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Volume 124: debated on Thursday 10 December 1987

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To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on the extradition of terrorists from the Republic of Ireland to the United Kingdom, in the light of recent problems in this area.


To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement about the implications for his policy on seeking extraditions from the Republic of Ireland of the new extradition arrangements agreed by the Irish Government.

We welcome the Irish Government's decision to ratify the European convention on the suppression of terrorism. We note, however, that they have now introduced further procedural steps in the hacking of warrants process. We are naturally concerned that these should not impede the extradition arrangements within these islands, and we welcome the Taoiseach's commitment to review them if they are not working satisfactorily.

In the light of the Prime Minister's statements in the House on several occasions, will the Secretary of State confirm that the Government believe that the regulations put in by the South of Ireland Government inhibit rather than help the extradition of terrorists, which is not helpful in the fight against terrorism? When will the British Government call for the extradition of Owen Carron?

Obviously, I am not prepared to comment on individual cases, but on the general matter I have made clear our views on the importance of effective extradition arrangements and our commitment to work for those in the defeat of terrorism.

I am sure that my right hon. Friend would agree that many Conservative Members are bitterly disappointed with the new extradition arrangements, because they will give precisely the wrong signal to the Loyalist community. In reality, will the new arrangements make any difference, or produce any obstacle, to the extradition of terrorists?

We have made clear our concern about the inclusion of the role of the Irish Attorney-General and the problems that that could cause. We are obviously anxious to ensure—and we hope— that our fears are not well founded, and we shall be working closely with, and making our representations clear to, the Irish Government to try to ensure the most effective arrangements possible.