A Chathaoirligh, you will probably recollect that shortly after I was honoured by my appointment to Seanad Éireann the subject of extradition was debated here, that was in 1982. I do not think it would be stretching a statement too far to say that the climate in which it was debated was somewhat different from that prevailing now when we are debating the safeguards in respect of extradition.
It ill-behoves any English person or anyone from Northern Ireland to debate this issue without showing some indication of the difficulties extradition has posed for the people of Ireland, put in the context of the very bitter legacy of Anglo-Irish history and sectarian bitterness in the country. At that time in 1982 — I have modified this somewhat since — the gist of what I said was that when struggling with this emotive issue the people of Ireland will be aware of a conflict between conscience dictating obligation towards their offended fellow Irishmen and consciousness as Irish men and Irish women before the legacy of our history.
Extradition is much more than a simple legal problem. It has emotional and moral dimensions. In the final analysis it is a political problem and I still hold to that. Some of the reservations that have been expressed by people who may consider themselves close to the group in Ireland who feel marginalised as time has advanced — we could call them I suppose, for want of a euphemism, purist Republicans — feel that there is an emotional problem attached to extraditing people into a British jurisdiction. We cannot ignore that. We have to face up to it. It has been faced up to quite courageously in recent weeks.
Just as extradition for violent acts claiming political motivation has been perceived in the South as legitimising British control of the North — at least that was the case until the new Anglo-Irish understanding was promoted and that has been considerably qualified in recent years — failure to extradite is perceived in the North by the Loyalist community who feel so vulnerable in the face of evidence of covert connivance by people South of the Border to the murder, killing and mayhem that has gone on. We all know and the Chief Constable is on record as saying that the numbers involved who are extraditable are not as significant as one is sometimes led to believe in the more emotive outbursts of certain politicians.
The fact that no war has been declared between Britain and Ireland has always made it difficult for me to understand how the South could seek to woo the people of the North in some instances and in others not be prepared to take every possible step to prevent its neighbours being killed or murdered. The answer is that we are dealing with the residue of the undeclared war which was not really addressed until, first, the New Ireland Forum came to grips with it and, secondly the development from that the new Anglo-Irish understanding as I call it, the undeclared war which is contained in the last element of this age old Anglo-Irish conflict.
It has been convenient up to recently for the Establishments, both in London and Dublin, to ignore the failure of 1920 and 1921 to cope with that conflict by localising it into the six northern countries of the island. The real challenge before us is outside the scope of this debate and I can only briefly allude to it. It is not extradition, but settlement. As Senator Ferris said so cogently, while we work at a settlement in terms of a few years to deal with something that has gone on for centuries, we must also be aware of the particular problems of people in their day-to-day lives and also take into account the complete revulsion which over 90 per cent — probably it is nearer to 99 per cent — of the people of Ireland feel at any endeavour to promote political movement by violent activities. In pointing this out it is important to emphasise that my argument for extradition is mounted from the stance of a person from the Northern Protestant community who is committed unreservedly, with the other members of our New Ireland group, to the building of a new Ireland in which issues such as extradition within Ireland would be relegated to the history books.
At the conclusion of the argument I tried to put forward in 1982, I stated that Southern public opinion would need to be satisfied that in the post-Bennett era — remember that Bennett exposed the excesses of the Castlereagh holding centre — legislation should be adequately scrutinised and law and order enforcement adequately monitored to satisfy the people of the Republic that justice is being pursued, in as far as it ever can be in a society with a double loyalty, double minority problem and no consensus. At that stage while we were hoping — it no longer seems to have the same relevance — for an all-Ireland court, as I said at that time it is an all-Ireland settlement that is needed. In the meantime, in order to show significantly that the people as a whole are against death and for life, extradition would be a symbolic gesture and could well be instrumental in reducing the lethal affects of the present violent campaign.
I do not think I would depart very much from those words. At that time there is no doubt that there was considerable generosity shown to me by way of response, although I detected the great difficulties that there were. Because of my interest in Irish history, which has gone on for nearly two decades now, I was well able to understand why there should be difficulties and why there should be tensions and why the word "extradition" is so emotive.
Concern about extradition is related to how one perceives the imperialism of Britain in its historic context on the one hand and on the other hand, how one perceives justice in the other part of this island with all the difficulties — and never let us forget — of justice in a divided society, a society which I have referred to elsewhere as the un-united part of the so-called United Kingdom. Therefore, to show that I place it in that context I must now make some observation about the system of Diplock Courts and the system of repressive legislation in the context of extradition and of the problem of justice in Northern Ireland.
We are dealing with only one piece of the jigsaw puzzle but there are many pieces to it. Diplock Courts, paramilitary murder and intimidation, amnesty, ceasefire, oppressive emergency legislation, unsolved killings performed by those in uniform, fair employment and more employment, constitutional change in the Irish Republic, the Anglo-Irish process, the right to self-determination based on consensus, the need — and I would stress this — for repentance and forgiveness, the difficulties and dangers and the reasons for extradition are all just pieces of the complex political jigsaw puzzle that is part of our bitter legacy. It is because the political solution as yet remains elusive that it is vital that the new Anglo-Irish understanding — let us not get too hooked up on the word "agreement"; let us see that there has been a process leading to an understanding — should not be allowed to falter. Otherwise, the peace, justice and reconciliation referred to in the agreement will remain a figment of the imagination. We are on a long, slow process but at long last the pendulum is swung from the negative towards the positive.
In relation to the painful challenges which continue to confront us, there is now a moral obligation on those with power — as I said a month ago — to move first and give most. In this respect the British Government should have been magnanimous because it is the British Government who have the power to indicate that they are prepared to entertain the sort of changes that are required to move in the area of liberalising justice in Northern Ireland. The onus is on me to show that that is not dangerous but that it is possible. In fact, it is the other pan in the scale of new legislation here to try and deal with the problem of violence, killing and mutilation on the one hand, and also the question of fair play and the perception of it which is so important, particularly in a society where there is so little consensus.
It is not good enough — as I pointed out in a letter to The Irish Times— for the British Government to justify their stubborness by leaning on the words of an ex-Lord Chancellor who in stating that politicians are barging into matters which they do not understand seems to be making the dangerous proposition that politicians should stay clear of the whole court issue in the North. Scholar that he is, Lord Hailsham will doubtless recall that the Greeks had an interesting concept: the opposite of the word “politikos” was the word “ideos”.
I would, therefore, suggest that all law comes from political thought and that in essence there is no law which has not had some political basis. He is undoubtedly aware of the difficulties, as we should be which confront a society such as Northern Ireland, containing a significant minority and so little consensus. In such circumstances the call for law and order too often begs the question, "whose laws and whose orders"? The answer may well be "theirs, not ours". It is in this context that the single judge non-jury Diplock Courts are unacceptable to a significant section of our community. By no means are all of these members of the minority community in the North. I cross checked that before I made that statement.
As we grope our way towards the building of consensus, underpinned by new Anglo-Irish understanding, a single judge justice grafted onto emergency legislation without juries is increasingly difficult to tolerate. There must be change in that aspect of our affairs and that change must inevitably come from Britain. Far from weakening the Anglo-Irish understanding, which people have alluded to during the course of the past two weeks, I suggest that the painful process which republican consciousness has been engaging in over the past two or three weeks and which it has struggled with — as I see it — to a successful conclusion — now that that conclusion seems to be forthcoming — will have strengthened that understanding. The petulant response of the English Prime Minister is indicative of how far she has to go to understand what is taking place here in relation to the historical legacy of violence, mistrust and errors on all sides.
The Anglo-Irish Agreement acknowledged two things. The first is that England and the Republic have had a conflict of claim with regard to Northern Ireland. For the first time since the foundation of this State, England and the Republic faced up jointly to the fact that they also have a suppressed conflict, that is, how they relate to Northern Ireland. Secondly the agreement tried to come to grips with the fact that there is a conflict of loyalty in Northern Ireland. I emphasised before in this House — and I know from the tolerance I have received that you will not misunderstand me — that you cannot remove from a person what that person feels he or she is. I feel I am an Irishman. I often say I am an Ulsterman in Ireland and an Irishman as far as the rest of the world is concerned. Please do not ask me to defend whether I am a six county, a nine county, a four county or a two county Ulsterman, but I am an Ulsterman in Ireland and I am an Irishman. I have no problem with that. But for people who feel they are British, there is no legislation in the world that can remove from a man what he feels he is. At long last we have faced up to the fact that there are many different types of Irishmen in Ireland. Through the process of the New Ireland Forum, Irish people were asked to look as themselves. Through the Anglo-Irish process, London and Dublin have been asked to see our problem in a different context.
There are two sides in a conflict. The catharsis which we all seek, which can lead to a new start, involves give as well as take on both sides. In relation to how the Republic is perceived by the people of Northern Ireland, this is the first major painful step forward, or painful demand that has been made of republican consciousness in the Republic since the signing of that agreement. For the past 20 years people on both sides in Northern Ireland have had to make the most painful adjustments, always under the microscope of world opinion and, more locally, of Irish Nationalist opinion. Every move is watched, every court case is documented, every action is scrutinised and there has been movement. In spite of the ghettoisation there is understanding of the other person's point of view even if we have not yet managed to move across and have an exchange which is fruitful.
Up to this point it seemed to many of us that the people of the Irish Republic were not actually being asked to do very much apart from concede what is in Article 1 of the agreement and I know that caused difficulty. In the day to day events of the ordinary citizen there was not much being asked of them. Suddenly the deep, rigid feelings of inherited concepts are being challenged. I congratulate the people on being able to face up to all the issues in the way in which they have done so to make this considerable step forward. I, for one, want it on the record that I acknowledge it is a significant step forward. Many of the Loyalist community, out of which I have come, would not see it that way. They would see it as something which should have come years ago. The fact is that you cannot have a deep understanding of Anglo-Irish history and the secretarian history of Ireland without appreciating what has taken place over these past few weeks.
Therefore, as an Irishman, and as an Ulsterman in Ireland, I must outline for Mrs. Thatcher's benefit how English perception in relation formerly to the grand design of imperial expansion in the world and latterly to the exercise of their position of primus inter pares at home, has affected, and at times soured, what should otherwise have been a constructive relationship between the people living in this island and those living across the water. The mainland, let me emphasise, is where we stand. This is not to suggest that we do not have our difficulties in relation to Anglo-Irish dealings or that these have not been discernible. However, it also behoves me as an Irishman to ask the people here whether, having made this start, they are now prepared to put their State under the same sort of scrutiny as they have demanded of the people of Northern Ireland using the telescope into the past and the microscope in the present.
Therefore, I was pleased to hear the Taoiseach suggest — I cannot quote the exact words — that he would consider setting up some commission or some committee. He said that in each jurisdiction without reflection on either system, we might do well to initiate a formal study of the special arrangements for handling terrorist cases in both jurisdictions to serve as a basis for further discussion between both Governments. That is a start, but it is only a start and I will come back to that subsequently. It needs to be expanded much more widely and it needs to go much deeper here.
You have had your repressive legislation too. The Offences Against the State Act has never been debated in depth since 1939 as far as I am aware. I suggest that what it contains — I am sure Senator Robinson will correct me if I am wrong when she makes her contribution — is as bad in tone as the notorious Special Powers Act which is no longer on the Statute Book in Northern Ireland. Has there been any judicial review at any time, in depth and publicised, of the emergency powers as a whole since the foundation of the State? In other words, have you had your Gardiner Report, Diplock Report, Baker Report and Bennett Report?
I am not suggesting for a moment that the situation is similar because in one basic manner it is quite different. There is consensus down here. There is, therefore, a mandate and a legitimacy for the laws and the orders. I detect as I read, from day to day, that things are a little less certain in that respect than they once were, that there is an increasing marginalisation of sections of the community and that there is an increasing feel of less than complete satisfaction with the state of affairs. I beg of you, before the thing bursts, be well ahead of it; start well ahead of time to look at these things — the whole area of civil liberties and justice — because today people are aware; television has made them aware; education has made them aware. People know their rights under the terms of the European Convention and United Nations Charter. I do not think it is sufficient to have a Statute such as the Offences Against the State Act which has been amended — or at least reviewed once in the seventies — on the Statute Book since 1939 without having had a really thorough ongoing debate on it.
Have the special criminal courts ever been discussed in depth in the Dáil? As a signatory to the MacBride Principles which you can imagine is not the easiest of situations in which to find oneself in — in the position I happen to hold — I hope I will not be seen as soft on unfair, discriminatory practices. I, therefore, feel entitled to ask where is the machinery in the South to look at the possibility of discrimination? I discussed this matter yesterday with a Senator, for whom I have very warm affection, and he assured me that such a thing did not exist. I remember Unionists saying that. Now that this new opportunity is beginning to arise, we need to look at ourselves and then at the island as a whole to share that experience. The Taoiseach made that point. If we want to share the experience, one part with another, we must begin to learn from each other and go forward.
There is no death penalty in the North but there is one here. After all, if you consider what has been going on there for so long, is it not to the credit of Britain that the death penalty — which I would be utterly opposed to because I find it quite abhorrent — is no longer on the Statute Book although I know that there have been from time to time atavistic noises made in that direction. I hope it will eventually be removed from the Statute Book here. Basically what I am saying is this; I am glad that because of what is being done here this week nobody can say any longer that there is smugness about the situation. I think it is very important that we remember what is sauce for the goose should be sauce for the gander.
There is a point of distinction I would like to make before I go on further which I do not think has been alluded to in the debates at all. Through the Anglo-Irish Agreement, through the process that has led to that agreement, through what is coming out of that agreement and the understanding we hope will evolve as a result of it, you have the possibility now of influencing what takes place in Northern Ireland, more or less directly. You have no direct input into what takes place in Britain. I, therefore, feel that there is a distinction to be made in terms of where you are extraditing people, whether it is the North of Ireland or Britain. Let us accept that Northern Ireland with all of its problems has not got a legal process which can cope or reflect any consensus: there is no mandate. At least we should acknowledge that it is Irishmen you are dealing with and that through the Anglo-Irish Agreement you have what Unionists see as a monstrous intrusion into their affairs which others see as a perfectly legitimate right.
The agreement is there on the Statute Book. Therefore, one has to see the processing of laws in this island as a need to build up trust between people, to develop trust and out of trust the hope that there will be some new constructive activity. I, therefore, would be much more concerned, particularly after what I read when the barrister and solicitor came from the trial of the Birmingham Six to talk in Dublin this week about what might happen to Irish citizens in Britain. Every English schoolboy has a Paddy joke up his sleeve which I find racist to say the least. The attitude to the Irish people is, unfortunately, a residuum of a time in which in the Punch cartoons of the last century they were portrayed as grotesque caricatures of themselves. That is still there. The whole prospective of what an Irishman stands for and his expectations is something which I find quite unacceptable in the general terms in which it is used in England. I, therefore, believe that Irish people, North and South, are vulnerable at times of high emotion in England. Regardless of what the court may find, and regardless of guilt or otherwise, some of the actions to which those men were subjected were quite indefensible.
The point I am making then is this: please remember you have the possibility of monitoring the situation in Northern Ireland in a way in which you cannot do in England. We have an obligation to build up trust. We have all as a result of recent events seen that we have an obligation to ensure that we try and take out of society elements who, for whatever reason, are trying to violate and make matters worse rather than better. We cannot get away from the fact that there must be safeguards. The number of safeguards has been referred to; the prima facie case to be made in the courts, the warrant to be produced to the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Attorney General, the Garda Commissioner.
I thought it was very useful when the suggestion was made by the Progressive Democrats in their amendment in the Dáil which — I think I am right in saying — was a means of producing prima facie evidence without having to go through machinery which might make the extradition of a guilty party very difficult. I think it was the presentation of affidavits that was involved. What interested me in talking to a member of the Progressive Democrats last night is that apparently there is already an arrangement of that nature between Ireland and the United States and between England and the United States. The United States insist on that. Yet reciprocation does not apply. If the United States insist on what is contained in the amendment of the Progresive Democrats, why have we not applied the same criteria in the opposite direction? If we could do that, why can we not apply it between us?
While there are dangers in what has been chosen undoubtedly one perception is that the Attorney General will make extradition easier because the political climate is such that it is easy to extradite; another perception is that it will make extradition more difficult for the same political reasons. The time has come to put trust on the line. I do think that as this Bill is passed and as this trust that we are trying to achieve if we play our role in it develops, we should put the onus on England because there is a terrible hypocrisy in the whole business of imperial integrity. The ruling class in Britain have always wanted to appear honest before the world. I suppose most people wish to do so, but whatever they have done they have always tried to make out that it was done for honest and good and sound reasons. What I feel then is that we should be saying: "Look, in spite of this huge legacy of history we have gone through this process, in spite of the reservations that many of the purest republicans in Ireland have about it, in spite of the difficulties the ordinary TDs and Senators have at constituency level, we have brought this through and we do it in trust that you, in your turn, will look much more seriously at the irregular legislation and law in Northern Ireland".
I am thinking in particular now of the application of the Emergency Provisions (Prevention of Terrorism) Act and the courts situation. Before we do that let us please remind Mrs. Thatcher, and I feel that I am the person to do it, that we are facing our dilemma as squarely as possible and that she is not helping that dilemma by implying that the Irish people are soft on terrorists because they put safeguards into their Extradition Bill. I therefore have to remind her, right at the word "go", because the Attorney General's name has been used in the English debate, that in this century, a man, 15 months before he was brought into the British Cabinet and made Attorney General, was responsible for the illegal importation of 25,000 rifles and 3 million rounds of ammunition. If that is not enough, let us give her history lesson No. 2. One of her illustrious predecessors, a man called Lloyd George, put the gun to the head of the representatives of the Provisional Government of Ireland and told them that if they did not accept what was on offer, it would be war and all out war within three days. You do not require what everyone refers to as the very long memory. There are people living and walking around today who remember both of those events.
Let us go further and give her a brief refresher. Why are we in this ghastly dilemma? In the 17th century Catholic Ireland was defeated three times with an enormous loss to the owners of land and in the 18th century suffered the penal code. This did affect the Presbyterian community to a great degree but not to quite the same sinister degree as it affected the Irish Catholic community. Then came the end of the eighteenth century and of the Irish Parliament, although, if you wanted to be a bit facetious you could call it a Protestant parliament for a thousand Protestant Irish people. However, the old Irish Parliament, which was an attempt to give Ireland a say in its affairs, was disbanded. There was brutal suppression of the United Irishmen. Then there was the Act of Union brought in, to quote an Irish Protestant historian, by bribery and intimidation as well as argument.
We come to the nineteenth century and certainly it was not all a one sided story. We could go back and talk in regard to the eighteenth century about why 10,000 Northern Presbyterians were emigrating for years to the United States. One might also ask why they were in the forefront of drafting, printing and announcing the Declaration of Independence in North America? You could also say that members of the Northern Protestant community suffered greatly in 1641. We could go on and ask whether it is surprising, when it took 29 years to obtain Catholic emancipation after the Act of Union, that the Catholic population might have felt frustrated by what was on offer while the Protestant population began to get increasingly alarmed that the all Ireland that some of their fathers or grandfathers would have gone for was a Catholic Irish nationalism that they were being invited to participate in.
All of these things which have caused division in Ireland and have caused a perception of England which has done no good to either of us have got to be worked through with a new trust, have got to be seen as something that has been responsible for the way in which we think about each other and the way we think we think about others. What, one wonders, does Mrs. Thatcher think of the effects in the middle of the last century of rack renting, clearances, famine, the battering ram, the eviction, the deportation in the coffin ship? Can she not understand the resentment that was felt by the people who landed, if they were lucky to get there, in North America? We still suffer from all of that because that resentment bred bitterness and that bitterness bred a desire for some sort of revenge? Do we need to go into the imprisonment of Irishmen in England? I think it would hardly be helpful to go down that line for too long. So while a constitutional nationalism developed in the last century and played its role for the British Empire in the First World War — I alluded to this here on 11 November — along with the Ulster Volunteer Force, we have also got to remember that there is another tradition in Ireland — the tradition of 1790,1840,1860,1905,1916,1918,1919 and 1937. While it may not be easy for some of the Irish community to accept that, it is a fact of life and if Mrs. Thatcher were to go to the history books she would perhaps understand why the perception of England is unfortunately as negative as it has been in the past and why, therefore, it is so offensive when not only verbally but also by way of body language, she made her "out, out, out" statement some years ago and more recently has questioned the right of the people of the Republic to put safeguards into the Extradition Act — all this before a legacy of the bitterness that is our inheritence of centuries.
There is much more I could say on those lines but I do not think it would be constructive to go further. I might just add that the effect of Lloyd George and the effect of what happened between 1914 and 1922 left scars from which we are just beginning to recover — the civil war in the South and the partition of the island. That is a factor of which Mrs. Thatcher, as British Prime Minister, should be made aware because that also has produced great difficulties in relation to the problem of looking constructively at what is going on in Northern Ireland. She should also realise that the legal system, North and South, has evolved along different lines and that the perception of what is right in law has got to be taken into account when you are dealing with two different jurisdictions. The tradition in England was very much based on common law but the tradition here, particularly in the last number of years, where, to use a term I heard recently, life had been breathed into the Constitution, is very largely related to constitutional law. Fair enough. Commercial consumer company law tended to go along parallel lines but since direct rule in 1972 there has been and I quote: "an increasingly pronounced differentiation between North and South probably fostered by the constitutionalisation of law in the Republic". This is from the New Ireland Forum report on the two legal systems. The current courts in the Republic were established in 1961 while pre-1920 courts lasted in substance in Northern Ireland until the major reorganisation in 1978. Virtually all formal links between the legal systems have died out, notable exceptions being through the Criminal Law Jurisdiction Acts. Analysis of the use of judicial decisions in the courts North and South confirms that the precedent of neither jurisdiction has been important for the other. Ironically since the Act of Union there developed a distinct body of Irish law as distinct from British law due mainly to the separate Irish administration which accepted the notion that Ireland was a separate problem requiring separate treatment, and of 10,000 enactments affecting Ireland between 1310 and 1921 over 6,500 were legislated for between the Union and Partition. Thus there is a different perception of law in Ireland and Britain even though it comes out perhaps of the same roots and there is a different perception of legal process North and South. Now I quote here from W. C. Byrne straight out of the New Ireland Forum's report on legal systems:
The most conventional of Englishmen were willing to experiment in Ireland on lines which they were not prepared to contemplate or tolerate at home.
The case that is highlighted most notably in that New Ireland Forum document was the Criminal Courts of 1814 which, as I say, are reflected in Ireland both North and South to this day. By 1920 it was possible to identify a separate Irish common law tradition even though there were indeed many similarities with England. Then perhaps the most distinctive feature of all of both the 1922 and 1937 Constitutions is their departure from British constitutional theory in the affirmation of the ultimate authority of God and of the people as opposed to the supremacy of parliament. From this, if the Oireachtas enacted a law inconsistent with the Constitution, the courts could declare it void, a power of judicial review denied to the English courts. Albeit this has been somewhat modified by the accession to the EC, nevertheless it is in essence the situation that applies in Ireland today.
Since the 1920s where the practice of law continued much as before and while the corpus of common law was retained, the British institutions for legal expression were swept aside initially at the foundation of the State. If the present predicament that we have was put to arbitration in Europe what would be the result? Since the 1960s under the indication of the then Chief Justice, Cearbhall Ó Dálaigh the Irish Judiciary entered on a period of constitutional interpretation leading to the implementation of the Constitution with its emphasis on fundamental human rights as opposed to leaving it as a background document of political significance and here again I quote the term: "by breathing life" into the Constitution its principal standards and guarantees have been highlighted, promoted, discussed and pushed to the forefront of consciousness. Only since the mid-sixties has the significance of a written Constitution as a general source of law and as a specific basis for the protection of the individual become evident.
In summary then, as regards the law, I am trying to get across that there are three things the British Prime Minister must grasp when she tackles Ireland on these matters. One is the historical legacy. The second is the different development of British and Irish law but in particular the development which has taken place since the 1920s and the reliance on the Constitution as the final bulwark of protection as regards the civil and human rights of the individual.
In the North of Ireland we have had the notorious Special Powers Act to which I have already alluded. We then saw that Catholic opposition to its implications was mobilised in the sixties with a more articulate, better educated part of society, which was little wonder because there were enormous powers granted to the Minister of Home Affairs and the police. There was evidence of gerrymandering in elections to local councils. There was discrimination in jobs and housing. Internment without trial was on the Statute Book, and indeed it is in our own Statute Book, which brings me back to the point I was making earlier, that it is time you took up and widened what the Taoiseach said last week by scrutinising southern legislation when you have been prepared to put so much of the northern under the microscope.
Anyway, in the 1960s as you all know, and it is history now, there was this great opposition mobilised in the form of public demonstration which led to a hostile reaction amoung the Protestant community. The Royal Ulster Constabulary lost the confidence of the Catholic community and all this less than 20 years ago. There was the Hunt report and then the Protestant people began to feel less and less secure because the only security the felt they knew was the association that they had with the British, association with what is meant to be British in their minds. The only land border they had marched with a country which refused to recognise the legitimacy of the state, and the Northeren Ireland also embraced a large community who felt no allegiance to that state. It was not surprising then that the Northern Protestant community should begin to feel vulnerable and go on the defensive. They had this fear of attack from within as well as from without. As a result of the reforms — and I want to emphasise that there has been reform and to remind this House that reform and progress has been going on now for 20 years in spite of all that is said to the contrary — the B Specials were abandoned, an Ombudsman was appointed, the local government franchise was reformed, the power and status of local councils was downgraded because of the way in which they were held to discriminate.
The Army unfortunately was brought into a peacekeeping role and as we all know now a bit late in the day it is totally unsuitable for peacekeeping. We remember how, as the situation got worse, rubber bullets were brought into action. Real bullets were brought into action. There were the special powers of arrest, the means of interrogation were atrocious and in fact, up intil 1973 there was very little movement, it all seemed to be in a negative direction. There has been movement since 1972 in the political field. First of all, we saw the mixture of military and judicial approaches and the political initiative. We then saw what happened in 1974 when the experiment of a Northern Ireland power sharing assembly was overthrown by the failure of the British Government to face up to what was taking place on the streets.
Lord Gardiner came in with his plan to try to criminalise paramilitary activity and to "Ulsterise" the whole process of law and order. The military were to a large extent to be taken off the streets and the police put in their place. In 1975 internment stopped. In 1976 political status and special category status of prisoners was ended; in 1976 we also had the Prevention of Terrorism Act and in 1978 we had the revision of the Emergency Provisions Act. Many abuses were concerned. In the mid-seventies there was the alleged shoot on the sight policy. In the late seventies convictions were obtained in Diplock Courts on the basis of confessions obtained by dubious interrogation practices and more recently of course on the evidence of supergrasses, many of which were quashed.
Amnesty International's criticism of the police interrogation practices was published in the later seventies. Ninety per cent of all arrested under the emergency legislation between 1 January 1980 and 31 October 1980 were realsed without charge. Under the normal powers of arrest in English law, an arrester must have reasonable suspicion — it was just suspicion in the Northern Ireland special legislation — an arrester has to tell the arrested the nature of the crime and the process of questioning or interrgation has to establish a prima facie case for trial; if not the will be released. While this has not always been the case, nor would it have been possible in Northern Ireland, I would ask you to ask yourselves whether in fact, in the application of law down here and the powers of arrest, those conditions always apply here either.
We have had repressive legislation. There is still repressive legislation on the Statute Book. There is no getting away from it. Because there is an unsolved political problem, because there is violence on the streets, because there have been reactions to it and attempts to grapple with it, we have legislation which in normal times would be quite unacceptable and which, therefore, must be continually monitored and continually kept under scrutiny. As soon as you give free licence to any army or police under special legislation and particularly if it is not resulting in adequate scrutiny in the courts, there will inevitably be trouble, trouble in perception by those who are marginalised, those who feel in minority situations.
In relation to the complexities, we are struggling in Ireland to see how we can evolve a new politic, based on consensus democracy rather than on the right of majorities to dominate minorities. That has come across at last. Consensus democracy is a key in a divided society. It does not matter whether we are talking about Cyprus, Sri Lanka or here. The right to self determination, as I said before, enshrined in United Nations convenants is a right given to any peoples and, therefore, if Republicans affirm it for the people of Ireland and Loyalists affirm it for the people of Northern Ireland there is inevitable conflict rather than resolution.
The only way one can get around that is by insisting that the right to self determination must be qualified by achieving consensus because it is from consensus that you get a mandate to give your laws and your orders the justification which they need if they are to be seen to be reasonable and seen to reflect the 99 per cent of the population who can support them. In this debate we must define what we mean by consensus, how do we achieve it and how do we assess it. That is part of the ongoing process which is just in its infancy. At least people are looking at it.
The next thing we have to do is monitor the whole process of law and order in a divided community such as the North of Ireland. This is now also possible through the Anglo-Irish process, so that is in place. The third thing we have to do is to look at the business of the distribution of power and how people can do effective things where they live in the communities and at their workplace. Fourthly, and it is not appropriate to do it here, we must find some way of engaging paramilitaries and try to persuade them of what they are doing to themselves if they cannot be persuaded about what they are doing to others.
What I am saying is that extradition has come of age, so to speak, in Ireland because we are now doing and striving to develop those things about which we talked in 1982. I suggested in 1982 that, with the legacy of Anaglo-Irish history and secretarian bitterness in Ireland, you could not seek to justify extradition unless you were dealing with the monitoring process, a look at the democratic process, a look at the historical background to the whole position in which we find ourselves. In short, to become aware of what Loyalist consciousness is about and what Republican consciousness is about and see how we can build anew so that we can create in a climate of constructive tension rather than destructive tension, a society in which all can live together. That is beginning and because of that there should be no moral scruples shown about bringing in extradition.
Extradition is being brought in, I am glad to say, with safeguards. In the climate that we have, at the phase of development that we are in, when you consider that Fianna Fáil came into politics to take republicanism away from the gun, they have gone that extra stage in showing that they understand the people who feel so let down because there is no extradition. As they perceive it it is their folk who have been in uniform or who are in uniform, and many who are not, who are being shot down so ruthlessly and mercilessly. Therefore, I do not have any problem in supporting either the Bill nor the safeguard, particularly as this is to be reviewed in a year. That is an excellent idea. It should be reviewed annually, or perhaps every two years would give a better flow of what is happening.
On the amendment which suggests that the Attorney General could be susceptible to pressure, I can understand those who know the Attorney General saying that is unnecessary, but you do not know all Attorneys General. We are all human and I feel that is a very worthwhile amendment. I am glad the Government have taken it up.
I have mentioned the irregular law process in the North of Ireland but lest the House is in any doubt about the situation that exists and that we are confronting let me just look back a year: October 18, Billy Dickson, former Loyalist paramilitary, shot dead in a Loyalist feud; October 24, Kenneth Johnson, Protestant salesman shot dead by IRA at Magherafelt, a case of mistaken identity; November 10, Derek Patterson, off duty policeman shot dead by IRA Ormeau Road; November 15, Alice Kelly, 66 year old Catholic, Alan McCormack, 29 year old Protestant died and 70 people injured in violence associated with the first anniversary of the Anglo-Irish Agreement; November 17, full time RUC reservist smoked out of his home; November 27, 36 people injured in Newry when an IRA mortar bomb overshot the RUC station; December 9, Kieran Bradley, aged 30, died after being beaten in a secretarian attack; December 12, Desmond Caldwell, killed by IRA by a bomb in a cab in his lorry; December 12, wreath left at Austin Curry's home during a second attack in two weeks; December 13, seven people arrested after police stopped a van carrying 1,200 pounds of explosives near Newry.
The summary of the statistics for 1986 gives it all. There were 64 deaths compared with 53 in 1985 showing an increase of 20 per cent. Of the deaths in 1986, 34 or 53 per cent were civilians, 24 or 37 per cent were members of the security forces, six or 10 per cent were paramilitary. Of the agents responsible, Nationalist paramilitaries killed 41 of the 64 in 1986. This included 24 members of the security forces, three paramilitaries and 14 civilians. Loyalist paramilitaries killed 16 civilians. The security forces killed six people of whom three were civilians. The religion of the victims, excluding members of the British army, was provided by the Irish Information Partnership, now defunct. In 1986, 47 per cent of those killed were Catholics and 53 per cent of those killed were Protestants. In the years 1969 to 1986 54 per cent of those killed were Catholics and 45 per cent were Protestants.
The present conflict began in 1969. By the end of 1986, 1,418 civilians had been killed, accounting for 56 per cent of the total; 785 members of the security forces had been killed accounting for 31 per cent of the total. If one were to multiply that 785 by three one would end up with over 2,000 members of your own security forces killed; 202 Nationalist paramilitaries had been killed, accounting for 8 per cent of the total; and 50 Loyalist paramilitaries had been killed, accounting for 2.5 per cent of the total. Of these killings Loyalist paramilitaries were responsible for 587 or 41 per cent; Nationalist paramilitaries for 523 or 36 per cent; security forces for 167 or 11.7 per cent; and there remained an unclassified number of 141 or 9.9 per cent. The total provided by the Irish Information Partnership was, therefore, 2,905 at the end of 1986. I could read the year which I have documented here but the point I am trying to make is that it is against that sort of turmoil that we are now facing the future.
We have talked about changing Northern Ireland and about slow change with more awareness, more understanding, even though there is still the same polarisation. We have talked about the growing perception of the problem in the Republic, that it is not just a simplistic business of "Brits out". It is a question of trying to cope with the different strains of Irishmen to build a new fabric.
Even since the Anglo-Irish Agreement there have been considerable changes and these were outlined in a letter to The Times on on 7 October. These included: (1) the ending of the so-called supergrass trials; (2) reforms in emergency laws including grounds for arrest— there now has to be reasonable suspicion; (3) improvement in confidence in impartiality of the police — one will find in some of the more marginalised communities that that could be questioned but, on the whole, there is a greater perception that the police are endeavouring to be impartial; (4) reducation in the complaints about harassment of the minority by the UDR; (5) abolition of the Flags and Emblems Act; (6) Strengthening of the laws on parades; (7) demolishment of those ghastly Divis, Unity and Rossville flats; (8) improved Catholic representation on a range of appointed bodies; (9) shortening of the period on remand before trial, which was a scandal; (10) improved guidelines for fair employment — and I would add now the prospect of some new legislation; (11) some improvement in prison arrangements for parole etc; (12) commitment to improve the status of the Irish language — and all of this against the Loyalist reaction, often violent or potentially violent, following the Anglo-Irish Agreement.
It was in the expections of developments in these and other areas and in anticipation of progress towards a more normal administration of justice that it became possible politically to ratify the European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism. What we must see here is a modest start because many of those things could be questioned and, indeed, were questioned. In a report in The Times the following week Fr. Desmond Wilson concluded that: “The overriding political idea that you can solve structural political problems by inserting more Catholics into inadequate and failed systems simply helps to prolong the sectarianism.” There is a lot of truth in that.
Nevertheless, a start has been made and it is now up to us to try to build a new trust on what has been created here this week. In that context we should try to help the British prime minister to have a better, deeper and more penetrating perception of the difficulties. That was the main trust of this fairly lengthy perambulation through history, legal process, and so on. I am glad that the Extradition (Amendment) Bill has been passed by the Dáil. I hope it will be passed by the Seanad and I look forward to voting on the safeguards.