An mbeidh an tUachtarán annso amáireach?
MOTION OF CENSURE.
Tá rudaí ba mhaith liom a rá ach ní maith liom iad a rá nuair ná fuil sé láithreach. As I have said on one occasion before, we must consider charity above all things. It is not my fault that President Griffith is not here to listen to what I have to say. I am handicapped by his absence, because his absence prevents me from saying certain things that should be said and which I am most reluctant to say and will not say now as he is not here. Now President Griffith by his attacks on certain Deputies in this Dáil has brought the Dáil into disrepute. I have heard him refer to a most esteemed member of this Dáil as the late member for Monaghan. He has also referred to another most estimable member of this body as a humbug. We then know of the several attacks he has made upon Deputy Childers, as a damned Englishman and so on. I handed in this notice six or seven weeks ago. One would imagine that when such a notice had been handed in he would try to restrain himself. He has not done so. A fortnight ago here he referred to his political opponents: some of them, he said, born in England, others of them whose ancestors came from England. I do not exactly know to whom he refers. But I have no doubt that it is his ignorance of Irish nomenclature that leads him into such an error, as I am not aware that we have many such in our Party. But in any case, even if we have, it is most undignified for what ought to be the first man in Ireland, the President of the Republic, to refer to members of this body in such a way, and it would be bad enough if the man who so speaks of other Irishmen were himself a model in every way and possessed all the attributes of an Irishman. But when I want to make myself understood by President Griffith I have to speak to him in English. Now one would have thought that the member for Roscommon to whom President Griffith referred as a humbug would have been spared such an insult if for no other reason than what his noble sons have done for Ireland. But it was the member for Roscommon who gathered together the various national forces that were disorganised or unorganised after Easter Week, and founded the movement that brought the Dáil into existence.
In regard to President Griffith's attacks on Deputy Childers, I will say this that probably President Griffith knows better than anyone in this Dáil, the valuable services rendered by Deputy Childers to Ireland. It was Deputy Childers who brought the guns into Howth and made Easter Week possible. That was the first occasion that I met him. Since then I have not had anything like the same opportunity as President Griffith has had of knowing and valuing his work, but I can certainly speak highly of what I do know. It was part of my duty as Minister for Defence to get the case prepared from the aspect of defence for our Delegation in London. I had to get memoranda from various people, military, naval, and others, and I will say this that the memoranda that I got from Deputy Childers constituted such a case for Ireland that I believe that any member of this body could, from them, put together a memorandum which would convince the English people any way that they will secure greater benefits and will be in much greater security by acceding to our demands and recognising the Republic than by refusing to do so. Our delegates, apparently, were not able to convince the English statesmen. But I believe that the English people themselves could be convinced if the memorandum were made up from the various memoranda supplied by Deputy Childers. President Griffith knows this very well. He was in a better position than myself to know the value of Deputy Childers' work. Deputy Childers, I know, has done other work for the Republic with the details of which I am not acquainted, but with the details of which President Griffith is acquainted, and I say it is a most disgraceful thing that this high-minded, straight man should be attacked in such a way as he was attacked in this Dáil. The Dáil, in addition, has been brought into disrepute by it. Now my motion is this:
"Tá clú na Dála curtha fé dhímheas ag an Uochtarán mar gheall ar na foghanna droch-mhúinte a thug sé fé Teachtaí áirithe den Dáil. Dá brígh sin tá caineadh na Dála tuillte aige."
I will ask you to pass this resolution so that President Griffith may be taught that when he wants to exude his venom he must select some other arena in which to do it.
I hope the House will allow me to take advantage of this motion to make a short personal explanation, in answer to the attack made on me by President Griffith, an explanation which has been long deferred owing, Sir, to your ruling on the subject, which I do not for a moment dispute. I am extremely sorry also that President Griffith is not in his place, and I feel a delicacy in speaking in the matter while he is not here. Nothing I shall say will be in the least calculated to import any unnecessary bitterness into this matter, and I should be the last to make it a matter of any bitterness or controversy either. But the House will admit that I ought have an opportunity of saying something in answer to the charges he has made against me. At the same time I take an opportunity of thanking Deputy Cathal Brugha for the overgenerous words he has said about me. Now the statement made by President Griffith, that I was an Englishman who had spent all my life in the British Military Secret Service—that is how the statement went out to the world, and appeared in the Press of many countries —was qualified later by something he said as to my work as Intelligence Officer which was not very distinct. Now there can be no point or object in making that charge at all, unless he had the implication in it that my position and connection here were in some way dishonourable: that in opposing the Treaty as I have opposed it I was acting not only in English interests but in some disreputable way, I suppose, as some secret agent of England. That was the only complexion in such a charge. Otherwise the charge would have no point at all. I do not know how far such things are taken seriously, but it is necessary for a Deputy when statements like that are made against him, not in self-defence because I am conscious of nothing, but I am simply taking that, and repelling it and I shall use no violent language or epithets of any kind. I want to make a very brief statement of facts about myself. I only hope that by making it we shall put an end to this controversy which is not creditable to ourselves, or to the Dáil, or to the nation. I am not an Englishman in any true sense of the word. For one thing I have sworn allegiance to the Irish State and am an Irish citizen and no man is an Englishman who is an Irish citizen. And in the second case I am one of those numerous cases whose parentage is mixed. My mother was Irish and my home was in Wicklow, from a very early age indeed, because my parents died, and Glendalough became my home. I was educated in England, like many boys in my position and in due course I used to travel over between Ireland and England, and in due course I entered the British Civil Service in the House of Commons. There, at that early period of my life, I became thoroughly Britonised and I took that view—and as President Griffith pointed out in regard to the note he sent to the Press about me—I think an almost unprecedented step of one member of a legislature against another member of it—I took that view at the time. He complained that I had been in the South African War and fought there. So I did, like thousands of other Irishmen at the time. I am sorry now I did, but one cannot re-live one's life. One can only hope by the help of Providence to grow from a wrong state of feeling into a right state of feeling, and from that time forward my life simply was this—that by a process of moral and intellectual conviction I came away from Unionism into Nationalism and finally into Republicanism. That is a simple story. That South African war had an effect upon my mind; it sank into it. In a few years later I left the British Civil Service and threw myself almost entirely into working for Home Rule for Ireland—and in a private capacity, working in England—not here in Ireland but with the British Liberal Party where I thought there was some hope of doing something. I can just say this—that in that work I took a much more advanced view of Home Rule than was taken at that time by anybody almost—certainly by the National Party—and I published a book called "The Frame-Work of Home Rule"—a year after I left the British Civil Service—in which I worked out a scheme of complete Home Rule very much on the lines that are now submitted to the Dáil in the form of a Dominion status. That work I did for four years, writing and speaking and so on. And I got so dispirited and hopeless about any chance of winning anything for Ireland by the British Liberal Party that in 1914 I took part in organising a supply of arms for the Irish Volunteers. Then came the Great War, and like so many other thousands of men I joined the British in that war. I wish now I did not—but I did. Now comes point—the basis of this charge of having acted on the Secret Military Service—that I was an Intelligence Officer. I just want to make this point very briefly and clearly to the Dáil. Every soldier knows that intelligence forms part of the work of every active unit. My work was active service intelligence almost entirely throughout the war. That is to say, flying in aeroplanes, taking the part of an observer with the camera, taking photos and taking maps, and making reconnaisances, reports, and so on. That is the beginning and end of the charge, so far as I am concerned, of a secret service. I was for a few months, as President Griffith's record says, acting as Intelligence Officer to the British Air Department—I was recalled from the Mediterranean to do that work—to sit in an office—much against my wishes—in uniform of course —and to do Intelligence work. Then I went back on active work after that. President Griffith throws it in my teeth that after 1917 I took part in the Irish Convention. So I did. I was recalled from France to go there. And I went there, still under a last lingering hope that in the terrible conditions of the time something might result of good for Ireland —that out of that Convention some good could be snatched out of evil—still on the old Home Rule lines. Towards the end of it I became hopeless of any success in that. Even there I took the advanced view and acted with the section of Nationalists which split off from the main section which was led by the Bishop of Raphoe and which demanded full financial independence for Ireland. But I realised then, what I realised perfectly at the end of the war, that that era was dead and that the era of the Republic had come. And directly I was discharged from the British Army I immediately cut off all connection with it and threw myself heart and soul into the Republican movement in Ireland. Curiously enough, in the summer of 1919, the first mission with which I was entrusted was more or less an informal visit to Paris to stay with my friends Gavan Duffy and Seán T. O'Kelly. And on that mission I received written authorisation from President Griffith himself, who, so far as I know, must have known substantially all the facts contained in that record published in the Press with a view to discrediting me. In fact it is impossible to point out any definite statement in the record which does discredit me. Every statement in it is true. Some of them have been obtained from the British Military Authorities in London. The record is correct. It is really remarkable for what it omits, not for what it tells. His observation of my conduct after the war: "He served until March, 1919; he came to Ireland in the same year, and is now editor of theRepublic of Ireland.” That is his summary in the record sent to the public Press of Ireland and the world of my humble enough but crowded life of the last three and a half years. I do not want to speak about that in detail at all. My friend, Cathal Brugha, has spoken of it more kindly that was necessary. I only wish to say this—that from the very first when I offered myself and my entire time and services to the Republic I shall never forget the generous and kindly way in which I was received and the absolute and implicit trust which was placed upon me from the very first by all with whom I came in contact and who gave me responsibility which I endeavoured to fulfil. There is no cloud whatever in that which I can see at all. I know of no suggestion at any time from any quarter that I abused any trust and my conscience is clear that I did not. The responsibilities were pretty heavy, probably not more than the vast majority of us here have experienced, and smaller than many of them. Necessarily, I was in close contact with the movement, and after the arrest of Desmond FitzGerald I took his place as Minister of Publicity and published The Bulletin for six months after. The financial responsibilities were very great too, but I will not refer to them in detail. I was duly elected Deputy to the Dáil for the constituency in which my old home was, Wicklow and Kildare, in May, 1921; and after the Truce I was again entrusted with another important responsibility— that of Secretary to the Delegation in London, where I did my utmost to place at the disposal of the Delegation such knowledge as I had, and to do my honest, conscientious duty, as I saw it before me. It was not until the Delegation returned and this bitter Treaty issue came up that any charge was made against me at all. And the first time a charge was made against me that I was an Englishman and unfit to be in the Dáil—that I was a foreigner, an alien, and also the suggestion of something worse than that, is now. I have stated briefly to the Dáil the facts of the case. I only want to add this, and again I am only sorry that President Griffith is not here to see this thing to an end once and for all. It would be better not only for him and for me but better for the Dáil and the nation if these personal vendettas could end and not be brought into public life at all. I can see how they arise from human nature in times of stress. I am quite willing to say, on my part, that if I can see any justification for these attacks by President Griffith, I have human understanding enough to realise that he may have felt deep resentment at my opposition to the Treaty in London. But I did consistently and resolutely oppose it. But I can see him completing, as he thought, the crowning achievement of a life spent in brilliant and imperishable service for Ireland and regarding me as an interloper and an Englishman and feeling bitter. I can understand that very well. But I for my part wish it did not happen and wish never to think of this thing again, but dismiss it from my mind and regard it as a closed chapter, if he on his side would make an expression of regret that he was led into it momentarily by uncontrolled feeling in the expressions and attacks which he put on record. I say I should be glad to leave it at that and let it end there and get it out of the way, because I do not see that these things can do the Dáil or the nation any good. They lower public life. We should all be willing to agree together that there are Irishmen to work for Ireland and that we are all faithful and true to Ireland and keep our own views on Ireland, and that all men are united on that simple basis that they are loyal to their country and serve it to the best of their ability—all united together and working together as Irishmen for Ireland.
Lest anybody should have thought that we on our side should want to prevent Deputy Childers from having his say on it, I should like to know if the motion is seconded?
It is not seconded.
I strongly favour putting a motion of this sort on the paper, in order that an opportunity should be given to Deputy Childers to indicate how unfair the President's remarks about him were. I felt a double duty about him.
I again ask is it seconded?
I second it.
I wish to ask that it would not be pressed.
I will have to reply on behalf of President Griffith and the Government to the speeches that have been made.
I was in favour of this motion originally. I think the circumstances have changed. I will confine my statement to this: that when I came home from the United States Deputy Childers was introduced to me by the Minister for Finance.
God forgive me.
I asked him a short time afterwards to undertake the task of filling the post which had become vacated by Deputy FitzGerald. And his work in that Department is there for everyone to see. Later, knowing that it would be almost impossible to find in the Dáil a man so qualifed for the position, I asked him to act as Secretary to the Delegation, and again the work that he did will stand for everyone to see also. I feel that I would not be acting loyally to a brilliant and devoted colleague if when he was attacked, as he was attacked, I did not say that which I personally know. I, therefore, state that what was said by Cathal Brugha and what was said by Deputy Childers in defence of himself, in so far as it relates to any matters of which I as President had any knowledge is true. And I felt for myself that I had been too long silent on the matter. Now I am sure it is not the wish of the majority of this assembly that Deputy Cathal Brugha's motion should be persisted in.
Very well. I have made that statement. I wish to ask Deputy Cathal Brugha to withdraw that motion.
Tá beagán agam le radh ar an gceist seo. Tagan an t-abhar rúin seo ó fhear a labhran go dana agus go searbh é féin. Agus is é dea-ainm na Dála atá ag tabhairt triobloide dhó anois. Ach ta rud eile sa cheist seo. Ta an Toghadh Mor buailte linn anois agus ta ga leis an saghas seo advertisement acu. Agus siad si na daoine a chuir fa chois dea-ainm na Dala agus dea-ainm ar dtire Eire. Agus tá siad ag deanamh usaide do rud don tsaghas san chun moladh a thabhairt d'fhear ata ag dul sias ar an dToghadh Mor so. Mheasfa, nuair bhi Cathal Brugha a labhairt ná raibh focal Gaedhilge ag an Uachtaran agus go raibh a lan Gaedhilge ag Erskine Childers. Labhrann an tUachtaran focal Gaedhilge anois agus aris ach nil focal ar bith do'n teanga san ag na Teachtaí Childers nu Stockley. Anois dubhairt an Teachta Childers a lán a mholadh féin. Ach dubbhairt sé a raibh sé sa troid in san chogadh san Aifric Theas agus in sa bhFrainc sa Chogadh Mhor. Ba dheigh leat nuair a bhi an cogadh anso ar feadh dha bhliain go mbeadh a ghunna ar a ghualainn aige agus go mbeadh se ag troid. Do bheadh a bhfad nios mo measa agam air a raghadh se amach agus troid a dheanamh. Anois silim go dtuigim an reasun go bhfuil se seo tabharta isteach. Ni hi ainm fhoghanta na Dála ná ainm mhaith na hÉireann atá fé cheist ach ainm Erskine Childers.
The reason I have for persisting in the desire to get this before the House is that three speeches have been made on one side, and in my opinion it is not right that some speech should not be made on the other side. If there had been any graciousness there should have been the graciousness to withdraw this at the outset. If there had been I would have answered it from our side in the same spirit. I am not here to apologise for the particular remarks that were made by the President, nor for the particular way in which he put them. I do not hesitate to say that that way would not be my own way. I can only say that I believe had he been here, in the new spirit that prevails, if this motion was taken up on the one side, that he would have met it generously. That not having been the case, I have just a few things to say. It is all very well, at this stage, for somebody to get up on the other side and make gestures about the sanctity of public announcements. I sat here for many days and I had the distinction of having more vitriol and poison poured on me than on any other member of the Assembly, and there was no such generous gestures from the other side then, and that is one of the things I will never forget. We have here on the eve of an election a laudation of certain personages and after that laudation was given forth we are asked to treat the matter as not being before the House. While these election manifestos are all right, the things that were said before the election was on the tapis for the other side, were very different indeed. Expressions have been used on both sides that should not have been used. But I do not believe in the sincerity of people who talk about the decencies of public debates on an occasion like this. The motion now moved could very well have been left off if there had been sincerity in these protestations. Now, lest the public should be deceived about these things that have been said, lest they should think that everything that has been said is agreed to by this side, I wish to say that it is not. Some of the things that have been said were the grossest exaggerations indeed, and some of us have a completely different view of the value of the work of certain people from the view that was expressed by Deputy Cathal Brugha. I deny that the value of the work was as has been stated. At all events, that was not my opinion of the work, and neither was it my view then nor is it now that it was the Deputy for North Roscommon who called together the national forces after 1916. I know all the circumstances of the calling together of those forces, and I know on whose resolution the circular was sent out to the public bodies to ask them to appoint delegates to come to a Convention to be held in Dublin. And the Deputy who did that is in this House. It is not Deputy Count Plunkett.
Well, I can say that I issued the circular to all the County Boards and I am personally responsible for anything that happened in the formation of that gathering. I merely state the fact and not in my own self defence.
The proposal came from members of the Committee and all the work was done by other members of that Committee. Yes, I know who was responsible for that work. Again, with regard to the work of Deputy Childers, the record that has been given in the Press is, he says, correct. Some of us have different ideas about people who went out to fight the Boers, and the Germans, and eventually destroyed the only hope we had of getting recognition for the Irish Republic. And the thing in my mind is this: If the changes in the past and the gyrations in the past have been so great, how do we know the changes in the future and gyrations in the future will not be equally great, and will not be as frequent? Mention was made of certain memoranda, and the memorandum put forward claimed that Ireland's neutrality would be a greater source of strength to Great Britain than Ireland's inclusion in the British Commonwealth. I remember one day it was argued like this and the Deputy responsible for that memorandum was arguing about certain naval bases. He said: "Let us assume that Ireland is not there at all.""Ah," the answer was, "but Ireland is there." There is no use in talking about things like that, or assuming things that are not so. We may not have been so eloquent in our advocacy of that document, but I would like to see the eloquence—the massive eloquence —that could persuade the British Empire that the document was as great a protection for them and their navy as anything else could have been. I have a different opinion on that and other matters. I have my views as to the reason for certain actions on the part of certain Deputies. But I am not going into that now. At any time, no matter how bitter the debate in this House, no matter how bitterly I was attacked myself, I did not desend to any form of abuse, and any thing I have to say in criticism which may be unpleasant I can say it without descending to personal abuse. I only want to make that clear, and if this thing is pressed to the end we have a very different kind of resolution to meet it which will be a resolution expressing confidence in President Griffith and scorning the attacks made upon him, and dissociating ourselves from the action of other Deputies—action which has brought this House into disrepute. I do not care whether it is pressed to a division or not.
I did want to say that we were anxious to adjourn at 6.30. It is much later than that now, and our programme was that the Dáil should meet again on the 30th June, and that it should meet on the following morning, the 1st July, at an hour to be arranged, when the new Parliament should be summoned, say, for 12 o'clock. That was the programme suggested, that the Dáil should meet at 12 o'clock on Saturday 1st July, and that at that hour the roll of the new Parliament would be called.
Now that both sides have been heard, I would again ask Mr. Cathal Brugha to withdraw this motion. We might, in the changed circumstances that have arisen, have tried to get the last motion withdrawn, if he had known of it. The idea of the Deputy who brought it forward—I do not know whether it was inserted with his wishes in to-day's programme—was that a certain member might be given an opportunity of explanation, seeing that the rules did not provide for any other opportunity. I would like to say that I am glad the suggestion of certain members—that this was put on for electioneering purposes— is disposed of. This was down before there was any question of the election.
Am I in order to say a word? I would be ready to withdraw if the proposer is. There is nothing of the insincerity in this matter that Mr. Collins has suggested. I simply came back from America with a certainty in my mind that this was put forward for the reasons that have have been stated from outside. The reason I did so was this, that these attacks appeared in American papers. I was able to contradict them and I would like to say with regard to what Mr. Collins has said of the Deputies here who have spoken during the debate on the Treaty, that, naturally, the deepest passions were aroused. One felt things very deeply; accusations were made; expressions were used by people against attacks made on them, and naturally all that happened in a moment and it was over and done with. There was nothing backhanded in it. I have made no criticism of anybody's character or what anybody did. All I dealt with was the Treaty. What I objected to was this, that that is not a direct attack on a person as to a certain matter that you disapprove of and made on the spur of the moment. It is a deliberate attack on the man's whole past, and an attempt to try by this means to put a significance to it that it had not and to give an appearance to the world of the truth of certain suggestions for which there was no justification. Mr. Childers' development has been perfectly direct. Little by little, he has gone further in his love of Ireland and in his willingness to sacrifice for Ireland. It has been a perfect development, and I as one who has been in this movement for a long time would like to say that I trust Mr. Childers and would stand by his side, and I deny these allegations. I assert here to-day that there was nothing more disloyal in Mr. Childers, with his education, in going to take office in England than in Mr. Collins doing the same. There was nothing against either one of them, and I would like to say that I agree with Mr. de Valera and stand by my comrade in whom I believe, and that was what I wanted to make clear when I seconded this.
I would like to answer what the Deputy for Galway, Pádraic O Máille, has said. I put in this resolution six or seven weeks ago, and I would not have put it in at all only that a couple of weeks before that another Deputy had put it in. That was two months ago. We were not expecting any election at that time. I hope now that the Deputy for Galway will not be under that impression any longer. He said there were persons here who had no Irish. That is not his or their fault. I did not say that it was. He said that certain people here had not a word of Irish. The President spoke about Englishmen and people whose ancestors came from England. I say no one should speak in that way,' and more especially one who does not speak Irish himself. The thing that most makes a man out to be an Irishman is that he is speaking in the tongue of the Gael. A Deputy said there was fighting going on here these last two years, and that although Deputy Childers had been fighting against the Boers and against the Germans, he did not fight at all in our own war. But Deputy Childers did other work, and he could not do that work if he had been in the fighting line. I would not say that the work was not of more use than if he had been actually fighting in the field. Needless to say, it was not in view of the election that I put in this notice. I sent it in seven weeks ago, and I would not have done it at least two or three weeks ago only that another Deputy had sent in another notice of motion on this matter and then withdrew it. As he withdrew it I then put in one myself. Had I been present when these attacks were made I would have dealt with the matter then. I was not present on that occasion. There are some things that the Minister for Finance has said that I would not like to answer because if I did the atmosphere would become electrified. I will say this, that he has made one statement in respect to what I said of England being more secure by acceding to our demands than she would be by refusing them. I say that from memoranda sent in by Deputy Childers that that could be proved to the English people.
And you should go over to convince them.
And moreover, on one occasion one of our Delegates, Michael Collins, came across and stated that our Delegates would be able to prove that to the English Delegation. There is one Minister here who can vouch for the truth of that.
I would like the record.
I will not say any more. The Minister for Finance has a different opinion now. As my purpose has been served in bringing this matter forward I do not wish to press it any further, and with the permission of the House I will withdraw it.
Reachta ón Aire um Rialtas Aitiúil.
(Decrees by the Minister for Local Government).
(a) Decree re Limerick Night Watchmen.
"This Decree shall be cited as the Limerick Night Watchmen s Superannuation Act.
"Be it decreed that the Corporation of Limerick may at its discretion, with the consent of the Local Government Department, grant to any Night Watchman whose whole time shall have been devoted to such employment, who has not had less than ten years' service and whose appointment the Corporation may in its discretion consider it necessary to determine, a weekly pension not exceeding in any case two-thirds of the average weekly amount paid to him as wages by the Corporation during the last three years of his discharging the duties of the said employment of Night Watchman. The calculations are to be based on the Civil Service Scale."
This Decree has been presented. It has been under the consideration of the Department for the past nine months and I formally move it.
I second it.
That might mean that a man who has served ten years in the Corporation and might be already a pensioner might be drawing a second pension. There are many men living to 75 and 80 years of age and if they left the service on pension and took up some other service again it might lead to a condition of things that would not be satisfactory. Either the Corporation would not get good service or they might get that service at too great a cost. It might be fifteen years, not ten. It should be fifteen years.
This is an agreed Decree. If we alter it, it might lead to confusion.
Why this Decree is being made is because there is no provision to give pensions. They will have to retain men in their service who are past their work, and naturally this is what happens. This is one of the ways local bodies have to take, in order to get rid of the red tape. At any rate the Limerick Corporation is endeavouring to get over that difficulty by pensioning off the night watchmen. I do not think Deputy O'Kelly's objection to the period does arise in this case. The Commissioners are satisfied. Are the employees satisfied?
I do not think I could say. I do not think anyone could say that officials are ever satisfied. The men have been paid, I understand, for a considerable period for work that was not performed, and I think we had better not investigate further than that.
With regard to the case put up by the Deputy for Dublin the idea is to get rid of the whole tribe, and that will be a matter of great advantage to the Corporation of Limerick, and to the rate-payers, on the original agreement.
Does the word "wages" include "bonus"?
That could be stated. What does "Civil Service Scale" mean?
That is to provide a case for the High Court Officials.
The Decree was passed.
(b) Technical Instruction (Temporary Provision) Decree.
All these Decrees should have been presented to the Dáil six or eight or nine months ago. This is in connection with the teaching of Irish. I undertook with the Mayo County Council twelve months ago to get this Decree through. I was in consultation with the Minister of Education twelve months ago on this matter. Here is the Decree:
"Technical Instruction (Temporary Provision) Decree. 8th June, 1922.
"Whereas by the Technical Instruction Acts, 1889 and 1891, the local authorities are empowered to raise certain sums of money by means of rates and to apply the sum raised thereby for the purpose of providing Technical Instruction.
"And whereas by the Agricultural & Technical Instruction (Ireland) Act, 1899, the Council of an Urban District is empowered to raise certain sums of money by means of rates and to apply the sums raised thereby for the the purpose of providing Technical Instruction.
"And whereas the sums so authorised to be raised have proved to be inadequate for the said purposes in the current financial year, and it has become necessary to increase the amount so raiseable to enable the said purposes to be effected in the present year and the administration of the provisions of the said Acts to be continued efficiently.
"Be it enacted—
"1. Notwithstanding anything in any Act, the amount of the rate to be raised under the powers given by and for the purposes of the Technical Instruction Acts, 1889 and 1891 by a local authority during the local financial year ending on the 31st day of March, 1923, may exceed the sum of one penny in the pound but shall not exceed the sum of two pennies in the pound.
"2. Notwithstanding anything in any Act, the sum to be raised by Council of any Urban District, under the powers given by and for the purposes described in the Agricultural and Technical Instruction (Ireland) Act, 1899, during the local financial year ending 31st March, 1923, may exceed a sum equal to a rate of two pennies in the pound on the said rateable value, provided that this section shall not apply to the Council of an Urban District which exercises its powers under Section I hereof.
"3. This Order may be cited as the Technical Instruction (Temporary Provision) Order, 1922."
An Act was passed called the Agricultural Act in 1889, and secondly an Act in 1891. The peculiar phrasing of this comes on the advice of the Senior Counsel who drafted the Bill to enable local authorities to strike a rate, and eighteen Councils did it. An omnibus Act was passed by the Dáil last October, which enabled the Cabinet to do these things on condition that it was brought before the Dáil afterwards.
I would like to second that. It has become very necessary owing to the fact that there was no machinery by which any Council could raise money. As a general rule claims have been submitted to us, and as a general rule they are administered by the County Committee of the Gaelic League, and by the County Committee of Aricultural Instruction. Eighteen Councils have struck a rate and since the list was made out four other councils have struck a rate.
Part of the wording of the Decree does not seem very plain.
It is peculiar legal phraseology, which I mastered after a good deal of trouble. That is the dope that has been served to me. The position is this: some Councils did not adopt the second Act. That is why the second Act is in. In any case you are entitled to raise twopence in the pound for this, and not more. That is why the second one went in. I am advised it is legally sound.
It is not sufficient, I take it, for us to be told that the lawyers may take it to mean so and so.
I am in favour of this, but certainly there is no limit in it. This will not be the first House that has passed a Bill that they did not know the meaning of, and I do not want to be put in the position of its being said of us that we passed a Bill that we did not understand.
I suggest that the words "not exceeding a rate of three-pence" be put in.
I cannot take it.
We are anxious to help the work of the Department in this matter, but what can we do? We cannot make fools of ourselves in the matter.
As an amendment I would move that after the word "pound" we put in the words "and not exceeding threepence in the pound" or "sixpence in the pound" if you like.
I second the amendment.
I cannot accept any amendment. I am faced with this that it is with a view of having the matter in order and having the thing put in legal shape that the decree is drafted as it is. I have not been able to get our Senior Advisor because he is away. He gives me an elaborate explanation of it. There are two Acts, and some Councils adopted one and some another. In this case the idea is that they are not to exceed threepence in the pound. They will not strike more than a penny for Irish, and there was no objection in the world to leaving the thing as it stands there.
We are the legislators. It is for us to say what is right. Whoever drafted this did not think it was to be a Decree at all. He calls it an Order. We always legislate by Decree.
I am advised that any amendment will vitiate the Decree.
Commonsense rules in a matter of this kind. The trouble is that we cannot possibly agree to the motion going as it is. We are anxious to facilitate its work.
That sum might go to one shilling or two shillings in the pound. At any time an Urban Council wanted to promote anything they liked, they could saddle the ratepayers with 5/6 or 10/- in the pound.
I am suggesting that you will be responsible if the money cannot be raised.
I think you are wrong about it. The word "not" is left out. It is probably a typist's error.
I think so too.
It is possible that it is.
Your lawyer advised you carefully, and your typist probably made a mistake.
There is no power under the Technical Instruction Act to raise more than a certain amount.
Even if they leave out "not" it does not vitiate the Act.
If any Council wishes to raise a rate of 1/- in the pound for this purpose why should they not do so?
From the explanation he gave he suggested it was a question of 2d. or 3d.
Surely the Minister ought to be able to understand the Bill and explain it.
I have explained it, but I cannot get it into your head.
We cannot legislate upon a document about the accuracy of which we are not certain. As there is a question as to whether the proper wording of the Decree is before us or not, I rule it cannot be dealt with at present.
Decree by the Minister for Local Government.
(c) County Scheme (Temporary Provision) Decree.
Here is the Decree:
"Whereas the existing laws for the Relief of the poor have long required amendment and alteration, and the administration thereof has recently become impossible.
"And whereas in certain counties and County Boroughs the Councils thereof in order to meet the emergency so arising have reorganised the administration of such relief in accordance with schemes prepared by such Councils, respectively, and confirmed by the Minister.
"And whereas until Dáil Éireann shall have fully considered the amendments and alterations required as aforesaid, it is expedient in the public interest that the said administration shall be carried on for the time being in accordance with the said schemes.
"Be it therefore enacted and decreed as follows:—
"(1) Notwithstanding anything in any enactment, the relief of the poor in every County and County Borough, shall be administered in accordance with a scheme to be submitted by the Council of each County or County Borough to the Minister.
"(2) No such scheme shall have any force unless and until confirmed by order of the Minister.
"(3) Any such scheme shall not continue in force after the 31st day of March, 1923, or such earlier date as the Minister may determine.
"(4) This Decree shall apply to any scheme which shall have been submitted to and confirmed by the Minister prior to the enactment of this Decree, as if such scheme had been submitted to and confirmed by him after such enactment, and any such scheme so confirmed shall be deemed to have been duly and legally made under this Decree.
"(5) The expression "Minister" in this Decree means the Minister of Local Government.
"(6) This Decree may be cited as the County Scheme (Temporary Provisions Decree) 1922, and shall remain in force until the 31st day of March, 1923, and not longer."
This is in connection with the abolition of Unions, and the setting up of County Boards of Health and the continuation of the Commission's Report that was submitted to the Dáil in 1920. It is in order to legalise the institutions set up under that report that this Decree was brought in, and I formally move it.
I second the adoption of that Decree.
The Decree was passed unanimously.
(d) Secondary Education Decree.
"Be it hereby enacted and decreed as follows:—
"1. The Council of any County or County Borough may assist by means of exhibitions, scholarships, bursaries, payment of fees or otherwise any students at any approved school in Ireland who are ordinarily resident in their County or Borough, who satisfy the Council that they are qualified to profit by instruction in such school and are in need of assistance, and who also satisfy such tests of ability as are hereinafter provided.
"(2) A School which is
"(a) either extern or residential,
(b) either for the giving of secondary education or of instruction in agriculture, forestry, trade, commerce, domestic economy or other subjects of a vocational character, which may be approved by order of the Minister of Education, and shall then be an approved school within the meaning of this Decree.
"3. The tests of ability to be satisfied under Section (1) hereof shall be provided under the schemes to be formulated by such Councils respectively. Such schemes shall be subject to the rules and conditions to be laid down by the Minister of Education and shall have no effect unless and until approved by the said Minister.
"4. Any expenses incurred by the Council of a County or County Borough under this Decree shall be paid, in the case of a Council of a County as a County at Large Charge, and in the case of a County Borough as expenses of the Council in the execution of the Public Health (Ireland) Acts, 1878 to 1907, but the amount raised by such Council in any year for the purpose shall not exceed the amount which would be produced by a rate of a 1d. in the £, on such higher rate as the Council with the consent of the Minister of Local Government may fix.
"5. This Decree may be cited as the Secondary Education Decree, 1922."
The General Council of County Councils had had under consideration this question of scholarships. I have reported the facts generally to the Minister of Education, as he is in a position to know more about Education than I am. He will be able to know more about the details. The first point is that the Councils are satisfied that this is an expenditure that they would be justly entitled to impose upon the people, and the second, that the people would be able to bear it.
I second that. It gives the local bodies power to withhold scholarships from schools and colleges that refuse to play the native games.
I support that. In Limerick there was a strike of Secondary Teachers about two years ago. It was part of a general strike all over the country. There was a Conference held and a general scheme of settlement was drawn up. The managers generally of the schools in Limerick declined to affirm that agreement, and a strike took place. After some time a settlement was reached and terms were made. There were about seventeen to twenty teachers involved. In the past two years, fifteen of the teachers who financially benefited by that arrangement had been got rid of one by one until now there remains but one, and he is now under notice. Everyone of the fifteen teachers who benefited by it have been dismissed from their employment. Some of them have got the Birrell Bonus, and the salary in lieu of notice. Now I am not putting that before the House as a matter that I have verified in its entirety. There are some things to be said on the part of the Managers of the schools, and for that reason I am not going to move an amendment to this. If the Minister has recognised any secondary schools, one of the first things he would consider is, how they are treating their lay secondary teachers.
There is a system of scholarships through the Secondary Colleges to the University. There has been no system from Primary Schools to Secondary Schools, and this Decree enable local bodies to pay for scholarships from Primary to Secondary Schools. There is a difference of work—Primary, Secondary and Technical teachers—and some have refused to prepare a regular scheme. There have been some matters in the working of it not dealt with. With regard to the points raised by the Deputy for Limerick, there is no existing legislation by which a school can be penalised for what he has said. It is alleged that these dismissals have taken place as a form of victimisation. The only intimation I have is on one side. As things stand at present there is no method by which recognition for Secondary Schools could be refused for the reasons stated.
By arrangement with the Whip on the other side, I formally move that the House adjourn to the 30th June.
There is one other Decree that has been forgotten. It is:
(e) Workmen's Compensation (War Addition) Extension Decree.
This is a Workman's Compensation Degree. It has been adopted by every private employer. It has not been brought before the Dáil and accordingly officials of local authorities are prejudiced. The Labour Party is particularly interested in this Decree, and I got communications about it from local authorities. It is called
"Workmen's Compensation (War Addition) Extension Decree A.D. 1922.
"Be it hereby enacted and Decreed as follows:—
"1. The Workmen's Compensation (War Addition) Act, 1917, as amended by the Workmen's Compensation (War Addition) Amendment Act, 1919, shall continue in force for a period extending to the 31st day of March, 1923, and shall then expire, unless further continued.
"2. This Decree may be cited as the Workmen's Compensation (War Addition) Extension Decree, 1922, and shall be deemed to have come into operation on the 1st day of March, 1922."
Failure to pass it would seriously interfere with men who have been injured in their employment, and I formally move it.
I second it.
Why is it moved by the Local Government Department?
Because it has been considered necessary to give the officials of the local authorities the same benefits as private employers give under the Acts of the English Parliament.
The Decree was passed unanimously.
The House then adjourned to Friday, 30th June, 1922.