In Committee on Finance. - Vote 64—Army.

I move:—

Go ndeontar suim Bhreise ná raghaidh thar £10 a thiocfaidh chun bheith iníoctha i rith na bliana dar críoch 31adh Márta, 1934, chun costais an Airm agus Cúltaca an Airm (maraon le h-Ildeontaisí áirithe-i gCabhair).

That a Supplementary sum not exceeding £10 be granted to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending 31st March, 1934, for the cost of the Army and the Army Reserve (including certain Grants-in-Aid).

For a number of years we have advocated that the defence forces of the country should be organised on the basis of a small highly-efficient Army backed by a Volunteer Force, and even the previous Government gave a certain amount of assent to that organisation. We propose now forming a Volunteer Force that will be wide spread throughout the country and recruiting into it men of good character who are prepared to serve the country. The Force will be formed within the reserve, and as such will be an integral part of the defence forces of the State. It will be organised in each military district on a territorial basis in a manner to be prescribed by military regulations. The units raised in each territorial area will have their own commissioned and non-commissioned officers, but for purposes of command, administration and discipline, they will be subject to the officers commanding the military districts in which the units are located. In the military districts there will be regimental areas, and in these areas there will be battalions. To give you an idea of what the regimental areas will be like, I have a provisional list. In the regiment of Laoghis and Offaly will be included the counties of Laoghis, Offaly and Westmeath. The regiment of Desmond will cover Cork and Kerry. The regiment of Dublin will cover Dublin City and County. The Oriel regiment will cover Louth, Monaghan and Meath. The Connaught regiment will cover Galway, Mayo and Roscommon. The regiment of Thomond will cover Clare and Limerick. The regiment of Breffui will cover Cavan, Longford, Sligo and Leitrim. The Tirconaill regiment will cover Donegal. The regiment of Ossory will include Tipperary, Waterford and Kilkenny. The Leinster regiment will cover Kildare, Carlow, Wexford and Wicklow.

As connecting links between the Regular Army and the various volunteer units, there will be appointed district executive officers representing the district commander and area executive officers representing the various territorial units of the Volunteer Force. On the district executive officers will devolve the duty of supervising, on behalf of the district commander, the work of the area administrative officers in all matters pertaining to recruitment, to the training and allotment of recruits, and to the custody of public property and the disbursement of public funds.

The area administrative officers, on the other hand, will act on behalf of the Volunteer units. The area administrative officers will, of course, be Regular Army officers. They will initiate and advise on recruitment and will arrange for the training and allotment of personnel to units. They will be responsible for providing accommodation and equipment for the Volunteers; for promoting social, athletic and recreation activities for the units, and they will be directly responsible for the safe custody, distribution and accountancy of all public property and of any public funds entrusted to the units.

In this work the area administrative officers will be helped in military matters by the regular personnel of the military districts in which the units are located, but in matters not directly of a military character they will be helped by local committees. Volunteers in each area will be known as "The Sluagh" of the locality, and from the members of the Sluagh will be formed a Sluagh Committee appointed by the local administrative officer. In each Sluagh area there will be built or hired halls for the purpose of training, administering and promoting the various activities of the Sluagh, and the Sluagh Committee will help the area administrative officer in seeing that these activities are properly co-ordinated and efficiently carried out. The members of the committee will not receive any payment, but a secretary, to be nominated by the area administrative officer, will receive an honorarium of £5 a year from public funds. Further, in respect of each Volunteer who is finally approved, who attends week-end camps and performs a certain number of nightly drills, or who reports for training, there will be paid into the funds of the Sluagh Committee certain grants-in-aid which will be administered by the area administrative officer and will be spent in accordance with prescribed regulations. Such funds will be augmented by local contributions, and will enable the committees to look after the welfare of the sluaighte in their localities.

The Volunteer Force itself will be organised by three groups or lines. The first line, generally speaking, will consist of volunteers between the ages of 18 and 25, who will fulfil certain physical conditions laid down by the regulations, and also of old volunteers who had service prior to the Truce in July, 1921. The ages will be 18 to 25 for the first few years. Afterwards it is intended to confine recruiting to men between the ages of 18 and 22, but normally for the first years they will consist of volunteers between 18 and 25, and also old volunteers who had service in the Army prior to the Truce in July, 1921. This last class will, as a rule, serve five years in the first line and will then be transferred to the second line.

The volunteers of the first line will receive their initial or annual training with the Regular Army, but in addition they will be required to carry out a certain number of drills each year in the local halls, as well as any week-end or over-night camps arranged. Further, if a volunteer, during his initial training shows any particular aptitude for non-commissioned rank or for any specialised branches of the ordinary service, he will be permitted to extend his training period up to three or four months so that he may be thoroughly trained in the service of the branch concerned and return to his local unit as an instructor or specialist.

Again, any of these volunteers who have shown exceptional keenness and efficiency as non-commissioned officers and who possess the necessary education will be eligible for commissioned rank in the Volunteer Force, so that in time the Volunteer Force will provide its own instructors, non-commissioned and commissioned officers, and preference will be given to such men for commissions in the Regular Army.

Finally, during their training periods, volunteers of the first line will receive the same pay and allowances as soldiers of the Regular Army of corresponding ranks. Apart from that, they will be purely on a volunteer basis. It is only when they come up for the annual training that they will be paid, and then on the same scale as men holding corresponding ranks or appointments in the Army.

The second line of the Force will be composed of those volunteers who have been transferred from the first line, and also of men not over 45 years of age passed as fit who possess special qualifications for the corps or service for which they have been attested. Old volunteers with pre-Truce service are also eligible for this second line. Volunteers of this second line will not be trained with the Regular Army but will carry on all their training with the local units by means of nightly drills, parades, camps and mobilisations. Volunteers of this line will receive no pay, but when called out for training, camps, parades, inspections or mobilisations they will receive rations, fuel and quarters, or an alternative allowance on the same scale as allowed to corresponding ranks or appointments in the Regular Forces.

The third line will comprise men between 45 and 55 years of age passed as fit, who, owing to family or other circumstances, are unable to comply with the requirements of the first or second line. These men will receive their training with the local units and will serve on the same conditions as volunteers of the second line.

The Volunteer Force thus organised in three lines will, in time, become self-contained, and every facility will be afforded its members to form not only complete infantry units but also their own medical or ordnance service as well as their own cavalry, engineering, signalling, or transport corps.

The financial cost of the Force will, of course, depend on the response to the call for recruits. Twenty area administrative officers have already been appointed, and have received commissions in the Regular Army. They are at present undergoing a short intensive course of training and administration, and it is anticipated that they will begin work in their areas about the middle of February. Assuming that each of these officers will, on an average, recruit 250 first and 250 second line volunteers, there is a total of 5,000 of the first line and 5,000 of the second line, and assuming that 300 of the first line will have received their initial training early in March, the cost to the end of the present financial year will be as follows:—



Lodging, subsistence and other allowances


Transport of troops


Mechanical transport


Provisions and allowances in lieu


Clothing and equipment


Fuel, light and water


Barrack services


Incidentals, including the hire of halls


Enlistment grants


Gross total


Less cost of clothing and equipment available


Total net cost


A large portion of that £63,107 for clothing and equipment will be on foot of the new Volunteer uniform which will be issued. Some of it is merely a book-keeping item and will really be taken out of stores already at our disposal. This sum of £28,271 will be met out of savings in the Army Vote for the present financial year so that only a token Vote will be necessary.

During the next financial year, if it is assumed that the strength of the force will have increased from 10,000 to 24,000 the approximate net cost will be £243,736, of which £50,000 will be borne on the Vote for the Office of Public Works in respect of the building of halls.

The cost of the force has been spread over the different sub-heads of the Army Vote. This in a sense is undesirable but it is nevertheless unavoidable owing to the structure of the Vote and owing to certain rulings given in previous years by the Committee of Public Accounts.

In the Supplementary Estimate you will see the additions that have been made to the sub-heads. It is the only way we could get them up owing to our system of accounting. The allocation to the sub-heads of the total cost is to a large extent tentative but it cannot be otherwise at this stage. As the scheme gets into its stride allocation will become more exact, but meanwhile it will be necessary to rely on the power of virement between sub-heads subject to the concurrence of the Minister for Finance.

Next year, as I have indicated, I will be asking for £50,000 for the building of halls. It would be impossible to know now how many halls will be required. We have a number of old barracks in different parts of the country and we propose to take them over and fit them up for the volunteers.

Whenever there is a number of men forthcoming as recruits and there is no suitable hall available for hireage it is proposed to build a hall as quickly as we can go ahead with the work. I think I have said sufficient to give an indication of the structure of the volunteer force. There will be three lines, the first consisting of young men from 18 to 25, normally 18 to 22, who will serve five years in the first line and come up for defence training in the area and these after five years will be transferred to the second line. They will remain in the second line until they are 45 years, and in the third line from 45 to 50 years. Non-commissioned officers and commissioned officers will be drawn from the volunteer force after the first annual drilling and training. The likely men who would make good non-commissioned officers will be given a further period of training and from the non-commissioned officers who have got their training the commissioned officers will be taken.

When the first line is up for annual training, it will be organised on the same basis as it would in war under its own officers. When it goes back after that training to join up with the local sluagh, and then, for the purposes of the weekly training, for competitions of all sorts and descriptions, the members will be under the command of the camp commandant, who will be the senior officer of the first line who happens to reside in the district. We hope that by keeping the competitive strength organised between the different sluaighte, a high standard of training will be maintained in the local halls, and that that will cut down the work to be done when the volunteers come up for training. As far as I can see we are adopting the same system as they have in Switzerland, with the exception that we are cutting out conscription. There you have a very small standing army, an army merely of instructors for administering, training and officering an army of 250,000. That particular type of army did very good work for Switzerland in guarding its neutrality during the war. It proved that such a type of organisation is sufficient to make even strong neighbours respect a country, and we hope to make ours respected and that, like Switzerland, we shall be able to guard our frontiers against any person who might like to interfere with us. The scheme, after a number of years, will, I believe, give us a very much more efficient defence force than we have at present, and at a very much lower cost. For the first few years, on the building of halls and the providing of uniforms and equipment, we shall have to spend a good deal more money than will be normal after that initial expenditure has taken place. I think I have pretty well covered anything I wish to say, and I ask the Dáil to pass the Vote.

Both in the scheme put before us by the Minister, and in its manner of presentation, I think we have an astounding state of affairs. The House will recall a Supplementary Estimate in respect to beet being presented to the House, and a great appeal being made by the Minister for Finance that unless it was dealt with there and then, valuable constructive work would be postponed and employment that might otherwise be given, during a very difficult period of unemployment might not be available. The House found itself through force of the Government's numbers, forced into taking that Supplementary Estimate for a certain amount of money for the erection of beet factories. To-day the farmers throughout the country are saying, that now that we have got the factories started, the scheme is all nonsense and will not work, while the country is being faced by an expenditure of hundreds of thousands of pounds, which will involve a further expenditure of hundreds of thousands of pounds in the future.

On top of that, we get a Supplementary Estimate for the new army put before the House. We got the Estimate in our hands a few days ago, but even now the cost of the scheme is partly hidden in the Estimate by putting it under certain sub-heads, so as to take into account certain balances and savings under these particular sub-heads. Then later on in the Estimate as a whole, further savings are shown, but, as the Minister has pointed out, the expenditure which is shown on the Estimate as only £24,000 is, in fact, going to be about £72,000, in respect of 10,000 men who are going to be recruited under this scheme by the end of this financial year. Where the scheme is going to end up from the point of view of cost, the Minister tells us he has no information, good, bad, or indifferent. So far as expense is concerned we do not know where we are going.

As far as the question of providing an army is concerned, the information given us by the Minister conveys as little as he did on the finance side. We are apparently going to have a volunteer army scattered throughout the country, divided up into certain areas, with administrative officers in charge of each area. As far as we can gather from the very brief and certainly not very clear statement of the Minister, the army is to be run by sluagh committees and local committees. That army is to be drilled at night. It is to have halls—no one knows where. We do not know whether it is to be armed and we do not know under whose care these arms are to be kept. We do not know what type of training is to be pursued. We do not know what kind of assistance the Minister is going to give the sluaighte and the local committees in the matter of technical officers to carry on their training.

It is an astounding thing that when a new departure concerning the army, concerning its technical control and what defence strength it is possible to organise in the country is contemplated, a proposal radically changing the whole of our present system is brought in here on a Supplementary Estimate and dealt with in the way that the Minister for Defence has dealt with it. If there is to be a radical change in the army in this way, every section in this House should ask, considering the importance of our defence forces, that the matter should be dealt with by a very definite piece of legislation that can be thoroughly examined on its various stages passing through the House.

The House knows now that it is likely to be faced with a very serious situation arising out of the fact that it was not given sufficient time to examine the beet proposals when they were passing through the House. The proposals now before the House are likely to land us into much more expense and much more difficult questions of organisation. What kind of force does the Minister expect he is going to recruit, either between this and the end of March this year or between this and the end of March next year, in the area that stretches from North Roscommon to Carraroe or Clifden? I am not sure whether the Minister has worked out 20 of those areas, but at any rate he has worked out quite a large number. One of those areas stretches from the north of Roscommon to the west of Carraroe. What kind of force is going to be developed in that area between this and, say, the 1st of March, 1935, under the area administrative officer? At what centres are halls to be built? At what centres are sluaighte going to be organised? How is the committee of the sluagh to be formed? Is the local committee to be above the sluagh committee or under the sluagh committee? Offering this type of organisation to the House, as practically a substitute for the present Army, will the Minister give us some idea of what kind of organisation he would expect to have there, say, by the end of March, 1935? Thousands of questions raise themselves from the point of view of administration and training alone; but when we turn to the Minister's statement as to what has been the outlook of the present Minister on the kind of Army we ought to have in this country —that we ought to have an Army substantially different from the present one—and to some of his statements made on previous occasions as to changing the type of Army that is in the country, then I submit that he is putting the House up against a very much more serious thing than the mere matter of expense.

This morning's Irish Press tells us that an important decision has been reached by the Minister in connection with the granting of commissions in the Regular Army. “It is intended to confine commissions in future to the members of the Volunteer Force shortly to be recruited, and to discard the cadet system.” It seems to me that the Minister is preparing to discard more than the cadet system of recruiting officers to the Army, and that the Minister is, in fact, preparing to discard the whole piece of army organisation that he has at the present moment. The Minister told the Fianna Fáil Ard-Fheis on the 7th November:—

"The new Force would be on a purely voluntary basis, and would be organised, with the exception of conscription, on practically the same basis as the Swiss Army. They wanted to put this country into such a position that it would be able to maintain its neutrality against any foreign power whatsoever. They believed that that could be done at an expenditure that the people could afford. They proposed that, with the passage of years, the Army would be on a Volunteer basis, with the smallest possible Standing Army, acting as a training force. They wanted the Army to be thoroughly representative of the people, and not a Fianna Fáil Army. They were out to make this a really National Army."

In starting out to make this a really National Army, differing in structure from the present one, the Minister selects, as his 20 officers to organise the new army, 20 men who had been concerned with and organised a long and sustained attack on the present State. Those officers are to be administrative officers for the new areas, and they are to organise a really National Army to replace the present Army. It is because of the Minister's actions, and the Minister's statements on this subject, that a much bigger and more detailed statement from him and a much more elaborate scheme for passing this measure through the Oireachtas are demanded. This new Army, as I say, is to be recruited or, at any rate, is to be captained by men who sustained a very big attack on the State. Will the Minister tell us, are those the men who are to recruit the various men who are going to join the different lines of the new Force? Are they going to have power to refuse any person that they like? Is there any limit to the number of persons that they may take into their areas or to their sluagh? Because of the nature of the administrative officers that have been selected, a very complete and open statement is certainly required from the Minister as to what powers those men are going to have in the matter of recruiting; how the training is going to be carried on, and under whose direct instruction and supervision; at what particular centres in those areas the instruction is to be carried on, and the nightly meetings are to be held.

I say that the Minister is replacing the present Army. He explained to the Fianna Fáil Ard-Fheis that he did not want to have a Fianna Fáil Army, and that he had always objected to Cumann na nGaedheal having a Cumann na nGaedheal Army. The Minister has the administration to-day of an Army that has served the State and served the people beforehand absolutely detachedly. To suggest—as I think the Minister has done in some of his recent speeches—that the old volunteers questioned in any way the right of the Dáil to demand their allegiance and their services is entirely unwarranted. The Minister knows very well that there is a certain number of very self-opinionated persons in every direction, mostly people who fail when they are called upon to give certain services. There might have been people who had their opinions and their discussions, and who argued as to whether the volunteers were right and should come in under the old Dáil, but to suggest that the volunteers as a whole, or any responsible group among them, or any responsible person anywhere throughout the country in dealing with the volunteers, repudiated the Dáil authority in any way once a native Parliament—even though a proscribed Parliament—was set up in this country, is to state what is not the case. The National Army that was formed in 1922 served the State; it served the people; it served them in 1931; it served them in 1932; it served them in 1933 and 1934, apart altogether from the complexion of the politics of the Party that was then in power.

I submit to the Minister that, as well as prejudicing the Army from the point of view of being a National Army by the type of persons he has appointed to do the recruiting, he and his Party are also prejudicing the Army in the future as a National Army. By a National Army I mean an Army that will serve the Government set up here by any majority of the people, whether they want to describe themselves as Republican Governments, like the present Ministry, or as any other kind of Government other than a Republican one. He is prejudicing the new Army as a National Army by those speeches and by the statements that are being made. The Government parade themselves in every way as a Republican Ministry—in their speeches and in their Press. Deputy O'Dowd, speaking in Boyle on Sunday last, appealed to some of those who call themselves I.R.A. now to come into the new Army. He said that "perhaps when the time came they would be asked to use those guns, but they would never be asked to use them except on behalf of the Republic and under the control of the State."

I ask the Minister, in view of the statements made by himself and his fellow Ministers and by Deputies of his Party along the lines of the statement quoted from Deputy O'Dowd, whether he is recruiting this army as an army that is going to serve no Executive Council and no Government set up by the people except a Government that calls itself a Republican Government. That, I submit, is being definitely held out to persons who are being asked to join this Minister's new force. An additional force is attempted to be given by some speakers to that appeal, by other Ministers, such as the Minister for Education, making a charge that there are political organisations, or that there is a political organisation in this country, the United Ireland Party, with its League of Youth as an internal part of that Party, planning to seize power by unconstitutional means. I submit that members of the Party opposite. including Ministers, are holding it up to people throughout the country that a change of Government here that would replace the Fianna Fáil Executive Council by an Executive Council drawn, say, from the United Ireland Party, would be a change brought about by unconstitutional means and, therefore, was not to be respected by men who were recruited to this new army, on undertakings given by Ministers and others that whenever they would be asked to fight they would be asked to fight only for the Republic.

The way in which the Beet Estimate was introduced here is now driving Ministers to quibbling and mis-statement. It is driving them to put an additional tax on sugar to-day in order to cover up mistakes costly to the people. The way in which the Minister is introducing this Estimate is going to drive Ministers opposite and members of their Party into further quibbling statements about an army that may give rise later on to serious situations in this country and, for that reason, this House is entitled to ask the Minister to make it perfectly clear that the army he is forming in this particular way, or rather that he is attempting to form, is a national army. He should make it perfectly clear that in captaining it by the persons he has put in charge of it, that in planning to do away with part of the technical top as well as some of the rank and file of the present standing Army, that in holding out to the recruits of the new force that they are not going to be asked to fight for anything but the Republic, and in holding up the chief Opposition Party as a Party that is going to seize power by unconstitutional means, he is not creating an army which is going to repudiate some day a new Government that will take the place of the present Fianna Fáil Executive.

I submit that in a blundering and futile way on the one hand, and in an extravagant way on the other, the Minister is blundering into a situation in which he himself does not know what he is doing and he does not know what the results may be. We from these benches protest as vehemently as we can against the action of the present Executive and the line it is taking in this matter. It is simply setting out to try to stir up strife and bickering from one end of the country to the other and to put arms into the hands of the people who will be the centre of that strife and bickering. The Minister has not said a single word as to where the main centres of this organisation—we have to call it an organisation until we see whether it is likely to be anything like an army—are going to be, to what extent they are going to be, supplied with arms, and to what extent they are going to be supplied with officers who are skilled in controlling men as well as skilled in training men. I submit the Minister has told us nothing, good, bad or indifferent about this, and he has put an astounding and far-reaching proposal before the House in a manner that is so inadequate as to suggest that it is done for the deliberate purpose of evading criticism from the House and evading the possibility of the House understanding what he is at.

The Deputy has referred several times to an Estimate for sugar beet. The existing sugar beet factories were established, not on the basis of an Estimate, but by an Act passed by the Oireachtas. The Deputy had ample time to criticise that and make suggestions. So far as the National Beet Scheme is concerned, it has been from the beginning a success, despite the attempts of the U.I.P. to spike it from a distance.

I will ask the Minister for Finance to refer back to the manner in which the beet proposals were put before the House and money was voted for them.

Whilst the Minister was speaking in terms of war, I was endeavouring to think in terms of peace. I was wondering whether I was listening to a Minister in a native Irish Parliament or to a Minister in the French Chamber, the German Reichstag, or the Minister for War in the British Imperial Parliament. I am wondering is this the last army that will be catered for in this country. How many more armies are we going to create? I look upon this Estimate, and upon the circumstances surrounding it, as one of the most provocative things that could be done in our country at the present juncture and in the present state of affairs. The first thing that will strike the common or garden citizen of this country is what is the necessity for this new Force. This little country which, it is admitted, can never hope to sustain or maintain a large army and cannot under the very best of circumstances be expected to beat a big invading army, is now to be called upon to maintain and sustain a third or fourth army. I wonder what the common people will say when they read the details set out by the Minister.

This little country, the population of which is taxed almost out of existence, is to be called upon to bear further expenditure—and for what? To get further armies into the country, to create new hostilities and to embitter further the relations that exist between many sections of our community. You propose to establish drill halls in country parishes while you have to-day members of the I.R.A. drilling somewhere else, and some other kind of army recruited from the men of 1921 drilling in a school building or somewhere else. Would it not be better to cultivate the art of peace rather than the art of war if it is to be called an art? It is time that Ministers gave a little more thinking to the needs and necessities of the nation and not to asking people to continue to make sacrifices on the altars of their hatreds. If there are people in this House with old spleens and bitternesses to get rid of, let them get rid of them against the people for whom they have these spleens, and not endeavour to bring the people of the country into their quarrel.

I look upon this measure as a further endeavour to suggest that we are a people who, instead of settling our differences in the ordinary way should have still further recourse to armies to settle them. We have seen, as a result of the teaching of many people in the country who should know better, that force is taking the place of argument. This measure can have only one effect if it passes as, of course, it will with a Government majority behind it, namely, that it will further estrange the relationship between this country and Great Britain, and will encourage the idea that we are out to build up a great army in this country. Is that what the Minister hopes for? I honestly do not believe it is, but that is what the effect will be. We have had enough of armies already. The people cannot afford them. They are entirely too great a luxury.

There were a couple of remarks made by Deputy Mulcahy that should be met at the outset. I am not going to bother about his reference to beet. That, as the Minister for Finance pointed out, was very fully discussed here in the House. We do not share at all the Deputy's views that it is an expensive scheme, or that it is a scheme that if we were to reconsider now we should not have carried out in exactly the same spirit as we proposed to carry it out when it went through the House. I was through the country at the opening of the factories in connection with this scheme. The Ministry were aware of representations from every part of the country where farmers wanted to have beet factories established in their areas. I suppose as long as farmers are farmers, and similarly, other sections of the community, they will always be looking for bigger prices than the particular price they get at the moment. If the price of beet was two shillings more than it is they would demand another two shillings. But the point is that the farmers are prepared to grow it, and that they can grow it at the price they receive in return for their labour, and that the community, as a whole, is being benefited by that scheme. I have not the slightest doubt that if it was the subject of a plebiscite to-morrow we would have an overwhelming vote in favour of the scheme. Once the question has been decided, and that no question of its being taken away arises again, it might be difficult to put the question in a way that you would get a really true answer to it. Therefore, there is no point whatever, and it is not necessary to go further now into the question of beet.

Perhaps I sympathise to a certain extent with the Deputy opposite when he said he wanted more details. He has been accustomed to deal with organisations, and he would like to see before him all the details, and I sympathise with that to a great extent. It is only natural, and the opportunity to see them will be presented at one time or another to the Deputy.

The Minister for Defence has the preparation of the Permanent Forces Bill under consideration, and after a time the House will get the whole details of the organisation of the defence forces, and while, as I say, I have a certain amount of sympathy with the Deputy, I am not, at this particular time, going into details. But some of the principles to which he referred are important, and it is right, at the outset, that there should be no misunderstanding about them. What is it we propose in the establishment of this force? Why are we doing it? When we were sitting on the benches opposite we made it quite clear that our view was that the best defence force for this country was one in which we would have a relatively small standing army and that the main defence force would rest upon a territorial basis. I can assure Deputy Anthony that we have given this matter, for years at least, as much thought, and have more intimate knowledge of what is involved than he thinks. Anything of the sort he suggested is very far from our minds. We were told, as I said, that the defence of this country could best be secured by a force in which a standing army will be small but sufficient in an emergency to deal with any internal disturbance, and that in time of attack from outside, it would be the nucleus— officers and so on—around which we could gather the whole manhood of the nation.

A question is whether we should have any defence force at all other than what you might call a mere reserve for the police. That is a question that people will always ask, and will ask particularly in the case of small countries such as ours. It is true that if we were attacked by a great power with all its forces we could not maintain an army with any hope of standing up in an ordinary way to an attack launched in that manner. But there are two things to be considered. There is the invading of a country and the holding of it. Our main strategy as regards defence must always be, it seems to me, based upon this: that if we were invaded and should be unable to keep out the invader, then the invading force will have a very hot time while amongst us, and that the power that tries to establish its rule here in a permanent way will find it impossible to do so. In our new position we want to have that security, and we want to have another security. We want to see that no foreign country has any excuse whatever for suggesting that in time of war or strained relationship we would not be in a position to defend our territory. It is vital that we should be in that position and this force will put us in such a position at any rate that no foreign power will have an excuse for suggesting that we are not able to defend our own shores.

As to the character of the Army, we want the Army as a whole, not drawn from any particular section of the community, but representative of the community as a whole, and I want to make it perfectly clear that this new Force is being recruited, not in substitution or replacement of the present standing Army, but in addition to it. And, as regards the duties of that Army, every member coming into it will be pledged to accept the authority of the elected representatives of the people. They will be the servants of the Executive Council. It is no function, and never should have been at any time a function of the members of the Army to feel that they were to determine policy. Whatever, at any rate, may have been the position in the past that is our position, and we do not want to do anything which would seem to suggest even that that could obtain in the future. The Army is to be an Army responsible to the Executive elected by the Irish people. If there have been people trying to stir up bitterness in the past, that charge cannot be laid on the members of the Fianna Fáil Party. The whole basis of our national policy was that we should try, as far as possible, to put aside the recollection of past dissensions. It is not we who are going around the roads or the towns trying to stir up these recollections of the past. It is not from our benches that speeches suggesting a continuation of that bitterness have been made.

This addition to the present existing Army is being brought about in order to strengthen our national defences. Unfortunately, it costs money. Insurance or assurance of all kinds costs money, and what the people have to ask themselves is, whether the assurance or insurance which is to be provided by this Force is called for or not. The Executive Council believe that it is called for. It believes that when this Force is organised, no matter what Executive Council comes into office, having been elected by the Irish people, that Executive Council will have at its disposal an Army to protect the interests of the community as a whole and obedient to its orders. It would certainly be rather a strange turn for us to take if we at this time proposed anything else.

Suggestions of inconsistency have been made against us from many quarters. We can point out that from the time of the "Cease Fire" order, when the forces who were defending the State, as we conceived it to exist, when we who were at that time the regular army were beaten in the defence of the State which was proclaimed by the people, and was not at that time abandoned by the people——

What about recollections of the past?

I am dealing with the point raised by Deputy Mulcahy, who suggested that the officers of the new force were people who had taken up arms against the community. I say that they had taken up arms in defence of the Republic which had been proclaimed at that time. We may differ, we do differ in our construction of that. Historians may differ about it. But the attitude of the Executive towards these officers is that they took an oath to maintain a certain State against all enemies, foreign and domestic; they continued faithful to that oath; and that it was in continuance of that faithfulness that they served as they did. When it was clear that it was not physically possible to maintain that State, we made proposals to the Executive of the day, because we had in mind the whole future of the country and the possibility of ordered conditions here. We made propositions to the Executive of that day which would have ensured those stable conditions, which would have ensured that the arms, in so far as it was possible for anybody to collect them, would have been collected and made available for the Executive and under the direct control of the Executive elected by the people. But these were turned down. The oath was the pivotal point in connection with it. When the Executive of the day did not accept our proposals we went to the people and have been elected and these proposals stand as the basis of our policy, which is, that when all sections of the people are entitled to come forward at an election and to vote for their representatives, and have their representatives elected, and it is possible in that way to have an assembly completely representative of all the people without any excluding tests, it is the duty of every section of the community to accept the authority of the Executive elected under those conditions. The very same propositions which we put up to the Executive of that day and which were turned down are the basis of our policy to-day when we are the Executive. We believe that they are based upon reason, that they are based on fair play to every section of the community, and we propose to stand by them no matter what section of the community may refuse to accept them. We believe that there is no reason whatever for refusing to accept them. Consequently, the army which it is proposed to recruit, the additional volunteer section of the army, will, every one of them be expected to make a declaration accepting the authority of the elected representatives of the people.

Without any mental reservations?

I cannot be responsible for mental reservations. They are expected to have no mental reservations in that matter.

Is it not almost humanly impossible to expect anything else but mental reservations when officers are to be recruited from the Irregulars of 1922?

It is the Deputy's side who are trying to get that done. I said they were not Irregulars; that that was propaganda deliberately put out by these people at the time. I was not supporting an Irregular Army. I supported the Army that was defending the State against the coup d'etat brought off at the time. If there is a difference of opinion, and Deputies opposite want to hold their view of that, they can, but they are not going to get us to accept that view. Therefore, we are putting to the defence of their country men who defended it in accordance with the oath which they had taken to defend it. What we want to do is to see that there is back again in the National Forces both sections of the men who defended it from 1919 to 1921, however they differ in politics. They defended it side by side then, and they will be side by side, please God, in a short time again. That is what we are aiming at. Nobody can say a word against these men. Let it go to history to be decided, and we will see. I am quite prepared, for instance, if the members on the opposite side wish to have the whole Treaty negotiations published——

Glory be to God!

Deputy Dillon was in the grand position then in which we were both anathema to him. He has forgotten that now though. I say this——

Be careful now. You are on very dangerous ground there. Be careful.

I do not know what Deputy Coburn means by dangerous ground.

Why bring nasty things to the memory with the man you have there sitting beside you? There was no necessity for the sack of Dundalk. That was not fighting for Ireland. It was not fighting for Ireland to murder men who were sleeping in their beds at night.

They were honourable men, everyone of them; men who did not go and look for jobs and things like that, as had been suggested, but men who were sought out because they were known to be good Irishmen.

I was just as good an Irishman that time as you were, and I am as good an Irishman as you any time.

I suppose we have got to allow for the Deputy.

I would not turn my back on any man. I always stood erect.

The Deputy must cease interrupting

If we are to have from the opposite side their interpretation of recent history, then we are to give ours. We are standing up before the Irish people in the selection of these men, because we hold they were honourable men and good Irishmen who gave proof of their devotion to the country from 1919 to 1921, and one of the things that gave me most satisfaction in a long period of time was to be at the ceremony when these men were being taken over, and see them once more with their previous comrades getting into a position in which they would be side by side in any future defence of the country.

It is not, then, in any partisan spirit that this force is being recruited. It is not, as Deputy Mulcahy has suggested two or three times in his remarks, that we want to replace the existing force by any other. We do not. The members of the present Army as it stands have fought against us, and we fought against them in the civil war. And Cumann na nGaedheal, by the way in which it left office, did more than anything it had done during its period of office to show its sincerity, so that the Army by its loyalty has given the lie to anybody who suggested that their motives were other than they themselves represented. I only regret that Cumann na nGaedheal did not continue and that it did not insist that no outsider would come in and change them from their tracks and from continuing in preserving the same attitude for the rest of the time as they had continued in when they left office.

Who was the outsider?

The man who wanted to start—and his statements suggested quite clearly that he wanted to start —a dictatorship by means of a coup d'état.


If it is nonsense it is the man who made the statement is responsible for the nonsense, and by bringing up the bad spirit of the past and the disputes of the past he has done more to undo the efforts to bring about peaceful relations during that period than history will forgive him for.

Surely the President will name him.

It is unnecessary.

The President mentioned an outsider. Is he English, Scottish or Irish?

The Deputy knows perfectly well who the outsider is. He is an outsider as regards a political organisation.

Is he an Englishman or an Irishman?

I have given my answer.

Surely the President is not going to make a grave charge and then refuse to give the name?

The Deputy is very innocent.

I asked that the name be given.

The Deputy will try to use his imagination.

I submit, with all respect, that if the President's charges that somebody who is a colleague of the members of this Party has planned a dictatorship, that he should give the name of that person. In order to give the members of this Party an opportunity of rebutting the charge he has made, I think he should——

The President has not made a criminal charge against the members of the Deputy's Party.

With all respect, may I say that he has made a grave criminal charge. He has flatly implied that an individual with whom we associate is planning a dictatorship.

That he intended to establish a dictatorship.

That is a point of disorder, not a point of order.

It is not a point of disorder. I am raising a point of order. The President makes that charge, and I claim that he should give the name of the individual and it is in the discretion of the Chair——

There is no discretion in the Chair to ask the President the name of anybody. Deputy Dillon does not know the individual. Therefore, the President has not indicated anybody.

Pardon me. He has indicated that a colleague of the members sitting on these benches is planning a dictatorship. I asked the President to name the individual he is referring to.

I will name nobody unless I choose to do so.

The President has not the courage to do so.

The Deputy has all the courage.

What I have to say is with regard to the only two matters of importance that I think need be replied to. The first charge was replacing the existing Army by another. There is no truth whatsoever in the suggestion that we are replacing the existing Army by another. It is by way of complement and not in any form of substitution for the other. It is in continuance of the policy which we announced here as being the best State policy when we were in Opposition, a policy towards which the previous Executive appeared at one time to be leaning. I am glad to follow this policy, because it is the best policy.

The next point made was the suggestion that this part of the Army would not be responsible to the Executive or the subsequent Executive that might be elected by the people. I have a similar answer to that. Those who are to be recruited into the new Force are to be completely and absolutely responsible to the Executive Council elected by the Irish people. These are the two serious matters about which I thought it necessary to intervene.

The third charge was that the officers whom we had chosen as administrative officers in this case were chosen in order that there might be some particular definite bias about the selection. I want to deny that too. They were chosen because they were officers who had proved their devotion to the country, officers who, in our opinion, were perfectly loyal and who were amongst the men who on a previous occasion defended the country and knew something about the type of activity that would be necessary to provide the most valuable type of defence. They were chosen so that the two sections of the former Defence Force, who had unfortunately been on opposite sides in the civil war, should be reunited in defence of the nation and in defence of the people of this country.

This Vote is a Vote for money. The speech that we have just listened to was a political speech, a hashed-up political speech, a very biased political speech that can be made with an air of sincerity, with certain particles of the truth and certain very large omissions from the truth. We are proposing to spend a sum of approximately £60,000 before the end of the financial year. We are doing it at a time when the unemployment figures are enormous, when we have lost through the policy of the Government the export of approximately 50 per cent. of our fat cattle, for which there is no longer sale, and at a time when we read in the Press of a new imposition of ½d. per lb. on the price of sugar. We are told that although this expenditure is approximately £60,000 to the end of the financial year, a sum of close on £300,000 will be on the Estimates next year in respect of this particular service. One of the first considerations that would present itself to the mind of any person who had introduced an Estimate of this sort, which would be spoken to by the Head of the Executive, is whether there was any necessity for strengthening the defence arm of the State, if there was need for the expenditure of the money, if the resources of the State were equal to the cost of that particular service, and if the needs of the State required that it should be spent. We got no explanation in respect of this but we have got an apologia in respect of the policy that is behind this particular proposal and the policy that is behind it is, apparently, the only reason for the introduction of the Vote.

This is a departure from the principle that is embodied in the Defence Forces Act. One might reasonably have expected that a new Act would have been introduced or that an explanatory statement in respect to the policy which the Minister read out for us would have been circulated in the shape of a White Paper, that it would be introduced on its merits and not as an excuse for the failure of the gentlemen who are at present in office, and who were in arms eight or ten years ago, who failed in arms but who succeeded by reason of their promises in deluding the people in the short period of 12 or 18 months. The Minister may smile, but he knows very well that he was the biggest promiser and how well he has succeeded. Time will tell whether or not it is worth while succeeding at the cost of one's word, at the cost of the suffering which the policy of the Party opposite has entailed, the spoliation of the country's resources, commercial and industrial, and the ruination of its principal industry.

This proposal is brought forward at a time when one would imagine from what the Government says that everybody in the country is doing well. There are some farmers in the Fianna Fáil Party. Has there ever been a meeting called by them to consider the events of the last few years, or to consider whether they will be able to balance their accounts? Have any of them gone before the Ministry and explained to them that under present circumstances it is not possible to make farming a successful commercial operation? Are they looking at the list of persons unemployed, seeing the mounting costs of home assistance day after day, seeing the Government's own inability to contribute towards the relief of rates on agricultural land during the last 12 months the amount they had contributed during the previous 12 months? By the way, they did not inform the electorate that they were going to reduce that amount. Is this the time that we have got £60,000 to spend in the next two months and £300,000 to spend in the next year on this new army? I was in for portion of the speech made by the President in which he said that he had put certain proposals before the previous Executive. There were no proposals put to the Executive. There were certain proposals sent to me, at the time when he was on the run, and when I undertook to give a safe conduct to the persons who were going to see him that they would not be followed. That proposal was that we should allow him to take the money that was in dispute in America to use it for the purpose of his political propaganda. That was a very nice proposal—that the people here should be asked to pay to the Americans one and a half millions so that it would be handed over to the Fianna Fáil Party to be used for the purpose of the Republic by the Royal and Imperial Republicans. They were neither Royal nor Imperial at that time.

Twenty officers have been commissioned in the army. We are told they are excellent men, that they had records, and so on. Are they all physically fit? Do they all fulfil the standards which are expected from the officers of an army? Would they satisfy both Parties? Suppose there were some angel of peace in this country, who sought to do what the President had told us he is endeavournig to do or that his Executive is endeavouring to do, to bring about peace, would any person commission these 20 officers for this particular purpose? They are selected by the Executive and they are political selections. There can be no doubt about that. They will not have, I am sure, the hardihood to deny the fact that they are political selections and that they are being sent out to the country to make political selections for the Army. Mind you, that is not good business. That was not done during the time of the Cumann na nGaedheal Government. It was not thus with the Army that fought for this State, and preserved this State, and as a result of whose efforts the Ministry sitting over there is in office to-day. It was a competent Army and it proved its competence.

I observe that a sum of £2,500 is down in this Estimate, no portion of which will be returned to the Comptroller and Auditor-General, and which will be disbursed in accordance with regulations to be made by the Minister. We heard no particular reference to that sum of money. It so happens that it is in accordance with the Vote that was passed here some 18 months ago, a Vote of £2,000,000 under which a prosecution arose in the courts which was reported in the Irish Independent of the 14th November, 1933. In the course of that case the judge in the criminal court said:

"That Act did not define what ‘the present emergency' was. Neither he nor the jury should be asked in a court of law, and especially of criminal law, to guess at the meaning of these words or as to what might have been decided by the appropriate Minister, group of Ministers, or Department, as to what should be done with this £2,000,000 or whether it was ear-marked for the payment of cattle bounties. There might at least have been produced in court some person who could tell them authoritatively whether any decision has been made or any resolution passed as to the payment of bounties and the basis on which they should be paid."

The Vote which is now before us states:

The expenditure of these Grants-in-Aid will not be accounted for in detail to the Comptroller and Auditor-General and any unexpended balance of the sums issued will not be surrendered at the close of the financial year.

In the "details of the foregoing" it is stated:—

Provision required to enable Capitation Grants at the rate of five shillings in respect of each volunteer of the first line and second line who is finally approved, to be made to area funds to be established under regulations and administered by area administrative officers for purposes to be defined by the Minister for Defence.

I do not approve of having money voted in that fashion in this House. There were no members of any Party more anxious and more jealous for the exercise by the Comptroller and Auditor-General of control and inspection during the period from 1927 down to 1932 than the members of the Ministry and their supporters. Why that departure should be made now I do not know. We have, however, a precedent for a criticism of a similar sum of £2,000,000 which was made by the Ministry in July, 1932, and to which very strong exception was taken by us. The main point in connection with this particular Vote is: Can the country afford the expenditure of this sum of money at this particular time? If we were satisfied that it could, the question that should ge before that is: "Is it necessary?" Is it necessary for the defence of this State? What is there that is menacing the security or the stability of the State? It is to preserve, we are told, our neutrality. It is not, I am sure, to be a branch of what is called the neutral I.R.A. The whole and sole purpose of this is to ensure our neutrality. Who is menacing it? What are the dangers affecting it? Who is there that is likely to attack us? If we were going to be attacked is this the best system to adopt in order to meet the attack?

We had a new policy in connection with the Army partially disclosed to us this evening. I should say that the second explanation of the expenditure of the money is nearer to the truth than the first—that it was a desire to try to rehabilitate in a military order some of those who were defeated eight, ten or 12 years ago. As an act of grace nobody will object to the principle of that, more particularly if they were suitable to the purposes for which they were being recruited, if in the circumstances of the time one could justify it, and that those commissions would not interfere with the ordinary promotion of young officers having had eight, ten or 12 years' service. When reference was made to the disputes that took place eight, ten or 12 years ago, and to the civil conflict that took place, there was very great care exercised in eliminating any references to the people's choice on those occasions. After all, the people have some right in this country. They have the right to vote. They have the right to express their opinion. For a long period, 12 years ago, that was denied to them— absolutely denied to them. We had stone-age criticisms of plebiscites. We had objections——

When I referred to stone-age plebiscites, it was in regard to a plebiscite at chapel gates—people putting up their hands at chapel gates.

There are various ways of finding out where the majority lies. That was a convenient method.

Very convenient!

Obviously the President thought he was going to be hammered, and that was what actuated his mind rather than the principle.

I objected to it because I knew it could not be held by anybody to be conclusive, and what was most required at the time was something that would be conclusive, and accepted as such.

The President wished to avoid being conclusive at the time.

That was with the white cloak of truth and purity around the President! There are other people who have their conceptions of truth, purity and righteousness, and they say that, by whatever method, no crowd of men and no organisation, political, military or otherwise, has the right to put a stop to a decision by the people on a political question which concerns the people. The whole sum and substance of the objections there were to political meetings at the time—when the rails were torn up from the railroads, when the roads were blocked by trees, when shots were fired at public meetings—and the whole principle at the back of that opposition, was to prevent the people of this country from giving a decision which Deputies opposite knew quite well was going to be in favour of the Treaty that had been signed.

Does the Deputy suggest that anybody in this House was responsible for that or stood by it? We wanted a register—a proper register—of the people to be prepared. It was not allowed. There was a Pact election held, and that election was not an election to decide the issue of the Treaty. We were parties to it. We stood on the same platform as some of the Deputies on the opposite benches, who were in the opposite camp at the time. What is the suggestion now about not accepting the vote of the people?

The people had a right to decide that question.

The people had a right to asemble peacefully and orderly at public meetings addressed by those who were recommending to them the acceptance of the Treaty.

Who denied that?

One member over there, in an apologetic fashion, like Pilate washing his hands, said he did not approve of opposition at public meetings. He did not approve of roads being blocked; he did not approve of roads being torn up; but he left it at that. There was no condemnation of the policy, no coming out on the part of the protagonists——

That is not true historically either. There was.

I should be obliged to hear it. I should be obliged to hear it now. I should like to know here and now the names of the persons who stood against that policy, and to give full publicity to them.

We all stood against it. Practically every member of the political party stood against it.

Only one person in that Party that I recollect. I will be glad to hear the statements or see the accounts in the Press of the persons who were against it. Mark you, we have the evil effects of the policy that was adopted at that time coming down to this day.

When you prevented the Dáil from meeting.

And I would do it tomorrow under the same circumstances.

You will not get the chance.

It just happens this way, that the difference between us is this, that there are people here who have always respected the majesty of the people.

The people's representatives.

And the people's representatives.

Mr. Crowley

Why did you not let them meet in 1922?

We let them meet in September.

Mr. Crowley

Why did you not let them meet in June?

Why did you shoot them in September?

How many did you shoot?

It is the first duty, when it is possible, for members of the Parliament to meet. That was a matter which fell to the judgment of the Executive Council—when it was possible. Mark you, one of those Deputies paid the penalty of his life.

Mr. Crowley


Subsequently, yes. How many might have paid it had meetings taken place in June? I was addressing myself to the subject of public meetings and the people's authority to decide matters. The Army which this Government entered into control of was the Army which was under Cumann na nGaedheal. It was the Army which accepted, and at all times accepted from the date of its formation, the authority and the right of the people to elect their representatives and from those representatives to elect a Government. When Deputies opposite can say the same in respect of any persons who are going to be commissioned as officers in the Army then there is no objection to them, provided that all the other qualifications that commissioned officers should have are fulfilled. It is an unfair allegation and an untrue allegation to say that the Army which the present Minister for Defence presides over—the Army Council—was a Cumann na nGaedheal Army. Ministers know there were people with commissions in the Army who did not agree with us politically. There was none of them dismissed or none of them removed from office for any political differences. We stand, and all the time have stood, for every service of the State, civil or military, to recognise the authority that the people have in electing a Parliament in the first place and a Government in the second place. I am not blind to the fact that there is a difference between authority and power and might. This Government has gone mad on the assumption that because it has might it has power. There is nothing of the sort.

Has it authority?

Whatever power the Government gets it gets from the people, with the limitations there are therein, and while a person might claim that a sovereign parliament introduces and passes into law a Bill of Divorce, it has no power or right to do it, and the very fact that it does it does not legalise that; it is of no more effect the day after it is done than the day before.

I think the Deputy is on rather dangerous ground now, very dangerous ground.

I was often on dangerous ground before, and it does not frighten me even a little bit. I did not interrupt the Minister when he was speaking.

The Deputy had nothing to speak of.

I could have interrupted him on practically every line.

The Deputy did his best.

Those long in authority are always capable of restraining themselves; those who are dressed in a little, a brief, authority are unequal to doing so. Unless there is a different statement made in connection with the proposals presented here, they are political proposals, and they are bad as such and they must have a disturbing effect upon the officers of the Army. I regret that very much. Those men have served the State well. If they are not capable or equal to their particular tasks, take their resignations, get more suitable persons, but get them on the ground of suitability. I object to this Vote, in the first place, because the necessity for it, the actual physical necessity, does not arise and has not been evidenced. There is no danger affecting this country. I object to it in the second place because it is going to spend £300,000 of our money next year, when the state of business in this country, and its main industry, cannot afford any such expenditure. If I wanted proof of it I have it in the extra halfpenny put on the pound of sugar. Is that going to make up the £300,000? It is published in the Press as a tax on foreign sugar. Did anybody ever hear such nonsense, everyone knowing that five-sixths of the sugar consumed here is foreign sugar?

It is going to get money and it is getting the money from the poor who can ill afford it and who, if it were put to them, would not agree to even one-third of that halfpenny being spent on an army such as this. Assuming all is correct and that the commissoned officers are the best that can be got and that the scheme is put forward for our consideration only as a scheme, what is it going to get us? Do you think a month's training in the year is going to produce a soldier? I object to it on the third ground because of this expenditure of £2,500 in unusual circumstances. There is no reason why the Comptroller and Auditor-General should not be able to look over all accounts and we should not be again put in the position that we were in before a judge of our own courts, when he said he had nothing to guide him as to how the money voted by this Parliament should be spent. I object principally because of the speech to which I have listened from the President of the Executive Council.

I listened to the President's speech and, of course, as usual he deprecated any going back to the past, but then characteristically proceeded to go over a large amount of distorted history. I do not propose to follow him. He is very adequately answered by a letter that he wrote in the month of September, 1922, to a gentleman called Charlie Murphy in which he spoke about Rory O'Connor's repudiation of the Dáil. His own words are there giving the lie to the story he tried to put up just now. I listened to him and one phrase he used was that it never should have been the function of the Army that it should determine policy. I object to that because there seems to be an implication in it that the Army—I am not referring now to the irregular carryings-on in 1922—did attempt to determine policy. The President seemed to admit that when the present Government received the Army from as it was a fact, as I had always said and was ridiculed by the Opposition at the time for saying it, that the Army was a loyal body, not a political body; a body of disciplined men ready to obey all orders given to them under the aegis of a legitimate Government. That was what the Government received and the Army never attempted to determine the policy.

The President did say that the new members of this new Force will have to make some sort of attestation. I would like to know will they take the oath that is prescribed for members joining the Army at the present moment, or is there going to be some other form of words put up that will enable them to draw the benefits of joining the Army and not commit their consciences to loyalty to this State? The President and his Government have gone to the end of the earth, so far as one can judge from the newspapers, to bring back men who, as the President himself says, were parties to that repudiation of the Dáil in 1922, which, quoting the President's own words, he said he was so foolish as to agree with. That may be quite all right on the lines the President puts forward for it, but it means an injustice to the men in the Army.

The rule with regard to the Army is that if a man wishes to have a commission he has to be within a certain limit of age, he has to pass an examination indicating his educational qualifications and he then has to go into the Army and serve for two years as a cadet, passing an examination at the end of the first year and the final examination at the end of the second year. When those men go into the Army they should, and justice demands that they should, be able to look forward to a progressive promotion as time goes on, provided always that thay prove themselves fit and efficient officers in the work they have to do.

What this Government has done is this. Although it has plenty of officers in the Army, men who have given long service, dangerous and devoted service, and although it has in the Curragh cadets who have had to pass educational tests and fulfil medical requirements and who had to give two years' apprenticeship there, this Government has gone to the ends of the earth to bring back other men. I do not know what steps were taken to find whether these men were physically fit, whether they possess the necessary educational qualifications; but one thing is certain, and that is that the men in the Army, the officers of long standing, have time and again had to go through courses, all aiming at giving them a competent knowledge of their craft. These men who are now brought back are jockeyed into the Army. Their function, I presume, will be the training of men. The Army has been preparing its officers for the training of men and yet we go right outside the ranks of the Army, involving as that does injustice to officers in the Army, and the plea for that is that the Army is to be representative of all sections of the community.

During my time in the Army there were a number of examinations for cadets to join the Army as officers. I never made any inquiry whatsoever as to what their political opinions or affiliations were. But these men have been chosen presumably for no other reason than that their political affiliations are known. So far as the cadets who joined the Army within the last six or seven years were concerned, to my own personal knowledge nobody inquired what their political opinions were. They might have been ferociously Fianna Fáil for all we knew. The only two men whose politics I knew in the Army were two men who told me that they were strong supporters of the Labour Party. There was no question of that. But now regardless of justice and any sense of fairness to the men who have devoted service in the Army, year after year, and were entitled to avail of their pensions later on, these others are now dragged in to be placed over men who have been all the time in the Army, and who are now to be deprived of the promotion that they had every right in justice and fairness to look forward to, provided they did their duty properly and were efficient. Now we are told that men have been brought from the ends of the earth because they previously defended this country. The Government opposite had to go to Australia and America to find out men who previously defended this country. How many officers in the Army, of long standing, are there who have not previously defended this country? The whole implication of the President's speech was that he could not get men for these new positions who had previously defended this country and that is the reason why he had to hunt up all his friends. The suggestion that he could not get men who previously defended this country here in the Army was an outrageous libel on the men who gave unstinted and unsparing service to this country. That is an indication of what is behind this whole proposal.

I would like to know under what Article of the Defence Act this thing is being done. I presume it means that every member of this new Defence Force will have to join the Regular Army for some period of time, no matter how short it may be. I think the details should be explained by the Minister.

As the Leader of the Opposition has pointed out, this is going to add an additional £300,000 per annum to the cost of the Army. The present Estimate for the Army of £1,253,324 is the Estimate for this year. That already is considerably in excess of the actual cost of the Army during the last year that I was in control of it. I know that at that time Deputy de Valera, as he then was, went round the country suggesting that the Army was the cause of enormous expenditure. On 4th January, 1932, Mr. de Valera said:

"The removal of the Oath would save the country a vast amount on the Army, which was maintained on a large scale simply because there were Irishmen and women who believed that so long as the country was not free they had to win its freedom."

All this additional expense according to him was being incurred because the country was not free. On 20th December, 1931, Mr. de Valera said:

"The Free State Army was costing £1,500,000 per year"—that was not a fact—"and it was being kept up solely for keeping down the people who being denied representation in the National Assembly through the imposition of the Oath were thrown back on force."

Now the Oath is removed. The President had assured people that one of the great advantages of the abolition of the Oath and incidentally the breaking of the Treaty would be that it would save this country an enormous amount of expense, because they would then have a completely satisfied population behind them to enforce their authority. Deputy Geoghegan, speaking at Athlone on 3rd January, said that:

"We were maintaining an Army at a cost of £1,500,000. If they were foolish enough to want to go to war with a foreign power the Army was not adequate, but as regards a civil war who wanted it."

Now we are going to increase the cost of the Army though the Oath has been removed, and the President said that that was the only reason for having an Army at all. He promised the people of the country that if they abolished the Oath there would be a large saving in the cost of the Army, which at that time was, I think, about £1,100,000 odd. The cost is now £1,250,000 and on top of that we are putting an additional cost of £300,000. I would like to know this: I may be misunderstanding the situation and perhaps the Minister might make it clear. These Volunteers will not only be recruited but trained in various parts of the country, and I presume will be men who showed their suitability by supporting the Party opposite when it repudiated the Dáil. I presume there will be some sort of halls in which they will be trained. I would like to know will these local forces be controlled by officers and sergeants or sergeant-majors or will there be local committees to make arrangements with regard to the training carried on in these halls, and to make other arrangements. Will there be a committee or will the management only be in the hands of officers and N.C.O.'s who will control the men without any other arrangement whatsoever? If there is to be a committee will it be a military committee or a civilian committee? Everything about this proposal smells badly of corruption. We are getting rather used to corruption with this Government, but I feel indignant when that corruption takes the form of denying ordinary justice and fair play to officers in the Army. It may be well to give equal rights to everybody irrespective of whether their past is criminal or otherwise, because, of course, we all of us can be susceptible to grace and change. But I do not see why, from the mere fact that a man repudiated the Dáil in 1932, he should be given rights and privileges denied to other people in the country and given these rights and privileges at the expense of men in the Army. I do not see why these men should be put into the Army to deprive other men of the promotion to which they are entitled. These proposals are not of any good from the point of view of defending the country.

The Minister for Defence has been long enough in the Army now to realise or at least he ought to have been, that these isolated places in the country are, not going to be the best means of getting the best training for men in the Army. In my time I did something of that kind when I started the B Reserve, but I realised when these men were brought in that they would have to be brought into some central place where the best means would be available for giving the maximum amount of training in the minimum amount of time.

There are many points that we want to know something about. For instance, under what section are these men recruited? For what reason are the Army regulations disregarded as to the commissioning of officers? What arrangements will there be as to whether or not there will be committees looking after the position of these men? Again, I protest against selecting men from the ends of the earth and putting them over men who have been long in the service of their country and previously defended this country and who have a more honourable and nobler record than men who are now brought back to take their places.

This debate has developed upon political lines and I suggest it has not developed along those lines by accident.

No, the President started it.

The speech we have heard from Deputy Fitzgerald and the speech before it from Deputy Cosgrave were not the product of mere thoughtlessness. They were uttered with deliberate intent. Deputy Cosgrave's references to the obscure incidents of 1922, which I am sure a number of Deputies sitting behind him did not understand——

The Minister I think was not here when the President was speaking, otherwise he would realise that Deputy Cosgrave was merely referring to statements made by the President, because these statements made by the President were completely contrary to truth.

Deputy Cosgrave was not the first speaker in the debate. He was preceded by other members of the same Party who were following what was obviously a deliberate policy of the Party in relation to this estimate. They were determined to bring in here the apple of political discord and have it dissected during the discussion on this particular Vote. They did that of deliberate purpose. They knew that it might be regarded as bad national policy, that it might have undesirable consequences, but, nevertheless, they decided to do it because, irrespective of the national consequences, they thought they might get some political advantage for themselves; just the type of political advantage they thought they would get 12 months ago when they published an announcement to the Army to assure them that if Cumann na nGaedheal were re-elected to office Deputy Fitzgerald would not be made Minister for Defence.

A very great thing has happened. The greatness of it is apparently incomprehensible to Deputies opposite. Because they are unable to comprehend it they come in here with the old political catch-cries, with these efforts to try and revive memories of things better forgotten, so that the greatness of the thing which has happened will not be seen. It was one of the most significant things that ever happened in this country when those 20 officers received their commissions in the presence of those against whom they had been fighting in the civil war. Ten years ago, eight years ago, prayers were being offered in every Irish church and household that that day might come soon. The day has come. The memory of the civil war is being wiped out. It is being wiped out despite the efforts of Deputies opposite to keep it alive. Those who were sundered by the mistake of 1922 and put into opposite camps have come together again in a single league of service under a common bond of loyalty. Can we afford it? Deputy Cosgrave wants to know. We can afford one thousand times the sum involved in this estimate just to secure the elimination of the memory of the civil war and the creation of some guarantee that no designing politicians, Irish or English, will ever be able to bring it about again. Is it necessary? It was the most necessary thing in the political life of the country for the past decade and Deputies opposite should try to take joy in that accomplishment instead of coming in here with petty words endeavouring to revive old hates and bitterness between these men who are now working together again. I think it was Lenin who said that words are sometimes more explosive than bullets. If the civil war were a mere matter of fighting, the memory of it would have caused no great disturbance to the life of the country. Men can get together and fight and when the fight is over forget about it. But, those who did not do the fighting, those who only spoke about it, who went around the country keeping alive the memory of the things which happened during the fight, so that the hate engendered by the fight should not die, were the men who were responsible for the damage that we attribute to the civil war.

The damage done by the civil war itself was a mere matter of material things. The damage done by the fools who spoke at every cross-roads in the country, glorying in the fact that they had succeeded in knocking the devil out of their brother Irishmen, is the damage that we are now trying to repair and that, thank God, we are repairing. The men who did that damage have the will to repeat it in them still. They did not work out all their venom in the speeches at public meetings. Some of it is still left, and that is why we have these speeches here to-day. They see this reunification taking place; they see old memories dying; they see the platform on which they climbed to power disappearing beneath them and they are trying vainly by the old methods to restore it again, but they will not succeed.

Deputy Fitzgerald said that the Army never attempted to dictate policy. He can speak for the time when he was Minister for Defence. We can speak for the time when we were the Government and during our time it never did. It was, I think, a very great thing that the change of Government took place in all the circumstances existing in this country without any disturbance. It is a tribute to every officer and soldier in the Army, because no matter what Deputy Fitzgerald may say about that Army not having been recruited on political lines, it was recruited in circumstances which confined its membership to those who had taken one side in the civil war. It is, as the President said, a testimony to the sincerity and the honesty of purpose of the men who are in it, that when the people decided upon a change of Government and policy they accepted the people's decision. We got from that Army the same loyalty as they had given to our predecessors.

Now the time has come when an effort should be made to extend the idea of organising and training in the national defence outside the limited membership of that permanent Force. That is why the attempt has been made to establish this Volunteer Force. There will be brought into that Force, not men who were on one side or the other in the civil war, but all the youth of the country who are prepared to organise themselves voluntarily so that their services will be available if needed. In doing so, the basis of the Army will be extended and the last concrete evidence that there ever was of the civil war in this country will disappear. Those men who were recruited into the Army for the purpose of organising this Volunteer Force were not recruited on political lines. No matter what Deputies opposite may say or think, I want to assure through them the people of the country that that was not the consideration in the mind of the Executive Council when they were being selected.

They were selected because, in our opinion, they were the best people for that post, the best qualified in every way. Their acceptance of these commissions and the manner in which the commissions were conferred on them, their association with those who were in the regular Army and were there before them is a guarantee that this new Force is going to be a national Force and not a mere appendage of one political Party or another, a Force that will be there to defend this country is such defence is needed. I do not know whether such defence will be needed. There is one country in Europe that took the course of abolishing its army, trusting to the declaration of the great powers and the formula that were embodied in international agreements. But this particular country did not keep to this decision for long. They reconstituted their army again. They felt that as they were up against great military powers they could not effectively prevent invasion, but that they could nevertheless so acquit themselves in the case of invasion that the damage they were capable of inflicting would deter the invaders from making the attempt.

If any great military power plans to invade this country we cannot stop them. But if we have got the youth of Ireland organised and trained militarily we can make it possible to inflict such damage upon the invading forces that no power, great or small, will lightly undertake the task. The Army which exists is small in numbers but it is highly efficient and highly trained. It might be better equipped. But nevertheless it is capable of giving effective service. If its fighting power is to be maintained there has got to be associated with it a wider organisation such as the Volunteer Force now to be brought into existence. The establishment of that Volunteer Force gives us a much more effective unit but it also has national advantages to which I have made reference. I do not think it is necessary to say more than has been said in defence of this Estimate. I would ask Deputies opposite to try for a short while to forget that they are Party politicians and to remember that the needs of this country are greater than the needs of their Party. The work they can do for this country is much more important than the work they can do for their Party. Though they may get some advantage, though they may get when the ballot boxes are opened a few Army votes by making the sort of speeches that Deputy Mulcahy and Deputy Fitzgerald have made, I say this, that in the long run they will have done much better work for their country and their Party by taking another line.

There may be an adequate case to be made for the Estimate or the proposals which lie behind the Estimate that we are called upon to consider to-day. But if there is such a case I venture to say that it has not yet been presented to this House. The Minister for Defence rose to inform the House that he and his colleagues had decided to revolutionise, to reconstruct, our military system. I remember when something of the same kind was done in England about 28 years ago that the Minister for War in that country thought it necessary to overwhelm the House of Commons with a record speech lasting four-and-a-half hours. The Minister for Defence here has very different ideas.

Thank God.

Yes, thank God, but perhaps he went rather to the opposite extreme when dealing with the proposals of the importance of these before us. He spent only about ten minutes on his feet. Brief as his speech was there were some statements in it which were hard to reconcile with the later utterances of some of his colleagues. I might say that one of the statements in the Minister's speech which most struck me as being a reason for supporting these proposals was that they would lead to a less expensive system of defence than we had up to the present; in the future system, the Regular Army was to be still further reduced and the net result would be that we would be spending less money on our defences than we have been spending heretofore. There has been plenty in the speech both of the President and the Minister for Industry and Commerce which must lead one to the conclusion that no thought of that sort is entertained by them.

We have had an estimate given us that as a beginning these proposals next year will cost £300,000 and perhaps much more later. According to the Minister for Industry and Commerce that is a very cheap price to pay for what has been accomplished. According to him it would be worth not £300,000 but £300,000,000 a year to accomplish what he says they are going to accomplish. He says it would be worth £300,000,000 to this country to restore these 20 gentlemen to the bosom of their comrades. I am bound to say that I consider that view a trifle exaggerated. I consider it rather characteristic of the mentality of the people on the opposite benches who think that they themselves, and their past and their little individual histories, and the individual histories of a certain set of men with whom they were closely associated, are the most important things in this country and that the unfortunate ordinary citizen does not matter at all in comparison.

A few minutes later the Minister for Industry and Commerce told us that in point of fact these 20 persons had not been appointed on political grounds at all, that they had been appointed because they were the best men. If it was worth £300,000 a year to get them for political reasons why were they not got for political reasons? The Minister for Industry and Commerce flatly contradicted himself. As a matter of fact they were appointed for political reasons and it is ludicrous to pretend otherwise. What an extraordinary coincidence it would be that if you went out to get 20 good men in the country you were to find that every one of them was a supporter of Fianna Fáil and that 17 out of the 20 had been out fighting against the Treaty in the civil war. What an extraordinary coincidence that all 20 were supporters of the Government?

Everybody is. If we did not appoint supporters of the Government we would have to go outside the country to get them.

A Deputy

And you did.

Will the Minister explain what he means?

Will the Deputy tell us where we are to get people who are not supporters of the Fianna Fáil Party?

The Minister may enjoy that witticism but no one else will. It was a little odd that 17 out of the 20 actually fought on that side in the civil war. I do not think that anyone could accuse me of wishing to keep alive civil war memories or that I resented anybody's character being re-established or that I resented anybody's prosperity being re-established merely because he fought on the losing side in the civil war. That is not my point of view at all, but I do say that it is not a good way to go about eliminating civil war memories or bitterness when you are creating a force such as this to go and select the entire body of officers to put in charge of it from one particular side in the civil war, and to select the people who have one particular point of view about politics and the Government of this country. Can it be successfully argued that that is the way to eliminate bitterness? The President says that in every department of Government policy the thought of eliminating bitterness is always present. And that the thing that has thwarted him in accomplishing that desirable end is, above all else, the recent change that has taken place in the character of the Opposition. Is that an honest statement? The President suggests that the Opposition is now committed to support an attempt to establish a dictatorship in this country. Does the President believe that?

Does one man over there on those benches believe that? Let us suppose that the President truly believes that some of the speeches of General O'Duffy—I do not hesitate to use the hated name that the President could not bring himself to allow to pass his lips—let us assume that he genuinely believes that some of the speeches made by General O'Duffy before the Party merger, were open to the interpretation that he was out for a dictatorship. Is he nevertheless justified in believing that to-day not only is that General O'Duffy's aim, in spite of all General O'Duffy's declarations to the contrary, but that also he has succeeded in converting to that view everybody on these benches, including persons who have over and over again expressed their emphatic objection to anything in the nature of a dictatorship or Hitlerism in this country?

He will dictate to you now.

I did not catch the Minister.

General O'Duffy would not have the slightest hesitation in dictating to you as he has dictated to everybody else.

I do not quite appreciate the force of the Minister's interruption.

A Deputy

You will in time.

It appears to me that a little attention might be paid to the fact that not only General O'Duffy himself has emphatically declared that he is not in favour of a dictatorship out also that the policy of the Party, which has been published, has a clause to the same effect. In face of that, to suggest that bitterness has been caused because the Opposition is in favour of a dictatorship seems to me so absurd that it is hardly possible to argue about it. That there has been increased bitterness since the Party merger I do not deny. Why has there been increased bitbitterness? It is worth while mentioning in connection with the Army Estimate and the surrounding circumstances. There has been increased bitterness for two reasons. The first is because the Government and the Fianna Fáil Party feel that a force has come into being which threatens their power and they do not like it.

A Deputy

You have a lot to learn yet.

The second is, that they have not been ashamed to disinter the Public Safety Act, which they condemned in the terms in which they did condemn it, in order to destroy that political force of which they are afraid. If the President wishes to eliminate bitterness from politics in this country—and goodness knows I wish it, too—the very first step he should take would be to go back on what he has done and withdraw his use of the Public Safety Act. I do not think that a case has anywhere near been made out for the Estimate to which we were asked to agree to-day. It was only a few days ago that we were called upon to agree to proposals that will cause intense discontent amongst a number of public servants, in the name of economy, in order to secure a total sum of £35,000. Yet here we are to-day being asked to agree to an annual expenditure of £300,000, which according to everybody except the Minister for Defence is more likely to increase than decrease and which the Minister for Industry and Commerce would be quite content to see raised to £300,000,000 per annum. Is that a reasonable request or a sensible request? I am quite satisfied it is not and for that reason I ask the House to refuse its assent to this Estimate.

There are no Republicans in this Assembly and it is unfortunate that they cannot defend them selves here. I do not look upon this pink and yellow Party of Radical-Socialists as a Republican Party. It is rather unfair that this proposal should be brought through the Dáil in the absence of Republicans, seeing that it is obviously an attempt on the part of the Government to bribe a certain number of members of the I.R.A. That is the object of this Vote. They have succeeded in corrupting and bribing a certain number of late members of the I.R.A., who have agreed to take the King's shilling and become members of the militia. I take off my hat to those members of the I.R.A. who have not been bought by this new proposal. The Government, during recent weeks, have gone out of their way to try and attack members of the I.R.A. We have Deputy Dr. Ward, Deputy Dr. O'Dowd and other members of the Government Party doing their best to undermine in various directions their former colleagues in the Republican movement. They spread slanders against the I.R.A. The official organ of the Government Party—it is the official organ in spite of all the denials which we hear—ventured to suggest that the murders and other outrages which were being committed in this country were committed at the instigation of the I.R.A. The official organ ago a very clear statement appeared, which was issued by the I.R.A., repudiating in very clear terms any participation in these murders and outrages. It is common knowledge that these murders and outrages were not committed by the official I.R.A. They were committed by the scum troops of the Fianna Fáil Party. That is known throughout the country and yet the Government and its supporters tried to put the blame on the I.R.A. They have succeeded in bribing and corrupting a certain number. They have not succeeded bringing and corrupting those members of the I.R.A. who are patriotically inclined.

Deputy MacDermot referred just now to the fact that this Dáil had recently been asked to agree to heavy cuts in the salaries and wages of public employees throughout the country and now we are asked to put an additional burden of £300,000 a year on the taxpayers. The Labour Party is making its contribution, I suppose, to this debate. It is making a valuable contribution and a noteworthy one. I suppose that it is satisfied that this money is being better spent in this way than it would be spent in keeping up a decent standard of wages in public employment. The President made two contradictory statements as to what his defence policy is. In the first place, he suggested that this was the carrying out of the general defence policy of the Fianna Fáil Party, that is a policy which is founded on a territorial system. He then went on to suggest that no excuse could be given to any foreigner to say it was unable to defend our shores. It is obviously absurd to suggest that a Territorial Force such as it is proposed to establish could defend the coasts of this country. I have pointed out before that the Article of the Treaty which gave the external defence of our coast to Britain has lapsed. Nothing was done by the last Government, nor has anything been done by the present Government to see that some other form of defence was provided. I agree with the proposals put forward and the suggestions made at a recent meeting of the real Republican Party, when they urged the claim for a proper defence force for the defence of the coast of the country, urged the establishment of a coastal defence, the inauguration of an Irish navy, and certainly the establishment of a naval or coastal defence force. It is ridiculous for the Government to come forward and suggest that a Territorial Force, with headquarters in different country towns, is to be a very effective use in defending the shores of this country. I think it is ridiculous, and it is for that reason that it is clear to anybody who thinks at all about coastal defences that this is no attempt to find the solution. It is only an attempt to find a solution for something which is very different, that is, the political problem which faces the Party in power in view of the fact that they know they are losing the support of the Republican element in this country, on which they relied before. This force will be composed possibly of ex-Republicans. They will be there armed in local centres and it is quite possible that when the time comes— as it comes to all Governments—that the people turn against them, that Army will be there to see that they are retained in power against the wishes of the people.

In this debate I notice that the Fianna Fáil Party have brought their big guns into action. We have had an endeavour by the President and we have had another endeavour by the Minister for Industry and Commerce to justify the bringing in of this Estimate which is before the House. I must frankly confess that I have never heard, even from the Government Benches, a lamer defence of policy than I have heard put forward by the President, and put forward by the Minister for Industry and Commerce. That defence of their policy did not ring true. It had not a note of sincerity in it. It had not a note of sincerity and it did not ring true because the case which the President and the Minister for Industry and Commerce were putting forward was not a case which they honestly believed in themselves.

We are told that this Force is being established for the purpose of defending this State against some hostile invading army. What hostile invading army? What State are you arming against? What State threatens this country with invasion? Is there one single person on the Fianna Fáil Benches, not alone in the Executive Council, who considers at the present moment that at any future time there will be an invasion of this State by any foreign military power? I do not believe there is one. I do not believe there is a single member of the Party who is foolish enough to hold that view. What is the power that is going to invade this State, and above all things what is the present urgency of this measure? You are increasing your Army. Against what? What is the present menace? What is the danger that you see before you in the near future against which you are preparing? That should be the very first thing which the House was told, but we have not been told. We have not been told, because the President knows, and the Minister for Defence knows, and the Minister for Industry and Commerce knows that there is no danger and no menace to the State by the invasion of a military force. They know it, and they know that there is no necessity at all for the establishment of this militia body. They know that the case which they are putting forward is not a case that the country can believe. They must know that the country does see what is the real thing which is hanging behind this Estimate.

We are told by the President that the officers who command this body are not to be drawn from any particular source but from the nation as a whole. That is what this new force is to be recruited from—not from any particular source but from the nation as a whole. Have those officers, who have been selected, been selected from any particular source or have they been selected from the nation as a whole? I defy anybody, the Front Government Bench or any bench in the House, to deny what is a plain and obvious fact, that those men have been selected from one particular source. They are not men who represent the country as a whole. They have been deliberately chosen from one political source, with the deliberate object in the minds of the promoters of this new Force to make that Force an entirely political one, because they have chosen the officers not on the grounds of efficiency but because of their political beliefs. The Minister for Industry and Commerce said that the men were chosen because they were best qualified in every way. We wonder if the Minister for Industry and Commerce expects any sane person to accept that statement. What are their qualifications really? Let us know them. They are men without any military training. You have got a splendidly efficient Force—a splendidly efficient Army. It may be small, but it is magnificiently fitted and magnificiently trained, under the most splendid discipline. Is it not from a source like that, from trained men and disciplined officers that you would draw the officers of this new Force if you wished to have an efficient Force? But what did you do? You go around the country or outside the country and you take in men who have no training in discipline themselves, and have no military training of any real kind behind them, and you select those men to be the officers in command of your Force. Is that making for efficiency? Is it making for efficiency, when you could get splendidly trained and qualified men to carry out professional work, that you take unqualified and untrained men to do it? You can paint yourselves as complete fools, thinking that untrained and unqualified men could do professional work better than trained and qualified men, but you cannot get the country to believe that you are quite the foolish body of men you try to paint yourselves. Of course they are not picked for efficiency. If you were looking for efficiency you would go to the regular trained Army, and would take every single one of the officers from that trained Army. You would take trained men and not untrained men. What is going to happen? You are going to take in many thousands, you say, of untrained and undisciplined men. You are going to put them together in various camps, and over that body you are going to have in command men who are also untrained and undisciplined.

What is this new Force going to be like? Is it going to have the efficiency even of a militia, or is it going to be a completely undisciplined mob with no control? Take any body of men, no matter how good they are. You take them and put them together, a large body of young men. It is very difficult and it takes a long time to make these men disciplined. It requires very well trained and very efficient men to make them disciplined. It is not like taking recruits into an army. You have a regular disciplined Army; you take in a recruit and he is absorbed by the disciplined Force. But here you are not absorbing into a disciplined Force undisciplined men; you are trying to create an entirely new Force out of entirely undisciplined men and you are putting undisciplined men to do it. How do you expect that is going to be a success? If you want an efficient Force, if you do not want a Force that will be collected together and that will be more a menace to the ordinary lawabiding citizens than anything else, you could not set about it in a better way than this.

What experience have these officers who are to be put in command? They are pulled in a couple of months beforehand and they get a little brushing up in training themselves. I think it was Byron who wrote about a certain lady teacher that

She in teaching taught so well

That she herself learned how to spell.

That seems to be the principle upon which you select your officers for this Force—that by disciplining other men they will gradually learn how to discipline themselves. You have regularly trained, disciplined men who are available to do this work, but you brush them aside and say that these other untrained, undisciplined men are better at disciplining others. It is going to be a very big work, it is going to be a terribly tough business, a heavy, responsible and difficult business.

The officers in command of this Force will have to make these untrained men disciplined. If they do not succeed, what will you have? You will have a collection of undisciplined men being taught to shoot. Is it wise now to take so many thousands of young men whom your own commonsense will tell you will not be disciplined? A month's training could not discipline them, even under the best of officers. They are going to be under untrained officers. Is it a wise thing to collect this body of young men, put arms into their hands and teach them how to shoot? Is that the course of conduct that an Executive Council that really wished to see peace in this country would take? You know perfectly well it is not. You do not want peace and you are not looking for an addition to your Army of regularly trained men. You are taking a desperate risk; you are running most frightful risks when you take these undisciplined young men, put arms in their hands and teach them to shoot. That course is particularly risky in this country at the present moment.

The President said that these men were men who had fought according to their ideas for this country at one period. These men who have been selected may have fought according to their own ideas, but it is perfectly well known and cannot be denied that they fought against this State. They fought against the authority of the Oireachtas and now these men are to control a body of men who are, you say, to be entirely obedient to everything that is done by the Oireachtas. Are you not running very grave risks in that? Again, the President says that these persons who fought with him against the State ten or 12 years ago have now no excuse for standing out. But they are standing out. Deputy Esmonde said that you have bought off a certain number of men of the I.R.A. No doubt you have. There may have been certain men in the I.R.A. who have taken your posts. That may be so. I daresay it is so. But remember that the I.R.A., which is a force that you still allow to remain armed, a force which wishes to upset this State and Constitution by force of arms, have not accepted this new militia. If you read their paper or the placards they put up or the writings on the street walls you will see they have not accepted this new militia at all. You are effecting nothing; you are not getting the whole I.R.A. Even if that were a desirable thing to do, to take in the whole I.R.A. and teach them how to shoot—which I think would be a shocking thing to do—that would not be effecting what you profess to be your political aim. Even in your political aim you have failed and you are taking now the most terrible risks.

I do not see how the Executive Council can justify to itself this course which obviously, to gain political capital, they are taking. In order to gain this political capital they are deliberately endangering the structure of the State and almost the existence of civilisation in this State. I use the word civilisation in the old sense, because I deny the Soviet Republic's term civilisation. You have not put forward and you cannot put forward any reason for the establishment of this Force. It is being established at a time when obviously every single halfpenny that can be saved should be saved. You are deliberately wasting, misapplying, putting to a very bad use in my judgment, an enormous sum of money. You may succeed in carrying your proposal through this House—you have got your majority—but if this House passes this estimate this House is doing as bad a service to Ireland as it has ever done in passing any measure that ever came before it.

I propose to be very brief in my reference to the proposal before us. This, I think, must be said, that I suppose one of the most remarkable past-masters of propaganda who has ever appeared in this country is President de Valera. He intervened at an early stage in this debate and he said that one of his principal purposes in intervening was to secure that the debate would not proceed on political lines and would not serve to revive bitter memories of the past. A bland and saintly smile settled on the faces of all his supporters in the back benches of Fianna Fáil and the President then went on to make as controversial a speech as it was possible for him to make. I do not propose to follow him in his discussion as to the merits of the civil war. The only reference that was made to the civil war here to-day was brought into the discussion by President de Valera. I can only hope that pious speeches will not be made on the hustings deploring that provocative references to the civil war were made from these benches, because it ought to be borne in mind by any honest man sitting on the benches opposite that every reference made to the civil war here to-day was adduced by the President of the State. It is greatly to the credit of some of the men who have been engaged in that unhappy struggle that they allowed a good deal of what the President thought fit to say to drop, and passed on to the subject matter of the Estimate before us. The President faced up to the subject matter of the Estimate too, but even then he could not avoid adopting those strange tactics which have become characteristic of him during the last couple of months. He managed to drag in the cheap fraudulent allegation that the object of the United Ireland organisation was the overthrow of the Government of this country by force of arms and the establishment of a dictatorship. I sought to compel him to make that charge openly and directly in order that it might be openly and equally directly repudiated but that he would not do. He referred to some unknown person whom he declined to name. I knew whom he meant; everybody knew whom he meant. The President wanted to maintain the position that there would be a kind of feeling of doubt if he told more. Why had he not the courage to get up and say I charge General O'Duffy with trying to overthrow the Government by force of arms and to establish a dictatorship. He did not do that because he knows it would be false. But he puts up his unfortunate "goms" all over the country to make and to whisper that charge. When he gets up here he will not make the charge specifically himself because he knows the answer he would get, but he makes it in a backhanded way. To my mind, that is inconsistent with honourable conduct in public life. If you want to make a charge against a man make it and let him answer it or plead guilty, but do not try to stab a man in the dark. Now let anyone get up and say he believes that General O'Duffy wants to set up a dictatorship and to overthrow the Government by force of arms and we will tell him he is wrong.

You will tell him he is wrong.

The Deputy need not believe me if he does not like. He need not believe me, but at the same time he gives me the opportunity of repudiating it; but the President gets up and makes the charge. It must be apparent to any man in this House, and in the country, that the President has sources of information that the ordinary citizen has not and that the ordinary Deputy has not, but he is careful, knowing that he has this source of information, not to make a specific charge. He hints something. If he knows that General O'Duffy or any other man in this country is pledged to overthrow the Government by force of arms then President de Valera is a traitor if he does not apprehend that man and try that man and convict that man. A man who is afraid to do his duty by the State, who is affraid to defend it, but who is not afraid to come in with hints and innuendoes and suggestions is a man, I confess, entirely different from what I imagined President de Valera to be. Now let us dispose of this dictatorship once and for all. That charge is false and that charge is made for one reason: Because Fianna Fáil knows it is losing ground in the country and knows that the League of Youth is one of the most powerful instruments of constitutional political action against Fianna Fáil. The Government has searched the records of the League of Youth; it has searched the houses of the League of Youth; it has read it rules and its correspondence, but it has never been able to prove one single breach of the law against the League of Youth. Every raid and search made on the League of Youth makes it more manifest what we told the Government from the beginning, that the League of Youth stands for the maintenance of law and order and for the right of the Irish people to choose who are to be the governors of this country. It is because the Government cannot blacken their character or find anything that will injure their reputation in the eyes of the Irish people that they start their cheap fraudulent charges which they dare not make directly, but which they make in a backhand way in the hope that they will not find people to contradict them. Their charges are contradicted, and if any man thinks he can prove them then the proper place to prove them is in a court of law. The Government has made certain efforts to blacken their name in a court of law already, but they have not pulled it off yet. They are making a couple of more efforts, but they have not pulled it off yet.

We were told at the conclusion of a very eloquent oration from the Minister for Industry and Commerce that this Army is not going to be an appendage of one Party or another. I do not know if Mr. Lambert has yet received his commission, whether he is a commissioned officer of the Army as yet or not. If he is, he is entitled to the title of Captain Lambert.

Not yet.

If he was he would be entitled to the title of captain. I only hope that this commissioned officer of the National Army and who is now a captain designate would manage to so deport himself in public as a man who is virtually a member of the National Army. At a meeting of friends who came to welcome him home from the Antipodes the Irish Press reports the captain designate, in regard to the return of the Fianna Fáil Party, as expressing the hope that from this forward they would give the Government every support. That was published in the Irish Press last Saturday. I have no complaint whatever that Mr. Lambert should have his views on Irish politics. He is quite entitled to have them and he is none the worse man for holding this position. But what I do complain of is this: That if this Army, which it is proposed to create, is to be genuinely what the Minister for Defence and the President pretends it is going to be, then, obviously, any captain designate of the Army should not say these things.

You say you want people to speak out their minds and then if they do you object.

I think if the Deputy asks the Minister for Defence he would tell him that he would look askance at any officer of the Army who came out and said that the Fianna Fáil Government was a mighty poor Government and ought to be put out of office.

He is not yet a commissioned officer.

I am making the point that while he is not yet a commissioned officer he came home for the purpose of taking a commission and he is described as a captain designate of the National Army. It is manifestly improper for him or any designate officer to take up a controversial position in the politics of the country. It is something greatly to the credit of our National Army that it can be truly said of them that they are absolutely above politics and are resolved to serve the elected Government of the Irish people, no matter what that Government may be.

Just as General O'Duffy was.

I think it would be better to leave General O'Duffy out of the discussion. If the Deputy wants to make a speech on General O'Duffy he is quite free to do so. I entirely agree with the position taken up by Deputy Anthony and that is: can we afford it or who wants it? The only trouble in this country is that we have had too many armies in the past. I have heard it preached from Fianna Fáil platforms again and again that their object was to do away with armies—that we did not want any army. Now, we are not only to have the existing National Army but an additional 15,000 men. We all know, and there is no use closing our eyes to the fact, that the object for which this Army was designed was to provide a kind of haven of refuge into which all the I.R.A. would march like lambs. The I.R.A. have made it perfectly clear that they have not the slightest intention of marching in like lambs. Those who get a good job out of it are prepared to consider the position, but those who are going to be marched in as common privates say, "Not on your life." We are going to have our Army and spend £300,000 a year, and we are going to weep over the triumph of the Minister for Industry and Commerce who sees the men who were parted in the past coming together again. At the back of our minds and the Minister's minds and the President's mind the whole object was to get the I.R.A. to come into this organisation and to come under the control of the Government, and the I.R.A. have not the slightest intention of doing one thing or the other. In that determination not to do one thing or the other, they are ably vindicated by several members of the Fianna Fáil Party at the present time.

What is the use of maintaining the fraud that these officers were not chosen for political reasons? Everybody knows that they were. If the plan was going to succeed there would be some excuse for doing that, but everyone knows that it is not. The I.R.A. come out week after week and denounce the Minister for Defence as the greatest blackguard and cut-throat that ever appeared in the country. They say that he is trying to sabotage the Republic; that he is trampling on his high principles. Deputy Hales and Deputy Flynn are going around the country trying to save his face; explaining that poor Frank Aiken is not as bad as he is painted; that An Phoblacht is very hard on him, and that really he is not a bad fellow. The whole thing is falling down like a house of cards. Nevertheless, we are to spend £300,000 a year—10 times as much as we took off the local officials' salaries last week. Is there head or tail to such a performance? To cap the climax, when we look at the thing closely we discover that in every parish, in every barony, there is to be set up a rifle range and the young people of the country are to be brought in for a month every year and taught to be gunmen and then let loose on the country. Is that commonsense? Why should we want to teach every young fellow in this country how to use a gun? To a lot of them it may do no harm, but in a great many cases you are sowing in that unfortunate youth the seed of demoralisation. The next performance is that you will have him turning into a gangster. Some unscrupulous person will make a gun available to him. He will know how to use it and having been taught how to use it he may have the ordinary youthful ambition to have a gun of his own.

Everybody knows how undesirable it is to have arms in the hands of the majority of the young people all over the place. It is very hard to keep an eye on them, to keep them under reasonable discipline; anything may happen to them. What is it all for? To consolidate the defence of the country? In the name of Providence, against what are we going to consolidate the defence of the country? As the President aptly said, if any big Power makes up its mind to invade us with its full forces we cannot stop it, and the fact that we have 15,000 lads up and down the country who have undergone a month's training once a year is not going to stop it. So that no matter from what angle you look at the proposal there is absolutely no justification for it. It is going to cost £300,000 a year as a minimum—it will probably cost more—and it is going to put arms into the hands of every decent young fellow in the country and teach him to become a gunman. Surely it is the acme of futility. Surely it can do nothing to achieve the purpose that the Minister for Industry and Commerce spoke of. He spoke of reconcilation. Surely this can do nothing to that end. If it was worth while, if it would contribute anything to that end, I believe there would be hearty co-operation from every part of the House in order to arrive at that purpose, but it will not. On the contrary, it is going to stir up and down through the country the kind of recrimination and bitterness that, to the regret of all of us in this House, sometimes bursts out on those benches. Every Deputy knows that there are parts of the country in which that civil war bitterness has largely passed away. Every Deputy deplores that from time to time, despite our best intentions, we do lose our tempers here and some of that bitterness does flare up—not as often, I am happy to think, as it used to do.

A Deputy

Why should you?

Where is the use of discussing the whys and the wherefores? These are the facts. The danger is that this move in the country will result in splitting the people into the old miserable lines of division. You create on one side a semi-armed camp and on the other side a bitterly resentful unarmed body. What is it all for? What is the money being spent for? What do we hope to get out of it? Why cannot we face it rationally, patiently and sensibly, and abandon the whole scheme and concentrate attention on the Army we have got? It is a good Army; it is admittedly an efficient Army, it is an Army loyal to the State; it is an Army with a fine esprit de corps, with a fine spirit; an Army that would do any young man who wants a military career good to join. Why must we start another? If these 20 men are really in good faith, really want to bury the hatchet and show readiness to serve the State, they will be made welcome at the Curragh. I am certain that the officers of the Army will welcome these men as regular officers, take them into the body of the Army and show by their attitude that they feel nothing of the past differences that divided them. That purpose can be easily served without resort to this Army. Unless this House desires to commit itself to a deplorably mistaken policy, it will turn its back on this Estimate and resolve that any military developments that may be required will have their foundation on our existing Army, and that it will not vote £300,000 per annum to finance an Army the reason for which is unknown and unknowable to the whole country.

Deputy Dillon promised to be brief. Like all promises made by his Party, no sooner are they made than they are broken. I want to assure Deputy Dillon and the other members of his Party that men like my comrades and myself resent the fact of our being called gunmen. A gunman, sir, is a murderer. We are more used to being shot at than to shoot. It has been unfortunate for us that we have had to use guns and kill people. We never used guns against anybody who was not using them against us. For that reason we resent being called gunmen and we resent these men being called gunmen. Deputy Dillon and others like him who never handled a gun in defence of this country should keep their mouths shut when men and soldiers talk.

Deputy MacDermot told us a while ago that he did not understand the mentality of the Fianna Fáil Party. Of course he does not, nor does he understand the mentality of the United Ireland Party either. He does not understand the mentality of this Irish nation. His education and traditions are altogether different from ours. I want to assure Deputy Dillon that there is no bitterness in our minds, no bitterness at all. We want to get rid of all the bitterness in this country. We do not want by one word to add to that bitterness, but if Deputy Dillon asks do we believe that his Party aim at a dictatorship I will say for one I did believe it absolutely and could not believe anything else from the statements made by General O'Duffy. I do not believe it now because I know damned well he will not get away with it.

Deputy Dillon tells us the reason why this new Army is being started is because the country has gone from us. That is not true. We are stronger than ever before. We do know that your people and your leaders would have started a dictatorship if you could get away with it, but you could not. I will take Deputy Dillon back a few years. Deputy Dillon, I am sure, dislikes bitterness and cruelty just as much as I do. I will give him credit for that. Some years ago in Waterford a number for men were very cruelly beaten. I know that, to the honour of the late Kevin O'Higgins, the matter was investigated and the officer who carried out the investigation reported that these beatings were carried out by official orders. Kevin O'Higgins, like the man he was, immediately suspended the man who gave the order.

General O'Duffy threatened to resign. Kevin O'Higgins again, like the man he was, told him to do it. General O'Duffy went back to his headquarters and gathered around him all the senior officers of the Gárda and got them to sign a statement offering their resignations to Kevin O'Higgins unless the suspensions of the men found guilty were removed. Kevin O'Higgins accepted those resignations on Friday evening and on Sunday morning he was dead. I hang that up for the people to look at. The men who wanted to coerce Kevin O'Higgins in 1927 were dictators and they wanted to get away with it. I welcome the organisation of this new Army as the best means of promoting good-fellowship amongst good Irishmen.

Will the Deputy allow me to interrupt and say that I have no personal knowledge of the fact he alleges but I cannot accept his version of it as in any sense accurate.

I think this Army is going to be the means of uniting Ireland. I know a lot of the officers who have been commissioned in it. I can assure Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney that they are men of a lot better discipline than the kicking cow. These men had very definite responsibility in 1920-21 and they never failed in these responsibilities. They will not fail now. Again I want to resent the statement of Deputy Dillon in calling me and my comrades gunmen.

Everybody in this House and outside it who notes the present trend of the statesmen of the world in their efforts to bring about a peace atmosphere and in trying to curtail armaments are aware that the chancelleries of the world are meeting and trying to do everything possible in the hope of bringing about the limitation of armaments. In these circumstances it is rather remarkable that we in this small State should embark upon getting together a new force of 15,000 men. If this £300,000 were to be allotted with a view to getting the youth of Ireland into some form of organisation where guns would be discarded and where physical training and the developing of the athletic powers of our young people were to be the main programme it would be something at which we would be pleased. If the young people could be brought together in that way even for a month at a time and if we set about training to develop their museles and their athletic abilities with a view to the development of their physical fitness and the establishment of fine moral courage so sadly lacking at the present moment, I would say the money would be well spent and would bring a great return.

But unfortunately it is on an organisation which is to be called an Army that we are now to spend this large amount of money despite reductions in salaries, despite wage cutting and despite all the sacrifices of the people in the present hard times. We are now starting out to have shooting galleries and to train the youth of the country in the use of the rifle and revolver. This is not the time for this sort of institution when we are doing our best to denounce armaments. To my mind there is too much soldiering and too much of an appeal to the militaristic spirit. There is too much of that sort of thing that says once you are a soldier you are better than the civilian member of society. There is too much about this marching forward and this talk about conquering the world. We have too much of this thing telling the youth that as long as the Army is marching and as long as they can drill and march that they are great Irishmen. It is time that we took the other course and denounced all this soldiering idea in the minds of our young countrymen.

When this Government took over the machinery of this State from its predecessors, one of the things which all of us admired, whether on this or that side of the House, was the splendid loyalty and the splendid neutrality of the young Army that had been set up by the previous Government. Despite the scares that we read of in the Irish Press, about some coup d'etat, some sort of seizure on which the Minister for Local Government and Public Health got very busy and active, despite all these cruel rumours that went round, the transfer took place quietly and smoothly. Our Regular Army gave a lead to us all as to how our duty to the State should be performed. Now we find rumours speeding round that this Regular Army is to be slowly but by degrees absorbed; that it is to be unfortunately absorbed by those who had been its political opponents or its opponents in the field in the past, and that by degrees the Army will become a purely political Army and nothing else. I am glad to learn, as I was not in the House myself, that a statement has been made that this Army is to be independent of any political Party. Unfortunately it would seem that a bad start had been made. I am glad to hear it is not true. At the same time it seems to be that the old Regular Army will by degrees, man by man, section by section, company by company, ultimately be absorbed and that their places will be taken by this new Army. I hope that that will not take place. It will be mighty hard to stop it. Everybody knows what it is when claims are raised by certain followers: “We want this and we want that; we must have this and we must have that.” It will require all the energy and determination of the Executive Council to stand against it. I sincerely hope that even yet, in spite of all the pronouncements made, that there is no foundation for the rumours that have gone round that certain men in the Regular Army, almost over 1,000, will lose their chance of promotion by reason of these new 15,000 Volunteers.

I had not the slightest intention of intervening in this debate, but no matter what appeal is made here for peace, it is very hard to sit and listen to pronouncements from some of the Deputies who have, if I might say so, with a certain amount of respect, the nerve to intervene in this debate at all. I have listened to pronouncements by Deputy Minch in the House and Captain Minch outside.

And proud of it. Make no mistake about it.

Why would you not be proud of it?

Remember he is an elected Deputy of the House.

Yes, and I have given him his title. You can get up and speak if you want to.

I have done so already.

One of Deputy Minch's pronouncements here was that we had too many trained men in the country already and that it was scandalous to start another Army at a cost of £300,000 per annum, that we did not want any more armed and disciplined men in the country. I want to tell Captain Minch and those who think like him that it was time we had trained and disciplined men in this country. I want to tell him that when he and his ilk came to this country and said: "You will have to go out and fight where we are; you will have to go out and die in France"—the trained and disciplined men said: "We will not," and it was the trained and disciplined men who prevented them from taking us out and told him that he could go out and fight if he wanted to but that he would not get us. Now if we have trained and disciplined men, as a result of this measure, it will be the proudest moment of my life even though they will be a thorn in his side as they were before.

Were the 16th Irish Division a thorn in your side?

They were, from your standpoint.

We are not afraid of you.

Of me personally, is it?

You need not tell me about that. If you stand up alongside me the people will see that.

The Deputy should address the Chair.

I am answering the Deputy through you, sir. I repeat again that the only purpose I had in standing up was to answer Deputy Minch. I repeat again that the proudest moment in our lives will be when this country has a trained and disciplined body of men, open to every man, no matter what his political views may be—a body of men who will be able to oppose any persons who may attempt to filch our rights from us. I should like also to answer Deputy Dillon. In one of his statements he tried to convey to the House that this political discussion resulted from pronouncements made by President de Valera. That is not a true statement to make. What really occurred was that the first speaker on the opposite benches who stood up to criticise the Vote introduced by the Minister for Defence, made a pronouncement to the effect that the 20 men who are now commissioned were men who fought for months against the Constitution of this State. That needed explanation and the President stood up to make that explanation. Naturally he had to go back on history to make clear the position of these men and to show that they were not Irregulars, as they were described by the opposite Party, but that they were the Regular Army who had been true to the oath of allegiance which they had taken.

I suppose that, like Deputy Minch, I am one of that ordinary type of Irishman who is not supposed to interfere in discussions such as this, for the simple reason, to use the words of some of the Fianna Fáil Deputies, that I never took a gun in my hand and never did anything for Ireland. In my early days I was always taught that it took as good, if not a better, man to live for Ireland as to die for Ireland. Acting on that advice, I intend to continue that policy of living for Ireland and not dying for it. Conscious of the position as it exists at the moment and also conscious of the feelings of the people of this State, I am convinced that there is absolutely no necessity for the establishment of a Volunteer Force in this State. We have a Regular Army, of which we are all proud. We have one of the finest and most efficient forces in the Gárda Síochána to be found in any part of the world. We have what is more than that. We have our people in the main inclined to obey the law and to carry out faithfully any orders given by the duly-appointed Government of the day. I want to emphasise that fact, in view of certain statements that have come from the Government Benches, which would give one the impression that all over the country there is a sort of serious opposition to the Government as regards the administration of the law. I want to assure members of the Executive and members of the Fianna Fáil Party in general that in so far as I am personally concerned, and that very considerable section of the people in the County Louth, whom I represent at the moment, they are most charitably disposed towards the Government and threw in their weight in many instances to help the industrial policy of the present Government. I do not, therefore, think there is much necessity for the suspicion that seems to run through some of the speeches delivered by the members opposite.

My opposition to the establishment of this Force is that, not for this year but in the future years, it will mean the spending of a very considerable sum of money which in my opinion could be put to much better use than in the establishment of this Force. As the Minister for Defence has already stated, the cost during the present financial year will be somewhere in the region of £62,000 to £64,000, making allowance for some stocks he has in hand in the form of clothing which will very considerably reduce the sum for this financial year. In the years to come it is proposed to spend a sum amounting to almost £300,000. I was figuring out in my mind, while the Minister was making that statement, and I found that that sum would provide work for about 6,000 men at £2 a week year in and year out. Those 6,000 men could be employed in very useful work, such as afforestation, the cleaning of drains, the repair of roads and so forth—something akin to the very useful works that are already in progress under the administration of the Commissioners of Public Works. I would appeal to the Minister and to the members of the Fianna Fáil Party to consider seriously whether the money which they propose to spend in the setting up of this Volunteer Force could not be more usefully employed in the manner which I have indicated.

Again, I object to the setting up of this Volunteer Force because I believe it will create a very big difference of opinion throughout the country and we want, if at all possible, to decrease rather than increase those differences. References have been made to some of the speeches delivered by Deputies on this side of the House—that they are made for political purposes; that they are also made to sabotage the Government, so to speak, and to pour ridicule on every proposition that the Government brings forward. Of course Fianna Fáil Deputies know that I, as a member of that Party—I have not been very long a member; I was an Independent member for seven years— when statements are made about the Party of which I am a member, consider that those statements are made against me as well, and I want to tell members of Fianna Fáil that as far as I am personally concerned we are not out to impede the Government in any way. We are out to claim the right to criticise any legislative proposals which the Government introduces here in this House, and which we, after giving due consideration to the subject matter contained in them, think will not be to the best interests of the people of this State. There is no use in issuing threats against members of the Opposition, or saying that we are playing England's game, and are not people of national minds. That will not advance your cause very much, because as I have stated the reverse is the truth. We are doing all we possibly can to assist the Government, but in the setting up of this Volunteer Force I would point out to the Minister for Defence in all seriousness, and to the members of the Fianna Fáil Party, that they are not going to accomplish what they desire as far as the future of this country is concerned by the setting up of this Force. We have enough armies in this country. We have a standing Army and I think that should be sufficient.

I am sure the members of the Government realise that at the present time there does exist in this country an organisation which is very much opposed to the Government, and which will not have anything to do with this new Volunteer Force in any shape or form. I think the Government, and the Minister for Defence especially, in conjunction with the President, who always likes to tell the House about the very large amount of moral courage of which he is possessed, will be displaying a little more moral courage if they will face this force openly and above board, and not attempt by subterfuge, or by such means as the introduction of this Bill and the setting up of this force, to get those people away from the ranks of that organisation. I think they would be displaying a little more courage by administering the law impartially, and relying on the forces which they have at their disposal, in the persons of the Army and the Gárda Síochána, to restore law and order in this country. I am opposed to the Bill for those reasons, especially as I am of the opinion that the money could be more usefully spent in the manner in which I have indicated than in the setting up of this force, which, in the opinion of many people better fitted to judge than I am, will lead to even more trouble and confusion in the future than has existed in this country in the past.

A Chinn Comhairle, Deputy Cosgrave said that the establishment of those Volunteers was a complete departure from the principles of the Defence Forces Act. Now the fact of the matter is that there was a Volunteer Force started about four years ago under the Defence Forces Act. It had to be done by enlisting recruits in the Regular Army for one day, and then transferring them to the Reserve. Until the Bill which is at present in draft is introduced and passed here—the new Defence Forces Act—we will have to follow a similar procedure, that is men volunteering for service will have to be recruited into the Regular Army for one day, and then transferred to the Volunteers. There is a regulation here in Deputy Fitzgerald's own time which brought into being a Volunteer Force in a somewhat similar way. Deputy Dillon said that this Volunteer Force had already fallen down like a house of cards. Deputy Dillon is a very mournful sort of person. The worst is always going to happen to-morrow and if not to-morrow the day after or if not the day after, next year. I have not the slightest hesitation in saying that I believe the Volunteer Force is going to recruit into its ranks every young man of proper national character who is prepared to fight for his country. I can understand why Deputy Dillon does not realise that.

Can we get an assurance from the Minister that they will be accepted?

I said that I believe that every young man who is prepared to fight for this country against all enemies and for the rights of the people of this country will come forward and offer his services.

And will be allowed to do so?

Will offer his services.

And will be accepted?

We cannot accept everybody. We restrict it to 24,000 for next year and we take the cream of the youth of this country, men of the best character, first and train them. I think that all the major points that were raised have already been answered by the President and the Minister for Industry and Commerce and the other speakers who spoke from the Fianna Fáil Benches. We are not out to teach the young people of this country to be gunmen, as Deputy Dillon said. We are out to teach the youth of this country to be disciplined Irishmen, disciplined soldiers, on whom the country can rely and on whom the representatives elected by the people of this country can rely to put into effect their policy, no matter whether it suits England or any other country or not. We have, after a long period, reached a situation when the people can vote for any policy they like in this House and it must be accepted as legally binding on all Parties, but something that is legally binding is not binding militarily, and we want the laws and the declarations which the people's representatives make respected by everybody and we are going to ask the young people of the country to come forward and insist that they be respected by everybody.

It is time.

The only thing I will say is that that is no new policy. It is the policy that was outlined in the "Cease Fire" proposals which the President alluded to here to-night and which were made in 1923 and unfortunately turned down. However, we are in a position to put into effect the Governmental side of these "Cease Fire" proposals and we believe that the young men of the country will make operative the other sections of them, and that the decent young men of the country will come forward and support the Government and maintain here a disciplined army that will ensure that the will of the people in this country is made effective against foreign majorities as well as native minorities.

I do not know where the figure £300,000 came in. I did not mention it. I pointed out quite clearly that this year the cost was going to be a net cost of £28,771 and that next year we estimated that the cost would be £243,736, of which £50,000 would be borne on the Vote for Public Works in respect of the building of halls. We estimated that the net cost this year will be £28,000 roughly and that next year it will be £243,000.

That is for two months of this year?

£28,000 for two months of this year and for twelve months next year, £243,000. That sum includes a lot of capital equipment, uniforms and halls, etc., that will not be required again.

They will want uniforms again.

We will want uniforms every five years. I think the money will be very well spent, and I have no doubt at all, notwithstanding the little bit of play-acting that the Opposition felt themselves compelled to carry out, is going to pass the Vote, and I believe that, notwithstanding the mournful Deputy Dillon's suggestions, the Volunteer scheme will be a success and will be supported by every right-minded young man in the country.

Can we have an assurance that when the cream of the country does make application for admission to this unit, if they are physically fit and of good character—I do not know what the definition of good character will be—they will be accepted? The Minister might also give us a definition of what good character means.

If, as Deputy MacEoin says, they are physically fit, of good character, and the cream of the country, they will get first preference.

Would you define "good character?"

Everybody has to define good character for himself, I suppose. In this particular instance, as I have outlined, the good character test will be made by the area administrative officer on the advice of the local sluagh committee. That sluagh committee will, we hope, so far as it is humanly possible, be representative of all parties in the country.

It will not be the Fianna Fáil Club?

Not if I can help it. The only thing I will say is that if it had to boil down to the Fianna Fáil Club, if other people were not going to co-operate with us, Fianna Fáil would have to do the job.

If you are offered co-operation in certain districts, will you take it?

It all comes down to a question of the individual who offers himself.

There is a difficulty in respect of Deputy MacEoin's suggestion in that we have a definite request by Deputy Dillon that the Blueshirt organisation should boycott everything the Government suggests and teaches and in that instance, how can Deputy MacEoin have any agreement?

The I.R.A. men may do the same.

But what about the boy cott?

The I.R.A. may boycott just the same as the Blueshirts. You speak for the I.R.A., I suppose. I put it to the Minister that if there are people who offer their services, with the best national intentions in the world, what is to be the definition of good character? The Minister was very definite on the point of good character and what I want to get is what is the definition of character that would entitle a person, provided he were physically and nationally fit, to be accepted?

I would say that the man of good character is the man who is honest and sober to begin with, who is peaceful to his neighbours and who is prepared to fight the enemies of this country.

Who is he going to fight?

Will the fact of a man wearing a blue shirt deprive him of the right to enter. Will members of the League of Youth be eligible for the army?

I cannot hear the Deputy.

Tá bodhradh Ui Laoghaire air.

Abair i nGhaedhilg é agus b'feidir go dtuigfidh mé é.

Do I understand from the Minister that the conditions as regards recruiting will not be laid down by the Army authorities at the top, but rather by any local, person or combination of local people?

The conditions of recruiting are laid down by the Minister for Defence in consultation with the Headquarters Staff of the Army.

Question put.
The Committee divided: Tá, 73; Níl, 57.

  • Aiken, Frank.
  • Bartley, Gerald.
  • Beegan, Patrick.
  • Blaney, Neal.
  • Boland, Gerald.
  • Bourke, Daniel.
  • Brady, Seán.
  • Breathnach, Cormac.
  • Breen, Daniel.
  • Browne, William Frazer.
  • Carty, Frank.
  • Cleary, Mícheál.
  • Concannon, Helena.
  • Cooney, Eamonn.
  • Corish, Richard.
  • Corkery, Daniel.
  • Corry, Martin John.
  • Crowley, Fred Hugh.
  • Crowley, Timothy.
  • Daly, Denis.
  • Derrig, Thomas.
  • De Valera, Eamon.
  • Doherty, Hugh.
  • O'Doherty, Joseph.
  • MacEntee, Seán.
  • Maguire, Ben.
  • Maguire, Conor Alexander.
  • Moane, Edward.
  • Moore, Séamus.
  • Moylan, Seán.
  • Murphy, Patrick Stephen.
  • Murphy, Timothy Joseph.
  • Norton, William.
  • O'Briain, Donnchadh.
  • O'Grady, Seán.
  • O'Kelly, Seán Thomas.
  • O'Reilly, Matthew.
  • Donnelly, Eamon.
  • Dowdall, Thomas P.
  • Everett, James.
  • Flinn, Hugo V.
  • Flynn, John.
  • Flynn, Stephen.
  • Gibbons, Seán.
  • Goulding, John.
  • Hales, Thomas.
  • Harris, Thomas.
  • Hayes, Seán.
  • Hogan, Patrick (Clare).
  • Jordan, Stephen.
  • Keely, Séamus P.
  • Kehoe, Patrick.
  • Kelly, James Patrick.
  • Kelly, Thomas.
  • Keyes, Michael.
  • Kilroy, Michael.
  • Kissane, Eamonn.
  • Lemass, Seán F.
  • Little, Patrick John.
  • Lynch, James B.
  • McEllistrim, Thomas.
  • Pearse, Margaret Mary.
  • Rice, Edward.
  • Ruttledge, Patrick Joseph.
  • Ryan, James.
  • Ryan, Martin.
  • Ryan, Robert.
  • Sheridan, Michael.
  • Smith, Patrick.
  • Traynor, Oscar.
  • Victory, James.
  • Walsh, Richard.
  • Ward, Francis C. (Dr.).


  • Alton, Ernest Henry.
  • Anthony, Richard.
  • Beckett, James Walter.
  • Belton, Patrick.
  • Bennett, George Cecil.
  • Bourke, Séamus.
  • Brennan, Michael.
  • Broderick, William Joseph.
  • Burke, James Michael.
  • Burke, Patrick.
  • Coburn, James.
  • Cosgrave, William T.
  • Costello, John Aloysius.
  • Curran, Richard.
  • Daly, Patrick.
  • Davis, Michael.
  • Davitt, Robert Emmet.
  • Desmond, William.
  • Dillon, James M.
  • Dockrell, Henry Morgan.
  • Dolan, James Nicholas.
  • Doyle, Peadar S.
  • Esmonde, Osmond Grattan.
  • Fagan, Charles.
  • Finlay, John.
  • Fitzgerald, Desmond.
  • Fitzgerald-Kenney, James.
  • Good, John.
  • Haslett, Alexander.
  • Holohan, Richard.
  • Keating, John.
  • MacDermot, Frank.
  • McDonogh, Martin.
  • McFadden, Michael Og.
  • McGilligan, Patrick.
  • McGovern, Patrick.
  • McMenamin, Daniel.
  • Minch, Sydney B.
  • Morrissey, Daniel.
  • Mulcahy, Richard.
  • Murphy, James Edward.
  • Nally, Martin.
  • O'Connor, Batt.
  • O'Donovan, Timothy Joseph.
  • O'Higgins, Thomas Francis.
  • O'Leary, Daniel.
  • O'Mahoney, The.
  • O'Neill, Eamonn.
  • O'Reilly, John Joseph.
  • O'Sullivan, John Marcus.
  • Redmond, Bridget Mary.
  • Reidy, James.
  • Rice, Vincent.
  • Roddy, Martin.
  • Rogers, Patrick James.
  • Thrift, William Edward.
  • Wall, Nicholas.
Tellers:—Tá: Deputies Little and Traynor; Níl: Deputies P. S. Doyle and Bennett.
Motion declared carried.

In the course of the last debate a statement was made that certain proceedings were taken against members of the Guards with reference to an occurrence in the County Waterford; that there was a meeting of officers of the Guards, and that about a week afterwards Kevin O'Higgins was murdered. There is a clear innuendo in that statement. I wish emphatically to state that the Waterford affair had been finished many months and that disciplinary measures had been taken many months before Kevin O'Higgins was murdered.