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Dáil Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 17 Jun 1931

Vol. 39 No. 4

Orders of the Day. - Local Government Bill, 1931—Second Stage.

I move that the Bill be read a Second Time.

The Local Government Act, 1925, provides that whenever the Minister makes an Order under Section 72 of the Act dissolving a local authority, "he may appoint such and as many persons as he shall think fit to perform the duties of such local authority," and that (sub-section 6) "the Minister may from time to time by order do all such things and make all such regulations as in his opinion shall be necessary for giving full effect to any order made by him" under that section.

The Dublin County Borough Council (under Section 12 of the Act of 1923) was dissolved by order of the Minister dated the 20th May, 1924. At that time the constitution of the Grangegorman Mental Hospital Joint Committee was: 5 members, Louth; 5 members, Wicklow; 10 members, County Dublin, and 29 members from the city. The order proposed that notwithstanding anything contained therein the 29 members already representing Dublin City would continue to represent the city on the Committee.

Almost all of these, however, failed to attend the meetings held during the year 1924-25, with the result that on the request of the Dublin Commissioners, and in order that the business of the Committee might be properly transacted, and adequate representation given to Dublin City, the Minister terminated as from the 13th day of July, 1925, the membership of every person who had been elected or appointed by the City Council, and appointed in their stead the Commissioners then representing the city.

The decision of the Supreme Court in the case Woods and others v. Dublin Corporation, is in effect that the Joint Committee constituted by the order of the 10th July, 1925, was not legally constituted, and that all its subsequent acts were therefore invalid. The decision of the Supreme Court leaves in very considerable doubt whether even the order of the Minister, dated the 20th May, 1924, making the previous nominees of the County Borough Council the representatives of Dublin City on the Committee secured the valid constitution of a Joint Mental Hospital Committee, in so far as that not less than three-fourths of the members nominated by the city to act as their representatives on the Committee are required by statute to be members of the Dublin City Council. In general, the decision raises the question as to whether, when the Minister by order dissolves a county council, it is possible to have in such circumstances such a body, say, as a board of health, a vocational educational committee, a mental hospital committee—joint or otherwise —legally constituted at all.

The present Bill, therefore, proposes to amend Section 72 of the 1925 Act, so as to make the powers therein provided adequate for dealing with the circumstances that necessarily arise when a county council is dissolved. It is proposed to enact that this or the similar provision in the Act of 1923 (Section 12) shall always be deemed to have conferred the powers which are now made more explicit.

The general acts of the body to act as constituted in 1925 will thus be validated.

The Bill, however, under Section 6, proposes to preserve the steps which have been taken by the present Joint Committee appointed subsequent to the reconstitution of the Dublin Council to give effect to the judgment of the High Court in the Woods case, already referred to, as regards the salaries and wages of the officers and servants, which steps would otherwise be made illegal by the earlier part of the Bill.

I expect I will have an opportunity of dealing with the amendment on the Order Paper when I have heard what questions arise out of it.

I move:—

To delete all words after the word "That" and insert therefor the words:—"the Dáil declines to give a Second Reading to a Bill which includes as one of its provisions a proposal to extend the powers of the Minister for Local Government and Public Health in relation to local authorities dissolved by him until the Minister has taken the appropriate steps to restore the Mayo County Council."

I think it will be within the knowledge of every member of the House, if not within the knowledge of every individual in the Free State, that the position of Mayo County Council loomed very much in the limelight in the not far distant past, and I think I might place on the shoulders of the Minister for Local Government the sole responsibility for putting the Mayo County Council out of office. When I read this Bill, I discovered, I may say with some pleasure, that the Minister was seeking additional powers in order to deal with the situation created in Mayo. Needless to say, I availed of the opportunity of giving the Minister a run against my amendment. I may be permitted to mention a matter that I think to some extent created the Mayo situation. The one and only matter was the appointment of a librarian. In dealing with the question perhaps it is right that I should make the position perfectly clear. A certain advertisement was issued by the Local Appointments Commissioners. I am speaking from recollection, as I have not the necessary data at hand, but I am sure that the Minister will be in a position to put me right. The advertisement stipulated that a competent knowledge of Irish was necessary for the position. The resolution refusing to appoint Miss Dunbar as librarian was passed first by the Library Committee. It dealt only with her knowledge of Irish. That resolution subsequently came before the County Council, and was ratified by that body. The resolution dealt with one question only, and that was that Miss Dunbar did not possess a competent knowledge of Irish.

In this matter it is well that I should try to anticipate the Minister. I am aware that at a certain stage a query was sent down to the executive officer of the Mayo Co. Council, namely the Secretary, and that query was: "Do you consider that a competent knowledge of Irish is necessary?" The Secretary's answer to that question was "No." I should like to make it clear that I am not trying to cast any blame on the Secretary of the County Council. I was not aware of that, but I do say that if I were at his elbow I would have given precisely the same answer. This is the point that arises later. What were the terms of the advertisement? The terms of the advertisement were that for the appointment of a librarian in Mayo a competent knowledge of Irish was essential. With reference to this fact and the answer given by the Secretary of the County Council. without meaning to cast any reflection on the honesty or intentions of those concerned, I say that, the advertisement was simply misleading. It was misleading in this sense, that there were many people who otherwise might be competing for that position, but who because they did not possess a competent knowledge of Irish, immediately they read the advertisement felt that it would be futile for them to apply, not possessing a competent knowledge of Irish. That is the first point I desire to make in connection with this matter. That, in brief, is the position in Mayo. I do not desire to import into this debate any heat or any bitterness. I would like it to be discussed calmly, sensibly, and in a businesslike way. I am endeavouring to place before the House the position as it occurred in Mayo. The Mayo County Council was dissolved not, I am in a position to claim, for inefficiency. When the inspector sent down by the Minister went to investigate the state of affairs there that investigation lasted some fifteen or twenty minutes. I was not present at the inquiry, but I am giving my recollection of it from what appeared in the Press at the time. There was no question of anything being wrong; it was a question of the disobedience of the council. I do not desire to misrepresent what the inspector said, but my recollection of what he said is that it was a matter arising out of the disobedience of the council in not carrying out the Minister's orders.

That is the position as I know it. I desire to make that position clear. I certainly consider that if the Minister feels that he has exceeded or out-stepped his legal authority in dealing with the situation, I would be wanting in my duty as Chairman of the Mayo County Council if I did not avail of this opportunity of placing before the House what my feelings are in connection with the matter. I think I have now said all that I desire to say and all that in my opinion it is necessary for me to say in support of the amendment which I propose.

Am I to understand that that is all the criticism that there is on this matter?

The practice on the Second Reading of a Bill is that the motion is moved for the Second Reading of the Bill; the amendment is then moved. The question is put that the words proposed to be deleted stand, and the result decides the question. If the question is decided in the affirmative the Bill is read a second time; if it is decided in the negative, another question must be put.

I waited for some time for some Deputy on the other side of the House to support Deputy Davis in this amendment. At the outset I might ask who had the copyright in this amendment, if such a phrase can be used? The amendment in the name of Deputy Davis is practically the same amendment as was submitted to you, a Chinn Comhairle, on Thursday last. A question then arose with regard to the motion which is in my name on the Paper. I decided to avail of the criticism which I might make against this Bill on the Second Reading without any amendment and without in any way prejudicing the motion in my name on the Paper.

The first thing any Deputy who had his eyes open on Thursday evening would notice was that there was very little sincerity behind this amendment. I would describe the amendment as a pretence or a sham attempt to throw dust in the eyes of the people of Mayo and at the same time to let the Minister out of a difficulty. When I came into the House on Thursday evening after discussing this matter of the amendment with you, a Chinn Comhairle, I saw the Minister for Local Government in conversation with Deputy Davis. Any Deputy here who had his eyes open could see that during Thursday evening and on various times on Friday the Minister for Local Government and Deputy Davis were in close conversation to see how they could get out of this difficulty. Here we have as a result of this collusion between the Minister and Deputy Davis this amendment tabled and we have the newspapers this morning scheduling it and portraying it in double-column headings as a first-class sensation.

Of course, as will be said, the Minister for Local Government and Public Health and Deputy Davis are honourable men. I suppose the Minister for Local Government and Public Health may in his own way think he is the Cassius of the Government of this House. I do not know what character Deputy Davis might take unless he might find it in Dickens. I put the question pertinently to the Minister for Local Government and Public Health—did not the Minister himself suggest that amendment? Did not the Minister himself approve of that amendment and approve of this move by Deputy Davis?

Having said so much with regard to this collusion between the Minister and Deputy Davis, I will deal very briefly with the facts which emerged from the action taken by the Minister in dissolving or abolishing the Mayo County Council. I say in the first place that the Local Appointments Commissioners exceeded their powers under Section 7 of the Act. There was an age limit prescribed and specified by them in that advertisement and that age limit was departed from. There was an age limit of 21 years and subsequently 25 years was substituted.

Deputy Davis, I think, is not correct in stating that a competent knowledge of Irish was essential. As far as I recollect it was stated in the advertisement that a substantial preference would be given to a person with a knowledge of Irish. The parties responsible for making this appointment, and the Minister himself at any rate, were aware that Mayo was scheduled as a Gaeltacht county. The Minister knew that it was impossible for any librarian to conduct the business properly as librarian in Mayo unless he or she had a competent knowledge of Irish. He knew that in Mayo there was a number of people who were Irish speakers. He knew that the librarian would have to transact a considerable part of the business in Irish, and that he or she would have to deal with communications in Irish, and yet the person appointed was a person who had not that knowledge. Still, we find the Mayo County Council abolished because they would not appoint a person without a knowledge of Irish.

It was said that no other suitable candidates had presented themselves. It may be, perhaps, that this particular lady who had been appointed to the position got more marks for what is called "personality" than the others got. There is such a thing as giving marks for personality. It does not matter about any other qualification. People who want to do it, and people who did it, got that vague word "personality" to cover a multitude of the sins they may commit. I do not know how many marks were given to this lady for personality, or whether those marks were sufficient to outweigh the marks that might be given because of her deficiency in Irish. But personality would be of very little use to Irish speakers in Mayo who would have to get books from the Mayo Library, and who would have to deal with matters in Irish solely. This personality question would be of very little importance to those people. It may be of some importance to people who want to make a job in a particular way. It may be that it is able to cover up all that thing and try to justify in some sort of covered-up way that a certain person who has personality must get the job. If it was not making a job for a particular person, why was the age limit departed from?

There is one matter that I have to speak about, and I do it with considerable reluctance, for the reason that when you speak about these matters you are often likely to be misunderstood. When I speak about this matter, I do not wish to be misunderstood to the effect that I am introducing any sectarian bias or prejudice in the matter, but it has to be recognised that in the County Mayo, where practically 99 per cent. of the people are of a certain religious persuasion, a person in the position of librarian must feel, as any person who holds definite religious views must, that these views may be portrayed in some way in the distribution of books. What may appear to a member of one religion as being perfectly all right may appear to a member of another religion as being completely wrong. For example, we had recently the Lambeth Conference. Certain ideas regarding birth control and matters of that sort were advocated there. At any rate, a cognisance was given to them, perhaps to a limited extent, and in an attenuated form. Then we have Dean Inge advocating, I think, trial marriages, and so on. To persons of a certain religious persuasion those things may not appear to be very wrong; they do not see anything wrong about them. They are not in that position of appreciating or understanding what are the susceptibilities and what exactly is the faith of people of another religious persuasion.

I know the Minister's answer to that will be this: Yes, but you have a committee there who can supervise it. You have a committee there whose duty is, so far as it is humanly possible, to supervise it, but I say it is impossible for a committee to supervise this work. In Co. Mayo, when this lady was appointed, you had 13,000 books in circulation. How was any member of the committee or the whole committee collectively going to examine into and read every one of these 13,000 books, no matter how well read they are? There the question of supervision comes in, and the members of that committee are placed in the position that they may be able to deal with four or five hundred books, but they are left definitely in the position that they must rely almost completely, or, at least, to a very great extent, upon the discretion of the librarian who is acting under them.

What happens, I believe, is that booksellers, stationers and publishers send around lists of various books to the librarian. The librarian submits the lists to the members of the committee. The members on the committee are not in a position to appreciate the position because they may not have read the vast majority of these books, and these books get into circulation. Those were questions that were dealt with by the library committee themselves. I have a certified copy of the minute of the library committee meeting held on the 28th October. I will read it:

County Librarian.

"In compliance with the Statutory request received from the Mayo County Council in connection with the above-mentioned position I am directed by the Local Appointments Commissioners to state that they recommend Miss Letitia Elizabeth Eileen Dunbar (otherwise Harrison), 72 Palmerston Road, Dublin, for appointment as County Librarian, Co. Mayo.

"I am also directed to state that as no suitable candidate with a competent knowledge of Irish was forthcoming this recommendation is governed by the Local Officers and Employments (Gaeltacht) Order, 1928.

"A summary of the recommended candidate's qualifications is given hereunder:

Date and Place of Birth—

4th February, 1906, Dundrum, Co. Dublin.

Qualifications and Experience—

B.A. Junior Mod. (Trinity College, Dublin), Modern Literature, Six Months' Training in Co. Dublin Library, nine months' experience Rathmines Public Library. Has a very elementary knowledge of Irish."

That came before the committee and a resolution was proposed by the Right Rev. Chancellor Hegarty, seconded by the Right Rev. Monsignor D'Alton, Dean of Tuam, as follows:

"That having had before us the recommendation from the Local Appointments Commission recommending the appointment as County Librarian in Mayo of Miss Letitia Elizabeth Eileen Dunbar, we are not satisfied that she possesses the requisite knowledge of the Irish language to enable her to efficiently discharge the duties of that office in Mayo County—one of the Gaeltacht Counties—and we resolve that no appointment be made to the position until such time as a person thoroughly qualified in the Irish language is forthcoming."

Dr. MacBride proposed an amendment:—

"That Miss Letitia Elizabeth Eileen Dunbar be, and she is, hereby appointed librarian in Mayo County in accordance with the recommendation of the Local Appointments Commission."

The amendment was first put to a vote with the following result:—

For—Rev. J.J. Jackson and Dr. MacBride—(2).

Against—Right Rev. Mgr. D'Alton, Right Rev. Chancellor Hegarty, Ven. Archdeacon Fallon, Rev. G.J. Prendergast, Rev. Brother Kelly, Messrs. M. Nally, T.D.; P. Higgins, T. S. Moclair, and the Chairman—(9).

Very Rev. J. Canon McHugh declined to vote.

The Chairman declared the amendment defeated. Chancellor Hegarty's motion was then put to a vote, with the same result, except that Canon McHugh voted for the motion whatever he may have said elsewhere subsequently. The Rev. J.J. Jackson and Dr. MacBride, who voted for the amendment, had not attended a meeting since December, 1929, until that particular meeting. That was the position as was explained by the Committee. The Minister was not satisfied. An inquiry was directed, and that inquiry was held by Mr. MacLysaght, who held that there was nothing to go into, that the Council had carried on perfectly all right, except in the matter of this non-compliance with the statutory obligation. Subsequently a letter dated 19th December from the Minister was received. I should say before that, that the resolution of the Library Committee came before the Mayo County Council, and with one dissentient, Mr. O'Hara, was adopted. The Secretary to the Minister wrote a very long letter trying to explain himself on 19th December. He said, at any rate:—

In all other respects the County Council, since the election, have faithfully administered the laws of the Oireachtas, and he was giving them a chance of reconsidering this position.

At the meeting of the 6th December, in reference to what I have said earlier, Deputy Davis as Chairman was asked several times to give the Council a lead. He did not give them that lead. He merely voted. He did not attend the meeting that was called at the request of the Secretary to the Ministry. Subsequently, at a public meeting he explained that he would not attend that meeting, that the Council would be stultifying itself, and he rather criticised my action, and said that I answered the whip of the Minister for Local Government and Public Health. I did not answer the whip of the Minister for Local Government and Public Health. I answered the call to attend the meeting to insure that the action taken by the County Council would not be gone back on so far as my vote was concerned. I know what happened subsequently when Deputy Davis came up to Dublin, when he was accused by the Minister of being a weakling and a wobbler.

Will I have the right to reply to this?

I am very sorry.

Hold another meeting when you go home.

At Crossmolina.

Yes, Crossmolina seems to be the place where we all hold them—both sides.

Let us keep to the debate here now and not stray to the cross-roads.

The Minister, as we are aware, suppressed the Council and appointed a Commissioner. Some question arose in the Seanad on the 25th March and the Minister at that time in an interjection to Senator Sir John Keane said:—

"May we keep Mayo out of this discussion, and may I ask the Senator if he knows that the Library Committee resigned as a protest against the action of the County Council, because the County Council would not allow the Mayo Library Committee to appoint a temporary librarian whom they wished to appoint?"

The Minister knew that statement was not in accordance with the facts.

Gracious me!

What is the good gracious about?

The Minister will get his opportunity.

If we could get more good graces in Mayo we would be better off. The Minister puts it in the form of a question. That Committee did not resign. Three members of the Committee refused to act. It did not resign. No member of the Committee did resign. No question of resigning had arisen. What is the position at present? I asked a question of the Minister last March as to what was the position and what centres were working in Mayo. The Minister referred me to the local authority, and the following particulars were supplied to me on the 16th March through the Secretary of the Mayo County Council:

"Replying to queries contained in letter addressed to you by Mr. Ruttledge, T.D., regarding the library centres throughout the county, I beg to inform you that (a) On 1st December, 1930, there were 112 local library centres having in their possession books from the county repository for circulation among readers. (b) Between 1st December, 1930, and the 15th February, 1931, the books have been returned from 51 of those centres. (c) The number of books returned from the centres on 15-2-31 is approximately 3,685. (d) There were 61 centres still having books on the 15th February, 1931."

I applied early last week for particulars as to what the position was up to the 10th June. I wrote to the Secretary of the Mayo County Council, and not having a reply from him yesterday I 'phoned him. I understood that the Commissioner might be away. I believe he goes to Mayo occasionally. Anticipating that he might be away I 'phoned the Secretary and I have not got the particulars yet. However, I have got the particulars from other sources, and I know what the position exactly is. The position at the present moment is this: There are books with about 30 centres out of 112 formerly. Those 30 centres are not working. Four of them are in semi-operation. In the remaining twenty-six the books are there, or some of them, as others have been burnt owing to fever and diphtheria. In about twenty-two of these centres the books are allowed to remain because they are in out-of-the-way places, and they are not going to the expense of sending them back to the county repository. The fact is that only four centres are in semi-operation out of 112 in operation last December, when the Minister started this heavy hand. The people who patronise these four centres which are in semi-operation, are people of a religious persuasion which is the opposite to the majority of the people in Mayo. The people of Mayo definitely put down their foot and said that no matter what the Minister may do, or what dictatorship may be tried, they will not, on account of the position which has been allowed to develop by him, assist in any way or obey him. One of the ways, unfortunately, in which the people have to suffer is that a library rate has to be paid, or if not, that funds that might be used for other purposes are utilised for the purpose of paying an official who is of no assistance or benefit to the people. Another matter is that this appointment was made by the Commissioner. His first act when he went down to Mayo was to appoint this lady. That appointment was not advertised for three days, or the making of it did not appear on the agenda. The Minister knows whether that is illegal or otherwise.

When this Commissioner went down to Mayo we expected that we would see an attempt by him, at any rate, to do some good for the people. One of his first acts was to reduce the wages of the road-workers, of which we hear so much in other places, and increase the salaries of the County Surveyor and the Assistant County Surveyor. He started reducing at the bottom and increasing at the top. That was one of his first acts in the county, and the Minister, I suppose, approved of it. We have also, of course, the sneers at medical men and nurses and so on at every other meeting that is held, but I am not going into that.

There is, however, one other matter, and that is, that when he made this order appointing this Commissioner, the Minister should at least have realised that the Commissioner could not take over the duties of the Old Age Pensions Committee or the Technical Instruction Committee. From the time of his appointment down to the present the technical instructors have not been paid and could not be paid, and old age pensioners who wanted to apply for an increase of pension, or old persons who wanted to make applications for pensions, could not have their applications considered. Perhaps the Minister hoped the people of Mayo would reel under his feet, that they would come forward and appoint committees to assist the person he had sent down. He may hope as long as he likes. Until he removes the person appointed from that position, and removes the Commissioner from the office that he has been appointed to as a result of the Council refusing to appoint this lady, he may rest assured that there is no hope whatever that the priests and people of Mayo are going to crumble under his feet. He may be keen on dictatorship, and he may think that the people are going to give way after a time. The people of Mayo are united on this particular issue; they are more united than ever they have been in the history of that county before, and no attempt by the Minister to trample on them, and import amongst them a person in the position of librarian who they have good reason to believe may prove a danger to the faith of the people, will succeed. They are not going to let the Minister walk over them.

As my name is second to a motion on the paper in connection with this question I desire to say something. The motion has been on the Paper for some months back, but the Minister has successfully dodged it, and he expects apparently on this occassion to dodge it altogether. And as a result of this dodging process he expects to get out of the impasse created in Mayo. As Deputy Ruttledge has already said, the Vocational Education Act in that county is a dead letter due to the Minister's action on this question. He can get no man in Mayo, either clergyman or public man or any responsible person, to act upon the Vocational Education Committee, or any committee connected with local affairs. Deputy Ruttledge may have made a slight error in connection with the Old Age Pensions Committee. What has happened is that the County Pensions Committee is not functioning, and as a result any vacancies on the Local Pensions Committees cannot be filled. There may be places in the Co. Mayo where, as a result of these vacancies remaining unfilled, people cannot get their old age pensions.

As Deputy Ruttledge has said, the people in the Co. Mayo are asked to pay for a library that they do not use. It is of no benefit to them whatever. There were 112 local centres of the library functioning before the situation arose. Up to date, as far as I can ascertain, over 82 centres have returned their books. Out of the remaining there are about 4 centres functioning in a way. There were about 10 centres out of the 112 that never functioned. Some persons in those districts got the idea that they would get a centre going. They got into communication with the county librarian and they got a parcel of books, but they never took any real step towards making the centre function. I had to seek this information myself and to get it from sources other than official sources.

Last week I wrote to Mr. Egan, Secretary of the County Council, for this information. I asked him to give me the number of books in possession of the library authorities in the Co. Mayo, the number of books in circulation, the number of centres operating and the number of centres that ceased to operate. In reply I got this communication from Mr. Egan, on the instructions of the County Commissioner:—

"I submitted your letter of the 3rd inst. to the County Commissioner and he considers that it is not for me to furnish the information you require in regard to the Mayo County Library, that I have not any function in respect to the library. He further points out that the particulars for which you ask have already been furnished to your colleague, Mr. Ruttledge, T.D. For your information I enclose a copy of the return sent to Mr. Ruttledge in March last."

As Deputy Ruttledge mentioned, he had to put a question in the House to the Minister asking for information and the Minister referred him to the local authority and in reply the local authority supplied him with the information up to the 15th February, but the County Secretary on instructions from the County Commissioner refused to supply me with the figures up to date. If there is nothing to hide why this reluctance to give this information? And what is the meaning of the Minister's answer to Deputy Ruttledge when he referred him to the local authority for the information? The County Commissioner is now the local authority and he positively refuses to answer this question.

When this question came up in the Mayo County Council I myself clearly indicated that we who were members of the Fianna Fáil Party in the Council were not actuated by any question of bigotry; that we were not influenced by what I might call anti-Protestantism, that we did not object to Protestants or other non-Catholics in this country getting their share of public appointments. I clearly indicated that and I made my statement knowing the views of my Party and that these were the sentiments of my Party. But an endeavour was made in this city by a certain newspaper for political purposes at a time when there was a by-election in Co. Dublin and when it was necessary in the interests of the Government Party to get a certain vote in South County Dublin to make it appear otherwise. The "Irish Times" in a leading article endeavoured to put the Fianna Fáil Party in the position of being a party of bigots and the Government Party a party of tolerance.

We are not a party of bigots. But neither I nor any member of the Fianna Fáil Party in the County Mayo or in this Dáil apologise to anybody for being Catholics or for taking up a Catholic attitude on a question of vital importance to Catholic interests. If the Minister thinks he is going to cow the people and the priests of Mayo in this matter, he is making a great mistake. If he thinks he is going to gain political kudos by proving to a certain element in this country that his is the great party of tolerance; if he thinks that by creeping to certain elements in this country who are always anti-national and anti-Catholic that he is going to gain anything, and that he is going to increase the prestige of his Party west of the Shannon, he is certainly making a great mistake. I assure him if he pushes that thing too far he will arouse feelings in the County Mayo and other western counties that it might be better for everybody were left alone, because there are very bitter memories in the County Mayo in the past to be wiped out. It is better for the harmony of the present time and the good feeling now existing among the mass of the people and their Protestant neighbours that these memories be allowed to lie dead and forgotten. Instead, however, of improving the feeling that exists between the mass of the people and their Protestant neighbours, the Minister is going to embitter it, and to intensify the bitterness, because he will arouse all those bitter memories of the past. There are thousands of men and women in Mayo who remember the proselytising campaign among the last generation, and I can assure the Minister that they have not very sweet memories of it. A large number of the small farmers of the county have not very sweet memories of those times, times when they were often faced with the alternative of the roadside or of changing their religious views. It is, as I say, better for everybody at present that those memories should lie dead and buried, but the Minister goes out of his way by his action to arouse that bitter feeling of the past and to bring it to life and intensify it. The outstanding fact of the present situation in Mayo is that the library system, which was a boon to the people and which was greatly availed of by them, is now a dead letter. The money contributed by the ratepayers in that direction is wasted, and is going to continue to be wasted, because the Minister can make up his mind, and anybody in this House who holds an opposite view, can make up his mind, to this one fact, namely, that the people in Mayo will not change their attitude on this matter.

Since Miss Dunbar went down as librarian she has supplied books to seven centres, of which four have returned them, so that there are really only three centres in correspondence with the librarian. The County Library Chambers in the County Courthouse in Castlebar is packed from floor to ceiling with boxes of books which have been returned from all over the county. No later than last week five boxes were sent in. The Minister need not imagine that because there are on record only 82 centres as returning books out of 112 the balance will not return them. Really what has happened and what is happening is that the committees working in several of those centres find it impossible in some cases to collect the books and, in a great number of cases, they have not gone to the trouble and have no intention of collecting them.

When the Minister sent down an inspector to hold an inquiry into the affairs of the county council the inquiry lasted, as Deputy Ruttledge has pointed out, just twenty-five minutes. The report stated that there was no complaint whatever against the county council regarding their administration of the general affairs of the county. I have been a member of the county council for something like ten years and I have had a family connection with it since it was first established in 1899, and I say here what I said in the county council chamber on the occasion of its final meeting, that neither from my own personal knowledge of the council nor through any knowledge I have in any other way, do I know of any scandal or anything that could be described as disgraceful connected with its affairs—nothing that any member of the council, regardless of party, had any reason to be ashamed of. I said that that applied to all parties in the county council and I repeat it now. Yet for this technical breach of the local government regulations this public body was ruthlessly suppressed. As deputy Ruttledge has shown, the County Commissioner, since he came into office, has been guilty of more than one breach of these regulations. The appointment of Miss Dunbar to the position of librarian was not in order, neither was the appointment of the medical officer of health, but we hear of no steps being taken by the Minister, or any other person in the Government, to get the Commissioner suppressed for such breach of regulations. The Commissioner, since he came into power, has made himself notable for some things, one of them being the reduction of wages among the road workers in the county, the reduction of wages among workers in the streets in towns like Westport, Castlebar, Ballina, and other places from 35s. to 32s. a week.

The same thing happened in Kildare.

They reduced the wages of the workers in the rural districts to 26/-. My answer to Deputy Davin is that the Leader of the Labour Party is a Deputy from Mayo, and I have not heard from him any criticism of the Commissioner for that wage reduction.

It could happen, and you not hear it.

What about Harris in Kildare?

There is to be nothing about Kildare in this Bill or in the amendment.

I repeat that I heard nothing from the Leader of the Labour Party, or any other member of it, in condemnation of Mr. Bartley, the Commissioner in Mayo, for reducing wages.

Mr. O'Connell

Who got the wages raised?

Any talk of road workers' wages in County Mayo would not be of political value now, but we might hear something about it if there were a by-election pending there.

I am not so sure that the acts of the Commissioner are relevant at all, but I will let the Deputy go on.

It is a way of avoiding the subject.

I am not avoiding the subject.

It is a good way of doing it.

It is not a good way of doing it. It is certainly not as good a way as to get up and make a deliberate misstatement as the Minister did in the Seanad.

The Deputy ought not to accuse the Minister or any other Deputy of making a deliberate misstatement. That is a long way of using a short word. The Deputy can say if he wishes that the Minister was wrong in his statement.

It can stand as far as I am concerned.

Anybody who reads the report of the debate in the Seanad, and who can read plain English, will know whether my description of the Minister's statement is right or wrong.

The Deputy can let it stand.

The Minister knows very well that the Library Committee in Mayo did not resign because an Assistant Librarian would not be appointed. He knows that they did not resign as a protest against any action of the County Council. He knows that well. Two or three members may have resigned, but they came back. These people came back to vote for Miss Dunbar. As we are on the question of the Assistant Librarian, one of the remarkable things about it is that this Assistant Librarian was working in the Library Office when the Commissioner took up duty. He was specially complimented by the Commissioner on the efficiency of his work. A Press correspondence or a Press comment developed about the library question in Mayo. It became in some cases, you might say, intensive, and apparently it irritated the county authorities at present functioning in Mayo to such an extent that they began to look around for scalps. They came to the conclusion that somebody was giving away information as to how the situation was developing, and on the 30th April this young man got notice to quit —a very peremptory notice to quit. The usual temporary work in making up the rate books, making it necessary to employ a temporary staff, was going forward under the Mayo County Council in the weeks succeeding. This young man applied for a position on that staff, and he was peremptorily refused, although he was specially complimented by the County Commissioner for his work as Assistant Librarian while there was no Librarian in office in the county. He has been one of the first victims to the venom of the Ministry. Quite possibly before the question is finished there may be more victims to the venom of the Ministry.

I challenge the Minister or anybody on the Government Benches to prove that the library in Mayo is being utilised by the people of Mayo at present to any appreciable extent or that the Librarian is giving an adequate return for her salary. I will ask the Minister when he is replying to state if she has made any organised efforts to get the library going in the county, what is the nature of these efforts, and what are the results, and how does he expect the library in County Mayo to work in future?

Will he not realise that the stand of the people of Mayo is a united stand regardless of Party affiliations, that in fact the most bitter opponents and most bitter critics of the actions of the Minister have been Government supporters in County Mayo? Will he not realise that men in the position of Dr. Naughton, Lord Bishop of Killala; Dean D'Alton, Dean of the Diocese of Tuam, and Chancellor Hegarty do not go into a question of this nature purely from ideas of creating mischief or from a desire to get their names into the newspapers? Will he not realise that these people are influenced by deep and sincere feelings, and that in the public expression they have given to these feelings they represent the feelings of 98 per cent. of the people of County Mayo? Is he still of the same mind regarding this question that he was last December? Is he going to reconsider the position? Is he taking any steps to enquire into the situation and to relieve it, or has he any intention of doing so? The Minister may be able to sit here at present and sneer, and take up the lofty attitude that he always takes on this question, but I can assure him a day of reckoning will come, and I tell him here in this House when that day comes the Mayo people will deal with him and his Party.

Very satisfactory for Fianna Fáil.

Apparently there is only one Party in this country who can with impunity flout the feelings and the sentiments of the majority of the people

Certain gentlemen in this House and outside it may assume an attitude of superiority about the narrow bigotry of the people of Mayo. The people of Mayo do not wait until 1931 to be taught their national duty by any people.

[Mr. F. Fahy, Acting-Chairman, took the Chair.]

Whenever it was necessary for the people of Mayo to give testimony of their national faith they gave it regardless of sacrifice or cost. Apparently we are the only country in the world in which a certain element in the State can get up and deliberately sneer at and flout the sentiments of the majority of the people. We had an example of it here in this city when in Trinity College the "Soldiers' Song" was refused to be played.

What about Mayo?

And still any educational advantages accruing to Trinity College in this State, are being utilised by that institution and there are no steps to penalise that institution for refusing to allow the "Soldiers' Song" to be played.

Have they a Catholic Mayo librarian there?

You are not in the Chair. You should allow the conduct of the business of the House to the Chair.


The Deputy should leave Trinity College alone. Trinity College is not one of the bodies dissolved.

Dealing with the powers of a Government Department in certain circumstances I am entitled to bring in anything that I consider relevant to the exercise of Government authority in this State. At least I hold so and with all due respect to the Chair, I think that it is quite relevant for me to bring in Trinity College as they are getting certain advantages in this State and there have been no steps taken by any State authority to bring them to account for their action in sneering at the National Anthem. When the Minister shows equal impartiality regarding the flouting of Government authority by every party in the State he will certainly be entitled then to say that he is acting impartially or when the Government shows equal impartiality in dealing with every element in this State regarding the allegiance and respect they pay to State authority then they will be entitled to say that they are impartial. Certainly anything we know so far about their actions regarding certain elements in this country does not prove that they are in any way impartial in their attitude. There is only one country in the world in which such an incident as did occur in the institution I refer to would be allowed to pass without at least being strictly censured by the State authorities and that is this country.

I again ask the Minister does he imagine that all the people, both clerical and lay, in the County Mayo who have taken up this question and objected to the Minister's attitude in suppressing the county council and who have objected to the appointment of Miss Dunbar as librarian are actuated simply by a spirit of mischief, by a desire to create trouble and by dishonest motives? Does he not realise that there is intense feeling in the Co. Mayo over this question, that it either means the total abolition of the library services altogether or else if the library is to function the present librarian must be removed? He has here, on the admission of an inspector sent down by him to hold an enquiry, in fact to compliment the Mayo County Council on the administration of their affairs in general. Still that body is ruthlessly suppressed.

I am not quite sure that the County Commissioner has been six months in office in Mayo without taking every possible step within his power to dive into the records of the County Council, and to find out if there were any misdemeanours even in the distant past that could be brought against the County Council. I am quite sure that he has left no record unexamined, and that if there was any ammunition to shove into the Government propaganda bureau to support their action in suppressing the Mayo County Council, that ammunition would have been fired before now. No shots have been fired because there is no ammunition. The only thing that the Mayo County Council could have been accused of was that they represented the views of 98 per cent. of the people of Mayo in this question, and that they refused to recede from that position indicated by the people, as far as they were able to give articulate expression to their views. I repeat my challenge to the Minister to prove that the library in Mayo is functioning, that it is giving value to the people of Mayo for the money expended upon it, or that it is likely to function in the future or give value for the money expended on it.

I only wish to refer, while I entirely accept your ruling as to the relevancy of the matter, to two fundamental misstatements made by the last speaker. I rise merely for explanation. He said two wrong things. One was that the "Soldiers' Song" was flouted in Trinity College. I deny that. The incident to which he referred arose entirely in another way.

Secondly, he said that Trinity College was maintained by State funds. I deny that also. It is true that £3,000 a year is paid to Trinity College out of State funds which were given under the Land Act as compensation for loss accruing to the College owing to sales of land. I hope those misstatements are not characteristic of the Deputy, and that he will set himself to learn what is the truth in the two matters.

I said that Trinity College had certain educational advantages.

The Deputy said that Trinity College was maintained by State funds.

I said no such thing. I said that Trinity College had certain educational advantages. One of the advantages that it has is that it can take students who are not qualified in Irish and the National University cannot.

Would the Deputy extend his explanation by telling us where the revenue of Trinity College comes from? We would be glad to give a full and adequate opportunity for doing so.

In the proper time and place.


And this is neither the time nor the place.

The Minister for Local Government on one occasion described a Bill brought in by a Deputy on this side as a hash and a mess. I wonder if the Minister remembers the occasion and the expression.

Indeed I do.

I wonder if the Minister realises that as Minister for Local Government he is a perfect hash and mess himself. If any Minister in any other Department created the difficulties in local administration, the hashes and the messes that the Minister has created, he should retire gracefully rather than disgracefully, which he will have to do at the next election. Section 6 of this Bill appears to be a very peculiar one, unless it is read with the proper understanding. It proposes to make valid decisions arrived at by the Supreme Courts. Are we going to have a precedent now so that when people go to law the decisions of the courts, whether the lower or the Supreme Court, shall only be valid if a Bill is brought into this House to make such decisions valid? That is how the matter appears to me. Of course, underlying all is the effort to get out of further messes and further hashes that have occurred as a result of the Minister's desire for the suppression of local bodies, for reasons that have been pointed out by previous speakers, not on their merits or demerits, but because they do not do what the Minister decrees. In suppressing local bodies and in appointing commissioners the Minister forgot that these also require an amount of supervision. I have some correspondence and I will briefly explain its contents to the House, and ask it to say what would happen if a local body were to do what the Minister's nominee can do, and why it is when the Minister's nominee does what is absolutely wrong the Minister stands over it.

One of the former Dublin Commissioners, who has since become manager of the coastal borough, as one of his first acts dismissed a sanitary officer, and in his place appointed a gentleman who had hitherto been a part-time officer—a veterinary surgeon to three local bodies. His work, I am informed, was of such a nature that it is only piece-work, and was not paid for on a salary basis. When my attention was drawn to the matter, I wrote to the manager of the coastal borough, pointing out that the person in question was advanced in years, and that I understood he had a forage stores apart from his practice as a veterinary surgeon.

Are we to enter on and discuss any or every action that has taken place in the Dublin coastal borough since it was set up?


Discussion of the actions of the Commissioner is out of order. If it relates to reasons why further powers should not be given to the Minister in connection with public bodies which have been dissolved, it will be in order. I do not think this particular instance does relate.

What I am trying to prove is that this Bill seeks to give the Minister further powers to do these things if he feels like doing them after a bad night—to suppress them ad lib.

I do not wish to object to the discussion of anything that is relevant, but I would like to know if what the Deputy wants to discuss now is in relation to the Minister for Local Government with a borough manager in Dun Laoghaire at the present time?

I am coming to that. Perhaps the Minister will understand it better if I start backwards, and point out that notwithstanding the fact that I drew the Minister's attention to a flagrant violation of what was correct and proper no decision has been given.

That is where I say the Deputy is out of order.


Discussion of the Borough Council is out of order.

If I try to give an illustration of something which might happen, I would be in order, but when I tried to give an illustration of something that has happened, I would not be in order. The Minister has appointed as a sanitary officer a man with a tremendous amount of tenement property in the area over which he is sanitary officer. That would not be tolerated or allowed by any public bodies, or by the Minister. However, I bow to the ruling of the Chair.


This Bill, and I take it Section 2 is the kernel of it, deals with the general powers of the Minister when a local body is dissolved. If the Deputy will show why such powers should not be given, he will be in order, but to discuss the actions of a Minister in a borough council that actually is in existence, is not in order.

I must take it so that the word "whenever," wherever it occurs, does not foreshadow future activity of the Minister in the suppression of public bodies?


I cannot say that. I am not a prophet.

I will leave the matter there. I wonder if the Minister could come to the House and argue that he suppressed a local government body for wanton waste, for wanton destruction, for criminal negligence or for foolish litigation; that they were squandering the ratepayers' money, and for that reason that he was suppressing the body. But instead of that we find that the Dublin Corporation was suppressed because they refused to carry out an order of the Minister reducing the workers' wages. They were suppressed for that. We have the Kerry County Council and the reason for its suppression. We have the Mayo County Council now suppressed, and nobody has suggested but I hope somebody will propose to bring in a Bill to suppress the Minister for Local Government and Public Health on the grounds that he has wasted thousands of pounds of public money on frivolous silly litigation as was shown in the case of the Grangegorman and Portrane Mental Hospitals. In the case where the Dublin Corporation was suppressed certain nominees were acting for them on the institutions known as the Grangegorman and Portrane Mental Homes. By the way, I had better perhaps mention to the Minister two things that happened this morning. Senator Mrs. Clarke and myself were elected Chairman and Vice-Chairman of those institutions. I would like to break that information gently to the Minister. The fact that two members of this Party being elected Chairman and Vice-Chairman of these bodies would be perhaps good reason for the Minister's suppression of them.

He is getting power under this Bill to do that. After the suppression of the Dublin Corporation the nominees of that body on the Grangegorman and Portrane asylums who were not suppressed by the Minister's order refused to act any further in the management of these institutions. Subsequently the Minister asked his Commissioners whom he had appointed on the Dublin Corporation to act on these bodies. I wonder if the Minister has ever gone to the trouble of looking at the attendance book of the meetings of the Grangegorman and Portrane Mental Hospitals. The Commissioners who represented the ratepayers, who had to foot the bill for the upkeep of these institutions, will be found to have in the case of one Commissioner attended only once in five years. These meetings took place every second week. Another Commissioner had an attendance of thirty-three and one-third per cent., and a third Commissioner attended fairly regularly. Does anybody think that that kind of management on behalf of the ratepayers of Dublin is going to get the best results?

Apart from that these people indulged in all sorts of supposed economies, reducing the wages of the attendants. When the Minister found that these reductions were illegal and involved the city in great loss, then he sought the judgment of the courts, and there was a race between the members of the Government Party on that institution and the other members of that body as to which would take place first, whether we would be able to pay the arrears of wages of the nurses and the male attendants, and the other officers, or whether the matter would be postponed until the Minister could bring into this House a Bill to make null and void the decision of the Supreme Court. It was only because the Minister was beaten on that transaction that the good sense of the majority of that particular board decided that to bring into this House the precedent of turning down the decision of the Supreme Court would be a bad one and that, having lost the case, the best thing to do would be to pay. We would otherwise have a peculiar situation in bringing in an Act of Indemnity to stop payment.

I say that any Deputy here who really has the interests of the citizens of the State at heart and who has studied what has taken place in the last five or six years, the benefits on the one hand of decentralisation of local government or on the other hand what the Minister might call the benefits of centralisation of local government will find if he really has the interests of the ratepayers at heart that the old custom which has grown up of giving local government certain powers for their local administration should not be interfered with and that the system which the Minister has attempted to put into force, namely, the suppression of the local authority and putting into the management, in place of these authorities, Commissioners is a thing that is not going to lead to what is wanted by the people.

I am sure a great many Deputies have had considerable experience in local affairs. Some of them have had none but the majority have had considerable experience and they know that no commissioner system can make any improvement even if it can equal the system of local government as we have it. Local government can be improved but not by the suppression of the elected representatives and replacing them by commissioners. The citizens of this State want to be in touch with the representatives whether local representatives or Dáil representatives because their situation and the situation in front of them can only be met by some direct contact with the people who are elected to bring about certain alterations in the present state of affairs and not by having commissioners there who will do just what they are told from the Custom House. These commissioners in no way reflect the wants and requirements of the area of which they are in control.

Had I a belief that the Minister was genuinely out for the purifying of local government and local authorities and that his idea of suppression would only come into effect where he saw either corrupt government or where he saw almost criminal negligence in the shape of administration in a particular area. I would say that there would be something to be said for it. But I am satisfied that the Minister will only suppress and suppress without any consideration in areas where there would appear to be an opposition. There is a lot of talk about technicalities or misrepresentation. The Minister has sufficient power under the Local Government Acts to be able to assure himself that proper and efficient administration is being carried out, and there is no necessity for this idea of the suppression of local authorities to be continued.

I want to ask the House to throw out the Bill, which seeks to make permanent the suppression of local authorities whenever the Minister himself thinks fit. If the Minister brought in a Bill here, or if he were to amend the powers he had to the extent that he should be armed with powers to suppress the local authorities for certain acts, I would say that some Deputies might go a long way with him. But when he wants to bring in further powers for himself to hide from this House the mess and the hash that the commissioners subsequently make in the area that he has suppressed—when that is what is behind the Bill, I think the House should give the Bill a short shrift. Had a local authority proceeded to select for a pensionable position a man of 58 years of age, the Minister would turn round very soon and say this body must be suppressed, when they are going to select men of that age for pensionable positions. But when such a thing is done by the Commissioners, the nominees of the Minister, that is all right and he is satisfied. If that is done by a local body the people have the right to object, and they have the means to upset it, but when done by the Commissioners there is no right in the people to upset it. The people in such a case would have the right to put out of office the members of the local bodies who would in that way flout the wishes and desires of their constituents, and fail in the proper administration of their office.

I hope that the House will stick rigidly to the method of election to subsidiary bodies of local authorities that we have. If the Minister is going to take by means of this Bill the power to suppress a subsidiary body of a local authority, and to appoint managers or commissioners to deal with particular institutions, those who pay their rates for the administration of these subsidiary bodies will have no say whatever in their management. I would ask Deputies to consider seriously why they should give such arbitrary powers to a Minister, particularly to a Minister of whom we have had such experience in the last few years, and who has done nothing but clear up messes at a terrible cost to the ratepayers.

I rise to support the amendment standing in the name of Deputy Davis. I am glad, as a Mayo Deputy, that the day has come in this House when there is a question on which Deputy Davis and myself can stand shoulder to shoulder. I certainly am glad of the attitude he has taken on this question. Deputy Davis has proved to have a little manliness in him. It is about time. I think that this question of the abolition of the Mayo County Council and the attitude of the Minister on matters which led up to it and the abolition of other councils should be tackled by this House and not tackled in a halfhearted fashion either. There is no need to my mind for a great deal of discussion on this question. A few months ago, throughout the whole of the country, this matter was discussed in the Press and in other places and the people are fairly well informed of the facts of the case. There was no question I think in recent years in Ireland which caused such a storm of protest as the abolition of the Mayo Co. Council and the circumstances that led up to it. There is nothing which left as bad a taste in the mouths of the people or as bad a feeling in public as the action of the Minister on that occasion. Every Irishman and every Irish Catholic is well informed of the case. It has been made such a live question that every Deputy in this House, with the exception of the Minister, and I might also say of Deputy Dr. Hennessy, the exporter of Irish brains, has made up his mind and is convinced that the Minister was wrong and that it is their duty to vote for this Motion on the Order Paper censuring the attitude of the Minister on that occasion. As has been emphasised, the people of Mayo and the Bishops and priests of Mayo took a certain line of action on this question. They did not do it for frivolous reasons. They did not do it without knowing what they were doing. Many public men in Mayo who up to that time were ardent supporters of the Minister and of his Party found it was their duty to come out in the open and to do what they could to prevent the action he was taking. When you find such a position every Deputy must come to the view that the Minister was wrong and that the people were right.

There are two things which I want to lay stress on. In the first place, the fact that the terms of the advertisement were departed from by the Minister or somebody in his Department when the appointment was being made. Their advertisement emphasised the fact that Irish was an essential qualification. As Deputy Davis pointed out, it is quite possible that people who had not a complete knowledge of Irish were thereby debarred from applying for the position. Yet we find that the appointment was filled by a person who had no knowledge of Irish and, therefore, you have a wrong being done to people who in all probability refused to apply because the advertisement stated that Irish was an essential qualification. That was one of the big mistakes that was made.

Another question was the age qualification. The age qualification was not fulfilled and there again I assume that many people were prevented from applying because of the age that was specified. Yet we have the Minister ratifying that appointment in spite of the fact that the age qualification was not fulfilled by the person whom he sanctioned for the appointment.

There was also the question of the years of experience of the person to be appointed. Weeks and months in certain capacities were taken into account. I would go so far as to suggest that certain certificates were not genuine. They were put forward in order to make up the time spent in a Dublin library to qualify this lady for the job. There is no doubt that the Minister appointed a person whom in the ordinary course he would have disqualified as not being qualified to fill the job, for two reasons, first because she had no knowledge of Irish and secondly for having failed to fulfil the age qualification. The Minister in making other appointments insisted on these qualifications being fulfilled. He did everything he could to meet the applicant instead of the applicant being able to prove to him that she was capable of filling the appointment. We have also the action of the people in County Mayo in refusing to co-operate in any way with the Commissioner. All committees have refused to function, the members of the Committee have resigned, rather than co-operate with the Commissioner. The Old Age Pension Committees have gone out of existence, and let nobody tell me that the clergy who were acting on the Old Age Pension Committees would lightly withdraw from them if there was no very serious question to be dealt with. They would not withdraw without very serious reasons.

When the action of the Minister produced such protests, it is clear that it was felt strongly by the people of Mayo, including the Bishops and clergy. The Librarian when she discovered that there was such an objection there made known her wishes that she preferred not to be sent there. When the position was that the people of Mayo as a united body refused to accept her, and when she herself put forward this suggestion that she should not be sent there, I should like to know what hidden hand behind the Minister insisted on that Librarian going to Mayo? I have made the charge in other places and I am going to make it now, that that Librarian would never have been appointed to Co. Mayo were it not for the fact that there was a by-election in the County Dublin at that time. The instructions to have that appointment insisted upon came to the Minister from the Orange Lodges in the Co. Dublin. The Minister answered to the instructions of the Orange Lodges, to the instructions of Deputy Dr. Hennessy, this exporter of Irish brains, and also to the instructions of the "Irish Times," the official organ of Deputy Dr. Hennessy and the Orange Lodges and Unionists in Co. Dublin. It was to these instructions that the Minister answered. At the time he found it was politic to flout the people of Mayo, to flout the wishes of the elergy there, and to dance instead in attendance on the Unionists and Masons of the Co. Dublin, whose votes did count at the time for the Minister and his Party.

We do not expect any satisfaction from the Minister in his reply. We do not expect him to get up and say: "I know I made a mistake but I did it for political reasons. Politics demanded it at the time. My Party were in a rut, and in order to get my Party out of the rut in County Dublin it was necessary for me to flout the wishes of the people in Mayo. Now that we have got over the danger in County Dublin, I am prepared to admit that I did wrong and am prepared to restore the Mayo County Council to their former position."

We do not expect the Minister to do that. We do not expect the Minister to have any respect for the wishes of the Archbishop of Tuam, the Bishop of Killala, Dean D'Alton, and Archdeacon Fallon of Castlebar, who have proved in their letters to the Press, and no Cumann na nGaedheal Deputy can deny the fact, that the Minister was wrong in his action, and that the qualifications of the candidate were not such as to justify her being appointed. They have proved in every letter they have written that the Minister did wrong—that he did it for some underhand reason. We do not expect him to state now that he has any respect for these clergymen's wishes or expect him to apologise, because he is General Mulcahy. He is the over-rider of the people's rights, as he described himself in the Dáil on 26th June, 1924, as reported in column 3110 of the Dáil Debates. He found fault with the fact that certain people looked upon him as being somewhat self-opinionated and as an over-rider of the people. We do not expect this self-opinionated Minister, this over-rider of the people's rights, according to his own words, this General Mulcahy, to admit that he is wrong. There was a time in the past when this self-opinionated Minister, this over-rider of the people's rights, got out of his opponents in another fashion. There was a time when not abolition, but execution was his method of putting his opponents aside. Now since he finds he can put them aside in another way, according to law, his method is not execution, but abolition. He takes to himself the weapon of abolition and in every case where the people's rights have run up against the Minister, the Minister has proved himself to be what he described himself to be, an over-rider of the people's rights, one who abolishes the people's rights and institutions. We do not expect him, knowing him as we did in the past, to cave in now. He has burned his boats and cannot turn back. He has to set his face to the front and face it. But we expect the people who sit behind him on the Government Benches, who have some respect for local authorities and the will of the people, who have sat on local authorities and who know the good that county councils, boards of health, vocational committees do for the people, to set their face against this self-opinionated Minister. We expect them to show, if he is the overrider of the people's rights, that they are going to stand by the people against him. We expect them to have their minds made up that voting against him in this instance is right. We expect them to do that even for his own good.

Many people were surprised to-day when they saw this motion on the Order Paper, but I was not surprised, because the Minister was getting away with it too well. The Minister has been flogging a dead horse for a long time in flogging the members of the Cumann na nGaedheal, but he was carrying it too far. He went down to a certain part of the country a few days ago, this over-rider of the people's rights, and stated that he believed in the country and in the abilities of its people, and faced the problem of building up the country content to trust the people. This man who, since he became Minister for Local Government, has, every time he got the chance, abolished public bodies, has curtailed in every way he can the local authorities and the voice of the people, has now a Bill before us which is to curtail still further the powers of the people and local authorities. This man who states in one part of the country that he trusts in the will of the people, is, through Acts which he has passed through this House, and through the present Bill, deliberately flouting the wishes of the people and curtailing their power in every possible manner. I am not surprised, therefore, when certain Cumann na nGaedheal Deputies realise the bumptiousness of this Minister in his statements in public; realise how inconsistent these statements about trusting the people are with his actions here in abolishing the public bodies. I am not surprised that they were driven to take this extreme attitude.

I do not believe it is great fun or a joke for Deputy Davis, the Chairman of the Cumann na nGaedheal Party, to have to come to this House and introduce this motion, which amounts to a vote of censure on the Minister. It is no joke for Deputy Davis to have to do that. He has to face criticism in his own Party. He has to face men like Deputy Dr. Hennessy, who has an outlook different from any other Irishman. He has to face the "Irish Times" and the Masons and Unionists, the people with the purse behind the Minister. It was no joke for him to go against that volume of opinion and to bring in this motion, which amounts to a vote of censure on the Minister.

I hold he was driven to it by the action of this self-opinionated over-rider of the people's rights. Many Cumann na nGaedheal Deputies now know that the Minister is driving them too far, that when he got the power he looked upon himself as a certain type of man who only comes to light once in every five or six generations, and that he believes if he had been born in this country six generations ago this country would be like a little heaven now. I believe the Minister means well.

It will be all right in another six generations.

I believe he means well, but he cannot convince me that he is right and 99 per cent. of the people are wrong. If that is the fact, I believe that the Minister will never get there, even though he is supported by Deputy Dr. Hennessy, that exporter of Irish-men's brains. So that now, when this amendment does come before us, it should get the volume of opinion in this House in support of it and against the Minister, who is always suppressing public bodies and appointing commissioners. Cumann na nGaedheal Deputies have now got a lead from the Chairman of their Party, and although it may be questioned in such a direction whether that lead is sincere or not, at any rate he has given the lead, and I ask every Deputy who may have any respect for local authorities and the wishes of the people to vote for Deputy Davis's amendment upon this. If they do, they will make one step forward towards uniting a certain body in this country who have the interests of the people at heart and who for a long time have been divided into political groups and thought of nothing else but politics. I ask Cumann na nGaedheal Deputies to vote for this motion to-night, and if they do it will come as a shock to this overrider of the people's rights that might have the effect of bringing him to his senses and that will win the gratitude of the public all over the country. Nobody can state why, when this action was taken to abolish the Mayo County Council and to make such a disgraceful appointment in a Gaeltacht county at a time when a National Catholic lead could be given in this country and was expected to be given, the Minister gave a lead in the other direction. I believe Deputies know well the people's wishes in that respect and what the Catholics of Ireland and those abroad expected. I believe, without making a sectarian question of it at all, they would be justifying their attitude as public men in voting for the amendment here and restricting this Minister in any further diddling of the people out of their rights in local affairs.

Of the nine Deputies who represent Mayo, six are members of the County Council, and I was awaiting until these men, who are more closely associated with this matter than I, would have spoken. Three of them have spoken, and I assume we shall hear from the others later on. My remarks on this matter will be brief. When the Minister for Local Government, who is now the Minister for Finance, was taking power in 1923 to suppress local authorities, I think it will be found that he made a statement very definitely, that while it was necessary to have some such power, it would be scarcely ever used. In any case, I well remember the impression he left upon the House was, that the dissolution of the local authority would be something that would be almost in the nature of a revolutionary act on the part of the Ministry.

[An Ceann Comhairle resumed the Chair.]

Up to that time, and down from the year 1898, when the Local Government Act came into operation, I do not know, as far as my memory serves me, of any county council that had been suppressed or wiped out by the arbitrary act of the British Government. I think, if the British Government had attempted to do so there would be something in the nature of a revolution. There were one or two cases, I believe, where boards of guardians were dismissed, and what were called vice guardians appointed in their places, but the cases were so rare that nobody paid very much attention at the time when these powers were being taken by the Minister. Nobody certainly thought that in a few short years, we should see the chief local authority in this country, the ancient Corporation of the City of Dublin, suppressed by the action of the then Minister for Local Government. Since then, we know it has become quite a common thing for the Ministry of Local Government to suppress local authorities, and to appoint Commissioners in their place. I protest against that policy. I think it is wrong from many points of view I think it is calculated to undermine the belief that should be encouraged in the minds of the people that they are self-governing communities. I believe the growth of bureaucracy in this way will have reactions that will not be good for the community as a whole; I believe it will undermine their faith in democratic government.

It will, perhaps, encourage the growth of movements opposed to democratic government and which are opposed to the very idea of Parliamentary government. I think that in pursuing that policy, in suppressing local authorities for actions which, to the ordinary man in the street, in any case, appear comparatively trivial, the Minister is doing a dis-service to the cause of democratic government and democratic principles. There may be cases where a local authority is so inefficient, corrupt or useless, or is acting entirely contrary to the interests of the people within its area that it is necessary for the central authority to exercise control. There may be such cases, but they are extremely rare cases, and so far as I know of the bodies that have been suppressed by this Minister or the former Minister, no such case could be made out.

We have now the instance of the suppression of the Mayo County Council. On the testimony of the Minister's official who made the inquiry, we had it that in all its acts and, generally speaking, through the whole of its administration, there was no cause of complaint so far as the Mayo County Council was concerned. There was this crux about the appointment of a librarian, this one occasion upon which there was a dispute between the Minister for Local Government and the local authority. I cannot believe, and I refuse to believe, assuming for a moment that the law was there, and required certain things to be done, that the only way left to the Minister was to suppress the County Council and all its subsidiary bodies as a result of that suppression. I think it was an act on the part of the Minister that cannot be justified, and from every point of view it was a foolish act so far as the objects which we all here profess to have in mind are concerned, namely, the associating of the people generally with governmental functions, whether local or national. By one stroke of the pen in this arbitrary fashion to take out of the hands of the people of Mayo and their representatives the complete authority over all the functions of government that they possessed through their county council was, I think, something which should not be done.

With regard to the question of this appointment which is being so much discussed, there is one point that has not been raised, but which deserves to be raised. It has been stated publicy, but I do not know whether it has been stated officially, that the method of appointment was as follows. About this particular time there was not alone this vacancy for a librarian in Mayo but there were five or six vacancies in other places. Advertisements were issued and all the applicants appeared before the same selection board. The board selected a certain number, I forget whether it was four, five or six, but I think it was four, and they placed them in a certain order of merit. Then they proceeded in this fashion. They said to the first person on the list: "Here are four vacancies. There is a vacancy in Mayo and there are others in other counties. You may have your choice." The first person took his choice. The second and third persons on the list got their choice of what remained, and finally it came to the time when there was only Mayo left and, naturally, the fourth person on the list had either to take Mayo or nothing. If that was the procedure, and I am informed that it was, it was not in accordance with the Act and I suggest that it was illegal. If that is so, and if none of these applicants applied for a vacancy in Mayo, Carlow or anywhere else, I suggest that the terms and, certainly, the spirit of the Act were violated.

It has been stated in defence of that method that that is the method usually adopted in the case of the Civil Service, the first person on the list gets his choice. That may be so, but I suggest that the position is entirely different to the Civil Service because, no matter whether a civil servant is appointed to the Ministry of Local Government, the Education Office, the Ministry of Agriculture or any other office, his employer all the time is the Minister for Finance who can shift him from one office to another according as he suits such office. That, however, is not the position so far as a local authority is concerned.

I suggest that if Mayo wanted a librarian, and advertised for a librarian, only those who applied to be appointed in that capacity in Mayo should have been considered for that vacancy. Any selection board selecting a librarian for Mayo, Carlow, Monaghan, Cavan or any other county would surely, if they had any sense of their responsibility, take into account the local circumstances of the county or district where that person was going to serve. If the method, which I say was the method of selection, was used in this case then it was impossible for that consideration, and it is an important consideration, to be taken into account, because the Selection Board was selecting a librarian, not a librarian for Mayo, Monaghan, Carlow or somewhere else. I say that they did not take into account local circumstances. I say that the method was one for which I can find no justification in the Act. I do not know whether any statutory regulation has been made under the Act, but certainly there is no justification for that method in the Act, and I say that it is entirely contrary to its spirit.

There is only one other point. Reference has been made by Deputy Walsh to the reduction in wages of road workers in County Mayo by the present Commissioner. A statement was made that I, as a Mayo representative, did not take any action, or, as the Deputy said, that he did not hear that I took any action. A great many things happen about which the Deputy does not hear. I have here in front of me a file of correspondence showing that so far back as the first week in April I took action in the matter. I will say no more about the matter now, except that I was more concerned in getting wages back to the figures to which they were brought on my representation in 1927 than with any desire to make political capital by means of a public condemnation of the Commissioner. My attitude regarding the suppression of public bodies and the appointment of Commissioners is well known, but in this matter of wages my one desire was to have them restored to the figure to which they were brought about 1928 after a similar figure to that now paid was paid by the County Council for a number of years. I frequently protested both here and outside against that figure. I intend to vote for the amendment.

I propose to address my remarks definitely to the amendment put down by the Chairman of the Cumann na nGaedheal Party, Deputy Davis. It has been said, I think, by Deputy Clery, that it amounts to a vote of censure. It not merely amounts to a vote of censure, but it is in specific and set terms a vote of censure on a particular individual in relation to his functions. It is a refusal on the part of the Chairman of Cumann na nGaedheal to give any further extension, in relation to local government, of powers now possessed by the present Minister for Local Government, unless and until he shall have reversed in a specific case a specific misuse of the powers which he now has. That is the amendment which is before you on behalf of the Chairman of the Cumann na nGaedheal Party.

While I do not wish in any way to be personal, I do say that it is a very useful and a very hopeful sign, perhaps the first sign in the darkness, which he have seen for a long time— the darkness of the back benchers of Cumann na nGaedheal—that there is still somewhere amongst them some backbone, some remaining element of those qualities which made a man walk erect instead of creeping on his belly like worm. It is the first sign, and it is only right that we should acknowledge it in the fullest possible manner. "I will not," says the Chairman of the Cumann na nGaedheal Party, "give to the Minister for Local Government of the Cumann na nGaedheal Party any further extension of the powers which he now has, as Cumann na nGaedheal Minister for Local Government, unless and until in relation to a specific instance, the whole intimate, exact and accurate knowledge in relation to which is in my possession, unless and until in relation to that particular instance he shall completely withdraw and make amends for the misuse of the authority, the exercise of which the Cumann na nGaedheal Party up to the present have defended."

That is a very serious position for any man to take up. It is a position which, I am prepared to express the hope, will redound in the result—redound in the way in which he follows it up, redound in the way in which he calls behind him the support of the other representatives of his Council and the other back-benchers of his Party—to the credit of that Party, and through the credit of that Party to the credit of this country, of which at the present moment it is very substantial part. That is the most important thing, more important even than the particular issues which we are discussing, that through one of their back-benchers they may give back to this country the self-respect and public reputation for honesty and backbone which their conduct in the past has tended to rob this country of in the public estimation.

I come to this question, not with the heated feeling of Deputy Davis, Deputy Clery, Deputy Walsh, Deputy Ruttledge, and the apparently mitigated intensity of feeling of two other Cumann na nGaedheal Deputies and the Minister for Justice. We will ask them to speak for themselves later, but it is not possible, and it is not to be expected, that the ordinary representatives of other constituencies in this country should have that same feeling of heat and enthusiasm with which these gentlemen are animated. There is all the difference between the heat and the enthusiasm you have for an academic principle and the heat and enthusiasm when that academic principle of right is violated in relation to yourself and in relation to your own concerns. Therefore, possibly we come in a more judicial spirit to examine this matter than the members from Mayo could reasonably be expected to do.

I, personally—I stress this point deliberately—am very moderate in my outlook on the issues which are raised in this matter. I recognise that there is a lot of human nature knocking about in county councils. I recognise that a lot of that human nature has been shown in the appointments made by county councils in the past. I certainly do not automatically react against the Appointments Commission. I can see a great deal that can be said for some commissions to provide local authorities with a panel out of which they will select people who have been vetted to be technically qualified by some board or some body which is independent of immediate local interests.

I will go further than that. I will say that I recognise that there is authority in a central Parliament in relation to local authorities which it cannot completely delegate. I want to say quite clearly that circumstances may arise in which a central authority may have to supervise the activities of any particular body in the country whose actions might possibly react to the discredit of the whole. Therefore, when I am told that a central authority has appointed somebody to a local position, and that that central authority has suppressed the local body, I for one do not immediately assume that the central authority is wrong in so doing. But when we come to examine the actual circumstances of this particular case we find certain agreed facts.

We find a model county council, a county council on whose reputation no slur of any sort, kind or description has been cast by any man—fact No. 1. We find that county council, suppressed in its activities, told that in no proportion of its present relation to local government shall it be allowed to function—fact No. 2. Fact No. 3—we find that council more or less accurately reflecting the condition of public opinion and public judgment in the council. I understand there are nine members from Mayo. Four of them sit on this side of the House and four of them on the other. One sits on the Labour Benches. I understand that condition is fairly accurately represented in the County Council. In other words, you have a body which, like the community from which it is drawn, represents well-organised and fairly equally-balanced bodies of normally contradictory opinions, and in relation to this particular instance we find that oil and water have mixed. We find that there is no line of demarcation between Cumann na nGaedheal, Fianna Fáil and Labour.

We find that the county council and the county are in a unit in accepting willingly the continuous suppression of the county councils rather than that something which the central authority attempts to impose upon them shall be made effective. Now that is a very unusual condition. A model county council suppressed, a model county council made up of divers opinions who have all come together as a unit, who are prepared to be suppressed in order that the Central Government shall not be allowed to impose its will. Unless we have to assume that this is a superman, unless we are prepared to assume that some special inspiration from heaven has given the wisdom which enables him to know in relation to this county council more than Cumann na nGaedheal, more than Fianna Fáil, more than Labour, more than priests and people know about it, we must assume that he is a superman of a different character, a man whose sole supermanship is in the claim to override the organised united public opinion of a county on a matter of which they have full and complete knowledge. If it is right to suppress the Mayo County Council then all local government should be suppressed. If we are to assume that the whole community, the united community of Mayo which has laid down all its differences to unite in this matter, are so completely ignorant that the will and judgment of the Minister here are to override them, then we must assume that the whole of the community in this country are equally incompetent to form a reasonable and valuable judgment in relation to matters of their own counties. I am not prepared to assume that. If we are prepared to accept the precedent and the reason and the history of the suppression of the Mayo County Council as a legitimate criterion by which we are to judge the relation of the central to the local authority, then the sooner we face the fact that these local authorities should go the better. That we are not prepared to assume.

Now, having reached that extraordinary impasse, we come to the explanation, and there are two explanations, and I prefer to choose the more modern one. One explanation is that the Minister does actually believe himself to be the legitimate over-rider of the people, that he has a malignant opposition to the rights of the people to express an effective opinion in relation to their own local government. That is one explanation. The other is downright stupidity. I think it is downright stupidity that is at the back of all this.

All this mess is due to the obstinacy of a man, who, when he got into a mess did not know how to bend. He had to break the county council rather than his own pride. The Minister was not responsible in the early stages for what has happened. He has only been responsible for making the mess out of what occurred automatically. Deputy O'Connell has stated the case very fairly and very much as I personally would state it. This particular occupant, who, in the unanimous opinion of priests, people and men of all parties is incapable of filling that position properly, was never appointed to Mayo by either the Government or the Appointments Commission. It is quite probable that in law she never was appointed properly at all, but, in fact, she never was appointed. What happened was, as Deputy O'Connell said, these five or six people were selected for librarianships. There was a sort of Dutch auction between the people who were appointed and the last one fell to this particular applicant. This particular applicant was selected for Mayo, not by the Appointments Commission, but by the five other people who selected their positions and left her the last one. This particular occupant, judging by the evidence, was appointed to a position which the Appointments Commission ad hoc would never have appointed her to.

The Minister set up certain machinery. According to Deputy O'Connell that machinery has possibly got out of the control of the law because the procedure adopted, as far as we know, is not within the law. The machinery started to function and turned out for Mayo an utterly unsuitable occupant in the opinion of Deputy Davis, Deputy O'Clery and of the whole of the people of Mayo. When the Minister woke up to the fact that this perfectly well-intentioned machinery had broken down and been made a mess of he had not the courage or the manliness to remedy it. That is the stupidity which has brought us into all this trouble and the stupidity which could have been avoided with the co-operation of the applicant herself if the Minister had not been so stiff-necked. This country cannot afford Deputy Mulcahy to be in the position in which his obstinacy can turn a mistake into a disaster. If the machinery he has turns out a wrong product it is going to be forced down the throats of the people even though he knows it is a wrong product and even though the people vomited it on sight. Are we going to hand over to a Minister, who is convicted on the face of it of stupid misuse of the powers he has, more powers to misuse? That is the issue. Deputy Davis says he should not have them. I want that to be perfectly clear. What are the Cumann na nGaedheal representatives—I am not putting this on any point of politics to them at all—going to do in the matter? Are they going to accept as a standard, in relation to all their own county councils, that there shall be in a position and with increased power a Minister whose flagrant stupidity has produced this mess? Nobody wants to trouble about this thing. We want a solution of this thing. I want to find some means by which the Appointments Commissioners can function without producing this sort of mess. Are they going to take some action to see that there is a complete reorganisation of the Appointments Commission's arrangements which will prevent the Minister being offered raw products of this kind which he feels his amour propre requires him to be forced down the throats, not merely of Mayo, but of other county councils in the country?

If they are prepared to take the initiative in demanding action of that kind, either to chuck him out or to see that there is a Minister whom they could trust not to make a mess of things, or if they would take the initiative for providing machinery that even Deputy Mulcahy could not make a mess of, there would be something to be said for that moderation in relation to the Resolution. Unless they are, it is a matter of bounden duty, an honourable obligation resting individually on every Cumann na nGaedheal Deputy who believes in local government to go into the Lobby and to say with Deputy Davis: "As a Cumann na nGaedheal Deputy I will not entrust to this Minister for Local Government, in a Cumann na nGaedheal Government, any more powers unless and until in the specific instance of Mayo he shall undo the consequence of the gross misuse he has made of the powers he now has."

Speaking earlier to-day on the Second Reading of the Local Government (Dublin) Bill, I had reason to call attention to what I believe to be and described as the incompetence of the authorities of a Department that necessitated the introduction at such frequent intervals of amending legislation to undo the blunders and the incompetence of the heads of the Department. The Minister, in his reply, took pains to say—I am not quoting his exact words—these officials were the best that could be got; that no better officials could be got anywhere, and he took upon his own shoulders complete responsibility for any actions they were guilty of, and therefore all the blunders and incompetence and stupidity that I charged against them. Be it so. I would say that if that is so, the sooner the present Minister sends for his junior office boy and puts him in to run the Department, the better it will be for this House and for the Free State. A greater exhibition of blundering and incompetence than that exhibited in the second amending Bill we have before us to-day from that Department I find it difficult to imagine. Almost all the speeches to-day dealt with one particular aspect of the matters raised in this Bill, namely, that concerning the Mayo County Council, raised by the amendment moved by Deputy Davis, Chairman of the Cumann na nGaedheal Party. I may have something to say on that matter later. I wish to deal for the moment with another aspect of this Bill, which in a most emphatic way exhibits what I call the incompetence and the inefficiency of the Department of Local Government as at present administered. The matter that gave rise to the introduction of this Bill relates to the management of Grangegorman and Portrane Mental Hospital. The Minister gave us a short summary of how the legislation that he introduced became necessary.

It will be no harm to refer to it again. It arose out of a mania of the Minister and his Department— and in this he was joined by the President, whom I am glad to see in the House—for the suppression of public bodies, a mania for walking on people's rights; gentlemen who told us that they fought to achieve the liberty and the independence of the people of Ireland, use their powers, when they get them, to tear away any modicum of rights given to local authorities as soon as they get it into their hands. Mr. President Cosgrave of the Free State, and his able adjutant, Napoleon the Tenth I suppose he might be called, the would-be Napoleon, the pocket battleship, the pocket Dreadnought of the Free State, that fears nothing! "I fear no man in shining armour or otherwise." So says the Minister for Local Government, who ought to be the junior office-boy, judged by the competence he has shown in his office since he had the misfortune to be appointed head of the Department—at least the country had the misfortune. I do not suppose it was much of a misfortune for him. Dublin Corporation was suppressed to give a lead to other Ministers who were to follow. The President suppressed Dublin Corporation—

Excuse me.

Go ahead.

I say the charge is not proved.

The hand was the hand, we know, of another Minister.

In another Parliament, but I will not insist on that point now.

I think it is hardly out of order to refer to the beginning of this.

It was in a previous Parliament to this.

In a previous Parliament and under a previous Ministry, it was decided.

May I say that the Minister who performed that act was not a member of the Executive Council?

He acted on the instructions of the Executive Council, and particularly on those of the President.

I must again ask to be excused, in order to say that the statement is not true.

I cannot prove that the President called in the Minister and gave him his instructions.

The Minister was bad enough to be a member of the Executive Council.

Some of them might be bad enough, and some of them might be good enough, and I think you are one of them.

If we go into the second person we will be destroyed.

I think the Minister for Local Government is good enough for membership of that august body that destroys as far as it can every vestige of power that local bodies have. The great defenders of the liberty of the Irish people, moryah! The Dublin Corporation was suppressed. I am not going into the history of that now, but arising out of it there happened to be twenty-nine representatives on the Grangegorman Mental Hospital Board. As a protest against the suppression of the Dublin Municipal Council, these twenty-nine members decided not to serve on any of the subsidiary bodies.

The representatives of the Corporation in the Dublin Union, in the Grangegorman and Portrane Mental Homes, the Old Age Pensions Committees, the Technical Education Committees, and innumerable other bodies on which the Corporation appointed members, took up the position that they refused to serve on these committees as a protest against the suppression without rhyme or reason of the Municipal Council. At least, it was without reason so far as the ordinary citizens could see. But the Minister has told us to-day that in order that the Grangegorman Mental Home Committee might carry on its work he nominated the three Commissioners for the City of Dublin to do the work instead of the members of the Corporation. The Minister appointed these three Commissioners at a generous salary. The Corporation did their work without any salary, but the three Commissioners were also appointed to represent the Corporation on the Grangegorman and Portrane Mental Board. Possibly again acting under the instructions of the Minister for Local Government, these three Commissioners and others on the Committee decided that an all-round reduction of the officials' salaries and wages should take place, they brought in a resolution to that effect, and cut a fairly large slice off the salaries and wages of the officials. However, we are not going to go into that now.

The officials were not satisfied, and they began to test the legality of the act of the Board as constituted then. They took the case into the courts to test its legality, and a whole series of actions and litigation followed which lasted a long time. The Minister backed up the act of his officials, for which, perhaps, he was primarily responsible. These were the Commissioners whom he had appointed and whom probably he had advised in all their public acts. When the case was brought into the Supreme Court the Supreme Court decided that the Minister's action was illegal. It decided, first of all, that the constitution of the Grangegorman and Portrane Mental Board was illegal, because the Minister had no authority to nominate his three Commissioners as proper substitutes for the 29 members of the Dublin Corporation. I charged, before to-day, the Local Government Department with incompetence in legal matters of this kind. But anything I said would not, naturally, carry the same weight as what I am now going to read to you. I doubt if it would be as strong as the condemnation of the illegality that we have here in the judgment given by the Supreme Court Judge. I will read a few sentences of that judgment in the case of the officials, officers of the Grangegorman and Portrane Mental Home against the Board of that institution—the Board being, to a great extent, the Commissioners appointed by the present Minister for Local Government and acting under his orders. The Supreme Court Judge says in the course of his judgment:

"I do not think that we should be over-astute to discover merely technical flaws in an Executive order made under the authority and for the purpose of carrying out or giving effect to legislation of the Oireachtas. In my opinion, however, the order of the Minister for Local Government made on 14th July, 1925, cannot be supported under the Local Government Act of 1925, and was invalid in so far as it purported to appoint the Dublin City Commissioners to be members of the Joint Committee of Management of the Mental Hospital of which the plaintiffs are officers. This is not a merely technical matter but one of real substance, because the statutory constitution of the Joint Committee is based upon representation in proportion to the financial interests of the represented body while the order it affected would deprive the City of Dublin of its statutory measure of strength and authority in the councils of the Joint Committee and protection against undue financial burdens, which deprivation is not, in my opinion, authorised or justified by anything in the legislation under which it purports to be done.

"I am of opinion that the Joint Committee was not legally constituted on the 20th January, 1926, and, therefore, that the purported resolution to reduce the plaintiffs' remuneration was wholly ineffective and null. I concur in the reasoning of Mr. Justice Fitzgibbon on this question in the judgment about to be read by him. In my opinion the appeal should be dismissed."

I will read an extract or two of the judgement of Mr. Justice Fitzgibbon.

"When the Minister dissolved the Dublin County Borough Council and failed to make any provision by which a Joint Committee for the district comprising that Council should be constituted in accordance with the mandatory provisions of sub-section (7) of Section 9 of the Act of 1898, in my opinion the Joint Committee ceased to exist as a body capable of action. There cannot be a Joint Committee of four bodies when only three of them are in being. The doctrine of surveyorship among joint tenants has no application to the case of a statutory body composed of representatives of different corporations in a prescribed proportion."

I do not want to trouble the House to read all these.

"In the present case from and after July 10th, 1925, there was no longer in existence a Joint Committee of Management of the Grangegorman Mental Hospital constituted in accordance with the statute by which it was created. The Minister might have dissolved it, transferred its powers and duties, or appointed some person or persons to perform those duties, but he did none of these things, and the appointment of three Commissioners as members of the Joint Committee was not a regulation for giving full effect to the order dissolving the Dublin Borough Council. Mr. Finlay, on behalf of the Ministry of Local Government, has admitted that the order of July 10th, 1925, was made and can only be justified as an attempted exercise of the powers vested in the Minister by sub-section (6) of Section 72 of the Local Government Act, 1925.... It was not necessary for the purpose of dissolving the Council of the County Borough of Dublin.... Whether an order appointing the Commissioners or two or one of them to perform the duties and exercise the powers (including that of casting twenty-nine votes for or against a resolution) of the twenty-nine representatives to which the Corporation was entitled on the Joint Committee would have been a valid compliance with the exigencies of the Act I am not prepared to decide at present, but I am satisfied that from the date upon which the order of July 10th, 1925, came into effect the powers of the Joint Committee ceased to be exercisable, because there was no longer in existence a Joint Committee constituted in accordance with the Act providing for its creation.

"It has been suggested that unless it is proved that some resolution was carried by the vote of the Commissioners which would not have been carried if they had not voted for it the acts of the Joint Committee are valid, but my objection to the validity of the acts of the Committee is not that three unqualified persons voted, or might have voted, but that any overwhelming majority of the whole Committee was precluded from voting at all, and that the City of Dublin, which contributed three-fifths of the expenses, was practically disfranchised by an order which purported to have been made under a power to give the Corporation the representation to which the law entitled it. I have arrived at this conclusion after a careful consideration and an earnest endeavour to avoid a decision which must give rise to great confusion in the affairs of the Joint Committee, but I see no way of escape. Nothing has been done which cannot be put right by legislation, and if ex post facto legislation is justifiable in any case it must be where, as here, confusion has been created by administrative error in attempting to carry out beneficial legislation, and it becomes necessary to rectify or legalise the transactions of a committee which had, in fact, through no fault of its own, ceased to have any authority in the premises, but was honestly endeavouring to fulfil the duties imposed upon it by statute."

That was the judgement of Mr. Justice Fitzgibbon. I think it proves my contention that the Minister who as he says takes complete responsibility is unfit for his job. It was his duty to see what the consequences of his act— wrongful or otherwise—would be on other public bodies in the area and to have provided therefor. Now we have to have this amending legislation and in all probability it is only one of a series of amending Bills that must be introduced to put right the stupidity and blunders of the President's selected head of the Local Government Department. I am also dissatisfied not alone with the legislation but with the facts that arose out of that suppression and out of the judgement of the Supreme Court, because the City of Dublin—of which I am one of the representatives—has had to pay dearly for the blunders and stupidity of the Local Government Department. The rates have had to be increased because of that stupidity and blunder and they would have had to be increased to a greater extent only that a deputation of the Corporation had to go, cap in hand, to the Minister and beg his leave to raise a loan over a period of ten years, so that the extra expense on the city might not be borne in one year to make up for the cost of litigation and other expenses which the stupidity of the Minister was responsible for putting on the City of Dublin, as well as on Wicklow and partly on Louth, as adequately and fully borne out by the reading of the judgement delivered by the head of the Supreme Court and Mr. Justice Fitzgibbon.

This Bill not alone seeks to regularise stupidities, blunders and want of forethought on the part of the Local Government Department but it seeks to give very wide additional powers to the Minister to suppress further local authorities. This is the kind of thing we find in the Bill: "...the Minister may make and, in the case of a local authority so dissolved before the passing of this Act ... shall be deemed always to have had power to make by order such provision as he thinks necessary or proper for securing the effective carrying on of the powers, duties and business of such local authorities ..." He has to have limitless power to do what he thinks right or proper and we can imagine what that will be after the exhibition he has given us in the last few years of his power. We can imagine what this will be if we only refer to the case of Mayo that has been discussed at such length to-day—the limits to which he will go if these powers be placed in his hands. Not alone is he to have that power in the future but the Bill says "he shall be deemed always to have had power to make by order such provision as he thinks necessary" and so on. So the illegalities of his past have to be legalised and he is to be indemnified against any action that might be taken by any aggrieved person or public body because of the stupidities and blunders that he and his Department have been guilty of.

With regard to the suppression of the Dublin Municipal Council, the Mayo County Council, and any other such bodies, the Minister proposes to give unto himself power to appoint Commissioners instead of the County Council or Dublin Corporation, and he is to be able to appoint whomsoever he pleases to run the vocational education committees, old age pension committees, boards of public assistance, or any public authority that he wishes to suppress for political or other reasons.

The third clause of this Bill is entitled "Powers and relations to subsidiary bodies." It says:—"... the Minister shall have power, and in the case of a local authority so dissolved before the passing of this Act (whether such local authority is or is not still dissolved at the passing of this Act), shall be deemed always to have had power to make by order such provision in relation to any subsidiary body wholly or partly appointed by such local authority as the Minister thinks necessary or proper for securing the due exercise and performance by such subsidiary body of its powers and duties notwithstanding the dissolution of such local authority ..."

We can imagine the wonderful efficiency and excellence with which the duties of these local authorities will be carried out when they get into the hands of the Minister for Local Government. We have on record a statement of his specially appointed inspector who was sent down to hold an inquiry in Mayo when he was suppressing the County Council. That inquiry could not have been very deep, because it only lasted twenty-five minutes. At any rate, whatever the nature of the inquiry, his report was that the Mayo County Council was a competent body, and the inspector could find no fault with it except that it would not obey a particular statute and appoint a certain individual or allow a subsidiary committee to appoint a person to a particular post. But though the Mayo County Council, on the evidence of his own inspector, was an efficient body that did its work loyally and well, it was suppressed, and what I claim to be an inefficient head of a Department will run it in future if this legislation be passed.

I can well believe that Deputy Davis and others of his colleagues are aggrieved when the Mayo Co. Council is suppressed, but to my mind they showed very little resentment when the Dublin Municipal Council, to which the President himself belonged and of which he was a political boss for a period, was suppressed. Probably the Deputy thought it was a very good job. I do not think I am very wrong. Deputy Davis smiles. I am sure that that was what was in his mind when he heard that the Dublin Corporation was dissolved. Probably there was some jeer at the Municipal Council of Dublin when it was suppressed for political reasons. Probably he smiled when the Dublin Municipal Council was suppressed and when other public authorities were suppressed, but when it comes to their own case they know what it means. If we pass this legislation they will have further opportunity of knowing what the Minister for Local Government is capable of in this direction, and they will certainly, to my mind, have reason to know the inefficiency that the Minister and his Department are capable of in running the affairs of the State and in running local affairs if they get a chance to run things their own way.

I object to giving any further power whatever to the Minister to extend his sway over public bodies. I am one who believes in the people and in the rights of the people. I believe that people on local authorities have probably often done wrong. Has this House always done right? Has every individual in it always done right? It is quite possible that local authorities will do what in the mind of the Minister for Local Government is wrong from time to time. I believe with Deputy O'Connell, that whatever their acts, wrong or right, suppression is not the way to cure them, that it has a wrong effect on the psychology and mentality of the people. I believe that we ought to train the people to do right and where they do wrong show them that they are wrong and educate them on right lines by giving them all the power we can into their own hands to run their own affairs. To my mind this principle of suppression is an entirely wrong principle introduced, not by the British Government, but by those who helped to drive out the tyranny of the British Government, and to get into their hands the power to tear and filch from the people the rights to local government that were given them by the British.

There might be something to be said for the suppression of a local authority here and there if it were proved that such a body had grossly betrayed its trust. Certainly in the case of an individual on a public body who betrayed his trust, I would go to the limits in severity. But that responsible bodies, such as the Mayo County Council, should be so ruthlessly dealt with because they will not follow the whim of the Minister, is something that I, as one individual—and I know I can speak for my Party—will never stand for. Having had these exhibitions in recent years—the present Minister for Local Government is not alone in the matter—we are asked not alone to confirm these powers in the Minister's hands but to extend them and to give him further and additional extensive powers to suppress not alone county councils and urban councils, but also all subsidiary bodies, and to give him the widest possible powers to do as he pleases with the local affairs of the people of Mayo or Galway or Kerry. God knows whose turn it will be to-morrow.

There is another bad principle in the Bill, and that is the ex-post-facto legislation. Probably there is an excuse for this here, because of what has arisen, but it certainly is not wise to be legislating to make law after the law has been laid down for us by the Supreme Court. It is the Supreme Court that in that case is making the law in reality and not this House. Section 5 (2) says:—

Whenever and so long as a permissive power of appointing a committee is exercisable or deemed to have been exercisable by any body, persons, or person by virtue of this section, any statutory or other provisions restricting the membership of such committee, in whole or in part, to members of a particular local authority shall cease, and be deemed to have ceased, to have effect.

That is the kind of provision we get in this Bill—wide, extensive powers, powers without limit, to be used for the suppression of public opinion, for the suppression of public rights and public liberties. Suppression by whom? That is the joke in this case. By the great defender of public rights and liberties of Ireland, the man who battled with his worthy President here, I might say, shoulder to shoulder with their guns defending the rights and liberties of the whole people of Ireland. There he is now backed up and patted on the back by the President for snatching anything that is left to the people in the way of rights and liberties so far as local government is concerned. I hope the people see the joke as I see it. I think it certainly is a good joke that the defender of rights and liberties, the defender of law and order, should do this. Such a mess of law, such a hash, to use the Minister's own words, of so-called law, as is introduced to us by these amending Bills of the Local Government Department to-day, that I leave it to somebody else to try and discover anything like it.

I had intended to have something to say on the amendment introduced by Deputy Davis relating to Mayo, but my colleagues have fairly well covered that ground. There are, however, one or two aspects that I should like to emphasise. I should like to emphasise that it is by no means owing to the actions of a body of disloyal Free Staters that the Minister suppressed the Mayo County Council and its subsidiary bodies. I have here a list of the names of the gentlemen who attended the Library Committee meeting in Castlebar last December, and who decided not to accept the fiat of the Minister, not to accept dictation from him. Here is the list of those present: Most Rev. Dr. Naughton, Bishop of Killala, presided. Also present; Right Rev. Mgr. E. A. D'Alton, P.P., V.G., LL.D. (not a harebrained revolutionary); Very Rev. Chancellor Hegarty, P.P., V.G.; Very Rev. Archdeacon Fallon, P.P., Castlebar; Dr. A. MacBride, Castlebar; Rev. G.J. Prendergast, P.P.; Rev. P. Higgins, P.P.; Bernard Joyce, Rev. M. S. Kelly, Superior, Christian Brothers' Schools, Westport; Rev. Joseph Jackson, M.A., Rector, Castlebar; T. S. Moclair, and P. Higgins, P.C. There are the gentlemen who refused to appoint the nominee of the Minister's Department for the County Mayo. It says here:—

"On the motion of Mr. T. S. Moclair, the meeting of Mayo County Library Committee on Monday was for the first time held in public. The Secretary, Mr. M. J. Egan, said that the only item on the agenda was consideration of the Minister's letter intimating that it was mandatory on the County Council to appoint Miss Eileen Dunbar or Harrison as County Librarian, which letter had been referred by the County Council to the Library Committee, to which body the County Council had delegated full powers in the matter. He read the resolution of the Committee refusing to appoint Miss Dunbar or Harrison, the order of the County Council on this resolution and the subsequent letter from the Local Government Department stating that the County Council would be compelled to appoint her."

I thought, as a matter of fact, that what the Local Appointments Commission did was to recommend the individual that they had selected for a particular post. Now we are told by the Minister himself, under his own hand, I take it, that they are compelled to appoint such person. There is no question of recommendation there.

Speaking to that resolution, the Dean of the Archdiocese of Tuam, Monsignor D'Alton, said:

"We decided what action to take at the last meeting, and nothing has since intervened to cause us to change our mind. Miss Dunbar's qualifications are—an elementary knowledge of Irish, three months' experience of library work; she is a Protestant and a graduate of Trinity College, Dublin. With regard to Irish her elementary knowledge counts for nothing, as it is not sufficient to enable her to appreciate the value of Irish books. The three months' experience of library work counts for nothing, since it is not sufficient. It is said that there were no other candidates and that she was the best to be found. Well, she must have been the best of a bad lot if that is so, but I don't think for one moment that that was the case. A position of £250 a year is worth looking for, and I am sure there were candidates with a better knowledge of Irish than she has— graduates of the University, and probably with experience of library work also. They have taken very good care not to give the names of any of the candidates who presented themselves, so that they can make any statements they please."

I believe with Deputy Ruttledge that for an educational appointment like that of a librarian, where the vast majority of the people are Catholies who have to be served by the library, it is necessary that the person appointed should be a Catholic. I would say the same with regard to a place where the majority of the people were Protestants. We all know that the Protestant Church, as well as the Catholic Church in this country, claims that for an educational position the religion of the majority of the people must certainly be taken into consideration. You would not have any Protestant authority in this country, at any rate, appointing a Catholic teacher to their schools. I am sure you would not have any Catholic authority satisfied with the appointment of a Protestant teacher in a Catholic school.

Is not Deputy Ruttledge a graduate of Trinity College?

I do not think so.

Mr. Broderick

I would like to know from Deputy Ruttledge himself.

Then the Deputy had better ask him that question himself. I do not know, and I do not think that has anything to do with the question. Deputy Ruttledge is not being appointed to be librarian in Mayo or to teach in a Catholic school in Mayo.

Mr. Broderick

He was taught in a Protestant school.

Is Deputy Broderick in favour of Masonic dictation here? That is what it amounts to.

These ecclesiastical authorities in County Mayo, responsible men who know what they are speaking about, decided that the position of librarian is an educational position, and that decision having been come to, they were decidedly in their rights in demanding that a Catholic be appointed to that position. As Dean D'Alton said in his speech proposing the resolution against the adoption of the Minister's orders:

"We are not appointing a washerwoman or a mechanic, but an educated girl who ought to know what books to put in the hands of Catholic boys and girls of this county. The views of Catholics and Protestants of late years on such subjects as birth control and divorce are at variance.... Supposing there were books attacking these fundamental truths of Catholicity, is it safe to entrust a girl who is not a Catholic and is not in sympathy with Catholic views with their handling? Is it fair to put that girl in charge of the county library? It is true that we have a library committee, but it is absurd to expect that we can attend all the meetings, and even if we could we could not possibly exercise an adequate supervision over the selection of books. Most of that work must be done by the librarian. There are 15,000 books here."

I have heard more than one person say in connection with this discussion about the appointment of a county librarian in Mayo that the duty of selecting the books and the responsibility for the books rested with the committee. That is so. It is the committee's responsibility finally, but, as the Archdeacon says here, the library committee cannot take upon themselves the duty of reading every book that is to go into any one of the 112 libraries all over the County Mayo. And it is only natural that they should get to work to get an official who is a whole-time officer and who would relieve them, to a certain extent, of their responsibility in that matter. That aspect of the matter was dealt with by the Right Rev. Chancellor Hegarty in his speech where he said that:

"The capability of the library committee was limited by time and other circumstances, and they would be compelled to rely absolutely upon the librarian's judgment for information as to the character of many books. If they ask her about a particular book: `Is that a proper book to place in the hands of the people of Mayo?' she, acting in all good faith, might recommend it as an excellent book though it was against the tenets of their beliefs. In making, or endeavouring to make, this appointment, the Minister was not acting for the good of the community."

That is the considered opinion of two responsible men who probably have not sat on a library committee for the first time, who have some experience, and it is the opinion of men above all, so far as I know—I do not know anything about the Right Rev. Chancellor Hegarty, but I do about Monsignor D'Alton, and I have reason to believe that he is a loyal supporter of the Free State and not one who would rise up in the fashion that he has done against this appointment in the County Mayo without very good reason.

This action of the Minister has put the President in a very bad hole. He is in a tight corner, champion of the Church as we all know, but now he is in a bad hole. He made a reply to a certain distinguished ecclesiastic some time ago, in which he did his best to get out of the hole, in a statement he made. He did not succeed in convincing anybody that the appointment was a good one, and ought to be maintained. I wonder is he very thankful to the individual who is responsible for letting him into the awkward mess in which he is. The President, in his statement given, I think, in reply to a question inspired by one of his own Whips, if I mistake not—we know how these things are regulated—said——

Was that the occasion on which a member of the Party opposite withdrew a question that he was to ask?

It may be. He was not going to play into your hands. The President was put in the humiliating position of getting, not his Chief Whip but his second in command to ask a question, so that he would have a chance of making a statement in the House. Here is what the President said:—

"A substantial preference was to be given to qualified candidates with a competent knowledge of Irish. If no such candidate were available for Mayo the successful candidate would be required to comply with the terms of the Local Offices and Employment (Gaeltacht) Order, 1928. There were five posts to be filled. The Selection Board, having interviewed all the candidates, reported that only five were fully qualified according to the terms of the advertisement."

There is the rub. Who drew the advertisement? Why was there a change of age at some period? It used to be that a librarian could be appointed at the age of 21.

Would the Deputy give the date of the advertisement with the age of 21 in it?

I cannot. Perhaps the President could.

A charge has been made. I want it to be either substantiated or withdrawn.

I have said that there was a change.

Would the Deputy give the date when the age 21 was mentioned?

I have not got it.

It is so.

Will the Deputy give it?

It is so.

Can the Deputy give it?

Will the Deputy say that the Mayo County Council gave the minimum age as 21?

I do not know what the County Council gave, but I am stating the facts. The Minister has the Minutes and can look them up.

The members of the county council who are here, and who make the charge in regard to the question of age—Deputy Ruttledge and Deputy Clery—would, perhaps, be able to find out what age the council asked for originally.

I have not the figures at the moment, but if I am making a false charge and cannot prove it I will withdraw it. I happen to have read, like some other Deputies, "The Catholic Bulletin" for January.

I read in it the statement of the President, and some questions that were asked arising out of that statement. I do not know who writes these comments. I did my best to find out and failed to do so, but I was informed on the most reliable authority that the person who writes them is almost as well qualified as the Minister for Local Government to know what he is writing about.

We are always hearing that.

I have a shrewd suspicion who the writer is, but I cannot confirm it, and, when I was told that, I believe that I was told the truth. I cannot confirm it and I cannot give any name. The reason I mention it is to call the President's attention to four or five questions which were asked arising out of his statement.

I have not read that paper since it committed what was to my mind a very serious mistake against Christianity, that was a criticism of the late General Collins after his death.

Glory be to God, if that be want of Christianity I hope the President will examine his own conscience.

I do very often.

I have heard statements from himself and his colleagues that would not bear examination. I do not know what exactly the statement was to which he referred, but I heard it referred to.

Did the Deputy read that?

I have been reading "The Catholic Bulletin" for many years. Since it was founded I have scarcely missed a number, but I believe I was in America when the article to which the President refers was published.

Then I must have been in gaol, but the Minister for Local Government would not allow good Catholic literature like "The Catholic Bulletin" into prisons.


Let us get back to Mayo.

The first question is:—

(1) Who devised the conditions (age, required qualifications, and the like) for appointments? Is the President running away? I did not think that a question out of "The Catholic Bulletin" would make him run as quickly as that. The following questions were also asked:—

(2) Who altered these conditions?

(3) Was Miss Dunbar previously before a Selection Board for librarianships?

(4) Was she selected, or was she rejected, on that occasion?

(5) Were the conditions altered after that decision?

(6) Was the Selection Board itself altered after that decision?

(7) Who altered it?

(8) Did these Selections Boards ever reject a candidate for a librarianship, whom they actually held to be the best qualified for appointment?

(9) Did these Selection Boards for librarianships ever place first on a list a Catholic candidate, subsequently declared to be "too good,""too well qualified," and hence refuse appointment?

(10) Had the Selection Board any voice at all in deciding that it was Miss Dunbar who was to go to Mayo?

There were a number of other questions, but I think those are sufficient for to-day. I hope that the President will get a copy of them from the Official Reports, and take an early opportunity of giving us his views on them.

If the Deputy has any question of his own to ask, I do not mind answering it.

I will adopt these for the time being. If they do not satisfy him he must be very difficult to satisfy. Earlier in the evening I referred to the question of the competence and efficiency of the Local Government Department, and in that connection I may quote a speech made by the Very Rev. Chancellor O'Hegarty, in which he says:—

"Nor was this the first attack made on the Mayo Library from the same quarter. It was only about thirteen months in existence when the Library Committee received a document signed, he believed, by Mr. McCarron, the same gentleman who signed the present threat, telling them that the then librarian was not capable of carrying out her work, and that they should call on her to resign. The Committee were astounded, as they thought that Miss Redmond had done an extraordinary amount of work during the time, pioneer work in establishing the library; and they examined the problem in detail. They found she had done more work in thirteen months than other librarians in much longer periods had been able to do in other counties, and told the L.G.B. so. The L.G.B. withdrew the complaint with the curious apology that it was written by some nobody in the office, an extraordinary excuse indeed from a responsible body. It was possible that in a few months' time they would be told that the present threat of a mandamus was written by the office boy or the sweep."

I think in fairness to the official concerned that it should be known now that that was denied to the person who made that statement, and it was pointed out that no such expression was used from the office.

Will the Minister explain?

It was denied that anyone wrote and said that that particular letter had been written by a nobody in the Office.

I am glad to hear it, but I did not see that published anywhere. Was it published in the Press?

I would not be surprised if it was. I think I can safely say that it was published in the daily Press, because it was written to the person who made that statement in public.

Then I am sorry to have referred to it at all, but I did not see the statement in the daily Press.

Did not the Department make a charge and withdraw it?

That is a different matter. As a matter of fact, we are discussing a thing which is completely outside this particular matter. I intervened to contradict the limited statement that had been made.

I used that as further evidence of my contention of the want of efficiency in that Department. Is it or is it not a fact that the Department complained that the lady in question was inefficient?

And subsequently withdrew that? The Minister does not deny it. What he says I am to withdraw is the statement that any letter was written by a nobody.

A responsible individual made the charge and withdrew it.

That may be a long story.

A responsible individual made the charge but withdrew it.

It has nothing to do with this case.

I do not think I have very much more to say. I noticed in that paper from which I was reading that the "Star"—I do not know whether it is the official organ or the semi-official organ of the President, but it is the organ more or less of the Party—and although Deputy Davis is Chairman of the Mayo Co. Council and Chairman of the Cumann na nGaedheal Party, the "Star" said that the Mayo County Council, after its suppression by the Minister, "went down unwept, unhonoured and unsung." That is all the comfort Deputy Davis got from the official organ of his own Party, for which, I suppose, he put his hand into his pocket on occasions. The abolition of the Mayo County Council and subsequent events have made things awkward for the Minister for Education. He cannot get the Vocational Education Committee organised or acting—another of the difficulties into which the Minister for Local Government has launched his Party and his Government.

I met a gentleman—this is a bit of gossip of interest—from County Mayo a month or two ago, and he told me that every conceivable kind of thing was being done to try and find an easy way out for the President and his Government and Party. One suggestion that was made—and I cannot say it is correct, as I cannot prove to whom it was made—was that an effort should be made to get Miss Dunbar married to some eligible member of the County Council, and thereby get her out of an awkward position and the Government out of its present mess. I wonder will the President look round the county, and see if there is any eligible young fellow who might get him out of the scrape, for at present he is in a bad way? It might not be a bad suggestion at all. What they are going to do with that poor girl landed into that awful position I do not know. Mayo will not have her, and there will be no public life, so far as the organisation of public authority in Mayo is concerned, until that situation is righted. I am sure the President will not face a general election in Mayo until it is righted or face an election in any other county in the West either.

The West's awake!

It is very much awake, and he will have to do a little hard thinking unless that suggestion that was made to me appeals to him, and that he can find some way out in that direction. In conclusion I have only to say that I do not agree with the present method of making appointments. The Local Appointments Commission appealed to the Ministry opposite as a way of stopping corruption. I am sure they were honest in their intention to endeavour to stop corruption wherever it existed. I am not aware that it was widespread, but I would have adopted a different method. I would have been more severe, I think, even than the Minister if I found and could get evidence of corruption on public boards. I certainly would have been more severe than the Minister was in a case that occured not so very long ago in the Dublin Union, where a contractor and an official were found behaving as they should not have behaved. The Minister did not even attempt to hold a public inquiry because the contractor, it was said, was one of the pillars of his own Party. I do not know what the official was.

I do not think that the present method of making appointments is the best way out of the difficulty. I am not satisfied that there may not be, to use a popular expression, wangling and wire-pulling inside the Local Appointments Commission even to a greater extent than might exist on some public boards. There is this much about public boards where they make appointments—that what is being done is open to the light of day, that the ratepayers and citizens generally can see and can have a fair idea as to who are straight and honest people and who are those who are not, but when matters are arranged quietly and privately in the dark, as they are at present, who knows what corruption goes on? I am not charging corruption because I cannot prove it. The organisation of the Appointments Commission is not open to the light of day. There are Selection Boards appointed, and nobody knows who they are except those who go before them and the officials in the office. They make selections. I am sure they are honest people. I do know that in one or two cases, of which I heard about, they made selections and the selections were not always adopted. They are sometimes over-ruled I am told, and then those who have been on the Selection Boards are never told or are never given any reason for that. They place certain individuals in the order of merit, 1, 2, 3, and they find that No. 2 or No. 3 is appointed. They know no more beyond reading it in the daily Press why such an individual has been appointed over their selection. It may be all right, but it gives rise to grave doubts, and it certainly suggests that everything is not as it should be under the Appointments Commission, any more than it may have been under some public bodies appointing officers in the past.

I had better take the last point, which has been made first. Deputy O'Kelly stated that members acting on Selection Boards sometimes placed candidates in the order of 1, 2, 3, and that they found that the person selected for first place is not always appointed. It is open to any member of the Selection Board, when he finds that such a thing has happened, to inquire what is the reason for that, and there is no objection to his being told the reason.

They are not told automatically.

No, not automatically. There is no objection to their being told. They are invited to inquire.

They are invited now?

They are invited at any time to inquire.

What sort of invitation?

The public one which I am giving now.

Have they been refused in any case in which they asked? Not at all. That is the sort of thing that has kept the Party opposite in the unfortunate position that it is in and that it is going to be in.

You are in a bigger mess to-day. Try to get out of it.

It has not got confidence in anybody. These whisperings that are going on on the part of that Party are a discredit to them and are discrediting the country.

What about the President's own Party? The Chairman of the Party introduced this motion.

I did not interrupt the Deputy when he was speaking, and he spoke at great length. I believe he invited members of this Party to go into the Division Lobby along with him. They know what to do, but they will not be attracted by that sort of clap-trap.

You never know.

There are questions outside the scope of the Selection Board, questions such as age, character, health, etc. These are matters for the Local Appointments Commissioners themselves. Deputy O'Kelly wants to know about the age and what was the reason for changing the age. I do not know what point was made about that. I think Deputy O'Connell had the same objection——

Mr. O'Connell


Probably it was Deputy Ruttledge—that there was a change in the age, or that the age was raised. The Deputy is probably aware that the usual age limit fixed in the case of local authorities is 25 to 40. Is there any objection in having it raised from 21 to 25?

As advertised, I believe it was 21.

Can the Deputy give me the advertisement?

I have not got it.

I am asking the Deputy for the advertisement. I am making the statement on the authority of the Commissioners, and I am asking the Deputy for the advertisement. I am asking it from Deputy Walsh and Deputy Clery.

If the President will wait, I will go down to the Library for it.

I will wait. Usually, we hear complaints about waiting, but when we bring in business he asks us to wait.

Will the President deny that there was no change in the age limit until this appointment turned up? I make that charge, that it was deliberately changed to suit the circumstances.

Let us understand one another. There is no necessity for heat or excitement at all. What is the case—is it from 21? Is that the case?

If the President knows so much about it he ought to know all about it.

There is a charge being made against me, and I am anxious to hear the charge and to refute it. Is the age from 21?

The President has more facilities for producing the necessary documents than we have.

Let us leave the question of documents out of it. What was the complaint?

I say the age was raised.


This debate ought to proceed as a debate, not by way of question and answer across the House. The President ought to be allowed to make his speech.

I agree, but I want to know what the complaint is if I have to answer it. Is the charge withdrawn?

Even after consultation with the Chiefs?

Deal with the amendment. There is no consultation with the Chiefs.

I am dealing with the arguments of the Deputy. He made the complaint about the age. I want to know what the complaint is.

That it was raised to 25 from 21.

The age, according to Deputy Ruttledge, was raised from 21 to 25.

The minimum age.

The first Selection Board before which Miss Harrison and Miss White appeared with two successful candidates, Miss McLloyd and Miss Barron, was on the 4th April, 1930. The age on that occasion was the same age—25—40. I am making that statement here.

With regard to Mayo?

Let us understand one another—Mayo, Cavan, Carlow, Kilkenny and Leitrim—five appointments. There were two successful candidates on that occasion, and they were appointed to Carlow and Kilkenny. There was a subsequent Selection Board for the 12th July, 1930, and the age was the same—25—40. There was another candidate in—a Miss McNevin who was qualified in Irish.

She was at the top of the list on that occasion. There was no change in the age on those two occasions. The advertisement ran: "Local Appointments Commission—County Librarian, Mayo. Conditions of Appointment— Applicants must not be less than 25 nor more than 40 years of age on the 1st May, 1930," with the provision that actual service as a librarian not exceeding two years may be added to bring the candidates up to the minimum of 25 years. Personally, I would say if the age were at 21, which I believe it was before these appointments were made, it was a rather good thing to increase it to 25. As I said before, that is the usual age in connection with Local Government appointments. I think it is even in one of the Standing Orders of the Dublin Corporation, which has been referred to by Deputy O'Kelly so often this evening.

If that point is settled about age, the second point is, that a statutory request was received by the Local Appointments Commission on the 10th December, 1929, in answer to a query on a request form: "Is a competent knowledge of Irish considered essential?" The provisions of the Local Offices and Employments (Gaeltacht) Order, 1928, are to apply. An advertisement was issued in the Press on July 12th, 1930, and similar applications were invited for Cavan, Carlow, and Kilkenny at the same time. A competent knowledge of Irish was described as essential in each case. As I have said, only two candidates having the necessary knowledge of Irish qualified for these appointments, and they were appointed to Carlow and Kilkenny. A subsequent Selection Board was set up for Mayo, Leitrim, Cavan, Meath and Waterford. In that case again, two other candidates with a competent knowledge of Irish were appointed. A third candidate was appointed to Leitrim in that order. Then there were Miss Harrison and Miss White, who were appointed to Mayo and Leitrim. Deputy O'Connell, I think, raised the question as to the legality of having candidates for those posts getting a choice. How it happened is: they are asked to state what particular district they have preference for. In some cases two, or even three, places are mentioned by a candidate. In the order of their marking, they have the selection of those, and the names are sent forward in that order by the Selection Board of the Local Appointments Commission.

Mr. O'Connell

Take any of those you mention. Did they apply for all the different counties or for one particular county? The posts were advertised in globo.

Mr. O'Connell

I do not think so. Would the President state who were the applicants for the appointment in Mayo?

The five appointments were advertised at the one time. It would mean five different Selection Boards if you had not that system.

Mr. O'Connell

Is it open to anyone to apply not only for Mayo but for all the other places?

Certainly. They can apply for Dublin, Carlow, Kilkenny Cavan or Mayo. The Selection Board is not acquainted with the names of the persons before it. They may happen to know them, but the Board which interviews the candidates is not constituted until after the date for receiving the applications. The office staff have to prepare a panel containing the names of about a dozen persons who would be suitable for membership of the Board. From amongst them there is selected the names of the persons we are to invite to form the Board.

Before preparing the panel the office staff are required carefully to examine each application so as to ensure that no person is placed on the panel who is named as a referee by the applicant, who is a relation of the applicant, who is connected in business with the applicant, or who, so far as can be ascertained from the facts in possession of the Commissioners, is in any way connected with the applicant. In submitting the panel to the Commissioners the office staff is required to certify that none of the application forms disclose any information to connect the applicant with a person named on the list. If the Commissioners select for the Board a person whose name is not on the panel it is the duty of the office staff to re-examine the applications to ensure that there is no connection between that person and an applicant. The Selection Board is not normally aware of the names of the persons appearing before them, and they are regarded as numbers. They affix marks, in accordance with the facts before them, to which the persons are entitled. In this case, having done all that and selected the name of a person, that name was duly forwarded to the Minister for Local Government, who in turn forwarded it to the county council. That is as far as the local appointments side of the matter is concerned. In his long speech on this subject Deputy O'Kelly practically charged the Minister for Local Government with responsibility for any mistake that might have occurred from 1926 to the present date in connection with the Joint Committee of Management of Richmond and Portrane Asylum. He said that he presumed Deputy Davis smiled when the Dublin Corporation was abolished. He was not a member then.

You need not be a member of the Dáil to smile.

It would be a much more impartial smile if he were not a member of the Dáil. Deputy O'Kelly read out the judgment of the Supreme Court in connection with this case. He did not emphasise one or two lines in it:

Nothing has been done which can-ships not be put right by legislation, and if ex post facto legislation is justifiable in any case, it must be where, as here, confusion has been created by administrative error in attempting to carry out beneficial legislation.

I read that out.

The Deputy did not emphasise it. It is probably the most important part of the judgment. What are the facts in connection with that case? The Minister for Local Government had no responsibility whatever for the order which put out the Dublin Corporation in 1924. The Minister was not even in the Ministry at the time. The facts are that the order to appoint three commissioners did not affect the constitution of the Richmond Asylum, as the twenty-nine members remained there for fourteen months. The Corporation was abolished in May, 1924.

Who abolished it?

The then Minister for Local Government, who, as I told the Deputy, was an extern Minister. He was not a member of the Executive Council and did not consult the Executive Council on that point.

Would I be correct in saying that the President sent for the then Lord Mayor of Dublin and asked him would he act as a commissioner?


And then the President had nothing to do with abolishing the Corporation?

Certainly, when it was done and when the Minister had made up his mind.

And he had nothing to do with the suppression of the Corporation? Tell that to the marines.

My recollection is that the Minister asked me to do it.

The President is very innocent.

Much more than the Deputy would think. The Richmond Asylum was functioning from May, 1924, up to July, 1925, and the twenty-nine members who were appointed by the Dublin Corporation took office and did their duties—at any rate, some of them—until fourteen months after the Corporation was wiped out. Then I think they practically resigned as a protest against the abolition of the Corporation. The Minister was then faced with a situation which had not been present to his mind when the legislation was introduced and by order he appointed commissioners to act on the Grangegorman Asylum. The fact is that it was not the act of the Minister that Grangegorman Asylum was left without a committee. The Minister is now remedying that. So far as cost to the Corporation or to the ratepayers is concerned nothing except the cost of the action will be imposed upon them, because, I presume, according to what the Deputy said this evening, if the old board had been there the salaries and wages would not have been reduced. The Deputy did not refer to the fact that there was an agreement in connection with the reduction with the various trade unions at the time.

Can the President quote any document in support of that statement?

As far as I know it is not denied.

This is the first time it has been stated.

I think the Deputy will have to search his records. I think there is no doubt about that.

Quote your authority.

Who is my authority? There is no doubt about it.

Who is your authority?

The agreement was entered into in the offices of the Minister for Local Government. The trouble about this is that there is such prejudice on the part of the Party over there and to a not much lesser extent on the part of the Labour Party, that nobody connected with them can ever make a mistake, and when they find out the mistakes they have made they want to know who is your authority. In the first place, the Deputy has no authority whatever for contradicting what I have said.

A nice way of putting it.

A perfectly right way of putting it.

And the President has no authority for saying what he said.

There were a few persons who were not members of a trades union who objected—that is my information about the matter—and who took action, and they are the people who are responsible for the costs on the City as such. It is to remedy that situation that this is being done.

If the President would ask his Minister for Local Government he will find that the action was taken on behalf of an organised body of workers through the trades unions and paid for by the trades unions.

I do not know what unions paid for it, but the fact that they paid for it is not proof to me that the other bodies concerned, and perhaps that body, may not have subscribed to the bargain. I had experience of it in another matter myself.

Is it not a fact that the action referred to was taken at the request and on behalf of members of the Amalgamated Transport and General Workers' Union and the Women Workers' Union?

It may be. I have not heard that the Irish Women Workers' Union were a party to the agreement, but I have a very strong suspicion that the Transport Union were.

Let the President search his memory—the Amalgamated Transport and General Workers' Union and the Women Workers' Union.

The Mental Hospitals Workers Union, the Transport Union and some other bodies.

The Mental Hospitals section of the Amalgamated Transport and General Workers' Union and the Irish Women Workers' Union.

I am talking about the agreement.

That was the Woods' case.

Is it not possible for a trades union to come to an agreement which a member of it or more than one member of it may not subscribe to?


What is the Deputy talking about, then?

What is the President talking about?

The President stated that the action was taken by those who did not belong to any trades union; that is not so.

I did not say any such thing. What I said was that in connection with the decrease in wages which took place there was a meeting with representatives of the Mental Hospitals Workers' Union, the Transport Workers' Union and the Workers' Union of Ireland, and that they agreed to the decrease in some Government office and that subsequently some member, who had, I suppose, very strong opinions on the subject, took action.

You are bogging badly on this thing.

I am talking about something that I know and the Deputy has questioned me but he does not know the first thing about it. This Bill is introduced to wipe out all these imperfections and to regularise the proceeding. An amendment is moved to the Bill. As the law stands and as administration stands a properly qualified person for the office of librarian was sent to County Mayo. The county council would not appoint her. The Minister if he so desired could bring a mandamus or appoint a commissioner to carry out the work. He appointed a commissioner and I am pretty well satisfied that if any other Government were in power or any other individuals were in the position in which the Minister was they would have taken no other action. The Minister had no other action whatever open to him.

No other Government would have such a Minister.

I had hoped that the Ceann Comhairle would be in the Chair when I was about to speak because there was a question of order that I would like to raise. On Wednesday or Thursday last one of the Whips of our Party intended to put in on behalf of Deputy Ruttledge a motion which was practically the same as the motion which stands here in the name of Deputy Davis. I was informed that if that motion was put down Deputy Ruttledge would have to withdraw the motion which stands in his name and which can only come up in Private Members' time. The Standing Order 1 understand which governs the action of the Ceann Comhairle in indicating that if this amendment to the Second Reading were put down that the motion would have to go off the Paper or else that if the motion remained on the Paper this amendment could not be proposed is No. 45, which says:—

No Deputy shall re-open a discussion on a question already decided during the same Session, except by the indulgence of the Dáil for a personal explanation; nor anticipate the discussion of any subject of which notice has been given: Provided that in determining whether a discussion is out of order on the ground of anticipation, regard shall be had by the Ceann Comhairle to the probability of the matter anticipated being brought before the Dáil within a reasonable time.

I understand that the Ceann Comhairle had indicated that if a motion such as Deputy Davis has on the Paper were put down he would have ruled it out of order as being contrary to this rule, which says that no Deputy shall discuss in anticipation a matter of which previous notice has been given. That is, unless Deputy Ruttledge withdrew the other motion which was on the Paper in his name. I do not know, as the Ceann Comhairle is not here at the moment, what is the exact position in that regard. I would like to know how it comes that what would be out of order for Deputy Ruttledge is in order for Deputy Davis, and how it is that this matter can be dealt with by way of anticipation. As far as we are concerned, we were very anxious that this question of Mayo should come up as a separate issue so that we might have a direct vote of the House, a direct expression of opinion from the House upon it, separately and distinctly, and not mixed up with other questions as it is here in the case of this Bill. We were anxious that this question should come up and receive individual attention and have a vote of the House specifically upon it. I, for one, was consulted, and agreed, rather than deny the House an opportunity of voting upon it, not to press the amendment which Deputy Ruttledge had proposed.

[An Ceann Comhairle resumed the Chair.]

Perhaps as the Ceann Comhairle is now in the Chair I might be permitted to repeat what I have said. In your absence, a Chinn Comhairle, I deplored the fact that you were absent, as this was a matter of order. I told the House that on Thursday or Friday last one of the Whips acting for our Party interviewed you with regard to putting down a considered amendment to the Second Reading of this Bill. The amendment was in almost identical terms to the amendment which Deputy Davis has here on the Order Paper. The report to me was that, in your opinion, that amendment could not be put on the Order Paper or could not be discussed unless the motion that is down by Deputy Ruttledge to be taken in Private Members' time was withdrawn. The Standing Order under which, I understand, you proposed to make that rule is No. 45. (Order again quoted.) As I said, I was taken into consultation when that report was made, and the question was whether Deputy Ruttledge, in order to put this amendment in order, should withdraw his motion, or whether he should avoid having to withdraw his motion and not put down this amendment. As we were anxious to get this question of Mayo decided on its merits, and to give every member of the Dáil an opportunity of expressing an opinion upon it, we decided that it was better not to withdraw the motion and to forego an opportunity of putting down an amendment, the reason being that by the amendment we are not going to get a direct expression of opinion of the House, as other matters are involved here in addition to the question of Mayo. My point is this, how is it that a motion which would be out of order for Deputy Ruttledge, or an amendment by Deputy Ruttledge, happens to be in order for Deputy Davis?

The question, of course, is one which the Ceann Comhairle does not propose to answer. It would be impossible that an amendment which would be out of order for Deputy Ruttledge would be in order for Deputy Davis. The amendment was not out of order, and Deputy Ruttledge was never told so. I think Deputy Ruttledge himself said so to-day.

Since this morning I asked the Whip, who was Deputy Boland, whether the information which was conveyed to me and to Deputy Ruttledge, and on which action was taken, was correct or not. Deputy Boland, who is in the House, I hope will be able to state the position. My anxiety is to know exactly where we stand under these Standing Orders.

What is the precise point about this particular amendment? Does the Deputy suggest that the amendment is out of order?

I do not know. What I do know, and what the Ceann Comhairle has agreed with me about is that it could not be in order for one and out of order for somebody else.

I agree with that, and my suggestion is that there is something about the whole thing that I cannot understand. I will be frank with the Chair.

Will the Deputy put me a point of order?

The point of order I am putting is, is this motion of Deputy Davis now in order?

It is. The amendment is in order. It must have reached Deputies on Monday, and no point of order was put to me against it. I would be prepared to hear a point of order against the amendment. No suggestion was ever made by the Ceann Comhairle that any such amendment would be out of order. Is not that so?

That is so.

Deputy Ruttledge agrees that that is so.

I do not know what conversation Deputy Ruttledge may have had afterwards with the Ceann Comhairle. What I do know is the report that came to me from the Whip, who was sent to the Ceann Comhairle in order to get information as to the exact order in this particular matter. The information given to me was that if this amendment were put in by Deputy Ruttledge it would be ruled out of order because of Standing Order 45.

There is a misapprehension there.

If I might intervene here, I want to say the position was that, as there was a motion standing in the names of Deputy Ruttledge and Deputy Walsh on the Order Paper, the amendment could not be moved. It could not while that motion stood in the Order Paper. That was the decision given by the Ceann Comhairle last Thursday.

But allow me. It is so.

It does not become any more so by being said in a louder voice. I was first asked by Deputy Boland on the telephone whether the position of a dissolved body, particularly Mayo, could be raised on this Bill. I said that I had come to the conclusion that in the light of Section 2 of the Bill that particular question could be raised. That particular question has been raised to-day, and it is in order in this debate because of the terms of Section 2 of the Bill. Deputy Boland then desired to know what the position was with regard to the motion on the Order Paper in the name of Deputy Ruttledge, if the matter were discussed on the Bill, and I said: "It seems to me that you cannot have both. You cannot have two discussions. If the matter is discussed now it interferes with the motion." The Deputy said quite properly that the difficulty was that a discussion of the Mayo question on the Second Reading of this Bill would not get a decision on that question. He asked was there any means by which a decision could be got. That was about one o'clock, and I said that I had not considered that aspect, but that I would give attention to it.

Having given the matter consideration, with the assistance of my own advisers, I came to the conclusion that a reasoned amendment, similar to the amendment in the name of Dr. Ryan to the Auctioneers and Valuers Bill might serve the purpose. That was on Thursday last. Deputy Boland, at five o'clock that evening, was so informed, and several forms of an amendment were shown to him. He made certain suggestions about them, and a final form was determined upon. But it was indicated to him that a discussion on the amendment, involving a debate on the motion on the Paper in the name of Deputy Ruttledge would mean the taking off the Order Paper of Deputy Ruttledge's motion. Deputy Ruttledge himself saw me later, and made to me certain representations about the matter. I think it was arranged that he would further consider the matter, and let me know definitely by Saturday morning. An amendment was handed in by Deputy Davis on Friday and it is a similar amendment to the one which Deputy Ruttledge was putting down. The Deputy in whose name it is has a right to put it down, and a decision on it seems to involve the motion in the name of Deputy Ruttledge. Deputy Ruttledge made a particular point to me on Thursday which seemed to me to have a certain validity. It was not put to me again after the amendment was circulated. I have been in touch with Deputy Ruttledge since the debate on this Bill was started as to whether he wanted to develop with me personally the point made on Thursday night.

It only means this, that in future when we try to get any advance views from the Ceann Comhairle as to whether a thing is in order or not, we have no certainty as to the position. These Standing Orders are there, and they are not difficult to read, but the final interpretation is in the hands of the Ceann Comhairle, and it is only natural, seeing that this is not the first occasion on which the Ceann Comhairle has apparently ruled——

The Deputy cannot criticise the Ceann Comhairle now. He is putting to me that the amendment of Deputy Ruttledge was as much in order as this amendment. That was made absolutely clear. I do not know what the Deputy wants to argue now. He may put points of order. Does he want to argue that Deputy Davis's amendment is out of order on the ground that it anticipates discussion on Deputy Ruttledge's motion, for example?

That is the plain meaning.

Does the Deputy want to argue that point of order?

I do not want to argue the point of order. The position is that I do not care which way it is done, whether it is taken now or not. I do not agree with the Ceann Comhairle if he is going to decide that the position will be the same.

Will the Deputy put that point of order? Deputy Ruttledge already was invited to put it. The Ceann Comhairle is open to hear it.

As a member of the House I have independent and individual rights.

I should like to hear the Deputy.

When I got this report the plain meaning of this was that the Ceann Comhairle, according to the language here and from his indication to our Whips, would rule that the two things could not go on—that is, that Deputy Ruttledge's motion could not remain on the Paper if this amendment were down; that the two things could not happen. I take it that the two things are going to happen now.

Because I do not see why Deputy Ruttledge's motion should be withdrawn simply because there is a discussion in the House in advance of it. I do not see why Deputy Ruttledge should be forced to withdraw, and I, for one, if I had any rights in the matter, would object to have that motion withdrawn when it is a motion which gives an opportunity to every Deputy to have an individual vote upon it, not mixed up with Grangegorman and a number of other matters which come into the Bill.

It seems to me that the discussion of this amendment in the name of Deputy Davis, just as the discussion on the amendment handed in by Deputy Ruttledge, is identical in its scope with the discussion that would take place if Deputy Ruttledge's motion were taken. There is a point that the decision is not the same exactly. Deputy Ruttledge made that point to me on Thursday night, and I have given it consideration. If that point is put to me now I am prepared to deal with it.

I know that your statement is correct about saying that this amendment would be in order when Deputy Ruttledge saw you on Thursday evening, but was not that contingent on Deputy Ruttledge withdrawing his motion, and was he not prevented from bringing in his amendment because he declined to withdraw that motion?

He was not prevented from doing anything. Deputy Ruttledge was informed that the debate on this amendment would be the same as the debate on his motion, and that after the amendment had been decided the motion could not remain on the Paper. That is the position now. But Deputy Ruttledge made a point which seemed to be a good point, that although he agreed that the scope of the debate was identical, it was arguable that a decision on this question in connection with the Bill was different from a decision on the motion itself taken simpliciter. That point was not further developed. The Deputy went away saying he would see whether he would withdraw his amendment or not. That is in Deputy Ruttledge's recollection. It seems to me that that is a valid point, that the debate is the same, but that there is some difference with regard to the decision.

That being so, I object personally to be manoeuvred into the position in which I would be voting on an issue other than the issue I want to vote upon, as I take it your ruling now is. At least you have indicated——

I have given no ruling yet.

The Ceann Comhairle has indicated that he intends to rule that Deputy Ruttledge's motion appearing on the Paper to be dealt with in Private Members' time is not to be taken; in other words, that it is to come off the Paper. I take it that in consequence of allowing this to go through, Deputy Ruttledge's motion is to come off the Paper. This may not be the time, but I am making a protest in advance.

The position is that the debate on Deputy Ruttledge's motion will have taken place, and if the motion were left on the Order Paper, I do not see how it could be debated in this particular session. It might be worded differently after a period of six months or less than six months and then discussed. But with regard to a decision it seems to me that a decision might be taken on the question. The point which Deputy Ruttledge made to me, and which was worthy of consideration, and which I did consider, was that the decision was not exactly the same. Therefore it seems to me that Deputy Ruttledge's motion could be put.

I am quite satisfied.

I think it must be put without debate.

That is all right. I am quite satisfied.

Why was Deputy Ruttledge not allowed to put down an amendment to the Bill?

He was not prevented from putting down an amendment to the Bill. Deputy de Valera has just spoken about manoeuvring. There may be manoeuvring. Parliamentary government seems to involve a certain amount of manoeuvring, but the Ceann Comhairle has not done anything except to help Deputies. Deputy Boland asked me could I suggest to him a method whereby on this Bill the main Opposition Party could get a decision upon Mayo, and we produced, as we have produced on other occasions for other Deputies and for Fianna Fáil Deputies, what they seemed to want.

We amended it.

The Deputy made suggestions. A typed copy was handed to the Deputy in my office. Deputy Ruttledge could have moved that. As well as moving that he could have got what I think he is entitled to now, a decision upon the motion. But the amendment was withdrawn on Thursday night and no further consultation with me took place. This amendment of Deputy Davis's is in order and I could not refuse it in any circumstances. Since that amendment was circulated to Deputies no point was made to me as to what was going to happen to Deputy Ruttledge's motion. I expected the point that I made myself now to be made to me to-day when Deputy Davis moved this but it was not made. In my anxiety to see that Deputy Ruttledge would not be at any disadvantage I actually to-day, since this debate began, endeavoured to get in touch with Deputy Ruttledge to see whether he still wanted a decision on his motion and whether he was prepared to develop his point of order on that. Independently of any representations, I am of opinion that the point made was valid, namely, that although the debate would be the same the motion does involve a somewhat separate thing because it is conceivable that a Deputy would not be prepared to vote against the Bill but would be prepared to vote for the motion. For that reason I think the motion might be put. As to when it should be put I have no power. Following the procedure we sometimes follow in Committee the whole matter has been discussed now and it seems to me that the amendment might be put. If the amendment is carried Deputy Ruttledge's motion could not be put. If the amendment is defeated Deputy Ruttledge's motion could be put. That is the position.

The Standing Order says that there should not be anticipation. So long as Deputy Ruttledge's motion was on the Paper, and there was no question of its being withdrawn, I take it that that would be the Standing Order that would govern the procedure.

The Deputy is now going on the question that Deputy Davis's amendment is out of order.

Considering the conversations which have taken place, for the Ceann Comhairle to allow this amendment to go on without informing us and asking definitely whether our motion was to go off the Paper or not, particularly when the Ceann Comhairle had in mind the preventing of any further discussion on Deputy Ruttledge's motion, I think, at any rate, was—— I find it difficult to describe the action.

The Deputy will not be able to find any word that will not be out of order.

I will not try.

This amendment of Deputy Ruttledge's was withdrawn at 10.40 p.m. last Thursday night in the presence of the Clerk of the House and other officers of the House and the chief Government Whip.

Then we shall leave the point of order and go on to the main question.

There is a point of order I should like to make on the question of Deputy Ruttledge's motion. If the decision is that the debate which has taken place on this motion is the same as would take place on Deputy Ruttledge's motion, and therefore prevents a further discussion of Deputy Ruttledge's motion, I take it, as a matter of order, that Deputy Ruttledge's motion would be put immediately after we finish on this, if the amendment is not carried.

If Deputy Ruttledge desires a decision he will get it on his motion. If the Minister is prepared to give time this evening for it I am prepared to put it this evening. Is that the position now?

Very well.

On the question of time, the President said it was his intention to close the debate on this Second Reading to-night. I take it that if Deputy Ruttledge's motion is so closely associated with this, once we begin to take a division on the amendment any divisions that are necessary in order to complete the work before us, including Deputy Ruttledge's motion, would be taken as a matter of uninterrupted procedure.

That is so. The Minister has no objection to the motion being put to-night in Government time. Therefore I shall put the motion if the amendment is not carried. On the matter of the conclusion of the debate, how long does the Minister require to conclude the debate?

There has been such an amount of criticism that I will do my best to do with, say, an hour.

We shall endeavour to get the Minister that time and put the necessary question before 10.30. I take it that the Minister will be allowed to begin to conclude at 9.30 and we shall put the necessary question at 10.30. The Minister will probably get in before that.

I am afraid of being pushed too near the half hour.

There are a number of fundamental questions raised by this amendment and the Bill. There is, first of all, the question of centralisation. We have objected to the tendency of the present Government to grasp for themselves every shred of authority and power that they can. They have shown that tendency as long as we know them. It has resulted, in the case of local government, in taking away from the local representatives the power that they ought to have over local affairs, if they are going to carry on local government successfully. The attitude of the Ministry has been this from the beginning: "We put upon the local bodies the responsibility of raising the funds. They must pay the piper but we will call the tune." They have insisted, for instance, on giving salaries which the local bodies thought were beyond their means. They have insisted on keeping for themselves the right of appointment of local officers, and of determining the salaries to be attached to these appointments, and the conditions under which these appointments should continue. We think that is bad from every point of view. We think it is bad from the narrowest point of view of mere administration, because we do not think that the people at the centre are supermen, that they can have the local knowledge and keep in local touch just as the local representatives can. From the point of view of efficiency of administration we think it is bad; from the point of view of giving the local people who have the responsibility of raising the funds the power of determining how exactly these funds shall be spent it is bad. It means really this, that it is going to be more and more difficult to get the best people for local administration to go up for election, because they feel that when they are elected and in office the powers that ought to be there are taken away from them. They have responsibility without authority. They are forced to take whatever officials are sent to them, and if they have any self-respect they feel that they should be as well able to manage their own affairs, if not better, than the Minister for Local Government sitting up here in his office in Dublin getting his information from inspectors or others.

It is bad from the point of view of administration, and it is bad from the point of view of our people. All this is altogether contrary to the principles and views that we had when the Minister for Local Government was acting as one of a combined body in the old Dáil. Certainly, that was not the direction in which the principles we advocated at that time would have led us. These principles would have led us to give more and more responsibility and authority to the local bodies. We object now to the reversal of these principles, to taking into the hands of a few people at the top the power to conduct local administration. As a general principle, therefore, we are against giving to the Minister any further powers. We believe that, of necessity, it leads to bureaucracy and a little oligarchy—attempting to do that which they cannot do, and that is run successfully local affairs. The whole tendency to blot out local bodies by putting one man in place of a council is exhibited in the legislation brought in by the present Executive, is contrary to our beliefs and to what we regard as the right principles of government in this country, and therefore we are opposed to it.

The next case is the particular question of these local appointments. We have denied that the present system is going to give the best officials to the local authorities. It is not going to get officials and local authorities to work harmoniously together if the official thinks that his real master is the Minister, and if he is more anxious to satisfy the Minister than to satisfy the local people.

We see no reason whatever why this system should be maintained. We tried to modify it here. We tried to modify it in a Bill which would have given the local authority, if it wanted, an opportunity of having appointments made through either the Civil Service Commission or an examining authority. It gave local bodies that wished that particular way of appointing, if they did not want to exercise their own powers directly. It gave them an opportunity of making appointments through the Civil Service Commissioners or through the Appointments Commissioners. If they wanted really to be in a position to select the candidate whom they thought was best, then the Bill provided that a panel of qualified candidates of not less than three should be sent down to them, and from that panel they would be at liberty to make a selection.

I am not going to argue again the points that were raised on that Bill, but I do hold that subsequent events have justified the introduction of that Bill and have proved that its principles are far better than those which are embodied in legislation at the moment. It is very important, in my opinion, that local bodies should have the selection of their own officers. We ought undoubtedly insist that those whom they appoint are fully qualified for the work, but when you say that the best qualified can only be got in the manner in which they are supposed to be got at present, then you are going to have a situation like that in Mayo. Nobody can defend the Mayo appointment. As was pointed out by those who opposed the appointment in the local body, Mayo is a Gaeltacht county, and the fact that this librarian was not qualified in Irish was a sufficient indication of her unfitness for the post. That was the ground on which the motion, which was read for us to-day, to reject her was passed. The Fianna Fáil members of that council voted for that resolution because she was obviously unqualified on that basis. A much bigger and wider question is, however, involved, and the discussion on that question, so far as I am concerned, arose out of a remark made by the Minister for Local Government when the Local Appointments Bill that we brought in was under consideration.

Deputies will remember that on that occasion Deputy Dr. Ward was reading a letter which found fault with an appointment on the ground that the doctor in question, who was to be a local doctor for a Catholic community, was not, in fact, a Catholic. The Minister for Local Government on that occasion said: "Religion is brought in on a particular kind of letter here, but no one apparently is prepared to stand up here——." He was talking on that and evidently thought that it was a matter on which no Deputy in this House would boldly stand up and state what he believed, and what the Minister for Local Government knows as well as I to be Catholic doctrine. On that occasion I said that I would give notice that I would. Then the Minister said: "—and say that considerations of a man's religion in the making of an appointment should come in." I said: "When the time comes I will deal with that aspect of it, and I will not be afraid to deal with it." That quotation is from Volume 24, column 368, of the Official Report. Now let us face this question squarely. I understood on that occasion, from the attitude of the Minister, that at the back of his mind he believed that one of the purposes which the Appointments Commission was meant to serve was to have backdoor methods of getting appointments for some people who would not be appointed if the appointment was to be left to local decision. I would like to know whether that is a fact.

Does the Deputy mean to convey that I made that suggestion?

I suggest that it is very clearly contained in Column 368 of the Official Report.

Can the Deputy quote the words?

I have quoted them and on that occasion the whole tenor of his speech was a clear indication of that. Of course the Minister for Local Government did not say it in precisely the terms that I have used.

No, certainly not. It is not the manner of the Minister for Local Government to talk bluntly like that. The stern morality, as he called it, of the Bill about which he talks so much is not so very obvious when the Minister speaks.

I like the stern morality of the Deputy who makes statements like that and who, with the book and column in front of him, will not give the words.

Anybody who wants to read it can read the speech delivered on that occasion. What was the question of religion coming in for otherwise? Does not everybody know that most of the people who find fault with this whole system have at the back of their minds the belief that it is a backdoor method of getting appointments made which would not be made if local bodies were allowed to make their own appointments? I have stated more than once what my position on these matters is, and I do not hesitate to state it now. I believe that every citizen in this country is entitled to his share of public appointments, and that there should not be discrimination on the ground of religion, discrimination, mind you, in the sense that because a person was of a particular religion, religion should not be made an excuse for denying a person an appointment for which he or she was fully qualified. Then there comes the question, what are qualifications? If I thought that the principle that the librarian in a Catholic community should be Catholic was a new principle, introduced merely to deny a Protestant an appointment, I would vote against it, but I know from my youth that it is not so. So does the Minister for Local Government, and so does every Catholic Deputy in this House. They know, if they have been instructed in the matter at all, that the guardianship of education has been jealously looked after, so far as Catholics are concerned. So far as education is concerned they made tremendous sacrifices in order to see that Catholic children were educated in accordance with Catholic principles. There is, however, even more than education in it, and the Minister knows it. On the occasion to which I refer the reason that I was going to speak was because the appointment was in connection with a doctor. Now, I say deliberately that it is not because we want to use religion as an excuse that this matter is raised by Catholics in the country. If they are raising it, it is because everybody knows that at the moment of death Catholics are particularly anxious that their people should be attended by Catholic doctors. I say that if I had a vote on a local body, and if there were two qualified people who had to deal with a Catholic community, and if one was a Catholic and the other a Protestant, I would unhesitatingly vote for the Catholic. Let us be clear and let us know where we are.

Let it be clear to everybody that that is the position, that the Catholic community does want to be assured that the doctors appointed locally to minister to their people, who will be at their sides at the most critical moment, at the time of death, shall be members of the same religious faith as themselves. I was asked to deal with this question on one occasion when I was down in Mayo, and I said that the question depended on whether the appointment was or was not of an educational character. If this librarian were simply a sort of clerk, who attended to somebody who came in and handed out a book which that person asked for, then I would not have any hesitation in saying that it was not an educational position, and that there was no reason whatever for introducing religion in that case. The more, however, I examine the question, the more I satisfy myself that if the library system were meant to achieve anything, it should be an educational system, and that the work of the librarian should be actively to interest people in reading books, and that it should not be a mere passive position simply of handing down books. I say if it is a mere passive position of handing down books that are asked for, then the librarian has no particular duty for which religion should be regarded as a qualification, but if the librarian goes round to the homes of the people trying to interest them in books, sees the children in the schools and asks these children to bring home certain books, or asks what books their parents would like to read; if it is active work of a propagandist educational character— and I believe it must be such if it is to be of any value at all and worth the money spent on it—then I say the people of Mayo, in a county where, I think—I forget the figures—over 98 per cent. of the population is Catholic, are justified in insisting upon a Catholic librarian. That is what the system of Local Appointment Commission brings about. It brings about a situation like that in which the Minister will put up his hands and say, "What can I do? The law is there and I have got to enforce it." That is not an excuse, because the Minister, and the Ministry, voted against the principle of allowing these appointments to be made by the people at large, by the people who have the best right to make them, the people who are going to be served by the officers appointed.

I am against the principle of centralisation as shown by the present Executive, and I am against this method of making appointments for which there is no justification whatever in my opinion. The justification that has been put forward by some people has been: "Oh, if we do not have these Appointments Commissioners, then it would not be possible for Protestants to get any positions at all in the country." That is not a situation I want to see either. I believe they are entitled to their proportion. In the debate on the Education Estimate we congratulated ourselves that we had not a State system of education, that the different churches were given liberty to have schools of their own choice, that our system was, as it was called, a denominational system. If that is so good, and I believe it is good, and if we were to be congratulated upon having such a system of education in the ordinary schools, then if the library system is an educational system, the same freedom should be accorded, and whatever is necessary to give the Protestant community their facilities, then it should be provided, but do not try to meet the difficulty in such a way as you are doing in Mayo. Do not try to force upon a Catholic community a librarian in the quality, so to speak, of a teacher to whom they object. You have the result that the whole library system has been nullified and rendered nought as far as Mayo is concerned. You have the people uprising against the dictatorship that is exercised from the centre.

I hope that every Deputy in the House knows how we stand in regard to this matter. We stand for the recognition of the right of the Catholic majority to have the doctors they require—doctors of their own faith—at the moment of death, at childbirth, or on other occasions. As I say, nobody can suggest that that was brought in at the present time simply as an excuse for denying the minority their rightful share of appointments. It is a fundamental teaching, a fundamental matter for Catholics. Every Catholic Deputy in the House knows I am speaking the truth, and that there can be no suggestion whatever that this was introduced at this particular time simply to discriminate against the minority or to inflict any hardship on them. As I say, to give the minority their rights is proper, but the way to do it is not the way that has been adopted by the Minister. I, for one, have no hesitation in saying that I definitely believe that the people of Mayo have a right to resist this as an unjust and unfair law against them on a vital matter.

I think I have dealt with all matters with which I wanted to deal. Of course, certain points that were raised have been brushed aside by the Minister. There were questions of legality raised. I never expected him to have any regard for law. I do not expect any members of the Front Bench who were with us formerly, and who did the things that were done in 1921 and 1922, to have any regard for law or order, no matter how much they prate about it. I think the people of the country are getting wise to that fact. These Ministers never hesitated to put themselves above the law, to say, as the Minister for Local Government personally says, "I am the law." Whenever the law interferes with the will or the wishes of the Ministers opposite, they never hesitate to put it aside, whether it is in Local Government, Finance or in the Department of Justice. We had an example of it here. We saw an example of it as far as the Minister is concerned. We saw an example of it the other day in the report of the Public Accounts Committee, where the Minister for Finance, because it would not be politically suitable for himself, did not have any hesitation to contravene the established practice, as far as the voting of moneys by the House is concerned, to spend £216,000 without any sanction whatever. As far as the Department of Justice is concerned, we know that the Minister has no regard for the law.

Surely that is not in the Bill?

It is only in the Bill, inasmuch as it shows the very thing about which I have been attacking the Ministry, their whole attitude in these matters. The same attitude is shown by the Minister for Finance in an article in the "Star," that he also, no matter how much he prates about the constitutional law, puts himself above the law. When they talked of the people of this country, and asked them to obey the law, the people who are expected to obey know very well how well these people practise themselves the doctrines they preach.

Nothing has convinced me more of the futility of this Parliament than the absence of a retort on the part of the Cumann na nGaedheal Benches. The weak contribution made by the President in the attempt to draw attention away from the essential motion before the House will, I am sure, deceive nobody. One would expect that a motion of this importance with an amendment tabled by the Chairman of the Cumann na nGaedheal political party in the country would at least arouse some criticism from some of the Deputies on that side of the House. Instead, we find absolute silence and a retort made in humorous vein by the President. "They know what to do," he said. I am inclined to think that we may expect no different result from this division than what takes place on any other motion which comes before the House. It seems to me that it is the best argument for the Local Appointments Commissioners under the dictatorship of General Mulcahy to set about abolishing local councils. I suggest to him that he should take into consideration the advisability of abolishing this Parliament altogether.

As an outsider, who does not happen to have the privilege of coming from the County Mayo, I have the opinion that the position created in Mayo will be one of the most concrete and effective monuments of colossal stupidity of the heads of the Department of Local Government. They created a position there which not alone resulted in the absolute breakup of the local government administration, and in the collapse of the functions of local authority, but created a position which allowed a smoke-screen of religious bigotry to be drawn about the appointment of a librarian in the county. There is no doubt but that this Bill introduced here to amend Section 72 of a particular Act might be classified in reality as a Bill to make legal certain illegalities.

The main point in connection with this Local Government Bill is this question of Mayo, and the point on which the Minister for Local Government will be judged by the people of this country is the position which resulted in Mayo from his absolute dictatorial methods employed there last November.

We have heard here this evening from Deputies—members of the local authority in Mayo—the consequences of that action of the Department. We have heard that the Old Age Pensions Committee, the Vocational Instruction Committee, and the Library Committee are non est. We have been told that the instructors under the Technical Instruction Committee in the county have not been paid for weeks. I presume the librarian has been paid. but the instructors who are there by the will and wish of the people of Mayo have not been paid, due to the colossal blunder of the Department of Local Government and the refusal on the part of the Minister to recognise and admit the fact that he has made a mistake.

The first action of the Commissioner was to reduce the wages of the ordinary workers in that area. Yet we do not hear, seeing that the number of centres have been reduced, of a reduction in the salary of the librarian. We do not hear of any action on the part of the Minister that the salaries should be reduced while the work is not done in accordance with the terms of the advertisement. There is no doubt that a Minister who has tolerated the position in Mayo does not deserve to be in charge of a responsible Department in any Government.

We find when the smoke has cleared away from this debate that the essential question of the Irish language is the bedrock of the whole thing. We find the Minister for Local Government, who was Chairman of the Gaeltacht Commission, set up to inquire into how best to preserve the Irish language, in charge of the most autocratic administration in this State. He suppresses the county council in a Gaeltacht county because they refuse to recognise an appointment of a non-Irish speaker made by him. He, who went out to save the Irish language with a flourish of trumpets in the Gaeltacht Commission, now suppresses an elected body because they would not, consistent with the recommendations of the Commission and with the rules of his own Department, have a librarian who has not a competent knowledge of Irish.

We find the position that a smoke screen is drawn around this debate. We find that the question of the Irish language is not being taken seriously by the Government. You have in Mayo, a Gaeltacht county, a policy put forward by the Gaeltacht Commission and by everyone interested in the Irish language. Time after time it has been stated that all appointments, particularly in the Gaeltacht counties, should be given to Irish speakers. We find an important position given to a lady who is not competent in the Irish language. Assuming that there was nothing else in connection with this matter, how does the Minister think that this librarian could function in the Gaeltacht where correspondence in the Irish language might be coming in to her? To my mind it is only another symbol of the hypocrisy of the whole policy of this Government with respect to the Irish language. Apart from the question of local appointments, or the abolition of the county council, it is only another indication that this policy of which the Government prates so much on the Estimates here of saving the language in the schools is hypocrisy. They tell us they have spent much money in sending civil servants to the Gaeltacht. Here is a concrete example of how far the Department of Local Government is prepared to go to implement the recommendations of the Commission over which the Minister for Local Government himself presided. It is certainly a deplorable position. In France in '93 you had the revolutionary Tribunal of Terror. In various other countries, in times of stress and revolution, you had tribunals that dealt out justice, or injustice, at times swift and terrible. Here we have in the Irish Free State in 1931, peace, law and order having been restored by the Government, all dumps having been successfully captured, and by-election stunts having been successfully carried out, one who out-Neros Nero, and who is more dictatorial than the Spanish Inquisition, presiding over the Department of Local Government telling the people of Mayo—remember they are only bog-men and do not matter—to accept his instructions or to get out. Be it said to the credit of the Mayo County Council they did get out rather than bend the knee.

One very sad consequence that has resulted from the position, and one on which I find the Minister most guilty, is the position in respect to religion which resulted in the disappearance of popular rule in Mayo. Under the Constitution of the Republic all citizens were guaranteed civil and religious liberty. Under the Constitution of the Free State citizens are guaranteed liberty of conscience, and, in so far as any or either of these two Constitutions was concerned, no discrimination was made with regard to appointments. Unfortunately, as a result of the Minister's action, and as a result of the position created by the appointment in Mayo, a religious controversy developed. There is no use shirking the issue and trying to get behind the doors. The most deplorable parts of the debate to-day were the speeches of Deputies Ruttledge, Walsh, Clery and O'Kelly. There is plenty of material to damn the Minister, and to crucify him fifteen times over, without introducing any other aspect. It is a deplorable fact that we had it stated by Deputy Clery that the Government should give a National and a Catholic lead; by Deputy O'Kelly that a Catholic should be appointed; while Deputy Walsh went on in an ominous strain that I did not like. Probably I find myself in disagreement with all the members on the opposite side of the House. I have experience of the working of a county library committee much larger and—if I may say so with some pride—one that is run more efficiently, than any scheme in any other part of this State. We found that the question as to whether a librarian was a Protestant, a Catholic, an Atheist or a Jew did not enter into the matter at all. When Deputy Ruttledge stated that the religious views of the librarian might be reflected in the books circulated he was absolutely misinformed in regard to the actual working of a county library committee.

There is no reason why the religious aspect should enter into the matter at all. There is no reason why Miss Dunbar should not be appointed librarian in Mayo, or in any other county in this State. As was proved last week in Cork county committees have absolute power, and if a librarian of a different religious persuasion to the majority of the people in a county takes service there, there is no reason why the county committee could not do as they did in Cork, where a member objected to a book that was in circulation and had the matter remedied at once. If a librarian were of a different religious persuasion to the majority, from a purely materialistic point of view that librarian would do nothing that would come into conflict with the views of the majority. I think it is deplorable that this issue has been introduced, and it is deplorable that there should be any question of an appointment being made purely and simply because of that fact. I heard to-day—and it is a regrettable thing—the most deplorable playing to the gallery that I ever heard in any debate in this House, except on the Liquor Bill. Deputies have quoted statements ad lib that had nothing to do with the matter, and played up to the statements made by different clergymen in the area. Whether I am alone or not, I speak the truth when I say it, that were it not for the other factors in the appointment of Miss Dunbar I would congratulate the Department of Local Government on achieving one thing. If it were not for the other matter, they certainly did achieve one thing which aroused my admiration, of which I make public profession, and that is whether for a good reason or a bad reason, idealistic, materialistic or political, they stood up to a conspiracy and beat it.

The motion to reject the Bill is one that I think should command the support, not only of Deputies who believe in popular representation and the right of the people to have local councils restored, but the support of everybody—if there is any backbone at all left, any manhood or any nationalism—who believes this country has a right to any individual existence. The Minister believes that, according to his professed pronouncements, and yet when it comes to translating that right into action he does not do it. Even though it is futile to expect a victory on the motion, I hope there are sufficient members in Cumann na nGaedheal who will honestly and sincerely unite to defy this Colossus and who will say: "One thing you will not do and that is to bend the people who absolutely refuse to let down the Irish language, as you have let it down." It comes back to the question of the Irish language, and if those on the Government Benches who prate so much about their allegiance to it have any faith in their principles or any honesty of purpose with regard to the language, then I ask them to vote for the amendment. Undoubtedly it will wake up the Department of Local Government, and may do something to make the Minister realise that his brow-beating, his despotism and his autocracy will not work in Ireland to-day. Probably there was a time in 1922 when it did work. The people are not so blind or so foolish to-day. They are not asleep, they are not living under the ecclesiastical denunciation that applied then. The people are free agents in the moral and the spiritual sense, and the Minister will not get away, as he did in 1922, with the same bluff that you must bend your knee to the stronger force.

I agree with the statement of a great man that the people's will is mightier than the sea, and if the people of Mayo are united—as they are—on this matter, and stick together, they can defeat the ends of the Minister for Local Government, unless he is prepared to send down a complete staff of fully paid experts—and I doubt if there are any experts in his Department after the blundering over this case—to work the local committee efficiently. At least, he should make up his mind to admit that better and greater men than he is have made mistakes and they admitted them before it was too late to rectify them.

I think Deputy Mullins was rather carried away by his own eloquence when he congratulated the Ministry on standing out against a conspiracy. I wonder does Deputy Mullins know whether the Minister stood up against the conspiracy or bent the knee to it? In my belief the Minister did not stand up to the conspiracy, but bent the knee to it. In the old days, and I suppose to-day, it was said that local bodies were corrupt in twopence-halfpenny matters. But these are the gentlemen who are corrupt in matters of hundreds and thousands of pounds.

It used to be that one could only get a job if one had some friends in an influential position in the County Council. But this conspiracy was pretty open. Everyone in the county knew that certain people got jobs because they were related to so-and-so on the County Council. Then people had an opportunity of weighing up that man and of voting against him when he next came along for re-election. To-day the conspiracies are not quite so open. To-day, before one can get a job as a candidate from the Local Appointments Commissioners one has to be the brother of Deputy Thrift, the Grand Sword-bearer. That is a conspiracy which the Minister did not stand up against, and I am surprised at Deputy Mullins being so young and innocent as to be carried away by his own eloquence in this respect.

Deputy Mullins was not carried away at all.

There is just one point that I want to make. These people go around, as President Congrave went round in Kilkenny, and ask the people to strike a blow for religion and morality and the rest of it, but these people bow the knee to a conspiracy in this country, and whereas the local people may have been corrupt in twopenny-halfpenny matters, the Ministry are corrupt in matters of hundreds of thousands of pounds. Take the Dublin trams. The Dublin Corporation was suppressed. The Tramways lease was not to expire for five years, and the incorruptible people appointed three Commissioners, and these three Commissioners, years before the lease was to come up for renewal, gave a forty or fifty years' lease of the Dublin streets to the Tramways Company. What does Deputy Mullins or anybody else know about that question?

I was talking about Mayo.

I am talking about Dublin and it all boils down to this— that the local people have the right; they pay the taxes and they have the right, as Deputy de Valera says, to call the tune, and I hope the Deputies in this House will stand up for their rights, and that they will not, because of the small points that can be made against local bodies, be carried away and allow the real conspirators in this country to get away with the loot.

There is no body and no Party in this House, however late they may have come to a realisation of it, who does not realise now and admit that this Assembly here can make laws that are going to order and govern society here in this country; and whatever mistakes we are going to make on this side of the House, we are not, as guardians of order and as people entrusted with the carrying on of government in this country, going to sit by and see the law undermined and made a mockery of. I am particularly surprised at Deputy T.J. O'Connell in his line of approach to this particular matter. I want to know first if this Assembly is going to condemn my action in connection with Mayo for securing that while responsible for the general administration and for the supervision generally of public services in connection with the local government I insisted that the local authority would not defy the law. I want to know if I am going to be condemned here as Minister elected by this House for refusing to allow a local authority to defy the law made here?

What law?

I propose to answer the Deputy. The law that I speak of is the Local Authorities (Officers and Employees) Act, Section 6, sub-section (4) of which says: "on receiving from the Commissioners their recommendation under this section the local authorities shall appoint to the said office the person recommended by the Commissioners ..."

The local authorities declined to appoint the person recommended by the Commissioners. I sympathised with Deputy O'Connell in asking whether some other way besides the suppression of the local body might not have been found. That was one of the first comments made in the matter in The Watchword, which is the official organ of the Irish Trade Union Congress and the Irish Labour Party incorporating The Irishman and The Voice of Labour. It was one of the first remarks made in connection with the Mayo business. The official remarks are contained in their issue of January 3rd, 1931, in which, having commended the Minister for trying to insist that the Mayo Council would reconsider their attitude, they made these comments: “Alas, the opportunity was availed of in a manner that shows Irish local government at its worst.” Then it goes on: “It is now announced that the County Council's refusal to appoint Miss Dunbar will be followed by the dissolution of the Council and the appointment of a Commissioner. We can only repeat our regret that no other course is open to the Department and our opinion that in future some provision, other than the appointment of a Commissioner, should be made for cases like this.” And later on it says: “We anticipate that steps will be taken to make the librarian's position a very heavy burden indeed and we understand that already pressure of one kind or another is being brought to bear, but the Department's duty in this affair is to stand firm and do the correct thing no matter what obstacles it has to face.” We did everything that was possible to do to get the Mayo County Council to realise that it had a statutory duty to perform. We might have mandamused the Council and got an order from the Court that the Mayo County Council should so act. We did not do so for the reason that in the final minutes of the Mayo County Council dealing with the matter they instructed their solicitor to take the fullest possible steps to resist the mandamus and they decided that they would defer until their next meeting what they would do about striking a library rate. There was no reason in the first place why the rate-payers of Mayo should be saddled with the cost of mandamus proceedings and there was no reason in my opinion why I, as representing this Assembly, should allow the Mayo County Council to put us in the position that they had to evade their statutory duties by declining to provide the necessary funds for the carrying on of the library.

On a point of order. Is it not a fact that the Council decided that if they were to resist the mandamus proceedings the County Council themselves guaranteed to meet all the legal expenses—that they would be personally responsible for the cost of the mandamus? and Deputy Davis will support me in that.

I do not see why in their foolishness the members of the Mayo County Council should be saddled with the expenses of these proceedings. At any rate it is only when it was clear that someone, at any rate, was going to be saddled with the expenditure in connection with this matter, and the law was going, as far as a responsible body of people were able to see to it, to be set at defiance, that I dealt with the matter by way of Inquiry rather than by a mandamus in the courts. No way has been shown by which I could otherwise have seen that the law in this particular case was acted on.

If this Assembly here condemns my action in this particular matter, then it condemns me because I saw that the law was carried out. There is no way by which Deputy O'Connell can get away on a quibble from the Local Authorities (Officers and Employees) Act, 1926. The County Council acted illegally in this matter. The point was made rather labouredly by the Deputy that the applications in this particular matter were not applications for the position of librarian in Mayo, and, therefore, that the Local Appointments Commissioners were not dealing in this matter with the Mayo Library vacancy. In the first place, Section 9 of the Act says that "The Commissioners may dispense with the competitive examination required by this Act and may select the person or persons to be recommended by them to the local authority by such means and in such manner as they think proper." They may select the person or persons by such means and in such manner as they think proper. Nevertheless the applications were made for the specific places, and not only were they made for these specific places, but the candidates were asked whether they had any particular preference. The applicants as a rule gave their first or second preference. In the case in which Miss Dunbar was selected for Mayo, her first preference was for Cavan and her second was for Mayo. She was the only one of the five qualified candidates that selected Mayo. She was not the lowest person on the list. She was No. 4 of the qualified list for five places. She deliberately selected Mayo when her first preference for Cavan was filled by another person.

Mr. O'Connell

The Minister missed my point. My point is this, that the Selection Committee selected Miss Dunbar for Mayo?

Mr. O'Connell

According to the procedure I do not think they did.

The Deputy can argue it out for himself, but he must argue it much more satisfactorily than he is arguing it here.

The Minister has stated the practice of the Appointments Commissioners and it contradicts that.

Is not that purely and simply a quibble?

At any rate, Miss Dunbar was not sent to Mayo without her asking to be sent.

Mr. O'Connell

That is not the point.

It was her second preference. There were five places vacant and we selected a librarian for each of these particular counties, so you cannot get away from that.

Mr. O'Connell

If Cavan were available could she go there?

If Cavan were available it was her first preference.

Mr. O'Connell

She was not selected for Mayo.

She was selected for Mayo. The Deputy is welcome to any difficulty he can make.

Who selected Mayo for her?

I would like to see the Deputy and the writer of the notes in his Party paper discussing the matter. Condemn me on the law. Do that. Deputy Davin has raised a question in connection with Irish, that the advertisement was misleading. There was a question that the Government has no interest in Irish and that the Mayo people are simply unfurling the national banner that has never been left unfurled in Mayo. We need not go further than the position that arose when the present vacancy was to be filled, but we could go back and see to what extent there was insistence on Irish in Mayo. When the vacancy occurred in Mayo and the particulars of the appointment were being sent in, the Secretary of the Mayo County Council filled in, in answer to the question, "is a competent knowledge of oral Irish considered essential?" stated: "The provisions of the Local Authorities (Officers and Employees) Act shall apply." The Local Appointments Commissioners are interested in Irish and they went one better.

The President mentioned that in this connection there were two advertisements. That in the first place, a request for the filling of this appointment having been sent in on the 10th December, 1929, an advertisement was issued on the 12th February, 1930, for the filling of vacancies in Mayo, Carlow, Cavan and Kilkenny. The Commissioners went better than the Mayo County Council in the matter of Irish and said that a competent knowledge of Irish was essential in each case. Seventeen candidates came forward for interview and only four of these 17 candidates were technically qualified as regards librarianship and only two of them were qualified as regards Irish. Only two appointments were made in accordance with the terms of the advertisement and a readvertisement was issued on the 15th May, 1930. Let me say that none of the 13 persons who were not technically qualified were qualified in Irish. The advertisement was issued again on the 15th May, 1930, in respect of librarians for Leitrim, Cavan, Mayo, Meath and Waterford. Owing to the dearth of qualified librarians with a competent knowledge of Irish the Commissioners decided that such a knowledge should not be prescribed as an essential qualification, and the new advertisement stated that a substantial preference would be given to qualified candidates with a competent knowledge of Irish and that the Mayo case would be subject to the terms of the Gaeltacht Order. The Gaeltacht Order has been issued for a certain time now. It was issued in the first place to deal in a systematic and effective way with the getting of competent Irish-speaking officials in the Irish-speaking districts. I think it was issued in accordance with the recommendation of the Gaeltacht Commission and in accordance with a statement on the part of the Government that they were going to operate that recommendation. Hundreds of appointments have been made under it. Will Deputies in this House who say they are interested in the matter of Irish for positions such as the librarianship in Mayo stand by the operation of the Gaeltacht Commission Order? Will they stand by this: that when persons are appointed temporarily in an Irish-speaking district to positions where it is not possible to get competent Irish speakers to fill the positions, they will vacate their positions automatically at the end of three years if they have not, through examination, satisfied the Minister for Local Government in the meantime that they are competent to discharge their duties through the medium of the Irish language?

That order has been before this House and before every local body interested in Irish and all the organisations interested in Irish. If they are interested in having Irish the competent spoken language of officials in the Irish-speaking districts they will read the Gaeltacht Order and see what is happening under it. Are those people who criticise the Local Appointments Commissioners and the Government with regard to the matter of Irish serious in their interest in Irish? I have seen no sign that they are.

I want to see the position that is implied in the Gaeltacht Order thoroughly examined and discussed. I should like to see what kind of discussion we are going to have here when persons who have been appointed under the Gaeltacht Order, with a requirement that they should know Irish in three years, having failed to pass the necessary examination, are evacuating their positions. Our policy is that we are not going to have persons appointed without Irish in Irish-speaking districts, and continuing there for goodness knows how many years without Irish. We are not able to staff the Irish-speaking districts at present with officials with Irish, but we have provided the machinery by which Irish can be got there if people are interested in the matter and prepared to face facts and realities. There was no competent Irish speaker available for Mayo who would go there. When the second examination took place there were two qualified, but they elected to go elsewhere. I do not know whether Deputies think that the person most qualified in Irish who wants to go, say, to Kilkenny as a librarian should be forced to go to Mayo because he has Irish. I do not know that that would be in the interests of Irish. The Local Appointments Commissioners' policy and our policy in connection with librarians in any part of the country is that they should be competent Irish speakers. Let people, therefore, deal with Irish as it is. Then as to the question of religion. Deputy Mullins, I think, is rather a reader of the Nation than of the Catholic Bulletin. It may be because the Party opposite read the Catholic Bulletin more than they read the Nation and Deputy Mullins reads the Nation more than the Catholic Bulletin that differences have crept up between the Deputy and that Party and that they have gone along different roads.

I do not know why the Deputy, in selecting people whose speeches he thought undesirable in this matter of religion, left Deputy de Valera out of the group. Deputy de Valera, in so far as Chancellor of the National University he has thought over the library situation, and in so far as he is able to get "if" out of his composition, says that librarians should not be appointed in any county except they are Catholics. If that is going to be the position with us, and if the situation of libraries is such that on grounds of religion our librarians should be Catholics, then we want to know it, and our laws must be such that we will not be chancing what Deputies on the opposite side call the backdoor business of the Local Appointments Commissioners to operate a system and to do things that, generally throughout the country, are being clearly shown to be necessary for the protection of religion here. We must face these things, whether in connection with librarians or doctors. We cannot have a situation here, arising particularly around matters that are said to be of the greatest possible importance, whose organisation is such that they tend to undermine our laws. As I say, in so far as Deputy de Valera can get "if" out of his composition——

What does the Minister mean? He has used a lot of "ifs" himself.

I say that the Deputy has gone as near saying as constitutionally as he can that no Protestant librarian should be appointed to county libraries in this country.


I do not wonder that people would cry nonsense.

The Deputy never said anything like it.

I do not wonder at the Deputy being astonished; because, just as what Deputy O'Connell had to say on the matter was entirely contrary to what his organ says, so what Deputy de Valera says is entirely contrary to what his organ says.

What is the Minister's view?

My view is that there are people in this country responsible for dictating to us what safeguards ought to be taken in the matter of religion, and that I do not regard either the Mayo County Council or the Fianna Fáil Party as the people who can tell us that.

Or the three bishops in the County Mayo?

I do not think that you can have one religious policy in Mayo and another in Leix. I am in the position as Minister for Local Government of having an official document giving the greatest possible praise to a Protestant county librarian in one county and condemning the idea of having a Protestant as librarian in another county. I also saw in the Press that the person who proposed and the person who seconded the appointment of a Protestant librarian in a particular county were the proposer and the seconder of a resolution congratulating the Mayo County Council on their magnificent stand for all that is high and holy in this country. So that, speaking as Minister for Local Government, and operating that Act, I have nothing to show me——

Though acting as Minister for Local Government.

I have nothing to show me that a Protestant librarian can be a danger to faith more or less in Mayo, but not in some other country. As an ordinary lay Irishman, I deny that County Mayo is any more Catholic than my own native county or any other county. We are more interested as a people in religion than we are in anything else, and none of our work can be properly done except it is steeped in religion. That religion gives us a clear view of our objective, and the strength and courage to carry out the work that is necessary to reach it. We cannot learn what are the things that are to guide us and help us in the matter of religion by listening to an odd dispute of the Mayo County Council. The Mayo County Council could have a Catholic librarian to-day only for the County Council themselves.

Of course the Bishops in our county are only ignoramuses compared with the Minister.

Mayo could have had a Catholic librarian, but it was more interested in some of the small twopenny jobs that some of the Deputies opposite are interested in than in the main question. Deputies Ruttledge and Walsh challenge the statement I made in the Seanad, that the Mayo Library Committee resigned in protest against the action of the Mayo County Council in turning down a person they recommended as a temporary librarian while the vacancy was being filled. They go further and suggest that persons came in to support the candidature of Miss Dunbar for the position of librarian in Mayo who were the only people who had left the Library Committee, and that having left the Library Committee at a particular time, they came back to deal with the job. I should like Deputies Ruttledge and Walsh, who have made these statements, to interpret this resolution passed by the Mayo County Council on the 22nd February, 1930.

Read the names of those present.

I shall sit down if necessary, and let the Deputy explain this resolution. On 22nd February, 1930, the following resolution was passed:—

"That the former members be, and they are, hereby again appointed as a County Library Committee for the triennial period ending July 31, 1931, together with two members of the council from each electoral area in the county, that this Committee be vested with full administrative powers in the discharge of their duties within the limits of the amount levied each year for the maintenance of the Library System and subject to ratification by the County Council."

That "they are hereby again appointed as a county library committee," yet Deputy Ruttledge and Deputy Walsh say that the County Library Committee did not resign. I ask those Deputies can they interpret that resolution. As I say, the resolution I have read out already was passed by the Mayo County Council on 22nd February, 1930.

Now this is an extract from the Minute of the proceedings of the Mayo County Library Committee held on 20th December, 1929. The members present were:—Ven. Archdeacon Fallon, the Rev. G. Prendergast, the Rev. Mr. Jackson and Dr. MacBride. The Ven. Archdeacon Fallon was in the chair, and he (Chairman) proposed the following resolution, which was seconded by the Rev. Mr. Jackson and adopted by the meeting:—

"While we have been anxious in the past to render every assistance to the County Council in the discharge of their numerous and arduous duties, and are similarly disposed to do so in the future, we feel, however, that the action of the County Council in appointing Mr. Hamrock as temporary librarian at a previous meeting without consulting this committee has placed us in a false position. Our position is rendered still more critical owing to the fact that the County Council, at its last meeting, confirmed the appointment of Mr. Hamrock, although the Local Government Department refused to sanction him as not qualified for the position, and although our committee had recommended a fully-qualified person.

"In this conflict between the County Council and the L.G. Department we cannot see our way to take sides, and the only course we see open to us at present is to cease functioning until a qualified librarian is appointed and to leave the County Council to deal themselves with the situation they have created. I propose therefore that we undertake no further responsibilities until a qualified librarian is appointed."

How many were present at that meeting?

I read out the names. There were present:—Ven. Archdeacon Fallon, Rev. G. Prendergast, Rev. Mr. Jackson and Dr. MacBride. I shall now read the resolution of the County Council reconstituting the committee which according to Deputy Walsh and Deputy Ruttledge had not resigned, but that is in accord with everything the Deputies have stated here. They have no information upon the facts.

On a point of order——

I am sure it is not a point of order.

It is suggested that the Mayo County Council set out terms as regards age, that they wanted a librarian under 21 years of age. That is not the fact.

Will the Minister listen to a letter from his own Department to the Mayo County Council relative to what he has said?

The Mayo County Council suggested a minimum age of 24 years for the librarian. On the question of Irish and on this question of the relation between the Mayo County Council and the Library Committee, whereas I say the Library Committee resigned because the County Council would not allow them to appoint as a temporary librarian a lady who has since been appointed by the Local Appointments Commissioners as librarian to another county, a Catholic with a competent knowledge of Irish—all over a little bit of a job.

Will the Minister answer this question?


Order, order, and "sit down."

Will the Deputy let the Minister continue his speech? This debate has been going on since ten minutes to four o'clock and the Minister has only one hour to reply. Let the Minister continue his speech.

Accepting Mr. Hamrock's appointment ——

It is here on the minutes of the council.

The Minister accepted Mr. Hamrock's appointment. On the day after the Mayo Library Committee resigned, the secretary to the Mayo County Council wrote to us that he would take personal charge of the library, and the librarian wrote afterwards to say that in the circumstances——

Will the Minister please give the date of the letter from his own Department?

I shall give the date on which I was advised by the secretary of the Mayo County Council and the librarian to the Mayo County Council that in the circumstances the secretary would take over this responsible work. On the day after the Mayo Library Committee had resigned the secretary sent on the minutes of the meeting, and he said he would supervise the work, and we got this letter from the librarian:—

"Relative to the question of the appointment of a temporary librarian, raised at the last three meetings of our committee, and in my letter of the 6th inst. to you, written at the direction of my committee, I understand now that the interval that will elapse before a permanent appointment is made will be short, and that the secretary to the County Council has offered his services gratuitously to superintend Mr. A. Hamrock's library work during the interval. Considering these circumstances, I wish to state I am now confident that the library service will not suffer through the appointment of Mr. A. Hamrock as temporary librarian."

And that letter was received by the County Council on 6th February, and there were no steps taken to appoint a librarian for nine months afterwards.

If the Deputy was listening to what I was saying he would realise that there were delays due to advertising and all that. Let him not run away from that point, and let them not run away from the point that the Mayo Library Committee had resigned.

Four members were present; they resigned, and refused to act, and two of those four members came back afterwards to vote for Miss Dunbar.

The Deputy has already made his speech.

Two out of the four who resigned came back to vote for Miss Dunbar.

This is an incident in which we are led to believe that every man, woman and child in Mayo is interested as a vital matter. On no particular point on which Deputies from Mayo have spoken here, have they taken the trouble to make themselves acquainted with the facts of the situation. Deputy de Valera is against the whole business of what he calls centralisation; it is contrary to the spirit that sustained us when we were all together long ago.


It was a great job we parted, anyway.

It was indeed. I wonder does the Deputy ever remember having a feeling in his mind or in his heart that he wanted a national Civil Service in this country? It was one of the main things at any rate that I remember in the old Sinn Féin Party when reviewing the things we required in this country, so that the people might do their work properly. We are giving the country and are putting into the hands of local bodies a national Civil Service machine, and through the offer of proper salaries for competent persons, through the raising of better standards as regards qualification, we are giving every local authority, men and women thoroughly competent to do their work. Deputies can talk about all kinds of things, and say that this Government, as particularly operating through its tyrannical Minister for Local Government, is wiping out local government. I want to say again, as I said before, that we are securing the foundations of local government by raising the national standard of service, efficiency and qualification, and by making for our medical, engineering, accountancy and other administrative posts a homogeneous machine from one end of the country to the other.

We see every day around us the fruits of our work in that respect and there is not a local body in the country that does not see around it the fruits of our work in that respect and that does not acknowledge it. We are going to continue it and we are clear about one thing, that is, that to depart from the present system and to send down to local bodies three or four names to make a selection from, is to bring us back to the old system in which, instead of giving us qualified independent officials, subservient only to local bodies, officials who have either to do their work thoroughly or be dismissed, it will take us back to the old system where administration was interfered with and where particular personal interests were served rather than general interests. We dissolved the Mayo County Council because it was guilty, not as Deputy O'Connell said of a trifling thing, but of repudiating an Act of this Parliament, a most valuable Act. I do not know what suggestion I am going to get with regard, for instance, to the position, which so far as I can see from the newspapers, has arisen between the Mallow Urban Council and the Minister in regard to the appointment of a clerk, and with regard to the Clare County Council in regard to the appointment of a librarian.

You will hear it soon enough.

I will hear it soon enough, but this House will hear nothing from me, but that so long as I occupy the Ministry of Local Government I will carry out that Act.

Mr. Hogan

Is that a threat to us?

It is a statement of my position and my responsibility.

Mr. Hogan

Why drag it in?

Will you get the Commissioner in Mayo to carry out the law?

Why does he not do so?

It has been stated here that the dissolution of local bodies is a matter on which I particularly and the Executive Council look with favour. I think that it was Deputy O'Connell who said that it was undermining the democratic spirit of our people and their faith in democratic institutions if local bodies were going to be superseded in this particular way. Long ago I came to the conclusion that it was humiliating to the country as a whole, and particularly to the people of any particular county, to say here, as a representative of the people, that the work of any local body should be so carried out as to require dissolution. I think that at one particular time I had come to the conclusion that I was not going to dissolve any more of them. There was this aspect of it, namely, that it was too inconvenient in many ways to the Department, whose responsibility is to serve the needs of the country as a whole, that it should prejudice itself in that respect by devoting some of its most expert officials entirely to the affairs of one particular county. I could not, however, stand by and have a situation in Kerry, where the Kerry County Council refused to appoint a county medical officer of health in a county where fever was rampant. I could not leave the County Board of Health in Galway, which refused to make appointments that were necessary to carry on a tuberculosis scheme there, and where tuberculosis patients were left unattended for a considerable period. In the interests of the local people we had to make sacrifices, so far as the Department was concerned, and make use of the powers which fortunately, instead of unfortunately, this House has vested in the Minister for Local Government. I think that Deputies will remember that we had to have that kind of thing which is sometimes called an agreed Bill to meet the wishes of the people of Ennis, and again to meet the wishes of the people of Trim, who wanted Commissioners appointed by the Minister for Local Government in place of their dissolved body, and who wanted to keep them there.

I would be in the position to-day, were it not for the Postponement of Local Elections Bill, that Deputy MacEntee would be coming with Deputy O'Sullivan or Deputy Finlay to ask me to pass an agreed Bill to keep the Commissioner in Howth to meet the wishes of the people of Howth. The Postponement of Elections Bill gives me power to keep him there without exposing the Deputies of different Parties to the humiliating position to which they would be exposed if, after listening to all the talk we have heard, they had to come and ask for an agreed Bill to keep a Commissioner in Howth. Kerry, Galway and Mayo—public opinion in every one of these three counties is a much safer guide as to whether the laws we operate here are tyrannical and as to whether the administration with which we provide these people is good or bad.

Why not test public opinion?

Deputies have made statements here that a model county council in this country has been wiped out for a trifle. In all seriousness I would suggest to Deputies from Mayo who have made that statement here, particularly to Deputies who are members of the county council, and who may have some feeling in the matter, that, apart altogether from the circumstances that made it necessary to put a Commissioner into Mayo, it may be no harm at all in everybody's interest in Mayo to have a Commissioner for a council in which from the years 1928-29 to the years 1930-31, the amount demanded from the ratepayers by the county council rose from £71,000 by £51,000 to £122,000.

Does that come from the people of Mayo?

It all came from the people of Mayo. I believe the people of Mayo are people who pay their rates pretty well up to date, and the people of Mayo who responded to a demand from the county council in the year 1928-29 by giving them £71,000 odd to carry on their administration had to respond two years afterwards, in the year 1930-31, by giving them an additional £51,000.

The Minister is attacking his own Party on the Council.

I am being attacked by my own Party.

He is now attacking them.

I am telling my own Party that it might not be a bad day's work done on the ordinary administration side.

Let him test public opinion and he will know it.

There was just one other point which I might answer. Deputy Walsh is full of talk here.

Mr. Sheehy (Cork):

He wants your job.

He gets more coherent when he goes down to Mayo, and you get somehow to understand him better when he speaks from a platform in Mayo, as reported in some of the local papers, than you do when hearing him here on certain matters. I think the same might be said of Deputy Clery and Deputy Ruttledge.


Deputy Gorey is more at home with his bulls in Kilkenny.

We are told that we would not have stood by the law in County Mayo were it not that there was a Dublin by-election on, that the Freemasons dictated to us—that we had to stand by the appointment of this lady, and that we knuckled under to the Freemasons because there was a by-election in County Dublin. There was a by-election in Dublin in 1927, and I think we had a sufficient margin of votes not to knuckle under to anyone to whom we did not want to knuckle under. In the by-election in County Dublin on the 14th August, 1927, Deputy Gearóid O'Sullivan got 39,969 votes against 16,126 votes for the Fianna Fáil candidate, and 1,332 for the representatives of the Sinn Féin organisation who, while as good Republicans no doubt as the Fianna Fáil Party, would not rub shoulders under any circumstances with them at Bodenstown. We had nearly 40,000 votes as against 17,000 in August, 1927. We did not want to buy votes of anyone. When we looked for their votes again last year, on a smaller poll Deputy Finlay got 35,362 votes, against the Fianna Fáil candidate's 15,024. Deputies on the opposite side ought to read their own papers. Catholic journalism to be effective and to be truly Catholic needs first of all to be fair. We have comments from the great Catholic Party over there who are going to replace the bishops in telling us——

No, no; it is the Minister who is going to replace the bishops in the West of Ireland.

——that in the matter of doctors and librarians we should be fair. They have to answer, not only to the people here and to one another, but they have to answer some place else for the methods they employ to try to establish the Kingdom of God here on earth.

The Minister referred to the fact of his being requested to retain Commissioners in certain areas. Is it not a fact that towns with a population of 5,000 or 6,000 in the Free State have no urban powers, that they have only town commissioners, while towns with populations of 800 and 900 have urban councils? Is that not at the bottom of the request?

[An Ceann Comhairle resumed the Chair.]

Question: "That the words proposed to be deleted stand"—put.
The Dáil divided: Tá, 73; Níl, 62.

  • Aird, William P.
  • Alton, Ernest Henry.
  • Beckett, James Walter.
  • Bennett, George Cecil.
  • Blythe, Ernest.
  • Bourke, Séamus A.
  • Brodrick, Seán.
  • Byrne, John Joseph.
  • Carey, Edmund.
  • Coburn, James.
  • Cole, John James.
  • Collins-O'Driscoll, Mrs. Margt.
  • Conlon, Martin.
  • Connolly, Michael P.
  • Cosgrave, William T.
  • Craig, Sir James.
  • Daly, John.
  • Doherty, Eugene.
  • Dolan, James N.
  • Doyle, Peadar Seán.
  • Duggan, Edmund John.
  • Dwyer, James.
  • Egan, Barry M.
  • Esmonde, Osmond Thos. Grattan.
  • Finlay, Thomas A.
  • Fitzgerald, Desmond.
  • Fitzgerald-Kenney, James.
  • Gorey, Denis J.
  • Haslett, Alexander.
  • Hassett, John J.
  • Heffernan, Michael R.
  • Hennessy, Michael Joseph.
  • Hennessy, Thomas.
  • Hennigan, John.
  • Hogan, Patrick (Galway).
  • Holohan, Richard.
  • Jordan, Michael.
  • Keogh, Myles.
  • Law, Hugh Alexander.
  • Leonard, Patrick.
  • Lynch, Finian.
  • Mathews, Arthur Patrick.
  • McDonogh, Martin.
  • MacEóin, Seán.
  • McFadden, Michael Og.
  • McGilligan, Patrick.
  • Mongan, Joseph W.
  • Mulcahy, Richard.
  • Murphy, James E.
  • Murphy, Joseph Xavier.
  • Myles, James Sproule.
  • Nolan, John Thomas.
  • O'Connell, Richard.
  • O'Connor, Bartholomew.
  • O'Donovan, Timothy Joseph.
  • O'Higgins, Thomas.
  • O'Leary, Daniel.
  • O'Mahony, The.
  • O'Reilly, John J.
  • O'Sullivan, Gearóid.
  • O'Sullivan, John Marcus.
  • Reynolds, Patrick.
  • Rice, Vincent.
  • Roddy, Martin.
  • Shaw, Patrick W.
  • Sheehy, Timothy (West Cork).
  • Thrift, William Edward.
  • Tierney, Michael.
  • Vaughan, Daniel.
  • White, John.
  • White, Vincent Joseph.
  • Wolfe, George.
  • Wolfe, Jasper Travers.


  • Aiken, Frank.
  • Allen, Denis.
  • Anthony, Richard.
  • Blaney, Neal.
  • Boland, Gerald.
  • Boland, Patrick.
  • Bourke, Daniel.
  • Brady, Seán.
  • Briscoe, Robert.
  • Broderick, Henry.
  • Buckley, Daniel.
  • Carney, Frank.
  • Carty, Frank.
  • Cassidy, Archie J.
  • Clery, Michael.
  • Gorry, Patrick J.
  • Goulding, John.
  • Hayes, Seán.
  • Henry, Mark.
  • Hogan, Patrick (Clare).
  • Houlihan, Patrick.
  • Jordan, Stephen.
  • Kennedy, Michael Joseph.
  • Kent, William R.
  • Killilea, Mark.
  • Kilroy, Michael.
  • Lemass, Seán F.
  • Little, Patrick John.
  • Maguire, Ben.
  • McEllistrim, Thomas.
  • MacEntee, Seán.
  • Colbert James.
  • Corkery, Dan.
  • Corish, Richard.
  • Corry, Martin John.
  • Crowley, Fred. Hugh.
  • Crowley, Tadhg.
  • Davin, William.
  • Davis, Michael.
  • Derrig, Thomas.
  • De Valera, Eamon.
  • Everett, James.
  • Fahy, Frank.
  • Flinn, Hugo.
  • Fogarty, Andrew.
  • Geoghegan, James.
  • Moore, Séamus.
  • Mullins, Thomas.
  • Murphy, Timothy Joseph.
  • O'Connell, Thomas J.
  • O'Dowd, Patrick Joseph.
  • O'Kelly, Seán T.
  • O'Leary, William.
  • O'Reilly, Matthew.
  • Powell, Thomas P.
  • Ruttledge, Patrick J.
  • Ryan, James.
  • Sexton, Martin.
  • Sheehy, Timothy (Tipp.).
  • Smith, Patrick.
  • Walsh, Richard.
  • Ward, Francis C.
Tellers: Tá, Deputies Duggan and P.S. Doyle; Níl, Deputies Davis and Henry.
Question declared carried.
Question:—"That the Bill be now read a Second Time,"—put and agreed to.
Committee Stage ordered for Thursday, June 18.