Seanad Éireann - Volume 107 - 27 March, 1985

Apartheid System: Motion.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach: I would like to remind the House that the normal time for a non-Government motion is three hours; 15 minutes to each speaker and the proposer will have 30 minutes.

Mr. B. Ryan: I move:

That Seanad Éireann—

shocked at the vicious clamp-down on the leaders of the United Democratic Front (UDF) in South Africa, which has used only peaceful means to oppose apartheid;

appalled at the arrests on charges of high treason of 15 leaders of the [1433] UDF, prominent trade unionists, and officers of the Release Mandela Committees;

expresses solidarity with all those arrested and with the many others detained without charge or trial in the course of the past three months;

calls for the release of all political prisoners, including Nelson Mandela, without condition, in South Africa and Namibia;

condemns the shooting of black demonstrators by South African police on the 25th anniversary of the Sharpeville massacre; and

calls for measures which will increase the pressure on South Africa to abandon the apartheid system and institute constitutional arrangements to include all South Africans fully and equally in the political process.

I would like to begin by thanking all the groups in this House for agreeing, and indeed enthusiastically, to a common motion being put before the House. I would like to thank the Minister for Foreign Affairs for his obvious interest and for being here. Without his goodwill we would not be discussing this as an agreed motion. It is perhaps a small but significantly historic event. As one who has been involved, like many other Members of this House in the anti-apartheid movement for the greater part of adult life, I think to have a motion as strongly worded as this unanimously agreed by all the Members of this House of the Oireachtas represents the historic creation of a very important consensus in Irish politics. Apartheid is no longer an internal issue in this country; we are all united in our views on apartheid. That is a small but very significant step on the way to our completing our commitment to the destruction of that system and the regime which perpetrates it in South Africa.

It would probably not be necessary in this House for me to detail the realities of South Africa but since the motion is of great significance I will have to at least [1434] put some of the appalling facts about the nature of apartheid firmly and clearly on the record. First of all, 72.7 per cent of the population of South Africa is black. Only 15.5 per cent is white. That does not, of course, include Namibia which is illegally occupied by South Africa. If that were to be included the population proportion would obviously be even more extremely in favour of the black population.

Blacks have nothing more than a tolerance in most white areas. There are, of course, window dressing proposals advanced from time to time to remedy that situation. Nevertheless the realities are that black women and children, the old and the sick are confined to the bantustans, the areas created from the most unproductive land in the whole territory of South Africa in order to accommodate the black majority population. On average black industrial workers receive only a quarter of the pay of whites and are restricted to menial positions. Expenditure education on each white child in 1983 was £787; for each black child it was £95. Black children in the bantustans are 20 times more likely to die before the age of five than white children. For every 10,000 whites there are 20 doctors; for every 10,000 blacks there is less than one doctor.

Such a system, which is so inequitable, which destroys the entire rights to participate in their own country of the vast majority of its population obviously cannot sustain itself without massive repression. South Africa is ruled, not by consent, but by force. The Internal Security Act of 1982 gives the Minister for Law and Order the power to declare organisations illegal, to ban individuals, to ban meetings and gatherings, to ban newspapers and other publications, to hold people on indefinite preventive detention without charge or trial. Since 1948, over 1,500 people have been banned; in 1960 the African National Congress was banned; in 1977 alone 18 black consciousness organisations were banned; 16,000 people were detained in 1960. Since 1963 about 60 people have died in detention. One thousand people were killed in the [1435] 1976-77 student uprising. In addition to that the black population of South Africa are subjected to forced removals on a most extraordinary scale. Three-and-a-half million black South Africans have been forcibly removed since 1960. A further 1.5 million removals are expected. The pass laws are part of the ritual of indignity that is imposed on the majority population in South Africa in the interest of sustaining the privilege of the few. The black trade unions, grudgingly recognised, are still far from free to operate. Indeed, we will be referring again to the detention of some trade union leaders in recent times. For instance, the black trade unions are legally forbidden from picketing or from incitement to strike — an extraordinary provision for a union that is supposed to be defending the interests of its members.

There is a great deal more to say about South Africa, about land distribution where the population who are white, who represent less than 16 per cent of the population, occupy 85 per cent of the land, where any attempt at democratic participation is ruthlessly suppressed. There is, of course, a fashion in this country which suggests that we do not really know what is going on there. People who have lived there or indeed, occasionally and tragically, sportsmen who have visited there have come back and told us that things have changed. I have here in front of me a brief but remarkable and eloquent testament of what the reality of life in South Africa is. I will identify the author at the end.

Having worked in Soweto at the Baragwanath hospital for six months and at the King Edward VIII Hospital, Durban, both hospitals for non-Europeans, I had opportunity to meet many Africans, Indians and coloured. I feel I can therefore refute the viewpoint of so many Europeans who visit South Africa that there has been substantial change in relation to the appalling plight of the Africans. Europeans by and large live with luxury and certainly with privilege. Africans live in poverty [1436] with little legal possibility of improving their dismal lot in the land of their forbears.

In addition to poor housing, poor health, inferior opportunity, inferior education Africans also suffer from the attempts by the minority population to cast them in the role of inferior human beings.

The problem of colour is a white man's problem. If he is to expurgate his guilt before it is too late the whole apparatus of apartheid must be dismantled now.

That statement is from another Member of this House, from Senator Robb, who cannot be here but whose personal experience of working as a medical doctor in South Africa he has asked me to put on the record of this House. That in a very blunt and, in Senator Robb's characteristically honest way, describes the reality of life in South Africa very effectively.

In the face of this apparatus of repression the majority population have endeavoured by many methods and many means to resist. Every effort to develop resistance, whether it be non-violent, passive or violent has been equally and ruthlessly suppressed from the time of the massacre in Sharpeville 25 years ago, through the arrest and detention for the last 20 years of probably one of the great heroes of the twentieth century, Nelson Mandela, through the murder of Steve Biko in 1977, through small things in terms of world history but awful human tragedies like the assassination of the wife and child of Marius Schoon now a citizen of this country, thanks again to the good offices of the Government, on through the Soweto uprisings, on into South Africa's continued illegal, violent and cruel occupation of Namibia. On every occasion ruthless force has been used to suppress all forms of dissent, all forms of criticism of the regime.

There has been an increasingly effective and an increasingly active world campaign of pressure on South Africa. Because of this, because of the pressure from business organisations and because [1437] indeed from some pressure within the country there have been some attempts at reform. This has been brought about not because of any goodwill but because of political pressure, economic pressure and indeed very effective sporting pressure, the pressure of a sporting boycott which has been enormously successful and needs and deserves to be sustained, expanded and made even more effective. Because of this there has been some window dressing reform, the most recent and the most vivid being the so-called [1438] constitutional reform which gave certain limited rights to certain groups excluding the majority black population.

As a response to that attempt at constitutional reform the United Democratic Front was formed in 1983. I want to read on to the record of the House the declaration of the United Democratic Front in South Africa, largely because it demonstrates the moderate tone, the moderate nature and the moderate objectives of the United Democratic Front. I quote:

Whereas democracy is the means by which the free will of the people is expressed in electing their chosen representatives to govern, in the processes through which they rule and in the allocation of resources for the benefit of all the people;

and whereas, these truths are cherished by the whole of the civilised world and are goals for which women and men have given up their lives and are willing to die;

and whereas, the constitutional reform proposals devised by the minority white government for South Africa, avoid recognition of these fundamental needs of democracy in that:

— they have been imposed without genuine consultation with and active participation by the people of this country.

— they make race and ethnicity the only criteria for the right to take part in government.

— they do not begin to redress the intrinsic economic and social inequalities which have been the deliberate result of centuries of white domination.

— they, in fact, perpetuate and consolidate economic and racial exploitation and entrench the apartheid state.

and now therefore we, democrats assembled on this 23rd day of January, 1983, at the Selbourne Hall in Johannesburg, South Africa, do hereby unanimously:

— reject in their totality and without qualification the constitutional and reform proposals

— form ourselves into a united democratic front (UDF) to oppose the implementation of this devious scheme disguised to divide the people.

We declare that the broad principles on which this (UDF) is constituted are:

— A belief in the tenets of democracy referred to in the preamble

— An unshakeable conviction in the creation of a non-racial, unitary state in South Africa undiluted by racial or ethnic considerations as formulated in the bantustan policy.

— An adherence to the need for unity in struggle through which all democrats regardless of race, religion or colour, shall take part together.

— A recognition of the necessity to work in consultation with, and reflect accurately the demands of, democratic people wherever they may be in progressive worker, community, and student organisations.

We further undertake to work according to the following guidelines:

— The mobilisation of our people for the rejection of these constitutional reform [1439] proposals should complement and reinforce the ongoing day to day struggles on basic issues which face workers, communities and students.

— A firm acceptance of the existence of dangers at the local council level in the proposals which entail the retention of the Group Areas Act, maintenance of racially exclusive local areas, concentration of control in favour of the rich and exacerbation of poverty.

— An acknowledgment of the threat to the attainment of decent living standards by the African majority by these proposals which would facilitate forced removals, aggravate impoverishment in the bantustans and allow the continued escalation in rents, transport costs and food prices.

— A clear understanding of the utter failure of these proposals to address the problems of rising unemployment, low wages, poor working conditions and weakened collective bargaining powers.

— A true appreciation of the inability of the reform proposals to restructure and redirect education in this country to conform to the demands of democracy. In fact they maintain and consolidate racially separated and unequal education.

and now therefore

We pledge to fight together side by side against the government's constitutional and reform proposals.

I would suggest to the House that they are remarkably moderate in their tone and represent nothing more than the commitment of democrats to democratic government in their own country.

The UDF campaigned with extraordinary success in the election in South Africa last year, the so-called elections. They were so successful that they achieved massive boycotts among the so-called Indian and so-called coloured populations, boycotts arguably of the order of between 80 and 85 per cent by those populations, boycotts which totally undermined any credibility which this further extension of racialism in South Africa could perhaps have had. The response of the South African racist regime has been, as always in their history, to launch a vicious campaign against this further attempt to bring about change in South Africa by arrests, detentions and spurious charges of high treason. Among the people arrested are the treasurer of the UDF, the leader of the UDF, the President of the South African Allied Workers Union, the chairman of the Natal Release Mandela Committee and the President of the Transvaal Indian Council, a leader of the South African Allied Workers Union and so on. Sixteen people among that group who were [1440] arrested have been charged with high treason.

There is something painfully ironic about people who have no right to participate in their own country's activities or their own country's processes of government being charged with high treason within that country. There is something particularly offensive about it even by, I would suggest, South African standards. The response of the national executive committee of the United Democratic Front to those arrests and charges and their analysis bears repetition because they, better than I or anybody in this country, reflect the reality of what is going on in South Africa;

The treason trial is a means of reducing the efficiency of the UDF. The State is only prepared to accommodate the UDF as a weak organisation whose existence can be exploited by State propaganda agents as a sign that it is democratic and allows for public opposition.

That the State is avoiding overtly repressive measures, such as banning and restriction orders but instead criminalises anti-apartheid activists to give the international community a false impression that only law breakers are punished.

[1441] There the detention of UDF leaders is intended to create an opportunity to build credibility for the unpopular Bantustan leaders;

That this trial will be further used to smear the UDF as a subversive and violent organisation;

That the arbitrary arrests together with mysterious violent attacks on the homes of UDF members are intended to intimidate people from associating with the UDF.

Finally, because the UDF have already pronounced against participation in the State President's informal forum there is a concerted effort to smash the front in advance so that it cannot actively campaign against this sham forum.

They are not my views; they are not the views of anybody in this country; they are the views of South Africans themselves facing up to the realities of their Government's repressive politics.

Having arrested, detained and charged the leaders of the latest in a succession of attempts to bring about change, the South African regime revealed itself again last week. Even moderately minded people — people perhaps a bit unhappy about some of the language some of us might use about South Africa — were appalled by what happened last week in Langa. I want to quote briefly from The Observer of Sunday, 4 March, 1985, describing what happened in that massacre at Langa. There was a march which was intended to be a funeral of a student who had died in a violent confrontation. That march took place because a motorised procession was stopped by the police. That march was confronted by a police-carrying vehicle. I want to quote what people on the spot said in sworn affidavits presented to members of the parliamentary opposition in South Africa:

As the column of people approached the “hippo”, a shot rang out and the boy on the bicycle fell dead, his head burst open by a rifle bullet.

The witnesses insist there was no order to stop and that no warning shot [1442] was fired. The first warning they had was when they saw the cyclist shot.

A second later volleys of gunfire rang out from both the “Hippos” parked on top of the rise and the other vehicle which had driven up behind the procession. The people were caught in a withering crossfire. I turned and ran, says one man who was walking near where the cyclist fell. Everybody ran.

Other affidavits gathered by the MPs gave similar accounts of the shooting. All said there was more than one volley fired and that the shooting continued after the people fled. The conclusion must be reached that the action was punitive and not preventative, says Errol Moorcroft, who has prepared the MPs report from the affidavits. Moorcroft adds in his report that the MPs examined the scene of the shooting and could find no evidence to suggest that the police vehicle had been surrounded or attacked.

There were no burn marks to indicate that petrol bombs had been thrown. Although a fire engine had been used to hose the blood from the road, there were still many traces of it and these indicated that the people were about 20 yards from the top of the rise where the Caspir was parked when they were shot.

There were no blood marks beyond the truck itself which one might have expected if the police had fired on a crowd that was surrounding and attacking them from all sides, Moorcroft notes.

If that was not enough, about the same time in the same area in Uitenhage, two members of a brave predominantly white organisation called the Black Sash who campaign for equal rights for black South Africans, happened to visit the police station in Uitenhage. They went into a room they were not intended to be in. What they saw inside the room was horrific; a burly black policeman was standing over a black youth, flogging him savagely with a leather lash known as a sjambok. The young man was lying on [1443] his side with his hands manacled to a table leg. There was blood trickling from a gash in his head, his wrists were lacerated from the steel manacles and his face was badly swollen.

Along one wall, three other young black prisoners were sitting on a bench. One of them also had a badly swollen face. But what above all else appalled the two civil rights workers ... was the attitude of the other policemen in the room.

One was sitting at a table eating his lunch, while the others sat around casually observing the scene.

That is the reality of life in South Africa today, of policemen who apparently can ignore savagery in their own presence and continue eating their lunch.

That is the context in which the continuing detention of somebody I described earlier as probably one of the great heroes of the twentieth century, Nelson Mandela, continues. This man was locked up 20 years ago because of his alleged high treason in a country in which he had no rights. As recently as last month he was offered conditional freedom. With that extraordinary unbroken spirit that he has shown for 20 years he refused. He is, as an opinion poll showed, the acknowledged leader of the vast majority of black South Africans. There was an opinion poll conducted and close to 75 per cent of black South Africans identified Nelson Mandela as the person they recognised as the leader of black South Africa. He is there for 20 years. He is the acknowledged leader of his people and the authorities are apparently afraid even now to release a man who is admittedly an old man but who is also an extraordinarily brave man.

At this stage in this country and in the world at large we do not have a choice about whether or not South Africa will change. We can sit back and watch the change be achieved inevitably and with awful violence or we can increase economic, political, cultural and other pressure and hope to minimise the need for violence and to achieve change by other [1444] means. We can temporarise and rationalise. I do not think we in this country can be accused of indifference but there are areas where we need to improve our campaigning and our conviction. The basic issue for the western world generally is whether we temporarise, rationalise and ensure that when change comes, as it will inevitably, it will be violent, bloody and savage. A people who have suffered so much cannot wait any longer. On the evidence we have had in recent years, the fear of repression will not suppress that people any longer. I do not think they will capitulate and bend again before repression. Because they have suffered so much, they will tolerate it no longer. In spite of the repression a new generation of leaders has surfaced. It would appear, irrespective of the activities of the security forces, irrespective of the murders of people like Steve Biko, new leaders surface, among the most obvious being Bishop Tutu. The old leaders seem to survive with their spirit intact as evidenced by the courage of Nelson Mandela. There seems to be a new spirit of resistance among the majority population of South Africa which reflects the spirit that the authorities have attempted to break every five years for the last 25 years. There seems to be a new courage abroad.

What we must do is to increase our actions and activities. In trade, we have to think about ending imports from South Africa and exports to South Africa either indirectly or directly from companies working in this country, some of them multinational, some of them regarded as major employers. We are getting to the position now where the fundamental moral question of the nature of South African racist policy is such that the fact that certain companies in this country do business with South Africa must be a major concern to us and to the Government. Many of us would need to do more about the bravery of those ten people who have taken a stand for their conscience in Dunnes' Stores in Henry Street, Dublin.

[1445] An Leas-Chathaoirleach: The Senator has two minutes remaining.

Mr. B. Ryan: We must continue to challenge the Irish-based companies which are involved with South Africa. There are suggestions that Irish companies are indirectly conspiring to participate in the arms trade in South Africa. Everything must be done to dissuade the Irish Rugby Football Union from any further contacts with the racist regime in South Africa. We must look towards trade boycotts and at the general campaign in this area, because whatever our merits in the past, our position must be strengthened heavily. This is a moral issue. The choice is not about change, or no change: it is about possible routes to inevitable change. We can minimise the agony of black South Africians now by, if possible, encouraging non-violent change. If the just war doctrine as articulated by my Church has any meaning, armed resistance is justified in South Africa in the context of that just war doctrine. It may well still be possible to avoid that.

I should like to conclude by reading from a rock song by Peter Gabriel. This song is in memory of Steve Biko. I will read one verse:

You can blow out a candle

But you can't blow out a fire,

Once the flame begins to catch

The wind will blow it higher.

The wind is blowing in South Africa: we can prevent the flames taking over and play our part in a contribution to non-violent change. Without non-violent change the flames will take over and the change will still be inevitable.

Professor Dooge: I second the motion and reserve my speech in order to allow the Minister to intervene in the debate.

Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. P. Barry): This evening's debate takes place at a time when world attention is once again focused on South Africa, this time because of the shocking events of last week. On Thursday last, on a hill [1446] between the township of Langa and the suburb of Uitenhage in the eastern Cape Province of South Africa, South African police killed 19 mourners on their way to a funeral. The names of Langa and Uitenhage thus join those of Sharpeville, Soweto and so many others in the catalogue of oppression of the black population of South Africa in the name of apartheid.

The Uitenhage killings have been widely and rightly condemned by governments and by the United Nations Security Council. The universal shock which they caused was due not only to the large number of people killed but also to the fact that they occurred on the 25th anniversary of Sharpeville Day. On behalf of our own Government and people, I have already expressed our abhorrence at and condemnation of this outrage. I welcome the opportunity provided by this motion to repeat my condemnation, to restate the policy of the Government in our opposition to apartheid; and to announce further measures which we are taking to help bring about an end to this system.

It is a reflection of the state of South African society that the killings fitted into a pattern in which over 240 people have been killed since last summer when the South African authorities sharply increased their already high level repression of political opposition. By the end of 1984, in addition to the numbers killed and injured, twice as many people had been detained as in 1983; many hundreds had been arrested and numerous meetings had been banned or restricted.

Attempts to suppress opposition to apartheid have been stepped up in parallel with the growth of organised opposition to the system. Throughout 1984 the level of this opposition was demonstrated by:

a schools boycott by hundreds of thousands of students protesting against inequities in the education system;

demonstrations against rent increases imposed by local councils which are seen as mere tools of the government; [1447] a two-day stayaway from work by over one million workers protesting at rent increases, demanding the withdrawal of the armed forces and police from black townships and calling for the release of political prisoners;

the extremely low turnout in the elections in August for the coloured and Indian chambers of the racially segregated Parliament.

A feature of all the demonstrations of opposition which I have mentioned is that they have been met with violence by the South African authorities. This violence is itself directly responsible for the deaths of large numbers of people as last week's events clearly demonstrate. However, it has the additional effect of building on and increasing the frustration already felt by blacks because of the denial of their political and human rights and the lack of adequate political means to obtain redress for their grievances. In turn, this frustration has flared into destructive violence and killings in the townships.

The violence in the townships underlies the alienation of South Africa's black population caused by the apartheid system. It is idle for the South African Government to claim, as they do, that they have embarked on a process of reform of the system when what is required is its complete abolition. One cannot merely reform a system which, purely on the grounds of race, excludes men and women from meaningful participation in the political affairs of their country. Nor can one merely reform a system which, again on racial grounds, denies them access to the basic facilities provided to others in the same society. This is the reality of apartheid.

To take a few examples:

the South African Government spend on the education of each black child from one-tenth to one-eighth of the amount they spend on the education of his white compatriot;

a black South African child has, because of discrimination against his [1448] race, poorer access to doctors, hospitals and other medical facilities than does a white child;

a black child has more limited access to basic nutrition, Recent studies have shown that in parts of South Africa, black children suffer the effects of malnutrition which would be expected only in poorer economies.

It is idle to claim, as South Africa does, that its black citizens enjoy better living conditions than do many others in Africa. That is to miss the point that South Africa is the richest of the non-oil-exporting states in Africa; that it has the resources to treat all its citizens equally; that it chooses to discriminate against some sections of its population in order to favour others; and that it chooses to exercise this discrimination on the basis of race. The system which perpetuates these inequities must not be reformed: it must be abolished.

The need to abolish it becomes even more imperative when we examine the so-called reforms proposed by the South African Government. In no way do these proposals put right the wrongs of apartheid. Nor do they address the legitimate political expectations of the majority of South Africa's population. Indeed, the changes being made can be seen as reformulating and entrenching apartheid rather than reforming it. The new constitution adopted by white South Africans continues to exclude the black community from parliamentary representation and gives to coloureds and Asians only a very circumscribed franchise. Limited relaxations in the laws of tenure as applied to some black South Africans are offset by the forced removals of others from the homes they have enjoyed for generations. The removal of the displaced black communities to the so-called bantustans creates further pressures on these lands which comprise only a small fraction of the land of South Africa and which are unable to support the large numbers of people assigned to them.

The opposition to all aspects of apartheid including the new constitution has been led by the independent trade union [1449] movement and by the United Democratic Front. It is the success of these organisations over the past year in mobilising peaceful protest which has led to their continued harassment by the authorities. Their premises have been raided, their leaders have been arrested and detained and many now face charges of high treason. This use of the judicial process appears to be a further attempt by the South African Government to stifle all opposition to its policies. In addition to the concern we feel for those who face charges, we must also fear that the repression of peaceful protest will lead to the further alienation of the black community and to more violence. For these reasons and for their principled stand against the apartheid sytem, those who now face trial must receive our full support.

This country's concern at the continuation of apartheid is founded not only on our abhorrence of a system of institutionalised racial discrimination and on our concern at the denial of human rights to South Africa's people. It is also based on the fact that apartheid and South Africa's aggressive defence of its system lie at the root of many of the problems of Southern Africa. It is part of this country's foreign policy to address these problems and to assist in solving some of them through political persuasion and through our support for economic and social development. Our policy covers not only opposition to apartheid but also support for the independence of Namibia and for the general development of the region.

Ireland supports the economic and social development of the Southern African region through bilateral aid to Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Lesotho, the last two countries being priority targets for Irish aid. We also support the work of the Southern Africa Development Coordination Conference, which aims to further the development of Southern African countries and to lessen their dependence on South Africa. Our support is dictated not only by the needs of the area but also by the recognition that South Africa pursues a policy of economic and military destabilisation against [1450] its neighbours and that outside support for them is, therefore, all the more necessary.

On Namibia, we condemn the illegal occupation of that country by South Africa and strongly support its early accession to independence in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 435. In the event of the implementation of Resolution 435, we are prepared to participate in the United Nations Transition Assistance Group which will supervise the country's first elections.

On apartheid, the Government support the peaceful ending of the system in the following ways:

(i) we regularly and strongly condemn apartheid in international fora;

(ii) we support sanctions against South Africa.

The Government support and implement the arms embargo against South Africa in accordance with UN Security Council Resolutions 418 and 558.

We also support the imposition by the Security Council of effective mandatory sanctions on South Africa and we co-sponsored a resolution to that effect at the last session of the UN General Assembly.

We do not encourage trade with South Africa and we actively discourage sporting contacts;

(iii) we support the code of conduct for the subsidiaries of EEC companies operating in South Africa. The code seeks to alleviate some of the features of apartheid in the workplace;

(iv) we provide assistance to victims of apartheid bilaterally and through the United Nations;

(v) we strive to maintain in Ireland a climate which is inimical to the idea of apartheid.

In present circumstances it is particularly appropriate for me to concentrate on our assistance to the victims of apartheid. We have accepted that such aid [1451] should be included in our programme of development co-operation and we contribute to the United Nations funds which channel our assistance to those in need. In 1985, our assistance to the United Nations Trust Fund for South Africa and to the United Nations Educational and Training Programme for Southern Africa will amount to £50,000.

I have also been considering for some time how we might best expand the assistance we give to those who suffer under apartheid. Together with the Minister of State, Deputy Jim O'Keeffe, I have already expanded the remit of part of our bilateral aid programme so that non-governmental organisations in South Africa, working for the benefit of those discriminated against by apartheid, can qualify for assistance from our programme of co-financing for non-governmental organisations. The first grant under this heading has already been approved for payment.

Under the same part of the bilateral aid programme and in response to a request for assistance which Bishop Tutu put to me during his visit to Ireland last year, my Department will explore with the South African Council of Churches the co-financing of development projects organised by the SACC to assist the victims of apartheid. As soon as it has been determined which projects we might co-finance, a further announcement will be made.

At this time when our attention is focused on the forthcoming trial of political opponents of apartheid, it is right that I should announce our practical support for those on trial. I propose to provide grants to two funds which help to provide legal defence in political trials in South Africa and Namibia. The first of these is the International Defence and Aid Fund whose objectives are:

to aid, defend and rehabilitate the victims of unjust legislation and oppressive and arbitrary procedures in South Africa;

to support their families and dependants;

[1452] to keep the conscience of the world alive to the issues at stake.

Senators will be aware that annual conferences of the IDAF were held in Dublin in 1975 and 1983 and on the latter occasion I met the delegates and learned of their work at first hand. I am pleased to announce that a sum of £10,000 will be granted to the International Defence and Aid Fund from the bilateral aid programme this year and also that the Government will continue to support the work of the fund in future years.

The second fund which I have decided to support is the Asingeni Fund of the South African Council of Churches. The aims of this fund are similar to those of the IDAF and I have approved a grant of £4,000 for its work.

Some of the victims of apartheid and of other South African policies now reside outside the country as refugees. Ireland has, over the years, received a number of these for training in economic and social development under the auspices of programmes run by international organisations, particularly the International Labour Organisation. The bilateral aid programme will, in conjunction with the Department of Labour, consider expanding our co-operation with the ILO with a view to participating in that organisation's programme against apartheid.

Many South African and Namibian refugees are settled in Tanzania, Zambia and Lesotho, which, as Senators know, are target countries for Irish bilateral aid. In the development of our programmes of assistance to these countries, my Department will investigate the possibilities of including projects specifically designed to assist some of these refugees.

In order to complete the picture of Irish assistance to the victims of South Africa's policies, I should like to mention our assistance to Namibia. Our 1985 contribution to the United Nations Fund for Namibia is £21,000. We shall also continue to receive for training fellowship holders sponsored by international organisations and, in addition, we have offered two fellowships for third level training to candidates sponsored by the [1453] South-West Africa People's Organisation.

In order to maintain pressure for the abolition of apartheid, Ireland contributes to the United Nations Fund for Publicity against Apartheid. As I have already said, it is also one of the aims of Government policy that we maintain a climate in Ireland which is inimical to the idea of apartheid. In order that Irish people should become even more aware of the reality of apartheid, I have decided that it is a subject which ought to feature in my Department's programme of development education. This programme is run jointly with Irish non-governmental organisations and my Department will consider for inclusion projects submitted by them on the subject of apartheid.

Apartheid will not be easily ended. We can expect it to be abolished only when the white minority in South Africa come to understand that their future and wellbeing is inextricably linked with that of all others in their country. Any such realisation will be forced on them only by a combination of increased difficulties in maintaining the present system in the face of black expectations and by sustained international pressure to replace it with a system which guarantees justice and equality to all South Africans.

The longer the delay in creating a just society in South Africa the more will we see incidents like that in Uitenhage. Shocking and distressing as they are, such incidents will not stop the march to equality of people who are prepared to make every sacrifice to achieve their rights.

Our support is needed in their struggle for equality. I have outlined this evening the support which we are presently providing through political pressure and also through practical assistance to those opposed to apartheid. I have also outlined the further steps, such as effective sanctions, which we hope the international community will adopt. And finally, I have indicated the direction in which our practical support for opponents of apartheid will be developed.

In demonstrations yesterday, South Africans of all races showed yet again [1454] that they are prepared to make sacrifices in order to achieve justice and equality of treatment. On behalf of the Government, I reaffirm our support for their struggle to create a free, just and equal society which can be enjoyed in peace by all in South Africa.

Mr. E. Ryan: I have much pleasure in supporting this resolution. I have listened with great interest to the two speeches that have already been made. I sometimes find when I criticise the regime in South Africa that people are inclined to say perhaps it is not the worst regime; perhaps worse things are happening in the USSR or Chile or the Philipines or somewhere where things are bad at that particular time. Many people do not appreciate the unique difference between what is happening in South Africa and what is happening anywhere else in the world, no matter how bad the regime may be in these other places. The governments in all these countries oppress those who oppose them politically or militarily or who appear to be in some way a threat but in a sense, the people who are oppressed have an option: if they stop opposing the regime, they stand some chance of no longer being oppressed. In South Africa the position is completely different.

The blacks in South Africa are discriminated against and oppressed merely because of the colour of their skin. No matter what they say or do, because they are blacks they are, for that very reason, the subject of oppression and of injustice. In that way it is a completely different case from any other oppression of any kind throughout the world. That is what is so utterly reprehensible in South Africa, which is characteristic of the position in South Africa at the moment. It is that which makes the regime there a class apart and the most odious regime in the world today. Only in the Nazi regime 40 years ago in Germany did we have anything similar to it. That again was a similar situation. The Nazi regime singled out the Jews who suffered similar treatment, again not because they were opposing the German Government, not [1455] because they were doing anything in particular but merely because they were Jews. They were oppressed because of that; they were discriminated against and ultimately something of the order of six million of them were murdered. They had no options. It was not anything they were doing wrong; they were wiped out because they were not members of the master race and consequently could not be tolerated.

It is only in these two cases that there is the same kind of approach. Certainly, what happened in Germany at that time has shocked and shamed the conscience of the world and what is happening in South Africa at the present time is of the same order. There is no doubt whatever that this oppression and injustice in South Africa is continuing at the present time not merely as bad as it was but in many ways worse. Again and again, people try to persuade us that things are not really as bad as we think, that we are misled by propaganda and so on. We know that the United Nations have again and again condemned what is happening in South Africa and have condemned it by huge majorities. Usually the condemnation is unanimous; sometimes there are a few abstensions but in most cases these condemnations are of the order of 150 to nil. I regret to say that the UK and the US on a number of occasions have been the only countries which have refused to condemn the situation in South Africa.

It is extraordinary that, in spite of this widespread condemnation which has been expressed again and again in the United Nations, the regime in South Africa can continue with their evil ways. It can only happen because in spite of these votes of condemnation some of the big powers are less than enthusiastic in implementing sanctions and so on. They are less than enthusiastic in using their muscle to try to achieve some reform of the position in South Africa.

Of course I have to say also that many people, particularly some people in this country, some of our sportsmen and businessmen, are less than helpful by their association with the regime. I find it very [1456] difficult to believe that any person, sportsman, businessman or anybody else who really understood the magnitude of this problem, the injustice of it could continue to associate with this regime because by associating with it they certainly give encouragement to apartheid. This association on their part boosts the morale of the South African people and in effect tells them that we have no real objection to apartheid, that we are quite happy to associate with them in spite of that. That is what these people do who go to play games in South Africa or associate in other ways. The excuse usually given by those who go there is that they are building bridges, that when they meet South Africans they talk to them and try to persuade them to see the error of their ways and to persuade them to modify apartheid.

This is a completely useless approach to the subject. The South Africans are fully aware of the error of their ways. They have not the faintest intention of changing and they use these visits by people who are perhaps sometimes well-intentioned merely to prove the acceptability of South Africa and to show that people are more and more playing games with them or associating with them in one way or another.

South Africa has been trying to give the impression recently that they are introducing reforms of one kind or another. Of course, anybody who examines the position realises that this is merely window dressing. The black citizen — and it is hard to call him a citizen — has really none of the rights of a citizen; he has no vote; there is restriction on the type of job he does and consequently restriction on the amount of money he earns; there is restriction on the area in which he can work and notorious pass laws are part of that system. There is restriction on having his family to live in the same area as he works. There are so many restrictions on liberty, on having meetings that he is circumscribed in every single way.

The Minister mentioned that far from there being an easing of the position in regard to detentions, in 1984 there were [1457] twice as many detentions as there were in the previous year. Political trials seem to be more numerous than ever. I suppose in a sense people who are sent for trial could be regarded as lucky because usually they are merely detained without being tried at all. It is hard to say which is the worse situation to be in. Certainly those who are sent for trial are usually sent on the most nebulous charges, on charges of something which is called perhaps public violence which really means that they merely took part in some kind of a peaceful protest. Most convictions when they do take place are on statements which they made while in detention.

Political activity generally is so restricted as to be almost useless even within the permissable areas of political progress and, of course, they are very, very limited indeed. However, in spite of how little they can do, we cannot but be full of admiration and respect for those people who continue to do their best, who continue to stand up for their rights, stand up for their liberties and, if necessary, fight for them in spite of the immense difficulties and the immense repression and injustice which surround them on every side. We must be full of admiration for the efforts they make to free themselves from this odious tyranny in which they live.

We have a duty in this country to do everything that lies in our power to help the oppressed people of South Africa. There is not much we can do, unfortunately, but certainly anything we can do we should do. In international polities this Government and previous Governments have done everything they could to make their position clear. They have taken part in resolutions and supported most of them and made quite clear what we think of apartheid. The Government of the day, the Members of this House, every citizen in every way no matter how small the effort may be must do their best to lessen the effectiveness. to lessen the inhumanity of the South African regime. We must condemn it; we must undermine it; we must ostracise all those concerned with it and, hopefully, [1458] this in the long run will bring it to an end. As I say, we cannot do much but that makes it all the more necessary that we do everything that lies in our power to help in the situation.

Mr. M. Higgins: I would like on behalf of the Labour group to support this resolution which is in the name of all the groups and individuals represented in Seanad Éireann. I would like to re-emphasise the point made by Senator Brendan Ryan that this is one of those occasions on which there is a consensus among all shades of opinion in Ireland on a matter of foreign policy. I would like to bring the debate just a little bit further. Before I do so I would like to welcome all the new initiatives the Minister has announced in relation to the two dimensions of continuing our opposition to apartheid as a principle, opposition to the South African apartheid State and, secondly, the new measures which are gestures of solidarity with those who are victims of oppression in apartheid. When such consensus exists it behoves us to use our time effectively in posing questions as to the effectiveness of our policies directed against apartheid in South Africa.

I want to take up a point that the previous speaker made. I very much endorse the comments that Senator Eoin Ryan made about the importance of our sustaining our opposition and undermining the South African State. I want to raise a number of questions. In many ways there is more at stake than the tragic deaths of the people who have most recently died. There is our whole commitment in relation to principles of international law and principles of human rights and principles of freedom are called into question. I am very convinced always by those who trace in the evolution of human rights a certain common human response. After the horror of the camps in World War II it was felt that humanity had sunk to a particularly low level and thus people spoke of the concept of crimes against humanity and the human rights movement in a way [1459] received an impetus from the circumstances of the camps and the evidence which was revealed at the end of the war. Indeed, many people writing about it in the history of law write about the effect which the sight of those who came from the camps had on them. Yet the television service provides us with evidence every day of the effects of apartheid.

One must ask the question as to what kind of thinking and what kind of politics makes it possible to allow this schizophrenic view to prevail. In our hearts we seem to condemn apartheid in principle and its obvious horrific consequences and yet, at the same time, South Africa has continued apartheid despite more than 100 United Nations resolutions condemning it as a system of practices, and despite its being condemned as a crime against humanity. The answer lies in our view of the division between what we would call politics and economics. There is the view in this country, as Senator Eoin Ryan has acknowledged — among business people for example — that you can divide politics and economics and that you can, for example, accept that people in a chamber like this can condemn apartheid but that we let economic relations roll on, let business connections continue. Admittedly, there is official condemnation of these contacts, yet the contacts continue. Equally, there is the notion, particularly among sporting and cultural organisations, that they can separate their activities from politics. Because of such a schizoid view and the consequences for those who hold it — and our own backwardness politically is partly attributable to such views — and because of the lack of an integrated view of the world, there is the danger that it establishes a conversational dialogue with apartheid that seeks to keep it in existence.

There is no doubt whatsoever that in terms of international affairs generally the situation has worsened because of the consequences of apartheid and the opposition to it, has worsened, more accurately, because of the foreign policies of Britain and the United States particularly under the regimes of Mrs. [1460] Thatcher and President Regan respectively. In December 1979 Mrs. Thatcher said “There is now real prospect that the conflicts of South Africa's borders in Rhodesia and Namibia will shortly be ended.” She said: “This, combined with welcome initiatives in South Africa's domestic policies, offer a chance to defuse a regional crisis which was potentially of the utmost gravity and to make progress towards the ending of the isolation of South Africa in world affairs.”

That view might be regarded as indicative of the naivety and ignorance which characterise Mrs. Thatcher's views of the world generally or her over-simplification of the world which enables her to live with her particular version of “the world according to Margaret”. It is much more serious than that because it is undermining the position taken by the United Nations. I question the credibility of British foreign policy in the whole area of South Africa. I feel that both the United States and Britain under their present leaderships have undermined the credibility of the United Nations in relation to the condemnations of apartheid not only by their covert collusion with the economics of apartheid which sustained it but also because of their erosion of the principle and the letter of one United Nations resolution after another. It is very necessary for us to be clear and not to have a romantic notion that white South Africa will suddenly change its mind and its heart and be moved to accord rights to those whom it has excluded for some time.

Apartheid is based above all else on the principle of exploitation. To place it accurately in its historic origin one must accept the history of a racism of this kind in exactly the same way, for example, as one accepts that historically there are minor versions of it where people twist the conception of the other person into a hate figure on the basis of some characteristics. For example, in the 19th century Irish migrant labourers were regarded by cartoonists and by people in Britain as ape-like figures. A long tradition of hatred runs from the journals of the 19th century to the London Evening Standard [1461] of today. Unfortunately, racism is sustained and obdurate before our eyes on television.

The twisting of the characteristics of people so as to deny them rights has an accompanying economics. The structure of the South African economy is internally exploitative. The point has already been made by Senator Brendan Ryan that the monopoly of land and of resources exercised by a tiny proportion of the population of whites is at the base of the apartheid system in South Africa. We must remember that the western world and countries within the European Community have not only allowed that system to continue but have traded arms with South Africa and have given the gift of nuclear capacity to South Africa in return for uranium. Therefore, we must question again the credibility of those people who purport to be following United Nations' decisions, conventions and commitments.

There is one point on which I would differ from the Minister and that is on the question of the code of conduct. The code of conduct at the level of the European Community is little less than a farce. There are no sanctions for its breach and there is a lessening rather than an expansion of condemnations of breaches where they emerge. In this regard we must ask ourselves questions in what I would hope would be a regular review of our position in regard to apartheid. I make the case for a regular rather than a repetition of the same kind of motion as to the progress we are making, first, at the level of the United Nations, secondly, at the level of the European Community and, thirdly, in relation to our unilateral opposition towards apartheid. It is very important that we should not be moved only by the more dramatic events. I join with the Minister and the other speakers who have condemned the more recent killings on the 25th anniversary of Sharpeville but we must question the structure that is the apartheid state and its consequences.

I was interested to hear people speak about the violence that has been directed against the most recent victims. There again the challenge is to recognise what [1462] consequences flow from a racist state when the whole apparatus of the state, including its measures of control and repression, have been amplified with the assistance of the western world and when, in fact, armaments have been provided and, as I said, nuclear capacity has been provided. This causes us to consider — rather like the people at the end of the Second World War who were silent and who had to be moved by the opening of the camps — that we may be involved in a far more dangerous situation which may undermine the principles of foreign policy itself. We say something and yet live with another reality. South Africa has survived long after 100 United Nations resolutions have been passed. There has survived, for example, a covert and sinister collusion for a long time in the matter of investment capital from Great Britain, particularly in the service and financial sectors. We used to have the contradiction of political statements from the political masters in Great Britain and the economic statements from British companies. We are now in a more dangerous position with regard to the economic reality. The kind of people who are trucking with the monster that is the apartheid state are now beginning to influence the political statements. There has been little less than regression. It is important to place that on the record of the House.

The decision to collude with racism is one of the prime achievements of Mrs. Thatcher's and President Regan's administrations foreign policy. It has a very important dimension for both of them. They will be remembered for it and they should be remembered for it because they are the people who have brought it about. They have adjusted their political positions to suit economic breaches of one United Nations convention after another. In 1980 the European Economic Community accounted for 57 per cent of South Africa's foreign liabilities and North and South America accounted for 24 per cent of their liabilities. I mentioned earlier that, for example, 62 per cent of the total assets of South Africa's top 20 banks belong primarily to foreign banks. [1463] I mentioned the service sector. South Africa has survived and developed, and the gaps between black earnings and white earnings have all been made possible by the continued links which have been allowed to exist between the western world and the South African apartheid state. I mentioned the enormity, given a state that so systematically on the basis of colour excludes, denies participation, discriminates against the majority of its citizens, the enormity in moral terms of that state evolving to being a nuclear power on the basis of a barter of the means of death, in one case uranium, in the other case nuclear technology, between the western world and South Africa.

In conclusion, I would like to raise the question that has been correctly addressed by the Minister and by every speaker including those who moved this motion. In 1966 the United Nations General Assembly revoked South Africa's mandate in Namibia, formerly South West Africa, and in 1971 the International Court of Justice ruled South Africa was under obligation to withdraw from Namibia immediately and that member states were under obligation to recognise the illegality of South Africa's presence there. That was in 1971. The International Court of Justice — when Mrs. Kirkpatrick wants to mock it she calls it the United Nations Court of Justice — 14 years ago resolved as I have quoted. South Africa occupies Namibia with the support and connivance of the multinationals. In all of that there are tragic consequences but there is the mockery of international law and the mockery of all the international institutions that are involved.

I would like to pay tribute to the Irish diplomats who worked abroad, particularly former Ambassador Noel Dorr, whom I recall on more than one occasion speaking passionately in support of Ireland's condemnation of apartheid. I hope that we would regularly see an all-party motion of this kind that would not only demonstrate consensus in condemnation of apartheid but would be a regular [1464] review of our achievements in relation to a common aim in foreign policy. This debate points to the fact of the disadvantage we are at in both Houses of the Oireachtas in not having a Foreign Relations Committee which could regularly review the achievements towards what is now a common policy.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach: The Senator has one minute left.

Mr. M. Higgins: I am proud to be a patron of the anti-apartheid movement but I would like to place on the record of the House my gratitude, as a legislator, for the regular submissions we have received from the Irish Anti-Apartheid Movement and to applaud the leadership they have given in opposing racism. I hope our debate here on apartheid, which is the surviving blemish on the face of mankind by any standard, would be something through which every child in school, as the Minister mentioned, through his development programme, would learn that in the eighties mankind has had this blemish put on it by the fact that people want to play their games separate from the realities of racism, want to say that sport and business should be kept separate from politics. I endorse Senator E. Ryan and Senator B. Ryan and all the other Senators who asked the Irish Rugby Football Union to give as much attention to politics as to the games that they are playing and to sit back and ask how they can argue that sport is separate from politics when the provision for white sport in South Africa is 60 times greater than it is for blacks who want a sporting provision. I would ask whether it is more important for them to keep their links intact within the sporting fraternity or, as all of us would hope and as every speaker on both sides of the House has said, not to condemn apartheid but to undo it and to replace it by a proper system in Southern Africa.

Professor Dooge: I am happy to join in this debate on behalf of the Fine Gael Group in the Seanad. When debating a question such as apartheid it is difficult [1465] to known how much one should say. It is a subject on which one can merely restate one's basic condemnation. It is a subject on which one could talk for quite a period citing all the details of apartheid which affects every area of life for the majority of the inhabitants of South Africa. However, Standing Orders decree that we are limited in time so I merely want to join in what has been said on behalf of the other groups and to underline some points that have been made in this debate and which are of importance.

I would like first to echo something Senator Michael Higgins has said. The most important thing is not so much to deplore individual incidents, horrific though they are, and appalling as they have been and the incident last week was indeed particularly appalling — but what we want to do is concentrate our attack on the system itself and discuss not the number of these incidents or how the violence of these incidents can be reduced, but the means by which the whole system can be destroyed. People such as those speaking here this evening are often asked why do they single out apartheid? Why do they tend to concentrate on what is happening in South Africa when there is a violation of human rights in so many countries in the world. I hope all of us are concerned to condemn the violation of human rights wherever it occurs. But we have a particular duty to condemn it in South Africa because of its nature there. Senator Eoin Ryan suggested that a person in South Africa who is not classified as white is born in opposition to the regime, is born incompatible with the regime. The very genes present in the conception of a human person automatically denies that person basic human rights.

It is the nature of apartheid, the way in which it has been institutionalised, that makes it so particularly horrible. We have in many other countries of the world examples of where people's constitutional rights are denied by executive action. Indeed, we have many horrific examples of this throughout the world, but in South Africa we have something more. We have the denial of basic human [1466] rights by constitutional provision itself. This is the road of horror which has been travelled a few times in human history. We would hope that once we get rid of apartheid this road will never be travelled again.

In a debate in the last few weeks, in a passage between Senator Lanigan and myself, I recommended to him to read the book by Christopher Hollis called The American Heresy. I cannot help being reminded on the occasion of this debate of a passage from that book in which Christopher Hollis was talking about a very eminent American Senator, one of the greatest of American Senators of the pre-Civil War period, a man who was proud of his Irish origins. That was Senator John Calhoun, the Senator for South Carolina. He was the man who gave intellectual justification to institutional slavery for the southern states of America. Hollis made a very perceptive remark. He said that John Cauldwell Calhoun believed in the American Constitution, indeed believed that all men were created equal. As his career developed in the Senate where he was the spokesman for the Southern States, he more than anybody else attempted to give an intellectual justification to slavery. Hollis asked the question: where did this leave Calhoun? Since he held on to the proposition that all men were created equal, he was driven logically to the conclusion that negroes were not men. This is the ultimate heresy in politics. It is the doctrine of Untermenschen that led the Jews, the Gypsies and the Poles to the gas chamber because German logic carried that attitude to this logical conclusion.

It is the same attitude that underlies apartheid in southern Africa. We have here the ultimate horror of a political attitude which indicates that there are some people who are not fully human and therefore do not have basic human rights. This does lead ultimately to what we saw in the thirties in Nazi Germany, to highly organised genocide. That is why we must struggle. That is why we must do all we can. What in particular should we do? We have heard the Minister once again declaring our support for what has [1467] been done in the UN and in the European Community. I must agree with Senator Michael Higgins that perhaps the time has come when this is not enough. We have to be concerned not only with the fact that we are upholding the various embargoes and sanctions, but that we should take steps to ensure that others uphold them too and denounce these others when they fail to do so. This is something that we could do in the future.

The Minister has said rightly that we do not encourage trade with South Africa. The position of the Government and successive Governments has been that there are limits to the extent to which they can interfere with individuals in their private trade. But I think there is quite a gap between those two positions. I am not sure that the Government should not be able to find itself in a position to move further along the road to increase the degree of discouragement in regard to trade with South Africa. Equally, while they cannot prohibit co-operation by private sporting associations with South Africa, once again they can do a good deal to bring to the minds of those people who are concerned the nature and the ultimate horror of the regime with which they are unwittingly allowing themselves to be contaminated. More efforts must be made, I would suggest, in this regard.

There is a great danger that because of certain accommodations that have been made by South Africa with neighbouring African states over the past year or so, people may be tempted to believe that there is a real change in the regime, that because there is a military accommodation, and sometimes a trade accommodation, between South Africa and her neighbours that somehow apartheid is beginning to decline and will wither away. This is a very serious mistake to make. Anyone who keeps in touch with the situation knows it to be false. If we look at the position at the end of 1984 and compare it with the position at the beginning of 1984, there were twice as many people in detention at the end of that year as there were at the beginning. [1468] There was a doubling of the number who were in detention. Again, there seems to be an indication, and this is clear from some of the specialised articles that appeared in legal journals, that the Judiciary is being further perverted in South Africa. The Judiciary was open to condemnation for being an instrument of the State. It does appear that during the last year there has been an intensification of this. There are the phenomena of a small number of judges being repeatedly involved in capital cases. Apparently, the South African Government are not able to trust even some of their judges and they are confining themselves to a small number. The conduct of trials and the obiter dicta of these judges are becoming something heartily to be condemned.

We must of course deplore every incident as it arises. But our reaction must be to make ourselves all the more determined to take action and to take action, not because we are a powerful State which can really affect the trade of South Africa, but because we do have a voice and one voice can be heard. Often one voice can be heard more distinctly than many voices. Our voice must continue to be heard in this regard.

I welcome the new development which the Minister announced tonight in regard to the question of bilateral aid. He has announced a move in this direction. Even though the move is a small one, it is significant. His Department have managed to find a way in which they can give some assistance here. I hope once they find their way in this particular matter of giving aid inside South Africa by the co-financing of projects that they will expand in this particular direction. It is a development to be encouraged and to be expanded.

Finally, I am happy to take part in a debate here this evening in which we have a consensus of all groups represented in the Seanad. I am thankful to Senator Brendan Ryan for his initiative in putting forward this motion. I am glad to be associated with it. It reminds me of other days when Senator Michael Higgins was a Deputy and I was a Minister and we were associated together in Dáil Éireann [1469] in an all-party motion in regard to El Salvador. It is a very useful exercise in regard to these very troubled spots of the world, that all groups in Dáil Éireann and Seanad Éireann can come together and agree. We must agree, not merely in our attitude, we must agree also on action, because action is sorely needed. The small amount that we can do will not alter the nature of things but by our action we can encourage others and in the long run, please God, this monster will be destroyed.

Mr. B. Ryan: The House must excuse me if I am a little bit incoherent. I had some injections today and I am beginning to feel the worse for wear as a result. If I am a little less than articulate I apologise in advance.

I would like to say first of all that I welcomed both the tone and the content of the Minister's speech. I am grateful for the Minister's presence. It was a long way from the usual diplomatic niceties in which Ministers for Foreign Affairs usually express themselves. It was blunt; it was unequivocal and it used the language that all of us believe is the language that should be used about South Africa. That is not to say — as I will mention shortly — that I and the Minister would agree about absolutely everything on what can and needs to be done about South Africa. I am very grateful for what the Minister said. It was a further step along the road to our distancing ourselves absolutely from the racist regime in South Africa and, furthermore, along the road to our taking the maximum possible action to deal with the problem of racism in South Africa.

I welcome the Minister's additional initiatives. The sums of money may be small, but there is a symbolic value in the issues that the Minister is recognising. Both myself and those against apartheid recognise that we are taking our campaign against this most awful of regimes a further step along the road.

Senator Eoin Ryan used, quite appropriately, a comparison between the racist regime in South Africa and Nazi Germany. It is not the sort of language [1470] that used be popular when talking about South Africa. There was a tone and moderation which persisted far too long in Western attitudes to South Africa. But to make the comparison clearly is quite legitimate. It is in the context of that sort of a comparison, by somebody of Senator Eoin Ryan's stature, that the persistence of the Irish Rugby Football Union, in particular, in its sporting contacts with South Africa, need to be adjudged and assessed. Organisations that would be identified as being more conservative like, for instance, those who organise cricket in this country and those who organise it in Britain, have faced up to the realities of racism in South Africa. It is a matter of great regret that a major sporting organisation have failed to do so and use equivocal language and half-truths to justify their participation.

We have overwhelming evidence that the policy of pressure is the only policy that has ever worked in South Africa and that anybody who contributes to the slightest weakening of that pressure, whether he likes it, or whether he knows what he is doing, is contributing to the continuation of racism in South Africa. What Senator Michael Higgins had to say was an analysis with which I agree without qualification. I agree, as both he and Senator Dooge suggested, that the Governments of the United States and the United Kingdom have done a considerable amount of damage to international solidarity on the issue of racism in South Africa. One has to say that it is very difficult to believe that people with the level of information and advice that the Governments in the United States and the United Kingdom have can actually believe what they say about South Africa.

Therefore, one has to believe that it is a conscious decision, not in response to some half-imagined improvement in the system, but to accommodate racism in South Africa. It cannot be believed by any rational person that what is being done by those two countries in particular is somehow based on a misunderstanding of the realities of life in South Africa. The days are long past when there was [1471] any misunderstanding about the nature of racism in South Africa. Therefore if two major governments, as Senator M. Higgins quite rightly said, undermined the United Nations, we have to assume they were doing it knowingly and for reasons of most reprehensible self-interest of a kind that we have not seen for some years in the Western world. As Senator Higgins said, the nature of apartheid as well as being racist is a racist regime which is based on economic exploitation. It is an extra dimension which raises questions about what interests are being defended when two major powers choose to accommodate South Africa.

Is it a political accommodation or is it, as appears on the basis of the structure of the economic order in South Africa, an accommodation to look after certain strategic economic interests in that region? Because it appears that the only real interest the two major powers can have in South Africa is not some kind of nice concern about the well-being of people but a fundamental concern about very fundamental national interests which they have identified as being best sustained by support for racism in South Africa. Therefore I believe that one of the areas in which we can step up our activities is in the area of pressure within the EC and, through the EC, with the United States Government to weaken and hopefully turn around the policies of those two Governments.

The level of political activity in the United States in protest against the present administration's policy is most welcome evidence that public opinion in the United States is also unhappy about the level of co-operation with that most appalling regime. Some of President Regan's comments on last week's horrific events were particularly tasteless and unhelpful and in the eyes of certain members of his own Congress were close to being racist in tone if not in content. We all agree that apartheid must be ended, that apartheid is not capable of being reformed, that apartheid is not somehow [1472] a gloss on South Africa but is inherent to the structure of South African society.

While we all wish for a non-racist, free and democratic South Africa we must recognise that that is not something that can come about simply by words of persuasion and expressions of goodwill and concern. What it is about is the transfer of power from those who have it all and who benefited from it to those who have none. That is what is at the core of South African racism. It is the entrenched privilege of a minority living in a condition of privilege which is probably unknown anywhere else in the world. That privilege, economic and social, is based on racism, on the racial exploitation of one group by another group who happen to be in command.

At this stage in the history of South Africa, given that resistance now seems to be at long last almost endemic and continuous, questions have to be faced, questions about the reality of trade sanctions and boycotts; questions about whether it is enough for us as a people and our Government to stand back when ten brave people in a magnificent gesture of courage and solidarity refuse to handle South African goods and say because of the nature of our labour relations laws we can do nothing. That is an inadequate response to something that could become a symbol of Irish resistance to apartheid and in particular of consumer resistance to the products of apartheid.

It would be very simple for the Government to extend the regulations about purchasing — which I understand the Minister for Health has introduced — to all Government agencies and Departments, and, indeed, the purchasing policy of the restaurant service in this House, which I suspect may not be entirely innocent in regard to the purchase of South African produce, and into every possible area of Government purchase. The Government are a major consumer of goods. It should not be too difficult to ensure that nothing that is tainted with racism is ever bought by any State or semi-State agency.

In the case of the Irish Rugby Football Union a little bit of imaginative use of [1473] regulations could make life very difficult. We could, for instance, prohibit the export of currency to South Africa and let them go but let them go penniless if they wish to go there. Let us prohibit the export of sporting goods to South Africa and let them go without their precious sporting gear and be fitted out by those they choose to collaborate with. They are small things; they are not difficult but it may well be possible within the constraints of our Constitution to make it even more difficult for anybody to travel to South Africa without the expressed approval of this Oireachtas.

On the issue of exports there are certain unhappy omissions. For instance, the Central Statistics Office still classify the exports of Namibia as being part of the exports of South Africa. It is an unhappy omission which fails to recognise legal realities in Southern Africa. We have to address ourselves to the fact that certain South African companies are operating in this country, in Shannon in particular, and we cannot continue with a morally self-righteous tone about South Africa and at the same time accept certain benefits from this country through investment by people who are fundamentally based on the racist nature of South African society.

We have to look at some of our other activities. For instance, we have to look at our aid programme in Lesotho. There is a very good case to be made that Lesotho deserves a particular level of concern because of its embattled nature. What is particularly important is that any Irish personnel who go to work there have a high level of understanding about our national abhorrence of apartheid and a willingness to see that that national abhorrence is reflected in their attitudes as they work for development in Lesotho. I hope to have a personal opportunity to make some assessment of whether that is the reality in Lesotho in the immediate future.

At this stage in the western world generally the question is not whether we ought to condemn apartheid, because everybody does. There is nobody left, outside of the ranks of crackpot Tories [1474] in the United Kingdom and people like Monsieur le Penn in France, who would even suggest that there is anything to be said in favour of South Africa. The question is, are we as Senator Michael Higgins said, prepared to end this separation between politics and economics, between politics and human rights and perceptions of security, because it is quite possible for the combined resources of the western democracies to end racism in South Africa or to make it absolutely impossible for it to continue?

Therefore, why are those resources not being mobilised? It is because, perhaps, deep down, in spite of the level of rhetoric, talk and commitment, there are concerns about political possibilities? There are concerns about economic and alleged security questions, about the suggestion that the devil you know is probably better than the devil you do not know. Therefore however much we denounce racism in South Africa we may be very worried about the nature of a future freely elected South African Government. Certain economic, political and security questions which are not articulated any more are nevertheless motivating a large part of the real attitudes to South Africa. The considerable level of economic interests that western countries and industries have in South Africa are obviously things that in times of recession concentrate the minds of many western Governments.

It has to be faced up to that all those fears are justified, that there is no easy route to the ending of exploitation in racism in South Africa. Persuasion gently whispered into ears at various diplomatic levels will have no impact. It is pressure, pressure, pressure that will end that regime. It is pressure on companies where their corporate interests begin to be identified as being in conflict with racism in South Africa. It is pressure through sporting organisations where their interests begin to be recognised as being in conflict with South Africa. It is pressure on a cultural level where all cultural contact — if you could have culture in South Africa — ends once and for all. It is pressure that will terminate it all.

At the end of it all, what we are talking [1475] about is not some sort of change in political colour or texture. It is the destruction of exploitation and entrenched privilege. That is a matter which goes to the very heart of the nature of society in that country. Because it is about such fundamental issues, it is important to remember that we are not just talking about issues of political debate, we are talking about one of the most fundamental moral questions in the world today. The moral question of whether it is possible for a person to have any dealings with racism and claim to have any sort of fundamental moral values. There can hardly be any more immoral practices, philosophies or attitudes than the implication that because of the colour of your skin you are superior or inferior to somebody else because of the colour or his or her skin.

Therefore, I welcome the fact that all groups in this House have supported this motion. I hope it will give encouragement to those who struggle against apartheid in South Africa. I sincerely hope that it will help to strengthen yet further the Government's resolve to take every possible step to ensure that Ireland is firmly and unequivocally on the side of the destruction of racism in South Africa.

Question put and agreed to.