Wednesday, 17 February 1988
Dáil Eireann Debate
That Dáil Éireann takes note of recent developments affecting Northern Ireland and Anglo-Irish relations and reaffirms its determination to take any and all action necessary to ensure the full use of the procedures and structures set up by the Anglo-Irish Agreement and to secure the achievement of the goals of that Agreement.”
1. “deplores the present state of Anglo-Irish relations. Dáil Éireann considers that the failure of the British Government to institute prosecutions on foot of the Stalker/Sampson report brings the British legal system into disrepute and is completely unacceptable. Dáil Éireann also rejects any intention to make the Prevention of Terrorism Act a permanent feature of British law. Dáil Éireann calls on the British Government to exercise its powers of clemency in relation to the Birmingham Six.
Dáil Éireann reaffirms its rejection of armed terrorism, and its commitment to the highest level of cross-Border security. In this connection,  Dáil Éireann calls on both the Irish and British Governments to ensure that the Extradition (Amendment) Act, 1987 is operated effectively, and that any difficulties of understanding or interpretation are resolved as a matter of urgency.
Dáil Éireann calls on the Government to reassess its approach to negotiations with the British authorities on these issues. All future negotiations should take place against the background of an intensive diplomatic campaign aimed at ensuring that our position is understood by those countries which are both supportive of Ireland's interests and influential with Britain.
Dáil Éireann further resolves that in the current situation it is of critical importance that the Inter-governmental Conference should resume its effective role as provided for in Article 2 of the Anglo-Irish Agreement, and that consideration must be given to removing future negotiation on the issues mentioned in this resolution, and those alone, from the framework of the Inter-Governmental Conference, in order to protect the Conference from becoming embroiled in the existing impasse.
Dáil Éireann reaffirms its commitment to the Anglo-Irish Agreement as the best available vehicle for the resolution of differences between the two Governments in relation to the Government and administration of Northern Ireland, and the reconciliation of the rights and identities of the two communities in Northern Ireland. Further real progress in improving the relations between the two communities cannot be advanced without purposeful and committed dialogue being commenced between diverse political leaders of democratic Parties in Northern Ireland and in the Republic. Dáil Éireann resolves that an unequivocal and open offer of such dialogue should be extended to all political leaders who have rejected violence  as a solution in Northern Ireland.”
I believe that it is of vital importance to this State that we approach these matters in a calm and dispassionate way. I regret that the part of the Minister for Communication's speech that I heard in this House this morning sounded far from dispassionate. I do not believe that it is of any advantage to us that a member of the Government dealing with this issue should use such emotive, and even in Britain, sinisterly evocative phrases as “our patience is not unlimited”. Our objective here should be to concentrate on ensuring that any actions taken following the events that have given rise to this debate will be in the best interests of the security of the State, and peace and stability in Northern Ireland.
These events began with three shooting incidents involving the security forces in Northern Ireland — one at least of which involved cross-Border activities by members of the Special Branch of the RUC.
The fact that these three incidents occurred in quick succession and were neither preceded nor followed by similar incidents provides prima facie evidence that they involved a temporary change of tactics on the part of elements in the RUC. As Mr. Stalker has said, these events do not necessarily imply a “shoot to kill” policy decision at the top level of the RUC or at a higher level. They are, as he has suggested, explicable in terms of a change of tactics, involving the “hyping up” of those concerned in the face of the IRA's and the INLA's policy of murder directed against the majority community in Northern Ireland, through attacks on members and ex-members of the security forces.
These events, however, cannot be dismissed, as some people in Northern  Ireland have attempted to do, by suggesting they are simply accidents attributable to nervousness on the part of RUC officers in the face of this campaign. Such an explanation is not compatible either with the quick succession of these incidents and their equally sudden cessation, nor with the subsequent cover-up within the RUC. If these events had been accidental, as in some other cases in the past, information about them would have been furnished to the DPP who would have decided whether to prosecute or not, and if a prosecution were initiated, the question of the degree of culpability, if any, would have been determined in the normal way by the courts.
The fact that this normal process was not followed but that, with the involvement of people higher up in the RUC than those directly concerned, it was decided to initiate a conspiracy of silence involving large scale perjury, makes it clear that more was involved here than a regrettable series of accidents.
There followed, after a long period of time, the Stalker inquiry, and later the removal of Mr. Stalker from that investigation, and the appointment of Mr. Sampson to continue his work. Few people now believe that Mr. Stalker's removal was occasioned by the sudden emergence of evidence of malpractices on his part within the Manchester Police Force. The subsequent course of the investigation into Mr. Stalker, and its outcome, makes such an explanation credible only to the prejudiced or naïve.
But, equally, some of the theories that have been propounded to explain his removal from the case, in my view also, lack credibility. It is frankly very hard to believe that the Inspectorate of the Constabulary of the United Kingdom could be moved into action of this kind simply by pressure from the RUC to abort or divert the investigation into the events of 1982. As Deputy O'Malley has pointed out, on the British Government's own statements, the then Attorney General of England and Wales and Northrn Ireland, was in fact involved in this decision. It seems that Mr. Stalker's insistence on pursuing his investigations  at the highest levels in the RUC in the spring of 1986 created grave alarm in other circles as to the capacity of the RUC, if this investigation were pursued in a manner Mr. Stalker proposed, to deal effectively with the problem posed by the Loyalist marches and demonstrations then envisaged for the summer months immediately ahead. It is not difficult to imagine someone, somewhere, deciding at that moment that the interests of Northern Ireland and indeed of Ireland as a whole, and of Great Britain would be best served if in some way the investigation into the events of 1982 could be diverted or strung out, something which Mr. Stalker himself refused to contemplate. If this was in fact the scenario then we would have to face the brutal fact that maybe we in this island, North and South, have been the principal beneficiaries of the clumsy, and possibly panicky actions, which have had the effect of leading to Mr. Stalker's retirement from the police force and which have been the source of so much agony to himself and his family.
I am inclined to believe that it was not the intention of the British Government during this period to abort, as distinct from postponing, prosecutions of members of the RUC involved in the events of 1982. The assurance we received from a high political source as late as towards the end of 1986 by way of explanation for the non-publication of the Stalker report, namely, that there would be prosecutions involving senior RUC officers for serious criminal offences, was, I believe, given in good faith. So also, I believe, were earlier assurances that when the investigation was completed we would be given a full report on the circumstances of the cross-border incursion, or incursions, that had been revealed in court during a murder trial arising from the events of 1982.
What is not explicable, however, and has not been explained, is the decision of the present Attorney-General of England and Wales — and, because of direct rule, of Northern Ireland — in relation to these prosecutions. If I am right in speculating that at the time the decision  to remove Mr. Stalker from the investigation was taken the intention was to postpone or string out the investigation rather than to abort it, and if I am right in my assumption that the assurances given to us at a high political level that prosecutions would ensue was genuine, then it has to be said that Mr. Mayhew's decision was totally out of line with all this. That his decision did not reflect the earlier intentions of the British Government is also suggested by the fact that, if it had been intended all along to use the Attorney General's power of superintendence over the DPP in Northern Ireland to abort prosecutions, the decision involving the then Attorney-General to remove Mr. Stalker in the spring of 1986 would scarcely have been necessary. For, given the manner in which this affair has in fact been strung out over a period of more than five years, it would seem that, even if his investigation had gone ahead in the spring of 1986, its consequences could have been postponed until well after the summer of that year and the power of superintendence of the Attorney-General could then have been invoked at a later stage, as it has in fact been by Mr. Mayhew.
It is difficult, therefore to avoid the conclusion that we are now faced with the consequences — and they are serious consequences for this island — of muddle and confusion within the British Government. I do not believe that we would have been given the assurance we were if at that time it had been contemplated that the power exercised by Mr. Mayhew would be used in the way in which it has been.
It seems, moreover, that whoever Mr. Mayhew may have consulted, his decision was not communicated to or discussed by the British Cabinet, and there have been some circumstantial press reports, which I for one am inclined to credit, that the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland was given only minimal notice of this decision as, it has been suggested, was the Foreign Office. Apparently in consequence of this, but  also because this Government do not appear to have kept in touch with this matter through the Conference as our Government had done, the Irish Government received no advance warning of this decision, never mind an opportunity to discuss, through the Conference framework, the implications of the decision for confidence in the administration of justice in Northern Ireland.
It would thus seem that Mr. Mayhew, in exercising his function of superintendence of the DPP in Northern Ireland, totally failed to take account of the British Government's obligations under the Anglo-Irish Agreement — of which he, as a law officer of the Crown, was one of the guardians. Furthermore, it would appear that his concept of the public interest was so narrowly defined as to conflict most dangerously with the broader public interest of peace and stability in Northern Ireland, which ought, surely, to be the overriding interest of the British Government, as it consistently has been of the Irish Government. There is also another public interest which Mr. Mayhew has not take into account — the public interest in the maintenance of confidence and trust between the British and Irish Governments, which has been put seriously at risk by his decision to falsify assurances given to the Irish Government in relation to these prosecutions.
Faced with the serious damage which Mr. Mayhew's decision has inflicted on the public interest in peace and stability in Northern Ireland and on the maintenance and enhancement of confidence in the administration of justice in Northern Ireland, as well as on the public interest in the maintenance of confidence and trust between the British and Irish Governments, the British Government now have a duty to do all in their power to minimise the damage done and to restore the confidence that has thus been undermined. Both Governments have a duty to give absolute priority in present circumstances to their common interest in securing the people of Ireland, North and South, against the threat of terrorism which has been so grievously heightened  by the massive delivery of arms and explosives from Libya to the IRA and from Libya, or wherever else it is, to the Protestant terrorists.
For their part, the British Government must take immediate action to remove from the RUC the officers responsible for a conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, the retention of whom in that force is incompatible with confidence by anyone in the administration of justice in Northern Ireland.
I noted the statement of the Secretary of State in the Commons an hour ago announcing that Chief Constable Charles Kelly would investigate the cases involving people of the rank of Chief Superintendent and below and referring to the police authority in Northern Ireland on the question of whether there was an involvement of people higher up. I regret that the method that the British Government have felt necessary to adopt involves a further delay in dealing with this matter. The decision, which was simply one of referring it to somebody else, could have been done a long time ago. The delay might have suggested that immediate action was going to be taken, but that is not the case.
The British Government should also take immediate action to reform the structure of the RUC so as to ensure that never again can a unit of that force, acting independently of other law-abiding units be free to undertake the kind of activities which became the subject of a cover-up within the force since 1982. The Secretary of State also referred to this in his speech. I have not had the opportunity of becoming aware of what he has said in this matter, so that I cannot comment further on it at the moment.
In this connection it is worth remarking that during 1986, as part of the programme of work for the enhancement of cross-Border co-operation on security matters set in hand by the Conference under article 9(a) of the agreement, consideration was given by us to suggestions in relation to the organisation and work of the Garda Síochána. We took into account suggestions made, most of which  appeared constructive, and gave effect to all but one of these.
The exception was a proposal that would have introduced into our force a separation of function and responsibility in respect of certain matters at local level which, although quite different from that which gave rise to the incidents of 1982 in Northern Ireland, would have created dangers for the coherent operation of the force in areas near the Border. We not only rejected this proposal but suggested, in turn, that our system, under which responsibility for all police activity in a given area is under the control of a single officer, should be introduced in the RUC. I trust that the British Government, in the light of the bitter experience of the events of five years ago, will now give effect to this suggestion, which we are entitled to pursue under this article of the Agreement, just as, through the channels of the Conference, questions relating to the organisation and work of the Garda Síochána were raised with us and we responded positively, except in this instance here, to the suggestions made. It is equally our right, and I feel our duty, to make similar proposals, through the Conference, in relation to the organisation and work of the RUC.
The British Government should also take this opportunity to review other matters arising from the agreement. These include, first, the full implementation of the measures referred to in paragraph 8 of the communique accompanying the agreement, which involved ensuring as rapidly as possible that, save in the most exceptional circumstances, there is a police presence in all operations which involve direct contact with the community, namely, the accompaniment of British Army and UDR patrols by the RUC; secondly, further consideration of the courts system, including the mixed-court concept referred to in article 8 of the agreement itself and, thirdly the publication of the code of conduct that was promulgated some time ago for the RUC, in accordance with paragraph 8b of the communique, as well as the promulgation of a similar code of conduct for the other  security forces. An early timetable for the implementation of the anti-discrimination legislation by parliament should also be furnished to the Irish Government. There is no shortage of matters that the British Government should take in hand at present with a view to undoing the damage done by recent events.
Finally they must also fulfil their obligation and their commitment to the Irish Government to furnish them with a full account of the cross-Border violation or violations revealed in court. I am not convinced that the Government have given sufficient emphasis to this matter at recent meetings of the Conference. The Government at this time have to face the reality that demands for a reconsideration of the Attorney General's decision regarding the Stalker-Sampson report are unrealistic and that attempts to press this issue at this stage, however strong the temptation may be to take this approach, can only prove counter productive.
Another quite different matter has surfaced in the last couple of days, that is, the issue of the implementation of extradition. It would be quite simply intolerable if people against whom there is evidence, and who might on trial be convicted of crimes of violence committed in Northern Ireland or Great Britain, should be allowed to continue to remain at liberty in this country, constituting a further threat to the lives of people in this State, in Northern Ireland or in Britain.
Given the concern already felt here about the action of the Attorney-General of England and Wales and Northern Ireland in relation to the decision not to prosecute arising from the Stalker-Sampson inquiry, there is bound to be concern at the suggestion that the same Attorney-General has, by neglect of the legal process, inhibited the prosecution of suspected terrorists here. But there must also be concern that the initial negative reaction of Mr. Mayhew to operating the law on extradition has been compounded by an apparent failure on the  part of our Attorney-General and our Government to respond over a number of weeks to a request from the British side for a meeting to discuss this matter, a discussion which appears most urgent, with a view to resolving this impasse, for which our Government appear to share responsibility.
In this connection I note the Taoiseach's rider to his complaint about Mr. Mayhew's attitude to our extradition legislation, namely, that he was giving a solemn assurance that the new Act will be strictly adhered to and the safeguards in it fully implemented by the Attorney-General acting effectively. This part of the Taoiseach's statement involves such a degree of adjectival and adverbial emphasis as to raise doubts in the mind of some of his listeners as to his intentions, doubts not totally stilled by his subsequent expression of concern about extradition remaining inoperative. I hope the Minister for Justice can reassure us on the Government's intentions on extradition when he comes to reply.
Above all the Government have to repudiate any idea of weakening North-South security co-operation. On the basis of their own statements about the scale of the importation of arms and explosives in recent times, and the arms finds already made by the Garda Síochána and the finds of bunkers, empty unfortunately, it is clear that this island now faces a greater threat to peace and stability than we have known for a long time past. It is a threat which can be met only by the closest possible co-operation between the Garda Síochána and the RUC which, indeed, there is reason to believe has already been productive in terms of arms finds.
An Irish Government who did anything whatever to weaken security co-operation on this island would deserve, and would be the object of, the contempt of our people if, as is morally certain would be the case, such a decision contributed to the loss of lives on either side of the Border. An island that has already suffered 2,650 deaths, almost all of them  at the hands of or provoked by the activities of, paramilitaries, and a State whose security forces have already suffered significant losses at the hands of the IRA and INLA, does not need, nor will it tolerate, any other kind of Irish Government.
It is inconceivable to me that any responsible Government of this State could adopt a suicidal policy of making it easier for those who have murdered so many people on this island and in Britain to multiply their efforts in the months ahead. The preservation of national security and of lives are the first duties of any Irish Government, to which nothing else may ever be given precedence.
It is true, tragically true, that the decision, the consequences of which we are discussing here today, has reduced confidence in the administration of justice, and in the security forces in Northern Ireland. Our task in the face of such a situation must, however, be to seek urgently and with dedication to undo the damage that has thus been done unthinkingly to the security of the people of this island and under no circumstances perversely to aggravate this damage by making it easier for those who have murdered so many people on this island to take advantage of the situation thus created.
The tone of one paragraph of the Taoiseach's speech gives rise to some concern in this context, that is, the paragraph in which he speaks of the importance of not allowing the Garda Síochána's asset of virtual total community support to be endangered. No one, of course, could fault the sentiment itself but the manner in which the point is made and the particular emphasis given to it, together with the subsequent comment about the impossibility of compelling one force to have confidence in another or to give that full measure of confidential co-operation which should exist, is capable of being interpreted as a hint about the Garda Síochána being capable of being damaged by too close co-operation with the RUC. The Minister for Justice must repudiate this interpretation unambiguously in his  reply. There must be no ambiguity whatsoever on this issue from an Irish Government addressing the Parliament of this country.
Minister for Health (Dr. O'Hanlon): The Taoiseach outlined to the House this morning the firm stand taken by the Government on what can only be described as a most extraordinary and unacceptable decision by the British authorities to cover up the most serious issues raised by the Stalker-Sampson report. I think it is useful to remind ourselves just how serious those issues were which prompted the investigation by Mr. Stalker and later by Mr. Sampson. Concern has been expressed throughout Ireland and internationally and I would like to say a word on the situation that prevailed in 1982.
The situation in the Border region in the latter half of 1982 was one of insecurity and fear with serious allegations that the RUC had adopted a deliberate shoot-to-kill policy. Six people were shot dead, and one seriously injured in three separate incidents in County Armagh during November and December of that year. On 11 November, Eugene Toman, Gervaise McKerr and Seán Burns were shot dead at a road-block near Lurgan. Less than two weeks later, on 24 November, again near Lurgan, Michael Tighe, a 17 year old youth, was shot dead and his friend, Martin McCauley, was seriously injured. Shortly after this on 12 December both Séamus Grew and Roddy Carroll were shot dead near Armagh. The RUC were involved in all three incidents. Five of the men were unarmed when they were shot while in the case of the 17 year old, Michael Tighe, and his friend, Martin McCauley, the circumstances were such as to indicate that unusable firearms may have been planted in the hayshed where they were shot.
Three court cases resulted from these incidents. During these trials, further evidence came to light which caused deep concern and unease among people on both sides of the Border. During the trial of Constable Robinson for the murder of Séamus Grew, it emerged that several of  the shots which had killed Mr. Grew had been fired from a distance of less than three feet. Constable Robinson in his evidence pointed to the existence of a cover-up by the RUC on the entire affair designed to conceal the fact that members of the RUC Special Branch had been operating illegally in this State on the night of 12 December 1982. The trial of Martin McCauley provided evidence that RUC officers had lied in their statements and they in turn claimed that this had been on orders from “higher up”. The conduct of these trials was certainly less than satisfactory. In one case the court judged that Constable Robinson had been firing in self defence. It will be recalled that Constable Robinson had emptied his magazine into a car of unarmed men, had reloaded and continued to fire into the car. The comments by Justice McDermott and by the late Lord Justice Gibson during these trials gave cause for considerable alarm. The entire affair proved to be so insidious that the Northern Ireland Director of Public Prosecutions, Sir Barry Shaw, requested an inquiry into the entire affair. The results of the RUC investigation were not satisfactory and a full investigation was requested to be carried out by Mr. John Stalker, then Deputy Chief Constable of the Greater Manchester Police. I think many Members of the House here today will have read Mr. Stalker's extraordinary account of his investigation and of what appears to have been an organised attempt to frustrate its successful conclusion. The circumstances surrounding his removal from that investigation and his replacement by Mr. Colin Sampson appears to have been a murky affair indeed.
The circumstances surrounding these shootings, the extraordinary and bizarre circumstances surrounding, first, the investigation by the RUC and then the subsequent investigations by Mr. Stalker and Mr. Sampson, leave a whole host of questions to be answered.
 What is at stake here — among many other things — is the fundamental concept of the primacy of the rule of law. The notion that those charged with the guardianship of that law can in any circumstances be above it themselves has the most frightening and far-reaching implications. The question arises, for instance, as to where this ends. Does it mean that the same could happen again? If a similar incident were to take place again would the policemen involved be entitled to regard that, in the public interest, they should be immune from prosecution, and thus above the law? What kind of a signal does all this give to a police force operating in what everybody agrees is an extremely hazardous situation? What attitude can one expect of the community being served by such a police force? Can one realistically speak of public confidence in such a situation? Can they expect that a cover-up story will be fabricated to assist their escape from the due process of the law? Is in any wonder that this entire affair has shaken public confidence in the administration of justice in Northern Ireland and indeed has caused deep concern among the British public and among human rights commentators throughout the world.
I think every Member of this House will appreciate the depth of feeling which this decision has aroused, particularly in the Border areas. The people in the Border regions have lived for over 60 years with the effects of Partition which has done untold economic damage to communities on each side of this artificial barrier. In more recent times, the campaigns of the paramilitaries have led to a further deterioration in the economic life of the Border regions and, more important, have engendered deep feelings of insecurity and fear, particularly for those living in isolated areas. The implication arising from the entire Stalker-Sampson affair that the Six County forces of law and order could have descended to the level of the paramilitaries in their campaign of violence has served to further heighten fears and uncertainty to a new level in the region.
The paramilitaries act with no normal  human constraints. We only have to see their acts of barbarity of the type we saw recently in Enniskillen or here in the South during the O'Grady kidnap. The only constraint which operates is the constraint imposed by the security forces North and South of the Border. Both the Irish and British Governments agree that co-operation between these forces is essential if we are ever to defeat the men of violence.
Indeed the British Government have been particularly forceful on this point and have, in recent times, been full of praise for the spirit of co-operation between the security forces on both sides of the Border. But the success of the security forces is based on public confidence. Without public trust and confidence they will be denied information and without mutual confidence between the two forces, co-operation will be inhibited. This is not to imply any change in Government policy on security co-operation. What I am stating is a simple fact which must be clear to any observer.
In the light of this, I find the decision of the British Government on the Stalker-Sampson report totally inexplicable. They have, at one stroke, severely undermined public confidence in their own security forces. I think we all know the unfortunate legacy of the RUC which must naturally inspire mistrust among Nationalists, particularly in the Six Counties. That legacy cannot be ignored; it must be faced up to fairly and squarely if the RUC are ever to be an acceptable police force for Northern Nationalists.
It serves no useful purpose to pretend that this legacy does not exist or to brush uncomfortable or inconvenient facts under the carpet. This does a serious disservice to the many men in the RUC who have been making real efforts in recent years to try to implement a policy of even-handed and impartial policing. One wonders what these men feel now about this decision. Are they to be tarred with the same brush in order to protect some undesirables in the force?
Whatever public interest was involved in arriving at this decision, it would certainly not appear to include the best  interests of the RUC. The decision has, to my mind, only served to give a shot in the arm to the men of violence, has undermined confidence in the security forces in the Six Counties and has further heightened feelings of fear and insecurity in the Border area.
The Taoiseach this morning gave a clear account of the discussions which the Government have had with the British Government in recent weeks. I think it will be clear to all in this House that it is now for the British Government to redress this deplorable situation which they themselves have created. The decisiion of the British Government not to proceed with prosecutions arising from the Stalker-Sampson report, not to publish the report, not to provide information as to the reasons for the decision not to prosecute in the public interest, has grave implications for public confidence in the administration of justice in the Six Counties and for cross-Border security co-operation.
It is surprising that there was no prior consultation with the Government of our own sovereign nation. The absence of any prior consultation is contrary to the spirit as well as the letter of the Anglo-Irish Agreement which provides in Article 5 that “the Conference shall concern itself with measures ... to protect human rights”; it provides in Article 7 that “the Conference shall consider security policy and relations between the security forces and the community” and that “the Conference shall consider the security situation at its regular meetings and thus provide an opportunity to address policy issues, serious incidents and forthcoming events; and provides in Article 8 that “the Conference shall deal with issues of concern to both countries relating to the enforcement of criminal law...” and that “...the two Governments agree on the importance of public confidence in the administration of justice”. We have a vital interest in the matters considered by the Attorney General and we have a formal right to be consulted.
If the British Attorney General had argued that it was purely a judicial  decision then perhaps there could be some debate on the issue but he stated that it was in the public interest and for security reasons that the Stalker-Sampson report was not being published. I can see no judicial justification for this decision.
Deputy Dukes questioned the wisdom of the Birmingham Six case being raised with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. Obviously the decision in that case has implications for extradition. I believe the Birmingham Six are innocent and this belief has been reinforced by the many eminent people involved over a number of years in the prison service who have expressed the same opinion. It appears that their conviction was based on very faulty evidence. Many witnesses who gave evidence at the first trial were discredited at the recent appeal. I would also comment on the lack of sensitivity in the presentation of the result of that appeal which showed a total lack of any feeling or any sensitivity in Britain towards the Irish. Of course, that is nothing new because we witnessed it four years ago when the Gillespie sisters, who had served ten years of a sentence when their father died, were denied the right to attend their father's funeral even though they had only six weeks left of their prison sentence. This is an indication of discrimination against Irish prisoners in the UK.
The men are appealing to the House of Lords and if that appeal is unsuccessful the British Government have a wide range of options open to them to dispel the negative effect which this case has had on public confidence in British justice. It is of note that the Appeal Court has traditionally been very reluctant to act positively when the Home Secretary has referred other cases to it. In the seventies, in the case of Cooper and McMahon, successive Home Secretaries referred the case no less than four times to the Court of Appeal. The court declined to reverse the convictions and the Home Secretary finally took the action of releasing the men in 1980.
The British Government, through  their decision on the Stalker-Sampson inquiry, have seriously undermined public confidence in the administration of justice in the Six Counties, seriously damaged relations between the security forces and the Nationalist community, cast a shadow over the good co-operation which has been developing between the police forces on this island, and acted contrary to the spirit and letter of the Anglo-Irish Agreement. As I have said, it is for the British Government to take the necessary measures to put matters right.
The British have indicated that they will implement some limited measures — disciplinary action against certain RUC officers, reorganisation of the force to prevent any recurrence, a detailed report on the incursion of 12 December, etc. These do not represent a satisfactory response. The problem is of the British Government's making and they should respond further.
The implication which arises for cross-Border security is not caused by any change in Irish Government policy. We remain fully committed to cross-Border security. We will co-operate in the fight against crime and subversion. We will continue to determine our security requirements in the interests of everyone in this State and indeed on this island, as was stated by the Taoiseach this morning. The danger posed by the British Government's decision to such co-operation is specifically in its effect on the trust and confidence which the Garda Síochána can now feel in the RUC — a force which has suffered much at the hands of men of violence and which has been making efforts to win confidence and trust in recent years. The decision is a blow to the efforts which were being made by the RUC. Many RUC men resent this elaborate and continuing cover-up and would welcome publication of the report and a clearing of the air.
These events completely justify the Government's decision to introduce safeguards into our extradition arrangements with Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The Government remain committed to the implementation of extradition in the  fight against all types of crime but the British Government must comply with the new safeguards.
The Prevention of Terrorism Act, seen by many to discriminate against the Irish, is to be made permanent. In my view that further erodes any confidence in the desire of the British Government to seek a political solution to the serious problem obtaining on this island. It is counter-productive to arrest a number of people, to detain them for up to seven days and then release the vast majority of them without bringing any charge whatsoever. I might quote some figures in this respect. For example, in 1976 1,066 people were arrested of whom 986 were released without any charge whatsoever. In 1980, 537 people were arrested under the Prevention of Terrorism Act, 450 or whom were released without any charge whatsoever. In 1986 there were 147 people arrested of whom 109 were released without any charge whatsoever. It is my belief that the continuance of the Prevention of Terrorism Act is totally counter-productive and is only playing into the hands of the men of violence.
It is my view also that the British wanted security only from the Anglo-Irish Agreement. We can witness the increasing evidence of the security — again counter-productive — in the number of troops now placed in South Armagh while no efforts have been made to deal with the issues undermining confidence, such as the RUC, the UDR and the Diplock courts. Those are the issues that need to be addressed.
The present Taoiseach was the first Taoiseach, in 1980, to raise the issue of the Six Counties to inter-governmental level. Since assuming office one year ago he has dealt with the affairs of Northern Ireland with fairness and responsibility, particularly in relation to the problems that have arisen recently, and has behaved in a statesmanlike manner. We are fortunate at present to have a man with his insight into the position to deal with what is a very serious problem.
The issues involved were put to the British Government and have been enumerated many times. These are, first,  that the Stalker-Sampson report be published; second, that the decision not to prosecute RUC officers identified in that report — against whom there is evidence of wrong-doing — should be explained and the decision reconsidered; third, there must be a response on the absence of consultation within the Anglo-Irish Conference prior to the announcement by the United Kingdom Attorney General that there would be no prosecutions in the public interest; fourth, that a full report should be provided on the covert operation by members of the Northern Ireland security forces in our jurisdiction on the night of 12 December 1982; fifth, that the trust and confidence which must exist between the two police forces engaged in security co-operation has been seriously damaged; sixth, that the Home Secretary should consider the use of the wide-ranging powers available to him in regard to the Birmingham Six case and, lastly, that there be an awareness of the importance for extradition in the handling of the Stalker-Sampson affair and the Birmingham Six case. We can add to that our concern about the Prevention of Terrorism Act. There is now an obligation on the British Government to make a positive response.
Mr. Kelly: Of the several matters the Taoiseach mentioned in his opening remarks this morning there was one in which he merely hinted a dissatisfaction but expressed no definite or explicit complaint about it, that was the matter arising from the Appeal Court hearing in London in regard to the Birmingham Six case. I do not want to waste time on the question of whether it is proper for a Government by merely mentioning something or hinting dissatisfaction but without explaining just exactly what their dissatisfaction consists of, to leave the thing hanging in the air. But, since the Taoiseach left it hanging in the air, I do not propose to advert to this matter at all. I intend to deal only with the other three matters with which he did deal, namely, the British Prevention of Terrorism Act — about which the Minister opposite has just been speaking — the  report of the Stalker-Sampson investigation, associated question of the role of the British Attorney General and the difficulties which have arisen over the Extradition (Amendment) Act of last year.
In regard to the Prevention of Terrorism Act, it is very important for this House and Government to bear in mind a simple rule of advocacy which I learned when I went to the Bar 30 years ago. It is this: if you have two points, one a good strong point and the other a weak one, leave one outside the court, do not bring it in with you because, in advancing a weak point and in seeing it discredited, you will merely drag down your good point also. It is not simply out of a desire to do justice to the British as well as to everybody else, although even the British are entitled to justice, it is not simply out of a desire for that but out of a desire also that the legitimate concerns and complaints of the Irish Government — those which this House in general supports — should get due regard and should have, if possible, success that I have urged the Government not to make a meal out of the Prevention of Terrorism Act. I consider that the United Kingdom, like ourselves, like any other sovereign state, is fully entitled to take whatever measures it thinks fit, whenever it likes. Provided they are in conformity with fundamental European acceptance of the idea of human rights, the rule of law, it is fully entitled to protect itself and its people against terrorism. In fact, a Government in any country in the world are not doing their duty unless they take whatever measures they think fit — within the four corners of human rights — in order to protect their people. We must acknowledge that right in other countries, just as we expect them to acknowledge it in us.
Acts of terrorism have been perpetrated on the soil of the neighbouring island, not just by Irish groups but by others as well. Nevertheless, the Irish connection alone amounts to a frightful record. Merely from my memory — and I am certainly forgetting some episodes — let me remind the House of the Birmingham bombings themselves in which 21 innocent people died, of the Oxford Street bombing, of the murder of Airey Neave, of the murder of Norris McWhirter, of the Guildford pub bombing, of the motorway coach bombing, of the Winchester barracks bombing, of the bombing of ceremonial cavalry men and their horses, of the periodical campaigns of letter bombing and of the Brighton Hotel bombing which was aimed at the British people's elected leader. We did not elect her here; possibly she would never get a quota in any constituency in this country, but the people nearest to us elected her as their leader. She was the person against whom that outrage was directed. It did not succeed in injuring her but it killed four other people.
If we in this State had experienced a similar series of horrors — apart from others which I cannot remember at present — would we not take drastic steps to protect ourselves, possibly even more drastic than we see incorporated in the provisions of the Prevention of Terrorism Act? I want to remind the Minister opposite that there is still in force in this State — requiring only an order of the Government to bring it into operation — an Act, namely, the Offences Against the State (Amendment) Act of 1940 under which people on a ministerial warrant and without the intervention of any court can be interned indefinitely, not just for seven days but indefinitely. Deputy Blaney up there, whom I do not wish to irritate—I name him only because he is a convenient reference — sat as a member of a Government which did operate that part of that Act. It was last operated here within fairly recent memory, in 1961 and 1962.
I certainly do not condone, would not excuse or make apologies for the discriminatory or unreasonable operation of that Prevention of Terrorism Act in Britain or any other Act or law. The Taoiseach did hint this morning that it had been unreasonably or discriminatorily operated. If so, I do not want to say anything to palliate the perfectly justified grievance which can arise from  such a process. There appear to have been, and I accept that there have been, cases in which the provisions of that Act may have been abused but, in fairness and in justice I have to say — and I owe them no less — that although I myself have landed in Britain or arrived at a British port, I suppose, 50 or 60 times in the 14 years since the Prevention of Terrorism Act came into force, I have never been troubled by it. I never recall seeing my fellow passengers on an Irish plane, or arriving at Holyhead or at Liverpool being troubled by it either. I have, of course, been asked to fill up cards. On a few occasions I have been asked my destination verbally. Am I to get into a flap about that? Am I not a guest in their country? Are they not entitled to make whatever arrangements they thing best to secure themselves against the kinds of outrage I have listed?
A few Ministers, Deputies and Members of the European Parliament of Irish nationality have made silly asses of themselves by making a fuss at being asked to go through these details. They will go through treble that number of formalities in other countries which they accept like a lamb but because the British, who have suffered a series of outrages nominally carried out under our tricolour, impose these trifling restrictions — by calling them trifling I do not excuse the abuses of that Act — they are supposed to be unreasonable. That is what I mean by the weakest point, it should be left outside the court and not used to discredit the strong points. In the context of security we should all acknowledge the maxim that it is better to be sure than sorry.
Have we not ourselves in this State under the guidance and direction of the Government, which I support in every particular in this respect, laid down a process no later than last November when tens of thousands of innocent homes in this country were visited and searched? The privacy of tens of thousands of innocent families was disturbed and invaded in order to track down a relatively small number of criminals and to turn up a relatively small number of arms caches.  How many people have complained about that? Naturally, if you send thousands of soldiers to conduct searches and the same number of police, there will be occasions when men who are tired or inexperienced — some less tactful and more easily irritated than others — will invade people's privacy under cover of this power less politely and more extensively than may be necessary. However, reasonable people expect that to happen and they do not complain. For us to be making a fuss about this measure when there are other things that should be complained about, is weakening the parts of our case that are strong.
The Stalker-Sampson case is in a quite different category from the Prevention of Terrorism Act and anything we have to say about that case is weakened by bleating about the English provisions for their own security. Even here, there is a certain dimension of the Irish argument which, again, would be better left outside the court. There is a suggestion, which has not been articulated here, which I have seen and heard in the last fortnight that the prosecution function in Britain or any other country is a sort of machine that automatically churns out an indictment as soon as the prosecuting authority has available to it a certain quantum of evidence. That is simply not so. I agree that the prosecuting authority, for the arguments I am trying to make, encompass more than simply the Attorney General or a Director of Public Prosecutions. It stretches down to the police level.
There have been instances in our own jurisdiction where it is not the case that evidence has been available in a certain context and that a prosecution has automatically followed. There were ten or 12 years during which it appeared to be the law that divorces obtained outside this country were not regarded here as valid. That is no longer so but it obtained from about the mid-fifties to 1969 or 1970, I cannot remember the exact dates, during which that appeared to be the law, rightly or wrongly. During that period, therefore, anybody who was divorced in some other jurisdiction and who came back to  Ireland and got married might have been charged with bigamy because their original spouse was still alive. Yet, as far as I know, the police never brought such a prosecution or if there was one it was the rarest of birds. I see two members of the legal profession on the other side of the House, and I am willing to give way to them if they want to contradict me but I think I am right in saying that bigamy prosecutions were exceedingly rare.
Naturally, in cases where there was a question of deceit or allurement of some unfortunate woman who did not know that she was being asked to marry a man who had a wife in every port, it was a different matter and I would regard it as an extremely serious offence but even where the parties both knew what they were doing it was still, under the old law, bigamy.
Equally the law is not and has not been enforced in regard to homosexual acts between men — unless the papers which seem in other respect to have thrown off all wraps decided in those instances not to report proceedings. That is the case unless there is some dimension of violation of public decency, corruption and intimidation. However, in the ordinary sense, that law has fallen asleep and the plaintiff who challenged it four or five years ago — although he admitted he might be vulnerable to it — also admitted that he had never been troubled by it. I could multiply these instances, not perhaps by many more such conspicuous examples, but there are many instances in which our criminal law does respond to a certain discretion which we would call a discretion corresponding to a perception, for one reason or another, of the public interest. It is not correct to say that the public interest may never intervene.
My complaint about what has happened in Britain — and the Government would do very well to stick to this — is not based on the fact that the British Attorney-General acknowledged that a discretion of this kind should exist — it exists here too. I am not disturbed about the existence of a discussion to prosecute based on a perception of the public  interest — what upsets and disturbs me and ought to disturb the Government — and I believe it does — is that this discussion was invoked in a context so explosive with a lack of feeling and commonsense so lamentable, and to establish a precedent so intolerable, that the parties in this House will be at one in supporting the Government in their complaints.
Naturally no Government like to reveal their security arrangements and I do not blame the British for being shy about this. We do not want to reveal ours either. However, there are other values in this setting. No British Government should have been willing to impair what appeared to be the incipient acceptance of the RUC by the Northern Ireland minority, nor should they have given that minority the feeling, as the Minister opposite said a moment ago — although I would not endorse all his expressions which I thought were unnecessarily abrasive — that when gross abuses such as perversion of justice arose, the delinquents would find a safe shelter once more behind the same screen of public interest. The British should realise that there is more at issue for themselves, as well as for the rest of us, than the secrecy of their security arrangements and that, by this decision, they might have seriously weakened the chances of bringing peace and order quickly back to the North.
On the question of extradition, after all the misunderstandings and all the duff British warrants — which it is not cricket for the Irish courts to subject to the ordinary test of scrutiny — after our Supreme Court has had to cut several large corners off the previous law in order to deprive terrorists of a shelter in that law, this last episode is the last straw. In this instance, unlike the others, our Government must bear some share — I do not want to exaggerate it — of the blame for the extradition process having seized up. The Taoiseach said this morning that our Attorney-General wrote on 17 December to the British Attorney-General confirming the requirements of Irish law under the new Act. As soon as this letter  was replied to with a rejoinder indicating that these requirements effectively would not be met, when the first warrant arrived which did not meet the requirements and when the Attorney-General accordingly reported this to the Government, as I presume he did, why was a special meeting of the Anglo-Irish Conference not immediately demanded two months ago in order to straighten out this conflict? Why must we wait until this matter surfaces in the form of the present disastrously timed shouting match?
There was a time in my career here when I would have been inclined to attribute this disastrous timing to deliberate manipulation on Fianna Fáil's part because I would have been inclined to say that they would naturally welcome a good fat grievance, a good fat chance to beat the British in the three or four days coming up to their Árd Fheis. I would have been reinforced in that feeling by the somewhat truculent tone the Taoiseach showed on a couple of occasions this morning when he told us with emphasis, as though anyone had ever contradicted or doubted this point — even in Britain — that the Garda was not an Anglo-Irish police force. That is the kind of phrase which certainly will bring the backwoodsmen to their feet. The Taoiseach may possibly regret he did not save that up for the Árd Fheis next Saturday or Sunday.
I am trying very hard to believe, and I am disposed to believe it because of the way things have gone here in the last year, that he does understand he is handling a matter too important and too deadly to harness to any such petty purpose. Either the Intergovernmental Conference is there — this is what I am trying to compain about in regard to what I think has to be interpreted as Government slowness and Government laxity in this matter — as a framework in which the parties can consult, co-ordinate their actions, can keep one another informed and, above all, can forestall public misunderstandings and foul-ups or it has no useful role at all. The Government must emphasise that point relentlessly in  regard to the disease which has hit Anglo-Irish relations in the last month. The British should not be left with an excuse for insinuating faults on our side which are, in fact, the product of their own neglect.
These persistent misunderstandings, the persistent impasses and foul-ups in Anglo-Irish relations, illustrate something which, unfortunately, is a sort of datum, a starting point, in relations between these two Governments in regard to Northern Ireland. They illustrate that Irish affairs do not have, and I suppose cannot have, a high priority on the English agenda whereas they are right at the top of ours. That is an unalterable fact of life. The British have a much larger country and there are much greater interests for them in their way at looking at things than Northern Ireland, an uncomfortable offshore province which no doubt they bitterly regret ever having bothered with.
That leads me to the reflection, if the Chair will allow me to intrude a mere reflection at the tail end of my few words on this motion, that in a curious way we would have been better off in the Dáil had Stormont still been in existence, even Stormont warts and all. I was as jubilant as anybody when it was wound up in 1972 but in a curious way I wonder whether we gained all that much from the destruction of that forum, corrupt though it was and corrupt though the politics were which underlay it. At least at that time there was there a single, recognisable and unmistakable Unionist leadership. It was one that was difficult to deal with, at least until the time of Captain O'Neill who was, as soon as he showed signs of realising that this was the 20th century, pulled down by the savage backwoodsmen around him. At least there was an authority there at the top of whose agenda Irish affairs also figured. There was an authority there which had responsibility for security in the North of Ireland and Irish affairs was at the top of their agenda also.
I think and I am sure no Deputy will differ from me in saying this, that the first priority in trying to get the affairs of these islands back on an even keel is to produce  some kind of authority in the North of Ireland, a native North of Ireland authority, I hope a power-sharing one which is the only one I would feel appropriate or acceptable, with whom we can deal across the Border face-to-face knowing we are talking to people whose own daily lives are bound up with the very same problems that we are showing concern for. Until that day comes we are going to be exposed to the persistent bothers of misunderstanding and foul-up which the last few weeks in Anglo-Irish relations have displayed. I hope the Government, in trying to get us out of the current phase of bitter relations, will keep the objective of restoring something like a recognisable native Northern Ireland authority firmly in view.
Mr. Blaney: Am I just wasting my time here? Will the Chair be calling a Member from each side? Can no point of view be expressed other than that of the Establishment and those who keep them there at present?
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: I hope the Deputy appreciates that very telling contributions have been made from which we all benefit. I should like to tell him that it is the intention before the debate concludes that the House should have the benefit of listening to his contribution, but not just now.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: For a party that can boast of 51 Members the  fact that they have had three contributors so far is not disproportionate to their strength in the House compared to that of one Member.
Mr. Andrews: Deputy Kelly's contribution was colourful and good and I concede, as well I might, that the British are entitled to introduce whatever legislation they feel is in their best national interest. However, that is where I depart from Deputy Kelly in regard to the Prevention of Terrorism Act. That Act may be good for Britain but it is a lousy piece of legislation as far as our citizens are concerned and as far as the Irish community in Britain are concerned. It is the type of legislation which allows the security authorities to engage in trawling. They throw out the net, take in 20 or 30 Irish citizens and out of that number they may get one individual whom they may detain for the mandatory seven days under the Act before releasing him or her. It is a trawling piece of legislation which allows the British authorities to willy-nilly cast their nets abroad and bring in decent law-abiding Irish men and women.
I have seen that Act in operation at first hand. Like Deputy Kelly I have travelled to the United Kingdom on many occasions since the Act was introduced following the Birmingham bombings in 1974. When people like Séamus McGarry, the President of the Federation of Irish Societies in Britain, suggests that the institutionalising permanently into British law of the PTA is a bad thing from the point of view of  the Irish community in Britain that is good enough for me.
I should like to pay tribute to Mr. McGarry, a voluntary officer presiding over Irish societies in Britain, for the tremendous contribution he has made to the welfare and good reputation of the law-abiding Irishmen and women who live in Britain. Séamus McGarry indicated on radio the other day that by doing what they have the British have given the security authorities carte blanche to bring in whom they want, when they want and how they want on a haphazard and unsignalled basis. I agree with Deputy Kelly's proposition that the British are entitled to bring in their own laws but where their laws affect the best interests of Irishmen and women we are entitled to make a comment in relation to the efficacy or otherwise of those laws.
I am a very strong supporter of the Anglo-Irish Agreement and have been since its inception. I do not see anything on the political horizon to replace the agreement as it stands. In those circumstances I should like to see the agreement continuing.
The extraordinary insensitivity of the British Government to Irish affairs and the concerns of Irish people, particularly in their recent actions, has been amazing but if we put it into proper context we can understand the British establishment attitude to this country. I would not go so far as to say that it is almost racist but they see us and have seen us historically as second-class citizens within the empire over which they ruled, certainly up to 1922. There has been an historical lack of understanding over the centuries. They have not yet begun to learn that at least part of the island of Ireland is a sovereign nation with its own independence and its entitlement to make decisions in its national interest. Britain has not begun to understand that yet. When it does it may have a deeper appreciation of the need to be more sensitive in its dealings with successive Irish Governments.
I now refer to the Stalker-Sampson affair and the willingness of the British Attorney General, Sir Patrick Mayhew, to collude in the subversion of justice in  the British national interest. We cannot begin to understand why the British dealt with the Stalker-Sampson report in that manner. The large majority of people here have always regarded the rule of law as sacrosanct. The British gave us their common law and it has been part of the jurisprudence of this country over hundreds of years. Yet, the very country which in the past has advocated the primacy of the rule of law now ignores it because it suits them to do so.
It is very difficult for an Irish person to understand why perverting the course of justice does not attract the sanction of the criminal law, particularly at a time when the need for an even-handed approach to both sections of the community in Northern Ireland is vital. The bland manner in which the British engage in damage limitation is simply not good enough. They send over people like Mr. Mates, the suave, affable and able Member of Parliament, to come on Irish television and tell the people that the British are concerned. His task is simply to keep the lid on the pot. The British are past masters at this form of damage limitation.
To suggest that the RUC officers who engaged in the official or unofficial shoot-to-kill policy should merely be disciplined is making a nonsense of the law. I would respectfully suggest that the Irish Government should continue to seek the publication of the Stalker-Sampson report and the prosecution of the RUC officers involved in the killings in November and December 1983.
It is all very well to say that the Anglo-Irish Agreement is in place to facilitate argument and discussion about what should be done but it now appears that Britain over the past few weeks has been coming empty-handed to these discussions. They should not be allowed to come empty-handed to these discussions; they must give something in return. The British should publish the Stalker-Sampson report and prosecute the RUC officers involved in the shoot-to-kill policy. In addition to the publication and prosecution process, the RUC should be restructured and the Diplock Courts  should be strengthened from a one-man court to a three-man bench.
The British should also consider as a matter of urgency the appointment of a new chief constable in the mould, for example, of Mr. John Stalker. Mr. Stalker came here to publicise his book, which effectively gives the Stalker half of the Stalker-Sampson report up to the time of his dismissal. It is a very worthwhile book. The type of person who should replace Sir John Hermon when he retires, as I believe he will, in the not too distant future should be an individual in the mould of Mr. John Stalker. Mr. Stalker comes across as a man of integrity who is concerned with reaching the solution to a problem in an honest fashion. He is a good British copper in the best traditions of good British policemen. I believe the appointment of the next chief constable in Northern Ireland should come from without the North rather than within.
Failure to do all of these things, particularly failure to publish the report and prosecute, might indicate to our Government that the time has come to internationalise the Stalker-Sampson report. The Irish Government, with all the diplomatic machinery at their disposal, should internationalise the British failure to publish and prosecute. They should go to the European Community. The matter has already been raised in the European Parliament. It could also be internationalised at United Nations level. The Anglo-Irish Agreement is internationally binding. Such actions on the part of the Irish Government might indicate to the British that we are very serious about the need to publish and prosecute. We should use the fora available to us as a sovereign independent nation. The matter could be raised right across the world in the event of the British continuing to be intransigent and obscurantist in their failure to publish the report.
In the event of failure to prosecute, the European Court of Justice should be open to the relatives and dependants of those persons who were shot. I realise  the British might not seek to be represented at such proceedings and that it might turn out to be a rather empty exercise. If the British continue to fail to prosecute these officers, the due processes available under the European Court of Human Rights should be available to the relatives and dependants of the individuals shot under the shoot-to-kill policy.
Mr. Andrews: By and large the British media adopted a low key and responsible approach to events in Ireland last week. The same cannot be said about a number of journals, most particularly the Daily Telegraph and the Sunday Telegraph. That newspaper organisation has long been the organ of the more extreme Tory view of the Conservative Party. Last Sunday week's Sunday Telegraph exceeded itself. The extraordinary and defamatory insults to our Attorney General appear to have been made with malice aforethought. I realise that the Attorney General has his own remedy in civil law and I hope he pursues it because if he does he will succeed in both jurisdictions. That type of journalism is very wrong and it is inexcusable. Because of this I propose that no facility should be afforded to the journalists of that newspaper by the Government press office and interviews should not be given by Members of this House until an appropriate apology is offered. It is no coincidence that in today's Guardian an almost as vicious attack is made on the Minister for Energy and Communications. Whatever about the Daily Telegraph and the Sunday Telegraph and their pathological anti-Irishness we might have expected more from the Guardian. It makes one wonder whether there may not be a concerted attempt being made to use the UK media to vilify the Irish Government and thus allow the British Government to evade their responsibility to the rule of law. I do not want it to be alleged that I am engaged in Brit bashing but it appears  to me that the Irish Government in the context of the Anglo-Irish Agreement and more particularly over the the past number of weeks have acted with admirable restraint and dignity in the face of the gravest provocation. When the British are offside they are notorious for blaming members of the other team for putting them into their predicament. In this instance they have slandered our Attorney General and our Minister, Deputy Burke. They try to undermine the reputations of the individuals involved in the negotiating process and by doing that they seek to lower their esteem in the public mind. That is totally unacceptable and although others may not think so I think it is worth putting on the record of the House.
The Attorney General's safeguards in the Extradition Act have been seen to be proper, and who can say now that the Government were not correct in introducing safeguards into our extradition arrangements with the UK and Northern Ireland? It is important that extradition be ongoing for the ordinary decent criminal and for the political offence merchants. In this respect the British must comply with the safeguards. Sir Patrick Mayhew is entitled to express a view on our extradition proceedings, but our Attorney General must operate the law as he sees it and our Bill gave the Attorney General certain statutory powers within the law and the Attorney General has no option but to operate the law as he finds it.
Mr. Andrews: In relation to the case of the Birmingham Six I hope that their defence counsel will be successful tomorrow in seeking to have the court of appeal certify their case to the House of Lords. However, I am not too hopeful for the successful outcome of that application, having witnessed their Lordships of Appeal handing down their judgment on the day of judgment when they dismissed  the Birmingham Six appeal in the recent past.
Miss Kennedy: I am disappointed that the Taoiseach did not take the opportunity in his address this morning to tell the House what he and the Government intend to do to resolve the undoubted impasse arising from the Stalker-Sampson affair and extradition. I would separate the Stalker-Sampson affair from the Birmingham Six and the prevention of terrorism issues because Stalker-Sampson is one issue under the Anglo-Irish Agreement where the Irish Government have guaranteed rights. I interrupt my speech now to indicate that I would like to give five minutes of my time to Deputy Desmond.
Stalker-Sampson is the one area under the Anglo-Irish Agreement on which the Irish Government have guaranteed rights. It is unanimously agreed that the Stalker-Sampson affair is a disgrace and a perversion of the rule of law. It is also unanimous that the British Government have acted against even their own interests in this matter in relation to Northern Ireland.
In relation to the role of our Government in the Anglo-Irish impasse I wonder if mistakes were made and if such mistakes were culpable. If such mistakes were made we should learn from them. The British Government's breach of the letter and spirit of the Anglo-Irish Agreement was by no means an accidental misjudgment or a marginal misreading of the situation. We are driven to the conclusion that it was a conscious decision to breach the agreement, or else that the reaction in Ireland was not anticipated. If the former is the case we should act accordingly in future, but if the latter is the case we must ask ourselves how the Government failed to convey in advance to the British the destructive potential of their action.
In this context we must ask whether the Anglo-Irish Conference was adequately used to nail down firmly the Irish Government's determination that no action would be taken on foot of the Stalker-Sampson report without recourse to the  process of consultation designed to bring about an agreed approach on the matter. We must ask and are entitled to ask in this House did this Government at any time since their accession to office raise the question of the Stalker-Sampson report either at the Anglo-Irish Conference or through any other political channel with the British Government at any time prior to Sir Patrick Mayhew's recent statement to the House of Commons, and if so how often and on what terms? Secondly, did we convey formally or informally to the British Government that the Irish Government expected to be consulted before any decision was announced on foot of the Stalker-Sampson inquiry and if so, how often and on what terms? Thirdly, did the Government express their concern at the delay in being consulted on the report or at the removal of John Stalker from the inquiry? These are crucial questions to be answered by the Government. Unless they can be answered clearly and satisfactorily there must be a grave reservation over the manner in which the Government have acted, or failed to act, in this affair.
If this House is assured that the unilateral decision of the British Government to announce through their Attorney General their own decision on the matter was itself a breach of a special and explicit agreement other than the terms of Article 7 of the Anglo-Irish Agreement, we must draw the conclusion that the Government relied on an implicit understanding that they would be consulted. If we relied on an implicit understanding, between whom was that understanding reached? Was it a continuation of an understanding with members of the last Government? Why was it not renewed? Why was it not made explicit? If the far reaching consequences of the decision taken by the British Government ought to have been clear to them in advance, does it not follow that they should have been equally clear to our Government? If the delay in completing the report and the strange circumstances of Mr. Stalker's suspension meant anything, surely they  must have warned the Irish Government that powerful interests were working at high levels in Britain to secure the outcome announced by Sir Patrick Mayhew. It seems strange indeed that a clear and explicit communication of our vital interests in the matter was not conveyed to the British Government at a level at which it could have had effect. Unless this House is satisfied that a clear, explicit and unequivocal communication of our expectations in this matter was made clear to the British and acknowledged, we must draw the conclusion that there has been a serious and culpable failure on the part of this Government in the conduct of foreign affairs.
Of course, it can be argued that hindsight gives a very different perspective and that the breach of faith by the British was so gross as not to justify any anticipatory diplomatic action, but where vital interests are at stake and a ready channel of communication is available, is there any excuse for relying on assumptions or implications? Why was no explicit understanding reached and acknowledged?
We must also view this breakdown in understanding in a broader perspective. Why has there been no Summit meeting between the Taoiseach and the British Prime Minister since his election? Hurried fringe meetings at European Council meetings are no substitute for structural and detailed diplomacy. The failure of the Taoiseach to meet Mrs. Thatcher for a whole year in circumstances that would have permitted him to raise the Stalker-Sampson report before the damage was done is inexcusable. Britain and Ireland must co-operate in relation to Northern Ireland. Co-operation must be detailed and thorough. A serious and lengthy Summit meeting between the Taoiseach and Mrs. Thatcher might also have created a sense of obligation and understanding which would have prevented the recent disruption of Anglo-Irish relations. Unfortunately, the Taoiseach has, by his statements and behaviour, created such a sense of doubt about his intentions as to weaken seriously his position and that of his Government. His  original deepseated and public ambivalence on the Anglo-Irish Agreement passed on to him an onus to work tirelessly to prove his commitment to make it work. This he has manifestly failed to do.
Deputy Blaney and some of the Taoiseach's erstwhile political associates in America seem to have received explicit commitments that the extradition process would in some sense wither away during last year. Even allowing for some wishful thinking on their part, it seems clear that for backroom political purposes the Taoiseach was prepared to talk “green” and discount the importance of extradition which was clearly envisaged as a central part of the Anglo-Irish process. The hasty, cobbled together attitude of the Government as evidence by their amending legislation on extradition and their unwillingness to state their intentions on the matter clearly in advance were not calculated to show a consistency of purpose and intent to the British Government. Indeed, the failure of the Government's diplomacy and the cynical attack on the Leader of the PDs, among others, with the veiled suggestion that this party's stance on extradition was being improperly influenced by the British Ambassador, called into question the skills and judgment of the Taoiseach in some diplomatic matters. As the record shows, we did not flinch from our commitment to bring about adequate safeguards. It was the Taoiseach who changed his posture dramatically in the last year.
The well publicised antics of the Minister for Tourism and Transport in south Armagh and the loss of verbal control, to put it mildly, on the part of the Minister for Justice showed that the Government are very weak, uncertain and uncoordinated in their behaviour on Northern Ireland. The failure of the Government to act decisively in our relations with Libya has reached a point of seriousness which merits further debate and action.
The Government have twice informed this House that they did not anticipate that the contents of the Stalker-Sampson report would be made public. This was  stated by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and co-chairman of the conference on two occasions. On 16 June in answer to Dáil questions last year Deputy Lenihan stated: “My understanding is that police reports of this kind are not normally published”. He used the same form of words again, as can be found in the Official Report on 4 November. At no time did the Government take the elementary step of asking to be consulted on the implications of any decision to be taken on foot of the Stalker report.
There is then clear evidence that this Government have failed in a number of respects. They have not demonstrated complete commitment to work the Anglo-Irish Agreement. They have not established by Summit meetings or diplomacy a clear understanding between Dublin and London. The Taoiseach has acted and spoken on Northern Ireland, security and extradition in a manner which suggests ambivalence and absence of clear strategy. Collectively the Government are unconvincing and uncoordinated in their various stances on issues relating to Northern Ireland.
We have sought to maintain consensus in this country in order to encourage the further development of the Anglo-Irish process. Unfortunately, the performance of the Government is deficient in this area and it is essential that their weaknesses should not be allowed damage our national interest. We regret very much that these things must be said in a debate such as we are having today, but they are said not to bring about divisions or disunity in this House but, on the contrary, in order to oblige the Government to improve their performance, and give more time to create confidence in their future capacity to sustain the Anglo-Irish process.
I am forced to raise these questions to clear the air. I agree this is the time for us to rally together on the high ground following the Stalker-Sampson affair. I was disappointed that the Taoiseach said not spell out the “all and any action necessary” that he needs now in order to end the current impasse. I hope he will do that when replying to the debate this  evening. Two things should be pursued immediately by the Government. They should sort out the extradition issue straight away, and they should insist that those persons who conspired to pervert the course of justice in the RUC be removed from the RUC forthwith.
I remember a very distinguished former Member of this House, the late James Larkin. Many a time I was at a union conference with him with an employer and he used to say across the table to all of us, as only he could say with such authority: “There may be a strike,” and he would look the employer straight in the eye and look back at his own shop stewards and add: “Let us not talk ourselves into one anyway”. Regarding the current political situation between ourselves and our neighbour, the UK, we should not talk ourselves into an impasse, a deadlock, a political climate which would be conducive to fostering the aims of the Provisional IRA and the other paramilitaries equally vicious in Northern Ireland and fostering the remnants of anti-Britishism which, let us be thankful, are now being excluded from this House. Therefore, I ask, where do we go from here? How do we stop talking ourselves into further trouble? In the first instance the obligation lies with the Government. I do not cavil at the Department of the Taoiseach and the Northern Ireland section thereof. They are effective. I have the highest regard for the Secretary to the Government who has been heroic in his service to succesive Governments, in particular in the complex negotiations relating to the Anglo-Irish Agreement. He deserves the enormous respect of this House and of his counterparts in the UK. It is imperative that those men within the Government service and the Department  of Foreign Affairs be brought back on to centre stage.
There is a very strong view abroad that the Taoiseach has sidelined the Department of Foreign Affairs. That view has been prevalent for a number of years. The exceptional role that that Department played in Anglo-Irish relations in the constant, incessant and necessary briefings of their counterparts is, I fear, so diluted at present that the impact of that process has created a vacuum, and where a vacuum of the State exists inevitably mistakes are made on both sides and the climate becomes more and more sour. Therefore, I urge that the governmental processes here should be put back on to the kind of normality that had worked so effectively. I and my colleague, Deputy Peter Barry, with whom I served in Government, know how effective that process was. I was proud to be part of that process as a member of the Government between 1982 and January 1987. The two Attorneys General must get together immediately and sort out the extradition mess.
Mr. Desmond: That is imperative. It is utterly wrong that the warrants for people who are required on charges which are sent by the British authorities should lie fallow, unexamined, untreated and signed away by an Irish Attorney General. That is not in the interests of justice in either this country or the United Kingdom. It is certainly not in the interests of security because those situations must be dealt with. I regret the ambivalence in the Taoiseach's speech in that regard. I presume that it was meant for the Ard Fheis and everything would be all right next Monday or Tuesday and we would be back to normality in that regard.
There is a need for a summit between the Taoiseach and the British Prime Minister in two or three months time. That summit must be properly structured and carefully prepared and it should be subject to intensive prior negotiation, discussion and consultation between both  parties. Only then should the summit take place and not on the fringe of a Council meeting.
Mr. Desmond: It should have happened six months ago but now is the time to prepare for it. We should put that forward on a progressive basis. We must within our country “cool it”. The Minister for Justice made an excessive remark which I think he regrets. I regret it. The Minister for Tourism and Transport, Deputy John Wilson, made a mistake in the manner in which he conducted a private visit which resulted in retaliation. That was a mistake and he should cool it and not do that again.
We should break off diplomatic relations with Libya. There is a huge question mark about that. Since the Eksund was intercepted it has been alleged — and I have no reason to doubt the information I received — that the Libyan Minister for Information was in this country. These kind of contacts — which do not go unnoticed by the security forces in other countries — should cease. It is imperative, as a matter of political hygiene, that we break off diplomatic relations with that country because there are at present in Ireland, North or South, at least 800 weapons of modern calibre which are quite capable of wreaking further destruction, bloodshed and mayhem on the Irish people.
I want to make a point in relation to a separate matter because I regard the Birmingham Six question as a separate matter. Many people have paraded on television, radio and in the newspapers about that disastrous incident which was created by the IRA. Let us put clearly on the record that that incident would never have happened were it not for the IRA. Those who have information relating to the alleged names of those involved in that appalling incident should bring it to the notice of the security authorities because that kind of ambivalence, no matter from what quarter it comes, is intolerable.
 I urge that there should be no let up on the continuing close co-operation between the Garda, the Army, the RUC and the British Army in their efforts to seize weapons and bring those who have them to justice. I hope that there is not the slightest ambivalence on our part in that regard because if that should be so my party — and I have no doubt the other Opposition parties also — would be more than harsh in our reaction. We would be greatly concerned if that should arise. However, I have no reason to believe that it will arise in the months ahead.
Mr. D. Ahern: I am delighted to have an opportunity to speak on this important and historic debate. The motion before the House, as proposed by the Taoiseach, is a broad outline of what the Government and this House — with some notable exceptions — see as the future for this island. Behind this motion lies a myriad of matters which are interlinked and known as Anglo-Irish relations. Over the past few years these relations have touched both ends of the graph, sometimes at a high and other times at a low. In the recent past, the relationship has been fostered, culminating in the Anglo-Irish Agreement which has been in situ for some time.
The hiccups of the past few weeks have been very disappointing to this side of the Irish Sea. We have carried out our side of the equation to the Agreement. The relationship between both States is a two-way process and without the full co-operation of both sides the goodwill during the past few years will be put to nought. It is imperative that all constitutional politicians ensure that relations are put back on an even keel otherwise the terrorists will resurrect their ugly heads. The only people who are pleased with the present impasse are the men of the bomb and the bullet. They have wreaked havoc on this island and across the water over the past few decades. Whatever support they had in recent years has dwindled down to a very few, though powerful, fanatics. The present political problems may lead to a situation where the support for these  paramilitaries will increase. This is something which must be avoided at all costs and all sides should see this. If they do not, then these islands will suffer more atrocities like the bombings at Enniskillen, Dublin and Hyde Park.
The Anglo-Irish Agreement was entered into by the two sovereign States and has been with us for the past few years. By and large it has worked in the background quietly and calmly in order to better the relationship between the two States and to help bring about a better understanding between the Unionist and Nationalist people in the Northern part of this island.
Because I come from a border constituency, I have on numerous occasions made representations on behalf of people who come from the far side of the Border and who have problems ranging from police harassment to property issues after the setting up of military posts by the security forces. Every time I have made representations, I have literally had a direct line to the relevant authorities in the North. I have had an immediate response to my problems and I was more than surprised in a number of instances by the actions that were taken. For instance, within an hour of my contacting the Secretariat concerning someone from Armagh who had been taken to a barracks for questioning, I was able to reassure his relations that he was being treated well and would be released later that day, and he was. I am making an instance of this case only in order to prove that the Agreement and the structure set up under it have for the first time given this part of the island a say in what goes on in the Northern part of the island. This illustrates how on the ground the idea of the Anglo-Irish Agreement is working. Obviously, Ministers and former Ministers will be in a position to show how the agreement is working in the broader context.
The various meetings of the Anglo-Irish Conference are a new dimension to Anglo-Irish relations. Undoubtedly, the agreement has given this part of the island a foothold into the affairs of the North,  something we have not had heretofore. To damage this foothold would be disastrous for this nation now and in the future. This is why the events of the recent past will if anything reduce the effectiveness of the agreement and damage relationships within these islands.
The Prevention of Terrorism Act was brought into the British Parliament as a temporary measure initially in 1974 and was renewed every year since. Quite a number of people have been detained, but only 180 have been charged. While we on this side of the island and indeed Irish people living in Britain are by and large not happy with this legislation, we cannot, however, deny the right of a sovereign State to protect themselves as they see fit, within normal international law. However, we would expect that whatever legislation is enacted is used in an even-handed manner. We would also expect that the views of any sovereign State affected would be taken into account. Making temporary legislation permanent is not the hallmark of a democratic society. It is ludicrous for British politicians in their defence of this action to refer to measures adopted by us in the past to protect ourselves from terrorism. Any such measures were and still are expressed to be temporary and as soon as life in these islands returns to some sort of normality, I think it would be expected that these would be repealed.
With regard to the Birmingham Six trial, no one denies in a democratic society the separation of the judicial and legislative process. If it were otherwise it would be catastrophic for any nation. Every individual may have his own views on legal decisions but at the end of the day it is the presiding judge whose view counts. Having said that, I feel that the Birmingham Six decision cannot pass without comment. In any criminal proceedings, the defendant is entitled to the benefit of any doubt. It is plain to see that in this case there were many doubts raised by the defence, most of them without reasonable rebuttal by the prosecution. The judges involved in the case decided that the points raised were not  sufficient in their minds to disprove the prosecution case. Others may have decided differently. We, as a Parliament, would not expect any Government to overturn a decision of their court. We would, however, ask that that Government would consider — and I stress consider — using their wide-ranging powers in order to allay the fears expressed by many noted politicians, churchmen and other leaders.
I feel those two topics are insignificant compared with the Stalker-Sampson affair. In my opinion this affair is by far the most damning to public confidence in the administration of justice on these islands. Quite apart from the actual incidents involved, which were horrific, the fact that a cover-up ensued at the behest of senior officials is not the deed of a healthy administration. Further to this, the deliberate decision not to prosecute all the people involved from top to bottom, where there was an admission that there was evidence of perversion or attempted perversion of the course of justice, is astounding. For any sovereign State to run their affairs in this manner does not augur well for the future. To hide behind the public interest or national security is indeed worrying. Any future events could be treated in this way, and I believe the Minister, Deputy O'Hanlon, referred to this earlier. Surely this type of attitude is not going to promote public confidence in the administration of justice in the UK or Six Counties.
The reply to our protestations by senior British politicians is to the effect that we should not expect politicians to be able to challenge decisions made by the Attorney General. I say this decision could not have been made by the Attorney General alone. In his statement he said he acquainted himself with all the relevant circumstances. Surely this would have entailed contact at all levels in the administration of justice. a rot that set in at the start on the occasions of these particular incidents involved, was compounded right up the line. To expect anyone to have confidence in an administration which involves itself in this is just expecting too much.
 I will now come back to the Anglo-Irish Agreement, which expressly allowed for these type of issues to be discussed between the two States. No prior consultation took place between the two Governments before this decision was announced by Sir Patrick Mayhew. This goes against both the spirit and the letter of the agreement. Surely, any right-minded person could see that this type of decision can only undermine public confidence. What must happen is that the report be immediately published with a proper explanation of the reasons prosecutions were not instigated. The fact that it is admitted that the Northern Ireland security forces came into the Twenty-six Counties on the night of 12 December 1982 must be of grave concern to us. The British Government should see why we have become aware of these facts and are worried about them.
Have the British Government something to hide? I am from a Border constituency and some of my constituents have had to put up with constant incursions onto their property by armed personnel from the far side of the Border. These people have had to live with this for the past number of years. It is nothing new. Some people have reported these incidents to the Department of Foreign Affairs, but the vast majority go unreported. We heard recently about the British plane over Mullingar, but my constituents have helicopters over their houses every night. Any reasonable person must admit that the decision by the British Government not to take the Irish Government into their confidence in matters which are of mutual interest, as laid down in the Anglo-Irish agreement, is an affront to this sovereign State.
The entire Stalker-Sampson affair is a disaster from start to finish. The removal of Mr. Stalker from the inquiry is in itself very questionable and that in itself would have been enough to make us uneasy about the affair but, to add to this the recent decision by the British Attorney General is more detrimental to the public confidence in the administration of justice both in Northern Ireland and in Britain.
Surely we have a right to full consultation under this article. What has happened over the past number of weeks is not in accordance with the spirit of Article 7. It is totally insensitive not to recognise the anxiety of the Irish people at this time. The timing of all matters may have been coincidental. Other people may think they were timed purposely. At the very best the timing was totally illadvised and insensitive.
I cannot finish without referring to the problems that have been encountered with regard to extradition. Sir Patrick Mayhew is becoming a central figure in Anglo-Irish matters. His decision not to go along with the Irish extradition legislation is regrettable. Again, I wonder if this decision being made of his own volition or is someone, as it were, pulling his strings. The stated opposition by the British Government to our recent Extradition Act when it was going through the House, is now coming home to roost. The procedures as laid down by the House must be adhered to. The British authorities must comply with these arrangements; otherwise terrorists will go free. That is not in the interest of either State.
Some people may feel that the Anglo-Irish Agreement may not have bettered relationships within these islands with a view to eradicating the blight of terrorism. Some people in my own constituency feel it has only helped the British authorities to establish a military State, particularly along the Border. The recent building of massive permanent security blocks along the Border with Louth might give credence to this argument. So also may the recent announcement by the British of establishing a new force for security along the Border give credence to this type of argument.
 Having the agreement in place should allow our views to be expressed on matters pertaining to the North of Ireland. It is important that our views be listened to and given due consideration. If they are not, what is the point in having secretariats and conferences? What is the point in having dialogue between the two nations? The people of this island deserve to be listended to because it is our country that is being torn asunder by the people who have most to gain from the political and constitutional difficulties that have arisen between both these States. As our Taoiseach stated earlier in the debate, and previously, to allow matters to remain as they are would be detrimental to peace and stability on these islands. I hope that commonsense will ultimately prevail.
Mr. Birmingham: I welcome the fact that we are having this debate and regret that the opportunities to debate Northern Ireland and Anglo-Irish affairs are limited as they are in this House and that when we do debate them, it tends to be because of some particular concern which forms the backdrop. The backdrop today is, of course, what has become known as the present impasse in Anglo-Irish relations. I do not want to go into the details of the particular events that have given rise to that impasse, but rather to consider where we go from here. That we find ourselves in our present situation is attributable to the ineptitude, the obstinacy and in some instances the willful neglect, of the British authorities. That we find ourselves where we do has been substantially contributed to by the contributory negligence, as it were, of the Government in their handling of Anglo-Irish matters. If the question is where do we go from here and if our anxiety is that we go forward from here, we shall do that best if we put some check on our sense of righteous indignation and then consider what we can do to advance the situation.
 There are four issues which have dominated this affair and of those pre-eminent has been the Stalker-Sampson question. My quarrel with the British Attorney General is not that he considered the question of the public interest. That seems to be a proper course of action for a prosecuting authority. My quarrel with the British Attorney General is the view that he formed of what would best serve the public interest. I do not believe that the public interest is best served by a course of action which has renewed doubts about the standing of the Royal Ulster Constabulary. I believe that the public interest would best have been served by a course of action which would have increased confidence in the security forces in Northern Ireland. I believe confidence would have been increased by asserting that nobody was above the rule of law. But that decision has been taken and however indignant we are at that and however much we wail against it, the practicalities are that that decision is not now going to be reversed. If that is so, it behoves us to consider what alternatives might suffice, or if not suffice, might be very much a second best.
It seems, as a matter of overwhelming probability, that that decision not to prosecute will not be reversed, but in the most unlikely event that the decision were reversed, I have considerable doubts as to what would happen in the prosecutions that would follow. It seems that any jury before whom the cases would come — and I assume these would be jury trials; I do not imagine that the offences are scheduled offences — would be likely to take into account the circumstances in which prosecutions had eventually been taken, that the prosecutions had been brought at the behest of international pressure and of pressure from Dublin. That is something that would be unlikely to lead them towards conviction. If prosecutions are unlikely to take place now, the question is: what should happen? The one thing which is overwhelmingly clear should happen is that those people against whom everybody accepts that evidence exists should not remain members of a police force in a democratic society.  It is no longer a question of whether offences were committed — that is now common case. The Attorney General himself has declared that he has found such evidence to exist. In the case of the people against whom he and the DPP were of the view that evidence exists, they should be shown the door and shown the door as quickly as possible.
The other issue perhaps might not have been germane but it has become entangled in this whole issue, that is the question of the Birmingham Six. I was interested to hear Deputy Ahern's contribution about the independence of the courts and the separation of powers. What I would say on that is this: it seems unreal to expect the British Government or the British authorities, in the immediate aftermath of a decision of the Court of Appeal, to move to exercise their powers of clemency, more particularly while there is still some distance along the judicial road that the appellants can travel in terms of seeking leave to appeal to the House of Lords. When that road is travelled — and I must say that I have little optimism about what the result will be — if those people still remain in custody, the question that must then present itself to the British Government is, what can they do? The British Government have themselves, in the most spectacular fashion, shown a willingness to take on board the public interest in quasi-judicial matters. Even if the highest courts in the land say that they are satisfied that the convictions are safe, if a substantial section of British establishment opinion remains unconvinced and if an overwhelming number of people in this jurisdiction remain unconvinced, the public interest in Britain would be best served by exercising clemency, because it cannot be in the public interest of the British authorities that doubts should continue to hang over convictions, with all the opportunities that that presents for souring relations.
On the question of extradition, I have sought, try as I can, to see the other point of view in relation to each of these controversies and sometimes have not  found that easy but in relation to extradition it does seem that the stance taken by the British Attorney General is absolutely unsustainable. I am not an enthusiast for the measures that were put in place here just before Christmas. If worked to the full, they may well prove cumbersome, but they have been enacted, as we know, for a 12 month period. That was on the basis that it was the desire of all sides of this House that we would see how they worked, whether they represented an unreasonable impediment to extradition, or whether they were to prove an adequate safeguard. We were told that, while the British Government had their reservations about this, they would work the legislation to the full. That was stated in an interview by Mr. King and I understand that it was stated publicly by the British Prime Minister and, most specifically, by the British Ambassador, Mr. Nicholas Fenn, in his interview on RTE. It is just outrageous that the British Government should unilaterally decide to put an end to extradition between these two countries because all of us have an interest in seeing to it that people against whom evidence exists in respect of serious crimes should stand trial, and ideally that they should stand trial within the jurisdiction in which the offence was committed. What is clearly required is that the two Attorneys General meet immediately and sort this matter out once and for all. The present situation is absolutely intolerable.
Again, in relation to the Prevention of Terrorism Act, we should maintain some sense of proportion. We are entitled to be concerned about the operation of the Act over the years, the fact that it has been used in an insensitive manner and that it has been used to trawl for information. However, that there should be legislation is not something that many of us will doubt. There is the opportunity, between now and the legislation coming before the House of Commons, to see to it that our concerns can be taken on board. What we should be doing now is taking advantage of the offences that have been committed, the wrongs that  have been done to us by the British Government, to push our case in other areas, and do it not on the basis of a tradeoff because the Anglo-Irish Agreement contemplated and demanded that a programme of work be put in place to increase confidence in the security forces and in the administration of justice. That need, which was identified at the time——
Mr. Birmingham: I will draw my remarks to a conclusion. If it was needed at Hillsborough, it is needed even more now in the aftermath of the decisions taken on Stalker-Sampson. That means that the British Government should be prepared to move on the programme of work contemplated; it means that our Government should be pushing for movement on things like reforms of the Diplock courts, not on the basis of a tradeoff, but because those things were always necessary and are even more necessary because of the decisions taken by the British Government in the last few weeks.
Mr. Blaney: I totally protest against the arrangements which leave me only ten minutes to express a view which is not expressed by anybody else here. The others have been repeating the same views. I have this very short time so I will not take up any of that time by protesting at the moment, but I will do so in due course.
In this House I have been absolutely amazed — so much so that the few times I left it I went out to look around to see was I in the Parliament of this Twenty-six Counties — listening to the expressions of astonishment, surprise and disappointment from various speakers here  in the House about the manner in which our affairs have been dealt with by our occupiers, Great Britain.
Will we ever learn that in fact we are not dealing with a normal situation in any sense of the word, and never have been in all the centuries, and certainly not now? When we express the views that we do about reasoning this and that and expecting different from the British, let us understand that we are occupied, and it is the occupier we are dealing with and that everything that is required, whether it is in regard to the misuse of the courts, the police, the Army, the subjugation of our own police force by the Anglo-Irish Agreement, is necessary and regarded as proper and right by the British in their occupation and continued occupation of this country.
The Anglo-Irish Agreement gave us what? It gave us the right to make proposals and express our views and, at the end of the day, the British held on to the right to make the decisions. In return for that what did we give them? We gave them the signing of the European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism arising from which we gave them extradition in the most extreme form of any civilised country in the world, and we gave them £1 million a day of money we have not got to secure the Border for the occupier, not for our own protection. Let us remember those things when we are talking about our amazement and astonishment, surprise, disappointment and anger when we get the result of the Birmingham Six appeal. Did not the dogs in the street know that to allow that appeal would have brought into disrepute in an international way so-called British justice, that it would have been an admission of a wrong judgment based on inadequate information, on perjury, on all sorts of everything that the Brits say they do not have in their country? That was what we were asking them to do, to condemn themselves in the eyes of the world, having horribly inflicted 13 years of incarceration on six innocent people. That is what we were expecting and that is what we were surprised did not come through in that appeal.
 In the Stalker-Sampson affair, what did we expect? Did we expect them to prosecute even though there was sufficient evidence to maintain prosecutions? Did we expect them to prosecute the officers upholding their occupation? Did anybody consider that as a possibility at any time?
All this weeping and wailing is now being done about taking every action that is possible under the Anglo-Irish Agreement to sort these things out. Sort what out? Why do we not put it down in our own motion that the only sorting out that will bring about cessation of hostilities and war, as has been said when it suits, is when Britain decides to get out? That is the only answer and all this glib talk that we were sold and the public have been sold, even down to the point that they have been practically brainwashed into believing that Mrs. Thatcher is trying to break the agreement. She has no agreement. We are the people who made the agreement, committed ourselves to the absolutely ludicrous Extradition Act that was put through this House by the very party that condemned it when it was brought before us in 1986. It was excused on the basis that there were safeguards, and the safeguards are now said to be working. They are only working so long as the Government are annoyed at the treatment meted out by Mrs. Thatcher and the Attorney General does not confirm that they should be endorsed. What happens if there is another Government and another Attorney General now or at any future date? Where is the protection? Those same provisions cannot be challenged in law. There is nothing in them that can be challenged. There is nothing in the Extradition Act that can be challenged and that is the extremity to which we have gone in providing this Extradition Act to send people across to the Diplock courts, to people who have practised sending people away on forced confessions, the dawn jury, the one judge, the supergrass trials. All of these things are there to ensure that justice is not done when it comes down to it.
The question of an accused coming before those courts or the British courts  who can in any way be connected with disestablishing the occupation of part of our country might as well be likened to the extreme situation of the Nazi occupation of France. Imagine how ludicrous would the public in France have appeared if they complained, when somebody accused of being in the underground was taken out and summarily shot, that they were not getting justice? It is a similar situation here except it is more sophisticated and we are lulled into the belief that we are dealing with normal people in a normal situation, whereas we are dealing with the occupiers. It is no different from the occupation of France and other countries under the Nazis. There is not one bit of difference in so far as what we can expect from them is concerned. We are the fools who believe that in the Anglo-Irish Agreement we have got something, the right to make proposals, the right to express our views.
Have we not always maintained that right? Have we not always said our piece regardless of whether we had an agreement? It is not a fact that we have an agreement that has had the effect in the last few weeks of damping down the views and the proposals that people might have expressed because the agreement must be protected, and let us not do anything to upset it? The attitude now is that we have got to the point where we are afraid Mrs. Thatcher is trying to break the agreement and we should not let her do it.
That is one of the views the Government have succeeded in bringing about. It is a most crazy view if one stands back a little bit and looks at it. We are dealing with the occupiers of this country and, as Kitson said in a book which he wrote in the early seventies when he had gone from our shores, the courts, the judiciary are another weapon in the armoury against terrorism, and one can substitute terrorism for occupation. Just like Mayhew in the British Parliament only a week or two ago, who talked about public interest and security and said that security and public interest dictated that those  prosecutions might not be taken. Whose security and whose public interest are we talking about? Substitute occupation for security and public interest and then one gets justice versus occupation, no dice, no contest; there will be no prosecutions. Is that not the real situation that we have codded ourselves into believing does not exist, for what reason I do not know? As far as extradition is concerned, the party in Government condemned it roundly in November-December 1986 and then put it through.
Mr. Blaney: Yes, and perhaps if one pushed them on it today we might be told that they are now in the process of letting it wither away. But it is still there and my proposition to this House is, cut the twaddle, let Britain know that we exist, exclude her, by amendment, from the terms of the Extradition Act, and tell the world the reason, namely until she cleans her house and cleaning her house means getting out of this country and leaving us to find our own salvation.
Minister for Justice (Mr. Collins): As Minister for Justice I am entrusted in a very particular way with responsibility for law and order matters, matters relating to the Garda Síochána, and questions of security and security co-operation generally. It is to these aspects of the issues being debated here today that I intend to address my remarks. These issues touch very closely on our whole security policy and effort and on the degree of co-operation with other security forces which is or should be part of that policy and effort. It is important that we should keep in mind throughout this debate just why this policy and effort is there. It is, after all, costing us very dearly in terms of economic resources which we would all love to see being available for other purposes.
The Garda and other resources that this Government, and indeed previous Governments, have provided to cater for our security needs, are there because it is our judgment that they are vital to the  safety and security of the State. They are there too because of the responsibility which we owe to the safety and well-being of our neighbours in Northern Ireland and because of the obligations which we as a civilised State incur towards the defeat of terrorism of all shades and manifestations. As the Taoiseach said in his opening statement, we have put and we retain these resources in position because it is the right and necessary thing to do. We do not intend to be deflected from doing the right thing just because of what others do or do not do.
There is no need for us to be too high-minded about this. We would be foolish to think that terrorist aggression is aimed solely at the North and that we here can keep our heads down and pretend that it really does not affect us. In the first place I feel, and I believe that the vast majority of our people agree, that the killing or maiming, as the result of terrorist activity, of any person in any part of this island affects and diminishes us all and is an attack on each one of us. Terrorists here, on both sides of the divide, have shown, as have terrorists everywhere, that they are no respecters of human life or human feelings. We need think no further back than to Enniskillen or the O'Grady kidnapping if we want to be reminded of that.
In the second place, there is the concern that terrorist activity directed from the North to here has affected us in the past and might well happen again. Thankfully we have not suffered anything like the appalling tragedies and damage inflicted on the North but we remember only too well the Dublin and Monaghan bombings of some years ago as well as more recent “missions” carried out here by Northern-based paramilitary activists. The constant vigilance of our security forces is essential to keep this type of danger at bay. Of inestimable value too in this regard is the co-operation which we have been getting from the Northern police force — the Royal Ulster Constabulary. It is right that we should acknowledge this.
The third point I would mention is the  real concern that has been engendered by the major arms shipments which are believed to have been landed here in 1985-86 prior to the interception of Eksund cargo. The size of the consignments believed to have been landed and the sophistication of the weaponry and armaments involved, adds a new dimension to the threat to the entire country, North and South, which is imposed by terrorist activity. We would be foolish to suppose that the threat represented by this escalation of terrorist endeavour is directed in some way that does not affect us here. It is inconceivable that this could be so.
What I have said is just designed to sketch out in a very brief way the importance that attaches to our security measures and policies. It is, I am sure, obvious to all that to a very large extent the security concerns that affect us here are the same as those which affect the security forces in the North as well. It must be obvious too, I am sure, that it is of very great benefit to the police forces on both sides that there should be a very high degree of co-operation between them in pursuance of their joint objectives.
In recent years that co-operation has been showing a healthy growth. It has to be acknowledged that the RUC, by their attitudes and action in recent times, have done a great deal to promote relationships of trust and confidence between themselves and the Garda Síochána. It has been acknowledged on all sides that, up to the difficulties that have erupted in the past few weeks, confidence and co-operation were continuing to grow and in fact had reached a level above anything achieved in the past. It is true that the concerns and unease caused by the events that gave rise to the Stalker-Sampson report, and indeed the controversy relating to the removal of Mr. Stalker from the inquiry at a particularly sensitive stage, were in the background all the time but the hope and expectation was that publication of the report and the prosecution of those against whom there was evidence of wrong-doing would finally clear the air and open the way to even greater trust  and co-operation between the two forces. This unfortunately, was not to be.
The highly controversial decision taken by the British authorities not to prosecute those against whom there is evidence which would justify prosecution is the direct opposite to what we had a right, and indeed what we had been led, to expect. Far from clearing the air and improving, the atmosphere of trust and confidence that is necessary for the Garda Síochána and the RUC to work closely together, they constitute a serious setback to much of what had already been achieved.
I have no wish, nor is there any need, to over-dramatise the effects of what has happened. The effects, so far as co-operation with the Garda Síochána is concerned, are real enough. The Taoiseach has already made this point — the invaluable asset of virtually total community support which the Garda enjoy cannot be put at risk. Where any member of the Garda Síochána loses confidence in the impartiality or integrity of those he deals with in the other force, the situation is not easily remedied. Again as the Taoiseach said, it is not just possible to oblige one force to have confidence in another or to give the whole-hearted measure of confidential co-operation that should exist. These things come only from inner conviction and motivation.
As you know, the Government lost no time in bringing these matters to attention. Our concerns were very vigorously expressed at the special meeting of the Intergovernmental Conference held on 2 February 1988 and, at the same time, we set out our views and proposals regarding the measures necessary to remedy the situation. What we said and what we proposed has already been stated here. We saw publication of the Stalker-Sampson report as essential to clear the air, as I have already mentioned. Only if we see the report can we be certain that all that needs to be done is being addressed. We saw prosecution of those against whom there is evidence of wrong-doing as the minimum that could be expected in the circumstances.
 You have been told that these proposals of ours were rejected and the reasons for this rejection. We do not, of course, accept these reasons as satisfactory. What we have been promised instead is that disciplinary proceedings may be put in train in respect of certain members of the RUC and that certain changes relating to the structures and controls within the RUC will be implemented.
The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland has made a statement in the House of Commons this afternoon in which he has outlined certain measures that are being taken under two headings — disciplinary action and changes in procedures, responsibilities and control within the RUC.
On the disciplinary front, the Chief Constable of the RUC is, in effect, the disciplinary authority for ranks of and below chief superintendent. The Director of Public Prosecutions for Northern Ireland has advised the Chief Constable of those offences in respect of which he concluded there was evidence of the commision of offences. In the present case the Chief Constable has asked the Chief Constable of Staffordshire, Mr. Charles Kelly, to consider whether disciplinary charges should be brought against members of the ranks of chief superintendent and below and, if so, what charges would be appropriate. Mr. Kelly has appointed one of his Assistant Chief Constables to help him in this work, which has already begun. The Chief Constable of the RUC has also decided that when it comes to the hearing of any disciplinary charges that may be recommended a different British Chief Constable will be responsible for that. In other words, the investigation and the adjudication stages of the disciplinary procedure, which are distinct and separate, are to be undertaken by two different Chief Constables from the British police forces.
The disciplinary authority for RUC officers above the rank of chief superintendent is the Police Authority for Northern Ireland. The observations in relation to officers of these more senior  ranks which were contained in the Stalker-Sampson report have been conveyed to the Chairman of the Police Authority and the authority is now taking steps to address the matters which have been brought to their attention. If disciplinary charges were to be preferred against officers above the rank of Chief Superintendent they would be heard by a tribunal cosisting of a single person selected and appointed by the Police Authority with the approval of the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. One or more assessors would be appointed by the Police Authority to assist the tribunal.
The Stalker-Sampson report also addressed aspects of the circumstances following the shoot-to-kill incidents in 1982 which gave rise to concern about procedures and control within the RUC. The report recommended that there should be a special inspection by the inspectorate of constabulary in relation to this aspect. The report of that inspection, the McLachlan report, was presented a few weeks ago.
One of the major concerns which the whole affair gave rise to was that the RUC Special Branch was in effect a force within a force, operating independently of normal command structures without proper control. In particular it came to light that a very serious and unacceptable situation existed whereby, in relation to incidents such as those which occurred in 1982, the Special Branch was not accountable to the Criminal Investigation Department of the RUC — the powers of the CID were being over-ridden by the Special Branch and proper investigation of such incidents was being prevented.
The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland has indicated that in 1983, at the request of the Chief Constable of the RUC, a special review was carried out by a former very senior security service officer into certain aspects of Special Branch management and its relationship  with the CID and that his recommendations were implemented in full. In 1984 a new rank of senior assistant chief constable was created in the RUC and three appointments were made to that rank. One of the new senior assistant chief constables was given responsibility for both the Special Branch and the CID. This change was designed to get over, in part, the problem of lack of accountability of the Special Branch to the CID.
The McLachlan report now contains a number of detailed recommendations for changes within the RUC in organisation, structures, training, internal accountability, certain Special Branch practices, monitoring of Special Branch activities and the like. It also contains recommendations on new arrangements about investigations of serious incidents where people are shot by the security forces being headed up by a chief constable from Britain. New arrangements are also recommended about such matters as attendance of CID officers in the aftermath of such incidents, forensic and scene-of-crime procedures and attendance of CID officers at all post-mortems into suspected unlawful killings.
The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland has said that the Chief Constable of the RUC has confirmed to him that he has accepted in principle all the recommendations of the McLachlan report. Action is being taken on foot of those recommendations to ensure that policies and practices in the RUC in future will reflect the paramountcy of the Criminal Investigation Department. He has also indicated that discussions are now proceeding between the Director of Public Prosecutions for Northern Ireland and the Chief Constable and the Deputy Chief Constable of the RUC about safeguards which will ensure that, in future, the information which is given to the Director of Public Prosecutions by the RUC in relation to incidents which might give rise to criminal charges is full and accurate, whether or not any security interests are involved in the case.
Mr. Collins: There is just one point I would make about this and it takes up a point made by Deputy Dukes earlier in this debate. We have had to listen to criticism for many months past that our Special Branch units were not properly organised and could not really be effective until we adopted the procedures and structures in use by the RUC. We stoutly resisted this criticism and pressure. It is indeed ironic that these RUC structures are now found to be in serious need of reorganisation. It looks very much as if our stance all along has been clearly vindicated.
The measures now announced by the Secretary of State are, I understand, designed to meet two requirements — that those against whom there is evidence of wrong-doing are dealt with in an appropriate way and to ensure that the controls in operation within the RUC are such as to prevent a recurrence of the events that have given rise to so much concern.
We can only hope that the assurances which we have now been given on these matters will in fact be carried out and that they will go some way towards restoring the trust and confidence that has been damaged. We will be watching these developments with great interest. It is imperative that whatever measures are to be taken be carried out in the shortest time possible. Further delays in the resolution of this whole saga can only further undermine credibility and delay and restoration of normal relationships between all involved.
In the meantime one must ask: Where stands security co-operation? I repeat what I said at the outset and which the Taoiseach said earlier to-day — there has been damage to the process of co-operation. It is not of our doing and it  will not deter or discourage us from carrying out fully our security policies both in regard to internal security and cross-Border co-operation. Nothing that has happened will lessen our commitment to do all in our power to defeat the forces of terrorism whatever its source or aims. I am convinced that our efforts in this regard will be enhanced by the restoration and growth of trust and confidence between the Garda Síochána and the RUC. I cannot at this stage say whether this will take a long or a short time. I believe that it is in all our interests that it should be in the shortest time possible. We have done nothing and will do nothing to impair the process of return to good relations.
There is one further matter to which I want to refer briefly, that is the question of the incursion that occurred on 12 December 1982 at a time when it is understood that two RUC officers were given approval by their superior officers to cross the Border into the Republic. As has been stated already, this was one of the matters raised at the Anglo-Irish Conference, and at the resumed meeting of the conference yesterday. We have been advised by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland of the circumstances of this incursion. We were told that the two officers who made the crossing were in plain clothes, were unarmed and in an unmarked car without a radio. We were told that the incursion was not pre-planned, not part of any deliberate or authorised system of incursion. We were told it was for observation purposes only. The British Government accept fully that this incursion was wrong and regrettable, and it is their intention that it should not happen again.
Mr. Barry: I will comment later on Mr. King's speech as delivered by the Minister because that is precisely what he has done. The Minister has lifted chunks of Mr. King's speech in the House of Commons earlier today and read it into the record of this House without question or carrying out any critical analysis at all.
That makes for a great change in this House. We put through the Anglo-Irish Agreement, although one would not think so listening to speaker after speaker in this debate, with the exception of Deputy Blaney, and he is entitled, having held that view for a long time. It was interesting to note that, when he spoke, he did not address the Government, he addressed these benches here as being, as he would see it, the prime instigators of the political efforts to find a solution in the North of Ireland and not the Government over there. He is quite right to draw attention to the difference in attitude between Fianna Fáil in Government and in Opposition, including the disgraceful attack outside this country by the Taoiseach and the Minister for Foreign Affairs, trailing an inferiority complex going to Washington in the middle of delicate negotiations, trying to persuade the Friends of Ireland not to support the elected Irish Government in their efforts to bring peace and reconciliation to this country. I am glad that at last they have come to their senses. Deputy Dermot Ahern made a very good speech here about the value of the Anglo-Irish Agreement to the Nationalists in Northern Ireland and I advise the Taoiseach to read it carefully.
A number of matters have been referred to in this debate, extradition, the Prevention of Terrorism Act, the difference of opinion between the Attorneys General and the Birmingham Six, although it is hardly relevant to the subject under discussion. Undoubtedly, the most important matter to be discussed this evening is the Stalker-Sampson report and the events that occurred in 1982. When one of the police officers involved in 1982 revealed that there was an incursion across the Border and a  cover-up, the present Taoiseach summoned the British Ambassador of the day to explain matters. I do not know if anybody on that side of the House reads what takes place in the Dáil or follows it up because on 5 April 1984 in Column 145 of the Official Report the Taoiseach said:
Following the announcement of the verdict, the allegation of the cover up was raised with the British Ambassador at a meeting at which other aspects of the matter were also raised. The ambassador was also informed of the seriousness with which the Government viewed these allegations. The ambassador said the allegations of the cover up were being fully investigated by his authorities and would be conveyed to us as soon as possible.
That is almost four years ago but it was not raised at the last meeting of the Intergovernmental Conference last week. Why did they not pursue the results of that at every single meeting of the Conference which took place since it was set up? When I was co-chairman these matters were raised and I was told at the time that they were tied up in the Stalker affair but that we would be given a response to that investigation. We were also promised the result of investigations into incursions to this State. The Minister got the result of the investigation yesterday from Mr. King who referred to it in the House of Commons this evening. I do not know why the Minister did not tell the House how unsatisfactory he found Mr. King's remarks in the House of Commons instead of reading, word for word, what Mr. King said. Mr. King said that two RUC officers were given approval to cross the Border into the Republic, according to the Minister for Justice, but very shortly afterwards the Minister said there was no pre-planned incursion.
I presume the Minister got a copy of Mr. King's statement earlier today or maybe even last night and I should like to ask if he pointed out to the British  authorities the seriousness of the contradiction by a Minister who is undermining the relationship between the two countries by that kind of statement in the House of Commons today. Have the Taoiseach, the Minister or the respective Departments pointed out to the British authorities how inadequate that kind of response is and what damage a contradiction like that can do to Anglo-Irish relations?
The Minister for Justice also read Mr. King's comments in relation to the Stalker-Sampson affair. The exact same words were used by the Minister this evening as the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland used in the House of Commons earlier on. He said that the Chief Constable of the Royal Ulster Constabulary today announced that he has invited the Chief Constable for Staffordshire, Mr. Charles Kelly, to consider whether disciplinary charges should be brought in the case of the RUC officers of chief superintendent rank and below and, if so, what charge would be appropriate. This man will merely consider whether charges should be brought but there is a further step beyond that in which there may be a hearing. Will we see another three years of investigation while the Stalker affair and its damaging effects continue? Its effects are not just damaging to Anglo-Irish relations and to the confidence of the minority in the security forces but to the morale of the RUC while officers of senior rank are at their head against whom there is evidence to suggest a conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. How long more will we hear about charges being brought?
The Minister for Justice also quoted Mr. King's remarks about the Police Authority in Northern Ireland being the disciplinary authority for those above chief superintendent. Those of the rank of chief superintendent and below were probably carrying out orders but above that were the policy makers. Will we have to wait while the Police Authority consider this or until a chief constable is appointed to consider whether charges  should be brought? Have the Government done anything in the past 24 hours to point out to the British Government how irresponsible and unsatisfactory their approach is?
I have been stressing the importance of the Stalker affair for the last 12 months, since we left office. Last June I made a speech in Limerick in which I said what the Government should be doing for the next year in Anglo-Irish relations. I referred to the Stalker affair, how damaging it was to Anglo-Irish relations and that something should be done about it. In the summer the newspapers reported that this was being taken off the agenda for the Intergovernmental Conference. I referred to this matter in further speeches, in questions in the Dáil and in the Estimates speeches. Six weeks ago I said that no political sleight-of-hand regarding the Stalker affair would satisfy the Irish people and that it must be kept on the agenda of the conference. One can see what has happened. It was not on the agenda and the Government have shamefully neglected to keep the Stalker-Sampson affair on the agenda of the Intergovernmental Conference——
Mr. Barry: I know it is true. On 3 September last I wrote to the co-chairman of the Intergovernmental Conference, the Minister for Foreign Affairs; it was a private letter and this is the first time it has been made public. I said that his comments after the last conference, that the Stalker affair would no longer be on the agenda of the conference, was causing deep disquiet in Northern Ireland and that many Nationalists, both North and South were extremely disturbed about the events surrounding the so-called shoot-to-kill policy. I added that these people were given to understand and to expect that those responsible would be brought to justice by the investigating authority, particularly because of the appointment of someone of the calibre of John Stalker. I said he must be aware that these were not matters purely  for the Home Secretary in London. I said they were matters relating to Northern Ireland, to the administration of justice in Northern Ireland and that they must be retained on the agenda of the Intergovernmental Conference.
The Minister for Foreign Affairs replied to me on 11 September last and, in relation to the Stalker-Sampson affair, he did not deny my charge that it was taken off the agenda. He said I had referred to the Stalker-Sampson report and that he had been assured the Northern Ireland DPP had not yet reached a decision on the question of prosecution. He said he was concerned about the whole range of issues surrounding the Stalker-Sampson inquiry and that it was essential, from all points of view, that the matter be cleared up as quickly as possible. There was no denial of my charge that the matter had been taken off the agenda of the Intergovernmental Conference. The indifferent and lazy approach by the Government to the Anglo-Irish Agreement is directly responsible for many of the problems we now have. Immediately after my speeches, and the correspondence with the Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Government started to leak through the Government Press Secretary to political journalists how much better Mr. Lenihan was getting on with Mr. King compared to the relationship with Peter Barry, what a nice fellow the British found Brian Lenihan to be as opposed to Peter Barry whom they found to be confrontational. Now we see the result of the cosy relationship that has existed for the last six months of 1987 in regard to the Stalker-Sampson inquiry and the lack of response from the British Government to our legitimate demands under the Anglo-Irish Agreement.
Unfortunately, the attitude of Fianna Fáil in Opposition to the Anglo-Irish Agreement is affecting the thinking of the British Government. They considered that because of Fianna Fáil's attitude in the two years before the change of Government the Agreement would be allowed to wither away, to quote Deputy Blaney quoting somebody on the far side  of the House. They do not know Fianna Fáil as well as we know them. They do not know that what they say in Opposition they rarely do in Government and that what they say in Government they quickly forget when in Opposition. That would be good political crack in the normal course of events but this issue is much too serious. We must remember that in the last 20 years 3,000 people in Northern Ireland have lost their lives and that virtually every family there has been affected one way or other by violence. Violence in Northern Ireland has cost us huge sums of money.
The Taoiseach will recall that the New Ireland Forum attempted to quantify that cost. The extra cost of security in 1986 over 1985 because of the violence in the North of Ireland was £160 million. We estimated that we lost in the region of £1 billion in tourism revenue over the last 20 years because of the violence. They are serious losses to us in our efforts to develop our economy, but far more serious are the wedges that have been driven between the two traditions on this island. It was to redress that, flowing out of the New Ireland Forum, to which all constitutional parties in the House gave their support, that the Anglo-Irish Agreement was put into place. It was an effort to reconcile the traditions on this island and bring an end to violence.
In my view the Agreement had all the possibilities of doing that if it had been worked as enthusiastically in the last 12 months as it had been in the first two years of its existence. I regret to have to say that an Irish Government could so neglect their obligations under an agreement that was so clearly of benefit to the Nationalist minority in the North of Ireland whom we frequently pay lip service to and just as frequently forget about. Deputy Ahern bore witness to the benefit of the Agreement to the Nationalists.
We must have a more adult attitude towards the British. There is a section of our community who believe that Britbashing is a type of sport they can indulge in without doing us any harm. We are a sovereign independent State and we do  not have to apologise to anyone for anything. We can introduce laws which must be respected by other sovereign States. There is no necessity for the unfortunate attack which the Minister for Justice made on the British Attorney General in the last few weeks. I am glad that the Taoiseach today dissociated himself indirectly from that attack. There is no necessity for the childish behaviour of the Minister for Tourism in scampering over the Border on a “private” visit accompanied by television crews and reporters. That type of immature behaviour does not do much for the possibility of having an adult relationship with a country that is not going to go away. Whether we like it or not there will be an island next door to us for all time. We have common interests and we have problems that need solution and most of them relate to the North of Ireland.
We have the framework in the Anglo-Irish Agreement for resolving those problems. I regret that the events of the last four weeks should have been interpreted by some — I do not share that interpretation — as being capable of damaging the Anglo-Irish Agreement. I regret that the advantages that had been building up for the Agreement when we left office have been allowed to drift away because of the inattention by the Government to the possibilities of improving the lot of Northern Ireland Nationalists through the Agreement. Our concern on this side of the House is to see the Anglo-Irish Agreement worked fully. We want to see regular meetings of the Conference and the items I have listed dealt with. The Stalker-Sampson affair has not gone away; it has been long-fingered again. We want to get the report we were promised on the cover-up referred to in the trial of 1984. We want a more satisfactory response to the incursion into the State referred to by the Secretary of State in the British House of Commons today. We want to recommence the building of confidence in the police force which both countries are obliged to do under the Agreement. We want to build confidence in the administration of justice in the  North of Ireland. We want regular meetings of the Conference so that these matters can be tackled.
We want to remove from the political agenda down here the kind of hysterics and attempts by some Members to use the Nationalists in Northern Ireland for their own political benefit. That is not just common to the party opposite; it has been used in other places. Our concern must be to see that the Nationalists in the North of Ireland can live a normal life and can be treated as equal. We want to see the fear lifted from the lives of the Unionists. We want to see relations between the two traditions on this island evolve without the men of violence having the opportunity to feed fears and suspicions on both sides. One can understand how the fears and suspicions exist on both sides when one hears the Minister for Justice refer to their willingness to bring in large quantities of arms.
I should like to appeal to the Taoiseach to use the influence he is alleged to have with the leader of the Libyan people and tell him that we do not want him interfering in our affairs, that we do not want him supplying arms to either one of our traditions. He should tell him that we will have to break off diplomatic relations unless he stops those pursuits forthwith. The Anglo-Irish Agreement is a framework that can solve most of the problems of this island if it is worked with enthusiasm and dedication and is not allowed to drift along on the basis that if we do not have anything better to do we will operate it. The Agreement must be worked at every day addressing the issues listed in the communiqué and in the Agreement. We must never again be in the position where we will be debating the incidents that have caused such suspicion on both sides of the Irish Sea in the last 12 months. The Government have the prime obligation in regard to that and I charge them to fulfil that obligation now.
The Taoiseach: At this stage there is a temptation for me to follow Deputy Barry and others down paths which I think might only be counter-productive.  I shall try to resist. I would have to say, however, to Deputy Barry in all sincerity and honesty that for four years when he was the Minister responsible the Stalker report and all it entailed was brought to finality. He did not succeed in having anything done about it, either through the Intergovernmental Conference or in any other way. I do not think that it is credible for him now to attempt to say to this Government that we are lacking in zeal in regard to these matters.
I will try to deal with the points raised in the debate and will do so, if I can, in a way that will maintain the broad consensus which prevailed generally today. There are two aspects of this affair with which I might be expected to deal. One is the suggestion that this Government were not active enough through the mechanisms of the Anglo-Irish Agreement and the Intergovernmental Conference to achieve progress on various issues. The other matter is the question mark about security co-operation and whether there was an attempt to use security co-operation as a bargaining weapon or a card to be played in these affairs.
First of all, it is just not true to say that we have not been active in putting forward views and proposals under the agreement as we are entitled to do. It is easy and facile enough to say that, but there is one simple answer I could give to that whole contention. No amount of activity in the conference could possibly have headed off the sudden, unexpected, unpredictable announcement by the British Attorney General in the House of Commons on 25 January. Deputy Barry and others would have to admit that this is the position. The one aspect of which everybody was agreed in relation to that announcement is that it was unheralded, unpredictable and not anticipated by anybody. It is hardly valid in those circumstances to suggest that if we had been more assiduous in the conference we could have headed off this announcement. That is just not true. Nobody with any sense of responsibility — and certainly not Deputy Barry — could possibly  have anticipated or expected that this announcement was suddenly to be made.
I can also prove very easily from the records that we did, in fact, avail of the procedures and mechanisms of the Intergovernmental Conference to the greatest possible extent. I would have no doubt in saying that any impartial examination of the events, both when Deputy Peter Barry was co-chairman and when Deputy Brian Lenihan was co-chairman, would show that the level of activity continued without any great change. We certainly used the conference actively and forcefully on a daily basis to convey our views to the British on a whole range of issues such as incursions, overflights, the towers in South Armagh, fair employment and cross-Border economic co-operation. The list is there and I am quite prepared to stand over our record in that regard.
I want to come to the next question which is very much the key to the whole discussion today, i.e. security co-operation. I thought I had put the matter very clearly today in my statement. I set out the principles which guided us and the fact that we had two priorities, namely, the security of this State and our obligation to take all possible measures open to us to protect the lives, welfare and security of all the people in Northern Ireland. These are the two principles to which we adhere and in my statement this morning I outlined exactly how we intended to adhere to them. Security co-operation will continue. We could not attempt, in view of our obligations as a civilised nation but perhaps more important in view of our obligation to the people of Northern Ireland, the Nationalist community and the Unionist community, to use security co-operation in any way as a bargaining counter. That would be immoral.
The Taoiseach: We would be deserting people. We would certainly be deserting the Nationalist community and I believe we would be deserting the Unionist community if we were to attempt anything of that sort.
The Taoiseach: Deputy Barry and others have been so adamant about the Stalker-Sampson report and the need for publication and action that I cannot understand how they could not accept and acknowledge that failure by the British Government to act in this regard will damage the quality of security co-operation. It is bound to. As far as we are concerned there will be no interference with the mechanical operations of security. They must and will continue. In regard to the motivation for the quality of co-operation, I said and now repeat that the failure of the British Government to deal in particular with the matter of prosecutions must affect that situation.
I was criticised by Deputy Spring because he seemed to suggest that I had said matters had reached an impasse and nothing more. I certainly did state, both in Brussels and here, that Anglo-Irish relations had reached an impasse on these issues. I could have fudged that matter. I could have used diplomatic language and resorted to euphemisms and said that discussion was ongoing, that we were pursuing these matters and so on. I did not want to do that because I wanted to give this House a full, complete and accurate picture of the state of affairs. The simple truth is that in so far as these issues are concerned we are at an impasse. There is no progress. Certainly, the statement by the British Home Secretary in the House of Commons today did not bring  matters any further. Several speakers, including Deputy Dukes, said that disciplinary action alone in this area will not suffice. I also say that we are not going to leave matters where they are. I have to acknowledge that we are at an impasse, but inherent in my acknowledgement is the necessity for us to take matters further, to avail of every possible opportunity, the Anglo-Irish Conference, bi-lateral, European Parliament, world opinion, every other vehicle open to us to resolve this impasse and to get Anglo-Irish relations moving forward on a proper footing.
There was also some discussion about extradition. In response to Deputy Blaney I must say that he was a member of the Government with me when we passed into law the 1965 Extradition Act. Deputy Blaney was a full, able and articulate member of that Government when the 1965 Act was passed, and that Act had no safeguards in it. It was not just extradition, it was complete backing of warrants. With the way the Supreme Court decision went, by the time we came to 1987, the political exception or the political offence had practically disappeared so that now having regard to the situation created by the decision of the Supreme Court the legislation we passed in 1987 puts Irish citizens in a far better, safer position than they were in under the 1965 Act and the subsequent Supreme Court decisions.
Deputy Spring and Deputy Dukes wanted some clarification of the position of the Attorney General. I do not want to say anything here that could exacerbate the situation, add fuel to the fire or create any further difficulties, but the position is absolutely crystal clear with regard to the respective positions of the two Attorneys General. Up until these matters broke on the scene, the British Attorney General was quite clear and adamant in the view that he was not going to supply the sort of evidence and statements that our Attorney General would need under our legislation. The last letter in existence is a letter from the Irish Attorney General to the British Attorney General setting out the position  and trying to resolve the difficulties that had arisen. That is as far as I want to go in that area. I hope I have satisfied Deputy Spring in that regard.
Somebody on the other side of the House suggested that we were not doing anything to mobilise international opinion. The simple answer to that is the very cogent resolution passed by the European Parliament at the instigation of Deputy Paddy Lalor. That was perhaps the most direct and important step that could be taken to mobilise international public opinion on this issue. We have been very active in other respects as well. American public opinion is quite alert to what is happening and is indeed quite favourable to the position of the Irish Government in the matter. In that regard the criticism of us is not valid.
The question of a lack of consultation was also raised, and again I reject criticisms in that regard. It is difficult to understand why in the middle of this situation the British Government could come forward with their proposal about the Prevention of Terrorism Act. It seems to me — and most Members of the House who know about legislation and parliamentary affairs would agree — that what is apparently proposed by the British Government is of a technical parliamentary nature, that the legislation will still be there in place, it will be reviewed annually and in effect nothing changes, except the psychological factor of the signing that it should be permanent legislation, if that is what they have in mind. Why the British Government should decide to throw that additional spanner into the works at this stage is beyond comprehension. I can only repeat what I said this morning, that we have been in touch about the matter and we are assured that we will have an opportunity to put forward our views before the legislation is finally decided. We will certainly avail of that opportunity. The British Government should realise that this legislation is a major irritant. It is something which Irish people, law-abiding Irish people, both here and in Britain bitterly resent, because they see it as selective and discriminatory and aimed  against them. We will put that point forward very strongly to the British Government when we avail of the opportunity afforded to discuss the matter. I do not want to enter into a political debate at this stage because I am very anxious that the House would come to a unanimous conclusion on this and would unanimously accept the resolution which we put forward in all good faith on the basis that it had universal agreement.
I have attempted to deal in a very nonpartisan way with the points put forward and to give whatever reassurances I can at this stage to the House. I would like to claim this credit, that this Government have arranged this debate because we know that Deputies and the public are deeply concerned about these matters. The House will have to agree that we have given the fullest possible information we can. We have made all aspects of this available to the House.
Mr. S. Barrett: Will the Taoiseach please tell us what he is going to do now? The Taoiseach is leading us down a cul-de-sac. We will end up with no extradition and a broken relationship, and the Taoiseach has no solutions. We came here to find a solution, not to have a cosy debate and we are having a cosy debate.
The Taoiseach: I have said we will not leave matters as they are, that we will pursue all these issues and seek to have Anglo-Irish relations restored to some reasonable basis. Now that Deputy Barrett has interrupted me I have to say to him again that the previous Government in four years did not succeed in doing anything about the Stalker-Sampson report on any of these related matters nor indeed——
The Taoiseach: I accept that that advice was probably given by Deputy Barry at that time in all good faith but if he could make a misjudgment of that kind he should come to this whole problem with a reasonable attitude here tonight, that is if he can.
The Taoiseach: The Government have sought to give the House every opportunity to discuss this matter, to give it all the information at our disposal, because  we believe that will help us in taking these matters as much further as we possibly can. I assure the House that we will do that through every channel, mechanism and procedure open to us.
Mr. Spring: Five minutes ago I would have felt much more comfortable in informing the House that I would not be pressing the amendment. However, on the basis of what the Taoiseach has said, and I appreciate his efforts here this evening though I feel to some extent he has told us he will take action without clarifying it all we can do in this instance is leave him to take the action necessary and hope that he does so. On that basis I withdraw the amendment.
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