Wednesday, 7 December 1988
Seanad Éireann Debate
Mr. Ferris: I acknowledge that you notified me that our addendum as it is known, which is shown here as amendment No. 2, has been ruled as not being relevant to the motion. While I do not want to question your ruling, I would just like a clarification of how it was decided that this was not relevant. In my opinion the addendum is extremely relevant.
An Cathaoirleach: We cannot debate it. The Senator must realise that the motion before the House today is of a narrow scope and is concerned with the continuation of the operation of the Extradition (Amendment) Act, 1987, beyond 14 December next in accordance with section 7 (4) of that Act. Amendment No. 2 is not relevant and it does not confine itself to the continuation of that Act.
That Seanad Éireann, in accordance with section 7 (4) of the Extradition (Amendment) Act, 1987, declares that the said Act shall continue in operation after the day that is 12 months after the date of its passing.
Minister of State at the Department of Health (Mr. Leyden): The Extradition (Amendment) Act, 1987 comes before this House for consideration today in accordance with the procedure laid down by section 7 (4) of the Act. The motion before the House asks it to declare that  the 1987 Amendment Act shall continue in operation after the day that is 12 months after its passing, that is 14 December 1987.
The necessity for this motion arises because section 7 (4) provides that that Act will expire on the day that is 12 months after the date of its passing unless a resolution is passed by each House of the Oireachtas declaring that it should continue in operation after that date.
Yesterday a resolution in identical terms was passed by Dáil Éireann. Acceptance of the motion by Seanad Éireann today will therefore mean that the safeguards contained in the Extradition (Amendment) Act, 1987 will become a permanent part of our extradition code unless repealed or amended by another Act of the Oireachtas.
The purpose of today's motion is to renew the safeguards contained in the Extradition (Amendment) Act, 1987. That Act adds three important safeguards to our extradition arrangements with Britain and the North. These are: the new administrative arrangements under which the Attorney General considers the basis for extradition applications; the new provision empowering the High Court to refuse extradition where, by reason of lapse of time and other exceptional circumstances, it would be unjust, oppressive or invidious to return a person; and the new provision which enables the rule of specialty, which already applies on an administrative basis to our arrangements with Britain and the North, to be put on a statutory footing. It is these safeguards that I now wish to consider in more detail, along with the manner in which they have functioned in the period since the enactment of the Extradition (Amendment) Act, 1987.
The most important safeguard which the Act provides is undoubtedly the new procedure under which the Attorney General considers each individual application under Part III of the 1965 Act. What the 1987 Amendment Act provides in this regard is that a warrant for the arrest of a person accused of an offence shall not be endorsed if the Attorney General so directs. It goes on  to provide that the Attorney General shall give a direction to the Garda Commissioner not to endorse a warrant unless, having considered such information as he deems appropriate, he is of opinion, first, that there is a clear intention to prosecute the person sought or to continue a prosecution of that person for the offence specified in the warrant and, second, that that intention is founded on the existence of sufficient evidence.
Those provisions are set out in sections 44A and 44B which section 2 of the 1987 Amendment Act inserted into Part III of the 1965 Act. They were the means by which the Government chose to address the widely-shared public concern that before a person is extradited there should be a method by which the authorities here could be satisfied that extradition was warranted. It had the advantage of ensuring scrutiny of every application where the evidence against the person sought had not been examined by a court in the requesting jurisdiction. At the same time it did not have the disadvantages which would be involved in requiring a prima facie case to be established before our courts. The advantages of the procedure included its simplicity and its informality in the sense that the technicalities of a preliminary examination of the evidence in court would be avoided.
For the purpose of giving effect to these provisions, arrangements are in place under which the Garda Commissioner refers all warrants which are received from Britain and the North to the Attorney General. The Garda Commissioner will take no further action in respect of such a warrant until he is informed by the Attorney General that he does not intend to issue a direction under section 44A or that the warrant does not come within the terms of that Act. Arrangements are also in place which ensure that the British authorities provide the Attorney General with such information as the Attorney General deems appropriate and necessary to enable him to discharge his statutory functions. Those arrangements have been applied in relation to all cases in  which applications have been made which involve warrants coming within the terms of the 1987 Act.
I should perhaps explain what I mean by warrants which come within the terms of the 1987 Act. It is important to distinguish between warrants which come within the scope of the new procedure provided for in the Act and those which do not. By virtue of the new section 44A, the new procedure applies to warrants for the arrest of persons accused of an offence. It does not apply to warrants for the arrest of a person convicted of an offence. In addition to that restriction, the new procedure does not apply to a warrant for an offence for which a person has been ordered by a judicial authority following an examination of the evidence to stand trial. Finally, the procedure does not apply to warrants which had been endorsed prior to the coming into force of the Act itself, that is warrants which were endorsed before 14 December last.
I hope that this explanation will help to avoid any confusion about the statistics which I am about to give. Applications have been made in respect of 17 persons in the period since the 1987 Amendment Act came into force. In six of those cases warrants which were received came within the scope of the procedure provided for in the 1987 Act. In four of these cases the Attorney General informed the Garda Commissioner that he did not intend to issue a direction under section 44A and warrants in those cases were cleared for endorsement. The papers in the remaining two cases are still under consideration by the Attorney General. In the four cases in which warrants were received which came within the scope of the 1987 Act extradition proceedings were subsequently instituted in two cases. In one of those cases the District Court ordered the return of the person sought and that person was returned. In the second case orders for the return of the person were refused by the District Court and that decision is now the subject of further proceedings in the High Court. In the remaining two cases the warrants  were subsequently withdrawn for reasons unconnected with the 1987 Act.
I should also mention for the sake of completeness that in two cases warrants were furnished prior to the coming into operation of the Act but are now covered by that Act because they were not endorsed at that time. These will now fall to be considered in due course in accordance with the procedures the Act provides. The reason they were not endorsed and the reason they remain to be considered is that the persons concerned were wanted for and were charged with offences in this jurisdiction.
The second important safeguard which the Extradition (Amendment) Act, 1987, introduced was to empower the High Court to refuse extradition where, by reason of the lapse of time since the person is alleged to have committed the offence or has been convicted of it and other exceptional circumstances, it would, having regard to all the circumstances, be unjust, oppressive or invidious to extradite that person. That change to our extradition code was prompted by the public concern which existed regarding the possibility that, arising from the coming into force of the Extradition (European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism) Act, 1987, the position of some persons would be unfairly prejudiced.
Passage of time will not of itself be a bar to extradition, of course. There must also be some other circumstances which, when taken in conjunction with the lapse of time, make it unjust, oppressive or invidious to extradite the person. I am not aware of that provision having been relied on in any proceedings since the enactment of the 1987 Act.
The third safeguard provided for in the 1987 Amendment Act is the provision which enables the Minister for Justice to provide by order for statutory provisions dealing with the rule of specialty and restrictions on re-extradition which already apply to our extradition arrangements with countries other than the UK to be applied to our arrangements with Britain and the North. The Minister has yet to make an order under that section.
 The position is that such an order will require a corresponding amendment to the British backing of warrants legislation because the rule of specialty of its nature can operate only if such a provision is made in the law of the requesting country. Discussions are continuing with the British Government at official level in regard to the means to give effect to that section. The fact that an order has not yet been made has not, however, given rise to any particular difficulty in practice. The reason for that is that administrative arrangements ensure that additional charges of a political nature will not be brought after extradition and that the specialty principle is observed. Those arrangements are in place and are being adhered to in practice.
In addition to those arrangements a person whose extradition was being sought has the protection of section 50 (2) (b) of the 1965 Act. Under that provision a person facing extradition to Britain or the North may apply to the High Court to have an order for his return set aside on the ground that there are substantial reasons for believing that he will be prosecuted or detained for a political offence.
Those then are the safeguards which the 1987 Amendment Act contains and the particulars of their operation in the past year. The issue with which we are concerned in the debate on this motion today is whether those safeguards should be renewed and preserved as part of our extradition code. That is the only issue which arises in this debate. The only purpose and sole effect of today's motion will be to renew the safeguards contained in the Extradition (Amendment) Act, 1987. Acceptance of the motion by this House will mean — as I have already indicated — that those safeguards will become a permanent part of our extradition code and will remain a part of that code unless and until amended or repealed by future legislation.
If, on the other hand, the motion was not accepted, it would mean that those safeguards would lapse and cease to be part of our law on 14 December. It would mean no more than that. A failure to  pass the motion would not mean that our extradition arrangements with Britain and the North would themselves lapse. Neither the Extradition Act, 1965, nor the Extradition (European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism) Act, 1987, are subject to renewal. Those Acts would remain in force but they would remain in force without the addition of the safeguards which the 1987 Amendment Act provides. The motion today is about the retention of the safeguards contained in the 1987 Amendment Act and I would hope that the discussion on the motion will concentrate on that issue.
An amendment to today's motion has been put down by a number of Senators from the main Opposition party. The effect of that amendment would be that the safeguards contained in the 1987 Act would be renewed for a further 12 months and no more. This proposed amendment differs in one respect from an amendment in a similar vein which was put down by the same party's spokesman on Justice in the other House yesterday. Under the terms of the amendment proposed in the other House the 1987 Act would be renewed for only 12 months but could be renewed further by another resolution before the expiry of that 12 month period. The amendment proposed here today does not provide for any further renewal of the Act in a year's time. The effect of it would be that the safeguards provided for in that Act would lapse 12 months from now unless further new legislation was enacted to retain them.
The proposed amendment stems from a feeling that there has not as yet been sufficient experience of the operation of the new procedure involving the Attorney General to enable a definitive or unqualified judgment to be made about the effectiveness of that procedure. I can understand that point of view. The new procedure has worked satisfactorily in those cases in which it has applied but the number of cases so far has not been very large and in some of these cases court proceedings have not taken place as yet.
However, the plain fact of the matter is that it is simply not possible under the  terms of section 7 (4) of the Act itself to have a resolution of the kind which the amendment proposed here today would entail. The only kind of resolution which that provision allows for is a resolution declaring that the Act should continue in operation after 14 December next. In other words, the Act provides for a once and for all renewal only. A resolution which would seek to make the continued operation of the Act after 14 December subject to a further resolution a year from now would be ultra vires section 7 (4). You cannot amend an Act of the Oireachtas by way of a motion. If a resolution were adopted here today which was ultra vires section 7 (4) and void, the effect would be that the Extradition (Amendment) Act, 1987, would lapse. This would mean that the safeguards contained in that Act would cease to apply.
However, any Act can, of course, be amended or repealed by further legislation if the need arises and there is a continuing review mechanism built into this Act in section 6. If, after more experience of the working of the arrangements provided for in the 1987 Act, it becomes clear that they are not working satisfactorily, either to safeguard the rights of persons wanted for extradition or to ensure that there are not unjustifiable obstacles in the way of extradition, then remedial action will be taken by way of amending legislation. That is in keeping with the assurance which the Taoiseach gave in the other House a year ago.
The Government will have to report annually to the Oireachtas under section 6 on the operation in the preceding year of Part III of the 1965 Act as a whole. This will mean that our entire extradition arrangements with the North and Britain, including the procedures provided for in the 1987 Act, will be subject to regular monitoring by the Government and full account will be taken of ongoing experience of how these arrangements operate. Any views which the British Government may put to us about the operation of the arrangements will also be considered as part of that review process.
Incidently, I should emphasise that the  review mechanism under section 6 of the 1987 Act is quite a separate matter from the renewal of the safeguards provided for in that Act. The report required by section 6 will be concerned with the extradition arrangements with Britain and the North in their entirety. The motion today is concerned only with the extra safeguards added to those arrangements by the 1987 Amendment Act.
The Taoiseach asked Deputies in the other House yesterday not to allow the debate to be overshadowed by events of the recent past. He had the Father Patrick Ryan case specifically in mind. I would like to echo those sentiments and ask Members of this House for similar restraint in the debate here today. Given the legal process that is already in train, it is only proper that we should be careful in what we say today.
In this connection I should also refer to section 4 of the Extradition (Amendment) Act, 1987. That section prohibits communication with the Attorney General and other specified persons for the purpose of influencing the making of a decision to give a direction under the Act — that is, of course, communication other than the proper communication of information relevant to the giving of a direction. I have no doubt that Senators will observe the spirit of that provision today.
There are, of course, other reasons why we in this House should exercise restraint in what we say in this matter. We have been concerned about the prejudice that may arise because of the nature of comment which has been made and printed about this individual case. We should not add to that possibility by dwelling too particularly on the case. Finally — and these are the last comments I wish to make on the matter — there is the fact that the case of Father Ryan is only one of a number of cases in which warrants have been received which come within the scope of the 1987 Amendment Act. The considerations which apply to it are in many ways unique.
Before concluding, I would like to return to the motion before the House. The reason that motion is being moved  in the House today is because the safeguards which the 1987 Amendment Act provides remain necessary. The concerns which promoted the Government to introduce the Extradition (Amendment) Bill 12 months ago exist equally in the public mind today. That Bill addressed very real concerns and it is as necessary today as it was 12 months ago that those concerns be addressed. We would be failing in our duty as legislators if we did not meet those concerns for the simple reason that our extradition arrangements must command public acceptance and respect if they are to function effectively. Our extradition arrangements will only command the necessary public support and confidence if they are subject to reasonable safeguards. The 1987 Amendment Act provides such safeguards and it is important, therefore, that their renewal is ensured today by the passing of this motion by this House.
The manner in which those safeguards have operated also justifies their renewal. Our experience of the operation of the new procedures involving the Attorney General convinces us that that procedure is workable in practice. The statistics I have given demonstrate this. Neither that procedure nor the other safeguards provided in the 1987 Act have acted as an obstacle to extradition. Section 7 (4) was intended in part to provide reassurance to the Oireachtas that in the event of the new safeguards becoming an obstacle to legitimate extradition requests, that problem would be addressed. No such problem has arisen and, on that account, there is no reason for the safeguards not being renewed and indeed every reason why they should.
Mr. Manning: Extradition has become a very potent symbol in the relationships  between this country and Great Britain. In many ways I believe the issue has been inflated and exaggerated out of all proportion to its actual importance in countering terrorism. I believe if we had as easy and free flowing a system of extradition as it is possible to devise — the sort of system which exists between states in a federal system — its impact on the overall question of terrorism here would not be very noticeable.
The problem is not so much extradition as evidence — evidence which is hard, substantial and which will stand up to full court scrutiny. More often than not, it is not easy to get such evidence or to get enough of it. In these circumstances it is understandable if frustrated law officers, police or politicians turn to extradition as a sort of panacea, a sort of global solution to their problems and frustrations. How often have we heard extremist politicians especially talk about murderers and bombers walking free in what they call the Free State? How often has the British press and occasional British politicians made this charge, bemoaning the absence of extradition as allowing this situation to exist? It may even be the case that there are people in the Republic who are members of the IRA, who have killed and who have bombed. In some cases they may well be known to the Garda, they may well be known to people in the area. Certainly the police may have strong suspicions that this is the case but the same thing is true in Northern Ireland. There are people there from both communities who are known to the police as people who have killed and who have murdered. The problem in each case on both sides of the Border is one of evidence.
It is easy to make outlandish claims knowing that they will not have to go through the rigour of court scrutiny and that real evidence will not be required. I believe that extradition has been used cynically in the past as an excuse for police failures or as a means of venting the understandable frustration of politicians. It is understandable that this has been done, but it is not excusable. Those who have hyped up extradition or the  absence of extradition and those who posit it as the main reason for security failures are simply not living with reality.
Extradition is of importance and it is so for two reasons. It is important because of its own intrinsic value, but also because of its symbolic content. In subtantive terms, we want a system which works. Extradition is a normal arrangement between civilised, friendly nations. It works to their mutual interest, but it must be based on trust. From our point of view, there must be no ambiguity. People who commit crimes in Britain or elsewhere must be fully answerable. They must not be allowed to shelter behind a spurious cloak of political justification — because there is none — and they must not be protected because of the ambivalence of so much of our political culture, especially as manifested in the tradition and the behaviour of sections of the main Government party.
It was interesting to be lectured to by the Minister today to be asked to behave in a responsible way. I only wish some of his party had the same sense of responsibility when they faced the same question in Opposition just a couple of years ago. We have reached the stage where there must be no winks, nods or cute political behaviour. This is a very real problem. People in Britain and elsewhere can point to statements made over the past number of years by leading members of Fianna Fáil which, at the very least, suggest a very real degree of ambiguity and ambivalence. Let me give one example.
An Cathaoirleach: I really have tremendous admiration for you, Senator  Manning, but you know you are not supposed to mention these people in the other House when they are not here to defend themselves.
Mr. Manning: It is on the record. It was made outside the House. It is indicative of a certain strain which has us in some of our present troubles today. Britain, as the other part in the extradition arrangement, has a right to know that we are serious, honest and upfront in this regard, that we are not saying one thing here in the Houses of Parliament, one thing to the lobby correspondents and something else at local meetings around the country. Britain at the very least has that right and as a self-respecting country, we have a duty to give them that assurance.
From our point of view what we want from Britain are two things and we have a right to expect two things from Britain. We have a right to an assurance that only bona fide cases will be pursued, only cases where there is a genuine likelihood of conviction and where there is genuine evidence. Secondly, what we want, and what we have a right to expect, is a climate in which people can expect a reasonable and fair trial. That, unfortunately, has not been the case.
Much has been said in the other House yesterday and generally about Mrs. Thatcher's outburst over the past few days. What she did was wrong and is indefensible. Why did she do it? It is very hard to know. As a lawyer she must have known that what she was doing was in contempt. She must have known as a politican that what she was doing was going to create enormous problems in this country and that what she was doing was going to make a hero for some people out of somebody who certainly does not deserve that status. The behaviour of Mrs. Thatcher has undoubtedly set the tone, a tone which was followed by other British politicians and by sections of the media.
It is important when talking about the media in Britain to make a very important distinction. That is, that the serious press, radio and television, have by and  large treated this whole question in a very fair way. They have sought to find out the real issues. They have sought to put our point of view. By and large, they have come down very fairly and very squarely on the Irish side in this particular controversy. What is at issue here is the contemptible behaviour of the tabloids. These organs do not deserve to be dignified with the title of newspaper. They are owned by unscrupulous and ruthless press barons. They have no concept of truth and no concept of responsibility. What they have done over the past while, and indeed for some years now, is to create a climate of opinion in which an Irish person who is brought to trial in Britain under any cloud of publicity is unlikely to enter court unprejudiced. That is the very least of the consequence of what is happening.
Again, I fail to understand why the British authorities, if they want to make this process work, have not sought to bring contempt proceedings against these particular newspapers. The British, if they want extradition to work, must work to create the conditions in which it is seen to be fair and in which people can expect a fair trial. That is why extradition as a symbol of trust, is so important at the present time. An extradition system which is accepted and which works is an earnest of our good intentions and of Britain's good intentions to work together for harmony and to work together against terrorism.
The Minister referred to the amendment which we have tabled. He feels it may not be in order, or that it would have an effect which was not intended. I have also taken advice on that and the advice I have got is different so we will be pressing that amendment. The reason behind the amendment — which will be defeated anyway given the arithmetic of the House — is that last year Fine Gael proposed that the present legislation be renewed after one year. We said then that it was inappropriate to place the Attorney General in a judicial role and in a situation where political considerations might influence his judgment. That is what this legislation does.
 Under our Constitution — Article 30, section 1 — the Attorney General is the legal adviser to the Government. It was never envisaged that he would have the judicial role which this Bill confers upon him. It was wrong in 1987; it is still wrong, I believe, wrong in 1988. This Attorney General, every Attorney General, any Attorney General, is by definition in some way political. Attorneys General come from the world of politics. They are chosen in part at least because of their political convictions and because of their political views. Sometimes Attorneys General even go back to politics after they have ceased to hold that office. The Attorney General sits as a valued member, not as a member of Cabinet but as an adviser around the Cabinet table.
It is very difficult to expect any Attorney General to be divorced from the world of politics not to be influenced by the political exigencies of any particular time and, indeed, not at least subconsciously to be influenced by the needs of the Government of the day. I do not believe it is right to place this Attorney General, for whom I have the greatest of respect — he is a man I have known for over 25 years — in this particular role. Doing that allows those who do not want the system to work to allege that the system of extradition, because of the role of the Attorney General, has been politicised by us. I believe that to a certain extent that may well have been at the source of some of the British criticism in recent times.
I was somewhat puzzled by a reference made by the Minister in his speech where he talked about the prohibition on communication with the Attorney General for the purpose of influencing the making of a decision to give a direction under the Act. He said: “I have no doubt that Senators will observe the spirit of that provision today”. Is the Minister suggesting that some people in the past have not observed that particular provision? Is he saying that there is some danger that in the course of the speeches today that particular provision will be breached? I would like him to clarify that very puzzling statement in his speech.
 On this point, there is reason to believe that the process of influencing the decision of the Attorney General may well have already happened in this case. I refer in particular to briefings given from senior Government sources — one of the Government spokespersons, undoubtedly — to all of the Sunday newspapers published on 27 Novermber, which would seem to indicate that the Attorney General would refuse extradition in the case in question on the grounds of insufficient evidence. I will quote from the newspapers. In the Sunday Tribune, the following statement appeared in an article by that paper's political correspondent, Gerald Barry, and I quote:
An Cathaoirleach: Just in case — because I have to protect here — this trend goes on in your contribution and for future contributions, it would be just as well as this stage to point out the clear-cut position of the role of the Attorney General as set out in the Act, in particular  section 4. I feel Senators should refrain from suggesting how the Attorney General should exercise his functions which are solely legal in this matter.
Professor Murphy: On a point of order, with respect, I would have to refuse that ruling, because it is of the essence of the debate whether or not the Attorney General is performing a judicial function, a political function or a——
An Cathaoirleach: I am only saying a Senator cannot suggest how the Attorney General might act. I would protect you as much as the Attorney General. I am not going to have a discussion on that. Senator Manning to continue.
Mr. Manning: I also have to differ because what I am saying here is that indications were given by Government sources to the media as to how the Attorney General would act. The Government sources were prejudging the outcome of the Attorney General's examination of the case even before the Attorney General could have had the evidence upon which he would base his decision.
Mr. Manning: I am not talking about the Attorney General. Somebody who claimed to speak on behalf of the Government and is accepted as such, made statements to the newspapers indicating how the Attorney General was likely to judge. That, I believe, was wrong. It was the Government source who was abusing the  position of the Attorney General. Secondly, I believe that that particular briefing may well have been at the root of much of the British over-reaction of the following week, that they felt the case was being prejudged before it even got to this stage of discussion. I thank you, a Cathaoirligh, and of course, I accept I could expect full protection from you in the proper circumstances. That is a serious point. I would ask the Minister to address it in his reply.
I am not satisfied that sufficient time has passed to judge the effectiveness of the present arrangements. They have been in operation for just one year. First, the Government are obliged — and the Minister referred to this — to report under section 6 of the 1987 Act. The Minister is obliged to report on the operation during the previous year of Part III of the 1965 Act. That report, understandably, has not yet been made. I believe it would help us greatly in making up our minds as to whether the safeguards should continue and for how long if we had that particular report. It should be available to us in the fairly near future.
Otherwise, only two cases, in effect, have come up for examination under the present legislation. We really have a very small field of data upon which to base any comprehensive and objective judgment. Only one case has been actually processed through and the present case is pending. I believe that in all circumstances it would be better to let more time pass to get a much fuller picture as to how the safeguards are operating, whether they achieve their purpose or whether they, in themselves, and the operation of the Act is a hindrance to the objective we all have, which is the proper working of extradition procedures.
There are a number of other fears which we, in this party, have which we had a year ago. There is, for example, the position that after only one year there have been only two cases — one case really. There is also the danger that the Act would itself become the subject of judicial scrutiny, involving perhaps highly undesirable consequences. Is it not better to let the Act continue as it is  for a further year before taking a final decision? Two or three cases down the line we may well find ourselves facing major court scrutiny on this question. We may well find that the provisions of the Act could very well be overturned and we may find ourselves in a situation far, far worse than the present one.
I would like to put on record at this stage the following four very brief points which summarise our position on the question before us. First, Fine Gael support the need for extradition with built-in safeguards in order to protect the principle that accused persons are innocent until proven guilty. We wish to co-operate with other civilised states in the fight against terrorism and we regard extradition as an essential part of that process. In our anxiety to provide adequate and proper safeguards no unreasonable obstacles should be placed in the way of extradition. Finally, as a matter of general principle, it must be accepted that persons accused of offences should be tried in the place where the offence has been alleged to have been committed. Those are the four principles which we believe must underline any legislation and any safeguards.
We believe at present that there is a need for a cooling-off period. There is a need for both sides to calm down, and especially for calming to take place on the other side of the Irish Sea. There is a need for a detailed assessment in good faith of how the extradition process has operated in the past year. It is vital from all our points of view that we have a system which works, which is seen to work, which is seen by reasonable people as being fair, which ensures that this country can never ever be a haven for murderers, which ensures that there is no ambiguity whatsoever, officially or unofficially, on the part of Irish Government. We must ensure that people who do not deserve sympathy or shelter do not get it in this country. We must ensure most of all that what we have is a clear, open, certain legal process, a process which is removed from the realm of politics which becomes a legal process and which has  certainty and clarity surrounding it. That is what we seek.
That is what we had hoped was in the first extradition measure. That is why we had some worries about the safeguards built in last year; they were only some worries and by and large we could support much of what is involved in these particular safeguards. What we are saying today is that while wanting extradition to work, we are not happy that the present safeguards are necessarily the right ones, that further time is needed to see the process in action and a year from now we could then re-examine the whole operation to see if it should be further extended or changed.
Mr. Lanigan: I am not going to delay the House too long because the Minister has enunciated the policy of the Government in this matter. There are a number of speakers who would wish to come in on the actual debate itself. However, there are a number of things I want to say and a number of things I would love to say, but today's motion does not give me the opportunity to do so because the motion before the House today is a motion which is very restricted.
The motion deals specifically with the amendment to the 1965 Act which brought into place certain safeguards for those who could be extradited to other jurisdictions. That these safeguards are necessary has become abundantly clear over the past 12 months, when the words “British” and “justice”, as I have said before, have seemed to be mutually  exclusive of each other. There was a time when people did expect to get justice in Britain and from the legal system in Great Britain, but unfortunately now Britain and justice do not mix too well together.
I have never seen such a change in outlook amongst law-abiding people in this jurisdiction. I have never seen such a change in people's attitude towards what goes on in British courts. There has been no doubt but that the hype which has been set up about various individual cases relating to extradition has been caused by the realisation that Irish people do not in the main get their just rights in the jurisdiction of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
As I have said, it had become abundantly clear that safeguards were necessary. There is no doubt in my mind that our legal system lays down that the rights and liberties of suspected persons must at all times be respected. The rights and liberties of suspected persons in Great Britain are not respected. We have seen that in recent cases. Not alone are the rights and liberties not being respected but the sentencing process and the sentences which have been applied to Irish people in Great Britain bear no relationship at all to the crimes which they were allegedly supposed to have committed and for which they were convicted. I have no doubt that if British citizens went before British courts on the same evidence in some cases the cases would have been thrown out of court and in other cases the sentences would not have been at all as severe. The sentences were the type of sentences we saw in Great Britain going back to the days of the formation of the present state of Australia. They were horrific in their nature. There is no doubt in my mind that the Irish cannot at present see that extradition would give court protection to the Irish abroad.
There is no ambivalence on the part of the Government in relation to our fight against international terrorism. There is no ambivalence in our thinking that murderers should be brought to justice and that people who commit horrific crimes should be brought to justice. There is no  ambivalence in the wide earthly world on this side of the House in relation to our intention to fight international terrorism. Indeed, the European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism Act, 1987, gives effect to that particular convention and our wish to be in line with the fight against international terrorism.
The hysterical outbursts in both the House of Commons and in the British media last week, and it has to be said at this stage radio commentators in Great Britain, were unbelievable. Again, I would suggest that television commentators and television programmes were not as hysterical in their outbursts as were the British newspaper media and the House of Commons. Of course, it has been well known that in recent years British newspapers have lost their wish to be objective in their reporting. They are now totally subjective to one issue only and that is to increase their circulation and to prevent themselves going out of business. The deterioration in the standard of British newspapers is well known.
There is hardly a newspaper in Great Britain at present that could be considered to be a quality newspaper, if we talk about the role of a newspaper which is to give the news as it happens and to be objective in its editorial content. However, having said that, there were some newspapers which did not go too much out on a a limb. The Sunday Times of last week appeared to have some semblance of balance in the reporting of what happened over the past fortnight.
There were a number of safeguards which were brought in by the Extradition (Amendment) Act, 1987, which are important for people who have been charged or who are being looked for from an outside jurisdiction. If we do not pass this motion today it would mean that these safeguards would be taken out of legality and that we would go back to the situation which was there before the Extradition (Amendment) Act. We would go back to the 1965 Act which did not have built-in safeguards regarding the Attorney General and, indeed, the other  administrative arrangements which are brought in by the 1987 Act.
The question was raised by Senator Manning as to whether the Attorney General acts in a political way or in a non-political way. I feel that the Attorney General has to be congratulated on the fact that since he took office he has not acted in any way in a political manner. He has carried out the job of Attorney General in a very independent manner. Obviously he is not totally independent of the legal arrangements within this country: he acts within the legal arrangements within the country. As Senator Manning said, he was appointed but he is doing his job in a non-political manner. He will form his judgment on the particular case that is causing the gravest concern at present, and he will come out with a legal definition as to whether or not this man should be put forward for extradition. It would be up to him to go on to give a direction to the Garda Commissioner whether or not to endorse a warrant and he would not do it except on the basis of legality.
Again, I feel that the British in their attempts to ride over other states do not prepare their warrants particularly well. There have been faults in non-political warrants from the other side, just as much as there have been defects in the warrants in the quasi-political areas. The British Prime Minister seems to want to treat this country as if Britain was still a major colonial power and Margaret Thatcher was the leader. The other thing she forgets when she talks about Ireland and indeed when she tried to ride over the wishes of the Belgium Parliament is that we and the Belgians work under a constitutional government whereas Great Britain does not. Margaret Thatcher can overrule anything she likes if she has a majority in the House of Commons and in the House of Lords. We are not able to do that because we abide by a written Constitution. It would be better for Margaret Thatcher to sit down, write out a constitution and act upon it rather than berate us as a sovereign State and attempt to act the school marm. There is a programme on television every week  where muppets play politicians. It seems as if Margaret Thatcher has been looking at too many of these programmes and now the muppet has taken over in reality.
Senator Manning's suggestion that we continue on for another 12 months before the actual review of this Act takes place is not practical. As the Taoiseach said and as the Minister here today said, there will be other opportunities to discuss the Act and there will be a continuing review of it from now on. The motion, as proposed, is necessary. I wish that it be passed. I wish that the British Prime Minister would realise that she is dealing with a sovereign State and that when we enact laws the Government keeps to them. I recommend the motion to the House.
An Cathaoirleach: There was an agreement in the House with the group leaders that the leader of each group would have 30 minutes and seeing that Senator Murphy is the first Independent Senator to speak, he has 30 minutes.
Professor Murphy: Once upon a time I remember, in my early days in this House, expressing the opinion that anything that was worth saying could be said in ten minutes. I lived to regret that rash statement. I assure you, however, that I will go longer than ten minutes but I hope not take up all my allotted time.
At the outset, without wishing to be discourteous to the Minister of State at the Department of Health and without wishing to cast any aspersions whatsoever on his competence in his proper area, I must express my regret that a more appropriate representative of the Government was not found to deal with this debate. This kind of casual choice, if I may say so, on a very important matter reflects on and diminishes the dignity of this House. It is up to those who are charged with ordering the business of the House to try to secure a more appropriate representation in the ministerial chair.
I am glad to be debating this matter in a calmer atmosphere than last week because, after all, the blood has to stop  boiling some time and we have to live with the neighbouring island. There will be no cosmic towing away into the mid-Atlantic and we have to mend fences. There is a point beyond which giving vent to our righteous and indeed justifiable indignation, as I did myself last week, is no longer profitable. I would like to relate my own reaction in that regard. I shared so much my colleagues' fury last week at the pronouncements by the British Prime Minister in regard to this country that I wrote to the British Ambassador. I did not post the letter for a day or two and then I tore it up. I wrote another letter which was much calmer and more conciliatory and perhaps that is the way we all should behave.
I still find it difficult to understand the way in which the British Prime Minister cast aspersions on our willingness and seriousness to fight terrorism as if, in one way or another, in the history of our State we have not had to fight terrorism all the time, as if this State had not lived on a semi-emergency basis all of its 60 years and as if the necessity to confront these political extremists had not been fraught with the most painful choices for us and for our politicians.
In that respect I found the British Prime Minister's attitude very hard to take. She could not know, but somebody should tell her, that her attitude helped to revive that kind of 19th century nationalist melodrama complete with malcontent priests that any student of 19th century nationalism is only too familiar with and a revival of which we could certainly do without. If you think about it, all the ingredients of the melodrama are there: a priest on the run who is not quite a priest — in Irish folklore such a priest is attended with much more reverence than the orthodox priest. One of the reasons why the priests of the 1798 Rebellion achieved such fame is that almost all of them were in some kind of trouble or other with their ecclesiastical superiors. The British Prime Minister helped to revive all this kind of thing and revived also, or gave ready ammunition to — this is very relevant — the Ulster Unionists' ancestral fear of priestcraft. In  matters like extradition the bishops and priests of the Catholic Church would do very wise to keep their mouths shut — béal binn ina dtost.
This week we are sitting in a relatively calmer atmosphere and we must try to get the balance right. In passing I pay tribute to the Taoiseach's statemanship over this last week, encouraged by common support across the whole political spectrum. He manifested the kind of qualities which make the leader of a small nation sometimes behave with that kind of dignity and independence which, at their best, Eamon de Valera and Parnell were very good at.
The whole question of extradition is, as Senator Manning observed, fraught with complexities. The debate on both sides of the Irish Sea in the last week or so will have done some good if it encourages new ways of thinking in dealing with national and international terrorism. I read with interest some of the suggestions made — for example, by Deputy Seán Barrett — in the debate in the Dáil yesterday that perhaps the British should consider setting up a kind of special criminal court without jury to deal with political terrorism and the suggestion by Deputy O'Malley of some kind of international tribunal.
What is recommended reading on this occasion is the article in The Irish Times on 2 December by Professor Paul O'Higgins, who is a Professor of Law at Kings College, London. He suggested that perhaps the best solution to this problem on an international level is one which was suggested under the old League of Nations but never put into operation, namely, that we should have an international court for this specific purpose, perhaps directly under European Community auspices, a court where terrorist offences could be tried by members of a panel of judges from which would be excluded judges sharing the nationality of the accused or of the state against which the terrorist offence was directed. These are all very interesting suggestions and in the long term perhaps they may lead to a more satisfactory arrangement. The suggestion of Professor O'Higgins  would remove the peculiar difficulties attending the Anglo-Irish relationship. After all I do not think we would have had the same difficulty in the case which has led to the present controversy had the two contending parties, as it were, been Ireland and perhaps the Netherlands or France or West Germany. It is because the other party is the United Kingdom, with all the historical connotations of that relationship, that makes extradition peculiarly difficult. Hence the desirability of establishing some kind of tribunal which would remove the central contentious elements, though I must say, with respect to Deputy Barrett that I cannot see the idea of an all judge non-jury tribunal catching on in British jurisprudence.
The Cathaoirleach seems to think that references to the Attorney General and the role of the Attorney General are somehow not appropriate but we cannot discuss this matter without referring, in the abstract at least, to the anomalies attending the role of the Attorney General. I will support the Government motion but I have some doubts about the role of the Attorney General and I know these doubts are shared by my colleague, Senator Ross, in even stronger measure as to whether with the best will in the world, with the best integrity in the world, the Attorney General, who sits at Cabinet table at least from time to time, can perform the judicial function in total independence. I am making an act of faith that he can for the moment.
Senator Manning also cast doubts on the role of the Attorney General. May I remind Senator Manning — and this is why I have an open mind on the question — that in a discussion I had last night  on the programme “Cursaí”, Deputy John Kelly was quite adamant about the independence of the Attorney General in the general matter of extradition. I am just offering that as a point of information. I have some doubts about the role of the Attorney General. I also share the general doubts that the last 12 months have not been sufficiently long and have been attended by such peculiar developments that we have not had sufficient time to test the present arrangements of the Extradition (Amendment) Act, 1987. I can see the point of the amendments which have been put forward. I accept the Government's interpretation. I accept their assurance that they have the right constitutional end of it, as it were. Therefore, as I say, with some reservations I accept the Government's side rather than the Opposition's side.
Meanwhile, while we are still continuing on a trial and error basis, it is essential that the Attorney General should be protected from pressure not only from outside — by outside I mean the British press and Parliament which have been guilty in this regard — but also from pressure from inside, plenty examples of which we have seen over the last couple of weeks.
Senator Lanigan raised the question of British justice — and of course this is central to the whole idea of safeguards — the notion that in present circumstances Irish people cannot get a fair deal, cannot get cothrom na féinne from a British court or a British jury. As I and many other Senators pointed out last week, the role of the tabloids, of the gutter press, is particularly reprehensible. There is more than a hint of collusion between the Establishment ruling circles in Britain and the Murdoch press in this regard. On a debate on another Bill some time ago in this House I suggested that the Anglo-Irish Conference would be the proper forum where the Minister could suggest to his English counterpart that perhaps something should be done about the tabloid press in Britain. Will they be forever allowed to spew out their racist venom? Is it not possible under the Incitement to  Hatred Act, which I understand either is or will be a feature of British legislation, that the Attorney General could inhibit their role? Certainly there is a need for restraint there and need for restraint in Parliamentary utterances. One of the things which intrigued many of us over the last week or so was that the emotional stereotypes of Irish and English seemed to be reversed. It was we who were behaving with dignity and forbearance. It was we who were not showing the alleged Irish traits of impetuosity, rashness and so on, whereas the English were not acting according to type. Mrs. Thatcher would need to be injected with some of the famed sterling English attributes. Perhaps she should practice exercises in having a stiff upper lip in front of her mirror and take a dose of good old English phlegm every day.
Yet, when the blood has ceased to boil, we must remember that Mrs. Thatcher, for all the criticism levelled against her, has understandable reasons to react in that way. Perhaps as a stateswoman she should not, but as a human being and as an Englishwoman it is understandable that she should react in that way against everything associated with terrorism. After all, we must remember that English people over the last 120 years or so have had good reason at intermittent stages to fear Irish terrorism. Victorian children imbibed with their nursery milk stories of Fenian bogey men and Fenian terror and this was passed on in a very real form with IRA terrorism in our century. So there is a real legacy there and a real reason for Mrs. Thatcher to fear and to express that fear on the part of her people.
With reference to Senator Lanigan's repeated strictures against British justice, and we understand what he is saying, we are inclined to be very one-sided on the matter of British justice. We pronounce freely and often adversely on the outcome of cases in British courts. We are outraged when they pronounce on any events in our courts. We send Government advisers to monitor the dispensing of British justice at inquests and criminal tribunals, but there would be absolute  war if they sent official observers on behalf of their Government to the Four Courts or wherever. We are very one-sided in this and we do not give them credit whenever British justice is applied fairly.
Indeed there may well be a case for saying it is applied more fairly in Northern Ireland than in Great Britain. There was no popular approval expressed here by Government when the Northern Ireland Court of Appeal overturned convictions in supergrass cases or when the Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland acquitted the Maze excapers of certain offences. Sir Christopher Mayhew, who was much attacked also in company with Mrs. Thatcher, points out in an interview with Ella Shanahan in The Irish Times of 14 November that he has excellent relations with our Attorney General on a personal basis and that he upheld the independence of the Irish Judiciary in the McVeigh case at Portlaoise when the McVeigh extradition warrant was dismissed there. On that occasion the British Attorney General asserted the independence of our Judiciary against English critics.
This week also sees a change of mood, as has been pointed out, in certain areas of the English media. I was pleased to see when watching the BBC programme “Question Time” with Sir Robin Day that the reaction of both panel and audience, given the fact that they were presumably a pretty typical middle-class English audience, was on the whole very balanced and measured. We are seeing, as has been said in the better class English press, editorials taking Mrs. Thatcher to task, pointing out that the defeat of terrorism involves more than strictly observing the rule of law, involves more than police action or Army action. It is to some extent a matter of winning hearts and minds and it is a matter of understanding the complicated realities of history in these islands. Whether Mrs. Thatcher is prepared to undergo history lessons which I would, without extra charge, be delighted to offer her, is another matter.
I suggest that whatever defects there are in the whole extradition situation should be addressed by the Anglo-Irish Conference. That is the place where I have already said the Incitement to Hatred Act could be suggested as a means for restraining the wilder excesses of the gutter press but in more general ways and means for improving extradition arrangements should be discussed there. It is nonsense to speak of a major threat to the Anglo-Irish Agreement as a result of the proceedings of the last week. It is significant that the people who talk about and hope for the downfall of the Anglo-Irish Agreement as a result of last week's proceedings form an unlikely combination of bed fellows — High Tories, Ulster Unionists and Provos. It is too firmly rooted for that. Let us remember it is an international instrument. It cannot succumb to a temporary crisis of this kind. It is my hope that the difficulties attending extradition will be ironed out in due course so that, in the course of time, it will not be necessary to have these safeguards.
Nothing is permanent. The motion we are passing here today does not saddle us with this arrangement indefinitely. If things improve, if the difficulties are straightened out, then we can surely address the changed situation by new legislation. We must make extradition work. We diminish our credibility if we do not make it work. I am in my optimum mood of confidence this week but even so I have faint suspicions about the serious intentions of certain circles in the Government party about making it work. Is it or is it not true after all, who is to tell us definitely, whether the Taoiseach promised Deputy Blaney that the extradition arrangements would wither away?  Whatever about that, it certainly leaves some kind of suspicion in our minds.
We must make it work. There must be extradition. Even if the Criminal Law Jurisdiction Act could be given full rein, and I understand as a lay person in these matters that the Criminal Law Jurisdiction Act is not a perfect alternative to extradition arrangements, that they do not cover the same ground to say the least, but even with the maximum operation of the Criminal Law Jurisdiction Act we owe extradition to Europe. We owe extradition to North-South relations. We must honour extradition as a partner to the Anglo-Irish Agreement, as a member of the European Community and as a member of the larger family of nations in Europe. It is a matter of our trust and credibility as I say in honouring our obligations to the relatives of those murdered in Enniskillen who were so poignantly remembered yesterday. All that has to do with extradition.
Senator Ross and myself some years ago moved a motion on extradition in which both of us asserted that you could no longer maintain that an offence of the heinous kind of crime committed by the Provisional IRA or by modern para-militaries of whatever persuation was a political offence and that the idea of terrorism being excused on political grounds was an achronistic in the late 20th century. It had a sound historical foundation but in these latter days of hijacking, kidnapping and murderous mayhem we can no longer justify it and we made that point in the motion we introduced in 1982. Indeed, it is a tribute to our prescience that not so long after our judgment was upheld in the McGlinchy case.
Let us ask ourselves this question, and I would put it particularly to Senator Lanigan since he has spoken more than once about the shortcomings of British justice, if there is no British justice for Irish people in British courts who is to blame? It is the Provisional IRA who are to blame. It is they who are to blame for the lurid, hysterical headlines in the  British tabloids, for Mrs. Thatcher's outbursts, for the annoyance caused to hundreds and hundreds of innocent Irish passengers at English ports of embarkation. It is they who are to blame ultimately for the innocents languishing in English jails who are taking the brunt of IRA crimes. Let us never forget that. It seems to me that Sinn Féin, collectively and individually, have the ultimate in brass necks in that they are to the forefront in taunting our Government, in accusing them of collaboration and so on for a set of circumstances for which they are ultimately responsible.
I come to the activities of the Irish anti-extradition committee who have been very active in this matter in recent times and who are supported by people who should know better. The most charitable thing to say about the anti-extradition committee is that they are ignorant of the facts of the case. They somehow seem to think that not passing this motion today will end extradition which, of course, is totally opposed to the facts. The anti-extradition movement in my view is a foolish, childish movement with their schoolboy taunts about collaboration and so on, as I said coming, especially from the wreckers in Sinn Féin who are very prominent in the movement. Those who are not supporters of Sinn Féin in the movement I am afraid indulged themselves in this kind of cheap Anglophobia, this cheap anti-Britishness which is a form of escapism and which adds nothing whatsoever to the solution of our problems. They certainly lend themselves to the purposes of the IRA, whether wittingly or unwittingly, and the H-Block committees provide an interesting historical analogy to this.
Certainly there were good, earnest and high-minded people during the H-Block committee movement 1981 who were not members of the IRA, who were not Sinn Féin supporters, but who nonetheless let themselves be used for that purpose. One of the reasons they allow themselves to be used is that the whole idea of extradition strikes the deepest of historical cords. In other words, it raises the  ultimate taboo of handing over our boys to the ancestral enemy.
That really is the psychological foundation of the opposition to extradition. It seems to me at this point that the ancestral enemy is no longer the enemy. Whatever differences we had on this last week, whatever tensions there are between our Governments at the moment, they are on our side and we are on their side. It is the IRA who are the enemy and, therefore, those who support the IRA in any shape or form, as they do in the Irish anti-extradition committee, are giving support to terrorism. They are fellow travellers. That is particularly irresponsible, particularly reprehensible, that support should include support from Members of this Oireachtas. It is mischievous in the extreme.
Finally, let me say that, with the reservations I have about the role of the Attorney General, nonetheless I am happy about the safeguards provided. In the last analysis I do not believe that people about whom there is any suspicion of their guilt, any people to whom the benefit of doubt can be given, will be extradited under our laws at the moment and under our present safeguards. For example, if those convicted at Winchester had had for some reason come back here or escaped back here in the interim, I do not believe that on a vague charge like conspiracy they would have been handed over to an English court. In short, what I am saying is that those who have nothing to fear will be protected under this legislation, and I applaud that. People who will be extradited can be assured that the Attorney General will have considered his options very carefully in their regard.
Professor Murphy: With superb timing, I will now conclude. On the whole the Government's attitude strikes the right balance. While understanding the amendments of the Opposition I support the Government's interpretation of those amendments and I hope that the next 12  months will see a general improvement in the working out of the arrangements about extradition.
Mr. Fallon: I should like to take this opportunity to welcome the Minister of State, Deputy Leyden, to the House and indeed to assure Senator Murphy that Deputy Leyden has a great interest in and awareness of this emotive problem we are discussing here this evening. While it is true that there have been many confrontations in the conduct of the Anglo-Irish affairs over the last number of years and while there have been, as the previous speaker referred to, tensions, ordinary residents of both countries, as individuals, get on very well. The historical fact of Governments being opposed to one another in wars of words and so on is well known, but it is true also that generally the residents of each state get on extremely well. Indeed, the fact is that there are over one million people of Irish birth living in Britain; and there is hardly, I suppose, a family in the Republic that does not have a close relative living there.
We all know that there are extensive academic, professional, business and financial links between the two islands. Sport and entertainment in Britain is watched by large numbers of people in the Republic. For example, the Cheltenham races every March brings thousands of Irish people to Cheltenham. To bring the debate further, some English trade unions have Irish branches, many English newspapers have Irish editions, English television is widely watched in the major urban areas of the Republic and generally the volume of free movement of people between the two islands is very large indeed.
People in the Republic almost certainly are more likely to have visited Britain than the North of Ireland. The two countries have a great deal more in common than is the case with some other friendly European states with very distinct cultures. This is probably not surprising if you consider the historical links, the geographical placings and the fact that the vast majority of legislation in the  Republic is unchanged from those laws that have been carried over from the pre-1921 period when Ireland was governed by Britain. As is usually the case in relationships between a small country and a larger one, the residents of the small country are much more aware of events and developments in the large country than vice versa.
The Northern conflict has left wounds which still await healing. Fortunately, most Irish people and most Britons can distinguish clearly between a paramilitary organisation and the ordinary Irish or British people they meet. On the Irish side we could make the point that there are unresolved questions about the activities of British secret service agents in the Republic. Clearly, it has been referred to and will continue to be referred to that there is a very strong belief in Ireland, shared by a number of prominent people in Britain, that many serious miscarriages of justice have taken place in trials of Irish people who were accused of being involved in bombing incidents in the seventies and that people have served in many cases, as we all know, long prison sentences for crimes they did not commit.
The list of these cases is endless — the Guildford Four, the Birmingham Six, the Maguire family and many others. Indeed, the most recent conviction of the Winchester Three, totally and absolutely predictable, because it is a regrettable fact of life that no Irish person on a politically related charge has a remote chance of justice. Indeed, the case of the Winchester Three deserves special mention for the reason that the trial was held in a British garrison town during the Tory Annual Conference in Brighton. Statements during the trial by Mr. King and Mr. Doughlas Hurd about the abolition of the right to silence was, in the view of many eminent people, in contempt of court.
I share Senator Murphy's comment in regard to the Winchester Three, that had they been brought back to Ireland almost certainly they would not have been extradited on the grounds that it was in some  way a conspiracy charge which would not hold water. In the case of the Birmingham Six I may have some little extra knowledge that others may not have.
I am aware of a gentleman in my own town, Athlone, which is in the Minister's constituency who will freely tell any court of law in the world that two nights after the bombing in Birmingham in November 1974 he was working as a cab driver and he recalls quite positively speaking to other cab drivers outside the cab office in Broad Street, Birmingham. He and three or four other cab drivers were talking to a policeman known as Chalky who triumphantly announced to these people that “our fellow has confessed; it did not half take a beating to get it out of him.” That was said in the presence of three, four or five cab drivers. When it was suggested to him that the marks on his face or his body might be noticeable and might show up when he came to court he said that there would be no problem because he would be sent to Winson Green and deliberately let loose with the inmates. A row would follow, there would be more injuries, and the police would never be suspected or blamed. When you know that that man is prepared to swear to any court in the world that that happened you have to have doubts about the justice of the British system.
The same man reminded me that two mornings after the bombings in Birmingham two Irish people were brought to a court for a very minor offence, something like shop-lifting, and they got two years in jail. The judge indicated that he was sick and tired of the Irish in Birmingham. That must be contrasted to the handling of cases such as that of the convicted British murderer, Private Ian Thain, who was allowed to rejoin his regiment after barely two years in jail or Private Holden who was told he had no case to answer after shooting Aidan McAnespie. Despite all the calls for restraint the Minister indicated — and the Taoiseach has called for restraint also — it is very hard not to be extremely critical of Mrs. Thatcher and the members of her Government.
We also know that the Prevention of  Terrorism Act operates almost exclusively against the Irish. This Act is clearly a major bone of contention. In 1985 some 55,328 people were subjected to searches and detention for a period of at least one hour under the provisions of that Act. A year later, in 1986, the figure had increased to 59, 481 people. The number detained for the first half year of 1987 was twice that for the same period of 1986. In The Guardian in September 1987 a political commentator, Hugo Young, made the point that such stopping, searching and interrogation of 60,000 people per year in an exercise that produced at the last count 13 charges, 23 other charges and 16 deportations seemed disproportionate and sufficient to alaram all but the most obdurate of anti-libertarians. It indicates that people like Hugo Young and others are also querying Acts like that in Britain.
The British Government and Mrs. Thatcher have not been loath in the past to tell Irish Politicians not to interfere or to criticies the British legal system and the process of law in England. Now it seems she is presuming to tell the Taoiseach to change the legislation which was debated and passed by both Houses of the Oireachtas roughly 12 months ago. That totally disregards the justifiable and deeply-felt feelings here that Irish citizens are being tried in the British gutter press and only subsequent to that in the courts of law.
The Government and the Taoiseach do not and did not apologise for his attitude on this matter. We all know that in the matter of security we are spending millions of pounds — badly needed pounds — to protect the Border which is not of our making or not of our wanting. Our Leader, in the nicest and most diplomatic way, told her that as an independent sovereign State we decide what is acceptable and unacceptable to our citizens. Unfortunately, she has called into question the good faith of both Ireland and Belgium in a most outrageous manner. She said in effect that her two fellow-EC members should bow to her will on extradition matters even when the prerequisites of  their own legal systems have not been satisfied.
The Belgians have been accused of taking their decision not to extradite on political grounds. The whole Fr. Ryan affair has been well and truly politicised by Mrs. Thatcher and her Government and by the British press. That is not just an Irish view; that is the view that is held worldwide at present. We should continue to tell the same Iron Lady that we are a sovereign independent state, that we are proud of the fact that we are not part of the United Kingdom, that we do not come under Her Majesty's rule, that we will not be bullied by Mrs. Thatcher or her Government——
Mr. Fallon: My apologies. I accept your ruling but I am saying that we will not be bullied by the Prime Minister like the West of her own party. I am very strongly of the opinion that the same lady is not interested in the Anglo-Irish Agreement as an instrument of political change but as a way to get her own way on security matters. It was never our intention to harbour fugitives from the law, especially those who might be guilty of heinous crimes but it is vital and imperative that on the question of extradition we are satisfied that the legal criterial laid down in the extradition cases are followed through.
In the Prime Minister's request for a review of the Extradition Act of last year she really wants the safeguards to be scrapped. There is, understandably, a huge “anti-extradition to Britain” feeling and attitude in this country for the reasons I have given and there are many more that we could all give. I cannot deny the concern of many of my colleagues in the Fianna Fáil Party and many in the cumanns throughout the country on this question of extradition. I recall last year an extremely important meeting when 50 members of my party spoke on the  question of extradition. The Taoiseach, Deputy Haughey, listened attentively for a full day. Many of the concerns and the worries expressed on that day are now to a very large extent met by the subsequent amendment to the 1987 Act and the safeguards introduced.
The fact that the British Prime Minister almost demanded that these safeguards be scrapped is a clear indication that the Act is working and will work in our favour. The purpose of this debate is to renew the safeguards contained in the Extradition (Amendment) Act, 1987. There are three important safeguards that should be referred to again: (1) the new administrative arrangements under which the Attorney General considers the basis for extradition applications; (2) the new provision empowering the High Court to refuse extradition where by reason of lapse of time and other exceptional circumstances it would be unjust, oppressive or invidious to return a person; and (3) the new provision which enables the rule of specialty, which already applies on the administrative basis to our arrangements with Britain and the North to be put on a separate footing. I consider those three safeguards to be important. The most important safeguard is the new procedure by which the Attorney General considers each individual application under Part III of the 1965 Act.
The Minister has indicated the reasons for the motion being moved today. The concerns and great worries which prompted the Government to introduce the amending Act of 12 months ago plus the safeguards existing today, are equally important in the minds of the public at present. The Fr. Ryan case and the outburst of the Prime Minister have brought to the public mind the importance of these matters. That Bill of last year and what we are doing today addressed very real concerns. We would be failing in our duty as legislators if we did not meet those concerns and worries for the very simple reason that our extradition arrangements must command public  acceptance and a great degree of respect if they are to work and be effective.
I am quite positive that our extradition arrangements will only command the necessary public support and confidence if they are subject to reasonable safeguards. The Act, we passed last year provides those safeguards and it is important that they are included in any renewal that we are passing in this motion. This emotive problem, the manner in which the Government have handled it and the safeguards they have introduced into the Act are in my opinion working admirably. The Attorney General's procedures are working and are workable in practice. As far as I am concerned, no real problems have arisen. We can renew the legislation and the motion in safety. As one who has a very real concern and worry about extradition of our people to Britain I feel that I can fully support the motion before us.
Mr. Ferris: At the outset I want to make it clear that the Labour Party will be opposing the Government motion and the amendment as proposed by the main Opposition. In that regard I express my regret that our addendum has not been accepted and I have already communicated that to the Cathaoirleach of the Seanad.
In case our position is misrepresented by anybody in this House or outside it, I want to put on record our performance in the area of responsibility in dealing with extradition, the Provisional IRA, Sinn Féin, or any terrorists for that matter. Our performance in those areas is beyond reproach. Our only reason for opposing this resolution is because we feel that the safeguards outlined in this section are not the correct safeguards to have in place because they can, have and will be misrepresented by being drawn into a political process which will politicise the whole process of extradition. In Government our party agreed with our partners to sign the Convention for the Prevention of Terrorism in the European context. In so doing we ensured that there was a 12 months waiting period before that convention came into place.
 We should ask why that 12 months time lag was put there. It as put there because the Labour Party in particular were not satisfied with the course of British justice as seen in operation up to then. Before the renewal date there was a change of Government which allowed the European Convention to become law. The Government of which the Minister is a member amended the 1965 Act and passed through this House last year a new amended Extradition Bill which had in it a provision that the Attorney General should be the one to initially examine the request from another country and that he would them make his decision based on the evidence available to him. We are suggesting that that could be misrepresented as being a political officer looking at a document submitted by the law officer of another state.
The Minister referred to section 4 of the Extradition Act, the section which prohibits communication with the Attorney General and other specified persons for the purpose of influencing the making of a decision to give a direction under the Act — that is, of course, communication other than the proper communication of information relevant to the giving of a direction. There was never a suggestion by any Member of this House that we would interfere with the Attorney General in the performance of this function. However, the comments of the British Prime Minister last week contravented that section of the Act in that she tried to influence publicly from the Houses of Parliament our Attorney General in making his decision.
I hereby accuse the British Prime Minister of being in contravention of section 4 of an Act of this sovereign Parliament. That is a matter for public record and it is why the Labour Party in particular are anxious that the Attorney General and his office should be removed from this process. We have no doubts whatsoever about the man's ability or capability to make a valid judgment; but he will be accused, no matter what his decision is, of making it with political motivation. To see why our concern in this area is expressed in this way we must look at  the constitutional role of the Attorney General, because the Constitution specifies particularly the role of the Attorney General, which is that he is an adviser to the Government in an administrative role. By its very nature any decision by the Attorney General would have to be made behind closed doors rather than in open court by a judicial process where the public would be aware of the case being made for the extradition and would allow also for the defence of that case for extradition. If justice is to be done in any case, including the case of Father Ryan, then it has to be seen to be done. The Attorney General, in looking at any request for extradition and in forming his opinion on it, will have to do so in the privacy of his office.
The Constitution also says that the Attorney General may not be, or does not have to be, a member of the Government, but he does, and is allowed to, sit at the Cabinet table. One would expect then that in the normal day-to-day running of the affairs of the State, in dealing with extradition or a request for extradition before the Government, this section would require that the Attorney General leave the Cabinet table and be unable to debate the matter with his Cabinet colleagues or advise them in any way. This surely must make his position untenable in this whole process.
The one advantage that does arise from the suggestions which our party had made on the original Bill, and which we also made in the other House and in this House today, was that another process of judicial examination by its very nature would be in a public forum, a judicial process, in a country which has a written Constitution which protects the rights of individuals, where the evidence would be visible to everybody and where a case could be made in a public forum for the person accused. That would remove any possible accusation by another government that we would be bowing to political pressures. That was one of the valid reasons for our suggestion that there was another process. The Minister for Justice, Deputy Collins, last year, when replying to our concern in this area — and I am quoting from column 2211 on the Extradition (Amendment) Bill of 7 December 1987 in the Official Report of the Seanad, Volume 117, No. 19 — said:
I understand fully and respect the motivation behind these amendments. I agree with the objective of the amendments, which is to provide a safeguard on the sufficiency of evidence, but I disagree with the methods chosen...
Ironically, it is the experience of the operation of the prima facie requirement in Britain which has given the greatest room for doubts about the desirability of this requirement. Britain at present applies the prima facie requirement in relation to extradition requests which it receives from all countries except Ireland. Here we are putting into place in a permanent way a procedure which does not have a prima facie requirement, particularly in relation to our dealings with Britain which insists on having it with every other country in Europe but does not insist on having it with us. In my opinion, that is a double standard and one of which we should be aware.
I also want to treat with sensitivity the case of Father Ryan. I would suggest that it would be a levelling and a sobering experience for Members of this House, Cabinet or otherwise, to discuss with Father Ryan his predicament, because he, like the vast majority of people in this country, has a feeling that whether you are guilty or innocent at present, once there is any suggestion that your crime, or purported crime, has any political motivation, particular if you are Irish, then the likelihood of receiving a fair trial is diminished beyond a shadow of a doubt. This has been confirmed by spokespersons from the Government side of the House and it is based, in fairness,  on their experience of other cases, cases that were not necessarily the subject of extradition but certainly were cases that were tried within the jurisdiction which we are now trying to facilitate, the British authorities, in the matter of extradition of Irish citizens. I quote the cases which have been referred to previously by Senators, the cases of the Guildford Four, the Birmingham Six, the Wiltshire case and the Maguire case. I quote, on their behalf, the Irish Commission for Prisoners Overseas, which is under the auspices of the Bishops' Commission on Emigrants. I quote from their document, made available to Members of the Oireachtas. In its first paragraph, under the heading “Miscarriage of Justice Cases”, it says:
It is with great dismay that we approach the end of 1988 and know that the Birmingham Six and Guildford Four are still in prison and that the Maguire family and friends live under a cloud of guilty, after 14 years. It is the desire of a great number of people in Ireland and, indeed internationally that justice in these cases be made a to priority of the Irish Government. Not alone have these prisoners suffered for so long, their families have also been victims of a miscarriage of justice. They have suffered irretrievable loss, relationships have been broken and Guiseppe Conlon died in prison. In a truly Christian and democratic society mistakes must be recognized and rectified.
Yet, we have eminent people in Britain — and I quote Lord Denning — saying that it was better that some innocent people should remain in prison than that the system of British Justice be brought into disrepute.
That is why there is a concern about extradition. It is not political. It is a fact of life that there are innocent people imprisoned in Britain, the country we are now trying to facilitate in regard to an extradition agreement into which the Government are trying to put safeguards, into which the Labour Party want to put additional judicial safeguards, to make  sure that anybody extradited to Britain will have some chance of a fair trial. The case being made for these people is so strong that it prompted the Office of the Taoiseach to write to the Reverend J. Gilmore, director of the Irish Chaplaincy in Great Britain, on 31 August this year. I quote from that letter, which is now public knowledge:
The Government share the very widespread concern about these cases. As you noted in your letter, the Dáil unanimously adopted a motion on 15 June calling on the British Home Secretary “to grant clemency to the Birmingham Six, to expedite the appeal of the Guildford Four, and to seek an urgent resolution of the Maguire case.” In case you do not have a copy, I am attaching the next of the statement made by Minister of State Seán Calleary on behalf of the Government during that debate.
The Taoiseach spoke on our behalf. The cases prompted the Commission for Prisoners Overseas to interced and many people spoke about the Birmingham Six and many Members of this House, including Minister, have expressed concern about all these cases which at present either have totally gone through the legal and legislative procedures or have failed to get through them. Now they depend on the graciousness of the Secretary of State to commute their sentences, or otherwise.
We should be extremely careful, when talking about Irish citizens, about what procedure comes into play when we agree to extradite them. We should be satisfied in an open, legal forum as to the validity of the warrants that are being served upon us. It comes as a surprise to everybody that our Attorney General actually had to request the British to rectify some of the errors that were made. If that happened in a District Court, the case  would be thrown out — even if there was an incorrect date on a summons. That is the reality. We want to be so facilitating with these people who have failed to give justice to many Irish people that we point out their errors to them. Yet, we are being accused by the British Prime Minister and members of her government of dragging our feet in some way. I resent that on behalf of all of us who want to be responsible in this area.
I resent the accusations being made against the Taoiseach and resent some comments this week in the British media about him. I do not share the absolute wisdom of Senator Murphy's statement in which he said there is an improvement. Some of the statements on the Taoiseach published this week by the British gutter press are actually libellous and were made by a Member of Parliament outside of the privilege of the British Parliament. I would suggest the Taoiseach take him to task on the whole area, not alone of privilege, but of defamation of his character. I would also suggest that the references in the same newspaper to Fr. Ryan are not alone obnoxious but objectionable to anybody who knows the family and Fr. Ryan, or knows what he has been doing. I share the concern of my Party Leader when he confirmed yesterday in the Dáil — and he reflects the views of everybody in the country — that it is unlikely now that the unfortunate man could possible get a fair trial in Britain — and that is not coming down on one side or another on what he was or was not doing.
It is just impossible now, because of the attitude of the British media, to have a fair trial in any case that has a suspicion of a political motivation. That is why we are concerned. That is why we want to ensure that any safeguards which are in this Bill could not be accused of being political safeguard. Because the Attorney General is appointed by the Government, reports to the Government and sits at the Government table, naturally some people will say, in this, or any case, that he was influenced if he says “No”, and if he says “Yes” they will say at this side that he was influenced by  Britain. It is an unfortunate situation in which to put the Attorney General, a law officer of the Government.
That is the only reasonable reason that we request the other provision that there should be a prima facie case. If Britain considers it is necessary to have it, what is so wrong with a sovereign state like Ireland requesting it? Is it because Britain cannot produce a prima facie case to us, as has been obvious in Fr. Ryan's case up to date from what we know in the public press, or is it because of what has happened between Great Britain and Spain, France and other countries who have failed to extradite people to Britain or vice versa? There is a fault in the system which requires us to have one set of standards to suit them and they can have any standards they want to suit themselves.
It is also a sobering thought that Fr. Ryan has recently publicly stated that if the decision goes against him, he would again be forced to go on a hunger strike. Many people would disagree with that, considering that that was putting one's life at risk, or it might be seen to be intimidating those who are making decisions, but you have to ask yourself the question: Why does somebody with a background like Fr. Ryan's say that? It is because he is afraid for his life. He is afraid — and it has been confirmed by everything that has been said and written about his case — that no matter what happens, if he is brought across to Britain he could not survive. He possibly feels that one way out of it is to do what all of us would consider to be a wrong thing to do. That is the kind of dread that has been put into the man as a result of every-things that has been written about him by the British media, in a particular
We are concerned and we want to be responsible. We do not want to be accused by anybody of being soft in the area of dealing with terrorists. Any statement that has been made by any member of my party, past of present, will confirm that we are concerned that the rights of individuals be protected and that we be able to deal with terrorists correctly. Everybody in this country is entitled to  see the documentation that has been served on us by the British authorities. We are entitled to see what the charges are because the charges, initiated in Belgium, were changed, three times in the one week. This was because the first charges would not stick, the second charges were incorrect and the third ones had no legal standing. We are entitled to know because they knew in Belgium, because they heard it in a public forum and reported to the Cabinet who then made their own decision based on the legalities.
Why could we not have a procedure like that? Is it that we feel we could not allow these things to be discussed, that the security of the State would be in danger, or what is the reason? For these reasons we will be voting against this motion which puts a permanency now on the role of the Attorney General, although I do accept — I want to put it on the record of the House — that the Taoiseach yesterday confirmed that he will look at this on an ongoing basis. He went as far as to suggest that he would do what I was asking him to do in the addendum, that if and when he looks at it after 12 months in this reporting procedure, and the procedures has not been working, then he would bring before the House another suggestion of how to deal with it. We were trying to assist him; we were stating the kind of procedure that we felt was the appropriate one.
I respect the Taoiseach for saying what he said yesterday. At least, he is going to continue to look into the matter. Our addendum was going to make that a statutory requirement. What is wrong with the Houses of Parliament looking at how our legislation is working? Do we not know from experience that it needs to be looked at because while there is a difficulty with Great Britain and the North of Ireland, while that political problem is there there will always be a changing situation vis-á-vis relations between ourselves and Great Britain. That is a fact of life and that is what the Taoiseach also said.
Mr. Robb: You may recollect that when I was honoured by appointment to this House by the Taoiseach in 1982, a motion was brought on to the floor of the House on the subject of extradition by Senator Murphy, Senator Ross and myself. At or around that time, it at least ceased to be a taboo subject and that in itself says something, that Irish people who had suffered over so many centuries at the hands of what we could call English imperialism. Without trying to be offensive had got to the point where they could debate this issue in the context of the present day Ireland and the problems that confront it. It was a fruitful debate and, as you know, much more has been discussed about extradition since then.
We had an opportunity to do so a year ago, during the debate on the Extradition Act and the European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism and subsequently on Committee Stage. I had ample opportunity, as had other Members of the House, to develop my views in relation to extradition, as a person from the minority Irish tradition. I could understand how it impinged quite heavily on the consciousness of those who belonged to the majority Irish tradition, or at least a significant section of it. I do not, therefore, propose today, nor could I in the time available, repeat my understanding of why extradition bites so deeply into the consciousness of Irish people and evokes in them an extremely deep reaction. It is, as we all know, a very sensitive issue.
I have always seen extradition in the context of three dimensions. I do not believe that it should be discussed in isolation from the other two. One is the need to keep under surveillance and under the most earnest scrutiny the whole process of law and order throughout Ireland, but in particular in Northern Ireland because of the division that affects that society. We are all, those of us who live there and it seems sometimes those who do not live there, very conscious of the irregular and unusual application of law in that part of  this island. That stems from that other problem to which we addressed ourselves in this House two or three weeks ago and where the debate has not yet concluded, that fact that law and order are being applied in a territory where there is no political consensus. Consequently, things which seem irregular and which can occur in this jurisdiction do not cause the sense of outrage and reaction which they will cause in Northern Ireland — both in Northern Ireland and, by way of response, in the rest of Ireland because, as yet, we have not been able to achieve that degree of sonsensus which gives legitimacy to law and order in its public acceptance.
Therefore, in discussing extradition, lest I be misunderstood, I do feel that it is vital that it is always discussed in the context of the need to monitor the process of law and order and always in the context of seeking for justice and for the rights of the individual in the collective society to which he or she belings. Also, one can claim greater justification for pursuing the line which I propose to take yet again here today, if one is earnestly seeking among Irishmen throughout this island some modus vivendi, some new ideal of consensus to which we can all subscribe, so that we can begin to live together, not only for the benefit of us all but also for the benefit of our children and, indeed, to have something worth exporting by way of life to the rest of the world.
Extradition is not entirely a legal process. If it were just a legal process, if we could apply just the cerebrum to that process to analyse it, then it would not create so much heat. People, will agree that sometimes there has been more heat than light as a result but that is the way of things whenever emotions are touched, and touched sensitively. Extradition is, in the final analysis, political and in particular in the context of what I have often referred to here as the unresolved and long outstanding bitter legacy in the Anglo-Irish relationship and also in relation to the legacy of Irish sectarianism.
I would like to add that we face a  further problem when we compare legal process in the United Kingdom with legal process in the Republic of Ireland Paramount in the process in the Republic is the primacy of the Constitution, whereas in England it is the supremacy of Parliament. Although the English system seemed to serve it will in its heyday, there are voices in England today, particulary we have heard of them recently with the names of those who have subscribed Charter 88, who are beginning to think along the lines that England, too, requires a constitution if it is going to preserve the civil and human rigths of its citizens as it enters into a much more complex period in its history and as it finally get rid of the last vestiges of colonialism and imperialism.
Before I comment on the present motion, I would just like to put it in the perspective of comment which I sent urgently to London this day last week to The Times and which I was very glad to find printed on Saturday morning in The Times. It was headed perhaps somewhat ironically “Call for Calm in Ryan Case”. This is the background to what I wish to develop here this evening. It said:
If the British people could appreciate the potential of Irish friendship, the British political establishment might be less inclined to change into Imperial high gear whenever Ireland is confronted by legal challenged with the most serious political implications.
Before the bitter legacy of Anglo-Irish history and Irish sectarianism, the issue of extradition of Irish people to Britain, and to a lesser extent to Northern Ireland, calls for highly tuned-sensitivity in order to obtain constructive attitude enabling justice to be done and to be seen to be done.
With a record of unusual, irregular, and inconsistent British legal, process as it has affected Irish people, it ill-behoves a British Prime Minister, in hectoring tones, to accuse Ireland of mishandling Irish legal process before it has been properly initiated.
Had Mrs. Thatcher acknowledged,  instead, the difficulties of a Fianna Fáil government in the area of extradition, especially in the overall context of the particular case of Fr. Patrick Ryan, and then gone on to express confidence in the Irish Attorney General's position in relation to the application of Irish law, she would have spared him the enormous difficulties now placed upon him by the pressures directly deriving from her statements. This, added to the incredible injudicious comments of the British tabloid press, all suggest to many Irish people that, with indecent haste. Fr. Ryan can be deemed guilty by inference before any trial has commenced.
As we all know, she has not done so, but as we all also know, many liberal voices in England have been raised who are appalled by what was said in both the press and in Parliament. Many friends of Ireland have sought to try to explain to the British people why it is that the Irish people feel so sensitively about the subject of extradition.
I would, therefore, re-emphasise that we have gone a long, long way — some and an decreasing minority would say the wrong way — since 1982 in trying to bring out of circulating or, at least, show that we are concerned to bring out of circulation those who are commiting murder and mayhem in Northern Ireland but we can only have moral justification for that if we are also as concerned that any murder and mayhem committed by those who are sanctioned by the State with uniform to exercise law and order will also be subjected to the rule of law. It is in that context that I think there has been a maturing and an evolution in the whole area of the subject of extradition.
I would like to go on to reaffirm that, of course, what we are doing here are two things. The Minister clarified this for us this afternoon. We are reaffirming that  Ireland has ratified the European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism and, in so doing, has not, I think, brought forward extradition for ordinary trivial crime.
The crimes listed in the European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism which can no longer claim political motivation in its defence includes the unlawful seizure of aircraft, unlawful acts against the safety of civil aviation, serious offence against life and liberty of an internationally protected person, such as a diplomat, kidnapping, hostage taking, false imprisonment, an offence involving the use of an explosive or an automatic firearm, if such endangers persons, and any offence of attemping to commit any of the above. But it is in the context of the problem which I have once again outlined, the historical problem, the political problem, the emotional problem, that people in Ireland were concerned and indeed it might have been difficult for Ireland to have ratified that Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism at all had it not been that is was possible to anticipate certain safeguards. So, those who are critical from the British and from a Unionist standpoint of Ireland's advance, or slowness to advance in the extradition area, must be acutely aware why it has been necessary to ensure that there are safeguards.
I think we have only to consider what has happened to the whole process of law both in Northern Ireland — for reasons certainly far from unrelated to the terrible situation we have there — and the grave doubts which have been caused to arise in Irish people about justice for Irish nationals in England to see now that it was in fact very wise that the safeguards were introduced. At the time, as far as I remember, I advocated through an amendment that those safeguards would be best introduced by exposing the process to open court with sworn affidavits brought in evidence; but it was chosen, in fact, to leave the safeguarding to the Attorney General, and I will say a few words about that at the conclusion.
Let us however look at the context in  which extradition is being mounted and do not let us forget that we are dealing with a situation where if, say, Dessie O'Hare had committed his crime here and had gone across the Border to the North, I think that people in the Republic would have quite rightly felt aggrieved if he could not have been extradition to stand trial. In that context, of the 2,705 people killed in Northern Ireland up to 19 November, 44 per cent of them were killed by Provisional IRA, 18 per cent by fellow-travelling republicans, 27 per cent by Loyalists, 10 per cent by the British Army, 2 per cent by the RUC, 28 per cent by the UDR. You can well say that no one should have been illegally killed by anyone in uniform. IN the context of Northern Ireland I think one has at least to realise that we are in an extremely difficult, conflict situation and that it would be almost stretching imagination too far to believe that with a state of near civil war going on terrible, ghastly tragic mistakes had not been made and indeed some, perhaps, made intentionally.
I then come back to give a further statistics that in this context the PIRA and those associated with them have killed six times as many as the British Army, 30 times as many as the RUC and 250 times as many as the UDR. So, while I would be the first to subscribe to the exercise of the rigours of the law in the case of all people in uniform when they are involved in the killing of other human beings, I must also say that most legal opinion will argue that the safest way of obtaining a conviction of the guilty is to have them tried in the jurisdiction where the crime took place.
It is in that context therefore that I am supporting the motion with the safeguards which are built into it. Finally, let me just say I have been most impressed and indeed I feel many people have been — by the way in which the Taoiseach has responded to the very trying situation of the last two weeks. I believe that by contrast with the most strident voices in the British Conservative Party he has brought a great respect to the Irish position which it might not have had had he decided to reply in kind, which I suppose,  would have been more natural to those of us with Celtic temperament. Furthermore, I trust that the Attorney General, Mr. John Murrary, may be given the good grace to come up with the right decision in the case of the matter under contention at the moment. I will end by saying that I believe we will still be discussing extradition in these terms ten, 15, 20 years from now it we do not seek to create an all-Ireland consensus rather than be seen to be responding by crisis management to one crisis after another.
Mr. McDonald: I welcome the opportunity to contribute to this important debate and I welcome the provision that this motion makes, because in my view annual debate and discussion on this Act add nothing to the legislation. When we enact our laws here we should leave the courts and the law officer to administer the legislation with justice and impartiality. I have listened with considerable interest to the speeches today and I can appreciate all the views expressed. I respect the views of every one of my colleagues. I, too, felt aggrieved when intemperate interventions inflame public opinion here. But what does one say about Prime Minister Thatcher and how does one assess her intemperate outburst last week in the House of Commons? One would expect a politician of her experience to have some understanding of procedure and how these matters are processed here. One is reluctantly brought to the conclusion that she is playing to a particular gallery which is tantamount to a National Front-type mentality. In my view, it would be better if the Prime Minister were more statesmanlike in her approach to Anglo-Irish relations rather than succumbing to hasty kneejerk reactions which inflamed so many consciences over here.
All those Anglo-Irish difficulties follow a fashion. We ought to redouble our energies to find new ways and new paths, not just towards a solution to the underlying problem — which indeed is very difficult but a fresh approach, a new voice. Any action designed to improve living and  working conditions must be pursued and followed through.
One of the things that I can never understand about Northern Ireland politicians is how they are content to put up with the status quo and are not prepared to talk to anyone and everyone about the problems. I think new approaches are necessary and we should seek to improve the prospects of peace and harmony. I hope we can get in the coming year some progress on that delicate problem.
I have listened to Senator Robb not just today but last week and I read his speech on the Northern Ireland and Anglo-Irish relations motion at column 826 of Volume 121 of the Official Report of the Seanad debates. We are particularly fortunate in this House in having a colleague who can come down and contribute to these important debates and relay at first-hand the views o the Unionist tradition from Northern Ireland. This indeed, with the Forum and in all the discussions for the past 50 years has been the missing dimension.
I think the leadership in Northern Ireland have a great deal to answer for in not putting forward their views. I believe that you a Chathaoirligh, should offer this humble House as a forum in which all elected representatives in Northern Ireland could express their views so that together we may search for some small improvement that will be meaningful in improving the situation of the lives of ordinary people in Northern Ireland.
Mr. McDonald: If politicians are not prepared to do that, if they take the traditional stance of “not an inch”, then let us look to the private sector, to the powerful industrialists there who are so successful, so astute, so able and who have a stake in their country and who operate from their country right across the world, and invite them down to make a case to see how we can improve the situations in this area. In the contributions I have just mentioned, and in reading through the  debates in the Dáil I find many noteworthy ideas were put forward in the last couple of weeks.
I have the honour or the obligation as a visitor to the prison in Portlaoise, purely from a humanitarian point of view, of visiting the prisoners or the inmates there. This is a voluntary task and I take it extremely seriously. It is a sad role but my humble input is solely on a humanitarian basis, as I have said. I cannot say I have had conversations with all of the prisoners there because there is a military-type structure and one can only speak with the spokeman. I asked last week would they give me a few paragraphs on their long-term aspirations and views of the problem, thinking of the debates that are ongoing in the House. With your permission, a Chathaoirligh, I would like just to read, without comment, a short quotation from what the prisoners wrote to me. I think it is unusual. I am doing it solely to contrast the opposing views on this whole question. Unless we explore these views I think we cannot go anywhere. With the permission of the House, I will read this quotation on the record. It is from the spokesman of the Republican Prisoners in Portlaoise jail. It reads as follows:
We as Republican prisoners recognise that a lasting peace will only come about by the resolute action of all politicians in Ireland. We believe that nationalists of all hues need to sort out what their attitude should be on the questions of unity and on what future arrangements are needed for the governing of Ireland. The proposition of “Unity by Consent” is one that has become the accepted form of demand from Constitutional Nationalist politicians. We, however, believe that many politicians use this phase without explaining what it entails. There are a number of questions which need to be addressed by all politicians who support the idea of “Unity by Consent.”
What does it mean? Is it 50% of the vote in the North plus one vote? Is it a Nationalist majority in the North? Is it 50 per cent of the Unionist vote plus  one vote? Some other issues also arise about the question of consent. Is unity to be dependent solely on the wishes of the people of six counties of Ireland? Are the wishes of the remainder of the Nation to be ignored? If it is legitimate for a minority part of the nation to agree to unity, is it also acceptable for them to withdraw that consent at some later date? Does any minority group have the right to force its wishes on the remainder of the Nation? We believe that consent should not entail the same sort of sectarian head count which led to the setting up of the northern statelet and the injustice of the partition of Ireland.
We feel that all Nationalist politicians should first recognise that the factor which distorts relations here is the British presence. To portray the problem as the inability of two communities to live together is to imply that there is some basic flaw in the Irish character. That is a racist implication more suitable to some sections of the British tabloid Press. Politicians should call for an end to the distorting factor, the British presence, and then sit down with representatives of all shades of opinion to sort out structures for the governing of Ireland, free from foreign interference. This should include all Irish people regardless of their religious or political persuasions. Republicans have always stated that they will accept the wishes of the Irish people in such a situation.
The Irish Republican Army has stated on numerous occasions that the removal of the British presence would remove the need for armed struggle. We do have a particular view of the type of Ireland we would like to see emerging from any settlement. This is a legitimate political position for us to place before the Irish people and does not threaten other political positions which may be put forward. We believe that all Irish people would accept the arrangements agreed in such a statement.
The failure of politicians to address  these issues has led to the present situation of ongoing conflict. Many so-called solutions have been tried, and have failed. To date every one of them has ignored the central issue of Britain's role in Ireland. We feel it is time for all politicians to face that issue and attempt to break the political impasse which continues to be the cause of suffering and strife in our country.
I will not comment on that quotation one way or another. What I have tried to do here is to draw a comparison between the differing views. I believe it is most important for this House to hear at first hand the views, projections, hopes, aspirations and the wishes for our country from all shades of political opinion. Could we not offer our House here as a forum to which people from Northern Ireland could come to enlighten us on their apprehensions and anxieties? Only through contact and discussion can we hope to recognise a common ground.
Is there any elected person from the Six Counties who would respond to such an invitation? I think there must be and I think we should endeavour to make it easy for them. I, like many of my colleagues, have spent a lifetime in public life — it is 30 years since I was first elected to Laois County Council — and all of that time has gone towards improving living and working conditions, even trying to improve facilities to expand the industrial base. We have not got a direct input but we are nevertheless in a position to play a helpful role.
Many people have attacked the British tabloid press this week. I would ask: how is it that the Irish media escape? If my understanding of Northern Ireland was confined to the Irish media; if I were just to sit back and look at television every night, all I see on Irish television regarding the North of Ireland are bombings, police barracks, road blocks, kneecapping — all bad news. I think the same kind of reporting is common to the Irish daily papers. Everything emanating from Northern Ireland is bad news. Surely there must be another side to it. When  has anybody here read a piece of business news coming from Northern Ireland?
I should just like to suggest that we take a fresh approach in the coming year in 1989. I think it is legitimate for this House to ask Radio Telefís Éireann to get the people they employ in Northern Ireland to look for the better things, the brighter things, and highlight areas people might like to visit in Northern Ireland. Let us try to improve our tourist trade between the two parts of the island. Let us take a positive approach. It is one thing to hand out the invective and at the same time to feel quite nervous about even associating with people from Northern Ireland.
An Cathaoirleach: Far be it from me to correct you, with your length of service as Cathaoirleach but I think you are swinging over to the Anglo-Irish debate. I can see how it is easy to get the two confused but we are on the extradition debate.
Mr. McDonald: You are very kind and I bow to your ruling, of course. I would just like to say that in this very important debate — and I apologise to the House for allowing myself to be side-tracked — we must agree in the Oireachtas on the rule of law, and must be able freely to implement the legislation under which we, as free citizens, hope to live. When we do that it is incumbent upon us to support that legislation. I believe that it is hardly acceptable for us to vote in a piece of legislation and then, if the shoe begins to pinch near at home, to just change our minds. That is not on — we must be able to take the good days with the bad days because what is at stake here is the freedom of our country. Every time I visit Portlaoise it is very trying and regrettable to see people, fine specimens of manhood, caught in the situation they are in. We must try to have sympathy and understanding for them. Yet we must face the fact that we have a problem here and we can only look for, perhaps, ways of improving the position and devote all our energies to seeking a solution. That can only come about with give and take  and by goodwill and by perhaps, going out of our way to live the Christian lives to which we all readily give lip service. I am glad to have had an opportunity to make a small contribution to this debate and I wish the Minister success in implementing the legislation.
Mr. Mooney: We are back in the House after 12 months debating an issue that is always fraught with emotion, particularly so at the present moment. It is ironic that we should be asked to express a view at this time about the working of the extradition safeguards over a 12 month period when the only precedent on which to base one's view is still a matter for decision. Consequently, I see little justification for changing my position as stated in last year's debate in welcoming the safeguards and wishing them to continue and in that context supporting the motion before the House.
For the benefit of the House I will reiterate my position briefly as follows. I support the role of the Attorney General in the extradition process between the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom. I believe that the extradition process should not be a source of continuing debate between this country and the United Kingdom and that, once the Attorney General is satisfied on the basis of the information supplied, the process should be exclusively a judicial one. Within the context of the motion before the House I wish to direct my remarks to the serious deterioration in relations between us and our nearest neighbour over the extradition request currently before the Attorney General. This deterioration has come about because the British Prime Minister has repeatedly stated that she and her Government believe that the Government and people of the Republic of Ireland are responsible for allowing an alleged terrorist to escape from police custody.
She has stated that this Government and, by implication, the Irish people are soft on terrorism. I am glad that my distinguished colleague Senator Professor John A. Murphy has addressed himself to that absurd and offensive remark by  putting the issue in its proper context. Indeed, I share his admiration for the dignified and restrained posture adopted by the Taoiseach in recent days and I admired Senator Murphy's linkage of the Taoiseach's statesmanship with that of Mr. de Valera and, even more impressively, in the last century that of Charles Stuart Parnell — surely leaders of immense stature whose priority at all times was the maintenance of Irish sovereignty and independence.
It is interesting to note that Mrs. Thatcher's objections were centred on what she saw as spurious reasons for failing to process the extradition request recently served, that of substantial if legally technical flaws in the paper-work. Such an attitude reinforces my position as stated in this debate last year when I welcomed the purpose of the safeguards as expounded by the Minister for Justice. He said then that it was intended to eliminate as far as possible the opportunity for requests being refused on technical grounds. I stated then, and am pleased to restate, that my confidence rests more with the Minister for Justice here than with the Prime Minister of Great Britain. Her undiplomatic hectoring in the House of Commons last week and her subsequent justification for her most extraordinary behaviour only reinforces the view that Mrs. Thatcher and her Government are quite prepared to set aside civil and judicial liberties in their single-minded pursuit of the defeat of terrorism.
I might at this juncture quote from the parliamentary debates of the House of Commons Standing Committee H on the Criminal Justice Bill in which Mr. Chris Patten for the Government, a former Northern Ireland Minister, spoke about extradition — and perhaps this in a way shows how some members of the British Government have a clearer view of the extradition process than the leader of the British Government. Mr. Patten said:
The Government wish to move away from having a pretrial process on the facts of the case here. We propose that the Government take to themselves, if the Bill is enacted, the power to say  that if countries in whose legal system we have confidence — say France, Germany or the Netherlands — are prepared to say that they think a person should face a fair trial under the law of their country, provided all the circumstances set out in Part I of the Bill are met, the court will then be in a position to decide that extradition should take place...
It is important because of public understanding of the Bill, to say that that does not mean us and the Justice Ministry of another country getting together and spiriting away a fugitive. That parodies our position. Imagine my telephone ringing and my saying, “Hello Hans” or “Hello Jean-Paul. Yes, of course, we'll get old so and so back to you straight away” to the Hague or somewhere else. It is simply not like that. The proposal is based on a straightforward judicial process when we are satisifed with conditions of justice in the requesting state.
Perhaps Mr. Patten might send that to his leader the next time she talks about extradition processes between Britain and Ireland. These safeguards are now coming into their own. One hopes that when the current extradition request has been processed there will be general satisfaction with the workings of the safeguards to ensure that the rights of the citizen are fully protected.
I now wish to turn to the main objections raised by the Opposition and, indeed, by the British Government — strange bedfellows — that the process is too politicised as a result of the obligation placed on the Attorney General to satisfy himself that there is a case to answer. Again, I wish to remind the House, as I did last year, that in Britain if the provisions of the new Criminal Justice Bill become law the ultimate decision to extradite from the United Kingdom will rest with the Secretary of State for Home Affairs, the Home Secretary, Mr. Douglas Hurd, who only has to make an order in council to agree to an extradition. It is interesting that in a recent  debate in the United Kingdom on extradition several members of the House of Commons expressed concern at the system of justice in Sweden, due to a celebrated case in that country concerning a United Kingdom citizen. The Minister replying to that debate — again Mr. Patten — stated that “We need a prima facie requirement to ensure that anyone extradited back to Sweden to face justice will get a decent trial.”
What cheek for anybody in Britain to suggest that because we wish to operate the same standards and safeguards in relation to extraditing Irish nationals to Great Britain it is somehow flawed, incorrect or wrong. In other words, it is all right for the British to complain about other systems of justice but it is somehow not right for the former colonials to get out of their place.
It is important to keep in mind that while the United Kingdom accepts the principle of extradition it is a very selective acceptance as the above quotation has proven. The removal of the prima facie requirement applies only to those countries in whom the United Kingdom has full confidence in their systems of justice. It is, therefore, unacceptable for the United Kingdom to point the finger at the Republic of Ireland and to say we should not think twice about extraditing our nationals to the United Kingdom while there is widespread concern at the manner in which Irish citizens are treated in British courts.
I am now of the opinion that Irish nationals whose extradition is requested by the United Kingdom on conspiracy charges for terrorist, or terrorist related, offences should have that request refused. I have witnessed at first hand the results of such charges being laid before Irish citizens. I refer to the three Irish people, Martina Shanahan, John McCann and Finbar Cullen. Here was a case that had all the classic hallmarks of pre-trial prejudice, followed by the most outrageous contempt of the judicial process during the trial itself. The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, himself, the alleged victim of the charges before the court, stated that a prisoner's right  to silence would be removed initially in Northern Ireland and that experience had shown that such right to silence had been abused by members of terrorist organisations. From that very moment I believe the chance of a fair trial, not to talk of an acquittal, completely disappeared for the three people concerned. We all know the outcome — 20 years each — sentences of such severity that even the British legal profession sucked in its breath.
Mr. Mooney: Thank you. May I say that in that context, and indeed generally speaking, I do not wish to act as an apologist for terrorism, terrorists, or for people who are involved in terrorist or terrorist related offences. My position on these matters is perfectly clear. I have stated it several times both inside this House and outside. I am making the point that Irish citizens who are arrested and charged on “catch all” conspiracy charges are in serious difficulties when it comes to allowing a British jury, with the very best of intentions, to make up their minds to hypothesise and to speculate on items of circumstantial evidence placed before them.
Experience has shown that in those circumstances Irish citizens have little chance of an acquittal. I do not think anybody would argue that the three people I am referring to were not up to no good. I do not think anybody would argue, least of all myself, that they were not guilty of something. As was pointed out at the trial, it was a very mighty mental leap to suggest that they were up to no good and then go on to suggest that they were actually conspiring to murder the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Mr. Tom King. At least two members of that jury believed the defence case.
It is interesting that Mr. Tom King in making his statement at the time knew what he was doing. It is revealing to learn that when the question was put to him as to the impact of the statement on the trial currently before the courts he replied to  the journalist from The Irish Times who asked the question words to the effect that he knew of the trial. He drew attention in a jocose way to the similarity of her name with that of Miss Shanahan.
Such prejudicial and provocative behaviour only inflames passions not only in Ireland but among civil libertarians in the United Kingdom who themselves are battling against creeping totalitarianism. Are we in all honesty going to accede to extradition on each and every occasion to such a jurisdiction? To paraphrase the British Judge, Lord Bridge, in his notorious summing up in the Birmingham Six case, it would be an appalling vista to contemplate this sovereign, independent country handling over Irish nationals to such a system on the general charge of conspiracy and to allow the baying mobs, led by the gutter press, aided and abetted now by senior Government Ministers in Britain, unfortunately with their prejudice and anti-Irish bias, have these people convicted before the due process is allowed to debate the merits of the case. However, in conspiracy charges as they apply to Irish citizens and terrorist or terrorist related offences, I honestly believe that a British jury, no matter how honest it is or how objective it may attempt to be, cannot but be influenced by the bombs, the bullets and the mayhem that has been an integral part of the IRA's policy both in Britain and Northern Ireland over the last 20 years. They bear as heavy a responsibility for what happens to Irish people in British courts as the effects of the British judicial system itself.
Mr. Mooney: So long as the IRA continue with their campaign of violence, so long as British citizens are terrorised in their own country, then the chances of any Irish citizen receiving a trial of objectivity and fairness must be viewed with lurking doubt by all of us. I do not wish to take away from the serious and genuine concerns that are constantly expressed by both Irish and British people about the manner in which Irish nationals have  been treated in British courts and to plant all the blame on one side. What I am saying is that the matter is not a simple one. It is not enough to say that an Irish person sent to Britain will not receive a fair trial. I witnessed trials in Britain. I saw how the process itself is fair; but when the charges are laid before the court and when the circumstantial evidence is so thin on the ground, coupled with the gutter press and the inherent anti-Irish bias in the British establishment — not today or yesterday or in the past 20 years but going back over many generations — then in the present climate it is difficult, if not impossible, for the outcome to be fair.
I heard Senator Murphy say earlier that we in the South fail to compliment British judges or juries who acquit Irish people. For Senator Murphy's information I applaud the two English jurors who refused to be influenced by the judge in the Winchester trial when he saw that the jury on the last day were on the point of a mistrial, when the rumour and speculation was that the three Irish people would be excluded from Britain and put on a plane back home. He urged them to look at their obligations as jurors and within 30 minutes they had returned for a majority verdict that resulted in the sentence of 25 years.
I also applaud judges who have acquitted in supergrass trials — another reference to Senator Murphy. I would remind Senator Murphy and others that the British have moved the goalposts yet again. With the abolition of the right to silence, supergrass trials may once again become a feature of Northern judicial life.
I wish to record my support for the continuance of the safeguards. Nothing in the Opposition approach has convinced me that their arguments hold up. There will always be a political dimension to extradition requests between this country and the United Kingdom. I would much prefer to place my confidence in the Irish Attorney General of the day assessing the information before acceding to the continuance of the legal  process in the absence of a prima facie requirement.
The Irish people continue to live up to their reputation as good Europeans. All of our European Community neighbours are moving towards the removal of the prima facie requirement among friendly states within the Community. I wish such progress could be made with our nearest neighbour, but while they continue to treat Irish people as they have down through the years, while Britain remains at the top of the league of European countries responsible for more human right abuses than any other, and ultimately while they remain in this country, they will have to live with the wishes of the Irish people as expressed by the Irish Parliament.
I wish we could come back to a renewal or a look at this legislation at a later date in the light of more experience of the working of the safeguards. It is ironic that we are debating this in something of a vacuum. The people who have come before the Irish courts in the past 12 months on extradition requests have done so under the 1965 Act. That is unfortunate. There is one such gentleman in a former elected MP, Owen Carron who was before the courts here under the 1965 Act — whose case is being watched with great interest by those of us who believe that he has been set up by the Northern authorities, who only wish to have him back to intimidate him and to treat him in the abominable way in which he was treated when he was arrested.
The case of Fr. Ryan is the case that is now in the headlines. We will have to await the outcome of that case. I believe, whatever the outcome, that it will be generally accepted by the vast majority of right-thinking people in this country and abroad. Again, I reiterate that it would be more acceptable in parliamentary terms and in legislative terms if those of us in this House had an opportunity at some future date of reviewing the more active workings of the safeguards.
Mr. Mooney: I place my confidence in this Administration. I place my confidence in the Leader of this Administration, the leader of this country who, in the past seven days has wiped away any doubts that his opponents may have had about how he would handle himself on the international stage. He has grown in stature as a statesman in the de Valera-Parnell chain of links, as Senator Murphy said earlier.
Mr. Mooney: I wish to put on record that I believe that the actions of the Taoiseach in the past few days have received overwhelming support in this country. I concede that the doubts expressed by members of the Opposition are on separate issues and that they, too, concede that his attitude, bearing and behaviour over the last few days, particularly in Rhodes, was generally acceptable to the vast majority of the Irish people. It is in that context that I believe that the safeguards referred to are in safe hands. Despite any small doubts that I may have as expressed about the lack of opportunity in the future to look at it legislatively. I place my full and complete confidence in this Administration and, I might add, in any future Irish Administration to protect the interests of the Irish people.
Mr. Ross: Following that eulogy of the Taoiseach, maybe I could redress the balance in this House a little from the Independent benches? I do not disagree with all of what Senator Mooney said, although I disagree with most of it. I disagree with the tone and the emphasis of what he says, and the repetition, because it is merely a repetition of what he said in this House in many speeches. I understand, and I think many other people in this House understand, the difficulties which Senator Mooney spoke about so articulately when he made the  case against extradition of any kind. I wonder which side he will vote on this evening.
Having said that I know, as one who with Senator Murphy and Senator Robb introduced a motion in here in 1982 on extradition, the real difficulties which members of the Government in particular have with this issue. There is no point in us saying, on either side, that it is cut and dried. There is no point in us saying that it is purely a matter of evidence. It is not. It is emotive. It is taboo, and it is difficult. It is a particular issue which is embedded in history. One only has to talk to people privately, rather than publicly, to hear their real opinions and to hear the real difficulties which they have.
It is no coincidence that this is the third year in a row in this House at about the same time of year, that we are actually debating this issue. The Coalition had certain difficulties with it. The present Government had difficulties with it last year, and are having difficulties with it again this year. I should remind the House that before Enniskillen it was generally believed that the Extradition Act, as it is now constituted, would not be ratified and would not be put through either House. At that time the leaks from the Government and the interviews given by Cabinet Ministers led everyone to believe that the Diplock courts in Northern Ireland were the stumbling block and that the Government were making serious representations to the British Government about the Diplock courts and their unfairness. After Enniskillen that disappeared. Because of that great tragedy it would have been impossible not to introduce some sort of extradition.
Now we have — and I do not doubt for one moment the legitimate fears of people like Senator Mooney and others in this House — the prime reason against extradition being the celebrated cases of Irish people in British courts. What I would like to emphasise here is that since 1982 when all parties voted against our motion on extradition, when it was then put to us that there were legal obstacles — and they were removed by Justice  O'Higgins — there have been a series of different reasons put up for why we should not extradite people to Britain. Those lines of defence have collapsed, one by one. As each one collapses, another one is erected by the Government. It is done, I do not doubt, with a certain amount of genuine feeling and dislike, but it is strange and there is always another reason. There is always a further reason.
Having said that I think I should put it on record that I deplore, with the rest of this House, the attitude of the British Government and, in particular, the British Prime Minister last week. There is no doubt that in the argument on the international stage, the behaviour and the posture of the Taoiseach was dignified and that he won the argument, and that she continuously treated this country as though it was an annoyance and not an independent country. We should not certainly allow her to interfere or to dictate in the internal legislation of this country. That goes without saying and I think with that both Houses are unanimously in agreement.
Having said that, while we expect that she should understand our sensitivities about British interference in our legislation and in our law, we also should understand some of the reasons why she feels this irritation. It seems that too often from positions of ignorance and emotion we complain about the Birmingham Six, the Guildford Four, the Maguires and now the Winchester Three.
I would like to put on record that I do not believe for one moment that all these people — leaving out the Winchester Three for the moment — are automatically innocent of the crimes for which they are charged. It seems that all you have to be is an Irish person in Britain charged with a terrorist crime for politicians on all sides here to throw up their hands and call “foul”. This is completely wrong. We have to understand that the British have put up with a bombing campaign by the IRA. We have to understand that they will make arrests. We have to understand also that the same attitude is  not taken to terrorism in any country, let alone our own, and the same rules of evidence do not apply to terrorism in this country as they do to ordinary civil unrest. We have a Special Criminal Court set up specifically to deal with terrorist offences. The British, maybe, deliver harsh judgments to those who are convicted of such offences, but we should understand the reasons why those judgments are given.
In that particular context I would like to point out a particular case. While we continuously mention the celebrated cases which I have already mentioned, while they stir up emotion in this country and while undoubtedly the majority of people in this country believe that those people in all cases are innocent, I wonder why we never mention, for instance, the case of Mr. Adrian Hopkins and other Irishmen who have been arrested in French waters and are being held in a jail in Paris.
I do not pronounce, as many Members of this House do so often, people innocent before their trials. I do not pronounce them guilty either. What I do say is this: Mr. Hopkins and his colleagues have been held without trial in France for over a year. Not only that, they have been held there for over a year and they have no idea when they are going to stand trial. I think they have the right to a presumption of innocence, but I do not hear people here screaming that these people have not been brought to trial for over a year. I wonder why?
Under our system of justice and under our preconceptions about justice, surely these people would be entitled to be charged and to know what they are charged with within at least a year or a reasonable time, but they are completely and utterly in the dark. The French operate a very different system of justice from what we do. I suspect we should allow them to do that, and let it be. What I contend is this: rightly or wrongly it is because these people are not in British jails that there is no fuss about them. Last year we had a debate on a similar issue in this House. Senator Mooney, I think I would be right in saying, was one of  those who complained not only at the conditions of those people charged in Winchester but at the length of time they had been in prison without trial. I never heard Senator Mooney mention a word about those who were arrested on the Eksund.
Mr. Mooney: I am very reluctant to interrupt my colleague, Senator Ross, but on a point of information I responded to direct representations in relation to the Martina Shanahan case. In fact, it was specifically Martina Shanahan rather than the other two because of the conditions under which she was held. That is just on a point of information.
Mr. Ross: I was perfectly happy for Senator Mooney to interrupt because it was enlightening. Senator Mooney would surely have spoken as well about the Biringham Six. I have heard him myself. I do not know whether he got specific representations on that.
Mr. Ross: I will try not to invite interruptions. Let me continue to say that we also encourage this attitude, rightly or wrongly, by our continuous sending of representatives of the Government to terrorist trials overseas. I do not beleive this is done with ill motivation or with the wrong motivations, but I feel it is foolish. The fact that the Government and the Fianna Fáil Party had representatives at the Gibraltar tribunal inquest is bound to be misinterpreted overseas. It is bound to be seen and interpreted overseas by the British and foreign press as in some way standing in solidarity behind these three citizens. What right have we got to continually send people to these trials? Because those three people, whatever way they were treated and whatever happened to them, were members of terrorist organisations.
I attended, as did Senator Mooney, the appeal of the Birmingham Six. The Irish Ambassador was sent there as an observer every single day. Again, it is done with motivation that cannot be questioned, but the response to that is that we are standing behind these people. What we are then led to believe by the press is that in some way we give legitimacy and support to their particular appeal and case. That is something which I am afraid, is a major irritant to the British Government. It appears to them that we are questioning the way that their courts operate.
An Leas-Chathaoirleach: Order, order. You must resume your seat. You had every opportunity of making your own speech without interruption. Please afford the same courtesy to every other speaker in the House.
There has been in this debate a certain amount of suggestion that instead of the Extradition Act being implemented and used because of its being impracticable that somehow the Criminal Law Jurisdiction Act should be used. Indeed, many of the members of the Government party and many backbenchers have expressed this view. Indeed, I think the Taoiseach said this himself. We have to tackle the issue of extradition head on and decide how it is going to work and whether it is right. The Criminal Law Jurisdiction Act would be and is a cop-out. It ought to be buried. The Criminal Law Jurisdiction Act was introduced as a result of Sunningdale and was introduced as a compromise by the law enforcement commission in 1976.
It was a compromise because those on the Irish side of that debate believed genuinely that extradition could not be allowed because of the Constitution. That particular obstacle has now been, by the Supreme Court, finally removed. Whereas the Criminal Law Jurisdiction Act was a neat compromise and looked like it might possibly work, there has been since 1976 a negligible number of convictions under that Act. That Act has been seen not to work. It has not been an effective means of countering terrorism. For us to go back now and say that extradition is not working and that we have to  use that particular Act would be dishonest and would be hiding behind the Act and avoiding the issue. We have to make extradition work. We have to make this Act work and it has to be seen to be working.
I do not believe that the Act introduced last year was a particularly good or workable one. I agree with the Fine Gael amendment which asks for a further review in a year's time. The Act has not been tested to its full extent at the moment and, indeed, the present case is the first real thorny, difficult case for this Act. It would seem that after the Father Ryan case has been heard it would be a more sensible time for us to see whether this Act is working.
I will conclude by saying that the Act puts the Attorney General in a totally invidious position because whatever we think of the present Attorney General — I think he is a man of the highest calibre and integrity and I have no reason to believe anything else — this Attorney General, the last Attorney General, Mr. Rogers, the Attorney General before, Mr. Sutherland, Deputy John Kelly, were all political appointments and we should never lose sight of that. Whereas they are excellent lawyers and men of great integrity, they owe their position to their loyalty to a political party. That is unfortunate but it is true: their appointment and their allegiance is owed to a political party. Once they get the office they have to shed these clothes and say their allegiance now is to the office and to nothing else and their past allegiance to a political party is gone. That is unrealistic. It is asking too much of someone and whereas they are men of great integrity the Act is flawed because it asks one who is a political appointment to make a totally non-political decision.
Mr. Ross: I do not think it is fair to any Attorney General to make a decision of  this sort. Whatever decision he comes to, it will be interpreted on one side or the other of the Irish Sea as political. The real flaw in the Act is that Father Ryan is only the precursor of many cases of this sort; we will have many more cases, if we try to work this Act, of extradition warrants being issued for people with a high profile, where we will have to wait ten days and where politicians on both sides of the Irish Sea, whether willingly or unwillingly, will bring pressure to bear on the Attorney General. That is the difficulty with this Act and that is why I do not think it will work in the long term.
An Leas-Chathaoirleach: How many speakers are offering? There are Senators Harte, Brendan Ryan, Eogan, McGowan, Hillery and O'Toole. That is a matter entirely for the House. The Chair will be calling the Minister at 6.45 p.m. so there is three-quarters of an hour left.
Mr. B. Ryan: I have no objection to the suggestion. My understanding of the original proposal was that if the debate so demanded at 6.30 p.m. we would allow those people remaining who had not spoken to speak.
Mr. B. Ryan: The Minister is now speaking at 6.45 p.m. If it was only for three minutes, I would like Members of the House to be allowed to say something if they have something to say. It is a rather important issue. I have no objection to a ten minute or, indeed a seven minute time limit, but what I do want is some attempt to make sure, as was  originally guaranteed, that all of us who have something to say would have an opportunity to do so, however brief. Have we changed that as well?
Mr. McGowan: I support the motion with conviction. I know it is improper to refer to other Senators but the previous speaker said he knows the difficulties the Government have with extradition and he is probably right but I wonder what kind of a Government would not have some difficulties with extradition? It is a problem we have but our concern here is to be clear about our intentions and clear about our support for those who are elected to legislate.
When the Minister for Foreign Affairs makes a statement it is right and proper that he has the support of his own political party. That is my simplistic outlook and belief. I know that it is the duty of an Opposition where they find it necessary and when they find it politically convenient to oppose the Government of the day and that is taken for granted.
Few people come from an area which is more affected by the troubles of the North and everything that comes from it than I do. Over the years in Donegal many people have emigrated and this problem has caused serious difficulties in my part of the country. The troubles in the North are costing the taxpayers of this country about £1 million a day and coming from a region where unemployment is above 30 per cent, one does not need to be a great mathematician to calculate what that could do if it was  directed towards economic development in this country.
I will not refer to any specific case because that would not be helpful. The reason some cases were highlighted here is that there has been an absolutely crystal clear miscarriage of justice. Most people in Europe are aware of the difficulties of the British Government. Internment did not work. The British Government tried to bring in internment within the law and they have not found it possible. The impression Europeans have is that Britain failed in the effort they made regarding internment. They had to stop internment without trial but now they have a form of it. Therefore, it is not safe to remove the safeguards. It is wise to put them in place permanently.
If I had any reservations they would be simply that the safeguards now in place may not be enough and as we go forward in the light of experience these safeguards should be looked at again and stronger safeguards may have to be added. I come from an area that is very troubled about the consequences of what is happening in the North of Ireland.
We have to act as responsible Europeans. I do not think we have a problem with that. We will honour legislative commitments entered into with all European countries and we can do this very easily with Britain. We have had close ties with Britain over the years. At present we are less dependent on Britain for trade and commerce than we were in the past. Nevertheless all of us would wish to have very close ties and good relations with the British people.
Sooner or later the elected representatives in England will have to be courageous enough to realise that this is a problem which will have to be taken seriously by them if they are to avoid an on-going hassle that will last not only for the next 20 years but for the foreseeable future.
I have a book entitled “Towards An Island That Works Facing Divisions In Ireland”. It was put together by eminent churchmen. The headings are: Changes in the South; Social and Economic  Changes; Changes in the Catholic Church; The Experience of Southern Protestants; Changes in the South's Attitude towards Britain; Southern Attitudes Towards the North; Changes in Political Policies of the South Towards the North; The Covenant Community. Those are headings in a church document which is well intended but it is directed entirely towards the people in the South. The attitude of the people in the South has been very tolerant. This country has faced up well to the volcano that has been smouldering on our doorstep. I could not describe it any differently. I do not accept that our attitude has inflamed the passions of those living in the North who want to be rid of British rule. The eminent churchmen who wrote this book said under the heading: The Credibility Of The South In Dealing With The North: As we know, a small group of people in the South believe that a United Ireland should be imposed on the North. This is clearly the intention of those who support the IRA. It is rejected by the vast majority of people in the South, as it should be. The more difficult question to answer is, how credible are Southern efforts to show a constructive concern for the North? And why are people in the South concerned about the North in the first place?
The real difficulty is to prevent a small section of people who are committed to supporting the Provisional IRA from misleading public opinion in the South. They are trying to put the message across that if this amendment was not accepted there would be no extradition. The message must go out loud and clear that if those safeguards were not implemented we would have an open forum to extradite people without any protection. It is wise to have those protections in the legislation.
Mr. Harte: The reason the Labour Party have taken the position they have taken is that we are being asked to confirm this Act. The purpose of the one year delay in the original Act was to ensure that when we came to review it we could do so in the light of experience  of its operation. However, every extradition warrant, with almost no exception, issued in the past year was issued under the 1965 Act. The fact is that we have not had an opportunity to assess realistically whether the safeguards written into the 1987 Act are effective because up to now they have never been used. There is no doubt that we will get an opportunity to assess how the Act works in the next few days. It would have been better to defer this debate until such time as that matter was dealt with because it will be dealt with, I understand, under the 1987 Act. It is only when we have had experience of its operation that we will be in a position to judge it.
I do not want to repeat what everyone else has said but the fact is that it is no longer possible for an Irish person to get a fair trial in England. When we hear of people like Lord Scarman and Lord Devlin having reached the conclusion that the judges in the British Court of Appeal misunderstood the law in the case of the Gildford Four, we must come to the conclusion that there is something fundamentally unfair about the way Irish people have been treated. That does not mean to say that we share platforms with these people or that we would break bread with them but when prominent people make statements like that you have to start thinking about it.
There was, of course, a lot of emotion about the Birmingham Six and other cases. I agree with the Taoiseach that as long as the British remain in Northern Ireland we will always have problems. We will have problems with extradition and that is one of the reasons we brought in this Act. We should have taken time to see exactly how it worked instead of bringing it back almost a year to the day when we had no experience of its operation.
We do not want to support ruthless fanatics outside the law who are giving Britain a hard time. We do not want Britain to stop fighting off the attacks. We want them to be involved in the suppression of terrorism but nevertheless there are things we have to bear in mind. We must believe in the jury system. What  we need most is that decisions will be made not within the political arena but openly in the courts.
Up to now, I have not expressed my feelings about the case of the Four or the Birmingham Six but having listened to these prominent people, Lord Scarman and Lord Devlin, I am a little shattered. Anybody who is now suspected of being a terrorist is likely to get themselves into a very dangerous situation. Our laws are based on a freedom which was very hard earned. It is up to us to protect it in every way and to protect every citizen whether we agree with what they are doing or not. We must remember that if we hand them over to be tried by somebody else they may not get a fair trial. Lord Scarman tried to assure readers of The Irish Times that there were no grounds for fearing British justice. Yet, he expressed grave misgivings in The Times to British readers. I do not know if he is schizophrenic but he is a prominent person. We should have regard to these facts particularly if he takes issue with his own Court of Appeal.
However, we must have regard to the other side of the coin which is that when the Birmingham Six took their civil action, Lord Denning was not too fussy whether they were beaten up. The nub of his comments was that it was irrelevant whether they were beaten up, whether they were assaulted or how they gave their confessions. As far as he was concerned the only thing that was relevant at that time was that confidence in the British police would not be undermined. In other words, it did not matter whether justice was done: it would not have been good to have justice done if it undermined the whole British system. That is why we have to be very careful with regard to extradition. That was a notorious remark Lord Denning made and any right-thinking person must pay attention to that sort of an attitude. We have to link it in with the fact that we are debating the safeguards in the extradition Act. It has been decided on by the Dáil and we are hoping that there may be a change of heart about it in this House.
As regards those who were shot in  Gibraltar I know that there are two attitudes to that. There is an attitude, for example, that if a few of the UDA came here and blew up a couple of houses in Castleknock many people would not be too fussy whether they got back over the Border. Let us be realistic about this. On the other hand, our job is to deal objectively with the law and with every citizen under the law. We must give them their rights under the law whether we agree with their political stand or not. It does not matter how we feel or how we think some of the public might feel; that is our job and that is why we are bound to make sure that when we extradite a person there is a real case to be answered. The best way to do that is to bring them before the court rather than place them in the political arena.
I will not say anything about the Attorney General. I am sure he is an independent, neutral man. When we have experience of the operation of the Act we can apply it in a way that will give the greatest protection to our people. Since we do not have that experience at present what are we basing our case on? We have not even tested it. The worst feature of it is that it is not possible to amend it. That is sad. If it had been possible to amend it, there would have been a further debate on it in 12 months time and possibly some amendments made.
It would be going too far too say that nobody will be safe in the hands of British justice. I do not think that is right. I think I heard John Hume saying that the British are wrong in their assessment of extradition as a whole. A substantial number of people have been handed over. We should not be in too much of a panic about the British but we should be more concerned about handing over our people. Our courts must be satisfied that there is a prima facie case to answer before the extradition.
Professor Eogan: As so many words have already been spoken about extradition I can be quite brief on the issue. However, I am quite certain that many more words will be spoken in the future and that is surely due to the fact that we and many people in this country are concerned about the effects of extradition.
I am aware of the fact that we are dealing with a specific issue today. Nevertheless we must remind ourselves that when we talk about extradition we are also talking about the dignity of a human being. Indeed, as the Taoiseach put it succinctly at the weekend, extradition is a matter of human freedom and the rights of individuals. Certainly it is quite normal for states to have treaties or other machinery for inter-state law enforcement. Such arrangements are as old as states themselves. As extradition could be an act of violence against its own citizens, the state must at all times act with care and caution. Certainly states and people have to be careful lest care and hospitality could be replaced by zealousness and intolerance. It is certainly true that many states are concerned with the suppression of terrorism today and, indeed, the fact that such a word is used may indicate that states can go too far in their efforts to bring about what they want to achieve.
Therefore, Governments and their agents should not allow themselves to be carried away. On the contrary, they should ensure that a fair balance is kept between the maintenance of order and the freedom of the individual. Ireland is playing its role in this international problem but there is a certain difficulty  when it comes to one of the main countries we have to deal with and that, of course, is England. Whether it is England or anybody else, international agreements can work only if they are based on equality between the partners based on respect, confidence and, above all, on friendliness between states. Relationships with Britain, unlike some other countries, are at a different level and extradition arrangements with that country must be viewed separately. That, of course, explains why we are debating the motion before us. The fact that the arrangements with England must be used separately is quite obviously due to historical reasons, but also due to certain British attitudes because, from the English point of view, the extradition of an Irish person to Britain is looked upon as a triumph. They have their own self-made code of righteousness and, as a result, some public figures and sections of the media, from the moment the person is arrested and before any charge whatsoever is brought against them, berate and criminalise them. The terminology used is offensive and often quite extreme.
It is vital, therefore, that Ireland should take every possible care with its citizens. We must have as many safeguards as humanly possible and if it is legally possible to do this. Despite demands for the extradition of certain people from Ireland, each of these cases must be looked at independently. Certainly we have our international obligations but we must be robust and not permit unnecessary distractions from our independence of actions or in limiting our response. We must look after the rights of our own people. That must be foremost in our minds.
Mr. B. Ryan: My position is simple and does not need much elaboration. I heard from a succession of people on both sides of the House series of doubts very deeply held about the quality — or indeed the lack of it — of British justice. I have seen in the performance of the British Prime Minister the basis for suspecting the quality of British justice because it is not seen to be a relationship of equals. It is, for instance, true that in the United States a person who has been described as an IRA fugitive has been allowed to apply for political asylum in the United States even though there is an extradition treaty between the United States and the Government of the United Kingdom. That decision by the Judiciary of the United States has not provoked outrage in the British Parliament. It did not provoke anything. It has been accepted, without a single comment, that in the United States a person who is described as being in the IRA can apply for political asylum because of the possibility of political persecution in Northern Ireland. The same British Government which accepts that from a friend and an equal — and indeed a superior in the United States — gives us a lecture when we allow the process of law to operate. It is quite clearly a matter of British perception that there is a difference between us, a small country and an ex-colony, and the United States which, while it is an ex-colony is also a very large and powerful country.
It is, therefore, quite clear that the issue is not the law; the issue is British  perceptions of justice and British perceptions of this country. British perceptions of this country are, as I said last week, of a country which is to behave in a way that will be determined by them and their perceptions. If that is the perception they have of this country, it is quite clear that it is impossible for an Irish person to get a fair trial in the jurisdiction of that Government. It is equally impossible for an Irish citizen to get a fair trial in the Six Counties because of the structure of the Judiciary, the historical traditions of that Judiciary and the operations of the security forces.
It is, therefore, quite clear to me that we cannot guarantee our citizens — or anybody from this island who is extradited to Britain — either a fair trial or indeed the balance that one would expect from Members of Parliament or from a Government about the processes of the law. We are being told that these people are guilty but we will not hand them over when they have judged them and almost effectively sentenced them. We have a written law and a written Constitution and we will not hand them over and, because of that, we are told that somehow we are inferiors.
It is time that we said to the British Government that we do not believe in unlawfulness. We do not believe in illegality and we do not believe in it when it is operated by so-called terrorist organisations or by Governments. If Governments choose to treat the law with contempt, to allow their media to treat the law with contempt and to treat the courts with contempt, that until such time as we can be assured that such a Government is prepared to operate within the law, to stay within the law, and to operate a system of justice that is palpably seen to be just, no Irish citizen should be extradited to that jurisdiction. I do not support extradition to the United Kingdom jurisdiction. I do not believe it can be made safe, I do not believe it can be guaranteed that it will remain safe.
It is astonishing that we would consider extraditing Irish citizens to a country that will not and cannot simply accept the  jurisdiction of the European Court on Human Rights. That complements and supplements all the previous objections I had to extradition. Therefore, to register my disapproval and because I know that extradition without these conditions would be totally unacceptable to Irish public opinion — if this motion were to be defeated a Government would be forced to take political action to make extradition if not impossible, extremely difficult — I will oppose the motion and obviously the amendment which Fine Gael seek to maintain. However, I regard it as a farcical position. Irish people are not safe in British courts. British courts cannot be trusted. They are biased and loaded against us and we should not extradite Irish people to that jurisdiction.
Professor Hillery: I will be extremely brief. I want to refer to two points only. The first is that we in the Republic are serious about fighting crime and international terrorism. This has been illustrated by the fact that we subscribed to the European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism. The second point is that we are seeking the renewal of the safeguards on extradition because we believe that they are both workable and necessary. I will quickly comment on the safeguards.
Today's motion proposes their renewal and there has been extensive support outside the Fianna Fáil Party for that. These safeguards arise because there has been and still is a problem of public confidence in the administration of justice in Northern Ireland. Extradition, especially of one's own citizens, is a very sensitive issue. This is not peculiar to Ireland. It is so regarded in every country and our source of concern is that an extradited person should get a fair trial in the receiving country. We continue to have doubts about the fair trial of Irish people before British courts and we have a duty, therefore, as legislators to respond to these concerns and, consequently, we are continuing the safeguards.
I now want to focus briefly on the duty of politicians here and in the United Kingdom in the context of the motion.  As responsible politicians in the Republic, we are concerned to give a lead towards peaceful political progress in Northern Ireland. Our task is made much more difficult by the provocative, premature comments of the British Prime Minister in respect of one extradition application, that is in the Fr. Ryan case. Indeed the comments on this case from British politicians in the British press confirm our belief that we need to renew the safeguards. In addition, the British need to be constantly reminded that court cases like the Birmingham Six and the Guildford Four may be of peripheral interest in Britain but that they are at the top of our national agenda. It is imperative that the British be sensitive to the impact which such cases have in Ireland.
There is a history of mistrust between our countries and when you add to this trial by the gutter press in Britain, that mistrust is fuelled that much further. British politicians themselves have an obligation to show balance and restraint in what they say and might well give a lead in changing the libel laws to ensure that the highly provocative and dangerous behaviour of the British tabloid press is restrained from doing further damage to Anglo-Irish relations. In deference to the remainder of the debate I will cease there.
Mr. Norris: I welcome the opportunity provided to speak on this Bill. I was in the Dáil Chamber yesterday and heard the Taoiseach, Deputy Haughey. I would like to extend my congratulations to him on the judicious and statesmanlike way in which he placed this legislation in the appropriate context seeking to reduce the temperature which had been exacerbated by the antics of Mrs. Thatcher. I took particular note of the fact that he referred to the possibility of seeking prima facie evidence and suggested that this would need a derogation by us from the European Convention on Terrorism. I hope this will be looked at again. In the light of that, Senator O'Toole and myself have a legislation down, Item No. 13 on the Order Paper, which will require the production of prima facie evidence. We  believe that this is absolutely necessary in the light of the kind of justice that appears to be meted out in English courts.
I wish to say with regard to this aspect of the whole extradition treaty that we have an obligation — the Taoiseach is quite right at the end of his speech where he says we have an obligation to protect people from terrorism and also the rights of the individual citizen — to those citizens when we are required to extradite not to extradite them into a situation where they cannot receive a fair trial. Mrs. Thatcher has been engaging in handbagging, so to speak, her colleagues at Prime Ministerial level, at bashing the unions in Great Britain. It is about time the same Mrs. Thatcher extended these pugnacious tactics to dealing with her own press. I would like to call on her to make the Press Council of Great Britain more rigorous and to ensure, in a way that has not been ensured, that there is proper respect for the sub judice ruling and that clear instances of contempt of court proceedings which occur, apparently with the connivance of senior British politicians, are brought immediately to a half if she has any remaining respect for the concept of British justice.
I would like to end, because I understand we are all constrained by time, simply by referring to the rather extraordinary fact that a Foreign Office official has publicly attacked his own Prime Minister today. A Mr. Patrick Haseldine in The Guardian exposed the hypocritical stance adopted by the Prime Minister of Great Britain with regard to extradition. I hope that this mounting attack upon the arrogant behaviour of somebody who I suppose has got a bit beyond herself because she has been elected on three consecutive occasions puts the arrogant attitude of Mrs. Thatcher in context.
Mr. J. O'Toole: I believe the same gentleman has been suspended from his job in the meantime. In considering the whole area of extradition, I cannot work out in regard to this legislation whether it is a British solution to an Irish problem or an Irish solution to a British problem.  However, I am convinced — and I am sorry that I do not have the time to tease it out — that we are here today about to vote into law legislation which is inoperable, flawed and reactive. It is legislation that will never be properly put into operation and the worst kind of legislation is that which will not and cannot be put into operation.
I agree with the points that are made and that we have a duty to see that people face justice. We have a duty towards the civil rights of our citizens. We also have a duty to be confident that the régime and the realm of justice into which we deliver a citizen or somebody resident in this country should be one in which we have implicit trust.
As I see it at the moment, and I make no bones about it, I do not believe that Irish people on these types of charges are getting a fair trial in Britain and I do not believe that they can get a fair trial in Britain at the moment. That is a very bald statement and I wish I had time to develop it. I certainly agree completely with what the Taoiseach said that the Criminal Law Jurisdiction Act is there to be used. The reason it is not used is that the British legal people do not like what they have to put up with when they come over to Irish courts where they have to establish every line, full stop and comma of their evidence. They do not like the system of cross-examination, they prefer the system where behind closed doors they can swap and agree evidence. We should insist that our system of justice is recognised mutually on both sides of the Irish Sea.
Finally, my views on prima facie are quite clear. It should be done in open court. The Taoiseach was quoted on the front page of The Sunday Times— and people should have a good look at it — about justice being done and being seen to be done. I have the fullest confidence in the Attorney General but in order for people to have trust in legislation and in the workings of justice they should see it happening in open court. As I said at the beginning, this is inopertive, flawed and  reactive. I will be voting against it and I will be supporting the amendments.
Minister of State at the Department of Health (Mr. Leyden): I wish to express my thanks on behalf of the Minister for Justice for the contributions which have been made to the debate here today. The debate ranged beyond the specific terms of the motion before us. Given that, I want to emphasise again that the decision this House faces today is whether the safeguards provided for in the 1987 Act are to be renewed. That is the only purpose of the motion and that will be the single effect. We should not lose sight of that fact.
Turning to some points raised in the debate, Senator Manning mentioned that the advice available to him about the effect of his party's proposed amendment was different from that available to the Government. All I can say is that it seems to me to be fairly clear from reading section 7(4) that there is only one type of resolution possible under it. The section says that the Act shall expire on the day that is 12 months after the date of its passing unless a resolution is passed before that day declaring that it should continue in operation after that day. The resolution must declare that the Act should continue in operation after that day and only that. If it had been the intention of the Oireachtas that renewal of the Act for a limited period should be possible, the section would have been drafted differently. It would have said something like “should continue in operation after that day either indefinitely or for such periods as may be specified in that resolution.” The unequivocal advice of the Attorney General is to that effect and I do not think there can be any reasonable doubt in that matter.
On the question of the situation of the Attorney General under section 2 of the Act, I would like to emphasise that he has to satisfy himself as to the intention to prosecute and that the intention is based on a sufficiency of evidence. These are legal questions, not political ones. In fact, it has been argued that the reaching  of such decisions is a quasi-judicial function. It should by now be clear to everyone that the questions to be resolved by the Attorney General are not political ones and, accordingly, the exertion of political pressure is a totally futile exercise.
Mention has been made of media comment and media speculation as to how long the Attorney General might take to reach a decision and what decision might be reached. People can speculate as much as they like but I would like to put one thing on the record of this House. The Attorney General will determine the question of sufficiency of evidence purely on the question of law and no political consideration will enter into the matter. It follows that any media speculation will not affect his decisions either. Senators need not have any worry on that account.
Some speakers advocated new or additional safeguards. I appreciate that these suggestions were motivated by concern for the protection of the right of persons whose extradition is sought and by an awareness of the need to have sufficient and effective safeguards. Underlying these suggestions was the implication that the safeguards provided by the different Extradition Acts are inadequate. More specifically, there was the implication that, in place of the requirement for the Attorney General to be satisfied that there is a clear intention to prosecute founded on sufficient evidence, provision should be made for a prima facie case to be proved in our courts. This would clearly seem to be the implication in the Labour Party amendment which was ruled out of order.
To debate that suggestion again is in a sense to rehearse the arguments of a year ago. The Government decided, following a careful examination of all the issues involved in the context of the then Extradition (Amendment) Bill that a prima facie requirement would create obstacles which would represent an undue restriction on legitimate extradition requests. That remains our view. Foreign prosecution authorities would experience some difficulty in complying with our prima facie requirement and the difficulties which would arise in this regard outweigh any advantages that approach might have. Such a requirement would inevitably result in an increase in the delay and complication associated with extradition requests.
The Extradition (Amendment) Act, 1987, provides an alternative safeguard which meets the very same public concerns which prompt those who suggest a prima facie case requirement but which meets those concerns without the associated problems the latter requirements would have. The Act provides a safeguard which is workable and which has proved to be workable. Neither should Senators ignore the other safeguards which the various Extradition Acts provide. There is, for example, the provision relating to lapse of time, another exceptional circumstance also provided for in the 1987 Amendment Act.
Further safeguards include the possibility of extradition being refused when there are substantial reasons for believing that the person sought will be prosecuted or detained for an offence other than that for which he is sought and which would not have been extraditable because of its political character, or where there is reason to believe that the person is being sought for the purpose of prosecuting or punishing him on account of his race, religion, nationality or political opinion, or where his position would be prejudiced for any of these reasons. In addition to that, there is the requirement for the offence for which the person is sought to correspond to an offence under the law of this State which is an indictable offence. Taken together, these represent a comprehensive code of safeguards under which the Government are satisfied that the rights of a person whose extradition might be sought are protected.
The case of Fr. Ryan was raised. I was deliberately circumspect in what I said about the case in my opening remarks for the reasons I indicated. I do not intend to go beyond what I said in those remarks not only because the matter is before the Attorney General in accordance with the provisions of the 1987 Act, but also  because in many ways too much has already been said and written about that case and further comment is not helpful.
Senator Ferris said that the charges and the basis for those charges in that case should have been made public. He compared the procedures here with what happened in Belgium where he said information as to the charge was available. The comparison is not valid. He is not comparing like with like. The case referred to is at present at a preliminary stage. No decision has yet been taken as to whether the warrants should be endorsed for execution here. However, in the normal case where extradition warrants are endorsed and the application for an extradition order is made to the District Court, the type of information as to the charges which Senator Ferris sought is available to the public as a matter of course.
Some Senators favoured a more extended use fo the Criminal Law Jurisdiction Act, 1976, where extra-territorial prosecutions are possible. Senator Ross took the opposite view. The Government favour greater use of the Act and are committed to exploring with the British Government the means by which greater recourse can be had to the 1976 Act and the parallel British legislation. The Government are firmly of the view that a greater use of the Act in a wider range of cases is both possible and desirable. The Government also believe that such a course would have the effect of creating an improved atmosphere for co-operation with our immediate neighbours.
Contrary to what Senator Ross might suggest, the record in cases where a prosecution has been taken under the Act is quite impressive. Of 13 persons tried in the State under the Act, ten were convicted. Nine out of ten persons tried in Northern Ireland under the parallel UK legislation have also been convicted. The convictions which have been recorded in this jurisdiction under the Act include murder, firearm offences, explosive offences and escape from lawful custody. The charges in respect of which persons have been convicted in Northern Ireland  include murder, manslaughter, possession of explosives and firearms and conspiracy to cause arson.
Exploring the option of prosecutions under that legislation indicates no weakening in our commitment to the extradition process. Rather it reflects a recognition by both Governments that extradition will not always be the optimum means for dealing with the problems of fugitive offenders and that the process of extradition does not necessarily represent the quickest or surest means of achieving justice in a particular case. That means there will be cases in which an extra-territorial prosecution will be the appropriate response.
Senator Ross asked why we send representatives to attend trials of Irish people in Britain. With respect, might I remind the Senator to bear in mind the provisions of section 6 of the Act? That section requires the Government to report annually to this and the other House on the operation of Part III of the Extradition Act, 1965, which covers our extradition arrangements with Britain and Northern Ireland. Accordingly, Senator Ross can expect observers at future trials of persons extradited to Britain and the North to enable the Government to fulfil their statutory obligations to report annually to both Houses of the Oireachtas on the operation of the arrangement. That arrangement will stand.
Mr. Leyden: The Extradition (Amendment) Act, 1987 has important new safeguards from those which already exist under previous legislation and it is important that those new safeguards are preserved. I must remind the House of Senator McGowan's comments in relation to the 1965 Act which is still in operation. It is important that those new safeguards be preserved. Acceptance of this motion by the Seanad today will mean that those safeguards are preserved and become a permanent part of our law. For that reason, I have no hesitation in  commending this motion to the House and again express through you, a Chathaoirligh, my appreciation for the excellent contributions which have been made to this debate here today.
|Bohan, Edward Joseph.
Haughey, Seán F.
Murphy, John A.
O'Toole, Martin J.
Robb, John D.A.
Ross, Shane P.N.
|Bohan, Edward Joseph.
Haughey, Seán F.
Murphy, John A.
O'Toole, Martin J.
Robb, John D.A.
Ross, Shane P.N.
Tellers: Tá, Senators W. Ryan and S. Haughey; Níl, Senators O'Toole and Harte.
Question declared carried.
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