support of this Bill? When one studies the implications of the section which we are now dealing with one finds it difficult to accept that that section will be respected or supported by the Irish people.

At column 1179 of the same volume Senator Alexis FitzGerald told us:

Everyone in the House knows, in so far as anybody bothers about me, that my positio on this is absolutely clear: the safety of the State is supreme. I would even go into a Greek colonel situation rather than imperil it, provided I knew who the colonels were.

Senator Alexis FitzGerald was prepared to go into a Greek colonel situation in 1972 provided he knew who the colonels were, and does Senator FitzGerald know who the colonels are in the situation that will arise with the operation of this Bill? The colonels will be the officers and men of the UDR, the ex-B specials who murdered, robbed and raped their way through the Six Counties: the UDR men who only ten days ago attempted to set up a trumped-up charge against Francis McCusker of Ballinderry Bridge in County Derry; the UDR men who handed over their weapons to the para-millitary groups who for the last six months have been engaged in murder in the triangle in the Six Counties; the UDR men who have stood back and allowed the Protestant Action Force to rob them of their rifles.

The Senator's remarks now appear to be reminiscent of the remarks he made on the Second Stage of the Bill. Such repetition would not be in order. The Senator having made the point in this particular form of words on the Second Stage of the Bill should not repeat it on a particular section in Committee.

When I spoke on the Second Stage of this Bill about two months ago——

30th April. If you like——

Senator Michael O'Higgins should not join in the discussion. I would like to point out to Senator McGlinchey that it is not in order for him to repeat his Second Stage speech not indeed to make another Second Stage speech. He has within the past few minutes quoted on section 2 of this Bill two quotations which he used in his Second Stage speech. That would not appear to the Chair to be the proper way of conducting the Commitee Stage of the Bill.

When I spoke on the Second Stage of this Bill the UDR had not stopped Francis McCusker of Ballinderry Bridge, County Derry.

No, and the Chair has allowed several references to the case of Francis McCusker to be made on the grounds that no repetition is involved. I again point out to the Senator that he must not travel ground which has been travelled before in an earlier debate.

It would not be in order to give a night cap to the Leader of the House out of Kevin Boland's book so that he would sleep well tonight?

Senator McGlinchey to continue on section 2.


Senator McGlinchey should either continue on the section or resume his seat.

I claim that to satisfy the word "does" in the first line of section 2 of this Bill the National Coalition Government require the 100 per cent support of the security forces in the Six Counties. I maintain that that support just simply will not be forthcoming. I maintain that there are members of the security forces who openly admit their complete co-operation with the paramilitary groups. Only last night on television a Loyalist member of the Six County Convention openly supported these paramilitary groups. I know that in pointing out and giving examples of the activities of the UDR the British Army and the B Specials, the Minister will say I am insulting the majority of the people in the Six Counties.

The Senator has reached column 812 of the 30th April last.

I suppose he is as well off as going out to the sheiks trying to get a few bob from them.


Senator McGlinchey on section 2 wihtout interruption.

If Senator O'Higgins continues to refuse to obey the direction of the Chair I will have no option but to move his suspension.

Any Senator who does not observe the Chair will be in danger during this debate. Senator McGlinchey to resume.

Subsection (4) of section 2 od this Bill says that where a person has committed an offence or attempted to commit any such offence any other person who, in the State or in the Six Counties, knowing or believing him to be guilty of the offence or attempt or of some other such offence or attempt, does without reasonable excuse any act with intent to impede his apprehension or prosecution in the State or in the Six Counties shall be guilty of an offence. I am completely, wholly and entirely opposed to this subsection. I feel that anyone who has any experience or knowledge of the administration of justice in that portion of Ulster occupied by the British forces for the last 50 years would realise that under this subsection ordinary decent people who have no interest in murder, manslaughter, arson or kidnapping could find themselves under a charge on this side of the Border.

And column 880.

Which book are we talking about?

Senator McGlinchey should resume and avoid repetition.

I do not remember what I said on Second Stage but I take it that I am entitled to discuss subsection (4) at this stage.

I must point out to Seantor McGlinchey and to other Senators that the Committee Stage of a Bill has a purpose other than the Second Stage, which determines the principle. Accordingly, it is natural that the debate on the Second Stage should be different in kind from Committee Stage. Therefore, one cannot allow a Second Stage speech to be made even on the key section of a Bill. In particular one could not allow the repetition on the Committee Stage of a Bill of a section of a speech that has already been made on Second Stage.

I do not remember referring to subsection (4) of section 2 in the course of my Second Reading speech.

I would refer the Senator to columns 879 and 880 of the debate on the 1st May, 1975.

I will read it tonight. I feel that we should examine this subsection very carefully. In the interest of liberty, justice and fair play the Minister should withdraw it. Innocent people have a constitutional right to travel any part of this country without having the fear that at some future date they could be arrested under this subsection. There was a time when 60 per cent of the tourist trade in Donegal came from the Six Counties. There is evidence that that useful and important trade is returning and I know that next weekend thousands of people will travel from the Six Counties to Donegal for a very important event. But when this Bill becomes law many of them may fear that they could find themselves in custody on a trumped-up charge. Even if they are ultimately relased, they could be put to trementdous inconvenience and considerable expense trying to clear their names. The Minister will tell us that it is the Attorney General who will take the decision as ti whether they will be charged or not. If the evidence before the Attorney General is such, he will not be in a position to decide whether it is tru or false. If members of Her Majesty's forces were to claim that an individual impeded the apprehension or prosecution in the Six Counties of someone who was suppossed to be guilty of an offence and the weight of evidence was commanding, then the Attorney General would have no option but to order that a charge be made against this person.

The situation could arise where this subsection could do tremendous damage to the tourist trade, not only in County Donegal but in the Republic as a whole. An innocent person could find himself in court as a result not alone of trumped-up charges but of perjury committed by members of the security forces. We have had many examples in the past that they are capable of doing this. Only last week in a statement issued by Father Denis Faul in Dungannon we had aother example, which I quoted earlier, of an attempt——

The Senator is not going to repeat himself, is he?

Were you one of the mongrel foxes? I often wondered. I did not see the serialistion in theSunday Independent.

Senator McGlinchey on section?

We read the statement of Fr. Faul who gave another example of an attempt by the UDR to have a trumped-up charge. Would those UDR men who shoved a Stirling submachine gun in the throat of that man returning from hospital after visiting his sick wife not be capable of swearing under oath that any individual with a Nationalist outlook in the Six Counties would be guilty of an offence under section 2 of this Bill? I do not think it is necessary for any Irish Government or any Irish parliamentation to grovel on his belly at the feet of members of Her Majesty's security forces. In order to have the proper reciprocal co-operation, we, on this side of the Border, must do that.

Senator O'Hoggins tried again this evening to persuade us that this section of the Bill would del only with those guilty of murder, manslaughter, arson, kidnapping, false imprisonment and knee-capping. I want to state clearly and categorically that is not true. This Bill can render considerable hardship and inconvenience to innocent people whose only interest in life is to live in harmony with their fellowman, but because they may have a drop of Nationalist blood in their venis, they may suffer under section 2 of this legislation. We are told what a person does in the Six Counties, an act if done in this State would constitute an offence——

An offence specified in the Scheduled.

A person could be charged with murder and if he is found guilty, by all means let him be dealt with.

Progress reported: Committee to sit again.
The Seanad adjourned at 10 p.m. until 10.30 a.m. on Wednesday, 18th June, 1975.