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Burke, Ray

Wednesday, 8 May 1996

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 465 Nbr. 1


Order of Business.

Last Tuesday week I raised with the Taoiseach, in the context of promised legislation, the question of decommissioning, and in reply he referred to the need for the legislation to include provision...More Button

The question of what the Taoiseach said is important.More Button

I have a copy of the report which refers to carrying out forensic tests on weapons in the defence——More Button

There has not been forensic evidence in the defence under law and I defy the Taoiseach to prove that.More Button

In the context of the legislation the Taoiseach should have regard only to the Mitchell report.More Button

Ceisteanna — Questions. Oral Answers. - All-Party Talks.

The issues of legislation and decommissioning are important in the context of clarity and the removal of the threat of violence during the talks. When I raised the matter last Tuesday the Taoiseac...More Button

Does the Taoiseach agree that this is in direct contradiction to the Mitchell report which states that decommissioning should be exempt by law from forensic examination and that information obtaine...More Button

The Taoiseach referred to forensic evidence being used in a defence but it would still be forensic evidence. Will the Taoiseach clarify the issue?More Button

This is a complex issue and I can quote what the Taoiseach said last Tuesday. He made the point that the issues are complex, particularly with regard to people who might wish to use “evidence base...More Button

Will the Taoiseach give an assurance there will be no forensic tests on decommissioned weapons?More Button

Ceisteanna — Questions. Oral Answers. - Strategic Management Initiative.

Those briefings would not be worth a penny candle.More Button

Private Members' Business. - Prohibition of Anti-Personnel Landmines Bill, 1996: Second Stage.

I move: “That the Bill be now read a Second Time.”More Button

I propose to share my time with Deputy Micheal Kitt.More Button

One hundred and ten million landmines contaminate 70 countries of the world. This weapon of mass destruction kills and maims 500 people every week and 26,000 per year. If there was an incident at...More Button

There is no escaping the harsh fact that, if no other mine were planted or manufactured, children not yet born will be killed for years to come by those already in the ground. The harsh statistic ...More Button

Landmines savagely ensure that the massacre of the innocent continues decades after peace agreements have been signed. Mines planted during World War II are still killing people today and, as tec...More Button

Landmines cripple economies as well as individuals. Denying access to land severely affects food production thus causing malnutritution and starvation. They maim or kill the workforces upon which ...More Button

Demining is a laborious, dangerous and expensive operation which involves searching the ground inch by inch. The United Nations standard of demining is 99.9 per cent clearance and restoration of t...More Button

In 1993 approximately 10,000 mines were removed at a cost of $70 million. During the same period, however, between two to five million mines were laid. A mine can be as cheap as $3 to manufacture....More Button

Mines are designed to kill and maim able-bodied soldiers. In reality, however, the main victims are civilians. According to a study conducted by a Polish institute, the death rate among children f...More Button

Landmines used to be considered an indispensable weapon for the military. However, opinions are changing in military circles. There is a growing understanding and opinion among military personnel ...More Button

Landmines should be put in the category of chemical weapons. Even though they have military utility, chemical weapons have been banned because of their devastating consequences to soldiers and civ...More Button

Some day, and that day has to be sooner rather than later, we are going to reach the same conclusion about anti-personnel landmines.More Button

General Norman Schwartzkopf, who we remember from the Gulf War, said he wished to see landmines “forever eliminated from warfare”. This was based on his personal experiences of “having seen hundre...More Button

A recent publication of the International Committee of the Red Cross, entitled “Anti-personnel Landmines, Friend or Foe?”, a document which was recently launched in Ireland by the Irish Red Cross, ...More Button

The Secretary General of the UN has persistently called for a total ban. Dr. Boutros Boutros-Ghali has stated that “anti-personnel landmines are ... real weapons of mass destruction. This method ...More Button

There are two sources of international law which are supposed to regulate the use of anti-personnel land-mines, as outlined in International Humanitarian Law, ICRC, Chapter VII, “Mines & the Law”:More Button

... Parties to a conflict must always distinguish between civilians and combatants. Civilians may not be directly attacked and indiscriminate attacks and the use of indiscriminate weapons are proh...More Button

... It is prohibited to use weapons which cause unnecessary suffering. Therefore, the use of weapons whose damaging effects are disproportionate to their military purpose is prohibited.More Button

These rules have become part of customary international law and thus apply to all states irrespective of their treaty obligations.More Button

The United Nations Inhumane Weapons Convention, a convention on prohibitions or restrictions on the use of certain conventional weapons which may be deemed to be excessively injurious or to have in...More Button

Some provisions of the UN Protocol include:More Button

... Mines may be directed only at military objectives, indiscriminate use is prohibited and all feasible precautions must be taken to protect civilians ... Records must be kept of the location of p...More Button

According to Article 38 (1) of the Convention on The Rights of the Child, “.... Parties must undertake to respect and to ensure respect for rules of international humanitarian law applicable to th...More Button

We might have international laws and conventions, but nobody knows where mines are being laid indiscriminately. The conflicts we see today are of a civil nature rather than being fought by uniforme...More Button

International law, well meaning as it is, has failed. This failure of international law to prevent civilian casualties caused by landmines reinforces the need for the total prohibition of the prod...More Button

Why should there be a unilateral ban on landmines? Considering recent developments, Ireland stands in an ideal position to take a leadership role in achieving the objective of a total ban in the i...More Button

From time to time representatives of international non-governmental organisations have made the same request in their presentations at the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs, including ...More Button

The International Campaign to Ban Landmines, representing over 500 organisations in 30 countries, has tirelessly promoted a unilateral ban. The European Parliament has, on two occasions, called up...More Button

The new Protocol has many loopholes. It has ineffective mechanisms and its scope is too narrow. Ironically, the failure of the review conference is counterbalanced by the increasing numbers of pe...More Button

A unilateral ban could have a significant impact internationally in achieving the United Nations stated objective of “total elimination of this category of weapons”, an objective which mirrors our ...More Button

Internationally, a comprehensive ban can only be achieved if individual countries take courageous steps unilaterally; ending the use of anti-personnel mines will clear the way for their legal prohi...More Button

The cynics will perhaps say that this is an empty gesture. The grandparents of the same cynics may have had much the same to say about Frank Aiken, a prime mover of the Nuclear Non-proliferation T...More Button

On various occasions, representatives of the Government have stated that as Ireland does not produce landmines and does not stockpile them, a unilateral ban would be irrelevant in the Irish context...More Button

In bringing forward this Fianna Fáil Bill, it is worth remembering that, as I outlined in our recent Foreign Affairs policy document Our Place in the World, for an island nation on th...More Button

In seeking support for this Private Members' Bill this evening, I recognise there may be room for improvement in its drafting. For example, the question of the level of sanctions will have to be a...More Button

In conclusion, I thank once again the NGOs which are familiar through their work with this hugely important issue. I thank them for their help, support and assistance in the preparation of this Bi...More Button

The Irish Government could have walked out.More Button

I thank Deputy Ó Cuív and others who spoke in support of this Bill. It is a matter of regret to me that the Government has missed the whole point of this Bill. It is a clear stateme...More Button

What is the Government going to do? The Tánaiste stated, “During the period of the Irish Presidency, we will endeavour to pursue an enhanced and updated EU joint action on anti-personnel lan...More Button

The Tánaiste missed the whole point by stating, “The actions we are taking will be far more effective than tying up the resources of the Oireachtas in producing new and unnecessary legislati...More Button

According to a recent newspaper article, Deputy Kathleen Lynch of Democratic Left called on the Minister for Defence to ban the companies which make deadly landmines from supplying the Defence For...More Button

I welcome the fact that we have dragged some action from the Government on this issue. However, it is relying on an 1875 Act and other legislation and on reviews in the Defence Forces instead of m...More Button

Why did the Tánaiste merely state, “the initiative taken by Canada to convene a meeting of supporters of a total ban in Ottawa in September is timely and most welcome”? What are the Govern...More Button

Last week debates were dragged out on a number of reports because there was no legislation put forward by the Government for the House to consider. Government Deputies were wheeled in to speak on i...More Button

Question declared lost.More Button