I want to thank the Members of the House for the way in which they have approached the discussion on this Bill and particularly for the fact that, even though the debate has ranged over questions that are far wider than this Bill itself, that has been done in a way that shows that the House supports the central intention of this Bill and the central purpose of the Bill, which is to restrict the scope of the political offence exception in extradition cases where the offence involves an act of violence against a person, or an act against property which creates a collective danger for persons.
I would have wished, in a way, that Senator Dooge's contribution could have been my reply to the debate. He has said a great many of the things I would have liked to say. He has an enormous advantage which I cannot claim in that he has the live memory of a participant in the debate that led up to the 1965 Act and has been an observer of what has happened since then. The House should pay particular attention to what Senator Dooge said in that regard and particularly to the evolution that has happened in both what is claimed to be political activity and in the approach of our Judiciary to the interpretation of constitutional provisions in that period.
I would also like to say, without appearing in any way partisan, that I am particularly thankful to Senator Dooge for the fact that he stressed one of the key aspects of this Bill which should not be lost sight of in the debate but which has, in fact, both in this House and in the other House remained very much submerged. That is the simple fact that extradition or the backing of warrants procedure is a two-way process. It is not a one-way street. It is not a system under which people are moved only from one jurisdiction to another. It is a system, an agreement, a set of rules under which people are transferred between different jurisdictions to answer charges for crimes which it is alleged they committed in those jurisdictions. That is very important and I intend to come back to it at a later stage in my remarks.
The limited intentions of the Bill were recognised in a number of contributions in the House, most noticeably by Senator Ferris and Senator O'Leary. What we are proposing to do here is to enshrine in our legislation the principle that political motivation alone is not a sufficient defence against extradition in the case of persons accused of what are — I think the whole House accepts this — particularly reprehensible crimes, that is, as the Bill sets out clearly, crimes involving the use of automatic weapons and explosives so as to endanger persons; the hijacking of aircraft; the taking of hostages and other similarly vicious crimes. We are talking of criminal acts which almost all reasonable people would not regard as being in any way a proper part of political activity. That is the central core of what this Bill is about.
As legislators, we are fulfilling a particularly important duty at this time by saying very clearly in this legislation that people who are wanted in other States for prosecution for crimes of that kind will not be able to evade justice in our jurisdiction by pleading a political motivation for their acts. We are also helping to ensure that we will be able, when the need arises, to seek the extradition from other convention countries of persons who may be wanted here for terrorist-type offences.
I very much welcome the expression by Senator Eoin Ryan and many other participants in the debate in this House of their support for the international effort to combat terrorism and for the discharge of our international obligations in this connection by the ratification of the European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism. I do not for a moment concur with the reservations expresed by Senator Eoin Ryan as to the way in which the convention is implemented by the Bill that is now before the House.
It would be appropriate for me at this point to echo the sentiments expressed by Senator Daly about the nature of terrorist crime which we have experienced on this island in recent years. We have seen in very many cases murderous attacks — some successful, others not — on defenceless people. It has included bombings which have killed and maimed people. On every occasion these atrocities have rightly attracted widespread condemnation, but they call for more than that. They call for a vigorous and an appropriate response to ensure that the perpetrators of these acts do not evade the process of justice.
This Bill, as indeed Senator Dooge has pointed out, is only one element of a response to that, but it is nonetheless important. As Senator Dooge has rightly said, this Bill is not — nor is it represented to be — the complete answer to terrorism in this island. It is only one part of our response to it. It is perhaps even less than that. It is nothing more than a refinement of one part of our existing response to the particular tragic situation we face.
In expressing continuing support for the Anglo-Irish Agreement, Senator Eoin Ryan stated that to accept extradition to the United Kingdom on the basis set out in this Bill without any safeguards was too high a price to pay for progress under the agreement. I must repeat here in relation to that suggestion that this Bill does not constitute the basis of any new arrangements for extradition from this country to Northern Ireland or to Britain. Provision already exists in our laws for extradition to those jurisdictions. Simplified arrangements for the return of persons between this jurisdiction and Britain based on a backing of warrants procedure have existed since this State was founded. The present arrangements are to be found in Part III of the Extradition Act of 1965.
Nor is it true to say that those arrangements contain no safeguards for persons whose return to Britain is sought from this jurisdiction. The 1965 Act provides a number of important safeguards for such persons and those safeguards will, of course, remain in place. The return of a person will continue to be prohibited where the offence for which the person is sought does not correspond to an offence under our law punishable by a period of imprisonment of at least six months. Similarly, the return of a person for a military offence or a revenue offence will continue to be punishable and, apart from any other consideration, a person whose return is sought under these arrangements will continue to be able to contest the validity of the warrant under which his return is sought. There is no interference with any of those parts of the arrangements that have been in operation since 1965. Those arrangements replace — in a modified form — arrangements which have been in operation since the foundation of this State.
The Bill will provide a new safeguard in our extradition arrangements with Northern Ireland and Great Britain. Sections 8 and 9 will introduce into Part III of the 1965 Act a possible new ground of refusal of extradition which is already provided for in Part II of the Act but which we decided in our wisdom not to include in Part II in 1965.
Under these new provisions it will be possible for extradition to be refused under that part of the Act if there are substantial grounds for believing that the warrant under which the person is sought was issued for the purpose of prosecuting or punishing the person on account of his race, religion, nationality or political opinion or that the person's position would be prejudiced for any of those reasons.
As well as those statutory safeguards, I again invite the attention of Senators to the new administrative arrangements which have been agreed with the British Government regarding the operation of the backing of warrants procedure. These arrangements have already been outlined in some detail in the opening statement by the Minister of State at my Department. Briefly, they will mean that a warrant for the return of a person will be sent to this jurisdiction only where the Crown Prosecution Service in England and Wales or the Director of Public Prosecutions in Northern Ireland, is satisfied that there is a clear probability of a prosecution founded on a sufficiency of admissible evidence. In addition to that, the British Attorney General will send to our Attorney General a confirmatory note to the effect that he is satisfied that the relevant prosecution authorities have complied with these arrangements in relation to each offence to which the warrant relates.
Apart from introducing the new statutory safeguard I have mentioned, the only effect the Bill will have on our existing extradition arrangements with Northern Ireland and Britain will be to limit the meaning of "political offence" to exclude certain particularly odious offences for the purposes of those provisions of Part III of the 1965 Act which prohibit the return of persons to those jurisdictions for an offence which is a political offence or an offence connected with a political offence.
What Senator Eoin Ryan appears to be suggesting is that because we are limiting the scope of the political offence exception in this way, we should also fundamentally change the basis of our extradition arrangements with Northern Ireland and Britain. In particular, he seems to be saying that we should insist on a prima facie case being established in our courts before a person would be liable for extradition. This would run counter to the essential purpose of the Bill which is to improve the prospect of extradition. To introduce a prima facie requirement would be a very substantial step in the other direction. The Government could not accept that it would be appropriate to take such a step. To introduce such a requirement now in relation to Northern Ireland and Britain would be invidious given that the Anglo-Irish Agreement is in operation, an agreement which Senator Eoin Ryan says he continues to support. If his suggestion is that the requirement should be introduced only in relation to Northern Ireland and Britain, that would be doubly invidious since we would not be imposing a similar requirement on other Council of Europe countries.
To require a prima facie case would — and Senator O'Leary made this point with force in his contribution — represent a major practical obstacle to extradition. It would do so not just in cases to which this Bill applies but in all extradition cases. That is a very important consideration. During the course of this debate there has been no suggestion that there is a difficulty in relation to the other types of cases which are not covered by this Bill. I remind the House that extradition and or, in particular, for us, the backing of warrants procedures, is a two-way process. During the course of this week or early next week a constituent of mine will come before the court for an offence that is not covered by this Bill. He is coming before a court here because a British police force backed a warrant which we sent over to them. I assure you that there would be a certain degree of dismay in Ireland if it were seriously proposed that because other people felt in a particular way about our legal system the decision as to whether or not that person had a case to answer would be settled by a British court rather than by an Irish court. I have a feeling that many of the people in this House, the other House and outside who have expressed their support for a prima facie requirement, thinking of it in a one-way context, would wax equally eloquent the other way around if somebody else were to impose that kind of requirement on us. I am not saying this in a vacuum because one of the people who has been promoting the idea of a prima facie requirement has waxed very eloquently in relation to a particular treaty under which the other party has a prima facie requirement in relation to us but where we do not have a prima facie requirement in relation to that other party. I am not going to go into that but I want to make the point, and I believe this quite strongly, that many of those who have insisted most on the prima facie requirement have been thinking of the whole process of extradition and backing of warrants as a one-way process only. That is a very incomplete way of approaching these matters.
In enacting the Extradition Act, 1965, the Oireachtas dispensed with the requirement for such a case to be established in our courts before extradition would be possible to countries other than Britain. The requirement has, of course, never been a feature of our extradition arrangements with Britain. It was dispensed with in 1965 because it was recognised as an obstacle and because the Oireachtas was concerned with promoting effective international co-operation in criminal matters. The matters we are dealing with in this Bill are criminal matters. The 1965 Act was designed to enable the State to ratify the 1957 European Convention on Extradition and the prima facie requirement was rightly seen as being out of keeping with European extradition norms, as set out in that convention.
There has been much examination and discussion of the effect of a prima facie requirement. I would like to draw to the attention of the House a UK Green Paper on the subject of extradition, Command Paper 9421 published in February 1985 which deals with the matter at some length and also to the subsequent White Paper on Criminal Justice “Plans for Legislation”, Command Paper 9658 published in March 1986. I had the pleasure of completing some partial quotations for each one of those publications in the other House. It was quickly apparent when the quotations were completed that the weight of the argument was against a prima facie requirement. I make this point because whatever other virtues these publications may have, they have been produced in a system where there have been practical experience of the operation of a prima facie requirement over a long period. The treatment and examination of the effect of that requirement in those two publications is very useful particularly in the context of the type of debate we are having.
Senator Eoin Ryan suggested that Article 22 of the European Convention on Extradition might permit this country to introduce new safeguards into our law on extradition. He did not specify what safeguards he had in mind in this connection. What that Article provides is that the procedure with regard to extradition and provisional arrest and extradition shall be governed solely by the law of the requested State. That does not mean that we could now in our domestic law depart from the terms of the convention in some fundamental way while remaining a party to the convention. The prima facie case requirement illustrates what I mean. To introduce such a requirement into our law now would be to depart in an important respect from the terms of the convention because Article 12, which governs the documents and information which a requesting party is required to produce in support of a request for extradition, does not provide for a requirement for the production of evidence that the person sought committed the offence in question. The only way in which this country could have reserved the right to require such evidence would have been by formally entering a reservation to Article 12 of the convention, in accordance with the terms of Article 26 thereof. Such a course would not be possible now — Article 26 allowed for reservations to be entered only at the time of signature or ratification of the Convention on Extradition.
It has also been suggested that it would be possible and consistent with our obligations under the Extradition Convention, to introduce a prima facie requirement provided that it was confined to cases where the person sought was an Irish citizen. That is not the case, such an approach would not be legitimate or acceptable under the Extradition Convention. I may deal later with the particular concern that Members of the House have with the question of the treatment of Irish nationals. I should say at this point that since we are dealing, for the most part, in almost all cases where we talk about extradition between this country and another if I might call it so, outward bound extradition, with people who are Irish citizens and in fact taking the kind of cases where the direction would be the other way around mentioned earlier on by Senator Dooge. We are dealing also with people who under our law are Irish citizens and who are regarded in our law as Irish citizens. If we are to say that we would in some way produce special requirements for Irish citizens or exclude Irish citizens from the terms of a Bill such as this, we would in fact virtually be saying we will have no extradition and we would, as Senator Dooge said, have to accept the mirror image of that in other countries, the inevitable consequence elsewhere that we would not be able successfully to request the extradition of their citizens to us to answer cases which we believed they should answer.
Senator McGuinness suggested that extradition in the absence of a prima facie case being made out in our courts amounted to a presumption of guilt against the person who is extradited. That, of course, is simply not the case. The extradition of a person under the 1965 Act is without prejudice to the issue of guilt or innocence of the person sought. It simply means that the person in question is made amenable to the courts of the jurisdiction where he is sought. Nor would a requirement of a prima facie case to be made out in this country change the position in that regard. Such a requirement would simply mean that the courts here would have to be satisfied that the person sought had a case to answer, not that the person was guilty. In neither case can it be properly claimed that extradition whether with or without a prima facie requirement amounts to a presumption of guilt. It is not the case that it does. There is a very big difference as Senator McGuinness knows it much better than I, between a prima facie case being made out against a person and a person being proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of an offence with which he or she is charged.
Senator Eoin Ryan and others, including Senator Robinson, linked this Bill and the Anglo-Irish Agreement in their contributions. The two, of course, are intimately linked as was made clear in the text of the Joint Communiqué issued on the occasion of the signing of the Anglo-Irish Agreement. I would like to draw the attention of the House to what Senator Dooge said earlier about the evolution that has taken place over a period of time, not just the evolution in juridical thinking here, not just the evolution in the political climate, not just the evolution in the relations between Ireland and the United Kingdom but all of that complex of factors which would inevitably bear on any action we take in an area like this. Senator Robinson offered the view and, I think, it was with some disappointment, that the political climate coloured our approach to this Bill. Of course it did. The political climate colours our approach to any political act; that is quite proper and not at all remarkable that it should. I am glad to say and I think the House would join with me that there has been a positive and an accelerating evolution in the relationship between this country, Britain and the North. I hope that relationship continues to evolve and that the speed of evolution increases and its direction is one which we would wish to see. I have no doubt whatever, indeed I have every expectation, that political acts will be done in this country in years to come that will be influenced by the evolution of that climate and that should properly be influenced by the evolution of that climate and that, in addition, we will do political acts here which would be designed deliberately to facilitate a further evolution of that climate in a way that we want to see. Let us not in any way suggest that it is a criticism of this Bill to say that it is connected in some way with the Anglo-Irish Agreement because that is to take a very static view of the way we regulate our affairs and the way we regulate relations between ourselves and other jurisdictions. The decision to accede to the convention was made clear in the communiqué issued after the signing of the Anglo-Irish Agreement against the background of the commitment entered into by the Irish and British Governments to work together to achieve early progress in relation to certain matters of mutual concern in Northern Ireland. The matters in question were public confidence in the administration of justice in Northern Ireland, relations between the security forces and the minority community in Northern Ireland and enhancing security co-operation between the two Governments. There has been progress in a number of respects on these fronts over the period since the Agreement was signed and I would like to refer to a number of specific examples related to the administration of justice in the North.
In January 1985, legislation was passed at Westminster which had the effect of allowing a significant number of offences previously tried by a judge alone in Northern Ireland to be tried before a jury. New safeguards in the emergency powers of the security forces in Northern Ireland including powers of arrest and treatment of suspects in custody are to be introduced soon. The Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Bill which is going through the British Parliament at present will amend these powers. Among the other reforms in this Bill are a test of reasonable suspicion in regard to arrest, new rights as regards having a relative or friend informed when a person is arrested, right of access by a suspect to a solicitor and a switch in the onus of proof in bail cases from the defence to the prosecution. The Bill also changes the conditions for the admissability of confessions in scheduled cases so as to bring them more into line with those obtaining in ordinary crime cases.
I am sure that Members of the House will have noted press reports of a series of recent Appeal Court decisions in Northern Ireland. These decisions, one after another, overturned a whole series of convictions secured on the uncorroborated evidence of individual informers. As a result of the most recent of these court decisions there is now no prisoner in Northern Ireland who is in custody solely on the basis of uncorroborated informer evidence. These court decisions together with a recent statement of policy by the British Attorney General have greatly diminished the likelihood of cases being brought again on the sole basis of so-called "supergrass" evidence without corroboration, especially against a large number of defendants.
Progress on these matters is a continuing process and some of the reforms I have mentioned are still being implemented. It must now be clear to all observers that both Governments accept at this stage that further progress must be made to secure better relations between the security forces and the minority community, to improve confidence in the administration of justice in Northern Ireland and on security co-operation. But, of course, the fact that both Governments acknowledge that more progress needs to be made in these areas does not mean we have reached agreement on the changes required to achieve that progress.
I would ask the House to bear this background in mind in relation to the commencement provision in this Bill. That provision has been very carefully drafted to enable the Oireachtas to review progress on the matters to which I have just referred before a final decision is taken on the date of implementation of this legislation. At the same time it allows a crucial step to be taken towards ratification of the Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism, namely the exactment of this Bill. That is a very important earnest of our positive intentions in the fight against terrorism on this island and indeed in Europe. The agreement is not a one-sided process. We must play our part in bringing about peace in Ireland, North and South. Security co-operation is an essential element in the achievement of that aim.
Senator Robinson, among the other remarks she made, some of which I have already referred to, said that she disliked the quid pro quo element in this Bill but I did not hear Senator Robinson attach any importance at all to the other aspect of this Bill which is the development of our participation in the international fight against terrorism.
Senator Robinson also spoke about leverage in relation to the commencement provision and indeed it would not be rude of me, I hope, to say that Senator Robinson was inconsistent in some of the remarks she made, in that while on the one hand she objected to leverage in connection with the Anglo-Irish Agreement she urged on me the suggestion that we should try to use leverage in relation to certain other problems which she mentioned. I do not intend to pursue that, but I agree with Senator Robinson that there is a certain inconsistency in putting forward those two particular points of view. I should also say in relation to the other cases Senator Robinson mentioned that the Government have made their views known very clearly in a different context, in a different framework, and that we will continue to do so. It is proper that we should. As the House is aware our expression not just of interest but of concern in relation to those other cases started quite some time before the signing of the Anglo-Irish Agreement.
The fact that the Government are proposing in this Bill to ratify the Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism without entering a reservation of the kind provided for in Article 13 of the convention has been criticised by some Members of the House. Obviously the provision for a reservation of that kind was an option the Government had to consider very carefully and it would be wrong of me to convey the impression that the Government regarded this matter as being absolutely clear-cut from the outset or that we came to the conclusion, which is evident from the Bill, without a good deal of thought. Let us look at what precisely is in question. Under the provisions of the Bill, it is only the limited range of offences covered by Article 1 of the convention which are never to be regarded as political. Article 1 of the convention and section 3 of the Bill set out the offences which will never be regarded as political. To enter an Article 13 reservation in respect of Article 1 offences really amounts to saying that, at least in some cases, offences of the kind covered by Article 1 should be capable of being regarded as political. As I have indicated, that is a matter on which opinions may differ.
The Government's view is that crimes such as hijacking of aircraft, kidnapping or hostage-taking and the use of explosives or automatic firearms which endanger persons are so odious, so wanton and so indiscriminate in their nature, that they should never be capable of being regarded as political in any circumstances. I would ask Members of this House to ask themselves the question — and I think it is particularly relevant that members of the Oireachtas should ask themselves this very simple question —"would I in the pursuit of a debate on any of the issues that come before us decide to take somebody else's life because of disagreement on an argument like that"? I am not the first to ask that question because as Members of this House will be able to point out, that same question has been asked in our courts here and its very posing in our courts was part of the process and part of the evolution in thinking which led the Government to the conclusion, rightly identified both by Senators Robinson and Dooge, that our Constitution does not prevent us from deciding not to regard activities like that ever as being political activities. We also take the view that people who are wanted in other countries for prosecution for offences of that kind should not be able to resist extradition by claiming that what they did was politically motivated. Trial in the country where the offence was committed is the most appropriate and effective means of dealing with such offences as well as indeed with other offences. The fact that civil law countries have a different tradition from ours in the matter of the trial of persons for offences committed abroad, the fact that a number of other Council of Europe countries have entered an Article 13 reservation do not affect the Government's assessment of what the correct policy is for us on the question. Once again, I ask the House to bear in mind that what is decided in this respect is, in its practical application, at the moment almost exclusively linked to violence related to Northren Ireland, directly or indirectly. I do not say we should not take account also of the wider European scene — of course we should. But, if we refuse to extradite, for what ever reason our refusal is, primarily, a refusal to respond in this way in relation to Northern Ireland mainly but more broadly on this island. That is the reality and that, too, is how it will be seen by people other than ourselves who look at our actions in this matter. It has been suggested that the Criminal Law (Jurisdiction) Act, 1976 — or at least the approach it adopts — represents not just an adequate approach but an even better approach to the problems which this Bill is intended to address.
I think, therefore, that I should draw attention to the limitations of the 1976 Act — not just the difficulties that can arise in its application in cases where it applies but also the limits on its scope. The principal effect of the Act is to make it a criminal offence under our law for a person to commit in Northern Ireland certain scheduled offences which, if committed within the State, would constitute an offence here. Those offences include murder, manslaughter, arson, kidnapping and false imprisonment, explosives and firearms offences. The Act also has provision for the admission, in trials in the State, of evidence taken in Northern Ireland and for the taking of evidence in the State for use by courts in Northern Ireland trying similar offences committed in the State. In addition, the Act makes certain explosives offences committed anywhere outside the State by an Irish citizen offences under Irish law. A number of prosecutions have been instituted in the State under the Act while further cases have been instituted in Northern Ireland under the parallel Criminal Jurisdiction Act, 1975.
It will be clear from what I have just said that the 1976 Act is to a great extent limited to Northern Ireland. While it has been very useful, and while it has some — though a very limited — application to places other than Northern Ireland, its use runs into the difficulties involved in a trial in a common law jurisdiction that is not the jurisdiction in which the crime was committed. The Convention on Terrorism, which is designed to have an application over the whole of Europe was primarily intended to remove barriers to extradition because extradition is regarded by the member states of the Council of Europe — as well as by States outside that group — as the most effective way of combating terrorism. This is why, under the convention, extradition is presented as the primary response and it is only where extradition has been refused that the obligation arises to submit the case to the competent authorities for the purposes of a prosecution.
As far as the effective conduct of the prosecution is concerned, extradition to the jurisdiction in which the offence was committed has substantial advantages over the exercises of extraterritorial jurisdiction. The evidence on which the prosecution will be based will almost invariably be found in that jurisdiciton. Witnesses similarly will usually be resident there. Proceedings in some other jurisdiction, on the other hand, will require that evidence be adduced and that witnesses be present in that jurisdiction — unless provision is made, as in the Criminal Law (Jurisdiction) Act, for evidence to be taken on commission, which is not a practical proposition in the wider European context.
No two legal systems are the same and account has to be taken of differences not only in the substantive criminal law but also the law of evidence and of procedure. Even as between this State and Northern Ireland and Britain, those difficulties are substantial, despite the geographical proximity and common legal heritage. In relation to civil law jurisdictions, the exercise of extraterritorial jurisdiction would be even more difficult. Extradition provides a far simpler and more practical solution and one that makes for more effective international co-operation. That is why the convention and the Bill proceed on that basis.
I am aware of course that, during the preparation of the formulation on the Suppression of Terrorism Convention, the then Government sought to persuade our partners to adopt a different approach: to proceed on the basis of the principle of aut dedere aut judicare. But at that stage the Government had little option, since the belief at the time was that there was a constitutional problem about any change being made in relation to the concept of “political offence”. It is now clear that the courts believe that the interpretation of the concept of the “political offence” should take account of changing realities.
It would be appropriate at this point if I were to say that I agree entirely with the drift of Senator Robinson's remarks when she indicated that it was her belief that it was not proper that we should have relied on the courts for so long to carry the full weight of interpretation on their shoulders without giving the courts clearer guidelines of the kind that are set out in this Bill. They are not exhaustive, and that is a point to which I will refer at another time.
Senator Rogers asked whether it would be possible for a person whose extradition was sought by the Northern authorities to opt for trial here under the Criminal Law (Jurisdiction) Act. The short answer to the question is no. Such a course would not be possible either under the Extradition Act or under the Criminal Law (Jurisdiction) Act. The difficulties that I have already mentioned in connection with that Act also mean that such an option would not provide a sufficient or a full response to the problems of terrorism in this jurisdiction.
I do not intend, at this stage, to give a full response to remarks made by Senator Killilea except to make the point that the cases which he mentioned and about which he waxed eloquent are all very different cases. Difficulties which he referred to, for example, in relation to the Glenholmes case, are ones which can properly be resolved and are being resolved by the kind of measures that we have taken to ensure the proper high level legal scrutiny of warrants. Some of the other cases that Senator Killilea mentioned are, in fact, ones where even had there been a requirement for prima facie evidence to be produced here there would have been extradition. That is a point that is not made often enough. It is not in itself at all a criticism or an indictment of the extradition process that there are cases where extradition is followed by an acquittal in the country were the trial takes place. We are familiar, as is the case in other jurisdictions, where commital procedures which return a person for trial are followed by an acquittal at the trial. It is not uncommon even in our jurisdiction that a case in which prima facie evidence appears to warrant a trial is followed by a trial which then results in an acquittal. I have said enough about that to indicate to the House that the selective quotation of cases rather than the examination of law and the proposals in this Bill is not the proper way of going about a debate on a subject as important as the one that is before us.
Finally, as I know we will have the opportunity of dealing in more detail with these matters on Committee Stage, I would like to ask the House to bear in mind — and I keep returning to this — the two-way nature of the extradition and the backing of warrants procedures. I would invite the House to reflect between now and Committee Stage on what answer each one of us would give if we were asked whether we accepted a procedure whereby in a case where we or our police authorities had adequate grounds of the kind that I referred to earlier on for the belief that there was someone in Northern Ireland or in Britain who had committed an atrocity here whom we wanted sent back here for trial — for example, a case where an automatic firearm or an explosive had been used in the shooting of an innocent bystander waiting for a bus to go home or the shooting dead of a number of people at Sunday Mass — that other jurisdiction would say "no, you cannot have that person for trial because we regard it as a political offence". I would not accept that. I would not be at all happy about it. Nor would I accept that we should give that kind of answer to another jurisdiction and deep down, that would be the opinion of this House. It is for that reason that I hope the House will support this Bill.