In Committee on Finance. - Vote No. 32—Office of the Minister for Justice.

I move:—

Go ndeontar suim ná raghaidh thar £26,818 chun slánuithe na suime is gá chun íoctha an Mhuirir a thiocfaidh chun bheith iníoctha i rith na bliana dar críoch an 31adh lá de Mhárta, 1933, chun Tuarastail agus Costaisí Oifig an Aire Dlí agus Cirt.

That a sum not exceeding £26,818 be granted to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1933, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Office of the Minister for Justice.

This Estimate is substantially the same as the Estimate for the last financial year. As Deputies will see from the various items, the variations are so slight as not to be worthy, I think, of any comment from me.

I must confess that the speech which the Minister for Justice has just given to us is to me, at any rate, extremely disappointing and I fancy it will prove rather disappointing not merely to this House but to most people in this State. I certainly thought that the Minister would take this the first opportunity available to him of letting the country know what is the policy of his Department because I think there can be no question at the present moment that the Department of the Minister for Justice is the most important Department in the State and that the duties and obligations which are imposed upon the Minister for Justice are heavier than the obligations which rest upon the shoulders of, let me say, the Minister for External Affairs or the Minister for Finance or any other member of the Executive Council, because though our public affairs are matters of tremendous importance; though our financial condition is a matter of tremendous importance; yet of importance far transcending them is the importance of the preservation of peace and order within the limits of our State, and how the Minister proposes to preserve peace and maintain order is a matter upon which I certainly thought the Minister would take the very earliest possible opportunity of enlightening this House.

We know that, at any rate, there has been, in one respect, a complete change of policy. We know that, at one time, the law was administered in this country so that it should be no respecter of persons. The law was administered so that the most influential man or the most influential body of men were equally under the law as the humblest and poorest; were equally entitled to the protection of the law as were the richest or the most powerful individual or group of individuals. As far as I can discover at the present moment that policy has been completely changed and the law is not for the future to apply to a very considerable number of persons in this State. Men convicted of crimes have already been released.

For instance, it is now perfectly plain that possession of dumps of arms, though against the Firearms Act, has ceased to be a crime enforceable by law; not indeed a crime not enforceable by law, but a crime against which the Minister will not put the law in force, and, if we are correctly informed by a very eloquent Deputy of the Party opposite, at the present time the Minister is in a position to discover all the dumps of arms there are in this country. That is the statement of a member of the Party opposite—as I say, a very eloquent member of this House—I have the authority of the Attorney-General for that statement, and I am glad to see the Attorney-General sitting beside that eloquent Deputy, Deputy Cleary, because some little time ago, when speaking in the County Mayo, the Attorney-General told the people of the County Mayo that he had been with Deputy Cleary during the by-election campaign in County Kildare, and that Deputy Cleary was so brilliant and so eloquent that he could make even the dull people of the Midlands understand him. On another occasion, when he was making a speech, not to the dull people, as the Attorney-General styles them, of the Midlands, but to the people of a portion of Connaught, he informed them that, of course, the Fianna Fáil Party knew where the dumps were and that they could be collected within a month or so. I would like to know if the Deputy has placed that information at the disposal of the Minister for Justice, and I would like to know if the Minister for Justice purposes availing himself of that information. In fact, I would like generally to know, and I think the whole country would like generally to know from the Minister, as to what is his attitude at the present moment towards the I.R.A. and towards Saor Eire.

We know, and there is no secret about it, that there is, at the present moment, a body which claims to be the legal and legitimate Government of this country, and that they issued a manifesto to that purport within the last few days and fortified their contention by a very familiar quotation from a speech of the President. They claim to be the legitimate Government of the State. There is an army which claims to be the only lawful army in this country. Their leaders have stated repeatedly that if there is to be one Government and one Government alone in this State, and if there is to be one army only in this State theirs is to be the Government and theirs is to be the army.

I want to know what is the attitude of the Minister towards that association; I want to know if he intends to allow that association to go ahead; to train; to arm; to prepare; and to strike at its own good chosen time, or whether he intends to take the necessary adequate steps to see that no illegal drilling is carried on, and that no breaches of the law are to be made by any association openly, and in the face of day, or secretly, and by night. These, I think, are questions to which we are entitled to have an answer. I consider, and I think most of the Deputies in this House would agree with me when we think that it is the duty of the Minister to put forward plainly to us, and to give us an assurance as to the course which he intends to take, and I can assure the Minister that if he informs this House that it is his determination, and the determination of the Executive, to see that there will be one Government and one Government only, to see that there will be one army and one army only; and to take the necessary steps to ensure that there shall be but one Government and that there shall be but one army, if he does that, he certainly will go a long, long way to alleviate a great number of the fears I entertain about the preservation of the peace in this country. But I do not wish for mere empty expressions. I would like to know the measures which the Minister purposes to take. I do not want mere vague generalities, and I hope that when he comes to speak, he will get away from vague generalities, and that he will come down to concrete facts, and that he will outline to this House, and give, not merely an outline, but, so far as he can, the details of the measures which he intends to take to prove to the people of this State, and to every section of this community, that the law is supreme and must be obeyed by every single person in this community and that there is one law-making authority in this State, and one only, and that is the Oireachtas.

If the Minister, as I say, gives to this country undertakings, and not merely verbal undertakings, but tells us the method by which he is going to carry his undertakings out, he will do a considerable amount towards alleviating the well-grounded feelings of fear which are held by a great number of people as to the preservation of peace in this State. If he goes further and tells us that the opening of the prison gates, that repeal of the Constitution (Amendment) Act, were mere gestures—that they were carrying out election pledges, or something of that sort, but for the future he is not going to deal with the openly confessed enemies of this State by gestures of that nature but firmly, boldly and determinedly; if he gives the people of this country that undertaking, he will certainly, as I have said, have gone a long way to alleviate a great number of our fears.

But I will remind the Minister of this, that against that association the ordinary law cannot prevail; that when that association chooses to do what it considers rightful acts, but which, according to the laws of this State, and, in my opinion, the laws of God, are wrongful acts, the ordinary law is powerless. Juries will not convict and witnesses will not give evidence. Let him bear that fact in mind when he comes to make his reply, and let him inform this State openly what are the methods by which he intends to enforce the preservation of the law.

The Minister to conclude.

May I raise a point of order? The Minister made no statement in introducing the Estimate and we do not know what the policy of the Minister is. I suggest that the House does not know where it is until the Minister states his policy. I am glad to know that he is so satisfied with last year's Estimates that he does not think they require a single word of justification. That is undoubtedly quite pleasant from our point of view. But that he should on such a very important matter be allowed to conclude without having opened, I suggest is impossible.

On a point of order, would you, sir, mind saying whether that is a point of order?

It is, in the main, a point of order.

I rise to reply to the observations of Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney and to conclude the debate on this Estimate.

Deputies

No, no.

Has not every Deputy the right to speak three times on an Estimate?

The practice has been that on an Estimate the Minister does conclude the discussion, but a Deputy is within his rights in speaking after the Minister.

Cannot the Minister speak twice—cannot he speak now and then conclude the debate when what he has said has been discussed?

Certainly. The House is in Committee.

I have listened to the observations of Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney with a certain sympathy. I could not help feeling that Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney would have been able to speak with even greater passion, or simulation of passion, greater vehemence, if there had been one outrage in the time that has elapsed since the Party to which I belong has been entrusted with the government of this State. The debate this year will differ I suppose in some material respect from debates on these Estimates in years past. I challenge any Deputy to allege and support the assertion that since 9th March I discriminated between any two citizens in this State. I challenge any Deputy to suggest that any crime has been committed with impunity in that time. I challenge any Deputy to suggest that the Civic Guards have been in any way impeded in the discharge of their duties to all men alike since that date. I really felt that there was no occasion for a speech on this Estimate. If I had proceeded to say anything that really would be worth saying on an estimate prepared by the previous Government it would be to utter words of vain regret that the Department of Justice should in this month of April be responsible, under the heads of the different Estimates entrusted to me, for a considerable sum of money the expenditure of which could easily have been avoided. Such words of regret would be vain. I might perhaps also utter words of rejoicing. I was apprehensive, and apprehensive with some reason, that the peace of this State might have been violated in the month of March. Attempts were made which might have led to the invasion of that peace, but happily they were in vain. Any information at my disposal does not lead me to think that these attempts were inspired or animated by any organisation to which Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney has alluded.

What attempts does the Minister allude to? He is so vague that I cannot follow him.

The Deputy has asked a question: How does the Minister propose to maintain peace and order? My answer to that is that the Minister has during the time he has been in office maintained peace and order. The Minister, or rather the Deputy, warns me——

Might I ask was there also a slip of the tongue in the last sentence? Was the Minister praising me or praising himself?

There is no doubt about it.

The Deputy tells me that he does not desire any mere vague generalities. I will admit that by reason of my being one of the unfortunate dull people of the Midlands I have been unable to discover anything specific in the Deputy's statement. I have listened with the greatest care. I have been ready to note down any averment of fact falling from the lips of the Deputy. I have listened in vain for that or I have been too dull to perceive it.

The Deputy is not going to formulate a policy until he gets my assistance.

Is that a slip, because he is the Minister presently?

The Deputy, if he will pardon me for saying so, has a sense of humour. I would attribute a keen sense of humour to the Deputy. I think the Deputy was really conscious of the humour of his own speech. The Deputy asks that I should state the policy of my Department. The policy of my Department is to prevent the commission of any crime with impunity. That policy I will maintain. The instruments at my disposal for that purpose are mainly the Civic Guards. I will encourage the Civic Guards in their efforts, so far as they need encouragement, to preserve law and order.

To stop illegal drilling and all that?

Where has it been since we took over?

All over the country.

In the kicking cow.

Ask Deputy Jordan!

The days of imagination should be long over now.

The Deputy, I am afraid, is keeping something back from the House.

Does the Minister state that there is no drilling going on in the country? He has his reports from the Guards. Will he definitely say that there is no illegal drilling going on?

Does the ex-Minister know anything about the organisation founded by Deputy O'Higgins?

I have no desire to bandy words with the Deputy.

This is a concrete question which I now put. Can the Minister give the House from the reports of the Garda which are at his disposal an assurance that there is no illegal drilling going on in any part of the country?

I shall lend no encouragement to Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney or any other Deputy in this House to pursue a long line of cross-examination, however ingenious, towards me. Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney has made a speech in tones that led me for the moment to expect some startling revelations. Will the Deputy reveal them?

I want revelations from you.

Will the Deputy reveal what it is he wants me to explain?

The Minister does not manufacture revelations like the Deputy did when in office.

I have proposed a resolution to this House. I have proposed the adoption of the Estimate prepared by my predecessor and his colleagues. I have awaited anything that required explanation. I am not myself going to jump until I come up to the stile. I am not conscious of anything that requires explanation. As I say during the whole time I have been in office I have seen that the law is enforced and unless I am deluded peace prevails throughout the country. I have nothing to explain. If the Deputy will explain any incident, if he will refer to any crime, if he will refer to any act of mine or any omission of mine, in office, I shall deal with it but I will not answer rhetorical questions or hypothetical questions even from Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney.

Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney has referred to men convicted of crimes having already been released. Three prisoners were released by me. I wonder does Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney recall the file relating to one of these prisoners. I wonder how closely would Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney like that matter to be gone into. Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney asked me about reports from the Guards. How much of the file and reports and recommendations in regard to one of the prisoners who was released under my order would Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney like me to read to the House?

The whole of it if you wish.

If Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney in his cooler moments makes that request——

I am quite cool now.

If he invites that in the appropriate way and at the appropriate time, I shall, if the traditions of the Ministry, or what ought to be the traditions of the Ministry, do not prevent me, gratify him. All I think it necessary to say to the House now is that the public are well aware of the names of the three prisoners whom I have released, and the public are aware of their records. A large section of the public at all events are aware of the circumstances surrounding the offences, and if the Deputy still cares to harp on the release of the three men I suppose he is at liberty to do so, but perhaps, if he alludes to it again he will be a little more specific and will perhaps indicate what exactly is his objection to the release of these men. They served considerable terms of imprisonment. One of them served a very considerable term, a term so long that even a convict whose crime was not surrounded by anything in the nature of extenuating circumstances, the commission of which might have taken place in the most sordid conditions, has often received a remission of sentence in as short if not in shorter time. I feel that the strictures of Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney in regard to these three prisoners—I say it without any offence—are unreal. If in Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney's view they are real, then I am mistaken in my estimate of the public here if Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney's view is shared by the community at large. I believe it is not. I believe that the release of the three prisoners in question has evoked from the ordinary sensible citizen nothing but words of approval.

Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney says that the law in the past was administered in such a way that all men were equal before it. Opinion seemed to differ greatly upon that subject even at a time when Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney might be addressed, without any slip of the tongue, as Minister for Justice. However, be that as it may, I assure the House that my desire is to administer the law in the manner that Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney has said, in such a way that all men shall be absolutely equal before the law. I must repeat, in the absence of any specific allegations or assertion that anything that has been done was undesirable or not in accordance with the law since I took up office that I feel I cannot usefully occupy the time of the House by speaking further upon this Estimate.

If I was disappointed a few moments ago that the Minister for Justice would not state his policy, I am still more disappointed now after his deliberate refusal to state that policy. I put a plain specific question to him, and his refusal to answer that plain, specific question and to say that Ministers should not have questions put to them because Ministers are to be free from cross-examination, is putting forward a new cloak to hide the responsibilities of Ministers from the public, a cloak which, in my humble judgment, no Minister should be entitled to put forward. It is not for me to put forward the various crimes committed or deal with crimes specifically. It is for the Minister to let us and the whole country know clearly and distinctly what are his views and what is his policy. He says it is quite impossible that there should be under his régime any discrimination against persons. I want to know if the Firearms Acts have been put into force against individuals, if individuals have been fined under the Firearms Acts, and if other persons—and these are persons who got long terms of imprisonment because they had in their possession, not single weapons but large dumps of arms—were released forthwith. Another person is prosecuted shortly afterwards for the possession of firearms. I want to know if the Firearms Act is completely in abeyance or is going to be enforced against certain persons or against the whole community. These are the questions which I wish to ask the Minister. These are the questions he has shirked. As far as I can see, he is out to enforce these laws against some and not against others, and that is discrimination.

On a point of order, what is to be the practice henceforward in this House? Is the old practice to be completely departed from? As I understand, the old practice so far was that when an Estimate was introduced questions were raised on specific matters. On a Minister's Vote there was a general discussion, but so far as I know, when the Minister had spoken, he always concluded the debate and only questions were permitted afterwards.

As it was I raised the question, I quite agree with the President that that is the normal practice. There is nothing in the present procedure which would prevent the Minister from replying and concluding. I think it is right the Minister should conclude, but you have the House in this extraordinary position, that on one of the most important Votes, a Vote that involves the peace and order of the country, after a change of Government, which, as far as we can see, and judging by reading the papers day after day, involves a fundamental change in policy, the Minister gave no opportunity to the House to discuss his policy because he did not declare what his policy is. That is the reason I raised the particular question. If the Minister had stated his policy it might have been different, but he simply got up and said nothing, though we know his policy is different from the policy pursued up to the present.

In answer to the President and to Deputy O'Sullivan, I might state that the practice has been that the Minister concludes a debate, but the practice has also been that when a sum was moved for by the Minister for Finance or some responsible Minister, the Minister concerned with the Vote before the Dáil usually made a statement of policy, and only on one occasion until to-day did it happen, I think, that a Deputy spoke after the Minister had concluded. He is within his rights, but it is not desirable that it should take place, otherwise business cannot be transacted. I allowed it on this occasion because there was no statement of policy, which was the usual practice.

In that connection, may I point out to the Ceann Comhairle that it was the custom of the ex-Minister for Industry and Commerce, on occasions, not to make any statement, and also the custom of certain other Ministers not to make any opening statements?

It is not obligatory on any Minister to make a statement.

Needless to say, I desire to follow any course indicated by the Chair. May I be permitted to say that before moving the Estimate, which, of course, I am moving for the first time, I took the trouble of reading the Official Report of the Debates of last year. The Minister for Justice last year in proposing the Vote for the office of the Minister for Justice, stated substantially what I said in proposing this Vote. The Minister then proceeded, as an examination of the Official Report will reveal, to show with very great detail and with very great accuracy, how variations in the Vote were arrived at. I have here before me a full and complete explanation of why the Vote for the Film Censorship in 1932-33 is £1,620 instead of £1,572 last year, a difference of £48. I could explain why that is so in great detail.

I could explain a variation of £24 in the Censorship of Publications Vote. If any Deputy here cares to refer to the speech of the Minister last year on this Vote he will find that is what happened. If there was a statement of policy, I am afraid I did not scrutinise the report with sufficient care to find it.

Might I point out that the Minister ignores the position? Nobody can suggest that on the last occasion on which these Estimates were discussed, the House was unaware of what the policy of the Minister for Justice was.

Is this another speech?

I have made no speech. I have risen on two points of order up to the present. I will take the ruling of the Chair if I am out of order, not of the Minister.

Our only chance or one of the few chances we have of discussing the policy of any Department is on the Vote for the Department. On this Vote for the Minister, he stated no policy. Are we to assume that there has been no change of policy in certain fundamental matters since we last discussed the Estimate? He did not explain that. He was asked specifically by Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney what was his policy in regard to the growth of an army which claims to be the only legitimate army in the country. He made no answer to that. He ignored it. I assume, and I think the country must assume, that in that matter he has no policy.

I wonder what it is that has dissatisfied the members of the Opposition, what it is that is causing them all this uneasiness? Is it because we have peace? Is it because the Minister for Justice does not come to the House and say we propose to use a strong hand, we propose to follow out the policy which will make it impossible for people to keep their employment if they are known to have aspirations of a certain kind? That has been the policy of the Ministry that has just left. Are they dissatisfied because we do not come to the House with a long list of new Public Safety Bills? I have a list here in my hand of Public Safety Acts. We know the amount of peace that they really brought to the country.

Perfect peace.

Listen to the list. Because we propose to govern the country without Acts of this kind the Opposition is dissatisfied. There was a Public Safety Act passed in 1923 called the Emergency Powers Act, there was a Public Safety Act (No. 2) passed in 1923, there was a Public Safety (Powers of Arrest and Detention) Act passed in 1924, there was a Public Safety Act (Punishment of Offences Temporary Act) passed in 1924, there was the Protection of the Community (Special Powers) Act in 1926, there was another Public Safety (Emergency Powers) Act in 1926, there was a Public Safety Act in 1927, and there was a Constitution (Amendment) Act, No. 17, in 1931. I have not all these in order, but there was a Treasonable Offences Act in 1925, Firearms Acts in 1924 and 1925, a Juries Protection Act in 1932. The men who got all these Acts passed are dissatisfied now because we have peace without any such Acts. The policy of the Government is this: we propose to remove the cause of dissatisfaction in this country; we propose to give an opportunity to people with different political aspirations to work for these aspirations, to give them a chance of succeeding peacefully in their objectives. That is our policy and we are carrying it out to our own satisfaction and I believe to the satisfaction of the community.

We have been told that there is illegal drilling going on. We have not heard of it. I do not believe there is half as much illegal drilling going on since we took office as there was before. We have said that our policy is to be a policy of one Government and one army, and we propose to get a Government which will have the full allegiance of the Irish people, by having it elected by all sections of the people who will be in a position freely to choose their own representatives, who can come in here without having first to forswear any political objectives they may have. They can come here, this being a truly representative Assembly. We will then get full allegiance and we will not need either the special powers or forces which the past Ministry used without effect. They followed exactly the same bad traditions of the British in this country. I pointed out many a time, at election meetings, that for the first 87 years after the Act of Union the British Parliament passed no less than 87 Coercion Acts, one for every year. The Government that has been put out by the Irish people are accusing us now because we have reversed that bad policy and that bad tradition. In the year 1887, having got tired of passing these Coercion Acts which failed in their objective, as every Coercion Act that tries to kill the national spirit will fail in this country, they passed a perpetual Coercion Act. The late Ministry followed the same bad example when, in order to get their perpetual Coercion Act, they passed Amendment 17 of the Constitution, the most outrageous Coercion Act that was ever passed in any country and was admitted to be such even by the British themselves, who were past masters in the passing of Coercion Acts.

A Deputy

The only successful one that was ever passed.

If that policy was successful, where is the reason for the timidity and all the anxiety about the future?

There is no timidity.

What is the reason for the anxiety?

It may be anxiety but it is not timidity.

If the Deputy wishes I will change it to anxiety. What is the reason for their anxiety? These Coercion Acts ought to be completely wiped out and there need be no danger. We see no danger. We are perfectly satisfied that the young and the old people in this country have sense enough to know that if there is to be any national advance in this country it can only be made under a definite rule of order. That rule of order we have put before the people and we intend to stand by it. The rule of order is simply this, that all sections of the people will be free to send their representatives to the people's Assembly, no representative having before he takes his seat to forswear any national convictions he may have. If that rule of order is accepted majority rule will be accepted as determining the national policy. As long as we are charged with responsibility of Government, we mean to make it possible for all sections of the Irish people to be represented freely here and to have what is going to be the national policy determined by majority rule. Then so long as we are here we will uphold that majority with all the strength at our command. That is our position. Is there any anxiety on the part of the people? We have not heard of it. A great deal of anxiety was worked up by the present Opposition when they were in power by telling the people that we were going over to Bolshevism and all the rest, and when they were rushing this Act through the House trying to induce Deputies to believe that they had secret information which could not be divulged about all these terrible things that were in preparation for us, unless they took this strong action that they proposed and which time has proved was nonsense. The best proof of our policy is its practical effectiveness; it has proved practically effective. I have no doubt whatever, speaking here with all the responsibility of the office which I hold, that through the policy we have in mind peace in this country can be made successful.

I would think that the excitability shown by the President was rather unnecessary, except that I quite realise that he obviously thought it was necessary to have some smoke-screen to cover up the lamentable display of incompetence shown by his Minister for Justice. This is how the argument came about. We merely wanted to have some statement from the Minister as to his policy before we could discuss the matter. The Minister for Justice who was in office last year explained all the variations of the Vote, even where it was only a matter of a few pounds, as compared with the previous Estimate. It seems fairly obvious that if there has been a far-reaching change in the policy of a Department of this kind, the people have a right to expect their responsible Minister, if it be not rather irresponsible to apply the word responsible to the Minister, to give some account of what that change of policy is, and possibly to give some reason in justification of it. There seems to me to be a very fundamental change. When we were in office we felt, whatever our shortcomings, our weaknesses, our wrongness might be, that we as a Government, independent of us as individuals, possessed in us the governing authority of this country which, as I have so often said, involves the power of life and death. It does seem to me—I take the President's own words—that the present Government denies its own rights to govern this country. The President has said that when certain things happen majority rule will be accepted. The whole implication of the argument of the President and the general propaganda of the Government Party is that at the present moment this State is in a state of anarchy and must remain in a state of anarchy. It can have no legitimate government until certain changes are made in the law.

The preaching of the Government Party amounts to this, that as far as certain people whom we recognise, and whom immutable moral laws must recognise, as criminals are concerned, they are perfectly justified in using murderous or lethal weapons, or whatever they may be, against the people of this country or against the Government of this country until the laws of this country exactly fulfil what is required by those people who, for the good name of the country, we must assume are a very inconsiderable minority here. The whole proposal in the President's speech—there was no proposal in the speech of the Minister for Justice; he spoke for a long time but carefully avoided saying anything of a definite nature—is that until certain changes are made in the law of this country people are fully justified in refusing to submit to the law of this country. That is my conception of anarchy. With such a change in policy surely we have a right, and the people have a right, to get some exposition of it.

The President has spoken about the extraordinary condition of peace that has prevailed since they took office on, if I remember rightly, the 9th March. Possibly some six or seven weeks lie between the 9th March and 20th April. I would have liked to have had from the Minister for Justice an account of the crimes that took place in the six or seven weeks prior to the 9th March and then a picture of the enormous reduction in crime since the 9th March. That might have meant something. On Easter Sunday I understand that in Dublin and other places armed men who, according to the President, might rightly refuse to accept the legitimacy of the present Government—armed men, or rather men in military formation who had received instructions from their leaders not to bring their arms with them, marched through the streets of Dublin and in other places throughout the country. I understand that this organisation, which does not accept the authority of the Government here, is now organising on very considerable lines throughout the country. I have heard—I admit that if I were challenged to give evidence at the present moment I could not do so, but I think I could do it by tomorrow—of men being turned back upon roads since the 9th March because the I.R.A. were carrying out manoeuvres there.

Will the Deputy indicate where that happened?

Not twenty miles from where we are—in the Dublin mountains. I have heard of these things. They are matters of which I might be able to get confirmation later. The Minister for Justice was asked if he had received, through police channels, any reports of such drilling. He carefully dodged giving an answer to that question. Since the present Government came into power they have released prisoners. As far as I remember one of these prisoners was put into prison for attempting to murder, or doing grievous bodily harm to, Civic Guards. It would be interesting to know if that is now considered a non-criminal act by the present Government. I quite agree that as the Government denies its own right to govern this country—it seems to recognise that anyone who disagrees with certain laws has a right to refuse to obey and resist those laws—it has no right to keep anybody in prison.

Here is the fundamental change. We believe that when a Government receives authority to govern it is the duty of that Government to consider all the information at its disposal and to put down by every possible means any attempt there might be to overthrow its authority or the social order. We know that is not the President's idea. They could get reports from the police about the conditions in the country, but the President apparently prefers to look into his own heart. He will forgive us for not having that same complete conviction that the Irish people are an unimportant matter when compared with himself. He tells us that by doing away with the Coercion Acts—and every Act the Dáil passed is a Coercion Act—we are going to get into a condition of complete peace and contentment such as never existed in any State at any period of history. The President, to my mind, appears to have a wrong conception of human nature. He seems to think that human nature is politically perfect. He assures us that by merely removing certain laws in this country this armed organisation, this organisation which I believe is still illegal according to the law, will disband.

The President tells us blandly that he knows there is going to be complete peace. He did not say that he was looking into his heart when he made that remark. He did not even use the phrase "blood and tears"—he only uses that phrase in propaganda letters to England. He tells us that he knows there is going to be complete peace. Assuming that he does succeed in removing the Oath from the Treaty, he tells us that there is going to be no such thing as anybody wanting a communistic State in this country. No organisation is going to be used for the purpose of stealing land or anything like that. Is that assertion on his part based merely on a morose delectation after looking into his own heart, or is it based on some knowledge of the people?

Has he an agreement with the leaders of the I.R.A. that, provided the Bill he has introduced to-day becomes law, they are going to disband their organisation? Has he any agreement that in certain contingencies they are going to be completely law-abiding and submissive to every law that may be made or that is now the law of this country? Has he information to that effect? Has he a guarantee from these people? If he has not, how can he give us that assurance?

The Minister for Justice carefully dodged giving any information. He was asked did the police reports indicate that there was a complete cessation of illegal drilling. Does anybody know whether the police reports have indicated that or not? He has given no answer.

It seems to me that there has been a fundamental change. There has been a change from a Government that recognised its own authority and, in the interests and the well-being of the people, asserted that authority in making the law operative here. We have changed to a Government which asserts that until certain changes are made in the law men have the right to arm, to drill, to organise in resistance to and in defiance of this State because they disapprove of certain laws. That is a new theory of government. It seems to me to be fundamentally an immoral theory.

The Minister for Justice merely says that the Estimate he is introducing is really the Estimate produced by his predecessor. He has nothing to say upon matters that are submitted to him; he has nothing to say about his own policy or any conceivable policy in this country. Then the President, with an amount of simulated indignation, endeavours to cover up the incompetence of his Minister.

I must protest against the exhibition of shadow-boxing that we have had from the two Deputies who have just spoken from the opposite benches. If ever there was an exhibition of shadow-boxing, trying to find something to hit at but not getting it, we certainly have had it from the ex-Ministers who have spoken. I think the President was perfectly right in stating that all these exhibitions are due to disappointment on the part of those who were Ministers in the last Government because of the condition of perfect peace that we have had in this country since the Fianna Fáil Government took over control.

The Deputy who just spoke asked a question about the crimes that were committed during the last six or seven weeks. I am not aware of any crimes that were committed, but I am aware of crimes that were not committed and which were foreshadowed by the ex-Ministers prior to the change of Government. According to the members of the late Government we were told that the people could not go about, that a man would not be safe with a sixpence in his pocket if Fianna Fáil took over control. I am sure that ex-Ministers go about with one shilling in their pockets and more and they have not been waylaid on the roadside. We were told that crimes would take place, but these crimes have not taken place. We were told that men were to be shot in their homesteads and that nobody was to be safe; that people were to be hanged, drawn and quartered during the first six weeks of the new Government. But these crimes have not been committed. That is the position that I would like to bring to the notice of Deputies on the opposite benches. I want again to assert that the exhibition of shadow-boxing given here to-day by the members of the late Government is due to disappointment that these crimes have not taken place. The speeches we have heard are due to that alone.

So far as the state of the country is concerned I think there is peace, quietness and no dissension except the dissensions that exist in the ranks of Cumann na nGaedheal. I think that the fears which the ex-Minister for Justice talks about, and the terrible fears which he and every Deputy of the Cumann na nGaedheal Party had in mind are only unreal things. So far as the country is concerned it has no fears in its mind. If we take to-day's Order Paper we find that the Deputies on the Cumann na nGaedheal side instead of giving expressions to their fears about the present situation have declared most emphatically their confidence in the stability of the State. We find Deputy Finlay, a member of the Cumann na nGaedheal Party, asking the Minister for Industry and Commerce about the proposed opening of the Ringsend Bottle Factory. There is no sign of war or anarchy or fear in that question. The same Deputy has also a question about the starting of a cement factory in Skerries. There is no sign of fear displayed there. Deputy O'Brien, another Cumann na nGaedheal Deputy, does not show any signs of fear when he put several questions down, one of them asking the Minister for Industry and Commerce to start industries in the various localities about the country and not in Dublin. Even the ex-Minister for Agriculture, Deputy Hogan, has put down a question here and he put it down with a flare of trumpets. On the last occasion we met here he had a question down about an attack on a barracks in Cork. He was told to-day by the Minister for Justice that no such attack took place; and, I am sure, that was greatly to the disappointment of the ex-Minister for Agriculture. The Minister for Justice has told the Cumann na nGaedheal Deputies to-day that the barracks in Cork were not attacked.

When the Cumann na nGaedheal Deputies are asking questions about whether and when industries are to be started, others of them should not start shadow boxing here about disturbances and troubles coming in the future. The Cumann na nGaedheal Deputies have proved themselves bad prophets in the past. They should not continue to make trouble in the future by stating things here which they do not really believe, or to make prophecies about trouble in the country. The Minister for Justice has stressed the importance of the Department of Justice. It is only now we are beginning to realise it is an important office. The Minister has succeeded in keeping this country in a peaceful state to the satisfaction of everybody except the members of Cumann na nGaedheal. I do think that there is one other reason for their efforts in trying to create the impression that there is trouble brewing. They are trying to create an atmosphere that there is trouble brewing in order to strengthen the hands of a certain country abroad so that that country should beat this country in the negotiations that will take place in the near future about certain matters of interest to all the people here.

What negotiations?

What are the negotiations about?

Well certain—what shall we call them—certain secret documents that are passing to and fro between ourselves and England.

Suppose the Deputy refrained from naming them.

Very well; certain nothings have been happening, and I am sure the efforts of the ex-Ministers to-day are directed towards trying to defeat the present Government in the successful tackling of these nothings. I would like that the Opposition would take these things up in the interests of all sections of the community instead of trying to create an atmosphere abroad and give a picture of things that does not exist at all here—unrest and dissension. That is an unwise policy, and to my mind they ought to show a better spirit.

If the Minister for Justice speaks again I would like if he would be specific on this question of illegal drilling. It seems to me that the Minister deliberately did not answer the question put to him by Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney. When the President was speaking about it, he, too, was far from specific. At first he said that so far as he knew there was no illegal drilling. Then he amended that afterwards and he said he was sure there was not half as much illegal drilling as there was before the change of Government. There are many reports of illegal drilling here and there throughout the country coming in, and there are reports of increased illegal drilling. I do not know whether or not these reports are confirmed by the police, or whether the Minister for Justice has any information in regard to them. It has been certainly asserted in reports from many districts that illegal drilling is going on, that recruiting for the I.R.A. is going on, and that that organisation is consequently becoming more formidable. It is commonly rumoured, and it can hardly have failed to come to the ears of the Minister, that there is a league or pact between the leaders of the I.R.A. and the Government. If there is no truth in that, it would be well that the Minister should deny it specifically in the House. On the other hand, if there is any truth in the rumour that there is such a league or pact, perhaps the Minister would tell the nature of that league or pact. Is it that the I.R.A. shall do little publicly until the Oath Bill has been passed or is it a league or pact promising on behalf of the I.R.A. that they would disband their organisation in case the Oath Bill is passed and that they would then give no further trouble?

In the meantime is it the intention of the present Government to allow illegal drilling to go on to any extent and allow those who are organising it a free hand and that there should be no interference? If those who are engaged in that illegal drilling decide to carry arms publicly is it the intention of the Government to take any action against them? Or has there been an undertaking that for the time being there will be no public carrying of arms? I can assure the Minister that there is a great deal of unrest and dissatisfaction throughout the country in connection with this matter. There have not been outrages but the people fear that this organisation which is going on will lead to very serious results. They fear that the permission which appears to be given tacitly or explicitly to this organisation to be active and to expand will lead to outrages later on, to terror and perhaps to the creation of a Frankenstein which will devour this Government which at any rate appears to be conniving at its creation.

I want to put it to the Opposition, regarding the amount of talk they have about illegal drilling, that according to the late Ministry there was such a thing as legal drilling and such a thing as illegal drilling. So long as you were a loyalist, you could don the British Fascisti uniform, you could drill, and carry on as much as you liked. If you were a Baden Powell boy scout, you could drill and parade but if you were a member of Fianna Eireann your drilling was illegal. The Deputy who spoke last referred to reports which were coming, apparently, to Cumann na nGaedheal headquarters and not to the Government of the country about alleged illegal drilling. I hope these reports are as true as the reports they gave the country about the Red communism and the anti-God propaganda that existed before the passing of the Constitution (Amendment) Bill No. 17. Deputy Blythe has referred to an alleged alliance between the Ministry and the heads of the I.R.A. I think it would be more truthful if he referred to the alliance which exists between the heads of Cumann na nGaedheal and the ex-Army Comrades Association or the pensioners.

What is their attitude to law and order? What truth is there in the report of attempts by ex-Ministers to cause a revolt in the army and police forces on the advent of this Government? The late Ministers are very annoyed that the present Ministry are not pursuing their methods, that they are not creating internment camps and Arbour Hills. Instead of being a Bastille, Arbour Hill to-day is a place where you can go and honour the dead who raised the flag of revolt for a free and independent Ireland. The ex-Ministers are very much afraid of conditions in the country. We know the country more intimately than they do. Our knowledge of the country has not been obtained from an office in Dublin during the past ten years. We can assure them that peace and stability reign and that there is new hope in the hearts of the people—that now they have a Government which is not going to rule by having one set of Irishmen spying on the other but that will rule with judge and jury and which will endeavour to secure that the people get a living in their own country and that they shall not be exploited by the foreigner.

Much of this discussion would have been obviated if the Minister had followed precedent and given us some indication of his future policy. There has, undoubtedly, been a change of policy and the Minister should, at least, have stated the nature and extent of the change. The Minister answering some criticism by the ex-Minister for Justice, stated that since the present Government had taken office there had not been one outrage in the country. The Minister must know as well as I do and as well as every school-boy knows that the word "outrage" is capable of more than one definition. Is it an "outrage," according to the law, for an army or an alleged army not under the control of the State—an outside or second army—to drill in the open and to march in military formation to words of command?

Have you seen them?

Have you drilled with them?

If that is not an outrage, I am prepared to accept what the Minister's definition of outrage is. I agree that it may be highly technical. Perhaps the lawyers would give us a definition of that word "outrage" in relation to the matters which I have just outlined. The President has stated in this House on more than one occasion—I admire him for the openness of his statement and his intentions may be good—that he stands for one army and for one police force. I ask the President which army. Is it the army established under the aegis of this State or is it the army we read about—the I.R.A.

Or the Salvation Army.

This question is a little more serious than some Deputies think. I want to be satisfied about it. Those of us who have any stake whatsoever in the country, those of us who want to see social as well as national progress, are very much concerned indeed with the question as to what army President de Valera stands for. Is it for the National Army, as established by the State, or is it for the I.R.A. about which we read? I am delighted beyond measure that the statement made with regard to the peace obtaining in the country is very largely true. But that peace is not begotten of good government at the moment or of the things mentioned by President de Valera. The people to-day are in a state of unrest because they do not know what is going to take place next. We have on the Order Paper certain things which it would possibly be out of order to mention now, but there are two outstanding issues which are causing a good deal of unrest. It appears to me that this is a simulated peace, the kind of peace which often obtains before an eruption.

Certain illegal organisations—and I use the word "illegal" subject to correction by the Minister—exist in the country, which perhaps have not been brought officially to the notice of the present Minister. Anybody who reads the Press must have been struck by the fact that numbers of organisations which were established to overthrow the existing State through force of arms are now openly advertising, are now openly holding meetings, and in other ways making it evident that they are live organisations. Are these organisations legal or are they illegal? I am rather concerned about the definition of the word "illegal" now, because these organisations have been declared illegal, and I am not aware that they have again been declared legal. It may be that the release of certain prisoners will have a useful effect. It may be, as the Minister suggests, that in all countries even some of the basest and worst criminals have clemency exercised towards them, and that that is a good thing for the individual and for the State.

I am not going to suggest that the Minister has done anything wrong there, but I suggest that if ever a mistake was made in any State it was made here by not calling the Dáil together before certain Acts were taken off the Statute Book. While they were entitled to do that by virtue of the Constitution I think it would have been more graceful on their part, and a gesture of confidence in the House if they had consulted the Dáil. I feel that nobody in the House would have objected to the release of the prisoners, but some Deputies would certainly raise an objection to the suspension of the Public Safety Act for a time, at least. I suggest that the Minister has not treated the House fairly and I say that as one who is prepared to give the Minister and this Government the assistance I gave the last Government, when they proposed to carry out the law and to see that justice was done to the humblest member of the community.

But there are many things that the Minister might have explained. He might have told us what he proposed to do about the censorship of publications, and what his policy in that connection is. Does he propose to continue the policy of the last Government? If he proposes to alter that Act in any way the House should know that. That would be some indication of the Minister's policy on this Estimate. The sum of £40,218 is mentioned as the extent of this Estimate. Surely the least we could expect from a new and capable Minister—a capable lawyer—is that he should give us, under the various heads and sub-heads, some indications of his future policy. A very grave and a very heavy responsibility rests on the Minister for Justice. I think it was the ex-Minister for Justice suggested that this was the most important Department of State at present. We are comparatively new to Parliamentary institutions. Deputy MacDermot suggested to-day that we were new so far as the government of our own country was concerned. We are all aware of the impediments and handicaps suffered by the last Government. Those of us who are alive to what is going on around us know that there are a number of disgruntled persons who do not believe even in the policy of the present Government. They form a minority, the numerical strength of which I am not able to gauge. I am aware, however, that that minority, relatively small though it may be, is sufficiently strong to force its views on the present Government. If the tail is going to wag the dog it will be for the Minister for Justice, who is a capable lawyer, and I am sure will prove a good administrator in his Department, to indicate to this House what measures he proposes to take to put down the things I have mentioned —to put down drilling of every kind.

It is all very well to ask for proof from those who said that drilling was going on, that there were dumps in the country, and that some of the people responsible informed the Fianna Fáil leaders that these dumps could be released at any moment. It is very difficult to prove those things. Whether proofs are placed before the House or not, every Deputy knows that drilling is going on, and that there are arms in the hands of an army which is not the army officially recognised by this State. That cannot be contradicted. What steps does the Minister for Justice propose to take to put down that menace to the life of the State? The President said a few moments ago that he proposed to continue as he had begun. He cited the cases in which the late Government found it necessary to introduce legislation of a particularly drastic character. Perhaps if those measures had not been introduced President de Valera and his Ministers would not be sitting where they are to-day. It is all very well to say that those measures were not necessary, but anybody who has given careful and impartial examination to the facts of the case must readily admit that crimes had been committed, that there was a possibility of many more crimes being committed, but that immediately on the introduction and subsequent passing of those Acts in the Dáil that particular class of crime ceased. I do not want to justify the passing of those drastic measures in the Dáil. I am grieved that the necessity should have arisen for such legislation, and I sincerely hope that the present Ministry will not be under the necessity of introducing measures of that character. The Ministry can expect from me, and, I feel sure, from every member of the official Opposition, every help and co-operation in putting down the class of crime to which I have just referred. That assurance I give, and as the House is aware I am unattached, with the exception of, let me say, my leader, Deputy Dan Morrissey.

I stated that the Minister would have obviated all this discussion if he had given us even a synopsis of the policy of this most important Department of State. I hope he will have a very easy time in his Department, and that we will be able at the end of the period— the period I cannot define, because I do not know when a General Election is going to take place—to congratulate the Minister on the absence of crime of every kind in the State.

Deputy Blythe, when speaking on this matter, spoke of certain pacts and agreements that may or may not have been made. Deputy Blythe should be an expert on the making of pacts and agreements. He has also proved himself an expert in keeping those pacts and agreements to himself. Surely he should not expect other people to do what he did not think it worth his while to do: that is, when he made certain pacts and agreements to inform this House about them. Now he wants to know if there have been any pacts made outside this House extraneous altogether to the business of this House. He wants these things spoken about even if they have or have not taken place. The Deputy also spoke about illegal drilling, and the dangers accruing therefrom to this country. He spoke about the I.R.A. He said there were complaints coming in—we will presume to the headquarters of Cumann na nGaedheal—in regard to illegal drilling in the country, and, bearing that out, Deputy Anthony said that the I.R.A. had been established for the overthrow of this State. Now Deputy Blythe is one who should be able to inform Deputy Anthony that the I.R.A. was not created for the purpose of overthrowing this State.

The old I.R.A.

Because this State was not then in existence. Deputy Blythe was one of those who went round the country at one time and who knows more about recruiting for the I.R.A. and the drilling of the I.R.A. and the organisation of the I.R.A. than perhaps Deputy Anthony does. Deputy Anthony can certainly get all the information he wants from Deputy Blythe.

The ex-Minister for Justice told us that in all parts of the country illegal drilling was taking place, that there are bombs and dumps and all sorts of things throughout the country, that there are arms in the hands of men throughout the country, and all that in spite of the fact that for ten long years the late Ministry had all the machinery they set up for the express purpose of finding out where all these dumps and arms were, and the men who might be inclined to use them. As the President has pointed out, the late Ministry passed seventeen Coercion Acts for the express purpose of doing away with anybody who might be inclined to use the arms contained in those dumps for the purpose of fighting for Irish nationality. In spite of the fact that they passed seventeen Coercion Acts, and had all the special forces they set up—an army, a police force and the C.I.D.—the ex-Minister for Justice comes along at this stage of our history and talks a lot of nonsense about dumps. If he knows so much about dumps why did he not discover them during the last ten years, or during the period that he occupied the office of Minister for Justice? If the dumps are in existence now they must have been in existence then. He told us the dumps were there.

When Fianna Fáil attempted in any way in this House or outside of it to point out all the things that had not been done by the late Government to create employment they were told: "Please do not say these things because you are ruining the credit of the country; the people abroad will think that this country is a country not fit to speculate in, that it is not a country fit to come to, that it is not a country fit to come to tour in," but now on the eve of the Eucharistic Congress these people who could not discover dumps during the last ten years, have broadcast to the world that illegal drilling is taking place, and that in every back yard and in every field there is a dump. This is tantamount to saying to visitors who may think of coming here during the Eucharistic Congress: "Ireland is a safe place to stay out of." It is time that the Party opposite changed the record they have had on for the last ten years: dumps, drilling, trouble and Bolshevism and all the rest. It is time now that the ex-Government put on a new record. It is time they gave us something constructive instead of this destructive criticism. We had enough of their criticism and of their destruction for the last ten years. At least they might reserve to themselves this destructive criticism if they have nothing better to offer.

Mr. P. Hogan (Galway):

If the Deputy who has just spoken had any serious concern for the reputation of the country he should not have made that speech. We did not make any extreme charges at all. No one said there were dumps in every back yard and in every garden or that every man in the country was armed. It was the Deputy opposite who said that, and he said it for the purpose of making a political point. I think that Deputies will generally agree that we made our case in a rather moderate fashion.

[An Leas-Cheann Comhairle took the Chair.]

We asked for certain information which we are absolutely entitled to get, and I hope the Minister for Justice, when replying, will not forget to give it to us. It is perfectly true to say that there has been peace since Fianna Fáil took over. And I want to be quite moderate and to state the facts as I know them. Equally would it be true to say that there was absolute peace since we passed, before the Election, the Public Safety Act and since we made it unsafe to shoot jurymen. There has been absolute peace since. I want to put it to the Dáil as the first democratic Assembly in this free country—because who can deny that it is free now? We can have a Republic if we want it——

The Deputy need not be sarcastic.

Mr. Hogan

I am not trying to be sarcastic. Will the Deputy not interrupt? That was all right when the Deputy was in Opposition, but we are in Opposition now and we are trying to put our point of view reasonably and we should be heard.

We will hear you.

Mr. Hogan

I will get a hearing here without any sufferance. I want to put this to the first democratic Assembly in this country: there are two sorts of peace there is peace by maintaining the law and peace by surrender. I want to know which peace have we. Now that is the real question. I like peace. I never professed to be a soldier and have often said that the word is prostituted in this country. I want to see peace in this country at any price. Law, order and peace and the right of every man to manage his own affairs and to go about his business is much more important than politics. I want to see order and peace in this country and would be willing to make a great many sacrifices, material and otherwise, for it. Peace is, after all, the greatest blessing the world requires at the present time, but have we peace if it is peace on sufferance? It seems to me to be clear both from the circumstances and from President de Valera's speech that the I.R.A. have really said to the Government: "We will keep quiet while you are taking out the Oath, but when you have the Oath taken out we will then tell you what we will do."

I could go on, of course, and quote statements made in the official organ of the I.R.A. as to what they propose to do then. I do not propose to bring in that evidence at all. I merely call the attention of Deputies to the circumstances which they all know and to the speech made by the President. I put it to Deputies, and particularly to the Labour Party who profess to be the guardians of democracy in this country, that it is clear enough that the position is this: that they have said to the Government, to the alleged Government across the way, "There will be peace while you are taking out the oath and after that we will tell you what is happening." Is that the position? Because that is not peace, it is surrender and no democrat would buy peace at that price. If that is the position, the Deputies opposite are not the Government of this country. While we were sitting on those benches, we were the Government of the country, but if that is the position, they are not the Government of the country; they are only puppets and the Government is outside. I would be very glad to think it was not the position.

I do not know whether Deputies opposite, especially those sitting on the Front Bench, will agree with me, but I would be very glad to think it was not the position, because, as I say, I want peace in this country. I want all this politics forgotten. I want to give to the ordinary citizen a chance of settling down to mind his business, and whether you believe me or not, I tell the Dáil I would be very glad to think that that was not the position. But what are we to think? Prisoners have been released regardless of what they have done. They are free to parade and we know what they are saying officially. We know what they are saying in their papers, and if we have peace at the present time, is it going to last? I hope it will last, and I would go a long way to see it lasting, but this I do know, from whatever little experience I have, and whatever little knowledge I have, of conditions in other countries, that in no country in the world and at no time in the world's history did you ever have a second and irresponsible organisation without war and without trouble.

I think we are not asking anything unreasonable in this country when we ask the Minister here whether in fact there is that irresponsible—when I use the word "irresponsible" I mean not responsible to this Dáil—organisation, and what is his attitude to it, and whether the President of the Executive Council has stated the position properly and accurately when he said that, when, and if, certain things are done by this Dáil then he can get allegiance from that organisation. If that is the position there is no peace in this country. There is only a tyranny. If that is the position the people who make that statement and subscribe to that doctrine should go out of this Dáil and go into the I.R.A., because that is their proper place and not here, and this is only a puppet Parliament. I say, in the interests of this Parliament and of democracy in this country, that if that is the position: that law and order cannot run in this country without conditions, because of some veto from an outside body, this Parliament is not sovereign, and it is not the English people who are preventing its sovereignty but a body in this country who have no right here, good, bad or indifferent.

During the course of the recent General Election campaign a lady acquaintance of mine was walking along Rathmines Road one day. Passing the Cumann na nGaedheal Committee Rooms she saw a poster which amused her. It was entitled "Devvy's Circus." She was so amused that she decided to go into the Committee Rooms and ask for a copy of it. She did so and was supplied with it. She asked the Election Agent in the Committee Rooms what were the prospects of the Cumann na nGaedheal Party in the Election. He did not appear to be very hopeful and she asked: "Is it true that Fianna Fáil may win?" He got so agitated that he took her by the arm to the door and said: "Do you see those gutters; they will be running red with blood if a Fianna Fáil Government gets in." That is the type of propaganda that Cumann na nGaedheal fought the Election on, and every speech delivered here to-day by the Deputies opposite has been designed to justify it. In fact, as they have been told from this side of the House, there has been peace. Their campaign has been proved to have been without foundation, and they are trying to cover up their tracks here now by making speeches about dangers that will arise in the future, in order to prevent people thinking about dangers they foretold in the past which did not come true. The Deputy opposite must have been, I think, reading some of the writings of the late James Connolly, since he quitted office. One thing James Connolly said was that a true prophet is the person who tries to create the future he foretells, and the Deputy, having foretold trouble in this country resulting from the election of a Fianna Fáil Government, he and the other ex-Ministers are to-day deliberately trying to incite it. What purpose is there behind these speeches that are delivered? What aim are Deputies opposite trying to achieve, but to prevent and destroy the peace that does exist, and which they admit exists. The ex-Minister for Agriculture tells us that he hopes these conditions are going to continue. I find it very hard to credit that. Certainly I think that if such a hope was generally held by his colleagues opposite, we would have had different types of speeches to listen to than those we have had to endure for the past couple of hours.

Mr. Hogan

Will you answer my question?

Certainly, in so far as it is desirable that the question should be answered. The fact is that you have got peace here. We have peace; face up to that.

Mr. Hogan

Admitted.

We have had Deputy Fitzgerald tying himself into a black knot with theories, and Deputy Hogan tying himself into a knot with words, merely for the purpose of disguising the fact that there is peace, and that the people of this country do not care a rap on what theories or what formula that peace has been created. There it is.

Mr. Hogan

On a point of explanation, surely the Dáil will remember my first statement, and it was the whole trend of Deputy Fitzgerald's speech, that there is peace at the moment, but what sort of peace? The Minister need not worry his head on that point. Come to the point and answer the question.

Deputy Hogan need not worry at the moment if that peace is maintained. The Deputy said that there were two ways of getting peace: one by maintaining law and the other by surrender. I only know of one kind, and that is the peace that is based on maintenance of law, and the peace we have had is based on maintenance of law; and it is the intention and purpose of this Government to maintain the law, and if the Deputy thinks it is possible to get peace on any other basis, his experience in office should have taught him that it cannot. We have had here proposals to abrogate the law and Constitution; to tear up every safeguard the ordinary citizen had over his rights, and as a result of that tearing up and abrogation of the law, they did not succeed in getting the peace which now exists without the aid of Coercion Acts. Let the Deputy remember that the methods that this Government has taken to get peace have been endorsed by the people and that the methods he stood for have been repudiated by the people. It is not two months since that policy for which they stood was rejected by the people of this country. Do not let them forget it, because they appear to be in danger of forgetting it. They talk here to-day as if they still had the responsibility of administering the law. They have not. We have, and we are going to administer it. This is not an alleged Government. It is, in fact, the Government of this part of Ireland, and it is going to assert every authority it has to act in that capacity; but it has been pointed out not merely to-day, but on a number of occasions for years past, that the title of this Dáil to legislate for this country is faulty, and it is faulty because of this reason, that it is not open to every section of our people to get representation here. They cannot deny that. We are going to make it possible for them to get that representation. We are going to eliminate that fault from the title of the Dáil to govern, and when that is done it will not be possible for anybody to claim justification for taking any action not approved by the majority here.

Can they claim justification now?

I do not care what they claim now.

The Minister has stated that when certain things have been done, it will not be open to any person to claim justification. Would the Minister say that it is open to them to claim justification at the moment?

That does not matter a rap; the fact is they are doing it.

Will the Minister answer the question? Does the Minister consider that it is open to any person in this country to-day to claim justification for doing any acts not sanctioned by this Dáil?

Certainly not, and we never took any other attitude—never, at any time.

I am quite satisfied.

Then taking out the Oath does not alter the position?

Except in so far as it does this, that it makes permanent peace a possibility that the late Government never made it.

That does not alter the position according to you.

This Party stands for the same principles as were enunciated in 1916. The first of these is majority rule, the right of the representatives elected by the people of the country to make laws binding on these people without fear, favour, rent or render, or permission from any other authority on earth. That is what we are standing for. We are going to see that majority rule will operate, and that it will be effective majority rule; in other words, that it will be possible to ascertain exactly what the will of the majority is by giving them every opportunity of expressing it. We have had Deputy Fitzgerald asking do we contemplate some possibility at some time in the future of somebody advocating communism? Of course, we contemplate that. It is open to people to advocate communism, and if they can get a sufficient number of people to elect them in support of a communistic doctrine, to come in here and advocate it. It is no crime to advocate any political policy, and we are not going to make it a crime. We are going to try and make the Dáil representative of every section of opinion in the country. It is by doing that that we can achieve more to secure stability and ordered progress than the late Government did by seventeen Coercion Acts during their ten years in office. Deputy Hogan has expressed the hope that this peace will last. I can assure him that he will get his hope.

Mr. Hogan

I hope so.

The last speaker has referred to the disturbing speeches made upon this topic. What more disturbing speech has been put before this House to-day than the one to which we have just listened? Look at the confusion of it. First of all they claim that the speeches that came from this side were likely to cause disturbance and were meant to cause disturbance. What did these speeches amount to? A request to the Minister for Justice that he might repair the defects of his opening speech and state certain things which the Dáil had a right to expect from him at the beginning; that he might state whether in fact any drilling was going on; were there any police reports to him about drilling; and what was the attitude of his Department towards drilling, if such was reported to him? What disturbance is likely to be caused by these questions? What disturbance is not likely to be allayed if there is not a proper answer to these questions? Considerable disturbance if the Minister for Justice was allowed to leave this House in the befogged state it was in after he had spoken, as representing a country which is getting disquieted over rumours, about which he must be well aware, that there is drilling going on, but which he could kill, by a statement in this House, if he said, first of all, that the rumours were untrue, or, secondly, if he said that the rumours were true and announced the fact that then he was going to take action. What can the Minister for Justice say now? The Minister for Industry and Commerce has fouled the tracks for him. We are going to have peace, according to the Minister for Industry and Commerce, based upon the maintenance of the law. If he had stopped there it was a satisfactory statement. But he had to give an interpretation of what the law is, and he gave it in this cryptic phrase: that he had never burked the issue that the title of this Dáil to legislate was faulty. What law are we operating under?

A Deputy

English.

A law that is faulty. What law is going to be maintained?

A Deputy

Irish.

A law that is faulty. Is it that law that is going to be maintained? If the title of this House to pass legislation is faulty, is there a good title in any other assembly in this country to pass legislation?

No, certainly not.

Then we are in a state of anarchy.

Mr. Hogan (Galway):

There is no law.

Is there any law in the country at all? Where do we get it? The assertion here to-night, no longer by a man in opposition but by a member of the Government, is that the title of this House to legislate is faulty. We have asked the unfortunate Minister for Justice is he going to maintain the law and his colleague tells us distinctly and clearly that all the law passed by this House is faulty. That is the most disturbing feature of the debate here to-night. What is that but a declaration to the people outside that they should go ahead? This is not merely a surrender but an abject surrender on the part of the Government and a declaration that they have surrendered and are in full flight. Look at the next phrase. Permanent peace is a possibility, according to the Minister for Industry and Commerce, if the Oath is taken out. Was there any implication in that in regard to the present or the period that is to pass, until the possibility that this Oath may be taken out? What is the threat behind it? That there is going to be war in this country if the Oath is not taken out. The unfortunate Minister for Justice is to operate against that by trying to enforce a law that is faulty, passed by a House that has no title to make it, and upheld by servants who suffer from the same defect because they are paid by moneys voted by this House whose title is completely at fault. We are to have peace in this country or the possibility of permanent peace in this country if the Oath is taken out.

We passed certain legislation last year. We founded it upon certain crimes that had been committed in the country. Do people here let their minds run back over these crimes and the circumstances under which they were committed? Let me leave out the killing of Carroll. Let me simply recall the names of Curtin and Ryan. Are we to think that the people whose consciences did not prevent them killing, in the way in which they did kill Curtin and Ryan, are going to have their consciences eased because a certain formula is not to be sworn by certain representatives whom they may decide to send to this House? Is that the conscience for which we have to cater in this country? Apart from what their crimes may be, are we going to cater for a minority in the country simply because we are told that there is a possibility that there may be peace, and if there is peace and these people do not raise more objections to this House, then this House may retrospectively validate all that it had done previously and we may emerge a completely legislative assembly with power over the citizens of the country?

This has been a most disturbing day, disturbing because the Minister for Justice seemed in the beginning to be shirking the issues he must have known were bound to be raised on this Vote of his, but still more disturbing and perplexing because the Minister for Industry and Commerce thought fit to intervene in the debate in his aid, and has only left us with this statement that I reiterate again: that from a member of the Government we have the declaration that the title of this House is faulty. Still the Minister for Industry and Commerce, after making that comment, goes on to say that peace is going to be had in this country based on the maintenance of the law. What law and from what House does that law proceed?

We heard a lot of statements on law and order to-day from the late law and order Government that has just gone out of office, but we have to consider the condition in which we find things after the demise of the late Government. We heard statements here to-day from any amount of repentant gunmen. We had Deputy Desmond Fitzgerald charging the Minister for Justice with releasing criminals and we had Deputy Anthony, a most repentant gunman, following him up and talking about criminals also. Who are those criminals who have been released by the Minister for Justice? One is a constituent of Deputy Anthony who served three years in the Government torture chambers——

I congratulated the Minister for Justice on letting him out.

Yes, but you said even worse criminals, and I certainly object to Deputy Anthony using the word "criminal" addressed to Con Healy in view of the work he did for Ireland.

The Minister used the word in the same connection.

He did not, and I am as grateful as you are to the Minister for releasing him.

On a point of order. I object to Deputy Corry trying to put me in the cart in that way. I think the Minister himself used the word "criminal" in the same connection as I did. What I did was to congratulate the Minister on the clemency he exercised, and I pointed out that it was the prerogative of the Executive to exercise clemency.

I suppose Deputy Anthony knows that that is not a point of order.

The Minister alluded to these men as criminals, but Deputy Anthony followed it up by saying even worse criminals when they were released.

On a point of correction. I would point out that the Minister in his speech said there was one convict. If I am wrong I will apologise, but I think he used the word "convict" for some person who was convicted and who was released. I think the Minister will bear me out.

I want to say this here— Deputy Desmond Fitzgerald used the same phrase—Con Healy carried his gun for Ireland—and it was a live gun and not a timber one, long after Deputy Anthony threw his timber gun in the Lee. I do not want to be personal at all in this—not for a moment.

Order. Deputy Anthony's action or the action of any other Deputy has nothing whatever to do with this Vote. I must ask Deputy Corry to confine himself to the motion before us.

My conscience is clear. I never shot anyone or murdered anyone yet.

There was nothing in your gun; it was only timber.

made an observation which was not heard.

I will ask Deputy Anthony to withdraw that.

I will not.

Deputy Corry will have to continue his speech on the motion or else sit down.

On a point of order, may I draw attention to the fact that Deputy Anthony has made reference to murders by Deputy Corry. I think it is most uncalled for.

I did not hear the remark.

I heard it and Deputy Corry asked him to withdraw it.

I did not hear it and I cannot ask anybody to withdraw a remark I did not hear.

I promise Deputy Anthony will have to withdraw that very soon. I will not ask him to withdraw it here at all. I know where I will ask him to withdraw it. We may also hear a lot of talk about dumps. There are a lot of people in the dumps. For the past two months people in Cork have been in the dumps and have been holding special meetings to know what is to become of their pensions out of the £250,000 fund dragged out of the sweat of the unfortunate people for the last few years and handed over to them. We heard the late Minister for Agriculture telling us about an agreement between the I.R.A. and the present Government and amplifying that agreement by saying we will help you until you have the Oath abolished and then we will see what we will do next. We do not hear any word about the agreements that Deputy Hogan's executive formed with certain Deputies in this House and with a certain organisation outside of it which said: "We will help you as long as you give us five times the value of our land and put that in our pockets and clap it down on the unfortunate tenants you have misrepresented for the last ten years." Now when we see our industries being wiped away one by one under this kind of agreement for the support of a few to keep them in office we hear no talk about that agreement. I would like to hear something from the benches opposite upon that matter.

I would like to hear something from Deputy Corry about the motion for a certain amount for the Department of the Minister for Justice. Deputy Corry will be good enough to come to that at once.

I am coming to that. I am very glad you mentioned it for fear I would forget it. There are certainly some matters I would like to hear about from the Minister for Justice. I would like to hear for instance whether those gentlemen who invented the kicking cow in Clare are still members of the Force and drawing salaries. I would like to hear further in regard to the most important question on the Order Paper to-day in regard to the attack on the Civic Guard Barrack in Drinagh in County Cork. I would like to know if the officer responsible for the delay in that most alarming report, which would have meant so much for the Cumann na nGaedheal Party, but which was three weeks too late, and which should have been published the day before the election—but unfortunately owing to some difficulty travelling down the long road to West Cork did not come out until three weeks after—is still in the Force.

Will the Deputy sit down for a moment please. It is accepted here that no officer in the employment of the State should be indicated in such a way here as that he could be recognised subsequently. If the Deputy is going to make any allegation against any officer in the State he should not do so in such a way that that officer can be recognised.

I think that is very clear. We always hear a lot about police reports. I should think they got enough of police reports the last day. This is a very definite report that appeared in the public Press and upon which we had a question put here to-day by Deputy Hogan. We all know what the effect of this report would be if it had been blazoned in the pages of the "Independent" or the "Cork Examiner" the day before the elections, as an attack by two armed sections on the Civic Guard station in Drinagh. I seriously suggest to the Minister for Justice that the gentleman who kept that report three weeks late should be looked up.

I want to know definitely whether those gentlemen who were responsible for outrages in this country during the last four years and who were definitely shielded here week after week until we had to refer to the stereotyped reply that came from the late Minister for Justice, as the gramophone reply, are to be continued in the Force. That is what I want to know and what I am entitled to know. These are matters which should engage the attention of the Minister for Justice. So far as the work in his Department is concerned there are other matters I wish to suggest to him. One is that I suggest that the Department should seriously consider the enormous amount of money appearing in the Estimates for new barracks. I suggest that the Minister should seriously look into that question and see whether these new barracks are necessary or not.

I think the Deputy is mistaken in thinking that the Estimates for new barracks are included in this Estimate.

I am alluding to the work of the Minister's Department. These new barracks are in another Estimate and they are being erected under the policy of the Minister's Department.

The Minister for Justice is not responsible in that connection. It comes under another Vote.

I would suggest to his Department lessening the numbers of Civic Guards owing to the peaceful conditions that now prevail in the country. I think we are perfectly safe in lessening them and in closing down many barracks which are unnecessary. In that way we will save a lot of money for the State. I would suggest that very seriously to the Minister. In connection with the storm which has been aroused here to-day, I would like to state that the only disturbing elements that I know of in the country, and that I have seen drilling during the last eight or nine years, are uniformed Baden-Powell Scouts, as they call themselves, Girl Guides and all the rest of them. I have seen boys younger than they, who went out the following week and who did not do half the illegal drilling, brought before the District Court, and fined or put to jail. If we want peaceful and ordered conditions here, this Government is responsible for law and order, and will be responsible for law and order, but I hope if it ever comes to the day when they will have to have the kind of law and order we have experienced in this country during the last seven or eight years, that they will decently get out before they lend themselves to that condition of affairs. The Minister for Justice knows the conditions in which he found decent boys in the torture chambers in the old bastille in Dublin. I think that experience should be enough, and those who are responsible for that experience are very safe in keeping their mouths shut here, for if I had my way they would get a taste of it.

I have written to the Minister for Justice in connection with the proposed new barracks. Perhaps there has been some misunderstanding on the part of Deputy Corry and myself, but certain advertisements were issued and we took it for granted that new barracks were to be erected in Kerry. Therefore, I did communicate with the Minister for Justice on the question. I understand now that no such scheme will be carried through. There was an item in last year's estimate of £1,500 for each of at least four barracks in Kerry. The Minister at the moment has intimated to me that it will not be discussed now but later. I would like to impress upon him that if at all possible the erection of these barracks in Kerry or in any other county should be deferred, and that the money proposed for them would be far more remuneratively spent by providing employment in other ways than in the erection of barracks or the repair of barracks either.

Opposition Deputies have referred to peace and prosperity. I would point out one real menace to peace in rural portions of the Co. Kerry. Certain members of the detective forces have done terrible things in their time. They have gone so far as to torture innocent men from political motives, and these forces are still retained in Kerry in certain rural districts. I would ask the Minister at least, pending a revision or disbandment of these forces, to remove them from the districts in which they did desperate things against certain sections of the people. I would point out very strongly that it would be a real basis of peace if such elements were removed or if there was an intimation that in the very near future the Minister could accomplish that.

I would be glad if the Minister would throw some further light on a matter which was the subject of a question here to-day. In a supplementary question to that asked by Deputy Hogan, I asked the Minister if he was aware that a contradiction to the statement that whatever occurred in Drinagh on a certain night was due to a labour dispute, had appeared in the Press. The Minister was not aware of that statement and, of course, I accept the Minister's statement fully. I would like to say that I live within a few miles of that particular place and I would be very much surprised to find that a dispute of that kind existed three or four miles away without my hearing it. I am aware that a certain labour organisation with which I am connected has a branch in the locality, and that the repudiation I referred to emanated from that branch. I cannot conceive of a labour dispute existing there under any circumstances. The little village itself is the centre of a poor farming district. The people living there are small farmers, and the only employment that would be given to people in the locality would come from the management of the local co-operative creamery. The creamery is deservedly popular with the community. It has been of advantage to the small farmers and I cannot know of any conceivable grounds for dispute. I say that in justice to the workers of the district who would necessarily be implicated in any dispute of that kind. There is a tendency, unfortunately, to throw the blame on workers for all ills. Labour disputes we are told lead to a lack of confidence, injure the credit of a district and things of that kind. It is unfortunate that a statement of this kind should be made without very clear ground. I recognise that the Minister has not been many weeks in office and that he could not get this information as quickly or as expeditiously as he might otherwise have done. If the Minister has got any further information on the matter I would like if he would give it in the course of his reply.

Arising out of the references to disturbing factors in the country, I would like the Minister for Justice to state if he is aware that there has been a rumour down the country that a prominent member of Cumann na nGaedheal recently visited a high dignitary of the Catholic Church to canvass his view or the views of the Church on an armed attempt to prevent Fianna Fáil from taking over the reins of Government in this country. Is the Minister for Justice aware that that rumour has been abroad?

I regret that after I had informed the Deputies of this House that last year my predecessor in this office had not made a general statement of policy in introducing this Estimate, they did not take my word. I do not quarrel with Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney. Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney came here with a speech, so eloquent and so beautifully phrased, that one would almost suspect that it had been carefully prepared. Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney suggested, quite inadvertently, that I had omitted to follow the ordinary precedent and make a statement of policy. I drew the attention of Deputies to the fact that last year's report of the debate on this Estimate showed that no such statement had been made and that in proposing this Vote Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney, as Minister for Justice, made in substance the statement I have made, elaborated by slight explanations as to immaterial discrepancies in the Vote. A number of speakers afterwards thought fit to reiterate the previous charge. I do not propose to reciprocate that treatment. I think in the interests of the House it is desirable that a Deputy's statement as to a fact will be accepted. I will accept a statement of fact coming from the other side though I may not accept a statement of opinion.

As my statement was not accepted, I think it right to refer the House to Vol. 38 of the Debates for last year. If Deputies will refer to pages 346 and 347 of that volume they will see that the statement I made here was absolutely accurate. The insinuations that have been made, to use a phrase twice repeated by Deputy Fitzgerald, that I was dodging something, are entirely unwarranted. The Deputies opposite have not yet recovered from the surprise that normal conditions and normal government have given them. They seem astonished that it is not necessary for a Minister for Justice, in tendering this Vote to the House, to make a long statement in regard to rumours and things that are passed, some of them almost forgotten.

I want to repeat what I said before, that the law that has been in force during the six weeks that I have filled this office will be enforced and that there will be no discrimination as between citizens.

Deputy Fitzgerald, Deputy Blythe and other Deputies have referred to this matter of drilling and asked what is my attitude towards drilling. I assure the House that in the six weeks I have been in this office I have not received a single substantiated complaint from any citizen that he has been put to any inconvenience or that he has been terrified by drilling or by the use of lethal weapons.

Has the Minister received any reports from the Guards?

I would expect more perhaps from Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney than from some of his colleagues. If Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney will allow me to proceed, I say I have not received a single substantiated complaint. I use that adjective deliberately because one rather detailed statement came to me through the police of firing at a house near Cork, of a fairly prominent gentleman having been terrified by shots discharged outside his house and of the terrible fright that his wife received from firing outside his house, coupled with an application that I should give this gentleman permission to use a revolver. The Civic Guards investigated the whole matter with thoroughness. It was found that the discharges which had occasioned so much real alarm, on the wife's part at all events, and which occasioned so much trouble to the Civic Guard and even to me were the discharges from the engine of a motor car, ordinarily called backfiring. The owner of the motor car was traced. All the details were established after a great deal of investigation and trouble on the part of the officers of the Guards. It was all established, strange as it may appear, even to the satisfaction of the complaining parties. I think everyone, including those immediately concerned, is now convinced that the wish, to some extent, inspired the thought in that case near Cork that shots had been fired, but there was no foundation for it.

On the matter of drilling, I would like to know what is the stand that is being taken by Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney, Deputy Fitzgerald and Deputy Blythe. Do they want me to interfere with every procession that passes through the streets? Do they want me to interfere if words are spoken to ensure that the procession will not degenerate into a rabble? I listened very keenly when Deputy Fitzgerald stated that on Easter Day men in this City paraded exhibiting arms. I have made I must say exhaustive inquiries as to what happened on Easter Day. I thought I was about to receive some new and very valuable information, but Deputy Fitzgerald seemed suddenly to take a grip of himself and after having made a statement to the House he proceeded then to tell the House that it really was not so, because he said these men parading or marching through the streets of Dublin on Easter Day did not carry arms because they had received orders from their leaders not to carry arms. Deputy Fitzgerald spoke as if it were still more heinous that they had not carried arms. Deputy Fitzgerald said that those men would have carried arms if they had not been ordered by their leaders not to carry arms. I wish Deputy Fitzgerald had disclosed the source of that information so that we may form some sort of estimate of the value of the Deputy's statement. How does he know that? I am supposed by certain Deputies to have anticipated speeches of the type of Deputy Fitzgerald's. I feel that that is imposing too much on me. Deputy Fitzgerald with that politeness which seems to have been suddenly transferred from these benches to the opposite side of the House then stated that I was carefully dodging the matter of drilling. I am not dodging the matter of drilling.

Will the Minister tell us——

Wait and you will hear all about it.

Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney asked me—let him correct me if I misrepresent him—to tell this House the contents of the reports that I have received from the police. Is that Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney's conception of the responsibility of my office? Let Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney state that drilling occurs in this townland or in that townland, that it occurs in this village or in that village, and I will tell Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney what the police say about it. But if Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney thinks that I am to read to this House statements received by me as I receive them daily, sometimes in large numbers, from the police as to what they hear or as to what they suspect and so on, then I say that I am not convinced that that is my duty. The efficient police force of this country must necessarily make reports to me of rumours as to this, that and the other. But those are not for the House, and Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney knows well they are not for the House.

Might I intervene?

Let Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney wait a moment before he repeats the charge of his colleague that I am dodging. I am making a statement now on a big fundamental matter, the use that is to be made from these benches of confidential police reports. I am making a statement here, and I think it is important to make that statement on this Estimate. I am making a statement here that reports received by me from the police, confidential reports, will be treated confidentially by me, and that if any Deputy here makes a specific allegation as to anything having occurred I will state the result of my police inquiries in regard to that matter. I want to make that clear. I will treat this present occasion as a most exceptional occasion. Let it not be thought that I am now creating a precedent. Let not that be imagined. I want to make that clear, too. But as I am charged here in terms by an ex-Minister, charged twice with dodging, and, as other ex-Ministers insinuated it, that I have avoided the matter, I will now take a course the wisdom of which I confess I slightly doubt, and it is this: I have received from the police a report in regard to drilling. I will go further. I will state where it was. In the mountains of Co. Louth. So far as I can recollect at the moment that is the only report of a specific nature in regard to drilling that I have received. I have received reports of rumours that there have been drillings. A few, not many. That I have received a few is a fact. I did not intend to make that statement. Certainly when I came into the House I did not intend to make it, but I think that after the somewhat irresponsible speeches that have been delivered from the benches opposite, speeches calculated to excite grave alarm in the minds of citizens here, I think the members of the House will pardon me for having taken a course of accepting the challenge, a course that it is not my present intention to take again.

Let me go further on this matter of dodging. Our people here are not a criminal people. They are a law-abiding people. As statistics show, our Irish people are a law-abiding people, and no amount of eloquence from the benches opposite will prove that they are a people with criminal tendencies, because that is not a fact. It is said that they drill. We all know, of course, that there has been drilling in this country. There has been drilling in this country certainly for the last 16 or 17 years. There was drilling in this country during the glorious régime of the late Government. That Government took steps, the nature of which has been already indicated, several times to stop that drilling. They seem to have taken these steps without avail. May we not be permitted to pass one Bill with a view to having one Government, a Government not merely entitled to govern because we are entitled to govern, but a Government whose rule will be broad-based on the will of the people? May we not be permitted to introduce one Bill, a Bill for the removal of that Oath, and at least see if it will lead to the happy results that Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney sought, but sought in vain.

Do not be talking nonsense. Don't you know that you had the country dripping in blood all the time you were there?

That is absolutely untrue.

You would put a few more behind bars if you could and you would execute more if you could. You will hear more about it.

The Deputy should let the Minister proceed.

I have enlarged a good deal, but I am still merely enlarging what I said in my first attempt to conclude this debate, namely, that we will enforce the law. I have no direct evidence of this drilling at all, and I have indicated the extent of it. Such of it as has occurred has not materially interfered with the maintenance of law and order. Even Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney will confess that in fact has been so during the last six weeks. After the speedy passage of the Bill which received its First Reading to-day, I venture to think that Deputies opposite will have to find some new theme for alarming speeches. They will find that this matter of drilling will have become quite out of date.

I think it was Deputy Fitzgerald who referred to the stealing of other people's land and other topics of that kind, as if that had been going on. Probably if the view of the police were to be taken they would say that never since the Civic Guard force was instituted have they been so pestered for information in regard to the maintenance of law and order as they have been during the past six weeks. I have made a very extensive and exhaustive inquiry, and I am not aware that anybody's property has been interfered with during the past six weeks or that interference was allowed to proceed with impunity. There was a measure of interference near Athlone. I venture to think I was at least as rapid as Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney would have been in taking cognisance of that, but I find that there was someone who was even more alert than I was. The police authorities had already taken cognisance of it and it had already been dealt with.

Deputy Fitzgerald made a set speech, apparently, and he has gone away; they have all gone away. Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney has returned. Will Deputy Fitzgerald tell me whose property has been stolen without the thief being apprehended? We have heard a great deal in the way of generalities. I have been invited by someone to deal not merely with the past six weeks but with the period long before we took office. I have had to resist a grievous temptation all the time to deal with that period. I have read some of the speeches made by former Ministers with regard to Communism, which apparently would not be doctrinaire but would take the form of violent seizure of other people's lands, property and money.

We have all read the results of the voting at the last General Election. We have seen that the Communist candidates received a number of votes so low as to be negligible. We have even had the delightful experience of reading in one of the newsprints of the city that had it not been for the Constitution Amendment Act the Communist candidates would have got an enormous number of votes and that proves what a blessed thing the Constitution Amendment Act was. I will concede any merits I can possibly discern in the Constitution Amendment Act, but being one of the dull people from the Midlands, I have been unable to see why in the secrecy of the ballot the Communists, so numerous, so violent and so intense here, did not indulge their fancies by voting for the Communist candidates.

The Constitution Amendment Act was very far-reaching; I could never quite understand how wide the net could be spread; it was a sort of elastic net. I do not know if there was something in that Act which would have enabled the Minister for Justice, if he had continued to occupy the office, to examine the ballot papers. Is that what they were afraid of? Have we not had proof positive quite recently that the apprehensions in regard to this matter of seizing property, thieving and a general lawless-mindedness on the part of our people were quite unfounded? It was almost neurasthenic.

Deputy Anthony asked is it an outrage to give words of command in regard to processions. I am afraid I am not the best authority for a precise definition as to what an outrage is and I do not think the definition matters very much. I probably have a greater measure of dislike for these processions than any other Deputy in the House. I regard a lot of them as a public nuisance. We have them here at different times of the year. We have them in the spring, we have some of them in the summer. Even when chill November comes, when the winter is setting in, people will not refrain from processioning through the streets. I wish to goodness all these processions in Dublin and elsewhere could be dropped.

I will not go so far as to say that they are an outrage. I will not go so far as to say that, as long as we have to endure those wretched processions, the giving of certain words of command, words borrowed from the military dictionary which will keep the procession in some sort of order, whether the people who are in that procession are adorned with red poppies or with Easter lilies—I do not care which—are an outrage. Words borrowed from the military vocabulary which will keep people in some sort of order—as to whether those words are an outrage, well I would not like to pontificate, but I think if we are to have these processions they are not an outrage. I do not want to be misunderstood in regard to that. Military words of command necessary to prevent one of these, to my mind, wholly unnecessary processions degenerating into a mob are probably, from a practical point of view, desirable, though from a legal point of view there may be a great deal in what Deputy Anthony says. From the practical point of view, and taking the facts as they have been created chiefly by Deputies on the opposite side— taking things as we find them—they have a practical use.

Deputy Hogan says there are two kinds of peace, the peace of government and the peace of surrender. As an abstract statement one cannot quarrel with Deputy Hogan's statement. But you have to think then of your method of government. You have various models to choose from. You have the model of the former regime in Russia; you have the model of certain modern States on the Continent of Europe to-day. You can carry that idea of strong government too far. If we succeed in materially advancing the cause of law and order, as a result of removing the Oath, I think we will have gone a long way towards justifying the choice the country made recently. I regard a method of that sort—the removal of the cause of the irritation, the cause of potential turbulence—of just as great efficacy as the use of the mailed fist. I think that that is a fair enough view to take. A few other matters were mentioned by Deputies. If I overlook any of them, I hope they will remind me. I have dealt with the observations of the Deputies on the Front Bench—Deputy Blythe, Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney, Deputy Fitzgerald and Deputy Hogan. I have dealt with the matter raised by Deputy Anthony. Deputy Corry has made some charge of delay of a sinister kind against officers, or an officer, of the Civic Guards in regard to the alleged attack on Drinagh Barracks, which formed the subject of a question by Deputy Hogan, of Galway, to-day. I am aware that you, A Leas-Chinn Comhairle, ruled the observations out of order, but as the observations have been made I claim your indulgence to make a few remarks. Before Deputy Hogan put the question here, I had read the statement in the newspaper early on the morning on which it appeared. I at once got into touch, by telephone, with the Commissioner of the Garda. If Deputy Corry imputes that from that moment there was the slightest delay on the part of any officer of the Garda concerned, he is mistaken. The officers of the Garda, high and low, who were appealed to by me to assist in obtaining a statement of the facts in regard to what had occurred at Drinagh, acted, in my opinion, with great promptness. The result of their investigations could not be communicated to this House as early as I would have wished. Deputies will remember that Deputy Hogan put his question on the 15th March. At that time, many of us, including Deputy Hogan, thought that the House would sit on the 16th. It did not sit on the 16th March. If it had, the information which was communicated to the House to-day would have been communicated then. Fearing there might be any uneasiness about this matter, I did not await the reassembly of the House, but, through the Press Bureau, I communicated the statement which the House has heard to-day, so that the public might, in a reasonably early time, learn what had occurred. I want to make perfectly clear that, from the moment the article referred to appeared in the Dublin papers, the Guards concerned acted with alertness and, in my judgment, with a good deal of skill and ability.

Can the Minister give the House some more information as to the reasons why he thinks this brawl was due to a local labour dispute?

I propose to deal further with that. Deputy Davin may not be aware that his colleague, Deputy Murphy, referred to the matter. Deputy Murphy referred to portion of my answer to-day. I shall not read the answer in full now. The part that Deputy Davin and Deputy Murphy have in mind is the concluding sentence: "This question appears to have arisen out of a local labour dispute...." I do not know how far the objection taken by Deputy Davin and Deputy Murphy to that part of the answer may be due to the need of a definition of "labour dispute." Deputy Anthony asked for definitions of other phrases used here. If Deputy Davin and Deputy Murphy think that I alleged that a trade union was concerned in the dispute, I certainly did not mean to convey that. I feel that the words are not fairly capable of that construction, but if anyone here took that meaning out of the words, I wish to make perfectly clear that I have not any fact before me which would justify me in saying that it was a dispute in which a trade union was concerned. On the contrary, although I have not inquired definitely as to that, every fact I have before me would lead me to think that it was not a dispute in which a trade union was concerned.

The accuracy of the words used are, I understand, definitely challenged by Deputy Murphy. I think it would be interesting to the Minister if he asked the Chief Superintendent, or whoever is responsible for the making of the report, to furnish details of this alleged labour dispute.

A contradiction of the report appeared in the "Examiner," of Cork, a few days ago, in the form of a letter over the signatures of two responsible members of the Labour party in that area. They contradicted the statement that the matter arose out of a labour dispute.

I had not finished my statement. Deputy Davin and Deputy Anthony are far more quick than I am. I regret that my power of utterance is not more rapid. If Deputy Davin had had a moment's patience, I would have dealt with the matter fully, now that it has been raised. The occurrence, according to the best information at my disposal, arose as the result of the dismissal, several months ago, by the local creamery manager of a workman or carter in that creamery. His name was Hurley. There is no harm in mentioning his name, because long before this alleged occurrence there had been proceedings in the District Court against Hurley arising out of this dispute. An order was made against Hurley. If Deputy Anthony and Deputy Davin inquire into the matter they will find that the statement made by me is absolutely unchallengable. Since Hurley's dismissal there has been a great deal of ill-feeling. There was a prosecution at which the Guards gave certain evidence months before the last election. Unfortunately the ill-feeling continued. There were manifestations of it in various ways. I am confining myself to a reference to the proceedings in the District Court because that is a matter established now in a court of justice. I will not refer to the other manifestations that have occurred since, because they have not been the subject of proceedings. But that they have occurred is undoubted. This occurrence, such as it was, in Drinagh was due to them, but the main thing that emerges out of the whole episode and the question put by Deputy Hogan (Galway) is that the statement that the barrack was attacked and bombarded with stones and bricks and that from twenty to thirty men marched in military formation, is unfounded. That is the big fact that emerges from the question put and from the inquiry into it.

Has the Minister any information on the file to show that any one associated with a local labour organisation took any interest whatever in this brawl?

In this case I had enough intelligence to anticipate what was really in the minds of Deputy Davin and Deputy Murphy. It is now out that they had got it into their heads that I was imputing something discreditable to a trades organisation.

I repeated until I think the House got sick of it that I was making no imputation against a trade organisation of any sort. So tired of the statement did Deputy Davin become that he would not allow me to conclude. Now I will deal with the whole matter. Deputy Davin gets up and asks if I have any information to show that any labour organisation had anything to do with the occurrence. I have stated again and again, until even the empty seats are echoing it, that I am not suggesting anything against a trade union or labour organisation, that this was an isolated, wretched and unworthy dispute following the termination of the employment of this man, Hurley, by the creamery manager.

A dispute between two individuals which led to a brawl.

I am willing to accept the formula of Deputy Davin and to confess that it may be a happier formula than mine. It expresses in a sentence what I have expressed in a long-winded way. Deputy Corry referred to the building of unnecessary barracks, and Deputy Flynn also referred to barracks and to certain detectives. It may save time at some stage if I may deal with that matter now.

Not on this Estimate.

Very well, I will turn to the Civic Guards. I have already taken steps substantially to reduce the strength of the Civic Guards. I agree with the statements that have been made by Deputies here to-day that having regard to the resumption of normal and natural conditions and to the peace that we are all now enjoying as the result of the resumption of normal government in the country—

And prosperity.

——that the Civic Guard force is possibly too large. The step I have taken is to suspend absolutely recruiting for the time being. That will necessarily entail a different local organisation of the police. The suspension of recruiting will inevitably result in the strength of a barrack being reduced from say four to three. Instead of continuing a barrack with an attenuated strength, that barrack will be closed down and the Guards will be housed in another barrack. The police will police a somewhat wider area. Of course that will inevitably result in a substantial reduction in the number of barracks and in a gradual reduction of the strength of the Guards.

Reference has been made here to a statement made, I think, by Deputy Flynn about detectives who tortured men and so on. I want to say in this House what I have said repeatedly by letter that if anyone has a charge to make against any member of the Civic Guard let him be specific. He has abundant excuse for being vague and general because no doubt he reads— there is very little to read in the country districts—the speeches made from the benches opposite, the wild, vague charges unsupported by any statement of fact and, taking that as a model of polite letter-writing, he writes me up a letter like this: "Oh, the C.I.D. are terrible fellows. You must get rid of the whole lot of them." I would implore Deputies on this side of the House not to be infected by the verbosity of which we have had example from the other side of the House to-day, but to be more specific.

If anyone has any charge to make against a Civic Guard, let him make it, but do not waste time with these generalities. If any Civic Guard has committed an offence against the code—it is a well-known code, his own code—and if there is any question of indiscipline, there is an ordered method of dealing with it. Let the charge be made. If any member of the Civic Guard has offended against the law of the land, the courts are there just the same in regard to him as anybody else. Let them bring him into the courts, but I will treat generalities from this side of the House in the same way as I treated them from the other side. I want more details. If there is any member of the Civic Guard who has been guilty of the crime of torture, I would like to get, at the earliest moment, his name and his address so that he can be dealt with in a suitable way. I propose when I come to the next Vote to state what I have done in regard to the detective branch of the Guard. I mention that now lest a charge of dodging should be made against me for the fifth or sixth time. Otherwise, I would have waited until the Vote for the Civic Guard came before this House.

Vote put and agreed to.
The Dáil went out of Committee.
Progress reported.