Isé an chéad ghnó eile ná Uachtarán na h-Ard-Chomhairle do d'ainmniú.
The next business is the nomination of the President of the Executive Council.
Vol. 46 No. 1
Isé an chéad ghnó eile ná Uachtarán na h-Ard-Chomhairle do d'ainmniú.
The next business is the nomination of the President of the Executive Council.
Molaim don Dáil Eamon de Valera d'ainmniú mar Uachtarán na h-Árd-Chomhairle. Is fior gur dó is dual. Ní beag atá deanta aige chun saoirse na hEireann do bhaint amach agus chun muinntir na hEireann do chur ar bhóthar a leasa.
I have much pleasure in proposing Eamon de Valera as President of the Executive Council. He has been the leader of the National advance since 1916 and, once again, the people have approved—and very decisively approved—of his policy and of his leadership. I trust that he may be long spared in health and happiness to the service of this country, and when the time comes again to nominate a President, I hope it will be my pleasure and honour to nominate Eamon de Valera not merely as President of the Executive Council but as President of a Thirty-two County Irish Republic.
Cuidím leis an moladh, Eamon de Valera d'ainmniú mar Uachtarán na hArd-Chomhairle. Deirim-se go gcuirfidh sin áthas ní hamháin ar na Gaedhil atá sa tír seo ach ar na Gaedhil uilig, pé áit ina bhfuil siad. Tabharfa sé misneach agus dóchas do sna Gaedhil agus taisbeánfa sé go bhfuil an tír láidir agus nea-spleádach. Fhaid agus a bhí sé ina Uachtarán, níor ísligh sé brat na tíre ach rinne sé a dhícheall an tír do shaoradh agus do láidriú. Toisc nár ísligh sé an brat agus go ndearna sé a dhícheall ar son na ndaoine uilig, bocht agus saidhbhir, cuidím leis an moladh so agus tá súil agam gur fáda mhairfe sé mar Uachtarán chun náisiún do dhéanamh mar a bhí in Eirinn ársa.
We oppose the nomination before the House. In fact this nomination amounts to the election of the outgoing Government and, in considering it, we have got to consider what was the policy of the out-going Government. It had two main lines of policy—external and internal. Whatever hopes there were for the success of their internal policy, solely from the economic standpoint, there was little hope for its success bearing in mind their external policy. The external policy which has been pursued and persisted in by the outgoing Government has cost this country very dearly. It has damaged its trade, interfered with its industry, and we can have no hope for the success of the secondary industries of the State when the main industry is so severely handicapped as it has been by the policy of the Government during the past six or eight months. We are following out the authority which we got from the people when we oppose this nomination or the re-election of this Government. We do it on the highest national grounds, because there can be no hope of a national advance while that policy is persisted in. If I were to go further, I should say that the antecedents of the Party which has put forward this nomination give very little hope of any advance in the national status. Examining all along the line for the last eleven years, we see throughout their whole history a division of the national ranks. For the last six or twelve months, when they had an opportunity unequalled, perhaps, in any other period for appreciating the value of the national sentiment in this country, they were unequal to it. Their policy is, and their antecedent policy has been, to divide the national front. It is for these reasons, and because the people whom we represent realise and appreciate these reasons, that we oppose the re-election of the outgoing Government.
Contrary to certain inventive paragraphs in this morning's Press, my colleagues and I are, and have been, quite unanimous in feeling that it is impossible for us to support the re-election of President de Valera. We are in strong disagreement with what he has done during the past year and with what, so far as we know, he proposes to do in the future. I think the difference between us is not so much one of objects as of methods but, unfortunately, the difference of methods is one that strikes at the root of Irish prosperity and Irish wellbeing. We believe that, in the matter of constitutional advance, President de Valera could have achieved a clear recognition by the British of the moral, no less than the legal, right of the Irish Free State to leave the British Commonwealth at any time it desired to do so. We believe that in this he could have secured the practically unanimous support of the Irish people and their representatives. We believe, also, that in the matter of our financial arrangements with Great Britain he could have secured substantial relief and readjustment and in that, also, he would have obtained practically unanimous support. Further, we believe that by reassuring the Irish public and the world at large as to the sanity and moderation of his Party's programme, by carrying out his pledges with regard to economy and by encouraging thrift and enterprise, he could have secured a flow of capital into this country and have promoted the fruitful circulation of the capital already there. In all that, he could have secured practically unanimous support. Instead, he has pursued methods which, in our view, were bound to create bitterness between different classes of Irishmen and between ourselves and the British, and thereby harden the feeling in Northern Ireland in favour of permanent partition. Not only were these methods likely to create bitterness, but they were also, in our opinion, opposed to all commonsense and were bound to be barren of any useful results.
Finally, with regard to President de Valera's economic outlook, we are utterly unable to accept the view that an ambition to build up a home market is any kind of reason for throwing away the greater part of our export trade and so reducing the buying power of our community. We are equally unable to accept the view that there is something almost disreputable in the raising or the buying and selling of live-stock and that those connected with that business are under a cloud with regard to their citizenship and patriotism. In these circumstances we clearly cannot support the re-election of President de Valera. We have, however, noted with satisfaction that in some of his recent speeches he preaches the doctrine that the time has come for hard work rather than for politics, that an employer of labour is a public benefactor and that peace and co-operation should be substituted for strife and personal abuse. If I may say so without impertinence, the personality of the President is capable of being a great asset to this country. I disagree with almost everything he has done in public life, but I recognise the hold which he has obtained over the imagination and the affections of a large proportion of our people, and, particularly, of our younger people—
And the old—the vast majority of them.
——can be one of the greatest bulwarks to defend this country against the grave dangers, the internal dangers, which threaten its happiness and prosperity. If he tries to crush out the ugly things that have raised their heads amongst us, to exorcise the spirit which drives men to compare their opponents to Judas Iscariot and Leonard McNally and even to desecrate the graves of men who have truly loved their country, he will have our unstinted support in that effort, and we shall not attempt to hamper or embarrass him by digging up past inconsistencies or making cheap Party scores.
Now, if it is plain that we cannot support the re-election of President de Valera, there remains the question as to whether we should vote against it. That is a question that we have very carefully considered and we have come to the conclusion that we ought not to vote against it. We do not at all subscribe to the doctrine that it is the duty of an Opposition Party after a General Election to drop its own views and principles and accept those of a victorious Government. We shall do our utmost to give effect to the principles that we hold and to represent the opinions and the interests of the people who voted for us, and while asserting most strongly our devotion to the national interest, we intend to decide for ourselves in what that interest consists and not to be dictated to on the subject by the Government of the day. In the matter, however, of the election of the head of the Government, it seems to us that when the country has given a clear verdict in favour of a particular Party, there can be no question but that the Leader of that Party should be the President of the Executive Council. There is no alternative that is desirable or even conceivable. We fully recognise that this was a jingo election, that there was much intimidation and much of the lowest kind of personally abusive propaganda on behalf of the Government Party, and we realise that the mass of the people voted without any real understanding of the issues involved. Nevertheless, we must accept the situation and recognise that the result of the election is to make a Fianna Fáil President inevitable. It will be plain, not only from what I have already said but from our subsequent course of action in this House and in the country, that the attitude which we are taking to-day does not arise from any weakness of conviction or of purpose.
I do not desire to follow the lead of the Leader of the new Abstentionist Group in this House. I think, however, that the House will probably be glad, as a matter of curiosity, that a new Sinn Féin Party has been born in 1933.
Fifty years ago.
I think that there will be further developments in the growth of that Party, at least along the abstentionist lines, if the actions of that group in the last Dáil are any indication of their policy in this Dáil. I want to say, a Chinn Comhairle, at the outset, that we are frankly supporting the nomination of President de Valera for the Presidency. We are doing so because we believe that the Fianna Fáil Party, in co-operation with the Labour Party, can, in the circumstances of this country to-day, initiate a bold economic and social policy, and, in the realms of national endeavour, a no less bold policy so far as the national rights of this country are concerned. On the occasion of President de Valera's nomination last year, we were taunted from the Cumann na nGaedheal Benches that we had no mandate to put Deputy de Valera into office as a President. We were told that we had no mandate for the past eleven months to take the stand which we did take. I imagine that some of the people who taunted us then are wiser, if sadder, now. Three Deputies on the Cumann na nGaedheal Benches distinguished themselves during the last eleven months by prophesying that the Labour Party would be wiped out at the recent election. Far from being wiped out, the Labour Party increased its strength while, in the national interest, the Cumann na nGaedheal Party was further attenuated, and we have the further satisfaction of knowing that of the three Deputies who specialised in prophesying the extermination of the Labour Party, who spent a considerable time in this House indicating that the Labour Party would walk the plank at the next election, two of them have tumbled off the plank themselves, and the third, in the person of Deputy McGilligan, can find no consolation in his attenuated vote. I hope, therefore, that during the period of this Dáil we will have no more of this nonsensical talk about "Where did you get your mandate?" which we had for the past ten months. Cumann na nGaedheal, for the last eleven months, refused to see the writing which was clearly written on the wall. I hope that some new form of political wisdom will take possession of them in this new Dáil and that, knowing that we have a mandate for our stand and for our actions, they will at least drop their carping criticism of the Labour Party and the elected Government and, instead, devote their energies to helping to build up the nation so that it may be a greater nation and a more prosperous nation for the plain people of this country to-day.
I should like to say, as representing the smallest county of the Twenty-Six Counties, that I am going to vote against the re-election of Deputy de Valera as President of the Executive Council. I do so because of the fact that, when seeking the votes of the people of Louth, I put facts before them. One of the chief planks in my programme was that, if elected, I would, so far as lay in my power, do everything possible to end the economic war that at present exists and has existed for the past eight or nine months between the people of Great Britain and the people of Saorstát Eireann, because I believe that, if that war continues, it will be inimical to the best interests of what I consider to be the main industry so far as this country is concerned. I oppose the re-election of President de Valera for another reason and that is that he still cherishes the hope that he is going to establish an Irish Republic for the whole of Ireland. I do not set myself up as a leader of Irish nationalism. I am only an ordinary individual, born of plain but honest Irish parents, but I have what is sadly lacking amongst a very large section of my fellow-countrymen, and, especially, amongst the leaders—commonsense. I have sufficient commonsense, backed up by the experience of the past fourteen or fifteen years, and conscious of the relative positions as between the two countries, to be absolutely convinced that it is impossible, either now or in the near future, to set up an Irish Republic for the thirty-two counties of Ireland.
I object to the re-election of President de Valera for another reason, and it is this—that in my humble opinion he has given too much liberty to certain forces in this country that are out to establish a state of affairs symbolic of that which at the moment exists in Soviet Russia. For those reasons I am opposed to the re-election of Deputy de Valera as President of the Executive Council. I fought the last election; I put the facts before the people of Louth; and they have returned me. The President came to Dundalk and, to use a Latin phrase, venit, vidit, but non-vincit. He came with the help of the Minister for Industry and Commerce and with the help of many other people from the far side of the Border to return two Fianna Fáil Deputies for the county of Louth, but they failed. In opposing the re-election of Deputy de Valera, I am carrying out the wishes of the honest voters of County Louth who could not be intimidated from casting their votes on January 24th for the candidates who, in their opinion, would best serve the interests of their country.
Gabhaim buideachas leis an Dáil de bharr mé do thoghadh arís. Gealaim go ndeunfaidh mé mo dhicheall ar son na tire agus ar son muintir na tire.
Caithfe mé innsint don Dáil gur chuireas m'ainmniúchán mar Uachtarán na hArd-Chomhairle in úil don tSeanascal agus gur ceapadh mé dá réir.