Constitution (Amendment No. 24) Bill, 1934—Second Stage.

I move that the Bill be now read a Second Time. There is no need, I think, to explain the terms of this Bill. It is very simple and the purpose of it is set forth and fully explained in the Long Title. It is a Bill entitled an Act to amend Article XII of the Constitution and to abolish Seanad Eireann as a constituent House of the Legislature created by that Article and to make all such further or other amendments of the Constitution as may be consequential on or rendered necessary by such amendment of the said Article XII.

At the last election we made it clear that it was our intention to abolish the Seanad as at present constituted. There seems to us to be no valid reason why a considerable sum of money should be spent annually on a second Chamber. It is usual to give as reasons for the existence of a second legislative House, that such a House is necessary in order to curb what might be the sudden whims of the representative House, or to revise legislation as it has passed through the primary House. I do not think that, in the circumstances of to-day, these reasons are sufficiently good to warrant the expenditure involved in maintaining the Seanad. As regards this check on the action of the popularly elected House, it may be asked what does that mean? Is a non-representative Chamber—perhaps I could not use a better word than that of non-representative—to stand in the way of the elected representatives in putting through a programme which they have got the authority of the people to put through? Who is to determine whether the programme is in accord with the will of the people or not? Clearly, the elected representatives of the people ought to be the best judges of what is the people's will at a particular moment.

What happened, we know, in practice, is this—whatever theoretical case may be put up for this type of action —that if the House is of the same political complexion as the majority of the moment, it will not be a check at all. That was clearly proved by the experience of ten or 12 years here. There is not a single instance, when our predecessors were in office, and even when there was very good reason for believing that the legislation proposed was not in accordance with the wishes of the people, of a sustained attempt made by the Seanad to stop that legislation. There is not a single instance in which the Seanad did not ultimately— which meant, in that case, in a very short time—give way to the wishes of the majority Party in this House.

Therefore, it is not, in fact, a check. It is only a check, or it is only in action, when there is in the Lower House, as it is called—perhaps the primary House would be more accurate here— a political majority not of the same complexion as the political majority in the Seanad or Second House. That, too, has been proved, both negatively, as I have shown just now, and positively. Since we came into office major measures have been stopped by the Seanad. There was a public discussion on the question of the removal of the Oath over a long period of years. There was a recent election. We had come into office as a result of that election in which this question of the removal of the Oath was one of the principal issues. We were newly elected. We put through this House that Bill for the removal of the Oath. It went to the Second Chamber—to the Seanad —and it was immediately blocked. In order that it should become law within a reasonable time, it was necessary to have another election. I think that example on one hand of the will of a newly-elected House being defeated by the Seanad and the other example of ten years in which the majority were never seriously checked by the Seanad, are proof that a Second Chamber is not, in fact, an effective method for doing the things that it is supposed to do. A Second Chamber is bound to have in its composition the same political elements as are here. If they are elected at the same time as the members here—if there was a direct election—there would presumably be a majority in the same way. If they are elected at a different time, it is possible that the majority would be in a different direction. It does not matter how you try to constitute such a Second House you will find that you are there definitely up against the alternatives that it is either of the same political complexion as the Lower House, in which case it is not an effective check, or that it is opposed to the majority in the Lower House, in which case it acts from political motives and, to use a phrase used in that connection long ago, is mischievous. Our experience here proves that.

With regard to the second claim made for a Seanad, that it revises legislation, gives an opportunity of viewing measures perhaps from a somewhat different angle, and sees that drafting errors and so on are removed, if it is found necessary that can be provided for in a much simpler and easier way than by spending it to a Second House and putting the charge on the public funds which such a Second House entails. It seems to me, therefore, that it is on the shoulders of those who stand for having a Second House in the Legislature must rest the responsibility for proving that such a House is necessary. Historically, this idea of having a Second House in the Legislature has been the result, to a very large extent, of accident. It is not at all essential to the idea of representative government. In fact, it is, I might say, obnoxious to the idea of truly representative government. It seems to me that there is only one way of avoiding the dangers which the advocates of a Second House have in mind, and that is to educate our people politically, to make them understand the consequences of their acts at election times, to let them know that when they are electing their representatives they are performing an act from which will result the good or ill-government of the country for the period of years fixed in the Constitution. A sense of responsibility on the part of the elected representatives, when they are elected, is the only real safeguard, and I think that we are wise in these times in depending upon that rather than upon some artificial arrangements such as have been suggested by the supposed check of a Second House.

I have spent a considerable time in considering that matter, in asking myself how a Second Chamber could be constituted which would be really effective. I have examined any suggestions I have come across, either in works on this matter or from those whom I asked to consider it, and I have seen no suggestion and no method that, in my opinion, would warrant the expenditure of public money in putting it into execution. I, consequently, introduced this Bill as one that, quite apart from our own particular circumstances here, I would present if it were only from the mere point of view of expedition of public business and the saving of public funds. I offer it particularly here in our circumstances, because our recent history has proved that this Second House is a real danger. If the idea should get abroad that the will of the people, as expressed through their elected representatives here, should be thwarted by a body that is not immediately responsible to the people, or at least on whose actions the people cannot pronounce an immediate judgment, then the result undoubtedly would be to foster a revolutionary spirit here. I do not think that that is good for this country or would be good for any country. These artificial checks are unnatural. They are like cast-iron constitutions that are difficult to alter. Finding that a necessary change cannot be easily effected by constitutional means, they urge people to take unconstitutional means. Therefore I think that the real safeguard for the people is that they should understand, and that elected representatives should understand, that it is on this Assembly the whole fate of government must rest and that it is on the character of this Assembly must depend whether the interests of the people are properly safeguarded or not.

I may have something more to say when the debate is closing in replying to the arguments which I think are likely to be put forward. I am not going to anticipate these arguments myself, except those I have already given, because I could only put them up to knock them down again. To my mind they bring no real conviction.

I do not know if the speech to which we have just listened is a statement of, or an apology, or a recommendation for this measure. It began by stating that the Fianna Fáil Party had made claims at the general election for the abolition of the Seanad as at present constituted. If those words mean anything, they mean a change in the personnel of the Seanad and while we may advise people that they must exercise their judgment very carefully in connection with general elections or the persons for whom they vote, I think the same exquisite care might be adopted in connection with proposals that are put before the people so that they would know upon what they were voting. If that statement "for the abolition of the Seanad as at present constituted" be true, was there, in the event of the people having decided by a majority of the votes cast by the people who were entitled to cast them, and not by the various and devious means which were adopted in order to secure an electoral plurality, a mandate for the abolition of the Second House? Not on the statement of the President here this evening. "As at present constituted" certainly did not mean Single Chamber government.

It does not need any great genius to provoke a clash between any two Houses of Parliament in any country. Few countries have escaped conflicts and differences as between their two Chambers. That is for statesmen to solve and not a matter in respect of which they are to confess themselves impotent. That is the real reason for a Second Chamber—to reconcile the differences between the two Houses— and it is a strange thing that in the two countries which are closest to us and in respect of which they are the most glaring examples of endeavours to get down to a Single Chamber Government, a quotation would come from one of them, because, if I am not very much mistaken, the statement made by the President as to the uselessness of having two Houses if they agree and the confusion if they disagree, was a statement made by a reformed—if that is the proper term; perhaps, "pervert" would be better— clergyman in the French Revolution, the Abbé Siéyés, who is described as the "arch-constitution monger of the French Revolution." He was in the same frame of mind as the President of the Executive Council when he said "It passes the wit of man to construct an effective Second Chamber." All these revolutionaries would seem to think alike and the one dominant note about them is their incompetence and their incapacity to solve anything which is difficult. Difficulties are really made to be solved, and if we try to see what are the fundamental differences between the two Houses, in even the cases that have been mentioned by the President, we will not find it so difficult to see that it was not impossible to compose those differences.

Let us look at this thing in the way in which it should be examined. It is a historical problem. This Constitution, at which the Government proposes to deal almost its death blow this evening, was fashioned 12 years ago. The gentlemen opposite were not in their places then. Their places were vacant here and they were outside carrying on a revolution. People were in here trying to make a constitution and they succeeded in making it after very considerable effort, a great deal of consideration and discussion and with the help of persons even outside of the House, because they had had the opportunity of getting presented to them, from a body set up to consider a constitution; what, in the opinion of those people, would be best adapted to the circumstances of the State. The present Government did not enter this House for five years after that Constitution was adopted. They spent the five years criticising it—a very easy thing for anybody to do. It is much easier to criticise an instrument that is made up or a Constitution that is fashioned than to frame one, but it was framed, and it was framed in such a way that from the beginning they would have had representation in that Second House. They did not come in here and, as I said, they did not come in for five years, and they could have had a voice in the selection of 30 members of that Seanad on the 6th day of December, 1922, according to their numbers in the House and they could have influenced the electorate, if they so desired, at the first general election that took place to the Seanad three years afterwards.

It is to be remarked and noted by anybody who looks up the figures that those who were elected in 1925 formed as near a proportion as possible of the then constitution of the Dáil. Some of them got far more votes than members of the present Government when they came into office and they are elected by the people's votes just as much as any of the members over there. There were, if my recollection is correct, something like 15 or 20 members of the Seanad elected on that occasion. The poll was small, due principally, as they would say, to the fact that they did not take any part in it. That was not the reason. The real reason for the small poll was that the whole country was a single constituency and it was an almost insuperable task to go out and address the electorate upon individual claims, but the point is that the Constitution, which we are now asked to amend, is a Constitution which has lasted over ten years. It is a Constitution for which the Government accepts neither responsibility nor respect and if they consider that they have a better instrument, they ought to have recommended a change in the instrument, with the experience of the last ten years, which would mark some improvement upon what was put there ten years ago. We get the excuse that it is the cost of this institution; we get the excuse that there was a mandate for the abolition of the Seanad as at present constituted. Were the people told that a Second Chamber would not be in the Parliament here and that the judges and the Comptroller and Auditor-General could be disposed of by a single resolution of this House? Mark you, examining the case put by the President, there has been no allusion whatever to these anomalies which might arise, no explanation given as to what security is to be accorded to the judiciary and no satisfactory explanation as to what alternative method there is in the mind of the Ministry in connection with the abolition of any one or all of the judges, if they should happen to come into conflict with them.

The Government have a bad name in connection with those who disagree with them—a very bad name indeed. What do they do with their political opponents? The first time they came in here there rang out of the mouth of the Vice-President of the Executive Council the word "murderer." We have heard quite recently the word "traitor." There is not a single man on that bench or in that Party who, on his oath, could stand over either of those two terms. So they might also say with regard to the impartial judges and so on, and then come along here with a resolution and get them put out. There is power to do it. That was their justification twelve months ago for disposing of General O'Duffy, and their explanation to-day for terminating the services of two reservists in the Army.

The President did not concern himself with whether or not he had examined the constitutions of the world to see how and where a single Chamber government was a success. Take the two cases I have mentioned, France and Great Britain. Whether we like it or not there is no longer history in connection with the whole democratic position than there is in Great Britain. In Great Britain there was one lapse from the democratic tradition, if I might call it so. That lapse was in the case of Oliver Cromwell. He had the Long Parliament. What is there to prevent a Long Parliament here once this Bill passes? One historian, who I expect may be regarded as an admirer of Cromwell, explains that after the period of war and revolution of which you were told this evening, even he was converted to the two Chamber arrangement. I refer to Sir John A.R. Marriott, member of Parliament for York, who I suppose might be supposed to have been friendly towards Cromwell. He says: "That Cromwell was genuinely anxious to restore the authority of the civil power and to re-establish parliamentary institutions can be doubted only by those who hold him to have been an actor and a hypocrite. That he signally failed is obvious; and it is worth while to pause for an instant in order to analyse the reasons for his failure". The best example we have here now is the Cromwellian example, with this difference if you like, that Cromwell, whatever he may have been as a soldier, won battles. Whatever the Government are, and whatever anyone may say about them, they lost battles. Having tried single Chamber government for a longer period, democracy lost its control in Great Britain, and they were forced back to the two Chamber system. If we look across to America, which Deputies opposite would have told us, before they asked for the abolition of the Seanad as at present constituted, is the home of democracy—they might be almost tempted to say its cradle—what do you find? You find two Chambers. For what reason? The best possible reason perhaps, historical experience in the running of Parliaments, the safeguarding of public business and so on. We had here this evening lip service to democracy. After all what is the meaning of democracy? Has the Government ever bothered its head about trying to consider what is democratic, the service of the people being the first consideration?

When the Seanad rejected the Oath Bill what did it ask the Government to do? Did it ask them to negotiate? Did it advise negotiation? As I said at the beginning, this whole business has an historical background which you cannot possibly ignore. It is only fair to say of the Government that they have never undertaken successful negotiation with anybody. They were asked by the Seanad to do it and they refused. How was the Seanad constituted in the beginning? What was the reason for its inclusion in the Constitution of the State here? There was no objection taken to it in Document No. 2, if I recollect correctly. It was not mentioned. It was known that there was going to be a Seanad. It was known for more reasons than one, because this is a country which has been divided nationally, economically and otherwise. Any real nation-builder, having in mind the bringing together of all the people, would provide for those who could not otherwise get elected a place in the machinery of the Parliament of the State, some principle of rehabilitating themselves with the people, realising that the country needed the services of all its sons, even though they may have been divided one against another over a long period. That was the story of Davis and of Griffith, but not because it was their story is it right. Any nation-builder would assume that it was only by the act of cordial co-operation of all its people could you build up a nation. Everybody should have known that there were certain people who, normally, ought to have been in the service of this country, and who would not be allowed to get elected on a democratic basis, but who would bring to the service of the State perhaps gifts just as good as the persons who would be ticketed with a democratic label. That having been in the minds of the framers of the Constitution, the Seanad naturally accepted that particular construction. As the negotiations or agreement or peace or whatever you like to call it— the Treaty that this country made with Great Britain—were between the two countries, it was on the basis of negotiation and arrangement that alterations of that instrument should be effected; on the basis that we were to have done with revolution and done with agitation which would sap the life blood of the people or interfere with their future advancement. Bearing that in mind, would the Seanad not be justified in saying: "We were part and parcel of that whole arrangement. The people were part and parcel of it. They subscribed to it"? Would they not be false to their own minds if they were to take a different line, and say, as every Government came in: "We will change our political opinions, change our minds upon public matters and alter our judgments in order to suit whatever Party is in power"? Was there any attempt made to get to an understanding with the Seanad on any differences that arose? How many Bills were there during the period of ten years before this Government came into office on which there was a marked difference of opinion between the Seanad and the Ministers proposing the Bills? Within the first 12 months of the Seanad's existence it refused point blank to consider one Bill. Can you for a moment imagine the Ministry at that time saying: "Those fellows will no longer do what we want. We will wipe them out"? It would not be possible, outside Bedlam. We ought to consider, with the ten years or 12 years' experience we have got now, that it is not because there is disagreement that there ought to be assault, or destruction or anything of that sort. We ought to remember that the mandate that was asked for was not for the abolition of the Second Chamber, but the abolition of the Seanad as at present constituted —an entirely different thing. We are asked to put up explanations as to why there should be a Second Chamber. That is not our work; the Government should put up reasons why there should not be one. The vast majority of the countries of the world have got Two Chamber Parliaments, and they have very much longer experience of democracy and of popular expressions of opinions at elections than we have here. Perhaps, too, before they would make a change, any Government that has got two Houses, might work out some system as an alternative to mere abolition. Is the position in future going to be that we are to have five separate readings of a Bill and, with a Parliamentary majority at the beck and call of the Ministry, we can abolish anything within six hours, we can change any law, mandate or no mandate?

As we are talking of mandates, was there a mandate at either of the two general elections for disposing of the Seventeenth Amendment of the Constitution, what is called the Public Safety Act? Was there a mandate for repealing that, for taking it out? Was there the same mandate for putting it in as for taking it out? I will be prepared to concede to the Ministry that they have learned something during their term of office, though I would not say they have learned very much. At any rate, it is absurd for them to talk about mandates in view of their own conduct, in view of the publications of their own Ard-Fheis. Last year we were told that the military service pensions were to be repealed, and last month we were told that no such thing could happen. You cannot have a mandate for the repeal and the enforcement of an Act at the same time by the same people, and by the same vote. If there were no Second Chamber a Bill could be introduced here to-morrow along with the closure, and you could repeal the Currency Act in the space of a few hours. If this Bill were passed into law in a month's time, on the following day an Act could be introduced here, supported by the Ministry, taking over from the banks every penny on deposit, and it could be signed by the Governor-General that night. What is to prevent it? It is only necessary for the Ministry to introduce it. A Bill could be introduced abolishing the office of the Comptroller and Auditor-General and setting up an accountant simply to pass the accounts for payment, and there would be no more about it.

Only last year or the year before £2,000,000 were granted to this Ministry for emergency expenses in connection with the economic war with Great Britain. There were no regulations laid down as to how that money was to be spent. When a case came before the courts the judge asked for the regulations made by the Ministry, but they were not to be had. You can have every penny of public money confiscated, commandeered if you like, in the space of five or six hours if this Bill becomes operative. The banks close at 3 o'clock. A Bill can be introduced after 3 o'clock and it can become law before the banks open the next morning.

How does the existence of the Seanad prevent that?

Perhaps if the Minister thought on that question before he asked it, he would realise the answer.

The Deputy's argument is that in the interests of democracy there must always be an anti-Government majority. When the Deputy was in power he got a Bill through all its stages in the Seanad on a Saturday afternoon.

Introduced on what date?

It was introduced, I think, on a Friday and passed on Saturday.

That Bill was introduced into this House on Tuesday or Wednesday, and it was not law before Saturday. And, mark you, several Communists managed to escape out of this country between the Wednesday and Saturday. They returned later, as soon as the Minister came into power. The Minister wants to know what safeguard there is at the present moment. I will tell him. Let us say a Bill is introduced this evening for the purpose I have indicated. At 3 o'clock the banks were closed. That Bill does not leave this House until to-night. That is the most the Minister could do. Then it comes before the Seanad next Wednesday, a week hence. Anybody who likes to take the hint can take it and carry out whatever precautions he requires to take. Under this Bill he would not have a week.

Does the Deputy not remember the Bill that was passed through the Dáil and Seanad on the same day when he was in office?

I do, perfectly, but that was in connection with a matter with which, if the Minister likes, I will deal. As it is, I am dealing now with another matter and the red herring will not suit. I am dealing with the case made by the President of the Executive Council to-day, and that is that when an election takes place the Seanad must immediately conform in its political, economic and legislative views with the new Ministry.

I did not say anything of the kind.

It was the sum and substance of the whole statement from beginning to end. That is one of the things the Ministry are remarkable for —they make statements and they do not seem to know what is the meaning of them. The Minister for Industry and Commerce said that we had got a Bill through both Houses in 24 hours. I quite agree, and I say that under a similar set of circumstances the Seanad would pass a Bill for the existing Ministry within 24 hours if it were needed. What I want the Ministry to realise the people of the country are thinking about is that there is no security in respect of finance once this Bill passes. If it becomes law legislative measures of every sort and kind, backed by this Ministry, can be passed into law in the course of a few hours, and will be the law of the land before the banks open their doors in the morning.

Or before the High Court gives a decision.

Are the High Courts to be abolished, too?

That is precisely what our predecessors did—they passed the law first.

The statement just made by the Minister was a very formidable cat to let out of the bag.

The Minister should have considered his statement more carefully before he made it.

What the Minister might have realised is that under a particular clause in the Constitution a Bill having passed through both Houses would not be signed by the Governor-General within a week of its being passed. Both Houses, having been informed of that fact, passed a Bill within 24 hours entitling the Governor-General to sign it after it had passed both Houses of the Oireachtas. Was not that a very heinous offence?

To defeat a judgment of the High Court.

The fact of the matter is that the High Court might have been perfectly right in its opinion when it was pointing out what the law was, but both Houses of Parliament subscribed to remedy an existing defect.

There was a Government majority in the Seanad, and that was all that was necessary.

That action is now being put on a par with the introduction of this measure. This Bill, if it becomes law, will have a very definite effect. The day after it becomes law the Government, if they wish, may put a forced loan on the Bank of Ireland of £2,000,000; on the Munster and Leinster Bank of £1,000,000; on the Hibernian Bank, £500,000, and so on. They can introduce a Bill to make a forced loan, have it passed through this House in a few hours, and then signed by his Majesty's representative here, the most excellent Domhnall Ua Buachalla, and the money is taken out of the banks next morning. The following evening they can introduce an Estimate for spending that money. They can get £5,000,000 if they like within two days with their majority, and that is what we are told is the will of the people. Is that the purpose for which this Bill is being introduced?

Will the Deputy explain to what extent the Government would be prevented by the Seanad from doing that if it had a majority in the Seanad?

I will tell you the reason. It gives the people notice and if any man realises the love the Government has for him or for the £100 he has in the bank, when he knows they are after it he will be there before them; he will just get that much notice. At the worst, you have at least a week's notice under conditions as they now are, supposing the Seanad were going to back your Bill, support it. Normally one would have three weeks; but if this Bill becomes law you will not have five minutes. If that is not the intention of the Ministry, I invite them to introduce some amendment to this Bill which will ensure that that will not happen. I ask them to give such assurance if they are bona fide and if they are not banking on having got a mandate from the people for the abolition of the Seanad. The Minister spoke about the High Court. I invite him to indicate how the independence of the judiciary is going to be assured if this Bill passes into law.

How is it assured at the present moment?

The two Houses—a resolution of the two Houses. The Minister must realise that he has behind him a Party prepared to say "yes" to any proposal.

Mr. Rice

"Yes-men."

"Yes-men," or "nodders," as they are called. He has behind him a Party who will not criticise. Experience has shown that they are prepared to back everything that has been put up to them. They have stronger political stomachs than were ever known in this or in any other country, and stronger these stomachs have got rather than weaker. If they were as strong otherwise as they are in regard to their political stomachs I would be very satisfied with them. One or two observations in the President's speech satisfied me that he has not got rid of the inferiority complex and I say that advisedly and with great respect. He said in a sentence that this was the Lower House. That has often been stated in the Press and by speakers. This is not a lower House than the Seanad. It is not inferior to the Seanad in any respect. It ought not to be; but I am very much afraid that in the last couple of years it has become slightly inferior to the Seanad in its judgment and in its commonsense.

But we ought not to approach the consideration of two Houses of Parliament with the inferiority complex. If you have to put to this Seanad a sound case, a case which can stand on commonsense, on the improvement of the country and the patriotism of the country, I believe that a satisfactory verdict can be got from the Seanad. We had during our ten years very many conflicts with the Seanad on very many things. I think only in two cases did they hold up our Bills. One was during their first session. They did not even consider the Bill. That Bill became law subsequently. On another occasion the Seanad rejected a Bill on the Second Reading. Now the rejection of a Bill on the Second Reading, which I think happened on both these occasions, was a much more drastic act on the part of the Seanad than what has happened in the case of the present Ministry. I do not think in the case of this Ministry that there has been a rejection of a measure on the Second Reading. If I am not mistaken I think what they did was to insert an amendment to a Bill sent up by the present Ministry.

For many months past there has been a resolution on the Order Paper here upon which the Government has not in any long or short adjournment it has had, ever indicated its views; and I suggest the Government could put into a single sentence its views on that resolution. Does it conduce to the friendly and sensible relations that ought to exist between the two Houses that when one sends a message to the other—such as the message I have indicated—there is no response? There has been no response to the resolution on the Order Paper. I believe that resolution had the support of one Fianna Fáil Senator. Well it so happens that if there should be in the future a Second Chamber instituted by the present Government, and should they find themselves falling foul of their own supporters, will they proceed to the electorate again to ask for the suppression or abolition of that Second Chamber as they are doing in the case of the Chamber at present constituted? "He is determined," the President stated, "where it is in accord with the clearly defined expression of the electorate." Who is to discover that?

I would advise a departure from that Euclid method of solving problems that are put before public men. It does not matter who is to decide it. The question is what is the best decision. It does not matter who is to decide it if we get the best decision. It was stated and it was clearly proved in the past ten or 12 years that not in a single instance, even when legislation was introduced and sent up to the other House not in accordance with their wishes, did they take up an unconstitutional attitude. I have given two instances and I could give many others in support of this. I have heard the ex-Minister for Agriculture on many occasions state that he never brought a Bill to the Seanad that was not improved by them. Agriculture is our most important industry. The Seanad was not recruited entirely from people interested in the land, but it so happens that was the admission of the ex-Minister for Agriculture. That was his willing admission and his willing confession that the Senators improved every single measure that he had brought before them.

The President talks about checks, about checks on the primary House, the elected House. If one gets into the consideration of these matters having in mind simply the idea that the other House is going to check this House, then such a one ought to pack his bag and go home. It is a waste of time to be considering things from that angle. What is the check that has been put up that could not be resolved? Had the Seanad the right or not to ask the Government even on the Oath Bill to negotiate? Had it the right in connection with the economic war to suggest negotiations? If it be said "no," that nobody should open his mouth once the Ministry has expressed its view upon any matter, then they should have two elections in future upon both Houses and the people should be warned that under no circumstances should the country return one House with one view and another House with another view, for in that case they could not work. That is a confession of failure. The same confession of failure runs through the whole of the President's speech. The unfrocked Abbé Siéyes tried to get a substitute for a Second House in the time of the French Revolution. He had spent a lot of time trying to get it, but he could not get any solution satisfactory to himself.

If this were a sensible proposal we should get from the Ministry a recommendation as to how the Second House should be constituted. Suppose a schoolboy goes into a class and tells the master: "I learned my lesson well. I spent a long time considering it, I consulted all the members of my family in considering it, but I am not able to answer it." We know the reception such a boy would get from the master. The main thing with regard to this measure is the independence of the judiciary. The Government would be well advised to publish its views upon what security it can afford in this connection and what it proposes to translate into legislation. The second point is the Comptroller and Auditor-General. The third point is security in connection with money Bills which can be introduced at three o'clock in the afternoon and be law before night. I do not know if that is the intention. If it be not the intention, very good There is plenty of time yet to amend this Bill so as to ensure that a Ministry when it comes here at three o'clock will not be in possession of the entire resources of the State before midnight.

Again, it is not the ideal solution that is required; it is a workable solution. Better efforts ought to have been made, in all the circumstances, having regard to the history of the Ministry opposite and of their supporters and of the whole history of the last 12 years, to frame something which would be an improvement upon our present Constitution. They can absolve themselves or wash their hands, like Pontius Pilate, of whatever is going on, but they are taking part in it. They came along here and became part and parcel of the whole machine. Improve it. Do not destroy it, more especially as in the last five years you have endeavoured to put in, and succeeded in putting in, your own nominees on the Seanad. Your mind ought to have been directed towards improving the personnel and in getting people in to work this for what it was worth at the time, and not merely getting them in for the purpose of drawing their allowances. The things that dissatisfy me are the three points I have mentioned. The fourth point is that of expense, which was mentioned. It is a very poor excuse. It represents, I suppose, the cost to this country of one day of this economic war. If the Government would concern themselves with the other 364 days, it would be very much better for the country.

In the space of the last couple of years the country has had to submit to many extraordinary experiments on them by the Fianna Fáil Party since the members of that Party came into office as a Government. Sometimes acting in pique, sometimes led away by the leader's love of mere theory, they are determined, at whatever cost to the country, to experiment on the corpus vile of the Irish people and nation. They have done that politically and they have done that economically. They have done it without any cessation whatsoever for the two years they have been in office. They are now continuing it. We have here before us, in spite of all the warnings they might have got if they had looked at other countries and what had befallen those countries that tried similar experiments, a proposal to inflict on this country the experiment of a unicameral system of legislation. It is exceedingly important that we should remember not merely that the Oireachtas is a legislative body but that it is also the body that controls the Executive. The proposals of the Ministry, therefore, amount to this, that they want to get supreme power into the hands of whatever Government, for the moment, happens to snatch a majority in the country; supreme power, without any possibility of their being held up even for a day, as Deputy Cosgrave has pointed out, to change in 24 hours or less the fundamental laws of this country, to destroy the economic foundations of this country, and to destroy the liberties of the people of this country.

That is what the Government is now asking the Deputies of this House to support, and asking the people of the country to submit to. It must be remembered that there is no proposal to put, in place of the Seanad that is now being abolished, another House— and this despite the unfortunate experience of many a country that has tried this unicameral system—that would serve the purpose of acting as a revising or even a delaying body. We are to trust completely a chance majority, given at any one election, no matter how small or how evanescent that majority may be, and it is to have full power to take away the liberties and the property of the people. What does the President care, what did he ever care or what do those who follow him care for the wisdom and experience of other countries? Their theory is sufficient for them. We generally hear, when Bills of this kind are being introduced, efforts made to justify them by citing the example of other countries. We have had very little of that to-day. There are other countries that have only one House of legislation, but they are not countries, I think, that the people of this country, on the whole, know sufficient about, or that are so highly esteemed here for political sagacity that we would be prepared to follow their example blindly. In certain revolutionary countries that have tended in recent times towards dictatorship, the President may find examples. He will find examples in the countries that have emerged from the late Russian Empire. He will find plenty of examples in that part of the Globe to which he looked for an illustration of another matter many years ago; if not, indeed, in Cuba, he will find plenty of examples in the countries of Central America. The experience of the older-established countries is against him, however, and some of them have tried the unicameral system. I pay a great deal more respect to experience in this matter of politics than I do to anything in the nature of abstract theory coming from the President—in some countries, as I say, that have tried this unicameral system, it has been one of the principal factors that contributed to disaster.

We are asked now, blindly, because the President was in a pique, to pass through this measure. The evidence of that pique is supplied by the very method of introduction. Hot down from that extraordinary display the President made in the Seanad, when the mask had been allowed to fall off, as it does occasionally, although not often, when he came down in hot haste to this House to introduce the First Reading of a Bill, of which there was no notice on the Order Paper. He could not wait. The majesty of the new President-Emperor had been insulted. Then, day after day, we expected to see that Bill that had been introduced here so quickly as a piece of evidence of the President's bad temper. We waited and waited for the Bill to come to us, but it did not come until the last few days. Why all the haste, except as an indication that the President had lost his temper? The powers that the Seanad possesses are useful and they have not been exercised to excess to any extent. The Minister for Industry and Commerce spoke about our having a majority in the Upper House. We have nothing of the kind. This Government has sent up many Bills to that House that we strongly opposed at every stage in this House, and the Seanad has allowed these Bills to pass. We recognise that we could not, even as a Party, get that Seanad to do or follow our will. We were never able to do it; we could not do it. The Seanad did delay certain measures and it amended certain measures during the period of office of the late Government. It has amended and it has delayed certain measures of this Government.

The President mentions one particularly—the Oath Bill. I am not going into a discussion on the mandate of the Government for the Oath Bill, but if there was one thing made clear in the election of 1932 from the platforms of the Fianna Fáil Party by the President and others it was that the Oath could be removed without any complications with Great Britain. I say the Seanad was perfectly justified, when the issue had not been straightly or fairly put before the people in 1932, in postponing the measure. If the President wishes. he can say that the people ratified his decision afterwards. Postponement by the Seanad does not mean that the people are bound to fall in with their wishes. If people could not exercise the power of postponement unless they were absolutely sure that the people would back them up, how could they ever exercise it? It was a legitimate occasion for the use of the veto for a short time by the Seanad, because that power to delay is all the power they have. As I say, there was hardly a platform from which it was not pointed out to the people that the policy of the Fianna Fáil Party would not economically mean anything to this country in the way of reprisals or anything else. It soon became apparent that that was either a miscalculation on the part of the Government or a misrepresentation to the Irish people. That being so, the Seanad were perfectly justified in exercising their power of delay so far as that Bill was concerned.

What is the other great cause of their offending? What have they done? They have dared to prevent the President, with his Cromwellian boots, from trampling on the young men and young women of the country. That is the principal cause of their offending. They dared to protect the fundamental liberties of the people, to protect the young men and women, as I say, against the Cromwellian methods that the President thought so well befitted him. That is the main cause of their offending. The next day, because he could not get a body of men like the Seanad to bow down before him and his new majesty, or help him to trample on the ordinary men and women of the country, who were observing the ordinary laws of the country, who were guilty of nothing except respect for the law of the country, he rushes in here and introduced a Bill to abolish the Seanad. That is the real purpose of this particular Bill. The real cause of their offending is that they stood in the way of the dictatorship towards which he was drifting. I do not say that he ambitions that dictatorship. I do not think that he thinks clearly enough even to ambition it, but he is drifting towards it steadily and quickly. He could not do anything else except drift towards it.

On the general question, what is the danger? Anybody who knows anything about politics of European countries for the last couple of centuries knows the danger of the concentration of power in the hands of any authority, and especially in the hands of a political party. There may be certain advantages in concentrating power in the hands of one man, but it is not in conformity with our ideals; it is not what the people of modern times are prepared to submit to. I can see certain advantages, but the disadvantages outweigh them tremendously. As everybody knows, hereditary despotism may be a tolerable form of Government, but party despotism is not. Whatever may be said in favour of hereditary despotism, or as to how well it worked until the abuses had become so great that revolutionary methods were necessary to upset it, whatever may be said in favour of that particular form of government, what is to be said in favour of despotic government by a Party that, if the Constitution is not to be trampled underfoot, may be driven out of office to-morrow if the people's will can be made effective? Their tenure of life being, so to speak, uncertain politically, it is inevitable that a Party of that kind will abuse the omnipotent power put into their hands. There is a much greater temptation, much less likelihood of the temptation being resisted, and more likelihood of their abusing their power than there is of the hereditary despot abusing his power.

What we are asked to do here is calmly to submit the whole fortunes, destinies and liberties of the Irish people to a despotism of that kind. When we speak of checks, we do not mean opposition between opposing bodies. But some kind of criticism, some kind of delay, is occasionally necessary. I hold that, if the Seanad has erred at all, it is not in the abuse of those powers of delay that the Constitution gave them; if anything it is in the opposite direction. Ministers and their supporters, if they feel inclined, can look at the debates on the Constitution. There was no suggestion that there should not be a Second Chamber. Nobody doubted the wisdom of it. Nobody who was not living in the clouds, nobody who based his views on political experience rather than on mere theory—there were a few theorists in that Constituent Assembly, but, even so, nobody called in question the wisdom of having a Second House. Nobody proposed that that particular Article of the Constitution should be deleted. Now, because the poor man cannot wait, because he is afraid of the country being given a little time to think over the consequences of some of his measures, because he cannot to-morrow morning trample on the young men and women of this country, the Constitution is to be violated and destroyed in this way.

I will say one thing, that it is exceedingly difficult to think of the constitution of a Second or revising House that would meet all theoretical objections. I may say that it is exceedingly difficult to think of the constitution of a primary House that will meet all theoretical objections. But, when we think of how the Seanad is partly renewed every three years, and take a view over a number of years, what conclusion must we come to? There is one great advantage there, that a Senator holds office for twelve years, and, therefore, is less amenable to Party pressure. The conclusion you must come to is not that the Seanad is the instrument of any particular Party, but that, spread over a number of years, taking the long view of the matter, it represents the settled will of the Irish people and not the passing whim of a moment. That seems to me, and has seemed to me, whatever other theoretical objections there may be made to the present method of constituting a Seanad, one strong point in its favour.

It is exceedingly difficult at times to know what conscious aim the President and his Government have before them, either in politics or in economics, but I do not think that any person who has the welfare of this country at heart can have the slightest doubt whither they are going, whether they intend it or not. They are determined—and determined that no obstacle shall stand in their path—to push this country down into a morass, out of which there is to be no possibility of getting. Hardly a month passes that we do not get some new piece of evidence of the determination of the President that the people of this country are not, after the experience of a couple of years, going to be allowed to revise their opinion as to the wisdom of entrusting him with political power. They are to be deprived of one constitutional means after another of voicing their opposition to him, of showing that they also are capable of learning by experience. That experience may take 12 months or two years—it does not matter—but if the people of this country determine that as a result of their experience, they must get rid even of such a Heaven-sent Minister as the President, a man as convinced as he is of his mission to this country, they should be allowed to do it. But one thing is quite clear from every step the President has taken in the last 12 months; he is not going to give them that constitutional right if he can possibly help it. He can crush out— and, as Deputy Cosgrave pointed out, he can do it from night to morning, with not even a day's delay—any opposition, as he tried to do last August. He can crush the liberties of the Irish people. He is tearing them up one by one. What does he care about the economics or liberties of the Irish people—and all obstacles are to be removed from his path.

As the House knows, I was always convinced that the President would have no difficulty in proving to himself that the Irish people had no moral right, neither had they a constitutional right, to dismiss him. He was there by right divine. That is his conception, quite as strongly in his bosom as it was ever in that of the old monarchs, and he is determined that the Irish people will recognise that right. They are not going to be allowed to change their minds. No more disastrous mistakes as they made before are to be allowed. Liberty has made its last disastrous mistake in this country, so far as the President and the others can ensure it. We all remember the celebrated statement that Deputy Little did not make in Waterford when he said: "We are now in the mess. Can we not recognise it and make the best of it." Is not that what they have been doing all along; is not that what the Government have been doing politically and economically for the last two years— plunging the country so much into the mess that it can have no hope of getting out of it? What is the slaughter of calves for—if I may use the analogy—as confessed by the President's colleague, the Minister for Agriculture, but to see that there will be no cattle to export in a couple of years time? If the people are unwise enough to swallow that particular bait, they will be so much in the mess that they will say to themselves that they might as well remain there—there is no getting out of it now.

More and more, it is dawning on the people of this country that whether he intends it or not—and they think he does intend it—candidly, I do not know —he is determined that there will be no resurrection except along his particular way, that there will be no salvation for this country unless it follows his advice, and the bulk of them are convinced that there will be no salvation that way, because it leads not to salvation but to destruction. He is not going to let them try any other way. You must have a chance of a change of opinion. The absence of any possibility of putting even a temporary obstacle in the way of the exercise of supreme power has in the past, again and again, led to despotism, often of a degrading kind, and it is because it is leading in that direction that this Bill is now introduced. All those "great" people who had the "best and the highest" ideals in the world, from Cromwell to Robespierre, trod the same path that the President is treading. They had the highest ideals: they were incorruptible; they sacrificed everybody—the country and themselves very often and, especially, in the latter case—to their particular ideals, so high did they put those ideals. That is what we are having now. We are having as a result—and this is only the culminating measure so far as the Government is concerned—a kind of dummy-figure democracy masquerading in the rags of liberty. There are precious little of the rags left, and there will be none at all left when the President has done with the constitutional rights of the people of this country. He is going along a path that has proved disastrous for the countries in which it was trodden, and disastrous for the people who trod it; but this last is not what is worrying me. What is worrying me, even so far as the last statement is concerned, is that the manner in which it has proved disastrous for the people who have tried experiments of this kind and forced them on countries, has also proved disastrous for the countries on which they were forced. That is what I fear, even though I am sure there will be a rude awakening for the President and his Party one day. But from that I can get no consolation whatever.

I want the ordinary constitutional method—and I see no hope in any other—of the people of this country being able to express a change in their view if they like. What security is left, as Deputy Cosgrave asked, to the people financially? What security is left to the liberties of the people? Where now is the independence of judges? Does anybody in his sane senses believe that if the late Government had introduced in the last ten years—and, remember, the judges did not always give decisions that we liked, but we knew that they were the legal decisions of the legal authority in this country, and we had to respect them— a resolution in the Seanad to remove a judge, it would not have been scouted out of the Seanad or would have had the slightest chance of passing? It would not have the slightest chance of passing if we had done anything of the kind.

Now, just as the President showed his anger as regards the Seanad, he also dropped a hint or two as to his view on the judges. They are also to be made the slaves of the Government. The one bulwark that stands between the complete oppression of the individual by the Government, or by the allies of the Government indulging in disruptive tactics of various kinds, is now to be swept away. The judiciary is to be made a cat's paw. The judiciary is to be made a mere creature of the Government. That, undoubtedly, as Deputy Cosgrave pointed out, is one of the most serious implications of what is involved in this Bill. If the judges do not toe the line as well as the Party does—because, after all, the President has made it quite clear that he does not want Ministers; he wants either scapegoats or people who will blindly follow his policy, whether they considered it right or wrong for the country—if the judges do not come to heel like the Party and like the Ministers, then short shrift for them! That is where we are inevitably tending. There is no good indulging in dialectics and pretending that no guarantee or no bulwark of the people's liberties is being interfered with, because we are alleged to have a majority in the Upper House, as it was called—because we are alleged to have a majority in the Seanad. That majority of the Seanad would not for a moment—and it is well that the people should recognise it—make or tolerate any attempt to interfere with the independence of the judiciary. The Seanad is to be wiped away. It has dared to stand in the way of the man whom I have called "the new Emperor-President." It has stood in his way—not killing his measures, because the Constitution did not give it power to do that, but stood in the way of his mad rush. It has delayed him. The country was not being ruined quickly enough. The liberties of the people were not being filched away quickly enough. The Seanad acted as a brake for the moment. Hence, they must be wiped out.

The judges, if they attempt to administer the law—I mean the law as interpreted by an independent judiciary—can walk the same plank as the Seanad. They also must go down. If they refuse to administer the law as an instrument for enslaving the people they must go down. There is no guarantee of their position. After all, what do the people want guarantees for? Have they not the Government that they elected? Is the Government not omniscient? Does it not know what is good for the people? You cannot have too many omniscient people in the country. It is very awkward. There can only be one who can play that particular rôle. If judges and others attempt to call him in question, then away with them. The Seanad? Away with it! That is what the country is facing. Their main offence, as I say, has been that they refused to allow the President to trample on the elementary rights of the people of this country. For that, they are walking the plank. They stood in the way of the immediate enforcement of his despotic views. In the last 12 months there have been plenty of proofs of what the President and his Party are drifting towards. As I say, he wants creatures and scapegoats, not independent-minded people who will put forward their own views, acting according to their consciences, and not according to Party affiliations. The President spoke of a revolutionary mentality. No man has done more than the President to keep alive a dangerous revolutionary mentality in this country. He has played up to it during his whole period in office and out of office. He now comes along here proposing a revolutionary act, and covers it under a denunciation of revolutionary mentality, just as he marches towards dictatorship denouncing dictatorship. Is not the trick well-known? Is it not well-known that many a man has gone to dictatorship loudly denouncing it and lulling the people into a false security? Whether he is consciously aiming at that, or merely drifting towards it, I cannot make up my mind, and I am not particularly anxious to determine.

Lip service to democracy, with a determination to trample the reality of democracy under foot on every possible occasion—that is what we have here. It is another proof, if proof were needed, that the President is determined that there shall be no constitutional checks on him, that there shall be nothing to prevent himself and his Party making themselves, as other Single Chambers have done, almost perpetual, until the people rose up against them. There is nothing to prevent it; there is nothing to even delay it. Once more, what does he want? There have been plenty of indications in that regard since he went into office; he wants legal sanction for his wrongdoing. As long as he can get legal sanction he is prepared to commit any crime against the Irish people. So long as legally he can say it is not a crime he is satisfied. The rights and wrongs of the situation do not matter. I have no doubt this will be described as another milestone. Perhaps it is, but my view of the road which the Government is travelling and which it is forcing the people of this country to travel is, I hope, very different from that of the Government. This is a millstone; not a milestone. Where does the road lead? The road is leading to the economic destruction of the people of this country, and to destruction of their liberties as well—not merely their political liberties but their civil liberties. The new Cromwell! There was a time when "the curse of Cromwell" was one of the worst things you could imprecate on the ordinary Irish people. Is that going to be supplanted as a result of the disastrous policy and of the deep wrongs that have been inflicted on the Irish nation by the present Government?

In introducing this Bill the President was unusually brief. He excused his brevity on the grounds that he did not propose to make any valid argument for the Bill; he was going to wait until he had heard what other people had to say about it, and then he would try to rebut their arguments. It seems a strange position for the President of the State to take up when he is introducing one of the most radical alterations in the rights of the people of this country that have been introduced since the State was founded.

One of the first reasons he adduced for abolishing the Seanad was that he could not see the use of spending a considerable sum annually on maintaining a Second Chamber. He seems to forget that a couple of weeks ago he sponsored an estimate in this House to spend ten times as much on the creation of an Army that nobody wants, on the creation of an Army the purpose for which nobody knows. He then went on unconsciously to quote a gentleman to whom Deputy Cosgrave referred, a glowing figure of the French Revolution, upon whom the verdict of history has been that he was a shallow-pated person. He said it is clear that when the political complexion of both Houses is the same, the Seanad is no check, and when they are not the same the Seanad is only mischievous. Those are exactly the words that were employed 150 years ago by the gentleman to whom Deputy Cosgrave referred to-day, a gentleman by the name of Seyes, and the comment very prudently made upon that has been that while that dilemma may be sufficient to perplex an addle-headed person, the sensible reaction to that dilemma is to examine the records of history and, having satisfied yourself, if you are of the addlepated variety, that there is no theoretical solution to the dilemma, to look up history for a practical solution, to look to the accumulated wisdom of generations of men.

Had the President looked, he would have found that generation after generation, State after State, having tried the uni-cameral system, reverted to the bi-cameral system. If the President had looked around him in the world to-day he would have found that practically every civilised State has the bi-cameral system. He would have found exceptions to that general principle, and outstanding amongst these exceptions he would have found Spain. In fact, I think he quoted Spain at an earlier stage of this Bill as a justification for introducing it; but he did not inform the House that if the Spanish Constitution removed the check of a Second Chamber it also provided that if the Single Chamber succeeded in carrying a resolution to amend the Constitution, the carriage of that resolution automatically dissolved the Chamber and the members of that Chamber had to go promptly to the country in a general election.

The President said here to-day that if the two Houses were of the same political complexion, the Seanad was no check. I do not believe the President believes that. He cannot believe it because it is manifestly not true. He maintains that the Seanad during the existence of the Cumann na nGaedheal Government was of exactly the same political complexion as this House. Would he, for a moment, accept the contention that if Deputy Cosgrave, when he was President, had introduced a Bill to inflate the currency of this country, the Seanad would have carried it? Does he suggest that had Deputy Cosgrave, when he was President, introduced a Bill to do away altogether with the independence of the judiciary, the Seanad would have carried it? If he is not prepared to make that contention, how can he sustain the argument that the Seanad, having the same political complexion as the Dáil, is no check at all? Of course, it is the kind of check that is meant to be a check which will not be effective to destroy the ultimate authority of this House which has been elected by the popular vote of the people—a Chamber over which this House will have ultimate authority, but a Chamber which will have the right to call upon this House to consider a question twice, to call upon this House to pass a considered judgment on any proposal that is brought before it.

The President says in that connection that if the spirit gets abroad that the people's will can be thwarted by a body on which the electorate cannot pass judgment, immediately revolution is fostered. The President has a most extraordinary habit of disclaiming things in a very peculiar way. I remember him saying here: "We are going to secure free speech for everyone in this country, but we cannot make causes or people popular. We are going to take every precaution to preserve the public peace, but remember that under certain circumstances revolutionary spirits will grow." Is there not a queer kind of echo in those reservations? Bear in mind that statement is made with reference to a Seanad, the limit of whose power is to suspend the operation of legislation for 18 months, and we are told such a power is calculated to promote the spirit of revolution in the land. President de Valera has got into office for five years on a programme, no single part of which has he succeeded in carrying into effect. He has got into office on a programme, every material promise in which he has gone back upon. Would there not be a far sounder argument for revolution against his continuance in office than there would be for a revolution against the Seanad whose will cannot prevail for more than 18 months? And would not President de Valera say of me, and rightly say of me, that I was irresponsible if I suggested that the people in this country would be entitled to embark on a revolution for the overthrow of a popularly elected Government simply because they felt that President de Valera had so far departed from his undertakings as to have gone back of the promises he made to the electorate at the general election? In a democratic country the remedy for that is to wait until the next general election and be wiser the next time. In a democratic country, with an educated voting body such as President de Valera hopes to see, the proper way to deal with the Seanad is to wait for the period prescribed by the Constitution and override the Seanad. The President speaks of educating the electorate as the only effective way of promoting an Act of legislation, but if the history of a single Chamber legislation is a good education for the electorate the President of the Executive Council should get up and say so. He suggested that when the Seanad holds up a resolution of this House or an enactment of this House inevitably the spirit of revolution is fostered. I say such language on the lips of the President is irresponsible, such language on the lips of the President is reckless, such language on the lips of the President is wrong. Whether the Seanad is a good check or a bad check, at least it must be admitted that it is a check of some kind. Surely in human institutions it is not commonsense to abolish some existing institution simply because it is not perfect, unless you are in a position to produce something which, if not in itself perfect, is at least better than what you propose to do away with. There can be very little doubt that a unicameral Parliament with a Ministry commanding a clear majority inevitably resolves itself in the course of time into something closely approximating to a dictatorship. In this House that result is peculiarly inevitable. The dominance exercised by President de Valera over his own Party is notorious. With this House, as at present constituted, a unicameral legislature means this and nothing more. It means the establishment of President de Valera as an absolute dictator in this country. I do not believe there are many members sitting on President de Valera's own benches who will not see that. They know very well that the passage of this Bill will amount to that. The existence of the Seanad is at present the only thing that prevents President de Valera's dictatorship. If its preventive effect is thought not to be worth its other sections, then the remedy is available and was made available to the Government long ago by the resolution that was sent down here by the Seanad inviting the Government to set up a joint committee consisting of five members of the Seanad and five members of the Dáil, with the chairman of each House ex officio, to consider and report on the changes, if any, necessary in the constitution and powers of the Seanad.

If the President were acting bona fide in this matter, if his desire was really to improve the Constitution of this country, surely that is the course of action he would have pursued. Is it not manifest from the line adopted by him or the line he has chosen to adopt that this Bill is introduced simply as a demonstration of his determination to trample on anyone who dares to cross his path? The Seanad is not prepared to lend a hand in the suppression of President de Valera's political opponents in this country, and because it would not lend a hand in that work the Seanad is going to be destroyed. A protracted discussion of the merits and demerits of a bicameral and a unicameral system are really out of place here, because it is manifest to anyone who has watched the President during the last few months that it is identically the same spirit that inspires this Bill as the spirit that inspires the President's supporters who attacked my house last Saturday night and poured red paint all over the door of my house. Anyone who does not agree with the supporters of Fianna Fáil is to be outraged and insulted. Anyone who is not prepared to bow down at the shrine of President de Valera is to be suppressed and outraged. Affronts of that kind do not hurt. One rather pities the people who are driven to resort to them. Gestures of this character on the part of the President are not alarming in truth, because one believes in the ultimate sanity of Irishmen. But both these things are humiliating to everyone who was proud to be an Irishman. We believed that our people were uniquely fitted to govern this country. We believed that our people, so long deprived of liberty, would cherish it when they got it and that they would jealously preserve the liberties of their own fellow-countrymen. But we see growing up here amongst us a body of people whose idea of liberty is insult, intimidation and tyranny for their political opponents. And we see the President of the Executive Council of our own Government gradually gathering to himself all the characteristics of a tin-pot dictator. That such things would command the approval of the majority of the elected members of this House is humiliating to anyone who loves this country and is proud of it. In that very unhappy picture there is only the consolation which remains to many of us, that our people do not approve of those things, and that at the earliest opportunity that our people get to pass judgment on it judgment will be passed against it.

As I say, much has happened in the last few months which would justify us and those in foreign countries raising the question again of whether the Irish people are fit for democratic institutions, whether the Irish people are fit to govern themselves. Many of the enemies of this country will point to this Bill to-day and will point to the Constitution which promises to be created as an added proof that even President de Valera himself has made up his mind that the people of this country are not fit for democratic institutions yet and that a dictatorship is really necessary to carry on good government. We do not hold that view. We believe our people are entitled to democratic institutions and are well able to use such institutions for the benefit of the country. We believe that dictatorship is foreign to the spirit of our people, and that our people will never tolerate the institution of dictatorship, in any form, in this country by any man, whether that man thinks himself to have a divine mission or not. We have drifted far towards the destruction of popular institutions in this country. We have drifted deep into deplorable conditions under the presidency of President de Valera. I want to say this, that this proposed radical alteration in the Constitution of this country should make it clearer than it has been heretofore that the time has come when the people should be consulted as to whether they accept our philosophy of government or President de Valera's. This and much else that has gone before will establish President de Valera as a dictator in this country. It will put in his hands powers to perpetuate this Parliament for as long as he pleases. It will put in his hands powers to destroy the independence of the judiciary of this country. It will put in his hands powers to destroy the existence of the Department of the Comptroller and Auditor-General. It will put in his hands powers to destroy the currency of the country, and it will put in his hands powers to make slaves of our people.

Politically speaking, I do not agree with the President when he says that the people have no right to do wrong. In the sphere of politics, I believe in the right of the people to make their choice, and I believe it is the duty of political leaders to accept that choice freely. I am quite prepared to accept the choice of the people. I am quite prepared now to submit this and the other revolutionary departures of President de Valera to the decision of the people, and I am quite convinced of what that decision will be. I should like to know if the President and his fellow Ministers are prepared to submit the question of dictatorship by President de Valera to the people in a general election. The passage of this Bill means that the President can postpone a general election in this country for all time, if he wants to. Until it passes, he has not got that power. I say that there can be only one effective resolution of this question, and that is its submission to the people. I challenge the Government of Fianna Fáil now to take this and such other oppressive measures as it has introduced into this House and has sought to pass into law, and submit them to the people. All the members of this Party have been and are now ready to accept the verdict of the people on this and all other political questions. Will all the members of that Party say as much? If and when they do, let a general election decide the issues that are joined between us. In so far as I am concerned, if the people of the country accept the principles that are laid down in that Bill parliamentary government and democratic government is at an end in this country, and there is no further useful purpose to be served by a Parliamentary Opposition. If the principles contained in that Bill are accepted, it means that parliamentary government in this country is coming to an end. It means, I believe, an effective dictatorship, and it means the establishment of the worst kind of dictatorship, that is, one which will masquerade as parliamentary institutions.

I believe that our people are people who believe in democratic institutions. I am quite prepared to accept their verdict, and I look forward to it with confidence. Surely, this change is sufficiently grave and far-reaching to justify the President in referring it to the people. Let him be guided by the example he himself quoted, that of Spain. If this Bill passes this House, let him do as the Spanish Government would have to do. Let him dissolve this House and go to the country. Then we can discuss it before the country and explain to the country the implications contained within it. Then, we can take the people's decision on it, and, so far as I am concerned, I am quite prepared to take it.

I think it is about time that we made sure that both sides of the House are talking about the same thing. This Bill relates to the Seanad provided for in the Constitution of this State—the organisation that meets in another part of this House. I do not recognise that body in the description given of it by Deputy Dillon—the bulwark of popular liberty; the democratic and popular institution; the only safeguard of the people against dictatorship. Is it really true that, if the Seanad is abolished, democratic government is coming to an end, and the whole of our civilisation will come crashing to the ground? We have just been told by Deputy Dillon that that is the situation. I wonder does Deputy Dillon believe it, and, if he does, I wonder how many of his Party believe it. I would be surprised to find that in the members of his Party now present there is a majority who accepted that view of the Seanad. The attitude of the Party opposite—its political philosophy, as Deputy Dillon has called it—appears to be that good government and the preservation of democracy require that the Executive Council, elected by the majority of the people's representatives, must be subject to the veto of the minority. Apparently, we can have no safeguards for liberty, no guarantee as to the continuance of democratic institutions, unless the representatives of the minority are to be given a veto over the acts of the majority. That is the point of view that is being urged here.

I think it was the former Minister for Agriculture who once described his political policy in the following words: "I believe," he said, "that the majority of the people have a right to do anything they damn well like." Have the Party opposite changed their minds about that now? Deputy Dillon said a moment ago that he did not think the people had a right to do wrong.

On the contrary, I said that, politically speaking, I did not agree that they had no right to do wrong.

Did he say that they had a right to do wrong?

I doubt it.

Which of you is right?

The Deputy is usually wrong. Here is the situation: that we have a House representative of the majority of the people who, according to the Party opposite some years ago, have a right to do anything they damn well like; but it has been unable to do so because, in another institution, set up under the Constitution of this State, the representatives of the minority are exercising a veto. That situation has only arisen since this Government came into office. For ten years the situation in this State has been that the Executive Council had a majority in either House, and could do what they liked. In that situation, did the Seanad act as a safeguard for liberty or as a check on the impulses of the Executive Council? Did it even act as a delaying institution? Not at all. When my colleague here, Deputy Donnelly, was with me, a prisoner in Mountjoy, he was taken out one day because a Habeas Corpus Act application had been made on his behalf to the High Court, and the High Court ordered his release. He was back again very soon, however. An act was passed through all its stages in this House and the Seanad in 24 hours to put him back. I do not think he came back into the prison. He came back into the hospital because, during his brief period of liberty, he met some of the people who are now trying to regenerate the morals of Irish youth, and they "larned" him for daring to challenge the authority of the Executive Council in the High Court. When the Act that practically suspended the Constitution, or, at any rate, the operation of a number of sections of the Constitution, was passed through this House was it delayed in the Seanad? Did that institution set itself up as a bulwark of popular liberty? Did it decide to exercise its constitutional function of giving the Government time to think? Did it even give itself an opportunity of amending the legislation? Not at all. The Seanad would be no check upon the actions of this Government if this Government had a majority in the Seanad. That is the fact. Deputies can argue in any way they like, but the logic of the situation is that if the Government had a majority of their own supporters in the Seanad they could pass any legislation they liked.

You know them better than we do, of course.

We will get to that position. We are not moving in this matter merely for the purpose of facilitating the actions of the Government in the present situation. We think the action that this Bill proposes to take is sound in any event. I want to remind Deputies opposite that, by the laws of probability, long before the term of office of this Government expires, the Fianna Fáil Party will have a very large majority in the Seanad. There is a Seanad election next December. It is merely a matter of arithmetic, a counting of heads in each House in relation to the number of vacancies that are going to be created, having regard to the Senators who are leaving office, to find out what the result of that election will be. There will be very nearly a fifty-fifty division of opinion in the Seanad after that election. After the next following election, there is going to be, not a fifty-fifty division, but an almost overwhelming Fianna Fáil majority in that House.

The Minister is destroying his own case.

Of course I do not anticipate that the Government will go out of office at the next election. Even if they were to go out, we think it is desirable that the incoming Executive, representing as it will the majority of the people, will be entitled to carry out its programme without being obstructed, as we have been obstructed, by a minority that happens for the moment to have a majority in that House. The bulwark of Irish liberty! Who are the people that constitute the bulwark of Irish liberty? Is it not about time that the democracy of this country was taken out of the leading strings of that very small minority who previously had it in halters? We are going to make democracy triumphant here. We are going to give to the Irish people the right to decide their policy. If there is going to be a dictatorship in consequence of this measure, it will be a dictatorship of the majority of the Irish people. It is about time that the Irish people became masters in this country. (Deputies: Hear, hear.) This is a Bill to make them masters. That is why Deputies opposite are opposing it for petty Party purposes. Out of a blind desire to obstruct they are trying to keep in existence an institution in which the balance of power is held by a group that could not get one seat at a general election even under proportional representation. Deputies opposite want to give that group an effective veto over the decisions of the majority of the people's representatives. That is democracy, according to them. If we abolish the veto of that group, if the Granards and the Jamesons and the like are no longer to be in a position to block the progress of the Irish nation, then, according to Deputy Dillon, the whole of our civilisation is going to come toppling to the ground and democratic institutions will no longer exist in this State.

The Minister would be well advised not to name members of the other House.

He would be well advised, as the President would tell him, with regard to one of these men.

I am prepared to accept the advice of the Ceann Comhairle.

How surprising! This is unprecedented.

I was very amused with Deputy Dillon's demand for a general election. He is trying to make us believe that he is not afraid that the Government might have a general election. As the small boy passing the graveyard whistles to keep up his courage, Deputy Dillon says he is not afraid of the big, bad wolf. Hoping against hope that under no possible circumstances will he again have to face the people of Donegal, he comes in here to try to bluff through the situation. "Give us a general election." Has he any doubt as to what the verdict of the people would be about the Seanad? I invite him to hold a conference of his own Party, to get a convention of the delegates from the different branches of the U.I.P. and ask them what they think of the Seanad; ask them to give a free vote on the question of its abolition or otherwise. He might get a surprise. Even the Evening Mail stated that the abolition of the Seanad was certainly a popular move, if not a wise one. Most of the arguments we heard this evening about this are, in fact, fit only to appear in a leading article in the Evening Mail, the paper that tried to popularise in yesterday's issue as a national slogan: “Every day and in every way we are getting worse and worse.”

If this Bill is passed we are told there will be no security for Judges. We might abolish the Comptroller and Auditor-General; we might nationalise the banks; we might depreciate the currency; we might do a hundred-and-one other things that Deputies seem to think we cannot do at present. This Bill has no bearing on that situation at all. The amendment of the Constitution is proceeding. The Seanad, when it thinks fit, is in a position to delay this amendment at present for a period. But, again I want Deputies to realise that if the Government had a majority in the Seanad there would be no delay. If there is any value in the present situation from the point of view of Deputies opposite it arises entirely out of the fact that the majority in the Seanad is against the Government. All the safeguards which they contend the Seanad provides would cease to exist if the Government had a majority in the Seanad. They did not exist when our predecessors were in office and had a majority in the Seanad. If this Bill makes the President a dictator, then Deputy Cosgrave was a dictator for ten years. If the previous Government wanted to remove a Judge they had power to do it. They had in this House and the other House a majority that was prepared to act upon their injunction. Before this Government quits office, if this Bill does not pass, this Government will also be in that position. It is not the Seanad that constitutes the barrier to action by the Government, it is the minority that happens to have power in the Seanad at the present moment through the accident of circumstances. All the speeches we heard to-day about this institution, about the necessity for it, about the consequences of its removal, should be really directed, not towards the institution itself, but to the Party in that body that has a majority.

Power to remove Judges is provided by the Constitution. If it becomes necessary in the mind of the Government to exercise that power it will be exercised. The removal of the Comptroller and Auditor-General could be effected by legislation at the present time. The mere existence of the Seanad does not prevent it, has not prevented it, if the Government thought it necessary to do it. It is the Government are entitled to decide these questions, on the principle enunciated by Deputy Hogan that the majority has a right to do what it likes. The majority in this Parliament is entitled to enact any legislation it likes. This is a Sovereign Assembly. If legislation affecting banks or affecting currency is in the opinion of the Executive required, it will be introduced. The existence of the Seanad does not prevent it being introduced. The Seanad might be able, at the present time, to delay that legislation for a limited period but it cannot do more than delay it. It could not stop it. I agree that delay is often dangerous and in certain circumstances, might be disastrous, but if the Government had in that House the majority, there would be no delay.

The case which Deputies are trying to make is not a case for the maintenance of the Seanad. It is a case for the maintenance of the veto over the Government's actions which their adherents in the Seanad now exercise.

I thought the Minister said that they had no power to veto anything. I thought the Minister's case was that the Government could, even at the moment, have its will in spite of the Seanad?

Subject to delay.

But no powers of veto, though.

The Deputy can put it that way if he likes. In many cases, the power to delay is an effective veto. There is legislation easily conceivable which could not and should not be introduced if a period of 18 months was likely to elapse between the date of the publication of the terms of the measure and its passage into law. In fact, Deputies will remember that in respect of various measures that were already introduced into this House, it was stated that their terms might have been different if it were not for the prospect of that delay ensuing and the consequences of that delay being experienced. There is nothing to prevent the Government at the present time, in so far as the Constitution permits, prolonging the life of this Parliament. Deputy Dillon appeared to be anxious to represent the purpose of this measure as a preliminary step to the indefinite prolongation of the life of this Parliament. If we wanted to do that the Seanad could not stop us. This Bill has no bearing on that situation whatever. A Bill providing for the lengthening of the life of this Parliament introduced now would be law long before the life of the Parliament normally expired.

If there is one matter more than another on which the people have given a clear and unmistakable verdict already, it is in favour of the enactment of this measure. Of course, we had from Deputy Cosgrave the suggestion that the result of the election was not due to overwhelming popular support for the Government Party, but to trickery of some kind. As I said before, it always gives me great pleasure to hear Deputies opposite explaining why they lost elections. It is true that at the present time amendments are introduced into Bills in the Seanad which are accepted by the Government and which improve the Bills. That is not due to any ability inherent in the members of the Seanad, and certainly not due to the mere existence of the Seanad. It is due to the fact that the Opposition in the Dáil is not doing its work. Deputy Cosgrave stated that Deputy Hogan had told him that, when he was Minister for Agriculture, he never brought a Bill to the Seanad that was not improved there. He never brought a Bill to the Seanad that was not capable of being improved there. It may be necessary, if this measure is passed, to reconsider the Standing Orders affecting business in the Dáil. That is a mere matter of detail. Certainly, the opportunity will be given to those who are entitled to the opportunity of criticising any legislation which the Government may introduce and of proposing any amendments they think fit to it. It may be that there will be power to change the Constitution of the State, as Deputy Cosgrave said, in 24 hours. That power exists and that power was used by Deputy Cosgrave when he was President. To represent it as something likely to arise only after the passage of this Bill is to misrepresent the position.

In conclusion, I would merely ask Deputies opposite not to talk about the liberties of the people any more. The phrase has no meaning in relation to the institution we are now discussing. The pretence that the sole safeguard against dictatorship, the sole bulwark for democratic institutions, is the Seanad, is puerile. I also want Deputies opposite to tell us how they reconcile their advocacy of the retention of this body, their vehement opposition to the proposal to remove it, with the published policy of their Party. Is it not the policy of their Party to abolish the Seanad as constituted? Is it not the policy of their Party to abolish the Dáil as constituted? Have they not got some vague idea about setting up vocational councils as the organs of the Corporative State they talk about at public meetings? Have they given that matter any serious thought whatever? If they know anything about the Corporative State they talk about, surely they should be able, on an occasion like this, to lay before the Dáil positive proposals for the revision of the Constitution of the State in a manner that will conform to their ideals, and in a manner that will conform to the political concepts they profess to have.

I have repeatedly asked the Party opposite not to waste the time of this House, and not to bore its members by making speeches upon matters of major political importance until, first of all, they have agreed amongst themselves as to the attitude they are going to take. They publish one day a Party policy. They send a poor man around the country every week-end to make speeches in advocacy of that policy, and then they come in here and on every occasion run away from it as fast as they can. I do not think there has been one single proposal discussed in this House upon which members opposite took an attitude consistent with their Party's published programme. If they hope ever to carry any weight in the political life of this country, if they have even the wildest idea of ever exercising political power in this country, they must realise that the first step necessary is a decision on a policy on which they are all agreed, and not a policy which is the product of one man's mind and with which all the rest are in violent disagreement. I am giving sound advice now. They have been in Opposition for a long time and they have been a bigger failure as an Opposition than they were as a Government. Even as an Opposition they cannot be effective unless they are prepared to agree as to their policy. They can make a start now, by telling us not that the Seanad is the bulwark of liberty, not that democratic institutions are going to disappear if the Seanad is abolished, not that our civilisation is going to collapse if this Bill passes, but what precisely their Party would propose to do with the Seanad if, by any misfortune, they got the power to do anything with it.

So far as the Labour Party is concerned it will vote for this measure. In doing so, it will be maintaining the stand which it first adopted in 1922 and which has been frequently expressed by speakers on behalf of the Party not merely in this House but outside this House. When the Constitution of this State was being discussed in 1922 the Labour Party supported and voted for an amendment designed to eliminate the Seanad from the Constitution of the Irish Free State. It did so then with the declaration that the Labour Party did not believe in double-chamber government. On that occasion the Party's attitude was clearly defined. While the Government of the day had its way and inserted the Seanad in the Constitution of the State, it is rather noteworthy that the late Kevin O'Higgins, speaking in support of the motion to include the Seanad in the Constitution, had very little to say in favour of the Seanad as a useful or efficient portion of our Constitution. As a matter of fact, he admitted that this piece of machinery could be described as useless and valueless in the Constitution, which was a rather back-handed compliment to the institution which to-day is getting such admiration and adoration from the Cumann na nGaedheal Party.

The great case which has been made by the Opposition is that the Seanad is a check on the Government. Deputy Dillon and Deputy O'Sullivan said that the Seanad is the bulwark of the people's liberty. It is the one fortification which stands between the Government and the people, whom Deputies Dillon and O'Sullivan would have us believe are in imminent danger of being visited with unspeakable tyrannies, if not actually annihilated by the Government. Is not that overstating the case completely? There is not a Deputy on the opposite bench who really believes that the Seanad is any effective check, so far as the democratic rights of the people of this country are concerned. If it is contended that they are a check, then we are entitled to ask in what way, during the ten years that the Cumann na nGaedheal Party was in office, did the Seanad show itself to be an effective check against the reactionary measures introduced by that Government, and in what way did it show itself to be the repository of the interests of the people? Whatever effort might have been made to show that the Seanad was in effect a democratic body, with democratic liberty-loving thoughts, it completely forfeited its right to even pretend that it was a bulwark of the people's liberty and that it was a check on a reactionary Government, when in 1931 it passed in the space of a few hours the Constitution (Amendment) Bill of that year, and, as it never did before or since, even met on a Saturday, I think, to pass it. The most extraordinary part of the Seanad's action on that occasion was the amazing speed with which it passed that Bill, which is now being denounced up and down the country by the Party opposite. We are told the Seanad was placed in the position of acting as a bulwark of the people's liberty, acting as a check or a brake on revolutionary legislation, and we find that not only did the Seanad not act as the bulwark of the people's interests, not act the part of a brake on non-democratic legislation, but it actually facilitated in every possible way the introduction of that measure, which was then contended by many parties in the country to be reactionary, and is now admitted by the Party which introduced it to be a very reactionary and undemocratic measure.

When you come to look for any evidence that the Seanad has, in fact, been the guardian of the people's liberties, you will find that never once during the 12 years of its existence has it shown itself to be the guardian of the people's rights or the defender of the people's rights. If one is struck by any particular feature of the Seanad's existence it is the fact that during its 12 years of life it has been just a recording machine—a rubber stamp for the Cumann na nGaedheal Party. When they were in office it facilitated the Party by passing all their measures, with the minimum of delay and with the minimum of amendments. When they were out of office it obeyed the instructions of the Party again by obstructing legislation passed by this House, because it is the faithful servant of the Party opposite. For the 12 years of its existence it has been more concerned with pleasing the Cumann na nGaedheal Whips than it has been with defending the liberties of the people. Deputy O'Sullivan worked himself up into quite a fury at the prospect of the Seanad being abolished, and the people having no protection against this dreadful Government which is going to do so many revolutionary things against the wishes of the people. Deputy O'Sullivan said it was absolutely necessary to have the Seanad as a check against the Government.

Deputy O'Sullivan, while he would have us believe that he considers it is very necessary to have some barrier to check the reactionary tendencies of the Government, or the revolutionary tendencies of the Government, wants to make sure that this check is going to exist only against the present Government. He took good care, when that Seanad was constituted in 1922, that it would not be a barrier against the Government of his day, and would not in any way hinder or handicap the Cumann na nGaedheal Government which was in office for ten years. Deputy Dillon told us that if the Seanad were abolished then the whole economic structure would crash and our civilisation would be almost at an end. A contention of that kind should be acted, because I cannot imagine a more humorous play than one in which the Seanad posed as the pillars of civilisation and of the economic stability of this country. Deputy Dillon did not believe it himself. Nobody in the Party opposite believes it, because the Cumann na nGaedheal Government, when they were in office, had no reason to complain of the undue restrictions imposed upon them by the Seanad. Many members of that Government, as everybody knows, had very little admiration for the Seanad, and even joked about the Seanad. To suggest, as Deputy Dillon did, that the Seanad is the pillar of our civilisation and the sole buttress of economic liberty and stability in the country is, as Deputy Dillon knows and as he will probably admit on serious reflection, just a joke. Nobody believes that the Seanad fills any such rôle in this country. The stability of this State, far from being imperilled by the abolition of the Seanad, will, in my view, be the more enhanced the sooner the Seanad is abolished. One would imagine from Deputy Dillon's speech that this country always had a Second Chamber as a guardian against the Government of the day. Let us go back to the years prior to 1922.

Eliminating the period from 1914 to 1922, which was rather abnormal, we had no Second Chamber to defend the liberties of the people and our civilisation did not crash. We had the British Government legislating for this country, and while a good case could have been made at the time for getting rid of the British Government, nobody could make the case that it had succeeded in bringing down our civilisation. That civilisation stood quite intact during those years and where was the Second Chamber that acted as a guardian of the liberties of the people? Deputy Dillon suggested that the House of Lords in England was the guardian of the liberties of the people. His argument was that we have always had a Second Chamber guarding the liberties of the people. Deputy Dillon talked in that strain, and there is truth in his contention only on the assumption that the House of Lords was the guardian of the liberties of the plain people of Great Britain and Ireland and now the Seanad, composed, in the main, of people of much the same type, is the sole guardian of the people's liberty in this country. I do not believe it and I do not think any sensible people believe it. I gather that even the majority of the supporters of the Party opposite, not only do not believe the Seanad fulfils that rôle in our national life, but have very little use for the Seanad at all.

The most serious part of the speeches made by Deputy Dillon and Deputy O'Sullivan was the contention that the Second Chamber is absolutely necessary—that you cannot have a Government in this country without having a Second Chamber. This comes strangely from the Party that for ten years, and especially some of the more bitter of those ten years, talked about the sovereign authority of the people, implemented through adult suffrage, as being the authority to do almost anything that the people of the country desired to be done. What Deputy Dillon and Deputy O'Sullivan are contending is that while the majority of the people may elect a Government and endorse in an overwhelming manner the policy of that Government, there is to be set up in the State a Second Chamber for the purpose of thwarting the wishes of the people as expressed at election times. It seems to me to be absurd to contend that the people have a perfect right to elect a Government and to reject a Government, to support this policy and reject that policy, if at the same time you permit to be continued a body not elected by the people, a body whose only purpose is to try to please a minority and thwart the definitely-expressed views of the majority. If that is the contention, one might advocate four or five Chambers instead of two, having one to look after the other.

I think it will have to be admitted that if the majority of the people elect a Government and charge it with the responsibility of implementing its programme, that Government is entitled to an opportunity of carrying out that programme rather than be thwarted, as this Government has been for the past two years, by a Seanad which, while it claims to be democratic and popular, has shown itself on every possible occasion to be a reactionary Chamber. Recently a Bill was passed in this House designed to give votes to citizens of 21 years and over for the purposes of local elections. That was a democratic measure, designed to give those people some say in matters affecting local administration. The principle is presumably a good one. The Bill was supported here by the Government Party and the Labour Party. I observe now that the heaven-sent, as Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney described him, leader of the Fine Gael Party has discovered that it is a matter for regret that the youth of the country have not votes in the forthcoming local elections. You have the Fianna Fáil Party, the Labour Party and the Fine Gael Party all anxious that the youth of the country should have votes for the purposes of local elections and yet we have the Seanad, this bulwark of the people's liberty, as Deputy Dillon described it, holding up this Bill and declining to allow legislation to go through designed to give to the youth the right to vote in local elections.

If the Seanad were the guardians of the people's liberty, if they wanted to blaze a trail for progressive thought and progressive methods of suffrage, they might well have passed that Bill. Instead, without any mandate from anybody, except possibly the instructions of the Cumann na nGaedheal Party Whip, they held up that measure. Notwithstanding that clear demonstration that the Seanad is a reactionary body, a non-progressive body, existing only to thwart the definitely expressed wishes of the majority of the people, we have Deputies here doing their best to whitewash it and pretend it is the guardian of the people's liberty. If it is the guardian of the people's liberty, the sooner the people lose the liberty the Seanad is guarding, the better. I will concede that if four, five or six years normally intervened between one election and another, issues might arise, highly controversial issues which might not be discussed at the election and in respect of which a Government could not claim that it had got a mandate to carry out any particular policy. It is possible to hold an election in 1933 and get a certain mandate to put a definite policy to the people and in 1937 an issue of tremendous importance might arise giving scope for considerable controversy, possibly heat and possibly bitterness. A question might be raised whether the Government had the right to take a certain line of action. I will concede that good sense and probably a desire to avoid a general election for reasons of economy and the prevention of any dislocation of business or trade might suggest that the people should be consulted and that they should have some opportunity in a crisis or situation of that kind of saying whether or not they were in favour of the Government's line of action which was being opposed by other Parties in the House and was being carried only by a small majority.

I can see that there is need for consulting the people on occasions of that kind, giving the people an opportunity of saying what they wish done under such circumstances and of being guided by the definitely expressed wishes or the people on specific issues of that kind. When the Constitution was passed in 1922 it contained provisions for a Referendum in matters of that kind. It was possible then on a petition from 50,000 citizens or by a substantial minority in the Dáil or Seanad to have a Referendum in respect of any particular measure passed by the Oir . That measure did not become law until such time as the people had specifically endorsed it by means of a Referendum. We should have that machinery to-day, giving the plain people of the country all the opportunities they could reasonably require for having their views heard on a matter where they considered the Government's policy was at variance with the wishes of the people.

If we had a Referendum in the Constitution to-day there would be no difficulty whatever in consulting the people on any matter where it was held that the majority of the people were opposed to the course of action that was taken by the Executive Council. But we have not the Referendum to-day, and the Party opposite can tell us why. The Party opposite, having put the Referendum into the Constitution in 1922, found it a bit inconvenient in certain circumstances, and in 1927 proceeded to delete from the Constitution the Referendum which, if it existed to-day, would have given the people an opportunity of making their views known and having their opinions expressed before any Bill could definitely become law. If that Bill was not passed, that machinery would still be in existence, and the check would be available for the plain people to-day. That check would be available for us against any reactionary measure passed by any Government, present or future. If that check is not in the hands of the people for use to-day it is because the Cumann na nGaedheal Party deleted that beneficial provision from the Constitution in 1927.

Why was it not replaced in the last two years?

Deputy O'Higgins, having proceeded to kill the Constitution seven years ago, wants to know now why somebody else did not try to bring it back to life in the last two years.

Destruction is easier than construction.

The Deputy's Party proved that the ten years they were in office. I quite agree with him there. In 1927, when the removal of the Referendum was being passed in this House, President de Valera told us that the Referendum had a definite value, and in support of his case against the removal of the Referendum he quoted the example of Switzerland, where the Referendum was in operation and working satisfactorily. He quoted common law and Parliamentary practice, and said that not only was the Referendum found to be exceedingly useful in Switzerland but it was popular, and it was extensively used by the people from time to time. As a matter of fact, I made inquiries to-day and ascertained from a person who is here from Switzerland that the Referendum is used there a number of times each year; that it settles the most bitter and controversial issues in Switzerland, and that every Party in the State is fully satisfied that the Referendum is not merely useful in settling disputes which arise between different parties in the State, but that it has a value which has given Switzerland a period of peace and freedom from political strife, which we could well afford to do everything we could to nurture here.

The President on that occasion was favourable to the Referendum and regretted the destruction of that Article in the Constitution. I think he indicated by his speech that he was favourably disposed towards its restoration. I put it to the Government that, while no case whatever from any point of view could be made for the continuance of the Seanad, there is a need for some machinery by which at certain times the people could be consulted on highly controversial issues, if a substantial section of them demonstrated that they desired to be consulted. The Referendum provided a convenient and relatively cheap method of consulting the people on occasions of that kind. I put it to the Government that they should give consideration to the question of restoring the Referendum to the Constitution. If they do that I think that the excuse that the people must have a check in the form of the Seanad against legislation brought in by the Government will become so thin as to evaporate.

The restoration of the Referendum in the Constitution would have considerable advantages from the Parliamentary point of view. It might be the means of solving many bitter controversies, and having regard to the President's declarations in 1927 and his admiration for the Referendum, I hope that he will lose no time in restoring it to the Constitution. Then if we are to have a Second Chamber, let that Chamber be the people's Chamber. The people can then have a Second Chamber, because it would be possible for them to insist on being consulted if they are in disagreement with any legislation passed by the Oireachtas. The only case that has been made by the Fine Gael against the abolition of the Seanad is that the Seanad is the bulwark of the people's liberties. I do not believe it is. I do not believe that even the people on the Cumann na nGaedheal Benches who make that statement really believe that it is any bulwark of the people's interest. I do not think it is the guardian of the people's liberties as has been suggested by Opposition Deputies. I think during its 12 years' existence the Seanad has failed lamentably to show that it was in any way the defender of the people's interests. It has shown itself to be a Chamber of reaction, a rubber stamp for the Party opposite, a spanner in the machinery when the Party opposite went out of office.

I think the removal of the Seanad, far from imperilling the people's liberties, will put the people in a more secure position than before. I think the removal of the Seanad takes deadwood out of the path of the people, and I think it will be possible for the people to proceed with greater rapidity along the road of progressive national and economic life. For the Party opposite to suggest that we need a check against a reactionary Government is not a little amazing in view of the statement of the leader of the Party last week that we must make life intolerable for those who will not yield to our demands. It seems to me, if the people need any kind of protection at all, they need it from the Party whose policy is enshrined in those words. The Party opposite in that delicate matter of looking for checks against all encroachments on the people's liberty have neglected to find a check against themselves. To suggest that the Seanad will guard the liberties of the plain people, especially if manipulated by people who give utterance to these words, is not only a joke, but it is a joke which one would not expect even from the Opposition Party. Deputy Dillon wants a general election but hopes at the same time that he will not get it. I venture to suggest that if the Government wants to get a demonstration of popular enthusiasm for the removal of the Seanad, if it wants to get an over whelming mandate for the Seanad's removal, they can either give Deputy Dillon his general election or have a Referendum by the people on the question of abolishing the Seanad. I believe, in either instance, whether expressed at a general election or by means of a Referendum, that there would be an overwhelming vote for the removal of the Seanad, because the people of the country will realise after 12 years' experience of that luxury, that it has fulfilled no part in the national affairs of this country to justify the money and time that are being spent on it.

Deputy Norton appears to think that the Government would have a strong political card to play in the abolition of the Seanad, and that an election held on the question of the abolition or non-abolition of the Seanad would arouse popular enthusiasm in favour of the Government, and give them an overwhelming mandate. That is a matter of opinion. I will agree with Deputy Norton to this extent, that some years ago, in consequence of the propaganda of the Fianna Fáil Party such an issue, placed before the people, would have aroused popular enthusiasm against the Seanad. The actions of the Government in the last few years, however, and the actions of the Seanad have made it plain to the people that, so far from being an institution which, as the Minister for Industry and Commerce suggested to-day, is the instrument of the minority, the Seanad is really the only safeguard which the Irish people have at the present moment for the safeguarding of their rights and liberties, as their rejection of the Blue Shirt Bill, a few weeks ago, showed.

It is a matter of considerable regret, Sir, that the real and vital issues which are raised by the introduction of this Bill have been clouded and obscured by the many false issues that have been raised by such of the few speakers as have spoken on behalf of the Government, and by Deputy Norton's speech here a few moments ago. If this Bill had been brought in in the proper spirit, and if the question that this Dáil had to consider was not whether this Seanad should be abolished, but whether a Seanad should exist or whether no Seanad should exist, or what sort of a Second Chamber we should have, or whether we should have any Second Chamber or other constitutional check in its place— if those were the questions that had to be discussed by this Dáil, we could have considered them calmly and without any Party bias, in the interests of getting a proper Constitution for this State. By the introduction of this Bill, however, the question is not merely confused, but is brought down to this, that because the Government have come to the conclusion that this Seanad must go, there must be no Seanad whatever, therefore, and no constitutional checks or safeguards for impeding the encroachment of the Executive on the rights and liberties supposed to be guaranteed. We could discuss such a measure in a non-party spirit. We, on this side of the House, hold no brief for the Seanad as it is constituted at the present moment. We tried, many a time, to get a better constitution for the Seanad. We tried many schemes to improve it, and we are still open to consider any scheme that might be put forward by the Government for a proper Seanad, or any other safeguard of the constitutional rights of the people. This Bill, however, being a Bill to abolish this Seanad, and therefore to abolish all kinds of Second Chamber government in the Constitution, is nothing but a Bill to crystallise a fit of Presidential pique, as the President's wishes and the Government's wishes in relation to this political Party that sits here in Opposition were frustrated by the action of the Seanad in throwing out the Blue Shirt Bill.

The Minister for Industry and Commerce to-day, purporting to give arguments in favour of this Bill, divided his speech, as far as I can understand it, into three parts. The first part can be dismissed as crossroads claptrap. The second part was in the nature of advice to the Opposition. I was glad that he gave that advice, because the Minister for Industry and Commerce repeatedly has given similar advice to the Opposition in the last 12 or 15 months. He says that we are incompetent and that we are not doing our job—that we are even more incompetent than when we were in office. If we are incompetent, why does the Minister for Industry and Commerce take such pains to give us advice on the matter and to give it so repeatedly? It is not because he wants us to benefit by his advice that he iterates and reiterates that we are an incompetent Opposition. Our progress through the country is becoming more and more apparent, and the best tribute that can be given to us is the iteration and reiteration by the Minister for Industry and Commerce of the allegation that the Opposition are incompetent and that we are not doing our job. If we were not doing our job, it would be clearly apparent to the Government, and more clearly apparent to the people and it would not need to be pointed out. The Minister could sit back on those benches. Our incompetence would be quite apparent without any of his advice or lectures.

The Minister did do one useful thing in the third part of his speech. He gave us the real reason for this Bill. I understand that the President gave no reason for it to-day. The Minister for Industry and Commerce did give a reason for it. He said that he had no quarrel with the Seanad as an institution of the Constitution; that it was not with the Seanad, as one of the institutions of the State, that he quarrelled; that he had no fault to find with there being a Seanad in existence; but that what he did find fault with was the fact that the Seanad was being kept in being by a minority group, by a group representative of the minority in this country, not one of whom, he said, could get a single seat in a general election for the Dáil. Apart from the fact that that is not true and that we have in this House representatives of the minority who got elected to the Dáil at a general election, the statement made by the Minister for Industry and Commerce is quite untrue. Therefore, if it can be demonstrated that the only reason given by the Minister for Industry and Commerce, and the real reason, is one without foundation, then this Bill ought to be withdrawn by the Government if they have any decency. Deputy Norton said that it would be a popular measure and that the country wanted the abolition of the Seanad. It was popular because it was spread insidiously through the country that the Seanad was run by the representatives of the minority and that it was the old Castle gang, as they called it, that was still running the Seanad and standing in the way of the progress of the people. Let us see into that. I have here the Seanad debates, volume 18, No. 8, and on page 875 can be found the names of the people who voted for or against the Blue Shirt Bill. On page 875 the names of those who threw out the Bill by their votes are to be found. There were thirty of them. Their names are here to be seen. From their names you can see their political records and opinions. There were 18 people who voted for the Blue Shirt Bill in the Seanad—many of them, incidentally, put into the Seanad by the votes of Cumann na nGaedheal— but there were 30 that voted against the Blue Shirt Bill, and of those 30 there are only four individuals who could, by any chance, be held to come within the ill-natured description given by the Minister for Industry and Commerce to-day—the Granards and the Jamesons. The representatives of the minority in this country who voted against the Blue Shirt Bill, according to that official record, number only four. Perhaps I am wrong in putting it down merely at four. At its high-water mark, eight is the number. Out of that list of 30 people who voted against the Blue Shirt Bill, by no stretch of the imagination can anybody get any more than eight people who could be held at any time to have been Unionists and to have held the opinions of the minority in this country before the Treaty. So that the Blue Shirt Bill, which caused this Bill to be introduced was thrown out by people who have given very great patriotic and public service to this State and not, as the Minister for Industry and Commerce said, by the ex-Unionists.

I am not ashamed to make the public declaration in this House that many of the people who have given the greatest public service and the most unselfish public service to this State since the Treaty was signed are to be found in the ranks of those who were formerly called Unionists and are numbered in the minority in this country at present. Many of them have given very useful public service, very unselfish public service, and all they get is the ill-mannered taunts which the Minister for Industry and Commerce uttered to-day. The Minister for Industry and Commerce has given as the only reason, the real reason why this Bill is introduced, that the minority in this country is standing in the way of the progress of the people. The facts are there. Amongst those who voted against the Blue Shirt Bill only eight, at the very highest, can be said to represent the minority in this country. So that the Blue Shirt Bill was thrown out in the Seanad by a majority which did not reckon among its ranks a single member of the old Unionist gang, as Deputy Norton, I suppose, would call them.

There is a lot of talk about majority rule and majority rights. Minorities even in a democratic State have rights as well. What is often forgotten, and what is forgotten by the present Government, is that majorities have duties as well as rights. When the President says, as he said histrionically in the Seanad in a Blue Shirt Bill debate: "There is no cause for which I would be more willing to give up my life than the preservation of the rights of individual citizens in this country," he ought to remember that individual rights carry with them individual duties; that constitutional rights may be over-insisted upon; and that what we want in this country is, not so much this clap-trap, these histrionics about individual rights and liberties, but insistence upon the fact that these individual rights and constitutional rights of the citizen are best guaranteed by the individual citizen remembering the fact that he has his duties to the State and to his fellow-citizens.

This Bill is alleged to be in fulfilment of a clear mandate from the people, according to the President and the Minister for Industry and Commerce. Why did it take so long for the President and the Government to fulfil their duties to the people? It is true that the President, in a manifesto issued to the electors on 20th January, 1933, stated as follows:—"We propose to abolish the Seanad as at present constituted," but he added, "and, if it be decided to retain a second Legislative Chamber, it is our intention to reduce considerably the number of its members." That was what he proposed to the people. That is what he can claim as a mandate from the people for doing—to abolish the Seanad as at present constituted. But that is no mandate, on any interpretation, to uproot from the Constitution, that has been in existence in this country for eleven years, the institution of a Seanad, to change the fundamental character of the Constitution by turning the parliamentary institutions of this State from bicameral parliamentary institutions to unicameral institutions.

Let us assume that he is right in his claim, and that it was a mandate from the people. What has kept him from fulfilling his duty to the people in accordance with that mandate? Fifteen months have elapsed since the election. We have had a Bill to deal with the Seanad since that time. A Bill was introduced some months ago and passed through this House to carry out this mandate and it was not a Bill to abolish this Seanad, which to-day is put forward as such a menace to the rights and liberties of the people and to majority rule. There was no necessity to abolish it some months ago. Because, as I said, of a fit of Governmental, or rather Presidential pique, it is necessary now to abolish this Seanad. It is necessary to abolish this Seanad because, as the Minister for Industry and Commerce has repeatedly emphasised, this Seanad is being governed by the minority. I have demonstrated the falsity and the unsoundness of the Minister's argument. But because, for whatever reason, this Seanad is to be destroyed, then the Government must go further and do away with every sort of Second Chamber institution, without any consideration whatever.

That they gave this matter no consideration whatever is demonstrated by the facts. We had, as I say, a Bill introduced and passed through the Dáil to curtail the powers of the Seanad and there was no hint that the Seanad was to be abolished. Then the Blue Shirt Bill was defeated and thrown out in the Seanad and the very next day this Bill was introduced. It was not introduced after Question Time, as one would expect. I believe I am right in my recollection that the Bill did not even appear on the Order Paper. The long and the short Titles of it were circulated in the afternoon. Anybody who has any experience of the way these matters are worked in practice can easily visualise what happened. The President went away from the Seanad that night in a towering rage. Civil servants although they are hardworked and often work after hours, and have had their salaries cut, had gone home, I suppose, by eleven o'clock at night. They were not there until the following morning. Word was sent down to the Attorney-General's Department to tell the parliamentary draftsman to produce at once the long and short Titles of a Bill to abolish the Seanad and on even such a simple matter as that— the long and short Titles of a Bill for the abolition of the Seanad; that is all the Dáil office wants in order to introduce a Bill—it took until 6 o'clock to get those long and short Titles. It is quite apparent that this was ill-considered and it is obviously ill-conceived and the effect of it will be not merely to deprive this country of a Seanad or of a Second Chamber of some kind, but to deprive the democratic institutions of this country of some sort of constitutional check which will ensure for this country, far better than any clap-trap about democratic rights and the rights of the majority of the people, that these democratic rights and liberties will be guaranteed and will be practically effective. This Bill will take away that check and any possibility of any check from the Constitution and it will lead to this in effect and in practice. When this Bill is passed, if it ever comes into law, not merely will we have a truncated Constitution but we will have no Constitution. The Constitution will have sunk then to the lowest level of the meanest Act of Parliament which can be altered or amended in any way to suit any passing fit of pique, Presidential or otherwise.

The House has heard from Deputy Dillon and other speakers the powers that the Dáil will then have, and I do not intend to repeat them. I want to call the attention of the House to two fundamental rights which, as sure as we are here to-day, will be taken from us by the present Government if they are allowed to stay in power, and if their powers as a majority in this House are left unchecked. These rights are contained in Articles V and VI, the second of which says that the liberty of the person is inviolable. "No person shall be deprived of his liberty save in accordance with law"—a decree of the Executive Council will be law in an hour if they like, and a resolution of a Fianna Fáil club will be law in half-an-hour if the Executive Council wish it, or are forced into it. Article V, which guarantees the right of free expression of opinion as well as the right to assemble peacefully and without arms and to form associations, will be nothing but a mere scrap of paper. The President complained in the Seanad that he had to obey the law, and he complained of the fact that the United Ireland Party and the Young Ireland Association, the League of Youth, sought to advance its objects and its ideals under the shelter of the law. He wants to get rid of the law so that the League of Youth will be unable to advance in the way it has been advancing, strictly according to law and under the protection and cloak of the law.

That is the real truth of this Bill, and that is the real reason why this Bill was rushed without consideration and in a fit of temper into this House. The President, in the Seanad, said:—

"The changes that have come to the movement since

—that is the League of Youth movement—

are changes by which they might be able to advance more easily under the shelter of the law."

He complains that the League of Youth advanced its objects through the instrumentality of the law, that, through the medium of the independence of the judiciary, the illegalities of the Government were exposed to the people of this country, and that through the medium of the law courts the outrageous claims that were put forward by the Government, in the case before the Military Tribunal some few weeks ago, were exposed in all their native folly. Once any check that exists, or is capable of existing, is removed, the Government can deprive the Opposition—they can deprive the Labour Party, too, if the Labour Party do not come to heel—of any right they have to exist as a political Party within the law. They will change the law to suit themselves and, as Deputy O'Sullivan pointed out this evening, they are incapable of appreciating the distinction between legality and morality. When the President insists that he is ready and willing to lay down his life in the cause of individual liberty, he forgets the duty he owes to the minority in this country. He forgets that the minority to-day may be the majority to-morrow as, assuredly, it will. But he will have an instrument in his hand to do injustice legally, and that is what he wants and that is at the back of this Bill.

There is an even greater danger than that, grave as it is. I suppose that people can put up with tyranny for a considerable length of time. It will be remedied in the end. What is going to become of the economic situation? Who is going to have any trust in this country or in this Government? Every act of the Government over the last two years has led to uncertainty and unrest, and the National Loan, in the last few months, testified to the confidence that people have. Where are you going to get the money to put into your industries if you do succeed in getting the industries started? What guarantee have people, who are even supporters of the present Government's policy of tariffs, that if they put their money into industries in this country, a Government elected, if you like, on a snatch vote in the country, or a rushed election, will not come in and sweep away the tariffs and sweep away their money? What guarantee is there that people who lend their money to the Government for their schemes and for the relief of distress and unemployment are not going to have, in an hour or half-an-hour some afternoon, their money expropriated from them by legislative decree of the Dáil? This Bill is going to create economic unrest and political unrest. The Seanad was an unpopular body in the country, because, as I say, of the insidious and false propaganda of the Fianna Fáil Party. The Government has almost succeeded in making it a popular body in the country and, certainly, at the present moment, it is far more popular than the popular Assembly in which we have the honour to sit to-day.

On Deputy Norton's point, that the Seanad during the last 11 years has been nothing but a rubber stamp, recording the wishes and the will of the Cumann na nGaedheal Party and the Government formed from the Cumann na nGaedheal Party, I should like to refer Deputy Norton and his colleagues, and the Minister for Industry and Commerce, too, to a speech made by Senator Douglas on July 11th last year, when the Constitution (Amendment) Bill dealing with the Seanad was going through the Seanad. That speech will be found in Volume XVII, No. 1, commencing on column 9, of the Official Debates, and there set forth on the records of the House for all to read, is a complete refutation of the argument put forward so meanly by Deputy-Norton to-day and hinted at in the argument put forward by the Minister for Industry and Commerce. The facts and figures are set forth in tabular form on the records of the House. Senator Douglas quoted the Minister for Justice in a speech he had made during the election campaign, in which he said that every Bill they had passed was being held up particularly by the Seanad, and he quoted the President:

"A hostile Seanad is constantly attempting to harass the Government by mutilating its measures or wilfully delaying them."

I do not intend to read out these facts and these figures which were compiled by Senator Douglas. They can be got by any Deputy, whatever Party he belongs to, who has any remnant of political honesty left in him, and if he will read them fairly and impartially he will see that the Seanad, so far from being a mere tool of the Cumann na nGaedheal Party, so far from being merely run, as the Minister for Industry and Commerce so falsely alleged to-day, for the representatives of the minority in this country, did useful public work over that period. The Minister for Industry and Commerce, in his gibe at the Opposition, while admitting that the Seanad, even during his period as a member of the Government, had done useful work and usefully amended Bills sent up to them by the Dáil. He had not even the decency to give them credit for their public work, but said it was because of the incompetence of the Opposition that the Seanad had to amend the Bills that went up. Then he went on, very curiously and paradoxically, to quote some sort of a statement of, I believe, Deputy Hogan, the ex-Minister for Agriculture, that they never sent up a Bill that was not capable of being amended by the Seanad. The Minister evidently meant to say that the Cumann na nGaedheal Party were as inefficient as a Government as they are as an Opposition; that after the Bills which they had fostered and introduced in the Dáil had passed the Dáil and gone up to the Seanad they were so badly drafted and ill-considered that they had to be amended by the Seanad. What was the Opposition doing? Why was it not doing the job which the Minister for Industry and Commerce accuses the Opposition of not doing now? The Minister said that the Seanad, during our period as a Government, had to amend the Bills because they were so badly done by the Dáil. He was here as an Opposition, and what was he doing?

I come back again to my original thesis that false issues have been brought into this debate, and that this Bill is introduced in a fit of ill-considered anger and pique by the President, the result of which is going to be fraught with very ill-consequences to the country. We could, as I say, and as I maintain, consider impartially whether or not we should have any Seanad, and if we decide to have a Seanad, what sort of Seanad. We could even consider whether Deputy Norton's amendment is worth thinking about, and whether a Referendum is the proper form of procedure. We could consider whether, if there was a Referendum, the present Government would allow the people to register their ruling or wishes through the Referendum, or whether they would allow their associates to use the gun, and through intimidation and personation make a farce of the Referendum as they made a farce of the parliamentary register. At all events, we could here consider in a constructive spirit what is the best kind of parliamentary institution we could have in this country. We are not given that opportunity because the President is too cross with the Seanad, and because he is too cross with the Protestants, according to the Minister for Industry and Commerce. The President is cross with the Protestants, and because he is cross with the Protestants we must get rid of this Seanad; because we must get rid of this Seanad we must get rid of every Seanad. The President said, in introducing this Bill in the Dáil a few short weeks ago: "I, for one, have not been able to devise a solution nor has any solution been offered for the problem of a distinctive Second Chamber, so constituted that one could depend upon an independent judgement on public affairs and any public matters that would be submitted to them." Because the President cannot think of a constitutional scheme therefore democracy must be allowed its full reign.

I pointed out, during the discussion on the County Council Electoral Bill some months ago that if there was over insistence on democracy there was going to be a violent reaction in this country against democracy. That is a real danger and a grave danger. It is a danger which is present to the minds of those people who have the rights and liberties of the people of this country far more at heart than those who prate and prattle about individualistic liberty. There is a tendency to forget the rights of the minority; to think that every cross roads orator, because he has a glib tongue and no conscience and can get votes, can come into this Dáil and say: "I am the representative of the people of Ireland because I belong to a Party which happens to have scrounged a majority in this Chamber." If this Bill is passed, a minority Party in this House may rule this country in the name of democracy. If this Bill is passed the Articles of the Constitution providing that Parliamentary elections are to be held on principles of proportional representation may be swept away in half an hour, and the constituencies rigged to suit the Party in power. Then thinking, perhaps, that they have lost the confidence of the people or that if they stay in any longer the chances of getting back will be seriously jeopardised, they decide to go for election on the straight vote and rigged constituencies, and they come back with a majority of one in this House, but representing a minority— and a very big minority—of the votes cast in that election. That has happened before this. It has happened in the British Parliament, and it could easily happen under the system I have adumbrated. That Government, with a majority of one, representing a minority of the votes cast in that election, could pass an Act in half an hour extending the lifetime of the Dáil, or doing away with sittings of the Dáil for ten or 20 or 60 years if they so wished.

In the interests of democracy itself, according to political philosophers who have given this matter thought, it is absolutely essential that there should be some restraint on the actions of democracy. If there is not some check, then democracy is going to go down. There is going to be a reaction against democracy, and the individual rights and liberties which are so strongly insisted upon, at the expense as I suggest of individual duties to the State, will be gone, and perhaps gone forever. The duty of this House is to sit down and think what is best for this country in the circumstances of this country, with the people largely— as I pointed out on a previous occasion —politically uneducated. You are not going to get this country free, you are not going to give them democratic freedom which will properly and justly guarantee to them their real rights and liberties, unless you put some sort of a check on democratic action. We do not stand here, as has been suggested by Deputy Norton and the Minister for Industry and Commerce, in adoration of the Seanad. We do, however, say that there must be some check on democracy if democracy is to succeed. Because we have real democracy at heart, because we believe in the rights which our predecessors put into the Constitution and guaranteed to the people of this country, and because the Cumann na nGaedheal Party, of which we are the successors, gave to this country the most democratic Constitution in the world, we believe in democracy, and believe that democracy should be safeguarded. We believe that the Government, in introducing and carrying through this Bill, if they do carry it through, will be hitting the death blow at democratic rights in this country.

The Government will carry through this Bill. Get rid of any illusion upon that subject. That is a basic fact. With that basic fact, I want any member of the House to answer in the negative this question. Imagine the worst thing that can possibly happen if the Seanad is abolished. I want you to strain your imagination—the sort of facts that we have had from the opposite side would strain ordinary people's imagination—but I want you to try to imagine the worst thing that could possibly happen. Then I want you to say whether any of these things could be prevented, in the currency of the present Dáil, under the Constitution that is left in our possession by the Government that was thrown out. It is perfectly simple to abolish the judiciary, to bring about the expropriation of private property——

Mr. Rice

Your money is safe in England.

Before I come to the irrelevant subject of the Seanad may I say that I am fully conscious that the real subject of discussion here to-night is my banking account; where I was born; the relation between the Twelve Apostles and the fish buyers, and Peter the Packer. I know that these are the primary and important issues, and that every one of them will be raised, and that it will be felt I am evading them. I desire to apologise if I do not deal directly with these questions which are apparently the basic principle of every Second Reading debate in this House. I shall deal with them perhaps on the Education Estimates. Say I introduce a Bill next September abolishing the judiciary. Is there any means under the Constitution, at present, that will prevent it passing in the currency of the present Dáil? Is there any machinery that will prevent it passing before next April? We did not make the Constitution; it was left to us. Every attack upon this Bill, founded upon that, is an attack upon those who in ten years completed such a beautiful Constitution that everything evil they could imagine coming under this Bill could be accomplished without any alteration of that Constitution.

I remember the Boer War. I remember the amazing series of highly democratic articles which appeared in English newspapers at that time. I never heard a purer democracy preached by anybody than that preached by the English newspapers during the Boer War, when they wanted to do something for the Out-landers. They forgot it immediately the war was over, and they have never spoken of it since. I have never heard anything quite so perfect, from the point of view of complete and real democratic right, than I heard in this debate from the Opposition. There is the old proverb of the devil being ill.

"When the devil was sick the devil a saint would be,

When the devil was well be called himself U.I.P."

Mr. Rice

That is a great joke.

Is the Deputy now alluding to my bank account?

Mr. Rice

I said that was a great joke.

I am sorry. We heard of the unrestrained action of the democracy. Now unless the unrestrained action of the democracy is restrained something very serious is going to happen! I want to know by what democracy is to be restrained? On what principle? Autocratic, oligarchic, matriarchic. By what principle is it suggested—and mind this is a principle —by what principle is democracy, in the interests of democracy, to be restrained? You have got to answer that question. I think it is by real democracy. And how shall we recognise real democracy? Are we to recognise "real" democracy as something that cannot get away with the majority of the people, something that cannot get votes; because this "unreal" democracy is apparently government formed by people who go down to the common people and say: "Vote for us and follow our policy." The unrestrained action of democracy must be restrained by what? Now somebody perhaps will answer that. By the Irish Times? By what is unrestrained democracy to be restrained in the interests of democracy? Who is going to judge of the thing that is better and higher than democracy and that is to restrain it? There may be such a thing. I want somebody to tell me about it. Perhaps it is Christian principles. Christian principles interpreted by whom? Is it Christian principles interpreted by the Irish Times or is it on Christian principles interpreted by a majority got from the manhood of the most Catholic and Christian people in the whole world? Can you suggest a higher criterion? If it is not Christian principle, as interpreted by a Catholic majority of a Catholic country, by what is it to be restrained? What is the higher principle you are going to govern on as “real” democracy? There was a lot of things said that were very reminiscent. I am only taking one speech and I suppose one could take any one. Single seat elections apparently were to be got rid of. They could be got rid of under the present Constitution. All you want to do is to introduce a Bill any time within six months —now listen to this—of the end of the legal tenure of this Dáil, and we could accomplish it, without abolishing the Seanad. And if we choose we could so arrange without abolishing the Seanad that we could introduce it within two days of the dissolution. Without abolishing the Seanad we could so arrange that within one hour a Bill making permanent this Dáil (without abolishing the Seanad) could come into operation, or single seat elections or any other disastrous thing you like. I rather think that single seat elections at one time were considered in a very friendly fashion by Cumann na nGaedheal. I remember the late President protesting bitterly against proportional representation and the unfortunate limitations it had upon the activities of his Government. It was only because of the continued foolishness that he was not able to recover from, namely, that he was going to win the last election, that he allowed proportional representation to remain. Then the next story we had—and even a more eminent person than the ex-Attorney-General has fathered this story—is of a majority of one. By a majority of one you must not do this.

Let us have a look at this. This is General O'Duffy. He is in Ennis temporarily:—

"The Government have only a majority of one in the Dáil—77 to 76. Supposing for a moment that they lose that majority, supposing that the majority of the Dáil disagrees with some piece of legislation and throws it out, will the Government proceed to abolish the Dáil also as another menace to the country?"

The majority having disappeared, according to General O'Duffy they will then begin to act. Previously he said that a Government with a majority of one has no right whatever to do things of this kind—to pass a Constitutional amendment with a majority of one. When had Cumann na nGaedheal a majority of one?

Deputy Rice will tell you that.

Oh, no, he was going to elect one and to get £15,000,000 for housing.

Mr. Rice

I was not a fly-boy like you. You were a fly-boy.

I was dealing with the majority. Go back to the banking account.

Mr. Rice

Go back to the fly-boys.

Go back to the debate.

A majority of one! I do not happen to have the reference, but I promise to give it to you later. On the Constitution (Amendment) Bill, the late President was talking very much in the spirit of our friends opposite, except that it was the majority then that was sacred and not the minority, and I said to him: "You passed a Constitutional amendment through this House on Second Reading by a majority of one. Do you call that constitutional?" He said: "Yes, I do." Apparently it is perfectly constitutional and perfectly proper for a Cumann na nGaedheal Government to pass a Constitutional amendment by a majority of one, but it is quite wrong for a Fianna Fáil Government to pass it by a majority of 22. Now, let us see what that majority of one meant. We have a majority of one over all the other elected representatives in the House. When had Cumann na nGaedheal that? Had they that when they passed Constitution Amendment No. 17? Not a bit of it. They had a majority made up of every scrag and stray they could collect anywhere.

Yes, they collected everybody. They had the farmers—third remove in succession from the present farmers. They had the whole of the Independents. They had the National League, and I do not know whom else they had, but they had not a majority of one, which seems to be the standard of unconstitutionalism to which we seem to have dropped. We have a majority of one, on a perfectly clear issue, over the whole of the voting power in the country, but we have in addition a body which is pledged to the same purpose as we have in this matter, which has been pledged to that purpose from the beginning and which went to the electorate on that pledge. Our majority was not made up of "indications of appreciation." It was not made up of men who were described by the President, when he was not using them, as "bankrupt of intelligence."

In the debate now proceeding Deputies are confined to stating reasons for or against the abolition of the Seanad. The Parliamentary Secretary has strayed far from that in going into the constitution of Cumann na nGaedheal three years ago.

I have no desire to stray. I am dealing now with points which were put up by the actual leader of the Opposition, who said that we had no right to do this kind of thing when the Government had only a majority of one.

The Parliamentary Secretary has pursued that line far enough.

I agree. I should have plenty more stuff if I were to take up all the wretched little misrepresenting points which have been put up in one speech from the Opposition. Proportional representation was to go. It can go, if we wish it, and they cannot prevent us, but it was they who were in favour of getting rid of proportional representation. Then we got on to some extraordinary stuff in which it seems that the Opposition in the House are responsible for the condition in which Bills go to the Seanad. I simply pass that by saying that it shows the sort of stuff which Opposition Deputies can get rid of. There was, as has been pointed out, a provision in the Constitution by which all these evils could be prevented, and deliberately, consciously and of set purpose, in order that the majority should be dominant in this House, and in disregard of the rights of the minority, they took it out. Why did they take it out? It would have enabled them to go back to the people and ask what they wanted. Why did you take it out? Because you claimed the right to alter the rules of the game during the course of the game whenever it suited you. Now you have the absolute impudence to suggest that we are responsible for the condition in which you find them, having altered them for your own purposes. We have uncertainty in the economic position, we are told, but, under the Constitution as you left it, we can get money whether you like it or not.

We were asked why we delayed for 20 months in bringing in this Bill. Because we had an amazing and almost unbelievable patience. We tried to give them a chance. We gave the Seanad an opportunity of deciding whether or not it was going to act as an impartial Chamber. Then, under the Constitution as you left it, we gave a warning to the Seanad that its time of dominance was coming to an end, and that it was time it made its soul. There is another very good reason why that clause limiting the period of delay by the Seanad was introduced. If it had not been introduced, for 21 months, unless the Government went to the country, it would have been impossible for it to implement the pledge we gave to the country. Unless that limiting Bill were introduced, you would come to a period in which no pledge that had been given by the Fianna Fáil Government when it went to the country last, could have been fulfilled except by permission of the Seanad. That was an intolerable position.

What is there in principle between a Cumann na nGaedheal Government extending the period of delay of the Seanad from nine months to 21 months and some other Government reducing it, say, from nine months to seven months, six months, four months, or no months? Who gave us the precedent? What was there sacred about the 547 days that the Seanad could hold up that there is not in ten days or ten minutes? We are simply adopting the principle which you have enshrined in a Constitutional amendment: the power of the Dáil under the Constitution to alter the period during which the Seanad shall hold up legislation. Now there was a perfectly definite pledge. What I mean is that you can hardly get language stronger than the term "abolish." Abolish does not mean anything but abolish. It means cutting a man off below the feet. It does not mean paring his nails. Abolish means abolish, and the Seanad as at present constituted shall be abolished. That was the pledge given to the electorate by the Fianna Fáil Government.

How is the Seanad constituted? It consists of its personnel and it consists of its power, and in its abolition we are abolishing both its power and its personnel. That is the pledge which we gave. It is the pledge on which we were returned. A snatch vote at a general election, we are told, is not enough. Who invented snatch elections? Who invented not having elections until it suited them? Who invented not having the House meet until it suited them? What sort of elections had you when the Public Safety Act was introduced: when a new element had been introduced into the Dáil and when, for the first time, you had practically all the representatives here? You got a vote of confidence by a majority of one: by the casting vote of the Chair, and then you ran a snatch election. They did not suggest that the result of that snatch election, though it was very uncomfortable for them with the little bit of a bought majority that they got —with all their indications of appreciation, bankrupts and all the rest of it —did not give them the right to rule. It was that majority that the late Minister for Agriculture said had the right to anything it "damn well pleased," a majority of one. You had the power under the sacred Constitution which you left us, by simply pleading the public safety, to prevent the operation of the Referendum even when it was there and you had no shame in it. This unfortunate sick devil—I mean it is well that its memory should be stimulated as to the sort of things it has done in the past.

Now, of course, the Seanad has done nothing. It has not interfered with legislation at all. It has let all legislation go through in the nicest possible way, and it has improved it. It cut the heart out of the Land Bill. The Control of Manufactures Bill was made futile. That Chamber actually had the impudence to hold up the extension of the Franchise Bill. Now, if there is anything in the wide world that that House ought not to hold up, and has no right to touch at all, it certainly is an extension of the franchise. Then, when it got the Army Bill, it said: "In three months you must do what the Cumann na nGaedheal Government could not do in 11 years or we will leave you without any Army." To finish up it said: "There shall be organised in this country a semi-military force with uniforms, with military orders and all the rest of it," and that shall be done in spite of the statement of the Executive that it is against the public peace: in spite of the statements of those charged with the maintenance of public peace in this country that such a thing was going to produce disorder. No, they did not interfere with us at all, and they were not going to interfere with any other legislation. They had just reached the stage when the cup was so full that it turned into a shower bath. It is time that they had a shower bath. There was no hint, we were told, that this Bill was going to be introduced. I can remember all our people going around during the general election whispering: "We will not introduce a Seanad abolition Bill," Not a hint of it, not a word. There were not 1,365,000 clectors in this country who heard it was coming in. There was an actual majority of the total votes polled in this country that had been waiting for the last two years asking the same question that has been asked from the other side: "Why are we waiting, why do we stand this nonsense any longer, why do we not get rid of it?" No hint that it was coming! As to the hasty preparation of the Bill, and the idea of getting it through quickly, surely the House has not forgotten that the Partition Bill was introduced and that the Party opposite tried to get it through in one day. Surely Deputies have not forgotten that there was a Public Safety Act. Before that measure went to the Seanad, even before it was introduced here, provision had been made and a time-table arranged for the taking of it. These are the people who do not want anything in a hurry.

The most amazing complaint of all was made by Deputy Dillon. He said that the dominance of President de Valera in his own Party is notorious. Here is a Party that has not got three leaders who differ from each other on every single thing in the world. I do not like to use strong language, but the idea that we should have a Party and a leader in whom we have confidence is an outrage upon all the traditions of the United Ireland Party.

It has been alleged, and I am not at all sure that it has been alleged with absolute recklessness—I would not call it an actual statement of the truth, though there is a great deal of truth in it—that the Seanad has been merely a rubber stamp for Cumann na nGaedheal. I do not think that is quite true. It is a little bit doubtful as to which was the stamp. At a certain moment in the history of this Dáil, when the unwillingness of the Cumann na nGaedheal Government to provide £300,000 for old age pensions caused that Government to get out for a time, the organ of the Independent Party in this country wrote a series of very interesting and illuminating leading articles. Some day I propose, probably on the Education Estimates, to read the whole of them to you, because I think they ought to be on the records of the House. Broadly speaking, they amounted to this—and I am quoting as nearly as possible to actual words—that "the Independents in the Dáil, by their influence, by their money and by their support, have kept Mr. Cosgrave in power for the last ten years. He has sometimes shown himself not conscious, not properly conscious, of the debt which his Government owes to those who have so supported him, but every man has his price." That was the statement of the organ of the Independents, who for ten years kept Mr. Cosgrave in power by their influence, by their money and by their votes. Every man has his price, said that organ.

Which was the rubber stamp? What was the price that was paid? Did Cumann na nGaedheal keep the Seanad, or those who held the balance of power in the Seanad, in possession of the Seanad, or did that balance of power keep Cumann na nGaedheal in possession of the Government of this country, capable of turning and twisting and altering its line of advance? I am rather inclined to think Deputy Cosgrave was the rubber stamp. Why did they put the people whom they did put in charge of the Seanad—why did they put some of them there at all? I am rather inclined to think that the Seanad had more influence upon Deputy Cosgrave than Deputy Cosgrave had upon the Seanad. I have no doubt I will be told this is violent abuse, most irrelevant stuff, and that I am personal and abusive. Before I do sit down, will somebody tell me which is the abusive word? Is it abusive to say that under the Constitution which you left to us we can do every evil thing that you say we contemplate under the Constitution as we now intend to alter it? Is that the abusive phrase? Is it abusive to quote the estimate of the organ of the Independents, of their own Party, and of their own political morality? Is it abusive to state what they have stated themselves?

We are told we are going to treat the courts with complete disrespect. I would rather like you to throw your minds back and ask yourselves whether it would be possible for us to treat the courts with greater disrespect than they have been treated by the Cumann na nGaedheal Government under the Constitution before we altered it. I want to give you a few examples. First, there was a Great High Court of the Empire, the Privy Council. When it gave a decision this Dáil, under the Constitution and under the Cumann na nGaedheal Government, produced an Act to say that the decision of a court of this country was the right decision and it stood. So much for the Privy Council, which was the apple of the eye of the people who had kept in power for ten years by their votes and influence the Cosgrave Government. Then there was another case of Article X. The court which had been declared to be higher than the Privy Council decided in one direction; the Privy Council decided in the other, and what did the Dáil do under the Cumann na nGaedheal Government? It actually interpreted the law to be the law as it was laid down by the Privy Council over the head of our court, "and in consideration of that admission we will take £300,000 in payment from the British." Then there was another court here which, on the Local Authorities Mutual Insurance Act, gave a particular decision in law. This Dáil, highly respectful of the courts and not interfering with the courts in any way, brought in a Bill interpreting that. Its interpretation was that the law was and always had been exactly the opposite to what the judges said it was.

You do not need to abolish judges when you can do things like that. I will give you another case. There was the patent case which came before Mr. Justice Meredith, and he decided that the patent law was of a certain kind. What happened? Deputy McGilligan and, I think, the late Minister for Justice, Mr. Kevin O'Higgins, came here and immediately that decision was given they gave notice of the First Reading of a Bill, and their own statement was that if the decision of that court was not reversed by a higher court then it was reversed by the Bill. Deputy McGilligan, the late Minister for Industry and Commerce, highly respectful of the courts, said that that decision was raising the black flag of piracy—the decision of Mr. Justice Meredith which Deputy Johnson, then head of the Labour Party, desired to uphold. He said it was raising the black flag of piracy. That is the respect for the courts.

Why should they want to abolish the judges when it suits them? They choose which court shall be the High Court. They choose which interpretation of the law should be accepted when they actually introduce laws and say "the law is and always has been the exact opposite of the specific decision given in that case by the judge in the High Court here." They say that anyone who goes to court in the Free State as the complainant did in the Osram case, asking for a decision of that court, was raising the black flag of piracy. I do not think you need abolish the judges under those conditions, but at any rate you could do it without abolishing the Seanad. Deputy Costello said there are still some things left. There is Article VI, in spite of the fact that there is a Public Safety Act, which declares that nothing in the Constitution can be pleaded against it.

Remember that under the present Constitution, without abolishing the Seanad, we can introduce an Act now declaring that the decision in the O'Duffy case which they are so fond of was bad ab initio, that the law has always been and now is the reverse of what the judges said it was. That is down here in the Constitution at the present moment. What is to prevent us in introducing the same Act in relation to Article VI? Nothing that I know of. Somebody may know. The worst thing I think they said was that we were objecting to the Blue Shirts advancing to their objective under the shelter of the law. We are advancing to our objective under the shelter of the law as it was left to us by you, and you are complaining of it.

Does it happen that because it is not the Cumann na nGaedheal Party that is the Government that no other Government must use the Constitution? We are using the Constitution precisely as you made it, precisely as you ordered it, and in the direction of the precedent you made when you did alter it. You altered it to give more power of delay to the Seanad. We are altering it to take away all power of delay from the Seanad. You altered it to make it possible for the Seanad to consider Bills from now until after the General Election. We are altering it not to allow them to consider these Bills. But it is said there might be some other kind of Seanad. I do not think it would be called a Seanad. But why should the Seanad as at present constituted be considered and consulted in relation to that new Seanad? When the people of this country gave the President a mandate to abolish the Seanad as at present constituted, did it give him a mandate to ask that Seanad which was unfit to exist, to be one of the deciding factors in deciding what should exist? If the Seanad as at present constituted is to be abolished, the one thing it has no jurisdiction over, the one thing on which it has no right to be consulted about, is the constitution of the Seanad which is to replace it.

I want the Deputies opposite when they get up, to go back to a very simple issue. Do they consider that democracy is the sort of mad dog affair that it is said to be by Deputies opposite? Democracy seems to be that sort of thing in the minds of Deputies opposite. The Seanad is to be used in restraint of their actions which they say are dangerous to the community and they have to be restrained by something or somebody. By what? The second thing I want to know from them is this: if we were to introduce this Bill six months hence the question of delay would not exist—but apart from the question of delay what safeguard is there in the Constitution that the Cumann na nGaedhael Government did not take out, which would prevent us doing now under the Constitution if we were evil-minded, all the things you suggest that we are going to do? Unless you can tell me something higher than democracy to restrain democracy, until you are going to tell me something which you left in the Constitution or which you can put into the Constitution which will restrain us or anybody else from doing within the lifetime of Parliament all the things which the Government has the power and the right to do, then the whole opposition to this Bill goes down.

I would like to see legislation considered with care. I would like to see the means by which people could ensure that there would be none of this hanky-panky that there has been in the past between the Seanad and the Dáil. But unless you can find me a constitution for a Seanad that whatever Party is in power, whatever Government is put back here by the majority will of the people will have absolutely the same equal chance of having its legislation considered and passed on its merits, then I for one am in favour of getting rid of everything that stands in the way. Deputies opposite can, when the President has fulfilled his mandate for the abolition of the Seanad, work out something that can be put in place of the present Seanad, that will not be just what the last Seanad was, what the House of Lords was to the Conservative Party in England and to the Party of advance and progress. If they can find us something that can be put there and that can be useful it will be considered. But it is not the faintest use saying: "we must not get rid of an evil thing until we know something that will be undoubtedly good". Now it is suggested that we should have a Committee in this matter and that we should have considered the possibilities. When the Cumann na nGaedhael Government were altering the Constitution of the Seanad I asked them to set up a Committee and consider the position. The devil was not sick then. The devil is damn sick now.

I propose to devote as much or as little time to the Deputy who has just sat down as the Deputy devoted to this Bill and that is no time at all. There is a time and a place for everything and there is a time and a place for cheap buffoonery. But the Dáil is not the place nor is the introduction of a Bill of this kind the time for cheap buffoonery. One would imagine that when a Bill was being introduced by the Government to abolish one of the two Houses of the Oireachtas, one of the Houses that heretofore constituted the legislature of this country, somebody more responsible than the Deputy who is just vacating the benches would be put up and that we would hear something more intelligent and something more capable of giving this House some slight understanding as to what is the reason at the back of the Government's mind for introducing this Bill. One would imagine that some speaker would get up over there and deal with the Bill and the reason for the introduction of the Bill, and that some defence no matter how poor would be put up for this Bill. But we had a glib-tongued Minister and a boorish back-bencher getting up and one after another carefully avoiding any reference to the Bill. Are you so ashamed of it that you will not even deal with the Bill? If you want to erect a monument to Presidential bad temper would it not be better to build something than destroy something? Have we not enough historical landmarks up and down this country in the shape of ruins and destroyed buildings? If you want a monument to that particularly humiliating episode, would it not be better to erect something in the lawn where we come in rather than tear down one of the houses which constitute the Legislature of this country?

I am opposing this Bill, not because I believe the State is going to come to an end if the Seanad disappears; not because I believe that the Seanad, or even any Second Chamber is indispensable; but I am opposing this Bill because I prefer a fairly competent assembly, no matter how it is constituted, to an incompetent dictatorship, whether by an incompetent individual or a group of incompetent individuals. It is our experience here that if you destroy the Second House, we are not left with one House. We are left a position in which we have a President with a Party of mutes behind him, a Party of "yes-men", a Party of nodders, where no one in the Party dares to have a will of his own or where no one in the Party dares to go against the will of the leader of the Party. He would suffer the same fate as the Seanad if he did. The Seanad is to be wiped out of existence and replaced by something, or replaced by nothing, because it had the audacity to fulfil the functions around which it was constituted. The Seanad in this country has no powers of veto.

We had the Minister for Industry and Commerce, either in his innocence or out of ignorance, talking about the Seanad and its veto. It has no power of veto. The Seanad is given functions which it is bound to fulfil, just as it is the function of this House to introduce legislation, to examine it, to criticise it, to oppose it, each member according to his conscience. In the same way, the Seanad was given definite powers to amend and to delay legislation, and because it fulfilled its functions, not because it did not do its job, but because it dared to fulfil the functions around which it was constituted, and to have an opinion different from that of the President, the Seanad has got to go. It has got to go, like many another in this country, because it did its job, and not because it failed to do its job. Had the Seanad been cowed, over-awed or intimidated; had it funked doing its job, there would be no Bill to abolish it. Because it did its job, we had a Bill introduced in a white frenzy, in passion and in haste, without even taking time to get its name put through the Governmental printing press. We have every evidence of bad temper, bad taste, and every evidence of an absence of a sense of responsibility, and this Bill is defended, like every other bad Bill that came from those benches, not by the Government standing over it and saying that that is their policy, but by the Government weakly sheltering behind the people, and sheltering behind a word which they have made as common and as false as any word could be—the word "mandate."

Here, previously in this House, I asked the Government, when they were taking any course of action, whether right or wrong, to stand on their own legs and justify it according to their own judgment, and not be touring the world to get some country to shelter behind, and say: "This was done in Latvia" or some other part of the world. When really evil legislation is being introduced, we have them sheltering behind the people themselves and sheltering behind a mandate. What is a mandate? Do you claim a mandate for everything that is mentioned in the course of an election campaign? If so, and if it is compulsory on you to carry out everything that was mentioned, you have a mandate for removing unemployment; you have a mandate for producing better wages; you have a mandate for reducing taxation by £2,000,000; you have a mandate for de-rating the agricultural land; you have a mandate for remitting the annuities. What about all those mandates? Is there anything sacred about them? Are they to be discarded lightly and forgotten easily, and another little bit, picked out of the mixed grill, served up to the people, and are the people to be made responsible? Why has the Second House to go? The Minister for Industry and Commerce put it in a few words down in Mayo last Sunday. He did not make a case that there was constant obstruction and constant interference with government. He put it in a few words and said that as they would not have the "Shirt" Bill, now they would have "the Shift Bill." That statement by a Minister is, I presume, an honest statement in a few words. The Seanad is not to go for any other reason than that it obstructed the Blue Shirt Bill. The one offence, in the eyes of the Government, of this Assembly, which is being held up as representative of the minority and as representative of the ascendancy parties in this country, is that it held up the Blue Shirt Bill.

I would remind Deputies opposite that it is not the wealthy or the mighty and the great and grand of the land that wear blue shirts and blue blouses. It is the poor and the humble in this land that are to be found inside of blue blouses and blue shirts. It is the agricultural labourer, the town worker, the small farmers' sons, that are to be found inside the blue shirt. If there was any undemocratic action or any violent action against the poor of this country, it was on the part of the Government that presumed to pull the shirts off their backs. If the Seanad had no real argument for existing as a purely democratic factor, it has an argument since it held up that Bill. That Bill, like this Bill, was a Bill conceived in passion and delivered in haste, and that combination can result in nothing but a monstrosity. One would imagine, to hear the arguments for the abolition of the Seanad that are advanced from Fianna Fáil platforms, that there was something peculiarly Republican in a one-Chamber Constitution, and that there was something peculiarly anti-Republican in a two-Chamber Constitution. I do not claim to be familiar with all the Constitutions of the world, or even of Europe, but I would venture to say that the two-Chamber Constitution is more characteristic of republican or non-monarchical countries than of monarchical countries. The reason is obvious.

If there is a king, a crowned head, a monarch in the country, he is a factor that makes for the continuity of affairs, for the levelling out of political passions, for the smoothing over of the political emotion or political passion that may arise following a hurricane general election. If a Second House is wanted in any country, it is essentially in a country where there is not a monarchy, where you have not that levelling influence, where political passions may boil up, and, in heat and in hurry legislation be enacted which we would all live to regret. We have in this Bill before us an example of hasty legislation, born out of rage, born out of pique. It is essentially the type of legislation which, on fuller consideration, would be drastically altered.

If there is an argument wanted for the necessity for a Second House in this country that argument is supplied by the President's impassioned departure from the Seanad, his impassioned entry here, and the introduction of a Bill, in haste and anger, before even the Title could be printed. That is the kind of thing a Second House is wanted for—in order to delay. If the mandate of Fianna Fáil was so clear, so exacting, if it was so definite that it was a mandate for the abolition of the Seanad, was the President playing at humbug when he introduced a Bill some time ago to reduce the delaying power of the Seanad to 60 days? Was that all humbug? Was that a blatant defiance of the people? Was that refusing to carry out the mandate? How was it that the mandate to abolish the Seanad in its completeness was only produced when the Seanad defended the democrats of this country; when the Seanad refused to let a Bill through that would enshrine tyranny in an Act of hasty legislation in this country? The Seanad has no powers of veto; it has powers of delay. In the previous legislation regarding the Seanad the Government apparently stood over and for those powers of delay. Is it all to go now because the Seanad fulfilled its functions? Do you want a Seanad that would be cowed or intimidated; that would be afraid to fulfil its functions; that would be a Seanad of "yes-men"?

While we have one speaker opposite saying that the Seanad is merely representative of the ascendancy party, the old gang, the minority of this country, we have a Minister standing up to tell us that by next December the position in the Seanad will be a fifty-fifty position as between the two Parties here. Does that Minister claim that he or his Party are any more representative of nationalist Ireland than the people of this side, or that even he or his Party are any more representative of extreme nationalism than the people who sit on this side of the House? If you have a fifty-fifty representation next December of that Party and this Party, is it fair to regard that Assembly as an ascendancy gang, as people merely representative of the minority? Would it not be better to be honest and to say, no matter what the views of these people are, no matter what is their persuasion, no matter how carefully and conscientiously they do their job, that they will not be tolerated because they will not say "yes" like so many slaves to every bit of dirty and petty Governmental legislation, to every tyrannical act of the Government; because they will not submit and say "yes," because they stand in the way of a tyrannical dictatorship by a group, that they must be brushed out of the path?

I welcome more and more public light on this particular Bill. In spite of the jeers and jibes of the Minister for Industry and Commerce, I would welcome the submission of this Bill to the people. As Deputy Costello said, some years ago there might have been grave doubt as to whether the majority of the people of the country wanted a Seanad or not. Propaganda had slandered that body. Propaganda slandered every man and group of men that ever stood up in this country to do a decent day's work. The Seanad was the subject of slander, of propaganda, and of misrepresentation. Some years ago there might have been doubt as to whether a majority of the democrats of this country wanted the Seanad or not. I believe there is no doubt now. I believe that the majority of the people regard the Seanad to-day as every bit as democratic and a lot more upright and courageous than the Parties that ornament or decorate this particular Assembly. I believe that the people are gradually beginning to appreciate the fact that there is a will in the Seanad, that individuals come there to vote according to their conscience, according as honour directs, and not according as a boss here or a boss there directs. If there was really a weighing up of the relative positions of the Dáil and the Seanad in the public mind at present, I believe that the majority of the people place more value on the Seanad than they do on the Dáil.

I would welcome a test of that. The sooner the test would come, at all events, the sooner you would get an answer. I believe that the recent actions of the Seanad—their action with regard to the Land Bill, their action with regard to the Blueshirt Bill—convinced the ordinary people up and down the country that it is necessary to have such an Assembly. I believe that if any further convincing of the electorate is required it was given in the hasty, panicky, angry way in which this particular piece of legislation was introduced because somebody stood in the Presidential path. I for one oppose this particular Bill because I believe this Bill is only just the vanguard out to clear the road for a dictatorship in this country and I would rather have a Second House who would do their business in a competent way than a dictatorship of incompetent individuals.

I have listened to all the speeches delivered by Deputies opposite this afternoon very carefully. There was one particular note which struck me very much and that is, their anxiety about the various consequences that may follow as soon as this Bill goes through. Apart from that, there is another thing which struck me, and certainly I did not think that I would have heard it in this House to-night, and that is one of the statements made by Deputy O'Higgins, that the reason this Bill has been introduced, and I suppose incidentally he meant why it is going to be passed, is because the Seanad was a defender of democracy in the Saorstát. I am not sure whether he meant that seriously or not. I do not want to touch upon the personnel of that Assembly, but I would ask Deputy O'Higgins to consult as soon as possible his own leader with regard to the records and attitude to democracy of some of the members of that Assembly, called the Seanad. I remember, and possibly, Deputy Cosgrave and Deputy Mulcahy will remember, that away back in the early days of the struggle, before the Treaty, certain individuals in this country did take a very active part in opposition to the Republican movement and I freely, in this Assembly, pay a tribute to the work that was done at that time by the leader of the United Ireland Party—General O'Duffy. He had with him by his side all the time a man who was a distinguished officer in the Army afterwards, and one member of the Assembly which is now about to walk the plank, as some Deputy said, rather harshly treated not only General O'Duffy's comrade but was indirectly the means of putting in jail the present leader of the United Ireland Party.

I think it has been already ruled that we are not to discuss the personnel of the Seanad nor to discuss members in such a fashion that they can be recognised. I think the Deputy is encroaching a little on that ruling.

With all respect, I mentioned no names.

But they can be recognised from the indications the Deputy has given.

We will leave that go for the moment, then.

The Deputy is now talking about Deputy Geoghegan?

No. I am talking about a man who got jail as a result of the activities of one of the men you are defending to-night.

Let us get back to the Bill.

I heard a lot of talk, too, from the Opposition Benches about this wonderful and marvellous Constitution which controls this State. Deputy Costello said that they had handed over to us one of the most democratic Constitutions in the world. It may be, but I understood that the Constitution which at present exists is a far different Constitution from the Constitution which was originally drafted and which was blue pencilled afterwards by the British Cabinet in London. I understood that they made certain alterations, and amongst the certain alterations that were made—I am speaking subject to correction and I am speaking of news as it appeared at that time—was their insistence on a certain type of Seanad in this country. Deputy Cosgrave will certainly know much better than I the facts with regard to that.

That statement is not true.

It is not true?

Was the original Constitution altered in any way at that time?

Oh, well—now! The Deputy is asking me a question about what happened 12 years ago. I really could not remember what alterations were made in the Constitution, but I do recollect this: that any alterations that were made, or rather any representations towards alterations that were made by the British Government were disclosed to this House, and this House was invited to vote on them freely and voluntarily——

That was after the election.

——with only one stipulation, that the Executive Council at the time was standing over the instrument as recommended to the House and the House was quite free to alter, amend or treat it as they wished.

I do not think this instrument, as Deputy Cosgrave calls it, is so sacrosanct as all that, because I distinctly remember, and so does the Deputy, that on the morning on which the Pact election in 1922 was held, it was immediately before the voters went to the poll about 9 o'clock in the morning that that document first saw the light in this country. The people never saw it until that morning, and I certainly, for one, have not the same respect for that instrument as Deputy Cosgrave and others who were associated with him at that time seem to have. I do not see that it is such a terrible crime at all to alter this precious Constitution. I certainly do not see that there is very much wrong at all with such an action. It was drawn up, I understand, in conformity with, and within the four walls of, the Treaty. We were told on many occasions in the country, during the course of elections, that if Fianna Fáil ever became the Government of this country there would be red ruin and revolution, that nobody would be safe in his house, that there would be another civil war, that the guns would be brought out again, that nobody could walk along the roads and that there would be a terrible time altogether. All that failed and it only existed in the imagination of the people who made those statements at that time. Fianna Fáil has come into office; Fianna Fáil is altering this Constitution; Fianna Fáil is going to abolish the Seanad, and there is not as much as one man in the entire 26 counties which comprise the Free State will as much as get his hair cut as a result.

I was just taking a glance at the benches opposite during this debate and I noticed that the Deputies of the Opposition are very anxious and very much interested in a defence of this body, this Seanad, but at one period, when Deputy Flinn was speaking, I noticed that on the Opposition Benches there were exactly four Deputies, and one of them was asleep. That is perfectly true. It may be personal antagonism to a Deputy——

It is no compliment to his speech that a Deputy was asleep——

——but when a body is being discussed which has defended you and kept you pretty well together for a considerable time, you might at least pay them the compliment of staying here and hearing what the people had to say about it——

A Deputy

The people?

That is asking too much.

What the Deputy has to say about it. I think there is one thing that should not have been mentioned here in this debate if Deputies on the opposite side had any sense of humour, and that is the majority of one. Certainly, we have only a majority of one, but that one is over all comers, and a majority of one is a very historical majority in this Assembly, because had it not been for a majority of one, brought about mainly by the secession of Deputy Rice from his Party and by the absence of ex-Deputy Jinks from this Assembly, Cumann na nGaedheal would not have been in office for quite a long time. That is so and well you know it. Deputy Rice remained and Deputy Jinks went away which brought about the majority of one that kept Cumann na nGaedheal in office for a considerable time.

Do not forget where Deputy Traynor and his five companions were.

Deputy Traynor will always be able to answer for himself. He was always in the bearna baoghail when there was any fighting to be done for this country.

He would not come into the House that time.

Perhaps that was his attitude at the moment, but he never funked any dangerous position and well Deputy Mulcahy knows that.

He did not come into the House then.

I was also a little amused by Deputy Dillon's speech, and more particularly when he talked and showed some little anxiety about the scrapping of judges. If this Bill went through, judges could be removed from the judiciary as one of the terrible consequences of the Bill. I remember, and I am a lot older than Deputy Dillon, reading a speech about certain judges—I should like to mention their names, but I am afraid I cannot—who took a very prominent part in imprisoning young Irishmen here in the days of the Land League. A very distinguished Irishman, by the name of Dillon, was one of the warmest, as far as I remember from reading the speeches of that period, in insisting that certain judges should be removed from the bench, and it did not do the country a bit of harm. Deputy Dillon knows that the result of this Bill will not be to remove any judge from the bench; that this Bill is not, as Deputy Cosgrave said, going to be the cause of the commandeering of money. Perfectly well he knows that. It is perfectly well understood in the United Ireland Party that no such consequences will occur. The real reason and the main reason for this Bill before the House is that the Seanad is a clog upon progress, and that the Seanad is there in the interests of a certain Party. I should like very much—if I would be in order —to read some of their records, showing their attitude towards the ideals of the people of this country for many years. Perfectly well certain members of the United Ireland Party know that as well as I do. Certainly there was no sorrier man than I was, during the course of the meetings before the last election and other general elections, to see a man, for whom I used to have the highest regard, in the company he appeared with on the platforms throughout the country.

It is about time we had a little bit of plain speaking about this. The Seanad serves no useful purpose whatever. Deputy O'Higgins said he believed it had become a popular body in the country. Deputy Harris and myself were quite recently attending a meeting in County Kildare. It was not a friendly meeting to us at all; it was about fifty-fifty. I can assure Deputies opposite that when the question of the Seanad was mentioned, one man, who was a prominent member of what used to be Cumann na nGaedheal—I suppose he is now in the Blue Shirt movement, or at least in sympathy with it; he is a little old—and has no sympathy whatever with the Government, nor with Fianna Fáil, broke into a towering rage, and said: "What in the name of Providence do they want that ornament for? What good does it do? What is the reason why the Government, if it has the courage of its convictions, does not introduce a Bill to scrap it as early as possible?" I, as one Deputy on the Government side, would be perfectly willing to give Deputy Dillon his chance in the country to-morrow. I would do more; I would go to the country on one issue, and one issue only —the abolition of the Seanad. I know as much about the country, possibly, as Deputy Dillon, and I would not have the slightest fear or the slightest doubt as to the result.

Mr. Rice

Then resign your seat.

He is going to.

There is one thing I will never do; I will never desert my leader or my Party in exchange for a job.

Mr. Rice

What job?

Your present one.

Mr. Rice

What job? Are you resigning your seat in Leix-Offaly?

Talk sense. I was speaking about going to the country. One of the amendments to the Constitution which was brought in here by the Cumann na nGaedheal Government when in office was the abolition of the Referendum. As I was saying to a Deputy here a short time ago, I never could see the reason why that was taken out of the Constitution. If I might make the suggestion, I would say in all sincerity that that is one of the things which should be reinserted in the Constitution, because when you have a Referendum the real Seanad is the people. As Deputy Norton said, when it comes to a highly controversial question the last court of appeal is the people. If we had that clause reinserted in the Constitution and a Referendum again available—it having been scrapped by the Cumann na nGaedheal Government when in office —surely to goodness there would be a court of appeal that would satisfy everybody.

Deputy O'Higgins also made play with the point that we were misinterpreting the word "mandate." I do not believe that there is anybody in this House so stupid as to misunderstand what the word "mandate" means. The word mandate—as far as I can judge, and as far as I can recollect from having seen it—means an authority received from some individual to carry out a certain job. We put it to the people during the course of the election that we certainly would abolish the Seanad, and we were returned by a majority of one over all Parties. We are going to carry out that job. There is no use whatever in trying to delay the progress of this Bill through the Dáil, because it is going through. After it has gone through, Deputies opposite may make up their minds that none of those terrible consequences they talk about is going to occur. It is too idiotic and too simple. It is on all-fours with the wild scares they tried to create prior to the last general election, and the general election before that. The world would come to an end if Fianna Fáil became the Government! Now, if the Seanad is abolished the world will come to an end, everything will go west, and nothing in ordinary social life will go on as it ought to go! We are going to take our chance on that.

It has been suggested that none of us has the courage to stand up against what they call the tyranny of our leader. At any rate, we have this upon which to congratulate ourselves, that we stood firmly behind him all the time he was in the wilderness; we stood behind him all the years he was in the minority; we stood behind him during the times when elections were being fought, as Deputy Mulcahy knows, with rifle fire at meetings; we stood behind him in the days when he went to Clare and was taken off in an armoured car; we stood behind him during all those years when the most tyrannical Government which was ever in existence tried to put us down and out for ever. We stood behind him then; we are standing behind him now, and will continue to stand behind him until he completes the job.

When a Bill is introduced into this House it must be assumed that its purpose is to make a change in the law in order to bring about an improvement in the country. I have listened to quite a number of speeches in the House to-day; I have looked through certain things written in the private organ of the President, and I have not seen anywhere or heard of any attempt to prove or demonstrate in any way that when the purpose which this Bill is out to achieve has been achieved it will make an improvement here. The Minister for Industry and Commerce got up, and his argument largely was that the Seanad has very little power, that it is not serving a very great purpose, and, therefore, that things will not be much worse when it is gone. It was really up to him to prove that things would be improved. Like the last Deputy who spoke, the usual attempt of the Minister for Industry and Commerce is to appeal to the vilest prejudices in this country, to appeal to the people to sin against justice out of mere hate for a certain section of the community here. It is true that in the Seanad, as in the Dáil, there are certain people who may be described as ex-Unionists. In the Fianna Fáil Party there are people who could be described as ex-Unionists, and I have no doubt that the same applies to our own Party. Amongst the Fianna Fáil Senators there are people who can be described as ex-Unionists, but as long as they say the correct thing to suit the present Government they are patriots. Any man who can be labelled as an ex-Unionist is to be decried in the country, against all justice. The Minister for Industry and Commerce mentioned two men. As regards one of them I believe—I am not sure— that an attempt was made last year to use him as a sort of intermediary, and I think that, financially, he is of more benefit to this country than all the members of the Fianna Fáil Party put together. As regards the other, the Minister has not a very long memory, but he may recollect that in 1922, when negotiations were first proposed, a truce was not included. President de Valera and the rest of us wanted a truce badly, and he appealed to certain men. Why did he appeal to them? He appealed to them because—although they were not members of our Party and did not necessarily agree with everything that we held—he said at the time that he recognised that they were sincere Irishmen, moved solely by a love of this country, even though they disagreed with him on certain points. One of the men mentioned by the Minister for Industry and Commerce is one of the men whom the President, at that time, was glad to appeal to, as a man who loved and desired to serve this country, to get us out of a very dangerous and difficult position. Again we have the President's own words in this House that when he wanted to put an end to the fighting, and get into safety at the end of the civil war, he appealed to certain men. Why did he appeal to them? Did he appeal to them because he knew they were enemies, only desirous of destroying this country? He appealed to them because he believed they were men who loved this country and desired to serve it. He made certain proposals to them to bring before us. That was when it suited his purpose; when he wanted to save his own life, and the lives of his followers. When these men stand in the way of a dictatorship they are to be denounced by the Minister for Industry and Commerce, and Deputy Donnelly and the rest of them, as historic and ancient enemies of this country. The dishonesty and blackguardism and injustice of that should make every person in this country rise up in wrath, but I know it will not because the people of this country have for years been blinded by propaganda, appealing only to their basest and most degraded instincts. There are such people in this country as there are in every other country. I ask, is this going to bring about improvement? What is to be the position when the Seanad is gone? Long tradition of civilised government has brought about a certain amount of wisdom. It is common knowledge that the power of life and death—the supreme power of the State—must be left in the hands of certain people. That is necessary owing to the nature of human society. At the same time, it is recognised as a result of long experience that such power in the hands of certain people must not be used in a tyrannical, unjust and disgraceful manner; and civilised humanity has sought to find a way whereby it would be possible for such power to be held and exercised for the good of the people, and at the same time to restrain it by preventing it from being used unjustly against the people.

The President spoke about other countries that were uni-cameral. This country took on the form of civilised government; and here we have a Government restrained in several ways. When we were the Government of the country the Fianna Fáil Party went about declaring that this was not a sovereign country; that we were not responsible; that we were simply the mouthpiece of the British and that we took our orders from the British. They knew well that these were all lies, but they served their purposes with the more ignorant section of their followers. They declared that there should be an unlimited sovereignty not belonging to man but to God. But when the President of the Executive Council came into power his idea was that he must be an absolute dictator. He is unable to think in any other terms. I know the President as well as any of his old followers on the Front Bench opposite. The Seanad is anathema to him, because it delays certain Bills that he wants to have passed immediately. What is the position in all normal, constitutionally-governed countries? In any normal country the Government is restrained in several ways. The greatest restraint is the Constitution itself which cannot be changed by ordinary legislation or by any Government with a mere parliamentary majority in one House. In several countries changes in the Constitution can be brought about in various ways. In Spain, it is brought about by a general election. In America, a change in the Constitution can only be brought about by a complicated process that makes it almost impossible to effect a change. In France, a change in the Constitution can only be brought about, also, by a very complicated process, so that in these countries even if there was no Second Chamber there are great restrictions upon the Government. In most of these countries besides the limitations I have indicated there is also the limitation of a Second Chamber. In practically all civilised countries there is another restraint, namely, that of the Monarch or the President. In no country in the world does it happen that the President or head of the State is elected in the same way or identically with the ordinary legislative body. There is always a distinction between the two. The elections are at different times and each franchise is for different periods of years, so as to keep them separate. In these countries certain powers are invested in the head of the State whether Monarch or President. Here there is no power in the head of the State. Under the present régime the Governor-General is not allowed even to give a tea-party. Constitutionally he is bound to accept the advice of the Executive Council. We are going to create a position in this country in which the Executive Council is to be all-powerful. It is to be relieved of all restraint. It is to be relieved of working within the Constitution, which cannot be changed in other countries without a complicated process and the restraint of the Monarch or the President and the restraint of a Second Chamber.

Ministers opposite have gone about denouncing General O'Duffy as anxious to set up a dictatorship. But we have a dictatorship here now. We admit we handed that position over to our successors. In creating the new State we had to proceed hurriedly. There was a definite time limit in which the Constitution had to be enacted and we produced the Constitution hurriedly. We knew that if we made an immutable law it would impose restraint, and create a condition of things that might cause suffering and injury to the country rather than be a benefit to it. Therefore, when the Constitution was passed originally it was provided that for a period of eight years it could be changed by ordinary legislation. Before that eight years was up we extended that period of eight years to another eight years. I do not suppose the Party opposite will believe me when I say that one member of our Government, and not the least important member of our Government, insisted that that should be done, because he said he felt that a new Government coming into office should have the power of fixing or making changes in the Constitution, and that it should not be the work of one Government alone. Consequently, due to the circumstances of the country, we wisely or unwisely left the position in which the Constitution or fundamental law of the country could be changed by ordinary legislation. What is the position we are faced with now?

Everybody knows that as far as the majority of the House is concerned, the Fianna Fáil Party, and I throw in the Labour Party with them, act entirely under the orders of President de Valera. At the present moment he is chafing because the Seanad dared to delay a Bill of his for 18 months. What is that Bill? During the last two years, the Government, or the head of the police, gave orders to the police to outrage the law and even to break it. They gave orders to the police to deny to the people of this country their legitimate constitutional rights. They got away with it for a certain time. Then it was challenged, and the courts ruled against the Government, and that it was breaking the law. President de Valera now wants the law changed so that instead of breaking it he should be acting in conformity with the law he wants passed. He sent up his Bill to the Seanad and demanded that it should be passed. The Seanad did not pass it, and now he demands that the Seanad should be abolished. What is the charge he makes? That the Seanad dared to delay his Bill. But they did that with us. Time and again they delayed and altered our Bills. But it would not be surprising if the Seanad actually passed all our Bills and refused to pass certain Bills sent up to them by the present Government, because there was a general charge made against us that we were too conservative. If there is any obvious charge that can be made against the present Government it is that their mentality and their outlook are essentially revolutionary. The only power vested in the Seanad is the power of delay. In the case of a conservative Government, which only made such changes in the law as must necessarily be made, there would be no cause for any delay on the part of the Seanad. A conservative Government generally tends not to act enough. Its legislation is definite and, consequently, the Seanad should not be called so often to act. But a revolutionary Government acts too much and acts persistently. The Minister for Industry and Commerce said that all these terrible things that we pointed out might happen and could happen now. Merely by having a delay of 18 months any of the things they want they could have subject to that delay; and in any case in the passage of time they will have a 50-50 following in the Seanad or possibly a majority.

At the present moment, with its existing powers, this Government has brought the country to the verge of ruin, and it holds out no prospect to the people but ruin, and the Seanad is not able to prevent that. At the same time the Seanad has certain powers, but although the Seanad cannot really enter a veto against the Government, cannot sweep it on one side, even the existence of the Seanad has a certain advantage. Just take the difference between the Fianna Fáil Party here and in the Seanad. As far as the Fianna Fáil Party here are concerned, I do not want to say anything against them, but a great number of them, at any rate, are very vitally interested in being members of this House. It is one of the chief considerations they have in life, and they would have to reconsider their positions fairly seriously if they ceased to be members of the House. The Government here is in a position to jeopardise the main part of the living of the majority of the members of their Party. If the Government goes out and a member loses his seat he is done for. The members of the Fianna Fáil Party in the Seanad do not go out when the Government goes out. The Government are also able to bring strong pressure to bear on the Labour Party by threatening them with a general election, when certain of them know that they will be wiped out if there is a general election. Having that in mind, they are prepared to agree to a number of things proposed by the Government to which otherwise they might not agree.

As far as the Seanad are concerned, the members are relatively independent. We have talked about an independent judiciary but it is not absolutely independent. It could happen that there might be a venal majority in the Dáil and a venal majority in the Seanad, who would be prepared to take away their independence. There is no such thing as independence in life. What one does is to take certain precautions and the Seanad is a certain precautionary measure in this instance. The limitations put upon Governments have one fundamental theory behind them—roughly, that it is better to be safe than sorry. The Seanad at the moment can delay legislation for 18 months.

President de Valera, thinking as he only can think within his nature as dictator, resents that very considerably. He is afraid that within that 18 months he may go out of office whereas, once the Seanad is gone, he does not have to wait that 18 months. There is to be no limit to his power, to put it in its most extreme form. The Minister for Industry and Commerce says that with a majority in the Seanad he can do anything, so that it does not matter. What can we do here in the Dáil? There is the Government with its majority, so far as that is concerned you might just as well wipe out the Dáil as wipe out the Seanad. Personally, knowing the President, I believe once he is driven to a certain point, he would be prepared to do that. As far as the the Fianna Fáil Party are concerned, they are the mere creatures of the Government and what is the need of having them there? When it comes to that point what is the need of having members of the Executive Council? Not one of them can call their own souls their own. If they dared stand against the President they would be fired out. Members of the Government and of the Fianna Fáil Party know perfectly well that they cannot oppose the President's wishes. It does not matter what they themselves may think. If that is so what is the good of their coming here?

The Seanad has somewhat more power than the Dáil at the moment. The Seanad can actually hold up Bills proposed by the Government and that is why it is to be done away with. When that is done any Government can come in here—when I say "Government", I mean President de Valera and the henchmen behind him—as they did on the Blueshirt Bill, with a Bill which is not even on the Order Paper and propose to suspend Standing Orders and take all the stages of the Bill on that day. Just imagine the sort of Bill that the President can bring in. He can bring in a Bill to abolish the Constitution in toto, to abolish the Courts of Justice, to abolish the C. and A.-G. or to abolish the Dáil. He can extend the life of the Government for 40 years and give the Government power to legislate as may, from time to time, seem to it good and proper. He can bring forward a proposal that, as far as the majority of the members of the House are concerned, they shall draw a pension of £1.000 or £2,000 a year without coming here. Is there anything to prevent the Government doing that?

Is there anything to prevent their doing it now?

There is, and I shall tell you what it is. The President thinks, as a dictator, as a Party politician, he can bring in any measure now, but if he does, he knows that all sorts of things can happen within 18 months. Within these 18 months, he may be forced to have a general election. A Government, under the circumstances in which Governments are formed, is always in a precarious position. It is dependent on keeping a majority. Some members of the Party may get fed up; some may die or resign, and you may have a general election during the 18 months. That is the only thing he fears.

This Bill is a proposal to vest all powers in this House and to ensure that no power shall reside in the Governor-General or in the Seanad. That is to say that all power shall vest in the Executive Council. They are not to be restrained by the Constitution which they can change or abolish. They can change or abolish it in one day. That is a complete dictatorship. We have Ministers talking about the terrible dictatorship in Germany, in Italy and in Austria. That is when they are trying to create a scare about the Blue Shirts. If this Bill is passed, this Government will be a more dictatorial Government and will have more dictatorial powers than the Governments of Germany, Italy or Austria. But they are not satisfied with that. They talk about the way in which the Seanad passed the 17th Amendment to the Constitution. There was what I might call a certain moral pressure brought to bear on the Seanad at that time, because a number of diabolical murders had taken place in the country within the immediately preceding period. The Fianna Fáil Party did not say a word in defence of these murders, but the earlier murders they more or less defended, and they stood up for the murderers. There was the murder of an eye-witness of a certain criminal act. There was the attempted murder of a juryman. There was the murder of a poor boy because he refused to take a false oath, and because he told the truth in court. There was the brutal murder of a policeman for attempting to do his duty. The jury system had completely collapsed. You could not expect jurymen, when they got warnings from the friends of the Government that if they kept their oaths and attempted to do their duty, they were likely to meet with a certain fate—you could not expect them to do their duty in a situation of that kind. There was an extraordinary position, and the Government needed extra powers to deal with it. The Seanad were put into the position of either refusing to give the Government power to deal with that terroristic campaign of murder or of voting for the Act, and they voted for it. The Government denounces that, but when the Government came into power, it resurrected the full powers of that Act. It used them against all justice, and it is outraging justice still.

The Government was not satisfied with the powers it had under that Act, and gave illegal orders to the police, ordering them to break the law, and after they were landed in the courts, they brought in another Bill seeking still further coercive powers. The Seanad refused to give them these coercive powers they required in addition to the coercive powers they had already, at a time when they were denouncing the Seanad for having given these same coercive powers to the previous Government. Because of that action of the Seanad, they now say that the Seanad must be abolished. There is not at the present time power to remove judges. The Minister for Industry and Commerce time and again stated that if they had a majority in the Seanad, there would be no difference between that and not having a Seanad at all. There would be a difference. At the present time it never happens that a member of the Fianna Fáil Party in the Dáil gets into difficulty with his Party. There is one member of the Party who got £200 from an organisation to fight his election, so that he would serve his organisation, but having got the money from them, when there was an awkward vote——

That has nothing whatever to do with the Bill. It is too personal to be introduced here.

I only just want to give it as an illustration. The Minister for Industry and Commerce said that there was no difference between having no Seanad, as far as restraint on the Government is concerned, and having a Seanad in which there is a majority that on general lines is in support of the Government. There have been occasions in the Seanad within the last year when Fianna Fáil Senators have disagreed with the Government. Why? Because they are actually more independent than the unfortunate Government Deputies are. I do not say that they are completely independent. They rely, to a large extent, upon the Government as to their hopes for the future, but they are not completely in the hands of the Government as Government Deputies are. Deputy Donnelly seemed to have a grievance about the Constitution because it was only seen on the day the election was held. We are told that this Bill is carrying out the mandate of the people, but the text of it was not properly before the people when the last election was being held. Somehow or another Deputy Donnelly seems to think that there is something wrong about the Seanad because the proposal with regard to it was not published before the election was held. It really should not have been published before the election was held. The Deputy seemed to think that the Parliament that was going to be elected was only to be elected to do certain things already decided upon, and that it was not to be free in regard to the Seanad. That is not so at all. All the talk about a mandate for this Bill is completely dishonest.

Deputies know perfectly well that, as far as the last election is concerned, the reason the Government gave for holding it was that we were preventing them from making a favourable agreement with the British: that they only needed to make it abundantly clear that they represented the people of this country and that the British opposition was going to collapse like a house of cards and would agree to everything that they proposed. That was the sort of hogwash they put before the people. They represented to the people that if they voted for them they would be able to end the economic war. But, instead of ending the economic war, all that the people have got is the Calf Skin Bill and this Bill. Therefore, I say that all this talk about a mandate is merely dishonest and cowardly action on the part of the Government. It is a Government's business to do what it knows to be in the interests of the people and not to turn around and say, even if this is an unjust measure and a measure against the well-being of the people, "the people have asked us to do it."

There has been a lot of talk about the Referendum. Personally, I never had any use for it. Deputy Donnelly, and of course, Deputy Norton spoke highly in favour of the Referendum. You can have a Referendum on a number of things. If, for instance, you have a Referendum on the question as to whether everyone at the age of 40 should have an old age pension at the rate of £2 10/- a week, you will, of course, get an overwhelming vote in favour of such proposal, but if at the same time you have a Referendum asking the people as to whether they want taxation increased by, say, £10,000,000 a year you will get an overwhelming vote against that proposal. If you were to take a Referendum on the present policy of the Government, on making the farmers pay nearly twice as much as they previously paid and then collect the land annuities on top of that, the Government would be beaten on that. It would also, probably, be beaten if you had a Referendum on this question of the Seanad. If you were to appeal to the lowest passions of the people, telling them that you were now taking an opportunity of meting out injustice to the minority in this country—if you were able to get the people sufficiently blinded by passion on that—you might get a majority on that. That is the one hope the Government has.

Time and again the official organ of the President has appealed to the lowest passions of the people. I want to say this: that any ex-Unionist is just as much entitled to justice and to a voice in the affairs of the country as any ex-Sinn Féiner. I know, of course, that that is inconceivable to members of the Government Party. Deputy Donnelly went back on what these people thought 20 years ago. They had a perfect right to think what they liked then just as they have now, and no Government has the right to deny them that right. Merely because they disagree with the Government on certain things, things which are in the interests of this country, does not, and should not, take away any tittle of their rights as citizens. The biggest ex-Unionist in this country has just all the rights, no more and no less, that Deputy Corry has.

I do not understand a word you are saying. Your accent would hang a dog.

It would take me a long time to cultivate an accent like the Deputy's. As to the judges, the Constitution provides that under certain circumstances judges may be removed. If they are removed it must be on "cause shown." It must be a cause sufficient to convince a majority both in this House and in the Seanad. As far as a majority in this House is concerned, all that would be required is that the President would get up and say that such a judge shall be removed, and he will be. The whole Fianna Fáil Party would jump at the idea of removing any judge that stood up for the rights of the minority in this country. Deputy Donnelly said that as soon as the Bill is effective then in one day judges can be removed, that the Government can change the currency and can do exactly what it likes, irrespective of justice. Once the Bill becomes law the Government will have a splendid time. It can do anything that it is legally entitled to do, with the assistance of its henchmen on the Back Benches. The President said that if the power of the Seanad to delay a Bill for 18 months remained it might produce dangerous revolutionary conditions in this country. That is a great tribute to the subversive programme of the President carried on during the last ten years. If the people are going to revolt merely because a Bill is held up—and the Bill that led to the introduction of this measure was one that was completely against justice—then we are going to have a dangerous revolutionary spirit here. What I am afraid of, as far as the people of this country, irrespective of Party, are concerned, is that a dangerous revolutionary spirit is growing up. In spite of all the specious stuff that the President and other people give out when going around the country, the ordinary farmers and a vast number of people here are conscious that they are being ruined materially directly by the action of this Government. They know, and rightly so, that in ruining them, as the Government is doing, it is outraging all justice and acting outside its proper capacity as a Government. With that consciousness of injustice and our very bad revolutionary traditions, the fact that time and again we have sought to achieve political ends by revolutionary methods and have been effective pre-eminently in doing so, you certainly have quite a dangerous position in the country at the present moment. I am not attributing that to any one Party. I think that our historical tradition is bad. Now what are we going to have? The Government—I do not expect that the members of it are going to agree with me—through every act is notorious, to put it mildly, for its lack of wisdom. It is a Government which clearly—I can give instances if they are required —has no conception, if you like, of justice.

For instance, a man exercised the ordinary rights of a citizen, rights which are guaranteed to him by law, when suddenly the Government in the Executive Council chamber made an order declaring a certain organisation, up to that moment perfectly legal, to be, in its opinion, illegal. The moment they did that it was possible for a man whose mind had not even assented to the thought of doing anything against the law to be technically breaking the law, and if brought before the Military Tribunal the law said the Tribunal must accept an order given it by the Government and find him guilty. As a result, that man whose mind had not for one moment assented to the thought of breaking the law was, by the malicious act of this Government, imprisoned unjustly —outrageously unjustly—for three months. That Government with that mentality now demands that it shall have the power, the moment the President loses his temper, and he so easily does that, that he says he stays out of this House, because, being rather lower than ordinary humanity, he is unable to exercise ordinary control over himself, and therefore he finds it necessary, as certain lunatics do, to keep out of the House, when certain things are done which might cause his reason to be completely subverted by his outrageous passion. A man who is admittedly unable to control his passion, and to keep reason in the ascendant, if he overnight loses his temper can come to-morrow—a man who has given us that idea of justice, and blatantly sins against it, who is full of vindictiveness against anyone who stands out against him, the supreme pleasure of whose life, as he says, is to make those opposed to him suffer gall and wormwood—and demand to be given absolute power.

He talked of a dangerous revolutionary mentality growing up. Of course it will, because he is incapable of understanding what the welfare of the country requires, and incapable of understanding what justice demands. When he has that power there will be no redress against him. He stated that he was going to stay the full length of his term of office. He is quite satisfied of that, with the majority that he can always command. That is the very thing that is going to promote revolution in this country. When it comes to the point that people feel that they are labouring under an intolerable burden, that there is no normal constitutional redress for them, what do they do? Even in countries with a much better tradition than this, there is a tendency in these days towards revolution. In our country, the President and his Party up to a few years ago were preaching disregard for government, and even on Sunday last, he was going around preaching class war, appealing to the cupidity of the people, saying there were big farmers in Co. Tipperary, and pointing that out to those who like to be regarded as patriots when they try to get someone else's property. Talk like that is going to produce revolution. The Minister for Industry and Commerce was indignant at the suggestion that the Seanad was the only safeguard of the people's liberty. It is the only safeguard of the people's rights. If the Seanad were composed of men who were ex-Unionists it would still be the only safeguard.

What does the Deputy mean by the people's rights?

I mean that the people have a right to move in a world of liberty; that the Government has no right to interfere with these rights, without a clear demonstrative reason that they require to be restrained in the interests of the common good and of the whole mass of the people. This Government thinks that way. It is the Government's line to think that the whole mass must be restrained, in so far as they are likely to interfere with President de Valera having his way when in a bad temper. The Seanad is undoubtedly the safeguard of the people's liberty. It is possible that the Seanad returned a Bill sent to it and delayed it for 18 months. As far as the Seanad's record goes, it has shown that it is a body that should demand the respect of the people. I know that the Lemasses and so on can appeal to the old prejudices, but the Seanad has stood for the rights of the people. Deputies on the opposite benches say that the Seanad passed the Constitution (Amendment No. 17) Act, but the Government only took the powers given there in order not to have a campaign of murder. This Government requires extra coercive powers to deal with only a political opposition. When there was a campaign of murder in this country the Constitution (Amendment No. 17) Act was passed. There is now no campaign of murder certainly not amongst the Blue Shirts, yet the Government say that it must have these powers, and has indicated its readiness to wipe out the Seanad, which is the safeguard of the people's liberty. The Seanad is the only safeguard of the people's liberty, and if it is abolished the Government will get complete control of the courts. Every intelligent person has a right to anticipate that the Government will use its powers in order to take away independence from the courts.

This is a Bill for one purpose, to create or to increase dictatorship in this country. There is no other country in the world where the Government have such dictatorial powers as this Government will have with the Seanad out of the way. The Government has complete dictatorship, the only limitation being that of time—18 months. The Government quite clearly realises that it has no case for this Bill. The Minister for Industry and Commerce stated that we admitted that we were going, if we were given the power, to make changes. What is before the House now is a Bill to create a condition in which there will be only this body as a legislative authority, with the Government controlling it. We did not propose in any circumstances to create that form of dictatorship. All we can do is to oppose the position proposed to be brought about. We cannot as an amendment propose an elaborate system of a corporative Seanad, and the Minister knows that. I am not necessarily completely against dictatorship, but would any sane man in the Fianna Fáil Party, who knows the President, believe it to be right to put these dictatorial powers in his hands? I believe some members of that Party have suffered a bit from these dictatorial powers. Every honest man who wants to preserve even a symptom of justice here must oppose this Bill. Our reason for urging the maintenance of the Seanad, of a Seanad if you like, a second body, or a body with some powers to restrict disastrous acts of the Government, is on the basis that it is better to be safe than sorry. It has been generally recognised that possession is nine points of the law. There is greater call to make a case for a change rather than a case for leaving it as it is. The Seanad at the moment fulfils a useful and a necessary function.

We have been accused of aiming at dictatorship. If we were aiming at dictatorship no one should be more glad than we at the action of the present Government, which has created the precedent of suppressing constitutional opposition. It has now taken steps to create a position in which the Executive Council will be all-powerful. It is creating a position in which any Government, present or future, whose dictatorship desires require that the courts shall cease to function as an institution, can promptly suppress the courts or make them completely their own creatures. If we aimed at a dictatorship and wanted to be able to control the finances of this country without too much prying into what we were doing, we should certainly support this Bill, which means that the Department of the Comptroller and Auditor-General can be done away with at any time. If we wanted to set up a dictatorship to control the whole finances of the country, without regard for justice or for the welfare of the country, we should certainly support this Bill. We are opposing this Bill, which is being put forward and supported by the Government. Why are we opposing it? If it is not passed, what will the position be? It will be this—that when the Dáil passes a Bill, introduced by the Government, which is against the interests of this country, the Seanad can delay that Bill for 18 months. That is all the Seanad can do now. We are told that the Bill is absolutely necessary. Why? In order that the Government may no longer be delayed in any action that it likes to take, so that the Government, with its majority behind it, can do whatever it thinks suits its purpose and its Party. If there ever was a time when it was necessary to retain whatever powers remain to limit the action of the Government, it is the present moment, when you have a Government which outrages every idea of justice and equity. Even if that Government were not in power, even if the present Government were a Government with some sense of responsibility, a Government which would not show its irresponsibility by telling dishonest stories about opponents, even if it were a Government that could be relied upon to show wisdom and to promote the welfare of the people, it would still be necessary either to retain the Seanad or to create some other body or organ which would have power of restraint should it happen that that Government, or a future Government, should wish to act against the interests of the country.

The power of delay is a particularly appropriate power to have at present, because the President, as he admitted, is a man unable to control his temper. Time often brings wisdom. A man may be very bad tempered. The temper might last a week or a month, but it would have to be a ferocious temper that would last for 18 months. In the President's own interest, as a man who has announced that he is rather sub-normal in his ability to control his passions, it is just as well that there should be some power to give him time to think and to get out of his bad temper. I invite any Deputy on the other side to say what power there is going to be to restrain the Government as to any tryrannical act which it may desire to perpetrate during the remainder of its office. There will be none. The powers of the Seanad are inadequate, but, so far as they go, they can be very useful. The proposal now is to abolish whatever power there is and to put completely tyrannical and dictatorial powers in the hands of a Government which says that we are aiming at a dictatorship. If we were aiming at a dictatorship, we should be throwing up our hats at the way the President is paving the way for us to do just what we like when this Party comes into power.

The effect of the arguments of the Deputy who has just spoken would have been greater and more convincing if, the issues being really as serious as he contends they are, he could have avoided addressing himself to the question in a style that has become typical of him. That is, barely to carry out the rules of parliamentary order in his references to the head of the State, to the Government, to the Party in office and to the majority who, for the time being, are entrusted—whatever the Deputy may think about them—with the carriage into law of the measures which they propose. The Deputy, instead of concentrating on the merits or demerits of the proposal to abolish the Seanad, contrived in one way or another to drag in almost every question from the economic war down to the mentality of the President in his metaphysical argument that if the Government go to such lengths anything may happen. Of course, if you have a Government which is prepared to go to certain lengths, one never knows what is going to happen.

Hear, hear!

As I pointed out on the Second Reading of the Uniforms Bill, on the celebrated occasion when the Constitution (Amendment No. 17) Bill was passed into law a remarkably brief time was given to the measure. It was rushed through both houses at an almighty speed. Deputy Fitzgerald pointed out on that occasion, in reference to the charge of coercion which the then Opposition levelled against the Bill, that all legislation was coercive. A Government cannot do its business, a majority cannot exercise its power and cannot carry out the policy the country has elected it to carry out unless a certain amount of coercion is used. The question is whether the Government in power has departed from the understanding which it had with the electorate. If a Government depart from that understanding to such an extent that it is obviously out of touch with the majority in the country, that it no longer represents the feeling of the country or if it introduces some drastic and revolutionary measure which has not before been mooted and which the people have not had an opportunity of expressing an opinion upon, I certainly say it is the duty of the Government, in either event, to have a general election.

Hear, hear! I have converted the Minister for Education.

I shall pass over the remarks of Deputy Fitzgerald in which he referred—I must say very unjustly—to this Party having, at some stage or other, defended murder and murderers. I shall pass over the statements that we have asked the police to break the law, that the President of the Executive Council is preaching class-war throughout the country, that the President himself is sub-normal and approximates to a certain type of lunatic and various statements of that kind. I think, however, that I should take advantage of the opportunity to point out that statements of that kind tending to bring the Executive, the Government and, let it be remembered, the Dáil itself, into contempt—that it was statements of that kind that were responsible for some of the scenes of bloodshed, turmoil and riot which were recently enacted on the Continent of Europe even in countries with well-established Governments and by people who had been accustomed to political liberty for hundreds of years. We have read of the populace being seized by panic when played upon by certain journalists and certain politicians, being worked up into a frenzy of excitement, not against one Government or against one class, but against Parliamentary Government and democratic rule. That is the kind of thing we are going to have in this country if the Party opposite do not realise that this Government, after two years in office, is entitled to a fair chance to carry out its policy. The last Government were in office for about ten years. The Deputy who spoke last said that the question of the Seanad was not dealt with. Why was it not? Are we to believe that it was in an excess of philanthropic zeal towards their successors that the last Government failed to deal with the question of the Seanad?

The last Government had ample opportunities to deal with the Seanad, but instead of remodelling it or amending it they signed its death warrant when they introduced the policy of having a Seanad that was simply a reflex of the Dáil into which ex-members of this assembly were gradually transferred. Deputy Donnelly referred to the origin of the Seanad. In other countries they have hereditary legislators, as in Great Britain, which is stated to be the foremost country in the world as regards constitutional liberty; but even there there is a very strong movement in favour of the abolition of the House of Lords. Is it suggested that the Liberal statesmen, not to speak of Labour statesmen, who desire practically the abolition of the House of Lords are in favour of revolution? No, but they are determined, as we are determined, that when they are elected in a majority by the people at a general election to carry out a definite policy they will carry that out and no Second House will be allowed to prevent them from doing so.

That is exactly the attitude we have taken up. During the last Government's period of office, in spite of the rather drastic character of the laws, culminating in the famous Constitution (Amendment No. 17) Act, we did not see that the Seanad stood up as the champion of liberty and democracy, although at that time one-third of the elected representatives of this House were outside the House and had no representation except such as they might get through Labour Deputies. Of what avail were the Labour Deputies against the Cumann na nGaedheal Party? The last Government considered themselves absolutely safe for the remainder of their natural lives, with Labour incapable of serious opposition and the other Party outside. During that time were there not raids, harryings, arrests, dismissals? Was there not a campaign of political persecution against those who did not agree with the Government Party? We all know that kind of thing is bound to happen after a revolution. We know feeling does not cool down. When I hear people saying that in the very different circumstances of the present day we are doing something revolutionary in abolishing the Seanad, I feel inclined to reply that the Irish people never wanted that Seanad. Deputy Donnelly has explained the circumstances under which the Seanad, largely nominated by the British Government, was brought into being. He has shown the House how the Constitution, of which that Seanad was a part, was never brought properly before the people. The last Government never attempted to bring the Seanad into conformity with the opinions of the people. On one occasion an effort was made to get direct representation, but no serious attempt was made to inquire into the whole question.

If we were examining this question anew, if it were a matter of setting up a new Seanad, very serious inquiry ought to be made and all Parties in the House should be consulted. But that is not the position. The position is that a certain state of affairs has arisen in the country. The Government, having decided to take certain action against a particular organisation, having decided in the interest of public order that they are going to pass a law regulating the wearing of uniforms, find themselves in the position, not alone that their policy may be held up, but that a very serious and dangerous situation, so far as public order is concerned, may be created. I wonder would the last Government stand with folded arms if the Seanad had attepted to hold up the Constitution Amendment Bill instead of rushing it through in a few hours? I wonder what action that Government would have taken in such circumstances? It is our duty to carry our policy into effect, and, above all, it is our duty to see public order maintained. From time to time the Second House in Great Britain has had quarrels with the House of Commons. Has it been suggested that over the period when the privileges of that House have been gradually reduced until the present time when there is a very strong movement in favour of its abolition, that English statemen, English politicians who stand for that line of action, have lost their senses? No, that is not suggested.

In this country we have a movement like the Blue Shirt movement pretending to emulate Continental movements, saying that democracy is not quick enough, that they are tired of "talking shop," that they want to get on with the work through their corporations, moryah, that they want to advance more quickly with the policy of building up the nation, and that they want to get rid of democracy. I am rather surprised that this wonderful leader of theirs, who produces a cure for every ill in every day's issue of the newspapers, has not been able to produce some cure for the constitutional defect that we have here. Surely through his new corporation system he ought to be able to show us how a new Seanad could be constituted. There are Deputies opposite who tell us that if this Bill passes, the Government will be more tyrannical than any Government in Europe. The Blue Shirts are emulating Continental countries. "Manufactured in Ireland" is no longer good enough. "Manufactured on the Continent" is the latest cry.

What about your light beer?

Recently in a Continental country which the Blue Shirts emulate the Chamber of Deputies was abolished. The Second Chamber was not interfered with. Why? Because, I believe, it consisted of respectable old generals. Can we not look forward to the time under a Blue Shirt régime when we will have an equally respectable Second Chamber here consisting of old generals promoted for service, bald-headed heroes of the League of Youth?

Like Colonel Moore.

I think I recollect that Deputies Dillon and MacDermot from time to time have expressed grave doubts as to whether the Seanad should be maintained on the ground of the expense and the cost. I think from time to time Deputy Dillon has expressed serious doubts as to whether the Seanad should be constituted in its present form. As far as we are concerned, we stated quite definitely, not to-day or yesterday, not during the course of the last two elections but since we started the Fianna Fáil Party, that we were in favour of the abolition of the Seanad. We have not been able to find any better solution. With this intense demand for more work and less talk—"Get on with the work more quickly"—we want a stronger policy, we want a very active policy. Do Deputies suggest that the Seanad has given such valuable constructive aid in the development of our economic policy or in the development of the country generally as to be worth its maintenance and continuance to this country?

In spite of the campaign in certain newspapers about the abolition of the Seanad, public opinion has not been agitated. Public opinion, I venture to say, has been more anxious to know at what precise point the Government was going to take action. Is there any country in Europe in which a Seanad, even a hereditary Seanad, would attempt to do what this body did in connection with the Oath Bill? Here was a question which had been canvassed throughout the country for years—which was put before the country. The Opposition made it quite clear what their attitude was about the Oath. The present Government made it quite clear what their intention was about the Oath. No elector had the slightest doubt about it. Even the old ladies who wrestled with the strange name of "Cumann na nGaedheal" and who were brought out in the last effort to save the position during the general election, even those venerable electors must have found out for themselves that the question of the Oath was a leading issue.

We carried the day on that question and we introduced a Bill for the abolition of the Oath; and this assembly which does not represent the people, the majority of whose members could not find a seat in the country, opposed the Bill. That may not mean that they may not be very excellent men in their own way, but at any rate they had no mandate from the people. They held up that Oath Bill at the very outset of the new Government's career. Then we had a general election and the Oath of Allegiance went. Are we to be in the position that every year or two years when this body sees fit to hold up a Bill we are going to be forced to the country? Has the doctrine been preached in any country yet—either a country which is being run by a dictatorship at the present time, or run by a democratic Government—that the Seanad is to assume to itself such powers that it can force a Government out? The Opposition, if they can create a situation, are certainly entitled to force the Government out. That is what they are there for. We have the extraordinary position where in the case of the Uniforms Bill the Opposition here got up and said: "We hope the Seanad will throw this Bill out." In no country in the world would you have the Opposition setting up the Upper House as superior to the Lower House on a matter such as the question of the Oath of Allegiance or on a matter such as the Wearing of Uniforms Bill. The last I consider to be a matter of public order and a matter of the very first importance for the maintenance and preservation of order here.

For the preservation of the Fianna Fáil Party.

Deputy Dillon should reconcile the statement which he made some time ago regarding the abolition of the Seanad with his speech on the question to-day.

No difficulty.

No alternative whatever has been put up, in spite of the fact that Deputy Fitzgerald himself or any other Deputy who gave serious thought to the question admitted that the present Second Chamber is not representative of the people and has no right to speak in their name and has no mandate from them. In spite of the fact that the law has been amended in order to enable the Government to deal with the Seanad, no action was taken and no policy was put forward by those who criticised the present Bill as to what should be done as an alternative.

Oh there was an alternative.

We await the production by Deputy Dillon and his colleagues of this Corporative State. We want to see the Corporative State solution applied to a modern constitutional problem. We want to see what new formula we shall have brought before the country, we want to see the phenomenon which we are to witness if these gentlemen get into power by means through which democratic Government will gradually disappear. The Corporative State will be set up by the nominees of the Blue Shirt Clubs. They will take their seats in this Assembly, an Assembly which will of course be far more powerless than the Seanad is at present, an Assembly which will take its orders from some council or dictator outside. Let us remember what the ex-Attorney-General stated. We cannot forget his words—full of conviction and full of prophecy as they were when he told us how the Black Shirts had gone on to victory, how the Brown Shirts had gone on to victory and how the Blue Shirts would equally go on to victory. It never seemed to have struck the ex-Attorney-General or his colleagues that when we see old conservative States like Great Britain taking steps to deal with these movements, taking steps to ban them as subversive and to put them down by force if necessary, why in a State like this which has not had sufficient time to enable a civic spirit to permeate its people, a State which has been only twelve short years in existence, it is all the more necessary for the Government to take safeguards to see that nothing will occur and that no revolutionary change will bring about the downfall of democratic Government. I do not think there is anything further I have to say except that I notice Deputy Fitzgerald made frequent references to the base passions and prejudices of the Irish people upon which this Government got into office. His remarks reminded one very strongly of the speeches of the old Unionist Alliance. The Irish people may have their prejudices. What man has not prejudices? The Deputy should recognise that the day has come when the poorest one of our people has exactly the same right to express his opinion and to carry his prejudices if he so wills into effect as the Deputy himself has. If our people are so full of base passions, and so full of base and illogical prejudices, should it not be the task of the Deputy and his Party to educate them to a higher sense of their responsibility instead of taking advantage of every opportunity that presents itself to cast odium and insult upon the head of the State and the Government behind him.

Various reasons have been adumbrated from the Government side as to why this Bill should pass. The Minister who has just concluded spoke a good deal about the non-representative character of the Seanad. In what particular way might it be said the Seanad is nonrepresentative? We have in the Seanad members of various parties and classes and sections of the community just as we have in this House. We have members of the Fianna Fail Party, members of the Labour Party, members of the ex-Unionist Party— very desirable classes in the community —and members of the Fine Gaedheal Party and the Independent Party. The same argument that we have heard here against the Seanad might be eminently directed to the present personnel of this House.

One Deputy, I think, following on the old line of argument of "ifs" and "ands," said: "If we had a majority in the Seanad." In that connection I should like to remind the Deputy of a certain wit who once said: "If I had the Lakes of Killarney in hell, would I not make a fortune?" They have not got a majority in the Seanad, and what majority they have here would be ineffective, so far as this House is concerned, if it were not for the help of another Party, whose help, it is possible, if not probable, they might lose in the near future if they do not watch their step and do what Labour demands. One of the accusations made from the Government side is that the Seanad is governed by a certain class, because a certain section happens to hold the balance of power. We might as well argue that this country is governed by Deputies Norton and Davin and one or two others, because, at the present moment in this House they certainly hold the balance of power, and the Ministry is in the hollow of their hands. I do not know whether any of us would prefer to be governed by Deputies Norton and Davin or by some of the persons who were alluded to from the Government side. I myself would think that it is rather a case of being between the devil and the deep sea, with preference for the gentlemen in the Seanad.

The question of expense was raised also. I think it was the President who raised it, and somebody reminded the Ministry that it was rather irrelevant for them to speak about expense since they have lately brought in a measure to start a new Army at ten times the cost to this State. There are other things in which they could retrench. For instance, there is the Governor-General's salary. It is not a big sum, but he is paid a salary of some thousands of pounds by this State.

Where is he?

The functions of the Governor-General have been grabbed by the President in the name of the King. The President, at present, is functioning, in the name of the King, in lieu of the Governor-General whom we are paying. By the way, where is the Governor-General? Has he been kidnapped?

The question does not arise.

Perhaps he will go into the Seanad. It ill becomes Deputies or Ministers on the Government Benches to talk about expense at the present moment when millions are being spent just like halfpence. One other reason that was given for doing away with the Seanad was that it served no useful purpose. I do not think that the country would agree at all with that view. I think that if we were to have an expression of opinion from the voters in the country they would definitely say that the Seanad has served a very useful purpose. Perhaps, I might even tackle the very agitated question referred to by the Minister for Education—the question of the Oath. The Seanad threw out the Oath Bill because they declared, as we declared, that it was a violation of the Treaty and the Constitution under which we are functioning here. The Ministry opposite were very wroth and they waited for some months until there was an election and the Oath Bill became law. They were frankly disappointed. It turns out that the Seanad were nearly right. The President himself was frankly disappointed. He has been bewailing ever since that the abolition of the Oath has not had the effect at all of conciliating certain people that he had expected, and the sole purpose for its introduction we were told, was that it was passed, forsooth, everything would be peace and contentment in this country. The Oath Bill was passed, despite the Seanad, and the President is disappointed. I expect that the Minister for Justice is disappointed. He ought to be. The other Ministers are disappointed also. So, we have, on the most controversial measure that the Seanad threw out, the Seanad justified in some measure for their action. In all the other actions of the Seanad they were perfectly justified and the country and history will declare them justified.

Mention was made that the Seanad passed the Public Safety Bill, a very violent Bill, under which the Ministry themselves are now working, without having debated it for weeks. There was a set of circumstances in this State at that time, as a result of which any House, either a Seanad or a Dáil, with any realisation of their responsibility, would have passed a Bill of that kind, considering what the people of that particular period had to contend with. The Seanad were perfectly justified in passing that measure, and if there had been an appeal to the people of the State on the action of the Seanad at that particular period, the people of this State would have backed up the action of the Seanad. There were various measures, even of the Cosgrave Government, that the Seanad either delayed or improved, or amended, and most of their amendments were improvements, and have proved to be so during subsequent years. Take the case of one of the principal Acts, the 1923 Land Act. That Act was amended and improved in the Seanad, and the farmers of this State have blessed the Seanad ever since because of their amendments. It was the Seanad that inserted in that Act the right of fixity of tenure, which was threatened inadvertently, in that particular Bill. Deputies opposite were not here then to defend the farmers' right. That right was insisted on by the Seanad —a right which has existed since, until a new Land Act recently introduced by the Government has made it, at least, problematical whether that right still exists or not.

Recently, we had another Bill which the Seanad drastically amended. That was a small measure but it shows the useful purpose the Seanad serves. We had the Horse Breeding Bill introduced here and largely debated by people who knew nothing about it, including the Minister who introduced it. When we, in this House, attempted to amend it, we were not fairly met. When it came to the Seanad, the Senators, who knew something about horseflesh, instructed the Minister on that particular Bill, and, to their credit, be it said, some of the Senators of his own political complexion helped to amend that Bill. It came back to this House very much improved from the time it left it. There were various other measures the Seanad has amended to the advantage of the people of this State. In fact the number of occasions in which Seanad amendments have been refused in this House have been very much fewer than the times they have been accepted. I should say that 80 per cent. of the amendments passed by the Seanad have been accepted and accepted gladly by this House. Both sides in this House have accepted amendments made by the Seanad. Yet we have been told to-day that the Seanad served no useful purpose. We were also told that this Bill would lead to revolution. Deputy Hugo Flinn smiles. I do not think that the Deputy ever led anyone to revolution or ever will.

Who said it would lead to revolution?

He said you would not.

The President himself said that it would lead to revolution. It is this Bill which is going to lead to revolution if anything leads to revolution, and Deputy Flinn will be far away when revolution comes.

That is mainly what he said.

He will be a long way away.

You will be near Liverpool if revolution is threatened here.

I do not want to go over ground already covered. This Bill will undeniably give the Government power to do away with judges if they wish, notwithstanding that Deputy Flinn tried to prove that it would not.

I did not. On a point of explanation——

I accept the Deputy's denial. I am always ready to accept any Deputy's denial. It was stated by some Deputy on the Government Benches that it gave the Government no such right. It will give the Government the right to be masters over the judges and the courts. The judges, the Comptroller and Auditor-General, the Public Accounts Committee will all become the tools of the Government, if the Government so wishes, and, as Deputy Fitzgerald stated, we shall have a dictatorship set up the like of which was never known or contemplated in any civilised country. If that is not tempting the people towards revolutionary methods one does not know what temptation to revolution is. The Government even may attempt to perpetuate the Fianna Fáil Party. It will be possible for the Government to pass a Bill extending the life of the present Ministry until such time as disintegration sets in, or senility or old age deprives them of some of their majority. We have had no suggestion from any Minister of any proposal to set up an alternative body in lieu of the Seanad. One would think that in the drastic proposal they have brought before the House they would have contemplated such a measure. Until proposals for an alternative Chamber have been brought forward I do not think the House ought seriously to consider passing the Bill. It is uncalled for.

Ministers are very sensitive of criticism. One can scarcely allude to a Minister, from the President downwards, without being styled offensive. In fact, it is with temerity that any Deputy on these benches ventures to name a Minister. Perhaps, if I allude to the President as being childish. I shall be accused of insulting him. But the President has been pettishly childish on this occasion. The President, when he does not get his way in everything he wants, is just like a spoiled child who resists restraint when he wants to do something that he is not desired to do and who sets up a convulsive roar when he is stopped. The Seanad had the temerity to refuse to pass a measure which they believed the country did not want, and which I believe the country did not want, and the President in a rage brings in this Bill like a child being denied of his wants. He did not even give himself time to consider or to think. One wonders if the President will ever grow up—if he will ever have a politically grown-up mind; if he will ever be man enough to admit that he can be wrong. Until the President politically grows up sufficiently to admit that, there is very little hope that we are going to have any useful legislation passed by this Government.

In conclusion, I should like to say that the arguments for this Bill have been lamentably weak. On the question of being non-representative, on the question of leading to revolution, on the question of expense, or on the question of the Seanad not serving any useful purpose, there has been no case made. Everyone of the arguments has been controverted and I believe that such a measure as this should not be passed without an appeal to the people. If such an appeal is made, I for one have no doubt as to what the verdict of the people would be even on the sole issue of the Seanad on which the Minister said we would be afraid to face the country. I personally have no doubt as to what the verdict of the people would be if an appeal were made to the country on the Bill, and I hope the Government will appeal to the country.

The only fault I have to find with this measure is that, in my opinion, it should have been brought in one and a half years ago. This country is going to be ruled by the majority; and if the will of the people is to be opposed by any party of old fogeys set up under the sweepstakes system—I cannot describe the Seanad as anything but the predecessor of the sweepstakes—I feel that this Bill is one and a half years too late.

Are these expressions in order?

The Deputy must not use these expressions in referring to the other House.

I looked up the Official Report——

I am not sure if the Deputy has withdrawn the expressions that he used.

A Deputy need not withdraw until he is asked. The Deputy must not describe the other House in the terms in which he has described it, and he must withdraw the terms.

I withdraw. I looked up the manner in which the Seanad was first set up and I find in Volume II of the Dáil Debates (6th December, 1922, column 28) that the then President nominated 30 gentlemen for this job. Thirty were nominated by the then President first. Then 15 were selected by lot who were to get £4,320 each out of the drum and 15 who were to get £2,160 each.

The Deputy was told that he must not use a certain description and he must not use any words which would imply such a description of the other House.

Very well, I shall just read the then President's statement, as given on column 42 of the Dáil Debates, Volumn II, which was as follows:—

"Yes; if the Deputy will read the Constitution he will find this: ‘15 to be selected by lot shall hold office for the full period of 12 years, the remaining 15 shall hold office for the period of six years.' I think they had better decide it by lot themselves."

The 30 names, I take it, were put into a hat. The 15 who drew out the right papers were to be members for 12 years and are there yet, and the other 15 were to be members for six years. When that is the kind of governing Chamber that we have, and when we hear all this talk about the independence of the Seanad and the capability of the members, it is no wonder that I wanted to know how they were first nominated. I wanted to find out exactly what happened, to find out exactly what steps were taken by previous Administrations to see that a Bill passed by them would not be held up or blocked by the Seanad. I found that 30 of them were nominated by the President and 20 of them afterwards elected by his Party—50 out of 60 members. He took good care that he was going to have a majority, anyway. I went over the pedigree of some of these gentlemen to find out what national service they had rendered in their time. I found that one of them was Master of the Horse to the King and that he served in the South African War. No doubt, that was a national service he rendered to us.

Were any of them in the R.I.C.?

They had not your pedigree, then.

His clubs are the Kildare Street Club in Dublin, the Guards in London——

And the Cork Defence Union.

——and the Jockey Club in Paris. He is one of the gentlemen who drew £4,230.

Is it not as good as Tuckey Street Police Barracks?

There is also another and we wonder why all these gentlemen were put into those positions. Those are the gentlemen who are going to stand in the way of the will of the people of this country to-day. There was a general election in this country in 1932. The people gave a definite mandate then, and we immediately had these people interfering with the will of the people and preventing its being carried out. We had another general election in August to satisfy the howl, and even after that general election they carried on in the same way. Deputies opposite talk of not having a mandate. This matter of the abolition of the Seanad was put to the people at the last general election, and put very clearly, and the people gave a definite mandate for the abolition of the Seanad. We have these people all over the country howling week after week about mandates. "They had no mandate for this and they had no mandate for that; that is not the will of the people." We have seen very queer things done on so-called mandates from time to time by the Deputies opposite when they were in office.

A lot of the calves are going down, anyway.

And when Deputies talk about calves going down, I may say that I have looked over another volume and I find that four men were executed on 39 votes out of 153 in this House, and then you talk about the slaughter of calves.

And I suppose the same will happen again.

39 votes to 14 was the mandate given for the murder of Rory O'Connor and his comrades. Talk about the slaughter of calves after that.

The calves are harmless, anyway. They are doing no damage to anybody.

It is a pity they would not slaughter a few asses.

That will probably be the next point in your policy and it might lead to the disappearance of some part of the House.

These are the people who shout about mandates. We had Deputy Cosgrave to-day mentioning in a sneer the name of Cromwell and at the same time switching around and saying that the only difference between Cromwell and our Party was that he won battles and we lost them. If we were prepared to betray the independence of this nation to those whom we were fighting from 1916 to 1922 for the loan of 18-pounders and ammunition of war, we would win battles just as quickly but we were not and, therefore, we lost.

No artillery.

We had no Corrys, which was worse.

You do not know a damn bit about it, anyway.

We had not you. Is that not right?

That is the position. Here was a party of men, 30 of whom were nominated at one shot and the names of others pulled out of a hat. Fancy a man being in the Senate for 12 years just because his name was pulled out of a hat!

Was it a tall hat?

They were to remain there for 12 years and that was the will of the people! I have looked up the names of the team that was put into the Senate out of the hat at that time and I find that eight of ten of these old lads are there yet. These gentlemen come over from England only twice a year to have a look in and see how the game is going. I think they have to come over oftener now than they used to and one gentleman was brought over specially from Buckingham Palace for the Blue Shirt Bill.

Who was he?

If the Ceann Comhairle gives me permission, I will mention the name and the Deputy would be the first to jump up and object the moment I mentioned it.

Who was he?

Granard, if you want to know it.

Was he ever approached by your Ministers before?

The Deputy must continue his speech and not heed interruptions.

That gentleman comes over here once a year and I suppose that his screw is sent across to him to the Guards' Club, London—wired across once a month as a donation from the Irish people.

To refer to any member of the Seanad in such fashion as to make him identifiable is just as undesirable as to quote his name. These personal references must be omitted.

I bow to your ruling, Sir. It is scarcely necessary to identify some of those gentlemen because they are pretty well identified already. We hear the statement made that they are above Party and so on. I have examined the Free State Parliamentary Companion and I find this statement on page 91:—

"Party affiliations in the Seanad have tended to become more rigid than previously. At present the membership of the various groups is as follows:—Government (Fianna Fáil), 12; Cumann na nGaedheal, 23; Labour, 6; Farmers, 2"——

and the old standard-bearers of Imperialism, 16.

Is that the way they are described in the Parliamentary Companion”?

With all due deference to Deputy Morrissey——

The Deputy is quoting from the Parliamentary Companion.”

They call themselves what Deputy Morrissey called himself when he departed from the Labour ranks—Independents. That is the position. What has prevented the passage of every single piece of legislation that was of any use in this country for the past two years, and prevented the will of the people being carried out, was this kind of trick-of-the-loop. First of all, the Seanad was well manned before those gentlemen went out of office. Then they extended the term during which they could hold up a Bill; then they walked out and said: "Go ahead now, as you like. Any Bill which will not suit us will not become law for 18 months, anyway, or for 21 months." It meant you would need to have an election every 12 months if you were going to carry out the will of the people in this country, unless you got rid of the Seanad.

Those people who are now howling about the Seanad had a far cheaper way to do business. Deputy O'Leary, for instance, could find out all about the slaughter of his calves, and whether the people liked it or not, if he had left the referendum alone. We could have a referendum as to whether or not we would slaughter Deputy O'Leary's calves. We could have another referendum as to whether we would slaughter Deputy Keating's bullock.

The peeler and the cat!

We could have all those referendums only that the Cumann na nGaedheal Party abolished another Article of the Constitution which contained the referendum. They had no hesitation in wiping that out of the way. It would be a very cheap way, as Deputy Norton said, of finding out what was the will of the people on any particular proposal of the Government—a very cheap and effective way of finding it out—but Cumann na nGaedheal did not want that. Cumann na nGaedheal did not want any referendum to be taken as to whether or not the Oath should remain. Therefore, they broke the Constitution and abolished the referendum. They deprived the people of this country of a very easy way of showing their wishes, without having Deputy O'Leary howling for a general election, or Deputy Keating, or anyone else howling for a general election.

I am not in any hurry. I should like to give your policy a trial and let the people see more of it.

The longer we stay in the better off you will be.

With the farmers growing wheat!

I knew I would make you plough.

I ploughed before you were born.

They cannot plough because they have nothing to plough. The unfortunate people are at your mercy.

The next complaint we had then was a desperate complaint from Deputy Dillon that the Fianna Fáil Party were too loyal to the President. How anybody, unless he made at least five different parts of himself, could be loyal to each of the five leaders opposite, I cannot see. The Deputy who would be loyal to Deputy Dillon would be most unloyal, for instance, to General O'Duffy; the Deputy who would be loyal to Deputy MacDermot could hardly be loyal to Deputy McGilligan or to Deputy Mulcahy. They have so many leaders over there——

Mr. Rice

On a point of order, is this speech relevant to the measure before the House?

The Deputy is dealing with a definite point raised to-day in an Opposition speech on this measure.

They could not always change their minds like Deputy Rice, and be loyal to one general to-day and another to-morrow. That is their trouble. That is, I believe, the main difficulty which is facing them. We have experience of this State——

Mr. Rice

And of the R.I.C.!

——and we have experience of the President. In passing, I might say that the most contemptible speech made here to-day was made by the most miserable creature on the Opposition Benches—the "haw haw" Deputy. In conclusion, my only regret is that this Bill was not introduced a year and a half ago, when it was urgently needed. It is the only way of clearing the air, and allowing the will of the people to be carried out. The only fault I have to find with the President of this State is that he is a little too soft, when I remember the manner in which those gentlemen opposite dealt with the Opposition in their day. They ought to look it over, and think it over a little bit. If the President of this State wishes to do his duty by this country I know where a lot of those bucks over there will be in a hurry.

If either House of the Oireachtas has got to be abolished can anybody say, after listening to the last speech, that, on the merits, it is not this House which ought to go? Deputy Corry has indulged in many analogies. It requires a very slight imagination indeed to think of the very odious comparisons that he could be put up against if the rules of the House permitted. The Deputy is very fond of talking about pedigrees in certain contexts—the Deputy who shivers when pedigree is mentioned to him, and is afraid a personal affront is intended; the Deputy who knows that he is deprived, merely because of a certain physical disability, from getting the rewards due to him because of his pedigree.

Another speech for the abolition of the Dáil!

I am coming to the Minister. After all, what Deputy Corry has said is only a somewhat unwashed version of what the Minister has said. We know well—it is a lesson learned during the last war—that when any strong position has got to be attacked the best way of launching the attack is under a cloud of poisoned gas. Could there be any more poisoned gas than that given out by Deputy Corry recently? Mind you, he had a good master in the Minister down the country this week. He had a better master in the pure-souled President, who told one of the Senators to shut his foul mouth and allow the air in his neighbourhood to be purer.

A Deputy

Very much to the point, too.

Very much—coming from the President!

But not to the point on this Bill.

I am not so sure, Sir.

That is the opinion of the Chair.

If, after you have heard me, you say it is not, I will yield on it, but I ask you to allow me to speak on the point. What did our Minister for Industry and Commerce— who can laugh, whether at or with Deputy Corry is not known, but who can laugh when Deputy Corry's antics are on—say down the country on Sunday? He said that they had now

"men who organised the I.R.B. and I.R.A. on bicycles and on foot, sitting beside men still in the personal service of the British King, men to whom everything associated with the Irish nation had been a cause of hatred. Those men were now working with Mr. Blythe and Mr. Mulcahy to defeat the Government policy."

Deputy Corry, poor soul, does not like to identify a Senator here. The Minister does not like to identify a Senator down the country. Is the Minister really any more of a gentleman than Deputy Corry? Would the Minister do this for me, and would his two colleagues sitting beside him do this for me? Would they say if, on another occasion recently, when critical times were upon them, they aproached for help members of the Seanad whom they have now accused of working in hostility to the Irish nation? Did the Minister for Industry and Commerce ever do that? Did the Minister for Justice ever do it? Did the President ever do it? Did the President in 1921 approach Senator Jameson? Did he approach Lord Midleton? Did he approach Sir Robert Woods? Did the President, at a later period, before the famous "Cease Fire" order, approach two people who are now members of the Seanad, men who would be stated to be working in hostility to the Minister for Industry and Commerce and the Irish nation? When the Blueshirt Bill was recently about to be discussed in the Seanad to whom did the President send word that he would like to discuss the Bill with them? Was it the men who one time organised the I.R.A. or Senators who were working always in opposition and with hostility to the Irish nation? Did the Minister for Industry and Commerce ever hear before of the peace terms sought from England at one time in 1932? Does the Minister for Justice know anything of them? Will these two Ministers recognise any obligation of personal honour, now wanting, when dealing with those people who represented them in regard to the peace terms sought from Britain about Christmas time 1932? Do they know anything of what I am speaking about? Did they try to get any of these men whom they now describe as working against, and in hostility to the Irish nation, to put out feelers for them? Did they receive these people when they brought the terms back to them? Did they say to them when they brought the terms back "You did not work with the Irish people to organise the I.R.A. or the I.R.B.; you were always working in hostility to the Irish nation and we will have nothing from you." Deputy Corry should ask that question of those who may be working behind his back dealing with those people in their relations to the English Government.

On your word?

No, not on my word, but my word, fortified by a very great silence on the benches opposite. If Deputy Corry cannot get anything better than the silence I have got, well, indeed, may he have his suspicions. Surely if any men are to be sent out in the country to talk in this scurrilous manner about the Seanad, it ought not to be men who, as they would say, soiled themselves in their approach to those Senators with a view to those Senators approaching people in connection with whom it was alleged Deputy Cosgrave was having an intrigue. There is no evidence of an intrigue between Deputy Cosgrave and those people, but there is considerable evidence of intrigue between some members of the Executive Council opposite and those they thought good enough to engage in this talk. All that kind of thing gulls Deputy Corry, and people like him. Deputy Lemass said that there were men sitting in the Seanad who organised the I.R.A. and the I.R.B. beside men still in the personal service of the British King, men to whom everything associated with the Irish nation had been a cause of hatred, and those men were now working with Mr. Blythe. The President knows the kind of people to approach at various critical periods. At the time of the Truce, at the time when he wanted another truce, and at the time he wanted a discussion about the Blue Shirts Bill, he knew the men to approach. Did he go to the men so much favoured by the Minister for Industry and Commerce on public platforms? Did he go to people who organised the I.R.A., or people affected by hostility to, and hatred of, the Irish nation? This is no new thing; it is an old plan working out right through from the beginning of 1923 itself.

This country has got to be represented as an exception to what happens in every country in the world. In every other country it is possible to have two political parties, differing even on fundamental issues, but both being allowed to have their point of view, while still preserving their sense of loyalty to the nation. But in this country everybody who disagrees with President de Valera is to be represented as a traitor. I referred before to the scurrilities of the Minister for Finance in the country helped by the various other colleagues of his. He declared once:

"While we have the support of every thinking Irishman there are, unfortunately, reactionary and Imperialistic elements in the country, with the help of a reactionary and Imperialistic Press spreading the spirit of faction amongst us."

And he had to continue these comparisons and he declared:

"Ireland's cause has often been betrayed before, but never, except when public life in Ireland has been as degraded as in the days of Castlereagh has Irish treachery flaunted itself in the public eye. In the past we have had Sham Squires, Leonard MacNallys and Captain O'Sheas, and a host of other furtive, secret hypocrites posing as patriots, but until Cumann na nGaedheal gave the lead such men did not dare to come out into the open."

Then he referred to Castle Catholics, and men entitled to places of respect in the history of this country were referred to, by this almost foundling in Irish politics, as

"puppy-dogs, arm-in-arm, breast high for England, every one of them trying to get into the good graces of England."

If Deputy Corry said that in his uncouth way he was only echoing what the courteous Minister for Finance said in the country at meeting after meeting. He referred to Deputy Cosgrave in this way:

"That man challenges us to put him into jail"——

In debating the matter before the House Deputies can reason for or against the abolition of the Seanad. I fail to see what relation the speech of the Minister for Finance, in reference to Deputy Cosgrave, has to that matter.

Might I explain. Deputy Lemass went down the country and started this campaign, that the people who had organised the I.R.A. and the I.R.B. were associating with people who had acted with hostility to the Irish nation.

You interpolated certain words into that.

What are they?

You interpolated certain words about the Seanad.

Does the Minister say he made no reference to the Seanad, or that his speech has no reference to the Seanad?

Not that portion of it.

What is the meaning of the reference to Senator Blythe and Senator Milroy and association with men working against the Irish nation?

I do not think I mentioned Senator Milroy.

Both were mentioned.

I do not think so. Has the Deputy a reference to them there?

The reference to one of them is there. At any rate, the Minister for Defence came here in relation to his Defence Forces Bill and talked about British agents in the Seanad, associated with British agents here. I am combining these remarks with other remarks made at the same time, the whole plan being to make out that those who opposed the Government are traitors. Is not that Deputy Corry's argument here to-night? Why did Deputy Corry want to go into pedigrees, much as he should avoid such a subject? Why bring in names which were not required for identification purposes—of a certain Senator?

You asked for it.

Why was he referred to again? Was not the same line of argument adopted here when the Minister for Finance talked about ex-President Cosgrave's name being

"spat upon as the names of Carey and Nagle, Leonard MacNally, Pitt and Castlereagh, and every other man who betrayed the Irish people."

I move the adjournment of the debate.

Debate adjourned accordingly.
The Dáil adjourned at 10.30 p.m. until 3 p.m. on Thursday, 19th April.