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Dáil Éireann debate -
Thursday, 26 Jun 1924

Vol. 7 No. 31


Is oth liom an sgeal a bheith tagaithe do dtí seo againn go bhfuil orm bhóta gearáin a dheunamh i gcoinnibh Comhairle an Stáit. Dubhairt Teachta airithe liom inde nar cheart rud mar so do dheunamh gan machtnamh ceart a dheunamh air. Ní gan an machtnamh agus cuimhneamh ceart sin atáim dha dheunamh. Agus táim deimhnightheach da n-deunamh an Comhairle cuimhneamh ceart air, ní thabharfidis bhóta mar so ortha. Dá bhfeidfinn-se an treimse atá caithte agam ag gabháil le gnóthaí náisiúntachta a roinnt i g-codaibh, do bféidir a rádh gur deire coda aca-san an lá so—deire coda a theideann siar dhá bhliadain.

Ach, má's oth liom an rud atá a dheunamh agam anocht, is maith liom a tuisgint gur Comhairle Stáit seasmach Gadhalach atá a cháineadh agam annso agus gur mór an teacht chun chinn dar dtír an méid sin féin.

I regret, sir, that it should fall to me, as I consider it my duty, to move this motion of censure on the Executive Council and to propose:

That Dáil Eireann condemns as contrary to the best interests of the State the ill-considered action of the Executive Council in removing the late Chief of Staff, the late Adjutant-General, and the late Quartermaster-General from their offices and the subsequent failure of the Executive Council to act upon the Report of the Army Inquiry Committee.

I regret that it should come as a duty to me to do this, but it is simply like other duties that have come my way, and I am facing that duty. Deputy Cooper reminded us yesterday that a vote of censure on the Government ought not to be lightly brought forward, and I do not lightly bring forward this vote of censure. I feel, too, that the Executive Council of to-day ought not lightly to face a vote of censure, or face it in the spirit in which the Executive Council have shown that they face this. If the period that I have been associated with national matters can be divided into terms of various lengths, I feel that to-day is the ending of one particular such term—a term beginning, say, two years ago. It is with a sense of very sincere regret I face this duty; it is with a sense of the very considerable amount of achievement that has been done during those two years. I realise that it is upon an Irish Executive Council of an Irish State I call on an Irish Parliament to pass a vote of censure. I feel a certain amount of disability myself in having to propose this vote of censure—disability from the point of view of constitutional government. I labour under the disability that I have worn the uniform of my country, and that to many persons young in the feeling of being democrats, that is a very great blemish now-a-days. I labour under the disability that I appeared in this House in the uniform of my country, and that that has been counted more to my discredit as being somewhat self-opinionated—an overrider of the people —rather than being counted to me as being prepared to come here as a soldier, a servant of this Dáil.

And I labour under the disability that I sat on the Executive Council in uniform also, with the result that a collcague in the Executive Council could be so affected by that sight that he could state to the Chairman of the Army Inquiry Committee these words:

I could not get away from the impression that the Minister for Defence came to the Executive Council, not so much as a colleague, to do business with colleagues as in the capacity of a delegate—almost as a man coming to the Executive Council who held a watching brief for a particular organisation, a watching brief for the Army in the Executive Council.

I realise, if I had been able to stir up feelings like that, that I labour under a disability in making this present case. I would have thought that a realisation of the work of the three officers who have been removed from office might have stirred people less used to having to control their feelings than our soldiers, might have stirred some such person in this Dáil to make a protest such as I am called on to make here to-night. I said when we last had this matter before us that I proposed bringing forward a motion of a particular type. I appreciate very much the representations made by Deputy Johnson that night as regards the undesirability of attempting to discuss in the Dáil the merits of individual officers in the Army, or attempting in discussion here in the Dáil to interfere directly in matters concerned with administration.

I want it to be perfectly clear that I do not propose that this Dáil should interfere in any way with matters of administration, or that this Dáil should in any way discuss the merits of any individual officer. It is to that end I have framed the motion in the way I have done. Neither do I want that anything I may say here will indicate that I suggest, or want to suggest, in any way that the Executive Council cannot do anything that they wish to do in respect of any member of the Defence Forces of whatever rank. But I do want it to be clear that in respect of any action in regard to any member of the Defence Forces, or in respect of any other action in matters administrative on the part of the Executive Council that is considered unjust or worthy of censure any way, as being detrimental to the interests of the State, the Executive Council must face criticism here in the Dáil, and that when the Executive Council denies an explanation of its actions to us in the Dáil we must understand what are the principles on which such denial is made to stand, and whether we can agree that these are principles that we can accept for such a denial. I am not going, however, to bring forward' my motion as a matter of theory. I bring it forward to face a very practical situation that exists, and in order to deal with that practical situation. I realise that there are members of the Dáil who will say they are not in a position to deal with any practical situation that may exist, because of the fact that a large amount of evidence bearing on the situation has been suggested, a large amount of evidence bearing on the situation has been actually taken down before the Committee, and that they have not been made aware of that evidence. Not only that, but they have not been made aware of the supplementary statement made by the Chairman of the Committee as to what he judged was the general position and what were the general circumstances out of which the demand for an Army Inquiry arose. I realise that members of the Dáil will require that evidence, or that they may feel they require that evidence in order to deal with a certain practical situation. I realise also that members of the Dáil will require that evidence in order to see what was wrong that should give rise to the actions that have been taken by the Executive Council, and what was behind all the very grave and serious talk of certain members of the Executive Council.

I regret that an amendment should be put forward to my motion asking that it be not considered until such time as the evidence is published, and I hope to make it clear to members of the Dáil that a certain state of affairs exists that requires to be remedied and that can be remedied in the light of the information the Dáil already has, and that it would be wrong and unjust to the general national situation that a further delay should be required by members of the Dáil here, a delay that would necessarily be given rise to in the printing, circulation and digesting of the evidence. The practical fact is that on the 19th March, 1924, the heads of the administration of the army were swept away; that is to say, the Chief of Staff, the Adjutant-General, and the Quartermaster-General. They were swept away after approximately ten years personal service in connection with the Army, and after four years, or over four years, during which the full brunt of military responsibility rested on them, military responsibility in connection with the movement during the period in which the British were expelled out of the country, and the State subsequently saved from a movement of destruction that very few other countries had to face. I submit that these officers were swept away to satisfy the personal wishes of certain members of the Executive Council and to satisfy the demand of certain mutinous officers for their removal, and that the result of sweeping those officers away was to impair the proper sense of military authority in the Army, to discredit the authority of the Executive Council, to drag the Army into politics, to hearten the mutiny and to make, what the Inquiry Committee will tell you was an exaggerated affair, a movement that some day might very well be a serious menace to the State. And I bring forward my motion to show that the Executive Council has acted disgracefully and unjustly to these three officers, and that in dealing with the result of the Inquiry, or in not dealing with it, and treating the Dáil in the way it has treated the Dáil as a result of the Inquiry, it leaves persons who take a serious responsibility, or a serious view of their responsibilities here, no option but to make it perfectly clear that in the light of these actions they have no confidence in the Executive Council.

Now keeping the Army out of politics, in spite of what has been suggested with regard to some of us, has been the one great aim of our work. and has been the portion of our work in which we have to a very great extent, if not absolutely, succeeded. I say that the action of the Executive Council in dealing with the Army situation as they have done, in the first place brought the Army into politics; and in the second place, in making the appointments the other day that they have made to positions on the Defence Council, they have clinched their action, because the old Defence Council, after very much effort, had drawn back control in administrative and disciplinary matters to Headquarters. We can only infer from the type of appointments that have been made under the new scheme of organisation, about which we have heard nothing, that the grip of Headquarters is to be relaxed. I am convinced that no Minister, taking his responsibility for control of the Army seriously, can rely upon a Defence Council consisting of some members, at any rate, so young and inexperienced as the appointments that have been made recently. It would be utterly unfair to think that, should a new Minister succeed the present Minister in the control of the Army, he could do anything but change some of the appointments that have been made, and those who did not know would naturally feel that the change was made for political purposes.

If any sure sign is wanted that the three officers who were dismissed from the Army in March last had really done their work, it is the fact that the Executive Council, in circumstances as serious as the circumstances in regard to the Army that followed the recent developments, are able to place in positions of control in the Army officers so young and inexperienced as the recent appointees. In dealing with the service of any officer, I am not dealing with it in any personal way, but I am making certain that the Dáil will appreciate why I take up the attitude with regard to these three officers who have been dismissed that I am taking up. It is because of what they have been to the State. Yesterday someone said to me that it was very hard to know how people could appreciate a motion such as the one I put down in view of the fact that they did not know what services had been rendered to the State by the three officers in question. Well, somewhere during the years 1919, 1920 and 1921, somewhere and by somebody, trojan work in organisation, trojan work of energy, had to be done by somebody in order to secure the evacuation of this country by the British. That work may have been done in different directions, but nobody can deny that the greatest and the hardest and the most exacting portion of that work was done in the Army and that the responsibility of the work that fell to the Heads of the Army at that time was great; and nobody can deny either that, in dealing with the Irregular problem, trojan work of organisation and of administration, work demanding giant faith, giant courage and giant energy, was demanded of some people here in the country, and that a very great portion of that was demanded from the Army, and a very great portion of it from the heads of the Army.

The Chief of Staff, whom we speak of now, was Quartermaster General during the period of our main struggle against the British. He took up the Chief of Staff-ship when General Collins, Beannacht Dé n-a anam, was killed, and he held the position of Chief of Staff until he was removed from it on the 19th March. The Adjutant-General that we speak of here was Adjutant-General during the years of our main struggle against the British, and he was Adjutant-General of the Defence Forces until he was removed on the 19th March. The Quartermaster-General, whom we speak of here, was not so closely associated with control of the Army in pre-Truce days. He was General Secretary of the Gaelic League, but he was sufficiently closely associated with the Army to be on active service on more than one occasion. When I, in the latter days of 1922, was left without a Quartermaster-General and left without people who felt they could make a success of the work, I had to do without a Quartermaster-General for some months, and I then appealed to General O Murthuile to take up the work in January, 1923. I say this, that no officer of the Army could have done the work but him. He took up the Department which was without a definite head; it was being supervised, but it was without a definite head for say, three months, and what that meant only those who were closely associated with the work will know—all the stuff that passed through our hands after our struggle against the British. We thank the late Chief of Staff for keeping up all our communications when he ran an office within a stone's throw of Dublin Castle in Eustace Street, for months. When that office was taken he removed it to the far side of the river, and continued to run it until the Truce. For acting as the hub of all our office work and the centre of our communications, we thank the late Adjutant-General. When officers who have borne the brunt of that work are treated in the way in which these officers have been treated by the Executive Council, anybody interested in the development and in the stability of the State, will surely want plainly to know why.

As to charges against those officers, they were dismissed from their positions on the 19th March. Some people say they were dismissed because of the Parnell Street incident. I challenge the President to say that the Chief of Staff, the Adjutant-General, or the Quartermaster-General can be considered to have been justly dismissed because of anything in connection with that incident. We have heard from the present Minister for Justice in connection with those officers, the charge, or suggestions of the charge. We were told by him on the 19th March: "We regard the action taken last night as cutting across what was the Government intention and Government policy with regard to what was an extremely dangerous and an extremely delicate national position. But I do not want any Deputy, or any member of the general public to come to the conclusion that the resignation of certain high Army officers was demanded by the Government simply and solely as a result of last night's activities." He says he expressed a view at the Executive Council meeting that this particular personnel was not the personnel to deal with a mutinous revolt. He says one other member of the Executive Council stated that "he, within the last few days, had, as he put it, come to the decision that these men had been too long in their positions, that something in the nature of a sense of proprietorship was springing up, and that he had intended to move for a change at the top of the Army." He might have said that was the Minister for Education. I give those passages as embodying and implying charges which members of the Dáil have had to listen to and be influenced by.

He says again: "But when this personnel, or members of this personnel, without consultation with the Government, without consultation with the General Officer Commanding the Defence Forces appointed by the Government, took a particular action calculated to have possibly grave reactions within the Army and throughout the country, calculated, perhaps, to set the heather on fire, the heather we have been so assiduously trying to quench and damp down, a different set of circumstances arises. We have decided that the public interests, the best interests of the public, of the State, of the Army itself, call for the removal from their administrative positions of these three officers... Let me say here, we have not been satisfied within ourselves and within our own counsels that the matter of this mutiny could be dealt with simply on the assumption that one hundred per cent. of wrong was on one side and one hundred per cent. of right on the other." He further implies: "Let me say, too, we were not without evidence that that impersonal discipline does not exist in the Army, that generally, naturally with diffidence, as being Ministers in the political headships of other Departments, naturally with a certain reluctance, a certain hesitation, the view was forming in the minds of members of the Executive Council that there was danger that the Army was not unequivocably, unquestionably, without reserve, simply the instrument of the people's will, expressed constitutionally through the Dáil, and through the Executive appointed by the Dáil."

He further suggests the charge where he says: "It is not by the water that has passed that the mill is turned, and in this whole matter, as in other matters, the country must realise that it is impossible to carry on administration on the basis of swopping records." He further states, or suggests, that they suffered from incurable unpopularity or that some of them had, and he again says: "We have to act simply in a grim and impersonal way, and we have formed the view that these three officers are no longer efficient in the public service, and have not a useful future before them in these three administrative positions." The Minister for Education implies a charge when he says: "What happened on Tuesday evening was another symptom of the growing pains of this baby State. It showed these in charge of the Army had not come to realise, even admitting that they were anxious at other times to realise, their responsibilities to the Government, the Dáil, and to the sovereignty of the people," and he implied that the action on the night of the 18th of March, in Parnell Street, was a deliberate and conscious setting aside of the authority intended to be created by the Dáil. Other Ministers made similar suggestions of charges, and in the matter of charges, stated or implied, against those officers, you have to take those statements of Ministers into account. You have to take whatever the President may say with regard to the Parnell Street incident, and you have to take the matter disclosed in the result of the Army Inquiry. You are told in the Report of the Army Inquiry that the three officers failed to appreciate their position as servants of the State, that their connection with the Irish Republican Brotherhood intensified the work of the I.R.A. group, and that their so-called reorganisation of the I.R.B., carried out, as it appears to have been, by the actual heads of the Army, was a disastrous error of judgment, and you are told that the mutiny could have been suppressed if those in authority had not weakened their positions by leaving themselves open to the charge of acting in the interests of a hostile secret society.

Briefly, you are told that the charge against the three officers was that they were connected with a secret society, and that that secret society was the I.R.B. Now, Deputy McGilligan says: "I think I could answer the points put up by Deputy Mulcahy, in general, by stating that if the Report were considered as a whole, what is stated in the Report considered as a whole, and no attempt made to read into it things that are not in the Report and no insistence on omissions from the Report which various Deputies may think should have been included, the Report will be much easier to understand."

We are told in paragraphs 7 to 14 inclusive what the objects and the attitude of the I.R.A. group were. What has to be said by the Committee with regard to the objects and attitude of the I.R.B.? Are we to take the statement in the Report that they were members of the I.R.B., and as such they failed to recognise their position as servants of the State, and to leave it at that? Are we to be deterred by the members of the Committee who say, "You must not read any more into it than is in it?" Are we to be deterred by the attitude of the Executive Council that they will not read, and that they have not read, the evidence, and that they do not intend to read that evidence? They do not say whether we are to believe the Report of the Committee or not.

Now, with regard to the allegation that those in authority had weakened their position by leaving themselves open to be charged with acting in the interests of a secret society, I would ask the President, was it the heads of the Army, or was it the Executive Council, that weakened the authority of the heads of the Army in the whole matter of dealing with the Tobin group from the beginning, and in dealing with the mutiny? I would ask him, in connection with the I.R.B., does he consider, and did he consider in June, 1923, that what we had done with regard to the I.R.B. was a disastrous error of judgment?

I press this matter of the I.R.B. somewhat, because I submit it is the only charge, if it is a charge, that is sustained against the three officers. I take it that the finding against the three officers in that respect is founded on their own evidence. The Minister for Justice has not, according to the Report, sustained any of his implications against the three Army officers. The Minister for Education did not come forward to sustain his suggested charges.

I made no charges.

I would suggest to the Minister that he would reread the speeches he made on March 20th, and perhaps March 19th.

With regard to a matter which did not come within the scope of the Inquiry.

Read the speech again. The Minister for Foreign Affairs did not come forward to sustain his suggested charges.

What suggested charges?

Read your speech, too.

Perhaps the Minister will read his speech, too. I submit that there is in the Report, or that there is before the Dáil, subject to what the President may have to say with regard to the Parnell Street business, no charge against those officers but that they were members of the I.R.B. With regard to that organisation, I want to take people back a little. In 1913 voices were raised in Ireland that stirred the nation into national revolt. One of the most appealing voices among the many then raised was that of the present Minister for Education. Strong forces were stirred up, and actually the Minister himself reached a time in which he found that he could not control the forces that had been so stirred up.

Briefly, what stands before the nation to the credit of, among others, the three officers whose cases we are mentioning here to-night, is that subsequent to 1916 they stirred up forces scattered throughout the country— forces that had not been allayed by the rising of 1916, and they took those forces, controlled them, moulded them, and directed them to the achievement of freeing the nation. When they had freed the nation, they utilised those forces as the backbone on which to build up a required and a bigger organisation to deal with the Irregular revolt. I want to know would it have availed the Minister in 1917 to say of those scattered forces of revolt throughout the country: "These forces should not be there"?

It has been described now as a disastrous error of judgment on the part of certain people that we did not at the end of 1922 and in 1923 say with regard to analogous forces: "These forces should not be there." It is not so much that those forces should not be applied in one way or another, but simply that they should not be there. The Report implies to the Executive Council that we should have said that. Surely, the Minister for Education, particularly, will appreciate the position in the circumstances?

I want, in connection with that matter, to give some information to the Dáil that will help them to understand the position of the three officers so far as their responsibility for any connection with, or any partaking in, I.R.B. activity is concerned. I showed the Army Inquiry that as early as the 31st August, 1922, nine days after the death of General Collins, I was called on to transact business of importance in connection with that organisation. I brought that fact before the Committee to show the continuity of our general position.

That is a very important point, and perhaps Deputy Mulcahy would explain in what capacity he was called on.

In my capacity as a member of the Supreme Council of the organisation at that time. To show what the particular position was with regard to that organisation, this is an extract from Lieutenant - General O Murthuile's evidence before the Committee of Inquiry: "On May 25th, 1923, I received a message from Sean O'Hegarty, of Cork, to say that he was in town and had an important matter to bring to my notice. I agreed to see him to see what he had to say. He represented to me that Tom Barry, who was then an Irregular leader, uncaptured in Cork, wanted to appeal to the I.R.B. to stop what he described as a man-hunt for Republicans in Cork."

At that time the official information with regard to Barry's attitude was recorded as follows:—

(a) That Barry wanted to arrange to release the Army (i.e., the Irregulars) from its allegiance to a Government, namely, from the pledge that the Executive gave to De Valera, I think, in October last (1923)

(b) He would then propose the open destruction of arms.

(c) The disbandment of the Army as the I.R.A.

(d) He would ask for the formation of a National Organisation into which the best "elements" of both sides could come and co-operate—a political organisation, and also a secret organisation.

(e) He would ask for an amnesty in respect of all persons not yet rounded up by the Army.

(f) And for the release on parole of some prisoners for the purpose of consultation.

Barry made then in writing an appeal to the organisation, and I think that that fact alone will suggest the continuity of the organisation, the power of the organisation, and the way in which the organisation was looked to by certain elements in the country. As indicating my own personal frame of mind on the matter, I want to give the Dáil one or two notes which I made at the time, and which will be more convincing than anything I can say now. I may say that I considered the position when it was put up to me by Lieutenant-General O Murthuile, who was the medium through whom representations were made to us. I considered the position from the point of view of its importance to the State. After certain discussions, I made the following note on Monday, the 4th June, 1923:—

1. That the Irregulars had, apparently, failed to form an organisation, actually, the position being that they enrolled every man they could get to enrol into an alleged organisation for the purpose of getting a better grip over each man, and increasing the power of holding men by pressure and terror. That this organisation had now melted away.

2. That the recognition of the Supreme Council was important.

3. That it was particularly important coming from this particular direction.

4. That the Supreme Council did give a body to whose wishes the leaders of the Irregular side could acquiesce in matters of disbandment and arms without feeling humiliated.

5. That, on the other hand, our position as military officers, and the fact that there was no one else to handle the situation but us, made the situation very delicate from the point of view of the Government.

On Thursday, 7th June, 1923, I made this additional note:—

1. That the Cork letter was important. That some of us had to move in the matter. That the I.R.A. was a blind alley organisation now, and that those responsible for holding it together should get a chance of disbanding it. That the second organisation was the only one that provided a pivotal point for arranging for this.

2. That the policy of the second organisation was fully controlled by us. That its policy could bear the light of day. That it was almost obvious that in two years' time, perhaps, that it, as a political organisation with political ideals, would be as open, as it became previously, as the Irish Volunteers.

3. That while, ultimately, persons connected with the present Government might not, and, from the point of view of effective national development, should not be associated with it, it was essential that they should control its moulding and development at the present time from the point of view both of giving its policy a constructive and un (armed)-revolutionary turn, and from the point of view that they were in a position, through the organisation, to be the instruments of allowing the best persons on the Irregular side to get out of the difficulties they had got into, and got their followers into, by overreaching themselves.

Subsequent to that, on the 10th June, 1923, I, with the late Chief of Staff and the late Quartermaster-General, interviewed the President, the present Minister for Justice, and the Minister for Education. We discussed matters arising out of these points and discussed our general action with regard to the organisation.

Will the Deputy say whether it was discussed as a project or an accomplished fact, and whether there was any acquiescence or approval on the part of the Ministers whom he saw, and also whether he saw those Ministers in their official capacity as members of the Executive Council or in a purely personal way?

The Minister will have an opportunity of speaking for himself.

I thought, perhaps, you might answer this question.

I do not know whether the Minister came in his official capacity or in a personal way. I took it he came in a personal way. What was the other point?

Whether this matter was put to us as a project for the future or as an accomplished fact, and whether, in fact, there was not the strongest and most emphatic dissent?

The fact that there was a possibility of something transpiring as a result of Barry's letter was put forward as a proposal, if you like; the fact that the organisation existed and had been brought into alignment with the present constitutional position was put before them as an accomplished fact, and it is not a fact that there was—what did the Minister say? —an emphatic repudiation of the position.

The strongest and most emphatic dissent.

It is not a fact that there was the strongest and most emphatic dissent.

It is a fact.

These paragraphs will, perhaps, be of interest to the Dáil.

The three members of the Government did not undertake to give any definite advice or to give any definite instructions——

May I ask from what is the Deputy quoting?

From the statement I made to the Army Inquiry Committee.

I would like to ask, as the Deputy says that these individuals who happen to be members of the Executive Council, did not give instructions, how could three members of the Executive Council give instructions, and why did he not bring it before the Executive Council?

Would it not be simpler to allow Deputy Mulcahy to conclude and make speeches afterwards?

The Ministers are all very well able to talk for themselves. I hope that they will have an opportunity to do so, and I hope they will take it. Some of them did not take it when they got it before the Army Inquiry.

The other three members of the Government did not undertake to give any definite advice nor to give any definite instructions, and I was perfectly satisfied after the meeting that they were satisfied that any Army officer who had any responsibility in respect of the I.R.B. was doing what appeared to him to be the best and the most wise thing in all our circumstances here, and that they could not suggest better. In the interests of the State certain Army officers with I.R.B. associations, did not refrain from taking part in, and giving guidance in, matters affecting the organisation. Apprised of the position, three other Ministers did see at least some reason for the position, and they did not forbid it. What I have said will explain the historical reasons—that is, what I have said previously in my statements to the Army Committee—which made it impossible that the Army would be without members of the I.R.B. in it, and that men should even hold high rank in the Army, and at the same time retain membership of the organisation. It will be understood that the old fabric of the organisation was geographical, that when men joined Army units they broke away from the ordinary fabric of the organisation. No new fabric of the organisation has ever been set up in the Army. No new members have been brought into the organisation from the Army. Any members of the organisation in the Army do not form a distinct portion of the organisation. The organisation, or membership of it, was never considered in making appointments or promotions within the Army, or in dealing with disciplinary matters. It was never at any time allowed to cut across the line of military authority. It had nothing to say which could. For I have to emphasise this fact, that while there are historical reasons for having members of the I.R.B. Organisation in the Army, once you had an elected Government in the country and an Army responsible to it, the I.R.B. policy, as far as I know anything of it, would direct itself, should it be necessary, and through ordinary political channels, to securing that the discipline of the Army and its allegiance to the Government would be absolute and unequivocal, and that no influence of any kind should be allowed to impair one or the other on the simple ground that the impairing of either one or the other would be a weakening of national strength. My duty as Minister for Defence has involved me in many considerations, and if it has dictated to me the necessity for recognising the political roots of the Army, and of making allowances and taking precautions because of their nature, it has also dictated a consideration and an appreciation of the principles that are fundamental from the point of view of a good and stable Government.

The matter of societies in the Army, secret or otherwise, and of a nature likely to affect Army discipline, or prevent the Army being an obedient service in the hands of any administration, has in this connection had consideration on my part. Last year in the Dáil I refused an amendment, or a suggestion, to put in a clause, or some form of oath, that would forbid membership of secret or political societies to Army officers and men. It was too soon to consider the matter and fully weigh possible consequences. It will be remembered that the Defence Forces Bill is due to be passed before August, 1924. A draft ready for reading and criticism was in my office for some time before my resignation. In connection with it I had not made up my mind whether a clause, or oath, preventing membership of such societies should be inserted officially, or left to be inserted as an amendment, after a discussion on the matter in the Dáil. I had, however, discussed the matter on a number of occasions with members of the Defence Council, and, to the best of my recollection, with some G.O.C.'s, and all that I had discussed the matter with had agreed that the new Defence Forces Bill should contain such provisions, and that any such provision would be loyally obeyed. I was only waiting my full consideration of the draft to decide the manner of putting such a provision into the Bill, and of then recommending procedure in that manner when the Bill was being considered by the Executive Council.

I put in these extracts from my statement to the Army Inquiry Committee for the information of members of the Dáil, and because the Committee have not seen it well to say what the attitude of the I.R.B. was in these matters generally, as distinct from the I.R.A. group. And I want to say from the point of view of the position of the three officers I am speaking about and their connection with this matter, that they continued their membership of the Irish Republican Brotherhood Organisation with my approval and after consultation with me. I was the Minister to whom they were responsible, and the Minister responsible for controlling the Army. I want to suggest to the Dáil that there was in that organisation a force in existence that required to be controlled and that required to be directed, and that my responsibility in the matter was to take steps to have that force stabilised in the Army, to have the constitution of the organisation brought into line with our constitutional position here, and to take steps at the earliest possible moment, consistent with the safety of the State, to take any elements of that secret society out of the Army.

I expressed doubts as to, and did not agree entirely with the Committee that was set up to sit on the Army Inquiry, and I do suggest that in respect of several matters, the members of that Committee would be, perhaps, the last men that the country would ask me to look to for advice in such a matter or for judgment on it. They are the last men that the members of the Government Party would ask me to look to for advice and judgment in such a matter. I have to remark that the President has not spoken while the three administrative heads of the Army have been swept away; while very serious charges have been implied by his colleagues in the Dáil; that he has not spoken since the Report of the Army Inquiry Committee was put into his hands on the 7th June, nor since the appointments were notified in the papers that make implications to everybody that the Report of the Army Inquiry had suggested that the three officers, who were taken from their positions in March, should not be sent back. I want to know from the President, as the head of this State, and in respect of officers who have occupied the positions in the State that these three officers have occupied, what is there against those officers that the Dáil is to take cognisance of in the Report that he has put before the Dáil, in the work of each of these three officers in connection with the mutiny, in connection with the Parnell Street affair.

I do submit to the Dáil that in the absence of a plain and authoritative statement from the President of a charge which, in his opinion, is sustainable against those three officers, the Dáil cannot consider that the Executive Council was justified in removing those officers from their positions and putting them in the position in which the silence of the Executive Council has put them after the Army Report. The President has, in one way or another, promised here that, if circumstances arose, he would make a statement in the Dáil. I do want to suggest to Deputy Baxter that he ought not to put forward his motion, because he does not know whether his motion is relevant or not until he hears what the President has to say with regard to those three officers. I do submit, sir, that if the President had anything to say, it would have been said long ago. It is because of that, and because of the delay in either his speaking or in our getting an authoritative statement from the Executive Council in general, that I move the motion standing in my name, and that I submit to the House that they should pass this motion.

I beg, formally, to second the motion, and I want to make my position very clear in adopting that attitude. I do so entirely because no information has been vouchsafed to me or, so far as I know, to any of the ordinary members of the Dáil, that would justify me in adopting a contrary attitude. It might be well if I would preface what I have to say by stating that I am not in this matter the protagonist of either of the two sections in the Army. I merely want to do justice, as far as I can, in this matter. I want to know exactly why I should not cast my vote in favour of this motion. When this affair arose, and when an inquiry was promised I, perhaps foolishly, looked forward to the report of the Army Inquiry Committee for some enlightenment as to the action of the Executive Council in reference to these officers, and also in reference to their attitude towards what has come to be called the "Tobin group." That attitude might be summed up in the words, that they were to go in peace as civilians. The net result, at any rate, of their attitude in respect of the three officers whose resignations were called for, and in respect of the Tobin group, is that all the men on both sides who did most to build up the Army, who did probably most, of any men alive, to make the Treaty position possible, and who did most also, I should say, in establishing the Saorstát on a firm basis, are now cleared out of the Army.

I said that I was looking forward to the report for some enlightenment as to the action of the Executive Council. The report does not enlighten me in the least. Probably the terms of reference alone were sufficient to damn the report. The terms of reference were so restricted that probably the report could not be any better than it is, from the point of view of giving information. The fact is that the signatories to the Report merely leave us guessing. Take the Report, firstly, as a whole. I take it as a whole, the same as an ordinary citizen buying it at Eason's might take it. Certainly I have no further information than the ordinary citizen would probably have. I feel that the general impression the Report would leave on one's mind is that the Committee—or perhaps not the Committee, but the Executive Council—was holding back something especially with regard to these three officers. In fact one would almost feel that they thought they were terrible villains, or something of that kind, but were not prepared to say why. The Committee of Inquiry says on the bottom of page 4 and on the top of page 5, that they had sufficient evidence, and that their conclusions could hardly be disturbed by the evidence of any witnesses who had not appeared before them. One feels, of course, that the fact that those who made charges did not come forward to substantiate them, would mean that the Report would certainly be lacking, but when the Committee say that they felt from all the evidence which came before them that their conclusions could hardly be disturbed, then one has to wonder—mind you I do not want to be finicky at all about questioning the language of this Report—at the kind of grudging acquittal there is in Section 24, of the late Chief of Staff. I say I do not want to be finicky, but reading it as ordinary English in an ordinary, if I may say so, semi-intelligent way ——

Hear, hear.

Reading it in as intelligent a way as, say, Deputy Gorey would be able to read it, I say that that is not a generous acquittal. There is no acquittal of the charges of muddling, mismanagement or incompetence. We do not know whether these charges would stand, as far as the two other officers are concerned. I again say that I do not want to be finicky in reading this thing, but I had underlined the last line of paragraph 25 of the Report long before Deputy Mulcahy mentioned it here—"No other charge relevant to our inquiry was made against him"—that is the late Quartermaster-General. If that means anything to the ordinary person reading it, it at least gives colour to all the rumours that were circulated about that officer. It may not have been the intention of the Committee to do that, but it undoubtedly gives colour to these rumours—lying rumours, probably. Nobody has come forward to substantiate them. I accept them as lying rumours, spread about by malicious persons.

Paragraph 26 deals with the Adjutant-General. There are cases mentioned there, about one of which I know pretty intimately—the Kenmare case. I do not even know what the Mayo case was. One would almost ask was it because of this the Adjutant-General's resignation was called for. He strictly followed the legal advice of the Judge Advocate-General, and he acted on the instructions of the then Minister for Defence, Deputy Mulcahy; and Deputy Mulcahy acted on the advice of the Attorney-General. If the Adjutant-General was dismissed for his action in dropping that case, I would like to know what about the Attorney-General. Gearóid O'Sullivan is sacked.

Now, I come to something that is possibly the reason for the calling of the resignations of these officers; that is the reference in the Report to the I.R.B. Organisation. Paragraph 15 states:—

General O Murthuile has stated to us that the I.R.B. was originally reorganised to prevent the Irregulars from getting control of it if it were left derelict, and using its name to stir up disaffection against the State.

I happen to be in a position to know something about that, and I am prepared to vouch for the truth of what General O Murthuile stated there. There are two other members in this Dáil who also ought to be able to vouch for that, because they were present like myself. One of them does not now belong to this party. I challenge him to say whether——

What Party is the Deputy referring to, when he says "this Party"?

The Cumann-na-Gaedheal Party.

Oh, I did not know that.

Is the Deputy in the Cumann-na-Gaedheal Party?

I thought you had left.

I might. I challenge the member of Deputy McGrath's Party who was present then to say whether the whole attitude of that meeting was not one of absolute loyalty to the State and to the Constitution, and that every argument put forward for the then reorganisation of the I.R.B. was one to help to put the State on a solid basis, and to take out of the hands of the Irregulars a weapon that might be turned against the State. Therefore, I hold it is absurd to say that this was reorganised as a counter-blast to another organisation which, until I heard it here a few months ago, I did not know had existed in the Army. For that reason I doubt very much the truth of Paragraph 6 of the Army Report, where it says:—

"That the organisation, which brought about, and many members of which joined in, the late mutiny, was in existence at least in embryo, before the outbreak of the Civil War, and that many of the officers who mutinied and of those who encouraged and abetted them, had become a problem to General Collins before his death in August, 1922."

I say I doubt that, but the Committee presumably had evidence. I have no evidence. Anything that I do know about it would make me think the contrary. At any rate, I have no evidence on which to form a judgment in the matter.


We will get it for you.

We are asked here to form a judgment without any knowledge of the facts of the case. We are asked to lay the blame for that recent insubordination in the Army, with no facts on which to base a decision. We are asked to say whether or not we think the Executive Council acted justly in dismissing these three high officers. We are asked to form a judgment as to whether or not they acted rightly. This motion is tantamount to that, and we have nothing to show us why the Executive Council took that action. As far as I am concerned, at any rate, I have never heard any reason put forward for that action, except vague rumours of unpopularity and too much of a sense of proprietorship in offices, and other things which really could not be considered to be a charge against men which could involve such a decision. Since we mentioned the word proprietorship, I would just like to say a word on it. I hold for the benefit of the Army that it is absolutely essential that there be a certain amount of a sense of proprietorship in these offices.


That is straight talk, anyway.

Yes; quite straight talk. A young man is to-day at the head of the disciplinary portion of the Army, acting as Adjutant-General for the time, and is supposed to exercise discipline over men whose subordinate he will be to-morrow or in a few months time. I do not think that is good for the discipline of the Army. Therefore, I hold in an office of that kind there should be—proprietorship is not quite the word—at any rate, a certain amount of security of tenure. We still have to ask why were they dismissed. I want to know exactly why. I am going to cast my vote pro or con. I have an open mind in the matter. I have decided that I will cast my vote for this motion if I am not given some information which would justify my doing the contrary.

I would like to know why they were dismissed. The rumour was that it was because of the Parnell Street business. I wonder was it, and, if it was, why was the late Chief of Staff dismissed? He was down the country then and had absolutely nothing to do with it. Why was the Quartermaster-General dismissed? As far as I know anything about Army matters, a Quartermaster, whether a Quartermaster-General or a Company Quartermaster in any army, has no more right to order out troops than I have. The Adjutant-General is the man who is responsible. If the Adjutant-General acted against the authority of what to him was the Executive Council and his Executive Minister, the Minister for Defence, then he should go certainly. But the facts are that the Adjutant-General consulted the then Minister for Defence before he acted, and he looked for the newly-appointed General-Officer-Commanding, but he was in Monaghan. Why, then, should the Adjutant-General be dismissed? If there was a scalp to be taken it was the scalp of the Minister for Defence.

I have no doubt that the action taken in Parnell Street that night was a very dangerous one to take. I am satisfied, knowing the men who were there, that there is a great deal in everything that has been said as to the possibility of letting loose a volcano on us, because they are not the type of men who hand up their guns easily. But knowing that, knowing the type of men they are, and feeling that, perhaps, Deputy McGrath's intervention that night prevented this explosion, I say, at the same time, there is the possibility of another argument, of another side of the story. It might be said—I am not saying it for anybody —but it might be said from another angle that that action that night may have prevented that explosion.

There is no "may" about it.

Might have put a lid on the crater. We do not know these things. I do not know whether it is this, that or the other thing that was the cause of the action of the Executive Council, but it is for that reason, if I do not hear something to the contrary, that I am going to vote for the motion.

I am afraid there will be a mix up.

As to Deputy Baxter's motion?

Whether the late Minister for Defence intended it or not, he has mixed up this thing. I am absolutely in favour of the amendment in the name of Deputy Baxter, but I am not going to be placed in the position of voting in favour of the amendment as against the motion, purely because it is an amendment against the motion. I want to be left in the position that I can, if at all possible, without mixing up matters, vote against this motion. It is perfectly evident from the remarks of the last speaker that he does not understand the position. It was quite clear to everybody, or at least it should be—I thought it was up till now —that this Army Inquiry has absolutely nothing whatever to do with the dismissal of these three army officers. To allow this amendment to be discussed now will absolutely mix up matters. I want to say a good deal on the Army Inquiry Report, but I am certainly not going to say it on this motion. If I am in order now, I would like to say what I think about the motion.

Deputy McGrath will agree that it is not my function to say why officers were dismissed, what the Army Inquiry was set up to do and how it did it, and why or when we should discuss this Report. But the motion in the name of Deputy Mulcahy sets down two matters and mentions the Report of the Army Inquiry Committee. Deputy Baxter claims to move that before the motion is proceeded with, or rather in order to proceed with the motion, that we should have the Chairman's reservations as to completeness, and the full text of the evidence given before the Army Inquiry Committee. It is reasonable that Deputy Baxter's motion should be disposed of first. But there is the difficulty that, if it were disposed of and were carried in the affirmative, it would dispose of the main question by Deputy Mulcahy, and Deputy McGrath would be prevented from saying what he wants to say about the motion. I understand that he contends that the motion really does not concern the Report of the Army Inquiry Committee at all, and that it is on the Report of the Army Inquiry Committee he wants to speak. Possibly, he could get other opportunities. If Deputy McGrath is allowed to speak upon the main question now the difficulty that arises is, when will Deputy Baxter's motion come on?

As far as I am concerned I will say what I have to say in five minutes.

My difficulty is not with regard to the length of the speech, but with regard to the number of Deputies who might follow him.

Put the amendment.

I will allow Deputy McGrath to make a statement, particularly if he is only going to be five minutes. But I want to know if other Deputies want to follow on the motion before Deputy Baxter's amendment is proposed.

As a matter of practical operation, I would suggest that the circumstances are such, after the speeches we have heard and perhaps after Deputy McGrath has spoken, that there should be a statement made from the Ministerial benches, from the Executive Council—in this case one must be careful in speaking of Ministers— on the motion, before Deputy Baxter moves his amendment.

Taking what happened the other night as a precedent, we had Deputy Milroy tabling a motion which had all the semblance of a motion of want of confidence. We had Deputy Johnson tabling an amendment and getting up, immediately that motion had been moved, to move his amendment and leaving us under no misapprehension whatever as to what the terms of his particular amendment were. That was disposed of first. We ought to have some order in these matters. If Deputy Baxter's motion is carried there is really no necessity for Deputy Mulcahy's, because on that I am taking the line that, while it is open to the Dáil to take any action it likes, it, does involve and will involve the resignation of the Government.

Deputy Baxter's.

I actually suggested to the President today that if he thought fit, after Deputy Mulcahy's motion had been proposed and seconded, he, or some Executive Minister, could speak. If that line is not to be pursued, I think it would be better to take Deputy Baxter's motion, unless Deputy McGrath is very insistent.

I do not want anything that other Deputies do not want.

Would not Deputies be faced with this rather awkward alternative, that if they want to get to the real business in the substantive motion they will have to vote against the amendment, although they may be in favour of it. At any other time they would vote for a substantive motion in the terms of Deputy Baxter's amendment, but inasmuch as it intrudes between the Dáil and the real business of the substantive motion. they will have to vote against it. That is an alternative they ought not to be presented with.

You can only put the Government out of office; you cannot execute them, and you must be satisfied.

Perhaps my suggestion would meet the case. Deputy Baxter has put a motion down with a view to having a full discussion after he gets the evidence taken at the Army Inquiry. He naturally took it that the motion by Deputy Mulcahy was to discuss the Army Inquiry. If he withdrew the motion he has down, and put down a motion of censure on the Government, we can all vote with him. We can all discuss the motion fully, and we can also discuss what Deputy Mulcahy has said. I think it is a great pity to mix up this matter. I do not know whether it is intentional or not. They have succeeded at any rate in drawing in this matter, that these men should be reinstated or that "Dáil. Eireann condemns as contrary to the best interests of the State the ill-considered action of the Executive Council" in removing them. Whether it was deliberate or not, they have succeeded, at any rate. As to the action for which they were dismissed, it is questionable whether dismissal was good enough for them. I think if the Deputy withdrew his motion, which is an amendment to the motion by Deputy Mulcahy, we might discuss this other business and be finished with it.

Deputy McGrath overlooks the fact that the President has made a statement that he looks upon the amendment in the same way as the motion. If that is the position, surely, those of us who are in the dark are entitled at this stage to hear some statement from the Government Benches?

I am constantly being asked most extraordinary questions. I understand Deputy Figgis to protest against the position in which Deputies will find themselves in voting on Deputy Baxter's amendment. I have to disclaim responsibility for the difficulties of Deputies in voting on any question. Deputy Baxter's amendment is in order, and if a difficulty arises in voting on it, I am afraid it is not for me to extricate Deputies from it. Deputy Baxter might consider the question whether a time-limit might not be placed on the amendment, so that it can be disposed of, and the general question come to. There is the difficulty, that if the amendment is passed the other question would not be reached at all.

Why I put it was as a suggestion to Deputy Baxter to postpone putting forward his amendment until after the discussion had proceeded for a certain time.

You are forgetting he is an intelligent man.

Assuming Deputy Baxter's motion is defeated, would it be in order for any Deputy to put down a motion in similar terms this session?

I have considered that, and I think it would. Deputy Baxter's motion reads: "That Dáil Eireann, in order to proceed with this motion, desires that the evidence taken before the Army Inquiry Committee, together with the Chairman's ‘reservation as to completeness,' be printed and circulated to Deputies forthwith." Deputy Baxter's motion has special reference to the motion of Deputy Mulcahy. It would not preclude, I think, a general motion that the evidence should be printed and circulated.

There appears to be no limit to the motions that could be tabled expressing want of confidence in the Government.

That is so, in the nature of things.

Before Deputy Baxter proceeds, I would appeal to him to withdraw his motion at this stage.

And to go on with the discussion on the motion?

To let the discussion on the main question go on.

I cannot afford to give further time to this motion. I must have it to-night. I have made up a stipulated time-table scheduling the rest of the business, and I cannot afford to give further time.

Do I understand that the President will not accept another motion of censure? The motion on the Paper, I hold, is not a proper motion at all.

I said in the absence of the Deputy the other evening that I would accept motions of censure, but that they should be moderate in number. We have had two this week already.

I feel in a very difficult position. I recognise that from all sides of the House there is a demand that the President would make a statement. On the other hand, I agree with Deputy McGrath that, whether deliberately or not, the whole question of the Army Inquiry and the dismissal of these officers has been mixed up, and even the seconder of the motion has admitted that he cannot make up his mind. Apparently he wants publication of the evidence in order to assist him if a statement is not made. Under the circumstances I am in a very difficult position. I think it would be more in accordance with the general feelings of the House—I do not know exactly what the feeling is on the Government benches—but on the other benches there is a feeling that the President should make some statement before I proceed with my amendment.

If the amendment is withdrawn I will go on. I cannot give other time.

I am not in a position to complete the President to make a statement at any given moment.

If a motion has been tabled, and an amendment tabled to it, is the Deputy in whose name the amendment stands, compelled to move it after the motion is proposed, or is it not within his power to move it at any time during the debate, that he desires, subject to your ruling?

One cannot give general rulings as to when an amendment to a motion should be taken. This amendment reads: "That Dáil Eireann in order to proceed with this motion desires that the evidence taken before the Army Inquiry Committee, together with the Chairman's ‘reservation as to completeness' be printed and circulated to Deputies forthwith." In the nature of this particular amendment it should surely be moved the moment the main question comes before us. Having relation to this particular wording the House should dispose of that first. If it expresses its opinion that it can proceed without the evidence, it can proceed. I If it expresses the opinion that it cannot proceed without the evidence, it waits for that evidence. That seems to be the logic of the situation.

I think it would be most unfair to take this amendment now. If it were carried the only thing would be to wait for, perhaps, one or two months, until the Dáil reassembles, to discuss the very serious motion put down by Deputy Mulcahy. After the speeches that were made here to-night I think it would be in the interests of justice that the motion should be disposed of here and now, and that we should not wait until these charges have got a start of one or two months before anything can be said to controvert them. If Deputy Baxter proposed his amendment, and if it were carried, I take it that nothing can be done, as far as the motion is concerned, until the evidence is printed. That would take a considerable time and would cost a considerable amount of money. I think we should discuss the motion now.

Deputy Hughes is making a speech against the amendment.

That is what I intended.

Deputy Baxter will have to move the amendment now or withdraw it.

Personally I feel that if I am called upon to decide on this question raised by Deputy Mulcahy that it is a very difficult one for me, and that it is going to be a difficult one for other Deputies, no matter what statement will be made. Deputy Mulcahy has put forward in his arguments here to-night some of the evidence given before the Committee. It is on some of this evidence we will have to base our decision if we have to take a decision. That is my feeling. However, I recognise a stronger feeling apparently that my amendment ought to be withdrawn and the main motion disposed of Personally I feel that I can stand aside and not take a decision if. I do not know anything about it. I am agreeable, if the Dáil is willing, to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

That makes my position clear. I just want to point out, if it is necessary, and it appears to be necessary to do so, that the Minister for Fisheries did not know exactly why the late Army Council were asked to hand in their resignations. In doing so I will simply quote the Minister for Justice:—

Particular military action was taken last night—military action. It was not taken after consultation with General Eoin O'Duffy, and it was not taken after consultation with the Executive Council as a whole, or any member thereof.

That is simple. He went further and he said: "The majority of the members attending this morning's meeting held the view that the action taken last night cut across Government policy as embodied yesterday in the post factum approval and endorsement of this memo. from the Minister for Defence to his colleagues on the Defence Council.” In case the Minister for Fisheries does not remember, the Minister for Justice went on to say that he regretted it fell to his lot to announce the very grave and important decision which was arrived at by the Executive Council. That is the position, and that is the reason put forward in the Dáil for calling on the Army Council to send in their resignations. Whether they were responsible or not for the raid in Parnell Street, it makes no difference to me. I am not now going to say anything in connection with the Army Inquiry, because I hold that that matter has nothing whatever to do with this motion. I do hope that I will get an opportunity of referring to it. If there is not some motion put down, I will put one down myself in order to have an opportunity of discussing the Army Inquiry.

The Army Council and the Minister for Defence, following up their attitude of twelve or eighteen months previously, stuck their heads in the sand, believing that because of their powerful position, they could flout all and everybody. The opinions of those who did their utmost to advise them in the right direction, and to keep them in that direction, were ignored. They turned down those who made every effort to bring about a settlement of divisions, and eventually they arrived at a stage where they felt they could strike a real hammer blow. They were big, powerful, strong fellows with twenty or thirty thousand troops behind them. They got their opportunity to strike the hammer blow.

I want to ask did any of you ever wonder why, on the occasion of the raid in Parnell Street, that raid should have taken place on that particular night? Why did it not take place the night before, or even the night previous to that when all those men and many more were present at the same hour, and when the touts were there just the same, looking on? Why did the raid not take place then? Apparently, there was no need for the raid until a few hours before they felt that they were losing the grip of power, and that their authority was being taken from them. Remember that you have their own words for it. The Minister for Justice told us, and the Minister for Defence confirmed it, that the raid took place just a few hours before General O'Duffy would have in his hand, in writing, the complete draft of his powers. It was only in draft the night before, and we were coolly told here by the ex-Minister for Defence that the night before he had discussed with the ex-Attorney-General the draft of General O'Duffy's powers, and that the morning after his failure to set the heather on fire, as it has been termed, he telephoned General O'Duffy the terms of this draft to see if he had any objection to them.

It did not strike him at eight or nine or ten or eleven o'clock that night, or even through the long hours of the early morning, when these men were on the roof in Parnell Street, to ring up General O'Duffy and ask him his opinion. No such thing was done. He felt strong and powerful, and had sufficient confidence in himself and in his advisers, if he had any at the time— where they were I do not know nor do I care now—and he never dreamt for a moment that he should consult General O'Duffy. But he thought in the morning of ringing him up and reading to him the draft that he discussed the previous night with the Attorney—General.

The Minister for Justice stated that the draft, of the functions attaching to the office of the General Officer Commanding the Defence Forces of Saorstát Eireann is as follows:—"Executive Military Command over all the Defence Forces of Saorstát Eireann, including all units, corps, services and all ranks." He was responsible for military policy as far as the immediate military situation was concerned. A few hours before that Deputy Mulcahy, in his Ministerial capacity, had discussed with the Attorney-General the functions attaching to General O'Duffy's position, and just because the draft was not actually sent, or perhaps typed, it never struck him for a moment to consult General O'Duffy over the particular and immediate military problem that existed.

I say definitely, it was because they knew they were losing their grasp of the hammer, that a few hours or a few days before they were prepared to strike with, that they made this one last effort to cause the conflict. It may be hard to say those things, but I say them, after due consideration, and I emphasise that no other reason could be put forward. I certainly cannot believe there was any other reason. Deputy Mulcahy got every opportunity, as also did the Adjutant-General, of reconsidering the position. Their men searched the place and they found nobody there. No; we got further word back. The very reports he sent in here afterwards only went to show whatever was in his mind on that occasion.

I stated before, perhaps on a wrong occasion, that the members of the Army Council or those of them who were responsible, including the Minister for Defence at the time, got off very light by being allowed to send in their resignations. Sitting in their office, probably in front of a big fire, with all their forces behind them, and with their armoured cars flying around, they must have known the type of men that they were trying to arrest in Parnell Street. In spite of my intervention, and I could not exactly say whether it was intervention on the part of the Minister for Justice or the Minister for Education —but certainly both Ministers got into touch over the matter—it was no use, and nothing could be done. Individuals who were at one time thought something of in this country intervened even to the extent of going below the Minister for Defence, to the Adjutant-General, and they were told to mind their own business.

They were full-blooded that night. Whether the other two members of the Army Council were present or not it makes no difference to me. I am not concerned with that. The Executive Council might possibly have considered that first, but the one man responsible, apart from the Army Council, was the head of the Department. It may be said, perhaps, that the others were acting under his orders. If that be so, I admit it is undoubtedly, a hardship on the other three, whether they actually did or did not take any part in the business that night. If they were acting under his orders, it was a hardship on them that they should have been dismissed over that particular incident.

In spite of the fact that Deputy Mulcahy has dragged in other business that has nothing whatever to do with it, I think this motion should be confined absolutely to the reason why the Army Council were called on to send in their resignation. Otherwise it will only lead to very far-reaching complications. There is just one mention of it at the bottom—I do not exactly understand what it means: "and subsequent failure of the Executive Council to act upon the report of the Army Inquiry Committee." I do not understand what that means. It is not sufficient, to my mind, to drag in a general discussion on the Army Inquiry, and I am not sure whether Deputy Mulcahy would be satisfied to have that discussion on the Army Inquiry probed on this motion. I do not know if it is the intention, but I do think that in the interests of the country generally there ought not be a discussion on the Army Inquiry generally on this motion.

I do think that the best interests of the country are not served by this resolution. I do not think that the best interests of the country would be served by the proposal that is made by Deputy McGrath, that the Dáil should consider and discuss the report of the Army Inquiry Committee at great length. I think that from at least two speeches we have heard here this evening it is fairly obvious that a discussion on this matter now, in the atmosphere that has been created by these two statements, is not going to be conducive to the general stability of the country and to the feeling, that the dangers with which we were faced a couple of months ago have passed away. It must at all times be admitted that the Executive Council of the day have got the right, and the authority, to remove from their posts as heads of certain administrative departments the highest officers in the Army. If that be questioned, if political considerations or other reasons are drawn across that, you are faced at once with a situation differing only in degree from that which faced us two or three months ago, and to that extent I do think that consideration of a motion such as this —framed as this particular motion is framed, with the names of three men mentioned, who have rendered great services to the State, services which I willingly acknowledge, and for which the State should be eminently grateful —is not in the best interests either of the Government or of the country. It is not desirable that a motion such as this should come before us in the nature of a vote of want of confidence in the Government.

It really questions the authority of the Government to ask for the surrender of their administrative positions by officers, whose authority under our Statutes, is laid down as being held at the pleasure of the Minister for Defence, the Minister for Defence being in that conception one of the members of the Executive Council. Now to that extent I do find very great fault with Deputy Mulcahy for putting down this motion in the terms in which it is put down. I had hoped that another motion would be submitted which would bring under the consideration of the Dáil the conduct of the Executive Council, if it has been at fault, in every way in which it has been in fault in this matter, in dealing with the Army, or with anything else, but without reference to particular personalities or the authority of the Government of the day to deal with them as they were dealt with in this particular case. If there was a case for criticising the Government as to what they did as regards those three officers, that time has long since passed, and in my opinion it is unwise and not in the best interests either of the Government or of the country to canvass the youth of the officers who have been recently appointed to these three administrative posts. Now, Deputy Mulcahy, on recent occasions, asked and put to me certain questions. One of them was why I had not spoken on this, matter. I think that was the last statement he made. I have not spoken on this matter because I am satisfied that there has been a gradual systematic improvement in the situation during the last two or three months. I do not claim any credit for that. It was inevitable. It should come. The people of this country really must, and will settle down to stable conditions. Political complications or political disturbances of one sort or another, or commotions in the Government services must accommodate themselves to the circumstances of the time, and there cannot be alterations and changes in the quotations of the National Loan according as these things occur one way or another.

I was satisfied a great deal of unnecessary heat had been introduced into this matter, on the part, I suppose, of a great many of the disputants in the case. I am not satisfied that heat in any such matters as these contributes to that stability which everybody should work for, and which is the desire of everybody in this country. I am taking the points that were made by Deputy Mulcahy in his speech to-night. He said that the three Ministers present when the announcement was made to them that the I.R.B. organisation was in existence in the Army gave no instructions. I am speaking from recollection. It is 12 months ago and a great many things crowd themselves in upon a person in my position during that time to the exclusion of the remembrance of details, but my recollection of that interview is that not one of the three Ministers was in favour of the continuance of that organisation in the Army. That is putting it in the mildest possible fashion, that nobody was satisfied amongst the three Ministers that it was serving any useful purpose for it to be continued. And I say this in justice to Deputy Mulcahy and the three officers concerned, and I mention it without any feeling of satisfaction or dissatisfaction—I was never a member of the I.R.B. organisation. I realise and I admit that it served a very useful purpose in the State; that it was a political institution which within the last couple of years served a most important phase in the national life of the country; that it had a great deal of support amongst the most prominent and most useful young nationalists in the country, and that it was regarded as an instrument of the greatest political consequence in the State. I am sure that it was not possible, not easily possible at any rate, to disintegrate gradually an organisation of that particular character. I say that now as an ordinary outsider looking on, and it is right that it should be said in justice to it. I would also say that we had a political army in this country until the last election in August, 1923. Men came in here in uniform day after day to vote up to the time of the last election. When we were seeking to secure that there shall not be a political army in the future, we must remember that it is only this Dáil that has severed connection between a political and a non-political army. The three Ministers in question were, as far as I know, at that particular interview not asked for their advice or instructions. Information as to the existence of this organisation was put to them and not one of them supported it in any way.

Was anything done towards disembodying or disestablishing it?

That was the recommendation, according to my recollection, that was made by the three Ministers in question. I took no notes at the meeting.

Was it subsequently discussed by the Executive Council?

Immediately after that interview? No. And speaking now also from recollection, I have no recollection of its being the subject of a discussion at the Executive Council.

Deputy Mulcahy puts to me: "Does he consider re the I.R.B. that what we did in June, 1923, was a disastrous error of judgment?” I think I have already explained that I would not regard it as a disastrous, error of judgment, and I did not, so regard it at that time. I have not read, and I do not intend to read, the evidence given before the Army Inquiry. In the first place, I have not the time, and I should say also that I have not the inclination to do so.

Is the President going to believe the Report?

I believe the Report to this extent: that if I did not believe it, it would be my duty to read the evidence. I do not propose to publish the evidence, because then we would have two, or possibly three, or even a greater number of parties in the country than we have, each one of whom would accept whatever they thought palatable either to their political inclinations or to their associations with one or other of the parties in the dispute, and I think it is not in the best interests of the country that such a situation as that should develop.

Do I understand the President to say, then, that the best thing to do is to believe the Report?

I can only believe the Report to this extent, and I do believe it to this extent, that certainly three members who constituted the Inquiry Committee were not associated with the political movement of the last few years, and while we, who have been in it, see perhaps more than what they do, it is wise on an occasion like this to bring in outside persons and see what their view of a situation like that is. If we mean to get the confidence of the country we must not hamper ourselves with organisations such as that particular one, useful though it was up to a certain point, but non-useful now, more especially when there is another organisation not in agreement with it, each one regarding the other as hostile, and, in consequence, neither of them serving the best interests of the State.

Would it not be well in future publications of the report that a foreword on these lines should be appended?

That is a very able suggestion, but I do not intend to publish the report in future. I do not intend any further circulation of the report than what has been made. It has been put before the Dáil.

For what purpose?

For their information.

And is the other part retained for their information or to deprive them of information?

No; the other part is like mustard—one could take too much of it.

Is it because of no confidence in the Dáil?

I think it would be well if the President were allowed to make his speech. None of the other Deputies was interrupted, and I think in all fairness the President might be allowed to proceed without interruption.

Deputy Mulcahy also asked me was it the Executive Council or the heads of the Army who were weak in dealing with the mutiny? That particular incident which occurred three months ago is an incident which, in my opinion, ought to be dead and buried and ought not to be resurrected, no matter what, its influence was either at that or time or now. If as a result of it the air has been cleared and that divisions and factions, organisations and so on, cease as far as the Army is concerned, a very useful purpose will have been effected by that. It does not really matter whether it was the Executive Council or the heads of the Army who were weak, but it does matter that the foundations that are being laid now should not be weakened by any of these divisions. The Executive Council decided on the 19th March to dispense with the services, from their administrative posts, of these three officers. They held these positions for a very considerable time. They did, as I have said before, excellent service for the country; they rendered great service to it at great personal risk to themselves, and, as we have heard here to-night, great reversionary disadvantages to themselves. I do think that the country owes a great deal to these three men, but the same fate awaits many of those who in the political world have also rendered, I am sure it will be admitted, some service to the country. A time will come when they will pass out in the same way. The Government, as such, does not intend to relieve itself of its obligations with regard to these two officers who resigned. I think, personally, that they made a mistake in resigning their commissions on that might, but at the same time there, should be no question of the right of the Executive Council to remove them from their administrative positions. I think that they themselves will admit in years to come, if not now, that there should not have been any petulancy as to the right of the Executive Council to do that or any cause of complaint on their part.

With regard to General MacMahon, I have seen the correspondence in connection with him. He was also asked to resign his administrative post, and he declined. I have read his letter. There can be different views taken of that letter. There have been expressed to me by legal persons different views on it. I may take a different view of it from other members of the Executive Council, but as far as General MacMahon is concerned, the Executive Council, on the 20th March, made an order to appoint him a Major-General, and to restore him his Commission making him a Major-General, conditional on the facts of the case being made known: the fact that it was not in any hasty moment that action of that sort was taken, and the fact on his side that the Executive Council had that right to remove him from his post. I have not heard from General MacMahon with regard to that, but that is the situation with regard to him. The other two officers have resigned and have left the Army. Deputy Mulcahy stated that they had done trojan work. I admit that willingly. Deputy Mulcahy mentioned that the grip at Headquarters was relaxed in the Army reorganisation scheme. That is a matter, of opinion. The grip at Headquarters may be relaxed, but the discipline of the Army has been maintained notwithstanding, and there has been an improvement as far as I can learn; an improvement in the discipline of the Army. I do not mean to say that it was by reason of the departure of these officers that that discipline has improved. There was a gradual and systematic improvement in the matter of discipline for many months, and I think it is due to those officers who have gone out that that fact should be mentioned. I do not know whether I took down Deputy Mulcahy's exact words or not, but this is what I have: "The Executive Council can do anything they wish with any members of the Defence Forces of whatever rank." I think the Deputy did not deny the fact that the Executive Council can do that.

I said I wanted it to be perfectly clear that I realised that the Executive Council, because of its authority, could do anything it liked with regard to any military officer: that it could do any act of any kind, just or unjust, towards him as the Executive Council, and that the Dáil could not interfere in any act like that, except to criticise it and to call the Executive Council to account for it.

While that is the case, I have no hesitation in saying that the Executive Council would hesitate to dispense with the service of officers from administrative posts such as these, or from any posts, without grave reason. When the Defence Forces. Bill passes into law, apart from these particular administrative posts, it will be necessary in order to dispense with the services of an officer from the Army to state the reason for it. To that extent there is a difference between an officer in the Army and a member of the civil service. He holds office during the pleasure of the Executive Council, and while that is the case one rarely, if ever, hears of the dismissal of civil servants.

I have found the matter upon which Deputy Mulcahy put a question on the last day. It is: "whether the President was in actual touch with the members of the Army Council in many matters and with the Chief of Staff. He was in direct touch with the Adjutant-General." And he went on to say: "He was in direct touch with him when he was a co-Deputy for the Kilkenny-Carlow constituency, while he was yet an Army officer. The President has now been more closely in touch with the Army, and I want to know has he found any officer who may have come under the influence of the Army Council tinged with the feeling and outlook indicated in paragraphs 8 and 9." I have not found any officer in the Army tinged with any political outlook whatever. Deputy General Mulcahy mentioned in an earlier part of his speech, that very considerable achievement had been effected in two years. I admit that willingly and gratefully. Now, as to the action taken on the Army Inquiry Report, there is included in the Defence Forces Bill a provision against secret societies. That particular matter was, however, under consideration, and had actually been approved by the Executive Council before the Army Report came out, and it was intended to issue commissions to officers by the 15th of July—commissions to all officers—granted, of course, that the Defence Forces Bill passes before that date. That is the only way that I can see in which the Executive Council might be called upon to act with regard to this Report.

I should say, in justice to the late Adjutant-General, that I have found, since I took over the Ministry of Defence, as far as one particular Department is concerned, with which he was dealing, that he gave the utmost possible satisfaction. And, as far as General O Murthuile is concerned, I should say: "No other charge relevant to our Inquiry was made against him," is, in view of what the Minister for Fisheries said, scarcely sufficient. I myself heard many complaints against that officer. I reported these verbally to General Mulcahy. I reported one in particular, in which it seemed to me there might be some cause of complaint, and, after the fullest inquiry, I found that the Quartermaster-General had discharged his duty properly, and that no charge could lie against him or be proved against him in regard to that particular matter. I found it was a soldier who was responsible for the cause of complaint, and I believe that outside it would not be believed that that was the case. The Executive Council has considered within the last week or fortnight these three positions. They have appointed Major-General Peadar MacMahon as Chief of Staff with the acting rank of Lieutenant-General; Colonel MacNeill as Adjutant-General, with the acting rank of Major-General; and Colonel Cronin, with the acting rank of Major-General, as Quartermaster-General.

Perhaps the President would say whether he made inquiries before making these appointments as to whether these officers were members of the same organisation as the late three?

No; I did not make that inquiry. I made these nominations on the advice of the General Officer Commanding the Forces.

Did you make inquiry if he also belonged to the same organisation?

No, I did not; but if the Deputy thinks it necessary, I will have it printed in my office as a question to every officer that comes in: "Do you belong to the I.R.B. or the I.R.A.?"

Or to both?

I am satisfied in that connection that we have ample security in the test that will be put to every officer before he gets, his commission on the 15th of July, that he does not belong to any secret society. If, as a result of the Army Inquiry and as a result of this discussion, we do succeed in getting a disciplined army which is strengthened in its discipline and in its efficiency, I think, that in all the circumstances, we have gained something by this particular incident.

I think it is proper that in connection with this motion I should, as it were, take my place in the dock to show cause why sentence of disapproval or sentence of censure ought not be passed. I had, in a sense, primary responsibility for the action that was taken which Deputy Mulcahy asks, the Dáil now to repudiate and condemn. I was acting, in the illness of the President, and I had in my hand a letter from the President's physician stating that he was not to be worried about public matters, and that interviews, correspondence, or even telephone messages, were to be avoided as far as possible. And I owe it not merely to myself, but to those members of the Executive Council who were acting with me during that week or ten or twelve days of very high tension, to tell plainly to the Dáil so far as it is possible, and to analyse the reasons and motives that caused the decision that was announced to the Dáil on the, 19th of March last.

Deputy Mulcahy's motion may be, I think, fairly paraphrased as follows: That the Executive Council did wrong in asking these three officers to vacate the administrative positions which they held, and that since the Army Inquiry Report the Executive Council has failed to take some action with regard to the three ex-officers which, on the basis of the Report, seems to be called for. That is what the Deputy's motion of censure, in fact, amounts to: that the Executive Council did wrong in asking these officers to vacate their administrative positions.

The Executive Council has responsibility to the Dáil and to the people for the safeguarding of their interests. That responsibility transcends personalities, transcends any question of personal equations, and in the discharge of that responsibility the Executive Council is bound at all times, from day to day, from week to week, from month to month, as long as it holds office, to do that thing which it believes to be in the best interests of the country, and of the people of the country. It was in that spirit, and not in any narrow spirit of not liking the colour of this man's hair, or that man's complexion, that the action was taken that was announced here on the 19th March. If the Executive Council left in those positions men in whom they had lost confidence they would not be properly discharging their responsibilities to the people. It gives me no pleasure to speak in this way; there is no question of personal venom, or personal vindictiveness. One of these men I used to regard, and would hope still to regard, as one of my closest and most intimate friends, but the substantial, broad fact is that the Executive Council had lost confidence in these men as a group. What other explanation was there for the fact of bringing a General Officer Commanding the Forces over their heads? If we had implicit confidence in them, what was the need for that action? There was a lack of confidence; there was a certain distrust, and that distrust was due to the uneasy feeling that there was going on, and had been going on for a considerable time, within the Army, things that ought not to be going on.

It was something more than suspicion and something less than knowledge, something regarding which not a tittle of evidence or proof could be produced. But there are times when Governments, have to take action on something that is more than suspicion, and falls short of knowledge; and the suspicion was that you had, lining up within the Army, two groups, or factions, or secret, or semi-secret societies. We are to be censured now, and we stand in the dock now, because we did not allow the national position to be bedevilled by a faction fight between two letters of the alphabet. Deputy Mulcahy says there was knowledge on the part of three members of the Executive Council, as far back as June, 1923, of the existence within the Army of the Irish Republican Brotherhood, and the implication is that there was knowledge with assent, with approval. There was no such thing. Latitude has been exercised here to-night with regard to portions of the evidence that was tendered before the Army Inquiry Committee, and in common fairness I must claim and exercise a somewhat similar latitude. I claim the latitude to say that in the proper place and in the proper way I charged to Deputy Mulcahy, in February, 1923, that officers were being summoned up from the country to sit in uniform in Portobello under the chairmanship of Lieut.-General O Murthuile, who was then Assistant Adjutant-General, for the purpose of reorganising the Irish Republican Brotherhood within the Army, resurrecting and reorganising it. I charged that the Staff of the Army were, for all practical purposes, an inner circle or upper circle of that secret society, and these two allegations were blandly denied by the ex-Minister for Defence.

And correctly so.

He read out portions of my evidence, in which I said that he came to the Executive Council, not as a colleague to do business with colleagues, but as a delegate. As he has quoted it I repeat it here to the Dáil, and repeat it with emphasis. There was no candour, no frankness, no straight dealing, and one cannot do the business of a nation in the dark, or even in the dusk. There was a cloud-bank between the Executive Council and the Army, and that cloud-bank was the Minister for Defence. When there is a cloud-bank there is no knowledge of what is going on beyond it, and where there is no knowledge there will be suspicion, and it may be that suspicion at times outruns the facts. Who is to blame if suspicion outruns the facts? Who is to blame if, in the absence of candour, frankness and straight dealing one's suspicions are even beyond anything that the facts justify? In February, 1923, as I say, on very reliable information, I charged that things were going on within the Army that ought not to be going on, and those charges were denied then.

Was that at a meeting of the Executive Council?

I said it in the proper place and in the proper way; the Deputy can take it that that was at a meeting of the Executive Council. In June, 1923, what happened? Deputy Mulcahy came to me in a purely personal way, and said that he wanted me to meet himself and Seán O Muirthuile —it was Seán O Muirthuile he said, rather than Lieut.-Gen. O Muirthuile, and I take it there was a reason for it —and Seán MacMahon, to hear their views about the I.R.B. organisation. I made my position with regard to the I.R.B. organisation, or any other secret organisation, perfectly plain to Deputy Mulcahy. I told him that I had been a member of that organisation in pre-Truce days; that in the altered conditions of things within the country I believed that that organisation, or any other secret organisation, would be bad for the country, and particularly bad for the Army, and he said: "Even on that basis will you meet us? I quite appreciate your position, but even on that basis will you meet these men?" I said that if I went to any such meeting I would go to oppose, to express the views which I had just expressed to him, and on that understanding I attended that meeting. I met these men, together with two other Ministers, whose names Deputy Mulcahy has given. There was nothing put up to us at that meeting as an accomplished fact; anything that was put up was put up as a project, as a tentative proposal for the future. One would almost think by Deputy Mulcahy that he had come along to this meeting and said: "We have re-organised the Irish Republican Brotherhood within the National Army, and the National Army is in a fair way to become an I.R.B. machine," and that the reply of the Minister was: "That was a very happy thought of yours, and you have done quite well." That is not the position. In a vague, tentative way, as if it were very much in the air and very much in the future, this question of a possible re-organisation or a possible revival of the I.R.B. in the Army was discussed, and it met with very vigorous and very emphatic opposition.

Other Ministers can speak for themselves, but the challenge has been thrown out that there was knowledge, and almost something more than knowledge, assent or approval, on the part of the Ministers who met the Deputy and his comrades on that night. There was nothing of the kind. Speaking for myself, I denounced the project as one that would inevitably react on the Army, one that would tend to sterilise the Army, to rot discipline and efficiency, and probably Deputy Mulcahy and the two who were with him will remember my reference to a Tammany political irresponsible, to which the members of the Dáil would become the merest puppets. There was no assent, there was no approval. The meeting, of course, could not come to any decision. It was a meeting called for a personal discussion between six men; that personal discussion took place, but the net result on the minds of those who came and met us was, and could not be any other than this, that there was a complete and profound disapproval in the minds of the Ministers whom they asked to discuss the matter. It is true that at the next meeting of the Executive Council no one said "Oh, we met the Minister for Defence and two others the other night, and they suggested such a thing." But when you are asked to attend a meeting in that way it is, at any rate, an implication of confidence, and although I had charged certain things at the Executive Council in February, and these things were denied, I did not consider myself at liberty at a meeting of the Executive Council subsequent to this informal discussion to use anything that was said there in support of my very rooted and deep-seated objection to secret societies. I made no reference in public or private to that until this unfortunate mutinous pot that had been brewing and simmering in the Army boiled over, and an Inquiry was set up in regard to it.

Then I thought the situation in the Army and in the country was so grave that no man was entitled to withhold any scrap of knowledge which he could contribute to the Committee set up by the Government and on behalf of the people to arrive at the truth. I emptied my mind to that Committee with regard to Army matters, and with regard to any other thing that would help them in their deliberations. An attempt has been made to juggle with things; to say: "You have got to say whether it was the Parnell Street incident or the I.R.B., and to say, if it was the Parnell Street incident. So-and-so must be counted out, and if it was the I.R.B. someone else must be counted out." It was both. It was a lack of confidence, and that lack of confidence was proved and justified by the Parnell Street incident. We feared that a situation was developing in which the Army would not be unequivocably and without reserve the instrument of the people's will, expressed through the Dáil and the Executive Council responsible to the Dáil. These fears were justified by what happened in Parnell Street that night. There action was taken directly and flatly contrary to Government policy with regard to that unfortunate trouble that had broken out in the Army. There a faction struck venomously and bitterly at a faction behind the back of the Government and behind the back of the people, and we had to act and act promptly to show to the people and anyone concerned that we were not willing to allow this country's interests to go back into the melting pot so that there might be an interesting dog fight between any two groups. If we were to strike out and hunt down the men who had formed themselves into a quasi secret political group within the Army, well, then, we ought to do that otherwise than through the medium and the agency of men who had done the same, and not through the medium and agency of men who were out of court with regard to action of that kind.

I cannot understand how men assented to the shelling of the Four Courts on the grounds that there were those within who challenged the right of the people to decide their policy freely and openly in the light of day, and with full advertence to all relevant facts, and then subsequently took a course which, at any rate, can be interpreted as a denial of that right, and as an intention to question or challenge it at some time in the future. Any man who has a political message, any man who has a creed to preach can go out and preach it to the people openly, but men ought not to take the pay of the State and to wear the uniform of the State, and then proceed to form themselves into what I have heard euphemistically described as an influential organisation. An influential organisation may mean much or mean little. The tendency is, when it is armed men who form themselves into such an organisation, that it will mean very much indeed. We had to act during that fortnight of tension in what we considered to be the best interests of the people, and the interests of the country's future. The Dáil is asked now to state that we did wrong, and to state that the fact that we did wrong is in some occult way shown by the report of this Army Inquiry. I say in some occult way, because to the plain man who lacks subtlety, the Report of the Army Inquiry does seem to be a very fair and straight vindication and justification of the action which we took, vis-a-vis that mutiny, and of the action which we took following on the antics in Parnell Street. Political gossip, political rumour, has been rather busy with my name of late, and I have read my notice to quit in at least one provincial paper. I want to say this, that I have no desire to create even a mild sensation for those who seem to have developed an appetite in that direction. But there are just a few issues on which I am prepared to quit at short notice, and one of them is this, that those who take the pay and wear the uniform of the State, be they soldiers or police, must be non-political servants of the State.

I do not want to take up the time of the House unduly. This motion states that the Government is worthy of censure because we removed these three men from their posts. As has already been pointed out, the Government must keep to itself the power of removing men from such positions without any argument about it. I want to point out, as I said before, that for a long time I, for one, have been morally certain that everything was not right within the Army, but I lacked tangible proof. The late Minister for Defence said that about last June, I think, there was a letter from Seán O'Hegarty about Tom Barry and he seemed to think that at that time the Executive Council were not the right people to do a certain thing, but that the Supreme Council of the I.R.B. were the right body to do it. He also seems to have thought that when he got together any three Ministers of the Executive Council whom he liked to handpick it was up to them to give instructions and to make decisions. It is evident that the man who was in charge of the Army failed utterly to realise that the seven men who are responsible to the country for everything that happens were men to be informed of things intimately affecting the affairs of the country. He evidently thought they were men to some extent to be kept in the dark. It was because of that cloud-bank to which the Minister for Justice has referred and because of the exclusion of myself as an individual— I was known to be cantankerous and somewhat of an impossibilist in Army matters—that I had no tangible proof of the matters that led up to the mutiny. The members of the Executive Council are challenged for removing these men from their posts. I think if we are to be defeated on that the best thing that the Dáil can do is to remove the Executive Council, as otherwise their position would be impossible.

Shortly before the trouble occurred there was an Army reorganisation scheme, and there were three men, the Chief of Staff, the Adjutant-General, and the Quartermaster-General, who, in their collective capacity, were known as the Defence Council. That re-organisation scheme came to us with recommendations for individuals to hold commissions in the Army. Within a week or two it was apparent that we who are responsible to the people of this country were recommended to give commissions to men who, when we found it out, were in open mutiny against the State, and who had been apparently in covert mutiny against the State for a long time. It appears to me from the framing of the report that that covert mutiny was known to the three men who recommended that these mutineers should hold commissions in the Army. We put a man over these three men. So far as I remember, the night before the celebrated Tuesday, we gave an order that no action should be taken except on the authority of that man and on Tuesday night action was taken without the knowledge of that man. Apparently it was thought that men who decided the policy of the Army should also decide the policy of the State. I say that when a mutiny takes place in the Army the Executive Council have sufficient ground for removing men from their posts. Moreover, when it transspired that these men recommended to the Government to put mutineers, covert or open, in the position of holding commissions, I say that that is an additional reason for removing these men from their posts.

The fact that these men acted in a way which was undoubtedly contrary to the orders of the Government is also an additional reason. I say, therefore, that such a proposal as this which is now before the House is quite ridiculous on the grounds which I have stated. We are blamed for not acting on the Reports of the Army Committee. The one thing that the Committee says is, that obviously these three men permitted a mutiny in the Army, and permitted a secret society within the Army, and the Committee also says that the mutiny had been precipitated and made inevitable by the fact that this counter-body existed in the Army, the I.R.B. The Report states that the action taken by these men definitely led to the position where that mutiny became inevitable. I say, as a member of the Executive Council, that we do not consider that we are worthy of blame for what we did, but that we would be worthy of blame if we had not done it.

I would like to say that among the many issues raised here there is one advice that is paramount, and it is that whatever Government is set up by the legislature in any country the action that that Government takes in regard to officials ought not to be made the subject of debate in the legislature in the fashion in which this has been raised here. If the principle raised in this motion were to become a general practice, what would happen immediately would be that if any Department endeavoured to challenge the action of any one of its servants the matter would be raised here and be subject to debate, as this has been subject to debate on this occasion. I think it is unfortunate that this Resolution has been moved in the form in which it has been moved, and I hope it will not be made a precedent.

Níl morán le rádh agam, mar tá sé ag eirighe deidheanach. Ní mhaith liom mo ghuth a thabhairt gan labhairt. Sílim go raibh an triúr oifigigh ag dul amugha, agus ar an abhar sin tá mé ag brath mo guth do thabhairt i n-aghaidh an tairisgint.

I wish to state briefly my position with reference to this motion. I believe that the officers in question made a very grave error of judgment on that night in Parnell Street, and that they should have recognised that they were subject to the Executive and should be guided by the Executive. For that reason I am going to vote against this motion, but at the same time I want to make it clear that I have no sympathy whatever with the tone of the speech of the Minister for Justice. I think it was a harmful speech, and a speech which will not add to the security of the country. I deplore as much as anyone can that that speech was delivered here this evening.

I think I was the person referred to by the Minister for Fisheries as having attended the first meeting of the I.R.B. at Portobello. I certainly attended that meeting, and I agree with him generally that the tone of that meeting was behind the duly elected Government of this country. I expressed some views on behalf of the Government that day. I do not know if they were palatable to the members present, because after that meeting I was never invited to another.

In view of the reference in Deputy Mulcahy's motion to the report of the Army Inquiry Committee, I merely wish to state in two words that when I signed that report I did not consider it would involve the reinstatement of the three officers in their posts. I considered that at some future date it might be possible for them to return to the Army in another capacity. I am glad to learn from the President that the way is open for General MacMahon to do so, because there was, in the evidence, a general consensus of opinion from officers of all schools who held different views on many subjects, that General MacMahon had done devoted work for the Army, and I believe the Army will gain if his services are restored. The Minister for Fisheries, who I am sorry to see is not present, considered that we were grudging in our references to those officers and had left an unfair imputation on the character of General O Muirthuile. He spoke of rumours about that officer. I never heard of those rumours, but that is, I believe, due to the fact that both he and I have been mistaken for one another, and therefore the vendors of that stinking fish may have been afraid of bringing their fish to the wrong market. If the Minister for Fisheries had applied a quarter of his intelligence to the subject he would have known that the only charges that I saw brought against that officer were the ordinary charges that fighting men bring against the Quartermaster-General. One charge was that in a certain area the troops were not sufficiently supplied with clothing. I fancy that a good answer to meet that would have been that, owing to the difficulties of transport, the facts were that half the railways were blown up and half the bridges blown down. The other was a small matter, that an unsuitable type of trenching tools was supplied to the Engineers. These are charges liable to be brought against any department. There was no suggestion of corruption, nothing more than mistaken judgment. In view of the fact that those charges have been made I thought it well to say this. But for the Minister of Fisheries we would not have discussed the Army Inquiry Committee to-night and unfortunately it is not one of my functions to defend the Executive Council.

I am not anxious to speak on this debate, and strange as it may seem to some of the Deputies in the Dáil, I am not particularly anxious to hear my own voice, but I do feel on a motion like this, on a serious matter like is, that it is the duty of any Deputy in the House to say what he thinks and to say what he considers in the national interests ought to be said. It may be that I will not feel it necessary to speak at all, if I get a certain ruling from you, sir. Deputy Mulcahy, in proposing his motion, made it perfectly clear that the obvious implications of that motion were that those three officers should be restored to their former positions as Chief of Staff, Adjutant-General, and Quartermaster General of the Army. That was the whole text of his speech, and those are the plain implications of the resolution, and that is so especially in view of the fact that the previous resolution, which was withdrawn for technical reasons, I think, expressly called for that particular thing.

No. It did not.


That may be, but at any rate that was the plain implication of the resolution, and it was in that sense that Deputy Mulcahy proposed it.

I proposed the resolution as a vote of censure on the Executive Council for their action in one matter and their actions subsequently.


That is for their action in dismissing the Army Council, and with the implication that they should be reinstated, which was implied more than once in the Deputy's speech, and also for their inaction in another matter. The inaction can only mean their inaction in not returning officers to their positions in the Army. I think that is plain from the speech of the Deputy, and hence I do not understand Deputy McGrath's contention that the Army Inquiry Report and the findings are not relevant to the motion. I am not anxious to intervene in a debate which centres about three officers, but Deputy Mulcahy has asked a specific question and has looked for specific information. He is entitled to that information, and the Dáil is entitled to that information and, as well as the Dáil, the country is entitled to that information. There has been considerable confusion, naturally a considerable misinterpretation, of all those instances since last March when the Army Council were dismissed, and the country is entitled to know the reasons and is entitled to the information Deputy Mulcahy asked for just as well as Deputy Mulcahy himself.

ACTING-CHAIRMAN (Mr. Nicholls) took the Chair.


I have tried to make myself clear. What I mean is that in view of this Resolution and of the speeches, the findings of the Army Inquiry are relevant to the Resolution. As I stated, the plain implications of this Resolution are that those three officers should be returned to the Army in the positions which they held. Deputy Mulcahy has asked how they have sinned and why they should not have been restored. He is entitled to an answer to that question and the answer is to be found clearly set out in the Report of the Army Committee of Inquiry. I will give him that answer from my point of view as one Deputy. The answer is contained in Sections 14, 15 and 22, and these sections will bear re-reading. The first paragraph of Section 14, after dealing with the I.R.A. organisation—and there is no doubt whatever that the Committee have made themselves perfectly clear as to what they think of that organisation and the object of that organisation—runs as follows:—

"While we are completely satisfied that there would have been no mutiny but for the existence of this organisation, we are equally satisfied that its activities were intensified by the revival or reorganisation of the I.R.B., with the encouragement of certain members of the Army Council, the lack of confidence and want of intercourse between these two sections of Army officers, and the failure of both to appreciate their position as servants of the State. General O Murthuile has stated to us that the I.R.B. was originally organised to prevent the Irregulars from getting control of it if it were left derelict, and using its name to stir up disaffection against the State, but we are satisfied that the "Old I.R.A." group regarded the reorganisation as directed against them, and were confirmed in this belief by the fact that none of them were allowed to share in the control of the reorganised I.R.B. We consider that the reorganisation of the I.R.B., carried out, as it appears to have been, by the actual heads of the Army, was a disastrous error of judgment, and accentuated a mutiny which might not have occurred at all and which could have been more firmly suppressed if those in authority had not weakened their position by leaving themselves open to the charge of acting in the interest of a hostile secret society."

These are Sections 14 and 15.

Section 22 reads:—

"The existence of secret societies, factions, and political organisations undoubtedly did affect discipline among officers, especially by undermining the confidence of Army officers in the impartiality of their superiors. The mere existence of such suspicion, whether well-founded or not, is antagonistic to the welfare of any institution, especially one which depends upon personal discipline, and we are strongly of opinion that the attestation of all officers and soldiers should include a declaration similar to that at present demanded from a Civic Guard."

The Army Committee of Inquiry has set out perfectly clearly in these three paragraphs the reasons why the former heads of the Army should not be returned to their positions. Now they have made it clear that they do not condemn or that they were not referring to these officers as continuing members of the I.R.B., but that their quarrel with these officers was that they had revived or reorganised the I.R.B. —revived or re-organised a secret society. That is made perfectly clear in these three paragraphs, and they have expressed the opinion that that was a disastrous error of judgment.

To return these officers, the actual heads of the Army as they then were, and to make them the actual heads of the Army again, would be a cynical disregard of the findings of the Army Committee of Inquiry. That is the answer to the question as I see it. It has been stated here that certain evidence was given before the Army Inquiry and certain evidence that was given before the Inquiry has been repeated here. I take it for granted that that evidence got full weight from the Army Committee of Inquiry, that they heard the evidence which Deputy Mulcahy and which the members of the former Army Council put forward to justify their reorganisation of a secret society in the Army, and that they heard the rebutting evidence. All that evidence was before them; these are their findings, and the one piece of firm ground which we have in a situation which is certainly extremely confusing and which is changing every moment, is this report of an independent Committee of Inquiry who heard all the evidence pro and con, and who thought it their duty to bring forward these findings. I think it right, as one Deputy, to make my position clear on this question of secret societies. There is no justification, good, bad or indifferent, in the present circumstances, for a secret society in the Army; nothing whatever could justify either the reorganisation or revival of a secret society in the Army. I gather from this report which I have before me, and which is the one piece of solid fact in the whole situation, that it was put forward that this society was reorganised to prevent the Irregulars from getting control of it if it were left derelict and using its name to stir up disaffection against the State. If that was put forward as one of the reasons, it appears to show a complete want of appreciation of the real difference between our position and the position of the Irregulars. By reorganising a secret society or reviving a secret society in the Army we put ourselves in the same position as the Irregulars put themselves in when Mr. de Valera made war on this country in accordance with the principle that the people had no right to do wrong. Any reorganisation or revival in the circumstances was a departure from the only source of strength or the only authority which we had, as against the people who challenged us, and was a substitution for the authority which we had from the people, a substitution of the very same authority as the Irregulars claimed.

I started by saying that I was not anxious to speak on this Motion, and that I was not particularly glad to have to discuss this question round about the names of three Army officers. That is not my fault. The motion has come up in that form, but I want to say that while it is a fact that there could be no justification for what has occurred, we should make allowance for the fact that the I.R.B. was regarded, and rightly regarded—there, perhaps, may be some difference of opinion about it amongst people who know best—but it was certainly regarded by influential sections of the Irish people, pre-Truce, as a legitimate society. These three officers were very much in that tradition. We should make all allowances for the fact that these three officers were very much in that tradition, and perhaps would more easily than otherwise make the mistake they did make. While admitting that, no sense of gratitude for services that may have been rendered, no consideration, good, bad or indifferent, should influence us to leave in doubt for one moment that our Army should be put out of reach once and for all of the influence, the direct or the indirect influence, of any secret organisation or of any member of any secret political organisation. If any question arises on the Army Report, it is not whether certain officers should be reinstated in their positions, but what has the Government done to see that in future the Irish Army shall be put beyond any possibility of influence by secret societies of any kind. That is my position in the matter, and I feel it right on an occasion like this to make it clear.

I feel in a peculiar position about this debate. I was one of the members of the Army Committee, and as their report only very slightly enters into the discussion according to the terms of the motion, I do not know that I am, or any member of the Committee is, called upon to defend the report. We heard in a previous debate Deputy Mulcahy say that he felt this report to be a national humiliation. I do not know what is wrong with the report. Other Deputies think, perhaps, that there must have been a good deal wrong with it. This report is very clear with regard to one section of the Army that contributed to the mutiny, because the doings and happenings and documents connected with that section were quite clear to the public and quite clear to the Committee. This report—no matter what people may say to the contrary—is, to my mind, a very moderate report, moderate in its terms and moderate in its language. Nevertheless, nobody reading the report, and studying the implications contained in its findings, can lose sight of the seriousness of those findings. I, as a member of the Committee, which held 46 sittings, am convinced that this organisation known as the I.R.B. was dead—had ceased to exist—until the early part of 1923. I am borne out in that by the evidence of one of the members of the Army Council and also by something Deputy Mulcahy said here this evening. Section 14 of the report says, in part:—

We are equally satisfied that these activities were intensified by the revival or re-organisation of the I.R.B., with the encouragement of certain members of the Army Council.

We put that there because we considered that the reorganisation of any secret society was a matter of the gravest importance to the country and to the Army. We all recognise and admit the necessity for a secret organisation before the Treaty, and before the people of this country became the rulers of the country. But, after that, the position was altogether changed, and that there should be a secret organisation now, either in the Army or outside it, is more than I can subscribe to. It was said at the inquiry that the time had arrived when the I.R.B. could come out of the catacombs and into the open. I subscribe to that. There is nothing to prevent it. As Deputies have said, the time was opportune for any man to preach any doctrine he chose in this country. There was no room for secret organisations, none whatever, either the I.R.A. or the I.R.B. This finding is not put in as a matter of mere mention, but as a matter of very great importance in the opinion of the Committee. The question of lack of intercourse between these two sections of the Army has very little bearing on this question. It has only a bearing in so far as that lack of intercourse, that want of confidence, had accentuated the mutiny and had driven the other parties into the opposite camp. Only in that sense is it important, and in that sense I say it is very important. This close corporation from which this other section was excluded tended to lay the foundations of the mutiny which ultimately took place. To my mind, whether there were two organisations or one organisation, the position was not changed except in so far as it lead up to mutiny. The existence of one would be as objectionable as the existence of two. I think there will be no doubt on the question that one section at least, judging from their ultimatums and written documents, did not consider themselves and did not appreciate their position as servants of the State.

The other section of Army officers, including the Army Council, in the opinion of the Committee did not appreciate their position as servants of the State. They entered into the revival or continuance of this organisation—a secret organisation—participated in by men who were at the head of the most important arm of the Government in this country, by men who themselves were in the Government. Within that Government were members of a secret organisation. We thought that was improper; I think it is improper still. That is the reason that the recommendation is made that the members of the Army should take the same form of undertaking—even a more stringent form of undertaking than has been taken by men entering the Gárda Síochána. Now we come to Section 15. "General O Murthuile has stated to us that the I.R.B. was originally reorganised to prevent the Irregulars from getting control of it if it were left derelict and using its name to stir up disaffection against the State." That statement may or may not be true. We are not in a position to question it. Statements were made in evidence that the I.R.B. had been meeting in the early part of 1923 up to June. General O Murthuile stated it was for the purpose of getting the I.R.B. away from any Irregular influences and in order to get the Irregulars from getting control of it. He was asked what evidence he had to prove that they were trying to get control. We were told that he found evidence in Cork when he went there on the business of his Department, and also had reports from the prisons that such a thing was happening. He was asked for confirmation of that by any witness and it was not forthcoming.

I think I have dealt with the attitude of the I.R.A. group with regard to this organisation being directed against them, and all the rest. That suspicion was, to my mind and in the minds of the Committee, a very natural and inevitable suspicion—a suspicion that must have taken root in the mind of any individual who was excluded and was not a member of this organisation. We say here:—

"We consider that the reorganisation of the I.R.B., carried out as it appears to have been by the actual heads of the Army, was a disastrous error of judgment...."

I still consider it was a disastrous error of judgment for the reasons I have stated; disastrous because of the suspicion it must have aroused in the minds of the other section who were not members of it, and disastrous because a section of the servants of the State entered into a secret organisation that might or might not be a danger to the State. It was admitted that while those at the head of the organisation had influence enough to control it so as not to be a danger to the State, no guarantee could be given that some element might not come along at any time and make it something that might be a danger to the State; something that would be absolutely undesirable and that would bring it into conflict with the civil authority.

With regard to the mutiny having occurred at all, it is quite probable, it certainly is possible, that the mutiny would not have occurred at all were it not that these men were driven into a corner, were driven into a position in which they could get no satisfaction one way or the other. I am not defending that group. They were absolutely wrong from the beginning. From the time that they first tried to impose their will on the Army authorities or the Executive Council—which they never got to—they were wrong. I can find no excuse for their action at all. My summing up of their action is that they did not appreciate their position as servants of the State. Almost in the same degree I am convinced that the members of the other organisation did not fully appreciate their position as servants of the State. While believing that their action was absolutely wrong, I can, more or less, find an explanation, if not an excuse, for them in the circumstances of the last three or four years. I can understand men taking a good deal of the personal view, a good deal of the clan or group view, as distinguished from the national view. I know it is quite natural. Probably in the same circumstances any one of us would have done the same thing.

Finding 16 says:—

"It has not been proved to us that any appointments or promotions were made by reason of membership of, or influence corruptly exercised by the I.R.B., and those most concerned repudiate the charge. The difficulty of direct proof in this connection is obvious."

I want to say that only three sections of people can speak on this matter with first-hand knowledge as far as the Army Inquiry goes—the members of the Committee, who had all the evidence at their disposal; the Executive, that the evidence has been submitted to——

They have not read it.

That is not our fault. The other section is Deputy Mulcahy and his friends who had the assistance and instruction of two counsel and two solicitors. Outside of these, no other section in the Dáil or outside have any intimate knowledge of the evidence that this Report is based on. I hope they will get it some time. As one member of the Committee I say that this Report is based on that evidence, and the publication of that evidence is the only thing that would justify the Report. I shall welcome the evidence when it does come. That is not bluff. It is a genuine wish and feeling on my part. With regard to the sentence, "The difficulty of direct proof in this connection is obvious," when we wanted to go into the activities or meetings of the I.R.B. we were met by the plea of privilege—that nothing could be given away.

Get the evidence published.

I challenge the evidence on that point. Not a witness came up that I did not put that question to, and I always met a wall.

I support the Deputy's demand for the evidence.

But the question is not answered.

I support it. Aspersions have been thrown on the Committee by Deputy Mulcahy and by Deputy Johnson. I do not think they are justified, and I say that as a member of the Committee.

What does Deputy Gorey mean by saying the Committee were met by a wall?

I have already stated that in dealing with the question of the I.R.B. privilege was claimed. We could get no evidence, but met a blank wall which we could not penetrate. One witness came forward to a certain point, and then claimed privilege. Another factor that we found leading up to the mutiny was that:

"There was a feeling prevalent in some quarters that efficiency was not a predominant factor in deciding questions of promotion or retention, while others considered that sufficient weight was not given to pre-Truce service. These suspicions led to slackness and indiscipline."

If that finding is incomplete it is incomplete because evidence was put up to us that neither efficiency nor pre-Truce service got sufficient consideration.

Paragraph 22 states:—

The existence of secret societies, factions, and political organisations undoubtedly did affect discipline among officers, especially by undermining the confidence of Army Officers in the impartiality of their superiors. The mere existence of such suspicion, whether well founded or not, is antagonistic to the welfare of any institution, especially one which depends upon personal discipline and we are strongly of opinion that the attestation of all officers and soldiers should include a declaration similar to that at present demanded from a Civic Guard.

I think the first part of that finding explains itself, and that it expresses the very natural feeling that existed. Let us come to where it was stated that these Army officers had been treated scurvily, and, I think, meanly. I think the word meanly was used with regard to the Quartermaster-General. "No evidence was given before us to justify a charge of muddling, mismanagement or incompetence on the part of the Chief-of-Staff."

Neither was any evidence given of incompetence with—regard to the discharge of his duties. The Committee said that, and said no more. They did not say it in a grudging way, but to convey the idea that the charge made in connection with him was not proved. No evidence at all was given about it. The report states that. There was no implication and there is no use reading an implication into the report that is not in it.

With regard to paragraph 25:—

"We have already dealt with the actions of the late Quartermaster-General in connection with the re-organisation of the I.R.B. No other charge relevant to our Inquiry was made against him—"

if the evidence is produced, it will be found that there were charges made against the late Quartermaster-General. Charges were made, not referring to those mentioned by the Minister for Fisheries, or in connection with the management of his department, but with regard to "quartermastering" up and down the country. Some of the members of the Committee will remember that they were made because the Quartermaster-General sent men around on what he called the Inspection Staff who came up against, and were actually hostile to the ordinary Inspection Staff of the Army. They questioned the right of the ordinary Inspection Staff to interfere in "quartermastering" matters. That was a charge we did not think relevant to the Inquiry. Other charges that were made we did not think relevant, because we had no power to deal with them under our Terms of Reference. We said that. Deputy Mulcahy will remember that serious charges were made which might be suitable for an Army Inquiry but which were not charges that the Committee had to deal with. The Minister for Fisheries referred to paragraph 26, where the late Adjutant-General is referred to—I think he said "Gearoid lost his job." Certainly that was not because of the finding of the Committee, as the Committee exonerated him altogether with regard to the particular charge mentioned in that paragraph. I am not called on at this stage to go into the other incidents, such as the Kenmare or the Mayo cases; or how they were conducted and who was at fault—the Attorney-General or others. Perhaps the least said about that the better. I will only say that it was a long time before one case found its way to the Attorney-General. I do not think much more explanation is needed. As to the report, I hope that the Committee's findings will be the last of the kind.

When an error has been committed, as we believe an error has been committed, by Army officers, they ought to accept it as an error. Whether it was wise or not, and it is my opinion it was very unwise, it would be much better if this Motion were never tabled this evening. It would be much better, in the interests of the Army and the Army officers, if it were not tabled. Time would have healed things, and I hope that time will heal things. I would not be fair to some officers—one in particular—if I did not corroborate what was said by Deputy Cooper. On every side, and on the part of the witnesses who gave evidence—men who hold distinctly opposite views—there were compliments paid to the late Chief of Staff for his honesty, his hard work, and his determination to make the Army as good as it could be from his view-point. All bore testimony to the fact that he gave unlimited service, almost amounting to a day and night service, and the Committee has a very keen appreciation of the efforts that Major-General MacMahon made to carry out his duties.

I am going to say very little on the Motion, because I feel in regard to it now as I felt when I tabled my amendment. All the speeches that have been made here to-night, finishing with Deputy Gorey's, have impressed me all the more strongly that we cannot fairly decide on the merits of Deputy Mulcahy's Motion until we have more information. After hearing only what we have heard to-night, it is plain that we should have further information. Beyond all question, conflicting statements have been made by Deputies.

Naturally, among Deputies in the Dáil.

Statements have been made by Deputy Mulcahy as to the conduct of the Executive Council, and as to how the Executive Council received certain statements from him at a certain period. A very elaborate report of evidence that must have been submitted by him to the Army Committee of Inquiry was permitted here. Deputy Gorey has reviewed a part of the Report. The Minister for Justice has made a statement as to some evidence he gave, and the President has given us part of some of the evidence that must have also been submitted to the Army Inquiry Committee.

I beg to inform the Deputy that I gave no evidence before the Inquiry. Furthermore, the Deputy made a statement that some of those matters were discussed at some of the Executive Council meetings. There was no such discussion at a meeting of the Executive Council. What really happened was that Deputy Mulcahy met three members of the Executive Council.

When I said that the President made a statement about matters that may have been, or may not have been, presented before the Committee of Inquiry——

I do not know of them.

I did not suggest that the President gave that evidence. I do suggest it is possible that somebody else did give that evidence. Anyhow it has been referred to by Deputy Mulcahy. It is possible that this evidence was submitted before the Army Committee of Inquiry. I do not know that any Deputy can make up his mind on this motion of Deputy Mulcahy's outside those Deputies to whom Deputy Gorey has referred. They are the only persons in a position to come to a decision, because they are in possession of all the facts in connection with this Army trouble. They are the only persons in a position to decide fairly what action ought to be taken on this motion. I do not think it is fair to ask other Deputies, in face of the statements made here, to take a decision on this matter. I am not going into a discussion on the Report, because it is impossible to do that when one is not in possession of the facts. Deputy Gorey, Deputy Mulcahy, a Minister or some member of the Executive Council may discuss the Report all right, but a Deputy who has only had an opportunity of hearing part of the evidence—that part of the evidence, mind you, that certain Deputies like to give; that was given this evening—cannot discuss the Report.

There was no evidence mentioned there; it was merely a finding.

A Deputy cannot discuss the report under those circumstances. I do not consider that the ordinary Deputies have been treated fairly by the Executive Council in this matter at all. Whether it is the intention of the Executive Council that we ought not to be in a position to make up our minds on such a motion as Deputy Mulcahy has tabled, or not, I cannot say. The fact is we have not the evidence which in some way or other must have influenced members of the Executive Council in coming to a decision as regards the treatment of those Army officers. That evidence has not been put before us. It has been stated definitely by the Minister for Justice that the secret organisation did influence the Executive Council. They may have had the evidence. They may know all the circumstances, but we do not. We have but to accept either the statement of the Minister for Justice and be all on that side, or we have to accept Deputy Mulcahy's statement and be all on his side.

I for one am not prepared to accept blindly the statement made by either party in this matter. I do very strongly urge that any Army in this country in the future ought to be the servant of the State and its policy ought not to be determined by any secret organisation either within or outside of the Army. I am as strongly inclined to that attitude as anybody else. I think every Deputy in the Dáil is agreed on that point. I go so far as to suggest that to-day, perhaps, Deputy Mulcahy will agree with that.

And I would have agreed yesterday.

We are asked in Deputy Mulcahy's motion to take a decision on the conduct of Army affairs for some years past in this country. Many of us who have not been very closely in touch with inner circles of Army administration are asked to take a decision without knowing all the facts. I say that the Executive Council has not given us the facts. Its report does not give us all the facts; it gives us the findings of certain individuals who were responsible to the Executive Council and the Executive Council is responsible to the Dáil. The Executive Council is not treating the Dáil fairly in refusing to give us the evidence on which we can ourselves come to what would be a fair judgment in regard to this whole matter.

In the absence of that evidence which has been refused by the Executive Council and which, I believe, is being refused contrary to the desires of the majority of Deputies, we are prevented from being given an opportunity to arrive at a fair decision on this motion tabled by Deputy Mulcahy. I think it is not fair, and will not be fair to the Dáil to ask Deputies to give their decision under such conditions. If Deputy Mulcahy wants a decision that will be a fair one in regard to the men for whom he is speaking, we have first to get an opportunity of reviewing the evidence before we can arrive at a fair and just decision.

I will not attempt to say the same thing one hundred times over, and take up the time of the Dáil by repeating the same remark one hundred times, and perhaps two or three hundred times, with a slight variation of words. Deputy Baxter need not imagine that he is speaking in the presence of a collection of school children. He says he cannot arrive at a decision. A vote of censure is moved. It is for those who move that vote of censure to put the grounds of their vote of censure before the Dáil. If those grounds are not satisfactory to the mind of Deputy Baxter, then Deputy Baxter's course is clear. We do not forget previous contributions on this subject. We were told on a previous occasion that the Executive Council was in the dock.

They are yet.

Very well. I may say, as one Minister, holding the commission of the people of this country, that I am not in the dock, nor will I ever be in the dock so long as I hold that position, and Deputy Baxter had better make up his mind about it. If he thinks he is going to deal with the Government of the Irish people as a party in the dock, we will show him where his mistake is. You have to remove us from the position which we now occupy before we consent to be in the dock. For what crime are we in the dock? The crime for which we are in the dock is this: That Deputy Baxter is not in a position to produce the charges against us.

resumed the Chair.

The Deputy hopes, if he got picking through the evidence that was produced before the Committee, that he would be able to get charges; but in the meantime we are in the dock—the Government is in the dock. Now, that only shows that we still have not emerged from the state of slavery in this country. Citizens of a free country, and representatives of a free country, representatives of people who feel themselves to be free, would not use such language about putting their government in the dock. We are still in the condition that Arthur Griffith used to comment on so frequently and so truly. That is, the condition of the slave mind. It is the slave mind that talks about putting its government in the dock in that fashion.

The Government has put itself in the dock.

Hear, hear.

I do not know whether I heard a "hear, hear" to the Deputy's last interruption—last repetition. Now with regard to this position generally, my belief is, and I have foundation for it, that if Deputies here represent the state of mind of the people in the country—and when I speak of the people of the country I do not mean the element of old-womanish curiosity or of gadabouts, but of the sensible people of the country—they would say to Deputy Mulcahy and to any other Deputy who drags matters of this kind across the course of public business—"We are sick and tired of you." That is the feeling of the people of the country with regard to this question. I do not doubt that Deputy Mulcahy has persuaded himself that he is acting under a sense of public duty.

If he has he has persuaded himself wrongly. He is acting on a sense of private obligation. The ruling influence in this matter is not what is due to the public but what appears to be due to certain individuals. Now with regard to those individuals, no one can accuse me of one atom of unfriendliness or of spleen or of bias against them. I do not think that that accusation could be brought against any of those who have had to discharge a duty in this matter. I wonder are there any other Deputies in the House that agree with Deputy Baxter that this Government is on its trial for removing these three officers from their appointments. Does any other Deputy in the House take up that position, that this Government is on its trial?

On a point of explanation I would like to make myself understood. When I said the Government was on its trial I did not mean for the removal of these three officers, but for the situation they permitted to arise in their handling of the whole Army situation.

That is not in the resolution before the House; there is nothing about that in it. If the Deputy wishes to raise that let him bring forward his own vote of censure, but that is not in this resolution. The resolution asks the Dáil to condemn the Executive Council for a very definite thing—for removing three officers from their Army positions. I ask the members of the Dáil if they consider that the case is so grave, so exceptional, so abnormal, and the evidence on the face of it with regard to the removal of these three officers is so apparently against the Government that it is an occasion for the Dáil to intervene between the Executive Government and the discharge of a particular function. For if they do not consider that it is a matter so grave, so extraordinarily grave, then I put it to them that even the amount of interference that has taken place this evening already is hostile to the conduct of government. You will find it very difficult if you have Ministers in the future who at all events will be deeply influenced by such a proposition and such a discussion as has taken place this evening—you will find it very difficult to get Ministers who will accept responsibility and who will act and be prepared to act as it may be their duty to act without delay at a critical time.

I put that view gravely to every Deputy here if, unless as I say, you think it is a matter of a national crisis. You are going to take up the action of the Executive Government and hold a State trial, as Deputy Mulcahy would like you to hold, over the Executive Government. For action of that kind you will at all events do what lies in your power to prevent future Ministers from doing their duty and doing it manfully and honestly when a time of crisis arises. There again we are a bit young and a bit fresh. We have a Parliament to play with and institutions to play with. Unless the Government, in your opinion, has done something very criminal, something clearly criminal, the attempt should not be made that is being proclaimed here this evening to put it in dock. As I have said before, I refuse to stand in the dock.

You refuse to recognise the court.

I will recognise any court before which I am properly brought on a properly formulated charge. We still have this metaphor of trying the Government and of putting the Government on its trial. It should be evident to every person who thinks out the whole political position of this country that that is making Governmental responsibility practically impossible. Now there is another aspect to this matter that I pass on to. I am not going to follow Deputy Mulcahy. I am not going to follow the lead which he has given here this evening. If it is to be possible in the future for those whom you or any subsequent Dáil choose for Ministerial responsibility to act together as Ministers, this situation must not be created, that whatever the relations are between them they will have to be on their guard against each other as if they were dealing with foreigners or with enemies in the conversations which they carry on on more or less critical public matters. I think that would be a most unfortunate precedent to adopt, and I hope it will not be adopted. I have not stood up either to defend the Government or to defend myself. I could if I wished to add to the discussion on certain lines. I flatter myself that I could say some things that are fairly effective, but I do not want to turn the tables personally or to score a point in debate. I have held from the first since I saw this motion put down that whatever the intentions of the mover were, the motion itself is not in the public interest, and it will not forward the public interest in any degree. I refused to take the position that I, personally, any more than the Government as a whole is on its defence. No case has been made out against the Government, absolutely none. The Government on a particular occasion removed three officers from their positions. Now the reasons were stated fully, and stated at the time. No atom of these reasons was kept back, and I think it was perfectly plain to the Dáil at that time, it was made as plain as it could be, that the Government had at all events just grounds for its action, and that it had good reason for taking the action it took. What is added by the discussion this evening? Nothing.

An attempt has been made to confuse two things, and it has been made successfully. I congratulate Deputy Mulcahy on the success of his tactics and of his strategy this evening. He has shown himself a General once more. His object has been to get us to believe that the dismissal of those officers in some way or other, was based on the Inquiry, on the Inquiry which had not yet taken place. It was not based on the inquiry, and might I remind Deputy Baxter, after all his hundred-times-repeated insistence, it was not based on the evidence before the Inquiry. That evidence had not been collected then. Therefore it had absolutely nothing to do with the dismissal of these officers.

Was it present in the minds of the officers giving that evidence?

How could it be present when it was not in existence?

Does the Minister mean that the existence of the I.R.B. and the membership of that organisation by these men was not present to the minds of those Ministers then?

Deputy Baxter speaks of the members of this Dáil as if he thought they were hatched under a hen. The existence of the I.R.B., or the non-existence of the I.R.B., does not depend in the slightest degree on the evidence that was produced before the Committee, not in the slightest degree, and therefore all this claim for the production of evidence in connection with this Motion is only a tribute to the success of Deputy Mulcahy's generalship. One thing more. It has been represented to me this evening that in a previous statement of mine I attributed a certain personal attitude towards the officers who were dismissed, and that the point which the Minister for Fisheries mentioned this evening with regard to proprietary rights in positions of authority arose from a supposed remark of mine in which I was supposed to have said or implied that those officers claimed a proprietary right in positions of authority. I never said and never implied anything of the kind. I did say that the impression should not be allowed to grow up—and this applied to both sides of the controversy, if I might so describe them without offence, for I do not wish to give them offence—that there were any such proprietary rights, and that the most distinguished services, no matter what they might be, created no claim to authority for anybody. I repeat that here now, and I think it could not be too clearly understood that it is our intention as members of this Dáil, and that it ought to be the intention and the determination of the people whom we represent, that the most distinguished services on the part of any soldier do not create a right, a proprietary right, to places of authority. I emphasise that all the more because the Minister for Fisheries seemed to think that a contrary view could be entertained. I hope I have made it clear. I have endeavoured to disentangle what has been so successfully entangled during the course of this debate—the dismissal of the officers was not based on the evidence before the Inquiry. The demand for the evidence before the Inquiry is therefore not necessary at all in order to arrive at any judgment, if you wish to sit in judgment on the Executive Council, as to whether they were or were not justified in the dismissal of these officers.

I want to state at the beginning that when I and my colleagues left the Dáil for a few minutes we did not intend any discourtesy to any Deputy. We came here to hear the debate on this motion with open minds, hoping to hear a case made which would justify a decision, or a case made by the opponents which would justify an opposite decision, and we left the Dáil for a few minutes to see if we could agree whether a conclusive case had been made on either side by the parties concerned; that is to say, the parties primarily concerned. It was not intended as an offence or a gesture of any disrespectful kind to any Deputy. The Minister for Education has said one wise thing, I think, at least, in the course of his speech, and that was to deprecate the development or the sowing in the young State of the idea that Ministers must be careful of what they say to each other for fear that it may be used in evidence against them. That, I think, was very wise. But he said one other thing which I think was very unwise, in which he seemed to deprecate the bringing forward of a resolution in the Dáil of condemnation of the action of the Executive Council in relation to some of its administrative duties. When this matter was raised in the earlier stages, when Deputy Mulcahy stated that he was going to bring forward definite resolutions regarding certain ex-officers, he put it in such a way as to call from me the expression of the wish that such a thing would not take place; that the course that should be adopted was not to call upon the Dáil to express a view about the conduct of an administrative officer, but that we should hold the Minister, and the Ministry, responsible for the deeds, the actions, in his administrative capacity, of any subordinate officer of any department. But that is far from saying that when any Deputy feels that an injustice has been done by a Minister, or the Ministry, with respect to any officer of any department, that the conduct of the Minister, or the Ministry, with respect to that officer must not be dealt with in the Dáil. Otherwise what is meant by the sense of responsibility? Otherwise what is meant by Ministers being responsible to the Dáil? If the doctrine of the Minister for Education, as I understand him to state it, were accepted, it would mean that in so far as their control and the personnel of their departments was concerned they would be in absolute control and not responsible to the Dáil.

May I explain, sir? That certainly was not my contention. I do not think a contention so absurd as that should be made or should be implied by anything I did say. My objection was taken to the statement that the Ministry was placed in the dock. I do not think that the Government of the country ought to occupy a place in the dock except for some very, very grave reason indeed.

I do not know whether the Minister is in the habit of taking metaphors so literally as he seems to have taken this. When a vote of censure, as this has been described, is under discussion, it is not unusual to describe the person who is censured, or sought to be censured, as on his defence, or in the dock. However, that is a very small point. I would like to ask the Dáil to bear in mind the genesis of this discussion, to go back on the discussion which took place when the Ministry decided that they were to appoint a Committee. During the course of those discussions, by the way, I remember the Minister for Education, and I think also the Minister for Justice, explaining in regard to secret societies that we were undergoing a kind of transitional period, and that we must bear in mind the period through which we had passed, that one must not deal with this matter of secret societies, in the Army or otherwise, as though nothing had happened before the 6th December, 1921.

In a general way I think they were quite justified in asking the Dáil not to be too severe, and too rigid, in its judgment in respect of secret societies, that they had done effective and valuable work for the country, and they could not be expected to disband those, and to wipe them off the map in the twinkling of an eye. I think that the two Ministers actually used arguments of that kind, and I think they were warranted in using them, and that it was a very fair statement. I ask the Dáil to remember, in considering the matter under discussion, that the announcement made by the President during that discussion was that a Committee would be set up, and one of its terms of reference, that is to say, the covering letter which amplified the terms of reference, contained some reference to inquiring and reporting on "whether the discontent is justly and fairly attributable to muddling, mismanagement, and incompetence in the administration of the Army." The Report of the Committee seems to have considered that this charge of muddling, mismanagement, and incompetence was directed against the Chief of Staff.

I do not know what was the intention of the ex-Minister for Industry and Commerce, but I certainly understood that he made that charge in the Dáil, which the Ministry took up, and asked that there should be inquiry about it. I understood that was a charge of muddling, mismanagement and incompetence, not against the Chief of Staff, but against the Executive responsible for the Army, primarily perhaps against the Minister responsible for the Army. But let us remember all the time that when we are condemning and criticising the Minister responsible we are criticising the Ministry, the Executive Council, and that there has been right throughout this discussion a failure to realise that there was collective responsibility for the administration of the Army, that during all the period in which the trouble under discussion took place, the Executive Council was the responsible body, and if there is any charge legitimately levelled against anybody in the matter, then the Executive Council has to bear the responsibility. The motion asks the Dáil to condemn as contrary to the best interests of the State, the ill-considered action of the Executive Council in removing the late Chief of Staff, the late Adjutant-General, and the late Quartermaster-General, and the subsequent failure of the Executive Council to act upon the report of the Army Inquiry Committee. The case that has been made this evening is that the accumulative facts in connection with the administration of the Army by the Army Council justified them in removing these officers in the manner they did, and that it was not only to conduct in relation to Parnell Street, but it was that, and also the question of the development within the Army of the I.R.B. It has also been shown that the development of the I.R.B. and, let me say, the existence within the Army of another secret organisation was known for months and months to the Executive Council, or to several members of the Executive Council, and so far as one could gather, none of these members took action, or certainly not effective action, to prevent the development of either of those secret societies within the Army, and so long as they remained within the Executive Council, knowing the facts, they are equally responsible with every other member for the conduct of the Army and the existence of these organisations during that period.

It is not right for the remaining elements within the Executive Council to say that the people responsible were the two ex-Ministers, and only them. If there is any condemnation justly levelled against the administration because of the existence and the growth and development within the Army of a secret organisation, then those Ministers who were aware of the fact and remained within the Council without talking effective steps to suppress it, or call upon those people responsible, and known to be responsible, to resign, must bear the responsibility, and you cannot shift the responsibility upon those who were officers in the Army, or who were Ministers but who have resigned. Now, this report has been presented to the Dáil by the Executive Council. The Executive Council appointed a committee to inquire and report to the Executive Council. That report was made, and the Executive Council then has presented the document to the Dáil.

It frankly states it is only a partial report, that the Chairman's reservations as to completeness, meaning to say the Chairman's reservations as to the truth, in his view, of the report, are withheld. I think it is a very good rule—it has not been referred to, as far as I remember, in the Dáil—that has been adopted in other Parliaments, that when an official document is quoted from the whole of the document shall be available for members. I wish that rule had been recognised, accepted and acted upon, by the Executive Council in this case. But because this is a truncated Report, I think we have a right to assume that it is what the Executive Council would desire the Dáil to accept as its view of the condition of things in the Army and its view of what ought to be placed before the Dáil as the defence of the Executive Council. If that is the position it seems to me, so far as one can read the Report with understanding, that the condemnation that has been levelled against the three officers in respect to the organisation of a secret society within the Army must be read having regard to the statements made on the earlier discussion by the Minister for Education, and I think also by the Minister for Justice, in respect to the administration of the Army. It appears that discipline has been well maintained and has been steadily improving for a long time past, and that paragraphs 24, 25 and 26 of the Army Inquiry Report, or this portion of it which the Ministry has placed before us, seems to exonerate these three officers from any blame. In fact it has been stated by at least two Deputies of the House who formed part of this Inquiry that they were exonerated from blame in respect to the administration of their Departments. If that were to be taken as the position then I think that the Executive has invited the censure which Deputy Mulcahy's Motion would entail. The two charges that were levelled were, as I said, the encouragement of the growth of the I.R.B. within the Army, and that was minimised by two of the Ministers on an earlier occasion——

As a matter of explanation, I think that the Deputy ought not to make statements of that kind without quoting the extract. I would be glad if he would quote any extract in which I minimised the seriousness of resurrecting or reorganising within the Army a secret society with a political object.

I join myself with what the Minister for Justice has just said.

I have not got the quotation by me, but my memory is very clear so far as the Minister for Education is concerned, that we must not be too rigid in our judgments and that secret societies had played a part in the recent history of the country which had justified them and that you could not expect the present to live without regard to the past.

I never said that, sir.

Well, I will leave that to the memory of the House.

I suggest to the Deputy he is quoting from a speech of Deputy Mulcahy's.

If both Ministers disclaim having made any such speech then I will confess my memory must be wrong.

I never said of the highest importance, because Deputy Johnson is endeavouring to build up a case connecting the question of secret societies with the question of the dismissal of these men. I say on no occasion, neither public nor private, did I even say that secret societies were good or necessary in this country.

I accept the Minister's disclaimer. I must have made a sad mistake. The action of the Ministry then in connection with these officers relating to the affair in Parnell. Street stands separate, but I think one still waits for the answer in respect of that incident, standing by itself, as to why three officers were called upon to resign. However, that is not the point I want to make particularly. In that respect I want to say that to call upon the officers to resign, instead of calling upon the Minister for Defence to take action in regard to them, in itself showed one at least of these three charges to be well grounded—"muddling, mismanagement, and incompetence." For the Executive Council on that occasion to have called upon the officers to resign from their posts, treating them as something different from soldiers—an order from the Executive Council of which the Minister for Defence was a member, to do that——

I am sorry for interrupting, but it is rather an important matter. I remind the Deputy that the Minister for Defence left the meeting at which that decision was taken previous to the decision being arrived at, and that when I showed the Minister for Defence the Minute in the Cabinet Book with a view to his taking appropriate action on that decision he said that the decision would involve his resignation.

I should have thought in any case that the Executive Council would have decided a matter of that kind with the Minister concerned and, of course, if necessary, must have brought forth his resignation.

Does Deputy Johnson remember that the Minister for Education and myself had gone to the President's house to recommend the President to ask for the Minister for Defence's resignation?

No, I do not really recollect that. I want to say that I would be much better pleased if this Motion had been a direct vote of censure upon the conduct of the Army during the last year as a whole, and on the Executive Council as a whole, which was wholly and collectively responsible for that administration. I think the disclosures, if I may use the word, that we have heard here to-night justify one in saying that they show evidence of muddling, incompetence, and mismanagement, and that there was knowledge within the Executive Council, by the Executive Council, that there had been growing up for that year two forces within the Army.

That is not correct, Mr. Speaker. I do not think it has come out in the evidence to-night, because it is not true. The Deputy said there was knowledge by the Executive Council that there were two organisations growing up in the Army during that year. That knowledge was not possessed by the Executive Council.

Now we are coming to a matter that I think requires a little elucidation. Members of the Executive Council seem to be taking the view that they can at will detach themselves from the Executive Council, that though they are the responsible government of the country they may know things as individuals and as Deputies which they do not know as members of the Executive Council.

The Deputy said there was knowledge within the Executive Council and by the Executive Council. I challenge the phrase, "by the Executive Council."

We have had, I think, evidence from the President that he knew that there was an I.R.A. organisation within the Army, and we know from this report that there had been, consultations and interviews, at least with an organisation. Whether the Executive knew it was secret or not I cannot say. At least they knew there was an organisation having a political purpose.

I have to interrupt again. The Deputy said there had been consultations with secret organisations, and by implication that suggests there were consultations between the Executive Council and that organisation. That is not so.

I did not say anything of the kind. I said the evidence disclosed here of it and the evidence disclosed in this Report shows that members of the Executive Council were aware that there was growing up within the Army an organisation which had a political objective, and that there had been interviews and discussions between members of the Executive Council and persons connected with that organisation. It has been admitted that the President had interviews, as he said, not for a political purpose, but it is now quite clear that the people concerned had a political purpose, and one, a member of the Executive Council, wrote a letter which indicated there was at least a political purpose in the mind of the soldiers. I think it is very difficult to believe that the political objective was not disclosed to other members of the Executive Council who had such interviews. We have it here to-day that there was knowledge by the members of the Executive Council. There was so grave a suspicion as to justify the Minister for Justice, then Minister for Home Affairs, to bring forward a statement that there was developing within the Army as far back as February, 1923, another political organisation. I say the case that has been made here, and in this Report, seems to show that there was knowledge amongst the members of the Executive Council of the existence and the growth within the Army of these organisations.

Does the Deputy stress "and the growth," which I notice he insists on putting in?

In the one case there was a suggestion that the reorganisation was to begin on a certain early date in 1923.

That was explained, I think, by Deputy Mulcahy, as not being a growth at all; rather the contrary.

That was suggested by the Minister for Justice as the beginning. At a later stage we learned that there was an interview with three Ministers respecting the wisdom of encouraging that organisation. We have had it stated also by, I think, Deputy Gorey——

I must question these misrepresentations. "Encouraging" is the word used by Deputy Johnson. The choice of words is of the highest importance in this matter. He has suggested that a meeting was called and the result of it was to show that the Ministers were encouraging a certain state of things.

I think the Minister has misrepresented me.

On this question very full statements have been made by the parties concerned. I feel that Deputy Johnson must simply be allowed to proceed with what he conceives to be the fact. Let his statements be controverted afterwards.

I do not wish to make any mis-statement, or to suggest anything that has been stated and, so far as I can gather, contradicted. I suggested that the meeting which was held at the instigation of Deputy Mulcahy was to consider the proposition that the growth of this organisation should be encouraged. I take that to be the purpose of the interview. However, it apparently was a proposition that the organisation, existing as it appears to have done, should be recognised or tacitly allowed to exist. Two of the Ministers have said, of course, that they did not consent to that. They dissented emphatically from it. But are we not to conclude that the existence of these organisations was not present in the minds of the Ministers concerned, or do they disclaim knowledge of the fact that they did exist, and that they knew they were in council with Ministers, each of whom acknowledges that he knew of such organisation within the Army? I am putting this forward, because I believe that it is not fair, if we are to recognise this doctrine of collective responsibility, to say that "We are not responsible, but those two ex-members are."

I say that this report so far as it has been presented to us is in fact a condemnation of the administration of the Army by the Executive Council, but that in so far as it touches on the three officers concerned, it goes very far towards exonerating them. Whether it was contrary to the best interests of the State to ask these officers to resign is out of the question. I would leave almost wholly in the hands of the Minister concerned the discretion as to whether an officer should continue to hold his office or his post, or not. I would be very slow to call to account a Minister for administrative changes of that kind. As between the ex-Minister for Defence and the ex-Minister for Industry and Commerce, and their respective cases, I frankly say that I am not able to make up my mind as to the justice on either side. I think that if the report of the Army Inquiry had been acted upon, as I would read it, it would mean that resignation of the Executive Council, but this resolution, in its present form, and the case as stated by Deputy Mulcahy practically ask us to say to the Ministry that not only do we condemn the method but that we insist upon reinstatement. Since I came to the Dáil in 1922, at the first meeting after the election in June, 1922, I do not think I missed one single division. But on this occasion my colleagues and myself have decided that we shall not vote on this issue.

Had it been a direct vote of censure, censuring the conduct of the Executive Council in their administration of the Army, we should be very glad to vote for it, because we believe honestly that they deserve censure, and possibly an opportunity will be provided either by a new motion, or on the Army Estimate to test our feelings upon this matter. But on the language of the motion we have decided that we shall not vote, because it would be misconstrued, and would be a suggestion that all the facts having been placed before us, we were satisfied that the Executive Council did right in removing these officers, or that we were satisfied they did wrong in removing these officers. We are not satisfied either way. The evidence does not justify us in coming to a conclusion on that matter and therefore, as I say—I am speaking for myself—this is the first occasion since I became a member of the Dáil that I shall miss a division.

I will not take up a great deal of time, but I would like to reply to one point that Deputy Mulcahy made in his statement. He said that the members of the Army Council had been swept away to meet the personal wishes of certain members of the Executive Council. Now I deny that entirely. I think that on the morning on which the decision was taken I was the first person actually to say the words that the Army Council should be removed. I certainly was moved by no personal feeling against anyone of these officers of the Army Council. There is only one of them whom I know well and with whom my relations have been always very friendly. The others I scarcely knew. So far as I am concerned as one member, I am satisfied that if any member had been against the action taken, other than Deputy Mulcahy, it would not have been taken. The fact that there was no member who had other motives really rules out Deputy Mulcahy's statement. So far as I am concerned, my attitude was determined solely by the fact that we were in a situation of crisis. I do not know how great the crisis was. I am inclined, for one, to think that the degree of acuteness of the crisis has been exaggerated, and that the danger which it held has been exaggerated. But still it was a time of some crisis, and at the moment when this decision came we had the fact before us that the Army Council had taken an unexpected line, a line which might have produced an explosion if an explosion was at all likely.

We felt, following many other little things, that we could not have confidence that the then heads of the Army would carry on along the lines which the Executive Council desired. For that reason we felt that a change must come, and come at once. There was nothing, certainly so far as I was concerned, and I am sure so far as the other members were concerned, of personal feeling or personal animus or getting a slap in at any member of the Army Council. Deputy Johnson has referred at great length to the responsibility of the Executive Council and to the whole principle of joint responsibility. I think he could well be answered on all he has said on that matter, but so far as I am concerned I am perfectly content that the Executive Council all along took the line that was best in all the circumstances, and I am prepared to stand over what the Executive Council has done. One must remember that the joyful way in which you might enter a Cabinet split in peaceful times is out of the question in times of war, and that the members of the Council, especially when the country is in danger and war is raging, must be content to have things done which they do not care to have done, and each man must swallow some part of other men's programmes and outlook, and he must, of course, be prepared to justify that.

That is a matter which could very well be dealt with on another occasion. With regard to the Motion itself, I think Deputy Mulcahy must have been influenced in putting it down, as, for instance, the Minister for Fisheries was influenced, very plainly in his speech, by a feeling of friendship for individuals, and that that feeling of friendship has blinded him to the facts of the case. The Executive Council may, or may not have been right in not having confidence in these individuals, but, at a time of crisis, if it did not have confidence, then its clear duty was to remove those in whom it had not confidence, and have them substituted by other people. That is not a matter over which this assembly should pass a vote of censure. I think, moreover, that the resolution should not be passed having regard to the second part of it, because whether they were rightly or wrongly removed, it would be entirely wrong to restore them to the positions from which they were removed by the civil Government in the ordinary exercise of its jurisdiction. If such a thing were to be done it would weaken for all time civil control over the Army, and I believe myself that if this Motion were to be passed, and the present Executive Council were to go out, no Executive Council that would come in, when it looked at its responsibilities, and came to decide what it had to do, would decide that the men should be restored to the positions from which they had been removed. Consequently I think that on neither of the two grounds stated in the resolution should the Executive Council be censured.

On a point of personal explanation, the Minister for Finance has stated that the Minister for Fisheries was guided by his personal friendship in the attitude he took up. If I were guided by my personal friendship perhaps my attitude might have been different. My personal friendships on one side are just equal to my personal friendships on the other side, and I was not guided by any sense of personal friendship in my attitude. I was influenced in my attitude merely by my want of knowledge to enable me to form an opinion on this Motion.

I am somewhat of opinion that this Motion would be considered farcical in character were it not for the underlying tragedy for the plain people of the country. As the hour is late I do not propose to delay the Dáil much longer, only to say that I thoroughly endorse every word that Deputy Johnson has said on this Motion. Like him I have arrived at the same conclusion, and independent of him, and when the vote is being taken I propose to abstain from voting. I feel that my representative capacity would be degraded by voting in this matter. And this Dáil I feel is dishonoured by such a Motion on the part of men who, if they could have carried their plans to completion, would have subverted our liberties, our rights and our common existence.

May I make a personal explanation, or correction, as it might be called. I made a statement regarding the Minister for Education. That statement was based on the following, which I am quoting from the Official Report. After dealing with the historical development leading to the growth of the Army and with personal relationships—the idea of chieftainship and so on—

What is the date of the report?

It is the 20th March 1924. In column 2269 is the following: "We have been told here to-day that we have allowed things to grow up in the Army. That is inverting the order of facts. We have had to allow, or induce, or provide, that the Army should grow up out of certain things, and these things include all the circumstances that I have stated. They include more than that. They included during the time of strife, and they necessarily included secret combinations and an atmosphere of conspiracy. A man has had a happy and peaceful existence in this assembly who has not been forced to go through times of secrecy and times of conspiracy. It is not right to talk about the Government allowing these things to grow up. The task of the Government has been to enable the country to grow out of these things. I think I am now putting the facts in their right and in their true perspective. In order that the country and the whole administration, and especially the military administration might grow completely out of that state of things and come to the ideal and standard state of things which is advocated for us—in order that that might come about—changes had to be brought about both in the letter and in the spirit." There is a little quotation further on in which he says: "Now, I may say that I, myself, in my wisdom or unwisdom, had come to the conclusion that owing to the very fact that our Army had grown up out of these circumstances, and out of that situation, certain dispositions, regular dispositions, in the method of its administration were advisable"; and then he goes on to suggest the necessity for short service.

It was in my memory of that statement, that I made a statement that the Minister had rather asked the Dáil not to be too rigid in its condemnation of the existence of secret societies within the Army.

It has been stated that this motion will not serve the public interest. The introduction of a motion such as this has been made absolutely necessary by the attitude of the Executive Council subsequent to the publication of the Army Inquiry Report. On the 12th March, 1924, in connection with this matter, Deputy Alfred Byrne asked "Will the Cabinet report to the Dail?" and the President stated: "If a situation would arise which would necessitate a statement being made here such a statement will be made." Not only was no statement made by the President, but no statement has been made by him to-night in conncetion with any of the matters that he has been challenged to speak about. He suggests that things are all right now and, much on the style of Deputy Gorey, he says that time will heal things. Well, from my appreciation of my public duties I say it is my public duty affects me in this matter.

I could not, in the light of what I know, leave time to heal the situation or to vindicate the three officers who have been victimised in the way in which they have been victimised because of wrong judgment or whatever other kind of judgment you may call it, because of the actions of the Executive Ministers. In bringing the matter forward I must repudiate the suggestion that there is any personal friendship in the matter. We have long ago had to leave aside our personal friendships with regard to different people, and we are as capable of laying them aside to-day as we were at any other time during the last couple of years, when duty asked us to lay them aside. It has been made perfectly clear in these discussions here that these officers were removed for a handle given by the fact that they had connection with and did take part in the work of the I.R.B. But from our particular point of view in the work of stabilising all the forces that did exist, that had to be stabilised, and that had to be brought into conformity as an organisation with the constitutional position here, and that had to be taken out of the Army when it was safe to do it, it was perfectly clear that the I.R.B. was taken as a handle and I am not convinced by what the Minister for Finance says.

I am perfectly satisfied that it was personalities in the minds of different members of the Executive Council that resulted in the removal of these three officers from the positions from which they were taken. The action on the night of the 18th-19th March has also been spoken of here, and one Deputy says that the officers made an error of judgment that night in Parnell Street. I have put it perfectly straight to the President to say what he has to say with regard to that night. It has been stated here that an order of the Executive Council was issued of such a nature that the arrest of officers in Parnell Street that night violated that order. There is no such order. It is suggested that this is a matter of faction against faction in the Army. But if anybody with the evidence before him wishes to take it as so I cannot help him in the matter. With regard to what Deputy Baxter said, that the Army ought to be the servant of the State, I hope that the Army of tomorrow will be as faithful and as effectively the servant of the State as the Army of yesterday was.

Motion put and negatived.

The Dáil adjourned at 12.30 a.m. until 12 o'clock on Friday, 27th June.