Wearing of Uniform (Restriction) Bill, 1934—Second Stage (Resumed.)

Question again proposed: "That the Bill be read a Second Time."

I read out for Deputies last night a summary of detailed accounts of the position of Communism here, as known to the police force. I did that because this immediate threat of Communism is being given as one of the reasons for the need of such a force as the Blueshirts pretend to be. These reports indicate that there is no organised Communism and no danger of Communism known to the police.

On a point of order, is it permissible for a Deputy on the Front Bench opposite to read the papers in the House?

Newspapers should not be read in the House.

On a point of explanation, may I say that I was just refreshing my memory regarding a Communist article which appeared in thePoblacht this week, so that I might maintain a balance between what the President is saying and the fact, as I know it.

If the Deputy is consulting a newspaper for the purpose of the debate, he is in order in doing so.

As I have said, these reports revealed that, so far as was known to the police, there was no menace of Communism in any part of the Twenty-Six Counties with the exception of three places. Dublin was mentioned. Castlecomer was mentioned and Kilrush was mentioned. Dublin, being an industrial centre as well as the capital of the country, might naturally be expected to be the point where there would be the greatest evidence of such a movement if it really existed and where there would be evidence of its activities and strength if it were active and strong. I remind Deputies of some things which are well known to them but which, when they are talking in the country, they choose to forget. At the general election in March, 1932, a Communist candidate contested Dublin City South. Out of a total poll of 55,701, he received 917 votes. Another Communist contested Dublin City North and he received 170 votes out of a total of 71,402. Those who know one of the candidates will agree with me when I say that the major part of his vote was a personal vote and was not a Communist vote. What was the position a year later? That was at the election in 1932—the election on which we came into office. We are supposed to be pampering Communists, to be permitting this evil to exist in our midst without taking action against it. What was the position after one year of our administration? At the general election in January, 1933, not a single Communist candidate was nominated in any part of the country. At the Dublin Municipal election in June, 1933, two Communist candidates received a total of 413 votes out of a total of 83,299. Again, a proportion of those 413 votes were personal to the candidate. What is the use of Deputies on the opposite side going around and pretending there is such a menace of Communism that it is necessary for the citizens to band themselves together in a private army in order to stop it? Where there are disturbed conditions, where there is social distress and economic distress, there is danger that people who are in want of work and people who are starving will be played upon by people who have certain economic and social theories which, they pretend, will get them out of their difficulties. That danger is here as it is in every country. It is here now and has been here in the past and at all times. The way to meet it is the Christian way—seeing that these people get the means by which they can live. It is not by going around in blue shirts you will stop Communism. You will stop it much better by putting on the habit of St. Francis—if you want to stop it.

Now this thing of Communism was worked up to such a stage in the country that there is a background, for the people on the benches opposite, on which they can stand, and work on the fears of the multitude; and they have never been slow to avail themselves of that. And this gentleman who goes out now and sets himself up as an instructor of youth has not been slow to avail himself of it. He was a police officer and he knew the facts, and he knows the facts. He is the very man who submitted and sent us that report. Some time ago there was a meeting of the United Ireland Party. Deputies will remember there was some talk in the Press of a Communist convention in Galway. Now just think of it. In Galway, where the report was that there was no Communism. That was given as the centre. Galway, if you please, was to be the place where they were to hold a Communistic convention. On the very face of it, it was ridiculous. What was the origin of this talk about the Communistic convention in Galway? It was circular, of which I have a copy here, which was sent round and posted to some people from an address in America. I do not even think there was an address to it. Now anybody can take that circular and look through it. It is headed "Irish Workers' Republic— Atheist; Birth Control, Civil and Industrial Emancipation Alliance, New York." That is the heading of the circular. You look through it and what do you find? It is the production of some lunatic, some degenerate, perhaps. The same type is frequently found sending round circulars. General O'Duffy, who is a police officer, and who could estimate the full value of that, instead of being frank with the convention, when this matter was raised, worked it up to such a point that there was a resolution put upon the clár of their convention dealing with it.

Now this is a report from theIrish Times of what this frank gentleman, who is going to teach honesty to our youth and truth to our youth, says, frankly, facing that convention. Announcing that a series of resolutions protesting against the holding of a Communist congress were being withheld, General O'Duffy explained that the reason was that the congress was not now to take place. A gentleman named Barry in New York, he said, had fixed a certain day and place for the Communist congress in this country, whether acting in conjunction with the representatives of Communism here, we do not know; but this is the lesson he wanted to produce, especially upon the League of Youth—The Congress has been called off, or postponed, because of protests, especially from the League of Youth. That is the lesson taught by a man who sets himself up as the leader of youth and a teacher of honesty. Heaven knows if there is one thing that we want for our youth, more than anything else, and that we want taught in our schools, it is reverence for truth and honesty.

What did the Bishop of Galway say?

The Bishop of Galway in what he said was misled.

Was the Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin misled?

I have got the facts and I shall be glad to let the Bishop see this circular, and I will show him the report we have got from America that this man cannot be traced. Yes, we do want to have truth and honesty very badly, indeed, to be taught in our country, and I hope the man who will lead the youth of this country will be a man who will be truthful and honest and who will not make use of things like that for his own miserable purposes.

As a matter of personal explanation, may I point out that I was listening to one of those agents misleading the Bishop of Galway?

That is not a personal explanation.

Now their filthy propaganda has not stopped at that. The same type of whispering, the same dirty propaganda is going on now as in 1922. I have here in this House on one occasion had to speak on a personal matter. I did it, not that I cared a snap of my fingers about what anybody says about me personally but I am jealous, as long as I occupy this particular position, that my antecedents and my character shall not be attacked. Before they went and soiled the steps of God's Altar; the same campaign in another guise is going on now and I know that in order to get some basis for their Communistic attack upon us they are suggesting that I am of Jewish origin.

Deputies

No, no, not at all.

Go and read theCork Examiner. The proprietor and editor sent me a letter apologising privately and saying that a certain thing was let through without his knowledge, showing what is happening at some of those meetings where this question of Communism is being discussed. There is not, as far as I know, a single drop of Jewish blood in my veins. I am not one of those who try to attack the Jews or want to make any use of the popular dislike of them. I know that originally they were God's people; that they turned against Him and that the punishment which their turning against God brought upon them made even Christ Himself weep. In disclaiming that there is no Jewish blood in me I do not want it to be interpreted as an attack upon the Jews. But as there has been, and even from that bench over there, this dirty innuendo and suggestion carried, as I have said, formally to God's Altar, I say that on both sides of me I come from Catholic stock. My father and mother were married in a Catholic Church, on September 19th, 1881. I was born in October, 1882. I was baptised in a Catholic Church. I was brought up here in a Catholic home. I have lived amongst the Irish people and loved them and loved every blade of grass that grew in this land. I do not care who says, or who tries to pretend that I am not Irish. I say I have been known to be Irish and that I have given everything in me to the Irish nation.

A Spanish vendetta! The word "vendetta" has never been associated with the nation of Spain. I have to apologise to the House for bringing in these personal matters, but I know that they are used, as I said, even to the steps of God's Altar. If you have anything good in your programme, why cannot you put it to the people and win on your merits? If you have not, will you at least be decent enough to stop that type of vile propaganda? Those gentlemen on the opposite benches talk about propaganda ! The first time that it was suggested that I had any Jewish connections was when I was a candidate for a position as mathematical teacher in the Technical Schools in Bolton Street. Because I was put in the first place by the Selection Committee, this was used in order to prejudice my chances with the voters. It was used again in America for the same purpose. As I have said, if there is anything decent or good in your programme, put it before the people and stand on it, but do not hope to be depending on that type of stuff to bring victory to you. So much for Communism then.

I also said last night that we are accused of being a Party Government and I challenge any Deputy in this House to show any example of such partiality, such favouritism, such vindictiveness as Cumann na nGaedheal or Fine Gael, as they call themselves, speakers suggest. Somebody may say General O'Duffy himself. The former Attorney-General, who knows better, suggested that we were breaking a practice which was established and, in fact, suggested that we were breaking the law in regard to the Commissioner of Police. He, of all men, should know, and knows in my opinion, that the person who occupies the position of Commissioner of Police was removable at will by the Executive Council without having assigned a reason. On the occasion on which we were debating the removal of General O'Duffy the Police Acts were read and it was made quite clear that the Executive Council could remove the Commissioner without assigning a reason. The Commissioner of Police occupies in relation to the Executive a most important and confidential position. It is essential that there should be no smoke-screen, no half-truths, no holding back from the Executive of reports, as regards the state of the country, which are necessary for the Executive Council in order to appreciate the general position. I said that we removed General O'Duffy because we had not sufficient confidence in him. That was a perfectly good reason. No other was necessary.

As I said, the position of the Commissioner of Police was left, wisely left, under the Act at the discretion and the will of the Executive Council because, although it is right and good that the Police Commissioner should have independent functions, it is also necessary that there should be only one head and that the people who are ultimately responsible for the peace and order of the country, namely, the Executive Council, should be satisfied that they have in the Chief of Police the best possible instrument for the maintenance of public peace. If we wanted justification for our action, the attitude of General O'Duffy since he left the police would be a good justification. He is out of the police force, yet he tells us that he has the same sources of information as he always had. Secret intelligence was obtained by him in the past. He paid for it with State moneys. He got information in his position as head of the police and he tells us that he is using that and using that position still. He has the impertinence and impudence to tell the Guards that he has his eye on them, that they are to be good boys, that he has his personal eye on them. In other words, he is suggesting to the Guards that he may be back again and that he is watching them. He is doing one of the meanest and most contemptible things that the holder of the office could do. After he has left office he is trying to use the information and the position which he held in order to tamper with the loyalty of the Guards to their proper officers. He is supposed to be a police officer or was. We see a report where he tells the women members of the organisation that he leads, that they will have hats with hat-pins and, when required, that they will use them in the proper place—"the most effective place," I think, or some such words as these was the phrase used. That, from this person, who puts himself up as an upholder of law, this person who puts himself up as a teacher of our youth. We are told by the ex-Attorney-General, Deputy Costello, that we made a political appointment. What does he mean? He clearly suggests that we have made a partisan appointment, appointed somebody who is going to work for our Party, who is not going to work for the whole community, who is not going to be impartial in his relations to the whole community. Every appointment by the Executive Council will be, in a sense, called a political appointment. His appointment was a political appointment but, in the exercise of his office, I hope and feel sure that he dealt with all the citizens equally; but his appointment was a political appointment just as our Attorney-General's appointment was a political appointment. Our Attorney-General has his own independent functions just as we have here; we have things to do which injure, in their opinion, quite a large number of our supporters; but as long as we are acting as Ministers we ought to act for the whole community and we do so act.

Who is this man that we appointed, this partisan appointment that we made? I have here a few points about the Commissioner of Police and the ranks which he formerly held. I knew that Colonel Broy had assisted the Republican forces from 1919 to 1921. He did not take our side at the time of the Treaty. He was appointed Adjutant of the Air Force in 1922. It is rather strange, if we were making this very objectionable political appointment, that we did not choose somebody outside, as we could have done. We could have appointed to that position anybody outside the police force even, if we thought that by doing so the police work would be better done. We took a police officer though. I should have said that before he went to the Free State police force, Colonel Broy was a man who had experience of the former police force. He had been in the former police force and he was, therefore, a man who was trained from the very bottom up in police work. In May, 1923, he was Secretary of the D.M.P. Division, an office which he held to April, 1925, when he became, in the amalgamated force, Chief Superintendent of the D.M.P. He was Chief Superintendent of the D.M.P. in 1925 and later he became Chief Superintendent of the Dublin Metropolitan Division of the Gárda. He held that position up to 1929. In 1929, still with the rank of Chief Superintendent, he was made Commandant of the Depot.

It was this man, who had gone through practically all the principal ranks of the police force, who had been trained in police work from the bottom up—it was this man we put in as Commissioner. And we did it because we wanted that it should not be possible that this charge of partiality and partial administration should be levelled against the Guards. Now, that is the political appointment, and that is the evidence of the vindictiveness and the partiality which this Government have shown. I submit that this Government has, instead, shown a desire for the impartial administration of the law. I ask again, is there anybody who will give a single example here in the House of vindictive action taken by this Administration against any officers who were here when we came into office?

General O'Duffy wants to add to the general suspicion. There is no doubt whatever that there are large numbers of people in this country who would not think, and do not think, as I think and as I spoke last night. There is hardly a day passes that I do not get from various parts of the country complaints saying, for example, that Land Commission officers down the country are speaking against the Government and its policy and are using their influence and their public positions to hinder the operations of the Government, to hinder the Government in the carrying out of the policy of which the people approved. I have heard many complaints that in certain places the Guards are partial and I say that the people are suspicious. It is in this atmosphere of suspicion that this friend of the Guards suggests that he is still getting reports from them and suggests that they must look to him and his success for future reward.

So far from being guilty of this charge that is levelled at us from the Opposition Benches, we have leant backwards, as the Americans put it, and leant backwards deliberately. We did it deliberately because, not merely had we to be just and fair and sure that we were not partial, that we were fair to all sections of the community, but, under the circumstances, it was necessary that we should avoid as far as possible even the suggestion of being partial, because coming into office, being the first exchange of Government here, it was vital for the future of this country that the idea of continuity of Government and not the idea of a violent revolutionary change with each successive Government should be understood in this country and should be accepted. I again tell the Deputies opposite that our supporters are the majority of the Irish people as was proved. That was proved twice. Even the first time we got a bigger Party vote than any other Party had got at any time in elections since the Treaty. And the majority of the Irish people, seeing this leaning backwards apparent, had begun to coin here a phrase against us, a phrase which was used at the Ard Fhéis in Dublin, that phrase being that our policy was to forgive our enemies and forget our friends. As a matter of fact, the suggestion behind that is not true, but if it is coupled with me and coupled with this Administration we shall not be ashamed of it, because anybody knowing the situation, and looking at it as it is, will understand the reason for it. We have given positions which were directly in our gift. We have given them to the people we consider the best qualified for them, and we have not considered membership of our organisation as a disqualification. And would it not be time to even up things a bit suppose we did? Public positions, and public patronage, as it is called——

Is this in order?

That is just what I was wondering.

What does the Deputy say about it?

Is it relevant?

I submit, on a point of order, that the only allegations of partisanship which would be relevant to this debate would be partisanship in administration of the law. Nothing has yet been said in the course of this debate by anybody on any side, as far as I am aware, with regard to the distribution of appointments.

I have not finished yet.

The question of partiality was raised in the debate, and the President is in order.

I am dealing with the charges that are made against this Administration—the charges that are being used as a reason for the building up of a private army. I have dealt with the charge that we were supporting Communism. I am dealing with the charge that we have been vindictive and partisan; vindictive in our attitude to public offices and partisan in our appointments. I think any person who has any sense of logic at all will understand that it is relevant. I was talking about public patronage, or what is called public patronage. I hate the word, but it is the word that is used in that connection. Public appointments are paid out of the public purse. All sections of the community are entitled to their share in accordance with their merits. For ten years we had an Administration whose policy against a section of the community was revealed in a document that I read some time ago; when certain people were to have a heavy hand upon their lives; when employers were told not to employ them and they were left unemployed when, in accordance with their abilities, they would have been employed if there were no political prejudice against them. For ten long years that policy operated, with the result, as I explained last night, that a large portion of the public services was selected from people who had a certain political outlook. And if there was a bit of evening-up would it not be fair? It would be fair. Just as we are going to keep our contract —at least the State contract—with the military service pensioners, so also do we believe that those who were in a similar position on the other side have an equal title, and that it is justice and fair-play all round. That has been our policy.

This charge of partisanship, this charge of corruption, has no more basis than the charge that we are supporting Communism. Deputy MacDermot suggested that what is important is partisanship in the administration of the law. Yet Deputies from that side, in order to make a case in another direction, themselves pointed out that the majority of the people who are at present in prison are people who are supposed, in one way or another, to be opponents of theirs. Where is the partisanship about that? In pursuance of a policy which we announced here and which, if we were allowed to carry it out, would be the best policy for this country, we said that we were not going to go into private homes to continue raiding for arms and the rest of it. If raiding for arms could get those arms Deputies on the other benches had ten years to get them; they did not get them. If raiding for arms and going into private homes could do it they could have done it. That policy operated over a period of ten years. Was it not time to try another policy? We told the people frankly that we were trying that policy. It was succeeding before our eyes. We were able to see from the reports which we were receiving that it was succeeding—succeeding so rapidly that some of the Deputies on the opposite benches, for whom the success of that policy would be a reproach, desired us to abandon it although it was clearly being successful, and they are now trying to force us to abandon it. They can do it; they know they can do it. I said at the Ard Fheis that no matter who in this State committed an offence against the law the Executive would be forced to arrest him and that there could be no choosing of persons in it. The Deputies on the other side who are promoting disturbances by their Blue-shirt organisation, who are promoting breaches of the law——

That is not true.

Deputies

Where?

Everywhere.

Arrest any man who does.

I am perfectly certain that the Minister for Justice, when he is replying, will be able to give you a number of instances.

And he will cook the outrages on the other side.

My goodness, the outrages on the other side? Those things are happening constantly, if somebody hits you you hit back——

That is the crime we are charged with.

What are you charged with?

That is the crime we are charged with.

What crime are you charged with?

With hitting back when somebody hits us.

No. You are charged, and I charge you, with provoking it. Last night I was passing outside, and I heard a Deputy eloquently talking about the morality of defence and attack—aggression and defence. We have the governments of the world trying to settle that question. Where defence ends and aggression begins is a very difficult question, and what Deputies by their organisation of this movement are doing is creating eternally for us here the problems of disarmament which, internationally, are puzzling the wisest minds of the world. What is the reason for nations arming? Not one of them will say that they are out to attack; everyone of them will say that they are arming for security and to preserve their rights. That is the basis also of the Blueshirts——

We are not arming.

You are, and the Deputy knows it as well as I do.

We are not arming.

You know that is wrong.

The Deputy knows as well as I do that arms are available, if they want them.

Very well, arrest them.

We are getting them and we will get more.

Arrest every man who has arms and we will support you.

The Deputy has had no experience of this thing at all. He is talking out of the fullness of his ignorance and so is Deputy MacDermot.

That is no answer.

If the Deputy would keep himself quiet for a little bit and behave as he would wish the people at his meetings to behave and let me finish, he will have an opportunity, or somebody on his side will have an opportunity, of making any remarks he chooses.

The President might control his own followers.

With regard to this question of partial administration of the law, so far as the ordinary police work is concerned, the Executive Council does not interfere. The Executive Council does not interfere and should not interfere. The Commissioner of the Guards has certain defined duties and it is his business to carry out these duties impartially and every officer under him the same. In regard to this matter of raiding for arms, there is a big question of public policy involved. I told the House and I told the country what our policy was and, as I have shown, it succeeded admirably for a year, until this very thing that happens between nations began to happen here. Certain people, feeling like certain nations, that their rights were in danger, began to equip and arm themselves in order to protect those rights. Their neighbours on the other side, seeing this arming going on, say "This is meant to attack us and we have got to arm." Unfortunately, for the world—or fortunately, perhaps—but unfortunately, so far as this disarmament question is concerned, there is no single authority that can impose its will. Thank God, it is here—an authority that can and will insist that this building up of private armies and this arming, whether it be for defence or attack, will not take place.

Nobody can accuse us of acting hastily but now we are in a situation in which if we do not act, we are going to have, as I have said, day by day the sowing of the seeds of a civil war and we are going to have a very fruitful harvest from it. We are going to stop it in so far as the resources of this community make it possible. We said we are not going to raid for arms but that those who would be found with arms in public places were going to be punished and we said that with all our tolerance, there was one thing that was not going to be tolerated— uniformed parades. In defiance of that and because the Deputies over there said that it was within their legal rights to wear a military uniform, because that is what it amounts to, and because they were using the machinery of the law to defeat and prevent—(Opposition laughter)—Yes, the decision on questions of law is sometimes a very difficult affair as those on the opposite benches should know by this time—and they do know it. I have seen the reports which General O'Duffy sent them about the loopholes there were and the difficulties he had in doing certain things and out of the abundance of their knowledge of the difficulties that attach to administration in circumstances like ours and their knowledge of the rents that are in the very things which they themselves devised, they are using the courts to hamper the Executive when it is necessary in the public interest that the Executive should be able to act.

The courts to hamper the Executive! Glory be to God!

Yes; it may be new to the infant mind of the Deputy that it is not the first time in history that the complicated proceedings of courts in determining certain principles——

Were used to protect the people from tyranny.

Yes. The Deputy cannot even now keep quiet—this gentleman who protests against interruption at his meetings, in the National Parliament is not able to restrain himself in an argument. I am not saying anything offensive to him. My remarks are not of the same type as some of the speeches that are delivered in the presence of some of our followers down the country by people on the opposite benches. My argument is an argument and not of the type that should rile or excite anybody. Yet this Deputy who expects us to be angels here is not able to keep himself quiet for ten minutes. I know as well as the Deputy knows the importance for the individual citizen in the State of having independent courts to protect his rights and from the benches over there, I tried to make that operative. I said a truth when I was on those benches, that it is very important for the individual citizen in the country that the Executive, which has at its command when it needs them all the resources of the community, should not be in a position to abuse them by taking vindictive action, unfair and unjust action against an individual in the community. That is quite true and there is nobody who respects the operation of the law more than I do and there is nobody who has a keener sense than I of the importance of Ministers and members of the Government and every public official who has to deal with the community as a whole acting fairly and impartially.

I know the part which the courts have to play but I know also the duties of the Executive when it is facing a situation such as I see confronting this country, and I say that long and tedious action may tie the hands of the Executive in the matter of taking action at a time when they should take it—before serious developments have taken place—and to use the courts to prevent that action, particularly when that is done by men who understand the need of the Executive for such powers, is an abuse of the courts. Suppose we have long and tedious cases in court, occupying months and months and in the meantime, we have an organisation, such as the one which I have referred to several times here already, growing up, with people becoming more excited as they grow up, we will have marching and if one organisation marches 50 strong to some town, other people will march in 100 strong the next day, and if they come in in green shirts or blue shirts the day after, we are going to have other people in other coloured shirts coming along and endeavouring to show that it is they who have the majority of the people at their back.

It is said that this is directed against the Blueshirts. It is going to operate against any type of uniform of a political character, and I would remind the ex-Attorney-General that when he was making the point that there was nothing political in the other Acts that were quoted I told him there was, that it is against political uniforms in all these countries that these similar Acts have been passed, because it is the political objective they have that makes them dangerous. Unfortunately, human beings have a desire to get power. General O'Duffy knew that when he suggested that those who got in early, who got in as the Americans say, on the ground floor, would have most of the plums. The glamour of bright uniform, the glamour of marching, is a glamour which has had an effect, fortunately or unfortunately, upon our people. We have been called a martial people. Recent history has made marching more attractive. Do the Deputies want to see two or three armies here attached to political parties, marching about, or would they not be better satisfied to see that the only people to march about in uniform will be the forces under the command of the duly and legitimately elected Government?

Hear, hear.

That is what this Bill is intended to do. One of the first steps necessary to do it is to ban this thing. With all our tolerance we could not permit one thing and that is marching about in uniform. The reasons why we were against it were the reasons apparent to the Belgian Minister when he brought in his Bill. There is the assumption of authority which it gives and the provocation it gives other citizens; the temptation to violence which it brings with it when these men reckon themselves and compare themselves with their opponents and feel that they are stronger. There is another use which I am told it is being put to here in this country, a still more contemptible and dangerous use, when employers are asking their men, "Why have you not got your blue shirts on?" These dangers and abuses are attached to it and it is purely something external that ought not to have anything to do with politics. How will Deputy Dillon be hindered if, instead of going about in a blue shirt, he is going about as his father did and other political people throughout the world do when they go to speak to their people?

May I say a word to the President? He has mentioned a matter of employers asking their employees "Where is your blue shirt?" As a matter of fact, one delegate raised that at the Ard Fheis of Fine Gael and every responsible leader at that conference spoke against it and it was unanimously condemned by the conference.

That individual must be the editor ofUnited Ireland.

I want to call the attention of Deputy Dillon to the fact that he should be quiet for a minute or two. I gave way just now. Still more of the toleration. There was no need to do it. I would be within my rights in not giving way. The Deputy of course denies it and his word is going to be taken. We were told that no responsible person on the opposite benches would advocate the non-payment of rates, yet the Government was aware and perfectly satisfied that there was such a campaign and the Government has had to take very strong action to end that campaign— action that is going to bring considerable hardship on the people who were foolish enough to be led into it. Now to continue about the arms. We have come to the state when the Government will give orders that anywhere arms are got they are to be seized or that anywhere that the police know that arms are likely to be got they are to take them.

Why is not that in the Bill?

There are ample powers for dealing with that in other Acts and I have told you why it was that the Executive did not use these powers. It acted in its highest conception of the public interest in the matter. Public interest and their conception of public interest demand something else now. It has been said that I have never asked young people not to join the I.R.A. I waited until first of all we had cleared the road here so that the objections that were put forward actively could no longer hold. And I waited until there is available for the young Irishman who feels that he ought to pledge himself to his country's defence an opportunity to enter into a force that will be controlled by the elected Government of the Irish people. For a considerable period it has been known that my view is this that the day when arms outside the control of the Executive were needed in this country's interest is gone. I see no use for them whatever. I see manifold danger in them. I said if they are there, they can only be used in a civil war because as long as there is an elected Government that Government will not permit any section of the people to take upon itself the responsibility of external defence. Before any section of the people could take upon itself responsibility for external defence or external attack, as the case may be, it would have first of all either to beat the established forces by revolution and internal war or it would have to come in definitely under the State and be made amenable to the control of the State.

There is no way to-day in which the arms of any section of the people can be used from the point of view of general national defence except under the control of the duly elected Government. Everybody knows it. Nobody who is not a fool can think otherwise. It is obvious, so obvious and patent that the fact itself was sure to sink deeply into the minds of the young people in this country, and it is operating. I say, and I say to any young men who might have doubts that any arms held by the I.R.A. or any other organisation are ever going to be effective again under the circumstances, that they are never going to be effective in the national interests until they are brought under the control of the elected Government. For good or ill for the future in this country, in my opinion, for good, every act of defence of this country and the assertion of this country's rights must be secured by men led by the elected Government of the people.

It cannot be secured any other way. I say that these arms that are held outside are of no national value and that they are a tremendous danger. If I had my wish, and it is a wish expressed solely in the interests of this nation, I would do with those arms what was suggested years ago to me, I think by Professor Culverwell, when he was saying that he hoped that the two Christian peoples, the peoples of the Christian religions, north and south, would some day do as the people in South America did when the arms with which they fought each other were used to erect a monument to the Prince of Peace. If I had my way those arms that were used through the country would be handed up. Any of them that are treasured as souvenirs or tokens in the hands of responsible persons might possibly be allowed to be retained under licence. But, if I were asked for another use for them, it is that which I have indicated, which would be the noblest of uses, that a cross, such as the Christ in the Andes, might be put up somewhere in Ireland as a pledge that Irishmen will never again fight each other.

Deputies

Hear hear.

Would it not be a glorious day for Ireland to see the monstrosity outside Leinster House removed, and in its place put up a monument as a pledge that brothers who fought each other in the past would never again be led away to fight each other?

I have not consulted the Minister for Defence nor the Minister for Finance in this, but the Minister for Defence is organising a new Force. They will require arms for training. What better use could these weapons be put to than to be given to a Force that can really defend the national interests; that will be there to defend the nation, as the nation was defended from 1919 to 1921 under the control of the elected Government of the people? It is only in circumstances like these that there can be any success. If the elected Government is not moving fast enough, or if the elected Government is moving too fast, there are political ways and means by which, peacefully, not by combat, but by argument, the people can be persuaded to adopt any policy that they conceive to be in their interests.

We are standing for a certain policy. We believe that it is the best. We mean to go forward with it as fast as the resources of our people will permit. It is our duty to see that our people are not taxed beyond their strength. There is no need, therefore, for any private armies or private arms. This nation will go forward fifty times as fast on its road to freedom and to prosperity if those arms are no longer retained by private individuals or private groups. In God's name let them be sent in. I would rather a thousand times to see those arms sent in and dedicated to some purpose, such as I have indicated, than that the police force should have to raid houses and other places, put people in prison and all the rest of what coercion, as it is called, means—action taken by the Executive with the forces at its command. Those arms are outside. Deputies on the opposite benches know that when the army was demobilised large numbers of individual officers took with them some guns they had from an earlier period, souvenirs and so on of various kinds. There is probably no country in which there is such a large quantity of arms out of control.

We see from the outrages that have taken place recently the danger of all that. I have seen circulars sent out by the I.R.A. and I know that their local officers are not obeying them. I know that some of the people who have guns are using them for private purposes, and we cannot stand that. We cannot have houses fired into. We cannot have people held up. If we are not able to get the arms in the way I have suggested, the noble way, as a tribute to this country and to its peace, then we will have at least to do everything we can to ensure that those arms will not be misused. I warn those who have them that the punishments that are available, if those who have them are found with them, are very severe. If they do not want to find themselves for a considerable time in prison, they will get rid of those arms.

I feel that I, for one, could step out of public life and step out of it with a satisfaction almost as great as the satisfaction I would experience if I saw the hopes of the dead generations completely realised—next to that the highest satisfaction of my life would be to see those arms handed in and given for a purpose such as I have indicated.

Deputies

Hear, hear.

Deputies on the opposite benches can do a considerable amount with their people. I request every single young man in the country not to be misled into sectional armies. If he feels that he should dedicate himself to the service of his country in arms, there is a way for doing it. If he is a fit person to bear arms, he can get into the local Volunteer Force. If he wants to take up arms as a profession there is, to a limited extent, a place for him in the regular Army. I appeal to everybody in the country. To anybody who loves this country, to anybody who wants to see this country reach its goal, to anybody who wants to see the sacrifices that have been made in the past fruitful, I would say, "Have nothing to do with any sectional armies." I speak as one who has a long experience and I ask him to give in those arms and to disband from any organisation that may appear to be a private army. As an individual I have appealed, and as head of the responsible Government I make the demand, that these arms, which are a danger to the public, and a danger to public peace, would be surrendered, so that they may be under control. It may be suggested that that is strange coming from me. It is only strange to those who have never tried to know the truth. When the civil war was ended, when it was obvious that we could not maintain the state which had previously existed, and when I saw that could not be done, I was anxious, at least, that a foundation should be laid by which this country would be able to make some advance. I was not the type, and those who were associated with me were not the types, who felt that if their policy could not prevail no policy should prevail; that the country should be in chaos. We put to the responsible Executive of that day a series of propositions which had the support of all the forces hostile to it at that time. We made a proposition that this Assembly should be freed from any political test, and that if that were done these guns, which had been used in the Civil War—these weapons which were out in the country—should be put under responsible control until the election should have decided national policy. These propositions guaranteed that from once the people had decided national policy, and once a Government had been elected as a result of that decision, these weapons should be handed over to that Executive. I say to-day that these conditions have all been fulfilled.

We are the Executive to-day. We accept that position. We have made that position. There is no test here. There is no obligation against any citizen, who may represent his fellows, holding any political views he chooses, and getting these political views put forward and accepted. There is freedom in this National Assembly, freedom to take any action the majority wants to take. That being so, we hold that there ought to be no objection on the part of those now controlling arms. On their part they were ready to do it for the previous Executive. We are in office now. We give these terms and accept them. We offered them before. We accept them now as we are here. We ask, in the national interests, having the same aims which inspired the putting forward originally of these proposals, that they be accepted. If they have any doubt, if a Republican Government was elected in a majority, or if they have any doubt that, at the next election, they would get a vote in their favour, that there would be any difficulty about the resources of the State going to them, let them give these guns in and put them under responsible control. If you like we will leave them in neutral ground. But they must be open and above ground for everyone to see, and be under responsible control. We will give them barracks in which they can be stored under a responsible guard and, if, at the next election, they get a majority, they can have these arms, and they will have all the arms available in the country to defend and execute any policy that the people, as representing the majority, may decide upon. That is the way to peace and order. I know that majority rule cannot be proved to have any special moral sanction behind it. I know all the arguments that can be put up, whether it is this person with a little education is going to count or that person who has had experience, and all the rest. I know every objection that can be made against it. I know that you can qualify actions, of which you must accept as much as you please, just as Deputies on the other side qualified the payment of rates, and said something about those who cannot pay. I objected to that, because one knows and learns—perhaps I did not learn it early enough—that unfortunately the rules by which society works have had to be, by their nature, more or less rough and ready rules; that if we want a principle to operate we cannot put in "ifs" and "whens" and "buts"; that we must take majority rule as determining policy, and the only way, and that we will have to be content even when we think and are convinced that it is wrong.

If we modify that we will put ourselves in the position of some Deputies on the opposite side who have suggested that they will obey only the laws they like. We simply cannot do that. If we are going to use majority rule as an alternative to force, there is no other way out of it. We will have to take it. It is the only alternative. We have to take it because it is the only alternative, and that is its justification. We can have long arguments on principles and all the rest of it, but they can be resolved in their own way, perhaps, into certain kinds of arguments, such as were before the courts. It is a question here of majority rule. I am satisfied it cannot be resolved except in one way, and that is to accept it, whether the verdict at the time is right or wrong. That is the only way we can move. We cannot have "ifs" or "whens." I ask people to accept it in the belief that the alternative is unthinkable; the alternative of fighting each other in order to make our policies predominate.

I am afraid I have spoken much longer than I intended, but I feel that the things I have spoken of needed to be referred to. I want to see peace. I want to see the complete independence of this country reached as quickly as possible. I want to see success in the national policy that we have put forward. I want to see this country winning this economic war. Perhaps I may be pardoned if I say a few words about that. Certain people complained—not Deputies on the opposite benches this time—that we are not fighting this war vigorously enough. In other words, that our method of trying to secure for this country its rights were not spectacular enough. They thought to help us—by breaking Bass. That is not the way to do it. If we are to be helped to win, and to defend the nation adequately against this attack upon it, we must do it, not by spectacular methods, but by reorganising our economic life, so that the pressure being put upon us from outside may not be successful. It is a very difficult task, but there is one thing about it, certainly it is a task that would, in any case, have to be undertaken.

Just the same as we cannot put "ifs,""buts" and "ands" when we talk of the principle of majority, so also we cannot have "ifs" and "buts" when we talk of the right of the elected majority who have been entrusted by the Irish people with the conduct of policy. We ought not to have "ifs" and "buts" about their right to use the resources of the country to save the country, and it is upon us in the first instance. Deputies on the opposite side who were so very emphatic in their approval a few moments ago when I was talking about another section of the community do not seem to be so emphatic in their approval now when it affects themselves, but if we are going to get a demand from one section of the community of loyal obedience and if they are to be told that we are to conduct this in the way that we who are responsible for conducting it shall decide to be the best way in the national interest, so I say to the Deputies on the other side that they ought to patriotically help, too.

Of course I know what the Deputies on the other side are talking about. I know perfectly well the objections that they will raise: that we want them to keep their opinions: not to express their opinions. I do not want to do anything of the kind. I believe that the more some of them go around and talk to our people the more it will consolidate the people in their determination to win out. The whole strategy of the opposite Party has been based upon this: they know that the nation is in a difficult struggle, they know that the Executive has a hard task and they are waiting in the hope that the Executive may not be able to perform its proper functions. It is in that atmosphere that they are helping to build up a private army. Now that is not patriotism.

Do you believe that?

I believe what I say.

God help you.

You are the only one that does, I think.

Again the Deputy has shown how unwise it is for him— whoever else does it—to object to people interrupting a public meeting. I believe what I say. This country wants the loyal assistance of all parties and there is not another country in the world in which it would not be given under those circumstances. We are told that a solicitor down the country wrote up to me asking to have a conference. I have had a long experience of political conferences of one kind or another. There was one successful conference and only one that I have ever had anything to do with. They have been used, every one of them, to misrepresent and to create far more damage than their non-existence would have created. If there is to be co-operation it can be here. If the Deputies want to co-operate let them give us helpful suggestions if there is anything in this corporative State which they are talking about. Let them work it out in detail and see how it will assist our people. There are things to be done; to develop democratic machinery and to make it available for present day needs. There are numbers of things to be done. I had the corporative idea examined some time ago in connection with a possible reorganisation of the Seanad and I was not able to get much help out of it because we have not here the basal organisations which would make it possible.

As I said last night, I have no objection whatever to blue. I have no objection to the salute either. When I was travelling in America I remember well seeing, from the observation cars, the workmen on the line as they waved their hands. I had always thought that it was a manly salute, a much better salute than the mere doffing of one's hat, so if people want to use that type of salute I have no objection— not the slightest. I have no objection, therefore, to any ideas of that kind, but what we have objection to, and what this Bill is aimed at, is the branding and the segregating of certain sections of our communities into political groups, drilled and uniformed into private armies. That is what the Bill is for, and I hope and believe that it will soon become law.

We have heard for the best part of three hours some extraordinary arguments in favour of this Bill. We have heard lectures and explanations which have nothing whatever to do with the measure and a condemnation of the organisation which it is proposed to ban under this measure. The main purpose of the speech to which we have just listened was to explain the impartiality of the Government: an apology for its policy, and an explanation of that policy. References have been made in the course of this debate to events ranging over the last ten or 12 years. One would imagine that the circumstances which have existed in this country from 1927 up to 1934 had been in operation here from 1922 to 1927. We have been invited by the Government and by speakers on behalf of it practically to accept it that the conditions from 1927 to 1934 were exactly the same as they were from 1922 until 1927. That is not the case at all, and nobody knows that better than the members on the Front Bench opposite.

We have had denunciations and bitterness. In my experience I have seldom listened to, or read, more bitter pronouncements than those which have fallen from Ministers in the course of this debate. A remarkable characteristic of the speech of the last speaker was this: "We can say what we like but you dare not open your mouth; whatever we say is right because we are the just men; we have divine inspirations and so on, and none of the rest of you ever had them; we were the prophets all along the line." Now the fact of the matter is that the administration by this Government during the last two years—during the last three, four, five or six months, the last 12 months if you like—has no parallel in this or in any other country. What is the purpose of the speech of the President during the last three hours? A denunciation of the person who was dismissed from office for no reason other than that they had the power to dismiss him. Every civil servant in the State holds office at the will of the Executive Council. Practically every member of the Army holds office at the will of the Executive Council, and the same might be said of the Commissioner of the Gárda Síochána. One of the explanations that they have put forward for that is that we put such a provision into the Act because we wanted it in the Act. Did they think that we should put into that Act that the Commissioner should be dismissed by a vote of both Houses of Parliament? Is it the contention that he should hold office in the same way as a judge of the Supreme Court or a judge of the High Court holds office, and that we had more confidence in the justice of the people of this country and in the justice of the representatives of the people or the Government elected by the people of this country than was warranted by the circumstances? Whether the President likes it or not, his own statement in connection with the successor of General O'Duffy shows that his appointment is a political appointment and that it will stand as a political appointment and will be one of the stains on the record of this Administration. Does it follow from that that each succeeding Government is going to do the same thing? Is not that the headline?

As I have said, most of the speech was directed towards the public policy of the ex-Commissioner of the Civic Guards, General O'Duffy, since he relinquished office. Has he a right to enter politics? Has he the right of a citizen? This House passed an Act entitling the Executive to award him a pension. Has it been paid? It passed that Act some six or eight or ten months ago. Has he received a single penny by virtue of that Act? Is he guilty of any crime? Is he not entitled, in justice, to be paid his pension up to the moment that he is convicted by a court, if a court ever convicts him? There seems to me to be an obsession on the part of the present Government that it is above and before all other authority in this country. We have such statements as: "The courts hamper the Executive." Did anybody ever hear the like? What are courts for? Their function is to interpret the law. We are the legislators. If we pass laws, somebody, who knows something about law, must interpret them. Are we going to interfere with the courts in the interpretation of what the legislature lays down as the law? The courts hamper the Executive! Why, according to that, they should be arrested. There is only one court, according to what we have heard this morning, and that is the Executive Council. The Executive Council is only in temporary occupation. It has no judicial control and, in looking for that obedience to the law, to which they so often refer on public platforms, they should recollect that they themselves should show obedience to the law of this State.

That is one case. Here is a man who, having occupied office in this country for 11 years, and with no charge against him on leaving office— not alone was there no charge against him but he was actually offered an alternative position and asked to name practically his own price—goes out of office, and the Government passes an Act to give him a pension. He has not got the pension. He has not got a penny of it. That, in my opinion, is partial administration and an abuse of authority. Let us take the other case. A man was prosecuted for membership of an unlawful association—Commandant Cronin. The Executive Council of this State made an Order on 8th December, published inIris Oifigiúil on 12th December, and the effect of the Order was that it was evidence that the Young Ireland Association was unlawful. Mark the distinction! The mere Order of the Executive Council did not make it unlawful, but it made evidence that it was unlawful; and Commandant Cronin was arrested on 9th December. On 9th December he was convicted of being a member of an unlawful association and he is now doing three months.

The Attorney-General

Because he will not give bail.

The Attorney-General says that Commandant Cronin is sentenced to three months' imprisonment because he will not give bail. With all due respect, I do not think that is correct. My recollection is that he was sentenced to three months' imprisonment because he was a member of an unlawful association, with the alternative of giving bail.

The Attorney-General

He was ordered to enter into recognisances, and in default of that, he chose to go to prison.

My recollection is that he was sentenced to three months' imprisonment, not to be enforced if——. Is not that correct?

The Attorney-General

I accept that. I said that he was sentenced to three months' imprisonment because he would not give bail. Is not that correct?

I do not think so. There is a difference between them. The sentence of the court was three months' imprisonment. The Attorney-General says that he is imprisoned because he would not give bail.

The Attorney-General

I said that he was ordered to give bail and that, in default of that, he was sentenced. Is not that true?

Yes, and it is also true that because he belonged to an association which the Order of the Executive Council is evidence that it was an unlawful association, he was sentenced.

The Attorney-General

On a point of order, sir. I should like to know is it in order for the Deputy to challenge a ruling of the Military Tribunal?

This is absurd. The Attorney-General has wantonly and continuously interrupted Deputy Cosgrave, and now he puts into Deputy Cosgrave's mouth a thing that Deputy Cosgrave did not say. I think it is an abuse of his privilege.

I do not think Deputy Cosgrave is challenging the decision of the court.

That is the second time the Attorney-General has been reversed. Do not let us get away from the point at issue—the impartial administration of the law. I put it to this House that a person, who was a member of the Young Ireland Association on 8th December and was arrested on 9th December, was prosecuted by the Executive Council for membership of an unlawful association, the result of which prosecution entailed three months' imprisonment. What was the attitude of the previous Executive Council on this matter? The Constitution (Amendment) (No. 17) Act, commonly called and incorrectly described as the Public Safety Act, was passed into law on 17th October, 1931. It is the Act under which Commandant Cronin was prosecuted. What was the policy of the previous Administration on this question of membership of an unlawful association? There was a fair warning given, under the hand of the President of the Executive Council, on the very day the Bill was passed. Young men were advised to withdraw from those associations and their parents, guardians and friends were exhorted to get them to withdraw. In the course of this prosecution, mention was made of the issue of a notice that a certain time would be allowed for people to withdraw from the association in question. The Order banning the Association, as it is usually called, was made on the 8th December. It was published inIris Oifigiúil on the 12th and the Association was formally dissolved on the 14th—within one week. I put it to the House that the law could not have been conformed with more rapidly than that. On the previous occasion on which warning was issued, not alone was the statement distributed throughout the country the following day but a week afterwards at Letterkenny a similar exhortation to people to leave those associations which had been banned was made by myself. We were told in court that the warning of this Executive would have a life of either two or three days and that the fact that five days or six days had elapsed from the arrest of Commandant Cronin to the dissolution of the Association was not enough. I ask any fair-minded man to say whether Commandant Cronin, now doing his three months in Arbour Hill, is a criminal. We were asked to view every act of this Executive as if it were administering the law impartially. I mention these two cases—the case of General O'Duffy, whose pension has not been paid, on one hand, and the case of Commandant Cronin, on the other hand.

Let us come to the question of the Constitution (Amendment) Act itself. What was the policy of the speakers of the Fianna Fáil Party upon that Act in 1932? There was one regular chorus of condemnation of that Act. There were assurances to the people that under no circumstances would it be ever necessary for them to put that Act in operation. They condemned it root and branch. They condemned it and denounced it and poured scorn on those responsible for introducing it, forgetting that it is not the Government which passes an Act of Parliament but the Oireachtas. We had some remarkable pronouncements as regards that Act. On the 23rd February, 1932, the President said:

"As regards the Public Safety Act, we propose to repeal it and our intention is to govern by the ordinary law and not by any expedients."

That was before the election. The Attorney-General addressed himself on the same subject at a meeting held, I think, in Mullingar on the 9th January, 1933. He said:

"We are engaged in a war which is not alone an economic war but a civil war. It has been suggested that we should apply the Public Safety Act. I may say we have time and again been asked to deal drastically with our opponents and to give them some of their own medicine but we have decided that it is better to allow complete freedom of opinion despite the fact that it may have damaged us politically."

That was for the voter who was told the Government was looking for a mandate. A mandate for what? To put the Public Safety Act into operation? To issue a proclamation under the Constitution (Amendment) (No. 17) Act? Not at all. They said: "We do not want that Act and we will not use it." What are mandates? Do mandates give the Executive Council the choice of saying "Yes" or "No" or of saying both, as this Administration has done? I have a number of these quotations but I fear it would weary the House to refer to them. The fact is that the people were left under no doubt whatever that it was not the intention of this Administration to put the Constitution (Amendment) Act into operation. The people were told that the Fianna Fáil Party could govern without it. It was mainly upon that title that their candidates got returned to this House at the last two General Elections. They deceived the people in telling them that they never intended to put that Act into force. The explanation we got last night was that it was put in force to prevent bloodshed. In an interview with theNews Chronicle, published in the Derry Journal, Mr. de Valera said:

"During the ten years since the Treaty was forced upon us"—

They are very comfortable over there with the force that is upon them—

"no less than six Public Safety Acts, three Firearms Acts, three Infringement of Law Acts, four Jury Acts, one Treasonable Offences Act, one Protection of Community Act and the perpetual Coercion Act recently passed, entitled the Constitution (Amendment) (No. 17) Act. Like the British Acts, these have brought only trouble and confusion, turmoil and disorder. We propose to try the experiment of ruling by ordinary law instead of these extraordinary expedients. Our people are law-abiding, law-loving people and they recognise the law-making authority is legitimate and that the laws themselves are fundamentally just."

Notwithstanding that, not alone have we the perpetual Coercion Act, which was denounced, condemned and despised but it is not strong enough for them. The courts are hampering them. They come along now with this Bill which, the Minister for Justice tells us, includes extraordinary powers which they do not intend to use. What are the powers there for? What is the meaning of having them enshrined in an Act of the Oireachtas if they are a joke? They tell us that they do not intend to use these powers. But they are the same people who told us that they would not use the Constitution (Amendment) (No. 17) Act. What reliance can be placed on any statement made by any of them? One after another they got up and denounced bitterness. They told us that all the bitterness was on this side. Let me give some of the statements made by them. The Minister for Finance said:

"Mr. Cosgrave had tried unsuccessfully to get members of other parties to join his Party, but he was unclean and a leper amongst politicians and the only man willing to take his hand was Alderman Byrne."

That is Christian charity for you! Mr. Aiken said on the 13th January, 1932, referring to the British Notes:

"The British had to say something or they would be letting down Mr. Cosgrave. He had played their game for ten years. The British had not even been as strong as Mr. Cosgrave had been."

That is about the lightest of the quotations. I have another gem here from, perhaps, the most vigorous speaker on the Government Benches in support of this Bill. TheIrish Press of the 14th January, 1933, contained the following:

"Addressing a large and enthusiastic meeting at James's Street, Mr. Lemass warned the Irish people not to be hoodwinked by any clamour about negotiations based on ability to pay land annuities. The design and the intrigue was to secure a new agreement which would be without the legal flaws of the old one and which would secure for England the last penny which Mr. Cosgrave's tax-gathering machine would be able to squeeze out of the Irish farmers if he was returned to power. That is the aim and design of this interesting intrigue undertaken by a minority Party behind the backs and without the knowledge of the Government of the country. There is a definition of treason in any standard dictionary and I invite Mr. Cosgrave and his colleagues to look it up."

I had no intrigue with the British, but I want to know from the Ministry if they had any such intrigue. This is the first time I learned about it, and I could say something upon that subject about the Ministry. Now this is a class of speech that we are told has a very terrible effect upon the populace. That was stated in James's Street, where I was born, and people are invited to consider, to weigh and to believe that kind of bunk.

This morning we had an explanation from the President of the Executive Council on various matters. Apparently, to my mind at all events, he is very thin skinned although he has described politicians as having more than the usual amount of can on their skins. I advise him not to be so introspective, to observe what other people have to put up with, and have had to put up with. One statement made yesterday was rather illuminating as to the type of mind on the Government Benches. Reference was made to Mr. Lloyd George in 1922. That was the first time we got such a reference. It was an illuminating explanation. If we are to have honesty and truth in public life let us have an example of it from the Government Bench opposite——

This is a matter of importance, and I would like if the Deputy would develop it further. I am not conscious of having said anything on that matter.

I would advise the President to read his own speeches. I confess I have not time to do so but I sat here for three hours listening to him. Perhaps he will look at his own speech himself to know what he did say in the matter.

Now this Bill has been supported by three or four speakers from the Government Front Bench. Scarcely a single one of them, other than the Minister for Justice, referred to the measure itself except to one particular paragraph when they said we are not going to have blue shirts, private armies and so on. The Minister, in the course of his speech, mentioned that he had seen things in his office—implements or instruments or cudgels or things of that kind—not lethal weapons I think, which had been in possession of the Blueshirt organisation. That together with the various other charges, that come from the Front Bench is a matter that can be resolved by the courts, if these things are illegally held or used. Let us have less boasting from the Ministry about the resources at their command. Let us have them brought up in court and charges made against the Blueshirts and others who employ illegal methods carrying on this business.

What is my own experience of the last few years? I went to Cork in May, 1932, three or four months after the General Election. I addressed a meeting in a hall there with very great difficulty. There was continuous interruption and attempts to destroy the meeting. An uproar was kept up that made it practically impossible for me to address the people of Cork. Now, what are the circumstances? No man who represented Cork ever got a greater poll than I got at the General Election. I think, with the exception of one person, namely, the Lord Mayor of Dublin, I got the highest percentage of votes cast at that election. That is not a boast; it is a fact. Still, I went to Cork, and certain people determined that I was not to be heard there. The Civic Guards were there. Last night the Minister for Industry and Commerce invited me to ask General O'Duffy what instructions were given to him on that occasion. Just imagine a cheap gibe of that sort coming from the Ministerial Benches. Will Ministers ever realise that they are in a position to act for the State, not merely for their Party? Will they ever realise that in making statements either inside or outside this House they should concern themselves with the country and not with a Party? The nation is bigger than any Party. It is not a part of my duty to ask General O'Duffy, who has been 12 months out of office, what instructions the Government gave him on that occasion. I will guarantee one thing, and that is that they will not show me any minute of instructions given to General O'Duffy on that occasion. They never thought of it. They never bothered their heads about instructions. What was the Civic Guards' explanation for their non-interference? That they had no authority and so on. I invite the Minister for Justice to look up the report of that meeting and see if that is a fact. I went on to a further meeting in Trim. What happened in Trim? The A.C.A., or the National Guard, at the time had to create peace out of chaos, which they did. The officers of this State, or the Government of the State, failed to do their duty and an organisation like that came along, and where there had been chaos, helped to contribute to restore peace and order and stability, in the country whereas the Ministry neglected its duty and did not provide sufficient force to preserve order. What is the Ministry's contribution towards peace and order in the last few years? Take one case. I have here an interview with Mr. de Valera. He stated:—

"It is up to the Government to see that opportunities for free speech are given, but the Government cannot possibly make people or causes popular."

The statement that the Government "cannot possibly make people or causes popular" is not the statement of a man with an independent mind, or of a man conscious of his responsibility, either as a Minister of State or as head of the Government. "We cannot," he says, "make people and causes popular." What would any young fellow down the country think of that? "Oh," he would say, "the President is quite right; he cannot stop us, and he does not want to stop us." That statement is true for the past two years. One fellow will say: "The President is coming down to us to make a speech," and the other fellow will answer: "Who would mind him?" A man in the position of the President of the Executive Council cannot make ambiguous statements like that. It is no part of his business to say whether causes are popular or unpopular. Every great cause was unpopular at the beginning; it was unpopular at some time or other during its course. I deny point blank that what we stand for is unpopular, or would be regarded as unpopular, were it not for the neurotic, unfair, untrue and base statements of Ministers on the other side of the House.

Take the situation we are engaged in at the moment. What is it that gave rise to the Blueshirt organisation? How is it manned? It is manned mainly by farmers and farmers' sons. Why? Because they see the agricultural industry they have known and which gives them their livelihood, and which provided for their fathers and their grandfathers, being swept away and the only answer that comes from the Government is, "The worst is yet to come." Farmers who have five, ten or 20 head of cattle find that, try how they will, they are only able to procure one-third or one-fourth of their value. One Minister says the Ministry will get the people out of that. Another Minister says, "Oh, the cattle must be slaughtered." Who is to pay for them if they are slaughtered? The taxpayers. But that means a loss to the country instead of a gain.

What is our policy? Help England? Our policy is to get John Bull to pay for that instead of making the unfortunate people of this country pay for it. Is there anything wrong about that? As long as the Ministry is responsible for bringing this country into the economic condition in which it now is, one is bound to have very strong and very bitter political pronouncements and speeches. Talking of the past, we all remember when the word "traitor" was bandied about from one to another on the Ministerial Bench and bandied about from one back bencher to another. What is the meaning of the word? A man who is a traitor should be prosecuted. It is the duty of any man in authority to do that. He fails in his duty to the country, he prostitutes his office as Minister of the State, if he does not put such a person in the dock and charge him with the greatest of all crimes against the State, that of being a traitor. Have they done so? No. They have balked at it. It just suits the hustings. Those are the people who lecture us about private armies, the dangers of the colour blue and the awful menace of badges and the powers that must be given to the Guards to prevent any person appearing in uniform throughout the country.

This is a perfectly legal and lawful organisation, the Youth Movement. If there are complaints on the part of the Ministry or the police forces against it, or against individuals in it, they have the courts. They have, as I said, all the resources of the State. They would be much better advised in bringing prosecutions for assaults against members of the Blueshirts, if there are such charges, than putting men like Commandant Cronin into Arbour Hill for three months for mere membership of the Young Ireland Association which had been formally and properly dissolved. Let me draw attention to the Crimes Act which was instituted by the British in 1887. It provided for tabling in the House of Commons a list of the associations or organisations that were illegal and left opportunities to the House of Commons to deal with them. According to a judge of our High Courts mere membership of any one of the organisations was not sufficient for a prosecution or a conviction. A man had to be identified as doing some overt act in connection with any of these organisations either at a meeting or an assembly, or taking some part in active organisation before he could be convicted in court.

One remarkable fact forced on my attention during the course of the debate was this: that whatever members of the Party opposite may have thought or said, there is one thing of which they are convinced and that is to be inferred from their speeches—that the real home of democracy and liberty is their old Mother England. That is the one country which has not been mentioned as having any of these shirted organisations. They are talking of it, but people talk of a great many things. I wish we could clear the mind of the Government and that they could come down to the important things, the fundamental things and take the colours, that are obtruding on their vision, away from their eyes. The cases of Belgium, Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, and even Holland are mentioned. We have often heard it said that the eyes of the fool are on the ends of the earth. Take the case of Belgium. Belgium has a very powerful neighbour who was very hard on the Belgians some 17, 18 or 20 years ago. That neighbour has adopted a particular form of political activity. Naturally the Belgians would take steps against that form of activity there. Much the same might be said about Holland. In either of those countries, I could not tell you which, there is a National Government. In Switzerland there is a section which is largely Italian. Naturally the Italians there might don black shirts. That is the reason of the action against them.

In making a case in connection with this matter, let us keep our eyes on our own problems. The right of free speech is denied public representatives here. Has the right of free speech been denied in those countries? What has been the root cause of the objection to the shirt that has been adopted here? Have there been arms used? There are no arms here. We do not stand for the use of arms. We are against the use of arms. We say the other people should not be allowed to use arms. May I say that I listened to the President's reference to the offer made by Professor Culverwell and I have only to say that I heard of that offer after I had made a proposal myself to the negotiaters who were sent to me by him. I did not want the arms that were in the hands of these people. They could have melted them and made monuments of them if they wished, but I will say this, that I believe the President was never in a position to exercise any influence on the minds of these people. He had as much influence with them as he has now, and his own statement this morning convinces me of that. He said he made an offer to make over, or to deliver up the arms. I do not believe he ever had any authority to do so and that is borne out by the fact that he has not got these arms yet, or cannot get them. He has as much right to get them now as he had then. Whether the Ministry like it or not, they had a bad record before they took up the work of this Ministry. I say that without any bitterness.

What was the situation here in 1925? Were not they a pretended Government, making us of the word Ministers? Were not they Ministers of what was called a Republican Ireland? Did the Minister for Industry and Commerce not act as Minister for Defence in authorising a man to go up to Mountjoy and get out prisoners that were there? That was the situation in 1925.

Some criticism was passed here about certain penal enactments or regulations we had in connection with the employment of persons. What was our duty? If we found people coming into the service of the State here, for the preservation of which the people had to pay, who refused allegiance to that State, and that their major occupation during the course of their employment was to subvert authority, were not we bound by reason of the authority we got from the people to ensure that they would not do so? What happened when Ministers saw grace or sense, if I might say so? About the year 1925-26 they formed the Fianna Fáil Party. In other words they left the Republic. They formed a Party called the Fianna Fáil Party. What is the meaning of Fianna Fáil? Will that be barred under this new Bill? Is not the meaning of the word "Fianna," soldiers of Ireland? What is the idea? Look at them—the soldiers of Ireland! Of course, there had to be a climb down. I once had to explain a certain word to a man who was in politics and who did not like it. I told him that he had got to face the fact that I was facing the Government Front Bench and that, not wanting to let anybody know that I was turning, I walked right out to Clontarf, on into Malahide and all around the country until I came back facing the other way. Nobody saw me turning, but I was faced in the opposite direction when I came back. That is what they did in 1925. Nobody saw them turn when they turned.

They left their life of political sin and they said: "We are now in grace, we are forming this new Fianna Fáil Party; we are the soldiers of Ireland." Then they said "The Civil War never happened and we never had any responsibility for it." That is not a fact. The Civil War did happen and the Ministers over there went on with the play-acting for a couple of years afterwards. I say it without bitterness; I am simply stating the facts. There is no use in blaming the last administration for its penal enactments or regulations without adverting to the circumstances of the time. We had no authority from the people to allow into the service of the State in any capacity persons upon whose loyalty to the State we could not depend. If Ministers over there look at the records since 1927 they will find that a very different policy permeated the Ministry. Some of these regulations were withdrawn, but there is one that they have no right to withdraw, and that is the one relating to bringing into the service of the State people who would conspire to bring it down. We have stood for majority rule all along since 1922.

In the course of the discussion on this Bill we were accused of usurping the functions of the police. We did not want to do that. We wish the Blueshirts to be relieved of the responsibility of keeping order, but we have no undertaking or security that if they go out of existence order will be kept. What is the explanation of what occurred in Limerick? A meeting was advertised to take place in Limerick. As we were walking up the street, we were met with showers of stones and bottles, and all that happened before the people heard any meeting being addressed. Is there anyone going to stand for that policy or that sort of conduct in public life? When it happens, is it not the duty of a Minister to go out and condemn it? We did it during the course of our office and we have been abused for all the Coercion Acts passed, Acts that were passed only to ensure the lives and liberties of the people.

When the 17th Amendment was proposed here, Fianna Fáil was mentioned only once in the course of an hour's speech and that was because someone said something provocative about it. They were mentioned only on one occasion in the course of that discussion and yet on this measure there was repeated denunciation of this Party as if we were responsible for all the disorder. Have I not got a right to go to Cork to address my constituents? If I am not given the protection that a public representative should be given by the police, am I to be debarred from supporting and helping and organising a body of men, such as the Blueshirts, to preserve order? Having failed in their duty, and seeing what has happened as a result of their failure, the Government now say that this organisation is illegal and improper and charge us with militarisation. What is militarisation? We are told that no military titles can be used. I would swap all the military titles in the world, if I were a gunman, for a .32 revolver. I am sure the Minister for Defence would do the very same thing—that is, if I interpret his smile correctly. The use of military titles is one of the things they are going to put down and it will entail a fine of £25. The possession of a gun would not cost as much. The Attorney-General will recollect that a man who fired into the house of a citizen in Mayo was simply charged with the possession of the instrument and not with the firing of it.

The Attorney-General

He did not fire out of it; there was no ammunition found.

There was no ammunition found, because it was used. Why was he not charged with firing the gun?

The Attorney-General

I dealt with that before.

Very good. We will leave it so. In the course of a speech by a Fianna Fáil back-bencher yesterday I learned that at all the victory meetings held after the general election of 1933 toleration was recommended. My recollection is that my effigy was burned at quite a number of these meetings. That was the type of toleration that was recommended.

I think the President was present at one of the meetings.

In the same County of Mayo my recollection is that a Parish Priest's house was attacked by the crowd. There is no use in Fianna Fáil saying that all the purity in the world is over there, when we have these particular incidents to recall to their memories. I will help Deputies opposite any time they are engaged in recollecting their offences. They will not get over it by saying "And for all my sins which I cannot now remember." The fundamental difference between this bench and that bench is that this bench has got to consider the difference between right and might. I have had to address the Minister for Industry and Commerce here on a previous occasion about his conception of the power of the Ministry. The Ministry is not omnipotent. If it has the might to do these things it may not have the right, and Ministers are inclined to confuse those things. This Bill is an infringement of the rights of the people and it is absolutely wrong. Let us have a look at Section 6:—

It shall not be lawful for any person to carry any weapon at, near, or on the way to or from any public procession or public meeting.

In sub-section (3) (c) it states:—

...it shall be a good defence to such charge for such person to prove ... that such person ... was not, on such occasion, taking part in, or attending, or otherwise acting in relation to any public procession or public meeting.

Let us say there is a meeting in Tuam. It is a fair day, and a farmer is either driving his cattle or has sold his cattle—in the very unlikely event of that happy transaction having taken place. Driving his cattle he has a wattle or an ash-plant, or some other instrument which would come under this measure. Let us say there is a very industrious new member of the Gárda at or near the meeting, and he sees this farmer walking along in great vigour, having sold his cattle, or very determined if he has not, and he concludes that this man is taking part in the proceedings, in or near this meeting, with his plant. Having the right to suspect him, he arrests the farmer. Now, according to Section 10 (2), any person arrested may be removed to and detained in custody in any prison, station of the Gárda Síochána, or other place authorised by law for the detention in custody of persons awaiting trial. Mark you, he need not be brought before the District Justice until "as soon as may be practicable." What is the meaning of that? That man may be three weeks in jail, and at the end of that period he proves that he was simply engaged on his ordinary work trying to sell cattle or delivering them, having sold them. He is kept away from his wife and family the whole time.

Of course they tell us it cannot be done. Well, I have to remind them that there were nine farmers from the County Waterford three weeks in gaol before they were charged with any offence. Although they were found "not guilty" they were away from their farms for three weeks, and that happened under the Constitution (Amendment) (No.17) Act. May I say that in the course of the President's pilgrimages through the country he has stated on more than one occasion that there has been a campaign against the payment of rates. Where is the campaign, and who is responsible for it? What are the Guards doing, and what is the Ministry doing, that they are not bringing the responsible people to justice? Those charges against citizens should not be bandied about unless you can bring the people to justice. I deny that there is any campaign, as far as we are aware, against the payment of rates. I am not denying that there may be certain people, just the same as in any other capacity, who may say: "Well, the times are difficult and we are not going to pay," or "I am not going to pay," as the case may be. That is quite possible. In fact it would be unreasonable to expect anything else, but I want to put this point before, this House as I have put it before, that if the condition of the farmers of this country is such that they cannot sell their produce, that prices are not remunerative, and that the costs of their business are such that they are unable to make money, it is only natural that they should delay in paying their rates, or that they should say: "We are unable to pay them." I am perfectly certain that if one were to place any of the four Ministers who are sitting before us in the position in which those farmers are, they would form an illegal association of some sort to protest against the infamy of any Government that would try to get rates out of them. While you may be selling cattle at £1 a head, and incurring costs to the people concerned, next year's rates have got to be considered. You cannot go on at that game. You have to consider, in connection with public order in this State, all the circumstances in connection with the present economic trouble that there is in it. If you are going to rule you must see that there is a fair opportunity given to the citizens to get a livelihood in their own country. While one may talk in a very high falutin' way about the nation, and about sacrifices, and about the great spirit that there is, in the long run one cannot expect people who cannot pay their way to have any enthusiasm for a fight of any sort.

While listening to portion of the speech made yesterday by the President I thought he was going to get to business. An announcement has been made in the Press recently of a complete change of policy on the part of the Government, and an offer to withdraw this Bill—an offer to withdraw this Bill on condition that we would do for them what they believe they will not be able to do for themselves under this measure. Mention of a composite force was made last night by the President, and it was further suggested that the two organisations should join in order to get peace. He did not develop the composite force business to any extent, and I do not believe there is anything in it. So far as the two organisations are concerned, if both sides concerned themselves with the things that are fundamental—respect for the law, the denunciation of any interruptions at public meetings or interference with free speech—it would do very much more good than the getting together of two organisations. All over this country I have stood for that for 12 years. I never interfered with getting what protection was necessary for Deputies opposite during the period in which they said they were not as popular as they are now. It may be necessary for us to do it again. If this organisation keeps going on at the rate that it is going, and if the Government's policy continues as bad as we have seen it for the last two years, it is inevitable that it should happen. If Ministers concern themselves with their own supporters, if they listen to such speeches as came from the Minister for Justice—"get rid of the accursed crowd"—if they look into their own hearts, into their own consciences and their own acts, as I would recommend the Minister for Industry and Commerce to do, without making baseless accusations against me, they will probably find that there will be no need to stress the point of free speech and free expression of opinion throughout the country.

An opportunity was given some time ago to the President of the Executive Council if he wanted a conference on this matter. Like him, and knowing him, I have not much faith in those conferences, but, unlike him, I could not find any justification for refusing a conference which was to be presided over by such a distinguished Irishman. If an attempt were possible I would be prepared to make it, although I will admit at once, and I want it to be thoroughly understood, that I see no prospect whatever of having any agreement with the President of the Executive Council. We have different views about various matters. I do not subscribe to his view about the present economic situation. I do not subscribe to his view that this economic war should go on. My idea is that it should be stopped at a moment's notice if it were possible to do it. I believe at the present moment that the quota system, which has been inaugurated by the British Government, would not have lasted 24 hours if the Government had handled the situation properly. If the Government had taken up that matter, and had dealt with it as Government to Government, and had not been afraid of them, that is what should have happened. We are not going to get agreement on that. We see the farmers of this country suffering, and while they are suffering we are saying to them, "Law, law, law." Now, that is not common sense. It is unreasonable. If, and when a fair proposal is put before this Party in connection with any national, political or economic problem we are prepared to consider it.

What about payment of the annuities?

We are paying them.

What about General O'Duffy's statement?

I do not know whether the Deputy intends that as an intelligent interruption.

I do. Have you changed your view?

I have changed nothing. If the Deputy wants to know any more about that he can enquire from his friends, and he can ask his friends what they are keeping from the people.

What about General O'Duffy's statement?

What General O'Duffy says he can answer for to the people of this country——

He is your leader.

——and we want no interruptions from the Deputy about it. A remarkable thing about this measure is the enthusiasm with which the Labour Party is supporting it. Deputy Norton saw the Bill before it was printed. He told us so here. He told us here that he was against dictation in this country except the dictator that the people wanted. Did anybody ever listen to such bosh—"except the dictator that the people wanted"? The Party that denounced the Constitution (Amendment) (No. 17) Act, the Party that put out two of its members for voting for it, are now swallowing it and saying "give us something stronger." The fallen snow is trodden into slime and fallen virtue into nameless vice—that is the Labour Party for you. This Bill is not introduced to make peace in this country. This Bill is introduced to—as the Government says—do away with bitterness. Most of the people who are in this new organisation know nothing of events that happened ten or 12 years ago. I suppose it would astonish Ministers on that bench to know that quite a number of the undergraduates in the universities do not know anything of those events. They are historical, as far as they are concerned. They have escaped their minds, and quite a number of the school-boys at the present moment know nothing of them and they are now to be outlawed by this Administration, although brought into existence for the same laudable purpose as were the Volunteers originally, with this difference, that they are unarmed and will remain unarmed, doing very difficult duties in circumstances different from what they were at that time, but all the time with one main object in view—to keep up the character of this nation as a peaceful nation, as a just nation and as a nation which stands for the freedom of expression of opinion. The Historical Manuscripts Commission has issued a reference to the years 1517-1522 which quotes excerpts from Galway bylaws. These laws order:

"That no guns or powder or saltpetre were to be sold to any Irish or outlandish man nor armour (not even ‘yarn for a cross bow string') and that if any man shall bring any Irishman to brag or boast upon the town, he is to forfeit 12 pence; that no man of this towne shall host or receive into his house at Christmas, Easter and no feast else any of the Burkes, McWilliams, Kellys nor no sept else; and that neither O nor Mac shall strut or swagger through the streets of this our towne."

There is the Bill; that is the Blueshirt Bill of to-day!

I wonder if I might be permitted to ask the Deputy who has spoken what this thing is that he suggests we are keeping from the people. I should like to hear about it.

As questions are being asked, I should like to ask the President, as he has given an account of elections and Communists, whether there was not an Egan O'Rahilly standing for Fianna Fáil in 1932 or 1933, who was a well-known Communist.

He is not a Communist.

Will the Minister for Industry and Commerce explain this portion of his speech in James's Street:

"The design and intrigue was to secure a new agreement which would be without the legal flaws of the old one.... That is the aim and design of this interesting intrigue, undertaken by a minority Party behind the backs and without the knowledge of the Government of the country."

I do not know what the Deputy is quoting.

I will hand it to the Minister.

Read it out. It is worth hearing again.

I am not referring to that——

But I am, and arising out of that, I will go on.

The meaning is quite clear. I stated quite definitely that the Deputy's policy in 1933 was designed to secure a new agreement concerning land annuities "without the legal flaws of the old one and which would secure for England the last penny which Mr. Cosgrave's tax-gathering machine would be able to squeeze out of the Irish farmer."

"Intrigue behind the backs of the Government."

"That is the aim and design of this interesting intrigue, undertaken by a minority Party behind the backs and without the knowledge of the Government of the country. There is a definition of treason in any standard dictionary, and I invite Mr. Cosgrave and his colleagues to look it up." Did you do so?

Why not bring him up for it?

That obviously means that I undertook an intrigue behind the backs of the Government of this country with the British Government, does it not?

I think that what I said is quite clear.

Let us understand one another. Is there a charge that I was engaged in an intrigue with the British Government behind the backs of the Government in that statement? I will give the Minister time to read it.

I have read it. I am not going to answer "Yes," or "No," to any such question. The words are quite clear. I am going to read it again.

"That is the aim and design of this interesting intrigue undertaken by a minority Party behind the backs and without the knowledge of the Government of the country."

Read the next sentence.

The next sentence is:—

"There is a definition of treason in any standard dictionary and I invite Mr. Cosgrave and his colleagues to look it up."

In the new atmosphere which we had last night and in portions of the sitting this morning, the word "treason" is there, the word "intrigue" is there and the phrase "behind the backs of the Government," and obviously there is but one inference to be drawn from that. In fact, it amounts to a charge that the minority Party were engaged in an intrigue with the British Government. I say emphatically and truly that that is not so and I invite a similar expression from the Minister.

If we are to have all these explanations, will the Deputy explain what he meant by the phrase "gangster Government"? Let us have it all out.

I have not used the term "gangster Government."

The Deputy's colleagues have. The Deputy's leader has.

I am dealing with the Minister——

And I am dealing with the Deputy.

——and with the statement he made in the street in which I was born, and I want to know what it means. I want to know, furthermore, will he give the same denial that I have given.

I do not know if the Deputy is calling on me to deny that. I can say that I have no knowledge— I heard reports and talk, but I have no knowledge—of any such intrigue. I can say that definitely. I have heard, as very probably other people have heard, rumours of various goings and comings which enabled the Deputy to change his policy overnight at an election time. I am telling truthfully what the talk was and what the rumour was, but I can say that I have no knowledge which would enable me honestly to say there was, and my belief is, that there was no such intrigue.

Let us understand one another. Does that "no intrigue" refer to me?

Or does it refer to the Ministry, because there are two cases in it? First, there is the charge made against me, or against my Party, by the Minister for Industry and Commerce. I deny that and I say there was no such intrigue, good, bad, or indifferent. Let us state that first. If the Minister still persists, I want to know was the Ministry engaged in any such negotiations.

The Ministry was engaged in the doing of its duty. There was no intrigue. If we carry out negotiations with Britain, there is no intrigue. I am not aware that there were any negotiations that were not made public property and that is why I object to the suggestion that the Government was engaged in an intrigue. We are the responsible Government and it is our duty to have correspondence occasionally and to deal with these public matters. If that is called an intrigue, it is a new use of the word.

Let us understand one another perfectly. The President states that they have a perfect right to do it. I say that they have not the right to charge me with it because it is not a fact. I was not so engaged.

It has been accepted. I accept that.

The Minister for Industry and Commerce made that statement, as I have said, in the street in which I was born.

I accept the statement. I know that at that time there was an extraordinary change of policy overnight on the part of the Deputy during the elections which enabled him to say in two or three days that he was going to do certain things.

Is the President going back on his withdrawal now?

I am not. I am explaining the atmosphere in which statements of that kind were made.

But they were false.

I can say that I have no knowledge of the carrying on of any such thing, but I think that any such thing would be despicable and wrong. So far as the Government is concerned, however, it cannot be accused of intrigue. The word does not suit the Government.

Minister for Justice (Mr. Ruttledge) rose.

Does this conclude the debate?

It has not been so stated.

I move that the question be now put.

I want to be clear about this. The Minister, I take it, is not concluding the debate?

I put it to the members of the Opposition that this thing has been debated now for two and a half hours. There are many still on the Government Benches anxious to speak just as there are many in the Opposition who would like to speak, but many other things remain to be done and I suggest it is time to allow the Minister for Justice to conclude. There are other stages of the Bill on which Deputies will have plenty of opportunities of expressing themselves and, I think, we ought to allow the Minister to conclude now.

On that point I want to say that in this debate, practically all who have spoken are people on the Front Benches on both sides. I think there has been an opportunity given only to one member on a back bench to speak—that is Deputy Maguire, the chairman of the Fianna Fáil Party. With that exception no back benchers on either side have been given an opportunity. I think it is due to the private members that an opportunity should be given to us to speak on this Bill.

Is not that a matter for Party organisation?

I am not speaking of Party organisation. I am appealing to the Chair and asking for an opportunity for some others outside the Front Benchers to speak on the Bill. The ordinary Private Member has not been heard.

It is obvious there cannot be agreement and in that case I think we cannot do better than just pass the matter by a vote. I move: That the question be now put.

But I have been appealing to the Chair.

I am accepting the motion.

Without hearing the Minister's reply?

After that motion has been accepted there can be no reply.

I would like, if you would allow me, just to say that this is a very important matter and I want to put it to the Chair——

There can be no further debate now.

Cannot we even say "Up Dev."?

What it means is that the Private Deputies in this House are disfranchised and not allowed to speak.

May I put this to the Chair?——

Not after the Closure has been accepted.

Question put: "That the question be now put."
The Dáil divided:—Tá, 80; Níl, 60.

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

Níl

  • Alton, Ernest Henry.
  • Anthony, Richard.
  • Beckett, James Walter.
  • Belton, Patrick.
  • Bennett, George Cecil.
  • Bourke, Séamus.
  • Brennan, Michael.
  • Broderick, William Joseph.
  • Brodrick, Seán.
  • Burke, James Michael.
  • Burke, Patrick.
  • Byrne, Alfred.
  • Coburn, James.
  • Cosgrave, William T.
  • Costello, John Aloysius.
  • Curran, Richard.
  • Daly, Patrick.
  • Davis, Michael.
  • Davitt, Robert Emmet.
  • Desmond, William.
  • Dillon, James M.
  • Dolan, James Nicholas.
  • Esmonde, Osmond Grattan.
  • Fagan, Charles.
  • Finlay, John.
  • Fitzgerald, Desmond.
  • Fitzgerald-Kenney, James.
  • Good, John.
  • Haslett, Alexander.
  • Hogan, Patrick (Galway).
  • Holohan, Richard.
  • Keating, John.
  • Lynch, Finian.
  • MacDermot, Frank.
  • McDonogh, Martin.
  • MacEoin, Seán.
  • McFadden, Michael Og.
  • McGovern, Patrick.
  • McGuire, James Ivan.
  • McMenamin, Daniel.
  • Minch, Sydney B.
  • Morrisroe, James.
  • Morrissey, Daniel.
  • Mulcahy, Richard.
  • Murphy, James Edward.
  • Nally, Martin.
  • O'Donovan, Timothy Joseph.
  • O'Higgins, Thomas Francis.
  • O'Leary, Daniel.
  • O'Mahony, The.
  • O'Neill, Eamonn.
  • O'Reilly, John Joseph.
  • O'Sullivan, Gearoid.
  • O'Sullivan, John Marcus.
  • Redmond, Bridget Mary.
  • Reidy, James.
  • Roddy, Martin.
  • Rogers, Patrick James.
  • Rowlette, Robert James.
  • Thrift, William Edward.
Tellers:—Tá: Deputies Little and Traynor; Níl: Deputies Bennett and O'Donovan.
Question declared carried.
Main Question put.
The Dáil divide d: Tá, 80; Níl, 60.

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

Níl

  • Alton, Ernest Henry.
  • Anthony, Richard.
  • Beckett, James Walter.
  • Belton, Patrick.
  • Bennett, George Cecil.
  • Bourke, Séamus.
  • Brennan, Michael.
  • Broderick, William Joseph.
  • Brodrick, Seán.
  • Burke, James Michael.
  • Burke, Patrick.
  • Byrne, Alfred.
  • Coburn, James.
  • Cosgrave, William T.
  • Costello, John Aloysius.
  • Curran, Richard.
  • Daly, Patrick.
  • Davis, Michael.
  • Davitt, Robert Emmet.
  • Desmond, William.
  • Dillon, James M.
  • Dolan, James Nicholas.
  • Esmonde, Osmond Grattan.
  • Fagan, Charles.
  • Finlay, John.
  • Fitzgerald, Desmond.
  • Fitzgerald-Kenney, James.
  • Good, John.
  • Haslett, Alexander.
  • Hogan, Patrick (Galway).
  • Holohan, Richard.
  • Keating, John.
  • Lynch, Finian.
  • MacDermot, Frank.
  • McDonogh, Martin.
  • MacEoin, Seán.
  • McFadden, Michael Og.
  • McGovern, Patrick.
  • McGuire, James Ivan.
  • McMenamin, Daniel.
  • Minch, Sydney B.
  • Morrisroe, James.
  • Morrissey, Daniel.
  • Mulcahy, Richard.
  • Murphy, James Edward.
  • Nally, Martin.
  • O'Donovan, Timothy Joseph.
  • O'Higgins, Thomas Francis.
  • O'Leary, Daniel.
  • O'Mahony, The.
  • O'Neill, Eamonn.
  • O'Reilly, John Joseph.
  • O'Sullivan, Gearoid.
  • O'Sullivan, John Marcus.
  • Redmond, Bridget Mary.
  • Reidy, James.
  • Roddy, Martin.
  • Rogers, Patrick James.
  • Rowlette, Robert James.
  • Thrift, William Edward.
Tellers:—Tá: Deputies Little and Traynor; Níl: Deputies Bennett and O'Donovan.
Question declared carried.

When will the Committee Stage be taken?

On Wednesday next.

I object to the Committee Stage being taken on Wednesday next. This is a very important Bill, and has been the subject of a three days' discussion—a discussion which has been closured. Every clause of the Bill raises very important principles dealing with the ordinary liberty of the country. We want to have a further opportunity in the light of the discussion that has taken place, to see what, if any, amendments can be put into the Bill later. I oppose the taking of the Committee Stage on Wednesday next.

The Bill has been discussed for two and a half days. As far as its framework is concerned the Bill is a very simple one, and Deputies should have their minds made up by now as to what amendments they can make. There are only 12 sections in the Bill, so that I think it is quite reasonable to take the Committee Stage on Wednesday.

In view of the fact that the House is sitting late to-day, that many Deputies will have to rush to catch their trains, and that many of them will not get home until Saturday, very little opportunity is being given to consider the amendments.

This is a Bill which before it ever saw the light people in the Fianna Fáil Party rather suggested should be withdrawn.

Who said so?

I suggest that even in the interests of the Ministry it might be as well if an extra week were given for consideration of a Bill which is said to be a simple one, but which can affect the liberties of the people in very vital ways and which has raised so much doubt amongst members of the Fianna Fáil Party.

I appeal to the Government to give further time, in view of the appeal that was made by the President this morning for the giving up of guns. If the country pays any attention to that appeal the next few weeks may have a rather serious effect on the City of Dublin. Time ought to be given to the President's appeal for the surrender of guns by those who have them.

Of course the Bill will not conclude on Wednesday next. I am only asking for the Committee Stage to be taken then.

Are we to understand that there is any urgency for taking the Committee Stage on Wednesday? Can the Minister give any reasons why it should be taken then instead of on Wednesday week? Is the matter so urgent that it should be taken on Wednesday? Are the Government so much afraid of the Blueshirt organisation? In view of the fact that, according to the Minister himself, the Bill is so simple, would he tell us why he could not agree to have the Committee Stage on Wednesday week instead of on Wednesday next?

I do not want to raise on this stage matters that were discussed on the Second Reading of the Bill. We stated on the Second Reading that, in view of increasing disorders in the country, the Bill was urgent.

The Minister will recollect, I am sure, one statement he made in connection with the Bill. He said that it was a very far-reaching measure; that there were portions of it it was his intention not to exercise, and that it was obvious that, in the administration of it, a certain amount of discretion would need to be exercised. The Minister will certainly agree on reflection, I am sure, that in the case of a Bill such as this, containing powers out of the ordinary, Deputies should be given ample time to consider the framing of amendments deemed advisable to it. As regards taking the Committee Stage on Wednesday next, I presume it is not the intention to ask for all stages of the Bill next week. If that is so, then why not order the Committee Stage for Friday? In view of the fact that the House is sitting later than usual to-day, and that many members cannot travel to their homes until to-morrow, there is really no time allowed for the preparation of amendments. Having regard to the fact that the Secretary to the Executive Council has been laid up and that the same thing may happen in the case of Ministers, I think the Minister should agree, with a view to relieving all anxiety over the weekend, to reconsider his attitude.

I am prepared to have the Committee Stage fixed for Thursday.

What about Friday?

Friday is a short day. If I came here on Friday and found a big lot of amendments, real and otherwise, the Deputy knows that it would be practically impossible, unless we were to closure every amendment, to have them disposed of on that day.

Committee Stage ordered for Thursday, 8th March.
The Dáil, according to Order, went into Committee on Finance and resumed consideration of Supplementary and Additional Estimates.