Having attended this morning's meeting of the Forum on Europe, the Deputy will appreciate that I have addressed at length the concerns he has raised. Time does not permit me to repeat a tiny fraction of what I said this morning.
I take the Deputy's point that if QMV is extended to all aspects of criminal law procedure, if the definition of the area of EU competence to harmonise laws by QMV is put in place and if the EU public prosecutor is left in place, it could be argued that the EU is becoming the origin of considerable competence in criminal law. This is a concern of the Government. As I said at this morning's meeting of the Forum on Europe, we have to ask ourselves what protective mechanisms would exist in such circumstances to guarantee the rights of citizens.
The Government has tabled amendments to the Convention report. The Convention process is coming to an end and, as the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Deputy Cowen said, the question of justice and home affairs is something which will be finally looked at and finally resolved, we hope, in the context of the intergovernmental Council meeting in the autumn which may also stretch into our Presidency. In that context the Deputy can remain assured that the Government, and my Department in particular, will remain vigilant to ensure that the constitutional rights of Irish citizens will not be endangered by any developments with which we are unhappy.