I move: "That the Dáil agree with the Committee in the said Resolution."
COMMITTEE ON FINANCE. - THE DAIL RESUMES.
I take this opportunity, as I will not have it again before the afternoon, to point out that I desire to draw attention to the failure on the part of the Criminal Investigation Department to pursue inquiries into the alleged arrest and detention of Mr. Noel Lemass. The information that reached me from the father was that, I think, as late as Tuesday of this week Mr. Devine, who was accompanying Mr. Lemass at the time he was taken, and who himself was taken through the streets as far as Oriel House, and there diverted to another direction, had not been approached by the Criminal Investigation Department, though it was publicly known that Mr. Devine had been arrested. One would have thought that the most obvious and immediate concern of the Criminal Investigation Department would have been to see Mr. Devine and find out all about the circumstances of his arrest and the arrest of his companion. But up to the early part of this week at any rate he was not approached by any police authorities, by any detective department, any civic protection force, or any other police officials. That is a most extraordinary state of affairs, and one cannot account for it. One can only say that there is some blindness, or deafness, or dumbness, or opacity somewhere, and in view of the failure to interview Mr. Devine, what can we think of the kind of inquiry that the authorities have been making into the arrest and detention of this man? Is it that the Departments are to go all round the world before they arrive at the primary duty to interview the man who is, of all men, the most liable to throw some light on the arrest of Mr. Noel Lemass? That, I think, is the question that I put, with a very big query. I take this opportunity, which has rather providentially arisen, inasmuch as I would not be able to take it on the adjournment, to ask that question now, and I ask some Minister to give an explanation.
I understood that the Minister for Home Affairs went away to make inquiries about this particular case. I am not in a position to give any further information to the Dáil than to say that from the first moment that we were informed of this incident we realised the necessity of taking action immediately to get all possible information on the subject. I interviewed myself two Departments immediately concerned, and there was naturally not much to go on. I should say that I deprecate, and the Executive Council deprecates, and I believe every member of the Dáil deprecates any action by private individuals or by officials of the Government in arresting, or apprehending, or kidnapping, or interfering with the liberty of any citizen except in the manner prescribed by law. I say that we condemn unhesitatingly any overt act by any person affecting the liberty, or the life, or the property of any citizen, and every effort will be made by the Government to correct any abuses of that nature which occur. We condemn any interference with the liberty or the rights of the people who are citizens of the State, or who are not citizens of the State, but who may be in this country. It may happen that after the turbulent period through which we have passed cases may occur in which persons have got grievances of one sort or another. It may occur, and I hope it will not, but if it does the entire resources at the disposal of the Executive authorities will bring such people to justice not from any spirit of revenge, but from the natural conception we have of our duty to every section of the community. I had hoped that, having regard to the natural developments towards more ordered conditions that have been noticeable for the last few months, we might pass through this semi-normal state without any abuses creeping in. If there be abuses, if there be taking of life, we will exhaust all the resources of the State to bring to justice the persons responsible for such abuses. I hope that every citizen will lend his or her aid towards making life possible, peaceful and normal.
Mr. Devine is prepared to lend every assistance to the authorities, who would naturally be expected to interview Mr. Devine immediately. They had not done so up to the early part of this week.
I believe the Minister for Home Affairs left his place here in order to look after that.