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Volume 130: debated on Wednesday 30 March 1988

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To ask the Attorney-General when he expects to agree extradition arrangements under the new Irish legislation with the Attorney-General of the Irish Republic.

In my answer on 18 February to the right hon. and learned Member for Aberavon (Mr. Morris) I indicated that I had notified the Attorney-General of the Irish Republic that I was entirely willing to provide him in each instance with a note from me confirming that the United Kingdom prosecuting authorities had considered the evidence, as they were required to do; that they were satisfied that it was sufficient to found a prosecution; and that there was a settled intention to prosecute accordingly. I had also agreed to his request that I provide him in each instance with a note setting out the relevant law, but I had said that the Government saw the possibility of seriously damaging consequences for the intended criminal proceedings in the United Kingdom if I were to provide him with the actual evidence supporting any warrant.On 25 February I wrote to the Irish Attorney-General to say that I was very hopeful that we could find a way through our mutual difficulties towards the end that I knew we both desired. I believed that in the first instance it would be useful if officials were to meet as soon as possible to discuss the matter.At the subsequent meeting of officials on 2 March an offer was made on my behalf to provide the Irish Attorney-General in each instance additionally with a statement of facts which would give a clear picture of the case against the accused.Following requests by me for a response to this offer the Irish Attorney-General yesterday requested a further meeting of officials to be held on 7 April. I have agreed to this request.I regard it as imperative that extradition arrangements between the two countries under the new Irish legislation be agreed as soon as possible.