I am drawing it in only as an analogy. We are now asked to vote money, as previously people were asked to give money for a purpose, the only justification of which would be, that it was for clearly public services, without relation to party, as the Government is supposed to have nothing whatever to do with party politics, and the departments of State are supposed to have nothing whatever to do with party politics. Here we are asked to establish a department for the purpose of saving the pockets of the Fianna Fáil people and to impose on the public in this country a tax in order to propagand the tactics of this Party. The President gives an instance of what this is to correct. There was a terrible national situation created by the fact that the bread proposed to be made not purely of wheaten flour was described as dark brown, as black and as mottled. We talk of black grapes and white grapes, and I do not know whether, if the President were to send to a fruiterer's shop for white grapes, he would be indignant and say that he had been deceived when he found that the grapes, whatever colour they were, were not white, and that black grapes, instead of being black, were purple. When we speak of white grapes, we do not mean grapes that are white, but we mean the type known as white grapes. In most northern countries people eat rye bread or barley bread. Neither rye bread nor barley bread is black, but they are both called black bread. Black bread is the name given to any type of bread to distinguish it from bread made of wheaten flour.
The President proposes that the Irish people, apparently, should not be allowed to have bread made of wheaten flour but a mixture, and then suggests that the world got the idea that we were on the verge of a breakdown because we were getting bread described as dark brown or black. In most northern countries in Europe a certain section, at any rate, of the population eat bread which is not made of wheaten flour exclusively. It is not black, but it is called black, just the same as we speak of white grapes. The President and the rest of us are called white men, but if any of us came in here with our faces the colour of this paper, which is white, people would think there was something wrong, but the President with his exact mind wants the newspapers to give the exact shade that describes the bread which it is proposed to foist on the Irish people, and in order that that may be done, we are asked to embark on an expenditure the extent of which we cannot be given.
The President complains that people abroad thought that we were on the verge of a revolution. What brought that about? What was the party that insisted on saying that we were on the verge of a revolution? Organisations were started here, declaring and living up to their declarations, that they stood entirely in favour of the maintenance of ordered conditions in this country, and that they did not propose to resort to methods of force in an attempt to change the Constitution or overthrow the Government by armed force, but Minister after Minister went around and talked about the approachingcoup d'état the attempt to overthrow this State and all the rest of it, and then, having done that, come along here and ask that the Irish people shall be taxed in order to undo the antinational and dishonest propaganda which they carried on during that period and, even at this moment, are carrying on. He complains that while attention has been called to the sufferings imposed by what is called the economic war, little attention had been given to the efforts of the Government to provide employment for the increasing population, and for the relief of the farmers. Just a week or two ago, the Government, without this department at all, gathered together manufacturers and industrialists, as they were called, many of whom did not employ as many people as a single farmer's wife employs, and that meeting was paraded as though there were 9,000, 900 or 90 new industries in this country—and there was only one industry lost, agriculture. If there is anything that requires establishment in this country it is the proper ratio between the piffling industries the Government is trying, by dint of imposing heavy taxes on the consumers of this country, to establish, and the one great industry in this country.
We have to view this proposal in the light of our experience of the Government. The Government has taken on itself exceptional powers, the justification of which would be that there was actually a dangerous situation in this country. I am prepared to agree that there is a dangerous situation in this country. There are illegal, unlawful associations in this country which do represent a very serious threat to the moral and material welfare of the people in this country but the special powers taken by the Government were not designed to deal with them. Those powers were taken merely to deal with a perfectly lawful association and those powers were used merely to make membership of a lawful association carry with it all the penalties that should attach to membership of an unlawful association, and at the same time, the members of the unlawful associations are allowed to go perfectly free. In order to support that situation the Government now indulges in a form of censorship. I can quite understand that, irrespective of other matters, censorship might be exercised merely in the interests of truth, but in this case, we have censorship exercised for the suppression of truth. I will give an instance.United Ireland this week has a number of passages excised from it under the orders of the Government. One passage went this way:—
"The malice of this crime——
that is, the crime committed in Dundalk
—could not be excelled by people who were utterly blind to all moral law. First of all, armed bullies not only denied the right of Irish citizens to differ from them in political opinions, but they implemented this denial by seizing citizens at the point of the gun, maltreating and robbing them."
That was permitted but then, the Government steps in to say that this must not be said:—
"Thereafter, not satisfied with the privileged position our Government has given to their criminal organisation..."
That is excised. Is what is contained there untrue—that the Government has given a privileged position to a criminal organisation? Does anybody doubt that the I.R.A. and Cumann na mBan are criminal organisations? If we examine the Act that the Government has in force, we find that Section 19 says:—
Every association which does any of the following things shall be an unlawful association, that is to say, has amongst its professed objects or advocates or encourages or professes to encourage the overthrow by force of the Government of Saorstát Eireann or the alteration by force of this Constitution or the law.
Is the President going to suggest that this organisation, the I.R.A., which he refuses to take action against, while he takes action against a perfectly lawful organisation, does not fulfil that first condition given there that makes an association unlawful?
The law says that membership of an unlawful association shall be met with certain penalties. The President refuses to apply that law to membership of that organisation, and he denies the right of any person to affirm what he himself knows is perfectly true with regard to his own acts and lack of acts. Paragraph (b) provides that every organisation "without lawful authority organises or maintains or endeavours or purports to organise or maintain an armed force" shall be an unlawful association. Would members of the I.R.A. assert that I was libelling them in saying that they fulfilled that condition: making them an unlawful association to the very uttermost part. Their whole purpose and method is to organise and maintain an armed force. Paragraph (c) says: "promotes or encourages the unlawful possession of firearms by its members."
Does anyone deny that these organisations, protected by this Government that will not apply the existing law against them, "promote and encourage the unlawful possession of firearms." Moreover, paragraph (d) provides: "engages in, promotes, encourages, or advocates any act, enterprise, or course of action of a treasonable or seditious character, or promotes, encourages, or advocates the attainment of any objects of a treasonable or seditious character." The whole purpose of these organisations is to promote and encourage the commission of offences, of obstruction and interference with the administration of justice and the enforcement of the law.
The President knows—he referred to it in Tralee a month or so ago—that an organisation sent out, from its address in Dawson Street, to two jurors, a communication which was an implicit threat to those jurors that if they failed to commit perjury in the service of that organisation they would meet with a traitor's fate. The President referred to that document in Tralee: that there was an organisation, to his knowledge, that aimed at the frustration of justice at the very fountain head in his country.