Tá Tuarasgabháil agam agus iarrfad ar an gCléireac chun é léigheamh. I will now ask the Clerk of the Dáil to read the Report of the Committee.

The Clerk read the report as follows:—

The Committee was appointed by resolution of Dáil Eireann passed on 6th December, 1922, in the following terms:—

"That a Committee of the Dáil consisting of fifteen Deputies shall be appointed in accordance with Article 55 of the Constitution to make nominations for the Ministries of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Postal Services, such Ministers not being Members of the Executive Council.

"That the Committee shall be appointed by the single transferable vote, and that the Quorum of such Committee shall be eleven."

In accordance with the above resolution an election was held on Friday, the 8th December, when the following Deputies were chosen to act on the said Committee:—

Deputies Hughes, Hennessy, Thrift, Nicholls, Vaughan, Cole, Murphy, McCarthy, O'Donnell, McGoldrick, Gorey, Dolan, Lavin, O'Brien, and Johnson.

The Committee met on Tuesday, December 12th.

Present:—Deputies Hughes, Hennessy, Thrift, Nicholls, Vaughan, Cole, Murphy, McCarthy, O'Donnell, McGoldrick, Gorey, Dolan, and Lavin.

The Committee took into consideration three Ministries, viz.:—

(1) Agriculture;

(2) Postal Services; and

(3) Fisheries.

It was decided unanimously to make the following recommendations to Dáil Eireann, viz.:—

(1) Deputy P.J. Hogan to be Minister for Agriculture;

(2) Deputy J.J. Walsh to be Postmaster-General; and

(3) Deputy Fionán Lynch to be Minister of Fisheries.


Peadar Ó hAodha (Cathaoirleach).

Micheál Ó hAonghusa.

Liam Thrift.

Seoirse Mac Niocaill.

Domhnall Ó Mocháin.

Uáitéar Mac Cumhaill.

Séamus Ó Murchadha.

Domhnall Mac Cárthaigh.

Tomás Ó Domhnaill.

Padraig Mag Ualghairg.

Donchadh Ó Guaire.

Séamus Ó Dóláin.

Aindriú Ó Láimhín.

12th December, 1922.

Is dóigh liom gur ceart na h-ainmeacha do thógaint na nduine agus na nduine. I think the Report of the Committee will be best taken by putting the name of each of the Ministers suggested separately to the Dáil. There is no procedure laid down, but I think that would be the best course.

I beg to propose for the Office of Minister for Agriculture, Deputy P.J. Hogan.

I beg to second it.

Question put: "That the recommendation of the Committee that Deputy P. J. Hogan be appointed Minister for Agriculture be agreed to."

Ba mhaith liom ainm Shéamuis Breathnach do chur os comhair na Dála mar Aire an Phuist.

I beg to second that.

I would like, if I am in order, to say a word or two with regard to this appointment. First of all, I question very much the advisability of having such an appointment at all as Postmaster-General. I doubt if there is any necessity for such an appointment or for having a special Minister in this Dáil whose duty is confined entirely to the postal service. It seems to me that we are copying England in this respect, and that one of the reasons they created this Ministry in England was owing to the necessity for a large Ministry they wanted to get an extra place, and they found this position of Postmaster-General would suit for the purpose. I do not want to labour that at all now except to mention it. It seems to me it would be well if this post were amalgamated with some others mentioned by one or two of my colleagues some time ago, such as the Ministry of Transport or a Ministry of Ways and Communications or Post and Telegraphs and Communications. So far as the appointment generally is concerned I would like to say this much that the occupant of the office should confine his work rather to big questions of policy in connection with this post and broad questions, and I do not know that that has always been the case. It is always an invidious and difficult thing when an individual is put before the Dáil to make criticisms of him which may appear to be personal, and I would be very sorry personally to do any such thing, or to be taken as doing any such thing. I do not know how far I would be in order in referring to a few matters which I believe arise in connection with this question. I refer to matters for which I believe the Deputy who is now proposed as Postmaster-General is, to some extent, in any case, responsible. In a recent issue of the official Post Office Journal I note that provision was made whereby men who withdrew their labour for three or four weeks last September are not entitled to claim any payment for such time, and not only that, but that period is to be disallowed for purpose of pensions, increments and all such things which it would naturally count for in the ordinary way. While perhaps one cannot grumble at that, men are being punished by reduction of their salaries, by transfer to other positions for acts which they did during the strike and while technically out of the service. I do not think that that is fair. I made reference on one or two occasions before to this, and I do not think it will help in efficient administration if the Postmaster-General persists in a policy which is tantamount to victimisation, and I just wish to draw the special attention of the candidate for this position to this particular matter at this stage. It is one of the matters on which I would like to get an assurance before voting for this appointment, and I hope, if he is appointed, he will not persist in the policy of punishing men for acts which they did during a time when they were actually outside the service of the Post Office.

I did not intend to intervene in this matter, but I take it the principal objections divide themselves into two parts—first, the necessity of a Minister in charge of these services; and, secondly, in regard to the happiness, or otherwise, of the selection that has been made. Considering the very large sum of money involved in the immediate control, which is, so far as I can see, essential, I do not think that this service could be very well administered in conjunction with other services under the one Minister. As regards the objection to the individual, I say that the last nine or ten months is not a happy criterion to take of a man's suitability for this position. The difficulties at that time have been very marked. The difficulties in this particular service administered by Deputy Walsh while Postmaster-General were very pronounced. In the early part of the year a very large claim was made by officials of this service, which was not founded on any sound basis so far as the Government knows. Having established that claim, and it having been conceded by the Government, and when information was available that the basis of the claim was not sound, naturally the Minister in charge of this Department was faced with very difficult circumstances. To extricate a Department from circumstances so difficult, and with feeling so intense, was certainly a work that was bound to lead to violent criticism of the work. I do not think it would be possible for any man occupying that position to have got out of the difficulties of the case without having some very severe criticism of his work.

Motion made and question put: "That Deputy J.J. Walsh be appointed Postmaster-General."