Extradition (Amendment) Bill, 1987: Second Stage.

Question proposed: "That the Bill be now read a Second Time."

The Extradition (Amendment) Bill, 1987, comes before the Seanad following a prolonged debate and detailed scrutiny on Committee and Report Stages in the Dáil. The Bill has been strengthened in that process. That is how it should be. The Bill is an important measure, because it addresses very real public concerns about our existing extradition arrangements.

In practical terms when we talk about extradition from this State, we are talking almost entirely about extradition to Northern Ireland and Britain. That is why the safeguards in the Bill deal with those arrangements.

The event of recent weeks demonstrate the importance of our arrangements with those jurisdictions. Those events have brought home in very stark terms the threat which terrorist inspired violence on this island poses to us all. I have in mind the vicious kidnapping of Dr. John O'Grady and events which followed from that. I speak also of the Eksund affair — the attempted importation of highly sophisticated weaponry on an unprecedented scale and the reports of previous successful attempts in the past few years. I am sure I speak for all Senators when I record once more the Government's appreciation of the prompt and timely intervention by the French authorities in the matter.

Finally, in referring to recent events, I must mention the atrocity at Enniskillen. Words are inadequate to express the sense of horror and anger we all felt at that outrage. That event revealed the two sides of the scourge of terrorism on this island. On the one hand we had a mindless act of terror directed against a community peacefully honouring their dead. On the other hand we had the courage and forbearance of the survivors and relatives of those killed. It is with their living Christianity that I know the Members of this House would wish to identify.

These events should bring home to us how crucial arrangements such as those provided for in Part III of the 1965 Act are. Extradition is an important weapon in the fight against international terrorism. That is why the Government have sought to maintain effective extradition arrangements with Northern Ireland and Britain. Those arrangements will be enhanced both by the implementation of the Extradition (European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism) Act, 1987, which came into operation on Tuesday last and by the enactment of this Bill. There should be no mistake about it — this Bill is important in strengthening our extradition arrangements. That is because mutual confidence in those arrangements is essential to their proper functioning. By addressing the very real public concerns which exist about extradition, this Bill will contribute in a significant way to strengthening that mutual confidence and thereby pave the way for the more effective operation of the existing arrangements.

Public concern about our extradition arrangements has centred on the need to ensure that before a person is extradited there should be sufficient evidence to found a prosecution against him for the offence for which he is being sought. The new safeguard which section 2 of the Bill provides will address that public concern in a real and meaningful way. Yet it will do so in a manner which will avoid creating unwarranted obstacles to extradition which the prosecuting authorities in requesting jurisdictions would be unable to meet.

That new safeguard will operate on an administrative basis. The essential provisions for this purpose are the new sections 44A and 44B which subsection (1) of section 2 will insert into Part III of the 1965 Act. Under the existing section 43 of that Act the Garda Commissioner must, subject to the provisions of Part III, endorse a warrant for the arrest of a person accused or convicted of an offence which issued in Britain or Northern Ireland. Under the new section 44A which section 2 of this Bill inserts into Part III a warrant for the arrest of a person accused of an offence shall not be endorsed if the Attorney General so directs.

Section 44B provides that the Attorney General shall give a direction to the commissioner not to endorse a warrant unless, having considered such information as he deems appropriate, he is of opinion, first, that there is a clear intention to prosecute the person sought or to continue a prosecution of that person for the offence specified in the warrant and, second, that that intention is founded on the existence of sufficient evidence.

Much of the debate on the Bill in the Dáil centred on the issue of whether it should be the Attorney General who performs this function or whether those functions should properly be conferred on some other person. The Government remain firmly of the view that the Attorney General is the appropriate officer to perform this function.

The Government hold that view for a number of reasons. The new function which is being conferred on the Attorney General is consistent with, and will complement, his existing duties in the extradition field. The Attorney General is responsible for representation of the State in extradition cases. He also has an important role in administrative arrangements which already exist for the purpose of vetting warrants and related documentation submitted by the British authorities before warrants are endorsed by the commissioner. The purpose of these arrangements is to eliminate, as far as possible, the opportunity for requests being refused on technical grounds. It is also the practice for the Attorney General to advise me as Minister for Justice on those same matters in relation to requests which are made to me under Part II of the 1965 Act.

The second consideration which convinces the Government that the Attorney General is the appropriate person is that the functions he will be performing under this Bill are analogous to those which a number of statutes have reserved to him as regards deciding whether proceedings should or should not be instituted in relation to prosecutions which involve an international dimension. Those statutes include the Criminal Law (Jurisdiction) Act, 1976, the Fisheries (Amendment) Act, 1978, and the powers reserved in relation to the Geneva Conventions Act, 1962, the Official Secrets Act, 1963, and the Genocide Act, 1973, by section 3 (5) of the Prosecution of Offences Act, 1974.

There is another issue which is related to the question of the appropriateness of the Attorney General's involvement in the new procedures provided for by the Bill. That issue is whether the functions he will be performing are judicial in nature or not. That was a question which was debated at length in the Dáil. The Government are of the view that these new functions are essentially executive or administrative in nature. The Government clearly could not seek to confer judicial functions on a non-judicial officer of the State.

The suggestion that the Bill does confer judicial functions on the Attorney General seems to be based on a fundamental misunderstanding as to the purpose and effect of section 2. That section will require the Attorney General to form an opinion as to whether there is a clear intention to prosecute or to continue a prosecution of the person sought and as to whether that intention is founded on sufficient evidence. The formation of that opinion will simply be a necessary and preliminary step to the initiation of the extradition process. The Attorney General is not being empowered to determine any issue in relation to the court proceedings which will have to follow. The issue of deciding whether the offence for which the person is sought is extraditable or whether the person can be properly extradited will remain one for the courts in this jurisdiction. Going beyond that, the issue of committal for trial and his innocence or guilt will remain a matter for the courts in the requesting jurisdiction.

In dealing with section 2, I should mention one minor yet significant amendment which was made to the Bill yesterday in the Dáil. That was the amendment of section 44A to enable the Attorney General to revoke a direction previously made under that section. That change is significant because it will enable the Attorney General to respond to changes in circumstances regarding the information which may become available to him.

Section 3 provides for another important safeguard related to the rule of specialty and restrictions on the reextradition of extradited persons. Those safeguards are already provided in Part II of the Act and the Bill will give a statutory basis for their introduction for the purposes of Part III.

Section 3 will do this by empowering me as Minister for Justice to provide by order for the application of section 20, 21 and 39 of the 1965 Act under Part III. Section 20 gives effect in the State to the rule of specialty for the purposes of extradition from the State while section 39 provides for the same rule where a person has been surrendered to the State. Section 21 of the Act imposes similar restrictions on the right of a country to which a person has been extradited to reextradite that person to a third country.

Briefly the effect of the rule of specialty is that extradition may not be granted unless provision is made by the law of the requesting country that the person claimed will not be proceeded against for an offence committed prior to his surrender other than that for which his extradition has been granted except (a) with the consent of the requested State or (b) where the person has not left the territory of the requesting State within a specified period of his final discharge in respect of the offence for which he was extradited or has returned to that State's territory after leaving it. The requested State is, however, required to consent to the bringing of additional charges if the offence for which consent is requested is itself one for which there is an obligation to grant extradition.

The Bill allows, as I have said, these provisions to be applied by order. The reason for proceeding this way rather than by re-enacting the relevant provisions by way of this Bill is that adaptations and modifications will be necessary to take account of the differences in the nature of the procedures provided by Parts II and III of the 1965 Act. There is also the consideration that the effect of the sections which are being applied is to require provision to be made in the law of the requesting country, which, for the purposes of Part III, means, of course, in British law. That is not to say that there will be no safeguards in this area in the period before an order is made under section 3.

Section 44, subsection (2) and section 50, subsection (2) (b) and (4) of the 1965 Act already provide certain safeguards in the matter of bringing additional charges. I have already said that the purpose of section 3 is to give the safeguards the rule of specialty affords to an extradited person a statutory basis. That is because there are already certain administrative arrangements in place which are intended to ensure that the specialty principle is observed in our extradition arrangements with Northern Ireland and Britain.

The third safeguard contained in the Bill is intended to address the concern that the coming into force of the Extradition (European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism) Act, 1987, might result in persons becoming liable for extradition in circumstances which would not serve the interests of justice. Section 2, subsection (1) (b) of the Bill addresses that concern by amending the 1965 Act to enable a person whose extradition is sought to apply to the High Court to have his extradition refused on the ground that, by reason of the lapse of time since he is alleged to have committed the offence or been convicted of it and other exceptional circumstances, it would be unjust, oppressive or invidious to extradite him.

This new provision closely reflects the approach taken by the courts in those few extradition cases where the question of unfairness by reason of lapse of time has come up. The case of McMahon v Leahy [1985] ILRM, 422 is indicative of the sort of circumstances in which lapse of time would make it unjust, oppressive or invidious to extradite a person. Mere lapse of time will not on its own be a ground for refusing an extradition request. An amendment was accepted in the Dáil which makes this crystal clear beyond any possible doubt.

A number of other more substantial amendments were made in the Dáil. These related to two issues — first, renewal of the Bill's provisions after a year and, second, prohibition of improper communications being made to the Attorney General for the purpose of influencing the making of a decision by him to give a direction under section 44A.

On the first of these points the Bill as it now stands provides in section 7, subsection (4) that it shall expire 12 months after the date of its passing unless before then a resolution is passed by each House of the Oireachtas declaring that it should continue in operation after that time. The origins of this provision are to be found in an assurance given to the Dáil by the Taoiseach in his opening statement on Second Stage that the new arrangements contained in the Bill would be carefully monitored by the authorities here. He said that public opinion would wish to be assured that extradition works fairly and properly and that the new arrangements would be scrupulously adhered to.

We would wish to see the arrangements upheld both in letter and spirit, he said. If they were not upheld the Dáil and the people would expect him to come back and set the arrangements aside and he gave an assurance of his intention to do that. He also made it clear that should it emerge after a period of 12 months that these arrangements were not working satisfactorily and persons whose extradition was fully justified could evade the law, the Government would bring forward revised proposals to deal with such a situation.

On Committee Stage in the Dáil the main Opposition party put down an amendment which was designed to write this assurance about monitoring and review into the Bill itself. This amendment was in keeping with what the Government had intended to do in any event, so we accepted the principle behind it and, on Report Stage, amended the Bill accordingly with some slight modifications.

To facilitate the process of monitoring and review of the Bill's operation, section 6 of the Bill as it now stands contains provision for an annual report being made to both Houses of the Oireachtas on the operation in the preceding year of Part III of the 1965 Act — the new safeguards being provided in the Bill are being incorporated into Part III. This provision also originates from an amendment proposed by the main Opposition party on Committee Stage in the Dáil and accepted by us on Report Stage.

The other important amendment made to the Bill in the Dáil is reflected in section 4 of the Bill as it now stands. It prohibits communications with the Attorney General for the purpose of influencing the making of a decision to give a direction under section 44A, other than proper communications of information that is relevant to the giving of such a direction. "Relevant" here means, the section says, relevant for the purposes of forming an opinion that there is a clear intention to prosecute and that such intention is founded on the existence of sufficient evidence.

This provision stemmed from a concern that was expressed by a number of speakers in the Dáil that the Attorney General might be subjected to representations and improper attempts to influence his decision as to whether or not to give a direction under section 44A. The Government did not think it necessary to include a provision of this kind in the Bill in the first place because they considered that the situation in question would not arise anyway. However, once an amendment was put down on the subject we did not wish to oppose it and we brought forward an alternative amendment ourselves on Report Stage which is now enshrined in section 4.

Those, then, are the provisions of the Bill itself. Before concluding I want to refer again to the Extradition (European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism) Act, 1987, which came into operation on Tuesday last, to which the Bill now before the House is related. The coming into operation of that Act has paved the way for ratification by Ireland of the Terrorism Convention. The purpose of the Convention is to assist in the suppression of terrorism by complementing and, where necessary, modifying existing extradition arrangements between member states of the Council of Europe. It seeks to overcome the difficulties which may arise in the case of extradition involving persons accused or convicted of terrorist offences by eliminating or restricting the possibility of a spurious political content or motivation for such offences being invoked in order to oppose an extradition request.

The Convention provides that certain particularly odious offences are never to be regarded as political — hijacking of aircraft, kidnapping or hostage taking, use of explosives or automatic firearms which endanger persons, etc. The Convention was drawn up against the background of growing international terrorism affecting nearly all European countries. This led to a consensus among the member countries of the Council of Europe, who have democratic values and traditions in common, that people committing acts of terrorism in any one of these countries should not be able to find a haven in a neighbouring country and claim exemption from extradition by virtue of the political offence exception.

We are a member of the community of European nations and we play our part in this common fight against terrorism. Extradition is a particularly effective measure for combating terrorism. By ratifying the Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism and at the same time ensuring that there are sufficient safeguards for the rights of Irish citizens who are wanted for extradition, we will be giving the message to our European partners that we are using all available means of legal co-operation to deal with international terrorism.

Finally, I should like to say that I have kept my opening statement in this debate as concise as possible, consistent with the need to do justice to the provisions of the Bill. I am anxious to encroach as little as possible upon the time available to other speakers and I await with interest what they will have to say on the Bill.

I commend the Bill to the House.

The destruction of human life in such a callous way and in such a cowardly manner at Enniskillen has brought the outrage of terrorism home to us more forcibly in this part of the island. The Minister referred to those recent events in relation to the kidnapping of John O'Grady, the destruction at Enniskillen and the finding of the arms cargo destined for this island off the coast of France. Those three events brought this debate more to the fore and gave impetus to the need for this country to ratify the European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism. The outrage in Enniskillen and in particular the words of Gordon Wilson, and Senator Robb in this House, should have left an indelible mark on any warering sympathiser. We heard of Mr. Wilson's farewell to his daughter and saw Senator Robb extend the poppy to the Leas-Chathaoirleach in this House.

Gordon Wilson's immediate forgiveness of the perpetrators of the murder of his daughter should be an example to all of us as to the meaning of Christianity. The kidnapping of John O'Grady, the bombing massacre in Enniskillen and the arms that were seized in France should provide this House with clear evidence that there is an international dimension to terrorism and a clear need for Ireland and Britain to redouble their efforts to defeat terrorism.

I regret the fact that the debates on the Extradition Act, 1986, the Extradition Act, 1965, and the need for this country to ratify and sign the European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism should have generated as much heat as they did over the past few weeks. It was regrettable that various Fianna Fáil Ministers, Ministers of State, TDs and councillors sought to create conditions before those three tragic events whereby the Government could postpone the implementation of the Extradition Act from 1 December 1987. I think those same people were not aware that extradition has been part of the arrangement between Ireland and the UK and Northern Ireland since the Taoiseach, who was then Minister for Justice, introduced the 1965 Extradition Act. It was the present Minister for Foreign Affairs and Tánaiste who in later years put this legislation into operation. The debates that took place during the passage of the Extradition Act of 1986 last December, using such unfortunate language as "treachery" and "sell out" in order to introduce a simple amendment to the 1965 Extradition Act which defined what was not a political offence, were regrettable. Those words came to mean something different in recent weeks.

The Supreme Court broadly defined the necessity for the amendment to the 1965 Act in the McGlinchey case. Recent events have shown that we have to forget about our double think, our pseudo Republican cant and whatever ambivalence exists in order to get down to the task of healing the religious and political wounds in this island. Accordingly, I welcome the implementation of the Extradition Act and the means by which the Government can sign the European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism.

It is also important that this legislation should be allowed to pass in order to demonstrate our international dimension and our international commitment to people in the European Community and other neighbouring countries and to the world in general and to show that we are serious about the suppression of terrorism in an international sense, that we are serious in our aim to bring communities together and to work closely with the British authorities in bringing people to justice in a safeguarded way on either side of the Border.

It is important that the European Convention is signed in order to demonstrate clearly our support for the Anglo-Irish Agreement in the eyes of our European partners and in the eyes of the members of the United Nations. This Agreement is so important to bringing about some reconciliation in this island that a simple procedure and simple political speech-making about our anti-British attitude are not good enough in relation to postponing the signing of the European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism.

We are here today to discuss the Extradition (Amendment) Bill, 1987. I appeal to the House to look closely at this Bill in the context of recent events. The decision to bring forward these safeguards may have a doubtful origin but I welcome the fact that safeguards are being proposed in relation to the Extradition Act of 1965. None of us would like to see a situation arise where Irish citizens could be sent to another jurisdiction, in Northern Ireland or Britain, without getting the proper hearing that benefits the dignity of any Irish citizen going into another jurisdiction.

The decision of the Government to allow the Extradition Act onto the Statute Books was probably forced upon them because of recent events. Prior to these events I think the intention was different. Deputy Blaney in another House stated that the Taoiseach had given him an assurance that he proposed to allow the Extradition Act to wither away. The type of publicity and attention that brought to a piece of important legislation was regrettable. If this was ever said, I am one who would never know, nor do I wish to know.

I had a feeling this would happen so I want to make a ruling from now until we finish this legislation that we are not supposed to refer to what Members of the other House said.

I accept that.

At times they do not take much notice of what we say but we are not supposed to make reference to Members of the other House. I am saying this to everyone, not just to Senator Hogan.

The statement is not correct, anyway.

I wonder would the Senator who referred to what was said by Deputy Blaney also refer to the rebuttal made by the Taoiseach?

I do not think the Taoiseach clarified it. I cannot refer to the records of the other House because I do not have them and I am taking the Cathaoirleach's guidance on the matter.

The Minister has to take my guidance also. He may be Minister but if I make a rule that you are not allowed to do something, he is not allowed to refer to what the Deputies said either.

My apologies.

I accept your apologies.

I accept that the Minister has constitutional rights but we have to have the same rule for all. Senator Hogan to continue.

I am sorry that I have upset the House by my various references——

No, I am speaking about the rest of the day because I do not want this to happen.

The Fianna Fáil opposition to the 1987 Act dates back to the debate on this legislation in December 1986 when they endeavoured to mislead the public into thinking this was the first time extradition was introduced in this country. We now know after a period of education over the past few weeks that this is not the case. The Extradition Act, 1987, enables Ireland to provide the basis for a common approach between the member states of the Council of Europe to the question of what does not constitute a political offence for the purposes of extradition and mutual assistance. The offences in question include hijacking of aircraft, kidnapping and hostage taking and offences involving the use of bombs or automatic firearms, if that use endangers persons. The Extradition Act, 1987, therefore, clearly outlines what does not constitute a political offence.

There was a great deal of discussion before the European Act was circulated on whether a prima facie requirement should be included. This arose as a result of some cases involving extradition to Britain or Northern Ireland which were perceived, rightly or wrongly, to have gone wrong in one way or another. It was pointed out at that time that, even if we wanted to, we could not impose a prima facie requirement unless we were prepared to withdraw from the 1957 European Convention on extradition and to abandon the arrangements for extradition between us and countries of continental Europe. It is true to say, however, that the position is different in relation to Northern Ireland and Britain, as the British Government have not yet ratified the Convention of 1957 and we could, therefore, change our law so as to require a prima facie case in relation to those jurisdictions.

Indeed, it has come to my attention in recent times that the British are preparing legislation to take the prima facie requirement out of the law in order to allow them to ratify the 1957 Convention. Clearly, it would have been a waste of time for us to go ahead with insisting on a prima facie requirement because, as soon as Britain ratifies the Convention, we will no longer have the option of maintaining such a requirement. I welcome the decision by the Government not to proceed along those lines and not to render the arrangements about extradition a lot more difficult than they need be.

In the course of our preparations for the 1986 Extradition Bill, which is now the 1987 Extradition Act, the question of safeguards was examined and the Minister for Justice then, Deputy Dukes, stated in the Dáil:

A full review has taken place and it has been decided bilaterally that a warrant for the return of the fugitive will not be sought unless the Director of Public Prosecutions in Northern Ireland, or the Crown Prosecution service in Britain, has considered the evidence and is satisfied that it is sufficient to ground a clear expectation of a prosecution... In effect, this means that a warrant will not be sent from Northern Ireland or Britain for execution in the State — or vice versa— unless the case has been examined at a high level to see if there is sufficient evidence on which to bring a charge. This accords with the principle that extradition is for the purpose of charging a person and not merely for questioning him.

Those remarks are taken from the Official Report of the Dáil Debate on 4 December 1986, column 1386. At a later stage in that debate the Minister went on to state:

The British authorities have now agreed an addition to this arrangement. In all cases where a warrant is sent to this jurisdiction for backing the British Attorney General will send to our Attorney General through diplomatic channels a confirmatory note to the effect that he, that is the British Attorney General, has satisfied himself that the relevant prosecuting authorities have complied with the arrangements I have just described. That note will serve as an additional reassurance that those arrangements have been complied with in each case.

Those remarks are taken from the Official Report of the Dáil Debates on 16 December 1986, column 3508.

The passages I have referred to from the Dáil Debates last December show very clearly that there was genuine concern about implementation of safeguards at that time. The concern then, as it is now, was that the procedures should work properly, and in a manner intended in both jurisdictions, by providing proper legal safeguards for the persons concerned. The present Bill sets out to provide or to reinforce those safeguards. In fact, it is consistent in principle with the stand taken a year ago. If the Government now consider it is necessary in order to bring in safeguards and to achieve proper administration in relation to this Bill, we will certainly welcome that.

The constitutionality of this Bill, particularly in relation to the section dealing with the powers given to the Attorney General, has been raised in the other House and various people have offered views on whether or not this section is constitutional. Deputy Kelly and the Government have indicated that they are happy that the powers given to the Attorney General are adequate and will stand up in line with our Constitution. Others have said otherwise. The only way in which we can be satisfied and ensure that there will be no conflict with the Constitution is to have the President refer this Bill to the Supreme Court at an early date in order to ensure its constitutionality and ensure that we have no difficulties in relation to extradition in the future.

The difficulty is, of course, that the person who is advising the Government on the constitutionality of this legislation is the same person who is getting the powers, the Attorney General. I would prefer to see these powers being given to a more independent person, away from the political arena. The Director of Public Prosecutions, as was mentioned, would provide a clear and unambiguous functional independence from the process of Government. Since the formation of our State, most Attorneys General have been TDs. In recent years Deputy Kelly also held that office while he was a TD — was he the only one? I stand to be corrected on that, but I understand there were a number of TDs——

Declan Costello.

I suppose we can depend on them to do the job right.

Continue Senator Hogan.

There might be room for doubt if we had close regard——

I have the highest regard for the integrity and professional competence of these officers.

Thank you for that reassurance.

Particularly when he agrees with what you have been trying to do.

In view of his close association with the political process of Government and the fact that the Attorney General is a political appointment of the Taoiseach a direction by the Government might interfere with the independence of an Attorney General. I am concerned about that, but I am open to clarification. I am pleased to see that the Dáil has decided to insert a review and monitoring system in relation to these powers. The Houses of the Oireachtas will have to ensure, through a motion, that the administrative and legal powers being conferred on the Attorney General are voted through the Houses again in order to continue them.

During the course of the Taoiseach's speech in the Dáil last week he said:

I also wish to make it clear that should it emerge after a period of 12 months that these arrangements are not working satisfactorily and persons whose extradition is fully justified can evade the law, the Government will bring forward revised proposals to deal with such a situation.

I welcome that statement by the Taoiseach as it reassures us on this side of the House that a genuine attempt is being made to ensure that the independence of the Attorney General is protected and that the unjustified pressure being put on the office of the Attorney General by this procedure will not end up in some future situation arising where extradition may not actually take place.

If I were Attorney General I would not like to see this type of power conferred on me in such a sensitive political situation in this country. It is putting an extremely grave responsibility on the office of the Attorney General and it is putting extreme pressure on the Cabinet in so far as the Attorney General is the legal adviser to the Cabinet and, at the end of the day, the Cabinet will have to make a decision on the matter. It is bringing the process of extradition too close to the political arena and away from the independence of the judicial system at the moment, away from the courts system and away from a more independent person such as the Director of Public Prosecutions. It is desirable in this case that an amendment should be introduced and provision made in the Bill to ensure that each year a report from the Attorney General shall be brought before the Dáil. Accordingly, I welcome the amendment passed by the Dáil in this regard.

As I said before, I think the influence that could be attributed to the Attorney General in this sphere is open to question. I must inform the House that I will be putting down an amendment in order to have these functions assigned to the Director of Public Prosecutions who would be a more independent legal officer in the case of these particular matters.

The Taoiseach said in the course of the Dáil debate that the mere passage of time itself will not constitute grounds for refusal of extradition. In my opinion this provision is not sufficient. It needs amendment to make it clear that this is his intention and the intention of the Bill. It needs the addition of a phrase to clarify this and we will consider that at a later stage.

In his speech last Friday the Taoiseach referred to a number of other issues. He referred to the fact that under the 1957 Convention on extradition he agreed that it was not possible to have a prima facie requirement. I referred to that earlier and I regret again that the various debates that have taken place over the past few weeks sought to create this prima facie requirement for some Members of the Dáil in order to disagree with the introduction of the Extradition Act, 1987, and the ratification of the European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism.

I would like to ask the Minister if the arrangements and the safeguards that were mentioned during the debate on the Extradition Act, 1987, have been working satisfactorily and if there is need for amendment in order to bring them together in a more safeguarded position in the context of this Bill. Section 2 of this Bill amends Part III of the 1965 Act by the insertion of new sections after section 44. The new section 44A provides that a warrant for the arrest of a person accused of an offence under the law of one of neighbouring jurisdictions shall not be endorsed for execution if the Attorney General so directs. This presumably implies that each and every warrant will be referred to the Attorney General and he, and he alone, shall decide whether or not the warrant is to be endorsed for execution. This is something I will be opposing and I will endeavour to have it changed.

There are a number of things I would like clarified on section 44B. How does the Attorney General form an opinion and what sort of information is he likely to need in order to make his decision? What evidence will he regard as sufficient in order to make his decision in relation to extradition? It is a tremendous obligation to impose on the Attorney General in Ireland and I hope it will not result in long delays before a decision is taken as to whether a warrant will be endorsed.

I wish to refer also to the provisional warrants usually sent by the RUC to this jurisdiction for the purpose of extradition. They seem to have a very haphazard approach and seem to have difficulty in bringing forward to this jurisdiction the official warrants at an early stage in order to bring about an early extradition. An example of this happened recently when a provisional warrant arrived in this jurisdiction and an official warrant was too late to extradite somebody. The Minister should use his good offices to see to it in the context of the Anglo-Irish Agreement that the RUC get their act together, as it were, in relation to these matters.

As I read the new section 44C — this could cause problems — I could envisage situations arising in the future when the Attorney General would be summoned to a court to explain in a particular case why he has decided to endorse a warrant and to explain the grounds on which he made his decision. This certainly would be an unsatisfactory situation.

Included in section 44D is a provision enabling a court to discharge an order for a person's extradition where, by reason of the lapse of time since the commission of an offence specified in the warrant having regard to all the circumstances, it would be unjust, oppressive or invidious to make an order to deliver him up under section 47. I understand that during the course of the Dáil debate an amendment was proposed by the Fine Gael Party in relation to this matter and that the Minister accepted it and introduced an amendment himself which included the words: ...at line 19, page 3, after the word "offence" to insert "and other exceptional circumstances". This would accommodate the fears people have that a lapse of time in itself would be grounds for the refusal of an extradition. Therefore, this amendment was necessary and important. It is important when you consider the case of McMahon v. Leahy which the Minister mentioned in his speech and is an indication of how this provision may operate in relation to the lapse of time since the committing of an offence.

Section 4 deals with the reforms of certain functions of the Attorney General. Subsection (1) enables the Attorney General to direct a Director of Public Prosecutions or an officer — either being a barrister or a solicitor — of the Attorney General designated by him to perform his functions if he is ill, absent or out of the country, for example. For the benefit of this House I would like the Minister to expand on various situations that may arise and the way in which extradition will be handled in these circumstances when the Attorney General is not in a position to carry out that process. Subsection (2) enables the Attorney General to revoke a direction under the section. Does this mean to revoke a direction to act on his behalf or what?

Section 5 of the Bill sets out the arrangements for the Attorney General to report to the Government on a yearly basis. I welcome the decision of the Government to review the operation of this provision after 12 months and that it will have to come before both Houses of the Oireachtas in order to allow the powers granted to the Attorney General to continue for another year. Despite the serious reservations I have regarding the office of the Attorney General and the scrutiny that he will have by his colleagues in Cabinet, I think it is important that the Houses of the Oireachtas should scrutinise the powers to see if they are working properly. I welcome the Taoiseach's statement to the effect that, if he considers that these powers are not working properly during the course of the 12 months, he will have no hesitation in bringing in regulations and changes in the legislation to ensure that the judicial process is not hampered.

Finally, I suggest we should be given sufficient time to tease out the various difficulties and technical details that have to be teased out in relation to a very complicated process, that of extradition. Over the past couple of years we have seen that the process of extradition is not straightforward. The judicial process has to be extremely well handled. In our determined effort to fight terrorism, to defeat the terrorist on any side of the Border — or in the UK, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland — we cannot neglect to put safeguards into our legislation to ensure that our citizens get fair play in another jurisdiction. We should not make the process of extradition any more difficult and make it harder to convince our European partners who have signed the European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism that we are as determined as anyone to defeat terrorism and that we are putting the necessary legislation into place in order to bring that about.

The most appropriate word in the Extradition (Amendment) Bill, 1987, is "amendment" because everybody in the country seems to be talking about extradition and nobody seems to mention the word "amendment". It is most important to stress that this is amending legislation. The Extradition (European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism) Act, 1987, came into force on 1 December. This means we are now in a position to ratify that Convention. The parties to the Convention have pledged themselves to counter the problem of international terrorism by facilitating the extradition of fugitives from justice who claim a spurious political justification for serious crimes of violence.

In office and out of it Fianna Fáil have always acknowledged the need for international co-operation in the battle against terrorism. This is why we supported in principle the legislation enabling us to ratify the terrorism Convention when it came before both Houses of the Oireachtas last year. Our only difficulty with the legislation was that it did not address the safeguards issue to the extent that was necessary.

The purpose of this Extradition (Amendment) Bill, 1987, is to provide for certain safeguards in relation to the procedure under which persons charged with, or convicted of, certain offences in England and Northern Ireland — and it also takes in Scotland, Wales and the Isle of Man — may be extradited to those jurisdictions. Under the Extradition Act, 1965, a warrant can be issued in England, Wales, Scotland or the Isle of Man for the arrest of a person accused or convicted of certain offences who may be found in Ireland. It has to be endorsed by the Commissioner of the Garda Síochána for execution in our State. He or she would have been arrested and brought before the District Court which might order that person to be extradited. It does not apply if the offence in question is a political offence or an offence connected with a political offence.

The political offence exemption, which also applies under Part II of the 1965 Act, is restricted by the Extradition European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism Act 1987, which provides that certain terrorist offences, which are specified in the Convention and the Act, are not to be treated as political for the purposes of the 1965 Act.

The Extradition (European Convention on the Supression of Terrorism) Act, 1987, which came into force on 1 December did not introduce extradition for the first time. Extradition existed since the foundation of the State on the basis of preceeding British law. The 1965 Act introduced our extradition legislation which laid down special arrangements for extradition between this country, Northern Ireland and Britain. Since 1965, 733 people have been extradited to Britain and 154 people have been extradited to Northern Ireland. Until we had discussions on this Extradition (Amendment) Bill most people did not realise that so many people had been extradited.

It also enables us to ratify the 1957 European Convention on extradition which does not allow a prima facie requirement. We have been a party to that convention for over 20 years. Britain is only now about to join. The growth in international terrorism in the seventies, such as hijacking, kidnapping, assassinations and bombings, led European countries to resist the political offence in the 1977 European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism to exclude such crimes from its scope in European countries that are political partners.

Since 1982 the Supreme Court in its judgment has also restricted the scope of the political offence on much the same lines, thereby removing any constitutional difficulties about the ratification of the 1977 Convention. In the context of the Anglo-Irish Agreement and against a background of progress in relation to improved confidence in the Northern Ireland administration and justice, and in the security forces, the previous Government agreed to ratify the 1977 convention and introduced the necessary legislation in December 1986 with a 12 months delay clause. Fianna Fáil in Opposition supported in the principle of the Bill but sought to introduce safeguards. We are now introducing those safeguards.

A succession of events in Ireland like the O'Grady kidnapping, the seizure of the Eksund, the seizure of a cargo of very dangerous weapons by the French and the massacre of some of our people in Enniskillen made it essential for Ireland to ratify the European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism and have appropriate safeguards to ensure public confidence in the procedures. Even without the original 1987 Act coming into force, extradition would continue on the basis of the recent Supreme Court judgments. As I said, we are introducing this amending Bill and the Government are providing safeguards.

The first safeguard we are introducing is sufficient evidence. The Attorney General must be of the opinion that there is a clear intention to prosecute and that this intention is founded on the existence of sufficient evidence. This guards against extradition for questioning. The second safeguard is extradition on a specific charge. As a general principle a person can only be tried for the offence for which he or she is extradited and additional charges may proceed only with the agreement of the Attorney General. This is known as the rule of specialty.

The third safeguard is the lapse of time provision. A person whose extradition is sought will be able to apply to the High Court to have his extradition refused on the grounds that, by reason of the passage of time since he is alleged to have committed the offence, having regard to all circumstances, it would be unjust, oppressive or invidious to extradite him.

The fourth safeguard we have introduced is that the Attorney General will have a statutory obligation to prepare and submit to the Government an annual report on the operation of extradition arrangements and the specific cases in the previous 12 months. The Taoiseach said that, if the arrangements are not upheld both in letter and in spirit, they will be set aside. If they are not working satisfactorily the Government will bring forward revised proposals.

We also heard during the debate that the function which the Bill confers on the Attorney General ought more properly be conferred on the Director of Public Prosecutions. It would, in fact, be quite inappropriate to do this. The functions of the Director of Public Prosecutions relate to the prosecution of offences within the jurisdiction of Ireland. He has no function in relation to extradition applications, whereas the Attorney General has. Responsibility for representation of the State in extradition cases in court rests with the Attorney General. He has an important role as matters stand in relation to the vetting of warrants and accompanying documents before warrants are endorsed by the Commissioner of the Garda Síochána.

We are all aware of the kind of technical difficulties about warrants that have arisen in certain extradition cases. The Attorney General is directly concerned in a number of administrative measures that are being taken to reduce to the minimum the risk of extradition warrants and associated documents being found by our courts to fail to meet the requirements of Irish law. I would like to point out the non-statutory arrangements on the sufficiency of evidence which the previous Government were proposing to participate in. Those arrangements would involve the British Attorney General in providing through diplomatic channels a certificate to our Attorney General. The arrangement was to be on an Attorney General to Attorney General basis.

The Attorney General in Britain is the law officer with ultimate responsibility on their side for arrangements in the prosecution service to ensure that every extradition case is scrutinised for sufficiency of evidence. The appropriate law officer here to be in communication with the British Attorney General on this method, and to be given a statutory function with regard to it, clearly is the Attorney General and not the Director of Public Prosecutions. The previous Government accepted that this was not so when proposing purely administrative arrangements. Why should the position be different now that the safeguard on sufficiency of evidence is being strengthened by giving our Attorney General a strengthening role and putting it on a statutory basis?

The British Government and especially the British Premier, Mrs. Thatcher, say we should extradite our citizens without any safeguards. She has some cheek to interfere in internal matters in this country and dictate to us how we should legislate for our people. It is interesting to note that England is the only country in Europe that requires a prima facie case to be made out in court before granting extradition from Britain. It is also interesting to note that Britain is not yet part of the extradition Convention of 1957 and, of course, has never imposed this requirement in relation to extradition in Ireland. Britain has no hesitation in extraditing anyone from Britain to Ireland without a prima facie requirement.

The British have found that the imposition of a prima facie requirement on other European countries is a substantial, technical barrier to extradition and some of those countries have found it virtually impossible to get anyone extradited from England. England are now trying to do away with the prima facie requirement.

It would not be acceptable if we were to impose a requirement in our extradition law which had the effect of causing considerable expense and delay in extradition proceedings and would result in the failure of legitimate requests. The suggestion being made by those who advocate a prima facie requirement seems to be that an extradition hearing in the District Court should be the equivalent of a preliminary examination in the case of an offence under our law and the wanted person should not be sent back unless it is shown that there is enough evidence to warrant his return for trial if the offence has been committed here.

This would mean that the prosecuting authorities in a foreign jurisdiction would have to prepare at short notice a book of evidence which would comply with our laws of evidence. It would also mean, if the same level of protection were to be afforded as in internal cases, that witnesses from the foreign jurisdiction would have to be available to be examined on their sworn depositions, should they be called upon to do so. Can anybody seriously doubt that they would be called on to do so in extradition cases? I am not satisfied that it would be possible generally for the authorities concerned to meet those requirements. We would face an unacceptable situation in this event and fugitives from justice would be able to treat this jurisdiction as a safe haven.

We have had extradition in this country for many years. In this Bill we have built in safeguards which we hope will satisfy most people and will also protect our people from unfair extradition. I welcome this amending Bill and, as I stated, "amendment" is a very appropriate word because it is amending legislation. I congratulate the Minister on the drafting of this Bill. It was a very difficult one for him to cope with. I congratulate him on the tremendous effort he has made to bring it before both Houses of the Oireachtas to the satisfaction of most people.

I welcome the Minister to the House with this Bill. He was, as he said, mercifully brief and precise. After a difficult week in the other House, of course, like everybody else in the country he is probably punch drunk from the word "extradition" and how it should operate in our jurisdiction.

It is appropriate to put in context why this subject was raised in this country at this time. It arose from the responsibility of the Government to put into operation the Extradition Act, 1987, called the Extradition (European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism) Act which had a time limit put on it by the previous Government because we were dissatisfied with the level of safeguards that applied, particularly between the British Government and our Government, in regard to Irish citizens. The previous Government put a stay of 12 months on the Act for that very good and cogent reason.

There has been a debate between the Government and the British Government in the intervening period about whether anything has happened in this area which would satisfy us that improvements have taken place in the British justice system or in the procedures being followed in cases currently before the British Courts. In the wake of all the happenings in the past few months a problem was created for members of the Government party in allowing the Extradition Act, 1987, to come into force. I accept, as a politician, that these things happen. The Government have been subjected at their parliamentary party meetings to tremendous pressure from backbenchers who are reflecting views from their constituencies, Comhairle Ceantair, Dáil Ceantair and every other structure within the Fianna Fáil Party that somehow Fianna Fáil should have nothing to do with the whole concept of extradition.

I am glad Senator McEllistrim has put it on the record that we have had extradition in this country since 1965 because, listening to members of his party on the media over recent weeks, you would believe there was no such thing as extradition until the previous Government signed the Convention putting the Act into place. We brought in that Bill in the context of the Anglo-Irish Agreement. It was appropriate that we should reassure our people in Britain that we wanted to have no hand, act or part in condoning terrorism or in offering a safe harbour for terrorists. That was the reason we built it into the Anglo-Irish Agreement that we would play our part in signing the European Convention dealing with terrorism at European level. Every day of the week we are conscious of the amount of European terrorism that goes on.

The 1965 Act introduced by a previous Fianna Fáil Government is what we are amending today. I suppose it is fair to say that in 1965, when the Bill was first introduced in its original form, the need for the new provisions in this Bill probably were not obvious to the then Government, to the present Taoiseach or, indeed, to Deputy Blaney who was a member of the Cabinet at the time and who this week is one of the strongest advocates of having nothing to do with extradition.

The Minister will find that the Labour Party in this House, as we did in the other House, will deal with the Bill before us as constructively as possible. We do not want to be difficult about it, but we feel the Bill is, to say the least of it, not a very good Bill. It is difficult, it is highly complex, it is difficult to amend effectively. We made every effort in the other House and we will make similar efforts here to amend it as we feel it should be amended.

Now that the Taoiseach has gone to the Heads of State meeting in Copenhagen, I am glad the Bill has been passed in the other House and he can assure the British Prime Minister that the first House of the Oireachtas has passed it. It is important for our Taoiseach to be able to do that. That does not remove from us our constitutional right to try to improve the Bill because our only concern, as Labour Party members in either House, is to ensure that whatever safeguards are built into the Bill will be operative and will not stand in the way of legitimate requests for the extradition of terrorists and that Irish citizens will be protected and assured of the best possible hearing of their case in the State that requests their extradition. It was unfortunate that all the affairs like the O'Grady kidnap, the Eksund affair and the question of the Diplock courts over the past number of months have somehow lent an air of urgency to this legislation.

The Birmingham Six was one of the reasons given as to why we should be slow about extraditing anybody. The real truth is that the Birmingham Six issue had nothing to do with extradition, because they committed the offence in the jurisdiction in which they were arrested. However, it does bring into focus some of the difficulties Irish people have in Britain when they are arrested in emotive circumstances. Their case is at present being discussed in a review court in Britain and it would be inappropriate to pontificate on their innocence or guilt at this stage before the court has found one way or the other. We, who are, listening and looking in from outside have no doubt that because of the circumstances surrounding the tragedy in Birmingham, Irish citizens were arrested on evidence which is regarded now as flimsy to say the least, and because they were Irish somehow their chances of being found innocent were much more difficult than if they were British, Welsh or Scottish nationalists or from any other part of the British empire.

For that reason people like Senator Mooney and others put resolutions down in this House earlier in the year requesting the Government not to implement the European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism. Thankfully they withdrew them. Otherwise it would have left the Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Minister for Justice and, in particular, the Taoiseach in an untenable position of having the majority of Members of one House of the Oireachtas calling on him not to do a particular thing when he was still in the process of trying to bring in the safeguards and improvements in the British judicial system we had asked for 12 months ago. That was the reason we put a time limit on the original Extradition (European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism) (Amendment) Act.

The Labour Party expressed an opinion in the Dáil and I want to express it here again. We feel the Attorney General's Office is not the appropriate office for the examination of evidence or giving of opinion as to whether a person should go forward for extradition. We expressed that view, not because we had any doubts on this or past holders of the high Office of Attorney General but we felt it was an inappropriate function for that office holder.

The Minister has listened to a long week of debate on this issue. I do not want to bore him, but we feel that an examination of evidence or of grounds for extradition should at the very least be carried out in some type of court, some type of judicial process. With the involvement of the Attorney General, the Government are just now making it an administrative process. As the Minister for Education says, "so be it". It is a point of view.

I see no advantage whatsoever in changing it from the Attorney General to the Director of Public Prosecutions. I know my colleagues in the main Opposition party on this side of the House have shown a preference for that particular office. I can understand that on the basis of excluding the DPP's Office from interference, representation, intervention or expression of any opinion by anybody in the State. When a previous Government were involved in setting up that office they were at pains to ensure that it would be autonomous and over and above all of us, and appropriately so.

That is possibly the reason Fine Gael wanted that office holder to be involved in the area of extradition. We had reservations. First of all, the Attorney General, whether we like it or not, is appointed on a political basis. I am not suggesting for a moment that once his appointment takes place he does not make decisions outside the political sphere. I have no doubt he does and so advises the Government, which is his constitutional role.

The amendment accepted in the Dáil has removed some of the doubts I might have had. It is appropriate that the legislation should now reflect the fact that for this particular purpose the Attorney General is excluded from even receiving communications or representations from anybody. I welcome that. I am pleased the new section removes any suspicion or question mark that might have arisen. We must not forget that judges are also political appointees from time to time, but it is accepted that once their appointment takes place they are then removed from the political arena and their decisions are based on law. To say that somebody is politically appointed does not mean there is anything wrong with him. God knows, we are all politically appointed somehow or another——

And there is nothing wrong with us.

——and if we were to argue this we should not be arguing it against ourselves.

Is there anything wrong with it?

There is nothing at all wrong with it. It is the best system in the world, it has proved it can work.

Those who knock the system are probably those who are not judged good enough by the system to be given such appointments.

We have seen dictatorships in Africa and other places, where they decide on who everybody is and then put so many medals on their own chest it is impossible to see the chest eventually, but that is the operation of that system. Our system is as good as you will find in a democratic society. We are subject in everything we do to the wisdom of the people's votes in the final analysis. I am a great believer in that process. I have no problem about judges, justices, the Commissioner of the Garda Síochána, the Attorney General or any such person holding that high office being appointed by the Government of the day. I think that is appropriate. The amendment accepted in the other House will remove such doubts in the minds of people, I think politicians have a job to convince people that somehow or another people involved at that level must make a decision based on the best evidence available to them. I am concerned about another amendment accepted by the Dáil in which a lot of play was made by the Government and the main Opposition party. I refer to the new section which will allow this Bill, as amended and if it passes by this House and is signed by the President, to die in 12 months unless — and this is very important — both Houses of the Oireachtas bring in a motion asking that it be continued. I am totally in favour of a review of the Bill, and that is an important section in it. A review on an annual basis and indeed a report from the Attorney General is important, but to have the Bill "wither away" in the words of Deputy Blaney unless something else happens is quite a dangerous situation. If we are to analyse it on a purely political basis this is the biggest and best three card trick we have ever seen. It was difficult to implement the 1986 Bill on 1 December because neither this nor the previous Government were entirely satisfied with the changes that had taken place in the British judicial system. In addition we had problems with our partners in Europe and this Government had to convince everybody they were not soft on terrorists, and because of that deadline some scheme had to be thought up which would satisfy all the cumainn in the country who had a problem with extradition. One of the ways of doing that was to amend the 1965 Act, an Act the Government had brought in themselves, and now they are putting in the final clause that the Act will not continue after 12 months unless the Houses of the Oireachtas so decide.

It is another safeguard.

It is another safeguard but it is a very fundamental one. We are either in favour of extraditing terrorists or we are not. The 1987 Act will do that in the European context. If we are to have an extradition arrangement with the United Kingdom, Northern Ireland, Wales, Scotland, the Isle of Wight, I am of the opinion that because of our experience, it is imperative that some safeguards apply. I would have preferred to see the Bill amended with the safeguards which we all supported. Every Member of this and the other House would welcome all the safeguards. We might argue about the technicalities involved in carrying out of the functions, but we welcome safeguards. However, we want to be absolutely honest also with people; we do not want the Bill to die in 12 months unless we accept that it is inoperable. That is the Labour Party arguement, that this Bill is inoperable and that it will put an undue and unfair demand on the office of the Attorney General, who will be forced, if he is so summoned, to go into court to prove why he gave an opinion. The Attorney General is busy enough as it is but he could finish up being requested to attend court quite frequently if the need arises. I would have preferred to see the Bill continuing in force — if it is as good as everybody says it is — and giving safeguards to our people being extradited, particularly to the British jurisdiction and only being stopped by a resolution of both Houses of the Oireachtas. The opposite will take place — the Bill will die unless both Houses agree. I hope the Minister is listening.

Yes, very carefully, and I will have no difficulty in rebutting the Senator's case when I have an opportunity of so doing.

I would like the Minister's assurance because I need an assurance.

Let me give the Senator an assurance that there is no intention that that Bill will die, and that nothing will interfere with the extradition process at present in operation.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

The Senator to continue without interruption.

The amendment was reported differently in the other House. The Minister then put the wrong amendment. In order that the Minister's wish be expressed on the record of the House, he should have put a different amendment in the other House. The Minister knows from the pressure that has been on himself and the Taoiseach by his own party members over the past two months that pressure will inevitably be reactivated and intensified coming up to the next 12 months point. Who knows what kind of Government we will have in 12 months time? It might be this Government again sustained and maintained to the best of the ability of others, but it will be a Government without a majority. In 12 months the Government will be subjected to the intense pressure that occurs in the parliamentary party process. I am aware of it; I use it all the time. There is nothing wrong with it but it is a dilemma for a Government that have to govern all the country, and not just the Fianna Fáil Party. The Government must run the country and the judicial system and must do so to satisfy all the people, not just their own supporters. That is the dilemma, because if the Government have not a majority they must listen to the views of other people. That might be a good thing. May be the other House has proved that point. The Government found themselves willing to accept suggestions because otherwise it would have created difficulties in voting procedures. The Taoiseach after all had confirmed that if the Bill had not gone through, we would have had a general election. I do not think any of us would like an election before Christmas. The reality is that it is extremely difficult to legislate when the Government is in a minority.

The Senator is taking the amendment out of context.

The Senator had an opportunity to make his speech and he made a good case, a good Fianna Fáil case, but a case that they would not have made two months ago. Times and circumstances have changed and I have to deal with the circumstances as they have changed and presented me with an amended Bill which is totally different from the Bill debated by Fianna Fáil a month ago. They are two different Bills. This Bill deals with our relationship with Britain. We are anxious if we have an extradition arrangement with Britain, that every possible safeguard is built into it in the interests of our citizens. Nobody condones violence, but we have to presume that everybody is innocent until proven guilty. We want to ensure, having regard to our past experiences with the other jurisdiction, that the Irish who are extradited get a fair crack of the whip judicially and there will not be an emotive atmosphere surrounding the hearing of their cases. In fairness, if somebody did not plant the bombs in Birmingham, which led to the arrest of these people who are now being tried — nobody would have been arrested. Let us be honest with one another. There should not have been a Birmingham bombing, an Enniskillen atrocity or Bloody Sunday: because these atrocities on both sides have taken 2,500 lives in the past 15 to 20 years, and we have not moved one iota nearer to the unification of the country. Whether we are Fianna Fáil Republicans, Labour Party Republicans or any kind of Republicans, we have not moved one step forward as a result of the violence that has led to 2,500 lives being lost. The only movement we have ever made is through the Anglo-Irish Agreement, which at least gives some hope that if a majority of the people of Northern Ireland are in agreement there will be unification of the country. At least that is an aspiration.

For the first time the British Government have given an assurance that if there is a majority in favour of unification then Britain will agree to it. At least that is a concession. We accept the country is divided at present. By bringing in an Extradition Bill in 1965 we accepted that there was another jurisdiction in the North of Ireland. It is extraordinary when I hear Republicans talking about the reunification of the country and saying that there is no such thing as the de jure or de facto situation of the North of Ireland. That fact that we passed an Extradition Bill at all is conclusive evidence that we have accepted that there is another jurisdiction in Northern Ireland whether we like it or not. The vast majority do not like it and we want to see an end to it peacefully and democratically.

The Anglo-Irish Agreement is a solemn agreement between two governments that if at some stage there is a majority in Northern Ireland favour unification, Britain would allow the North to be reunited with the South. That is something we had never managed to achieve in the previous 60 years. I am proud that our party took some part in that and that our party Leader, Deputy Dick Spring, participated fully in that process. I am also pleased that the present Government have continued their efforts to make the Anglo-Irish Agreement work. It has been and even more difficult this year, not because the Minister is in power, but because circumstances have been very difficult. The Minister has worked as hard as he could on it. While he has often been accused of not trying, we know that is not the case, and he has continued and we want him to continue with the agreement. When the three-year period has expired and the review that is promised in the Agreement takes place, we hope the Government will continue to show the same enthusiasm they have shown recently for it, and will renew the Anglo-Irish Agreement and not to be browbeaten by Unionists and others who feel their position is undermined.

The Unionists should be assured that none of us in the South want to over-run, oust them or get rid of them. We can understand the Unionists' reservations when people purporting to be Irish, or to represent us commit atrocities and take life ruthlessly in what they call the cause of Irish re-unification. Nothing could be further from the truth, because these people, although they might be Irish, do not represent anything that good Irish people stand for. We all want the re-unification of the country but we would like to see it come about in a peaceful and correct way. However, that aspiration should not prevent us, in the area of extradition, from ensuring that our citizens are protected in every way possible. Neither must it prevent us from suggesting in various officers of the courts of the judicial system as being the appropriate officers to deal with extradition. That is our only reservation on this legislation. Because this Bill does not address that problem — we will see the difficulties that will arise within the next 12 months following these changes — there will be difficulties because the men of violence seem to have available to them the best legal brains, people who think of every possible reason for postponing the day of reckoning for their clients. They are subsidised by the State in the interests of common justice. We pay barristers and lawyers to look after these people because it is appropriate that they would have justice meted out to them, that they would be considered innocent unless proven guilty. Let us not cod ourselves into thinking that in the period between now and the review date, every possible legal angle will not be used by lawyers representing people who, in the words of the Taoiseach might be or should be extradited and somehow may not be extradited. Then we will all be guilty of having done something wrong in this House by agreeing to a Bill that does not meet the concerns and demands being made by us as legitimate parliamentarians trying to improve legislation that comes before us. Perhaps the 12 months stay of execution on the Bill may be too short because this will be one of the most difficult periods.

It is appropriate that the Minister referred to the various background problems. He mentioned too, the O'Grady kidnapping. It is appropriate to commend the Garda Síochána for their dedication in that most difficult situation. The only relevance it has to the question of extradition is that if the well known and, in other places, sung hero, Mr. O'Hare, otherwise known as the 'Border Fox' — I should not name him because he is not here to defend himself — was arrested in the North of Ireland we would be looking for his extradition. It would be embarrassing if we did not have some arrangement where by we could have him returned here to face trial for some of the atrocities he has professed to have carried out. After he has recovered in St. Vincent's hospital we will know whether he carried them out. I am not sure whether he has a medical card or whether he is subject to the £10 a day hospital charge. In any case we should not show any sympathy for the man but we should ensure that he gets a fair trial. I am glad he was arrested here where he committed the offences because it might have been difficult to extradite him. Britain might be very frank and open with us but they have been talking about prima facie. I am not sure whether they want prima facie to apply between ourselves and other people. The reason the prima facie clause was not put into the other Bill was that we would be in contravention of the European Act by so doing. There was nothing wrong with having a prima facie clause or a similar system of judicial inspection in this legislation because it only affects ourselves and Great Britain which comprises England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the islands off the coast of Britain. I am not sure if the Isle of Man is included because there is no explanatory memorandum with the Bill but I presume that all the islands off the coast of Britain with the exception of the Republic of Ireland are included in her jurisdiction.

On Committee Stage, I hope the Minister will listen to the arguments we will be making. The only reason we will be opposing the Bill is because we feel it is not a good Bill. The Bill has been cobbled together to meet all sorts of problems in various areas. Let us hope that it does not wither away as has been predicted. If the Bill is operable I hope the Houses of the Oireachtas will have the courage to continue it. The reporting procedure will indicate how it is working.

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.

At the outset, may I compliment Senator Robb on what was by any standard in this House — and this House has very high standards — a tour de force? It was full of wisdom and reflection and experience. He held the mirror up to all of us who have been products of Irish history and tradition. I would cavil with one or two of the points he made. I could not bring myself to be quite so generous towards the motivation behind the legislation before us today. Nevertheless, all of us who were here for the duration of that speech were treated to quite a brilliant expose on the thought of Senator Robb and his analysis of the situation in Anglo-Irish and Northern Irish relations.

In making my own contribution on the Extradition (Amendment) Bill, 1987, I think it is important at the outset to establish some basic principles which underliethe whole issue of extradition. In all the welter of debate and discussion — and there has been so much of it over the past fortnight — it is important to state unequivocally some very fundamental points. Most people accept the urgent need to strengthen the laws in order to deal with the menace of international terrorism. Sadly we have daily reminders of what this menace can inflict on innocent civilians throughout the world. We need to protect likely victims, so often innocent civilians, going about their daily routines and we desperately need to guard against the concept of a political offence being used to excuse what is, in fact, the inexcusable.

I am in full support of joint action internationally and within Europe to prevent terrorism. Sadly, we live in an age of violence, an age of bombing, of hijacking, kidnapping and of removing people from one jurisdiction to another. As a consequences, joint action is vital. The legislative history of extradition has been referred to by many people who contributed to the debate in this House so far. We passed an extradition Bill in 1965 which implemented an international Convention of 1957. I find the time lag interesting because it happened again. In 1987 in Seanad Éireann we passed the Extradition Bill, 1987, which gave effect to the European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism. That was agreed as long ago as 1976. So, there certainly seems to be some sort of time lag built in to these mechanisams which is probably an indication of the sensitivity of extradition as much as an indication of the delays which are part and parcel of the legislative process.

During the 1986-87 debate there was much emphasis on the purpose of the Convention which was to assist in the suppression of terrorism by complementing and where necessary modifying existing extradition and mutual assistance arrangements conducted between member states of the Council of Europe. Of course the measure before us here in Ireland has to be looked at in the context of Anglo-Irish relations. During the debate I remember considerable emphasis was placed on that significant element. Reservations were voiced in relation to preceptions of the UK and Northern Ireland justice system. There were calls for prima facie evidence which was not part of the 1965 Act. Political and deeply-rooted patricotic feelings were aroused and entered into the debate. Senator Robb detailed the backdrop which gives rise to those political feelings and patriotic feelings which all of us, with any sense of the history of this country, have to one degree or another.

None of this is surprising because extradition is an extremely sensitive issue and an emotive issue and it is no more sensitive than when it must operate, as it must here, in an Anglo-Irish context. The real difficulty with extradition is this: we must ensure in any extradition legislation or in any extradition procedures that what is occuring is extradition for trial not extradition for questioning and not extradition for trial for some alternative offence. We have to make sure it is extradition for a fair trial.

There is a question mark over the administration of justice in Northeren Ireland. All of this was addressed in the context of the Forum and the Anglo-Irish Agreement and commitments were entered into to effect progress in the area of justice. Both the British and the Irish Governments accepted there was a necessity to secure better relations between the security forces and the minority community, to improve confidence in the administration of justice in Northern Ireland and on security co-operation. The fact that they acknowledged progress needed to be made did not mean they had reached agreement on the changes required to achieve that progress.

For all of these reasons, and properly in my view, there was a 12 month suspension of the operation of the 1987 Extradition Act. Early in 1987 we had a general election and a change of Government. Sadly, progress in the area of Anglo-Irish relations slowed down. Many of us noticed that dialogue and interaction have been put on the back burner. I cannot agree with my colleague, Senator Ferris, when he felt otherwise. The clear perception was that the Government were extremely preoccupied with the economic issues, the reality of which they had suddenly woken up to after four years of denying that the situation was as it is, and Anglo-Irish relations were, to some extent shelved or as I have said put on the back burner.

Repeatedly, the former Minister for Foreign Affairs, Deputy Barry, and Fine Gael Leader, Deputy Dukes, called on the Government for action and for visible, tangible, effective signs of progress. It was known that 1 December was looming and it was known that progress had to be made in the area of security and justice. The 1 December deadline for the implementation of the 1987 Extradition Act was approaching and what did we hear offstage and on stage? We heard reactionary noises and they got louder and louder. Individual Deputies in the Government party stepped forward to voice their objections and those of Cumann members, of Comhairle Dáil Ceantair and of the rest of the paraphernalia of the organisation of the party in Government. They voiced in one way or another strong reservations based on a kind of atavism which is fed predominantly by the members of that party, and the trickle became a rush.

Soon it became quite clear that implementation was a major problem for the Government party and there was marked reluctance to fully endorse and satisfy the 1987 Act.

Tensions heightened, uncertainty abounded and then the entire country was rocked by a series of appalling events. Dr. John O'Grady was kidnapped, there was a huge demand for ransom and he was subjected to sickening brutality and mutilation. The Eksund, laden with arms and explosives mainly destined for this country, was seized by French police. A horrific bombing outrage occurred on Remembrance Sunday in Enniskillen with great loss of life, injury and destruction.

The awful, appalling danger and threat of terrorism and terrorist offences was brought home to the people of Ireland in a most immediate and dreadful fashion. The Government, despite the grassroots reservations of Fianna Fáil of which I have spoken, decided they had no option but to allow the implementation of the Act. However, there were indications that legislation was in the course of prepration which would build in a set of safeguards that would act as a brake on the extradition arrangements already in place. This is the legislation that is before us for consideration today.

I regret deeply that this Bill was in large part prompted by party political considerations rather than on the merits and necessity of safeguards. I have no quarrel with the need to have safeguards, with the merit of safeguards and with the necessity of safeguards; nor has my party. We support the principle of safeguards but it is the manner in which this legislation was conceived and brought before us that I quarrel with and that I find regrettable. In some way it devalues the principles we are discussing here today. It does not give me any pleasure to state that fact, the fact that this legislation is the directs consequence of grassroots Fianna Fáil pressure and the need to assuage it.

The safeguards are largely illusory and insubstantial. The whole thing is pretty hastily contrived and could be, in many instances, described as a fudge. I am pleased that in response to Fine Gael, the Government have agreed to a review of the effectiveness of these safeguards in 12 months. That is a reasonable and a considered response. Again, it was not unconnected with the politics of the situation. It is important to assess the practical application of these measures. I would prefer to address this legislation on the merits of the case without the backdrop I have spoken of. It is regrettable for so many reasons that we are discussing this in a narrow political context but not to face up to that political context is in many ways to deny the facts of the situation and the realities as we all perceive them over the past number of weeks.

The Taoiseach underlined the political context I speak of with his threats to make the passage of one section of this Bill a general election issue. I do not find that kind of approach statesmanlike. I find it disappointing in the context of a debate on extradition and the necessity to put safeguards in place. It smacks of political blackmail and I do not think it is democratic. I hope this kind of attitude will not become a pattern in the context of future legislation which will come before us in the lifetime of this Government. I do not understand the extereme urgency attached to this provision which has us here today and which, I understand, may have us back here again early next week. I am not unwilling, but I would have welcomed an opportunity for reflection and a chance to consider the debate in the other House.

It is a pity the Government felt bound by a time constraint and I would welcome comments from the Minister when he replies at the conclusion of Second Stage as to why he felt there was so much urgency and why he sees the necessity for a time constraint. It is very important that Senators should consider with sufficient care the various provisions of this Bill and I expect that Committee Stage will give us an opportunity to do this.

The precise function of the Attorney General is a feature of this legislation in that he — or, hopefully, one day, she — is to be given a role in the extradition process. Is the Attorney General now to have a judicial function and is this constitutional? In fact, is this whole measure constitutional? The Fine Gael Party recognises and, indeed, have recognised in the past, and I recognise the need for safeguards in respect of procedures relating to extradition. Safeguards were put in when Fine Gael were in Government but they were obviously never acted upon by the present Government and we do not know why.

The need for this legislation is questionable. The proposal to place the Attorney General in a judicial role is not acceptable to my party. I welcome an amendment which indicates that representations to the Attorney General in the case of extradition will not be tolerated. That is welcome.

The Minister's speech was concise and useful and it is important to recognise the fact — which does not seem to have been recognised by many members of the Minister's party — that extradition has been in place in this country since 1965. Listening to the debate over the past three weeks one would have thought that there was no extradition at all and that it was something entirely novel. There was a lack of clearity and a lack of understanding. I am pleased that ratification of the European Convention and of the 1986 Bill went ahead on 1 December. It was the only civilised thing we could do as a member of a European Community and as a member of an international community. Despite our own difficulties and despite the tensions that exist in this area between Britain and Northern Ireland and this State we have to recognise that we must not give succour to, give sustenance to, or in any way appear to be soft on terrorism with its crimes of violence, mutilation and mayhem.

I look forward to hearing other contributions on this Bill and, in particular, I look forward to committee Stage when we can tease this out. I am pleased that safeguards are in place but I regret the fact that there had to be such a vexatious political backdrop to this legislation.

The 1987 Extradition Act, Ireland's ratification of the European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism, came into force recently and it is an important aspect of Ireland's commitment in the fight against terrorism. It is vitally important that it operates effectively and efficiently and with maximum safeguards. I welcome the Extradition (Amendment) Bill, 1987, because we need safeguards in regard to extradition. I will deal with those safeguards later.

I think we are all agreed that extradition is necessary. Nobody could claim that a person who for whatever reason, be it political motivation, criminal intent, or just plain madness, commits an act of international terrorism should not be extradited. Anyone who commits a crime must be brought to justice and there is, I believe, no disagreement about that. Some disagreement arises, however, in relation to a person being brought to justice. This disagreement may arise when we speak of where we might be extraditing an Irish national to.

First, I cannot understand how we can even begin to contemplate extraditing a person to the Six Counties as long as these counties remain under British occupation. By doing so we are giving de jure recognition to a de facto situation and perhaps the Minister would comment on this. I may be a lone voice in stating that here today, but I know there are many people who agree with me in this regard. Secondly, I am opposed to the extradition of any Irish national to what is now called mainland Britain and if I had been around at the time of the original Extradition Act I would have opposed it. I am opposed to it because it is my firm and passionate belief, a belief I know is shared by many people and, indeed, backed up by any dispassionate view of the workings of British justice as applied to Irish nationals, that no Irish person can get a fair trial in a British court of law. I was quoted in a Sunday newspaper recently as saying that I would not extradite a dog to Britain. Let me clarify that: I should have said that I would not extradite an Irish dog to Britain.

Irrespective of what offence an Irish national has committed I would not extradite him to Britain because, by doing so, we would be denying him the justice he denied to those on whom he perpetrated his act of violence and we would, by so doing, descent to his level. I do not want to descend to the level of those so-called freedom fighters who recently blew to smithereens innocent Irish men and women who were honouring their dead in Enniskillen. I believe that justice must not only be done but must be seen to be done. As the Minister for the Environment said recently in the Dáil, it must also be felt to be done. He said:

There are many cases in recent times of people of Irish birth being processed by British justice — and I use this phrase advisedly — in a way which leaves them without the feeling that justice has been done.

I would go further than that. I believe the British have never shown justice to Irish nationals, in the past when we were a colony, or at present, not do I believe they will ever do it in the future. The British are so arrogant in their dealings with us that they do not even hate us; they just do not regard us. This arrogance was typified in the recent outburst by the British Prime Minister. Might I remind Mrs. Thatcher that the Twenty-Six Counties are no longer under the yoke of British imperalism and are bonded together as a free, independent sovereign nation? May I say to Mrs. Thatcher: "The decisions our parliament make with regard to our own citizens — and I say this respectfully — are, Madam, none of your bloody business"?

There is a tendency in Britain to find people guilty even before they are brought to trial. At the end of August 1975, for example, several bombs exploded in London and later on the night of Thursday, 4 September, Scotland Yard released a statement through the Press Association. A photograph accompanied the statement which described Margaret McKierney as "the most dangerous and active woman terrorist operating here" and launched a nationwide appeal for information. The press swallowed the bait; the next morning the national papers convicted Margaret McKierney in inch high letters on their front pages. "She is Britain's Most Wanted Woman Terrorist" cried the Daily Mail. The Mirror and The Telegraph called her “Terror Girl” and The Sun went one better with “Death Courier”. “The most evil girl in Britain” announced The Express and continued: “Her Irish eyes may be smiling but her trade is fear and death. Consider this female of the species but keep well clear for Margaret McKierney is certainly more deadly than the male.”The Times and The Guardian which also carried the story on their front pages, were the only papers to attribute the story to the police in their headlines. The same evening, 5 September, ITN carried a five minutes film on the story. The contents suggested that they had been fully briefed by Scotland Yard on Margaret McKierney's movements. Their cameras were present at the McKierney home in Moy, County Tyrone and at the address in Dublin where Mrs. McKierney said her daughter was staying.

The media were underterred by the fact that there was no evidence to support the police allegations. The Irish Press pointed out in an editorial:

Some of the statements contained in Scotland Yard's list of reasons for wanting to interview the girl are so unfounded that our special branch were able through their own survillance to dismiss them as utter rubbish because she was in Ireland at the times when the Yard alleged she was committing the crimes in England.

The Sun newspaper went on to draw another innocent person into the net. On 11 September, pages 1 and 2 of The Sun carried photographs purporting to be of Margaret McKierney. Nearly a year later The Sun published a tiny apology, on 16 August, 1976. This stated that a complaint had been received from Miss Goretta Amenda Kennedy from County Dublin and that the photographs were in fact of her and that The Sun wished to make it plain that before they received a complaint they had no knowledge of Miss Kennedy and had no intention of referring to her.

At that time a major row blew up here especially over the implication that the Yard's photo of Margaret McKierney might have been taken by a British agent operating south of the Border. The Irish Governement sent a complaint to the Foreign Office about Scotland Yard's handling of the affair. The McKierney family started proceedings against the media for defamation. It soon became evident that there was more to the Yard's action than the mere pursuit of terrorists, Stephen Chibroll in his book, Law and Order News, published by Tavistock in 1977 considered that the McKierney case is the most striking example of the direct exploitation of the media for the purposes of control agency propaganda.

Commentators at the time agreed that the Yard's launching of the McKierney appeal had been approved at the highest political level at Whitehall. Some thought the purpose was to divert criticism from the Northern Ireland Office which was under pressure from Unionists and military over its weak security policy. That was reported in The Guardian newspaper. Others, and Steve Chibroll supports this view, thought that the McKierney appeal was calculated to put pressure on the Irish Government when it became clear that McKierney was living openly in Ireland. It functioned as a means of pressurising the Dáil to pass the Bill designated to expedite extradition between Britain and Ireland.

Whichever of these is true — both may be — the only concrete result was that two innocent people lost their lives. Two days after the media gave Margaret McKierney the full treatment, the McKierney family were given protection by the Irish Garda and the Army after as threat from the UVF "to get you or your family, each and every one of you". The UVF were to make good their threat. On 23 October, 1975 a man and a woman were found shot dead in a lonely roadside farm bungalow near Moy, County Tyrone. They were relatives of Margaret McKierney and lived in the same district as her family. The ultimate responsibility for these deaths must lie with the British police, politicians and media.

At present there is a young lady, Martina Shanahan, who is on remand in Britain, not convicted of anything. She is kept in solitary confinement 24 hours a day with a light on and her clothes are taken away at night. She is not allowed to speak to other prisoners because she is on remand. I call the House back to the time of Bloody Sunday when William Nash, Hugh Gilmore, Michael McDaid, James W. Ray, Patrick Doherty, Kevin McIlhenny, Joe Young, Gerald Donaghy, Gerald McKinney, Bernard McGuigan, Michael Kelly, Jack Duddy and William McKenney were all murdered by the Paras. The Mirror of the following day said the officer, Colonel Harry Dalzell-Payne denied reports that the troops fired wildly. He said the paratroopers who took part in the action were fired on first, the terrorist fire “was totally indiscriminater” as far as we are concerned.

During the fiercest ten minutes of the battle the paras fired 164 high velocity bullets and 106 rubber bullets but only at identifiable targets. There were 18 separate engagements. Nine bombers were fired at, two were killed and seven injured. Nine gunmen were fired at by the paras, two were killed and four hit. If the troops fired wildly Colonel Dalzell-Payne asked "why were no women or children killed, only men?" Troops would not fire at random he said because they had some bloody good NCOs and some chaps who knew the form: another example of British justice. None of these people who committed this murder was ever prosecuted or brought to trial. There are countless examples of so called British justice and of children mainmed by rubber bullets. Tobias Molloy, aged 18, was killed in July 1972. Stephen Geddis, aged 10, was killed on 30 August, 1975. Brian Stewart, aged 13 was killed in October, 1976. Paul Whitters, aged 15, was killed on 25 April, 1981. Julie Livingstone, aged 14, was killed in 1981 and so on.

Not one of these people who shot these bullets was ever brought to trial — more examples of British justice. Any nation that cannot even give justice to their own — this is exemplified in the Stalker affair — would have difficulty doing so to an Irish national. Having stated how I feel on the question of extradition to Britain, I nevertheless welcome the amendment to this Bill. Why? Because I am a constitutional republican and because I live and work in a democracy. I accept the will of the majority. It is a pity that some of those who claim the mantle of republicanism now strive to destroy every institution of constitutional democracy. I belong to a party whose aims are to reunite the country through peaceful means and the country through peaceful means and I abhor violence in every form.

I accept that we have extradition. We have had extradition now since 1965 and I accept that we may be extraditing people to Britain in the future. It is for that reason that I consider it is necessary to have these safeguards. I congratulate the Taoiseach, the Government and the Minister who have done their best to build in important safeguards. The first safeguard is that the Attorney General must be of the opinion that there is a clear indication to prosecute. This intention is founded on the existence of sufficient evidence. This would guard against extradition for questioning which I am sure would be tried.

The second one is that, as a general principle, persons can only be tried for the offence for which they are extradited and additional charges may only proceed with the agreement of the Attorney General. This is to be known as the rule of specialty. The third safeguard I laud is that a person whose extradition is sought will be able to apply to the High Court to have his extradition refused on the grounds that, by reason of the passage of time, from when he is alleged to have committed the offence, it would, having regard to all the circumstances, be unjust, depressive or invidious to extradite him.

The fourth one I commend is the one that the Attorney General will have a statutory obligation to prepare and submit to the Government an annual report on the operation of extradition arrangements in respect of specific cases in the previous 12 months. The Taoiseach has said that if the arrangements are not upheld in the letter and in the spirit they will be set aside. On the other hand if they are not working satisfactorily the Government will bring forward revised proposals.

Section 44B provides that the Attorney General shall give direcation to the Commissioner of the Garda not to endorse a warrant unless, having considered such information as he deems appropriate — as the Minister said — he is of the opinion first that there is a clear intention to prosecute, to continue a prosecution for the offence specified in the warrant and, secondly, that the intention is founded on the existence of sufficient evidence.

Much has been made of the fact that the Attorney General may be open to pressures and so on. I have absolute faith in the present Attorney General and if we look at the records of the preceding Attorneys General, we find that all of them, from whatever political persuation, have approached their duties in a fair and unbiased manner. I have no doubt that succeeding Attorneys General will again do their duty in a similar manner.

I, therefore, have no hesitation in recommending this Bill to the House. It is a necessary Bill. It was brought forward quickly, not rushed but quickly. There is an urgency about it, despite what Senator Bulbulia has said, because of the other Extradition Bill which is in place. It was done well, fulfils its function and will prove to be a very useful safeguard when extradition cases arise in the future.

This Bill falls to be considered at two levels, first, at the political level and, secondly, at the legal level. It is appropriate to begin with the political dimension because that is the dimension that has the Seanad sitting on a Friday and next Monday in order to proceed with the examination of the Bill.

The political dimension is not the purpose of the Bill as set out in the explanatory memorandum. In my view the purpose of the Bill as set out in the explanatory memorandum is somewhat misleading. In the explanatory memorandum it states:

The purpose of the Bill is to provide for certain safeguards in relation to the procedure under which persons charged with, or convicted of, certain offences in the neighbouring jurisdictions (Northern Ireland and England, Wales, Scotland, the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands) may be extradited to those jurisdictions.

The procedure for the extradition of persons in the provisions of the European Convention on the Suppression of Terroriem have come into effect as of last Tuesday as Members of the House are well aware. The provisions of the European Convention have been ratified by Ireland whether this Bill goes through the Oireachtas so that this Bill is being brought in but clearly it is not a precondition to ratification because that ratification has already taken place.

The real purpose of this Bill has been identified by a number of contributors to the debate already. It is to resolve internal difficulties within the Fianna Fáil Party and to defuse backbench opposition to the whole idea of extraditing, particularly, to Northern Ireland but also to Britain. That being clearly the real purpose of the Bill, it is ironic that after all the emphasis laid, particularly by the Taoiseach, on the significance of the Bill that the Government have agreed by way of amendment in the other House that the Bill would lapse after a year unless a positive resolution by both Houses is passed that it should continue for a further period. After all the excitement over the past week or so on the subject we have a Bill that is being brought in after the Convention has been ratified by Ireland and a Bill which will lapse after 12 months unless at that time both Houses pass positive resolutions that it should continue.

At the political level, therefore, I find this Bill difficult to take seriously for the political reasons that have been advanced which I do not find to be convincing. There was a whole political dimension to it. It was to bring recalcitrant Fianna Fáil backbenchers into line and there it seems to have succeeded very well because those who were totally opposed to the whole idea two weeks ago and who were beginning to mount quite an effective campaign about it appear to have been mollified by the provisions of this Bill and to be content to let the matter rest at that.

I want to look, in the broader context of this political dimension of the Bill, at what price will we as a country pay for this particular Bill which has a purely domestic Fianna Fáil provenance and purpose. The Bill is perceived by Mrs. Thatcher to have caused Ireland to renege on a commitment given at the time of the Anglo-Irish Agreement signed at Hillsborough just over two years ago. Mrs. Thatcher in two well publicised speeches has expressed the view, as Prime Minister of Britain, that this Bill would constitute a step backwards in relation to extradition proceedings between Ireland and Britain because it involves the introduction of a new step, a new procedure involving the Attorney General.

There is no doubt in my mind that her criticism of the Bill and her criticism of introducing this new measure which she regards as a step backwards has greatly facilitated the passage of the Bill through the Dáil. If Mrs. Thatcher gets so cross about it, then it must mean something after all. If Mrs. Thatcher is getting very annoyed because of the proposals in the Bill, then that must have helped to mollify backbenchers who still had worries and also to get their blood up because she was insensitively clearly poking her nose in this country's legislative affairs.

Mrs. Thatcher is well known for speaking in a very forthright way. I tend to doubt if she was speaking off the cuff or in a way that was not very carefully considered and very carefully worked out. Indeed, I understand she had quite a carefully prepared written script and that what she said was not blowing her top and saying something cross at the particular moment, but very carefully considered and carefully calculated views. Equally, I have little doubt that Mrs. Thatcher was annoyed. I believe she felt that the introduction of this Bill was a reneging on the commitment that had been given at Hillsborough and was a step backwards, as she put it, in the extradition arrangements between Britain and Ireland and a calculated criticism of the administration of justice in Northern Ireland and in Britain. She was annoyed about that.

She decided to use her annoyance and to make it serve a different purpose. That purpose was, at least in part, to express publicly her criticism of the Dublin Government, to that extent to distance herself a little bit from the Dublin Government and, in this way, to move a little closer to the Unionist politicians and Unionist community. Mrs. Thatcher realises, because she is if nothing else a very experienced politician, that there can be no real progress in Northern Ireland without having a basis for involving in some measure the Unionist politicians and Unionist community. It will not be possible to make any substantial progress in that regard in my view under the framework of the Anglo-Irish Agreement, but expressing anger about the Dublin Government and accusing them of reneging on the Anglo-Irish Agreement may help towards establishing some basis for discussions with the Unionist politicians, some basis for these talks about talks which have been proceeding so far without much progress being made. The aftermath of the introduction of this Bill may be more favourable from Mrs. Thatcher's point of view in seeking to reopen links there.

I pose the question, because it is relevant to this Bill and to the background to this Bill, for reflection as to whether that is a good thing or a bad thing. I happen to believe it is extremely important that a basis be created for discussion with Unionist politicians and representatives of the Unionist community. That is a precondition for the establishment of peace and reconciliation and building better inter-community relations in Northern Ireland. The difficulty in discussing the Anglo-Irish Agreement in this part of the country is that it has become a kind of holy writ, it has become sacrosanct, it has been firmly implanted in the minds of leader writers in the media that the Anglo-Irish Agreement was a great milestone in the history of this island and that anything that would seek to be critical of it or question some of its premises is not to be accepted or tolerated.

In fact, in the last two years, a great deal has changed in the parameters of the Anglo-Irish Agreement and the parameters that were there at Hillsborough and were reduced into the text of the Anglo-Irish agreement. It is worth recalling that at the time of the Hillsborough Agreement the first reaction of Deputy Haughey on behalf of Fianna Fáil was a rejection of the agreement as being fundamentally unacceptable because he believed, and he was so advised, that it was unconstitutional. That was repeated on a couple of occasions but when the reaction to that approach was clearly politically very adverse, the constitutional objection was softened and other criticisms were maintained. That appeared to be more or less the position until the change of Government last spring. There was a very clear perception at that stage in the media of a kind of conversion by Fianna Fáil, particularly by the Foreign Minister, Deputy Brian Lenihan to the Anglo-Irish Agreement. This conversion is more evident in recent months. It is now regarded as being of great significance.

It is worth reflecting on why this apparent conversion has taken place. I am saying apparent not because I am accusing people of being dishonest in what they are doing; I am saying that the conversion is to the present reality of where the Anglo-Irish Agreement has stagnated, not to a conversion to what the Anglo-Irish Agreement was intended to be and to become when it was signed at Hillsborough. There is a very real difference, both politically and legally, between what was signed with all the fanfare at Hillsborough two years ago and the very minimal stagnation of that process we have now.

That is a very interesting reality and it explains why it has been possible for a Government, which viewed the agreement as not just politically unacceptable but fundamentally unconstitutional to be able to come around two years later and say "yes, we can live and work with this, indeed this is a significant framework and we do not want to do anything that would damage it". If we look at the text of the agreement itself, apart from the commitment to establish a framework for peace and reconciliation the idea was to have quite a developed structure. For example, in Article 4 of the Anglo-Irish Agreement it is clearly intended that it would lead early, rather than late, to devolved government in Northern Ireland. Article 4, paragraphs (b) and (c) state:

It is the declared policy of the United Kingdom Government that responsibility in respect of certain matters within the powers of the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland should be devolved within Northern Ireland on a basis which would secure widespread acceptance throughout the community. The Irish Government support that policy. Both Governments recognise that devolution can be achieved only with the co-operation of constitutional representatives within Northern Ireland of both traditions there. The Conference shall be a framework within which the Irish Government may put forward views and proposals on the modalities of bringing about devolution in Northern Ireland in so far as they relate to the interests of the minority community.

It was clearly intended that there would be devolved administration within Northern Ireland. It was also intended that there would be a parliamentary tier involving the United Kingdom and Irish Parliaments, a whole elaborate legal and constitutional framework.

That allowed the immediate aftermath of Hillsborough to be full of descriptions of the Anglo-Irish Agreement as being almost joint authority, which Seamus Mallon said on a number of occasions, and which the then Taoiseach, Deputy Garret FitzGerald came close to saying; it was not really joint authority but it was certainly a very considerable involvement. Because of a fundamental defect or flaw in the process, the flaw being the failure to secure if not the active agreement certainly the reluctant acquiescence of Unionist leaders and of the Unionist community, because of the total failure to achieve that, the Anglo-Irish Agreement has not been able to make progress. It has not been able to get beyond what I have described as a kind of point of stagnation.

The result in effect, if one stands back and looks at it, is that Northern Ireland is now administered, and continues to be administered, by the British Government under direct rule in a process of consultation with the Irish Government, so that the Irish Government play a kind of fringe role in direct rule of Northern Ireland. The Irish Government in effect are becoming involved in a sort of neocolonialist approach to Northern Ireland, because we have to acknowledge that the majority of people in Northern Ireland do not want the Irish Government to have this role, the majority being the Unionist majority and, to some extent that Unionist majority are not just a Protestant population. There is a certain proportion who are not Protestant but who are Unionist and there is also the Opposition from Sinn Féin and other elements of Nationalists who for different reasons do not support the role of the Irish Government because they see it as being a role in collaboration with the British Government and, therefore, totally unacceptable.

It is unfashionable to criticise the Anglo-Irish Agreement. I am in a particular difficulty because I was very concerned at the time of the Hillsborough Agreement, and I resigned on the issue, being very strongly of the view at the time that the mix was not right, the approach was not right and it would not work. I have resisted to the best of my ability since then the desire to see my prognosis come true, if I can put it that way. I have not wanted to be right on this. I had hoped that my judgment was wrong. I am increasingly concerned that the flaws which I pointed out at the time have become fatal to a particular process.

The Anglo-Irish Agreement, as I have said, has reached a level of stagnation and stopped, and it is not creating the basis for peace, stability and reconciliation. It probably is a much more acceptable formula to the Fianna Fáil Government because it gives the Irish Government some role within Northern Ireland, but it does not go the step further and create a whole structure of devolved government and a viable Northern Ireland State, a political unit bringing the two communities in Northern Ireland together. Once it was realised that the Anglo-Irish Agreement was not going to do that, it becomes much easier to support the Anglo-Irish Agreement. It then becomes a step out on the part of the British Government and a step in on behalf of the Irish Government in cooperating on direct rule in the North.

If there is any substance in this analysis, and I am afraid there is a lot of substance in it, it explains why there is such a fractured situation on the ground in Northern Ireland. There has been more polarisation between the two communities since the Anglo-Irish Agreement was adopted. It is very unfortunate and it is not countered by the meetings between the two Governments' Ministers and officials. On the ground, in communities there is more polarisation, more sectarian feeling and more violence resulting from it, whatever scale of measuring violence you want to use. There is no doubt there has been a worrying increase in violence in the context of Northern Ireland.

There has also been a lack of progress in the areas where it was felt at the time of Hillsborough that significant progress would be made. There has been a lack of real progress on equality of opportunity and, indeed, the lack of real progress has been well tabulated by the report of the Standing Committee on Human Rights in Northern Ireland. There has been a lack of reform of the administration of justice which would be a way of building confidence in the Nationalist community and creating a context for support from the Nationalist community for the forces of law and order — if that is what one wants to call them — and the administration of justice in the North.

One of the reasons, I believe, at this stage for the lack of progress in some of these areas is that for the majority community, the Unionist community, the impulse for some of these reforms comes from a poisoned source. They are exaggeratedly both critical and fearful of the whole Anglo-Irish process. Whatever fears and aversions they had at the start have become deeply rooted and this pollutes the process of reform. It makes it more difficult to have genuine reforms.

I believe it would have been possible to make more progress in certain areas, particularly sensitive areas like the administration of justice, if there was not the dimension of the opposition to the Anglo-Irish Agreement. In a way this difficulty has been highlighted by what was probably a not very helpful focus given to the balance which had been projected in the communique accompanying Hillsborough. At the time of the Anglo-Irish Agreement, as we know, there was a communique which referred expressly to the commitment by this part of the country to ratify the European Convention on terrorism and also referred in a related way, certainly it has been argued that the negotiations were done in a related way — to the necessity for reform of the administration of justice in Northern Ireland.

I am now becoming more relevant, perhaps, to the background to this Bill. There was a balancing, on the one hand, that we would ratify the European Convention on terrorism and, on the other hand, that there would be progress in the administration of justice. It is a pity that the manner of that progress was sort of focused in on the desirability of having three judge courts in Northern Ireland which suddenly became the issue, and the only issue, in relation to the reform of the administration of justice in Northern Ireland. Perhaps because it was easy to get hold of; people could easily grasp the idea of three judges or one judge. There are arguments on both sides. There are also arguments about a three judge court.

We have not really in this part of the country sufficiently analysed the roughly analogous court to the Diplock Courts, the Special Criminal Court. There has been too little study and analysis of the Special Criminal Court. I understand there is a major study being carried out at the moment and I hope that, when that study has been completed, the results will be published widely. One factor about the Special Criminal Court worth seeing closely analysed is the fact that it is a three judge court at present — and, of course, it could be three military men or women as there is provision under the Constitution for a military court.

It is a court of three members of the Judiciary but, they have been almost invariably from different levels in the court structure. To a considerable extent the president of the court has been a judge of the High Court and he may sit with a Circuit Court judge and a district justice or he may sit with two district justices. I doubt that they are genuinely three equals in the pecking order; it is very unlikely. You have got a much less even distribution and exercise of the function by the three judges of the Special Criminal Court. It is not as simple as saying that three are always necessarily better than one. The point made in relation to the Diplock Courts that there is an automatic right of appeal to a court of appeal consisting of three judges who are three peer judges of the court of appeal is a reasonable response.

The major issues that arise, in my view, in relation to the Diplock Courts, and they are serious issues, relate to the special rules of evidence that apply in the Diplock Courts and the very widespread use of the confession evidence — a much wider use of confession evidence than is present in the Special Criminal Court. That may itself be in part because of the role played by the Director of Public Prosecutions in relation to cases referred to the Special Criminal Court. Nonetheless, it is significant. I have seen some comparisons and there is no doubt that in a very significantly smaller number of cases before the Special Criminal Court the basic proofs were confession evidence. In a very high number, I have seen a figure of over 90 per cent in relation to the Diplock Courts, it is confession evidence. Confession evidence means that people have volunteered a confession.

That begs a certain question in the context of the Diplock Courts. They are the real questions that have to be addressed. Because of the importance of the right of appeal there is also a very important question about any timelags between a conviction and the exercise of that right of appeal. There were very serious timelags until comparatively recently, but I believe there has been some measure of improvement in relation to them. A number of the steps proposed by Fr. Denis Faul would go a long way to establishing greater confidence in the administration of justice. He is correct in calling for much greater use of early release for youngsters who are simply caught up in the situation and have spent already a period in jail. A number of the specific measures he has called for warrant clear attention and would probably do more to create support from Nationalists for the system itself.

We view this Bill against the background, that it was a commitment given at the time of the Anglo-Irish Agreement, an agreement that has not fulfilled its expectations, that has not stood still, that has, in fact, fallen to a lower level of operation and is to say the least of it, not achieving its major objective of creating peace and reconciliation between the communities in Northern Ireland. Therefore, if there is going to be substantial progress it will be necessary to create a political framework for discussion of all of these issues, a discussion which involves the Unionist politicians and which primarily should be geared to getting the political parties in Northern Ireland and the church leaders and other leaders of the community there into a process of dialogue with a view to being able to create a framework for sharing power and responsibility in that community.

I said I would begin in relation to this Bill by looking at the political dimension, and of all Bills it simply cannot be disregarded. We are not dealing with this subject in the abstract, we are not dealing with it for entirely internal and domestic reasons, we are dealing with it in the context in which it arose.

I would like to turn now to the legal dimension of this Bill. Just as I have confessed that I find it hard to take the Bill seriously politically for the reasons that have been advanced as opposed to the reasons I have identified, I also find it difficult to take it seriously legally. Any lawyer is always interested in further safeguards. It would be a strange lawyer who did not want to see genuine safeguards, genuine improvements, genuine monitoring and, therefore, there are parts of this Bill that I welcome. There are useful safeguards, such as a requirement of an annual report on the Extradition Act procedure as a whole. I am very glad to see that, it might well have been there from the beginning. It is a very welcome development and similarly the safeguard against applying in the case of charges which arise out of incidences a considerable time ago the time bar issue. They are welcome developments.

I find it difficult to believe that the approach being adopted to the role being given to the Attorney General is one that actually has much tangible meaning. This is my first observation before I go on to see whether it is constitutional and, if constitutional, whether it is desirable. Even if we go through all of these things, what the Attorney General is actually being asked to do is very difficult to do for reason I will come to. Before I look at the role of the Attorney General I would make one plea to the Minister who is listening very patiently to this debate, and that is he might have regard to the fact that we will now have, once this Bill is passed by the Oireachtas, three very complex Bills. We have the Extradition Act, 1965, the Extradition (European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism) Act, 1987, and we now have this Bill. There is an inter-amendment in them all and let me put it this way, they become a lawyer's charter. I do not think that extradition should be a lawyer's charter, it should be a reasonably clear codified document so that it can be very clear what the sections say and how they are to be interpreted.

I now want to come to the role of the Attorney General and I want to look at it from two perspectives. First, I want to look at this difficult issue of whether what the Attorney General is being charged with doing, given the responsibility for doing under this Bill, is the exercise of a judicial function. Clearly if it is the Bill is certainly constitutionally unsafe and may well give rise to constitutional challenge. Having looked at that, I then propose to look at the question of whether, if this function is to be exercised, if it is politically, and in a policy way, desirable that it would be exercised by the Attorney General.

I want to come first to the difficult and complex issue of whether in doing what he is being required or given the responsibility for doing under the Bill, the Attorney General would be exercising a judicial function. The essence of what the Attorney General is doing is that he is directing that warrants will not be endorsed unless, and then he is saying unless, having considered such information as he deems appropriate — that is his first discretion; he has discretion as to what information he deems appropriate — he of opinion that two things are there; first that there is a clear intention to prosecute, or in the case of a prosecution already begun to continue a prosecution, a clear intention to prosecute the person named or described in the warrant for the offence specified therein in a place in relation to which the part applies — in other words Britain or Northern Ireland — and, second, that such intention is founded on the existence of sufficient evidence. Before I come to whether that is a judicial function or not, is it possible for the Attorney General to actually do that? I have some doubts.

The formulation of the Attorney General's opinion requires that he has such information as he deems appropriate. What happens if he cannot get hold of enough information? What is the information he would deem appropriate? Obviously he would require to have the warrant but what other information? The Minister, when we come to Committee Stage, can tease out the parameters of the information that the Attorney General would deem appropriate. Clearly he has a statutory discretion in that matter. It is an unfettered discretion. He cannot just have a whim about it but he certainly can determine under the proper application of the section the information which he would deem appropriate for the purpose. He then has to decide that there is a clear intention to prosecute and that the intention is founded on the existence of sufficient evidence.

I found that very difficult to pin down precisely. Does that mean the intention is bona fide? Is it that there is a clear intention to prosecute and that the intention is bona fide? Does the Irish Attorney General have to satisfy himself that there is the existence of sufficient evidence to secure a conviction? It would be very difficult to have that as the matter on which he must satisfy himself. Such intention is founded on the existence of sufficient evidence.

What is the basis on which the Attorney-General can form that opinion? In an important amendment in the other House in the course of the debate on this Bill, a further provision was added that the Attorney General can revoke a direction under the procedure. Again that provides for a further exercise of discretion. If the Attorney General has assembled such information as he deems appropriate, has formed the opinion that there is a clear intention to prosecute and that the intention is founded on the existence of sufficient evidence and he directs that the warrant be endorsed and the Garda commissioner goes ahead and it comes before the District Court, the District Court deals with it, and then before the end of that process he changes his mind because some other evidence has come to light, what is the effect of that on the court process? Again that would be very important to tease out.

If the person has actually been extradited and then the Attorney General learns that after all there is some matter which leads him to believe that there is not the satisfaction of section 44 (a) and (b), being the intention to prosecute on the existence of sufficient evidence, does he then revoke his direction and does that negative the whole process as far as the Irish system is concerned, and if it does what effect does the Minister consider that that would have on the process before the British courts?

It is obviously important on Committee Stage that we have an opportunity to examine these issues, but it does seem clear that the Attorney General considers and weighs evidence because he has to form an opinion as to the existence of sufficient evidence. He has a discretion in what he is doing and it is a continuing discretion because he can revoke it; he can consider the matter again and revoke a direction. These are the kinds of components, as the Minister is aware, that the courts consider in seeking to determine whether the exercise of a particular function constitutes the administration of justice. Having some familiarity with the authorities in this matter I would say it is an extremely difficult question, and not at all easy to apply to what is a very new kind of power and discretion which the Attorney General will have.

Let us at least look at some of the cases that would be of relevance and the opinion formed by the court, the judgements that may be helpful. First of all, as the Minister will be aware, in the Shannon v. Ireland case which is reported in The Irish Reports, 1984, the Supreme Court refused to find that the role of the Commissioner of the Garda Síochána in relation to extradition warrants was the exercise of the administration of justice, that is the role of the commissioner under section 43 of the Extradition Act, 1965, in relation to endorsement of warrants, where the warrant has been issued and “on production of the warrant to the Commissioner of the Garda Síochána it appears to the commissioner that the person named or described therein may be found in the State, the commissioner shall, subject to the provisions of this Part, endorse the warrant for execution.” In the Shannon case, it was very forcefully and thoroughly argued that that gave the Commissioner of the Garda Síochána a judicial function in relation to the warrants, and that argument was rejected.

For the record could Senator Robinson say what she was quoting from?

I was quoting from section 43 of the Extradition Act, 1965, which is called the principal Act. In some recent cases the Supreme Court has come back to this concept of the exercise of judicial power. In a case The State (Lynch) v. Ballagh, The Irish Reports, 1986, page 203, the Supreme Court decided that the decision in granting bail was a judicial act because, and I quote from Mr. Justice Walsh in that case:

A court has to determine the various matters which may be taken into consideration and exercise its discretion according to the law.

Therefore, taking into account factors, making findings of fact, weighing evidence and exercising a discretion, while they are a conclusive statement are certainly components.

Before I go on from The State (Lynch) v. Ballagh case, the Supreme Court, although it did not have this as a direct issue in the case, did refer to the powers of a peace commissioner. Mr. Justice Walsh referred obiter to the functions of a peace commissioner as being in his view judicial in character and again he so characterised them because the relevant section purported to give to a peace commissioner and I quote:

power to hear evidence, and, having heard the evidence, to exercise a discretion as to whether prisoners should be remanded in custody or on bail. As Peace Commissioners in the exercise of these functions are not within the provisions of either Article 34 or Article 37, their position appears to be somewhat constitutionally dubious.

Clearly, the matter was one which affected the liberty of the individual, whether they would be remanded in custody and therefore deprived of their liberty pending trial or whether they would be out on bail. Again it is the power to have a decision-making role and exercise a discretion in relation to it.

In a subsequent case the State (Clarke) v. Roche, which is reported at 1987 Irish Law Reports Monthly, page 309, the Supreme Court was concerned with the validity of a summons issued under section 11 of the Petty Sessions (Ireland) Act, 1851, and that section provided that either a District Court clerk or a peace commissioner would exercise the particular role, and the court viewed it as being akin to a judicial discretion before deciding whether or not to issue the summons. But, in fact, in that case the Supreme Court viewed the issuing of computer based summonses as not to conform with the requirements of section 11 of the 1851 Act, in that it bypassed the requirement that the District Court clerk should exercise his personal discretion as to whether or not the summons should issue.

The issuing of a summons in that way is very much the initiation of a process. It is not a finding of anything. It does not determine anything of a sort that actually affects the liberty or other rights of the individual. It is peculiarly the commencement of a process but in that case the Chief Justice, on behalf of the Supreme Court, said that it was an "inescapable conclusion" from the terms of section 10 of the 1851 Act that the issue of a summons upon the making of a complaint was a judicial, as opposed to an administrative, act. He pointed to the reference by Mr. Justice Walsh in The State (Lynch) v. Ballagh case and he doubted whether the vesting of such power in non-judicial personages, such as district court clerks or peace commissioners, was constitutionally proper. The Courts (No.3) Act, 1986, was passed to correct that constitutional infirmity.

The case which should cause the Minister and the Government the greatest worry is the case of The State (Clarke) v. Roche. When a person makes a complaint and a summons is issued, the consequences are that a person is brought before a court and the whole process takes place. If that has been characterised by the Supreme Court as a judicial rather than an administrative act, it is difficult to see a significant difference between the step taken in initiating the process of a summons, which is a judicial act under the Supreme Court decision of The State (Clarke) v. Roche and the discretion in relation to a direction which the Attorney General has. The Attorney General must act within the terms of the statutory provision. That requires that warrants shall not be endorsed for execution if the Attorney General so directs, and he is mandated to so direct, unless, having considered such information as he deems appropriate, its sufficiency and the weight to be given to it, its relevance et cetera, he forms an opinion that there is a clear intention to prosecute this person for this offence in the part referred to and that such intention is founded on the existence of sufficient evidence.

I take the point that it appears that the existence of sufficient evidence relates to the intention to prosecute but nonetheless it would seem to be a matter of weighing facts and assessing evidence before him and then exercising a discretion whether to issue the direction under section 44B. If a direction is issued then the consequences for the individual are serious because it then starts a process which will lead to the person being extradited, even though there is recourse to a court, unless there is some other ground which can be invoked by the individual. It is necessary to bear in mind the implications of the exercise of the function.

Given that the Attorney General can issue a direction and can revoke the direction, it is difficult to draw a clear distinction between that and the exercise of the district court clerk or peace commissioner in the function of issuing a summons under the State clerk. In so far as the Supreme Court characterised the issuing of a summons as being a judicial act and not an administrative one, it would seem that there is a considerable doubt as to the constitutionality of this role for the Attorney General. However, the difficulty in following through on an opinion in relation to the role of the Attorney General is that if this was to be permanent legislation and, there was no further opportunity for consideration of it, then there would be a very strong case for having it referred to the Supreme Court for determination on that issue because the prior case law of the Supreme Court would seem to make it extremely arguable. I know that legal opinion is divided on it. Deputy John Kelly has expressed a different view and I have great respect for his view in this area. I also know that a number of other constitutional experts whom I also respect are of the firm view that it is constitutionally unsound or infirm and, therefore, it would normally be a case where it would be appropriate for the matter to be referred to the Supreme Court.

This is a Bill which lasts for a year and then lapses unless it is renewed. In those circumstances, if the President took the step of referring it to the Supreme Court under Article 26, half the year would be gone by the time there was a conclusion on it. The only fairly likely option in the matter is that on the first occasion when the Attorney General comes to exercise the power a challenge will be brought to the exercise of that power. If that happens it is safe to say that it would be likely to take more than a year for the proceedings to wend their way from the High Court to the Supreme Court. Therefore, from a legal point of view it is difficult to know how seriously to treat this Bill which has been characterised as being of such great importance.

I have been dealing with the constitutional and legal nature of the discretion being exercised by the Attorney General in issuing a direction under this Bill. On balance my view would be that it is not distinguishable from The State (Roche) v. Kelly judgement and, therefore, if that is being characterised as a judicial act it is open to challenge. There is a sufficient doubt about it to mean that it is almost certain to be litigated. It seems foolish to have an important provision in our extradition law that is almost certain to land up either by reference by the President under Article 26 or because my friend, Paddy McEntee, or one of his colleagues, has been instructed to bring proceedings or to argue a case before the High Court or Supreme Court. That does not seem to be a very secure ground on which to base our extradition law given how sensitive the whole area is and given the passions that it can arouse.

The other point which I wanted to comment on, apart from the constitutional and legal issues, was whether it was politically desirable and appropriate that the discretion would be exercised by the Attorney General. I share the view that has been widely put forward by representatives of a number of political parties in the other House, and also by other commentators, that it would be preferable that this discretion should be exercised, if it is constitutionally sound, by a person in an independent statutory position where they were not perceived to be, as the Attorney General is, the legal adviser to the Government, a political appointment and necessarily closely linked to any particular Government. We are talking not about personalities in any sense but about what is the appropriate framework and the appropriate mechanism. It is not a case of saying that only the Attorney General can do this for X or Y reasons. Nobody is saying that. The Attorney General has been chosen by the Government to be the person, not because he has to be, but because the Government have chosen him.

The amendment introduced in the Dáil to provide a similar provision to one in the Prosecution of Offences Act, 1974, that no representations can be made and that it is an offence to make representation to the Attorney General takes some of the worry and heat out of the issue as to whether the Attorney General would be subject to political and other representations. It still does not remove the undesirability of having a person in the position of the Attorney General exercising a function in this area. When there is an alternative, when the Director of Public Prosecutions exists and fulfils comparable functions and can exercise this function with the interests of this country at heart, I cannot see why it must be the Attorney General who performs this function. I cannot see the merit in disregarding genuine concerns and the genuine view that it is much better to have this kind of direction or certification given by somebody who is statutorily unable to receive any representation from anybody who must be independent in the exercise of his functions.

If the Government could say the only person who can do this is the Attorney General and that is why they decided the Attorney General should do it, that would be a different argument and the argument could be faced, but that is not the case. The Government have simply said: "The Attorney General is the most appropriate person and we are determined it will be the Attorney General." That is not a sustainable argument because the Attorney General is not the most appropriate person precisely because of the role played by the Attorney General, the manner of appointment of the Attorney General and the relationship between the Attorney General and the Government. Those are cogent reasons why he is not the most appropriate person and, as the functions can be adequately and completely fulfilled by an alternative existing office-holder, namely, the Director of Public Prosecutions, it would be prudent and it would be better for the optics— that current topical word — if it was the Director of Public Prosecutions who was exercising the function. This would improve the structure.

That is my argument on the question of whether the Attorney General is the appropriate person, but obviously that is affected to some extent by my view that the power given to the Attorney General may be constitutionally infirm. Our extradition law is becoming a lawyer's charter. I envisage that this new procedure will be likely to be challenged at an early stage in our courts. The Act itself, when it comes into operation, provides that it will lapse within a year. If not renewed it may lapse for other resons before that year is out or if it is renewed within whatever period it takes to get a final decision from the courts it may lapse after that. It is difficult, at the end of the day, to really feel that the whole measure is that important.

The reality is that the Extradition (European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism) Act came into operation. We have ratified it. We need to be concerned and we need to be vigilant about our extradition procedures. We need to be very concerned and continue to be concerned about the administration of justice either in Northern Ireland or in Britain in so far as it affects Irish people. The major thrust of the concern would be better employed in highlighting cases where injustice has been done or it is believed that it has been done and ensuring that people who are the victims of injustice have support and recourse to higher tribunal in that regard seeking to put forward under the Anglo-Irish Agreement deeper and more significant reforms of the Diplock Courts than have been highlighted publicly up to now in an attempt genuinely to improve the administration of justice in Northern Ireland.

The debate on extradition becomes more and more unreal, both at the political and the legal level, as times go on. We should be concerned. Extraditing citizens from a country is always a very serious matter. I have grave doubts about whether this Bill is either politically or legally a positive contribution but it certainly will give a field day to the lawyers in due course.

Before I go into what I am about to say on the Bill, perhaps at this stage it might be necessary for me to respond very briefly to some points Senator Robinson made in the earlier part of her contribution on what she referred to as the political aspect of the Bill. I found her emphasis on what she perceived to be Fianna Fáil dissent in this matter somewhat churlish. I fail to grasp Senator Robinson's point. Is she suggesting, for example, that valid political objections are somehow less valid because they are discussed and debated within the context of the party Whip? Of course Senator Robinson has had her own difficulties in accepting party discipline and I can understand her difficulty in understanding the modus operandi of the Fianna Fáil parliamentary party process. I was surprised by her comments as I understood that Senator Robinson was passionately opposed to the Anglo-Irish Agreement. Indeed, so much so that she resigned from the Labour Party. Be that as it may——

I was not opposed. I said it would not work.

——as a Member on the Government side of the House, I felt I could not allow Senator Robinson to make unfounded allegations. I compliment the Minister for Justice, the Taoiseach and indeed, the Government, on coming up with a formula which I hope will be acceptable to all sides of the House. Extradition of a citizen is a very serious matter and perhaps it is worth defining what extradition is. It entails the physical removal of a person from this State to custody abroad, there to be subject to enforced custody awaiting trial, interrogation, delay and, perhaps thereafter, conviction and imprisonment in a foreign country. The conditions experienced by an extradited person to a foreign jurisdiction are different from the experiences in one's own country. It is this aspect of the extradition process that I would wish to address.

I support the proposed role of the Attorney General in the Bill. I am pleased that the Minister has clarified the position of the Attorney General by pointing out that, as the Attorney General is currently responsible for representing the State in extradition cases, the additional responsibilities envisaged in this Bill are complementary to his traditional role. I find it difficult to understand the criticism expressed by the Government of the United Kingdom that this proposal will somehow inhibit the processing of extradition warrants.

With regard to a debate which has been continuing in the British House of Lords over the past couple of weeks and months on a Criminal Justice Bill of which extradition is a central plank, it might be of information to the House to know that the provisions and the proposals which the British Government are making in relation to extradition will result in most of the power being concentrated in the hands of the Secretary of State. In other words, it is a very political appointment. Many of the Lords during the debate pointed out their concern in that particular area.

I think that we in this country can point to the independence of the Attorney General irrespective of the party that appointed him and irrespective of the Government he serves. From that point of view I do not have any real objections to the Attorney General taking on this additional role. I can see Senator Robinson's point that perhaps in this context it will prove something of a field day for lawyers. Be that as it may, I do not think it is the function of this House to anticipate the legal interpretations which will be put on the Bill when enacted. That would be for another time.

The Minister for Justice has said that the purpose of the arrangements is to eliminate as far as possible the opportunity for requests being refused on technical grounds. In that context, with all due respect to our honourable friends across the Irish Sea, that my confidence would rest with our Minister for Justice rather than with the Prime Minister of Great Britain. The concession to extradite one's citizens to another jurisdiction is a serious matter. It is incumbent on this State to ensure that once the extradition warrant has been issued by the requesting State that we have confidence in the police and judicial system of that country. Also, we must be concerned that the custody of our citizens is in keeping with civilised standards of treatment and behaviour as practised by developed democracies. We must also concern ourselves that the subsequent trial process is held in an atmosphere conducive to a fair trial, especially a trial by jury.

It is fair to suggest that the vast majority of our citizens would not object to an extradition request from nearly all the member states of the EC. I say nearly all because of the controversy surrounding this Bill, and the debate on the ratification of the Extradition (European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism) Act, 1987, centres around the extradition specifically of Irish citizens to the United Kingdom. The desire of our people to insist on the best possible safeguards against the extradition of any of our citizens to a system in which I, for one, do not have the fullest confidence is a perfectly natural aspiration. Indeed, our British friends raised doubts about the integrity of the Belgian police and their judicial system when warrants were issued by the Belgian authorities for the extradition of United Kingdom citizens to their jurisdiction for heinous crimes allegedly committed at the Heysel Stadium some years ago. The concern of many people in Britain about the treatment of their citizens is best described by quoting from a speech by Lord Irvine of Lairg, a Scots Peer, during a debate on the United Kingdom's Criminal Justice Bill in the House of Lords. I quote from Hansard, 14 July 1987, col. 952:

The tragedy at the Heysel Stadium raised the strongest public feelings in Belgium, and naturally so. But since Belgium is one of the countries for which we can expect an Order in Council doing away with the prima facie requirements, I submit that public opinion in this country would be utterly opposed to a law which allowed Belgium, in a case where there is such strong public feeling in Belgium, to have extradition on demand of those British citizens whom it would have to do no more than identify and name, as well as specify the crime alleged; that is, manslaughter.

It sounds familiar. It sounds familiar to people in this country. Indeed, it sounds familiar to me in the context of cases before the British courts. Lord Irvine went on to mount a passionate argument against the proposal to remove the prima facie requirement. What was revealing about the debate was that in removing the prima facie requirement, a requirement I might add which was not included in our 1965 Extradition Act, the British proposal in to have a requirement that an Order in Council be made; even they are treading cautiously in processing extradition requests. As Lord Irvine put it, and I quote again from the same speech:

The procedure is subtly designed to suggest that the only relevant question will then be whether the legal system of the country in question can be trusted. Therefore, is it not correct and proper for the Republic of Ireland, acting as a sovereign independent State, to take whatever steps it feels are necessary to protect the rights of its citizens when extradited?

The proposal in the Criminal Justice Bill to change the British process of extradition and do away with the prima facie evidence happens only to those states in which the British Government believe that the system of justice is fair and a system in which they have confidence. It does not apply to all countries. Indeed an Order in Council will be required if this Bill passes before Britain will extradite without a prima facie case to a particular country requesting it.

I listened to my colleague, Senator Ferris, with some interest. He referred to the Birmingham Six. I must confess I found it difficult to conclude whether Senator Ferris, in his heart, believed in the innocence of the six or whether he had full confidence in the British Court of Appeal's process to the point that he will accept that ruling even if it goes against the men. I must say, and I am not bound by sub judice rules in this country in relation to that case, I do not believe the Court of Appeal process inspires confidence and not just as it applies to Irish citizens. The tradition of Court of Appeal process in Britain is against conceding or admitting mistakes of the past. However, if Senator Ferris believes that the Court of Appeal, being the ultimate arbiter in this case, and the decision that they take is the correct and right one, then he and I might have to part on that point.

Senator Ferris went on to refer to me specifically in relation to a motion before this House some months ago. I have not publicly commented on my motives in putting down the motion that Senator Ferris referred to but I now intend to do so. For some years past I in common with many other people in this country and indeed Irish people living in Britain and those who are concerned about civil liberties in Britain not necessarily Irish have been concerned about the treatment experienced by Irish citizens who find themselves caught up in the British police and judicial process on terrorist or terrorist-related offences. A prominent Labour MP, Mr. Chris Mullin, who wrote the book Error of Judgement subtitled “The True Story of the Birmingham Six” said that when it comes to Irish citizens exposed to the British judicial system on terrorist or terrorist-related charges they just throw away the rule book.

As a newly elected Member I took the earliest possible opportunity to place on record this widespread concern expressed. The moves to ratify the Extradition (European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism) Act without safeguards caused me and many others deep concern. I utilised the procedures of this House to give likeminded Members an opportunity to share that expression of concern. Subsequently, I was pleased to receive assurances that the Government were similarly concerned and would bring forward proposals they were confident would be acceptable to the Dáil and Seanad and to the country as a whole.

Several months later following the withdrawal of that motion voluntarily by me I believe the Government have gone a long way in satisfying those concerns by the contents of the Bill now before the House. However, I am still concerned about what would happen to extradited Irish citizens once they leave this jurisdiction. While the cases of the Birmingham Six, the Guildford Four and the Maguire family were not as a result of an extradition warrant, they do impinge on the current debate in so far as treatment is concerned. Statements of fact on the appalling treatment meted out to the 17 people during their pre-trial custody and the immediate aftermath of their trial and conviction are not contested even by the British Judiciary. They raise serious questions about the attitudes of the British police and prison authorities towards Irish people in their official care. Even if the Birmingham Six, the Guildford Four and the Maguire family are all guilty as charged, I cannot accept that the manner in which they were treated by the British police and prison authorities is acceptable behaviour for any civilised country.

I can understand the emotive reactions of a police force and public generated by the carnage of Birmingham, Woolwich, Guildford and the other locations in Britain at the time of the bombing outrages of the seventies but does that justify this capitulation of those in authority to the law of the jungle? I think not. That was 1974, 13 years ago, during a time when bombs were going off all over Britain or so the argument goes. There has to be a realisation of what the British police and people were experiencing at that time in order to try to understand, and in the eyes of some people perhaps justify the behaviour of which I speak. However, such treatment is still being meted out to Irish citizens even as I speak.

I wish to refer specifically to the position of Miss Martina Shanahan from Rathfarnham in County Dublin, an Irish citizen arrested and charged along with two other Irish citizens, Finbar Cullen and John McCann, on 30 August of this year and remanded in custody on a charge of conspiracy to murder Mr. Tom King, the Secretary for State for Northern Ireland. I refer to it in the context of Miss Shanahan's category A status as a remand prisoner at Risley Remand Centre in Cheshire. Miss Shanahan is the only female category A remand prisoner in the United Kingdom. In other words, she is deemed by the Home Office in Britain to be more dangerous than even Myra Hinley, the Moors murderer. Miss Shanahan has had no previous convictions before courts either in this country, in Britain or anywhere else. She is 22 years of age. Her incarceration at Risley Remand Centre makes appalling reading.

I should like to refer to those conditions in the context of the debates now taking place on the extradition of citizens to the British jurisdiction. Since her arrest Miss Shanahan has spoken to no one at Risley except her family for one hour visits over the past number of weeks. They have to travel from Dublin overnight by ferry to visit her once a week. They are a family of limited means and they travel because Miss Shanahan does not have conversation with any other human being if they do not travel. Miss Shanahan is prohibited from any contact with any other prisoner. When she leaves her cell once a day for exercise which entails walking around an empty prison ground, all other prisoners are cleared from the exercise yard. Miss Shanahan has kept a log of her exercise periods during October and November and during the month of October she was denied even that one hour exercise for 15 days out of the month, while during the month of November Miss Shanahan was denied that one hour exercise period for 18 days out of the month. When she did try on one occasion to look out of the window of her cell at other prisoners exercising she was told that was forbidden.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

I am very loath to interrupt the Senator but is it really relevant to the Bill?

We are debating extradition. We are debating the extradition of citizens from this jurisdiction to the British jurisdiction and to other countries in the EC. I think it is fair and relevant that I should inform the House of the treatment that is being meted out to an Irish citizen, albeit not one who has been extradited but who has been charged with the type of offence which this particular Bill concerns itself with an indeed the type of offence that ultimately will be used if extradition requests are received from Britain.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

The Chair does not mind passing references to relevant matters but to develop something that does not have direct relevance to the legislation before the House——

I accept your ruling. I will conclude on the specifics of it. It has not been made public before. I felt it was important that it should be in as unemotional and dispassionate way as I can muster. Miss Shanahan's solicitor, an English woman, Mrs. Gareth Pierce, said that in her experience of dealing with Irish citizens who have been charged with terrorist or terrorist-related offences, it is impossible for any Irish prisoner charged with such an offence to be considered on his or her own merits for the determination of prison conditions.

I might add that Miss Shanahan has given no indication to the prison authorities that she is a violent prisoner. Indeed, she is clearly a polite, well-behaved and very pleasant young women who is a model prisoner. I will not dwell any further on the conditions attached to Miss Shanahan's incarceration but having the Minister for Justice here I felt that it was important he should hear at first hand and that also it should be placed on the record of the House.

May I finally say about her particular case that Miss Shanahan has not been convicted of any charge. She is a remand prisoner and in the eyes of the law is innocent until proven otherwise. The conditions of which I speak could continue for a period of up to 12 months. I plead with the Minister to use whatever influences he can to ensure that Miss Shanahan's condition is at least alleviated. I am sure he would agree with me that one would not treat a dog the way she is being treated.

There are several other examples of inhuman treatment of Irish prisoners at the hands of callous prison authorities in Britain. The position of Irish prisoners in Wakefield Prison is notorious and the people who suffer the most are the families of these prisoners. Therefore, I again ask the Minister to convey to the Government a request I have made at another time that an official be appointed to the Irish Embassy in London to monitor, on a full time basis, the conditions under which Irish prisoners are being held in British jails.

Hear, hear.

I have to report to this House, reluctantly I might add, that the perception of the role of our embassy in London among those helping to alleviate the conditions of Irish prisoners in British jails is not a good one. There is a suggestion that the embassy is more concerned with maintaining cordial relations with the Home Office rather than bringing to their attention on a continuous basis cases such as those which I have outlined. It is in that context that I am proposing the appointment of such an official.

I should like to inform the House that the Federal Republic of West Germany has such an official based in their London embassy and British embassies abroad routinely visit all of their nationals held in custody in foreign jails and see to their welfare irrespective of their crime. I make that emphasis because there are some people in this country who believe that because prisoners in Britain have been convicted of a particular crime they do not deserve basic human rights. I am sad to relate that according to my information the role of our senior embassy in this area of continuous monitoring of the conditions of Irish prisoners has been sadly lacking. It is to correct this situation that I am strongly pressing on the Government in the context of the debate they appoint a suitably qualified person as soon as possible.

On a point of order, I feel that the allegations being made against the embassy staff in London are totally unwarranted and I believe them to be untrue. I would like to say to the Senator that, if he persists in making these allegations, perhaps he should arrange for a meeting with the Minister for Foreign Affairs to discuss this with him so that somebody there who is very familiar with what is going on can deal with such very wild, exaggerated and dangerous accusations.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

The Chair has already said that he would prefer if the Senator would deal with the Bill before the House.

My own personal experience is in line with that of the Minister, not of the Senator in this matter.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

Senator Mooney on the Extradition Bill.

May I clarify what I have said? Perhaps I did not make it clear enough. I am passing on information which has been passed to me by people who are working in the context we are talking about. I personally have no criticisms of the embassy or of its staff.

I think the approach adopted by Senator Mooney is unbelievably incorrect.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

If the Senator wants to do that he has direct channels open to him through his colleagues in the Government ministries. It is certainly unusual in the course of a Second Reading debate to bring in details of extraneous matters. I regret that the Chair has to point that out repeatedly to the Senator. I would ask that Senator Mooney continue on the Bill before the House.

In conclusion I wish to put on record my reservations about the British system of justice as it applies to Irish citizens. However, I am proud that an Irish Government have stated unambiguously that if extradition is to be continued it will be according to Irish rules.

I wish for warm and friendly relations between our two Governments but on a basis of equal respect. It is past time that we in this country refused to accept the xenophobia of the British people without protest. If we have no respect for our citizens when they are delivered up to another jurisdiction and do not protect their basic human rights we can hardly expect Britain or any other country to honour and respect our Irishness and our separate identity as a nation. Lest anyone should misinterpret my remarks today let me clearly and unequivocally state my total abhorrence of violence as a means of uniting this country. Yes, I am a republican but I was reared in a tradition of parliamentary democracy, a tradition I am proud to uphold and protect as a Member of this honoured House. Calling for the rights of our citizens abroad to be protected has nothing to do with terrorism but everything to do with human rights. So long as I have breath in my body I will champion that cause.

Once again I compliment the Government on coming up with the proposals contained in this Bill. It was an exercise in tightrope walking that would do justice to the best of that profession. Let us hope that when we look back on this debate we will not regret its consequences but all of us will have the opportunity of coming back to the House 12 months hence and reviewing how the Bill has been operating. As they say as Gaeilge, beidh sin lá eile.

Debate adjourned.