Criminal Justice (Mutual Assistance) Bill 2005: Second Stage.

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

Ta áthas orm a bheith os bhur gcomhair anseo inniu chun an Bille um Cheartas Coiriúil (Cúnamh Frithpháirteach) 2005, ar togra suntasach reachtúil é, a thiolacadh. Tugann an Bille éifeacht do sheacht n-ionstraim idirnáisiúnta a fhorbraíonn an creat reachtúil atá cheana ann i ndáil le cúnamh dlíthiúil frithpháirteach a sholáthar, ag a dhéanann forlíonadh air. Tá Cuid VII den Acht um Cheartas Coiriúil, 1994, a dhéileálann le comhar idirnáisiúnta i gcomhthéacs cúnaimh dhlíthiúil fhrithpháirtigh, á haisghairm agus tá a cuid téarmaíá hathachtú maille le leasuithe agus breisithe chun an taithí oibríochtúil atá faighte le deich mbliana anuas nó mar sin a chur san áireamh agus chun na forálacha sna hionstraimí a dtugtar éifeacht dóibh leis an mBille a chur san áireamh.

Ar an gcéad dul síos, is dócha gur chóir dom a insint cad a bhíonn i gceist le cúnamh frithpháirteach i gceartas. Go simplí, cuireann sé ar chumas stát amháin, laistigh dá dhlínse féin, seirbhís a sholáthar do stát eile maidir le riaradh an cheartais sa stát eile sin. D'fhéadfadh sé go mbainfeadh an cineál cúnaimh le nithe ar nós imscrúdú a dhéanamh ar choiriúlacht thromchúiseach idirnáisiúnta, lena n-áirítear fianaise a bhailiú le húsáid thar lear nó doiciméid a bhíonn eisithe ag údarás breithiúnach a sheirbheáil.

Is iad na seacht n-ionstraim a dtabharfaidh an Bille seo éifeacht dóibh: an Coinbhinsiún ar Chúnamh Frithpháirteach in Ábhair Choiriúla idir Ballstáit an Aontais Eorpaigh a rinneadh sa Bhruiséil an 29 Bealtaine 2000, a dhéanann forbairt agus nuachóiriú ar na forálacha láithreacha a rialaíonn cúnamh frithpháirteach idir Ballstáit an AE, agus an Prótacal a ghabhann leis an gCoinbhinsiún sin a rinneadh i Lucsamburg an 16 Deireadh Fómhair 2001; an Comhaontú idir an tAontas Eorpach agus Poblacht na hÍoslainne agus Ríocht na hIorua, arb é sin an tríu ionstraim; Creat-Chinneadh Chomhairle an Aontais Eorpaigh an 22 Iúil 2003 maidir le horduithe a chalcann maoin nó fianaise a fhorghníomhú san Aontas Eorpach, an ceathrú ionstraim atá de réir théarmaí an Bhille; an Dara Prótacal Breise a ghabhann leis an gCoinbhinsiún Eorpach ar Chúnamh Frithpháirteach in Ábhair Choiriúla, a dhéanann feabhsú agus forlíonadh ar fhorálacha Choinbhinsiúin Chomhairle na hEorpa 1959 ar Chúnamh Frithpháirteach in Ábhair Choiriúla; na forálacha is gá chun éifeacht a thabhairt d'Airteagail 49 agus 51 den Choinbhinsiún a síníodh i Schengen an 19 Meitheamh 1990, ag feidhmiú Chomhaontú Schengen den 14 Meitheamh 1985, agus, ar deireadh; gnéithe de chúnamh dlíthiúil frithpháirteach an Chinnidh ón gComhairle maidir le síniú an Chomhaontaithe idir an tAontas Eorpach agus Stáit Aontaithe Mheiriceá ar Eiseachadadh agus ar Chúnamh Dlíthiúil Frithpháirteach, a rinneadh sa Bhruiséil an 6 Meitheamh 2003.

Díreoidh mé ar an mBille féin anois. Sainmhíníonn Cuid 1, a chuimsíonn ailt 1 go dtí 10, na príomhthéarmaí atá sa Bhille agus leagann amach na srianta a bhainfidh le cúnamh dlíthiúil frithpháirteach a sholáthar. Diúltófar cúnamh dlíthiúil frithpháirteach i gcás go bhféadfadh cúnamh den sórt sin dochar a dhéanamh do cheannasacht, do shlándáil nó do leasanna eile an Stáit, nó i gcás go mbíonn cúiseanna ann lena chreidiúint go ndearnadh an t-iarratas chun géarleanúint a dhéanamh ar dhuine ar chúiseanna a bhaineann le gnéas, creideamh, cine, náisiúntacht, bunadh eitneach, tuairim pholaitíochta nó gnéaschlaonadh. Diúltófar iarratas freisin más dealraitheach go bhféadfadh sé gurb é an toradh a bheadh ar chúnamh a sholáthar ná go mbeadh duine faoi réir ag ceastóireacht nó go sárófaí an Coinbhinsiún Eorpach um Chearta an Duine. Tugann Alt 5 éifeacht dhíreach d' Airteagail 4 agus 6 de Choinbhinsiún 2000 agus d' Airteagail 4 agus 8 den Dara Prótacal Breise. Leagann na hAirteagail sin síos an fhoirmiúlacht agus na nósanna imeachta atá le leanúint nuair a bhíonn iarratais á dtarchur agus á bhforghníomhú agus déileálann siad freisin le bealaí cumarsáide. Foráiltear freisin sa Chuid seo do stáit a ainmniú chun críocha an Achta agus d'údarás lárnach a ainmniú sa Stát. Tugtar éifeacht le halt d'Airteagal 7 de Choinbhinsiun 2000 agus d'Airteagal 11 den Dara Prótacal Breise, a dhéileálann le malartú spontáineach faisnéise ar ábhair choiriúla gan gá iarratas a bheith faighte roimh ré. Aisghaireann Alt 10 foralácha liostaithe Achtanna eile.

Tugann Ailt 11 go dtí 20, a chomhdhéanann Cuid 2 den Bhille, an bonn chun déileáil le hiarratais ar fhaisnéis airgeadais chun críocha imscrúdaithe coiriúil, lena n-áirítear faireachán ar chuntais bhainc agus faisnéis a fháil ar chuntais den sórt sin. Tugann an Chuid seo éifeacht d'fhorálacha Phrótacal 2001 agus cuireann sé ar chumas na hÉireann éifeacht a thabhairt d'Airteagal 4 de Chomhaontú an Aontais Eorpaigh-Stáit Aontaithe Mheiriceá ar chúnamh dlíthiúil frithpháirteach, a dheileálann le faisnéis bhainc a shainaithint.

Tá na nósanna imeachta maidir le hordú faisnéise cuntais nó faireacháin cuntais a fháil leagtha amach in Alt 12. Is breitheamh den Chúirt Dúiche amháin a fhéadfaidh ordú den sórt sin a dhéanamh, agus caithfidh sé no sí a bheith deimhin de go bhfuil cion déanta nó go bhfuil sócmhainní ag an duine lena mbaineann a tháinig as iompar cóiriúil, agus go bhfuil cúiseanna réasúnacha ann lena chreidiúint go bhfuil faisnéis ag foras airgeadais sonraithe atá de dhíth san imscrúdú.

Foráiltear sa chuid seo freisin go bhféadfaidh Éire faisnéis a iarraidh ar idirbheartaíochta baincéireachta ó stát eile.

Foráiltear in ailt 14 go dtí 16 go bhféadfar iarratas a fháil ó stát eile maidir le faisnéis ar idirbheartaíochta airgeadais. Ar iarratas den sort sin a fháil, féadfaidh an tAire a údarú go ndéanfaí iarratas chuig breitheamh ar ordú faisnéise cuntais nó faireacháin cuntais. Tá na nósanna imeachta ata le leanúint agus an fhaisnéis a bheidh riachtanach chun ordú den sórt sin a dhéanamh leagtha amach in alt 16. Forálann an chuid seo freisin do tharchur faisnéise chuig an stát iarrthach agus gur cion é gan ordú faisnéise cuntais nó faireacháin cuntais a chomhlíonadh.

Baineann Cuid 3, ailt 21 go dtí 28, le tascradh teachtaireachtaí teileachumarsáide idir ballstáit an Aontais Eorpaigh chun críocha imscrúdaithe chóiriúil, dá bhforáiltear in Airteagail 17 go dtí 22 de Choinbhinsiún 2000.

Tá na hailt atá ag baint le tascradh sa Bhille teicniúil agus sách casta, agus ní fhéadfaí sin a sheachaint. Déanfaidh me mo dhícheall príomh-fhorálacha na coda seo a leagan amach chomh simplí agus is féidir. Leagann alt 22 den Bhille amach an t-imthosca a bhféadfaidh Éire cúnamh a iarraidh ó bhallstát eile maidir le teachtaireachtaí teileachumarsáide a thascradh. Ní fhéadfar iarraidh den sort sin a dhéanamh ach amháin sa chás go mbíonn údarú tugtha ag an Aire Dlí agus Cirt, Comhionannais agus Athchóirithe Dlí don tascradh faoin Acht um Post-Phaicéid agus Teachtaireachtaí Teileachumarsáide a Thascradh (Rialaí) 1993. Caithfidh na daoine a bhfuil a dteachtaireachtaí le tascradh a bheith in Éirinn nó i mballstát, agus caithfidh go mbeidh gá le cúnamh teicniúil ballstáit chun an tascradh a dhéanamh. Tá an fhaisnéis a bheidh le tarchur nuair a bhíonn iarratas a dhéanamh leagtha amach freisin. Chomh maith leis sin, forálann an chuid seo go bhféadfaidh Éire iarratais ar thascradh a fháil ó bhallstáit eile i gcásanna airithe agus leagtar amach na nósanna imeachta a bheidh le leanúint nuair a fhaightear iarratais den sórt sin.

Foráiltear le halt 24,inter alia, má bhíonn an duine a bhfuil a theachtaireachtaí no a teachtaireachtaí le tascradh go fisiciúil sa Stát, nach bhféadfaidh an tAire tascradh a údarú de bhua iarratais ó bhallstát ach amháin i gcás gur cion tromchúiseach a bheadh san iompar atá faoi imscrúdú de réir bhrí an Achta um Phost-Phaicéid agus Teachtaireachtaí Teileachumarsáide a Thascradh (Rialaí) 1993 agus go mbeadh údar maith leis an údarú tascartha a dhéanamh. Leagann an t-alt amach freisin coinníollacha a d’fhéadfaí a chur i bhfeidhm agus déileálann le tarchur teachtaireachtaí chuig stát iarrthach.

Baineann ailt 25 agus 26 den chuid seo le tascradh i gcás nach mbíonn cúnamh teicniúil ballstáit eile de dhíth chun an tascradh a dhéanamh. I gcás go mbíonn tascradh údaraithe ag an Aire, go mbíonn seoladh teileachumarsáide an duine i mballstát eile agus nach mbíonn cúnamh an stáit sin de dhíth chun tascradh a dhéanamh, forálann alt 25 go gcuirfidh an tAire in iúl don bhallstát go bhfuil an duine lena mbaineann i gcríoch an bhallstáit sin. Féadfaidh an ballstát toiliú leis an tascradh nó gan toiliú leis. Féadfar leanúint den tascradh fad a bhíonn an cinneadh sin a dhéanamh, ach ní fhéadfar aon fhaisnéis a fhaightear ón tascradh sula mbíonn toiliú tugtha a úsáid mura mbíonn sin comhaontaithe leis an mballstát eile nó chun bagairt thromchúiseach láithreach do shlándáil phoiblí a chosc.

Feidhmíonn alt 26 na forálacha céanna don chás nach mbíonn ár gcúnamh de dhíth ar bhallstát eile chun teachtaireachtaí a thascradh, ach go mbíonn seoladh teileachumarsáide an duine lena mbaineann sa Stát seo. Sna himthosca sin, cuirfear an tAire ar an eolas agus caithfidh sé nó sí cinneadh a dhéanamh an gceadófar an tascradh nó nach gceadófar. Foráiltear leis an alt seo nach gceadófaí tascradh dá mba rud é nach mbeadh sé indéanta é a dhéanamh i gcomhthéacs baile den sórt céanna.

Cuireann alt 27 oibleagáid ar ghnóthas údaraithe — i bhfocail eile, cuideachta teileachumarsáide nó soláthraí seirbhíse — tascradh a éascú i gcás go mbíonn an duine sa Stát, go mbíonn údaraí tugtha don tascradh ach nach féidir na teachtaireachtaí a thascradh go díreach sa Stát. In imthosca den sórt sin, más féidir leis an soláthraí teileachumarsáide rochtain a fháil ar an trealamh i mballstát eile chun tascradh a éascú, déanfaidh séé. Más rud é go mbíonn an trealamh ag soláthraí teileachumarsáide chun tascradh a éascú, go mbíonn an duine lena mbaineann i mballstát eile agus nach féidir na teachtaireachtaí a thascradh go díreach on stát sin, ach gur féidir leis an soláthraí teileachumarsáide anseo cabhrú leis an stát sin sa tascradh, ansin beidh ar an soláthraí an tascradh a éascú. Leasaíonn alt 28 an tAcht Seirbhísí Poist agus Teileachumarsáide 1983 trí shocrú a dhéanamh d'fhíneálacha as neamhchomhlíonadh.

Tugann Cuid 4, a chomhdhéanann ailt 29 go dtí 38, éifeacht do théarmaí chreat-chinneadh na Comhairle i ndáil le horduithe a chalcann maoin nó fianaise a fhorghníomhú san AE. Leagann alt 30 amach na nósanna imeachta a gcaithfear cloí leo nuair a bhíonn ordúá dhéanamh chun scriosadh, diúscairt nó aistriú maoine a d'fhéadfadh a bheith ina fhianaise in imscrúdú coiriúil a bhíonn ar siúl a chosc. Tugann ailt 31 agus 32 éifeacht d'Airteagal 4 agus 9 den chreat-chinneadh. Forálann alt 31 d'ordú calctha agus don deimhniú caighdeánach dá bhforáiltear faoi Airteagal 9 den chreat-chinneadh a bheidh le haistriú chuig ballstát chun forghníomhú a dhéanamh agus leagann sé amach na nósanna imeachta chun sin a dhéanamh. Leagann alt 32 amach na forálacha i gcomhair ordaithe calctha agus deimhniú a tharchur chuig Éirinn ó stáit eile.

Tá na nósanna imeachta atá le leanúint nuair a fhaighimid iarratas den sórt sin agus na forálacha chun ordú calctha comhair a dhéanamh ag an Ard-Chúirt chun an t-ordú seachtrach a fhorghníomhú leagtha amach in alt 33. Déileálann an chuid eile den Chuid seo leis an achar ama a fhéadfaidh ordú calctha comhair a bheidh i bhfeidhm, a éagsúlú agus a fhoirceannadh, leasú nó iarchur, agus na coinníollacha faoina bhféadfar diúltú d'ordú calctha comhair a dhéanamh. Tugtar éifeacht in alt 38 d'Airteagal 10 den Chreat-Chinneadh, ina ndéileáiltear leis an tslí a gcaitear le maoin chalctha.

Déileálann Cuid 5, comhdhéanta d'Ailt 39 go dtí 45, le horduithe do choigistiú agus d'fhorghéilleadh maoine. Faoi alt 40, féadfaidh Éire iarratas a dhéanamh chuig stát ainmnithe ar mhaoin a choigistiú má bhíonn ordú coigistíochta déanta anseo. Foráiltear le hailt 41 agus 42 do stát ainmnithe ordú coigistíochta a tharchur chuig an Stát seo, agus d'ordú coigistíochta comhair a dhéanamh chun an t-ordú seachtrach a fhorghníomhú. Ni fhéadfar ordú coigistíochta comhair a dhéanamh ach amháin de bhua iarratais chun na hArd-Chúirte agus caithfidh an tAire toiliú le hiarratas den sórt sin. Foráiltear freisin d'aon duine a éilíonn go bhfuil leas aige no aici sa mhaoin uiríll a dhéanamh maidir leis an gcúis nár chóir an t-ordú coigistíochta a dhéanamh.

Déileálann ailt 43 go dtí 45 le horduithe forghéillte, sa stát ainmnithe agus anseo. Leagtar síos an fhaisnéis atá riachtanach nuair a chuireann stát eile ordú forghéillte anseo, maille leis na nósanna imeachta atá le leanúint i bhforghniomhú ordú forghéillte seachtrach. Arís, féadfar iarratas ar ordú forghéillte comhair a dhéanamh, le toiliú an Aire, chun na hArd-Chúirte. Tá foráil déanta d'aon duine a éilíonn go bhfuil leas aige nó aici sa mhaoin uiríll a dhéanamh agus tá foráil déanta do dhiúscairt na maoine chun tairbhe an Státchiste ó bhíonn ordú forghéillte comhair forghníomhaithe. Tugann an chuid seo na forálacha d'orduithe coigistíochta agus forghéillte san Acht um Cheartas Coiriúil 1994 cothrom le dáta.

Déileálann Cuid 6 den Bhille, a chuimsíonn ailt 46 go dtí 64, le fianaise a thógáil. Ta alt 47 bunaithe ar fhorálacha in alt 52 den Acht um Cheartas Coiriúil 1994 agus leagann sé amach nósanna imeachta maidir le ráiteas fianaise a fháil ó dhuine i stát ainmnithe le húsáid in imeachtaí coiriúla.

Foráiltear le halt 48 den Bhille — bunaithe ar alt 51 den Acht um Cheartas Coiriuil 1994 — d'fhianaise a thógáil ar iarratas ó fhinné anseo agus a úsáid in imeachtaí coiriúla thar lear. Déileálann an chuid seo freisin le pribhléid finnéithe agus leagann sé síos go soiléir nach féidir iallach a chur ar dhuine fianaise a thabhairt chun cabhrú le cás coiriúil thar lear más rud é nach bhféadfaí iallach a chur air nó uirthi fianaise a thabhairt in imscrúduithe coiriúla anseo nó sa stát lena mbaineann. Má sheastar le héileamh ar phribhléid, ní fhéadfar aon fhianaise a bhíonn tógtha ó dhuine a chur chuig an stát iarrthach.

Déileálann ailt 50 agus 51 le príosúnaigh a aistriú go hÉirinn agus a aistriúóÉirinn chun críocha fianaise a thabhairt nó chun cabhrú le himscrúduithe coiriúla. Tá na forálacha sin bunaithe cuid mhaith ar na forálacha in ailt 53 agus 54 den Acht um Cheartas Coiriúil 1994. Tá siad leasaithe chun Airteagal 9 de Choinbhinsiún 2000 agus Airteagal 13 den Dara Prótacal Breise a chur san áireamh.

Forálann ailt 52 go dti 57 d'fhianaise a thabhairt trí nasc teilifíse nó teileafóin. Tugann siad éifeacht d' Airteagaill 10 agus 11 de Choinbhinsiún 2000 agus d'fhorálacha den sórt céanna in Airteagail 9 agus 10 den Dara Prótacal Breise. Faoi alt 52, i gcás go mbíonn finné i stát ainmnithe agus nach inmhianta go dtabharfadh an finné fianaise i bpearsa anseo in Éirinn, nó nach féidir leis an bhfinné sin a dhéanamh, féadfaidh breitheamh litir iarratais go dtabharfadh an duine fianaise trí nasc teilifíse a eisiúint. Forálann ailt 53 go dtí 55 d'iarratas a dhéanamh sa Stát seo ar fhinné fianaise a thabhairt thar lear trí nasc teilifíse agus foráiltear don Aire a iarraidh ar Uachtarán na Cúirte Dúiche breitheamh a ainmniú chun an finné a thoghairm le freastal chun críocha fianaise a thabhairt. Leagann alt 55 amach an nós imeachta chun fianaise a thógáil agus forálann, i measc rudaí eile, go gcaithfear an fhianaise a thabhairt de réir dhlíthe an stáit iarrthaigh a mhéid go bhfuil siad i gcomhréir le prionsabail bhunúsacha an dlí sa tír seo. Féadfar an fhianaise a thógáil go príobháideach freisin. Forálann ailt 56 agus 57 d'iarraidh a dhéanamh ar fhinné atá sa Stát seo fianaise a thabhairt le teileafón in imeachtaí coiriúla i dtír eile agus leagtar síos leo na nósanna imeachta atá le leanúint.

Déileálann Cuid 6 le nósanna imeachta maidir le cuardach a dhéanamh i gcomhair fianaise agus forálann do stát eile iarraidh a dhéanamh ar fhianaise. Tá na forálacha bunaithe ar ailt 52 agus 55 den Acht um Cheartas Coiriúil 1994. Déileálann alt 59 le hiarratais ó stáit eile ar fhianaise a fháil le húsaid anseo in imeachtaí no imscrúduithe coiriúla sa stát iarrthach. Ní fhéadfar déileáil le hiarratais den sórt sin ach amháin nuair a bhíonn cumhacht cuardaigh ann faoin dlí baile don chion a bhíonn i gceist. Bíonn cuardach fianaise de bhua iarratais den sórt sin teoranta do chásanna lenar féidir píonós de phríosúnacht sé mhí ar a laghad a ghearradh as an gcion sin faoin dlí atá againn agus faoi dhlí an stáit iarrthaigh nó cásanna gur féidir príosúnacht sé mhí ar a laghad a ghearradh as an gcion faoi dhlí na hÉireann agus go bhfuil na cásanna sin a n-ionchúiseamh sa stát iarrthach ag údaráis riaracháin a bhféadfadh imeachtaí coiriúla teacht as a gcinneadh. Tá na nósanna imeachta atá le leanúint nuair a fhaightear iarratas ar fhianaise leagtha amach in ailt 59 agus 60, faoi mar atá na ceanglais a chaithfear a chomhlíonadh chun go bhféadfaidh breitheamh barántas cuardaigh baile a eisiúint chun an t-iarratas a fhorghníomhú.

Leagann Caibidil 2 de Chuid 6 den Acht síos na forálacha a bhaineann le fianaise céannachta a fháil le húsáid laistigh agus lasmuigh den Stát. Leagann Alt 64 amach na nósanna imeachta atá le leanúint nuair a fhaightear iarratas chun fianaise céannachta a fháil agus forálann nach bhféadfar fianaise céannachta a thógáil ó dhuine ach amháin le toiliú an duine sin mura ndán is go mbíonn an fhianaise sin i seilbh na ngardaí cheana féin. Is dochtúir amháin a fhéadfaidh dlúthshamplaí colainne a thógáil, agus is dochtúir nó fiaclóir amháin a fhéadfaidh múnla déadach a thógáil. Foráiltear freisin do scriosadh a dhéanamh ar fhianaise ceannachta.

Tá an Chuid seo curtha isteach ar iarratas ó Oifig an Ard-Aighne tar éis cás cúirte nuair, mar gheall ar bhearna dhlíthiúil, nach raibh ar chumas an Stáit cabhrú le stát eile i ndáil le fianaise céannachta a sholáthar. Leathnaíonn an Chuid seo an fhoráil dhlíthiúil maidir le cineálacha fianaise céannachta a thógáil chun forálacha dlíthiúla na hÉireann i gcásanna den sórt sin a bheith ar aon dul leo sin i stáit eile.

Clúdaíonn Cuid 7 — ailt 65 go dtí 76 — na nósanna imeachta maidir le doiciméid a sheirbheáil laistigh den Stát agus lasmuigh den Stát, agus forálann do mhaoin a aiseag don úinéir ceart. Déileálann Ailt 65 agus 67 le seirbheáil doiciméad, agus tá siad bunaithe ar Ailt 49 agus 50 den Acht um Cheartas Coiriúil 1994. Tá siad leasaithe chun éifeacht a thabhairt d'Airteagal 5 de Choinbhinsiún 2000 agus d'Airteagal 16 den Dara Prótacal Breise. Forálann na hailt seo go bhféadfar doiciméid arna n-eisiúint ag cúirt sa tír seo i gcomhthéacs imeachtaí coiriúla a sheirbheáil ar dhuine a bhíonn i stát eile agus go bhféadfar doiciméid den sórt céanna ó stát eile a sheirbheáil ar dhuine sa tír seo. Is é an príomhathrú ar na forálacha atá cheana ann ná socrú a dhéanamh do sheirbheáil leis an bpost.

Déileálann Caibidil 2 den Chuid seo — ailt 68 go dtí 72 — le maoin ghoidte a aiseag, ag tabhairt éifeachta d'Airteagal 8 de Choinbhinsiún 2000 agus d'Airteagal 12 den Dara Prótacal Breise. Ceadaíonn an Chaibidil seo ordú a dhéanamh sa Stát seo maidir le maoin atá suite i stát eile a aiseag. Ar an gcaoi chéanna, féadfaidh stát eile a iarraidh ar Éirinn maoin sa Stát a fuarthas trí ghnóthaí coiriúla a chur faoi láimh an údaráis iarrthaigh. Tá na nósanna imeachta atá le leanúint ar iarratas a fháil leagtha amach freisin. Tar éis iarratas ar aiseag a fháil, féadfaidh an Chúirt Dúiche ordú a dhéanamh go dtabharfaí an mhaoin lena mbaineann ar láimh do na gardaí. Foráiltear freisin do dhuine a éilíonn go bhfuil leas aige nó aici sa mhaoin uiríll a dhéanamh maidir leis an gcúis nár chóir aiseag a dhéanamh.

Forálann Caibidil 3 de Chuid 7 den Bhille do sheachadadh rialaithe chun críocha imscrúdaithe choiriúil, agus tugann éifeacht d'Airteagal 12 de Choinbhinsiún 2000 agus d'Airteagal 18 den Dara Protacal Breise. Foráiltear d'iarratas a dhéanamh chuig stát ainmnithe chun cead a thabhairt seachadadh rialaithe a dhéanamh sa stát sin, agus foráiltear do dhaoine sainithe, lena n-airítear comhaltaí den Gharda Síochána agus oifigigh chustaim agus mail, páirt a ghlacadh i seachadadh rialaithe.

Féadfaidh stáit eile a iarraidh freisin go ndéanfaí seachadadh rialaithe anseo agus go mbeadh daoine on stát sin páirteach ann. Ní dhéanfar aon seachadadh rialaithe sa tír seo, áfach, ach amháin faoi rialú díreach an Gharda Síochána no oifigeach custaim agus mail de réir mar is cuí.

Tugann Cuid 8 den Bhille — ailt 77 agus 78 —éifeacht do Chonradh na hÉireann agus na Stát Aontaithe ar chúnamh frithpháirteach, arna leasú ag Comhaontú an Aontais Eorpaigh-na Stát Aontaithe i ndáil le cúnamh frithpháirteach.

Déileálann Cuid 9 — Ailt 79 go dtí 88 — le réimse ceisteanna ilghnéitheacha. Leasaítear Alt 9 den Acht um Cheartas Coiriúil (Foirne Comhpháirteachta um Imscrúdú) 2004 chun go bhféadfaidh rannpháirtithe ó stáit eile a bhíonn ainmnithe chun críocha cúnaimh fhrithpháirtigh a bheith páirteach i bhfoirne comhpháirteachta um imscrúdú sa tír seo i gcás go gcomhaontaíonn údarás inniúil na tíre a bhunaigh an fhoireann amhlaidh le hÉirinn. Cuirfidh an leasú seo deireadh leis an riachtanas orduithe a dhéanamh agus a chur os comhair an Oireachtais gach uair a dtagann an cheist seo aníos maidir le foireann comhpháirteacha um imscrúdú ar leithligh. Ba chóir dom a rá freisin nach n-athróidh an leasú ról na rannpháirtithe i bhfoirne den sórt sin ar aon slí, ar ról é go príomhá atá beartaithe a bheith ina ról tacaíochta nó comhairleach mura ndán is go gcomhaontaíonn na stáit a bhunaíonn an fhoireann a mhalairt. Tá forálacha ilghnéitheacha eile ann ar nós,inter alia, foráil do phionóis i gcás nochtadh a dhéanfadh dochar d’imscrúdú, foráil do dhliteanas oifigigh chomhlachta chorpraithe agus forálacha cosanta sonraí.

Cabhróidh an reachtaíocht seo le feabhas a chur ar fhorálacha do chúnamh frithpháirteach, agus forálfar do chomhoibriú níos leithne agus níos éifeachtaí i gcomhrac na coiriúlachta trasnáisiúnta. Beidh na cumhachtaí méadaithe do chúnamh fríthpháirteach dá bhforáiltear anseo úsáideach chun coirpigh a bhrath agus chun coirpigh a ionchúiseamh. Is reachtaíocht bunriachtanach í i saol nach dtugann lucht coiriúlachta aird ar theorainneacha.

Cuirim an Bille faoi chúram an Tí, agus táim ag tnúth le tuairimí na Seanadóirí air a chloisteáil.

Go raibh maith agat, a Chathaoirligh, agus cuirim fáilte roimh an Aire as ucht na horáide a thug sé inniu ar an Bhille. Tááthas orm a rá go bhfuil Fine Gael i bhfabhar an Bhille. I welcome the Minister to the House. There can be no doubt that mutual assistance between Ireland and other nations on matters of criminal justice is of vital and paramount importance in terms of our role in international co-operation. As a member of the international community and many international and governmental organisations from the United Nations to the European Union, we have a duty to ensure that the long arm of the law can reach across borders to catch those we all believe should be brought to face the rigours of justice.

While there must be controls and structures in place to do this, both to ensure that human rights and basic protections are respected and maintained, and to be certain that our own laws and constitutional provisions are respected, no one could claim that Ireland should not make every effort to contribute to international mutual assistance.

That is why, for example, when personal data is obtained under the convention on mutual assistance in criminal matters between the member states of the European Union, another country may only use this data for specific and limited functions, such as judicial or administrative proceedings covered by the convention and the prevention of an immediate and serious threat to public security. Otherwise, the data can only be used with the prior consent of the communicating member state or of the data subject. These protections and many more like them are very significant and important in securing the trustworthiness of these conventions. That is why Ireland is a proud signatory to the international agreements mentioned in this Bill.

I would like to speak briefly about the convention on mutual assistance in criminal matters between the member states of the European Union, to which I have already referred. The purpose of this convention is to encourage and modernise co-operation between judicial, police and customs authorities by supplementing the provisions and facilitating the application of a number of international agreements. Among them are the 1959 Council of Europe convention on mutual assistance in criminal matters and its 1978 protocol, the 1990 convention applying the Schengen agreement and the Benelux treaty of 1962.

The convention establishes the conditions under which mutual assistance between EU member states is granted. If Ireland asks Germany for assistance, Germany must comply with the formalities and procedures indicated by us. The convention does not place any importance on the largesse of a country or its political or military clout. As with the basic principles of the EU, each member state is equal before the convention, which gives Ireland great facility in extending its criminal justice muscle.

Furthermore, a judicial authority or a central authority in one member state may make direct contact with a police or customs authority from another member state or, in respect of requests for mutual assistance in respect of proceedings, with an administrative authority from another member state. A spontaneous exchange of information, namely, without prior request, may take place between member states regarding criminal offences and administrative infringements, the punishment or handling of which falls within the competence of the receiving authority.

Mutual assistance can take various forms, from stolen objects, which must be placed at the disposal of the requesting state with a view to their return to their rightful owners, to the temporary transfer of a person held on the territory of a member state that has requested an investigation in the territory of the member state in which the investigation is to take place.

This legislation will allow a witness or an expert in a member state to be heard by the judicial authorities of another member state by videoconference if this is not contrary to the fundamental principles of the requested member state and if all the parties concerned are in agreement.

Controlled deliveries may be permitted on the territory of another member state within the framework of criminal investigations into extraditable offences. They are to be directed and monitored by the authorities of the requested member state. Two or more member states may set up a joint investigation team, the composition of which is to be set out in a joint agreement between the member states concerned. The team would be set up for a specific purpose and for a limited period of time. An official from the member state in which the team is operating would co-ordinate and lead its activities in the territory of that member state. This is a very good provision which is to be welcomed.

Covert investigations may also be carried out by officers acting under covert or false identity, provided that the national law and procedures of the member state where the investigations take place are complied with. This is also an important provision. Telephone communications may be intercepted at the request of a competent authority from another member state. Communications may now either be intercepted and transmitted directly to the requesting member state or recorded for subsequent transmission.

All of these measures will have the effect of strengthening the arm of the Irish criminal justice system in tackling the increasing, and seemingly unfettered, problem of international crime and criminal elements from abroad. Fine Gael will always support reasoned and fair legislation that increases the powers of the State in an equitable and responsible fashion.

I welcome this Bill and its provisions and Fine Gael will support it. However, I have previously stated in this House that it seems the Government consistently puts on the back burner the passing of legislation to bring Ireland in line with international law or to ratify agreements to which we are a party or a signatory. Although I recognise that this bill was published last year, the agreements which it seeks to enshrine in our law and to which it aims to give effect date from well before that.

The convention on mutual assistance in criminal matters between the member states of the European Union was finalised in May 2000 and its protocol was finalised on 16 October 2001; the Council framework decision dates from July 2003; the second additional protocol to the European convention of 20 April 1959 dates from 2001; the treaty between the United States of America and Ireland came about on 18 January 2001; and the Council decision concerning Ireland's request to take part in some of the provisions of the Schengenacquis with regard to mutual assistance was created in 2002. Perhaps the Minister could explain why these matters always take so long to reach the Order Paper. Having said that, I welcome and support this Bill.

Cuirim fáilte roimh an Aire go dtí an Teach leis an Bhille seo a phlé. Molaim an tAire as ucht scríbhinne as Gaeilge a léamh ar maidin. Tá dualgas againn mar Bhaill Oireachtais iarracht a dhéanamh an teanga a chur chun cinn agus úsáid a bhaint as an méid atá againn.

Bille tábhachtach é seo, Bille teicniúil le héifeacht a thabhairt do seacht n-ionstraim idirnáisiúnta atá ann cheana féin le cúnamh dlíthiúil frithpháirteach. Cuireann an Bille cumas do stát amháin laistigh dá dlínse féin seirbhís a chur ar fáil do stát eile maidir le riarachán an cheartais sa stát sin agus is ceart sin a dhéanamh.

As has been pointed out by the Minister, the Bill gives effect to seven legal mutual assistance instruments. The case for mutual assistance in the provision of police activities is essential. It is right that within a more unified Europe, where there is harmonisation within the legal framework, we should assist each other, because criminals do not have regard or respect for frontiers and boundaries. They often regard them as a means to escape or delay detection. Therefore, as organised crime and terrorism become much more sophisticated, it is essential that every technique and support is given to police across the Union to enable them to apprehend and bring to justice those responsible.

There are some parallels between the way we have been developing within the European Union over the past 30 years and what happens in the United States, which is probably a reasonable model to examine. While we have agreed in the past that there should be joint investigation teams, including Interpol — no doubt they will be a very useful instrument in detecting crime — perhaps community policing could play a more central role. In the United States, federal detection agencies play a role as well as state police forces. This approach facilitates the apprehension of criminals, which is something that might be examined.

The main forms of mutual assistance in the Bill are clearly identified. Sensible and practical arrangements such as the provision of financial information, access to bank accounts and making available that information on request, with certain safeguards, is highly desirable. I note that we provide indemnity to financial institutions, which is necessary. It is a useful provision in that we have seen how effectively CAB operates by having access to the resources and assets of various people who cannot be brought to justice for criminal offences, but can be caught on related activities and evidence. On a number of occasions, Senators have drawn an analogy with Al Capone who was never brought to justice in the United States other than for tax offences.

Certain safeguards are built into the legislation whereby the Minister need not accede to a request based on specific grounds relating to sovereignty, security and other interests of the State, and also where there are reasonable grounds to suspect that the request was made for the purpose of prosecuting or punishing someone based on their sex, race, religion, ethnic origin, nationality, political opinion or sexual orientation. These are good precautions which are in line with the European Convention on Human Rights.

It is also possible to refuse a request on the basis of prejudicing a criminal investigation or criminal proceedings in the State. Would that relate specifically to the same offence or to a different offence? In the event of it being a different offence, would the seriousness of crime be taken into consideration in making the decision? For example, if this State was investigating a crime of larceny, could the request be refused if it related to the much more serious offence of murder? Perhaps we can examine the implications of this on Committee Stage.

I note that witnesses can be heard through video link or teleconferencing, which we dealt with previously in other legislation and which is sensible. It would be foolish not to avail of the technology which facilitates due process within the courts system. The video taping of evidence was introduced to try to eliminate the waste of Garda time, in particular, where gardaí may have to wait in court for a whole day even though the case may not even be called. There is a need to streamline the justice system while not in any way prejudicing the rights of the accused.

The enforcement of orders for freezing property is a practical and sensible arrangement, which works effectively for CAB. Obtaining identification evidence for criminal investigations, both inside and outside the State, is interesting and perhaps poses questions. I note there is an issue of privilege whereby persons cannot be compelled to give evidence to assist in criminal investigations where they would not be compelled to give such evidence here in regard to a similar crime.

We also have within our system the right to silence, which has been debated here on many occasions. In the aftermath of the Omagh bombing, for example, we introduced legislation which removed the right to silence in certain situations or, at least, allowed a judge to make an inference in this regard. I wonder if we are at a stage where we should examine the right to silence in regard to other crimes. Considering it from a practical point of view, if a person is innocent, why should he or she not take the stand and assist the case? There may be instances where innocent people could prejudice their own position but, in the main, the right to silence is exercised in order to avoid being put on the spot in the hope that some bright barrister will get one off the hook. Perhaps we should examine the issue as I am not sure it serves the administration of justice.

Given that there are general discretions for the exclusion of evidence, should there be more harmonisation across the European Union of the various legislation adopted, including our court systems, in dealing with the prosecution of offences? I agree with the right of a person to be represented and cross-examined but, during inquiries in the justice committee, we have come across instances whereby statements taken outside the jurisdiction, allegedly by people involved in the police force, might not stand up in court. It is important that, within a more united Europe, there are no technical deficiencies that would allow people who are guilty of offences to avail of such technicalities. I am aware that the manner in which the statement is taken is paramount.

The Bill includes sections dealing with the position of prisoners and the temporary transfer of prisoners held in custody for the purposes of an investigation elsewhere. These sections provide that no warrant shall be issued unless a prisoner consents in writing to be transferred. What is the purpose of this provision? In addition, prisoners may not be prosecuted or otherwise restricted in terms of their personal freedom in respect of any offence committed before their arrival in the State. I assume "arrival in the State" refers to the time at which the prisoner was transferred to assist in prosecuting the particular offence. The Bill also provides that an assurance will be given by a requesting state that a prisoner will not be prosecuted, sentenced, detained or otherwise restricted in his or her personal freedom in respect of any offence under the law of that state committed before the prisoner's departure from this State.

I take a simple view on these matters. If there is sufficient evidence to indicate a person has a case to answer, the matter should proceed to court and if the person is guilty, he or she should pay the necessary dues to society. The provisions for mutual assistance are a start. Although some precautions are necessary, we should allow for the utmost level of co-operation to ensure those who are guilty are brought to justice.

I welcome provisions in regard to the extension of joint investigation teams, particularly those relating to the United States. There has historically been, and continues to be, much co-operation between Ireland and the United States and it is eminently sensible to introduce joint investigation teams as part of our legal and policing co-operation. Organised crime, in particular, which is very sophisticated, and terrorism, which is a major threat to society, are areas that must be tacked with the greatest diligence and the greatest level of global co-operation.

We must examine the issue of drugs. So much of crime evolves from direct involvement in drugs or from something peripherally related to drugs. When one considers the difficulty alcoholism poses, are we absolutely correct in making drugs illegal or should there be some controlled way of dealing with them? It is politically incorrect to suggest it but common sense tells us the present arrangement simply does not work and is leading to all types of additional serious crime, including murder. This is an area that must be examined.

Cabhróidh an Bille seo go mór chun coirpigh a bhraith agus chun coirpigh imchúiseaibh. Tá súil agam go leanfaimid ar aghaidh ag feabhsú i gcúrsaí comhoibrithe agus go gcabhródh leis na forálacha seo tras-náisiúnta san obair sin.

I propose to share time equally with Senator Quinn.

Is that agreed? Agreed.

Cuirim fáilte roimh an Aire agus tááthas orm gur thosaigh sé an Bhille seo sa Teach seo. Tá sin déanta go minic aige. Is maith an rud é fosta gur thóg sé deis Gaeilge a úsáid i rith na díospóireachta. Tá sin tábhachtach.

Tá an reachtaíocht seo casta, tábhachtach agus cuimsitheach — níl sé léite agam. Rinne mé iarracht féachaint fríd an rud ach bhí sé i bhfad ró-chasta, tá mé ag brath ar an memo, rud nach mbíonn baint agam leis go minic.

Is cuimhin liom nuair a tháinig mé isteach sa Teach seo don chéad uair, bhí an-díospóireacht ar extradition. Bhí an-deacrachtaí ag Fianna Fáil faoi seo. Bhí argóintí ar an dá thaobh gan díriú isteach ar an dul chun cinn a ba cheart a dhéanamh. Chaith mé mó vóta i gcoinne an reachtaíochta, cé go bhfuil mé i bhfabhar extradition. Mhothaigh mé go láidir gur cheartprima facie case de shaghas éigin bheith curtha thar bhráid cúirte. Bhí mé i gcónaí ar son extradition, bhí mé in éadan safe havens dóibh siúd a rinne whatever ar dhaoine.

Tá reachtaíocht na tíre seo bunaithe ar Westminster. Ag féachaint ar an chód dlíthiúil sa Fhrainc, tá an-difríochta ann. Labhair an Seanadóir Walsh faoi chiontacht. Bun-phrionsabal reachtaíochta na tíre seo go bhfuil duine neamhchiontach go dtí go bhfuil fianaise curtha os comhair na cúirte agus tá an chúirt sásta go bhfuil an duine ciontach. Ní tharlaíonn sin i dtíortha eile agus tá sin casta.

Tá mé i bhfabhar cad a dúirt an tAire ach ní thuigim conas mar a tharlóidh sé. Bhí mé ag féachaint ar an sliocht ag baint leis an right to silence and the demand to give evidence. Nuair a bhí muid ag plé leis an right to silence cúpla bliain ó shin, dúirt muid go bhfuil an chúirt in ann inference a thógáil dá mba rud é nach bhfuil duine sásta fianaise a thabhairt. Níor chuir muid deireadh leis an cheart ciúnais. Tá sin tábhachtach má tá muid sásta comhoibriú agus fianaise a chur ar fáil do stát eile faoi duine atá ina chónaí anseo. An mbeidh na rialacha céanna ag an duine tar éis dó a bheith curtha don tír eile le fianaise a thabhairt ansin? Má tá ceart ciúnais aige sa tír seo, an mbeidh sin aige sa tír eile? Deir an tAire that a person may not be required to give evidence in a way that would not be legal in this country or the country that he or she is going to. Ní thuigim sin go díreach ó thaobh an taobh eile den scéal. An féidir brú a chur ar shaoránach na tíre seo fianaise a thabhairt faoi dlí na tíre eile tar éis dó nó di bheith curtha go tír eile?

Cuirim fáilte faoin méid a dúirt an tAire faoi fhianaise tríd an fhón agus teicneolaíochtaí teilifíse nó any kind of technology between two countries. Tá mé i bhfabhar na húdaráis i dtíortha eile bheith in ann sonraí bainc a chuardach sa tslí céanna agus is féidir sa tír seo. Tá sin tábhachtach ach tá deacracht ag baint leis. Tá an tAire ag iarraidh dul i ngleic le cearta atá ag tarraingt i gcoinne a chéile, an ceart ciúnais ar an taobh amháin agus freagracht fianaise a chur ar fáil ar an taobh eile. The Minister's comhghleacaithe i Kings Inns could go on their pension with this legislation. An deacracht a bheidh ann ná go mbeidh daoine sna cúirteanna go ceann míonna ag iarraidh seo a chur i bhfeidhm.

I would like to hear the Minister's comments on that issue. How can we tie it up? I am in favour of the legislation, although there might be issues which I would like changed or which I would like the Minister to reconsider. Any fair-minded democrat would have to be in favour of what we are trying to do.

I welcome the Minister as I always do because he is one Minister who allocates time to this House rather than delegate to somebody else. I also welcome the fact this Bill is being initiated here. While I welcome the Bill, it does not go far enough. If we believe the arrangements in this legislation will be enough to cope with the threats our society faces from criminals in the 21st century, we are wrong, although this may be all the Minister is able to do at present. The Minister is a strong believer in subsidiarity and of holding on to and allocating to each country as much decision-making as close to the citizens as possible. We all appreciate that. There are, however, times — this is one of them — when we must question whether that is the right way to go.

Four years ago I met Vaclav Klaus, the former Prime Minister of the Czech Republic who is now President. We had a good debate and I got to know him over a couple of days. I showed my enthusiasm for a united Europe but he talked about his concern having worked for approximately 40 years with a big brother in Moscow. He did not want to substitute the big brother in Moscow with one in Brussels. He was quite against a centralised Europe on that basis.

One of the areas of subsidiarity of great benefit to us is the ability to make decisions in our own country. However, there are times when we must consider that is not nearly enough and that there are occasions — this is one of them — when we need something more. The success of Irish legislation in recent years, including the Criminal Assets Bureau legislation, is the envy of other European countries but it has also been recognised that criminals have been able to move out of Ireland and operate elsewhere. Given the ease with which one can travel and communicate, whether by telephone or e-mail, Irish criminals can live in Spain and Holland which perhaps do not have the same legislation we have.

These fairly weak co-operation arrangements, namely, the subject matter of the Bill, are as much concerned with preserving the individual turf of different member states as they are with addressing the real problem. The Minister has concerns about this as well. I do not question the sincerity or even the efficiency of the people who must operate these arrangements but they are forced to deal with tools and weapons and to work under systems which are totally unsuited to the size and nature of the task they face.

If one went to America and suggested to people there that they could do without the FBI, they would laugh in one's face. I saw a television programme recently about the Wild West which referred to the Pinkertons. The Pinkertons was a private organisation whereby if people in the Wild West wanted help, they sent for this private company to solve the problem. America has local police forces stretching up to state level but beyond that, nearly 100 years ago, it found it necessary to create a federal law enforcement agency to cope with those crimes and criminals who traversed state borders and who could not be dealt with adequately by the forces of the individual states no matter how much those local forces co-operated with each other.

I suggest Europe is in the same position today. We need a European police force and not only more co-operation between the forces of member states. I say that even though I am a strong champion of the principle of subsidiarity. Anything which can be handled better at local level should not be handled at a higher level within the Union. However, subsidiarity cuts both way in that what cannot be handled adequately at local level must be dealt with centrally. I have not, however, thought that through.

I am well aware Ireland's traditional position has been to resist any moves towards integration of the criminal justice system, and I know the Minister's heart is in that as well. Part of our reluctance comes from the nature of our legal system as well as the British one, on which Senator O'Toole touched, as opposed to the Napoleonic code. We have quite a different system from that operated by most of our partners. As a result, I can well understand the reluctance of the legal establishment here to get involved in any integration which would threaten to undermine the system we have and to which we have grown used over the years.

It is wrong to use that housekeeping issue as an excuse not to address this problem. To be blunt about it, it is taking an enormous risk with the welfare and safety of our people. If we succeed in maintaining every last button of our traditional legal system and do so at the expense of leaving the Union as a whole inadequately equipped to deal with the challenge of international crime, particularly terrorism, what will we have achieved? In the current climate, it is not fashionable to suggest anything which involves further integration in the European Union but the urgency of this problem surely demands that we leave questions of fashion aside and address ourselves to meeting the real life problems every country in the Union faces. If we do not face up to these problems, we will expect a 19th century structure to cope with a 21st century problem and we will only have ourselves to blame for the consequences of such a short-sighted approach.

None of us likes the big brother approach of State, Europe or Brussels. However, some time ago I read a book by Rudi Giuliani, the former mayor of New York. He wrote about the benefits of DNA testing all citizens, although I have not thought this through. He said it actually relieved people of suspicion. If they had the DNA of all citizens, people likely to be accused in the wrong would not be accused and it would save rather than trap them. I welcome the Bill, although it does not go far enough.

I welcome the Minister and the introduction of this comprehensive legislation. We have had a flavour of Gaeilge sa Teach. Senator O'Toole started during the Order of Business highlighting Irish. Then the Minister took us all on the hop by delivering an eloquent speech as Gaeilge which I regret to say I had to read in English.

The war on terrorism is one which cannot succeed if we deal with it purely in military terms. It is a war in which everyone must partake. It will involve business communities, economists, sovereign states and mutual co-operation because terrorism is now an international norm. People who have concerns for their own ideological reasons set about attempting to achieve their objectives by the commission of terrorism. Terrorism dates back to biblical times. We now have a situation where there is mutual co-operation. Terrorists trade with each other and their commodity is terror. We must combat this threat.

Events occur such as those of 11 September in respect to which there is a huge international response. Everybody pulls together and wants immediate action because the international media can now bring terror to everyone's home. It is not only those who were in New York on 11 September but those who watched the tragic scenes on television were terrorised, albeit to a different extent. Modern communications, TV networks, etc., have in a way become a tool of terror. In any war one of the main military components is winning the hearts and minds of the people and using the media to get one's message across. Equally, terrorism has that vehicle available to it now.

In the response to the events of 11 September, everybody in the western world came together to stamp down this terrorism and an aggressive feeling to the effect that "we will deal with it" was evident. However, as people begin to feel more secure as time moves on they question that original commitment. Have they the stomach to be willing to set aside conventions by which we have lived for many years?

Terrorists comprise not a fixed but a movable target and we must learn how to deal with them. One of the ways we must change the way we live is by extending this mutual co-operation between states in order to counteract terrorists' mutual co-operation. The terrorist we see, be it a suicide bomber or whoever, is but the point in the arrowhead, but we must target the people behind the terrorist, those who pull the strings and the greedy business people who have no ideology except to make money who will furnish, support and provide the back-up for their own selfish gains. There are also the ideologues who will be the string pullers. On a smaller scale, in Dublin last week people behind the scenes were controlling and operating events on mobile phones and stirring up young people into trouble; the same happens with terrorists. The Bill will enable this country to play its part on the international stage in co-operating efforts to target the behind the scenes network that provides the mutual co-operation between terrorist organisations worldwide.

The Minister announced the publication of the Bill in 2005. It builds on an existing legislative framework for mutual legal assistance. It provides for the effective co-operation between member states of the European Union and between states worldwide. This is of increasing importance in recent times. It enhances and supplements the existing international co-operation in the fight against terrorism and organised crime. It is not only terrorists but criminal gangs are equally co-operating with each other. The public face of terrorism is the car bombs and the terrorist atrocities we see but it is the faceless network that this legislation sets about addressing.

The Bill will help to further facilitate the detection and prosecution of those responsible for transnational crime. Technology is used in the transfer of funds, in the way organisations do business and in the hiding of moneys. Terrorism is a costly business and must be funded. We must play our part in providing the necessary framework to try to break that chain. Without it and without supply we help in combating the delivery of the terrorist act. We have had our own painful experiences of terrorism and we must live in the aftermath of that and do all we can to stamp it out. This Bill is crucial in building a safer society for everyone not only in Ireland but worldwide.

I am glad the Minister has taken consideration of the views of the Human Rights Commission in finalising the provisions of the Bill. It will always be the case that civil liberty groups will question issues in a Bill such as this but unfortunately, that is the price we pay for the terrorist world in which we now live. We must respond to that threat in a responsible manner. Questions will be asked and the concerns are welcome, and should be listened to and addressed because we must draw a line in terms of what is acceptable to protect the freedoms we have but equally to provide a safe and secure society for the people who live with those freedoms.

Ireland has a good record generally when it comes to protecting the rights of individuals, even during times of trouble, but when difficult decisions had to be made, they were made. We made them in dealing with our own terrorist activities. We are now playing our part in delivering similar hard decisions on the international stage.

Rather than diluting our established norms, we in Ireland should advocate that other countries do the same. We have a distinct voice in the world and can take a position of leadership in areas such as human rights, development aid, conflict resolution and peacekeeping. Ireland has played a huge part in that. We can provide leadership on the world stage in how we have addressed our problems.

Even though we talk about neutrality and it is an issue that raises its head every so often in debates in this House, when it comes to international terrorism and criminality no one can be neutral. That transcends beyond anything to do with sovereign neutrality. We have a responsible role to play.

Under this legislation we will play our part in the global war against terrorism. We see the face of it with decisions such as those relating to Guantanamo Bay and other decisions that are regularly discussed in this House. I welcome the call by the Minister for Foreign Affairs in that regard.

However, we must also remember that this is evidence of the feel-safe factor having crept in again. Initially there were no questions about Guantanamo Bay, but as people begin to feel safe the pressure increases on those who have to make the decisions to root out these networks. They are pressurised not to bring in certain rules, laws and other legislative measures.

This legislation is necessary and should be welcomed by all. We are playing our part on the international stage by introducing it. Mutual co-operation between terrorist groups using modern technology and business activities to fund their evil commodity of terror for their own selfish gains must be matched by equally co-operative legislative work, which is what we are doing here. I welcome this legislation and thank the Minister for bringing it forward.

I am in favour of the principle of mutual assistance between countries, particularly EU member states, to solve crime. I wish to raise with the Minister a number of points regarding certain sections. He might clarify, if he can, the position and that will enable me to table amendments on Committee Stage, if necessary. These questions came to mind during the debate and they may be considered out of context but they are points I noticed relating to sections 25 and 26, which provide that material can be intercepted from another country before consent to do so is obtained from the other state. Such consent may not be given retrospectively, although it can be given. In that context, it allows the other state to require that we will not use the material intercepted. Why not simply provide that such consent must be given in the first instance? If consent is required, surely it should be applied for before the act of intercepting the material is carried out.

It also provides under sections 25(4)(b)(i) and (ii) that even before consent is granted the material may be intercepted and used. The material could have been used even if that state eventually refuses consent.

Are sections 25(1) and (2) numbered correctly? It is not clear from them whether the person has to be in the other territory. In respect of section 26 the Minister can refuse another state which does something similar on various grounds, including that the offence in question is politically motivated. This raises the question of the provision that can be used before consent is given. The motive for doing so may be political. I would appreciate any clarification the Minister can provide on these issues in his reply.

Section 26(5) provides that the Minister can decide the material already intercepted may not be used and can make an order in that regard. What if the material has already been used under the previous provision I mentioned? Could the provision be subject to legal challenge? I hope the Minister received the advice of the Attorney General on that point.

Section 27(d) provides that an authorised undertaking in this State “can facilitate interception of the messages by accessing interception equipment in a member state”. This obliges a company here to do something in another state. Could that be challenged legally here by somebody invoking constitutional or other rights? What happens if the company does not receive the necessary co-operation from the other side or the other company has a problem with this, such as a belief that it is inappropriate to allow that equipment be used for that purpose or that there is a political offence involved? The section envisages two separate companies but given the nature of corporations, it could involve the same company or its subsidiary. Is it possible that the section could be open to abuse in that regard?

Unlike the other sections which contain protections to provide for the Minister's consent or notices of how something should be implemented, or a procedure being determined in court, there is no such provision in sections 27 and 28.

On a technical point, I note under section 28(6)(a) a fine is specified whereas no amount is given in (b). Does that need to be addressed?

While I have no problem with the Bill in general, it is important that people's rights are protected. Our Constitution provides for fair procedures in our legal system. Will the Minister clarify the type of material that can be intercepted and what he means by "telecommunications material"? Does that involve the content of phone calls, e-mails and so on?

Finally, I am not sure whether the Cathaoirleach will allow me to proceed with my next question but the Leader says that if a Minister is in the House we should ask any questions that are on our minds.

The Minister will be here for a long time.

The Senator may ask the question but the Minister will not reply immediately.

He does not have to reply.

There is an appeal on the Minister's desk about Kunle, a student from Palmerstown. I made inquiries about the course he is doing in Greenhills College. It is a one-year course in engineering technology which will give him a FETAC qualification. He will finish his last exam on 12 May this year.

I am not sure that is relevant.

I wish to put one very quick point to the Minister.

The Senator may put a point on the Bill.

Will the Minister allow the student to finish the course and then review the position? If, arising out of this course he gets a place in an institute of technology, or if he gets a job here, the case can be reviewed further. He is in the middle of doing a course and the Minister feels strongly that people should receive an education and complete their qualifications. That was a factor in his original decision. I would like him to consider this case again. The student is mid-way through a course that will provide further opportunities. Will the Minister let the student complete his course at which point a decision can be taken?

I wonder if individual cases should be mentioned.

The Senator was looking for mutual assistance.

I welcome the Minister to the House. For a moment I was going to take his excellent lead and speak as Gaeilge but I decided to perfect the English first, the better part of valour. I welcome also the fine Bill the Minister has placed before the House. It gives greater effect to existing domestic laws by offering mutual assistance for ourselves, our European partners and others in the fight against terrorism and organised crime. It will also facilitate better detection and prosecution.

There is worldwide recognition of the need for a co-ordinated and concerted effort to aid the detection of, and fight against, organised criminals and terrorists. We know these people do not uphold the sanctity of human life or tolerate differing views. Our response must be to protect and uphold those values and ensure we face down terrorists and give our people and society in general a better way of life.

Globalisation has brought many economic benefits but because it is easier to cross borders it has also allowed the evil of terrorism to grow. We have a duty as a member state of the United Nations and the European Union to enact legislation that brings us into line with other states and enables us to respond to terrorism. Unfortunately, we have had to face down terrorism on this island for many years but perhaps because of that we have better domestic legislation to deal with the threat than many of our counterparts in Europe. That threat, however, was posed by indigenous groups and our legislation needs a broader dimension. We have enacted many fine Bills under the watchful eye of the Minister in terms which have provided that broader dimension. In hurling parlance we are doubling on that work today by further enhancing the legislation.

I refer to the Criminal Justice (Terrorist Offences) Act, the Proceeds of Crime (Amendment) Act, the Criminal Justice (Joint Investigation Teams) Act and the Criminal Justice (Illicit Traffic by Sea) Act. Many of these Acts challenge the drug barons and are useful instruments for dealing with these people. We know how little value they place on human life as they destroy it daily. The actions of terrorists in America, Madrid and London serve to show us exactly what we need to do, and how diligent and effective our legislation must be.

The link between poverty and global security cannot be overstated. Poverty is the ultimate endemic threat. If the Government can maintain its resolve on globalised terrorism and tackle poverty in the same way, then it will have an additional aid in the fight for global security. The majority of atrocities are carried out by secret organisations, hell bent on undermining the governments of the world and peaceful co-existence. Their ability to gain recruits is often born out of the type of economic and social justice which is upheld in some countries. Such recruits are often drawn to political movements or terrorist organisations in which they achieve a self-worth which they do not perceive themselves to possess in their existing situation which is often one of poverty. It may be necessary to define"poverty" before we go about tackling it.

This island has many examples of people who have found self-worth at the right end of a gun and the difficulties encountered by these people dealing with normal society in more peaceful times when they are no longer regarded as the hard man with the beret or the uniform.

This Bill provides for the provision of financial information such as bank transactions to other states for criminal investigation purposes and this is to be commended as an excellent element. The Criminal Assets Bureau was enabled by legislation to put pressure on drug lords and their organisations and to take on the criminals and fight them effectively. There have been many instances of the success of the Proceeds of Crime Act whereby the ill-gotten gains of these warlords have been confiscated, including a recent example in County Donegal. This legislation also forced many so-called astute drug barons out of the country; unfortunately they found their way to sunnier climes in Spain and other places from where they are plying their trade and supplying the Irish market. It may be because they are exclusively supplying the Irish market that the Spanish authorities are not taking too much notice of them which is unfortunate. This Bill and the existing legislation is helping to track down these individuals and to confiscate their ill-gotten gains whether here or in another country.

The Bill contains protections for the individual and for the security of the State. It states that assistance can be refused when it is believed it would be likely to prejudice the sovereignty and security of the State or would be contrary to public policy. It also protects the individual in that assistance can be refused if there are reasonable grounds for doubting the reasons for the request. The question of civil liberties has been uppermost in the Minister's mind and his legislation has always been fair-minded and protective of those elements which require protection. I wish the Bill well.

I apologise to the Minister for not being present in the House for his contribution. I do not think the public understands that Members of the Oireachtas are supposed to be in three places at once. As we all know, to be in two places is quite simple but when it comes to being in three places, it becomes a little more difficult.

I welcome the legislation and it will have my support. I am concerned it will not address two areas but I would be comforted to know if it did. Complaints of corruption in African governments are frequently made. I go to Africa quite often and I have heard complaints there that if the wealth of those Africans who are described as being corrupt — and they are not all described as being politicians — was not taken in so readily by European countries and by America, it would be much easier for those who want to control the situation in African countries to do so. During a recent visit to Nigeria I was informed that people buy a considerable amount of property here with what they described to me as money which has been given for favours. I was told by them that they would not have half as many immigrants trying to come into Ireland if that money was invested within Nigeria to improve the employment situation. I am doubtful that this legislation will help that situation as it would seem that this money comes here directly and not through other European countries.

I have been told this in other countries besides Nigeria. There are constant reports of billions of sterling, dollars and euro coming out of Africa and being secreted in property and in the banks of European countries and America. I hope this legislation could deal with this problem but I do not know if that is possible.

I refer to another area where I am unsure whether this legislation will be of assistance. I spoke at a conference in Edo state organised by the governor's wife, Her Excellency EkiIgbinedion. She has organised an initiative to try to stop the trafficking of women and children from Nigeria. The children in general are trafficked to other states in Africa for use as cheap labour but the women are trafficked to Europe. She is bringing girls back from Europe but has faced opposition to this initiative from the parents of the girls who were very grateful for the remittances and were not asking how the money had been earned. She informed me it would be a great assistance if Ireland could take action regarding women entering the country on false passports. The Minister has spoken on this issue. These women often do not realise what they are getting involved in. Eki Igbinedion has set up skills centres in Benin city to educate women and help them find better types of careers.

Apparently it has become essential for Dublin's adult tourism industry to have clubs where naked women dance. I regard it as amazing that we all managed for years without them but it seems they are essential now. I doubt if girls from Dublin are dancing in front of the neighbours. Any raids on these clubs show that ten out of 15 girls are non-nationals without the required work permits. Some of these people are coming through other European countries.

Could we make a concerted effort to put a stop to this criminal activity, which is now the second most lucrative form of crime after drug dealing? Dealing in human flesh is shocking. It is not remotely amusing that we have people coming in here, supplied by the Russian Mafia, from Moldova and through Albania to Italy. It is an appalling trade. It is going back to slavery again and it is extraordinary to think that we should have any involvement in it. If this legislation could be used in any way to address that matter, it should be done. If such action were taken, great gratitude would be expressed not only by me and others in this country but also by those in other countries from where these people are being sourced and shipped.

I agree with the cogent points made by Senator Henry. Whether they are dealt with in this legislation or otherwise they are well worthy of the Minister's attention.

I welcome the Minister to the House. I also welcome the legislation before us. I am not a great expert in the fields of justice and security but I wish to express my political support for the importance of the fight against crime, including terrorism, as well as improving the security of our people and our country. In the modern world one is dealing with extraordinarily sophisticated communications, financial networks and ease of transport from one jurisdiction to another. If crime is becoming globalised, therefore, one must also globalise the means of fighting it. That is easier to do when countries share the same democratic values. There are safeguards against the abuse of power in the legislation but, by and large, we are dealing with countries in the European Union that share our values.

Having read the legislation, it seems that quite a lot of it will, in practice, concern Irish citizens wanted for criminal offences who have fled the country to reside abroad. We should not tolerate what the tabloids used to call the "costa del crime". Wherever people hide they should be extraditable and their assets should be retrievable.

In this sort of debate much time used to be taken up by the finer concerns of civil liberties. It is not that I regard civil liberties as unimportant but the right approach is to address clear abuses when they occur — hopefully they will be few and far between in this jurisdiction — rather than pulling one's punches legislatively because of remote and theoretical fears.

I was struck by what my colleague, Senator Kett, said about the association of poverty and crime. I have always been intrigued by the fact that when there was a huge amount of absolute poverty — not just relative poverty — in this country in the late 1950s and early 1960s, it was historically the time when crime levels were at their lowest. I am afraid that crime is also related to opportunities to make wealth illicitly. Undoubtedly, in a society such as ours, there are infinitely more opportunities today to make illicit wealth than perhaps was the case 40 years ago.

Democratic governments must not allow small organisations, bands or gangs to usurp their authority. There is quite a lot of that going on. One can argue the merits or demerits of the authorities allowing a parade last Saturday but the duly constituted, democratic and lawful authorities decided to permit it. It was not for anybody else to decide that it should not take place. In the world of crime and paramilitaries there are people who see themselves as some kind of shadowy parallel authority which, in some instances, decides what is legal or illegal. They do so not according to international or Irish law but merely according to their own imaginary doctrines. I know the Minister does not need much urging in this regard but it is important to uphold firmly the values of democracy and the rule of lawvis-à-vis anyone who would challenge them.

Gabhaim buíochas don Teach as ucht an díospóireachta seo. Bhí sé mar phléisiúir dom an Ghaeilge a chloisteáil sa Teach. Cé nach bhfuil mé chomh líofa le Baill den Teach, caithfimid úsáid a bhaint as an teanga náisiúnta sna Tithe agus an teanga a choimeád beo agus láidir i gcúrsaí náisiúnta an Stáit.

Many points have been made in this debate and it would not be open to me to answer many of them fairly or squarely. For example, Senator Tuffy raised a number of technical points the answer to most of which lies in the basic convention texts from the European Union and elsewhere. We will come back to those points on Committee Stage.

Senator Cummins asked how it is that we have taken this long to get this far. The legislation has been delayed in order to allow for the provisions of three instruments in 2003 to be given effect to in the Bill. They are set out in the Bill. There is also the question of priorities. My Department is currently dealing with 14 pieces of legislation in the criminal law area while 27 EU, UN and Council of Europe instruments are being negotiated. Some of these coincide or overlap, so it is difficult to know whether one should constantly come in with a series of one-off Bills or wait until one has some work accumulated and attempt to deal with a number of instruments in the same area. Second Stage debates in each House take up a lot of legislative time and with regard to mutual assistance the view taken was that it was sensible to wait for an accumulation of instruments to be dealt with in one legislative package. That is what we have tried to do. Moreover, considering the staff numbers in my Department and the number of draftspersons in the Office of the Attorney General, it is not easy to marshall all the resources all the time to produce instant responses to international instruments to which we are party. Nor have I mentioned legislation which I hope this House will shortly see, such as defamation, land law and civil partnership Bills, which are constantly being worked on in different parts of the apparatus of State. One must be a little patient at times although I know that is difficult.

Senator Kett made a good point echoed by other speakers here today. We live in a totally different world. For most of us here, in our lifetime travel was a rarity and those who in any society could expect to travel, apart from migratory travel, were a small elite. We are now in a world of mass transportation. People can move here and there with the greatest of ease. We are also in a different political climate in that people are entitled to travel in a way in which they previously were not. An Irish person is entitled to go to the "costa del crime" or wherever and buy a villa there, which was not possible in the past. There is migration of capital, of enterprise and of workforces. We live in a totally different world and must bear in mind that criminality will transform itself to accommodate and avail of the opportunities which this vastly different globalised transient world affords it. That is our context.

Senator Quinn raised some interesting points about this legislation and said it did not go far enough. His fundamental point is that the legislation seems to be a patchwork of individual responses put together in response to individual issues. For example, within the European Union he sees an analogy with the situation which exists in America. He sees a big political space or area where activity is taking place and he queries if it is possible or even remotely practical in this day and age to live as isolated member states in a European Union.

Senator Quinn made the point that there is now a fashion against integration, or at least a question mark hanging over it for the past couple of years. I acknowledge the force of a number of points he made but ask for the following to be taken into the balance. When one creates a European continental system and all the power the European Union potentially has, then unless one has countervailing mechanisms which are effective, and not just on paper, and a shared concept of the rule of law, and an absolute sense of shared values and methods which are universal, that is a very dangerous enterprise. It is not stated often enough in Ireland that to create a massive European superpower which is not as rooted as the American superpower is in democracy and the rule of law, and with a shared commitment to those values of everyone in the political community which is the United States, would be very dangerous. I ask this House to consider whether we feel the same sense of ownership of the European Court of Justice, or the court in Strasbourg, as the American people do of their Supreme Court and their legal system. The answer must be that we do not. Whether we will or not is different, but we do not.

While one can on occasion be frustrated by different legal systems in the European Union, I do not want to throw the baby out with the bath water. In this country, as in a number of others, we have a constitutional system based on the rule of law, namely, the common law, adversarial justice system involving a Judiciary which is radically different in some respects from the judiciary in a Napoleonic system in being an arbitral Judiciary, a third pillar of the State, manifestly independent of this House. A judge's job is not a career job one takes up at the age of 20 and proceeds upwards to the top like a diplomat in Iveagh House, rather we confer, on people chosen in their 40s, 50s and 60s, huge power to strike down Acts of our Parliament, with one judge sitting one afternoon in a High Court in Dublin.

That is the system used by the Americans, Australians, Canadians and New Zealanders, and to some extent is the one used in the United Kingdom, on which our system and the American system were modelled. When crisis came in democracy in the dark days of the 1930s, when everyone was fleeing from liberal democracy and even the notion of the liberal economic order was regarded as passé, to be thrown aside and when, after the 1920 Wall Street crash, everything was in the valley of darkness, it was the common law system and the rule of law which were the only bulwarks against fascism and totalitarianism of every kind.

People may argue it one way or another but it is a curious fact that even if one looks at countries like India, and our own, it is this hugely powerful judicial influence in a society which has kept it from falling into the hands of one extremist movement or another. If one looks at the Western hemisphere, is it strange that north of the Rio Grande, whatever that area's faults, democracy is deeply rooted, and south of that river the area has been in non-stop crisis for the past 200 years. I make this point to emphasise that we have something here of immense value and should never be tempted to throw it away unnecessarily in order to further the interests of legal efficiency, unless we are equally clear that what we are creating will guarantee us the rights which were the bulwark against despotism and totalitarianism in the past.

Regarding the European project, I believe in the partnership rather than the strongly federalist-integrationist view, but however it develops, it is certain that it could be immensely dangerous unless built solidly on durable, workable, proven systems of accountability and counterbalance because, in the past, Europe has not been signally successful at resisting movements which have got out of hand.

The difference between the experience of the United States and that of contemporary Europe is that in the United States, when the founding fathers went about their business in the late 18th century, even with different variations they had one society, one language, one set of fundamental beliefs even if there were sectarian differences of a small kind among them, and one system of law. That is what they started with. In Europe, we started with a diverse history and language. Most politicians in Europe still cannot understand each other when they speak at a public meeting. They certainly do not understand each other's history, to the same extent as did the colonialists who turned into republic builders in north America.

I am conscious that Europe as a project in the early years of the 21st century is radically different to the building of federal America in the later years of the 18th century. That is not to state that I am hostile to the European Union project. I believe it is unhistorical to see it in the context of an emerging United States of America. If Europe ever moves towards deeper and greater integration, it will do so along a different path. It is unhistoric to view Europe as a parallel with the United States model.

In Europe, we have arrived at the view that we will not have legal uniformity and that the systems will not be the same across Europe. To the maximum possible extent, we will engage in mutual recognition. In the United States, a court is a court and a jury is a jury. There are differences between states but at least a lawyer from one state can walk into a court in another state and know exactly what is happening, even if it is not conducted in precisely the same way as in his or her home state. Czechoslovakia is different to Ireland. It has administrative courts and administrative fines. In some societies, justice is mainly paper driven while in Ireland and Britain, our system is underlined by a direct confrontational adversarial trial process with oral evidence.

My position is not conservative. However, it is cautious in one respect. Senators spoke about the right to silence and inferences being drawn from silence. We must marry our system and concept of rights and values with those of others through the principle of mutual recognition, not through approximation and harmonisation. Our system is not capable of being diluted slightly so as to arrive at the same system as the Napoleonic code. It is not a matter of a little tweaking it here and there to make both systems more or less the same. The systems are fundamentally different in some respects. Senator Kett kindly recognised that what I attempt to do in all legislation I bring before the House is to preserve our concept of constitutional rights, but nonetheless make it compatible with other systems.

I share Senator Quinn's impatience that this may seem to be a series ofad hoc responses to individual situations. That is so. However, if we are to have an FBI for Europe, who will be in charge of it? To whom will it be answerable? What court will control it? When it steps out of line who will bring it back? Many countries in Europe have, in the past, found they were not in a position to do so because their systems did not have at its heart notions such as habeas corpus, an independent Judiciary, separation between the Legislature and the Executive and the right of the Judiciary to bring all of the organs of state, particularly the Executive and policing, firmly under control. Those are the fundamental issues we must consider at some length.

I have strayed from the substance of what we are dealing with but I felt I should do so because Senator Quinn had taken the time to make the point that perhaps this was radically insufficient. I sometimes share his sense of frustration when I deal with these measures. However, I sound this counterpoint to the attractive tune he played. While we must get our act together, what we put in place must be robust, workable and compatible with our values.

The Bill is immensely complex and, I regret to state, will take up much of our time on Committee Stage teasing out issues such as those raised by Senator Tuffy. I look forward to that debate. In the modern world, there is no substitute for providing ourselves some basis on which to request assistance from foreign states, be they in the European Union or not, and conversely, to afford those foreign states our co-operation. When I started at the Bar, I heard about letters rogatory at criminal law lectures but I never believed they happened. Now, they have become commonplace. The real problem is that we must build into our legal, political and administrative culture this absolute obligation to be open to our moral obligation to assist other systems of justice, similar and dissimilar to our own, to function. Otherwise, we create difficulties.

Senator Henry raised a couple of points. She mentioned the question of corruption. Proceeds of crime in Ireland, regardless of whether the crime took place outside or inside Ireland, are subject to the Criminal Assets Bureau. However, building up evidence to prove that a corrupt minister in a particular country received those assets and placed them in Ireland is more difficult. More law must be made and more conventions must be put in place to stamp out corruption, such as making it unlawful for Irish banks to handle the proceeds of corruption abroad or for Irish people to corrupt others or take part in corrupt activity abroad. Some of us may have heard today about the terrible famine in Kenya, and listened to the stories about where much of the money sent by international donors went and how it did not reach the people who should receive it.

The other point raised by Senator Henry was that of trafficking. We have an elaborate code to combat trafficking, particularly regarding people trafficked for sexual exploitation. I fully agree with Senator Henry and I do not use the term "the sex industry" because I do not believe sex is capable of being industrialised. It is not the proper subject of commercial exploitation. That is my view. I claim to be a liberal. On occasion, we make it a commodity in a way which is foolish.

I have major problems with places such as Stringfellows opening in Dublin. However strict the conditions laid down by a judge in a licence application, there will be copycat bodies. Who will police this? Are the gardaí to spend their time checking whether people make physical contact with each other or what they do on these premises? If prostitution does not travel in the same coach on the same train as the commercialisation of sexuality, it is linked a few coaches back. I wonder whether we do ourselves any favours in this regard. When prostitution comes, organised crime is a few coaches back. When the train of commercialised sexuality leaves the station, prostitution comes a few coaches behind and in the guard's van comes organised crime. That train should not be allowed to leave the station. I hope I have said enough, and that being as irrelevant as I have has kept the House happy.

Question put and agreed to.

When is it proposed to take Committee Stage?

Next Tuesday.

Committee Stage ordered for Tuesday, 7 March 2006.
Sitting suspended at 1.50 p.m. and resumed at 2.20 p.m.