Dáil Éireann - Volume 270 - 27 February, 1974

Private Members' Business. - British Legislation on Partition: Motion (Resumed).

The following motion was moved by Deputy Blaney on 26th February, 1974:

That Dáil Éireann reaffirms the following resolution, unanimously passed on the 10th May, 1949, protesting against British legislation endorsing Partition:

Dáil Éireann,

Solemnly reasserting the indefeasible right of the Irish nation to the unity and integrity of the national territory,

Reaffirming the sovereign right of the people of Ireland to choose its own form of Government and, through its democratic institutions, to decide all questions of national policy, free from outside interference,

Repudiating the claim of the British Parliament to enact legislation affecting Ireland's territorial integrity in violation of those rights, and

Pledging the determination of the Irish people to continue the struggle against the unjust and unnatural partition of our country until it is brought to a successful conclusion;

Places on record its indignant protest against the introduction in the British Parliament of legislation purporting to endorse and continue the existing partition of Ireland, and

Calls upon the British Government and people to end the present occupation of our six north-eastern counties, and thereby enable the unity of Ireland to be restored and the age-long differences between the two nations brought to an end.

[1679] Debate resumed on the following amendment:

To delete all words after “Dáil Éireann” where that phrase first occurs, and to insert the following:

—recognises that the Irish people comprise different elements all of which contribute to Irish life and culture, and each of which has the right to pursue its legitimate aspirations,

—recalls the efforts of successive Governments over the past 25 years to bring about a spirit of harmony, understanding and co-operation between these different elements in the interest of the common welfare,

—declares that the use or advocacy of violence to secure unity is abhorrent to it, and

—affirms that the aspiration towards a united Ireland can be achieved only by peaceful means and with the consent of a majority of the people of Northern Ireland.

—(An Taoiseach.)

Mr. J. Lynch: Yesterday I was dealing with aspects of the Sunningdale Agreement on which we had some reservations, the principal one of which was paragraph five. The Taoiseach in his speech has done nothing to remove these reservations. It may be, notwithstanding the decision of the Supreme Court, the judgment it has given to the effect that the Government have not acted unconstitutionally in signing the Sunningdale communiqué which contained paragraph five, that the Taoiseach has not seen fit at this stage to give any explanation or any clarification of it. He may have other reasons but I do not think the one he advanced yesterday, that he must await the handing down of the Supreme Court judgment, is a sufficient reason for that.

I make no attempt to anticipate the reasons that the Supreme Court will give for its unanimous decision but the fact is that at the moment the President is regarded as the custodian of our Constitution. In the ultimate, the Supreme Court will decide [1680] whether or not any Act, legislative or otherwise, is constitutional. I say “otherwise” designedly because the Supreme Court has said that only when a matter decided by the Government is incorporated into legislation has it seisin of this particular aspect of Government administration. There are acts which the Government may do, acts any citizen or any group of citizens may do, which can be called into question as being in contravention of the Constitution. For example, we know that trade unions have taken certain actions which have been declared to be unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

Be that as it may, only the people themselves can ultimately change the Constitution in any respect. It must be recognised that if the Sunningdale Agreement is implemented to the point of setting up the Council of Ireland there will have to be constitutional changes, changes in many areas which, perhaps, will not cause any degree of concern to the people generally. However, if paragraph 5 infringes in any way the Constitution, and indications are that it does not, but if it does only the people ultimately can decide whether article 2 of the Constitution which is the sovereignty Article in the Constitution may be changed.

What disturbs people is that Northern participants at Sunningdale have frequently and persistently given their interpretation of paragraph 5 which would seem to conflict with Article 2 of the Constitution. At the same time no interpretation or clarification is forthcoming from our representatives at Sunningdale. The attitude is that we must take Sunningdale as it is or leave it. In the circumstances it is not unreasonable for us to request clarification. I want to repeat that there are many parts of the Sunningdale communiqué with which we are in agreement and which we support; but, in supporting it, it is not unreasonable for us to question parts of it which are not readily understood or to criticise parts of it with which we do not readily agree.

[1681] The Taoiseach, in the course of his speech yesterday, mentioned on a number of occasions the need for accommodation by the different traditions of the views of each other. A reasonable sequiter of that admonition is that the Government might accommodate the views represented and expressed by our party instead of adopting the “take it or leave it” attitude. The Executive in the North is now working and as far as can be seen is working well and diligently and addressing itself to the social and economic needs of the people of the North. This is in itself a tremendous achievement; the representatives of both communities are working in harmony for the greater good of the entire community in Northern Ireland, notwithstanding that their efforts are being thwarted and frustrated by extremists on both sides who for their own reasons are trying to deny the kind of progress in extending brotherhood and in making economic and social progress in the North.

While the representatives of each tradition in that Executive make no attempt, and I believe have expressed themselves so, to dominate the other, who would have thought 25 years ago, 20 years ago or even five years ago that this would have been possible? As in the Executive so I anticipate it will be in the Council of Ireland. Five years ago when I was urging a change in the institutions of Northern Ireland and urging new methods of co-operation between North and South, I said that our aim was not to extend the domination of Dublin. That statement still holds good as far as my party and I are concerned in relation to the Council of Ireland. Even if there was a desire on the part of one side to dominate the other then the proposed structure and composition of the Council of Ireland as indicated in the Sunningdale communiqué would, I believe, make that impossible. Therefore, if the Executive in the North can work for the greater good of the people within the jurisdiction, how much more good could a Council of Ireland, power sharing or whatever one likes to call it, do for the people of the entire country?

In the minute or two remaining to [1682] me I should like to return to the amendment itself. If the Taoiseach's amendment is carried it would mean that we in this House would deliberately rescind and delete the terms of the 1949 Resolution, the unanimous resolution passed in this House. We recognise that times have changed but I charge the Members of the Government who will speak after me with telling us and spelling out, paragraph by paragraph, in what respects the 1949 resolution is not acceptable and is not relevant.

Our amendment would retain the 1949 Resolution. It would retain the terms of it, the spirit of it and the purpose of it. It would also retain three of the paragraphs of the Taoiseach's amendment but at the same time it would express, we believe, in more realistic and practical terms, the fourth paragraph of the Government amendment. I conclude by again asking whatever speakers remain on the Government side to tell us exactly, to convince us, and to convince many of their own Deputies, why, in current circumstances, the resolution of 1949 is not acceptable and why in that event our amendment should not be passed and the Government amendment should, in fact, either be defeated or not put. There is that onus on them. That is as far as I can go. My time is up.

Minister for Posts and Telegraphs (Dr. Cruise-O'Brien): The motion before the House in the name of Deputy Blaney is an act of recapitulation. It reaffirms the wording of a resolution passed by this House in May, 1949. That resolution was passed in particular circumstances, in a particular state of opinion and feeling, following a particular piece of legislation in Britain, a piece of legislation, in fact, intended to shore up something which no longer exists, the old Stormont based on Protestant supremacy.

In circumstances which have changed radically, after nearly 1,000 deaths, after major changes in Northern Ireland, after entirely new legislation in Britain, and after an international agreement of major importance, Sunningdale, we are asked by Deputy Blaney simply to reaffirm [1683] that identical wording of 25 years ago. To do this would, in our view, be to declare that we have not been able to learn anything from the progress of events, that we are incapable not merely of new thinking but even of testing, qualifying or modifying our earlier thinking. However, Deputy Blaney's position has at least the merit of consistency. Indeed, I think, that is its sole merit.

The Taoiseach's amendment proposes the deletion of all the substantive part of Deputy Blaney's motion. With respect to Deputy Lynch I would say that is not equivalent, as he has just said, to deleting and rescinding the resolution of 1949. That stands on the record of this House as a resolution of 1949. We are not deleting it. We are not rescinding it. We are simply refusing, and rightly refusing, to reaffirm it at a time when its reaffirmation would be prejudicial to the national interest.

The Taoiseach's amendment proposes the deletion of all the substantive part of Deputy Blaney's motion and the substitution of the wording which is before the House in the Taoiseach's name. The wording of the Taoiseach's amendment and the Taoiseach's speech refer not to the circumstances of 1949 but to the circumstances of our own time. They have a purpose in the present. That purpose is to promote peace and reconciliation in this island now by helping—and I mean actually helping, not just approving—all those who support power sharing in Northern Ireland, and by helping an effective and constructive Council of Ireland to emerge and, again, helping it to emerge and not just saying it would be a nice thing. The Taoiseach has said what needs to be said about the significance of this amendment in his name and it is not necessary for me to try to add to that.

I would, however, like to say something about the amendment in the name of Deputy Jack Lynch who has just concluded, and about the peculiar symbiosis which exists between that amendment and the motion in the name of Deputy Blaney. In so far as Deputy Blaney's motion has a purpose in the present time when it is before us I believe, frankly, that that purpose [1684] is to sabotage Sunningdale. As against this, the Taoiseach's amendment has the straightforward and avowed purpose of upholding Sunningdale against all the various kinds of attacks on it. So, Deputy Blaney's position is straightforward and the Taoiseach's position is straightforward.

Deputy Lynch's amendment contrives to take the entire text of the anti-Sunningdale motion and add to it most of the wording of the pro-Sunningdale amendment. That is what it does. There is some added wording of his own. Some of it is repetitive of Deputy Blaney. Thus, if the motion were passed—they cannot have read the drafting very carefully—with Deputy Lynch's amendment, as I trust it will not be, it would both reassert— and I quote from Deputy Blaney's part—“the indefeasible right of the Irish nation to the unity and integrity of the national territory” and go on— if “go on” are the right words—to reaffirm the inalienable right of the people of Ireland to a united Ireland. Many will find this depressingly like the noise of a needle stuck in a groove of a cracked gramophone record.

Does anyone really think we are helping to resolve our differences in this island by consistently and constantly reaffirming what we think are indivisible and inalienable rights? I believe most people, North and South, see far more hope and far more reason in what we might call the Sunningdale approach: the willingness of Irishmen with quite different aspirations and quite different views of political legitimacy and right to sit down together nonetheless and work out ways of living together with justice and consideration for one another in the here and now. The various “no surrender” banners and the old shibboleths whether green or orange do nothing to help in this process. Indeed, in the past in some of his speeches Deputy Lynch contributed substantially to a forward movement—in some of them, not all. He insisted on that. He turned away, or appeared to turn away, from past gods or gods of the past, I forget what you call them. He seems now, I am afraid, to be turning back a little that way.

In reality the amendment in the [1685] name of Deputy Lynch is not intended either to help or hinder developments in Northern Ireland. I think it is intended to cover over the cracks in the Fianna Fáil Party. It has been said that this debate has placed a strain upon what is called the bi-partisan policy towards Northern Ireland. I believe the Sunningdale agreement is so widely welcomed by the people in the country that there is every ground for a belief in the continuance of a substantial measure of agreement involving, among others, the three parties here. I think that emerges also from parts of Deputy Lynch's statement and earlier statements he made.

We are bound to note that if such a debate as this does impose a certain strain on this consensus, as I suppose it does, the responsibility for that rests squarely with the Fianna Fáil Party who provided a seconder for Deputy Blaney's motion. That was a surprising transaction. At the beginning of his speech Deputy Lynch said that they were not aware, until Deputy Blaney announced it while he was speaking, that he did not have, nor had he sought, a seconder for his motion and that they arranged deliberately to have his motion seconded for a number of reasons. Deputy Lynch may not have been aware of that—and we must take his word for it—but many people on this side were aware that Deputy Blaney did not have a seconder. It was rather widely known. I did not have the impression that it took the gentlemen opposite by surprise. I do not think Deputy O'Kennedy was surprised to find himself seconding the motion.

Mr. J. Lynch: Will the Minister accept that we did not know Deputy Blaney had no seconder?

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: I accept Deputy Lynch's assurance. I just want to point out that we on this side did know. Perhaps we are more alert and better informed than Fianna Fáil.

Mr. Colley: Perhaps you are in closer touch with Deputy Blaney.

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: I do not like to think anyone will believe that.

(Interruptions.)

[1686] Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: I should like at this point to refer to a few of the things Deputy Lynch said. He has made a great point about the desire of the Fianna Fáil Party to get clarification from the Taoiseach on paragraph 5, and so on. I am not quite sure what all this is about because the original doubt which was supposed to be racking the gentlemen opposite was whether paragraph 5 was in some way unconstitutional. Surely they have got clarification on that by a decision of the High Court, upheld by the Supreme Court. What more clarification can anybody have about constitutionality?

Deputy Lynch made the point that the matter was no longer sub judice since there has, in fact, been a judgment of the Supreme Court. Technically that is quite a good debating point. It is not sub judice in the sense that there has been a decision but surely Deputy Lynch will agree that it is wise for the head of the Government of this State to await and to read the judgement of the Supreme Court before making any further statement. It is not technically required by sub judice rules but it-seems to be the sensible thing to do.

Deputy Lynch in the course of his remarks concerning the 1949 resolution says that this motion still fundamentally represents the views and aspirations of the Irish people in relation to Partition. It was a resolution passed by a Dáil elected by the people of 26 counties. It certainly does not represent the views and aspirations of the majority in Northern Ireland. Do they belong to the Irish people? Have they a right to have their views and aspirations in any way represented or in any way reflected? I think they have, and Deputy Lynch, I think, in other remarks elsewhere—not all his remarks are internally consistent—has agreed that they do have that right.

Finally in relation to his speech, he says it was a pity that the delegation to Sunningdale did not include the elected representatives of the biggest number of people on the island of Ireland, the Fianna Fáil Party.

[1687] Mr. J. Lynch: I did not say it was a pity. I just remarked on the fact that it did not.

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: May I quote the record? The record says this:

The Taoiseach mentioned that it was a great pity that all the elected representatives in Northern Ireland were not present at Sunningdale. It probably was a pity——

He said it probably was a pity—that is all the difference——

——but that would still exclude the elected representatives of the biggest number of people in the island of Ireland.

Mr. J. Lynch: That is a different matter altogether.

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: That is for others to judge.

Mr. J. Lynch: Would the Minister read what I said in the light of what he has just said—that I said it was a pity?

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: My passion for reading what Deputy Lynch says has expired. I have only limited time and I have quoted Deputy Lynch as he is on the records of the House.

Mr. O'Kennedy: If that is an indication of your trustworthiness, it is a poor indication.

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: What could be more trustworthy than quoting from the records of the House?

Acting Chairman: The Minister must be allowed to continue. His time is limited.

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Does Deputy Lynch want me to repeat my quotation of what he said?

Mr. J. Lynch: I will read the records and put it to the Minister.

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: You would need to read them, if I may say so, and remember them.

Mr. J. Lynch: The Minister has not done so. Although he has them in [1688] front of him, he has not read them accurately.

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: May I say about that part of Deputy Lynch's speech that the idea that the Opposition should have been represented at Sunningdale is a strange one, coming from a former Taoiseach who never thought—and I do not say he was wrong not to—to have the Opposition represented at the various meetings he attended.

Mr. J. Lynch: I did not advocate that we should have been.

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Deputy Lynch was not interrupted by a single speaker on this side.

Mr. J. Lynch: But I did not misrepresent anybody.

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: He has repeatedly interrupted people who are quoting him accurately. He has also said that we should accommodate our views to the views of the gentlemen opposite, and I would agree that we should listen very carefully to the views of the gentlemen opposite and have a proper respect for them, but Fianna Fáil when the Government took the view, and it was a legitimate view, that it was their duty to govern and when they were asked to take our views into account I remember Deputy Lynch as Taoiseach said “we are the party of re-unification; it rests with us”.

The former President de Valera has been quoted in this list of eight but there are certain words of his which have not been quoted here nor much adverted to in historical and journalistic comment and these are words which I would like to place or replace on our record here. I should like to quote from the recently published, 1972, Minutes of Proceedings of the Private Sessions of the Second Dáil.

Mr. J. Lynch: May I ask in what respect was Mr. de Valera quoted by me?

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: He was quoted from some of his utterances in the 1949 debates.

[1689] Mr. J. Lynch: By Deputy Blaney.

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Would it be so terrible if it was Deputy Lynch who quoted him?

Mr. J. Lynch: It is a matter of adhering to accuracy and the Minister is not adhering to accuracy.

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: I will try to, as far as I can, but we are all fallible human beings, I quote from the official record:

An tUachtarán explained that it was difficult to have a policy for Ulster when they could not get in contact.

The date is 22nd August, 1921 and it is from the official record which was in minute form. It goes on:

Their present aim was to get in touch with them. They had not the power and some of them had not the inclination to use force with Ulster. He did not think that policy would be successful. They would be making the same mistake with that section as England had made with Ireland. He would not be responsible for such a policy.

He went on to say:

For his part, if the Republic were recognised, he would be in favour of giving each county power to vote itself out of the Republic, if it so wished. Otherwise they would be compelled to use force.

—a policy which he specifically rejected. That is a very interesting statement. This was the opinion of the founder of the Fianna Fáil Party before the Treaty, before the split in Sinn Féin and the Civil War, and of course long before the foundation of Fianna Fáil.

After all those events, he said many other things, many of them under the pressure of internal disputes in the Twenty-six Counties. Part of what he said in August, 1921, unaffected by any internal disputes among those elected to the Dáil deserve to be considered carefully today. Whatever about the formulations involved, I think the spirit behind the language used by Mr. de Valera on that occasion was one of far-sighted wisdom and entirely [1690] compatible with the spirit of Sunningdale and the Taoiseach's amendment now before the Dáil. I would like to suggest to Deputies opposite that if they want to go back into history, they should go back rather farther than they have done and try to recapture the generosity and statesmanship of mind reflected in those utterances of their founder in the days before the Civil War.

Mr. Colley: We have just listened, in the context of a bipartisan policy in relation to the problems in Northern Ireland, to what can charitably be described as a most unhelpful speech. That however, I think, should not surprise many people who are aware of the views of the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs, expressed over a long period of time in relation to this matter, and I grant to him what he granted to Deputy Blaney, that he is reasonably consistent in the views he has expressed over the years and still expresses. However, his efforts to utilise the situation in Northern Ireland and the situation arising out of the meeting at Sunningdale, followed by the agreed communiqué, in order to divide the people of this State are reprehensible. We have had some indication of that effort here this evening and we recall that in the Adjournment Debate, in which the Sunningdale communiqué was one of the matters being discussed, it was the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs who tried to threaten a general election if we did not all come to heel with his view in regard to Sunningdale. I think the pattern is very clear and the pattern is that as far as the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs is concerned, a bipartisan policy in relation to the North is not one he wants, unless, perhaps, he might be satisfied if we all went along with his views. I suppose even he knows that is unlikely.

I shall come later to some of the statements made by the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs. I should like to deal with what was said by the Taoiseach yesterday evening when he told us he could not comment on paragraph 5 of the Sunningdale communiqué because he had not available the [1691] written judgment of the Supreme Court in the recent action concerning this matter. With due respect to the Taoiseach and his office, I can only say that the explanation is ludicrous and the fact that the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs tried to justify it does not make it less ludicrous.

First, as has been pointed out and conceded, the matter is not now sub judice. Secondly, and more important, the matter involved primarily is political, not legal. For the information of the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs I would inform him that the High Court at least, and I suspect the Supreme Court, have not decided whether an agreement entered into on the lines of the Sunningdale communiqué would or would not be repugnant to the Constitution. The Government in their own pleadings in that case made the point that it was not competent for a court to rule on what is now available—a communiqué. That was the decision in the High Court. The Minister for Posts and Telegraphs need not come here and try to insult the intelligence of the House and the people by pretending otherwise.

The fact is this is primarily a political matter. The people of the State and of the country have regard to the fact that the Taoiseach was present at Sunningdale, he negotiated whatever has emerged from that, he knows what happened. We want to know— we believe we are entitled to know— from his knowledge of the negotiations what does he understand paragraph 5 of the communiqué to mean? What does he believe the other parties in the negotiations understand it to mean?

It has been stated in the communiqué that it is proposed to enter into an agreement, an agreement that would incorporate paragraph 5. An agreement of this kind means one sets down in writing what one has agreed on. We want to know what the parties at Sunningdale agreed on. If the Taoiseach did not know when it was drafted he certainly knows now that paragraph 5 is open to a number of interpretations. What is of primary importance is what did the Government [1692] of Ireland, which negotiated at Sunningdale, understand they agreed to in paragraph 5. The Taoiseach has been asked on a number of occasions to spell this out but he has refrained from doing so. He had an opportunity again to do so yesterday but he produced the ludicrous reason that he did not have the judgment of the Supreme Court in writing.

I suspect there are other possible reasons. One of the reasons the Taoiseach may not have elaborated on paragraph 5 could be that he feared the effect of his doing so at this time in relation to the situation in the North with the election quite soon, even possibly the effect it might have on lives in the North. This could have been the reason but if that is the case why on earth did the Taoiseach not come in here and say so rather than give us this trumped up excuse about not having the judgment of the Supreme Court in writing? If the Taoiseach had come in here and made that case, I believe we on this side of the House would have found great difficulty in opposing a proposal by him not to discuss the motion this week. One contrasts that with the fact that not many weeks ago the Taoiseach and all the Deputies behind him came into the House on two days in succession and voted down Private Members' time for petty political reasons. The contrast is revealing.

Deputy Lynch said the 1949 Resolution of this House, which Deputy Blaney's motion asks us to reaffirm, represented the spirit and the philosophy of the great majority of the Irish people. I have not the record of the Deputy's speech before me but that was the substance. I believe the statement made by Deputy Lynch to be true, that it was true in 1949 and it is true today. I will readily concede that if it were being drafted today for the first time the wording might be somewhat different but the basic philosophy and spirit behind it would not be different.

If the Taoiseach felt the wording of the 1949 Resolution—I am speaking of the wording as distinct from its basic concept and philosophy—was unsuitable to 1974 it was open to him [1693] to bring in an amendment which would mock the 1949 Resolution and to substitute for it wording he considered more appropriate to 1974. If that was what he wanted to do——

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: It is what he did.

Mr. Colley: If he wants to claim that is what he did, as I think the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs is interjecting, let me put this to the House. I shall read the Taoiseach's amendment.

To delete all words after “Dáil Éireann” where that phrase first occurs, and to insert the following:

“—recognises that the Irish people comprise different elements all of which contribute to Irish life and culture, and each of which has the right to pursue its legitimate aspirations,

—recalls the efforts of successive Governments over the past 25 years to bring about a spirit of harmony, understanding and co-operation between these different elements in the interest of the common welfare,

—declares that the use or advocacy of violence to secure unity is abhorrent to it, and

—affirms that the aspiration towards a united Ireland can be achieved only by peaceful means and with the consent of a majority of the people of Northern Ireland.”

My question to the Taoiseach and to the House is: where in that amendment which he proposes to substitute for the 1949 resolution is there any statement of the right of the Irish people to a united Ireland? That statement is contained in the 1949 resolution but it is not contained in the Taoiseach's amendment which he wants us to accept in substitution for the 1949 resolution.

That, in my view, is the most significant aspect of this matter and it requires an explanation from the Government side, because whatever about the wording of the 1949 resolution, this is a basic factor, the question of whether we claim the right [1694] for the Irish people to have a united Ireland or whether we do not claim it and are not prepared to claim it. This is a fundamental matter on which we must stand. Deputies on every side of the House have to take a stand on this.

We are entitled to an explanation as to why the Government, in the Taoiseach's amendment, proposed to omit that claim. I believe that if this matter were in the hands of the vast majority of the Deputies supporting the Government, the Taoiseach's resolution would not be one which omitted a statement to that effect because it is my belief that the 1949 resolution, not only in its wording but in its basic philosophy and spirit, is one which certain members of this Government simply cannot stomach. That is the reason it is not in.

Mr. Crowley: Hear, hear.

Mr. Colley: We are entitled to ask why are the Government not prepared to reaffirm the content of the 1949 resolution either directly in words, as is proposed to be done by Deputy Blaney and in which we agree with him or, alternatively, in what they would term more up-to-date wording, but incorporating the basic elements of that resolution. They do not do that and we are entitled to ask why. I should like to point out to the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs that he said a little while ago he believed Sunningdale had been widely welcomed. I believe it has but I also believe, and he should know if he wants to be in any way acute in his activities in the political scene, that what is widely welcomed in Sunningdale is the power sharing, which was part of the Sunningdale package, and the Council of Ireland, both of which were fought for by Fianna Fáil.

Minister for Foreign Affairs (Dr. FitzGerald): But not secured.

Mr. Colley: Are we to take it that that is the considered comment of the Minister for Foreign Affairs?

Dr. FitzGerald: They were secured in the Sunningdale Agreement if we take the whole package. Without the whole package we do not get them.

[1695] An Ceann Comhairle: Let us have order, please.

Mr. Colley: I see. The point the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs ought to consider very carefully is that wide as is the welcome for power sharing and the Council of Ireland, the welcome for paragraph 5 is a great deal narrower than that. If he does not know it I think he will find out to his cost that that is so. This brings me to the question of a bi-partisan policy in relation to the North. I want to make it quite clear that as far as I am personally concerned, and I believe as far as all the members of my party are concerned, we regard the maintenance of a bi-partisan policy in relation to the North as a matter of very great importance. Too often in the past at critical times in our history, Irishmen have been so divided that nothing was achieved and tragedy ensued. For that reason we have been prepared to go a very long distance to maintain a bi-partisan policy and we believed that this would be possible.

I still believe it is possible but whether it is depends not on us but on the Government. We made it quite clear after the change of Government that if this Government pursued the same kind of policy in regard to the North as we had pursued they would have our full and unswerving support. They got that.

Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Unswerving?

Mr. Colley: We also said, and I said it in the House and I am on record, that if this Government in relation to the North swallowed the kind of policy being adumbrated before the election by the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs and Foreign Affairs, we would not go along with it. We made that perfectly clear.

I want to say in all fairness to the Taoiseach and, indeed, I think, to most of the Deputies who support him, that until very recently nothing that he said in Opposition or in Government was such as to give any room for doubt as far as we were concerned that he was following the same policy based on the same philosophy and was therefore entitled to full support [1696] from us. As I have said, he got it. But we made it absolutely clear that the policies being adumbrated by the two Ministers I have mentioned before the election were policies which were unacceptable to us, and any attempt by the Government to depart from what they know to be an acceptable policy on both sides of the House and to go from that to the kind of policies being adumbrated before the election by those two Ministers is a decision to depart from a bipartisan policy.

I have made it quite clear that I do not want to see any departure from a bipartisan policy. I do not believe it is necessary, but I do say that the onus is on the Government to explain why, in their approach to this matter, they have apparently set aside what is a fundamental belief not just of Deputies but of most of the Deputies on that side and of the great majority of the Irish people—and I am speaking of the whole Irish people, no matter what the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs may have had to say in that regard. We are entitled to get that explanation and unless the Government can explain that they do not propose to depart from that and that their actions in this regard were misguided, that they are not departing from that or, alternatively, that they are departing from that policy but that they can justify it, then it is the Government who are departing from fundamental national policy. If that happened it is the Government who are responsible for any breakdown of a bipartisan policy.

Heretofore there has been no difference of opinion on either side of the House on fundamental national policies. The Government's approach to this matter in terms of the Government's amendment to this motion raises serious doubts in the minds of many people as to whether the Government now propose to depart from that aspect of fundamental national policy which I have spelled out. I do not want to believe that the Government are doing that and I hope the Government can convince us and the people that they are not doing it. Make no mistake about it, if they do [1697] not convince us and the people of that, it is the Government who are deciding on a departure which can only result in a breakdown of the bi-partisan policy.

Mr. Harte: I do not wish to interrupt——

An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy will not interrupt.

Mr. Harte: Would I be permitted to ask a question?

An Ceann Comhairle: No. This is a limited debate and it is disorderly to intervene in this fashion.

Mr. Harte: I do not want to interrupt. I want to ask Deputy Colley——

An Ceann Comhairle: Deputy Harte must desist.

Mr. Colley: There is another matter that I want to refer to. It certainly has a relevance to Sunningdale. It is a matter that I approach with some delicacy but I think it must be said. The Taoiseach stated yesterday—and again I am not purporting to quote him exactly but I think I have the sense of his words correctly—that violence in any part of this island for the achievement of political purposes would have to be stamped out. We on this side of the House agree with him fully in that statement. But, it is also true, I think it is fair enough to say, that while we have questioned the competence of the Government's performance in certain aspects of security and, indeed, we are unconvinced of their competence in certain aspects of security, we certainly accept that the Government's wish and desire is to combat violence for political purposes and in that context I feel that statements which have been coming with increasing frequency from politicians in Northern Ireland, politicians who are in the main opposed to Sunningdale, not all of them opposed to Sunningdale, but trying to impose conditions that there would be no Council of Ireland unless a stop is put to violence emanating from this side of the Border, these statements I feel, Sir, are dishonest and they are particularly hypocritical when one considers [1698] the outbreak of sectarian violence in the North and when few of those men who make these statements have said anything about that. How many of them have been known to demand that these things be dealt with effectively by the various security forces in the North? This matter is one that, as I say, is delicate but it has got to be said that these kinds of protestations from these people are hypocritical. They do not impress people down here. I doubt if they impress too many people in the North or, indeed, in Britain.

We, Sir, have tried in our amendment and in what we have said on its behalf to make clear our stance in relation to this whole problem. I believe that the amendment in the name of Deputy Lynch spells out very clearly what exactly our position is. We do not, we never have and never will, acknowledge the right, the de jure right, of any other country to legislate for any part of Ireland unless the Irish people as a whole agree to it. That is the fundamental problem with which we are faced with regard to the North and although the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs has left, perhaps I could put it on the record that I would like to remind him in relation to the quotations he made from statements by Mr. de Valera in 1921 that those quotations were referring to a hypothetical situation but the real situation that we are faced with in the North is that Britain claims and exercises sovereignty over the North. This is not a theoretical case of people wanting to opt out. They have not been given that option. That is a fundamental aspect of our whole problem in relation to the North. But, we have recognised since the foundation of this party that the unity of this country can be achieved effectively only by agreement between the people north and south and we have striven to bring about institutions which would enable that to happen and we can fairly say that in so far as those institutions are in being or coming into being they result to a large extent and in great measure form the efforts of Fianna Fáil but no effort that we make to reach agreement or [1699] accommodation with the people of Northern Ireland can be taken to be a de jure granting by the Irish people of the right of the people of Northern Ireland to opt out. After all, if one were faced with the practical situation of a complete withdrawal of Britain and possibly a UDI set-up, it would not be the Six Counties as we know it today that would be involved.

An Ceann Comhairle: I intervene to advise Deputy Colley that he has about one minute left. He might now consider making his concluding remarks.

Mr. Colley: I thought I had a little more.

An Ceann Comhairle: The Chair is being meticulous in the allocation of time.

Mr. Colley: The fact is that the Border was drawn artifically and, therefore, when we are talking about the rights of people of the North, if you are talking about Northern Ireland you are talking about an artificial entity which does not represent even the kind of tradition with which we are trying to secure an accommodation. I repeat, Sir, that our amendment which incorporates the resolution of 1949 and adds what is shown in the amendment sets out our position in this matter, I think with clarity and lucidity. It is a position on which we stand. It is a position on which we believed the Deputies opposite stood and we want to be convinced—I hope very much that we will be convinced—that they still stand where we stand.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs (Dr. FitzGerald) rose.

An Ceann Comhairle: May I remind the Minister that in accordance with Standing Orders I will be calling on the mover of the motion, Deputy Neil T. Blaney, to reply at 7.15?

Dr. FitzGerald: The 1949 resolution which Deputy Blaney has resurrected in this House yesterday and today was adopted in very different circumstances from today. It was introduced and passed in the Dáil as a reply to a Bill in the Pritish Parliament. [1700] How was that Bill seen in this country? It was seen in the words of Éamon de Valera in the following terms:

We have got the suggestion through this Bill that it is a British interest to keep our country cut in two; ... that Britain wants still to help this minority to maintain their position of ascendancy and privilege against the expressed will of the majority of the Irish people.

How different are the circumstances today in which we are asked to reiterate this now irrelevant resolution. The British Government policy today——

Mr. Blaney: Could we have the reference?

Dr. FitzGerald: The reference is Vol. 115, col. 813, of 10th May, 1949. I would ask the Dáil to consider how different are the circumstances today.

Mr. Blaney: Could we have the reference?

An Ceann Comhairle: Deputy Blaney ought not to take up the very limited time at the Minister's disposal.

Mr. Blaney: Could I ask for the reference for the quotation?

An Ceann Comhairle: The Minister gave the reference. It is on the record of the House.

Mr. Blaney: I have not got it and I want it.

An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy must not take up the time in this fashion.

Dr. FitzGerald: If this continues, I will arrange a few disorderly interruptions in his time.

Mr. Blaney: I am asking for my right, which is, for the column and the date.

An Ceann Comhairle: The Minister gave the reference.

Mr. Blaney: It has not been heard.

An Ceann Comhairle: Deputy Blaney will please desist. The reference has been given.

Mr. Blaney: It will be ready tomorrow. I want it tonight.

[1701] Dr. FitzGerald: I am going ahead. The Deputy can go on shouting if he wants to, like the last time. The British Government policy is not to maintain a situation of ascendancy and privilege today. On the contrary, it is precisely the opposite. It is to change that situation and encourage power sharing in Northern Ireland, the power sharing against which Deputy Blaney rose to protest in this House. The British Government today are not trying to keep this country cut in two; they have, in fact, put their name to a declaration in the Sunningdale Agreement that they will support the unification of Ireland when the two parts of Ireland agree upon it. There is no British obstacle to reunification of Ireland today and the whole of this resolution, directed against British action in an understandable way at that time, is completely irrelevant in a situation where British policy on this issue has been reversed. To resurrect an irrelevant resolution of this kind, to have it seconded so that it can be discussed and to support it with some bits and pieces of additions, in themselves internally contradictory, is not to do a service to the House and to the country.

The new situation before us today is not one of struggle against Britain. The Leader of the Opposition referring to the word “struggle”, said it can have no sinister meaning in the context of the times that were in it. In 1949 there was no armed struggle but there is today an armed struggle and if we adopt resolutions calling for the continuance of a struggle, is it likely that will get through the columns of the Belfast Newsletter in a manner that will make it clear to every loyalist in Northern Ireland that what is being spoken about is a political struggle against an Act of 1949 which is no longer on the Statute Book in Britain? Of course not; it will be used there unscrupulously by propagandists to do harm, to arouse tension and violence. That is why this resolution is not one that we can reiterate today without danger of misunderstanding. We cannot do so to any useful purpose; we can do so only in a manner that will damage [1702] the interests of this country and of our people North and South.

Deputies: Hear, hear.

Dr. FitzGerald: I think this needs to be said because the debate has been led by Deputy Colley into all kinds of word splitting corners and abstractions of various kinds and it moved away further from reality the longer he spoke. We must get it back to reality. The situation today is very different. I want to turn to the wording of the Fianna Fáil amendment. It contains a number of different statements the first of which is taken from the Taoiseach's amendment and it says that the Dáil:

Recongnises that the Irish people comprise different elements all of which contribute to Irish life and culture, and each of which has the right to pursue its legitimate aspirations.

Note the plural form—“aspirations”. The ante-penultimate and penultimate parts of the Fianna Fáil amendment are that the Dáil

Reaffirms the inalienable right of the people of Ireland to a united Ireland, Reaffirms their aspirations——

that is the people of Ireland

——to achieve this by peaceful means.

So, side by side, we have the old theory that there is only one united Irish people with one aspiration which is being prevented from being fulfilled by Britain and by British policy and at the same time the acceptance by Fianna Fáil and their recognition of the true position which is that there are in this country different elements with different aspirations that are legitimate—and they admit they are legitimate—and one of these elements is the Protestant people of Northern Ireland who do not have as an aspiration the achievement of the unity of Ireland by peaceful or any other means. They are accepted in the first sentence of the Fianna Fáil amendment but in the penultimate sentence they are ignored again; they disappear; their existence and their aspirations are ignored and we come back to the single aspiration of that part of the Irish people who live in the [1703] Republic and who, in accordance with this terminology, would ignore the views and wishes of people in Northern Ireland.

There is an internal inconsistency here which betrays more than loose drafting; it betrays the schizophrenia of a party who have had to change their policy but have not been able to do so in a clean-cut way because they are still living too much in the past, a party who, had they remained in office, might perhaps, not have been able to negotiate the Sunningdale Agreement for this reason—because of their inhibitions derived from their past. It is, perhaps, for that reason fortunate that there was a change of Government. Deputy Colley's definition of a bipartisan policy amused me. He said that if the Government policy was the policy dictated by the Opposition, that was bipartisanship. I do not think so: bipartisanship means give and take, that both sides have to come together and find a common way.

Mr. Colley: We have done so.

Dr. FitzGerald: It means that irrelevancies from past traditions have to be dropped if they stand in the way of the interests of the Irish people and if there are no principles at stake. Unless both parties are willing to do that, then bipartisanship becomes difficult and the support given to the motion of Deputy Blaney by its seconding and by the reiteration of its terms before adding on some other words is not helping bipartisanship or the solution of the problem of Northern Ireland.

Deputy Blaney referred to the Sunningda'e solution as “British-imposed”. What does he mean by that? He did not have the privilege of being at Sunningdale. Had he been there as a member of a Government—it certainly would have produced no solution whatever. But had he been there he would have found very little British imposition. At Sunningdale different groups in Ireland came together to discuss how they might have a common solution to their problems. At no point in those discussions [1704] did Britain seek to impose anything on the Irish parties. It sought to conciliate differences—at least the British Prime Minister did—where there were differences to be conciliated but at no stage was anything imposed by Britain. We among ourselves, Irish people, for the first time sat down to find a common solution. To call it “British-imposed” is a travesty of the facts.

He goes on to refer to power sharing “by a select middle class, sectional grouping selected by the British Government”. Let us consider the representation of the minority in Northern Ireland in the Assembly in Northern Ireland and at Sunningdale. At Sunningdale there were three parties present including the SDLP and the Alliance Party. As far as I am aware no one was elected by the votes of any significant number of the minority who is not a member of these two parties. The people of Northern Ireland selected them as their sole representatives, the SDLP primarily with, I think, some members of the minority voting also for the Alliance Party. It was not the British Government who selected these representatives of the Northern Ireland minority; they were selected by the minority in the election and came to Sunningdale because they wished as representatives of the minority— and in the case of the Alliance Party, of the majority also—to join with the Unionists, representing the majority, to form a power sharing Executive. But for Deputy Blaney they were selected by the British Government. I should be glad if he would tell us the methods by which the British Government selected for the people of Northern Ireland those representatives whom they elected in a democratic election last June.

He refers to them as “a selected, middle class grouping”. I am not an expert on classes but there are many people in urban Belfast who would find it amusing to have Deputy Blaney, a man of some little prosperity, I think, referring to people like Paddy Devlin and Gerry Fitt as middle class. I do not think he is in a position to use this epithet of [1705] opprobium in this way, certainly not against representatives of the working class of the minority in Northern Ireland.

Deputies: Hear, hear.

Dr. FitzGerald: He goes on to refer to Sunningdale as another attempt by Britain to impose a partition settlement which does not have the full support of the people of the Six Counties. It is true that it has not their full support. There are dissentient voices in significant numbers on the majority side. It will take time to bring them with us. But on the minority side every elected representative of the minority supports the Sunningdale Agreement. Deputy Blaney has no use for these elected representatives because they were chosen by the minority in Northern Ireland and not selected by him and his pals as representatives. He will not accept them, therefore, as having any right to speak or act on behalf of the minority in Northern Ireland.

It is sad that we should have this debate in this form and sad that Deputy Lynch and Fianna Fáil should join with Deputy Blaney to rake over the ashes of history stirring the flames of North-South bitterness into life again, by trying to reiterate resolutions with terms like “struggle” in them and resolutions that see only one national aspiration, that of the people of the Republic. I think Deputy Blaney has done no service to this House in raising the matter in this way and that Fianna Fáil have done no service by joining with him, reaffirming rights and reasserting claims is the way to raise hackles, not the way to conciliate differences and secure friendly co-operation between Irishmen.

Deputy Colley seems to see it somewhat differently. He is concerned about the right of the Irish people to a united Ireland. Perhaps, some time, he would explain to us what he means by the word “right” in this context. It is a very curious word. There are all kinds of right and it has, of course, the ambiguous other sense of something being right, a quite different [1706] sense. When we talk of rights we must consider if it is wise, if we wish to achieve some objective, to assert them. Deputy Colley has a perfect right at election time when addressing a meeting of the electorate in his constituency to tell them he thinks they are a poor looking crowd of people and he does not like the look of their faces. That is not libellous. He is entitled to do it. He has a right to do it. It is not a right I would advise him to insist upon should he wish to gain their support for his election.

If Deputy Colley thinks that by asserting the right of the Irish people to a united Ireland in a debate in which we are discussing a resolution which recognises that the Irish people comprise different elements, all of which contribute to Irish life and culture and each of which has the right to pursue its legitimate aspirations, if he thinks that asserting rights of this kind helps, then his insight into the situation in the North is poor and inadequate and he is doing no service to the cause which I know he sincerely wishes to serve—the cause of a united Ireland.

Once we accept—and for the purpose of this discussion I will use the terms of the Fianna Fáil amendment —that, “for practical purposes this involves the agreement of the people of Northern Ireland,” then there is only one purpose to be served by our actions in this House and that is to do everything that will bring the agreement nearer and do nothing that will push it further away. That is the only criterion by which our actions should be judged. If the assertion of an abstract right of some kind, felt by Deputy Colley to exist, incorporated in the form of a constitutional claim, will make that agreement more difficult to achieve, then anybody who asserts that right is not serving the interest of re-unification or the interests of this country. The trouble is that Fianna Fáil have not been able to accept this. Fianna Fáil have in the last four years—as we all have—learned much from the situation in Northern Ireland. Five years ago no party in this House had a full understanding. All parties in their [1707] policies and attitudes had elements which were not conducive to seeking agreement or to achieving unity by consent. We have all had to learn, but in the case of Fianna Fáil that learning process has not been accompanied, it appears to me from this debate, by the amount of unlearning necessary. We have all had to unlearn, not just Fianna Fáil. Statements made by leaders on both sides of the House over the past 50 years which were not helping the re-unification of Ireland had to be unlearned. We all made mistakes. We must decide what policy we are pursuing. There are different policies. One can pursue the IRA policy of conquest, if one thinks it will succeed and one has a moral right to do it, as we do not. Another route is to try to get Britain to force Northern Ireland into the Republic against its will. This is a possible route but not one which any decent Irishman concerned with the dignity and peace of his country would wish to pursue. Once one rejects those policies——

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: The Minister has one minute left.

Dr. FitzGerald: ——the only solution is to proceed by seeking the agreement and consent of the majority in Northern Ireland. We then have no alternative but to drop talk of rights, claims and abstractions and show the people of Northern Ireland, first, that we care for them—for both sections of the community there—and, secondly, that we regard the past as irrelevant, and past claims as irrelevant, and are only concerned with finding ways of working with them so that we may seek a united Ireland peacefully and by consent.

Mr. Blaney: Having listened to the last speaker and observed the discourtesy he afforded the House and myself by refusing to honour the traditional practice of quoting his reference in a manner which could be heard or understood, I mark it up and ask the House to take note of it. This is our Minister for Foreign Affairs. I will deal with him very briefly, because [1708] that is the way he deserves to be dealt with. He says there is no British obstacle to the unity of this country. There are at least 20,000 British soldiers, each one of them, in my estimation, a definite obstacle. Until they go there can never be an opportunity of any kind for those in the North holding different views to get together and to settle their differences in their own way, within their own land and without any outside interference.

The resolution was described by the last speaker as irrelevant. Is it irrelevant because it would appear on any sane reading to be a complete contradiction of what is contained in the Sunningdale communiqué? Are we being refused any interpretation by the Government since the 13th of last December when we asked in this House repeatedly for an interpretation of paragraph 5? Can we not even now, at the end of February, condemn the Government and the Leader who has so far failed, despite those repeated requests, to give an interpretation? Can we not again tonight take it that the interpretation is such that it is contrary to this motion, which is reaffirming what this House totally and without dissent agreed on in 1949? Are we not left with that clear indication by the continued absence of any interpretation? Can we not also take into account that the waffling about the court judgment not yet having been delivered is not a relevant matter at this stage? As Deputy Colley said, surely the men, and particularly the leader of the delegation who went to Sunningdale representing this Government, must be fully aware of what was intended and what he agreed to in so far as other people were concerned. Surely this is only to be expected from any worthwhile delegation. Any delegation with any sense of sanity must know what it agreed to in that communiqué, in that discussion, in that proposed agreement. Yet, three months later, we still have not got the slightest indication from the Taoiseach, no more than we had in December, as to what it is all about.

This motion is a sore point because, in my estimation, it contradicts Sunningdale. The last speaker said [1709] that if we pass the motion it will do damage. How can we do damage if what is in the resolution is not objectionable? Are the members of the Labour and Fine Gael Parties, individually and collectively, of the view that what was contained in that resolution in 1949 and now before us in this motion is objectionable and damaging and should not be passed but deleted? It is all very well for speakers to say that merely by deleting that does not mean it no longer remains on the record—of course, it does.

What will the same speakers, or spokesmen for the same parties and Government be saying tomorrow and the day after: that it has been deleted by the Government amendment and no longer counts; that this House has, in effect, removed it even though it remains on the record? Is this the sort of double-talk we are to expect from the Government on a matter as important as Sunningdale? Are we to take into account—those of us who went to the trouble of going to the Supreme Court to hear the arguments for and against—that the State, as represented, made no case and that their lordships used these words “casual” or “cunning” in paragraph 5—not “casual” I would suggest in the sense that it was done casually in Sunningdale, therefore leaving me with the clear impression that the judgment to come from these learned people on the bench in the Supreme Court will shake the assurance given by the Taoiseach to Mr. Faulkner? This cannot be said and should not be said until after tomorrow's election.

I should like to get away from all of that and to put on record the collective thought I have as a result of last night's discussion, which was much more informative and at a much better level than tonight's. The terms of the amendment which the Government have put down to this motion and the arguments which the Taoiseach advanced in its support last evening provide me with a tragic commentary on the gulf which Dáil Éireann has to bridge before we can get anywhere near to understanding the problem of partition and shows [1710] how we must move towards a peaceful and lasting solution of that problem which, I repeat and underline again, cannot even begin to be solved until Britain has declared her intention of getting out and leaving us with the opportunity that those who do not hold with us in the Six Counties will then be prepared and be in a position to sit down and talk out and discuss the future of all of us in this island without British interference.

The Taoiseach is, in my estimation, without any doubt sincere in his desire to help achieve a peaceful solution, but I believe it is naive for anybody who has a close understanding of the threads of that problem to pin all his hopes on the package that is Sunningdale, which is already well on its way to extinction as another futile attempt. Sunningdale has not ended and will not end the violence in Ireland. I say this not as a threat but as an observation all too tragically true and already showing itself to be true in the months since Sunningdale.

The Taoiseach rightly has said that there is a realisation in the Six Counties, particularly on the part of the majority, that they can no longer go back to the former position of sectarian domination over the minority, but he is in grave error when he tries to claim that Sunningdale represented a coming together of the two traditions in this country. Those who took part in Sunningdale, from the Six Counties at least, represent only those sections from both communities who always have been prepared to trim their sails to accommodate each other in the peculiar circumstances of the Six Counties.

Those with convictions from both communities were excluded from Sunningdale. The Taoiseach said that one section, the Loyalists as they are now called, were excluded because they refused to accept power sharing. They replied, and I accept their bona fides, that they refused to accept a solution foisted on them by the British Parliament. So do I, and so also should the Taoiseach and every other Irishman and woman in this country.

The Taoiseach also says of Sunningdale [1711] that it must be taken as a whole, that no party or interest, he claims, can select part of the package and say that it is acceptable but the remainder is not. He must be deaf these days if he has not heard the nightly election assurances from the Faulkner Unionist Sunningdale candidates that they will have nothing to do with it or the Council of Ireland unless and until the Government in Dublin starts a war with the IRA and hands over all Republicans to them. The Taoiseach certainly makes me wonder about his attitude to this question of violence. He makes the point that two out of every three of the 155 persons who have been dealt with by the Special Criminal Court here are Northerners but it does not occur to him as ironic that all are Republicans. No UDR, UDA. Ulster Freedom Fighters or British Army secret squads SAS or SIB, have been convicted by that same court, though the trail of unexplained bombings stretches from Liberty Hall to my own constituency of Donegal. Does the Taoiseach not honestly accept that the total of his Government's efforts is directed towards collaboration with and appeasement of the British and Unionist pressure for putting down and silencing all legitimate Republican opinion in the Twenty-six Counties?

The Taoiseach's own Minister for Justice, Deputy Cooney, is now seeing IRA under the bed by labelling everyone—those who uphold the genuine republican tradition and even civil rights, and those who would help the suffering dependants of the internees in Long Kesh and elsewhere—as subversives. What really saddens and worries me as an Ulsterman is the Taoiseach's statement last night when he said:

The violence is not of our making. It originates in the North and spills over into our territory.

How much further could we be removed from the thought of this island as a whole, its people as a whole, as a nation, as one, when we talk like that and when we have the Taoiseach and leader of the Irish people talking in [1712] this manner as if it were in Timbuctoo. That statement, in my estimation, is the key to the whole problem we in Dáil Éireann face in coming to grips in a realistic manner with the conflict of our divided country.

Mr. Harte: The Taoiseach was never charged with importing illegal arms.

Mr. Blaney: That statement is a ritual washing of hands by the man who is currently the leader of the Irish people. If I were not aware of the Taoiseach's background and environment I would classify it as a blatant betrayal of the half million people in the Six Counties who have never abandoned the claim their fathers established, as did our fathers, in the 1918 General Election to be part of a free and independent Ireland.

I realise that the Taoiseach means well, and I say that sincerely, but he is not conscious of the fact that he stands in the gap of history, and that he has a duty to speak for all in this country and not just for those lucky enough to live on this side of the Border. The terms of the 1949 motion which I now ask the Dáil to reaffirm are clear and explicit. They assert the inalienable right of the Irish people to the unity of their country. They represent the basic philosophy to which the Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Irish Labour Parties have subscribed and still profess to subscribe.

I cannot see how anything that has happened since 1949 can change the philosophy expressed in that motion. I cannot see how the Taoiseach considers that expression of basic philosophy to which his party subscribes to be “no longer relevant”, as he says. I cannot understand how the Members of the Labour Party in this House can in conscience abandon that expressed philosophy tonight by accepting the Taoiseach's version of well-meaning phrases which is but a clever way of abandoning the basic claim to national self-determination.

Each Deputy has to decide in his conscience whether this expression of the national claim, basic and fundamental, which this House accepted [1713] without question in 1949 is to be written again into the records of the House as the attitude of the Dáil towards this matter in 1974, or whether the House is to accept an abandonment of that claim as expressed in the Taoiseach's amendment, an amendment which is obviously framed to meet a situation in which the Taoiseach finds himself trapped by Sunningdale.

Sunningdale hangs over this House. Sunningdale—a poor thing that is already beginning to crack and fall apart. I am certain, however, that the people of the Six Counties will give us a clear answer to Sunningdale by [1714] flatly rejecting it this week. I have no doubt about how this House should vote tonight. I have no doubt about how the House would vote if each Deputy were free to follow his conscience. In fact there would not be a vote and this motion would be passed by acclamation as it was in 1949. I commend this motion to the House.

Mr. Harte: Is internment, which the Deputy supported in 1957, relevant?

(Interruptions.)

Question put: “That the words proposed to be deleted stand”.

The Dáil divided: Tá, 68; Níl, 73.

Ahern, Liam.

Allen, Lorcan.

Andrews, David.

Barrett, Sylvester.

Brennan, Joseph.

Breslin, Cormac.

Briscoe, Ben.

Browne, Seán.

Brugha, Ruairí

Burke, Raphael P.

Callanan, John.

Calleary, Seán.

Carter, Frank.

Colley, George.

Collins, Gerard.

Connolly, Gerard.

Crinion, Brendan.

Cronin, Jerry.

Crowley, Flor.

Cunningham, Liam.

Daly, Brendan.

Davern, Noel.

de Valera, Vivion.

Dowling, Joe

Fahey, Jackie.

Farrell, Joseph.

Faulkner, Pádraig.

Fitzgerald, Gene.

Fitzpatrick, Tom (Dublin Central).

Flanagan, Seán.

French, Seán.

Gallagher, Denis.

Geoghegan, John.

Gibbons, Hugh.

Gibbons, James.

Gogan, Richard P.

Haughey, Charles.

Healy, Augustine A.

Herbert, Michael.

Hussey, Thomas.

Kenneally, William.

Kitt, Michael F.

Lalor, Patrick J.

Lemass, Noel T.

Leonard, James.

Loughnane, William.

Lynch, Celia.

Lynch, Jack.

McEllistrim, Thomas.

MacSharry, Ray.

Meaney, Tom.

Molloy, Robert.

Moore, Seán.

Murphy, Ciarán.

Nolan, Thomas.

Noonan, Michael.

O'Connor, Timothy.

O'Kennedy, Michael.

O'Leary, John.

O'Malley, Desmond.

Power, Patrick.

Smith, Patrick.

Timmons, Eugene.

Tunney, Jim.

Walsh, Seán.

Wilson, John P.

Wyse, Pearse.

Blaney, Neil T.

Níl

Barry, Peter.

Barry, Richard.

Begley, Michael.

Belton, Luke.

Belton, Paddy.

Bermingham, Joseph.

Bruton, John.

Burke, Dick.

Burke, Joan T.

Burke, Liam.

Bvrne, Hugh.

Clinton, Mark A.

[1715]Desmond, Barry.

Desmond, Eileen.

Dockrell, Henry P.

Dockrell, Maurice.

Donegan, Patrick S.

Donnellan, John.

Dunne, Thomas.

Enright, Thomas.

Esmonde, John G.

Finn, Martin.

FitzGerald, Garret

Fitzpatrick, Tom (Cavan).

Flanagan, Oliver J.

Gilhawley, Eugene.

Governey, Desmond.

Griffin, Brendan.

Harte, Patrick D.

Hegarty, Patrick.

Hogan O'Higgins, Brigid.

Jones, Denis F.

Kavanagh, Liam.

Keating, Justin.

Kelly, John.

Kenny, Henry.

Kyne, Thomas A.

Cluskey, Frank.

Collins, Edward.

Conlan, John F.

Coogan, Fintan.

Cooney, Patrick M.

Corish, Brendan.

Cosgrave, Liam.

Costello, Declan.

Coughlan, Stephen.

Creed, Donal.

Crotty, Kieran.

Cruise-O'Brien, Conor.

[1716]L'Estrange, Gerald.

Lynch, Gerard.

McDonald, Charles B.

McLaughlin, Joseph.

McMahon, Larry.

Malone, Patrick.

Murphy, Michael P.

O'Brien, Fergus.

O'Connell, John.

O'Donnell, Tom.

O'Leary, Michael.

O'Sullivan, John L.

Pattison, Seamus.

Reynolds, Patrick J.

Ryan, John J.

Ryan, Richie.

Spring, Dan.

Staunton, Myles.

Taylor, Frank.

Thornley, David.

Timmins, Godfrey.

Toal, Brendan.

Tully, James.

White, James.

Tellers: Tá, Deputies Lalor and Browne; Nil, Deputies Kelly and B. Desmond.

Question declared lost.

An Ceann Comhairle: The next question is: “That the words proposed to be inserted by the Taoiseach's amendment be inserted.”

Mr. J. Lynch: As well as I could hear you, Sir, I think you said that the amendment in the name of the Taoiseach was being put.

An Ceann Comhairle: That the words proposed in the Taoiseach's amendment be inserted.

Mr. J. Lynch: That would be to the exclusion of the words of the 1949 Resolution and also the exclusion of our amendment?

An Ceann Comhairle: Yes, that is the position. The words have already been deleted by the previous vote.

Mr. J. Lynch: Since our original intention was to sustain the spirit and purpose of the 1949 Resolution as well as the words and spirit of our amendment, we will have to vote against it.

Question put.

The Dáil divided: Tá, 73; Níl, 68.

Barry, Peter.

Barry, Richard.

Begley, Michael.

Belton, Luke.

Belton, Paddy.

Bermingham, Joseph.

Bruton, John.

Burke, Dick.

Burke, Joan T.

Burke, Liam.

Byrne, Hugh.

Clinton, Mark A.

Cluskey, Frank.

Collins, Edward.

Conlan, John F.

Coogan, Fintan.

Cooney, Patrick M.

Corish, Brendan.

[1717]Flanagan, Oliver J.

Gilhawley, Eugene.

Governey, Desmond.

Griffin, Brendan.

Harte, Patrick D.

Hegarty, Patrick.

Hogan O'Higgins, Brigid.

Jones, Denis F.

Kavanagh, Liam.

Keating, Justin.

Kelly, John.

Kenny, Henry.

Kyne, Thomas A.

L'Estrange, Gerald.

Lynch, Gerard.

McDonald, Charles B.

McLaughlin, Joseph.

McMahon, Larry.

Malone, Patrick.

Cosgrave, Liam.

Costello, Declan.

Coughlan, Stephen.

Creed, Donal.

Crotty, Kieran.

Cruise-O'Brien, Conor.

Desmond, Barry.

Desmond, Eileen.

Dockrell, Henry P.

Dockrell, Maurice.

Donegan, Patrick S.

Donnellan, John.

Dunne, Thomas.

Enright, Thomas.

Esmonde, John G.

Finn, Martin.

FitzGerald, Garret.

Fitzpatrick, Tom (Cavan).

[1718]Murphy, Michael P.

O'Brien, Fergus.

O'Connell, John.

O'Donnell, Tom.

O'Leary, Michael.

O'Sullivan, John L.

Pattison, Seamus.

Reynolds, Patrick J.

Ryan, John J.

Ryan, Richie.

Spring, Dan.

Staunton, Myles.

Taylor, Frank.

Thornley, David.

Timmins, Godfrey.

Toal, Brendan.

Tully, James.

White, James.

Níl

Ahern, Liam.

Allen, Lorcan.

Andrews, David.

Barrett, Sylvester.

Blaney, Neil T.

Brennan, Joseph.

Breslin, Cormac.

Briscoe, Ben.

Browne, Seán.

Brugha, Ruairí.

Burke, Raphael P.

Callanan, John.

Calleary, Seán.

Carter, Frank.

Colley, George.

Collins, Gerard.

Connolly, Gerard.

Crinion, Brendan.

Cronin, Jerry.

Crowley, Flor.

Cunningham, Liam.

Daly, Brendan.

Davern, Noel.

de Valera, Vivion.

Dowling, Joe.

Fahey, Jackie.

Farrell, Joseph.

Faulkner, Pádraig.

Fitzgerald, Gene.

Fitzpatrick, Tom (Dublin Central).

Flanagan, Seán.

French, Seán.

Gallagher, Denis.

Geoghegan, John.

Gibbons, Hugh.

Gibbons, James.

Gogan, Richard P.

Haughey, Charles.

Healy, Augustine A.

Herbert, Michael.

Hussey, Thomas.

Kenneally, William.

Kitt, Michael F.

Lalor, Patrick J.

Lemass, Noel T.

Leonard, James.

Loughnane, William.

Lynch, Celia.

Lynch, Jack.

McEllistrim, Thomas.

MacSharry, Ray.

Meaney, Tom.

Molloy, Robert.

Moore, Seán.

Murphy, Ciarán.

Nolan, Thomas.

Noonan, Michael.

O'Connor, Timothy.

O'Kennedy, Michael.

O'Leary, John.

O'Malley, Desmond.

Power, Patrick.

Smith, Patrick.

Timmons, Eugene.

Tunney, Jim.

Walsh, Seán.

Wilson, John P.

Wyse, Pearse.

Tellers: Tá, Deputies Kelly and B. Desmond; Níl, Deputies Lalor and Browne.

Amendment No. 2 not moved.

Motion, as amended, agreed to.