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Lord Monson: I am most grateful to my noble friends Lord Cooke of Islandreagh and Lord Molyneaux for their support. I am also grateful for the support of the noble Baroness, Lady Park, and the noble Lord, Lord Cope.

The noble Lord, Lord Cope, is right. I was trying to achieve a triple lock. We have heard from the Liberal Democrat Benches and the Minister that we cannot proceed anywhere on these amendments because of the agreement. It is the agreement itself which is at fault.

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We all know why that should be: why the agreement did not incorporate this fair-minded safeguard--I doubt whether anyone can describe it as unfair. It is because Sinn Fein/IRA would not wear it for one second. Shortly after the agreement, Mr. Martin McGuinness was quoted as saying exultantly words to the effect that the agreement brings us much closer to a united Ireland. Mr. McGuinness knows precisely what he is talking about. He has been working all his adult life towards a united Ireland in ways not all of which can be detailed here for the sensitive ears of Members of the Committee.

I suspect that the British Government and possibly the Irish Government too are not happy about the clause as it stands. They know the consequences if, as the noble Lord, Lord Merlyn-Rees, wrote, a million people are pushed into a united Ireland against their will. The Government are crossing their fingers and hoping that somehow it will be all right on the night. I can go no further with the amendment. I beg leave to withdraw it.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

3.45 p.m.

Lord Monson moved Amendment No. 2:


Page 1, line 15, after ("of") insert ("the Republic of").

The noble Lord said: With the leave of the Committee, perhaps I may speak also to Amendment No. 225 to Schedule 2 which is consequential. The purpose of the amendment--I do not believe that it can possibly contravene the Good Friday agreement--is to substitute accuracy for inaccuracy.

Clause 1 and Schedule 2 set out important relationships between two legal entities, two sovereign nation states: the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland. "Ireland" may be everyday constitutional shorthand for the Republic of Ireland but everyday conversational shorthand has no place in an Act of Parliament. To substitute "Ireland" for "the Republic of Ireland" is like substituting "the Iberian peninsula" for "Spain"--the only difference being that it is 350 years since Spain last claimed jurisdiction over the whole peninsular rather than the 85 per cent. to which it is entitled.

Undoubtedly unionists--I use the word broadly to include all shades of unionism--in Northern Ireland will see this usage as reintroducing Articles 2 and 3 of the Republic's constitution by the back door: in other words, effectively asserting the Republic's right of jurisdiction over the whole island--not of course that Articles 2 and 3 have yet been repealed or seriously modified.

It will doubtless be argued that in the Good Friday agreement Her Majesty's Government were persuaded to substitute "Ireland" for "the Republic" as a goodwill gesture to the Republic. That is fair enough. However, we are not discussing today an international agreement but a Bill destined to become an Act of the United Kingdom Parliament. Surely no other nation has the right to dictate the wording of an Act of Parliament. I beg to move.

Lord Cope of Berkeley: The phrase "Government of Ireland" in the Bill may be thought to be the correct legal terminology in the Republic of Ireland. They are in the habit of referring to themselves as the

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Government of Ireland. So far as it concerns them, it is the official title of their organisation. But, like the noble Lord, Lord Monson, it does not seem to me that we have necessarily to use their legal terminology in our Act of Parliament. It seems to me offensive to describe in an Act of Parliament the government of which we speak as being the Government of Ireland with the implication that it is the only legitimate Government in the island of Ireland. None of us accepts that. Certainly the United Kingdom Government do not accept it and never have, and I do not think that this Parliament should bow easily to that suggestion. It seems to me that there is no need to use the Irish legal phrase in a British Act of Parliament.

The case is even clearer on Amendment No. 225. The amendment deals with the question of extradition between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. In that case it seems to me positively misleading to speak about people being extradited to or from Northern Ireland and to or from Ireland. Northern Ireland is part of the island of Ireland. For the Bill to be clear, therefore, the words "Republic of" should be inserted when we come to that point.

Lord Holme of Cheltenham: I have a great deal of sympathy with the amendment. Those of us who deal with Northern Irish affairs have schooled ourselves to refer to the Republic of Ireland. It will become an important issue when we move on to Strand Three of the Good Friday settlement which deals with the council of the islands and the relationships between the various parts of what used to be called the British Isles. It will be absolutely essential in that context to have clarity between the various parts that make up the council of the islands. I ask the Government to consider the amendment sympathetically, for that reason if for no other.

Lord Molyneaux of Killead: I too share those reservations because I can quite see how the term could create difficulties in, for example, an extradition application, particularly where a third foreign country was involved.

We are all aware of the fact that the Irish Republic--and I make no criticism of it--has over the years given itself various titles. In 1948 Clement Attlee, then Prime Minister, was asked to comment on a new title which was the word, in Irish, "Eire". His reply, typical of the man, was, "Call themselves what they like, they remain what they are." I am not being discourteous in repeating Clement's brief summary of the situation, but I think we should be reasonable, as the noble Lord, Lord Cope, has been reasonable, and let the Irish Republic term itself as it wishes, as it did when signing the Anglo-Irish agreement in 1985. Noble Lords may not be aware of the fact that the British and Irish governments signed two different copies with two different titles on the cover page. They were in effect signing two different agreements, to meet with the sensitivities. Even then, it did not call itself the Government of Ireland.

Lord Fitt: I too have sympathy with the amendment. I do so with the experience of having been an elected member of Stormont. Since the partitioning of Ireland

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and the setting up of the two states, there has been great controversy about the names of the two states. Many a time I made a speech in the old Stormont and referred to Northern Ireland as the six counties. I did that deliberately to be provocative. Others on the Unionist side referred to the state as Ulster. It actually was not Ulster; it was only six counties of the nine counties of Ulster. In the Republic it was "Eire". When first I was a member of the Irish Labour Party, the unionist newspapers referred to me as being a member of the Eire Labour Party. That was to make it sound foreign.

There was never any great argument about Articles 2 and 3 until--it has already been referred to by the noble Lord, Lord Molyneaux--I had handed to me on 15th November 1985 the two copies: the Irish copy of the Anglo-Irish agreement and the British copy. On the face of the British copy it said, "This is an agreement between the Government of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland and the Government of the Irish Republic." Factually that is correct. It is the terminology used to describe the two states. The Irish version said, "This is an agreement between the Government of the United Kingdom and the Government of Ireland". It was the first time I had seen terminology relating to the state which did not include the words "the Republic of". It is a bit late in the day, therefore, to object to the terminology.

It is offensive to the majority of people in Northern Ireland to see reference to the Government of Ireland. Factually, it is the Government of the Republic of Ireland and the Government of Northern Ireland. It appears, however, that this was agreed in the Belfast Agreement. I wonder if in international circles, for example, at the United Nations, the Republic of Ireland is referred to as the Government of Ireland or is it specifically in relation to the Northern Ireland end of the agreement? That in itself would be a contradiction.

I believe there is justification for the Government including the words, "the Republic of Ireland". This may be against what was negotiated in the Belfast agreement; but the term "Government of Ireland" produces a highly emotive situation where the majority of the population of Northern Ireland see Articles 2 and 3 of the constitution as laying claim to the state of Northern Ireland. If that offensive connotation could be removed, it would be far better in relation to finding an agreement in Northern Ireland.

Lord Mayhew of Twysden: I am most grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Dubs, for providing us with Notes on Clauses. I read that paragraph 3 of Schedule 2 deals with,


    "International relations, including treaties, the making of peace or war and neutrality, and connected matters".
but that among three exceptions is,


    "(a) the surrender of fugitive offenders between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland".
If it is thought desirable to express the meaning by the use of the words "the Republic of Ireland" in Notes on Clauses, it is a little difficult to see why it is not similarly thought to be right in the Bill itself. It rather looks as though the Government have flinched from

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saying "between Northern Ireland and Ireland" in the Notes on Clauses, for reasons which lie behind this amendment and every speech that has been made in support of it.


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