European Communities Bill, 1972: Report Stage.

Wednesday, 15 November 1972

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 263 No. 9

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Mr. M. O'Leary: Information on Michael O'Leary  Zoom on Michael O'Leary  I move amendment No. 1:

In page 3, line 13, to delete “on” and substitute “in”.

Minister for Foreign Affairs (Dr. Hillery): Information on Patrick John Hillery  Zoom on Patrick John Hillery  Section 2 states:

From the 1st day of January, 1973, the treaties governing the European Communities and the existing [1685] and future acts adopted by the institutions of those Communities shall be binding on the State and shall be part of the domestic law thereof under the conditions laid down in those treaties.

Deputy O'Donovan interpreted the section as meaning that the acts adopted by the institutions would be binding on citizens of this State and, therefore, he thought the word should be “in”. In fact, the section is as we want it to be—that the acts shall be binding on the State—and it will be for the Ministers to take what action that is necessary to make them applicable in law here, if they are not directly applicable. I think many people in the House misunderstood this section.

Mr. M. O'Leary: Information on Michael O'Leary  Zoom on Michael O'Leary  Deputy O'Donovan was worried the law would not be applied comprehensively and he wished it to be more comprehensive.

Dr. Hillery: Information on Patrick John Hillery  Zoom on Patrick John Hillery  In fact, the section does what the Deputy wishes.

Mr. M. O'Leary: Information on Michael O'Leary  Zoom on Michael O'Leary  The word “on” is superior to “in”?

Dr. Hillery: Information on Patrick John Hillery  Zoom on Patrick John Hillery  Yes.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  Amendments Nos. 2 and 3 are consequential and may be taken together.

Mr. Ryan: Information on Richie Ryan  Zoom on Richie Ryan  I move amendment No. 2:

In page 3, line 14, after “and” to insert “subject to subsection (2) of this section”.

On Committee Stage we indicated our serious dissatisfaction with the draftsmanship of section 2 which confused the regulations of the Communities and the directives and other decisions or acts of the Communities. As has been pointed out, regulations of the Communities are binding ab initio without further enactment on the part of member States but directives and other acts are not necessarily part of the domestic law of member States unless and until member States adopt them by means of their own enactments. There is immense discretion left to the individual States to determine [1686] the manner in which decisions and directives are to be implemented.

It is our view that this Bill, as drafted, is unconstitutional and we give a warning to the Government that if they proceed to ignore the justified complaints of people in this House and elsewhere about their conduct they will find themselves facing a constitutional action that could jeopardise this country's involvement in its obligations in the European Community as from 1st January, 1973.

The Referendum Bill was amended in this House on the proposition of Fine Gael. It is clear to us now that this Bill has been drafted by the Government without regard to the amendment that was made in this House, an amendment that was subsequently adopted by the people in the referendum. This Bill would be constitutional if it were introduced under the Referendum Bill as introduced, because this Bill would be an act consequent on membership. The Fine Gael amendment was that laws and other acts of the Community which were necessitated by membership of the Community would not be invalid by reason of certain provisions in our Constitution.

The Government have a choice of ways in which to implement the directives and decisions of the Community. Article 15 of the Constitution provides:

The sole and exclusive power of making laws for the State is hereby vested in the Oireachtas: no other legislative authority has power to make the laws for the State.

There is a qualification:

Provision may, however, be made by law for the creation or recognition of subordinate legislatures and for the powers and functions of these legislatures.

It is clearly legislatures which have this delegated power, not individual Ministers. We will assume for the purposes of this argument that it is valid under our law for Ministers to make regulations so long as they are given that delegated power by this Parliament; if there is that delegated power and there is also a choice of making [1687] laws by legislation or regulation, we believe that the Constitution imposes a clear obligation to make those laws by legislation and not by ministerial decree.

What the Minister is seeking here is not necessitated by membership of the Community. The Government have made a choice to legislate in future by ministerial decree without consultation with this House, without involving either House of the Oireachtas, and without fulfilling the clear obligation in the Constitution to legislate in public. The Constitution emphatically requires that proceedings of the Dáil and Seanad be in public unless they should otherwise decide for some special reason, and then it requiries a vote of two-thirds of the Members in order to meet in private.

We must legislate in public. We must legislate according to our Constitution. That could be qualified if we were under an obligation within the European Community to proceed in another way. We are not obliged by membership of the European Community to translate directives and regulations into law by means of ministerial regulation. When it is open to us to legislate by means of a Bill in the Dáil and Seanad we have a clear, emphatic and inescapable duty to legislate in that way, and in no other way.

This Bill, clumsily thrown together, purporting to take away the legislative power of this House, purporting to negative the people's right to legislate, the people's right to criticise Government proposals, is an unconstitutional Bill. Apart from the fact that it is unconstitutional, it offends against every concept of democracy. It is not necessitated by obligations to the Community. The Minister acknowledged that on Second and Third Stages. He said the mere fact that Ministers are being given power to legislate by means of decree does not mean that Ministers will necessarily do that, and that they may from time to time consider it desirable to introduce legislation in the House rather than to translate enactments of the Community into our law by means of ministerial regulation.

That is an exercise of choice. The fact that the Minister acknowledges [1688] that it is not necessary to proceed by means of regulation clearly proves that the Bill as introduced, and now on Report Stage, is ultra vires the Constitution. The Minister is walking a very dangerous tight rope which could get the country and the various steps necessary to fulfil our obligations in Europe into very serious trouble indeed.

We are bound by the decisions of Committee Stage. We do not believe that the Bill should be left as it is, but we are bound by the votes taken on the previous stage. Therefore, we had to table our amendment in a way which takes account of the decisions already taken. Accepting that discipline, we have redrafted section 2 so as to separate directives of the Community from regulations of the Community. We have done that in amendment No. 2 by providing that the regulations shall be binding on the State and shall be part of the domestic law, and that directives shall not be part of the domestic law or enforcible within the State until regulations in relation to them are made under section 3 of this Bill.

That is the true position. It is suggested in the original section that a directive or a decision is to have the same force and the same effect as a regulation of the Community. That is not so. A directive or a decision is not enforcible, and will not be enforcible until we either legislate to make it enforcible, or the Minister makes an Irish regulation making it enforcible. It is quite wrong to recite in section 2 that these things are part of the domestic law. They are not part of the domestic law until they have been translated into our domestic law by means of ministerial regulations, or a Bill in this House.

What we are doing does not in any way take from the force, we believe the evil force, and intention of the section. At least it is tidier legislation and I say, with all due respect to the draftsmen who advise the Government, that it is better draftsmanship to identify the difference between regulations of the Community and directives, decisions and any other acts or enactments.

[1689]Mr. M. O'Leary: Information on Michael O'Leary  Zoom on Michael O'Leary  Section 3 (1) would appear to give the Minister the power which Deputy Ryan says he has not got.

Dr. Hillery: Information on Patrick John Hillery  Zoom on Patrick John Hillery  That is right.

Mr. M. O'Leary: Information on Michael O'Leary  Zoom on Michael O'Leary  It provides:

A Minister of State may make regulations for enabling section 2 of this Act to have full effect.

If I understand Deputy Ryan correctly —I think he is right in pointing out the difference between a directive and a regulation and the constitutional hazards of confusing one with the other—it would appear to me that the maligned draftsman, in section 3 (1), at any rate, made allowance for this situation and it is possible to ensure that the directive becomes a regulation. I do not know whether I am right or wrong.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Denis Francis Jones  Zoom on Denis Francis Jones  The Chair must point out that on Report Stage Deputies may intervene only once except for the Deputy who moves the amendment. Other Deputies may contribute only once to the debate.

Mr. M. O'Leary: Information on Michael O'Leary  Zoom on Michael O'Leary  I seem to have burned my boats.

Dr. Hillery: Information on Patrick John Hillery  Zoom on Patrick John Hillery  Deputy O'Leary has burned them in a good cause because obviously he has a clear grasp of what is in sections 2 and 3. The Fine Gael suggestion that the Bill is ultra vires the Constitution is for the courts to decide. The amendment put down by Fine Gael proposes to us the question of ministerial regulations and, if Deputy Ryan is correct, that, too, would be ultra vires the Constitution.

Mr. Ryan: Information on Richie Ryan  Zoom on Richie Ryan  I agree, but we have no alternative.

Dr. Hillery: Information on Patrick John Hillery  Zoom on Patrick John Hillery  For the Deputy to stand up and say that Fianna Fáil are quite wrong and that they are bringing in something contrary to the Constitution, and then to propose an amendment which does exactly the same thing, is an exercise in which we should not indulge. If it is ultra vires the Constitution when we put it down, it will be ultra vires the Constitution when Fine Gael put it down. If Deputy Ryan is right it has been [1690]ultra vires the Constitution since it was enacted because every year, under legislation, Ministers bring in up to 350 regulations and under this we will have about 20 a year. Therefore, all legislation which gave rise to Ministers making regulations, delegated legislation, was wrong. If Fine Gael make that point, there is an onus on them, not only to interfere with the attempts we are making to keep up with our commitments, and the advantages of membership but also to follow up all the other legislation which, by their definition, is ultra vires the Constitution.

Let me get back to what Deputy O'Leary and I see clearly. I think the amendment is based on an unfounded assumption that regulations, and only regulations, are directly applicable. I spoke about this on Committee Stage. The second part of the assumption is that provisions of the treaties and acts cannot be part of our domestic law without being directly applicable. There is a broad classification. Regulations are directly applicable but although they are directly applicable many aspects of regulations may at times require ancillary legislation in one of the countries of the Community to make them effective. On the other hand, directives in principle are applied only when the country involved makes its own legislation. Some parts of some directives have direct application and it is with this extra knowledge that the draftsman drafted section 2 and consequently section 3. I do not think it would be possible, taking those facts and I thought the House understood this from me the last night, to legislate otherwise than as the draftsman has done. I am quite satisfied that this does what we want done, which is just to be able to undertake the onus on us to apply the Act of Accession here.

We dealt with this on Committee Stage. This difference exists in our thinking. For simplicity we all spoke of regulations being directly applicable and the others needing legislation, but there is a blurring, there are areas of grey. This proposed draft in the Bill does cover any onus on us to implement the Treaties of Accession and the Act of Accession. I think it should stand in that way.

[1691]Major de Valera: Information on Vivion de Valera  Zoom on Vivion de Valera  This debate, particularly on Committee Stage, developed into an attempt to define directives in a legal sense as something distinct from regulations of the Community and to build a theory on the idea that the directives were, so to speak, legally unborn children. I think there is a lack of appreciation of what we really have here. In so far as we are adopting the legislation of the European Community, through its organs the Council of Ministers and the Commission, we are accepting their acts as binding legislation here. Deputy FitzGerald, on Committee Stage, I think agreed with me that a directive is as much an act as a regulation, that the distinction is that in the case of one you have the thing neatly defined and directly applicable, in the case of the other it is incomplete in the sense that to secure local enforcibility something has to be done locally. This is all common case but that does not make a directive any less an act or any less a proper subject matter for the legislation as is in that section.

We have many times in this House enacted legislation that needed perfection by ministerial order and regulations. Many of us have, indeed, complained that it was a technique too easily availed of. Without going into detail I can recollect cases where the actual implementation of the Act of Parliament we passed here depended on the making of an order by the Minister in a particular area or even the bringing into action of a part of an Act. It would not be difficult to find on the record of the House an Act with a section which reads something like this:

This part of the Act will come into effect on the day prescribed by regulation.

Will anybody argue that that Act of Parliament is any less an Act of Parliament than an Act that says definitely:

On blank day of blank such-and-such will happen

and does it completely in the one Act? No. What has happened here is that with the exigencies of the modern world, parliaments have and this Parliament has evolved a method of getting [1692] over the difficulty of not being able to make a thing precisely effective in detail at a particular point by delegating the power of legislation to another agent. The point I want to make is that an Act of Parliament requiring implementation by regulation is no less an Act of Parliament than any other Act because of that reason.

Let us apply this reasoning to the Common Market. This is not a question for scoring points and I can appreciate the argument that is being adduced from the other side although I cannot subscribe to it. I would ask Deputy Ryan to look at this approach. Is a directive legislation or not? If a directive from the Common Market were merely the expression of a wish or was to be construed on a take-it or leave-it basis, if it were merely an exhortation, then I would subscribe to the views propounded from the other side but if a directive is an Act and is, in effect, a piece of legislation, then I find myself completely on the Minister's side. I believe that that is precisely what we are dealing with. We are dealing with an Act which is none the less an Act by reason of the fact that to give it effect something further must be done. Say a directive was issued which would have conveyed some rights on somebody after implementation and say a Minister failed to implement it with regulation, is that to be construed as meaning that the Act has failed? How would a court look at this? In my submission a court would look at it this way, that the person had the rights by the very fact of the directive but that his claim failed because of the failure of somebody else down the line.

This has happened in the courts in regard to domestic regulations where, for want of doing something perfectly, a person would have a claim under an Act but for want of a regulation or the proper doing of a regulation his claim failed. In the failure of that claim he would be told by the court that he had better go and look to the person who failed, that there was no doubt about the basic law in his case. The same kind of thing applies here.

Therefore, we are unduly confusing [1693] ourselves with the difference between directives and regulations. We are trying to distinguish something that is one in its essence through the fact that in the practical application there is a vast difference. I am sure Deputy Ryan will agree that the problems of drafting legislation of this nature are very great. I share the view that he has and that everyone in Opposition has, perhaps more acutely than those behind the Government, of the desirability wherever possible to make legislation explicit in this House and to avoid administrative legislation through regulation as far as possible. In the case of this Bill and what is involved, having regard to the fact that regulations will have to be made under certain situations in the future, and that a great deal of legislation has to be adopted and that you have to provide for legislation that will be made which you will adopt as it is, namely, commission regulations, I still find myself with the same view which I expressed on Committee Stage. This Bill reflects great care and thought in its drafting. I think I made that remark even before the controversy about the form of the Bill.

I suggest to the House that it is not practical to have a completely analytical Bill in this case and if you are not going to have a completely analytical Bill this type of Bill is the better. One could run the risk of falling between two stools in attempting to half do the job by overdoing the detail in one area and leaving the rest open. This is too serious a matter to think of scoring points in debate. I fully appreciate the points that have been made on the opposite side. Therefore, I believe I should give my reasons why I believe the Minister should keep this Bill in the form it is in.

Mr. Bruton: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  The Minister has admitted that the bulk of directives are not framed to be directly applicable in the State. They are not framed in a way that they can be immediately enforced in the State after they have been enacted by the Council of Ministers of the EEC. In other words, they are framed in such a way that it is [1694] required of the national State to which they apply to introduce legislation or regulations to give them full effect.

There are many directives which give the national State a very wide range of choice as to the way in which it may implement them. On Committee Stage I drew attention to a directive in relation to assistance for people keeping farm accounts. The Government are free under the terms of this directive to apply it or not apply it in particular parts of the country. It goes as far as that. Therefore, section 2 says that, existing and future acts adopted by the institutions of the Communities—that includes directives—shall be part of the domestic law of the State under the conditions laid down in those treaties.

You cannot simply make these directives immediately part of the domestic law of the State because they are not framed immediately to become part of the domestic law of the State. It would be impossible to enforce them. If you had a man who was seeking a premium for keeping farm accounts and he sought to enforce this directive, which had not had the necessary regulations made by the State—it is quite possible it might not make the necessary regulations— he could not enforce it because he would not know whether or not they would have been, if the State had made regulations, applicable in his particular area. In this case you would have a confusing legal situation.

This Bill seeks to make these directives part of the domestic law regardless of whether any implementing regulations are made. As such it goes further than the Minister is permitted to go by the constitutional amendment which was made on 10th May last. That constitutional amendment enables the Government to enact measures which are necessitated by the obligations of the Community. The Government are not necessitated by the obligations of the Community to make those directives, which are not intended to be directly applicable in the State, regardless of whether or not they make them directly applicable in the State without consequent national legislation.

The Minister has contended that [1695] this is qualified by the phrase “under the conditions laid down in those treaties”, that that somehow lets us “off the hook” and that the directives do not become part of the domestic law because those treaties do not require them to become part of the domestic law. I doubt this because those treaties are framed as documents in international law and are not framed, as far as I can see, as documents for implementation domestically within the Irish courts. It is fair to say that there is considerable doubt whether the amendment which Fine Gael have proposed will clear up the doubt and that in the interests of clarity, if nothing else, the Minister should accept the amendment.

Mr. Ryan: Information on Richie Ryan  Zoom on Richie Ryan  The Minister suggested that an answer to the Fine Gael argument was that if Fine Gael were right then this State has often done wrong in the past. That is possible. Again and again it is found after years of malpractice that a particular way of doing things is unconstitutional. I anticipated the Minister's argument where he said that Fine Gael were suggesting something——

Dr. Hillery: Information on Patrick John Hillery  Zoom on Patrick John Hillery  I said the State must have been wrong in giving delegated legislative powers to Ministers. We had better be precise.

Mr. Ryan: Information on Richie Ryan  Zoom on Richie Ryan  I accept the precision of the Minister's language. Perhaps I was giving too free a translation but it is possible that the State has been wrong in the past in giving this delegated power of legislation to Ministers. The Constitution does not entertain the idea. It says that delegated power of legislation may be given to subordinate legislatures. The other point that the Minister made, and which I anticipated, was that if the Fine Gael argument is right the amendment is as illegal as is the Government Bill but we are caught by the decisions of this House on Committee Stage. We endeavoured to prevent the House from making a wrong decision on that Stage but we were overruled by a Fianna Fáil majority. The rules of the House do not permit us to re-table the amendment which would avoid this wrongdoing. While we [1696] believe that it can be argued and proved that the Government are doing wrong we ask them at least to do it with some clarity and precision so that the very distinct difference between a Community regulation and a Community directive will be recognised in our legislation. I will produce further evidence of the unconstitutionality of this Bill and remind the Minister that on the Second Stage also we endeavoured to have amendments passed which would have prevented this illegality.

Article 17.2 of the Constitution states that:

...no law shall be enacted, for the appropriation of revenue or other public moneys unless the purpose of the appropriation shall have been recommended to Dáil Éireann by a message from the Government signed by the Taoiseach.

The Minister has sought power to impose taxation by regulation. On Committee Stage he refused our amendment to withhold that power and keep it in Dáil Éireann. Therefore, although the Government are seeking power today to impose taxation by regulation they cannot do it. The obligations of the EEC do not require that that be done by ministerial regulation. It is not necessitated by membership of the Community and neither is it something that is covered by the authority conferred by the people in the plebiscite. It is beyond what is necessitated and that is the emphasis that we are putting before the House. If the Government had not been so indifferent to the democratic process, if they had not been so hungry for power, irrespective of the blessing and approval of the Oireachtas, they would not be walking themselves and the State into this constitutional mess.

Again, in Article 15.5 the Constitution provides that:

The Oireachtas shall not declare acts to be infringements of the law which were not so at the date of their commission.

Our amendment on Committee Stage, which was defeated by Government vote also, would have ensured that no ministerial regulation would be made which would declare an act to be an [1697] infringement of the law which was not so on the date of its commission but we were informed that the obligations of the Community require that that amendment would not be acceptable. Here again there is a clear conflict between the obligations of the Community and our own Constitution. We accept that some of them are inevitable and that some of them are covered by the decision of the people in the referendum. But the Government have gone far beyond the authority given and they are in the process of cutting a stick with which to beat themselves and the institutions of this State.

I accept the very reasoned arguments put forward by Deputy de Valera and I would like to reply in the same vein as that in which he submitted his views. He wished to know whether a directive was binding on this State. I say it is. We have provided for that in our amendment because section 2 would provide that the Treaties governing the European Communities and the existing and future acts adopted by the institutions of the Community shall be binding on the State. That covers the directives and it is accepting as an obligation on the State the implementation of the directives, but it is wrong to go on to say after that, as the section says, that on that account they are there and then part of the domestic law. We say they become part of the domestic law only when they are enforcible in law. Our amendment is not in conflict with the intention of [1698] the section but it certainly is much better draftsmanship.

The directives could be regarded as being in the nature of discretionary trusts. They create a trust. They impose an obligation on the trustees— the trustees are the Government and the Parliament of Ireland—but it is left to the trustees to exercise their discretion within the obligations created. Our amendment identifies more neatly the area of discretionary trust from the area of unavoidable and immediate obligation. Apart from the fact that directives create obligations they are also in the nature of enabling legislation. The directives of the Community create obligations they are also in the nature of enabling legislation. make orders but all these arguments, even the excellent arguments of Deputy de Valera, tend to support us on this and point to the need to distinguish between the regulations of the Community on the one hand and the directives, decisions and other acts on the other.

I am aware of the Minister's anxiety to have this Bill put through the House as quickly as possible but I would hope that even at this late stage he might give an indication that he is prepared to consider getting the advice of the draftsman and, perhaps, introducing an amendment in the Seanad that would cover these points. If we are not given that assurance we shall have to press the amendment.

Amendment put.

Barry, Peter.
Barry, Richard.
Begley, Michael.
Belton, Luke.
Belton, Paddy.
Bruton, John.
Burke, Joan.
Burke, Liam.
Burton, Philip.
Byrne, Hugh.
Clinton, Mark A.
Cluskey, Frank.
Collins, Edward.
Conlan, John F.
Coogan, Fintan.
Cooney, Patrick M. [1699]Kavanagh, Liam.
Kenny, Henry.
L'Estrange, Gerald.
Lynch, Gerard.
McLaughlin, Joseph.
McMahon, Lawrence.
Malone, Patrick.
Murphy, Michael P.
O'Connell, John F.
O'Donnell, Tom.
Cosgrave, Liam.
Creed, Donal.
Crotty, Kieran.
Dockrell, Maurice E.
Donegan, Patrick S.
Donnellan, John.
Dunne, Thomas.
Esmonde, Sir Anthony C.
Finn, Martin.
FitzGerald, Garret.
Fitzpatrick, Tom (Cavan).
Flanagan, Oliver J.
Governey, Desmond.
Harte, Patrick D.
Hogan O'Higgins, Brigid.
Jones, Denis F. [1700]O'Donovan, John.
O'Higgins, Thomas F.
O'Leary, Michael.
O'Reilly, Paddy.
Pattison, Séamus.
Ryan, Richie.
Spring, Dan.
Taylor, Francis.
Timmins, Godfrey.

Aiken, Frank.
Andrews, David.
Barrett, Sylvester.
Boylan, Terence.
Brady, Philip A.
Brennan, Paudge.
Briscoe, Ben.
Brosnan, Seán.
Browne, Patrick.
Browne, Seán.
Burke, Patrick J.
Carter, Frank.
Carty, Michael.
Childers, Erskine.
Colley, George.
Collins, Gerard.
Cowen, Bernard.
Cronin, Jerry.
Crowley, Flor.
Cunningham, Liam.
Davern, Noel.
Delap, Patrick.
de Valera, Vivion.
Dowling, Joe.
Fahey, Jackie.
Faulkner, Pádraig.
Fitzgerald, Gene.
Fitzpatrick, Tom (Dublin Central).
Flanagan, Seán.
Foley, Desmond.
French, Seán.
Gallagher, James.
Gibbons, Hugh.
Gibbons, James.
Gogan, Richard P.
Herbert, Michael.
Hillery, Patrick J.
Hilliard, Michael.
Hussey, Thomas.
Kenneally, William.
Kitt, Michael F.
Lemass, Noel T.
Loughnane, William A.
Lynch, Celia.
Lynch, John.
McEllistrim, Thomas.
MacSharry, Ray.
Meaney, Thomas.
Molloy, Robert.
Moore, Seán.
Nolan, Thomas.
Noonan, Michael.
O'Connor, Timothy.
O'Kennedy, Michael.
O'Leary, John.
O'Malley, Des.
Power, Patrick.
Smith, Michael.
Smith, Patrick.
Timmons, Eugene.
Tunney, Jim.
Wyse, Pearse.

Amendment declared lost.

Amendment No. 3 not moved.

Mr. Bruton: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  I move amendment No. 4:

In page 3, after line 15, to insert a new subsection as follows:—

“( ) All draft EEC regulations and directives laid by the Commission of the Communities before the Council of Ministers of the Communities shall, as soon as may be after they are issued, be laid on the table of both Houses of the Oireachtas by the Government accompanied by such explanations as are deemed necessary by the Minister.”

This amendment goes a short way along the road we were seeking to go on Committee Stage of this Bill in regard to ensuring that Deputies, Senators and public representatives generally should have an opportunity of scrutinising draft EEC legislation prior to that legislation becoming the settled policy of the Community, because we believe that the best influence can be exerted by this House if that opportunity is afforded to it prior to a decision being taken by the Community.

There is very little point in having debates in this House on matters which are already agreed at Community level. What we believe should be [1701] done is to give this House an opportunity to influence the stand taken by the Irish members of the European Parliament and, most important of all, by the Irish members of the Council of Ministers, when these matters come for decision before them. We believe that is an important element in the democratisation of the Community decision-making procedures. This amendment goes a short way in this direction. It does not go as far as I would like it to because the other steps along the road have already been ruled out by the vote of the Fianna Fáil Party in this House. That party did not want to see proper procedures available to Deputies for advising their Minister on whatever line he should take in regard to EEC legislation coming for decision before him at the Council of Ministers.

This amendment is one which the Minister should have no difficulty in accepting despite the difficulties he mentioned in relation to the other amendments we had along the same general lines. Unfortunately, the amendments does no more than put Members of the House on notice of the existence of the proposals which are coming up for decision. It also gives the Minister an opportunity of accompanying this notice with a translation of the decisions which will be deposited in the Library in both official languages. It is important to point out that, in the terms of this amendment, these should be made available in the Irish language also. This also gives the Minister an opportunity of placing, with the actual deposit of the draft regulations, an explanation of the implications for Ireland, thereby giving Members information as to how regulations will affect our country, and assistance as to how to analyse them. This should help them to make submissions to the Minister and to communicate with their constituents who may be concerned about the implications of a particular directive.

All this information should be laid before the House and should be in the Library. It is important that this should be done. I am not sure to what extent the fact that a regulation is laid before the House entitles Members to [1702] seek a discussion on it. I do not know whether there is such a right. If there is such right, that is something which would be very desirable. It would be desirable if Members could, when a draft directive is laid down, as they can when regulations are laid before the House, discuss it. Prior to a decision being taken is there an opportunity——

Dr. Hillery: Information on Patrick John Hillery  Zoom on Patrick John Hillery  Does the Deputy want to know?

Mr. Bruton: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  Does the Minister know the answer?

Dr. Hillery: Information on Patrick John Hillery  Zoom on Patrick John Hillery  Laying down a draft directive does not give any rights. It is for information.

Mr. Bruton: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  If directives are laid before the House that gives an opportunity to Deputies to be aware of what is happening and to communicate to their constituents the contents of these regulations, accompanied by whatever explanation the Government wish to give and thereby to get opinions back from their constituents which they can then submit privately to the Minister. No other procedure is provided for, unfortunately. This is something which the Minister should have no difficulty in accepting. If the Minister refuses to accept it, I just cannot understand why he should do so. If the Minister refuses to inform the House officially of proposals coming before the Council of Ministers, he is intending to keep the House completely in the dark as to what is going on in the EEC and to arrogate to himself as a member of the Council of Ministers and to the small number who are members of the European Parliament, the opportunity to participate in the knowledge of the proposals coming from the Commission for decision. I hope that the Minister will accept this small amendment to the Bill as a very small measure of recognition of the role of this House in assisting him and Members of the European Parliament in analysing, for constituents all over the country, the effect of proposals coming from the Commission and as yet undecided by the Council.

[1703]Mr. O.J. Flanagan: Information on Oliver J. Flanagan  Zoom on Oliver J. Flanagan  The amendment moved by Deputy Bruton appears to be most reasonable. I fail to see any reason why the Minister for Foreign Affairs should not accept it. The Minister has not indicated yet whether he will accept it or not. Are we foolish to presume that he will not accept it? If I thought that the Minister was not prepared to accept this amendment, I would make the allegation that in this Bill an effort is being made, most successfully, to blindfold and gag this House by withholding information from Deputies about regulations and directives and thereby keeping them in the dark. When the Members of this House are kept in the dark it means that they are not in a position to enlighten their constituents.

Yesterday it was reported in The Irish Times that there has been a drastic reduction in the number of farmers in France since 1955 and if there are regulations or directives which will lead to a reduction of landowners in my constituency. I should like to know about them because I am the link between the agricultural community in my constituency and this House. If there is a breakdown between this House and Brussels, by what means can the Irish people extract the information they require? This Bill is a most dangerous Bill if the safeguards embodies in the amendment are not inserted.

The amendment is most reasonable. It asks that:

All draft EEC regulations and directives laid by the Commission of the Communities before the Council of Ministers of the Communities shall, as soon as may be after they are issued, be laid on the table of both Houses of the Oireachtas by the Government accompanied by such explanations as are deemed necessary by the Minister.

I presume that what is meant by the words “accompanied by such explanations as are deemed necessary by the Minister” is that there would be a memo attached to every regulation and directive similar to the explanatory memorandum that accompanies a Bill when it is circulated to Deputies.

[1704] I would be prepared to go further than Deputy Bruton has proposed in his amendment.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Denis Francis Jones  Zoom on Denis Francis Jones  I hope the Deputy will not exceed what is permitted on Report Stage.

Mr. O.J. Flanagan: Information on Oliver J. Flanagan  Zoom on Oliver J. Flanagan  I shall not. In addition to what is suggested in the amendment, that regulations and directives be laid on the table of both Houses, I would suggest that they should be circulated to Members of this House so that they might be in a position to study such directives and regulations as would have an important effect on the economic, political and social life of the people.

Unless the amendment is accepted, this House will have lost its teeth. The only thing I regret is that those who realise what is involved now did not realise it before 10th May last. This Parliament will become a pawn and a tool for Brussels. It is only by acceptance of the amendment that Members of this House would be able to know what is going on. The need for such an amendment is urgent. On 10th May last the Irish voters gave the Government a blank cheque so far as the powers of their Parliament was concerned. Now we have the Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Government assisting Brussels in the concealment of their business. This is an effort to hide what is going on, to keep directives and regulations from public representatives so that they cannot be held responsible, in the case of agriculture, for instance, for the diminution in the number of farmers in rural Ireland, and will not be in a position to point to any regulation or directive that may have a serious effect on the industrial life of the country.

If regulations and directives are made in Brussels and if only the select few who will represent us there are aware of these regulations and directives which may wreck Irish industries and render Irish workers unemployed, this House will be completely powerless to do anything about them or even to express an opinion. If the regulations and directives are not laid [1705] before the House Deputies will not have an opportunity to express an opinion. Unless Deputies can study the regulations and directives before they are made they will be unable to judge their effect on our own community.

What greater disrespect can there be for Parliament than the suggestion that Parliament does not warrant the confidence of Brussels and that Parliament will not be given the facilities reasonably asked for in the amendment? Are there underhand activities that have not been disclosed? The Irish people and the Danish people have voted democratically to enter the EEC. In Britain, the people did not get the chance to do so. Before the referendum the people were warned that Parliament would become a shadowy version of an urban district council so far as its functions vis-à-vis the EEC would be concerned. Thousands of people did not heed that warning. The necessity for this amendment enlightens the people in this regard. If the Minister is not prepared to accept the amendment, Members of Parliament will have no prior knowledge of regulations and directives made in Brussels and will not be able to judge their effect on our economy and on the social conditions of their constituents.

I trust the Minister for Foreign Affairs will satisfy the House as to his reasons for refusing to accept a reasonable amendment such as this. Is one of the reasons that because of the difficult years ahead the Government do not want Parliament to be as well informed as they are, that there is a desire to make laws, directives and regulations and to leave Parliament, which was once sovereign, in total darkness and ignorance? Is it that those associated with the Council of Ministers and the Commission are afraid of the criticism of Parliament? Is it that they are afraid of expressions of Parliamentary opinion on certain of their works. Certainly, as time goes on, they may well be ashamed of the economic consequences that flow from their directives and decisions.

As I pointed out, this is a most dangerous Bill without a subsection of this kind and, even if the Minister [1706] accepts this amendment, it will not improve the Bill to any great extent.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Denis Francis Jones  Zoom on Denis Francis Jones  We cannot discuss the Bill now. We can deal only with the amendment.

Mr. O.J. Flanagan: Information on Oliver J. Flanagan  Zoom on Oliver J. Flanagan  If this amendment is accepted, both Houses of the Oireachtas will at least have to be provided with all essential information. What objection has the Minister to facilitating Parliament with this kind of information? Is it that 90 per cent of the work in Brussels will be done behind closed doors? If this amendment is not accepted, there will be people elsewhere legislating in the dark for this country. We want legislation in the full light of day, legislation carefully studied and examined. Parliament is being flouted. If this amendment is not accepted, it will mean that laws will be enacted elsewhere which will affect us, laws relating to the economic and social life of the Irish people. Our voice in Brussels will not be sufficiently loud to change those laws. We were told in the referendum campaign that it would be better for us to be there so that Ireland's position, economically and socially, could be improved. It was suggested we might be able to adapt European legislation to suit our needs. The people fell for that. We are almost there now and we find that the voice of our representatives will be a feeble voice. We find that this Parliament will not get the regulations and the directives so that Parliament can scrutinise and examine them.

Is it the intention to sell out completely to the foreigners? The bargain has been sealed. I regard myself as good a European as the next, but I am an Irishman first, and my main interest is to ensure that this Parliament will function smoothly within the EEC. I do not want to see in the EEC the rich growing richer and the poor growing poorer. The EEC is a rich man's society and this society intends to keep the people in the dark. The Fianna Fáil Party and the Fianna Fáil Government are giving to the rich European's club the right to do things behind closed doors and the right to deny public representatives information as to what is going on.

I charge the Minister with being [1707] responsible for depriving this House of a right vested in Parliamentary institutions in every democracy. He will have to be compelled to place regulations and directives in the Library of this House so that Members of this Parliament will know what is going on and, not alone Members of this Parliament, but vocational organisations, farming organisations, trade unions and all the other bodies which will be vitally interested in these directives and regulations.

Is it not a fact that regulations and directives could be made in Brussels which would seriously affect the trade union movement here? Those associated with the trade union movement in Germany and on the Continent generally do not see eye to eye with those associated with the trade union movement in Britain and in this country. Even the very existence of the trade union movement here may be affected. God help the working classes here since 1913 had there not been a strong trade union movement. Now there is the possibility that steps will be taken behind closed doors in Brussels to render ineffective the functions of trade unions both here and in Britain. Is it not correct that there was a long and serious discussion behind closed doors in Brussels as to what drastic steps could be taken against the trade union movement in both France and Italy. Assuming the Brussels bureaucrats decide, in their wisdom, to take the teeth out of the trade union movement in all member countries, surely we are entitled to see in advance the directives and regulations being considered in Brussels in relation to the rights and functions of trade unions. No decision was taken on the occasion to which I have referred. No regulation was made. No directive was given about silencing the trade unions in Italy and France. Now that they are strengthened by the accession of Ireland and the conservative element and the Heath atmosphere and all resources pooled, another attempt may be made on the trade union movement in Europe. If such an attempt, which might affect the livelihood of every trade unionist in Ireland, [1708] is made the House will be kept in complete ignorance of it unless there is a new subsection in this Bill to ensure that we shall have an opportunity to consider any regulation or directive in regard to the trade union movement.

Apart entirely from that, this House is entitled to examine every regulation and directive concerning agriculture. It will be bad enough if there is a continuation of the discussions to muzzle trade unions in Britain and in this country just as discussions took place to muzzle the movement in Italy and France, but in a country where agriculture is so important and where farmers expect a Utopia after the dawn of New Year's Day, we are entitled to know every order, regulation and directive and to be able to forecast for our constituents the results of such decisions by the Brussels bureaucrats. That cannot be done unless Deputy Bruton's amendment is accepted. An undertaking by any Minister is only worth the amount of time it takes for him to deliver it. We want it written into the Bill and even if that is done it will not improve this sad Bill which is selling out this House and everything connected with it but it will at least ensure that decisions affecting every branch of life, political and economic, may at least be seen and read by Members of the House.

I have given an explanation to the House, and it is now on record, of the attitude of the Brussels bureaucrats in regard to certain Continental trade unions. I now want to warn farmers' organisations that unless this new section is put into the Bill and unless we can see all the regulations and directives and know their contents fully and secure an explanation from the Minister giving his views on their consequences for this country, there will be decisions that will shake the foundations of farming here. What we want is not unreasonable; it is something to which a democratic Parliament is entitled. If we are to pretend that we are a sovereign Parliament, which we shall not be after New Year's Day, let us show that all vestiges of democracy have not gone from us by accepting this amendment. [1709] If this Bill is passed without the new subsection, I am convinced every farming organisation will regret the day that it was passed. Every organisation of vocational interests will be kept in ignorance by the concealment of what is going on concerning their existance and their affairs.

Nothing concerns the House more than safeguarding the rights of farmers to live on their holdings, safeguarding sound, economic prices with profits for farmers. We shall not know what is being done unless the decisions are put before this House for our perusal. The future of the beetgrowing and tillage farmers, milk producers, bacon and pig producers and the existence of our dead meat trade and our bacon factories may be involved.

Rationalisation is a dirty word nowadays and is causing uneasiness not only now economically in this country but it has caused disturbance throughout Europe for some years past. There can be many types of rationalisation. Even the theologians are examining the words nowadays: people are wondering how excuses can be made for their offences against the full terms of Christian teaching. The word “rationalisation” is being examined in many quarters. It may be easy to find and make excuses but that does not alter the original stand. That is why I say, as regards the trade union movement and the rights of farmers to know what is in store for them either in benefits or in worsening of living standards, that unless Parliament is facilitated in seeing and considering these regulations, one cannot know what will be the outcome.

If the new subsection is included in the Bill at least the House will not be kept completely in the dark; there will be some glimmer of light as regards regulations and directives. I want to ask the Foreign Minister what will be the position, without this new subsection, of industrial concerns which do not meet the requirements and directives of the EEC as regards steps already taken and as a result of which the EEC Commission are threatening to fine 62 companies. I quote from The Irish Times of 11th November, 1972, which said:

The European Commission has [1710] threatened to fine or otherwise penalise 62 companies in the Six which have not supplied requested information about their trading operations.

I hope that all the companies and industrialists who had an enlightened view of the EEC last April and May will examine the reasons why 62 companies are being picked out for heavy fines and why this threat hangs over them because of failing to disclose full information to the Brussels bureaucrats about their trading operations. I would like to know this since every company in this country will be caught out on New Year's Day under the same regulation by which 62 companies are already threatened with fines. My argument in relation to this subsection is that if there are to be directives or regulations in relation to the giving of information, tax-wise or otherwise, which is requested by the Brussels bureaucrats and if any Irish company fail to respond, they are going to be fined and may be put out of business by a stroke of the Brussels' pen for not complying with the regulation.

I continue the quotation:

The companies concerned had notified the Commission about one or more exclusive agreements which they operate with other companies thereby conforming with the Community competition rules. However, they have subsequently failed to supply additional information requested by the Commission with a view to confirming whether or not the agreements themselves infringed the laws.

I want to warn, through the medium of this House, every industrial concern and every company in this country that they do not know what is in store for them after New Year's Day. It will not take them long to find out, once the Brussels boys get after them, and this House can do nothing about it because the very regulation which affects the 62 companies which are already under threat by Brussels is here in this document, if we could get a magician to find it and will become part and parcel of our domestic law.

[1711] We must safeguard industrial concerns and companies. This House must safeguard the trade union movement, must safeguard the farming organisations and farmers in general and must safeguard educational interests in all aspects, but this House is safeguarding nobody by failing to see to it that all future laws, regulations and directives are to be furnished to us with detailed information from the Minister as to their consequences. I want to tell the Foreign Minister here and now as one who readily accepts the wishes of the people and who has readily accepted election results for the past 30 years——

Major de Valera: Information on Vivion de Valera  Zoom on Vivion de Valera  I thought the Deputy and his party advocated that result before the referendum.

Mr. Ryan: Information on Richie Ryan  Zoom on Richie Ryan  This is not a necessary consequence.

Major de Valera: Information on Vivion de Valera  Zoom on Vivion de Valera  I agree.

Mr. O.J. Flanagan: Information on Oliver J. Flanagan  Zoom on Oliver J. Flanagan  I can assure Deputy de Valera that I whole heartedly accept the verdict of the people in relation to this matter.

Major de Valera: Information on Vivion de Valera  Zoom on Vivion de Valera  Yes, but the Deputy's party also urged the people to it.

Mr. O.J. Flanagan: Information on Oliver J. Flanagan  Zoom on Oliver J. Flanagan  Yes, which they were entitled to do. My party cannot say that I did not warn them. When my party took this decision, I was the only member of the party who dissented from the decision. Therefore I am no new convert and the Deputy will have to admit that I am consistent in my argument.

Major de Valera: Information on Vivion de Valera  Zoom on Vivion de Valera  Except that the Deputy is staying in Fine Gael. He is not consistent in that, if that is his view.

Mr. O.J. Flanagan: Information on Oliver J. Flanagan  Zoom on Oliver J. Flanagan  Oh, yes. There is room in the Fine Gael Party for all people who believe that there is an alternative to Fianna Fáil. That is [1712] what makes a good political party, a combination of individuals who can contribute wisely and sensibly to social, economic and financial matters.

Acting Chairman (Sir Anthony Esmonde): Information on Anthony Charles Esmonde  Zoom on Anthony Charles Esmonde  Deputy Flanagan, on the amendment.

Mr. O.J. Flanagan: Information on Oliver J. Flanagan  Zoom on Oliver J. Flanagan  If there are regulations to be made to penalise industrialists in my area, to penalise private and public companies, economic institutions, the trade union movement, the farming organisations and educational interests, I want to know in advance what they are all about and that is why I am so strongly advising the House to insist on the inclusion of this amendment, because we doubt this new subsection. The Foreign Minister is failing to meet a reasonable democratic demand. It is not really a demand; it is a reasonable request. Admittedly, he has this blank cheque but why continue to exceed the value of the blank cheque against the best interests of dmocracy in this country?

If in relation to the entire social and economic life of the Irish nation, the Council of Ministers are to make directives and regulations which may have a bearing on a united Ireland, is this Parliament not the place to discuss such directives and regulations? If there are regulations and directives which bring up our social welfare benefits to a standard even higher than those in Northern Ireland as a means of encouraging those who are outside to come in for better living standards, surely this House is entitled to know of such regulations and directives. If in Brussels at a later stage the Council of Ministers feel that our Minister and the British Minister must put their heads together in relation to suggestions for a peaceful solution to the Northern problem will this be done with the British in Brussels behind closed doors? Will this House be made aware of any regulations or directives that may have a bearing on the unity of this country? On more than one occasion President Pompidou is on record as stating that both Britain and the Republic should [1713] iron out their problems before we enter the EEC. If, as a result of any pressure from France in relation to such problems, directives or regulations are made that would have an effect on the unity of this country and which could be explored and discussed in this Parliament, will this be done behind closed doors?

Democracy is a very fine word to use but it is difficult to put it into practice. I am a believer in the freedom of speech, of thought and the complete freedom of Parliament to rule, advise and guide. In the interests of democracy I ask that Parliament be allowed to function by giving it all the information that is necessary. Therefore, I support this amendment.

Mr. Ryan: Information on Richie Ryan  Zoom on Richie Ryan  Deputy Flanagan's well-delivered and sincerely spoken speech does not need any endorsement from me. When Parliament ceases to be the guardian of the national interest democracy dies. The accountability of Government to the Oireachtas is an essential of our Constitution and of our whole democratic process. We are asking the Government to respect that principle of accountability and to allow the Oireachtas to continue to be the guardian of the national interest. Therefore, we suggest that drafts of regulations and directives should be brought before this House for consideration so that Members may give their opinions on them before the Government make the final decision.

There is nothing in the amendment which purports to interfere with the rights and obligations of the members of the Government to discharge their ministerial duties. There is nothing in the amendment which conflicts with the obligations of this State to the European Communities, but there is everything in the amendment which makes it possible for democracy not merely to be seen to work but actually to work. There is nothing in the amendment which is not respected in a number of member states of the European Communities.

I would refer to the book entitled “The EEC: National Parliaments in Community Decision-making” by Michael Niblock. In this publication [1714] it is stated that whenever a proposal of any political importance is forewarded to the Council, the competent committees of the Dutch Second Chamber have a right to discuss its contents in the presence of the Government's Council representative. It is stated that the Minister will usually be expected to inform the committee on how the Government reacts to the proposals, what reservations, if any, it feels towards them and what position it expects to take up in the Council. The publication states that the Minister's statement will be the subject of comment and perhaps criticism from the committee. He may be urged to adopt a different attitude from the one he had previously intended to take although the Government's ultimate responsibility for determining the negotiating position must not be called in question. Once important decisions have been reached in the Council, it is the normal practice for the Minister to be invited to appear again before the competent committee in order to clarify the course taken by discussions in the Council.

In the Belgian Senate and Chamber, the procedures involve somewhat less discussion than in the Dutch Parliament. Their activity is less regular as well as less intensive. Nevertheless, they exercise this right of supervision which intervenes sometimes before, and at other times after, the event.

In the Bundestag into the law authorising the ratification of the Rome Treaties passed by the Bundestag in 1957—a piece of legislation not dissimilar to this—a clause was inserted which requires the Federal Government to inform the two Houses of Parliament of projected Community decisions which, if passed, would necessitate changes being made to German law or which would become directly applicable in Germany.

We are asking no more than an opportunity to discuss the draft regulations and directives so that the elected representatives of the people of Ireland will be able to offer their opinions on these directives. During opinions on draft regulations and directives. During the negotiations for our entry into the EEC the Government acknowledged—perhaps not [1715] always in public but certainly in private—that the intensity of criticism, the expression of fears from the Opposition, helped to strengthen the Government's negotiating position. It helped to obtain for us concessions and arrangements that were to our benefit. Why should we divest ourselves of this opportunity to strengthen the hands of our Minister in the Council of Ministers, of our representatives in the European Parliament or of the Commissioner who will represent Ireland?

The procedure we are suggesting would substantially strengthen and improve our position and, although we do not like all the powers the Minister is seeking in this Bill, there is nothing in this amendment that detracts from what the Minister wants to do. All we want is an opportunity to express our views before the State is committed to the adoption of directives and regulations that were not put before Parliament. If the Parliaments of Belgium, Holland and Germany use this right, why should we not seek to build it into this Bill and preserve this advantage for our country? This is the only way we can ensure that the Parliament in Ireland remains the guardian of the people's interests.

It would not be so bad if all the powers of which we are divesting ourselves here were transferred to the European Parliament but that is not the case. The European Parliamentary institution is imperfect and has not been given the power of control, the power in the making of legislation which a parliament should have. Until a proper European Parliament is established it is imperative that at least we reserve the right to comment or influence decisions before they are made by somebody else. It is necessary for us to do this and this is what this reasonable amendment seeks to achieve.

Dr. Hillery: Information on Patrick John Hillery  Zoom on Patrick John Hillery  I know Deputy Ryan was in a hurry. He was reading about the German Bundestag and the law authorising the ratification of the Rome Treaties passed by the Bundestag in which a clause was inserted requiring [1716] the Federal Government to inform the two Houses. If he had read on a little further he would have seen that, in a later resolution, the Bundestag laid down their own procedure for the application of that article, article 2 of their legislation, by which the President is required to forward a Commission text falling within the categories mentioned to any parliamentary committee which might be interested in looking at it. I do not know whether the Deputy was aware of the second part of the paragraph.

Mr. Ryan: Information on Richie Ryan  Zoom on Richie Ryan  If the Minister will allow me, indeed I was. I did not want to extend the debate, but the Minister will find at the top of the next page that very often the Federal Government will be more or less strongly instructed to press for certain conditions which are spelled out.

Dr. Hillery: Information on Patrick John Hillery  Zoom on Patrick John Hillery  The first thing in their legislation was a clause saying that the Bundestag should be informed. Later they set up the procedure. Between the amendment by Deputy Bruton and the motion by Deputy Cosgrave and Deputy Ryan we have to set up a committee. I think we have there the method by which we can inform——

Mr. Bruton: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  The Minister rejected my amendment. He voted it down and there is no point in talking about it now.

Dr. Hillery: Information on Patrick John Hillery  Zoom on Patrick John Hillery  We did not reject the motion.

Mr. Bruton: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  The Minister rejected a committee of the House.

Dr. Hillery: Information on Patrick John Hillery  Zoom on Patrick John Hillery  I have agreed with Deputy Ryan that we will have a committee and we will try to get some arrangements for it.

Mr. Bruton: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  The committee must have statutory rights.

Mr. O.J. Flanagan: Information on Oliver J. Flanagan  Zoom on Oliver J. Flanagan  We agreed that the whole Dáil would go into committee.

Dr. Hillery: Information on Patrick John Hillery  Zoom on Patrick John Hillery  Deputy Flanagan objected to the idea of a committee on certain very firm grounds: it would give a special place, special knowledge [1717] and a special privilege to some Deputies. If the committee were set up for the purpose of informing the Dáil and making sure the Dáil was informed on draft legislation, it could be very useful. Deputy Bruton may be under a misapprehension if he thinks we have rejected the idea of a committee.

I have questioned the Dáil Office and I am told that, to get a joint committee such as is desired in the motion, would require an expediency motion of this House and an expediency motion of the other House. If both were passed we could then set up a committee. I had intended to do this except for one or two points. One is the motion in the names of Deputy Cosgrave and Deputy Ryan suggesting 14 Members of this House and six from the Seanad. I should like to discuss the possibility of basing on it the ten members of the European Parliament from the Oireachtas, plus ten others. We should also ensure that they will have an adequate secretariat to make it possible for Members to keep up with the amount of draft legislation coming out of the Community. We can arrange for that.

Their function in the motion proposed by the Deputies is to report to the House. To meet Deputy Flanagan's point I think their function should be to inform the Oireachtas. I would add to that what I think will be their main function later on, that is, the briefing of members of the European Parliament about Ireland's position in relation to various pieces of legislation. The purpose of this committee would be to bring information to Deputies. I should like to tell the Dáil that the Government have already taken the decision to put in the Library the drafts mentioned by Deputy Bruton in his amendment. Laying them on the Table of the House does not and anything to the situation. They will be placed in the Library and available to Deputies.

There is one limitation which Deputy Flanagan mentioned on Committee Stage. All draft regulations and directives cannot be made available because some are confidential. He must not be afraid of this confidentiality. [1718] It is not arbitrary. There are certain matters with which the Community deal, such as the taking up of a negotiating posture with some country outside the Community, and certain monetary decisions, which would be confidential, and some aspects of the external commercial relations of the Community. These could not be made available and for that reason I could not say that all draft regulations, and so on, would be available to Deputies. All that can be made available, all that will be available to the European Parliament, will be in the Library of the House.

I believe that, without limiting the House in any way, we should have a committee of the House serviced by a special secretariat to have a look at legislation passing through. We should set up that committee by motion and, if possible, have a similar motion passed in the Seanad. I do not want it in this Bill. I think we should do it by motion. That is the way the German Bundestag did it. This is a Bill of principle allowing us to fulfil the obligations which will arise from membership of the Communities and the Act of Accession.

I am quite anxious about the question of Deputies being informed and I think the way to do it is to have every document in the Library that can be put there, to set up a committee specially interested in seeking information, and to have this committee open to other Members of the House to observe their functioning, with a secretariat who will have nothing else to do but find out for Deputies the matters which will influence their decisions in terms of policies. We are probably all aware that there are some aspects over which we have no control. This was the big decision on 10th May. It would only diminish this Parliament if we were to seek to control institutions having had a decision from the public within the narrow scope mentioned in the referendum.

Mr. Bruton: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  I am not at all satisfied with the Minister's attitude on this matter. I do not doubt his goodwill for one moment. I realise that he sincerely wants us to have a committee. I believe that he sincerely wants to consult [1719] Deputies but we have no guarantee whatever that there will always be a Minister in his place who will adopt that attitude.

Dr. Hillery: Information on Patrick John Hillery  Zoom on Patrick John Hillery  I think we should set up the committee before——

Mr. Bruton: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  I say we must enshrine in this Bill the principle that the Dáil will be consulted. That principle is worthy of being enshrined in this Bill. The Minister said this was a Bill of principle and then he somehow seemed to dismiss this matter as not being a principle worthy of inclusion in the Bill. To my mind the inclusion of procedures to ensure that the Dáil is consulted is a matter of the highest possible principle. I find it very disturbing indeed that the Minister should seek to dismiss it with: “Well, we will fix it up afterwards. You can trust me. I will make sure you will have your committee.” This is not a matter for the Minister's personal word. He will not be a Minister for very long. We do not know who will follow him or what sort of Government will succeed this Government, or what sort of Government will succeed the Government which succeeds this one.

We could have a Government which would not wish to consult the House. We could have a state of virtual “civil war” in the House with the majority bloc not wanting to afford any opportunity for consultation on what they were doing in Europe to their political opponents. In that situation it would be quite possible under this Bill for them not to give any notice of the regulations which were going through, not to give an explanation of them, not to set up a committee, because all they would have to do as a majority would be to annual the motion setting up that committee. We have had some experience of committees. There was one on health which fell into disuse— I do not know the history of that committee.

If that committee had been enshrined in an Act it would have been much more difficult for the Government to get rid of them. We are proposing in this amendment that we write into this Act a provision that the [1720] House will be consulted. If that is not enshrined in the Act it is possible for us to have a Government which would not inform the House of draft regulations, which would not inform Deputies of them, and Deputies might find themselves forced to go to Brussels or to subscribe to Le Journal Officiel at a cost of, perhaps, £100 in order to get knowledge of what was being proposed.

It is possible that by simple motion or by not removing a motion that there would not be a committee in existence to inquire into this matter. Therefore, it is not good enough just to have the Minister giving his personal promise about what the Government will decide to do. It must be enshrined in the Act and I cannot understand why the Government cannot do this. It has been written into the German Act. There they do not rely simply on the goodwill of the German Foreign Minister who, whether he likes it or not, has to go before the Bundestag.

For reasons best known to themselves, the Government are not prepared to give this commitment and I have the gravest suspicions of why not. The Minister may be trying to mislead the House. For instance, if the Government are returned at the next election they can say: “To hell with the committee. We said we would lay all the orders in the Library.” If they came back with a big majority they could say: “The people have reposed so much confidence in us that we do not need to discuss this matter with the other side who are only trying to disrupt us in doing the national work. Why should we bother to discuss this with a minority”? They could use all the terms they like such as “hairies” and “pinkos” and so on. They could get rid of the institutions that are there to enable the House to be consulted. They would only have to go back to the statement of the Minister for Foreign Affairs who would then be safely in Brussels, who will not figure any more in the Irish political situation. There will be a new Minister in his place who could easily go back on what the present Minister said in this House.

[1721] I am not satisfied with the word of the Minister for Foreign Affairs in this matter. I want it written into the Act. I want it written down in chapter and verse that we will have a committee, that the draft regulations will be laid before the House, and I will not be satisfied with the Act until those assurances are given. I cannot understand why the Minister will not give them except for the sinister reasons I have adverted to. This is [1722] one of the most important pieces of legislation this House has dealt with in a long time and yet we see the Government adopting this shabby, anti-democratic attitude. I, for one, am disgusted with it.

Mr. M. O'Leary: Information on Michael O'Leary  Zoom on Michael O'Leary  After such a moving appeal, will the Minister not change his mind?

Amendment put.

Barry, Peter.
Barry, Richard.
Begley, Michael.
Belton, Luke.
Belton, Paddy.
Bruton, John.
Burke, Joan.
Burke, Liam.
Burke, Richard.
Burton, Philip.
Byrne, Hugh.
Clinton, Mark A.
Cluskey, Frank.
Collins, Edward.
Conlan, John F.
Coogan, Fintan.
Cooney, Patrick M.
Cosgrave, Liam.
Coughlan, Stephen.
Creed, Donal.
Crotty, Kieran.
Desmond, Barry.
Dockrell, Henry P.
Donegan, Patrick S.
Donnellan, John.
Dunne, Thomas.
Esmonde, Sir Anthony C.
FitzGerald, Garret.
Fitzpatrick, Tom (Cavan).
Flanagan, Oliver J.
Governey, Desmond.
Harte, Patrick D.
Hogan O'Higgins, Brigid.
Jones, Denis F.
Kavanagh, Liam.
Kenny, Henry.
L'Estrange, Gerald.
Lynch, Gerard.
McMahon, Lawrence.
Malone, Patrick.
Murphy, Michael P.
O'Connell, John F.
O'Donnell, Tom.
O'Donovan, John.
O'Leary, Michael.
O'Reilly, Paddy.
Pattison, Séamus.
Ryan, Richie.
Taylor, Francis.
Timmins, Godfrey.
Treacy, Seán.

Aiken, Frank.
Allen, Lorcan.
Andrews, David.
Barrett, Sylvester.
Boylan, Terence.
Brady, Philip A.
Brennan, Joseph.
Brennan, Paudge.
Briscoe, Ben.
Brosnan, Seán.
Browne, Patrick.
Browne, Seán.
Burke, Patrick J.
Carter, Frank.
Childers, Erskine.
Colley, George.
Collins, Gerard.
Cowan, Bernard.
Cronin, Jerry.
Crowley, Flor.
Cunningham, Liam.
Davern, Noel.
Delap, Patrick.
de Valera, Vivion.
Dowling, Joe.
Fahey, Jackie. [1723]Nolan, Thomas.
Noonan, Michael.
O'Connor, Timothy.
O'Kennedy, Michael.
O'Leary, John.
O'Malley, Des.
Faulkner, Pádraig.
FitzGerald, Gene.
Fitzpatrick, Tom (Dublin Central).
Flanagan, Seán.
French, Seán.
Gallagher, James.
Geoghegan, John.
Gibbons, Hugh.
Gibbons, James.
Gogan, Richard P.
Herbert, Michael.
Hillery, Patrick J.
Hilliard, Michael.
Hussey, Thomas.
Kenneally, William.
Kitt, Michael F.
Lemass, Noel T.
Loughnane, William A.
Lynch, Celia.
Lynch, John.
McEllistrim, Thomas.
MacSharry, Ray.
Meaney, Thomas.
Molloy, Robert.
Moore, Seán.
Moran, Michael. [1724]Power, Patrick.
Smith, Michael.
Smith, Patrick.
Timmons, Eugene.
Tunney, Jim.
Wyse, Pearse.

Amendment declared lost.

Mr. Ryan: Information on Richie Ryan  Zoom on Richie Ryan  I move amendment No. 5:

In page 3, after line 25, to insert a new subsection as follows:—

“(4) Regulations under this section shall be called ministerial decrees.”

The purpose of this amendment is probably obvious. There is a great deal of confusion in terminology with Community regulations and ministerial regulations. We believe it is desirable that we should distinguish very clearly and in ordinary terminology the difference between regulations of the Community and orders which might be made by an Irish Minister. We think it is desirable that we should not seek in regulations made under this Bill to give the force of law to acts of the European Community, or to give to them the same title or general description that is applied to our ordinary domestic law, where Ministers make regulations to bring into force various parts of our own legislation.

We are not pressing for the use of the word “decree”. We seek a description of orders made by Irish Ministers under this Bill other than “regulations”, which will inevitably be confused with the regulations of the Community which are absolutely binding and with the directives and decisions which are not binding. It is clearly undesirable that we should use in our own law descriptions which will confuse these two types of legislation and enactments of the Community. I would ask the Minister, therefore, to accept the amendment in the spirit in which it is offered or, if he will not do that, at least to come up with some better suggestion.

Dr. Hillery: Information on Patrick John Hillery  Zoom on Patrick John Hillery  The word “decree” does not attract the same meaning. It is not used in our law for delegated legislation and is not mentioned in the terms of the definition of the statutory instrument in the Interpretation Act. I am aware of the confusion because it is a confusion in this debate. The Bill gave rise to the confusion because we spoke of regulations of the Community and ministerial regulations. In actual practice, while the regulations of the Community will continue to be so described, individual Minister's statutory instruments will be ordered and so described, for example, as European Communities so and so order 1970, so the confusion is confined to the debate here and will not occur in the future. As I say the title “decree” is not used in our law as a term for delegated legislation and is not mentioned in the Interpretation Act.

Mr. Ryan: Information on Richie Ryan  Zoom on Richie Ryan  The Minister has very clearly advanced a good reason for adopting the amendment. We want to distinguish these new regulations from anything that has gone before or anything else that might exist in our delegated laws, rules, orders and regulations. It is in order to have these clearly identified as ministerial regulations, made in consequence of Community obligations, that we believe they should be given a very specific title of ministerial decree. The fact they are not in the Interpretation Act or anywhere else makes, I believe, the acceptance of our amendment all the more urgent so that this new batch of laws will be clearly identifiable. The Minister has underlined the need to accept the amendment.

Dr. Hillery: Information on Patrick John Hillery  Zoom on Patrick John Hillery  I said before that, if we so described them without their having a standing in the Interpretation Act and use in our law, they would not attract the provisions of [1725] the Act in regard to printing, notice of making, numbering, citation and so on. It would diminish them, even though we felt during the debate the need to distinguish them. In actual practice what we now call ministerial regulations will be individual orders. If we change the name to “decree”, even to “order”, under this legislation, it would mean they would not attract the provisions of the Interpretation Act in regard to printing and so on.

Amendment put and declared lost.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  As amendment No. 6 is met by amendment No. 7 perhaps we can discuss both together or will amendment No. 6 be withdrawn?

Mr. Ryan: Information on Richie Ryan  Zoom on Richie Ryan  We are prepared to withdraw amendment No. 6 having regard to the fact that amendment No. 7 is similar.

Amendment No. 6, by leave, withdrawn.

Dr. Hillery: Information on Patrick John Hillery  Zoom on Patrick John Hillery  I move amendment No. 7:

In page 3, lines 27 and 28, to delete “not later than the end of the year following that in which” and to insert “within six months after”.

This amendment deals with the worries that Deputy Oliver Flanagan, Deputy Bruton and Deputy Ryan had about informing the House. Our intention on the Committee Stage was to have a debate here twice a year at six monthly intervals. When it came to drafting the amendment, to have a debate twice a year would have meant an amendment inserting “within the following eight months” not six months. By inserting “six months” here to accept the Fine Gael time we are bringing about a situation where legislation will have to be brought to the House three times a year mechanically because of the intervention of the long recess and so on. I had intended to make it eight months to implement what I promised, but I am accepting the six months which brings about a totally new situation [1726] in regard to the consultation procedure with the Dáil.

Amendment agreed to.

Mr. Ryan: Information on Richie Ryan  Zoom on Richie Ryan  I move amendment No. 8:

In page 3, after line 41, to insert a new section as follows:—

“The Government shall report, twice yearly, to the Oireachtas on the development of the European Communities and, in particular, upon proposals of the Commission of the European Economic Community on which decisions are pending.”

I have no wish to repeat what was said on amendment No. 4. Amendment No. 8 is not dissimilar, but I would like to distinguish it from the previous amendment. Debates by the Dáil on regulations already made are not an adequate safeguard. That will not suffice because it will not allow the Dáil to express a view on any draft proposals. We would like to think that we would have an opportunity of reviewing here in the Dáil, not merely in the Committee, drafts of regulations and directives which might be coming from the Community.

The committee which we visualise has not yet been established. A motion standing in the names of Deputy Cosgrave and myself—and the Government have already indicated their willingness to accept in principle what we are recommending—requires that the committee would from time to time report to the Dáil. That committee may still do that, we may have debates on their reports when they are before the House and those reports may contain opinions on drafts of regulations and directives, but, as Deputy Bruton said, we do not think it is quite sufficient safeguard to put these matters into motions of the House. It is much better to spell them out in the Acts because thereby we give recognition to the fact that we are a legislative assembly and that if we are divesting ourselves of certain powers, at the same time we are taking precautions to ensure that those powers are not abused by others and that they will not be used excessively [1727] or unnecessarily and that while they are being used by others we will watch the way in which they are being used.

In this House we may create a new child of ours by setting up a European affairs committee but if we are bringing in a new legislative or political child it is very important that we supervise that child's growth and keep a watch on its activities. That is why we want to put that into the Bill and why we want to spell out in the Bill the provision that irrespective of any committee which may be established, there should be an opportunity in the Dáil and Seanad for debate at least twice a year on the proposals of the Community. The Minister has told us that perhaps Ministers will need to make no more than 20 regulations per year to implement Community obligations. That is a fair quantity of law. It will probably exceed what this House has passed into law in many a year. There is no limit on the kind of regulations that can be made. Under this Bill it is likely that regulations will be made that will be as extensive and far-reaching as many Bills passed by Dáil and Seanad Éireann.

Therefore, I hope that even at this last stage of the Bill the Government will see their way to offering to all our elected representatives the opportunity to debate in public what the Community are doing and debate what proposals the Community may put forward for the future. That is the very least we can have in order to preserve democracy here and to give the people the sense of being involved. There are very serious dangers for this country if we do not afford our people the opportunity to consider themselves involved in the Community's future development. This is the last door that remains open and I hope the Minister will not close it against this possibility to participate in the Community's future development.

Dr. Hillery: Information on Patrick John Hillery  Zoom on Patrick John Hillery  I am trying to view this proposal as being something reasonable. I would not consider it unreasonable to have a debate twice yearly, regardless of whether that is embodied in the Bill. What we have [1728] agreed on is that three times yearly the Ministers will bring forward legislation to confirm regulations and if they are not confirmed by the Dáil they lapse. At this stage we should agree that apart from any seeming advantage other countries may have in regard to having their say, none of them has quite as strong a say as we are allowing for in this Bill in terms of ministerial regulations or directives which have to be applied by ministerial regulations.

By accepting the proposal of a period of six months we have made it necessary for Ministers to bring forward legislation three times yearly. I would hope that the scope of the Bill would allow Deputies to discuss wider matters but I cannot speak for the Chair on that. In any case, we are providing for discussion three times yearly on matters covered by this Bill, the regulations made by a Minister and which one wishes to influence or confirm or not confirm as the case may be.

In relation to the draft legislation of the Community which would not be subject to influence by this House, again I think that it would be desirable to have debate so long as the House is not diminishing itself by trying to take on functions it does not have and cannot give itself. The motion was that the committee should report to the Dáil. This is the question that I would like to have discussed with the movers of the motion. If that question could be sorted out, perhaps we could report to the Dáil twice yearly and have debate twice yearly on the reports. I see nothing unreasonable in this but I would like to consult regarding it so as to ascertain whether it is appropriate to this Bill or whether it will be happening under the motion. If the Deputy is agreeable to leaving the matter stand at that we can put an amendment in, if necessary, when the Bill is going through the Seanad, that is if it does not come up satisfactorily under the motion.

Mr. Ryan: Information on Richie Ryan  Zoom on Richie Ryan  In view of the Minister's generous statement and the fact that he is prepared to consider the advisability of such a provision being inserted as the Bill goes through the [1729] Seanad if we have not reached the necessary procedural agreement on the motion, we are happy to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Bill, as amended, received for final consideration.

Question proposed: “That the Bill do now pass.”

Mr. Ryan: Information on Richie Ryan  Zoom on Richie Ryan  We cannot agree that this Bill do now pass and the reason we cannot agree is because the Bill is unnecessary. We agree that some legislative measure is required to implement the obligations of the Community but there was no need to divest this Dáil of the power of review of draft legislation from the Community which power has been given to several other member states of the Community. We have done more damage to the whole democratic process than any other member state has found it necessary to do in its own Parliament. We had a greater need than any other country for continued involvement of our national Parliament in Community affairs because we have been outside the mainstream of international activity. We have not been integrated as closely as other countries, economically, politically, socially or militarily. We need to ensure that our people have a continuing interest in the progress and development of the Community. We have received from our people a vote which indicates their readiness to participate but, having accepted that vote, we should not have interpreted it as meaning that there is no longer any need to consult the people. They gave that vote because they were consulted, because the problems that were involved were spelled out to them but we could just as easily lose the confidence, the interest and sympathy of the Irish people in Community affairs by neglecting them in future and I believe that to be the awful path on which we are now embarking.

There is nothing in the Treaties or any subsequent enactments which absolves the Government of this country from the obligation to respect the constitutional duties, to allow the Houses of the Oireachtas to function as a Parliament; neither is there anything [1730] in the Treaties or subsequent enactments which absolves the Government from the obligation to be accountable to the Legislature for their policies and legislative proposals. The Dáil should have the right of continuing surveillance, including surveillance of policy. The whole broad spectrum of policy-making in the Community ought to be available for consideration here but this Bill would deprive us entirely of that right.

It is interesting to know that even in the inadequate structures of the European Community which, by implication, were criticised in the communiqué issued after their recent Summit Conference, the Commission, which is the policy-making body, is under an obligation to report from time to time to the Parliament. It must present to the Parliament memoranda and programmes of future action so that the Parliament can consider the proposals. We will be sending to the European Parliament ten Members from these Houses and before they go they will not have had any opportunity of hearing the views of their colleagues in Oireachtas Éireann on the proposals of the Commission. This is a very bad atmosphere. Our people, as a whole, will rule the day that a Fianna Fáil majority passed this unnecessary piece of crushing legislation. I say “crushing” because it crushes the whole democratic process in this country.

Thanks be to God we have here yet an Opposition who will not accept this lightly, who will continue to protest and who pledge that on attaining Government they will do something to improve the democratic process and ensure that there is full and continual consultation, because that is the only way in which we can preserve our democracy. We are surprised that the Government have not heeded the pressures against democracy in our own society, pressures which have erupted in violence in the street, in protests against the whole democratic system, in expressions of cynicism at the powerlessness or indifference of politicians and in contempt for the political system and the Government in particular.

I think the explanation for this is [1731] that Ireland is suffering because there is in power a Government continuously for 15 years, a Government which has been, with the exception of six years, in power since 1932. In that Government there are many Members who have never sat in this House as ordinary Members of the House and if they have sat in the House they have sat as ordinary Members only on the Government benches where they were trained to be mute and to accept everything without criticism, without complaint, without protest, without examination. There are in the Government benches men who have never sat as ordinary Members on either side of the House because they have been appointed as Parliamentary Secretaries or Ministers from the day on which they arrived in the House. Therefore, these people are now totally lacking in an appreciation of the need to involve all our people in the whole parliamentary and democratic process.

I am aware that there are many Members in the Government party who are worried about this development. Even though they may not have sat in this House as opposition Members they see where we are drifting, where our whole society is drafting. It is drifting into a situation in which the head is becoming bigger than the body which is supporting it. Any structure of that kind, particularly when it is a human one, is one which is bound to collapse when the winds of inflation, of unemployment, of economic depression come blowing and those are the winds which are blowing in the whole political and economic sphere in Ireland at the present time. We, therefore, must protest about this Bill. We must deplore the apparent indifference of the Government to the cries and protests, perhaps, only whispers now but which we believe are bound to grow, and the tragedy is that it will probably be too late before we get a chance again to do anything about it.

This is a disgraceful Bill. It is one which reflects no credit on the Government or upon our whole history here as a democratic State. We are running against the political tide. We are running against our own traditions. [1732] We are doing violence to this tradition of ours that we profess to cherish, and I believe that untold harm will be done as a consequence. Even though the Government may be well-meaning, when they have unnecessarily denied the elected representatives of the Irish people an opportunity to offer their opinion on the Government's policy, the Government's proposals, the Commission's policy and the Commission's proposals, they have taken away from Parliament the most effective power which is available in a democracy, that is, the right to complain and the right to speak, the right to advise, the right to try to exert influence on Government, and “Government” in this case means not only the Government of the Republic of Ireland but also the Commission and the Council of Ministers in Brussels.

We are rendering ourselves impotent and irrelevant, and it was unnecessary. Let no one suggest that those of us in Fine Gael or anywhere else who favoured entry to the European Economic Community sold the pass. We did not. What is being done now is unnecessary and, as I said earlier today, because it is unnecessary it is outside the scope of the authority conferred by the people on the 10th of May last in the referendum. I believe that will yet be challenged successfully in our courts as being unconstitutional and an expression of unnecessary contempt by Fianna Fáil for the whole democratic process.

Mr. O.J. Flanagan: Information on Oliver J. Flanagan  Zoom on Oliver J. Flanagan  I want to express very strong views on this question and I do so in the full knowledge that I am about to enter my thirtieth year as a Member of this House. Out of that thirty years' membership I have spent 25 years in Opposition and approximately five years in Government. I support Deputy Ryan when he says that men so long associated with power and authority have not the faintest idea what it is like to be a quarter of a century in opposition. From that long period of opposition we have learned to cherish one thing, that is, the freedom of speech, the freedom to ask [1733] questions and to demand answers to those questions. In spite of the arrogance of Ministers and the silence which often hung over them, we were determined to drag information from them.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs might have put a more suitable title on the Bill. It could have been titled “The People's Farewell Bill”. It could have been titled “The Gobstopper Dáil Éireann Bill”. It could have been titled “The tongue-tied Dáil Éireann Bill”. It could have been titled “The Dáil Éireann Law-stripped Bill” or “The Brussels Bureaucrat Bullies' Powers Bill”.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Denis Francis Jones  Zoom on Denis Francis Jones  The Deputy appreciates that the title of the Bill has already been decided upon.

Mr. O.J. Flanagan: Information on Oliver J. Flanagan  Zoom on Oliver J. Flanagan  It is not passed yet. One of the principal effects of this Bill is that it has diminished democracy in this Parliament. In addition to that, it has stripped Members of Dáil Éireann of authority and power. It declares the fact that we are no longer a sovereign, independent Parliament.

There may be many of us in this House who are very poor men, but there is one way in which we are rich: We have not yet sold our principles. No money, no power, no influence can purchase a man's principles. This Bill has sold out the Irish Parliament. It has offered offence to the Irish language, as has already been commented on by Conradh na Gaeilge and by other Irish-Ireland organisations who have not sold out. I have pointed out earlier that there are 200,000 Irish people in this country whose mother tongue is the Irish language, who believe in the Irish language. As a result of membership of the EEC French will be adopted as a standard European language. German will also be used. There will be a challenge to those who believe in the Irish language. Those who, as a result of the passage of this Bill, have offered serious offence because of their failure to supply copies of information, regulations and orders in our own national language, those who have been silent in Brussels, [1734] who have raised the white flag of surrender in so far as the Irish language is concerned——

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Denis Francis Jones  Zoom on Denis Francis Jones  The Deputy is well aware that on Report we must discuss what is in the Bill and not other matters.

Mr. O.J. Flanagan: Information on Oliver J. Flanagan  Zoom on Oliver J. Flanagan  In section 2, which has been fully debated, regulations of the EEC have been listed with a variety of dates which mean nothing to us. This Bill will bring into our domestic law a conglomeration of words, numbers, letters and figures which mean nothing to anyone, but which may result in penalties. Restriction of liberty, power and authority and the surrender of power from Parliament may result in our falling into the hands of financial monopolists and capitalists in Britain, France and Germany who will control the business of the Irish and usurp the powers which the Irish people have given to us in this House. By their votes on 10th May last the Irish people handed away their freedom.

This Bill will result in the giving away of everything valued by those who believe in an Ireland free from the North to the South. Every expression of confidence in the sovereignty of the Irish Parliament has gone. Everyone who believes in sending a representative to speak on his behalf in Parliament may no longer do so in the spirit of democracy and freedom. This Bill is the expression of a farewell to free thought and the right to the free expression of opinions and the extraction of information.

German laws, French laws and Italian laws will be imposed on us. Regulations which mean nothing to us may eventually cause discomfort and distress to many of our people. As I said before, if the Irish people sow nettles they cannot expect roses to grow. Our people were bluffed into voting for entry to the EEC and this Bill proves that the forecasters and prophets prior to the 10th of May are now a little bit more cautious in their undertakings.

The one way in which a depressed people can improve their lot is [1735] through a parliament which can function for them. In every country with a depressed parliament there has been the sad spectacle of parliament from the streets with people taking the laws and law-making into their own hands. Lawmakers have become lawbreakers. There has been loss of confidence in the democratic means of ruling.

Following this Bill there will be bureaucratic control from Brussels. There will be a failure of parliamentary debate and discussion. In my opinion, by the year 2,000 there will be an uprising, because one cannot bully the Irish too much. The Irish can be led by the nose, as has been done before, but they cannot be bullied. One can dangle an attractive carrot in front of them, but no power or authority from outside, whether it comes from Germany, Italy, France or Britain, will be tolerated for too long. The moment the Irish feel that their Parliament is powerless to safeguard them they will show their Irish spirit. I may not live to see that day. When respect for Parliament has been lost there will be trouble. This is the kind of Bill which will be responsible for bringing us into a chaotic situation which may be the means of bringing distress and discomfort to our people.

This Bill has interfered considerably with the rights of our people. In future we will not be able to discuss matters as freely and with the same authority as heretofore. We will not be able to take, as freely as before, decisions concerning the economic and social life of our people. The same consideration for our people will not be shown by the foreigners as was shown by an Irish Parliament doing its job for our people. This Parliament knows the feelings, customs, likes and dislikes of our people. Our methods of business and our agricultural policies are clearly understood. Only Irishmen know how to handle Irishmen. Laws which come from Brussels may be responsible for an upheaval of Irish life and may result in interference with our Irish culture. This could be avoided by protecting our Parliament in this Bill. This Bill lessens the power of Parliament. I take [1736] a serious objection to that. No Bill has ever brought me to my feet with the same amount of agitation and anger. I have feelings of sadness and regret for the departure of democracy and the surrender by Parliament of its supreme authority.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Deputy Dr. Hillery, will be saying farewell to Dáil Éireann within the next few weeks. He will be hearing and reading about us in his luxury, well-appointed apartments in Brussels, unless pressure of time prevents him from reading the Irish papers in the English language and various Irish texts. I hope he will carry with him the knowledge that there are in this Parliament men who will endeavour to find every possible means of getting information concerning activities in Brussels and of studying their effect on this country. If we cannot get the information in this Parliament we will seek other means of getting it. If there are injustices imposed on our people from Brussels we will arouse the Irish spirit again, and we are capable of doing it. We will participate at churchgate meetings in order to warn the people of the consequences of this Bill, the loss of democracy and our powerlessness to help them in the event of the imposition from Brussels of injustice against them.

I am sorry that the Bill is leaving Dáil Éireann in the form in which it is. I express fears identical to those expressed by Deputy Richie Ryan. I am sorry that a Government that has been steeped in the tradition of power and authority could not at least have appreciated the difficulties facing an Opposition that has a duty to the people. The people are entitled to respect. They are the taxpayers. The Minister may tell us that the people will be getting more out of the EEC than they will be putting into it. The position is that the right of Parliament to speak for the people has been challenged in this Bill.

This Bill, which the Leas-Cheann Comhairle is about to declare as having been passed by the Dáil, sounds the death knell of democracy as we have known it. It may be the start of [1737] a movement for the reverse of freedom, independence and democracy which might not end as cheerfully as the Bill is being passed.

All public representatives have the responsibility to maintain confidence and trust and belief in an elected Parliament. Never before has a Parliament been stripped of its power and authority as this Parliament has been and as the Parliaments of the EEC member states have been. I wonder if 50 years from now will see that rich man's set-up in existence? I doubt it. Will 25 years see it in existence? I doubt it. The year 2000 will see an extraordinary change in this country. Dictation from a foreign power was never readily accepted here. Irrespective of the type of committees that may be appointed, irrespective of the representatives that are sent to Brussels, the authority of this Parliament to administer the affairs of this country will be only fractionally vis-à-vis the European Acts.

I hope and trust that all the people of this country, particularly those of us who will remain in this House, will cherish the right that we have. I trust that we will endeavour to keep the respect of the people and their confidence in Parliament. In order to win and to retain respect Parliament must be able to function. In my opinion, this Bill prevents the free, full and honest functioning of Parliament. It says farewell to democracy as we have known it in the Republic.

Mr. Kavanagh: Information on Liam Kavanagh  Zoom on Liam Kavanagh  We in the Labour Party are consistent in opposing the Bill as we opposed the whole concept of Ireland's entry into the EEC during and before the Referendum campaign. One of the main reasons for our opposition on that occasion was our belief that there would be a diminution of the status, power and influence of Oireachtas Éireann in the event of our joining the EEC. Now that this Bill is on the verge of being passed by the House, the words, the speeches and the sentiments which we in this party expressed are seen in their true light.

The Bill which is being put through the House now will amend or render [1738] redundant many of the Acts which took long weeks of debate in this House, debate that was heated in many cases. Laws were amended because of the interplay of Government and Opposition speakers. As a result of today's work and the work of the last few weeks, the position will be changed in such a way that nobody in this House knows what will happen in regard to our legislation. It became quite clear during the debate that the Government themselves did not know what was being changed and what was being introduced in the long list of amendments which were put before us. The rejection of amendments designed to ensure that the Irish people would be informed as to what the Bill is intended to do demonstrated that the Government were either unwilling or unable to tell the people what entry into the EEC and the changes in legislation as a result of that entry will mean to the people of Ireland.

The power vested in Oireachtas Éireann is in very large measure being handed over to a Community which in itself is less than democratic. Those of us who have been in Europe and visited the European Parliament would agree that the democratic process could not possibly flourish in that body since most of the decisions and the power and the influence rests with the Commissioners and the Council of Ministers.

Many derogratory titles have been used to describe the EEC, some of them in error, some that have some truth attaching to them. It would seem now that the promises made by the Government during the Referendum campaign will be shown not to have been carried out. The changes that had to be made in order to make entry into the EEC possible—the change in our currency, the introduction of VAT, the changes envisaged in this Bill—do nothing to fulfil the promises made to the Irish people, promises of wealth and a better life for everybody on entry. Although we are not yet in the Community it is only a matter of time until we will be and the signs are that it will not be any bonanza.

[1739]An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Denis Francis Jones  Zoom on Denis Francis Jones  The Deputy will appreciate that we must discuss what is in the Bill now.

Mr. Kavanagh: Information on Liam Kavanagh  Zoom on Liam Kavanagh  I accept that, but regulations and directives and changes in legislation will do nothing to bring about the promised bonanza. This country has had 50 years of independence and self-government. With the passage of this Bill that short period of independence in our nation's history will come to an end. It is a sad thing to realise that this Bill will pass tonight and that, as a result of its passage, there will be the diminution in the status, power and influence of Oireachtas Éireann. We, in this party, have at all times pointed out the dangers that would come as a result of entry into the EEC. We are opposed to entry. We will oppose entry to the very end and, if the very end is this last vote, we will oppose by voting against the passage of this measure.

Major de Valera: Information on Vivion de Valera  Zoom on Vivion de Valera  This debate was used by some speakers to retry the referendum. Deputy Tully said this was a fact and that this was now being accepted. The last speaker seemed to have a different idea. One can understand and appreciate the task of the Opposition, but I cannot see any consistency in the approach of Deputy Oliver Flanagan and that of his leaders and so I shall confine myself to dealing with Deputy Flanagan's leaders in the Opposition. I can understand the approach. It was a good thing that this Bill should have been debated. Perhaps Deputy Ryan went a little far in his concluding statement, in his method of expressing himself, but that is politics and it is expected.

Let us get to the core of this now. What we are doing in this Bill is implementing the referendum decision. We are doing what everybody realised we would be doing, namely, accepting power or, from our point of view, delegating our sovereignty to another body in the European structure. To those who talk about democracy I want to point out that, after the passing of this Bill, if a majority of this [1740] House so desires and, a fortiori, the people decide, we are as free and as sovereign as ever we were to take the opposite decision. If that is not a definition of sovereignty I do not know what it is. I agree that when one enters an association it is hard to get out again. I do not minimise the force of that argument. But we cannot get rid of our sovereignty. There has been talk about the functions of democracy and the fact that we, as representatives of the people, legislate for the people and carry this responsibility and this function. At least one Deputy indulged characteristically in irresponsible propaganda, maverick propaganda. It was certainly not in line with his leader's views on this issue and that kind of propaganda is more damaging to the status of Parliament and democracy and its functions than everything that is contained in this Bill. I invite those who are so concerned to come in here when the Estimates are on and examine their consciences about the way we function in relation to our sovereign powers and the way we discharge them.

There was a good deal of talk as to what is to be laid before the House and what is not. The tragedy is that not enough attention has ever been paid to what is laid before the House. We all of us admitted that there are dangers and there are drawbacks. We said this before the referendum. Nothing is done in politics in which there is not some drawback. In all human relations there is for and against. If that were not so we would not be a human society at all. Of course there are arguments against. Of course there are problems. Of course there are dangers. By all means let us look at them. For my own part, exercising my own judgment, I cannot see any better way of handling this particular matter. If Parliament is not informed, even as things are, that is not the fault of our not having something translated from one language into another language; it is not because documents are not available. The fault lies with Deputies who have been concerned with activities that may seem to them more rewarding from the point of view of votes. We have a serious job [1741] to do, a more important job than looking for votes. We were not sent in here to look for votes. We were sent in here to do a job of work. The effect of this Bill, its efficacy and its dangers, will in the last analysis depend on whether we, as Deputies, the representatives of the people, do our work. It will not depend on all the talking of which some people are capable.

Even though I deprecate Deputy Ryan's concluding remarks, I think the Opposition would have been failing in their duty if they had not put in amendments and debated this whole matter. It was a pity to spoil a pretty good effort. As I say, the efficacy of the Bill will depend on our approach. I should like to emphasise again what I said on the Committee Stage. We are a small country. We are a unit. We are still a sovereign unit. In our approach to the EEC the danger is that we will try to be more European than the Europeans themselves and forget that we are Irish. Charity begins at home. Let us go in fully as Europeans but let us also realise that we are in a transitional stage, as I pointed out on Committee Stage, and that the much-abused Gaullist approach, as it is called, the approach that looks to the Council of Ministers for a foreseeable time and that considers the national entity, is, I think, a sounder approach for us. There is nothing in the Bill which prevents that approach or which indeed dictates any approach. I should like to press the point of view again which I pressed on Committee Stage. Perhaps I have not got all the support I would like in this House on that point but nevertheless I should like to press it in a rational way.

Finally, there is something which, with the permission of the Chair, I would like to say and think I should say. This Bill is the culmination of a tremendous amount of hard thinking, hard work and devoted service. First, I should like to pay tribute to the Minister who bore this burden through all the critical years when the entry negotiations were such a vital matter for us, when there were so many obstacles and difficulties in the way, particularly when our neighbour was entering at the same time. The Minister [1742] and his Department manfully and in the best traditions of the State maintained the sovereign approach and the dignity of our people. Now that he is going from his office he should feel that he has done a good job which is appreciated. I think it is appreciated by the people. In the future no matter how things go, the Minister's achievements in this field will rank as material for history. In saying this, I do not want to be fulsome; I merely want to be practical. My own personal felicitations do not matter but the worth of this achievement should be recognised now in this House. It is only right, particularly as it was mentioned in the Dáil, that the Department which so ably handled this business should also be mentioned. All I would say about the Department of Foreign Affairs in this regard is that it was no surprise; it was in their great tradition.

Fifty years ago, when this State was founded, that Department served Ministers of another Government than ours and that combination acquitted themselves very creditably in the negotiations of the common wealth at Ottawa and all that led up to the Statute of Westminster. Already, at that early stage, the Department had acquired for themselves a reputation and prestige internationally that was remarkable for a young State. In the succeeding years, during the thirties, during our constitutional development and the development of our relations abroad, during the war years and the critical period of the United Nations after the war, this Department maintained uniformly their high standard of efficiency, effectiveness and loyal service. Tonight we are passing a Bill which must also be taken as a reflection of the same efficiency, loyalty and service. It is only right we should say this and recognise that in our Civil Service we have such all-over excellence and in the Department of Foreign Affairs in particular we have not only this great tradition through years of service but, thank God, we still have men in that Department who completely satisfy that tradition. I say a little more than perhaps I would say in the ordinary way because of some [1743] remarks made earlier in this debate but in any case that recognition of the Department at this time is due from this House.

Dr. Hillery: Information on Patrick John Hillery  Zoom on Patrick John Hillery  This Bill does nothing more—and I hope nothing less—than make it possible for us to undertake the obligations which we accepted in signing the accession Treaty and on which the public decided because our referendum was not only on changes in the Constitution made necessary by membership, but was clearly made a consultative referendum by the Taoiseach in answering questions in the Dáil quite early in the campaign. Our people have decided that we should be a member of the Community. There was a full information programme for about 18 months beforehand and it was very intensive immediately before the referendum. In that full knowledge it was known that in certain areas of economic and related social matters decisions would be made in Europe in which our country would participate through the representative of the Government in the Council of Ministers. The public were made well aware that in the making of these decisions our Minister in the Council of Ministers would have the assurance that no decision would be taken against the vital interests of any one country.

Certainly, the public knew that it was the Minister who would be there representing the country until such time as the European Parliament had more power over the institutions of the Community. In the meantime we will have members in the European Parliament and people will go from this Oireachtas to it. They will be made aware of proposed legislation by the Commission going to the Council of Ministers for decision. The Economic and Social Committee will similarly be made aware of these decisions. These added democratic processes in the decision-making procedure are available to us but we are at an interim situation where our main power in decision-making in the Community will be through the Government. The people knew that, in voting and deciding that we should be a [1744] member and should undertake the obligations of membership. Nobody will deny that we made quite clear what the implications of membership will be.

This Bill sought to do that. Much of the decision-making in the Community concerns day-to-day administrative matters. Many of the directives and regulations can be implemented on an administrative basis. About 90 per cent of the legislation coming from the Community last year was related to the common agricultural policy and the vast majority of these decisions are to our advantage. None of them are against our vital interests or would be against the vital interests of any member. No such decision will be taken. It may be accepted that it is to our advantage that regulations and directives be implemented quickly so that the advantages to the people of this country will be quickly available. So, we had to seek some way in which we could implement Community decisions here. To put every directive through the process of legislation in this House would mean that this House would have to consider nothing else but Community legislation and neglect all other matters which are concerned with a much wider range of functions than those related to the Community.

It would mean that it would have either to neglect everything else and sit all the time or not fulfil our obligations, or not be able to say that Ireland as part of the Community is implementing the Community laws. So we had to devise a method whereby we could quickly respond and, at the same time, give Dáil Éireann and Seanad Éireann a say and this was the method of the Bill, allowing Ministers to make regulations, delegated legislation. We have delegated legislation already. Last year 350 such instruments went through so we allow Ministers to make delegated legislation. We do not impose on Ministers in the Bill the need to do everything by delegated legislation. A Minister can come in here with legislation, if he thinks it desirable, and his thinking will be influenced by the fact that he has to come to the Dáil at some stage, with legislation, if he has time for it. There is no imposition on [1745] the Ministers to use the power but it is there to make it possible for us to function. We have in section 4 something which the other Parliaments do not have. We have heard here of other Parliaments having access to decision-making. They have not. They have access to knowledge and we have in this Bill the right of our Parliament to make all ministerial regulations lapse unless the Minister afterwards puts legislation through its various stages and confirms each regulation. This is a power which I have strengthened at the request of the Dáil in so far as we intended originally to have the Minister come with legislation a year after. We have now brought in the idea of doing it within six months and mechanically, because of the spacing out of the sessions of the Dáil this six monthly provision will mean that three times a year the Dáil will have a debate on legislation. It will have to be brought three times a year to fulfil that obligation so that three times a year Ministers will come in here and if what they bring in is not confirmed it will lapse.

Dr. O'Donovan: Information on John O'Donovan  Zoom on John O'Donovan  Why three times a year?

Dr. Hillery: Information on Patrick John Hillery  Zoom on Patrick John Hillery  Because if you said every six months in the Bill, the long recess would make it awkward to make sure that you got all regulations within six months of their being made by the Minister. That can be explained—it is a fact—and it is an advantage, a bonus, if you like, on what the House asked for. As well there are the normal procedures which are not stopped— Question Time, Private Members' Motion, Motions and private legislation.

Dr. O'Donovan: Information on John O'Donovan  Zoom on John O'Donovan  Thanks very much.

Dr. Hillery: Information on Patrick John Hillery  Zoom on Patrick John Hillery  The Dáil is not diminished in any way by this. The fact that we are introducing in this Bill delegated legislation is not new and to say that it is unconstitutional in this instance is to do a disservice to the decision of our people to join Europe because if it is unconstitutional to provide for delegated legislation in this, it has been so with any other legislation. If Fine Gael challenge the [1746] constitutionality of delegated legislation on this Bill, they are making an attack on European legislation because it is European legislation and not because there is anything new in it. Fine Gael also put down an amendment, having said the Bill was unconstitutional because it gave this right to Ministers to make regulations, which itself would give a right to Ministers to make regulations.

Mr. Ryan: Information on Richie Ryan  Zoom on Richie Ryan  I answered the Minister on that already and he knows it well.

Dr. Hillery: Information on Patrick John Hillery  Zoom on Patrick John Hillery  There have been things done in the course of the Bill passing through the House to attack the European idea. It is a phoney fight by Fine Gael. I can understand the Labour Party who have been consistent, and also Deputy Flanagan, who I know was against membership of Europe and I presume his party knows it. I can understand the percentage of our people who voted against membership. There are people in the country who have grave fears about it. I have no fear whatsoever. I think Ireland is taking the most important forward step this country ever took.

Dr. O'Donovan: Information on John O'Donovan  Zoom on John O'Donovan  Go neirí an bóthair leat.

Dr. Hillery: Information on Patrick John Hillery  Zoom on Patrick John Hillery  Go raibh maith agat. When I was appointed Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Taoiseach asked me to go to Europe to find out what was in the air about a Community of Seven—Deputy de Valera was good enough to speak of the good work of the Department of Foreigh Affairs and he had good reason to speak well of them, because of some other remarks —and at that time the prospect of a Community of Seven which excluded Ireland was a real prospect indeed and we examined what would be the outlook, the prospect, for our people if that happened. It would have been a disastrous situation economically, socially and resultantly politically, if we had been excluded from the European Communities and it is a disservice to our country for Fine Gael now to give some feeling that it is wrong to join Europe, that this Bill is unconstitutional because it is a European Bill. The people should be made firmly [1747] satisfied that this is the most important, the most positive and the wisest decision ever taken in the history of this country.

To come to the other aspect which must arise on a Bill such as this, that is, how does Dáil Éireann become involved? Having made the decision in May that in a certain area of economic and related social matters we hand over to a Council of Ministers, on which we will have one representative, certain decision-making, our people decided at the same time that that function would be taken away from Dáil Éireann and I do not think it is going to do Dáil Éireann any good, having got that decision of the public, and within the Dáil at least 80 per cent supported it before the referendum, to seek a position for itself in relation to the institutions of Europe which Parliaments of other member countries do not have. It is only making a fool of Dáil Éireann in the eyes of the world if you try to have a role which does not belong to you and which no Parliament of any of the other member states has sought or seems to seek.

Mr. Ryan: Information on Richie Ryan  Zoom on Richie Ryan  What about the Bundestag and the Dutch Parliament?

Dr. Hillery: Information on Patrick John Hillery  Zoom on Patrick John Hillery  I have had this problem all through the negotiations of trying to inform Deputies. For that reason, I have already got a decision of the Government that all legislation, all draft legislation, which is not confidential—and the confidentiality is limited in amount—will be in the Library of the Dáil. How Deputies are to be made aware of all this legislation passing through, and I think they will know that there were 2,900 regulations last year and 410 directives, is the problem and I believe that we should have a committee of this House and of the Seanad, if they so agree which will seek out in all that draft legislation matters of political content, matters which are matters of policy. The vast majority of these things will be something that is being done now administratively and nobody questions that in our own institutions; but there will be some matters which [1748] will have a policy content. Deputies should be made aware of them, and if I can get together with the leaders of the other parties or their representatives in this matter, we can set up a committee which will be supplied with an adequate secretariat to distribute to the Dáil, so that the Dáil will be fully aware, all the information which they must necessarily have to follow the development of Europe.

I have no doubt about the influence of a Dáil on decision-making as long as the Dáil remembers that the present method in Europe of making decisions, approved by our public and recommended by us, is that the Council of Ministers make their decisions, that the representative of Ireland there will be a Minister from Ireland and that at the present time we join not on the basis of the weighed voting set out in the Treaty but on the Luxembourg compromise, as it is called, where no decision is taken against the vital interests of any single member. We will have to accept that that is the way it is done. The Government will have to be free to make their decisions. We cannot set up any way that would stop us functioning but after that, I do accept the powerful influence the Dáil can have in the decision-making process, so long as we set up nothing that will make it impossible for us to fulfil the obligations of membership of the European Communities.

Dr. O'Donovan: Information on John O'Donovan  Zoom on John O'Donovan  Can the Minister——

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Denis Francis Jones  Zoom on Denis Francis Jones  At this stage the Deputy may only ask a question.

Dr. O'Donovan: Information on John O'Donovan  Zoom on John O'Donovan  Has this kind of legislation ever been attempted before in this country? I should like to say a few words about it.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Denis Francis Jones  Zoom on Denis Francis Jones  I have told the Deputy he may only ask a question.

Dr. O'Donovan: Information on John O'Donovan  Zoom on John O'Donovan  I have asked the Minister a question but he has not given me an answer.

[1749]An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Denis Francis Jones  Zoom on Denis Francis Jones  The Chair cannot compel the Minister to answer.

Dr. O'Donovan: Information on John O'Donovan  Zoom on John O'Donovan  Why did the Minister refuse in the past two years to answer my questions about bilateral trade agreements? Was it a stunt by the Minister?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Denis Francis Jones  Zoom on Denis Francis Jones  The Deputy may only put a question on a matter that is in the Bill.

Dr. O'Donovan: Information on John O'Donovan  Zoom on John O'Donovan  With respect, I am talking about the Bill. In fact, this is the kind of thing that is in the Bill— the refusal to answer questions about bilateral trade agreements.

Dr. Hillery: Information on Patrick John Hillery  Zoom on Patrick John Hillery  It is not in the Bill.

Dr. O'Donovan: Information on John O'Donovan  Zoom on John O'Donovan  The Minister has not answered my first question. Have we ever had this kind of legislation?

Dr. Hillery: Information on Patrick John Hillery  Zoom on Patrick John Hillery  This is the first time we joined Europe.

Dr. O'Donovan: Information on John O'Donovan  Zoom on John O'Donovan  That may be a smart-aleck remark but I am talking about legislation in this House——

Dr. Hillery: Information on Patrick John Hillery  Zoom on Patrick John Hillery  By what standards?

Dr. O'Donovan: Information on John O'Donovan  Zoom on John O'Donovan  By any standards of proper legislation. This is not proper legislation.

Dr. Hillery: Information on Patrick John Hillery  Zoom on Patrick John Hillery  The Deputy has answered his own question.

Dr. O'Donovan: Information on John O'Donovan  Zoom on John O'Donovan  Perhaps I have answered the question but the Minister did not answer it because he could not do so.

Mr. Coughlan: Information on Stephen Coughlan  Zoom on Stephen Coughlan  I should like to ask the Minister when he intends leaving?

[1750]Dr. Hillery: Information on Patrick John Hillery  Zoom on Patrick John Hillery  Tonight.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Denis Francis Jones  Zoom on Denis Francis Jones  That is not in the Bill.

Mr. Coughlan: Information on Stephen Coughlan  Zoom on Stephen Coughlan  On a personal note, I should like to wish the Minister and his family well. We come from bordering constituencies and we have been friends for many years. We may have disagreed on occasions, we may have made things awkward, but we fought our battles as best we could. Now that the fight is over, on behalf of the people I represent I wish the Minister and his family well.

Mr. Ryan: Information on Richie Ryan  Zoom on Richie Ryan  I did not refer to the Minister's pending departure. When a person is leaving there is nothing worse than to say farewell so often that eventually someone asks when on earth is he going. I did not want that situation to arise.

If this is the point of the Minister's departure—I do not know if he was serious when he said he was leaving tonight; I expect to see him in the House for sometime to come—he has our best wishes. Although we disagree on many things, in particular on this Bill—I am sorry to see his good record besmirched in this way at the conclusion of this great achievement for Ireland—he has served the nation well in the negotiations. Ireland has been well served by the team of advisers from the Department of Foreign Affairs and other Departments and it is only right that we should say this now. I am glad we will have other occasions to exchange views with the Minister across the floor of this House and, no doubt, when the appropriate moment of departure comes we will mark it in a proper way.

Question put.

Aiken, Frank.
Allen, Lorcan.
Barrett, Sylvester
Boylan, Terence.
Brady, Philip A.
Brennan, Joseph.
Briscoe, Ben.
Brosnan, Seán.
Browne, Patrick.
Browne, Seán.
Burke, Patrick J. [1751]Fahey, Jackie.
Faulkner, Pádraig.
FitzGerald, Gene.
Fitzpatrick, Tom (Dublin Central).
French, Seán.
Gallagher, James.
Geoghegan, John.
Gibbons, Hugh.
Gibbons, James.
Gogan, Richard P.
Herbert, Michael.
Hillery, Patrick J.
Hilliard, Michael.
Hussey, Thomas.
Kenneally, William.
Kitt, Michael F.
Lemass, Noel T.
Lynch, Celia.
Carter, Frank.
Childers, Erskine.
Colley, George.
Collins, Gerard.
Cowen, Bernard.
Cronin, Jerry.
Cunningham, Liam.
Davern, Noel.
Delap, Patrick.
de Valera, Vivion.
Dowling, Joe. [1752]Lynch, John.
McEllistrim, Thomas.
MacSharry, Ray.
Meaney, Thomas.
Molloy, Robert.
Moore, Seán.
Moran, Michael.
Nolan, Thomas.
Noonan, Michael.
O'Connor, Timothy.
O'Leary, John.
O'Malley, Des.
Power, Patrick.
Smith, Michael.
Smith, Patrick.
Timmons, Eugene.
Tunney, Jim.
Wyse, Pearse.

Barry, Peter.
Barry, Richard.
Belton, Luke.
Belton, Paddy.
Bruton, John.
Burke, Joan.
Burke, Liam.
Burton, Philip.
Byrne, Hugh.
Clinton, Mark A.
Cluskey, Frank.
Collins, Edward.
Conlan, John F.
Coogan, Fintan.
Corish, Brendan.
Cosgrave, Liam.
Coughlan, Stephen.
Creed, Donal.
Desmond, Barry.
Dockrell, Henry P.
Donegan, Patrick S.
Dunne, Thomas.
Esmonde, Sir Anthony C.
FitzGerald, Garret.
Fitzpatrick, Tom (Cavan).
Flanagan, Oliver J.
Governey, Desmond.
Hogan O'Higgins, Brigid.
Jones, Denis F.
Kavanagh, Liam.
Kenny, Henry.
Lynch, Gerard.
McLaughlin, Joseph.
McMahon, Lawrence.
Malone, Patrick.
O'Connell, John F.
O'Donnell, Tom.
O'Donovan, John.
O'Leary, Michael.
O'Reilly, Paddy.
Pattison, Séamus.
Ryan, Richie.
Taylor, Francis.
Timmins, Godfrey.
Treacy, Seán.

Question declared carried.


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