I may say, first of all, I have received a message from the Governor-General in respect of these moneys, and I now move this Resolution. It is a formal Resolution rendered necessary by the money character of the Bill that the Dáil is considering just now.
CRIMINAL AND MALICIOUS INJURIES BILL—MONEY RESOLUTION.
Go bhfuil sé oiriúnach chun có-líona aon choiníollacha d'aon Acht den tsiosón so chun an dlí i dtaobh Díobhálacha Coiriúla agus Mailíseacha do leasú:
That, for carrying out the provisions of any Act of the present session to amend the law relating to Criminal and Malicious Injuries, it is expedient:
(a) a údarú go n-íocfar as airgead a sholáthróidh an t-Oireachtas:
(a) to authorise the payment out of moneys provided by the Oireachtas of:—
(1) an cúiteamh agus na costaisí a tugadh le haon aithne a dineadh fé sna hAchtanna um Dhíobhála Coiriúla i dtaobh lot áirithe ar mhaoin do thárla tar éis an 11adh lá d'Iúl, 1921, agus ar an 6adh lá d'Fheabhra, 1923, no roimhe sin, ach ní ina dhiaidh, ach amháin sa mhéid go bhfuil an cúiteamh san iníoctha le hurúsana, agus
(1) the compensation and costs awarded by any decree made under the Criminal Injuries Acts in respect of certain injuries to property which occurred after the 11th day of July, 1921, and on or before, but not after, the 6th day of February, 1923, save in so far as such compensation is payable by the issue of securities, and
(2) luach saothair aon BhreithimhChontae sa bhreis a ceapadh fé alt a h-ocht den Acht um Dhíobhála Coiriúla (Eirinn), 1920;
(2) the remuneration of any additionalJudge of a County Court appointed under Section eight of the Criminal Injuries (Ireland) Act, 1920;
(b) a údarú go dtabharfar as an bPrímh-Chiste no as a thora fáis chun a íoc leis an mBóthar-Chiste, oiread agus bheidh có-ionann le haon íocuíhta a tugadh don Stát-Chiste ag comhairlí contaethe agus ceantaracha baile i dtaobh vóta speisialta de raol fén bpúnt; agus
(b) to authorise the issue out of the Central Fund or the growing produce thereof for payment to the Road Fund, of an amount equivalent to any payments made to the Exchequer by councils of counties and urban districts in respect of a special rate of sixpence in the pound; and
(c) a údarú go gceapfar urúsanna a tabharfar in ionad airgid in íoc cúitimh i gcásanna áirithe agus bun-airgead agus ús na n-urúsanna san maraon leis an gcostas do thárla i dtaobh iad do thabhairt amach, do chur mar mhuirear ar an bPrímh-Chiste agus ar a thora fáis.
(c) to authorise the creation of securities to be issued in lieu of cash in payment of compensation in certain cases, and to charge on the Central Fund or the growing produce thereof the principal and interest of such securities and the expenses incurred in connection with the issue thereof.”
I beg to second the Resolution.
The Minister has referred to this as a formal Resolution. He has argued, and his argument has prevailed with the Dáil, that this is the time for such Resolutions to be brought forward in all cases where money is affected by Bills. But I think we have the right to accept the intentions of the Ministry in proposing these formal Resolutions and to discuss the purpose— to take advantage of the opportunity to raise the financial issue, which the Government provides by putting down this Resolution before the Committee Stage of the Bill. The present Resolution goes into some detail, and seems to me to be unnecessarily definite. Hitherto the Resolutions we have had of this kind have not only been formal, but they have been indefinite, leaving everything pretty well open for future discussion. But this Resolution is very definite, and refers to compensations and payments and particular kinds of damage, the method of paying, the authorisation to pay securities, and so on. That authorisation, I may say, without going into details, which I will leave to the Minister himself or to other Deputies who wish to raise them, practically says that we authorise the creation of an indefinite amount of securities. I think it well to draw the attention of the Dáil to Sub-section (1) of (a), and to ask the Dail particularly to note that this authorisation to expend moneys is confined to damage to property. There have been, as we all know, many hundreds, perhaps thousands, of cases of men and women who have suffered personal damage: loss of limbs, eyes, and life, but they are not to be compensated. I had hoped that we would have heard, or at least that we would have read, a proposal from the Ministry to make provision for compensation for personal injury, but that has not been done. Therefore, I think it is necessary to draw the particular attention of the Dáil to this fact, that in considering this Resolution authorising the payment of moneys, we are confining that payment to those who have suffered damage to property. I do not know whether it is to be held as impossible to pay any compensation to those who have suffered much more by such loss than those who have suffered damage to their property. We are not even confining this compensation to property losses—we are not confining it to property which was of material benefit to the locality. House property is to be compensated for, not to the tenant of the house—to the person who has actually suffered loss—but to the owner of the house; I submit that that is certainly not equitable. In the setting up of the Shaw Commission—shall I say before such setting up of the Shaw Commission—representations were made to the late Minister for Finance, urging him to make provision that in any compensation tribunal not only should loss of property be considered, but personal losses, and also consequential losses of the kind which we have referred to several times, where men and women lost their employment. I have reason to believe that representations in that respect were made to the British Government, but because thy were to be liable for some of the loss—the greater portion of those losses for that period—presumably they declined to agree and the Shaw Commission was precluded from dealing with such losses. In this Bill, and in this Resolution, we are proposing to follow that very bad precedent. I referred on the Second Reading Stage to the case of Balbriggan, and it is a very appropriate illustration of what I want to bring home to the Dáil. People might suffer personal losses, loss of life and loss of limb. They also suffered to a very great extent, indeed, loss of employment, but property losses were compensated, and may, under these new provisions, be compensated for, and the people simply withdrew their money and took it over to London. That should not be perpetuated. It should not be copied, it should not be followed in these new arrangements. I submit if the objection is a financial objection, if it is said again here, as it has been said elsewhere, that the coffers of the Saorstát will not stand the strain, I ask the Dáil to accept the contention in such a case that the first charge upon whatever fund there is should be those who have suffered loss of life and limb, and not those who have suffered loss of property. I have a letter from a man which would illustrate the contention I am making. He says:—“I am a working man having a wife and seven helpless children to support. I work on the Great Southern and Western Railway, and on the evening of the 16th December, was acting as watchman. A number of robbers attacked the goods wagons, and in my efforts to save those goods I was set upon by five of the gang and kicked almost to death. I was removed to hospital, and I have been a cripple since. The spine of my back is injured, and as a result of kicks in the stomach and groin I suffer extreme agony with urinary trouble. I believe I am permanently injured. I get only a small weekly allowance from the Railway Company—one-half of my pay—altogether insufficient to provide food and clothing for my family. That is my unhappy state. Are my children to starve and live in misery in consequence of this anticipated change in the law? It might be possible to build up mansions destroyed, without Government aid, but you cannot build up the loss of life or limb except in a poor way with it.” That is one of the many cases of men who have taken all the risk that their occupations require to keep things moving. The Minister has at other times asked that the business of the country should, as far as possible, be kept going. There are many men who have undergone much more than the ordinary risk that every civilian has to take, and I submit that the extraordinary risks which a time like this has entailed upon many people, that if there is any justification whatever for any malicious injuries compensation, of any kind—and I believe there is—the first claim upon such a fund should be personal damage. If, therefore, the contention is that it is a case of inability to finance personal damage, plus property losses, then I submit that the first claim should be the loss suffered by personal damage. I regret that we have not had from the Minister some indication of the mind of the Ministry in response to the gentle hints thrown out on the Second Reading discussion. It will be remembered that we had not the Bill in hand very long when the Second Reading came on, and while, in the main, I repeat the general welcome that I gave to the Bill, I feel, having read the Bill more thoroughly, that I was too generous in my welcome on that occasion. I hope, however, that on this question of personal injuries, particularly when men have been deprived of the power to earn a livelihood for themselves and their families, that he will give the Dáil and the country some indication that the door is not closed upon them and that he will bring in at a later stage of this measure or in a new Bill some provision which will ensure to this class of sufferer some compensation for the extraordinary risks that they have to run and the damage which they have suffered by taking these extraordinary risks. It will be said, as it has been said with regard to the pre-Truce damage, that this is part of the national struggle, and that every citizen must bear his share in the cost. That may be true, but we are asking certain citizens to undergo a special risk, and in such cases it is a reasonable responsibility for the nation to bear. It should be a social charge, and not an individual charge, and when we have a Bill presented to us, and, as at this moment, a Financial Resolution presented to us, authorising the payment out of national funds of certain compensations, we ought not to restrict it to property compensations, and to deprive the sufferers from loss of limb and life of any chance of compensation. The principle is a bad one, and I regret that up to now the Government has not seen fit to enlarge the scheme.
I desire to support the protest of Deputy Johnson against the system we are adopting of having these vague Financial Resolutions before we have the Bills with which they are concerned—a system based, as I ventured to suggest on a previous occasion, on a quaint misinterpretation of Article 37 of the Constitution. On this occasion, however, we are asked to go a great deal further than we ever went before, because the Resolution of the President not merely demands authorisation in respect to certain sums of money, but also claims an authority to create securities, securities for an indefinite amount, bearing we know not what interest, redeemable, we know not when. It is, as I think, one of the defects that will have to be dealt with when the Bill is reached —that the securities which we are going to offer people in part-payment are there wholly indefinite; they are equally indefinite here. So that you are giving a man paper without letting him have any means of knowing, any explanation as to what that paper will be worth. In respect to this particular Resolution the danger of it, as I see, is that if it be acted upon to the letter the Minister for Finance will have power, unchecked, on the faith of this Resolution passed by the Dáil, to create securities to an amount which the Dáil will never have sanctioned. I pass from that because I am not sanguine enough to expect that the President will acquiesce in my view on the subject, and I do want to call attention to another matter.
I want to call the special attention of the Dáil to what is omitted from this Resolution. I refer to what I might call the pre-Truce damage. Assuming, for the sake of argument, that such Resolution as this be necessary, I submit that this is eminently an occasion where we should cover the whole ground—that just as the Bill should deal with pre-Truce damage, so should the Financial Resolution deal with pre-Truce damage. I want very seriously to ask the President if he will, between this and the Fourth Stage of the Bill, present to this Dáil particulars showing the position as to pre-Truce damage, because without such particulars there are portions of the Bill, particularly Part I., which are literally unintelligible to any member not having special information such as can only be obtained from Government Departments. There is nothing in this Resolution about pre-Truce damage, and yet the Dáil will remember we have voted no less than half a million pounds on account of pre-Truce damage.
That is better for my case. As to property, let me, if I may, in the hope of persuading the President to give a statement which I really think we ought to have, so that we can understand Part I. of the Bill, say one word about property as distinct from personal damages. On the 8th May the Shaw Commission was set up by the Lord Lieutenant. That body has no statutory authority, I understand. That body will only have power, as far as I know, to recommend certain payments for damage to property. There is no statutory authority whatever for payment of awards recommended by that Commission. Last December we voted two hundred and fifty thousand pounds in respect of prospective loans to persons obtaining awards from the Shaw Commission, and, so far as I am aware, that Vote of the Dáil is the only thing distantly approaching Parliamentary sanction to the payment of money in connection with the Shaw Commission, and the Dáil will observe that that was merely an authorisation to lend money to claimants up to date. The President will correct me if I am wrong, but I think there is no authority whatever under Statute to make payments to what I may call Shaw claimants. I do suggest that when you are dealing with malicious injury in general, and taking away completely the rights of persons whose injuries arose before the Truce, you are bound in justice, when taking away these rights, to set down, in statutory form, what alternative rights or remedies shall be given to the injured persons. That is what I do not see in the Resolution or in the Bill. Therefore, so far as property is concerned, I ask the President, between now and the Fourth Stage, to let the Dáil have a statement showing the total amount of awards to date, the total amount of payments to date, and distinguishing between what is payable by the Irish Government and what is payable by the English Government. I think the time has come when it is not unreasonable also to ask that the President should let us have particulars of the agreement come to between the Irish and British Governments on this subject. Is it still the case that the Irish Government is to pay for damage done by its supporters and the British Government to pay for damage done by theirs. How does it work out in practice? I think this is an opportune moment for the Dáil to have that information. You cannot know whether you are dealing fairly or unfairly under Part I., with pre-truce cases, unless you have this information, and, I, therefore, ask for these particulars.
As to personal damage, that is on a totally different basis. There is no Shaw Commission there. Let me remind the President of what he said to us when we were voting another sum of a quarter of a million for personal injuries on the 13th December last. The President explained that provision was made for each side to compensate its own supporters; the British would compensate the British supporters and the Irish would compensate their people, and, in the case of neutrals there would be a half-and-half basis of payment. He said:—"Where awards are available"—meaning, I take it, where awards have been made—"steps will be taken for discharging our liabilities." I suppose that is still the intention, but it is right that before the Dáil passes clauses which take away any right whatever for redress for personal injury it should know from the President that all our liabilities have been discharged, or, in the alternative that the President should get inserted into that Bill a definite clause giving statutory authority to payment of personal injury claims up to the amount for which awards have been made, or for which awards may be made. I think it is hardly necessary to apologise to members for taking up so much time on this matter. The reason why this matter is important is that you are now coming to a stage where you sweep away the whole personal injury compensation, and you put nothing in its place, and do nothing to legalise the payments proposed under the arrangement between the Irish and British Governments. I would ask the President to let us have particulars of what that agreement is, and how it works out in practice. The Dáil will realise that in personal injury cases, as distinct from property, Irish sufferers are likely to be at considerable disadvantage, as it is notorious that Dublin Castle took very good care to pay its own friends personal injury compensation. It stopped from the County Councils large sums of money and the people who had the right views got their money, and the other people did not get their money, inasmuch as these cases, which were not settled by Dublin Castle, in which any English retainers may be involved, would, I understand, be cases in which England would have to pay the residue; the Irish sufferers, who had no pull in Dublin Castle, are people whose payments would come out of the Irish Exchequer.
I am not sure if I make myself clear, but I understand that the English Exchequer is to pay for its people and soldiers damaged, and why we should seize this moment to do away with personal injuries altogether, and not to state that though we were doing away with personal injuries under the Criminal Injury Acts, we are putting in their stead something else agreed to with the English Government I cannot conceive. It seems to me an essential injustice not to seize this particular opportunity to do so. We are all considerably confused on account of the time that has elapsed and the various moves taken to deal with these matters and I do suggest to the President that between now and the time the Bill comes up on the Fourth Stage, we should have such information as is in his possession, so that we would be in a much better position to deal with Part I. than at present. A quarter of a million has been voted under both heads. At all events there is this much, that there is no statutory authority whatever for payment of damages under any head or any agreement with the British Government.
There is one aspect of this Resolution that I am not sure is not a point of order, but it certainly is a matter of very considerable substance and is not a point touched upon by the two previous speakers. I entirely concur with the two previous speakers who stated that the procedure is cumbersome and unnecessary, an antiquated procedure coming from the old days of kindly privilege that has no substance in modern democratic practice and fact. If I understand the procedure aright it is that in the Bill we are to consider we are precluded from the consideration of certain various important matters in which the spending of money will be involved, unless we have previously, before we pass into Committee, passed these Resolutions authorising us in certain specific matters to deal with these issues. That is to say, that where compensation is to be paid in respect of damaged property, as is outlined in the Bill, we may be going beyond our powers in dealing with that matter unless some resolution of this kind had previously been passed in the Dáil. Very well, there is a series of amendments on the Order paper to-day by which that expenditure will be enlarged by the inclusion of other matters. These amendments may not be passed, but it is at least a fair and a courteous supposition that they have a chance of passing. The President does not agree that they have a chance of passing. Be it so, but in any case this important matter arises with this Resolution. I wish to know definitely whether this Resolution does, or does not—and according to my interpretation of the procedure it does—preclude the consideration of any expenditure of money other than that defined in the Bill; in other words, if this Resolution be passed there are certain other matters by which the expenditures in the Bill will be very considerably enlarged. If the Resolution were to pass, and if we cannot consider the expenditures that are contemplated in the Bill unless such a Resolution as this be passed, how can we consider the expenditure of money contemplated in the amendments to the Bill, unless they are also included in some such Financial Resolution of this kind? It is a very important matter, because if this Resolution is essential to authorise, or to consider one type of expenditure, then by its authorisation it precludes us from considering certain other matters. A whole mass of amendments quite rightly would therefore be put up to you as being out of order, although they are definitely accepted and put down on the paper, and are within the legislative right of the Dáil to consider, if not to pass. Nevertheless, this Resolution that we are going to pass now will say all these other matters which have been dealt with, such matters as personal injuries and such matters as consequential losses and other matters cannot be considered by us in Committee if this procedure is the right procedure. I think it is a very grave matter for us to decide in passing such a resolution of this kind.
An amendment to make the Bill cover personal injuries will have to be moved by a Minister.
Even in that case the Minister himself would be debarred from proposing such a Resolution until he himself had brought forward another Financial Resolution under this cumbersome procedure we have adopted. Is that right?
I would ask the President and the Government to give very serious consideration to the question of personal injury. The whole question of personal risk and property risk is ostensibly one that concerns the interests of the State. When a man is taking a personal risk to help the State he is not thinking of property, but the risk to his own person. If we want the citizen to do his duty to the State, and if he knows that he or his people will not be compensated for the risk he is taking, it is a poor inducement for him to become a good and proper citizen. There is this peculiar aspect of the whole question of compensation, that a widow may, perhaps, get compensation for a suit of clothes her husband wore because it is bullet-holed, but will not get anything at all if the man's brains are blown out. I think this is a very serious question. I will not go into the question of consequential damages or injuries, because that is not the thing to be taken up, to my mind. I do think that the question of personal injuries ought to be part and parcel of this measure, as it is very serious. When a man is running a risk he is not thinking about the risk to his property, but to his person. If you want a man to be a good citizen to the State, the State should compensate him for any risk he runs and any losses he may incur.
I wish to bring before the Dáil two outstanding cases which occurred in my district. One is the case of a man who went out to see a cottage that he was getting, and which was three miles distant. When he reached it he lighted a match and observed that there were three men inside. He asked them what they wanted there, and they replied by asking what he wanted to know for. He said he would report them to the military. They then opened fire upon him, and he was shot in the legs. One of his legs had to be amputated, and he is now a cripple. The other case is that of a solicitor, a very popular, able and inoffensive man. He was asked to visit a person who lived four miles away for the purpose of drafting a will. When he arrived at the house he was fired at, and got such severe injuries that he died a short time afterwards. He leaves a wife and five children. People in this country are asked to show civic responsibility and courage and to support the military. If this is the reward or recompense that they are to receive —that cases of this kind are to be excluded from the scope of this Bill—it is certainly very discouraging and disappointing. In fact, it is nothing but cruel injustice, and if this is the sort of treatment that is to be meted out it will incite still further those who are out to terrorise, penalise, maim and kill persons who have the manliness to stand up against tyranny and support the Government.
Deputy Gavan Duffy stated that the Commission which was set up on the 8th of May was set up by the Lord Lieutenant; that is, the ex-Lord Lieutenant, His Excellency Lord Fitzalan. That is not the case; it was set up by agreement between the two Governments, and is an International Tribunal. The awards that are made by that are supported by the vote of this Dáil. The agreement I mentioned on the last occasion still stands, that is, that the damage which was done by Crown Forces will be paid for by the British Government, and the damage done by our nationals will be paid for by this Government. The Deputy also asked for a statement showing the total amount of awards to date. The awards to date are published regularly in the Official Gazette of the Dáil. The payments to date are not so published. Delay is occasioned through several causes. In the first place, persons affected in whose favour awards have been made have had legal rights against local authorities, and I think nobody here is under any delusion as to the value of these legal rights. They had absolutely no value in cash. That is admitted. That disposes of the case that is made to substitute another legal right, because the right that they have there is a right which carries nothing with it—absolutely nothing. When the ordinary preliminaries in respect of which the Ministry of Finance must take especial care to see that they are properly discharged are completed, those amounts are paid. The first thing that has to be done is to discharge the local authority from any legal liability, and the person may refuse to do that. Suppose, for instance, an award has been made of £5,000 for a house or premises. The Shaw Commission reduces that to £3,500. I do not know, and I have not heard, of any case of persons signing a release for that local authority in respect of the difference. Ultimately there might be a legal liability on the local authority if, when most of the awards have been discharged, and only a few remain to be paid, the local authority would be sufficiently strong financially to meet that liability. I think it is mentioned in the Bill that the rights against the local authorities have to be discharged. Now, it would not serve any useful purpose to disclose the amounts paid and the respective liabilities of the British Government and the Irish Government, because, let us assume, we deal largely with Cork for three or four weeks. I think that there is an impression abroad that most of the damage was done there by Crown Forces, and so a balance would appear against the British Government, and the following week, if a number of cases were taken where the damage was done by our nationals, you would have an uneven balance, and I do not think there would be any period at which you would get a fair average of the entire number of cases; that is, that the proportion would be equal over a certain period. I think the Deputy would bear me out in that. Even though we had the information, it would be no indication as to the respective proportion of the total liability of the two Governments, if that were the intention. The total amount paid up to date in respect of the Shaw Commission, the total outgoings amount to something approaching a million pounds.
Can we have the proportion?
No; I have not the faintest notion. Even if you had the proportion it would not mean you would see what we have paid because we have paid the whole of it. That was the arrangement. We paid out the whole and in the recent negotiations in London we made arrangements for recoupment with regard to the Shaw Commission. I think that deals with most of the cases mentioned by Deputy Gavan Duffy. With regard to compensation for personal injuries, I find that in the Dáil Report for Thursday the 8th of February, on Page 1407, that I dealt at some length with this matter. I explained there that the real cause of the severance of local authorities throughout the country from the Local Government Board which functioned at the Custom House was the punitive effect and the immoral burden that local authorities had to bear by reason of the Criminal and Malicious Injury Acts of 1919 and subsequently of 1920. Everybody in the country, with the exception of those who got decrees against the local authorities, objected to the imposition. They objected to pay compensation for personal injuries and until the Act of 1919 was passed no citizen had any such right to compensation. There may have been exceptions of certain magistrates or people like that, but it was a very restricted class and the Act of 1919 and subsequently of 1920 opened the door wide and let in practically all the supporters of the British Government, of their forces, or of their magistrates, and so on. It also allowed compensation—the 1920 Act, I think—to the ordinary citizen who might be so injured, but up to that time there was no such provision in any Act for compensation for any person injured either through riots or disorders or anything else of the sort. Now, for two years from the time that that Act was passed, early in 1919, until the Truce, the most intense opposition was offered on the part of every local authority and of every person representing popular opinion throughout the country to the imposition of that Act.
Because it was punitive.
Because it was punitive and oppressive, and because the country could not bear it.
The last was not considered.
That was the main case, because the longer it went on the heavier the Bill became and the more obvious it was to everybody that you could not bear it.
The Act was a hostile measure against ourselves.
Exactly. It is off, and it is not the intention of the Ministry to have any such thing. It is under consideration to set up a tribunal to consider the cases of persons so injured and to report and make recommendations regarding ex gratia payments. We are setting up a Commission to enquire into those cases and to report as to what compensation may be proper. On receiving the report the Dáil will be asked for the necessary Vote. It was the first time that I knew that there was a case in any part of the country for such an Act. I explained, I think, on the last day at some length that it is a matter which may have given rise to this total disregard to the value of human life if people are going to be compensated. It is not the case in England. It is not the law in England, and it was not the law in England during the raids by the Fokkers or Zeppelins that came over from Germany. There was not compensation in these cases, and I presume there would be just as good a right to ask for it in these cases as now.
They got it.
One thing that is of some consideration in a matter of this sort is that wholly extravagant decrees were given in respect of personal injury claims throughout the country. It is, of course, to the credit of the British Government that they, in so far as their nationals were concerned, paid these extravagant amounts. There is this satisfaction to the people of this country that, although it was meant as a punitive measure against us, it has actually reacted against themselves; at least they have the liability of discharging these huge sums that have been awarded. Now, if there be any feeling in this country that such extravagant awards are to be shouldered by this Bill, I say that the country cannot afford it, and the Dáil cannot afford it. There was in one case an award of £15,000, and two or three awards of £5,000 or £6,000. I knew of one case in which a person who was killed actually conferred a benefit on his next-of-kin, that is, he had a sum of money which was distributed amongst them, and the amount distributed was larger than he had ever contributed to their maintenance, and even after that there was a pretty considerable award made. The peculiarity of the case was that if one were to count up all the money that the man could have earned since he started, and make allowance for what it would cost to keep him, there was still a balance. Although he held a Government appointment it was computed that it was a remunerative Government appointment, over and above the terms of his remuneration. I think that makes it clear now as regards that, and that no real case can be made against the provisions of our proposals with regard to those personal injury cases. These are not the liability of the State according to the Acts to which exception has been taken and that we are repealing. If you say in these cases that certain people have certain rights, very well; leave them there, and see if the local authorities will raise the assessed sums awarded against each local authority in each area. It is very unlikely they will do so in most cases. Now, I think, with great respect, that a good deal of this has been irrelevant to the terms of the Motion.
I do not think so.
If there are to be irrelevancies then I presume that one can say in this respect of any motion that it will be objected to because it does not include every subject that every one would like to see embodied. It was with some amazement that I heard, I believe, the Acting Chairman of the Constitution Committee enlarging upon the restrictions and the bounds that were placed upon the Bill under the Constitution, which I believe he warmly supported when it was under consideration here. It is quite possible that the Deputy may have in mind his own position as Minister for Finance at some time or other, when he would keep this Dáil within the bounds of these limitations. I think a good case has been made for passing this Resolution. In any case, if the Resolution be not passed it is not open to us to consider the Bill. I think the case made against bringing on the Resolution now is a dangerous one, because a Money Resolution of this sort has to be submitted to the Dáil, and the whole Dáil can attend and vote, and can restrict the operations of similar sections of the Bill. I think the proposal of bringing in the Resolution now was a wise one, and Deputies will ultimately recognise its wisdom.
May I ask the President to give us some more information regarding this tribunal and the Terms of Reference, and how soon it will be likely to function?
We have only got as far as the names of the persons whom we propose to ask to act on it. We have not yet got to the Terms of Reference. I can assure the Deputy that though this Bill seems very simple, that its construction has absorbed more time than, I suppose, any other three measures we have introduced, and that even since it has been introduced we have had very long sitting dealing with its various clauses and so on. If possible I should say that within a week we should be able to announce the names of the tribunal and the Terms of Reference. If they are available before this day week I will announce them to the Dáil.
On a point of personal explanation when I spoke of personal injuries I did not mean pre-Truce injuries at all. I meant injuries within the last few months.
In dealing with the Shaw Commission you said that the sum of a million pounds was granted. What becomes of these cases which were deferred or debarred from the scope of the Shaw Commission? The defended cases are outside the scope of the Shaw Commission. What becomes of these?
They are payable.
They are payable by the Local Authorities?
No; we are paying them out of the funds of the State.
In the case of property?
And in the case of personal injuries also. Personal injuries and property, cases in which the decrees were defended. If the Deputy has any cases in mind in which a defence, a real defence, was made—not a nominal defence, but a real defence—which have not been paid, and if he gives me particulars of them I will see after them.
I did not want to interrupt the President when he was speaking. Might I now have your indulgence to correct an error? He spoke of the appointment of the Shaw Commission and said it was not appointed by the Lord Lieutenant. Now, suppose I satisfy him that it was appointed by the Lord Lieutenant and that it was arranged and its Terms of Reference drawn up by the Lord Lieutenant in an official document, will he then agree that it is necessary that we should now give statutory authority to the Shaw Comission operations?
Well, Sir, I do not think it is necessary. It would really mean bringing in cumbersome machinery. If there was any real case of the Minister of Finance holding up the payment of an award made by the Shaw Commission then there would be some reason for it. In the second case you are going to give legal effect to a body that has been set up by two States. An Act that we pass here will not bind the British Government. We cannot pass an Act here which will merge them. Our liability in respect of the payments of the Shaw Commission, in my opinion, are probably one-third. If you pass an Act here legalising that and binding the British Government, it has no effect.
It would give legal rights to claimants who have not them now.
Then we would give them legal rights against ourselves, which legal rights have been assumed under an international agreement with the British Government.