Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Dáil Éireann díospóireacht -
Tuesday, 7 Sep 1976

Vol. 292 No. 4

Criminal Law Bill, 1976: Second Stage.

I move: "That the Bill be now read a Second Time."

An explanatory memorandum has been circulated with the Bill and I hope that it provides sufficient detail to be of assistance to Deputies. The Bill which has 16 sections, proposes to make a number of amendments in the criminal law. Some of those amendments relate directly or indirectly to the Offences Against the State Acts but even those that are not in terms related to those Acts are designed primarily to strengthen the law against those who actively participate in subversive activities and those who assist them.

It will be clear, of course, that some of these provisions could, in practice as well as in theory, apply to certain crimes unconnected with subversive activity—to take one obvious example, the provisions designed to enable a road block to be effectively operated could be put into effect in the aftermath of a bank robbery and of course a bank robbery might or might not be the work of a subversive group. However, the provisions that do not directly relate to the Offences Against the State Acts all deal with crimes or situations which are likely in practice to be frequently associated with subversive activities and I have thought it right to include in the Bill any desirable and justifiable amendment that falls into that category. On the other hand, I have left for another day the introduction of any amendment, however desirable in itself it might be, that seemed to be likely in practice to be related as much to the general run of crime as to subversive activities.

Section 1 of the Bill is the definitions section. The terms "governor" and "prison officer" are defined in the section to include Army personnel in any military establishment to which prisoners are transferred to military custody under the Prisons Act, 1972.

Section 2 provides for increased maximum penalties for a number of offences under the Offences Against the State Act, 1939. Details are given in the table in paragraph 3 of the explanatory memorandum. The Government are satisfied that the maximum penalties in the 1939 Act are totally inadequate in present circumstances. This applies not only to offences that are the subject of frequent prosecutions such as membership of an unlawful organisation but also to offences such as the obstruction by any form of intimidation of the carrying on of the Government of the State which are contrary to section 7 of the 1939 Act but some of which appear to be difficult in practice to prove so that prosecutions for them are infrequent. Infrequent though prosecutions for them may be, these are very serious offences and the maximum penalty for them should reflect that fact.

In providing for this, it is also desirable, as a matter of principle, to retain an appropriate internal relationship between the various offences specified in the 1939 Act. Accordingly, if a maximum penalty of 20 years is provided, as the Bill proposes, for an offence against section 7 of the 1939 Act—an offence referred to in the side note to the section as "obstruction of Government"—it would be inappropriate to have a lower maximum penalty for an offence under section 6 —an offence described in the side note as "usurpation of functions of Government", even though there have been few if any prosecutions for offences against section 6. It would be inappropriate because an offence under section 6 could not in principle be regarded as of a lesser order of importance than an offence under section 7.

I have mentioned the offence of membership of an unlawful organisation, the maximum penalty for which is two years, a maximum which the Bill proposes to raise to seven years. I am aware that the point has been made more than once in recent times that such a proposal is irrelevant in view of the fact that the courts seldom if ever impose the present maximum. I mention this point because it is one that calls for an answer. I am satisfied that there is an answer and a good one and it is this. The courts, when deciding on a penalty, have to take account of the fact that a particular maximum is prescribed by law and it is a fair assumption that they look on that maximum as something that ought to be reserved for the exceptional circumstances—what one might describe as the worst cases as shown by the evidence before them. If, however, the Oireachtas decides to increase that maximum substantially, the courts are then discharging their functions in a new framework and they can, and I have no doubt will, take account not only of the wider discretion allowed by the new law but also of the clear intentions of the Oireachtas as to the inherent seriousness of the crime.

Section 3 proposes that any person who incites or invites other persons to join an unlawful organisation will be guilty of an offence carrying a maximum penalty of ten years' imprisonment. This section is aimed at those who recruit people, usually impressionable young people, into unlawful organisations. The heartbreak and suffering that have been imposed on many Irish families and the insidious methods that have been used to intice immature youngsters to engage in subversive activities make it imperative to ensure that when those responsible are brought to justice adequate penalties are available.

The proposed offence under section 3 has been criticised on the ground that the conduct in question is already punishable because of the rule that incitement to commit an offence is itself already a common law offence. It is true that there is such a common law offence. It is a misdemeanour and, as such, punishable, in theory, with unlimited fine and imprisonment, but that fact does not make the section inappropriate. To rely on the common law rule in order to deal with the kinds of conduct covered by section 3 would be a very indirect and technical method of approach. By adopting that method one would be saying in effect, (1) that under section 21 of the Offences Against the State Act a person who is a member of an unlawful organisation is guilty of an offence, (2) that the accused incited a person to become, and therefore to be, a member and (3) that the accused is therefore guilty of the common law offence of incitement.

To reply on the doctrine of incitement could no doubt be adequate and appropriate in respect of many offences; but in the present instance we are concerned with a particular evil the essence of which is recruiting for unlawful organisations and it is clearly right to deal with it by a specific provision referring to the kinds of conduct aimed at and providing the appropriate penalty. This is what section 3 seeks to do, and it is important to note three points in respect of it. The first is that the offence is not to be limited to incitement to join the organisation but will extend to incitement to help the organisation by other activities which might not be easily identifiable as specific offences so that persons could be successfully prosecuted for incitement to commit them.

The second point is that the proposed offence will apply to inviting as well as inciting. This will widen its scope; for Professor Glanville Williams in his statement of the law in his book “Criminal Law: the General Part”, 2nd edition p. 612, writes: “An inciter is one who counsels, commands or advises the commission of a crime.” By bringing in inviting the Bill will forestall any defence such as: “I didn't advise him to join—I only suggested that he might like to join if he agreed with our objects and I made clear that it was up to him to decide.” The third point is that, by providing a higher penalty for bringing other people into an unlawful organisation than for being a member, the Bill will show clearly that the Legislature regards recruiting as even more serious than membership.

Section 4 relates to the closing of buildings used for the purposes of an unlawful organisation. It proposes to amend section 25 of the 1939 Act by increasing the initial period of operation of a closing order from three to 12 months and authorising an extension for a period or periods not exceeding 12 months but so that the total period of closure shall not exceed three years.

Section 5 proposes to replace section 29 of the 1939 Act and relates to the issue of search warrants. The new section empowers a member of the Garda Síochána not below the rank of superintendent to issue a search warrant to a member of the Garda Síochána not below the rank of sergeant in respect of any place in the circumstances outlined in the section. The member authorised may be accompanied by any member of the Garda Síochána or the Defence Forces. The new section provides for the issue of a warrant in respect of any evidence —section 29 only covered documentary evidence. Moreover, section 29 provided for the issue of the warrant to a member of the Garda Síochána not below the rank of inspector but the new section enables a warrant to be issued to a member not below the rank of sergeant. This latter change is proposed because the requirement that an inspector be in charge has caused substantial difficulties especially in circumstances where it was very important that several searches be carried out simultaneously.

There could be situations where unarmed gardaí executing such search warrants might need to seek assistance from the Defence Forces and, accordingly, provision is made to authorise members of the Defence Forces to accompany and assist gardaí to carry out searches under the section. A person who obstructs or attempts to obstruct a search or who refuses to give his name and address or gives a false or misleading name or address will be liable on conviction on indictment to five years' imprisonment.

Section 6 relates to escape from lawful custody. Subsection (1) proposes to make it an offence to aid a person to escape from lawful custody or to harbour such person after escape. A person on conviction on indictment of an offence under this subsection may be sentenced to ten years' imprisonment. Subsection (2) makes it unlawful to convey articles into or out of a prison contrary to any rules or regulations in force in relation to a prison and provides a penalty of up to five years' imprisonment. Subsection (3) empowers a prison officer in the interests of security to search any person while he is in prison or in the custody of the governor of a prison. The prison rules provide for such searching and the object of the section is to provide for it by statute.

The explanatory memorandum points out that the section—that is, section 6—does not deal with escape itself, but only aiding or harbouring. Escaping is a common law offence— as indeed are aiding and harbouring, at all events where aiding and harbouring are related to felonies—but escaping, of itself and unrelated to the use of force, is of no special relevance to subversive activities and any question of amending the law in regard to it will have to await another Bill.

As regards aiding and harbouring, the proposed penalty, strange though it may seem, is in theory a reduction since, by reson of general provisions or principles of the common law, such offences could carry life imprisonment at the moment though I must qualify that by saying that it is possible that some old statutory provisions might be interpreted as having modified the common law rule in some respects. Be that as it may, I need hardly say that it is not my intention in proposing this new section to seek to diminish the seriousness of these offences but quite the contrary. I am in no doubt that if a case were to come before the courts they would regard the maximum penalty of life imprisonment for such an offence as an anachronism that could not be regarded as a useful guideline. By providing for a statutory offence with a realistic maximum penalty, the Oireachtas will be providing an up-to-date guideline reflecting in a realistic and credible way the seriousness of these offences.

Section 7 proposes to give power to the Garda in relation to persons in custody under section 30 of the 1939 Act or near the Emergency Powers Act, 1976, to do all or any of the things that are specified at subsection (1). The Garda already have some of these powers in relation to persons taken into custody under the 1939 Act and the additional powers are being proposed so as to enable palm prints to be taken and clothing and so on to be examined scientifically. Obstruction of the Garda when exercising powers under this section will be an offence carrying a maximum penalty of five years' imprisonment.

Section 8 relates to situations in which the Garda require vehicles to halt, as for example, at road check points when they suspect that offences of the kind specified in the section have been, are being or are about to be committed. The Garda at present have no general power of search of vehicles without warrant. They already have power under section 109 of the Road Traffic Act, 1961, to require a driver to stop a vehicle. The Bill proposes to give them powers of search whenever they are investigating any of the offences specified, which by the way, with a few exceptions, are all, under existing law, offences in respect of which the gardaí have powers of arrest without warrant. If either before or after the search the gardaí suspect that any occupant of the vehicle is concerned in an offence to which the section applies or that there is evidence of such an offence in the vehicle or on anybody in the vehicle, then, under this proposed section of the Bill, they can search all or any of those persons. The Garda are also being given power in this section of the Bill to place barriers in front of vehicles to force them to stop whenever the Garda are operating pursuant to the provisions of this section.

There is a need for these Garda powers. Many serious crimes that have been perpetrated in recent years have necessitated the mounting of widespread road check-points by the Garda, with the assistance of the Army, in an effort to apprehend the culprits. On occasions too, check-points have been mounted where the gardaí had reason to fear that some particularly serious offence would be attempted.

The public have co-operated exceptionally well on these occasions and indeed the readiness with which all but a very small minority have co-operated is, I think, evidence that the public recognises very fully that these road-blocks, inconvenient though they be, are necessary for the protection of the public and that the vast majority or people would unhesitatingly agree that it is right that the Garda should have a clear right to insist on checking a car in such circumstances.

As I have said, the exercise of these powers is being restricted to situations where the Garda are investigating offences of the kind set out in the section. It is proposed in section 15 to give the Defence Forces like powers when a specific request for their assistance is made by a Garda superintendent.

While I have said that the Garda have no general right to search cars, I would like—in case any situation in which the Garda have to mount road-blocks should arise before this Bill is enacted—to make it quite clear that this is not to be taken as meaning that the Garda are powerless against any criminal who might feel like insisting on what he regarded as his legal right to refuse to open a car boot. The fact of the matter is that public acceptance of the need for such action is so near to being unanimous that the person who refuses to co-operate is virtually asking to be treated as a suspect and, of course, when the Garda have reasonable grounds for suspicion, they have a number of powers which they can call on.

Section 9 provides a power for members of the Garda, the prison staff or the Defence Forces to seize anything found by them in the course of searches which they believe to be evidence of an offence or suspected offence. The section also provides that anything seized can be retained for a reasonable time and, if proceedings are introduced, until the conclusion of the proceedings where it is required for use in evidence. Thereafter the Police Property Act, 1897, will apply. The 1897 Act makes provision for the disposal of property that has come into the possession of the Garda in connection with a criminal charge. An application to the District Court may be made either by the Garda or by a claimant of the property and the court may make an order for its disposal. The Bill proposes that this will also be the case in relation to anything that is seized under section 9.

Section 10 of the Bill prohibits unauthorised possession by a prisoner or by a visitor to a prisoner while the visitor is in the precincts of the prison and so on, of photographs, sketches or such like of a prison, Garda station or courthouse and it provides a maximum penalty for an offence of five years imprisonment.

Section 11 provides for the offences of kidnapping, false imprisonment and hi-jacking of vehicles to be felonies and for a penalty of life imprisonment for a person guilty of kidnapping or guilty of false imprisonment.

In section 12 we are dealing with the serious problem posed by bomb hoaxes. These hoax calls are numerous. They not only cause serious inconvenience to the business and social life of the country but cause serious economic loss both directly and because they involve, in many cases, the deployment of Garda resources to investigate them. Deputies will be aware that the streets of central Dublin have had to be cordoned off and cleared on many occasions in recent times, sometimes as often as three times a day. Anyone who makes such hoax call will under the Bill's proposals be liable on conviction to go to prison for five years.

I now turn to section 13 of the Bill. The incidence of assaults by prisoners on prison officers, assaults by prisoners on other prisoners, rioting and wilful damage to prisons and prison property has been on the increase. The prisoners concerned, who are usually serving lengthy sentences, are aware that, when they are prosecuted, the courts have tended to impose sentences which are concurrent with the sentences they are already serving, with the result that the sentence really means nothing. This section of the Bill proposes that a sentence consecutive on the sentence being served be imposed in every case of this kind with the proviso that consecutive sentences passed by the District Court shall not in the aggregate exceed 12 months. As the House will appreciate, the proviso is included for one reason only, namely, as a safeguard against the risk that the provision might otherwise involve giving a greater jurisdiction to the District Court than the Constitution would permit.

Section 14, which relates to definition of "documents", is dealt with fully in the explanatory memorandum and I do not think I need go into further detail on it here.

Section 15 proposes to confer on the Defence Forces certain limited powers of arrest and search in situations where they are on duty in uniform and only in response to a request by a Garda superintendent. The members of the Defence Forces are being given exactly similar powers to the powers the Garda have —no more and no less—in relation to the offences set out in section 8 of the Bill and only those offences and only, too, when those members are operating following a request by a Garda superintendent and during the period specified in that request. The giving of these powers to the Army will enable the Garda and the Army to deploy their resources to the maximum advantage and to initiate the most rapid and effective response possible to every situation calling for action by them when investigation of any of the listed offences may so require.

The Government are conscious that the giving of these powers is a new departure but felt that in an emergency situation it is incumbent on the State to maximise its resources in tackling the emergency. It seemed, therefore, only right and proper that a large uniformed and disciplined force already in the service of the State should be utilised more fully by extending its powers to enable it actively to assist the police where and when the police find it necessary to seek its assistance rather than stand passively by as is largely the case now. Deputies will note that the primacy of the police as the law enforcement agency of the State is preserved in that the Army powers can only come into being on foot of a police requisition and then only for the period specified in such requisition. It is envisaged that, generally speaking, there will be no widespread change in the present mode of operating and that the extra powers will be utilised only to meet a special exigency and then only in relation to a particular spot at a particular time. Deputies will note, too, that the powers proposed to be conferred are strictly limited to the class of offences described in section 8.

The final section of the Bill is section 16. Subsection (1) gives the short title. Subsection (2) is a transitional provision the effect of which is that the increased penalties being provided in sections 2 and 11 of the Bill will not apply in relation to offences committed before the Bill becomes law and that section 13 (1) declaring the offences of kidnapping, false imprisonment and hi-jacking of vehicles to be felonies will not apply to such offences committed before the passing of the Bill.

There has been some controversy in regard to the total package proposed by the Government, in particular recently, in connection with section 3. Some sectors of the media are apprehensive that they will be inhibited in the practice of their profession. I invite attention again to the wording of that section which seeks to make it an offence to invite or incite people to join, support or assist unlawful organisations. I submit that no law-abiding citizen, whatever his calling in life, need fear this section. Nobody need fear it unless he sets out deliberately to act in contravention of it. His democratic rights are not impeded by it.

Rightly and happily it will never be a decision for me as Minister for Justice or for any other holder of the office to say if there has been a breach by any citizen of this section. Our democracy provides two safeguards against executive interference in this matter. Firstly, whether a prosecution should be mounted is a matter for an independent public official, the Director of Public Prosecutions, who is independent in law and in practice. The second safeguard is that a court of law will have to be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that the action complained of constitutes a breach of the law. Our courts, too, are independent in law and in practice. If, after this process, a citizen, no matter what his calling or rank in society, is found guilty of a breach of a law, especially one designed to combat terrorism, then I can have no sympathy for him.

We are fortunate to enjoy the freedoms of a democratic society. It is the intention of the Government to preserve those freedoms. This is the fundamental responsibility of the Government. It is a responsibility which cannot be shrugged off or given less than full attention or given to any one else to discharge. Furthermore the Government, unlike their critics, other than the Opposition, are answerable to the electorate for the manner in which they discharge their responsibility. I said it in the Upper House in the debate on the motion and I say it again here: we will be quite happy to face the Irish electorate on this legislative package.

I commend the Bill to the House.

The Leader of the Opposition and all other speakers from this side of the House have stated that this Party will support the Government in any measure which it is thought necessary to introduce to deal with illegal organisations or with criminal activities generally. That undertaking still stands. As the Leader of my party and others have said, we do have grave and justifiable reservations about some sections of the Bill. Unless the Government are reasonable in their approach, particularly in regard to our amendments, we will have no option but to vote against certain sections of the Bill. I understand that the Minister for Justice has stated that the Government would be reasonable in their approach to amendments. I will find it very interesting to see what the Minister for Justice regards as reasonable.

In the debate on the emergency motion last week I stated that this legislation and alleged state of emergency was a spurious exercise designed by persons with devious motives.

Sections 2 and 3 of this Bill illustrate the validity and force of that contention. In section 2, the powers sought are to increase the sentences for five different offences created under the Offences Against the State Act, 1939. We have no objection to such penalties being increased in the manner sought, but I want it noted that in the first real section, section 2, the window-dressing operation again becomes apparent. Sentences are to be doubled, and more than doubled in three cases, in relation to sections 6, 7 and 15 of the 1939 Act. I do not believe a prosecution has been brought under those sections since the Act first came into operation 37 years ago. I am open to correction on that point and I hope the Minister will refer to it at a later stage.

Nothing said by the Taoiseach, or, indeed, any other Government speaker so far, has given any evidence that it is envisaged that these sections will be more necessary in the future than in the past. If that remains the position, doubling the sentences in non-operative and unused criminal law sections is surely an exercise in futility, and unlikely to contribute very much to the ending of a state of emergency.

The solemn statement made by the Taoiseach last week introducing the resolution creating the state of emergency was that section 3 of the Bill was designed to catch those who recruited members for the IRA. If this is the Government's intention, one would have thought they would have had the basic wit or intelligence to say in the section that it was an offence to recruit for the IRA or any other illegal organisation. The word "recruit" is not mentioned in the section. This great package of legislation which the Taoiseach claims will, in part, make it an offence for anyone to recruit for the IRA does not expressly do so.

To make clear what is intended we propose to insert in the form of an amendment the word "recruit" in the section during Committee Stage. I presume the Government and the Minister for Justice will regard the addition of the word "recruit" as a reasonable amendment. I hope when we come to the other amendments we will be putting down to the same section, they will regard them as equally reasonable. As it stands I believe section 3 is far too wide in its phraseology. If section 3 is designed to catch those who recruit for the IRA, well and good. If so, the Bill should make that the offence. If after any period of its operation as the law, the Minister finds a need to extend the section by reason of any court decisions he will find this side of the House totally co-operative in any amendment he needs. It is a bad principle to make a criminal offence so wide as to be almost meaningless, and so wide as to catch people it was never the intention of this Legislature to catch for a criminal offence.

During the course of "Hospitals Requests" on Radio Éireann if the good lady, Miss Buchanan, plays the record "We are off to Dublin in the Green" for Johnny Murphy who might be in Limerick Hospital at the request of Jimmy Jones, under section 3, as drafted, a prosecution could be launched on Miss Buchanan, the sender of the request, and probably the technical staff responsible for putting the programme on the air. I expect the Minister will retort that this is not what is intended by the section. I accept this is not the sort of situation or incident this House as a body wants cured or remedied by this section. Nevertheless, that type of nonsensical situation could occur.

Is a newspaper proprietor whose paper publishes a picture of an IRA march or demonstration in Belfast, or whose news columns carry a report of proceedings in a Northern Ireland court which includes, say, a speech from the dock by a self-professed member of the IRA who, immediately before he is sent down for a period of maybe 15 or 20 years' imprisonment, makes a glowing and optimistic comment about the role and future of the IRA, liable to prosecution under this section? As a side note I might add that if the accused was a member of the UVF, and he made similar optimistic or threatening noises about the future prospects of the UVF, it would not be an offence to publish such comments in a paper here because the UVF is not a proscribed organisation in this State. Under the section, as drafted, such charges are open to be made. I do not believe that is what this House or the country wants or intends. This House and the country are quite happy that a law should be enacted making it a serious criminal offence to recruit persons to join the IRA. I would say to the Minister that the section should make that the offence and visit it with heavy penalties. We should not make the section so wide as to be open to abuse.

When serious criminal offences are being created by the Oireachtas, it is not sufficient for the Minister or the Government to state that the law, when enacted, will not be abused or operated in a manner which is oppressive. It is more desirable to see clearly the mischief which is sought to be cured and make that the offence and not go unnecessarily further. During the course of Committee Stage when we are discussing the amendments, the Minister will have the opportunity of accepting what I consider to be a very reasonable amendment which would delete some of the words in section 3 as drafted. The section would then read:

Any person who ...incites or invites or recruits another person ...to join an unlawful organisation...

We are happy that this would make for better legislation We will also propose that a special or separate offence be brought in for those who get at young people in particular. We believe it is even more serious that young people under 18 years of age can be got at, and we feel they must be protected.

We have no great objection to section 4. In section 5 there seems to me to be one substantial change in the law despite the fact that the Explanatory Memorandum is less than honest by merely stating this is a replacement section for section 29 of the Offences Against the State Act, 1939. The substantial change is that under section 29 (2) of the 1939 Act it had to be a chief superintendent who issued the search warrant. This has now been brought down to the rank of superintendent. The power to seize any document or thing found in a building or vehicle or place where he was searching was limited to seizing the document or thing which the garda searching reasonably believed to be evidence of or to relate directly or indirectly to the commission or intended commission of an offence under any section or subsection of the Offences Against the State Act or to the commission or intended commission of treason.

In the new subsection (2) to section 29 which is proposed by this Bill it is not necessary for the garda searching to have any belief, reasonable or otherwise, that what he wishes to seize and what he may seize has anything to do with the direct or indirect commission of any offence. I do not know why this phraseology and these extra powers are being sought by the Minister. On the face of it, it seems that the old provision was sufficiently wide to enable the gardaí to seize anything they wished to seize.

I do not know of any cases—if there are any I would be glad if the Minister would tell the House—where the gardaí, wishing to seize any papers or things arising out of a search were unable to do so. It is stating the obvious to say that the gardaí should not be seizing any documents or things unless such documents or things are to be related to offences which had taken place and which the garda officer in charge might reasonably believe to be evidence relating to a case or might relate to what the garda officer believes to be the proposed commission of an offence. This could be regarded as another example of an over-reaction on the part of the Government and the Minister. It is an over-reaction that is not justified by any difficulty the gardaí have found themselves in in relation to searches in the past. I do not believe it is a power which is being sought by the Garda. It is also the first example where we find that the explanatory memorandum is less than frank in its description of what this Bill suggests.

In relation to section 6, read in conjunction with section 9, we are totally in favour of legislation being enacted that will make it an offence for anyone assisting a person to escape from lawful custody. We on this side of the House will give the Minister every co-operation in seeking to ensure that persons do not escape from lawful custody and those who may assist them are prosecuted. There are two points I should like to raise. The first priority of this Government should be that persons lawfully in custody in this State do not escape from lawful custody. The record of the Government since they came into office in relation to escapes of persons, either serving sentences or awaiting trial, whether from prisons or courthouses within the State is appalling. It is shameful, to say the least of it.

No amount of inquiries, carried out by judicial persons, no matter how distinguished, can disguise the fact that a Government who like to describe themselves as a law and order Government and come to this House seeking declarations of states of emergency, are not competent to retain within a prison or courthouse walls those persons who are or have been convicted of serious offences or are awaiting trial for serious offences. It is no wonder that the Government say there is a state of emergency when the people who are convicted of criminal offences can just as easily break out of a place in which they are in lawful custody.

The second matter which the Minister should deal with in relation to sections 6 and 9, when read together, is the memorandum issued by the Incorporated Law Society of Ireland. I understand that society sent a copy of that memorandum to the Minister. This society comprises the solicitors of the country. It is a responsible organisation and a body whose views in relation to legislation such as this should seriously be taken into account by the Minister and the House. The Minister is a solicitor by profession and he is unlikely to call the views of the Incorporated Law Society of Ireland subversive or tending to subversion. In their memorandum the society expressed their concern about section 6, when read in conjunction with section 9. Section 6 (2) provides that any person who conveys or attempts to convey any article or thing into or out of a prison or to a person in prison is, in certain circumstances, guilty of an offence. Subsection (3) of that section entitles a prison officer to search any person while he is in a prison or while he is in the custody of the governor of a prison.

The society take the view that the provisions of this section, taken in conjunction with section 9 which empowers a person authorised to make a search to seize and retain for use as evidence in any criminal proceedings anything which he believes to be evidence of any offence or suspected offence, give the right to seize from a person in custody or from his legal adviser and retain for use as evidence in any criminal proceedings documents which may be confidential or privileged communications between a person in custody and his legal adviser. I notice from their memorandum that the society have made urgent representations to the Government in relation to this. I hope the Minister will tell us his reply to those representations. We are aware, from the publicity given to certain cases in the courts, that the Minister has been in conflict with the society in relation to regulations he made a short time ago and which provide for the circumstances in which legal advisers can visit their clients in prison. I am aware that legal proceedings have been instituted by the Incorporated Law Society of Ireland in relation to the Minister's prison regulations. It would be distasteful of the Minister to use the guise of a package of emergency legislation to get over legal proceedings which are being taken against him and which merely ask the High Court to decide whether the present prison regulations are correct or not.

If we are to have an emergency situation and emergency legislation, and more legislation which is part of the same package, by all means let us have it but it is not necessary to over-react to unproven events. It is not necessary to make the defence of a person accused of serious criminal offences more difficult than it need be nor should the position of such a person's legal advisers be made more difficult.

I should now like to deal with section 7. In my view that section is altogether too wide. The explanatory memorandum does not seem to present the picture as it is in relation to this section. The section, as drafted, gives the Garda power to obtain a person's name and address, have a person photographed, fingerprinted, searched and anything found seized. It also gives the Garda power to carry out forensic tests on any person in custody. There is no room for equivocation in the section as drafted. Any person who is in custody under the provisions of any enactment for the time being in force under which persons may be arrested, kept in custody and questioned, may undergo these. The explanatory memorandum on this section tells, what I believe to be, an untruth when it states that section 7 is intended to apply to persons in custody under either section 30 of the 1939 Act or the provisions of the Emergency Powers Bill when it becomes law. One is entitled to expect that when an explanatory memorandum is issued with a Bill, particularly with a Bill of a technical nature and relating to criminal matters, it would let the public, and the Members of the House, clearly understand what is envisaged by the Bill. The Bill gives power to do these various things to any person in Garda custody, irrespective of the Offences Against the State Act, 1939, or the Emergency Powers Bill. It relates to occasions under any enactment whatsoever which is presently in force and which gives the Garda powers to arrest, question and keep persons in custody.

We are prepared to give the Minister these powers if it is intended that the powers which the Garda might exercise under the Bill are limited to persons in custody under the 1939 Act or the Emergency Powers Bill, if it becomes law. Accordingly, we will be tabling an amendment to the effect that the powers be limited to the occasions where a person is in custody under the provisions of section 2 of the Emergency Powers Bill as it is at present which is sufficient in itself to bring in the 1939 Act. We are not prepared to give these powers to the Minister so that they can be operated in a situation where, say, a person is arrested under the breathalyser provision on a motoring offence or on any other offence of a minor nature which entitles a garda to arrest the person. Again, I suggest that what we propose in this section by reason of the amendment which we will be putting down is reasonable and I will be interested to see if the Minister accepts it.

Outside of that general overall comment on section 7, I am not clear as to the need for or meaning of the phrase "or any other person" which occurs in line 21, the second line of section 7 (2). The powers that it is proposed to give under section 7 are powers proposed to be given to a member of the Garda Síochána. I cannot see how one can make it an offence to obstruct or attempt to obstruct any other person acting under powers given by section 7 (1) where the powers given by section 7 are given solely to a member of the Garda Síochána. It may be some slip on the part of the Minister to have in the phrase "or any other person" but one cannot be sure. It may well be that this legislation or package of legislation is what we suggested last week, namely, the thin end of the wedge. It may be that it is already clear in the Government's mind and envisaged by them that some body of persons other than the Garda Síochána will operate these powers as soon as this Bill becomes law. The Leader of my party specifically asked the Government whether there was anything further in contemplation by the Government if this package of legislation went through the Houses of the Oireachtas. So far no Government Minister has answered or attempted to answer his direct question. Possibly the Minister will at a later stage tell me where the phrase "or any other person" came from in section 7 (2) and what sort of other person he envisages, apart from members of the Garda Síochána, will be carrying out the powers which he asks this House should be given to the Garda by section 7.

There is no real objection to the provisions of section 8 of the Bill as it stands on its own. I will be dealing in a few moments with section 8 as it will apply in conjunction with section 15 and I will hold comment on section 8 until then but there is one small query I wish to put to the Minister. I am not clear as to what section 8 (3) means. It states that:

A member of the Garda Síochána may use reasonable force in order to compel a person to comply with a requirement to stop a vehicle, and such force may include the placing of a barrier or other device in the path of vehicles.

I fully accept that if we give the Garda power to search vehicles and their occupants, clearly they must have power to stop the vehicles and this power would logically include placing a barrier in front of the vehicle but I do not understand what the Minister means by the phrase "or other device". It may not be of any great consequence or significance but it seems to me that the use of the word "barrier" on its own would be sufficient.

The other query I have, and the Minister can tell me if it is justified or not is whether the Minister is contemplating that the phrase "other device" is intended to mean that as soon as this becomes law it would be his intention that devices such as the ramps that one sees in Northern Ireland would be put around various roads in this country as permanent or semi-permanent devices. Again, there may not be any real objection to doing that outside certain places, but it is proper to view the wording of this Bill with a certain amount of suspicion because of the manner in which the explanatory memorandum seems to be misleading and because of the failure of any member of the Government to reply to Deputy Lynch's request for information as to what exactly was in their minds and whether further measures are to happen without any reference to this House once this Bill becomes law.

I have already dealt with section 9 and there seems to be no objection in principle to the provisions of section 10, neither is there any objection in principle to the provisions of section 11 of the Bill, though, in passing, I am curious that section 11 (1) makes the offences of kidnapping and false imprisonment felonies. I thought the Minister had expressed the view on some previous occasion that this old distinction between felonies and misdemeanours was outdated and, indeed, should be abolished. I am curious now that he does not describe them as offences rather then felonies.

We welcome the provisions of section 12 of the Bill designed to deal with bomb scares and bomb hoaxes. It is a section which is long overdue. The amount of inconvenience for the public and the amount of Garda Síochána time that can be wasted by a person who wrongly indicates that there is a bomb in any premises is so serious that the present punishment of a fine of £10 or one month's imprisonment is clearly insufficient. My comment on this section is that it is typical of the Government to have waited this length of time to increase the penalties for bomb hoaxes and scares although there have been from time to time minor epidemics of such hoax calls over the last few years.

The Minister may consider whether or not the powers under this proposed section 12 and the description of the offences contained in this section as drafted might not be strengthened by the insertion in section 12 (a) of the word "recklessly" so that the offence would be "Any person who—(a) knowingly or recklessly makes a false report or statement...". I do not think that either side of this House would wish to see persons who were being properly charged with the offence of a bomb scare getting away on some technicality that it had not been or could not be proved that they made a statement knowing it was false, and it seems to me that the insertion of the word "recklessly" as well as "knowingly" would help the Minister in this regard.

We have no objection to the provisions of section 13. The Minister might wish to consider the position that as the section is at present drafted the prohibition on the aggregation of sentences in the District Court remains. This means that where two or more sentences as required by section 13 are passed in the District Court the aggregate term of imprisonment passed in the District Court is not to exceed 12 months. The Minister may wish to consider whether or not the prohibition on the District Court sentence exceeding 12 months should be contended if the District Court sentence is appealed to the Circuit court. It seems to me that there is an argument to be made in favour of the proposition that while the sentences in the District Court in the aggregate should not exceed 12 months should the person so convicted and sentenced wish to exercise his rights of appealing his conviction or sentence or both to the Circuit Court, he should possibly do so with a certain amount of risk on his own part, that the sentences should be or could be increased. This is the position that obtains at the moment, where in every other court the right of appeal against a sentence is to the court of criminal appeal and that court can vary the sentence either up or down. There does not seem to be a logical reason why the same should not apply where persons are appealing from the District Court to the Circuit Court.

There are no objections to the provision in section 14. We are very gravely concerned and seriously worried about the implications of section 15 and we are equally concerned about the motivation of the Government in bringing in this section in this Bill. This section would more appropriately have been brought into the Emergency Powers Bill and if it were in the Emergency Powers Bill it would be a section which would have a limited lifespan and would automatically lapse when the emergency legislation lapsed, or when the Houses of the Oireachtas declared that the emergency itself was over.

The powers contained in section 15 and the use to which the Army is to be put by the provisions of section 15 are also powers which should only be used in emergency situations. This Criminal Law Bill of which section 15 forms a part is not expressed to be an emergency type Bill. This Bill is intended to remain on the statute books as part of the substantive criminal law of this State. This is one of the reasons why we will be putting down an amendment to this section, which will state that section 15 shall remain in force for a period of 12 months only, unless it is renewed by resolution of Dáil Éireann for a further period of 12 months. The present position is that the Garda can call upon the Army for assistance. This situation is likely to occur in Border areas, where if anything happens the garda officer on the spot can call upon a contingent of the Army to give what assistance the garda officer deems necessary. The basic functions of the Garda Síochána and the Army are totally different, and because they are totally different the Army and the Garda have different traditions, different training and different roles to play in the administration of justice and the keeping of the peace.

The Garda are justifiably proud that they are an unarmed police force, and they do not wish to become an armed police force. A great degree of public acceptability of every member of the Garda Síochána has been because over the years the public accepted the Garda Síochána as an unarmed police force. The success of the Garda Síochána since their inception has been because they are so publicly accepted as an unarmed police force and consequently on many occasions they are able to exercise their functions by virtue of the moral authority which the wearing of the Garda Síochána uniform gives them in the eyes of the public. The Army is by definition founded under a different concept. It should be used for different purposes. The Army is the ultimate line of defence which any country must have to preserve its own geographical and national integrity. Any member of any Army is a person who in the normal course of events is issued with a gun and the members of our Army are issued with modern, high velocity, high calibre, weapons. The purpose of having a gun is that if the occasion requires it, it can be used for the killing, injuring or disabling of someone. All Members of this House and particularly the Minister who is charged with looking after the laws of this country and the protection of its citizens, should note that every member of the Garda Síochána is completely opposed to the powers that are to be given to the Army by this section. The Minister for Justice should give the greatest consideration to those views.

The Minister and the Government say that a state of emergency exists in this country and that it is necessary that Dáil and Seanad Éireann do so resolve. I expressed my views on the appropriate motion and as to the window-dressing operation that I believe the proposed state of emergency to be. If the Minister is serious and genuinely believes that a state of emergency exists, surely the first consideration should be that the general public will respond to a declaration of the state of emergency and that they will give the security forces, particularly the members of the Garda Síochána far more co-operation and help on a voluntary and totally free basis. One cannot be too sure that the same degree of acceptance and co-operation will be available to members of the Army when they have to perform functions properly the preserve of the Garda Síochána.

It is enough to say that any law-abiding citizen within the State will automatically and to the same degree, support members of the Army as he will the Garda Síochána. I envisage a situation which may easily arise if this section becomes law where an innocent law-abiding person driving home at night and having no objection to being stopped by a member of the Garda Síochána and being questioned as to his destination and so on, and possibly being searched, will not give the same degree of co-operation to members of the Army who are pointing automatic weapons. Members of the Army, some of them of a very young age, do not have the training for this type of contact with the public. I want to make it absolutely and explicitly clear that I make no complaint of any sort about the Army or members of it. I do not believe that the Army would come out in the circumstances envisaged in section 15 with any intention of creating ill-will with the general public, but I believe equally that the Minister is imposing an improper and unfair burden by asking the Army to carry out functions which are not really theirs.

The Minister or his colleague, the Minister for Defence, may retort that the Army are quite prepared to take on these functions and to accept any criticism their actions may call upon their heads. I totally and unreservedly accept that the Army are prepared to take on the functions that the Houses of the Oireachtas impose on them, but that is not the point. The point is that in section 15 the Minister, at a time when he states it is necessary to declare a period of public emergency, is proposing to use the last line of defence within the country, the Army. As a result of what may happen, as a result of some such use, the Minister may cause the overall effectiveness of the Army to be dented and blunted by reason of the fact that the general public will not accept armed soldiers operating in an area which is properly the preserve of the Garda Síochána and when the Garda Síochána themselves take the view that it is a wrong provision.

I hold the view that this section should properly be in the Emergency Powers Bill, if it is to be brought in at all, and for that reason I propose that a time limit should be imposed on section 15 similar to that which we proposed should be the time limit in relation to the Emergency Powers Bill. Equally, if this section is to become law, in regard to the accountability of persons and in relation to section 3 of the Bill we take the view that the Minister must take upon himself the power it is envisaged will be operated under section 15 and, having got that power if he chooses to exercise it, he is answerable to this House for the manner and the occasions on which he exercises it. Accordingly, we propose to put down an amendment which would mean that it would be the Minister for Justice, with the consent of the Minister for Defence, who would be the person who could call on the Army in the circumstances envisaged by section 15 and that the Minister cannot evade his responsibility to the House or the public or the Garda by transferring this obligation to a garda superintendent.

Subsection (2) of section 16 would appear to be an afterthought by the Government in that it does not appear in the original proof copy of the Bill furnished to Members of this party in the week before the Dáil came back. While it seems unnecessary in the sense that the provisions of an Article of the Constitution give protection against any retrospective legislation whether in relation to offence or penalty, if the Minister wishes to have a subsection of that type in the section, we think it preferable that it should be an omnibus section and in due course we shall consider an amendment to deal with this.

In due course the Minister for Justice in replying to this debate will be answering the detailed points so ably made by Deputy Collins, Opposition spokesman, and I understand the Minister for Defence will also intervene in reference specifically to what we might describe as the military aspects of security. In my contribution I should like to address myself to the debate concerning these measures and now concerning, in particular, this measure which has been going on in public outside. In general, we welcome that public discussion including the quite hard-hitting criticism of the Government in regard to this measure. All that is as it should be.

I should like to deal particularly with four questions which I think arise out of that public debate and which converge on section 3 of the Bill but affect every part of it. Three of these questions are fairly general and the fourth is quite specific, but they are all linked. I hope to be able to discuss those questions now. I shall first list them: (1) does there exist a situation justifying the Bill now before us in general, section 3 in particular, as well as the measures already taken? (2) among the elements required in meeting such a situation, what part does legislation such as this play? We are not arguing and never have argued that legislation is the whole answer; Deputies have made that point and we fully agree and I am sure the Minister for Justice agrees: (3) in a general way, is this legislation any more than is required by the situation? The final question is: (4) in particular, does section 3 of this Bill constitute, as has been claimed, an unnecessary and dangerous encroachment on the liberties of citizens in general and of the Press and media in particular?

Taking the first question: does a situation exist justifying this type of action generally? This has been in part already answered by the Oireachtas in agreeing to the state of emergency but, in all honesty, we must say in part only because there has been contention about this, contention among the public and contention, although not acrimonious, in this House on this subject. Just now Deputy Collins referred to the emergency as a window-dressing operation and in any case the House divided and there were many references in the debate to the "real" emergency as being elsewhere, outside the security area, in the economic or some other area. It is entirely possible to make those points and I shall consider them in a moment, but in doing so I hope people will realise that I am not trying to divide unnecessarily Members of the House in areas where they are in fact agreed or to magnify such differences between them as do exist.

Some points have been made in the Press and outside the House about the Government's motivation in introducing this whole packet of legislation. I am sorry these points have been made but they have been made and it is right to refer to them here. They have been made by a columnist in Independent newspapers on 4th September last and by the periodical Hibernia. The first writer described these measures as a trap—I think a trap that failed—and the second said that either they were an elaborate diversion from economic problems or setting the stage for an early election. We have not heard much of that kind of argument in this debate and I am glad of that because there has been recognition that at least in some degree—the degree has been contested—these measures are called for. But I would put it as kindly as I can to those who have made this kind of criticism: do they really think that this Government headed by Deputy Liam Cosgrave as Taoiseach are suddenly feigning enthusiasm for law and order and introducing useless and frivolous measures to cope with it in order to put the Opposition in a difficulty? To put that question seriously is, I think, to answer it.

I have indulged in enough point scoring myself in my time, I quite agree, but I would hope there would be as little as possible point scoring on the occasion of this kind of debate on a security issue which concerns us all and in which a wide measure of unanimity does, in fact, exist. We accept the complete legitimacy of the Opposition's position, which is one of critical, selective, not total opposition. That is what we expected we would have from it. If we hoped for anything it was that there would be full support for the actual legislation combined with normal criticism of the Government's administration record. We hoped for that but we did not expect to get it. What we feared to get was the very thing we are accused of having deliberately sought—that is, full-scale opposition dividing democracy on these basic issues. What we got was a critical Opposition which I think is good. In criticising the Government or the Opposition, I would hope that those involved in the media in public opinion forming would increasingly recognise the need to criticise vigorously both Government and Opposition and allow for the possibility, however faint it may seem to them, that we are not all a bunch of silly scoundrels playing a silly political game.

Point scoring, of course, goes on here, too, throughout these benches but equally there is a serious concern for what happens here, for the people who elected us, for their lives, their security and their liberties, and for the balances which should be taken into account in relation to these responsibilities. It has been suggested that the level of violence is not such as to justify this kind of legislation. Recently the distinguished correspondent in The Washington Post, Mr. Brendan Nossiter, in an article incorporating parts of interviews, spoke quite dismissively of the fact that murders were running only at the rate of about one a day and he seemed to reflect a point of view which suggested that this is nothing much to write home about and why should there be anything special about that? This is the point of view not unnatural, perhaps, to a correspondent from a paper, excellent though it is, which is situated in Washington, DC, a city which has the sad distinction of one of the highest, if not the highest, murder rates in the western world.

We have had traditionally, leaving aside the question of armed conspiracies, for a very long time a relatively low crime rate and particularly a relatively low murder rate and we want to keep it that way. We think present levels are unacceptable. Recent happenings are unacceptable. This is a question of an immediate and deadly threat and of a more remote and more deadly threat. Take the immediate deadly threat. There has been criticisms—it is fair that there should be criticisms—of what have been described as failures on the part of the security forces. Events follow very rapidly one after another and I do not think Members have yet had time to advert to the very recent success —here I speak within the full limitations of the sub judice rules—of the discovery of the very important arms cache in this city. It is not for me to say anything about who or what was responsible, but there is no doubt about what was found, namely, enough incendiaries to destroy the whole centre of Dublin. That is the extent of the threat, the immediate threat, and it appears that some of these devices have already been used. Anyone who wags the finger at the security forces for what he sees as their failures in this area should also be prepared to thank those same forces for their astuteness and their activity in discovering this cache before these things went off. Anyone who says it is a phoney state of emergency and there is nothing much to it should reflect on what would have happened if those things were used. Please, do not let anyone convert that into a claim that, if we pass these Bills, nobody will ever be able to set off fire bombs. Nobody is claiming that.

The question is whether this kind of measure is useful in this kind of context. When I refer to that immediate, very deadly present threat to the citizens of Dublin, what could be more immediate and present than the prospect of having your city burned about your ears? There is then the more remote threat, which is very relevant to this Bill, because I believe that at a much deeper level we have yet to realise that the present level of violence in the North and here is simply intended by those who practise it as the detonator for a vastly greater explosion of violence involving the whole island. That is part of the context, and an important part, in which this Bill is situated. Deputies may think I am being alarmist in that area and I hope, devoutly, I am.

I would ask the House to consider levels of violence in Lebanon a few years ago. They were not high but they had a tremendous potential, of deadly significance, because they were levels of lethal violence between members of different communities inhabiting the same or contiguous territories, that is to say, an awful explosive charge which could be released in certain conditions and which has been unleashed in Lebanon to what seems at present like a near total ruin of what was once perhaps the most prosperous country in the Middle East.

In the context of that deeper threat I should like to make what I think is an important clarification. Because we have pointed out from these benches from time to time that a point now high in the Fianna Fáil platform is similar in form to the first objective of the Provisional IRA, we have been accused of smearing the democratic Opposition with being the same as the Provos. If there ever has been such a smear there I want, very formally and carefully, to unsmear it now as far as one can do so. Deputy Collins smiles but I am afraid that on this occasion I am very serious indeed. The distinction is this: I believe the Fianna Fáil spokesmen, when they call for a declaration of intent to withdraw, what they mean is that they believe—I think they are wrong but I think they do believe it—that this would lead to the two communities in Northern Ireland, or the two sections of the community there, getting together, when we would have conditions in which the British could safely withdraw their forces leaving behind them a Northern Ireland Government reached by agreement. Some of us find that dénouement very hard indeed to believe. I do myself; I have frequently said so and I will again. But I would and do distinguish it very sharply from the aim and object of the Provisional IRA, and that is relevant to certain arguments which have been used in relation to this Bill because what the Provisional IRA want, as distinct from what Fianna Fáil want, is a British withdrawal which shall be, and shall be seen to be, a victory for their armed action—their terror, to put it in plain words—irrespective of the feelings of the majority of the people in the area.

Withdrawal under those conditions would be something very different indeed from a withdrawal under the conditions which gentlemen opposite hope for, however unrealistic it may be. I believe that withdrawal under those conditions would trigger off sectarian civil war on a Lebanese scale in Northern Ireland and, I am afraid, the almost inevitable involvement of this State, with the destruction of great numbers of lives and, I believe, of all democratic potential for generations in both parts of the country. I may be accused of being obsessed with that issue but for more than seven years I have dreaded precisely this and, over that same period of time, I have repeatedly warned about it at a time when to some people the very idea of sectarian civil war was an impossibility which could be waved aside. I do not want to labour that. I want to state the basic reasons why it is not unrealistic to speak of a special situation, an emergency situation.

The second question I should like to discuss more briefly is: among the elements required in meeting such a situation what part can legislation such as this play? The question itself implies that it is only one of the elements. I suggest that the main elements are, first of all, the rejection by the people themselves of the armed conspiracies, all of them—and we have seen encouraging signs of the emergence of such a general rejection, not in one community only but throughout the island in recent days. The peace movement and, above all, the incredible bravery and activity of the women concerned are something for which Members of this House give thanks and of which we are all proud. There is nothing, surely, that divided us there, so that rejection of the armed conspiracies, all of them, has been more unmistakably registered at present than ever before in our history. But it is not enough, and a number of commentators have pointed that out too. It has to be constantly sustained and involves—and Deputies Lynch and Collins opposite have pointed that out—entire co-operation with the security forces. That is to say, it is not enough for any of us to say we want peace and we are against the armed conspiracies. We must also help in stopping the armed conspiracies. That requires support for the security forces and requires also support for those measures of stiffer legislation which we consider to be adequate and appropriate—and I do not mean just which we on this side of the House consider adequate and appropriate but what the House itself so considers and what the country supports.

The third element, I believe, is that security itself be constantly improved to meet the gravity of the threat, a threat of a gravity which has not, if ever, emerged in the history of this State since its very early years.

Finally it requires that such legal changes be introduced as are necessary, first, to provide adequate penalties for persons convicted of some offences and, second, to bring within reach of the law persons who play a very important part in the armed conspiracy, especially in its vitally important psychological warfare aspects which they describe as its political aspects. We all know it is a question of notoriety that some of those persons whose connection with these movements and whose important bearing on them is known can go scot-free under the laws as they have been traditionally applied over a period of many years. Third, to discourage other relevant persons, many of whom do not support the armed conspiracy, from being used to serve its purpose. That would bring us to section 3 which certainly, in the viewpoint of the press and perhaps of many others, is the most controversial point in this legislation.

Before I come to that, briefly my third question—as you will remember I have four and I hope you will bear with me—is the legislation before us now more than is required? Generally speaking, as I understand the Opposition position, it is not contended that in its whole scope this legislation is more than is required. Except for section 3 and a few other points on which it is for the Minister for Justice entirely to indicate our position, the measure finds, I believe, quite wide acceptance.

There have been some exceptions and I wish to refer to them. One newspaper suggested editorially that a five-year sentence for IRA membership was "preposterous". That was the view of The Irish Times; I apologise for not being able to give the exact date but I shall give it before the Official record is prepared. It was very recently. By “preposterous” was meant that five years was preposterously high, not preposterously low. We are going higher and I am glad to say we are.

The thinking behind the claim that such penalties should not be high is that the people concerned may be misguided, idealistic young men. They may be but I think after all these years of murderous violence it is necessary to give clear warning to, among others, misguided young men, that what they may be misguided into is something very dangerous. Not only is it dangerous for others, it is also dangerous for them and increasingly so under these proposed laws which, as I understand, in these respects virtually the whole House is suggesting. It is also necessary that an equivalent message be conveyed to those who help to misguide those misguided young men. Perhaps that is the more controversial subject matter of section 3.

In approaching this matter, first I should like to say something about those particular misrepresentations of the Government's position in relation to section 3 which have been introduced into the public discussion rather loudly following an interview I gave to Mr. Bernard Nossiter of The Washington Post. The confusion here was not introduced by the interviewer. I should like to record here my respect for Mr. Nossiter who is a very distinguished journalist representing a distinguished paper with a very fine record. It is possible to take other views. When an interview that Deputy Lynch gave to the same interviewer and the same paper was published in similar circumstances, the Deputy issued a statement in which he said that the interview, as reported, was incomplete and in some respects misleading. That was issued through the Government Information Services on 3rd March, 1972. For all I know that may have been correct; I have no means of knowing. In any case, this claim is not open to me. Substantially I did say what Mr. Nossiter has said and I stand over that. However, I do not stand over—in fact, I stand up very much against—some interpretations of what was said.

The text of the interview was carried by two newspapers and I appreciate that but some of them do not seem to have read what they published themselves. On 6th September over a very large banner headline The Irish Times said: “Fianna Fáil opposition hardens after O'Brien censorship threat” and on the same date The Irish Press carried a story—it was not an editorial—under the heading, “O'Brien `chief censor', historian tells meeting”.

Let us be very clear about what we mean about censorship and about my being chief censor. This does not introduce censorship. It does not give special powers to the Government in relation to the press. It increases the scope of limitations on propaganda in favour of armed conspiracies whatever form these take but these limitations, the judgment and interpretation of these, are entrusted to the courts. The question of whether to bring charges before the courts is a matter for an independent official, the Director of Public Prosecutions. As for the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs, he has nothing whatever to say in the matter and that I know will be a cheerful change of diet for many people. He has no powers whatever and for an historian to call him a "chief censor" is ridiculous.

I said—and this is the substance of the matter—that pressmen are no more exempt than other people from the operation of the law. A very similar point was made by the President of the NUJ in a radio interview yesterday.

That was not the Minister's view in the debate on the Forcible Entry Bill in 1971.

The Deputy will have an opportunity of making his speech. I hope he does not make it at the same length as I did when I made my speech at that time. As the Deputy has raised that issue, I should like to make the following point. In discussing the Forcible Entry Bill, which I agree I did at somewhat excessive length and detail, I was opposing limitations on what one might describe as peaceful, certainly non-violent, non-lethal action, such as the sit-in in Hume Street in which a number of Deputies participated as part of an effort to preserve Dublin. There is a distinction to be drawn between the right of peaceful protest and the right to recruit people into armed conspiracies. I would have regarded that as basic at that time and I so regard it now.

The Minister should come back to the question of censorship. That is what we want to hear.

I appreciate Deputy Haughey's intervention. He has commented recently on our being fascists and militarists, perhaps, unintentionally. I do not want to lower this debate by any tu quoque. However, this is an old challenge and Deputy Haughey knows it well: if he wishes to debate these matters with me on any public platform in this country, not by interruption here because the Chair would not permit me——

What about here?

If the Deputy wishes to debate with me on any public platform, I will do it.

I understand the Minister is not permitted to meet us in debates on radio.

Who said that?

That is what the Radio Éireann people tell our Whips.

The Deputy had a go at me the other day when I was not there. He is not available when I want him.

I was there last Sunday morning.

All right. If the Deputy wants to meet me next Sunday morning, I shall be available.

I recognise the Minister is not at the top of his form.

The Minister attacked Micheál Ó Móráin for attacking The Irish Press.

I always think it is a good sign when the Deputies opposite start interrupting. When I am being conciliatory it seems to annoy them more than anything else.

The Minister must be allowed make his speech.

Let him get back to the question of censorship.

I should rather not get back to Mr. Ó Móráin and all that area. I notice that Deputy Haughey is equally anxious to avoid that subject.

Let us get back to censorship.

If I should be allowed continue my remarks, I should like to come to that question. Essentially a suggestion some people are making in relation to this is: "Let us agree. Do not allow the IRA have recruitment propaganda. Let that not be possible except through the Press and media—make a limitation, an exception, either partial or full in respect of the Press and media." Unfortunately, it is precisely through the Press and media that these people are anxious to do that. I wish to comment on the main question raised by all this, that is, the utterly false contention that this section of the Bill introduces Government censorship of the Press but before doing so I must put out of the way a certain misrepresentation. I refer to what The Irish Press this morning calls editorially “the infamous file” that I have been keeping of texts from their correspondence columns. I do not know what is supposed to be infamous about cutting clippings from The Irish Press, pasting them on sheets of paper and reading them from time to time.

It can hardly be regarded as ministerial activity.

Neither can some of Deputy Haughey's deeds in 1970 be regarded as ministerial activity.

If I were the Minister, I should keep quiet.

The Deputy who ought to keep quiet in that area is not exactly Deputy Donegan.

I did not run guns.

No, but you fired them at innocent itinerants.

I did not put these matters on record because of my specific ministerial responsibility as has been pointed out rightly. I put them on record in the course of my duties as a legislator and as one who has a certain number of contacts with journalists both outside and inside the country.

Judging from the state of the Department, the Minister, perhaps, had nothing better to do.

By the use of the word "infamous". The Irish Press would seem to imply that I am keeping this file in order to use it under the new powers against journalists and specifically against the Burgh Quay establishment. Figuratively, I am supposed to be all poised to set the dogs on them as, we have been reminded by Deputy Kelly, Deputy Haughey set the dogs quite literally on Senator Noel Browne.

That is incorrect and I shall deal with it.

I do not know to what extent The Irish Press people believe this but if they believe it let me reassure them that their fears are altogether groundless. I shall have no powers under this Bill and the Minister for Justice has told us at the conclusion of his speech that he will not have powers either, that ultimately the powers here will be with the courts. But even if I had such powers, the Bill could not operate retrospectively. I started this terrible collection of newspaper clippings in my capacity as a legislator because it seemed to me that some of the matter being carried in the correspondence columns of The Irish Press—and I am not seeking to saddle responsibility on the Opposition as a party for The Irish Press—carried there between the time of the murder of the British Ambassador and the recall of the Dáil was relevant to the legislation now before the House. I still consider it relevant and I make no apology for saying so either to the distinguished correspondent of The Washington Post or to anyone else.

Let me put on the record of the House just one quotation. It would not be worth while putting on record the entire file. I quote from the correspondence columns of The Irish Press of 31st August, 1976:

Britain invaded this country to exploit our people, that she has done to this day. It was a supreme act of violence and it is only through violence she maintains her grip on Ireland. When an intruder comes into your house and won't leave by peaceful means—what do you do to get him out? Are you not entitled to use force?

The point here is that there is a powerful emotional charge to that kind of comment. There may be people in this House or in the gallery who have difficulty in suppressing the sentiment—"so, what is wrong with that?" But that is a deadly argument because of where it leads—it leads to sectarian civil war and mutual destruction. The point arises—this is the point I was making in my contribution—whether, on the passing of this legislation, publishers could be charged under section 3. We must answer that a decision on that would be one for the Director of Public Prosecutions. Could the publishers be convicted under the same section? We must answer that that would be for the judges to decide. But something I am sure of is that an editor contemplating the publication of such a letter as that I have just quoted would be likely to consult his legal advisers once this law is passed and that the advice received would be likely to result in a significant diminution in the publication of pro-IRA propaganda. That is what is intended under this legislation. We make no secret of that intention.

The necessity for this measure resides in the general situation I have referred to and also in our national split-mindedness on this issue of force. Are the IRA legitimate, are they not legitimate or are they in some way half legitimate living in a light of holiness conferred on them by our history? Because of that history, of that atmosphere, because of the IRA seeming to be half legitimate, that chapter must be closed.

Let me say, however, before I close that matter that I do not believe that those who publish such material as I have quoted will be in any danger under the new law. That may appear to be in contradiction of what I have just said but, in fact, it is not. They will not be in danger because once the legislation is passed such people will rightly take good care not to break that law. They are not the stuff out of which martyrs are made although they have published material which may have made martyrs out of other people. This legislation is intended to inhibit this process.

We are charged with seeking to smear all opponents of this Bill as Provo sympathisers. I certainly make no such charge. I am well aware that there are people who have no use for or sympathy with the Provisional IRA and who are opposed to a number of the provisions of this Bill or highly critical of it or who would wish it to be amended. It is important and will continue to be important that their views be heard, weighed and considered, as they will be and as they will continue to be. At the other extreme— and there is a spectrum here—there are straight IRA sympathisers and propagandists making deliberate propaganda out of the Civil Rights movement and sheltering behind it. I think genuine Civil Rights people are aware of that as a danger and feel nonetheless this is a risk that has to be taken: "We must not be afraid of standing up and criticising legislation just because the Provos are criticising it too." I agree with that. The genuine Civil Rights people—and there are a good many of them, some of them in my own party —are playing a very useful part in this.

Those are the two ends of the spectrum. In the middle is a sizeable group of people, and perhaps rather typical of a quite wide section of our population, who have both some genuine concern for the Civil Rights cause and also some sympathy with what is euphemistically called the republican movement, which in practice today means the IRA and those propaganda wheels that revolve round it. These people have, I am afraid, a rather special and close concern for the civil liberties of those whom they call republicans and precious little sympathy for the civil rights denied to others, harmless citizens, often entirely nonpolitical, by these same republicans, nor do they adequately consider the threat posed by the republican armed conspiracy to the general preservation of democracy and the rule of law. Some of them are people whose main slogan a few years ago was: "Release the republican prisoners". It did not matter what the prisoners were convicted of. It might be bombing, it might be murder, but "release them anyway; they are republicans and republicans have a sacred right not to be in jail and to do anything they like". These people did not then think that through, and I do not see that those who are making similar noises in that area have thought it through today. Some critical things have been said here about the newly-formed Irish Council of Civil Liberties, and I would like to say that some at least of the members of that council seem to be living somewhere in that foggy middle ground. Possibly I wrong these people. Possibly they are genuinely equally concerned with the threat—and "equally" in my opinion would not be enough but still it would be something —posed to civil liberties by the Provisional IRA and the various other armed conspiracies and the threat which legislation like this represents.

If I wrong them I suggest they have a remedy, an experimental remedy which will clear them forever from any such imputation either in my eyes or in anyone else's. They hold their meetings here and will continue to do so—and good luck to them and nothing will stop them—in protest at what this Government are doing in defence of civil liberties, against what the State is doing, what the State has empowered the courts to do. All right. They are concerned about that. If they are concerned equally about the other end, I suggest this experiment. Let them go to Crossmaglen—it is not very far from here—and let them hold a meeting there. Let them examine there in that interesting town the penal code, practice and record of the Provisional IRA. Let them examine the practices of arbitrary imprisonment, of pistol whipping, of tarring and feathering, of knee-capping, of random or semirandom mass murder by bomb and booby trap, and capital punishment without trial.

I accept the sincerity of many of the people who use strong, hyperbolic language about fascist intimidation by the Government, but if they were to try that experiment there, I am afraid they would find out very soon what fascist intimidation and brutality really means, what going outside the rule of law will do. If they do it, good luck to them, and I will certainly applaud their courage and their total consistency.

Could I seek clarification from the Minister? Is he suggesting that any concerned group of civil liberties people should judge a democratically-elected Government by the same standards as a group such as the Provisional IRA, or the UDA or the UVF, who have no mandate?

No, I am not suggesting they should judge them by the same standards.

Surely the standard of the Government should be——

I am not saying——

Why is the Minister making that suggestion?

The Deputy has no particular reason to be sensitive on this score, but others, I think, have. I am suggesting that double standards are imported into this debate in the sense that it is suggested that the great threat of tyranny, fascism and the Lord knows what comes from a Government attempt to change the law and give increased power to the courts, and in some of the same quarters there exists a tendency to turn a blind eye to the far more dangerous threat to the same which comes from the armed conspiracies. I am not suggesting at all that the State should put itself on the level of an armed conspiracy or be judged by the same standards. What I am saying is that those—and I do not include the Deputy—who are exclusively concerned with one kind of threat and not at all with the other are exposed to that doubt and could clear it in that way.

There is another point where confusion has been introduced on this. Section 3 of the Bill reads:

Any person who, expressly or by implication, directly or through another person or persons, or by advertisement, propaganda or any other means, incites or invites another person (or other persons generally) to join an unlawful organisation or to take part in, support or assist its activities shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction on indictment to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years.

One of the key words there is "activities". I stress this because it has been suggested that since the proclaimed objectives of one of the main illegal organisations are similar to those of other legitimate political parties in this country, therefore people who adhere to those parties might be amenable to these sanctions.

Of course, it is not a question of proclaimed objectives. The section refers to activities. The constitution of my party proclaims this aspiration towards a united socialist Ireland, but the members of my party, any more than the gentlemen opposite, are not in any danger from this law because the law relates to activities, and any fairminded person interpreting this section would know what "activities" meant, that is to say, activities designed to back up the armed conspiracies in their illegal armed actions, whatever the objectives proclaimed for those, whatever the real objectives.

I have two further points to make. One is in relation to the point that has been made—this will be developed in Committee, no doubt—that these powers, necessary as they may be, are two sweeping. I can understand such a view—that they cast the net too wide, allegedly. The question on which I should like the attention of the Oireachtas and the public to linger is in whose hands are we entrusting these powers? Are we entrusting these powers to the hands of a Government of today, tommorrow or the day after, when perhaps some type of Government we do not like might come to power? We are not. We are entrusting these widespread powers into the hands of the courts of law.

Has anyone outside the regular ranks associated with those conspiracies over the years seriously suggested that these courts have been excessive in their interpretation of the laws against these armed conspirators? I say no. I think the records clearly show that they have tried to apply, as they are bound to do, justice in the cases coming before them. They have tried to avoid excessive severity or leniency, and above all they have never been convicted of strained, fantastic, extravagant interpretations of the language of the legislation before them. It is in that context we have to look at it. We are entrusting it to people to whose hands it can be entrusted now and, as we would hope, forever.

Not only do we want these powers not to be abused, not only do we have confidence that they will not be abused by the courts of law, but we want them to be wide enough and new enough to do the job, because laws very similar to this have been, as the Deputy opposite knows better than I, with us since 1939, but not having been applied over many years, there would be serious doubt as to whether the intention to apply them had been sustained over the years.

This legislation now indicates that this is a live situation. But not only do we not want this to be abused, not only have we confidence that it will not be by the courts, but also we want it to be wide enough to catch not only those whom it is meant to catch and whom the courts will use it to catch, but those who are genuinely engaged in incitement in support of the Provisional IRA, and it is common knowledge that a number of such persons are at large and escape the net of existing law, and there is quite widespread indignation, as most Deputies know, among the public generally at that situation. I will not refer to names of people.

I hope to come back on Committee Stage in the context of any amendments that may be offered, and in conclusion I would offer this main and basic thought. A measure which relies for its application on the established courts of law cannot be, as has been wildly claimed, a subversion of the rule of law. It is an application of the rule of law and it is, in our submission, in our present circumstances a necessary defence of the rule of law.

My contribution to this Second Stage debate on this measure will be brief because to a large extent it is a Committee Stage Bill and there will be very considerable scope and opportunity for discussion on the individual proposals in the Bill on that Stage. Indeed, many of the proposals can best be dealt with by the House appropriately and adequately in a Committee Stage debate.

However, there are some broader aspects that I want to advert to and to a large extent I think I shall be supporting what my colleague, Deputy Collins, has put forward in this context. In the speech which I made on the emergency resolution I sought to establish as clearly as possible that at the centre of this entire discussion and debate there is one fundamental question which must be answered. I want to maintain here in the extension of this debate that the question has not been answered yet, and I want simply to ask: "Does the present state of affairs in this State of ours merit the introduction by the Government of a state of national emergency and of these allied measures?" I maintain that that case has not been proved yet and I believe that I reflect the view of the overwhelming majority of reasonable, impartial observers in stating that the Government have not discharged the onus of proof which has been placed upon them and which they have a duty to discharge if they wish to persuade the House and the nation that this package of proposals is necessary and justified.

The Taoiseach, in his opening remarks, was very specific in his outline of the present situation in regard to violence and lawlessness in our country. He pointed out that the overwhelming part of that violence is taking place in Northern Ireland and is indigenous to that area. I expressed my doubts about this and I asked why was it that we in this State were being compelled to suspend our Constitution, in effect. I am reinforced in that doubting attitude of mine by something the Minister for Justice said in a radio interview last Sunday. He said quite definitely and categorically that "the gardaí had the situation in this part of the country under control". Those were his exact words. If the situation in this part of the country is under control by the Garda, why do we need the declaration of a state of emergency, the Emergency Powers Bill, and all these Draconian measures? In particular, why are we bringing the military into the situation, as is proposed in section 15? I have said already and I believe it is true that section 15 is one of the elements of this package to which the public take greatest exception, and are most reluctant to accept. If the Minister for Justice is in a position to state in a public radio interview that "the gardaí have the situation in this part of the country under control," why do we have to involve ourselves in this terrifying situation of giving police powers to the Army?

I believe—and I want to suggest this to the Government—that there is an inherent contradiction in their position and that inherent contradiction has not been resolved by them in anything they have said or done since that debate started. The contradiction is that they want to bring in these measures because of a situation that obtains in the North of Ireland. On the other hand, they say they want to bring in these measures because of two incidents that happened here—the assassination of the unfortunate British Ambassador and the explosions in the Central Criminal Court.

I suggest that the Government have a clear-cut duty to explain to us precisely which of these two positions is the right one. If the situation here is under control, if the gardaí are on top of the situation, why is this package being brought in? I want seriously to suggest to the Government that they have not persuaded any impartial, disinterested or objective listener of the reality of the case they are trying to make. Of course, the reply of the Minister for Justice to a statement of that sort by me is simply to attack me personally and to avail of the power of his ministerial office and the facility of Radio Éireann to say that anything I might say in this context is of no validity because of my record when I was Minister for Justice.

I leave aside for the moment the old adage that admonishes one when one has no case to attack one's opponent. I would welcome in this House at any time a full-scale debate on my record as Minister for Justice, because a great deal of what I accomplished when I was Minister for Justice, in a comparatively short period of time, has been overlooked and forgotten. I believe the few years I spent in the Department of Justice were great years. When the history of our respective periods in that Department comes to be written, mine will very certainly excel the present Minister's. In my time I initiated a very far-reaching and comprehensive programme of law reform. I initiated a programme of penal reform. I took very positive action to build up the strength and morale of the Garda Síochána, including the establishment of a modern recruiting training centre in Templemore. I did something which had been left in abeyance through several years of Fine Gael dominated Governments, and that was to give the go-ahead for the erection of a suitable memorial in the Garda headquarters. I believe quite sincerely that any debate on my record as Minister for Justice will stand up well. More important than anything of that sort, I would like to remind the House of this fact, and the Minister for Justice never adverts to it; and the Taoiseach in his exposition of the history of subversive legislation in this country carefully ignored it, that it was during my time as Minister for Justice that an IRA campaign against Northern Ireland was brought to a stop. It ceased.

It was during my time as Minister for Justice, probably the first time it ever happened in the history of this country, that the IRA publicly proclaimed that they were bringing that particular campaign to a halt. That campaign was a clear case of this State being used as a springboard for an attack on the North, unlike the present situation which, on the Taoiseach's own admission, is a situation where the violence stems from and is indigenous to the North of Ireland. I thought it would have been only fair for this Minister for Justice, or for the Taoiseach, in their recital of events perhaps to have adverted to the fact that it was I—admittedly I was only a Member of a Government but I was the Minister for Justice in question— who brought that campaign to a full, complete and final stop.

It is illustrative of many things that the Government in their attempts to defend this indefensible package confined themselves to attacking personally people on this side of the House, perhaps myself more than anybody else. I want to assure them that I have no intention of being intimidated by these attacks. I intend to continue to say what I feel I should say as a responsible Member of the Opposition and as one who has had considerable experience of all these affairs.

In an attempt to find some reason for this package of measures, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Taoiseach referred to the fact that when I was Minister for Justice a certain incident took place in which police dogs were used by the Garda and my colleague from North-East Dublin, the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs, Deputy Cruise-O'Brien, slightly shamefacedly adverted to the same incident. The Parliamentary Secretary said that I presided over a police force that used Alsatian dogs to prevent Noel Browne and his friends from staging a protest at the American Embassy and went on to refer to the breaking up of the printing machinery of the Freeman's Journal and actually found some grounds for attacking the memory of the late Donogh O'Malley.

The first thing I want to say about all this nonsense is to draw attention to the very full and prominent manner in which it was reported by the media, particularly by one newspaper. I wonder if what I am saying by way of reply will get equal prominence in that particular newspaper or, indeed, in any newspaper. It is ironic that the two members of the Government who are now loudly and insistently clamouring for censorship are what we on this side of the House could reasonably describe as the two favourite sons of the media. Every word of the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs and of the Parliamentary Secretary to the Taoiseach has been dutifully and slavishly reported by the media in the past three or four years. On this side of the House we have often felt aggrieved that the things we might attempt to say in our own unintellectual way by way of reply would not receive anything like the same full coverage as the Minister and Parliamentary Secretary receive at all times from the media.

The Deputy is jealous.

We must admit they are men of considerable intellectual ability. They often use involved and convoluted arguments. Nevertheless, because they were such favourite sons or fearsome intellects every word they ever said, all their vapourings, were dutifully reported in detail by the media. Surely there is some irony in the fact that it is these two men, of all the fascists, semi-fascists, intellectuals and ragbag over there, who are most insistently seeking censorship. Obviously full and adequate reporting by the media is not enough for them. Nothing less than total reflection of their view is what they want. I want to ask any reasonably minded person, is it fair or unfair for me in those circumstances to attribute a certain type of fascist thinking to both those individuals?

The Chair would deprecate the reference "fascist" being applied to any Member of this House.

"Fascist tendencies" is a phrase that has been frequently used in the debates.

It is tolerable as a party political charge but it ought not to be used against an individual person.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Taoiseach is probably a better authority on fascism than I am. He has made a deeper study of it than I have. I believe that somewhere there is in existence a book which idolises the Heidelberg cult. It is said that there is such a book by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Taoiseach somewhere in existence. I do not want to be unfair to him. If there is not such a book in existence I hope he will deny its existence.

I regard the attack on the late Donogh O'Malley as contemptible and it does not need any rebuttal from me. Donogh O'Malley's reputation is safe and secure, and the place he holds in the memory of the people is unassailable. As long as those little yellow buses travel the roads of Ireland his memory and reputation will remain secure from any attack by men like the Parliamentary Secretary to the Taoiseach.

With regard to the smashing of the printing machinery of the Freeman's Journal, I deny all knowledge of that affair. I had nothing to do with it. I want to assure the House that neither expressly nor by implication, directly or through another person or persons, or by advertisement, propaganda or any other means did I incite or encourage any person to break up the machinery of the Freeman's Journal.

In the most affectionate way, may I ask the Deputy a question?

Does the Deputy give way?

During the time the Deputy was Minister for Agriculture had he any knowledge of the withdrawal of advertising from the Farmers' Journal?

It did not happen during my time in Agriculture.

The Deputy was a Minister at that time.

It did not happen during my time as Minister and I have no knowledge of it.


Never in any capacity did I take any such action against a newspaper. The fact that the Parliamentary Secretary is dragging up that incident outside the American Embassy demonstrates the absence of any real case he can put forward for these proposals. I do not know what relevance it has but now that it has been mentioned I had better deal with it. Firstly, the Parliamentary Secretary talks about my presiding over a police force. As Minister for Justice I did not preside over the police force no more than the present Minister for Justice presides over the police force. The Garda had their role, responsibility and discipline and I had mine as Minister for Justice. I accepted full parliamentary responsibility for that incident. I knew nothing about it until it was over. What happened, as some older Members of this House will recall, was that a police officer in charge of those events took a certain decision. He may have been responsible for an error of judgment, but I was Minister for Justice at the time and I took full parliamentary responsibility for what happened. There are other aspects of that matter which would throw a lot of light on it but it is too long ago now to even talk about them and they have no relevance to this debate.

The Government have to persuade us that the measures they are taking are relevant and necessary in today's circumstances and not in those of 1961 and 1962 or any other time. Will these measures help the situation today? Are they necessary, essential and justified? When the Parliamentary Secretary to the Taoiseach makes this derogatory reference to a police force that used Alsatian dogs he is not talking about a police force, he is talking about our Garda Síochána, which served the people then as it serves them now, a force which has the same tradition, discipline and, to a great extent, the same membership now as it had then. If the Parliamentary Secretary to the Taoiseach wants to get at me through something that happened over a decade ago in the Garda Síochána, he is doing a disservice to the Garda Síochána by using those contemptuous terms in relation to them because it is basically the same force that we are relying on today to keep law and order as we were at that time.

The debate on these measures was extended and widened over the weekend by the revelation of what the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs had disclosed to this journalist from The Washington Post. He usually discloses it abroad. He finds some old crony in the London press lobby or some distinguished foreign journalist to disclose those things. I do not know whether there is significance in that, but it seems to be a pattern of his behaviour.

The focus of this debate of ours has taken a new and significant turn as a result of that disclosure. The new factor with which we all have to contend now is this inherent danger of press censorship being instituted. The House, the public, the press, everybody awaited with very great interest today the intervention by the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs to see exactly what is involved in this matter. It is a fundamental and farreaching matter. I do not believe anybody could have found any reassurance from what the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs said here this afternoon. He talked at some length. He went into many different aspects of the current situation and the troubles in the North of Ireland. On the question of whether or not we are to have press censorship he was remarkably reticent in what he said. I do not believe anybody listening to what he said could come to the conclusion that there was no question of press censorship being introduced. This is a very real, positive possibility at this stage as we debate these measures.

I must say it is incomprehensible to me that this Government, or any Government at this stage of the evolution of our democracy in this land, would even contemplate this sort of measure. When I read section 3—and I was frightened and intimidated by its terms—I still did not believe it would be used in the way the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs and the Parliamentary Secretary to the Taoiseach now suggest it will be used. I still cannot bring myself to accept that the Government will commit themselves to this sort of action. I believe any such move by the Government, by the Minister for Justice, or by the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs, could only be divisive, destructive and counter-productive.

The freedom of the press is a very emotional subject. A great deal has been written about it. The relationship between the Government and the press has been analysed and discussed interminably. A great editor of The London Times has said it is a relationship which must always be an uneasy one. It is right that the relationship between the Government and the press should be an uneasy one and that the proper working of democracy demands that there should not be any cosy relationship between the press and the Government. As I say, it is the subject which has been and probably will be discussed and debated interminably as to where the lines are to be drawn.

I should simply like to say this. A free press, uncensored, untrammelled, uninfluenced, is an essential element in a free, democratic society. Anything that interferes with that, for whatever reason may be expressed for the interference, is a setback to our democracy. People can always find reasons for curtailing freedoms and rights of one sort or another. That is one fundamental thing which should never be interfered with under any circumstances. I do not believe the safeguards mentioned by the Minister for Justice and the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs are, in fact, real safeguards. The Minister for Justice said that before anything could be done against the press under section 3, the Director of Public Prosecutions would have to decide to take action and the courts would then have to decide whether that offence had been committed. I do not believe that is any real defence in this type of situation.

What matters here is the law we pass. If we pass a law, the Director of Public Prosecutions and the courts have no option but to carry out the law as we pass it. That is the reality of the situation. It is no protection for the press, or anybody else, to tell them: "Before anything can happen you, these impartial people must decide the issue." Once we pass the terms of section 3 in the sweeping and indiscriminate terms in which it is now put before us, there will be no way in which either the Director of Public Prosecutions or the courts will be able not to initiate a prosecution in the one case, and in the other case not to bring in a verdict of guilty.

I should also like to make the point that, in that connection, in practical terms it is even less of a safeguard than the Minister for Justice would have us believe. It is not too bad for a large powerful commercial organisation running a newspaper to have to defend itself against a prosecution. Such an organisation has financial resources. It has the back-up of professional people at its disposal. What about a small newspaper? Do not we all know that in many cases the very taking of one of these prosecutions against a small newspaper under this section would put it out of business? Even though the newspaper might have a defence under the terms of section 3, nevertheless the fact that such a prosecution was taken, and the fact that it would have to attempt to marshal a defence in court, would probably be the end of it.

Apart from the position of the larger and more powerful newspapers, here in the House we should have concern for the small independent newspaper whose very existence could be threatened by the simple taking of a prosecution, never mind the establishment of the validity of such a prosecution. We are right in our fears about section 3. It is far too wide and far too sweeping in its scope as expressed at present, particularly if this new dimension is added to the situation, this inchoate, if you wish at this stage, desire by some Ministers to use the section against the press. When that is added the resistance we must put up against section 3 is intensified.

We had intended to put forward amendments to restrict very severely its scope. That restriction on the scope of section 3 is absolutely essential. It would have been essential in any event, but it is even more essential now. As Deputy Collins pointed out, what is really important in this connection, and what the parents of families are concerned with here, is to stop young adolescent children being recruited into these illegal organisations. We would scrap section 3 in its entirely and substitute one simple section providing that it is an offence meriting ten or 12 years' imprisonment to recruit a young person into an illegal organisation. That would be my approach and, in that regard, would reflect the views of many parents. It is one thing for someone to come along to a mature individual and incite or encourage that mature individual to take a certain course of action. I see a completely different situation where a young person of immature judgment and limited experience is recruited into a particular type of organisation. For my part I would abolish section 3 in its entirely and substitute that simple provision.

I am reinforced in that view now having heard the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs and the Parliamentary Secretary to the Taoiseach. I notice that the Minister for Justice was remarkably silent on this censorship aspect in what he had to say to us to-day. He owes it to this House to come out clearly and explicitely on this issue and tell us exactly what is intended. He should tell us if he is prepared to put in any safeguards for the press against the operation of section 3 in its present sweeping indiscriminate form. We fear the import and the implications of section 3 in its present form. We hope to persuade the Government that it is not necessary, that it will be counter-productive and that something along the lines we are proposing would be infinitely preferable and desirable.

I confess to being totally puzzled by the inclusion of section 15 in this permanent Bill. I wonder if the general public realise what is involved in the inclusion of section 15 in the permanent legislation. It means that we are looking—the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs used the phrase "for ever"—for all time, as a permanent part of our law that the Army should have the same powers, practically, as the police, that they should have the powers to search, arrest and so on. I do not think the situation at present merits our giving those powers to the military. I do not think they are necessary particularly in view of the fact that the Minister for Justice says the Garda have the situation here under control. Whatever about giving them to the military as an absolute emergency measure, a measure expressed to last for six or 12 months, I cannot understand why the Government are insisting on putting this section into the permanent legislation. The ordinary citizen does not understand much about these things, he does not know the difference between the Offences Against the State Act, a proclamation of an emergency and a declaration of a national state of emergency, but he understands the undesirability of having these powers given to military personnel who are not trained to exercise them in the way the Garda are trained to exercise their powers.

Not yet has the Taoiseach or the Minister explained to us why they want to put this power into the permanent law. Why could it not be put into the Emergency Powers Bill, just as the other detention provisions were, and expressed to expire after 12 months if it is no longer necessary? I do not believe it should be brought in even at this stage. Why we should have to contemplate it being part of the law for ever is something I cannot understand and I entreat the Minister for Justice to give us some rational explanation for that situation.

Our attitude to this whole package —we must look upon it as a package; we must take it all together; the declaration of a state of national emergency, the Emergency Powers Bill and this Bill must all be viewed as a composite proposal by the Government—is clearcut, responsible and understandable. It has the support of the majority of ordinary men and women. We say that the declaration of a national state of emergency is not necessary. We do not believe that the detention for seven days provision is necessary. We believe that section 3 as it stands is a dangerous, insidious section. It is far too wide and far too sweeping. We are very much afraid of giving this power to the military as a permanent feature of our law. That sums up our attitude to this package of proposals by the Government. It is a reasonable stance and a reasonable attitude on our part.

We have already made it clear that we are not going to avail of this situation to embarrass the Government or harass the Government, to embarrass the security forces or to hinder them in any way. We are trying to establish a balance between what the needs of the situation are and what the rights of ordinary men and women are. We are trying to maintain a reasonable balance between those two conflicting exigencies. We have directed our opposition to this package of proposals clearly and directly on to what we would regard as the totally objectionable parts. We are accepting the rest.

A clear analysis of our attitude to the different provisions was given by Deputy Gerry Collins. We say that a great deal of the provisions in the Criminal Law Bill are unrealistic and unnecessary; but the Government have the responsibility, and if they tell us that they need these powers, we say: "Very well, as a responsible Opposition we will not object to them on the assurance of the Government that they are strictly necessary". However, we want to point to the Government what all this adds up to. I believe it adds up to a very threatening, ominous and fearsome future. All those who genuinely care about the type of democracy we have built up here over the decades—we have built up a reasonable democratic system and many people of different shades of opinion and on different sides have contributed to the building up of that democracy—and the concept which we have of ourselves as a people must fear this package in its entirety as put forward by the Government. Taken together, the declaration of national emergency, the giving of special powers to the military, the seven days' detention and the sweeping powers under this incitement and encouragement section, in their totality they add up to an intimidating package of proposals. The Government should listen to us and carefully and conscientiously examine the proposals we will put forward in relation to this Bill on Committee Stage.

Deputy Haughey uncovered the Opposition's strategy in relation to this Bill when he in the last five minutes enunciated to the House the policy of eviscerating the package, the two Bills, leaving them of no value. He is worried about section 3 and says all that should be there is the provision that if someone recruits a young person he should be liable to a long term in prison. He is a lawyer; I am not. He knows well that in detailed legislation like this it is necessary that the manner of committing the offence be specified and that a broad statement like "recruting a young person" would have little chance of being proved. It would be as difficult to prove as the crime of conspiracy. The Deputy has told us he is puzzled by the inclusion of section 15—the "powers to search and arrest at the request of a superintendent". Those are my words, because he just said "powers to search and arrest". I say that that is only applied on the request of a superintendent of the Garda Síochána. As Minister for Defence I want to say that the first way in which this legislation would be operated is on the basis of an emergency or a heinous crime such as the murder of Mr. Ewart-Biggs and the lady civil servant. Then there is necessity for involvement by the Army.

The first thing we have to think about is the fact that much bigger States than ours when faced with subversion and this sort of crime know that they cannot combat them with any police force of normal size and they have had recourse to their armies in this situation. At present we have 8,000 gardaí. Soon we will have 8,500. We have 14,700 in the Army; we had only 8,900 when this Government assumed office, and remember that the dog was let off the leash about 1969 during the term of Fianna Fáil, and no effort was made by successive Ministers for Defence to try to recruit more people into the Army to combat subversion. Remember, also that when you are recruiting a young man into the Army he is of no use on the first day. He must do his recruit training, he must be assessed by his superior officers, he must be a person who, before he is sent out with a gun on patrol or checkpoint duty or any such duty is in the opinion of his superior officers responsible and a fit person to be so sent out.

Are these men toy soldiers? Should we as a small nation, having 8,000 in our police force, throw aside 14,700 members of the Army and say: "The IRA or any other subversive unit are now free to rampage through the highways and byways of this country and we will not let the Army do their job"? The fact is that the changes envisaged are not great or striking, but they are highly important. I would like to tell the House what the Army did to combat subversion in the 12 months ended 31st July, 1976. In that 12 months over 7,000 military parties were supplied for checkpoint duties and participated with the Garda in setting up about 11,500 joint Army-Garda checkpoints. More than 12,000 patrols were sent out into the road network along the Border from the military posts which are being maintained in Border areas. Escorts for explosives for blasting operations were provided on upwards of 1,000 occasions so that, of course, the opportunity for the IRA or any other subversive organisations to steal explosives and detonators was removed. More than 380 requests for bomb disposal teams were dealt with. Remember that when a bomb disposal team goes out it is not just any old half-dozen soldiers. The officer in charge of that bomb disposal team—and there are adequate bomb disposal teams at present in this city and all over Ireland to dispose of a bomb if it is laid, if they get to it in time—may be such as a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering, or a Bachelor of Science and as well as that has done many courses in the disposal of bombs. These are the services at present being supplied and provided by the Army.

Why then is there need for the giving to the Army, on its own, powers of search and arrest? I will give two simple examples. In a situation such as in the murder of Mr. Ewart-Biggs and the young lady there are myraid police duties to be carried out. The chief superintendent, the superintendents and other officers of the Garda who are involved in the search for the criminals have to do all sorts of things, and if they had a police force three times as large at that moment they could deploy them. If you take the number of crossroads all over the city of Dublin, the number of houses that might need to be searched in the city of Dublin, the number of roads, even far away if the perpetrators had gone 30 miles, the places where there are rivers where one can put checkpoints on bridges, no police force—and I reject the arguments by the Opposition who suggest that our police force is too small and that is the way to deal with it—even if you made it 12,000 strong, could carry out all the services required at the time of such a heinous crime.

I now give a further, concrete example of a situation where there was need for these searches and arrest powers for the Army. At present if there were another crime such as the Ewart-Biggs crime, then if the Army were sent out to put checkpoints at various crossroads, there would need to be one garda with every five or six or whatever number of armed soldiers. This means in the Dublin divisions or wherever it might be, the deployment of the entire force of gardaí available and there would be no gardaí for anything else. The reason then for the search and arrest powers of the Army is that the Army will be in a position on its own to operate a certain number of check-points at crossroads, river crossings, or whatever it might be, where the opinion is that that should be done.

I give another example of where this is applicable. I live in County Louth. From where the Border meets the sea on the east coast at Omeath to the town of Belturbet in County Cavan, which is the section operated by one battalion of the Army, is a distance of 123 miles. It started off with 169 openings across that Border, and by various closures and openings and other incidents during the last seven years the number now stands from week to week at about 100 crossings, 100 places where a man can drive a car across with the area of South Armagh on one side and the Counties of Louth, Monaghan and a piece of Cavan on the other. If under present legislation one was to stop every crossing, to stop, for instance a murderer or group of murderers heading for refuge in South Armagh, or if there was a previous crime in South Armagh and you felt there was a group of murderers heading for succour here in the South, then one would need to take from the Louth-Meath and Monaghan divisions of the Garda 100 gardaí to put one guard at each crossing. Then perhaps you would be able to put, say, four soldiers with each garda, an NCO and three or an NCO and four, and you would need 400 or 500 soldiers.

Now the position is that it is not necessary to have a garda with each group of soldiers. Therefore, with the 14,700 Army personnel, of which I am sure there could at any one time be a large number provided within hours, there is the possibility to block completely an area where there has been a heinous crime. How would this be done in half an hour or an hour? Every army, large or small, has a section called Plans and Operations. The duty of this section is to confer constantly with the various units all over the territory which the Army occupies, and having conferred with them to consider the possible things that could occur and to provide plans and operations for every such contingency. There is no desire on the part of the Government or anybody else constantly to send out Army personnel to do Garda work but there is the desire that the chief superintendent of the area or two or three chief superintendents, having planned with the Army, could pick up a phone and ask the relevant Army officer for plan 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, whatever it might be. Plan I might be perhaps to provide ten soldiers, and no more, with two Land Rovers to go to a certain point. Plan 6 might be to do a complete curb and to cover certain crossroads and roads and bridges. The garda could have decided in their request beforehand that perhaps every third bridge would have a garda present, that perhaps Garda patrol cars would constantly call and confer with the soldiers at certain places.

It would be totally incorrect and absolutely inane of a Government who has raised the Army from 8,900 in 1973 to 14,700 in 1976 not to use them. The Opposition might ask: "Why were they not used heretofore?" The fact is that it takes practically a year before one would feel like sending out in large numbers young soldiers to do this work. Therefore, when we set about our recruiting first of all we had to get accommodation for them. Then we had to advertise so as to enlarge the numbers and, having done that, we now have them coming out of recruit training in large numbers. We are now in a position where we can send responsible patriotic young men out to help the Garda. When we first started there were 8,900 in the Army and even in the first year after recruitment there was a totally inordinate number of people in recruit training. It is only when a few years have passed that a responsible, good, loyal force is ready to supplement the Garda on the occasion of a heinous crime. The deterrent is probably more important in this regard than the possible apprehension of the criminal. As from this day, and I hope members of the IRA will read the Official Report and note what I say here today, they will know that the Irish Army have been conferring with the Garda in relation to plans and operations to be put into practice on the occasion of a heinous crime. Cordons, checkpoints and patrols can be set up as never before. Deputy Haughey and Deputy Collins said that this should be debated in the Dáil every 12 months. I will always be absolutely opposed to subversion and to the IRA.

Do I take it from the Minister that Army recruits and Army privates are now being trained and instructed in the processes of arresting citizens?

The Deputy may take it that what is necessary for duties to be performed will be provided for in training.


The position at present is that when our Army personnel come out to help the Garda we have a much better system than the British system in as much as at least once a month every member of the Army who will be going out on checkpoint or patrol duties will receive detailed instructions from an officer who has been instructed by our legal section. Every time Army personnel go out to help the Garda they receive a short lecture before they go out detailing for them how they should behave in any given situation. Later I shall deal with how they have behaved in certain very difficult instances. The interjection was not of much help.

On a point of order.


I hoped that the interjection would have been helpful. I was endeavouring to ascertain, in view of what the Minister has explained, whether it was a fact that the Army are now getting training similar to the Garda.

This is clearly not a point of order. Deputy Tunney will resume his seat. Order. The Minister and every other Member rising must be allowed to make his speeches without interruption of this kind.


It is a point of clarification. The Minister might have clarified it.

Let us hear the Minister out.

I am making every effort to clarify for the House what the position is. I have not been disruptive or abusive to the Opposition. I should be allowed to make my contribution.

They are not being trained for what they are going to do.

They are being trained. Deputy Haughey and Deputy Collins made the point that there was no emergency situation and that powers should only be used in an emergency situation. Is there an emergency situation after Talbot Street and Monaghan in which 38 people were killed; after the escape from Mountjoy; after the blowing open of Portlaoise; after the breaking in of a gate at Portlaoise by an armoured vehicle and the firing at the Army personnel there, which resulted in a ricochet bullet killing one of the prisoners; after the murder of Mr. Ewart-Biggs; after the discovery of enough incendiary devices to completely destroy the centre of Dublin? I would remind the House of the seriousness of this.

By coincidence it was my duty to inspect Clancy Barracks about 15 months ago and on the day in question some subversive organisation planted about 50 or 60 dummy bombs, complete with trembler switches and time switches with only the explosive missing. Members of the House might remember that a conductor in a bus took one of these and threw it over a bridge, which was regarded as a very dangerous thing to do. This incident was to throw down the gauntlet to the Government and to say "This is what we could do if we wished". As it happened I was informed on that day that I was the first Minister for Defence in 35 years to visit Clancy Barracks. Last week there was the discovery of incendiary devices in such numbers that it would be possible to destroy the centre of Dublin city with them. It is estimated that the cost of the damage done by the few bombs that did go off is approximately £2 million.

Those incidents bear out the fact that this is an emergency. All you have got to do is to list the heinous crimes of the last seven years, list the numbers dead and injured and consider whether or not, as was said in another country, we can have an "acceptable level of violence". This Government will never accept an acceptable level of violence. It is suggested that we come back every 12 months to renew the Army powers, which are the least that can be given to the Army in these circumstances. I do not think, nor should anybody else in the House, think that the dog which was let off the leash in 1969 and gambolled friskily around the country until 1973 will be put back on the leash within 12 months. It is sad to say but everybody here accepts that this will be a long, hard haul.

When Deputy Tunney intervened I was indicating that I would always be strongly against the IRA and I referred in particular to section 3. In 1957 I was a member of Louth County Council and two young men called South and O'Hanlon died that year in an attack on a barracks. There was a precedent, as there is in most county councils, whereby votes of sympathy are entirely for kindred of the first generation. A vote of sympathy was proposed by members of the Opposition regarding these unfortunate young men. Out of 26 members I alone said that this amounted to nothing less than the possible sending of other young men to their deaths in Northern Ireland and that I would hold by the precedent and sit where I was. I lost my seat in this House seven weeks later in a Border county, but I hold that my view in 1957 was correct and is correct today.

Section 3 is probably the most important section of this Bill. We do not want "godfathers" or "armchair generals". The people of my age, 53, or older are those who could do most damage while sitting at home by recruiting young people into the IRA. We must stop it and the only way we can stop it is by the well-documented section before us.

The Opposition find themselves in a dilemma, which is this: how far can they go in their attempted evisceration of this package without turning the people against them? The Government package is there; it is true and the Government will see that subversion is crushed.

I want to deal with some extraordinary statements by Deputy Collins. He said that the Army had guns and that the recipient, when a gun went off, was killed, injured or disabled. During the entire seven years the Army have had the sad responsibility of opening fire exactly four times. I had the responsibility of examining reports on each occasion and awaiting anything from a civil action to a charge—if there was culpability—against a soldier. I am glad to say that the system I have indicated of instruction of Army personnel and the constant instruction of them once a month at least in a very detailed way, and every time they emerge on these duties in a more abbreviated way, has meant that the behaviour of these men on each occasion was beyond reproach. In three instances there has not been any action by anybody and in the other instance the court has ruled against the person who took the action and there is notice of an appeal. The behaviour of the Army has been restrained and their discipline has been commendable. I can see no difficulty in helping the Garda on the special occasion when a heinous crime is committed and there is need not only for a large Garda force but also for help from a large number of the Army personnel.

I know the number of Army personnel that I can provide in Dublin city within one hour to help the Garda if there is a serious outbreak of violence such as in Talbot Street when almost 40 lives were lost. I shall not tell the House that; it is a security matter. But I know the number and I am guaranteed that for 24 hours a day, seven days a week, that number can be provided within an hour. Is it not right then that a superintendent of the Garda who could not have enough men in such an instance should have the power to seek, for the particular plan as agreed, sections of the Army so as to give the ultimate in help, provide the ultimate deterrent and provide the best chance of catching those criminals?

The Government have no intention of changing one iota of this legislation. The Army are there to help the Garda; they come when asked and not before. They will be trained to give absolute help. Planning will be done to ensure that in any part of Ireland the best value will be got from the 14,700 men to apprehend these villains—and villains they are—and we make no apology for that. Any digression by members of the Opposition saying: "We will take a little bit off this: section 3 is too wide", will not be accepted. How many times have I heard about the press being hammered? It is an old story. I am 22 years in politics; it was there before I came and it will be there when I go away.

The situation is that only necessary powers are being taken. Between the death of Mr. Ewart-Biggs and the lady civil servant and the publication of this legislation the Government met seven days. Hard work and detailed appraisal were put into every part and every line of the legislation. We stand by it. Any attempted digression, any dithering by the Opposition, any attempt to bring us up long lanes or take us aside will not result in one iota of change. We are here to ensure that in days to come, if it is not there at present, there will be a situation in which people can sleep in their beds and improve their lot in Ireland in a proper way.

I have offered on a few occasions and I was surprised that there was not an opportunity of getting in on this matter.

The Deputy will get an opportunity.

That may be, but four speakers have already gone. I offered at the very outset.

Deputy O'Kennedy on this occasion; the Deputy will have his opportunity.

I know, but I have as much to do in this House as anybody and I have not time just to sit around here waiting for all speakers from both sides to finish. And I do represent people from this House with a very particular, pertinent view on what is being perpetrated on them at the moment.

Not perpetrated, just done.

That is your democracy. You said the Government do not intend changing one iota. There is no point in bringing the Bill to the House for discussion if that is your atttude.

Having been admonished by the Minister for Defence throughout his speech and particularly towards its conclusion that any attempt by the Opposition to change in any way the Government's intentions or programme on this matter would fail—he also seems to imply that any attempt by us to amend what he regarded as absolutely necessary power in every respect would be less than responsible on our part—we are in a rather strange position. We have had that interpretation from the Minister who has just concluded while, from possibly the most unlikely source of all, the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs, we got the other interpretation. For the first time, he has not only recognised the role and function of the Opposition in this debate or any similar debate but, unless I misunderstood him, he seemed to have gone further—we welcome it, belated though it may be —and expressed appreciation of the manner in which we have tested this package and suggested how far we can support what the Government are doing and how far we will have to oppose it and why it is we take either stance.

It came almost like a thunder storm to us on this side to find the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs taking that view of our opposition— more of that later. I hope at least that, because of the manner in which we have expressed our views on this and on many previous occasions, there can be no doubt and no suggestion from any Minister, much less the Minister who has introduced this very important legislation, that whatever we say can give any succour, aid or encouragement to the IRA, the UDA, UVF, IRSP or any organisation. Incidentally, while all of us totally and utterly deplore what the IRA are doing and reject their right to do it in anybody's name, it would be no harm that we should recognise —particularly Government speakers might also do it—that there is a danger in being selective and we might extend our absolute rejection, condemnation and abhorrence of all that is done to every other organisation sheltering under the name of para-militaries which is nearly a euphemism for murder gangs.

Notice taken that 20 Members were not present; House counted and 20 Members being present,

The Taoiseach referred to the cult of violence in Northern Ireland and this may be regrettably all too true. It is incumbent on us to recognise the source of all violence. Now I acknowledge that we have a primary responsibility in so far as the IRA, an unlawful organisation, are concerned because they may have closer associations with this jurisdiction than, say, the UDA. It is most important, however, that the Government should in everything they say and do show themselves equally determined against other unlawful organisations. It should be clearly shown that our laws are directed against every organisation which claims the right to wield arms without any authority and the consequential right to kill, assassinate, maim or destroy. It is important, therefore, that we should guard against concentrating on the IRA or appear to support the suggestion that other organisations are somehow less culpable and not to be condemned as strongly as the IRA are condemned.

It is our duty as an Opposition to test the extent to which what the Government propose is necessary to safeguard the security of the State and the lives of our citizens. Any suggestion from any source that in so testing we would be wrong would be based on a false premise, the false premise that because the Government came to the conclusion that such and such should be done then it is right that such and such should be done. That would be unreasonable. It would be an argument the public would not support. We have an obligation and a right and we must discharge that right and obligation by testing.

Further, if we make suggestions with regard to the Garda or the Army those suggestions are not to be taken as destructively critical of either the Army or the Garda. In both forces we place our full trust and to both forces we give our full support. Any criticism we may offer must not be presented by the Minister or anyone else as implying that the Garda or the Army are not discharging their functions properly. Every organisation must have a code of discipline under which all will maintain the highest standards. I do not blind myself to the possibility that some wayward member may do less than credit to the particular force, the more so when it is a question of conferring additional powers. I hope that on Committee Stage we will be able to discuss objectively the proposed powers in this and the other Bill without being accused—the implication was there in the Minister's radio interview last Sunday—of in any way impugning the integrity of either the Garda or the Army. We are not doing that. We have no intention of doing it. The public do not believe that is our intention and I am confident that neither the Garda nor the Army believe that is our intention.

I have had a very close association on a professional basis with the Garda Síochána. I would like to think that they would feel vindicated as a force when they know that all we want to do is to ensure a continuation of the standards which made them so acceptable. We will do all in our power to help them maintain those standards and, as a mature body of men, I trust they will not feel that any safeguards proposed are a condemnation of them. That could never be the case.

We have no intention of blindly falling into the role of accepting anything and everything without question. We are not prepared to adopt that role. Every Member is entitled to express his own view and it is the duty of the Government to listen to those views. I believe we actually strengthen public support for the Garda and the Army when we question from time to time the manner in which the powers they have are discharged. We certainly strengthen the public support for the Garda and the Army when we question new responsibilities being thrust upon them. The support they have is based on the powers they inherited and on the manner in which they have discharged those powers. When we question the extension of those powers then we not only strengthen the Garda and Army, we vindicate them and the place they have in our society. That is where our determination lies in this and in other debates. We hope that the main purpose of this Bill will be realised—the diminution, if not elimination of violence. I do not believe it will ever be done merely by punitive legislation. One must always take positive, political initiatives as well, which are not being taken. Even if it succeeds in that limited way we hope it will have enhanced the role of our Garda and Army by the time it is put into operation. That is why we are concerned that nothing included in this Bill will undermine or endanger their status in our community.

It is not good enough for the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs to come in here today and say that because these offences being created cannot be punished except by the courts there is no risk, that that, to a certain extent, is the guarantee. As he said, he will not decide who will be prosecuted, it will be the Director of Public Prosecutions. He will not present the case for prosecution, that will be for the counsel for the prosecution. He will not decide, thankfully, whether or not the accused is guilty, that will be for the courts. Therefore, he contends that because of the guarantee of that normal process we should accept that there is no risk, no need for us to raise these questions. Does that guarantee not apply to all criminal legislation that has ever been introduced in this House? I do not want to dwell on the contribution of the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs —I will leave that to some other Members on this side of the House. Did that guarantee not apply particularly to the Forcible Entry Bill? Was not everything that was being done there being done through the courts? We listened with great interest to the speeches of the Ministers for Justice, Posts and Telegraphs, Foreign Affairs and God knows how many others in that respect. Did any one of them once say: "Because these matters will have to be tried by the courts there is a fundamental guarantee"? Of course he did not. If it was not appropriate to say so in that debate, certainly in one of such great consequences for the nation as is this it is not appropriate to rely on that guarantee. Which I recognise is a significant one.

We have our responsibility. As has been pointed out here by Deputy Haughey, or Deputy Colley, our responsibility is to present the legislation to the courts. The courts—and how often have they said it—are bound by the judicial interpretation of what we let out from this House. Therefore, we have an obligation to ensure that such legislation will be tight, proper and capable of being justly administered. If it is not the judges on whom the Minister asks us to rely so much, can do nothing about it. They have to administer the law as we send it out to them. That is why we must look in great detail at every aspect of this legislation.

When the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs asked us also—and he seemed to ask the Press gallery as much as the Opposition; one or other or both of us—whether we seriously considered that the Government and the Taoiseach simply had in mind, in introducing this package, that they could wrong-foot Fianna Fáil in an election he asked did we really think that Liam Cosgrave, with such a consistent record of law and order, was thinking of an election? What does the Minister for Justice present now think about the issue involved here? Was he responding to the criticism from the media when he offered a challenge of an election in the concluding lines of his speech this afternoon when he repeated what he had said in the previous debate in the Seanad:

I said it in the Upper House in the debate on the resolution and I say it again here: we will be quite happy to face the Irish electorate on this legislative package.

Who asked him to face the electorate on this package? Are we asking them? And if we are not asking them, is it the media? Are they going to challenge a general election on the basis of what the Minister suggests there because they seem to be unhappy about a couple of sections that I believe are matters of fundamental concern? The Ministers for Justice and Posts and Telegraphs are at odds with each other on this.

Then there were the bland statements of the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs here today, some of which I do accept and to which I will come in a moment. But when he tells us that we should dismiss any notion that there could even be an election possibility behind this he is contradicting the very thing the Minister for Justice has presented by way of challenge on two occasions. Take it or leave it. But if we are to leave it, let us have an election about it. I am not saying it is by way of direct intimidation from the Minister. But he will see himself that there is a contradiction there which it would be well to clarify.

There was also a contradiction inherent in the last reference of the Minister for Defence who seemed to imply likewise—that come hell or high water they will go through with this and that those of us who question any detail of it are actually obstructing the business of Government. If we did, then they should and would have the right to go to the country. But the country now recognises that there are two obligations to be discharged, theirs and ours, that we are discharging and will discharge ours in a very responsible and positive way.

To come again to the speech of the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs— and I shall leave our spokesman on Northern Ireland to deal with this in greater detail—as the first speaker after him to deal with this area, it is strange but gratifying that, at long last a Government spokesman has come near to apologising for having smeared the Fianna Fáil Party for the position they have taken so consistently over the last two years. He went so far today as to say that in fact he now wanted formally to unsmear us. That is accepted and I will say no more about it. Might I ask him and all Members of that side of the House to refrain from saying things like Deputy Esmonde who on the last occasion said that when Fianna Fáil learn to take their other foot out of the Provo camp they can come in here and talk about responsibilities. No one over there has a right, under any circumstances, to suggest or imply that we are less responsible than are they. If they have nothing else to do now let them listen to the lately converted Minister for Posts and Telegraphs. I hope his conversion is genuine. It will certainly have been a conversion of Saul because it is not in any way in pattern with what he said before, most notably after the issue of our policy statement. Let us never again hear a suggestion that because we may sometimes overlook what the Taoiseach said some years ago—when he called for a withdrawal of the British Army—that if Liam Cosgrave can call for a withdrawal, there is no question about it but that if we do, even at the centre of an all-embracing policy, much more detailed than that single element, we are somehow subversives. I am glad that that has been clarified here today. Perhaps we could now hope to have some unanimity from that side of the House.

In discussing this Bill we are not talking about emergency legislation; we are talking about a permanent criminal law. The Government conveniently talk about this "package". But it is not a package. Two elements happen to be introduced at the same time. To call it a package shows some confusion on the part of the Government and it is important that we eliminate that confusion. The Minister for Justice, when talking to-day of the powers being given to the Army, said:

The Government are conscious that the giving of these powers is a new departure but felt that in an emergency situation it is incumbent on the State to maximise its resources in tackling the emergency.

The powers to which the Minister refers there will remain in the law long after the emergency will have terminated. They are being introduced into the ordinary criminal law. The Minister has said they are necessary to maximise resources in tackling an emergency but they are being presented in this House as part of the emergency element of the package, so-called. Confusion has been created, even in the public mind, to the extent that some people may think it is all part of legislation the Government need and that even powers that can now be written into the ordinary law are accepted as emergency ones. They are no such thing. They are permanent powers, like any others, that will be written into any other criminal law. The Minister would do well to take account of that. It is for that reason we have taken the view that that section—to which I shall come in a moment—if it belongs at all would belong more appropriately to the Emergency Powers Bill, which is stated to be emergency legislation, unlike that we are discussing here, which can operate independently of any emergency.

The Government will have our full support in dealing with those who have done those terrible deeds and also in obstructing those who have carried out killings, maimings and other subversive crimes. The Government are entitled to our support in this matter and they will get it in the future as they have in the past. Everyone recognises the need to get at the "godfathers" of the IRA. It is a sad and tragic reflection on our land that nationally and locally there are people who have misled young men to their deaths on many occasions and, even worse, have misled them into causing death and injury to others. We have a responsibility to ensure that the "godfathers" are prevented in the most effective way from spreading their terrible poison. The Government have and will continue to have our support without equivocation or doubt. This is an area where the law needed to be tightened. There are some examples where people were charged with membership, who could freely suggest they were not members of the IRA but who were quite free to bring unfortunate young men to their own deaths as a result of being recruited or invited to join the IRA. There should not be any doubt about where we stand here.

As our spokesman has said, we will go even further. We think there should be a distinction made in the legislation —this can be argued on Committee Stage—between inviting, inciting and recruiting a young person of tender years, perhaps 17 years or younger, and anyone else over that age. I am sure parents will see the distinction, but I am not saying the Government do not see it. Perhaps the Government consider the section takes this into account already, but to us there should be that distinction. I am sure the courts would apply it if we stated it here. Perhaps this is a matter that might be discussed on Committee Stage. Where young men because of their idealism, immaturity and enthusiasm, respond to dangerous and foolish incitement, the damage done will be very serious not only to those young people but also to those against whom their energies are directed. We must ensure that is prevented in every possible way. The Minister will have our support in this matter.

Most of us realise that the Minister wants to get at that group but he has gone much further. He has introduced into ordinary criminal law a new element of which I was not previously aware. If the Minister is aware of it perhaps he would so inform the House. Section 3 states:

Any person who, expressly or by implication, directly or through another person or persons, or by advertisement, propaganda or any other means,...

We can take that as reading, "a person who, by implication or any other means, incites or invites another person to join an unlawful organiastion". Has the Minister considered the consequences of such an innovation in our criminal law, that a person by implication or any other means can be guilty of an offence? I would have thought that the central principle of our criminal law at all times—and this Bill cannot change it even though it attempts to do so—is that a person must have mens rea, a guilty intention. Without the guilty intention on the part of the person being charged you cannot have the essential elements of a criminal offence. I am not aware anywhere of where a person by implication only can be found guilty of a very serious offence. I acknowledge that it should be regarded as a serious offence in relation to getting people to join the IRA. I wonder why that was introduced. We may be told there is no reason to worry because the courts will make the final decision; but we must ask why we are passing on to the courts legislation that, on the face of it, seems to run contrary to the essential principle of criminal law so far as the guilty intention, the mens rea, is concerned.

I should like to make a few comments on the position of the press in this matter. I am not going to get involved in the debate because our spokesman on Health has dealt with the matter in some detail. It now seems to be a debate between the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs and the media, the Minister possibly aided by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Taoiseach. Simply to state that newspapers will have to be more careful is not good enough. In fairness to them, the business of the media, whether press or radio, is to publish opinions and expressions of other people and also to publish the news. Our business as individuals and representatives in this House is not to the same extent to report the opinions or attitudes of other people. Neither we nor other individuals run the risk of being caught in the net that section 3 will introduce simply because we report what others have said. It is not in the nature of our profession, nor is it the obligation of others, to spend our time reporting or recording what is said or done. However, it is the essential nature of the journalistic profession and that is where they are in a different position. To say, as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Taoiseach, who is now present in the House, has said, that they are simply being put on the same footing as the rest of us so far as criminal responsibility is concerned is to ignore the essential difference between those charged with giving information to the public and those of us who have other responsibilities. For that reason there is a delicate area when it comes to reporting news with which they may be in disagreement themselves. I would be the first to disagree strongly, even violently on occasions, with views expressed by newspaper reporters. Sometimes I may feel I have been misrepresented by newspaper reports, particularly by newspaper headings, as the Minister also may feel. We recognise that as being something which at times we must tolerate but on the other hand it is for the newspapers to look after their own responsibilities.

My final word on this principle as such is that the existing law provides a remedy for those who may be injured by newspaper reports, that is, the civil law of libel but we are taking now a very big jump into a completely new area of civil law. This is the sanction which editors and journalists must now consider. I shall leave it at that for the moment so that the Minister might reflect on my words.

There have been many occasions on which journalists have not faced up to their responsibilities. There are many within the profession who would recognise this but that is not to say that we should introduce into their factual reporting an element of criminal intent. What we are doing here constitutes a departure into a very delicate, if not dangerous, area.

Why do the Government not use plain words in this legislation? If they are anxious, as they say they are, to get at those who recruit young people into subversive organisations, why do they not use the word "recruit"? Is that not the simplest word to use? We know that the recruiting is conducted by people who are members of a subversive organisation but the provision here includes also inciting or inviting others into an organisation by people who may not be members of that organisation.

We are told in the explanatory memorandum that:

Section 3 creates a new offence of inciting or inviting persons to join an unlawful organisation. The maximum penalty imposed is imprisonment for 10 years.

There is nothing else in the explanatory memorandum relating to section 3 but the section goes much further. Therefore, if there was ever a case of an explanatory memorandum being misleading it is in this instance. The section itself is clear but the explanatory memorandum might have contained information on what precedents there may be in other laws for these measures or what guarantees and so on we may have. Such information might have allayed the fears of those of us who are apprehensive, whether that apprehension is unduly or otherwise. The section is the one that has caused the most public concern and reaction but it is given merely two lines in the explanatory data. That is not good enough especially when one realises that the information given is misleading. I do not know for whose consumption that explanation is intended but in view of the amount of legislation introduced from time to time there is a danger that we might rely merely on explanatory memoranda. In such event the explanation in question here would do us a great disservice in our function as Members of this House.

In one part of his speech the Minister engaged in a flight of fancy when he told us, in relation to escape from lawful custody, that escaping of itself and unrelated to the use of force is of no special relevance to subversive activity. We are all determined to ensure that nobody will harbour, assist or otherwise promote the escape of anyone from lawful custody, be he subversive or otherwise. The Government, the Garda and the Army have our full support in that regard but I cannot understand the reason for the Minister saying that escaping of itself is of no special relevance to subversive activity. Have I been living in dreamland? I should have thought that the greatest prominence and publicity given to the subversives was as a consequence of the helicopter escape from Mountjoy, of the escape from Portlaoise and the escape from Green Street. Were these escapes of no special relevance to subversive activity? It would seem to me that escaping is at the very centre of subversive activity and is one of the reasons for our being here. These escapes have been carried out all too successfully. Perhaps this was because there were times when our security forces were not adequately prepared or equipped to guard against them.

Is the Minister trying to imply that because these escapes have been occurring consistently we should ignore the Government's failure in this regard? Surely we are concerned more with those who escape—sometimes these are very dangerous people —than we are with those on the outside who help them in their escape. Maybe the Minister's words are not intended to be understood. He goes on to say that any question of amending the law in this regard will have to await another Bill. Here, again, I do not understand him. We all wish to see the powers of the police being strengthened by way of extra equipment, additional training, reorganisation and so on. This goes, too, for the prison service and the Army. Such extra powers would go a long way towards preventing this creeping dangerous and noxious development of escaping from custody. After all, the escapes have to be planned by those inside before those outside can lend a hand as, obviously, those inside must escape before anyone outside can aid, abet or harbour them. Therefore, these escapes have a very real relevance to subversive activities. I would ask the Minister to think again about this. While aiming to deal more effectively with those who assist escapes, he should consider also more effective ways of dealing with those who escape. In this area Fianna Fáil's position is consistent. As we see it, there is a need to strengthen the machinery, personnel, the equipment and, if necessary, the training of our police force in order to ensure that there are no more escapes.

There is an interesting position in respect of the powers given to the Garda under section 8 of the Bill, that is, the power to search persons and vehicles. I agree with the Minister that this section is necessary. It is necessary to ensure there can be no loophole but I think he would agree also that if the public generally were asked whether a garda was entitled to stop them and search their cars, 95 per cent would answer in the affirmative and also that they would be under the impression that they would be guilty of an offence by refusing to allow the search to be carried out.

The point I am making is that while the section is necessary, the public take it for granted that the Garda have these powers already, that the public are prepared to accept that in the discharge of duty the Garda have the right to search persons or vehicles. It would be unusual for a garda to encounter a case in which a person refused to allow his vehicle to be searched. The public generally would have considered such activity to be consistent with the normal responsibility and function of the Garda. That is why it is important that any power given to the Garda or the Army should be consistent with the duties they have discharged traditionally. In this way the public will not be shocked on seeing the security forces discharging a role different from any to which they had become accustomed and which they had always supported. This is where one raises the question in relation to section 15 of the Bill, which deals with the Army. It is because this provision gives powers to the Army which they have not hitherto exercised, for which they have not been trained and which the public are not accustomed to seeing them discharge, that we say that section is a very delicate if not dangerous one. I want to quote what the Taoiseach said in his typically blunt fashion— and because it makes things clear I welcome that bluntness—in relation to giving to the Army powers which were hitherto solely discharged by the Garda:

The purpose in giving these powers is simply stated. It is to make available the maximum resources in countering the activities of unlawful bodies.

In introducing this Bill today the Minister for Justice said:

The Government are conscious that the giving of these powers is a new departure but felt that in an emergency situation it is incumbent on the State to maximise its resources in tackling the emergency.

There is the implication in those two statements, particularly the Minister's, that there is a limit to the financial resources that can be provided for security. I would say to the Government—and I think this would represent the unanimous view of our party—that the public recognise it is essential for their safety in whatever they are doing that there would be adequate personnel to discharge normal police functions. I am gravely concerned to know that because of financial stringency the overtime activities of the Garda Síochána in the last 12 months have been very significantly curtailed.

I do not want to get into a debate on the economic problems of this Government, because that is far too comprehensive a subject to raise at this stage, but if the Government, because of their economic problems, are going to make the citizen pay the price in a different way, by cutting back on the availability of the policeman for his normal duty, whether that is done by way of overtime or otherwise, then something has gone very wrong indeed. I believe the public would welcome the return of the Garda to their normal functions as well as the security functions they have.

There are some very interesting figures on payments by way of overtime to the Garda Síochána in the last 12 months. It might have been about 25 per cent of their remuneration for normal duties. That is very high indeed. I do not believe it will be 25 per cent in this 12 months, because someone in the Department of Finance or in the Government decided it was too much. Maybe there was an imbalance and that the whole question of overtime should be looked at again. Perhaps the whole question of the functions of the Garda and the appropriate rate of pay for the irregular nature of their job should be reconsidered once and for all, which would mean a big increase in their basic pay—and the public would have to accept this—so that the Garda would be encouraged to do their job with all the hazards and extra work involved. I certainly would favour this and I believe there are many within the force who would like to see the role of the Garda re-examined with a proper rate of pay applicable to them and certainly with almost a total cancellation of overtime. Whatever is done in that connection, it is a very regrettable development that we have to consider powers for the Army which are more appropriate to the Garda for, among other reasons—and I believe this is one of the cogent reasons-reasons of financial stringency.

The Garda Síochána by their training—and there could possibly be room for improvement in their training techniques; who is to say that everything is perfect?—in the discharge of their responsibilities have always, and particularly because they are unarmed, been a very effective and acceptable police force in, among other things, searching, arresting, and in discharging other functions such as those it is now proposed to give to the Army under section 15. I know the provision is subject to the qualification that they must first be called in by a chief superintendent, but they will be on their own for up to six hours. There is a fundamental difference in role, and I wish the Minister had recognised this when he said the Army were being given "exactly similar powers to the powers the Garda have —no more and no less". He thinks that is an end of it. It is because he is giving the Army such powers that we are going into a very dangerous area, because the powers of the Garda up to this are different from the powers of the Army, as the powers of the Army are different from the powers of the Garda. There is one essential difference between them, irrespective of their powers. It is that the Army, of their nature, are armed. The Garda, equally of their nature, are unarmed. An Army only justifies itself by virtue of being armed. The ultimate sanction it has is to discharge its arms. To cross the two lines in the confused way they are being crossed in this Bill, which will be part of the ordinary criminal law, not part of an emergency package, is an extremely dangerous journey and a journey about which we have very serious reservations.

I am not quite sure how this matter is regulated here in the South, but in the North there are, one understands from the publicity one sees from time to time, instructions issued to the British Army as to when and in what circumstances they may discharge their weapons, blue cards, green cards or whatever they are. I gather this information has been published and the public are aware of the conditions governing the discharge of arms in the North of Ireland by the British Army. Is there anyone in the South who has any idea what conditions or regulations govern the discharge of weapons by the Irish Army? I certainly do not know. I suppose if I went to the trouble of inquiring, I might find out, but I do not know whether I am entitled to get such information. The public at large, who will be meeting the Army in this new role, have not got this information. Is it not vitally important that that at least would be introduced as a safeguard, so that we would all know what the position is in regard to our safety and to ensure that maximum co-operation can operate with the security forces. We should all like to know the circumstances in which a soldier will discharge this responsibility.

That power which the Bill now seeks to give was not contemplated in the original instruction. This is a delicate area and we are concerned with that section in the Bill. We have other reservations which we will pursue with diligence on the Committee Stage.

None of us likes the necessity to bring in this type of legislation. However, a time comes when we must take decisions. We on this side are responsible for governing the country and the question we must ask ourselves is: how long are we prepared to let the present situation drift? During the years many laws have been enacted to try to cope with terrorists. To some degree they were effective but we still have this cancer in our society which we must try to root out. If it takes strong legislation to do that then the duty squarely rests on any Government to provide that legislation. When the Opposition were in Government they brought in legislation to deal with matters such as we are dealing with today. I wholeheartedly support this whole package.

There has been a lot of emotive talk about the declaration of an emergency but if we look at what this package is about we will appreciate that a person can be detained for longer than 48 hours, and the Minister has pointed out that this has been called for by the Garda who have said that in their opinion it would be better if subversives could be held for a longer period. Those subversives try by any means to intimidate and to terrorise people and it is essential to give the Garda the weapons, the laws, necessary to deal with such people.

Those people do not respect life, property or the institutions of the State and it is in this context that we must look at this package. It is not aimed at ordinary people. Everyone appreciates that, although some people might give a different impression. This legislation is solely to deal with the men of violence. It is a sad thing that we have such men, but they are there. The other day we saw what they were prepared to do. They were prepared to burn down Dublin.

The Deputy should take care not to refer to matters which are sub judice.

The Minister for Posts and Telegraphs did so.

And the Minister for Defence.

Those people would stoop to anything. We do not have to look back too far to see what they are prepared to do. The assassination of the British Ambassador, the explosions within our courts, striking at the very foundations of liberty and democracy, the general day to day activities of those people, warrant strong measures. This legislation provides for the detaining of people for a longer period. The order must be signed by a chief superintendent. We all respect the integrity and the judgment of the Garda, particularly their senior officers. We know they will exercise this power only when they have grave doubts in regard to particular prisoners whom they would have in custody. On that basis it is necessary and desirable to support this legislation.

A question has been raised about the freedom of the Press. In all their writings in the past week about the proposed emergency powers the Press did not refer to this aspect because they did not know about it until the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs gave an interview to an American journalist. They could not see it for themselves but when it was pointed out to them they got high and mighty. Today the Opposition tried to create all sorts of doubts in the minds of people in this respect.

Do the Press want double standards, one law for them and another for others? Our laws must apply equally. Newspaper people are responsible and I have no doubt it is not their intention to advertise subversive organisations, but if there are people who want to engage in such advertising they should be dealt with in the same way as anybody else. There should be no exceptions. A responsible press would never lend itself to this and therefore a responsible press has no reason to fear this legislation. The people who need to be afraid of this legislation are those whose dead hands are behind various papers, anonymously or otherwise. Why should they be allowed to continue?

Then there are those who are known as "The Godfathers" who are no better in my view than the drug pushers who would poison society— those responsible for inciting young people to take up guns. Once they take them up they cannot lay them down. Those people behind the scenes cannot be got at. It is high time a law was brought in to put the finger on these people once and for all. These people lecture young people, breed hate and poison into their minds with lies, half truths and what I call hysterical nationalism. They take a back seat and these unfortunate young people are put on the front line to assassinate or do any damage they can to wreck the institutions of this State, and of the economy. In my view there are no words harsh enough to use against those evil men.

I am happy to have the opportunity to stand up in this House and state my views because it behoves many of us to stand up and be counted in denouncing these people. It is very heartening to see the women of this nation saying "We are finished with violence. We want to live together in peace". We in this House have a duty to see that this happens and we can only do that by bringing in legislation to put these subversives down once and for all.

There has been a fair amount of criticism about the Army playing a role in State security and in policing duties. The subversives have put a name on themselves, the Irish Republican Army (Provisional). They carry guns. Our Garda are unarmed and are a credit to this nation. We have a first class, highly trained Army. I cannot see any good reason why these men are not used to back up the Garda authorities.

If the Army stop a car and they see a bomb, guns or maps in that car, surely they have the right to hold the people in that car for six hours. In my view, six hours is a reasonable time to hold them until the Garda formally arrest them. This is very important and we should not be woolly about our attitudes to it. The Army will play a very useful role in this fight because the time has come to confront these people. We can no longer hope that common sense will prevail and the sooner laws are brought in to deal harshly with them the better for the rest of the population.

It is most desirable that penalties be increased. As some Members pointed out, when these men come before the courts, instead of getting the maximum sentence of two years they are often given a sentence of nine months or one year. That is a matter for the courts, but it is for this House to ensure that, even if a judge decides that in some cases there may be mitigating circumstances, the term is reasonably long. If a person is a member of an illegal organisation, and that is an offence, then I believe normal sentence should be meted out. I cannot see why because of circumstances sentences should vary. Under this Bill, that sentence has been increased from two years to seven years.

The increased sentence of seven years may not have much effect on hardened subversives, but it may have a deterrent effect on people who are contemplating joining these organisations. In my view the deterrent value is important here. If a person gets a year's sentence, that does not appear a very long time, but if a man knows he faces the possibility of a seven-year sentence he will take another very hard look at what he is about to do. Our aim must be to stop young people joining these illegal organisations. If we can do that, the whole operation will slow up and the organisation will disintegrate.

We can be under no illusions about the magnitude of the job facing us and the type of person we are dealing with. Over the last few days we have seen what they will do. It has been said that the state of emergency will harm the economy and tourism but I believe when even one bomb goes off in any part of the State that that has a real effect on our tourism, because that is the reality which can frighten off industrialists. When we rid our nation of these people and dismantle these organisations then, and only then, can we say we can build a real economy and a good tourist industry.

Over the last number of years, no matter what action was taken, these people were able to overcome it. The time is long overdue when these people should be faced squarely. The Garda and Army have difficult duties to perform and must be complimented on the manner in which they do their work. When there is a breach of security all sorts of questions are asked and fingers are pointed here, there and everywhere. Portlaoise is the hardest prison in Europe to guard because there are a large number of single-minded individuals imprisoned there who have nothing to do but to plot escapes. When an escape is attempted or a small amount of explosives are brought in, great play is made of the situation; but most people overlook the fact that the prisoners can spend 16 hours or more each day in figuring out ways to combat the forces of law and order. However, their success rate is low because of the surveillance and diligence of our Garda and Army.

The Garda and Army need our support. As I said earlier, they need the tools and they need the legislation. We cannot lean on them all the time. If they ask for additional power we should of course examine the matter closely. If there is good reason for giving extra powers to the Garda and Army—and the Minister did say that there were good reasons but that in the interests of security they could not be given to the House—then we should give them. I am surprised and disappointed at the stand taken by the Opposition in regard to this measure. It is not Draconian legislation. What is Draconian about trying to protect the lives of the people, their property and the institutions of State? We all have an obligation to do what we can to put the perpetrators of these crimes behind bars. The Opposition have the right to be critical. They must go through a Bill with a fine tooth comb. That is their job, but it is the Government's job to govern. If the Government fail to govern they have no business being in power. When this Bill becomes law it will help our law enforcement officers to catch people they could not catch before now.

I am glad I have been given an opportunity to speak on this Bill. As a back-bench Deputy I felt I had to make a contribution on this matter to show how I felt at what is happening today. No doubt my colleagues feel the same abhorrence. None of us likes strict legislation, but we have no other choice. We should not let matters drift on in the hope that our problems will disappear. These people will get stronger. They will raise finance by robbing banks and by creating an image for themselves abroad as the saviours of this nation. It is our duty to ensure that the people are given the right information. The teaching of history has left a lot to be desired. There is truth in our history but it is often put over in a slanted way which may be responsible for influencing young people. I am not sure what the situation is like now but when I was at school I felt a certain revulsion after a history lesson. That is teaching hate. We should be careful of how we mould young minds If we mould them in the wrong way we must accept responsibility for the consequences.

I am sorry to interrupt the Deputy but I am anxious that he would not now stray too far from the subject matter of the measure before the House.

Terrorism is a serious matter. I mention these points to ensure that there is no doubt in the minds of our people in regard to the activities of the IRA. I do not know what their purpose is except to destroy this nation. It is the function of the Government to take whatever measures they deem necessary to deal with subversion. I support this Bill. I have no doubt that we have the full support of the people of Ireland in this. They are sick of what they see and read daily. The peace movements over the past number of weeks show to me the type of country the people want. They want to live together. If small sections of our society do what they can to disrupt society it is up to this House to bring in legislation to deal with them fairly and squarely.

The provisions of the Criminal Law Bill, 1976, in general, do not present any very great problems to those of us on the Opposition side of the House, with some exceptions. As we have stated, we believe a responsible Opposition in a democracy must support provisions brought forward to enable the security authorities to end unlawful activities within the State.

I say that of this measure because Deputy O'Brien has just said he was surprised at the Opposition's reaction to the emergency legislation. He said some Members on this side of the House referred to that legislation as Draconian. Deputy O'Brien should know that any measure which gives power to the security authorities to detain people without any knowledge of their whereabouts for from seven to nine days is potentially as Draconian as one could get. While supporting the Government in the reasonable measures put forward in this Bill, a responsible Opposition is obliged to draw attention to the possible consequences of extraordinary legislation such as is contained in the other Bill coming before the House tomorrow, I think.

Some of us have seen the very serious consequences of detention without trial. While I do not wish to bring it into this debate, it should be emphasised that a responsible concern on our part motivates us in opposing the emergency legislation contained in the other Bill. Naturally, we are also concerned about the results of the declaration of a state of emergency. Deputy O'Brien mentioned the harm which can be done by one single bomb, and I totally agree with him. If he were still in the House I would remind him of the considerable degree of harm done by the publication right across the world of a declaration of a national state of emergency here. There have been cancellations of various kinds. That kind of step by any Government can hardly encourage overseas business people to invest here. I regret having departed for a moment from the Bill before the House, but I wanted to deal with what another Deputy said.

A number of proposals in this Bill will have our full or almost full support. It is not so difficult for us to support measures which will increase the penalties in various areas in the belief that an increase in penalties may act as a major deterrant and, therefore, help to bring to an end the type of unlawful activities which have been taking place. I see the increase in the term of imprisonment for kidnapping as being worth supporting. I am sure most of the public would support the proposal to increase the penalty for those who create bomb scares and carry on activities of that kind which are either mischievous or subversive. In effect, in this city a bomb scare can be extremely damaging to employment and very expensive to the taxpayer in terms of the number of Garda and sometimes Army personnel who have to be brought out on special duties. There is no great problem for us in supporting that type of measure.

It is when we come to section 3 that we in the Opposition run into difficulties. If the explanatory memorandum to section 3 were the section rather than the actual section, we would not have such great difficulty. The explanatory memorandum says:

Section 3 creates a new offence of inciting or inviting persons to join an unlawful organisation.

The section is a wordy section. This afternoon the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs acknowledged that he took a little extra time on the word "encourage" in dealing with the Forcible Entry Bill. If he were now in Opposition and faced with a section providing:

Any person who, expressly or by implication, directly or through another person or persons, or by advertisement, propaganda or any other means, incites or invites another person (or other persons generally) to join an unlawful organisation or to take part in, support or assist its activities shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction on indictment to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years.

There would be plenty of elbow room for him to take up the time of the House. We do not propose to do that. We propose to put forward a relatively simple amendment to try to cover the aim which we consider to be desirable in this section. We are particularly in favour of a provision under which adult persons, persons of experience, supposedly of mature years, who recruit young people into subversive or physical force organisations will be subject to a significant prison penalty.

I find myself in agreement with the Minister who said that kind of activity by a person who is probably not likely to endanger himself is much more serious than actual membership. Young people aged 16 or 17 years are encouraged to join organisations of this kind before they have had time to think out issues for themselves. That is the way in which we will be dealing with section 3 covering the question of incitement.

We will be opposing the concept of introducing the Defence Forces into a police role. Even though this is the practice in Britain, we do not think it is wise or suitable here. Its introduction may lead to a widespread use of the Defence Forces as a police force. We believe our Defence Forces are totally unsuited to this kind of work. We are not supporting this unless those engaged are directly under Garda authority. Those listening to the Minister for Defence this afternoon would have got the impression that action of this sort would not take place other than in the presence of a garda. The Minister last week, when speaking on this issue, told us of what he expects to see but he was not talking about what is contained in the Bill. I am sure it is not the intention of the Minister to mislead the House but he told us that in the event of road barriers being set up across the city each group would have a garda. Nevertheless, section 5, the first section that mentions the Defence Forces, states that a member of the Garda Síochána or the Defence Forces acting under the authority of a search warrant may.... Throughout the Bill there is reference to a member of the Garda Síochána or a member of the Defence Forces. As the Bill stands, we can see the Defence Forces being used independently, as is done by Britain. We are not prepared at this stage to support such a measure.

The kind of activity that has been taking place in this part of Ireland, described as subversive activity, is a usurpation of democratic right here and we should support all reasonable means to bring such activity to an end. In this sense the aim of the Bill is a good one. Those involved in subversive activities on one side or the other in the North of Ireland, or partially here, must be coming to the conclusion that the experience of the last seven years has proved that violence is an obstacle to all genuine efforts to effect any kind of settlement of the northern political problem. Basically, it is a political problem. In that sense if any action carried out here through the enactment of this legislation can help to end that violence so that the political temperature can be reduced and discussions can take place, there is no question but that all the people of Ireland would benefit.

It is necessary to point out when dealing with a measure of this kind what one believes to be the error in approach to the problems of subversion and violence. Tacit approval that violence in the northern part of Ireland is justified on a tit-for-tat basis, whether that violence is political or secretarian, is wrong. Efforts to justify it on the grounds that it is all right to hit back because the other fellow is doing it or in order to discourage the other side, as has occurred in the North in recent months, or for revenge purposes, is a mistake and can only lead to greater violence. One has either to agree with and support violence or condemn it in its entirety.

One cannot condemn British or Loyalist violence and remain silent on the Provisional IRA violence, nor can one do the reverse, as I find a lot of in this part of Ireland. What is condemned is the violence of the Provisional IRA only, but the form of sectarian violence taking place in the Six Counties and the violence of the para-militaries is glossed over. This is a weak attitude to adopt and it is morally indefensible.

The impression created on the part of some politicians here is that the only violence that exists and needs to be dealt with is the violence of the Provisional IRA. Nevertheless, it is necessary to point out again that the grave occasions of death here were mainly those originating through violent elements in the North of Ireland. Whilst I, as a Member of the Opposition, support this measure in so far as I can and, subject to our own amendments, I believe it is a fallacy on our part, either on the part of the Government or on the part of the Opposition, to think that a policy of law and order only can solve the problem which has been created by the Northern situation. Talk of violence alone by the British and Irish Governments is futile unless recognition is given to the basic wrong that has existed in the North since early this century. That situation was created without agreement and has been maintained ever since under British authority. Even today there is a steady campaign of murder and burning out of their homes of elements of the Nationalist population in the North, apparently under the eyes of the British Government and the British security forces and with very little protest from down here.

It should be obvious to both Governments, particularly to the British Government, that the form of violence that is going on, particularly in the North, is not likely to end until they make up their minds to take a genuine political initiative. Britain must recognise that her presence and involvements in the affairs of the North of Ireland are one of the primary causes of violence. As long as Britain persists I cannot see how this kind of thing can be brought to an end. Political initiative is badly needed but the will to launch such a policy does not seem to exist at present in Britain. Indeed, one can say that in some ways the reverse is the case. Conservative Party spokesmen seemed recently to go back over 50 years to the attitude of the old British establishment.

However, as an Opposition it is our duty to support reasonable measures to ensure that democratic government and parliament are effective in this part of Ireland and that militant elements cannot impose their will on anyone, but we should not fool ourselves into thinking that prison sentences alone can bring political change and peace. I should like to mention the rather dramatic intervention of the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs this afternoon and his reference to the smear campaign against this side of the House, what he described as the "democratic Opposition", last year. The Minister drew a comparison between the policy of the Fianna Fáil Party and the aims of the Provisional IRA, and that he thought there might have been some sneering at the Fianna Fáil Party because of that and if he could unsneer he would do so. As Deputy O'Kennedy said, I hope that the Minister's conversion to an honest approach towards the Opposition is genuine but I have to remind the House that, following the policy statement issued by our Party last year, the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs was recorded as saying, "This puts Fianna Fáil in line with the Provisionals". That is the kind of sneering remark that is in all probability intended to do as much damage as possible to the established democratic Opposition.

I do not think it is necessary to follow that any further except to mention that the Minister again said that the Fianna Fáil statement called for a declaration of intent from Britain to withdraw. In fact, the Fianna Fáil policy statement called on Britain to declare herself in favour of the unification of Ireland by peaceful means and in a friendly relationship between the peoples of both countries. It also called on the British Government to make a commitment to engage in a phased withdrawal, having entered into an agreement on economic and financial terms to facilitate that withdrawal, but at no point did the policy statement issued by us set or suggest a time limit.

We are realistic enough to know that at any time in our history during this century the question of how to resolve the differences on this island is a major one and a sensitive one. It is far more so, and we of all people are much more aware of it, following on the violence from all sides in the Six Counties over the past seven years. The whole question has been bedevilled by violence, and the reasonable proposals put forward by us have themselves been misconstrued, probably in an effort to put this party in an undesirable light in the eyes of the people. I have myself expressed the view that the situation in the North of Ireland is an abnormal one and that normal attitudes are unlikely to develop among the Unionists in the North until such time as they decide to stand on their own feet and enter into talks with us, or alternatively until Britain tells them to do this: stand on their own feet. The Minister for Posts and Telegraphs went on to talk about the consequences of withdrawal and so on, but as far as I know —and I am talking in terms of constitutional politics—nobody is calling for any such instant actions on the part of Britain. We want to see the solution to this problem and we want to see it on a long-term basis, a basis of reconciliation and friendly discussion.

As an Opposition, I repeat, it is our duty to support reasonable measures to ensure that democratic government is effective and that militant elements cannot impose their will on anyone. As this is the Second Stage I will not go into the amendments we are discussing, but I hope that the Minister will consider any amendments that we put forward as coming from an Opposition who are genuinely interested in trying to help to bring about a control of subversion here and to bring about an end to violence so that the present situation. I fail to under-we can look forward to a more peaceful future.

I have long experience of membership of this House and I feel somehow disheartened with the trend of speeches being delivered by Deputies who have long experience of membership here. I feel disappointed because I have been, am and always will be a believer in democratic rule and I feel that most Deputies who have contributed to this debate are missing the real kernel of the whole situation.

It is agreed that a state of emergency exists and that the situation which exists warrants this Bill and any other Bill of its kind. The reason is that conditions here are not normal conditions. I remember legislation going through this House in the early 1940s during the last World War. Ministerial orders were made, special provisions for the emergency that then existed were made, and wide powers were vested in various Ministers to cope with the situation that existed from 1939 to 1945. That emergency was one in which this House decided their policy, adopted this action and faced the problems of a world war. The emergency of today is quite a different situation, and what I greatly fear is that there are many Deputies who do not realise or do not want to realise the seriousness and the urgency associated with the situation in which we find ourselves. I feel there is a conspiracy in progress in this country in which there may be one or a number of associations and organisations who have made up their minds that there must be an attack on the institutions of this State as they exist; that some of these are cunningly and cleverly using the Northern situation, and that part of that programme rightly or wrongly is to advocate the removal of the British from Northern Ireland. This is only one small step of the programme. The next stage would be to take over the Republic of Ireland, to take over the functions of this Parliament. Many people fail to realise the significance or the importance of stand why so many Deputies cannot grasp the seriousness of that situation.

Members of the Opposition say that an emergency does not exist. What would they want to happen before they could describe it as an emergency? Do they want to wait until such time as the functions of this House are taken over by outsiders and then say that the Government of the day failed in their responsibility and did not take drastic action? The position is that this Government are taking action to see that no outside group organised or disorganised can take over the functions of the elected representatives of this House. The aim of those engaged in this conspiracy is to create disorder and discontent in the country, to cash in on the economic problems, and on conditions brought about by events outside this country and where possible to solicit the support of weak minded public representatives who do not think it worth their while to consider the seriousness of a situation of this kind.

There was a time in this country when none of us could foresee that despite the best efforts of the authorities an embassy could be burned to the ground. None of us could foresee that an ambassador, a guest of this State, a representative of his Government, could be brutally murdered. I venture to say that it is a part of the policy of those engaged in this conspiracy to take over entirely the functions of Government by means other than the ballot box. A Bill of this kind is necessary if we are to ensure that Parliament is to function, that we do not wake up some morning and find various Government buildings ablaze and perhaps a threat to the lives of public representatives, and that those who are engaged in this conspiracy cannot set up a dictatorship and form their own junta of a government.

Where such a serious situation exists within the State it is the duty of Parliament to ensure that that conspiracy will be brought to an end, and that all the powers of the State, the Garda, the Army, public spirited citizens, the lovers of freedom and democracy should be at one in seeing that this conspiracy is smashed. The seriousness of this matter cannot possibly be estimated and serious concern must be shown for the lives and property of people. It is the aim of those engaged in this conspiracy not alone to take over Government and Government offices but to confiscate private property and to put an end to private property as we know it. When I hear, as I have heard today, members of the Opposition being critical about the contents of this Bill it seems that they fail to grasp the importance of the fact that under their very noses there is an attempt to take over the functions of this House and by delaying legislation of this kind and by being overcritical they have been helping those who are engaged in the conspiracy to take over the institutions of the State. If the members of the Opposition were really aware of the seriousness of the situation as it now exists they would have no hesitation in saying that the Government must be in possesion of certain facts. No Government declares a state of emergency without reason or without full consideration. A state of emergency was declared in an effort to preserve Parliament as we know it, so that I may be free and every other member of this Dáil, having being elected at free democratic elections, may be free to stand up and make his case on behalf of the people who send him to Parliament. The Members of this House should be the last to be critical of the practical action taken within Parliament to combat the present situation.

If Parliament belittles itself it cannot expect much respect from those outside who are out to undermine Parliament. For that reason there is at the moment a challenge to every elected Member of this House by people who have set themselves to disrupt this House, disrespect its laws and the courts set up by it, to disrespect the Army which are loyal to this House and show discourtesy and disrespect for the Garda who show allegiance also to this House. We have this serious situation where the essence of democracy is at stake. If the Opposition feel that the Army and the Garda should not be given the authority with which they are being vested under this Bill, that is to me a reflection on their integrity and shows a certain amount of disbelief in themselves and in the authority of this House in regard to reinforcing all our law abiding citizens, every believer in the ballot box, in giving full support to the Army and the Garda in seeing that the courts we set up are respected in operating the laws passed in this House.

This Parliament is the supreme authority; nobody else has authority to make laws or hand down the code of society under which our people live. The authority of this House has been challenged by those engaged in the conspiracy of taking over our courts, describing themselves as an army, and posing as an army, arming themselves and declaring war in the name of the State and the Irish people. This is a direct challenge to the authority we have as elected representatives.

It is amazing that a number of public representatives cannot see that they and their right to speak or even to be here is being challenged by those who do not believe in democratic government or in the ballot box or free elections. Unless laws of this kind are passed we will see sooner than we anticipate the day on which there will be no free election in this country. The sooner we all face up to this challenge the better. There is no point in the Government trying to take advantage of the Opposition or the Opposition trying to score over the Government; this conspiracy challenges the right of everyone in Dáil Éireann to give of his best in making laws and that the Government vested with power and authority by the people can ensure that what is passed in this House is obeyed.

Anyone who believes in the right of Parliament to make laws, particularly in an emergency in which Parliament itself is under challenge, must know that there is nothing in this Bill or in the Bill last week that need give any law abiding citizen a moment's fear because every such citizen is prepared to live according to the proper rules of society. If there are people who are prepared to live outside those rules, society in its own interest and in the interest of the law-abiding community is obliged and has the authority of the people to take suitable action. No law-abiding citizen need fear any section of any Bill introduced to-day or yesterday or which will be introduced tomorrow by the Minister for Justice. The legislation is aimed only at those who have no respect for the law and who, as we have seen in one instance, had plans which could result in burning down half of this city, or who otherwise participate in activities contrary to the laws of this House.

I heard some Deputies refer to the freedom of the Press and steps being taken by the Government to cuntail that freedom. I think it was The Irish Press on Monday last that had the headline “Fianna Fáil Move on Press Curbs”. In any democracy it is right to have a free Press. But what is freedom and what is a free Press? The Press have grave responsibilities. They are very useful in a democratic society in moulding public opinion, expressing views, in publishing truth and advocating justice. Public opinion can be swayed by the Press. While we heard Deputies saying that freedom of the Press is being threatened in this Bill not one Deputy referred to the responsibility of the Press to the State, the individual and to the public. The Press in time of emergency have a duty as regards their responsibility to the public but whether there is an emergency or not they have a responsibility to the public. It is their responsibility to the public not to take part in character assassination and, if there has been character assassinations by the Press, the citizens have a right to full coverage with names clearly indicated.

The Parliamentary Secretary should try to keep to the Bill.

I am keeping to the Bill. We have a very high standard of journalism on the whole and many talented journalists. But, as in other walks of life, it is not always the most responsible and talented who fill editorial chairs. If an editorial chair is occupied by one less responsible should we not incorporate in legislation provision to ensure that such an editor will not be allowed to use his responsible position to give wide publicity to those engaged in violence, those who advocate that this Parliament should be destroyed? Surely it is only common sense that those responsible for publicity likely to generate violence should be amenable to the law. Irresponsible journalists who publish articles likely to undermine the authority of the State must be amenable to the law and there must be machinery available to make them so amenable.

None of our newspapers, daily and weekly, has anything to fear under this Bill. There is nothing in the Bill which interferes with the freedom of the Press so long as those who constitute it abide by the law as every citizen is expected to abide by it. Now in the last few years there has been what I describe as some reckless journalism and, when this Bill becomes law, I hope the irresponsibles in the Press will have the sense to seek legal advice before publishing so that we will not have articles likely to encourage in any way the men of violence, irrespective of what side they are on.

The Press has a serious responsibility where the individual is concerned. No newspaper should encourage revolution and violence. Such encouragement is, I believe, contrary to the wishes of the people. Such encouragement is a gross abuse of the ethics of journalism.

It is desirable that a democracy should have a free Press. There is, however, a point beyond which tolerance cannot go. The Press should at all times uphold justice and truth. There are members who argue this Bill will take away freedom. There can be no freedom to take life, no freedom to organise conspiracies, no freedom to burn a neighbour's house to the ground. There may be times, particularly in an emergency when, regrettably, certain citizens' rights or freedom must be impinged on in order that the majority may enjoy freedom. The same applies to the free Press that uses caution and care. They need have no fear whatever of any section of this legislation. If any newspaper publishes an advertisement inviting citizens, young or old, to participate in illegal activities, I would certainly hope that on our Statute Books there would be legislation to prevent its recurrence.

The Minister for justice will have no say so far as the institution of legal proceedings is concerned. That will be undertaken by someone independent of this House who conscientiously, honestly and fearlessly carries out the powers vested in him. If an offence of that kind was committed it would properly be dealt with by the courts and the decision of the courts will be made without any interference from this House. Therefore, those people who are worried about the curbing of the activities of the Press need have no fears. Neither should the owners or editors of newspapers nor, indeed, the chief reporters as long as they keep within the law, and the law is there for all citizens without fear or favour. The laws passed by this House are those which every citizen is obliged to keep and respect.

I am glad to see that steps are being taken to deal severely with the instigators of bogus telephone calls in connection with bomb scares. I hope that those responsible for such calls will be subjected to the full vigour of the law because such calls entail serious financial losses for businessmen and others. Great financial loss has been suffered by hoteliers, business people, shopkeepers and others as a result of bomb scares in this city and, indeed, in various other towns throughout the country to say nothing of the traffic chaos. Every Member of this House should appeal to the general public to give their full co-operation to the Garda in their endeavour to expose those responsible for such bogus calls. I hope we have seen the end of them and I am sure that the Bill, when passed, will curtail such activities. The Opposition make a point in this Bill in regard to the seven days' detention.

It is not in this Bill.

I agree it is not in this Bill but in that regard people need have no worry; anybody who keeps within the law need not worry.

The Garda and Army have been referred to many times this afternoon. In an emergency in which both lives and property are at stake it is essential that the powers given to the Army are reasonable—powers about which law-abiding citizens need have no fears. It should be conveyed to the general public that it is in their interests so that they may lead their lives without fear or hindrance. As one who fully believes in democracy as it obtains here, I feel this is legislation that has the support of 99.9 per cent of the people, people who do not want to live in fear. It is terrible if, in a supposedly free country, people have to live their lives in fear. Most of us who are accustomed to freedom would feel we would be better off dead than to live continuously a life of fear in which we could not go about our business and say what we liked provided it was within the law and in accordance with the rules of society. For that reason we should be extremely grateful to the Minister for Justice for the introduction of this legislation which, with the united effort of the Garda and Army, will strengthen such hopes of our people.

Deputy Haughey opened his remarks by asking if there was an emergency. Surely any responsible public representative, bearing in mind particularly events of the last three months, must be satisfied that there exists a most serious emergency. To pose such a question is, in my opinion, a display of very great irresponsibility on his part or that of any other public representative.

This legislation does not depend on the declaration of a state of emergency.

Nevertheless, I raised it because it was the point with which Deputy Haughey introduced his remarks. He continued to say that he felt this was legislation that was not necessary.

The Parliamentary Secretary did not know it in 1972 when there were 10,000 at the gates trying to get in.

Conditions are quite different now. Perhaps I could make a comparison between 1972 and now.

There were 10,000 people at the gates trying to break in and the Parliamentary Secretary did not know it.

I will deal with that in the morning.

The Dáil adjourned at 8.30 p.m. until 10.30 a.m. on Wednesday, 8th September, 1976.