I regret I was not in when the Questions were finished. I wish to raise a question of privilege. I think it was in Wednesday's issue of the "Freeman's Journal" a statement was made that reflects on the members of this Dáil and Seanad. The statement did not actually charge the Oireachtas with a practice that ought not to obtain, but it certainly said so by implication. I want to draw the attention of the Dáil to this. It appeared in the last portion of their article:—
"Economies of this kind would not make a large total, but they would prove to the country that its representatives are in earnest in their pledges of retrenchment, and if all this is true where there is no abuse, it is ten-fold more obvious when there has been abuse. It has been asserted the privilege of free railway passes is being abused. These passes should be used only when the members are on public business. They ought not to be used when members are engaged particularly in their private concerns, going to fairs and markets or even to racecourses, for example. Inquiry ought to be made into the uses of these passes and the Railway Companies asked for information on the matter. The Oireachtas itself has to show an example of public spirit beyond the ordinary in times that are not ordinary."
Now, very grave abuses are implied there, as being practised by members of this Dáil and the Seanad, or I should use the word Oireachtas. To begin there have been no passes issued by the Minister for Finance that I am aware of. There is issued when a Deputy or Senator wants to go down to his constituency a voucher that will entitle him to a railway ticket to travel on the day of the issue of the ticket. It is not a pass. There are no passes issued. The words used in the article "going to fairs and markets" would seem to be levelled at a certain section of this assembly.