Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Seanad Éireann díospóireacht -
Wednesday, 22 Jul 1959

Vol. 51 No. 6

Maritime Jurisdiction Bill, 1959—Second and Subsequent Stages.

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

It is hoped that this Bill will resolve the doubts and uncertainties which have sometimes arisen as to the precise extent of the jurisdiction of the State in the sea areas which are adjacent to our coasts.

Perhaps the most notable feature of the Bill is that it will enable what is termed the "straight baseline system" to be applied to parts of the Irish coast. As Senators are aware, the breadth of the territorial sea is normally measured from low-water mark on the coastline. Under the straight baseline system, the breadth of the territorial sea is measured from straight lines joining outermost points on the mainland, islands, and low-tide elevations on which installations permanently above sea level have been built.

The straight baseline system was approved by the International Court of Justice in 1951 in the Anglo-Norwegian Case. The principles enunciated by the Court in that Case have been formulated in the Convention on the Territorial Sea and Contiguous Zone which was drawn up by the first United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea held at Geneva in 1958. Although the Convention is not yet in force, its provisions dealing with the straight baseline system may justly be said to represent the present international law on the subject. Article 4 of that Convention reads as follows:—

1. In localities where the coast line is deeply indented and cut into, or if there is a fringe of islands along the coast in its immediate vicinity, the method of straight baselines joining appropriate points may be employed in drawing the baseline from which the breadth of the territorial sea is measured.

2. The drawing of such baselines must not depart to any appreciable extent from the general direction of the coast, and the sea areas lying within the lines must be sufficiently closely linked to the land domain to be subject to the régime of internal waters.

3. Baselines shall not be drawn to and from low-tide elevations, unless lighthouses or similar installations which are permanently above sea level have been built on them.

4. Where the method of straight baselines is applicable under the provisions of paragraph 1, account may be taken, in determining particular baselines, of economic interests peculiar to the region concerned, the reality and the importance of which are clearly evidenced by a long usage.

5. The system of straight baselines may not be applied by a State in such a manner as to cut off from the high seas the territorial sea of another State.

6. The coastal State must clearly indicate straight baselines on charts, to which due publicity must be given.

Having regard to these principles and considering the nature of the Irish coast, it is the intention of the Government to prescribe straight baselines from a point in Donegal in an anti-clockwise direction along the northwest, west and south coasts to an appropriate point on the Wexford mainland. The result of the application of the straight baseline system will be a very considerable increase in the area over which this country is entitled to exercise the right of exclusive fishery jurisdiction.

Senators may ask why we have in the Bill chosen a 3 mile limit for our territorial seas. The answer is that we believe that the concepts of territorial sea and exclusive fishery limits are distinguishable and that a narrow breadth of territorial sea—as distinct from exclusive fishery limits — is in our own interests. Extensions of the territorial sea have considerable strategic implications which do not result from an extension of the exclusive fishery limits. Furthermore, a second United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea is due to be held in the Spring of next year to deal with the very problems of the breadth of the territorial sea and exclusive fishery limits; and we do not wish in any way to anticipate the outcome of that Conference. I have repeatedly stated and I say it again that our preference in any question of extended limits is that they should be achieved, in so far as possible, by international agreement rather than by unilateral action. Accordingly, pending the result of the Conference next Spring, the breadth of our territorial seas will, under the Bill, remain as always save that in the parts of the coast where straight baselines are applied it will be measured in a different manner. At the same time, I wish to make it clear that our adoption in the Bill of the three-mile limit for the territorial seas should not be taken as implying that we necessarily regard the three-mile limit as the existing rule of international law.

The third of the three principal objects of the Bill is contained in the very important provision which empowers the Government by Order to extend the exclusive fishery limits of the State. Such an Order would require resolutions of approval by both Houses. As I have already stated, our expressed preference has been for a separation of the concepts of territorial sea and exclusive fishery limits and we trust that the trend towards such a separation which was manifest in Geneva in 1958 will find full acceptance at the pending Conference in the coming spring. While we cannot claim to be in the same category as some European countries whose economies are overwhelmingly dependent on fishing, nonetheless our fishing industry is an important and expanding one and it is only natural in conformity with the general international trend we should have under consideration the extension of our exclusive fishery area. We do not, however, propose to make an order extending the exclusive fishery limits pending the outcome of the 1960 Conference. After that Conference we will review the position.

The Bill also provides that the Government may take conservation action in areas of the high seas adjacent to the territorial seas. This is a new departure in the international field and is based on Article 7 of the 1958 Geneva Convention on Fishing and Conservation of the Living Resources of the High Seas. This Convention has not yet been ratified and is not in force, and action under Section 7 is not contemplated in the immediate future. Before measures of conservation are taken unilaterally there would have to be negotiations with the other States concerned and the measures taken must not discriminate against foreign fishermen. Furthermore, the need for the measures must be urgent and must be based on scientific findings.

The Minister for Lands is empowered in the Bill to issue a permit authorising fishing within the exclusive fishery limits for experimental purposes by a foreign sea fishing boat. Such a permit would be issued only in exceptional circumstances, for example, to allow study of a particular unfamiliar method of fishing. The Minister is empowered to attach various restrictive conditions to the permit.

Section 10 of the Bill deals with offences in the territorial seas and internal waters. Such offences are offences within the jurisdiction of the State. However, although we claim such jurisdiction, it would be exercised only in suitable instances. It is recognised that, under international law, offences on board ship in the territorial seas are subject in the first place to the law of the ship's flag and the coastal State has concurrent jurisdiction only; furthermore, the jurisdiction of the coastal State is exercised only in certain well defined circumstances, for example, where the consequences of the offence extend to the coastal State. As a further safeguard for the rights of aliens Section II of the Bill provides that proceedings against an alien for an alleged offence in the territorial seas on board or by means of a foreign ship, shall not be instituted without a certificate from the Minister for External Affairs that the proceedings are expedient.

Provision has been made for the prescribing of charts which will be received in evidence. Advantage has also been taken to repeal the Territorial Waters Jurisdiction Act, 1878, and also some old enactments relating to fishing. In the absence of adaptation or by reason of implied repeal it is doubtful if these statutes could be said to be in force at all, but they will be now repealed in so far as they are or ever were in force.

The Bill is designed to come into operation on the 1st October, 1959, that is the day on which the Fisheries (Consolidation) Act, 1959, which is now law, also comes into operation. This is necessary because reference is made throughout the Bill to the Fisheries (Consolidation) Act, 1959.

I think the House will agree with the Minister that it is desirable that this Bill should be introduced in order to settle, with more precision than heretofore, the limits of territorial waters. There have been some difficulties in the district courts, where the skippers of foreign trawlers have been arrested, in determining what the limits of the territorial waters are. This Bill should go some distance towards helping the courts to determine whether or not foreign trawlers have been guilty of offences.

I take it that the charts to which the Minister has referred which are provided for in Section 13 will be something in the form of maps showing the baselines from which it will be perfectly apparent to a court whether a foreign vessel has contravened this Act. I am not quite happy about the procedure provided for under Section 10 which relates to the jurisdiction of the courts in trying persons charged under this Act. It certainly is not clear that the offences are to be tried in a district court. When the Bill, in Section 10, refers to "competent jurisdiction", I wonder would the Minister indicate what court is intended.

With regard to Section 11, which is the section dealing with aliens who may be arrested for contravention of this Act, and infringing territorial waters, it seems to me that there is a deficiency in this section of a procedural character.No proceedings can be issued without a certificate of the Minister for External Affairs that the institution of proceedings is, in his opinion, expedient.The section however does not go on to deal with how that certificate will be proved in court. It seems to me that there should be a provision in the section similar to what is provided in Section 13, that the certificate when produced will be evidence of its having been issued by the Minister.

A provision of that kind is quite common where certificates are issued. It is to be found in the Agricultural Wages Acts and other similar Acts, and in the Social Welfare Act, 1952, that on the production of the certificate, prima facie it is evidence that the certificate was issued and no proof of the signature of the Minister or any other such proof is necessary.

It seems to me that that section cannot be operated without some such machinery as I am suggesting. Subject to that, there does not seem to be anything in the Bill which ought not command the approval of this House.

Is cúis áthais domsa go bhfuil an Bille seo tagtha fé dheireadh. Is Bille é ba cheart a thabhairt chun cinn a luaithe a fuaireamar údarás Rialtais dúinn féin in Éirinn chun a dhéanta. Cúis ghearáin do bea é le fada ag iascairí agus na daoine go raibh spéis acu is gcúrsaí iascaireachta in Éirinn an gléas a bhí ann go bhféadhfadh tráiléirí ó thíortha eile teacht isteach i mbéal na gcuan sa chuid thiar theas d'Éirinn.

Mar shampla, do luafainn iascairí i mBá an Daingin. Tá Bá an Daingin óna 10 go dtí a 12 de mhílte ar leithead ag an mbéal. Teora trí mhíle a bhí mar chosc ar thráiléirí ón iasacht a sheachaint. D'fhág san go raibh cead agus ceart dlí ag na tráiléirí sin ó Shasana, ón bhFrainc agus ón Spáinn iascach leathslí suas soir i mBá an Daingin agus ní i gcónaí a bheadh teora na dtrí míle mar chosc ortha.

Maidir leis na línte bunaidh go bhfuil tagairt sa Bhille dóibh, is mór an trua liomsa nach bhfuil léarscáil de shaghas éigin ag gabháil leis an mBille a thaispeánfadh dúinn cá háit a bhfuiltear chun na línte bunaidh sin a dhearadh. Im thuairimise sé ba cheart do dhéanamh maidir leis na línte bunaidh sin sa chomharsanacht thiar theas ná tosnú obair ag an gCarraig Aonair as san go dtí Teach Duinn nó, mar a tugtar air, an Tarbh, ón Tarbh go Sceilg Michíl agus ó Sceilg Michíl go dtí an Tiaracht agus ón dTiaracht go cúl Chnoc Bréanainn agus as sin go Ceann Chiarraighe agus as san go dtí Ceann Léime.

B'shin é im thuairimise an líne bunaidh laistaigh agus de réir mar atá an dlí fé láthair tá ceartas againn ar iascaireacht agus údarás Rialtais ar feadh trí mhíle amach ón mbunlíne sin. Ní dóigh liom féin gur leor trí mhíle agus tá súil agam ná ceanglóidh an Bille seo aigne an Rialtais Éire a bheith teoranta in a chuid farraigí laistigh de thrí mhíle ón mbunlíne atá luaite agam den chuid thiar theas den dúiche.

Níl fhios agam cad tá beartaithe ag an Aire chun a dhéanamh mar theorainn laistigh, teorainn intíre, do limistéir iascaigh agus limistéir údaráis náisiúnta ar an gcósta. Tá dhá rud i gceist maidir le teorainneacha tíre. D'éirigh na teorainneacha farraige sin ó dhream áirithe den phobal féin, iascairí, agus an riachtanas leis na cearta seo a chosaint don chomharsanacht ar fad. Tá tábhacht i gceann acu do chuid dár muintir féin, lucht iascaireachta na tíre.

An tarna cheann isé údarás náisiúnta atá i gceist. Ní hionann an dá rud, agus tharlódh nach ionann teorainneacha farraige dóibh.

Is trua liom gur thagair an tAire do thrí mhíle d'uisce imealltíre, mar is dóigh liom nach leor trí mhíle. Tá fhios agam gurb é sin an dlí atá ann fé láthair. Tá fhios agam, leis, má chuirtear na bunlínte nua sin ar léarscáil go méadódh sé sin údarás agus cearta iascaigh chun níos mó d'uiscí na Éireann bheith fén ár gcomrándaíocht féin.

Níor mhaith liomsa a thuiscint, nó go mbeadh se i gceist, go bhféadfadh tráiléirí iasachta bonn na fairrge a scríobadh glan i ngiorracht aon trí mhíle d'aon cheann tíre nó cósta. Is dóigh liom gur ceart an limistéar a bheith níos leithne, ar aon iasc do phortú agus a méadú agus dul in iomadúlacht.Sin ceist nach féidir, mar a dúirt an tAire, cur isteach anois air — go dtí go mbeidh an comhdháil i dtosach na bliana seo chugainn i dtaobh iascach tíre agus an na teorainneacha a bhaineann leis na nithe sin.

Tá rud eile i gceist agus is tábhachtach an rud é. Tá cearta áirithe againn ar uiscí áirithe cois cuan agus cois cósta na tíre agus is le hiascairí dúchasacha na cearta sin. Ach is annamh ar fad atá an gléas againn chun na cearta san a chosaint agus is eol domsa agus is eol do dhaoine ar chósta Chiarraighe agus ar chósta Chontae an Chláir, go dtagann longa iascaireachta ó thíortha iasachta, taobh istigh den teorainn sin agus go mbeirid ualaí éisc leo, agus gan éinne ann le hiad do chosc, mar ní féidir le hiascairí gan longa iad do choimeád amach.

Tuigimse gur gá báid chosanta a bheith níos flúirsí againn, d'aon ghnó chun ceart na n-iascairí a choimeád slán agus eagla agus scáth do chur ar shladairí iasachta a thugann foghanna iascaigh go neamhdhleathach ar ár gcósta fhéin.

Beidh sé sin níos riachtanaí má dhruidtear na bunlínte amach ó cheann tíre go dtí oileán agus ó oileán go dtí ceann tíre. Beidh riachtanas le báid chosanta a rachadh fén bhfarraige mhór agus a cuirfeadh an ruaig ar na ruathairí sin a thagann isteach agus a scuabann leo an t-iasc a ba cheart a bheith ag iascairí na hÉireann.

Ba mhaith liomsa an tAire a mholadh mar gheall ar an mBille seo a tabhairt chun cinn. Is dóigh liom go mbeidh fáilte roimhe. Beidh fáilte roimhe ag iascairí na hÉireann ar fuaid na tíre agus molfaidh siad é.

Mar a dúirt cheana, ní dóigh liom gur ceart dúinn ár naigne a cheangal do limistéar sin na dtrí mhíle. Tá fhios againn go bhfuil an Íoslainn agus an Rúis ag iarraidh na limistéir a mhéadú go dtí 12 míle, ar mhaithe le hiascairí ins na dúichí acusan. Beimidne, is cinnte, ag lorg rud éigin mar sin agus níor mhaith liom — agus ní dóigh liom gur mhaith an rud é — go dtuigfí go mbeimís sásta le trí mhíle beaga, gan cead a bheith againn ár n-údarás farraige a leathnú amach go dtí 6 mhíle nó 10 míle, chun pórú éisc agus suaimhneas do gach scol éisc a bheadh ag druidim agus ag iomadú cois an chósta.

Tá fhios againn an t-olc a dhéanann na tráiléirí san ins na bainc iascaigh in aice linn. Tá bainc iascaigh ar feadh 50 míle siar ón gcósta againne. Tagann na tráiléirí thar an limistéar isteach agus scriosann siad na bainc cois tíre a mbíonn an t-iasc ag pórú agus a iomadú iontu.

Mar gheall air sin, ba mhaith liom a chomhairliú don Aire gan sinn féin a cheangal le limistéar trí mhíle d'fharraige chósta na hÉireann lasmuigh den líne intíre a bhéas againn.

Molaim an tAire agus an Rialtas toisc an Bille seo a thabhairt isteach anois fé dheireadh agus is cinnte go molfaidh iascairí na hÉireann chomh maith iad.

Senator O'Quigley raised the question of what was meant by "a court of competent jurisdiction" under Section 10. It simply means that a court which is competent to deal with the offence, if it were committed within our shores, will be competent to deal with the offence, if it is committed on board a foreign ship. The extent of the jurisdiction of our courts, the various courts, is limited; and they would be limited also in dealing with offences which are committed in internal waters or in our coastal waters. I do not think there would be any difficulty about that section.

In Section 11, it is set out that no proceedings taken for the prosecution of an alien for an offence alleged to have been committed in the territorial seas shall be instituted without the certificate of the Minister. It means that the official of the State, or the Attorney General, would have to consult with the Minister for External Affairs before proceedings were instituted in the Courts. There would be no necessity for the Judge or the District Justice presiding over the Court to see the certificate of the Minister, because the case would not come before him unless proceedings were instituted in the ordinary way by the Attorney General or the State Solicitor, whoever might institute them.

Ar an bpointe a luaigh an Seanadóir Ó Siochfhradha tá cearta againn dul amach níos faide na trí mhíle ach caithfimíd ordú a chur tríd an Dáil agus an Seanad. Ní maith linn dul níos faide ná trí mhíle go dtí go dtiocfaidh an Coinbhinsiún le chéile an tEarrach seo chugainn agus go dtí go mbeidh deireadh lena chuid oibre. Ins an gCoinbhinsiún a bhí ann bliain ó shin nó mar sin sa Ghinéive, bhíodar ar tí aontú go dtabharfadh an Coinbhinsiún seacht míle "territorial waters" agus seacht míle eile ina mbeadh ceart ag an tír gur léi an cósta tráiléirí do choiméad amach ach amháin do dhaoine a bhí ag cleachtadh iascaireachta ann le fada. Ba bheag nach ndeachaigh an riail sin tríd agus tá súil agam go rachaidh sí tríd ins an gCoinbhinsiún a thiocfaidh le chéile laistigh de shé mhí nó mar sin.

Cathain a bheidh aon tsórt léarscáil againn chun na línte sin do thaispeáint dúinn, na línte laistigh de phointe áirithe?

Tá ceann agam ach níl sé cinnte amach is amach. Ach, tar éis an Bille a rith, beidh orainn Ordú a dhéanamh agus tar éis sin beidh orainn léarscáil a bheith againn agus clóbhuailfear í.

An mbeidh cead againn aon léirmheas a dhéanamh?

Taispeánfaidh mé an léarscál atá agam fé láthair d'aon Seanadóir a dteastaíonn uaidh nó uaithi í d'fheiscint.

Question put and agreed to.
Agreed to take remaining Stages today.
Bill considered in Committee.
Sections 1 to 7, inclusive, agreed to.
Question proposed: "That Section 8 stand part of the Bill."

It appears that the Minister for Lands may issue permits to foreign fishing vessels to fish within a prescribed area for a particular type of fish which will be described in the permit. The issue of that type of permit would give rise to a certain amount of difficulty, in the sense that fishermen in an area may wish to know why a foreign trawler or a foreign fishing vessel is permitted to fish in waters in which they customarily fish. Is it intended that the Minister for Lands, when issuing these permits, will publish any notice to the effect that a permit has been issued in respect of a vessel in a particular area? Secondly, for the purposes of avoiding unnecessary interference with such a trawler which has got a permit, in what way is it intended to bring it to the notice of those who are customarily charged with looking after our territorial waters that a particular trawler fishing is there as of right, under this Bill?

It seems to me that one of our vessels may unnecessarily interfere with a fishing vessel which has a right under this section simply because that protective vessel has got no notice. It is merely a matter of machinery. Perhaps the Minister would indicate how it is intended to implement the section in the respect I have mentioned?

The Minister for Fisheries is very keen on having this section inserted because the art and science of fishing is progressing all the time. He wants to have the right to hire a foreign ship or permit a foreign ship to fish in our territorial waters for the purpose of giving the Minister for Fisheries and the fishermen generally the benefit of what they discover as to the new methods of fishing, and so on. I think the Minister would be very wise when issuing a permit of this kind, to give public notice of the fact that he has granted the permit so that nobody will be surprised when they see a foreign ship fishing within forbidden waters. Naturally, if the Minister for Fisheries issued such a permit, he would also tell the Department of Defence and warn the officers in command of the fishery protection vessels that ship No. so and so, name so and so, has permission to fish within the waters.

Question put and agreed to.
Sections 9 and 10 agreed to.
Question proposed: "That Section 11 stand part of the Bill."

The Minister has said that his interpretation of this section is that proceedings for the prosecution of an alien shall not be issued unless the Attorney General, or the appropriate authority for issuing the proceedings, has obtained a certificate from him and that that is essential. I do not agree with the Minister's interpretation. I think I am entirely right in saying that if this section is not now amended, another Bill will have to be introduced to amend it.

As the Section stands, it is a condition precedent to the prosecution of any proceedings that the Minister for External Affairs must have issued a certificate saying that the institution of these proceedings is, in his opinion, expedient. That is what the section says — that proceedings shall not be instituted without a certificate of the Minister.

When somebody is returned for trial to the circuit court, after depositions have been taken, the first thing the alien would be entitled to see produced is the certificate of the Minister. At that stage, the Minister for External Affairs at the time may perhaps find himself subpoenaed by the Attorney General to a circuit court, perhaps in Donegal, to prove that he issued the certificate and to produce it. That seems an unnecessary waste of the Minister's valuable time.

The Minister says the Attorney General, or the appropriate authority, will issue proceedings only after the certificate has been issued by the Minister. If that were the case, then the section should read to this effect: "Proceedings shall not be issued unless the appropriate authority, after consultation with the Minister for External Affairs...", or "with the consent of the Minister for External Affairs..." However, that is not what the section says.

There are quite a number of provisions in various Acts which do not require the proof of the consent of the Minister. Where one Minister does something with the consent of another Minister, there is no necessity to prove that. For instance, you find statements in regulations such as, say, "The Minister for Justice, after consultation with the Minister for Finance, hereby..." The Minister should think a second time about this and perhaps he could introduce an amendment on Report Stage.

First of all, Senator O'Quigley should know that Section 11 does not apply to offences against Part XIII of the Fisheries Consolidation Act, or to offences under Section 7 of this Act which relates to the conservation of the living resources of the sea, so that in the case of fishing offences the certificate of the Minister for External Affairs is not required in order that proceedings may be instituted. The permission or the certificate of the Minister for External Affairs is required before other types of proceedings can be instituted for example, robbery, or some offence committed on board ship within our coastal waters. Those cases are very rare and I myself do not remember one. As the Senator knows, a ship is governed by the laws of its own flag. We have jurisdiction, but it is seldom exercised unless the crime or the offence committed on board ship spills over onto the land or has an effect outside the ship itself.

I am not quite sure whether, under some other Act, the Court may not be bound to take cognisance of a certificate issued by the Minister for External Affairs under the Seal of the Department but, in any event, I do not anticipate that there will be a great number of cases of that sort. If it is true that a court might not take cognisance of an ordinary certificate under the Seal of the Minister's office, I suppose some official of the Department would have to go down and testify to the fact that the Minister signed the certificate.

Ar an gceist sin má theagmhaíonn long chosanta le bád iasachta ag iascaireacht laistigh den teorainn, nach bhfuil sé d'udarás ag an long chosanta an bád sin a ghabháil? Ansin nach bhfuil sé riachtanach ordú d'fháil chun dul ar aghaidh sa chuírt agus píonós a chur ar na daoine iasachta? Sé an cheist a bheadh le réiteach ná cé mhéid míle a bhí i gceist agus beidh moill ann dá réir. Nach mbeidh cúis gearáin ag na daoine gallda mar gheall ar an mhoill sin — trí lá nó seachtain b'fhéidir?

Nílim ag plé cás na ruagairí seo a thagann isteach laistigh de trí mhíle ag iascaireacht ach táim ag cuimhniú ar an dlí agus ar conas a bheidh an scéal má ghabhtar tráiléir agus má tá an mhoill ann agus má fhaightear amach ina dhiaidh sin nach raibh aon rud bun ós cionn leis an dlí á dhéanamh acu? Cé íocfaidh as an gcaillteanas a bheidh déanta aige sin? Sin í an cheist atá ann.

Ar an gcéad dul síos, nuair a ghabhann long den Roinn Cosanta ar tráléirí iasachta taobh istigh den líne, ní gá cead a fháil ón Aire Gnóthaí Eachtracha. Ní bhíonn a lán moille ann. Nuair a thagann an tráiléir isteach agus na hoifigí ón Roinn Cosanta in aonacht leis, cuireann an giústis cúirt speisialta ar bun agus ní bhíonn moill ar bith ann.

Question put and agreed to.
Question proposed: "That Section 12 stand part of the Bill".

Section 12 is a saving as to jurisdiction. There is only a small point that occurs to me on this. The section says:—

Nothing in this Act shall be construed to be in derogation of any jurisdiction of the State under international law or to affect or prejudice any jurisdiction conferred by any other enactment or now by law existing.

I wonder in that context has regard been had to the provisions of Articles 2 and 3 of the Constitution? Articles 2 and 3 are the basis of the jurisdiction of this Parliament and of the Government over the whole of the national territory which includes the territorial seas. Article 2 provides that:—

The national territory consists of the whole of Ireland, its islands and the territorial seas.

That creates the jurisdiction of Parliament over the territorial seas and it would be more appropriate to acknowledge the supremacy of the Constitution in that regard in priority to international law or any laws made under the Constitution. I think, therefore, that the section should read:

Nothing in this Act shall be construed to be in derogation of any jurisdiction of the State under the Constitution or under international law or to affect or prejudice any jurisdiction conferred by any other enactment or now by law existing.

Senator O'Quigley should know that we cannot change the Constitution by an Act of Parliament. Certainly nothing in this Bill can derogate from the Constitution. This clause is put in to emphasise — in a way, I suppose it is necessary — that we are not changing anything except what we are changing specifically in this Bill. There are certain powers the Revenue Commissioners have to go very much further out than the territorial waters, if there is a suspected offence against the Customs Acts. It is just to emphasise that these and other such rights still remain.

I do not agree that this has anything to do with the Customs Acts or any attempts to enforce the law. What this section, as I understand it, is there for is to preserve the right of the State at any time to say that its territorial waters shall extend six miles beyond the base line which it is intended to introduce as a result of the passing of this Bill. This jurisdiction under the Constitution extends at the present time to the three-mile limit. In the new situation, the territorial waters would be extended to six miles and it is to preserve the right of the State to extend its jurisdiction that this section appears in the Bill. I entirely agree with the Minister that we cannot change the Constitution by an Act of Parliament. The Government could not even change it in a referendum.

You never know.

I do not want to change the Constitution at all. On the Third Amendment of the Constitution Bill, I wanted to preserve the Constitution, and now I want to preserve the supremacy of the Constitution over international law and over statutory law. It is the Constitution which founds the jurisdiction of Parliament and of Government over the whole of the national territory and it should have been acknowledged in that section.

The Senator, I think, is confusing territorial seas and exclusive fishery limits. Section 3 deals with the outer limit of the territorial seas and we have deliberately taken no powers in this Bill to extend the territorial seas by Order. If we want to change the width of the territorial seas, it is an important enough question to be the subject of a special Bill. There is no power in this Bill to extend the territorial seas beyond three nautical miles outside the base line. There is power, however, to extend the exclusive fishery rights. I consider it wise to make provision for extending the exclusive fishery rights because we are hopeful that we shall have an international agreement before very long which will recognise the right of every State to extend its exclusive fishery limits very much beyond the three-mile limit.

Question put and agreed to.
Question proposed: "That Section 13 stand part of the Bill."

I think Senator Ó Siochfhradha raised the question — I do not know whether the Minister dealt with it — as to what way it is intended to make available these charts which will enable the masters of foreign fishing vessels to know whether they are inside or outside the three-mile limit. He asked if it was intended that this would be printed in different languages. I was not listening to the Minister at the time very closely but I am wondering whether that facility will be extended to such masters of vessels as are anxious to comply with our law so that they will not find themselves unnecessarily in breach of this Bill.

It would be usual to publish and put on sale a copy of the map and any foreign fishing vessel wanting to fish around our coasts and wanting to be quite sure what our territorial seas or exclusive fishery limits were, can obtain a copy of that chart.

Question put and agreed to.
Sections 14 to 18, inclusive, agreed to.
Schedule and Title agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment.
Agreed to take remaining Stages today.
Bill received for final consideration and passed.