QUESTION OF SUBSTITUTES FOR MEMBERS ARRESTED.
The PRESIDENT said their next business was to make provision for carrying on their work. Their numbers would not be increasing for some time and a situation might arise if their numbers went very low. He would like to hear their views on the appointing of Substitutes. Of course it would be irregular and wholly unconstitutional, but they would have a body to speak for the country.
The ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR DEFENCE suggested that each member would nominate a substitute to be ratified by the local Comhairle Ceanntair.
P. O'KEEFFE (Cork, North) pointed out most of the best men in the Comihairli Ceanntair were on the run or in jail.
After considerable discussion COUNT PLUNKETT (Roscommon, North) said that the Government should be left to the Military Body when the membership of the Dáil was reduced to a certain figure. It was usual to substitute military dictatorship in countries invaded; and instead of the House appointing substitutes, it should be left to the Volunteers as the Military Body. They should be authorised by this House to establish a Provisional Government.
J. BURKE (Tipperary, Mid.) agreed with this suggestion and said if the Dáil was going to carry on it was essential that it should maintain its representative character. If substitutes were appointed it would affect the authority of the Dáil in the eyes of the public.
J. MACENTEE (Monaghan, South) suggested they should fix the number at which the Dáil should resolve itself into a Provisional Government.
The PRESIDENT suggested that when the number fell to five the Army should take control.
The ACTING SPEAKER took the sense of the House on the proposal that the Dáil continue to function until its membership was reduced to five, and that it should then resolve itself into a Provisional Government.
The House accepted the proposition without dissent, and it was intimated that the matter could be further discussed at next Session.