Skip to main content
Normal View

Dáil Éireann debate -
Friday, 4 Jul 1924

Vol. 8 No. 5


In this Act
the expression "military service" means active service in any rank, whether as an officer, non-commissioned officer, private or volunteer in any of the following forces, that is to say—"Oglaigh na hEireann" or the military body known as the "Irish Volunteers" or the military body known as the "Irish Citizen Army" or the body known as "Fianna Eireann" or the "National Forces" or the "Defence Forces of Saorstát Eireann" or any branch of any of those forces. For the purposes of this Act service as a member of the Irish Volunteer Executive or of the Headquarters Staff of Oglaigh na hEireann or in the Intelligence Branch of any of the said military forces or bodies, or in the Intelligence Service carried on under the authority of the First Dáil Eireann or of the Second Dáil Eireann, shall be deemed to be military service in Oglaigh na hEireann or in the Irish Volunteers, as the case may be; the expression "National Forces" shall have the same meaning as in the Defence Forces (Temporary Provisions) Act, 1923;
the expression "Defence Forces of Saorstát Eireann" means the forces to be established pursuant to Part I. of the Defence Forces (Temporary Provisions) Act, 1923;
the expression "Certificate of Army Service" shall mean a certificate in the prescribed form granted under this Act;
the expression "Military Service Pension" shall mean a pension granted under the powers contained in this Act;
the word "Minister" shall mean the Minister for Defence;
the word "prescribed" shall mean prescribed by any rules or regulations made under this Act.

I move:—

After the word "in" in line 15 to insert the words "or with."

The object of this amendment is to cover cases of Volunteers who were called up and who served for three or four weeks and afterwards went back to civil employment. They were on active service all the time. I want to cover their cases.

I can only say that I will undertake to consider that particular case. I have not had an opportunity of looking into it sufficiently up to this, but I will undertake to consider it before the Report Stage.

Is amendment No. 1 withdrawn?

Yes, on the promise of the President to look into the matter. Otherwise I would have to press it.

I will undertake to consider it.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move in line 18, immediately after the words "Fianna Eireann" to insert the words "or the Hibernian Rifles."

The reason I propose this is because it has reference to a certain but perhaps small number of men who took part in the fight of Easter Week who were not connected with the Volunteers or with any of the bodies mentioned in this section. They were organised as a fighting force and they went as an organised force into the fight in Easter Week and were mentioned specially in the Proclamation of Easter Week. I do not know that they would be very many in number but there certainly were some. I know one man who was mortally wounded in my Company in Parliament Street on the Tuesday of Easter Week and I believe he belonged to that but had no other connection with the armed forces. I believe his widow has been drawing a pension as a result of his death. It is to include such men who were attached to that force that I propose the amendment so that there will be no deserving section of men, no matter how small, who took part in that fight who will be precluded from benefiting, so far as this Bill confers benefits in this connection.

I understand, sir, that the Deputy held a very high rank in this military body——

I beg your pardon; I was not a member of it. As a member of the Volunteers I was associated with that particular organisation, but I had no connection with it.

I propose to accept the amendment.

Amendment put and agreed to.

I move in line 29, immediately after the figures "1923," to insert the words "save that it shall be deemed to include the armed organization known respectively as the Criminal Investigation Department, the Citizens' Defence Force and the Protective Force."

The effect of the amendment is to extend the definition of National Forces in the Defence Forces (Temporary Provisions) Act, 1923, so as to include men who had pre-Truce service and who volunteered for any one of these three services. These men volunteered at very great risk to their own lives. They did very valuable services and were really on active service during the particular period they were in these different corps.

I do not want to be pernickety in this matter, but I am doubtful whether we ought to make this exception unless we are prepared to import into the Bill other police forces. I take it that these were police-forces. If that is so it is a fairly strong argument for putting other police forces into the same position. It may not have any practical effect. I am not sure. There may not have been any men demobilised from any other police forces, but I think that we ought to know quite clearly whether any other section is to be left out who did police work in the same way as these men are supposed to have done police work, police work which involved risk. These are three forces which, as far as I can understand, had no formal organisation, no formal legislative sanction. They were police forces, I take it, and I rather think that unless we are quite clear that there will be no other police forces left out which should be included as these are included, there is some fault in the drafting of this amendment.

There was no police force during that particular period in the same position as the members of this force were. These men were members of armed forces, and they were taking practically the same risks as the troops.

I think it is not true to say that they were police forces. It is improper to give them the term of police forces at that particular time. As a matter of fact, "Protective Forces" is entirely wrong. It should be "Protective Corps." They were armed men, and between them they did actually military work in the city of Dublin.

If a man served pre-Truce, joined the Civic Guard immediately when they were formed, and is out of the Civic Guard at the moment, what would his position be?

I move to report Progress.