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Dáil Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 17 May 1922

Vol. S2 No. 11


The next item was the Report of Committee of the House appointed to consider the situation in conection with the statement by Army Officers.

In connection with that, I have received the following statement from Seumas O Duibhir, Secretary to the Committee:—


"To: An Ceann Comhairle, Dáil Éireann.

"The Dáil Committee wishes it to be understood that the report read by Commandant O'Hegarty was drawn up and read to Dáil Éireann without our previous knowledge. The Committee had agreed to read the two reports following on the agreed report, and that the Dáil be asked to adjourn without discussion.

"Signed on behalf of the Committee, Uachtaran,

Seumas O Duibhir, Runaidhe."

Mr. O'Dwyer then read the following:—

"To An Ceann Comhairle: We desire to report that, following on the decision of the Dáil after the reading of the two reports from the Committee set up under Dr. Hayes' motion, we held five further prolonged sittings. The Committee, at the request of the anti-Treaty side, agreed to leave undiscussed, for the time being, and without prejudice, the clauses embodying the difference which caused the break, and discuss the details of proposition under which an agreed election could be held.

"We proceeded to discuss the scheme for an Election laid down in 2c (See Appendix B) of our previous report, and Deputy Dwyer handed in a memo on that scheme which was accepted in principle by the anti-Treaty side.

"Deputy Boland put in an alternative scheme (See Appendix C) and after prolonged discussion on the two drafts, which lasted until late on Saturday night, 13th instant we got, on the basis of a suggestion from Deputy McKeon, a certain framework of a scheme on which agreement could be reached.

"On Sunday night the pro-Treaty side filled in the details of the scheme and put in a draft embodying these details. With certain verbal alterations and additions, the draft, which consisted of eight clauses, was accepted by both sides, with the exception of two clauses. Clause No. 2 was not accepted and Clause No. 6 was not reached. There was a very long discussion, during which Deputy McKeon suggested that if the proportion of 6 to 4 was more acceptable that he would endeavour to secure his colleagues' agreement on that as a proportion. Deputy McKeon said that the course of the discussion proved to him the necessity for that proportion as originally put in of 5 to 3. He pointed out that we, as a Committee, had been unable to reach finality on any real issue because of the fact that our numbers were equal, and the result had simply been long discussion, no progress and no conclusions on vital matters, and that he was far more committed to the proportion as named in the draft than he had been when the draft was handed in. He pointed out the absolute necessity for ordered, progressive Government if this country was going to retain the national position which it at present held, and that except there was a working majority, that precisely the same deadlocks which had arisen at the Dáil and at this Committee would arise again and with the very same deplorable results.

"Deputy Boland suggested that it might be possible to put the pro-Treaty proposition in words which would meet the anti-Treaty position in this matter of the proportion of candidates to go on the National Panel. Deputy Dwyer agreed and suggested an adjournment to consider that possibility.

"Before the adjournment was taken, Deputy McGuinness commented strongly on the fact that interruptions and abstentions had practically left us without a full attendance at any time during the Conference and that, as a result, the pro-Treaty side were being continually faced with the necessity of going over the same ground on matters both agreed and disagreed with members of the other side who had been absent during the discussion. The Committee, with the exception of Deputies Mellowes and Moylan, who were not present when he made it, felt that Deputy McGuinness was justified in his protest.

"On Monday the pro-Treaty side put in the memo with alterations agreed on and also altered the wording of Clause 2 to endeavour to meet the anti-Treaty point of view.

"Deputy Boland put in a further draft (See Appendix D) which was discussed along with the pro-Treaty draft in so far as it related to the question of the proportion of Candidates, and no further. After a discussion, which centred almost altogether on the necessity for a majority Party under the scheme, Deputy McKeon agreed to substitute again the proportion of 6 to 4 instead of 5 to 3 as in our memo, as the proportion of Candidates to go forward on the National Panel. Deputy Boland, after some discussion, expressed his readiness to accept the proportion named and stated that he did so reluctantly because he would prefer to recommend such a course to his colleagues rather than break on that matter at the Conference, with the possible results of that break.

"It was agreed to adjourn until 10 p.m., to give Deputies Mellowes, Moylan and Ruttledge an opportunity of considering the acceptance or rejection of these proportions.

"On resumption Deputy Mellowes announced that his side could not agree to anything except the existing proportion in Dáil and existing personnel as far as possible, and the Conference broke down.

"It is desirable that the Dáil should understand that the pro-Treaty objection to the scheme for selection of Candidates by Sinn Féin in Deputy Boland's draft was based on these grounds:—

"(a) That Sinn Féin by the Ard-Fheis agreement was a neutral body.

"(b) That previous to agreement it was divided just as Dáil is divided.

"(c) That the two parties had under the agreement set up their own electoral machinery and were in perfectly orderly ways doing ordinary routine election work, selecting candidates, propaganda, etc.

"(d) That to force these two parties together again under present circumstances could not lead to harmony or the observance of the spirit of the agreement we were trying to reach, and uphold if we reached it.

"It is not necessary to show how much preferable it is from every point of view that each party should be responsible for its own nominations and how far such a course would go to prevent needless, expensive contests in parts of the country without any desire on the part of the people to enter on them, in these places.

"The exact position in which the pro-Treaty side stood at the end of the negotiations is set out in Appendix A. We desire to stress this fact—that the Committee had reached agreement on Clauses 1a and b, 4 a, c, d, e, g, h, and in a less definite sense with Clause 5. We believe firmly that we have found an honourable solution in the remaining clauses for all our differences.

"We desire in conclusion to pay our very sincere tribute to the five southern Officers who came before us, and, in a scarcely lesser way we desire to pay the same tribute to Councillor John Buckley of Bandon, whose action has largely formed the basis of these negotiations.

"Signed:—Seán McKeown, Seán Hales, Padraic O Maille, Seosamh McGuinness, Seumas O'Dwyer."


"This document was finally handed in by us after various discussions which led us to believe the recommendations then set out met the points raised in those discussions.

"We recommend that:

"(1) The following principles be accepted and passed by resolution in Dáil:—

"(a) That all legislative, executive, and judicial authority in Ireland is, and shall be derived solely from the people of Ireland.

"(b) That Dáil Éireann is the supreme Governing Authority in Ireland.

"(2) Mindful of our obligations to the Irish nation and recognising that our common ideal is the good of Ireland, it is realised that the most pressing necessity at the present moment is unity of the forces that have worked together for the past six years. We realise, further, that practically the whole country has the strong feeling that peace and order must be restored and preserved, and that means must be found for looking after the urgent social and economic needs of the nation.

"We are of opinion that the minority in Dáil Éireann can agree to our recommendations without sacrifice of principle, without prejudice to what they consider the best future interests of the nation and without departing from their ideals.

"(3) Recognising also that it is a fundamental duty of Government to make available for the people the advantages gained by the War for Independence, and that the people so desire, and accepting the fact that Dáil Éireann has by a majority approved of the Treaty which is the vehicle of these advantages, and accepting also the position created in the country by this approval, we are of opinion that a contested election now might be attended by civil strife which might result in a dissipation of these advantages, and the worsening of our national position.

"Accepting this, and desirous of avoiding such a conflict in the best interests of the nation, we recommend:

"(a) An agreed Election.

"(b) A Coalition Government after the Election which will have the confidence of the whole country.

"(4) (a) The present Parties shall nominate each their agreed proportion of candidates to the Third Dáil.

"(b) The proportion shall be as 5 to 3.

"(c) The nominations so made to be submitted to a Comhdháil of the Sinn Féin Organisation in each existing constituency under P.R. They will receive from that Comhdháil its imprimatur and be sent on from there to the Standing Committee of Sinn Féin for the same purpose. It is agreed that responsibility for the selection will rest on the present Parties and that neither Comhdháil nor Standing Committee shall have any power of Veto on the candidates as submitted.

"(d) The Standing Committee will place their candidates on a Panel and they will go forward on that Panel and the elections shall be held on the one day throughout Ireland.

"(e) The indefeasible right of the Irish people to free election is maintained and every or any interest is free to go up and contend the election against the National Panel.

"(f) The Coalition Government, after the Elections, will consist of ten Ministers and the President, of whom six shall be nominated from the Government side and four from the Opposition. The nominations shall be in the hands of the President.

"(g) In the event of the Coalition Government dissolving a General Election shall be held on the basis of adult suffrage as soon as possible.

"(h) This arrangement is entered into in good faith and with no purpose of evasion for Party or other purposes.

"(5) We had definitely stated that in our opinion, agreement having been reached on the political side, army unification could best be accomplished by the Officers who are meeting at the present time representing the Dáil forces under G.H.Q. Beggars' Bush and the forces under the Four Courts' Command.

"Their numbers could have been increased if it were thought necessary by the addition of officers from each side, these officers to report direct to the Dáil on this separate subject."


"(c) That in each existing constituency under P.R. the Pro-Treaty and Anti-Treaty Parties would nominate one additional candidate. Such candidate would go before the electorate without public speeches, without public meetings, and the elections would be carried out on one day throughout Ireland.”


"We agree, in the main, with the views set forth in your memo. We are especially affected by the view that there is a body of opinion in the country which considers that the present Dáil is not sufficiently representative, and provided that the question of the Treaty is not an issue at the elections, we would recommend:

"(1) That the Dáil avails of the opportunity to renew its representative character.

"(2) That Sinn Féin Organisation puts forward its candidates, as formerly, irrespective of their views on the Treaty.

"(3) That the candidates be nominated as formerly by the Local Conventions of the Organisation.

"(4) That the Officer Board act as a Standing Committee for ratification or rejection of candidates.

"We believe that this scheme would obviate the dangers of a contest between the two Parties in Sinn Féin on the issue of the Treaty.

"It is obvious that it is dependent on the co-operation of the Sinn Féin Organisation. We recommend, therefore, that a special meeting of the Officer Board of Sinn Féin be summoned to attend so as to get the Officer Board's assent and support in case this scheme is acceptable to the Committee.


"We are agreed—

"(1) That no issue is being determined by the election.

"(2) That a national coalition panel for this Third Dáil, representing both Parties, in the Dáil and in the Sinn Féin Organisation, be sent forward.

"(3) That this Coalition Panel be sent forward as from the Sinn Féin Organisation, the number from each Party being roughly in proportion to their present strength in the Dáil, and

"(4) That the present Parties should nominate this proportion of candidates through the Party Executives at present constituted.

"(5) That every and any interest is free to go up and contest the election against the National—Sinn Féin—Panel.

"(6) That constituencies where an election is not held shall continue to be represented by their present Deputies.

"(7) That after the Election the Executive shall consist of the President, elected as formerly; the Minister of Defence representing the Army, and nine other Ministers, five from the majority Party and four from the minority, each Party to choose its nominees. The following Executive offices to be paired, namely: Foreign Affairs and Home Affairs; Finance and Economic Affairs; Local Government and Education—the President to say which officer of each pair shall be held by the representative of his Party.

"(8) That in the event of the Coalition Government finding it necessary to dissolve, a general election shall be held on adult suffrage.

read the report of the Anti-Treaty Delegation as follows:—

"On the reassembling of the Dáil Committee Mr. Dwyer on behalf of his group handed in the following memo:—

"It is admitted by us all that the necessity for an election in order to stabilise conditions in the country exists. Since there is that necessity it does not require any arguments to prove that it will be necessary to make that election as real as possible so as to secure as wide representation for the people as possible. In that way it will be possible to secure representation for interests which are not already represented, and avoid the clashing of these interests against the panel candidates. This method has the still further advantage of giving back to the people of Ireland the sense that the nation's interests are theirs to conserve and that only by obedience to Government can any nation hope to progress. This obedience is particularly necessary to a Parliament operating with a Coalition Government which must make up for its own internal weakness by the strength and support which it is getting from the people. There is a real necessity, also, to meet that body of opinion in the country which considers that the present Dáil is not in any sense of the word, sufficiently representative, and to show them that, taking cognisance of the national position, we have interfered with the electorate's full right only to the most limited possible extent. The argument underlying the objection to an agreed contested election is that it might lead to precisely the same conflict and stress that the ordinary General Election might lead to, in the present circumstances. We think that having secured agreements between both of the main political parties, and having made the necessary appeal to the country to view the panel candidates in the wide sense in which they ought to be selected that we would have no difficulty in securing public opinion on our side, and thus avoid the remote danger of any third Party to the election causing strife. It is also to be remembered, as we have all admitted, that if the political issue can be determined by agreement here, the question of army unification will present no insuperable difficulties to the soldiers.

"It was agreed to leave the former disputed preamble aside without prejudice and endeavour to work out a scheme for:

"(a) An uncontested or agreed election;

"(b) A Coalition Government;

"(c) Army unification.

"Arising out of further discussion it was agreed that the Republicans would hand in proposals as a basis of discussion.

"The following proposals were accordingly submitted:—

"We agree in the main with the views set forth in your memo. We are specially affected by the view that there is a body of opinion in the country which considers that the present Dáil is not sufficiently representative, and provided that the question of the Treaty is not an issue at the elections, we would recommend:

"(1) That the Dáil avails of the opportunity to renew its representative character.

"(2) That the Sinn Féin Organisation puts forward its candidates, as formerly, irrespective of their views on the Treaty.

"(3) That the candidates be nominated as formerly by the local conventions of the Organisation.

"(4) The Officer Board act as a Standing Committee for ratification or rejection of candidates.

"We believe that this scheme would obviate the dangers of a contest between the two Parties in Sinn Féin on the issue of the Treaty.

"It is obvious that it is dependent on the co-operation of the Sinn Féin organisation. We recommend, therefore, that a special meeting of the Officer Board of Sinn Féin be summoned, and that a delegation of this Committee be appointed to attend so as to get the Officer Board's assent and support in case this scheme is acceptable to the Committee.

"The above proposals were discussed at great length and an adjournment was taken to enable the Pro-Treaty members to make counter-proposals.

"Eventually the Pro-Treaty group presented the following proposals:—

"(1) The present Parties shall nominate their agreed proportion of Candidates for the election to the Third Dáil through the Executive at present constituted for that purpose.

"(2) The nominations so made to be submitted to a Comhdháil of the Sinn Féin Organisation in each existing constituency under P.R. They will receive from that Comhdháil its imprimatur and be sent on from there to the Standing Committee of Sinn Féin for the same purpose. It is agreed that the responsibility for the selection will rest on the present Parties and that neither Comhdháil or Standing Committee shall have any power of veto on the Candidates as submitted.

"(3) The proportions shall be 80 Government and 48 Opposition.

"(4) The Sinn Féin Standing Committee will place the Candidates on a Panel and they will go forward on that Panel and the Elections shall be carried out on the one day throughout Ireland.

"(5) The indefeasible right of the Irish people to free election is maintained and every or any interest is free to go up and contest the election against the National Panel.

"(6) The Coalition Government, after the election will consist of ten Ministers and the president, of whom six shall be nominated from the Government side and four from the Opposition. The nominations will of course be in the hands of the President.

"(7) In the event of the Coalition Government dissolving, a General Election shall be held immediately on adult suffrage.

"(8) This arrangement is entered into in good faith and with no purpose of evasion for Party or other purposes.

"Deputy McKeown asked for acceptance of the above proposals and made a strong plea for the proportions of 80 Pro-Treaty candidates as against 48 Republicans.

"Serious objection was taken to the proposed proportions by the Republican group. After a full and free discussion the Committee adjourned with an agreement that at our next session we would definitely decide on quota to be allotted to each side on the proposed National Panel. On resumption, the following draft proposals were handed in on behalf of the Republican group:—

"We are agreed—

"(1) That no issue is being determined by the election.

"(2) That a National Coalition Panel for this Third Dáil, representing both Parties in the Dáil and in the Sinn Féin Organisation, be sent forward.

"(3) That this Coalition Panel be sent forward as from the Sinn Féin Organisation, the number from each Party being roughly in proportion to their present strength in the Dáil, and

"(4) That the present Parties should nominate this proportion of candidates through the Party Executives at present constituted.

"(5) That every and any interest is free to go up and contest the election against the National—Sinn Féin—Panel.

"(6) That constituencies where an election is not held shall continue to be represented by their present Deputies.

"(7) That after the Election the Executive shall consist of the President, elected as formerly; the Minister of Defence representing the Army, and nine other Ministers— five from the majority Party and four from the minority, each Party to choose its own nominees. The following Executive offices to be paired, namely:—Foreign Affairs and Home Affairs; Finance and Economic Affairs; Local Government and Education—the President to say which office of each pair shall be held by the representative of his Party.

"(8) That in the event of the Coalition Government finding it necessary to dissolve, a General Election shall be held on adult suffrage.

"The issue of the quota to be alloted to each side was then definitely knit.

"The Republican group protested that they had accepted the idea of a Coalition Government, the purpose of which was to give the necessary governmental stability at the moment, that accordingly they could not understand why there should be a suggestion of changing the numbers of each Party to be nominated from their respective present strengths in Dáil Éireann. They pointed out that Article 8 of the Republican proposals was a safeguard for the future should the Coalition Executive break down or prove ineffective.

"After a long discussion, Deputy McKeown offered to raise the proportion in the ratio of six to four. Deputy Boland protested that the great national work on which they were engaged was being approached by the other side in a mean spirit of haggling for a few seats. His side did not regard it in such a light, but if the other side reduced it to that level, for his part he was not prepared to risk the dangers which a breakdown involved for five or six or ten seats. He asked his colleagues of the Republican group to let the Treaty Party have their ‘scalps.'

"Deputy Mellowes, at this point, suggested adjournment for an hour, so that the Republican group might, apart, consider the matter.

"On resumption, the Republican group explained that they had found that in assenting to an alteration from the present proportions they would be involved in an assent to what was inconsistent with their fundamental position, namely—that in the proposed election the Treaty issue was not being further determined. On no other basis but on a Treaty issue could it be shown that a diminution of the number of Republicans to be nominated on the Coalition Panel from their present strength should be demanded or justified. As it was pointed out already Executive stability for the present would be provided by the Coalition, and future contingencies were provided for by the agreement that should the Coalition break down an election was to be held on adult suffrage. At this point the Conference again broke down.

"Respectfully Submitted: (Signatures) Kathleen Clarke, Chairman; Seán O Maoileoin; P. Ruttledge; Liam O Maoiliosa; Enrí O Beolain."

"17th May, 1922."

A Chinn Chomhairle, I beg to move the the proposals presented by the group of Army Officers and the reports presented by the members of the Committee appointed to secure unity between different sections of An Dáil be entered on the Records of this House. I think it is well that the House should realise the situation that confronts us at the present time. As was pointed out by the Army Officers here when they made those proposals, the issue is one of civil war. The issue has not changed since and we are going forward to civil war as far as one can see. What are we going to civil war for? Because one side of the House wants three or four or five or six members that the other cannot agree to. In other words, we are going to shoot down each other for a few members on one side or the other. Every man in this House must be prepared to face that issue—to know what they are killing each other for and what they are asking Irishmen to kill each other for. Personally, I do not see that the proposals would work out. If the Treaty is not accepted, I do not see how they can work out. If the Anti-Treaty Party go in to work the Treaty a Coalition is possible, but if they go in to break down the Treaty Government—in opposition to it—a Coalition is not. We are only wasting time and deceiving the country by pretending we are doing something which we are not actually doing. If the Anti-Treaty Party seriously wish a Coalition Government to work the Treaty and get the country on its feet, so to speak, there is no reason for a breakdown. If they are going in to wreck the Treaty, then I think they should state so bluntly so that people would know exactly what we are going to civil war for. It is hard to speak of this aspect of the case, because it is so serious, but I would like to pay a tribute to the Army Officers who have come here with these proposals. They realise the gravity of the situation. They know from personal experience what the situation is in the country. They know that every scoundrel with a gun can pretend that he is an I.R.A. man belonging to some section or another and that he can do what he likes—hold up a man, seize his property, or anything else belonging to him and he can do what he likes with it. It would be the duty of the I.R.A. of both sections to hunt down these men. I personally do not believe that the Four Courts men are supporting the bandits that exist throughout the country. For instance, I know of cars that have been stolen recently and I do not believe that the Four Courts men are responsible—at least I refuse to think they are, for if they knew who some of the owners of the cars were they would be the last to steal their cars. That is only a symbol of what is going on through the country and which is going to prevail unless something definite is done. In rejecting the proposals made by the Army Officers and the more generous proposals made since, the Anti-Treaty Party are forcing the Pro-Treaty Party to a definite issue. Ordered Government must be established in this country whether we like it or not and no matter whether it involves civil war or not. Order must be maintained, security must be re-established, and it is a very serious issue. Even yet, if those who can speak for the Army here cease to be politicians for a little while and take the interests of the country into their consideration, if they would throw aside all considerations of an election or anything of the kind, it would be possible to establish peace and security in the country, apart from any political issue that may arise. I think that, however, is too much to be hoped for. Really the situation is so serious that one does not know what to say on it and one is tempted to say too much on it, perhaps. But I think the Anti-Treaty Party should realise where they are going and where they are leading the country. I do not want to put all the blame on them but I think the proposals made to them are generous. I think they should seriously consider whether it is worth while for Irishmen to shoot down each other for the sake of a few members in the Dáil, because personally I would not care which side came back if they were going to work for real Government. I do not care whether Mr. de Valera or President Griffith be President. It is immaterial to the nation so long as we have a Government of some kind prepared to work for the advancement of the country. I think we should seriously consider where we are driving to. I beg to move that.

Aontuím leis sin. Tá áthas mór orm é bheith ar mo chumas é sin a dhéanamh. Is oth liom nach bhfuil socrú déanta. 'Sé mo thuairim go ndubhairt an Dochtúir Mac Cartáin rud ana-oiriúnach. I have great pleasure in seconding the motion that these reports be inscribed on the records of this House. They will be historic. They, at least, exhibit, as far as I can see, a very earnest desire on the part of those engaged in the negotiations to arrive at some sort of a reasonable solution of the difficulties that confront our nation at the present time. The Army Officers, in the first place, have given us a lead and I think surely it is a lead that we should seriously follow. The politicians on both sides have subscribed their quota to the contribution that has been so well given by the Army Officers in the endeavour to bridge the chasm that lies before the nation and if that chasm is not bridged in some shape or form very probably in crossing the morass we will have lost a great deal of our national prestige; we will have lost much of the hope of our people; we will have lost many of the prospects that seemed some time ago to be so rosy for this nation. It is a lamentable position for Deputies to stand here, the representatives of the people of Ireland, and to have to admit that of a simple issue they are unable to find some common method of solution. It is too bad that his jury, which is empanelled here by the Irish nation, is not fit to arrive at a verdict and that in disagreeing in their verdict we are confronted with chaos. Let no man misunderstand the position; let no man hesitate here to give his own conscientious view of what he believes the outlook is, because we have got to live and our people with us. Whether we go for a Republic or a Free State, their existence is at stake. The life and death of the very people whom we depend upon for our national future hangs in the balance economically. I do not mean to talk so much about the military side which is an accidental side. The economic side is the serious one we are faced with. It is the real problem. The people must be enabled to live before they can realise any great national ambition. We are soaring between Heaven and earth, while on the ground below grave difficulties are confronting us. It is a lamentable state of affairs. In any case, we must, as far as we can, preserve our dignity and see that future generations will be able to read what we have done in order to avert the dangers that at the moment seem to threaten to annihilate our nation altogether.

A Chinn Chomhairle, I think we have had quite enough of the discussion on this matter and I just want to say only a few things. First of all, I want to repudiate absolutely, on behalf of the people who were with me in this thing, the allegation that we brought this conference down to the basis of haggling for seats and a desire for scalps. When Deputy Boland states a thing like that——

I will prove it.

He says something which I, for one, cannot understand how he believes. He knows perfectly well that the basis on which we on our side went into this Conference was definitely the basis of the acceptance of the fact of the Treaty. We were prepared on our side, for the purpose of meeting the other side, to find a formula which would express that basis and meet the Anti-Treaty point of view. And everybody who was on that Committee knows that as far as working words was concerned we worked them almost out of themselves. Now nobody on that Committee can say that we did not make a very serious and a very prolonged attempt to find a formula that would meet the position. We found a formula on which we broke, and in order to get along, as the Dáil wished that we would get along, after last Thursday's session we agreed for the purpose of trying to find a scheme under which we could hold an agreed election to leave all such things as a basis for that agreed election out of account. That was the first thing. Remember what we were struggling for and that it was not a struggle for seats or scalps. The second thing was, when we did get down to the details, the difference between the Treaty and the Anti-Treaty side on that Conference, and it was not a matter of numbers at all on our side or, I thought, on the other side. I am free to admit what we were really struggling to get and to decide was a scheme by which we could get in this country an ordered and progressive Government. You cannot have that without the confidence of the people. If we want to have the confidence of the people in the Parliament of the people that Parliament must represent in some way—in some proportion— the views of the majority of the people, and whether we in this Dáil like it or do not like it, we cannot get away from the fact that at the present moment an election would return Pro-Treaty candidates in a far higher proportion than five to three or six to four. That proportion was struck and we tried to make it as high as we could and at the same time conserve the representative nature of our Assembly. To give to the people who were with us at the Conference all that we could legitimately give them and at the same time conserve the rights of the people, we agreed to that clause which mentions "the indefeasible right of the Irish people to free election." There is no necessity for me to say anything on that. But there was also another difference and it was present in the minds of the people on the other side just the same as it was present in our minds. There was a very big difference between their conception of a Coalition Government and ours. Our idea of a Coalition Government was a Coalition Government which would go in and work the Treaty and preserve all the advantages which that Treaty has brought us which were admitted time and time again, as the direct result of the fight which was made here. The idea on the other side, as I took it—and I tried to find it out time after time—was simply this, that the Coalition Governmen should evade the Treaty. I just wanted to put the House in possession of these facts, not that I have a single tincture of bitterness in this matter at all. I want them to understand that we did not go into this Conference to haggle for seats. These were the reasons and not the reason that Mr. Boland indicated.

A Chinn Chomhairle, I take it that under Dr. MacCartan's motion to have these reports inscribed on the records of the House, there is included the memorandum read to the House by the deputation of Army Officers who attended here—the memorandum which gave rise, in the first instance to these peace moves. It was, in my opinion, a promising thing that there were men found in the Army who came forward here and shamed the politicians, who came forward here and showed that they at least were big enough to face the facts, that they at least were big enough to realise that no man, and no section of men—a minority of the Irish nation—have a right to say to the Irish Nation what they shall or shall not do in a given set of circumstances, a set of circumstances which we are all here powerless to alter. No body of men had a right to say to the Irish nation, because the crop grew twenty instead of twenty-five barrels to the acre, that they had no right to glean the crop. That was the position arising out of that gesture by these Army men, the men who, I say, shamed the politicians. We appointed a Committee to sit and consider the matter in conference. We have before us here to-day their reports. I have read carefully through these reports and even there, set down on paper, I do not see that the differences are big. Put them beside a hungry child, put them beside a strong man seeking and not finding a market for his labour, put them beside a home left lonely by emigration and how big are they? This Opposition started with the cry of saving the nation's soul. Has it come down to saving faces or saving seats? If this Irish nation is plunged into chaos of fratricidal strife, at least let it have these reports, that it will know hereafter what it was plunged into fratricidal strife for, that people over their cheerless hearths in twelve months' time may see just for what it was all thrown away—the magnificent hopes that opened out before this country. Because what I see is the disintegration of the national fibre. If things go on as they are going, I do not know who is going to govern this country. I do not know who is going to collect the revenue of the country. I do not see who is going to keep any ordered fabric of Government or even of society existing in Ireland. That is the issue you are faced with. That is the issue the Irish people are faced with, and I want these reports on record. I want particularly the Officers' reports on record, to show that there were even a few men who, with their own strong views on this Treaty issue, faced the facts and were big enough to come here and put shame on the little men who wanted to sink the Irish nation to save their faces.

I only wish, a Chinn Chomhairle, to say a very few words and I think what I have to say will make the position perfectly clear. I listened to this tirade that went on here in the last few speeches trying to put the blame for failure to reach an agreement upon the Republicans. I am not going to say anything to them. We went into that conference prepared by every means, honourable and consistent with principle, to find an agreement with those who at the moment differed from the Republican point of view and it is quite plain now, as it became quite plain to me towards the end of the Conference, that our ideas of a Coalition were not the same, and that there is, perhaps, a fundamental difference. Our idea of a coalition was a Coalition formed to save the national honour, a Coalition formed to preserve the position of Ireland—the position she entered upon on the 21st January, 1919. We went in, if possible to try and save that situation and reconcile it with the present situation we find in the country. We did not go there to make any bargain over seats in this Dáil, which we have no right to bargain about. If it was for that I for one would certainly have nothing more to do with the Conference. We have not yet descended, thanks be to God, in this country, I hope, to the position of what was aptly described once here as Tammany Hall methods. We have not yet sunk so low that we are going to bargain behind backs about seats in the Dáil. We were prepared to enter into a Coalition, a Coalition in which without detriment to principles we hold, we might be able to work side by side for the good of the country, and—it is true—take everything that we could get and give England nothing. That was our position. To evade the Treaty! Yes. You are all anxious to evade the Treaty if you can and when you can. We are anxious to evade the Treaty and we will acknowledge it to the world. I am anxious for one, to get rid of it as best I can, whether through a Coalition or by any other method. If it had been insisted from the beginning at that Conference that the basis for agreement must be upon acceptance of the Treaty, that Conference would not have lasted ten minutes. But when it was left aside, without prejudice, I began to feel that we might get somewhere towards agreement. Now, we worked, and I can say this, that I worked honestly, and not one word did I put before that Conference that I will not repeat here, for a Coalition in the genuine sense, for a fusion of forces, to get rid of this Party strife. We were prepared to enter into a Coalition with a genuine intention or purpose. We were prepared to sink everything except the point of principle and I was the first to use those words in the Conference. When the Conference began to descend into a haggle for seats I would not have anything to do with it, nor would I have anything to do with such a situation again if it arose. We were prepared as man against man, as brothers with brothers, to go into such a Coalition and face the issues as they came up, together to hold to what is Ireland's right to have and together defeat England at every turn. Generous proposals we heard! Generous proposals ! We were to forget this business if we were offered seats in the Dáil. Seats mean nothing to us. The Republic meant everything to us. That Declaration of Independence meant everything to us. If it was a question of unity being based upon ten or eleven seats, the manly way for that to be done would be for those of us who are prepared, as I am, to resign in order to let anybody else have that seat, provided the principle is not impugned. That now is the situation and no question of civil war on the matter or of five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten or eleven seats will cloud the issue. We were prepared to go into a Coalition, as we put it clearly each time the question came up, upon the basis of the maintenance of the Declaration of Independence. We could conceive ways in which that could be done and we were prepared to follow those ways out, but we were not prepared to sink principles that are dearer to any of us than life and that come before even this nation's life. The nation's honour comes before the nation's life. Other nations have found themselves in such positions. Some have backed down and have gone the way that such sations deserve. Others have faced it and put their faith where we are prepared to put ours, despite the British Empire. We are prepared to put our faith in God and as long as Ireland did that in the last six years she won respect. The day we turn from principles to our own puny strength that day we lose. We are prepared still to carry this thing out; we are prepared still to enter into a genuine Coalition, not to save faces or to hold seats, but to hold for Ireland that which is Ireland's right and not to give to England that which England has no right to have.

A Chinn Chomhairle, I stand before the Dáil and before Ireland as the culprit who has sunk so low as to make a suggestion that I thought was uttered in good faith and uttered for the safe-guarding of this nation and not to degrade it to Tammany Hall methods, as a Tammany Hall jingo or official. If you look at the report you will find the following statement in it:—

"Deputy Boland put an alternative scheme and after a prolonged discussion on the two drafts which lasted until late on Saturday night 13th inst., we got, on the basis of a suggestion from Deputy McKeown, a certain framework of a scheme on which agreement could be reached."

Now it was then that that proposal was made for the first time of the 80 to 45 or 48. It is absolutely essential that everybody should know under what conditions or why it was that we departed from our original scheme of one candidate being nominated for each constituency in excess of the present numbers. We were debating this subject from somewhere in the early morning until coming on to eleven or twelve o'clock at night. I may tell you it was not a pleasing place for me to be stuck. listening to haggling over words and haggling over things which were less than words. In a good, honest, straight fit of Irish temper, I stood up and I used some very plain blunt language—even though there were ladies present—and I think that I made a statement that I as an Irishman can stand over any day of the week or at any period or at any place. I can even utter it here again. Everybody in that place was so taken with the statement—even those definitely opposed to me upon the present political situation —that it was unanimously agreed that I should go and put the proposals in writing and bring them the next morning. Now, thank God, for the first time there was something definite being done or said. There was some work before them for the first time. I wonder what has happened since that the scheme that so took everybody's fancy descended in a moment to Tammany Hall methods.

On Sunday night the details of that draft were brought in and the discussion went on on it, and I still saw the absolute necessity for having either of two things. To have a Coalition Government, you could get nowhere without some definite basis. I said to the Opposition: "You must do one of two things; you must either enter a Coalition to work the Treaty—to give your best and let us all give our best to take all the good out of it for Ireland and for Ireland's interest and for our Irish people—or you must leave us in a position that we can do it, because upon us rests the responsibility if you are not prepared to take equal responsibility with us." Principle would not allow them to accept the Treaty and would not allow them to coalesce to work it. Therefore, we needed to be somewhere. We were taking the responsibility and, as one Deputy in this House rightly said before, "I suppose we will take the shame and the blame and the hard knocks of it while others humbug about and oppose it at every step and turn." That was the first statement of numbers. Now when that was made they said they could not agree except on something definite and they made the beautiful proposal—another red herring —for the first time: "If you go and get your Constitution we can then see whether we can take these proposals or not or whether we will have a Coalition or not." Another red-herring! Foolishly enough—I know I am foolish in a lot of ways—I said: "You had better go and see if you can get any information about this Constitution that all the talk is about. Then you will be in a position to know where you stand when you come back." Deputy O'Dwyer went and got his answers and when he came back he was not asked for them. They had seen, I suppose, that they had got hold of a mare's nest. They wanted to put the blame on us, using the words Tammany Hall methods, and make out that we were haggling for seats. We were in the position that somebody must take responsibility for the Government of the nation. If they are not prepared to assist us in the Government of the nation, we will have to get into a position that we can do it or let some other Party do it. I hear a lot about this stunt of civil war and chaos. If we are all as anxious to avoid civil war and chaos as we profess to be, it simply means that there are from 95 to 100 per cent. of the people against it. I do not see how we are going to manage it. Of course, I grant if you put five or six of us together in the smallest space, at the present moment, we would have civil war, because there would be some of us so unreasonable that no matter what reasonable argument you put up, no matter what you try to get, they would still be inclined to civil war and must have it. Now the statement is also made that if we insisted upon the acceptance of the Treaty that we would not have a Conference lasting ten minutes. I wish that that statement had been made less than five minutes after we started.

It was made.

Now, Liam, I know whether it was or not. Why we started a Conference at all was upon a statement made by a number of officers who came here. I have that statement in my hand at the moment and you will find the following paragraph in it:—

"We feel that on this basis alone can the situation be faced, viz., ‘Clause 1—The acceptance of the fact—admitted by all sides—that under the circumstances the majority of the people of Ireland are willing to accept the Treaty."'

Now it was upon that basis that we were sent out as a Committee to confer and try to fix up our differences. There was a motion put in to that effect and, if I remember rightly, we regarded it as so important a Conference that the Dáil adjourned and we went out, each Party to different rooms, and elected five from each side to go and negotiate on that basis. That basis was definitely put in a motion when we came in. It was also added that it was desirable that we go and explore every avenue. Well, God help that avenue, because it is well explored. There was never such a fit of exploration since the world began. I agree with one Deputy here who says it was a cul-de-sac. It led us nowhere. The very first basis that was discussed for five or six or seven days—I do not know how many—was that Article I. We were at it days and on that Article we finally broke and reported here the last day to the Dáil. Anybody reading that Article will simply see that it means the acceptance of the Treaty.

You broke on that.

If that statement was made at the start, it would not have lasted seven minutes. And why did it last seven days? I make the case as strong now as I made it that night and not for any Party purpose. I have heard it said here by some people that if stabilised Government was in the country they would be prepared to resign. There are other people who would be as ready to resign if things were right, because I for one would not sit in this Assembly. I never asked for it but when duty demands of me certain actions or certain work, even at the risk of 16 days more in conference, I am prepared to do my duty. It is a big risk, bigger than any I faced in my life, because in that Conference you do not know what is going to happen as long as you have somebody to try to misrepresent you. The 80 to 40 basis is the same as the Cabinet's 6 to 4—in or about the same thing—and it was admitted that that was the only method by which you can have stable government, because in that way you would have the people represented and I for one never believe in misrepresenting the people. Now I have enough or very nearly enough said. I suppose the longer I talk the more I am inclined to talk. But we broke down not upon any question of seats, in a sense. From our point of view, we broke down because there was no acceptance of the present Treaty, and when it was not accepted there was only one way we could carry on and that was the way we suggested. Another thought struck me but I won't mention it. I want to protest strongly against a comrade making a charge against me—because it was definitely made against me—that it was I who was anxious to haggle for a few seats. You remember some time ago I made a statement—I think it was in secret session—which I repeat, that I would like the people to come down and hammer us all out.

A Chinn Chomhairle, this matter, primarily, was brought before the attention of this House, by five Southern Officers. Everyone remembers that when these proposals were made there was a strong protest made against them. We went into the Conference, I say, on a motion by Doctor Hayes, to explore every possibility for a settlement, and the Secretary of the Committee will agree with me when I say that when he produced the officers' proposals at the first meeting of the Committee I told him that we could not and would not discuss them. Now, I, like the other Deputies on that Committee, worked as hard as I could to restore stable conditions in this country. I for one stand here and say that so long as I am in this House I must acknowledge the right of the people who sent me here to decide on my actions. I stand up and say that the position at present is an impossible one, and the danger is that if as a result of the war for independence and the action of a majority in this House in approving a certain agreement with England it is proposed to debar constitutional expression for a Republic and complete independence, then there is only one other weapon left and that is the weapon of revolution. I went into that Conference believing that we could, consistently with our principles, enter a Government to stabilise conditions in this country, to take all the benefits that are here for Ireland as a result, not of the signing of the Treaty but as a result of the struggle and sacrifice of the past six years. I believe it could be done. How was this Dáil originally convoked? A foreign Government announced elections and we contested them. And we set up a Government elected by the people. A foreign Government has again announced elections and I find it quite compatible not alone with our principles but with the practice of the past to take advantage of every weapon placed at our disposal to win our ultimate independence. I am sorry if I offended any of the Deputies on the other side. I was placed in a position and the composition of our committee was such that it required great effort to bring men to see even the necessity for an election, and men appointed on the opposite side of the House were not even aware of the fact that the election was brought about by a thing called the Free State Act. I hold that under the Articles of Agreement the only ratification necessary has been given, the ratification of the members elected to sit in the Southern Parliament and all this trouble has been brought about, to my mind, by an agreement made between members opposite and members of the British Government to hold an election in this country. If the election is necessary—and I admit it is necessary—we were prepared to go into a Coalition Government in the proper coalition spirit. I stop here to say that Deputy McKeown made a most excellent case for Party Government and a correspondingly bad case for Coalition Government. We were going into that Government to give the best that was in us to stabilise conditions in this country to help to draw up a Constitution for this nation and to work, as I said before, alongside others in a proper Coalition spirit which is the very opposite to Party spirit. At any rate, great progress has been made and I for one deplore the fact that we broke down on what appeared to me, at any rate at the time, to be simply a haggle for seats. If you want a Coalition Government to stabilise conditions in this country why do you want the scalps of ten men whose only offence is that they have kept their pledges to the people and voted to maintain the Republic? When that issue was put up to me I would not take responsibility for breaking. I am prepared myself to resign. I am not going to give in to anybody in the work that I have tried to do all my life—to win the independence of this country. I object to be dubbed a politician when it is a term of contempt and I also would like to take this opportunity, having been in America representing the Government of the Republic, to ask the Deputies to remember that Tammany Hall in America is considered a very honourable institution. I say I am not a politician. I am a soldier of the Republic and I fired as many shots for that Republic as some of the Deputies in this House. But that has been my good fortune. My anxiety now is not to see this wonderful movement of ours go into disrepute. We are endeavouring by constitutional means to help the Republic. Is it to peter out in civil war when comrade of a few years ago will be against comrade? I am anxious to preserve the Republican tradition clean and I would rather see the fifty-seven men in this House leave this House if their presence is objectionable, and they could not owing to principle remain in it. The time has come for this side of the House, at any rate, to know whether we can pursue our ultimate independence by constitutional and political means or whether it is to be left to the weapon of revolution. Men of our side on that Committee were men of fixed will, men who, so far as I could see, could only see the one straight issue—the right and wrong—and had their own method of expressing it. The fifteen days in conference have not been lost. There are only two points of difference between us. I can imagine it quite compatible with our position to work in Coalition with the men who claim that they are Republicans but who have a different policy to achieve that end. Granted that every one in this House wishes to see Ireland as free as England, granted the end of party strife and haggling, and granted the proper Coalition spirit, there is no case to break on eight or ten seats. And if this House to-day will face the issue fairly and squarely and see is it possible to reconcile these two positions constitutionally, I believe they will be doing much better work than bringing up old bitternesses here, particularly at this moment in the history of our country. Not one of us wish to see an Irishman killed by another; not one of us wish to see the position that obtains in Ireland to-day and each of us is aware of the terrible economic stagnation that is in the country. I am for one, and when I stood up I did not see the point of principle in these eight seats. I am not sure that I see it yet, but if it is only that you want—eight or ten men to resign—I here and now offer myself as the first one to resign.

I think the issue we are confronted with now is altogether too grave to discuss in a Party spirit. We have had contrary points of view brought before us, and the last Deputy who spoke endeavoured to make this House believe that the one issue upon which the Conference broke down was the question of seats. Every Deputy here knows that such is not the case; every Deputy here knows that the issue at that Conference and the issue before Ireland to-day is the Treaty—whether it is going to be worked or going to be scrapped—and that is the issue which certain Deputies representing the Pro-Treaty side in this Conference have stated in clear and incontrovertible terms. Now there is one thing clear to my mind, at any rate, and it is this, that there is only one body who can settle this question and that the time has come when that body must get an opportunity of deciding upon that issue, and that body is the Irish nation. I think there are very few people in the country who are not sick to death of reading all these debates upon the merits or defects of the Treaty. There are very few people in Ireland who have not made up their minds as to what will be the effect of the working of the Treaty upon the national and economic life of the country and my only purpose in rising here is to strike this note—that the time has come when we must make way for the people and allow the people to decide this issue which means so much for good or ill to them. If I could counsel those who are exercising Government in Ireland to-day it would be this—to exercise that responsible Government in order that the nation shall no longer be perplexed and tortured with quibbles and squabbles about petty points but in order that the nation may get an opportunity to deliver judgment as to whether it does or does not want this Treaty. I think that is the sole issue we are reduced to consider now, and it is merely to suggest that we rise above, or get rid of all consideration of Party spirit and let the people decide that I speak. Put the issue to them and then abide by the verdict of the people. I believe that is a course which will commend itself to every sane man or woman in Ireland. It may not commend itself to those who think that if the people do not agree with them, so much the worse for the people. I heard one Deputy speaking here to-day and at the last meeting of this Assembly he said he and others like him cared not how big majorities were or how small minorities were; they were going to persist in the stand they were taking up. If that is a conception of democracy, if that is a conception of stable Government or the basis of ordered society, then my understanding of those things has been entirely wrong. I believe in any country the one sure bulwark of stability—human nature is so imperfect—of peace and ordered government is that the will of the majority should prevail. A minority have their rights; they have ways and means of trying to convince the majority to their point of view and when they succeed in that they cease to be a minority; they become a majority and they can rightly and justly dictate their will to the nation as a whole. I heard a distinguished member of this Assembly stating on one occasion that the majority of this Assembly is the authority to be respected. I want an explanation of the statements, that no matter how large majorities are, if the majorities coincide with the position of the majority here they do not matter. Let us remember the dignity of this House, which is supposed to be the organ of Government and the expression of the people's will. Let us not make it the organ that stands to flout and to thwart the people's will. At least, if we are in doubt—and there seems to be grave doubt here—that this Dáil does represent the people, there seems to be grave doubt amongst some that the people want the Treaty, we can settle these doubts very speedily by putting this issue to the only tribunal which can settle it; that is the Irish nation.

A Chinn Chomhairle, I would like to begin by reminding you and the members of the Dáil, with reference to what Deputy McKeown said—that the Conference was arranged entirely to deal with the statement of certain Army Officers—that when Doctor Hayes put his motion before us I was one of those who objected and said that if the motion was simply to form a Conference to adopt what those Army Officers said, then it could not be agreed to, but if it was to explore every avenue of possible agreement then we would be all very glad if such could be found. I do not consider it quite consistent with my notions of what is strictly honourable that time after time we should be told by Deputies in this House and by the Press that that Conference was to find an agreement on the basis of what those Army Officers said. That is not true. As a matter of fact, some of us know that certain people inside the Dáil were trying themselves to bring about such a Conference and might have done it more successfully if that basis of agreement had not been put forward. I wish to join my protest with that of other Deputies against the use of the word "politicians" to describe our actions. We stand for the preservation of the existing Republic, which exists in consequence of the Declaration of Independence, no matter how much the Deputies who have foresworn it may choose to sneer at it, and any action that we have taken we have taken on that basis and that basis alone. There has been talk about struggling for seats. Deputy Mcllowes has put the point quite well when he said that our desire for a Coalition was a desire to preserve all that Ireland has go through her war for independence and absolutely to ignore England, whether England likes it or not. That attitude of ours we thought would find whole-hearted support from the other side of the House. Instead of that, they claim that what they call the benefits of the Treaty must not be used unless the Treaty is accepted. That is quite a new doctrine in Irish politics. I may say our view was always to take everything belonging to us by force when we could—squeeze it out of England when we could—and snap our fingers at her and use it for Ireland's benefit. Those who have supported the Treaty and because of that support have got certain benefits for Ireland, or think they did—they did not get them because of the Treaty; they got them on account of the War of Independence—should take and use these absolutely for Ireland without any consideration whatever of whether it suits England or whether they should go ahead with the Treaty. Further, that was entirely the point of view with which those who think of the necessity of preserving the independence of Ireland entered that Conference. I have before spoken of the attempt to place the responsibility for the present disturbed state of the country on the shoulders of the Republicans. It will not do. The responsibility rests solely and entirely on the shoulders of those who signed the Treaty and who support it. We are not poor petty politicians for maintaining the attitude which we have never once in our whole lives changed. We were not bluffing when we declared and believed in the Republic. We are not bluffing now, no matter what the consequences may be. We have begged the men on the other side of the House to pause and reflect what they are doing before they plunge this country into civil war, for it is they who will condemn the country to civil war, if they force on Ireland the Treaty. They say the majority want to accept the Treaty. That is doubtful in spite of the rosy pictures they draw for themselves, because the people in the country have only one great fear and that is the fear of war, "terrible and immediate war," with which England threatened the delegates on the 6th of last December. If that threat of war were taken away, there is no one in this country or in England either who doubts how the people of Ireland would vote. The threat of war was bluff on December 6th. Perhaps some people in this House think that we are bluffing now when we declare that we will not submit to the Treaty. We are not.

Will you submit to an election?

We want it clearly to be understood that there was no such thing as haggling for seats. Doctor MacCartan said he did not care whether it was Deputy de Valera or President Griffith was elected or anybody else. Neither would any of us when Ireland's interests are in the balance. We want the independence of Ireland acknowledged and the Republic of Ireland acknowledged and we will be satisfied with nothing else. Now the question of the Coalition was very important because if it could have been arranged —and it could have been arranged, with goodwill on the other side—it would have preserved the unity of Ireland and the independence of Ireland. On the question of the unity of Ireland, it seems as if we are going to have something to say presently on the President's motion. But the independence of Ireland would not be compromised by that Coalition unless the other side insisted, as they evidently mean to insist, on the acceptance of the Treaty. If we could have accepted the Treaty last week or this week, we could have accepted it last December. We stand now where we stood then. And if the question was allowed to be reduced to the point of the pro-Treaty side allocating—in their generosity we are told—a certain number of seats to the Republican side, then that would have been the virtual acceptance of the Treaty and, just as there was a virtual acceptance of the Treaty, for ever afterwards they would be able to say we went into it through a backdoor. We are not going to have that Treaty by a back door, by a front door, by a side door, or by any door. Now I asked the members of the other side before and I ask them again: "Is the Treaty worth civil war?" I want a straight plain answer to that. They can ask me back, "Is the Republic, is the independence of Ireland, worth civil war?" And I say: "Yes, a thousand times yes, it is worth civil war." The unity and independence of Ireland are as much worth civil war to Ireland, as the unity of the United States was worth civil war to Abraham Lincoln. It is worth civil war and, moreover, the man who declares it is not and believing himself a Republican, lays down his gun rather than fight for the Republic, I call a coward. He has not the courage of his conviction or he is wanting in the faith, just the same as the men who signed that Treaty. We believe that the Republic and the maintenance of the Republic are worth civil war, but is your Treaty worth civil war? Not one of you would dare to say it is. The men who support that Treaty in this House declare that they are Republicans—pro-Treaty Republicans they call themselves. They believe they are going to fight for the Republic and I think there is not a person in this Assembly, and there are very few in the country, who have not been told that they are drawing up a Republican Constitution, and they are going to fight England on that Republican Constitution. I have been told it by men on the other side and I know that many of them believe it and I ask them here in public now what I asked them before in private. If you are prepared to draw up a Republican Constitution and fight England on that Republican Constitution, then in God's name why do you not stand with us to-day and fight England now before matters get any worse? You cannot have it both ways. If you are drawing up a Republican Constitution——

On a point of order, is the Constitution under discussion?

No, but civil war is. If you are going to have war with England, have it now and you will win. Don't fight your own brothers if you are going to fight for the Republic again! Are you going to begin by shooting down every man and woman who stands firm for the Republic now and who will not surrender? You have got to take your choice here and now. If you can only secure your Treaty by shooting those who stood as comrades in arms with you a short time ago is your Treaty worth it? If you believe the statements that are being made, that that Constitution which is being drawn up, is to be a Republican Constitution and that you are asked to fight England if England turns down that Constitution, do you want to kill Republicans first? That I suppose is what Deputy Milroy would call letting the cat out of the bag.

Letting civil war out of Document 2.

I am not discussing Document 2 but here and now I say this for it. If Document No. 2 was brought back here with a united Cabinet, I would have opposed it because it contained certain things humiliating to our national pride though it preserves our national independence. But here and now, if I were to be asked would I lay down my life for the difference between the Treaty and Document No. 2, I would answer "Yes" with all my heart. There is this difference between Document No. 2 and the Treaty: I defy any single Deputy to lay down his life for the Treaty. I would lay down my life now for the difference between Document No. 2 and the Treaty. It contains no oath and there is no Governor General and it does not pretend to draw up a Republican Constitution which in the far distant future you will fight England on.

What about the Royal Managing Director?

In an interview given to the Press yesterday, Mr. Collins said that there would be no civil war in Ireland; that only a police measure would be necessary. Mr. Collins is evidently fast following in the footsteps of Macredy, Tudor, Smyth, Hamar Greenwood and all of that ilk. They always refused to call the war that was being carried on in Ireland a war at all. That is why they sent the Black-and-Tans and used them more than soldiers. We all know that they did not want to dignify it with the name of war. So. Mr. Collins does not want to dignify the name of our opposition to the Treaty with civil war. It will only be a police measure. I wonder is he going to send people to invade our homes and take the arms from the men who hold them for the Republic. It will be interesting to watch developments. I am keeping that interview and watching with very great interest what it means. Deputy McKeown said that when the members from this side of the Committee asked for the Constitution that it was drawing another red-herring across the tracks. It was not. It was another earnest and sincere desire to see if the people on the Pro-Treaty side really meant to work in the interests of the Republic, as they say they do. Now, this is the time to come out and declare your faith, if you really have it. If you believe that the Treaty, after killing the Republic would lead back to it you have got to face two questions. Is that Treaty worth civil war—is that Treaty worth the life of a single Republican shed by a single pro-Treaty man; and secondly you have to ask yourself when you have killed off the Republicans how much better will you be for fighting Lloyd George on a Republican Constitution. Now I know perfectly well that all the people on the pro-Treaty side of the House are not at one on that Constitution. Some want it within the terms of the Treaty and some want to kick over the Treaty.

Again I ask is the Constitution under discussion? None of us has seen the Constitution.

But we have heard of it.

There is no doubt you are travelling beyond the subject under discussion.

Very well, I will confine myself to the subject. If you believe that in standing for the Treaty you will be called upon at some future date to fight England, why cannot you stand now and fight England and fight her because she has broken the Treaty herself by her conduct in Belfast, fight her because you know perfectly well that this question of an election now in itself breaks the Treaty for the Treaty is for all Ireland. You must then have an election for all Ireland. Stand together now and say to Lloyd George and to his Cabinet: "Your Treaty is not worth civil war. We will keep what we have and we will defy you and fight you for the rest. That is honest Irish thinking. But the type of mind that says you will have to give back to Lloyd George what you got because of the Treaty—that is muddled English thinking. Every single thing you have got or that you are going to get is Ireland's by right. England has no more right to it than a robber has to my purse. Everything the Treaty has given, as a result of the war of independence, take and use it now. Defy Lloyd George. Call your army together on one united basis. Have a Coalition which will stabilise the country. While we are asked to accept the Treaty there will be no Coalition on that basis. Now why cannot you do that? Why cannot you form a Coalition and say we will leave the Treaty in abeyance? If the English Government do not like it let them go and do what they like. Say "We will take the matter as it stands to-day and we will not ask the country to go one step further in the direction of the Treaty. We will use the benefits we have got for Ireland to whom they belong; we will form a Coalition Government which will have the confidence of the country," and the country will be behind you. What obligations are you under to England? None. If she forced a thing from you in the day of your weakness, then snap your fingers at her. The things you get are Ireland's not England's. You owe England nothing for them. Take them now; stand together and with a united army and a united country form a Coalition Government and let us go ahead with the work of the country and the country will have reason to bless you and generations to come will bless you. If, on the other hand, you force civil war, the responsibility is yours and yours alone who signed and who supported the Treaty.

I would like to have talked immediately after Deputy Boland. The speech of Deputy Boland was the sort of speech I expected we would hear here to-day. I would like to ask the President and the Ministers on the other side a straight question. Do they or do they not want our co-operation in the government of Ireland at the present time? If we get a straight answer to that question, the details I believe can be worked out. Everybody knows that we, at any rate, will never definitely commit ourselves to the Treaty and we do not want the people of the country to commit themselves to the Treaty if we can help it. I believe the people of the country do not want to commit themselves to it if they can help it and it is our duty, having brought this situation about, to save the people from being committed to this Treaty if we can do it. They say they have got a majority. Probably they will get a majority in the country. I do not know. They probably feel they have the strength themselves to govern the country without our co-operation. If that be so, very well; there is no need of a conference and we have our right to our opposition; we have our right to do everything we can to get the country to act in the way that we think is best for the country. But if, at the present time, they genuinely want the co-operation of this side for the government of the country then I for one—if I be alone in this matter—will help in it. I believe I am talking also not for myself alone but for the majority of our Party and I am ready to take the responsibility of offering to the Dáil here and now the proposals put forward by us for a Coalition for the government of the country pending such time as the people in a different mood can be appealed to and different issues put before the country. Looking at the memoranda submitted by the representatives of the majority side here, you can see that it is admitted that an election at the present time would be dangerous for the country and it is admitted that we have principles that we want to guard. We do not want to be put into a false position and we do not want to have the country put into a false position. If the matter is approached in that spirit, we can get an arrangement by which we will have immediately stable government in this country and we can have afterwards such a Government as will enable the stabilised conditions to bear fruit in the progress and settlement of economic conditions. As I say, if the other side genuinely want—and this thing is not to be a mere manœuvre—our co-operation in the government of the country, I am ready to put forward as a definite proposition every one of these articles which Mr. Boland submitted in Committee. As I say, our difficulty is we do not know whether the other side do want it or not. This thing they can never get from us—a definite commitment to this Treaty. We do not want to commit ourselves and we do not want to commit the country to it. We are as definitely opposed to it as we were at first. But I for one am ready to accept it as a fact, from the point of view that the majority of this House have voted for it. That is a fact I am not going to blind myself to. If I could reverse that majority I would: if I could reverse it in the country I would and think it good for the country that it should be done. But if, in the face of the conditions at the present moment, the other side want our co-operation in producing stable conditions in this country and in governing this country, I am ready for one to take the responsibility for offering on behalf of our Party here these terms. As to the question of the difference about seats, by what process can you tell what proportion should be allocated to either side? I see no basis except the basis there is at present in the Dáil. In one case, you base it on no principle and in the other case you have a definite thing to go upon. You will have the further advantage that it will not be said that there has been on our side any question of further commitment to the Treaty. That is why our people have been anxious to retain the present proposals. If the resignation of a member of our Party would settle it, we would be quite willing to do it by resignation, but resignation would not. As far as we are concerned then, it is not the proportion of seats that matters and I say that the argument of the other side was a definite argument for Party Government and not for Coalition Government. Evidently it is to give stability the Coalition idea was introduced at all. If you were to get that majority, why should we go into a Coalition at all? Our hands would be far freer in opposition, and we would prefer to be in opposition. We do not want office, as such, but we do want to save the country from being committed to this Treaty, because we do not feel that a fair issue is being put before the country. It might be said that this is a political manœuvre, but I have here a document which was never published. As you may remember, a Chinn Comhairle, it was the first draft of the letter I put before the Cabinet and got full acceptance of by a combined Ministry, in which, for the first time, the proposals for external association were mentioned. Some time that will be made public. I am daily being brought to the position that I will have to make these documents public if misrepresentations continue. What I want to get out of it is just one sentence or two to show that this idea of having the threat of force removed is not a new one. The paragraph to which I refer is this:

"These terms of Association in Treaties would, of course, have to be submitted for ratification to the National Legislature in the first instance, and later to the people as a whole, under conditions which would make it their free choice, without any element of military compulsion."

Why we are against the elections at the present time is this: these elections would be a misrepresentation of the free choice of the Irish people and the English, whenever they wanted, would make it appear that the Irish people had freely chosen this position within the British Empire, that they did it of their own free will, without the pressure of force. It will be said that the people who were not afraid of the Black-and Tans and in the face of such force stood for Irish independence, would not be terrified by a threat of war into accepting such a position if it was not of their own free will. I am as convinced now as ever I was that if you give an absolutely free choice to the Irish people at the present moment you would get for the independence of Ireland and a continuation of the Republic as overwhelming a vote now as you got in 1918. It is to save the nation from being put into a position in which it will be misrepresented that we are taking the stand we are. We are prepared to stand by this proposition. A proportion of seats we think is unnecessary. That was not the basis on which you could get agreement because there has been no test by which you can tell what proportion would be in favour of one Party and what proportion in favour of another. I ask them if they genuinely want our co-operation in trying to save the country from what it is facing? For my part, I would in the future act as I acted in the past. I believe truly in the Sinn Féin policy. In 1919, when I was made President of the Dáil, I gave the first statement of our policy, a statement which will meet future conditions as it met conditions in the past. I repeat that we are prepared—I am for one and those I have been speaking to on the matter I believe are also prepared—to meet the situation in that spirit. Therefore, again, I say we offer that and if there be any principle shown on which the present representation should be altered we are willing to consider it.

A Chinn Chomhairle, Mr. de Valera has asked do we desire co-operation with him. We desire him to carry out his pledge that there was a constitutional means of settling this question between us. If he carries that out we want his co-operation. As to what is his exact proposal I do not know. If his proposal is that we are again to assent to the Irish people being muzzled to prevent them expressing their view on this Treaty we say "no." If he agrees not to obstruct further the Irish people in expressing their view, we will say "yes."

Bé bhí sa chéad rún ná na tuairiseí seo do chur ar mhiontuairiscí na Dála. Táthar tar éis mórán cainnte do dhéanamh ar an rún san nár bhain leis in aon chur. Is dócha go bhfuilimíd go léir ar aon aigne gur ceart na tuairiscí seo do chur i leabhair na Dála. Ach má fhagamíd an scéal mar sin is beag a bheidh dá bharr. Ní mór dúinn, leis, rud éigin a dhéanamh. Má fágtar an scéal mar sin sé a thiocfaidh as b'fhéidir ná go mbeimíd ag lámhach a chéile i gcionn seachtaine nó dhó. Sin é an deamramh atá air. Is mian le gach duine anso rud éigin do dhéanamh más féidir é chun san do sheachaint agus déanfidh gach éinne a dhícheall ina choinnibh. An fháid a bhíomair go léir i gcoinnibh Shasana bhíomair ar aon intinn. Ach nuair a thosnuigh an argóint mór bhfada a leanamar ar an staid sin. Ar an abhar san, ba mhaith an ní é dá ndéanfadh cuid againn troid arís leis an namhaid agus gan bheith ag troid eadrainn féin. Tá troid le déanamh anso fós, mar níl Seán Buidhe imithe fós agus tá fhios againn cad tá ag tuitim amach le fada in Ultaibh. Níl aon fháth ná beimis ag troid ach is in Ultaibh ba cheart an troid do bheith. Do labhair Teachta Thír Eoghain, Seán Mac Giolla Ruaidh, i dtaobh an togha agus dubhairt sé gur cheart dúinn an cheist seo do chur fé bhráid mhuinntir na hÉireann. Ní har sin a gheibheann an taobh so locht in aon chor. Tá os cionn milleon daoine in Éireann ná beadh aon ghuth aca sa togha dá gcuirtí togha ar siúl anois. Sé sin milleon daoine fásta. Ar eagla ná tuigfeadh an Teachta ó Thír Eoghain a bhfuil á rá agam déarfad an méid seo i mBéarla anois.

Deputy Milroy said that this whole question should be put before the Irish nation. I agree in that. That same statement has been made repeatedly by members on the Treaty side. Nevertheless they are the people who refuse to put it before the people.

What about the plebiscite?

Stone Age Plebiscite do ba é. There are, at present, on the authority of those who have inquired into the matter over two and a half millions of adults in Ireland. On the register there are less than one and a half million. In other words, if this matter was put before the electorate now a million or a little over a million of the Irish people would not have a voice in it at all. Is that putting it before the Irish nation?

That is a question of figures.

I defy anyone to controvert those figures. I have those figures on the best authority on statistics in Ireland and I defy anyone on the opposite side to show they are wrong.

God help your authorities.

Two and a half millions do you say?

'Seadh—adults. Everyone knows the state of the present register and nevertheless those people on the opposite side talk about consulting the Irish nation in this matter—the thing they apparently do not want to do. In fact it is not even the Irish nation they are consulting. This would be an election for the 26 counties only and some of the constituents of Deputy Milroy would not be consulted at all. I understand he has two seats.

And they are both Treatyite.

President Griffith was a member of the Sinn Féin Executive when Mr. Lloyd George sent us—I was a member of it myself—an invitation to participate in his "convention," as he called it. This is the reply that was drawn up for the most part by President Griffith, to Mr. Lloyd George's invitation:

"The Executive Council of Sinn Féin unanimously resolves that Sinn Féin should decline to participate in any convention called by the English Government in Ireland ostensibly to settle the Irish question in Ireland, until (1) the terms of reference leave it free to decree the complete independence of Ireland, (2) the English Government publicly pledges itself to the United States and the powers of Europe to ratify the decision of the majority of the Convention, and (3) The Convention to consist of none but persons freely elected by adult suffrage in Ireland."

I suggest to President Griffith that when this matter is to be put to the Irish people that an election on the same terms be held—that is on adult suffrage —and that England give an undertaking that she will abide by the result of the election. The issue should be the Republic or the Free State. I for one, and I do not believe President Griffith would disagree with me, have no doubt as to what the decision of the Irish people would be when the threat of force was removed. Now, we have made repeated attempts to achieve peace. The difference between the two sides is so great that is seems almost hopeless to bridge those differences. I have one suggestion to make —that is in the last resort rather than have fratricidal strife, because it looks very much as if that was coming now, we could all unite on Ulster. This Treaty, amongst other bad things, means partition. Partition, according to the Irish Hierarchy in the pronouncement they made last October, would be nothing but "a perennial source of discord and fratricidal strife." Those are their own words. The fact that the Hierarchy have changed their minds and have advised the Irish people to accept the Treaty within the last few weeks, unfortunately for our co-religionists in the north of Ireland, does not mean that the circumstances or conditions will be anything different from those. Partition will be "a perennial source of discord and fratricidal strife." I say that we have now in this question of partition a basis of unity between the two sides here in the Dáil. There are public bodies in Ulster who have pledged allegiance to the Dáil. Under Partition they will be deserted by us. I suggest now that both sides unite in defence of our people in the north. During the recent Mansion House conference it was clear to me in the first ten or fifteen minutes of the first meeting that we could not reach agreement. During one of the intervals at those conferences, I suggested to Mr. Michael Collins that he and I should retire from public life and go to the north of Ireland on a defence crusade in favour of our people there. That offer was not accepted by Mr. Collins. It is still open. I for one am absolutely sick of politics. It was against my will that I ever entered into public life. As Mr. Collins and some of his friends on the other side know, I was away on a military mission when I was nominated for the County of Waterford. The first I heard about it was when I saw my name in a paper as having been nominated. It was against my will that I allowed the thing to go on. I did it anyway in the hope that owing to the then international situation we could get what we were out for. Now, I for one prefer to have nothing more to do with politics and as I know from what we see in the papers that the ruffianism going on in the north is very likely to continue and that as it is quite obvious that Seán Buidhe is in this game as well as the Orangeman, we have some fighting to do. If this proposal be not accepted and there are no further efforts at peace, it is quite obvious that we will have fighting here in what are called the twenty-six counties. I for one would prefer to die by an English bullet or an Orange bullet rather than by a bullet fired by one of the men with whom we have been fighting together during the last six years, on and off. I am never going to fire a bullet at any of these men and I hope that I am not going to die by a bullet from any of them. Now we have a means of unity. In God's name, let us avail ourselves by this means and let us, as suggested by Mr. de Valera, from a Coalition to carry on the Dáil. Let those who have no inclination for the thing—and I am one of them—have nothing more to with politics and go and help our people in the north.

There are two or three statements that I think would bear some examination. One of the statements is to the effect that the issue can only be put to the people under certain conditions that pre-suppose a certain Divine right on the part of certain people to prevent the common people having the right to say what should be put to them or what should not be put to them and under what conditions.

You were one of the Ministers who agreed to that statement.


I say that the issue at present before the country is one that transcends any such statement. This issue is an issue for the sovereign people and their right to decide on it is questioned. I say the people have a right to express their opinion on it as they had a right in May last, when there was "terrible and immediate war" here and when there was no doubt about the decision they gave. The second point is in connection with the statement that there are 2½ millions of adults in this country. No particulars are given to us as to how that estimate was made up and in view of certain criticisms by persons who knew nothing about what they were speaking when dealing with the present register, I have got to say that the franchise under which the present register was compiled was introduced in 1918 and it was a democratic extension of the earlier franchise. It gave votes to men of 21 or over who have resided in premises or have kept business premises in the constituency for the qualifying period or possessed the requisite university qualifications or women of 30 or over who are either entitled to be Local Government electors or whose husbands are so entitled or who possess the requisite university qualifications. That was the register on which the first Dáil was elected. Supposing for a moment we exclude this question, I take it there is nobody in Ireland who will say that that restricted franchise which brought the first Dáil into existence had no right to bring that first Dáil into existence. The ex-President may dispute it, but the facts are that on that register the percentage of electors to the population was 43.7 and the proportion in the six-county area was 44.3 per cent. and on the register which is disputed and which we are told is incomplete and insufficient and does not return its full quota of the electorate the percentage is 45.5. There are 58,193 names on this register in addition to the numbers on the register in 1918 which brought the first Dáil into existence. I take it as almost an axiom that the percentage of children in this country is greater than the percentage in England and that, consequently, there are more adults in proportion to the population in England than there are in this country. The percentage in England on the register in 1918 was 47.5 and I think it fairly estimates the excess of adults in that country over the same proportion in this country. So much for the register and all the twaddle we have heard about it. If the statements made by the member for Waterford were correct it would mean that there would be 57 per cent. of the population on the electorate here which would be almost 10 per cent. in excess.

Now, you know I am not such an infant in these matters as to have a proposition put up and be asked to prove it is wrong in order to disprove it. I am a child in a great many matters but I am not sufficiently childish to be taken in by that chaff. I am simply showing the ridiculousness of the proposition you put before us and the facts you adduced as evidence to support it are, I think, quite sufficient to have it ruled out of existence to the mind of every sensible man in this assembly or every sensible woman. There was another question. Is the Treaty worth civil war? The question arises immediately: who is the sovereign authority in any country? If any section or minority in any country says "We are going to have civil war," where does the majority come in? Has a majority got any rights whatever? Is there to be government by majority or is there to be government by autocracy? It is not a question of whether one thing is worth civil war or not. It is a question of whether the people have a right to elect a Government and if they have that right has that Government the right to call upon the people to support them? If the Government does not carry out the wishes of the people the people on their side have the right to depose their Government and I believe from what I know of those who are drawing up the Constitution that sufficient safeguard will be provided for the people disposing of any Government they differ with. The question was asked is the Republic worth civil war? Are you going to get it after civil war? That is a fair question.


Are you going to get the Treaty?

If you are really in earnest in asking that question I say that if we are wrong in our interpretation of the people's wishes in this matter certainly I for one do not wish to remain here one moment—not one moment—I would prefer that the people gave me their intimation that they no longer want my services in a representative capacity because this representation business is really not altogether a bed of roses. I have had quite enough of it. I have never had any wish for it and I believe I am speaking for other members who are associated with me that they do not desire to remain one single moment occupying positions of responsibility unless they are representing the people's mind. Another statement that was made—I want to be perfectly sure that I am correct in my interpretation of the statement—was that a Deputy was willing to die for the difference between the Treaty and Document No. 2 even though that Document No. 2 was a national humiliation. It is the first time I have heard any person in Ireland say that they were willing to die for a national humiliation.

May I rise on a point of personal explanation? The Deputy, with his usual facility, is carefully turning around and misrepresenting what I did say. I said if that document had been brought here with a united Cabinet, I would have been against it, because I consider it a humiliation to lend England our ports even for five years. That is what I called a national humiliation in exactly the same way as it is, I suppose, a humiliation for Germany that the French would be in possession of any portion of their territory at the present moment. That is what I called a national humiliation. But I said Document No. 2 did not give away our national independence and I said I would be willing to die to eliminate the King and his Governor-General or any representative of England in this country. I believe there are a great many good men and women in the country who would agree with me. I asked the Deputies on the other side of the House would they be ready to die for their Treaty. I would never die for money anyhow but I would die for the principle of national independence. I maintain that that is preserved in Document No. 2. I ask the Deputy, at least, to have the decency not to say that I was going to die for a national humiliation.

If my recollection is quite correct, that is the second time I heard the same story. Was it admitted it was a national humiliation? If it was, I think my statement is quite correct. I am not in a position to describe the exact words of the whole of the speech made by any Deputy much less a Deputy who takes such a long time as Deputy Miss McSwiney. My interpretation of the statement was exactly as I have given it. If I am wrong, the Deputies can make up their minds about it.

You should have the decency to withdraw it.

When I misconduct myself, I will withdraw any statement I make but not otherwise.

I will ask you to address the House.

As I said, I believe there should be no limitation with regard to any of the issues to be put to the people. They have a right to say what their wishes are. If I am wrong then I ought never to have gone into public life and I would never have gone into public life if I thought that any other proposition was being put up from any side I was on. As regards the President's statement, I have only got to say that the people of this country in my opinion—if I am wrong I am willing to stand down—are willing to accept this Treaty. I will undertake, as far as I am concerned, to do everything in my power to enable the people to express an opinion on that Treaty. I do not believe that any body of men in this country have got the right to stand between the expression of that opinion and the people and I do not believe that the suggestion put forward by the Deputy for Portláirge would benefit the position in the north. The position in the north, in my opinion, has been seriously interfered with by reason of the divisions and the dissensions and other disorders that have occurred down here. I believe firmly that there would have been no question whatever about the north wanting to come in with the rest of the country if it were not for these dissensions. I believe, furthermore, that practically every person who is on the opposite side knows that ("No, no!"). You can blind yourselves if you wish. It is no affair of mine if you do. In January last the ex-President had an opportunity of bringing about the exact state of affairs as he is prepared to bring about now. Have we to wait for five months for people to make up their minds as to what should be done? At that time he could have a Coalition Cabinet with a majority on his side. But he was not satisfied with it. He has learned now, after five months, that it would be a workable proposition. If everything in this country is going to wait five months after the time it should be done——

Because you have proved you are not able to govern the country; that is why.

I am positively certain of one thing and it is that your assistance would not have been of any assistance to us and I think I have as much experience of public life as anybody ("Chair!"). I will obey the Chair and I will always be respectful to the Chair. If members interrupt—I have not interrupted any of them—they must take the consequences. The proposition put by the Minister of Finance was for a Committee of Public Safety. It was not accepted because this policy was not thought out at the time and you did not see the morass into which you could get yourself. We are still willing to accept that co-operation but not at the expense of playing shuttle-cock with the people's opinions and of preventing the people from expressing their views on a thing they have a right to express them on and always subject to the condition that the people are sovereign, deriving their power and their authority from God.

I do not know whether I shall be ruled out of order if I refer to two reports that were before us a couple of hours ago and to two or three speeches that were made upon them. Let us be straight about this matter and understand exactly where we differ and what we are going to break about. I have read through this report carefully and I have listened carefully to the speeches made on it. Like the Minister of Local Government, I am a child in many matters and I must be a child in this for I confess I have the greatest difficulty in ascertaining what really was the issue on which this committee broke. After all, it is a matter of importance what they did, in fact, break on, Deputy Boland, in the course of his eloquent oration, told us he was prepared to take all the benefits that are here for Ireland as a result of the fight. I take it that means that he is prepared to take all the benefits of the Treaty. If words have any meaning, he must have been alluding to the Treaty. He meant to convey to the people who would read his speech afterwards that he was prepared to take the benefits of the Treaty. If that be so, let us be quite clear about it. Deputy Mellowes, who was conspicuous for the clearness of his statement, said something very much to the same effect. He said that he was prepared to enter into a Coalition with genuine intentions to take everything we could get from England. Therefore, if I understood him aright, he also is prepared to take such benefits as the Treaty confers.

And give England nothing, I added.

Very well. We, therefore, have this position that the Treaty, or parts of it—because both Deputies were studiously vague—contains benefits which most Deputies who were on this Committee and representative men are prepared to take from England. That is something gained and that should be stated clearly. I quite understand the position taken up by Deputy de Valera when he said "We will never commit ourselves definitely to the Treaty." I understand that position but, side by side, you have the other position that such benefits as the Treaty confers upon Ireland are to be accepted not merely by the pro-Treaty side but by the others. That, I take it, is one of the salutary effects of the intervention we have had from those leading soldiers who everybody knows are as honest Republicans as those on the other side of this House and who came to the conclusion that it was necessary to accept the Treaty in the interests of the Republic. There is one thing which makes it difficult to ascertain exactly what is the issue. If you will read this report, which is miscalled "The Report of the Republican Delegation," you will find on the last page but one: "Deputy Mellowes at this point suggested an adjournment for an hour, so that the Republican group might, apart, consider the matter." This was upon the question of the proportion in which the respective parties were to be represented and, as a result of the confabulation, they evolved a most astounding theory which they give us there, in effect, as a reason which they cannot intend us to believe for the breach. What they say is this:

"On resumption the Republican group explained that they had found that in assenting to an alteration from the present proportions they would be involved in an assent to what was inconsistent with their fundamental position, namely that in the proposed election the Treaty issue was not being further determined.... On no other basis but on a Treaty issue could their numbers be reduced."

They assume a thing which no man in this assembly dare say to be true— namely, that if you hold a General Election in Ireland at the present time you can prevent the electors from voting in that election upon the Treaty. I do not mind whether President Griffith or Mr. Michael Collins or anyone else agrees not to put the Treaty before the people. You know perfectly well what they will vote on is the Treaty. They must vote on the Treaty. How can you stop them? Of course they would vote on the Treaty. So well do the Deputies on the other side realise that fact, that the proportion in which they wanted this question of numbers to be divided depended upon the voting upon the Treaty, that the electors were to be asked to agree that so and so would be elected, these people being selected precisely on a Treaty basis. Then we were to be told that we did not vote upon the Treaty issue at all. I suggest that the Deputies on the other side are not doing themselves justice if this discovery made at the last moment is put forward as a reason for the breach. It cannot be a reason. I cannot understand people saying "We are not fairly represented and we cannot agree to that," but I cannot understand people coming forward and solemnly telling people in this House that if they agreed to that it would imply that it was an election on the Treaty issue, as if an election could take place in Ireland at the present time in which the Treaty was not an issue. It is immaterial from my personal point of view whether you make the Treaty in terms the issue or not— whether you say to the people you are voting on the Treaty or omit to say that, it is perfectly obvious that it is on the Treaty they will vote. Therefore, if we split on this let us split on real differences and not put forward a kind of camouflage. There are differences between us that are serious enough but that cannot be one of them. If you have an election now, it must be on the Treaty whether you say so or not.

A Chinn Chomhairle, we have heard a great deal in the course of this debate about standing between the people and the expression of its will. The Minister for Local Government said that this right of the people to express its will transcends all others. If so, why is it that those who were about to decree that an election be held in June specifically take steps to prevent the people of the six counties in the north declaring their will upon this Treaty? If the Minister for Local Government were sincere, if the Deputy for Tyrone, Mr. Seán Milroy, and if the President of this Assembly and the head of the Provisional Government, the Deputy for Armagh in this Assembly, were sincere in declaring that they wanted the whole will of the Irish people to be expressed in this matter, they would take steps to see that at least their own constituents who returned them as Republicans would have an opportunity of giving their allegiance again to the Republic which they helped to establish and which they helped to maintain and for which beyond all other people in Ireland they suffered the most. The people have a right to express their will but I say that the men who bound themselves by oath to serve an ideal and to uphold and maintain its expression in actual fact, the men who bound themselves by oath in virtue of which certain men went out and fought and died, have no right—least of all the men who were comrades and colleagues of Terence MacSwiney—now to ask the Irish people to disestablish the Irish Republic. Therefore, I say that the men who stand for the honour of Irish public life, the men who stand for the validity of the most solemn contract that one man can enter into with another—a contract that was sealed with the blood and suffering of the Irish people—those men who stand for the validity of that contract have every right to use any means in their power to secure that that contract will be honoured and observed. That is why I say now, as I said before, that if the army under the Executive, in virtue of the agreement which was entered into between their old Executive and the Dáil, to which agreement the present Minister of Finance and the present head of the Provisional Government were parties, which agreement they helped to draw up and with every term of which they are perfectly familiar—if the army in virtue of that agreement and in virtue of their oath embark upon civil war, they will have every justification before God and before man and in history for the course they are about to take. The members who spoke in this debate are very anxious that all the reports of the proceedings of this Dáil should be recorded. Yes, they ought to be, because if there is one thing that will stand out more clearly in those reports than any other it is the sad and regrettable way in which the Treaty members of that conference misused their opportunity and instead of using the conference to secure peace and unity between the Irish people tried to turn it into an instrument for forcibly feeding us with humble pie, by enforcing acceptance of the Treaty upon us. That was the purpose for which they introduced their preamble—the Welsh leek they wanted us to eat. Since then they tried by bandying words to alter facts. They tried to work words, as they said, until they almost twisted them out of their meaning. No agreement would be arrived at by the Treaty Party in the Conference unless it would be an agreement upon the acceptance of the Treaty. That is the reason why we have been forced to break and even though we were so anxious for peace we could not accept it at that price at any rate. What was the necessity for those who are the Treaty Party taking this course? Why should those who support the Treaty try to destroy the Republican Party and the Republican ideal in Ireland? What reason have they under the Treaty itself for committing the people by this election to a definite and unqualified approval of this Treaty, as Englishmen always would try to say that that approval of the Treaty now was? It is not necessary by the terms of the Treaty; it is not called for under the Treaty; it is one of those supplementary conditions imposed after the agreement upon the Chairman of the Provisional Government and the President of the Dáil, one of those supplementary conditions similar to those which former English statesmen imposed upon Redmond and his associates. That is exactly what this rushed election and this appeal to the people now is. It is true that those who stand for the Treaty say that they wish this election in order to secure stable government for the country. We were willing to take them at their word by entering into such an agreement with them in order to bring peace and security and to preserve for the country the advantages which the country had gained for itself by its own sufferings first of all and not in virtue of the Treaty, because the Treaty would never have been written if the men and women of Ireland had not fought for the Irish Republic. In order to secure these things, we were willing to enter into such an agreement with them that both Parties in this Dáil could work harmoniously together for the common good of the country, without any violation of principle by either of them. It was in virtue of that we entered the Conference that for the first time since this Treaty was signed brought hope and relief to the hearts and minds of the Irish people. And now we are to break upon a question that on one side, at any rate, is only a question of numbers, while on the other side it is a question of principle. Why do we hold so tenaciously to that clause of our memorandum that stipulates that the strength of the parties on the National Panel, as I would like to term it, shall be in proportion to their strength in the Dáil? Because that fact, Sir, would have been the most significant indication that so far as could be, the national unity, the political unity and the geographical unity of Ireland had been re-established and was again asserted as it existed before the Treaty was signed. That was the reason why we stood so tenaciously for that one fact and that is the reason why we are willing to break upon it because if we were to accept that clause then we would be accepting partition; we would be accepting the Treaty and common citizenship in the British Empire. Those are the things, under no circumstances and no matter what may be the cost of refusal, we shall never accept. We have heard a great deal about generous terms that were offered and when the Minister for Foreign Affairs asked us what was the issue upon which we have broken we told him we have broken on exactly the same issue as the Conference broke on previously. Our position is not changed and I am sorry to say their position is not changed either. And they say they are generous, that they will give us 40 members to their 60! They may be, but it is not a question of generosity. It is a question of principle with us. They may be generous in offering us a big price for a Judas-like act. Still we are not going to commit that act, whether the price be 40 pieces or 40 seats. I say that they are not sincere, or at least they do not appear to be sincere, when they state they have tried to secure an agreement that would bring peace to this distracted country, because I say that while we could honourably accept the terms of our memorandum and particularly that Clause 2 upon which they broke, and while they could also accept it, and while we could not accept the terms they are offering, still I say in practice it would probably be found that the practical effect of that would be the same. The reason of that is this, that there is an express provision made whereby other candidates shall go forward in this country and I believe no matter what we say that there are other interests that will seek representation in the Third Dáil. There is only one Republican Party in this country at the moment and any fresh candidates that go forward will not belong to the Republican Party, but will belong to those other interests or classes that are willing to accept the Treaty. You cannot keep their candidates from intruding in these elections. Therefore, I say when these candidates go forward they will draw their votes and their strength from the Republican wing of the national banner which will mean that the two wings will be returned more or less in proportion to the real strength. That is why I say, so far as those two clauses are concerned, the practical effect of them would be the same; the symbolic effect of them would be different, because one clause—that is our clause—stands for the maintenance of the national position and the national unity of Ireland whereas the other clauses stand for acceptance of the Treaty, acceptance of British citizenship and the acceptance of partition. It is upon those grounds we have broken and it is upon those grounds that we will go forward to face the verdict of the people in this election.

I move that the question be now put.

I beg to second that proposition.

I move as an amendment that the debate be adjourned.

I suggest that both sides of the House agree to adjourn the vote on this motion until to-morrow. Something might be done in the meantime.

I was loth to say anything upon these negotiations and I do not know that what I say will be appreciated or will appeal to our opponents here.

You must get the permission of the House before speaking at this stage.

Permission granted.

I have noticed repeatedly that any propositions of mine have found particular disfavour with the leaders of the Opposition. That was my reason for thinking of not speaking at all on this matter to-day. I am, however, going to say a little. I have listened to the speeches of the Deputies since we met here at 3 o'clock and with the exception of a few the one thing that struck me about them, and that must strike everybody about them, was the utter lack of any sense of responsibility in our capacity as representatives of the people, in our capacity as guardians of the interests of the people, in our capacity as directors of the destinies of our nation. The progress on the side of the Opposition has been "a rake's progress." When we came back from London, having signed the Treaty, in the debates here in this House I gave my support to a course of action which would, at that time, have avoided the necessity of putting this Treaty to the Deputies here at all, and I did that having a greater regard for the Republican ideal than its new-found custodians. I have as great a regard now for the ideals of the Irish nation and the ideals that I was reared in myself as any member present. We offered here a Committee of Public Safety because we had the vision to see the morass that the country might be led into by the tactics of the Opposition. We have made various proposals to them all along and the people have judged these proposals and the people have rallied more strongly to us after every proposal. We did make a recent proposal in good faith, as we made all our proposals in good faith, and we ask for no surrender from anyone on the other side either of seats or of principle. If, as seems to be the case, the opposition to the election has been abandoned, then there is no necessity for any kind of agreement, because that is the finest agreement we could come to—an agreement not to interfere with the elections. We do not want to buttress up ourselves against the wishes of the Irish people and we do not want to buttress up the others here either. The same people who sent me here are good enough to send me out of here. And I am not afraid to stand before them on any platform in either of the constituencies I represent, and make my position clear to them. We are not shirking putting this question to the people in order that some Party advantage may be gained. In private conversation, at any rate, whatever they may say in this House, members of the Opposition Party have admitted that if we did go to an Election the Treaty Party would get a greater proportion of seats than the proportion put forward tentatively in the proposals from our side. And it has been asked "What are the principles on which this proportion was being worked out?" There is only this principle: that is, in certain eventualities, to give a working majority. Side by side with this principle was put forward the proposal for a Coalition, and that showed our good faith because if we wanted to select from Party and Party only we could have selected after the elections from the majority Party only. We do not say that we have a monopoly of intelligence or a monopoly of the interests of the nation. The suggestion for a Coalition was made as a working arrangement and it was not made in any sense as a Tammany Hall method or as sharp practice or in order to jockey our opponents into a position that they did not want to occupy. It was made plainly, and straight-forwardly, and in all sincerity and good faith. I return to this after the speeches that have been made. It struck me that the Deputies who made them were utterly lacking in a sense of responsibility to the nation. Now bring before you again the words I used to the other side on the day this proposal was brought in. The position in the country has not improved since then. It has disimproved if anything. And what are we going to do to deal with that position? A Deputy here said: "Who will govern; who will collect the revenue?" I tell you there has not been enough revenue collected during April to defray the cost of the ordinary public services, and if the members of the Opposition knew the difficulties we are struggling under they would be astonished. There is no other body of men who would carry on under such circumstances. I am faced with difficulties every day, artificial difficulties, that are put in our path by people who ought to have the best interests of the nation at heart. It has been said here that this election is necessary because of some sub-rosa agreement between members of the Dáil Cabinet and members of the British Cabinet. That reminds me of another statement that was made from the front Opposition bench when it was a question of releasing the political prisoners. I was taunted across this House that I should use my influence with Lloyd George. It is easy to say these things, easy to say “Use your influence with Lloyd George,” when we are being sent by this House to negotiate with Lloyd George. Why did not someone else take the job? I did not ask for it. None of us asked for it. And we were taunted with having made some secret agreement with the British Minister. We have made no agreement with the British Ministers that cannot bear the light of day. Everything that we have said in private conference with Craig and Churchill and anybody else can be put before the people. These recriminations do no good. Somebody appealed to us not to revive old bitterness and we had here in two succeeding speeches these very remarks about secret agreements with British Ministers.

The statement I heard from Mr. Boland did not refer to any secret agreement. My recollection of it was that it was an open agreement made for the election between members of the Government.

I do not know if the Minister of Finance is referring to me——

It would be well if you waited and you would find out.

It would, of course. That is why I did not rise, but somebody else did it for me.

In the speeches succeeding that there was mention of these agreements with British Ministers. They were mentioned with one meaning, and one meaning only—that is, to discredit those who are advocating an election. The plain truth is that an election is necessary. It is necessary for us to know whether or not the people support the course we are taking. We require a mandate for that course. It is the right of the people to say whether or not they will have this policy or some alternative policy. It is the right of the people to have it plainly put before them. We are threatened in one speech with civil war or with dire consequences. We did not threaten the people in 1918 with civil war if they did not vote for our candidates. We did not even threaten last year that we would stop candidates from presenting themselves for election, if everybody did not agree to support our nominees. And why do these threats come in now? They come in to prevent the people giving expression to the point of view that is distasteful to the Opposition. And there is a principle involved in that which is a greater principle than Republicanism or any other ism. It is the right of the people to govern themselves. It is the principle of government by consent of the governed. If there is civil war, it will not be for a Republic, it will not be for the Treaty, it will simply be to prevent the people expressing their will. That is what it will be for, not for any high principle—just to prevent the people giving expression to their will. Now, with reference to the question of a Coalition Government, there must be some basis for a Coalition Government. It must be in one case that we accept the Treaty position, that we work that position for what it is worth and get the maximum advantages for the country out of the Treaty—that is what we on our side want to do, at any rate—or, on the other hand, that you have a Coalition Government with the members of that Government using their position as Ministers of the Cabinet to destroy the Treaty position. That is the plain, blunt way of putting it. You are either to go into Coalition genuinely to support the present policy of the majority of the Dáil or go into a Coalition to destroy the thing that is to enable that policy to be put into effect, so far as it can be put into effect in the future. If the members of the Opposition come into the Coalition Government and work the present position, work forward on that policy, I for one am prepared to recommend to our side their inclusion. But we cannot run the risk of losing for the nation the certain advantages of the Treaty. Whatever you may say of its disadvantages, there are certain definite advantages and the nation would hold us guilty of a breach of trust if we did run that risk without giving them a chance of saying whether they approved of the policy. That is a risk we are not entitled to take. The next question is the position of the north-east of Ireland. Everyone knows that I have been put into a position that I have had to deal with certain facts connected with the north-east, and certain persons concerned with those facts. During the correspondence with Mr. Lloyd George—and he had better be known to us as Premier of England for it matters not to us who is Premier; for his being so to us is anti-us —the policy the members of the Cabinet had to act on was that there was to be no coercion. The Plenipotentiaries guided their action by that and that policy has not been seriously denied in this Dáil, and it has not been seriously advocated in this Dáil that that policy should be changed. We went on that basis and I may recall an incident that on the very culmination of the negotiations I was maintaining the position regarding north-east Ulster and the two co-Plenipotentiaries who were with me said that we had not got as far as our policy could carry us in this particular regarding the North East question. I was upholding the thing as best I could in my amateur way and in deference to the wishes of the other two I desisted from the points that I was making with the British representatives. The two who were with me can say whether or not that is so. On that understanding we left the north-east clauses at the point they had then got to. I am not blaming any one.

Let me say this—I make a present of it to everybody because it will, perhaps, make the position clearer—the Treaty is not to be blamed for Partition. Document No. 2 is not to be blamed for Partition. Partition was a fact and it was made a fact in the days of the Republic. It was made a fact by the British Partition Act of 1920, and it was implemented by the 20,000 rifles that the British handed over to the north-east mercenaries. That is the fact that we have to deal with, and if we apply ourselves to the fact of the north-east situation without trying to make Party capital out of it we will be doing something for the people of the north-east of Ireland. That is the way I want to tackle it. The unity of the 26 counties is the greatest safeguard our people in the Six County Area can have. I know the difficulty of dealing with the situation. When you are speaking about the murders in Belfast and you get actions that are not so horrible perhaps, but actions that you cannot stand over, taking place in other parts of Ireland, it is embarrassing. Believe me it would be easier to deal with them if there were not certain incidents in other parts of Ireland and if we were standing unitedly against them. For what is happening in the south I do not want to put the blame more on the Opposition than upon circumstances that they could not control. But the circumstance that made it more difficult to deal with the north-east was the division between ourselves. There is division among them in the north-east too but they are good at hiding it. There are many elements there that do not stand for the atrocities that have been happening, but unlike the elements here they are not vocal. There are other elements too that, if they had sufficient strength to stand up to it, could do much to do away with the horrors that are being perpetrated in the north-east. If a Coalition Government is formed here on a basis of good-will and a basis carrying through, let us say, the advantages of the Treaty position, if it is to form a basis of good-will, we shall be on the road to a united Ireland. It is well known what my opinion about a united Ireland is and it is well known my belief is that the next line-up in Ireland must be for a united Ireland. Once we have got that, there is no limit to the freedom to which we may go. If we tackle the situation, there is no doubt that the elements on both sides must see that immediately the fully advanced course is not possible. We have got rid of practically all the British agents in the greater part of Ireland. We have either got rid of them or we are rapidly getting rid of them and the thing for us to do now is to consolidate the position, having in view the unity of Ireland.

I can quite easily see at some future day, when we have consolidated the twenty-six counties and when we have that Parliament meeting and the representatives who will be returned, let us say, to a united Ireland, the issue in the north-east of Ireland will be getting stronger and stronger. We will then have an unassailable position to get a united Ireland. I appeal to the members of the Opposition who think we could have got more than we have got or who think it a surrender, not to dwell on these things; to take the situation as it is, and take the situation as we had to take that situation for the past five or six years. My belief about the thing is unshakeable, that we did the best we could for Ireland in the circumstances, and having done that we personally, and we as a Party, need not be afraid to have our voices heard on any platform in Ireland, and need not be afraid to stand up against the consequences of our actions. If circumstances are created here in Ireland that will make it impossible for the elements on both sides to retreat from the situation without dishonour, then we shall have neither a Treaty nor a Republic, and we shall not have a Nationalist Ireland nor a Partitionist Ireland. We shall have a colonised Ireland. I know all the elements in England who are anxious to come back here. I know the elements in England who say it was a surrender on their part and it will be easy for them to return if we start slaughtering each other. And among the elements divided here we see those who fought for Irish freedom from 1916 on. Many of them did come through the fight side by side. They fought the same kind of fight whatever views they may hold to-day. If these two elements stand up to fight each other, there is no future for Ireland and that is what we ought to recognise. And while there may be a postponement of the full Irish ideals for the time being, let us make certain that we secure some position for that ideal for future generations, because we cherish those ideals just as closely and warmly as they do. That seems to me to be the simple position. If that position cannot be worked by the elements on the other side, I believe they are wrong. But if they are convinced that it cannot be worked by them, they should again say, as they said formerly, that a chance should be given to those who do want to work it. For that there is a precedent. Sometime in 1909, 1910, and 1911, when there was a defection from the Sinn Féin ranks and when it looked temporarily as if the other policy was going to get a measure of success, I remember many prominent members of Sinn Féin simply marked time. I was very youthful at that time and I did not exactly see the sense of it. I remember I did not oppose it, but I did not favour it. Wiser heads than mine realised the wisdom of it and I believe they were right. If the elements in the Opposition side now cannot co-operate in working the position I ask them to give an opportunity to those who want to use the position for the country, and who believe they are entitled to a chance to work it for the country. It is an easy thing to stop a Government from functioning; 200, 300, 400, or 500 men could stop a Government in Ireland from functioning, but you are not carrying on a national cause. Everybody knows that they can destroy, they can go in for a policy of a certain class of destruction that would make it quite impossible for any Executive to carry on. I do not know what the end of that policy would be. Men actuated by motives that they think to be correct—I do not know that suppression would be a remedy for it. That is roughly the last appeal I can make on the situation. I only want the Deputies to understand that those associated with me are not looking for scalps. I know certain constituencies are looking for scalps, but it is only to put a cross against another person's name with a view to having certain men placed at the head of the poll. I am willing notwithstanding the thunder that has been raised against me by the Deputy for Monaghan, to give my support towards the adjournment of this matter, and take a vote to-morrow for the fundamental position. The fundamental position to me is such that if it be not recognised, I think that an adjournment would not be any use. I think that the country would be getting more and more impatient of us all. If we wanted to take a Party advantage, we could quietly work for the fulfilment of the clause that the Deputy for Monaghan wanted and we know that the commercial man, the farmer, and the labourer would be more Treaty than anything else. But if we enter into that treaty we would make an appeal to the country to avoid recriminatory contests in the full spirit of the agreement, and we would not go round quietly suggesting that so and so should be put up. We would stick to the letter and spirit of the agreement, because if that is not done, no agreement is worth the paper it is written on.

A Chinn Chomhairle, I do not know if the House will permit me to say that that was the sort of speech that I had hoped I would hear when I put a question to the other side asking them if a Coalition was really desired, or if the fact was that while this was mentioned it was not at all intended but that the Party really felt they had sufficient strength to go their own way. I am perfectly certain that I am voicing the feelings of our Party here when I say that we would prefer infinitely to have nothing to do with the carrying out of the Treaty position because we would prefer, by far, that we kept the independent position we have gained, and would work on. But every member on our side and everybody recognises this, that we are confronted with a special position. It is a fact that there has been approval by a majority here of these Articles of Agreement. There is a position created by that. We recognise that position. If that is what is meant by the other side, our attitude in dealing with that position whether it was in Opposition or in a coalitional co-operation would be definitely that we would not be committed to the policy of the majority, because it is not our policy, because we cannot act with it, we cannot agree with it as a policy but that that which is Ireland's we would use for Ireland's interests. Provided we were not asked, to use Deputy Mellowes' words, to give something to England which we thought England had no right to, our position would be quite easy. We believe—at least I do—that the policy of 1917 carried on to 1919 and so on would be applicable to the new situation exactly as it was to the old. I can find, but it may perhaps keep you a little while, a statement which I made as representing the first Cabinet policy when I became President. That policy was that there was one authority in Ireland, and one only, and that was the authority established by the Irish people, that that was fundamental, and that any other authority here that pretended to derive its authority from outside Ireland was really a pretended authority and that it had of itself no validity in Ireland, but that if the Irish people, or the representatives of the Irish people, so desired they could use any machinery set up by that authority for Ireland's benefit and that in so far as it was necessary for the representatives of the people to use that, they were entitled to use that without departing from fundamental principles. We are ready to apply that policy in the present and in any future issue but we cannot do anything that would give the impression that we did accept the policy of the majority. Being for the moment in a minority here and realising that the interests of the country demand that there be stable Government in the country, if our assistance is required— so long as we are not committed further than I have stated—in the Government of the country, I believe I can speak for the others when I say that we would give that assistance in any way we can for the benefit of the country. (Applause).

The Dáil adjourned at 6.35 p.m. until 3 o'clock on the following day.