I move for leave to introduce a Bill entitled "an Act to provide for the preservation of public safety and the protection of person and property during national emergencies and for matters connected therewith."
I am proposing to ask the Dáil for leave to introduce this Bill and to make it an Act this week. I suppose every member of the Dáil is in possession of the information which has been published concerning the attacks made in five counties in the Saorstát on members of the Gárda Síochána, and in one case here in Dublin on some soldiers. As a result of these attacks one officer of the Gárda was killed, almost at once, and in the case of the other Guard he died sometime this morning. There is little doubt but that a conspiracy has been formed for the purpose of subverting order in the State. The attacks made upon those unarmed peace officers in many places indicate that there must be some centre from which instructions are issued in order to bring about a series of raids almost at the same time on a particular day. In addition to making attacks upon the peace officers of the State, who function by the authority and with the consent of this House and who are paid out of moneys levied and collected by the representatives of the people and with their sanction, the telegraph wires were cut, trees were cut down and roads were blocked and an attempt was made to terrorise the people of the country. This conspiracy must be met and dealt with, and the purpose of this measure is to give the Executive such powers as it may require in order to deal with this menace. We had hoped that such incidents as have happened within the last few days would not recur. We believe that the force which is behind them and the genius which is directing them will be unable to make any sustained attack upon the liberty, the order and the peace of the State, but we do ask and believe that we are entitled to ask for such powers for the Executive as will enable it to deal with such murderous attacks upon unarmed men as have occurred in these instances. I will be in a better position on the Second Reading to give the chain of circumstances which go to show that this particular incident which has happened within the last few days has been, and must have been, the result of a considered conspiracy. I need not tell the Dáil at any great length that it is rather difficult, to get evidence of such a character as would lead to the conviction of persons for these crimes which have been committed. But I do hope, and I am confident, that the good sense of this House will readily give the powers that are asked, and that it will be shown we have behind us in dealing with a conspiracy of this sort the goodwill and co-operation of every citizen who abhors murder, who objects to robbery, and who insists that law and order as established by this Dáil and the institutions of the people of this country must be maintained at whatever cost. In one of the cases in which these outrages was committed a member of the Gárda Síochána was robbed of either £15 or £30. Well, political movements have certainly degenerated if idealists of to-day in furtherance of their policy in carrying out their intent have to stoop to such a proceeding as robbing an unarmed Civic Guard of his wages.
Mr. LYONS rose.