CONSTITUTION DEBATES RESUMED.

I think it is right and necessary that I should, as one of the Signatories to the Treaty with Great Britain, state exactly where I stand in this matter. I stand by my signature and I support the draft Constitution now before this Dáil in so far as that Constitution does not exceed the concessions which we have honourably bound ourselves to make under the Treaty. I should perhaps make it clear that I have never been a Member of the Provisional Government and that I am not responsible for the present Draft. I declined last January to join the Provisional Government because I thought it was necessary that foreign affairs should be kept outside the Provisional Government during these negotiations, so that, if they found out that England had not kept faith, at least the foreign establishments might still be there to serve their purpose. At the later discussions on the Draft Constitution by the Provisional Government I and other Members of the Dáil Cabinet were present in consultation, and, when the Draft came back from London and was published in the curious form in which we find it to-day, I immediately notified our late President that I should feel myself compelled publicly to state that there were important Clauses in that printed document which I considered a violation of our rights under the Treaty and for which I would not vote. I tendered my resignation in case he should consider that the fact that the two Governments had sat together on this matter towards the end implied any responsibility on the part of the Dáil Ministers for this Constitution. He answered me very fairly, recognising my right to object and asking me to stay in the Government for the remaining 10 days or so before Parliament met, that then I should be free to say what I wished to say. So much to clear the air. We were told yesterday in the speech from the Minister for Home Affairs, a speech which, if I may say so, was in much better tone than other official pronouncements we have listened to on this subject, we were told that in the judgment of the Minister everything in the draft Constitution now before us was either explicit or implicit in the Treaty. Now that is where I entirely disagree with the Government. It is essential that this Dáil should realise that you are dealing here with a contract and not with a command. It was no part of the Treaty that every time England should say "boo" to the Government the Government should run away. This is a contract to be interpreted according to the ordinary rules by which contracts are interpreted, and if the Government will take that conception of their position they will realise that their state is a much stronger one than they appear to think it is. I am not going to-day to take up the time of the Dáil with any detailed criticisms of this measure, because I think the proper place for that is on the third reading, but I want to indicate one fundamental line of thought running through what seems to me the most important criticism of this Draft. It is this, that in examining, whether you accept this or that or the other Clause, the first thing you must ask yourself is, whether that Clause, if it be objectionable, is one which we are bound by our contract to insert in the Constitution. That is the very first question to look at. In this Constitution I find several important matters — I shall mention only one or two to-day — I find several matters of importance which offend my sense of the dignity of this country, and which, on examination prove, as it seems to me, to be matters which we never bargained to concede when we signed that Treaty. Take, for instance, the preliminary Clause which has now become the second part of the Preamble to the Bill. I need not point out to the Dáil how and why that Clause is objectionable. You only have to read it. But I challenge the Minister for Home Affairs or any other Member of the Government to point to one single line of the Treaty from its title page to the end of the Schedule which compels us to put anything of the kind into the Constitution or the Act introducing our Constitution. I turn again to the Oath and I am astonished at what I find in the draft Constitution. I ask myself whether that is going to be one of the Clauses on which this Dáil is not going to be allowed to have a free voice. I looked up that Clause yesterday again when the Minister for Home Affairs in his inimitable style made mince meat of the whiskey argument. Let me tell the Minister for Home Affairs that he does not appear to have grasped the arguments against the Oath appearing in the Clause as it does. I will develop that on another occasion. I merely draw his attention to this:—

When we are talking of what is explicit and implicit in the Treaty one thing is, I think, sufficiently clear in connection with the oath. Two things, I should say, are sufficiently clear in connection with the oath. One is that the Dominion precedent and practice have nothing to do with it under the express wording of the Treaty itself, and the other is that the question whether there is to be any exemption or not is plainly left —by that solemn document we signed in London — is plainly left to the decision of the Irish Parliament to be established under the Constitution, and we here have no business and no right to prejudge the matter which ought to be left, and is by contract left to our successors. I pass from that for the present. I do not wish to go into detail to-day, but I will just draw your attention to another case of misapprehension of our rights under this solemn contract, a misapprehension which affects our own right, through every section of this Constitution. The misapprehension comes from the mistaken interpretation of the phrase "law, practice and constitutional usage." I think it will be easy to prove, if proof be necessary, when the time comes, that that phrase, "law, practice and constitutional usage" means, aye, and was meant by the signatories, including the British signatories, to mean the synthesis of all three, to mean the constitutional position as it is to-day, and that it was never intended we should distort the words so as to have in our Constitution to formulate three distinct things, including the dead archaic feudal law, which, in practice, has almost been swept away. In the able letter which has been addressed to Deputies by Mr. Henry Harrison I notice he draws particular attention to the fact that if you peruse the various clauses of the Constitution you will find in one clause this disjunctive interpretation, the letter of the law set out boldly in all its nakedness, although it is dead, with some pious expressions about constitutional usage tacked on, and in other clauses you will find exactly the position as it is to-day boldly set out without any resurrection of the unfortunate dead. I assert that under that contract we have the absolute right to interpret these words "law, practice and constitutional usage" in their natural meaning as intending what is the result to-day of these three sources from which the British Dominions have drawn their present constitutional position. I am struck, as every Member of this Dáil will be struck by the unfortunate manner in which this measure has been introduced to this Dáil, and I think it is necessary to utter a word of warning to the Government against a tendency which has been too apparent since we started sitting here, a tendency of making the absence of moral courage the keynote of their policy.

Hear, hear.

Is that the keynote of the President's policy?

I will tell you by and by.

We had it on a matter in connection with which I felt myself compelled to resign from the Ministry. We had it in the Government flight from their intended application to the League of Nations. We had it in their somewhat hesitating and timid refusal to legalise the impossible position in which they found themselves in regard to the prisoners; and, if public opinion is believed, we have it again to-day in their failure to settle the Postal strike. Aye, but we have it much more in this draft Constitution. It is due to that policy that the Dáil is to be presented with a Government "Puffing Billy," with a steam roller driven by Engine-driver Dan McCarthy to smother all opposition in the mud. It is due to the same policy that the Government have attempted to withhold from this Dáil the draft Constitution prepared by their own experts and adopted by themselves, as complying with the Treaty, which was good enough to show to London, but not good enough to show to us. Would it not have been better, more dignified, for the Government to take this Dáil into its confidence and realise that this Dáil knows full well the difficulties of the present situation, and is anxious to help the Government if it will allow itself to be helped — that people do not want to score small points over it? Would it not have been better for the Government to come before this Dáil and tell us plainly and frankly the truth and the reasons why they felt compelled to make that surrender to England which is written over the Constitution presented to us to-day? Let me remind you that normally that Constitution should and would never have gone to the British Government at all until it had been brought through this Dáil. I think Mr. Churchill is reported in the English Press to have stated that it was shown to the British Government out of courtesy as a result of a promise given to them by our late leaders. That may or may not be so; but what is undoubtedly a fact is that under the ill-starred agreement come to with the Ard Fheis of February last, Mr. De Valera insisted that before the General Election could take place the draft Constitution must be presented to the Irish people in its final form. And one of his men at the Ard Fheis got up, so that there can be no doubt about what he meant, and asked the question, "Does that mean as approved by England?" I am not quoting his exact words, but the sense of the question; and the answer was "Yes." In the state of affairs we had last winter the Government, therefore, were faced with the problem of drawing up a Constitution which would have to be submitted to England before it was passed here. It proceeded to appoint an expert committee of the best men it could find for the purpose, or the men it judged best, including a list of distinguished names, and men of such distinguished abilities as the Law Adviser, Mr. Hugh Kennedy, and as Mr. James Douglas. Is it going to be suggested that these gentlemen occupied their time in preparing something which was never meant seriously at all? The Government have come before this Dáil and given us three distinct and separate explanations of their attitude in forcing, or trying to force, certain sections of the Bill down the throat of the Dáil. One particular Minister says it is a matter of honour. He seems to forget that the only honour in the matter is our duty to observe our contract. It is not a matter of honour. It is a matter of yielding at the pistol point. That was what we should have been told frankly. Another Minister says it is unfortunate we must present such a document as this to you, but the fault lies with Mr. de Valera. I sympathise with the Minister who said that, because it is true that Mr. de Valera and his friends have forgotten the day when they promised that there was a constitutional way of settling our differences, and they have forgotten the day when they promised us that if we were up against England they would be behind us as an auxiliary army. Yes, there is some truth in the fact that the deplorable performances of that party have made the Government position difficult, but that fact does not alter the truth that you are dealing with a contract. But we have had a third explanation, and I was sorry to sit in this Dáil and hear it expounded by the Minister, I think it was, for Local Government. He said that the whole thing was bluff. He said he knew before even they took this thing to London, it was bluff, and that we have got as good as we ever expected to get. I say, emphatically, that it is an unworthy statement, and it is not true. So far as the Minister is concerned, I do not know what his views are, but I say this is shabby treatment for men of the eminence of the Judicial Law Adviser, to tell him now, when he has come back with a Constitution, that does not correspond to the draft accepted by the Government, that they were all sent to London on a fool's errand, and also to tell England that in this country our most distinguished lawyers, dealing with matters of vital interest, amuse themselves going to London for mere bluff. I trust the Minister for Local Government is the only one who sees the matter in that light, because I do not think it is fair; but I will say no more about it for the moment.

Added to all these considerations, I am impressed with the fact that even were there no steam roller, it would be impossible for this Dáil in the present condition of Ireland to give to that Constitution the serious and careful consideration which so grave a document deserves; and, therefore, I know that if this Constitution goes through now, it will not be the Constitution that an Irish House of Parliament would have drawn up or accepted had circumstances been different from what they are. And then, again, towering over all these considerations, one cannot but be alive to the fact that this country is driving fast to economic disaster and chaos, and that the Government should have every minute of its time occupied in taking the necessary steps to avert what is threatening before us. I pay one tribute to the Government — and I am not fond of throwing bouquets — but this at least will be said for them, that as a body they work hard, and no body of men, however hard at work, can cope with every matter threatening us from outside, at the moment when harassed by this constitutional question. I realise, as well as Ministers, that our roads are being destroyed, that our ports are empty, that our factories are idle, that our fields are untilled and our shops unstocked, and that there is a growing volume of discontent which will overwhelm the Government and Parliament alike if it goes on longer. I realise every moment of their time should be given to studying greater problems than the constitutional one, and to saving the country at this economic crisis and restoring the trade of the country, to saving and developing foreign trade, to looking into the question of averting wholesale bankruptcy and the question of Government facilities for credit, to examining the incidence of taxation and the nature of the taxation they propose to pass into law, to stabilising our finance, to dealing seriously with the unemployment problem, and reforming from top to bottom the judiciary.

I am impressed with these facts, and know how urgent it is that something should be done in these directions, and I ask myself the question, "Is there any way out?" I can assure this Dáil that if ever I brought myself to vote for this Constitution as it is to-day, I should be doing something that went very seriously against the grain, and for this reason — not so much because the document contains things which it should not contain, which are wrong, which are bad in themselves, viewed in the light of our obligations under the contract, but because this Parliament is going to fix— I do not like to say for all time, but at all events indefinitely — upon the country a Constitution that should not be fixed upon it, because at this moment — the worst possible moment — it is proposed to mould and set and fix firmly and definitely a Constitution which I believe to be wrong, and a Constitution which I believe would be a better Constitution if introduced at any other time. And a greater objection to the proposed measure than the Constitution itself is the fact that we will be settling it definitely. I ask myself is there any way out of that, and, feeling my way through the poisoned fungus-growth which you will find all through this Constitution, I have suddenly picked up a most unlikely thing — an olive branch, and I propose to tender that olive branch to the President and Ministers, in the hope that they will see how resplendent and full of promise it is. The British Dominions themselves have provided us with the way out of the impasse. The British Dominions themselves have furnished us with a means for avoiding the threatened fate of being crushed between the upper millstone of this Constitution and the nether millstone of the chaos awaiting us from below. The British Dominions met in 1917 with Great Britain, and they passed a very important resolution, which will enable us while settling here and now, on the fundamentals of the Constitution — definitely will enable us to postpone the casting into iron mould of our relations to the British Empire and Government. They have themselves declared explicitly that their Constitutional status requires to be readjusted and explained; the victory which they succeeded in snatching from that section of British Governmental opinion which has always opposed their development — which they succeeded in snatching during the War — was so great that they themselves realised that it was essential to them securely to establish it in a code that would be indisputable, and they passed the following Resolution: passed it unanimously after the most careful private discussion, every word being well weighed. This was in 1917. The Resolution reads:

"The Imperial War Conference are of opinion that the readjustment of the Constitutional arrangements of the component parts of the Empire is too important and intricate a subject to be dealt with during the war, and that it should form the subject of a special Imperial Conference to be summoned as soon as possible after the cessation of hostilities."

They proceed to set forth the rights they claim in certain important matters of State with which I need not trouble the Dáil for the moment. The important fact is that a Constitutional conference was definitely agreed upon between Great Britain and her Colonies in 1917. After the big war that conference was postponed, its date has not been fixed, and I presume that the present condition of Europe, and the failure of the Powers to implement the Treaties they passed at Versailles, Sevres and St. Germain is responsible for the delay; but what the resolution makes clear first of all is that Imperial Federation is dead and buried, when to-day the position claimed by the British Dominions and recognised by such a prominent British statesman as Lord Milner, "is absolute out and out equality," in the strict meaning of those words. I propose to give the Dáil a little list I have made of a few of the more important matters that are to be settled by that Constitutional conference, and I fancy that Members of this Dáil who have not had an opportunity of familiarising themselves with the full extent of the Dominions' claim to Independence, will be startled by some of these items. The principal thing is that no Dominion is to be bound, save with its own consent. They mean to establish clearly, and beyond all doubt, the quite new status they have attained since the war. They will have at this conference a general declaration of constitutional right covering the whole field of government — legislative, executive and judicial, following the declaration of that absolute out and out equality I have spoken of to sweep away the last vestiges of their former dependence, and kill the feudal idea of English sovereignty based on might, and to replace it by an experiment in International Government by consent. That is the attitude taken up by Sir Robert Borden and General Smuts, who have no intention of allowing their countries to be walked upon, and yet consider it desirable, in the interests of their countries to remain within the British Commonwealth. Every one of the items I am citing to the Dáil is supported by responsible statesmen in the British Dominions; some of these, I wish to mention, are not supported unanimously. People differ about them, but everyone of them, and I could give chapter and verse, is supported by some responsible opinion, of which the voice will be heard at this conference. The Governor-General is to become a mere honorific symbol, not of the King of England, but of the Bond of the Commonwealth. The Governor-General will have to do exactly as he is told by Dominion Ministers, and it is proposed, and warmly advocated, that he should cease altogether to be the representative of Great Britain. Let him represent the Imperial Crown, but let Great Britain send Ambassadors to her Dominions, as she does to other countries, because they are in fact independent countries voluntarily uniting themselves with Great Britain and not a gang of subject States. It is proposed that the British Colonial Office shall be abolished, abolished as a relic of other days which the Dominions would wish to forget. It is proposed that all disputes between members shall be referred to Arbitration so that there can be no threat of immediate or terrible war. It is proposed that the Appeals to the British Privy Council sitting in judgment, even in cases where Britain herself is interested, shall also be relegated to the dead past because all the great Dominions have repeatedly objected to this archaic survival and reflection upon their sovereignty implied by the continuance of Appeals to the British Privy Council even though an occasional Colonial Judge sometimes gets into that Council. And that is one of the things which is most certain to go when the Constitutional Conference meets. It is proposed by way of emphasising the complete legislative equality of the Dominions that no English law whatever shall bind the Dominions hereafter, unless the Dominions agree to it; that no law made at Westminster shall repeal, or purport to repeal, any Dominion law; that there shall be no territorial limitations to the laws which a Dominion can make; and that every Dominion shall have the fullest power to alter its own Constitution. It almost goes without saying that it will also be declared that there shall, under no circumstances, be any British veto for Dominion legislation. Consequently, under a declaration to be made at that Constitutional Conference, you could not have Article (40) of our proposed draft, the Article which deals with the veto, and which if you read it, while qualifying the exercise of the veto by reference to what is done in Canada, is so worded as to imply that that veto does exist, that it may be qualified and limited, but it is a live and an existing thing. There will be no Article (40) in the Constitutional Conference. The veto will be buried once and for all. And then again, in foreign affairs, Smuts and Borden have both repeatedly asserted that the absolute equality which they claim involves the right of the Dominions to deal with their own foreign affairs. They will have their own Foreign Office by that name, and their own diplomatic relations with foreign Powers, receiving their separate Diplomatic Ministers from foreign Powers, and sending out their own Ministers to foreign Powers. I ask the Dáil to remember that. I am telling them what these Dominions publicly claim for themselves, and the claim has not yet been repudiated by Great Britain, and I rather fancy that it never will be. So far as the connection between the Dominions and Great Britain is concerned, it will be provided that the whole structure shall be based on consultation. You are bound when you agree to be bound. You are expected not to do some high act of State in the international field without consulting those with whom you are connected in the British Commonwealth; but you are free to go your own way if you cannot get others to see with you, or if their proposals do not commend themselves to you. The whole thing is founded upon consent — consultation and consent. There will be no monopoly to England in the making of peace and war; there will be no monopoly in England in the making of International Treaties; no monopoly for England to determine who shall be friends and who shall be foes. All this is the logical outcome of the position won by the British Dominions when they acquired separate representation at Versailles, when they separately signed the Treaty of Versailles, and when they separately ratified it, and subsequently became separate members of the League of Nations. And I suppose it will be sufficiently evident to this Dáil that when that Constitutional Conference meets, upon the points upon which the Dominions are unanimous there can be no contest; upon the points upon which there is strong feeling in the Dominions, it is at least exceedingly likely that England will agree that they shall have their own way, because it must not be forgotten that even in England it has at last been realised, as it was long ago realised by the best opinion, that if they want to keep their Dominions attached at all, they must give them what they want, and that it is much the better course to allow the Dominions every inch of liberty that they claim to have. You will therefore have a Conference at which all these various matters will be discussed and debated by men who understand them, and who know exactly what they want. That is why I suggest to this Irish Provisional Government that they can find a way out by pausing to see what is achieved there instead of attempting to-day to stereotype our Irish Constitution before these most important matters have received from other parties, interested and more competent than any of us, the consideration that they deserve. That is why I said just now that the British Dominions themselves have furnished us with means for settling definitely all that is fundamental in our Constitution, while refusing to cast in iron mould so much of our Constitution as concerns our relations with the British Commonwealth and the British Crown. If they will do that, little as I like the Constitution, I, and I know others in this Dáil think with me, should consider it wrong to persist in opposition to a Constitution of which the objectionable parts would be changed as soon as that Constitutional Conference has met. There could not be a worse moment than the present for moulding in cast iron for the Irish Constitution — in view of the state of the country, and also in view of those facts which I have cited to the Dáil — these matters of transcendent importance which are still not formally settled. There could not be a worse moment than the present, and if the Government would take the line which I venture to suggest to them, their action would be popular in the British Dominions, and would be very well received by all those who are anxious, as Lord Milner was, lest the British Empire should be disrupted, so that in refusing to standardise anything of the impossible theories of the past, the Irish Government need have no fear this time of offending the gentlemen in Downing Street. The Irish Government is not invited to break the Treaty, or to do anything which is not consistent with the Treaty. They are invited, on the contrary, to assert that it is not for us to fix and set and clamp the constitutional usage, and practice, and the constitutional status which the Dominions themselves are clamouring to have settled only after careful consultation with the best and most expert workmanship that these Dominions can produce, in the full intention of asserting the complete freedom to which they have attained. I beg the Government not to treat the matter lightly, but to realise that if they will take this line there is a way out for those of us who, realising as we do the urgency of passing the Constitution, yet cannot stand by, silently, and allow this document to go through the Dáil as if it was what we bargained for; who feel that we must, if that document is to be the Irish Constitution definitely, that we must make such protest as we can, knowing full well that those who come after us will repent that it ever went through in that form. For Ministers themselves will recognise that a Constitution once passed is very difficult to change, and if I am told, "wait for the Constitutional Conference and change it then," how do I know what we shall be able to do? When that time comes England may say, theMorning Post will say, and it may be in control then —“You agreed in 1922 voluntarily to embody in the Irish Constitution what you yourselves then said was the Canadian Constitutional status. That is all we promised you: that is all you are going to get.” Yes; the Constitutional conference will come and go, and Ireland will be told it is no concern of hers, because she had the folly before those Dominions to reduce to writing what they, cautious Britons, will only reduce to writing very slowly. While the British Dominions are asking that these things shall be put down in black and white, in the light of day, surely an Irish Government is not going to ask us to indite them in red, white and blue in the dark of the present moment. I ask the Government to give this matter the consideration which it deserves, and not lightly to use their steam-roller to pass the Constitution through this Assembly. The matter is too grave for that, and the country expects more of them than that. If it is objected that by postponing the definitive expression of our Constitution we are jeopardising certain gains over the Dominion status in our present draft, I answer that that objection can have no weight. It would be a very serious one if it were well founded. It can have no weight, for this reason that the very essence of Constitutional usage and practice is that liberty once attained is yours —liberty once attained is recognised as yours, and can't be withdrawn. The evolutions of these Constitutional usages have always been in favour of greater liberties. If once you progress along a certain line you can't be driven behind that line again. So far as you have got, that is secure, and, therefore, in so far as this Constitution now has the merit of being better than Dominion Constitutions that much is ours in any event, and we cannot imperil it by taking the stand I suggest Ministers should take, postponing the definite insertion in the Constitution of other matters which have not yet been made sufficiently certain. Therefore I tender this olive branch to the Government and beg them to accept it. It is not a suggestion for a Provisional Constitution; all that is fundamental will be there; but our relations with the British Empire will be defined only until such time as the Constitutional Conference has met, and then we shall be in a position to write down those relations, knowing what Constitutional usage really means instead of being compelled, as we are likely to be compelled to-day, to swallow as law, practice and Constitutional usage, things that were never meant either by the Irish or by the British Signatories to the Treaty.

I was in some doubt while Deputy Gavan Duffy was speaking as to whether he was speaking about the British Constitution or about the prisoners, or about the Government, or about the Dominions. But, I have no doubt whatever in my own mind that what we are here for is to consider this Constitution, and I have no doubt in my mind either as to what is meant by moral courage. Deputy Duffy signed a Treaty in London on the 6th December last, and if my recollection is correct either he or some of the other signatories — one at least of the other signatories—stated that he did so under a threat of terrible and immediate war. If that be the case that was a situation which demanded moral courage. If he were right he had no right to sign under any threat, and he had no moral courage if he did sign under such a threat. The present situation is one in which, if I take it correctly, this olive branch means that we have not sufficient moral courage now to say what we mean, to take this Constitution, and start from there. But we are to wait until Dominion representatives, more competent than any of us if you please, tell us what we want or tell us what is nationality, or give us a headline as to what a Nation like Ireland should require. Now, I do not want any Dominion Statesman to tell me what this Nation requires. And I think the majority of this Dáil do not require any education from Dominion Ministers as to what their duties and responsibilities are in this Dáil, and they are prepared to take the responsibility of passing this. Steam rollers do not assist in passing Constitutions. They put metal into the earth, and you see it no more. You pass over it, and it is a nice place for walking on. And we will provide for Deputies, like the Deputy who has spoken and other Deputies who have spoken, a nice easy way to walk on, in which they can tell the people who pass by: "We had no responsibility for the limitations in this Constitution, other people are responsible for them. We are absolutely innocent of it." As to the very thing that is taken exception to — the fact that this Constitution does not interpret the Treaty — in the preliminary clause, we have it down if there be anything in this Constitution repugnant or not properly solidified, it will be so interpreted. But the Deputy reads it the other way always with theMorning Post and England in his mind. Now, I am not afraid of England, and I am not in the least bit nervous about what the Morning Post says; I have not the opportunities the Deputy has of reading the Morning Post. We are taxed with a lack of moral courage, those of us who had not any fear of taking our responsibility as members of the Provisional Government, while Deputy Duffy says, “Oh, no, I will have nothing to do with it, I will take Foreign Affairs, and I will look on, and if England does not keep her bargain I will still have Foreign Affairs going on; anyhow I will have Foreign Affairs going on all right.” As my friend and colleague Deputy O'Higgins says — it is in the Scripture, “the eyes of the fool are on the ends of the earth.” It was not Foreign Affairs that won the war for us against Great Britain; that is one thing certain. Suspicion of England! Now, we have entered into this contract with England in good faith, and I have sufficient moral courage to say I am trusting the English in this contract, and if I find the English are deceiving us in this contract I have sufficient moral courage to tell this Dáil and Nation that is the case, but until they do it I am not going to upbraid the English or take up that seemingly popular attitude in this country that you attribute to other people all the faults and infirmities for which we ourselves were in some degree responsible. We had sufficient moral courage to arrest five or six thousand prisoners, and if necessary we will arrest five or six thousand more; and no three or four mad women coming in here to talk to us are going to make me release those prisoners so long as the safety, welfare, and stability of this country are endangered by releasing these people. And if they suffer inconvenience, they will suffer it and suffer more before they are going to get us to release them if they have not got the interests of this country at heart. We are told to wait for the Dominion Conference; that the new Dominion Conference is going to do for us what we are not able, in the opinion of Deputy Gavan Duffy, to do for ourselves. I am informed by a gentleman who has, perhaps, as much knowledge of constitutional law and Constitutions as, perhaps, anybody in this Dáil, or perhaps anybody in Ireland, that there was an Imperial Conference held in 1920, and, if my recollection is correct, that was after the war, and they still had those Conferences and did not settle anything.

They definitely put off the Constitution.

They definitely put off the Constitution! They probably will take on the business of settling our Constitution, while their own business is unsettled. They will postpone their business to settle ours for us — these Dominion gentlemen who are so accommodating. I am perfectly satisfied that we would have done just as well in this country without the assistance of the Dominions. Have the Dominions assisted us, or anybody else? I understand General Smuts came here. I did not see him when he came, but he went away and the matter was not settled. We settled it ourselves; and when the day comes that Irishmen are afraid to take responsibility for doing their own business themselves, irrespective of outside influence, then I believe that the cause of Irish nationality is bound to fail. Yesterday there was an amendment tabled here, and motives were suggested to the Government for certain clauses which are in the Constitution. This whole business reminds me of a speech that was once delivered by Mr. Timothy Michael Healy. He said that the English on one occasion had a foreign potentate that they found some difficulty in subduing. They discovered that this foreign potentate was rather addicted to an article of diet called rum, and they brought into the country, over which this potentate ruled, several barrels of rum. A report came to the English Governor-General, or Ambassador, or whatever he was, that King Thebaw was drunk. Next day another message came that King Thebaw was drunk, and so on, for a fortnight, until they came to the conclusion that his drinking proclivities should be seriously interfered with. Then they moved on his place. We, in this country, are, to some extent, interfered with by heavy thinkers. There are people who lead us to believe that they are always thinking. They go on thinking, and they ask us to keep thinking, thinking of the Peace Conference, thinking of the infirmities of this Constitution, thinking of the possibilities of Dominion meetings, always saying it is going to be, it is dangerous, it is not safe, keep thinking. When would we arrive at a conclusion if that sort of thing went on? That is the chorus we hear from Deputy Johnson and Deputy Duffy.

Why adjourn the Dáil?

I am perfectly satisfied, in view of the criticisms that have been passed on this Constitution, that it must be a fairly safe instrument. There are seventy-nine Articles in it. Any of these could have been subjected to very careful examination. Their infirmities could have been pointed out.

They will be.

It is about time. One of the recommendations Deputy Gavan Duffy is making to us is to exclude the oath to be taken. I wonder why did he sign the oath at all if he objected so much to it? Why did he not say "I will not sign until you take out that oath"?

Is it necessary for the President's case that he should misrepresent mine? I think I made myself perfectly clear.

I know you did. I want to deal with the things you did not touch, things for which you are responsible, and for which you wish to evade responsibility. It is not now that the oath ought to be the subject of consideration, but on the 6th December last. That was the time to exclude this particular declaration if there was an objection to it. We have been told that the Dominions are splendid institutions; that they have more courage and more ability and so on, than we have. I would have no hesitation myself and I would have no misgiving on the part of this Nation in taking even less liberty than there is in this Constitution or in the Treaty, and in having the fullest confidence in the people of this country in improving that position. But that is not the situation with which we are faced. We are faced with that strong position here. It is not the resolution of the Dominion Premiers; it is not theMorning Post, or the English people, that are going to retard any development, or any future improvement of this instrument.

Why did you not bring back your Draft from London?

I do not understand what is meant by: "Why did we not bring back our Draft from London." I should say we brought back a much better Draft from London than if Deputy Gavan Duffy had been one of the gentlemen who were sent over there, and I am perfectly satisfied that the people who are going to make any real use out of this Treaty, or out of this Constitution, are not the people who say "postpone consideration of this, so that we can relieve ourselves of the responsibility of accepting it." There were two men, at least, who are not here now to defend the action they took in connection with this implement, whose contribution towards this position exceeds that of any other twenty men in this country, and nobody knows that better than Deputy Gavan Duffy. One of the suggestions that was made yesterday was that we should put down in writing our claim to the material possessions of this country. I wonder did the gentleman who put down that really believe that the putting down of such an amendment was of any use whatever, either to this Constitution or to the people. Could it have prevented a single telegraph wire being cut by a person who had left his employment in the service of the Government? Would it secure any further property to the Government that they have not got possession of at the present moment? No; this whole business is window-dressing, something to show the people outside what strong people we have here. All through this whole thing there is a want of moral courage to stand up to the people and say we have brought you thus far; it is for you to get further. I have absolute confidence in the people of this country in getting any distance they will, once they are imbued with the confidence that only comes to a free people.

I would like to say a few words, A Chinn Comhairle, in favour of the motion. I submit that what the Irish people will ask about this Constitution is — does it hand down to us, make safe for us, the provisions of the Treaty? They will not be too particular as to the number of lines in this Clause or the number of commas in that Clause. What they will ask is this—"Does this Constitution, as the Treaty did, make sure that the English Army leaves Ireland and that an Irish Army will take its place? Does it make sure that all the land of Ireland will come under the sole control of the Irish people to do with it what they will? Does it mean that we will collect every pound of Irish taxation and have the spending of every pound of it, and will we, under this Constitution, have entire control of the education of the country from the Primary School up to the University?" And if you assured them that this is so they will not trouble their heads much about small points. As to the small points, they will say, as they said about the Treaty, "with regard to the Treaty, you sent over from the Dáil the five ablest men you could get, and they made the best bargain that could be made in the circumstances, and we are quite satisfied to take it." Of course, the assumption of the critics is that if some of them went they would have done better. Well, that assumption and that claim only amuse the Irish people, because with regard to some of the critics they would not send them to the bog for turf. The same comment arises in regard to this Constitution. Thank God that Arthur Griffith and Michael Collins lived to have a hand in the framing of that Constitution, and, as Deputy Gavan Duffy said, their difficulty was tremendously increased by certain people in this country who did not go to London, and who would not have done half as well if they went there. Their difficulties were increased, but, as great as the difficulties were, they brought home a Constitution that embodies all that is in the Treaty, and if there is any doubt as to whether it does not, there is a provision in the Constitution that provides that everything in the Treaty shall be reserved for the Irish people. Deputy Gavan Duffy's comment on the Constitution as compared with the Treaty was grounded on the assumption that once we had accepted the Constitution we tore up the Treaty. No, the Treaty is there to be built on as it was before the Constitution. Deputy Gavan Duffy's speech reminded me of the speech of the great lawyer who, when he went into Court, was not quite sure of the side he was on. He delivered a great speech on the wrong side, and went on until his solicitor called his attention to the fact that those were the arguments on the other side. Then he made another speech for the other side, and demolished all his first speech. Now Deputy Gavan Duffy told us of all the terrible things and great obstacles that were in this Constitution, and in the next moment he told us that there was to be a Conference of Dominion Premiers that was going to remove every one of those obstacles if we did not remove them. So all the dangers and terrors that he pictured for us have no existence at all. In fact, he painted such a glowing picture of all the grand things in store for the Dominions, that they are to be fully independent sovereign Powers, and you would imagine that we would be more free than we thought we would be under the Republic. If all these things happened, there is a terrible danger that if all the young men fighting mistakenly on the hillsides had waited until the realisation of that grand picture Deputy Gavan Duffy painted for us, they would not have gone out on the hillsides at all. But although all those obstacles and drawbacks that are in the Constitution are to be, as he confidently tells us, finally removed by this Imperial Conference, yet he regards the economic situation of this country so grave, as we all appreciate it to be, that we are on the verge of bankruptcy, and that there is not a country in the world that requires its economic needs to be looked after so urgently as Ireland at the present time. Though there are thousands of agricultural and other labourers idle, and in a very bad position, and though other urgent questions in Ireland are crying out for amelioration, yet he wants us to sit down and consider the removal of these drawbacks, which he says will be automatically removed later on, and he advises that we should delay in doing that much-needed work. I, for one, would welcome it, if those Imperial statesmen who meet in London will improve the status of the Dominion of Canada or the other Dominions, because the Treaty provides that our status will move upwards according as theirs does. The Treaty and the Constitution provide that if they become free, as free as they become we become; but we do not base the confidence of our present position on anything that the Imperial Premiers may decide. Ireland has reached its present position by overcoming tremendous obstacles, and if we were able to reach this stage of our freedom, if we were able to accomplish this much, while the English had their Army in the country, while they had control of our money, while they had control of every interest in the land, entrenched in our public offices and entrenched in a hundred other ways, what could we not hope for when we have the English Army out and our own Army in its place? If we still think that there are further obstacles to be overcome, further ground to be covered, are we not in a much stronger position to do it? Those people who believe they could do more without taking the Treaty and taking the Constitution have a very extraordinary idea of the situation. It was said here that we on this side of the Dáil are too fond of sheltering ourselves behind the argument "Hit me now and the child in my arms." That can be referred to in the way of ridicule, but it has also a pathetic meaning. The Treaty was won by hard work and was handed down to us and we are ready to go to any length to defend the Treaty and the Constitution because the Treaty holds the fruits of our struggle, and also holds the hopes of the Irish people. It is a sacred treasure, and we will defend it to the last.

I cannot quite understand the attitude of the Ministry in hurling epithets at any Deputy as regards lack of moral courage on his part, nor can I understand the attitude that unless Deputies in this Dáil accept every clause and every line in the draft Constitution that has been presented to us they lack moral courage. Some of us at all events, even though we voted for the Treaty in Dáil Eireann were not in any way consulted with regard to the draft Constitution. Force of circumstances over which I suppose nobody had control produced the draft Constitution before the elections. For some reason or other the draft Constitution was taken over to London, and the English Ministers were consulted before the representatives of the Irish people were consulted. As one I am prepared to accept the force of circumstances which produced these things, but I do think it is unfair for the front Benches to put us now in the position when we are presented with the draft Constitution for the first time that those of us who voted for the Treaty, and who on general principles support the Government, should not be allowed to express our opinions on the draft Constitution with which we are now presented. I think it is as well to make a few things very clear. They are clear in my mind at all events. We voted for the Treaty, a good many of us, because we believed sincerely that the Treaty opened a way to giving into the hands of the Irish people great power which they did not have for centuries, and also because we believed sincerely that the alternative to the acceptance of the Treaty was a continuation of the war with England, and because we believed that Ireland could not get better out of the war with England. The position as it seemed to us was that while England has been unable to govern this country as the country should be governed, while the Irish people had power to prevent it, on the other hand we had not won over the English forces to the extent of dictating terms to them. Therefore a middle course had to be provided and that middle course had come, as we believed, by the Treaty of last December. Now this draft Constitution is only a continuation of the acceptance of the Treaty. We are told we must accept the form of the Constitution within the terms of the Treaty signed last December. Personally, I believe the Constitution would have been much more acceptable in some of its clauses to traditional National Irish sentiments if the circumstances were not as they were last May. I believe that the clauses which are objectionable need not be in the Constitution now presented only for circumstances over which we had no control. I submit on this second reading that it is unfair for the Ministry to put it to us that we must accept every clause in that constitution in the way in which it is put to us.

On a point of information. I would ask, through the Chairman, the Deputy to state what Minister said that every clause in that Constitution must be accepted as it stands; what Minister said any clause must be accepted, and what Minister said anything more than that in the event of a defeat on certain clauses of that Constitution we would not be responsible for further direction of the political affairs of the country?

I have endeavoured myself to analyse the clauses of the Constitution. There are 79 clauses in the Constitution, and 10 of these clauses, from my point of view, may be considered somewhat unacceptable to Irish National sentiment. As one Member of this Assembly I do not know if the whole 10, or what number of the 10, the Ministry say they will take no responsibility for if they are defeated on them. I would wish to explain, I am not speaking in any sense hostile to the Ministry. I recognise fully the responsibility which is on them, but I do submit that on a matter of this kind in giving to this country a Constitution, which, while we know it will not fix things for all time, will give a certain direction to the history of this country in the near future, that the Ministry ought to allow a certain option for the expression of opinion, and not be always saying that they will not accept responsibility. The view I take is that the position was weak for negotiation last May, but that the position is stronger now, and should be stronger for the Ministry when they have an Assembly that will back them, on any particular they want to be backed, and make their position stronger. I believe there are some clauses that were accepted unwillingly last May, and if those who wish the clauses should be amended had their views accepted by the Ministry, I am inclined to think that the British negotiators on their side would not hurl forth a threat of war policy against this country. The idea I wish to express is that it is well that we should have a very-clear statement as to what we can do with that Constitution, without putting the Assembly into the position of getting a new Ministry or putting the Ministry into the position that it would refuse to continue in office. What are the particular clauses we have to accept? I think, and I am sure every Deputy in this Dáil thinks, that a war policy against England would be disastrous, and to prevent this I would accept things that are objectionable to me personally, while accepting them under duress, but it is as well we should be told what these things are. If there is a possibility of amendment that would strengthen the hands of the Ministry, I think we should be told this also, but I should certainly say that the attitude of saying we won't take responsibility, and saying you must take equal responsibility with us for the things that have been done even though you have not consulted us, is an attitude I do not like. It is objectionable.

A great deal of the opposition to the Treaty, as I understand it, is in connection with the Oath, and I wish to point out the marked difference between this Oath in Ireland in the Free State and the Oath taken by people similarly circumstanced, and with a similarity in character, who have had for generations traditions of Republicanism. I am referring to the Boers in South Africa. The Boers are the descendants of people who revolted from Spain. A Republic was founded after the establishment of a trading concern, and when in 1802 the British captured Cape Colony these men, rather than give up their ideals, trekked into the wilderness and established there Republics that were known as the Free State and the South African Republic. There is no use labouring the question now. You know what happened, and that after the war these men, with the traditions that they had, went into a legislative Assembly and subscribed to an Oath of Allegiance to the King of England. Let me read the Oath that General Hertzog, leader of that Party, took: "I, General Hertzog, do swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to His Majesty King George, his heirs and successors according to law, so help me God." If a man with the record and traditions of General Hertzog, the great leader of the Republican Party, could take that Oath and work constitutionally for the establishment of a Republic in South Africa, surely in Ireland, where Republican ideas are really not traditional, Irishmen ought to consider the position and see that this Oath of the Free State is not something that brings the annihilation of their ideals.

Is mian liom rud eigin do rá sula dtabharhaidh an t-Uachtarán tora ar na ceisteanna atá curtha air. Before the pilot of the Bill replies, I desire to say something on the main principles of the draft Constitution. In the course of what I have to say it may be necessary for me to go over some of the ground, but I hope not very much, covered by Deputy Gavan Duffy. Deputy Gavan Duffy, if he at certain points in his speech overstated the Constitutional case, I think, in other points, he rather understated it. But there are some definite questions raised by him and by Deputy de Roiste and others which I want to put again definitely, clearly and deliberately to the Ministry, in order that before we go any further we may know exactly where we stand, where the Ministry stands, and that we may know exactly where the whole country stands as regards Great Britain and this draft Constitution. Before I come to that I just want to make some reference to something the President said a few minutes ago. I am rather sorry the President spoke before some of us had the opportunity of doing so, as I should like him, as President of the Ministry, speaking in the name of the whole Ministry, to answer questions I am going to put to him. As to a small reference to a certain clause in Deputy Johnson's amendment yesterday, I just want to remind him and other Deputies, the reference to the position as regards the sovereignty and exercise of control, and so forth, over land and the wealth-producing sources and processes in Ireland, that was taken out, directly taken out, of the democratic programme of the First Dáil. There, at its adoption, it was subscribed to in as solemn a manner as it was possible for anyone to subscribe, by, amongst others, the Minister for Education, even the Postmaster-General, the Minister for Defence, the Deputy-Speaker of this Dáil, and several others, even the Minister for Home Affairs. That, I think, should dispose of that. One of the questions I want to ask the Ministry is this: How long is the Dáil, whether this Dáil or another Dáil, going to be implementing the Treaty of December 6th? How long is this Dáil or another Dáil going to be implementing that Treaty? Because we are told one of the main reasons why we must have these still unnamed and objectionable clauses in the draft Constitution is that the passing of that Constitution is necessary for implementing the Treaty. If that is so, then we shall know pretty well where we are. But it seems to me, even from some things in the Bill now before us, that the implementing of the Treaty is not going to be done by the adoption of this draft Constitution. We all want the Treaty implemented and completed, however much we may dislike it or dislike certain provisions in it. There is no shadow of doubt that anyone who has come into this Dáil has taken the Treaty for what it is worth, intending to use it and make the most of it for what it is worth, and some of us have an opinion that it is worth more than some people on the other side would like it to be worth. We want its provisions finished with as soon as ever we can; we do not want it to be going on like a thing referred to in a song that used to be popular some years ago, "The constitutional movement must go on, must go on." We do not want "the implementing of the Treaty movement must go on, must go on." Now, the preamble is in principle the whole Constitution. There are one or two things we want to be clear about, and to have a clear and explicit answer to. The President has referred to that part of the Preamble which makes reference to what may be repugnant to the Scheduled Treaty — but I think I had better quote the actual words. They are:—

"And if any provision of this Constitution or any amendment thereof or of any law made thereunder is in any respect repugnant to any of the provisions of the Scheduled Treaty it shall, to the extent only of such repugnancy be absolutely void and inoperative and the Parliament and the Executive Council of the Irish Free State shall respectively pass such further legislation and do all such other things as may be necessary to implement the Scheduled Treaty."

If I understood the President aright I got the impression that there may be an Irish interpretation of this question of repugnancy, and there may be an English interpretation, and these would correspond the one to the Irish view and the other to the original view of the Treaty. The President I think suggested that there was an Irish interpretation of this word "repugnancy." I want the Ministry to tell us who is to be the judge of this repugnancy, or alleged repugnancy, who is to adjudge that certain provisions of the Constitution that may be amended or certain future acts of legislative enacment are repugnant to the Scheduled Treaty? If we get an answer from the Ministry upon that we shall know to some extent where we are, because it seems to me if there is going to be any allegation of repugnancy that we shall then have not an Imperial or Constitutional Conference or an International code to decide on the meaning of repugnancy, but the Ministry will come down to the Dáil again and say it is necessary for them, or a number of them, to go over to London and to come to another agreed interpretation of the Treaty of December 6th last, and of this draft Constitution. Incidentally I notice that there is a great likelihood that much further legislation will be necessary in this Dáil or a future Dáil in order to implement the Constitution, and that if we do this job now that will not finish the implementing, but as Deputy Sears talked of handing down the Treaty, so in the case of this question of implementing the Treaty we will also have to hand down the movement for implementing. I note this is a Bill to enact the Constitution for Saorstát hEireann for implementing the Treaty between Great Britain and Ireland signed in London, and I want to know if the sole purpose of this draft Constitution is merely for implementing the Treaty. And by the way the first clause of the Constitution says that the Irish Free State of Saorstát hEireann has co-equal liberty with the Community of Nations forming the British Commonwealth of Nations, and the Treaty itself refers to Ireland and says it shall be styled and known as "The Irish Free State." I think it will be true, even if Belfast contracts out, that Ireland and not the twenty-six counties — you see I am taking as liberal interpretation of the Treaty as the Ministry — that the whole thirty-two counties of Ireland, and not the twenty-six counties, is what is meant. I put it that what is in the mind of some of the Ministry and in the mind of some of the supporters of the Ministry, both inside and outside this Dáil, is that they regard Ireland as the twenty-six counties. They have got the twenty-six counties as much on the brain as they have got the question of the implementing of the Treaty. I listened with a good deal of attention to the speeches of some of the Ministers, and, while not analysing them in detail, I think I detected a certain confusion in their way of present ing the case. I do not mean that one Minister was delegated to put one aspect, and another to put another aspect, but it seems to me there is not one clear common conception of this Constitution or the draft Constitution and the principle behind and the causes and reason for bringing it before the Dáil in the minds of the Ministry as a whole, or in the minds of the Executive as a whole, and certainly not amongst some of their strongest and ablest supporters. I find, for instance, and I do not want to harp back upon it, but it is necessary for certain persons to show that there is confusion amongst the Ministers themselves and their supporters. The Minister for Local Government said the other day that the Draft taken over to London in his opinion will not decide the terms of the Treaty. Deputy Figgis, who we all know had a great deal to do with the original Draft, tells us it does not go outside the four walls of the Treaty. Now, what is the position? Does it, or does it not? We have the Minister for Home Affairs saying that the Constitution should not be passed without very great stress owing to the condition of the times. I think that is an argument for not having the Constitution passed through this Dáil at the moment at all, because notoriously the internal conditions of the country, not to speak of the relations with England, are such that they do not give a constituent assembly a decent chance of drafting a Constitution in the way it ought to be drafted. On the other hand, the Minister for Home Affairs said on another occasion that this draft Constitution must be read in the light of the Treaty, and the Treaty must be read in the light of the conditions that prevailed at the time it was signed, and that in drawing up the Treaty you must stress the conditions prevailing at the time, and that these conditions should find some expression in the Treaty, but you must not do that in trying to draft the Constitution, and you must not do it too much. Deputy Blythe said there was no doubt we were implementing the Treaty and enacting the Constitution. So say the President and other Ministers. But, as I pointed out at the time, the attempt to implement the Treaty now is not going to finish the job. It is only doing patchwork, and the supporters of the Ministry are asked to vote, maybe not with Deputy Dan McCarthy's steam roller behind them, but certainly with a good deal of pressure behind them; and they are simply patching up a job that may require some doing again, and may require some doing years ahead, unless I am reading the preamble altogether, wrongly. Deputy Blythe stated yesterday, in answer to Deputy Johnson's amendment, that there was no Constitution now; that the law, practice, and constitutional usage of Canada — with stress, I think, on the law —would prevail in Ireland at the moment; and I think Deputy Gavan Duffy has demolished the law end of that case. It is the fact, and Deputy Darrel Figgis confirms it in an excellent little book, so far as it goes, which I am glad to see the Minister perusing, that the law in Canada is not only dead, is not only a dead letter, but that it does not square with constitutional usage and practice that has grown up within a good many years past, and that the thing which has been got in the Treaty should be in the Constitution as the living matter and the growing, developing matter of the constitutional rights of the Dominion of Canada, and not the dead weight of the actual letter of that country, which, if it has not become obsolete, it has become obsolescent. Now, I claim while that is safeguarded in the Treaty, it is not safeguarded in the Constitution. As a matter of fact, I do not know whether this is a Constitution at all or not. My understanding of a Constitution is when people confer their fundamental law or Constitution upon themselves. If I understand what the Ministry is getting at aright it is somebody else and not the people of Ireland, not even the representatives of the Dáil who are conferring this draft Constitution upon the people of Ireland. Now, if it was the Irish people who were doing that Sovereign Act it would be a Constitution, but if the vital clauses of this document here are merely a contract between the delegates from Ireland and the delegates in England then it is not a Constitution. It may be a Treaty, or as the Ministry tell us, an agreed interpretation of the Treaty, and not a Constitution at all. And they come down here to us and ask us to agree to that agreed interpretation. They want to take out of your hands your right to discard that. They tell you that you can change every comma, and every syllable, but if you do so, as Deputy Milroy says, you must take the consequences. I want to know what, in the opinion of the Ministry, are the consequences which would flow from the rejection of any of these clauses. Not only that, but I want the Ministry to tell us straightly and frankly what are the clauses referred to in this connection. They have all told us that the Bill can be divided into 3 divisions. A number of clauses were agreed to with some reluctance in London; they are vital to the Bill. There are a number of others which concern obligations of honour with the Southern Unionists, but I might say there are also, obligations of honour with the whole body of the Irish people, and with the whole body of the representatives of the Irish people as well as with the Southern Unionists. They told us that in the 3rd Section were clauses which do not involve any point of honour, or contract, and they graciously tell you you are permitted to change them if you like. Now, we claim if this is a Constitution that we have the right and we are determined to exercise that right, to change any clause we desire to change. I want to say frankly and straightly on behalf of my friends and myself if you put up any clause to us and say that that clause must be swallowed by this Dáil at the pistol point of England we are not going to have it, even if it was initiated or made by us on these benches. Because it seems to us the whole principle we are fighting out here is the principle whether we have to take what is given us or whether we have the right of freedom to reject what is forced and imposed upon us. Let the Ministry tell us Clause by Clause what are the clauses that are vital—these clauses which make up the agreed interpretation of the Treaty. We want that, and we shall insist that they tell us, in their opinion, what are the consequences that are going to flow from the rejecting of any of these clauses. Is it war, is it ruin, is it destruction, is it the throwing back for a generation of the entire National Movement for Irish liberty? But do not let them come down meanly and lowly insmuating "if you don't do certain things certain consequences will follow." It is not within their right to mislead this Dáil and mislead the country. If they have the moral courage let them tell us what those consequences are. We ask them to do it this evening, and when we know what the consequences are and when we know the agreement between the two parties as to the agreed interpretation, then we shall know how to act accordingly and know what to do on this Second Reading. I would like to ask, with some other Deputies, why we are not told all about this contract. To the ordinary man in Ireland who knows nothing at all about drafts of Constitutions, it would seem a proper way, if the Constitution was necessary to implement the Treaty, to set up a drafting Committee to produce a scheme outline or draft Constitution. But the first duty of the Ministry responsible for presenting that draft Constitution to the representatives of the people was to submit it to the representatives of the people and the whole body of the people. That was not done. The Colonial Secretary says it was submitted to him and to the British Cabinet, but it was not submitted to the Irish people or to the Deputies of the Irish people. It was printed in the newspapers on the first morning of the election; that was the first moment it was published officially, and with the whole responsibility of the Ministry behind it, before the representatives who shall have to live under it saw it. They are told they must swallow certain clauses of it, and if they do not there will be terrible consequences, which are still unnamed and undescribed. Now, I think it is true, and I think Deputy Figgis, and other Deputies, are correct when they believe that if it had not been for certain events that befel Ireland within the last four or five months, a much better, a stronger, and a more democratic draft Constitution — one more in keeping with the whole history and national traditions and aspirations of this people—could have been got; could even, perhaps, have been made acceptable to England, but for these events. We are as conscious of that as of anything, but that does not seem to be the opinion of the whole Ministry. It is the opinion, apparently, of some of the Ministers, but the pilot of the Bill the other day said that, in his opinion, all that could have been got at any time was a more pleasantly-worded draft Constitution, and not a draft Constitution with any better substance. His words, I think, were: "Not better in any point of substance." The President turns round and tells us this draft Constitution is as good, as democratically equal, to the best — to all of the best — points in any of the Dominion Constitutions. I do not think it is. I think there are several tests that might be applied to it. I think the proper place to apply these tests to it is, perhaps, in Committee, when we can deal with it clause by clause. One clause has been mentioned already, and, I think, it is vital to the whole essence of the draft Constitution; that is the reference back, the appeal to the British Privy Council. I do not want to stress that because it has been stressed by others; but as it seems to me, the King may be a symbol, the crown may be a symbol, and there are a whole lot of dead weight symbols in the so-called British Commonwealth of Nations. But the British Privy Council is no symbol; it is a hard fact. The President, in an astounding speech, made fun of the Colonies, of the British Dominions, of their statesmen, of their constitutional authorities, of everything else like that, and of the Constitutional Conference. That may be all very well. It may be all very well that we here in Ireland are sufficient unto ourselves. But are you, Deputies of the people of Ireland, going to bind yourselves down hard and fast by such a clause as this clause on the Privy Council? It is a notorious fact that the law in Canada is, I think, exactly, or practically, the same as in England on appeal to the King and Council. As regards the Australian Constitution, unlike the Ministry here, I think the delegates who went back to the Australian Constitutional Convention laid all their cards on the table, told everything that happened between them and the British at Westminster, and did not keep back one single argument or one single threat or anything else. They put all the papers on the table, discussed them thoroughly, and let everybody who had the responsibility of doing the act, get the full facts of the case. These Australian delegates, in their Constitutional Conference, went something further even than the law was in Canada. And when the South African Act was passed, the law carried the thing much further. But the law is not the thing that matters. Does the Minister tell us that the present constitutional practice, the present constitutional usage, the present constitutional rights, as they apply between the British Dominions and the Privy Council, will apply in Ireland in spite of the laying down of the law in Article 65, I think it is? Do they tell us that they shall not apply? Now, I know that, as a bit of a propagandist myself, it is possible to take out of this draft document certain very fine-sounding clauses, and to go outside this Dáil and read these to the people, and say, "There you have got everything you want." But you cannot take this document, or any document of considerable length, by one clause or two clauses. You cannot take the preamble of Articles 1 and 2 without taking in certain other essential clauses and articles in the draft Constitution, because the thing that is given here in the beginning is taken away, is modified, and corrected by other clauses and by other articles in the Constitution. We want an answer to that question, and we want the pilot of the Bill, or the President, to repeat definitely, in so many words, one of the things said by the Minister for Local Government yesterday — one of the only crumbs of comfort that have fallen from the lips of any Minister — and that was that it is, and always will be, the right of this people to annul any Treaty, past or future, including the Treaty of the 6th December. Now, I may be a bit confused, but if it is in our power to annul the Treaty of the 6th December, and if, as Deputy Magennis and, I think, the Ministry believe, that the Constitution should be dependent upon the Treaty, and not, as we believe, the Treaty dependent on the Constitution—if, in fact, the Treaty is a superior document, a superior instrument to the Constitution, what becomes of the whole fabric of the Constitution when we exercise our right to annul the Treaty? We want a definite answer whether or not, in the opinion of the whole Ministry — taking the case of Ireland as against England — whether the whole Ministry agrees with that statement of Deputy Blythe yesterday. We have a particular reason for asking that, because the other day we found here, on a certain matter raised, that one Minister was a little bit at variance with the rest of the Ministry. And I think the same occurred on other days on other things. Now, we want to know whether Deputy Blythe was giving that statement of his as a constitutional fact in the opinion of the whole Ministry, or whether he was merely giving his own personal opinion, the same as he was when he thought that the draft that went over to London went outside the four walls of the Treaty. We have been putting these direct questions to the Ministry because we want answers to them. The Ministry does not usually answer. We want an answer on this, because, in our opinion as well as in theirs, it is the most serious business before this Dáil for some weeks, at all events, to come. If this is a Constitution that the Irish people are conferring upon themselves, then we are engaged in the performance of the most solemn, the most sovereign, act any people could perform. If, on the other hand, this document which we are asked to adopt is not a Constitution—if it is merely an agreed interpretation of another document—then, if there is agreement on that, we have no more right now, no more authority at the moment, to change these clauses than we would have to go back on the Treaty, which everybody here at all events agrees should go forward. I do not know but it would look in a way, by the manner in which this document is made up, that we were now entitled to go back on the Treaty, because it is scheduled to this Bill. We put this direct question to the Ministry—we want to know whether, if we exercise our undoubted rights, that that is going to mean war? If it does we may have to say just as we said about the Treaty, and we never have run away from what we said about the Treaty—we may have to say that this document before us is not to our liking, that it is a document which is put to us, to this Dáil, under duress, without putting any bones on the word "duress"; that in our opinion, and particularly through the weakness that has come upon the country with the civil war that is raging, that this country is not at the moment able to stand up and fight for its rights—to secure the exercise of all its rights. If that is the position, tell us it is the position, and then we shall know what we shall know. We shall know where we stand, the country will know where it stands, everybody will know where they stand. We shall have a plain, straight issue. The Treaty was not to our liking. Many of the clauses in the Treaty were not to our liking, but we recognised the situation and the conditions governing the Treaty, and to us the Treaty was accepted under duress and under nothing else but duress. We do not want— and I want to make myself clear in this —that for the state of affairs that was produced then—to blame merely one individual or party or section of the movement. We blame the whole movement, the whole of this Second Dáil from the ex-President down to the merest private member, because he in the Cabinet and all of you could go and consult one little section, one little caste in Ireland, as to what should be done. But there was nobody to go and consult the ordinary common people of Ireland who have had to do the suffering since the 6th December last. Now you are doing the same thing, you have been doing the same thing with this document that you put before us now, this draft Constitution. It may be that it is not the mere words in the Constitution that we object to, may be it is not to the mere clauses in the Constitution that we object. We object to the whole manner and method of the presentation of this document, in the drawing up of an Agreement arrived at on this document. We want these questions answered, and we put it straight to the Ministry and to the spokesmen of the Ministry, we ask them for once, for once in the history of the Irish people, that we should have plain and straight and honest answers to these, even though these answers should break the hearts of every Deputy in this Dáil.

I had no intention whatever to occupy the attention of this Dáil to-day, but it seems to me that it would not be right that I should allow a representation of my statement of last evening to pass unnoticed, a representation given no doubt, in all good faith, by Deputy O'Shannon. It completely, as I understand it, misrepresents the whole position that I took up. I do not think Deputy O'Shannon was here when I spoke, and I do not know how he derived his impression. I said that on a great many times the question had been put: Which is the more important thing—the Treaty or the Constitution, and that there seemed to be a desire on the part of certain Deputies in the Dáil to shirk the answer to that question; but that for my part I had no hesitation in answering it; that to me the Treaty is the more important thing. But what did I understand by that? I thought in spite of my efforts at brevity I had made myself clear. There is too much harping by our people to-day on what the Treaty does not give—too much in the sense that it blinds them altogether to what there is of value in the Treaty. To me —without considering the merits of the Treaty—the mere fact, I said, that we have a Treaty with Great Britain is a recognition of our status as a Nation among the Nations of the world. Our status is declared. That, I think, ought to be emphasised and re-emphasised again and again. You remember that in the courtesies—or rather discourtesies— of caste, which prevailed in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries in France, a nobleman, however insulted by an actor, would disdain to fight him. If the actor were insulted and challenged, the nobleman would refuse to fight, because he did not recognise the actor as a gentleman, and he would fight only with gentlemen. Something of the same thing takes place in what is called the family of nations. A people may not be sufficiently advanced to Statehood to be recognised for the purposes of Treaty-making by a great Power. Here Ireland has got from the State which is, after all, not merely one of the great Powers, but in some respects the greatest of all the great Powers, recognising our nation as a State, and entering into Treaty relations with her.

Now, that is the unalterable fact. It has been argued that we ought to take power to give notice of our denouncing, as it is technically called, the Treaty. I did not dwell upon that sufficiently yesterday. There is reciprocity in all these things. If we announce beforehand our intention to denounce the Treaty at some future date a Die Hard Ministry in England may do likewise. There are a few confusions in the mind of the last speaker I would like to deal with. I will do so with the utmost brevity. He argued: Suppose the Constitution that we enact here to-day is repugnant to the British Cabinet or the British judicial authorities, suppose they regard it as exceeding the Treaty, the result is war. Nothing of the kind. He forgets the Treaty. Again and again, I wish to remind this Dáil not to forget the Treaty. The Treaty has been entered into and it has conferred certain powers upon this people of ours by virtue of the status it recognises. We are to have the status of the most important of the Dominions in the Commonwealth of Free Nations. If we exceed, in the enacting of the Constitution, what is within the Treaty, the result is not war. The result is a re-consideration. Oh, but we shall be told then that England compels us to re-draft our Constitution, and that we do not frame a Constitution freely. Deputy Gavan Duffy told you, in most admirable terms, the Treaty is a contract. It is as a contract that it is valuable. No doubt, as a Treaty it was made under duress. Was there ever a treaty in the history of the human race that was not? The purpose of a treaty—except treaties that are international agreements and conventions for trade purposes, in regard, say, to the imposition of duties—is to end war, and it has always been understood when two nations fight one of them wins and the other loses, or they call it a draw. My conception of the situation here is that, for her own purpose, England agreed to regard the situation as a drawn battle, and consequently we have the Treaty. It is only because of this Treaty—a very important fact—that we stand here to-day, able to undertake the task of enacting a Constitution for our people. It is only by virtue of the Treaty that we are in that splendid position. Consequently the existence of a Treaty is a more important thing than any Constitution that may be enacted by reason of it. Furthermore, there is a very important clause in this draft Constitution which enables us to alter the Constitution at any time, with the consent of the people, if it be their desire in any respect to alter it. Consequently the very nature of the Constitution is that it is alterable, it is susceptible of addition, subtraction, improvement, or extension. The Treaty is not, except by consent of the two parties to it. I dwelt at considerable length yesterday evening on a very important point, and my argument was elaborated to-day with admirable clearness by Deputy Gavan Duffy. This was that when you consider the Constitution of the United States, as a composite State, and consider other Constitutions—for example, that of the British Commonwealth—you discover that the British Commonwealth has for many years past, more particularly since the Boer War and the granting of the Constitution to the Commonwealth of Australia, ceased to be of the standard types recognised beforehand by writers on international law. It differs from both types of Federal and Confederate Union of States, and there is where our advantage lies. I gave you examples—Deputy Gavan Duffy has since given you more valuable ones—of the growth of the Commonwealth of the Dominions—of the rise from Colony to Statehood, from mere Statehood to Sovereign State. I desired, like Deputy Johnson yesterday, to keep before the minds of the Irish people their right to recognise themselves as the citizens of a Sovereign State. We must not introduce any words or formula that would impair that. I was sorry to hear a distinguished journalist, and good Irishman, like Deputy Sears, for the purpose of scoring a point in debate against an opponent, speak in language that really, if we were to take him seriously, would indicate a desire to detract from the sovereignty of his own country. He said a very true thing in making this debating point—namely, if all the liberties that we have sketched out as possessed by the Dominions were as genuine as we represented them to be, that there would be no men out on the hillsides to-day. That is exactly my case. If these people would only take the trouble to understand what we have got, and how our feet have been put on the path that leads to the realisation of all that the highest patriotism has ever desired for our country, if they would stop to consider what partnership, fellowship in the great Commonwealth of Free Nations really involves they would not be on the hillsides to-day, but here sharing with us the task of trying to frame the best of Constitutions for our country.

Mr. Chairman, I had not intended to intervene in this debate, but certain things have been said that make me think it would be a very good thing for a few words to be spoken by one who did hold political views entirely different from those held by the majority of this Dáil. I had held such views, and I am not ashamed to say that I held them—because I honestly believed that if brought into effect they would be best calculated to lead to the development of this country in every way. But the adoption of the Treaty in London by the Irish representatives and the British Government completely changed that. Those views became at once, to my mind, unpractical and impracticable. I turned over that page completely. In accepting the Treaty, as Deputy Shannon said, I accepted it not in any aloofness, but with the feeling that it was the bounden duty of everyone in accepting it, not to hold aloof, but to do anything he could, however little or however big, as the case might be, for the good of the country, and in the hope that the time would soon come when every section, forgetting past differences, might be ready to give its best for the country, and might be called on by the whole country to do that. Now, Mr. Chairman, I think at this stage the point before us is an extremely simple one. It is merely, to my mind, whether we should proceed at once to frame a Constitution and to consider line by line the Constitution proposed in the Bill, or whether we should postpone that matter to a later date. Now, I am absolutely with the Government in regarding it as urgently necessary that this Constitution should be framed with as little delay as possible, for reasons which have been already stated, and for a further one that has been mentioned, but to which I would desire to call great attention. I think probably one point upon which absolute unanimity can be obtained in this Dáil is the desire for a united Ireland. Everyone of us, I fancy, has it very close to his heart to wish that this should not be a Constitution for the twenty-six counties, but a Constitution for the whole of Ireland. With the Ministers who have spoken, I regard as one of the first steps towards the restoration of law and order, and the securing of that object which we all desire, the framing of a Constitution. It has been pointed out by some that the proposed Constitution exceeds what they would wish in accordance with the Treaty, and it may be, Mr. Chairman, I think it is, that others who have been opposed to them consider that in certain respects the proposed Constitution goes beyond what is given in the Treaty. I am putting the matter from that point of view deliberately, but I say that this particular moment is not the time to discuss those points, but that we should at once decide whether we shall have a Constitution or not, and then go on to consider it line by line, and therefore I am giving my entire support to the Government in pressing this forward, as they said, with as little delay as possible.

A Chinn Comhairle, it is, I believe, a prerogative of the mover of a resolution to wind up the debate, and I suppose, roughly, to give his impressions of the course of the debate, and in speaking of this particular debate, I would say at once, that I have been rather disappointed, for we had heard that for months past mountains were in labour, that certain houses in certain streets were vibrant with the click of typewriters, preparing a barrage for this Constitution. We had heard that one Deputy had, I think, 750 amendments to move, one for every year of our struggle. We find, at the end of all the ridiculous mush, a certain amount of vague generalities, a certain amount of poetry, a certain amount of emphasis on the desire, which many here share, for better things, if such were attainable, but very little practical, useful, constructive criticism of the Constitution. Certain people have spoken of duress; they do not like the Constitution; they do not like the Treaty. I wonder have some of the signatories to the Treaty liked it very well? I wonder if it represented all that they would have wished to secure for their country? I think they liked it just as little as any member of this Dáil, but they took it and they signed it. They signed it, if you like, under duress. If you want to talk poetry let us say they signed it with a pistol to their heads, or rather, let us say, to the head of their country. That is the position, and that was the position, and it is always the position between two nations, one of which has the greatest navy, and perhaps also the greatest army, in the world; that has a population of 40 millions, and the other an island country of 4 million inhabitants, and no navy. The whole position for seven centuries back has been a position of duress, and the position is likely to remain, in all essentials, a position of duress, for many a long year to come. I wonder if there is any thing in the atmosphere of this Dáil which brings people away from the realities? Is it that the atmosphere is a combination of library and museum? In the first few days we showed a certain contact, and a certain realisation of affairs outside. As we go on all that is disappearing, more and more, and we are getting into the regions of abstractions and academics. Deputies do not particularly like the Constitution. Deputies do not particularly like the Treaty, but Deputies will have to say whether they are prepared to put to the hazard, to put back into the melting-pot, the destinies of this country, and, in view of the chaos and futility we have outside, to re-open this whole matter of the Constitution. It was our duty, as a Government, to come to this Dáil with a draft Constitution. It was our duty to recommend the Constitution to this Assembly, and I submit that, in the conditions in the country, it was our duty to take steps to see that the Constitution we would recommend would be one that was not calculated to throw things back again into the melting-pot, but one concerning which there was at least in this country substantial ground for agreement, on the main point. Try to remember that when we went across to London the Truce had been broken, grievously broken, frequently broken here. Try to remember that British soldiers and British ex-policemen who were covered by the terms of the Amnesty that had been issued were being shot almost daily, almost as a matter of routine. Try to remember that certain people differing from the majority in religion, and perhaps also, and I am not sure of that, even in political outlook, were driven from their homes and from their positions in greater numbers than I was aware of until quite recently; and do not let us say that because things happened elsewhere, that it was right they should happen in the territory over which we have theoretical jurisdiction. It is not right. And it was in that atmosphere and in these conditions, in which any day or any week might have brought back the British power, that we found ourselves in the position of having to produce for the country before the elections a Constitution which it was agreed should be in its final form—a Constitution for which we were prepared absolutely to stand. The Constitution was discussed with the British representatives. I hold that we would not have been acting up to our full duties or acting up to our full responsibilities if we placed this country in a position where there was even a chance of the Treaty being lost if we could help it. Now, I have stated that, in our opinion, this particular Constitution we are now considering is a strict and fair interpretation of the Treaty. There are clauses which, when we come to the Third Reading, and when we go into them in detail, can be shown to be in excess of that to which we would be entitled to demand on the strict reading of the Treaty. There is one particularly valuable matter, of which many Deputies in this Dáil are aware, in which the strict letter of the Treaty has been exceeded. The outstanding features, perhaps, of this debate were the speeches of Deputy Johnson and Deputy Gavan Duffy. Deputy Johnson moved an amendment of the Constitution, which he subsequently withdrew, and that amendment was largely poetry. It contained nothing, in my humble opinion, which is not contained in certain articles of the Constitution. It contained very little that is not inherent in one particular article of the Constitution: "All powers of government and authority, legislative, executive, and judicial, are derived from the people, and the same shall be exercised," etc.

That is important.

And then we listened attentively to Deputy Gavan Duffy. He almost convinced us that it was a Republic he signed for in December last. He almost convinced us of that, until we remembered that he spoke of the document he signed on the 6th December last as excellent in parts, like the curate's egg. He signed that document under duress—granted not under personal duress, but under the duress of the effects on his country. And let it not be taken for one single moment that I hold he was wrong in so signing. I hold he never did a wiser thing, and is never likely to do a wiser thing than he did on that occasion. But now we are to put a red stamp across this Constitution, a red stamp provisionally. There is to be no finality. We are to wait for some far off Imperial Conference which he made me remember was mentioned in a Resolution in 1917—and after that the millennium. And the carrot of this very problematical Imperial Conference is to be dangled before the country's nose, and in the meantime we are to have a state of affairs which we had between January and June of this year, with nothing definite and nothing settled. What about that particular clause that is going to be all changed when Deputy Duffy's Imperial Conference sits? He warns us not to mould in cast-iron our country's rights. Now, I have sufficient faith in this country's power to develop, and I believe that there is no danger whatever, no possible danger, of any man or body of men moulding in cast-iron her rights. Deputy Duffy has spoken quite learnedly of the manner in which the Colony of Canada outgrew her Act of 1867, so that she has developed beyond all recognition from the Constitution embodied in that particular Act. Apparently he doubts the capacity of this country to develop beyond the full stop of any written document. I have no such doubts, neither have I any doubt of the necessity for settling this matter of the Constitution now, and settling it, as we believe, in accordance with the Treaty, and getting ahead with the main business of the Irish Parliament—reconstruction and the dealing with the social and economic problems of the country. Last December, while the Treaty was still in the balance, Deputy Johnson came before Dáil Eireann and spoke gravely of 130,000 people out of employment up and down the country. I wonder to what figure that unemployment has now swelled? It was a deciding factor in the minds of many on that particular issue, and it is because we must get ahead to settle the state of affairs in which we can deal with problems of that kind that we should not delay one moment longer than is absolutely necessary in the matter of this Constitution. Very few came along and said in this particular or that particular the Constitution was not in accordance with the Treaty. No one did it that I remember. That is what ought to have been done. There is no use in coming along with abstractions about what the Dominions may develop to. I take it that Article 1, which says "The Irish Free State is a co-equal member of the Community of Nations forming the British Commonwealth of Nations," will ensure to this country the utmost limit of the development of any of the Dominions. Let us hear at least on the third reading in what definite respects the Constitution is not quite up to the line of the Treaty. We will show you certain respects in which we hold it is beyond the line of the Treaty. But let us hear whether it is the veto, whether it is the matter of assent or in what definite respects the Constitution is not in accordance with the Treaty, having respect to that clause which treats of the law, practice and constitutional usage of Canada, being the law governing relations of the Free State to the Crown and Imperial Parliament. It is rather clever special pleading to say that you must take these three words and that it is the synthesis of these three words we must write down in the Constitution. That is putting one particular side of the case, and another particular side of the case was represented to us that we were not in the position to enforce our particular side of the case. I would like to know whether Deputy Duffy is very certain that this Imperial Conference is sure to decide in favour of this country as against England on that particular point. Deputy de Roiste spoke largely on the question of moral courage. It was pleasant to listen to Deputy de Roiste on the subject of moral courage. It was pleasant to hear a dissertation on moral courage from the Deputy who voted for the Treaty last December and then refused to vote against the person whose declared policy was to put the Treaty in the fire, and then came here when things developed, white with rage, to tell the Government that if it did not take steps to protect the civilian population from the armed minority that was terrorising them he would resign. When the Government took such steps he again got up at a meeting in Cork and said if there was not an immediate peace he would resign.

All that by the Minister is quite inaccurate, absolutely inaccurate.

Mr. O'HIGGINS:

And he tells us if there was anything in the Constitution we did not like, to put it in the fire, and he will back us. I believe he will back us as fearlessly and vigorously as in the winter of 1921. When we come to the Third Reading we will say specifically the clauses we consider absolutely necessary for this Dáil to pass. That, I take it, does not bind this Dáil, it merely represents our own collective considered views on the matter, that it is not wise, it is not in the interests of the country to re-open the matter of these particular clauses; and if the Dáil insists on reopening the matter of these clauses, then we must ask the Dáil to make other people primarily responsible for the political affairs of the country. That has been criticised, but I hold it is a perfectly reasonable attitude. On us rests the responsibility, at the moment at any rate, of securing to our people the benefits of the Treaty settlement. If we considered that a particular line of action is calculated to seriously endanger that Treaty settlement, then we are justified in saying that we, at least, will not take the lead along that particular line, and if you want that particular line taken then you must put up other people to lead. Deputy O'Shannon, asked what would the consequences be? Deputy O'Shannon and other Deputies must use their own judgment and their own imagination, and Deputy O'Shannon has shown in the course of his addresses here that he does not lack imagination. He does not know whether it is a Constitution at all or not. Well, in that matter I cannot assist him beyond stating that last December a Treaty was made—it will be within his memory—between this country and England, and that there was imposed on the Government, and there is imposed on this Parliament a task of putting through a Constitution that will be in accordance with that Treaty. When the Minister for Local Government stated that this Parliament was sovereign, that it could throw out the Treaty, he spoke what is exactly the position. To deny the sovereignty of this Parliament is to deny the sovereignty of the people, a thing we have no intention of doing, now or at any other time. But the people are entitled to exercise their judgment on a set of facts, a set of circumstances, and, exercising their judgment, they sent us here to give effect to that particular Treaty, and we cannot proceed, certainly not in accordance with the mandate we have received, to draw up a Constitution which is not in accordance with that Treaty. To that extent, by the mandate of the people, to the sovereign people, there are restrictions on our sovereignty here, there are restrictions imposed on us by the mandate we have received from the people, but there is nothing inconsistent in saying that, while it is open to this Parliament to reject or rescind or burn the Treaty, if this Parliament wishes to secure for the country the benefits of the Treaty settlement, the Constitution it draws up must be within the four corners of that Treaty. On the Third Reading we at least hope for more relevant and more intelligent criticism of this Constitution than it has received on the Second Reading, and we hope that people will keep more closely to the actual facts; that what we are discussing here is not the Treaty, but the Constitution, which must be in accordance with the Treaty; and that the only relevant line of criticism of the particular article is to discuss whether that article is or is not in accordance with the Treaty. There is no use in people getting up to present their sentimental objections to His Majesty. These objections were all thrashed out last December. These objections were very much before the minds of the men who signed the Treaty, and it is merely waste of time, particularly of a Parliament which has very serious duty and very serious responsibility upon it, to get up here and talk mere sentimental poetry. The position is a little too grave and a little too urgent for that.

On a point of order, I think it would be useful to the Dáil, and enable us to decide how we ought to vote, if it is possible for the Minister to state if certain clauses could be amended. If so, we would like to know if the Minister, for our assistance, would name the clause which, in his view, ought not to be amended?

Mr. O'HIGGINS:

The form of the question is not strictly accurate. It is possible to alter every article in that Constitution. It is possible to sit down here and tear up that Constitution and draft another Constitution. But if what Deputy Johnson means is what articles this particular Government definitely stands on, we could supply them.

That is exactly what I want.

Mr. O'HIGGINS:

Article 12 is one. Articles 1 and 2 are agreed as stating the position, and we would consider it inadvisable to alter them. Article 12 is the first serious one; Article 17, Article 24 or certain portions of it, Article 36, Article 40, Article 41, Article 50, Article 55, Article 58, Article 65, Article 67, Article 77, Article 79.

Sé seo an rún atá anois os cómhair na Dála—go léighfídhe an Bille um Bun-Reacht Shaorstait Eireann an dara úair. The question is that the Constitution of Saorstát Eireann Bill be now read a second time.

Motion made and question put: "That the Constitution of Saorstát Eireann be read a second time."

Carried on a division by 47 votes to 16.

Ta.(For.)

Níl.(Against.)

Liam T. MacCosgair.Donchadh O Guaire.Séan O Maólruaidh.Séan Lideadha.Séan O Duinnín.Micheál O hAonghusa.Domhnall O Mocháin.Séan O hAodha.Liam de Róiste.Padraig Mag Ualghairg.Peadar Mac a' Bháird.Darghal Figes.Deasmhumhain Mac Gearailt.Micheál de Duram.Aildrid O Broin.Séan Mac Garaidh.Pilib Mac Cosgair.Mícheál de Stáineas.Seosamh Mag Craith.Domhnall Mac Cárthaigh.Maolmhuire Mac Eochadha.Earnán Altún.Sir Seámus Craig.Gearoid Mac Giobuin.Liam Thrift.Liam Mag Aonghusa.Pádraic O Máille.Seosamh O Faoileacháin.Seóirse Mac Niocaill.Pearas Beaslai.Seámus O Cruadhlaoich.Criostóir O Broin.Risteárd Mac Liam.Caoimhghín O hUigín.Seamus O Dóláin.Risteárd O hÁodha.Próinsias Mag Aonghusa.Eamon O Dúgáin.Peadar O hAodha.Seámus O Murchadha.Seosamh Mac Giolla Bhrighde.Liam Mac Sioghaird.Earnán de Blaghd.Uinseann de Faoite.Domhnall O Broin.Seámus de Burca.Mícheál O Dubhghaill.

Pádráig O Gamhna.Tomás de Nogla.Riobárd O Deaghaidh.Tomás Mac Eoin.Liam O Briain.Tomás O Conaill.Aodh O Cúlacháin.Séamus Eabhroid.Liam O Daimhín.Séan O Laidhín.Cathal O Seanáin.Séan Buitléir.Nioclas O Faolain.Dómhnall O Muirgheasa.Risteard Mac Fheorais.Domhnall O Ceallachain.

May I ask the question whether it would be possible to give us notice as to when the Third Reading or the Committee Stage of the Constitution Bill will be taken. What are the rules in regard to the submission of amendments and when would we be provided with the documents asked for to enable us to discuss this matter with all the intelligence desired by the Ministry?

We will take the Committee stage on Monday. I do not know exactly what are the document to which the Deputy refers.

The drafts, when these matters were under consideration.

Which drafts? I did not undertake to provide any private documents.

I do not say that we are asking for any private documents, but for the drafts we were promised.

I did not undertake to comply with any such request. There must be some consideration for the authorised parties to an agreement. Documents in that connection were not published, and the documents in this connection, so far as we are concerned, being privileged documents, and some of the people who are parties to them being with us no longer, it would not be fair to publish them, and, so far as I am concerned, they will not be published.

I do not wish that there should be any misunderstanding. I am not talking of private documents or privileged documents. If it is contended that the drafts were privileged documents, I am not asking for them, but I assumed it was not unreasonable that the Dáil should be provided with the results of the labours of the Constitution Committee.

I am afraid that I cannot add anything further to what I have said.

Then on Monday the Committee Stage will be taken.

That would mean that the whole of the amendments would have to be in on Friday?

I would not rule that. The Ministry should announce in advance the number of clauses to be taken each day, and amendments to these clauses would have to be handed in according to Standing Orders.

We were allowing three days for the Second Reading, but as a matter of fact, if a Deputy had not come to me with the request that the adjournment of the debate should be moved at 6.30 yesterday evening, I believe it would have collapsed. We did move the adjournment and allowed the debate to be continued to-day. It is for the Dáil to say how long the discussion should last, but we would allow the whole of the week, if necessary, for the Committee Stage, There were some statements promised in connection with other matters that might come in during the week, but ample time would be given for the consideration of the Bill in Committee. It is not intended to rush it, but we do not want to waste any time.

I take it we cannot allot a definite number of days unless we have a motion passed to that effect. I suggest it would conduce to reasonable discussion if we could say that a certain group of clauses would be taken first and a certain group afterwards. It may require more than a week and it may require less. I suggested that we should have submitted to us a notification as to which clauses are considered vital by the Ministry. There are other clauses which are capable of amendment without necessarily receiving official Ministerial opposition. I suggest we might take these clauses first.

It is our intention to take the clauses in order, clauses 1, 2, 3, and so on.

Would it be helpful if we took the preamble and Section I., which includes Articles 1 to 11, as the matter under discussion next, and then amendments could be received in respect of these. We might get to Articles 7 or 8 and then amendments could be received with regard to Section 2, and so on.

Would the President tell us whether he intends that the Committee on the Bill should be a Committee of the whole Dáil or a Special Committee?

A Committee of the whole Dáil. I think Deputy Figgis' suggestion a very reasonable one, which we are prepared to accept.

That is what we are going to ask the Dáil to do, and submit amendments in time on the second section.

It has always been usual for the preamble of a Bill to be taken last. It is suggested by a Deputy that the preamble be taken first, but I do not think that would be the usual course.

That is provided for in the Standing Orders. On Monday we can take Section 1 without the preamble.

Then if the Preamble stands over I take it the title stands over with it and we go on with 1 to 11?

If we take Section 1 we can only take it to 11, and amendments of these should reach us before eleven o'clock on Saturday, if possible. Even that would make the time very short unless the list of amendments is very short, because we have to have the Agenda made out for Monday. Therefore we cannot receive any amendments later than Saturday.

Would it be the wish of the President to take some other business on Monday and give until Monday morning for the receipt of amendments?

I have an announcement to make about Standing Orders, which has been adopted by the Committee. Whether it will commend itself to the Dáil I am not able to say, but the Committee have adopted an amendment suggested by a country Deputy that the Dáil should not sit on Monday, but sit for longer periods on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, and so that the same time will be devoted by the Dáil to business as if we had sat on Monday. That is at present what is contemplated by the Standing Orders.

I would be glad to know if the President would allow the time promised for the discussion of the question of Civil Administration. If that were done it might facilitate the arrangements as to the handing in of amendments for next week.

It was suggested that could be taken on Thursday of next week.

If the suggestion to meet on Tuesday, and have a longer period each day, were adopted, the Constitution could be taken on Tuesday, and then we could leave until Monday for the amendments. That, perhaps, would be the best, and we would have no sitting on Monday.

From Nos. 1 to 11 are not likely to undergo much alteration.

It might easily happen that from No. 1 to 11 might go through in an hour.

Shall we say Tuesday?

That wastes a day.

It is contemplated that we should not meet on Monday, but to put in the time of Monday on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

I have been banking all through on starting on Monday with the Constitution.

You achieve the same result by starting on Tuesday, if you get the same time in in the week.

When do we discuss the Standing Orders?

The Committee met again and considered the various amendments that were sent in to me by Members, and they finished a draft, amending several very important particulars. That draft will be printed to-morrow, and will, I hope, be available for the Deputies to-morrow evening. Complaints were made on a previous occasion that Members did not get the draft Standing Orders in time to give them due consideration and suggest amendments. If they get the draft Standing Orders to-morrow evening, I was going to suggest that we should have amendments by Monday, and we could take up the draft Standing Orders on Tuesday, meanwhile continuing these Standing Orders for Monday, if we are going to sit on Monday. That is the only reasonable thing to do if Members are to get an opportunity of amending the Standing Orders.

We hope to meet on Monday. I had hoped we would not only meet on Monday, but even sit for a longer time than usual in order to get through the work more quickly.

We could take from Nos. 1 to 25 on Monday. I now move the adjournment of the Dáil.

I am quite prepared to support the proposal to meet on Monday, and to sit late, but I think it is desirable that that should not be allowed to rule out the receipt of amendments. There may be none, but it is right that there should be an opportunity provided. It is too important a thing to pass away and rush it in that manner.

The only alternative will be to waive Standing Orders, and allow amendments.

We will do anything to convenience them.

I think it would suit the wishes of the President if he would now move that the second, third, fourth, and twenty-fifth readings be taken immediately.

We would not mind.

Will you move that, Mr. Johnson?

Yes, if you second it.

It is the very essence of freedom that one should be at liberty to move amendments to the clauses when the occasion for it arises. If we are to be trammelled by rules or that notice should be given before a given hour and a given day, I think while it may expedite the business it will not have the result we would desire.

We will begin on Article I. of the Schedule on Monday. A feasible arrangement seems to me to take amendments of which notice has been given; and then take further amendments.

I think it is most undesirable that any amendments should be submitted without having first been circulated.

It is a matter for the Standing Orders Committee, and if the Dáil wishes to have the same Standing Orders as heretofore for Monday we could go through. Does the Dáil adopt the suggestion that they receive the New Draft Standing Orders to-morrow, and deal with them on Tuesday? Well, I take it that is agreed to. The book containing the text of a number of Constitutions will, it is hoped, be available for Deputies to-morrow evening when the Dáil meets.

Will that include the treatise by Deputy Figgis?

No, you must buy that.

It includes the text only. I was asked to announce that on to-morrow morning at 11 o'clock there will be a Month's Mind in the Pro-Cathedral for the late Commander-in-Chief.

What happens to item 3 on the Orders of the Day?

The Deputy in whose name it is down is not present to move it.

Does this continue to stand in the way of any further Motions like that, that may be brought forward by other Members?

It is finished with to-day and the road is clear for anybody else?

As the Postmaster-General is here now can he hold out any hope that there will be a settlement in the Postal strike or any improvement in the Postal Services?

I am getting letters and telegrams all right.

It has been moved that the Dáil adjourn, and for the Agenda to-morrow there is a Motion by the President which I will ask the Clerk to read.

The CLERK of the DAIL

read the following:—

"That while this Dáil is of opinion that a proportion of the compensation which will be recoverable in respect of damage to or destruction of property inflicted since the 11th July, 1921, being the date of the Truce between the Forces of Great Britain and Ireland, should under approved conditions be borne as a National liability, yet the date should be determined as from which such liability should remain a burden on the local authorities now primarily responsible for same."

Arising out of that I handed in a question on the same matter, and I now desire to withdraw it.

Motion: "That the Dáil do now adjourn," put and agreed to.
The Dáil adjourned accordingly at 7 o'clock.