Dáil Éireann - Volume 388 - 13 April, 1989

Adjournment Debate. - Extradition Case.

Mr. Blaney: It is with a great deal of anger and not a little regret that I raise this matter at this time because, if my information is correct, Paul Kane is on his [1630] way at this moment towards the cursed Border and has been for the past half hour. That Border is the curse of our people and country.

In order that his way be smoothed — something like the projections in the plan — we have 200 Garda backed up by the Army and all south bound roads blocked off, with an Irish Army helicopter in conjunction with two RUC or British Army helicopters in surveillance. Paul Anthony Kane is for the high jump if he has not already crossed the line.

I want to say seriously to the Minister, to the Government and every Member of this House that we should be ashamed to call ourselves an Irish Parliament. I say that with all due respect to the fact that we have all been elected from the Twenty-Six Counties. It makes me feel ridiculous, particularly when I am abroad, to meet people who ask the unanswerable question as to how our parliamentarians and Government or leading Opposition spokesmen are now on the bandwagon condemning the lack of justice in British courts campaigning for the release of the Birmingham Six and the Guildford Four and looking for a full pardon for the Maguires on the basis that all these people did not get a fair trial under the British jurisdiction when at the same time that Government are sending more of our citizens to be tried by those courts. It is hypocrisy of the highest order.

However, I would go further. I will try not to bring in what I know of the Minister and the people who went before him. but it comes to mind that I am talking to a Minister who should know so much better, who rather than do what he has done now would cease to be a Minister.

In sending this man across the Border we are dealing with extraordinary circumstances. When people talk about civilised countries or indeed so called noncivilised or under-developed countries — I never quite know whether they are talking about the unknown world or this God damned one we are living in. Be what it [1631] may, Paul Kane was sent to Longkesh with ten or 12 more of his colleagues on the evidence of a supergrass. During his internment, he found it possible to escape. Subsequent to his escape the said evidence of the supergrass was found to be so flawed that even those extreme people who sent him behind bars decided that the evidence could not satisfy their biased outlook and they released those who were still imprisoned — in other words, they should never have been there. In any man's language, without parsing and analysing it in a legalistic sense, the man was never in legal custody but was held unlawfully. He escaped from it, but he is now being sent back, because of this and the 15 other trumped up charges — which we know they are so adept at when they are trying to get somebody. However, the basic fact is that he was jailed in Longkesh on spurious evidence, escaped from it before his pals were released and now he is being sent back on the basic charge that he escaped from lawful custody, when we know that it was unlawful and the very release of the people who were imprisoned with him at the same time is evidence that he or they should never have been there. He is now going to face a series of charges, some related to his escape from custody which was never lawful.

He is one of our citizens, but we tend to forget that in this House. We are so partition-minded that we tend to ask whether he is from the South or the North. He is from Ireland, an Irish citizen, and our Constitution lays down — and rightly so — that all the children of the nation should be treated equally. He is of this nation and we are sending him to a place where he cannot expect to get a fair trial due to facts we already know about the Birmingham Six, the Guilford Four and all the other cases, the six shootings in Armagh, the butchery in Gibraltar and Bloody Sunday. They are the same people, regardless of the Anglo-Irish Agreement and the inter-Governmental [1632] conference. They are no different from what they were then, and they prove this every day, but for the fact of the massive propaganda machine which they are more adept at using than any other people in the world because they are at it longer and have had more reason to cover up their tracks. We do not see the wood for the trees, do not see what they are doing. Instead of looking for subversives under our respective beds, we should be looking in the beds to see who is in them with us and to see what influence MI5 and the CIA wield in the various political parties, in this Parliament, the present Government, or in the country.

We are being led by the nose by these people and their propaganda and their obsession about security. The only security they are concerned about is to continue the occupation of this country. This case is the most outrageous of all because we are sending this man back to be charged with escaping from lawful custody. It was unlawful and illegal custody. Then they added 15 other charges so that at least one would stick.

Do you think Kane will get a fair hearing when he gets back? Do you think there is not a real danger of him losing his life? Does the House not realise that it is not protecting its citizens and that we are contravening the spirit of our Constitution? We are spitting on the people who gave their lives that we might be in this little Parliament today in some sort of freedom which we are now throwing away by pandering to our occupiers. The propaganda is so massive — it is brainwashing — that the public should be clawing this place apart, but they are quiescent, afraid and intimidated. It is happening day in and day out and it is much more subtle than in a physical sense.

If the pictures of people not as prominent as the Members of this House were recorded at a protest rally against extradition or an anti-hunger strike, members of their families would not get a job in a State or semi-State organisation or [1633] associated bodies and of course the security forces are taboo as far as any of the family is concerned. Even if they are on a peaceful protest, they will not be considered for such jobs. Then we talk about equality and treating the children of the nation equally. We will go down in history as the most craven generation that ever purported to represent their country in any age anywhere.

We are collaborators of the first order with people who should be tried for war crimes. We cannot lean backwards far enough — our vertebrae does not allow it — but if we could we would tie ourselves in knots to kowtow to Mrs. Thatcher who represents the establishment in Great Britain. In the greater horizons of the European Community we are seen as law abiding, peace keeping, peace loving and security conscious whereas we are craven, inferiority ridden rats. That is what we are, what we are displaying ourselves to be and what history will record about us. My God, I do not know what has happened and I cannot credit that the Members of this House, no matter which side they are on or what party politics they adhere to, can sit quietly while this goes on. I am not talking about the few Deputies who are here, I am talking about all those who are not here. They did not protest when a young man such as Kane, a citizen of this country, was sent over to be reincarcerated where he never should have been in the first instance.

We are spitting on the escapes of the past. If we had had the same outlook in those days as we are now displaying what would we have done with de Valera when he escaped? Lawful custody, how are you? How would we have treated the patriots down the years who made their escape? Judging by the tone, attitude and climate pervading the country, and this House in particular, we would be sending them back to wherever they came from to finish their sentences or to have their sentences terminated by having their heads cut off, hanging or shooting them.

[1634] I implore the House, the Minister and the Government to rethink the entire situation in which they have found themselves by devices of propaganda to look at the past and try to forecast the future. They must realise that we are not representative of the people who went before us or doing a fair deal for the people who come after us. We are selling out like we never sold out before. We have had traitors in the past, people who individually sold us out. They are recorded in song and story which, in our brainwashed days, we do not allow to be played on the airwaves of our national station because they might contaminate the present generation by knowing what happened in the past. Maybe it is because we are afraid that comparisons would be made with those traitorous acts of individuals in the past.

As a Government, as a parliament, there is no parallel in history in this or any other country for the way we are behaving at present in our abject grovelling to our occupier. We are prepared to pay any price by exporting those who are sought by the Crown although we know they will not get a fair trial and that they are where they are because they did not get a fair deal down the years. They are where they are because they are trying to change it and we are doing our damnedest to stop even the sympathy of our people being accorded to them. It is monstrous, appalling and mind-boggling in an Irish context and in an Irish Parliament that we perpetrate these sorts of deeds in the name of security, peace-keeping and peace in the future. However, we know full well that there is no possibility of peace even beginning to break out unless and until the occupier to whom we are now pandering decides she is going. If only we could have sent her out she would have been gone long ago.

The reality is we are not capable of doing it but at least let us try to bring to her mind that the Executive, the Sunningdale Agreement, the Anglo-Irish Agreement and the Irish Conference are [1635] only fiddling while the North burns. After all these things have been tried and failed, the only answer is to point out to our occupier that if she has any interest in peace in this land of ours — which many times I doubt — the way to do it is to declare her intention of leaving, to make it clear she means she is going and that she does not give us very long from the declaration until the date of departure. I have no doubt that if that were done, instead of a bloodbath there would be meaningful talks between the divided communities in the North and between North and South, which you will never see while we persist in allowing and helping the occupier to stay where she is. God help Kane and others like him whom we may, through our belief of justice, send back now and in the future.

Minister for Justice (Mr. Collins): I want to inform the House that Mr. Paul Anthony Kane was returned to the North at Carrickcarnan just before 6 p.m. this evening in accordance with orders made by the District Court on 5 July 1988.

Mr. Blaney: Which were confirmed by the Minister.

Mr. Collins: Those orders were the subject of an appeal to the High Court brought by Mr. Kane. That appeal was heard by a divisional court of the High Court which unanimously rejected the appeal in judgments delivered on 16 March. The High Court order, perfected on 22 March 1989, placed a stay on the execution of the District Court orders for 21 days from the date of perfection and, in the event of notice of appeal to the Supreme Court being served within that period, until the final determination of that appeal.

Mr. Kane chose not to appeal the decision of the High Court to the Supreme Court and the District Court orders therefore fell to be executed in accordance with the High Court order as [1636] and from midnight last night. Arrangements were then put in place to give effect to the District Court orders and, as I have already indicated, those orders were executed at about 6 p.m. this evening.

Reference has been made to the powers vested in me by section 50 of the Extradition Act, 1965. The position in that regard is that on 30 March 1989 an application from Mr. Kane was lodged with me requesting me to consider his release under section 50 (bbb) of the Extradition Act, 1987. It was clear from the terms of the letter that reference to section 50 (bbb) of the 1987 Act was intended to be a reference to section 50 (2) (bbb) of the Extradition Act, 1965, as amended by the Extradition (Amendment) Act, 1987.

That provision allows the High Court to direct the release of a person if it is of opinion that by reason of the lapse of time since the commission of the offence specified in the warrant or the conviction of the person named or described therein of that offence, and other exceptional circumstances, it would, having regard to all the circumstances, be unjust, oppressive or invidious to deliver the person up under section 47 of the Act. Under the Act, the power to order the release of a person under section 50 (2) (bbb) is reserved to the High Court. The Act does not empower the Minister for Justice to intervene on the grounds set out in that paragraph.

The effect of subsection (4) of section 50 is that a direction under that section may be given by me in my capacity as Minister only on one of the grounds set out in paragraph (a) or (b) of subsection (2) of that section. It was not, therefore, open to me to accede to Mr. Kane's application given the express provisions of the Act. I replied accordingly in writing to Mr. Kane's application on 11 April. As I have mentioned——

Mr. Blaney: On a point of order, Sir——

[1637] An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy had 20 minutes in which to make his case.

Mr. Blaney: On a point of order, Sir——

An Ceann Comhairle: I hesitate to accept a point of order having regard to the time factor involved and to the time allocation for the Minister. The Deputy has had his say.

Mr. Blaney: It is a point of order arising out of what has been said since.

An Ceann Comhairle: I hesitate to see the Minister interrupted in the time available to him. Perhaps at the end of the discussion if the Deputy has a point of order I will hear him.

Mr. Blaney: As I have mentioned, there is a book of rules in this House which does not favour small parties and I think the fact that I am not allowed to put a point of order in this House——

An Ceann Comhairle: I have allowed the Deputy 20 minutes in which to make his case. He now seeks to deny the Minister ten minutes in which to reply.

Mr. Blaney: That has nothing to do with it. A point of order is a point of order at any time.

An Ceann Comhairle: I will take the point of order at the end of the Minister's speech.

Mr. Blaney: At the end of his contribution, this stops. The House closes at the end of the half an hour and you know that.

An Ceann Comhairle: I will not allow the Deputy to interrupt the Minister at this stage.

Mr. Blaney: You will not allow the [1638] Deputy his rights in this House. You are denying my rights.

An Ceann Comhairle: I resent that, Deputy.

Mr. Blaney: I am entitled to raise a point of order and until you hear it you cannot judge whether it is spurious or otherwise.

An Ceann Comhairle: Let us hear the point of order.

Mr. Blaney: The point of order is this: is it in order for the Minister, or for anybody else, to cite the law that he brought in and passed in this House as being the reason for not being able to grant a stay and save Kane from——

An Ceann Comhairle: That is not a point of order, Deputy Blaney. The Minister should proceed.

Mr. Blaney: If it is not, let me tell you this. You can have the rest of the book and good luck to you because this House is a disgrace to the nation.

Mr. Collins: As I have mentioned, the only grounds on which I may intervene to direct the release of a person are those contained in paragraphs (a) and (b) of subsection (2) of section 50. Those provide for the Minister for Justice to issue a direction if of opinion that the offence to which the warrant relates is a political offence or an offence connected with a political offence, an offence under military law which is not an offence under ordinary criminal law, a revenue offence or where there are substantial reasons for believing that the person named or described in the warrant will, if removed from the State, be prosecuted or detained for an offence of that nature. Mr. Kane did not rely on any of those provisions in his application. The facts and material advanced in his application all related [1639] only to paragraph (bbb) of section 50, subsection (2).

Furthermore, it was also, of course, open to Mr. Kane to apply to the High Court following the making of the District Court orders to direct his release in accordance with the provisions of paragraphs (a) and (b) of section 50, subsection (2). Mr. Kane initially instituted such proceedings but he chose not to pursue them. He subsequently withdrew those proceedings. Clearly in the circumstances it would not, therefore, have been appropriate for me to have intervened in accordance with the limited statutory discretion available to me.

The House will appreciate that for me [1640] to intervene under section 50 of the Extradition Act, 1965, would, in effect, be to set aside an order of the court. There has never yet been a case in which a Minister for Justice has considered it appropriate to make such an intervention which, of course, could only be based on clear evidence that the grounds on which the Minister is entitled to intervene under the Act exist. In conclusion, I might add that it has been the view of successive Ministers for Justice that decisions on matters of that kind are normally best left to be made on the basis of sworn evidence provided in open court.

The Dáil adjourned at 7.30 p.m. until 10.30 a.m. on Friday, 14 April 1989.