CONSTITUTION OF SAORSTAT EIREANN BILL.

"The Irish Free State/Saorstat Eireann is a co-equal member of the Community of Nations forming the British Commonwealth of Nations." Epitomised in that first Article of the Constitution you have the fruits of a struggle which some would call a five years' struggle and some would call a struggle of seven centuries. In that Article also you have the shortage of the crop; the extent to which a nation of four millions of inhabitants and no Navy has failed to secure its full war aims from an island nation of 40 million inhabitants and the greatest Navy in the world. There are occasions in the lives of individuals and in the lives of nations when it takes more courage, and courage of a higher order, to face facts than to face machine guns. Five Irishmen were faced with such a situation last December. These men that were sent to London to represent the Irish nation had done big things and grave things for that nation. Two of them are now dead, and I want to record a personal view that they never did a bigger and braver and more utterly selfless thing for the Irish nation than when they took the pen in hand and signed that Treaty. It gave rise to the Constitution we have now to consider, and the Constitution must be read in the light of the Treaty, and I trust that no one forgets that the Treaty must be read in the light of the conditions which existed at the time it was signed — the military conditions, the political conditions, and the economic conditions reacting one upon another. I have neither desire nor intention to inflict upon the Deputies still another dissertation upon the Treaty, and will content myself with the general reminder that you will find reflected in the Constitution the weaknesses and the imperfections which are inherent in the Treaty, just as in the Treaty we have clauses embodied reflecting the weaknesses and imperfections of our fighting position at the time that the Treaty was signed. If one might venture a guess as to the thought that was uppermost in the minds of the signatories when that particular document was consummated, you could not express it better than in the words, "We did not negotiate to save our faces." I take it that these men negotiated to save the Irish nation. The document was brought home. It was recommended to Dáil Eireann and was approved of by Dáil Eireann. It was submitted to the people, and the people have sent us here to give effect to it, and it has produced the most democratic Constitution it is possible to secure.

At this stage a lady in the gallery proceeded to address the Dáil. The Chairman ordered her removal. Officers of the Dáil approached the interrupter, who then withdrew. Another lady who interrupted was removed.

It was understood that if Deputies gave tickets to any visitors that the Deputies would be responsible for the conduct of these visitors.

I take it that under no circumstances will these disorderly people be allowed into the House again. Interruptions will not be tolerated.

Is this an Irishwoman or an Englishwoman?

I have no knowledge.

The people sent us here to mould from the 18 clauses of the Treaty the best and most democratic Constitution it is possible to secure, and the people do not expect us to extract from that Treaty something which the Treaty does not contain. People do not expect us to eliminate from the Constitution features of the Treaty which, while undoubtedly unpleasant to the sentiments of a vast majority are yet explicitly and implicitly embodied in the document which the Plenipotentiaries signed. Let no man think that his constituents sent him here to attempt to work miracles of that kind. I think that the people realise that blundering attempts at that kind of miracle working served to endanger the settlement. On the face of it this Constitution is not a republican Constitution; perhaps I would not be wrong in saying that it is as little a republican Constitution as a British Constitution. It contains the trappings, the insignia, the fiction and the symbols of monarchical institutions, but the real power is in the hands of the people. Anyone who has studied the grim constitutional struggle between the British Parliament and the British Crown knows well the net result of that struggle, knows that the Parliament won, and that the Parliament wisely or unwisely saved the face of the monarch, while depriving him of any real power. England has been called a Republic with a monarchy. The position to-day in England is that the humblest Member in Westminster wields a more real power and more authority than the British King, and that the King has become a useful fiction, an imposing symbol, but that his majesty is the majesty of the people. In Ireland under this Constitution, the real power is in the hands of the people acting through their Parliament, no matter what fictitious or theoretical powers are stated to reside elsewhere. As an example, let us turn to Article 24 of this Constitution where it is stated that "Parliament shall be summoned and dissolved by the Representative of the Crown in the name of the King and subject as aforesaid the Chamber shall fix the date of re-assembly of the Parliament and the date of the conclusion of the session of each House." Though Parliament is summoned by the Representative of the Crown the date of re-assembly, and the date of the conclusion of the session are fixed by Parliament itself.

Article 50 states: "The Executive Authority of the Irish Free State (Saorstát Eireann) is hereby declared to be vested in the King, and shall be exerciseable in accordance with the law, practice and Constitutional usage governing the exercise of the Executive Authority in the case of the Dominion of Canada by the representative of the Crown. There shall be a Council to aid and advise in the Government of the Irish Free State (Saorstát Eireann) to be styled `The Executive Council' Aireacht. The Executive Council shall be responsible to the Chamber/Dáil Eireann, and shall consist of not more than 12 Ministers/Airi appointed by the Representatives of the Crown."

What I want to stress is—"to be appointed by the Representative of the Crown." Turning to Article 51: "The Ministers who are required to be members of the Chamber/ Dáil Eireann shall include the President of the Executive Council/Uachtaran and the Vice-President of the Executive Council/Tanaist."

"The President of the Executive Council shall be the Chief of the Executive Council and shall be appointed on nomination of the Chamber/Dáil, and the Vice-President of Executive Council, and the other Ministers who are members of Parliament/Oireachtas shall be appointed, and the nomination of the President of the Executive Council...." So that in fact Dáil Eireann appoints the President, and in fact the President appoints the Ministers, and all through this Constitution you have that clash as it were of the law and the facts, that clash you have in the Constitution of Canada, where you have the written word of the Constitution stating one thing, and the actual practice and constitutional usage of the country quite another thing. These are some of the penalties we are paying for our inability to achieve all the things we wrote on our battle standards. They must be set against the alternative; they must be set against the smallness of our prospects of achieving more. It is in that light that Deputies had to face the situation last December, in casting their vote one way or another on the Treaty, and because here again in this Constitution, quite definitely set out, perhaps more explicitly set out, you have the imperfections of the Treaty. It is in that light we here must face it. I want to say a word about this oath; there are likely to be many words said about this oath before we are through with this business, and it is just as well to have the advantage of saying the first word.

And the last.

Mr. O'HIGGINS:

The oath to be taken by members of the Parliament shall be in the following form:—"I... do solemnly swear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of the Irish Free State as by law established, and that I will be faithful to H.M. King George V., his heirs and successors by law in virtue of the common citizenship of Ireland with Great Britain, and her adherence to and membership of the group of nations forming the British Commonwealth of Nations. Such oath to be taken and subscribed by every member of the Parliament Oireachtas before taking his seat therein before the Representative of the Crown or some person authorised by him.... Members have been supplied with copies of the three Dominion Constitutions, Canada, Australia and the Union of South Africa, and if they turn in the case of the Canadian Constitution to Section 128, which they will find on page 22, and in the case of the Australian Constitution to Article 42 on page 37, and in the case of the South African Constitution to Section 51 on page 65, they will see there the position in these Constitutions. In fact, this particular oath prescribed in the Treaty, and in the Constitution for the Free State, is a much more innocuous matter than the full-blooded Oath of Allegiance taken in these three Dominions. It has been said, there is a certain argument, which my common sense, if I had that quality, vomits. It has become known as "the whiskey and soda argument," that because the Treaty only says "the Oath to be taken by members of the Parliament of the Free State shall be so and so," that is only the same as saying that the whiskey to be taken by members of a certain club shall be John Jameson's "Three Star," and because teetotalism is not absolutely forbidden in the club, and it is not absolutely prescribed that all members of the club shall take whiskey, just in the same way where it was not prescribed or intended by the Treaty, that all members of the Parliament should take this Oath, but it was meant if they particularly wanted, and if they insisted on taking an oath, then that this would be the oath they would take. I would like that some Deputy other than myself would undertake the task of arguing that particular point across the table with British Ministers, particularly when we remember that in the last stages of the negotiations for this Treaty there was quite considerable tension about this matter of the Oath, and that eminent British lawyers and eminent British politicians racked their brains to devise some form or another that would be least objectionable to Irish sentiment by safeguarding the particular position they wished to safeguard. Finally they sat down at a table, and with considerable labour brought forth this particular form, and we are asked to believe all this trouble and racking of brains and head-scratching was about an Oath which was to be purely optional, and which a Member need only take if he had a stomach for it later. That, to my mind, is not a serious argument; it shows a finicky, irresponsible outlook which should be no part of those responsible for the governing of this country to cater for. The clear intent of the Treaty — and the reverse is not arguable — was that that particular Oath was to be the Oath to be taken by the Members of Parliament before taking their seats. If members will look at a certain clause in the Treaty — Article 2 — they will find these words:

"And the law, practice, and constitutional usage governing the relationship of the Crown or the representative of the Crown and of the Imperial Parliament to the Dominion of Canada shall govern their relationship to the Irish Free State."

In that Article of the Treaty the British were entitled to insist on the law as it is in Canada. Equally under that Article we were entitled to have the law modified, and in certain instances cancelled and neutralised, as in Canada, by practice and constitutional usage; and, going through this Constitution, you will find that whenever one side stood upon the law and said, "The law in Canada is so-and-so," we have in each case modified and corrected the acerbity of the law by setting out fully and clearly the usage and practice. And then you have the other statement, that the representatives of the Crown shall summon and dissolve Parliament; but you come later on to find that the Dáil fixes the date of its own assembly and of its dissolution. And you find, with the statement that Ministers would be appointed by this shadowy individual — you find later on the fact that the Dáil appoints its President and the President selects his Ministers. There are as we said on the occasion of the First Reading, certain aspects of this Treaty which were pushed so far and fought so hard by the representatives of the Provisional Government that we could not take the responsibility of further pushing these particular points. We could not advise the Dáil to take that course. We advised the Dáil against that course, and if the Dáil persisted in that course, then, we could not agree to accept the responsibility of the direction of the political affairs of the country. And we did not take that line in any spirit of defiance of this Assembly, but merely because of our very firm and strong conviction that that particular line would not bring forth good results and might quite possibly re-act disastrously upon the fortunes of the country. When in Committee stage we are going through this Constitution Bill, clause by clause, we will deal with this in detail, and, in addition to these matters affecting the future relations with Great Britain, there are certain matters which are rather points of honour that have to do with the soothing of the fears of the people whom we knew in the past as "Southern Unionists." These fears may be unfounded. We here may think there is very little substance in them, but of the reality of these fears there can be no doubt. That is, there can be no doubt that the fears exist. And, after all, when we are starting a new chapter in the history of the country, we should even go a little beyond the line in meeting these people, when the thing they looked to and felt was a buttress and shelter for them is suddenly swept away and they find themselves in the awful position of being at the mercy of their fellow countrymen. I think it was true statesmanship that dictated to the late President the making of the very considerable concessions along that line. It was truer statesmanship than, for instance, what took place in the south — even making due allowance for all the very terrible and bitter provocation given elsewhere. We now know no political party. We have taken quite definitely a step forward in our evolution towards completion of nationhood. These people are part and parcel of the Nation, and we, being the majority and strength of the country, having no such power in our hands, it comes well from us to make a generous adjustment to show that these people were regarded, not as alien enemies, not as planters, but that we regard them as part and parcel of this Nation, and that we wish them to take their share of its responsibilities.

Another lady rising in the Visitors' Gallery at this stage proceeded to address the Dáil. She was removed.

I think there is an apology due to the Dáil from Deputies who gave tickets to people to create scenes such as we have just experienced. I would like to know what members are responsible for this.

I am responsible for one ticket, which I gave on the distinct understanding that there would be no demonstration.

Therefore an honourable understanding has been broken.

I am responsible for another.

At this stage a fourth lady rose in the Visitors' Gallery and interjected a remark.

Have that lady removed.

The lady was removed.

I was also responsible for one ticket.

The whole question of the issue of tickets will have to be gone into later. The guilt here seems to be very equally divided.

Mr. O'HIGGINS:

When we come to consider what exactly these honourable agreements are they will be found to be far from formidable and of a purely temporary nature, having to do only with one chamber of the Parliament and having to do only with the first Session of that particular body. There are Agreements covering questions of representation in the first Senate. The first Senate consists of 60 Members of whom two are to be elected by the National University, two by the Dublin University, and if the six Counties remain in the Free State, there would be always two from Belfast University, and the remaining 56 Members of the Senate are to be elected from a panel consisting of three times as many qualified persons as there are Members to be elected, of whom two-thirds shall be nominated by the Dáil and one-third by the Senate. The electorate of the Senate are to be persons of 30 years of age and upwards. There was a certain pressure over what we all felt would be a very unpopular thing, a certain pressure over the property qualification and in the negotiation which took place we were rather firm in our refusal to consider anything of the kind, but there was a case established that it would be desirable that you would have a somewhat steadier electorate for a Chamber, which is after all meant to be a slightly conservative body, and if there is any purpose at all in a second Chamber, it is that it will just bring a kind of check on hasty legislation. The only difficulty along that line was to hold that the electorate be an electorate of 30 years and upwards. The period between the first presenting of a Bill to the Senate, after its passing we agreed was to be 270 days, which is roughly nine months. There again it was a deal between six months which some thought to be too short and twelve months which some thought to be too long and then there was the middle course. That of course can be discussed hereafter. There is power given to three-fifths of the Senate to require a referendum during the ninety days period mentioned in Article 46, provision to be made for a joint debate in cases of disagreement of the two Houses. There was pressure for joint voting but that particular request was not conceded. But in cases of disagreement between Dáil Eireann and Seanad there would be a joint debate in which members of the Senate could put their views before the Dáil and the Dáil if it thought fit would reconsider the matter. The first half of the Senate to be nominated and the others elected by the Dáil. The President will nominate the first half of the Senate and it is laid down that the nominations to be made on the basis of providing certain representation for people who in the ordinary course would not be considered likely people to be elected, that is, to give to timid people who find the reversal and the removal of all the things they cherished and looked to, rightly or wrongly as their sheet anchor. I think the Dáil will take a broad view of this matter and realise that if we are to go ahead and develop properly within our own borders that we must have the certain good will and co-operation from all sections of the community and just as we find it necessary as we go along to work away from what some people call the narrow Trade Unionism of Sinn Fein to the National life of our Country, we will have to think more of the movement as a Nation and less on terms of party lines and bitterness and if we are to err in this matter it is better to err on the side of an over-generous advance than on the side of what would appear to be a rebuff or a slight to people who will gradually come around to what is the general view of the Nation. Now I come to what many will find and what we ourselves found at first, a very difficult portion of the Constitution, and that is the executive. The clause which provides for the system of Government is to be strictly limited to Party lines. If members turn to Article 50 they will read:—

"The Executive Authority of the Irish Free State is hereby declared to be vested in the King and shall be exercisable in accordance with the law, practice and constitutional usage governing the exercise of the Executive Authority in the case of the Dominion of Canada by the representative of the Crown."

We looked into that some time ago.

"There shall be a Council to aid and advise in the Irish Free State to be styled the Executive Council — Aireacht. The Executive Council shall be responsible to the Chamber Dáil Eireann and shall consist of not more than twelve members appointed by the representative of the Crown, of whom four Ministers shall be members of the Chamber Dáil Eireann and a number not exceeding eight chosen from all citizens eligible for election to the Chamber who shall not be members of Parliament during their term of Office and who if at the time of their appointment they are Members of Parliament shall by virtue of such appointment vacate their seats. Provided that the Chamber may from time to time on the motion of the President of the Executive Council determine that a particular Minister or Ministers not exceeding three may be Members of Parliament in addition to the four Members of the Chamber above mentioned."

That would mean that if this particular line is adopted there could be as many as eight members of the Ministry who would not be members of the Dáil, and that at least there would be four. That, of course, is a proposal that strikes our minds which have been so much turned upon the British system of politics strangely. But when you come down to examine the proposal, particularly with regard to a country which has a Proportional Representation system of election, you will find there is quite a lot to be said for it. The proposal visualises a President and a small Council of Ministers — four or five Ministers—who would be responsible to the Dáil for all the broader matters of policy on which the Government would stand or fall, and outside that, Ministers or Heads of Departments, who, as long as they ran their own particular Departments efficiently, and in a manner to hold the approval of the Dáil, would not go out in the event of a Government defeat. I was speaking of this particular proposal to a Deputy the other day, and he said: "Oh, yes, these men that we cannot get at." Now, that is not correct. These particular outside Ministers are as much amenable to the Dáil, and as much available for the Dáil to question, as any other member of the Ministry. But you could visualise the position where a man who would not be in absolute agreement, say, with the President and three or four other Ministers on a particular point, might yet have qualifications which would render him a very excellent Head of a particular Department, and this proposal would enable the President to choose such a man as the Head of a Department, without that particular difference of view between them being an obstacle. In fact, the Dáil, voting on Proportional Representation, can appoint these outside Ministers, and a Committee of the Dáil so appointed can remove them, and there is no question that these are men who will be in some way beyond the control of the Parliament. It is merely an attempt to visualise the conditions which will exist hereafter, where you will not have, as in England, two big political parties, or at best three, facing one another; but you will be far more likely to have under a Proportional Representation system, an Assembly composed of a great many groups, and it is felt that if you have a President and four or five Ministers taking responsibility for the general policy of the country — take for instance the large issue of the Treaty or no Treaty, or a thing like that — you should be able to select from the House, Ministers, having regard only to their special qualifications for the posts to which they are being appointed. I have an extract here from Bryce, who says, in his "Modern Democracies": "In its constitutional position and working the Federal Council"—(this will be the Swiss system)—"has been deemed one of the conspicuous successes of the Swiss system for it secures three great advantages specially valuable in a country governed by the whole people. It provides a Body which is able not only to influence and advise the ruling Assembly without lessening its responsibilities to the citizens, but which, because it is non-partisan, can mediate, should need arise, between contending parties, adjusting difficulties and arranging compromises in a spirit of conciliation. It enables proved administrative talent to be kept in the service of the nation, irrespective of the personal opinions of the Councillors, upon the particular issues which may for the moment divide parties. Men opposed to the main principles on which the Assembly desires the Government to be conducted could not indeed profitably administer in accordance with those principles, for a total want of sympathy with the laws passed would affect them in applying those laws. But where differences are not fundamental, or do not touch the Department a particular Minister deals with, why lose your best servant because he does not agree with you on matters outside the scope of his work? As well change your position because you differ from him in religion. It secures continuity in policy and permits traditions to be formed. The weak side of continuity and traditions is the tendency for administration to become `groovy' and so to fall behind new needs and neglect new methods. This is hardly a danger in Switzerland, where Ministers are always accessible, and are in constant touch with the Assembly, while it is a real gain to avoid the dislocation which the arrival of new Ministers causes, and to save the time lost while they are learning their duties." Now, one criticism that has been made of this particular Executive was that it was really devised to meet a particular set of conditions existing in the country, and to enable the anti-Treaty people to have a share in the administration of the country. If that criticism were well founded it would be a serious one, for the Constitution of a country should not be drawn up — a Constitution which may last for a very considerable time — with very great stress laid upon the conditions which exist at the time of its drafting. But, as a fact, that particular form of Executive was devised with a very real desire to get away from the British Party system, whereby a defeat for the Government on some matter, removes instantaneously from office all men who are responsible for executive departments, no matter how well suited particular men are to particular posts. And in that way there is an attempt to limit it to three or four men, a small group around the President, and to leave the other men to stand or fall by the administration of their own particular departments, and by the measure in which they win the approval or disapproval of the Dáil for the administration of those departments. "Under the draft Constitution a Minister for Education would formulate his Education plans with due regard to the probable support he would receive in the Dáil as a whole and without regard to the views of the Dáil on external affairs. As soon as his plans were complete he would submit them to the Executive Council, who would report to the Dáil both majority and minority opinions of the Council with regard to the proposals." That is, he could stand for proposals which would not have the support, say, of the entire Ministry; he could leave them as open, non-party matters to the Dáil, and it is very desirable there should be as much freedom as possible for individual members of the Dáil — that it should not be always a matter of Party Whips and people voting contrary, perhaps, to their own particular ideas and particular feelings on certain matters; and this certainly ensures the disappearance of that particular objectionable feature of Party Government, and ensures that you, on a proposal from, say, the Minister of Education, or the Minister of Agriculture, or the Minister of Industry and Commerce, would be free to vote without Party divisions and Party distinctions. As this Bill will get the Third Reading, and a much closer analysis, and a more careful raking than it has got at its First Reading, or that it will get to-day, I do not propose to go any further into detail of particular clauses, but I do ask that that particular Executive Scheme be weighed, and that people would not form hasty prejudices against it, or come to hasty conclusions that all the Ministers were not as amenable to the Dáil as they ought to be, or that in some way Ministers were removed from control and criticism. There is quite a lot to commend that particular form of Executive. It will not be made a stand or fall matter by the Government. But the members of the Government, having considered it rather carefully in Council, recommend it to the Dáil. The number of matters on which the Government feels that it should stand absolutely have been already outlined. They deal with the relations with the British, and certain undertakings which were given to representatives of what we would call Southern Unionists. If there can be shown to the Government points on which this Constitution is not in conformity with the Treaty, points on which it can be enlarged, or improved, or broadened without breach of the Treaty—any such points, or any such representations, will be very carefully considered; but they will be considered in the light of our own experiences, and our own knowledge from having worked over these points with representatives of the British Government, and ultimately we must be free to decide whether or not we would take responsibility for endeavouring to depart from the written wording as it stands.

Cé chuidigh-eann leis an rún san? Who seconds the motion?

I beg formally to second the motion.

Beidh an leas rún againn anois. We will now take the amendment standing on the paper in the name of Deputy Johnson.

I am glad to have heard the last few sentences of the speech of the Minister for Home Affairs. He invited the Dáil to make proposals, which, while not running counter to the Treaty, would strengthen the position of this country and the Dáil. But I think before entering upon that particular subject I would like to deal shortly with the general question as raised by the Minister in moving the motion And I would first like to express my regret that he did not indicate which were the sacrosanct clauses of the Treaty. Which are the clauses which may not be violated? And I hope before the adjournment this evening we shall be told precisely the numbers of the clauses which must be passed exactly as they stand. Of course, I am reminded that there is no compulsion of the Dáil to pass these clauses as they stand; that we are perfectly free to pass them as they stand, or to alter them as we wish; and all the Ministry say is that they will not be responsible for advising the Dáil any further after they are passed, or they will not be responsible for the conduct of public affairs if they are altered. We are told, of course, that that is freedom. We are free to alter these; and that there is no compulsion. It is very like the freedom of the old slaves in America, whom we used to read about; when they tried to escape, the bloodhounds were put on their track; or the freedom of the workman who is told he is perfectly free to take his job or leave it, when he knows that the refusal of the job means hunger for himself and his family. That is the kind of freedom presumably that is implied when the Minister for Home Affairs talks of freedom. But we would like to know quite seriously, and definitely, what will be the consequences of the alteration of these clauses which are said to be inviolable? We have a right to know what penalties or what threats have been held out to the Ministry or to the country unless this particular Constitution or these particular clauses in this particular draft Constitution are not passed in the form in which they are presented. It is essential that we should have from the Ministry what is in their minds as the consequence of a change in these particular clauses. The freedom that we are told is given to this Dáil to alter the Treaty, or, at least, to alter the Constitution is not freedom in any real sense. We are bound, judging by the attitude of Ministers, we are bound by a compact to pass this Constitution in so far as these particular unnamed clauses are referred to, in the form in which they have been approved of by the British Government. Now, when a Committee, which was referred to by the President yesterday as having been appointed to draft a Constitution, reported to the Ministry they presumably had in their minds certain terms of reference, these terms of reference being, that the draft which they would produce would be in consonance with the Treaty. Unless the Ministry was very negligent, the men who composed that Committee were responsible men, legal men, constitutional experts, at least trained and used to the practice and theories of Constitution building; and they produced a draft Constitution which the Minister for Local Government told us yesterday was not in accord with the Treaty, but violated that Treaty. So that we are asked here to take the opinion of the Minister for Local Government as against the opinion and judgment of a body of men who were chosen by that Ministry to draft a Constitution in accordance with the Treaty, but which draft had to be altered because one of the Ministers or others of the Ministers thought it did not accord with the Treaty. Evidently they were supported in their opinion, confirmed in their opinion, by the judgment of the gentlemen on the other side of the water, to whom they referred it before they brought it to the people of this country. I think we are right in demanding, and ought to insist on every possible occasion, that what that Constitution Committee considered as being within the terms of the Treaty should be presented to this chamber. I came across a reference in a paper published in 1918 which is typical in view of the news of the day. I could not help but think how appropriate it was to the situation as presented to us by the Minister for Home Affairs—the general position that faces us. In October, 1918, the Grand Vizier of Turkey announced the grant to the Arab Villayets of a system of self-government corresponding to their national aspirations, on condition that between them and the Caliphate, as well as the Sultan, relationship is retained. That is what has been offered to Ireland. That is what has been conferred upon Ireland by the Treaty. It is being minimised somewhat, as I judge, by the proposed Constitution. That was freedom for these Turkish Provinces—freedom within the Turkish Empire—but in response to that announcement, a fortnight later, a joint declaration was made by the British and the French Governments in which they stated "The end that France and Great Britain have in view is the complete and definite freeing of the peoples so long oppressed by the Turks, and the establishment of national Governments and administrations deriving their authority from the initiative and free choice of the indigenous populations. In order to give effect to these intentions France and Great Britain have agreed to encourage and assist the establishment of indigenous Governments and administrations in Syria and Mesopotamia. Far from wishing to impose any particular institutions on the populations of these regions, their only care is to assure by their support and efficacious assistance the normal workings of the Governments and administrations which they shall have given themselves." I maintain, Mr. Speaker, that our business here in discussing this Bill is to give to this country institutions, governments and administrations according to our own ideas, and that we should, in framing a Constitution, frame that Constitution in the way that we consider, with the fullest information at our disposal, satisfies, to the closest, our aspirations, subject to such limitations as we shall impose upon ourselves. That is not being done. We are not allowed to do it because the Ministry say—they imply, they don't say—that they have been compelled to agree to certain limitations in the form of this Constitution.

I understand that it is a practice—the Minister for Home Affairs will confirm me in this—in Criminal Courts especially, in cases where prisoners are being tried for serious crime, on evidence that is mainly circumstantial, to look for motives, to suggest a motive that would fit the crime, and I have been for some considerable time looking around for a theory, a motive, which would account for many of the proceedings that we have been unfortunately familiar with, and for which the Government is responsible, during these last few months. I have hit upon a theory which can be disproved by the Ministers if it is incorrect. The Ministry came to this conclusion. I suggest they were going to present to the Dáil a certain set of proposals which would enhance the freedom of this country and the freedom of the citizens of this country; which would safeguard that freedom for the future; but they reckoned that after so many generations of oppression the people of Ireland were not ready to understand and to receive the freedom which they desired to grant to this people. They looked up the Articles of the Constitution which they had devised. They came to Article 6 and 7, in which the liberty of the person and his dwelling is inviolable —"No person shall be deprived of his liberty except in accordance with law." They said the Irish people are unused to that liberty. We must provide an object-lesson in the need for it, and they set about to provide object-lessons, so that when the opportunity arose in the discussion of this Constitution, the people would approve of it with acclamation, knowing what they had gone through. They come to Article 69, and they see that, in their mind at any rate, the people should be safeguarded against such tyrannies, which may possibly be imposed upon them. They have submitted, as something they desired to see enacted, this: "The jurisdiction of Courts-martial shall not be extended to or exercised over the civil population, save in time of war, and for acts committed in time of war, and in accordance with the regulations to be prescribed by law. Such jurisdiction shall not be exercised in any area in which the civil courts are open or capable of being held." It is necessary to prove the need for such a provision in the Constitution, and therefore they proceed to imprison, to try by military courts, and generally to show how necessary such a clause in the Constitution is. Similarly with regard to the right to free expression of opinion, the right to assemble peaceably and without arms. All that is admitted, of course, but now they are dispersed by military force. Hence the people will welcome such a clause in the Constitution, having experienced the reverse under the regime of the present Ministry. We are guaranteed, under the new Constitution, that any Dáil that may be elected must meet within one month of the date of election. Hence, to prove the need for that they only allow us to meet three months after the date of the election. I almost anticipate that we shall have a new clause provided, guaranteeing a certain minimum of humanitarian treatment for prisoners.

Now, Mr. Chairman, may I come to the amendment which I have the honour to propose. It is that we shall insert, as a preamble to the first schedule, the following:—

"We, the representatives of the Irish people, duly elected to express and formulate the will of the people, Hereby Declare:

"That the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland and to the unfettered control of Irish destinies, is indefeasible; that the Nation's Sovereignty extends not only to all the men and women of the nation, but to all its material possessions: the nation's soil, and all its resources, all the wealth and all the wealth-producing processes within the nation.

"That all the lawful powers of Government within Ireland, and all authority—legislative, executive and judicial—are derived from the people of Ireland.

"That every Treaty or Agreement entered into between the Parliament and Government of Ireland, and any other person or persons or Government, shall be read subject to the foregoing, and that any Treaty or Agreement heretofore entered into between the Parliament and Government of Ireland and Great Britain is to be read with the understanding that if ever it shall seem right to the Irish people to annul such Treaty or Agreement, such annulment is lawful on due notice being given to the several parties to that Treaty or Agreement."

I submit, Mr. Speaker, that that proposition fulfils the condition laid down by the Minister for Home Affairs when he asked for amendments which would strengthen and improve the Constitution, make it better for the Irish people, and yet still be within the terms of the Treaty. The first clause, of course, is well known as an extract from some writings of Padraig Pearse, which were incorporated in the "Democratic Programme" already adopted by Dáil Eireann. One might say that if that particular democratic programme had been implemented, to use the popular word, much that has happened within recent months would not have happened. I don't think there is any objection whatever likely to be raised in this Dáil to that particular clause, and I re-assure the Deputy from Kilkenny it does not mean nationalisation of the land in the sense that he understands it. It is declaring what every Nation asserts when it is sovereign, and it declares that in the view of the Dáil and of the Irish people, the whole of the people of Ireland and the whole of the country is a national unit, whatever we may agree to in the way of holding in suspense powers and authority over particular areas, over particular places or harbours; the right remains which is indefeasible, that at any time that it may seem well to the Irish people they may resume these powers held in suspense, and may withdraw from others the delegated authority which may have been granted by the vote of the Sovereign Assembly. I maintain that Clause 2 of this preamble ought to be placed in this position rather than at a later stage in the Constitution. "That all the lawful powers of Government within Ireland, and all authority—legislative, executive, and judicial—are derived from the people of Ireland." Inasmuch as the Constitution will govern the legislation of the future, the preamble of the Constitution will govern the reading of the Constitution. Therefore, I maintain that such clauses as this ought to be embodied in the preamble. The third paragraph of this preamble deals with the respective places in the minds of the Irish people and of the Dáil of the Constitution and the Treaty. Is the Treaty to be considered superior to the Constitution, or is the Constitution to be considered superior to the Treaty? Is it a Treaty or is it an order from another Power? If it is a Treaty, freely entered into, agreed to by consent, but under duress, as I maintain, then this Dáil has a right to say that, if at any time in the future—it may be one, two or three generations off—it may seem desirable to the Irish people, or opportune for the Irish people, to annul and denounce that Treaty, they may do so. There is to be nothing in any enactment of the Irish Assembly which can deprive that Assembly or its successor of the right to denounce. to annul, or to revoke such Treaty. I believe that that condition ought to apply not only to any treaty or arrangement or agreement or pact or understanding that may be entered into in the future, but it ought also to apply to any agreement, treaty, understanding or pact that has been entered into in the past. I would be inclined to believe that if that were accepted and embodied in the Constitution, the passage of the Constitution would be greatly facilitated, and further and more important perhaps, much more important than the facility with which the Constitution may be passed, would be that it would help to give some kind of hope to people who conscientiously denounce the Treaty, to say that it was not binding for all time necessarily, that it would not bind the Irish people to something which would require a revolution to revoke. I submit that if we were to accept that, it would make the way easy for peace to come again to Ireland, and I challenge any member of the Dáil who was a member of the last Dáil, to say that that does not embody what, in his opinion, is the true position. I maintain that that clause polished and smoothed over and made a little less crude, perhaps, on a later reading, ought to be accepted by the Ministry, and ought to be passed by the Dáil, whether it is accepted by the Ministry or not, as asserting a position which the country really in effect holds, and asserting it in a way which is not pugnacious and does not arouse antipathies and violent passions. We have been made familiar with an extract from a speech of Parnell's "that no man has a right to set the bounds to the march of a Nation," and that later statement made last December by the late President when he used words something to this effect "that this Treaty was no more a final settlement than this was the final generation." I submit that we ought to embody the idea expressed in those quotations, which really embody the mind of the Irish people, in the preamble of any Constitution which we may adopt in this Dáil. I will ask for a fair and reasonable consideration to be given to the proposal, which I am making as an amendment. When I looked at the Standing Orders earlier I read them mistakenly as compelling amendments to be submitted to the Second Reading. I now see the word "may" which I understood in the sense of "shall" and which fact I overlooked. I am pressing this as an amendment; for the insertion of this as a preamble to the Constitution in the Bill as placed in our hands, and I ask for a reasonable consideration. I ask the Ministry to carefully consider before they decline to accept it. I believe it would go far to smooth over difficulties that may arise in this Dáil and the difficulties that have arisen in this country. I ask the Members to consider carefully the value of the proposal and the danger of its rejection.

I beg to second the amendment.

I would like to rise to a point of order. First of all, it is that anyone who is speaking now, or until the amendment is finally disposed of, I take it, subject to the ruling of the Chairman, any Member has the liberty to speak both on the motion and the amendment, and not merely confine his attention to the amendment. It is unusual to get an amendment on the Second Reading.

Yes. But if there is going to be free discussion of the whole Constitution and this amendment as well, it is assumed that the Deputies who speak on the motion will not speak again until the amendment is disposed of. Would not that be reasonable?

Why not put the amendment before the major resolution?

If the amendment was lost, the motion could be further discussed. If the discussion on the amendment is going to be a general discussion, then the members who go into the general discussion should not speak again on the first motion.

I am very sorry that Deputy Johnson should have moved this amendment at this stage, because I think that there are parts of the amendment that are worthy of very careful attention; but I think this Bill in Chamber is entitled at this moment to get a square vote, yea or nay, on the general principle debate without confusion of any amendments whatever. If these amendments had been brought forward on the Third Reading, it would have been fairer to the Bill and to the amendments in question. At the present moment I am rising to support the general principle of the Bill, subject to such changes and revisions for improving the machinery of the Constitution that may be made at a later stage. Supporting as I do the general principle of this Bill, it is obligatory on me, unless this amendment be accepted by the mover and seconder, to vote against them, even though I think there are parts could and should receive the very favourable attention of this Dáil. Deputy Johnson, in an earlier part of his remarks, said that we had no real freedom in any sense. I take it that this Constituent Assembly has freedom in a very real sense, and that it is not only freedom in a real sense, but that it will also display a certain measure of freedom in a realistic sense. The two things are almost exactly the same. We have sovereignty which we could exercise, but there are certain parts of that sovereignty which it would be suicide for this Nation if we did exercise it at the moment. In that connection there are one or two things that Deputy Johnson referred to that I feel I should make some reference to. It is known that the late Commander-in-Chief was Chairman of the Constitution Committee, but that pressure of business compelled him to absent himself from a good part of the proceedings. In his absence that high honour fell upon me. Reports of that body have been referred to in debate here as having exceeded the Treaty. I would like to say, in my judgment, the original report of the Treaty did not exceed it at all, but since these reports and the publication of the final draft, a copy of which I have in hand at the present moment, certain matters did transpire that impaired the possibility of achieving what it was at first thought could have been achieved. I have been weighing very carefully certain words spoken to me by the late Commander-in-Chief as to whether they should or should not be repeated here by me. I believe if he was here he would say them himself. I remember when he returned from that last interview, his last delegation to London, when he returned from his part in London where the President was concerned in the hardest task that I think ever befell any man, and the hardest task that ever befell that truly heroic and very great man, the late President, when he had to face English Ministers who believed that this country was not of a mind to observe the Treaty obligations that had been entered into, and I remember the Commander-in-Chief's statement that if the first draft of the Constitution had been taken over two or three months before it was taken over, he believed that substantially, it would have passed and would not have come back in the form in which it did come back. The change having been wrought because of the action of certain men in this country who had created disturbance from one end of the nation to the other, and who had spoken threateningly against the obligation that this nation had incurred, and whose action, therefore, had weakened the hand of our negotiators in London. In any case the present fact is, we have this Treaty at the present moment in its present shape, and there are certain parts of it that I believe can be changed, certain parts of the machinery that can be improved. There is never any Bill that comes before any legislative assembly that emerges from that assembly in the same shape as it first went in. Sometimes it is vastly disimproved, and sometimes it is improved, and in any case it is changed. This Bill, I hope, will be changed, but I hope it will not be disimproved. There have been words introduced into the draft, put into our hands yesterday, that are, I think, unfortunate. They are not the same as issued in the White. Paper we received the day before yesterday, and are contained in this rather seedy, sickly-looking green paper that has been adopted as the colour for our proceedings. The words never came before any person in Ireland until yesterday, and therefore, as this is the first opportunity, I want to refer to them. They are definitely concerned with the proper business of the second reading of this Constitutional Bill as they do fundamentally affect what are its general principles. I will read the English translation of the words, and I know it to be a fair translation of the Irish, but I will confine myself, for obvious reasons, to the English. The words are "A Bill to enact a Constitution for Saorstát Eireann for implementing the Treaty between Great Britain and Ireland signed at London on the 6th day of December, 1921." Whether the Constitution does or whether the Constitution does not implement the Treaty—and I put this to the President as a matter of very great importance—I take it we are not fundamentally, primarily, passing this Constitution here in order to implement the Treaty, but in order to give this nation the freedom of government. That is the primary object. The fact that it does implement the Treaty is quite secondary to the primary object of the Bill, which is to give the Irish people freedom of government, to ensure them the freedom for which they fought, and I suggest to the President that these words might be eliminated and the purpose of the Bill be confined to the single sentence, "A Bill to enact the Constitution for Saorstat Eireann." I believe that to be more important, as the title of a Bill is generally that by which we judge what are to be the contents of the Bill. I think myself that there are certain changes here that I am not quite able to follow. They are small matters, and I will just touch upon them in passing. It appears from Article 1 and 2 of the Prologue that the Constitution is one schedule, and the Treaty is the second schedule, whereas it appears in Article 2 that the Treaty is a schedule of the Constitution, and exactly how that result is arrived at I do not quite follow. There is, I think, a certain inherent contradiction. It is a small matter, but it is just as well to get this put into form. In speaking here the other day I referred to the fact that this Constitution was one that did give the people the machinery of freedom, and I would like to repeat that here again. There are parts of the Constitution which none of us would have chosen to be there, and, as I said, and I repeat, these parts are not material parts to the Constitution at all. What we have to examine here is the actual machinery by which the people of Ireland at every stage of the Government of Ireland in the future will be able to enforce their control, and will be able to exert their authority. And I say this Constitution does achieve that end, and having achieved that end that, in this Constitution the right and freedom of this people are ensured both now and for subsequent generations. The whole of the Constitution is built up on what are described as the fundamental rights of the people of Ireland. In the amendment that was moved by Deputy Johnson he took out for the purpose of putting into the prologue what I believe has property been stated in Article 2 of the Constitution where the rights and powers of Government are clearly and explicitly stated:—"That all powers of Government and all authority, legislative, executive and judicial are derived from the people, and the same shall be exercised in the Irish Free State through the organisation established by or under and in accord with this Constitution." These are great words, and it will be open for any Deputy to show anywhere in any part of the Constitution—subject to certain changes that I feel myself should be made for improving the machinery and in the fundamental principles— I say it is open to any Deputy to show where throughout the Irish Constitution that principle is merely observed in lip service and where it is not actually put into practice. Take the Legislative section. The Legislature of Ireland—the Legislature of the Free State—is a Free Legislature. I know it states, and I know it is not in conformity with what a good many of us would like to see stated, that the Legislature is divided into 3 bodies, namely, the King, Dáil Eireann, and Seanad. We know exactly what that means, and what it would mean in all countries in this world at the present moment, and that if the King was to enter into either house of the Houses of the Legislature his entrance would be considered as a breach of privilege, and Parliament would be compelled to eject him by the aid of the Captain of the Guard. As we all remember there was one previous period in England when a King did enter one of the Houses of the Legislature, and he was not ejected by the Captain of the Guard, but I believe it cost him his head in the end. Therefore this phrase that the Legislature is comprised of the King and two Houses of Parliament is a phrase simply by which a certain right is claimed and a certain prerogative is ensured. But by the insertion of these words no part of the legislative freedom of the people of Ireland is taken from them, and as long as that is the case, Article 2 of the Constitution is faithfully observed in the Legislative Chapter of the Constitution. It is so in the Executive also, although I do not agree with the Executive in its present form. So I think, and I will be presenting certain amendments to the Executive at a later stage, which I reserve my right to do, but substantially no part of the Executive provisions of this Constitution that find their way there by virtue of the Treaty signed on December the 6th last do in the least impair the Executive freedom of the Irish people or the legislative authority and power of the Irish people, and once again so far as these concern our obligations under the Treaty, or any subsequent obligation we have undertaken because of the negotiations set up by the Treaty, they do not impair the freedom of the Irish people or the sovereignty or authority of the Irish people, and therefore the provisions in this Constitution for the creation of an Executive are such provisions as, subject to changes in the lesser part, are important to the new machinery and are not provisions that any Irish person could object to give his adherence to if he believes that the people themselves are sovereign. It is true the references made by the Minister for Home Affairs to the Executive provisions were, I noticed, very apologetic, and that was where he was dealing with the method by which he said that eight Ministers of the future Dáil would be members of the Legislature, and four not. I was very much struck by his emphasising it in that way, and for this reason, because the Constitution actually states that four shall be members and eight not, and that in exceptional circumstances it may be the other way about; and, therefore, when the Minister comes to this Dáil and defends the provisions he is compelled to defend by reason of what is exceptional, and not what is normal, then I take it that what is normal would be very difficult to defend. And I have in mind certain words he spoke in the debate in this Chamber on the 14th September, when he was dealing with the difficulty of the Provisional Government at the outset of its assumption of responsibility. He said:

"I wonder if in the history of the world there was ever greater responsibility put upon nine very young and rather inexperienced men. We could have co-opted into the Government men who would have no shred of representative capacity, but whose services we felt would be a useful addition to the country."—(Official Report, Sept. 14th, 1922.)

And he goes on to say that the Provisional Government decided not to avail of the services of these people, and, presumably because they had no shred of representative capacity, it was decided to discard the services. And I think that argument was sound and right, and might be made to prevail and be put into effect with regard to the Executive provisions of the present Constitution. These are details, however, which I only mention now because the Minister for Home Affairs went into them, and I touch upon them as briefly as he did because I take it that at a later stage in our proceedings we will be dealing more pertinently and closely with them; but substantially, and subject to such changes as may later be made, I make this assertion here and now that the Irish people have asserted for them, and do for themselves assert, in the Constitution the indisputable fact that all authority derives from them, and shall be exercised by them, and which exactly, as I read history, is what the Irish people have been urging and fighting for for 700 years to get set up and put into effect. In the matter of legislation the freedom is asserted on behalf of the Irish people in a peculiarly strong form. Organisations are created by which, even if this Assembly arrogates powers to itself, as representative Assemblies have always done, that the people themselves may step in and decide by their direct voice any legislative matters by the two instruments known as the Referendum and the Initiative. So that throughout every care was taken that Article 2 was not put into the Constitution merely to be an Article for the sake of making possible something that has no real effect, but Article 2 of the Constitution is indicative of what is to be put into practical effect in every subsequent Article and Provision and Chapter. With one small change—I think it very unfortunate it should be introduced— but I understand the difficulty—and that is with regard to the Judicial Chapter. There is a right of judicial appeal that does not reside in this country and is not susceptible to the Irish people and the co-equal members of the Community of Nations we have joined have also agreed that this is an exasperating, an irritating, and an unhelpful method of Judicial procedure. They have already reduced it to what an exceedingly high authority in these matters has referred to as a state of obsolescence, and I believe it would be well for everybody to study the deliverance of a statesman belonging to the community and the commonwealth we have joined upon this subject. He stated what they would like to see put into effect instead of an appeal to the Privy Council. From that conclusion and advice it would be possible to put into our Constitution, instead of that half Article, a further half Article which would lift the whole stage of this controversy on to an entirely new platform, and I believe it would be accepted, and I believe it would then be possible for the people of Ireland to say that of the entire machinery created in this Constitution they are the masters and controllers of their destinies, and that all matters and all particular authority originated from them, and that all power in the end finally reverts to them. Deputy Davin the other day—I was going to refer to him as the Senior Deputy for Ireland—I think he is practically the senior Deputy for Ireland— referred the other day to what he alleged to be the fact that the Army was not sufficiently provided for in the Constitution. I am not sure that I clearly understood the point he raised, but it is perfectly clear in Article 45 that the Army is also placed under the control of this country, and any persons other than the elected representatives of the people of Ireland have absolutely no control over any single soldier serving in the Irish Army. The Article lays down that the Parliament had exclusive right of raising and maintaining such armed forces as are mentioned in the Scheduled Treaty of the Irish Free State, and every such force shall be subject to the control of the Parliament. Every such force unfortunately is not under the control of this Parliament at present, but I hope before very long these other forces will be under the control of this Parliament, and when they are under the control of Parliament and of the Irish people that they will be kept there henceforth. There is one matter which has aroused a certain amount of contention, and has been referred to frequently outside this assembly. I think it right it should be dealt with, as it raises a Constitutional question of very high importance. In the form of words it is stated it would be implied that the Crown—and when I use the word "Crown" I am not going into a laboured distinction between the Crown and the King, except to say there is a very distinct Constitutional difference which this House would do well to bear in mind—it is stated the Crown has a certain right to reserve its consent to legislation passed by the Parliament of the Irish Free State. It is also stated that this power—which is known familiarly as the power to veto— has to be exercised according to the law, practice and constitutional usage of Canada. Now, Sir, I think it is a certain defect in the Constitution that our process should be referred to the process of any other nation, but as they are in the Treaty let them remain in the Constitution. Let us see what is the Constitional usage of Canada in this vital matter of the veto of legislation. They have been clearly expressed by the Canadian Premier, and I wish to take advantage of this opportunity to quote certain words of his that put the whole of this beyond any question or doubt. In what is known as the Imperial Conference, but which hereafter I hope to be known as the Conference of the Communities, or some such similar word— but what has come to be known as the Imperial Conference, held in 1917, the Canadian Premier said the Crown in its relation to any Dominion acts on the advice of the duly constituted Cabinet or Government of that Dominion. Now when the Canadian Constitution was first created the Crown thought of in the provisions of that Constitution was the English Crown. It is now in constitutional usage the Canadian Crown. That is to say, in the constitutional usage of Canada the Crown cannot exercise its veto except on the advice of the Ministry and the Parliament which passes the Acts concerning which presumably the veto would be required. It is a contradiction in terms. So we have got in that matter an important distinction referred to there as a difference between legal authority and constitutional right and the present position respecting the exercise of the veto in the Irish Free State, therefore, is this. No veto could be exercised under this Constitution except by the consent of the Ministry, and if the Ministry, or subsequent Ministry, were to advise a veto on legislation passed by this House or Legislature, I think the Legislature would have a very short method of dealing with such a Ministry. But it will be noticed in these matters I have referred to the word "Dominion"—and the word has constantly been used, as well as the word "Colony." Ireland was never a Colony or a Dominion. Under this Constitution Ireland is not a Dominion. Ireland is dealt with in this Constitution as being entirely different from any of the Constitutions of the so-called co-equal communities. The whole conception is entirely different from other Constitutions. A certain paper has been put into our hands containing the three Dominions Constitutions. Might I suggest to the Deputies that they read that document very carefully in order to discover how widely different this Constitution is from the Constitutions dealt with in that book. The distinction is that whereas these Constitutions are the Constitutions of English Colonies our Constitution is a Constitution of this country, which is an ancient Nation in her own right, and a mother country of no inconsiderable power among the nations of the earth. And it is in that light that we should regard this Constitution that we are now dealing with—a Constitution which, when it is put into force, will affect not only us who are here, but generations that will come after us. It is a Constitution that, I suggest, however this country may progress, however this country may develop, with the slightest alteration, with the smallest revision, will at all times be adaptable to the progress and growth of an ancient nation, while at the present moment ensuring to it the gains of a long fight and the dignity to which she never relinquished her right.

I want just very briefly to oppose the amendment. The grounds upon which this amendment has been recommended have been, I think, that first it would strengthen the Constitution, and secondly that it would help to smoothe over difficulties. Now, to my mind it would do neither. The opposition to the Treaty which is in the country is the opposition which we will find to the Constitution. Of the people who accept the Treaty there are very few, indeed, who will refuse to accept the interpretation of the Treaty which is found in this Constitution. Now, that opposition to the Treaty is to a very large extent indeed irrational, and it is also to a very large extent indeed insincere; and because it is so largely irrational, and because it is so largely insincere, no effort that we make by playing with words and formulae will smoothe the difficulties that are before us. The people who will oppose this Constitution, and the people who will oppose the Treaty revel in formulae and in theories that represent nothing. They are intoxicated with them; they love them; and there is nothing would rejoice them more, nothing would whet their appetite for opposing us more, than for us to attempt to meet them by changes of words or formulae when we do not propose any change in fact. That much for any belief that by playing the sort of game that would be played by the ex-President of the Dáil we can smoothe over difficulties. In regard to the suggestion that the adoption of this amendment would strengthen the Treaty, my belief is that the adoption of parts of this amendment would weaken the Constitution and not strengthen it, because they would give an emphasis to certain provisions in the Constitution which they have not got at the present time. Some discussion has taken place in regard to the relations between the Constitution and the Treaty, and it has been said that we are not enacting this Constitution for the purpose of implementing the Treaty, but for the purpose of giving this country a framework of Government. To my mind, the purpose we have in enacting the Constitution is a dual purpose. There is no use in minimising the Treaty, or the influence of the Treaty, and there is no doubt that we are implementing the Treaty in enacting this Constitution, and that one of the reasons for the enactment of the Constitution is to implement the Treaty. It is equally necessary that we should have a Constitution in order to provide the machinery for Government; and to suggest that we should consider this Constitution, without any regard to the Treaty, is to my mind in the nature of an absurdity. The Treaty is a cardinal factor in a situation which we cannot ignore, and there is no use in asking whether this is a constituent Assembly, and if so whether we are to have regard to anything only our own will in the matter. We did not act in vacuo. We had to have regard to the facts of the situation when we were considering the Treaty. It was not whether that would be the Treaty we would frame if we were sitting or acting in vacuo. It is not. The position in regard to the Constitution is just the same. This Dáil cannot sit down and decide as to what the ideal Constitution for Ireland would be if the British Empire did not exist, if we never had had anything to fear from the British Empire, if we never had suffered anything from the British Empire, and if we had not just recently succeeded in getting from the British Empire a Treaty which gave us substantial national freedom. Now, Clause 2 of this proposed Amendment is in the Constitution, and there is no need for us, as far as that goes, to adopt the wording of the Amendment. The wording of the Constitution, to my mind, is preferable. In one sense Clause (1) of it is in Article (1) of the Treaty, though not so clearly. But, to my mind, when we come to enact the Constitution, one of the purposes of it is to implement the Treaty. That is not the position; that is not the place for general declarations, for the announcement of theories, about the sovereignty of the Nation. We have two things to do in enacting the Constitution; we have to implement the Treaty; we have to provide a framework for legislation and administration—for the machinery of Government. Article (1) of the Constitution does cover much of the same ground as the first clause in the proposed Amendment. From one point of view I would prefer Article (1) should not be in the Treaty at all; but it has this value, that as this Constitution when adopted by this Dáil will come before the British Parliament, and will be adopted by them, this Article (1) of the draft Constitution has the virtue that it gets a declaration from the British Parliament that Ireland is a co-equal member of the Community of Nations forming the British Commonwealth. If it were not that it did not get us that declaration from the British Parliament, I would rather not have such a thing in the Constitution at all, as not being necessary, as not strengthening the Constitution, and generally, as being more or less out of place there. It is for the very same reason that I object to this declaration here. First, it is something in the nature of a political Proclamation, and it is not couched in language such as would make it suitable for incorporation in a document, as a National Constitution. Second, it will not give us the advantage that this Article (1) will give us, through its enactment by the British Parliament. Now the Third Clause of this proposed amendment, the one that says "for agreement" and so forth is to my mind a very weak thing indeed. It is weak because it casts doubt by its very emphasis on a thing which none of us doubt. We all hold and believe that the Treaty may be annulled. We all hold that the sovereignty of the Irish Nation is indefeasible. We all hold that when the Irish Nation wishes, when it finds it advantageous, it may annul, on proper notice, any Treaty it has entered into. We regard that as fundamental. We regard that again as a thing that stands stronger because we do not put it into a document. It is not the business of a Constitution to proclaim that a Treaty may be annulled. The very fact that you try to ram such a thing into a Constitution is a suggestion that you feel a doubt about it. Besides in this particular case to push it unnecessarily into the Constitution, as is suggested, has the effect of emphasising other things in the Constitution, of giving them an emphasis which is not at present laid upon them. These are things which we believe must go into the Constitution for implementing the Treaty. These other things, which I refer to, are things on which we believe the fate of the Treaty depends in regard to which we have no choice — but the choice of losing the Treaty. Now, if we give emphasis by adopting this amendment, beyond the emphasis we have already given, I hold we weaken the Constitution, rather than strengthen it. My objection to it is, that it will not strengthen the Constitution, but will weaken it, that it will not smoothe over the difficulties, but cause new difficulties, and, therefore, I oppose it.

I am not a Constitutional lawyer, and I have no intention of giving this Dáil a dissertation on constitutional usage. But I do claim to have a little common sense, and I think that at this stage of the proceedings, common sense is even a more valuable asset than a knowledge of constitutional law. I am in agreement with one of the Deputies, who has already spoken, that the introduction of amendments at this stage seems to be confusing and unnecessary, and as one rather drastic amendment has been deemed in order, proposed and seconded, I want to say a word or two about it. Now, I have noticed a very consistent trait in the statement of Deputy Johnson in proposing this amendment. He seems to be continually harping on what might be called terms of slavery. We were already treated to a dissertation on that subject on another occasion, in reference to another serious matter affecting the Nation's life And to-day we have again trotted out this analogy or this simile of the slave. We are told that we here—or is it implied that we here — in this Assembly, have no higher status, or no more effective liberty of action than the South American slaves. Well, now, I venture to think that if we were in South America at the present time, or if the people living in the conditions of the South American slaves were given an opportunity to exchange that status for membership even of the Labour minority party in the Dáil, they would very gladly make the exchange. There is no use in drawing false analogies, or trying to confuse the issue by altogether misleading similes. Deputy Johnson wanted to know what were the essential clauses or provisions of the Constitution. Well, I think that we will all be enlightened on this matter in the course of the Committee stage. We have already learned from the responsible Ministers, or at least the Minister who is responsible for the carrying through of this Bill, that this preamble is one of the fundamental parts of the Treaty. Whether it is the most ideal preamble or not does not at the moment concern us. What does concern me is this:—Is it essential to the securing of the Constitution and to the securing of the Treaty? If we have authoritative statements by the responsible heads of the Government that this preamble is essential to the Constitution, well, so far as I am concerned, that ends the matter. I want the Treaty, and I want the instrument that is going to give us the Treaty. And my general standard of judgment of the Constitution is: Does it, or does it not, give us the Treaty? If it can be proved that it does not, then I am with those who want to see the Constitution amended in order to secure the Treaty. We are asked what are the consequences of a change in these parts of the draft Constitution which are fundamental. I think that the consequences must be apparent even to the meanest intelligence. The consequences are, so far as I understand, an abandonment of the Treaty. I presume we have still the liberty to do that. I presume we have liberty to reject every clause in this Constitution and change every line of it, but in deciding to do that we must consider whether we will bring to this country those conditions of peace and tranquillity for which Deputy Johnson pleaded in the latter portion of his speech. The Members of the Dáil, in taking a step which is equivalent to passing a sentence of death upon the Treaty, are violating the trust which they were sent here to discharge. We were told also by Deputy Johnson that this Dáil was bound by a certain compact entered into by certain people. That may be Deputy Johnson's view of the situation. I take a decidedly different view. I take it, not that we are bound by the pacts entered into, but that we have to recognise certain honourable agreements entered into by the representatives of this Government and representatives of the British Government. I again repeat that we are at liberty to repudiate those agreements, but we have to bear in mind before we do so what will be the consequences to the nation. We are told by Deputy Johnson that the business of this Assembly in discussing this Bill is to try to develop our discussions and decisions in such a way as will bring to the people of this country the institutions which they themselves desire. I was very glad to hear the concluding passage of Deputy Johnson's speech, in which he quoted the words of the late President — words that should be remembered by all. An attempt was made to bring the withering influence of destructive criticism upon this Treaty, on the grounds that it circumscribes, limits, and hampers the nation. "This Treaty is no more a final settlement than this is the final generation." There never yet was a Treaty entered into between two nations that had the attribute of immortality. Sooner or later, times, circumstances or changed conditions brought about either the annulment or revision of those Treaties. So, too, a time may come — and probably will come — in regard to this Treaty when a revision may be required, for the effect of this Treaty, in my judgment, is this: when that time comes this Treaty and the powers in it will have given the Irish nation that strength and vitality that will make it better for England to find a way to revise this Treaty by brains and thought than by the arbitrament of the sword. This is no more a final settlement than this is the final generation. So, judging the Treaty in that light, you must realise that this Constitution—if it interprets the Treaty correctly — is the sole standard by which to judge it. It gives the Irish people that power and that means by which they will build up institutions, according to their interests and their ideals, and not in accordance with the interests or dictates of any other people. It is very difficult, at times, to accept the professions of detached judgment that Deputy Johnson makes. He commented upon certain clauses of the Constitution, and he made something almost approximating jibes about the Government making an attempt to give certain object lessons to the Irish people. We were told that this Dáil was announced to meet a month after the election, and that it only met three months after the election. Who was responsible for that? I think if Deputy Johnson had pleaded as earnestly with those who held up and dislocated the country for a cessation of their activities — if he pleaded as eagerly with them to do that as he has pleaded to-day for some consideration for their standpoint — perhaps this Dáil might have met much sooner than it did. It is time to rid our minds of cant and humbug and to make up our minds as to whether we want the Treaty or do not want the Treaty. Let us cut out the game of playing "the dog in the manger," and if we are not prepared to carry the Treaty through ourselves, at least give the country a chance to get on its feet, by giving to those who wish, through this Constitution, to get the Treaty into operation a chance to do the work for the nation. We were asked, again, is the Treaty superior to the Constitution or the Constitution superior to the Treaty. I think those questions do not arise. As I judge it, the basic foundation of the Constitution is the Treaty, and the Treaty is merely an interpretation of what someone has called "the mechanics of administration" under the Treaty. There is no question, in my opinion, of one being superior to the other, the Constitution being the logical sequel and the intelligent interpretation and expression of the Treaty. Deputy Johnson, in his amendment, wanted to embody, as he said, some provision which would express the power of the Irish nation to annul the Treaty at some future date. Just as we have power, here and now, in this Assembly to annul this Treaty by our vote, so no action that we take to-day, even in passing this, will take away from the Irish Nation their power to annul any Treaty they may enter into, now or hereafter, with any country, but they will have to engage in that act of annulment with the full knowledge of the consequences, and no power on earth can take away from the Irish people the right to decide what they will do in any set of circumstances. If accepted, this amendment, we are told, would greatly facilitate or give some kind of hope to those who conscientiously denounce the Treaty—that it is not binding for all time. That is simply a reiteration of all that has been said before. We want no such embodiment of a provision in explicit language. There is no Irishman or Irishwoman who understands the meaning of the Irish Nation's love of freedom who doubts, for a moment, that the Irish Nation will decline to be bound by things that are dishonourable, by things that limit its legitimate scope and development, but, at the same time, the Irish Nation, too, realises the necessity of being bound by honourable agreements, entered into by its accredited representatives with the accredited representatives of another country, and, so far as I can judge the matter, our function to-day is to try to honour the undertaking that Ireland's representatives have given. They have come back with what, in my opinion is, and what in the opinion of 99 out of every 100 people in Ireland is, an honourable agreement, which gives the Irish Nation a chance. The duty entrusted to us is to see that Ireland's bond is honoured, to see that Ireland gets every fraction of the bond that she has entered into, and it is because I believe that Deputy Johnson's amendment is not only unnecessary for that purpose, but mischievous and likely to impair our capacity, not only to honour that bond, but also our capacity to secure the advantages that that bond brings to Ireland that I speak against the amendment and in support of the Second Reading of the Bill.

I am under the disadvantage to some extent of not having heard all of the speech of Deputy Johnson, having been obliged to attend to work which has been delayed by listening here of late to academic discussions of no practical interest. It is refreshing to have at last something before us which is of fundamental importance, and consequently of practical interest. There is in the amendment of Deputy Johnson much that is exceedingly valuable, and I think the spirit which permeates the amendment is excellent. At the same time I would inflict myself upon the Dáil for a few minutes to give reasons why I oppose it. Unlike the last speaker, Deputy Milroy, I am concerned about international law. Now, this amendment begins: "We, the representatives of the Irish people, duly elected to express and formulate the will of the people, hereby declare." It may seem pedantic to complain of that. Yet, after all, as we are engaged in something which is to a certain extent in the nature of draughtsmanship, it is desirable that we should not, even in a preliminary amendment, introduce language which is not in consonance with the language employed in documents of this type. The Constitution will be read with the sub-audition of such words as these, for the Constitution, when formulated, will be the declaration of the representatives of the Irish people, duly elected to express and formulate the will of the people. Now, a study of the Constitutions referred to by Deputy Darrell Figgis, and known as "The Three Dominion Constitutions," will show the exact traditional formula in which recitals of this sort are couched: "Whereas the people of Ireland are a sovereign people; and whereas the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland and to the unfettered control of Irish destinies is indefeasible and unquestionable; and whereas in the exercise of this right the people of Ireland have entered into a Treaty with Great Britain," and so on. I suggest that as the proper formula for the recitals of a preamble of this sort. But what is far more serious than an objection to the mere wording of the formula is the proposal, in so far as it goes, that we should eliminate altogether the preamble in the draft. It is true that Deputy Johnson substitutes something in the nature of that preamble at a later stage. I take an altogether different view of the Treaty from that of Deputy Milroy. I do not see why we should not answer his question at once. Which is the Treaty or the Constitution the superior? Undoubtedly the Treaty. Now, I have a particular reason for answering in those terms. The very fact that negotiations took place between Great Britain and the delegation from Ireland, and that the results of those negotiations are described in British statutes and in all the debates of the British House of Commons as Articles of a Treaty, is one of the greatest items of success in the whole work that was carried on recently to restore Ireland to her place among the nations of the world. We have in the very fact of the Treaty, as the Treaty was formulated, this magnificent, this superb advantage, that what used to be known as the ancient enemy of our national claims, herself, declares Ireland is a Nation among the Nations, and embodies the declaration this is an international agreement. I am at one with Deputy Johnson in lifting the article that asserts the source of Irish authority is the Irish people from the second place among the Articles into the preamble. With that I am in most thorough agreement. The preamble is the place for that declaration. I will not occupy your time with discussions as to the difference between authority and power. The time may come later for that. There is a well-recognised distinction which my esteemed colleague, the Minister for Education, sometimes affects to ignore. In the words of the famous 18th century moralist, Butler — he is speaking of the Moral Conscience:—"Had it might as it has right, had it power as it has authority, it would rule the world.” There may be a curtailment by the accidents of fact to the exercise of our authority; limitations, that is to say, of the exercise of our power. What we declare here in the preliminary formulation of our Constitution is “that all powers of Government and authority legislative, executive and judicial are derived from the people of Ireland.” Another respect in which I have perfect sympathy with the spirit of Deputy Johnson's amendment is, that he is obviously anxious to assert the sovereignty of Ireland. Am I right in saying that is his sole object? With deference to Deputy Milroy, I will go for a moment still further into this question of International Law. It is not possible, as anyone familiar with International Law will tell you, to give a hard and fast classification of the various types of composite States. Ireland is declared to be a Nation which is now entering into partnership with the British Commonwealth of free Nations and co-equal with any one of them. There are in International Law two types of composite States. This has been elaborated by German Jurists, who give the classification Bundes Staat and Staten Bund, that is to say there is a difference between a State which is made up of other States reduced for the purpose of International functioning to unity of State. Each is to remain one of a group retaining something of its sovereignty in the group, something like a distinction between Federal Union and a Confederated Union of States. The interesting thing is that in the history of European States what began as a Confederation has ended in a Federal Union. Perhaps you will permit me to give an illustration from the history of Switzerland, which was originally a Confederation of States; it is now practically the same as the United States of America, owing to the comparatively recent revision of its Constitution. Take the United States of America. The component States of the United States are sometimes referred to as sovereign States. A great deal of confusion is engendered in the public mind thereby. This is a sovereign Parliament; the Ministers have told us so repeatedly. Now a Nation may have internal sovereignty, but may not have external sovereignty, and what I want to draw the attention of Deputy Johnson to is this. Where a number of States are combined in a Union, whether in a Commonwealth co-equal or what you please, if the exercise of control over the intercourse with foreign countries is not vested in themselves, if, in other words, there is a principal outside of them, then in the eye of International Law that principal is the International person. Because of recent developments this requires great emphasis. I believe in recent developments the narrow and rigid definition and distinctions of Jurists in Text Books have been got away from, and there are approximations, or rather evolutions, at the present time by which other composite States are rather, in some respects, sovereign and in others not sovereign, that is they are quasi-sovereign as regards external relations. As regards external relations they are, in International Law, entitled to figure as what is known as International “persons.” Having that in view, I would beg of you in framing the Constitution and in using expressions to be careful not to shut out the possibility of that being realised. The Dominion of Canada has recently set its mind upon it, and undoubtedly the Union of South Africa is bent upon realising it. Quite recently, as you know, South Africa claimed to be represented at the Conference in Chicago, and was represented at it. The assertion of that claim by South Africa in no wise affected the susceptibilities of the Foreign Office of Great Britain. Quite recently Canada put forward the claim to have an Ambassador at the United States. Now those of you who will recall the character of the Confederation of the Rhine after the destruction of the Holy Roman Empire until it was replaced by the newer type of State, the late German Empire, will remember that in that Confederation of the Rhine you had Kings and States, each of which preserved its right, technically or theoretically, to send out and receive Ambassadors and Diplomatic Representatives not only to other members of the Confederation that formed the composite State, but to foreign Powers. Undoubtedly in point of practice, the exercise in the recent German Empire of diplomacy in regard to foreign relations was in the hands of the Imperial Chancellor. So, in the Confederation of the Rhine, it was the same as if the Dominion of Canada or the Commonwealth of Australia were not British Colonies that developed into States, but had been originally Kingdoms or Principalities. The Federation of the Rhine developed into something that was neither a Federal system like that of the United States nor a loose aggregation of States. Now it is quite possible for Canada, South Africa, Australia, and Ireland to have, in the Commonwealth, a place of a similar nature. To me it seems not politic, and consequently not desirable, to assert here as a preamble to our Constitution a thing which goes as a matter of course: it follows that a nation that may enter into Treaty relations with another nation is ipso facto entitled to depart from this; but not everything requires to be said, nor is it wise at all times to state things that may be more wisely left unsaid. Sometimes it may be said there are things which it is better to pass over, and consequently I echo the words of the Minister who spoke before me, in which he deprecated inserting into the preamble this declaration that we may rescind the Treaty at any time. While I value the preamble, at the same time I do not like the exact form of expression, for I must confess, when I read it first it hurt, being apparently an intrusion into the draft Constitution of a foreign external hand. “These presents shall be construed in accordance with the Treaty, and, in so far as anything in the Constitution is repugnant, it shall be ipso facto null and void.” I do not think there can be any question that the voice is the voice of Esau in this case. Yet at the same time it is most important that the preamble of this Constitution should declare that we here framed this Constitution by virtue of the powers inherent in the Irish nation to determine the institutions under which it is to live its life, and that we have agreed with England, with Great Britain, to enter into the Commonwealth of Nations — the Commonwealth of Free Nations — and that, in pursuance of that agreement, we draft the Constitution. It seems to me that all that is necessary in that preamble can be gained by a milder and softer form of expression, and that a great deal of what is objectionable ought to be removed. This whole question about the international law regulating the agreement between Ireland and Great Britain was gone into long ago by Grattan. It is unnecessary for anyone to labour it now. There were in those days, as in our day, Irishmen who were so bent on pursuing theoretical phantoms that they refused to recognise actualities; and you will remember how Flood raised similar points of dialectical interest in stating that because a certain statute was made in Westminster, therefore the rescission was possible in Westminster, and that the liberties of Ireland lay at the mercy of legislators across the Channel. Grattan emphasised what I desire in my humble way to emphasise now, that it really was a Treaty between two peoples; and I want that kept prominently before the world, that a Treaty has been entered into; and unless England dishonours herself before the world, as on some occasions she has dishonoured herself before, by breaking the Treaty, so long as that Treaty endures we are entitled to declare that we have an unquestionable right to the same position in the communion of free nations as England herself. So, while I oppose the amendment, some of my objection is merely to forms of expression, and some of it, perhaps very little of it, to substance. I would ask Deputy Johnson, therefore to reconsider the amendment, and, if possible, re-word it in a way that would be in consonance with the best for our Constitution.

On a matter of procedure would you advise me as to a Deputy's rights in this matter. I do not think this particular reading was the right occasion for moving such an amendment, and if permitted to move it, or some variation of it on the Committee stage, I am prepared to withdraw it, as I have been invited.

I think you would be quite entitled to put in the amendment on the Committee stage.

With your permission, and with the permission of my seconder, I do withdraw it.