presented a Decree as to Purported Exercise of Public Functions (Appendix¹). He said the Decree arose out of some discussions in the Ministry with regard to the action of the judges of the English courts before whom their men were being tried for carrying arms and other alleged offences against the enemy invader and the action of the enemy court in refusing to uphold what was really their own constitution, in allowing the military to destroy the property of what they called British subjects, the property of Irish citizens, without compensation. These judges and others of the English courts, High Court and County Court judges also offended against the laws of the State by granting huge sums for compensation to policemen, soldiers and their relatives and by trying to cripple public bodies.
These enemy officials had allied themselves with the military in trying to intimidate the country into surrender. That had been tolerated long enough and it was now proposed to give the Ministry power to deal with them in any way they thought fit by regulation by "fine, imprisonment or otherwise" which would include the death penalty if same was found necessary.
Of course the power the Dáil gave the Cabinet in the Provisional Decrees Order two days ago was sufficient to permit of regulations being made to deal with these people, but it would have to be brought up again at a subsequent meeting of the Dáil for ratification and it was better such legislation should be the act of the Dáil itself.
The Decree was framed so that it would not interfere with the Truce. It would be a war measure to come into force after the Truce. He mentioned that while they were likely to aim directly at judges and the like the Ministry might think it necessary to deal with all kinds of English civil servants in the country.