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Seanad Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 26 Nov 1986

Vol. 115 No. 1

Request Under Standing Order 29.

I have notice from Senator John Robb regarding a motion which he wishes to move under Standing Order 29. I now call on Senator Robb.

I wish to propose the adjournment of the Seanad under Standing Order 29 on a specific and important matter of public interest requiring urgent consideration, the matter being: In view of the most recent deplorable incident of covert gun-running by a nation, the United State of America, in support of the apparent regime of the Ayatollah Khomeini linked with the manipulation of funding for the indefensible activities of the Contras in Nicaragua, the immediate need for the Minister for Foreign Affairs to clarify the position of Ireland, particularly as Irish passports were involved and especially in relation to potential damage to our independent status and peace-making role in world affairs; and that the Seanad be informed as to whether our concern has been communicated by the Department of Foreign Affairs to the appropriate authorities.

I am grateful to the Cathaoirleach for allowing me this opportunity to raise this matter and to ask that it should be debated. We must all be aware of what the Ayatollah Khomeini's regime is involved in in Iran. I had the good fortune to have working with me for one year the brother of the leader of the Mojahedin, Mr. Rejavi, and I heard at first hand what goes on in that country. I heard about the hangings, the floggings, the mutilations, forced deportation, tortures——

You are not allowed to speak on this. I am allowing you to read the motion.

I have also heard at second hand from those who visited Nicaragua what is happening in that country. I would have to ask ——

I have to ask the Senator to resume his seat.

Are we prepared to say nothing while the people in the United States of America, in defiance of the decisions of Congress, allow others to manipulate funds both to Iran and in the direction of the Contras in Nicaragua?

I have to ask the Senator to resume his seat.

I finally say this, Ireland sells a lot of beef to Iran. The question arises ——

I have given careful consideration to the matter raised by Senator Robb. I do not consider it to be a matter contemplated by Standing Order 29. I regret therefore that I have to rule it out of order.

I would like to support Senator Robb. Standing Order 29 was devised so that matters of grave public ——

I have given a decision on this and my decision cannot be questioned.

I realise that you are very fair but a matter has been raised here today which is of importance to the Irish people.

I have given my decision.

As Senator Robb has said, Irish passports were used on this occasion. One of the people who went to Iran diverted between $10 million and $30 million.

You are completely out of order. I will adjourn the House if Senator Lanigan does not resume his seat.

I ask that the Committee on Procedures and Privileges should meet because Standing Order 29 was devised so that matters such as that raised by Senator Robb could be debated in the House. It is deplorable that the matter cannot be debated.