In Committee. - Aliens Bill, 1934—Second Stage.

I move: "That the Bill be now read a Second Time." This Bill, as members of the Dáil are aware from what I said on the Second Stage of the Nationality and Citizenship Bill, is one of a set of three Bills which, when they are passed, might together be regarded as comprising our whole nationality code. Logically, perhaps, it would have been better that we should first have taken the next item on the Orders of the Day, but as the Constitution (Amendment) Bill is a very simple one, I do not think that any harm will be done by our not keeping to the strictly logical order. It is recognised that the political community has a right to define for itself who shall be members of it, and to impose obligations and conditions on strangers to the community who may be residing on its territory. In the Nationality and Citizenship Bill we define those who are to be members of our political community in the sense of being citizens. As that Bill has just recently passed through the House it is not necessary to recall its provisions. This Bill is to deal with those who are not regarded as citizens, and are not to be members of the sovereign political community. We have a right to define what is to be their status amongst us. Formerly, in other countries aliens, as they are called—non-citizens; that is the meaning which we attach to the term under this Bill; those who are not citizens in accordance with the Citizenship and Nationality Bill—were not allowed, for example, to hold real property. Very often foreigners have to reside, for the purposes of trade and business, in a country of which they are not citizens, and as time went on it became unsatisfactory that they should not be entitled to hold property. The modern usage is to permit them to hold property to such an extent and in such a manner as may be deemed expedient by the country in which they are residing.

Our provisions here are liberal ones. Under Section 3 we make it clear that aliens are entitled to acquire property, to hold it and to dispose of it in practically the same manner as citizens of the State. Giving them privileges of such a type, we are entitled to impose obligations upon them, and one of the obligations is that they should be subject to our laws. It is customary also for the State to protect itself and to protect its citizens by taking power to impose restrictions of various kinds. In times of danger and times of war it may be very necessary for the safety of the community that it be in a position to impose such restrictions. We have here, under Section 4, power given to the Minister to impose restrictions indicating at what points aliens may be allowed to enter. In certain cases he may take power to confine them to residing in a particular area, and he may order that in leaving the country they will leave only through a specified port.

Under Section 9 we have power to exempt citizens of certain countries from the application of provisions of this Act. The intention there is to parallel the provisions which we have in the Nationality Bill by which we can give to citizens of other countries who are alien to us privileges corresponding to the privileges which our citizens would enjoy in their countries. In other sections of the Bill power is taken to deal with a contravention of the orders which may be made under the Bill and penalties can be imposed.

I think that in the main these are the broad features of the Bill. There is nothing complicated in it. Those who have lived through the war period are accustomed to the nature of the restrictions that may be imposed for the safety of the community, and I do not think that we shall have from any part of the House strong objection to any part of the Bill. I do not think it is necessary for me to give the House any further explanation of it. In its nature this Bill is one that lends itself more to Committee work than to any detailed statement on Second Reading. I just want to indicate that there are a few amendments which I propose to make at a later stage. In the first place, in Section 2 there is no reference to ownership of aircraft. That will have to be remedied. In Section 5, sub-section (2), paragraph (b) we propose to insert the words "officers of customs and excise." We also take power there to impose certain obligations on hotel keepers in regard to the registering of aliens who may be residing in the hotel. There are two printers' errors which will have to be corrected. In Section 5, sub-section (1), paragraph (a) the word "which" will have to be changed to "whom," and in Section 8, sub-section (1), paragraph (b) the word "amending" to "assuming."

I should also draw attention to the fact that it is proposed to continue in force the Aliens Order of 1925 and bring it in as if it were made under this Act. The intention is to keep it for a short while until a comprehensive Order can be made which will supplant it. We do not expect that the doing of that will take any appreciable time, but at the same time we think it well to keep the Order in force until the new Order comes in. I think it well to explain to the Dáil that the intention is that the three Bills that I have referred to should, when they have passed through the Dáil and Seanad with their amendments, become law on the same day.

The President insisted on the right of this House to pass this Bill. What is of more importance to the country is whether it is in the interests of the Irish people that the Bill should be passed. I only intend to say one word about it. What is, I suppose, the principle of the Bill is contained in Section 2 defining an alien as "a person who is not a citizen of Saorstát Eireann." We are thus labelling our kith and kin in all the various parts of the Commonwealth as aliens. We are setting up a new sentimental barrier between ourselves and the North of Ireland by doing that. In addition, we are starting a train of events which may quite possibly lead, and which is even likely to lead if Government policy continues in general on its present lines, to the exclusion of our fellow citizens from a number of careers that are at present open to them. A speech is reported in this morning's newspapers that was made by Mr. Hofmeyr, the South African Minister of the Interior. Replying to some questions raised on this subject in South Africa he said:

"That his Government stood by the position laid down at the Imperial Conferences of 1929 and 1930, the effect of which was that in each part of the Commonwealth there was a particular status based on membership of the local community and common status based on common allegiance to the sovereign."

That is a view of the case that I should like to see adopted in any legislation passed in this country on the subject of citizenship and alienship. I regard this as a foolish Bill quite in keeping with many other foolish Bills that this Government has introduced and with the generally foolish policy of this Government. They are busily engaged in pulling down a building that, in the fullness of time, others will be called on to build up again. They have an obedient majority now by which they can pass anything they like, but a time will come when history will pass judgment on them and when the Irish people will repudiate what they are doing. We must oppose this Bill.

A Jeremiah come to judgment!

This Bill makes Archbishop Mannix an alien. That is not the only object of the Bill. When the Bill becomes an Act a certain hiatus will exist in the law in reference to aliens in this country. The President mentioned that the Aliens Order of 1925 is to remain in operation and that the intention is to re-enact it under this measure. I see that in the Schedule we are repealing the Aliens Restriction Act of 1914 and Aliens Restriction (Amendment) Act of 1919. I think it will be found that that will leave certain loopholes and that there will be a necessity for further regulations by the Government. At the present time there is a general agreement between the British and Irish Governments with regard to the control and admission of aliens into this island. There is a mutual agreement, but I do not know that it has ever been brought before the Dáil. At any rate it has been carried out for a number of years by the police forces of both countries. There has been co-operation between the two Governments and between the police forces of the two Governments with regard to the administration of the Aliens Acts, and the regulations made under them. I presume that when this Act comes into operation the agreement which has hitherto existed between the two Governments will come to an end, and that fresh agreements will have to be made.

At the present time no passports are required between this country and Great Britain, but passports are required from most countries for admission either into Ireland or into Great Britain from external sources. From now on, I cannot see how we can avoid being forced to introduce a system of passports between this State and the United Kingdom and between this State and Northern Ireland. It would be very difficult for any Customs officials, or police officials at the Border to distinguish between those who are citizens of the United Kingdom and those who are citizens of some other country when they come into the Free State, unless there is at least some system of passports or cards of identity introduced, such as exists between the United States and Canada. This will necessitate a great deal of work and a great deal of red tape on the part of the Government Departments, and its administration will put a considerable burden on the already overtaxed officials along the Border and at the ports.

A further agreement, as far as I remember, which was come to by this country and the United Kingdom was that if a citizen of one country who happened to be in the other needed a passport to go abroad, he would be provided with the passport by the Government of the country in which he happened to be, so that a Free State citizen in Great Britain would be supplied with a passport in London and a United Kingdom citizen could obtain a passport here in Dublin. I assume that after this Bill comes into operation that agreement will come to an end. As one goes through this Bill, one cannot help realising that many difficulties are bound to arise. It is very difficult for the ordinary citizen to foresee all the circumstances in which rearrangement will be necessary in view of the breakdown of the existing agreements between the two Governments. In Committee Stage, the President has mentioned, several Government amendments will be introduced, and I think that perhaps in Section 5, sub-section (4), it might be made clear that not only persons recognised as being diplomats and consuls-general, but also persons holding the position of high commissioner or trade commissioner should be exempt in the same way as the holders of the other positions are exempt.

In the Citizenship Bill, high commissioners were included in the definition of "Ministers," but that does not appear in this Bill and perhaps it should be introduced. There are other matters in other sections which will need to be discussed in Committee. I mentioned at the beginning that such persons as Archbishop Mannix will become aliens as a result of this Bill, and also, I understand, Mr. Bernard Shaw will become an alien. When the possibility was mentioned to him, on the passage of the Citizenship Bill, he said that he was open to suggestions as to what country he should adopt or what country would adopt him. I notice a leading article in a recent number of a responsible daily paper in Madrid suggesting that, in view of the fact that President de Valera has made Mr. Bernard Shaw an alien by his legislation, Mr. Bernard Shaw should be invited to become a Spaniard. As to whether Mr. Shaw will accept the suggestion or not, I do not know, but certainly the proposition had been put to him, presumably on the principle that Spain at the moment needs a Don Quixote and that we have a surplus of such people in this country for export.

A great number of distinguished people all over the world who have hitherto been accustomed to look upon themselves as Irish, and who have brought lustre and distinction or fame to this country will be, by this Bill, branded as aliens in this, our national State, and for that reason alone, I think that more care should have been taken in arriving at a definition of "alien" and that the bald statement should not be put down that everyone who is not a citizen of this State shall be branded as an alien in this, our national State. I realise that a Bill was inevitable after the passage of the Citizenship Bill, which is, I understand, being delayed in the Seanad until such time as this Bill comes also before that body. Possibly by the time this Bill comes back to us, it will be in its second or third edition, just as I understand the Citizenship Bill, when it comes back to us, will be a very different measure from what it was when it was first introduced.

If the definition of an alien had not been such as to comprise within its scope every citizen of every State of the Commonwealth of Nations, there would be nothing to be said against the provisions of this Bill. With that exception, the Bill does nothing more than to put into one Bill the provisions of the existing law, with the necessary adaptations. With the possible exceptions of the provisions of Section 7 and Section 8, the remainder of the Bill is nothing but a restatement of the provisions of portions of the British Nationality and Status of Aliens Act, 1914, the Aliens Restrictions Acts, 1914 and 1919 and the Aliens Order of 1925, so that we are not asserting the sovereign right of this Assembly to deal with, or define, or otherwise regulate the status of aliens in this country. Under the existing legislation, they were perfectly adequately provided for.

I agree that this Bill is a proper Bill to bring in and we would have little or nothing to say upon it if it did not contain that wide definition of the word "alien." Although there has existed in the British Commonwealth of Nations that common status, or that idea of common status, to which Deputy MacDermot has referred, it is not unknown that some members of this Commonwealth of Nations have excluded from their privileges, and even from entering into their territory, other members of the States members of the British Commonwealth of Nations. The outstanding example of that is, of course, the Australian Government, who by their own legislation prohibited Indian subjects from entering Australia. So that we are not committing what you might call a very grave or original sin if we do say that we will subject to certain restrictions citizens of the British Commonwealth entering this country. That is to say we could restrict British subjects, whether Australians, New Zealanders, or South Africans, from entering this country.

We pointed out during the passage of the Citizenship Bill through this House that in order to retain our separate Irish nationality we have to recognise that so long as we are a member of the British Commonwealth of Nations we have certain rights and, perhaps also following that, certain obligations. I pointed out at that time that membership of the British Commonwealth of Nations, or that our being a member of the British Commonwealth of Nations, did not involve the idea of being British; that while the Association was called the British Commonwealth of Nations, it was not a commonwealth of British nations; and that South Africa had its own idea of nationality, its own consciousness of South African nationality just the same as we have our consciousness of Irish nationality. But while we are within this Association of States we ought to recognise our obligations decently and honourably, and while recognising these obligations decently and honourably, to get what we can and to extract for this country such practical substantial advantages as we can gain for the citizens of our own country through membership of that Association of States.

If we had a Republic it would be another matter, but up to the moment we are certainly within the British Commonwealth of Nations. Our status is such as is conferred upon us by virtue of that membership. We have very practical rights which can be obtained as a business proposition for the citizens of this country. I say now, as I said during the course of the debate on the Citizenship Bill, that it is bad business merely for the sake of putting something on paper in the nature of make-belief, something that will enable certain people to go around the country and say that we have called the citizens of Northern Ireland aliens and that we are almost a Republic, if not a Republic. I say that is bad business, and I say it is also bad nationality. Apart, however, from being bad nationality, it is certainly bad business. We are not going to get anything through calling citizens of Northern Ireland or citizens of Scotland aliens. It is because the Government are doing something that is utterly needless from the point of view of the consciousness of our own Irish nationality, as a separate nationality in the community of nations, that we object to the proposals in this Bill.

Deputy Esmonde has referred to the provisions of Section 5 of this Bill dealing with the exemptions to diplomatic missions through the provisions of this Bill. I understand that we have in this country a trade representative from Great Britain and also a trade representative from Canada. These will be aliens under this Bill as it stands at the present moment. The provisions of the Bill, to which the President has referred, keeping in force the Aliens Order of 1925, will certainly, from the legal point of view, form a very interesting statute. That Order is going to be continued as a temporary measure. Under the Aliens Order of 1925, an alien means a person who is not a British subject, so that you are continuing an Order which says that the meaning of an alien under the terms of that Order is a person who is not a British subject.

Here in this Bill you are saying an alien is a person who is a British subject. For that reason I say the situation will be distinctly interesting. Whether the Government intends it or not, the position will be that after the passing of this Bill persons coming down from Newry to Dundalk will have to register with the registration officer under the Aliens Order of 1925, or else subject themselves to prosecution and subsequent imprisonment. That is the sort of thing this Bill is doing at the present moment. Anybody who comes in from Newry or elsewhere over the Border will have to register himself. That is one of the provisions of the Aliens Order, 1925. Similarly, anybody coming in from England will have, straight away, to go to the registration officer and register himself. In addition to that he will have to inform the police authority of every change of address. That is a nice prospect for them. It is worse for us, because it is going to do us damage from the material point of view, and we cannot afford any further damage from that point of view.

The provisions of Section 9 of the Act to which the President has referred are also rather interesting. I take it that it is intended to mean that when we are getting privileges from Great Britain we will give Great Britain privileges. I would like the President to ask his legal advisers to look at that section and to ask whether it carries through what he intends it to carry through. He will have a nice problem to solve there.

Sections 7 and 8 were not referred to by the President. They appear to be not so much novel as new, certainly in this country. I would have liked to have had something from the President as to the scope of these sections. I find it difficult to understand sub-section (2) of Section 7, which provides that a person must carry on business under the same sort of name—that is assuming he is an alien—as he had on the 6th December, 1922, or on the day after he started business. So that he could start business to-day under the name of Stravisky or something of that kind and to-morrow morning he could start under the name of O'Brien, and he would be entitled to continue on as O'Brien apparently under the construction of that Section.

Section 8 of the Bill provides for a change of name by licence. This country would be flooded with licences of one kind or another before long. I would suggest for the President's consideration that there ought to be some sort of record office where the public can inspect these licences. According to the proposal in the Bill they are given at the moment at the absolute discretion of the Minister. Under the Bill as it stands there is no way by which the public can ascertain who it is who has got a licence, when he got it and what were the conditions under which the licence had been granted. I suggest that if those provisions are to be carried out there should be some public office where the names of those to whom the licences were granted will be entered, and that this list should be open to inspection by the public.

We oppose this Bill because of its scope in relation to our co-members of the British Commonwealth of Nations. We think that it will in practice probably be that Section 9, or some similar section will be so operated as to exclude those members from the scope of the Bill. We think on this section that the question of exemption from the provisions of citizens of the British Commonwealth of Nations will not operate. The remainder of the Bill is a rehash of the law as it exists at the present moment, and under which we have been operating since 1925.

There are two minor points upon which I should like to get information before speaking on the generality of the Bill. Deputy Costello has referred to one of them. Section 7, according to the side-noting, imposes restrictions on a change of name by aliens, and under sub-section (2) it appears it shall not be lawful for an alien to carry on, or continue to carry on, after the appointed day, any trade or business unless in the name under which such trade or business was carried on, "on whichever of the following days was the later." What does "later" mean? Does it mean further removed from us, or later in point of date? I should imagine that the 6th December, 1934, was later than the 6th December, 1922; and if that is the interpretation, what Deputy Costello suggests must happen. Say you have a gentleman called Wassenfeldt or some name of that kind, that he decides to Irishise his name, and that he becomes The O'Maguire on a particular date. If it is later than 6th December, 1922, he may continue as The O'Maguire, and later he may find that there are too many O'Maguires in the country, and he can change that name to something else. I wonder is that what is intended? Does it mean further removed in time from us, or earlier in date, or does it mean later in the sense that the 6th December, 1934 is later than the 6th December, 1922?

Deputy Costello has pointed out that under Section 5, say, a trade representative of Great Britain resident in this country is an alien. If he is, I do not think he yet realises the awkward position in which he is going to be placed under this Bill, because under a Ministerial order, his house may be broken into and he may be arrested, despite our having Constitutional provisions guaranteeing the liberty of the person in this country. Under this Bill he may be exempted from the application of such an aliens order, and when you get on down, you find that his wife and child are exempt. Suppose you get a female representative here, her husband is not exempt. There is a clause in the Interpretation Act which says that words importing the masculine shall import the feminine, but notvice versa. These are, however, only minor points.

The big point arises in connection with Section 9 and it has to be taken as colouring the whole Bill. Section 9 as it stands definitely does make, until an exemption order is passed, everybody, even a person of Irish descent, who is not as Section 2 states, a citizen of Saorstát Eireann, under the nationality and citizens law, an alien. That applies to a considerable number of people whom we claim as being very near and very dear to us, and as being of Irish descent. See what may happen them. Section 5 operates in full force against any of these people. Consider Section 5 in relation to the constitutional guarantees that we gave under the Constitution to a variety of people. In Article 7 we say:—

"The liberty of the person is inviolable"—not of citizens—"and no person shall be deprived of his liberty except in accordance with law."

We are going to make a distinction here and it is not a distinction which is going to be assented to by any judicial authority. It is by a Minister.

Under Section 5, sub-section 2 (b)— as if it were not wide enough the President is going to enlarge it—the Minister for Defence, or even a Customs officer, is going to have power to arrest and detain, and to search premises and places. Article 7 says that the dwelling of each citizen is inviolable. It is "citizen" that is used there. Article 8 says that freedom of conscience is, subject to certain things, guaranteed, and Article 9 gives the right of free expression of opinion, apparently to everybody in the country. It has been a moot point for many years as to whether the word "citizen" in these four fundamental articles means citizen as defined in the nationality law, or means a resident. In Article 3 a citizen is described as every person who was born in Ireland or either of whose parents was born in Ireland or who had been ordinarily resident in the area of the Irish Free State for not less than seven years. That particular term "citizen of the Irish Free State" is used in the Constitution, but certainly in interpreting modern constitutions, the general trend of opinion is that where no set phrase is used, a phrase like "citizen" does not merely tie you down to your own citizens, but extends to resident aliens.

What are going to be the reactions of these four fundamental articles of the Constitution on this Bill and on the one which is not tied up with the word "citizen"? Article 6 says that the liberty of the person is inviolable and that no person shall be deprived of his liberty except in accordance with law. We should know how far the distinction goes. The President in his opening remarks made it appear that Section 5, is only for use in time of war or such time of excitement. The President's example was in relation undoubtedly to a time of war. He may have meant to suggest that Article 4 might be regarded, notwithstanding the liberty that is guaranteed to every person in the State, as being subject to what may happen during a state of war or armed rebellion but there is no such phrase in Section 5 of the Bill. Whenever the Minister issues an order he can do a variety of things. He can pass an order in respect to, either all aliens or aliens of a particular nationality and incidentally, later on, he can define the nationality of an alien. Here he seems to be tied to particular aliens or aliens of a particular nationality.

Apparently in this way, we have guaranteed freedom of a variety of things, freedom from arrest, from search, from detention, liberty of speech, liberty of association, liberty of conscience for the people of the country. We are now about to decide, not that a judge shall decide, who has the right to do these things, that a Minister by order in relation to individuals, may grant to officials of the Department of Justice or to a Customs and Excise officer the right to arrest and detain, the right to break into premises and search premises. That is a very far reaching provision and it is certainly in complete breach of the Constitution. It certainly does give power to make distinctions as between individuals.

The reactions of this Bill, which in precise terms aims at Article 6 and Article 7—the freedom from arrest and the inviolability of the dwellinghouse— may have a reaction also on the interpretation to be given by the courts hereafter to the meaning of the word "citizen" in these two Articles and may have a very narrowing effect upon what we intend or what it is now believed we intend, by the freedom of, say, religious belief or practice of religion, and the freedom of expression of opinion given in Articles 8 and 9, which are not at the moment limited in any way. I object to Section 5 for a variety of reasons. It is definitely giving over to a Minister, in relation even to individuals, the exercise of judicial power. Definitely and clearly it is given over to him without any check or limitation which would enable this matter to be brought before a court. It gives him that power without tying him down to the avoidance of distinctions as between groups of people or individuals in groups. Without putting any of these limitations upon him, it gives him power, if and whenever he thinks proper, acting through agents— civil servants—to arrest and detain, to break open a house and to search. There ought surely to be some limitation of that peculiar freedom. If it is to be exercised mainly in times of war or armed rebellion, let the section say so. If it is thought wise to reserve the use of such a power for some other emergency, which cannot be foreseen at the moment, let it be reserved for that but requiring the promulgation of notice to the Dáil before any interference of this kind is attempted in respect of any individual.

The President says, in introducing a Bill which has this clause, that it is "a liberal measure." He says further that, when we are so liberal in our gifts to these aliens, we should demand certain consideration, and that the consideration is that we subject them to our laws. We do not. We do not subject them to our Constitutional guarantees. We prevent their getting the benefit of those guarantees if the Minister thinks fit. That would be a considerable blot on the Bill even if it were narrowed down to a small number of aliens, as the phrase is used at the moment, but when, by Article 9, it can have the widest possible extension, when an Englishman who visits this country for the purpose of trade or a person born of Irish parents who does not happen to be an Irish citizen may, at any time the Minister thinks proper, have his house broken into, his premises searched, and his arrest ordered, it is very serious. Apparently, there is no way to have that proceeding brought before a court. The Minister can do this with regard to particular aliens. Section 5, apart from the breaches which it makes in certain other Constitutional guarantees, does certainly leave open the argument that it is a breach of Article 64, which provides that judicial power shall be exercised and justice administered in the public courts by judges appointed in a particular manner. Power is being taken to abrogate a particular provision with regard to freedom of the person, freedom of speech and the right to have a house sacred from entry. As if that was not enough, the Minister is given authority to issue an Order which may contain provisions "conferring on the Minister and on officers of the Minister and the military and police forces of the State all such powers (including powers of arrest and detention and powers of searching persons and places) as are, in the opinion of the Minister, necessary for giving full effect to or enforcing compliance with such order." If that is a "liberal Bill," the full content and extent of its liberality should be brought vividly before the mind of any alien who is thinking of coming into the country and should be brought particularly before the mind of those of our people who still look to us as in some way attached to them. They should be given some notice of the latest benefaction that we are conferring on them if they come to the country. We are giving a Minister power to wipe out these Constitutional guarantees so that their premises may be raided and they themselves arrested and put into jail. Eventually, according to this mysterious phrase, they can be prevented from leaving the country. If they want to get out to avoid all these things, the Minister can prevent them. Part of the Order may be devoted to telling them that they must stay in the country, even though it be in Arbour Hill.

The Attorney-General

If one is to follow the Deputy's argument to its logical conclusion, the Constitution prevents the Oireachtas from making any provision by way of restriction on aliens which would put them in a position different from citizens. If I followed the Deputy's argument correctly, that is the conclusion. His whole speech, and particularly that part which was devoted to Section 5, seemed to be infected with what I thought was now an out-of-date conception of the Constitution. I understand that the Deputy is now Professor of Constitutional Law. One would have imagined that, as such, he would have made himself familiar with a recent decision of the Supreme Court regarding the Constitution, involving, as it did, the question, which figured very largely in the arguments, as to whether there were or were not fundamental provisions in the Constitution. As I understand the majority judgment of the Supreme Court, it is incorrect legally to describe any of the Articles of the Constitution as more fundamental than others. However, I suppose the Deputy will read the judgment and bring himself up to date on this branch of Constitutional Law. Another curious thing about the Deputy's treatment of that section and his application of Article 6 to it is that he did not advert to the fact that Article 6 says that the liberty of the person is inviolable and that no person shall be deprived of his liberty except in accordance with law. Surely this is a law——

A Ministerial report?

The Attorney-General

This is a law and, so far as that sentence in the Article of the Constitution is concerned, it is absurd for the Deputy to contend that this Bill in any way conflicts with it. There are many laws which interfere with the liberty of the person and, if this is to be an addition to them, there is nothing unconstitutional in it in that respect, at any rate.

It certainly conflicts with the spirit of the Constitution.

The Attorney-General

The Deputy speaks loosely of "the spirit of the Constitution," but we are dealing with the precise interpretation of the Constitution and its legal effect. I understood that Deputy McGilligan was purporting to interpret Articles of the Constitution in the strict way in which they would be interpreted by a court when he suggested that this Bill, in that section, was unconstitutional. Nobody can reasonably suggest that it is not fitting in any properly organised community to have a distinction drawn between the position of aliens and the position of citizens. I do not suppose that there is any country where very drastic powers are not remitted to some Minister to deal with aliens. That has been found necessary for very obvious reasons—so obvious that it is quite unnecessary to elaborate them. As was pointed out by the President, this Bill is simply making the position clear. It confers upon the Minister a power which one assumes he will not exercise unreasonably. It confers upon the Minister power to use on occasions when it should be reasonably exercised. As to the point whether the register should be open to inspection, and several other similar points, they are rather, I think, matters for Committee. Generally, as the President has said, the Bill is a liberal Bill, and aliens are given rights under it which they did not, until recent years, receive in many countries.

When the President comes to speak, would he kindly explain the meaning of Section 8— licences for change of name by aliens?

The Deputy is merely putting a question and does not intend to make a speech.

I thought really that all the nonsense that it was possible to speak, on a subject like this, would have been exhausted by the nonsense spoken upon the Nationality Bill. We are told we are making Archbishop Mannix and Bernard Shaw aliens. They are not being made aliens by any Act of ours. They can remain Irish citizens; there is nothing to prevent them. If they were born here they are entitled, under our Nationality Bill, to be regarded as citizens. There is nothing whatever that I can see in our Nationality Bill that makes them aliens. Deputy McGilligan spoke of people born here and said that we are making aliens of them and that we are subjecting them to all those restrictions by this Bill.

I said people of Irish descent who are not citizens.

If people of Irish descent are not citizens they are free to become citizens if they desire so to do. If they have reasons for not becoming part of our political community, I take it these reasons are sufficiently good from their point of view to counterbalance any disadvantages that may arise from being regarded as outside our community. Our Nationality Bill, as far as those who have any attachment to this country goes, is very wide. It was wide when it was introduced into the Dáil. It was wider still when it left. We went to the utmost limit to make it easy for anybody of Irish connections to become a member of our political community and be regarded as an Irish citizen. Therefore, when we talk of aliens we are talking of people who, although they have Irish associations, for some good reason or other prefer association elsewhere. And I think we ought to have primary regard to our people here whose destiny and whose whole fate is immediately bound up with our community here.

Deputy MacDermot, apparently, is going to succeed again in bringing with him into the Division Lobby Deputies on the opposite benches whose whole outlook has been proved by their past conduct to be quite the opposite of his. Why they should subordinate their viewpoint on this to his I do not know. But it is quite clear Deputy MacDermot has a conception of common status different from us. I notice that the former Attorney-General has become a disciple of his in that regard. There is no evidence that when Deputy Costello was Attorney-General he held any such views as he appears to hold now as to the implications of common status. There was no accepted definition of what is meant, and nothing to show the basis of it. There was common recognition that there were certain rights and privileges which were accepted and bestowed in various States of what is called the British Commonwealth. But one of the things I would like to remind Deputy MacDermot not accepted by the representatives of this country or by the representatives of South Africa or any of the countries I know, except Britain, was that there was anything like common citizenship. Even the British did not hold that there was common citizenship for all the States. They recognised clearly that it was the right of any one of the States of the Commonwealth to define who were to be its own nationals and to impose any restrictions they thought necessary on people coming from other parts of the Commonwealth. What is the use in pretending that there was common citizenship and that this common status meant anything of that sort? It did not. What it did convey we are providing for by reciprocal action. We are making full provision for the maintenance of any rights or privileges to which members of one State of the Commonwealth, travelling into another, are entitled. We are doing that by order. Once this set of Bills is passed we can, by order, make available all those privileges in virtue of the fact that, by law in some of those States, similar privileges are allowed to our citizens. But if any of these privileges are denied to our citizens, we would be free to deny similar privileges.

The whole of the criticism of this Bill, it seems to me, arises from a misconception of what is the existing position and what changes are being made by this Bill and the previous Bill. The big change is that the term "British subject" will no longer run in this country; that we will have our own nationals, defined in our own way by our own law as we are entitled to have. With regard to the continuance of the Aliens Order of 1925, even though we are repealing the Act upon which it is based we provide in this Bill for making a similar order. The order can be amended in certain respects that will make it immediately recognisable as an order made under this Act. Talking about passports, and the rest of it, there is no necessity whatever for any departure. We can have them when this Act is passed if we think it advisable. Agreements, we are told, will go by the board if this Bill is passed. Nothing of the kind; it does not interfere with any agreement made and any existing agreement can be continued when this Bill is passed.

Now, with regard to the Constitution: the Attorney-General dealt with the points made by Deputy McGilligan with regard to an apparent contravention of the Constitution. There is nothing of the kind in this. The powers that are given in this and the orders that can be made are exactly the powers that are given and the orders that can be made under the existing law. There is nothing that I know of that we are putting in here that is not already possible under the existing law.

That is not my point, of course.

I admit that it is not your point. Your point is that it is not a liberal measure because it is not more liberal than the law of our predecessors.

That is not my point. The Attorney-General, of course, was so befogged that he did not get my point. The Attorney-General is always befogged. What I said was that if it is allowable to give a Minister the power to discriminate as between individuals in regard to arrest and detention, will not that also be possible under the law and Constitution as against individual citizens? Supposing we get to that point, will it then be regarded as a liberal measure under this Constitution to have a Minister in power in a position to make discriminations between citizens and enable the residences of some of them to be broken into and entered and the persons of others to be arrested, and whether the same will not apply to the generality of people?

It may be possible to go into the details of the measure in Committee Stage.

Even though it is allowable, I say that it is reducing it to a farce.

At the present moment orders can be made. It will be no more farcical in the future than heretofore.

Where is the limitation?

Where is the limitation at the moment?

There is no power given to the Minister to do it by Order.

There is power given to the Minister to make a Deportation Order, and Deportation Orders have been made. And under the existing law power is given to make any order that can be made under this section.

It is all subject to the control of the other.

I hold that there is nothing in this Bill—I would like it to be shown to me if there is—that gives powers that were not already available under the existing law.

I think that, in the main, all Section 5 is. The majority of Section 5 gives it.

The majority of Section 5, as I read it, is simply giving in the future power which exists at the moment. I said that it was a liberal measure, and I believe that it is a liberal measure. There are numbers of States that deny aliens the rights and liberties that we are giving to them here. I used the word "war-time," and the Deputy made the most of it. I used it simply in this connection. I said that the nature of restrictions and so on that are imposed on aliens at such times was known to the full extent to us who have lived through the war period. I did not say at all that these measures here were for a war period.

That is worse, of course.

They are available at any time and, in our opinion, they should be available for the protection of the community as a whole; but just as at present the Minister does not make ridiculous Orders so, in the future, we can equally assume that he will not make ridiculous Orders. It must be remembered also that these Orders are to be laid on the Table of the House.

They have made a few Orders that have been upset by the courts.

And the extraordinary thing was that we had attorney-generals who went to the courts to try to get their own Acts upset.

And more so—they got them upset.

They did better when they were acting as Ministers with responsibilities than when acting in an irresponsible capacity.

But they have the responsible courts to control them.

They have responsible courts, and that is well.

And they have done it well so far.

I have nothing to say on that matter. With regard to the liberality of the measure, I say again that it is liberal. There are several States, in the United States of America for instance, which do not give the rights and privileges which we propose to give in regard to the holding of rights to property; and a number of other States, both European and Asiatic, impose conditions far beyond anything we are suggesting here and restrictions far beyond anything we are suggesting here.

Now, with regard to the Commonwealth and the points that have been raised by Deputy MacDermot and others: full provision is made in this Bill for continuing the privileges that have been recognised for individual citizens coming from or going into one or other of the States up to the present. They can all be provided for. With regard to the point made by Deputy Norton about the change of name, there may be a reason for it and a licence can be given, if good cause is shown to the Minister and the Minister has had an opportunity of examining the matter.

The Deputy wanted a suggestion as to one reason that a Minister might have for wanting to give a person a change of name.

I do not know. There might be a case where you would want to keep track of the individual.

Leave him his original name if you want to keep track of him. It would be easier to keep track of him in that way. I should like to know what is the use of putting this section into the Bill.

I am quite sure that such another provision would be found in similar enactments. I take it that this is not the first Aliens Bill that has been produced and that other similar enactments were considered in connection with this section——

Take the point of keeping track of the individual.

——and in the examination of detail which was necessary here I am sure that similar examples were found elsewhere. At any rate, I think it is a desirable provision. There might be a good reason why a change of name might be desirable, and this simply permits the Minister, if a good case is made, to allow the change to be made.

I should like to know from the President whether, during the past ten or 12 years, any case has arisen where a difficulty of this kind came under notice. I should like to know whether or not the case for this section is based on any difficulty of which the Executive Council have had experience. My object is to keep track of the alien.

Would you know a man better as O'Kelly than as Stavisky?

Question put: "That the Bill be now read a Second Time."
The Dáil divided; Tá, 53; Níl, 37.

Tá.

  • Aiken, Frank.
  • Bartley, Gerald.
  • Beegan, Patrick.
  • Boland, Gerald.
  • Bourke, Daniel.
  • Brady, Brian.
  • Brady, Seán.
  • Breathnach, Cormac.
  • Breen, Daniel.
  • Briscoe, Robert.
  • Concannon, Helena.
  • Corkery, Daniel.
  • Crowley, Fred. Hugh.
  • Crowley, Timothy.
  • Daly, Denis.
  • De Valera, Eamon.
  • Donnelly, Eamon.
  • Gibbons, Seán.
  • Goulding, John.
  • Hales, Thomas.
  • Hayes, Seán.
  • Jordan, Stephen.
  • Keely, Séamus P.
  • Kehoe, Patrick.
  • Kelly, James Patrick.
  • Kelly, Thomas.
  • Keyes, Michael.
  • Kilroy, Michael.
  • Kissane, Eamon.
  • Lemass, Seán F.
  • Little, Patrick John.
  • McEllistrim, Thomas.
  • MacEntee, Seán.
  • Maguire, Ben.
  • Maguire, Conor Alexander.
  • Moylan, Seán.
  • Murphy, Timothy Joseph.
  • Norton, William.
  • O Briain, Donnchadh.
  • O'Doherty, Joseph.
  • O'Grady, Seán.
  • O Ceallaigh, Seán T.
  • O'Reilly, Matthew.
  • Pattison, James P.
  • Pearse, Margaret Mary.
  • Rice, Edward.
  • Ryan, James.
  • Ryan, Martin.
  • Ryan, Robert.
  • Traynor, Oscar.
  • Victory, James.
  • Walsh, Richard.
  • Ward, Francis C.

Níl.

  • Alton, Ernest Henry.
  • Anthony, Richard.
  • Beckett, James Walter.
  • Bennett, George Cecil.
  • Bourke, Séamus.
  • Broderick, William Joseph.
  • Burke, Patrick.
  • Coburn, James.
  • Cosgrave, William T.
  • Costello, John Aloysius.
  • Daly, Patrick.
  • Davis, Michael.
  • Desmond, William.
  • Doyle, Peadar S.
  • Esmonde, Osmond Grattan.
  • Fagan, Charles.
  • Fitzgerald, Desmond.
  • Good, John.
  • Holohan, Richard.
  • Keating, John.
  • Lynch, Finian.
  • MacDermot, Frank.
  • McFadden, Michael Og.
  • McGilligan, Patrick.
  • McGovern, Patrick.
  • McMenamin, Daniel.
  • Morrisroe, James.
  • Mulcahy, Richard.
  • Murphy, James Edward.
  • Nally, Martin.
  • O'Higgins, Thomas Francis.
  • O'Leary, Daniel.
  • O'Neill, Eamonn.
  • O'Sullivan, John Marcus.
  • Redmond, Bridget Mary.
  • Reidy, James.
  • Rice, Vincent.
Tellers: Tá, Deputies Little and Smyth; Níl. Deputies Doyle and Bennett.
Question declared carried.
Bill read a Second Time.
Committee Stage fixed for Wednesday, 20th February.