Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Information on EEC Implications.


asked the Taoiseach if he will publish a revised white paper on the European Economic Community so that everyone may be able from one document to acquire adequate, up-to-date, authoritative information about the political and economic implications for Ireland of adherence to the Community.

The information contained in the White Paper published last July has, so far as necessary, been brought up to date by the publication of my statement in Brussels on the 18th January last and by the circulation of a summary of the agricultural decisions so far arrived at by the European Economic Community. There have also been replies to Parliamentary Questions. It is intended to continue to provide essential information according as it becomes available, but it is considered premature to issue a further White Paper until—on the basis of negotiations with the Governments of the member States of the Community —the terms and conditions on which Ireland may be admitted to membership are known, as only then will it be possible to indicate the detailed implications.

Does the Taoiseach not accept the view that everybody should know authoritatively what the position is?

So far as the analysis, amplification and explanation of the provisions of the Rome Treaty are concerned, that has been provided for Deputies in the White Paper already published. So far as decisions taken by the Council of the Community since the publication of the White Paper are concerned, that information has also been given to Deputies by the circulation of the record of decisions reached on agricultural policy and a rather comprehensive interpretation of these decisions. In relation to the political implications, Deputies who read this morning's newspapers will have much more up-to-date information than the Government could possibly supply by means of a White Paper and, furthermore, they will have an indication of the difficulty of attempting to make an assessment of probabilities in that respect at this time.

Does the Taoiseach not accept that it is desirable that there should be an authoritative document available rather than that the public as well as Deputies should have to seek their information from the newspapers? Does he not also agree, even on the basis of the reply given by him, that it would require an enormous amount of research by members of the public to annotate and get together the various replies given in this House to questions put to the Taoiseach? Does he not accept that the ordinary member of the public is unable to provide that research and to get the information in that way? Would it not be far better if the Government would disclose to the country in one document, for anyone who wants to read it in one document, such information as they now have, knowing and accepting, as I freely accept, that further information will become available in future weeks and months? But, as of to-day, let us have authoritatively stated what is the position and we can move on from there.

So far as firm decisions have been taken on any matter relating to the Economic Community, information regarding them has been supplied to Deputies.

It has not been supplied to the country, except in bits and pieces through Questions and surely it should be all in one official document.

Deputies who have read the material would not describe what has been supplied to them in respect of agriculture, either the decisions themselves or the interpretation of them, as bits and pieces. They constitute a very large chunk.

Did the Taoiseach himself not refer to replies to Questions? There have been innumerable replies in this House. If the Taoiseach meant anything by his original answer, then he should follow it up. The replies to Questions were bits and pieces of information. It is not reasonable to expect the country to piece them together. It is the job of the Government to do it and if, for any reason, they are anxious to keep something back——

Most of these replies merely repeated information given in the White Paper.

The Taoiseach could do it, if he wanted to. He is trying to hide something.

The Deputy must do his own home work.

The Deputy has done it but the country is trying to get it from the Taoiseach, and he is trying to hide it.