DAIL IN COMMITTEE ON THE CONSTITUTION BILL. - ARTICLE 12.

I wish to move that Article 12 of the draft Constitution stand part of the Bill. The Article reads:—"A Legislature is hereby created to be known as Parliament of the Irish Free State/Oireachtas. It shall consist of the King and two Houses; the Chamber of Deputies/Dáil Eireann and the Senate/ Seanad Eireann. The power of making laws for the peace, order and good government of the Irish Free State/Saorstát Eireann is vested in the Parliament/ Oireachtas." Now in this connection I think I shall read to the Deputies the first two Articles of the Treaty. Article 1 of the Treaty reads:—"Ireland shall have the same constitutional status in the Community of Nations known as the British Empire as the Dominion of Canada, the Commonwealth of Australia, the Dominion of New Zealand, and the Union of South Africa, with a Parliament having powers to make laws for the peace, order and good government of Ireland and an Executive responsible to that Parliament, and shall be styled and known as the Irish Free State." Article 2 of the Treaty reads:—"Subject to the provisions hereinafter set out, the position of the Irish Free State in relation to the Imperial Parliament and Government and otherwise shall be that of the Dominion of Canada, and the law, practice and constitutional usage, governing the relationship of the Crown or the representative of the Crown and of the Imperial Parliament to the Dominion of Canada shall govern their relationship to the Irish Free State." It is on that second Article of the Treaty that this particular Article of the draft Constitution hangs. There is an amendment down in the name of Deputy Gavan Duffy which in the opinion of the Government is practically equivalent to an invitation to this Dáil to proclaim a Republic, and I trust that this Assembly will give that amendment all the consideration it deserves. The proposal is to leave out the King. Now, unfortunately we consider that within the terms of the Treaty it is not possible to leave out the King, and I would like to know on what that amendment is based, whether it is on the law of Canada or the practice and constitutional usage of Canada. I would ask Deputies to turn to page 3 in the little book "The Three Dominion Constitutions" and to read there Article 17 of the Canada Act, which says:—"There shall be one Parliament for Canada, consisting of the Queen, an Upper House styled the Senate, and the House of Commons." And, turning to page 31, to read in the Australian Constitution the first Article:—"The legislative power of the Commonwealth shall be vested in a Federal Parliament, which shall consist of the Queen, a Senate, and a House of Representatives, and which is hereinafter called `The Parliament' or `The Parliament of the Commonwealth.' " And turning to page 58 to read in the Constitution of the Union of South Africa, Article 19:—"The legislative power of the Union shall be vested in the Parliament of the Union, herein called Parliament, which shall consist of the King, a Senate, and a House of Assembly." Now, if what the British signatories and what the Irish signatories really intended was that Ireland should have whatever position was desired by the left wing— was desired and struggled for by the left wing in any of these Dominions—I have no doubt that they would have seen to it that the draughtsman set that out. The draughtsman did not set out anything of the kind, and we, who had the duty of working out an interpretation of the Treaty, could only take it that we were bound to work out a Constitution which would fit within the limits of those first two Articles of the Treaty, and we could not see, still less could we maintain, across the table with the British representatives, that there was anything in these two Articles of the Treaty which would enable us to leave out the King, as Deputy Gavan Duffy desires. It is not a particularly pleasant position to be placed in to have to stand over an Article such as Article 12 of the Constitution. It is a very safe position for one who feels he has a comfortable minority to take up, and a very safe position for one who is not primarily responsible to the country for what may befall. I venture to say that since last December this country has more heroes to the square mile than any other country in the world, and we have Robert Emmets swaggering about, talking about this knock-kneed Government that is going to accept the King. We propose to accept the King because we have a mandate from the people to accept the Treaty, and we cannot maintain, and were unable to maintain in the past, that within the four corners of that Treaty you could draft a Constitution which would leave out the King. And so, not because of any personal predilection for that gentleman, and not because of any rigid convictions against Republicanism, and not because of any deep-seated personal fear as to the consequences to ourselves, but simply taking a very serious view of our responsibility to the Irish people and not having a very high opinion of their prospects of getting any better, we stand for this Constitution and for certain vital clauses of this Constitution which are not particularly pleasant to ourselves personally. The King is part and parcel of the Parliament in all the Dominions mentioned in Article 1 of the Treaty, and neither the law nor the practice nor the constitutional usage of Canada leaves out the King. It may be that in one of those Dominions or in all of these Dominions that there is a left wing struggling hard for particular things and hoping to attain to particular things in the future. But that position which they are struggling for is not the position which was granted to Ireland in the Treaty, and it is not a position which it is possible to secure in a constitution under the Treaty. Every Member should face the thing in that way and it is not right to vote in the spirit—"Oh, it is safe to vote this way because we are in a minority." Every Member should cast his vote on every subject as if it were going to be a tie in the Dáil and as if his vote should mean the difference one way or the other. It is in that spirit that the Deputies voted last December when deciding on the Treaty which gave rise to this Constitution. If Deputy Cavan Duffy carries his amendment, no doubt he will be the Head of a Ministry whose duty it will be to win for Ireland a Constitution which will leave out the King. I wish him luck, and I promise him any personal help that I can give him in that task, but I am not sanguine of his success. I formally move that that Article stand part of the Bill.