EXECUTIVE ACTION.

moved "That in the public interest, and pursuant to the declared policy of the Government of upholding the authority of the Dáil, it is the opinion of the Dáil that a measure should be introduced immediately to legalise and control with suitable safeguards such Executive action as may be necessary during the present civil war for curtailing the liberty of the subject;

"That a definite status ought to be accorded to all military and political prisoners taken during the present civil war, with a definite code of rules governing their respective rights and duties, and with definite means of redress for any well-founded complaints by prisoners."

I think the Dáil is to be congratulated on the dignity and good temper with which this matter has been discussed up to now, and with a view to continuing that happy state of affairs I desire to say at once that in raising this somewhat delicate subject I have no intention of saying what would give offence to those who disagree with me, and I ask the Dáil to give me their sympathy, and where they cannot give me their sympathy at least their toleration in the task of championing or appearing to champion the under dog, particularly if you think that the under dog is mad. My concern is far less with the under dog than with his matter, the Irish people, and it is because I am concerned for the dignity of the Irish people that I have thought it necessary to raise this Motion now. I ask the Government to believe that I am not moving in this matter out of any cantankerous desire to cause them difficulty, and I ask the Dáil to believe that I have not been approached by anybody on the anti-Treaty side to bring this matter forward. I mention these matters with some hope of disarming criticism that might otherwise be made. I am bringing this matter forward with a full realisation, a fuller realisation perhaps than many members, of the difficulties of the Government, and particularly of the Minister for Home Affairs, who has the hardest post after that of the Minister for Defence. I am bringing it forward in friendly spirit and not as hostile criticism, because I hope to induce the Government to meet me in the matter in the same spirit as I move this motion, in the spirit in which the other day the Minister for Defence gave that noble speech that we listened to. The matter in question concerns two quite distinct classes of people. You have first the man of war —the fighting man, properly so called, taken in arms and imprisoned. You have secondly the political suspect. I am not particularly concerned with the first class. I suppose nobody will deny that the fighting men taken in arms against the State must be imprisoned. I suppose they themselves would hardly deny it, but at the same time I regret it is done in the wrong way, and that the matter has not hitherto been legalised. I am, however, concerned, deeply concerned, With the case of the political suspect. I want the Dáil to realise the position we have to-day in that matter. The Government, in the exercise of its discretion, have arrested numbers of people, I know not how many, numbers at all events without charge, without any intention of trial, and with the intention of keeping them in prison indefinitely. Now, that may or may not be necessary. I plead guilty to a very strong aversion to the system of internment, but I am prepared to admit that there may be crises in the life of the State when remedies of that kind are necessary, and I daresay the Government can satisfy the Dáil that this is one. But what I do know is this, that these arrests have been made without any Law, without any Decree, without any judgment to sanction them or authorise them, and without any authority whatever from this Dáil. I suppose it is a truism and needs no argument that there is no more dangerous power that you can put into the hands of the Executive than arbitrary power over the liberty of the citizen. That power is dangerous enough when exercised, as it was exercised in England the other day, and during the last few years in this country under Law or under pretence of Law, under rules and regulations with safeguards. It is dangerous enough when these safeguards are of the best, but what is to be said and how could it be defended when it is exercised without any attempt whatever at legal justification, legal control, or legal restraint? I am not asking the Government to do anything difficult. I am asking them to do something that will strengthen, instead of weakening their position, strengthen it immeasurably. It will be obvious, I suppose, to everyone of us that if it be the fact that you have a considerable number of prisoners politically opposed to the Government interned on suspicion of having helped the armed forces that are opposed to the State, it will be sufficiently obvious that if there are a number of these people—human nature being what it is—there must be some of them improperly imprisoned, and there are certainly many of them sincerely believed by their friends, and believed by at least a section of public opinion, to be improperly interned. And therefore one serious result of this interning without lawful authority is that you are giving food for propaganda against the Government where you need not give it, making friends into enemies, and making the task of the Government ultimately more difficult. I do not think that is a wise procedure, I do not think it is a just procedure. Let me give you two or three cases of persons who have been subjected to this process, and I think I shall include in the instances I mention the names of two people whom it would probably be very easy for the Government to make capital against in this Dáil, in view of the records of these people, and in including them I do so because it is not a matter of persons, but a matter of principles. The other day we had Dr. Bastable, who came over from Glasgow. He is a medical practitioner there, and came on holidays to Dublin. I have not the honour of the gentleman's acquaintance, but I am told that after being in Dublin for two or three days he finds himself suddenly whisked off to jail without any reason given whatsoever. It may be that there are the best of reasons. They are not known to the people and not known to his friends. I am informed that this gentleman has had no active part in the insurrection directly or indirectly. It may be, but I do not know, that his relatives were mixed up with the Irregular forces, but I trust, A Chinn Comhairle, that we have not yet got to the stage that you imprison a gentleman because you do not like the politics of his relatives. He, at all events, claims he is improperly imprisoned, and, if I understand the answer given to the House by the Minister for Home Affairs, he is not allowed to see his solicitor with a view to making preparation for a Habeas Corpus application. That is one instance. The Government there, I say, may have a perfect answer, but, the public and his people do not know, and therefore the Government put themselves in the wrong; and, in any case, this is the necessary result of arresting people arbitrarily without having any proper code of law or rules under which to act. There was another case—Mr. de Blacam. He was arrested the other day. He is well known to be hostile to the Government on the question of the Treaty. He may be against the Government in the civil war. He is a person who does not possess strong health, and on him imprisonment, I am told, is most dangerous. The effect of the arrest of that gentleman—and, if my information is correct, he has taken no part in the military activities against the Government—the effect of it is to create further propaganda against the Government and against those who are supporting the Government, quite unnecessarily, simply because this thing is done in this illegal way and no explanation given, whereas there may be cause for the Government's action, and they may have a good answer. Take the case of Mr. Justice Crowley. Judge Crowley was appointed a Judge by Dáil Eireann. I am told that Judge Crowley is a cantankerous person and a difficult person. I am further told that he has emitted some most objectionable Decrees against the Government in spite of the Government's attempt to suppress his Court. I do not know why that gentleman was arrested the other day, why the Government arrested and interned one of its own Judges without charge or trial. What happened was this: Mr. Crowley was, I think, fifteen months in prison up to the truce with England, and it is common knowledge of all who know anything about him that his health suffered very severely in consequence. It is, therefore, known that Mr. Crowley is a man to whom imprisonment is dangerous. I am told Mr. Crowley in prison addressed a letter to me seeking my interest in the subject. In that letter he started what I have given just now to the Dáil and proceeded to say that if he were not released, he would go on hunger strike. That letter has not been permitted to reach me. That letter, if my information is correct, was simply suppressed, but, however, it had the desired effect. In the face of that threat of Judge Crowley the Ministry paused and considered and said: “How shall we look in the eyes of public opinion if one of our own Judges die of hunger strike in prison, where we have put him illegally?” Then they let him out. I may say I am not mentioning that to make capital against the Government, but I am mentioning it in order that the Government may realise what a mistake it is to put themselves in such a humiliating position. If he went on hunger strike when legally and properly put in prison in order to make capital against the, Government, then the Government could stand by what they were doing. Now I will give a final cage. Some of you have heard of Mr. Deputy Sean T. O'Kelly. He is a gentleman who, I am told, is against the Treaty. He is a gentleman who—if I am correctly informed—was engaged upon some publicity work in connection with the activities of the Irregular Forces in O'Connell Street, and the newspapers have told us that he was on the point of leaving for the United States of America in order to show up the iniquities of the Government, when he was arrested and clapped into gaol.

And to buy ammunition in the United States.

There may have been most excellent reasons.

You know there were.

In that particular case the Government, instead of dealing with the matter according to law, as they should have done, proceeded to perform what I consider an extremely foolish piece of propaganda which created in the minds of the public an impression that this gentleman was to be locked up because the Government did not wish him to do propaganda against them in America. That impression, I hope, was false, but the Government is not doing itself justice in this matter of arresting people without authority. The Government told us, and they got the support of the Dáil on it, that all they are thinking of is to maintain and uphold the authority of Dáil Eireann. It is doing these things without any authority from Dáil Eireann. There may be some serious objection, to legalising this position. I don't know of any. I have discussed the matter with several people, and the objections they have made are three. There is the objection of the thoughtless man in the street. The thoughtless main in the street says:—"It is war time," and that is enough. That may have been an adequate answer at the beginning of the war while the trouble was in the capital itself. That is not an adequate answer when Dáil Eireann is sitting when the whole matter could be put right by putting through a short Act of Parliament which any competent lawyer—and the Government have many at it command —could have ready for this Dáil in forty-eight hours. It is not an adequate answer when the Ministry knows, and if it needed assurances it would get them, when the Ministry knows that such a Bill could be brought down to the Dáil and presented and passed. If the Minister for Defence and Commander-in-Chief comes here and tells us that such and such things which we do not like are essential in the present crisis, this Dáil will be anxious to facilitate the Commander-in-Chief, and will not put any petty difficulties in his way. It is not an answer when Dáil Eireann is sitting to say "This is a time of war." Then you have the answer of another type of gentleman. You have the answer of the professional politician. And the professional politician will say to you "These fellows are anarchists," and he will give you that as a full and sufficient answer. The other day the Commander-in-Chief in this Dáil told the Chamber that there were three classes of persons upon the other side in this war. He said there were politicians, military men and criminals, and he told us that many of those on the other side were on the other side, not for ignoble motives, but because they put faith before reason. We do not know—perhaps he does not know—what proportion of the forces ranged against the Government consists of criminals but in view of the statement made to us in this Dáil, it is impossible and it would be unjust to dub as criminals or anarchists all those against us. You cannot kill anarchy by anarchy. If it be true that the Government have anarchists to fight against, that is all the more reason why it should assert the supremacy of the law in the face of that anarchy, and why it should refuse to descend to anarchical methods itself, and especially in a country which has been brought up from the cradle to believe that the law is the enemy, and that illegality is rather a virtue. Now, at the starting of the new Irish State when the eyes of the world are upon this country, it is above all necessary that the Government, at least, should not lay itself open to the charge of giving lessons in anarchy. No, it will not do to answer the proposal by calling these people names. But then it is said by opportunists:"Oh, it is all right; the thing may be formally wrong—a legal quibble, you now, and all that kind of thing. We will have an Act of Indemnity after the war." We will have an Act of Indemnity after the war. That is the answer of the opportunists, and I shall be surprised if that kind of answer finds any echo in this Dáil. The thing is either right or wrong. There is no difficulty, if it is wrong, as I say it is, in putting it right. I therefore ask the Government to treat this matter, not lightly, as a matter of no concern, but to take it seriously. What I want to see them do is this: to bring in before Dáil Eireann a short Act of Parliament to legalise the whole position. They can do the same thing in other ways if they think proper; there are other legal means of arriving at much the same result. I suggest to them the obvious and best means would be an Act passed through this Dáil, whose authority they are anxious to maintain. That Act would provide for the arrest and imprisonment —imprisonment upon capture—of those caught in arms; those fighting the Government in arms; for the arrest and imprisonment of those, if any, whom it is necessary, for the safety of the State, to intern at the present moment. It would specify clearly the rights of those men and their obligations. It would set forth the discipline under which they will be held, the punishment to which they expose themselves in case of contumacy, and it would set out, no less clearly, the right of any such man to test the legality of his imprisonment by some method provided for in the Act. There are many ways Which the Legal Adviser of the Government would have no difficulty whatever in incorporating in such an Act, and you thereby remove what is a real grievance, and, where it is not real, is at all events a sufficient grievance to do very serious propaganda against the Government. And you remove the danger—and think it is a serious danger—that our friends, men of our own blood across the seas, and particularly in America, will be filled with animus against the Government, on account of the things that are said about the Government's performance, by those who are attacking the State to-day. People who are out to do propaganda against the Government will, no doubt, have some success in any case. Governments expect that; but, if you give them good, solid material to do propaganda work their success will be a very different thing from what it would be otherwise. And the danger is a real one that people far off will believe a great deal more and a great deal worse than what the truth is, and that we shall have the humiliation of seeing Ireland visited by a delegation of anxious inquirers from America, eager to know what is the truth about the alleged atrocities. I ask the Government to spare us that humiliation. This is a moment when the eyes of the world are on Ireland. For 700 years Ireland has been fighting a fight to which there is no parallel in history— a noble fight nobly fought—and it is our duty now, when we are starting the new State, to see as far as we can do it that we do not lower the level of this Nation. It is the duty of the Government to remember the traditions which it represents. If the Government believes, as we have all professed to believe, that we, the Irish people, have a Mission and a Gospel of our own, and a civilisation of our own, to communicate to the world, let us not begin by sullying our first pages. I ask the Government to take the simple measure I suggest in order that we may leave to our children, and our children's children, the memory that when this first Government of the Irish State began its work under circumstances of great difficulty, it remembered its traditions, it remembered what our for bears had stood for, and it decided to fight this fight in a clean and straight way, and to be guided all through by principle and not by opportunism.

I desire to second the motion, and I do so on the general principle that not alone in every organisation, in every Parliament such as this, but in every State, certain order and procedure is necessary. Our own proceedings here have in one sense been slightly out of order, as is known to you, A Chinn Comhairle, simply because we have not had Standing Orders completed. Now, it has been necessary for this Assembly to get a Committee to devise Standing Orders to govern our procedure, in order to have debate, and produce decisions, in an orderly manner. It is much more necessary in the government of a State that things should proceed in an orderly manner. The contention against those who are taking up arms against Dáil Eireann, in the view I take of the matter, is this, that they are trying to smash a State organisation in this country which is governed and directed by this Assembly. In other words, they are acting irregularly and out of order. They are using force for that purpose. Now, it is the duty of the Ministry here to assert the authority of this Assembly. On account of the challenge being by force, we are satisfied in this Assembly that the Ministry has no option but to use force also. But in the assertion of that authority it is particularly incumbent upon our Ministry to act according to certain rules, and according to certain orders, and according to certain methods which would be understood by everybody—by those who are in arms against them, or any political opposition against them, as well as by those in sympathy with them. For that purpose and that reason, and in order that method may be produced, I second the resolution.

Deputy Gavan Duffy is a lawyer. I only escaped that fate myself by the intervention of the police.

The police are useful sometimes.

It is only natural that the people who have a great deal to do with law, and a great deal to do with constitutional matters should be more conscious perhaps than the rest of us of the necessity of doing all things strictly according to rule, and all things strictly according to constitutional precedents, but in the very eloquent and, on the whole, the rather reasonable address which he delivered, it seems to me that he had not sufficiently faced the facts arising from the peculiar circumstances of this country at the moment. That he did not face the fact, that we stand amidst the ruins of one administration and the foundations of another, still unlaid and still unset. And that while we were in that peculiar and anomalous position we were faced; with the gravest and most painful duty which any administration could be faced with; the duty of facing with force a wayward section, of our own people, the logical outcome of whose acts would mean the destruction of the hopes of the people to whom we were responsible. The Provisional Government was appointed by a meeting of Members elected to sit in a certain Parliament over a certain area. It was not elected strictly speaking by a Parliament, for that meeting was not a Parliament. It was a meeting of Members. Now, I want to go rather fully into this matter, because I want to show this Dáil in a reasonable way that we had duties and we had responsibilities, very great, very grave and very far-reaching; and that we had not in fact all the machinery at our disposal which we would wish to have to deal with the situation we were faced with. That Provisional Government of nine men was elected, and I wonder if in the history of the world there was ever greater responsibility on nine very young and rather inexperienced men. The position of that Provisional Government which was elected at that meeting of Members was rather unique. We had an existence of and we had a duty and we had a responsibility apart from the existence of any Parliament. And theoretically at any rate we could have gone out into the highways and byways and co-opted men into that Government. We could have co-opted into that Government men who would not have any shred of representative capacity, but those services we felt would be a useful addition to that Government and so we were in fact rather a Committee to tide over a very difficult transitionary stage than a Government in the ordinary acceptance of the word. Between the dissolution of one Parliament and the assembling of another we were faced with very definite evidence that the majority will in this country was not accepted as the deciding factor in the political affairs of this country: and that certain men, from whatever motives, had determined to take a step which we felt would once and for all dispose of this Treaty on which so many people in Ireland have based their hopes for Ireland's future, for Ireland's development and for Ireland's prosperity. And remember that the duty that was placed on us at that meeting at the Mansion House was there. That terrible responsibility was there, and it was there, and I wish to stress it quite apart from either the Assembly that had dissolved, or the Assembly that was yet to meet. We took a certain line of action which many people not understanding perhaps all the facts, and not understanding perhaps quite fully the peculiar position, we occupy and the very, responsibility we had to all our people criticised very severely, and we had not at our disposal in the country machinery so that all things could be done according to law and that all things could be done even according to precedent. But I think we did according to our lights or, as some would say, according to our twilights what we considered was the best for the Irish Nation in the circumstances that had arisen. And we did try to insure that injustices would not occur, and in the early days, in a spirit that many have termed far too generous, we arranged that by the signing of a very simple undertaking, an undertaking that was not a hardship to expect any citizen to give as proof of his bonafides, we turned men out of jail. Then our faith in human nature got several rather severe shocks, and as I said yesterday the holes of the sieves were made so much smaller. There was a little more delay in dealing with cases, but we still adhere to that that men who give evidence of good faith and give an undertaking which we believe to be genuine as regards their future conduct are still released if the Intelligence Department of the Army endorses the recommendation for their release. I was rather glad to hear Deputy De Roiste say that it is the duty of the Ministry to vindicate the authority of Parliament. Because, unless I am very much mistaken, I read in the Press some month or six weeks ago threat from Deputy De Roiste that if there was not instantaneous peace, and he did even define the terms on which it was to be declared, that he would resign his membership of this Assembly. Now, Deputy Gavan Duffy spoiled a rather good case by over-stating it; and if, instead of all the destructive criticism and all the perfervid eloquence, he had set himself in a reasonable way to say what we could have done in that particularly difficult and anomalous period— what we could have done other than what we did—it would, perhaps, have been more profitable to us and to the whole Assembly here. There are many things anomalous in the condition of this country to-day. There are people in occupation of land and property which is not theirs; there are people with legal rights that it is not yet possible to vindicate. I think a true sense of proportion would not pick out from the existing chaos and all the existing anomalous conditions in the country just this one thing which Gavan Duffy has picked out and stressed with an eloquence of which he is capable and a special pleading of which he is capable to-day. There may be in some prisons here and there through the country, amongst the 5,000 prisoners, or approximately 5,000 prisoners, some whose cases deserve investigation. We have endeavoured to secure that, on any prisoner petitioning for consideration for his case and giving certain evidence of bona-fides, that such consideration will be promptly given. And, further, we recognise that that particular process of the past, which was necessary because of the peculiar set of circumstances, cannot remain the process, now that it has been found possible to call the Parliament together, and that a certain policy with regard to prisoners and to regularise their internment and the conditions of their internment is desirable. The Government in fact, long before Deputy Gavan Duffy pushed so hard at the open door, had been considering this matter and had been in consultation with their Legal Advisers. The Minister for Defence will, I hope, deal even more fully than I can with all the difficulties there have been in the past, and all the difficulties that still remain, and all the difficulties that undoubtedly will exist in the future. The Motion perhaps will serve some useful purpose, if he can see his way to give the Dáil a statement of the question as it appears from the particular angle from which he is compelled to regard it.

I do not think it is necessary for me to deal at any length with this particular matter. Hearing Deputy Gavan Duffy speak I had something of that feeling that a good student has when he gets his preliminary couple of lectures, say, on Physiology or Psychology, and when he hears all the precautions there are, and feels that if he only had a proper grip of them he would never have a bit of pain or a single thought of worry for the rest of his days. Then when I find myself at the stage of being a six months student I find the Professor coming in one morning with indigestion, in a very irritable frame of mind, so far at any rate as the Professor is concerned, all those facts that he knows so much about, in their actual application, break down. We certainly would be very strengthened in our work if we had all these rules of thumb read to apply, and if we had such familiarity with, and experience of, them, that if any particular case arose the whole machinery would move along sthe lines, say, of Rule 77. If everything were done properly the prisoner would be placed in his cell with a list of the things that were wrong with him, a list of the things that would have to wait until they were done, and a list of the things he would have to go through to the end. As I say it would be a tremendous source of strength to us if we had a structure of law around us that would help us to carry out our work, and I certainly have everything to add to anything that might be said in favour of this particular Motion. I have sent over for a few papers in connection with the cases we have heard mentioned, and I am glad that those papers have not turned up, because I think that no matter how sympathetically Deputy Gavan Duffy spoke of the particular cases he brought under our notice they are not simple cases at all, and there are serious difficulties in allowing to go free in the country, or in city areas, men who are, say, even a source of irritation to the troops working there, and men whose actions and whose words are such as would prejudice first and foremost the forces that are helping to restore order in the country, and that would prejudice their discipline. It is very much safer, if there is a man in Donegal, where our troops are, under very difficult circumstances, performing a very difficult task, that the man who is talking irritably or writing irritably should be taken out of Donegal until we settle tho lack of law and order that is there, than that he should be left there, if you want to look at it from that point of view. It is very difficult, if you arrest a man who, as has been stated, is an opponent of this Government, and you leave him go, and he falls into your hands five or six weeks later, and you find in his pocket instructions that some particular person who is a leader, say of the Irregulars considers it absolutely necessary that he gets away on the following night to America, and that he should look after the rest of the "Thompsons" and see about buying ammunition, to blame the military authorities if they turn around and say, "Hold on to him." I realise quite well that, in justice to these particular men and in justice to the whole country, and that in order that we may take advantage in the present situation of the little things that are simply irritants and not dangerous, that it would be well if we had rules that would help us in dealing with all these matters, and if we had time to instruct the fairly large machinery that we have attempting to do our work under all those rules. I wish to support the Motion. I am in favour of it, and I hope, when it is passed here, that we will be able to get assistance from all sides of the Dáil in creating a set of Rules and a set of Orders that will not be an impediment to the work that we are trying to do. If, instead of simply getting on with our work, we had to consider at every turn of the hand what particular law of psychology we were working along, or what particular though passed through, our minds, we would not get through our day's work. And if we are to get a set of Rules like these, let them be sensible ones, and do not come in and put in front of the work we are doing this mere resolution, and say, get on with the work. To the best of our intelligence and the best of our ability we are dealing with the work as justly as possibly can be done, having due regard to the safety of the people. Do not let this resolution stand as an impediment to it. Let it be simply a public manifestation, if you wish, of those things that have been in our minds all along.

Mr. Chairman, when I opened the Daily Mail this morning I saw the caption, “a million words per day.” It was over an account of a French Radio-apparatus, but I genuinely thought it was the prelude to an account of the long speeches we have been listening to from the Ministry since we began. Fortunately, to-day there has been a departure from this practice of long Ministerial orations; but with this comes something far more astonishing than the cessation. Some of us who are only plain people, and not Ministers, must feel considerable be wilderment in consequence of the speech just delivered by the Minister for Defence. This is quite a kaleidoscopic change, that the Ministry so long arrogant have turned apologetic, are not merely on their defence, but uttering apologies on account of their youth, inexperience, and the difficulties of their position. I am not sufficiently old a man to taunt anyone with being young, but when the Minister for Home Affairs himself accuses himself by putting forward the excuse, one is entitled to refer to it. I wish he had not so accused himself. Surely the situation is not what was described by either of the Ministers who spoke. It may be that my history is utterly wrong and that the impression that I formed in regard to the position and to the power of the Provisional Government was formed—in common with that of many other people—on altogether sufficient basis. The Provisional Government is responsible to this Parliament, and this Parliament is defined as being that to which it is responsible. It was appointed, as you have just been told, at a meeting of the Members elected to sit in the Southern Parliament. Now I was challenged, I think rather peremptorily, by the President of the Dáil the other day when for the sake of brevity I used a shorthand formula and described it as being “set up by the British Government.” In a sense it is a creature of Statute, just as this Parliament is in a sense a creature of Statute. As set up it was in the nature of a Clearing House because the Irish people recognise no other Government than Dáil Eireann, and the British Government refused to recognise the Dáil Government, and for the purpose of the change-over to which the Minister of Defence has just referred, it was imperative that there should be some body whose authority the Irish people would recognise and to which the English Government could delegate the authority which it was transferring. In my conception of it the Provisional Government was that body. Now why should we not make some effort after clarity of thought? Does not everyone know that this is not a new State beginning absolutely afresh—its origins without any history or without any antecedents? We are not building from the ground up. The Provisional Government took over “a going concern.” You are taking over a form of polity and a system of institutions that have been already in operation, and our task is to try and mould and adapt these to Gaelic ideals of law and government, to adjust their and to abolish them if necessary; to bring into operation a system of institutions which will be in harmony with the spirit of the Gael, yet in consonance with the requirements of Ireland. We are not, therefore, in vacuo, and will all respect to Deputy Duffy, who has practised the Law—I myself am a Barrister—at least, I was called to the Bar, but unlike Deputy Duffy I never had the good fortune to achieve a practice— we are not here without a legal system and without the machinery with which to regularise Acts of government. This is the only thing that I object to in the resolution of Deputy Duffy; with all the principles which he laid down, and all the fine aspirations which he uttered for clean-handed action in administration of justice, and for just protection of political opponents, I am in the most thorough accord, but I suggest that a measure does not need to be introduced to legalise the system of Laws under which we now are living, and which, though you may profess to be in opposition to them, are all in operation. What may be requested, and what I do think is requested, is some code of rules, some code of regulation, which, under the existing legal system, would secure the desired result.

May I ask to what laws the Deputy is referring?

I am referring to the whole system of law. If aggrieved you have the Habeas Corpus Act, which is part of the Constitution that has been taken over and is already in operation. You have the High Courts, and all the statutes for preserving the liberty of the subject. There is, too, the tradition—happily not lost—of the exercise by the community of its inherent powers to take whatever measures may become necessary in critical situations for its self-preservation. I think, then, with all respect, the Minister for Defence was rather weak in supporting this resolution.

He, or rather the Minister for Home Affairs, promised to see into those things complained of. He promised on behalf of the Ministry to remove the grievances and give less room for propaganda than had hitherto been given. Are not these speeches tantamount to a full admission the part of the Minister and of the Provisional Government that things have been done that now require to be legalised. That is what it amounts to. I submit that on reconsideration the Ministry will realise their position.

I did not intend to rise now only for the speech we have just heard. I wonder whether it is desired by the Deputy that we should bring back the Executive forces, the Authority that has gone, because unless special power is taken or given by this Dáil there is no Executive authority existing in Ireland to-day, so far as I can understand, capable of dealing with any large violent trouble. I doubt—perhaps I should not say I doubt—I am very nearly sure—that we have no lawyers affiliated with our organisation. The Solicitors' Union has not yet applied for affiliation! The facts, as I understand them, are that even the use of the army is illegal and will have to be legalised, so that it is necessary that steps should be taken to legalise the control of such Executive action as may be necessary with suitable safeguards. Unlike Deputy Magennis, I thought that the promise from the Minister of Defence was satisfactory. I would again add a request; I will put it in the form of a request; I made it as a suggestion a day or two ago that there should be appointed a Commission of some body of persons not connected with the authorities, or only partially so, who would act as Commission of Inquiry into special cases that are set up on which members of this Dáil may be appointed as they were on a previous Commission. I think those who are familiar with these things know that there was some value received by prisoners and there was some kind of security created by the Commission that was set up—I think it was under Lord Shaw. But whether that is a true statement or not, I believe it would be a good thing here if we could remove the possibilities of an injustice being done to even one citizen, if we can possibly do it. There are, it was admitted, perhaps about 5,000 prisoners. Some of the cases the Minister for Home Affairs said are deserving of consideration. That is not a worthy thing for the Minister for Home Affairs to say. Every prisoner's case is worthy of consideration.

On a point of personal explanation, I proceeded to say that we would consider every reasonable process to give re-consideration to such cases.

On the point that the Minister has just mentioned, I would submit—it is somewhat of an aside, perhaps, but I would submit it—that the evidence he gives of the unreliability of the word of many prisoners proves the futility of presenting a form of the kind he mentions. Prisoners who have conscientious objections to signing any such form will continue to be imprisoned. Those who have any knowledge of the circumstances of the past two years know it is true that many people, though they may be innocent of any crime against the State, will refuse to sign forms of that kind when they have not been tried; and the fact that many do sign them with a definite intention of breaking them when they come out shows the futility of the method. I want to support the resolution, and I hope that, after the acceptance by the Minister for Defence, there will be unanimity in passing the Motion.

As I say here I was reminding myself that from 1916 to 1919 I had been a prisoner on a good many occasions.

Would it not be advisable to find out at this stage if the resolution is contentious? If it is, there is no use in wasting the whole evening about it.

Is the resolution accepted?

I understand that the Motion is not accepted by the President, and it is by the Minister for Defence.

You will find out when I am talking about it.

From 1916 to 1919 a good many members of this House were prisoners from time to time. They were put into prison, and had no reason provided as to why they were there. I think I interpret the minds of others, interpreting my own, in saying there was a considerable amount of indignation as to the treatment we received and as to our being there at all, or if we did not feel that full measure of indignation at least we expressed it. The speech made by the Minister of Defence certainly expounded the mind of our captors with a very great deal of eloquence, and shows that they had their own difficulties to deal with. There was this in any case—they never proceeded, except in the later stages, to arrest without authority. I am not criticising any of the past actions taken by the Government. The Government acted at the time, when hostilities broke out, without any machinery of law to which they could appeal. They acted at the time, as I am perfectly convinced, under circumstances that left them no alternative but to arrest a large number of people for whose arrest they had not due authority, and yet whom to leave at large would imperil, I am perfectly convinced, the life of the community. It is, I understand, not the immediate criticism embodied in this resolution now before the Dáil. I think the purpose is somewhat larger and it is with the larger purpose I would urge the Government once again to reconsider whether they cannot accept it; that purpose being that now there is this Dáil, authority should be required by the Government and legislative measures sought. The Minister of Home Affairs has already told us it is the intention to do this, and that it is unnecessary to push at an open door. If that be the Executive intention, or the intention of the Minister, or of the Ministry on whose behalf he speaks, it seems to me the purpose of this resolution has been served and need no longer be pressed.

Listening to the speech, of my colleague, the member for the National University, it seemed to me that it might be necessary to put the Dáil in possession, at all events of the facts as they exist in my mind with regard to the right that I have to speak here at all. I wish to assure my, eminent colleague that the authority I feel myself vested with, first of all as a Member of this Dáil, and secondly as a Minister appointed by this Dáil is derived wholly and exclusively from the people of this country. That is true not only of each of us here, as I understand it, but it is also true of the Provisional Government as it existed up to the time that this Ministry was reconstituted by the Dáil a few days ago. The Provisional Government, as far as Ireland is concerned, derived its authority, from the ratification of the Treaty by Dáil Eireann. With regard to the main point brought forward by this resolution, which proposes to declare that "in the opinion of the Dáil a measure should be introduced immediately to legalise it," etc.,.... the action which has been taken by the Government and by the Army on behalf of the people of Ireland, and with no other object in view but the safety of the people of Ireland, Salus Populi. That action was either right or wrong, in it's details it is either right or wrong. In its policy it is either right or wrong. We do not find ourselves here in the political atmosphere that surrounded Henry VIII., who, when he wished to do something which happened to be illegal got an Act of Parliament to enable him to do it. So far as we stand here—I trust I may speak for all my colleagues as well as myself—if you desire to legalise certain courses of action it is free to you to do so, but I hope that all my colleagues, I hope that I myself, I hope that every person holding office or responsibility under the Irish people will do what is right and necessary in order to secure the safety and the authority of the people. A state of war, a state at all events of belligerency, has been forced upon this country. It has not been forced upon it by us. The measures that were taken in opposition to the public voice, the public will of this country—those measures could only have been met by military measures. I trust I am making a statement now which any person here can contradict. If any person can contradict what I say here now that those measures taken against the peace, against the will, and against the safety of the people of Ireland, could only have been countered by military measures, if any person desires to contradict that I am prepared to await interruption. The very essence of military measures is, that they interfere with freedom. It is impossible to take military measures without interfering with liberties; measures taken that do not interfere with liberty are not military measures. It is altogether not a matter of difference in kind, but rather a matter of difference in persons and localities. If the Minister for Defence directs one of his subordinate officers in any part of the country to carry out a certain military measure, in doing so he has to override the rights of persons, he has the right to occupy roads, he has the right to occupy buildings, he has the right to trespass on grounds, he has the right given to him to enter into houses and to prevent other people having access to them. He and his subordinates have the right to do a thousand things, which interfere with liberty as liberty ordinarily exists. Now if this Dáil proposes to pass any measure to legalise all those things I say for my part it is quite welcome to do so, but the position, in which I wish to stand is this, I wish to take the responsibility —full responsibility for whatever is necessary to establish the right of the people, the safety of the people, and the will of the people—I wish to take that responsibility, and I am not going to allow that responsibility to await on a technical legislation of what is necessary to be done. If when these things come to an end his Dáil Eireann or its successor desires to enact an Act of Indemnity well and good. If it desires on the contrary to impeach me along with others for the wrong we have done well and good. We will stand the trial.

I had not the opportunity of hearing the case presented by Deputy Gavan Duffy as I was engaged on important pther business outside while he was addressing the Dáil, but I understand the case he made dealt with three specific cases of arrest, and if I am correct in thus quoting him according to number, I must say that the number is insignificant, and the case made is largely the case which an able man makes the most of when he knows the case is an exceedingly bad one. When I was a very young man I was very anxious to become a Barrister-at-Law, but as time went on and I grew older I thanked God that I was not a Barrister. I have not the necessary time to read the Daily Mail, or what it says about this House, or any other. I hope Deputy Gavan Duffy will confine himself to a fewer number of cases than one million. I regret to say I cannot accept any responsibility for the modesty of the Minister of Home Affairs. I am essentially a modest man myself, but I would not express myself with the modesty in which the previous speaker describes the position. If there are only three cases cited by Deputy Gavan Duffy surely we have spent a long time in considering them; and we have not got from anybody anything lie the same condemnation for the lives of the citizens taken, and I believe that the five or six thousand persons at present in gaol are as responsible as anyone else.

On a point of personal explanation. I wish to point out that I mentioned three cases as evidence of a large number, and as typical cases I wish to point out the President is not in order in commenting on a speech which was delivered while he was out of the Chamber, and misrepresenting what I said in that speech.

I recollect that the Deputy has said that we should give prisoners of war treatment to the prisoners. Not being very well versed in these matters I consulted my brother, as he is more of an authority upon this question than I am. I asked him what was prisoners of war treatment, and he said the first thing in prisoners of war treatment was to cut the buttons off their trousers. They are not even getting that kind of treatment, and if there is to be treatment other than what they deserve I will not be responsible for it. Now the question is whether or not there has been sufficient grounds for the arrests. First of all, the military or the Government arrested no prisoners about whom there were not serious grounds for susipicion and ample ground for arrest, in the ordinary circumstances prevailing in any country during a time of war. It was in the interest entirely of public safety that any arrests have taken place. We have not, perhaps, exactly regulated the conduct of those arrested by a written law, but I think that the securing of the safety of the public is the first duty of the Government, and on that safely we are taking our stand and are prepared to be tried at any time for the arrest of this five or six thousand individuals, whose arrest, I think, secured the safety of the country. Of that we are satisfied. I understand that one of the gentlemen about whom complaint has been made has decorated himself with the title of "Judge." A Judge is not far removed from a barrister, only a step or two. And this particular Judge held a court and issued an order for the arrest of the Minister of Defence and for several other people as well. Now I ask was that a thing that could be lightly looked upon by the Government?

Why did you let him out?

Because he was an old cod. And I think Deputy Gavan Duffy himself informed me one time that that was his real title of distinction. Now at the present moment it is well known that the hospitality that we are able to afford these prisoners is limited—to some extent by the number of them that have accepted it, whether willingly or unwillingly. And this is not our fault; it is their misfortune. If they are suffering great inconvenience and discomforts, they are themselves the architects of their misfortunes. And we will welcome any motion coming along to enquire not into this or that particular case, but into the whole case from beginning to end; and upon this we are prepared to stand our trial. It is not usual, I take it, for a person in my position to move an amendment, but, nevertheless, I will move an amendment on this occasion, which is—

" That in the public interest and pursuant to the declared policy of the Government. of upholding the authority of the Dáil it is the opinion of the Dáil that the military authorities should have the full support of the Dáil in such action as may be necessary for the preservation of life and restoration of order."

" That well founded complaints by prisoners in military custody should be immediately investigated and remedied so far as possible, having due regard, to public safety."

"That at the earliest opportunity legislation should be introduced to deal with Executive-action which has been taken."

I submit that that Amendment is out of order.

The actual discussion is only on Section "A" of the Motion No. 3, that is to say, that the first part only, which is A, is under discussion. Now portion of the Amendment obviously refers to B.

I think there is no harm in taking the three together. That would dispose of the second part of the resolution and save the necessity of hearing more speeches about the same thing.

Is the President moving this Amendment?

If you rule, Mr. Chairman, that this is in order, I can only say, as one, that I am not quick enough in the intake to take in the full implications of such an Amendment as this, and I think it is better not to vote for such an Amendment without some further consideration.

I trust you are not ruling, Mr. Chairman, that the Amendment is in order. The only Motion before the Dáil is Section A of my Motion, which deals with a specific thing. It proposes to legalise, certain illegal action which was, perhaps, necessary action. It is not an Amendment to such a Motion as that to propose a pious resolution that the Military Authority shall have the support of the Dáil. The Amendment should be directed to the specific matter of the resolution. The Amendment is directed, in order to "vindicate the authority of the Dáil," to supporting the action of the Military Authority.

The resolution before the Houses is 3 A. on the Orders of the Day, and two parts of the proposed Amendment seem to me to be in order. The second refers to complaints by prisoners and it is not relative to Resolution A, and I will rule that out of order.

The third Order of the Day is that in the name of Mr. Gavan Duffy. Can that Motion be split. into two Motions?

Deputy Gavan Duffy proposed "A"as a separate Motion.

I do not propose to go on with the other in view of what the Minister for Defence said.

You definitely. and decisively ruled that a certain part of the Amendment is a substantive Motion, that is, in so far as it asks for approval of certain military steps taken. That is not an Amendment, but a new resolution. I submit there are three things contained in the Amendment, and one is a proposal for subsequent legislation. That, I submit, is a legitimate Amendment, inasmuch as it is a re-wording of what is here in the Motion. But to propose as an Amendment something which would clothe with the authority of the Dáil whatever the military agents of the Government may do, or whatever may occur to them to do, is entirely a new proposal and, I submit, should be ruled out of order, being a substantive motion without notice.

I would like you to bear in mind, Mr. Chairman, that we are no longer a public meeting, but a deliberative body. Here we have a very important proposition put before us verbally, without any chance or opportunity of considering it, and we are asked to pass it without further consideration or discussion. It is not going to redound to thecredit of this Assembly that we should do that kind of thing now or at any other time. I appeal to the President to consider what this means in its effect upon the character of the Dáil.

This Motion, as I take it, is a Motion which in essence curtails the liberty of the subject, safeguards or no safeguards. What I want to stress is the right to safeguard the rights of the people.

I am making a suggestion about the resolution, that No. 3 should be added after the word "that."

It will not be accepted; I am prepared to withdraw it.

Withdraw them both. I suggest.

The amendment is withdrawn. Shall I put the resolution?

I want to say one word before you put the resolution?

Either withdraw them without a speech, or get on with it.

This is the speech of the proposer before the Motion is taken.

I listened with great regret to the President's speech. It was not worthy of the subject. I was sorry to hear so eminent a Deputy as Deputy Eoin MacNeill appearing here as an apostle of anarchy. I listened with considerable interest to the speech of the Minister for Home Affairs. It was a speech facing both ways, and I was particularly interested when he informed that this was forcing the open door. The trouble with these Ministerial doors is that the political atmosphere surrounding the Cabinet is so dark that you cannot tell whether the door is open or shut until you force it.

You got through it all right.

Upon which I congratulate myself. We have then the speech of the Minister who does take us responsibility seriously, and he told us as Minister for Defence, he was going to vote for the Motion. I am sorry that the Government should be divided on a matter of this kind. It is only typical of the muddle, in which matters of this kind are treated.

The following is the Motion:—"That, in the public interest and pursuant to the declared policy of the Government of upholding the authority of the Dáil, it is the opinion of the Dáil that a measure should be introduced immediately to legalise and control, with suitable safeguards, such Executive action as may be necessary during the present civil war for curtailing the liberty of the subject."

Are you withdrawing Part (b)?

Yes.

Motion was put and lost, the voting being 21 for and 50 against.

Ta.

Nil fhuil.

Pádraig Mac Gamhna.Tomás de Nogla.Riobard Ó Deaghaidh.Liam de Roiste.Tomás Mac EóinSeéirse Ghabhain Ui Dhubhthaigh.Lorcan Ó neill.Liam Ó Bríain.Liam Mag Aonghusa.Tomas Ó Conaill.Aodh Ó Culacháin.Séamus Eabhroid.Liam Ó Daimhín.Proinsías Ó CulACHáIN.Seán Ó Laidhín.Cathal Ó Seanáin.Sean Buitleir.Nioclás Ó Faolain.Domhnall Ó Muirgheasa.Risteard MacFheórais.Domhnall Ó Ceallachain

Ni fhuil.Líam Mac Cosgair.Donchadh Ó Gúaire.Úaitear Mac Cumhaill.Sean Ó Maolrúaidh.Sean Ó Lideadh.Sean Ó Duinnín.Michael Ó hAonghusa.Seán Mac Haol.Seán Ó hAodha.Séamus Breathnach.Seósamh Mac Suibhne.Peadar Mac a' Bhaird.Deasmhumhain Mac GearailtSeán Ó Rúanaidh.Micheál de Duram.Sean Mac Garaidh.Risteard Ó Maolchatha.Pilib Mac Cosgair.Michael de Staineas.Domhnall MacCarthaigh.Maolmhuire Mac Eochadha.Earnán Altun.Sir Seamus Craig.Gearóid Mac Giobuin.Liam Thrift.Eóin Mac Neill.Pádraig Ó Maille.Pádraic Ó hÓgáin.Seósamh Ó Faoileachain.Seóirse Mac Niocaill.Piaras Beaslaí.Séamus Ó Crudhlaoich.Cristóir Ó Broin.Risteard Mac Liam.Caoimhghin Ó hUigín.Tomás MacArtuir.Séamus Ó Dóiáin.Aindriú Ó Laimhin.Risteard Ó hAodha.Proinsías Mag Aonghusa.Eamon Ó Dúgáin.Peadar Ó hAodha.Séamus Ó Murchadha.Seosamh MacGiolla Bhrighde.Liam Mac Síoghaird.Tomás Ó Síoghaird.Earnan de Blaghd.Uinseann de Faoite.Domhnall Ó Broin.Michael Ó Dubhghaill.