Extradition (European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism) Bill, 1986: Committee Stage (Resumed) and Final Stages.

Debate resumed on amendment No. 2:
In page 3, before section 2, to insert the following new section:
"2.—(1) No citizen of Ireland shall be extradited pursuant to the provisions of this Act, or the Act of 1965, unless the provisions of subsection (2) of this section have been satisfied.
(2) No order for the extradition of an Irish citizen shall be made unless the District Court is satisfied, on the evidence before it, that there is a sufficient case which would warrant the sending forward for trial of that person as if the offence alleged were an indictable offence and had been committed within the State.
(3) (a) For the purpose of subsection (2) hereof evidence may include or consist of documents referred to in section 6 (1) of the Criminal Procedure Act, 1967.
(b) The said documents shall be served on the person whose extradition is sought and copies shall be furnished to the Court.
(c) A document served pursuant to paragraph (b) of this subsection shall be received in evidence without further proof if it purports to be signed or certified by a judge, magistrate or other judicial officer of the requesting country or place and to be authenticated by the oath of some witness.
(4) (a) Where the extradition of an Irish citizen is being sought in respect of an offence for which that person has already been convicted in the requesting State, subsection (2) of this section shall be deemed to have been complied with if evidence is tendered which satisfies the District Court of the fact of that conviction.
Provided always that no person shall be extradited if that person has been tried and convictedin absentia.”.
—(Senator E. Ryan)

I listened with interest to the Minister's response to Senator Eoin Ryan's amendment even when he was technically out of order having overrun the alloted time. There are a number of points on which I would like to have a further opportunity to clarify. I am in favour of the principle of an amendment of this kind. I am not entirely sure that I go along with the precise wording of this amendment, partly for some of the reasons the Minister has identified, but there are a number of important issues that arise in relation to this amendment.

The first one is to explain why, as I am assuming, it is drafted in terms of applying only to a citizen of Ireland, in other words, that theprima facie requirement would only apply to a citizen of Ireland. Senator Dooge criticised this approach and said we should not be discriminatory in that way, that if we believed in it in principle we should do it for everyone. Unfortunately, that is not open to us under the European Convention on Extradition of 1957. Article 6 of that convention allows a country to refuse to extradite its own citizens and to make any other provisions relating to its own citizens. If we are going to have any prima facie requirement, unless we were to denounce the European Convention on Extradition, something I would not be advocating, we could only do it in the context of our own citizens. There is some justification for that. We are entitled to be that little bit more concerned about our own citizens, if we are requested to send them to another country for trial, than about other persons who may be only very temporary visitors to the country or who may have resided here for longer. We apply a different law to aliens generally and it is not that exceptional that we would apply it in the area of extradition.

The Minister has pointed out that thisprima facie rule would apply, as it is drafted in the Bill, to all requests for extradition for any offences. Therefore it would be introduced right across the board. That would be a substantial change in our existing law. I would be satisfied to confine it to the area we are talking about, where we receive a request in the particularly sensitive context of the type of offence for which formerly under international law a claim might have been made that the offence was either a political offence or connected with a political offence and the request for extradition could have been denied on that ground. In moving away from that, there is a reason to seriously examine the possibility of requiring some degree of — I do not know how to put the word so as to fit in with countries which do not have a concept of a prima facie case as common law countries would — preliminary factual evidence to substantiate the charge or charges which are preferred against the person whose extradition is sought.

The Minister in his response to Senator Eoin Ryan made a point he made on Second Stage also. The Minister said that to seek to introduce aprima facie rule or preliminary evidence rule of some kind or some basic requirement that some factual evidence be put forward is moving against the tide and is going against the approach adopted by other European countries. There are two responses to meet that objection of the Minister. First, Senator Eoin Ryan is correct in pointing out that a significant number of countries simply apply a much broader reserve. They refuse to extradite their own citizens. If we were to do that, it could be said that we were not seriously interested in extradition. That would be a kind of political dishonesty because of the way in which we have defined Irish citizenship and in the context of the Border and so on. I would not advocate that we adopt that approach.

There are countries that share quite a similar heritage and approach to ours, for example, the United States of America where aprima facie evidence rule in relation to extradition is required. Indeed, in the recent extradition treaty between Ireland and the United States the Americans required a prima facie rule. The Minister is shaking his head so let me put it this way. I am interested in having clarification on the record of this House as to whether I am correct in understanding that the United States requires, before it will extradite, that there be some establishment of a prima facie case against a person from the requesting country and that this would, under principles in international law, provide for the invocation of a reciprocal requirement if a country so wishes in agreements with the United States. That is my understanding of the position and I would welcome clarification from the Minister if that is so.

We do not need to be concerned about the difficulties and the practicalities. They are problems to be overcome but that is a question of the draftsman wording the particular requirement in such a way as to make it one that can apply either to another common law country or to countries which have an inquisitorial system and have a different way of establishing the basic case before they proceed further to a trial. The formulation does not concern me so much if we are agreed on the principle, but we should discuss in some detail why the principle is important. The reason the principle of having that requirement is important in the context of this Bill is that we are talking about a charge being preferred, in other words, an accusation being made that somebody was guilty of one of the very serious offences listed in section 3 (3) (a) of this Bill. We are saying that where a request is made for the extradition of one of those persons by a party that has ratified the convention, the person whose extradition is requested cannot claim that what was done was done in connection with a political offence. They cannot resist the extradition. Ireland does not, under present law, require to be satisfied that there is theprima facie factual basis for proceeding with the particular trial and proceeding either to a conviction or acquittal on the basis of evidence already available.

That is a very big commitment in trust and a very big step to take. I am aware that it is an approach which we have adopted in our extradition law. We have adopted the approach basically favoured under the earlier convention, the Convention on Extradition in 1957. We have not applied aprima facie rule in relation to extradition, but we have had, as part or our extradition law, the reserve that a person could not be extradited for a political offence or an offence connected with a political offence. It is in the context of moving away from that that I am certainly still worried about doing so with no reserve on our part that we want to examine the bones of the case against the person who is to be extradited under the provisions of this Bill. I am still at the stage of looking for clarification on the point.

The Minister would certainly be helpful if he would perhaps set out, in so far as he is aware of them for the benefit of Members of the House, the countries that in their extradition laws apply some variation of theprima facie rule, whether they be member states of the Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism or whether they be countries like the United States who are outside the Council of Europe framework. It would be helpful to know their approach in this area.

Senator Robinson argues that we could require aprima facie case to be presented in relation only to Irish citizens. The Senator has taken my point that to go further than that and simply to refuse to extradite citizens would amount to our saying that we would not extradite. That applies also to the kind of proposal she is suggesting — to require a prima facie case only in relation to our citizens — because that means in practice that we would require a prima facie case in relation to extradition in a very few cases. That would not be compatible with the provisions of the European Convention on Extradition. Article 6 of the convention deals with the extradition of nationals and provides that a contracting party shall have the right to refuse extradition of its nationals, but where that contracting party invokes that right, Article 6, paragraph 2, applies. It says:

If the requested Party does not extradite its nationals, it shall at the request of the requesting Party submit the case to its competent authorities in order that proceedings may be taken if they are considered appropriate. For this purpose, the files, information and exhibits relating to the offence shall be transmitted without charge by the means provided for in Article 12, paragraph 1. The requesting Party shall be informed of the result at its request.

That requires that the requested party would submit the case to its own jurisdiction, in order that proceedings may be taken if they are considered appropriate, which puts the whole matter in rather a different context from that of extradition. It puts it in a very different context from that which is the main basis of the convention itself which is the proposition — one which I support — that the best place to prosecute an offence is the place in which the offence is alleged to have taken place.

Article 12 of the convention sets out the requirements in relation to the request and supporting documents. It would be tedious to read it out but it is specific as to what kinds of supporting documents must be sent forward. Leaving aside the question of people who have already been convicted, it requires a statement of the offences for which extradition is requested, the time and place of their commission, their legal descriptions and a reference to the relevant legal provisions. It requires the provision of a copy of the relevant enactment or, where that is not possible, a statement of the relevant law and as accurate a description as possible of the person claimed, together with any other information which would help to establish his identity and nationality. That is what is required by the Convention on Extradition.

Aprima facie requirement in relation to citizens of the requested State would not fit in that framework. In order to have provided for that we would have had to enter a reservation at the time we signed the convention. At the time we passed the 1965 Extradition Act we would have had to enter a reservation providing for a prima facie requirement. We chose, deliberately, not to do that at that time for reasons which were judged to be adequate at the time and which, in my view are still adequate. It has been suggested to me that perhaps a way around this problem would be to denounce the Convention on Extradition. Technically speaking, this would be a way of bringing about the result that Senator Robinson wants. We would denounce the Convention on Extradition, provide in our law for a prima facie requirement for the extradition of an Irish citizen and re-enter the framework of the Convention on Estradition with the necessary reservation. Even setting out those steps indicates how cynical that would seem to other countries who are parties to the convention. To require a prima facie case to be made out in our courts where a request was made for the extradition of an Irish citizen would not be compatible with the 1957 Convention on Extradition.

We are not moving away, as Senator Robinson seems to suggest, from a situation where we have in our law the provision that a person may not be extradited for a political offence. Once this Bill is enacted it will still be the case that persons whose extradition is sought can claim that the offence for which they were sought is a political offence. The circumstances in which that plea will be agreed will be more restricted after the passage of this Bill than they are at the moment. The principle of the political defence still remains part of our law and we are still at liberty to retain it.

I would like to quote from the United Kingdom White Paper on Criminal Justice Command Document 9658 of March 1986 to which I referred last night where an examination of the issue is made. This was the basis for the proposals now before the United Kingdom Parliament. An examination is made of theprima facie requirement. Paragraph 50 states:

The question whether theprima facie requirement should be discarded was discussed in paragraphs 21 to 213 of the Green Paper. Having considered carefully the responses of these questions the Government believes that the prima facie requirement should be abolished. The requirement does not offer a necessary safeguard for the person sought by the requesting state. It does, however, present a formidable impediment to entirely proper and legitimate extradition requests. There are other effective ways in which the rights of the fugitive are protected, for example, by the double criminality rule and by the proper application of the political safeguard.

There is more in an earlier Green Paper in the same direction. I might add that that White Paper was the outcome of a process that began with the Green Paper, included wide consultations and then was a matter of some considerable and careful reflection. As I said last night, that examination had the virtue of having been carried out in a jurisdiction which had the experience of operating aprima facie requirement and where it was possible to observe the effect of that requirement on its relationships with other countries. The conclusion has been that a prima facie requirement did not secure the protection that it is claimed to secure and, in fact, it presented a very substantial obstacle to proper and legitimate requests for extradition. We are talking only about a situation in which under the system set out in the convention the courts in the requested country have only one function, the function of deciding on the question of extraditability. The have no function in deciding guilt or innocence; that is for the courts in the requesting country. The only function of the court in the requested country is to decide on the question of extraditability.

Senator Robinson suggested that we might confine the application of aprima facie requirement to certain cases. I do not think that would be appropriate. Leaving aside all the other arguments, I cannot see that that would be particularly appropriate. What we are setting out to do in this Bill, and Senator Robinson agrees with this part of it, is to say that some types of offences may not ever be considered to be political offences. If we are then to say that for some other kind of offences we will have a prima facie requirement we would certainly be running the risk of prejudging the issue of whether or not the person was guilty of the offence in deciding in the courts here on the simple question of extraditability. It might be thought that the fact that the courts here decided that a case was extraditable was in itself further evidence for the court in the requesting country to take into account when deciding on the question of guilt or innocence. There would be a danger there that one might prejudice a case at the outset. I do not think that that would be particularly wise either.

In the case of our extradition treaty with the United States, the US requirement is not for aprima facie case although it has been argued that because the Americans are more up to date in their use of English they do not use arcane phrases like “prima facie” in another language but they say what they mean in the English language or more accurately, in the American language. In the case of a request emanating from Ireland, the requirement is that the request be supported by a statement of facts by way of affidavit or statutory declaration setting forth reasonable grounds for believing that an offence has been committed and that the person sought committed it. That is something less than what we commonly understand by the term “a prima facie requirement”. It is, of course, something more than is required in the terms of our 1965 Extradition Act. We could have decided in the case of that particular treaty that we would have the same kind of provision in respect of a request for extradition from the United States, but we decided not to make that requirement if the United States requested extradition from us. It is a matter of deliberate policy. We decided not to have that. It is a requirement that we do not have in our relations with any other country.

I should point out that the trend in countries which up to now have had aprima facie requirement and particularly in common law countries that had a prima facia requirement up to now is to move away from it. As I said, the UK Parliament now has before it legislation which would abolish the prima facie requirement. Australia has abandoned the prima facie requirement in recent years because of the difficulties it presented. For us to come along now and to introduce a measure which would not be compatible with the 1957 Convention on Extradition, which is gradually being abandoned by other jurisdictions which have it, would not be compatible with the basic objective that we seek to achieve with other countries in the Council of Europe, particularly with the UK, of widening and deepening international co-operation in combating terrorism.

We have heard a long reply from the Minister but I do not think he said anything that would give us reason to ask that this amendment should not be put through. If he reads the amendment he will find no mention ofprima facie in it at all. What is in the amendment is a request that Irish citizens be protected when their extradition is sought by another country, that they would have the same protection as they would have if they were being charged with an offence here. Subsection (2) provides that “No order for the extradition of an Irish citizen shall be made unless the District Court is satisfied, on the evidence before it, that there is a sufficient case which would warrant the sending forward for trial of that person as if the offence alleged were an indictable offence and had been committed within the State.” I cannot see why a deliberate decision was made not to have that type of provision put into this Bill when, as the Minister said, it has been put in in relation to the extradition treaty signed between us and America.

Not on our side.

Not on our side. If they have written into their extradition laws the fact that protection will be given, why do we not write into our laws that protection will be given to people who would be sought from outside the jurisdiction? I presumeprima facie is a legal term but there is no mention of it in this amendment. What is required by this amendment is that Irish citizens will have the same protection as they would have if they were charged with a crime here.

I find the Minister's response not very convincing on a number of the issues which arise on this amendment. He cites the United Kingdom's White Paper and their approach on the subject. As I understand it, the United Kingdom has applied aprima facie rule across the board. It is not a signatory to the European Convention on Extradition, so there they are changing from a very different situation that we are not involved in.

In order to be able to ratify the convention.

Because they find that that approach is one that they are having certain difficulties with and, yes, because they want to ratify the Convention on Extradition. We have ratified the European Convention on Extradition, 1957. We do not apply it across the board. What we are examining is whether we want to have some restriction in the sense of some way of assessing whether it would be appropriate to accede to a request for the extradition of an Irish citizen. The Minister cited the American restriction and made it clear that it is not aprima facie rule. I accept that. It seemed to me to be a very useful formulation, one that I might well feel would be better to introduce here than the detailed terms of the amendment because I can see practical problems in relation to the details of the amendment. I have made that clear already.

There is merit, as the United States finds, in having some way of assessing the grounds on which it is sought to extradite a citizen to another country. It may either be based on a charge of a particular offence or on a conviction. It requires a very serious assessment of the basis of the charge and the basis of the conviction, if it is a conviction. It also requires that the country be satisfied, as I presume we are deemed to be, as to the administration of justice in those countries because in this instance they are fellow signatories and have ratified the European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism. That of itself and their status as members of the Council of Europe presumably means that we are deemed to consider them to be countries to which we can extradite our citizens on the basis that we believe they would be given a fair trial and would not be subject to torture or inhumane treatment in those countries and that if that does not prove to be the case, they would have a possibility of invoking the courts or ultimately the Commission and the Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

It is important to come back to the principle behind this amendment which I support. It is appropriate and proper for us to consider some restriction by way of assessment of the nature of the charge or of the kind of evidence being preferred on the basis of that charge against an Irish citizen whose extradition is requested.

When the Minister responded to what Senator Eoin Ryan said in moving this amendment, he stated that acceptance of the amendment — which I presume means acceptance of the principle of this amendment — would be a rejection of the Anglo-Irish Agreement. I know that a certain amount of hyperbole enters into Committee Stages of debates but I cannot see how the Minister can say that. All that was undertaken in the context of the Anglo-Irish Agreement in the joint communique was that Ireland would accede to the European convention. Ireland is in the process of acceding to the European convention and therefore it is our business as a sovereign country what we do and what safeguards we think are appropriate. I accept that if we are going to ratify the European convention any amendments we devise must be compatible with the convention.

This is where I come to another point on which I found the Minister's response difficult to follow. He referred to Article 6 of the European Convention on Extradition, to which I had already referred. This permits signatories to the convention to refuse to extradite their own citizens. If you are authorised by a convention to refuse to extradite your own citizens and if you can place a reservation on this convention on the same type of basis, it seems to me that you can introduce a vetting process to ensure that if you are extraditing your citizens there is a serious basis for the charge preferred against them by the requesting state. To refuse the extradite your own nationals is the ultimate exercise in sovereignty. A significant number of member states are doing that. For reasons we have already discussed it is not appropriate that Ireland would refuse to extradite its own nationals.

What is being proposed in the principle behind this amendment is much more modest. It is simply seeking to have some vetting process to ensure that if we extradite people we do it, not just on the basis of a foreign country telling us that they are preferring a charge, but that they must put forward some formula either as required in this amendment or in some adaption of the United States formula in the treaty between the United States and Ireland. When I asked the Minister to give details of the American approach and the way in which the reservation there was introduced by the United States in the recent extradition agreement with Ireland, he said that as a matter of deliberate policy Ireland decided not to do likewise. What is the deliberate policy which gave rise to a lack of reciprocity in our relationship with the United States in relation to the extradition of citizens? I could understand the policy if we said, as the Minister is saying in another context, whatever we do in the area of extradition we must remember it can be done to us. Whatever we do as a state in relation to extradition from our country also binds us as a requesting state seeking extradition of persons to Ireland. That is fair enough.

What is the basis of the deliberate policy in our relationship with the United States? The United States was saying they would not extradite their citizens without having this minimum safeguard. Why did we say as a matter of deliberate policy, "you can have your safeguard, we do not want it?". It is very important that we understand that because it may be helpful in understanding the Government's approach to this amendment.

To deal first with Senator Lanigan's remarks, he said — and he is right — that the words "prima facie” do not occur anywhere in the amendment. Effectively it is a prima facie requirement and those two words are a shorthand for describing what the requirement is. I made the point in my initial reply to Senator Eoin Ryan that for a number of reasons which I detailed then the requirement could not and would not work. If it were inserted into our legal system it could not achieve the objective it sets out to achieve. It does not particularly matter whether we use the shorthand expression, prima facie, to describe what the amendment seeks to bring about. If it is disobliging to Senator Lanigan to use the phrase, I will speak about his amendment rather than the prima facie case. His amendment would attempt to set in place, as I have said, a system that could not and would not work.

Senator Robinson wants grounds on which we can assess whether there is a case against a person somewhere else. If you follow that through to its logical conclusion, it is setting off on a road that would lead you to conclude that what we really want is a situation where if an offence is committed in another country, whether by an Irish citizen as in Senator Robinson's formulation or by anybody in the wider formulation, and the person suspected of having committed that offence is here, we should try that person here because first of all aprima facie requirement looks for some assessment of the evidence. What we would be looking for in that case is a situation in which the courts here would do a part of the work of courts elsewhere. The logical conclusion of that is to say that we would want the courts here to do the whole job that courts do elsewhere.

That is what is said in effect by some of the states which refuse to extradite their nationals. As I said earlier, particularly during Second Stage debate here, they are countries whose legal systems are very different from ours. Their methods of investigation are very different from ours. Their rules of admissibility of evidence are very different from ours. The differences are such that it is far easier in those jurisdictions to try a case that has been committed somewhere else. I do not say whether those systems are better or worse than ours. The fact is that they are different. To graft on to our system, which is a fundamentally different kind of system, elements of the other system would certainly create awkwardness, at the very least, and would create, in my view, situations that we could not be happy with ourselves. The operation of extra-territorial jurisdiction is, in our jurisdiction, a difficult enough thing to bring about successfully. I say that, bearing in mind the fact that there are provisions in the Bill before us that establish new extra-territorial jurisdiction in certain kinds of cases. Our 1976 Act which establishes extra-territorial jurisdiction over common offences is one which has proved to have some value, but which has not proved, nor could it ever, to be the answer to all of the cases of the kind that we are dealing with here where offences are committed in Northern Ireland or in Britain.

The fact, incidentally, that there have been relatively few prosecutions under that Act is sometimes put down, or is presented as, an indication that there has not been any particular energy on the part of the administration here in prosecuting these cases. That is a totally mistaken impression. The initiative in relation to cases dealt with under that Act has to come from elsewhere, it does not lie within this jurisdiction.

Senator Robinson seems to be overlooking the points that I made about the provisions of Articles 6 and 12 of the Convention on Extradition. A close look at those articles will show that it would not be compatible with the convention to say now that we would not extradite Irish nationals without a requirement of the kind that is before us being fulfilled. We could have said when we ratified that convention that we will not extradite Irish nationals. In that case we would also have had to accept that we would make arrangements to bring those cases before our courts here in the way that is set out in the convention. We could not insist on aprima facie requirement now because that would be incompatible with the provisions of Article 12 of the convention.

In order to give effect to what Senators Robinson, Lanigan and Eoin Ryan want, we would have to depart from the framework that is set out in the 1957 convention. There may be an argument for that. Having debated this Bill in the other House and here, I do not think that that argument is sustainable and I do not think that that would be an appropriate step for us to take, given everything that has happened both in regard to our extradition law and in relation to the promotion of international co-operation to combat terrorism in the years since that extradition convention was adopted. I would have to make the point that the purpose for which contracting parties to that convention when they ratified it could enter a reservation about the extradition of nationals is not at all in line with the reason that is now being given for the amendments that are before us, nor is it compatible with the kind of thing that Senator Robinson has in mind.

In relation to the policy question involved in our treaty with the United States, the policy decision is very clear. We took the view in that agreement which was debated, certainly in the other House, that while, in principle, it is open to us in agreements with non-convention countries to have whatever arrangements we agree and while it would certainly have been open to us to include a requirement of aprima facie nature or a probable cause nature as in the American case, we decided we would not do it because we have never concluded any agreement with any other country that has made that requirement. It has not been a part of our extradition arrangements with other countries and certainly not since 1965. We are following, in that connection, the clear policy that has been laid down since the 1965 Extradition Act was passed by the Oireachtas.

To get back to the American situation again, a recent Extradition Bill signed in the United States provided for extradition as between the United States and Great Britain. The basis for that Extradition Bill was basically the same as is being presented here today. It has been accepted by the Minister that we are not really talking about the European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism, that we are basically talking about extradition as between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.

Reservation have been expressed here as to whether citizens should be extradited at all from this jurisdiction to Great Britain unless certain guarantees can be given that they will be brought to trial within a very short time and that they will get fair trial. The reservations I am expressing here have been expressed by many people. The situation is now that Irish citizens who are asked to be extradited by Great Britain will have under this Bill less protection than an Irish citizen who is asked to be extradited by Great Britain from the United States because of the very guarantees that the Minister has said are built into the extradition treaty as between the United States and Great Britain. What we are doing here is that we are passing——

I was not speaking of that treaty.

——the Minister was talking about the extradition convention we have signed with the United States. The extradition treaty that has been signed between the United States and Great Britain does build in the same type of protection for Irish citizens who are looked for by Great Britain as the United States have built in to the extradition treaty between ourselves and America. The same type of people who are looked for from the United States to Great Britain are Irish citizens and they are afforded protection under the American court system. We are passing an Extradition Bill now which will not give them the same protection as they would get if they were looked for from the United States. The question has been asked many times as to why the Minister deliberately did not build in safeguards, in the Bill.

I am afraid Senator Lanigan is tempting me to be not just technically out of order but to be completely out of order because he is asking a question that does not arise on this amendment or on this Bill. He is also, I would remind the Senator, asking me questions that were not posed at all by anybody in either of these Houses during the debate, fairly recent debates on the agreement between the United States and this country.

It was not debated in this House.

It is a pity somebody else did not ask it.

I was making the point that Senator Lanigan, apart from asking a question that does not arise on this amendment or on this Bill, is asking a question that was not posed during the recent debate on the agreement between the United States and Ireland. It is inaccurate for Senator Lanigan to claim that this Bill, in any way, reduce the protection afforded to Irish citizens in the event of extradition. Not alone is it inaccurate, it is plain wrong, because this Bill increases the protections that are provided for Irish citizens whose extradition is sought by another country. I have mentioned sections 8 and 9 of the Bill.

I have also at some length spoken about the administrative arrangements which we have put in place, which will ensure that no warrant will be sent here for backing from Great Britain or Northern Ireland unless the relevant prosecution service or the other appropriate authority are satisfied that there is a firm probability of a prosecution, based on a sufficiency of admissible evidence; nor will a request be made for a warrant to be backed without a further confirmation from the Attorney General that he has examined the matter and is satisfied that it is as I have outlined it. That is a new, very valuable and proper requirement which must be fulfilled before a warrant would be sent here for backing and before effect would be given to that request. It is not true to say that this Bill reduces the protection afforded to our citizens. From several points of view, it increases the protection.

The simple facts of the matter are as follows. If we wanted to be in a position where we would refuse to extradite Irish citizens under any defined set of circumstances that was a step we could and should have taken the moment we ratified the Convention on Extradition. That was the moment we passed the Extradition Act, 1965, but we chose not to do it at that time. We chose instead, so far as our relations with the United Kingdom are concerned to continue with some modifications, with a system which is based on the backing of warrants. That system has been in operation since 1922. We decided, therefore, not to make that reservation in ratifying the Convention on Extradition. That was the time for making it. Had we made it, it would have been in a different context from that now being presented to us. If we had made that reservation we would have had to conform with the other prescriptions of the 1957 Convention; in particular, we would have had to provide that where extradition was refused on the grounds of nationality we would submit the case to competent courts here. I also made the point that the submission of a case in that way to Irish courts — and we have the evidence of experience for this — would create a number of difficulties in dealing with those cases. There have been difficulties in dealing with cases where extra-territorial jurisdiction is being exercised. Even though this Bill provides for an extension in extra-territorial jurisdiction in certain circumstances, I still foresee that it will be difficult to do given the difference between our legal system and that in most other European countries and the differences that exist between our legal system and the British legal system.

Effectively, for those reasons it would be very difficult for us to follow the course that would have been permitted by the 1957 Convention. The 1957 Convention does not in any case allow a member state which does not have a reservation to operate aprima facie requirement or any similar requirement. One would have to make a special reservation on that point. It would be a separate matter and quite unrelated to the question of whether or not one extradited citizens. Countries that have made that reservation under the convention and have that kind of requirement — something like a prima facie case — are basically civil law countries. They are in a position to proceed with prosecutions for offences committed outside their territories in a way which is less difficult than is the case in Ireland because of the structure of their legal system and rules and approaches they have as to the admissibility of evidence.

The conclusion I draw from all of that — and it is fairly clear when one goes through all of the steps — is that what is provided in this amendment and what is being sought by Senator Robinson would not be consistent with Article 6 of the European Convention on Extradition. Neither would it be consistent with Article 12 of the European Convention on Extradition and it would require us, if we were to try to keep anywhere near that Convention to deal with prosecutions for offences committed outside our territory which has proved, objectively, to be a difficulty in Ireland. We would be putting a very substantial new obstacle not just in the way of extradition but in the way of the prosecution of persons for those offences. I do not think that that is really what we want to do. It would not be in keeping with what we have set out to do in the Anglo-Irish Agreement; it would not be in keeping with the policies we deliberately adopted when we became signatories to the European Convention on Extradition; and it would not be in keeping with the commitment we have entered into, of our own volition, to ratify the European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism because we would be making it more difficult to extradite from Ireland or to secure the prosecution anywhere in that overall European grouping of people who are alleged to have been involved in those kinds of crimes.

The Minister will recall that the discussion in the other House on the agreement between Ireland and the United States arose in the context of the difficulties in the earlier agreement by way of the finding by the court that because it represented a potential charge on the public purse it should be discussed by Dáil Éireann. No such considerations applied in the case of Seanad Éireann and consequently we did not discuss it.

I am suitably rebuked.

I find this amendment incomprehensible. I do not think it is a serious attempt to tackle the problem which one would imagine it addresses. I do not know how anybody who really believes that you should extradite your citizens could believe that aprima facie case, or a case like this should be necessary prior to a decision to extradite your citizens. Senator Lanigan is right — the word prima facie is not used. It might be a little different if the word prima facie had been used. What is laid down is a very complicated system which makes it quite clear that all the evidence would have to be presented to the Irish court — verbally presented to the Irish court if people insisted on it — and the people giving the evidence could be examined and cross-examined on their evidence. That means that in the vast majority of cases extradition of Irish citizens would not take place. If that is what you want to achieve this amendment will, in effect, achieve it.

There is no point in pretending that Irish citizens are being denied some protection. Presumably, Irish citizens when they are extradited to any of the countries have precisely the same rights as people arrested in those countries whether or not they are Irish citizens and charged with offences. This seeks to superimpose upon other countries' systems an additional trial. That effectively is what it is because a person would have to be tried twice. It is true that in respect of the first trial it would not be necessary to show beyond reasonable doubt that the person was guilty of a crime but it would be necessary to go through the prosecution case in its entirety to establish whether or not circumstances existed which would constitute a sufficient case to send a person forward for trial if the offences alleged were an indictable offence and had been committed within the State. To suggest that is to fundamentally change our extradition law.

Leaving aside the question of terrorism for the moment and talking about ordinary decent criminals as the fellow says, I was not aware that there was any dissatisfaction in the way in which the system operated between here and Britain since 1965. I was not aware that there was any suggestion that thisprima facie requirement was in some way causing an inconvenience or an injustice to those people who were being extradited since 1965 whether to Britain or to other countries. I was not aware that there was even a single instance in the case of ordinary decent criminals in which that had been a factor. It appears therefore that we are seeking to change the law to facilitate the fact that certain categories of bandits who previously, we assumed, could not be extradited are capable now of being extradited. There is a new category of bandit to which this applies.

Alleged bandits.

I am not saying any individual. It is a new category of bandit. It applies to a new category of bandits. It is also interesting to see that there seemed to be no problem whatsoever within this House or indeed generally with regard to the fact that our understanding of the law had undergone a most fundamental change as a result of a series of High Court or Supreme Court decisions. As I understand it, other than the extra safeguards to which the Minister refers, I do not think this really substantially changes the law from what it is today. It may change the law from what we understood it was in 1965 but I do not think it actually changes the law as and from what it is today. So effectively what we are saying is that since the Supreme Court made its decision in some way people who are charged with offences which are political in origin, if not in execution, are being extradited in a wrong way that this has given rise to injustice and that Irish citizens should not be treated in this way. There have been cases of course where there have been allegations, and they may well be true, that the administration of justice in the mainland of Britain has been less than perfect but has there been any single allegation that anyone who was extradited from this country or to the North was wrongly convicted? I am not aware of any such allegation. Is there any single controversial case at all? We have had the case of a Mr. McGlinchey who was extradited and found not guilty of crimes. He was originally convicted and on appeal was found not guilty——

Much more relevant to what we are discussing.

——that proves that the system works. I am quite happy to accept that Mr. McGlinchey emerged from that without a stain on his character for the purpose of this argument. The combined effect of our decision and the decision of the Supreme Court to extradite Mr. McGlinchey and his subsequent, though admittedly belated acquittal, is proof that the system works. I am inviting those who think that the system does not work to indicate to me a case since 1965 where it has not worked.

I believe that people should be held responsible for their crimes and I am in favour of systems which certainly afford them the full protection of the law of the country where they commit or allegedly commit crimes but I am not in favour of a kind of a double system of protection for people who are accused of crime. There is a kind of judicial steeplechase, not with one jump but with a series of jumps which the prosecution must successfully negotiate in order to get a conviction. By establishing an earlier and substantial steeplechase here in respect of Irish citizens or anyone else which for short we call aprima facie case, effectively what we would be doing on the ground is saying that Irish citizens need not be extradited at all or would not be extradited at all. We certainly would be saying it in respect of jurisdictions which do not share with us the same legal system. We would be putting an overwhelming obstacle in respect of countries like the United Kingdom where the difficulty of transporting evidence and of maintaining people over a long period in this country would mean that except for the most extreme cases it just would not be done.

If there was a question of fraud and you had 50 or 60 witnesses you would not transport all of those witnesses to this country to give evidence and establish aprima facie case. The taking of that evidence might take six to ten weeks in a complicated case. I am sure that there are some cases of particularly horrific murders where it would be considered worthwhile doing so but there would be a large number of offences where this just would not be worthwhile. The effect of this is to rewrite the Extradition Act of 1965, an Act with which, as far as I am concerned, there was general agreement that it was working satisfactorily and to rewrite it not because we are examining extradition per se but merely because the law is catching up with the definition of political offences which has already been changed by the decisions of all courts. The law is in such a way as to enable us to accede to the European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism. For all those reasons the amendment is unsustainable and I could not support it.

The Minister said earlier that if we brought in an amendment of this kind it would be interpreted that we were abandoning our campaign against terrorism. I am not sure if these were the exact words he used but they were something to that effect. This is the kind of rather abandoned statement that is being made in this debate. After all if somebody commits terrorist offences in this country and we try him, it could hardly be regarded as abandoning our campaign against terrorism merely because we comply with the normalprima facie procedure and ensure that there is a case against him before he is sent forward for trial. The Minister also seems to be changing his feet a bit about how we should look at this Bill because some of the time he is pointing out the difficulties this would create in regard to our relationship with European countries other than the UK while some of the time he is telling us that really this Bill is designed to deal with the problem between this country and the North of Ireland and the UK. He cannot have it both ways. If it is something we must look at entirely objectively and look at the mainland continental countries equally with the UK, that is one thing but if it is only really from all practical purposes, if we should only be considering it from the point of view of the effect on our relationship with the UK and the Anglo-Irish Agreement and so on, then perhaps there should have been a special Bill to deal with that.

We have just heard about the case of McGlinchey and that proves how necessary it is to have aprima facie procedure. In both the McGlinchey case and another case — I cannot remember the other man's name — they were highlighted in the North as being very important enemies of the people and so on and in both cases there was pressure to have them extradited. Finally, when extradition was given without any of the safeguards we are talking about, the courts in Northern Ireland could not make a case against them. Procedure of the kind set out in this amendment would have been very useful, at least to confirm whether the Northern Ireland authorities could make any case against these two people. When it came to the crunch they were not able to make a case against them. That proves that we should have some procedure for ensuring that there is a stable case against the person concerned.

The Minister mentioned some of the reservations that have been discussed. He said the time has passed, that we should have done it in 1965 and if we did not do it then it is too late to talk about it now. That may be so. Maybe we should have entered some reservations then and if we had done that perhaps the situation would not be as serious as it seems to some of those who are discussing this amendment. Surely, if we should have been more careful about the reservations we entered into in 1965 that is not a good reason for doing nothing at this stage? It should make us all the more careful about procedures in regard to extradition. Perhaps we should have done things in the past but if we did not do them we should now try, in so far as we can, to rectify the situation to make it less unsuitable or less onerous on the person concerned.

There is no argument for saying that if something should have been done it should have been done in 1965 and as we did not do it then it cannot be done now. Of course there were numerous reservations entered. There are safeguards in other countries. In spite of all the difficulties and in spite of the horrendous difficulties outlined by Senator O'Leary, a number of countries still insist on aprima facie case being made. It still exists in the United Kingdom. We are told the United Kingdom are going to change the law, but they have not done it yet. Even with the White Paper or draft they have produced, they still give very strong powers to the Secretary of State before extradition takes place.

These are safeguards in many countries with regard to this. We are doing something which many countries will not do. We are proposing to agree to extradite our nationals but, as I said earlier, most countries throughout Europe — Germany, France, Belgium, Austria, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Sweden — simply will not extradite their nationals. We are agreeing that a different situation exists here. Perhaps we cannot be as rigid as that but we are saying that we will extradite nationals but only if there are particular reservations and safeguards for them. We are not saying we will not extradite nationals but that we will only extradite them under certain circumstances. It is difficult to understand how there could be an objection to this.

Reservations entered into by other countries include reservations in regard toprima facie cases, reservations in regard to not extraditing nationals, reservations in regard to not extraditing a person if they are going to be tried by an unusual or special court, reservations by countries when say they will decide what is a political offence and whether it is appropriate that the person should be extradited. Under each of these headings there are eight or nine countries. One is very impressed by the regard for the freedom of the individual, for civil liberties in all of these countries, not only in regard to their own nationals but in regard to non-nationals also. The extent to which they have gone to safeguard people in this regard is very impressive. We are unique in the sense that we appear to have no reservations. We are willing to extradite anybody under almost any circumstances. We are quite unique in comparison to other countries in the extent to which we are willing to extradite people. From that point of view, in comparison to all other countries we seem to be quite cavalier about extraditing people. We do not seem to be concerned about our own nationals, let alone nationals of other countries.

This amendment has been put down to try to provide some safeguards. We are not wedded to the exact wording. We would be more than happy if the Minister was willing to meet us to some extent and to provide some safeguard for people before they were extradited. This would be met if there was merely documentary evidence. Subsection (3) (a) of the amendment says: "For the purpose of subsection (2) hereof evidence may include or consist of documents referred to in section 6 (1) of the Criminal Procedure Act, 1967." Perhaps this confines the position, making it too precise, but if some safeguard, call it aprima facie case or something of that kind, was introduced to ensure that the court was reasonably satisfied there was a statable case against a person before they were extradited we would be quite happy to withdraw this amendment in return for some approach to this problem to be introduced by the Minister on Report Stage. As it stands we seem to be dedicated to getting rid of people once we get any kind of demand from abroad. The safeguards for both nationals and non-nationals are minimal and are derisory as compared to almost every other country in Europe.

I share what seems to be a growing concern or suspicion expressed by Senator Eoin Ryan that our real problem is that there is not a willingness on the part of the Minister — and this appears to reflect the view of the Government — to consider the question of having some safeguard. As a matter of policy the Government do not want it, so to some extent we may be wasting our time in examining the kind of safeguard that we could have. I am convinced as a lawyer dealing with international instruments, that if we want to we can.

The Minister has put forward a wide range of differing objections or reservations to what has been advanced in support for this amendment or a formulation to represent the principle of the amendment, which is that we have some way of safeguarding our citizens when extraditing them. He seems to suggest that that would be the breakdown of extradition, that if we have a formula of that kind and extradition ceases we would have to be ready to try our own citizens as an alternative. Does this mean that in the extradition treaty that we have entered into with the United States, we believe the United States will never extradite on the basis of it because they have a safeguard formula before they extradite? Surely not. Surely we are confident that the United States, notwithstanding that they have a safeguard formula, will extradite when they are satisfied that there is probable cause. Similarily, there is no basis for saying that introducing some kind of safeguard clause is identical to what a significant number of countries who have ratified the European Convention on Extradition and ratified the European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism have done, which is saying, across the board, "we will not extradite our own citizens". That is the first point.

The second point is, I wonder is the Minister being fully frank with this House about our position in relation to the European Convention on Extradition and the reservation about our citizens. Could the Minister explain, in this context, what precisely is meant by the provisions of section 14 of the 1965 Act? On the face of it that is an exception for our own citizens. It says, as I understand it, that we will not extradite our own citizens except in accordance with extradition practices. We put that in at the time for some reason. We put it in, I believe, because it conformed to Article 6. But we did not go as far as other countries. We did not say, "we will not extradite our own citizens"— full stop. We have our foot in the door for a particular and different approach in relation to our own citizens. The thrust of this amendment is to do with our concern for civil liberties, our concern for the individual. I, like Senator Eoin Ryan, am very much in favour of a good working extradition law; I have been for a long number of years. I am unambiguous about it.

I got some feeling from some response the Minister made that because I had not spent time denouncing terrorism that he was not listening to me. I would be surprised if I had to do that. I think my reputation in that area is not under question. If I have to do it, take it as read that I unequivocally oppose terrorism. I despise people who use the name of Ireland in any shape or form to promote terrible acts of violence against people. I always have. I have never had any reason to feel that I somehow have to defend myself on that ground.

I am equally concerned about the protection of civil liberties, and concerned about the protection of the individual, and should be, as a country. It is something which worries me a little. I think it is because of the Anglo-Irish context. It is the only reason that I can think of that we have gone overboard, because it is part of the Anglo-Irish Agreement, and Mrs. Thatcher might not like it if we put a safeguard in. I hope I am wrong. But I do not find that the Minister is addressing the real problem. He is finding reasons why it would not be appropriate. But he says as a deliberate policy we would not do it anyway. That does concern me. I would hope that we can get past that.

The only way to do it is to tease out the detail of it. I would ask the Minister to clarify for the House the context in which section 14 of the 1965 Act was introduced and its relationship with Article 6 of the European Convention on Extradition in 1957. I would ask him to look at the provision, for example, of Article 5 of the convention that we are at present seeking to ratify, the European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism. Article 5 is framed in a particular way which is incorporated in the terms of this Bill. We will be able to discuss it at a later stage in Article 8 of the Bill by way of an amendment of the 1965 Act. It could be interpreted more broadly than is reflected in section 8 of the Act. Article 5 says nothing in this convention should be interpreted as imposing an obligation to extradite if the requested State has substantial grounds for believing that the request for extradition for an offence mentioned in Article 1 or 2 has been made for the purpose of prosecuting or punishing a person on account of his race, religion, nationality or political opinion or that the person's position may be prejudiced for any of these reasons. The way in which that is framed seems to be open to conferring on a court jurisdiction to satisfy itself that none of those grounds obtained. If extradition can be refused if a requested State has substantial grounds for believing that could be interpreted as conferring a jurisdiction on the requested State to satisfy itself. How does one satisfy oneself? By looking at the basis for the case. That is only one example of interpreting this convention depending on whether or not there is political will to introduce reasonable safeguards.

If we want to introduce those reasonable safeguards I have no doubt that we can do it in a manner that is fully compatible with the convention. It seems that this Government does not want to. I am still concerned about that and puzzled about it. Other than that, it may stem from the whole context on which the commitment to ratify the European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism was given. If so, I regret that it was given in that context. I would prefer that we were looking at this on its merits and able to look at safeguards on their merits as well.

Senator Ryan claims that he detects a certain disposition on my part to change feet in speaking about various aspects of this Bill. I am sorry to disappoint the Senator. I am not changing feet at all. I have said on a number of occasions during this debate that while we must not lose sight of the fact that there is a wider European context to the subject matter that we have under discussion, in practical terms we are effectively talking about the situation as between this country and the United Kingdom. As a matter of recorded fact there have been very few requests for anybody to be extradited from this country to anywhere else other than Northern Ireland or Britain. Given the nature of the offences that we are talking about here, and our particular experience of international terrorism, we are talking in a situation where by far the great majority of acts of terrorism that have taken place have taken place in a context related to Northern Ireland. I have been at some pains to make those two points during the course of the debate. I may perhaps be leaning on one foot more than the other but I am not changing feet during the course of the debate.

Senator Eoin Ryan also suggested that the McGlinchey case proved how necessary it is to haveprima facie procedure. That is simply not the case. Had we had a prima facie requirement extradition would still very probably have taken place in that case. In that case there was a committal hearing, the person was returned for trial. As Senator O'Leary has pointed out he was convicted. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind but that that means that had we had a prima facie requirement here extradition would have taken place.

It took them months to try to think up an offence against him.

I am not talking about the final outcome. I am making the simple point, as Senator O'Leary has, that that shows that the system works and it shows that had there been aprima facie requirement extradition would have taken place. As I said earlier on during the course of this debate, it is not at all the case that one can be sure that where a prima facie case is made out to exist — and this happens in our own jurisdiction — there is every certainty of a conviction. Otherwise we would not bother with having committal hearings here at all; we would send people straight for trial. The fact that people have been returned for trial and that a court here has found that a prima facie case exists is not in any way to be taken as out of the way if at the end of the day there is no conviction.

As I said earlier on, it is one thing to show that there is a case to answer. It is quite another thing to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the person who is called upon to answer is guilty of the offence. To claim that because, after that whole procedure has been gone through in a situation that involves two jurisdictions, there is an acquittal, that there should have been a safeguard to prevent it coming about in the first place, is coming very dangerously near to arguing that we should ensure that there is a conviction when somebody is returned for trial or to arguing that we should not return anybody for trial unless we are sure there will be a conviction. That is not the argument Senator Eoin Ryan wishes to make. I have not been arguing that we should have been more careful in 1965 or that the fact that we were not more careful in 1965 is a reason for doing nothing now. We are talking about a decision in 1965 about the ratification of the 1957 convention and about the policy framework in which we go about dealing with extradition requests. That leg of Senator Eoin Ryan's argument is so much shorter than the others that it actually lets his argument down.

Senator Eoin Ryan also referred to the discretion that is left to the UK Secretary of State, the Home Secretary, in relation to extradition. I am sure he is perfectly familiar with sections 35 and 50 of our 1965 Act which retain a certain measure of discretion for the courts and the Minister for Justice here. One must look at the whole framework. That is not a blanket or general discretion in either case, but a discretion of a particular kind that is very relevant to the basic reasons we are talking about this Bill at all, that is that we want to bring more certainty into the law in relation to what is considered to be or not to be a political offence.

Senator Eoin Ryan said we are unique in the extent to which we are prepared to extradite people. I cannot understand how that assertion could be made when we look at a number of extraditions which have been refused since the 1965 Act or since 1982 as a proportion of the numbers requested. It will be plain that there is no such thing as automatic extradition on foot of a request here. It is wrong to suggest otherwise. We are not unique in that respect or in that we are prepared to extradite people more or less automatically but we are unique in that there is a neighbouring jurisdiction in which by far the greater majority of citizens are also, under our law, citizens of our country. That makes it irrelevant to compare our approach to extradition of citizens with the approach of any other country. It is simply not the case that a Frenchman, for example, can say that the great majority of the citizens of a neighbouring jurisdiction are also citizens of France. In our case and under our law 90 per cent or more of the citizens of Northern Ireland are also citizens of Ireland. If we took the view that we should decide not to extradite citizens except in certain exceptional circumstances we would be saying that there would be virtually no extradition between those two jurisdictions. That is why we are different from other countries and that is why we have adopted in this area an approach that is different on the surface from the approach of other countries.

Senator Eoin Ryan suggested that he might be prepared to withdraw his amendment if there were a response from me along the lines he has suggested. Because of the specifics of our situation, the safeguards Senator Ryan wishes to build in are ones which would obstruct legitimate requests. It is wrong to claim that there are no safeguards in our system. It is wrong to claim, as the Senator seems to be suggesting, that extradition should take place only where there is a certainty of conviction, and that if there is a case which concludes in an acquittal there has been something wrong. It is quite the contrary. That shows that the system works.

I never said that.

That was certainly the direction of the suggestion.

Senator Robinson told the House she is worried because the Minister or the Government do not seem to be willing to consider some safeguards and that we have lightly taken the road of having no reservation on this without considering the matters raised. We spent a lot of last evening and all of today so far dealing with the questions which have been raised, and in making the point time after time that the policy we have adopted since 1965 has been articulated on the basis of the situation as we find it with our citizenship laws, with our relations with a neighbouring jurisdiction and with the proper relationships between those two jurisdictions that require us to do certain things in order to combat terrorism.

I must apologise to Senator Robinson if she felt obliged to make her statement about her own view of terrorism because it seemed to her that I was not listening to her because she had not made a ritual denounciation. I can assure Senator Robinson that that is not the case and I would ask her to reciprocate that because in a real sense both the Government and I have spent quite a lot of time before proposing this Bill in considering the very matter she has raised, the question of safeguards. We have satisfied ourselves that, taking account of the circumstances of citizenship here for example and the context of violence here, we have with other measures which we have taken in the recent past, assured ourselves that there are proper safeguards to protect the innocent, but that there are no unnecessary obstacles that give protection to the guilty or to those who carry out some kinds of crimes that is not afforded to the innocent or to those who might be characterised as ordinary decent criminals.

I do not take the view that because the US has written a particular provision into its treaty with us that they will not extradite. I read out the condition required in the US Treaty. It is an affadivit setting forth reasonable grounds for believing that the offence in question was committed by the person sought. That in some respects is not very much different from the process involved in swearing information before a magistrate prior to the production of a warrant sent here for backing. Senator Robinson would agree that the provision in the US Treaty does not go anything like as far in setting up requirements as the amendment that is now before us. Section 14 of the 1965 Act provides that extradition shall not be granted where a person claimed is a citizen of Ireland unless the relevant extradition provisions otherwise provide. In the case of our dealings with Council of Europe countries the relevant extradition provisions provide otherwise. That did allow a latitude to contracting states under Article 6 to decide not to extradite citizens, but there was also, in the event that they took that road, another requirement to be fulfilled. We did not take that road; we do not have to fulfil that other requirement and that is perfectly in conformity with what is provided for in this Bill.

This Act now means, in practice, that if, for example, we were to sign an extradition treaty with a country with which we do not now have one and the country was not in the Council of Europe, it would be open to us to say that we will not extradite citizens to that country unless certain conditions are fulfilled. I should make the point that if we were to even get to the point where we negotiated of our own free will an extradition treaty with another country, we would be saying to that other country that we had at least a certain basic level of confidence and trust in its legal system. If we did not have that confidence and trust, we would have no business negotiating an extradition treaty with that country and that would have to be a very substantial part of the background to our decision to get involved in a discussion of that kind.

I can assure Senator Robinson — I am sure she will apply her own judgment to this assurance but it is quite sincerely meant — that it was after very careful consideration of all of those areas that we took the view that the Bill before us should take the form it takes and that this section should be written in the way that it is written.

I would like to deal with two points the Minister made. First, he was quite wrong in reading into my words the fact that if there is aprima facie case made against a person he must be convicted and that if he is not convicted something has gone wrong. I certainly did not say that and do not think that. The prima facie procedure is an extremely good one; it ensures that people are not sent forward for trial with little or no evidence to prove a particular offence against them and it prevents them being put in an onerous position unless there are good grounds for believing that the prosecution has a sound case. That does not mean at all that something has gone wrong if they are not convicted.

As I say, it is a very useful provision and a very useful procedure and it should not lead to the kind of conclusion I was alleged to have made. I do not see any reason why the same kind of procedure or something similar should not apply where an Irish citizen who would have the benefit of that procedure if he were sent forward for trial in this country, is going to be tried in another country.

Second, the Minister said that I was quite wrong in suggesting that it was very easy to get extradition from this country and that in many cases where extradition was applied for the courts refused it. That is true, but it is certainly not because of the statue which applies. It is true that in many cases extradition was refused but I would say that in 95 per cent of the cases it was refused because of the one single reason that the court came to the conclusion that the offence was political consequently, in accordance with the Act and with the situation which existed in this country and in most western countries, where at least for 150 years it applied, extradition was refused. If benefit is what the Minister feels should be given, it should be given to the courts for guarding this principle very jealously. Perhaps, they went too far. Recent decisions of the courts indicate that they were going too far but certainly extradition was refused in almost all cases for the reason I have outlined and not because we have very elaborate safeguards and reservations of the kind I referred to and which apply in most other countries.

I detect that I am not going to get any response from the Minister. It is a great pity that he should be able to see one side of this problem with great clarity and argue the reasons why the Bill should remain as it is but seem not to be able to see the other side of the picture. He is looking at it as an establishment person in seeing how useful it is to have this kind of statute and how effective it will be. He does not seem to see it from the point of view of the person concerned in the extradition application and that something considerably less than justice may be done to people in that situation. We are all in agreement with him in his seeing one side of the situation but he does not come any distance with us in seeing that there is another aspect of this which needs to be looked at in a reasonable way and which, if not looked at in a reasonable way, could lead to injustice.

I found the Minister's contribution reassuring because there was a very definite impression coming across, certainly to me, that the Government as a matter of deliberate policy were not interested in considering the question of whether there should be safeguards. It is extremely important that we not only approach this question in a balanced way but also with concern for securing whatever safeguards we believe to be necessary. Looking at it from that point of view, it seems that the main thrust of the reason the Minister gave in the particular context — I accept that context and the difficulties of the scope of Irish citizenship and the fact that there is a Border on this island with citizens living on either side of it — for not introducing the kind of safeguard that is implicitly looked for in this amendment was that it would produce an administrative barrier to extradition which he was not prepared to contemplate, that it would make extradition more difficult as a result and that that was not on.

It is a question of weighing that. How much more difficult? Would it prevent extradition where extradition should have taken place? Would our courts abuse that kind of function if they were given that kind of function? What is the reason for saying that it would result in a breakdown of the system? I do not follow that. It would be helpful if the Minister would come a little further in rehearsing for us the reasons this type of safeguard, having been considered as he says by the Government, was rejected in the circumstances.

I understand why we must be particularly concerned about the situation in relation to both Northern Ireland and the United Kingdom. I accept that that is the major context of our extradition law but it is not the context of this Bill, as the Minister is well aware or of Part II of the Extradition Act, of 1965 which we are amending. We must also be concerned about other countries. We have reason to be concerned about other countries. We have reason to be concerned, for as Senator Brendan Ryan said so eloquently this morning in the House, about Turkey because like him, I have read the Amnesty report on the position in Turkey. I have looked at the report of the European Commission on Human Rights who went to Turkey to examine the interrogation and detention of persons in Turkey. That is a particularly difficult example. Yet this convention applies to Turkey. Turkey would be a requesting state to which we would have to extradite Irish people and there would be no safeguards.

It might not be something that would happen every week or every year but we have to be aware of what kind of risks there might be. Apart from a country like Turkey about which we might have more serious reservations it is a fact that in a number of civil law countries such as Spain — the Canaries as we saw recently with an Irish citizen — Belgium and to some extent Italy, bail laws and access to bail are much more strict than ours. We could find ourselves, without examining the substance of a request to extradite, extraditing an Irish citizen who could spend 18 months in a prison awaiting trial in another country and then be acquitted. One could then say the system worked, that he was acquitted, but that is not much consolation to the person concerned. There is a basis for wanting to explore the need for a certain safeguard and then drafting or devising a safeguard which complies with our obligations both under the 1957 convention and the convention we are now ratifying. I would welcome an explanation from the Minister of how the Government addressed those issues and why, in their context, it was felt that no safeguard of this kind was needed.

I have a good deal of sympathy with the points that Senator Robinson was making in the last part of her remarks. I would not be venturing further than most Members of this House would want to go if I said that, of course, it must be a matter of concern that anybody against whom it is not proven beyond a reasonable doubt that he is guilty of any crime should spend any time in detention. That is a principle to which we would all subscribe but it is not always easy to bring about. There are, even in the best run legal systems, numerous cases where people are detained, put under hazard and through the difficulties of a trial against whom an offence is not in the end proven. I suspect — I would not claim to be an expert on this — that that is bound to be the case once the legal system begins to operate. If there is a legal system in the world where that kind of thing does not happen, then we should be discussing it. I do not think one exists that can completely get over all those difficulties.

With regard to the other points raised by Senator Robinson, especially with regard to Turkey — I hope I can say this without appearing offensive or dismissive — I have already answered that point in relation to the concerns raised earlier by Senator Brendan Ryan. I referred to section 11 of the 1965 Act and to sections 8 and 9 of the Bill before us. It is not true to say we have not considered the matter.

I can understand the point that Senator Robinson is making about the view that we would have, looking at it from the point of view of procedures under our system. The Senator mentioned Italy, Spain and Belgium. If there is a very substantial concern about those points, we should not be discussing them in the context of a Bill, the purpose of which is to restrict the scope of the political defence. We should perhaps be talking about them in the context of an attempt to get all the countries of the Council of Europe to harmonise their legal systems. That is an undertaking which would prove very difficult to bring about but it is the context in which it should be discussed, not in the context of this Bill.

Senator Robinson also asked if it is my belief that our courts would abuse a provision of the kind proposed by Senator Eoin Ryan and Senator Lanigan if it were brought in. I do not know. I would hesitate to say as a matter of judgment that our courts would abuse any system that was brought in. The question is whether the system itself is an appropriate one. There will be disagreement about it, I have spent much time stating why I do not believe that that system would conform with our obligations under the 1957 extradition convention, with the policy which we have settled since 1965, a policy with which I and other Members of this House agree and, lastly, why the specific system proposed in the amendment could not and would not work in our court system partly because, among other things, our courts would not, under the terms of the amendment, content themselves just with looking at pieces of paper. Our system provides the right for the accused person to call witnesses, even people who are not listed, and to have them examined on sworn deposition. I have said that would create a number of material difficulties in its operation. That could not and would not work for the reasons I gave earlier and that is why I do not agree with the amendment.

Amendment put.
The Committee divided: Tá, 16; Níl, 25.

  • Conway, Timmy.
  • de Brún, Séamus.
  • Fitzsimons, Jack.
  • Hanafin, Des.
  • Honan, Tras.
  • Kiely, Rory.
  • Killilea. Mark.
  • Lanigan, Mick.
  • Lynch, Michael.
  • McGuinness, Catherine I.B.
  • O'Toole, Martin J.
  • Robinson, Mary T.W.
  • Rogers, Bríd.
  • Ryan, Brendan.
  • Ryan, Eoin.
  • Ryan, William.

Níl

  • Belton, Luke.
  • Browne, John.
  • Bulbulia, Katherine.
  • Connor, John.
  • Cregan, Denis (Dino).
  • Daly, Jack.
  • Deenihan, Jimmy.
  • Dooge, James C.I.
  • Durcan, Patrick.
  • Ferris, Michael.
  • FitzGerald, Alexis J.G.
  • Fleming, Brian.
  • Higgins, Jim.
  • Hourigan, Richard V.
  • Kelleher, Peter.
  • Kennedy, Patrick.
  • Lennon, Joseph.
  • McDonald, Charlie.
  • McGonagle, Stephen.
  • McMahon, Larry.
  • O'Brien, Andy.
  • O'Leary, Sean.
  • O'Mahony, Flor.
  • Quealy, Michael A.
  • Ross, Shane P.N.
Tellers: Tá, Senators W. Ryan and Séamus de Brún; Níl, Senators Belton and McGonagle.
Amendment declared lost.

I move amendment No. 3:

In page 3, before section 2, to insert the following new section:

"2. —Section 50 of the Act of 1965 is amended by the insertion, after subsection (4), of the following subsection:

`(5) A direction under this section may be given by the Minister, if the Court or the Minister—

(a) is not satisfied that the person concerned will receive a fair trial within a reasonable period,

(b) is not satisfied that the general standards which prevail in the administration of justice in the place to which the person is to be removed are satisfactory and acceptable, or

(c) has reasonable grounds for believing that the person concerned may be subjected to methods of interrogation which, if operated within the State would be unlawful or which are in breach of Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights.'.".

This amendment does not need much explanation. Section 50 of the Extradition Act, 1965, provides that a person arrested shall be released if the High Court or the Minister so directs in accordance with the section. It sets out a number of circumstances in which that can be done. This is in addition to the number of other cases in which a direction may be given.

The first is if the court or the Minister is not satisfied that the person concerned will receive a fair trial within a reasonable period. In the discussion we just had there was a case given where a person was detained for one and a half years before he was tried and then he was acquitted. We do not have to go very far from home to find instances of this.

The second case is if the court or the Minister is not satisfied that the general standards which prevail in the administration of justice in the place to which the person is to be removed are satisfactory and acceptable. We all know places where this would apply. It is quite clear there are certain countries where one would have very little confidence in regard to the administration of justice. The Minister should have the power in such circumstances to refuse to extradite.

The third case is if the court or the Minister has reasonable grounds for believing that the person concerned may be subjected to methods of interrogation which, if operated within the State, would be unlawful or which are in breach of article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Again, interrogation of this kind is something which we know exists in a number of countries. It is just as serious, and possibly even more serious than the other cases which I have mentioned in this amendment.

We know that all three of these cases arise and that people extradited from this country might be subject to them. This is not to say that we are copper-fastening the situation so that people may not be extradited to certain countries. It merely gives the Minister power to issue a direction where this is likely to be the case. There is not much more I can say about it. The case for it is quite clear. Because it may be administratively inconvenient to do this kind of thing is not a sufficient reason for not doing it. The Minister should look at this sympathetically. He should accept there is a case for it and, in the interests of justice, he should give himself the power to take action to give a direction in certain circumstances.

I support this amendment, in particular in view of the fact that it will affect people living in Northern Ireland. Paragraph (a) states that the Minister may give a direction if he is not satisfied that the person concerned will receive a fair trial within a reasonable period. Leaving aside for the moment the statement about a fair trial, it is well known that in Northern Ireland people are not tried within a reasonable period; the average remand now in scheduled offences is two years. We have tried for a long time to do something about this. Since I was appointed to the Human Rights Advisory Commission in 1978 we have been trying to do something about this matter but it still has not been satisfactorily dealt with.

One person called Thomas Power spent almost four years on remand awaiting trial and eventually was not convicted. In Northern Ireland that means in effect that he served the equivalent of eight years sentence. There is not any comeback, or any way of getting compensation or of getting those years back. In my own constituency a young man was arrested in October 1985 and he is still being held. He is alleged to have acted as a look-out when a particular crime was attempted. I expect that by next October he will have completed his two years sentence and then he may have a chance of having his case heard. It is totally unsatisfactory that people should be remanded for such lengthy periods. I am concerned about the extradition of people into the jurisdiction of Northern Ireland in particular because I suspect that the remand system is abused and is sometimes used as an alternative form of internment without trial in order to keep people out of the way for a long time.

Paragraph (b) states that the Minister may give a direction if he is not satisfied that the general standards which prevail in the administration of justice in the place to which the person is to be removed are satisfactory and acceptable. With regard to both Britain and Northern Ireland there is a very big question mark, to put it mildly, over the administration of justice and the non-satisfactory and unacceptable elements of that. I do not want to go over again the whole ground of the Diplock courts. The Minister and the Irish Government accept that a person should receive a fair trial within the system in Northern Ireland and I know they are trying to do something about it but so far the British Government have been reluctant to make changes in the Diplock courts. At present the administration of justice in Northern Ireland in particular is far from satisfactory. I support the amendment on the basis that the Minister ought to retain for himself the power to direct in those circumstances where he is not satisfied that an extradition should not take place.

I join with Senator Rogers in supporting this amendment. As we have rejected the previous amendment, this amendment would provide, while not the same thing, at least an alternative safeguard. I am not going to repeat all which Senator Robinson and Senator Eoin Ryan have said most eloquently about the necessity of safeguards. This offers a type of safeguard which is not open to the same kind of objections as the Minister has made to theprima facie provision. It does not require the bringing of witnesses from abroad to the District Court or any of the things that the Minister feels would have made the other amendment impossible to work. It gives some “out” in a case where an Irish court might technically have to allow the extradition of somebody to a jurisdiction where no-one in Ireland was satisfied they were going to be dealt with properly.

This brings us back, as Senator Rogers has said, to the question of bail. Senator Robinson mentioned this earlier today and I mentioned it myself yesterday. We have certain standards about allowing people bail and these standards are rather different from most countries. Not only in Northern Ireland but in Britain itself and in many countries in Europe, people are held on remand without trial for what, to Irish people, would seem disgracefully long periods. Not only at the end of this period might one have a situation where the person is acquitted, but now and again one has the situation where there is anolle prosequi and the charges against them are dropped; therefore they are just simply held on bail. I would agree with Senator Rogers that there can be occasions when one is distinctly suspicious that the remand system is being exploited in order to make somebody serve what is virtually a jail sentence, without having the inconveniencing difficulty of proving that they are guilty.

I think this amendment offers the Minister a way of dealing with these situations. It can deal with situations where we are not satisfied with the kind of court system or judicial system that pertains in a particular country, or the way in which people are interrogated. Senator Brendan Ryan has drawn attention to the example of Turkey. There are other European countries, which at present have very fine democratic Governments that would not be objected to, but which are not all that many years away from times when they were fairly oppressive as dictatorships. One thinks, for example, of Greece which at present has a democratic government. It is not so long since the Greece of the Colonels. I would have extremely little confidence in allowing anybody to be extradited into the system that they then had.

When we enact legislation like this, we are not enacting it just for the situation as it is now but for what may happen in the future. It is worthwhile building in safeguards of this sort which may be useful in the future. It is not a mandatory section. It does not make the Minister do anything, but it enables him to do it if he feels that any of these three situations arise. It does provide a worthwhile safeguard in so doing.

I do not know whether this would conform to our duties under the extradition treaties to which we subscribe. I will leave that question to the Minister to answer. There are a number of other considerations to which we should give at least some attention. Our agreement to extradite people to any country is not an unconditional and indefinite surrendering of our rights or authority in that regard.

If a situation becomes unsatisfactory in any country, even if it requires ceasing to be signatories of a particular convention, that situation has to be faced and has to be dealt with. You will probably find in reality if any country with whom these arrangements have been made is, in terms of our perception, unworthy to be trusted in this regard, in a place like Turkey, for example, that these problems will become quite apparent. Other countries will have a common interest in ensuring, with us, that that situation is either remedied in that country or, alternatively, that the country is put outside the pale of these arrangements.

It is true that these arrangements presuppose a certain confidence in the judicial system of other countries. If we do not have that confidence, we should not continue to have these arrangements with those countries. Therefore, our agreement with any country must, of course, be subject to constant review. Countries like Greece had problems in the past; if they have a problem in the future we may have to review our position with them. There is nothing wrong with that.

I would not be extremely dissatisfied with the question of the court having discretion like this, if it were possible under the various extradition provisions and the convention on terrorism to which we are now subscribing. The court would adequately fulfil that task. I would be a little unhappy with the Minister having such power because the Minister will then be subject to political pressure in cases. Not only this Minister, but every Minister, should be protected from the exercise of political pressure in what is ultimately a judicial decision, or a decision of a judicial nature. I would be much happier if the Minister did not have that power.

The pressure on Ministers, particularly a pressure on Ministers where the request relates to the extradition of an Irish citizen and not necessarily only to the North of Ireland but to Britain, is going to be considerable. It will eventually then become, as a result of this amendment, a political question rather than a judicial question. I am against that. In so far as any discretion should be granted to anybody, I feel it is to the court that that discretion should be granted. I realise the provisions of the 1965 Act with regard to the Minister's position, but I am not happy that an amendment such as this, giving to the Minister these far-reaching powers to set aside the provisions of the Acts and the provisions of our international obligations would be in the best interests of the citizens of the country and certainly it would not be in the best interests of the Minister.

The discretion allowed to the Minister by section 35 in Part II of the 1965 Act and sections 44 and 50 in Part III is very well defined and very properly limited. That is as it should be. We should remind ourselves again that this Bill is intended to allow this country to ratify the European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism and the central part of it is a clearer definition, a statement that certain types of crime will not be regarded as political offences. This is not, as I said earlier on, a Bill to change the legal map of Europe.

Looking at this amendment, I would have to ask how the Minister, or the courts — because it provides for each of those — could satisfy themselves about all these things. How, in particular, could the court satisfy itself? How would a court satisfy itself, for example, that the general standards which prevail in the administration of justice in the place to which a person is to be removed are satisfactory and acceptable? What kind of inquiry would the court carry out? What kind of evidence would it require to be brought before it? It would surely require more than a statement from the defence that the case was of this kind. This requires the court to be satisfied. We should ask ourselves if, in fact, it would be proper for a court to have to decide that, in a case where a request for extradition came before it.

This amendment, far from clarifying the position, would open up a huge range of new areas that would be the subject of argument in court, a whole new range of justicial points which might have to be dealt with in any case that would come before the court. If for no other reason but that reason alone, I would find this amendment to be impracticable and unworkable. I agree also with what Senator O'Leary has said about the breadth of the discretion that should be available to the Minister in a matter of this kind. I do not think that it would be satisfactory that in matters of this nature a Minister, without any apparent reference to anybody else, could make a decision of this kind. I am quite sure that if we were dealing with the legislation that had to do only with our domestic situation and the Government was proposing that the Minister have latitude of this kind, that Members of this House would, quite properly, object very strongly to such a proposal.

A provision of this kind, so far as I know, would be without precedent in any extradition treaty or any other extradition arrangement. It is a fundamental prerequisite for having extradition arrangements that there should be a basic degree of acceptance that the system of administration and justice in the country with which one has the agreement is satisfactory. If it is the case that one takes a different view then the only logical conclusion which can be drawn from that is that there should be no extradition. There is no point in mincing words about it. If that is the case there should not be extradition. That is the effect of what is being proposed but I do not think that is what is being proposed.

In relation to particular cases I spent some time at the conclusion of Second Stage in this House last night setting out a number of areas where progress has been made in the administration of justice in Northern Ireland and in a number of other areas. I hope to see, as do the Government, progress on those fronts continuing and even accelerating. We must recognise the fact that progress has been made. We want the Houses of the Oireachtas, before bringing this Bill finally into operation, to have an opportunity to review that progress. That is why the commencement provision in the Bill takes the form it does. That presents a proper opportunity to the Oireachtas — not to the courts and not to the Minister — to look at the situation in Northern Ireland and to make up its mind finally on the commencement of this Bill in the light of that. I do not think it would be either necessary for that process or appropriate to what this Bill is designed to achieve, to make a provision of this kind.

With regard to the point raised as to whether it should be the court or the Minister who should have the power in this instance, I think it should be the Minister, but there could be occasions when the person whose extradition was sought might make a statement to the court that would convince the court that one or other of these situations existed in the country to which he was to be extradited. He might make a very cogent and persuasive case and the court should be in a position to accept that evidence if it wants to do so. Generally speaking, the Minister should have the power to do this. Of course, the Minister will have the means of finding out what is happening in other countries and coming to certain conclusions in relation to a particular country. It may be only for a limited period and would not mean that we should break off all extradition agreements with that country. In certain circumstances the Minister may feel it is not appropriate for one or other of these reasons and he should give a direction in these situations. The situations I have mentioned are not dissimilar to some of the directions that already exist under section 50. Under section 50 (2) (b) the Minister should have sufficient knowledge of what is going on in that other country in order to make a decision that a person should not be extradited. The same kind of situation would arise under this amendment. There should be no reason the Minister would not at least have the power to give a direction if this situation existed. In all the circumstances, it is asking very little to have this amendment agreed to so that it would at least be one safeguard in this Bill. It falls far short of what I would like to see in the Bill but nevertheless, it would be some indication of concern by the Minister for people who may be put in the situation of being about to be extradited to a country where a very undesirable situation existed.

I am still of the view that this is a provision which would be without precedent in an extradition arrangement and which suggests that there should be no extradition arrangement with a country of which we believe those things. It goes a great deal further than the provisions which exist in sections 35, 44 and 50 of the Extradition Act, 1965. It is a matter of a great deal more moment than Senator Eoin Ryan is suggesting and its adoption would amount to the statement that in relation to a particular country there should be no extradition. There are other ways of bringing that about.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Section 2 agreed to.
Sections 3 to 11, inclusive, agreed to.
NEW SECTION.

I move amendment No. 4:

In page 8, before section 12, to insert the following new section:

"12. This Act shall not come into operation until a Resolution is passed by each House of the Oireachtas, indicating that both Houses are satisfied that this Act should come into operation, and the Minister shall make an order appointing the day on which this Act shall come into operation, and this Act shall come into operation accordingly.".

This is an amendment to change the procedure for bringing this Bill into operation. At present there is a rather complicated way in which it should come into operation on 1 December 1987 but there are provisions for bringing it in before or after that. The initiative should be left to the Houses of the Oireachtas to bring it in when they are satisfied that the situation exists where it would be appropriate to bring it into operation. That is the better way and it is much less complicated than the situation which exists at present. The Minister has agreed that the Oireachtas should have time to think about this Bill, to observe what is happening in different countries, in particular, the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, and that it should only be brought into operation when the Oireachtas is satisfied that the time is appropriate. It is proper in these circumstances to allow the Houses of the Oireachtas to pass the resolution when they are satisfied that that situation exists.

The Minister was bringing to the attention of the Leader of the House that the note at the bottom of the amendment says that acceptance of this amendment involves the deletion of section 12 of the Bill. I think that should refer to the deletion of section 13 of the Bill.

It was section 12 in the Bill as initiated but in the Bill as passed by Dáil Éireann it has become section 13.

The Dáil amendment is being carefully copied.

Acting Chairman

We can now discuss amendment No. 4 moved by Senator Eoin Ryan.

This amendment would mean that the Bill would not mention any specific date in connection with the coming into operation of the provisions of the Bill but it would provide for the Act to come into operation only following an affirmative resolution by both Houses of the Oireachtas. I understand and respect the thinking behind the amendment but I cannot accept it. The approach taken in the commencement provision of the Bill as presented to this House, reflects a very carefully considered approach by the Government and I would strongly urge this House to retain that approach.

I mentioned the commencement provision earlier during the debate and I should point out that in the joint communiqué issued after the signing of the Anglo-Irish Agreement in Hillsborough, ratification of the European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism was set against the background of progress in relation to a number of matters under the agreement, namely, public confidence in the administration of justice in Northern Ireland, relations between the security forces and the minority community and enhancing security co-operation between the two Governments. There has been progress in a number of respects on those fronts and that process is continuing. The nomination of a specific date as the commencement date, subject to a resolution to the contrary not being passed in the interim by both Houses of the Oireachtas, serves as a very clear earnest of our firm intent to ratify the Suppression of Terrorism Convention by an early date against the background of progress of the kind that was referred to in the communiqué issued after the signing of the Anglo-Irish Agreement. The commencement provision that is in the Bill is in fact a more flexible instrument than the one that is proposed in this amendment. I would think that it is better suited and more sensitive to the need to review the question of the Bill's commencement in the light of developments. It gives to the Houses of the Oireachtas full control over that matter and full discretion in the matter. It is better calculated to bring about the result that we wish to achieve than the provision as it would be if this amendment were to be accepted.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Sections 12 and 13 agreed to.
Title agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment, received for final consideration and passed.

Acting Chairman

When is it proposed to sit again?

It is proposed to sit again on Wednesday next. I did indicate here today that we would meet at 2.30 p.m. but in the hope of avoiding two days sitting next week it is now proposed to sit at 12 noon. Accordingly it is proposed to adjourn the Seanad and to sit at 12 noon on Wednesday, 21 January. It is probable that the business taken up then will be the legislation which is in progress and nearly complete and in particular the National Monuments Bill and the Status of Children Bill both of which are at Report Stage.

The Seanad adjourned at 4.55 p.m. until 12 noon on Wednesday, 21 January, 1987.