It is my privilege to move that this Bill be now passed. We have been considering it for upwards of a month. Certain amendments undoubtedly calculated to improve the Bill have been accepted and embodied in the draft, but substantially the Constitution stands as presented to the Dáil. The Constitution confers on Ireland the status of co-equal membership of the British community of Nations known as the British Commonwealth of Nations. It declares that all powers of Government and of authority, legislative, executive and judicial are derived from the people of Ireland. And if there were more thought in Ireland of those Articles and all that those Article imply, there would, I am confident, be less turmoil in the country and less difficulty about the acceptance of the Constitution. It is because things have been happening in Ireland so big and so rapidly that the public mind has failed to grasp them, that there is trouble through the country. And it is because there is in Ireland the irresponsibility of a people that has not been doing its own housekeeping for many a long year and century that the public mind has failed to grasp them. And I feel that it will take some months, or possibly a longer period of the actual working of this Constitution before people realise to the full the degree of freedom which it bestows. The Constitution, someone said, is the mechanics of Government. And people will have to see that mechanism at work before the full effect, the full dimensions of the change are brought home to their minds. The Constitution was an interpretation of the Treaty; and the Treaty conferred on Ireland the Constitutional status of Canada. And Canada being rather far away people here, many people here, at any rate, have very little idea of the extent of freedom enjoyed by the citizens of that country. Canada is by the full admission of British Statesmen equal in status with Great Britain and is as free as Great Britain. She has complete control of her own destiny. The supremacy of the British Parliament over the Dominions has ceased to exist. They are not subordinate dependencies, but free Nations equal in status to Great Britain and united with her only on the basis of free and friendly co-operation in what is known as the Commonwealth of Nations, as distinct from Empire. A multitude of statements by responsible statesmen in Great Britain and Canada embody this quality of independence. "In actual fact Canada has complete legislative and fiscal independence in the widest sense of the word. The British Parliament cannot impose laws upon Canada and exercises no control whatever over Canada. The Crown has no authority in Canada. It signifies sentiment only." That is the view of the status of Canada taken by one whom some people consider an eminent constitutional authority. That is the view and those are the words of Mr. Erskine Childers, ex-T.D. There has been certain criticism here directed to showing that the Constitution embodies a cutting down, a dwindling down of the status and rights that the Treaty gave. That, of course, is, and must remain, a matter of opinion. We have given our opinion. We gave it here on the day we introduced this Draft, and nothing that has since transpired here has caused us to alter that opinion, and it is that this Constitution is a strict and fair interpretation of the Treaty. There is at present what is called a political crisis in England. I think we have reason to congratulate ourselves that to a very large extent we have become independent of political variations in England. I think, too, that looking back on last December we can agree that it was a sound view that there was then a flood tide and all the portents then pointed to the return of party politics in England. You had in power then a political combination which would carry its measures in the House of Commons, and still more important, could carry its measures in the House of Lords, and the signatories took that full tide. No single Party Government faced with a formidable political opposition could, I believe, carry a settlement such as the Treaty signed last December through both Houses in England. Only a great political Coalition formed from the two big political parties in England could have carried that, and the most mature political mind we had in Ireland, a political mind and acumen that is now lost to Ireland, saw that, and seeing it acted in strict conformity with its oath and did the best thing for the Irish Nation in the circumstances that had arisen. Two men signed that Treaty. They have been described here, most aptly described, one as the greatest sower and the other as the greatest reaper that this country has ever known. This Constitution should be prized by the people. It was won in toil, in danger, and in stress. It was negotiated on the cliff's edge, and it gives to Ireland the care of her own household. It puts into the hands of the Irish people the making and moulding, and the amending or repealing of their own laws. It gives them full fiscal control; it gives them power to develop in peace and reconstruction towards the fullness of National life. And the people of Ireland, despite certain superficial symptoms to the contrary, appreciate that fact, and the people in Ireland will travel that road of peace and progress and reconstruction, realising that never yet did a country that went to war attain 100 per cent. of its war programme, realising the big thing that has been won, and realising above all the spirit in which it was won, the spirit that brought success and which gives us this to-day. The greatest man that ever served the cause of an oppressed nation achieved this thing, and having achieved it, gave as the last final proof of his conviction of its worth, his gallant life. In presenting it to our countrymen, we can find no fitter words to use to them than the words he used to them: "The country is yours for the making, make it."
CONSTITUTION OF SAORSTAT EIREANN BILL - AS AMENDED ON REPORT.
I formally second the motion.
I think it right for me to say a word or two on this final stage of this Constitution Bill. I am one who still thinks, despite the disavowal of the Minister, that the Constitution Bill does not embody all the liberties for Ireland that were contained, or might have been interpreted to have been contained, in the Treaty. Very shortly after the Treaty was signed and published, I wrote certain words which were endorsed by the Labour Party at a formal Conference, something to this effect—that the Treaty was the fruit of the effort of the people to whom the political fortunes of the country had been entrusted, that they had done their best, that they believed it was the utmost they could achieve, and we were prepared to do what we could with the political instrument that had resulted from their efforts. We said then, and we say now, that it does not embody or satisfy the demands of the country for self-determination, and that demand will probably have to be worked for, if not fought for, for quite a long time. Nevertheless we said that so far as the individual citizen was concerned, as distinct from the nation, so far as the individual citizen within the nation, as distinct from the nation within the world of nations, was concerned, the freedom that was granted under the terms of the Treaty was such freedom as would guarantee 999 days out of 1,000 of any individual's life within the nation. The country has power under this Treaty, and I am willing to admit, under the Constitution, to control the lives and the fortunes of the citizens for 999 days out of every 1,000 days of the life of the citizens. We can, I believe, make of the Constitution what we will. From it we can develop and grow into full and complete and absolute national enfranchisement if we will. But I want to make this demurrer, and it is that while we have achieved, or may achieve, through the instrument of the Treaty and the Constitution, political freedom and enfranchisement, we must continuously bear in mind that political freedom and enfranchisement is but sounding brass and tinkling cymbals unless we use that freedom for the purpose of social, economic and cultural freedom. I fear that the signs are that we are not going to use the political freedom to achieve social, economic and cultural freedom, social and economic and cultural self-development. I am afraid that the signs are that we are likely to forget that a greater effort still is required, within the country's own life, to free ourselves from the incubus of capitalism and all the accompaniments of capitalism. It has been pointed out very eloquently and, I think, subscribed to by the great majority of those who have been thoughtful adherents of the Sinn Fein and Gaelic Movements, that the real subjugation of the life of the people of Ireland was the economic and social and cultural subjugation, and that the political was but an instrument to that end. And unless we are going to use the political freedom to the end of releasing the country and the people of the country from its other subjections, nothing has been achieved. After all, nationality, nationhood, is but a means to an end. Unfortunately too many have thought, and think, that the political institutions, even the social and economic institutions, which they strive to amend and change, are ends in themselves, but they are not; they are institutions and organisations intended so to assist in the development of individual life, the human material that we are and are surrounded by; to mould and develop and improve that humanity, that these institutions exist; and to think of nationhood, of political freedom, and of national Parliaments and political institutions of one kind or another as something to be achieved, and then to finish, is the greatest possible mistake. You must at all times bear in mind that, great as they are, they are but instruments to a greater end, that end being the development of the individual, the improvement of the race. And I want to lay stress upon this. The country is in a state somewhat of fluidity, and it is possible to-day, if we will, to change the habits of thinking, to change the social practices, to change the economic environment during this period of fluidity, whereas if we allow things to stabilise in their present forms, if we allow vested interests to be solidified, we are going to find it very difficult indeed, without a new revolution, to make the country what it ought to be. I would plead with the Ministers, with the members of the Dáil, and with the public generally, to take advantage of the present opportunities to modify the circumstances which have bound the country to the system, economic, social and cultural, which was imposed for the purpose of maintaining the hold of another and an alien civilisation upon this country. We must remember that there is with all of us a desire to get the greatest end by the easiest means, and in economic affairs that is tending to the supremacy of the big machine, to wholesale mass production, and, through that wholesale mass production, a driving out of the possibilities of self-development within this country. If we are not going to face that issue boldly and without too much regard for present vested interests, we are going to find that the political achievement is not going to be of much avail. We will need to put a barrier—some kind of an obstacle of a psychological and an economic kind— upon the desire of the people to get the most for the least. I am referring to the demand for cheapness in the market commodities; I am now referring to the demand for cheapness in the labour market, the human commodity, as human labour, unfortunately, is considered. We have got to get away from this idea that human labour must be bought as cheaply as possible, irrespective of the consequences to humanity; and that we must be free to buy the things that we require in the cheapest market, irrespective of the consequences to Irish humanity. And if we do not face the consequences of that principle, we are not going to get anywhere through this Constitution. This may seem a little bit distant from the motion that is moved by the Minister, but it is very necessary, in my opinion, that we should direct our minds to the facts underlying the impulses which have led to this political revolution. It has been a revolution. We see it round about us; anybody who will look at the obvious things cannot deny it. We see people in power who a very few years ago would have thought it preposterous to imagine that they were going to sit on Government benches in power, and the old ascendancy accepting their defeat. It is a revolution. But let us not forget that there must be something beyond that political revolution, and it must find expression in a change in the material outlook, in the educational outlook, in the social outlook—a complete change in human relations. I believe it is possible within this Constitution, faulty as it is, to grow and develop on lines which will mean the re-establishment of a Commonwealth in which humanity has the first place, and property and property relations will be placed in their proper position, secondary to humanity and to human relations. If we accept that ideal —if we face the responsibilities that the acceptance of that ideal will impose upon us—then we can do great things for this country. But, in accepting that ideal and in accepting those responsibilities, we will have to fight very hard indeed against the tendency to allow the big financial interests—the international financial interests—to get a hold upon this country. The more promise we make for prosperity, the greater the temptation will be for these financial interests to get hold, and I would ask the Minister for Finance particularly to see how easy it would be to do nationally by the nation in its organised capacity, with finance, what the bankers do, in fact, in their own private interests. We are going, if we are not careful, to put our necks in the noose, and it will only require the will of the financier at some future date to draw tight the noose, and we shall be strangled. We can, if we will, clear ourselves from that in the earlier stages of our history, but we can only do it by realising that the bankers build upon their faith in the possibility of the social life of the country building up the economic life. And it is on the collective effort of the people and their faith in the collective efforts of the people, on whom the bankers make their profit, on which they build their ascendancy. I am asking now that the Ministers will themselves, on behalf of the nation, do this work for the nation without the intervention of these big financial interests. This, again, I say, is not apart from the motion before the Dáil. It immediately arises out of it, because without an economic future, without a looking beyond the mere political change that has taken place, the political change is going to be of no avail.
I am glad we have got to the Final Reading of this Bill, because if the Bill must go through in its present form, it is better that it should go through in that way than that it should not go through at all, and I am the first to recognise—little as I like many of these provisions—it is better that the Bill should go through in this form than that it should not go through at all. Now, the Treaty was a big thing, a bad thing in many ways, but necessary, in so far as it was bad, still on the whole a big thing, because it was a big thing to get English Statesmen with all their truculence to sign the document that they did sign. The Constitution is far less a big thing. The Minister spoke of attacks upon the Constitution based upon the grounds that they cut down our Treaty rights. To some extent I think the Constitution does cut down our rights. Nevertheless, substantially in the big things it secures those rights, and my objection to it, as it now stands, is not so much grounded upon its failure to give us all that the Treaty entitled us to have, as upon the fact, first that many things are expressed vaguely and uncertainly, so that if we have weak Ministries hereafter, England will be in a position to get much more out of this Constitution, as against Ireland, than she should be in the position to get; and secondly that there are other things in the Constitution expressed in a way that is offensive to the National dignity. A mere matter of form it may be said, but I think that matter of form is important to the Irish Nation, and that is why as one of the signatories I have felt it a duty to protest against these items when they came along in the course of the discussions on the draft, and I am glad to note one change that has arisen in the course of this debate. As it appeared to me, when the debate was introduced, the Constitution was introduced rather as a natural outcome of the document signed last December, just such as Ireland might very properly expect to have, and I, and other members too, have thought that they have noticed a growing recognition in Ministerial quarters of the fact that the document now presented to us is not the natural interpretation of the document signed last December, but is an interpretation forced by circumstances, so that it is now generally recognised, and the fact is important, for those who come after us, can look back on the record of this difficult time—it is generally recognised this document is one which would not be in its present form were it not for the duress of present circumstances, and more particularly of the civil war. That is something to the good. We have had various amendments which have not gone far to remove the objections that I felt to the Constitution. We have one amendment which is very important, and upon which I congratulate the Ministry, and that is the insertion of power to amend the Constitution quite easily in more normal times than the present, which is a power that is valuable and a proper power to insert in the Constitution. So far as I am concerned I recognise one big thing about this Constitution, and it is this, that with all that is bad in it, nevertheless there is there a sufficient volume of substantial good to enable Ireland to go ahead on its own lines without outside interference, and that after all is the thing that matters most. To that extent I am glad to have this Constitution through. We are now at the stage when this Constitution is through, when Irish Ireland will for the first time have an opportunity of developing upon its own lines, upon the only lines that will make an Ireland worth preserving and an Ireland worth having. Such an Ireland as that we can get when this Constitution has been put into force, because we shall be free to develop upon our own natural lines.
I was wondering, during the observations of the last Deputy, whether he was torn between two impulses—to damn the Constitution with faint praise, or the other better impulse of being convinced of its virtues. I have very little to say on this matter, but there are one or two things that should be said at a stage when we are putting the finishing touches to this international contract. When this stage is finished Ireland will have discharged her part of the contract, and Ireland, in my judgement, will have achieved the greatest triumph in her history since the Battle of Kinsale. She will have recovered the vital powers that give her control over her own destiny. There are limitations in the Constitution, just as there are disagreeable limitations in the lives of every human being. But there is in the Constitution the principle of growth, and that flexibility which will enable the people of this nation to mould her institutions in a way that will secure, in so far as it is possible to secure, that consideration of humanities upon which Deputy Johnson dwelt with such stress. This is not only a great instrument for national well-being; it is a monument to two great men who have passed away. I believe that future generations, deriving the advantages this instrument will confer upon them, and living in the fulness of the liberty that they will derive from it, and also living within the protection of the development of this Constitution, will bless the names of these two great men. I think it is only right, when we have reached the closing stages of this debate, that that should be said. They have discharged their part, and they have given Ireland exemplars of what self-sacrifice and devotion to national duty should be. The main thing I rose to say is this: when we have finished this stage of the proceedings Ireland will have discharged her part of the contract; it will remain for England to fulfil her part. I am not suggesting that there will be any action on the part of the British Government which will jeopardise what has been won with so much labour and sacrifice by the Irish nation. We have to look beyond the mere passing of the Constitution Bill through the British Parliament, and we have to look forward to the equitable carrying into effect of what will arise out of the Constitution, and out of certain decisions which certain of our countrymen may make in the North-East. We want to use this instrument, and the powers Ireland gets through the Treaty, not as a means to further estrange one section of the Irish people from another. We want to use it to bring together those of our people in the North-East who are estranged from us, so that there shall be reconciliation and unity and goodwill between all sections. When the time comes for certain steps to be taken to deal with that situation, we desire that England will stand as faithfully by her part in the transaction as, in justice to the English statesmen who have been responsible for what has been done up to the present, she has done. I sound that note, not so much as one of warning, but rather as a suggestion. That is the next great step that Ireland has to consider and it is my fervent hope that the conclusion of this Treaty, in all its implications, will have the result of bringing together, instead of accentuating the present differences of opinion, the people of the North of Ireland with those of the South, and bringing them to realise that their interests are as much bound up and dependent upon the national progress as are the interests of Irishmen, whether they be from Cork, Tipperary, or Dublin. I want to sound that note so that at this stage there will go out to the men of the North-East a message of goodwill from this National Assembly. The note we wish to strike is one of reconciliation and goodwill, and we hope to see reconciliation and goodwill operating through the medium of the Treaty and the Constitution.
As is appropriate, my contribution will be very brief. Since I have, according to the little measure of my powers and opportunities, debated continuously and, I may claim, too, pertinaciously, some of these articles, it is only right that I should give the Constitution mild benediction, now that it leaves the Dáil a very much better instrument than when it entered it. We have now in retrospect to recognise there are at least four very important modifications in the Draft Constitution. all making for betterment. We have the amendment by which women are recognised as citizens, with all the reasonable and equitable consequences to be drawn therefrom. We have the further amendment, for which I am particularly grateful, not merely to the Dáil, but in an especial measure to the Ministry—to wit. the restoration to An Dáil of representation for Universities. That was made, you will recollect, a non-controversial Article—the new Article dealing with representation in the Dáil. The Whips were not put on, and it was left open, and many Members of the Ministerial Party supported it, not merely in the effective way of voting, but in the still more effective mode of recommendation to the Dáil by speech. A certain daily paper, commenting upon this amendment, declares: "University representation is now embedded in the Constitution. It is so, because it was regarded as a short-cut for the provision of representation to the Protestant minority. For no other reason would it be tolerable." Now it is a duty that I owe to my colleagues here, to recognise that the history which that purports to give of this very important and highly valuable amendment of the Constitution, is utterly at variance with what we know to be the correct account. At no time when this amendment was before the Dáil was it recommended on any such grounds, and one of the chief recommendations of it was that it is one of those alterations which would make our Constitution more characteristically an Irish Constitution as bringing into the construction of the future Ireland elements and influences which belong to our past traditions. There is another amendment which I think we have to congratulate ourselves upon, and that is with regard to the Executive Council; but above all the most valuable, to my mind, is that machinery provided in Article 50 by which any amendment of this Constitution may be made within a period of eight years by way of ordinary legislation. If the Constitution had only a few Articles and that Article as well, it would still be an excellent thing. I do not suggest at all nor would I be taken to declare that there are things missing from the Constitution that are better away. I can conceive of amendments— but I must in justice confess, at the same time, when we bear in mind and have fully present to our recollection all the unfavourable conditions under which the Draft Constitution was conceived, and all the hostile and inimical influences against it being a better document than it might reasonably have been, we ought to be very, very grateful indeed that the Constitution is so excellent a thing as we now behold it.
I am not rising to take the opportunity of damning the Constitution with faint praise, or for that matter of praising it with faint damns. I rose to support the Second Reading because I believed that the machinery embodied in the Constitution was the machinery of freedom; but I believed that that machinery could be improved. I am rising to support this Final Reading and to urge its passage unanimously because I think that machinery has been improved substantially and materially, improved in many ways, and as a result, we have a Constitution to-day that does bestow freedom on the Irish people. Possibly one may think that there are certain matters in which that machinery might have been improved even more substantially than it has been. Those are natural regrets, and one might almost think sometimes that amendments for that improvement might possibly have been received a little more cordially, and I regret to say, sometimes a little more courteously, than they were. Those are regrets, however, that one necessarily puts behind one. I recognise, and the entire Dáil recognises, that this is a moment of no ordinary sort in the history of the Nation. We are bestowing upon ourselves as a Nation a Constitution, and whatever happens in the future, that Constitution will be the fundamental machinery by which we, as a nation, will conduct our own affairs, for ourselves, for our common advantage as a people, and by which we will raise our heads among the nations of this earth and claim that we have in substance, and in very considerable substance, restored to ourselves that dignity that we once held, and now again hold. It is for that reason, and because it is a Constitution in which the Irish people may exercise freedom, that one supports it now, and I think that it would be proper to an occasion like this—advantage should be taken of a moment of this kind —to remember that the nation at large is looking upon this scene. We have had an eye looking on this scene that will report the material substance of what is occurring to the nation at large; but I am thinking not merely of photographs that will report the exterior substance. I am thinking that generations to come will look upon this scene and will know that here on this day certain work was done, of which we ourselves do not recognise the magnitude because we are living in the midst of these scenes. Future generations will realise it, and future generations will prove that freedom was wrought and that the machinery was of such a kind that it could improve itself, and could extend, and it could become supple with use, in order that the nation might develop and in order that the Constitution might develop with the development of the nation. But in that connection a thought was with me that has not been expressed, and had it been expressed I would not have arisen. It is this: The nation even now, in spite of many distractions, does recognise that important work is being done, and I believe—and it is possible I have some inward substance for the belief—that many people who are now in arms against the will of the Irish people equally will recognise that when this Constitution shall have been passed by this Dáil, and shall have been prescribed by the act of this Dáil, whatever promulgations may hereafter proceed, that that work will have, even for those who are in opposition to this body, a certain finality which they should recognise. They will oppose, and their thoughts will centre around the existence of the person whose name occurs so often in the Constitution—the king. But, speaking with the recognition of that dignity and that courtesy that the occasion requires, one can only say here in this country what would be said in any country respecting the dignitary to whom I have referred. I do not know whether any members of this Dáil play the ancient game of chess. We know that in the ancient game of chess the king is a very important person among all the men, but that his moves are restricted to one square at a time, and that he is a target for every other piece. He is a singularly helpless person, and ultimately if the game proceeds to its conclusion he gets caught, and I think that Kings in Constitutions are like kings in chess, and that really the important piece in the Constitution is that person whoever it may be that is chosen to be the Premier or President. I hope the President of this Assembly will not think I am making any reflection upon him when I say that the most important person on the chess board is the Queen. The most important person in the Irish State under this Constitution will be the Executive Council that will be responsible to the Legislature set up by the Irish people. The machinery of this Constitution is such that the King merely becomes ultimately the voice by which the will of the Irish people is expressed. I ask if there can be any one thing that the Irish people or any persons in this country desire more than to have that will expressed, because it is in the expression of that will, and not otherwise, freedom can always be attained. And if they do so desire, or if they have any wish or leaning towards the ultimate expression of that will, at any rate and in any event I do urge, not here merely, but even more widely, that the act of this day, or the act we have now entered upon, should be recognised by the people who are to-day in arms against the authority of this Dáil, and that they should recognise that now that the Constitution has been enacted, though they do not regard certain parts of its machinery with any excess of affection, still that they should nevertheless recognise that when that act is completed on behalf of the Irish Nation it behoves the minority of that Nation to work through and try that act and to come in and put the thing to the test, and to see whether the machinery that will be passed here is or is not necessary to achieve that substance of freedom for the Nation—that substance of freedom for the Nation being that the Nation desires to live a certain form of life. And that the desire of the Nation can be achieved by the machinery of legislative and Executive functions, and that is what this Constitution does. For that reason I support it here as I supported it before, and for that reason I would like to take this particular opportunity —perhaps a person unfitted for it—to urge upon my fellow-countrymen who are to-day in arms against the Irish people that now that the Irish people through their Legislative Assembly, through this Constituent Assembly, have decided upon this Constitution—that they should recognise that act as having a certain finality though not the restricted finality that at one time appeared to be possible before Article 50 was amended into its present form, and to recognise that there should be peace in this country, and by means of this Constitution advantage taken of the opportunity that seldom befalls any people. Because we here can start development to-day. To use the language of the sporting men we can start from scratch. We can experiment in freedom as no nation to-day can experiment in freedom. By means of the expression of the will of the Irish people in and through this Constitution we can achieve that object to which Deputy Johnson has so eloquently referred, that is the economic freedom and social freedom without which freedom is merely a thing spelled with letters and has no actuality at all. I urge, therefore, that not merely this Dáil should pass the Constitution and pass it unanimously, but that in the same spirit this Nation should also pass it and pass it expressly with consent and unanimously, working it for all it is worth in the common advantage of all, and to the utmost advantage of each.
Ní labhróchainn ar an gceist seo chor ar bith indiu, mar tuigim i gcomhnuidhe gur fearr gniomh ná ceist, acht sílim nár cheart, cóir nó feileamhneach bille mar seo, a bhfuil an oiread sin dlúth-bhaint aige le séan na h-Éireann, a leigean thríd gan labhairt in a thaoibh i dteangaidh ársa ár dtíre féin. Ag tracht dom ar seo, tá súil le Dia agam gur gearr é an t-am go mbeidh teachtaí uile an Tighe seo i ndán cursaí na h-Éireann go h-iomlán a chur thrí na chéile i dteangaidh bhinn na nGaedheal, agus fós go mbeidh siad sa riocht gach dlighe faoi chomhair a dtíre a cheapadh i nGaedhilg.
Tá a fhios agam, gídh gur mór an chéim ar aghaidh dár dtír an Bun-Reacht seo atá ós bhur gcomhair a dhéanamh in a dlíghe, nach bhfuil an Bun-Reacht sin gan aon locht. Nuair a thugamar ár bhótaí ar son an Chonnartha idir Éire agus Shasana i dtús na bliadna seo, thuigeamar go maith an uair sin go gcaithfeadh an Bun-reacht a bheith lochtach i neithibh áithridhe, de bhárr nach raibh de chomhacht againn an t-am sin an buadh criocnuighthe a fhaghail ar an Sasanach agus é a dhíbirt glan as Éirinn. An cuid againn a ghlach leis an gConnradh an uair úd, rinneamar é ar mhaithe leis an tír, agus mar gheall ar go mb'annsa linn séan agus maitheas na h-Éireann ná cuid de na smaointe a bhí go doimhin i nár gcroidhthe féin.
Tá go leór leór maitheasa san mBun-Reacht seo, agus tiubhraidh sé deis do'n náisiún fós a dhéanamh, agus beidh bealach againn faoi leis an tír a Ghaedhealú.
B'aoibhinn le gach duine in Éirinn clann na h-Éireann go h-uile a bhéadh ar aon bhuille amháin, agus gan dealú nó as-aondacht a bheith eatorra. Tá tóir mhór ágainn go dtiucfaidh an dream atá san gcúinne thoir thuaidh d-Éirinn isteach in aoinfheacht linn, ach san am cheadna, níl sinn ag úmhlú dhóibh in aon chaoi. Beidh sé ar mhaithe leo féin a thigheacht faoi aon bhrat linn, agus beidh fáilte agus cothrom le faghail aca nuair a thiucfas siad.
Molaim an Bille daoibh.
A Chinn Chómhairle, bhíos féin chun éirighte nuair a dh'éirigh an Teachta Pádraig ó Máille agus an smaoineamh cheadna am aigne agam agus do nocht seisean, gur ceart go labhairfeadh duine eigin i nGaedhilg ar an ócáid seo, ar chur i bhfeidhm an Bhun-reachta dúinn. Is dócha go bhfuilimíd ar aon aigne sa Dáil seo indiu gur ceart an Bun-reacht do chur i bhfeidhm gan a thuille ríghnis. Tá cuid againn anso, go deimhin, agus ba bhreagh linn dá bhféadfaí an Bun-reacht d'fheabhasú ar slighthibh. Ach tuigimid go soléir anois nach féidir é athrú go fóil. Ar ball, b'fhéidir, i n-aimsir síothchána, nuair a bheidh athrú saoghail i n-Éirinn, beidh caoi ag lucht Dála na tíre an Bun-reacht d'athrú agus d'fheabhasú. Acht nuair nach féidir é d'athru fé lathair, is fearr é chur i bhfeidhm gan mhoill agus gan tuille cainte. Nuair a bheidh sé i bhfeidhm againn-ne beidh ár d-taobh-na de'n mhargadh coimhlíonta againn—an margadh do dheineadh idir teachtairí Éireann agus teachtairí Shasana sa Chonnradh a síghnígheadh i Lundain i mí na Nodlag anuraidh.
Táimid ag brath—pé athrú riaghaltais a thuithfidh amach i Sasana—agus dréir deallraimh tá athrú riaghaltais ar siubhal ann fé láthair agus deallraimh go mbeidh athrú eile ann arís sara fada—táimíd ag brath go gcoimhlíónfar riaghaltas Shasana a gcuid féin de'n mhargadh go ceart agus go macánta. B'féidir gur fearr gan puinn a rádh a thaisbeanfadh aon amhras fé láthair. Ach ní h-aon diobháil an méid seo a rádh, agus ní baoth-chaint é, gur cheart go dtuigfeadh aon riaghaltas i Sasana tréis ar thuit amach i n-Éirinn le sé nó seacht mbliadhain gur fearra dhóibh an margadh do choimhlíonadh go macánta. Mura ndeinean siad an rud ceart an turus so beidh i gcumas muintire na h-Éireann beart eile a dhéanamh. Tá fonn ar mhuintir na h-Éireann síothcháin a dhéanamh leo, ach ni mór do mhuintir Shasana a thaisbeaint go bhfuil fonn síothchána ortha féin chomh maith.
Tá súil againn chomh maith, mar a dhubhairt an Teachta Seán Mac Giolla 'n Riogh, go ndéanfaidh na h-Ultaigh, lucht Bheilfeirsde, an rud ceart.
Táimíd ag brath go dtiocfaidh siad siud isteach fé Dáil Éireann sa deire agus go mbeidh an tír ar fad fé aon reim amháin.
Tá rudaí sa Bhun-reacht ná taithneann le cuid againn. Ach tá so deimhnightheach am thuairim-se go dtugann sé an chaoi agus go dtugann sé an chomhacht do mhuintir na h-Éireann saoirse iomlán do bhaint amach dóibh féin nuair is maith leo é sin a dhéanamh agus nuair a bheidh caoi ann chuige. Is deimhin go bhfuil níos mó cómhachta ag Gaedhealaibh de bhárr an Bhun-reachta so ná a bhí aca le breis is trí chéad bliadhain. Tá an comhacht againn dul chun chinn ar an gcuma so: aigne na ndaoine do Ghaedhlú, na cúrsaí oideacais do Ghaedhlú, meón agus intleacht na ndaoine do Ghaedhlú. Buadh mór d-Éirinn iseadh é sin: go bhfuil an comhacht san againn i ndeire thiar thall tréis an chogaidh fhada a dhein muintir na h-Éireann chun é bhaint amach. Curtar an Bun-reacht i bhfeidhm agus fágtar fé mhuintir na h-Éireann an tairbhe atá ann do bhaint as agus an nimh atá ann, b'fhéidir, do chaitheamh uatha nuair is maith agus is féidir leo.
Shiolas nar cheart an Bille Bun-reacht so do leigint tharainn gan focal nó a dhó a rádh i nGaedhilg, ach thar éis a bhfuil ráidhte ag Teachtaí ó'n Gaillimh agus ó Chorcaigh, níl puinn agam-sa a rádh i nGaedhilg anois acht a rádh gur cuiduighim le gach aon fhocal a dhúbhradar.
This Constitution, to my mind, is, as the Minister for Home Affairs carefully said, a strict but fair interpretation of the Treaty. It may not be everything that everyone would desire in this country, but what it lacks are not things that are of really material essential value. They are the trimmings that might be sentimentally valuable but substantially they are of very little consequence. The thing that really matters is we have in this instrument here now the framework and machinery without which a country cannot proceed in its own way to do its work by its own methods. Deputy Johnson seems to have some doubts about what this country may do when it begins to operate under this Constitution. He believes it might ally itself with agencies that might be detrimental and possibly disastrous and that vested interests and great combines of wealth might be availed by Ministers to the disadvantage of the general interests of the community. Well I think that every individual in the community has vested interests, and I think that the vested interest in the right to live is one of the greatest vested interests in any community, and I think that is the vested interest which the country is likely to pay most attention to in the future and not vested interests which enable men to create monopoly and to engage in all sorts of combinations that will bring them wealth and affluence. The most important thing for the country to consider will be the thing that any Government that is likely to receive the support of the people is bound to do and that is to see that the general body of the community are only considered and considered not so much in realition to their ability to accumulate wealth or to become very distinguished but to see that so far as possible the people of the country will be in such a way that if they are to succeed in the world they will not be prevented by any obstacle except something that is inherent in themselves and for which no arrangement can be made. Deputy Gavan Duffy says that the Constitution has faults, and that it contains in itself things that are faulty. I really cannot see where the faults in the Constitution lie. I really believe that as a Constitution, so far as it was permissible within the terms of the Treaty, it is absolutely without fault from the point of view of a Nation like ours that wishes to proceed on its own lines and to do its own work. Amendments made have been claimed credit for, and Deputy Magennis claims credit for four essential amendments that made great improvements in the Constitution, and particularly the one that deals with the right to amend the Constitution at any time and which secures University Representation. These are amendments that are involved in the Constitution no doubt. Now, I think that Deputy Figgis has fully estimated the importance that attaches to these little trimmings that are put into the Constitution. England, of course, must have precedent, and must follow formula in these things. I suppose there are a certain amount of precedents that we are not free to break through, but I think this Bill lacks very little that the country had really at any time stood for. It reminds me about a little squabble we had in our district about a steamship Sunday service. The owner was a Sabbatarian. After a lot of agitation it was agreed that we should get the steamship service, but there was one condition, and that was that the steamer should not whistle. I think that applies to this Constitution—the whistle is not in it. There are a lot of men going about and kicking up a big row because they are not allowed to whistle. Well, they may be able to whistle later on, if not "The Marsellaise," at least "A Nation Once Again," when they get into deep water, but not at the present time. I support the passing of this Constitution, and I believe the Ministry deserve every credit for the attention and energy and earnestness they have concentrated on this business. I believe the Constitution itself provides for the nation a machine that, if it is properly used, will, despite the prognostications of Deputy Johnson, do the work in Ireland, and that we will have very few complaints to make.
Creidim gur maith an rud an Bun-Reacht do chur i bhfeidim. Níl aon náire orm an rud san do rá. Tá Teachtaí anso adubhairt ná fuil sé chó maith leis an gConnradh do sighnigheadh i Lundain ar an 6adh lá de Mhí na Nodlag, 1921. Nilim ar aon intinn leo fé sin. Creidim go bhfuil an Bun-reacht chó saor agus chó maith leis an gConnradh. Na lochtanna adeirtear atá ann níl ionta ach lochtanna cainte. Tá an tír seo anois fé n-ár gcúram féin agus tá an oiread san údaráis againn agus a bheadh dá mbeadh poblacht againn. Ní bheidh aon chur isteach ag aon duine ar an dtír seo feasta ach an oiread agus dá mbeadh poblacht againn agus sinn chó lag agus atáimid. Níl an méid maoine agus saibhris againn do dhéanfadh láidir í. Tá an tír seo lag agus beidh sí lag go ceann abhfad, agus ar an abhar san ní féidir léi bheith chó láidir agus do bheadh sí dá mbeadh saibhreas aici. Ach fén mBhun-reacht so beimíd saor i ngach aon tslí. Beidh sí chó saor, agus beidh na daoine chó saor agus a bheidís dá mbeadh poblacht againn. Is fíor é go bhfuil sórt ceannais ag Rí Shasana orainn, ach ní bheidh aon chomhacht aige fén mBhun-reacht so ná beadh aige dá mbeadh poblacht againn. Deirim-se, mar sin gur Bun-reacht maith an Bun-reacht so. Bhí roint chainnte i dtaobh Airtiogail 50, ach do réir an Artiogail seo is féidir linn an Bun-reacht d'atharú gan pioc trioblóide i rith na n-ocht mblian so chughainn. Nuair a bhíomair ag déanamh díosbóireachta ar an gceist seo d'aithnighmair go raibh a lán sa Bhun-reacht so nár thuigeamair i gceart, nár thuigeamair i gceart a mbrí, agus dá bharr san bhí eagla orainn go mbeadh a lán trioblóide 'na thaobh agus go mbeadh a lán oibre i sna Cúirteanna le linn na huaire. Mar sin tá slí againn san Airtiogal so chun rudaí beaga do cheartú gan an sgéal mór do phlé arís, agus sin é an fáth go gcuirimíd Airtiogal 50 mar atá sé. Ach tá fhios ag gach éinne anso ná fuil comhacht againn an Rí do chur amach as an mBun-reacht. Má cheapann aon duine gur féidir linne rudaí do chur sa Bhun-reacht ná ceaduíonn an Connradh do dhéanamh tá breall air.
Mar atá an Bhun-reacht anois fanfaidh, agus is maith an rud dúinn an méid sin do thuisgint. Tá súil agam ná fuilimíd ag smaoineamh ar na rudaí atá in aigne Theachta Ghabháin uí Dhubhthaigh, ach ar aire do thabhairt do leas na tíre agus do leas na ndaoine, chun sláinte agus saol na ndaoine d'fheabhasú, agus an Ghaedhilg do chur chun cínn.
I beg to propose Amendment 1:—
"To delete the word `Ireland's' in the fourth line of the preamble and to insert the words `of Ireland' in the same line between the word `unity' and the word `shall,' and to insert the word `the' between the word `that' and the word `National.' The line will then read:—`That the national life and unity of Ireland shall thus be restored.'
It is not quite so formidable as it looks on paper. It is merely transposing two words, and I think it improves the wording.
I second that.
I think the Amendments 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 might be taken together. The object is to get in the words "Saorstát Eireann" as well as "Irish Free State."
I am not disagreeing in the very least, but I wish to know whether it was not agreed at an earlier stage by the Dáil at large, on the suggestion of the Minister for Home Affairs, that in the English version the English title should precede the Irish titles, but that in the Irish version the Irish title should precede the English title, and that in both versions both should appear.
There will be no English title on the Irish version. The Minister made a suggestion with regard to four words. The suggestion was not put formally and was not agreed to.
My suggestion was that the four words should be stereotyped and used in the English version, but in view of the exact wording of one Article of the Treaty I think we had better continue to use both words, "Free State" and "Saorstát Eireann," and the other three words. I would make that suggestion.
I ask your permission, Sir, before the Minister moves amendment 7, to mention that between 6 and 7 a matter arises that will need attention at this point, which it occurs to me has not been noticed by the Ministry, and that is in respect of Article 11. I would ask the Minister for Home Affairs if he will refer to Article 11 when he will see that it does not exactly carry out, in the words that appear, the suggestion that was agreed to, in order to obviate certain awkwardness in wording. To read it as a short sentence, without parenthesis, as I did once before:—"All the lands and waters, mines and minerals within the territory of Saorstát Eireann hitherto vested in the State shall belong to the Irish Free State." You have three titles there. You have Saorstát Eireann in the first; then surely instead of Irish Free State in the third you should get a repetition of Saorstát Eireann.
That is in line 53 you suggest Saorstát Eireann?
Is there not a formal amendment that the Irish Free State in line 53 should read "Saorstát Eireann"?
Would it be in order right through the Constitution to put in those words so that they should run always in the same order?
If you look at amendment 6 you will see that it provides for that.
You have it in Article 10.
You will remember, Sir, that Saorstát Eireann was accepted before instead of Irish Free State, just to avoid certain awkwardness in the wording, and if you avoid it in the first instance you must avoid it in the third, when the first and the third obviously are referring to the same thing.
It is provided by Amendment 6 that "Irish Free State" means Saorstát Eireann.' It is expressly provided.
If you carry your memory back to the original criticism that was made on this occasion it was decided, in this particular instance, to keep only the words Saorstát Eireann and avoid all awkwardness, that awkwardness that was referred to before arose in the words "vested in the State."
That awkwardness has been avoided in line 47. It does not arise in line 53.
My suggestion is that line 53 ought clearly to refer to the same thing as in line 47.
My suggestion is that it does refer to the same thing; that it is the same thing, and that it is so provided for. It is expressly provided that they are the same thing.
Things that are equal to the same thing, I suppose.
It should be the "Irish Free State/Saorstát Eireann" in both places.
Will the Minister move an amendment to that effect?
I move that in Article 11, line 47—"Irish Free State/ Saorstát Eireann," and in line 53 "Irish Free State/Saorstát Eireann."
. "Amendment 7, page 4, line 1-2"—It should be line 2-3, not line 1-2—"To delete the words `Parliament of the Irish Free State/ Oireachtas' and to substitute the words `the Parliament of the Irish Free State (otherwise called and in these presents generally referred to as the Oireachtas) and to make the consequential amendments throughout the Bill." The object is to get in the Irish equivalent all through.
Would it not be better to say "hereafter" rather than "in these presents"? I do not think we referred to this Statute as though it was a deed in any other place.
We expressly struck out the words "in these presents" in the beginning.
"Otherwise called or herein generally referred."
Amendment No. 8, page 4, line 3—it should be line 4, not line 3:—"To delete the words, `Dáil Eireann,' and to substitute the words `(otherwise called and in these presents generally referred to as Dáil Eireann),' and to make the consequential amendments throughout the Bill."
Amendment No. 9, page 4, line 5:—"To delete the words Seanad Eireann,' and to substitute the words `(otherwise called and in these presents generally referred to as Seanad Eireann),' and to make the consequential amendments throughout the Bill.
"And herein generally referred to."
In Article 19 there still survives a certain ambiguity. "All reports and publications of the Parliament," of course, clearly intends all official reports. Otherwise we claim privilege for unauthorised reports which would, perhaps, be thoroughly inaccurate. I suggest it should read "all official reports and publications shall be privileged."
How can a Report be otherwise than official, if it is a report of the Parliament?
I suggest that it can still further be emphasised. "Wherever published" in the last line quite clearly refers to unofficial publications.
It seems to me that Deputies noticing these things should give us notice, so that we could wrestle with these particular amendments in time.
I think the point raised by Deputy Magennis was considered some time ago. In fact, it was felt that it was covered by "reports and publications of the Parliament."
It was just because the Law Adviser thought otherwise, and I thought it was in his hands, that I did not give notice.
What is the position about it now?
We will accept "official."
"All official reports and publications of the Parliament"—proposed by Deputy Magennis, and seconded by the Minister for Home Affairs.
Is no amendment admissible, except one that two days' notice has been given of?
I think not.
Even though it is palpable there is a mistake?
Unless it is palpable there is a mistake. We have taken two already to-day.
I would like to suggest, with regard to Article 28, page 6, that there is a slight oversight. It says:—"At a General Election for the Chamber/Dail Eireann the polls shall be held on the same day throughout the country." The preceding Article says:—"Each University shall be entitled to elect three representatives to the Dáil upon a franchise and in a manner to be prescribed by law." It is just conceivable that it may not be possible to have a University Election upon the one day.
Usually it is not.
If it was put in "save as regards University Elections."
It is a matter of substance.
It is a matter of substance, because University Elections generally last more than one day, and the law leaves it in the hands of the Returning Officer to fix the day.
I think Article 27 settles it all right.
In Article 27 the manner to be prescribed by law is subject to 28.
It would meet it if the Dáil would allow the insertion in that clause of a provision similar to that in Article 26—"exclusive of members for the Universities"—"At a General Election for the Chamber/Dáil Eireann the polls (exclusive of members for the Universities) shall be held on the same day." Then the manner to be prescribed by law in Article 27 will make provision for the Universities if it is thought fit to make any difference.
Deputy Magennis's amendment, seconded by Deputy Fitzgibbon, in that form is accepted.
"Exclusive of members for the Universities."
On a point of order, the Standing Order relating to the discussion of the final stage of a Bill is as follows:—"When a Bill shall come forward for final consideration it shall be moved `that the Bill do now pass,' and no amendments of the Bill shall be permitted save such as are of a purely verbal character, and of which due notice shall have been given." I submit that this amendment is an amendment of substance, and not of a purely verbal character. The words "from amongst the members of Dáil Eireann" distinctly introduce a new principle, and it would give rise to considerable discussion and opposition. It cannot be considered as purely verbal, and therefore I submit, according to the Standing Order, it is not in order in so far as it trespasses on the mere verbal alteration. I ask for your ruling.
I desire to support Deputy Johnson in asking for your ruling in that direction: I originally moved the Article as it now stands. You have already discussed this matter in sub-Committee. The whole of that Committee's recommendations was not adopted by the Dáil, but those recommendations included a provision which, if it were here, would make it quite clear that it was then intended that people not members of the Dáil may be members. A provision was even made that the Ministers, including the Executive Council, who were members of the Dáil would be a majority. So if this amendment were moved with the idea that it was calculated to restore what was the mind of the Dáil and the intention of the Dáil, as I say must be the case, then it was moved under a misapprehension. When it was before the Dáil originally the clear intention—of the mover at all events— was that the Article should leave it open to the Dáil to decide whom it should have as Ministers from outside. Obviously what the Deputy proposes is a great deal more than a verbal change. The report of the Committee bears that out.
The change is certainly more than a verbal change, unless it can be proved that it merely puts into words what was the clear intention of the Dáil. It is a matter of such importance that it ought to be decided on a different plane.
It is a verbal amendment in the same sense as the one you have just accepted, in regard to University Elections.
That was by consent.
The amendment you have just accepted with regard to University Elections was an amendment with regard to machinery. This is a verbal amendment if it can be proved that it is intended to carry out the intention of the Dáil.
Members of the Dáil know that most of the Ministers favoured the original Executive proposals which involved the selection of Ministers, other than from amongst the members of the Dáil. Therefore, this amendment is not with a view to carrying out any considered opinion or any considered wish of ours, but it is because the whole trend of the discussion here on the Executive proposals showed that that was the very thing in the Executive proposals that the majority of the members of the Dáil objected to, and the fact that they had not explicitly barred selection of Ministers other than from amongst members of the Dáil was merely an inadvertance on their part. There is very little doubt if they had adverted to the fact that they had not entirely closed the door on that process of selection that they would not merely have closed it, but have banged that door. That was quite clear from the discussion here and the general tenor of the speeches made on the proposals. Facing the fact honestly in consultation amongst ourselves in the Cabinet, we thought it right to put down that amendment, simply to carry out what we well knew to be the wish of the members. It is entirely now a matter for the members themselves as to whether they will accept it.
I would point out so far from that argument as to the will of the Dáil having weight, the amendment in question was only carried by a majority of one. So far as the will of the Dáil is concerned that cannot be considered to be a decisive vote, inasmuch as Deputy Magennis pointed out several times that there were two questions involved. Undoubtedly on the last stage of the discussion on this Bill this question would have been raised and points would have been insisted upon in the course of the discussion and votes would have been taken but for the fact that the form of the Bill, as presented to us, was as it now stands in respect of this Clause. In view of these circumstances, and in view of the Standing Order, I submit that there is no option but to declare that this is not an amendment of a verbal character, but an amendment of substance, and would raise a new discussion on the principle of whether there should be compulsion or should be any option whatever to the Dáil to nominate a man or woman as Minister who is not a member of the Chamber. The matter is left open.
I recollect the circumstances and I claim very distinctly there was a vote against the proposal to have Ministers selected from outside the membership of the Dáil, and that was negatived on two occasions by vote. In the first case it was complicated with a provision that if a member of the Dáil were selected as one of those in-and-out Ministers that he was to surrender his seat. The "shall" in that clause was withdrawn and then by the Committee of which Deputy Fitzgibbon was Chairman another clause was introduced with what would seem to me at the time limitations. Undoubtedly the clause as it stands is the form in which it was proposed by Deputy Gavan Duffy —"Ministers who shall not be members of the Executive Council may be nominated by the Chamber." What helps my recollection of this is that I contested the form of words for quite a long time. What was really the sense of the Dáil, at least, was represented by that slight majority to which Deputy Johnson refers. The sense was that those non-Executive Council Ministers should not be selected from non-members of Parliament, but I do not think it could be contended that they were to be drawn exclusively from members of Dáil Eireann. Whether or not there was room left for the selection from the Senate I think is rather a difficult question, so that perhaps from that point of view it is more than a case of rectification of an error to introduce these words.
Apart from the ambiguity as to whether Ministers might not be selected from the Senate, I think it is agreed that, unless implicitly barred, Ministers may be selected who would be members of neither Seanad nor Dáil. It is right to say that if this particular amendment is not accepted the Bill will probably have to go back to Committee, because there is this point that if Ministers are appointed who are not members of the Dáil, it is insisted on the other side that such Ministers shall comply with Article 17 as if they were members of the Dáil. They would not agree to Executive proposals that would involve Ministers from outside the Dáil, unless the Dáil were to make compliance with Article 17 compulsory on such Ministers. Therefore, if we do not bar such Ministers by the acceptance of this amendment we will have to send the Bill back to Committee to insert an Article to the effect, that if outside members are selected they shall comply with Article 17.
The matter is clear enough, but what the Dáil actually did was not very clear. That is the position.
Is it Ministers outside the Executive Council or outside the Dáil?
Outside the Dáil.
The Dáil appointed a committee, and Deputy Professor Magennis pointed out that the resolution about the committee had for its principal sentence: "That this House approves of the general principle of the proposal that certain Ministers need not be members of the Dáil." The committee considered that proposal and brought in certain clauses putting that into practice, and the committee's report was rejected, and by people I am quite clear, who believed they were voting against the idea that anybody could be a Minister that was not a member of the Dáil. That was quite clear. I suppose Deputies turned up specially to vote against any such proposal, and, having voted against it, they went away. They did not remain for the committee stage to see that none of the things to which they objected would, by any Parliamentary sleight of hand, get into the Constitution, and things did get into the Constitution, and the Constitution as it stands does not coincide with that particular vote of the Dáil, rejecting the report of the Select Committee. This amendment on the paper now is an attempt which might have been made at the last reading, but which is being made now to clear up the position. The amendment is not in order now as a verbal amendment to the Bill, but you can take it by special leave, and discuss it.
Would it be in order to move that special leave be given to take it?
I submit that is opposed to the Standing Order. If there were general agreement to make any amendment that is one thing, but to use a majority to destroy the Standing Orders in face of opposition, just to carry a particular clause which is out of order, according to the Standing Order under which you have been working, I submit is an abuse of the procedure under which we have been working, and ought not to be allowed. The Minister has pointed out that there will be need for reference back to a Committee to secure one particular provision. I do not suppose there will be strong opposition to that. This matter that is now under discussion is of very great importance. As has been suggested, if you are going to restrict these non-Executive Council members of the Ministry to the Dáil, that is an imposition upon members who support the proposition that Senators may be appointed as Ministers. As it stands it is open to the Dáil to nominate members of the Senate as Ministers. If you alter it, as is suggested, that will not be possible, and I submit you have there a very considerable and vital alteration in the form of the Constitution, and it ought not to be altered by a mere misuse of the forms of procedure.
The Dáil knows that I fought this point somewhat stubbornly before, but owing to circumstances to which there has been reference a certain form of words did get in with which I disagreed. I am perfectly convinced—candour compels me to say— that the circumstances of the time and the decision of the Dáil were against me. A compromise was achieved and a bargain was struck, and although I disagreed with the point made then by Deputy Johnson, I think that bargain should be adhered to and I think the point of order that he has raised is a just one.
The point of order is quite just and correct, but there is a very much more important matter than order concerned.
If we cannot find some way out it will involve an adjournment of the Dáil, with consequent great waste of time, or it might mean a straining of the Standing Orders and a going back to Committee. That would mean a great waste of time, and it would be better if we could find some means out of the impasse which would be just and which would admit of this matter being adjusted. It might be more desirable if we agreed to go into Committee, so that any amendment dealing with this particular point, or any alternative amendment, might be put up. That would be a way out. It is a matter of straining the Standing Orders with a view to saving time and getting through the business.
I think the suggestion of the Minister is the only one the Dáil can really adopt. If the Ministers think that in the clause as it stands there must be inserted in Committee somewhere or another a reference to Article 17, the Bill will have to go back to Committee for that. If it is going back to Committee at all, would it not be better for Ministers or somebody else to move to re-commit the Bill now? It is a matter which must be inherent in the power of the Assembly, to resolve itself into Committee in a matter like this. In Committee you could have a straight vote on the clause as it stands, or we could make necessary alterations in reference to Clause 17. On the other hand, if the amendment proposed by Ministers is accepted, there is no need to deal any further with the matter.
There is a suggestion that you might, by general agreement or without opposition, concede the point as a Committee matter. That is the point the Minister has raised with regard to the necessity for all Ministers taking the Oath, whether they are appointed from inside or outside. That is a suggestion which may cause less trouble and less discussion than the recommitting of the clause.
We ought not to begin by overriding Standing Orders.
This might possibly meet the difficulty. To insert: "Each such Minister shall be appointed by the Representative of the Crown, and shall comply with the provisions of Article 17."
As far as the new amendment now suggested is concerned, it meets the real vital issue of the case. It would have to be by general agreement. I would say that Deputy Johnson's point is a very good one. The fact that the opportunity was not availed of by these very energetic Deputies who did not agree with the Article as originally framed—the fact that they did not rectify the infirmities of that Article as subsequently submitted and adopted is certainly a point that we would scarcely contest with Deputy Johnson. This particular amendment would meet the case if it is generally agreed upon. It gets in what has come to be a vital issue in this matter. We all admit that no Minister would get any advantage or derive any advantage that the members of the Executive Council did not derive or possess; that is that a Minister should not be excluded from the obligations of Article 17 or from the other obligation of being appointed by the representatives of the Crown. That was not our intention, but it was so construed and it was incorrectly interpreted. If this amendment be accepted it will meet the case and it will also meet Deputy Johnson's point. Certain members had very particular objection to what are called extern Ministers and they were unable to rectify the Article at the time when they should have rectified it.
The withdrawal of the amendment meets my main objection. The proposal of the new amendment opens another question.
Deputies who were very enthusiastic over a particular thing were possessed of an enthusiasm which did not last sufficiently long to carry their opinions to their proper conclusion.
Some of them.
Yes; some of them, and it was pointed out in the Committee stage that it was not anybody's business except the business of the members of the Dáil to decide what form a clause should take.
So far as the withdrawal of the amendment goes, I am delighted. So far as the other amendment goes, the difficulty, I feel, is this. Ministers take the view that this Article 17 must be applied to every future Minister under the Constitution. I venture to differ on the ground, that I see nothing whatever from beginning to end of the Treaty that could prescribe any such thing. Article 17, following Article 4, must apply to Members of Parliament, but where do they get the theory from, that it must apply to other people? If I am alone in taking this objection, I should not feel myself justified in holding up the Bill. On the other hand, I do not want to be taken as assenting to what I consider a very strange view. I dissented from a sub-committee on this very same question. I suggest that the thing go through as it stands now, that British Ministers have no right to impose any fancy view of their own upon it. The Treaty speaks. for itself—is there or is there not any definite ground which makes Ministers. think that there will be trouble about this thing in London, I mean trouble caused by a legitimate claim by the other side? Viewing the thing, as the words are written in the Treaty, I fail to see where the difficulty can come in. Therefore, if I am the only one to take this objection, I do not want to hold the matter up, but I strongly protest against the insertion of unnecessary words, because forsooth the English beyond may ask questions when this Constitution is through.
The amendments 10A and 10B are both withdrawn by Deputy Duggan by leave of the Dáil, and in order to get over the difficulty which has arisen, it is suggested that another amendment, not subject to the objections already raised with respect to amendment 10A, shall be proposed.
Amendment proposed: "At the end of the first line, immediately after the word `Council' to insert the following: `May be appointed by the representative of the Crown and shall comply with the provisions of Article 17 and every such Minister shall.' "
On a point of order, you yourself a few moments ago recited the history of the transaction, and as I understood you, you declared the majority vote had been against the admission of Ministers who were not elected members of this Dáil. Now; on a former occasion, with regard to the report of Deputy Fitzgibbon's Committee, the Chief Whip of the Ministerial Party reminded us of a regulation by which a matter decided cannot be brought up again within six months. Consequently, this point has been decided, that Ministers are not to be nominated who are not members of the Dáil. The present amendment reverses this; consequently, I suggest to you, very much against my own grain, that it is out of order.
A very excellent suggestion, but I do not agree with it.
The Deputy is altogether wrong.
The Deputy must take it that the clauses here in the Bill represent the decisions of the Dáil. Article 55 is a decision of the Dáil, and we are not reversing it by this amendment.
Article 55, as amended, read:—"Ministers who shall not be members of the Executive Council, may be appointed by the representative of the Crown, and shall comply with the provisions of Article 17. Every such Minister shall be nominated by the Chamber/Dáil Eireann on the recommendation of a Committee of the Chamber/Dáil Eireann chosen by a method to be determined by the Chamber/Dáil Eireann, so as to be impartially representative of the Chamber/ Dáil Eireann. Should a recommendation not be acceptable to the Chamber/Dáil Eireann, the Committee may continue to recommend names until one is found acceptable. The total number of Ministers including the Ministers of the Executive Council shall not exceed twelve."
I want to have this thing clear. A vote was taken approving of a certain principle. The carrying out of that principle was referred to a sub-committee. The decision of that committee on that principle was turned down, and, acting on the voice of the Dáil, the Article was agreed to. "Ministers who shall not be members of the Executive Council"—we took it that Ministers appointed outside the Executive Council would still be members of this Dáil, and not from outside this Dáil, and I want to have that made clear.
To answer Deputy Gorey's point—the situation, as we understand it, is this: That the Constitution came down from the Ministry, with the term "shall appoint" Ministers, either from outside the Dáil, or members of the Dáil, and who shall subsequently retire from membership. That was referred to a committee with a general approval of that form. That approval came back. The report of the committee was not adopted, but the Dáil did not go further. The Dáil did not say, "every such Minister shall be a member of the Dáil," and that is the position as it stands, and is not altered by this amendment.
It was stated that no Ministers could be appointed, except they were members of the Dáil.
The decision of the Dáil on Article 55 is in print before you, and every Deputy had as much opportunity as every other Deputy of examining every word, every full stop, and every comma therein. What the Ministers said about it is not relevant. The point is that no new principle is being introduced by the amendment brought before the Dáil.
He will be as much and as little an appointment by the Representative of the Crown as the Ministers who will be members of the Executive Council.
Are we to understand now that he can go outside the members of the Dáil? I do not think he can.
What Deputy Gorey has in his mind is whether the Committee will be left to nominate them.
And you go outside the Dáil?——
Yes. I am sorry for interrupting so often, but it is right that at this last stage members should be thoroughly acquainted with the provisions of the Constitution as they stand. It is possible for a person outside to come in, but it is not mandatory on the Dáil to elect such persons, and the body to elect such person will be the Committee that will be the least common multiple of this Dáil. That Committee will be from this Dáil and will nominate persons inside, but I do not think that will be done in this Dáil or the next, but may be at a future time. They are not prevented from nominating persons from outside.
I am quite satisfied, because the vote taken here the other day was an insult to the Dáil, because the proposition was that the Dáil should do a certain thing and a vote was passed saying that it should not. It was a vote of censure on the Dáil itself, saying that the Dáil was to be prevented from accepting a privilege; that, in fact, they did not believe they could carry it out.
The effect of the amendment before us is that it does two things, one of which renders the other unnecessary. The appointment by the Governor-General of Ministers is obviously necessary according to the Constitutional practice of the Dominion of Canada, but if you expressly state that these outside Ministers are to be so appointed you render it unnecessary to have Article 17, because the gentleman who has to appoint them will refuse to do so unless they comply with that Article. We can get away from that contentious subject if Ministers will leave it at that.
I do not agree that it is preferable to the amendment to create a position in which that personage will exercise any real power or any real veto. What Deputy Gavan Duffy proposes is that we should create a situation in which the Governor-General should refuse to appoint Ministers who are nominated and put to him by a representative Committee of the Dáil.
No; I must have misconveyed myself. He cannot act on anybody else's advice but on that of the Executive Council.
Yes; the drift of what Deputy Gavan Duffy said, and I use the word "drift" advisedly, is likely to create a position in which his appointment of persons nominated by the Dáil would not be automatic. Because he could say "you have not complied with Article 17." That is creating a crux and a difficulty, and we do not accept that as sound criticism of the amendment.
The substituted amendment was put and agreed to.
I beg to move as an amendment:—
"Article 74. To alter paragraph 2 so as to read:—`Goods transported during the said current financial year from or to the Irish Free State, to or from any part of Great Britain or the Isle of Man or any part of Ireland which may be outside the jurisdiction of the Irish Free State, shall not, except so far as the Executive Council may otherwise direct, in respect of the forms to be used and the information to be furnished, be treated as goods exported or imported, as the case may be."
This is a verbal alteration. If it is ruled to be other than a verbal alteration I cannot press it, but it seems to me that to use the words "United Kingdom" in this clause is not the intention of the Minister, inasmuch as the Constitution itself has created a relationship between Ireland and Great Britain which nullifies that term, and consequently it could not be intended that the words "United Kingdom" should remain. The suggestion is that the paragraph should be altered to "Goods transported during the current financial year to or from the Irish Free State, to or from any part of Great Britain or the Isle of Man, shall not, except so far as the Executive Council may otherwise direct in respect of the forms to be used and the information to be furnished, be treated as goods exported or imported, as the case may be." There is a suggestion, which I accept, to leave out the words "any other part of Ireland which may be outside the jurisdiction of the Irish Free State." It may meet the situation and may be a better form to say "From any part of Great Britain, Ireland or the Isle of Man, leaving out the words "Or any part of Ireland which may be outside the jurisdiction of the Irish Free State." If we say "Ireland, Great Britain, or the Isle of Man," that may be satisfactory to Ministers and convey the same idea without using the words "United Kingdom," which is a misnomer.
I beg to second the amendment.
"That part of the amendment `or any part of Ireland which may be outside the jurisdiction of the Irish Free State' goes out and we will accept the other part."
Amendment that the second paragraph of Article 74 shall be as follows:—"Goods transported during the said current financial years from or to the Irish Free State, to or from any part of Great Britain or the Isle of Man shall not, except so far as the Executive Council may otherwise direct, in respect of the forms to be used and the information to be furnished, be treated as goods exported or imported as the case may be."
Put and agreed to.
I want to suggest a slight alteration in Article 38, to leave out in line nine the words "be deemed to be" and to substitute for them the words "in the form in which it was last" and in the next line to omit the word "any" and to substitute the word "every."
I beg to second the amendment.
In Article 11, line 55, as it stands in the draft, I beg to move that after "shall be" the words "disposed of" be inserted before "controlled."
I second that.
I submit as far as I can read it that that is not a verbal alteration. Now, the words "disposed of" wipe away the whole purport of the clause in my opinion.
If there is any objection I do not press it.
How could you administer a lease if you could not dispose of it?
I suggest that the words "disposed of" do not affect the matter very much. I think that when a prohibition against total alienation is so complete as it is in the latter part of the clause—I do not think Deputy Johnson need fear that the introduction of the words "disposed of" higher up would give Ministers any greater power than they already possess in the word "administer." I don't think that the words "disposed of" is absolutely necessary, but it cannot do any harm.
I am not very confident of my reading of this, which is sprung upon us, but I am afraid it might mean more than it appears on the surface. If Deputy Fitzgibbon's reading is correct, then the Minister need not press his point. I would urge that it be not pressed.
I am not pressing it. Amendment withdrawn.
In Article 21 I move the insertion in line 11, after the word "duties," the word "remuneration."
I was going to suggest that that was originally intended by the words "terms of office."
The Article as amended was agreed to.
There are no more verbal amendments to be moved to the Bill, and very little has been said in the course of the discussion on this last reading which calls for comment. It is right to say that we are satisfied that whatever Government emerges from the present break-up in English politics that the Treaty and all honourable implications of the Treaty will be observed and adhered to. We have no misgivings on that point, and we do not think that anyone else need have misgivings on that point. If we were asked to suppose the unthinkable, and to suppose that attempts would be made by a future Government in England to tamper with the Treaty, or anything that flows naturally or honourably from the Treaty, then our attitude in such a condition of things would be quite simple. There will be nothing complex about it; and certain little fishes who have been straining themselves to talk like whales since last December might have an opportunity of showing their form. One thing more: we have no other policy for the North-East of Ireland than we have for the rest of Ireland. We have no policy but the Treaty policy, and we are going ahead with that. This Constitution has been framed for all Ireland, and it is a Constitution under which all Irishmen can live in peace and charity with their neighbours, and we wish for nothing more heartily than that—to all Irishmen, whether they be from the extreme North or the extreme South or the North-East or South-West, if the Northern Parliament decides to opt out from the jurisdiction of the Free State, then they must take the very natural and logical consequences of that; and we have nothing to stand on except upon our Treaty rights.
The motion now is that the Constitution of the Saorstát Eireann Bill as amended on Report be passed. Motion agreed to.
An official Irish version has been prepared and revised by a Committee of which the Minister for Education is Chairman and Dr. Osborne Bergin, Deputy P. Beaslai, Deputy Padraig O'Maille, Liam O'Rinn and the Clerk were members. That will be printed with the final Bill. It is necessary to get the assent of the Dáil to this Irish version as the official version. I ask the sanction of the Dáil for this.
I move that the sanction of the Dáil be given for that official version.
That is agreed to.
I wish to know in what form it will be published. I hope the Constitution now prescribed may be emancipated from this colour (indicating the Copy of the Constitution of Saorstát Eireann Bill).
It is a good colour for the eyes.
The colour passes into white when the Bill is enacted.
I have one further suggestion following a different suggestion I made to the Minister for Home Affairs, which I understood he agreed to. Would it be possible in the public version, for the sake of clarification, to print the title in brackets? I suggest that for the purpose of simplication the Bill should be sub-divided, without necessarily having the title forming part of the Bill.
It will be necessary to print the Act as it left the Dáil, but for other purposes it may be printed by the Government with perhaps that or other suggestions carried out, with sub-headings.