At the outset of the proceedings I would like to again draw the attention of this House to the fact that one grave misrepresentation of my remarks on the evening before last did not get that correction which I demanded and which you supported yesterday as far as the English and, I understand, the other foreign Press is concerned. I would like the Pressmen here to remember that I regard this as a most serious misrepresentation, and any failure on the part of any newspaper, no matter where, will be made accountable by me (hear, hear).
DEBATE ON TREATY
Ní fheadar an ceart domhsa labhairt anso indiu, mar fear óg iseadh mé agus ní bhfuair mé bás fós. Do réir mar a dubhradh linn iné is mór an locht ar fhearaibh óga bheith beo. Is ceart dúinn ár ndícheall do dhéanamh ehun an cheist seo do shocrú do réir mar a chítear dúinn é, agus do réir mar is dóigh linn is ceart é shocrú. Ní thógiad ró-fhada chun an cheist seo do phlé agus do thabhairt amach go soiléir.
A Chinn Chomhairle, I wish to say here that in going to vote for this Treaty I rise under the shadow of an indictment made here yesterday according to which the young men who have made speeches on this side of the Dáil have a number of very serious defects, and since I suppose I am one of the youngest of these men the defects may be all the greater in my case. We were told that the young men who spoke for this Treaty are dishonest, unintelligent, ignorant of Irish history, negligent of their duties to their constituents, knowing nothing of living constitutions or constitutional law, and finally, unable to think. Now it is a serious thing to have to make a speech when you reflect that you have been indicted in that way. We sent over plenipotentiaries to negotiate on this— to negotiate a Treaty or treaties of association with the British Commonwealth of Nations. They have brought back a Treaty and the President has told us that in signing it they were within their rights. On their last visit to London they did their best to interpret not the view of the Cabinet, but the divergent views of the Cabinet at home in so far as these divergent views could be brought together in any agreed document. Now the position surely is this, that this country had fought but did not win out; that is to say we bad not driven out the enemy. Now our plenipotentiaries, who were chosen for their judgment and their courage, having weighed up all the contingencies, approved of the Treaty, and not one of us can run away from the responsibility of deciding whether he is for or against that Treaty. A lady in this assembly has given us a very noble guide, a very noble sentiment to guide us when we are making up our minds. The member for St. Patrick's Division (Madam Markievicz) told us in Private Session that in voting for or against the Treaty we should decide according to the conscience and judgment that God has given us. The problem is there and it would be cowardly to shirk it; and according to the judgment and conscience God has given me I have made up my mind (hear, hear). In judging this Treaty I take two standards; first the question of our honour, and the second question is whether under this Treaty we have the substance of freedom. Our representatives, the representatives of the historic Irish nation, negotiated in London for two months with the representatives of England and with the eyes of the world upon them. Now I submit, in spite of any legal quibbles, that fact in itself went a long way towards recognising the status of the independent national entity which we call the Irish Nation (hear, hear). Further, a Treaty was reached between them and published before the world, and that Treaty in itself gives us an international status. I will not imitate the member for Wexford by quoting Webster's Dictionary on the word "Treaty." The meaning is fairly well known. I may be ignorant of Irish history, but I submit that since English domination became effective in Ireland, that is to say since Kinsale and the "Flight of the Earls," the Irish Nation has never got as much recognition as a nation in the eyes of the world as it got while these negotiations were going on, and as it gets by this Treaty (hear, hear). We were told plainly and distinctly by our ambassadors in foreign parts that no nation in the world recognises an Irish Republic, and more recognition has been given to Ireland by England than has been given by any other nation in the world; and if we have the courage to grasp that and act in the light of that achievement we will be doing right (hear, hear). The agreement is embodied in the Treaty and therefore it seems to me that our national status is vindicated; and further, the Constitution of the new state is to be drawn up by the Irish Government, and I trust that Government and I trust the Irish people to see that it will be drawn up properly. In this connection much has been made of the words "subject to the Provisions of the Treaty." But why did we go to make a Treaty as all if we object to the words "Provisions of a Treaty" occurring in it. The provisions of this Treaty make no restrictions on the Irish Constitution. The Irish Constitution will derive, not from this Treaty, not from any Act of the British Parliament, but from the Irish people. As far as I can see in it it makes no mention of any country but Ireland. Why should it? This Treaty defines our relations with the British Commonwealth of Nations. It is not a concession, not a Home Rule Bill, but an international instrument, not granting us rights but acknowledging rights that have long been questioned and are now admitted in face of the world by England. Now so far I think the Treaty recognises our National status, and the Minister of Finance speaking in Armagh in September, and then I suppose representing a united Cabinet, stated we were out for the substance of freedom. I submit that in this Treaty we have the substance of freedom if we have the courage to take it; and when we are asked "Is this what has been fought for?" I say that if the words of the Treaty give you the right to say that England must get out of Ireland then that is what was fought for (hear, hear). Now, my friend, Deputy Etchingham, told us there was only one man in this assembly who can interpret the Treaty. That gentleman was Mr. Childers. I don't know whether that is an example of the slave mind or not, but anyhow I will quote you Mr. Childers on the Treaty. Speaking about Article 2, which defines our relations with the Imperial Parliament, he told us that if the Dominion of Canada wished to defy the law by constitutional usage, Canada and the other nations have acquired virtual independence, they are virtually independent nations, exercising full executive and legislative rights. Now if a nation exercising full legislative and executive rights is not free I don't know what freedom is. We have been given numbers of arguments. I may summarise them in this way:—First, the substance of freedom cannot be found in the words of the Treaty. Well then the definitions that we had of the powers of Canada are wrong. Secondly, these powers—the substance of freedom—are in the Treaty, but you cannot get them because you are too near England. I am one of the young men who did not go out with my head up when Mr. Childers was speaking. I listened to him very carefully and the idea I got—it may be a misunderstanding—but the impression left upon me was this, that he was indicting the historic Irish Nation for having chosen this island for its habitation instead of some island in the Pacific. But we cannot help that. It is a defect in our world position. It is nothing short, to my mind, of absurdity, nothing short of expressing a complete distrust of the Irish people, to argue that you cannot get the things you want through the Treaty because you are too near England. It is our business to see that we get them. A further argument was put like this:—This Treaty does contain the substance of freedom; you will get all the provisions of the Treaty carried out, but then, when you have all that—I quote my old friend Mr. Etchingham again—when you get this independence, when the Irish people get this independence, and the control over their own affairs they will decay and lose their national ideals. Now I agree with Deputy Miss MacSwiney. When speaking yesterday she said the heart of the Irish people is sound. I do not believe in the argument that when they get freedom and get control they will become simply and solely materialists. Some Deputy stated that under a Free State there would be more rebels than ever. You cannot have it both ways. The position of the Irish Free State in regard to England's wars was defined thus: "That in the case of war the States of the British Commonwealth will take such concerted action founded on consultation as the several governments may determine." That means that a majority of votes will not carry them all into war; each and every one must decide on a question of war for itself. This is governed by a pact made in 1917. The interpretation of that, if I mistake not, is the interpretation of Mr. Childers himself. We were told that if we were dragged into England's foreign wars we would be bound by every treaty she makes. In the Treaty of Versailles there is an express stipulation that none of its provisions would bind any nation of the British Commonwealth unless signed by the representatives of that nation. At the Washington Conference South Africa and the other nations of the British Commonwealth vindicated their right to representation on an equal footing with France, Italy and Great Britain; and if that is not the status of nationhood then I don't know what is. Another argument that was used yesterday evening was in reference to the fact that this Treaty gives us absolute and complete control of our own trade with the right of putting up tariffs if we please, against England. We were told this was no use because, forsooth, Mr. Churchill says that England has got an economic grip on Ireland. She has got an economic grip on Ireland and it is precisely to lessen that economic grip and increase the strength of Ireland, relative to the strength of Britain, that those for this Treaty are anxious for the Treaty to be passed. Now I have great temerity in tòuching upon one other subject. Perhaps I am ignorant of it, but at any rate I have been in touch with it all my life. This Treaty gives Irish men and women in Ireland absolute and complete control of Education. The Minister for Finance, in his speech on the Treaty, said that British domination in Ireland is effected by an economic cancer that eats into the very heart of our nation. Besides that economic cancer there is another cancer even more important eating into the very heart and vitals of the Irish nation, and the spiritual penetration, the sway of English manners and customs, of the English tongue, English ideas and English ideals in Ireland, is the most dangerous thing to the undying spirit of any nation, and I say that with control of education in an Irish State that rot could be stopped. The President yesterday when another Deputy was speaking on this subject interjected that it would be education with dishonour. I wonder is it because so few of us are native speakers of this English language that we throw our words about in such a fashion?
I say fundamentally, based upon this Treaty, it is dishonourable.
I submit that it is not dishonourable. It passes to our hands, and education in an Ireland where there would be no interference whatever from England would certainly be Irish Education. There is no use in denying that it certainly would be Irish education; and at the moment practically every child in Ireland is being educated in the most deplorable way you can imagine, under an English system, guided by English ideas, and interpreted in an English way; and the Government of the Irish Republic, in the Educational Department of which I have worked and done my best is utterly powerless to do anything—even under a truce—to do anything to stop it. I speak exactly and precisely of what I know. Anything that has been done for the last few months has been based on the supposition that we were going to get control of Education; and if we have to go back to fighting again, back to war or chaos, or go back to any form of agitation, then our power in education is practically nil. Whereas this Treaty certainly gives us power to direct all the spiritual activities of our people in the right way, and à propos of this I will quote a statement the President, the Minister of Finance, the Minister of Defence and the President of the Ard-Fheis made at a meeting of the Keating Branch of the Gaelic League, that they would take an Ireland with the Irish language and having no freedom rather than a free Ireland without the Irish language (hear, hear). I understand exactly what they meant. They meant, I am sure, not only the Irish language, but Irish ideals. I am sure I am right.
Yes and you are killing them with this.
PROFESSOR M. HAYES: Under this Treaty you can get the Irish language and get Irish ideals with freedom; and it seems to me the only argument against that is, that when the Irish people get control of Irish education themselves they won't be able to manage it. That seems to me to be the fundamental argument against. We are told we cannot teach Irish history. We certainly can. We were asked how would we teach the history of 1916 under a Free State. We would teach it as it ought to be taught and as it cannot be taught now. Now I believe that we are going to agree to a cutting down of these speeches. I hope we are, but I have done my best to explain to you on what ground I have come to a decision. We have fought against English domination and within the four corners of that Treaty English domination in Ireland can be got rid of. We were asked yesterday evening to consider the horrors we were going to inflict on the young girls of Ireland by establishing a representative of the King in Ireland. I do not know really, for personally I never came into contact anywhere with people who had been to the Viceregal Court in Ireland. But I do know this Treaty will remove from Ireland a more immoral influence on the young girls of Ireland, that is, the English Garrison (applause). I have done my best with my own poor intelligence to form an honest opinion of this Treaty and I have given it to you. Further, I have not formed my opinion on the Treaty because I think the alternative is war. I formed my opinion independently, but no alternative has been offered here. Further, I believe that my view represents the views of my constituents, and I would be quite prepared to go before my constituents to give my views as I have stated them, and even go before the women graduates of the National University whom I represent and give them my opinion, and I am sure they would stand by it. I have come to this opinion honestly, and whatever the decision of this House will be, one way or the other, I shall abide by it. I will not run away from it one way or the other. The decision I have come to honestly is to vote for this Treaty. I have come to it and I am neither ashamed nor afraid of it (applause).
A Chinn Chomhairle, agus a lucht na Dála, is truagh liom sinn a bheith deighilte mar atáimíd fós, agus is mó de thruagh liom oiread so easaontais do bheith eadrainn toisc gan ár dteanga dhúchais ar leithligh do bheith ar siubhal againn anso. Dá mb'í ár dteanga dhúchais a bheadh ar siubhal againn is lú beann a bheadh againn ar na daoine iasachta atá ag faire orainn is ar na páipéirí nuachta atá go nimhneach 'nár gcoinnibh. Tá súil agam nuair a bheidh deire le cúrsaí an chóthionóil seo go gcuimhneochaidh lucht na Dála ar an rud is dual dóibh uile agus go mbainfid feidhm arís as teangain ár dtíre; agus na daoine nácb féidir leo san a dhéanamh, no nách mian leo san a dhéanamh go dtuigfe siad feasta nách áit oiriúnach dóibh Dáil Eireann. Before I proceed to examine in my own inexpert way the proposals of this pact, I should like through you, Mr. Speaker, to express my sense of gratitude to Deputy Erskine Childers, for his lucid and informing analysis of that scheme, and I want to say if every one in this Dáil approached the discussion in the same spirit as he has done, the people of Ireland would be in a better position to form a just judgment of the proposals before us; and I would also like to record my high appreciation of the superb address we heard last evening from Deputy Miss MacSwiney (hear, hear). To my mind that address not only vindicates the far-flung movement for women's rights, but places Miss MacSwiney in the highest ranks of the greatest orators of our race. I was ashamed to hear the reference made to it from the bench opposite. My acknowledgments are due also to the Minister of Finance—I am sorry he is not here to hear me—not for any light thrown by him either in Private Session or in public on the financial clauses of the pact, but because in his admirable and characteristic address he thought fit to refer in seeming resentment to some words used by me, when in Private Session I addressed an earnest appeal to the contending parties in this struggle to close up their ranks in God's name. I suppose I may compliment the Minister of Finance on the efficiency of his Intelligence Department, for unless I have the Nelsonian eye so much referred to in the course of that Private Session—and surely a speaker may sometimes have the Nelsonian eye—I did not have the privilege of numbering Mr. Collins among my auditors when I made my appeal for unity to the Dáil. My reference to "slippery slopes" was not accurately conveyed to the Minister of Finance. What happened, as you will remember, was this: I pointed out that the action of our Delegates in signing the proposed Treaty in London under duress and giving it to the world was a departure from the spirit of the understanding reached at the Dáil itself on the day they were appointed ("No! No!") and further a departure, however unavoidable, from the instructions given to them by the President and his Cabinet ("No! No!"). I have no desire to labour the point. I am content to place my conviction on record. The result of the visit to London was that the whole Cabinet had drifted from the high plane it previously held to a slippery slope, and I appealed to the contending parties to turn their gaze towards heaven once more and, hand in hand, to assist each other towards the exalted plane to which our cause had been brought by untold sacrifice of precious life and blood and treasure. Is it too late to repeat the appeal on the threshold of the approaching season of peace and good will on earth? The Minister of Finance in that connection asked why was it that we who talked of slippery slopes did not sound the warning earlier? No one should know better than the Minister of Finance that from the very beginning and again and again I warned the Cabinet; that I resisted strenuously the proposals to send delegates, and I warned the Cabinet, every member of it, to guard particularly in every step they took and every line they wrote against the danger of giving the British Premier the opportunity or the gratification of dividing our people. I think I am giving away no secrets in saying I took up that position from the outset. I opposed strenuously the proposal to send a Delegation to London. I opposed it until it became only too obvious that the insidious counsel of Cope of the Castle had permeated our whole body politic, and until subsequently I felt oppressed by the sheer weight of the tinsel of our own militarism —Commandants for Inverness, Commandants for Gairloch, Commandants for London, swaggering up and down the country in the company of the enemies of our country; leading the people to believe there was an enduring peace when there was no peace, telling them with great show of authority that we had already been offered "the substance of the Republic"—and let those responsible take the responsibility—so behaving generally that the average man could only conclude the whole surrender was dictated by military necessity. It would have been better, I often felt, not to have dragged "the soldier's trade" down to the lowest sordid level of the politician's. Now I am not going to labour that point. I think those who run may read. Now I come to "King Charles's Head"—to quote a previous speaker—the much discussed Oath of Allegiance involved in the opening Clause, and crystallised in Clause 4 which reads: "I, J.J. Walsh"—if I may take the liberty of using the name of my honourable friend in illustration—"do solemnly swear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of the Irish Free State, as by law established, and that I will be faithful to His Majesty King George V., his heirs and successors by law, in virtue of the common citizenship of Ireland with Great Britain, and her adherence to and membership of the group of nations forming the British Commonwealth of Nations."
"This," said Mr. Griffith, in introducing his motion, "is an oath of allegiance to the Free State of Ireland and faithfulness to King George V. in his capacity as head, and in virtue of the Common Citizenship of Ireland with Great Britain and the other nations comprising the British Commonwealth. That is an oath which, I say, any Irishman may take with honour."
On a point of order, as you mentioned my name I would like to know which Oath you are reading.
I have read the Oath in the Pact, and only I felt I had the permission of my distinguished and honourable old friend I would not take such a liberty with his name.
Give us the other one.
I only used my friend's name in illustration, and I read the interpretation of the Oath given by the Chairman of the Delegation. Now I differ radically from the Chairman of the Delegation in regard to this Oath. I am opposed to it because to pledge unborn generations of our people "to be faithful to King George, his heirs and successors" as it does, is to do violence to the most elementary principles of democracy, and to be democratic surely —not to declare for hereditary rule— should be a prime aim of our new-born native Government. I tell everyone here to-day you must take note of democracy, genuine democracy, in the new Ireland growing up around us. I am opposed to the Oath because, instead of ensuring the distinct citizenship for which we have ever clamoured, still clamour and shall continue to clamour, and to fight for, if necessary, this Oath professes to make a virtue of "common citizenship with Great Britain" involving common responsibilities, and intensifying the accursed union against which we have never ceased to protest and which we shall never cease to detest and to loathe. I am opposed to the restoration of this alien declaration of fidelity because I am reminded by the presence of a friend in the audience—only the other day some of the men who here signed the proposed agreement helped to render civil servants who took a similar oath of allegiance under duress, ineligible as teachers in the Dublin Trade Schools, while for the same reason other civil servants were driven out of the Gaelic Athletic Association which, to my personal knowledge, they had done much to build up and restore to popularity. I am far from desiring "to indecently rattle the bones of the dead," but I say here now that the rattling of the bones of the dead was rendered inevitable by those who put Commandant MacKeon in the false position of seconding this motion.
Who did so? I wish to say that I seconded the motion of my own free will and according to my own free reason (applause).
Well, I accept the correction with pleasure. I am opposed to the Oath no matter what is said about it. I am opposed to this declaration of fidelity to an alien King because it is an outrage on the memory of our martyred comrades, and in the circumstances in which we find ourselves here to-day, I say this is an open insult to the heroic relatives they have left behind. I am opposed to it because its inclusion in this proposed agreement, in flagrant disregard of the published correspondence between our President and the British Premier and the Pope, is an unauthorised departure from the spirit of the instructions given our Delegates at the meeting of Dáil Eireann which appointed them. I am opposed to it finally because to support it or even condone it would be tantamount to perjuring myself and would contribute, in my humble opinion, towards perjuring the sixty or more colleagues to whom, by your authority, I have administered the Oath of Allegiance to the Saorstát.
The oath a man takes is a question for his own conscience and I certainly will not be dictated to by anybody as to what oath I will take.
Mr. Speaker. I want to say to you, or such of you as were members of the original Dáil, in unanimously electing me as your Chairman during the long absence of my friend, Mr. Seán T. O'Kelly, imposed upon me the obligation of administering to every one of my colleagues this Oath of true faith and allegiance to the Saorstát. Now this is the Oath I administered to them: "I —— do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I do not yield a voluntary support to any pretended Government or authority within Ireland" (interruptions).
I would appeal to Deputies not to be interrupting. Do not copy the tactics of the other side.
"I, ——, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I do not and shall not yield a voluntary support to any pretended Government, authority or power within Ireland hostile and inimical thereto; and I do further swear (or affirm) that to the best of my knowledge and ability I will support and defend the Irish Republic and the Government of the Irish Republic, which is Dáil Eireann, against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion. So help me God."
Now with all due respect to the President, with all due respect to the Chairman of the Delegation, with all due respect to the experts in the Dáil, and to the Professors of Ethics who equivocate in the Press, I interpreted that Oath of Allegiance—both in taking it and in administering it to scores of my colleagues—as a solemn vow consecrating my whole future life to the service of the Republic, and I would not have administered it if I thought my colleagues did not interpret it in a similar spirit. Solemnly on the Testament, with this tongue and by this hand, I administered that Oath to our immortal comrade, Terence MacSwiney. Am I now to pollute hand and tongue by subscribing to an alien allegiance? Am I so soon to forget the outstanding martyr of the human race, who, to restore us our freedom, suffered his young life to ebb away gasp by gasp, for twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, sixty, seventy, aye, seventy-four weary, dreary days of unending agony— to the eternal disgrace of England and the undying honour of the race he has exalted for ever—and whose last articulate gasp was a request that he be buried in the uniform of a soldier of the Irish Republic? Have you forgotten it already? I apologise to Deputy Miss MacSwiney, Deputy Seán MacSwiney, and the others who mourn with them here, for recalling those days of anguish, but it is an anguish, thank God, that has eventuated in pride and in national glory. That uniform in which our colleague was buried is, to me at least, a sacred thing; nothing less than the habit of a martyr, with a truer title to be so regarded than the purple or scarlet of Bishop or Cardinal: the habit of Francis or of Dominic. You soldiers of the Republic who are here robed in that garb, never let the heritage entrusted to your honour by a martyr be sullied by being dragged into the sordid arena of politics, and never forget the martyr's counsel that "victory will be not with those who can inflict most, but with those who can endure most." Before I heard Deputy Barton's story of Lloyd George's big stick, corroborated by Mr. Gavan Duffy, I had been wondering what wizard's wand, what druidic draught so confounded our trusted Delegates in London, that they could have been oblivious even for one moment of the position in which this ignoble settlement to which they had put their hands would place us—the renunciation it would imply of the Republic constitutionally proclaimed three years ago in the face of Ireland and the world by the gallant soldier who, as we were informed yesterday, fought on in 1916 even after his last drop of blood seemed to have been shed, and survived in the providence of God to baffle the bloodhounds of Britain—Cathal Brugha. No one here holds Doctor MacCartan in higher personal esteem than I do, but I deplored his speech last evening in which he said the Republic to which he had sworn allegiance was dead. As a past Chairman of this assembly I tell you, Mr. Speaker, that henceforward no one must be allowed to say with impunity in the Parliament of the Republic that the Republic is dead. The Republic, whose birth certificate was written with steel in the immortal blood of martyrs in 1916, was constitutionally proclaimed in 1919, and is now six years in existence, almost as long as Grattan's Parliament. It is not dead—or even slumbering: it is alive and functioning, and will continue to function in spite of the wiles of the wizard from Wales and the partition Parliament of Southern Ireland in which it is proposed to have it merged. I was disappointed, too, when I heard the President say he devoted himself, in the interests of unity, to pulling down the walls of the Republic.
I said "isolated Republic."
On reflection I interpreted the President's words to mean that the wise architect, soldier and statesman, seeing the breast-works of the rising national edifice grow somewhat irregular, pulled them down here and there to preserve the symmetry of the structure, enable the halting to keep pace with the eager and the earnest, and thus lead the whole people steadily to the consummation of our highest hopes. It has been said that the only alternative to approval of this Treaty is war. Not necessarily. The rejection of the Treaty may bring war, but to my mind it would bring us back to the position we occupied before the Delegation went to London, and in that case it would be a war on a united Ireland. If the fact be approved I am equally afraid it may be war because the young men of Ireland will not have the pact, and in that case it may be war on a divided Ireland. To my mind—and being a man of peace I have considered it as carefully and as anxiously as anyone —we are less likely to have war by disapproving the pact than by approving it. And if England will make war on us then, because we refuse to perjure ourselves or betray our heroic dead, let the responsibility be hers and hers alone. For my own part, war or no war, having taken an Oath of Allegiance twice over to the Republic, and administered it, in the face of heaven and by your command, to scores of my colleagues, no consideration on earth will induce me voluntarily to declare allegiance or lip fidelity to the King of a country whose instruments of Government have oppressed and traduced our people for seven centuries and a half. Before passing finally from the Oath let me say that several clauses of the Treaty conflict with it. Clauses 17 and 18 will suffice in illustration: "By way of provisional arrangement for the administration of Southern Ireland during the interval which must elapse between the date hereof and the constitution of a Parliament and Government of the Irish Free State in accordance therewith," says clause 17, "steps shall be taken forthwith for summoning a meeting of members of Parliament elected for constituencies in Southern Ireland since the passing of the Government of Ireland Act, 1920, and for constituting a Provisional Government; and the British Government shall take the steps necessary to transfer to such Provisional Government the powers and machinery requisite for the discharge of its duties provided every member of such Provisional Government shall have signified his or her acceptance of this instrument. But this arrangement shall not continue in force beyond the expiration of twelve months from the date hereof." And clause 18 provides that "This instrument shall be submitted forthwith by His Majesty's Government for the approval of Parliament and by the Irish signatories to a meeting summoned for the purpose of the members elected to sit in the House of Commons of Southern Ireland and, if approved, shall be ratified by the necessary legislation." I am afraid it is but too obvious our Delegates did not keep our Oath of Allegiance clearly before them while discussing these clauses in London. I say that unwittingly——
The Delegates are prepared to answer that before any tribunal in Ireland or in any part of the world—at least, some of us are (applause).
I am a Minister of this House and I hope my conduct has not been unworthy. What a nice culmination for Dáil Eireann to abdicate in favour of a provinical, provisional, partition assembly which was laughed to scorn when called into being in Dublin some months ago. But, of course, the Chairman of the Delegation says he has brought us back "a Treaty of Equality," and the flag and freedom, and I forget how much else; and accordingly he asks the Dáil to pass his resolution and he requests the people of Ireland and the Irish people everywhere to ratify his Treaty. I am sorry to see, Mr. Speaker, that we are not sufficiently jealous about the prerogatives of this Dáil. We were irregularly summoned here, in the first instance, to discuss the ratification of the Treaty in Public Session. Later, in Private Session, we found it wasultra vires. We next assembled in Public Session to find the Treaty on retreat from ratification to approval. I insist, Mr. Speaker, the whole discussion is irregular.
What about Document No. 2?
I have not referred to that document. The man who is concerned with it, when this whole business is over, will be respected throughout Ireland and throughout the world, and I leave to him the elucidation of the document referred to. I submit further, Mr. Speaker, that I have kept within the rules of debate, and applied myself to the question before the House. Asking the Irish people to ratify the Treaty seems to me like challenging an election and we are tired of the clamour in the newspapers in this connection. I have as much respect as anyone for the rights of the people. What are they, and what are ours? My own case is typical, and it is this. In November, 1918, I was invited to contest the doubtful constituency of Louth in the Republican interest. I declined—as I did other invitations— urging those who waited on me to select a local representative. Finally I yielded to a combination of influences and entered the contest. From the day I entered the constituency until I left it six weeks later—and I speak in the hearing of comrades who, sleeplessly and selflessly helped me to win it—I never once lowered the Republican standard or shirked the Republican issue. In due course Dáil Eireann was convened and the Republic constitutionally proclaimed. The newly elected members swore allegiance to the Republic and, one after the other, the Public Boards of the country declared similar allegiance. Departments of Government were set up, and the Republic functioned to the satisfaction and with the co-operation of the nation. Early this year there was a general election. Again I was asked to contest the constituency, and again I urged that local men be nominated. I was elected unopposed. The new Dáil was convened in due course, and the Oath of Allegiance to the Republic renewed. Herein is my mandate, and I say, if, in response to the clamour of the newspapers, I got a thousand resolutions and fifty thousand telegrams from every public body within my constituency, I would still interpret my Republican mandate by voting against this Treaty of surrender. I was pained to hear it stated that the people of my native Iveragh favoured this pact. I take the liberty to doubt it. Equally do I take the liberty to doubt the statement that, in the event of a renewal of hostilities, the people of East Kerry could not be relied on to sustain the army of the Republic. The people of Kerry, if I know them, will remain true to the Republic. Whether they do or not, I am glad, and I am very proud that in this matter I see eye to eye with Austin Stack. We did not hear so much about the rights of the people in the old days when, heedless of an unheeding world, the Chairman of the Delegation ploughed the lonely furrow and was not less sound than he is to-day. I respected and trusted Arthur Griffith ploughing the lonely furrow; I have lost confidence in Arthur Griffith, the plenipotentiary. Now though I do not wish to make undue claims on the time of the House, I cannot help expressing my regret that we got no information on the financial clauses of the Treaty. "The Irish Free State," says clause 5, "shall assume liability for the service of the Public Debt of the United Kingdom as existing at the date hereof, and towards the payment of war pensions as existing at that date, in such proportion as may be fair and equitable, having regard to any just claims on the part of Ireland by way of set-off or counter-claim, the amount of such sums being determined in default of agreement by the arbitration of one or more independent persons being citizens of the British Empire." This does not look rosy. I take it the public debt has been incurred very largely through the cost of war, the outlay on warships and on the appliances and the appurtenances of war. Ireland, hitherto, has paid more than her share towards procuring all these engines and instruments of war. Do they all now remain the property of England, to be used for our destruction when it suits her, and must Ireland saddle herself with a load of taxation to meet their cost? And where within the Empire is the expert arbitrator to be found who will be proof against a ducal coronet? Of course we get some compensations— the world is regulated by compensations —for clause 6 provides—"Until an arrangement has been made between the British and Irish Governments whereby the Irish Free State undertakes her own coastal defence, the defence by sea of Great Britain and Ireland shall be undertaken by His Majesty's Imperial Forces, but this shall not prevent the construction or maintenance by the Government of the Irish Free State of such vessels as are necessary for the protection of the Revenue or the Fisheries." All the comment I am going to offer on this nucleus of a fleet is, that the destruction of the Fisheries on our SouthWest coast, with the connivance of the British Government, is a crime against humanity. Clause 10 also calls for a word of comment: "The Government of the Free State," it lays down, "agrees to pay fair compensation on terms not less favourable than those accorded in the Act of 1920 to judges, officials, members of police forces and other public servants who are discharged by it, or who retire in consequence of the change of Government effected in pursuance thereof." The Act of 1920, which we have hitherto avoided as an unclean thing, seems to regulate everything. I have been wondering whether compensation is to be given to the judges who were held to have judicially murdered our soldiers, and whether our surviving soldiers are to go entirely uncompensated; whether also the full benefit of the 1920 Act is to be given to the bigots in the Government offices who, these days, are having their salaries specially increased in anticipation of enhanced compensation. We next come to the question of evacuation. To my mind England's world-position, her need for troops in the East, in Egypt and in India, explains her eagerness for the evacuation of Ireland. But, with her accustomed hypocrisy, she would have the world interpret her own military exigencies as an act of magnanimity towards us. What does the Treaty ensure her? According to clause 7: "The Government of the Irish Free State shall afford to His Majesty's Imperial Forces:—
(a) In time of peace such harbour and other facilities as are indicated in the annex hereto or such other facilities as may from time to time be agreed between the British Government and the Government of the Irish Free State, and
(b) In time of war or of strained relations with a Foreign Power such harbour and other facilities as the British Government may require for the purposes of such defence as aforesaid"—
regardless of whether the Irish Free State so willed or not. I was discussing what Mr. Griffith calls a Treaty of Equality. I call it, with the President, a Treaty of surrender. Let us see what are the specific facilities indicated in the annex:—
"(a) Dockyard and Port at Berehaven. Admiralty property and rights to be retained as at the date hereof. Harbour defences to remain in charge of British care and maintenance parties.
(b) Queenstown. Harbour defences to remain in charge of British care and maintenance parties. Certain mooring buoys to be retained for the use of His Majesty's ships.
(c) Belfast Lough. Harbour defences to remain in charge of British care and maintenance parties.
(d) Lough Swilly. Harbour defences to remain in charge of British care and maintenance parties.
(e) Aviation. Facilities in the neighbourhood of the above ports for coastal defence by air."
And yet this is called a Treaty of Equality. I repeat it is a Treaty of surrender and subjection. A midland or frontier Deputy no doubt consoled us yesterday with the assurance that the British warships in our ports would be under the range of the guns of Commandant MacKeon. The frontier estimate of the futility of the naval gun must have fairly bewildered Deputy Erskine Childers.
I protested against an Englishman being employed as a servant of this Dáil.
Last evening, also, Deputy Miss MacSwiney in her moving address referred to Mr. Arthur Griffith's old-time theory that England placed a wall of paper around Ireland on the outside of which she wrote what she wished the world to believe about Ireland, and on the inside of which she wrote—well it really does not much matter. This Treaty would perpetuate the wall of paper for the annex provides for a convention to give effect to the following conditions:—
"(a) That submarine cables shall not be landed, or wireless stations for communication with places outside Ireland be established except by agreement with the British Government; that the existing cable landing rights and wireless concessions shall not be withdrawn except by agreement with the British Government, and that the British Government shall be entitled to land additional submarine cables or establish additional wireless stations for communication with places outside Ireland."
And yet we are told this is a Treaty of Equality. A Treaty of Equality! Of course it has to be admitted that the annex in the next clause gives us the privilege "that light-houses, buoys, beacons, and any navigational marks or navigational aids shall be maintained by the Government of the Irish Free State as at the date hereof, and shall not be removed or added to except by an agreement with the British Government."
In short, England, by this "Treaty of Equality," retains her Pale as a nursery of discord in the North, four Gibraltars round our coast, as a challenge to the United States, and associated with them four Air Stations, which, to anyone who can see beyond his nose, will be the real bases for the war operations of the future, and a standing invitation to every enemy at war with England to lay our land in ruins. This, then, I say finally, is not a Treaty of Equality. It is a Treaty of surrender, subjection, servitude, slavery, and as such, I appeal to you not to be content with its retreat from ratification to approval, but to drive it from approval to rejection and from rejection to the oblivion from which it should never have emerged (applause).
I would ask the members not to make interruptions. One effect of the interruptions is to lengthen the speeches with the inevitable result of taking up more of your time.
Is maith liomsa labhairt ag an nDáil seo, agus mo ghuth do thabhairt ar son an Chonnartha so, agus sé an fáth atáim a dhéanamh san mar, sa chéad áit, tá fhios agam im' chroidhe agus im' aigne gurb é an rud is fearr é ar son na tíre agus muintir na hEireann. Táim a dhéanamh san mar tá fhios agam go dteastuíonn ó mhuintir na Gaillimhe go ndéanfaí san. Bheadh náire orm dul thar nais dá ndéanfainn rud 'na aghaidh sin. Dhéanfainn tubaist mhuintir na hEireann agus mhuintir na Gaillimhe. Tá mar oblagáid ar dhuine a thír a chosaint. Rinneas san chó maith is d'fhéadas. Sa dara áit, seasóidh mé agus labharfaidh mé ar son an Chonnartha so mar níl a mhalairt le fáil, ach caismirt ar fuaid na tíre agus cogadh agus scrios ar na daoine. Tá daoine ag caint anso mar gheall ar éan agus dhá éan. Ní léir dom cá bhfuil an dá éan. Neosaidh mé scéal beag díbh. Chuaidh roint daoine amach ag fiach, agus dubhairt fear leo go raibh scata mór giorfhiaithe le fáil. Ach ní bhfuaireadar taréis an lae ach triopall deas raithinighe. Sibhse atá ag leanúint ghiorfhia anois, béidir ná beadh ann ach triopall deas raithinighe. Tá daoine anso do rinne mórán tróda le dhá bhliain anuas. Ach cé gur throideadar go calma agus go glic níor fhéadadar an rud do bhí uatha do dhéanamh. Ní raibh leigheas air sin. Anois nuair atá an namhaid ag imeacht uaidh féin tá daoine anso agus teastuíonn uatha a thuille cogaidh agus a thuille troda do chur ar bun chun go mbeadh caoi ag na fir óga ar bhás d'fháil ar son na hEireann. Is breá agus is uasal an rud é bás d'fháil ar son na hEireann. Sin ceann des na hargóintí do chualamair uatha so atá i gcoinnibh an Chonnartha. Tá daoine anso gur mian leo sa chogadh nua so bás d'fháil ar son na hEireann. Tá cead ag gach uile Theachta san do dhéanamh ach níl cead aca daoine eile do chur amach. Sin é an deifríocht atá eadrainn do réir mo bharúla-sa. Bhí deifríocht den tsórt céadna idir an dá Aodh ag Cionn tSáile. Bhí Aodh Ruadh O Domhnaill ar aon taobh amháin agus é go díreach ach go rótheasuidhe. Bhí Aodh O Néill ar an dtaobh eile agus é go céillidhe, staidéarach, ciallmhar. Do glacadh le tuairim Aodha Ruaidh Uí Dhomhnaill agus do mhill sé an tír. Sin é atá sibhse do dhéanamh iniu; sin é mo bharúnl. Teachta ó Cho. Lughmhuighe, dubhairt sé go mba mhaith leis dá mba ná labharfaí aon Bhéarla agus móiméad nú dhó 'na dhiaidh sin dubhairt sé ná raibh éinne ach Erskine Childers agus Máire Nic Shuibhne a thuig an scéal so. Dá mba coiníoll é ná féadfadh ach Gaedhilgeoirí bheith anso ní bheadh seans ag Erskine Childers ná ag Máire Nic Shuibhne bheith anso, mar nuair a labhras i nGaedhilg ag an nDáil seo tráth níor thuig éinne den bheirt seo focal dá ndubhairt mé. Ní dóigh liom gur cóir do dhaoine bheith ag rá nár cheart dos na Teachtaí a n-ainm do chur leis an gConnradh. Ní deas an rud bheith ag rá go ndeárnadar so is súd. Dá mbeimís go léir ag labhairt na Gaedhilge anso ní bheimís trí chéile fé mar atáimíd. Níor chaill m'athair ná éinne dem' shinnsear an Ghaedhilg. Ní dheárnadar súd ná ní dheárnas-sa troid ar son Shasana, ach nuair a bhí troid le déanamh ar son na hEireann níor loirgeas Connradh ná níor ritheas ón gcath. Anois a cháirde tá a lán daoine sa Dáil seo ná tuigeann an Ghaedhilg agus dá bhrí sin caithfe mé labhairt i dteanga an tSasanaigh, agus tá súil agam go nglaefa sibh liom go réidh mar ní cainteoir Béarla mé. Níor cuireadh anso mé chun Béarla do labhairt. Do cuireadh anso mé chun toil mhuintir na Gaillimhe do dhéanamh agus táim á dhéanamh san. Tá ceist mhór os cóir na tíre, agus aon Teachta atá ar aigne guth do thabhairt i gcoinnibh an Chonnartha so agus fhios aige go bhfuil an mhuintir do chur anso é i bhfabhar an Chonnartha—ba cheart do eirghe as an nDáil agus an scéal do chur os cóir na ndaoine, ach ní ceart do troid do chur ar bun ar son daoine eile agus béidir gan bheith sa troid é féin.
Now, my friends, I don't wish to detain you very long. There are a few things I wish to say in reference to this Treaty. I am supporting the Treaty for what is good in it, and I believe there is a good deal of good in it. The speaker who has just sat down, my friend the Deputy for Louth, Mr. J.J. O'Kelly, spent forty minutes of his speech in denunciation of the Treaty. But he has not uttered one word as to what will be the alternative if that Treaty is rejected. There is a policy of destruction on one side and a policy of construction on the other side. I support this Treaty because I feel in my heart and soul that the supporting of that Treaty is the best thing for Ireland. I support it on other grounds. I support it because I know that it is what the people of Galway who sent me here want. I live in Galway. I go among the people every day and I know their feelings on the question, and I would not be true to the people of Galway if I held opinions on this matter contrary to theirs, and if I were to stand up here and give a vote on such a vital issue as this which threatens the very lives of the people of Ireland and the people of Galway. You are told that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. Well I agree with that, and I have looked around and I can't see two birds, or even one bird itself, in the bush. There is no bird in the bush. Our respected President stated that he would prefer the Irish language without freedom than freedom without the Irish language. I say that under this Treaty you have the one last chance of saving the Irish language. As Seán O'Kelly, the Deputy for Louth, and President of the Gaelic League, well knows, we are in the last ditch in the fight for the Irish language; and as I said to you in Irish about the Battle of Kinsale, the historic Irish nation was shattered at the Battle of Kinsale, and I say that if you defeat this Treaty by your votes here, you will be blotting out for ever the historic Irish nation. It is you who are putting bounds to the march of the nation, because if you defeat this Treaty there will be no nation left to march forward or backward. To me, personally, it is not a question of Arthur Griffith or Mícheál O Coileáin on one side, and President de Valera and Cathal Brugha on the other side. I put Ireland first, last, and all the time. An incident happened here over four years ago down at the Mansion House. There was a Convention held, a Convention of Sinn Féin, and there were two names before the meeting—the names of our President, Eamonn de Valera, and Arthur Griffith. A delegate came to me on the outside, and he asked me what I was going to do and I told him. "Well," I said, "I am a life-long friend of Arthur Griffith, but I am voting to-day for Eamonn de Valera because I believe he is the man Ireland wants." I did not cast that vote against my old friend—he did not know of it until now —I did not cast that vote because Arthur Griffith put Ireland before himself, and he won for himself that which has won him the admiration and respect of every man and woman in the whole gathering. I say here that those on the other side, those who are opposing the Treaty, that they are playing to the gallery. And I don't mean that in any offensive sense. They have no gallery outside in Ireland, but they are acting here to see what will history say of them. We are not afraid to go before the bar of history, because when history gives its verdict, I have no doubt on which side the verdict will be. It will be on the side of those who are acting as Hugh O'Neill acted at Kinsale. and not on the side of those who took Hugh O'Donnell's side. Now I would appeal to every one of you to consider this matter carefully and well, and that you will give your vote as you think in the best interests of Ireland. It was sneered at here, the saying: "That what is good enough for Mick Collins is good enough for me." Well, what is good enough for Michael Collins is good enough for me because I believe it is the best for Ireland (applause).
I rise to support the motion of the President to reject this Treaty. It is to me the simple question of right and wrong. To my mind it is a surrender of all our national ideals. I came to the first meeting of this Session with this feeling strong upon me, and I have listened carefully to all the arguments in favour of the Treaty. But the only thing I can say of them is: maybe there is something in them; I can't see it. Arthur Griffith said he had brought back peace with England, and freedom to Ireland. I can only say it is not the kind of freedom I have looked forward to, and, if this Treaty is ratified, the result will be a divided people; the same old division will go on; those who will enter the British Empire and those who will not, and so England's old game of divide and conquer goes on. God, the tragedy of it! I was deeply moved by the statement of the Minister for Economics on Monday. Listening to him I realised more clearly than ever before the very grave decision put up to our plenipotentiaries. My sympathy went out to them. I only wish other members of the Delegation had taken the same course, having signed the document, bring it home and let An Dáil reject or ratify it on its merits. We were told by one Deputy on Monday, with a stupendous bellow, that this Treaty was a stupendous achievement. Well, if he means as a measure of Home Rule, I will agree it is. It is the biggest Home Rule Bill we have ever been offered, and it gives us a novelty in the way of a new kind of official representing His Majesty King George V., name yet to be decided. If England is powerful enough to impose on us Home Rule, Dominion or any other kind, let her do so, but in God's name do not accept or approve it— no more than you would any other Coercion Act. I heard big, strong, military men say here they would vote for this Treaty, which necessarily means taking an Oath of Allegiance, and I tell those men there is not power enough to force me, nor eloquence enough to influence me in the whole British Empire into taking that Oath, though I am only a frail scrap of humanity. I took an Oath to the Irish Republic, solemnly, reverently, meaning every word. I shall never go back from that. Like Deputy Duggan, I too can go back to 1916. Between 1 and 2 o'clock on the morning of May 3rd I, a prisoner in Dublin Castle, was roused from my rest on the floor, and taken under armed escort to Kilmainham Jail to see my husband for the last time. I saw him, not alone, but surrounded by British soldiers. He informed me he was to be shot at dawn. Was he in despair like the man who spoke of him on Tuesday? Not he. His head was up; his eyes flashing; his years seemed to have slipped from him; victory was in every line of him. "Tell the Irish people," he said, "that I and my comrades believe we have saved the soul of Ireland. We believe she will never lie down again until she has gained absolute freedom." And, though sorrow was in my heart, I gloried in him, and I have gloried in the men who have carried on the fight since; every one of them. I believe that even if they take a wrong turn now they will be brave enough to turn back when they discover it. I have sorrow in my heart now, but I don't despair; I never shall. I still believe in them.
Dubhradh anso ar maidin go mbéidir ná raibh an gnó a bhí a dhéanamh anso i gceart. Deirimse, pé ceart nú mí-cheart atá ann ná fuil leigheas air. One of the Deputies here this morning said he wondered whether the proceedings were regular or not, and I say whether regular or not there is no help for it. The Deputy complains that when he made a proposition asking that some way would be found by which the members for the Treaty and those against it would be brought together to find a way out he got no support. Others have endeavoured to work along these lines, but my recollection is, that when I made a suggestion from the body of this House to those who were responsible people—masters of the House —that a small liaison group would be set up to link the members on both sides, in order to examine our broken ground and see whether some joint plan of co-operation could not be agreed to; and in the second place, if that could not be agreed to, to hold the reins of the situation for the House so that that split could not occur; there was no response. Another proposition was made that the rank and file of the House would meet together and would, of themselves, discuss the situation and weigh the alternatives on both sides; and there was no support for that proposition, and there was opposition for both of them. My recollection was that it was not from Deputy O'Kelly, that it was not from him that either of those propositions was getting any support. What we are looking for is not arguments but alternatives. None of us want this Treaty. None of us want the Crown. None of us want the representative of the Crown. None of us want our harbours occupied by enemy forces; and none of us want what is said to be partition; and we want no arguments against any of these things. But we want an alternative. We want the road open to us to show how we can avoid this Treaty. The only alternative put before us is the alternative put forward by the President, and I want to say that that alternative has not been treated fairly on the side who are for the Treaty. I have to admit that, and on the President's side it has not been treated fairly. If this alternative—if it does get us a way out of those things that are so essentially horrible to us, all the passion of the President, and all the passion that could be gathered on the presidential side should be put towards pointing out to us what roads lead to the alternative, and to what objective they lead. The unfairness on the other side is, that these roads have not been pointed out to us in a way that, considering the momentous circumstances of our position, they should have been. I, personally, see no alternative to the acceptance of this Treaty. I see no solid spot of ground upon which the Irish people can put its political feet but upon that Treaty. We are told that the alternative to the acceptance of the Treaty is war. I don't know whether it is or not. I say that you either have political chaos in the country without war, or political chaos with war. Personally, I would rather go into political chaos with war, than to go into political chaos in Ireland at the present time without war. As I say, none of us want the Crown. I don't want to meet the English King until I have been able to have a couple of days in the fresh air away from the bogies that have been put about me in this assembly. I can realise the difficulties of those who can put their finger upon the line and letter of the document which says that, in Ireland, all power of the Executive and otherwise comes from the King, and will, under the circumstances that will be created by the acceptance of that Treaty, come from the King. I can understand the difficulties of that person. But the feeling of my mind, and the instinct of my bones was, that the power of the Executive Government to control and discharge the resources of this country lies in the people. The 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, as far as we can hear, have brought us constitutional usage and practice, and I take it that the arrangement has been that when people took away their power from their princes, in order to leave their princes down lightly, they said: "This is constitutional usage." And if these centuries have provided us with constitutional usage and practice, and if the constitutional outlook of the King in Ireland at the present moment is to be that Executive power and control come from him, I think it won't be very long, under whatever arrangement is set up in Ireland—Treaty or otherwise— until the Irish people show, both for the benefit of themselves and perhaps for the benefit of others, that sovereign rights in this country lie in the people, and that the sovereign rights in every other country do and will be the same. With my understanding leading me in that—I can see no other road to go but the road of this Treaty, with the appreciation that this Treaty distinctly states that it does secure to Ireland the control in Ireland with full executive and administrative powers, and the Executive in Ireland responsible to that control. I am not afraid of the influence of the King, or the influence of the King exerted through some supposedly corrupt court of his representative here. I am not afraid of that power interfering with the power of the Irish people; because, if we have control, it is full control over legislation, over order, over peace, over the whole internal life and resources of the country; and if we have executive responsibility to that Parliament I don't see the way or in what way pernicious to the Irish people, the King or his representative could interfere with them. As to our ports, we are not in a position of force, either military or otherwise, to drive the enemy from our ports. We have not—those to whom the responsibility has been for doing such things— we have not been able to drive the enemy from anything but from a fairly good-sized police barracks. We have not that power; and with regard to the ports, I doubt if anybody in this assembly at the present moment—visual ising the necessity for coastal and external defence—who, visualising the financial aspect of these things, would be able to point to the mark we are aiming at as regards the necessity for defence and the financial aspect of it. When we have established a police force that will do the internal work of the country, and when we have established such small internal defence force as is necessary, we shall probably—both intellectually and from the ordinary common understanding—we will be coming to a point of intelligence at which we can decide what our external defences should be like. With regard to partition, I don't look upon the clause with regard to Ulster in this Treaty as prejudicing the Ulster position in any way. I see no solution of the Ulster difficulty or of the Six County difficulty at the present moment. On the other hand, the Treaty leaves the Irish people that they will be in absolute possession of their country's resources, and, in my opinion, with full executive power and control over them; and—if in order to bring the Irish people to the goal that they have always aimed at, and that we have always aimed at with them—if we were given on one side this Treaty and on the other such military power that we might reasonably equate with the enemy's power, and left to decide by which of these two instruments we would bring Ireland definitely to a status of equality with our old enemy; and if the responsibility of deciding between these two instruments were placed in the hands of any one particular person here, I think there would be very great searchings of heart and mind and conscience before taking the alternative of the two instruments—the instrument of war on one side, and on the other the instrument of this particular Treaty of the Irish people battling upon their own powers, upon their own resources, to bring the nation in power and equality with the enemy. We have before us to-day in Europe the spectacle of France and Germany striving for supremacy over each other with military force, and we see the internal unhappiness, the waste of human life, sorrow, misery, and the degradation it all involved. The fact that these two countries had elected to struggle for supremacy with one another, involved, not only these two countries, but disturbed the peace of the whole world; by the weapon of war we see what it has brought these two countries to—not only these two countries, but the peace of the whole world was disturbed—and we now stand at a time when we have it in our power to take our choice. Shall we grow to equality of status with our old enemy by taking complete control of our own internal resources? And, if at the present moment there are disabilities with regard to ourselves in this particular Treaty, whether we shall endeavour to outgrow these by taking our own resources, or rather by taking the chances of war—not with anything like adequate military forces, but with very small forces, sufficient to make our country resist force for years, but certainly not able to win even a war of internal liberation? That is one outstanding aspect of the situation at the present time. Are we going to choose in the next onward march of this nation the weapons which will give us dead in our country the Crompton-Smiths of England and the Potters of Ireland; or, are we going to take our own resources and grow to manhood, in friendliness and with some chance of avoiding that polarisation of mind and polarisation in antagonisms with the English people that we have been forced into at the present time? The alternative of the President—and the President can correct me if I am wrong—the alternative is, that whether we reject this Treaty, or whether we do it or not, that he will put before the English people a statement of Ireland's claim that he feels the English people will admit to be reasonable. I don't know if that is a fair statement of the President's claim.
I put forward that alternative as the objective we were looking for in a real peace between the two countries. This will not bring a real peace, and that is why I am against it.
If we, by taking a line of action that will keep us out of conflict and out of antagonism with the main mass of the English people— because, by living our own lives in our own country, and developing our own resources there does not seem to me any chance of our entering in direct antagonisms with the mass of the English people —and if, by adopting a weapon which will allow us to be on terms of friendship with the main mass of the English people, and by joint help, spoiling the efforts of English politicians to keep Ireland in a state of subjection to England— if we, by choosing this weapon, cannot do that, how can we do it by choosing a weapon which will put the responsibility upon us of killing, in self-defence, the Crompton-Smiths of England? As I say, these proceedings are not helpful. They are not finding us a way out. I can't suggest a way out; and therefore I don't want to say anything beyond what I have said. There is the position. To some extent the honour of these people who have stood for Ireland and who have sworn their Oath of Allegiance, sworn to put all their service, all their strength of mind at the cause of the Republic—that is, at the cause of the Irish people—their honour is being impugned because they stoop to accept such a Treaty as this. Well there are men gloriously dead to-day whose honour didn't go unimpugned at certain periods of their lives; and there are men living not ingloriously to-day whose honour was also impugned; and if at this particular moment the honour of any one of us who endeavoured with whatever intellect and whatever understanding the Lord has given us—endeavoured to do our best for our people—well, we can only hope that we shall have the same constancy in dishonour as those men of whom I speak while they were labouring under such a stigma. Remarks have been made by Deputies who were in disagreement with us with regard to this Treaty, which would lead us to imagine that they were going to erect spears outside the door of this new Irish Parliament if it ever comes into existence, and that they are going to make for those who pass into this Parliament a Caudine Forks. I doubt that. I know that the hand of no man who has worked in this assembly as we all have worked together, and who has felt in any way the comradeship of that work—I doubt if the hand of any man who has been useful here—I doubt if he will put his hand to such a spear as would make of any other section of this House, under such an Act of Parliament, a Caudine Forks. If there is, I would refer any man who thinks like it to the advice of the General who told his sons to leave his prisoners pass through with honour; otherwise the results that would accrue would not be to the advantage either of those who would take such action, or ourselves, or the Irish people. I do feel that we have suffered a defeat at the present moment—but I do feel that the hour of defeat in any way is not the hour for quarrelling as to how it might have been avoided. We have suffered a defeat. But even in that defeat we have got for the Irish people, at any rate, powers that I believe—if this Dáil passes away, if every bit of organisation that is in the country as its result at the present moment passed away with it— I believe that the Irish people would rise upon their resources, if left untrammell of and unfettered in their hands, to the full height of their aspirations and to the full vigour which has been so long lying undeveloped in our people; and with the responsibility of peace, the responsibility of taking their own materials and living their own lives and delving for their own materials of subsistence, they would find in that work all those high influences which in our war have developed—the character and manliness and their valuable characteristics that our period of warfare has developed in the country.
I am not very anxious to speak on this question which is before the House. The question, to my mind, is approval or disapproval of this Treaty, and I have been here more than a week listening to speeches on various subjects, from Relativity to Revelations, and I don't think that the Irish Republican Government have got much further with the work of the Irish Republic during this week. It has been said here that there are two sides in the House, and the Minister of Finance has referred to the Coalition. Well, I think that there are three sides now, and I'm the third. I don't belong to the Coalition. I am a Republican. I don't flatter myself that, even though I am the third side, that I am the hypotenuse; but as far as the fighting men of the South are concerned, I think that I am. I was trying to keep to what I believe was the point. I have been asked the reasons for my views on the question. My reasons are well known. But I have been asked several times outside this House to give the reason for my opinions. Well I have reasons, and the only reason why I decline to give these reasons is because I am of a peaceful disposition and I dislike argument. It has been said here during the week that the members of the Delegation are in the dock. That is not so. These men went to London with a formidable task before them. They did the best they could for Ireland. They brought us a document signed for our approval. They recommend that document to us. That is a manly attitude and requires no justification before this House or before the country. In giving you my views—and I will try to be very brief—I will ask you to accept them as I have accepted the work of the Delegation, as the views of men who wish to do the best they can for Ireland. I start with the assumption that every member of this Dáil has sufficient intelligence to know when a Treaty is not a Treaty, when an oath is not an oath. To my mind it can't be said with truth that Britain has entered this pact with perfect good faith. My idea is that it is the old question of England's practised politicians throwing dust in the eyes of our too trustful representatives. Our watchword has been the extermination of British power in Ireland. It was the gospel preached by the Minister of Finance. How long is the heresy—since when has he then shed sentiment? This Treaty is a sham. Take the wrapping from it and what do you find? A weapon fashioned, not to exterminate, but to consolidate British interests in Ireland. Apply one simple test. As we stand here to-day in Dublin we have driven the British garrison into the sea out of what was once the inviolable Pale. We rule the land by the force of our own laws, our own judicature, our own executive. We're independent— we are a Republic. Approve of this Treaty, and you re-establish and reintrench the forces and traditions of the Pale behind the new frontier—the frontier of Northern Ireland. And you abandon your own people in the North in the same loathsome way, for it is— if they believe what they say, that we are a murder gang—it is a loathsome way that they have abandoned their people in the South. The Minister of Finance has said that the departure of the British is a proof, the chief proof needed, that we have recovered our freedom, and that we have satisfied our national aspirations. He also said that the terms of peace secured this result. The Minister for Foreign Affairs said that the plenipotentiaries brought back the evacuation of Ireland by the British troops. That is what the ambassadors have committed themselves to. The enemy forces depart from the North Wall and Dún Laoghaire, but they disembark on the Lagan and the Foyle. By virtue of the option given to the Northern Parliament it is left open to the British Crown to keep up its army establishment, to supply with funds its supporters; and at the moment England has turned the corner economically to re-establish itself over Ireland. There is the old Irish proverb—beware of dranntán madra nú gáire Sacsanach—the snarling of a dog or the smile of an Englishman). Beware of the Greeks even when they come with gifts. We are having a Christmas gift of freedom. This is the time when children get dolls and wooden horses. Has it struck any of those who are going to vote for this Treaty that this gift of freedom is a wooden horse ready at any moment to vomit forth armed forces of the tyrant? We are told that the Treaty gives us immense powers internally and externally, and we are told if we reject the Treaty that we are challenging the British Empire to war—mortal combat. We have a Republic, and because we are seeking to retain it and maintain it, we are told that we are challenging the British Empire to mortal combat. Before I give any further reason—the reason I have said I am a third party— one of the principal reasons—there are men here voting for the Treaty who have been talking about the army just as if the army was what the British called it, a murder gang. The army, as an army even, is as well entitled to its opinions as any member of An Dáil, and the scandalous way the army has been talked about here in this assembly is a thing I would not put up with anyway. I have tried to appeal to you, not from sentiment, and I have not threatened you with war. In taking up that stand in the Dáil, in appealing to common sense, I have followed my chief, Deputy Mulcahy—I was awfully pleased with the way he handled the situation. Some of you here have been talking about going into the Empire with heads up, and Deputy Etchingham spoke of marching into the Empire with hands up; and now what I say is this: "Hands off the Republic," and am I to be told this is a declaration of war on England? No English statesman will take it so. It is a definition of our rights, and Lloyd George if he wants war will have to declare war. If he is giving us freedom he can do so without declaring war. All we ask of Lloyd George is to allow us to carry on. There is just one point more. It is this. As I said we have been fighting for the extermination of the British interests in Ireland. We are told we have it. I don't believe we have it. If there is a war of extermination waged on us, that war will also exterminate British interests in Ireland; because if they want a war of extermination on us, I may not see it finished, but by God, no loyalist in North Cork will see its finish, and it is about time somebody told Lloyd George that. The terms of reference must be interpreted in their broadest, and not in their narrowest, sense. For our Republic we are offered (1) an Oath of Allegiance; (2) a Governor-General; (3) a new Pale; (4) an army entrenched on our flank; (5) independence, internal independence; (6) the Treaty to preserve and consolidate British interests in our midst.
The House adjourned at 1.30 p.m., to 3.30 p.m.
On resuming, the chair was taken by THE DEPUTY SPEAKER (MR. BRIAN O'HIGGINS) at 3.40.
I have just purchased a copy ofNew Ireland, and I find that the editor of that paper asked for a Press ticket in order that he might report at this Dáil meeting. He was told that the minor Press representatives could not get tickets. Now I, as a representative of the people, protest against that. I say that the editor of that paper and the Minister of Foreign Affairs are the people that made this movement.
I wish also to protest against the exclusion of the representative of one of these papers or any of them. We have a great many people here who have not the permission of the Dáil to come here, and surely we can admit the Press, at all events when we decided that they be admitted.
The enemy Press got special facilities to the exclusion of our own.
I move that we admit the representative ofNew Ireland or any other paper that desires to come here.
With a suitable apology.
When this meeting was first called, it was to have been held in the Oak Room. For that reason I announced that only a few representatives of the major Press could come in. When we came here first we had only room for representatives of the Press that had to get out "spot" news. Since then we have allowed others in, but at present there are so many members bringing in personal friends that the major Press are being excluded, and in these circumstances there is no room for anyone else. If it is agreed that there shall be no one here but the Press the minor Press could come, but with friends of the members coming in there is no room for anyone else.
There is no resolution to admit friends of members. I have brought no friends, and as one member I protest against the friends of other people being here. Every tittle of information given the meeting ought to be reported, and our first duty is to see that the medium through which the reports are circulated is introduced.
It was understood when the meeting started that none but the members were to be here, and the Press, and members of the Standing Committee of Sinn Féin; but we found for the last three or four days that members of the Dáil had relatives and friends in. For the first time to-day I have signed asking for two people who applied to me to come in. Since the thing has been broken—not on our side—
Not on ours.
Well I don't know. The agreement made by the President with me was that the Press and members of the Standing Committee of Sinn Féin alone should be here, and we found for the last three days that other people were here, and I therefore signed to-day an order for three people. But the Press must take preference, and the exclusion of the editor ofNew Ireland or any paper in support of us is indefensible.
We are not in any way responsible for any such exclusion. The Director of Publicity, if anything, I think will be found to be a supporter of the other side. So it cannot be said that we——
I should like to say this, that I myself am perfectly in agreement that as many members of the Press should come in as possible, but I also think that while there is room and our young people belonging to both sides want to come in. I don't see why they should be excluded, or that, when they get in, they should be turned out. I have been told that a wounded soldier of ours was turned out by Mr. Fitzgerald yesterday, in the middle of Miss MacSwiney's speech. I don't know if that is true—Mr. Fitzgerald can answer —but I myself would be glad to see the Irish people here without asking which side they belong to—without asking to whom they belong. I would like to see the members in their turn bringing their friends in. I am glad to hear Mr. Griffith has done so, and I hope the members of the rank and file of the Dáil, if they have friends in Dublin, will get facilities for them to come in.
On a point of order I suggest that the Deputy for South Tipperary be heard.
You will take the motion before the House: "That the members of the Press excluded be admitted."
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER:
It has not been seconded.
I second it.
I thoroughly agree with that, but I want the thing understood——
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER:
Have you put the motion in writing?
It is, in effect, that the members of the Press excluded be admitted.
The motion was put and agreed to.
It is with some diffidence I arise to address the members of this assembly. Permit me, all you members of the Deputation, to address to you a tribute of my good faith in the great efforts you made to bring back to An Dáil of the Irish people a settlement of this very difficult, insoluble problem. I, as well as all the other members of this Dáil, am asked to approve of your work. I cannot do it. I don't want to inflict upon you my views. They are the views of a great many members of this House. Permit me though to say that I will not willingly consent to go back into the British Empire. I will not, willingly or otherwise, vote myself into the British Empire, but I say "Damn the Treaty whatever about the consequences." There is my position. It is the position of a great many men like me, men of average intelligence, men of average faith and principle, decent Irishmen who love Ireland and who are prepared to make sacrifices for Ireland every time, and through no fault of mine, and no fault of any of yours here, they are put in the position—we have been manœuvred into a position where we have to choose between two hells. I refuse to choose between two hells. I ask here now publicly our leaders, or some leader, to point out to me some path by which a man such as I am—not pretending to be an orator or a statesman, but an ordinary man—can leave these two hells behind him with the vestige of my honour. I will not vote for the Treaty. I am waiting for guidance, and waiting for the path. That is all I have to say.
A Chinn Chomhairle, speaking to you before in private I brought on myself a certain amount of obloquy by describing myself as an opportunist. Now, as that has apparently given gratification to some who take a different view of what is before us from the view that I take, perhaps it is as well that I ought to explain. As an opportunist I mean that I claim the freedom to do the best for Ireland in the circumstances that may arise. You heard these words before—all of you. You heard them, not once, but I think twenty times. You heard them enforced with every variety of argument and of emphasis. You heard them brought before you in this form, that, holding a high responsibility—the highest responsibility that at the present day could be put upon an Irishman—if a man were not free in all the circumstances to do the best he could for Ireland he would not hold the responsibility. Now that is my standpoint, and from those who differ from it we have heard the challenge to speak or be silent. These challenges were due, not now, but at the commencement of these negotiations, and, to my mind, the great majority of the speeches that have been made here against the resolution for the approval of the Treaty should have been made then, and not now. The situation was quite clearly defined—there is no mistake about it—and what is good for one man is good for another man, and everyone charged with responsibility in these negotiations had the same freedom to do the best they could in the circumstances for Ireland; and I think it is now admitted that in the circumstances they did the best that, to their knowledge, in their judgment, in their power, they could have done. Now, sir, there is no escape. I am not going to use any rhetoric. I am not going to use any claptrap. I am not going to force any argument. I am not going to take any advantages. I am not going to make any debating society points, and if I do I shan't object to being interrupted. I would speak to you—but I shall not speak to you—or at all events endeavour to do it in language as lofty as any of the eloquence that you have heard, if not, perhaps, quite as lengthy. I could go further. It would be very simple for me; it would cost me nothing at all; I could do it as easily as any man here, or any woman in this assembly—I could say this: "We will have the Republic the whole Republic, and nothing but the Republic—and to hell with England." There is nothing to prevent me saying that. It will cost me nothing——
Say it then.
And mean it.
But it is perfectly plain to us that the difficulties that arise in the minds of the great majority of those who find difficulties in this—and that is the great majority of those present —arise over two questions, that is to say, over two oaths. One of these oaths was quoted for us in full by the Deputy for Louth as the Oath we have taken as members of Dáil Eireann, and the other oath is the Oath that is proposed to be taken by future members of an Irish assembly under the Treaty that is before us. Now, I take the second of the two oaths first. It was dealt with by, I think, the Deputy for Mayo, Mr. Rutledge, yesterday. I was glad to notice that Deputy Rutledge did not pretend, as various others in speaking here to-day did, during the course of this discussion, they pretended—I should not use the word "pretended," it must be a mistake on their part—they have not read the words, or, if they read them, they do not understand them. Deputy Rutledge did not pretend that in the proposed Oath there is a declaration of allegiance to the King of England. There is in it no such declaration——
I will come to that point. There is no such declaration. It is my right to challenge all the members of this assembly, and it is compulsory on all the members of this assembly to answer any challenge of a member speaking from his place. I would challenge every member of this assembly to-day to say that the proposed Oath contains a declaration of allegiance to the King of England. Well, the Deputy for Mayo went on to the second part of it, and I must say he found himself there in an evident difficulty, because the only conclusion he could come to was, that fidelity meant slavery, and that the only person who could be faithful to another person was a slave. I suppose if the other person was faithful to that person he would be a slave too. Now, I am not going to deal with any suggested other oath—any suggested alternative that has been before you. I will suggest an alternative myself that will be a way out in case another oath has got to be proposed, and that is this: "I swear to be externally associated." Now that is Oath No. 1. There is no allegiance in it except to the Irish State. We heard a very complete and a very thorough explanation from the point of view of constitutional law given to us by Deputy Childers with regard to the construction of the Treaty, and with regard to the explanation he has given to us I will say only this, that if that Treaty be ratified the explanation which Deputy Childers has placed upon it—in case there is going to be further trouble about the interpretation of it—the explanations Deputy Childers has put before you are the explanations which will be insisted on against Ireland from the other side. The Minister for Local Government read a certain number of contrasts between what was so according to law or according to constitution, and what was so according to facts. Now the facts are these—and even if anyone should dispute them I say it is the standpoint of an Irishman not to dispute them but to insist upon them—the facts are these, that the component parts of the community of nations which is described in one part of the Treaty as the British Commonwealth of Nations—the status of these different component parts is this, that they are with regard to each other on a position of complete equality, and also with regard to each of them to itself—each of them is a sovereign state in its own domain; and if it fell upon me, supposing this Treaty to be ratified in future, to declare the terms, to declare the manner in which these provisions ought be and must be interpreted and applied, I should say beforehand—taking the standpoint of an Irishman, and not regarding myself as an Attorney-General for the British Government—I should claim on the facts, and not on some antiquated theory, for Ireland's equality of status with all the other members of that community and for the right of complete national sovereignty in our domain; and I would hold that every provision, every article, every term, every word of that Treaty should be understood subject to these principles; and I believe that in placing that construction upon the Treaty we should have the support—if not of Imperialists in Great Britain—we should certainly have the support of South Africa, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, for it is to their selfish interest that that construction, and that construction only, should be placed upon these terms; and I would bear in mind that the status of Canada has been declared in what now amounts to a constitutional definition—the status of Canada has been declared to include the right of secession. But we will be told: "What is the use of the right of secession to Ireland? It is only sixty miles from Great Britain, and Canada is three thousand miles away." That is a perfectly good and valid argument, but it applies not only to that status, but to any superior status that we could acquire under a Treaty; and it would apply with equal force to an independent Irish Republic. Now, sir, I have not used, and I am not going to use as a reason for voting for approval of this Treaty—I am not going to use the argument of terrible war, and the reason I am not going to use it is because it is an argument, if I may modestly say so—I want to make no boast about it—it is an argument that does not appeal to me at all, and I don't think it is an argument that appeals, at all events, to the new spirit of the people of Ireland. An argument that appeals to fear is a bad argument and a dangerous argument, because if one appeals to fear one gives, so to speak, encouragement to fear, and I make no appeal here to fear at all. An appeal has been made in different terms from both sides. We have had painted for us a terrible picture of the future of Ireland under these proposed new arrangements. We are going to have His Majesty's Ministers all over the place, and His Majesty's Officers all over the army. Well, it is not for me to defend anything that any other member has said. I am not here as a supporter of individuals, but if Deputy Kevin O'Higgins thinks that the future Ministers of Ireland are going to be His Majesty's Ministers, my belief is that Deputy Kevin O'Higgins will have to be His Majesty's combined Minister of everything, though I am perfectly certain that no man elected ever more—in the future—by the people of Ireland to ministerial office will be described as "His Majesty's Ministers." We will have a Governor-General, and a Gold Stick in Waiting, and I don't know what else. An appalling picture! We will be overawed by these people, perfumed, in uniform, and dressed up in their court dress, and the rest of us will be all rubbing our foreheads in the dust before them, as flunkeys. A terrible picture indeed! Well, this personage who is alluded to in the terms of the Treaty— he is not named the Governor-General. "What is in a name?" has been said to me. Well if the Deputy insists on it I will call him the Grand Panjandrum. We will suppose this important functionary to be here in Ireland. We have a second appalling picture placed before us that he will set himself up somewhere or other and will hold Drawing Rooms, and Levees, and Garden Parties, and give Balls and Dances. And our poor girls! Their nationality will evaporate because they go to these functions. Now it is difficult to believe that all this is seriously proposed to us for our belief. There is a question of the Constitution. The Constitution will have to be drafted by some Irish authority—by some elected Irish authority—but Mr. Lloyd George has written a letter and it appears that a letter from Mr. Lloyd George is now sufficient to make us all fall down on our knees. He says in his letter that our future Constitution will have to be drafted in accordance with the terms which he has forced upon us under that Treaty. Sir, that Treaty deals with proposed international relations between Ireland and the other component parts of the British Empire, but when an Irish Constitution is fashioned and framed, there will be no mention in it of any other country but Ireland. If any person be he a constitutional lawyer or be he what he may—comes forward and insists that some other country but Ireland will be mentioned in that Irish Constitution, well we know what will happen. More over, I venture to predict—I am not a constitution maker or monger, but I venture to predict that the first article of the Irish Constitution when it is drafted, and by whomsoever it is drafted, will contain a provision to this effect: "That the sovereignty of Ireland derived from the people of Ireland holds authority over all persons and over all things in Ireland." It won't hold that authority in fact because it is impossible for us, as a matter of fact, immediately to bring under the authority of Ireland all things in Ireland. That, as things stand at present, is an impossibility. We all know it, but the Irish Constitution will claim as a right for Ireland complete authority—sovereignty based on the will of the Irish people and on nothing else—over all persons and over all things in Ireland. And then what will happen us? We will be reduced to our proper place by a Dominion Act another terrible prospect! Dominion Home Rule is dead. There is no such thing now in existence. I am glad we are unanimous about one point. Well they will pass a Dominion Act. It is quite within their competence as they interpret their competence—I mean the Imperial Parliament as they call it, it is really the Parliament of Great Britain —it is quite within their competence to pass an Act annexing Ireland to the Republic of Guatemala. They have full power to do it, and if they do it we will have, I suppose, Deputy Childers coming before us and explaining that, in future, we are children of Guatemala. Let them pass their Dominion Act. We don't care a fig for their Dominion Act. It is not so very long since they passed another Act that I will remind you about. In the year 1917 we had in Ireland the largest British Army that ever occupied Ireland. I believe it is true that at that time there were 204,000 soldiers on the pay-roll of the British Army in Ireland alone; and it may interest those who are concerned in foreign affairs to know that at that time when Great Britain sent the S.O.S. out to America—when her back was to the wall defending Belgium—she was holding down Ireland with the largest army she ever had in Ireland, and she was asking America to come over quick and help her to defeat the terrible Huns; and then in the middle of all that she passed an Act for us—an Act making it compulsory for every young man in Ireland to go out and help her to beat the Huns. Well she had her 204,000 men holding down Ireland, and you remember all of you the circumstances of that time. We had not then an Irish Republican Government. No. We had an Irish Parliamentary Party. We had not then more than the nucleus of an Irish Republican Army. They had the country overrun by their soldiers and their so-called police. Their police were not withdrawn into the blockhouses at that time or travelling around in cages. They were walking armed along the roads, uninterfered with—cocks of the walk, ruling the country—and in the middle of all that they passed an Act of Parliament with their 200,000 bayonets, and no Republican Army of any organised kind to resist them, to compel the young men of Ireland to fight the battle of Belgium. And what happened that Act? It is still on the Statute Book. Mr. Lloyd George discovered a German "plot" and he went to Edinburgh to announce his discovery, and in his speech in Edinburgh he called on the Irish people to go —he did not say it, some of the others said it for him—to go before he would take them by the neck—to do what? To set free the small Catholic Nationalities that were groaning under the oppression of Austria. Well he passed his Act. How many men did he get by it? How far did he succeed in enforcing it against the sort of Ireland he had at that time, not united, not organised, not armed, with practically no power of resistance—practically no power, except, I might say, faith and prayer—and he failed to put this act in force. And if he passed a Dominion Act now, conferring Dominion status on us, we will have no conferred status; we will confer our status on ourselves and his Dominion Act will remain as much a dead letter as his Conscription Act remained. The reason why I ask you to ratify this Agreement is not because we are afraid, but because we are not afraid. It is not because we are too weak to refuse it, but because we are strong enough to accept it. Now I began with the one Oath. I will finish with the other. I will not give you my explanation of it. I will give you the President's explanation of it. The President, when he declared here for it, declared he was free, and must be free, to do what was best in his judgment for Ireland in the circumstances. He was then bound by the Oath that was read for us by the member for Louth this morning——
Let the circumstances as a whole be explained. It has been referred to a number of times and I think it is only fair that I should explain. In Private Session, the day before I was to be elected President, I informed the Dáil because I knew, in the circumstances, that if there were to be negotiations, we would have to consider association of some sort, and Document No. 2, which you will see in its proper time, might be interpreted as a departure from the isolated Republic; and having that in mind, and having in mind possible criticisms, I told the Dáil that before they elected me they should understand that if I took office as head of the State I would regard my Oath solely in the light that it was an oath taken by me to the Irish nation to do the best I could for the Irish nation, and that I would not be fettered if I were to be in that position.
I have not a word to add—not an "i" to dot nor a "t" to cross—to what the President has said there now, but it has been put up to member after member of this assembly that he is bound by the word and the letter of his oath, and that his oath precludes him from using his judgment to do his best for the country in these circumstances. I say that a person who takes an oath to any formula—to any formula whatsoever—and places that formula, no matter what it may be, above what the President has said—what is best according to his conscience and judgment for Ireland—that person may be true to his oath, but he is not true to Ireland. I will go further and say that his truth to Ireland is binding upon him more than any oath—any political oath that he has taken or possibly can take, and that if he takes a political oath and that political oath is explained to him to tie his hands or otherwise in a case in which he is called upon to act upon his responsibilities in a most critical state of affairs, if he believes that by setting that oath aside, and by acting in freedom from that oath he could do better for his country—then he is bound to break that oath. He is bound to break that oath. Otherwise there is a higher law for us than the law of conscience.
The Law of God.
An oath of fidelity to our own country.
Yes, any formula you take. All these things are taken under reserve.
What about the marriage oath?
Well now, a Chinn Chomhairle, when I was in your position I said that some of these interruptions led to speeches being longer instead of shorter, and if I were at this stage to proceed to discuss the marriage oath— well there is no more to be said.
Just to add a touch of symmetry to this discussion let me say, too, that like the Deputy for Derry I also am an opportunist, but, Sir, here is a difference between us. I am an opportunist, that is, one who would suit his tactics to his opportunities. I am an opportunist who would use his opportunities to serve and not to subvert his principles. I am one of those who would use this opportunity to take care that those who come after them should have an opportunity to do in their day what we have tried to do. It is a very true thing to say—as I am going to say —that this is not a question of oaths. I know morally that England can no more bind us with oaths than she can bind us with chains. But, Sir, England is not seeking to bind us with the oath which everyone here takes with a fixed idea in his mind of driving a coach and four through it at the first opportunity. England is taking good care to bind us to her now with something more than a mere form of words. I have not concerned myself at all in this discussion with the question of allegiance. The attitude I have adopted throughout is not what our relations to England might be now. I have adopted throughout this attitude, that if those who were supposed to be the chiefs of our army and represent the soldiers in it—if those who were supposed to represent them came to this Dáil and said, as military men, "We are faced with defeat and have now to negotiate and accept a Treaty of surrender," I should have bowed my head and bided my time for another day to bring me another opportunity. But, Sir, I would have taken good care that in surrendering now I would, at least, leave to those who came after me a chance, another day to use and do what we have failed to do in ours. I am opposed to this Treaty because it gives away our allegiance and perpetuates partition. By that very fact that it perpetuates our slavery; by the fact that it perpetuates partition it must fail utterly to do what it is ostensibly intended to do—reconcile the aspirations of the Irish people to association with the British Empire. When did the achievement of our nation's unification. cease to be one of our national aspirations? Was it when Tone and MacCracken, Emmet and Russell died for Irish Union? Was it when Davis, a Cork man, and Mitchell, a Newry man, worked for Irish union? Was it when Pearse and Connolly died for Irish union? Was it when Mr. Griffith and Mr. Milroy stood in Tyrone and Fermanagh six months ago for Irish union— for the historic unity of our country— for this which has been the greatest of all our Irish aspirations, this which brought to the services of our country the man who first pointed the road to the Republic; this which brought to the services of our country the service and the life of Tone. For that historic principle of the Irish nation we are offered, it is true, a price. Never was a nation asked to for sake its principles but it was offered a price. The Scotch got Calvinism and a commercial union with England. The bishops of the Union period got a promise—as we are getting a promise— of Catholic Emancipation, and we in our day are offered, in the words of the Assistant Minister for Local Government, this and this, and this and this, meaning fiscal autonomy for four-fifths of the Irish people—surely an unsound and uneconomic proposition—a tiny army that is for ever to be infested with foes, and a navy of cockle-shells; and this is not for symbols or shadows, but for six or more than the equivalent of six of the fairest counties in Ireland, and the only and last chance we have of securing our freedom. The Chairman of the Delegation, in concluding his speech moving the motion before the Dáil, said Thomas Davis was the man whose words and teaching he had tried to translate into the practice of Irish politics. He had made Davis his guide and had never departed one inch from his principles. Will the Chairman of the Delegation find me one passage in Davis by which he can justify the partition of our country? Mind you, I do not mean one passage advocating decentralisation within the national polity, nor one passage advocating a confederation of united and equal States within the Irish nation, but one passage which, on the plain and simple interpretation of it, taken with and in its context, would justify this proposal to dismember our country. Find me that in Davis, find me it in Mitchell, find me it in Tone, find me it in the written testament of any man who ever stood firmly for Irish liberty. You will not find it there. Far otherwise, you will find every man of them, from the saintly bishop who first strove to unite the native forces against the Norman invader down to those who died in 1916, every man who ever sought to achieve Irish Independence seeking first to secure Irish Unity. In this matter and upon this principle at least, and I trust he will believe I am not saying it offensively, the Minister for Foreign Affairs is forsaking Davis and the principles of Davis, and in forsaking them he is forsaking his own. In saying that, I do not wish to make any vulgar insinuation against the honour of the men who are recommending this Treaty—their past record is proof against that—but is it not remarkable that not one has asked our approval for it upon grounds of principle, though they are all men of principle? All men of principle, they are asking you to vote for this measure upon grounds of expediency. It was upon grounds of expediency that the Catholic Bishops supported the Act of Union. It was upon grounds of expediency—and I ask the Irish people to remember this—it was upon grounds of expediency that Parnell was overthrown. It was on grounds of expediency—though there are some people here who tell me that because the majority of the people ask us to do something that is expedient that on principle we ought to support them—it was on grounds of expediency that Redmond and the Irish people through him supported England in the late war. It is upon grounds of expediency that we are asked to approve of this Treaty and recommend it to the Irish people for acceptance. Ah! I tell you that history is full of notable cases and great careers that were wrecked upon the shifting sands of expediency. There are many men in this Dáil who, by their valour and devotion, have won an honoured and glorious place in their country's history. Some of them have declared that upon the merest grounds of expediency they are going to vote for this Treaty. In Private Session I took the opportunity to set before you one single instance in my life when I was driven to act on grounds of expediency against my principles, and I told you there has scarcely been a moment of my life when that single instance has not risen up to confuse me and fill me with shame. Let those who have won fame and honour now in a glorious fight for principle—let them hesitate before they do anything that will make them bend their heads in shame——
These things are not symbols and shadows for which we contend. These things upon which you propose to turn your back are not symbols and shadows—they are your very life and soul. Forsake them now and everything that is good and true in you is dead. You may not believe me, but I would ask you to take the view that outside people take of your attitude in this Dáil. Every single one of you who are going to vote for this Treaty, would you not be insulted if I were to say to your face that you are forsaking the principles and example of Pearse and Connolly and those who made the Republic and brought back the soul to a nation? Is here one of you who would not be insulted? And yet there is a motion set down for this assembly which may perhaps take the contrary view of things than was held by those who died. Do the young men of Ireland—the Collinses, the Mulcahys, and the Mac Keons—wish once and for all to give decent and final interment to the Ireland for which Pearse died? These are not dead phrases for which they spoke, and these are not mummy phrases for which we stand. They are the life and soul of this nation. Do you wish to regard them as mummies? Ah! I hear some talk about an oath and men not seeing the difference between the two things— that in one there lies the enshrouded mummy of a free Ireland, and in the other they mean the preservation, inviolate against opposition or compromise, of the living principles for which Tone and Connolly stood.
Where is it?
It is in this, Sir, that the Constitution of the Irish nation should depend upon the will of the Irish people. Apparently in this assembly we have become so many slaves already that we are not able to distinguish between the free will of the Irish people and the wish of an English King. You who are going to vote for the Treaty upon grounds of expediency, whether it be to get the English soldiers out of Ireland; whether it be in order that Ireland may be allowed to develop her own life in her own way without interference from any government, English or otherwise, as the gallant soldier who seconded the resolution said; or whether, as the Minister of Finance said, because this document gives you, not freedom, but freedom to achieve it——
You who are going to vote for it on these grounds think well of it; examine every word of it; weigh every clause of it, and see that it does what you say it will do before parting with your principles and staining your honour in support of it.
I am the exponent of my principles.
For me I will put but one clause of this document before you, and it is the clause which the Deputy for Tyrone and Fermanagh, Mr. Milroy, in one of his rhetorical thunderstorms, glossed over. He began his speech by saying he would take his gloves off. When he came to it he had not only his gloves but his velvet slippers off and he strayed very quietly past it. I refer you to the last clause in Article 12 of this agreement:—
"Provided that if such an address is so presented, a Commission consisting of three persons, one to be appointed by the Government of the Irish Free State, one to be appointed by the Government of Northern Ireland, and one, who shall be chairman, to be appointed by the British Government, shall determine, in accordance with the wishes of the inhabitants, so far as may be compatible with economic and geographic conditions, the boundaries between Northern Ireland and the rest of Ireland, and for the purposes of the Government of Ireland Act, 1920, and of this instrument, the boundary of Northern Ireland shall be such as may be determined by such Commission."
I am sorry Mr. Milroy was not silent when he came to this clause in the Treaty, but he walked past it singing a little song of salvation. Referring to the Provisions of this Treaty he said, and these are his own words, that they were not partition provisions, but were provisions which would ensure the essential unity of Ireland, but whether partition or not, the economic advantages and the facts connected with the six counties were such that, sooner or later, they would be compelled to resume association with the rest of Ireland. I traverse that in its entirety. First of all, within a month six counties, or more than six counties as it may ultimately turn out to be, have a right to vote themselves out from under the operation of your Treaty, and you are making no provision whatsoever to bring them in. Don't tell me that is not partition. But, Sir, I will come to a higher authority than Mr. Milroy, and that is the man who has the power and authority to make us violate our vows in order to accept his document, and with all due respect to the Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Minister for Finance, but following the excellent example set by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, I will quote that gentleman's words. Mr. Lloyd George, speaking on a motion in the English House of Commons approving of the address to the Throne said: "We were of opinion, and were not alone in that opinion, because their are friends of Ulster who take the same view, that it is desirable, if Ulster is to remain a separate unit, that there should be an adjustment of boundaries ... we propose that Ulster should have a re-adjustment of boundaries which would take into account the existence of a homogeneous population, and considering all these circumstances we think it is in the interests of Ulster that she should have people within her who should work with her and help her." There you have the real purpose of that clause—not to bring the six counties into Ireland, but to enable them to remain out of Ireland.
I desire to ask this Deputy if he is prepared to coerce all these counties to come in?
I am not responsible for policy in this Dáil. If I were, I might be prepared to lay a programme before you, but until I am sitting with a Government of the Republic it is not open to any man to ask me what I would do in such a case. There you have, first of all, the real purpose of this clause, which is to ensure that Ulster— secessionist Ulster—should remain a separate unit; and this is to be done by transferring from the jurisdiction of the Government of Northern Ireland certain people and certain districts which that Government cannot govern; and by giving instead to Northern Ireland, certain other districts—unionist districts of Monaghan, Cavan and Donegal, so that not only under this Treaty are we going to partition Ireland, not only are we going to partition Ulster, but we are going to partition even the counties of Ulster; and then I am told that these are not partition provisions. The Deputy for Tyrone and Fermanagh says "Quite so," but I tell him that Mr. Lloyd George has given me the real purpose of these provisions.
No, I don't trust him, but I never saw such guileless trust in any English statesman as those who are standing for this Treaty are giving him. I take the interpretation of the man who drafted this instrument, and this, remember you, was not the Treaty, and not the draft of your Cabinet. The original draft was the draft of the English Cabinet.
That is no fault of our Cabinet.
I have nothing to do with that. I am thinking of the fate of my country, not of the fortunes of politicians. I say I take the interpretation of the man who drafted the instruments; and I have good grounds for taking it because he is the man who forced these instruments upon the Delegation, and has forced them to come back here and attempt to force it upon the members of this assembly and even upon the people of our country; and I say that the man who has had power to do all that, has the power and will have the power to force his interpretation of his own instrument. But what is going to be the effect of this provision? I am told it is not a partition provision. First of all, its effect is to remove from Northern Ireland, the strongest force that makes for the unification of Ireland. It is going to remove from Northern Ireland the strongest force that makes for the unification of Ireland. It is going to remove from under the jurisdiction of the Northern Government that strong Nationalist minority which every day tries to bring Northern Ireland into the Irish Republic. They, I might almost say, are to be driven forth from their native Ulster and instead their places are to be taken by certain sections of the population of Monaghan, Cavan and Donegal; and that is being done in order that Carsonia shall secure a homogeneous population which is necessary for her, in order to develop as England intends, and as the Orange politicians intend it should develop into a second state and a second people usurping Irish soil. Mr. Milroy stated that the economic advantages of the case in connection with the six counties were such that, sooner or later, they would be compelled to resume association with the rest of Ireland. Does Mr. Milroy—whom I remember very well as a very agile rainbow chaser and shadow hunter—does he tell me that material or economic facts are the determining factors in nationality? Would he have said that when we were asking the people of Ireland to risk their economical welfare on the question of nationality three years ago? Ah! he would not, and if I had said that to him he would have regarded it as insulting. I say there is more in nationality and history than mere materialism; and I say because there are more than these things in history and nationality, this Treaty is the most dangerous and diabolical onslaught that has ever been made upon the unity of our nation, because, Sir, by the very effort in it we are going to be destructive of our own nationality——
No, Sir, you are.
I was first of course.
Exactly. I am not following you.
You never did.
However, I say this, that the provisions of this Treaty mean this: that in the North of Ireland certain people differing from us somewhat in tradition, and differing in religion, which are very vital elements in nationality, are going to be driven, in order to maintain their separate identity, to demarcate themselves from us, while we, in order to preserve ourselves against the encroachment of English culture, are going to be driven to demarcate ourselves so far as ever we can from them. I heard something about the control of education. Will any of the Deputies who stand for it tell me what control they are going to exercise over the education of the Republican minority in the North of Ireland? They will be driven in their schools to hold up the English tradition and ideal. We will be driven in our schools to hold up the Gaelic tradition and ideal. They will be driven to make English, as it is, the sole vehicle of common speech and communication in their territory, while we will be striving to make Gaelic the sole vehicle of common speech in our territory. And yet you tell me that, considering these factors, this is not a partition provision. Ah! Sir, it was a very subtle and ironic master-stroke of English policy to so fashion these instruments that, by trying to save ourselves under them, we should encompass our own destruction. But, Sir, to return again to Mr. Milroy's economic conditions, which he thinks are everything in history, and which I tell him are comparatively nothing, because if they were, Sir, we would not have an Irish nation here to-day; I say that one of the immediate effects of these instruments is to put Ulster in an economic position to defy you. What will be the first consequence of it? Immediately there will be a revival of Irish Trade which will have its secondary effect in Ulster in the revival of the shipbuilding and linen industries, and remember these are the staple industries of Belfast. We have been able to exercise comparatively great pressure upon Belfast, simply from the fact that the linen and shipbuilding industries were in such a state of absolute stagnation. It will be quite a different matter when 90 per cent. of Belfast trade is flourishing again and she is in a position to lose her distributing trade with the rest of Ireland; and that is the reason I say that the immediate effect of the passage of this instrument will be to put Belfast in an economic position to defy you. You will say: "What of the heavy taxation under this Act?" What, indeed? Show me anything in the bond that will compel England to tax Northern Ireland more heavily than the Free State will be taxed. Show me anything in the Treaty or in the Government of Ireland Act. You cannot show me anything there, and I say as England has found it profitable to subsidise the Ameer of Afghanistan, she will find it much more profitable to subsidise Northern Ireland to remain out and weaken the Free State; and that is my answer to those who say the economic factors are going to bring about a united Ireland under this document. I have heard men get up here and say time after time that they will vote for this Treaty because it meant the evacuation of the English forces out of Ireland, until one gallant member got up and said that, as a matter of fact, it meant the evacuation of the British forces out of Southern Ireland in order to get their winter quarters in the North. Until then I had almost thought that there was no soldier of intelligence in this House. I tell you this Treaty makes evacuation a mockery. Already the English Press are declaring that Northern Ireland must be afforded every military protection she requires or that England can give her. The North will be flooded with soldiers evacuated out of Southern Ireland. Read Lloyd George's letter if you don't believe me. They will be reinforced by hundreds of thousands of Orange irregulars concentrated and held in one spot, as Napoleon used to concentrate his forces, to launch them at the tiny units of your tiny army and smash them. You who profess to be soldiers and who recommend this Treaty upon soldierly grounds, tell me, with Ulster, as it will be under this Treaty, an armed camp, and with your chief ports held by the enemy and your supplies of equipment and munitions so controlled, where is the military advantage you are going to get if you accept the Treaty? I have heard some say that they will vote for this Treaty because it is not a final settlement. I might be disposed to commend them for those statements if only for the reinforcement that their words give to the President's attitude in this matter, for he has frankly declared he is voting against it because it is not a final settlement, and because it will not give peace. But, Sir, I am voting against it because I believe it will be a final settlement, and it is the terrible finality of the settlement that appals me. Under it I believe firmly that we are giving away our last chance of securing an independent Ireland. Mark my words, under this Treaty Ulster will become England's fortress in Ireland—a fortress as impregnable as Gibraltar, and a fortress that shall dominate and control Ireland even as Gibraltar controls the Mediterranean. I have heard much from those who will vote for it because it is not a final settlement. I have heard much of our gradual growth to freedom under this instrument—how we will encroach a little here and crawl a little there until we attain the full measure of our liberties. I tell you that so long as Ulster is in the position you are going to place her in under this instrument you will not budge one inch. That is why one is placed there, and it is because she is placed in that position that Lloyd George, on his own admission, has given you this Treaty at all. Speaking of the conference and of the issue of the conference—the Treaty—he says: "It could not have been done if you had not faced Ireland with the accomplished rights of Ulster"—rights of the invader and usurper within historic territory of the Nation. I tell you what England proposes to do. She has robbed you of your territory to settle it upon her new Cromwellians and is asking you now to give her the title deeds. That is what this document means. The Deputy for Derry some days ago spoke of an element not being represented in this Dáil. I too will speak of them. Yet it occurs to me that not I, but the Minister for Foreign Affairs, or the Minister for Finance, or the Deputy for Tyrone, who is so strenuous and vociferous for the Treaty—that not I, but one of these should be their spokesman here. I ask these Deputies if, when they were standing for their respective constituencies, they had put forward this Article 12 of this Treaty as their policy, would they have got one hundred votes of all the votes that returned them?
You got fifty-six votes.
I may have. That was no fault of mine.
Not mine surely.
I admit the people judged me well, but I tell you they judged you worse if they did. Yes, I got one hundred votes because on the official whip and the official instructions sent out to the voters of Tyrone and Fermanagh Mr. Griffith was placed first and got his huge plurality. Mr. Milroy was placed third, and I fifth. Because the people stood for the Irish Republic and wished to carry out the mandate of the Irish Republic they voted for any man, not upon his merits, but as they were told to do. I say all those who are sitting for Ulster constituencies, and all of those who vote for the acceptance of this Treaty, that they will be guilty of a double betrayal —the betrayal of not only our own rights but of the pledge to the Ulster people—a people who, under conditions that those who have not endured them can have no conception of, have stood for us and have suffered for us in the hope that in our day of triumph we should not forget them. These days have not been our days of triumph. Some Deputy has said they are our days of defeat, but whether they are our days of triumph or defeat let us all remember our own suffering people and make them our day of honour. The Deputy for Galway and a number of other Deputies have said: "What is the alternative to our acceptance of this Treaty?" Apparently if the people who are recommending this Treaty can have their way there will be no alternative to it except "terrible and immediate war." But, Sir, whether that is really the alternative or not—and I don't believe it is the alternative—but whether it be the alternative or not, all the responsibility for that alternative rests, not upon us, but upon those who, in violation of their election pledges and in defiance of their orders, signed that Treaty. The Minister for Finance, referring again to the problem of secessionist Ulster, more or less washed his hands of the whole matter when he said: "Well, after all, what are we to do with these people?" Well I am not responsible for policy, but of all the things I may have done, this one thing I would not do: I would not let them go. I would not traffic in my nation's independence without, at least, securing my nation's unity. I would not hand over my country as a protectorate to another country without, at least, securing the right to protect my countrymen. I would not do as this Treaty does—I would at least take care not to do as this Treaty does —remove every chance and every opportunity, and make it for ever impossible for those who come after me to secure it. I would not do one of these things and because I would not do them I will not vote for this Treaty.
A Chinn Chomhairle agus a lucht na Dála, seasuighim os bhúr gcóir chun mo ghuth d'árdú agus chun é chur leo so tá taréis labhairt ar son an Chonnartha so. Agus is mian liom leis a mhíniú cad na thaobh go bhfuilim á dhéanamh. Duine iseadh mise a cheapann gur féidir cúrsaí na Náisiún do shocrú go síochánta. Agus dá leanadh Náisiúin an domhain an Chríostuíocht adeirid atá aca do socrófaí cúrsaí na Náisiún agus a ndeifríochtaí go síochánta. Ach ní mar sin a dintear; agus is baolach nách mar sin a déanfar Is le lámh láidir is comhacht a fuair Sasana an chéad ghreim sa tír seo; agus an fhaid a théidheann mo thuiscint-se i stair na hEireann, thuigeas riamh go mbeadh saoirse againn nuair imeodh arm Shasana as an dtír; agus ní féidir liom éinne adeir liom nách fíor é sin a thuiscint. Fé mar thuigim-se an scéal sin é an teagasc a gheibhmíd ó gach duine a thuig stair na hEireann. Táim ar aon aigne le Sceilg sa méid seo, gurbh fhearr liom gur i dteanga na hEireann amháin a labharfaí anso. Táimíd ag caint i dtaobh focal is abairtí anso le breis is seachtain. Dá mba Gaedhilg a bheadh á labhairt againn ní bheadh aon cheist eadrainn i dtaobh brí na bhfocal fé mar atá sa Bhéarla.
One of the first things I want to say is this: I protest most solemnly against anybody saying that I, for one, in supporting this Treaty, am making a spiritual surrender (hear, hear). If the Deputy for Louth had to-day read the Oath of Allegiance to the Irish Republic which I took it would be thoroughly understood by those who understand the language of the country that I am in no sense violating that oath in what I am favouring to-day; rather am I confirming it. I took an oath to Saorstát na hEireann, not to your Dominion, Republic, or form of Home Rule; and by the oath to Saorstát na hEireann I stand now. Yes, there are some now laughing at the oath. I mean to keep the oath and not to break it.
What about the oath to the first Parliament?
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER:
I must ask the Deputies to refrain from inter rupting.
I have risen to support the motion of approval for recommending the acceptance of the Articles of Agreement of the proposed Treaty of accommodation between Ireland and Britain to this assembly and to the people of Ireland. However others may regard the matter, I view this assembly as the assembly of a Sovereign Nation. I have been surprised to find Deputies in this assembly doubting the sovereignty of the Irish nation. It is true the assembly is an anomalous one, due to the circumstances of the revolutionary period through which we have passed and may still be passing; in this assembly we have only one party, the Republican party. If it were a normal assembly you would have representatives of every party in the Irish nation. Now, though the assembly is here, not by law established as in any normal country, it is here in fact; and it is the fact I recognise and not the law established to the letter. I would submit for the consideration of everybody that if we stood on what has been termed—but which I do not admit —the uncompromising rock of principle, we would not be here at all. It was by virtue of a British Act in 1918 that we stood for election (hear, hear). It is by virtue of British Constitutional Law and practice that we got into the assembly then; and I presume it was by the Act called the Partition Act which began: "Enacted by the King's Most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal," or whatever you call it (laughter) that we got elected here, and that we are here in this assembly. The very constituencies were changed from 1918 to 1921 by virtue of the Partition Act passed in the British Parliament. If we were to accept the letter of the law we would not be here at all (hear, hear). What we accepted was a fact and the will of the Irish people. We are here because every one of us, acting according to common sense, not in accordance with declarations or what is written a British Act, availed of the opportunity to mould in form all British Acts to the benefit of the Irish people (hear, hear). In that sense everyone here, no matter what declarations are made, is an opportunist. We are all here, no matter what theoretical distinctions are now made to divide us in dialectical discussions, by virtue of the operation of English constitutional and legal enactments in Ireland. Common sense tells us there was neither compromise nor sacrifice of national principles in utilising English legal machinery for our own purpose, as we utilise it for local government, for postal services, for monetary values and other purposes. If I may say so, the most uncompromising person here will pay twopence for the photograph of his Majesty King George to put it on a letter. I hope when the Postmaster-General begins his functions the photograph of his Majesty will be cheaper—if it is here at all (laughter). The law and the phrases and the forms and terms of the Acts of Parliament mean nothing as far as this country is concerned, when they are forms and terms of the British Parliament. The fact means another. If I wanted to make debating points I could say like others we were all compromisers in 1918, we were all compromisers in 1920, we are all compromisers now, and not alone compromisers but opportunists; for we all availed of the opportunities given us under English legal forms to create this assembly itself. I have no desire to make debating points. It matters not now what the phrasing and the form of words of the Partition Act of 1920 were. I fancy it was called the "Better Government of Ireland Act," and began with the usual fiction: "Enacted by the King's Most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal," and so on. Such was the wording that established Dáil Eireann as it now exists. The "Wizard from Wales" threw the dust in our eyes, but, faith! we cleared the air and the fog is in his. I accept the fact, not the words. Ireland accepts the fact now, and recognises this as the assembly of a Sovereign Nation, if it were only by the intense interest that is evidently displayed in our proceedings. The world accepts the fact, by the same test; and the English Government I hold accepted the fact when it received our plenipotentiaries as representing an established authority in this land. It accepts the fact in the Articles of Agreement. They are only Articles of Agreement till approved by the Parliaments of both countries. They have been approved by the British Parliament. They await approval by us. If and when approved they become a Treaty; and a Treaty is a bargain or an agreement between equals, not a concession or a favour bestowed or conferred by a superior upon an inferior. The status of Ireland as co-equal with Britain, or any other nation, is recognised now even by Britain itself. That, to my view, is the fact, whatever the phrasing. I do not mind what Lloyd George says, whether he recognises it or not. The status of Ireland is recognised, and is there anyone here to say to me that that is not a big victory for the Irish nation in this day? Whether the bargain is a good or a bad one is another matter; and on that point, without any heated controversies or violent disputations, we can all have our honest differences. In the assemblies across the water, I believe there were differences too over the interpretation of the forms of the proposals. I cannot say if they were honest or not there. I know the differences here are quite honest. Some there were violent enough in declaring this was a bad bargain for England, was a surrender to Ireland in fact, a "scuttling," a disruption of the Empire, a breaking up of its heart, a betrayal— and it was even declared over there the form of oath in the proposed Treaty was not an Oath of Allegiance at all; and others there declared the proposed Treaty was quite the opposite. There are those in this assembly who maintain quite the same thing; and as in their assembly, so in ours, there are those who maintain that instead of England scuttling out of Ireland, she is getting a firmer grip on the country. Now, taking the view that I do—that this is an agreement between two sovereign peoples, I look upon it simply as a bargain. We are not concerned with the question whether the bargain is a good or a bad one for England. Our question is, is it a good or a bad one for Ireland, for the sovereign people of Ireland? I came to this assembly thinking we were to discuss those proposals in that light: just as the Deputies of the French Chamber, the Swiss Chamber or the Italian Chamber or any other assembly might discuss proposals for a Treaty between one sovereign nation and another. I did not think that anyone here would raise a doubt as to Ireland's sovereignty; seeing that, in fact, as I viewed it, the English themselves had admitted it. No dust of phrases was blinding me. I accepted the facts and, as I thought, the victory. The fog of words has grown so thick here it is difficult at times to see clearly. I came to criticise, to scrutinise, to examine and weigh the proposals and find the balance. Notwithstanding the whirl of words I have done so, and on the balance of judgment I favour approval of the proposals. I am convinced in my own conscience that it is a good bargain for Ireland. I favour the Treaty. I do so as a Republican, which term in my conception simply means a democratic form of Government, a form in which the will of the people can be best expressed. I have a very great sympathy with the views that were expressed by Deputy Dr. MacCartan, though my conclusions are entirely different to his. I am convinced that the acceptance of this instrument presented to us by our plenipotentiaries will enable the Irish people to work out in peaceful development their own conception of state organisation; while its non-acceptance would throw us back into a struggle that would hamper every development of our national life. We have heard a great deal of discussion about kings. In my view, as a humble student of history, the day of kings and kaisers is almost ended and will soon be as obsolete as the theory of their divine right to rule; and the day of the rule of the sovereign people has begun, whatever the form in which it will take expression. Even some of the English people themselves seem moving towards republicanism. It can take no form in this land if we are plunged again into the welter of war or violent partisan politics, as I, at least am convinced we shall be if this Treaty be not accepted. Rejection means giving the trick to the man none of us trust —Lloyd George; for I do not trust the English Government—yet. Mistrust of English rulers is bred in our bones from the reading of the history of our land. I would not trust them if our plenipote tiaries brought back from London a paper recognition of the Irish Republic. I think I would fear their intrigues more. We can only begin to think them sincere when, in accordance with the Treaty, made in the face of the world their armed forces are withdrawn from this land, and their armed aggression on the rights and liberties of the Irish people ceases (hear, hear). I also support the motion because I am sincerely convinced that the acceptance of this Treaty by the people of Ireland makes possible, in the natural development of world affairs with its ever changing relations between states and nations and peoples, the accomplishment of an ideal I have had ever before me since I was capable of forming ideals—that of the untrammelled sovereign independence of a united Irish nation. Common sense tells me, however, that its realisations will not be quite what I desire, for an ideal realised is never quite as we visualise it. Principles and ideals, in the abstract, if based on eternal things are immutable. Principles regarding the relations of states and peoples and forms of government are not immutable. What is history itself in one aspect but the record of the changes in the relations of states and nations, in the powers of government, in national, political and social organisation? Some changes have been violent, sudden: others have been the outcome of peaceful endeavour over a long period. As the conflict of the past few years in Ireland has rendered possible the making of this Treaty with Britain, so its acceptance now may enable Ireland in peaceful endeavour to develop a new world conception of the relations of peoples and states. As I view affairs, the imperialistic conception with military domination and economic exploitation is dying, if dying hard. The acceptance of this Treaty, in my view, is its deathblow in Ireland. National and political policies should not be raised to the dignity of immutable principles in a world that is ever-changing; a world of beings swayed by passions and prejudices, by sentiments, and by illusions begot of ignorance; beings that are not gods, not angels. Our acceptance of this Treaty, or of any Treaty, whether such Treaty be above our personal ideals or fall below them, cannot bind the future— notwithstanding the legal fiction so often inserted in such documents that they are binding for ever. Had we before us a Treaty that would satisfy the personal ideals of all, still we could not say that there would be peace for ever between the Irish nation and that other nation with whom we make a Treaty. We can only take the one that is before us as a certainty that its acceptance can lead to present peace, and a peace that is no way dishonourable, under present circumstances, to the Irish people. Every Deputy here has a double duty at the present juncture: the one to express, as far as he is capable of expressing it, the mind, the intentions, the will of the people he represents, the other to express, if he so desires, his own personal principles, ideas, feelings, opinions. I have no hesitation in saying that, so far as I have been able to test it, the will of the majority of the people I represent is overwhelmingly in favour of the Treaty. Only yesterday certain gentlemen of my constituency who are able to gauge public opinion there, came to me to know what all the discussion in the Dáil was about when the overwhelming mass were in favour of acceptance of the Treaty (hear, hear). True I have been warned of possible speedy exit into the "infinite azure sphere" if I favour the Treaty, but I have also been warned that "bas gan sagart" awaits me if I record a vote against it! For myself, I have common sense enough to know that no Treaty in any form of words drawn up by other than myself would satisfy all my ideals, or conform to the principles I, as an individual, hold: and I doubt if I myself could give adequate expression in words to my thoughts of what the status of our nation should be; what its constitutional forms, what its political and social organisation, what its attitude towards other states and peoples should be. Language is the prerogative of man alone, but I have long since formed the conclusion that no words, or phrases, or forms of expression can adequately convey the thoughts and ideas, the ideals and aspirations that surge through the mind and soul of a living human being. If my personal ideals and personal ideas of national principles conflict with what is the manifest welfare of the people, I should feel it my duty, on the still higher and greater principles of Christianity, to subordinate my own conceptions to those higher, universal principles; I should feel it my duty to sacrifice myself by what is, perhaps, the greatest sacrifice of all, the suppression of my own personal conceptions and theories for the welfare of the people (applause). And instead of that being dishonourable, I venture to assert it is in complete accord with the highest ideas of honour and duty, national or individual (hear, hear). "Peace on earth to men of good-will" is a higher principle and a nobler conception than the pagan attitude of war and strife and conflict and revenge. And it is partly because I am convinced that the acceptance of this Treaty should bring peace to the sorely tried people of this country, to the poor, the lowly, the humble, the timid, making possible the peace of God in many a home in Ireland this Christmastide, that I favour its acceptance. We have prayed for peace; the nation with one voice has called to God for peace; in many churches and in many a home the people have lifted up their voices to Heaven for peace; and, as I conceive it in my soul, God has heard the prayer. With the Bishop of Killaloe I feel "This is God's gift" to the people. Here is an instrument of peace that the people of Ireland can honourably accept, with trust in God to guard the future destiny of the nation as they trusted in Him in the darkest days of the Terror to ordain such an opportunity as this for peace. The struggle of Ireland for centuries has been a struggle against armed aggression and what followed in the train of armed aggression—economic exploitation and mental servitude. The moral basis of Ireland's fight at any time, as during the past few years, has been that it was defence of the nation's life against armed aggression. When this aggression ceases, as by the acceptance of this Treaty it ceases, there seems to me at least no present moral basis for an armed conflict. If aggression be again resorted to by the rulers of England, Ireland can again stand on the impregnable moral basis of defence of her life. That the people of Ireland should sanction an armed conflict against aggression, at any favourable opportunity, no matter how unequal the contest, there never was a doubt. But that the people of Ireland now sanction a conflict in preference to acceptance of an instrument that makes them masters in their own land, whatever the form and phrasing of that instrument be, is a matter of grave doubt. Speaking for myself, though I would accept the responsibility of advising war against English armed aggression, I cannot, in conscience, accept the responsibility of advising war as the alternative to the operation of this instrument. I am perfectly willing to let the people whom I represent themselves decide in any ordinary, peaceful, legitimate way in which the people can express their opinion freely, and am perfectly willing to pledge myself to say not one word more in public than what I say here to influence their free decision (hear, hear). I am not a politician nor a partisan, and I never had an ambition to stand upon political hustings or even to enter public life. It was with extreme reluctance and under much pressure I accepted nomination at the 1918 election, and only because it was shown to me to be a duty—a most painful and distasteful duty as I felt it—to accept. At that election our hopes were high—as the hopes of the plain people of all nations were high—that a new world order based, not on force, but on moral right, would ensue from the conference at Versailles, and the establishment of the League of Nations. We believed, as all the world believed, that American principles would become reality and not remain merely fine expressions of ideal things, and that Ireland then, as a sovereign nation, would enter into a world community of nations. Not alone our hopes, but the hopes of the world were blighted at Versailles. But mark, even the solemn compacts entered into there by the representatives of great and mighty powers have had to go down before the solid facts of world forces that not even statesmen nor politicians nor wizards nor theorists can control. It is a fiction in the light of world history, even of the past few years, that any pact between states has binding force for ever. We turned to America in the hope that recognition of the Republic might come, as we turned to other countries. The plain people of America and the plain people of the world sympathised with us in our struggle for life; and I am convinced that a very great factor in forcing the English Government to agree to this Treaty with us was the moral opinion of the world which, though indefinite, is a powerful factor. But the Governments moved not, and there is a limit even to the force of the moral opinion of the world. Rightly or wrongly I believe we have got in this Treaty the limit to which the moral opinion of the world will go on Ireland's behalf; and I have no faith that the rulers of the great states will move in our regard to the detriment of what they conceive to be their own interests. They met again at Washington the other day, and a new pact has been entered into which, as I understand, ensures the supremacy of Britain on the seas for a further period. It is a pact for ten years; it may be broken or changed before then, such is the mutability of the relations between states: but we have got to take facts as we find them. We had the moral opinion of the world with us in a struggle against armed aggression. We cannot expect the moral opinion of the world with us if, by our own act, by the rejection of this Treaty we retain the armed forces of aggression in our land. How can we honestly complain to the world in future of atrocities of English armed forces in Ireland if it is by our own act we keep those forces here? And what I sincerely feel is that no declarations, no words, no assertions on our part can explain to the world, any more than to our own people, why any Irishman, republican or non-republican, should vote to retain the armed forces of English aggression in Ireland (hear, hear). England has changed its policy. Whether it has changed in heart or not is another matter. We have got to face the fact of that change of policy at least. The election of this year in Ireland was a war election and, as would happen in any other country, the people gave their confidence to those who, in their opinion, were fighting for the nation's existence and meeting the Terrorist policy in the only way in which it could be met. That election and the national policy connected with it smashed the proposals of the British Government contained in the Partition Act. As far as political policies went Mr. Lloyd George's Government was beaten. A change became inevitable for England. The British Prime Minister began exploring avenues for peace. By the skill, as we all believed, of our united Dáil Cabinet this avenue for peace was blocked and that avenue was blocked, until at last an avenue was found that was then at least not considered dishonourable by any—the avenue of a Conference. The Truce was proclaimed, its very terms, as many thought, being a recognition of our national status as coequal with England. We considered there was recognition of our national status. In other words, what the English termed a gang of murderers was now an army. I suppose no agreement ever entered into between two nations ever fully satisfied one nation or the other. It is not in human nature that it should. There are sections in England that are not satisfied with the proposed Treaty which is before this Dáil. The England of theMorning Post—the England of Imperial aggression and expansion and of military domination, the only England we have hitherto known—is not satisfied with it. It sees in this Treaty a cry of surrender to Ireland, to “rebels” and “gunmen.” It sees in it a cry of surrender to Michael Collins! And Lord Carson is not satisfied with it. Equally, there are men and women in Ireland, and far be it from me to compare them to any section of Englishmen or women, for they are thoroughly honest, thoroughly sincere, thoroughly honourable, who consider the Treaty a surrender on Ireland's part. My friends, I am sure, will give me credit for the same sincerity and the same honesty of desire for the welfare of our common country when I say I do not agree with that view. I consider the Treaty a victory for Ireland, a vindication of our policy, a policy advocated by some of us during the past twenty years; and, more particularly, I look on it as a victory for the heroic army of Ireland. It is not a dictated peace——
It is a dictated peace.
Even a dictated peace with its motto ofV æ victis is not always satisfactory to the victors, as the dictated peace at the end of the European war proved. It is a negotiated peace, and in my view, in the balance of likes and dislikes of its terms, it is a victory for Ireland; a victory made possible by the work of the past three years (hear, hear). The Treaty is a recognition of Ireland as a national entity. The fiction of the “United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland” is no more. The Kingdom of Great Britain remains. Saorstát na hEireann emerges as a new state in the world confederation of nations. The right of Ireland to national freedom is recognised. The assertion of recognition of that right has been the basic principle of Ireland's armed struggles with England during the centuries. A Government is to be set up in this country by the will of the Irish people alone, by the will of the plain people of Ireland, not by the will of English Ministers nor of select classes; a Government that must draw its power from, and be responsible to, the plain people of this country. An achievement this that never was in Ireland since the Norman Barons got a grip on the land —for even Grattan's Parliament was the Parliament of a class and not the Parliament of the plain people. This Treaty gives the Irish people complete power over their own economic life and over their social organisation. It gives us at last complete and absolute control over education; and those who have control over education have absolute control of the future destinies of the nation in their hands. The “Happy little English child” of the schoolbooks disappears on the approval of this Treaty; and the sturdy child of the Gaodhal takes his rightful place in the schools and colleges and universities of the land (applause). I am convinced that acceptance of the Treaty and development in peace will save the language of the nation; and one of my first thoughts when I read its clauses was “Sábhálfar an Ghaoluinn anois”—The language will be safe now. With the argument that instead of developing a virile civilization in this country we will all become shoneens, I have no sympathy. The language, as we have proclaimed from ten thousand platforms during the last twenty years, is the soul of the nation (hear, hear). And with the saving of the language I have no fear, no fear whatever, for the soul of the nation. Even here and now we can get away from the obscurity and confusion of the English tongue: away with your Dominion and your colony and your Free State terms: let us re-baptise our nation—not a baiste úrláir now— as Saorstát na hEireann. You can get immediate, full, complete, undisturbed control of the educational systems of the land by acceptance of this Treaty; with that control you can save the language; with the language and all it connotes you can save the soul and mind and intellect of the nation—and your “most important fortress and strongest frontier” will be rendered so impregnable that not all the shock troops of England or of all the Empires can break it down. This Treaty gives us our own flag——
The Irish flag. Take for a moment that the English troops—the English armed forces—are out of this country, and I put up a tri-colour on Dublin Castle, I will dare anyone to take it down (laughter). Now we have got the flag. What we have been told here is this: that if Arthur Griffith puts it up in Dublin Castle there are people here who would go and take it down.
We will take the Castle down (laughter).
It might be no harm to do away with the Castle altogether. However, this Treaty gives us our flag and our men to defend it, even against English aggression, should English rulers again seek to change their policy. Approve this Treaty and the opportunity is given us for building up Irish civilization in the way that we have dreamt of. Reject, and we are thrown back into a welter of which no man can see the end, and where no building up can be possible. Even if the dictation of peace terms should be the end of the welter, so much of our best blood would have gone that the salving of our civilization may be well nigh impossible. We can save it now, if we grasp the opportunity. I understand that references of some deputies on the question of form of oath in the Treaty were evoked by a remark of mine in Private Session. My attitude is quite simple. I regard my word of honour as binding as an oath when that word is solemnly given. If the intention behind an oath is immutable I cannot understand how any man in honour during life can break any oath of allegiance once taken. The form in the Treaty I have examined by the light of my own conscience and intellect and, lest I should err even in ignorance, I have consulted authorities on moral science and theology. And in conscience I am satisfied that the form of oath in the Treaty is not an oath of allegiance to an English monarch but is an oath of allegiance to Saorstát na hEireann. That oath in my view admits no right of an English King to be ruler of Ireland or head of the Irish State. Even if it did, the theory of the divine right of rulers to rule the people is discarded by all, even by the people of England themselves. I personally object to the mention of King George V., his heirs and successors, in the terms of any oath that may be presented to me even though it be not allegiance I am asked to pledge myself to, but recognition of a symbol of headship of a League of Nations. But after the most earnest and scrupulous consideration I am satisfied in my own mind that that is a personal prejudice due to the fact that the Kings of England have stood as symbols of tyranny in this country, and that it is not a national or immutable principle; and my personal prejudices, whatever they may be, are nothing compared with the welfare of the Irish nation. If I were an English subject and an oath of allegiance to a King were presented to me I should refuse to take it, as I should refuse to swear personal allegiance to any rulers, but I should not feel justified on account of that prejudice to plunge a country into chaos because of my personal prejudices to such an oath. Everyone here, I feel sure, will act according to the light of his own conscience. As a justifiable oath I am prepared to swear I am acting in accord with mine. Now, whatever meanings we may place on words, the very fact that we here are discussing this Treaty in this Dáil as in the sovereign assembly of a nation is recognition of our own national status. And the English recognise the fact too, recognise that the Irish people have a right to set up a sovereign assembly with an executive government responsible only to the will of the Irish people. To me the acts are more than the words, and whatever construction they or we place upon the words, the acts, as I view them, are a recognition of our national status. Let me once more, as I did in Private Session, appeal to the Cabinet of Dáil Eireann, no matter what the issue of this debate, as a united body to take up the rule of government in this country for the present, till the constitutional will of the Irish people is expressed in a constitutional way; to maintain order, to preserve discipline. There is a danger of fratricidal strife, or at least of bewildering confusion, on an issue which honestly many of us cannot understand. The united Cabinet will have the support of the whole country in any efforts to maintain order, to prevent confusion. We have passed through a revolutionary period as other countries at different times have passed through such periods; and the lesson of all forces me to this appeal to our Cabinet as a united body for the maintenance of order, the preservation of peace among ourselves, the rule of law. I favour a referendum to the people. They are faced with changed circumstances, changed policies, with alternatives that were not before them previously. Let the people decide, and let our Cabinet evolve the mode of procedure so that the people can decide freely and conscientiously. Our words and our votes can only express our own personal views and recommendations now. The people have a right to express theirs in a constitutional way, and it should be for our Cabinet to give them the opportunity of expressing their views in such a way. Yesterday I heard from a director of one of the Irish railways that troop trains and transports were ready to take the British armed forces from Ireland. In justice to the people who sent me here and in sympathy with the sore hearts that their operations during the Terrorist policy have left in Ireland, I cannot vote to keep the British armed forces in Ireland one day longer, or one hour longer, than the changed policy of England requires; one day longer or one hour longer than the people of Ireland wish them to stay. I appeal to you not to let our decision be one that would keep these forces one day longer in our land. Finally, as far as I can view politics— I have said already I am not a politician —the acceptance of these proposals is beating Mr. Lloyd George at his own tricks. The rejection of the proposals is giving him the trick. I favour the acceptance of these proposals on the ground of the welfare of the Irish people, which to me at all events is supreme. I favour them also on the ground that, as I think, they are quite in accordance with what we have been fighting for, aiming at, and talking about; and I favour them on the ground that they are a natural development of what has taken place in this country during recent years. On the grounds of common sense I favour the acceptance of the proposals (applause).
I would like to know the policy for the week-end— whether we will go through the Christmas or adjourn. I understand there are a great many people like myself who desire to speak and we all may speak for a pretty long time (laughter). I am not going to give any guarantee that I am not going to speak for half a day (laughter). I do not see much possibility of getting through before the end of January. It is better before we adjourn for tea to come to some decision. I know on this side of the House there are at least fifteen or twenty people anxious to speak. There is no prospect of these people speaking to-night, and they will insist on speaking. It was proposed on our side that a definite limit of time should be allowed to each side, and when that terminated, no matter how many people spoke, there would be an end to the discussion. In the absence of an agreement will we take the only alternative? I desire, and a great many others desire, that this should be stated before the adjournment—whether there should be a time limit or whether we should adjourn until after Christmas.
It has been suggested that an agreement could not be reached on our side. I may say I have not heard anything about the matter. Of course everyone who wants to speak has a perfect right to speak. Personally I think that on a question like this we ought, having it discussed for a number of days, to be able to make up our minds on it. I am sorry we did not have the Sessions over-night; it might have shortened the addresses, perhaps. I think we should definitely sit through the night and take on the debate again in the morning. If the other side would agree, I propose we end this debate to-morrow.
The President asked me a couple of days ago about winding this thing up and I agreed. Since then certain things have happened. A lady who spoke for three hours stood up against any closure. She had a perfect right of course, but if the people on the other side are going to speak for three hours, and insist on doing so, I am not going to have any closure. We offered them choice of time or a time limit for the speeches, but there was no agreement. Therefore, we are going on. We may adjourn for Christmas, but we will have no closure.
I was not approached in regard to any agreement. I am sure anything suggested to this side would have been referred to me, at any rate, but I was not approached.
I would suggest that these members who have speeches written and have made arrangements, send them to the Press. It would be just as well to send them to the Press as make them (laughter).
I had a talk with the chief whip on the other side and I suggested we were prepared to put a time limit on each speaker. If that did not suit, I suggested splitting up the Session to one-and-a-half hours in the morning and the same in the evening, and we could put up twelve or thirteen speakers or ten speakers. They could do the same. I could have got ten speakers in one-and-a-half hours this morning. We understood the President was consulted. If he was not it was not our fault.
I tried to arrange the practical suggestion made, but I found such a diversity of opinion among the people I spoke to that it was impossible to arrange it amicably. Later on I made a suggestion with a view to having another arrangement. There are a number of people who said to me they would speak if they got a chance, but they are quite prepared to waive the right to speak. I could see my way with the consent of these people to reduce the number of speakers to eight or nine at the utmost, and these people would further agree to have a time limit put upon them. If the other side would agree to that I think we could get through the business by the lunch adjournment to-morrow, by going on for a few hours to-night, and from 11 to 2 to-morrow.
That is closure.
The other side claim that——
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER:
I suggest that the whips find out definitely the speakers who do not wish to speak and we may be able to come to some arrangement.
There are twenty-one anxious to speak on our side.
May I appeal to the House generally against the sneers of Mr. Arthur Griffith at my speech. I consider the fact that what I went through for seventy-four days at Brixton gives me a right to speak for the honour of my nation now (applause).
I have not sneered at Miss MacSwiney's speech. I have stated the fact that Miss MacSwiney said she was against closure and that she made a long speech. I maintain we are entitled not to have any of our speakers closured.
I always held there should be no closure. Anyone who desires to speak has a right to do so—has a right to the patience of the Irish people and the members of the Dáil. I think any closure, or any suggestion that a person speaks too long, is most unfair and undignified. We have not protested against the length of any speech. I would be very glad indeed if they put forward such a person as Miss MacSwiney who gave such an eloquent and well-reasoned speech. It will go down as a splendid oration on the fate of the nation, and her advice at this great crisis should not be disregarded.
Is not the conclusion obvious that, if the speaking is to go on, it cannot be finished by going on to-night and to-morrow, and you must adjourn.
I suggest we come to a decision on this. I am prepared to stay here to continue these debates throughout the Christmas until we finish them. We can go on all night; we can go on to the time when Mr. Lloyd George is supposed to have doped us. Late nights and all nights are nothing to me. We can go on all night through Christmas, like last Christmas, and let us come to a decision (hear, hear). However, instead of doing that, I would move the adjournment of the House to some date after Christmas.
I beg to second the motion of the Minister of Finance to adjourn to some day after Christmas. My reason for doing so is that the Minister for Finance went to London to face Lloyd George, worn out and weary——
I was never worn out or weary.
Perhaps he is a man who can do without sleep or rest, but he admitted to being somewhat befogged——
I did not.
There are many of us who are not able to sit up night after night we might be more befogged than he ever was. For the sake of our own intellects, we could not carry on Night Sessions. It would be very tiring.
The Minister of Finance has time after time said if he was befogged it was by constitutional lawyers——
Alleged constitutional lawyers (laughter).
I do not see why seconding the motion should be availed of to insult the Minister of Finance.
If the Minister of Finance objects to my statement and feels insulted, I apologise.
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER:
Suggest some date for the adjournment.
I would say Tuesday week, January 3rd.
I agree to that. I second the motion.
I think a decision like this ought not to be left pending. We ought to be able to make up our minds. I think we ought to go on for another day at least and try if we cannot, in the ordinary way, finish, and have this motion coming on to-morrow night if it has to. I hope if we go on to-night and start again in the morning we may not have people so anxious to speak. We should not leave this question hanging over; we ought to be able to make up our minds on the matter.
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER:
Is the Minister of Finance willing to move that we continue until to-morrow evening?
It is obvious that we are not going to finish the debate to-morrow. Now, I am not going to say anything about the length of speeches. I am anxious, for reasons historical and otherwise, that the remarks of every member of the Dáil should go on record. It is quite clear we cannot finish the debate on those lines to-morrow or before Christmas; and it would be more convenient for the country members and for the country—and I see very great national advantages in it—to adjourn over the Christmas. It is obvious, that to facilitate the country members, and for the country generally, it would be better to adjourn this evening than to-morrow evening. As far as I am concerned we can go through the Christmas; I am used to this.
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER:
It has been proposed by the Minister of Finance, and seconded by the Minister of Labour that the House adjourn to January 3rd. Is there any amendment?
I would move as an amendment that the House adjourns for tea and that the debate be continued through to-night and to-morrow and so on until we finish, and that there be no adjournment over Christmas. Instead of seeing any national advantage I see a grave national danger in adjourning. Whatever our decision is going to be let us take it here and now and not have the people's Christmas clouded over with uncertainty. I don't see why we should put our personal conveniences before the best interests of the nation.
We do not.
The longer we stay here, and the longer we adjourn for, the greater the danger; and the people outside will misunderstand the controversy we are carrying on here; whereas if we make a decision they may be inclined to follow the majority——
We are sent here to express the opinions of our constituents, and we are going to express them, even if this lasted to March, Mr. MacEntee.
All remarks ought to be addressed to the chair. It is not with the idea of closuring any discussion or any deputies, that I have spoken.
I beg to second the amendment of Deputy MacEntee. Everyone who wants to speak, of course, ought to be allowed. We should stay on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, if necessary.
The amendment was put to the House for the purpose of having a show of hands taken.
The issue is not clear. Are we to continue night and day?
I do not mean you to sit up all night and go on again the next day. You could sit here until two or three in the morning or something like that.
I suggest the amendment is not in order. The motion was not in writing.
The constitutional lawyer again (laughter).
Motion and amendment were put in writing. The amendment read:
"That this House continue to sit until 1 a.m. Friday, and that the House resume at 10 a.m. and sit until 1 a.m. the following day, with suitable adjournments, and that this order be followed each day until the question be decided."
That means that we may go right through Christmas Day?
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER:
We will now take a vote on the amendment.
Voting was being taken for and against the amendment when,
I have a very important point to raise. The President, the Minister of Finance, myself, and two other members of this assembly represent, each of us, two constituencies, and we are not going to assert that either of these constituencies should be disfranchised in the course of these proceedings. When I attended the first meeting of this assembly I was asked to sign my name for each constituency for which I was elected. Every time the roll has been called my name has been called twice. That procedure has, I think, made it clear that each constituency shall have representation in the divisions of the assembly (hear, hear).
That is not adopted in any country in the world. Those members who have two constituencies should have allowed some other person to take one at least.
When I was Speaker that question was put to me, whether the members sitting for more than one constituency could vote more than once, and I said no. I was asked on a subsequent occasion and I decided —and others whom I consulted concurred—that it would be unfair that any member, no matter how many constituencies he represented, should have more than one vote.
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER:
I am advised by the Speaker that that ruling is correct and he also has two constituencies. I rule that only one vote can be given by such members.
If the Dáil allows a man to sit for two constituencies——
I submit that the chair cannot decide this matter. We will have to have a greater authority than the member for Dublin, or the Speaker, to decide this.
I believe this matter was decided at the very beginning of the Dáil, and it is absolutely frivolous to be bringing it forward at this moment.
The Dáil has no particular procedure in this matter. The Dáil allowed a Deputy to sit for two constituencies. That is not unusual and not a unique proceeding. The Dáil allowed a man to sit for two constituencies, and, having done that—and that is the only thing that can rule on this particular point—are they now going to disfranchise one constituency, having no particular procedure on the point? The only procedure that can be applied is that they allowed the man to sit for the two constituencies. That is, I hold, a precedent.
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER:
This matter has been already decided in the Dáil and from the chair and has not been questioned.
It is questioned now; it has never been decided yet.
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER:
As it was not questioned then, I must rule now that each man can only vote once.
Let us have the minute referring to, and the date of, that decision. We are not going to be browbeaten in this matter. It is too grave to be decided by any casual recollection of any member of the House (cries of "Chair"). I am speaking with perfect respect to the Chair. I want it made clear that in regard to the constituencies I represent, the right of either constituency shall not be bartered away by any member of the House who happens to hold different views from mine. This is not to be decided in this fashion. If there was such a decision the minute regarding it should be produced.
I could make a very good case for and against this business that would bear examination by the foremost constitutional lawyers. Make no mistake about it. I did submit this division could have gone on without this question having been raised at all. We all know why it is raised. Well my own personal view is this: we are not going to decide the fate of the Irish nation on two votes from me and two votes from somebody else on our side, and two votes from somebody else on the other side. We are not going to decide the fate of the Irish nation on any kind of sharp practice as that (applause). I am going to be as fair on that matter as on any other matter. In regard to this business I can make a good case. If you saw the constitutional case for it you would be surprised, and if I saw the constitutional case against it I would be surprised (laughter). For the present we are going on with the motion without making another vexed question.
Suppose it is decided to adjourn, there is a very serious matter to be considered. That is in regard to the Cabinet carrying on the work. If we are to work as a Cabinet we will have to come to a certain agreement about certain things (voices: "And why not?"). That is the only thing I want to make certain.
I think the House will insist on the Cabinet carrying on the work of the country.
And sit according to the terms of the amendment (loud laughter).
The voting on the amendment was as follows:
Seumas O Lonnáin
Eamon de Valéra
Brian O hUigín
Seán Mac Suibhne
Domhnall O Corcora
Seumas Mac Gearailt
Seosamh O Dochartaigh
Bean an Phiarsaigh
Seán O Mathghamhna
Liam O Maoilíosa
Dr. Brian de Cíosóg
Próinsias O Fathaigh
Aibhistín de Stac
Conchubhar O Coileáin
Tomás O Donnchú
Art O Conchubhair
Bean Mhíchíl Uí Cheallacháin
M. P. Colivet
Seán O Ceallaigh
Saorbhreathach Mac Cionaith
Dr. O Cruadhlaoich
Tomás O Deirg
P. S. O Ruithléis
Seán Mac an tSaoi
Dr. P. O Fearáin
Seosamh Mac Donnchadha
P. S. O Maoldomhnaigh
P. S. O Broin
Eamon O Deaghaidh
Seumas Mac Roibín
Dr. Seumas O Riain
Seumas O Dubhghaill
Seán T. O Ceallaigh
Bean an Chléirigh
Máire Nic Shuibhne
Dr. Eithne Inglis
An t-Oll. W.F.P. Stockley
Mícheál O Coileáin
Art O Gríobhtha
Seán Mac Giolla Ríogh
Pól O Geallagáin
Liam T. Mac Cosgair
Gearóid O Súileabháin
Pádraig O Braonáin
Seán O Lidia
Seán O hAodha
Pádraig O Caoimh
Seán Mac Héil
Seán O Maoláin
Seán O Nualláin
Tomás O Fiadhchara
Eoin Mac Néill
Seosamh Mac Suibhne
Peadar S. Mac an Bháird
Dr. S. Mac Fhionnlaoigh
P. S. Mac Ualghairg
S. O Flaithbheartaigh
S. Ghabháin Uí Dhubhthaigh
Deasmhumhain Mac Gearailt
Seumas Mac Doirim
Seumas O Duibhir
Pádraic O Máille
Seoirse Mac Niocaill
P. S. O hOgáin
An t-Oll. S. O Faoilleacháin
Fionán O Loingsigh
S. O Cruadhlaoich
Eamon de Róiste
P. S. O Cathail
Domhnall O Buachalla
Criostóir O Broin
Seumas O Dóláin
Aindriú O Láimhín
Tomás Mac Artúir
Dr. Pádraig Mac Artáin
Caoimhghín O hUigín
Seosamh O Loingsigh
Dr. Risteárd O hAodha
Liam O hAodha
Seosamh Mac Aonghusa
Seán Mac Eoin
Lorcán O Roibín
Eamon O Dúgáin
Peadar O hAodha
Seumas O Murchadha
Seosamh Mac Giolla Bhrighde
Liam Mac Sioghuird
Domhnall O Ruaire
Earnán de Blaghd
Eoin O Dubhthaigh
Alasdair Mac Cába
Tomás O Domhnaill
Seumas O Daimhín
Próinsias Mac Cárthaigh
Seumas de Búrca
Dr. V. de Faoite
Próinsias O Druacháin
Risteárd Mac Fheorais
Pilib O Seanacháin
Seán Mac Gadhra
Mícheál Mac Stáin
Risteárd O Maolchatha
Seosamh Mag Craith
Pilib Mac Cosgair
Constans de Markievicz
Cathal O Murchadha
Domhnall Mac Cárthaigh
Liam de Róiste
Domhnall O Ceallacháin
Mícheál O hAodha
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER:
For the amendment 44, against 77. The amendment is lost. I now put the motion of the Minister of Finance that the House adjourn until Tuesday, January 3rd, at 11 a.m.
The motion was declared carried.
Is there going to be a rest? Any speeches for Christmas?
There is one thing which will be necessary. There must be a common agreement that there will be no speech-making in the interval. (Hear, hear).
The House adjourned until January 3rd, 1922.