There were angry scenes in the Dáil this morning as Opposition TDs accused the Tánaiste of failing to answer a question about the Government's position on Iraq.

Socialist Party TD Joe Higgins asked Ms Harney exactly what the Government's view on a second UN Security Council resolution would be.

He also called on the Tánaiste to apologise for what he called her 'McCarthyite smears' against anti-war activists.

Ms Harney said she had no apology to make to Deputy Higgins.

The Government wanted the UN to be respected and effective, she said, but she was not going to speculate on 'what if' situations.

Deputy Higgins claimed that his question had not been answered, but the Ceann Comhairle insisted he had no control over ministers' replies.

Lawyers' statement against war

This morning in Dublin a group of over 70 lawyers issued a public anti-war statement.

They said silence was not an option due to the extent of the violence threatened, the extremity of the consequences and the Government's ambiguous words and practical support for US war preparations.

The lawyers said their statement was based on their collective personal opinions and they would prefer not to have to get involved in public debate.

But they believe the current build-up to war demands a clear and strong statement from all Irish citizens.

Secondary students in protest

About 100 secondary school students took part in an anti-war demonstration in Swords, north Co Dublin.

It was only one of many taking place throughout the country as part of the international day of action organised by schools around the world.

Those taking part said they were doing so in sympathy with the children of Iraq who will suffer needlessly in the event of war.

Students from Coláiste Choilm and Fingal Community College said they wanted to show that school children here are not cynical.

They called on the government to do everything it could to prevent a war.