I think some steps should be taken with regard to this article this venemous toad the Freeman's Journal has emitted from to-day's issue. The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Griffith, often told us what the Freeman's Journal was. On February 8th, 1902, twenty years ago, he summed up the Freeman's Journal as follows:—
"The Freeman's Journal is a paper with an evil history; Lucas's honest bigotry and Higgins' villainy mark its early years, the blood money of Lord Edward FitzGerald filled its coffers, the Castle nourished it for a generation, it gibed at the young Ire-landers and spat venom on the Fenians; it strove to kill Parnell in his early days by a forgery as infamous as the Pigott ones, and afterwards crawled on its belly before him and begged for pardon; it supported him when his followers mutinied because it thought the country would support him, and it turned on him when it found it was mistaken. In a word, the Freeman's Journal has opposed every National movement until the movement became too strong for it, and it has assailed every Irish patriot from Henry Grattan to Parnell—from Lord Edward Fitzgerald and Theobald Wolfe Tone, to Thomas Clarke Luby and James Stephens.”
That was written twenty years ago of the Freeman's Journal. It was then true and it is true to-day. Now we want to take some action in the matter. There are also some notes in the bottom of this thing about “How Long?” And I think that concerns every member of Dáil Eireann; no matter what difference of opinion exists between us we can, at least, be unanimous in this: that we will not be insulted by the Freeman's Journal. I pass over what has been written about the President of our Republic. The Republic still lives, and President de Valera is more than a symbol; he is the head of that Republic. And President de Valera has been truly described in recent years as the “man of destiny,” as the “Irish Eagle,” and we are all proud of him as such; and the future will be proud of him. We have not forgotten the hero of Boland's Mills; and he has, since that fight, proved his worth. But here is a thing, a Chinn Chomhairle, that none of us can take—“How long?” That is an attack on the Dáil. “How long?” they ask, and then it continues: “When will An Dáil cease talking? People are sick of speech-making.” (“They are, hear hear.”) But are you going to have the Freeman's Journal even though it sun-ports you now, write the same about you. You heard what Arthur Griffith said about it. It will write the same of you in a month or two if it suits these parties. “We can't continue,” it says, “to weary our readers with such futile iteration. If anything new is said we shall be careful to report it, but otherwise we must exercise journalistic discretion in our treatment of the speeches.” I know something of what the representative of a paper feels; I pity them; I have great sympathy with them. Just like the lawyers have to speak to order in Court, the poor journalist, the representative of the Press, must write to order; it is a matter of bread and butter for them. But if you want to get at the men who control the paper—and I say that attack on Dáil Eireann, if that happened in any other country in any time, that matter would be brought before the bar here. The Freeman's Journal wants—before taking action it would be right to have a decision in the matter before you. I should think we must see that this paper, that the representatives of the paper as a protest be expelled from this assembly, from this House —it has been suggested to me— pending an apology. And in what form is that apology to be? I leave it to you, my colleagues here. I say there is an insult to the Dáil in this. That was a criminal action on the President of the Republic. I say it is a criminal action. I have no enmity against the paper. I think I know the proprietor of the Freeman's Journal. He is an all-round sportsman—Martin Fitzgerald. I think I know him. That article is not his style. I have some experience of his literary style (laughter). But that paper has insulted the Republic of Ireland through its President. It has brought charges against him. Oh! it is the old venom, the old poison. Mark you here, you cannot trust that paper any more now than you ever could trust it, or than Ireland could trust it in the past. It may join you now, but it follows the English Press. And you know what the English Press are doing with those standing up for principle. I know their denunciation of some of us. I need not go down before some of my countrymen after what appeared in the Northcliffe journal. And we have some of the same as the Northcliffe journal here. I say to you that the representatives, though some may be friends of mine, be turned out of this House until, as it is suggested, we get an ample apology.