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Dáil Éireann debate -
Thursday, 12 Dec 1935

Vol. 59 No. 17

Constitution (Amendment No. 24) Bill, 1934. - Motion Under Article 38A of the Constitution.

I move: It is hereby resolved, under Article 38A of the Constitution, that the Constitution (Amendment No. 24) Bill, 1934, be again sent to Seanad Eireann. This is simply to give effect to the decision of the Dáil taken here on 25th May, 1934. On that occasion the question of a Second Chamber was exhaustively discussed and I think it would be unreasonable to embark again on the same discussion and travel unnecessarily over the same ground. There is, perhaps, only one matter that would merit attention at this stage, and that is that certain work which was performed in the Seanad in regard to trimming up Bills gave an opportunity, as all Deputies know, to the Minister after the Report Stage had been passed to examine the Bill as a whole and to consult with the draftsman as regards the full effect of any amendments that might have been introduced. When the Seanad goes I think some provision must be made for a stage here in the Dáil which would enable that general review of a Bill as a whole to be undertaken and give to the Minister in charge of the Bill an opportunity, such as was afforded him in the past in the Seanad, to make any small amendments which might be necessary to make the Bill a completely consistent whole and an artistic whole, if you like, from the draftsman's point of view.

Accordingly we are going to ask the Committee on Procedure and Privileges to go into the question and see whether it would not be possible to have, in addition to the present stages of a Bill, a further stage after the Report Stage, during which, at the request of the Minister, the Bill could be reviewed as a whole. I think that that will enable the Dáil to do practically everything that was done in the same manner as the Seanad. I do not think, as I have said, that there is any point in my repeating the arguments which I advanced here in the past in favour of the removal of the present Seanad and I, accordingly, confine myself to moving the motion.

It is quite obvious that the President is never going to justify motions, at least in his opening statement. He has a great predilection for waiting until the end, when he cannot be answered, especially in matters of this kind. His statement to-day was very short, but it was very revealing. I think that will be conceded. His conception of the functions of a Second Chamber is to trim up the mistakes of the Minister and make them artistic looking. The Dáil has good reason to believe that it is also his conception and that of his Party and of his Government of the functions of a First Chamber. Any little mistakes that might have been made in the office, come in here and they will be trimmed up and made more artistic for us—that is the business of a Parliament. We said that was whither they were trending. We were always very much of the opinion that that is where the whole policy and conduct of the Ministry, not merely in reference to the Seanad, but to this House as well, was trending. The purpose was not to give an opportunity to the Legislature to discuss the value of Bills, but to trim up Bills. What applies to the Seanad applies, as we all know, to this House as well. The main purpose, in future, is that an opportunity will be given to a Minister of trimming up his legislation, making good any mistakes. There is to be no Second House; an amendment of the Standing Orders is to be sufficient so far as the functions of the Second House are concerned.

As usual, there is no justification for the motion. There is a reference back on the part of the President to the extraordinary medley of misrepresentations and bad arguments he produced on several occasions when the Bill was before us. I always like to pay him a tribute. He has sufficient contempt for the country and for this House not to try to justify what he does—to think that any argument is good enough for the country, or for the House. I will say this for him, that he knows perfectly well it is good enough for his Party, therefore it has to be good enough for the country. He has consistently maintained that attitude and I think he should get every credit for it. It would be unfair to him to deny him that particular credit.

What is the line he has taken up? The Second Chamber of the Legislature is unnecessary; it is bad even, and against the canons of democratic legislative control. I think I am summing up fairly accurately the line taken by the President on the last occasion. It is unnecessary, even bad, and against democratic principle.

We are not very much wiser now as to the ultimate intentions of the President than we were before. Having listened to that elaborate statement to which he treated the House, I do not know if that is a transitory measure or a final measure. Perhaps the President can answer that. What does he mean it to be? He has, I think, a very useful habit of saying things of which the public is not quite sure of the precise significance.

He attempted to clarify that by further statements which instead of introducing two alternatives introduced three or four. What is his attitude towards the Seanad? Is it that he objects to the Seanad, as at present constituted? Is that his line, or does he object to the Second House altogether? Is that his line? Not merely has he the habit himself of this want of clarification, but he is also corrupting the Press. We read reports of the Ard-Fheis that was held the other day and in one report we read "the Seanad must go." In another report we read that the Seanad must go, "as at present constituted." Which did the President really say?

Ask the reporters.

Will the President say which is right? He has not done so up to the present, but at all events he has clarified that as much as he has clarified anything else. One thing certain is that his silence does not introduce further confusion into the matter. In any case we were not relying on that report of the Ard-Fheis for the President's views on this matter. He made an election statement in which he referred to the Seanad "as at present constituted." But do these words mean anything? Are they meant merely as a kind of sop? It may be that he may have some amongst his followers who believe in the necessity of a Second House of legislation. Is the President's declaration merely meant as a sop to opinion of that kind or is it meant as a serious contribution that he has under consideration the necessity of a Second House and its desirability? His statement this evening, as I read it, does not solve that question at all. If we were to regard it as the final constitution of this Legislature, then we are in for a unicameral system. That is perfectly true. But I defy anybody to know whether that is merely a transitional stage or whether is is something of a stop-gap while the President is thinking. Deputy Donnelly laughs. There is no use in laughing at that. The President does think. Deputy Donnelly does not think so. The President has given this matter thought. He referred to it before the general election. He referred to it again last year. Therefore, I assume that the President has given the matter thought. A few moments ago a Deputy complained that the House had laboured and had brought forth——

A mouse.

No, he complained that the Minister for Local Government had laboured and had brought forth a mouse. Well, the President is now labouring, and what has he brought forth? He is labouring to amend the Standing Orders. He has not brought forth even a mouse. What was the President's contention? That the present Second House is bad. How does he prove that? By relying on the calumnies indulged in by himself and the members of his Party. By relying on calumnies refuted in the Seanad itself he seeks to prove that. I was glad that the Seanad was able to refute the President's attack on that occasion.

When I referred to the Press a short time ago and asked the President to clarify that particular matter of the report of his speech at the Ard-Fheis, the result was the usual thing. In one paper he was reported as saying "as at present constituted" and in the other papers there was no qualification. Which paper was right? He tells us he is often misrepresented by the Press. I do not like relying on Press reports, but I gather that recently the President was in Geneva. My authority for that was the Press, and a certain knowledge of what occurs there. On that occasion the President met the representatives of at least 50 States. Now the President cannot pretend that they were all monarchically or dictatorially or monopolistically governed States. Did he seek any enlightenment from the representatives of those States? Did he ask them how many of them believed in a unicameral system? Did he ask why it is that not only in every democratically governed country in the world but especially in the most democratically governed countries you have a Second House? Did it strike him to inquire when he met the representatives of those States why it was that they were in favour of the bicameral system of legislature? If he takes the biggest State of all, the United States of America—that was not represented at Geneva—he would have in that alone plenty of examples in favour of the bicameral system. Surely the President will not take up the attitude that the United States is not a democratically governed country. At the time he introduced this Bill it was, and at the present time it is the most democratically governed country in the world. The President will not get out of the controversy by saying there is a Federation there. Because you have it not merely in the Constitution of the United States, but in all the different States that make up the United States. How many of these 48 States has a unicameral system of government? These States have always been governed by popular democracy, they have been governed popularly since their inception, every one of them. Some of them even before their existence as independent States had a bicameral system of government. How many of these States have only one House of legislature?

Is the world wrong? Is all democracy elsewhere on the wrong road? Is it here alone that we have democratic wisdom? Every other country—and some by bitter experience—has recognised that a Second House is almost a sine qua non for the continued existence of democratic government. Surely the practical wisdom of the world is worth all the misleading arguments that were put up here on the last occasion. Let the President bring forward his examples for a unicameral system. Let him tell us whether where you have only a unicameral system, that the condition of these States is the ideal that he has before him for this country?

The President in a statement on the last occasion and in his speeches outside referred to this matter. What did his speeches consist of? Perversions of history, perversions of fact as regards the existing calumnies. Beyond that, there was precious very little in his speeches. The House by this motion is asked to take further steps towards the abolition of the Second House. Apparently, so far as one can judge, the Government has not yet made up its mind as to the final form of the Constitution so far as the Second House is concerned. We have nothing more than a suggestion of transitional arrangements to make good the forgetfulness of Ministers. That is the President's and the Government's contribution to this, one of the most serious constitutional questions that can be raised.

Were the President not in the position in which he is, and were the Fianna Fáil Party not so easily led as they are—and Deputy Donnelly tells us they are proud of that—it would be impossible for anybody to take a statement of that kind seriously. But we must remember the position in which the President is. He is the head of the Executive Council of this State. He is rushing through a Bill of this kind for the destruction of the Second House of the Oireachtas and he is doing that without any serious effort to replace that Second House. We must take it for granted—and I see nothing to the contrary, despite the remarks that he was excogitating a Second House— that, like other remarks, these are meant not as a principle but to tide over certain difficulties with his followers. We may take it for granted that he is still in favour of the unicameral system. He is not convinced of the wisdom of having a two-House system. In that he refuses to follow what has been the practical experience of every democratic country in the world. And he has given no reason for doing that.

We have had a few theoretical arguments and an epigram or two from the Abbé Seyès. I suggest to the President that you cannot base the constitution of this country on theoretical opinions of that kind, whether from the Abbé Seyès, from the Quai D'Orsai or Gambetta. I do not think you can do it. Recollect the particular man you choose as an example. He is well known. He could turn out a series of constitutions that might satisfy the President, but the only thing about them is that they do not work. I used a metaphor about them on the last occasion, a metaphor constantly applied to the Abbé, and that is that they are like his French clocks, kept under his glass case and so beautiful to look at, but they will never tell you the time. That is a description that has been applied to the Constitutions that his constitution machine turns out in the countries that have tried, and some countries did try, the unicameral system, with disaster to themselves. I wonder when the President chose that particular example, that particular epigram, to try to convince this House of the wisdom of abolishing the Second House, whether he had really considered what had been the effect in the Abbé's own time of trying the single chamber system? Was it democracy? Nothing of the kind. It was, as the President knows perfectly well, one of the most degraded forms of tyranny, because it was degrading not merely to the people tyrannised over but, it possible, it was still more degrading to the people who exercised the tyranny.

Relying on a one-House Government of that kind does tend to tyranny of that type. Theoretically you may argue against that—I have not heard a theoretical argument against it — but in practice the other thing has too often worked out for this or any other House to accept lightly the obiter dictum of the President in favour of single chamber government. He should have utilised the opportunity afforded to him in moving this motion of saying what are the future intentions of the Government. They are asking the Oireachtas to wipe out one House of the Oireachtas, and they have not made the slightest effort to indicate what they are going to put there instead. The President must have a clean slate. He would remind one of the person always cleaning a blackboard, wiping off everything on it. That is not government. The House would like to know what he is going to write on it afterwards. Many people inside and outside the House would need to have a little more confidence in the political foresight of the President before they could be satisfied with this wiping off process. To my mind all this is purely destructive. There was every opportunity between the time this Bill left the House and the moving of this Resolution for the President to have thought out what really were to be his ideas in reference to the legislative assembly of this country. Apparently he has not advanced a single step from the position that we found him in 18 months ago.

We have heard the cordial and glowing tribute from his colleague sitting there to the left of him on the work that has been done for majority rule. Majority rule means that the minority will accept the legislative decisions, properly carried through, of a majority in Parliament. But apparently the view is that the minority, whether they are great or small, whether they are ten or 10,000 or 500,000, must accept the views and cannot criticise the views of the Party that is for the moment in the majority. That is the interpretation that is so often given to majority rule now. If a law is passed in this Parliament, as long as it is a law properly passed, the minority must respect it. That does not mean that the minority is deprived of any right of criticism. It must not be assumed that everything the majority does is full of wisdom. If you hand over the legislative power of this State to one House, do you think you are always going to get wisdom? What check is there on any Minister? Does anybody think that this House is a check on any Minister? The President is quite right, the business of this House is to trim up the ideas of the Minister, get rid of any ragged and loose ends lying about, make the thing nice and tidy.

Give it a permanent wave.

That is just about the conception the President has of the functions of this House—not a bit higher than that. I must say that the Deputy for once has made a very valuable interruption. He has summed up the attitude of the President and his Party towards the business of this House. All we do here is to smooth it out nicely and make it artistic. Barbers are artists, I admit, so the Deputy was perhaps quite right. But what we want on this occasion is something more than the mere dipping into a student's book on political theories. The President was at Geneva. I gather he was there and that he spoke there. He had an opportunity there of meeting people who have experience of legislative bodies. I wonder did he inquire of the representatives of any of the countries represented there that are democratically governed whether they believe in a Second House? Did he find out whether the countries that started with one House have kept up that particular practice? His references to the French Revolution by implication show that he is fully familiar with that. He could have found an excellent example there of the working of a single House, how destructive it was of every single right of the ordinary citizens.

Remember that you can have Party dictatorship, and that has been proved again and again. Some of the worst tyrannies have come out of the single House system, where you had a Party in the majority. That does not save you from dictatorship; that does not give you a democratic Government; it does not ensure it in any way. Some people would ask us to wait until the disaster of dictatorship is upon us before we say a word about it. We can only judge the actions of the President, we can only judge what the President is aiming at, not by what he says—who would undertake to do that?—but by what he is doing. He is now aiming at abolishing the Second House, abolishing any kind of check on himself and his Ministers, because the majority here is not a check on the Ministry. I do not think even Deputy Donnelly would hold it was. In fact, I will say this for the Ministers, that the Ministry are a check on the majority of this House and even, possibly, the majority in the Ard Fheis. Even possibly a majority in the Ard Fheis would not be an effective check at the moment, if you wipe out the Second House at the will of the President and at the will of the Executive Council. That is the practical proposal at present. Speaking on April 18, 1934, as reported in volume 51 of the Official Reports, columns 1830-31, he said:—

"Historically the idea of having a Second House in the Legislature has been the result, to a very large extent, of accident."

That is not so. A second Chamber is the result of deliberate design on the part of the people in a great many countries. I know this, and everybody who follows the words of the Fianna Fáil Party knows, that in this matter they have one example constantly before their minds. They are obsessed, and they cannot get rid of it, either positively or negatively, with the system in one country and that is Great Britain. There the Second House means the House of Lords, which must always be a bulwark of privilege and aristocracy. The syllogism is so simple that the President accepts it. There you have an example of one particular kind of House, but what about all the other assemblies in the world? They are not the result of accident, but the result of deliberate action. Political experience convinced people of the necessity of setting up a Second House. The President went on to say:—

"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."

Is that seriously the view of the President? Is he to be an example against the whole world? Is the idea to be Athanasius contra mundum? I know the President fancies himself in that role, but does he expect the House and the country to adopt that rôle? He says:—

"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."

I admit the Government are doing this pretty thoroughly.

"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 by the Constitution."

The Government should by their methods educate the people into a proper sense of responsibility for their actions.

"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 arrangement such as has been suggested by the supposed check of a Second House."

I am quite willing to have the people educated in the matter of constitutional machinery. You cannot have effective political machinery unless people are politically educated. That is common ground, but is the President, when dealing with this measure, educating people in the right way? I do not think so. I think the calumnies circulated about the Seanad, and the propaganda indulged in, is not the best political education for the people. But I say, no matter how you protect your institutions, unless you have goodwill and sound political tradition and practice behind them, you cannot make any institution work well. The arguments that the President puts up against the Seanad would apply equally against the Dáil. Let the country elect a President for five years; let him appoint his Ministers, and in effect let the country depend on the goodwill of such people. What is the good, then, of this House? That argument is equally fatal to this House as it is to the Seanad. Whatever the President says about the necessity for political education and political customs on the part of the people towards the working of such institutions, it is equally true that these things cannot work properly without good institutions. The President's argument in that connection cuts at the very root of constitutional legislation. There should be no constitution, according to his argument. The goodwill of the people appointed to rule the country is enough. That is what his argument amounts to. Why then all this expense in connection with the Dáil? What good can it do? I have heard the argument that institutions do not count and that everything must depend upon the goodwill and wisdom of the administration. How often have we heard that? It is an argument that cuts at the root of all institutions, and it is quite as fatal to the Dáil as it is to the Seanad.

What was the argument? It is extraordinary at the present day, with the example of every other country before us, that we should have to labour this point of unicameral versus the bicameral system. Are we not to learn from every other country? Take the case of the Seanad. What was the cause of its offence? Is there any truth in the statement of the President that they had tried unduly to obstruct the Government? If there was one thing that was completely refuted in the Seanad it was that particular charge which was made and was never withdrawn. I think the record of the Seanad, as pointed out by the Chairman and by Senator Douglas, is a record to be proud of. They did not unduly interfere with legislation. What have they done? What were the charges made against them? That with undue haste they passed through all its stages what we may roughly call the Public Safety Bill when it came before them, and which had been opposed by the then Opposition in this House. They did so in extreme circumstances, when jurymen were intimidated, when trial by jury had broken down, when an attempt was made to terrorise members of the Oireachtas and to prevent them passing legislation. That was the situation they had to face. They had either to stick to form, or else they had to pass that law immediately; otherwise, the country was in the throes of disaster. But it is extraordinarily strange that that should be made a charge against the Seanad. I have a vague idea that the President, having made his gaol delivery, thought he had better open them again and close them behind prisoners. I have an idea he has enforced that Act. He need not have done so. That is one of the principal offences of the Seanad, and yet that Government, supported by that Party, stands pat behind that Act, in circumstances not at all comparable to the circumstances under which the Seanad passed that Act. It held up that Bill. Why? Because there are in this country a certain number of people who have reverence for an oath; who do not regard it as a mere empty formula; who have some attachment to principle. Because they have some attachment to principle, and because they saw the Government making a deliberate attempt to victimise their political opponents, they held up the Blueshirt Bill. They opposed that effort to tyrannise the political opponents of the Government. Are they to have no sense of duty? Is it wrong for them to have principles to which they can be true, and to which they were true? I am not defending the present members of the Seanad or the present body. They do not need defence. There is many a man in that Second House who deserves well of this country; who gave it great service, and who risked his life by giving it that great service when the majority rule was attempted to be imposed in this country—the majority rule which now appeals so strongly to the Minister for Finance.

People say, "We do not wish to talk about dictatorships." See the powers already in the hands of the Executive in this country. Take two Acts alone operated by the Government. The Public Safety Act is one. The other is the Emergency Imposition of Duties Act. Those give complete power—power which I am sorry to say they are using in some cases— over the lives and property of the people of this country into the hands of the Executive. If I blame the Seanad at all I may blame it for not trying to hold up that Imposition of Duties Bill longer. Remember the Government were generously met by the Seanad on the question of having no loss of time on that measure, because it was represented to them, I understand, that speed was necessary. Was it necessary really for the winning of the economic war? Has it been mainly used for that purpose? We have this House tamely passing a Bill for the Government to give complete control over every penny in this country to the Ministry, without coming before this House. That was passed by this House. They have that power, and they have used it. I understand there has been a case in which they levied a duty and then allowed the Order to lapse, and it has never come before this House. The dangers in that Act were pointed out at the time. The House still voted for that Act on the understanding that it would be used only as long as it was necessary for the economic war. It is no longer being used in connection with the economic war. It is used as a piece of daily machinery of government, and it is being so used that there is no longer any real security for property. They may say it is justified in this case. It is easy to find cases in which it is much more justifiable than the case in point, but the precedent has been set of imposing a duty, then letting the Order lapse, collecting the duty, and never having to come before the House for that levy of money. That can refer to an individual. Look at the lives and property of individuals, and see the tremendous power in the hands of the Executive. Then we are told that you have only to rely on the goodwill of the majority—the goodwill of the Government. The majority does not act as a check on the Government. The majority acts as a stimulus to the Government, and eggs them on. I firmly believe that the Party is much more to the Left than the Ministry is; I believe that the Ard-Fheis is still more to the Left. Are those the checks you have? Is that the public opinion that is to act as a check on unwise measures on the part of this Government? Does anybody believe it—anybody who tries to envisage the future so far as this country is concerned? I see no evidence of any check. You had there a body which did useful work. You are scrapping it because it did not immediately bow the knee to the Executive when it felt it was violating a principle. That is the sole reason why it is being scrapped. The President came in here in a fit of pique, and that is the ground for this legislation. The Seanad gave consideration to Bills—consideration which, from my experience when I was Minister, I can say was quite as good and quite as valuable as the consideration given them in this House. I think most of the other members can say the same thing. It was a different consideration; new ideas were brought out which were not brought out in this House. That is one of the great values not merely of a Second House but of a Second House which is different in its constitution from the First House. I think it is a pity that Party lines have become as marked in the Seanad as they are here. I think it would be much better if the Bills got the same consideration which they used to get in the first years of the Seanad, when they were examined from a new point of view, and when the Minister had to look at the legislation from a point of view which was not put before him in his Department or in this House. All that is being swept away. Leaving aside the immediate issue, I think it is exceedingly unwise that we should be asked to abolish the Seanad without being given the slightest intimation that anything is to take its place, or if so, what is to take its place. I do not believe the course of honour or safety for the democracy of this country lies along the lines marked out by the President.

This motion really raises two distinct questions: one, whether it is desirable to have a Second Chamber; and, two, whether our Second Chamber as at present constituted is worth preserving. I have consistently held throughout this controversy that it was desirable to have a Second Chamber, and I have held as consistently that the present Second Chamber is unsatisfactory, especially since the introduction of the system of election which now prevails. I expressed those views in the old days of the Centre Party, and I also expressed them when I was a member of the official Opposition. It so happened that when the Government introduced the Constitution (Amendment) Bill, No. 24, I was acting temporarily as leader of the Opposition in the absence of Deputy Cosgrave. In view of the rather outspoken statements that I had made about the present Seanad, my position might have been embarrassing but for the fact that the President introduced this Bill in very special circumstances. He admitted in so many words that he had introduced it in order to show his indignation at the action of the Seanad in throwing out the Bill for preventing the wearing of what were called political uniforms. Throughout all the debates which took place on the Second and later Readings of this Bill that motive was uppermost in the speeches from the Fianna Fáil Benches. This was a naked piece of revenge upon the Seanad because they had done something which vexed the Government. That something which they had done was something of which I thoroughly approved at the time, of which I approve still, and of which I rather imagine that the Front Bench of the Government Party now approves. I very much question whether that anti-Blueshirt Bill will ever in fact be put into operation after the Seanad has disappeared, assuming that it does disappear. In the earlier debates on the subject we were hardly dealing with the merits of the present Second Chamber as an abstract question. It was all mixed up with this matter of the Blueshirt Bill and Party resentment over what was going on.

I want now to say something briefly about the general question of a Second Chamber and its desirability. The President has very disappointingly said nothing at all to-day either against Second Chambers or against our own Second Chamber, but I also find that Deputy O'Sullivan's remarks have been somewhat disappointing. I find he has not put forward anything that appears to me to be a persuasive case for Second Chambers in general, or for our own Second Chamber in particular. He has almost altogether confined himself to answering a number of remarks made by the President at earlier stages. In the various utterances and writings that one comes across advocating a Second Chamber there is a great deal of contradictory argument. Deputy O'Sullivan remarked that the Party opposite were suffering from a sort of obsession that Second Chambers must be bulwarks of privilege because of the English House of Lords. But it is not only the opponents of Second Chambers but very often the supporters of Second Chambers who suffer from that obsession. Much of the argument I have seen in favour of a Second Chamber in this country has assumed that such a Second Chamber would be a bulwark of privilege. I think we really need to get clear in our minds what we want a Second Chamber to be before saying we want a Second Chamber at all.

Deputy O'Sullivan has made some rather vague and sweeping statements about the experience of mankind on the subject. He has referred loosely to a number of States which were alleged to have tried Single Chamber Government and who found it so disastrous that they gave it up and went back to Second Chamber Government. I wish he had mentioned these States and given a description of the events that took place. He referred to the French Revolution, and he suggested that the events following the French Revolution were such as showed up Single Chamber Government. The events of that time may have produced unsatisfactory Single Chamber Government, but they also produced unsatisfactory Double and Treble Chamber Government. It is rather audacious for me to argue with a professional historian, but I think the truth of the matter is that at the time of the revolution, the French were so politically uneducated and so violent in all their doings and passions, that no form of democracy could then succeed. That is why Napoleon came forward and that is why an absolute Government was established, not because of some technical defect in the arrangements of the Legislature in France. Deputy O'Sullivan also referred to the United States of America and suggested that we should take them as an example. I do not agree with him. I think politics and democracy in America are extremely unsatisfactory. I do not think that there is any reason why we should go out of our way to copy the American Federal Constitution or the Constitution of any of the American States.

Democracy is exposed to great dangers at this particular time. We have seen democracies swept away and tyrannies of one sort or another put in their place. Take the three countries where Fascism exists—Italy, Germany and Portugal. Not a single one of them had Single Chamber Government. Each of these countries had government by two Chambers. I think that what is going on in the world to-day is of much more importance to us than anything that went on in the world 50, 100 or 150 years ago, because the political dangers that are present in one part of the world at a particular time, are likely to be present in another part of the world as well.

Deputy O'Sullivan suggested that we have set our feet on the downward slope, that the Dáil is being degraded, and that we are becoming mere tools of the Ministry. For my part, I am not conscious of that degradation. I am honestly not conscious of it. He referred to the immense financial powers the Ministry are able to exercise, but these powers are not in any way affected by the existence of the Second Chamber because the Second Chamber is precluded from asserting itself on questions of finance. I personally regret it is but that is so. Although I listened to Deputy O'Sullivan's remarks very attentively I really found very little in them to support the notion that a Second Chamber was essential and still less in them to support the notion that our existing Second Chamber is entirely satisfactory. He used, of course, the word "tyranny," a word which is now in fashion. I am going to quote on that subject from some important authorities, from none other than the ex-President of the Executive Council, Deputy Cosgrave, and the ex-Vice-President, Senator Blythe.

How are you going to vote?

Do not hurry him.

When the Constitution (Amendment) Bill, No. 10, was introduced, a Constitution Amendment Bill which abolished the Referendum, there was a suggestion in the Seanad that it was an attack on democracy. Here is the statement then made by Deputy Cosgrave—I am quoting from column 814, volume 10, of the Official Report of the proceedings of the Seanad:—

"There is no danger either now or at any other time that any Government here will be autocratic, will abuse its power, will infringe the rights of the people, will interfere in any way with the liberties of the people and this is, to my mind, one of the last expiring sparks of the slave mind which stands out and says to the people: ‘Beware of your Government. Government is a thing which you have never had before, a thing of which you have no experience, something to be afraid of and something to be watched.' That is not a true expression of sound Irish citizenship, and I hope that the Seanad will take that view of it."

At a later stage of the Bill Deputy Cosgrave got extremely angry with Sir John Keane, because Sir John Keane joined with the Labour Party in resisting the removal of the Referendum.

He says in column 1046 of the same volume:

"It is a nice thing to say people can easily decide on one thing. That is political nonsense, democracy gone mad .... You are not presenting them with a fair and honest question when you say there are some important matters of legislation which you could put to the people and which they could decide. Equally, the Senator will find on the programme of every political Party in the State something with which he agrees or disagrees. That is the usual position of a crank."

That is one in the eye for me.

"You will never find a person in that position doing any good for himself or anybody else."

Another in the eye for you.

"The Government carried out on democratic principles is mainly government by Parties. In modern times with proportional representation a greater diversity of views can be expressed than under the old system. The main consideration is, you must get a Government. I would like to see a Government in which Senators Linehan, O'Farrell and Sir John Keane would be the moving spirits."

The whole purport of these quotations is that it is an improper attitude of mind for a Senator to pick and choose, that he should throw in his lot with one Party or the other; hit upon some people who are worthy to form a Government, and stick to them. If that is what a Second Chamber is to be for, I personally can see no use in having one. I am definitely not in favour of a Second Chamber if that is all that is to be aimed at.

Now I am going to quote from Senator Blythe in column 1425, Volume 24, of the Dáil Reports:—

"My opinion is that while Constitutional checks will prevent hasty and ill-considered legislation, that legislation being passed in good faith by a particular House of the Parliament, I do not think that any checks can be devised which will frustrate the policy of an unscrupulous Executive supported by an unscrupulous majority in the House."

Then, lower down, he says:—

"The safeguard lies really in public opinion, and some sort of moral standard being held by any majority that may be in power. We must look at these proposals not as safeguards against the tyrannical majority, but simply as ordinary legislative checks designed to prevent hasty or wrong-headed action."

In other words, this argument about a Second Chamber being for the purpose of frustrating tyranny is a bad argument. That is not what it is for. There is only one way of preventing tyranny, and that is by educating the people to dislike tyranny. In the last resort, the country will have the Government it deserves to have. If the people of this country do not want tyranny, they will not have tyranny. You may have two Chambers, three Chambers or four Chambers, and if the people of this country did not mind having tyranny, tyranny they would get. No Second Chamber is capable of preventing it, as was clearly pointed out on these earlier occasions by Deputy Cosgrave and Senator Blythe.

What is it that does justify the existence of a Second Chamber? I think Deputy O'Sullivan put his finger on the real point when he said that what he wanted was to get in another House a different kind of approach to each subject that presents itself from the way of approach there is in this House. That is in definite contradiction, to my mind, with what Deputy Cosgrave said in the quotation I have read. Notwithstanding that, I believe that it is sound. There would be no need for such a change of approach if this House were perfect. It is absurd to expect any House to be perfect. The President sometimes speaks as if there ought to be no Second Chamber, because he cannot think of an absolutely perfect Second Chamber. But it would follow from that that there ought to be no sort of Legislature at all, because it is impossible to find a perfect one.

This House is necessarily very far from perfect. Anybody who reflects on what general elections are must realise that that is so. A large number of people are practically debarred from presenting themselves at general elections, because they are too busy, or they are not the sort of people who are able to get up and make a speech that is a popular hit. They may be people who, if they did get up, would have opinions that were so unusual that they would not be understood.

We are apt to get in this House men like all of us who are able to get up and say more or less the sort of things that people expect to hear, perhaps not an awful lot more than what the people expect to hear. There is no way, depending on democratic election, that I can think of by which you can hope to get into the service of the Legislature people who have not got the qualities of popular appeal.

It is suggested sometimes that proportional representation enables every kind of person to get into this House. That is not true, because a great many of those who would be valuable to this House have not got the time for an election campaign, or are not prepared to spend money on an election campaign. Of course, where a Party puts up the money for a candidate, all is easy, or where even, say, a vocational group may be found to put up the money, it is easy. But how few people there are in this country who are in a position to go out as individuals and spend the time and money necessary to secure their election to the Dáil, even if they had the requisite popular qualities of mind to give them a chance of election.

I have suggested before, and I repeat the suggestion, that on the whole, the best hope of getting a thoroughly satisfactory Second House is by nomination by the Government of the day, always provided that the necessary precautions are taken to secure that the people going into that House take no part in purely Party politics, that they are in some way divorced from Party politics, that if they have been members of a Party they should cease that membership, and that they do not subscribe for Party or organisation purposes——

You are nearly qualified.

——and that they will approach each subject that crops up for them to deal with without Party prepossession, so far as that is humanly possible to secure. The main point is that this House, is not, as the President of the Executive Council once alleged, a good microcosm of the country. It is not a good microcosm of the country, because there are large classes of people who could not by any possibility, make their way here. Moreover, it is not a true microcosm of the country because once we get in here the bonds of Party discipline and the intensity of Party feeling count for enormously more with us than they do with people outside in the country. So that in a sense we are always living here in an artificial Party atmosphere. It is for that reason I suggest that it would be of immense value to supplement the democratically elected House by a non-Party House. I consider that is necessary in order to make democracy work well. I believe in democracy. I believe in democracy intensely, and I want to see it saved in every country where it exists, and I want to see it working well. I do not think its chances are good if you confine yourself to a purely elected House without any sort of supplement such as would be provided by a Second House constructed on another basis.

It is easy to think of a whole lot of different types of people who might be put into a Second House. You might put in businessmen, who have not the time for Party politics. You might put in intellectuals taken from universities. Personally, if I were the President nominating a Second House I should deliberately include representatives of opinions that have any sort of important following in the country, even though they were minority opinions, or even though they were extremely unpopular opinions. I should for instance, put in one or two representatives of the social credit movement—not that I agree with that movement. I should put in one or two Communists.

A kind of national zoo.

And a few cranks.

They would be cranks on the Deputy's definition of what cranks are.

Is it the Deputy's intention to establish a national Madame Tussaud establishment?

I do not see any reason why cranks should be compared to Madame Tussaud figures. Cranks are more alive and kicking than others. The general objection to cranks is that they do not behave like the figures of Madame Tussaud. If you behave as a good Party man you are a Madame Tussaud figure.

If you have a bee in your bonnet about licences you are qualified for the Seanad.

As regards the general question of having a Second Chamber, I do hope that the President has not closed his mind to the possibility of establishing one. He has been very cautious of late, at any rate, in saying nothing at all about that. But I hope he will not allow this debate to close without giving us an indication that he will devote serious attention to the problem of devising a Second Chamber. I have always had sympathy with the argument that the sort of Second Chamber we have been accustomed to must be either useless or mischievous; that it is useless when its friends are in power, and that it is mischievous when its opponents are in power, because then it blocks the will of the people. I think there is a great deal in that. But I suggest that it would be possible to get away from the Party system in creating your Second Chamber provided you have such conditions as to make the Second Chamber unattractive to anybody as a career. It has not got to be regarded as a career. After all, it meets 30 or 35 times a year for only a few hours in the afternoon. It would be perfectly possible for people to go there and perform their duty without expecting to be paid for it—more than their out-of-pocket expenses—and not to regard it as a career to which they should devote their whole time. If you once make membership of the Seanad attractive as a livelihood, as a career, I am afraid there is nothing in the world can prevent it from being caught up in the Party machine and made part of the system.

The present Seanad contains men of great distinction. I am far from desiring to speak disrespectfully or offensively of them. But the fact remains that the system of election to it is one that must make it more and more a mere Party machine. Take what happened here after the General Election of 1933. There was a Senatorial vacancy shortly after that election. We of the Centre Party had 124,000 votes, or I think it was 127,000 votes—first preference votes—in the General Election. The Labour Party had 80,000 odd first preference votes in the General Election. They had six or seven representatives in the Seanad already. We had one, just one— Senator Dillon. The Cumann na nGaedheal Party, needless to say, were more than adequately represented in the Seanad in proportion to its numbers in the Dáil, apart from the fact that the Independents could be pretty well relied upon to act as the Cumann na nGaedheal indicated to them. We sought to have that vacancy filled by somebody representative of our Party, and if there were any sincerity in the pretence that it was the desire to have all Parties in the House proportionately represented in the Seanad, obviously we ought to have had no difficulty in getting the seat. But we could not get it. There was no use in our putting forward a candidate. The official Opposition, though the Party was already well represented, insisted on putting forward a candidate, and he was elected. In other words——

And Deputy MacDermot came into that Party afterwards, did he not?

What has that to do with it? The Deputy will have an opportunity of explaining what bearing that has on the argument. The Party system applies under the new method of election just as fully to the Seanad as to this House. It must go on doing so more and more, and the nominated members will gradually disappear. Nobody will be elected to that Seanad who has not got the approval of——

Those Parties representing public opinion.

Those Parties representing public opinion. But I thought we were all against tyranny in this House. Yet I presume the Deputy will concede that at the moment the Government Party represents public opinion more than does the Opposition, and that Party is capable of doing tyrannical things. That is one of the things that might be called tyrannical—to elect people to the Upper House who are sent there for purely Party purposes.

When I was a member of the official Opposition and sitting on those benches over there, I said that the present Seanad was unduly prompt to perform everything that it was ordered to perform during Deputy Cosgrave's administration. From the point of view of the Government the present Seanad is an unfair Seanad, unfair to them while they are in power, but even the majority against the present Government is going rapidly. If they are in power a few more years they will have a majority in that Seanad. Then judging by the quick changes that have been made in the past I would not be at all surprised if in five or ten years time, assuming that Deputy Cosgrave comes back here again to this House with a majority and finds a hostile majority in that Seanad, he would be as strong for doing away with it as is the President to-day.

He will bring in another Constitution (Amendment No. 10) Bill.

It will then be possible to turn up the quotations and to show that there should not be this distrust of the Government of the day which he regarded as proof of the slave mind characteristic of our people.

It will be all right when we have a few Communists in the Seanad.

This Bill has an unfortunate history. I think the President of the Executive Council was very ill-advised in bringing it in at the time that he brought it in or stating the grounds on which he did it. I personally am not prepared to vote now in favour of doing away with the present Seanad unless the President gives us some indication that he is constructing an alternative. At the same time I believe the Seanad to be of very little use at the moment and I believe it will be of less and less use as time goes on, and I find myself unable to cast a vote in its favour.

The Fianna Fáil Party has so far been remarkably lucky. It has had almost uncanny luck since it came into office, but I am inclined to think that its luck is turning. For the last few days it has had a very rough passage indeed for one of the most unpopular Bills ever brought into this House. And now it looks as if there was quite a sporting chance that the Seanad, which has, on the whole, been an unpopular body throughout its career, would end up that career in a blaze of glory as the result of throwing out the Land Purchase (Guarantee Fund) Bill. Possibly they will seek to purchase a prolongation of their existence by passing the Bill—one never knows what may happen.

What I have said boils down to this. A Second Chamber is desirable, not for the purpose of saving the country from tyranny, because it cannot save the country from tyranny and anyone who thinks it can is hugging an illusion. It is better to have no safeguard at all than a sham safeguard and, considered as a bulwark against tyranny, a Second Chamber is a sham safeguard and above all the present Chamber is a sham safeguard. What is desirable is that in view of all the manifold drawbacks of an elected Chamber, in view of the amount of Party discipline that is necessary in an elected Chamber, in view of the fact that so few actively engaged, practical business men have the time to come into an elected Chamber or have the sort of character that makes them feel able to expose themselves to the vicissitudes of an election—in view of these things, we should have a Chamber of another kind where questions are approached from another angle, where Party discipline does not prevail, where Party ties and Party shibboleths are forgotten. I beg the President to consider the problem thoroughly from that point of view and I appeal, on the other hand, to members of the Opposition who do believe in a Second Chamber not to destroy their case by continuing with a blind defence of the present one as if it was perfect, when it is, in fact, so very, very far from being satisfactory.

Anybody who has been in this House for the last half-hour would have wondered very much what was the proposal before the House. I must confess that the speech we have just heard left me completely in doubt as to what Deputy MacDermot's intentions were or what his view on any single subject was. I think most Deputies in the House must be in the same position as that in which I now am. I prefer not to follow any of the ramblings of Deputy MacDermot, but to come to the concrete facts which are before the House. The one question before us is this: Is there to be in this State a system of government of one or of two Chambers? No alternative scheme has been put forward. The question is not whether there is going to be a different type of Seanad. What is before us is this: Is the Seanad going to be abolished within a very short period of time and is this country going to be left without a Second Chamber? What are the arguments put forward in support of the Government's revolutionary doctrine? We have here a Constitution which has been established and worked, and proposals are brought forward for an alteration of that Constitution.

What are the reasons given? Is it suggested that the Seanad has failed? There is no such suggestion made. We have the statement that the Committee on Procedure and Privileges may have to do something to alter the internal arrangements of legislation in this House. Not a single argument has been advanced to discharge the very heavy burden of proof which the President has upon his shoulders. We on this side of the House may not have a very high opinion of the abilities of the President, but there is one thing we do recognise and that is his very great astuteness. We realise that the President, recognising his own mediocrity, sees courses which other people would adopt but which are thoroughly unsafe for him to adopt. He knows if he puts forward any argument for the abolition of the Second Chamber that that argument would be riddled, as his previous arguments were riddled, and therefore he seeks a cowardly refuge. He states nothing when he asks the House to make this change. He shirks the duty of discharging the burden upon his shoulders and he merely asks the House to make this revolutionary change in our Constitution.

Why does he shirk his responsibilities? There is only one answer and that is that just as his arguments were refuted before any arguments he could now put forward would be similarly refuted. He hates to sit in his place over there and hear his arguments riddled, just as he hated in another place listening to his arguments being riddled as they were riddled. What are the faults of the existing Second Chamber? What has the Seanad done? We have heard a whole lot of vague declamations against the members of the Seanad from time to time and we heard another vague declamation from Deputy MacDermot to-night. We are told they were completely subservient to the Administration when Deputy Cosgrave was President of the Executive Council. That statement was false. I myself conducted Bills through the Seanad on behalf of the then Executive, and so did other Ministers. To state that the Seanad was subservient to Ministers is to make a statement which is absolutely at variance with the facts. Bill after Bill was amended and Minister after Minister accepted amendments in the Seanad which were proposed there and which the Minister never saw until he saw them on the Seanad Order Paper.

What are the Bills in connection with which we are told the Seanad misconducted itself? Take Constitution Amendment Bill No. 17. I heard Deputy Norton put a question to the President the other day about that Act and I heard the President's answer. His answer was that that Act was an absolute necessity for the Government, at the present time, if they were to maintain order in the State. It is put forward in argument in this House that the Seanad was wrong because it passed a Bill which the President now says is an absolute necessity for the Government of the country. Was that a crime on the part of the Seanad? We were told they did it quickly. Everyone knows they put it through quickly. Everyone knows that at that time members of the Oireachtas were under police protection, and everybody knew that the Bill had to be put through the Oireachtas quickly. The position was far more serious then than now. Guards had been murdered; witnesses had been murdered; the unfortunate boy Ryan had been murdered; Deputies had been threatened. Further legislation was necessary at the time and that further legislation was rushed through the Seanad. Is that House to be abolished because it rushed that Bill through, when the Executive Council said to that House that the Bill was necessary, and must have it passed through the House. They rushed the Bill through. Members of the Executive Council told the Seanad that in order to maintain law and order in the State they must have that Bill and have it at once, and the Seanad passed the Bill and they did so because they said the Executive told them that it was necessary for the maintenance of order and for the preservation of the State. Was that a fault of the Seanad? Will the President or any responsible member of his Party say that the Seanad was then wrong?

On another occasion, when the same argument was put forward by members of the Executive on a matter of urgency, upon which Deputy O'Sullivan has spoken, exactly the same attitude was taken up by the Seanad. They were right. If the Executive says "This is a matter of supreme urgency, we have all the facts at our disposal and we, who are members of the Executive Council, tell you that the law should be enacted quickly in what are abnormal circumstances," then the Seanad is perfectly right in those abnormal circumstances to give the Executive the power it wishes for in such circumstances. The attitude of the Seanad on that occasion was a right and proper one for them to take. I would be surprised if President de Valera would suggest when he comes to reply that that attitude was not a proper one. If he felt himself compelled to ask for powers further than those contained in Constitution Act No. 17, and said, "I want those powers and must have them at once, to prevent murders being perpetrated," would not the President be horrified if the Seanad refused him such powers as he asked?

What else did the Seanad do? We were told about their rejection of the Blueshirts Bill. Were they not right? Looking back upon the matter now would not that Bill have produced chaos if passed and put into force? Were the Seanad not right in dealing with that Bill as they did in the exercise of that right? Yet I will assume, for the purpose of argument, if you like, that they were wrong. But is the whole Constitution to be blown up and abolished because one House on one occasion made a mistake? That is the whole case, as far as we know, that can be put forward against the present Seanad. There is a tremendous amount to be said about what is the real issue, but whether this Seanad is good or bad, or whether its work was well or badly done, is not before the House. This is not a question of amending the Seanad or improving its constitution, or of providing some other method by which it should be elected. None of these questions arises here. It is a question of Seanad or no Seanad. What are the advantages of that, or rather, what are the disadvantages? In the first place, we have a Seanad; we have a Constitution and we have people living under that Constitution. People have a right to know for what reason that Constitution is to be changed. It is there. We know what the Seanad is like. We know we have a sea that has been charted with two Chambers. We are asked to leave the sea and to go into the uncharted sea of Single Chamber Government What are the advantages? We are being told one. We are to take a leap in the dark not because any good reason can be put forward that we are dissatisfied, but we are to take a leap in the dark at some mere whim. What else can it be? Nothing else can be put forward but a whim.

If I had to argue an affirmative case, between the existence of a Seanad and no Seanad, I could do it with the atmost ease. Experience has shown that in our present system of Party government a Second Chamber is a necessity. Personally, I do not believe that representative government, any where in the world, can be a success, or will be a success unless connected with the Party system. You find places where the Party system is not in effect such as France; and there you discover the chief Minister, in a grave crisis such as exists now, with the threat of international war breaking out, has to spend most of his time trying to get a Party majority. That is very unsatisfactory. I believe unless France manages to evolve two political Parties, representative government will not live long there. In England for a short period there were three Parties but they have since worked down to two. I believe if you are to have successful government you must have Party government. I need not defend Party government. We have it in this State. The only man who once defended Party government did so in one of the most famous passages ever recorded in political literature. He will be remembered as the most brilliant intellect that ever entered English politics, and possibly the finest master of English prose. It is unnecessary to quote it. It is not for me to deal with the advantages of Party government, and it is unnecessary for me to express my adherence to Party government. I do recognise that Party government has its advantages. But Party government is a human institution, and while it has its advantages, it also has its dangers, and it must have its checks to counteract, as far as ever we can, those dangers. Party government means that the legislation will be controlled by a certain small number of persons—the Leaders of the Party. Their followers follow. Very often their followers have to follow against their best wishes. In regard to that very Bill to which Deputy MacDermot made allusion, that Bill which we discussed so fully in this House yesterday, and the day before and last week. I believe that if there had been a free vote of the House, and the Party Whips were off, the Minister for Finance and the other members of the Executive Council would not have had a handful of supporters behind them in the Division Lobby. But the Party Whips were on. Were the members who voted entirely wrong? I do not think so. I think the members of a Party must obey the Party Whip. I think that if they are not willing to do so they should not remain in the Party, because Party government is essential in my opinion, and, if Party government is essential, then on matters which are not essential the individual must fall in with the judgment of the majority of those who are co-operating with him in the Party. But then you have a tremendous danger, and that is that you have an Executive Council who are suddenly rushed away by some emotional feeling, and come to some hasty decision. They come into the House here; they put forward their views, and their Party has to support them. Their Party is not free. The matter goes to a Second Chamber. What is the function of the Second Chamber? The function of a Second Chamber, and the only function it can exercise under our Constitution, is the function of delay. It has got no power of complete destruction; it can only delay. It can only give to the Executive Council leisure to think out fully their own thoughts, and—if they are an Executive Council which is composed of men big enough in outlook and big enough in their conception of their duty —to admit, where they have made a mistake, that they have made a mistake; all men make mistakes.

A delaying Chamber like the Seanad is necessary to prevent any democratic Chamber being rushed away against its own better judgment, and rushed away against the better judgment of its own leaders, the better judgment being subordinated to the hasty decisions formed in a moment of emotional impulse. That is the safeguard—and the main safeguard—which the Second Chamber brings and must bring. But there are other things. Not merely is it a safeguard, but it is an improving body. There is nobody who looks through the records of the Seanad, and nobody who reads the magnificent apology for the conduct of the Seanad which was made by its Chairman, Senator Westropp Bennett, but must admit that he set himself out to prove certain things and prove them to demonstration; and proved to demonstration that the action of the Seanad in this State had been to improve, and improve very considerably, the legislation which left this House. The very fact that the Speaker of this House need not stand for election was a suggestion which was made not in this House but in the Seanad. We have this body. I will leave the realm of theory altogether; I will leave what is the real question before this House, and I will just consider on its own merit how this Seanad stands. The case that it is not discharging a useful function in this State is simply nil, and the case that it is discharging a very useful function is overwhelmingly established by anybody who takes the trouble to examine the facts. But there is another reason. There are many persons who, led by considerations in troubled times, just when the Treaty had been signed, had to decide as to whether they would still continue to make this country their home, or whether they would go abroad. There were many of those people who, when they made up their minds that they would remain in this country, were actuated largely by the fact that there would be a Double Chamber Government, and that there would be no hasty legislation detrimental to them. They may not be a very large body. They may not be able to sway a great number of votes in any election, but they are a body who have trusted the people of this country, and trusted the legislation of this country. They ought not to be told that they put their trust in the legislation of this country and in the Constitution of this country in vain. This House, no doubt under pressure from the President and under the pressure of the Executive Council, will pass this resolution and, no doubt, we will have a Single Chamber Government, without any check. Any kind of hasty legislation can and will be run through this House. I recognise that it will be done, but I believe that when historians come to look back upon what has been done they will conclude that no worse blow was ever struck against the personal liberties of the people of this State than was struck by this House when, by abolishing the Seanad, they put absolute and unfettered control into the hands of the Executive Council.

I have no intention of entering into an academic discussion as to the merits or demerits of unicameral legislatures and bicameral legislatures. I can conceive no more futile waste of time than to enter into a discussion of such a matter in this House, however important and vital it is to the interests of the people of this country. During the course of the remarks made by Deputy MacDermot, Deputy Donnelly interrupted him, and his remark was repeated by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance. Deputy Donnelly, interrupting Deputy MacDermot said:—

"How are you going to vote?"

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance subsequently said:—

"You have not told us yet how you are going to vote."

These two remarks demonstrate clearly the attitude of mind of the Fianna Fáil Party in this House towards parliamentary procedure and practice, and parliamentary institutions. They have no other conception of the duties of people in this House except to know how they are going to vote. To enter into an academic discussion, however important and useful it may be to the vital interests of the people of this country would, as I said at the outset, be futile. We on this side of the House have made it clear that it stands for a bicameral legislature, and that that is one of the fundamental planks in the policy of this Party. We propose to make that policy known throughout the country, through other sources, rather than to continue to debate it in the atmosphere of a House informed by the sort of opinion that gave rise to the expressions to which I have already referred.

Academic discussion will not settle this point. Neither the President nor any member of the Fianna Fáil Party has any interest in the academic side of the discussion as to whether, in the interests of the people, we ought to have a bicameral Legislature or a unicameral Legislature. That does not enter into this discussion to-day, nor it did not enter into the discussion on the first occasion when the Bill to abolish the Seanad was introduced by the President. The President or any member of his Party has no interest whatever in the abstract principles governing the consideration of unicameral or bicameral Legislatures. The Bill, as has already been stated by previous speakers, was introduced, not after mature consideration as to whether a two-Chamber or a one-Chamber Legislature was the better system having regard to the circumstances existing here, or whether one or other of these systems was the better system having regard to our peculiar features as a nation. It was introduced, perfectly obviously, without any consideration having been given to that abstract question. It was introduced, as Deputy O'Sullivan stated, merely in a fit of pique, not as a result of thought, not as a demonstration of statemanship. It was introduced immediately after the Seanad had rejected the Uniforms Bill, as a punishment for the Seanad. It was introduced because the Government's will had been thwarted at that time.

They went to the Seanad and said, as they said here subsequently, that the Seanad had sinned because it had not followed the advice given by the Government. They said that the Uniforms Bill was essential if good order and government were to be maintained in the country. Subsequent events since the Seanad refused to pass the Bill have justified in no small measure the action of the Seanad in rejecting the Bill. The state of the country for the last 18 months since the Seanad threw out the Bill has justified the action of the Seanad. The fact that the Government have not brought that Bill into operation at the time that they would have been enabled under the Constitution to do so is a clear justification of the action of the Seanad.

The President, when he was attempting to justify the measure to abolish the Seanad, wandered at some stage— certainly not when he was introducing the Bill—into a quasi-academic discussion. Every single reference he gave in justification of his so-called arguments—they could hardly be dignified with the name of arguments; I would prefer to call them unfounded contentions — in every single detail these unfounded contentions have been laid bare in their naked falsehood by the Chairman of the Seanad, by the late Vice-Chairman, Senator O'Hanlon, and by Senator Douglas. His arguments have been torn to shreds and tatters, and every supposed fact which he gave has been demonstrated to have been unfounded. His whole argument, so far as it was founded upon political theory and upon the writings of political theorists and thinkers, has been demonstrated to have been utterly untrue. His quotations were unfounded, and his arguments founded on the writings of political thinkers were demonstrated by these three gentlemen who spoke in the Seanad to be without foundation. I repeat, and it cannot be controverted, the statement of Deputy Professor O'Sullivan here to-day that the experience of the world from the time of the ancient Greeks, through the Roman Senate and down to modern times, has demonstrated the necessity for the existence, in the interests of the people of the country, of some sort of Second Chamber as a check on the hot-headed actions of Governments.

Every single writer of eminence has been in favour of a Second Chamber. But the President, not having thought out at that time, as I said, and not having since thought out the matter, not coming to this House with reasoned arguments as to why we, in the interests of the people of this country, and having regard to our own peculiar circumstances, should adopt a unicameral system of Legislature, but coming merely because of hurt pride and merely because of his intolerance of criticism, endeavours to take away one of the fundamental institutions set up by the Constitution in 1922 with the approval of all Parties in the House at that time. We are not, as I say, discussing the question here academically. It does not enter into the matter. The President has no academic reasons to support his Bill, and so far as he tried belatedly on the last occasion to use any such arguments, they have been demonstrated to have been without foundation.

We are here—and we had better face it—and the country had better face it —getting rid of an institution which was built up by the last Government, by Deputy Cosgrave. In the words of Kevin O'Higgins the last Government were building with one hand and they were trying to stave off with the other hand the attacks of the people who now form the Government of this country. There should be some justification for such a revolutionary measure as is proposed by this Bill. There has been no justification given. The President and his Ministers on various occasions —extracts from their speeches in the Dáil and in the country can be found in the speeches of the Chairman of the Seanad, of Senator O'Hanlon and of Senator Douglas—have gone around traducing the members of the Seanad. They have gone around telling the country that Government measures have been in every respect hampered by the Seanad. That contention, untrue as it was, was exposed in all its falseness by the Seanad. It was exposed by the production of facts and figures which have merely not been controverted since, but which cannot be controverted. The record of the Seanad as exhibited by these figures which can be found in the speeches to which I referred shows that the Seanad, as constituted for the last ten or 12 years has done very good and useful work for the successive Governments that ruled in this country. I do not intend to go through all the facts and figures that are on record in the proceedings of the Oireachtas, and in the Seanad Debates particularly.

The House will remember this and take note of its significance: that during the course of this Government's administration in 1932, 1933 and for the five months ending in 1934, there were 17 recommendations made by the Seanad in reference to Money Bills, all of which were accepted by the Government. Supposing the Seanad had not been there to tell the Government where they were wrong in their Money Bills on 17 separate occasions, there would have been 17 separate holes in these Money Bills that could not have been discovered, except probably by a process of actions in the courts, and then, while these actions were pending and about to be exposed, we probably would have the performance initiated in this House a few days ago, of a Bill being brought in to prevent the judges giving a decision against the Government. At all events, there would have been 17 holes in 17 Money Bills if it had not been for the Seanad. In reference to other Bills which are not Money Bills, there were 434 Seanad amendments in these two and a half years agreed to by the Government. There would have been 434 errors in Government Bills in those two and a half years if the Seanad had not been there.

It is folly and waste of time, as I said at the start, to discuss this matter here. We are not discussing it in a serious vein, not discussing it with a view to seeing whether from the joint intelligence of all Parties in this House we ought to come to a decision as to whether a unicameral or a bicameral Legislature was better in the interests of the country. We are doing either one of two things: either endeavouring to heal the President's pride, or, perhaps, a better explanation would be the explanation he gave to the Fianna Fáil Convention last week: "I made a promise and I am going to fulfil it." It is about the only promise of all the promises of the President and the members of his Party that they are fulfilling. That is what we are doing to-day—endeavouring to make it apparent to Fianna Fáil supporters in the country that the President is fulfilling his promise to get rid of people, many of whom, at least, if not all of whom, come within the definition in the Constitution of people who, by reason of useful public service had done honour to the nation.

I offer no apology, and I speak in no sense in the terms of which Deputy MacDermot spoke in reference to the existing Seanad or any past Seanad. We have nothing to apologise for or excuse to offer on their behalf. They have done good work for the country. Many of them who belong to the old ascendancy party in this State gave more useful service and have put more patriotic endeavour and work into the service of this country than many of the members who to-day occupy the Front Bench of the Government Party in this House.

The House was rather disappointed with the manner in which the President introduced this motion. We have not seen very much of the President in this House for the last 12 months. Many people were wondering what exactly he was doing. We were told that the President was preparing an alternative scheme. That was said and it was denied; it was said again, and denied again in the Irish Press last week. As I say, the President has not given very much of his time to this House. He has not shown very much respect for this House, not to speak of the Seanad. The President has contented himself for the last 12 months with simply coming in to register his vote without having heard a single argument. When the President treats this House, of which he has been elected President, in that manner, it is hard for anybody, either inside or outside the House, to expect that he would have respect for the other House.

The Seanad has got to go, not because it is necessary for the good of the country, not because it is doing any harm; the Seanad has to go whether it is useful or not, because it had the temerity to stand in the President's way. What the House and the people ought to realise is that this is not a question of the good of the country, or having proper laws made, but a question as to whether the President's word or his whim shall have absolute and free play. That is the real issue. In that, at least, if in nothing else, the President is quite consistent. The President could never brook any opposition. He has destroyed the Seanad. He is quite consistent in that. If there is one thing consistent in the President's public career, it is his successful destruction of anything that he ever put his hand to in this country. We have all this talk about democracy. The President had shown before he came into this House, and particularly since he came into the House, that while he might prate freedom and blather about democracy he is at heart an autocrat. He is removing every obstacle that stands in his way towards an absolute dictatorship. He is very very near it at present.

I suggest to the President that he should consider changing his own title, the title of President. I suggest that he might take for himself as head of this State the title which he took for himself as head of the Irish Press, that is, “Controlling-Director.” It would be much more fitting than the title which he enjoys at present. There is talk about the Seanad and the powers of the Seanad. It seems to me a great pity that during the last four years the Seanad had not powers much greater than they had. If they had powers great enough perhaps they would have saved this country many millions of pounds and saved many people who are to-day brought to the verge of destitution and many of them almost bankrupt through the measures introduced by the Government.

As Deputy Costello said, there is hardly much use in trying to discuss seriously a matter of this importance when it is dealt with so lightly by the President. If the President wants anything in the nature of a check he wants a very harmless one. Deputy MacDermot made some suggestions to him. I suggest that he should consider them seriously and, if he really wants a harmless Seanad, which must necessarily be very few in numbers, he might consider Deputy MacDermot and a few such types, if there are any such in the country, to form a Second Chamber. We had from Deputy MacDermot what we have been accustomed to from him in this House—lectures from the superior person to the ordinary man in the street.

How is it Deputy Morrissey put up with him for 18 months?

I confess I found it very difficult.

And so did I.

These late confessions.

The Deputy might ask how I put up with other people for a longer time. Deputy MacDermot told us that there were a few distinguished men in the Seanad. The Deputy, of course, has no regard for the ordinary man drawn from the ordinary people of this country and elected by the votes of the people— even though only indirectly elected by those votes. I think that the men in the Seanad, taking them as a whole, irrespective of the Party to which they are giving their allegiance, are representative of what is generally considered the best in this country. I think they have done their work well, and they do not want any lecture of the type we listened to from Deputy MacDermot. I suggest to the Deputy that he might refrain from inflicting himself in that way on the House.

I feel with Deputy Costello that this is merely a waste of time. I think the House will find that it has made a very big mistake. The President himself may perhaps find that he has made a very big mistake; he may find out that before he is very much older. The House is asked to take action for which this country will yet be sorry. We have heard a lot of talk here, but it is hard to believe that a good deal of the talk from the Government side of the House is sincere.

Judging by the speeches which have been made by the Opposition, one must come to the conclusion that they seem determined to preserve the Seanad and that they are equally determined to annihilate Deputy MacDermot. Their enthusiasm for the annihilation of Deputy MacDermot seems to be greater than their enthusiasm for the preservation of the Seanad. Deputy Morrissey just now let us into the Party secrets by saying that he did not know how he tolerated Deputy MacDermot in the Party for 18 months, and then, as if to justify that toleration, he said he wondered how he put up with other people for a longer time——

Yes, in response to an interjection by the Deputy.

In response to an interjection by the Deputy. But Deputy Morrissey did not inform the House that he was still willing to put up with the Labour Party. He has now the audacity to say what he said, notwith-standing the fact that he was expelled from the Labour Party. Deputies will remember that the Seanad passed in a few short hours the Public Safety Bill——

Which the Labour Party have now swallowed, Jock, stock and barrel.

Any more interjections? I will deal with that in a few moments. Deputy Costello said that it was hardly worth while making a case against the abolition of the Seanad. Probably that was the truest thing said here to-day, because it is almost impossible to make a case for the retention of the present Seanad. Deputy Costello, in the short time in which he addressed the House, might have taken care to have checked up on the statement he made. He said that all Parties agreed to the Seanad being established in 1922. Is not that an obvious mistake for the Deputy to have made? Deputy Morrissey could have told him that in 1922 the Labour Party opposed the establishment of the Seanad, and its attitude to-day is the same as it was then and has been since.

Did they vote against it?

Nobody more than the Deputy ought to know that they voted against it.

Refer me to the date.

If the Deputy looks at the first volume of the Official Debates he will see where at an early date they voted.

The reason I ask the question is because I have looked up the Official Debates and I have not seen it.

An attempt was made by some Deputies here to invest the Seanad with a certain authority and a certain degree of holiness which I cannot discover enshrouds that body at all. When considering the Second Chamber we ought to ask ourselves in what way and for what purpose Second Chambers are being created. If we look at the history of Europe and the history of the world, where can we see that Second Chambers have made their appearance side by side with the expansion of the franchise and with the growth of democracy in democratically governed countries? With the growth of democracy and with the expansion of the franchise and the development of modern democratic methods in the various countries in the world there has been a desire on the part of reactionaries to constitute Second Chambers as a check against the popularly elected Governments. The creation of Second Chambers has been for the purpose solely of having a check and a curb on the progress of the plain people, to exercise a curb on democracy and prevent the people from deciding public questions in their own way.

If we take as an example our next-door neighbour we will find that their Second Chamber, very little different from the Seanad in its composition, has acted in the same way as the Seanad has acted here. It has acted as the ally of the Tory Party in power for the time being and the bitter opponent of any legislation promoted by Governments consisting of persons opposed to the political point of view of the Second Chamber there. In short, Second Chambers, both in Great Britain and elsewhere, have been tyrannically established for the defence of vested interests. The attempts by the Party opposite to try to prove that the Second Chamber here has been the guardian of the people's liberties has been so much silly nonsense.

At all events, we can get some views held in other days by the Party opposite as to the Seanad. In endeavouring to defend it in 1922 the late Kevin O'Higgins had little to say in favour of the present Seanad. He admitted that the case might be made that it might be a useless and valueless chamber, and if anybody cares to read his speech defending the Second Chamber one will discover little substance in his argument. Clearly, Kevin O'Higgins of that period had little use for the Seanad as then constituted. If he could be asked to-day free from Party bias to express his opinion of the Second Chamber constituted in 1922 he would have much less to say in its defence than he had in 1922.

Deputies Costello, O'Sullivan and Fitzgerald-Kenney told us that the Seanad has been doing good work for the last ten years. In the words of Deputy Costello we are told that it did good work in that period. Let us ask ourselves in what particular respect has the Seanad done good work for the people of this country during the past ten years. Let us ask ourselves in what way has the Seanad been the guardian of the people's liberties during that period. Let us ask ourselves in what way has the Seanad from 1922 to 1932 acted as a curb on reaction. Let us ascertain in what way they have acted as the guardians of the people's liberties and the defenders of the people's rights. Though a statement to that effect has been made by the Party opposite not a single instance has been produced where the Seanad challenged any reactionary measure passed by the Cumann na nGaedheal Government in all those years. As everybody not blinded by political association knows, the Seanad from 1922 to 1932 was just a rubber stamp and a recording machine for the Cumann na nGaedheal Party of the day. We are told that the Seanad is the bulwark between the people and reaction, that the Seanad is the defender of the people's liberties and the people's rights. We are told these things by the Party which in a few short hours was able to induce this Seanad to pass the Public Safety Act of 1931.

Which you subsequently voted for.

We will have that in a minute. We will have it in a truthful perspective and not as misrepresented by the Deputy. The guardian of the people's liberties—we were told that was the rôle the Seanad played in our national life. It seems to me to be a rather extraordinary attitude for the guardian of the people's liberties to adopt when in a few hours it passed the Constitution (Amendment No. 17) Act, the Act which tore up the Constitution and trampled upon the rights of the people. The Party opposite were able to induce the Seanad, the so-called guardian of the people's liberty, to pass that Act in a few hours. Is there any evidence in that action by the Seanad that they acted as the guardian of the people's liberties or the defender of the people's rights? Everybody knows that apart from that one test as to whether it was the guardian of the people's liberties, the Seanad showed itself to be—and everybody knows it has been from 1922 to 1932—a rubber stamp for the Party then in power. Deputy Dillon now pretends to look disturbed.

No, amazed.

The Deputy is in a permanent state of amazement. Most members of the House would like to meet him when he is not in that permanent state of amazement in order to see if they could get anything sensible out of him in those subnormal moments of his. Does the Deputy deny that the Act to which I have referred contains all these vicious attacks on the liberties and democratic rights of the people? That is admitted by the Party opposite even though they steam-rolled it through this House and through the Seanad. How can you pretend that anybody that willingly acquiesced in the passage of that Act was in any way a guardian of the people's liberties and rights?

Were you listening to the Minister for Finance last night? Were you listening to his declaration as to the rights of democracy in this country?

This is much more interesting and more truthful than anything the Minister said last night.

Go ahead, until we hear you develop it.

An attempt is being made by the Party opposite to place the Seanad in the position of being the custodian of the people's liberties and rights, but nobody there can deny that it was a rather strange rôle for a defender of the people's liberties and rights to pass in a few hours, and on the only Saturday on which they ever met, the Constitution (Amendment No. 17) Act—and that from a body that claims to be the guardian of the people's liberties and the defender of their rights. Deputy Dillon wants to pretend that he believes we voted for the passage of that Act.

No, but your ailies were glad to use it.

They never used it in our name. On every occasion in this House the Labour Party voted against the Bill. One thing we did refuse to do and that was to be trapped into voting for the sham motion which the Party opposite submitted to the House protesting against the provisions of an Act which they themselves passed with the aid of the body they now claim as the defender of the people's liberties.

The wise man from the East.

The Deputy is a very unwise man from the South and of the two I would prefer the appellation he has put upon me. An effort is being made to suggest that the Seanad is a thoroughly democratic Assembly. We had Deputy O'Higgins a few months ago going around the country as one of the people who wanted to establish and maintain a League of Youth. He wanted to give youth an opportunity of participating in the government of the country. One of the Party opposite worked himself into a state of hysteria defending the right of youth to take their place in the government and the national life of the country. One would imagine Deputy O'Higgins and the other active members of the Party who believed in what they claimed in respect of the right of youth to have a say in national and local polities, would be only too pleased to ensure that any legislation designed to give youth that voice was supported in this House and carried through. Although we have the Party opposite pretending it wants to give youth a chance, to give an outlet for the talents of youth, to give them an opportunity to take an active interest in local and national affairs, we find the Seanad, the body which they now seek to put on such a high pedestal, actually throwing out a Bill designed to give to people, 21 years and over, the right simply to record their votes in local elections. The Party opposite, claiming to give youth its rightful say in local and national affairs, not only opposes a measure of that kind here, but gets its allies in the Seanad to do the same. This is the body we are told is a thoroughly democratic body which ought to be retained as the guardian of the people's liberty.

Let us have a look at what the Seanad is. From 1922 to 1932 it was simply a replica, on a small scale, of the Government then in power. Not even Deputy Dillon will deny that during the years 1922 to 1932 the Seanad was simply a miniature edition of the Party in control here. The Cumann na nGaedheal Party were in office here and their friends were in office in the Seanad. To imagine that a Party in the majority in the Dáil which had a majority also in the Seanad could possibly be put in an inconvenient position by its friends in the Seanad is asking people to give credence to the most utter nonsense. From 1922 to 1932 there was no such thing as an effective Second Chamber because the Second Chamber of the period was controlled by the Cumann na nGaedheal Party. To that extent there was never a likelihood that a body so constituted during that period would ever have interfered with any legislation which the Cumann na nGaedheal Government desired to have passed. While there was a Seanad in existence from 1922 to 1932 it never acted as a curb against reactionary legislation; it never exercised its right to delay legislation; in fact, the whole purpose of the Seanad during that period was to facilitate in every possible way the passage of any kind of legislation which they were asked to pass by the Cumann na nGaedheal Government. In what circumstances did the Seanad ever act as a check upon reactionary legislation during the ten years? Is there a single instance in which the Seanad impeded the passage of legislation in any way in that period? Is there a single instance in which the Seanad acted as a guardian of the people's liberties when reactionary legislation was passed by the Party opposite? Coercion Acts and Public Safety Acts were passed time and again in these ten years and never once did the Seanad exercise its right to delay legislation of the Party opposite.

Any one who cares to study the records of the Seanad will fail to find any instance where the Seanad intervened to impede reactionary legislation from 1922 to 1932. But they will find that the Seanad, constituted by the then Government acted as the counterpart of that Government and not as the guardian of the people's liberties. Is it likely to be any better in the future? Is it likely to effect such a transformation if maintained? Let us assume that it maintains its normal life, and that in three years hence there was another election to that body and no general election in the meantime. Then the present Government could secure a majority in the Seanad if that body was allowed to remain; they would then have an absolute majority. Does anybody believe that if the present Government had a majority in the Seanad that a Seanad so composed would hold up any legislation passed by this Government? I for one am honest enough, and realist enough, to believe that the Seanad would not in any way impede the Fianna Fáil Government if they had a majority in the Seanad. When that body was composed of Cumann na nGaedheal Senators did they decline to impede the Cumann na nGaedheal Government in their period of office?

Let us bring some sense to bear on what the Seanad is. It is an out-of-date replica of this House. And we get this state of things where we have a Seanad maintained for no other purpose than to enable the Party in power to stuff it with their own supporters, and, then, to get that body to pass any legislation the Government of the day thinks it ought to support. A vote for the continuance of the Seanad, as at present constituted, is a vote for a useless piece of machinery at best, and which is no longer an institution of which the people approve. But it never has been, and never will be, an institution that will prove a bulwark between the people and a tyrannical executive Government. So long as the Seanad is elected on its present basis, and constituted in the main by the majority of the supporters of the Government in power, that Seanad never can be an effective guardian of the people's liberties and rights. Yet it is to maintain that kind of institution that this flood of eloquence has been released in the benches opposite.

If the people who constitute the Party opposite were to retire into private life, and if, in one, two or three years after their retirement, they were asked for their views on the Seanad, I doubt that one of them would say a word for it. There is no use for the Seanad or for continuing the Seanad as at present constituted. Let us, therefore, understand what the position is. It is not a popularly elected Chamber. It is elected in the main by a majority of this House, and so long as the Executive of the day can secure a majority for their political Party by the exercise of their votes in this House, then the Seanad at its best is only a second edition of the Party in power in this House.

But suppose the Seanad was constituted so that it was ever likely to interfere with the Government, or try to cause any difficulty or inconvenience to the Government of the day, still to regard it as representative of the people or as the guardian of their rights would be a piece of arrant nonsense. Yet, in order to make a case for this institution, Deputies opposite want to shroud it as an assembly of dignity, honesty and a sense of democracy. If there was any ground for attributing these qualities to the Seanad they never exercised them in the whole of the ten years from 1922 to 1932. I concede to the Party opposite that there is one reason why they should try to make a case for the Seanad—one ground upon which they could justify it. There is one reason why they should make a fight to save its life, and that is because from 1922 to 1932 it was the friend of the Party opposite. It was simply a recording machine for the Party opposite. During that period it acted as a steam-roller to steam-roll through that House legislation of any and every description passed by the Party opposite.

Whatever debt of gratitude the Party opposite owes the Seanad from 1922 to 1932, they also owe them a debt of gratitude for what they did for them from 1932 to 1933. During those years the Seanad, constituted as it was of a majority of persons who gave allegiance to the Party opposite, certainly did not forget its friends. From 1932 to 1933 the Seanad has been the willing tool of the Party opposite. Every time in that period that they asked for legislation to be thrown out, be it good or bad legislation, it was thrown out. When the Party opposite asked the Seanad in those three years to obstruct and impede the Government in every way, the Seanad, loyal to its obligations to the Cumann na nGaedheal Party, did its duty in the manner expected of them by the Party opposite. In the last three years the Seanad has played the part of wrecker in thwarting the will of the people.

How many Bills sent up by the Government in that period did the Seanad reject?

Every Bill the Party opposite asked them to reject, and they passed only those to which the Party opposite did not object.

That is not an answer to my question. How many Bills did the Seanad reject in the last three years?

Am I permitted to bring in a blackboard and chalk and explain all these things to the Deputy?

The Deputy is not obliged to take notice of interruptions.

I hope Deputy Minch has heard that remark. In the last three years the Seanad has played the part of wrecker. Every piece of legislation that it was possible for the Party opposite to suggest to the Seanad should be rejected was rejected by the Seanad. Every piece of legislation designed to strengthen the nation's national position was rejected by the Seanad. During the past three years, when the Party opposite were wailing in the face of the British attack upon our national and our economic life, the Seanad was used as a platform to cheer the hearts of those who were responsible for waging that economic attack upon our people. The Party opposite may regret to lose its friends by the abolition of the Seanad. The Party opposite may be sorry that its friends have fallen from high places, but no person in this country who has any pretensions to being a democrat, no person in this country who has any pretensions to desiring that the country shall stretch itself to the full height of its national manhood will have any regret that the Seanad is passing.

Whatever case might be made for a Second Chamber, whatever case might be made for a revisionary Chamber, there can certainly be no case made for the Seanad as at present constituted. There can be no case made for the continuance of the Seanad on the basis on which the present Seanad is elected. Having regard to the record of the Seanad since 1922, one is tempted to ask whether it is worth the while of this Legislature to try to put in its place something which, in the course of time, may follow in the same reactionary footsteps. A case can, however, be made for creating and giving into the hands of the people a machine which will be a real safeguard for the people. A case can be made for enabling the people to assert their own viewpoints on tremendously important national, economic and financial issues. Under our present electoral system the people are consulted approximately once every four years. It may happen that a Party which is elected to form a government may ask the people for a mandate on certain issues, and may receive that mandate from the people, but before it next consults the people it may find it desirable from its own point of view to enact legislation on a particular issue. The merits of that legislation, the wisdom or otherwise of that legislation, may be questioned by the people from very good motives. There may be keen feeling and bitter controversy throughout the country as to the wisdom of passing that legislation, and, in my opinion, there ought to be some machine created in order that the views of the people can be expressed on a matter of that kind. We know from our experience of the Seanad that even if the contemplated legislation were of a reactionary character that body could not be depended upon to reject it.

We must, therefore, endeavour to create instead some kind of a machine by which the views of the people on important national questions can be determined in a manner which will enable the views of the people to be heard in no uncertain way without, perhaps, recourse to a general election. One of the very valuable provisions of the original Constitution was that which provided for a referendum by the people on matters upon which there was keen feeling throughout the country. In 1922 that valuable piece of machinery was lauded by the Party opposite, and, in my opinion, rightly and properly lauded by the Party opposite, but in 1927, when presented with a petition for a referendum, and when it realised that the Referendum which they thought so much of in 1922 had become very inconvenient in 1927, the Party opposite abolished the Referendum so as to get rid of the inconvenience which was then threatening. Yet this is the very same Party which wants some check against reactionary legislation. If they had retained the Referendum in the Constitution instead of abolishing it in 1927 they could have had a permanent check against any reactionary legislation. A petition signed by 50,000 people could have got a referendum on any national question, and if the people to-day are not given an opportunity of expressing their viewpoints on legislation through the medium of the Referendum it is because the Party opposite, when confronted with a difficulty in 1927 abolished the Referendum, which was the real check upon reactionary legislation in this country. They come along to-day and say: "There is now no means of consulting the people; they have got no remedy and no redress if this Government desires to introduce and pass reactionary legislation." Why have we not redress? Why have we not a remedy? If there is legislation of a reactionary character or, as Deputy Dillon will surely say before this debate concludes, of a dictatorial character——

Or of a Socialist character.

——and there is no remedy against legislation of that kind, is not the simple explanation that the Party opposite, in the years, of course, before Deputy Dillon became a member of it, abolished the Referendum which gave the people real and effective control over any legislation proposed in this House? If, therefore, the people have no effective control over the actions of the Executive Council the explanation is clear. The explanation is that the Party opposite, when it was the Government, deliberately abolished the Referendum in order to deny the people the check which they now pretend they want to give to the people. It is very difficult to understand the actions of a Party which, although now pretending that it wants to provide the people with a check, removed the only effective check which the people had over the Executive Council. Deputy Dillon might endeavour to ascertain from the Party opposite how he is going to make a case for giving the people control over the Executive Council when the Party of which he is a member deprived the people of that very valuable power. I would regard the reinstitution of the Referendum in the Constitution as worth 1,000,000 Seanads such as we have to-day.

Hear, hear.

I believe the Referendum would give the people a real and effective check over the Executive Council, and even over the Parliament. So far as I am concerned, I should prefer to see the Referendum in operation for one year than the present Seanad in operation for 1,000 years, because the people would have much more control in that one year than they can ever expect the Seanad to exercise on their behalf during 1,000 years. I want to address a word or two to the Government in connection with the Referendum. In 1927, the President was in favour of a Referendum. He thought that it was a very valuable piece of democratic machinery. He thought it was a very useful institution in order to give the people control, and as a matter of fact he believed in it so much that he actually called it into play on that occasion, thinking that he would exercise control over the Legislature, but, of course, not counting on the wiliness of his opponents opposite. If the Referendum was good in 1927, it is good in 1935. If we are going to have any really effective check over this House and over the Executive Council, then we ought to put back into the Constitution the Referendum which gives the people real control, and makes the people masters in their own country. The President believed in the Referendum in 1927, and I should like to know the reasons which have converted him from his belief in its utility in 1935. I would certainly urge the Executive Council, and in particular, I would urge the members of the Fianna Fáil Party to exercise their opinions within the Party to ensure that the Referendum will again be incorporated in the Constitution, because that is the one really democratic safeguard which the people of this country have

A small country on the Continent like Switzerland has been able for many years to utilise the referendum as an integral part of its legislative and electoral machinery. In Switzerland the referendum, which works excellently and smoothly and which is accepted by all parties, is utilised to decide the most difficult problems, to liquidate the keenest of bitternesses. In Switzerland all parties vie with one another in paying tribute to the value of the referendum, as enabling the plain people to decide matters of national importance. If it is possible in Switzerland, a country which in many respects is similar to our own, it should be possible for us here to re-embody in the Constitution the referendum which has proved of such immense value to the people of Switzerland and which has been responsible, probably more than anything else, for the growth and the strengthening of democratic thought in that essentially democratic country. I hope, therefore, the Executive Council will give serious consideration to the question of re-establishing the Referendum. I believe it to be a very valuable piece of legislation. I believe it to be a piece of legislation which will make a very valuable contribution to democratic progress and the strenthening of healthy democratic opinion in this country. If the Executive Council would reinstitute the Referendum and make it part of the Constitution, I believe that, as part of our legislative machinery, it would be much more valuable than the maintenance of the present Seanad.

But, in any case, whether the Referendum is to be reinstituted or not, nobody can make a case in which he seriously believes, for the retention of the Seanad as at presently constituted. Far from being a bulwark of defence for the people's liberties, the Seanad has simply been a Chamber of reaction, if one is to test it by the votes which it recorded. Every reactionary piece of legislation introduced by the Party opposite was passed without question.

The Deputy ought not to repeat himself.

I am not repeating myself.

That is the third time the Deputy has used that argument since I came to the Chair.

Unless it is that the truth becomes monotonous to the Party opposite I cannot understand——

It is not the Party opposite; it is the Chair that is objecting to repetition.

Is it not permissible for me to point out to the Party opposite, even if I have to reinforce it by slight repetition, that the Seanad which they are endeavouring to defend——

The Chair has ruled that that is repetition and, even in the guise of a submission to the Chair, it should not be again repeated.

I do not need to repeat it in order to make a case for this motion and against the maintenance of the present Seanad. The Party opposite have sought to justify the continuance of the Seanad on the ground that it acts as a check against a reactionary Executive Council, but the Seanad has never acted as such. The Seanad could never be relied upon to act as such and during the past 12 years those who thought that at some time the Seanad might believe it had a separate existence and ought to exercise independent judgment were profoundly disappointed when every piece of legislation sent to them was passed without question. What is the case for maintaining a piece of machinery of that kind? What is the case for maintaining an institution which is only a sham and a delusion so far as the people's rights are concerned? What is the purpose of keeping in existence a Seanad which far from being an aid to national or economic progress is a barrier to such progress?

Has the Deputy not considered the possibility that he might have a majority there in a few years?

I hope I never will have a majority there. Even if any Party in this House, even a Party formed by Deputy MacDermot, had a majority in that Assembly, that Assembly so constituted will never act as a brake on Deputy MacDermot if he were passing legislation through the Oireachtas. That is because the Seanad has never been constituted in such a way as to act as a brake. It is because it has never acted as a brake on reactionary legislation that I am opposed to its continuance. A case might be made for the creation of a Second Chamber, in a revisionary sense, as complementary to this House, but nobody has yet been able to submit any proposals designed to create a body of that kind. I frankly admit that I have no proposals to make which would be likely to result in the creation of an institution of that kind—we are not deciding to-day whether we are in favour of a bicameral or a unicameral Legislature. What we are deciding to-day is whether the Bill which passed through this House in 1934 abolishing the Seanad as at present constituted should be made effective. Having regard to its uselessness from a democratic point of view, I am of the firm conviction that it could never be regarded as an institution which would defend the rights and the liberties of the plain people and I am certainly opposed to the continuance of the present Seanad. During its 12 years it has done little to enhance the national status or enhance democratic though in this country. All efforts which have been made to justify the Seanad as a useful body have failed lamentably. Not a single instance has been quoted in this House where the Seanad has proved its usefulness unless it can be said that its function was to dot the i's and cross the t's of legislation passed in this House. We do not need the Seanad to dot the i's and cross the t's of legislation passed here, a Seanad which is at the same time given power to prevent the passage of useful legislation through the Oireachtas. Whatever case might be made for a revisionary Chamber, complementary to this House, there can be no case made for giving to a body not elected by the people and not responsible to the people the enormous powers which the Seanad had in this country, powers which during the past 12 years have been used, not to advance the people, not to strengthen democratic thought, but to weaken in many respects our democratic institutions and to allow the people's liberties to be walked upon as when, for instance, they passed, in a few short hours, the notorious Constitution Amendment Act. It is because the Seanad will not act as a bulwark for the people's liberties that I see no case for its continuance.

To restrict oneself to moderate language, the least one can say of Deputy Norton's speech is that it is one which does not seem to reflect any credit on the Party of which he is leader. He began his speech to-night with an attempt to indict Seanad Eireann for that they perpetrated two unpardonable crimes. One was that they passed the Public Safety Act. When he got that far he detected on the faces of his colleagues on all sides of this House a look of amazement that any Deputy could be guilty of such audacity as is represented by Deputy Norton condemning Seanad Eireann for passing an Act, admittedly of the most rigorous and extreme character, when a Minister for Justice of this State had been foully murdered in the public streets, and he, Deputy Norton, had voted in this House for the reintroduction of that Act by the Fianna Fáil Government when no danger to the State of any kind, good, bad or indifferent, threatened——

There was no vote in this House on it.

——when the only peril that manifested itself was a peril to the continued tyranny of the Fianna Fáil Party that was running amok. Everyone knows that the Public Safety Act was reintroduced in the confident anticipation that it would be eventually used for the purpose of harassing and imprisoning members of the League of Youth. It was handy to introduce it upon that occasion in order to do what the Government was subsequently obliged to do, and that was to put back in Arbour Hill the gentlemen they made such a fuss about letting out 12 months earlier. I remember the jubiliation which was shared by Deputy Norton when the Christian Government went out and threw open the jail gates and let out the innocent boys. This Deputy voted in this House for the maintenance of that Act which put the patriotic boys back behind the jail gates.

On a point of order. There was no vote in this House in connection with the Constitution (Amendment) Act.

I submit that is not a point of order, but an attempt to interrupt me. Let him go to Kildare and explain to his constituents, or let him go round to the leaders of the Republican Congress in Suffolk Street, or wherever they are, and explain to them that though they have got these into Arbour Hill it was not Deputy Norton's fault——

On the point of order raised by Deputy Norton, if it is stated in this House that a Deputy voted in a certain way the Deputy is surely entitled to say "I did not so vote."

It all depends on how it is said. He was trying to say that there was no vote reimplementing the Act. There was not, but there was a vote on a resolution whether that Act should be continued.

A Cumann na nGaedheal motion.

The Labour Party voted that it should continue, but it should not be reintroduced. Deputy Norton proceeds to explain that he never voted for the Public Safety Act. I will not waste time in exposing the indecent in consistencies of Deputy Norton. I sympathise with Deputies Keyes and Pattison. It must be a humiliation to them to sit under a leader who made the kind of speech we have listened to.

We do not want your sympathy.

When the Deputy began to realise that the indeceny of that pretence was patent to the simplest and dullest member of the Fianna Fáil Party he then proceeded to a long, repetitious, and, as far as I could make out, meaningless tirade, which was finally capped by a plea for the reinstitution of the Referendum. I pass over that, because we all know what that was for. It was to present an appearance of offering some constructive alternative to cover the discreditable patches in the earlier stages of his speech. His second indictment of the Seanad was one which should engage the most careful consideration of the House. His second indictment was that they rejected what has been commonly known as the Blueshirt Bill.

On a point of order. To my recollection, I did not make mention of that Bill at all in my speech.

The history of that Bill is this. A perfectly legitimate organisation was established. Repeated endeavours were made by the Executive to prostitute the Constitution and to prostitute the law with a view to destroying the law. We brought the Attorney-General into court and upset him again and again.

Will the Deputy relate that to the motion before the House?

We upset the Attorney-General and made a public fool of him by demonstrating that he did not know the law, and that he was quite incompetent in regard to these matters to advise the Executive Council. It is something of which he might well be proud.

Will the Deputy relate that argument to the motion before the House?

Yes. In order to overcome that, they sought to prostitute the law by legislation and the Seanad interposed and, in so doing, did something praiseworthy for which they ought to be thanked. The Attorney-General showed no aptitude for prostituting the law or twisting the Constitution to do something that it was never intended to do.

The Attorney-General

It put an end to the Blueshirts.

I will deal with that. Having been forced to make a public fool of himself in the courts four or five times, he went in despair to the Government and said: "This is a perfectly legitimate organisation and, if you want to ban it, you will have to pass legislation to do so." Accordingly the legislation was introduced and though the Bill was described as a Prohibition of the Wearing of Political Uniforms Bill, the Minister for Justice freely admitted that it was a Bill to ban the Blueshirts. The Opposition met that Bill on the Second Stage by saying: "We certify that the members of the League of Youth have no illegal intention; they have no desire to resort to force of arms; they are resolved not only to obey the law themselves, but to uphold it in the country, and they have no conspiratorial intentions."

Except burning houses.

A Deputy

And shooting cows.

I implore Deputies not to draw me on the subject of burning houses and to esehew the subject of shooting cattle, lest I deal with the subject of shooting men. Let us not allow heat to be engendered into what should be an academic discussion. We made the case that there was no reason to apprehend violence or danger to the State, and we gave our certificate, for what it was worth, as the leaders of the official Opposition, that knowing the members of that organisation, knowing its nature, we were satisfied that it constituted no menace to the legitimate interests of this State. That is a guarantee I gladly repeat now. In face of that, the Bill was carried through this House, and went to the Seanad. The Seanad took our view and rejected it. I ask Deputy Norton who was right?

I did not make any reference to this Bill.

Has there ever been an occasion since the time the Government introduced that Bill down to to-day that they would have been justified in using it to outlaw the Opposition in this State? Has there been a single occasion in which the Executive Council or the legitimate Government was imperilled or threatened by that organisation? Has there been a single occasion on which the leaders did not show themselves ready to protect the legitimate interests of the Executive of the State or of this House, whenever any such interests were in danger? Have not the members of that organisation shown themselves——

Does the Deputy want a debate on a certain organisation or not?

No, but I think it is legitimate for me to make the case that it was nothing for the Seanad to be ashamed of that they rejected that Bill. I am entitled to make the case that they have been vindicated by the event. They were told then that if the Bill was not passed chaos and anarchy would break out in the lands. The Bill did not pass, and the Government did not get the powers they sought and which they intended to use. I ask now, in the light of what has happened, who has been vindicated? The Seanad was asked to give powers to the Government of a certain kind. They said: "The powers are unnecessary; there is no menace to the State in this organisation." The President got up and said that red ruin and chaos would spread through the land if he did not get it. I ask him now who was right? Did red ruin, chaos and anarchy spread through the country?

They died a natural death.

The Deputy and the Attorney-General can make smart remarks. These people are there still. They are a force in this country still, and they preserve the essential liberties of the individual in this country. But let us not get into a protracted discussion upon the merits or demerits of that. The simple question is this: that the Executive said to the Seanad: "unless you give us that Bill, chaos and anarchy will break forth in the land." The Seanad said: "we will not give you the Bill." and that is the charge on which the Seanad is indicted now. Who was right, the Seanad or the Executive? The vast majority of the people of this country, passing judgment on that issue, will say that the Seanad was right. The Bill was an unnecessary trespass upon the rights of individual citizens of this State, and the Seanad protected the citizens of this State from that trespass. That will be to their eternal credit and, whether they are destroyed or not, that vindication of individual liberty in this country will stand to their credit when the history of this country comes to be written.

They will not be mentioned.

They will not be mentioned in any book that the Deputy is likely to read, but that does not mean that they will not be mentioned. The President, in introducing his motion to-day, adopted his now well established practice of bringing this House into public disrepute by refusing to offer any reasons at all for it. I have no doubt that his well established feminine characteristic will manifest itself later on, and that he will jump up and have the last word. But, I am not surprised that the President was reluctant to embark upon a discourse in this House on this subject again. One of the main grounds on which he rested his argument for the abolition of the Seanad, when he first started on this pious purpose, was expressed by him on the 19th April, 1934, in this House when he said:—

"Adams was no mean political thinker. He stood for the single Chamber."

Now, Adams wrote a book which I commend to the attention of Deputy Jordan, and in that book the following words occur:—

"I cannot think that a people can be long free nor ever happy whose Government is in one Assembly."

President de Valera paraphrases that sentence in this way:—

"Adams was no mean political thinker. He stood for the single Chamber."

Is it any wonder that President de Valera is reluctant to break another lance with the constitutional issues that present themselves in connection with this matter. However, though the President does not care to join in the thrust and parry of debate that takes place in the House, he has a kept newspaper, and it is fortunate that we have an opportunity of discovering what is passing in the Presidential mind through the columns of this kept newspaper. He says, in the leading article of the Irish Press, in its issue of 12th December——

Is the Deputy quoting the President's words?

No, but he says this through the leading article of the Irish Press—I have not the slightest doubt that he wrote the article—I can read his hand in every line of it— though I am not in a position to say that officially.

I asked the Deputy if he was quoting the President's words so that the reference might be given. The other aspect of the question does not interest the Chair.

Quite. He says:

"No one can question that it (the Seanad) brought its fate upon itself. It constituted itself a barrier to the progress of measures to which the electorate had given the stamp of their approval, or which the Government believed to be necessary for the maintenance of public order and the safeguarding of existing institutions."

Observe the indictment: that the Seanad constituted itself a barrier to the passage of measures which the Government believed to be necessary for the maintenance of public order and the safeguarding of existing institutions. We have listened for an hour to Deputy Norton explaining that the Seanad has to go because they passed too rapidly an Act which the then Government thought necessary for the maintenance of order and the safeguarding of existing institutions.

I did not refer to that Act at all.

The Deputy said that the Public Safety Act was passed too quickly in the days of the Cumann na nGaedheal Government. President de Valera, or his agent, the Irish Press, says that one of the reasons why the Seanad should be abolished now is because they were too slow in passing similar Acts. It must be remembered, in that connection, that the Minister for Finance put himself on record yesterday as saying that he now knew that Deputy Cosgrave and Party were defending the institution of majority rule in this country, that they had succeeded in defending it, and that he was now concerned to maintain it. I congratulate the Minister for Finance on that statement, and it is interesting to bear it in mind when we are considering what Deputy Norton said. The article goes on:

"When Mr. Cosgrave's Government was in power it (the Seanad) proved itself to be his obedient instrument. It passed without delay or compunction every Bill sent up to it——"

I ask Deputies to note the words "every Bill sent up to it."

"——even though some of these measures were grave invasions of the liberty of the citizen and infractions of the safeguards provided for in the Constitution."

There is a categorical statement. What are the facts? The clear implication of that passage in the leading article of the Irish Press is that the Seanad did not desire to, or did not, in fact, alter any of the legislation of the Cumann na nGaedheal Government. With the usual astute avoidance of a positive statement, that is the impression conveyed to the public in words typical of President de Valera which can subsequently be explained to have an entirely different meaning. But the facts are, that during the period of the Cumann na nGaedheal Government the Seanad amended, altered and blocked more Bills, or, at least, as many as they amended or stayed in their progress during the Fianna Fáil Administration. No one knows that better than the President himself. It has been pointed out by Senator Douglas, by the Chairman of the Seanad and by the Vice-Chairman of the Seanad in the House above. Nevertheless, we find in to-day's Irish Press a categorical statement of the very reverse of those facts. He then says:

"The Public Safety Bill, for instance, was rushed through notwithstanding the extraordinary powers which it contained."

Surely he does not expect the people of this country to be so completely blind as not to realise that it was that Public Safety Act which was rushed through the Seanad which he is at present operating, and under which he has dozens of people in jail at the present moment. How can he indict, or hold up to public odium, the Seanad for passing an Act which he himself at present is using and which he has announced his intention of using indefinitely. When asked by the Leader of the Labour Party a couple of weeks ago in a question, whether he intended to abandon that Act, the President himself said "No. I do not intend to abandon it." And on an earlier occasion he said:

"In the event of my ever drafting a new Constitution, I shall have to incorporate in that Constitution a provision similar to that contained in the Public Safety Act which the Seanad passed."

His second charge is that the Seanad rejected the Oath Bill. Some people may agree with it for doing that and others may disagree, but it seems to me that it is no reflection on their integrity or honour that they should have done so if they believed it right to do so. On the contrary, they would have been selling their consciences if they did not do it. That there was not agreement upon that measure is not surprising, and that it should be made a bone of contention which would justify the introduction of this Bill is not convincing, to say the very least of it. "It adopted," said the article, "the same course towards the extension of the franchise to the growing manhood and womanhood of the country." That statement is grossly dishonest, because the impression that it meant to convey to people is that the Seanad was opposed to universal franchise in Parliamentary elections. It does not actually say that, but it is meant to say that, and to create that impression on young people, that the Seanad wanted to exclude them from the vote; the fact being that the Seanad shared our view, that in the matter of local government elections it did not seem reasonable to extend the principle of universal franchise, seeing that the only defence that could be advanced for universal franchise in the case of Parliamentary elections was as a pis aller.

It was the best method that could be thought of, and admittedly was highly unsatisfactory. There is universal franchise for parliamentary elections. We recognise its weaknesses— and they are many—but there is no better method of electing a democratic government. Lastly, they repeat the allegation made, I think, by Deputy Norton about the passage of the Blue-shirt Bill. I say the Seanad has been amply vindicated and that posterity will set it down as having averted bitter civil strife, which Fianna Fáil apparently designed, wanted and were hoping to provoke. Propaganda is a potent thing. There is a saying of some of the most evil supporters of propaganda : "Give a good lie a good start and no man will ever catch up with it." That leading article of the Irish Press is plastered with falsehood. It is not good, straight falsehood that you can drive a nail in once and for all, but it is that detestable prevarication which is designed to deceive. If it poisons the minds of a good many readers of that paper it would be extremely difficult to clarify the minds of the people who read it as the first introduction to the problem we have now to consider. In my opinion, it is a very deplorable thing that any newspaper, even the Irish Press, would stoop to deception of its own readers by half-truths, suppression of the truth, and prevarication of the kind disclosed in the article.

The fact is that all Parties in this House who favour the retention of the Seanad want a perfect Seanad. That is a very laudable ambition. I wonder if Deputies when waxing so eloquent about the shortcomings of the Seanad ever heard what the Seanad thought about this House. There is an old saying—it is as old as the Scripture—that one should remove the mote from one's own eye before one undertakes to remove the beam from the eye of one's neighbour. The Seanad has many shortcomings. I think it is capable of reform. What about Dáil Eireann? Is it a perfect institution? Is it competent to undertake the claim of the Seanad and to remodel itself into a perfect object 1 If it finds itself incompetent to do so should it not rather reflect on itself than shatter the Seanad we have got? I freely agree that it is a very difficult problem to get an ideal Seanad, but I note with interest and with material encouragement that the Seanad shares that view. The Seanad does not take up the position which Dáil Eireann—or a certain section of it—seemed to adopt to-day; that it is a perfect institution, quite capable of lecturing its neighbours on what they ought to be. The Seanad in all humility sets down the following motion which appears on the Order Paper:—

That it is expedient that a Joint Committee, consisting of five members of the Seanad and five members of the Dáil, with the Chairman of each House ex offlcio, be set up to consider and report on the changes, if any, necessary in the Constitution and powers of the Seanad.

I think that is a good suggestion. It speaks well for the Seanad that they recognise their own shortcomings. I have heard no suggestion from Dáil Eireann that a committee should be set up, consiting of five members of Seanad Eireann and five members of Dáil Eireann to consider what improvement could be made in this Assembly. If we are not prepared to make a similar gesture I think we should walk warily when pointing to others' shortcomings. I think the Seanad could be a more useful body. So does the Seanad. The Seanad very rationally says: "Come and sit down and let us talk it over, and if we can improve our procedure or our personnel we will be glad to co-operate in doing so." That is the sensible thing to do. That is the difference between reform and revolution. Reform is never popular to the kind of persons to whom certain Deputies of the Fianna Fáil Party turn for support. It is not popular because the intellect of the supporters of Fianna Fáil is not capable of understanding it. Revolution is a nice, simple thesis. If you do not like the colour of something, smash it up; if you do not believe in the religious tenets of a particular body of citizens, burn their churches. That is a nice simple doctrine. If you do not agree with senatorial institutions, burst up the Seanad. If you do not agree with the political philosophy of a certain group of citizens, wipe them out. These are nice simple proposals to lay before the electors, but they are not sound. Simplicity and soundness comparatively rarely go together. It is much more difficult to say to the electors: "Here are evils that require reform." Let us be on our guard lest in attempting to abate existing evils we do not create far graver evils.

The President will be in clover at the end of the debate, because he will be discussing an abstract theory which is capable of discussion ad infimituin. He will walk round it, over it, under it, to the right of it, and to the left of it and, in the end, no one in this State will know what he thinks about it. If I may say so with great respect to Deputy MacDermot, he and the President will be able to exchange compliments across the floor. Their language and perplexity certainly will endear neither of them one whit the less to me nor will it serve to clarify my mind or the mind of anyone else. Does that cause dismay to President de Valera? Not a bit. He is most anxious that the mind of no one in this country should be clarified. He wants them to remain in profound confusion as he does about most important questions of the kind. I do not think that this question of a bicameral system or a unicameral system is capable of final settlement by abstract argument, and I think you are obliged to turn deliberately away from abstraction, away from theory, and even from logic, and try to find some empirical solution of the problem of whether you should have unicameral or bicameral government in the country. When you do that, you find, as has been pointed out, that the whole of the civilised world which accepts democratic institutions has opted in favour of bicameral systems with these exceptions, Turkey, Esthonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Bulgaria and Spain.

And Czecho-Slovakia.

I am not so sure about Czecho-Slovakia, but I am prepared to throw in Finland, though it is not a genuine case.

Might I ask what the Deputy is quoting from? I should like to get that book.

I am not quoting, but if the Deputy wishes to know what the source of most of my information is, it is contained in two things which I would not advise him to try to peruse. One is the speech of the Chairman of the Seanad made on the Third Stage, of the existence of which he knows just as well as I do; and the other is the speech made by Senator Douglas on the Second Stage of this Bill in the Seanad, of the I existence of which he knows as well as I do, because, although a helpful announcer from Radio Ath Luain announced that the President, after everybody had spoken, responded and tore their arguments to tatters, the President has bitter reason to remember both the speeches to which I now refer. If he would like to know at any time in the future where any effective arguments come from, on this question of whether we should have a Seanad or not, I suggest he drop down to President de Valera and say : "Have you heard that one before, and where did you hear it? Would you give me the sentences in which you tore them to tatters?" And the President will blush even a little more deeply than he is blushing at the present time.

I have all the information I want without that.

The Deputy has got a little more information than he wants.

And the House has the information.

Does the President seriously suggest to us that, approaching it from an empirical standpoint, he thinks that the experiences of Turkey, Esthonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Finland and Spain are more acceptable than the experiences of other great democratic countries which did have the bicameral system? I do not think the President will attempt to sustain the argument that there is any analogy between an elective body of the character of the Seanad, no matter how it is elected, and a hereditary body such as the House of Lords. There is not, and nobody knows that better than the President himself. So you are driven outside Great Britain to find comparisons, and in the perplexity of trying to envisage a scheme whereby I could get the perfect legislative assembly, I looked to the other democratic countries of the world and, finding that having tried one system and another, they have adopted the bicameral system, I lean in that direction until a strong argument is adduced against it.

The President did advance arguments, the first of which was that of the Abbé Seyés. I know where he got the Abbé Seyés, and he hoped to God that nobody else would, and then it was revealed by Professor John Marcus O'Sullivan that the only comment the world had to give on the Abbé Seyés was that he was like a clock in a glass case that was prepared to do everything but tell the time. Does the President not think that when he is driven back to defend his proposal to quoting to this House the Abbé Seyés, whom posterity has written down as the crazy clock of constitutional procedure, his case must be weak?

I will be able to quote Deputy MacDermot now.

The President will not drive me into drawing an analogy between the Abbé Seyés and Deputy MacDermot. Surely the President agrees with me that when he finds himself driven back to relying on that kind of testimony, his case must be weak. Surely he will agree with me, when he is driven back into stating unconsciously, of course, what is not so, in defence of his argument, on the authority of Adams, that his argument must be very weak? My submission is that we are in the position of saying that the vast majority of mankind find that in practice the bicameral system works best. We accept that in default of convincing proof that it is not the best system. The President sets himself to prove that it is not the best system and he relies on a crazy clock and a misquotation from Adams. Does he not feel his position a little weak? Does he not realise that there devolves upon him some heavier obligation if he wants to carry the consensus of opinion in this House with him?

I agree with Senator Blythe, who was quoted by Deputy Norton as saying that no matter how perfect a Seanad you had or how effective an Oireachtas as a whole you had, an unscrupulous Executive could circumvent it. I quite agree with that. It is inevitable. But let not that argument be used for the purpose, as it seemed to me it was being used in certain quarters to deride Parliamentary institutions as a whole, because even though an unscrupulous Executive can override this House, or the Opposition in this House, and can, day after day and week after week, defeat them in divisions in this House, Parliament still is serving a useful purpose. One of the purposes of this House, and by no means its least important purpose, is to provide a forum from which public men can do the work of moulding public opinion in the shape they think it ought to take. I feel that an additional argument to that which I have already adduced for the bicameral system is that that function of moulding public opinion can be more effectively done under the comparatively leisurely system of bicameral legislation than it can be done if legislation shoots through, as it inevitably will, a unicameral system.

I sometimes hear Senators waxing very eloquent on the superiority of the debates in Seanad Eircann. Of course, in the Committe Stage, the Seanad is very frequently better than Dáil Eireann, the reason being that Dáil Eireann has provided them with their brief. This House gets a green paper and this House tears that green paper to pieces in Committee and advances innumerable views from both sides. The reports are perused by Senators who have seen both sides of the question by the time the Bill reaches them, and, in the knowledge of the arguments the Government will put up in defence of their proposals, the Senators may mend the hand of the Opposition, or state their case in a way which will more effectively anticipate the Government defence. When that is used for the purpose of proving that the Seanad is a more efficient body than Dáil Eireann, it makes me smile, but when it is used for proving that the Seanad serves a useful purpose in consolidating the argument of —for want of a better term—the more turbulent House below, and in marshalling and arranging the arguments and interplay of minds, in order that the public may more fully appreciate them, I say that the Seanad is doing useful work—and it is doing useful work, not only in improving legislation, but in moulding more effectively public opinion upon which the proceedings of this House ought to play. I have given two reasons, which seem to me to be cogent reasons, why we should have a bicameral system rather than a unicameral system. I freely admit that the Seanad is not perfect nor is this House perfect. If this House has a bee in its bonnet and is determined to hammer out a new scheme, the Seanad is quite prepared, and has been prepared, to sit down with it and examine anything and everything in regard to its constitution and procedure, with a view to making it a more effective instrument than it is at present. I should be glad, and I believe the whole Opposition would be glad, to co-operate with the Government if they put that work in hands.

The President has advanced no reason why the Seanad should be abolished. I feel that we are really betraying the truth in trying to discuss this motion on its merits at all, because I believe that the real reason the President decided to abolish the Seanad was because he was in a bad temper. I remember the night he came in to do it and my mind went back to my childhood days, when one would be playing a game of ball, or any other game, and one member of the group would first try to make the rules for the game. So long as the rest of the group agreed with his rules, everything in the garden was lovely. Then some independent-minded individual, possibly myself, would say: "I do not think that that is a fair rule; it is a new rule which you are just after making and it was not in when the game began. I do not think that it is a goods rule." The rule-maker would first try to break my jaw and, when he found he could not do that, he would go for his cap and say, "I won't play." The President will not feel it unjust if I say that he began by saying: "If the Seanad does what I think right, everything in the garden will be lovely." Then he heard that they were not going to do everything he thought right and he went to them and said: "If you do not do what I think right, everything in the garden will not be lovely as I will soon show your." To his horror and dismay, he discovered that he could not show them; they could not be intimidated; so he got his cap, came in here and said: "I won't play." That is the genesis of this Bill. The president wanted to demonstrate to any man who was not prepared to play the game according to his rules that he would smash him or take such other steps as were necessary to ensure that he would not block him any longer. That is what is behind this Bill and, so sure as we are in this House now, the President will trot out some lucubration hereafter about a Fifth Stage or a Sixth Stage in the consideration of Bills in this House—something as ludicrous, as futile and as absurd as his suggestion on the Committee Stage of this Bill for the protection of the independence of the judiciary.

Deputies will remember the ingenious and brilliant suggestion the President introduced for the protection of the judiciary when this Bill was passing through — the passing of an Act of this House to the effect that a judge could not be dismissed without a three-fifths majority. We all remember how he was figuring and balancing his fractions, quite oblivious of the fact that a simple majority of the House could repeal the Act and sack the judges without further ado. However, many "goms" were taken in by that suggestion. They said: "He was accused of being prepared to sack the judges, but now he has suggested a plan by which they are perfectly safe." They swallowed the suggestion. The Irish Press made them swallow it. I have no doubt that a equally ludicrous and imbecile suggestion will be made in respect of a substitute for the Seanad. It is because I apprehand that, that I wonder if we are not betraying the truth in trying to deal with this question seriously. Whether we are or not, I conceive it to be our duty by this House and its procedure to discuss to the best of our ability any measure the Government, or any other authorised persons, bring before us.

This is not a measure to abolish the Seanad as at present constituted. It is a measure to abolish the bicameral system of government in this country. It is no use for Deputy Norton to prepare the ground now for the day he will be lamenting the disaster he has brought upon the country by the act of folly he intends to perpetrate in connection with this legislation. There will be no use in his saying then: "It never occured to me that the President did not intend to establish some substitute for the Seanad; I meant only to get rid of the Senators, not the Seanad." He is getting rid of the Seanad. Let the Labour Party do that with their eyes open. Let the Labour Party make no plea that they were blinded by prejudice or bitterness in this matter. In the position they occupy, they have no right to make such an excuse. They should not allow themselves to be blinded by personal prejudice. You are ending bicameral government in this country for a certain time. Heaven knows what abuses will result therefrom. You are doing it without any cogent reason advanced by the President of the Execute Council or any of his Ministers. You are doing it in face of the fact that almost every civilised democracy in the world has found the bicameral system the most effective. You are doing it in face of the fact that one of the President's authorities for the view he now holds is a notoriously unreliable authority on constitutional affairs, and that the other authority he quoted did not say what the President thought he said and, in fact, instead of being an argument for President de Valera's unicameral theories, it stands out par excellence as the most eloquent and effective assertion of the urgent necessity of a bicameral system in any democratic country. I think it was another distinguished American democrat—and a radical democrat at that —who said he could conceive of only one dictatorship more detestable than that of an individual; that was the dictatorship of the mob. Be very careful you are not setting up a dictatorship of the mob. The President is, and always has been, a close and scrupulous student of Niccolo Machiavelli. He will remember that Machiavelli recommended to him the stirring up of disturbance until he got into office and to stir it up with all the exterior appearance of benignity, magnanimity, justice, truth and religion. He will remember that Niccolo Machiavelli further advised him, having got into the saddle, to take mighty good care he stayed there. At the moment the mob will probably keep him there. But the mob is an unreliable element in this or in any other country. And extreme as the President may hold himself to be, there will be some lunatic in this country who will rise on his left hand, and the President will strain and struggle to move further to the left, but he will meet his match in that matter some time, and he will find to his astonishment and amazement that the mob on whom he depends so confidently now for support, will start to move off to the new light on the horizon.

How does the Seanad, as now elected, protect us from the mob?

Deputy MacDermot is so naïve, so innocent and so anxious to understand that it rather discourages one to be asked at the conclusion of one's oration what it all meant. I would be willing to go through it all again——

Deputy MacDermot complained that he could not understand what I meant.

Just as the Deputy complained he could not understand my point of view.

Possibly Deputy MacDermot descends to an et tu quoque which appears to be a bit low. I have made the case that a bicameral system of legislation helps to mould public opinion and helps to restrict the dominance of the unreasonable mob. I am pointing out that the President is departing on lines which may lead into a position which neither he nor his followers can now see. Deputy MacDermot has his own opinion and he has expressed it. I have my opinion and I have expressed it.

Might I point out that the Deputy has forgotten completely that the Seanad must become and is becoming a mere echo of this House?

I would have thought that our long association would have led Deputy MacDermot to accept the logic of my speech as flowing from sound arguments. If the Deputy failed to follow what I have been saying I advise him to peruse the Official Report of my speech and he will there find closely reasoned arguments. I invite the attention of the President when his keener perspicacity has mastered the thread of my argument to realise that we are prepared to co-operate with him in making the Seanad more nearly perfect than it is. We are satisfied that the Seanad is prepared to co-operate with the President and with the Dáil and to do what it can to make both Houses more perfect. If the President would appreciate that it would be a good thing for the country. Let us in the Dáil resent the inclination to abolish the Seanad just as we would resent the inclination of the Seanad to abolish this House. Let both Houses realise that both are necessary for the liberties of the country and let us join together to improve the efficiency of both Houses rather than joining in a trial of strength between the two Houses, aimed at the destruction of one.

One would have thought, on an occassion such as this when we were called upon to abolish one House of the Oireachtas, that fairness to the Dáil, if not courtesy to the Seanad, would compel the introducer of such a motion as this to attempt to make at least some case for that motion. I consider that it was an act of discourtesy to the Dáil, an act uncharitable in itself and unkind to a body that has worked well for the past 12 years that something has not been said by the leader of the majority in Dáil Eireann than merely to throw a resolution such as this before the House and to say to the docile people behind him, "Vote for that." From a political leader or statesman, at all events, from the President of the Executive Council, one would imagine that before this type of reckless legislation was indulged in that he would at least be man enough to give some reason and make a case for his motion—that he would first present something to Dáil Eireann for criticism, or alternatively, for discussion.

There have been unmanly acts done in this House from time to time. Thank the Lord they are rare, but perhaps the unkindest and the most unmanly thing that was ever done is the way and the method in which it is proposed to abolish the Seanad. Does it matter one bit whether the Seanad contains a minority or majority of Fianna Fáil representatives? Should it not at least be recognised that these men and these ladies gave 12 years' long service to this State and they did their work well, fearlessly and conscientiously? Whether we as politicians agree with their findings in the Seanad in every case or not at least a case should be made against it before that House is sentenced to death. It may be said that the case was made before. But nobody knows better than the President that the case he made previously is like Johnson's description of a net—a bundle of holes tied together. When the inaccuracies, the falsehoods, the misstatements and the misquotations were picked out of that particular statement of the President's there was nothing left but a bundle of holes. Is it that the President was unable to replace those tattered fragments of a case by any other case? Or is it that the new Republican way of leading Parliament is to act as a quitter, to funk the responsibility of making a case before the Opposition, leaving them an opportunity of replying? Are we to have the shirker's method of only making a case when the debate is over and when no remarks, observations or replies can be made? This habit of dealing with grave constitutional issues in this insulting manner is unfair to the Dáil and is an evading of the responsibility which the country imposes on the shoulders of the President.

Here we have had a Bill for four hours before Dáil Eireann, to abolish entirely one of the Houses of the Oireachtas. We have a Front Bench of Government mutes. We have a majority Party, a Party of mutes. In that four hours not one of them has been found to stand up even out of courtesy to the Dáil and attempt to state to the House why this act should be committed. There has been no one to stand up and say why we should by a majority vote abolish one of the two Houses of the Oireachtas. The only spokesman who had the courage to get up in an endeavour to make a case for the resolution is the leader of the Labour Party. It would be better for him, for the resolution, and for the Labour Party that he had followed the President's example and sat dumb. The case he made, in so far as it could be considered a case, was a case chock full of misstatements and inaccuracies. It was a case that showed he did not even consider the subject sufficiently worth while to look up figures, to ascertain facts. It was good enough just to stroll into the Dáil as one of a majority Party and make any kind of slipshod, inaccurate case, and that was a good enough fate for his own loyal colleagues in the Seanad. We had all the old clap-trap, the old Hyde Park type of oratory. We had a reference to the Ascendancy gang and the Seanad labelled as so many creatures under the control of one political Party; a group of creatures who passed without comment, without question any and every type of legislation introduced by us; a group of creatures who resisted and obstructed, altered and held up every type of legislation introduced by the present Government.

It is said that fair play is bonny play, and it is grossly unfair to the Seanad whether it lives or dies, grossly unfair to the Seanad as a whole, to have that type of statement made from any bench in Dáil Eireann. It is particularly unfair to the Seanad to have those statements made by a man who is too lazy to look up the facts and who refuses to give the figures. It is very well known, and cannot be disputed either by the Government or by the Labour Party, that during the Cumann na nGaedheal régime very many Bills were held up, amended, altered and referred back by the Seanad. It is equally true that the same occurred during the Fianna Fáil régime. I put it to the President or to Deputy Norton that that was the Seanad's job, that is what the money was voted for. If the Seanad did not amend Bills, did not delay Bills, then you would have a fair and honest and just case for the abolition of the Seanad. The Seanad was established and maintained and paid for in this country to examine, to alter, to amend and to delay Bills, and is it fair because they did their job that that should be made the cause of its execution?

When Deputy Norton made his loose, reckless statement—a statement that should have never been made by any man in a Front Bench or a back bench —that the Seanad were the creatures of a political Party, that as long as we were the Government everything went through, and that when there was a change of Government everything was held up, one would think that a man occupying his responsible position would at least feel that there was a responsibility on his shoulders to look up the figures, to ascertain the facts. In the debate on the Seanad, if he had only followed it, the figures with regard to all Bills during Deputy Cosgrave's term as President and all Bills during President de Valera's term as President, altered, amended or held up, were given in a very simple table. One would think that before that kind of wild, unjust, untrue charge was levelled at the Seanad the man making such a statement would at least look up the figures. The facts are that during Deputy Cosgrave's administration of nine years there was a total of 338 Bills, 122 of which were amended. There were in all 1,150 amendments. There were 1,120 agreed to and 30 not agreed to. Just before the Seanad goes let us be fair to it in its last few moments, if we have been foul to it for ten long years. Up to the time these figures were prepared we had two years and five months of the Fianna Fáil administration, and in that period there were 105 Bills sent to the Seanad and there were 465 amendments. We had approximately one-third the number of Bills and one-third the number of amendments. There was about the same proportion or percentage of amendments.

Is it fair for Deputy Norton, for President de Valera, or for the Minister for Finance, to go down the country before simple, honest people, inexperienced in government, inexperienced in the falsehoods of politicians, and mislead these simple, trusting people with statements so false that nobody in the most irresponsible position should utter them, not to mention a person in the most responsible position in which the citizens of this State can place a man? I have said that the President's attitude was unjust to Dáil Eireann and uncharitable to Seanad Eireann and that his utterances were unfair to the people. If there is a case to be made against the Seanad, let a fair, straightforward, honest case be made and do not let a case consisting of a bundle of falsehoods be the mallet that strikes the Seanad to death. The Minister for Finance, a man holding a responsible ministerial position, a man with hundreds of experts, civil servants and clerks behind him, a man with the library at his disposal and a man that occupies such a position that he should know what he was talking about before he stood up to talk— what were his references to the Seanad?

"Every Bill passed was being held up by the Seanad. Most of the men who constituted the majority against the Uniforms Bill in the Seanad were nominated by the last Government as a result of the khaki election of 1923; they were the creatures of our predecessors."

There is a statement of great gravity, of immense gravity, made by a Minister, speaking as a Minister. It is a statement that, if true, would justify the abolition of the Seanad there and then; a statement that, if false, should have brought about an immediate demand for the resignation of a Minister who so abused his position as to state that most of the men who constituted the majority against the Uniforms Bill were nominated by the last Government as a result of the khaki election of 1923. That is the statement, that is the charge.

Let us have the figures and let us view the facts. There were 48 votes recorded in that particular division, 30 against the Bill and 18 for the Bill. Of the 48 Senators, five were nominated Senators; and of those five, two voted for the Bill and three voted against the Bill. There are the facts; these are the figures; that is the statement. We had from the President himself a broadcast statement, on the eve of the election to the effect that—

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

That statement is on a par with the statement I just read from the Minister for Finance; and both are on a par with the statement made by the Leader of the Labour Party. "Give a dog a bad name and shoot him." We have had 12 long years of that kind of unjustifiable slander, aimed at the Seanad in this country. We had people for 12 long years reading and listening to that type of false, untrue, unnatural and unIrish language. We have had the Seanad bespattered and besmirched by the leaders of the Party opposite all the time. With that type of propaganda behind it should not people believe the utterances of responsible men, and so we are told there is a mandate for the abolition of the Seanad. We are told the majority of the people believe that the Seanad should be abolished. Of course they do! They believe their public leaders; they trust the word of Ministers; they believe that they would not be misled by people holding positions such as they hold. And so you get popular approval for such a measure as this.

If a great political Party was so irresponsible and so reckless in regard to truth, and if they started throughout the country, to slander the institution of the Ceann Comhairle and to utter falsehoods as to how his duty was done, to deliberately give wrong figures and statements with regard to his rulings, and at the end of all that proceed to say that it is costing so much a year, it would not take many months before you would be able to secure a mandate for the abolition of the institution of the Ceann Comhairle. But could that in any sense be regarded as a national mandate? Could that in any sense be regarded as an authority that should be recognised—a mandate secured, or a vote secured, by misleading deliberately the public mind with regard to the activities and the construction and the constitution or the personnel of a House of the Oireachtas?

Remember, the Seanad is not in the public eye in the same way that the Dáil is. The public gallery there is not utilised as it is in the Dáil. Seanad debates are not published in the daily Press or in the local Press as are debates here. It was an ideal hunting ground for dishonest politicians. It was and ideal state of affairs to get at it and, with good prospect of success, to blackguard an institution that in my heart, I believe, was, and is, and has been, over the whole run of its existence, a better House, far better, than Dáil Eireann. And as far as representative government goes, it is at least as representative as Dáil Eireann.

We have this phrase about the ascendancy gang, and the impression conveyed either by deliberate statements or innuendo, that the Seanad is, in fact, a nominated body, or even that it is something like the House of Lords and that people hold their seats there by some right of wealth or hereditary right. Did any one of these people, so anxiously out for the life of the Seanad, ever tell their followers that the Seanad is a body elected by the votes of Deputies in Dáil Eireann and the members of the Seanad? In the real, full sense it is as representatives as Dáil Eireann is, but it is more selective. Its general behaviour and the manner in which it works, and the duties it has discharged certainly call for something better than the silence of the President to-night and the slanders of the President on other occasions.

The State is what the people themselves make it. The State is, in the main, what the builders make of the State. We have had three years of slanders; destruction; three years of slander; three years of wreeking and we are to go further with the wreeking to-night. The only sensible sign of returning decency is the silence with which the resolution was thrown before the House to-night. There are many ways in which shame can be shown. We had it mentioned, time and again, we had sneers from those on the benches opposite that there are members of the minority in the Seanad, and that in the Seanad there is greater representation for the minority than in the Dáil. We are reaching a point in the history of this country which certainly years ago was proud of its Christianity, when we are going to lay down by practice, if not by utterance, that the minority are to have no rights. They are to be cut out of the picture, whether it is by amending representation or by sub-dividing the constituencies with a view to giving a smaller percentage to that group. We have that now in the abolition of the Seanad. Anyone who is not blind can see what is the fibre in the middle of every Act—to trample on minorities in this country.

I have no brief for the minority. Neither now nor in the past have I any direct association or affiliation with the people referred to as the minority. As far as I am concerned, my family for at least three generations back happened to be on opposite sides to the people who are dubbed the minority Party now, but I would say this, out of justice to those men, if the so-called partriots opposite had behaved as well to the new Irish State as the minority did, we would be a happier, a healthier and a more prosperous State to-day. Do not forget that. All you super-patriots over there, with your belated respect for majority rule, would do very well now —having recognised that principle—to start marching in the footsteps of the men who constitute the minority in the Irish Free State.

None of us on these benches regret anything we ever did. I do not, for one.

The Deputy is in a happier position than most of them, because I believe that there is not one of us in this House, of any Party, who has not something which he should regret at least.

I am speaking politically and nationally.

Well that is a matter between yourself and your conscience.

When we were the minority we had precious little rights. except the jails and the barbed wire.

We have all got our share of that. That particular thing has been levelled out, and certainly you never got the jail or anything of its kind because you followed constitutional precedents; you never got it because you respected majority rule; you never got it because you came in here to argue your case and take the spin of the coin when it went against you.

We got it for trying to observe principle and fundamentals.

You got it because in those days you did not stand for two Houses; you stood for no House. Now there is another aspect of this matter which I did not hear referred to to-night, and I think it is a subject— possibly Deputy Donnelly will agree with me in this—that is at least worthy of consideration. We have a doctrine commonly subscribed to by all Parties in this House, namely, an abhorrence of Partition and a desire for a 32-County State of some kind. Is there anybody over there going to tell me that the abolition of the Seanad, leaving an Oireachtas consisting of one House, is going to give any confidence to anybody outside our frontiers who has been accustomed to any other system? Is there anyone going to tell me that the general trend of legislation—this being a sample of it—as far as it affects minority interests in this country, is going to give greater confidence to the Irish in the North of Ireland to come in than they had heretofore? In all honesty, and far removed from Party spirit, there may be people who believe that this type of legislation is desirable, but there is not one of them that will not admit that this type of legislation and many allied types of Bills that we had before us previously are in fact making Partition more and more permanent; and are putting further back the day when there is any hope or prospect of the six Northern counties joining with us in any form of association.

You must not have read the result of the last elections in Tyrone and Fermanagh.

Thanks be to the Lord I forget most of what I read.

Evidently you do.

On another occasion I will take up the Deputy with regard to the Northern elections.

I shall be delighted.

But not just now. I said in my opening remarks that the whole method of handling this matter was unfair to the Dáil and unjust to the Seanad; that if we are to lop off one House a case should at least be made for that. Assuming that the whole position is that whether a case is made or not there is the type of majority to which the Minister for Finance referred here last week, and that the majority vote is going to forge this through, I would say that the exhibition here to-day is some kind of foretaste, some kind of danger signal, some kind of warning as to how things will be managed here when there is nothing necessary to effect legislation in this country but a majority trooping through one or other Lobby there. We have here a motion of possibly the greatest gravity of any motion that ever was introduced. We have it introduced in this slipshod fashion. There is not trust in the House but confidence in the weight of the vote behind. If there was ever a noisy exhibition of abuse and misuse of democratic powers it is the exhibition we have witnessed here this evening. The Seanad is going. The Seanad, which has served for 12 long years, is going by the votes of people who have served this State for only eight years. The least that is due to the Seanad, irrespective of what Parties they belong to, irrespective of its constitution, is a word or two from different Parties and differing Parties in this House to express gratitude to them for the work they have done, appreciation of the services they have rendered, admiration for the impartial and fearless manner in which they have done their work for 12 long years, and, if I had my way, in addition to that an expression of hearty disapproval for the principle contained in this Resolution before us.

Mr. Rice

A Leas-Chinn Comhairle, I listened with amazement to one of the speeches to which the House has been treated to-night—the speech of Deputy Norton. Seldom, if ever, have I heard in this House such a demonstration of hypocrisy. His attack on the Seanad was based on the fact that the Seanad passed the Constitution (Amendment No.17) Act in 1931. He denounced the Seanad for having passed that, and he leaves out of account the time and the circumstances when that Act was passed. The leader of the Labour Party, who now denounces the Seanad for passing that Act, is one of the people who are responsible for keeping that Act in force. In different times and different circumstances that Act was passed by this House and by the Seanad. It was passed in order to put an end to the committing of murder. It is enforced now and kept in force now for very different reasons and very different objects. I do not know of any case in which it has been applied to put an end to murder in the last few years. It has been applied and put in force in order to put and end to political organisations.

Deputy Norton is one of the people who support the maintenance of that Act upon the Statute Book at the present time. His attitude as regards a Second House and as regards the functions of a Second House is very different from that of Senator Johnson, who led the Labour Party in this House in its early stages for some years. Senator Johnson took a distinguished part in moulding the institutions of this State in its early days. Senator Johnson wrote a letter which was published in the Press yesterday, dealing with a kindred question, which was before the House a day or two ago. He expressed views in that letter which are very germane to the matter the House is discussing at present. He expressed these views on checks to hasty action by a Legislature :—

"There are arguments in favour of abandoning constitutional protection that might be worth discussion, of trusting to the day-to-day good sense of an elected Parliament; but so far, such a proposition has had no public advocacy and, I fancy, at the present stage of our political development it would find few serious advocates. Before approving of the revocation of a written Constitution, the public would do well to insist upon the procedure of the House (or Houses) of the Legislature being so regulated as to prevent a Bill being enacted until it has had full publicity and time given to enable public opinion to be formulated."

I think that is a statesmanlike statement and one that I would expect from a Labour leader of the distinction of Senator Johnson, who, as I say, gave a great deal of good service in moulding the institutions of this State. How different is the attitude of the present head of the Labour Party, who says that the Seanad should be abolished because it passed certain Bills that he disapproved of. Earlier, when the Bill to abolish the Seanad was first before the House, he used language which makes one ashamed to think that at this stage of our political development we cannot keep religious bigotry out of our politics. He referred on that occasion to the Seanad as being composed of soupers, proselytisers and the remnants of the old ascendancy. I say that we should feel ashamed in this House that language of that kind should be introduced into a debate and that the religious faith of any member of the Legislature should be taken into account in discussing the merits or demerits of the assembly to which he belongs. I am referring to a statement by Deputy Norton in which he used that expression as describing members of the Seanad. He told us on that occasion that the bankers, the brewers and the Unionists, the soupers, the proselytisers and the remnants of the old ascendancy would be got rid of. I say it is shameful that such language should be used in this Assembly in describing members of the other House. The Deputy did not repeat that language to-night but it is perfectly obvious that what he had in his mind was the sentiment that inspired these words at the time.

Deputy Dr. O'Higgins referred to the treatment that the minority are getting and to the fact that the representation that they have had in the Oireachtas is being abolished. It may not have been the result of any explicit bargain, but it was certainly implicit in the arrangements made by this country when the Treaty was passed that some representation should be given to the minority, who, owing to their small numbers in this State, could not get that representation even under the system of proportional representation by that the country had adopted. They did get some such representation by university franchise and by the seats allocated to them in the Seanad. That representation is being taken away from them now. It is no answer when I say that that is bad and reactionary to tell me that our people, the minority in the North of Ireland, are deprived of their representation there. Two wrongs do not make a right.

Why do you not try to rectify the position there?

Mr. Rice

Two wrongs do not make a right, and if they do what is wrong there, we should give them an example of enlightened conduct and enlightened citizenship here. We should not deprive the minority here of the representation in the Legislature which they have enjoyed. From their intelligence, their patriotism, their work for the country, and the wealth which they have invested in it, they are certainly entitled to that representation.

I wonder were you ever struck with a hammer on the head?

Mr. Rice

I am not aware that any of these people ever hit Deputy Donnelly with a hammer on the head. Certainly, in this part of the country they did not. Deputy Norton substituted for the Second House the restoration of the Referendum. I remember that peculiar institution as part of our Constitution here. I forget the number of signatures that it was necessary to get in order to procure a referendum on any subject on which the House had legislated. I think it was 70,000. Deputy Minch says that it was 50,000, but whether it was 50,000 or 70,000, any politician who had sufficient money and leisure—for instance, Deputy MacDermot—could easily send out a batch of commercial travellers all over the State, and they could collect that number of signatures in a week and obstruct the work of the Legislature here by getting a referendum, with enormous expense to the State. I think the estimate made at the time the matter was under discussion was £70,000. It would take £70,000 to rid us of the activities of these commercial travellers.

You have got a bad opinion of Deputy MacDermot all in a hurry.

And you have got a good opinion of him all in a hurry.

Mr. Rice

I have no opinion of Deputy MacDermot because I do not know his opinions on any subject. He told us here to-night that he did not know if he would vote for this Bill. He did not think that he was at present prepared to vote for the Bill "unless and unless and unless." That is not new to Deputy MacDermot. He is the political honey-bee who is, at the present moment, hovering over the Fianna Fáil flower, but he may not be very long there. He may be hovering over the Labour flower next week. I am reminded by this interruption of something that I said about Deputy MacDermot when he was the leader of a Party in this House—that he spoke one way and voted another. That is the new political technique which would enable him to say to people who did not like his speech, "Look how I voted," and to people who did not like his vote, "Read my speech."

The Government claim to have a mandate to abolish the Seanad. Undoubtedly, if we could analyse the voting in the elections of 1932 and 1933 and if we could ascertain the opinions of the people who voted for the Fianna Fáil Party I suppose we would get a great number, a majority, who believed that the Seanad should be abolished. The Government undoubtedly got a mandate, but how did they procure it? The method by which they procured it reminds me of what was said in the House of Commons at one time by a distinguished Irishman, the late Mr. T. M. Healy, when he described the methods adopted by the British Government when they wanted to annex territory in some other country, say a patch of Africa. Tim Healy's description of their procedure was that they got a Press Agency to send a cablegram home to say: "King Thebaw is drinking." That was followed up the following week by another cablegram saying: "King Thebaw is drinking still." The pressure was kept up and, eventually, a mandate was procured from the English people because they thought it right, of course, that a person of that kind ought to be suppressed, that his territory ought to be annexed, and that his people ought to be civilised.

Who was King Thebaw?

Mr. Rice

He had the same rank as the king of Dalkey Island but, unlike him, he was hereditary.

And he was drinking.

Mr. Rice

On the 3rd of January, 1933, the President made a statement which was, I think, issued at the time to the Press in which he said:—

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

That was the first cable about King Thebaw: "King Thebaw is drinking." On the 9th of January, six days afterwards, the Minister for Justice, speaking at Balla, said, "Every Bill we pass is being held up." That is the telegram to say "King Thebaw is drinking still." The pressure was kept up until in the end the Government did get a mandate, if you like, to abolish the Seanad. It was got by this kind of misrepresentation of facts.

I do not propose to go through the matter which has been dealt with in a very masterly way in a speech on this subject made by the Chairman of the Seanad at the time the Bill was before that House. The proceedings of that House during the years of its existence were analysed by him and figures given which have never been contradicted or refuted. These figures showed that there was not one particle more interference with the legislation of the present Government than there was with the legislation of the Cosgrave Government. Looking at that speech, and reading those figures, I think no person can get up in this House and honestly say that the Seanad did not do its work faithfully and well, not merely under the Cosgrave Government, but under the present Government.

I see the Minister for Finance here now and I think it would be unfair to him not to quote for him the matter referred to already by Deputy O'Higgins. It would be most unfair to the Minister for Finance not to refer to it because Deputy O'Higgins quoted a speech made by the Minister for Finance in which he said, referring to the Seanad:—

"Most of the men who constituted the majority against the Uniforms Bill in the Seanad were nominated by the last Government as a result of what I might call the khaki election of 1923."

What are the facts? The Seanad, in fact, to which he was referring was nominated in December, 1922, and the so-called khaki election did not take place until eight months later. As regards the suggestion that these people were prejudiced or voted in a particular way because they had been nominated by particular persons let us see what the facts are. The voting on that Bill was 30 against and 18 in favour of the Bill. Of the 48 members of the Seanad who voted on the occasion, there were only five nominated Senators and, of the five nominated Senators, two voted in favour of the Bill and three against.

As I said, I do not want to repeat the statement made already except that in fairness to the Minister for Finance he ought to get an opportunity of telling us whether that report of his speech is incorrect because, as Deputy O'Higgins says, he has hundreds of officials at his disposal to get him any information he desires to get or help him with any statement he desires to make on important public matters. It is deplorable that persons in the position of Ministers should have such a small sense of their responsibilities as to make glaring misstatements of fact of that kind and not be man enough to get up and say, "I have made a mistake; my facts were all wrong."

The Deputy made a mistake in 1927.

Mr. Rice

As the Minister for Finance, judging by his speech yesterday, is a convert to the idea of majority rule, I still have hopes that he will be man enough to say to-night, "My statements about the Seanad were all misstatements of fact." That would be the big thing to do, and I hope to see the Minister do so before he leaves the House.

I have very little further to say except this, that if the President proposes to abolish the Second House in this country he is adopting a very dangerous procedure for the future of this State, because a statesman, when he forges a dangerous weapon, should always remember that the weapon may subsequently fall into the hands of some person less scrupulous than any who have gone before; that the dangerous weapon may fall into the hands of some unscrupulous man afterwards. I hope the President, if he intends to get rid of the Seanad, will consider setting it up in some other form by some different form of election, and not put into the hands of extreme people who may come after him a weapon that they may use to the danger and destruction of this State.

Before I call on Deputy Thrift, I should like to say that it has been intimated to the Chair that an agreement has been come to that the President is to be allowed to intervene at 10 o'clock to conclude the debate and that the division will be taken to-night. I merely make that statement so that Deputies will keep it in mind during the remainder of the discussion.

I did not intend to make anything like a speech, but I do not think I should allow the passage of a constitutional measure of this magnitude without making some protest, and a vigorous protest, if possible. I do not regard it as my function to defend in any way the actions of the Seanad and I do not intend at this stage to debate the question of the advantages of a one-Chamber system or of a dual-Chamber system. I believe the President and every member of the Dáil knows my views on the matter perfectly well and, therefore, I do not want to waste time about that. I do want, however, to emphasise as strongly as I can what certain Deputies have contended as against the contention of other Deputies, and that is, that, in my opinion, there can be no mistake at all about what we are asked to decide to-night. It is the simple and sole question of whether we are to have one-Chamber government or two-Chamber government. It is not a question as to whether the Seanad has acted wisely in the past or not, or whether it is likely to act wisely in the future. It is not a question as to whether that is the best type of Seanad, or whether it could be improved or not. The simple question is: are we to have, even for a time, government in this country by one Chamber alone? If the President had seen fit, as I had hoped he would, to bring this measure in the form of a reformation, if he likes to call it that, of the Seanad instead of a simple motion to remove it from our Constitution, I should have rejoiced; but I cannot contemplate with any but the very gravest feelings our taking, even for a time, the position in which we have merely a single Chamber. It is easy to pull down: it is difficult to build up, and if we once put ourselves in the position of only having one-Chamber form of government, I doubt if we shall ever get to the stage of reverting to the dual Chamber unless a complete alteration in the political configuration of the country took place.

I would like if I could get the careful attention of Deputies on that consideration, and to bear with me for a few moments in protesting, as strongly as I can, against what I feel is a growing habit of the Government in this country. In using these words I am not referring merely to the Fianna Fáil Government. I have noticed, in the many years in which I have been here, a growing tendency for a Government to justify its actions by reference to the actions of other bodies, whether in this Dáil or outside, and to defend itself in the measures that it brings forward, or in the steps that it takes, by reference to what the official Opposition or some other body is doing, either inside this Dáil or outside it. Now, I think that is a retrograde line on which to find ourselves, and I would put forward what I conceive to be the function of a Government in bringing forward and justifying any measures which it introduces. I do not see that it strengthens itself in the very least by reference to what has happened in the past or to what has been done in the past by any preceding Government or political Party in this State. The question at the time should be confined solely to a consideration of the measure and an estimation of the probabilities of whether that measure is likely to advance the prosperity of the State and the good of its citizens or the reverse. There has been far too much of an attempt to justify measures simply by saying "you did this or worse in the past" to some of the opponents of those who have put forward a measure. Neither side is free from blame in that respect, in my opinion. I am sure I am saying things which neither side will hear with pleasure.

At the time when the preceding Government introduced retrospective legislation, they were told, I believe, by myself, that the day would come when they would regret having done so, and that they might find others in power who would bring that against them as a weapon in something that they might wish to carry themselves. We have bitterly experienced that in the past fortnight, and, to my regret, the measure passed in the House during the last fortnight has been mainly backed by reference to the way in which the previous Government had themselves, in my opinion, erred.

The Government, in the previous discussions on this measure, have attempted to justify it by pointing to the actions of the Seanad in the past. Now, I contend that these actions have nothing to do with the merits of this measure. It is, what is the Seanad likely to do in the future which has a bearing, and a definite bearing, on whether this measure for the abolition of the Seanad should be introduced, or whether some measure of improvement in the possibility of a Seanad in the future should be introduced or not. I do hold strongly that the evils which are likely to accrue, or which may accrue, from a unicameral form of government are much greater than those which would be likely to accrue if we set ourselves to get that form of Second Chamber which would be likely to do useful service to the State. I heard with deep regret the President say, on a previous Stage, that because he could not satisfy himself that a Seanad set up on certain lines would be likely to be a useful body, that he would not undertake what I conceive to be his duty, namely, to set forth or put forward, the form of Seanad which he thinks would be superior to the present form of Seanad. If that had been done, I think everyone in this House would have been anxious to co-operate with him in trying to secure the best possible form of Seanad that we could have. But, it is quite a different proposition boldly to bring forward before us a proposition to remove the Seanad altogether from our Constitution.

I wish we could get into the habit of thinking forward more, of thinking about the present more, and of refraining more from looking back upon the errors of our opponents in the past. Reference has been made to what are called the minority in this country. Whatever you may think of me, I stand as a representative of that minority, and I conceive it my duty to say what I think about this action and what I believe hundreds of thousands of people in this country will agree with me in believing, what I conceive will be likely to be the effect of this action that you propose to take to-day, upon our relations with the whole country. I feel that, in this last attempt to whittle away any academic provision which was in our Constitution before, and on the strength of which many people gladly gave their whole-hearted co-operation to the building up of this State, you are taking a grave step which will put backward, rather than forward, our development. Now do not misunderstand me. I claim no privilege. I freely admit that the present Government, in their practical dealings, have shown great width of mind and broadness of treatment. I make no complaint whatever of that kind, but I do say that by removing these paper academic provisions, if you like things which, in themselves, mean little and which do not practically affect, to the extent of the weight of a feather, our actual being, we are cutting ourselves off definitely for many years to come from those with whom we would all wish to be united, and making thousands of people in the country say: "Why did I ever lend my support to a separate Irish Free State Government?"

Personally, I do not regret whatever I may have been able to do on behalf of our Government. I believe if the position had been accepted I would have done everything that in me lay, so far as my ability went, to further the prosperity of the country and steadily to move forward government in this country. I do not regret anything I have done with that end in view in the past, but you are, by this measure, putting the final touch to what many people are thinking, that this is frittering away everything in the position which you do not like, in order that you may be free to take advantage of everything you do like, and to boast of doing it, when you say you are whittling away the Treaty. Personally, I would hide my head for shame rather than say that. I cannot conceive how anybody could wish to take advantage of any bargain without being ready to go back to the position there was before that bargain was made. It is not possible, and no one wants that who could do it. But I would not put myself in the position of having it said that one should deliberately settle oneself to whittle away these provisions and calmly make the most of anything there that was good. I cannot understand how you could boast of it. I want you to understand, as the point was made— and I think it is false—that it is not democracy. You may say that it is majority rule. I accept majority rule and have always accepted it. I wish it had been accepted as loyally by everyone from 1921. I have accepted it, and I do accept it, but I say that this is not even majority rule.

I have no hope that anything I could say, or that anyone else in this House could say, would affect in the slightest degree a single vote that is going to be given, because the matter has been settled previously by a majority of the majority. I have no idea of the extent of that majority, but I cannot believe that it was a unanimous vote of Fianna Fáil in favour of this policy. I do not know what the magnitude of the majority in favour of this was, but it is a majority of the majority, to bring the majority in this House to give a majority vote for overruling in that way the wishes of the minority. You cannot call that democracy and you cannot call it majority rule, pure and simple. I ask you to look forward. As I said before, the day will come when you will regret having taken this step. You will not be there always. You will have successors, and if some Seanad is left, even if the present Seanad is left, you would have left your mark on that Seanad, and your policy would be, to a certain extent, perpetuated by that Seanad. By the presence of that Seanad you would have smoothed over any sudden gap that would take place, when you are replaced by your successors, whoever they may be. By the presence of the Seanad you prevent the suddenness and magnitude of the changes that take place when Governments change. You would tend loyally to continue what you were standing for in your government of the country but, by your removal of this Seanad, you are preventing that occurring. You will be succeeded by some body who will have it in their power, by a majority of their majority, to sweep away anything that you might believe you were doing for the good of the country. Is that a position you wish to bring about? That is what you are going to do.

I am not pleading for the Seanad as it stands. It would be an impertinence on my part to attempt to justify or to defend their actions in the past. It is for them to do that, and they can do it much better than I can. I am standing up for democracy and for the majority of the people. If you want that to hold, you will, as far as possible, tend to prevent the majority of a majority being in the position without any check or delay whatever of putting into force anything which their successors may decide is for the best. I intended to make only a few remarks but my intensity of feeling on the matter has rather carried me away. I do not think there is any use appealing, because I am sure your minds are made up. I rose to make as vigorous a protest as I could against what I believe to be a definitely fatal step for the future spirit of goodwill, for future harmony in the country and its future prosperity.

Mr. McGilligan rose.

How do we stand as regards agreement as to the time to be given on this Bill?

There are five minutes yet. Yesterday we had a recantation from the Minister for Finance. Does the Minister believe that in later days some other person sitting there will not regret and apologise for what he is now proposing? In the words of a well-known phrase, the things that bring the most regret to people are those that remind them of what happened when it is too late to undo the harm—

"O, call back yesterday, bid time return!"

The Minister told us yesterday what might have happened if he was as wise seven or eight years ago as he is now. When will the President get wisdom with regard to the Seanad, or time to admit what his Minister confessed yesterday after seven or eight years—with men killed and treasure wasted—about majority rule? The President came here three years ago with a programme of Christian socialism, and if the world could be run by moral gesture, and if class distinctions could be referred to Heaven, the President, as the representative of that place, would be the greatest statesman, and would be second only to those other gods and goddesses who meet at Cathal Brugha Street.

You are destroying Deputy Thrift's appeal.

When the Deputy was asked to repeal Constitution (Amendment) No. 10, and when we pleaded, it did not get any consideration.

There is another quotation that I might use:—

A fairer person lost not Heaven; he seem'd

For dignity compos'd and high exploit;

But all was false and hollow; though his tongue

Dropp'd manna, and could make the worse appear

The better reason, to perplex and dash Maturest counsels."

That was the Son of the Morning who became chief of the devils. The maturest counsels of the world, in days of maturity and counsel, opted for Second Chambers, and we are going to wipe out the Second House without argument. Can anyone say that there was one reason given on this Bill that would convince any person that a Second Chamber is not a necessity?

It is an anachronism.

The Deputy referred to-day to people being put in jail. The Deputy is giving that treatment to other people now.

You talk about rights being taken away from the minority. You know the rights you gave us.

You are giving those rights to a minority of other people now. Be clear about it. The President could only boast of it.

Go back to the North and fight for the minority. You put 50 miles between you and the North, but you are drawing the £300.

The ordinary fanatic can boast that if the torch of God is in the hands of the infidel, he has paved the way to it with corpses. Look at the corpses. Even the law he himself made he has got to amend here retrospectively when it does not suit his purpose. Even if he had it in his power he would abolish that Second Chamber of his own making—his own Ard-Fheis—because he did not get too good a reception.

At any rate, it is one good thing, as Deputy O'Higgins said, that we did not have any parade of scholarship with regard to this motion to-night. The last time this Bill was debated the President came in here and told us that he had read books—he stressed that twice—and listened to arguments on constitutional matters. He went to the Seanad and if ever any man got stripped in his nakedness and exposed with regard to scholarship, the President was the man. Deputy O'Higgins talked here to-night of the unfrocked priest, but the tattered scholar did not dare to bring forward to-night any example, because when he did pretend to scholarship and threw out a few examples, it was shown how hollow he was. We can pass this—it is going to be passed; but some time later there will be a reaction and some time later maybe the same Minister, who, although a grown man, is only learning some things, will come here and say, as he said the other day of his opposition to majority rule, that he regrets his action to-day, that a Second Chamber is a necessity and that the maturest counsel of the world has something to be said for it which was not broken by anything in the way of argument here.

We would expect some scholarship from a professor of constitutional law and we would expect something better than a tirade such as we have just listened to, just as we would expect, when listening to a professor of history, that we might have had something more than a wild statement about what the world has approved of. I did not, in introducing this, give the arguments which were given before, because I know they would fall on deaf ears as before. There were 41 hours of debate on this matter when it was before the Dáil on the previous occasion. For two months it was before the Dáil. The Dáil Reports and the arguments put forward there were before you if you wanted to refer to them. But no; they were simply a collection of holes, to use the definition of a net given, it was said, by Johnson. That is not the way, I take it, to argue this question. With the exception of perhaps one or two speeches, it was for the most part simply a tirade by the Opposition and of personal attacks, and then we are asked why we cannot debate this question calmly and examine the consequences of our action, etc., etc. The members of the Government, members on our side here, and I gave ample opportunity during the whole evening to Deputies on the opposite benches to tell us in what precise manner a Second Chamber was going to assist us—either the present Chamber or any Second Chamber they could suggest. They have said they have put it up as part of their programme to have a Second House. Will they tell us how that Second House is going to be constituted and what powers it is going to have? I have issued that challenge several times and not one on the other side has attempted to meet it or to meet the dilemma which was expressed in a famous phrase—famous because of the truth in it and not because of the man who first uttered it or with whom it is associated. It was repeated by Deputy MacDermot here to-night as pointing out in an epigrammatic form the dilemma in which they are placed to try to have a Second Chamber and, at the same time, to have an authoritative representative Chamber directly elected by the people. Just try to fashion such a Chamber and you will see the difficulties. The question is: is it worth while having it there? I have admitted myself the same sort of hankering after a Second Chamber that has been expressed by a number of people who are opposed to our action at the present time.

I have said that for many years, and during all that time I have tried myself to see and listened to anybody who had a suggestion to make as to how a Second Chamber would be constituted that would be worth the having. The only value that I can see in a Second Chamber would be that of revision of some kind, and I believe the Dáil, by means of an extra Stage, can give us the same results that we get through the Seanad. It is said that it will be approached from a different angle. Will it? If the Seanad were to continue in its present form, is it not obvious that you are going to have political Parties repeated in that Second Chamber, and if there is a question of a "majority of a majority." will the "majority of the majority" not affect the Second Chamber, as it did in the past, I hold. Undoubtedly it does. Even to-day you can see the Party attitude that is being taken up already—the Chairman of that Seanad anticipating an action of one of the Parties here because of a report in the newspapers, and preventing business which was on the Order Paper from being transacted. Then we are supposed to believe that the Seanad is not a Party Seanad, and that this question of the majority of a majority is not going to operate there as it operated here. Of course it is. From the very start of that Seanad, the majority of the people of this part of Ireland were opposed to it, and they were opposed to it because it was designed, in their opinion, to prevent the nation moving forward to the full possession of its rights.

Deputy Thrift talks of whittling down. That which we are trying to get is ours and belongs to the Irish people. What was taken from us was taken unjustly and we are perfectly entitled to get back our own for the Irish people.

But you are not getting it back.

We will see.

You are bluffing. You deserted the North anyway.

I sat patiently and listened to every attack made on me and I did not interrupt.

You are claiming what you have not achieved.

Do not put up with him now.

I must say that I was pained—I quite understood and can appreciate the attitude of Deputy Thrift—by the attitude he took up with regard to this matter of whittling down and by his attitude with respect to the treatment of the minority here. Every citizen in this State is treated equally and they are all entitled to be represented to the full extent of their strength in this House. We have kept proportional representation here, not like those elsewhere who denied proportional representation to the people. I was accused here of breaking bargains. I have looked up the record since and I find it no part of any bargain that there should be a Second House here. It was taken for granted. During the period of transition, a period of 12 years, there was special provision made. That period of 12 years has elapsed, and nowhere in that agreement was there any suggestion that this special provision should be continued after that. It was hoped at that time that past political differences would have changed and that what was regarded then as a special minority would have associated itself with some other element or some other Party in the country. I am glad to say that that has happened. I do not see where there is any complaint whatever and, if this question is to be debated, it ought to be debated on the ground: whether the present Seanad is or is not a good one and whether a Second Chamber is or is not desirable. I agree that, at the moment, it is not the first but the second question which is before us.

The Seanad is to be removed. This, for a time, at any rate, is going to be a single-Chamber Legislature. As I have said, nobody has brought forward on the opposite side a single argument except this so-called appeal to the common practice and the common experience of mankind. Examine, historically, the origins of this practice and you will easily satisfy yourself that its origins were largely the result of a fear of the people, a fear of democracy, a fear of what would happen if there was large enfranchisement and that there was a copying of what was called the "Mother of Parliaments" as regards the two Chambers. What is happening in the case of the States established recently—under the conditions of the present time and not under the conditions which obtained at the beginning of the 19th century or the end of the 18th century? Very often it does happen that what is purely an accident—something that is not essential to the system—holds on for a considerable period until it is proven that it is not essential. Nobody has proved that a Second Chamber is essential to the good working of a democratic Legislature.

How is the Second Chamber to be constituted? What are the various ways of constituting a Second Chamber? You can do it by election— direct election or indirect election— or by nomination. If you do it by general election, you will have rival bodies, each deriving its authority directly from the mass of the people. Is it not quite obvious that in a case of that sort, with rival authorities, there is bound to be a clash. You cannot co-ordinate; one must be subordinate. Take, then, indirect election. That has been tried. It has been found, in many cases, a most unsatisfactory way of constituting a Second Chamber. I come to the method suggested by Deputy MacDermot—nomination. I agree with him that if we were able to get an ideal person, removed from political influences, who would select the best people in the country, not immediately associated with political Parties, who would have special qualities which would enable them to bring a new attitude of mind and new experience to bear upon measures before them, it would be all right. But where are you going to get this person removed from political influences——

I would trust the President.

A President is not independent in these cases. He cannot be. He, also, will be a member of a Party—if we are going to have this Party rule which has been praised so much from the opposite benches. He, also, is a member of a Party, and he cannot get his work done unless he is able to bring his Party with him. Is any person so foolish as to think that the leader of a political Party is in such a position of independence that he could nominate the persons he thinks best? He, also, has to get agreement—just the same as the humblest member of a Party. During certain periods, he may have more influence, but it is not a lasting influence, and when we see what has been done in the past in the way of nomination in such circumstances, we know what would happen. The example of Canada has been the subject of writing by Canadians. They have a type of nominated Senate there and it has not worked out well—in the opinion of Canadians, at any rate. The history of these nominations shows that people are nominated by the Prime Minister for the time being, who puts into the Senate people of his own way of thinking, people who have rendered service to him in a political way in the Party, and so on. For a long period, you had a number of conservative Senators who, as it was said of the House of Lords, were asleep when their own political Party was in power, and only became active when a Government in opposition to them was elected. That is the practical difficulty.

We are all in favour of this ideal Seanad. If you were to come down and speak individually to all the Deputies here, no matter what the logic of the position is—and I hold that the logic of the position is for a Single Chamber—nevertheless, if we could get that ideal Seanad, we would probably vote for it. But we are merely dreaming when we talk about this ideal Seanad; it does not exist. If the Opposition are going to put forward a Second Chamber as a plank in their programme, they should tell the people how they are going to constitute it. The nearest approach would be if there was some individual elected by the people and put in a position of independence of political Parties, so that his authority, for the time being or for a definite period, did not flow directly from the support of a political Party. Then we might possibly have it—when it would be put on such a constitutional person as a personal obligation to nominate people of such and such a kind. If you have this ideal Seanad, this nominated body, if there is a clash between that Seanad and the elected Chamber, the elected Chamber will feel it is outraged if its will, which it will say represents the will of the people at the moment, is thwarted by a body of people not immediately responsible to the people and who would be assumed not to know the people's will as intimately as the elected representatives would know it.

Nobody has tried to argue this question to-night. I did not argue this question because I argued it before. I dealt with election— direct election and indirect election —and nomination. If anybody can suggest any other way let him tell us what it is. As regards the powers of such a Chamber, what are they to be? It is obvious that there must be some final authority somewhere. All you can give to the Seanad is power of delay. What period of delay? The present period is 18 months. When I was arguing this question before—I hold I did argue it, without personalities and on its merits—I pointed out that if you have a delaying power for a long period, the moment the majority of the Seanad are in political opposition to the new Government, they hamstring that Government when it is most important that that Government should carry out the programme upon which it went before the people. They hamstring that Government for one and a half or two years—the most important period of any new administration. If you give a short period of delay, the answer is that the Seanad is no good. When I brought in this period of three months, and two months after that— five months in all—Deputy MacDermot was, I think, one of those who said —I am not quite sure of this, but he will correct me if I am wrong—that it would be better to get rid of the Seanad than to degrade it. We were told that it would be better to get rid of it if it was not going to serve a really useful purpose and the really useful purpose would not, in the Deputy's mind, be served by such a short period of delay as a total period of five months. My own view is that if you could get a Seanad nominated by some independent person who could be trusted to select people who would bring new qualities and a new attitude of mind to bear on measures, revise them, and educate public opinion by discussion—such a Seanad could serve a purpose, provided it had only a short period of delay in which public opinion might be educated. However, I have never been able to get it in anything I have done or thought about it; and, notwithstanding the assertions of the Deputy who just preceded me, I have given some thought to it. I have been much longer dealing with matters of this sort than Deputy McGilligan has.

You made a few bad quotations.

Whether or not the Deputy——

They were wrong.

They were not wrong.

They were quite wrong.

They were not. However, we can let Deputy McGilligan deal with them on another occasion.

You would not argue them when they were put up to you.

It does not matter. The Deputy may be taking his own experience. He should not always take his own experiences and carry them on to others. They do not always carry on to others. Much more than 14 or 15 years ago I have been dealing with this question—longer, probably, than anybody in this House. It was my business to deal with this question and, like most other people, I took note of the fact that in most legislatures there were two Houses, but it was a question whether a Second House was an essential part of the system, and I have satisfied myself that it is not. Deputy Dillon talks about empiricism. I feel certain, for one, at any rate, that if we do adopt this system there will be a period in which there will be a single Chamber. I hold that that period is essential because, during the period in which we have been in office, in every step forward that we wanted to take in the national interest, the greatest danger we had to meet was the Second Chamber. It was a definite danger. We were dealing with an outside country, and whatever danger was there, it was exaggerated by the Second Chamber.

During this period, as far as we are concerned, we are going to try what can be done by a single Chamber and, notwithstanding these prognostications to which we have listened to-night, I, for one, am perfectly certain that our experience will not be one which will make us in too great anxiety to change it. However, if anyone can indicate to us how to set up a Second Chamber which will serve us and will not be a definite barrier to progress or be simply a reproduction of the conditions in this House, I shall still keep simply an open mind. I do not know whether it is worth while to refer to one or two more or less personal matters that were raised here during the course of this debate.

May I interrupt for a moment?

We have only a few minutes to go.

Yes, I know, but I shall not take more than a moment. At the time when this Bill was under discussion, when we drew the President's attention to the resolution of Senator O'Farrell suggesting the setting up of a committee to examine this whole question, the President said that if a body were to be appointed to examine the question and make suggestions, it should not be a Parliamentary Committee but an outside body. What I want to know is, would the President appoint such a body?

If the Deputy will look the matter up he will find that I regarded the present period as a development period and that I said that, if we did come to frame a permanent Constitution for this country, then certainly the body that should examine it should be an independent body. I think he will find that I referred to this whole period as a necessary period of transition. What that necessary period will be will be different. As I was saying, there were a few personal matters to which, perhaps, I should refer. I do not appear unnecessarily in the House, but when there is any matter concerning myself I am always here. As the head of the Government or of the Executive Government as a whole, I am always within half a minute's call. I have been here on every occasion in connection with every matter which required my presence either as President or Minister for External Affairs, and if it were a matter that concerned me, and where the particular Minister concerned could not be present, I have been here or within call. The next matter to which I should like to refer was a statement by Deputy Dillon. He is thinking of the days of the old Freeman's Journal, when members of the Irish Party used to write the leading articles. I do not write the articles or editorials in the Irish Press. I neither inspired that article nor did I write it.

Question put.
The Dáil divided: Tá, 76; Níl, 57.

  • Aiken, Frank.
  • Bartley, Gerald.
  • Beegan, Patrick.
  • Blaney, Neal.
  • Boland, Gerald.
  • Boland, Patrick.
  • Bourke, Daniel.
  • Brady, Brian.
  • Brady, Seán.
  • Breathnach, Cormac.
  • Breen, Daniel.
  • Briscoe, Robert.
  • Browne, William Frazer.
  • Carty, Frank.
  • Concannon, Helena.
  • Corbett, Edmond.
  • Corkery, Daniel.
  • Corry, Martin John.
  • Crowley, Fred. Hugh.
  • Crowley, Timothy.
  • Daly, Denis.
  • Derrig, Thomas.
  • De Valera, Eamon.
  • Doherty, Hugh.
  • Donnelly, Eamon.
  • Flinn, Hugo V.
  • Flynn, John.
  • Flynn, Stephen.
  • Fogarty, Andrew.
  • Geoghegan, James.
  • Gibbons, Seán.
  • Goulding, John.
  • Hales, Thomas.
  • Harris, Thomas.
  • Ryan, James.
  • Ryan, Martin.
  • Ryan, Robert.
  • Sheridan, Michael.
  • Hayes, Seán.
  • Hogan, Patrick (Clare).
  • Houlihan, Patrick.
  • Jordan, Stephen.
  • Keely, Séamus P.
  • Kehoe, Patrick.
  • Kelly, James Patrick.
  • Kelly, Thomas.
  • Keyes, Michael.
  • Kilroy, Michael.
  • Kissane, Eamonn.
  • Lemass, Seán F.
  • Little, Patrick John.
  • Lynch, James B.
  • McEllistrim, Thomas.
  • MacEntee, Seán.
  • Maguire, Ben.
  • Maguire, Conor Alexander.
  • Moane, Edward.
  • Moore, Séamus.
  • Moylan, Seán.
  • Murphy, Patrick Stephen.
  • Murphy, Timothy Joseph.
  • Norton, William.
  • O Briain, Donnchadh.
  • O Ceallaigh Seán T.
  • O'Doherty, Joseph.
  • O'Dowd, Patrick.
  • O'Grady, Seán.
  • O'Reilly, Matthew.
  • Pattison, James P.
  • Pearse, Margaret Mary.
  • Rice, Edward.
  • Ruttledge, Patrick Joseph.
  • Smith, Patrick.
  • Traynor, Oscar.
  • Walsh, Richard.
  • Ward, Francis C.


  • Alton, Ernest Henry.
  • Anthony, Richard.
  • Beckett, James Walter.
  • Belton, Patrick.
  • Bennett, George Cecil.
  • Bourke, Seamus.
  • Brennan, Michael.
  • Broderick, William Joseph.
  • Brodrick, Seán.
  • Burke, James Michael.
  • Burke, Patrick.
  • Byrne, Alfred.
  • Coburn, James.
  • Cosgrave, William T.
  • Costello, John Aloysius.
  • Curran, Richard.
  • Daly, Patrick.
  • Davitt, Robert Emmet.
  • Desmond, William.
  • Dillon, James M.
  • Dolan, James Nicholas.
  • Doyle, Peadar S.
  • Esmonde, Osmond Grattan.
  • Fagan, Charles.
  • Finlay, John.
  • Fitzgerald-Kenney, James.
  • Good, John.
  • Hogan, Patrick (Galway).
  • Holohan, Richard.
  • Keating, John.
  • Lavery, Cecil.
  • Lynch, Finian.
  • MacEoin, Seán.
  • McFadden, Michael Og.
  • McGilligan, Patrick.
  • McGovern, Patrick.
  • McGuir, James Ivan.
  • McMenamin, Daniel.
  • Minch, Sydney B.
  • Morrisroe, James.
  • Morrissey, Daniel.
  • Mulcahy, Richard.
  • Murphy, James Edward.
  • Myles, James Sproule.
  • Nally, Martin.
  • O'Donovan, Timothy Joseph.
  • O'Higgins, Thomas Francis.
  • O'Leary, Daniel.
  • O'Neill, Eamonn.
  • O'Sullivan, Gearóid.
  • Redmond, Bridget Mary.
  • Reidy, James.
  • Rice, Vincent.
  • Roddy, Martin.
  • Rogers, Patrick James.
  • Thrift, William Edward.
  • Wall, Nicholas.
Tellers:—Tá: Deputies Little and Smith; Níl: Deputies Doyle and Bennett.
Question declared carried.

I am certifying the Constitution (Amendment No. 24) Bill, 1934, under Article 38a of the Constitution as containing only such modification as is necessary owing to the time which has elapsed since that Bill was first sent by the Dáil to the Seanad.

Can the Parliamentary Secretary to the President say what business will be taken to-morrow and what will be the period of the adjournment?

We shall adjourn to-morrow until 5th February. We shall take the matter of the Rents Tribunal to-morrow morning and then the motion for the adjournment.

The Dáil adjourned at 10.30 p.m. until Friday, 13th December, 1935, at 10.30 a.m.