PROCEDURE COMMITTEE.

I beg to move:—

"That a Committee on Procedure be at once appointed, such Committee to be representative of all Parties of this Dáil;

"That the Committee on Procedure, when so appointed, shall be charged with the task of arranging the business of this Dáil, and of drawing up the Orders of the Day, always in consultation with the Chairman."

In bringing forward this Motion I may say I had if drafted before the Standing Orders Committee was appointed. The matter of the appointment of some Standing Orders Committee was, of course, in the purview, of the existing temporary Standing Orders, and perhaps you would be kind enough to let me know whether the Standing Orders Committee have considered some such Committee as this. If so, this matter might stand over until the present Standing Orders Committee has reported.

The Standing Orders Committee is likely to report very soon, and the present Standing Orders Committee has in view the appointment of a General Committee or Committees for various purposes, and I will, I think, make suggestions to the Dáil upon these matters. Therefore, in view of that, perhaps this motion could stand over.

Yes, it could stand over and be referred to the Standing Orders Committee.

Yes, we will make an order that the terms be communicated to the Standing Orders Committee.

Is this Standing Orders Committee appointed for one definite object, namely, to consider a set of Standing Orders for the business of the Dáil?

Because one Deputy was under the impression it would remain in being and regulate with you the business of the House, and it is right to say, now, at the beginning of this session of Parliament that the Government would need a very considerable voice indeed in the matter of the disposal of the time of the Dáil, in view of the urgency of certain matters such as the Constitution.

I think the Order already passed by the Standing Orders Committee covers that point excellently. As far as it does not it is empowered in consultation with me to draw up an agenda which will make provision for the Government position.

This is strictly an ad hoc Committee.

With regard to the other matter standing in my name I do not know whether the temporary Standing Orders prevail at present, or whether they are in force now, or whether there is any provision whatever for the introduction of private business.

There is none under the existing Standing Orders.

I would like a ruling on the matter as to where we stand. Matters appear on the Orders of the day, but there is no provision for dealing with tHem under the Standing Orders.

I should say that it would be better if the matter stood adjourned.

Would it not be better, as is done in the majority of assemblies, to follow that procedure and to have the proposer and seconder's names handed in in writing, and then it might be printed and circulated?

I hope that procedure will be adopted eventually, but it cannot be done for the moment.

As this is a day when there will not be a crowded amount of business it might be desirable for the Deputy in whose name this Motion stands to have the honour of having the first Bill on the Records of the Dáil in his name. It would be a nice thing to do, and I suggest that we should allow him to present his ideas in a speech for permission to present a Bill to prevent electoral abuses, which might be styled "An Electoral Abuses Act."

I should like to clear up this matter a little bit. This question about Bills is not an entirely simple one. There is the question as to the powers this Dáil has for legislation. Certainly it can only pass temporary legislation, and I don't think it would be advisable to spend time on a Bill for dealing with electoral abuses or electoral offices at this stage. Undoubtedly Bills dealing with electoral law will have to be introduced immediately the Constitution goes through. It is the intention of the Government to introduce franchise resolutions. These resolutions will not cover at all the ground that would be covered in an electoral law, but they will enable the Registration Officers to go on with the work of compiling the Register. The compilation of the Register will at least take six months from the end of the qualifying period. I do not know whether we will have the rsolutions ready to-morrow or not. At any rate resolutions will be introduced embodying the principe of Adult Suffrage and enabling the officers concerned to go on with the compilation of the Register. That Register should be ready at the end of March. Immediately the Constitution is passed the work of taking up electoral law can be gone on with, but I don't think that it would be desirable to occupy; the time of the Dáil until the Constitution goes through first.

This raises a very grave question, I think, pertaining to the powers of the Dáil. There have been hints, semi-official, in various newspapers as to the limitations of the powers of this Dáil, and I think it would be well, quite early in our history, to know what are the powers of this Dáil. I find, for instance, that the Privy Council seems to think that the powers of the Dáil are pretty considerable because they suggest in their Order transferring the machinery that this Dáil might pass an Act for the setting up of a military force. That is a very considerable power and it is implicit as far as I can read the various authorities that this Dáil has all the powers that the Free State Parliament they concede will have, and it is very necessary, I think, that you should provide the opportunity to have some understanding as to what powers this Dáil has for legislation.

I think that matter might very well be raised on the statement of the President or on a question addressed to the President on the general question, but the matter immediately would be a resolution on adult suffrage so as to allow the Register to be prepared, and the matter here would be brought on later.

But then,it might not cover these points in a way I think they should be covered.

I suggest the matter could be brought on later, after adult suffrage has been proposed.

I have noticed what Deputy Johnson says about the high honour pertaining to the proposer of the first Bill. I do not think that is possible, because when a Bill is introduced it will be laid on the table and read a first time, without speeches.

There is no provision in the Standing Orders for that, but there will be later on.

May I call attention to the fact that these Ballot papers predated for July?

You may. This matter is now passed over.

Until the Standing Orders are adopted?

Yes; until the Standing Orders are adopted. Notice of it can be given again.

All right, but in the meantime, sir, would it be possible, seeing we have come to the end of the business on the Orders of the Day, to raise the question again that Deputy Johnson has raised? I think it is a very important question, and it would clarify a great deal of future discussion we could discover, what are the powers of this House.

That is a matter for which notice must be given.

We either define our own powers, or else I take it they are defined for us by the Privy Council and if they are defined for us by the English Privy Council——

This matter is not going to be discussed now. The Ballot papers for the election, of this Committee are now to be filled.

May I ask what progress has been made by the Committee on Standing Orders, and when we can expect to have the Committee's report laid before us?

The Committee, on Standing, Orders are considering draft Standing Orders of which there are 78 clauses. The Committee has come to complete agreement, on 35 clauses, and is meeting again to-morrow. I do not think I could guarantee that the report will be laid before the Dáil on Friday, unless we laid an interim report. We could have an interim report, I think for Friday.

The Government is extremely desirous that the report should be forthcoming, because we want to get on with the work, which we can only do when we have these Standing Orders. We would be prepared to let the House adjourn now until such date as these Standing Orders could be forthcoming—if we thought that would expedite the matter in any way.

The Committee on Standing Orders could get through them to-morrow if they had a full day, I am sure. At present the Committee can only meet two hour each day; from 11 to 1 is the general rule.

What is the business before the Dáil now? I was going to raise an important matter.

The next business is the motion for the adjournment. We are delaying in order to allow the ballot papers to be collected. I think it would be better to allow those paper to be collected before any matter is raised.

On the date set aside for the Standing Orders Committee's report there will be a day set aside for discussion?

Necessarily. The next business is the adjourment.

In view of the fact that you have been unable to promise the Standing Orders to Friday, I propose the House adjourns until 3 o'clock on Monday. The Minister for Home Affairs tells me that before I came in there was a desire expressed from the Labour benches to discuss another matter. If they wish to have a discussion to-morrow on that matter we would be prepared to have it. But meantime the Government does not propose to bring business before the Dáil until we have the Standing Orders. For that reason, unless there is a strong desire to discuss this thing to-morrow, we prefer that the Dáil would adjourn until Monday.

Has the matter relation to the powers of the Dáil?

Mr. O'HIGGINS:

It is arising out of my reply to Deputy McBride. Deputy O'Shannon said I mentioned matters of importance which he thought I should discuss.

There is rather a more urgent matter than that to which the Minister for Home Affairs refers—namely, the civil policing of the country. It is very important, and I-think an urgent matter. Then there is a rather more urgent matter to which we would like to draw attention, and that is the interference with the pickets of the Postal workers who are on strike.

Mr. O'HIGGINS:

The particular matter to which Deputy O'Shannon has just referred was discussed rather thoroughly the other evening.

I want to clear this matter about the motion for the adjournment. The Minister moving the adjournment until Monday at 3 o'clock stated he would be prepared to-morrow to discuss the matter raised from the Labour Benches—that was the matter of the Civic Guard. Without depriving you of your right to speak again on this motion for the adjournment, are you prepared to accept the proposal of the Government ?

We are prepared to meet to-morrow.

I wish to raise a matter on the adjournment. Would I be in order to second the motion for the adjournment?

The motion is not yet clear; we have not yet decided when we are to adjourn to.

I want to know whether the Dáil would prefer to meet to-morrow and discuss a matter like this without Government business before it, or whether it would prefer to adjourn until Monday, when we can have the Standing Orders, and then go on with the various items of business.

Were we not promised a day to discuss the postal business? Twice yesterday I raised this and you told me from the Chair that Deputy O'Shannon had caught your eye, and had given notice to raise the question to-day, and that it would be taken up. No Minister ought to postpone it for another 48 hours; it is too serious.

The Labour Deputies have signified their intention of raising the postal question on the adjournment of the Dáil. They were going to do so yesterday, but the Dáil went on so late that they could not. They have expressed their intention to do so to-day, and as the Dáil is adjourning early, that can be done. At the moment there is really no motion before the Dáil; we are endeavouring to find an agreed motion for the adjournment.

I want to suggest why we should not adjourn until 3 o'clock on Monday. Apart from the question which they wish to raise in the Labour benches, there are one or two other questions which it seems tome it will be very convenient, and it will be very desirable, to raise before we go very much farther. One or two of them I had intended to give notice of. I think it is very desirable that we should get to the Constitution as soon as possible and clear away that question. Now, if we adjourn until Monday there will be further delay before we can get to the Constitution, and in the meantime there is the further question to be considered of the status and conditions of the prisoners. That is a question upon which I do not seek in any way to take the Government by surprise. But I want the, Government to treat the Dáil fairly in this matter, and to give us quite clearly, and not evasively, what is their considered policy. I am myself perfectly clear what are the rights of the prisoners. And I think it is of such moment that it is necessary that it should be discussed in this Dáil, unless the Government gives us a clear policy. Now, that is a matter which could be raised to-morrow. I do not think it is quite fair to raise it now, as the Government have not had notice of it and other members attach considerable importance to the question of Ireland sending a delegation to the League of Nations to join it. That ought to be considered now, and not put off for twelve months. The Ministry have not been able so far to tell me if they are going to do it. If we adjourn to Monday there will be further delay, and in that particular matter delay is as good as a refusal to act. I suggest that it would be a mistake to adjourn until Monday, and then to find that on Monday we would be unable to get on with the main business of the Dáil, because, incidentally, things which could have been disposed of on Thursday or Friday would come up.

To put the matter in order I definitely move now the adjournment till 3 o'clock to-morrow for the purpose of bringing to the attention of the Dáil what I want to refer to. And the subject I want to refer to is, to my mind, one of immediate and vital importance, and that is the question of Ulster. Now, I am not proposing to initiate a debate at this moment on the question. But I do wish to suggest that it would be both desirable and welcome to the Dáil and to the people of Ireland, especially those in the Six Counties at present under the jurisdiction of the Belfast Parliament—I suggest it would be desirable and welcome to all interested in this matter if at as early a date as possible we could have from the Government some statement of their policy or attitude—if they have a policy or attitude, on this question—some statement which would clear the air and let us know where we stand in regard to Ulster. Now, I have some responsibility and interest in this matter, because I happen to be one of the two remaining members of this Dáil who, in addition to being elected to the Dáil, were elected, or at least in addition to being elected in the area known as the Twenty-six Counties, were also elected to represent constituencies in the area at present under the jurisdiction of the Northern Parliament. And that constituency, Tyrone and Fermanagh, appears, according to the latest information on the subject, to be very seriously affected. You might almost say from many National points of view-perilously affected by recent legislation in the Northern Parliament. I suppose that everyone here knows that the Northern Parliament have quite recently passed through all its stages a Bill for the Abolition of Proportional Representation in regard to the Local Government. Elections, within the six counties. And I saw with some degree of alarm in this morning's press that the assent of the British Monarch had been given to that Act. If this is true, it is to me a case of grave alarm, not only respecting the position of Tyrone and Fermanagh, but on the whole general position of the Six Counties in respect to the situation which will arise when the Boundary Commission, which was provided for in the Treaty, begins to operate. Now, I have ever since this question of the Treaty, and its provisions and its effects upon Ulster, came under consideration, my point of view has been, and it is one I have asserted repeatedly, that the Ulster provisions in the Treaty, or the provisions in the Treaty in regard to Ulster, were not such as would stabilise the present severance of the Six Counties in matters political and administrative from the rest of Ireland. But they were such that if equitably administered and operated would, in a comparatively brief period, bring about a renewal of good relations and reunion between the two sections in Ireland. But this latest development is one which one cannot help regarding as ground for apprehension as to whether or not it may have some seriously adverse effect upon the operation of these provisions. It will produce an effect vitally and substantially different to what was expected when those provisions were put forward. Now, that, of course, is not quite clear, yet. Having responsibility—some degree of representative responsibility — for the people of Tyrone and Fermanagh, I want to know if it is possible to ascertain information as to how the matter stands. As I say, I do not wish at this moment to precipitate a discussion which may be inopportune and premature from the point of view of our Government. I have said nothing with any desire to embarrass them; or to extract any statement that would be injudicious; and, for all I know, there may be negotiations proceeding which render criticism at the moment probably more mischievous than helpful. But I do regard very seriously the portion; and I do want to know if possible if at some early date we could have some Government statement as to whether or not there is any department dealing with this question, and, if so, which Department, and what, if any, is the policy and attitude which it proposes to develop, in regard to the question of the problem of bringing once more harmonious relations between Ulster and the rest of Ireland. Or, in other words, bringing about a reconciliation between these two sections of the people at present severed by causes which are more than political but which are of deep historic origin. We regard this matter of serious and great importance; not, perhaps, so immediately pressing as the question which the Members of the other side wish to raise, but one which has great, perhaps wider, comprehension, wider bearing, upon the great aspects of national economic stability and national peace, and it-is one I urge upon the Government to take seriously into consideration; and I ask them to let us know if it is possible to-night, or at an early date, whether we may expect to have some statement of policy which will guide this Dáil and the nation in their outlook upon the future relations, both immediate or remote, between Ulster and the rest of Ireland.

Is dóigh liom gur tábhachtach an cheist í ceist Chúige Uladh, agus ba mhaith liom an cheist chéadna do chur ar an Rialtas, ach 'sé mo thuairim nách mithid dúinn a leithéid sin de cheist do chur. Ba chóir go mbeadh lá no laetheanta curtha i leataoibh do-san, agus go mbeadh díosbóireacht fhada againn mar gheall air. Nílim sásta leis na rudaí atá ar siúl i gCúige Uladh agus nílim sásta leis na rudaí atá in aigne an Rialtais. Ach tá ceist eile agus rudaí ag baint leis sin ós ár gcóir agus ba mhaith liom go mbeadh díosbóireacht ortha.

Mr. Chairman, I agree with Deputy Milroy that there is hardly any question that can come before this Dáil more important than the question of relations between the Twenty-six Counties and the Six Counties that have been cut off from the rest of Ireland. In passing, may I suggest to Deputy Milroy that the Department that probably will be dealing with that will be the Department for Foreign Affairs. However, that is too big a question to be gone into here this evening. And while we are anxious for a statement of the Government's policy on the matter of the Six Counties and the relations between Belfast and the rest of the country it is quite so big that we would want perhaps a day or more to deal with the question of the Six Counties. We want to bring up some rather urgent things that have cone out of the strike of the Postal Workers. We made some complaint the other night of interference that was being made with the pickets and with the peaceful picketing. Now I am informed that the Chief Commissioner of the Dublin Metropolitan Police issued an Order to all his Superintendents in the division area of a very grave and serious kind. He ordered that the police would firmly carry out the directions of the Government as published in the Sunday Independent re Post Office strike. I do not suppose it is the first time that the Chief Commissioner of the D.M.P. took his instructions from the Independent, though I think it is the first time, to my mind, that the Independent or any daily paper became the organ by, which the police or any other body of public servants should receive their instructions from the Government. “The Chief Commissioner informs his Superintendents further that this is not a Trades dispute at all, and it is not a case in which picketing, peaceful or otherwise, can be permitted. Picketers or others who assemble in the vicinity of Post Offices, Telephone Exchanges, etc., with a view to intimidating employés, from their work, or to obstruct those coming for duty, are to be warned of the illegality of their action, and arrests, if necessary, are to be made. Police should use sufficient force to have their directions complied with—if necessary drawn batons. If arms are produced or used by any member of the crowd or any members thereof, then military will take action on being so informed, or on request of the police on duty. The Government would expect that the police would prevent picketing anywhere, whether outside offices or at residences of officers who remain at their posts. A list of names and addresses can be got from the P.M.G. to-morrow.... The Government counts with confidence on the loyal support of the D.M.P. at this crisis,” and soforth. “Now, if arms are produced or used by any of the crowd or any members thereof then the military will take action. That, I think, does not apply to the whole country, because I find in one of yesterday's newspapers a statement, I think it was in Dundalk, that after the dinner hour military arrived and took the men picketing into custody. Others who took their places were similarly dealt with, as well as strikers found in the streets wearing strike notices. They were all removed to the County Gaol. Now on this whole question of picketing and striking there is just a little observation I would like to make in continuance of some of our remarks the other night. When I went over the division list on the right of those men to strike I found on the list of those who voted against the right to strike two members of the Dáil, who, unless I am very seriously misinformed, themselves struck against the regulation and the direction of the Civic Guard by the Chief Commissioner, or whatever the title of the Chieftain of the Civic Guard is, but they denied these men a right to strike, a right which they exercised themselves. That is only a small matter. A much more important matter is this, and I hope the Minister will not be so ironical in his Hear, Hear's when I am putting my conclusion on this little item. There is a Constable nained Hogan, whose number is 65B. That Constable seemed to know the law of these things better than the Chief Commissioner of the D.M.P.

No relation.

I should think he was no relation, as his actions will show. This constable, with a number of other constables, was ordered by Inspector Winters at Aldborough House to disperse a peaceful picket by force, if necessary, on the Chief Commissioner's instructions. Constable Hogan refused to carry out the instruction on the ground that the order was illegal, as of course it was illegal. He was told by the Inspector to fall out and report, at Store Street. Then along came a Superintend dent of the D.M.P., B. Division—Campbell, I think, was his name. He called Mr. Hogan to his office and said "You are suspended, Hogan." He stated he would not carry out an order which was illegal, and he refused to carry out an order which was illegal. Afterwards he was called before the Commissioner, who issued this order, Col. Edgeworth Johnstone, who I believe now when he sends a letter to the Dublin Corporation begins it with "A chara" and winds up with Irish. The Commissioner said that under the circumstances there was no alternative but to dismiss Hogan, and he dismissed him. Now Hogan is an ordinary constable in the D.M.P. You remember, sir, the approval that was made the sympathy that was extended, and everything else like that when members of the D.M.P. were dismissed for what happened in Bachelor's Walk some few years ago. What is going to be the position, I want to know, of this constable? Is he going to be restored to his office, or is be going to be compensated for the action, that he has taken—a perfectly legal action, a refusal to do an illegal action? These matters, we think, are of such immediate importance that they should get immediate attention, because we don't know—nobody knows—where those things are going to end. There have been cases of other constables who have done other work. These, I hope, we shall be able to raise at another time, but they don't seem to be getting any kind of compensation. We want to know if this man is going to be restored to his post, or if he is going to be thrown, out in the streets to starve, if he is going to be branded with the black mark of Col. Johnstone, so that he will not be able to get a job anywhere in Ireland. These, sir, are interferences with the perfectly legal right of these men, they are interferences which the Dáil should not allow; they are intenferences that no Minister in this Dáil, if he knows anything about the legalities or illegalities of the case, should stand up to defend. We said the other night that this was an attack on the whole principle of Trades Unionism. Yesterday afternoon D.M.P. were chivvying pickets up at the Rotunda Rink. And there are other things in connection with the Post Office. For some years past in Ireland, with the exception of a "stag" or a traitor or a spy, there has been no more despicable, no more hated, individual in Ireland than the man who went in and black-legged on his fellow-workers, while they were on strike, or scabbed on them. Unless I ain misinformed black-legs who are working—they are only a handful—in the Post Office at the present moment are going out, if my information is correct—I hope for the honour of the gentleman concerned it is not correct—or are being sent out by the P.M.G. offering strikers promotion if they will come in again and black-leg. Is that the state of affairs to which we in Ireland have come at this day, that this Government and this Parliament finds that the very first act of its Ministry is an act of such a nature that all these things flow from it, that there is a scrapping of every principle of individual liberty?

On a point of order, as my personal character has been attacked by the Deputy opposite, I want proof of this statement, that I have offered promotion to men on strike if they resume duty?

I, Mr. Chairman, have put a question in the course of my statement that an allegation had been made against the Postmaster-General, and you, sir, heard me say that I hoped, for the honour of the gentleman concerned, that the allegation was untrue. It is not for me to produce proof, but I shall be satisfied if the Postmaster-General will say here and now that there was no truth in the allegation that either he or any responsible officer acting under his authority in the Post Office has asked men to go in and blackleg, and that they would get promotion in the Post Office.

It is up to the Deputy to produce the proof.

I hope the Postmaster-General will reply. There is another point that I want to reply to. The Minister for Home Affairs, in his statement the other night, implied that acts of sabotage had been committed by the strikers. The implication is not quite so clear as reported in the official report of the proceedings of this Dáil as it seemed to me the other night. But there is in a very respectable publication called the Weekly Irish Times, now describing itself as a national organ, and making a fair attempt to live up to its claim. It reports the Minister for Home Affairs as saying: “Certain acts of sabotage had been committed at Crown Alley and at the Amiens Street office, where wires had been cut before the staffs left on Sunday evening. The safeguarding of public buildings was a seriaus problem, and the Government did not want to expose either the military or the police to the dangers of the bomb, rifle, or the revolver of the sniper”—“certain acts of sabotage had been committed at Grown Alley and at the Amiens Street office, where wires had been cut before the staffs left on Sunday evening.” Now, there is in to-day's papers, I think, an official statement from the Post Office people on the strike. They gave a direct negative reply to the charge insinuated or made—if the Irish Times is correct— by the Minister for Home Affairs. Their statement is: “That they wished to further direct attention to a statement made in the Dáil by the Minister for Home Affairs (Mr. O'Higgins), that acts of sabotage were committed by the telegraph and telephone staffs before leaving the C.T.O. and Telephone Exchange. It was stated that the test box in the Central Telegraph Office was wrecked. That statement the officials of the Union desired to characterise as false. They pointed out that if the test box had been destroyed it would have been a physical impossibility for the Irish Times to have their special London wire working, as was indicated by its publication of Monday. Anyone who knows what a test box was could easily understand that if wrecked all the wires would be put out of action. They wished to make it clear it was the express wish of the Unions to facilitate in every possible way a fair and impartial Press. They denied point blank that any acts of sabotage were permitted in those Offices by the strikers, before they went out on strike. I have addressed in another fashion a question on that to the Minister, asking him if he has got any evidence on which he has made that statement, and I presume he will reply to-morrow. I shall not press him for a reply now, but we do press for a complete statement on these things from the Government and from the Postmaster-General. We want to know what exactly is the position at the moment. The whole Postal Service of the country has been dislocated. In Dublin, and right through the country other people are pressing for a solution, but these are things that will come in, I suppose, to the general statement of the Post Office question, but here and now, this evening, we want to know all about this picketing question; we want to know all about, for instance, the dismissal or suspension of a number—I think the majority—of the Supervisory Officers in the Post Office Service, on the ground, it is alleged, that they would not black-leg on those who went out on strike. Now these Officers have got certain functions to perform in the Post Office— the terms of their contract, the positions they are in, specify that they shall do their work and nobody else's work. The Postmaster-General, I understand, or officials acting under him, asked these men to take the place and do some of the work of those who went out on strike. That is not the position in which those men ought to be put. They naturally refused, although I do not think that even the Postmaster-General in his wildest imaginations could ever describe them as Bolshevists—as a matter of fact they are as respectable a body of men as there is in the Service. They have a good deal depending on their actions. I am told they were asked to do jobs of people who are striking—in other words, they were asked to blackleg on the very people they were working with, the very people, perhaps, they would be supervising to-morrow or the next day, when the strike is over. That is a nice mess to get the Irish Post Office servants into. I want an answer to those questions. They are urgent, because they are leaving a black and indelible stain not only on the Post Office Service, which is a vital National Service, but they are leaving that black and indelible stain on the whole Government and the whole National Assembly of this Nation.

I think that this subject that Deputy Milroy has raised is one of all others that stands out in bold relief as a problem that concerns this Parliament and this Nation, and to those like myself who are from contiguous areas, who are conversant with the facts of the situation, and who understand farther back than to-day or yesterday the whole tendencies that combined towards giving us the difficulties that we stand amidst on this question at present, I think it only right to say a word or two here to-day. We have accepted this Treaty as an instrument and not as an edifice. We have to ensure this Treaty as an instrument with which we intend to hammer out our National development. The first problem is the unification of the Nation. There is no question going any further if we are only to go on with a lacerated portion of the country We cannot have national success on that road. The people of the North have got certain subordinate powers within this nation. These people have got these powers without asking for them or actually accepting them. The supplementary powers that would make them supreme rest with this body, which is the representative authority of this Notion, and to this body and to this authority these people with subordinate powers must come. Bear in mind, gentlemen, that though to-day some of them may be opposing us, and apparently very determinedly, at the same time deep down is the determination on their part to be part and parcel of the United Irish Nation. There is a section of them that is not easily controlled, as I suppose there is a section in all communities. This section is not the most intelligent section, but after all when these things come to be considered it is intelligence that must decide. When intelligence makes the decision there is not likely to be much difficulty in consolidating this Nation. This is a problem to keep steadily before us. Whatever the outlook or mentality they may have to-day they are at the same time part and parcel of our Nation. Davis, the man whom we all stand behind, has left us a prospect of what a proper Irish nation can be. Now there are controlling us or attempting to control and subordinate a minority in this country that is out of proportion in size to the people that England attempted to control here in Ireland against their will. I think they will find very much the same difficulties confronting them as the British did, however much they may be helped and assisted by outside influences. Deputy O'Shannon made a remark which I do not think was in keeping with what I would reward as the proper spirit in which this question should be approached. He rather said that it was the Minister for Foreign Affairs who should be concerned with this matter. Now, I do not know upon what logical basis he could rest any such contention as that. The Foreign Minister should have nothing to do with the affairs of different parts of our Nation. These men are not foreigners; they are sons of our own land and soil, every one of them. It is not the Foreign Minister should have the power or authority to deal with this question. A Committee of this Dáil should, I think, be specially appointed to deal with this question on the lines which the Dáil itself thought would be the wisest and best lines of policy to pursue for the securement of the unification of this country. No Committee could be engaged in more advantageous work for the country.

Before the next Deputy rises, I call upon Deputy Seán Hales to sign the roll.

Deputy Seán Hales then signed the roll.

I listened attentively to Deputy O'Shannon's remarks, and I was struck in particular with the emphasis he laid on his statement that all this attitude of the Government with regard to this Postal Strike is a grave infringement of the rights of individuals. But these infringements have not been done on the part of the Government. I have here some facts to support that statement. This is one. Yesterday the houses of two members who returned to duty were picketed, and picketers called to their houses and told the people that their food supply would be cut off if they continued on duty. Shots were fired into Amiens Street Telegraph Office on Monday night and the door was surrounded with picketers. Now we have an extension of the picket principle at work. Under the Trades Dispute Act to which Deputy O'Shannon referred, I am perfectly content to take my stand with regard to the attitude of my Department on this matter. Picketing is allowed at the works centre. I take it that the idea underlying it is a kind of tacit appeal to the public to withhold their support from those people without very careful investigation of the merits of the dispute. I only suggest that that is possibly the idea underlying peaceful picketing. So far as I know there is no Act and no precedent which allows picketing at the homes of those who refuse to take part in a strike, or which allows any interference with the food supplies of such homes. Deputy O'Shannon took me to task for my reference to sabotage. The information with which I have been supplied from the Postal Department is as follows:—

"On Sunday at 6 p.m. the leads to the batteries feeding all the lines of communication were earthed or fused. All battery leads were crossed and twenty-four were necessary to their final disentanglement. As a consequence of the foregoing almost all lines were out of order until midday on Monday.

"The lines connecting Amiens St. with the Irish Independent and Freeman were cut, and the latter was only put right yesterday. Yesterday the houses of two members who returned to duty were picketed and picketers called to their houses and told their people that food supplies would be stopped if they continued on duty.

"Shots were fired into Amiens St. Telegraph Office on Monday night when the door was surrounded with picketers.

"Messengers taking letters this morning from the Rink to their employers were held up and the correspondence destroyed. This happened in the case of the National Insurance as late as this morning. Three motor cars were put out of action when taken to the Rink and Amiens Street on Post Office business. We cannot say definitely if the strikers did this, but people in the crowd did it. All cars endeavouring to take mails were turned back by picketers, and at Westland Row, on Monday, after a car was laden with mails by a Trade Unionist, strikers rushed up and pulled the mails out of it.

"Several instances of intimidation are reported from the country, and can be supplied in due course, if desired."

Infringements on individual liberty —I submit all these things are infringements and gross infringements, which the Government cannot tolerate on individual liberty. This question of the right of Civil Servants to withdraw labour was raised by Deputy Johnson some evenings ago and was rather fully discussed. I certainly endeavoured to outline clearly, though briefly, the attitude this Government takes on that matter. And I did point out, and I now point out again, that under cover of special conditions here, and under cover of the special difficulties of this Government, it is attempted to establish a principle which is not recognised in any modern civilised State. Failure on the part of my Department to issue that particular Notice, and to define very clearly the Government's position, might mean that future Governments in this country would live and have their being by the grace of Deputy Johnson and Deputy Cathal O'Shannon. That may seem an eminently desirable state of affairs to Deputy O'Shannon, but it is a state of affairs which I regard as my responsibility to the people, through this Parliament to prevent. This is not a trade dispute, and the provisions of the Trade Disputes Act will not be applied in this case. I think Deputy Johnson would like to challenge that in another place. We can have a decision on the point. If there is not a right to strike, as we contend there is not a right to strike, then the consequential rights do not apply and the right of peaceful picketing would only exist if the right to strike existed, and we quite definitely and emphatically challenge the right to strike. As to the arrests which the police made, in this matter their attention was drawn to the Government notice, and they were told that it was part of their duty to see that this notice was made effective. There was no instruction to arrest. There was instruction simply that the picketing was not right in this case, that it was a danger to the buildings concerned and to the garrisons in those buildings. That is the position which the Government intends to maintain.

Deputy Cathal O'Shannon has asked me to furnish a brief explanation of the position in the Post Office at present, and I think it right that the information and particulars should be given, and more frequently than in the past. I have not much to add to what is already known, which covers the entire ground, but I hope he will be satisfied with what he gets.

The position in the Post Office this morning is, briefly, as follows:— All telegrams offered at the C.T.O., Amiens Street, for places, no matter where, outside the Twenty-six County area are being accepted and despatched without appreciable delay. In the case of the Twenty six Counties telegrams are also accept for almost all places where the wires art intact, but Irregular activities in the simple business of wire cutting have, of late, made serious inroads on internal telegraphic communications. All wires from abroad ore being dealt with, but considerable delay exists in this case though steps are being taken to bring about an early improvement.

The Press, as may be seen, has practically its full supply of news, and accommodation for the rapid despatch of outgoing Press work has now been made at Holyhead.

The Telephone service in Dublin and other centres is far from normal. But in Dublin, and the surrounding districts a good service is given to all Government work, as well as essential services, such as sick calls, hospitals, etc., and a goodly number of urgent business calls are also being attended to. The service is improving from day to day.

In the Postal Service such items as parcels and Money Orders have been entirely cut out for the time being. Postal Orders and stamps are available, as far as we know, everywhere.

There has been no breach, as far as Dublin is concerned, in the despatch of letters to England, the North-east and abroad, nor have these letters suffered any delay whatever.

Incoming mails on the other hand have suffered delay in transit from the various stations owing to the menacing attitude of strikers resulting in three cases of cars conveying these mails being put out of action. I do not say these cars were put out of action by strikers. My information is that the work was done by people in the crowd. My officials are unable to give me anything more definite on the point. Continuing the report, the Postmaster General said:—And in another case of the mails, being pulled out of the car by strikers, and the driver, who had no protection, being forced to abandon his work under threats of certain, consequences. Threats and intimidation have also been uttered against many others who have attempted to perform the services of the Post Office, and I have two cases of the picketing of their homes, already referred to by the Minister for Home Affairs. To-day, however, we have overcome these threats and intimidation, and cars have been despatched to different parts of the country.

We have already despatched a pretty heavy mail to the North as far as Dundalk, where all offices are open and working. Contrary to the information we have just heard, we have also despatched a mail on the Wexford road, where a good many offices are open and working. Later in the day we hope to do likewise in the case of the Western and Southern, group. Gradually, I may say—I may be a bit impatient—for 48 hours we have been restoring communication, and surely and certainly we will make them, strike or no strike.

In certain offices members of the staff are dribbling back. Here in Dublin we have had an accession of strength in the I fist few days, and in the last three or four hours we have had communications from certain members of the staff who desire to return on certain conditions.

On promotion?

That hint at promotion may be a useful hint. I will hear it in mind. I have referred to the fact that in certain parts of the country the strikers have changed their minds and changed their ways and are gradually returning, and I hope in the next few days to be able to give a very favourable report in that respect. What the Government will do, or will not do, when these communications are pretty fairly established in respect of those who have failed to report for duty, is a matter you will hear about in due course.

Neither the Minister for Home Affairs nor the Postmaster-General gave us any hope that efforts would be made to bring about a settlement of this dispute. I think that this dispute will eventually end like all others and that sane men and commonsense men of business capacity will have to he brought in with a view to making suggestions to the Postmaster-General, not perhaps that either side will fully accept, but for the purpose of making peace with honour. I do not like the attitude of this Government in saying that they are going to beat the workers. I think it would be much better if they held out some hope or suggestion that they would lend some aid in connection with bringing about a friendly settlement. I remember the time when a great man in the eyes of certain people tried to fight the coal miners of England with the Army at his back, and he boasted how he would defeat them and how well he had matters in hands, and he promised great things in the way of bringing the dispute to an end; but I recollect that that man, representing another Government, had to climb down and had to meet the workers and their representatives, and I suggest that, instead of allowing this thing to continue from day to day, and members on one side raising a case for one section and others for another section, not in a very friendly or peaceful way, it would be much better if it came from the Government Benches that they were open to appoint some commission of level headed men who could advise and possibly bring the dispute to an end. I have been supplied with leaflets, as possibly you all have, and one of them shows that the Postmaster-General has ordered a reduction in wages based upon a cost of living scale which certainly is not obtainable in Dublin. I don't know how it may be in little country districts where there may be a Sub-Postmaster and a small post office, but the cost of living scale set out in the leaflet is totally inaccurate. The Postmaster-General, according to this scale, puts an item, as to the cost of living of his employés, down which declares that the average rent paid by his workers was 5/2 per week.

Where did that come from? Where does it emanate from?

I shall be glad to show it to you if you contradict me or doubt that it is on the leaflet. It is here on Pamphlet No. 5, authorised by the Postal Workers' Committee. I am trying to put a fair view of the case. The figure I have quoted is in the pamphlet, and can be seen; but the whole of the figures are totally inaccurate, and the reduction in wages, therefore, has been based upon false figures. Why, you would not get a room in a tenement house in Dublin at the present moment at 5s. per week; and, even if the scale was accurate, does the Postmaster-General expect his workers—who must keep up appearances— to live in houses at a rent of 5s. 2d. per week? I say there is no such house to be got in the City of Dublin to-day, and I say that the scale is entirely wrong. Any housekeeper in Dublin, if shown this pamphlet, would tell you that the cost of living is exactly double in some cases the figures quoted in the pamphlet. If that is so, I say it is near time that sensible men of business should be called in and asked to assist in preparing a scale that will fully satisfy both the workers and the Government, instead of having this dispute going on from week's end to week's end. The Postmaster-General asserted that the delivery of letters was going on. We all know it is impossible to get letters in Dublin to-day. The telegraph service is not working, and letters are not delivered. The Postmaster-General made reference to outgoing mails. Dublin citizens, as a whole, are not concerned with outgoing mails, because they cannot get replies to their orders. Business people sending to England are not receiving any replies to their Irish letters.

That is not true.

I can give evidence of where letters have not come in from England for the past four days. I do not want to indulge in any exaggeration, and I am putting the case simply as I believe it to be. In view of the fact that the cost of living scale, as set out by the Postmaster-General, is 50 per cent. lower than the actual cost in the City of Dublin, that cost of living scale is sufficient evidence that something further ought to be done with a view to bringing in sensible men, and I suggest that representatives of this House from the Labour benches and from the Ministerial benches, and also people from outside the House, should be called together, so that this unfortunate dispute may be ended. I hope the Postmaster-General will not take up an attitude which simply means "We have you out, and we're going to beat you. It is most unfortunate that this large section of employees should be out on strike in the first week of the existence of this Dáil. I hope earnestly that the suggestions I have made will not be cast aside, but will be given attention.

I beg to remind the House that the Motion before us is, that the Dáil adjourns until 3 o'clock to-morrow proposed by Deputy Milroy and seconded by Deputy O'Shannon, and it has been announced there will be no Government business to-morrow. I would would ask any other Members who have business to propose for to-morrow to give notice at once to the Clerk of the Dáil so as to expedite the preparation of the Agenda for to-morrow. I would like to get the sense of the Dáil as to how long this discussion should go on; perhaps we could come to a conclusion now as to when we ought to adjourn.

I suggest 6 o'clock.

Would it be possible to adjourn this debate now and bring it up again to-morrow as first business?

Might I ask if the Ministers would give some reply to the question I put and also give an authoritative pronouncement upon their attitude.

What is the view of the other parts of the Dáil with regard to the adjournment at 6 o'clock?

There is not much use in going on now if it is to come up again to-morrow.

I have consulted with the Whip of the Labour Party and they agree we should adjourn this now until 6 o'clock.

If it is desired to adjourn we are willing to do so at 6 o'clock, but it may be necessary to bring it up again to-morrow, if you go on as you are promising.

I have no desire to say anything arising out of the matter of the dispute in this case that would widen the breach existing since the dispute started. When it started it was confined solely to the issue of wages and terms of service, and arising out of the statement last Monday by the Minister for Home Affairs it became so serious a moment for this country—too serious a moment to this country—that all Trade Unionists and every man who loved liberty and claimed the full right of individual citizenship should do all in his power to bring this dispute to an end. We have all listened with very great pleasure to the statement just made by the Postmaster-General. I can tell the Postmaster-General, as one who has been in strikes in the past, that no amount of Blarney bluff or Bantry camoulflage can bring this dispute to an end. The statement he has just read, if true, I admit would be of very great interest and perhaps of greater interest to no section more than to the members of the Dublin Chamber of Commerce. Perhaps I would go so far as to say that the help he has got in connection with the work supposed to be going on, perhaps has come from that direction. Now the matter of promotion has been referred to. I don't wish to go into that matter very far, but I am aware from conversations I have had that some of the men in the postal service are with the Postmaster-General in this matter. At any rate he has not overlooked his own friends. I think it is a very serious thing that this dispute should have arisen at this particular time when the country and this Parliament at any rate should be concentrated on settling other matters. I think the fact that the strike has occurred at this moment is due to the tactless manner in which the Postmaster-General has handled the whole situation. I would be very much interested, and I am sure all postal servants would be interested, if he would tell them where they could get a house at 5/2 per week. The Minister for Home. Affairs, by inference at any rate, in several statements he has made in the Dáil since I came here seemed to point his finger at the Labour Party as the party of Irregulars in this Dáil. I may tell him that the position of the Labour Party has been clearly defined on that question and every other proceeding, and ratified at the recent Congress of the Irish Labour Party, and I do not think the inferences which he and others are inclined to shoot at us on these Benches will tend to end the dispute which must be ended some way. He has stated to-day shots were fired into the Amiens Street Office. Well, he has a dual force at his command in the city, and also a military force, and it would be quite easy to have them search ordinary citizens, who were bound to submit to be searched, and if he thought the shooting was done by the picket why did not he use the forces at his command to search them? As far as we are concerned in the Labour movement we have never resorted to tactics like that when on strike. I could imagine the Police force searching people, as it is their duty, and when pickets were doing their duty in a peaceable way I cannot understand why the military forces should be brought into the matter. There is plenty of scope for the military forces down the country to keep law and order and give protection to people who are looking for it. Instead of that these military in Dublin are gathering at the Rink, the Rotunda, and Amiens Street and other places with the object of interfering with individual who do not wish to interfere with the property from which they derive their livelihood. I am quite positive the people who are doing this work in a legal way by peaceful picketing, are not armed men. We all know that in civil commotion, or in the civil war that is going on in Ireland to-day, there are blackguards in this country, and in every country in the world, who will always take advantage of that, and I think it is not right that you on the Front Benches there should charge us with being a party to things that the Labour Party has never stood for. I hope if this dispute is going to go on, and any discussion that is going to go on arising out of the dispute, it will at any rate be conducted from the Front Benches and from the Ministerial Benches in a tone such as we listened to in the speech of the Minister of Defence last night. You will have to face the fact that we of the Labour Party are not going to see these men down, who are now out on strike. You will have to face the fact, and face it sooner or later, that the dispute is going to come to an end, and not to a termination on the unconditional surrender of the men which the P.M.G. is looking forward to. Having been, as I presume he was in the past, a member of the Trade Union connected with the Postal Service, he will surely understand the mentality of the men he is now fighting. I hope he will take that into consideration, and if he does, and if he gives us something better in tone than his statement to this Dáil, then I think we can look forward, at a very early date, to the termination of a dispute which no one on these benches likes to see extended.

I think the Labour Party must have our sympathy in being compelled to stand up for the strikers in this case. Much as I generally sympathise with Labour, I feel in this particular case—and everybody must feel—that the Government went to the furthest possible limit. But finding themselves in the right, why on earth do they go out of their way to put themselves in the wrong? The Minister for Home Affairs issued a manifesto—a Proclamation—enunciating the principle which he suddenly found himself called upon to defend, and then, finding that he could not defend that principle—that Civil Servants could not strike—on its merits, he decided on a game of bluff. That is why I voted against the Government the other day. He had the effrontery to come to the Dáil and inform the Dáil that no Government in the civilised world allows its Civil Servants lo strike. I do not know where the Minister got that strange piece of information. I would recommend him to ascertain what is the practice, let us say, in Germany; what is the practice in Italy, and even nearer home I have known of very serious strikes of Civil Servants which have proved quite successful. I think it is a mistake for these matters of Government policy to be rushed, as they too often are thus putting the Government, which starts off being in the right, in the; wrong, and making an eventual settlement much more difficult, because, instead of being an ordinary issue between employer and employed, a question of principle is set up which should never have been raised, and upon which the Government is wrong.

On this matter that has been raised by the mover of the Motion, and which, it may be well to inform the Dáil, is a Motion for the adjournment—this matter of the policy of the Government in regard to the six North-Eastern counties—I have a great deal of sympathy with the point of view expressed both by the mover and by his supporter, the Deputy from Donegal. I think it would be quite a good thing for this Dáil to appoint a Committee to watch over affairs, and to advise the Government in respect of its policy in regard to the North-Eastern corner. I have been trying to advise that in my little way for the last six, or seven, or eight years, to various people who had to do with the politics of Ireland, because I am very definitely convinced that there is as little appreciation in Dublin and the South of the state of mind, and the habit of thinking, and the point of view of the people in the North as there is in the North of the people in the South. And it is desirable that there should be very much more understanding between people who know the North and people who are only acquainted with the South. But coming to the question that has been raised by my colleague, Deputy O'Shannon, I want to say that our particular interest in raising this matter of the Postal strike here is not to assist from advantage point the Postal workers on strike. I am quite certain they can look after their own interests quite satisfactorily. They decided for themselves without asking any advice, and I am quite sure that they judged with a full knowledge of the risks they were taking and the procedure they were to adopt. They have never, so far as I know given any indication that the procedure would be anything other than lawful, and right, and just, and reasonable, and it is not to fight their battles "on the floor of the House," as used to be said, that we are here raising this question. We recognise, of course, that the Postmaster-General, the employer in this particular case, has the backing the Ministry of Home Affairs, and the Ministry of Defence, and the Government, which is, of course, a privileged position for any employer to be in. But we are here raising the question that we are raising because of its effect upon the general labour movement, because of its effect upon the carpenter, the docker, the shop assistant, and every other worker at any other time. You are laying it down that military can disperse a picket, that military can fire at a picket or over the heads of a picket; that military can use terroristic methods to destroy a body of workers carrying on what I contend to be a legal operation; military called in on the first moment, not to disperse a riotous mob—even then they would have to take the responsibility for any action of theirs which is done illegally to remove by force a peaceful picket. The Minister for Home Affairs tells us that they cannot be peaceful pickets because this is not a trade dispute, and he is willing to accept a verdict on this matter—to accept the verdict of a court of law. Well, I hope some members of the strike picket that is interfered with will prosecute the Postmaster-General or his agent, the soldier or policeman, for assault if such a person is interfered with, and then we shall see who has the law. Whether it is the law or not, and I am not a lawyer, it is the worst of Governmental tactics, immediately a strike is declared, to come to the aid of the employer in a matter of this kind. We are told stories about sabotage, about violence, about threats. If there are guilty persons, why not arrest them, and prosecute them for these crimes, these offences? We are told that there has been firing into Amiens Street Post Office. Did the Minister for Home Affairs never hear of that before? I have heard of raids on the Post Office at Amiens Street, I have heard of seizures of monies from Post Offices many times for the last few months, and those of us who are not heavy sleepers know that the agents of the Ministry, the employees of the Ministry, are engaged nightly in a general chorus of firing into something. But nobody is arrested for these offences; nobody is charged with these offences. But people engaged in a reasonable, quiet, peaceful operation, demonstrating quietly and peaceably before the public the fact that there is a strike, are not arrested for the offence. They are dispersed by force on the orders of the Minister of Home Affairs, he, in the course of a dispute, coming to the assistance of the employer in the dispute with the employee, that employer being the Postmaster-General. I think it perhaps would have been an advisable thing for the Minister for Home Affairs to have had a little more consultation with the Postmaster-General on the legal position of this matter; because, quite inadvertently, I think, the Postmaster-General told the Deputy for County Dublin, Deputy Figgis, that there was a contract between buyer and seller on the question of the service of the Post Office and Telegraphs and Telephones. It was not the power of taxation which enabled the Postmaster-General to charge twopence as against 1½d. elsewhere. It was a contract of service, a business arrangement, a trading arrangement, and these people that are on strike are the servants of the Postmaster-General, carrying on that trading arrangement. It is not a trade dispute! But those people are engaged in selling envelopes, for instance, selling services, doing ordinary work such as a railway company would do or as any private parcel delivery company would do; but it happens to be that the employer in this case has been nominated, and nominated by the Government. However, perhaps that will be the business of a lawyer to discuss, and perhaps we will have the pleasure of hearing the case as drawn up by the Minister for Home Affairs. But I want to lay down very clearly that on the merits of the strike or with the merits of the strike we here, at any rate at this moment, are not concerned; we are very deeply concerned with the policy of the Government acting for this Dáil, with their policy in preventing by force what has come to be recognised as a legal and constitutional operation, even if perchance it turns out that the letter of the law is with the Ministry. I do not think there is very much chance; but, as I said, I am not a lawyer, and the ways of lawyers are like the ways of the Heathen Chinee, peculiar and dark. But in the interests of the common working people in this country, in the interests of the orderly development of the labour movement in this country to prevent the necessity of doing the things that have had to be done in other countries to bring civil rights to the stage they have been brought, it is necessary that there should be a very emphatic protest made against the action olthe Government in declaring these things illegal, which are believed by ninety-nine and nine-tenths per cent. of the workmen of this country to be perfectly legal, right and constitutional. And even if you have the law strictly on your side, it is folly to use it in dispersing a body of men and women who are doing not one tittle of harm to any citizen.

In the beginning I want to say a couple of words about the question with which Deputy Johnson opened his remarks. This matter of the Six North-Eastern Counties has time and again occupied the consideration of the Ministry. Until quite recently it was impossible for the Ministry to formulate or to think of putting into operation any policy with regard to the North-East, because we bad not effective control of the Twenty-six Counties, or of affairs in the Twenty-six Counties. Nothing that we could decide upon until the present military operations were undertaken and until the forces of the Irregulars were reduced to comparative impotence; nothing that we might decide upon could we carry into effect. I agree thoroughly with Deputy Johnson that in the South there is a great lack of understanding of the position in the North-East, of the temper and of the character and of the prejudices of the people with whom we have to deal. There is misunderstanding in the North of the people of the South. The misunderstandings that exist in the North are grotesque. The misunderstandings that exist in the South are not, I should say, grotesque, but they are sufficiently serious to make it very difficult to be sure that a policy will be pursued which will be effective. I remember, in fact, practically the last time I spoke in the Dáil in regard to the North-East was when the question of the imposition of the Belfast Boycott was before the Dáil—an occasion when I was in the minority. And the speeches of the members then revealed undoubtedly a lack of understanding of the problem with which they had to deal or the magnitude and the difficulty of the problem and the understanding of the problem with which they had to deal. Whether the appointment of a Committee of the House would be of any advantage I am doubtful. An informal Committee would probably and could often be useful, but any formal Committee of the House blight very readily complicate the situation rather than be of assistance to the Government. However, I can assure the Deputy who raised the question, and the other Deputies who spoke about it that the matter of our policy with regard to the North-East Counties has been under consideration and is under consideration; and I have no doubt that the President will arrange at some fairly early date to make a statement to the Dáil with regard to the matter. It is not one that can be discussed on a motion for the adjournment. Regarding the Post Office strike, the criticism that has been offered seems to be based entirely on a contention that this is an attack on trades unionism and on the rights of trades unionism. As far as I am concerned, I am in entire agreement with the full action of the Government in the matter. It is no attack on the rights of trades unionists. I hold, for one, that what the Minister for Home Affairs has stated is entirely correct. The Civil Service constitutes the machinery of government. It is not necessary that we should have in the Civil Service anything like the discipline that we have in an Army or in a Police Force, but my opinion is that if Civil Servants are conceded the same right to strike, as Industrial workers have the right to withdraw their labour, the right to go back without being penalised at the end of the dispute, then the Civil Servants would have the power of holding up a portion of the whole machinery of the Government at any time. We may have Civil Servants going on to deal with the conditions of labour as well as pay, and conditions of labour may include some such thing as a demand from Custom Officers that they should not be asked to carry out certain examinations, that they should not even be asked to collect certain taxes. That may seem a remote danger, but that is the sort of danger that must be guarded against, I think, if we were to admit to the full the principle that Civil Servants were entitled to withdraw their labour and to return to their posts without suffering any penalties, because, after all, substantially that is what we mean by the right to strike. We do not intend to force them to continue their work. The difference between resigning and striking is that in a strike they are entitled to come back without any loss to their position or anything else attaching to their position. If that right were conceded, if that right were admitted then we would have in a sense something like a Civilian Pretorian Guard. We might have Civil Servants, not Mr. Johnson or Mr. O'Shannon, representing the labour movement of the country and deciding whether this Government would carry on or the representatives of one small section of labour—the Civil Servants. I believe that there is a clear line, because there is a clear distinction between a Civil Servant and the ordinary industrial worker, and that the attitude of the Government in this matter does not menace or threaten in the very slightest degree the position of the ordinary Trade Unionist or of the industrial worker. The Government here is not an employer in the ordinary sense, but is the representative of the community. It does not profit the members of the Government anything to reduce the wages of any of the employees of the State ; it does not put anything in our pockets. The Government stands in a very different relation to the employees from the ordinary employer. Our attitude, our position, our interests in the matter are impersonal interests. If we are doing our duty we should consider the interests of the community at large; we should not consider our own interests, and it cannot be contended at all that the dispute between the Government, as an employer, is the same as between workers and an ordinary employer. I do not think that there is any need for any heat in this matter. I do not want to introduce any heat into it, but if we take up the position that the Civil Servant has not the right to strike then we carry on so far as we can with what follows logically. If a Civil Servant has not the right to strike then he has not the right to picket. There is a special reason in any case and that has been already stated why picketing the Government buildings should not be allowed at the present moment. Amiens Street Post Office may have been fired at on many other nights, but the statement by the Minister for Home Affairs was that it was fired into while there was a crowd around the door. Anybody knows that the assembling of a crowd outside Government buildings would greatly facilitate any form of attack on those buildings arid would make it impossible for the Guard to deal with an attack. We know that during the fighting here in Dublin there was the case of the soldier being fired at point blank by an Irregular who hid himself behind a crowd of people. Now the assembling of any large crowds outside the Government buildings wonid hinder the troops in the same way in dealing with any attack that may be made, and even if there was no dispute in the present instance, as to the right to strike, even if we would admit the right to picket, I for one would not be agreeable unless the Military authorities come forward and say there is no danger in it. I for one would not consent to allow the pickets to assemble m such way, adjacent to Government buildings so as to give cover to people who may be inclined to make an attack upon them. There is just one other point that I want to make in regard to this. Mr. Johnson referred to the Government and the Forces of the State being thrown into the scale on the side of the employer. Now that is a serious matter in regard to which the Government must have some attitude. Industrial disputes will turn up; there will be many border line cases, incidents that are border line incidents. There, will be attempts by employers to get the Government to throw its weight into the scale on their side. My contention is, that the duty of the Government in industrial disputes is to keep the ring. My belief is, that if the Government itself is not engaged from time to time in dealing with strikes of its own employees it will be possible to get a line of policy laid down in regard to its action in industrial disputes, which will be much more favourable to the Labour Party than any line of policy that can be laid down if the Government itself has to be dealing with strikes of its own employees.

I move that the question be now put.

On a point of order, a suggestion was made by Deputy Byrne which I think is an excellent one.

That is not a point of order.

Would it be in order to suggest that the suggestion be now conformed to?

I second the Motion that the question be now put.

Before I put the Motion for the adjournment I want to announce that on the Committee on Payments to Ministers, Chairman, Deputy Chairman, and Members of Dáil Eireann, the following Deputies have been elected, in accordance with the principles of Proportional Representation:— Deputies Cathal O'Shannon, Michael Staines, Michael Doyle, D. McCarthy, George Nicholls, T.J. O'Connell, J.B. Whelehan, James N. Nolan, Liam de Roiste and Christy Byrne. The Committee, I presume, will fix an hour for the meeting, or they can meet immediately in a Committee Boom which will be made available.

Motion put and carried.
The Dáil adjourned at 6 o'clock till 3 o'clock on Thursday, 14th.