Tuesday, 4 November 1969
Dáil Eireann Debate
That a sum not exceeding £1,085,000 be granted to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1970, for the salaries and expenses of the Office of the Minister for External Affairs and of certain services administered  by that Office, including a grant-inaid.—(Minister for External Affairs).
Dr. FitzGerald: The problem I was speaking about when the House adjourned the last day was that of development aid. We are, in fact, discussing in this debate not alone external affairs but also the foreign aid provisions which this country has. Because of our relationship with the third world, because of our historical evolution, because of the relationships we have established in giving a lead originally to the movement of colonial countries and since then our activities in the United Nations, this is a problem with which we should be greatly concerned. It is true that as one of the less developed countries of Northern Europe we are, of course, less well able to make the kind of contribution, which we would like to make, that other better off countries make, but we must see this in perspective. We are, because of our position between the USA on one side of the Atlantic and the countries of Northern Europe on the other, prone to think of ourselves as a poor country, and a poor country we are relative to our neighbours on either side, but seen in the context of the world as a whole, we are far from being a poor country.
Indeed, we are classified, and rightly classified, in relation to the whole span of income levels throughout the world, as a developed country and, indeed, even occasionally in loose language as a rich country. We are certainly in the top 25 of the 130 nations of the earth and possibly even in the top twenty, if we may come back to the long-playing record business which Deputy Lenehan was talking about. It is necessary that  we should remind ourselves of this fact because of the tendency to think of ourselves as so poor as to be unable to help anyone but ourselves and as so poor as to have no duty to help anyone but ourselves.
Our per capita national output is about £450 plus per year in this country. There are many countries in Africa and Asia whose per capita national income is as low as £15 to £20 per year. We are, in fact, thirty times better off — an unimaginable relationship — than the people of some of those countries such as the Central African Republic of Chad, the Congo Brazzaville, of Dahomey, of Malawi, of the Niger or Ruanda or the Upper Volta, just to show you there are quite a number in this category whose incomes are one-thirtieth of ours. Indeed, there are very few of those countries whose income approaches one-third of ours per head. When you get that kind of relationship it becomes impossible to sustain the thesis that charity must begin and end at home and that we have no duty to those other countries.
The problem we have to face here is one which cannot solely be met by development aid and it is, I think, worth saying a little about the other aspects of it before dealing with development aid and what we might do in that sphere. There is a problem of very low incomes, there is a problem that those countries are on ever-losing ground relative to the rest of the world and the growth of their incomes is not as fast as ours. The growth of their exports, on which they must depend for an improvement in their living standards, is less rapid than ours and, indeed, their export growth in the last ten years or so has been less than half that of the developed countries and I am sure very less than half of our rate of export growth which has over this period been quite rapid. As a result of this slower growth of exports those countries' share of world trade is diminishing. In 1955 they accounted for 26 per cent of world exports. By 1964 this had fallen to 20 per cent.
One reason for this is the worsening of the terms of trade, the fact that what those countries produce are  primary products whose prices either rise very slowly or may even decline in actual money terms while what they have to buy in the more developed countries of Europe, America and Australasia are goods whose prices tend to rise and in many cases tend to rise quite rapidly. The result is that in the ten years to 1964, for example, the terms of trade of those countries deteriorated by something like 15 per cent. That meant that over that ten-year period it was necessary for them to increase their exports by 15 per cent in order to buy the same amount of imports as at the beginning of that period. If their export growth is only about five per cent per annum on average this would mean that one-third of the entire effort they put into expanding their exports would not achieve any more for them than to keep them where they were at the beginning of the period.
The dependence of these countries on primary products is quite extraordinary. I have been looking at some figures prepared for me by my colleague, John Maguire, who has done a great deal of good work in this sphere of development aid. He is one of the people responsible for the Bettystown programme which I shall come to later. These were figures of the proportion of the trade of developing countries attributable to sales of a small number of products. Of the 33 countries for which he was able to obtain figures 29 of them were dependent for 80 per cent or more of their trade on three primary products only. The dependence of these countries on these primary products was so great that if anything were to happen to even one product the whole economy would be disrupted and the people could be brought to a stage where their survival as a people was threatened.
The fact is that we in the developed countries, manufacturers of various kinds of goods, are objectively exploiting the developing countries because of the greater strength of our bargaining powers. By manipulating tariffs and by using quotas we are in a position to diminish the income they get from their exports in such a way as to improve artificially the terms of trade  with these countries to our advantage. It is a case of the rich exploiting the poor. We participate in this because of our quota restrictions on goods from lower cost countries for reasons which seem to us to be good because there are industries in this country whose survival depends on protection against imports from lower cost countries.
There is quite a dilemma here. I am not suggesting that there is an easy solution and I am not suggesting that we can solve these problems by one act of generosity that would throw many Irish people out of work. We have not faced this dilemma but we should be conscious of it. We should be conscious of the fact that whenever we impose quota restrictions on goods from low cost countries we are using our power as a relatively rich country to exploit people who are poorer than ourselves. We are doing to them as others did to us. Earlier in this debate I had occasion to refer to the effect of British Agricultural policy on our economy. It is obvious that we are being exploited by Britain as far as our agricultural products are concerned.
Even in the developed countries there is not a happy picture. It must be said that the solution to the problem of these countries lies not in the sphere of diminishing this exploitation of them by the developed countries, not in the sphere of encouraging them to trade or of helping them to export but the solution lies in the sphere of development aid. In a minute or two, I shall deal with the question of development aid and what we could do in this sphere. As far as these countries about which I am speaking are concerned, the best way to help them is to help them to earn their way rather than to provide them with assistance which may appear to take the form of a dole and which, if given in an unintelligent way, can even undermine, in certain circumstances, their economy. Their power to develop lies within themselves.
Therefore, we should look very seriously at our trade policies. I know that this small and relatively poor country cannot afford to give a lead in this area. We have to compete with other countries but we should use our influence at the councils of such organisations  as GATT to secure policies which will help the economies of these countries by ensuring that the impact on any of their industries is minimised and that if there is an impact it will be spread over a period of time.
Until recently there has been no change in trading policies, and no change in trading policies that could be devised that would solve the problem or eliminate the need for direct aid to these countries. This aid can take two forms. It can take the form of technical assistance or the form of financial aid. In many ways, it would be easier for us to concentrate some of our efforts on technical assistance. The House is well aware of the contributions this country has made in providing technical expertise to developing countries, in agriculture, in turf development to Pakistan and in aviation development—an area in which we have made quite a contribution in different ways to different countries. Although less developed than our neighbours we can make a great contribution by way of technical aid.
We could do more than we are doing at the moment in the field of aid to agriculture. For a small country we have a relatively advanced and wellequipped agricultural research machine in the Agricultural Institute and we have a relatively large number of people here who are technical experts in the industry. The development of the agricultural economies of these countries has proved more difficult in the past than was expected. During the 1950's and up to the mid-1960's, at any rate, these countries found it easier to develop industries than to get their agriculture off the ground. The fact that their agricultural economies were largely at subsistence level made it very difficult to introduce new techniques. There are signs now of an agricultural breakthrough that might enable them to become self-sufficient.
We could help that development because of the particular expertise we have. This aspect of technical aid is becoming increasingly important and is something to which we could direct more attention. Beyond that, we must also consider what is our duty in the  matter of financial aid—development aid. Here, however, we come up against the psychological difficulty of knowing that we are a poor country beside our neighbours. It is our neighbours with whom we must compete and if we fail to compete with them it is to their territories that our people will go. It is not easy for us to see ourselves, as we in fact are in the world complex, a rich nation; it is not easy for us to get away from the adage “Charity begins at home” and it is not easy for us to expand our horizons to take in these other people and to feel towards them the same kind of duty that we increasingly feel towards each other.
After all, it is only within the past couple of generations that the concept of a duty in justice as well as in charity has been accepted in countries like ours. The idea of a duty in charity to help one's neighbours who are poor is certainly as old as Christianity. The idea of having a duty in justice to distribute one's goods, or to have them distributed by the State through taxation to help those less well off among our immediate neighbours in one's own country, has become accepted only with difficulty in the last 50 years. We have only learned to live with it. It is not easy to extend our horizons to people beyond our own shores when we are still adjusting ourselves to the concept of a duty to our own neighbours in our own country. We are asked now to make a great leap in our comprehension and compassion and to accept that this duty in social justice is not confined to our own community. We are asked to accept that we have a duty in charity to contribute voluntarily to the many Irish missionaries operating abroad but that we have also to accept in justice that we should be taxed by our own Government in order that they might re-distribute some small part of our wealth to our fellow human beings in other lands who live in a poverty which is unimaginable to us.
Dr. FitzGerald: The Deputy asked who wrote it for me. What I am about to say now was written for me by two  Popes, Pope John and Pope Paul. I trust their words will be listened to by the Deputy opposite with more respect than he accords me. In Mater et Magistra Pope John told us that the solidarity which binds all men together as members of a common family makes it impossible for wealthy nations to look with indifference on the hunger, misery and poverty of other nations whose citizens are unable to enjoy even elementary human rights. Pope Paul in Populorum Progressio, which is the greatest encyclical to come from the present Pope, tells us of the urgency of the situation on which depends the peace of the world. He calls on each one of us to examine our own consciences and asks are we prepared to support, out of our own pockets, works and undertakings organised in favour of the most destitute. He asks whether we are ready to pay higher taxes so that public authorities can intensify their efforts in favour of development aid. He asks whether we are ready to pay a higher price for goods imported from developing countries so that their producers may be more justly rewarded. This is really the key question for this House. He asks—and to this we have been able to answer “yes”—are there young people among us who, if necessary, are willing to leave their country to assist in the development of young nations. These are the hard, practical questions which Pope Paul asked. He is conscious of the fact that the old adage “Charity begins at home” is attractive; he says that, although it is normal that a nation should be the first to benefit from the gifts Providence has bestowed on it as the fruit of the labours of its people, nevertheless no country can claim on that account to keep its wealth for itself alone. He adds that, given the increasing needs of the underdeveloped countries, it should be considered normal for an advanced country to devote part of its production to meet their needs and to train teachers, engineers, technicians and scholars to be prepared to put their knowledge and skill at the disposal of less fortunate people. The rule which up to now held good —“for the benefit of those nearest to  me”—must be applied to all the needy of this world. The Pope does something exceptional then. He appeals to our conscience, which is the normal thing for a Pope to appeal to, to our worldly wisdom which is something which Popes rarely refer to. He says that the rich would be the first to benefit as a result of such help and that if they reject this appeal their continued greed will call on them the judgment of God and the wrath of the poor with consequences no one can foretell. The wrath of the poor is something which we can hardly expect not to be a factor in the world of the future if we continue to grow richer while the poor grow poorer.
Dr. FitzGerald: I doubt it very much. The House will be aware that some time ago the United Nations set a target of 1 per cent of national output for each country to be devoted to development aid. It is easier for wealthier countries to reach such a target without strain, distress or difficulty. So far as I can judge, the public aid provided by the Government out of taxation or borrowed moneys runs to the order of £1 million a year. It is not much more than that figure. It could have been £1.1 million in 1967-68. It may be £1.5 million now. It may be said with truth that this represents only a fraction of the total assistance which we provide to these countries. It may be said that in Ireland the  form our assistance takes is private aid, given particularly to the missions. That is certainly true. An attempt has been made to assess approximately the value of this aid, what it costs the economy, and how much we are spending on missionary effort of this kind, which is relevant to the question of development aid.
In the report, known as the Bettystown programme, which was drawn up by the Irish student development movement and sponsored by the Student Christian Movement of Ireland, an attempt was made to assess this help with the aid of the Medical Missionaries of Mary and other missionaries. The kind of figure given in this document seems to be of the order of £2.5 million to £3 million. I should like the Minister to say whether his Department, which is responsible for development aid, has attempted to make an assessment of the scale of private aid. Is this a reasonably accurate figure? There are no official statistics but there should be an obligation on the Department to keep in touch with all forms of aid, to keep abreast of their development and to be in a position to assess the position.
We have a right to know the scale of the aid we give and how it compares with the target set by the United Nations. We have only the figure given in the Bettystown programme report. It is something of a reflection on ourselves as legislators and on the Government as a public authority that we have to be dependent on research carried out by students for this kind of information. It does not suggest that development aid is given the priority it should be given by the Government and the Department. This is the only figure we have got. I cannot say whether it is accurate or not. It involves £2.5 million to £3 million private aid. Public aid is £1 million to £1.5 million. One can assess our contribution to development aid on the basis of these figures as being of the order of £3.5 million to £4.5 million. Perhaps it would be something like £4 million. Our national output is about 3.5 times that figure. It appears that we are contributing something  between one-quarter and one-third of the targets set for us by the United Nations.
I would like to hear the Minister on this subject and also to have his views on the United Nations target. Does he accept that we should be aiming to reach the target? What are the Government's plans in this regard? What is the Minister's assessment of the extent to which we should be working towards this target? Are the figures correct? We need to have some guidance on this matter. The Government should consider very seriously how we can make our contribution in this regard. It would be proper for the Government in all their programmes for economic expansion to include something more hard and fast on the subject than we have had hitherto, to include in it some statement of the Government's target for each four-year period and the extent to which it hopes, within that period of four years, to reach or get near the United Nations target for development aid. I would hope that the Government might find itself in a position to commit itself to reach that target within a measurable period of time. If, for example, the Government decided to attain this target within five years, that would involve devoting 1/50th—that is two per cent of each year's increase in national output—to this purpose. Two per cent of national output could hardly be said to impose an impossible burden on this country.
In other words, it is possible for us, without undue strain on the economy and without, in fact, anything that could be regarded as significantly affecting the livelihood of our people, within a measurable period of years, possibly five years, to live up to the obligations we have imposed on ourselves. We are a member of the United Nations and this target is one in the setting of which we ourselves, I am sure, participated. I would be surprised to find we were dissentients or that we attempted to say it was too much. That would not be in tune with the kind of policies we have adopted in the United Nations. We have, I am sure, accepted the target. But we have not accepted the consequential obligation  of setting ourselves any time in which to attain this figure. I hope the Minister will reply to this at some length and I hope he will devote a significant amount of time to this question of development aid and answer some of the questions I have put as well as giving some indication of the Government's policy in this regard and of his own intentions.
There are other things we can do and I commend to the Minister this Bettystown programme because of the concrete and useful proposals it contains. It contains proposals indicating what the churches can do. Those the Minister can read. There are other things that come within the Minister's own sphere of activity. Something should be done, for instance, in regard to the proposals set out in the Investment in Education report, which contains an unread and unspoken-of chapter on our role educationally in relation to the developing countries. Some years have passed since that report was published. In the region of domestic education the Government had implemented some of the proposals or, to be more precise, in developing their own policy, have taken full account of the implications of the report. The report sets out facts from which the Government and legislators can draw conclusions. The Government have done so in regard to domestic education and something of a revolution in education has taken place there largely as a result of the Investment in Education report. But the chapter dealing with our possible role in relation to the Third World as far as education is concerned has not been referred to since its publication. Certainly I am not aware of any Government statement on it. It has not been adopted here or elsewhere.
I would hope the Minister would tell us what the Government's reactions are to this chapter because it contains concrete proposals as to the role we could play in our own small way in relation to education in these developing countries. There is the question as to whether we can best help by sending out our teachers, as we are doing at the moment to some degree, or by bringing people from  these countries to train here. There are divided views on this and the answer is a “mix” of the two policies. What we are doing needs to be extended. We need not pat ourselves too much on the back because some of our people have had the courage and the generosity to go and teach in these countries. They have done that as individuals, but we have not done very much to encourage that development in our public policy. One thing we have done is to give credit for teaching service in these countries so that those who go and teach do not lose when they return here to take up teaching at home. But we could do more than that. The fact that individual Irish men and women — lay and clerical missionaries—have been doing great work in these developing countries is something to their credit, not to ours, and we tend all too easily, I think, to take credit for the missionary effort, we, who sit quietly at home, and who may or may not contribute small sums to various missionary activities. As a country, we have not done much and it is time we did much more.
One suggestion made in the Bettystown programme is a suggestion I commend to the Minister and I should like to hear his views on it: our efforts should be more concentrated on a particular country. At the moment our missionary effort has grown up as a natural process and it is a dispersed effort. It is relatively concentrated in that one finds a great number of Irish missionaries in some countries and none in others. There are countries in which a more or less concentrated effort exists. When we come to technical aid and development aid we should have a policy of greater concentration. It would be easier to get Irish people engaged in this effort if they could see some concrete results coming in a particular area.
So long as we give a little money here and a little technical aid there there is really nothing to encourage our people to continue in the effort involved whereas, if we concentrated a high proportion of our effort on one country— a number come to mind: Biafra,  Zambia, where we have considerable numbers already, and Tanzania, where there is an Irish effort also—and adopted that country then the role of Irish aid, technical and financial, would be large enough to be significant in the economy of the country and the result achieved would be large enough to make an impact at home. We would be able to tell our people something about what we were achieving and to engage their interest and their imagination in the activity; it is less easy to do that when the whole effort is dispersed over a number of countries. I commend that suggestion to the Minister. Perhaps he has been considering it already. I hope so. It is worthy of consideration.
So much for development aid, which is the last of the main themes of my remarks. In conclusion, I want to say a few words about the Department of External Affairs itself. The strain on that Department and the range of activities in which it is engaged have grown. Any Members of this House who have come in contact with the Department in its activities either at home or abroad will have been impressed by the amount of effort involved and the extent to which those engaged are under strain and under pressure. We should, I think, be generous to the Minister if he comes to us seeking additional resources for the strengthening of the Department. In this Estimate he has not done that to any significant extent. He is, of course, a new Minister and he has obviously not had time to consider the needs of his Department, its policy and the financial implications of that policy. In a year's time he will be coming back to us and I would expect the Estimate he will put before us then to bear the stamp of his own personal concern and interest, of his own character rather than that of someone else. The present Estimate must have been drawn up before he took office. If he does come back to us in a year's time with proposals involving some additional spending I hope we shall not be niggling in our approach to that request.
There has been a tendency in the  past to be critical of certain aspects of expenditure in the Department of External Affairs. In some instances it may have been justified. I think we are under-represented. I am not entirely sure that we gain great advantage in international influence or in trade through our representation in the Argentine, for example. There are places in which—I raised this issue at Question Time today—we are not represented at all, places in which we should be represented. It is to my mind quite extraordinary that at this point of time, when we are, with three other countries, at the point of joining the EEC—we have been in the waiting room for some years past with these countries in seeking membership of the EEC—we have selected two of those countries as countries in which we will not have diplomatic representation.
I cannot conceive why it is that we have an ambassador in the Argentine, with which our relations are very limited. I notice an Irish community there, but I do not think the functions of the Department of External Affairs are confined to having St. Patrick's Day functions for the Irish community three generations after they arrived in the country, as is more or less the case in the Argentine. Yet we have no embassy—no ambassador, to be precise—in Copenhagen or Oslo. We do, of course, have a Chargé d'Affaires; we have some representation; our Swedish Embassy looks after Norway; our Dutch Embassy looks after Denmark. I am convinced that this is quite inadequate.
I think we need in these countries listening posts. They are our natural allies in the great venture that lies immediately ahead of us. Britain is not our natural ally. Britain's interests and ours are, in fact, diametrically opposed in many respects as regards Common Market membership. The kind of agricultural policy that would suit Britain is one that would be damaging to us; the kind that would suit us would be costly to Britain. It is not with Britain that we will be making alliances and forging common policies in regard to the European Economic Community. It is in the period of negotiation with Norway and  Denmark that we have common ground.
I would have hoped that we would have been over the last few years preparing this common ground by the closest diplomatic contact, by having embassies there, not with just an ambassador and a third secretary, but embassies with industrial and commercial attachés and, above all, agricultural attachés, who would be engaged in discussions with the governments of these countries and their relative departments with a view to concerting a common policy and that we would be going into these negotiations as a group of three with common interests, seeking to ensure that those interests prevailed not alone in negotiations with the European Economic Community but in relation to our other fellow applicant, Britain, whose interests diverge so much from ours. It seems to me inconceivable that we should have failed to establish this kind of extensive diplomatic contact and that we should have treated both those countries as countries of low priority, taking second place to Portugal, to the Argentine and countries like these, where we have no similar interest. I would ask the Minister to reconsider this position. Certainly, if he does so, he will not find objections from this side of the House to embassies in those two countries.
The role of the Department of External Affairs in the years ahead is clearly going to be of great importance. I think the Department has passed through a period in which this role has not been as important as it should have been, a period in which external policies concerning trade and, indeed, external policies with political implications, such as the Common Market policy, have been organised primarily in other Departments and in which the Department of External Affairs has been used more as a channel of communication, as an adviser perhaps, than as the Department responsible for policy. It seems to me, now that the impediment imposed by the lack of interest of the former Minister is removed, there is no longer any reason why our Department of External  Affairs should confine its activities to the United Nations.
I think we now have a Minister whose interests extend to Europe as well and I would hope it would become a Department of European and international affairs and that, as such, it would come to play the kind of role it should play in formulating Government policy. Because, there is a close interconnection between domestic and foreign policy and unless the Department of External Affairs is playing a major role in the formulation of Government policy generally the two will get out of line with each other; we can develop domestic policies, as we seem to be busily doing at the moment, in the sphere of milk prices under the aegis of the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries, which are not only out of line with but in the opposite direction to the kind of policies appropriate to Common Market membership. This suggests to me that the Department of External Affairs is not yet playing the role it should play in the formulation of Government policy. Similarly, our external policy could itself, and has in the past, got out of line with the needs of our domestic economy. On that I shall not dwell because I have dealt with that already in earlier contributions to this serial effort of mine.
I think there is need for a much closer correlation of domestic and foreign policy. I think this means that the role of the Department of External Affairs should become bigger because the imbalance that has existed hitherto has been between a domestic policy formulated in the other Departments without regard to the external implications and, indeed, a domestic policy which has projected itself into the international sphere, so that these Departments, particularly Finance, Industry and Commerce and Agriculture and Fisheries, have been formulating our external policy in regard, for example, and in particular, to Common Market membership.
I think the Department of External Affairs has the capacity; it has men of great ability; it has the tradition and I hope that it now has a Minister who will enable it to fulfil its proper role in the Government of this country. If so, I look forward to a period in which  there will be a much closer link between foreign and domestic policy and in which, therefore, our external policy will be much more effective and make much more contribution to the welfare of this country than it has in the past. This is what we should be concerned with.
In my opening remarks I dwelt on this point, on the need to establish, first of all, what a foreign policy is for, and suggested that it was primarily to protect and develop our national interests and, also, to make our contribution to the world. That requires an effective Department of External Affairs, adequately manned. In order to strengthen it in numbers and in order to ensure that it has for the many specialist roles it will have to fulfil people with sufficient expertise, it may be necessary to bring people in. There has been already some inflow into the Department of External Affairs from other Government Departments. This is a good thing. Indeed, if we could have much more flow between Government Departments and officials there would be many fewer square pegs in round holes and better work done throughout the public service. But, we may need in this Department as in others to consider bringing people in from outside the public service. I hope, here, the Devlin Report will be taken seriously and that the possibility of bringing people in, at least, as a minimum, on the short-term basis provided for in the Devlin Report, and I would hope, also, that this would be considered on a permanent basis because I think the task that lies ahead of the Department of External Affairs in the years to come and the amount of specialist work it will have to undertake if it is to be the central Department determining policy and not merely a channel of communication, will require a strengthening which may not be possible within its own ranks today. I would commend to the Minister an open mind on that issue.
I would hope, therefore, that under him and with the new opportunities that lie ahead we shall see a development of foreign policy and a strengthening of the Department of  External Affairs that will serve this country well in the years ahead.
Mr. O'Kennedy: Every Member who has spoken so far welcomed the concern the Minister has shown for the very wide range of topics which come within his Department. Some Members, however, suggested that he should have extended the scope of his remarks in introducing the Estimate.
It is very evident that in such a short time in the Department the Minister has already taken into his view, so to speak, the vast areas which concern him in Europe, in Nigeria, in the UN and here at home in the North of Ireland. Despite all of this and despite the very wide ranging introductory statement by the Minister, there have been some Deputies who would advise the Minister and his Department that we are not involving ourselves enough, that not only are we not talking enough in this House but that we are not doing enough or talking enough sometimes outside this House. As an example of this, we are told by Deputy FitzGerald that we might help our American friends more in Vietnam, that we as a nation here could be seen to advise our American friends in their hour of need. I think “American friends” is the expression he used.
This may or may not be so but, to me at least, it appears to overlook one of the fundamental aspects of international relations, indeed of human relations, that is, that any major nation or any personality will not greatly welcome the advice and assistance which we would give them before the bar of world public opinion. Whatever steps they might take to withdraw from the mistake of Vietnam, or any other mistake they may have made, they certainly will not do it on the public advice of the Irish people. Probably, those who are long experienced in UN affairs could tell Deputy FitzGerald, and others who share this view with him—Deputy Cruise-O'Brien for instance—that one of the hard realities of international affairs is the business of face-saving, to an extent. When a mistake has been made, they do not need small countries such as ours to rush to help—if “help” is the word— to purge their mistake before the  nations. That is an example of the type of thinking that can prevail too widely here—that all we have to do is to express our view as a nation, if and whenever the occasion for such a view arises, and that the view will immediately become known. It would be nice to think that this is so but, in international reality, it is not so.
In discussing this Vote for the provision of something over £1 million for the Department of External Affairs I think we must immediately be aware that we are limited in scope from the financial point of view and also, perhaps, from the point of view of international reality. I do not think the Minister should be criticised for not discussing Portugal, south-west Africa, South Africa or, indeed, any other trouble-spot in the world. We should consider areas where we can be most effective and matters in which we can make the most positive contribution. This has been well done in the past and the signs are that it will be done even better in the future.
Though this may arise to an even greater extent on the Supplementary Estimate, perhaps, I might say here that we have been criticised for sending out information officers from the Department of External Affairs to inform people in various countries of the situation in this country. That criticism has come mostly from people who, themselves, spend every minute of their day discussing conditions in other countries. Surely it is a little inconsistent, particularly for Deputy Cruise-O'Brien, to complain that we send people abroad on foolish errands to tell people in other countries about the situation here? He must realise that there are probably many people like him in other countries who at least express a concern, such as the concern he has expressed, for what happens elsewhere than in their own country.
Consistency in debate as well as in action is to be welcomed but particularly to be welcomed is consistency in the delicate matter of international affairs. Our foreign policy can be seen in action and not in words. In the first place, it can be seen through the recognition we give to the United Nations and through the use we make  of the United Nations. We have always ensured that our financial contributions to peace-keeping operations are fully maintained. We have always played an active part, through the United Nations, in maintaining peace-keeping operations by the contribution of our soldiers, limited though our military strength may be. We have always used the machinery of the United Nations to promote motions, resolutions, which may affect world peace such as the prevention of the further spread of nuclear weapons. In these and in other similar ways we can best show our concern for world peace and world security. It is through an organisation such as the United Nations that we can best so contribute and not through spontaneous advice if and whenever the occasion arises.
We have shown our recognition of the United Nations in our recent difficulties in this island. To those who would say that the Minister's efforts were wasted and that this was a non-event—a very much overused expression at present—I would point out that even a slight perusal of the international European papers and those of other nations will demonstrate that it is very much not a non-event. The very fact that a country such as ours, which has used the United Nations so well and considered it so much, went to that organisation, in our time of trouble, gave status to ourselves and to our Minister and it gave further strength to that organisation. That is a factor which must concern us.
The United Nations depends entirely for its effectiveness on the goodwill the members of that organisation show to it. Its charter is in no way a binding constitution. Its assembly is in no way a legislature such as this is. Its security council is in no way an executive government. It depends entirely on the goodwill and determined co-operation of the nations which constitute its membership. We must play our part, as we have done, to ensure that if given the opportunity in times of international stress of intervening effectively, we shall do so. I think that here we can realise that this can be our greatest contribution to world peace. I welcome particularly the Minister's concern for the programme of aid for  developing nations. He suggested that international departmental consultations are to take place. We trust that more positive and more precise programmes can be worked out in that field.
This nation is probably unique in that most of our work for under-developed nations is being done voluntarily in the private sector—by our missionaries, our teachers, by small groups of health aid and world hunger societies which are to be found in every town and corner of our country. Consider for a moment our teachers and our missionaries. These are, if you like, our qualified agents for world aid. They are not people who go around in white soutanes boasting of the number of First Holy Communions they have in the little village somewhere in the Far East, and so on: they are people who realise that to minister, as is their fundamental job, to the spiritual needs they must first minister to the actual essential need, the need of hunger, the need of clothing, the need of housing—and this they are doing very effectively.
I trust our Minister will be able to arrange that our missionary societies of every denomination, religious or lay, will be given an opportunity of consulting with him and the other Departments in these new consultations to which he referred in his opening speech. I think we would all agree that they are the experts on the team; they can contribute more to our programme in their planning and in their experience than possibly we can contribute. We should immediately recognise that they are our agents on the spot and make the fullest and best possible use of them. I commend to the Minister the idea that he should invite them and their representatives for consultation in the further development of our programme for world aid. There are numerous small societies throughout the country: there is one in my home town—it is having its annual dinner this evening—which, on a small budget, is sending something like £2,000 per annum to the underdeveloped countries of the world. If these societies could be informed by  the Minister and his Department, kept more closely in touch with where they can send their resources with the fullest advantage, then we would be going a long way towards ensuring that the voluntary efforts, of which Ireland can feel justly proud—if we cannot feel proud individually—would be put to the best possible advantage in relieving world need.
I will turn now to another topic which is nearer in space, as it were, if not in importance and that is the question of the European Economic Community. The Minister said, and I welcomed his statement, that during his office if there would be one topic more than another which would engage his attention and interest, it would be the European Economic Community. All of us who appreciate the importance and the consequences of membership, or lack of membership of the EEC, appreciate that statement. There are a number of things which we take for granted (a) about joining the EEC, (b) about the nature of it and (c) about the job we will have to play if and when we become members of that community. One of the first things we might as well admit and acknowledge is that the primary motivation of the EEC is a political motivation. Whether we like it or not we cannot have it always on our own terms. The nations that make up the EEC have all suffered the destruction and ravages of the last war; they are nations which have determined that by joining together, and to a certain extent bringing all within the fold of a United Europe, they will prevent any further major conflict within that Continent. This is the first thing we have to realise. It is not a customs union, it is not an economic union, it is both of these and much more, it is intended to be a political union. We have to accept that in our deliberations on it in this House.
The Commission in their recent updated opinion reiterated that fact and any official view we can get from Europe confirms it. We cannot live in cloud-cuckoo land in our discussions here. The second point is the extent of the community. The extent may be realised when we consider that at present it has a population of 200 million people who will become active  training associates, active political partners of ours if we succeed in our application. Nor is that all. That may be the actual extent at present but when we see in recent times they have extended their trade associations and trade agreements with Africa, the former colonies of France, Belgium and the EEC countries, and have even opened negotiations with Japan, Latin America, and happily may I say, with Yugoslavia, we can see the extent and importance of this community to which we have applied for membership. We can see the consequences that our lack of membership will bring about for us. We could be isolated from what may be now the most developed modern international market in the world.
It is also a community in which the gross national product has increased by over 60 per cent in the last 10 years. It is a community which presumes that the very fact of making application by a country such as ours means that the country is sufficiently well developed economically to integrate into that vast and developing economy of Europe. We can see then that this is a thriving and a huge Community. It is not one that is, as it did appear, some years ago, to be an inward looking group of what has been called in this House “capitalist club members”. In its own programme for development it is closely corelated with that of the United Nations and with the programmes to which the Minister referred in his Estimate speech. When we consider the matter we have to consider what we have done and how ready we are to join that immense and highly developed international organisation. Even the fact of making application, as has been made clear in the commission's opinion, involved acceptance on our part of the existing treaties that have been negotiated within the EEC but it involves much more than that, it involves an agreement on our part to build up and strengthen the community.
Some of us have the impression that the end of the line for us would be on the date that our membership is announced, or if and when it is announced, but far from being the end  of the line it will be very much the beginning of the line. When we talk about membership of the EEC we must realise that they expect us, and naturally it would be in our own interest, to build with them the kind of Europe they are now set upon, this political union, extending a political entity which in time will, one hopes, embrace eastern Europe as well as western Europe. As far as strengthening and extending Europe is concerned our view should be expressed that the Europe we think of is not, to use this much abused phrase, this “capitalist club”, although I doubt that it could be justly called that now, but a Europe which extends towards including the countries of eastern Europe which through comparatively recent international events have been cut off politically at least from the main stream of political life.
Anyone who considers what a power bloc or a political bloc may mean for those excluded from it can see the danger if this Europe which we are to join turned its back on Eastern Europe, or Africa, or Asia. Then the inevitable distrust and the inevitable envy and the inevitable trade wars of one sort or another would develop between this community and other major blocs and this would be disastrous for us and the rest of Europe. We should make it clear that we welcome the extension of Europe and its association with the other countries to which I have referred. We welcome particularly the lead given in having negotiations with Yugoslavia, and we hope that negotiations for association or trading relations with other eastern countries will be extended in the ultimate hope that they too would become part of this united European Community.
Apart from discussing our application and ensuring our readiness for membership of the community, we are, of course, members of the Council of Europe. The Council of Europe was originally designed to be, to a certain extent, the Council of European debate and it has, particularly in recent times, done important work in the field of human rights and development assistance to developing countries. I feel, however, that it is not being  utilised fully at present. We in the Council of Europe could and should promote the view that this Europe should expand and that our membership of it is based on the hope that it will so expand. Consider, too, whether we are personally familiar with the environment of Europe. Have we got the skilled personnel to lead us into Europe or are we going to be in a position for ten years that through lack of our own skilled personnel we are going to have to rely on the goodwill and the resources, personnel and otherwise, of other countries?
The numerical strength, for instance, of the community staff is something of the order of 10,000. The commission alone has a staff of six and a half thousand approximately. These staffs are recruited not just from the member countries of the EEC as it stands at present. They are recruited of course, largely, from the national Civil Service of each member country but they are not at all confined to this membership. Surely now is the time, when we are considering active membership, that we should avail ourselves of the opportunity of training some of our staff, some of our highly skilled professional staff from the Department of External Affairs and from the various other Departments, in the Commission, which is, in fact the European Civil Service.
Our programme for education at present is one which is extending itself in various fields—in the technological sphere, in business relations and in many other spheres of activities. I do not want to extend the scope of this debate but all of this will be vitally important for us because one presumes in all this discussion that we have to be ready in every way before we can become effective members of the community. We should remember, too, that the European universities have Departments which specialise in European Economic Community studies. We should make available through our Department of External Affairs scholarships, grants, assistance of one sort or another to ensure that our skilled technologists, our skilled  business promoters, are given an introduction to the European Community business affairs, to the European Community environment in their own particular spheres. These are just some practical ways in which we can prepare our personnel for the effects of membership of the EEC.
I agree entirely with Deputy FitzGerald when he says that Europe will appreciate us for what we are or for the difference that we represent. If we thought that in becoming members of the European Community the important thing was that we shed all our own habits, that we shed our own culture, that we shed our own language, that we shed anything else that creates a difference, we would be, in fact, denying the very notion of Europe. What we must do, in fact, is to build up our own national characteristics, to strengthen our own culture, to strengthen even, as I said in a previous debate, the export drive to these countries and particularly to ensure that our exports and our products which we will be selling to these and to other countries will represent something which is typically Irish, in so far as is possible, something which is not available in these countries. It is in this contribution that we will be not only protecting our own position but will be contributing also to the main stream of European affairs.
My final comment on Europe would be that it is a major challenge. It is something we must face, openly acknowledging the political consequences, the economic consequences, and the major problems that we are facing ourselves in even considering application for membership. I certainly welcome the Minister's determination to acknowledge this fact and the Minister's determination to ensure that every possible opportunity will be given to this House and, indeed, to his own Department to make us ready even for application because application itself is a major step in this whole question of the European Community.
I should like to welcome the announcement made by the Minister that suitable training is to be made available for the economic working of his own Departmental officers. For too  long it has been said in this House, though from my own limited experience it has not been very true, that our ambassadors abroad are not sufficiently involved in the promotion of Irish trade relations with these countries. When we realise the limited resources which we have available for this purpose we can realistically appreciate the great work which they have done.
Mr. O'Kennedy: I welcome particularly the Minister's readiness and determination to ensure that business promotion training be given to his officers within the Department of External Affairs. Nowadays I feel one can sometimes question whether or not the old notion of an ambassador, a representative, in a far distant country is as valid as it used to be. The notion in the old days of an ambassador from the Gauls, the Romans, being sent from one country to another does not appear to have the relevance, qua ambassador, that it had in previous times.
Mr. O'Kennedy: Deputy Desmond, of course, wishes to have not just one for the whole of Africa but one for every corner of Europe and Asia and Africa. If Deputy Desmond and his party are prepared to tell the Irish people to do this, which is desirable, then we are going to be asked to do an awful to lot more. I agree with Deputy Desmond that it is highly desirable but we will need an estimate of a lot more than £1 million. Before we digress from that I do not wish to say that ambassadors are not fulfilling an important function. In fact I am saying that they are now  fulfilling a new function. Their function used to be to ensure that an Irishman was not imprisoned in Africa without trial or that when any of us went to one of those countries that there was somebody to get in touch with directly but now one can phone home without phoning the Department.
Their main function now is to promote our trade with these countries and to that extent I welcome the Minister's determination to ensure that their good offices will be used to the fullest possible advantage. There is a very wide range of topics which could be relevant to this debate but I think that, like the Minister, I could wisely confine myself to what I have already said. There might be a lesson for all of us in the fact that we can always confine ourselves a little in our discussion of External Affairs because we may give expression to our own personal views but we should also consider whether the expression of those views would have any effect and, if so, whether the effect would be more detrimental than beneficial.
Mr. M. O'Leary: There was a time when this debate did not occur in the House very often. I can recall my astonishment in 1967 when the Minister of that day finished his speech on External Affairs—it had taken him two years to get to the point of bringing the Estimate to the House—and the main speaker for the Opposition spoke and neither of them mentioned the Vietnam war which was then going on and which I, in my innocence, thought would be mentioned in a foreign affairs debate. That was foreign affairs as it used to be. If the present debate has been marked by pretty long speeches it is sufficient to show the very welcome change that has come about. To paraphrase Deputy Burke, we could say that wonderful things have happened in our time, to some extent, and certainly there has been a decided improvement in External Affairs.
There was a time when the activities of this Department seemed to be centred round the uplands of Tibet, but there has been an improvement. The Minister's opening speech referred to many world problems and at least he  attempted to grapple with some of the issues that many of us would consider appropriate to External Affairs. In a world in which so much is changing there is one entity towards which we do not appear to have changed our attitude. At least we have not kept ourselves fully informed of the changes in respect of that institution. I refer to the European Economic Community.
Over the past few days I have been looking up the Government's attitude on this question and there appears to be very little difference in the original Lemass approach to EEC in 1960 and 1961 and that now existing. Far from agreeing with Deputy O'Kennedy that there is insufficient realisation of what is involved, I think we have been badly served by our Government in getting access to correct and good information about the likely effects of our entry to EEC. Very little information on exactly what would be involved in entering has been forthcoming. The last debate on EEC took place in 1967 when the Government decided to reactivate our application. The Labour Party at that time, in an amendment before giving permission for reactivation of our application, sought further information under the headings of its effect on industry, trade, commerce and national sovereignty. We seem to be up against a stone wall in seeking information from the Government of the likely effects of our entering EEC. There appears to be on the Government side the attitude that it is a black and white issue: if you are in favour of being in that is all right; and if you favour being out, give us your alternatives.
The situation should not be seen to be like that because it is not like that. The Taoiseach appears to think that it would be giving away his hand, as he said in the 1967 debate, to talk at greater length about what would be involved in entering. “For us,” he said at column 751, Volume 230, “negotiations will consist largely of the revision of voting procedures and similar changes consequent on the admission of new members and the agreeing of transitional terms, as may be necessary, covering other aspects of membership.”
 As regards so many policies of this Government one finds one must go back to Mr. Lemass to find out exactly what the overall shape of the policy is and in this case Mr. Lemass in his statement to the Ministers of the Governments of the member States of the European Economic Community in Brussels on 18th January, 1962, repeated all the things he readily accepted without qualification. At point five in his speech he declared that we shared the ideals which inspired the parties of the treaty and that we accept the aims of the Community as set out therein as well as the action proposed to achieve those aims. At point six he said he desired to emphasise that the political aims of the Community are aims to which the Irish Government and people are ready to subscribe and in the realisation of which they wish to play an active part.
Later in the same speech Mr. Lemass said, in point 21, that the Irish Government accepted the objectives of the Treaty of Rome in regard to the common commercial policy and economic and social policies. We accepted everything about this treaty and this is possibly the most depressing thing about the Government's realisation of what is involved in this treaty—our total acceptance without qualification of all that is involved.
It would be a very wise man who would say at this moment what are the political objectives of EEC. The President of France has gone from the political scene, there is a new Chancellor in Germany. It is no longer any secret that the institutions which the Rome Treaty originally envisaged are either not to be realised in the next few years or will certainly be radically altered and will have very little resemblance to what was envisaged under the Rome Treaty. What is this parrot cry that has continued unchanged since 1961 to 1969 that we accept in full the political obligations of membership when at this stage these are becoming every day more a total mystery?
Mr. M. O'Leary: A myth, perhaps, but certainly a mystery. When a Minister  wishes to emphasise our total commitment to the European ideal he says: “Of course there are political objectives involved in EEC and these we accept fully.” The Minister, himself, I should say could not at this moment honestly tell the House what these objectives are. The framers themselves are puzzled as to what exactly will be the political shape of EEC. Also, in agriculture, it is said there are benefits to be got. This is another parrot cry. Undoubtedly, the benefits to be gained in agriculture even at this stage seem to be of a more definite and positive kind than those we could possibly seek in industry; but even in agriculture there are large question marks over the kind of agricultural price system which will exist by the time we manage to become members of the Community.
Will the present price structure survive the re-valuations that have been going on of the franc and the mark? Will the present price support system continue? That is a system that would have suited us up to now but by the time we get in will this be sufficiently altered to hold no such extraordinary advantage for us as the price structure was seen to hold for us up to this? These are questions we must ask the Government and we would hope that if the Government were serious about accession they would be presenting the House with the changing picture in Europe rather than a picture of Europe framed from Mr. Lemass's estimate of Europe in 1960 and 1961.
Many things have happened in Europe, even if much has not changed in our attitude here. If much has changed in certain attitudes of the Department of External Affairs we could say that one fixed attitude which apparently still continues unchanged since 1960 is the Department's attitude towards EEC.
In our innocence, when we sought to elicit from the Government what exactly lay behind this accession to Europe, what it would mean for our ordinary citizens, the Government, in the 1967 debate—the last one we had on the matter—said they would be exposing their hand if in this House they spoke about these bargaining factors. I should not have thought there is  much secrecy in Europe or that we are ignorant about conditions on the mainland of Europe. I do not think that those in Europe who are interested are ignorant about our problems here. Therefore, I do not think we would be giving away any secrets if we spoke about the particular preoccupations we may have economically about our entry into Europe. I, therefore, hold that the House should have more information than it has at present in relation to the actual economic cost assessment of our entry into Europe. Up to now, all our official reports, voluminous though they may be, have been extremely shy about offering any opinion in this area.
We had the original White Paper in 1961. We had the later one in 1966 or 1967. The later one was a very convenient job of translation but, nowhere in all its 200 pages, was there any attempt to inform us truly about the economic problems and the economic issues seen in that year, and how they would affect the different interests in this country. Other Parliaments have, in fact, dealt with this in, I would say, a more open fashion, realising that the preoccupations which the Government would have on entry were preoccupations that should be shared with the rest of the population. For example, what the British Government intend doing——
Mr. M. O'Leary: A complete economic assessment is needed of the likely effects of Britain's entry into Europe and this assessment will be obtained. Mr. Wilson has already made this commitment. It will be obtained and put before the British Parliament and the British public. This is an example which we might follow in this area, even if we are following examples in other areas which we should not be following. They are not dealing with this as a purely party issue. We understand that there will be an open vote on it in the House of Commons.
Mr. M. O'Leary: Since the issue is something that concerns us all, and all our constituencies, it is possibly something that we should not tie up as a party secret, signed, sealed and delivered as a sort of present to the Irish people from any particular political party. It is too serious for that. These changes have been occurring in Europe, changes which one would have thought would have brought some response in our official approach towards entry—some change in emphasis, perhaps, to show that our people here are aware of what is happening in Europe.
On the Government side it is often said that the burden of proof should be on the side of those who do not like going in and that they should explain what exactly the alternatives are. Those who, like myself, I would say, are not enthusiastic pro-marketeers are not the only ones who must explain. If eventually—although at this moment of time it may be said that the prospects do not look too hopeful; and The Hague Ministers' meeting later in November  to which the Minister referred does not look to me to be too hopeful—a large European Community which has solved its inner problems and contradictions, which apparently it has not done up to now, does emerge and Britain seriously intends to proceed with joining such a Community, obviously we ourselves will have to seek a relationship with that Community.
Even allowing for the Community to overcome the difficulties it is meeting at present let us remember that British public opinion is changing in its attitude towards entry into Europe. I think the last count-down was that 60 per cent of the British public do not now wish to enter or have anything to do with the Community. Mr. Wilson's own emphasis has changed. He announced at the British Labour Party Conference that Britain could ignore Europe if it wished, that it is strong enough to do so. This is certainly a significant change from the official British attitude of some years ago.
Of course, while we have been saying that we are committed to the EEC and enthusiastic about the prospects it offers us, it is obvious that those who favour such a policy are also caught in the same dilemma, realising that it is our connection with Britain, our close trading connection with Britain, that forces on us this type of approach towards Europe. If Britain changed her attitude to Europe in the morning, I do not think it would be long before the enthusiasts for Common Market entry on this side changed their opinion about the prospects of entry or their interest in it.
I do not think that the argument about showing our hand and giving away negotiating secrets is convincing enough, or should deprive this House of a full range debate on the whole EEC admission policy at this time. We should be given the information, the cost factors involved. If it is said on the other side that one cannot anticipate in advance what factors would be involved in negotiation and that, therefore, it is impossible to give this information, one can conceive of three or four alternative situations which would arise on our entry. Such information, if it were made available to the  House, would help greatly to give all of us some of the essential material we need in making up our minds on our approach to entry.
Mr. M. O'Leary: I have long been of the opinion that our ignorance of the European realities arises from our close British connections. I suppose a corollary of the Free Trade Area Agreement must be that we will culturally, for ideas and so on, depend even more on Britain than we did in the past. The fact is that our approach to Europe could almost be described as that of the British tourist—that Europe happens to be some kind of British tourist resort. That appears to me to be the attitude influencing our approach towards Europe.
We do not understand the political complexion of the Europe we wish to join. On the one hand we say we are ready to accept all the political obligations of entry and, on the other hand, so far as I know, there is no official statement on what our official attitude is to that prime political question, the German question. How can one have an acceptance of all the political obligations of EEC membership without having expressed exactly what is our attitude—have we got an attitude in fact—on the German question. I do not think one can have a political policy or programme, or speak of any EEC policy, unless one spells out one's attitude on the German question. The touchstone which shows exactly which political side of the fence one sits on in Europe is one's attitude to the German question.
It amuses me to think that some of the exponents of entry into Europe appear to think that it is a kind of containment policy against left-wing ideals. I wonder do they understand that there is now a socialist Chancellor in Germany, that all of those countries have strong socialist movements, and that most of them have had socialist governments. Indeed, I think some of our Ministers who may have been harping too much on 1960 ideas of what the EEC meant then, or what  they thought it meant, would want to have a look at the political realities of Europe again. Too many of our official attitudes appear to stem from a planned resurrection of our contribution in Europe's dark ages, and not what our contribution could be in 1969. Let me say that Europe in the dark ages might have wanted us a great deal more urgently than they need us now.
Therefore, what is our German policy? Do the Government appreciate that we should have an attitude on this question and if we have an attitude should we not hear it? The Taoiseach said that the precise political commitments of membership will depend on the progress made towards these ideas. That is so much official language. The fact is that we have continually repeated that we are ready to accept the full political obligations, without understanding what in fact they would mean.
I do not believe that The Hague meeting later this month will solve dramatically any of the problems the EEC suffers from at the moment. I believe it will take at least another year and a half—if the protagonists involved in it consider it worth while staying that long—to solve some of these problems. So much of our thinking has gone along on the basis that these problems will be solved next month or the month after, that we have tended to over-rely on such meetings to solve the problems before the community, and to use the expected results that have come from these meetings as a substitute for hard thinking on our part. Deputy FitzGerald was quite right in saying here this afternoon that too much of the inspiration and of the actual desire to get into the EEC has come not from sources within this country but from British pressures and demands.
Up to quite recently the man who was holding up the development of Europe and preventing the expansion of the community was the President of France. This idea of the British press was taken over enthusiastically by the politicians and the press of this country. The Gaullist idea as expressed in France—and I remember saying this  here before—and the objections to British entry at that period were not as trivial as they might have appeared. They represented the strong current of European opinion, and that strong current of European opinion was opposed to the Atlantic concept of Europe; it was opposed to a Britain tied to the United States; it was opposed to a stalking horse of American imperialism or business expansion in Europe coming into the Community at that time. That idea still exists in Europe, and it is one which I heartily endorse.
On this side here, if so many of our ideas of Europe, so many of our policy initiatives on Europe arise as a result of British experience, how exactly are we regarded in this Community we wish to join? Do people in Europe see the fine shades of difference between a large country like Britain and a small country such as our own? One of the main spectres haunting the Government's approach is that Britain may get in before us. Whether they do or not, we have tended up to now to take all our policy attitudes on political development in Europe, on ways of enlarging the Community, solely from British sources, in spite of the fact that we have always been vociferous in declaring our independence of all forms of outside control.
Now that President de Gaulle has gone, does anybody know what M. Pompidou's approach will be on EEC expansion? We do not know at this moment, but it is my guess that it will not change a great deal from former President de Gaulle's attitude on British entry. I think there is validity in the idea of a Europe that seeks to exist between the juggernaut powers of the USSR and the United States. From the beginning my only misgivings about entry into the EEC have lain in the area of our industrial preparedness, how well equipped we are to survive industrial competition in Europe. This idea of a politically independent Europe has not receded with the removal of General de Gaulle as President of France, and it is not confined to France, even if France is the country which has best personified it. Let  us remember also that this concept of Europe to which many people in the EEC are committed is not one that is confined to Western Europe; this is a Europe “from the Urals to the Atlantic” and is diametrically opposed to the idea of a Europe which is tied up with a kind of Atlantic alliance.
This has been characteristic of our approach, looking towards the two points which influence us in our policy decisions on the EEC, Washington and London. As I say, this is diametrically opposed to the valid European opinion of what the final community should look like, the one that would see Europe as a power on its own, the attempt to set up a larger organisation, a Europe of the Fatherlands, give it any name you like, but certainly a Europe that could look after its own affairs in the world of super-States as represented by the USSR and the United States.
While what I say may not be the largest slice of the truth, at any rate these opinions ought to be expressed here in Parliament. Too many of our opinions and statements on the EEC seem to be unrelated to the Europe that I know, to the different forces who are trying to create the kind of community to which I have referred. They seem to be unrelated to the real hopes of socialists in these countries for their future in Europe. Does it not sum up the attitude of this House that we cannot get in the Library one newspaper of any of the capitals of the community we wish to join? We can get the London Times but there is no Paris newspaper or any other newspaper of the countries whose minds we seek to know. There is not a function goes by that some Minister does not say that these are countries with which we seek to live in the closest harmony in the future, and yet in the Parliament of our country we do not read their newspapers; they are not made available. We are not being serious in regard to the EEC. There is an element of make-believe in the whole exercise.
 It is possible that in the future we could gain new markets in Europe, but I do not think this relieves us of the responsibility of seeking these markets now, even in the existing circumstances. In reply to a question a few weeks ago we were told that with all of these countries we have a large trade imbalance. The present imbalance with Germany is in the region of £20 million a year. A constant complaint in past debates on External Affairs is that the Department must go economic, and this is a feeling shared by all Deputies in the House. To some extent this complaint is unfair when one thinks of the efforts the Department has made with the slender resources available to it to take trade initiative with countries with whom we have representation.
It appears to me that the Department, in co-operation with other State Departments, must seek to do more to rectify our imbalance. Whilst we could imagine Bord Báinne or the Pigs and Bacon Commission doing a specific survey for their products there is no overall agency, to my knowledge at any rate, working on a profile of a particular market. Nobody is going to our industry with an analysis of how the market looks this year, or how it will look next year and the year after saying here is a list of the products we think have the best chance. I think the Department could act as master co-ordinator in the creation of such a profile because we will never correct our imbalance until we have such a profile. Our imbalance cannot be settled mysteriously by an act of God, although it seems to me in this country we rely excessively on the Deity rather than on our own efforts with regard to politics and future events. Nobody is going to change our imbalance with Germany unless we do something about it ourselves and I think our embassy there should cooperate with other State agencies and, indeed, with the professional bodies in Irish industries, in an effort to move our industrialists into this market.
Deputy FitzGerald referred to the fact that we have been losing a large portion of our home market—not foreign markets—in the last year and  a half and this has happened during a period when the full effect of the Anglo-Irish Free Trade Area Agreement has not yet taken its full toll of consumers away from home products; and in spite of that fact our Government says we are ready to take on the full obligations of all that is involved in free trade with the EEC countries. Obviously, somebody is codding somebody somewhere in our whole attitude towards the EEC. There must be a failure of will, a failure of planning somewhere along the line in this particular business of accession to the EEC because if we are losing our home markets we certainly have no grounds for confidence that we will gain foreign markets and as a consequence gain extra jobs at home. The Department of External Affairs as it is now seen to be an important Department can play a large part to ensure that we capture these foreign markets. Certainly we will not capture them on the inhabitants' memories of the Wild Geese; we will capture them by a precise businesslike operation in these foreign markets.
Marketing in Europe presents our firms with many problems. I wonder how many Irish firms has anybody on their marketing staff who understands or speaks a continental language. We are always talking about the British market; there is no language barrier there. I do not recall whether or not the Irish Management Institute has conducted a survey on this matter but I would say that there is a very low percentage of management in this country able to speak a continental language easily. This language barrier must be overcome—the debate on how it will be overcome will have to wait until another day.
We need a debate on our decision to enter the EEC with all the facts available as soon as possible. The Civil Service should investigate as rapidly as possible the alternative courses before us with a costing analysis of what our accession would mean at this time. We need to know what the up-to-date position is in relation to the future of agricultural products and the effect policy changes and price structure will have on the future  marketing of our agricultural produce in the EEC.
We also need—and this has been commented on earlier—closer relations with countries in a similar position to ourselves. Norway has been mentioned and it is an ideal case because it has a similar population and it must be encountering similar problems as ourselves in its application to the EEC. We need to get away from the too close connection and too close alignment of policy which we have had up to now with Britain. We need to find ourselves with a few more friends than we found ourselves with in the recent crisis, where, apparently, the only embarrassing ally we could find at the Security Council was the Soviet Union. Our Government's approach to the Soviet Union is well known. I do not think we have any relations with her yet she backed us at the UN. I can think of only one more embarrassing country to have backed us at the UN than the Soviet Union and that is Cuba. There would certainly have been red faces in the Government had Cuba backed us because as everybody knows we use Cuba for things other than sugar. If Europe naturally and geographically is to continue to be of importance to this country in the future we must seek friends there. We must not think these friends are there for the asking by going through London; we must seek them ourselves. Parnell often talked about our too close connection with Britain. It is one of the ironies that dependence on Britain appears to have intensified since our so-called independence.
This debate has ranged all over the world and this is a welcome departure from past practice. If I remember correctly the speech of the Minister for External Affairs in 1967 had a couple of paragraphs on outer space but very little on other matters nearer home. I hope that the present Minister will break the deadlock which has arisen over information about the EEC in this country because there is no information on our application. There are plenty of official documents telling us what is involved in each article of the Treaty of Rome but there is very little  telling us about the likely effects probable membership would have on the future of this country if we accept course A, B or C. There is still less information from Government sources about changes in the community in Britain; changes in the institutions, changes in the political attitudes of the various European Governments and we need all these things in making up our minds about the new community we will probably be joining. If we accept fully the political obligations of membership, which have been repeated ad nauseam since 1960—I suspect they were repeated on the assumption that somehow this was a kind of Cold War slogan—this is outdated because there have been political changes in Europe which do not give any support to that idea.
Therefore, we would need to look at some of the political realities of Europe and understand the European approach to different issues as distinct from the British interpretation. Britain has been kicked in the face twice and she is not the best guide in informing us on our approach to Europe. We have one capital investment in good will, especially in France : because of our reputation of disliking Britain and our history of antagonism to that country, this is an asset, something in our favour in appealing to French opinion which endorses our views in relation to Britain. Therefore, we need to understand more fully what is meant by a genuine European presence in the world, a Europe which would defy Cold War categories, a Europe that would spread out to include other European countries even some of those which are on the wrong side of the Iron Curtain. We need to understand the political aspirations and hopes for such views because in the long-term they are the most durable and significant attitudes in Europe.
Much nonsense has been spoken since 1960 of what the EEC would mean in the Cold War context, and if we are genuine about membership of Ireland in the EEC we would need to begin our homework. There is no danger we will be admitted in the next few months or in the next year.
 As I have said before, we shall get in later rather than sooner, but let us begin to understand now the community we wish to join. Up to the present we have been surviving on a diet of clichés and jargon, the language of challenge and counter-challenge, the language of inevitability, and have regarded things as black or white. It is not a question of black or white, because we must consider the entire position with all its nuances and we must understand it in the political realities of Europe today.
We need to know exactly what is involved in regard to membership of the EEC and I hope the Minister would begin by letting us in this House know as honestly as possible all the implications of such a momentous step. So far, we do not have any information. I do not think it is so secret a matter that the Government should not let us know what is involved in order that Irish public opinion, and organisations in the country, can understand the position. We should not treat this Parliament as a kind of county council, with the county manager going to Europe to sign agreements and then coming back to tell the yokels what he has done. This Parliament needs to examine the facts properly and I would urge the Minister to treat the question of EEC membership on a non-party basis so that all Deputies can make their contributions and speak their minds.
Mr. O.J. Flanagan: I do not intend to delay the House. First of all, I should like to extend my congratulations to the Minister for External Affairs on his appointment and to wish him every success and good luck during his term of office. At least it is encouraging for Deputies to know that the high office of Minister for External Affairs is now occupied by one who has a high degree of courtesy, by one who is noted for his courtesy. Not alone is he noted for his courtesy but he is  regarded by all who have had the honour of sharing his friendship as being an outstanding gentleman. That is a change in the Department of External Affairs. Indeed, the outstanding change there has been the change of Ministers.
I do not desire to offer any criticism of any Member of this House, but I do say that the Minister's predecessor exercised neither civility nor courtesy to Deputies who addressed a query to him in connection with the Department. I remember meeting outside this country a person I can describe as a world figure. He told me that I was the second Member of the Irish Parliament he had had the pleasure of meeting and he went on to say that he had met one Member of the Irish Parliament previously, the Minister for External Affairs, and that he was not impressed by him.
Now that we have a new Minister, let us not alone have a new approach to Members of the House but let us have a new approach outside the House as well. Deputy Aiken, as Minister for External Affairs, was not an attractive personality in such a high Ministerial post. Now that we have a new Minister with a high degree of courtesy, my belief is that it will improve matters in so far as the Department of External Affairs are concerned, both at home and abroad. Therefore, the change of Ministers was a step in the right direction.
I should like to comment briefly on our external affairs policy. It has been under debate in the past two weeks. Like our educational policy, I should like to see the affairs of the Department of External Affairs taken out of politics completely. I hope and trust that during his term of office, our new Minister for External Affairs will endeavour to increase the number of Ireland's friends abroad. I hope he will ensure we will not turn our backs on any of our friends, as has been done in the past. Our job abroad should be to keep the friends we have and to endeavour to make new ones. It was a sad spectacle in the past to see this country turning its back on its friends.
I make no apology for saying that traditionally the United States of  America has been looked on as our friend. I suppose throughout the length and breadth of the United States of America the most cherished country in the world is Ireland because of the very intimate connections between the two countries down through the years. Whenever the Minister for External Affairs gets an opportunity of making good what I consider to be a slight by his predecessor he should endeavour to rectify what may be regarded as an insult towards the United States of America.
I have often wondered why on numerous occasions when we are floating loans abroad, when we are seeking money and support, a more serious effort was not made to solicit the friendly and helpful co-operation of what we can properly describe as the wealthiest nation in the world. When the Government seek financial assistance abroad they have their reasons but there are no countries in the world today more closely linked than Ireland and the United States of America. Whatever may take place in the future or whatever has taken place in the past, I hope that an effort will be made to forge even closer links of comradeship and friendship between the great United States of America and this country.
In the course of a debate at the United Nations, in which our Minister for External Affairs took part, there was on the agenda the question as to whether Red China would be admitted to membership. I saw an interview on Telefís Éireann on the 31st October in which the former Minister for External Affairs appeared. In the course of that interview he said that there was a lot of propaganda in this country, spoken and circulated, and that much of it was inspired by Fine Gael.
Mr. O.J. Flanagan: He also went on to say that his Department had to force the Irish Independent to publish what he considered to be true facts. I should like to hear from the Minister for External Affairs, in relation  to this television interview with Deputy Aiken, if some reference could be made as to what pressure was brought on the Irish Independent, how this statement from Deputy Aiken arose and in what way did the Department of External Affairs or the Government hold their tight hand over a newspaper which had a right to publish whatever they wished. If a former Minister for External Affairs comes before the television network and declares that a daily newspaper had to be forced to publish certain facts in the national interest we should hear more about this from the Minister for External Affairs.
References were made to our role in the United Nations. I consider that our contribution has been a generous one. In addition, the fact that we are a member has gained for us certain international recognition and status. Within the United Nations and within any other international organisation with which we may be associated our role should be to pursue our separate culture, our national language and our aim should be the voluntary reunification of Ireland as a 32 County unit —the voluntary reunification of this country as a nation.
Mr. O.J. Flanagan: If we proceed on those lines we will be proceeding on lines more in character with this country. I should like, in passing, to make reference to the safety of Irish missionaries, both lay and clerical, in Nigeria. I am not satisfied that the Department of External Affairs have done as much as they might in order  to guarantee a greater degree of safety for our missionaries there. Talks should be held at very high level in order to ensure and guarantee, in so far as it is humanly possible, the safety of Irish missionaries in Nigeria. I trust that that brief reference will be sufficient to direct the attention of the Minister to the anxiety that prevails not alone among religious orders in this country but among the relatives and friends of the many lay missionary workers, among them doctors and nurses, who volunteered at great personal sacrifice to help those people in Nigeria who are in need of medical and other assistance.
I do not know if any reference has been made to our ambassadors and diplomats abroad. I presume that there is a body of highly qualified and talented people in the Department of External Affairs who are appointed ambassadors and so on according as the vacancies arise. Our representatives abroad have always been of a very high standard. I do not know if it is usual to make reference even by way of tribute to people who are outside this House but in the past few weeks we have heard mention of the names of two men who were linked with the Department of External Affairs, possibly since the foundation of the State. I refer to Mr. William Fay, our Ambassador to the United States, and the late Mr. John Belton, who was Ambassador to Canada prior to the appointment of Mr. Warren. The only tribute that I can possibly pay to these two people is to say I sincerely hope that the fine tradition which they built up in the diplomatic service of this country abroad may be continued. Those men contributed greatly to the building up of friendship in the countries to which they were accredited. They were men of great standing, men of a high degree of common sense and men the country can be very proud of. Their passing during the past 12 months leaves the Department of External Affairs much the poorer.
I cannot say that I was intimately associated with Mr. Fay but I had the pleasure of calling at the Embassy in Washington during his term of office and the courtesy I received was outstanding.  I was, however, more intimately associated with Mr. Belton, having been his guest on one occasion in Ottawa during his term as Ambassador there. In the United States and in Canada our representatives have won the admiration of all other people in the diplomatic service in these countries.
I was not aware until recently that we had no representative in Denmark. I remember attending a function in Copenhagen and if my memory serves me correctly our representative had to come from The Hague where he was chargé d'affaires. There are very close connections between Denmark and our country particularly in relation to agriculture and I consider that Denmark is one country in Europe in which we should have an ambassador. Reference has already been made to Denmark by other Deputies. I would reiterate their plea that the Minister would reconsider the appointment of an ambassador, particularly at this time when our application for EEC membership is under consideration. It would be of immense value to have an ambassador there.
I turn now to the question of exhibitions and fairs abroad. When the World Fair was held in New York we had a stand there. Many of the guests were very impressed, as I was, by that stand. In the following year Expo '67 took place in Montreal and, while Ireland booked a stand site at the exhibition, for some reason or other it was cancelled. If it was because of a question of cost then I consider that the money would have been well spent in participating in the exhibition. If we are to act niggardly when these international fairs are taking place and to deprive this country of whatever advantages may be gained from participating, that is wrong. What happened in relation to Expo '67 in Canada should not take place in the future. We are underestimating the great volume of goodwill that exists abroad for this country and how anxious people are to purchase high-quality Irish goods. I do not know the procedure in relation to our exports to the United  States but I recall listening to a merchant, who has extensive stores in Jackson Heights, commenting that on one occasion he ordered a consignment of frozen fish and some products from Mitchelstown Creameries. These consignments were despatched to him and he put them in his store windows. Almost immediately there was a queue of shoppers to purchase them simply because they were from Ireland and were not alone of good quality and appetising but were attractively packaged. Sometime afterwards the merchant tried to have the orders repeated but found he could not do so because there were certain regulations in New York under which a merchant who wished to secure Irish goods would have to obtain these goods through some ring or circle which existed there. If the trader were inside that ring he got his share of the goods from Ireland; otherwise, he got nothing.
I want to ask the Minister for External Affairs, if he is anxious to increase our exports to the United States, to examine the ring which prevents traders from obtaining Irish goods for display in their windows and for sale to the American public. Is there any truth that such a ring exists? How does one get within that ring in an effort to promote the sale of Irish products to the United States? I addressed communications to the Minister's predecessor on this subject but do not remember receiving a favourable reply. If the American public wish to buy Irish goods and if we can supply suitable articles of quality which are attractive to them, there is no reason why such goods should not be exported and put on the market in America.
“A warning by Mr. William Warnock, Irish Ambassador to Canada, that Ireland need not hope to sell goods to Canada on a purely sentimental appeal is likely to have an  even wider importance in the near future. That we are not doing very well on sentiment in any case is evident from the trade return figures for the two countries because while Ireland bought £9,400,000 worth from Canada last year we only exported £4,100,000 worth in return.”
The article goes on to say that what Mr. Warnock has said in relation to Canada will have “even more importance if we enter the Common Market.” He pointed out that the “Irish housewife in Canada would feel good if she saw Irish goods on display but she would only buy them if the quality and price were right.” He points out that if our own people abroad weighed our Irish goods strictly on merit how much more would people who have no interest whatever in Ireland do so and added that in “the Common Market free-for-all we will have to look to our laurels”.
The reference of our Ambassador to Canada to our exports is something that we should view with concern. Industrialists in this country can produce articles as good as those of any other country in the world. Had we taken part in Expo '67 our exports to Canada might have been substantially increased. We should use the services of our ambassadors abroad to act as trade agents. This has not been done to its fullest extent. I hope the new Minister for External Affairs will have a fresh approach to this matter and that the duties and functions of our ambassadors abroad will not consist of little more than presenting their credentials to the heads of State and attending the various receptions. They should work hard and have staff under them in sufficient numbers to cope with the volume of work to be undertaken in new market research. If we are seeking new markets abroad the extra work should not be piled on to our ambassadors in offices which are ill-equipped to undertake that work. The Minister should take a cool look at the staffing position abroad and relate it to the volume of work to be undertaken in the United States, Canada, France and Britain. He should assure himself that these ambassadors can yield sufficient return to this country by way of new  markets for what we can export. Unless their offices are fully staffed and fully equipped to do this essential work, they cannot do so.
If it is our policy to have representatives abroad then we ought to ensure that they are properly representative. Our embassy building in Ottawa is a disgrace. I was very impressed by our embassy in Paris and our embassy in Washington, to mention only two, but I thought the embassy in Ottawa decidedly sub-standard.
What exactly is our representative in Lagos doing? What staff does he command? What are his duties? Is it paying the country to have a representative in Lagos? If the Minister can satisfy the House that a representative is necessary in Lagos then I shall not quarrel with the appointment, but we are entitled to know what our representative's functions are and what staff he commands. Is the office an extremely busy one? Does it justify its existence?
Last week a question was addressed to the Minister in regard to the British imports deposit scheme: to ask the Minister for External Affairs if he has received any reply from the British Prime Minister in regard to his request for a meeting to discuss the import deposit scheme and its effect on this country; and when such meeting will take place. I do not want to go over  the ground again—this matter has been dealt with by practically every speaker so far—but everybody knows that this import deposit scheme is a breach of the Free Trade Area Agreement and, so far as this country is concerned, it is a very unjust imposition. In view of the seriousness of any extension of this scheme from the point of view of our exporters—we were told originally that it would operate for a limited period; now the period is being extended—one would have expected the Minister to go hotfoot to Downing Street to take the Prime Minister by the scruff of the neck. All that has taken place so far is an exchange of correspondence. Exchanges of correspondence are seldom effective. Is the Minister taking this matter sufficiently seriously, I wonder? Why has he not raised this issue as one of major importance with the British Government? His not having done so puzzles me. Irish exporters are very dissatisfied. We should be exempted from this scheme because of our long trading tradition with Britain. I do not see how the British could continue to stand over this action on their part if all the facts were put forcibly before them. If there is no really strong approach Britain will naturally not excite herself about our position. It is the duty of the Minister to give a lead. Because of the long trading tradition between the two countries some arrangement should be made which would exempt our exporters from this most unsatisfactory import levy scheme which is costing the Irish taxpayers a considerable amount in helping exporters to cope with the new British regulation. Therefore, I trust that suitable approaches will be made to the British Government in regard to this matter.
Deputy O'Leary covered the ground in relation to Ireland's entry into the EEC, the possibilities that exist for us, the advantages and the disadvantages and disappointments that may arise. There appears to be a change of heart on the part of the British people and, I am inclined to think, on the part of the British Prime Minister in regard to their application for membership of the Community. There seemed to be some indecision in Mr. Wilson's address to the Labour Party conference  at which he conveyed that Britain could well carry on without the rest of Europe. His speech conveyed, to me at least, that Britain was having second thoughts about the question of her membership. That may or may not be so.
Does the Minister for External Affairs, who is new in office, full of vigour, energy and determination, believe that this country is fully geared for membership of the European Economic Community? Can any guarantee be given that in event of Ireland being a member of the community there are sufficient safeguards for Irish industry? On the one hand, the Government have been encouraging the development of Irish industries. On the other hand, there is the possibility of entry to the Common Market, in which case, Irish industries will be immediately in competition with highly-geared and highlyfinanced European industries. Can the Minister give any guarantee to this House, as a result of any talks he may have had in Brussels or elsewhere, that he can satisfy the Irish trade union movement, Irish industrial workers and Irish industrialists, that there will be no question of unfair competition, no question of dumping to the detriment of Irish workers and Irish industry, that there will be guaranteed security of employment for all those now engaged in industry? That is a guarantee that I should like to have from the Minister before we commit ourselves to membership of the Common Market.
I represent a constituency which is reasonably well industrialised. Queries are frequently addressed to Deputies asking about job security in the event of our joining the Common Market and as to the ability of Irish industries to withstand keen competition from abroad. Workers are asking these questions. Farmers are asking questions in relation to their position in view of the statement recently made in Brussels that sugar beet will be cheaper when we enter the Common Market. Does that mean that sugar will be cheaper or does it mean that the farmer will get a lower price for his beet crop? We are told that  immediately we enter the EEC we will be finished with appeals for preference, with poor times and hard times, that we will step into an agricultural utopia. If, on the one hand, farmers receive more for cattle but, on the other hand, receive less for their grain and root crops, what is the net result? Will they be poorer or richer? Will the net result for the workers be guaranteed constant employment and fully maintained standards of wages? These are questions that farmers and workers are asking and that the Government have not clearly answered.
The British people seem to be having second thoughts about membership of the EEC and Mr. Wilson seems to be not so enthusiastic as he was and has suggested that Europe will be looking to Britain rather that Britain looking to Europe. There is a long-standing spirit of independence in the British people. They like to be the masters and feel that they should be the masters. Great Britain, once an empire, has been reduced to the status of a nation. There may be second thoughts in Britain about membership of the EEC. If Britain enters the EEC—and I have grave personal doubts about it—Ireland must enter because it is not possible for us to remain in isolation. Naturally, our application depends on what Britain does. It is my honest opinion that the British people are not too enthusiastic about membership.
What would be the result of a public opinion poll as to Ireland's application? Views are expressed by various political parties. Public opinion polls have been taken in Britain and the concensus is for remaining as they are. The Irish people are entitled to know where they are going. Irish industrial workers and Irish farmers are entitled to know the prospects for them. Are they to go blindfolded into a position of uncertainty or are they going into a utopia such as has been described by many of our Ministers? The Minister is dealing with a critical public, a public who are asking questions and are entitled to a reply. I am glad that so many farmers and workers are raising questions as to what their position will be in the event of Ireland joining  the EEC but so far no member of the Government, much less the Minister for External Affairs, has given any guarantee. I am quite satisfied, from what I have seen of preparations for joining the EEC, that we are ill-prepared. Our industries have not sufficiently been geared and our farmers have not been financed or put into the way of increasing production as compared with the Danish farmer, the French farmer and others who are at present prepared and geared in this respect. I hope and trust that, within the next few months, an effort will be made to answer the questions the Irish worker and the Irish farmer are asking on this vital matter.
Mr. O.J. Flanagan: Their future depends on this. They do not want to take a plunge in the dark and it is wrong that they should be asked to do so. Every step in this connection should be taken in the light of day. They should be given guarantees and information and statistics in relation to surpluses and shortages.
I want to pay a special tribute to the “Seven Days” television series Into Europe which we have seen over the past 12 months. I trust that we have not seen the last of these enlightening programmes, particularly those from European industrial sectors, which let us see the type of competition that faces us within EEC so that we may spur ourselves to meet the challenge.
The former Minister for External Affairs, Deputy Aiken, has failed miserably in his handling of the welfare of our emigrants to Britain. Naturally, he has been the subject of a serious volume of criticism in that respect although he accepted it with a grin. As a rural Deputy I am primarily concerned with the welfare of our Irish emigrants to Britain, the vast majority of whom would prefer to work in their own country and who emigrated because living standards here were not acceptable to them.
Many Irish emigrants in Britain find themselves faced with appalling social conditions and very grave personal problems and they are without assistance in this regard. The Minister for External Affairs may not wash his hands and say that our emigrants in Britain are now a matter for the British Government. If those people had remained at home they would have to be given social welfare benefits, social assistance, home assistance.
Mr. O.J. Flanagan: Surely the Minister is aware of the reasonable case put forward by the Irish Centre in Camden Town and of other Irish Centres all over Britain? If an Irish emigrant wishes to return home and is in financial distress and seeks the assistance of the Irish Ambassador to Britain the Irish Ambassador must give him the money out of his own pocket and later claim it from the Department of External Affairs. No sum of money is set aside to enable the Irish Ambassador, at his discretion, to assist Irish emigrants in dire want and in dire poverty in Britain.
How many Deputies have taken the trouble to visit the various cities of Britain in order to meet our Irish emigrants there and discuss with them their problems in relation to housing, and so on? We want the Minister to change the rules in relation to Irish emigrants. We are responsible for them. If we wash our hands of them it is difficult to expect the British Government to take an active interest in them. We must make arrangements to provide money for the Irish Centre in Camden Town——
Mr. O.J. Flanagan: ——which is enthusiastically and energetically being run by priests: at present I think it is  being run by the Oblate Fathers. There is space available for the extension of the club but they cannot raise the necessary money to do so. Meals are provided in this club for boys and girls who are friendless and away from home, and have no-one to offer them a word of advice or to provide shelter for them. The Oblate Fathers bring them in, entertain them, comfort them and give them wise counsel. As far as possible, they provide them with accommodation and with a little money when they are going away, if it is available. The only ways these Irish Centres in Britain can get money is through the voluntary subscriptions of Irish emigrants.
We should set up welfare offices throughout Britain for the purpose of giving advice and guidance to our Irish emigrants—and financial assistance, where necessary. This responsibility now falls on the shoulders of Deputy Hillery, Minister for External Affairs. This request has again recently been made by Irish emigrants in Britain—a request which was ignored by his predecessor-in-office. I feel the present Minister will break new ground and do something for our emigrants. They are our own people who are seeking a livelihood abroad through no fault of their own and they are anxious that the Irish Government will remember them and do something for them.
I want to join in the appeal for financial assistance from the Department of External Affairs for the Irish Centre in Camden Town. I should also like to appeal for the setting up of welfare departments in other centres throughout Britain. They are essential and they would be an investment in our people.
I want to repeat also an appeal which has been made time and again to the Minister for External Affairs, to take some action in relation to young, unaccompanied people emigrating from this country. A question was addressed last week to the Minister about the number of young boys and girls under 18 who are leaving the country without the consent of their parents or their guardians, who have no guarantee of employment and who have nobody to meet them in England. The only reply  the Minister has is that no passports are required between here and Britain. We know that no passports are required but what is the Minister doing to prevent these vast numbers of young girls arriving at Euston station morning after morning from this country? In recent times the numbers have been so great that it is impossible for the priests on the platform to cope with them and these young girls, most of them in their teens, are entering this strange land where they have no friends, many of them no relatives and many without suitable lodgings. Look at the moral danger to which these young people are exposed. There is a grave responsibility on the Minister to see that if people under 18 are leaving the country unaccompanied they should have to produce some sort of permit.
I do not know why the volume of representations made to the Department of External Affairs on this issue over the years has been completely ignored. There is a duty on the Government to protect our youth and one way in which these young people can be protected is to see that they will not fall into the pitfalls that await them. There have been numerous cases of this and facts and figures have been publicly disclosed but yet no action has been taken. Another matter which is worth mentioning is the unfavourable publicity given sometimes to our emigrants in the British press. I have often wondered why the Department have not taken practical action to defend our emigrants in cases where there is unwarranted and unfavourable publicity. The only person in Britain who seems to step in on every necessary occasion is Cardinal Heenan. In my presence and in the presence of a number of other Irish people Cardinal Heenan said that he was proud of the work undertaken by Irish people in the Archdiocese of Westminster. He said that the Irish were the backbone of the church in that part of London. You will not see a report of that kind in the papers; you will not see stories of their successes but you will see stories of their failures. Even last week when an Irishman was elected to the English Parliament the newspapers had to come along and belittle the efforts of  that man and suggest that there were some sinister moves behind his election, but there was nothing about the other four people elected to Parliament. Is it not great to see that one of our emigrants could, through his own initiative and hard work, win the respect of the people in that part of London to the extent that he should be elected as their representative to the House of Commons?
The Department of External Affairs should have a section in the embassy in London which would reply to unfavourable criticism of our emigrants because the measure of criticism that is meted out to them is unfair and unreasonable. Naturally, every flock has its bad sheep, we even have that in this House where we are no exception, and it is the same in every society. I have often wondered why the successes of our emigrants are concealed but if one of our emigrants defaults his errors are headlined in the press, including our own papers who highlight a bit of news about one of our own in Britain. It is time that the Department viewed this matter seriously.
As far as our emigrants are concerned it is time we paid tribute to the excellent work done by His Eminence, Cardinal Heenan who is always ready to advise and assist our emigrants and the organisations connected with Irish emigrants in his archdiocese. He was noted for this also when he was Archbishop of Leeds. It might be said that the Cardinal comes from Offaly because all his people have their roots in the soil of Offaly and that is why he displays such a personal interest in our people, which is appreciated throughout the length and breadth of England.
I hope that my few remarks will enable the Minister to enter his new term of office with some new and practical ideas and that my remarks about emigrants and the Common Market will be helpful to him. I am deeply concerned about this. I trust that the Minister will, with the Minister for Labour, review the question of providing financial assistance for our emigrants and that this assistance will be administered at the discretion of our ambassador in Britain. I venture to say that no Deputy in this  House—Labour, Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael—would in any way object to the allocation of money to our own people abroad. For that reason I would ask the Minister, no matter what difficulties, financial or otherwise, he or his Department may see, to be sufficiently courageous to ensure that a substantial sum will be provided. There has been a call for this by Irish people throughout Britain. By responding to this call the Minister will endear himself to those who are finding it extremely difficult to manage the Irish Centre and the many other centres throughout Britain because of lack of finance.
Mr. J. Lenehan: I will be pretty brief on this. I do not intend to emulate the man who said he was going to make a short speech and then dealt with everything from O'Hara who came from Tara to McNamara from Mayo.
First of all, I want to congratulate the Minister on the changes he has made in his Department and the improvements he has effected. I think they are important and there are very few people who will not agree with him. There was a lot in what Deputy Flanagan said that we should do something for our people in Britain. I feel it is possible for us to do this and that the Minister will do it. It is important. There is no question about that. There are a tremendous number of our people over there. Some of them are there not by virtue of necessity or anything like that but because we are to a great extent a rambling nation. If one goes back and looks at history, if history means anything, we are the gang who went out and stole St. Patrick. He did not come here of his own volition. He was swiped away from somewhere and I do not think we have changed an awful lot since then. Whether it was he who put that curse on us or not I do not know, but we seem to have been rambling ever since, and that was back in 432. It is maintained now that they could not have crossed the Irish Sea in a currach. We have not changed a lot since then. I do not believe we will change either because we are that type of people. To be quite honest about it, I think we are a crowd of chancers. We would  rather buy a sweep ticket than invest £5 in Government bonds.
There are about one million of our people in England and any facilities they seek should be given to them. Some type of organisation should be established over there to ensure that when they are in trouble there is some method of communicating with us at home. We have to be honest about it. If they stayed at home we would have to pay them dole, insurance or something, so it does not make a whole lot of difference one way or the other.
I have never been particularly enamoured of this Department because it does not do what I would like to see it doing. Perhaps my attitude is different from the other speakers in this debate so far. I think that the most important matter for us is to try to develop external trade. I must be honest about it. Up to the time the present Minister took over, I regarded this Department as doing only what the British foreign service did: going out and waving the flag. I do not agree with that at all. There is no point in our going out waving the flag. We have no aggressive intentions towards any country in the world. Our embassies abroad should be used to develop our external trade. I would certainly like to see all our ambassadors brought back here and examined by us to see how much they have done, if anything, in trying to sell our goods.
The main role of our ambassadors today should be to improve our trade. Some of our ambassadors appear to be doing pretty badly. I am not mentioning names simply because I do not know their names. If I did I would not be long mentioning them, I can assure you. There are some countries in which we have ambassadors and one wonders whether we are sending ambassadors there to sell our goods to those countries or to induce those countries to sell their goods to us. We have an imbalance of trade with West Germany of about £20 million. I do not see anything wrong with buying Volkswagen cars, for instance. On the other hand, the crowd who make them in Germany do not employ many people from Cork or from Mayo or  any other place here, and I think that that is an important matter. Look, since the time of St. Patrick we have not invaded the Continent, and surely to God at this stage they must know we are friendly with the whole damn lot of them. I think that is accepted. We send out ambassadors today just for the sake of saying: “Cé'n chaoi a bhfuil tú?”“Nice weather,”“How are ye?” or “How is the Missus?” Of course, it is nonsense. We have to be honest about it. Daft as I am, I have enough sense to see through that type of thing.
I know I cannot go into the problem of the north, despite the fact that the Irish Labour Party sent a telegram to the British Labour Party telling them what decent people they were and all that kind of thing. I suppose we have to allow all that to go. We know the kind of job they made of it. Seeing that the mini-skirt is in fashion even here, I believe there will be quite a number of changes not only in this House but in the relations between ourselves and our foreign neighbours in the years to come. I know there are some officials sitting down there who will take a dim view of what I have said.
The British Labour Government— and this is the only thing I shall say in their favour—have caused more trouble, and will probably bring more good to this country, by being in power in the last six months than has happened in the previous 400 years. I hope they will be returned to power, if necessary, just as Fianna Fáil is necessary for this country, and that eventually, by the time they end up, we shall see this country united. I do not want to hold up the Minister on this Vote. I want to give him a chance to go and so I shall leave it at that.
Mr. Clinton: Since I came to this House about eight years ago I have never seen anything to equal the interest displayed in this Estimate for the Department of External Affairs. The Minister must have derived great encouragement from this and also from the number of people who expressed good wishes for his success in his new Department. Many new, worthwhile and well-intentioned suggestions were  made in the debate which I believe the Minister will examine carefully. Many ways were suggested in which the scope of the work of his Department could and should be broadened.
Many on this side of the House believe that the Minister should take on a new role and should act as leader of all the activities and interests of Irish people outside this country. Deputies have expressed the view that our embassies should be listening centres in the interests of Ireland in many directions. They should look for ways and means of increasing our trade and attracting tourists and they should be supplying information to potential industrialists who might be attracted to this country. All activities should emanate from the Irish centres in these countries and all information about this country should be available there. They should also be able to answer the queries of people who come to those centres. This should be wellknown and well-publicised as the purposes of our external work. It should be clear that they are not there as a sort of pale imitation, as somebody said, of what the British do in their embassies.
This is a poor country and there is no use in pretending anything else. We are trying to raise our standard of living and we should make that obvious. We should not pretend we are something which we are not. I think this is appreciated. My purpose is not just to attempt to make a speech on all aspects of External Affairs because I am certainly not equipped to do so. To do so would require considerable investigation, research and study but I am particularly interested in what we are trying to do in the Council of Europe. As a member of our delegation for the past couple of years I disagree with what we do there. Many here and in other places think that the Council of Europe is a mere talking shop and that it is a waste of time and money. If it is a waste of money it is a considerable waste for this country and we should give up the effort altogether if that view is strongly held. But I think that is a wrong view. If we spend money attending the Council of Europe—I know we  also subscribe—we should make the most of it.
Somebody said earlier that we should, as far as possible, take politics out of our foreign policy. This is something with which I agree completely. Members of the delegation go to the Council of Europe as independent individuals representing three parties. This is all wrong. It is wrong that a member of the Government party who always leads the delegation should stand up and express his views and immediately he sits down somebody on this side of the House gets up and wipes the floor with him. This is not good for Ireland and is wrong, but I have seen it happen. We cannot afford this. It is all very well to have an independent view but more interest should be taken in our approach to the Council of Europe. We should appear there and outside this country with a united front. We should know what is good for this country before we go and it is that view that should be expressed by every member of the delegation.
We are not properly briefed. I am not blaming the Department of External Affairs for that; it is a Government decision. I must say that any of the people I have met from the Department of External Affairs in connection with attending the Council of Europe could not have been more courteous or helpful in any way but it is fair to say that every Deputy who goes there has his own business to do in his own constituency. Invariably he is overloaded. Anybody who has had experience of the Council of Europe knows that, as a delegate, you are snowed under with literature and correspondence of every description. The ordinary Deputy has not time to read it and go into it as carefully as I think is necessary.
Various subjects arise in the committees and general assembly and we have not the information we need. The information would not be directly available in the Department; very often it might concern local Government or the Department of Finance or any Department of State. There should be some way, in advance of committee meetings or meetings of the general assembly,  of getting the necessary information. External Affairs should assume overall responsibility for our performance in the Council. They should know what is on the agenda and should have somebody reading up the material and briefing the members who go out. If information can be secured from any Department of State it should be made available and at least worthwhile notes should be provided for those going to meetings of the council.
Most people going there have not sufficient time in advance to examine all the matters arising and cannot prepare as they should. It is when they go out that they want the information and they want to ensure that their contribution will be a worthwhile one. The information should be collected, there should be fairly frequent meetings of members of the delegation and they should know in advance what the Irish people want for Ireland, not what the leader of the delegation wants for anybody else. I think the Minister should seriously look into this matter.
I know that if he were to take a serious look at all the suggestions made here in the past two weeks he would have his work cut out for him. I am sure he considers that he has been very busy since he took over the Department: that is so and I think he has done quite a creditable job since he took on the responsibility but there is room here for considerable improvement.
It is all right, as I say, to regard the Council of Europe as a talking shop. I do not think it is anything of the sort. Britain does not regard it as a talking shop. The 18 countries of Europe which are there already do not regard it as a talking shop. They go out there properly briefed. I do not know what way the constituency work goes in other countries, but it does not seem to engage these people to the same extent that it engages us because they go out there with all the information.
You also find that all the members of the delegations from the various countries are on the same note and are looking for the same thing in the same way for their countries. It is a pity that a small country like Ireland  should go out with two or three different views on what is good for Ireland. When we go out there we should be able to speak with one voice. It is not an unimportant platform; it is an extremely important platform. Every opportunity has been used by the British particularly, and by the other applicant countries, to express their interest continuously in gaining entry to the EEC.
I think it was Deputy Flanagan who said that there seems to be a change of heart in Britain. If there is, it is certainly not expressed at the Council of Europe. The only view expressed at the Council of Europe by the British in relation to the EEC is that they cannot get in fast enough. They are forever talking about the enlargement, and the importance of the enlargement. I think personally that entry into the EEC is much more imminent for this country now than many people believe. It is more imminent for Britain and consequently for us. We cannot afford to ignore this. We must make urgent preparation.
Many Deputies made a plea for more information in relation to the EEC and what it means for this country. It is extremely important that we should have this information. It is certainly a fact that if Britain goes in— and I believe she is going in—we cannot afford to stay out. I do not think there is any alternative for us. We have to recognise this and we have to look at the situation much more urgently.
Two of the main obstacles to Britain's entry into the EEC have disappeared. De Gaulle is gone. He had some personal—quite personal I think —opposition to Britain's entry. Weakness of sterling up to the present was the second greatest excuse for keeping Britain out of the EEC. Britain can now stand up at the Council of Europe and elsewhere and boast of the fact that what a couple of years ago was something like a deficit of 100 million dollars has now been converted into a surplus of a similar amount—and will certainly be a surplus of a similar amount before the end of the year. They were two very great obstacles and obviously they have been overcome. I believe that the British have so restructured their economy now that  they can say that they are solvent and have reached the point where they can start to undertake easily enough the burdens that will be imposed by membership of the EEC.
I think it was Deputy FitzGerald who said that we should be working in much closer relationship and co-operation with Norway and Denmark who are applicants like ourselves and have a similar outlook and similar products to sell, instead of working in such close co-operation with Britain. This is true in so far as the main products we have to sell at present are agricultural products. So far as I can see, there is a very big change of influence and emphasis and it is a change which is suiting Britain. France was probably the biggest agricultural supplier in the EEC. The active working population in France has been halved over the past ten years. The population of places like Paris has rocketted and the voting strength has gone over to the urban areas. There is not anything like the same influence in agriculture as there was so that this agricultural policy will change and, in fact, will change in such a way that it will not help us.
As time goes on it will have less and less attraction for us here as the common policy on agriculture is watered down, and it is being watered down. We have a situation, as somebody said, in which our agricultural policy—if there is such a thing at present—is diametrically opposed to the agricultural policies of the countries of the EEC. We are now bolstering up the smallest uneconomic enterprises. We are trying to kill efficiency, and we are trying to reject a scale of enterprise that is sufficient to survive only in the EEC in agriculture.
We need to have a very critical examination of the position. I have had very little experience but, in the short time I have been going out to the Council of Europe, I can see enormous changes in the prospects of entry. Up to six months ago it was very difficult to see practically any prospects of entry in the foreseeable future. The whole attitude has changed. The attitude of the existing members of the EEC has changed. The British economy is now on quite  a different footing. It is now in a position to play its part and start negotiations. I believe these negotiations will start very soon indeed.
When I was speaking about the briefing of the members who go out to the Council of Europe I meant to say that I have had this sort of experience. I give it as an example. A matter was discussed in committee and then brought to the assembly. It was the British approach to foot and mouth disease and the approach to that problem of the various European countries. Fortunately, I went through the agenda a week or so before going over there. I wanted to see what was the Irish attitude and what we had done here about foot and mouth disease. I had quite a broad view of what happened in the past and what our attitude would be, but I had not anything like the detail that one would expect a person to have going out to represent the country.
I rang up the Department and, over the telephone, I got a considerable amount of information which I was able to use. I do not think I should have had to do that. The Department should already have been alerted. The livestock industry is extremely important for this country. We should know what we have done and what we are prepared to do in the future to overcome problems of this kind. I would hope that the Minister would see that deputations going out to the Council of Europe in the future will get that type of briefing.
Whatever role we play, wherever we have an interest, we should play it as well as we can. It is refreshing to see the Minister placing such emphasis as the Minister has placed on the EEC, what it means to this country, and indicating the interest he himself has in this. This has not been done sufficiently in the past. We have had the British delegation and the other delegations who have similar interests to us in the EEC forever emphasising what they were prepared to do, how they were going to do it, and why they should do it. As I say, we had nothing like the same expression of concern and interest on the part of the Irish delegation going to the Council of Europe.
 I really stood up just to talk on nothing else but this, but I extended it somewhat. I should like to refer to the plea that has been made by a number of Deputies for some sort of assistance for Irish emigrants. Many compliments have been paid to the work that is being done by the various Irish welfare societies in England, principally by Irish priests and other religious people there. I believe they are entitled to assistance. One has only to have a short conversation or discussion with any of the people who are working there to realise the great hardship they come up against in their work and the enormous work they do on a shoestring. It has been said that we are not able to provide these emigrants with sufficient jobs and if they remained at home we would have to provide them with social welfare benefits or assistance, so that we might as well give it to them in England; in fact we should feel obliged to give it to them in England when we cannot provide them with the wherewithal at home.
Many people go over to England with fairytale notions of what is available there, the enormous money they can get: you have only to go over and you are pitchforked into a job. It is difficult to believe how crazy young people can be and how unenlightened they are about the problems they will meet when they land in England. I do not know how it is going to be put over to them but certainly a greater effort should be made to enlighten them; and if they are not ready to face the difficulties they will meet there should be some way to prevent them from emigrating.
Every year on the Estimate for External Affairs this comes up. There are people on every side of this House pleading for something to be done and so far nothing has been done. I hope that one of the things the Minister will feel obliged to do is to interest himself in this problem and find ways and means to supplement the efforts of the welfare societies and the religious orders that are already actively working on these problems.
Minister for External Affairs (Dr. Hillery): A number of Deputies  referred to the extensive nature of my introductory speech. One effect it had was to make the debate a bit longer than I expected; the speeches were also a bit deeper than I expected, but my own concluding speech will be a bit shorter. As regards the amount of information available to me to give to the House I must have given nearly all of it in the introductory speech, which was quite long. Many of the contributions made by Deputies raised points which already had been answered, as far as my point of view is concerned, in the introductory speech. If I undertook to have every speech that was made in this debate examined in detail, we would be here for a very long time. I might ask Deputies to refer back to the first speech and they will find there many of the answers which they sought in their contributions.
The point was made about the opening speech that, even though it was welcome for its progress, it lacked a theme or philosophy or a thread running through it. This point may, on the surface, appear valid, because in the three months during which I have held this office I have been deeply and very actively involved in the details of certain aspects of the activities of the Department, that is, the policy in regard to the EEC which very early on demanded my immediate and full attention because of a new activity which gave rise to the expectation in Europe that enlargement of the Community would become a live issue again. As well as that there was the threat, which I think the House appreciates was a real threat, involved in the proposal that the enlargement of the Community would take place by stages in which Britain would be admitted first and then there would be a Community of seven. Everybody in the House realises that if the Community tariff barriers came between us and Britain, that is, between us and more than 70 per cent of our market, it would have a very bad effect on the economy of this country. I went to Europe to seek reassurance on this, and I have already told the House that the idea of a Community of seven as a first stage now seems to be dead.
The tragic war in Nigeria occupied  a great deal of my time. If, as some Deputies say, the results of my efforts were small, the efforts themselves and the time and consideration given to them were enormous. The fact that we cannot influence every world event should not discourage us or cause us to blame ourselves. Finally, the events in the North of Ireland, which we debated here on the resumption of the Dáil, caused me to undertake a great deal of detailed work in that area, that is, the area of diplomacy between our neighbour and ourselves and the United Nations.
These three items, the EEC, Nigeria and the North of Ireland were mainly in my thoughts, and in consequence the speeches I made on the resumption of the Dáil and in the introduction to the debate seemed to contain mostly these ideas. As I say, it may seem on the surface to be a valid criticism, but I should like to tell the House that even though these subjects are disconnected and seem not to have a thread, my thoughts have been, in the last three months, on the Department of External Affairs and its structures, the functions of ambassadors, how we dispose our manpower in a particular change of circumstances such as active negotiation with the EEC. My thoughts have been on the position of Ireland in world affairs, trying to get a realistic assessment in my own mind, and how we should behave ourselves in relation to other nations. If I did not introduce them in the first speech it is because I want more time for these ideas to mature, and, indeed, events will have to take place to decide certain aspects of our policy. If events in the future allow time to reflect — I think they cannot continue at the rate they were going — I hope that in next year's Estimate I shall be able to present some theme of thinking and if I do not I would regard the criticism made this year as being fair if it is made next year.
In speaking in this way I should not like to give the impression that there has not been a particular policy or theme. The contribution made by Deputy Aiken in answer to certain charges and certain assertions from other Deputies made clear that he has  had a consistent policy, that much of the criticism which he has carried was carried because of his belief that it was in the national interest that he carry that criticism. I have been praised at his expense during this debate. I do not want that praise. He is a man of very high standing in international affairs and at home. I think his capacity to defend himself now that he is relieved of the handcuffs that are put on a Minister has been well demonstrated.
Deputies have spoken about not having a representative in Copenhagen. We have a chargé d'affaires and an ambassador in Copenhagen and The Hague and future development of events will determine how we dispose of our manpower.
One Deputy asked what our ambassador in Lagos was doing. I can only say to the Deputy that if he attended Question Time he would be aware of the number of Deputies who ask if our missionaries and others are being protected in Nigeria. Our ambassador in Lagos has been exceptionally busy in ensuring the protection of our fellow-countrymen there and, at the same time, attempting to make a contribution on our behalf towards peace and towards the humanitarian work which must go on while we are awaiting peace.
Deputy Sweetman suggested that our troops in Cyprus, having been accepted, would put us in a position of attempting to bring some kind of a solution to the political difficulties there. That might be so but any uninvited attempt to interfere in the political problems would reduce our acceptability as a peace-keeping country.
As far as Irish emigrants are concerned, the Minister for Labour has recently taken the first steps to implement the help which the Government have decided to give emigrants. In a speech I made in Cahirciveen last year I referred to the projections of the NIEC in relation to full employment and the time it would take to achieve full employment. Even if we do have full employment the NIEC projected there would still be emigration of  about 5,000 people a year and, that being the case, I felt the State should have some responsibility to those people who had involuntarily to emigrate.
The Minister for Labour has set up a board which will dispose of about £10,000 of the Estimate for the Department of Labour this year to help groups here in Ireland who give guidance and help to people who intend to emigrate. It is most important that these people be given a clear picture of what they are likely to meet, and at the same time, it is important to dissuade some people from emigrating if they are not suitable. The Government have made other decisions but this is the first main step.
As far as the embassy in London is concerned it has been given sanction— and this was before my time—to repatriate at public expense persons in certain categories who are likely to get into trouble or who have got into trouble. These are usually young persons, especially girls, who are found to be in need of care and protection, persons destitute and unfit for work by reason of ill health whether mental or physical, together with their wives and children, and expectant unmarried mothers and unmarried mothers with their children up to six months old. Therefore, the emigrant is not totally neglected. Most emigrants who find employment are well able to look after themselves from that employment and the social services are available in Britain to those who are unemployed. It is a matter of interest to the Government to do what they can for the needy emigrant. We do feel a responsibility towards them but at this juncture I shall confine myself to saying what has already been done and is being done by the Minister for Labour.
I found the contributions on the EEC of particular interest. They reflect a degree of unanimity on the importance for this country of securing membership of the Community at the first available opportunity. Some Deputies have commented on the absence of a further white paper or a statement of the case for and implications of EEC membership. In speaking to the House on 25th July, 1967, the  Taoiseach dealt very fully with the subject of membership, and in reply to a question by Deputy Desmond just before the Recess I said there was a lot to be said at this stage for a restatement of the situation. I think such a restatement could best be made in the New Year. Firstly, because of the meeting of the Heads of State and the Governments of the Six—which is the first of its kind since the change in administration in France and Germany —and, secondly, because the decisions in relation to the completion of the transitional period are due to be taken before the end of the year. When the outcome of this is known I shall consider what can be usefully done along the lines suggested by Deputies, but at this stage I do not know whether we will have one or two white papers or a debate on this subject.
In suggesting that it is best to wait until the New Year before making a new public statement on the situation I want to assure the House that all aspects of the EEC question have been receiving detailed attention in recent months. An inter-departmental working party has been engaged for some time in the preparation of an updated document covering the main problems which will arise in connection with our membership. This document will aim to cover as fully as possible, on the basis of the latest information, all the principal issues involved in membership. I hope when this document is completed, in the light of developments within the Community, that it will be possible to give the House and the country a reasonably up-to-date picture of the EEC question.
As membership of the Community will have an impact on most aspects of our national life the question of membership will affect in one way or another the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, the Department of External Affairs, the Department of Finance and the Department of Industry and Commerce. As negotiation of our entry into the Communities involves relations with other governments and with the Communities the problem is the prime responsibility of the Minister for External Affairs.
I listened with great interest to the  many comments on the Nigerian situation. I dealt at great length in my opening speech with Nigeria and I indicated that we are currently holding urgent discussions with the Irish relief organisations, including the Irish Red Cross and Africa Concern, about further ways in which the Government can help. I am hopeful that following the discussions we will be able to make some further assistance available. If so, it is my intention to come to the Dáil at an early date with a Supplementary Estimate in the Vote for International Co-Operation to provide for such additional assistance, as well as the sum of $25,000 for the UNICEF relief and rehabilitation programmes which I have mentioned.
On Deputy O'Brien's suggestion that we should call for a cease fire without political preconditions, I should like to say that we are fully in favour of a cease fire and have always called for it. My predecessor announced this in Dáil Éireann on many occasions in the past year. As I stressed in my opening statement, however, in the present political climate on both sides our efforts, I feel, are best directed most urgently at trying to persuade both sides to establish even minimal contact with each other. That is the correct policy at this stage, particularly in view of the recent reports, of which Deputies will be aware, indicating a new desire on both sides that negotiations for a peace settlement should begin.
The handling of the North of Ireland situation in the United Nations was criticised. Normally, such criticism has to be answered but to answer in full— and there is a very full and adequate reply—would mean re-opening very widely for discussion consideration of the events in the north of Ireland. Apart from the fact that this was ruled out of order by the Ceann Comhairle in this debate, I, personally, do not think it would be wise— and I have given very serious thought to this—to start debating the matter in terms of our own political party achievements or for point-scoring.
I have also given very serious consideration as to whether I should deal in isolation with the mechanics, so to speak, of the United Nations effort as  did Deputy O'Brien. I do not think that it would be in the national interest to do so. An initiative at the United Nations like this one will attract a wide range of opinions. There are people who would say that the problem should not have been brought before the United Nations at all and there are others so sadly lacking in information about the UN as to think that one should go there and come back with one's problem resolved fully and finally. For the present, at any rate, I think that it is better to let the matter stand and to let each one form his own judgment. Those who wish to express criticism are entitled to do so and those who approve are entitled to approve.
There is, however, one point in Deputy O'Brien's criticism, namely that relating to his very amusing story about UN delegates being told to fight to the end but to lose, which suggests a lack of information about the realities of the UN which is totally at variance with the experience of the Deputy. For those who are, indeed, lacking in information about the limits of what it is possible to achieve in the UN in any particular case, or who are not fully aware of the restrictions imposed by the framework of the charter, let me say that a big power, directly represented in most of the capitals of the world, with its network of alliances and its financial and trading associations. can bring persuasion to bear on other Governments, not open to small countries.
This had to be taken into account and it had to be decided whether to go to the UN at all. We did not go to the UN to lose but neither did we have any exaggerated expectation about what might be achieved. In the result, we succeeded in achieving a very great amount, indeed. I am not one of those who contribute to the idea that there is only one authority about the UN. I might be so bold as to quote from Deputy O'Brien's published work on the UN. There are one or two passages which are of interest. The first quotation is:
Again, I agree with Deputy O'Brien. I might say to the House that the worst possible thing that could have resulted would have been a vote against our item being accepted on the agenda. It was the general committee themselves, on which Ireland does not have a seat, a body of 25 nations, which decided unanimously not to take a vote. The item is still there and we can at any time seek to have the committee again consider it, but it was the decision of the Government to assess the benefits to be derived from such a move and our decision at this time is not to pursue it. The fruits of our visit to the UN have been many. I will leave the matter at that.
I have no intention of chasing Deputy O'Brien down the labyrinthine corridors of speculation about the nature and the realities of power in the United Nations and the hypothetical danger of seeking its support. I believe the stuff of drama, sacred or otherwise, should be confined to its legitimate stage. All I am concerned with here is to give the lie to his assertion that we went to the UN in order to fight to the end and to lose. The outcome lies in the future and will no doubt be judged by future historians at a proper time. However, there can be no dispute about our motives. We chose to put our case before the UN in its entirety. To do less than that would have been false to the deepest feelings of the Irish people. We presented it without fear or favour because we had faith in the justice of our cause. And we regard the UN as a proper forum in which to seek for such peaceful solutions to our problems.
On the question of development aid, I have undertaken to study all the speeches and to have them analysed. The Third Programme refers to the fact that our aid to the developing countries has been increasing in recent years and is now about £1 million a year, exclusive of private contributions.  The programme adds that it is the aim to increase this further.
The three main kinds of official Irish aid are: (1) subscriptions and voluntary contributions to international organisations concerned with development aid; (2) the provision in Ireland of training and educational facilities for persons from developing countries; and (3) assistance afforded by Irish personnel in the developing countries.
In July 1969 the Department of External Affairs initiated discussions on our development aid programme with the other Departments concerned with a view to (1) evaluating our performance in the aid field and (2) framing recommendations for future aid policy. The purpose of the discussions will be to work out an agreed document on the whole question with a view to furnishing this document to the Government and individual Ministers for their consideration. They may go some way to dealing with the points raised by Deputy FitzGerald.
There was a suggestion early in the debate that the Dáil should play a bigger part in the formulation of our foreign policy. It was re-echoed at the end of the debate and people asked that there be no politics in the Department of External Affairs. I consider the Dáil can play a big part and the contributions made in this debate show that many Deputies have worthwhile contributions to make towards formulation of our foreign policy. However, the Government party must decide the policy they want to pursue and the Minister must be responsible for the implementation of the policy. I do not want to be small but many of the Deputies thought, and this is reflected at Question Time, too, that we should spend our time berating other nations for their behaviour, both internal and external. Some Deputies would have us break off diplomatic relations all round at the least provocation. I think this attitude is not acceptable to a responsible Government but, as I say, apart from that very useful contributions were made in this debate and I think the Dáil can make a big contribution to the formulation of policy.
I have in other Departments found the Dáil able to contribute to legislation,  and contribute very usefully. I have no reason to think that I should close my ears to what the Dáil has to say on foreign affairs but I still believe I would be carrying the final responsibility and the policy which will be implemented will be the Government's policy. There are areas in which Opposition and Government are quite apart so I do not think at this stage it could come about that a committee of the Dáil would determine our foreign policy.
I do not know if there are any other points to be answered except to say to Deputy Clinton that I agree that delegations going abroad should be fully briefed. I cannot impose on them acceptance of the briefing. If he has found that the Irish delegation are less united than those of other countries he might remember that Dr. Johnson said that the Irish are a fair people, they never speak well of each other.
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