In Committee on Finance. - Vote No. 3—Department of the President of the Executive Council.

I move:—

Go ndeontar suim Bhreise ná raghaidh thar £10 chun íoctha an Mhuirir a thiocfaidh chun bheith iníoctha i rith na bliana dar críoch an 31adh Márta, 1934, chun Tuarastail agus Costaisí Roinn Uachtarán na hArd-Chomhairle.

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 Salaries and Expenses of the Department of the President of the Executive Council.

As is clear from the White Paper on the Estimate, this is to defray the expenses for a Bureau of Information. The function of the Bureau will be to collect and make available to the public information concerning the activities of Government Departments, and the national policy underlying those activities. The electors of the Saorstát have adopted a policy which involves important changes in our economic structure and external relations. The active and intelligent support of the people is necessary to the success of that policy. To give that support the people must have full and accurate information of the aims of the Government, and the methods by which those aims are being realised. It is important also that opinion abroad should be well informed regarding events here. It is not, for example, sufficiently understood in other countries that the economic war which is being waged against us has been undertaken in an effort to compel us to pay money which we are convinced is not due; nor is it widely known that we have from the beginning been ready to submit the dispute to the arbitration of an impartial tribunal. It is important for the national credit that these facts should be fully understood. In the absence of any central office from which information could be readily obtained, many false and harmful reports have been published in the Press at home and abroad. Quite recently an Irish paper published a report that the Government proposed to introduce war bread of a "dark brown" colour. Other papers, in England and elsewhere have been ringing the changes on that report. Some have described the bread as "black"; others, more moderately disposed, have called it "mottled." The basis for the report was that the Government was considering a proposal for the inclusion of a small percentage of oaten flour with wheat for bread-making; but, however absurd it may be, many people believed the statement that the result would be a black or dark brown bread, and they felt that the Saorstát was reaching the end of its resources.

The prestige and credit of the Saorstát have been injured by reports representing the country as being on the verge of a revolution. On the other hand, while the hardships caused by the economic war are frequently stressed, comparatively little attention is given to the Government's efforts to relieve the sufferers, or to the work that is being done to provide employment for an increasing population, and to improve the social conditions of the people. The root cause of these damaging reports is not, for the greater part, malice, but the fact that it is easy to develop the news value of a calamity or an incident of disorder, and that the investigation of constructive work and its results is a comparatively difficult task for which few journalists have time. Constructive work, however, has its own interest and news value, and if the facts concerning it are made easily accessible I am confident that journalists generally will be glad to make use of them. At all events, I think it is the duty of the Government in present circumstances to provide the facilities. Until the Bureau has been some time in existence it will not be possible to say with certainty what staff will be required, or what its cost will be. It is, however, intended to keep the expenditure to the minimum consistent with effective work.

I rise to urge that this Vote be not given. Nominally we are asked to vote £10. Actually we are asked to incur immediately an additional expenditure of £900 to £1,000 a year, and as the President has just said he cannot even tell us what additional staff and expenditure will be involved. It seems to me that this proposal is either silly or corrupt —probably both. It is a very good example of what the French callVidée fixé, because this is merely to fulfil a desire which is dear to the President's heart, and which apparently has been a fixture for the last twelve years. On 7th September, 1922, the President wrote: “I would like to see S. O'Keeffe for a Press interview. If you get in touch with him I will see how it can be arranged. Ask him to send me along leading questions.” It looks as if the unfortunate people of this country are being asked now to give some unnamed amount—but more than £1,000 a year— to provide the President with somebody near by whom he can have to ask him leading questions all the time. A Department such as is proposed is not required in a country under normal conditions. It is true that when a war is taking place, and censorship is operating, propaganda becomes one of the weapons in the armoury of warfare. It is usually of course the most disgraceful weapon used in war. The President read out a statement purporting to justify the establishment of this Department. He says it is necessary that the activities of Government Departments be known. There is no need for the creation of this Department for that purpose. The activities of Government Departments become apparent to the people in the legislation produced in this House. That legislation is often advocated on one side and deprecated on the other, and the ordinary administration of the country is made known to the people without any special machinery for it. Apart from that, each Department has its activities, and journalists of this country who know their job will—if they think there is any portion of any Bill that they require elucidated—get on to the appropriate person in the Department concerned, who is clearly much better able to explain any intricacy or any dubious point than would be a man in a Department by himself.

The President went further and said it was also necessary to make known the national policy underlying the activities of Government Departments, and he says that the active support of the people is necessary. The people of this country have a perfect right to form any opinion that their judgment indicates to them of the action of the Government. An attempt by a Government to use public moneys to bludgeon the minds of the people, and try to relieve the people of the duty and the opportunity to judge things for themselves by pouring out a mass of propaganda to mislead them, is both corrupt and silly.

I know the President has always had in his mind the idea that somehow or another, by propaganda, you could melt December's snow by thinking of fantastic summer's heat. I know he has always thought it possible by propaganda to make black look white; I know he has always thought it possible by propaganda to make crime look like heroism and national service; and thus to-day he seems incapable of adjusting himself and learning with the passage of time, because if anybody had an opportunity of learning that the people are not going to be misled by such talk he should have had such an opportunity. He worries about opinion abroad. Clearly when things are going on in an ordinary way under a good Government in this country, and there are ordered conditions, opinion abroad is not concerned about what happens here, but he indicated that he wants the public in this country to pay for the purpose of misrepresenting to the public the policy of the Government. The people of this country have heard enough argument about the land annuities to form some idea as to what are the rights or wrongs of the situation. The President wants a public department established for the purpose of putting the party policy of Fianna Fáil before the people. He already owns a newspaper for doing that, a newspaper which, by the way, when it was looking for people to subscribe for its shares, assured everybody that it was not going to be a party organ—far from it. People in America were assured that Mr. Cosgrave was most anxious that it should be started and everybody was assured——

Is this germane to the debate?

A discussion of the shareholding of theIrish Press is not in order.

I was not even proposing to discuss such a thing. What I am saying is that on a previous occasion, under the President's aegis, people were assured that an organ would be started that would not be for the purpose of party propaganda, and still less for the purpose of dirty propaganda, but anybody with any intelligence, who sees a couple of copies of that paper——

The policy of theIrish Press may not be debated on this Estimate.

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.

I would like to hear how the Deputy can relate a discussion of the detailed activities of certain organisations to the Vote before the House.

I will do so. It is proposed to set up a bureau to deal with the Press. At the present moment the Irish people are asked to be taxed in order that the Government may have this weapon for what the President would call, I presume, the dissemination of the truth. We know that the policy of the Government at this moment is to suppress the truth in this country. I am pointing out how they are acting in a tyrannical way in suppressing a mere statement of fact which is irrefutable. I suggest that the possible purpose for which we are now asked to vote money is that the Government may have an efficient machine for the suppression of truth in this country; to prevent people knowing exactly the truth with regard to the Government and its policy. I am pointing out how, even in anticipation of the establishment of this bureau, the Government is acting. I am pointing out that here they have suppressed the words: "Thereafter not satisfied with the privileged position our Government has given to their criminal organisation." An organisation which tries to promote perjury in this country and to defeat justice at the point of the gun is pre-eminently criminal. The law is there for the purpose of dealing with the members of this organisation, but the Government refuse to deal with this organisation. It puts the members of it in a privileged position where the penalties of the law will not be applied to them while, at the same time, the Government with its full knowledge, by making a false declaration, that, in their opinion, a certain organisation is unlawful, knows full well that it does not fulfil any of the conditions laid down for making an organisation unlawful by definition.

The Government distorts, frustrates and abuses the power of Government to get after certain people who are law-abiding while, in a most disgraceful way, it prostitutes government power by withholding the penal operation of the law against certain people who fulfil every condition that makes an organisation unlawful—whose activities include the blowing up of houses, the murdering of men by brutal beatings and an attempt to frustrate justice by promoting perjury amongst jurymen at the point of the gun. Those who do these things are exempt. The law provides that we are not allowed to have guns without permission and licence from the Civic Guard, while the President in this House got up and said that he had no intention of going out to get the guns possessed by the members of this organisation, whose methods are murder and the promotion of perjury in this country. We are not allowed to say—it is sedition to tell the truth in this country—"We are therefore not satisfied with the privileged position our Government has given to their criminal organisation." Is there any member of the I.R.A. or of Cumann na mBan who is not well aware that under this Government they have a privileged position: that they have rights that do not apply to the ordinary citizens of this country. But the ordinary citizens of this country are now being called upon to pay taxes to enable the Government to suppress the truth. The article reads on:—

"They demand that ordinary citizens should shelter their crimes by calling upon Eternal Truth to bear witness to a lie by committing perjury in the courts. The punishment for refusing to commit perjury is, apparently, to be blown up in one's house. And if an elderly woman and tender children should also be blown up it, apparently, means nothing to the degraded consciences of these criminals. It is heartbreaking to think that such things can happen in our country— and how shameful it is that they are done in the name of Irish patriotism.

The words which follow were suppressed. They are not allowed to go before the Irish public. They read:

"And that the organisation that promotes such deeds is in the privileged position of having the law of the land made non-operative against them, while it is strained to breaking point against those who give heroic service to save the youth of Ireland from being led into similar paths of crime."

These words have not been allowed to go before the Irish public, but the Irish public knows perfectly well that every word there is true. They know that the Government's dishonest suppression of that is guided not by zeal for the service of the State but by a foolish attempt to conceal from the Irish people the true acts or lack of acts of this Government. We are not permitted to say that an organisation that promotes such deeds is in "the privileged position of having the law of the land made non-operative against them." The President himself got up and said that the law of the land did not permit of unlicensed and unpermitted arms to be held in this country, although responsible people in this country would not assert Government authority to get and seize arms that he himself at one time had arranged to put in dumps. The article goes on:

"We pointed out only a week ago that unless the Government faces its responsibility and decides on the suppression of the I.R.A. the tide of outrage which has been flowing in the country for some time is bound to rise. Last Sunday's events showed that we are not far from the point when the taking of human life will become almost as much a commonplace as the interruption of public meetings or the blocking of roads. The culpable responsibility of the Government for the evil developments that have been taking place is very great indeed. The statements of many Ministers have been such as inevitably to incite to violence. When Mr. de Valera said that he could not make individuals popular he ought to have known that he was telling the stone-throwers and other attackers of free speech to go on with their job. Even as recently as last Friday Mr. de Valera's organ, theIrish Press, wrote a villainous leading article in which it stated that the ‘proceedings of the Ard-Fheis of Fine Gael were such as to give satisfaction in London.’”

That, of course, was a clear incitement to the blackguards to carry on their blackguarding. The article inUnited Ireland continued; but this portion of it was suppressed:

"It proceeded by inference further to attack the organisation and its leaders as pro-British and anti-Irish. Such articles lead as surely to violent attacks on the Constitutional Opposition as if that were their sole and deliberate purpose. Fianna Fáil however, has sinned not merely by loose and mischievous talk but by cowardly inaction. While perfectly law-abiding organisations have been banned, and while bank managers and other responsible citizens have been disarmed, the I.R.A., so often condemned by the Hierarchy, and admittedly engaged in subversive activity and Communist propaganda, has been left untouched, and its members have been assured that no search for their arms will be made by the authorities. Until the Government withdraws the promise of immunity from the I.R.A., until it instructs the Civic Guard to get after them, matters are bound to continue to get worse. The Dundalk outrage, one of the vilest since Seán McGarry's house was burned, ought to make even this Government think seriously of the position and prospects and of the duty it owes to the people."

Is there anything untruthful in that? Everybody knows that the Government is refusing to take even the same action against the I.R.A. that it has taken against the National Guard and the Army Comrades' Association, both of which were lawful associations and would, if they still existed, be lawful associations.

On a point of order, what is this debate on?

The debate is on the Vote before the House. The Deputy in possession said he was illustrating his argument by comparisons. For ten minutes, he has been speaking on the desirability of suppressing some organisation and on the legality of another organisation. The line of argument which he has been pursuing is not relevant to the Estimate.

May I point out that, in introducing the Vote, the President stated that one of the objects of the publicity bureau was to prove to the world that we were not on the verge of revolution? Does not that introduce the question of revolution and how near we are to it? Surely, that matter enters into the debate by reason of the President's own statement and, surely, illegal organisations come under the head of revolutionary forces.

The Government is exercising at this moment powers of censorship. If these powers were justly and appropriately used, one might say that there was a case for establishing a special department and that the matter might properly be left in the hands of the Government.

There is point in what both Deputies say but it is not in order to debate the desirability of suppressing one organisation, giving details of the activities of that organisation, and the undesirability of suppressing another organisation, with details of the activities of that organisation. It is not in order to go into these matters. The Deputy has been allowed to speak at considerable length on that line and has said sufficient, I think, for the purpose of illustration.

My only point, in dealing with the matter was that the Government might argue that they suppressed the matters in this paper to which I have referred on the ground that they were misrepresenting the truth. In order to bring out the fact, which hardly needs bringing out—it is patent to everybody—that every word contained in those articles was true. I had to refer to the two organisations and to the Government action in connection with them. My sole purpose was to show that the Government is now using its arbitrary powers of censorship to conceal its own criminal acts, I might say, from the people and that it now wants us to vote money to give it an efficient machine that it may pursue this utterly unlawful and immoral campaign and finance it out of the public purse. We are asked to vote the money to do that. The President, I know, can always convince himself that anything he stands for, by virtue of the fact that he stands for it, is right and that anybody who is against it is wrong. His own conscience, I am certain, is clear that everything that will tend to keep him at the head of affairs here is in the national interest and, therefore, that the unfortunate Irish people should be taxed that they may themselves be blinded as to the real facts. I know the President is satisfied that the only destiny God ordained for this country is that it should be ruled by a man named Mr. de Valera. Others may have other views. We may think that to ask us to hand over to a Government that prostitutes its authority and uses its power to defend the evildoer and to punish the law-abiding a machine for misrepresenting the whole position of the people is to ask us to do something which can only be described as criminal. It just happened that I was able to give an illustration in that respect.

There has been a permanent scandal since this Government came into power. We know that the President has an interest—I shall not say a financial interest—in a certain private organ. A regular feature of that organ is to come out with a heading about something or other and, next day, to say "As was exclusively announced in yesterday'sIrish Press.” These “exclusives” are always in the nature of departmental information.

Have we or the Government any control over that organ? Is it paid for out of the funds of this House?

That point does not arise. The Government is using its position at the present moment to favour a certain organ.

That is untrue.

Not only is that being done, but when an unfortunate journalist was brought before the Military Tribunal he stated that the information he published, which was not in other papers——

If this is a matter that can be raised at all, surely it is on the Vote for the Department of Justice it should be raised.

No moneys are voted by the Dáil for the paper referred to.

I am not referring to it in that relation.

That journal is not subsidised by the Oireachtas and a discussion of its policy is not in order.

It gets information.

All I am saying is that, at present, the Government——

The Deputy was speaking about journalists and the trial of a journalist.

That surely is most appropriate. The journalist said he had information from official sources. He swore that. We must, therefore, take it as true—that it came from official sources. It may have been from a Minister or somebody acting in the name of a Minister. That journalist had, in order to shelter that person, to break the law and suffer punishment. The law was broken and he suffered punishment in order that an official person should be sheltered. Why was it necessary to shelter that official person? Because that official person, whether he was a Minister or a civil servant, had used his position as public trustee to give a special favour to an organ in which the President is very interested. In order that revelation should not be made as to where that information came from, that unfortunate man had to go to prison. Now we are asked to vote a sum of money for the establishment of a bureau to be in the hands of a Government that, even without that bureau, has used its machine to favour one newspaper in which is has an interest.

That is not true.

It is quite true.

What is the use of the President's talking in that way. The journalist announced that he had information from an official quarter. That information was not available to other people. What was the official quarter?

The President rose.

Is this a point of order?

Are we to be allowed to reply to all these statements regarding every Department of State, or is this debate concerned with the Estimate before the House?

Is that a point of order or is it not? I ask to be protected from these insolent interruptions by the President.

The question asked is whether this debate is to range over the whole field of Government policy.

I suggest that the matter I have been dealing with is most appropriate.

On a point of order, this is a Supplementary Estimate dealing with a specific item in the President's Department. It is not usual on a Supplementary Estimate to discuss the administration of the Department as a whole.

The Vote before the House deals with the establishment of a Government information bureau. The Deputy is advancing arguments against the Vote.

I am dealing specifically with information, if not with the bureau. Information was given from official sources, as was sworn by that journalist, who is, incidentally, an employee of an institution in which the President is interested.

Again, I ask——

Is this a point of order.

On a point of order, it is usual on an Estimate to discuss the administration of the Department concerned. If there is any relevancy in the point Deputy Fitzgerald is making, what proof has he that what he alleges arose out of the administration of the President's Department. How has he made it relevant to that Vote, or to this particular Vote?

What we are proposing is to create a new bureau to give information.

To give information, and to vote public money for that purpose.

This is a Supplementary Estimate for the Department of the President of the Executive Council, and the Executive has collective responsibility. The Deputy is entitled to give his reasons why money should not be voted for a Government information bureau.

Yes, why it should not be voted, but if there is anything in the Deputy's point it is why money should be voted.

On the contrary, we are asked to vote money for a certain purpose, to be put into the hands of people who, in relation to that purpose, have already shown they cannot be trusted to use it properly. It was sworn in the courts that that information came from an official source, and, when information as to what was the official source was asked for, that information was not forthcoming. The reason that information was not forthcoming was that these official sources have been available to that paper for the last two years and were not available to others. It was in order to shelter that relationship between official sources and that paper, and to continue the feeding of that newspaper with Departmental information that the unfortunate journalist was put in the position of having to break the law which the Government exists to see is not broken. He suffered a penalty for his act, while the really responsible person stayed behind, and, mark this, that man was merely acting as an employee of an editor belonging to an organisation which has, if I remember aright, in its articles of agreement, that the whole policy of the paper was to be such as would be decided by Eamon de Valera. President de Valera has two capacities, as head of the Government and as a private individual. The head of the Government was also responsible for the policy of the paper.

The Deputy has been told already that the policy of any journal is not in order in this debate.

I was only speaking of the policy of President de Valera.

The Deputy has referred to the policy of the paper, and that is irrelevant.

I would respectfully suggest that reference to the administration or control of that paper is not relevant either.

As I said, Mr. de Valera has two capacities. He is, no doubt, the official person with authority in this State, and he is the private person. Whatever be the cause, it does happen that the administration of the Government has been able to be worked in order to put a certain newspaper in a privileged position, through which it had certain channels of information, which then led to a situation in which a journalist was put in the position of having to break the law and suffer a penalty for doing so, in order to shelter a person, whether a Minister or otherwise, so that it would not be made public what his channel of information was, and in order to put that newspaper in a better position than its competitors. Now we are asked to vote money to give the Government a machine to carry on a policy of misrepresentation of facts in this country, and a policy of arbitrary power to suppress the truth. It is irrefutable that this Government, while invoking the law to operate against a perfectly lawful association, has ignored unlawful associations whose method is murder.

I should like to ask, sir, how does this arise in a Supplementary Estimate?

I suggest, sir, that I should not be constantly interrupted by the Minister. We are asked to vote this money. As I have already said, I have noted that the President has always had it in his mind that a journalist can somehow or other make black appear white. I know that for years he has had a constant feeling of that want, and that he wanted, as he wrote on the 7th September, 1922: "Mr. S. O'Keeffe to be asking him leading questions."

The President was not a member of the Executive Council in 1922.

No, sir, but it is very unfortunate that in 1934 he should become responsible and use his responsibility and authority in order to gratify that wish that has been operating in his mind fixedly and unchangingly since September, 1922. The Government has used its power already tyrannically. The President has a private organ of his own, which paper——

The Deputy is again referring to the paper. Is that in order?

The Deputy has been warned that neither the policy of theIrish Press nor of any other journal is in order.

I will try to keep off it, sir. We are asked to embark on a new bureau. What is in the future is unknown. We can only argue from the known to the unknown. This Department is going to be under the supreme control of President de Valera. When you are going to ask the unfortunate people of this country to be taxed for such a purpose as this, ordinary wisdom and human prudence suggest that you can judge what you can anticipate from what you know has already been done. We know that the Government has prostituted its authority in order to suppress the truth. Just like the Minister for Finance last night, when he said that only for the Opposition the British would somehow or other have collapsed on the economic war long ago, but the President will get up probably and say that the loss of the British markets is a Godsend and they will say that if Fine Gael came into power we would not be able to get anywhere. Yet, the Minister for Finance last night assured us that the Opposition was injuring this country by encouraging the British, and that the British can only keep going by virtue of the encouragement they get from us. We are now asked to provide out of public funds a special organ for putting across that kind of dope on the people of this country. The people have been free only for about ten years. We have not the long tradition of freedom behind us that other countries have. It is important that our people should be encouraged to face up to political realities and that they should not be doped in this way. We are asked now —the President not being satisfied with his other resources—to vote out of public funds special moneys to keep the people of this country in ignorance and to mislead them so that they may serve the interests of the Fianna Fáil Party to the detriment of their own interests and of the interests of their country.

I only intend to speak a very few words on this Estimate, but I may say at once that I am entirely opposed to it. My opposition to it is not based, in the main, on the very unfavourable view that we take on this side of the House with regard to the special qualities of the present Government. This is an Estimate which I should oppose no matter how high my opinion were of the Government, because I think it is intolerable in principle that the Government of the day should be given public money to set up a party publicity agent, and I do not really see how anyone sitting on the benches opposite can honestly deny that that is what this gentleman is to be—a party publicity agent. He is to receive a salary which, taking the President's ratio, is the equivalent of paying £59,400 a year in England, or, in a few years' time £66,000 a year. He is to receive as much as one of His Majesty's Ministers sitting on the bench opposite, and the Irish people are to be asked to find that money for the purpose of adding to the resources of Fianna Fáil publicity. I am at a loss to imagine on what reputable ground that action can be defended. I may say, by the way, that this Estimate appears to be somewhat of an insult to Mrs. Sheehy-Skeffington, who informed the world a few days ago that she held the position of Irish national propagandist. As that duty is already being performed free of charge, it seems rather unnecessary to pay a gentleman £1,000 a year to do the same thing, especially as there is to be a staff added later, which will greatly increase the expense.

Deputy Fitzgerald stated that in a time of war a propaganda bureau could be defended. The President might argue that the situation between ourselves and Great Britain was analogous to war, but that is a plea that cannot be admitted, inasmuch as disputes of a financial character between nations occur quite frequently, and the whole world would be driven to an orgy of propaganda if it was to be understood that each time such a dispute arose the Government of the day was justified in creating a bureau to disseminate information.

The President gave as an example of the special need for creating this bureau, that the world in general did not understand that he was willing to submit his case in the financial dispute with England to an impartial tribunal. I do not feel able to let that statement go without challenge, because I do not believe he is willing to submit his case to an impartial tribunal, and I do not believe he has ever been willing to submit his case to an impartial tribunal. If he was, I am quite convinced it could have been accomplished. He would never even go so far as to say that the Irish representatives on the arbitration tribunal would be Irish citizens, because if he had gone so far, the question would then be narrowed down to the selection of a chairman, and there is not a single person in this House so childish that he does not realise that an impartial chairman could be secured; that if one were simply to select a number of reputable and capable people, without considering whether they were inside or outside the Commonwealth, it would be perfectly easy to pick out an impartial chairman. If necessary, we could draw a name out of a hat, without deciding beforehand whether he was a Commonwealth person or a non-Commonwealth person. Moreover, some of the more recent utterances of the President, in which he stated firmly that under no circumstances were any payments ever going to be made to the British again, certainly seem to imply——

General O'Duffy said the same thing.

General O'Duffy did not say the same thing.

Do not let us have repudiations so soon.

General O'Duffy made a statement from which one sentence was extracted carefully by theIrish Press, and that sentence was not what is suggested by Deputies opposite.

A Deputy

Who is responsible?

If the Chair would allow me, I would be perfectly willing to go into the views of the United Ireland Party on the settlement of the economic war. I am afraid the Chair would not allow me, so I will have to ignore the interruptions, much as I would like to deal with them.

We do not take the whole thing seriously, anyway.

I say that the President has made a statement which would seem to imply that, even if he had ever been willing to accept an impartial tribunal, he is no longer willing to accept it, or any tribunal whatsoever. I am personally quite convinced that he never for a moment contemplated accepting any tribunal, and if negotiations about arbitration had gone any further, they would have resulted in his proposing a class of person as Irish representative, and as chairman, who would have turned the arbitration more into a knock-about show than a serious arbitration. I am opposing this Vote. I do not propose to say anything more, except to repeat that this Vote ought to be rejected in any right-thinking Parliament, on principle, quite apart from whether the Government of the day are an especially deserving Government or an especially undeserving Government.

I want to make a few remarks with regard to this Vote. I am opposing it for one or two reasons. Whilst it may be necessary that in this country we should have a Government information bureau I object to the method of the appointment. Since this Government came into power there have been a series of what I can only term political appointments, given to persons of their own particular views in politics, without any examination, or other method of arriving at their fitness for such positions. I object to the method of selection, because we find that in other Departments of State appointments akin to this were made by the Appointments Commissioners. Why was not that practice carried out in the case of this appointment? Certainly there are very many capable journalists in this country, a very large number of whom are capable of undertaking the duties which appertain to this appointment. I would like to know from the President if any of these journalists were interviewed, or if their credentials were examined, and by what method he arrived at the selection of one person amongst the whole journalistic profession. Was the appointment advertised in the ordinary way that Civil Service appointments are advertised? If not, why was not the usual practice adhered to? That practice was consistently followed by the Government that preceded the present Government, and, to a certain extent, it has been followed by the present Government within the past few years. I want to know why that practice has been departed from now.

Last night we spent our time, by contrast with this Vote, in debating the necessity for getting £1,000 from vocational education committees in this country, and we were discussing how we might get an odd £10 or £15 from medical officers of health, and from poor law dispensary officers. The only argument put up in relation to their "cuts" was that it would be unfair to leave these people untouched when everyone else was getting a whack. Here is one man who is not getting a whack. Here is one man who can stand up with a clear conscience and say: "I have gained." Someone is going to get £900 yearly, rising by £25 to £1,000, for giving out Government dope. What is the dope to be about? Look at the enticing list the President gave. The populace and the world must be told the truth about black bread; the populace and the world must be told the truth about the annuities, and the National policy in the matter of arbitration in regard to them.

The world outside, and I suppose the people at home, must be told about revolution and whether we are on the verge of it, a job that would require a man at even more than £900. He has got to show again what is being done in the way of providing employment for our young people. I should like to say a word on some of these items. Black bread! The adjective annoys the President. Supposing he calls it black and tan bread—would it be anything better? Supposing he puts it this way: white bread gone dirty through the Fianna Fáil administration—is it any better? Supposing he calls it white flour blackened by Fianna Fáil handling, will it please any more, or yellow bread for conscripts?

A Deputy

Or "cods."

Or "cods." Or he may say: "Let us call it mourning bread"—we are in the season of Lent —ashen grey for penance, the penance brought on us by the policy of the Party opposite, for their sins. We have had one good year already. Whether it be black bread or whatever colour be decided upon, I suppose it will be an offence to allude to it by any, other name. Perhaps we shall be told that this bread will be the most nutritious and the most wholesome for our people. It will be what the people were sighing for, nourishment from God. It will be something at least as desirable as the loss of the British markets, something possibly for which the President in his exalted moments when he has nothing else to do, after a few prefactory "damns," will thank God. That is a good preamble for the institution of the new Department. We have got to get this bread over. The idea that it is lowering the standard of living for the people has got to be abolished and something put in its place. We will get the same change, perhaps as the President made in the famous interview published in theManchester Guardian. Possibly there will not be a lower standard but a “changed standard.”

I am glad to see that the new Department is going to deal with the question of the annuities and the payments to Britain. I tried to get the Minister for Finance this morning to deal with this matter and he refused. Will the new Department be called upon to deal with that matter or with the statement made in the British House of Commons recently, that in fact, in so far as certain duties were concerned, which were imposed 21 months ago, and as far as other duties were concerned which were imposed 18 months ago, they have been enabled to extract from the produce of this country and the people of this country, two years defaulting moneys? The man who explains that is worth £900. The Minister who is getting more than £900 could not explain it to-day. He has got to go on to explain further how are we retaining in this country the land annuity moneys if in fact, the British can either in 21 months or 17 months extract the full total from us by duties imposed upon our produce. Will the Information Bureau explain this: what is the justice of asking farmers who used only to pay that portion of the withheld moneys which is represented by annuities, to pay now not merely the annuities, but the R.I.C. pensions?

When the Bureau has answered all these questions will it give us any reason for this further matter? If the loss of the British market is inconsiderable why is it that we send, or what madness is it to send, so much stuff from the Free State into that undesirable market when we are paying more than the land annuities to send that stuff in? Will anybody have the temerity to suggest in view of all that has been collected in duties that we have retained the land annuities in this country? What happens if the British do go back on their own promise and extract more from us than the moneys held by us? Supposing they do collect more than this £800,000, which is to be extracted in a short period, seeing that they have in a shorter period almost by 50 per cent., extracted £660,000, we are in a bad way. Supposing they stop short at the amount we have withheld, what happens the amount which should be devoted to sinking fund purposes? The British say that they are not bound to pay into the sinking fund and they are not paying into it. It was provided under the sinking fund arrangement that the annuities would be terminable at some future date, but no provision is now being made for the sinking fund, so that the annuities will be paid in perpetuity and that is what is called saving the country money. I asked the Minister for Finance a question in regard to these two items to-day. I asked him, if the position which I think might occur, should arise, and if as a result of that position the British really extracted from us more than we withheld, what provision he had made to meet the situation. The Minister said he was not prepared to admit that such a situation could arise and added: "If it should, no doubt the Government will be fully able to deal with it." May I put this gloss on it: that they will be able to fool the people on this problem as they did on the land annuities problem? The result of that will be, that in that roundabout way with a great dislocation of trade, we in fact pay more than what it is said we are keeping from them. That is the second item the President has outlined for his Information Bureau. We are going to have the whole matter of these annuities discussed. They involve the finances of this country. We had a Loan here recently and this morning also I tried to get from the Minister for Finance some particulars in regard to that Loan. It is a thing the Government should be anxious to explain.

The Committee is debating a Vote for a Government Information Bureau. I was not in the House when the President spoke. The Deputy has asserted that the President mentioned certain matters——

I am taking that on hearsay too, sir. I was not here either.

The President apparently referred to certain matters with which the Bureau might deal. Obviously it would not be in order to take all possible items, pursue them in detail or anticipate the work of the Bureau or draw up a questionnaire for the guidance of the Bureau. It is not in order to bring in by a side wind the question of the Loan in regard to which the Deputy has a question on the Order Paper to-day.

Might I get that ruling explained? Am I precluded from raising anything, simply because I raised a question in regard to it on the Order Paper to-day?

I take it further that in seeking information on matters affecting the new Department, we are not to be restricted to the matters which the President mentioned.

Does the Deputy suggest that he is entitled to deal with all aspects of Government policy on this Vote? Surely the Deputy does not contend that any activity of any Government Department which a Deputy may wish to discuss can be debated on this Vote? It certainly can not. A question was asked to-day by the Deputy in regard to the last National Loan. The question was answered and if the Deputy thinks that by a side wind on this Vote he can debate that matter now, particularly as he was precluded from debating it on the adjournment he is mistaken.

I did not attempt to raise it on the adjournment.

I beg the Deputy's pardon. I have made a mistake as to the matter which the Deputy wishes to raise on the adjournment.

It was the question which I have now debated that I was precluded from raising on the adjournment. I take it that the question of black bread is a major item of Government policy on which the Bureau will supply information so that it is relevant for discussion on this Vote? Is there anything more important to the country than the finances of the country, with which the question of the National Loan is linked up, and the failure of the National Loan? If there is anything which the Government Bureau will find it necessary to deal with it is this question——

Let us get clear on this matter. The Deputy has reverted to the contention that this officer when appointed will have to deal with all aspects of Government policy and that therefore all aspects of the National Loan, for instance, are open for discussion. That is not the case. Deputies are limited to advancing reasons why such a Bureau should or should not be established.

The President's only speech on this matter was to show by a series of examples what the Bureau would deal with. That was the only excuse given—that there was a necessity for dealing with items, and the President outlined some. If we are not to go beyond what the President mentioned, then where is the limit to be put? I suggest that it is certainly not to be limited just because the President chose certain things, otherwise we will be forced to the conclusion that if the President made no speech in moving we could not discuss the Vote, which is absurd.

The Chair has not given any such ruling.

I am not saying so.

The Chair said that Deputies might give reasons for and against the appointment of such an officer, but that the debate should not range over all the matters with which that Bureau might possibly deal. It should be obvious to the House that every activity of the Government might on that contention be raised—which would result in an interminable debate. Reasons may be advanced for or against the institution of the Bureau, but Government policy may not be debated.

Let me confine myself to the points which the President gave as the foundation for the introduction of this Vote to pay this £900 per annum for the purpose of establishing a Bureau. Revolution was the next item. I do not know if there was a colour attached to it. Journalists are fond of the word ruddy in front of that. Are we on the verge of revolution? The President has led quite a number of people to believe that we are. The President was forced to employ an instrument which he detested— the Constitution (Amendment No. 17) Act. And why? Mainly because of the famous Hailsham lie. That was his own statement. Having this information on our hands, we could not do otherwise than introduce this. At the moment there are men being brought up on charges which the Ministry themselves, when examples are given to them amongst their own servants, describe as ridiculous.

Deputy Fitzgerald dealt at length with the revolution aspect, and I am not going into it in detail. The basis of the President's contention for the use of the so-called abominable instrument of the Military Tribunal, described by his Minister for Finance as the seven bloodhounds long ago, is the fact that somebody lied to him and he was foolish and weak enough to believe a monstrous statement, flung out here as truth, about Deputy Mulcahy. He has run away every time that has been put to him since, and refused to give information about it. Will the Bureau give the information, or hereafter is this £900 a year man to stand for the odium and contempt which the President's weakness in believing stories that he is too anxious to believe may bring upon him?

The matter of the imprisoned journalist was raised already. I want only to say this about it: somebody in Government circles, according to the oath of the journalist, not denied by his editor, gave information exclusively to that paper. The person who gave the information was not man enough to come forward and say where it came from, and the Ministry who were brought into that case through that particular piece of evidence were not plucky enough to admit who had the responsibility on him for making the statement, and one man suffered. Is the new appointee here going to be put in this ugly position, that any time there is a mishandling of Government information he is the man to be hauled before the Military Tribunal and do his month or six weeks for refusing to answer a question? Is that what the £900 a year, rising by £25 per year, is to be given for? I think in China they used to have a system whereby a man could buy himself off punishment by putting forward a substitute. Is that the game here? The President can laugh. The President used not to laugh when Hailsham was mentioned before. He used the phrase once about words twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools. He was either a knave or a fool, or possibly himself never understood it, and he certainly twisted the phrase. He now gets another conscience to put between himself and the public — a salaried conscience. If there is another journalist to be imprisoned, this, presumably, will be the man; at any rate, this is the man on whom the odium will lie, and the President can indulge in his favourite game of repudiation.

The biggest job of all in connection with the Bureau is to tell of the means employed to give employment to the people of the country. Might I suggest a few figures that he might explain? Speaking in this House before Christmas, the Minister for Industry and Commerce asserted that the really true test as to the growth of employment was the test of the Unemployment Insurance Fund and the stamps that were bought for it. It is a good test. He stated in this House that in 1928 those figures were so much, in 1929 so much — an increase; and in 1930 still an increase. He then took a deep breath and took the plunge and said that in 1933 they were up by £60,000. Then he made a rapid calculation, and it was an accurate one this time, that £4 in the fund represents a man given employment for 50 weeks in the year. He then divided the figure by four and immediately there were 15,000 people in employment to his credit. That bubble did not last long. Another question put down revealed that the money had to be divided between the years 1931, 1932 and 1933, and it then appeared — this is possibly subject to explanation by the Bureau — that in 1931, the last year of the regime that was destroying Irish industry, 11,000 people had gone into new occupations. Then the Minister for Industry and Commerce came with his high tariffs, quotas, impositions, and helping the Minister for Finance to save money, and we find that in that year, with all these advantages and all the enthusiasm of a new Government and a new policy that is going to turn the country into a paradise, he put less than 6,000 people into employment. Last year, with the continuance of the high tariffs and extra impositions and bounties and quotas, he had 1,500 people put into employment.

The Deputy might show the relevancy of the number put into employment to this Estimate.

If the President is going to ask the Bureau to tell how the Government is providing employment for young people, I am asking him to explain certain figures. I submit it is quite relevant. In two years the new policy which was to provide employment for the people has not succeeded in putting anything like as many into employment as the last Government did in the last years of its period. There is another side to that. To-day I asked a question as to the drawing out of the fund. That is the opposite side to it. New men may come into the fund, but the people who are still there may get out of employment and may draw from it.

In 1931, there was a sum of £546,000 paid out in benefit, and in 1932, the great year of tariffs, the great year of employment, the year when 84,000 people were to be given new employment, the payment of benefit increased to £638,000, nearly £100,000 more by way of unemployment insurance benefit. That certainly will be something for the Information Bureau to think about, and that represents only industry. I suppose when the President speaks of employment he will include agriculture. What about the number registered as unemployed? What about the increased numbers going on home assistance? What about the Unemployment Assistance Bill which, according to the Minister for Industry and Commerce, is to provide relief for 60,000 people for whom no work can be got? According to the Minister for Education, it is not right to talk of 60,000 people; the figure should be 90,000.

What about your own statement that they may die of starvation?

I never said it. I have refuted it a dozen times. I will take you to Grangegorman on it.

That might be risky for Deputy McGilligan.

A few of you should be put in there.

Will the new Bureau talk about peat? Will it tell us the price at which peat is being retailed in the City of Dublin? Will it give us the equivalent figures in calorific value as between peat and coal? Will it tell us that the result of the peat scheme is that the people in the tenements of Dublin are paying very nearly as much for the peat brought from the country districts as they are paying for coal with the tariffs imposed on it, and that the best that can be said for peat is that it has about half the heating value of coal?

A Deputy

It is Irish, anyway.

There are lots of other things Irish that could be burned too, but we refrain from doing it. Will it be the task of the Bureau to make ready the way for all new schemes? Will they have to do propaganda? Will they indicate the economic value of the articles that are going to be produced? Will they tell us whether these things are being dealt with on the basis of giving good value for good money, or will it simply mean sloshing more money around?

What about wheat?

That is beyond even the propaganda department.

What about chaff?

They may deal with agriculture generally. They may tell us in a sort of jocose way why the Minister for Agriculture has gone on to milk. The story used to be told of Lincoln that when he proposed to move a General whom he admired, General Grant, to pursue one of the defeated Generals on the other side, the objection was raised that he drank, and his answer was: "I would like to know the brand; I will send some barrels of it to other people; he wins battles." I can see the President looking at the Minister for Agriculture and his drink and work, and saying: "If I catch any of the rest of you drinking milk, you will be sacked." Think of that unfortunate man. He has all the oats of the country to carry. Previously I represented him as staggering about like a new Atlas with a greasy load of butter on his shoulders. He probably will have to bear part of the repercussions of the peat scheme. He certainly will fall foul eventually of those who have been deluded about wheat. He is getting into trouble already about tobacco. I wonder is there anything upon which he can pride himself? Is there anything that the new Bureau will be able to say on his behalf?

The Deputy knows that much of what he said was quite irrelevant.

It is funny.

The Deputy spoke of the price of peat and the comparative calorific values of peat and coal. He spoke of providing something for the Information Bureau to think about. The duty of Deputies is not to provide material for thought for the Information Bureau, but to give reasons for or against the establishment of the Bureau. The Deputy proceeded to deal personally with the Minister for Agriculture. Surely that does not arise on the question of the advisability or otherwise of appointing an Information Bureau.

If the Information Bureau will not deal with the Minister for Agriculture and all his works and pomps about this country, I do not consider it worth voting a shilling to, nor will anybody in this agricultural country, either. However, I will not wander much further. There is one last question I would like to raise. Deputy Anthony raised the matter of the appointment. Who is it going to be, and who is going to make the appointment? The papers have reported a certain name. That may be repudiated. Somebody may have to suffer for having given wrong information. I hope, to a certain extent, that the name is a correct one, not that I am to be taken as approving of the appointment, the person appointed, the salary given, or the whole scheme. I am, at any rate, glad of this, that the Ministry have not stooped to take anybody from a newspaper which has been found recently in this country professing it is an upholder of Christian principles, and even the great upholder of law and morals, and then stooping to review a book last Tuesday——

The review of a book in a certain daily paper is certainly not in order.

May I say this to put it in order——

No; the Deputy must not discuss the matter further.

The book itself has been declared out of order by the Minister for Justice as being generally indecent, and yet that paper reviewed it.

What is the name of it?

"Shake Hands with the Devil."

The Deputy who is departing showed such a complete lack of ingenuity and collapsed so suddenly that I take it the intention is to talk this matter out as long as ever the Deputies over there can manage to do so, and that they will endeavour to bring in every possible subject, to drag in everything they can. They began by putting up Deputy Desmond Fitzgerald, who, when he accompanied the ex-President to America, was described as a reformed poet. We all know what poetic licence means. It means that you are never on your oath. Well, Deputy Desmond reformed poet Fitzgerald was certainly not on his oath to-night. He has gone out so that he cannot be cross-examined. He led the House to believe that the Government had actually censored a disreputable little rag issued by the U.I.P., that they had actually cut out passages of it. Now, there are a good many people in the House, and I am putting it to all sides of the House whether that impression was or was not conveyed by Deputy Desmond Fitzgerald. I am asking Deputy Desmond Fitzgerald or any other member of his Party to say whether it is true in fact that the Government, or any part of the Government did cut out, censor, black-out in the United Ireland Party organ the passages which he says were blacked out? It is very easy for him to get out of the House. It is very easy for the Deputy, having made that statement, and having put before this House statement after statement in relation to that, to get out so that he will not have to answer that question, the question of who it was took it out. Who took those pieces out of the paper? It is a disgraceful thing to have done that, it is a disreputable thing to have done it, according to the reformed poet. But who did it? He left you under the impression that it was the Government. I am asking the Cumann na nGaedheal Party or the U.I. Party, or the Farmers' Party or the National League or whatever they are calling themselves at the present moment — you have got to be very up to date to know what their name is——

It is not a "No Income-Tax Party."

Have you changed your name since last night?

The League of Youth.

The League of Youth! They are getting so young that if they get much younger they will have to be carried around in cradles. But I am getting back to the statement actually made that the Government censored and destroyed portions of their wretched little rag. Deputy Desmond Fitzgerald is not the only person who knows all about that rag. I am putting it to the other rag merchants: Is it or is it not true to say that the Government did take out portions of that paper, and if it is not true, who was it, that of their own choice, did that disgraceful thing? Somebody had better send a message to Deputy Desmond Fitzgerald that we would like to get him here in the box. Another thing he told us about was "a single farmer's wife." That is not merely poetic licence. That is the very indecency that the Deputy who has just departed from the House has protested against so violently, "a single farmer's wife!"

He said there was a dangerous situation in the country; that there was an organisation here consisting of most disreputable people, a privileged criminal organisation. Deputy—no, not Deputy, but I think it is a pity he does not come here instead of leaving his office boys to talk for him and contradict him, instead of leaving his office boys to explain him away— General O'Duffy said the other day that every single member of the I.R.A. were Communists, and then he went on to say that he got 500 of these Communists in the U.I.P., and he next went on to say that there were 750 Guards dismissed for conduct of one kind or another that deserved dismissal and then he said that he got the majority of them in the U.I.P. —this privileged Communist organisation consisting of criminals recruited from the I.R.A. He has these and the disreputable members of the Guards, 750 of them.

We generally hear stories of miles of Blueshirts. The highest figure I have yet seen of the Blueshirts in the Press was exactly the number of the 750 disreputable Guards and the 500 recruited Communists of the I.R.A. Naturally, Deputy Desmond Fitzgerald said that there is a privileged criminal organisation. But we are not privileging. Are they only suggesting that the President is privileging it? Then we have this salaried conscience. There is not a single man on the Cumann na nGaedheal Benches who ever drew or would draw a salary. There is such a high moral tone that their whole Party, through which they have carried on the government of this country, is such that not one single one of them took a salary. Some of them would not even take four salaries and a bonus at the same time.

They were so conscientious that they would not even divulge to the House for fear it might discredit the House, for fear it might shake and appal the conscience of the House, that while they were acting as medical officers, while they were acting as Deputies, while they were acting as other things as well, they were also directors. A "salaried" conscience — four times "salaried" conscience! I hope that in future, when some time 3,000 years after Tibb's Eve Deputies with long grey beards, with sticks to help them in, will come in to occupy again the Front Benches of Government and not that of the Rotary Club, it will be clearly understood there will be no salaries for fear it would interfere with their delicate consciences. Again, there is a censorship. They say it is not a censorship in the interests of the truth. They say it is a censorship in the interests of everything that is untrue. I wonder if that particular newspaper man were to publish the actual speech that Mr. O'Duffy delivers instead of the speech that is handed by his secretary to the Press, whether that would be regarded as censorship in the interests of truth? It is time that somebody went round and really did collect these gems of political wisdom which are being suppressed by, I am sorry to say, all the papers.

And which are not pertinent to this debate.

Only to the speech, and I am getting off that. I am only indicating this. The next thing they said was that the activities of this Press Bureau would be directed against perfectly lawful organisations. Now I take it that they mean the hydra-headed, multi-named organisation to which they at the moment belong; or perhaps they are in process of changing from it to another organisation, whatever that is. They mean the Fine Gael, or the fine gale — the big wind. That is a perfectly lawful organisation, and that statement is made by the ex-Minister, who passed the Public Danger Act, which at the present moment they are so very much annoyed about not having destroyed. Under the precise provisions of that Act, by the precise machinery laid down by that Act created by them, that mutable organisation does in fact become an unlawful organisation. A perfectly lawful organisation, therefore, is one which is, under the Act and the direct provisions of the Act passed by the gentlemen who complain of it, an unlawful society. We did not create the machinery. We did not create the machinery which we are told is being strained, and which made of those various organisations and their overnight successors illegal organisations. The Deputies opposite created it; the Deputy who complained of it created it, and it is under precisely that same machinery that whatever was done to the little rag of a U.I.P. organ was done. They are responsible for it, whatever it is. If a perfectly lawful organisation has become an entirely unlawful organisation it has become an entirely unlawful organisation under the provisions of the precise machinery set up for the purpose of making it an unlawful organisation. They went on to say — I myself am frequently puzzled to see how I can be in order in discussing what they did say; I am referring to that delicate conscience which I have in those matters, and it is not a salaried conscience in this matter at all, but when a Deputy has for five or six years trod the path of order, without ever departing even by a hair's breadth from it, it is a rather serious matter that he should feel himself now being led down the primrose path to disorder following a reformed poet. They told us that this Government — and remember we are discussing a motion to set up a Press agency of some kind — has committed a horrible primevality. I should like a glass of water, I cannot go on on milk!

What about light beer?

I do not think the Ceann Comhairle would allow me to discuss light beer except in its relation to milk, which I think I will be able to do later. This criminal organisation called a Government has actually allowed people to have guns without permission, and they want to know whether this new Press agent is going to repeat the declaration of the President that he has no intention of going out to get the guns. Since when has it become a new thing for a President not to go out after and get the guns? Did the President who went to America with the reformed poet go out after the guns where he knew they were? Did General MacDuffy go out and get them where he knew they were, and where he told the late President they were? Did he go out after the guns which he knew were in the hands of his own supporters, and which were taken out of the barracks of this country with the knowledge of the then Government? Is there anything new about a President who does not go out to get the guns? If there is not, why should they be so worried that there is to be set up a Press agent who might possibly talk about things of this kind? Is it that they are afraid? Is it that they are afraid that this disreputable Pressman might say: "The custom of this country, as initiated by President Cosgrave and followed by President de Valera, is that no President will go out after the guns in the possession of anybody whom he thinks ought to have them." There was ten years' precedent for that before we came in. What is wrong with the precedent? There is nothing wrong with the President; I am speaking of the precedent. What is wrong with the precedent? For ten years Cumann na nGaedheal allowed anybody that suited them to have any kind of weapon they liked, to use in any way they liked, on whom they liked, for any purpose that suited their own Party.

The Parliamentary Secretary has expressed a conscientious regard for the rules of order and procedure. The Chair suggests that he has gone quite far enough on the lines he has been pursuing.

My difficulty has been that I have been listening, as I thought, to the devil quoting Scripture from the other side. They then go on to what they say is a permanent scandal in this country the relations between the President and a particular Press organ in this country. They go on and talk about that for as long as they like. What would have happened in this country if there had not been that Press organ? What would have happened in this country if there had not been someone else, outside the ring of paid and kept Press, for the purpose of telling the truth?

There might be no income tax.

I do not think the Deputy will ever pay income tax out of his income as a professional man.

What a nice man.

What would have happened if there had not been that Press? I am only going to give you one illustration. I want you to go back to the day when the kept Press came out, the day before a general election, with the story that a Cumann na nGaedheal Deputy and two Civic Guards had been murdered by Fianna Fáil. You remember that?

A Deputy

No, they forget it.

That story came out. Every time before a general election they had some stunt to work. That was a stunt apparently which they had kept for the general election in 1932. What would have happened if there was not another Press in this country, of the kind which yon are attempting to attack?

Deputies on the opposite benches were forbidden by the Chair to discuss the policy of a certain Dublin daily paper.

I accept that absolutely, and I am not going to discuss the policy. I am simply dealing with the question of the existence of that thing, the President's connection with which was attacked — the bare existence of it. If that thing had not existed that lie would have been got away with, and because that thing which they have stigmatised and attacked did exist that lie was caught and throttled and strangled and broken, and a different Government was sent here, sent on to these Front Benches than would have been sent if that damned lie had been allowed the propaganda and the freedom and the exaggeration that it would have had in the hands of the kept Press. If there were not somebody to publish on that morning the result of the inquest, everybody knows what would have happened. Naturally, they do not like the Press which queered the pitch of the vilest and most contemptible political manoeuvre that has ever disgraced politics in this country. Then, Deputy MacDermot discussed, with considerable liberality the possibility of the existence of an impartial tribunal. He told us and went into detail on the difficulties in regard to it, of the kind of tribunal that might have been set up. This is on the question of whether or not we would have a Press bureau in this country. Am I to follow him into that track? I think I will not, sir. I think I will leave him wandering in the inane by himself.

Deputy Anthony wants to talk about political appointments. Our predecessors never did—these Simon Pures, these unsalaried consciences that set up the Appointments Board after they had stuffed every place in this country that they could with their own pals. Yes, I like the conscience of these people who do not like political appointments after they had filled the plums for themselves. They set up the Appointments Commission to prevent themselves having to decide between all the other people whom they did not reward and now what the poor unfortunate Pressman has to do with political appointments, I am again puzzled to know, but I am perfectly satisfied that Deputies opposite who, for ten long years, occupied the Front Benches of the Government and had all the responsibilities of Government, and all the respect which they naturally had for this great institution they have set up, must have known what that had to do with the Pressman or they would not have talked about it. My small intelligence, however, suggests to me that I might leave that alone also, until we come to discuss it on the Rates Motion of Deputy Belton on which, I understand, everything is in order.

Then, Deputy McGilligan had a meal of black bread, war bread, famine bread, all these terrible things that are going to destroy the teeth and the digestion and tear down the physique of this country — something that you will not be able quite to decide whether it is axle grease or animal food. That is the sort of thing that is held out to us as black bread. It is held out to us as black bread by the very Deputies who ate it in the restaurant day after day and did not know that they were eating it. I wonder if the propagandist, salaried-conscience Pressman will let that out? I wonder if by any chance he would reproduce, for the benefit of the public, cross sections, at different angles, of white and black bread? He might, for instance, start a lottery, a guessing competition, as to which was the white and which was the black bread. He would be amazed at the disreputable things he could do, but whatever he does with black bread, the Deputies opposite ate it and did not know anything about it. Deputy McGilligan then goes on to raise a high question of economic policy upon which I think you will agree, sir, that I would be bound to discuss not merely tariffs, quotas, credit-reform systems, and millennium dawnings but these two years of defaulted money which the British are supposed to have collected in one year. All that propaganda is founded on the idea— and it is one which I commend to the Minister for Finance because it is going to make his Budget very, very convenient — that all taxes that are collected on tariffed imported goods are paid by the person who sends in the goods. The whole calculation of Deputy McGilligan depends on adding together the whole of the taxes collected on Irish goods sent into England and he says that all those are paid by Ireland. If the Minister for Finance wants to balance his budget, all he has got to do is to go on putting tax after tax on the British and say that the British are paying all the taxes as they come in. There is not, even on the opposite side, a fool big enough to believe that. That, however, is the contention which is made.

There is not a fool——

There is a fool big enough to open his mouth.

There is not a fool big enough here to make that statement.

They say that there is a fool born every minute. Deputy Belton must have been born twice and born twins. The next thing that Deputy McGilligan says is that the annuities are made perpetual, but what on earth is to happen in a country in which there are only two points of agreement which unite the whole people, one being that we will both scandalously break faith with England. That is one and there was not anybody in this House, or anybody in the other House who mattered, who was not prepared, in the opinion of the British, deliberately to break faith with the British on three Bills introduced in this country.

In the opinion of whom?

In the opinion of St. Thomas of Westminster.

In the opinion of one man.

In the opinion of St. Thomas of Westminster.

In the opinion of Lord Hailsham only, so far as I know.

In the opinion of St. Thomas of Westminster. In the opinion of the British and in the opinion of the people you have got to negotiate with. There is, however, a second matter on which there is universal agreement. It is really amazing. They change their opinions nearly as quickly as they change their names. We have universal agreement now that, whatever Government is in power, no Government in this country will pay the annuities. According to Deputy McGilligan, we are faced with the horrible prospect of the annuities being made perpetual in a country in which no Government will pay the annuities.

On a point of order, this matter was raised by interruption when I was speaking and you will recollect, sir, that I decided not to pursue it on the grounds that it would be out of order. I should like to submit that if Deputy Flinn is to be permitted to proceed with this, I should have the opportunity of replying. We are in Committee, I believe.

The Parliamentary Secretary is replying to points in the speech of Deputy McGilligan.

He is nominally doing so but I submit that nothing that Deputy McGilligan said justifies the line he is now taking as to the unanimity of the House in regard to never paying the annuities.

Do you repudiate General O'Duffy?

The Deputy has raised the point that the, parliamentary Secretary has gone more deeply into the matter than any Deputy on the opposite benches who preceded him. That is quite true.

I accept that, sir. The suggestion is that I have gone deeper into the perpetuality of the annuities —

Into the question of the land annuities, which is not relevant to this debate.

I agree that it is not relevant and I apologise to myself for being dragged off the regular and straight path to follow the variegations and wanderings of those bright boys opposite. It is puzzling when you think that the mind of every Deputy who spoke on the other side was imbued with revolution. They could not get off the word "revolution."

I never mentioned it.

I never mentioned it; therefore nothing was said.

The Parliamentary Secretary said "every Deputy."

What the Deputy has not said has not been said; what the Deputy does not know is not known; no one who is not the Deputy does not exist. That is a syllogism for the Deputy.

The Parliamentary Secretary has said that every Deputy on this side who had spoken had talked about revolution. That statement of his is utterly incorrect.

If, by any chance, the Deputy did violate the rule and custom of his Party by not doing so, I apologise. But how on earth he managed to keep off it I do not know, considering that it seems to he the only thing——

The Parliamentary Secretary might manage to get on to the matter before the House.

I was getting on to it. The next question was the registered unemployed. What that has to do with the Press bureau I frankly do not know, but a late member of the Cumann na nGaedheal Government, a respectable member of society, a man who has "walked with kings and yet not lost the very common touch," thought it was in order. I will tell you what the Press bureau will say on the unemployment question. He wanted to know what it might possibly tell him about the unemployed. It will tell him that in every day of every week and of every month since last June up to the end of this year the figures were better, progressively better, than they were in the previous year. It will also tell him that all the slanderous misrepresentations made are due to the difference between the figures of last year and the one before it. It will tell him that that misrepresentation was due to the deliberate and maliciously untruthful suppression of the fact that those figures were taken upon an entirely different basis. I think that would be a very useful thing for the Press bureau to do. Say that you take the case of people on the other side who are asking to enter into certain contractual relations and, after they have discounted the fact that we are all liars, thieves and murderers here, after they have discounted the fact that no Party in this country will keep its agreement and the fact that both Parties in this country have decided that under no condition whatever, whatever Government is here, will they ever pay to England, to Mother England, their just debts——

I submit again that this is out of order.

After they have discounted all those things they will still be faced by the fact that it is suggested this country is unstable in the sense that our unemployment figures are right; that the people are becoming less able to meet their obligations even if they could. Is not that a matter for the Press bureau: to say what I have said in this House and what the Deputies can quite easily check: that no Deputy in this House has contradicted and that no Deputy on the other side of the House has had the manliness to repeat—that in every day of every week and every month from last June until the end of this year the figures have been improved. It might go on to tell them something more about the unemployment figures: that there has in the interval been a new Act passed for the purpose of dealing with unemployment in a different manner: in a more Christian manner: that a new inducement has been held out to the people artificially to register. It might go on to explain that the unemployment registration figures are rising and must rise until we reach a new balance represented by the bringing in of the people who think that they are entitled to get maintenance out of the new Act. Would not that be very desirable, a proper thing for the Press bureau to speak of? There are various other things that it might speak of. I have no doubt that there are Deputies on this side and on the other side of the House who, before the debate concludes, will think of a lot of other valuable and useful information that this new officer of the State will be able to give.

Then again, I know that your imagination will also be a little bit shocked —I mean there are certain things that expand your imagination. We discussed then peat and the price of beet. God only knows what we did not discuss.

A Deputy

And butter.

Yes. There was greasy butter. There is a very beautiful little town — I give this as an illustration of how far one might travel if one were prepared to link arms with the staggering Deputies opposite.

I do not know if the Parliamentary Secretary was in the House at the time, but if he were, he certainly is aware that a member of the Opposition was prevented by the Chair from discussing the activities of the Minister for Agriculture and ceased to do so as soon as his attention was called to it by the Chair. Opposition members were told they could not discuss every possible aspect of Government policy which might be dealt with by this Information Bureau, and the Parliamentary Secretary is proceeding to do exactly that thing: to initiate a debate that might not end for weeks if that line were allowed to be pursued.

With every possible respect, I submit that I have not raised one single new point, and that I have not dealt with a quarter of the old points that are available. When I think of all the things that I might discuss: the heat value of peat and how much of it you get for a penny, and how it compares with coal; the production of industrial alcohol and why the Minister for Agriculture went on to milk, my moderation amazes me.

After the exhibition of peace-time deck tricks which we have been treated to for the last halfhour, it is difficult for anybody who witnessed that exhibition to realise that this is the same House which last night forged through a Bill to victimise every vocational officer up and down this country in order to get the sum of £1,000 per annum, and that now in this light-hearted frivolous mood we are to put through, in a frivolous spirit, an Estimate for £10,000 to spread the political propaganda of Deputy Hugo Flinn's Party. I wonder if in doing this there is any recollection of the fact that it is not 12 months ago since a Bill or a motion to provide something like £100,000 was put through this House to subsidise the political organ of the Fianna Fáil Party.

That is an untruth.

Do you mean that it is the organ? If so, I agree.

The whole thing is untrue.

Coming back to where I left when I was interrupted, I ask the House to remember that last night we were asked to victimise every teacher under every vocational educational committee in the country and every dispensary doctor in the country, and that these teachers got their salaries chopped to provide £1,000 per annum for a State in distress. We are asked now to provide a sum of £10,000 to disseminate Fianna Fáil propaganda. That £1,000, collected off every teacher of a vocational education committee, is to go to employ one man to spit out Fianna Fáil propaganda. I ask the House to recollect that, within the last 12 months, we had to provide a sum of approximately £100,000 to subsidise theIrish Press— the newspaper of the Fianna Fáil Party.

A Deputy

That is not so.

It was, I think, £100,000 plus £10,000. I disremember the exact figure, but it is on the records of the House.

I should like to say that that statement, in whole and in part, is untrue.

You are very fond of contradicting yourself, but you should get out of the habit of contradicting others when they are right. We have had this particular proposal referred to by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance as an Estimate to provide a Press agency — a Press agency for the Party in power, a Press agency at the expense of the taxpayer to bolster up a tottering political Party. We had no justification given us by the individual who introduced the Estimate beyond the statement that it had to do with black bread and revolution. If this were to put an instrument into the hands of the Government, costing either £10,000 or 100 times that amount, an instrument that would be genuinely used by the Government to deal with revolution or threatened revolution, I should have no hesitation in voting for the provision of the money. But that organ, which has been already so heavily subsidised has, so far, only added to the forces of revolution in this country, and has never come out to condemn any of the agents or forces driving this country towards revolution.

I have pointed out to other Deputies that the policy of the daily papers, or of any particular daily paper, is not in order on this Estimate.

I was discussing more the revolution to which the President alluded.

The Deputy referred to a particular paper.

I am really at a loss, following the Parliamentary Secretary, to know exactly what can be dealt with and what cannot be dealt with. We had from the speaker who spoke last an exhibition of clowning, but very few facts. I presume that a subsequent speaker is entitled to follow him in the particular matters he dealt with or attempted to deal with.

The Parliamentary Secretary replied to arguments which were irrelevant on this Vote. The Deputies concerned and the Parliamentary Secretary were pulled up by the Chair.

I am always very obedient when it comes to the ruling of the Chair. I propose merely to reply to some of the arguments put forward by the Parliamentary Secretary. In his remarks with regard to the likelihood of revolution and his justification for the exercise of the powers of the Public Safety Act, he pointed to the fact that it was the creation of the Party that now sits here. He rather laboured the point which has been laboured with very little success by lawyers sitting opposite, that any organisation declared under that Act to be illegal is thereby illegal. If he had ever read the Act, or even glanced at it, he would know that the declaration in itself does not make any organisation illegal, but that that declaration is supposed to depend on contributory factors named and on evidence forthcoming that, in some one of these particulars, the organisation has offended the law. The change of name, which he is so skittish about, is not any more remarkable than, nor is it so precipitate as the change of the man who wanted to lead a No Income-Tax Party in this country when he was blowing the bugle of Cumann na nGaedheal down in Cork, and changed not only his outlook, his political label, his financial tune, but his whole public creed merely because he was not selected by that Party and put up as a candidate. People in glass houses should not throw stones.

Changes of name on this side were merely in compliance with the laws made by the opposite side. The change probably upset people opposite. They would like us to follow in their footsteps, defying the law because those laws were made by political opponents. They would like to provoke us into the same type of lawlessness that they created, fostered and encouraged up to the date that they became the Government of this country. If there is one thing that this country should be proud of, it is that there are in it organisations of youth that are not too hot-blooded or blinded by passion to comply with the law, no matter how unjustly it is administered. I myself felt, when I spoke here on a previous occasion, that successive bans would have the effect of stirring up organised trouble throughout the country. At that time, I ventured to express the hope that such would not occur. I am proud to-night to be able to boast that such did not occur. The provocation of successive bans having failed to drive these people into revolt against the laws of the State, are being supplemented by every provocative statement that can be made by certain Ministers. They have been supplemented by provocative pronouncements in that heavily subsidised journal——

I should like to ask if we will be allowed, in reply, to travel over all this ground, or if the Deputy is to get away with these statements without reply.

The Deputy will get away with whatever the Chair allows him.

I ask for a ruling from the Chair as to whether this is relevant to the Supplementary Estimate.

I have not had the advantage of hearing much of what the Deputy has been saying. When I hear how Deputy O'Higgins develops his argument, I shall be able to answer the question of the President.

For your information, sir, and in order to demonstrate the fact that I am driving rigidly between shafts, before I referred to this particular line I drew attention to the fact that the previous speaker on the opposite side had discussed this ban, the reason why it was banned, and made mirth of the subsequent changes of name as a result of that ban. The President, when introducing the Estimate, referred to the fact that among the subjects which should be dealt with by this Department were questions such as black bread and revolution. I am following by that, and I am daring to express the hope that this subsidised Department will not have to deal with revolution. I am replying to the Parliamentary Secretary that those changes of name were indicative of the desire of the political Opposition to respect the State, no matter who the rulers of that State were, and that these particular changes of name, which he makes a joke about here, were produced by the corrupt manipulation of the laws of this State — of the Executive Council of this State — and that if there is to be revolution in this or in any other country, it will be produced primarily by corrupt manipulation of the laws by those charged with the responsibility, mainly, of upholding the law.

We are being asked to subsidise another political propagandist Department functioning under the Fianna Fáil Government, and the one we have already subsidised heavily has done more to incite revolution in this country than any foreign agents or activists in this country. In the light of the provocative propaganda that is being disseminated by that subsidised organ day after day, I ask, are we wise to provide more money in order to carry that work further? If the Fianna Fáil policy has so landed this boat on to the rock of shipwreck that every little worker and employee up and down the country has got to draw a little bit less for his labour at the end of the week, that even a sum of £1,000, collected from 50 or 60 individuals is vital to the further financial stability of this State—if there is any honesty or any sincerity in the case that was advanced from those benches last night, then, certainly, this £10,000 for political propaganda should not be voted.

Notwithstanding the temptation to which one is subject by reason of the examples set by previous speakers, I do not propose to make any excursion into the domain of general State politics such as we have listened to in this House to-night. Deputy Fitzgerald opened the debate from the Opposition Benches and his speech was nothing more than a raking of the ashes of the civil war just an attempt to see whether he could discover in the ashes any spark which might be fanned into flame again so that he might re-enact here in words the physical struggle of 1922 and 1923. Listening to the speech, it was perfectly clear that Deputy Fitzgerald was more concerned with using this House as a platform from which to attack a particular organ of the Press than he was to discuss the merits of the proposition that is before the House this evening. His speech was one, long, blinding wail of insane political passion against a Press organ, just because it does not happen to take the viewpoint of the Party opposite. One would imagine, listening to Deputy Fitzgerald's speech, that the Party opposite, when in office, had no Press organ whatever, but everybody knows that during the period they were a Government they had practically every Press organ in the country, not merely at their beck and call, but even in their pockets, and when one particular Press organ in this country at that time dared to criticise the policy of the last Government they were refused advertisements which were in the power of that Government to give.

Deputy Fitzgerald told us about all the vices of theIrish Press and all the dangerous and insidious things that paper does from the point of view of the Irish people. The fact that it is progressing, from the point of view of circulation, looks as if the people of this country, who are not the money-bags of this country, are perfectly satisfied, or, at all events, reasonably satisfied with the news service given by that paper. According to Deputy Fitzgerald, however that paper has every possible vice. I will say this, however, that no matter what that paper does during its life-time, I am satisfied that it will never call an Irish soldier an assassin as some of the papers backing the Deputy's Party did, and that it could never sink to the disgraceful level of calling on an alien power to murder Pearse and Connolly as another Press organ in this country did. We have been told to-day that the Irish Press has all the vices which it is possible for a journal to have. No matter what mistakes it commits from the point of view of journalism, it will never disgrace the name of Irish journalism and Irish nationality in the manner in which other papers in this country have disgraced it.

Deputy MacDermot talked on this publicity department as if he had never heard of a State publicity department before. According to him, it is a dangerous and undesirable thing for any Government to have a publicity department at its disposal, because it could be used for all kinds of strange things by the Government in office. If he had been familiar with the happenings in this country in 1923, 1924, and 1925, he would not be so shocked at the notion of a publicity department at all, because if he looks up the Estimates for 1923-24 he will find that the Government of the day, the Cumann na nGaedheal Party, of which he is now a member——

No, I am not.

Well, the Deputy can pretend it as much as he likes. I do not mind him pulling his own leg, but it is unfair that he should pull other people's legs. In that year they spent £3,600 on a publicity department, when, according to the Deputy's Party — his Party now — these were years when there was so much milk and honey flowing about that there was no need to tell anybody they were there — it was so obvious to everybody. In 1924-25, they spent £3,043 on a publicity department and paid the director of the department, whom they described as the head of the publicity department, £1,000 per annum — even though they only paid the temporary shorthand-typist 27/7d. per week and the unestablished messenger 25/- per week, and, in case he might indulge in any riotous conduct, they gave him an annual increment of 1/- a year. In the same Estimate further on we find that a sum of £5,250 was provided for publication and distribution in the Publicity Department for the purposes of purchasing, printing and distributing books, newspapers, pamphlets and photographs. If the Deputy had been in the Party then his photograph might be well-known in the country now. At all events we have it that in the year 1923-24 the Deputy's Party spent £3,600, and in 1924-25, £3,000, apart from the sum spent on the distribution of pamphlets, photographs and newspapers.

How much since? Can the Deputy give the figures for dates subsequent to that? If he cannot what is the relevancy of something done so long ago?

If the research department of the Deputy's Party has collapsed I do not mind introducing him to the research department of the Labour Party, where he will get that information to-morrow. The Deputy got up in blissful ignorance of the fact that there was a Publicity Department here before. He has only now discovered that there was a Publicity Department, otherwise he would not have made such a foolish speech. In his speech he committed himself to the principle that it was highly dangerous to have a Government Publicity Department. If the Deputy had lived in this country in 1923-24 and 1924-25 he would have known perfectly well the purposes for which the Publicity Department in these years was used. Let the Deputy look at some of the Press statements issued in that period and he will have no hesitation in making up his mind that it was used for party political propaganda much more than in the interests of the nation as a whole. I look upon this Estimate purely as a business one. I see national advantage to the people of the country in being made aware, in every possible way, of the activities of any Government in power, so that they may know what Acts are passed by this legislature, the benefit of these Acts, so far as they affect the people, and in giving information with some kind of enlightened thought on the Acts of this legislature, rather than having them construed from documents by the vapourings at cross roads of people who have not prepared them but put into their hands by others as incapable of writing them as the persons who made the speeches.

The President made the case for this Estimate, that it was necessary for internal purposes and also necessary for external purposes. I quite agree that it is eminently desirable, as a matter of external policy, that there should be some kind of Publicity Department which would give the people regular news items, showing the work of this legislature and the actions of any Government in power, no matter what the political complexion of that Government may be. In existing circumstances, however, there is a particularly strong case for a Publicity Department, from the point of view of our relations with other nations. Everyone knows perfectly well that there is a financial dispute on to-day with a nation which is capable of controlling, to a very large extent, the news agencies of the world, and which has shown in the past, perhaps never more effectively than during the great war, that it could use the Press agencies for every purpose for which it wanted to use them. Deputy MacDermot travels frequently and does not confine his survey of life to this small island. I wonder when travelling to Paris if he looks at the continental edition of theDaily Mail that circulates on the train. Taking any news item in that paper that has any particular reference to this Government, I am perfectly prepared to allow the Deputy to arbitrate as to whether it is fair criticism or unfair criticism.

I would like to inform the Deputy that from my experience the French people do not read the continental edition of theDaily Mail. They read the French newspapers. Further, from my experience the official Fianna Fáil point of view is more than well represented in the French Press, and in the American papers, the two foreign countries with which I am most familiar.

That is not the point I was making.

It was, and it is the sensible point.

As the Deputy's speeches are not distinguished for sense, I think it is impudence to suggest that he is a judge of sensibility.

Do you mean sense or sensibility?

Both. The Deputy can have his choice. Everyone knows that when Britain wants to blacken a people in the eyes of the world the Press agencies are used for the purpose. Whenever it is a case of showing that the movement for Indian independence is a rabble movement, initiated by a low class in the community, the floodlights of publicity are turned on India, and the world is told of these awful people that Britain is spending so many millions of money trying to civilise, even though the people do not want civilisation by Britain. Whenever it is a case of misrepresenting Egypt, or any other country where Britain wants to get a footing, the Press agencies throughout the world are controlled and manipulated. With that knowledge of the manner in which the Press agencies are utilised for political propaganda by that country, it seems to me highly desirable that some effort should be made here to create an Information Bureau and a news publicity service to enable us to try to tell the world the truth about what is really happening here. Some of us remember Britain's newspapers and Britain's Press Bureaux here. We were told that the I.R.A. was a murder gang. That was the information that was disseminated by Britain's news agencies and by Britain's Bureaux in this country. It seems to me to be highly desirable, especially in existing circumstances, that some effort should he made to secure that the Irish point of view should be put before the world, as well as the condition of affairs here, rather than looking to any other nation, for its own ends, to point out the real position. In that sense I look upon this Estimate as a good investment for the nation. The amount involved is small.

I believe, from the point of view of the citizens resident here, from the point of view of our people who live in other lands, from the point of view of putting ourselves right with every other country, that this Estimate will yield a very substantial return, and will help to curb some of the misrepresentations of rather unfriendly neighbours. I hope it will do much to curb many misleading statements issued by newspapers in this country, with the benediction of the Party opposite, in order to misrepresent everything done by the Government, just because they happen to dislike its political complexion.

Hear, hear. That is well spoken.

I understand we are in Committee, and consequently I can speak twice. I believed some other Deputies were going to speak.

The Deputy wants to give them time to think. Carry on.

I think it worth while to assure Deputy Norton that, what he conceived to be his revelation with regard to the fact that an Information Bureau existed some years ago, has no effect at all in shaping my opinion, that in principle, in normal times, or anywhere near normal times an Information Bureau of this sort is a mistake and a danger. After all we are human beings and it is a particularly characteristic failing of every Government to think that its particular point of view is the one that is right and the proper national point of view. Consequently, if a Government has an Information Bureau at its beck and call, it is absolutely bound to use it for Party purposes. I defy Deputy Norton to deny — in fact he has admitted by his own speech that he could not deny or would not deny — that it will be used for Party purposes, not for disseminating something that the Irish nation as a whole wishes to have disseminated but for disseminating the point of view of the particular Party that happens to be the Party in power at the time. I say it is bad in principle. Deputy Norton implies that we are doing the same thing as Great Britain is doing. I would not care if Great Britain were doing it but it is not a fact that Great Britain is doing it.

I did not say so.

The Deputy implied it. The notion that Great Britain has a stranglehold on the Press of the world, is altogether mistaken. Great Britain is unpopular. As a matter of fact, a powerful country is generally unpopular. America is also unpopular in all European countries, and you will find that in nine countries out of ten, the general trend of the local Press will be against any Great Power where there is any matter in dispute between that Great Power and a Small Power. I believe the Deputy is entirely astray in thinking that there is a special need for a small nation to set up a Press Bureau. As a matter of fact I doubt if this Bureau will be very much assistance to them, because I think that Fianna Fáil propaganda is being very efficiently conducted already. I wish to compliment the Party opposite on the energy and efficiency of its propaganda. It is put in such a form as to have an effect on uninstructed minds. It would have little or no effect on instructed minds, but the Fianna Fáil Party does not consider instructed minds, knowing that they do not count very much from a voting point of view. On uninstructed minds it has its effect. It is well conceived and it is pushed with the greatest assiduity. I daresay this Bureau will not add much to the efficacy of its propaganda. The object possibly is to provide more jobs. It is from that point of view that Deputy O'Higgins took particular exception to it, that it should be created at a moment when we are enforcing economies as per the Local Government (Temporary Economies) Bill, not to speak of the earlier Public Services (Temporary Economies) Bill, particularly at the moment when we are doing that, it is indecent to let the public in for the sort of expense that is proposed in this Estimate.

It is really time that Deputy Norton and other Deputies should desist from the practice of expecting rather new members of the House, and members quite new to this Front Bench, to debate and stand over the doings of the Cumann na nGaedheal Party in the past.

A Deputy

Be careful.

Everything they may have done may have been desirable, but I decline to spend my time reading up old files for the purpose of defending every past action of the Cumann na nGaedheal Party. It may be that they were justified in 1924 in opening a Press Bureau. I do not know the circumstances, or whether there were such revolutionary conditions obtaining then as to make such a thing necessary. It is, however, irrelevant. In point of fact, what stands out is that when they were last in office they did not have such a Bureau. Presumably they gave it up because revolutionary conditions were past. That, again, I do not know, but they gave it up. If they were justified in having it they were justified, and if they were not justified in having it, they saw the error of their ways and they gave it up. Why should we be going back to a bad system on the plea that it was followed by somebody else? At the time perhaps, for all I know, it was justified. I have tried to be moderate on this question, as indeed on all occasions in this House. I have not personally rested my opposition to this Estimate on the sins of the Government. I rest my opposition to the Estimate on the fact that it is unhealthy and unsound for a Government to set up with public money a Party Publicity Bureau. It is a thing that is disgusting and cannot he defended.

Deputy MacDermot is apparently troubled because this Press Bureau which it is proposed to establish may be used for Party purposes, something which, he implies, he and those associated with him, never consider, something which he assumes must be necessarily bad. What does the Deputy mean by Party purposes?

I mean something on which you should not spend public money.

That is about as clear as all the other utterances of the Deputy and means as much. We have Party Government in this State. This Party was elected by the people on a policy approved by the people, and the purpose of the Party is to give effect to that policy. I know that Deputies opposite have not yet grasped the fact that the people prefer this Party to theirs. For ten years they regarded themselves as appointed to office in this State, not by the will of the people, but by some Divine ordinance. They regarded themselves as demi-gods, ruling by some authority which came from within themselves and not under any obligation to seek any renewal of that authority from the people. They look upon us as intruders, somebody who got into power by some freak of chance, or as a result of some vile, low-down trick. Deputy MacDermot is beginning to get the same ideas as those with whom he is now associated, just as one child can get measles from another. He is also beginning to regard himself as one of the little group of individuals, the little group of demi-gods, who are the rightful rulers of this country, and who have been wrongfully displaced by demons from the nether world who can do nothing right and whose sole purpose is to pile corruption upon corruption, to use Deputy O'Higgins' phrase. The policy of this Party has been approved of by the people and if the purpose of this Party is to give effect to its policy, then any Party purpose that this institution may be used to effect, in so far as it conforms with the policy the people have approved of, is a good purpose.

Why not bring in a public estimate to pay Party organisers in that case?

There used to be estimates for that too. We know how the unemployment grants were spent.

There is another consideration. One of the first functions of this Bureau is to provide a system of public education and Deputies opposite should be grateful for that, because they need that type of public education more than anybody. As a sort of preliminary, however, we will give them a little private education. Fact No. 1—there is Party Government in this State. Secondly, the Fianna Fáil Government was chosen by the people and put into power by them to carry out a Party policy. In case Deputies may have thought that the people made a mistake, we gave the people an opportunity of confirming their decision and they did it with emphasis. They dotted the "i's" and crossed the "t's" of their decision. If there had been any lingering illusion in the minds of Deputies opposite as to what the people really meant when they put Cumann na nGaedheal out of office and put Fianna Fáil into office, that illusion must have been shattered 12 months ago when the people reaffirmed their decision. Their decision was that this Party, with its policy, should be given control of the Government of this country and empowered to carry out its policy.

But it did not do it.

It is proceeding to do it. In order to secure effective implementation of this policy it is necessary to secure in many matters of social and economic concern the co-operation of the public. Not merely was this Government elected by the people, but it is a people's Government, recognising that its authority comes from the people and that its power to do anything effective depends on the extent to which it can get public co-operation in its task. The main function of this institution is to assist us in getting that public co-operation. It is not necessary to enumerate here for the purpose of making Party propaganda various matters of Government policy in respect of which public co-operation is necessary. They are well known to Deputies. In so far as they take any interest in matters coming before the House, they must know that a large part of the Government's programme depends for its fulfilment on the extent to which the people are prepared to assist it and bring it into effect. If we are going to get that public co-operation in the degree in which it is required we must have the public informed as to the manner in which their co-operation can most effectively be given. That is the purpose of the Bureau. We have had a difficult task in giving effect to our policy, and the main difficulty was the deliberate campaign of misrepresentation which Deputies opposite embarked upon. Not merely did they try to wreck the Government policy on every item, but they tried to secure that those who wished to co-operate in giving effect to that policy would be misinformed about it. On every occasion that the opportunity offered to them to prevent good being done as a result of Government policy they tried to prevent it being done for Party purposes.

The Party opposite, so far as I can see, does not disagree with this Government in anything except one thing. The one thing with which they disagree is that they think they are better men than we are; but they are not. They are wrong in that as in everything else. That affects themselves. But, on the main lines of policy, whatever they may have said last month or last year or two years ago or last night, they appear now to be standing with us. It is a good thing that this evolution of ideas should have taken place amongst the members of the Party opposite. If this Press bureau does nothing else except make it generally known, not merely in this country but outside it, that Deputies opposite have hauled down all their flags and decided to endorse the policy of Fianna Fáil, the national policy on all matters, then it will be well worth whatever expense is involved in its establishment. Is it not a good thing that the British should know that the Leader of the Party opposite stated only two nights ago that no matter what Government is in power the land annuities will never again be paid to England? Does not that serve a useful national purpose so that the people in Great Britain who are hoping to manoeuvre the people opposite back into power in order to get that cash from the Irish people will realise that their last hope has been destroyed, that the last line of defence on which they were relying has been turned?

I remember hearing a few years ago the Minister for Agriculture in the Cumann na nGaedheal Government discussing the possibility of growing wheat in Ireland and saying that you might as well talk about growing bananas. Is it not a good thing that the Party Convention which Deputies attended last week decided that the wheat policy must be given its chance? Deputy MacDermot, of course, can excuse himself by saying that he does not stand over everything the Cumann na nGaedheal Government did. He does not know what they did. He will not find out from those with whom he is associating now, apparently, because they are very anxious to forget what the Cumann na nGaedheal Government did. They certainly will not talk about it. They have even been criticising this Government because its industrial policy is not vigorous enough.

A short while ago the Control of Manufactures Act was not merely opposed but obstructed by them. A few weeks ago they were criticising the Act because it did not go far enough. Is it not a good thing that we should have information as to the matters upon which we are all agreed given to the public? Surely that is not serving a Party purpose. The issue of the land annuities, the necessity for the development of a home supply of wheat, the necessity for industrial development, and other matters which were a short while ago matters of controversy, are now matters of agreed policy. In so far as this Bureau sets out to secure public co-operation in effecting that policy and putting it into operation, then there is no Party purpose being served but the common purpose of all of us.

I agree that Deputies opposite do not like being tied down to a policy. Perhaps they fear publicity as to their attitude at the moment on any given issue might tie them to that attitude and they do not like being tied. We heard Deputy O'Higgins talking about men who change their Party. If he had put back his right hand he would have hit Deputy Belton and if he had put back his left hand he would have hit Deputy MacDermot. If he looked behind him he would see men who have in their time been associated with every political Party in this State and with attempts to form others that never came into existence.

And the Minister changed his policy a dozen times. He was Minister for Defence in a revolutionary Government outside against this State. Who is the twister?

Need Deputy Belton ask?

The day that Deputy Belton came into this House the Minister said he would never come in.

Let us consider the question of the inadvisability of having a Press bureau because it might be used for Party purposes. The suggestion has been made here that any attempt on the part of the Government to influence the Press must necessarily be bad. Deputy Norton referred to the fact that there was a Press bureau here before—an expensive one. It disappeared it is true as such seven or eight years ago, but another institution was substituted for it. Deputy Fitzgerald can tell Deputy MacDermot, if he does not know it already about the conferences that took place every Monday morning in Government Buildings when Mr. Ernest Blythe, the then Minister for Finance, met representatives of all newspapers except one and gave them their orders for the week. Every Monday morning that conference took place and the representatives of the Press sitting around Mr. Blythe got from him their instructions as to the line they were to take on every issue of public importance likely to attract attention during the week.

Instructions !

One newspaper was not allowed to be represented—theIrish Press.

It was not a newspaper.

It was excluded from the conferences to emphasise the fact that the statements made were not mere impartial surveys of Government policy to be made public, but conferences of men associated for one Party purpose. Deputy MacDermot is very innocent I know, but he is not so innocent as to believe that the others who sit with him on the benches opposite are as innocent as he is. That arrangement worked very well. All the newspapers of this country, with the one exception, were able to talk with one voice every Tuesday morning stating, not the truth but the representation of the truth which the Government at the time wanted to have believed. That was very often misrepresentation. It was as a result of that arrangement, that very close co-operation between the Government and the newspapers, that many ideas became accepted in this country which would never have been listened to by any intelligent person if all the facts could have been made available. Not merely were those conferences held, but the Government's power to provide revenue for newspapers in the form of public advertisements was used entirely to subsidise those newspapers that supported the Cumann na nGaedheal Government. Can Deputy MacDermot explain to me why it was decided by the Cumann na nGaedheal Government that no public advertisements of any kind were to be inserted in any newspaper, whether a daily or weekly newspaper, critical of Government policy?

We have not adopted that policy. The Deputy can read Government advertisements in hisIrish Times just as we can read them in the Irish Press. We have deliberately decided not to use that power, because we think it wrong that that power should be used in that manner. But our predecessors had no scruples about it, and when the power of subsidising by advertisement did not prove sufficiently effective they devised the system of subsidising one particular newspaper on the ground that it used to print in an obscure column a paragraph printed in the Irish language. Year after year they brought in an estimate for that particular subsidy on the ground that it was intended to encourage Irish when it was really designed to buy the political support of a particular newspaper that circulated in a constituency where an unpopular Minister was trying to hold his seat.

It is true that we are spending a lot upon education. This State provides a very large part of its revenue every year for educational purposes. This addition to the Educational Vote is a small one. Nevertheless, it is an important, item, and if it succeeds in getting into the minds of Deputies opposite and those other people who are influenced by Deputies opposite that there is another side to the story than that which they are continually presenting, a side which is not associated with any particular Party, but a side none the less worth knowing, then it will be well worth while. The particular side that we want Deputies to understand is that the various matters of Government policy that are likely to be the subject of publicity are designed to improve conditions in this country, to improve the status of the State, and the material well being of its people.

It is, I think, rather pitiable to see Deputies opposite rising from their benches here day after day to gloat over every little item that they can extract from some public document which seems to show that conditions in this country are not all that they, might be. If some factory closes down to-morrow, if any number of people are unemployed, if a particular section of our community are hit in some economic manner, Deputies opposite stand in their benches to cheer. They are cheering every week-end at public meetings knowing that that tends to show that the fight for the improvement of the economic organisation of this State is not yet over. It is pitiable. Some of them at one time used to think themselves good Irishmen, used to talk about the effort that could be made to promote industrial development, to secure a recasting of our economic organisation so that we would become a more self-contained, a more self-sufficient nation. Now that the effort is being made they, for merely Party reasons, find themselves opposed to it, and not merely that, but gloating over every little defeat that may be suffered in the campaign and pretending to ignore the much greater victories.

The main purpose of this bureau is to secure that information will be given to the public and to Deputies opposite that will make them realise that the campaign that is being conducted in this country is not being conducted for the benefit of one Party or one section of the people, but for all the people, and that it is good national work, work in which they should be co-operating. In this matter we are hoping to get co-operation of the masses of the people, and I think we can be certain of that. We can get that co-operation if information is available as to the manner in which it is required. If the educational campaign is pushed sufficiently far, I believe we may eventually get the co-operation of some of the Deputies opposite. In many respects they have publicly adopted our policy and subscribed to our programme. They have subscribed to it in broad outline if not in detail.

Perhaps the Deputy will give us one broad detail on which they disagree?

Yes, governing the country by corrupt methods.

I gather that Deputy Fitzgerald is against governing the country by corrupt methods?

Yes, by the whole programme you have indicated.

That is another indication of agreement of which I was not aware before. I did not know that the Party opposite had changed their policy in that regard. We quite agree with Deputy Fitzgerald, and that is another point of agreement. I think there is nothing left now upon which we could disagree.

The Minister has laid out a programme of corrupt Government.

We have laid out a corrupt Government—that is true. I do not want to delay the House much longer. I am surprised and pained at the manner in which the debate on this Vote has developed. I think Deputies opposite should appreciate the necessity of having an organisation that would link up the people with the Government so that those in power would be given public assistance in the fulfilment of their policy that they might not otherwise be able to secure. The last Government tried to govern when it was completely out of touch with the people, and I think they have admitted it publicly that they were out of touch with the people. This Government is determined, so long as it remains in office, to keep in touch with those who have put them into a position of authority so that it may have the co-operation and help of the people in carrying out the policy that the people endorsed twice within a period of twelve months.

As I listened to the speech of the Minister for Industry and Commerce there came into my mind an epigram of a very well-known Frenchman. "Hypocrisy," he said, "is the tribute which vice pays to virtue." I wish I could call the Minister for Industry and Commerce and his followers in the Fianna Fáil Benches hypocrites, because that would be a kindly word to apply to them in comparison to any word which can be applied to them after the extraordinary speech which we have just heard from the Minister. There is no shame about it now, there is no secrecy about it now, there is no hiding of it now. We have got definitely from the Minister the putting forward of this doctrine which we guessed was being practised before, but, no matter how much it was practised, we never thought it would be preached in this House, that the Fianna Fáil Government and Party consider they are entitled to use public money solely for Party purposes.

There is nothing in that.

That is what the Minister has just put before the House—that we are entitled to use public money for purely Party purposes. What is the reason he gave? The reason he gave for this open avowal of corruption on the part of his Government, this undisguised avowal of corruption, is this, that they got a majority at the last election and, therefore, they are entitled to spend such public money as they wish in promulgating their ideas.

According to the Minister for Industry and Commerce they are entitled to subsidise out of public funds any single purpose which they think is helpful to them. Not merely that but we have this astonishing doctrine preached in this House that any Government that at any time ever has a majority in this House is entitled to use public money for the entrenching of its own position. I have heard of graft in various countries in the world. I have heard of political corruption in various countries in the world. There are scandals in certain countries at the present moment arising out of political corruption. But I wonder if the doctrine of political corruption has ever been preached so openly in any assembly in the world as it has been preached by the Minister for Industry and Commerce in that extraordinary speech which he delivered to the House to-night. Now we know where we are. The Minister for Industry and Commerce said they got a mandate from the people to carry out their policy. Did they say to the people of the country, "Yes, put us in office and we will use as much of your money as we wish to use for our purely Party purposes?" Was that part of the policy they put to the electorate when they got a mandate? As a matter of fact, I deny and I deny strenuously that the Minister for Industry and Commerce and the rest of the Front Bench of Fianna Fáil ever got a mandate for the policy they are carrying out. He said they got a majority from the people twice. What is the use of making statements in this House, statements which everybody knows to be untrue in fact? Take the election of February, 1932. What majority did they get then? They were in a minority if the Party that was not elected as tied to them did not form a coalition with them; they had no majority. And the policy which the Labour Party put before the electorate at that election was not identical by any means with the policy which President de Valera and his Party put before the electorate.

Therefore, I deny and everybody in this country who has studied Irish affairs to even the most slender extent must be aware of the fact that in that first election in February, 1932, President de Valera got no majority at all from the Irish people. It was only because he managed after the election to induce the Labour Party to do what they had never said during the election they would do—to join up with them—it was because of that and because of that only that they got into power. Take again the last election. Even at the present moment they have not a majority of the elected members of the House as their professed followers. There is actual equality at the present moment of those who are his professed followers and those who are not. The Labour Party have not stated up to the present day that they completely endorse this policy. The Labour Party have voted against him and they have criticised his policy, indeed very heartily criticised his industrial policy and his policy of whole-hog protection.

It was only because of other reasons they proceeded to keep him in power. That is the reason why he is there now. But never at any time has President de Valera received a mandate from the elected majority promising to support him in this House. At one time, if the Labour Party had not twisted from the policy upon which they were elected he would not have been in power at all. At the next election it was only by the sufferance of the Labour Party that he had anything more than a bare equality as far as the elected members of the House were concerned. I know his Party propaganda and I know what it is. I see theIrish Press which makes the statement that he was elected by the overwhelming majority of the Irish people. I do not mind that. I do not take seriously anything of the political propaganda which is put forward in the official organ of the Party opposite. But it has surprised me that the Minister for Industry and Commerce has got the affrontery to come into this House and to make a statement which every single person knows to be at variance with the facts.

But the Minister did not by any means stop there. He said that we had changed our policy. We have not changed our policy. Our policy stands where it was. He instanced that we have said that the wheat policy should be given its chance. We have, but that is not a change of policy on our part— absolutely no. We say now as we have always said that the wheat policy is a thoroughly unsound policy but we are thoroughly consistent in this one overriding, over-ruling principle which every Government ought to honour and which we certainly will honour. That is that if persons have expended sums of money on the assurance given by one Government than its successors in office should not vary that promise to the detriment of persons who have invested money on the faith of that promise. Persons have invested money on the faith of the promises made to them on this wheat policy and we say that since a Government gave that promise we as successors of that Government—and I trust I may safely promise very shortly that we will be— are bound to see that these persons who invested money on the promise of our predecessors are not deceived. That is an attitude from which we have never departed. It is a perfectly fair attitude and it is an attitude from which I do not think any Government should depart. If citizens invest money on a definite promise from one Government it would be very unfair, I think, to them that that promise should be departed from.

As a matter of fact I think the wheat policy is radically unsound and that it is bound to kill itself and kill itself very shortly. The Minister said that he and his Party on coming in were pledged to a policy. To what were they pledged? I know that there is one thing to which they were pledged. That was that if they got into power the economic war would be ended in a fortnight. That was the one promise that was given in every constituency in the State. We know that there were pledges that there would be complete derating. We know that there were definite clear pledges that there would be factories in every town and village specifically named by the Fianna Fáil orators at the cross-roads. Those are the type of pledges and that is the type of policy which were put forward by the Fianna Fáil Party at the last election. That was the type of policy and that was the nature of the promises which induced a large section of the electorate to vote for the Fianna Fáil Party. I say it is not our Party that has changed, but very much their Party that has changed. They have changed since they came into office; they have changed very, very much indeed from what they used to be. The Minister for Industry and Commerce talks about a change of policy on our part. I wonder if in the history of the world you could get a more vital change of policy, a more completevolte face, than has been made by President de Valera and the whole of his Executive Council; I am not talking of his Parliamentary Secretaries. Indeed, President de Valera is not satisfied with one volte face. It is rather a little bit like a teetotum; he goes spinning round and round. There was a time when President de Valera and his friends were actively up in arms against this particular State, the State of which he is now the head.

What the events of six years ago or eight years ago have got to do with the motion before the House is not apparent to the Chair.

I was leading up, A Chinn Comhairle, to a speech made within the last fortnight, or less, in this House by President de Valera.

Not on this motion.

That is the common policy; that is part of the policy which this Press Bureau is going to spread to the world——

How do you know?

——the speech in which he said that he and his followers were not Irregulars but were regular troops, from which it follows that the present National Army and the Guards are Irregulars. You cannot have it both ways.

A debate on one motion may not be carried over to quite a different motion. It is not in order to resume now a debate which concluded a week ago.

I think I may venture to say that I am always scrupulous in my obedience to what the Chair rules.

Give us an example.

My submission is that we are going to have a Bureau of publicity; that that is to spread purely Fianna Fáil doctrine; that one of the principal items of Fianna Fáil doctrine is the item which was enunciated by President de Valera the other night, which is to the effect that the National Army is a body of Irregulars. I submit that on this motion I am entitled to criticise current Fianna Fáil propaganda. If you rule to the contrary of course I will accept your ruling.

I have ruled during this debate that a discussion on the policy of an organisation or the policy of the Government is not in order. Deputies are confined to arguing for or against the setting up of this Bureau.

Might I respectfully point out that the Minister for Industry and Commerce based his argument in favour of that on those lines: that the policy of the Government has been approved of by the people, and that being so, the Government was eminently justified in spending public money in propaganding their policy, or whatever version of it may be on at the moment. That was argument put forward by the Minister for Industry and Commerce.

Not quite.

The argument put forward was that their policy had been approved of by the people, and that therefore they had the right, as in this instance, to spend public money on the promotion of that policy, and in deceiving the people regarding it. I suggest that, if that is the basis of it, then it does seem to me one has the right to consider the policy that was put forward by the Government and the policy which the Government is actually pursuing; to consider whether the theory of the Minister for Industry and Commerce should work out; and whether we as a Dáil would be justified in voting public money to promulgate some of the items of policy which the present Government is responsible for.

I did not hear the speech of the Minister for Industry and Commerce——

That is unfortunate.

I was not in the Chair when the Minister spoke. I have not heard the Deputy who is in possession refer even once to the motion before the House—that this Vote be passed.

It does seem to me to be a very unfortunate thing that the Minister for Industry and Commerce can indulge for half an hour in a diatribe against the United Ireland Party, and that when we stand up to reply to that——

I did not. I congratulated them upon their new policy.

When we stand up to reply to that it is unfortunate that we are not allowed by the Chair to make our reply. The attack was allowed by the Leas-Cheann Comhairle in the Chair.

Is this a reflection on the Leas-Cheann Comhairle?

Everybody in the House heard it. I stand up to reply to that attack and, since we got hit, to hit back. I submit——

On a point of order——

I am in possession.

On a point of order, I wish to point out that during the course of my remarks no Deputy raised any point of order.

Is that a point of order? Where is the point?

I submit that the Deputy is taking advantage of the fact that you were not personally in the Chair during the course of my remarks, and that he is trying to mislead you.

Might I point out in reply to those remarks that no Deputy in this House took objection either to what I said on a point of order.

Mr. MacEntee rose.

No. I want the ruling of the Chair.

The ruling of the Chair is very clear. The Ceann Comhairle should not on resuming the Chair be asked to go back upon the rulings of the Leas-Cheann Comhairle or other occupant of the Chair.

The Minister for Industry and Commerce made allusion to the way in which this institution, as I call it, was treated by the previous Executive. Might I follow him through that charge, a Chinn Comhairle?

The Deputy may when speaking to the motion reply to charges made.

That is all I have been doing for a long time, a Chinn Comhairle. The Minister for Industry and Commerce said that information was given to newspapers tied to the Cumann na nGaedheal Party when in office and refused to the Fianna Fáil Party organ, theIrish Press. That statement is completely inaccurate. There was no Party paper belonging at any time to the Cumann na nGaedheal Party, and there was not a single Dublin morning paper which did not, again and again, criticise the Cumann na nGaedheal Party when in office. We had no tied paper; never had a tied paper, nor have not a tied paper at the present moment except our own weekly paper.

So they have a weekly paper.

I say, and say deliberately, that there was all the difference in the world between a paper which was nothing else but a mere medium for Party propaganda, and a newspaper which was giving news to the people. There was all the difference in the world between the two. Their Party newspaper did not get advertisements? Well, we had a weekly paper at the time ourselves— the only paper we had—and that paper did not get advertisements.

Government advertisements?

I invite the Deputy to look at his files?

I should like to see any one of them. I deny it absolutely.

It did not get such advertisements.

Have a bet.

I certainly will not.

An even £50?

I certainly will not.

Three to one in fifties?

I certainly will not have a bet, or any avoidable dealings with the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance. I have rather too much respect for myself.

The Deputy gives his word, but he will not risk his money.

I say that no such advertisements were given by the Government to our weekly Party paper. I say that and I say that deliberately. We had the regular Party organ, not an industry at all but a mere Party propaganda sheet, run by the then Opposition and run by the present Government, for the purpose of not giving the truth but to give its own version of the truth to use the Minister's strange phrase—to give its own version of the truth, whatever that may mean, to the Irish people. There was all the difference between subsidising a paper which, goodness knows, has been subsidised by strange and devious enough methods, and giving advertisements to a paper which is an ordinary industry run on the ordinary commercial lines upon which newspapers ought to be run. The Minister for Industry and Commerce, however, goes a little bit further and talks about the victories that he has achieved although he admits that, in some respects, conditions are not all that they might be. There is not a person living in this country but knows that conditions are not all that they might be if there was anything like a competent Government in office. Conditions are so bad in this country that it is extraordinary how any Government, in the short space of two years, have managed to bring about a condition of affairs so deplorable and that is known by every person in this State. It is known by everybody who is interested in agriculture, the main source of this country's wealth, and it is known by the increased numbers of unemployed who are walking the streets of our towns.

That is a blue lookout.

And where are the factories? We want to know where the factories are—these subjective factories, the factories that exist in the imagination of the Minister for Industry and Commerce which we, the ordinary men in the street, cannot find. Now we know the Party purposes for which this large sum of public money is going to be spent. It is to be spent on promulgating purely Party doctrines. It is to be spent on making statements like the extraordinary statements of the Minister for Industry and Commerce, arising from his defects of memory, made in this House to-night. Never before in the history of any country as I have said, has corruption stood up so openly, so brazenly and pronounced itself so openly, as has been done by the Minister for Industry and Commerce in his speech to-night. Never before, I believe, in any assembly has the doctrine been openly, boldly and unashamedly preached that the Government in power is entitled to use public moneys for purely Party purposes. It is not this measure really that is so much at issue; it is not the importance of the money that is really so much at issue but every single person in this House who gives a vote in favour of this Estimate will be voting in favour of the principle put forward by the Minister for Industry and Commerce. He will be voting for the principle that the Government is entitled to buy support for itself out of public moneys and that is certainly a degradation to which, I think, few members of the Fianna Fáil Party will gladly lend themselves. They will go and vote—of that I have not the slightest doubt. They will vote for corruption preached so openly as it has been preached but I think few of them will vote for that corruption willingly.

In different circumstances, a publicity bureau for national purposes would do a good national service but we have in this country one publicity bureau known as 2RN, a wireless publicity bureau. We want a counterpart to that in this Press bureau, which, I suppose, will be 2DV. When the secretary of a national organisation in this country dared to offend the jazzing principles of a Minister, a talk he was to give from 2RN was promptly cancelled. Now, this Press Bureau is to be set up to do a national service and is it not very reasonable to expect that the authority that stopped Mr. O'Kelly from delivering his address from 2RN will stop and muzzle any public man in this country from having the services of that bureau? Is it not a proof that if a bureau like this is set up, it will be used for purely Party purposes? It might be no harm if they would when they use it for Party purposes, make it clearly understood, not only in this country but outside it, that it is being used for purely Party purposes so as not to disgrace the whole Irish race as being represented by what the Fianna Fáil Party are pleased to call a national policy. The Minister for Industry and Commerce thinks that by thumping the table and saying, "We did this and we did that," he must carry conviction. How long are we doing anything that would entitle the Party opposite to dare to stand up in this national assembly and say that any member of this assembly, not on their benches, deviated from any political principles he held in years gone by. The Minister for Industry and Commerce taunted us here with supporting, to quote him, "our wheat policy, our beet policy and our industrial policy." Deputy Norton went down and dug up a musty record to prove that Cumann na nGaedheal spent public money on some publicity bureau from 1923 to 1925.

Did Cumann na nGaedheal publish musty records?

It was a musty record in which you dug up this information.

Pretty fresh.

From 1923 to 1925 the Party opposite were piling expenses on this country instead of doing anything constructive. I move to report progress.

Progress reported; committee to sit again to-morrow.