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Seanad Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 22 Feb 1978

Vol. 88 No. 5

Order of Business.

It is proposed to take Nos. 1, 2 and 7.

I would like to bring the attention of the House to No. 11, the motion in the names of Senators Martin, Hussey and myself.

That Seanad Éireann notes the present political impasse in Northern Ireland and requests the Government to outline the steps it intends to take towards obtaining a political solution.

I asked the Leader of the House, and through him the Government, to arrange to have this motion taken at as early a stage as possible in the current session. We all realise that at present the political parties are reviewing their Northern Ireland policy. Part of this would and should be fed into a debate in Seanad Éireann. People who say that we should not talk about Northern Ireland are absolutely wrong. We have had constructive and compassionate debates on Northern Ireland in the past. There have been requests within the past week by Northern politicians, including John Hume and Hugh Logue of the SDLP, that our political parties spell out what their long-term aspirations mean in an Irish and in a European context. Our consuming crime is that we have not followed up logically the consequences of what we mean and what it will cost when we talk about Irish unity. Now is the time to do this and I think that this is the forum in which such a debate should take place. The motion, which is in the names of the three University Senators, Senators Martin, Hussey and myself, is a non-political motion and has nothing to do with party political affiliations. In a sense we are at a turning point in our relations between North and South and between the two parts of the country and Britain, and the Leader of the House should ensure that we have a debate on this motion as soon as is practical.

The Senator is aware of the arrangement we have entered into. This is one of the motions on the Order Paper and in due course I hope it will be possible to take it.

Order of Business agreed to.