Written Answers. - Death of Signor Moro: Expression of Sympathy.

Tuesday, 9 May 1978

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 306 No. 4

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The Taoiseach: Information on John Lynch  Zoom on John Lynch  A Cheann Comhairle, I would ask for permission to make a short statement.

It is with great sadness that I inform the House of the news given on the radio a short time ago of the death of Signor Aldo Moro, former Prime Minister of Italy. The agony suffered by his wife and family and by his colleagues during his long captivity must have been almost beyond endurance. As a member of the Government of Italy, as its Prime Minister, we had a particular affinity with Signor Moro and this affinity was enhanced on our becoming a member of the European Communities.

I met Signor Moro first when I visited Rome in the course of my tour of the capitals of the Six when I was seeking support for our application for membership of the European Communities. I can say that no person was more friendly or better disposed to our application than was Signor Moro. In his capacity as Foreign Minister he attended the first European Council meeting that was held in Dublin and I know that before and since that meeting he had a particular interest in the progress of Ireland and its people, especially in our capacity as members of the European Community.

By his death Ireland has lost a very good friend and I know Members will join with me in expressing our utter [550] condemnation of those responsible for his death. At the recent meeting of the European Council in Copenhagen I had the opportunity of assuring my colleagues of our full co-operation in the attempts being made to stamp out terrorism and to rid Europe of this evil. On behalf of all Members of the Dáil and on behalf of the Government, I would like to express to Signor Moro's wife and family and to Signor Andreotti, the Prime Minister of Italy, and to all Signor Moro's former colleagues our deepest sympathy in their sad loss and bereavement.

Dr. G. FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  I, too, as Minister for Foreign Affairs experienced the friendship and concern of Signor Moro for this country and his interest in what affected us. The tragedy of his death at the hands of terrorists touches us all, whatever our political creed, our country or our religion. He was kidnapped in an attempt to blackmail the democratic Italian state into perverting the course of justice by releasing before the completion of their trial persons charged with terrorist offences. He died to vindicate the principle that freedom must be preserved against lawlessness and order against anarchy. Democratic Governments cannot and must not betray their people's trust in them by conceding to blackmail of a small minority of violent men and women who seek to impose their political philosophy, if one can dignity it by that name, upon the majority by force.

On behalf of my party and, in conjunction with the Taoiseach, on behalf of this State, we declare our solidarity with the Italian Government at this tragic moment in the history of that great country. To Signor Moro's family we wish to convey our deep and heartfelt sympathy and our sorrow that their long agony has ended thus. May God comfort them and help them to bear their loss.

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey  Zoom on Frank Cluskey  On behalf of the Labour Party, I should like to join with the Taoiseach and the Leader of the Opposition in expressing our sincere sympathy with the family of Signor Moro. I never had an opportunity of meeting Signor Moro but, [551] by all accounts, he was a most dedicated and highly respected statesman. It is very difficult for ordinary people to get any insight into the minds of the men and women responsible for this dastardly act. The premeditation and savagery of the murder is something very difficult indeed for ordinary people to apprehend but the agony of Signor Moro and his family has, I think, been very deeply felt be everybody.

I should like to express my sympathy, too, with the Italian Government and the Italian people. To be faced with the decision that that Government were faced with cannot be fully appreciated by anyone who has not had to face such a decision. It is an extremely difficult decision, a decision not to give in to this horrible type of blackmail which would seek to barter a fellow human being, particularly when the life of a colleague is at stake. I believe that everyone in this House, in authority, those who have accepted the mandate of the people, will agree that in the interests of democracy it was the only decision, difficult though it was, that could be taken.

I join with the Taoiseach and the leader of Fine Gael in expressing on behalf of the Labour Party our sorrow and our sincere sympathy with the family and relatives and colleagues of Signor Moro.

Members rose in their places.

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