Skip to main content
Normal View

Dáil Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 10 May 1922

Vol. S2 No. 9


The Peace Committee, which the House set up have now brought in their report. Here it is:

"We desire to report that the Committee set up under the terms of Dr. Hayes' motion in the Session of An Dáil on Wednesday, May 3rd, has held eleven sessions in all.

At the first Session we arranged to meet the Army Officers on both sides with a view to an immediate cessation of hostilities, and the subsequent Truce. Practically the whole time of the Committee was occupied in endeavouring to find a basis for agreement. We failed to agree on a basis.

Kathleen Clarke,

Seumas O Dwyer."

In reference to that subject, we wish to make this statement. The pro-Treaty side on that Committee have had a statement prepared for submission to the Dáil this evening. That statement deals with the Conference. The Anti-Treaty side consider that it would be unfair to them if that report was submitted until they have one ready to submit at the same time. Now, as I say, we have agreed subject to this that because of the fact that we read our report on the conference to the Anti-Treaty side of the Conference that they will give us before they put in their report here, an opportunity of hearing their report also. Subject to what I mentioned first and to the pleasure of the House we as a Committee are prepared to assent to that course.

I may point out that on our breaking last evening we understood that the Committee would meet at 2 o'clock to-day and draw up a report. We were not aware that the Pro-Treaty side were drawing up a report from their side. We thought we would draw up a report, as a result of the deliberations of the Committee as a whole, and then we found that as they had a report drawn up we would like an opportunity to place our report before the House at the same time as they are placing theirs and, of course, agree to submit it to the Committee before it is read to the House.

May I ask when it is proposed to bring these reports before the House? When does the Anti-Treaty side propose to have these reports ready?

The first thing in the morning.

It is understood that I should mention that it is agreed that the two reports will be ready for submission to the Dáil at to-morrow's Session.

I agree to that.

Under these circumstances we will go on with the rest of the agenda. I assume the first business to-morrow will be the reading of these reports.

Is it understood that the Truce continues in the meantime? I think, a Chinn Comhairle, it is most important that whether this Conference has broken down or not that the Truce should not break down, if it is possible to maintain it. And I would like to know if there is anyone in the House competent to speak with authority as to whether or not the breaking of the Conference means also the termination of the Truce?

On that point, it seems to me—I do not know whether I am expressing the opinion peculiar to myself or not—that speaking of the Truce in such terms is rather a dangerous and undesirable thing, because it would seem to imply that there was a recognised position of the opposite to the Truce before the appointment of this Committee. I think the state of the case was this that what we call the Truce was the bringing together of people who are in disagreement for the purpose of considering am agreement. It would be very undersirable if this Dáil was to make any pronouncement or take any action which would imply that there was in its mind a state of war before these arrangements began because then if it were stated that in what is called a truce had come to am end it would mean reverting to what was admitted to be a state of war. I only put the thing in that form, to ask the members not to speak loosely. Of course it is quite right to speak of it as a Truce, but it is dangerous to my mind. It might seize the public mind, or part of the public mind, in the form of the termination of a Truce in the ordinary sense.

I understood this Truce referred to is a matter of arrangement by the military men. To that extent it is independent of this, and we should leave it in their hands for the time being.