PUBLIC SAFETY (EMERGENCY POWERS) BILL, 1923. - IN COMMITTEE.

It shall be lawful for an Executive Minister to cause the arrest and, subject to the provisions of this Act, to order the detention in custody in any place in Saorstát Eireann of any person
(a) in respect of whom such Minister shall have received a report from a responsible officer that there is reasonable ground for suspecting such person of being or having been engaged or concerned in the commission of any of the offences mentioned in Part 1. of the Schedule to this Act, or
(b) in respect of whom such Minister shall have received a report from the responsible officer or from the military authorities that the detention of such person is a matter of military necessity in the present emergency, or
(c) in respect of whom such Minister shall have received a report from the military authorities that the public safety is endangered by such person being allowed to remain at liberty.

There is an amendment before Section 1.

The first amendment on the Paper in the name of Deputy Gavan Duffy is out of order. The statement that anything contained in an Act of the Oireachtas which may be found to contravene the terms of certain Articles of the Constitution shall be void and of no effect is simply a statement of fact. If the words on the Paper were accepted by the Committee, and if a new section were accordingly added to the Bill, the new section would not, in my judgment, effect any alteration in the Bill. The words suggested to be added to the Bill are not, therefore, an amendment.

With reference to that matter, may I put before you the reasons why I respectfully submit to the Chair this amendment is in order. These reasons depend upon the peculiar wording of our Constitution. I entirely accept the proposition that such an amendment would be out of order in a case where the Constitution would require specific legislation to alter it. On this point which you raise, incidentally there is raised a constitutional question of the first importance under Article 50 of our Constitution. That Article provides three things—first, that amendments of the Constitution within the terms of the Treaty may be made by the Oireachtas; secondly, that any such amendments, if passed after eight years from the date when the Constitution came into force, must be submitted to a Referendum; and thirdly, the immediately important thing which it provides is that any such amendments may be made within the said period of eight years—that is, the period we are now in—by way of ordinary legislation. I quite accept the proposition that when the Dáil passed Article 50 it had not the remotest intention of suggesting that the Legislature might amend the Constitution without legislation ad hoc; that it might amend the Constitution by passing an ordinary law. The effect of the words which we use when we speak of amending the Constitution by ordinary legislation may be to enable a Government or its Law Adviser to argue, and enable a Court to hold, that in any case where a Statute of this Oireachtas offends the Constitution as originally passed, so much of the Statute as offends that original Constitution must be interpreted as an amendment of the Constitution under Article 50. That would be a flimsy kind of way of getting over a difficulty, but one knows not what will be the Government or who its Law Adviser, or who the Judges, when this Act comes to be interpreted, and it is certainly open to argument by a slim lawyer that an Act which appears to offend against our Constitution must have been intended by the Oireachtas to amend the Constitution, in view of the fact that Article 50 says we may amend the Constitution within eight years by way of ordinary legislation. If that be so, and if it be possible for a Judge to decide that any Act which we pass, not intending to amend the Constitution, does in fact amend it, because it happens to contravene it, and because the Oireachtas cannot be supposed to wish to contravene the Constitution, then I submit it is necessary in a Statute of this kind to state beforehand that we do not intend to amend the Constitution by this Statute. There has been no hint of any official intention to amend the Constitution in introducing this measure. I submit, in these circumstances, in the face of the words “ordinary legislation,” whereby we are entitled to amend the Constitution under Article 50, if we intend to maintain that Constitution it is necessary to make our intention clear in a Bill of this kind. For those reasons I ask you to rule that the first amendment is in order.

I have already given consideration to the question which Deputy Gavan Duffy raises. I told the Deputy yesterday that I intended to rule this particular amendment out of order, and he made that point. I have given the point some consideration, and I am not prepared to alter my ruling that the amendment is out of order. We must assume that the Constitution is a fundamental matter in connection with which all legislation passed in this Dáil must be construed. If we departed from that in our rulings here, it would be difficult to know where we would be going. The amendment is, therefore, out of order.

I do not intend to suggest that your ruling is not quite correct. Supposing it would happen that any of the provisions of this or any other Act are not in conformity with the provisions of the Constitution, mentioned by Deputy Gavan Duffy, what, then, is the position? Are we to take it that these provisions of the Statute which are not in conformity are legally void, and have no effect?

Yes, if it is so decided. Article 65 of the Constitution says:—

"The Judicial Power of the High Court shall extend to the question of the validity of any Law having regard to the provisions of the Constitution. In all cases, in which such matters shall come into question, the High Court alone shall exercise original jurisdiction."

Therefore, if, as a matter of law, it is decided that any of the Sections of this Bill contravene the Constitution these Sections will become null and void.

Amendment 2. —With regard to this amendment I have pointed out to Deputy Gavan Duffy that before he proceeds to set up a Parliamentary Committee of certain named persons, we are entitled to know whether any of these persons is, in fact, willing to serve upon the proposed Parliamentary Committee, and if so, which of them? I understand Deputy Gavan Duffy is not in a position to give us that information, and the amendment is, therefore, not being moved. It would, of course, be in place in another part of the Bill if the information is forthcoming.

I am in the position to say that some of the gentlemen have consented, and I am in a position to move the amendment with some of the names. Deputies Sir James Craig, Richard Hayes, Patrick MacCartan and Senator Henry L. Barniville have consented to act upon the Commit tee. I have been unable to see the other medical gentleman named, so that I shall omit their names for the present.

Would the Deputy read the amendment as he now proposes to move it.

I propose to insert before Section 1 a new Sub-Section as follows:—

"Deputies Sir James Craig, Richard Hayes, and Patrick MacCartan, and Senator Henry L. Barniville, being the members of the medical and surgical professions in the Oireachtas, or such of them as shall be willing to act, are hereby constituted a Parliamentary Committee of inspection," etc.

The names read: Deputies Sir James Craig, Richard Hayes, and Patrick MacCartan, and Senator Henry L. Barniville, being the members of the medical and surgical profession, or such of them as shall be willing to act, are hereby constituted a Parliamentary Committee of Inspection. with such powers and duties, etc.

I do not think it needs very much argument to commend this proposal to the Dáil. For a very long time, Doctors and others, have been saying, and saying loudly, that there ought to be some method whereby medical men can have access to detention camps, both for the purposes of sanitary control, and for the purposes of matters affecting the health of prisoners. The Dáil is aware that at present no one, except the official doctors, have a right to visit a prison. If this Dáil determines that it must perpetuate a system of interning without trial, I think it is reasonable that the Dáil should, at the same time, make provision that persons whom we all hold in respect, and who are Deputies and representative public men, and who are members of the medical and surgical profession, should have the right as a Committee from this Dáil, to go to any place of detention, and inspect such place of detention and visit the prisoners. This amendment proposes that they should have the right, at any time, of free entry into such places and of visiting any persons detained therein. I should like to tell the Dáil there is nothing new in that. Under the Statutes appointing visiting justices to prisons, the justices are given precisely that power of visiting any prison within their jurisdiction, and of seeing any prisoners detained therein. It is not an unreasonable thing by any means. On the other hand it is a very necessary thing to secure, if you are to avoid the kind of complaint which inevitably comes out of prisons, that persons in the position of Doctors are not excluded from visiting them unless they be professional servants of the Government. I do not think there can be any objection to the names here proposed. I cannot conceive that there will be any objection to the principle that Deputies who are medical men should be allowed to see the prisoners in the prisons. Undoubtedly, it is a provision which the Dáil ought, in its own interest, if it proposes to proceed with the Bill introduced by the Government, to make sure to have inserted in this Bill. I do not mind much as to the wording. If the Minister accepts the amendment and wants a change of wording it is a simple matter, but I do ask that the principle should he accepted upon all sides of the House.

I do not propose to accept this amendment. Exception is not taken to the names, though I shall be glad to hear whether it is qua medical men and Deputies that people are to become members of this Committee, and if so, whether any medical man who becomes a Deputy would automatically become a member of the Committee. It is the principle that is objectionable. The Dáil set up an Executive Government, and imposed upon it certain responsibilities, and the net effect of this amendment is to vote no confidence in the Executive, and to take from the Executive the powers and the responsibilities which were, I hope after due consideration, entrusted to it. The Department of Government have at their disposal medical men in whom they have confidence. They report to their Departmental Heads upon all matters affecting the health of prisoners and the sanitation of the places of detention, whether prisons or camps. I submit that it is not right, and it is not wise, to ask this Vote of no confidence in these paid officers of the Government, and in the Minister or Ministers to whom they are responsible, and to place their official reports in the position of being criticised or countered by a Committee of this kind. It would be better to say broadly that Deputies do not believe that the Reports of the medical men in the service of the Government are reliable, and that they do not believe that they send, in fact, correct and truthful reports to their Ministers, than to say it in so many words by a resolution of this kind.

I desire to support Deputy Gavan Duffy's amendment which I do not think the Minister has treated as it ought to be treated. The Minister asks whether it is as Deputies, and as Medical Deputies, that the gentlemen mentioned are named in the amendment, and whether it is to be supposed that in future medical men, who happen to become members of the Oireachtas, would automatically become members of this committee. There is nothing in the amendment to suggest anything of the kind, and there is nothing to suggest an enlargement of the Committee at all. We know, even if we had not the assurance of the Minister, that there could be no reasonable objection to the personnel of the Committee nominated, and that the Minister's objection, as he says, is rather on principle. He says that the effect of carrying this amendment would be a vote of no-confidence in the Ministry. That is nonsense, and nothing but nonsense, because it would mean, if that line is to be pursued, that when the Ministry is pushed by the pretty strong opinion of the Dáil, or of the Oireachtas, it could hold up the whole business by saying, this is a vote of no-confidence. Surely, that is not the way that an Executive ought to treat its Parliament. I cannot see that there is any vote of no-confidence in this amendment at all. In ordinary times, for ordinary prisoners, and by the ordinary procedure, there were Visiting Justices whose duty it was to visit the prison, and to see how things were conducted and to take complaints, if complaints were made by the prisoners. Does anyone suggest for a moment that the fact that these bodies of Visiting Justices were in existence in the past, was an expression of no-confidence in the Government or the Executive or whatever you may call it that was in existence at the time. Of course, not. I suggest that the same applies in this case. If the Oireachtas has got any functions, one of these functions after setting up the Executive Council, is to keep control of that Executive Council, and to keep a check on that Executive Council. That is a thing that no Minister will deny, because it is the strictest Constitutional principle and practice. I can see nothing in Deputy Gavan Duffy's amendment except an effort to better things within the next few months, and to bring about an improvement on what has been going on in the last few months. We know perfectly well that the situation in the country is not all that it might have been. An effort is being made now to come back to normal. Even the Minister's own speeches in favour of this whole Bill had the tendency that it was exceptional legislation to tide over what might be called the transition period. I am of opinion that the tiding over, the going through, of that transition period, from a bad state into a better state when we may expect a resumption of normal activities, a resumption of normal legality and the normal workings of Government and law, should be made as easy as possible, and I submit to the Dáil that one of the things that would help to get through that period of transition easier, would be the adoption of some such proposal as that contained in this particular amendment because it would help considerably to bridge the gulf between the bullet period, so to speak, and the peaceful period that we at least hope for if we do not exactly anticipate.

I just wish to emphasise one point that has been made by the Deputy who has just spoken, and that is that the object in appointng the persons named for the purpose named is to keep control on the Executive Council. It is unnecessary for me to enlarge upon that. A Committee, of, I think, four persons is named, and the Dáil is asked to appoint a Committee of that kind to keep control on the Executive Council.

The argument of the Minister for Education——

I have not argued at all.

What I say is—that the argument of the Minister for Education is too subtle. He will not get anyone in the Dáil to believe that the purpose of appointing these gentlemen is that they should control the Executive Council, or check the Executive Council. The amendment proposes to set up a Parliamentary Committee, and that Parliamentary Committee like any other Parliamentary Committee has certain powers and duties. It is not right to say, or to suggest, that every time the Dáil sets up a Parliamentary Committee of inspection, that that Committee is going to have control, or to be a check on the Executive Council. It is as a matter of fact, a reporting body to the Oireachtas, and the Minister has not suggested that that is unnecessary. It is not to be entrusted with control of the Executive Council, and of itself it has not the power to check the Executive Council, but the results of its inspection and enquiry may or may not be such as to show to the Oireachtas that some check or some control in these things may be necessary to be exercised by the Oireachtas.

May I just say that I used no argument at all, nor did I make any suggestion, but as the Deputy has again spoken, I desire to again draw the attention of the Dáil to the Deputy's own words. His own words, as I noted them immediately after he had spoken them, were to keep a control on the Executive Council, and he added a word which he now feels to have been inconvenient, and that was to keep a check on the Executive Council. I do not know whether the Deputy was speaking his mind more clearly on the first occasion or on the second occasion. I leave it to the Dáil to decide, but the purpose for which he advocated this amendment was the purpose stated, to keep control on the Executive Council, and to keep a check on the Executive Council.

I said, and the Minister does not deny it, and no Minister can deny it, that if the Oireachtas has any functions at all, one of its functions is to keep a check and a control on the Executive Council.

And this is the means suggested for it.

And that, I repeat, is the strictest constitutional practice, and no Minister will get up and deny that that is so. But Ministers will get up and try to get out of the whole thing by another door altogether. One of the weaknesses, I think, of this particular Oireachtas is a weakness, perhaps inevitable in view of the situation through which we have been passing, and through the wrong line which certain people took, is that this Dáil, or the whole Oireachtas, has not been careful enough in carrying out its constitutional function of keeping a check on the Executive Council.

I have to admit that I did not read this amendment until I came into the Dáil. As a matter of fact, Deputy Gavan Duffy spoke to me when I came in and I did not know at the moment to what he was referring. I have no desire in the wide world that my name should be associated with any amendment which could be construed as a want of confidence in the Government or in the Executive Council. Deputy Gavan Duffy did ask me a few days ago if I would have any objection to visit the prisons or internment camps if I were asked and I said I should not. That means that I would have no objection whatsoever if the Executive Council asked me to visit them to report upon them. I look on the matter in this way the Executive Council have a decided duty towards the prisoners. These prisoners may be unwilling guests, but they are guests all the same, and the Executive Council have a duty to see that their health is not impaired or their lives jeopardised by any insanitary conditions. If these insanitary conditions were known to exist then I think Deputy Gavan Duffy would be quite right in pressing the amendment he has down here; if, on the other hand, we are told by the Executive that insanitary conditions do not exist, and that there is no jeopardising of the health or life of the prisoners or of the people in the neighbourhood, supposing an epidemic of some infectious disease were to start, then I do not think we have any right to press on the Government the necessity for any further inquiry into the matter. Let me say again that, so far as I am personally concerned, if the Executive Council had asked me, with others, to inspect the prisons or the internment camps I should have been very glad to do so, but I have no desire in any way to be associated with an amendment that would seem to indicate a want of confidence in the Executive Council.

Before the amendment goes any further I should say that I understood from Deputy Gavan Duffy that he had the consent of Deputy Sir James Craig to use his name in connection with this Committee, and, of course, in connection with the amendment. Is that so?

I suppose it was my fault that I did not inquire what the meaning was, but Deputy Gavan Duffy certainly asked me would I have any objection to serve on a Committee to inspect the prisons and I said no, but I did not inquire sufficiently into the matter at the time to make it clear.

But you are asked to serve on this Committee?

I would not serve if the Government assumed that this is a want of confidence in them.

You should leave it to the Dáil to decide.

When it is proposed to appoint a Committee we cannot have persons names proposed unless it can be ascertained that these persons are willing to act. The question for Deputy Sir James Craig is whether or not his name remains in this amendment. He may rule that himself.

May I ask to have my name removed, then?

Certainly. Is the Deputy's name to be removed, then?

I am asking permission to do that.

Very good. Now, perhaps Deputy Gavan Duffy will inform us whether or not the other persons named, Deputy Richard Hayes, Deputy MacCartan and Senator Barniville have seen this amendment and consented to act on the Committee which the amendment proposed to set up.

I cannot say that they have all seen the actual words of the amendment but Deputy Doctor MacCartan certainly has. I asked Dr. Barniville and Deputy Hayes, and although I do not think he has seen the actual words, he agreed with the proposal.

I told Deputy Gavan Duffy yesterday that unless we got an assurance that the persons named in the amendment were willing to act it would be better to leave over the amendment. The amendment is one which could be moved in a different place in the Bill. It could be moved at a later stage in Committee even, and I suggested to Deputy Gavan Duffy that he should ascertain whether or not these people are willing to act and then arrange with me to move his amendment at a later point in the Bill, inserting the names of persons who have been ecquainted and for whom he could speak. It appears to me that that has not been done, and I think we are not in a position to continue the discussion of the amendment now.

May I point out with reference to what Deputy Sir James Craig has said, that the only reason why he wishes to withdraw his name is because this is being taken as a reflection upon the Executive Council, not because he did not approve of the principle originally. It is on account of something which has arisen in the course of the debate. I was very careful not to say anything which would introduce prejudice into this matter, and it is on account of something that has happened subsequently that the Deputy has asked to have his name removed.

Have the other gentlemen whose names have been mentioned yet been informed that the Executive Council would take the setting up of this Committee as a vote of no confidence in them?

The question of order is quite simple. When a Committee of the whole Dáil, or when the Dáil itself, is asked to appoint certain persons on a Committee the Deputy who moves for such an appointment should be able to assure the Dáil that the persons whose names appear on the motion are willing to act, unless in certain cases where our own Standing Orders prescribe that a Deputy may be discharged from attendance and another Deputy substituted. That is not the case here, and it would have been much better had my original suggestion been adopted by Deputy Gavan Duffy, that the whole matter be postponed until full information was available. It cannot be gone on with now.

I suggest that the amendment itself says "or such of them as shall be willing to act."

Deputy Davin did not note the change. These words have been struck out by Deputy Gavan Duffy.

One of the Deputies whose name has been mentioned, has not been in this House for a considerable time.

I fail to understand why this matter is not simple. The words of which Deputy Davin speaks have been struck out by Deputy Duffy himself.

I did not know that.

The amendment is out of order, and cannot be further considered.

Can the matter be brought up at another stage of this question so as to clear it up, as it has not been voted on yet.

If Deputy Gavan Duffy brings up the matter to me again I will consider that.

Amendment by

"To delete paragraphs (a), (b), and (c), and to substitute therefor the following words:— `who is suspected of acting, or of having acted, or of being about to act, or of being capable of acting, or of cherishing a secret desire to act in any manner prejudicial to the public interest, as understood by such Minister.' ”

This amendment seems to me to be offered in a spirit of derision. It does not aim at amending the Bill, and the amendment is out of order.

I quite admit that the amendment is not wholly free from a spirit of derision, but at the same time——

Very good. That ends it.

Am I not entitled——

No, the Deputy cannot continue.

On a point of order——

I shall not hear any points of order on the amendment. Deputy Gavan Duffy must sit down. I have ruled this amendment is out of order, because it is offered in a spirit of derision. The Deputy admitted that he has put the amendment on the Paper as such. I shall hear no further discussion in the matter.

I desire to say——

No; I shall not hear Deputy Gavan Duffy. This amendment is out of order on Deputy Gavan Duffy's own showing and I shall not hear him. I have been told by Deputy Johnson that amendment No. 4 is not to be moved.

I move: "To delete paragraph (b).” The Section gives power to the Executive Minister to cause the arrest or detention of people in respect of certain reports from responsible officers. In paragraph (a) the report has to deal with persons who are suspected of being or having been engaged in the commission of offences specified in Part 1 of the Schedule. Paragraph (b), the deletion of which I am moving, deals with the detention of such persons as a matter demanded by military necessity. I submit military necessity can only refer to armed revolt, or to things that would partake of the nature of armed revolt. These things, I think, are fairly covered in Part 1 of the Schedule, which says “an armed revolt against the Government of Saorstát Eireann; threatening, coercing, assaulting or attempting to threaten, coerce or assault any person in furtherance of any such revolt; destroying, damaging or removing, or attempting to destroy, damage or remove any property in furtherance of any such revolt.” I claim that paragraph (a) sufficiently covers the powers sought for by the Minister. Under paragraph (a) what is defined as a responsible officer can report that he has reasonable ground for suspecting certain people of being engaged in or concerned in the commission of some of the things which I have just read out. How does that differ from the matters referred to in paragraph (b), where the detention of such persons is demanded on the ground of military necessity? I think (b) is wider in certain respects than (a). I think it is so wide and so undefined that it is not a safe proposition at all. No one will deny the Executive Council or an Executive Minister such powers as are necessary in cases of military necessity. Military necessity is defined in the Schedule, and it is provided for in paragraph (a), but over and above that the Minister wants power for an Executive Minister or for a responsible officer, or the military authorities simply to say that even if citizens are not caught within the trap of paragraph (a) they can still be caught within the trap of paragraph (b), on the mere argument of military necessity.

Mr. O'HIGGINS

Section (a) defines that a person may be arrested and detained in custody "in respect of whom such Minister shall have received a report from a responsible officer that there is reasonable ground for suspecting such person of being, or having been, engaged or concerned in the commission of any of the offences mentioned in Part I. of the Schedule." The offences mentioned in Part I. of the Schedule are: "An armed revolt against the Government of Saorstát Eireann; threatening, coercing, assaulting or attempting to threaten, coerce or assault any person in furtherance of such revolt; destroying, damaging or removing or attempting to destroy, damage or remove any property in furtherance of any such revolt." Section (b) asks power also to detain people in respect of whom a report has been received that their detention is a matter of military necessity in the present emergency. There are people, and possibly they are amongst the most dangerous, who do not place themselves open to the suspicion of having been engaged or concerned in the commission of definite acts, and yet it can well be conceived that the detention of such persons may be considered a matter of military necessity. It might be invidious to give examples, but the people who have done the most harm for the past twelve months are not the people who themselves were concerned or engaged in the commission of acts of destruction. People who have gone around the country inciting young boys and young girls to the most wanton and the most criminal acts did not themselves take part in these acts. It is to be presumed that they considered their lives had a special value for this country; that they must in no circumstances be put to the hazard, but that the cannon fodder whom they used as material were of a different kind from them. Section (a) as I read it covers only people who are active, or reasonably suspected of being active. Section (b) covers a very different class of person, but whose detention might well be conceived to be at least as necessary as those covered by Section (a).

I think the Minister if he reads the three paragraphs will find that the people he wants to get at will be brought within a fairly wide net in paragraph (c). It reads: "In respect of whom such Minister shall have received a report from the responsible officer or from the military authorities that the public safety is endangered by such person being allowed to remain at liberty." I think that fairly covers the class of people that he wants to get at on the lines he has just been mentioning. It seems to me that to maintain paragraph (b) in the Section is going a little beyond the intention of the Bill, to put it at its best. In (a) and (c) the Minister has got plenty of power to do what he says he wants to do. In addition to all those powers he wants—and I hope he does not want it merely because it will enable Courts to say that the matter is now in a statute—further power on the ground of military necessity. I would urge upon him to accept the amendment and to confine his powers to the powers given in paragraphs (a) and (c).

Mr. O'HIGGINS

I am not convinced by the Deputy's argument. Paragraph (b) of that Section has a definite value. The situation in the country may improve progressively. On the other hand it may improve progressively, say over large areas, and remain bad in other areas. We must have that power if the situation in a particular county or a particular area demands it—the power of arrest without cause stated or even without cause shown. The Deputy will understand me when I say he might have normal or even sub-normal conditions through large tracts of the country and have a very lively situation amounting to a state of war in a particular area. In such an event we would claim the power and the right, and we ask the Dáil to endorse it, of arrest and detention of certain persons without cause shown to a Court or to the Advisory Committee mentioned in the Bill. In the case of the arrest of such persons it would be definitely stated that their arrest was made on military grounds and as a matter of military necessity.

In Section (a) the matter would be on a different footing; we would have to show that there was reasonable grounds or suspicion to justify arrest or detention of such persons. Section (c) is also a matter showing justification. Section (b) is meant to deal solely with the military position in the fullest sense. The Deputy will tell me that such powers exist ipso facto where there is a state of war. But you are dealing with what may prove to be a patchwork position. You cannot legislate for the kind of patchwork situation that may develop in the country. A clause saying that arrest and detention may be justified on grounds of military necessity is asked for in the Bill and I think it ought to be given.

Amendment put.
The Dáil divided: Tá, 12; Níl, 45.

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

Níl

  • Liam T. MacCosgair.
  • Donchadh Ó Guaire.
  • Gearóid Ó Súileabháin.
  • Uáitéar Mac Cumhaill.
  • Seán Ó Maolruaidh.
  • Seán Ó Duinnín.
  • Mícheál Ó hAonghusa.
  • Domhnall Ó Mocháin.
  • Deasmhumhain Mac Gearailt.
  • Seán Ó Ruanaidh.
  • Mícheál de Duram.
  • Seán Mac Garaidh.
  • Risteárd Ó Maolchatha.
  • Pilib Mac Cosgair.
  • Domhnall Mac Cárthaigh.
  • Maolmhuire Mac Eochadha.
  • Sir Séamus Craig, Ridire, M.D.
  • Gearoid Mac Giobúin, K.C.
  • Liam Thrift.
  • Eoin MacNeill.
  • Liam Mag Aonghusa.
  • Pádraig Ó hÓgáin.
  • Pádraic Ó Máille.
  • Seosamh Ó Faoileacháin.
  • Seoirse Mac Niocaill.
  • Fionán Ó Loingsigh.
  • Seamus Ó Cruadhlaoich.
  • Criostóir Ó Broin.
  • Risteárd Mac Liam.
  • Caoimhghin Ó hUigín.
  • Proinsias Bulfin.
  • Seumas Ó Dóláin.
  • Aindriú Ó Laimhin.
  • Liam Ó hAodha.
  • Proinsias Mac Aonghusa.
  • Eamon Ó Dúgain.
  • Peadar Ó hAodha.
  • Seumas Ó Murchadha.
  • Seosamh Mac Giolla Bhrighde.
  • Liam Mac Sioghaird.
  • Tomás Ó Domhnaill.
  • Earnán de Blaghd.
  • Uinseann de Faoite.
  • Domhnall Ó Broin.
  • Seamus de Burca.
Amendment declared lost

I beg to move Amendment 6:—

In paragraph (b), line 51, after the word "emergency" to insert the words "for reasons stated in the report."

The object of the amendment is to compel the person authorising the arrest to certify exactly why he is doing so. As the paragraph stands, it is much too wide. It is much too easy to say that a person is dangerous without saying why he is dangerous.

Mr. O'HIGGINS

I cannot accept this amendment, but I trust I will be able to satisfy the Deputy as to the reasons for the refusal. I would accept, for instance, Amendment No. 8, because that deals with paragraph (c). The amendment which the Deputy now moves deals with (b) and paragraph (b) is intended to cover military necessity—a state of war or armed revolt, whether strictly local or general—and military necessity—a state of war or armed revolt —absolutely excludes inquiry. It vests in the military authorities the power of and discretion as to arrest and detention, and rules out the possibility of inquiry by the Court. Military necessity is a temporary matter. There can be inquiry when it ends, but while it lasts there can be no inquiry. It would be worse than futile to insert in connection with paragraph (b) that the reasons for the arrest and detention must be stated in the report, seeing that the whole tenour and intent of that Sub-Section is bearing on a military situation, which the Courts have always held themselves debarred from inquiring into. I will accept Amendment 8.

The statement that has been made by the Minister rather shows that this Sub-Section (b), or at least paragraph (b), is unnecessary. He has contended that this deals only with the case of military necessity. I think, elsewhere, he has stated in the same Bill that the Executive Minister is not to withdraw from the military authorities the power which they already have in excess of military necessity. He is asking us in this Section to duplicate the power which the military authorities already have and to hand similar powers over to an Executive Minister without defining which Executive Minister. He asked also that that Minister may have power to place in custody any person in respect of whom such Minister shall have received a report from the military authorities that his detention is a matter of military necessity. Surely, the whole case for the power that has already been exercised by the military authorities is that they did not require the sanction or approval of the Minister. Military necessity justified it all. The argument of the Minister would quite well justify a motion to delete this paragraph (b) entirely. But the Amendment that is moved simply asks that that Minister, if he is going to have these powers, should not have them unless the military authorities who ought to make representations to the Minister, can state the reasons. That is at least as important in paragraph (b) as in paragraph (c). The Minister has to decide. He may be a Minister under this Section who knows nothing at all about military affairs. Any Executive Minister receiving representation from a military officer that any person should be detained as a matter of military necessity may order it. The powers sought for in this are entirely too great to be handed over to any Executive Minister. It is surely bad enough when we have to admit in times of military necessity, and in a case of military necessity the military have been given these powers. To come again and to ask that the Executive Minister may cause the arrest and detention of a person because the Military officer or the Military Authority, who already had the power to arrest and to detain and do what they will, should send representations to an Executive Minister to have the same power to detain without giving any reason, is asking the Dáil to do more, I think, than the Dáil should do. It seems to be a very simple request that if the military did not feel justified in arresting and detaining under the powers which they already have, and which you do not intend to remove from them, that if they do not feel justified in acting on those powers, and they want to cover their responsibilities by asking the Minister to order their arrest, that they ought, at least, to state the grounds why they desire such arrest and detention. One has the right to assume that the military authorities refrain from exercising their powers in such cases of military necessity. They hesitate in that way and desire rather the cover of the civil administrator that they should satisfy that administrator with reasons stated. The Minister did admit that such a Minister may arrest persons who are at present at liberty, and that he shall require that the reasons shall be stated is also, to my mind, an admission that such reason ought to be given in respect of those whom they desire to detain as a matter of military necessity. There is obviously here a way of allowing the military to relieve themselves of certain responsibility and to hand over that responsibility to the Minister, and such a Minister may accede to the request of the military authorities without any reason being stated but simply that it is military necessity. To me it is quite an obvious deduction that if it is a matter of military necessity there is no need for them to go to an Executive Minister for the powers to do that which they claim and have been acting upon—the claim which they already have. The least that we ought ask for is that the reasons should be stated when any representations of that kind are made to the Minister.

Mr. O'HIGGINS

We could talk abstractions and split hairs on this matter indefinitely. But Deputies should realise that we are endeavouring to deal with an agreed situation, and that there are at the moment all the elements in the country which could create at any time a strictly military situation in, say Ballymacslattery, while the rest of the country slumbers in peace. We are endeavouring to pass out of a military situation, and it is not a duplicating of powers but the explicit preservation of the powers of the military in the event of a military situation arising that is sought. What we want is the explicit reservation of the powers of the military. I am advised that such an explicit preservation is necessary, lest the Courts should think that in legislating along the lines of this Bill that we are thereby depriving or seeking to deprive the military of the fullest powers in order to deal with situations that may arise. You may have in the country a patchwork situation. There are arms and explosives stored in various parts of the country and a purely localised military situation may arise. The military in that area must have power to make arrests, and not only to make arrests but to have the power of detention, into the legality of which the Courts may not inquire while that situation continues. It might well be that the persons arrested within the zone of a military situation might be sent elsewhere for detention, and what we are asking is that it should be made clear within this Bill that once an arrest is based upon military necessity the Courts should not hold themselves entitled to inquire into the legality of these arrests. This is important by reason of military necessity. The person arrested may be sent into a more peaceable area for detention. The arrest was made because a military situation existed within a certain area.

If Deputies will come down to bedrock and take cognisance of the facts throughout the country—the facts within their own knowledge—they will realise that we ought not to legislate in any way that might be interpreted hereafter as depriving the military of all or any of the powers they ought to have in dealing with the state of war or armed revolt, remembering that a state of war or armed revolt may be confined to a very small area indeed, and it might take place at a time when it would be difficult to convince any Court that the country generally was in a condition of war or armed revolt. You may have purely localised difficulties and situations. In such a situation the military ought not to feel themselves fettered or hampered in the making of arrests, and the Courts ought not to hold themselves free to inquire into the legality of acts committed by the military in such a situation. That is all that particular Sub-section is intended to provide for.

Amendment 5, which was to delete paragraph (b), was lost. The last two speeches have been directed towards the question of the deletion of the paragraph. Amendment 6 deals with a more restricted matter, and I would like arguments to be directed towards that amendment specifically.

It is to be presumed that the powers to be exercised by the Minister arising out of this military necessity would bring with them, I think, a new definition of military necessity if the Minister's arguments are correct. Now, the amendment would help the military to make that new definition of military necessity. I can conceive in a certain area a number of military officers receiving reports that a particularly emotional person at one or two meetings made some thrilling speeches threatening all sorts of things in the district or parish if certain things were or were not done, if the amendment were accepted declaring those statements to constitute military necessity. Everybody in the Dáil knows that there is at certain times a certain value to be put on certain statements; at other times a different value would be put upon similar statements. I can see that such statements would not in any ordinary reasonable person's mind constitute a real threat against the peace and would not, except by a very long stretch of a local officer's imagination, constitute a military necessity. If the amendment were agreed to and made part of the paragraph, such a claim as I have outlined when military necessity exists, would have to be stated by the military authorities to the Minister, and the Minister would be able to judge from other sources whether there was validity in the claim of the military that necessity existed. I could conceive other cases where it sometimes happens, even in the best regulated and most courageous and coolest commands, that people occasionally get the wind up. A case of ordinary shooting, not normally to be considered anything like a revolt against the State, could take place, and it could be claimed by the local military that it constituted a threat and such a breach of the peace as to bring about a military necessity. We could instance numerous cases like that; but in any of those cases, if the amendment were accepted, those reasons would require to be stated. A district might be quite peaceable with no particular incident happening in it, and there might be nothing except the bare statement of the military that a military necessity existed in the district, parish or county. On that bare statement any Executive Minister would be entitled to take action for detention. The Minister says he is advised that he requires explicit preservation of the powers of the military in the Bill; but has he not got the powers? The amendment is quite a reasonable one in my opinion, because it merely asks from the military some justification for their asking the civil authorities to exercise this power. It should not be in the power of any Executive Minister to accept the bare statement of the military authorities that in their opinion a military necessity exists in the district.

The desire of the Executive is to retain the fullest possible power to make use of its military weapon to deal with the present situation. We do not want a new definition of military necessity. The Dáil is quite aware as to what military necessity is when we come up against it. We quite accept the definition of military necessity that the last speaker quoted for us—that is, armed revolt and things that would partake of the nature of armed revolt. Where you have a situation in the country that you have here when you are passing definitely from a position of very serious armed revolt, when you have a considerable number of arms scattered throughout the country, when you have a considerable amount of information as to what is passing underground amongst those people who have dumped their arms, the Executive cannot tie its hands in any way from utilising at least the full prerogative that has already been authorised to the military force. We are, as we have said, desirous of passing from a situation in which you will have to make use of military force to a situation that will be completely in the hands of the civil authorities. But we would prejudice the passing from one position to another if we allowed ourselves to be obstructed in any way, or if we gave any loophole at any critical time that would prevent the military force from being used. The situation has been such that the fullest possible use of the military force has unrestrictedly been made available as far as the power to use it goes, and it would be a serious disadvantage in a particular case if, in making use of the powers that derive to the Executive in the case of military necessity, you had to explain or make a statement as to why you considered that this was a special case of military necessity. It is the desire of the Executive, dealing in the most satisfactory way with the situation, not to prejudice itself when it realises that a military situation exists and to be in a position of doing anything it sets itself to do in a matter of military necessity, and that the military authorities have full power to act in their own particular way.

The Minister for Home Affairs, in submitting arguments for his opposition to this amendment, said that they were endeavouring to pass out of the military situation. Now the Minister for Defence comes along and states that the Executive are anxious to retain the fullest possible power to use the military weapon to deal with the situation. The two statements appear to be conflicting to an extent, at any rate. If they are not, there is certainly a very patent desire on the part of the Executive Council not to divorce itself from the power of military domination in dealing with the position that is now normal at any rate. The Minister for Home Affairs also said it would be well that Deputies, in speaking to this amendment, should confine themselves to facts within their own knowledge. Now, about six weeks ago I had occasion in my own area to enquire into the reasons for a number of arrests. I saw the local officers when I was down there, and may I say there was a change of officers about the time these arrests took place. I was personally acquainted with one individual who rendered very useful service, and held a very prominent position in the I.R.A. during the Anglo-Irish War. I had full knowledge of his movements, and had good reason to know that he had nothing whatsoever to do with any kind of opposition to the present Government. He was approached, at the beginning of the outbreak in June last year, to fight on the Irregular side, and he said quite frankly to the alleged leader of the Irregulars that at the time he took an oath to the Republic he never took an oath to shoot his neighbours. Now, this particular alleged leader was arrested about six weeks ago, and when arrested he was got in possession of notices ordering his neighbours not to pay their dog licences, whereas he himself had a receipt in his pocket for the payment of his own dog licence. When brought to the military barrack he made a number of statements against other people who did not follow his own lead, and upon the statement of that individual a number of law-abiding people, including the individual I refer to, was arrested. I went into the matter very closely, both locally with the military officers and in Portobello, and one of the reasons given for this other man's arrest was that he was six months on the run. Now, everybody in the area knew quite well that the man was living in his own house for six months, and was quite accessible to the military, who were as well aware of his movements as anybody else. I think an amendment of the kind proposed here would provide against a repetition of such arrests by the military authorities, and if individuals are arrested upon silly pretexts of that kind, they will at least be in a position to see who is the person who gave the information for their arrest and in support of their detention. After all, one has got to consider that there are a large number of men in prison at present on suspicion; it is admitted on all sides by members of the Executive Council; and when you consider that there are such men in prison, you have to consider the effect of their arrest and detention upon their relatives, and in some cases there is no genuine reason for their arrest. It is not only upon the individual himself that the effect will be caused; it will go right down through the family, and will bring in a number of people in opposition to the activities of the Government who otherwise would not be influenced in that direction. If reports, therefore, are available from the military authorities giving the reasons and the grounds for the arrest of the people, then it will be seen by the military headquarters that a case such as I refer to should not be relied upon, and should not be a reason for detention any longer than necessary of individuals such as I refer to. That is a case I know of my own personal knowledge, in which a number of wrongful arrests have taken place simply because of the spite of a local Irregular against a man because he would not follow his particular views. There may be many such cases, and I think it is desirable, in the interests of good government, that individuals of that kind should not be detained upon the questionable information of people who might be rightly arrested themselves.

The Minister for Defence objects to the proposed amendment on the ground that it would obstruct the military. One should not be surprised to hear that objection, because it is the same objection that is made by the military chiefs in every part of the world where there is trouble. What, after all, is he asked to do? He is asked to consent to put into a private report the reasons justifying the detention of A.B. as a military necessity; that is all he is asked to do. The matter has a bearing upon another section which the Minister may have overlooked. It has a bearing upon the question of appeal. I consider the Appeal Committee here proposed to be nugatory, but I am in hopes that it will be changed before this Bill is finished, and that is why I allude to the matter. If the amendment proposed is accepted the Appeal Committee before whom men detained on military advice may come will have some little thing to go on; it will have the reasons alleged by the military authorities for the arrests to go upon. If the amendment is not accepted what will the Appeal Committee have? As far as I can see, the Appeal Committee will have absolutely nothing except the statement that Mr. A.B.'s detention was a matter of military necessity. Sub-section (2) of Section 4 makes provision for an appeal by a person detained by order of an Executive Minister or by the military authorities. So it is intended that persons detained by the military authorities shall have this right of appeal. But, suppose anyone takes the trouble to go before the Appeal Council after having been detained by the military authorities, what happens then? It is true the Minister has to make regulations, but there is nothing to indicate that he will make regulations compelling the military authorities to disclose their minds to the Appeal Council. That point was made perfectly clear by the Minister for Defence. What will happen, then, before the Appeal Council? The Minister for Defence or his representative will hand in his certificate saying A.B. is detained as a matter of military necessity in the present emergency, and that will close the matter. If the case of A.B. were to go before a Law Court, and if the Minister were entitled to intern on a vague reason of that kind, the Court would say, "We cannot go behind the Minister's certificate." The Court would decide that the case of A.B.'s detention was a matter of military necessity, and that they could go no further. But how much more will the Appeal Council. which is not a judicial body, be bound by the Minister's certificate to that effect? If the Appeal Council is nugatory now it will be much more nugatory if the cases of persons detained by the military as a matter of military necessity are not safeguarded in such a way that the detained person can find out what he is detained for, and that the Appeal Council can find out what he is detained for. It is not clear under this Bill whether a detained person is expected to prove his case before a case is proved against him before the Appeal Council, but if he has to prove nothing, if he only knows that he is detained in general terms on the grounds of military necessity, some such words as are proposed by the Deputy who moved this amendment are obviously essential. The words are essential if you are going to give the Appeal Council any power to make a real inquiry as to the detention of a person who, the military authorities say, has been interned on the grounds of military necessity. If you are going to set up an Appeal Council you must give that Council the right to inquire whether or not there is any military necessity for the detention of such a person. Otherwise, why appoint an Appeal Council? Is it unreasonable to ask that the Appeal Council should have the right to know exactly why so and so has been detained? If it is, they cannot decide his case, because with the Bill as drafted, and without this amendment, they will have nothing to go on except the mere statement that the military authorities consider that the man should be detained as a matter of military necessity, and the military refuse to say anything more. The result of that will be that the Appeal Council, in effect, will find themselves debarred from giving any judgment upon the case except that the man is properly detained because the military authorities say so. Surely that is not the intention of the Government, and surely they intend the Appeal Council to be able to make a real investigation in the case. If they do they must put something in the Bill to show that they intend to do that; they must put some words in the Bill giving the Appeal Council the power and the possibility of investigation which it does not get under the Bill as drawn.

I am happy to think that I am strengthened in my opinion with regard to the attitude we should take up by the opinion expressed by Deputy Gavan Duffy, that the same provisions as we propose were made by military authorities in all parts of the world. Many aspects of the present situation, however, were rushed upon us, so that we could not consider the experience in other parts of the world, and we had simply to deal with circumstances as they arose according to our own judgment of them and our own common sense. With regard to the Appeal Council, it is not a Council to which the Government will appeal to allow them to retain this, that or the other prisoner. This Appeal Council is the Council to which a prisoner, held for any reason, may make an appeal as to why he should or should not be detained. It seems to be in Deputy Gavan Duffy's mind that the Appeal Council, in this particular case, would be provided with such material as would enable it to try the Government in the matter, and not the prisoner. The Appeal Council, if presented with a case that a prisoner is interned because of military necessity, will approach that particular case from that particular point of view, and will take any statement the prisoner has to make in regard to his own connections or take his appeal and consider it as a whole. If there is an appeal then to the Minister for Home Affairs, and if there are any representations made to him, you will have his opinion as well as the opinion of the Minister for Defence in deciding whether the appeal is such as would warrant release or further detention.

What material will the Minister for Defence present after that?

The Minister for Defence will present them with the fact that here is a prisoner that the military authorities have recommended to be interned as a matter of military necessity.

I hope the Minister for Defence will pardon me if I remind him that he is speaking here as the Minister for Defence, and not as the head of the Army.

I never lose sight of that fact, and I hope the Dáil generally understands it.

I am quite sure of that; but when the Minister defended the action of the military chiefs in Ireland by a reference to the military chiefs in all parts of the world he spoke of "we." I think we of the Dáil ought to remember that the very existence of an Assembly of this kind owes its origin and continuation to the necessity for defending the citizen against the Executive and against the military chiefs. That is the very reason for the existence of Parliament. The case made in favour of the amendment seems to me to be supported by every speech that has been made in defence of the Bill as it stands. The amendment asks that any report which the military authorities may submit to the Minister regarding the detention of a person, whose detention in the minds of the military authorities is a matter of military necessity, shall contain reasons why such a person should be arrested. That is a very mild and simple request. It is not asking that you should be able to produce proof that would satisfy a Judge and a Court as to the guilt of such person. That is not the claim made in the amendment at all. It is that when a report is made some reasons shall be given. There may be reasons, very blunt and very crude. They may be very unsatisfactory reasons to everybody else but the Minister who is appealed to, but at least they will be reasons that will, at some future time, be capable of being referred to, and that is an important matter. There should be at least some statement in support of the detention of the prisoner as to why representations have been made that he should be arrested. What is meant by a report? It is simply a formal demand that such a prisoner shall be arrested. It cannot be that, because the military, presumably, will be the persons arresting. Surely the very sense of the paragraph itself, which speaks of a report from the military authorities would be presumed to state some reasons? Otherwise it would be better to say a demand or a request. I think my memory serves me well when I recall that the President for one, and other Ministers also, I think, have made it clear—have assured the Dáil time after time—that amongst those who have been arrested and detained in the past months there is scarcely one against whom there is not good and sufficient reasons for his detention, though not, perhaps, evidence which would justify a conviction in a court. In several cases we have been assured that there are good and sufficient reasons which justify detention. All we desire, in this amendment, at any rate, is that some reasons should be stated for the arrest and continued detention. No, that is not even what we are asking. We are asking that when, at the instigation of the military authorities, an Executive Minister shall order an arrest and detention, the Minister shall have some reasons stated to him. One would think that the Minister would require to have some reasons stated before he would accede to such a demand. Surely we are not to accept the view that Ministers are to refuse to order the detention of a person when such a detention is demanded by the military authorities without having some grounds for refusing to detain, and in such a case will they not look for reasons? Similarly, when a Minister is asked to consent to the arrest and detention he will, I have no doubt, if he intends to maintain his position as a Minister, require that some reasons shall be stated. The Minister for Defence, if he is the Minister indicated, will require to have some reasons stated by the subordinate military officer. I shall be surprised to learn that he intends to require the arrest and detention of a man without having some reason. Are we justified in saying that no military officer is capable of allowing other reasons than military necessity to influence him? Even if there were one per cent. of possibilities of that, it would justify a requirement that a reason should be stated before such military officer would demand of a Minister that a particular citizen should be arrested and detained. Deputy Gavan Duffy had called attention to the fact that a later section provides for the establishment of an Appeal Council, and this Appeal Council is to be set up to inquire into the case of any detained person who applies, and report the result of their inquiries. The first thing the Appeal Council would ask, I would imagine, would be, "Why has this man been detained?" and would naturally look for the report for the grounds of his detention. It may be that such a person was known to associate with some other person. It may be that the military authorities had grounds for suspecting that such a person might be dangerous. Even those would be reasons stated as required by the amendment. But at least there could surely be no objection to asking that a Minister, before consenting to the arrest of a citizen of this State and the detention of such a citizen at the request or the demand of the military authorities, should require from those military authoriies some semblance of a reason. The Bill, if allowed to pass in its present form, will mean that all that is required is for a military officer to demand that such a person shall be arrested, and that the Minister then may refuse without justification, or may consent without justification. He may refuse without a reason having been given him as to why the arrest should have been demanded, or may consent to the arrest without a reason having been given him by the military authorities. I would ask the Minister to reconsider his attitude on this. There is nothing that I can see which would justify the acceptance of this provision under paragraph (c), which does not apply in equal strength to the claim for a report to be presented in paragraph (b). I think, as a matter of fact, that it is in the interests of the Ministers—it is at least some protection for the Ministers— that they should be satisfied that the military authorities have some grounds, however slight, for calling for the arrest and detention of any person; and, as I have already said, in so far as those who have been arrested in the past have been detained, every statement made by Ministers has assured us that there have been good reasons for their detention—not evidence of guilt which could be proved in court, but at least grounds for detention. All that is asked in this amendment is that these grounds shall be stated. I do not think that there is any reasonable objection to the inclusion of that amendment in the Bill.

Mr. O'HIGGINS

I might simplify this matter by taking a concrete case. Let us assume that within the six months which constitute the lifetime of this Bill the country generally has passed into a situation in which the Courts are prepared to say definitely that a state of war or armed revolt does not exist, and let us assume that after that time a military situation does arise in some Command—Athlone, let us say—localised to that Command area or even to a small portion of it, and the military authorities in that area take action in the course of which arrests are made. Prisoners, possibly, are sent up from that small area to Dublin or elsewhere. We are not prepared to give any Court or any Committee any higher ground for the detention of those prisoners than that their arrest and detention was deemed to be "a matter of military necessity arising out of the state of war or armed rebellion existing in the area bounded as follows." It does not follow that there will be no report. It is most likely that there will be a report. In point of fact, within the past ten or twelve months a report accompanied every person to the base to which he was sent, a report much on the lines of the report that the Deputy himself has suggested. But we are not willing, by setting it out here in this Bill, to base the legality of the arrest and detention of the prisoners on any statements that might be contained in that report.

That is not required by the amendment at all.

Mr. O'HIGGINS

We are not prepared even to lend colour to the implication that the arrest is based on anything than on the statement of the military authorities of that area that they deem the arrest a matter of military necessity. You cannot place the military in a particular area in a situation when they may feel that the arrests they make or the things they do are going to be reviewed by a Court while that situation lasts, and any verdict or any pronouncement made upon them. It is universally recognised that you cannot do that, and that you ought not to do it, and we will not write into this section of the Bill words which might convey to anyone the idea that the contrary is the case. What is the reason for the arrest and detention? The reason is that the responsible military authorities in an area in which, mind you, a state of war or armed revolt exists consider that that person ought to be arrested and detained. That ought to be a sufficient reason while that situation exists. When it ends the question of the legality of the person's detention can be raised and inquired into, and appropriate action taken. But for the duration of that war situation there must and can be no such inquiry, and we will not lend semblance to the view that there can and ought to be such an inquiry by writing these words asked for into this particular sub-section. We are quite clear in our own minds as to that. I think Deputies ought to understand that we are dealing with a transition period; that we are trying to pass into a civil from a military situation. But, at the same time, all the elements and circumstances exist which make it necessary for us to preserve explicitly the powers that the military might well need to deal with the military situation that might crop up anywhere throughout the country. We are advised that such an explicit preservation of powers is necessary lest the Courts might think that in legislating along the lines of a Bill such as this the intention was in any way to limit or remove these powers.

The conclusions of the Minister might be valid if the statements he has made just now, and also earlier in the evening, were embodied in the paragraph, but they were not.

Mr. O'HIGGINS

We will not write in these words. We are quite clear as to the inadvisability of writing in in that sub-section (b) a reference to reasons stated in the report, because it might lend semblance to the view that the issue of arrest and release should turn and be weighed on some reasons set out in some report to the Ministry by a military officer. The detention will not be based on any other reason than that the responsible military authorities dealing with the military situation consider that that man ought to be arrested and detained. No Court, Committee or Tribunal will get, or ought to get, any other reason than that this is a military situation, this a military necessity, and is paramount and all sufficient while the military situation exists. If we were to write in these words into the sub-section it would read as follows:—"It shall be lawful for an Executive Minister to cause the arrest and, subject to the provisions of this Act, to order the detention in custody in any place in Saorstát Eireann of any person," and then. coming to Sub-section (b), "in respect of whom such Minister shall have received a report from the military authorities is a matter of military necessity in the present emergency, or (c) in respect of whom such Minister shall have received a report from the responsible officer or from the military authorities that for reasons stated in the report the public safety is endangered by such person being allowed to remain at liberty." We are not going to bring reasons stated in a report before any Court or Committee and the answer to any Court or Committee that would attempt to inquire into the legality of the detention of A.B. would be that Major-General so and so, who is commanding in that area, in which a state of war or armed revolt exists, considers that that person ought to be detained.

That reduces the whole thing. It was the point I was about to raise when I gave way to the Minister, because I understood him to say that it is no use flogging a dead horse, and that it is better to let the thing go to a vote. The conclusions which the Minister has come to would be valid if the statements he has been making were in this paragraph, but they are not. The Minister says they will not put any reasons before any Court. We quite understand that from the whole attitude of the Ministry on the Bill, that one of the purposes of the Bill is to enable the military and the Ministry to put up a case in the Courts when action is taken for habeas corpus that there is a statement by the military that a military situation exists. But the paragraph does not deal with the military situation at all. The paragraph deals with the military necessity for the detention of a person. The two things are quite different. Even in times of normal peace there is power in the paragraph given to the military, and in cooperation with the military to an Executive Council Minister to detain any person whom the military certified or whose detention they state is a matter of military necessity. It would be quite another and a different thing if it were a statement from the military that in an area in which this person resided or was carrying out activities there was a state of war or a military situation. But that is not the position of the paragraph at all. The paragraph only deals with the case of military necessity for the detention of a person, and that is mainly why reasons are wanted, and reasons ought to be stated, by the military why the detention of that person is a military necessity. We could all understand the position if the military in an area declared that in that area the normal law must be suspended because there was a military situation, a threat to the general peace, or a state or war or something approaching a state of war, such as ordinarily would be sufficient to satisfy the Judges in the courts. But that is not the case here at all. It is not the case, as the Minister suggests, that Major-General So-and-So states that a military situation exists——

Mr. O'HIGGINS

It might shorten matters if I intervened for a moment. I am quite prepared to add to that sub-section some words such as "whenever a state of war or armed revolt, local or general exists." As I see it, a military necessity can only arise out of a military situation. A military necessity cannot simply come as a bolt from the blue. It would always, in point of fact, be interpreted as capable of arising only from a military situation. What I am endeavouring to visualise here is that even after the Courts would have considered that a state of war and armed revolt no longer existed in the country, there might be a local eruption in which arrests would have to be made, and there could be no question of circumstantial statements of reasons for those arrests. Those arrests must be based sheer on military necessity. I am prepared to add to that Sub-section (b) words making it quite clear that that sub-section is only intended to cover a state of war or armed rebellion, be it local or general.

The offer of the Minister certainly removes some of the objections, because I think he now sees that the Bill as framed merely would require an understanding between an Executive Minister and the military authority as to what was a military necessity to authorise them to arrest and detain any citizen. The military necessity might well be a matter concerning discipline in a regiment or the offence of any rather flush individual who wanted to treat the soldiers. It might be a military necessity to keep discipline to a satisfactory state, and all that would be required would be for the Minister who happens at the present time to be also the head of the Army to agree with himself that such a person should be arrested. The Minister in charge of the Bill will please bear in mind that while he has in mind, no doubt, six months, and a continuation of the outlook, shall I say, of the present Ministers, when you put a Bill upon the Statute Book anything may arise in regard to a change of Executive authority.

Mr. O'HIGGINS

That, of course, is a platitude.

Anything may arise and new persons might wield the new power with an entirely different spirit. We are legislating for whoever may be in power within the next six months, and it is well that we should safeguard the citizens from whoever may be in power. Certainly the offer of the Minister will remove some of the evil. It will not remove the desirability of having the reasons stated in any such report. But with the insertion of those words some of the dangers of the clause, as it at present stands, will undoubtedly be removed.

What is the position? Is the Minister going to move this amendment now or later?

Mr. O'HIGGINS

I will move it on Report.

In dealing with this Bill or this amendment you have to keep in mind the situation created by the arrest of men previous to the adoption of this amendment, and I would like to know whether the Minister for Defence is prepared to produce the report from the local officer in the case of those who have been arrested since the state of war could be said to have passed away.

Neither the paragraph nor the amendment refers to persons already in custody.

I said we would have to bear that in mind.

Yes, but we must keep to the amendment. Neither the paragraph proposed to be amended nor the amendment goes into that question.

The Appeal Council might be used by——

The Appeal Council comes on later. We can discuss it when we come to it.

I think the production of a report has a bearing on the prisoners before the Appeal Council.

The question of prisoners already in custody does not arise at all. This is power to order the detention of a person in respect of whom such Minister shall have received a report.

Perhaps the Minister is already in a position to report in regard to a person who is now interned.

There are going to be any amount of opportunities of raising this point on this Bill. This is not the opportunity, and the Deputy cannot go on.

I want to ask the Minister in charge of the Bill what check there is on a report received from a local officer as to the correctness or otherwise of that report. What check is there at the headquarters of the Army upon the report, or what opportunity is there of proving that the report is incorrect? If people are arrested as a result of wrong information supplied from the local military authorities, no provision is made for a remedy. I think this is an opportune moment to ask the Minister what provision he intends to make to deal with a case such as the one I cited, and which may not be an exceptional case.

Mr. O'HIGGINS

The Deputy should put down a question for the Minister for Defence on that subject.

Deputy Morrissy, who moved this amendment, is not present at the moment, but I understood from him before he went out that if the Minister would add the words which he read out a short time ago he would be prepared to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Did I understand the Minister to say that he was accepting Amendment 7?

Mr. O'HIGGINS

Yes.

Has the acceptance of Amendment 8 any effect on Amendment 7?

No. I move Amendment 7. "To delete paragraph (c).” In paragraph (a) of this section the Minister has taken power to arrest and intern any person who is suspected of being engaged in the commission of any of the offences mentioned in the Schedule. In paragraph (b) further powers are taken in case of military necessity to detain any person—that is, when a military situation or a state of war exists in an area. In paragraph (c) the powers that are claimed seem to me to be altogether too vague and too wide. It provides that any person may be arrested and detained on the authority of a responsible officer. And we must remember what the definition of “responsible officer” is in the Bill. He is a military officer not below the rank of captain. If any such officer makes a statement to the effect that the public safety is endangered by reason of a certain person being allowed to remain at liberty that person can be arrested and detained. That, in my opinion, is a very serious inroad on the liberty of the subject. It does not require that the person to be imprisoned or detained shall have been engaged in war or in preparing for armed revolt. Then, different officers may have different views and ideas as to what constitutes a danger to the public safety. I could quite conceive a case in which a politician, advocating a special and possibly peculiar brand of politics, decided to descend on a district and put up posters calling on the people of the locality to attend a public meeting. It is conceivable that the local captain or superintendent of the Civic Guard might possibly think that this politician was a danger to the public safety, and ask that he should be interned. This paragraph, coming after the two paragraphs we have just dealt with, is altogether too vague, and gives altogether too great power to the Executive Council, and also places too much power in the hands of subordinate military officers. It is a dangerous infringement of the liberty of the subject, and I move for the deletion of the paragraph.

Mr. O'HIGGINS

The Bill admittedly constitutes an infringement of the liberty of the subject under certain circumstances. The case that is put forward for it is that a situation exists in the country which demands that such powers be conferred on the Executive, in the reasonable hope and pious expectation that they will be used with due discretion and discrimination. Now, as to A, B and C, A and C may be taken as being rather civil. B deals with a military situation and deals only with arrests made by the military as a matter of necessity arising out of such a situation. Therefore, let us compare A and C. A confers the power of arrest with regard to a person concerning whom the Minister shall have received a report from a responsible officer that there is reasonable grounds for suspecting such person of being or having been engaged or concerned in the commission of any of the offences mentioned in Part 1 of the Schedule, and Part 1 of the Schedule deals with armed revolt against the Government, threatening, coercing, assaulting, or attempting to threaten, coerce or assault any person in furtherance of any such revolt, and destroying, damaging or removing, or attempting to destroy, damage or remove any property in furtherance of any such revolt. C differs from that. It does not deal with armed revolt or with definite acts of violence against person or property, but conceives the possibility of a person embarking on a course which would constitute a danger to the State, which is in its infancy, and which is barely recovering from a criminal onslaught more bitter and more determined than any onslaught that took place against previous administrations.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle at this stage took the Chair.

Mr. O'HIGGINS

Deputy O'Connell put a hypothetical case of a man advocating a peculiar class of politics in a particular area. Let me put a hypothetical case. Suppose a combination of men were to arise in the country propagating the non-payment of anything—a most popular creed, because it is in accord with the natural leaning of human nature—for instance, the non-payment of rates or rents or taxes or shop debts. That does not constitute an armed revolt against the Government of Saorstát Eireann. It does not constitute any violent assault on the person or any destruction or removal of property, and yet it would constitute a problem that would threaten the very existence of the State and the very foundations of society and civilisation. In such circumstances I would deem it eminently justifiable, in all the existing conditions in the country, to arrest and detain for a period persons preaching such a doctrine. I will accept Amendment 8, which provides that the reasons for the detention shall be set out in the report in regard to paragraph C. But beyond that I could not meet the Deputy. I consider that powers of this kind are necessary in the peculiar circumstances of the moment.

This is one of the most pernicious clauses—I refer to Section 1 (c)—in a very mischievous Bill, and the Minister has not said much to defend it. I could have understood the Ministry, however much I might disagree with them, coming before the Dáil and saying, “There are certain people whom we ask power to intern for specific reasons.” That is not the position taken up by the Minister. The position is, he wants to be able to intern more people at present at liberty, without any reason given, unless you can call a reason a vague statement that a detective officer thinks a person is a danger to the public safety. This is not the kind of moderate Bill that one could have understood a Ministry, taking the views the present Ministry does take, introducing at this stage of the proceedings. If this particular section is examined, it will be found to be nothing more or less than a vote of confidence in the military authorities. The previous sub-section dealt with further arrests by the military authorities. Why should it be necessary for civil authorities to intervene in what is preeminently a military matter? After all, any reasons which would justify internment in time of civil war or in the subsequent period are reasons which partake of a military character. You cannot justify recourse to procedure of this kind for other than military reasons, and it seems to me an amazing thing, after the ten months' fight that we have had, for the civil authorities to come before the Dáil and ask that they should have the power which the military authorities have been exercising as a matter of military necessity. It cannot be a matter of civil necessity that the civil authorities would exercise this power. It is essentially a military matter, and why do the civil authorities intervene?

I cannot regard this sub-section as otherwise than an attack upon, and as an expression of want of confidence in, the military authorities, unless it is that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. The effect of this sub-section is to put into the hands of the C.I.D. officer the power to have any person interned. That is what the Dáil is being asked to agree to on the grounds that the liberty of such persons endangers the public safety; and observe that no court will be entitled to go behind the certificate of the detective officer. His statement will be enough. with such reasons as he may give. Whatever the reasons, be they good or bad, if this Bill passes no Court can go behind them, because the Dáil will have invested the C.I.D. officer with the powers now asked. This is a signal instance of the belief of the present Ministry that force is the cure for everything. "Force and more force." Where is it going to lead them? They do not even suggest any particular specific reasons which might in a given case justify the civil authority in intervening. I do not imagine the existence of any such reason, but if there be any case in which the military could be told that this affair is no affair of theirs, and in which the Dáil could be told that the civil authority is to have unheard-of powers, that case should be specifically made clear. Why does the civil authority ask for those extraordinary powers? In an earlier stage of the debate An Ceann Comhairle ruled that we could not have an amendment making mockery of the Executive. That I quite understood, but happily we are allowed to criticise the Executive in debate. I put it to the Executive and to the Dáil that if a case can be made for such a provision as this Sub-section (c), Section 1, we ought to have something definite instead of this vague statement that any C.I.D. officer of certain rank may take action if he thinks that So-and-so remaining at liberty would be a danger to the public safety. In truth and in fact, is not the provision which we are asked to adopt equivalent to saying that any person may be arrested who is suspected of acting, having been or being about to act, or of being capable of acting or cherishing a secret desire to act in any way the Minister or his servants consider a danger to the public safety? What is the difference? Assume your C.I.D. man does his duty to the best of his ability; is he a proper judge of whether or not A B is to be deprived of trial before a Court? If A B is to be interned for military reasons, let the military deal with him. It is a highly dangerous precedent to allow the civil authority to intervene in a matter of this kind. It undermines the whole principle upon which civil liberty, which we ought to have in this case, is based in the Constitution. What business has the civil authority in intervening? It is not merely a question, you will observe, of people already in prison. It may be hundreds and thousands more. There is no limit. On what grounds are those powers to be given? Because certain officers think that certain people are a danger to the public safety? That is not good enough, strong enough, nor definite enough. If the Dáil passes a Bill of this kind, it is entitled to something more definite and concrete. The Minister asks us to look at the concrete facts. I ask him to make his Bill more concrete. If he desires to force this Bill through the Dáil, let him do himself the justice of putting concrete proposals in for an extraordinary and utterly abnormal Bill. We had lately a statement from the Publicity Department of the Government to the effect that some 300 persons per week had been released during the past four or five weeks, but we had no statement showing how many persons had been arrested during that time. Is it not a fact that a good many are being arrested, and is it not a fact that it is intended to arrest a good many more?

Certainly.

Then that is a fact? If you are going to arrest many more, you must justify yourselves in so doing. If it be necessary to arrest many more, it should not be impossible for the State to show cause. It is not showing cause. Simply because such-and-such a police officer thinks it is desirable to intern a person, that person is interned.

The Deputy complains that internment should be ordered on the report of the C.I.D. officer. What is wrong with the C.I.D. officers? Have they ever made a mistake?

Hundreds.

The Deputy laughs and asks for a concrete instance. Let him give a concrete instance. When have the C.I.D. made mistakes?

Look up your own returns.

It is an easy and a cheap thing to get up here as a super-idealist and make charges against the C.I.D. or the military; but I hope there is sufficient sense left in the Dáil and sufficient recollection and remembrance —I know there is sufficient sense and recollection in the country—to know the work the C.I.D. did for the last nine months. The C.I.D. was the force that prevented the cur from burning his neighbour's house. The C.I.D. here in Dublin, more than any other force of the same size, prevented the cur—and I use the word expressly—from burning his neighbour's house and calling himself a Republican, and from going into a shop and robbing an unfortunate girl who was behind the counter, and doing all this as a Republican and an idealist.

Is this on the amendment?

Deputy Gavan Duffy attacks this Clause because we are giving power to a C.I.D. officer.

A "responsible officer."

And in time of peace.

I take it that the C.I.D. officer referred to is a "responsible officer."

This is not a tour de force of mine at all. I put it as hard facts.

It is more like fireworks.

Fireworks is a good word to use in this connection. The C.I.D. did more to stop the fireworks than any other force in the country. Then we are told that force is no good in dealing with these matters. Is it or is it not a fact that we are dealing with a force of which we have had nine months' experience? They are men who have done their duty like men, men who have done a great deal for the things that is above any political ideals —decency, honesty and manliness between man and man. Now, you come to the end of it and you are told in a superior tone of voice that the C.I.D. are a sort of filibusters, whose word nobody should take, that they have not been in Oxford and Cambridge, that they have not University degrees——

Mr. O'HIGGINS

Or a trousers press.

Yes, or trousers presses, and hence ought not to be trusted. The C.I.D. have shown themselves reliable men. They have shown that they are competent to do their duty, and they have done more for common honesty and decency than any other force.

We are not discussing the C.I.D.

That is the very point that has been made—that the C.I.D. are not responsible officers, and that they are not men who should be allowed to give a report on which the Minister should act. If Deputy Gavan Duffy is allowed to make this point, surely, in common decency, someone should be allowed to answer him.

This is not the Second Dáil.

This is not the Second Dáil. I want to know did one of the Labour men stand up and protest when Deputy Gavan Duffy was attacking the C.I.D.?

On a point of order, did he attack them?

Yes, by implication. Deputy Gavan Duffy does not usually attack people directly; he does it by implication.

I am so used to those reflections, that I do not comment upon them.

We are told force is no remedy. Why should we be asked to argue that at this hour of the day? Was force a remedy for what was going on for the last year? What remedied that? Did force stop the house burning? Will force stop the criminal who wants to get rich quick? I was attacked even in the Dáil for confounding Republicanism with ordinary criminality. I am trying not to do that. This Bill is dealing with ordinary criminals.

It does not say so.

This aims at dealing with men who burn their neighbours' houses and who rob banks. We are told force is no remedy. Why we could be told that, after the things of the last six months, beats me.

I said force was no remedy in time of peace.

Deputy Gavan Duffy, of all the Deputies in the Dáil, cannot understand how it is that the civil authorities want legislative authority and legislative power to intern without trial. He cannot understand that. He says the military could do it. I remember Deputy Gavan Duffy getting up in the Dáil time and time again and pointing out that we should have passed legislation for the purpose of enabling the military to deal with these matters, that they had no power to intern the people last January and last October and December in the height of what we will call "the war." We were told that the military had not this power, that the Dáil should have passed legislation to give them the power. Now apparently that is all right. Times are changed. We want a different thing now, and hence admissions can be made in respect of what happened a couple of months ago. But we were told then that the military had no power to deal with these things without legislation. It is within the recollection of every Deputy here that the Deputy said these things. Now it is admitted that the military have that power in time of war. The Executive Council will be very glad to hear that. They will be very glad to hear that we were perfectly right, while the war was on, in interning prisoners, notwithstanding all that Deputy Duffy and others said to the contrary.

If this is intended to be an interpretation of what I said, the Minister should state expressely what I did say. I need hardly point out it is no such thing.

I am stating expressly what was said, and let the Deputy contradict it if he can.

It is not worth contradiction.

Deputy Gavan Duffy got up here in the Dáil while the war was on, in my recollection, and pointed out the necessity for legislation in order to enable the military to intern without trial. Everyone remembers that. Now he tells us it was all right. We are glad to have that cleared up. He says the military had the right. Now he cannot understand why we should not leave this thing to the military, why we would not leave internment to the military and not give power to the civil authorities to do it. He knows it already—because a state of war does not at the moment exist. Perhaps I am going a little too fast in saying that—but in a month's time a Judge may find as a fact that a state of war will not at that moment exist. Hence the military will have no power to intern. The Deputy is a lawyer, and knows as well as I do the meaning of that. If a Judge should find in a month or two that at that moment a state of war does not exist, every lawyer knows what the result would be. What are we providing for? The Irregulars, through their leaders, have stated that the arms which were dumped all over the country are to be used at the first opportunity. We all know that it is quite possible, and even probable, that a momentary peace may be organised with a view to getting out the prisoners in order to begin again. They have stated they are going to begin again. They have examined the statutes very carefully, and, like Deputy Gavan Duffy, they know that if in a month's time the Judge decides that a state of war does not exist, then a habeas corpus application would have to be granted and the prisoners would have to be released. They would then be all out through the country, including the gentleman who wrote out asking his pal to get him a gun or two, that he wanted to interview a few bank managers and railway clerks. He, too, would be out, and would have his gun. It would be an infringement of the liberty of the subject to keep them in. We are not advert to the fact that these men might get out in a month and might start again in two months and do what they are stating they are going to do. That is all too subtle for Deputy Gavan Duffy, and he cannot follow it. In fact, he is putting up the very case that was put up by themselves.

Perhaps it is hardly worth while my replying to the farrago we have listened to from the Minister, but in case anyone else is misled I should like to make it perfectly clear that what I said some months ago was that the military had no law for interning, and if they required to intern people they should have got legislative sanction for it. But the issue now is this. If it be a fact, which I do not admit, that thousands of people have got to be interned—more people besides those now in—it is for the military and not the civil authority to deal with that. If internment be a necessity at the present time I submit it should be internment by the military and not by the civil authority. That does not in the least mean, I think, that the military were right in omitting to get the sanction of the Oireachtas in any steps they considered necessary in the past. I think they behaved very wrongly in that matter, and see now what is to be done in the future:—Now that we have comparative peace we are putting up the civil authority to do the work which is essentially of a military character.

Mr. O'HIGGINS

I think there is little to be gained by playing with words. The military had no law for internment in the past, and the Deputy knows, few better, that they required no law for internment in the past; and he knows, too, that there was sufficient calls upon the time of Parliament to make it a futile thing, and little short of a criminal thing, to take up the time of Parliament in asking for power that was inherent in the military by virtue of the situation that existed in the country. Now he asks why should the civil authority ask power for internment, knowing well that the military authorities have no power whatsoever to make an arrest save in time of war or armed rebellion.

Unless the Dáil gives it.

Mr. O'HIGGINS

Save in time of war or armed rebellion. If within six months, when this Bill will be law, a situation arises in which the Courts hold that a state of war or armed rebellion does not exist, the military will have no inherent powers of arrest. We are attempting to pass from the military situation, and to pass from the use of the military to the more general use and functioning of the civil machine. Why should the civil authorities cease to intern? Why should there be civil internment at all, the Deputy asks. Well, the situation in the country is known to every Deputy. Deputy Gavan Duffy also knows it, and he knows that we have on hand twelve or thirteen thousand prisoners, and there is a clamour for their release. If we are denied the powers of internment, and very full powers of internment, we will be driven into a very much more conservative attitude in regard to releases than we would otherwise adopt. We cannot gamble with the public safety, and we are not entitled to do so; but in individual cases we can make experiments and we can watch results. But we can, given the powers of internment set out in this Bill, release people whom, if we had not these powers, we would deem it our duty to detain.

Of course, all that may seem very crude to a Liberal like Deputy Gavan Duffy. We have been met by the Deputy not with any helpful or constructive criticism of the Bill, but simply with amendments that can only be described as expressions of stupid malignity. I do not know what is our offence.

I ask that that expression be withdrawn. It is most offensive and wholly unwarranted.

I think these words should be withdrawn.

Mr. O'HIGGINS

Not very clever malignity.

That is just as bad. I object to being charged by the Minister with malignity, because I do my duty in this Dáil as I understand it. I think it ought to be withdrawn.

Mr. O'HIGGINS

We have been charged, and recriminations have been used——

I ask the Minister to withdraw these words. It does not tend to harmonious proceedings if Deputies on the one side or the other cast personal aspersions.

Mr. O'HIGGINS

Yes, I withdraw these words, pointing out that recriminations have been used against us for doing our duty in the Executive Council, as we saw it, and I never could understand what our offence was, unless it was that we managed to save the ship from foundering after the Deputy had skipped overboard with a lifebuoy.

I wondered, when the Minister for Agriculture was speaking, whether I had been translated. I remember last week's debate, and I think of the sweet reasonableness of the Minister in his constructive moods. I will say this: I have no desire to follow him into a long discussion, for it might be a long discussion, if we were to try to examine the arguments that took place in earlier debates, as he did to justify the position that was taken by one Deputy or another, and compare it with the position taken by the Ministers at the time. If he desired to do that, we might continue this debate for a very long time. I would like to say that I much prefer the Minister for Agriculture dealing with agricultural problems than the Minister for Agriculture dealing with problems of rough and ready law.

Does the Deputy suggest that I have not been consistent at any time, and, if so, when?

Consistent in abuse, and in advocacy of rough and ready methods of law.

Consistency is a virtue.

No. Consistency in evil things is a vice and not a virtue.

I agree.

The Minister for Home Affairs argued against the amendment by stating the case of the continued detention of internees. He showed there was danger in wholesale, indiscriminate releases.

Mr. O'HIGGINS

I think the Deputy misunderstood me. I said minus these powers, which we are asking for in the Bill, we would be compelled to adopt a much more conservative attitude with regard to releases than we could otherwise adopt.

His argument was based on those at present in custody, and on a much more conservative attitude than was outlined or foreshadowed in the Bill with respect to the internees. I would remind the Dáil that we are dealing with the proposal to make it lawful for an Executive Minister to cause the arrest and the detention of a person in respect of whom such Minister shall have received a report from a responsible officer, or from the military authorities that the public safety is endangered by such person being allowed to remain at liberty. These are persons that are at liberty that we are dealing with.

Mr. O'HIGGINS

They may be within six months.

We are not dealing with internees or with people under arrest.

Mr. O'HIGGINS

Surely we are dealing with people who may be at liberty within the six months during which the Bill runs.

We are dealing with persons who may have been arrested once or twice in their lives. It may have been they were arrested two months ago, or it may be ten or fifteen years ago. They may be interned now, or they may have been in jail during some time of their life, or they may never have been in jail, but we are dealing with the arrest of persons who are at liberty. This section is not confined in any way to persons who have been adjudged guilty, or who have been suspected of being guilty, of an offence of any kind in the past. The proposition is that the Minister shall be entitled to arrest and detain in custody "any person in respect of whom the Minister shall have received a report from a responsible officer or from the military authorities that the public safety is endangered by such person being allowed to remain at liberty." The responsible officer has been defined in the Bill as "an officer of the military forces of Saorstát Eireann not below the rank of captain or an officer of the police forces established by or under the control of the Minister for Home Affairs not below the rank of superintendent." Now, an officer of the rank of captain may be responsible and quite capable of fulfilling his responsibilities in respect of his military duties, but we have not the right to expect that his experience as a military officer of the rank of captain will enable him to discriminate in the way respect of his military duties, but we have not the right to expect that his experience as a military officer of the rank of captain will enable him to discriminate in the way that is necessary in respect of citizens in their public activities. We are asked to empower the Minister to arrest and intern any citizen who is reported by the responsible officer—that is, by a military captain—to be a danger to the public safety. That is serious enough, and I ask the Dáil to bear in mind that there is nothing in this clause respecting armed rebellion, a state of war, turmoil, insurrection, or any of these things that the mind has been accustomed to, but this is in addition to these things which are dealt with in the previous paragraph. Now we come to the question of the right of internment of any citizen if the Minister is told by a captain in the Army or a superintendent of police that the continued freedom of any citizen is a danger to the public safety. Then the Minister's orders, without any process of law, shall entitle that citizen to be arrested and interned. But bear in mind the kind of example the Minister for Home Affairs, in his first speech on this Bill, put forward to the Dáil as his justification for these powers being granted to him. Bear in mind that it deals with public safety, because public safety is the requirement in this section. The Minister gave as an example which would justify him, he said, in interning any citizen, that the citizen might be engaged in a no-rent campaign, or a campaign to pay no debts. I could not help thinking of the speech by Deputy Gorey a couple of weeks ago, almost a few days ago, when he said that he was going to advise his people not to pay these rents. Is that, I ask, against the public safety? The Minister says "Yes."

Mr. O'HIGGINS

I think it is scarcely fair of the Deputy to misrepresent what I said. I think that to some extent it is a conscious misrepresentation. I pointed out that, on the one hand, you are asked to grant powers of internment for positive acts against the State, such as armed revolt, threatening, coercing, assault, or the attempt at armed revolt; destroying, damaging or removing property, or the attempt to destroy, damage or remove property. I pointed out that conceivably a campaign as dangerous to the State as any that might take place along these lines could arise, and I pointed to such negative action, if you can speak of negative action, as a campaign against meeting liabilities, a campaign against the payment of rates, taxes, shop debts or rents. I merely mentioned rents as one amongst seven or eight such liabilities. That example was simply thrown out casually, but I do not depart from it. I do say that if a serious situation of that kind were to arise it would be the duty of the Executive to take action against it dealing with it as a situation which menaced the stability and the very existence of this young State.

The Minister has proved my words. There was no conscious or unconscious misrepresentation, because he has repeated what he had said earlier, and has repeated what I was explaining to the Dáil, namely, that he would consider the agitation against the payment of rents, the payment of rates or annuities or any lawful debt as a justification for arresting and interning a person advocating these measures. Following the advice of Ministers so often given to the Dáil, and particularly to Deputies on these benches, and coming down to bedrock, I immediately referred in my mind to Deputy Gorey's advice, which every member of this Dáil has given at one time or another under different circumstances; and I ask the Dáil to bear in mind how near ordinary political and economic and industrial agitations might be to the advice which Deputy Gorey has given——

On a point of order——

And the statement he made, which is within the regulations of the Dáil and on the records of the Dáil.

I think, before the Deputy quotes me, he had better get the Official Report and quote me properly.

If Deputy Gorey denies or withdraws anything he said I am quite prepared to accept it.

I am not denying anything.

What I am referring to is the statement Deputy Gorey made.

Or twisted your way.

The statement Deputy Gorey made is sufficient to illustrate my argument that there is a very thin line between the agitation which Deputy Gorey would support and which I would support him in, and the agitation of a kind which the Minister would consider to be detrimental to the public safety. The Minister considered any such political agitation as detrimental to the public safety, and it is a very easy thing for a Minister to think an agitation detrimental to the public safety. A police officer or a military captain advises that this man responsible is a nuisance, and ought to be interned, and the Minister is to be given power to arrest and intern that man or woman, who may be conducting a political agitation inconvenient to the Minister, to the police, to the military officers in the area. There is a very thin line indeed between the agitation which Deputy Gorey would advocate or that I would advocate or conduct, and what the Minister for the time being might consider to be detrimental to the public safety. A shipowner might take it into his head to stop the running of his ships, and to advocate that other ship-owners would do likewise, and close down traffic in any part of the country. He might advocate that. A Minister, perhaps not the Minister, but a Minister who might be, within six months, on those Benches, might say that this action is detrimental to the public safety, and all that is required is that this owner should be interned. A Labour leader, head of a Trade Union, might advocate a strike in a particular industry which might cause dislocation, has very often indeed been denounced as being detrimental to the public safety. All that is required, if we give the powers in this Bill, is that a police officer or a military captain shall say, "Such and such a person is a nuisance; have him arrested; he is a danger to the public safety," and we are giving power for his internment. The Minister may say, of course, that there is no intention of doing any such thing, but that is not what is written down in the bond. In this clause as it stands all these powers are to be given to the Minister. "The public safety" is a term capable of the widest interpretation. We have already by inference excluded from this clause the question of turmoil of a physical kind, armed rebellion, revolt, insurrection, destruction of property. All these things are excluded from this. What is meant by "the public safety"? What is the definition? The Minister has to decide what is the public safety. There are innumerable instances that might be given as to dangers to public safety. I am sure if one could take the files of the Dublin and Belfast newspapers any time within the last ten years one could see in them interpretations of what "public safety" required, and if there is to be any public life, if there is to be any political agitation, if there is to be anything in the nature of living political life in the country, the powers that be at the moment at any time will declare that some of the people conducting those agitations are acting detrimentally to the public interest, that they are a danger to the public safety. We are, asked to concede for six months, the Minister will say, power to the Minister to intern any person who may be represented to him as being a danger to the public safety. Bear in mind we are outside the realm of military activity; we are outside the limit of turmoil of a physical kind. Is there, then, no chance, even within six months, of dealing with such person under any of the existing Acts? Does the existing law not provide you with all the safeguards necessary for this kind of person? I have been looking through the Restoration of Order in Ireland Regulations and the Defence of the Realm Act. Well, they are mother's milk compared with this.

They are the mildest of repressive measures that could be imagined after this. When Britain was expecting invasion and feared all kinds of sinister and disruptive activities within her own borders, all they deemed it to be reasonable to ask their own Parliament, when they could have got anything, was to order a person to be placed in a particular area, and, on disobedience, to intern him. But we are asked to give the Minister power to intern if it is thought by a military officer that a particular citizen may be a danger to the public safety if allowed to remain at liberty. In the Minister's view it would be eminently justifiable to arrest and detain any person as an enemy of the public safety who might be engaged in a campaign advising the people not to pay rents. I think that when the Minister interprets the power to be given him in this clause on the first discussion of the Bill as he has done, what is going to be thought of his interpretation of the powers if he happens to be up against difficulties when, the Bill is an Act? The mind of the Minister is revealed in his defence of this provision. He desires power to arrest and intern inconvenient persons, and I say that the Dáil ought not to give such powers. The Minister for Defence dissented when I made the statement earlier that the very existence of Parliament was a proof of the necessity for defending people against the actions of an Executive. Executives seldom or never enter into their responsible duties with a determination to restrict liberties. It is when they come up against difficulties that they are impelled by the circumstances of the case to do so. They seek the line of least resistance; they are impelled to fall back, to see what powers they have to restrain, to coerce, to imprison, and it is the business of the Parliament to limit those powers as much as possible in the interests of the liberty of the citizen and the liberty and safety of the State. I submit that there are ample powers in the ordinary law, using the ordinary Courts, to protect the public safety against dangerous persons, and that the Dáil ought not, in justice to itself and for the public safety, give powers to a Minister to intern people merely upon the complaint of a policeman or a military officer.

Speaking earlier in the debate, the Minister for Home Affairs said that they wanted this particular paragraph in order to intern people who would constitute a danger to the State by their actions. I put up a hypothetical case, and the Minister did not attempt to say that that was a case in which these powers might be used. Now I will put up another—one which, perhaps, is more definite. There are many people, and possibly people in the Dáil, who do not believe that the country in its present form of government has reached its limit on the road to freedom. Many people still aspire to see Ireland a Republic, and the Minister for Agriculture was careful to draw a distinction between what he called criminality and Republicanism. We have listened to and read on many occasions declarations by Ministers to the effect that if these people who had been engaged in a certain campaign during the past twelve months had confined their activities to constitutional agitation all would have been well. There are very many who do not see eye to eye with the Government who are of the same opinion—who are inclined to try to convince others who were embarking on a more extreme measure, of the wisdom of adopting a policy of constitutional Republicanism. I put it to the Minister that if that was admissible, what confidence or trust would such people have in advising or promoting such an agitation if they were faced with this power which is proposed to be given in this paragraph?

What constitutes a danger to the State? If a man goes out avowedly with the prepared purpose of changing the present State, or form of Government, will that be deemed by a military captain or superintendent of the police to be a danger to the State? I take it for granted that it would be. I put it to the Government, by claiming the powers in this paragraph which, as Deputy Johnson has already pointed out, they do not require, that they are themselves constituting a danger to the State, inasmuch as they are taking from people who are anxious to embark on a constitutional agitation to change the form of Government of the State that power and that right. It may be said that they are not taking it from them, but that is what will be and must be read into this paragraph. Similarly the doctrine for policy of passive resistance to law may be preached by somebody. It has been preached in other countries, and there is no reason why it should not be preached here. That, too, I presume, would be taken as a danger to the State. Three specific things are mentioned in Part 1 of the Schedule which do constitute a danger to the State. The things that are asked for here must be something outside of these. What are they? The only attempt at defining what these dangers are was made in that hypothetical case put up by the Minister. We are entitled, before we give these extraordinary and very wide powers to the Government, to know exactly what are the dangers which the Government apprehends, and for which they ask these extremely wide powers. We have not been told that up to the present. No argument has been put up and no statement has been made as to the dangers which are feared. Reference was made to what took place, and what is taking place through the country, but I contend that the two paragraphs, (a) and (b), are sufficiently wide, as wide even as the Minister could expect them to be, to deal with the cases mentioned. No explanation has been given as to the kind of persons it is intended to bring in under paragraph (c). I think, if the Minister expects the support of the Dáil for that paragraph, it is his duty to tell us definitely to what class of people it is intended to apply.

Mr. O'HIGGINS

Judging from the trend of the Deputy's speech, he has a different idea of constitutional agitation from what I have.

Mr. O'HIGGINS

When I used the expression "constitutional agitation" I meant endeavouring to convince one's fellow-citizens that a particular course is desirable, and endeavouring to persuade them to give a mandate of that kind to their representatives in Parliament, or to return representatives with a mandate of that kind. Deputy Johnson, in taking an extravagant case, has a wide field to play about in. He is of a rather playful disposition. He should have got up when we were dealing with the Bill—when we were giving the Board of Works power for the compulsory acquisition of premises for the Civic Guard—to point out that we might covet Clery's as a depot, and that under the Bill there was nothing to stop us from taking it. That is the kind of playful phantasy Deputy Johnson indulges in occasionally in his more dreamy moods. There is no use in putting extravagant cases, and speaking as if this Bill were something containing cut-and dried powers given to the Executive, and that after that the Dáil would not see the Executive for 750 years to hear an account of an exercise of these powers. Deputies know that day after day Ministers answer questions with regard to their exercise and the exercise by officials responsible to them of powers that are vested in the Executive. Deputies know that under the provisions of this Bill Ministers will be equally subject to interrogation with regard to particular cases and subject to criticism with regard to matters raised on the adjournment arising out of this Bill. If we do any of those terrible things that Deputy Johnson pictured under this Bill. I have no doubt we will hear about it, and our successors will hear about it, from the representatives of the people who sit here.

Deputy O'Connell asked for a very definite statement as to the class of people it is proposed to deal with under this section. I tell him that one could not give such a definite statement here and now. One would naturally have to consider each particular case on its merits. Paragraph (a) provides that power is given to intern people suspected of being or having been engaged or concerned in the commission of any of the offences mentioned in Part I. of the Schedule to the Act. Unlike Deputy Gavan Duffy and some others, I have not been a practising lawyer, and I cannot say offhand whether that particular Sub-section (a) would cover the advocacy in public or in private of acts of that kind. Yet it is quite conceivable that a person advocating acts of that kind, and not himself engaged or concerned in the commission of them— as a great many of the advocates take care not to be—would be a danger to the public safety. Deputies know well that this Bill is not asked for with a view to taking any action calculated to irritate or intensify the possibility of trouble in the country. Deputies know, on the contrary, that the fuller the powers that are asked and the fuller the powers that are given, the greater will be the possibility of taking alleviating action. I have said before, and I stress it now, that these powers are asked for largely with a view to enabling us to take a more liberal attitude than we would take if the powers were denied.

I cannot meet Deputies on this amendment. I have listened to extravagant cases being put. Deputy O'Connell wants to know the names and addresses practically of all whom it is proposed to intern under that sub-section. I cannot give them to him. I do not know whether it will be necessary to intern anyone under that sub-section. I would be very sincerely pleased if it were not necessary. But I do say that having regard to the practical situation in the country, having regard to all the conditions that have led up to it, having regard to speeches of leaders of the armed opposition to the Government—I will not say responsible leaders —that it is necessary to take very full powers over this short period of six months, so that the Executive may be equipped to deal with any situation that may arise, as it ought to be dealt with in a proper performance of stewardship. I think we are not likely to arrive at any compromise with regard to this sub-section.

Before we pass from this sub-section I should like to draw attention to one matter which I think has not been specifically noticed— that is that there are three distinct types of police officer who may intern. Now, it is bad enough to have the C.I.D. Force doing work for which it was not trained, and for which it was not intended—I take it we are all agreed that a force of that kind is intended primarily to detect crime, and not to decide that the person who, they think, is guilty is to be put in prison—but surely it is very much worse, and surely everybody in the Dáil will realise that it is a serious thing, to involve the Civic Guard and the Dublin Metropolitan Police in political or semi-political work such as this would be in the case of suspects who are suspect for political reasons. Surely it cannot be the intention of the Minister that forces like those that have kept themselves clear of all that kind of thing, and forces upon whom the future security of the State very largely rest, should be brought into a matter of this kind and should be thrown into the vortex of political horrors in case they begin again. Obviously it would be much better that they should be completely divorced and dissociated from any business of this kind. If it be necessary to arrest people on the suspicion of policemen we should at least leave out of the range of those on whom that very invidious duty is to fall the Civic Guard and the Dublin Metropolitan Police.

I was going to put to the Minister quite seriously a suggestion quite consistent with the plan of the Bill—that (c) ought to point specifically to defined offences. The Minister has, in Part 2 of the Schedule, defined a long series of offences. If, in place of the very loose phrase “public safety,” there were some references to these defined offences, one could understand the case that is pleaded for by the Minister. Our objection to this paragraph is that, notwithstanding the present wishes and the intentions of Ministers, power is given to the Minister—whoever he may be—to do things which he ought not to have the power to do. It is no defence to say that this is only going to last for six months, that the intention is to be in a position to deal more liberally with the persons concerned than would otherwise be the case, to say “Give us these powers— give any persons who may be in the position of Ministers these powers—and trust in us that we will not use them illiberally or unfairly.” That is not a position that Ministers should take up in coming to the Dáil for authority of this kind. We have to bear in mind—and I take the phrase of the Minister himself when he speaks of the foundations of the new State—that the Bills that are passed now, in their phraseology and in their intent, may well become the foundations of future legislation and may be pointed to as precedents for legislation of a similarly oppressive kind in other circumstances. That is a very strong reason, I submit, for requiring a very much more closely defined paragraph than this under which Ministers are to have power to arrest and intern. Paragraph (a) refers specifically to offences mentioned in Part 1 of the Schedule. Paragraph (b) refers, as has been stated, to matters arising in a state of war or armed rebellion. (c) should have some relation to something else in the Bill relating to the public safety and that might well refer to Part 2 of the Schedule. That I could understand, without saying that I would agree with it, or that it would meet the whole of the case; it would, at least, give us some clue as to what was in the mind of the Minister, at least some assurance that no future Minister, even within the period of six months, presuming it will not be one of the Bills continued, will be able to say this term “public safety” is wide enough to include the internment of political opponents.

I would ask the Minister to consider the suggestions that have been made by Deputy Johnson, because the scope of the paragraph is far too wide, and in the hands of what are defined as responsible officers might not carry out even the intentions of the Minister. The Minister knows perfectly well that, in the first case, a responsible officer would be the interpreter of the power given in the paragraph. The Minister would be the second interpreter, perhaps.

The Minister says there is a further course: "You can take the matter to the Court for habeas corpus.” The Judge then interprets it, but he will not interpret it on the intentions expressed by the Minister here. He will not consider at all what was the intention of the Dáil in putting in those particular words. He will put his own interpretation on the words, as they stand and come to a decision accordingly. Hypothetical cases were given here. I have two or three concrete cases that occurred within the last two months, some of them perhaps a month or two earlier, cases in which, had responsible officers been invested with the authority of this particular paragraph, the men could have been interned for a long time. I have the case of a particular Trade Union Secretary who was practically accused by a responsible officer, of higher rank, I think, than is mentioned now in the Bill, of being in effect a danger to the safety of the public, in a certain area. It was only after long and very vigorous agitation and demands— after months of it, I think—that a promise was made that he would be brought to trial. He was not brought to trial because, I think, it was found that there was not anything like a case against him. He was released. But given this power, that man might certainly have been detained, though he was perfectly innocent. I have another case. Two other Trade Union officials, one of whom, to my personal knowledge, could not have been reasonably suspected of things that were suggested against him——

An Ceann Comhairle at this stage resumed the Chair.

He was arrested by a very responsible officer indeed, apart from the technical expression, and was not being released. Much the same thing happened as in the other case. The two of them happened to be released, not by their own particular will at all, but by the will of certain other people who happened to be in the jail. A habeas corpus motion was taken, but the men were released. We had several other such cases, including the case of a Deputy who was arrested down the country on the spur of the moment, because he was apparently inconvenient to certain people or inconvenient to military in the area. I do not know exactly what particular representations were made on the spot, but they were released. Had the officers there this very wide power it is quite likely they could have reported to the Minister or the Executive Minister that these people were dangerous to the public safety. The thing is too wide. The Minister has said there is a difference between his conception of constitutional agitation and other people's conception of constitutional agitation. That is exactly where the wideness of the paragraph is a danger because military officers and even police officers are not the best judges of what are legitimate political activities or industrial activities and political and industrial agitation. It is quite possible, under the paragraph as it stands, for a Minister to use his prejudice against a particular political or industrial section whose conception of their constitutionality may be ordinarily accepted, but he, for his own reasons, might not accept it, and might use this paragraph against them. He may describe the case as one of perverted idealism. He cannot always dispose of things by calling them “idealism run mad.” There were very many people, including high officials of the State, who considered that Tolstoy was a public danger in Russia. It was a matter of the conception of what is or is not endangering the public safety.

The paragraph is bad I think, and I would ask the Minister seriously to consider Deputy Johnson's suggestion, and see if he could not narrow the scope of it. If the Minister reconsiders the paragraph he could narrow it in such a way that it would not be so wide and would not be so capable of being wrongfully used.

Amendment put.
The Dáil divided: Tá, 11; Níl, 45.

  • Tomás de Nógla.
  • Riobárd Ó Deaghaidh.
  • Tomás Mac Eoin.
  • Seoirse Ghabháin Dhubhthaigh.
  • Tomás Ó Conaill.
  • Aodh Ó Cúlacháin.
  • Séamus Éabhróid.
  • Liam Ó Daimhín.
  • Cathal Ó Seanain.
  • Domhmall Ó Muirgheasa.
  • Domhnall Ó Ceallacháin.

Níl

  • Liam T. Mac Cosgair.
  • Donchadh O Guaire.
  • Gearóid Ó Súileabháin.
  • Seán Ó Maolruaidh.
  • Seán Ó Duinnín.
  • Mícheál Ó hAonghusa.
  • Domhnall Ó Mocháin.
  • Peadar Mac a' Bháird.
  • Deasmhumhain Mac Gearailt.
  • Mícheál de Duram.
  • Seán Mac Garaidh.
  • Risteárd Ó Maolchatha.
  • Pilib Mac Cosgair.
  • Domhnall Mac Cárthaigh.
  • Maolmhuire Mac Eochadha.
  • Earnan Altún.
  • Sir Séamus Craig.
  • Gearóid Mac Giobúin.
  • Liam Thrift.
  • Eoin Mac Neill.
  • Liam Mag Aonghusa.
  • Pádraig Ó hOgáin.
  • Pádraig Ó Máille.
  • Seosamh Ó Faoileacháin.
  • Seoirse Mac Niocaill.
  • Piaras Béaslai.
  • Fionán Ó Loingsigh.
  • Séamus Ó Cruadhlaoich.
  • Criostóir O Broin.
  • Caoimhghin Ó hUigín.
  • Próinsias Bulfin.
  • Séamus Ó Dóláin.
  • Aindriú Ó Láimhín.
  • Liam Ó hAodha.
  • Próinsias Mag Aonguse.
  • Eamon Ó Dúgáin.
  • Peadar Ó hAodha.
  • Séamus Ó Murchadha.
  • Seosamh Mac Giolla Bhrighde.
  • Liam Mac Sioghaird.
  • Tomás Ó Domhnaill.
  • Earnán de Blághd.
  • Uinseann de Faoite.
  • Domhnall Ó Broin.
  • Séamus de Burca.
Amendment declared lost.
Amendment: "In paragraph (c), line 3, page 3, after the word `that,' to insert the words `for reasons stated in the report.' ” (Liam O Daimhin; Seamus Eabhroid), agreed to.

There are two matters that seem to me require to be altered, although I have not put in any amendment. I think the words "the responsible officer" ought to be "a responsible officer." In sub-section (a) of the same Section he is referred to as “a responsible officer.” I think it is obviously intended that any responsible officer should be the proper person. Secondly, I think there ought to be some definition of military authorities. A responsible officer is defined but military authorities are not, so far as I know, defined. I think some definition ought to be introduced. A responsible officer is defined as anybody not below the rank of Captain. The term “military authorities” might be capable of being interpreted as being somebody below the rank of Captain, and that, I am sure, was not the intention of the promoters of the Bill.

Mr. O'HIGGINS

We accept the first suggestion. In respect of the other matter I will consider what can be done.

I do not think that should be accepted. "A responsible officer" points to an individual.

That was my very point. There is no individual referred to in the Clause. I thought it was, obviously, a printer's error, and I think it must have been.

That is with respect to a particular class of offence, but this is in respect of another kind of offence, and it obviously refers to "a person" who is more responsible than an ordinary, responsible officer. There is a distinct intention. This is a responsible officer who, presumably, is in a particular area, and I take it that the wording must remain now until it is amended on Report.

Mr. O'HIGGINS

The intention in (c) was precisely the intention in (a) “Responsible Officer” was the phrase used throughout the Bill, with the significance defined in Section 16.

Deputy Johnson objects to the amendment being made now?

I did not put it down as an amendment. I thought it was a clerical error, that is the reason I drew attention to it. It can come on at a later stage.

On this Section, I would say that the whole Section is objectionable. It is proposed to make it lawful for a member of the Executive Council who, I presume, is intended to be an Executive Minister, to cause the arrest of and detain in custody certain persons without trial. Now there is already power to arrest and detain citizens for offences, some of which are indicated in the Sub-paragraphs. I submit that it is not a wise procedure for us to hand over to the Executive Minister by law any such powers unless at the same time we withdraw these powers from the Military Authority. It is not good policy to have two bodies, two sections or elements in the country who may be acting in harmony, or who may not, each with power to arrest and detain in custody citizens without either of them having the responsibility of bringing those prisoners to trial.

The Minister has defended it, and put this Bill forward on the ground that it is, or is intended to be, a gradual resumption of authority by the Civil Force, and a movement towards the reassertion of lawful methods. As far as the aspiration goes, it is commendable and generally satisfactory. But I submit that there should be, concurrently with any transfer of powers, a diminution of power from the one authority when transferring it to the other. By the passing of this Section we simply add to the forces who are authorised to arrest and detain citizens without trial. The Executive Minister is any member of the Executive Council. It may be any Minister, and he shall have power to arrest and detain citizens on the representation of certain Military Authorities. I think that is undesirable. I think it is a pity we should be asked to hand these powers over at the same time leaving similar or greater powers still in the hands of the military, and I proposed to vote against the motion.

Question put: "That Section 1, as amended, stand part of the Bill."
The Dáil divided:—Tá, 42; Níl, 12.

  • Liam T. MacCosgair.
  • Gearóid Ó Suilleabháin.
  • Seán Ó Maolruaidh.
  • Mícheál Ó hAonghusa.
  • Domhnall Ó Mocháin.
  • Peadar Mac a' B áird.
  • Deasmhumhain Mac Gearailt.
  • Mícheál de Duram.
  • Seán Mac Garaidh.
  • Risteárd Ó Maolchatha.
  • Pilib Mac Cosgair.
  • Domhnall Mac Cárthaigh.
  • Maolmhuire MacEochadha.
  • Earnán Altún.
  • Sir Séamus Craig.
  • Gearóid Mac Giobúin.
  • Liam Thrift.
  • Eoin Mac Neill.
  • Liam Mag Aonghusa.
  • Pádraig Ó hÓgain.
  • Pádraic Ó Máille.
  • Seosamh Ó Faoileacháin.
  • Seoirse Mac Niocaill.
  • Piaras Béaslaí.
  • Fionán Ó Loingsigh.
  • Séamus Ó Cruadhi oich.
  • Criostóir Ó Broin.
  • Coimhghin Ó hUigín.
  • Próinsias Bulfín.
  • Séamus Ó Dóláin.
  • Aindriú Ó Láimhín.
  • Liam Ó hAodha.
  • 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.
  • Seámus de Burca.

Níl

  • Tomás de Nógla.
  • Riobárd Ó Deaghaidh.
  • Tomás Mac Eoin.
  • Seoirse Ghabháin Uí Dhubthaigh.
  • Liam Ó Briain.
  • Tomás Ó Conaill.
  • Aodh Ó Cúlacháin.
  • Séamus Eabhróid.
  • Liam Ó Daimhín.
  • Cathal Ó Seanáin.
  • Domhnall Ó Muirgheasa.
  • Domhnall Ó Ceallacháin.

The motion is carried by forty-two votes as against twelve. I cannot allow Deputy Gorey's vote because he was not in his place in the Dáil when he answered his name, and I am going to insist upon that part of the Standing Orders being observed.