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Dáil Éireann debate -
Thursday, 7 Jun 1923

Vol. 3 No. 23


Socruiadh inde go dtogfai meastachain an Airm i d-tosach indiu. It was agreed yesterday afternoon to take the Army Estimates as the first business to-day, notwithstanding the Orders on the Paper. The Dáil will therefore go into Committee on Finance, to resume the debate on this motion:—

Estimate No. 58—Army.—"That a sum not exceeding £7,164,500 be granted to complete the sum necessary to defray the charges which will come in course of payment during the year ending the 31st March, 1924, for expenditure in respect of the Army."

A sum of £3,500,000 has already been voted on account. An amendment was moved by Deputy Johnson to reduce the Vote by £3,152,500. The discussion will resume on that amendment. I would remind Deputies that we had an agreement, which I think it is desirable to follow in any discussion of this amendment, that only general questions should be raised, and that matters of detail should be reserved for later discussion.

I want now to raise a few questions. The time was so short on Friday last I had not an opportunity of referring to them. Could the Minister give us any approximate estimate as to the cost for the upkeep of prisoners within the Saorstát? I also wish the Minister to understand fully the way arms are being handled, especially by National soldiers in the Saorstát. Some weeks ago, in a little village called Castletown, in my own constituency, a soldier who was on guard was seemingly explaining the use of a rifle to some other soldier, when the rifle went off and shot the other man dead. The following day, in Mullingar, a soldier was explaining to another how the accident occurred, when he also shot a man dead. Those things should not happen. Arms should be under much better control. Recruits who have just joined the Army should not be permitted to use arms until they are capable of handling them properly. Large numbers of young men are joining the Army, and they have very little knowledge of the use of arms. I fully understand they know more about the use of arms now than they did for the past generation. Still, we have a lot of young men who know nothing about arms joining up, and it is only right that the officers in charge should pay more attention to the training of recruits in the use of arms, and so avoid having them killing one another accidentally. Of course, the parents of those killed will have to wait some years before they are entitled to compensation. I desire, further, to bring under the Minister's notice the great delay in the payment of Army accounts. All over the country there are hundreds and thousands of applications every day in connection with motors hired and goods supplied to the Army. Those people will have to wait, perhaps, for years for their money. Some of them had to borrow money at a certain percentage simply to oblige the Army. If these people are not able to meet their liabilities, of course the Sheriff has power to call in soldiers and seize the stock belonging to those people. What power, I wonder, would those people have against the Army authorities, or against those who get goods from them? Would they be entitled to the assistance of the Sheriff, who might get some units—say, the members of the Farmers' Union—to help him to seize goods belonging to the military authorities? It is only fair there should be a turn about in that matter. Another thing I wish to refer to is that some years ago in this country the bailiffs were looked upon as some of the worst enemies the country had. A bailiff at that time had something between 30s. and 35s. per week. At present the individual position of bailiff has been abolished in country districts, but others have been created in the shape of soldiers. Some weeks ago a man in Longford, who has six children, had a cow seized by the Army, and I understand the animal strayed in of its own accord. I would urge the military to see about the payment of moneys due, as it would save a great deal of annoyance as well as criticism of the Government. There is also much criticism of the manner in which soldiers are allowed to go through the country shooting off their firearms at wandering goats and other animals, to the great annoyance of the people, especially in cases of illness. Furthermore, there is another complaint which is a great grievance in the country, and that is the halting of people in the different towns. After a concert or play the people leaving the place of entertainment are halted. I am happy to say, however, that, through the magnificent work which General McKeon has done, this halting has ceased in Athlone, and the town is back to normal times; in fact, you would not think it was ever disturbed. It is not, however, the same in the town in which I reside, where the soldiers are halting people continuously. In cases of illness children are often sent for the doctor, and if they do not understand the meaning of the word "halt," they are liable to be fired at. The country is so near peace now that I think it is time that that was stopped. I would like the Minister also to take into account the position of a large number of Irish officers who are, I am sure, as capable of carrying out their duties as any English officer. Last month there were about twenty English officers gazetted. I am of the opinion that it is time we got away from England altogether, and that our Army was put under the supervision of Irish officers only. I do not see what compliment we are under to England or any other country, and if we are to have freedom we should have all appointments filled by Irish officers. They were qualified to lead the men from 1916 to the present, and I think they are as capable of safeguarding the nation from foreign invasion as any foreigner in the Irish Army. I am sure the Minister will agree with me that if a large number of these officers go back to ordinary life they will not be able to resume their ordinary occupations. There is another matter to which I referred before, and which concerns the invitation of the military authorities to the various County Councils. I have here a report of a meeting of the Westmeath County Council, from which I will just read a few extracts:—"A Member—If the military make an offer to make all new roads, will the Home Office be responsible? The Secretary— No; what happened is that a representative of the military came here and asked for particulars of any new work which the Council would like to recommend— work of public importance. He asked me to get the County Surveyor to give him full particulars, and we gave him particulars to a certain extent. On the motion of a member it was unanimously agreed to leave all the new roads and recommend them to the military to be done. The Chairman said—I would like every member of the Council to bear in mind that there are other works as well as roads that may come under the military scheme." The Minister will see for himself that what I stated the other evening, according to this report, is correct. I do not object to the military going to the County Councils and asking them to furnish them with particulars of work to be done. I appreciate the military for doing so, especially in cases where bridges are blown up and roads are trenched. Neither do I object to the military working on the roads, provided no employees are disemployed owing to the military taking over the work. I believe there is ample work for the 20,000 men about to be disbanded from the Army, and also for the number of men unemployed under the Labour Exchanges. The only thing required is finance. The roads are in a ridiculous state, especially in counties where no work has been done for three or four years. I object to the scheme if it means that, through the military making the roads, men would be disemployed. I think that would be a very foolish step, and I sincerely hope that General Mulcahy will be able to give a proper answer so as not to mislead people in the country, who are certainly misled by this report. Personally I do not believe that the military have any intention of taking over the making of new roads. I wish to make it known that at present we have something like 150 men thrown out of employment in Westmeath and about 200 in Longford. If the Council starts these 300 or 400 men on the roads, it will give employment. I ask the Minister to make it quite clear what is the meaning of the reference to the military taking over the roads.

Another matter I should like to bring up is the question of contracts. Throughout the country there is a big grievance as to the way contracts were given. I believe in economy, but I do not think it fair that one man in a town of 5,000 or 6,000 people should get the sole contract of supplying a barracks. I think everyone should be invited to quote, and if you do that you will cause a great saving. In this estimate at the present time I do not say all the money is wasted. I myself did as much as anyone else to raise the amount of the Estimate by looking for money for people. At the same time, I know that a saving will be made when the Army is reduced to 20,000, and then, of course, we will be looking forward to the time when we shall require only 5,000. The Irish people will not require a huge Army, for we will soon be able to adapt themselves to the Government, and the recognised Government of the majority will be upheld. The need for a huge Army will then cease, and I hope this is the last time such a large amount will appear in the Estimates.

I always knew the Minister for Defence to be a bold man, but boldness is not the word for the audacity that can produce to the Dáil the document we have in our hands, and call it "Estimates." There are supposed to be twenty-five Estimates for the Army here, but in truth and in fact they are twenty-five leaps in the dark which we are invited to applaud in the dark. It would be a sad fate for the Minister for Defence if he were called upon to justify those figures before any Committee of business men, however friendly to his cause. No Board of Directors would vote away a large portion of the prospective annual revenue of the company to its most trusted manager upon the very vague and inconclusive figures of the character presented to us here. This Estimate, or series of Estimates, is the strongest possible argument for placing the official Estimates before a Committee on Estimates before they are brought for approval to this Dáil. I confess I have not been able to understand the reason why the present Ministry objects to a Committee on Estimates; the ordinary businesslike procedure which we ought to have followed in connection with every one of those Estimates. If I support the amendment now before the Dáil it is only because I think it necessary that a protest should be made, and that there may be some difficulty, according to our rules, in proposing what I should prefer, namely, that those Estimates be referred back to a Committee on Estimates before they are dealt with by this Dáil. That is the proper procedure, and I think we are entitled to some explanation when we are voting away ten and a half millions of money. The fact is that that course was not adopted. When this lusty volume of Estimates was first presented to me I glanced through it to look for the milch cows. Members are probably aware of the long-standing practice in the English Parliament, a practice which it is fair to assume that our experts in Finance would be likely to follow, of inserting here and there in the underwood of the Estimates a few milch cows—nice, fat, plump Estimates upon which you can draw on occasion if you find you have not enough money. That is the time-honoured practice across the water, and on looking through these accounts I did here and there find the horns of an occasional milch cow peeping up out of the thickets, but when I came to this Estimate, when I came to the Army Estimates, it was not the horns of an occasional milch cow I found, but a regular herd of milch cows. You can almost hear them lowing out of almost every one of the twenty-five items of the Minister for Defence. I would like the Dáil to consider the amounts of the figures presented to us. You will notice one significant fact, and that is that all the figures of those Estimates, with, I think, one exception, end in 0 0 0, as if the skilful draughtsman of these Estimates had an anticipation of what the Dáil would say when it saw them. Let us briefly glance at a few of the figures here. The Dáil will notice when it looks at Votes A and L, pay of officers, N.C.O.'s and men, and provisions and allowances in lieu, that these two items together come to nearly one-half of the total Estimate that we are asked to vote. The Dáil will notice further, if it takes the trouble to add together the other Votes, consisting of items in the nature of pay, that is, items A B C D E G and L, that you get a total of upwards of seven and a half millions out of a ten and a half million Vote for pay and other items of that kind. I want to ask the Dáil to remember this: the Minister told us the other day that the present strength of the Army was 49,000, and he told us that he expected to reduce that strength to 30,000 by Christmas. I ask the Dáil to bear that in mind, because members will be compelled to draw from those premises this conclusion, that although the Army would be very much smaller at Christmas, and that therefore the gigantic expenditure which might have been expected if the civil war had continued will be on a very much smaller scale, nevertheless the figures which we are asked to vote are quite obviously drawn up upon a war basis. I confess that I expected when this Vote was introduced that the Minister for Defence would get up and say: "Since there is a dawn of peace, since there is a prospect that the war will not continue, I refuse to ask the Dáil to vote ten and a half millions on the Army Estimate; I am going to ask the Dáil to vote what I think may be necessary for the next six months. At the end of that period we shall know how the matter stands, and I shall then come back to the Dáil and ask for whatever may be necessary, but I am confident that it will fall very far short of ten and a half millions." Instead of that these Estimates, avowedly prepared while the fight was on, are solemnly laid before us to-day, and we are solemnly asked to vote away ten and a half millions, when the Minister himself confesses that he is going to reduce the strength of the Army by forty per cent. at least between this and Christmas. Is that treating the Dáil seriously?

The manner in which the Estimates are presented makes one even less inclined to agree to the Vote of so large a sum of money. I look down the column for the coming year, and, with one exception, I find that everything is calculated in nice round thousands. Even the increases and decreases from last year are calculated in nice round thousands, and, generally speaking, the rounder the better. For instance, take item "C.""Oh, we will put on an increase of fifty thousand. In item ‘A' we will put on eight thousand, and in item ‘C' we will take off twenty thousand. And when we come to put down for the first time the Estimate for Railway Protection, Repair and Maintenance Corps, oh that is easily settled; let us put down a round million." A round million, gentlemen, at the moment when violence has ceased in the country and it is perfectly obvious that that round million is not going to be required! No wonder there is a footnote to these accounts saying it is impossible to give details. When I come down to item "Y" I confess that I find myself puzzled—"Item ‘Y,' Balances Irrecoverable." It appears that last year £10,000 represented "Balances Irrecoverable." Wiser members of the Dáil may know what "Balances Irrecoverable" are. Does it mean money lost count of? Does it mean money due by people who will not pay? I know not. Perhaps it does not matter, but that item is likewise increased to £15,000 for this year. The Minister for Defence is telling those concerned in advance that there is £15,000 that he does not expect to be able to recover at all. That in advance! Perhaps the Minister will be good enough to throw a little light upon these "Balances Irrecoverable," which, I have no doubt, are capable of a perfectly innocent explanation, but which on paper, to a person uninitiated like me, look very curious.

If one wished to find further evidence of the unsatisfactory way in which these figures are launched at us, rather at random, one has only to look at items "H" and "J,""Conveyance of Troops and Conveyance of Stores." We are told that in the previous Estimate, when there were two nice round figures for these items, "Conveyance of Troops" cost £7,000 more than it is expected to cost in the present Estimate, but that interesting information is counterbalanced by the next item, which informs us that "Conveyance of Stores" is going to cost £7,000 more in the coming year, and by some legerdemain which I cannot follow the £270,000 which are still being asked for these items are split up into £193,000 and £77,000, although the sum total of the two is exactly the same as it was on the last occasion.

I am sorry if it falls to the Minister for Defence to defend this accountancy matter, but I have no doubt his experts will be able to tell him how these curious things are arrived at. I find similar items on page 33 of the Estimates, where figures are put down to Headquarters Offices and Military Barracks and Camps. It was evidently decided that the total for these items should be the nice round sum of £200,000, but the gentleman who put these figures down did not like to put down £200,000, because that did not look enough like an Estimate, so he split it into odd figures, "Headquarters Offices £4,700, Military Barracks and Camps £195,300," and it is just a pure coincidence that if you add these two figures they come to the nice round figure of £200,000. I object to these fat round figures because they mean that we have not had serious work done upon these Estimates by the people who prepared them. Incidentally, perhaps it is a small point, but it is one which will be of importance later on, I should like some little information on the question of Insurance. I am under the impression that the Government is its own insurer in most, if not all its Departments outside the Army, and obviously it ought to be its own insurer. Is there any reason why this new item, which was not in the previous Estimates, of £37,000 for Insurance should appear here instead of treating the Army Insurance in the same way as other Governmental Insurance and letting the Government be its own insurer.

Finally, I observe that the gentleman who concocted these Estimates, in a moment of remorse, lest by any chance he should have forgotten a few thousand pounds here and there, puts down another nice round sum of £25,000, which he calls Miscellaneous Expenses, £25,000. Miscellaneous Expenses! We are told in the footnote that the Army is in a state of reorganisation, and it is not possible to give details.

I put it to the Minister, of two things— one, either these Estimates were framed upon data which the Dáil should be able to see, or, if no details can be given, then the Estimates were not framed upon data and should not be passed by the Dáil. "The Army is in a state of reorganisation, and it is not possible to give details." I have every welcome for the reorganisation, but we are here solemnly given figures to the tune of £10,500,000— figures that, it is fair to assume, were all based upon some data. Is there any reason why the Dáil should not have those data? To give a very simple example, and one of no importance—because the principle applies generally— look at the Vote for clergymen. That, by the way, is almost the only vote it has not been found necessary to increase. Is there any high reason of State why we should not know how many of these clergymen are Catholics and how many there are of other religions? Is there any reason why we should not know the pay of each clergyman? Is there any reason why we should not know the total number of clergymen—how many priests and how many parsons—in the Army? If these figures mean anything serious— and we must assume they do—every one of them must have been prepared upon data—where you are dealing with men, data concerning so many men; where you are dealing with materials, data concerning the amount of materials and so forth.

I submit that the Dáil is perfectly entitled to have these data put before it before it is asked to Vote the most important item in these Estimates—before it is asked to Vote £10,500,000 on a war basis at a moment when the war is not on. I do not think that the Minister is treating the Dáil seriously if he persists in asking that a Vote of this kind should go through upon Estimates which are not Estimates at all. I do not think the Dáil is doing its duty if it allows such Estimates to go through without obtaining the information it is entitled to. As I said earlier, the proper way for the Minister to have furnished this information was to have brought it before a Committee on Estimates in the Dáil, as is done in Parliaments which take their business seriously, as we ought to do. I ask the Dáil to remember that we are threatened with the necessity for raising a loan of some £20,000,000, and if it could be shown that this very big item of £10,500,000 is capable of reduction, in view of the changed condition of affairs, to a very much smaller sum, the £20,000,000 upon which we will have to pay interest will also be reduced to a smaller sum. Therefore, it is not fair that the Dáil should be asked to Vote more than is really wanted. Had the civil war been still on, I should not have been critical of this Estimate. I realise that it was prepared during that period. What I am objecting to is that, with all the imperfections attendant upon Estimates prepared during that period, it is now persisted in when violence has ceased and when there can be no difficulty whatever in getting together such data as are available to justify these various heads. Therefore, I very much regret that the Dáil should be asked to Vote this enormous sum upon data consisting of these very haphazard round figures, instead of being supplied with the detailed information to which, as a trustee of the people, it is clearly entitled.

I am sure we have all listened with considerable interest to the last speaker, and I certainly was interested to discover that he had such animosity to the figure "0"—this good round "0." I believe that that figure sometimes stands for "nothing," so that when Deputy Gavan Duffy objects to "0, 0, 0," he really objects to "nothing, nothing, nothing." He is very indignant at the figure of £1,000,000 for the Railway Protection, Repairs and Maintenance Corps, and he says that it is absolutely unnecessary. I am quite sure that we will be all glad if that statement is accurate, but I very much doubt if that figure would have been sufficient if the advice of Deputy Gavan Duffy had been followed in regard to the policy of the Government. Violence has ceased, he says. I sincerely hope it has. I do not believe that the Irish people will think that £10,500,000 is too much to pay for peace.

I regard this Estimate not only as the payment of the necessary Army expenses, but also as a guarantee against another outbreak of anarchy in the country. I think that it is probable that if Deputy Gavan Duffy examines the amount of destruction that has been done in the country he will discover that the figure of expenses necessary for the termination of anarchy is considerably less than the figure caused by the outbreak of anarchy. There is only one point that I really rose to refer to. It was this: I have shared, I suppose, the usual experience of Deputies of the Dáil in receiving very many complaints from constituents in regard to Army accounts. I simply wish to suggest that there should be something done to clear up any outstanding army accounts. When I get these letters of complaint, I usually forward them to the Paymaster-General or whoever is responsible. I get an acknowledgment that my letter has been received—sometimes— and I hear nothing further about it until I receive a further letter from whoever is affected, and so the matter goes on. There is something seriously defective in regard to this particular Department. I have letters from different people whose unpaid accounts date back to 1921. They represent by no means small sums. They are sums that affect the very existence of these particular traders who are concerned. I do think—and this is the point I rose to make—that some immediate steps should be taken to deal effectively with these arrears of accounts and get them cleared up, because it is disastrous to the poor, unfortunate traders who are concerned, and not conducive to heightening the prestige of the Army authorities.

Before I address myself to those Estimates I would like to refer to a point that was raised by Deputy Duffy. If I understand him correctly, he implied that money that might be left over at the end of the financial year, or would remain unexpended, may be applied for the purposes of another Vote. I would like to have your statement as to whether that is correct, because I understand that not to be the state of affairs, and that any moneys that remain unexpended on one Vote lapse and return to the Exchequer.

Did Deputy Duffy mean that precisely—that money remaining unexpended on one Vote may be applied to another Department?

"May" is not quite the word. If a Government finds itself with money on hands, it naturally will apply it to any purpose, and will seek sanction afterwards.

I am afraid that is a matter for lawyers. The idea is that money voted for a particular Department, under a particular head, should be used only for that Department, and I think the Comptroller and Auditor-General, unless he had further Parliamentary authority, would refuse to pass any unexpended moneys from one Department to another.

The question is fundamental to the amendment which Deputy Johnson moved, and which, perhaps, we may have lost sight of a little recently. His proposal is that the Vote be reduced by a sum of £3,955,500. I think there was general agreement that matters raised on that amendment should be addressed to fundamental principles rather than to details of expenditure.

The Deputy has misquoted the figures. The amount mentioned in my proposal is £3,152,500, the amount of the increase over last year's Estimate.

I am sorry that I quoted the wrong figures. I have been working out, on the basis of the statement made in answer to the Deputy by the Minister for Defence the exact proportion given arithmetically as the difference between the figures at which the army now exists and the figures to which it is proposed to reduce it in the course of a short time, and the proportionate decrease that might reasonably be expected on the Estimates.

It is the intention to reduce the present size of the Army, which is 49,000, to between 28,000 and 30,000 by the end of the year. If the whole of that reduction were available at the present moment and if a proportionate reduction could be made in the Estimates, we would have Estimates provided for the Dáil that would not exceed £6,000,000. Allowing for the fact that the decrease is not instantly available, but will only become available during the course of time, I think the statement by the Minister for Defence with regard to the reduction expected in the Army is the best justification that can be furnished for the reduction in the Estimates for which Deputy Johnson has pleaded. From the general tenor of his other remarks, I do not quite believe that the Minister for Defence intended to support the amendment, but the purport and effect of his speech is really in support substantially of the amendment. In accordance with the understanding we arrived at, I will confine my address to the general principle of this Army Vote. The general principle was asserted both by Deputy Johnson and in a succeeding speech by the Minister for Defence, and it raised a question of very great importance for the future of the country. It is a matter that does not ask for party pleading of any sort. It is a matter of very grave consequence, in respect of which every sympathy must be extended to those who will be handling this very grave question of disbanding a certain part of the Army. The reduction from 49 to 29 thousand which was promised by the Minister, not so definitely promised perhaps as raised in expectation of being realised before the end of the year, is, I take it, a recognition of what we have undertaken as a Treaty responsibility under the Article of the Treaty which declares that our Army should not be beyond a certain figure. I believe even 29,000 is in excess of what the peace establishment of this country should require. I will not say that a peace establishment will be called for by the end of this year. That one cannot exactly say. One does not know exactly whether what has been referred to as the seeds of anarchy will be sufficiently taken out of the soil of this country; but whenever a peace establishment can be achieved I believe that it should be on a lower figure than 29,000. I would not like to say that we should have any more, seeing that we have no peculiar advantages to offer either for defence or offence by adopting a bellicose policy, because it is not very easy to be bellicose on 29,000, as the Minister himself will be fully aware. If we stand bravely on the opposite policy, and say that in regard to the policy of the increased armaments of the world to-day this country cannot more fitly defend itself than by dispensing with all shows that may be undertaken or interpreted in other places in some manner as provocative, it would be better. That I throw out rather for the future. At the moment we have to face the very grave commitments that will be involved in the disbanding of 20,000 men. It is right this policy should be undertaken, and I appreciate the determination enunciated by the Minister in stating that he undertakes that at least if there be no reasonable prospect of such a policy being carried out he expects to reduce the Army by this figure. That raises another question altogether, and in his reply I would like the Minister to address some remarks towards it, because he will probably disagree with me that Irregularism in this country has been very largely overcome by conscription— not by conscription, but by enlistment. I am not talking about the leaders of the Irregulars, or persons who set themselves out to inculcate principles of anarchy, and criminal anarchy, in the minds of young persons. I am considering that large floating part of the population that was unemployed, and that had no means of certitude for its future livelihood, that turned in the first instance to Irregularism—not Republicanism—and later took advantage of the opportunity of enlistment in the Army. I do not blame them for that. I know a Deputy in the Dáil, a very strong supporter of the Minister, who so long ago as October, when I stated there were persons in the country who were unemployed and had to do something, and owing to the principles of violence which had been practised for the last three or four years those persons, having nothing else to do, were indulging in Irregular courses, replied: "Why do they not enlist?"

Well, they have done so, and I believe, and I state my belief here, that Irregularism—that is to say, the leaders of Irregularism—have fewer forces of disorder to call on because those forces had the advantage of that enlistment. I am not blaming them for taking advantage of that employment, and I am not blaming the Army authorities for taking advantage of these circumstances. I am merely stating what is a fact, which is supported by pieces of information that comes to one's knowledge. I heard quite causally six or seven weeks ago, in a way that it would be very unfair for me to make use of, and I think it would not be any service to the Army or the persons concerned, of five young men living on the North side of Dublin. I was told by one of their neighbours, who happens to be in the employment of a certain friend of mine, to whom the matter was reported, that they had been last July in the Four Courts, that after that they had been wandering about the country, and are at present in the Army. I am not blaming the Army for taking advantage of the opportunity to be able to employ those men. I am merely bringing forward that as one of the general indications that when the enlistment for the Army increased very largely, as it did very suddenly, then from that very moment the Regular forces in this country began to get control, and I believe they began to get control because the Irregular leaders had fewer floating elements of general disorder upon which they could call, seeing that they had been, as it were, sucked up.

Irregularism has disappeared for that reason. The problem has been changed. I believe that if any policy of sudden disbandment or demobilisation were to occur, we would find the troubles of Irregularism recurring coincident with that disbandment. That is one of the problems. I do not suggest now, under this Vote, how it could be remedied, but I do urge, before any material disbandment does occur, that there should be, side by side with it and parallel with it, steps taken to be able to draw off those men who are demobilised and put them into productive works of some definite kind. In that connection I wish to draw attention to a notice that appeared in the public Press issued by the Government Publicity Department a few days ago. The Government Publicity Department issued this notice dealing with examinations for positions in the Excise and Customs as available for persons, mainly officers. who might in the course of the next few months or weeks be demobilised. It says: "In connection with the recent discussion regarding appointments to Customs and Excise, it is announced that the Civil Service Commission will hold an examination in July for about fifty posts reserved for officers and men now in the Army. The salary is £120 a year, rising by annual increments of £10 to £250 a year plus the usual Civil Service bonus, and the office will be pensionable. The examination is open to Army candidates aged from 19 to 30 years on the 1st June. They must have served for a period of nine months subsequent to 1st June, 1922, or continuous for nine months up to the date of the examination." Then it states the various subjects on which the examination will be held.

The 1st January, not the 1st June.

It was corrected to the 1st January.

The newspaper cutting I have states June. I have not seen the correction. In that connection seven persons came to me the other day. The representative of this delegation, speaking on behalf of the others, put their views before me. They were quite frank. They are all Army officers at the present moment. They were frank in saying that they had entered the Army because they had difficulty in getting employment. One or two of them had served in the European War, and one or two of them had served in our own war. They had entered the Army, and they recognised that their service in the Army was held under a very precarious tenure, and they could not expect their positions to be permanent positions. They were anxious to get permanent positions, and were looking forward to the day when they would again have to take up what is, perhaps, the most terrible hunt that any person can be employed in, and that is hunting for a livelihood. They made inquiries with regard to this examination. One of them addressed a letter to the paper subsequently. They put certain facts before me in further amplification of the statements made in one of their letters. I have no further guarantee than the statements that were made—and the Minister for Defence, before whom I am putting the matter in the form of a query, will deal with it. However, their positive statement is that similar appointments held prior to this examination have a limit up to which officers can reach to £450 per annum, whereas under this examination for these persons the limit does not reach higher than £250. The result is instant and prompt discontent. Officers and men likely to go in for these examinations, because they are expecting to be demobilised, are undertaking the same examination that the other Customs officers had to take in order to get their places, and they are going shoulder to shoulder with these other officers under much more disadvantageous conditions. Demobilisation and the subsequent drawing up of all the demobilised forces into the forces of productive employment is not going to be materially assisted in that regard. Generally speaking, this Army Vote is augmented to a very considerable extent by dealing to a very large extent with conditions that are not normal.

I have felt that many parts of this Vote might attract attention by being compared with the possibilities of employing these persons productively in other kinds of work. I would like the Minister when he comes to reply to state positively, as nearly as possible as can be estimated, what the entire cost for one soldier is reckoned to be by the Army not only in the matter of pay and uniform, but in regard to upkeep generally. I assume that it would be very difficult to show any lesser figure for any one particular soldier than a sum of about £300 a year. My figures may be in excess, and it may equally well be short of the mark, but if it be taken as £300, each soldier represents a capitalised sum of £6,000, and the Minister for Home Affairs might, perhaps, be able to tell us how many houses could be furnished for £6,000—not less than five. So that each trooper walking the streets and the country roads in peace conditions, although primarily enrolled for war, represents to-day five unbuilt houses.

What class of houses?

Five unbuilt workmen's houses. He represents so many unbuilt houses. Let the Minister for Defence tell us exactly what each soldier costs to keep, and the sum can be easily worked out. Houses are wanted. If we are going to decrease this very large Army it will have to be done only in one way, and that is, productive work will be undertaken in advance of demobilisation, so that as demobilisation proceeds the men so demobilised may be drawn up into definite employment, and in that way we will come back to conditions of normality without passing through any further period of irregularism in one form or another.

I think it is an extraordinary confidence that when called upon to discuss this enormous Vote we find that the Dáil is practically empty, with six members supporting the Minister for Defence in defending the report, and one member supporting the party that has always stood for a reduction of taxation.

What about the benches behind you?

I have no desire on this occasion to repeat what has been done in this Dáil for the past week, namely, to address my constituents through you, sir. I wish to draw the attention of the Minister in regard to this enormous vote to many questions which, I think, require some explanation. In considering the question of Government expenditure we are asked to think of the fact that in this Vote it costs the nation six shillings per family per week, and I think for that reason we might expect some intelligent and more useful criticism than has been offered up to the present. I rise to support Deputy Johnson, who has moved a reduction of £3,000,000 odd in this Vote, and in doing that I want to draw the attention of the Minister to the control of ammunition so far as the Army is concerned. I have no desire in criticising this Vote to go back over the past, which we would all like to forget, but I think that it is important that attention should be drawn to this question.

I believe that under the extraordinary conditions in which this Army was recruited one might expect many things to happen, which we all regret, but which, under the circumstances, could not be prevented. I believe that under these exceptional circumstances we recruited thousands of men who looked on military life as a career, and for that reason that a section of the Army is not anxious to see this armed scramble or war ended in the near future. I have reason to know of cases where firing has been going on indiscriminately and where it has been carried on by members of the Army without any attack being made upon them. In that way, I think, the members of the Dáil should be asked to consider how these things could be stopped and what would be the effect of such stoppage in reducing the Army estimate. When members of the Army are firing ammunition supplied and paid for by the people, they must be made to realise that a bullet cost 2d. or 3d., and if there is to be proper control over the Army there must be some responsible officer or non-commissioned officer in every barrack accountable for every bullet blown away.

There has been a case recently in my area where there was danger of a one-man strike, that is where one man was to be involved. When the time came for that man's labour to be withdrawn, a body of six or seven men came up to this shop fully armed and, I suppose, with their rifles loaded. I contend that there is no necessity for such an incident, particularly in a town where there is a Civic Guard Depot. I think there is something of an aggressive attitude about that, and a desire on the part of the Army, and other people responsible, to interfere unduly with those who have a right to go on strike. That particular incident was followed up when the strike was settled by the Army retiring to a place of rest where birds and swans were flying around a river. Right opposite there was a house in which an elderly lady was dying. Without any provocation or good reason, so far as I could see, some members of the Army fired shots during the middle of the day, and it happened to be a coincidence, I do not say as a result, that the woman died that evening. Such things will have to be stopped if the Minister is going to prove that the Army is the servant of the people instead of being their master. I contend that if a lot of these things, such as indiscriminate firing and the useless expenditure of ammunition, were stopped, they would in some way contribute to a reduction of the estimates.

I welcome as such and perhaps more than any member of this Dáil the statement made by the Minister that he anticipates a reduction in the Army of 20,000 at the end of the present year. I hope the people of the country will have realised what it has cost them to settle their domestic difficulties by the use of the rifle. I hope in the course of time sufficient commonsense will have come into the country to enable it to settle its differences in the ordinary way. Then a reduction in the estimates will be made. People will come to realise that internal war is a luxury for which they will have to pay very dearly. It has been represented that in the reduction of the Army the old I.R.A. men are likely to be dispensed with, or at least not treated in a way that their past services would entitle them to. I do not say that is true, but I hope that the old Volunteers who did good work in the pre-Truce days will be given that consideration that their past services entitle them to. In saying that, I am not making any claim for a position for those men to which on their merits they would not be entitled.

I would like to ask the Minister what is the position of the Army Council with regard to civilians who have been accidently killed by forces of the Free State Army. In one instance a lady was killed about 12 months ago by a lorry containing military who were driving at a furious rate through the country. That lady with her husband was carrying on a small farm. He made a claim at the time for a large amount, and yesterday I was advised that only a grant of £50 was made to him. He had to sell out his farm. I put it to the Minister is that the final settlement to which this man was entitled under the circumstances? I should like also to know whether there is a right of appeal from the decision of those who made such a ridiculous grant.

I would like the Minister also to say if he is in a position now to indicate what is to be the future of the Railway Protection and Maintenance Corps. In asking that question I must certainly say that the Nation has a right to pay a very great tribute to the work of that section. Although the section has cost the country a million pounds, it has saved many more millions by its energetic work in reconstruction. I am not making any complaint with regard to the vote, details of which are not before us, but I should like to know the intentions of the Army Council with regard to that section of the Army.

In the disbandment of the Army which I suppose, will take place gradually, I hope the men who are to be disbanded will be men who can go back to positions kept open for them, or if there be an undesirable section in the Army that this should be got rid of. We are asked here also to make provision for £249,500, representing vessels. I am not quite sure what that term covers, whether it represents purchase of vessels or maintenance of the crew, and provision for their dependents. I would like to ask the Minister in connection with this, if those appointed to take charge of the vessels are men qualified and holding certificates? I would ask him to state if, in every case of that kind, the Captain is in a position to produce a coastal certificate or a foreign-going Master's ticket. I think it is desirable in any such cases as that that men should have some qualifications so far as sea-going ships are concerned.

There is just another thing I would like to draw the attention of the Minister to. It concerns the question of policy. I believe we have arrived at a time when parading the streets of Dublin and going through the country in military lorries should be stopped. I see no necessity why hundreds of men, holding rifles at the ready, should be going through the streets of Dublin in that position. I think the civil side of the administration is able to deal with anything that occurs here. Parading the streets is both provocative and aggressive, and as the men are under orders not to fire in the streets of Dublin, I believe we have come to the time when that should be stopped by the Minister.

The prisoners, also, should be considered. The matter has been referred to at length by Deputy Johnson last Friday. I think everyone will agree that there are hundreds of men in jail against whom no charge could be preferred, as hundreds of them are there merely on suspicion. The cases should be considered, and considered at once, because there is no necessity to keep men in jail, at expense to the people of this country, if there is nothing against them. Suspicion is not a sufficient reason why men should be taken, and put into jail.

Provision has been made in the Constitution that men who are in the paid service of the army should not be allowed to stand as public representatives for election to this Assembly. What attitude would be taken up by members of this Dáil who happened to be in the pay of the army at the present time I do not know, but I put it to the Minister that it is very undesirable that high Military Officers who are not present public representatives should be present at party meetings. I have seen it in the papers where high officers have attended party meetings, and that is very undesirable, especially, in the case of men not representatives of this Dáil.

A case has come to my notice lately, where letters of inoffensive people have been censored. I have one such letter in my hand which is marked "Censored by the Intelligence Officer, 36th Infantry Battalion, Headquarters, Templemore." It is offensive that any letters of this class should be opened and censored by the military authorities. Incidents of this kind are only tending to create in the minds of people a very unfavourable impression.

I know of no good reason why the military authorities, or this alleged intelligence officer, should have the right to interfere with or censor the letters of private people who are, as I know in this particular instance, favourably disposed to the present Government. Personally, I am not satisfied so far as the discipline of the Army is concerned. I do not want to make it appear that I wish to hold the Minister responsible for everything which happens, especially things which happened in the country, and which are not reported to him. I state, and I say it quite frankly that I wish that every man in the service of the Irish Army, either now or in the future, would have the same outlook, the soldier statesman's outlook, of the Minister for Defence, and I hope that anything he can do he will do to bring into the Army that spirit of discipline, which must be governed by the fact that they recognise that they are the servants and not the dictators of the people. We have many officers—and I say it quite plainly—who would like the people to feel that they are miniature Von Hindenburgs. We have had enough of that business, and we have learned enough of it from other countries, and I would not like to think that what has happened in this country in the extraordinary circumstances of the last nine months would make any officer feel he was anything of the kind. I hope in the future reorganisation of the Army discipline will be one of the things impressed on the soldiers through the personality of the Minister for Defence.

A Chinn Chomhairle níor mhaith liom cur isteach ar an diospóireacht seo ach dubhairt an Teachta atá tar éis bheith ag caint, Teachta Ó Daimhín, teachta a bhfuil meas mór air sa tigh seo, dubhairt sé go rabh clamhsán mor ag na daoine fé rudaí a dheineann an t-Arm. Ba cóir go mbeadh an t-Arm fé smacht na ndaoine ach san am chéadna bhí obair ana-throm agus ana-dheacair le déanamh ag an Arm fé an am do thosuigh an troid ar fuid na tíre.

Níl aon troid níos deacra ná troid imeasg daoine féin. Rud eile, ní feidír Arm mar atá againn do thabhairt le céile san am beag a bhí ag an Rialtas agus ma tá lochtanna ortha is cóir dúinn cuimhneamh gur mór an rud atá déanta ag an Arm ar son na h-Eirinn agus gur mór an congnamh duinn teacht le céile annseo mar a bhfuilimid indiu. Mara mbeadh cabhair an Airm ní bheadh an Phairlimint seo anso indiu, ach do bheadh fán ar an tír agus an sean sgriosadóir in ár measg arís.

I did not intend to intervene in this debate, but some statements were made by the last Deputy, whose views are generally respected in the Dáil. Of course, we all agree that some things have happened, deplorable things have happened, but, on the whole, the Army deserves well of the country, because, were it not for that Army it would not be possible for the Dáil to meet in session to-day. You had a small minority who endeavoured to force their views on the country, and tried to commit it to renewed war with England. The Army that was organised in a short time has succeeded in saving the country from that war with England, and every Deputy knows what the result would have been had that war started. We know that the last remnants of this historic nation would have gone down, never to rise again, and although things have happened that were very much deplored, the Army has succeeded in saving this country from complete extermination. As regards discipline in the Army, anyone who compares its state six months ago and now must realise that there is a great improvement, and that this improvement is becoming more marked every day. Deputy Davin, who is generally a reasonable man, must recognise, as every Deputy recognises, the difficulties that faced the Army eleven or twelve months ago. No one can afford to be sweeping in his statements, and we must realise that the Army has done its work, and that it has saved the country from destruction. I am sure that the Commander-in-Chief will see that the Army is further improved.

It may not be wise at present to have very quick demobilisation. I think demobilisation should be gradual. You cannot create order from chaos and confusion in a few days, and it would be well for the country to realise the difficulties of the Army, to look dispassionately at the case, and see what the Army has done in those times of stress and trouble. There is no war more trying to an Army than a Civil War, because you have brother ranged against brother, and I think, on the whole, the country can congratulate the Army on the way it has done its work. I hope, now that the trouble is nearly over, that whatever differences existed in the past, and whatever hard things had to be done to save the country from destruction, will be soon forgotten, and that brothers who ranged together before for the good of the country will come together again and help the country along, because it has yet to move a little further on the road along which we all hope it will move. It would be well, therefore, if all happenings on both sides would be forgotten, and that all who love the country will put their shoulders to the wheel again, and push Ireland a little further on the road towards the goal which we all hope she will reach.

I really am not concerned about the increase in the Army Estimates. I do not think I could really object if the Estimates were double, provided efficient service and security be ensured. If it is found necessary to reduce the Army in the near future, I am sure that the sum saved by such an economy will be brought forward and duly accounted for. There have been many irregularities in the service, but these have been gradually overcome, and things are now progressing favourably. There is, however, one Department that is more or less bringing disrepute on the military service, and that is the Department having charge of the accounts for services rendered of one kind or another, to the Army. That department seems to have no method. Things are not carried on in a businesslike form, and through their want of dealing properly with the accounts due to people for services they are making the lives of Deputies through the country a purgatory, and they are bringing the country into very great disrepute. I hope the Minister will make an effort to reform this department in the near future, and in the time that is coming it will be held in as great esteem as the Army service is being held at present.

I would be very happy to support this proposal by Deputy Johnson if I could, but looking down the whole list of items, I cannot see where it could fit in. To begin with, take "A"—"Pay of officers, non-commissioned officers, and men." We all know the list from the highest rank down to the lowest. The terms of employment and the wages paid have been published, and I have never heard a comment here or outside about any one of these payments. I am unable to put my hand on any item of this three and a half millions where you could make a reduction. I would be happy if it could be done. With regard to the next item, "Dependents' Allowances," I believe there are abuses there, and moneys are paid to people who were never dependent on the people for whom they draw allowances. It is likely there are abuses there, as there are abuses in most things, and probably there might be room for retrenchment there if it were supervised carefully, but I do not know how it could be done. I see no reasonable ground for effecting retrenchment. It may be there, but I cannot put my finger on it. Take another item, "Wages of civilians attached to units." Probably there are too many typists employed. I have seen some of them sometimes dancing instead of typing. There may be room for a saving there very likely. I have gone through all the items, and, as I say, I cannot see where retrenchment can be effected. The only wholesome thing I heard was the forecast of the Minister for Defence, in which he suggested the Army might be reduced in the near future. That is gratifying news to me and the people I represent, who will pay perhaps the most of this. The "Conveyance of troops, etc.," is a big item, but I am not prepared to question it, and the same with regard to mechanical transport. "Provisions and allowances in lieu." I do not know what this item embraces; it is a bit vague at present, but I cannot find anything wrong there. "General stores" is another big item, and "warlike stores," but there again I see no room for retrenchment. Then there is the "Railway Protection, Repair and Maintenance Corps." I know the work these people have done, and done under great difficulties. I know that is a very deserving Corps. Deputies here, in criticising these items, must remember that a man who is taking his life in his hands for the wages he earns is not like one sitting here and knowing he is perfectly safe. It takes men to do this job, and they have done it well. There has been indiscipline in the Army, and some things may have occurred that we may regret, but they are very few for a young Army. We are not a perfect human machine in this country no more than anywhere else. Things have occurred that I hope will not occur again. It was only natural that these incidents should occur, dealing with a human family made up as we are. About this question of "miscellaneous expenses," £25,000, there are some things that could be explained here. It is a small item considering the total, but taking it altogether I cannot see anything to question, or anything that would lead me to support this proposition. I would be happy to do it if I could. All the items here have been under review for nine months, and the inquiries and questions with regard to dependents allowances from a certain section here—I do not blame them for making inquiries—has not helped to reduce but to increase it if anything.

With regard to debts, we are all subject to this particular matter. The Army has not paid its debts, or they have not done it very punctually, and a good many small traders are suffering considerable hardship owing to the fact that they are not paid within a reasonable time. There are also complaints about contracts for supplies. People say they have not got fair play about these contracts.

I do not know how true that is, and I am not prepared to offer an opinion upon it. It is always very well when you hear only one side of a story, but it may be another thing when you hear the other side. I am always prepared to hear both sides before I make up my mind. The people who make complaints may be right, but before I make up my mind that they are, I would like to hear the defence. Now, with regard to discipline, there is no doubt but discipline has improved, and anyone who knew the Army as it was some months ago and knows it now, and knows the measures that have been taken to improve it, knows they are two different machines, and must admit that discipline has improved very considerably, considering all the difficulties that had to be faced. The Army is the best, considering the difficulties that had to be faced, that we could have, and it deserves the thanks of the country.

Is docha gur mhaith le gach duine rud eigin a rá i dtaobh an mheastachain seo ach tuigeann gach éinne anso nach feidir an obair atá déanta ag an Arm do dheanamh gan a lán clamhsáin do chlos mar gheall ar airgead. Níl an clamhsán so in aghaidh an Airm, mar a thuigim-se, ach i gcoinne an chaoi in a bhfuil an meastachan curtha ós ár gcóir.

Do réir mar a thuigim-se o'n meastachán so baineann cuid den airgead so atá ag teastáil o'n Aire Cosanta leis an mbliain atá caithte agus ná baineann sé leis an mbliain seo.

I do not think that there can be any question regarding the merit that is due to the Army for what it has done. So far as I understand some of the Deputies' complaints, and in regard to which I am of the same mind as they are, they are not directed against the Army as such, or against the work of the Army, but they are directed against the way in which the accounts are presented here. Whether it is the Army as soldiers, who are responsible, and not understanding accounts, have presented them in this way, or whether there is an Accounts' Department connected with Headquarters I do not know. But whoever presented the accounts, I as an Accountant, certainly feel they have not given fair play to us in the Dáil for criticising these accounts, and I presume the amendment is directed towards elucidating these accounts, so that we may understand them. It is quite evident, I think, we get round figures. Whoever estimated these accounts was only estimating widely as to what the cost would be, and we are presented with accounts, now, not in a way in which Accountants should present them to the Dáil. The unfairness of the thing is, that while I think we should all like to express our appreciation of the work of the Army, in terms of money, at the same time we are the custodians for the public in passing these estimates, and, consequently, it is necessary to criticise them, so that we may know how the money is being spent, and so that we may, as far as we can, estimate what the cost is and what it is likely to be in the future. Now, with regard to the amendment proposing a reduction, complaints have been made. I join with them, that accounts are due by the army in various parts of the country, but, if the amendment were carried, in this case, it seems to me it would only lead to further delay and further possibility that some of these accounts would not be paid. I have here in my hand sheefs of letters received from people in various places regarding delays in accounts. Some of them have been due since November some since January, and in a few cases of delay great hardship is being entailed by persons who have written letters. Some of the accounts are due for food supply, others for cases of destruction. It seems clear, from the statements that have been made regarding the non-payment of accounts, and also from inattention paid to letters of complaint sent forward, that that side of the Army, which is responsible for the payment of accounts, needs a certain amount of reorganisation.

There is no criticism, as far as I understand, and certainly I would not join in it if there was, of what can be called the military side of the Army, but on the Accounts side there seems to be either carelessness, laxity, or inattention whoever is responsible, and it is to that I would direct the attention of the Minister for Defence. If it is possible to give us here some public explanation of that, and to give people making complaints about the non-payment of accounts and delays in attention to letters a public explanation that would satisfy the feeling of persons who make complaints, it would be very needful. I desire to join with other Deputies in expressing my appreciation of the work of the Army in every other respect in restoring order to the country when we were assailed.

O'n oráid a thug Teachta Pádraic Ó Máille shaoilfeá go raibh Teachta Liam Ó Daimhín agus na daoini atá ar na suidheacháin seo in-aghaidh Airm an t-Saorstáit. Níl an ceart aige. Níl Teachta ar bith nios láidre ar thaobh an Airm na Teachta Liam Ó Daimhín. Dubhairt Teachta Pádraic Ó Máille nar aontuigh sé le na dubhairt Teachta Ó Daimhín acht nior chuir sé in-iúl duinn na rudai nar aontuigh sé leo. Dubhairt Teachta Ó Daimhín nach raibh Airm an t-Saorstáit gan locht. Agus nach fior sin? Nach bhfuil fhios againn uilig gur fior é? Mar gheall ar an rud a thuit amach, tá fhios againn go fiormhaith go bhfuil fir 'san Airm nar cheart a bheith ann. Leigeadh isteach iad mar gheall ar an rud a thuit amach i rith na bliadhna agus tá nios mo acu ann na mar is gnathach in Airm de'n mheid sin. Is éigin duinn é sin a admhail agus is orrainn-ne an sgeul a leasú agus iarracht a dheunamh i d-treo go mbeidh an Airm "gan locht, gan smál" 'san am atá le teacht. Nuair a labharfaidh an t-Aire, tá suil agam go d-tabharfaidh sé freagra do na puinnti a chuir Teachta Ó Daimhín ós a chomhair.

Dubhairt Teachta Ó Guaire go m-budh chóir an costas a leigint mar tá sé—go bhfuil gádh leis. Acht ni feidir leis—ní feidir le Teachta ar bith—tuairim a thabhairt ar an gceist sin. Nílimid inann a radh go bhfuil gádh leis nó nach bhfuil. Sin é an locht direach atá ar na meastacháin. Ach muna bhfuil sé riachtanach orrainn Airm mhór a coimhead le cheile 'ise mo thuairim féin nach bhfuil gádh leis an méid airgid atá 'sa leabhar. Dubhairt an t-Aire cúpla lá ó shoin ná mbeadh Airm na tíre co mór i gcionn bliadhna agus mar tá sé anois. Muna mbheidh, cád tuige go n-iarrtar orrainn an meid airgid seo a chur ar leath-thaoibh? Tá an Dáil sásta an t-airgead a bhfuil gádh leis a thabhairt do'n Airm. Acht gidh go mbeidh an Airm nios lúgha ná mar a bhí sé anuraidh, tá an Rialtas ag iarraidh orrainn a thuilleadh airgid a thabhairt ar a shon. Nach iontach an iarrtas sin?

Do labhair Teachta Ó Daimhín ar cheist na sean saighdiuiri agus na sean oifigi. Ba mhaith liom cuidiú leis ar an gcheist sin. Tá a lán daoini ag gearán faoi ar fuaid na tíre. Deirtear nach bhfuil na sean oifigí a' faghail seans 'san Airm agus go bhfuil na fir nua á' faghail gach puist. Níl fhios agam an fior sin acht gheibhim litreacha ó am go h-am ó aiteanna 'san d-tuaidh ag gearán faoi. B'feidir go bhfhuil rud éigin bun ós cionn agus nach bh-feidir oifigí maithe a dheunamh de na fearaibh sin. Acht, ar dhoigh ar bith, tá an gearán ann—'san Airm fhéin agus amuigh imeasg na ndaoini—agus budh mhaith liom da n-abrocadh an t-Aire goide atá socruighthe aige i-dtaobh na saigdiuirí agus na h-oifigí seo.

I am not going to labour certain points that have been raised here this evening. While perhaps it is not surprising that Deputy Gorey finds no ground for reducing the Estimate on a military force, he did find plenty of ground for reducing the Estimate on a peace force. I venture to say that one of the reasons why he was not able to find any ground for reducing the Army Estimate was because he was not in a position, any more than any of the rest of us are in a position, to examine the Estimates at all properly. He might, like the little girls whom he saw dancing and joking in the office, treat them as a joke. That is just the kind of thing Deputy Gorey would like. He reads out the heads of the Services in the Army Estimate and finds certain figures after them and nothing else in explanation. He cannot see why a reduction could be made. Deputy Johnson and other Deputies put the case for the reduction, and, honestly, the case for the reduction is that surely the time having arrived when the Army is to be reduced considerably, the expenses should also be reduced very considerably. I am only going to deal with one point, and it is a regrettable thing that it has to be dealt with. Deputy Davin touched on it lightly, but I want to develop the matter and to ask the Minister for Defence for a full and frank statement no matter what susceptibilities may be hurt. For a good while past complaints have been pretty general, and are still general, that numbers of good officers, officers with good fighting records, and, so far as their friends who ought to know claim, are good material for officership, have been passed over in the way of promotion during the recent reorganisation of the Army. There is a widespread feeling amongst numbers of these officers that as the date of demobilisation, whether it is gradual or not, approaches there may be—the word I want comes freely enough to my mouth, but perhaps it is too strong an expression to use—a certain amount of victimisation amongst these officers. Part, no doubt, of the complaint is due to the fact that the Army as it stands had to be improvised. Numbers of people came into it both as officers and as men who would not under any circumstances have come into the old Oglaigh Na hEireann. I am not going to say whether it is to their credit or discredit that they came in. Some of them I know, and I have no doubt, came in from a sense of genuine citizenship. Others came in because they had precious little else to do and found that they could get at least a living in the Army. That apart, there is a certain amount of clash, I think, between certain sections of the old officers and a section of these. No one will admit more readily than I will that you cannot always make a good officer in anything like a regular army out of a good guerilla fighter. I will admit that there may be some of the very best guerilla officers who, because of their very efficiency as guerilla fighters, are not fit and never would be fit for what would be mere administrative posts in anything like a regular army; but on the other hand, it is claimed, and unless my judgment in the ability of some of the old officers is mistaken, it is plain that officers who ordinarily would have been quite fitted for the new officerships have been passed over, and certain other causes have prevailed in the selection of a different class of officer. I know perfectly well that there are many old officers who occupy high and distinguished posts in the Army. It is not so much the ones at the top that I am talking about as those, say, who hold what might be called intermediate posts. One officer goes so far as to say that in some respects promotion in some Commands has been earned, not through merit either as fighting material or as administrative material, but through social influence and one thing and another like that. I hope that no matter whose feelings are hurt on this that the Minister will make a full and frank statement of the position in that regard within the last few months, the position at the present time, and, above all, as to the position as it will be within the next month or two and towards the period of demobilisation.

Some Deputies have asked why it is now that we are in the day of peace, that the Army should be maintained on a war footing, and some of the Deputies who asked that question had in their own minds an explanation of it. They referred to the speech of the Minister for Defence some weeks ago, when he showed that if the Estimates are cast on a war basis it is as a measure of precaution, and that it is not intended to maintain the Army on a war basis if peace conditions prevail.

The Minister for Defence stated that he proposed to reduce the Army as quickly as possible; in fact he was cautioned by some of his friends not to reduce the strength of the Army too rapidly. If it were proposed to reduce the strength of the Army and to maintain the cost at the present level there would be room for criticism, but the fact that the Ministry is asking for £10,000,000 does not mean that that sum will be taken out of the Bank and placed to the credit of the Ministry. Apparently some Deputies were under that impression when they asked what was to be done with the balance. It was explained here on another occasion by one of the Ministers that there is never a balance from these accounts. The Vote is the limit to which the Department can go. The money is drawn upon as needed, and whatever is not drawn upon is not exactly a balance, as it does not lie to the credit of the Department. Deputy Gavan Duffy's antipathy to round numbers reminds me of an English Chancellor of the Echequer's vexation with the decimal point when he came across it in some figure submitted to him by his Department, and he inquired "What's that damn point doing there?" Round numbers always occur in Estimates. That is very obvious. If the Deputy was going to London, say, he would probably take £20 with him. That is an estimate. His actual expenses might be £17 17s. 11½d. Estimates must always be in round numbers. If you run down the items that the Ministry has put down you will see that for all the Departments they are an estimate as if the war basis is to be maintained. How can the Minister go into fine figures and put down £399 instead of £400 when £400 is only an estimate? I think that is very obvious. Deputy Figgis, I am sure unintentionally, cast a great slur on some the humbler men of the Army. I do not know where he got his information, but I feel confident he was very seriously misinformed. According to him if these young men had not gone into the Army they would be out looting, attacking life and property. I have come in contact with some young men in the Army and I believe a large proportion of them joined up from motives as patriotic as have brought any Deputy to this Dáil. I know that a large proportion of them did enter the Army because they had no other means of living, but that was no discredit to them. Their means of living was taken from them by the disordered state of the country. The fact that they were out of employment was no reason why it should be said that if the Army were not there they would have resorted to violence. This country saw many more very serious periods of depression than we had last year or the year before, and the humbler ranks of our people never resorted to violence or looting or attacks on life during these periods. It is cruel and wrong to say that they would have done these things if the Army were not there.

With regard to other remarks made about the Army, I must say that I have heard people from outside this country say that the work that has been done in organising that little Army in 6 or 7 months was one of the greatest proofs of the organising ability of the Irish people. It was a remarkable performance. As to the conduct of the Army itself, of all ranks, I think it has been very creditable. Of course, things have happened that were deplorable, but on the whole I cordially endorse all that has been said to the credit of the Army. Anyone who has read the little organ, "An t-Oglach," will see that the Army to-day derives its inspiration and guidance from the very same sources as inspired the I.R.A. in its best days. I do not wish to criticise what has been done, but I would like to see a reduction in the Army—not a rapid reduction. I would like to see the Army reduced down to half what it is at present, but not before some measures are taken to find employment for the demobilised men. I am sure the Army authorities will select those men for demobilisation who can most readily find employment. I must oppose the amendment.

Níl mórán agam le radh ar an gceist seo. D'eist mé le Teachta Pádraic Ó Máille agus le Teachta Cathal Ó Seanáin acht ní rabh mórán difriochta eatorra. Táim in-aghaidh an leas-rúin seo.

I think there has been a misunderstanding underlying the whole of this discussion. This is not a certain definite sum that we are going to vote to be applied and expended for a definite purpose. I think this Vote is simply a provision that we make for certain services, which may be called upon to be expended or may not be called upon. It will lie, I think, with Deputies, as we proceed, to sanction expenditure or to enforce economy.

That is a mistake.

We will still retain control I assume over the expenditure on the Army, or indeed, on any other service, and the balance that will be saved is bound to revert to the Exchequer. It will be our duty to see that, as far as possible, such economies are insisted upon by this Dáil, as will be consistent with the requirements of the situation. We should certainly without reservation, notwithstanding little things that may not have been just up to the mark, give our commendation to the work that the Army has done, and to the merit that it has shown in a most peculiar situation. It was tragic to find young men forced into a position of the kind without training, or without any opportunity of acquiring the attributes of a soldier, except what they had gained in the struggle we have passed through. To expect these men to be top-notch in every feature of the business was more than human nature could expect. The position was exceptional. We are not here to discuss expenditure in the past. This provision, I think, is for expenditure in the future, and over that expenditure I assume that we will have a certain amount of control, if not full control, at least such control as will ensure to us that the objectives that Deputy Johnson has in view, in the motion that he has made, will be achieved, as far as it is possible for this Dáil to achieve them. It is not for us to stipulate in advance that this much only will we expend, irrespective of what the conditions may be, and what the requirements of the situation may involve. We have no right to put a limit to the responsibilities that the nation is prepared to face in order to secure for the country the position that we wish to secure for it. We have no right to underrate that responsibility. We have more right to overrate it. I have no doubt that the object that Deputy Johnson has in view will be achieved, and I think the spirit of the Dáil will prove to him and to other Deputies that it is sound enough to rely upon in order to secure that these things will be effected. I am sure that those in charge of the Army, from what we know of them, are in keeping in their views with that spirit which we all wish to see prevail. We have no right to put down a fixed sum, and say, "thus far shall we go in our responsibility, and no further." We must provide for all contingencies, because, although things may appear at the moment to be very smooth and very promising we never know and cannot assume what the position may be in the future.

You cannot prophesy on any of these things. We have got to trace our steps carefully and see that we are in a position to meet every contingency that will arise, and that we are not limited in any respect by provisions we have made in advance. There are some things that I am prepared, in any case, to give the army great credit for, and one of these, as I notice from the papers this evening, is the extraordinarily happy conditions that prevail in the internment camps. I think that is a great tribute to the army, and if there was anything they are entitled to claim exceptional credit for, it is in respect of the conditions that prevail in the camps. That is only in keeping with the humanity that we know prevails amongst the Irish people. In carrying out that particular work, the army exhibited the best characteristics of our people, as no matter what the defects of our people are, we agree that the best attribute that humanity can call to its aid are inherent characteristics of this old land of ours.

On a point of order, I have not read the evening papers. Do they indicate that the men are anxious to remain in the camps or that they are anxious to get out?

I am not dealing with that aspect. I am dealing with the conditions which prevail. We all know what it was to have conditions that were not acceptable, but now we have the very reverse.

Has the Deputy any information as to the conditions in the internment camps?

I have an evening paper here from which I could quote 100 instances.

Is that an official report?

The Deputy must be allowed to continue. He is entitled to continue.

I come to some things that have been complained about, and I can join in the complaints in regard to contracts and the payment of dependants' allowances. I think some system must be devised by which we will have these things put on a business foundation. I will ask that that be done, and if not that business people be called to the rescue of the army. I suggest, if they are in any sort of entanglement, that those responsible should call business people to their aid to try and get the army out of the difficulty. Otherwise they are going to injure themselves in the eyes of the community. It is certainly preposterous to think that we would require, when we are not threatened by any outside war or any other country, an army on a continually active basis. I think that basis will soon change and that the army will come on a basis commensurate with the requirements of the service here, and that we will not have to contribute such an outlay as we have to contribute at present. These are matters for the future. With regard to training, I hope that the army that will be required will be a properly trained army, and that steps will be taken that men retained permanently are properly trained, and that we will have soldiers that we can claim credit for and that we can stand up for. It will be our fault in the future if whatever numbers we have in the army are not properly trained. I think the Dáil is prepared to pay a tribute on all sides to the management of the army in the difficult circumstances that have prevailed. I think too much credit cannot be given to the army and to those responsible for it, for the particularly careful management of the difficult situation through which we have passed. Therefore, in voting against Deputy Johnson's amendment, I am supporting the object he has in view. I am going to vote against the amendment and in favour of the Army Estimates as they stand.

Some of the speeches on the Army Estimates remind me of the story of the bank manager and his client. The bank manager rang him up to say that his account was overdrawn. The client asked him, "Was I in credit twelve months ago?" and the reply was "You were." The client then asked, "Was I in credit six months ago," and the reply was "You were." The client then said, "You did not ring me up to tell me that." We have had the smallest points you can get trotted out here, and speeches made by people who would not be sitting in the Dáil to-day but for the work of the army. The Dáil is entitled to criticise any of these Votes, but it is a rather remarkable thing that it is only on the vote for the army an attempt is made to reduce the estimates while the others are passed.

On the question of contracts and accounts there may be complaints, but they are all exaggerated. Both manufacturers and shopkeepers believed that they had a Government they could rob and make big profits out of. They are making a big mistake in that. I have experience of shopkeepers sending in accounts, and I had a letter from a Deputy some time ago telling me that in his area the Election Committee and the army had ruined the Free State party there. I wrote back to him to say that I knew nothing about army accounts, but that if they were anything like the election accounts I was glad the army had refused to pay them. That is the fact, and there is no shadow of doubt about it, that the accounts are not genuine. They are all overcharges, because they think they can get them easily out of the army and the Government. That is a thing which must be stopped. Instead of reducing this Estimate, I think most of the speeches ought to be devoted to the fact that the army has done its work and done it well. There is no other nation in the world, faced with a similar situation, which would have produced an army like ours.

Is doigh liom nar thuig cuid de na Teachtaí do labhair ar an gceist seo, an sgeul go ro-mhaith. Shaoileadar go raibh deich miliún púint a dhith orrainn i mbliadhna agus go g-cathfaí an mead sin. Nuair a shochruigheamar ar an mhéid seo do thuigeamar nach raibh siothchain i bhfád . Bhí fhios againn nach mbeadh leath-cheud míle fear a teastáil uainn in deireadh na bliadhna agus, ar a shon sin, disligheamar an costas nó an luach. Da mbeadh leath-cheud míle fear san airm ar feadh na bliadhna, ni dheunfadh deich miliún an gnó. Bheadh trí nó ceithre miliún nios mó a dhith orrainn. Is docha go mbeadh an costas tuairim 14 miliún ar fad. An rud atá ó Teachta Tomás Mac Eoin, tá sé deanta againn cheana.

Sin sgeul nua.

Bhí fhios againn dhá mhí ó shoin go raibh na "neamh-rialtai"—ma's ceadach dom úsaid a bhaint as an tearma sin—nach mór buailte. Do thuigeamar ná mbeadh gadh leis an meid fear agus a bhí againn do dtí sin. B'feidir nach bhfuil gadh fa lathair leis an méid atá againn acht ní feidir linn é sin a radh go fóill. Ar dhoigh ar bith, ni feidir linn iad a chur ar shiubhal ar an bponnc. Caith fimid scaramhaint leo i n-dhiaidh a cheile. B'feidir go mba leór deich míle fear i gcionn cúpla bliadhain. Acht gan baoghall do'n Stát ni thiocfadh linn an meid saighdiuiri a luighdiú go direach anois.

Tuigimid nach cheart airgead a chaitheamh gur feidir linn a shabháilt. Tuigimid go bhfuil an tír an-bhocht. Tá fiacha móra orrainn agus beidh orrainn airgead a fhaghail ar iasacht. Ba dheachair airgead a fhaghail ar iasacht da mbeadh costas na tíre an-trom. Ach má thuigeann na daoini go bhfuileamar ag déunamh ár n-dicheall chun an costas a ísliú, beidh siad toilteanach an t-airgead a thabhairt duinn.

Tharraing Teachta Ó Daimhín cúpla púinnt os ar gcomhair ach ní gadh dom chur síos orra. Is doigh liom go n-dearn an Airm an obair a bhí orra go ri-mhaith, Níl aon mhaith a bheith a chur sios ar na mion-rudai a thuit amach. Thuitfeadh na mion-rudaí seo amach i dtír ar bith. Is é mo thuairim nach cheart a bheith i gcomhnuidhe a gearán faoí'n airm. Ba cheart bród a bheith againn as an airm. Nuair a briseadh amach an cogadh idir na "neamh-rialtai," agus muinntir na h-Eireann ní raibh ach ocht mile fear againn; ní raibh acht fiorbheagan oifigi againn ag a raibh eolas ceart acu ar a gceird. B'éigin duinn an airm a chur i mheid agus oifigi a chur i bhfeidhil na bhfear sin. Ní raibh mórán taithighe ag na saighdiuiri no ag na hoifigi ar an obair acht rinne siad é go maith—nios fearr na go ndeunfadh siad i dtir ar bith eile é dá mbeadh siad sa chruadh chás ceudhna.

Deputy Johnson has moved an Amendment for a reduction of the Army Estimate. There is very little left for me to say, because practically every one of his usual supportors has spoken against the Amendment. I do not know whether Deputy Lyons was for or against the Amendment. He is one of Deputy Johnson's usual supporters, and he has spoken in favour of the military not being allowed into ordinary legitimate work in the country, and also with regard to compensation and the payment of accounts. There is little for me to add to what Deputy Lyons has said in favour of the rejection of the Amendment. Then there is the statement of Deputy Figgis.

He does not belong to our party.

I wonder why people are not genuine? Why would they propose an Amendment if they are not genuine in connection with it? We know what the Army has done, and we know that it is long the history of the Dáil that people do not mean what they vote for. I remember on the occasion of the Castlebar and Sligo meetings, our Army was very small, and I may say that some Deputies would not be sitting here now were it not for the action of the army at the time. I am very much surprised that people get the "wind up" so much that they will not do themselves what they would like others to do. Deputy Duffy objects to all the noughts in the Estimate. There is not a very abnormal number of them. Take any of the first, second or third items in the Estimate, and in the first you have four significant figures and only three noughts. In the case of an Estimate that is not very abnormal. I suppose there would be about one hundred noughts there altogether. One hundred multiplied by nought amounts to nothing.

Is the Deputy prepared to leave the noughts out? Leave them out.

That is Deputy Duffy's objection, and I think merely to refer to matters is quite a sufficient argument against the Amendment.

It strikes me as being a rather peculiar argument, which the last Deputy has used, to say in defence of the Estimates that if it were not for the Army we would not be here. If that is going to be accepted as a defence for the Estimate of ten million odd pounds, then, I think, the Minister for Defence was very foolish that he did not send in an Estimate for one hundred and ten million pounds. It would have been passed for the same reason as is given by some Deputies in regard to the present Estimate. There are a few points I would like to bring forward, some of them have been mentioned ad nauseam. There is the question of traders whose Bills have not yet been paid. Deputy McCarthy said some of the claims made were so outrageous that they did not deserve to be paid. I know a good many cases in which bills have been sent to the local Army authorities and they have been quite in order. When I had occasion to visit some departments in Portobello in order to hurry the payment of some claims, I was told by officers there that every item was in order and in strict accordance with the certificate laid down by the Army authorities. In spite of that some were three or four or five months behind time. There is a place called Ballydehob, in South West Cork, and ten traders there had in claims for the months of January, February and March, amounting to £1,768. For the benefit of the people who do not know Ballydehob, I would like to say that it is a small town, little more than a village, and an amount of merely £2,000 outstanding in a small place like that is a very serious item, as serious as £10,000,000 would be to the people of the whole of Ireland. Another thing I would like the Minister would consider, and that is the question of motor cars which were commandeered by the Army. Somebody mentioned £25,000 that has been paid to the Clergy. I know of one case of a motor car that was commandeered in Carrigaline, and the Chaplain of the Forces in Kinsale has been driving around in that car for the last six or eight months. There is a Commandeered Motor Car Commission sitting, and, if the Minister for Defence has any control over that Commission, I would like that he would try and expedite their findings. There is another question, the rebuilding of destroyed barracks. There were a good many parts of this country where troops in the old days had been billeted. Rightly or wrongly the people of those places considered that the new Army to be set up should be billeted in these towns. Where the barracks has been demolished the people want steps taken to prevent them from being destroyed altogether, so that there might be a chance of their being rebuilt. I have one particular place in view—Buttevant. I have been informed that the Irregulars destroyed part of it before they left, that the National Army are demolishing what remains of the walls, and that the bricks taken from these walls are being used to pave the byres of some farmers in the district. There is also another question. That is in reference to some of the houses that were commandeered by the Army. In very many places in the Co. Cork people have had their houses taken over by the Army, and these people have been compelled to seek lodging elsewhere, and for six or eight months they have been applying for compensation. Up to the present they have not succeeded. I understand that in the case of most of these houses, the claims have been handed over to the Board of Works. I would ask the Minister for Defence to take up these questions and try and have them settled as quickly as possible.

at this stage took the Chair.

The other day when another very important estimate was being discussed, that is the estimate dealing with Education, the question about getting value for the money expended was raised. I submit with all respect that as compared with the Education service, we have got excellent value for the Army estimates, and not only we, but the country in general. I am not a book-keeper, but after perusing these Army estimates here, and weighing them as well as I could, I am content with the statement made here. There is just one point—the question of having a Committee go into these Estimates. I think that a good suggestion. I do not see why a special committee should not be appointed, if not this time, perhaps in the future. It would be a good policy to avail of the services of such a Committee. I am not a bit perturbed about the Estimates of the Minister here. I do not think that any reasonable person would be either. There has been some talk about the disbanding of the Army. I would not wish to suggest anything to the Executive in regard to that, and although I would personally like to see such an expensive, though necessary item, like the Army cut down, I submit with all respect that that is a very delicate question that would require a lot of further consideration. About Dependants' Allowance, I would say —like every other Deputy here, I suppose, I come in very close contact with the man in the street— I know for a positive fact that many of our working people of the poorer classes were never in a better position than they are in now owing to the pay those serving in the Army receive, and the allowances which their dependants get. As I said, I would like to see this costly but necessary item cut down if possible, but at the same time the Army is doing a great benefit to the country in circulating ready money among our people. As regards the debts, I think there is undoubtedly some room for improvement, but taking them all round I think when we throw back our minds and recollect the practically insurmountable obstacles which the various departments of Government have had to surmount, particularly the Army Department, it is nothing short of miraculous the way in which the Army accounts have been met. At the same time I think there is room for acceleration in this respect. I am not an adept at book-keeping, but looking briefly at the figures produced here and following them up as a rank and filer, or back bencher, I am satisfied about them.

Deputy White need not apologise for only being able to look on these figures as one not versed in book-keeping, because as a matter of fact if he had a certificate of the very highest examiners in accountancy he would not get any more out of the figures than he could get as a rank and filer who knows nothing about book-keeping. I admit at once that the Army is serving a very good purpose as a means of distributing money for expenditure by the people, but I do not expect for a moment that this reduction, if the Dáil is pleased to carry it, will mean a reduction in the actual expenditure of such moneys What I expect to see is that instead of being used as Army expenditure it will be used as civil expenditure with a definitely productive purpose for the common weal. Now this discussion has been very illuminating in so far as it show that Deputies have not made themselves acquainted with the purpose of the presentation of these estimates. Even Deputy McGoldrick does not seem to realise that it is absolutely necessary if the Dáil is to get control of the administration that we should only vote sums for which a case has been made. Deputy McGoldrick talks about voting money and keeping control of it and that it need not be spent, but the very essence of Parliamentary control of finance is that you only vote sums which you are prepared to spend and which you have some evidence of the necessity for spending. In six months time there would be nothing to prevent the Army coming along and asking for a supplementary vote if it were found that this sum was not enough. In this way we must proceed if we are to keep control of finance. Deputy McGoldrick defends it on the ground that we may not want it because the Army will be cut down. I say let us vote a sum of money for which a case can be made, and, if the emergency arises later, the case can be made for supplementary estimates, and if the Dáil is satisfied after examination we could vote that sum of money. Let me remind Deputies that this is an estimated sum of money for the ensuing year from April 1st. Deputy Gorey talked about looking down the list and not being able to see anything which he could save. We are not dealing with past expenditure. This is not a statement of account of past expenditure; it is a statement of future expenditure. Let me remind the Dáil that this book of estimates was circulated on April 19th. Ten millions odd for the Army, which the Army Council advised the Ministry was necessary for the future twelve months, was estimated prior to April 19th, probably in March. Has nothing taken place to justify the Dáil in asking for a reduction? If the Army Council, looking ahead in March last, estimated that with the prospects ten millions would be required, then I say we must have some justification from the Army that that ten million is still required in view of the new situation created by the cessation of hostilities. Some justification has to be presented to the Dáil for this demand for ten millions odd. As I say, this estimate was made out at a time when the fighting was active and we had a right to expect that there might be some continuance of the need. No such justification has been presented. The Minister has told us that he expects before the end of the year—whether that means the financial year or the calendar year I do not know, but it is a material factor in this matter whether it is December or March—we can expect to see a reduction to thirty thousand men.

Assuming it is the financial year, we still have more than nine months to go We have no knowledge that the Army for the previous twelve months cost more than seven and a half millions That was the Estimate for one year ending 31st March of this year. We have reason to believe that the expenditure was within that sum, inasmuch as no supplementary Estimate was called for, and no further moneys were voted. There may have been a considerable saving. I did not learn from the Minister for Finance or the Minister for Defence that there was any considerable saving on the amount we voted last year, but presumably no more than seven and a half millions were spent. Is the average expenditure of the Army for the ensuing year to be higher than the average of the army for the last year? Is the establishment to be more costly? Is there to be a greater expenditure of ammunition? Are there to be more joy rides and more expenditure of petrol? Is there to be a greater waste in the barracks? Are we looking forward to expenditure for the ensuing year at a greater rate than for last year? Presumably on this estimate we are to look for an expenditure fifty per cent. higher in the ensuing year than in the past one. Surely that has not been justified. Nothing has been said by the Minister for Defence, and certainly nothing by any of his supporters who have advocated the defeat of the amendment I proposed, to justify a vote fifty per cent. higher than the expenditure for the year 1922-23. Deputy White said he had weighed up the figures. On what standard? How was the weighing done, and by what comparision? Was it last year's estimate? On last year's estimate can we justify an increase of fifty per cent. in the expenditure considering the new situation that has been created during the last few weeks? That is what I want the Dáil to bear in mind in deciding upon this vote, and I want the Minister for Defence to answer that, when he is defending the original estimate. Deputy Sears supported the vote of ten millions odd because he said it was an estimate of the sum required if the Army were to be maintained on a war basis. Does the Minister for Defence confirm that view? Is Deputy Sears representing the voice of the Ministry when he says ten millions odd is required to keep the Army for a year on a war basis? If that is the case let us know from the Ministry officially, and let us have some justification for keeping the Army for the next year on a war basis. The case has not been made for maintaining the Army on a war basis and for maintaining the expenditure of this sum of money upon the Army Departments. It is not enough to say that if we vote this sum now it will not all be spent, and if it is saved the balance will be handed back. It is not a quite safe procedure to adopt with any Ministerial Department. We have been confessing that the alleged sanctity of the people of this country is somewhat of a myth. I suggest it is not well to replace that by the thought that any Government of this country is going to be more saintly in the expenditure of money than that of any other country. Give an Administrative Department £10,000,000 to spend and it is nine to one that they will spend it.

Ninety-nine to one.

And if the Dáil intends to keep control over its expenditure, let it vote only these sums for which a case has been made. Do not vote sums in the hope that something will come back into the Exchequer. I am sure when Deputy McGoldrick thinks of that aspect that he will vote for my amendment. He will not risk voting three millions and a half for this year more than he voted for the same purposes last year. As I say, if it turns out in three months', six months', or nine months' time that the three millions now required to be deducted from this Estimate is needed, then a case can be made for it, and I am sure the Dáil will—cheerfully, I was going to say—with regret, but realising the necessity, vote the sum necessary. But do not let us vote this sum of ten and a half millions until a case has been made. I hoped that we would have had a fuller discussion upon the policy that is involved in the Army Estimates. As I said at the beginning of this debate, Army expenditure is dependent upon political policy, and if it is intended that there should be an active Army and if it is intended to maintain in prison for twelve months ten or twelve thousand prisoners, then I have no doubt the Army will need to be maintained upon a war basis. That is the way to ensure that the Army will indeed be on a war basis by keeping that irritant moving in the body politic with the idea continuing to work through the system that prisoners are being kept without trial for preventive purposes, even though the risk of active hostilities on their getting out is practically nil. Then you will need an army on a war basis; then you will need ten and a half millions, and perhaps two or three millions more.

I believe that the way to ensure continued peace will be to release, first, at any rate, the prisoners who have been arrested on mere suspicion. Let us at least have an acknowledgment that suspicion of sympathy with offences against the State is not the same thing as guilt of offences against the State and the way to ensure that the public will recognise that the Army and the Government is not out to continue the irritant through the body politic will be to allow into their civil life again at least those who have been arrested merely on suspicion, to be followed as rapidly as possible by those others, when it has been satisfactorily shown that no harm is coming and that hostilities will not be renewed. Deputy McGoldrick quoted from an evening paper and, by his kindness, I have been able to find that he was referring to an announcement by the Government Publicity Department, which contains about a column and a half of extracts from letters from prisoners which have been intercepted or, shall I say, copied by the Censor's Department. I have looked through most of these letters, and I may say that many of them struck me in the same way as many of the letters on the other side struck me. I have three or four letters here just telling the exact opposite regarding the state of the camps and the treatment of the prisoners, the exact opposite to those letters printed by the Government Publicity Department, and the letters quoted by the Government strike me as very largely of the same character as so many other letters, propagandist, intended to create an impression of one kind or another, not honest, free, open statements.

Some of them are clearly honest enough, others of them, I suspect, have been written with a purpose by prisoners, and perhaps by prisoners who are sure that these letters are going through the censorship, and that the officer in charge will duly note that this dutiful prisoner is well satisfied with his treatment. I would repeat the plea that I uttered in the opening of this discussion, there is no risk to social or political peace in allowing civilians who can be trusted to visit these prisons, camps and barracks, where prisoners are detained. Let civilians, doctors, lawyers if you like, ordinary rank and filers, members of the Dáil and Seanad, any half-dozen or dozen men and women go with power to inspect and examine and report. Surely it can be justified now, and if it is possible for an International Commission to do that without risk, surely it is possible for a commission representing citizens of the Saorstát to do the same thing, and prove in justification of the Government and the Administration who is right and who is wrong, or how far both are right or both are wrong. It would be good for the Administration to know which camps and prisons are well conducted, and which camps and prisons are not so well conducted. They are not all perfect; that will be admitted at least.

I would press upon the Minister that it would be to his advantage as head of the administration to allow some publicity, at any rate, to be thrown upon the conduct of the prisons, the camps and barracks and the jails. All the stories that are coming out on the other side are not all untrue, and if one-tenth of the allegations in regard to the treatment of prisoners, and the conditions of the prisons is true then somebody ought to be made responsible, and the Dáil ought to have an opportunity of making somebody responsible. It was found necessary in ordinary civilian life, when prisons were being conducted in peace times by the Prisons Board, that there should be Visiting Justices to prevent even the possibility of wrong-doing in prisons. If that was so in peace time, the ordinary normal course of civil life, I submit that it is at least equally necessary now in the circumstances through which we have been living. Deputies have been very indignant against those of us who have supported the Amendment, because it is alleged to be a criticism of the Army. Well, even the Army is not above criticism, even the Army, and the supporters of the Army, must not be offended if members of the legislature have something to say in criticism of the conduct of the Army. One is reminded of so much that is said about Prussianism and about the Army being above the people, when Deputies resent any word of criticism about the conduct of the Army or the soldiers who saved the Nation. They may have saved the Nation, I am not denying that for a moment, but that does not mean to say that they must never be criticised, or that no word of condemnation of a wrong act must be uttered because they saved the Nation once. To enable them to save the Nation again, if necessary, they must be criticised, and they must be told that they are doing wrong, and they must know that the Oireachtas is superior to the Army, or the Army will damn the Nation and not save it.

I resent this kind of lecturing from members who talk as though the Army must not come under the lash of criticism, and that every man that goes into the Army is thereby made angelical and henceforth can do no wrong. The Commander-in-Chief, at least, does not take that stand, that some of his supporters think they are doing him a service, and doing the Army and the Government a service, by taking such a stand. They are very shortsighted; they are ignorant of their duties and they are ignorant of the relative positions of the Army and Parliament, and I hope that they will learn at least from the Minister for Defence, that the Army is not above criticism, and that it is the duty of members of the Dáil to bring forward these questions, and these complaints, when they have complaints to make, and to bring them forward here so that they can be answered, and so that the Minister responsible shall know the feelings of the people through Deputies in such a matter. I ask the Dáil to vote for the amendment for the reduction of this Estimate. No case has been made for the sum of £10,664,500. We believe that there can be a reduction made. We believe if that is the sum estimated for the Army from the 1st April, 1923, to the 1st April, 1924, prepared at a time when hostilities were raging, then, in view of the change in the situation, there ought to be a reduction in the Estimate. If it turns out that seven millions odd is not enough and that a case can be made out for a further Vote, then let that case be made out, and let the Dáil be asked to Vote an additional sum, but, in the meantime, let the Dáil get control and insist that there shall be a reduction in the sum advanced to the Army for expenditure of these funds.

The Estimates that are before the Dáil are the estimates of what we believe will be the expenditure on the Army in circumstances likely to face the country between the dates of the 1st April this year and the 1st April next year. When the Estimates were originally prepared, as the Minister for Local Government said, the Army Estimates ran to the figure of £14,000,000 odd, and the reduction that took place, to the present figure that is before the Dáil, was a reduction which, keeping our eyes on the future, and feeling how the situation was developing, and feeling the improvement that was going on all round, and drawing deductions that we considered were reasonable and fair to the safety of the country, we considered we could make. Now, certain Deputies have taken certain figures here and pointed out that they were more or less exaggerated and more or less a mystery. The Army in its actual organisation and particularly the Army in its relation to the present situation in the country is not in the happy position that, say, the Post Office is, with its long-established machinery, machinery which can detail each Estimate as Estimates should be detailed, in as minute detail as can be put down, and as consistent with what public opinion should know of the detailed expenditure of public departments. You are not in the position of the British or French detailing your Estimates to the people for the organisation of an Army to deal with a normal internal situation. If we were as organised as we shall be, say, for next year's Estimates, and as organised to give the details, and as fully clear in our minds about what details should be detailed, it might be very inadvisable, faced with circumstances anything similar to what we are faced with to-day, that we should give details that would satisfy the Members of the Dáil.

It is not for any reason but the reason of doing what we consider is the proper thing, in all the circumstances, that the Estimates are put before the Dáil in this manner. As I say, certain figures have been pointed out by certain Deputies here, and we are supposed to be unreasonable in putting these figures before Deputies without giving them information about them. Now, the Army is starting out for 12 months with 50,000 men and coming down at the end of the financial year—because it is the end of the financial year is in mind when we are speaking of reductions—coming down at the end of the financial year to 30,000 men, but the average to be paid and accommodated over the whole of the year cannot be less than 40,000 men, and if, in response to Deputy Gavan Duffy's request, we took the figure (a) "Pay of Officers and Men," and took the figure (b) "Provision and Allowances" and see what it takes to pay and to feed an average of 40,000 for 12 months, we see that it works out on an average of £132 per man.

If there is any reduction that could be made upon that portion of the Estimate I do not know of it. I certainly could not, as responsible for advising on the matter, recommend a reduction or agree to it. Actually, when a man's equipment, clothing, and everything is taken into consideration the average cost of keeping officers and men is about £250 a year. Therefore, when you take into account that the main determining factor in your Estimate is the number of officers and men that you are keeping in the Army, it must be plain that you cannot materially reduce the Estimate. Where any reduction can take place it must be in material, and you cannot put yourself in the position we were in on at least one occasion during the last six months, when we were very badly off for materials. If you do spend money on materials this year, it will go against materials for next year. Money that is spent on materials, materially differs from money for pay and food, so that while there is a possibility of promising, or of foreshadowing, a possible saving in expenditure on materials, you cannot turn around at the present moment and say we will cut off one nought here and two noughts there. If you are facing the situation that you do not want to reduce the number of your army below 30,000 men or 28,000 men at the end of the current financial year, and that is the Government proposal, then you cannot materially reduce these Estimates. Comparing with last year's Estimate, the Estimate for last year of £7,512,000 was practically spent. There was a surplus at the end of the financial year of something like £25,000, but you began your financial year of last year with a very small army, and you ended up with an army of 50,000 men. The growth of that Army in the beginning was not very rapid, and you had not the main bulk of your Army organised or recruited until well into the financial year, so that comparison between the figures for last year, though it can be regarded as a war year, and this year, though we may hope to regard it as a peace year, is likely to be misleading.

A large number of points were touched upon, and as they have been raised it is perhaps due that they should be replied to. On the question of the prisoners raised by Deputy Lyons and again by Deputy Johnson I cannot say for the Government more than I said when the matter was raised on these Estimates on the last day. That is, that the Government is prepared to move rapidly in a situation in which it considers itself, and considers the country, safe in respect of anything that it would do; that while there might be friction and might be expense to the public in holding the prisoners, there might be more friction and much greater expense in releasing them. It is very often charged that many of the men that are now in prison, men and women, are in simply on suspicion. I think the assurance that we give may very well be taken, and that is that there are very few of them in prison who are not in for very good reasons—when you consider what it may cost, or might cost to the country having some of these people giving, as they have done, vent in a practical way, from time to time, to what are regarded, for the purpose of charging the Government, simply as their sympathies. The people who hung upon the edges, as it were, of the fight that went on during the last three or four months, brought, as a result of actions in which sympathy expresses itself from time to time, very serious loss upon the country, so that you would be on very safe ground in taking our assurance that there are very few people inside who are not in prison for very good reasons.

On the question of the indiscriminate use of arms resulting in both accidents and in the waste of ammunition, as far as accidents are concerned, accidents have undoubtedly occurred, but to a large extent they are due to the fact that our men have not had all the training that it would be possible to give them if we were allowed to train our Army in a proper way, and if recruits, instead of being sent, as it were, direct into the firing line, could get some little period of training on the barrack square. It has also to be remembered in connection with accidents that we hear of that many of the weapons that come into our hands as rifles, and that we had to accept to defend our country with, were old, used weapons, the defects in some of them being only disclosed from time to time and in the actual handling of them. Many accidents that we hear of were the result of weapons that were defective and because we could not control the fact that they were defective in any way. We simply had to eliminate them in the process of using them.

On the question of Army accounts, there are two classes of accounts; one, old accounts—we have heard reference to them as 1921 accounts—and the other, current accounts. As regards 1921 accounts, the policy along which, in 1921, we ran the Army was that each particular area supplied its own quota of men to the country's fight and supplied its own quota of material. The Government expenditure on the Army in 1920 and 1921 was infinitesimal compared with the Government expenditure on the Army for this and last year. Certainly the Army in pre-Treaty days cannot have cost the country, through Government money at any rate, more than about £300,000, if it cost as much as that. As to the accounts for 1921, the main responsibility for paying these really fell upon the local people. We know that during the Truce in 1921 many of our men were exceptionally active, and active in accordance with Government policy of that time, and we know that, to a certain extent, it can be regarded that there was a Government liability for certain debts contracted by local officers then. But the circumstances, owing to many of the local officers dividing into different camps, in which the present Government has found itself since, have not been such as to warrant any indiscriminate paying of 1921 debts. The matter is in our minds, and what it will be possible to do the immediate future, perhaps, will let us know. But it is not reasonable to raise a great and continued cry of criticism against the present Government because the 1921 accounts are not paid. It might be a matter of much greater grievance if all the 1921 accounts that were served up were paid. The second class of accounts are current accounts, and I am not going to say that there is not, here and there, in our organisation a bad link with regard to dealing with these accounts, but at present, and for, say, two months past at any rate, there should be no reason for not having the monthly accounts with our Quartermasters in different places down the country attended to when the trader with whom they are contracted gets them properly certified by the proper officer and gets them properly submitted in the proper way. There is a delay in getting some of these accounts, no doubt, because, in the first place, traders very often supply indiscriminately stuff for which they have no contract with our people and for which they have no regular understanding to purchase. Traders who, at the present moment, are supplying the Army with stuff must have a regular contract with our people, and a contract for certain specific things. They cannot expect to be paid promptly and quickly if they supply materials to our officers in any part of the country or to any of our officers in a way that is not a reasonably regularised way. They cannot expect that accounts for such things as shaving soap or Gillette blades, or rubber heels or ladies' hats or gloves will be paid.

On a point of explanation, what is a trader to do when an officer or soldier acting on the instructions of an officer, comes into a shop and demands stuff in the name of the Army?

If he is a man of courage he should refuse it, and if he feels it is a case for using his discretion he should report the matter at once to the Quartermaster-General or to the General Officer in Command of the area. On the question of bailiffs we are at the present moment in a transition period and we are very desirous of withdrawing the Army proper out of, as I say, the affairs of the country. You have a situation in which there is a very considerable tendency to robbery with violence, and a situation in which you are only gradually establishing your police and establishing, at that, an unarmed police, and we have set aside specially trained and suitable sections of the Army to assist the civil power in the different parts of the country.

Those sections of the Army are at the disposal of the civil local authorities. They act only under the instructions and only in connection with matters in which they are given instructions by the local police officers or local justices. It is not fair to the general situation with regard to law and order in the country, and to the people as a whole, or to the authorities administering justice, or to the Army, that people should turn around now, and that Deputies or others should assign to the men carrying out this very necessary and this very delicate work, a name that has been a name of opprobrium in this country. The work of these special infantry companies is very necessary work in getting back to normal conditions in the country until our proper police force is established, and until our machinery for administering justice is also properly established.

On a point of explanation on that particular matter, I would like to know from the Minister for Defence if it is necessary for the Sheriff to obtain a decree in Court before he can get military to seize property?

On the question of a certain number of English officers having been gazetted recently I have had, when suggestions of this kind are made, very frequently to ask "What is an Englishman?" and "What is an English officer?" In criticising a state of affairs in which it is alleged English officers are being appointed into this Irish Army of ours and that Irish officers who have served us well in the past are being left aside, I would like very much to ask "What is an English officer?"

On a point of order, if the Minister is referring to a statement I made, I did not mention, and I had no intention of using any such expression as he uses. I spoke of old army officers and of new army officers, that is officers who have joined the Army within the last six or seven months.

I was not referring to the statement made by Deputy O'Shannon. I was referring to the statement of another Deputy. In connection with the statement made by Deputy O'Shannon, cuireann sé iongnadh mór orm go dtagann teachta chun labhairt ins an Dáil mar gheall ar sean-bhaill an Airm a thug seirbhis dhílis, fhadha don tír. Dubhairt sé go gcuireadh daoine nuadh ós a gcionn agus annsan admhuigheann sé cé gur dhein sé tracht agus gearáint fé ná bhfuil aon fhois aige mar gheall air. Is mór an iongnadh dom teachta a leithéid sin do rádh nuair a tuigtear an deagh obair a dhein an airm.

In the matter of contracts, contracts for all materials that are new purchased locally by our officers down the country by our Quartermaster staff are made by the Command Quartermaster, under the supervision of the Quartermaster-General. They are all advertised, and tenders are publicly invited, and facilities are given all to tender. All contracts are made in a competitive way. That is the system which is at present being adopted, and if there are complaints that this or the other person is not getting a proper look-in in the matter, it is simply because while some people object to us at some particular time, as not being business-like in our methods, there are a much greater number of people that will be dissatisfied with us when we are business-like in our methods. The complaints which you hear at the present moment are from people who object to the fact that even the Army, in this matter of accounts and contracts and purchases, is really becoming businesslike.

The question has been raised as to what "Balances Irrecoverable" may mean. The matter of "Balances Irrecoverable" in connection with Army work arises simply because Army accounting is really properly done. Whatever little you may know about it, or think you may know about it the Army is putting before you every piece of money that is being expended under its own proper sub-head, and it is accounted for under that head. You cannot spend money voted under one sub-head under any other sub-head.

Here you are dealing with an Army, and you are dealing with a large number of men being paid their own wages and being paid dependents' allowances and other allowances in other ways. If a man's movements are not properly recorded, if the time of a man's discharge from the Army, or his sicknesses, are not properly recorded, expenditure and payments that ought not properly to be made are made, and the figure for Balances Irrecoverable represents losses of money that are over-issues that are not recoverable and that disclose themselves after being made, and having disclosed themselves they cannot be borne by the account under which the money is issued and they have to be put aside, and they appear in a straightforward way as Balances Irrecoverable. The Comptroller and Auditor-General knows clearly what they are. Under the heading of (H) and (J), conveyances of troops and stores, if you have an average of 40,000 men, many of whom are far away from their own homes, and if you have to convey them even for the purposes of demobilisation, you will probably find that it will cost you the full £4 per man, and even £5 per man of an estimate would not be too low to work it out. The item (W), for insurance, is for the purpose of keeping those men who are entitled to National Health Insurance, in insurance. I think the President suggested yesterday that would not be enough; well. that is our expenditure for it. Under Miscellaneous Expenses, for the fact of our having to put this item in our Estimates we are indebted to the Postmaster-General, who makes us pay for our telephones, telegrams and letters. It is also covered by the fact that it includes expenditure in connection with advertisements. On the matter raised by Deputy Figgis, that of getting down even to a 30,000 Army, that the keeping of a 30,000 Army commits you to a bellicose policy, I do not know that that is so.

The policy of Switzerland is not a bellicose policy and Switzerland keeps an army, which in time of necessity, is always there more or less, and I am sure it is much more than 29,000. The army that you keep in Ireland, whatever its size be, and however it will be organised, as far as I see, will not be an Army that will commit you to a bellicose policy. On the other hand it will not be an Army that, if you get into trouble, will let you down. There is no reason why the keeping of the manhood of the country in proper trim to defend its liberties would commit you in any way to a bellicose policy.

Will the Minister say has he in mind the Swiss model?

We are dealing with the current financial year to-day, and we are dealing with the machinery that we want to face that financial year with. Some other time we may talk about the policy we have in our minds or that we should have in our minds. On the question of the examination that has been announced for certain positions in the Customs, it is, I understand the fact that for the particular post that this examination is supposed to admit men to, the maximum for that particular class of officers under the old scheme ran to £450, but the position as I understand it to-day is that the Government in this scheme of the re-organisation has created two classes. First class is the class in which there are examinations being held at the present time. I am not in a position to say whether the admission to the second class will be by competitive examination or by promotion. I cannot say whether it will be one or the other, but that is a matter that we, the Army people, have nothing to do with. It is also pointed out that the examination that is being set for those particular posts is not the ordinary examination that would be normally set for normal competitors. It is an examination set to suit men in the Army who have given service, and particularly those who have given long service, and whose educational polish is not as bright as it would be if they had simply left school. Whether Deputy Figgis as a contractor would undertake for every man that we would demobilise from the Army to erect five houses, I do not know. The financial aspect of the situation is one that is beyond me. I very much doubt whether it is reasonable or fair to make a statement that the keeping of one man in the army at the present time, if that is the statement that was made, prevents five houses being built for the people. On the question of interfering in matters of strikes or the cases mentioned by Deputy Davin, it is just like the case that he also mentioned in which particular posts or particular men in his area are doing unnecessary shooting, or misconducting themselves in such a way as to cause continuous annoyance to the public in any particular area. It is not reasonable to keep silent about these things, until some debate comes up here.

It will help everybody, and I think I told the same Deputy before that it would help everybody, if complaints of these things as they do occur would be put down and transmitted to us. We could then deal with a particular post or incident, or with a particular class of incident, but except these things, which are taken seriously by certain Deputies, are brought to our notice at the time and definite details are given, they do not help us to deal with disorders of that particular type in the most practical and direct way.

On a point of explanation, I have previously supplied information to the responsible officers and to the man responsible for the Command in that particular area. The case I cited to-day was one that came under my notice within the last couple of days, and I cited it to show that there has been no improvement in that direction and particularly no improvement in the control of ammunition. Such incidents, so far as I know, have been reported in the area, and it is impossible for a Deputy to report everything that occurs in his constituency.

A point is also mentioned about the payment of gratuities or grants to those people who have been killed by the Army. I do a lot of motoring personally through town, and I have motored through the country, and I do not know why it happened that I have not a bill for about ten dead people on my hands. Certainly if I had it would not be the fault of the military driver who was driving me. Things happened to me down the country that if an accident had happened and I had not been there, I would have found it very difficult to believe that my own man was not in fault. In the particular instance mentioned by the Deputy, it is hardly correct to say that it was as a result of furious driving on the part of the Army men concerned. In the matter of granting gratuities, so far as the Defence Department is concerned, it has no power to grant any gratuities. It has to submit the case to a higher financial court.

Can the Minister answer the question I put as to whether there is any right of appeal in connection with such ridiculous grants?

An appeal can be made, but whether there is any statutory right that will support an appeal in the matter I do not know, but it is always possible to appeal. In the matter of parading lorries and armed forces at the present time we have a very keen understanding of what should be done with regard to the display of military force, and the public is assured that no unnecessary provocative action will be taken on the part of the military authorities. In the matter of prisoners, the question was raised as to cost. The cost per prisoner kept at present, including the cost of his provisions, clothing, the cost of guards, censors, medical attendance, transport, fuel and light, the wear and tear of bedding and stores, and the damage to prison materials—taking all these into account, the cost of keeping a prisoner is about £53 per annum. In the matter of Army men and politics and elections, there are instructions that members of the Army shall not be members of any particular party, and shall not attend party meetings or shall not obtrusively be in any connection with the political parties at any time. In the matter of censorship of letters, it is occasionally necessary for us, but only in special circumstances, and only by special officers, as it were, to take, as a matter of military necessity, correspondence from the Postmaster-General. We realise the Postmaster-General's responsibility in the matter, and public right and necessity, but there have been certain occasions on which we have had, purely as a military necessity, to take certain correspondence. If there is any case such as mentioned, which does not look proper, it will be inquired into. We are quite as anxious as any Deputy here, or as any member of the public to safeguard the liberties of the people in the matter of their correspondence, and it is only the purest and gravest military necessity that would warrant interfering with them.

With regard to the question of passing over officers and men, and the question of their not being—apart altogether from their being old servants of the State— promoted according to their merits, there may be individual cases in which a man feels that he has not got promotion or the position he would wish to have, but the circumstances of the last 6 months have been such as to give every man an opportunity of showing what is in him, and they have been such as not to allow of any person responsible for getting the work done to turn aside from any good material that was there to be used. I am quite satisfied that in the matter of filling out the machinery of our present organisation that nothing has been left undone to put the best men in the most suitable positions.

In the matter of dependents' allowances, it is another matter that lends itself to the making of a considerable amount of complaint. Out of an Army that was 50,000, there are, at the present moment 27,000 dependents' allowance claims under payment. An additional 4,287 claims have been stopped as a result of discharges. There are at present under investigation 2,500 claims, and out of these only about 600 are claims more than a month old. A total of 5,347 cases of claims have been rejected, and inside these figures while there may be individual cases that have not had attention, it can hardly be said there are serious grounds for complaint.

Naturally, out of the 5,000 odd rejected claims there is material for keeping up a fairly good continuous complaint. In respect of the demolished barracks, the matter has been reviewed from the point of view of seeing what reconstruction has to be done, and the proposals in the matter will be put up to the Government before long. Generally, as far as the use of the Army at present is concerned, the reduction that we foreshadow in the gradual withdrawal from unnecessary or close contact with the position at the moment will give us a chance of training, that while we may reduce in numbers, we will not lessen our efficiency, or our possible effectiveness for dealing with any recurrence of the unfortunate destruction we have had.

There is one question I want an answer to, and which I put earlier to the Minister for Defence, and that is concerning the instructions given to officers who visit Co. Councils.

I replied to that point on the last occasion when I said, on this matter, that there is not at present anything contemplated in that particular direction, and that there will not be without a perfect understanding that such will be done. There is no definite scheme at present, and no definite scheme is being worked out, but we probably have, in things we have said from time to time, turned the minds of our officers and men in a constructive direction, and these inquiries are probably breaking out as a result.

Amendment put.
The Dáil divided: Tá, 13; Níl, 39.

  • Tomás de Nógla.
  • Riobárd Ó Deaghaidh.
  • Tomás Mac Eoin.
  • Seoirse Ghabháin Uí Dhubhthaigh.
  • Liam Ó Briain.
  • Tomás Ó Conaill.
  • Aodh Ó Cúlacháin.
  • Séamus Éabhróid.
  • Liam Ó Daimhín.
  • Seán Ó Laidhin.
  • Cathal Ó Seanáin.
  • Domhnall Ó Muirgheasa.
  • Risteárd Mac Fheorais.


  • Liam T. Mac Cosgair.
  • Seán Ó Maolruaidh.
  • Seán Ó Duinnín.
  • Mícheál Ó hAonghusa.
  • Domhnall Ó Mocháin.
  • Liam de Róiste.
  • Séamus Breathnach.
  • Pádraig Mag Ualghairg.
  • Seosamh Mac Suibhne.
  • Deasmhumhain Mac Gearailt.
  • Seán Ó Ruanaidh.
  • Risteárd Ó Maolchatha.
  • Pilib Mac Cosgair.
  • Domhnall Mac Cárthaigh.
  • Maolmhuire Mac Eochadha.
  • Sir Séamus Craig, Ridre, M.D.
  • Gearóid Mac Giobúin, K.C.
  • Liam Thrift.
  • Eoin Mac Néill.
  • Liam Mag Aonghusa.
  • Pádraig Ó hÓgáin.
  • Seosamh Ó Faoileacháin.
  • Seoirse Mac Niocaill.
  • Piaras Béaslaí.
  • Fionán Ó Loingsigh.
  • Séamus Ó Cruadhlaoich.
  • Criostóir Ó Broin.
  • Próinsias Bulfin.
  • Séamus Ó Dóláin.
  • Aindriú Ó Láimhín.
  • Próinsias Mag Aonghusa.
  • Eamon Ó Dúgáin.
  • Peadar Ó hAodha.
  • Séamus Ó Murchadha.
  • Seosamh Mac Giolla Bhrighde.
  • Liam Mac Sioghaird.
  • Tomás Ó Domhnaill.
  • Earnán de Blaghd.
  • Uinseann de Faoite.
The amendment was declared lost.
At this stage An Ceann Comhairle resumed the Chair.

Shall I put the main question now?

I object, unless we are to carry on for some time longer.