Educational Debates

The following Oireachtas debates are from turning points in Irish history, and illustrate prevailing attitudes to various topics of the day. The extracts also include humorous exchanges between Members, as well as visits by foreign Heads of State.

Readings of these debates took place at the Office of the Houses of the Oireachtas on Oireachtas Family Day.

The Treaty Debate
Dáil Éireann - 19 December, 1921
Arthur Griffith and Michael Collins speak for the motion "That Dáil Eireann approves of the Treaty between Great Britain and Ireland". Eamon de Valera, Austin Stack and Kathleen Clarke speak against. Read the Treaty Debate

The Shilling Cut in the Old Age Pension
Dáil Éireann - 21 February, 1924
Minister for Finance Ernest Blyth and Labour's Richard Corish on financial cutbacks. Read the 1924 Budget speeches

Women Serving on Juries
Dáil Éireann - 5 March, 1924
Kevin O'Higgins and Thomas Johnson debate a section in the Juries (Amendment) Bill, 1924 to "get rid of the unwilling woman juror". Read the debate on women jurors

Debate on Divorce Legislation

Seanad Éireann - 11 June, 1925
Yeats's speech during the 1925 debate on divorce remains his most famous Seanad contribution. Read Yeats's speech

Bunreacht na hEireann
Dáil Éireann - 11 May, 1937
Eamon de Valera and General Richard Mulcahy debate the draft 1937 Constitution. Read the debate on the new Constitution

World War 2 - National Security
Dáil Éireann - 28 May, 1940
De Valera's statement on defence and neutrality as war unfolds in Europe. Read de Valera's speech on neutrality

Republic of Ireland Bill, 1948
Dáil Éireann - 24 November, 1948
Taoiseach John A. Costello and Alfie Byrne on legislation to cut the final constitutional links to the UK. Read the debate on the Bill

The Mother and Child Scheme
Dáil Éireann - 12 April, 1951
Minister of Health Dr Noel Browne resigns over the controversial healthcare scheme. Other speakers include Taoiseach John A. Costello and Sean McBride. Read Noel Browne's resignation speech

Industrial Schools
Dáil Éireann - 23 April, 1954
Peadar Cowan asks Minister for Education Sean Moylan about the punishment of a schoolboy in an industrial school and the boy's injuries. Read the debate

Proposal that Fianna Fail and Fine Gael form government
Dáil Éireann - 11 October, 1961
Dan Desmond, James Dillon and Sean Lemass in the debate on nominations for Taoiseach and for the members of Government. Read the proposal

Dáil Éireann - 12 October, 1966
James Dillon questions the Minister for Justice, Brian Lenihan (senior), about the court sentence of a homeless man. Read the homelessness debate

Introduction of Free Education
Dáil Éireann - 30 November, 1966
Minister for Education Donagh O'Malley announces free schooling. Read Donagh O'Malley's speech
(NB the above speech is about halfway down the page)

Arms importation
Dáil Éireann - 8 May, 1970
Opposition leader Liam Cosgrave informs Taoiseach Jack Lynch of information about illegal arms importation. Minister Kevin Boland also contributes to the debate, which will eventually lead to the Arms Trial. Read the Dáil exchanges

Membership of EEC
Dáil Éireann - 21 March, 1972
Taoiseach Jack Lynch and Dr Conor Cruise O'Brien on Ireland's accession to the European Economic Community. Read the speechs

Dáil Éireann - 29 March, 1979
Minister for Health Charles Haughey and Dr John Kelly debate the Health (Family Planning) Bill, 1978.
Read part one and part two of the debate

Nomination of Taoiseach and the "Gregory Deal"
Dáil Éireann - 9 March, 1982
The nomination of Charles Haughey as Taoiseach, including independent TD Tony Gregory's maiden speech. Read  the debate

Government Loses Confidence Motion
Dáil Éireann - 3 November, 1982
Taoiseach Charles Haughey and Opposition leader Garret FitzGerald in the run-up to Ireland's third general election in 18 months. Read the debate

Haughey Resigns as Taoiseach
Dáil Éireann - 11 February, 1992
Charles Haughey's resignation speech at the end of his final term as Taoiseach, and the responses of John Bruton and Dick Spring from the Opposition frontbench. Read the speech

The 'X' Case
Dáil Éireann - 18 February, 1992
Taoiseach Albert Reynolds, John Bruton, Dick Spring and Proinsias De Rossa on the High Court injunction preventing a teenage rape victim from travelling to England to terminate her pregnancy. Read the debate

The Good Friday Agreement
Dáil Éireann - 21 April, 1998
After the signing of the Good Friday Agreement, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and John Bruton discuss the forthcoming referendum to amend the Constitution. Read the exchanges

Prime Minister Blair's visit
Dáil Éireann - 26 November, 1998
UK Prime Minister Tony Blair addresses a joint sitting of both Houses of the Oireachtas. Read the address and speeches

Debate on Socialism
Dáil Éireann - Volume 592 - 17 November, 2004
TD Joe Higgins questions Taoiseach Bertie Ahern's declaration in the media that he is in fact a socialist. Read the exchange