Skip to main content
Normal View

Dáil Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 22 Apr 1936

Vol. 61 No. 9

Constitution (Amendment No. 23) Bill, 1934—Motion of Enactment.

I move:

The Constitution (Amendment No. 23) Bill, 1934, having been sent on the 6th day of February, 1936, to Seanad Eireann in pursuance of a resolution of this House passed on that day under Article 38A of the Constitution, and the period of 60 days mentioned in that Article having elapsed since the said Bill was so sent to Seanad Eireann, it is hereby resolved that, as Seanad Eireann did not pass the said Bill within the said period of 60 days the said Bill be deemed to have been passed by both Houses of the Oireachtas at the expiration of the said 60 days in the form in which it was so sent to Seanad Eireann on the 6th day of February, 1936.

I think the arguments pro and con in connection with the measure itself are probably familiar to all members of the House. It is more than two years since the Bill, to which this resolution relates, was first introduced. It was first read on the 15th February, 1934, and the final stages were duly completed and the Bill was sent unamended to the Seanad on the 5th July, 1934. In the Seanad the Second Reading commenced on the 12th July, 1934, and the Second Reading motion was defeated on the 18th July, and the Bill rejected. A motion to resolve that the Bill be sent again to the Seanad in accordance with the provisions of Article 38a of the Constitution was introduced here on the 5th February of this year, and passed on the 6th February. On this occasion the Seanad gave the Bill a Second Reading on the 12th February of this year. In Committee of the Seanad an amendment was moved which would have the effect of delaying the coming into operation of the Bill. The amendments inserted by the Seanad were considered by the Dáil on the 12th March and the Dáil disagreed with the amendments. It is now more than 60 days since this Bill was sent to the Seanad under the provisions of Article 38a, and the Bill has not been passed by the Seanad without amendment or with amendments with which the Dáil agrees. Therefore, it is now competent for the Dáil under the provisions of the terms of the resolution which I have moved to resolve that the Bill do now pass.

This is, I think, the eighth occasion on which the measure has been before the House, and there is hardly any aspect of it that has not been discussed. I do not know that any good purpose would be served if I were to recapitulate the arguments that I used here on several occasions and in the Seanad in recommending the passage of the Bill. These arguments may have influenced the minds of some of the Deputies opposed to the measure, but I do not think they influenced many votes, judging by the results of the divisions. The measure is not one of first class importance. Of course, in a sense it is important. It is important because of the fact that it is an amendment of the Constitution, and I suppose any amendment of the Constitution might be considered to be something of importance.

In the discussions that took place here I, at any rate, am of opinion that no attempt was made to put forward arguments against the principle of the Bill. Many arguments were used against it, but not arguments going to what I regard as the root of the matter: to the main principle underlying the Bill which was the question of the right of the Universities to a special franchise and special representation here. Arguments were used here and elsewhere that the introduction of a Bill of this kind was a slur on education, particularly on higher education, and, indeed, on the Universities themselves. I do not think there is any foundation for arguments of that kind. There is no slur on the Universities, on higher education or on University men, certainly none was intended on the University representatives who have been at any time members of this House. So far as I am concerned, I have had the greatest respect for those of them that I have known here during my time, whatever their views or whatever Party they belonged to. I believe that, in general, they did add considerably to the strength of the House from many points of view; but that is not necessarily an argument for or against University representation. There are other members of the House who have never had the advantage of a University education, some indeed who have never had the advantage of a secondary education, and yet have done credit to themselves, to their constituencies and to the House in their work as Deputies.

Some of the arguments used would go to suggest that only Deputies representing the Universities were capable of discussing certain classes of legislation in the Dáil: that it was necessary to have University representatives in order to keep the House properly informed, to keep it right with regard to certain specific matters, mostly with regard to education. I have stated more than once that in this Oireachtas some of the men who have done most, in whom positions of the greatest honour and responsibility have been placed at different times, were men who were not University graduates. Some of them had not even got what is known as a secondary education.

The first President of Saorstát Eireann, Arthur Griffith, was not a University man. If I recollect aright I think he went to work when he was about 13 or 14 years of age. He was undoubtedly an educated, cultured man, a gentleman who, whatever education he got was due to himself in after years when after his daily labours he set to cultivate his own mind and did it very successfully. I think the same might be said of Deputy Cosgrave. I am not aware that he was a University graduate. I do not think that Deputy O'Sullivan, who was the first champion opponent of the Bill here from the Opposition, would maintain that Deputy Cosgrave suffered in any way in his position as Deputy or in his position as President because he had not received a University education. Other names will occur to many Deputies here. I just take these two as examples. On the other hand other Deputies in the House, and I have known some with more than one University degree, and I doubt if anybody would lay the claim that these men were amongst the best, the ablest and the most useful Deputies in this House. I have read remarks made by members of the House, by members of the Opposition now, with regard to one Deputy, a very distinguished man, remarks which would lead one to believe that he was never fitted to be elected to any legislative assembly of this kind though he was a very distinguished graduate.

The main arguments that were used, at any rate as far as I recollect, by the Opposition in opposing this measure were arguments not going to the root of the matter but arguments to prove that University representatives sent here were men of high quality who had done good work, had done credit to themselves, to their Universities and to this House. But those arguments did not, as I say, apply to the Bill at all. What University representatives who are here now or who were here at any time from either of the Universities, did in the House, as Deputies at any time, is not going to the root principle of this matter. They did good work and they were, as far as I have known them at any rate, highly respected and appreciated for the good work they did. It was suggested that it would be difficult for University men to find constituencies to select them. That, to my mind, is not borne out by the facts either. I suggested here that these same representatives, especially those of them who have made good names in this House, could probably find constituencies in the country to select them. But it would not be because of their University distinction that they would be selected. They would be selected because of their personality and probably more so on account of their politics. It is politics and Party politics that decides the selection of candidates in all constituencies, even in the Universities.

Well, that is my belief. I could hardly imagine an Irish Republican being elected in place of Deputy Thrift.

Deputy Thrift would do his best against it anyway.

Is there a difference of opinion on this question on the Government Benches?

Special University representation exists nowhere outside Great Britain. It might have been because of the British example when largely the British made Constitution of 1922 was being adopted that this British example was thought of and the principle of University representation inserted in the Constitution. I know it was done on a vote here in this House but the example set in England may have been responsible for the suggestion being made here and for its adoption. At any rate that special class of privileged representation does not exist anywhere outside Great Britain. That may be an argument in its favour. I am not saying that because it is British it is necessarily wrong. There are many good things in the British legal constitutional system, many good things that I would not hesitate to adopt in this country even though they are British, but I do not think this special, privileged franchise for Universities is one of them. I think the privilege of sending representatives to this House should be reserved to the constituencies and that all Deputies should be elected on the same franchise. It is not democratic to have special representation for special classes. If we wanted to change in toto the basis of representation we might, some time or another, go in that direction and adopt what some of the Opposition Party here seemed to favour a year or two ago— the Corporative State idea. That seems to be dead for the moment, but they may revive it again if ever they get political power which seems a remote possibility.

They might get another General.

They might get another General, but I do not think they will get an opportunity of putting that policy into operation. It did not work. The people did not take to it, and the Party opposite had not alone to get rid of the policy but to get rid of the leader of the Party that proposed it. They found probably that that idea of his, amongst others, did not go down with the people. But unless some system of that kind, where different classes of the community would come together and elect their representatives on a vocational basis, were adopted I would see no reason for departing from what I regard as the proper democratic principle of an equal franchise for all. I do not think I have anything more to say. As I said in the beginning, this matter was debated at great length and frequently here in this House. All the arguments that could be thought of, pro and con, were brought forward here, and we know what the decision of the Dáil was with regard to them. Taking the views of the Dáil as expressed here several times over with regard to the matter, I think it right and proper that the motion which is on the Order Paper in my name should be adopted.

When the Vice-President referred to the previous speeches on this Bill and said that this is its eighth time before the House, I thought for the moment that he was about to repeat for the seventh time that he was not going to repeat the previous arguments, because on five or six occasions already, in introducing different stages of this Bill, he said he did not want to repeat his previous arguments. I am glad that on this occasion he departed from that practice, and that he saw or imagined at all events the wisdom of summarising the arguments against University representation and in favour of the Bill. I can say that most of those who are in favour of University representation ought to be very satisfied with the speech of the Minister. If those are the arguments on which he proposes to make this particular breach in the Constitution, then it is not the opponents of this Bill but its supporters who ought to feel dissatisfied. There was a stage in the argument of the Vice-President at which he indulged in more than usual extravagance. He devoted a not inconsiderable portion of his speech to refuting an argument that nobody in his senses ever brought forward or would think of bringing forward. I never heard anybody, least of all a University man, propose that representation in this House should be exclusively the privilege of University graduates, but a great deal of the Vice-President's speech was spent in refuting that extraordinary man of straw that he himself had set up. That is not and never was the suggestion and could not have been the suggestion of any sane man; least of all could it be the suggestion of anybody who could make any pretence to education. There was a long parade of people who showed ability without University education. Who ever denied that? It is fantastic to indulge in an absurd argument to refute an absurd statement which was never made. The House can easily grasp, however, the kind of arguments to which the Minister is driven on the few occasions on which he defends this measure, seeing that he sets up a palpable man of straw of that kind in order ultimately to knock him down by pointing what numbers of able men there have been in this world who were never inside the walls of a University. Of course there were, and of course there are.

What we have argued and what would be germane to the point is that this country and this Government and this House have benefited—I was glad to see that the Minister acknowledged this—by the presence here of University representatives. But had that any effect on the minds of the Ministry? The Minister said that it is two years since this Bill was introduced. Well, he has done a little thinking since then. He does now, on behalf of the Government, acknowledge that University representatives have contributed, and very considerably contributed—I think those were his words—to the deliberations in this House, to the work of the Government in this country, and to the building up I might say of the institutions of this country. Did he draw the proper conclusions from that little bit of thinking he has done in the last two years? He did not. The logical and reasonable conclusion to draw from that is: "Very good; keep them there." You have got a valuable thing. You confess that you have got a valuable thing: Why throw it away? Is there any justification for throwing it away? Did the Vice-President, in his statement here, even attempt to give any justification for throwing away that valuable advantage? Is it because there are people in this House who are fit to be members of Governments, and who can usefully discuss measures quite as well as University men, that you will deliberately throw away the advantage that this type of representation gives you? That is what the Vice-President has asked the House to do.

In one exceedingly cryptic portion of his speech he referred to University graduates who even have two degrees and who do not add to the value of this House. I did not know to whom he was referring on that occasion, but as he went on it struck me that he was referring to two different persons. A couple of stages afterwards he was seen to be referring to the President. If there is any man who has collected degrees of all kinds all over the world it is the President. I do not say it has done him much damage. Possibly if I were to follow the example of the Vice-President and put up men of straw I should almost say that the fact that a man was a University graduate precluded him from being a member of this Assembly, and the more degrees he had the less right he had to be here. That would be following the line of argument proposed by the Vice-President. You had the man in the second position in this State getting up and telling this House that the fact that University representatives did add considerably to the strength of this House had nothing to do with the case; that it was neither an argument for nor against University representation. When this Constitution was being drawn up, this House quite freely, purely on its own initiative, and without being asked to do so by the then Government, introduced University representation. If the Vice-President has any doubt about it he can look up the records on the matter. I do not think he has looked up the records —at least not recently, if he ever did. He spoke of a vote. That may have been a slip; there was no vote on the matter. University representation was introduced into the Constitution not, as I say, at the request or the suggestion of the Government of that date, but as a result of a motion by a private member who at that particular time belonged to no particular Party. He was a member of the National University. The House adopted the motion and did not put it to a vote. Here is a thing which has been in the Constitution for a number of years. It has done, according to the Vice-President, considerable service to this House. What is his reaction to all that? He wants to pitch it away. Arguments of utility do not appeal to the idealistic mind either of the President or of the Vice-President. A mere question of useful work for the nation, or of this House being considerably strengthened—I presume in its work for the nation—is the last thing that would appeal to the Vice-President as being relevant to the issue at stake.

He said that during the various stages of this discussion no argument had been brought forward that touched the principle of the Bill. I was looking forward with a certain amount of eagerness to hearing what the Vice-President thought was the principle of the Bill and I learned that the principle of the Bill was the abolition of University representation. It hardly required any great effort on the part of the Vice-President to elaborate that. That, I might say, is almost the title of the Bill and every argument from practice, from experience or from theory that can be put forward in favour of retaining University representation goes, according to the Vice-President's definition, to the very principle of the Bill. The Vice-President said that, undoubtedly, there were a number of University representatives who had come in here and who had made a name for themselves, not merely in this House but through the country and that he had no doubt that if they, belonging to a Party, went to an ordinary constituency they would get taken up in that constituency. He left out of account, however—and I am following his arguments in this matter—that these men would never have been heard of in politics were it not for University representation and that these men could not have a name with which to go before the constituency and ask the electors to elect them on the ground of their services.

The fact that they were able to build up a national name for themselves and to show what they could do in the shape of useful political work was due to the existence of this provision of the Constitution, which the Vice-President now, in a very airy fashion, I must confess, and with a singular lack of any cogent argument, proposes to take out of the Constitution. I always wondered whether the Vice-President had his heart in this Bill and if I had come into this House for the first time to-day, I should be rather inclined to think he had not. I might almost say that he saw the resolution standing in his name for the first time about half an hour ago. I was going to say there was ocular evidence, but there was aural evidence of that fact. It is quite obvious that he has not given the slightest consideration to the Bill and we had evidence of that in the slight chronicle he gave us.

This, it is quite true, is the last stage in the sorry journey we are taking. Therein, the Minister is right. He has his majority. We know that, and we know perfectly well that the members of the majority think it is their right to back up the Government, no matter what they do and no matter what damage they inflict on the Constitution or on the House. The Minister is perfectly safe there, but we think that the whole road that he has travelled has been the wrong road; that he has not been taking a step in the direction of progress but that he has been definitely retrogressive; and that no justification either in theory or in practice can be brought forward for the proposal now made. The Vice-President says "A small matter," but it is sufficiently important for a couple of seats to enter into the calculation of the Vice-President. The only thing important about it is, according to the Vice-President that it does touch the Constitution, and anything that touches that sacred instrument is of great importance in the mind of the Vice-President. He spoke of the British-imposed Constitution. I thought we were discussing this in a serious manner. This is one of the things about which nobody alleges the British made the slightest suggestion—purely Irish of the Irish and in no sense Saxon. But the President and the Vice-President between them are quite as ruthless in this respect as they are about any other Article of the Constitution that for the moment tends to do their Party some slight damage.

The President referred to the principles of democracy, but he did not show how they apply. He thinks that the mere statement from himself that this is against the principles of democracy is sufficient to prove it and he made no attempt to show how there is any conflict between the continued existence of University representation and the principles of democracy. Whether you look at this question of University representation from the point of view of abstract principle, or from the point of view of the experience gathered in the last 13 or 14 years, I say there is nothing to be said in favour of this Bill and everything against it. I have already pointed out on a previous stage, and I do not intend to repeat it, because the Vice-President himself has acknowledged it now, the considerable services—and I put it even more strongly than that, the great services—that were rendered to this House, to this State and to the Government of this State by University representatives. That was one great argument in favour of the retention of University representation, but we know the itch the Government has to destroy anything merely because it has proved its use. The mere fact that it is useful, unless a very strong argument can be brought forward to the contrary, is sufficient reason for the Government deciding to get its hands on it and to try to destroy it.

Here you have, confessedly, a useful institution and you set out to destroy it! But there was another reason why it ought to be retained and I should like the House to consider this. The Vice-President spoke of the principles of democracy and he also referred to the British example. If he will take the trouble to look the matter up, if he has any interest in the matter stronger than that which he has shown up to the present, he will find that the British example played no part whatever in the discussions when this proposition was put before the House and carried by the House. The British example was not what operated. Definite arguments were put forward. There was a certain amount of speaking against them but the House adopted the proposition without a vote on two occasions. If the Vice-President will think of it, he is really doing now what his Party so often do. They are really in the grip of the British idea of democracy. It is the only one they understand. Their argument is that the normal constituency in Great Britain is a geographically limited one, and therefore anything that conflicts with that is against democracy. That is what is at the back of the mind of the Vice-President and at the back of the minds of the Cabinet in this matter, so far as theory is concerned. I know, of course, that there are also practical matters of a very different kind at the back of their minds, but we will refer to them in a moment. The real thing, however, is that, no matter what we are discussing here of a constitutional character, we always get evidence that the only conception the Party opposite have of democracy is British democracy.

There is nothing at all incompatible with the principles of democracy in University representation as it exists here. There is one important respect in which, so far as representation is concerned, we differ from Great Britain. We differ from Great Britain in the fact that we have here a system of proportional representation which they have not in Great Britain and that the purpose of proportional representation—and I wish, when the Vice-President was getting at fundamental principles, he had just dug a little further than the title—is to secure representation for minorities. Notwithstanding the Redistribution Bill, we still profess that we are faithful to the idea of proportional representation and faithful, therefore, to the idea of representation of minorities. After all, that is the aim of proportional representation. The Labour Party were quite right when they objected to the Redistribution Bill which, to a certain extent, militated against the full operation—at least, as it was up to then—of the principle of proportional representation. When they rightly pointed out that the multiplication of three-member constituencies was against the principle of proportional representation and against the possibility, or at least the probability, of minorities being properly represented, they were quite right in that. Exactly the same thing, however, is at stake here. There are various minorities in this State, and undoubtedly one of the things that this University representation has achieved is representation for a minority that would not otherwise get represented.

Now, that is in full accord with the fundamental principles of our electoral laws, but does not everybody know that it is precisely because it is in full accord with those principles, and precisely because a minority that would not otherwise be represented gets represented, that the Government attacks it. That is the grievance I have against Deputy Thrift and others. I feel perfectly convinced that, were it not for his University, we would still have our University representation, and it was made quite clear in this House—and even Deputy Corry is delighted at that suggestion—it was made quite clear in this House—I think the Deputies representing the University of Dublin were told quite clearly— that they had displayed remarkably bad tactics since they came into this House, and that—perhaps I am putting it a little too bluntly, but this was the general sense of it—if they had trimmed their sails a little better and if they had shown, let us say, less——


——attachment to their principles, this Bill might not have been introduced. If they were not people who felt that they were bound to vote as their consciences told them——

As their what?

I know that Deputy Corry cannot conceive of such a thing as a conscience on the part of anybody who differs from him. That is precisely the difficulty in regard to this Bill. We talk a lot, as the President did, about giving a lead to the world and about the rights of minorities, but when we have a chance of acting up to these principles, we trample on them, and Deputy Corry treats a remark about people being true to their consciences, with a "what" of surprise—typical of his Party and typical of this Bill. That is the whole reason. I know perfectly well that, were it not for the fact that that minority is represented and that it could not feel itself, in conscience, capable of following the policy of the Government, my University would not be disfranchised and there would be no talk of it and the Minister would not have got up here in this House and sneered at the representatives of that University because they had followed their lights and voted against the Government when they felt bound to do so. They have the right to do so, but it is no reason to disfranchise them. Yet that is the reason behind this Bill, and Deputy Corry and others know it. If the Vice-President will look at the debates he will see that here was a provision of the Constitution that was introduced with an entire absence of Party atmosphere. The House was perfectly free to do what it liked and no pressure of any kind was brought to bear on it. It was an experiment—an act of faith— but it was one that amply justified itself. It was not introduced by the then dominant Party or the then Government in order to get a Party advantage. It is being cut out of the Constitution now, and principles that we profess to honour are being trampled on in order to get a temporary and paltry Party advantage of a couple of votes. There was no principle of democracy violated, notwithstanding the ipse dixit—and I suppose he thinks that is enough—of the Vice-President. On the contrary, it is the removal of this provision that will violate principle, and it is that that is setting bad example.

We are a nice House, the leader of which can go down and speak of this country leading the world by its example. Let him show once or twice, and let the Government show once or twice, that occasionally he is willing to sacrifice a petty Party advantage to the principles that he and they profess. There is no more a question of privilege here than there is in any other kind of voting. I think I heard an argument on one occasion to the effect that the ordinary person has to go to the polls to record his vote whereas the University constituent can vote at home. You may say that there is a question of the numbers—that a smaller number can return members to the University. Well, the obvious answer to that—and it has been pointed out—is to reduce the numbers, if you will; i.e., if you are serious in that argument, but of course you are not. I heard another argument, that people outside the country are allowed to vote. That is a small thing and it could be remedied, if necessary. But, because there are a few weaknesses of that kind, is the remedy to be a root-and-branch tearing out of the Constitution of the thing itself? Surely, amendment and not destruction is the obvious method to deal with that matter. Why should there not be politics in University elections? You cannot have a political election without politics. Of course, there is, but there is nothing wrong about that, and because of the six University representatives here four, generally speaking, do not see their way to support the Government, surely there is no crime in that, constitutionally? Yet that is the real reason why they are being wiped out as representatives.

I know well that the members of the Government are adepts at playing fast and loose with principles, especially principles of democracy. They want everything to be absolutely rigid and watertight, if it suits them. The next day they come here and say: "Those provisions do not matter, the real thing is to elect the Government and trust it. Any provisions that tie its hands are all rubbish." They will use the principle of democracy when it suits them, and then chuck it overboard when it suits them. That is so with everything they do so far as constitutional matters are concerned.

When will the Government, the President, and the Vice-President—I am sorry I have to bring in the Vice-President, but after all he sponsored this Bill here; possibly he could not help it—get away from the idea that justice and equality mean uniformity? In other respects we have had to call attention to that extraordinary rigidity of mind that has done such a lot of damage. You can have equality without uniformity, and the attempt to enforce uniformity can be responsible for serious injustice. In this case undoubtedly so far as a certain minority are concerned they will not be represented here. I do not refer to them as ex-Unionists, because I do not believe in referring to ex-things. The past is not what we are concerned with. We are concerned about the present—that is our main interest.

I am not aware that these people who are represented here, the so-called ex-Unionists, ever showed any disloyalty to the Constitution of this State since it was set up. In fact, I might almost say that one of the principal causes of their offending is that they showed too much loyalty to the Constitution of this State. They certainly did nothing against the Constitution of this State since it was set up. But these people who are represented by three representatives here do constitute a certain interest in this country. I believe in interests being represented here. I believe in groups being represented here. The Labour Party represent a group. I do not think they represent labour altogether. What I mean is that I do not believe that all the labouring people in the country vote for the Labour Party. They do not, because otherwise their representation would be much more than seven.

There are not many of them here now. The Deputy can understand that it is sometimes rather difficult to know how many of them there are. If they represented labour in this country, I think the Deputy will admit that they would have a much stronger representation than they have. But I will say this: there are various types of opinion amongst labour and they represent one particular type. I think it would be a disadvantage to this House if the particular type of labour opinion they represent, whether people disagree with it or not, was not represented here. That was the great fault of the Redistribution Bill. However it may work out in practice at the next election, in its very essence it made for the less satisfactory representation of groups of that kind. What holds true of the Labour Party will hold true equally of other groups. The more you have groups of that kind represented the better. That is the idea of proportional representation. If we are not sincere in that, let us scrap proportional representation altogether.

It would be a good job.

That is it— down with minorities. We are the people who have to give a "lead" to the world! The Labour Party got a lesson a couple of weeks ago and did not take it. Now they have got the real mind of the organiser of the Fianna Fáil Party as to where they belong. Perhaps they will take it— I do not think they will.

We would have to be educated in a University to be able to grasp it.

There I disagree. You should not hold that view. It is a completely wrong view. I do not see how else the group to which I refer can get representation in this State. To some members of this House that is the drawback in University representation. To me I confess it is not. So far as this House is a deliberative assembly, I want to see as strong a representation of the different views as possible. I ask you to look to the underlying principles of our own Constitution, to our own system of proportional representation —notwithstanding the desires of Deputy Donnelly, we have not yet scrapped it, we have only half scrapped it by the recent Redistribution Bill. We still profess adherence to it.

Judged by these principles that are fundamental principles of representation in this State, University representation is justified in principle. University representation is further justified by the way in which the University representatives who have sat in this House have played their part in the work of the State. I am quite aware that if you take University representatives out of the House there will remain a number of people who can discuss Bills and carry on the government. Nobody for a moment thought of questioning that. But I do hold, and I think the experience of the last 13 years is behind me in this, that you are weakening the House by taking these men out of it. The Vice-President himself said that the House would be stronger with them in it. He said they had considerably strengthened the House. I hold that the natural conclusion to be drawn from that is that they are a strength to the House.

What I complain of is that a Bill which is justified neither in principle nor in practice should be forced through in this way. Principle is against it. The spirit of proportional representation is against it. Our experience over 13 years is dead against it. But what can you expect when we have the Vice-President, who occupies the second position in this State, getting up and saying that the fact that the University representatives considerly added to the strength of this House is no argument one way or another. I find it hard to cope with an argument of that kind. It was a deliberate throwing aside of experience without any justification. He knows that I have respect for him, but I repeat that his mere ipse dixit is not sufficient to convince me that there is any principle of democracy at stake.

I do not know why it is that the Vice-President should set himself out to-day to destroy an argument that nobody ever put forward. The argument was not that the absence of University representation would be a slur upon education. The argument was a positive argument, namely, that by continuing University representation the Government, even from the point of view of education, would be doing a useful thing in a country that, I can assure the Vice-President, anything that can be done to honour education is most necessary. They would be helping to that extent to raise it in prestige. It is not that the absence of it in itself would be a slur, though remember, you have it in now.

We are not debating this thing as if it came here for the first time, as if it had not been in the Constitution for 13 years, as if it had not worked remarkably well. What we propose to do is to take it out and to that extent there may be some grounds for the Vice-President's conception of the argument as if it were a slur on education. But when the argument in relation to education was put forward, it was a positive argument that it would be something useful in a country that needs it badly—this showing of some respect for education. Give up talking about principles unless you are prepared to act on them. If you believe in showing respect for education do not say you do, but show respect for it. If you believe in giving representation to minorities, do not say you believe in that but do it and do not do the opposite. It is for these reasons, therefore, that I ask the House seriously to consider this question. It is its last chance. I am sorry I cannot appeal to the Vice-President himself—he is bound in this matter, I have no doubt— really to satisfy himself that the game is not worth the candle. You are doing a lot of damage for a paltry couple of votes. Everybody knows that in general elections there is often such a swing over that one or two votes do not matter very much. It is not worth doing it for that. I am speaking now with all sincerity. Someone spoke about levelling. Do not always try to level down. There was a glimmer of some perception of the realities in one thing the Vice-President said. He said if there were other examples of this character he would not object. Very good. You have an excellent example here to follow, not to destroy, but instead of proceeding to follow it you set out to destroy. We have here a provision which has worked remarkably well. Keep it there; do not get rid of it.

In a House brought face to face, by the very moving and powerful speech of Deputy Tom Kelly last night, with the stark realities and the tragic urgency of problems which are ours to try and solve, as well as those of the Vice-President and Minister for Local Government, and the Corporation of Dublin, I do not propose to take up much time by intervening in this debate. Indeed, I do not think I should have spoken at all were it not that, as I happened to pass through the building this evening, my colleague and constituent, Deputy Professor O'Sullivan, said, "We shall hear Mrs. Concannon speak this evening." Now a hint from Deputy O'Sullivan is as good as a command for me, and therefore I am getting up to say a few words in order to lay before the House the motives which will be in my mind when I am voting for the motion submitted by the Vice-President. We start from this, that both Houses of the Oireachtas, the Seanad as well as this House, have accepted the principle that University representation is not to be continued in this State. But there has been a difference of opinion between us as to when that accepted principle will come into operation. We, imbued with a sense of responsibility, feeling that when we make a decision it is our duty to see that it is put into execution, have expressed the opinion that this decision shall be carried into execution during the period of our responsibility —at least, during the period of office of the Government which we have charged with executive power.

What is the hurry?

The Seanad by its amendment has expressed the wish to defer a final decision and leave the responsibility of putting it into effect to another Government, about which we know nothing at all. That is one reason why I think we ought to support this motion. Another reason is that Fine Gael have put on their programme the restoration of University representation. The people of the country will, I believe, for the first time in the political history of this State, be given an opportunity of declaring their will on the matter. I think that is a very good thing, but at the same time I believe it is much better—to get at the will of the people on that subject—that we should remove University representation as it is at present understood and let Fine Gael go to the country on their defence and definition of it. They will go with the experience of University representation gained during the years in which it has been in operation. They will be in a position to know whether it should be retained as it is at present or whether it would be improved by any modification. The question will be laid before the country, and the country will have an opportunity of showing decisively whether or not it wants University representation, as it is now so called. Then we shall know exactly where we stand. It is for these reasons that I propose to follow the Vice-President into the Lobby.

Notwithstanding the very eloquent speech of Deputy O'Sullivan, I do not think he made any convincing case against the motion. He certainly gave the matter very great study and in his praiseworthy efforts to try to find a suitable substitute for commonsense argument he reached out in all directions and endeavoured to bring in a lot of irrelevant matter. He twitted the Vice-President that he was not serious in relation to this subject. I am quite sure the Professor is perfectly serious in the attitude he is taking up, but I would like to know from him has he had any sort of plebiscite amongst the Deputies sitting on the benches around him and has he ascertained how many of them are serious about the restoration of University representation, or is the dictation all on the one side? I have very good reason to believe that the idea of wiping out University representation, such as exists, is not a monopoly of the members of the Fianna Fáil Party or even of the members of the Labour Party. I believe that the idea is widespread throughout the country. If the Deputy will only inquire, he may find the idea in existence amongst the occupants of his own benches. The Deputy made great play with the statement that the representatives of the Universities have given good service in this House. No one will question or challenge that. It is really a question of representation as against representatives — that is the real kernel at issue.

I do not see any reason why University representation should be lost to this House in the sense that Deputy O'Sullivan would have us believe it will be if this motion is carried. There is nothing to prevent representatives of the Universities coming here on their own feet, so to speak, representing various constituencies rather than as at present coming from behind the sheltered walls of the Universities as such. Deputy O'Sullivan favours group representation, and not for the first time couples the Labour Party with Trinity College. Some years ago, during the troubled times, military recruiting posters were being put up around the City of Dublin. The Provost of Trinity College objected to posters being put up on the college walls and the ruling powers in Liberty Hall also objected in respect of their own building, but for, perhaps, different reasons. When morning came the only two buildings that escaped being plastered were Trinity College and Liberty Hall— and two great seats of education were then linked together, as one gentleman at the time said. As I have stated, Deputy O'Sullivan favours the group system, but why let it stop at the Universities? If he is anxious to start the group system, why not make it more general? It would seem the Deputy wants to change the whole constitution of the representation of this House, but we have not reached that stage yet. If there is to be group system representation, then you ought to have the trade unions as one group, the various professions as another group, and then the Universities, the Church and the Army. But until that stage is reached is there any particular reason why Universities should be singled out as units to get representation? I have argued here before, that, coming from a University, a man's chance of election, if he is patriotically-minded enough to desire to take part in the civic affairs of his country, would strengthen him in competition with others of his fellows less well equipped. If such a man from a University comes forward and espouses any particular cause then I say his chances of succeeding are strengthened.

Even if he comes from Trinity College?

Yes, certainly. I do not think that the particular University would have any bearing on the point. Deputy O'Sullivan said in his speech that this motion strictly and deliberately violates the principle of proportional representation. I am not at all satisfied that that is so. Proportional representation was devised for the protection of minorities. But then, does some particular minority want double-barrelled protection? Why this double test? If, as Deputy MacDermot suggests, a man came from Trinity College into public life in the ordinary course, as a professional man, a teacher, a lawyer, a doctor or whatever his profession may be, and if he comes into the political field as a candidate for election, is it seriously suggested that his Alma Mater would be a damning factor?

It would not be a help.

I do not think that bigotry is carried to that extent. I do not think that if a man wishes to take his place in the public life of his country the fact that he is a Trinity or a National University graduate would affect the electors vested with the responsibility of electing such people to the Dáil. Furthermore, although there may be a kind of sentimental attachment to University representatives in the House, and although it may be a wrench to give up direct University representation, I believe, in the long run, the effect will be to widen up our representation and will be for the improvement of the country as a whole and for the improvement of the status of candidates. There is no reason why all the political acumen and all ability should be vested in particular political representatives from Trinity College or the National University. There is no reason why other people from Trinity College, or the National University, may not also have a flair for political life, and may not like to discuss and improve legislation passing through this House. Once this representation is wiped out I think it will result in broadening the sprinkling of such people taking their places and working for the citizens as a whole. And, particularly under the principle of proportional representation, I do not believe any injustice will be done to anyone, and that true democracy will be served. Notwithstanding what Deputy O'Sullivan says, this class of University representation has not been justified by any argument advanced by the other side.

Perhaps it would be futile at this eleventh—or should I say thirteenth—hour to ask the Ministry to reconsider their policy in regard to this particular matter of University representation. The motives behind this measure have been generally understood. I think there is no doubt in the minds of seven-eighths of the people of the country why this Bill originated. No one, at least, can say that it was with a view to improving either the wisdom or the dignity of this House. The debate so far, if any impartial observer was to give a straightforward decision, has borne out the arguments of those in favour of University representation. I do not intend to deal at length with what has already been said on seven different occasions when this matter was discussed in the House.

The Vice-President to-day said that members sent to the House by the two Universities gave valuable and useful service to the House and that they added to its dignity and perhaps to its wisdom. I do not know whether he used these exact words—but every Deputy would re-echo these words if they had been spoken. The Vice-President also said there were amongst other sections of the House men as useful as the University representatives. No one will deny that there are in the various Parties of this House men and some women who are useful representatives of their particular interests and their particular Parties. They are men and women who would be missed from this House. The Vice-President said that the vast majority of the representatives of this House were elected because of their political views. That is true. But I for one hold it is true to say that there are in the different Parties, in the Government Party and in the Fine Gael Party, some members who might not be elected by some constituencies because of their individual merits. The great majority in the Dáil have been elected because of political motives and political affiliations; but is it wise to destroy the one channel that can possibly supply men and women outside politics who can add to the dignity and general character of the debates, and lend strength to the wisdom of this House. The Vice-President argued that possibly the Universities send men and women in to this House because of their political affiliations. I do not think that is altogether true. The Vice-President added that representatives sent here by the Universities would possibly find other constituencies when that representation was abolished. There may be some semblance of truth in that particular statement of the Vice-President's. There are members of the Universities who graced this House by their presence in the last seven years, and who would possibly be elected by various constituencies, but that would be because of the intelligence and wisdom they displayed in this House. But there are amongst those representatives several men and one woman who might perhaps never be heard of as public representatives except for the privilege of University representation. There are at least two or three Deputies, who will at once jump to the mind, who never would be in this House except for University representation. Their services would, perhaps, be retained in other constituencies if they elected to go before such constituencies, but probably they never would grace this House by their presence except for University representation. There will be other men of their calibre in the Universities in the future whose presence in any assembly would be a valuable addition. But there will be the possibility that with the extinction of University representation such men and women will be denied the opportunity of representing any particular interest in this House. I think, as I said, that even at this eleventh hour the House should consider the possibility of rejecting the motion the Vice-President has moved. This motion will serve no purpose save to give a political advantage to one Party. Is it wise, because of a temporary political advantage— in the coming years that advantage may be on the other side—to destroy a principle of our Constitution which, in ten years, has given to this House men of ability, intellect and character, men who, even the movers of the Bill and of this motion admitted, were a valuable addition to the composition of this House, as they would be to the composition of any other assembly? Is it wise to eliminate the possibility of such men ever again being elected to this House? I think that the merits of the debate have been largely, in favour of those who argued for the continuance of University representation. In my humble way, I should like to add my appeal to the Deputies behind the Minister to think seriously before they undo what, in ten years, has contributed largely to the administrative success of this Dáil.

During the various stages of this measure, I was one of those who tried to make their position clear. This motion represents the grand finale of the whole business. Frankly, I must say that I was disappointed with Deputy O'Sullivan's speech. I had thought that I would hear the merits of University representation argued or re-argued. The Deputy branched off in a different direction. Deputy O'Sullivan seemed to be more interested in defending the proportional representation system than in discussing the question of whether or not the two Universities should be represented in this House. I think that he was wrong in adopting that attitude. If there is one thing on which proportional representation has no bearing, good, bad or indifferent, it is on the representation of Trinity College here. The same representation would come from Trinity College no matter what system of election were in operation. It is one of those constituencies which are not at all affected by the system of election. If we analyse the proportional representation system on its merits, I think we shall be forced to come to the conclusion that it was one of those kindnesses given to this country by our friends across the water—a kind of mathematical freak which is always producing something like political stalemate in this country. That is the most correct description which I can apply to proportional representation.

Proportional representation does not apply in the case of Trinity College. That University would always have the same type of representation, irrespective of the system in force. That would apply to the National University, too, but in a lesser degree, because opinions on domestic politics differ more in the National University than they do in Trinity. There is a tradition behind Trinity which is not behind the National and there was a type of mentality in Trinity College that, on certain occasions, did not do what it should have done by this country. I was one of those who were willing to go a long way—I made my position clear in the presence of the Minister in charge of the Bill—to preserve University representation because I considered that art, culture, education and the various higher branches of life were entitled to some representation in this House. But I do not subscribe for a moment to the argument that because a man happens to be a graduate of Trinity College or the National University, he has not a chance of election in a rural constituency. That myth was exploded long ago.

I have as much experience of conventions as any Deputy here and I know that the day for pulling wires and for the influence of blood relationship has passed. I have heard people at conventions in the country declare that the men they wanted to represent them in the Dáil were men of education, men of standing and men who could put their case in this Assembly. I know graduates of Trinity who represented constituencies here and that was one of the main reasons why they were selected. The ordinary run of the electors would be prepared to take a University graduate as representative as quickly as anybody else. He would get as good a show as anybody else notwithstanding any wire-pulling in the opposite direction. That myth as regards the disadvantage of being a graduate of Trinity has been exploded long ago. I believe that the more candidates of that type we have the better. I believe that their influence on the electorate and their influence in determining the result of a general election will be beneficial to the country as a whole. I heard Deputy Cosgrave say on one occasion that this institution, in respect of procedure and everything else, was fashioned on the House of Commons. If that be so, I am one of those who would a thousand times rather see University representation wiped out here for ever than that it should sink to the depths to which University representation had sunk in certain other places. Instead of giving representation to culture and art, Universities in these places are made the refuge of discredited politicians. They are used to provide politicians with safe seats because the vote is controlled by politicians. We know that quite recently, across the water, one of the very people who want to destroy University representation was foisted upon the graduates of a certain University. I should rather see Trinity and the National down and out as constituencies than that they should be reduced to that position.

Listening to Deputy Bennett and other speakers one would think that there was no such thing as politics in our Universities and that the candidates put up for election there had no political affliations. Of course, they had —every one of them. Deputy O'Sullivan said that possibly one of the reasons why Trinity was being put off the map as a constituency was because of its loyalty to the Constitution of this State since its establishment. Nobody questioned the loyalty of Trinity to this State. Nobody made the slightest remark about that but I did say on a previous occasion in this House that there were occasions when Trinity could have done more for this country than give a nominal loyalty to it. There were occasions when Trinity turned down invitations to a national assembly to take their place with the rest of the country. Of course, there have been changes. When the Treaty came along, Trinity changed. There was a different set of circumstances then. I had thought that Deputy O'Sullivan would have adverted to these facts and argued the case of University representation on its merits rather than traverse the by-path of proportional representation. Trinity College may be opposed to this Government. We know that its representatives are. Very rarely do they find themselves in the Division Lobby behind the present Executive Council. Always, strange to say, they saw eye to eye with the Opposition and during the lifetime of the late Government—and I must compliment them on that—the Trinity College representatives loyally followed the views of Deputy Cosgrave. Naturally enough I can understand that if Fine Gael wins another general election the more strings they have to their bow the better. When we go to the country, according to the document which they produced at the Ard-Fheis, one of the items is to restore University representation. They are not going to lose any votes in certain quarters in that respect. Because of that they are not going to lose any votes in County Dublin, and they are not going to lose any votes in certain localities, having regard to the political aspect of Trinity College. If it comes to a show-down on these lines, it is almost impossible to eliminate the political aspect from the question of University representation. I remember a speech that was delivered earlier on this question by my colleague Deputy Kelly. I have a sneaking regard for certain traditions behind Trinity College, because I recognise that some of the greatest men and the greatest patriots that this country produced came from Trinity College. I always recognised that. A small minority from that institution did not like the views of some of the prominent politicians who at one time represented that University. I am willing to admit that. I concede that some of the representatives of Trinity College, some of them very distinguished men, did not always see eye to eye with their political leaders, and that that made the seats which they held in that institution not quite as comfortable as they otherwise might have been. Still, that is no justification for University representation as such.

Another thing which weighed with me, was that the vote of one graduate, taken numerically, is equivalent to the votes of ten other voters in the country. I do not think that is right. I do not think it is democratic to have six Deputies for 8,000 University votes and one Deputy for the same number of rural voters. Perhaps I may be wrong. My examination of the matter is as I say. I think University representation on that scale is asking for a bit too much. It does not occur anywhere else. There is not that representation in England or Scotland or anywhere else as far as I am aware. When Deputy Bennett and others say that many Deputies would never have been in this House but for the opportunity they got of coming in through the Universities I absolutely deny that. There is not a constituency in Ireland under proportional representation that would not return Deputy McGilligan. Though he is an opponent of mine I am willing to concede that. Surely to goodness no one suggests that the Attorney-General would not be elected for a rural constituency. The fact that they happen to be representatives of Universities at the moment is no argument whatever against their being returned for rural constituencies. I believe it will do good if this Bill goes through. After this year I suppose the days of University representation will be no more, unless Fine Gael comes back to power, which seems a very remote possibility.

As regards group representation to which Deputy O'Sullivan referred, I wonder does he recognise that were it not for proportional representation and that type of electoral system here we would get a decision in this country every time, and we would not have this infernal stalemate in the constitution of this House. The figures at the last election on proportional representation would be 120 Deputies on the Government side and 32 others. That was the verdict of the people.

What stalemate has there been?

For instance, take the position of Deputy MacDermot. I do not know one constituency in which he could win except under proportional representation. I do not know any other means by which he could get into this House. There are quite a number of other Deputies in the same position. The only people who would be elected would be those who headed the poll. Deputy MacDermot should advert to that, and should not make this a sacred thing. He should not mix it up with the abolition of University representation. In order to get this country into two divisions, in order to partition it and to get two Parliaments, no one knows better than Deputy Thrift or Deputy Rowlette that the gilding on the pill was proportional representation, so as to give the Unionists of the South representation in the Southern Parliament and the Nationalists of the North in the Northern Parliament. That was the gilding on the pill and was one of the master strokes of Lloyd George. It was a mathematical freak that would always create trouble here, and I for one, if my vote would do it, would scrap it to-morrow morning. Everyone knows that I am not bigoted as regards University representation. In other places I tried to reason the matter out. I always had an open mind. A decision has been taken and I am afraid the Dáil cannot go back on it now. I sincerely hope and trust when Deputy O'Sullivan's Party comes back to power they will put this matter to the people. I will not be sorry if there is a verdict that the Universities should get some sort of representation. I will not be opposed to that. Do not, however, mix that up with proportional representation. I never saw any protest from Trinity College about partition. That is the unfortunate thing, the silence of the representatives of Trinity College on that question. When proportional representation was wiped out and when the Nationalists and the Catholics of Ulster were debarred from representation, I never saw one protest from Trinity College; not as much as one word against the outrage perpetrated in the North. We heard what Deputy O'Sullivan said about the outrage that would be inflicted on Trinity College, that it was a breach of the electoral law. It is nothing of the sort. Proportional representation does not apply to Trinity College. Other people did not get the same show. I am not bigoted on the question, my Party is not bigoted, and neither is the Executive Council actuated by motives other than that of basing representation on the figures of the population. There was a volume of opinion that the two Universities were over-represented. If their representatives are so able and want to be in public life there are plenty of constituencies available. There is the national field. Let them take their chance amongst the people.

It is sometimes urged against University men that they are inclined to be over-academic in their outlook and in their arguments on a particular question. Anyone who listened to the debate this afternoon, or to the previous debates on this topic, must have been struck by the fact that the academic outlook was mainly on the part of the Vice-President and that the practical ideas were put forward by those defending University representation. The whole of the Vice-President's speech was devoted to the theoretical consideration of what an ideal Constitution should be, and he seemed to forget, as on previous occasions when dealing with the same topic, that this House was not engaged at present in farming a Constitution but in altering a Constitution that was framed after due deliberation 14 years ago. The arguments the Vice-President used might have been very pertinent to the discussion which took place when the Constitution was being framed. They have little or no relation to the suggested change in a Constitution which, speaking generally, has worked well. He made no attempt to show that this peculiar feature, this anomalous feature, from his point of view, of University representation had damaged the good reputation or the competence of this House during the 14 years that it has been in the Constitution. He gave many theoretical reasons why, if one were making a fresh Constitution, one should not weight the representation of certain groups in proportion to the representation of certain other groups. I suggest that is again irrelevant at the present stage of our existence.

A political question no doubt has some fundamental principle underlying it or underlying the decision we give on it, but political questions are not decided on a a priori principles, and the Vice-President preached nothing but a priori principles in favour of his motion. A constitution, if one were working ab initio might naturally be framed on a priori principles, with some regard to the working of other constitutions, but where a constitution is working and has been working for years, it should surely be judged on the purely practical issue of whether it has worked well, or whether the different parts of it have worked well. The Vice-President admits that this particular element in our Constitution has been useful and has done no harm. It is possible that he had at the back of his mind, as has been suggested by Deputy O'Sullivan, that this particular feature in our Constitution might diminish the number of votes in a division in favour of the present Government, but I do not think the Vice-President would openly admit that this Bill has been brought in and carried through its many stages up to the present in order to secure two or three votes for one side of the House.

Deputy Donnelly began his speech just now with a criticism of Deputy O'Sullivan for not devoting his speech to an exposition of the principles on which University representation in a Parliament is based. I had hoped that Deputy Donnelly was going on to show us on what principles University representation should be removed from the existing Constitution, but Deputy Donnelly dealt with no principles at all. He dealt with two or three very practical points. I welcomed that, but he disappointed me at the beginning of his speech, in that he himself, to a much greater extent than Deputy O'Sullivan, avoided any question of principles other than political principles or loyalty to one's political Party. He did put forward a certain case which has been made before—that there is at present over-representation of the Universities in this House. That is quite an arguable case, but it is not the case with which this Bill deals. To argue such a case, the Government must first admit that there should be University representation.

To say that University representation is too great is to admit that it should be there. Deputy Donnelly gave away his case in stating that there is over-representation. It is possible that there is over-representation, but that should be met in an entirely different way from the way in which this Bill deals with the situation. He spoke to-night, as he often does, of the University of which I am one of the representatives, and he criticised, as he has a perfect right to do, and as he did in all sincerity, some of the actions of the graduates of that University. There seems to be one point in the history of the University of Dublin in regard to which he can never be happy. It seems to be its unforgivable sin—I think these are the words he used on a previous occasion—that its representatives did not come to occupy seats in the First Dáil. Has it ever occurred to Deputy Donnelly that they were elected for an entirely different purpose, that they were not elected to take seats in that National Assembly? They were elected to take seats in another Assembly. Had they taken seats here, which Deputy Donnelly thinks they should have taken, they would have been guilty of a breach of faith with those whom they represented. I am aware that had they taken seats in that Assembly, it might have been a precedent for another Party, who although elected not to sit in a certain Assembly, decided after reconsideration to take their seats in it.

There was one thing in regard to the debate this evening on which I congratulate the supporters of the Bill. We have not heard any of the clap-trap spoken on previous occasions about the evil influence that University elections have on the secluded life of University men. We heard that ad nauseam on previous occasions, and it has been repeated in the Seanad ad nauseam. We have heard that Universities are divided bitterly and savagely on the occasions of elections. I have witnessed a good many contested elections in the University I represent, and I have never seen any ill-will amongst graduates who supported rival candidates. I have never seen any friendships ruined or any great disturbances of the quietness of University life. I say that, although I had the misfortune to be thrown through a window during one contested election. I was not asked to pay for the broken glass and I bore no ill-will towards those who threw me through that window, and I am sure they bore no ill-will towards me.

What the House is about to do is an historical thing. We are asked to decide a question that is not a question merely of the last 14 years. We are about to abolish a right or privilege, if you like to call it so, that has been in the possession of one of the Universities in this country for over 300 years, the exercise of which right or privilege has probably uniformly, and certainly continuously, been for the advantage of the public life of this country. What is to be done now? I am not claiming, of course, any special privilege for the more ancient of the two Universities. The question of the relation of Parliamentary life to the other University was raised in our day, and it was confirmed by popular opinion all through this country. That popular opinion received the approval of one who, from his high position, was perhaps the most able guide of popular opinion in educational matters in the Ireland of his day, the late Archbishop Walsh. Later when this native Assembly was established, without a division and after due deliberation, the representatives who were assembled here decided that University representation should be a feature of the Constitution of the country.

The Vice-President suggested once or twice to-day—I thought it was rather beneath his usual fairness in debate— that the Constitution of the country had been imposed, or was largely imposed, on this country by another country. He must know very well that that is not a fair accusation to make against the Dáil sitting as a constituent Assembly here in 1922-23. He must know that the main features of the Constitution were drafted by a committee sitting in Dublin. All the members were Irishmen, presided over by one of the most distinguished Irishmen of the day, and he must know that the introduction of University representation in the Dáil was a matter decided purely and simply by the members sitting here as a constituent Assembly during those years, and that no influence from outside, no influence from any other country, had any effect on the decision that that Dáil came to. You have an ancient right— this right of University representation —a right extended to a second University when there was a second University and the opportunity for it arose. You have that confirmed by popular opinion and by a constituent Assembly, and the only reason that the Vice-President gives against it is that it is anomalous from the purely arithmetical point of view. When that Dáil of 1922-23 decided to establish University representation here, it did so, as far as I can understand from reading the reports, mainly on two grounds: one, that University representation would give the country the opportunity of obtaining the services of persons who were likely to be able to give special services which would not be obtainable readily otherwise—I do not say that it would not be possible to obtain them by other means—but that was one of the reasons. Another reason was that this University representation would give representation to certain classes unlikely to obtain representation otherwise. If that was thought necessary 14 years ago, it surely is more necessary to-day, since in two other respects the Constitution has been or is in process of being changed. The change in both cases is in a manner likely to interfere with giving representation in public life to people of certain groups.

During the last couple of years a Redistribution Bill has been passed. I am not going to follow Deputy Donnelly in his very curious excursus on proportional representation. He started by rebuking Deputy O'Sullivan for mentioning the question, while half his own speech was devoted to expressing his own dislike of proportional representation. It is a truism that the members of a majority Party always dislike proportional representation, but when Deputy Donnelly was in a minority he liked proportional representation, and when he is in minority again he will like it. The members of a majority always dislike it. The bosses of a majority Party always dislike it because they are not able to make Independent members of the House amenable to the Party Whip.

It is not practised anywhere else in Ireland except here, and it was foisted on this country by people who did not believe in it.

I suggest to the Deputy that he should study the political constitutions of other countries. It is possible that Deputy Donnelly's eyes are so closely fixed on Westminster that he thinks the Westminster Constitution the only one worth looking at. But the Deputy should study the Constitutions of other countries. If he sends a couple of stamps to the Society for Proportional Representation he will get a lot of information on the subject which will prevent him from making such mistakes in the future, mistakes calculated to lessen our respect for his knowledge and intelligence. I do not want to be led by Deputy Donnelly into an excursus on proportional representation. I am merely pointing out to him the reasons for his dislike of it. It is a purely temporary dislike which will pass away, let us hope, in the near future.

The only reason I refer to proportional representation at all is this; that proportional representation does give representation to minority groups which would otherwise fail to get representation. We have passed a Redistribution Bill, which, while giving lip-service to the principle of proportional representation, takes good care to make that principle entirely ineffective, and in view of that I say that it has a bearing on the Bill that is before us. That Bill, by making the constituencies smaller, takes away to a very large extent the power of minorities to get representation in this House, and that being so, it is quite pertinent to suggest that another part of our Constitution which provides minority representation deserves special consideration. It was in that sense that Deputy O'Sullivan introduced the question of Proportional representation into this debate.

The other change threatened in our Constitution is the proposed abolition of the Seanad. If we are to assume that this proposal is going to be carried into effect then we do find that what one may call a major change in our Constitution is being carried out which, again, takes away representation to some extent from the classes which were certainly in the mind of the Dáil in 1922-3 that established University representation in the Constitution. We are abolishing a historic institution in this country, an institution which has been a feature of the Constitution since this country got a Constitution. It has been a feature in our Constitution during all the years that have intervened since the country got a Constitution. In doing that, we are doing something more than depriving six persons of the privilege of sitting here as members of this House. We are suggesting to those who sent them here that their services are undesired by the nation.

I do not deny that there is truth in what Deputy Donnelly said that University men would get a fair show as candidates in many constituencies in this country. I do not suggest that, as University men, there would be any special prejudice against them, but I point this out, that our Constitution has provided a special channel by which these services can be made available in the public service, and that by blocking that channel, as this motion claims to do, you are deterring such men from offering their services to the country in the future. Many will believe that this channel has been blocked from a wish to deter such men from giving their services to the nation in the future. I am one of those who believe that the closer the association is between the Universities and our public life the better. I do not believe that it is bad for our young men in our Universities to take an interest in the public affairs of their country. That argument was put forward from the Government Benches in an earlier debate on this topic, but it has been argued against by the public example which I welcome of members of the Government attending meetings of the young men of both Universities to interest them in public questions, an excellent example which I hope the members of the Government will continue to follow.

I believe, as I say, that the closer the relation between Universities and the public life of the country the better, and anything which tends to deter that relation, not to say to make it impossible, or anything that deters the play of that relation, is doing an injury to the public life of the country. The last thing I will say is this, and I have mentioned it already in debates on this subject— when you pass this resolution and take a vote on this, and when the Governor-General affixes his signature to the Bill, you are breaking the last link in the unity of Ireland. While University representatives sit here representing constituents in Northern Ireland as well as in the Free State, there is still some relic of that unity left. When I mentioned this in the course of a previous debate the Vice-President said he listened to the point with sympathy, but he did not think there was much substance in it. I do not suggest that that point is one on which unity can be built in the future, but I do say now that while that point of unity does exist it is an unpatriotic act to break that last link between the different parts in this country.

The Attorney-General

I think I was one of the unfortunate debaters who were guilty of what the last speaker described as claptrap; in speaking on this measure in the earlier debates I did refer to the evil influence which acrimonious political contests had on University life. The Deputy who had just sat down is fortunate in his experience, when he tells us that within the sheltered walls of Trinity College, apparently whatever difference of opinion there may be between outsiders, they do not seem to be very great between the different candidates and that they do not produce any bitter feeling between the staff and the students, or interfere with the calm flow of life in the University. That is not my experience in the University which I represent, and I do say and repeat that I do believe that University representation is harmful to the University in that way. Some people may say, as the last speaker has said, that there is no reason why Universities should not be rent on political questions any more than any other institution. That point of view may be defended.

My own opinion is that a University, particularly as far as the younger graduates and the students are concerned, should be detached and aloof from the ordinary concerns of life, particularly from those which can correctly be characterised as the political concerns of life. In revolutionary times, of course, even students have led the van in extreme movements. But I think it is agreed to by those who look to Universities to give that particular training, development and polish to the students who pass through its walls, that it is much better that there should be a calm atmosphere there, and that the students and professors should concern themselves with those things which one associates with the University. I also pointed out in this previous discussion that the term "University representation," as it had been interpreted here, is really a misnomer. The speaker who had just sat down, and usually those looking at this question from the Trinity College point of view, discuss University representation as if it were representation of the University institutions, as if it were those persons who constitute the staff of the college who send representatives here, while, in fact, as everybody knows, what a University constituency consists of is the graduates who have left the University, a large number of whom have no contact whatsoever with the colleges. Naturally, they become part of the ordinary community and merge therewith, with interests in common with all other citizens amongst whom their lot is cast. Beyond the fact that they have the badge of a University degree, they have nothing to distinguish them from the ordinary elector. Yet what is called University representation confers upon them a privileged vote in this peculiar constituency.

If I may retort to the last speaker with regard to the charge of claptrap I think he is guilty of claptrap in suggesting that this motion, this final step which is being taken to put this measure through, snaps the last link in the unity of Ireland. If anything could be correctly described as clap-trap I suggest that that may be. The Deputy also suggests that we are doing an historic act in taking a step which takes away a sacred right and alters the privileges of an ancient institution —depriving it of privileges which it has enjoyed for 300 years. That may sound very well but if the Deputy had taken the trouble—probably he is aware of it and probably he has taken the trouble to look up the history of University representation—he would see that it is an anachronism and it is an anomaly which survived by some peculiar chance the reforms which were introduced with regard to parliamentary representation in England and in this country. By some accident it has survived these reforms. It is, if one may so describe it, the last of the pocket boroughs. That it has only survived by the merest chance is well known to every Deputy here. One would imagine from some of the speeches that some Deputies were not aware that when the Constitution makers came to consider the farming of the Constitution they had not in mind, as the last speaker correctly pointed out, the conferring upon the Universities of this peculiar privilege and that the sacredness of tradition about which we have heard so much and all the reasons which had been advanced here in favour of the continuance of University representation did not appeal to the Constitution makers here. They were starting with a clean slate. They did not suggest— nor was it contained in the Constitution as submitted to the electors—that University representation was to continue. We have heard here in the course of this debate a lot about mandates and the lack of a mandate to remove this privilege from the Constitution. But it has to be admitted that there was not a mandate to put it in the Constitution at the start—that the Constitution makers had so many doubts about it that they did not then introduce it. Therefore, in the first instance, in recent history this right came into the Constitution purely by an accidental discussion in this House.

How far it was accidental of course one is not now in a position to know, but reading the discussions one sees that Deputy Fitzgibbon seems to have won the House by his eloquence to the adoption of this particular article and the insertion of it into the Constitution. It was by a pure accident, if one may so describe it. It was a very lucky escape for the Universities at that period from the extinction of their rights in this regard. In England, as anybody in this House who was interested will know, it was by a mere margin of four votes that University representation survived in the year 1931, and on that occasion 12 of the votes passed in its favour were University votes. Frequently, writers who have written on political matters have condemned University representation as an anachronism. Bryce, a recognised authority on all that concerns all aspects of government, said away back in 1884:

"The time has now arrived when it becomes desirable to dismiss this device of the Stewart Kings to the Limbo to which so many of their other devices have been relegated."

It was pointed out in a discussion on this subject in England that University representation there is defended only by those who look at things from a conservative point of view. Down to the year 1918 it was shown that Universities never returned a single member except a Conservative, and then in 1918 the change came about through the introduction of proportional representation into the University constituencies. The reasons which have been advanced here in support of it are not new; the reasons which have been advanced against it are not new. We have had I suppose several times over all the arguments both in favour of and against this proposal, but I think it has become abundantly clear that all the arguments which were advanced in favour of University representation, theoretically, apart from any practical considerations peculiar to this country, or the conditions under which the Constitution was first framed, or the circumstances to which Deputy O'Sullivan referred and which I will come to in a moment, are the arguments advanced against democratic institutions and their growth at every stage of their growth.

The best that can be said for University representation, and the historical reasons for its introduction, is that, I think, King James I in England and King James II here introduced it as a borough at the time when boroughs were the constituencies which returned Members to Parliament. At that time it was not an anomaly at all. Borough representation, the narrow limited electorate which then had control of parliamentary institutions, was no different from the narrow privileged borough which the University was, but its retention when the other narrow and limited boroughs disappeared was defended on the grounds that, after all, a type of man was produced in Universities who would be useful in Parliament, that it was an honour to education to allow this particular privilege, and that education was not widely diffused over the country. In referring to "the country" I mean both England and Ireland. But after all, surely the country has got out of its educational swaddling clothes. Surely, if the functions for which Universities were established have been achieved, at all or are ever going to be achieved, the Universities have spread and pervaded their influence over the whole community, and it is time that the University should realise that the ordinary electorate has got amongst it men who have been trained within its walls, men who have had the benefit of University education, and whom most constituencies are quite prepared to put forward to represent them wholly on their merits.

We have a position to which I have referred before, and I do not see that much purpose will be served by going over the ground again. I pointed out that Deputy Fitzgibbon, who persuaded the House with two lines of reasoning as to why University representation should be adopted, has been proved to have been absolutely wrong in both of the reasons which he advanced. He said that there would be a division between the towns and the country, and that the agricultural community would never consider sending a University representative here to the Dáil. When I say a "University representative" I mean a University graduate. That argument has been falsified, as I pointed out, and we have actually an Oxford graduate sent to us from County Roscommon. From Deputy O'Sullivan's own county we have Deputy O'Sullivan himself, a man who is in a sense the most academic type one can imagine —a distinguished student in philosophy, a man of great gifts, and a peculiarly excellent type of University graduate. The very last county which. I am sure, Deputy Fitzgibbon would have thought to have chosen him has actually chosen him, and despite all the assaults that we have been bringing upon his seat in Kerry he has succeeded in holding his own there while other non-graduates have gone down in the fray.

In that state of affairs, when the benefits of University education can and do reach the community through the selection by the various conventions of men who have University equipment to assist them, and the election of these men by the constituencies, surely the Universities are asking a bit too much if they plead that they still ought to retain this peculiar privilege. Why should not other educational institutions get the same privilege? As somebody said, why should we stop at the Universities? Deputy Keyes answered Deputy O'Sullivan effectively on that point. He asked him why, if the group system was to be so lauded with regard to Universities, you should not have trade unions represented and the various professions represented, and why, say, the College of Surgeons and bodies which issue licences should not obtain a similar privilege to that which is at the moment conferred by the Constitution upon Universities.

Deputy Mrs. Concannon has pointed out that the Opposition have taken up the gage of battle on this matter and have announced a challenge to the Government at the next election on this question of University representation. It will be very interesting to see whether that will appeal to the ordinary elector or not. My own view is that it will not, and that there is a good deal of feeling throughout the country against the University graduate because of this peculiar privilege he enjoys. They say that we are endeavouring to be too logical. It is a curious thing that those who oppose this particular measure should complain about reason being applied to a matter of this kind. Of course, I know it can be said that life is larger than logic, that you cannot measure everything by exact rules, and so on, but it would seem to me that, if the Opposition want to be logical, they should go further, as Deputy Keyes said, and propose the complete abandonment of the democratic rules that are applied here at present, and go boldly out for the General O'Duffy scheme for vocational representation here, and abolish this institution altogether.

I have had the experience myself, to which I referred on a previous occasion, in my own constituency, of having members of my own committee unable, when pressed by our own voters, to give any logical defence for University representation. Whatever may be the mandate of the Government with regard to it, undoubtedly, amongst the thinking University graduates, it is regarded as something very difficult to defend. However, I suppose we will still hear the virtues of the University member praised by the Opposition, and we will hear this old cliché of the value of the clash of mind with mind and the peculiar qualities which the atmosphere of the University creates. In answer to that, I can only repeat what I have already said, that, while University men can find their way into this Dáil through the ordinary constituencies, there is no need what soever to raise a howl of despair because this particular privileged entrance is being closed up.

The real reason why some people insist upon the retention of this particular type of representation emerges from time to time in the course of the debate. Deputy O'Sullivan, having worked himself up into a great heat about a number of things, eventually came to the question of Trinity College, the minority, and urged, with all the force at his command, that the action which is being taken here will deprive a certain section of the community of a voice in the deliberations of this Assembly. I can understand that argument being put forward. A lot of the other arguments seemed to me to have no weight whatever, but while there may have been some force in that argument, as I said before, in the early days of the Dáil, it seems to me that it ought to have lost force by now. Deputy Keyes said that he believed the University man will stand a better chance of being elected in a country constituency, or ought to stand a better chance, because of the additional equipment he had in the way of University education. Deputy MacDermot asked if that applied to a Trinity man, and I know that that question crystallises a good deal of the arguments which weigh with certain people in this matter. My view about it is that if at this stage in our development, Trinity College has not merged with the community, and has not found a way of conquering whatever feeling there was against it, there is very little hope indeed for it. It has had a number of years now in which to make its peace with the country.

I have no desire to go back on the sins which are upon the head of Trinity College, and I think there is a good deal of truth in the statements which have been made that, since these institutions were set up here, the representatives here have certainly played their part, and have shouldered the ordinary burdens of citizens and of members of this House unselfishly. That, however, does not entitle them to a particular privilege and I see no reason why this form of artificial respiration should have to be tried upon the minority here. If the normal working of developments in this country had their normal effect, they would have been lost in the ordinary texture of the community by this. Why should this particular representation be preserved for the sake of artificially preserving the minority here? My own view is that it would be far better for the minority that no such appeal should be made on its behalf. Deputy O'Sullivan said that the hesitated to describe them as ex-Unionists. I agree with him. We should not have to use the phrases "ex-Unionists" or "Unionists," and it should not now be necessary to refer to the "minority." If they wish to remain a separate, segregated part of the community here and to brand themselves as the minority, they ought to take to heart the old, time-worn statement which Birrell made long ago— that minorities must suffer. I do not say that with any intention whatever of suggesting that we should display intolerance towards the minority, but I do say it with the idea in mind that they should not ask for privileges.

I think the record of the majority here, while it was reasonable to differentiate and to attach a peculiar significance to the term "majority" as against "minority, have, as it has been recognised, shown towards the section which is included in that term "minority," used with that significance, a tolerance, a forbearance and a recognition unequalled in any other country in the world, and I do not believe that the abolition of this particular form of representation is either a sign of any change of temper towards the minority or an indication that any different attitude will be adopted towards it. It is a well-recognised fact that one particular characteristic of which we can be proud here, whatever other characteristics may be attributed to us by our enemies, is tolerance, and that characteristic cannot be denied to us. I suggest that it is not for the good of the community, nor for the good of the minority itself, nor helpful to them, nor justifiable, that they should ask to retain this particular privilege in order to protect them against evils which I do not believe they need fear whatsoever.

The last speech is an argument, not merely for destroying University representation, but for wiping out Universities. The man who has talked about University education and who feels that students should be aloof from outside affairs and should not be perturbed by such matters as politics, has shown how futile University education may be. I do not know that what the Attorney-General, speaking, unfortunately, as a representative of a University in this House, has advanced would be accepted by any person who thought there was good in University education, let alone University representation. I understood that it was one of the jibes in previous discussions on this measure that University representation was supposed to give representation to the institution, and therefore to the staff, and that the staffs of our Universities were notoriously aloof from affairs. The ordinary picture that was painted here was that of the absent-minded Professor who never knew whether he was going to his work or to his bed. That was one of the jibes. The Attorney-General believes that not merely the staff but the students should be aloof. Now, I had the privilege, or the honour, or the pleasure, or whatever you like to call it, of being at the University at the same time as the Attorney-General. While we may quarrel still about the different bottles into which we have been decanted since, I think he will agree with me that that was one of the very best periods in the University—what one might call a vintage year so far as the life of the University was concerned. Yet that was a time when politics were rampant. We would have hated to be called politicians, however, because it was not politics but nationality, or so we thought. He has now the view that the students should be aloof from politics and that harm is done to Universities, in his own words, by the introduction of acrimonious political matters into them.

In that connection, I have often wondered when I would get an opportunity of saying to my two University colleagues here what I have long wanted to say to them. If there was one thing that did disgust me in University representation, it was that two persons, who had thought fit to put themselves forward as University candidates for this House, could have stooped to the particular depths in regard to an election address to which Deputy Mrs. Concannon and the Attorney-General stooped. If that were properly investigated, I think it would be enough to make people here wish to see University representation abolished, even though they may have been previously in favour of it. These two people put forward—or, at least, it was put forward on behalf of these two people—in an election address at the last two elections, what I suppose was the most perverted remark that ever came out of this House. They brought in a statement in that address that I had stated in this House that I wanted people in this State to die of starvation. They actually broke the quotation and put it in quotation marks, as if it were the full quotation. Whether either of them knew it to be a falsehood then, they certainly have had it brought home to their attention over and over again in this House since. The documents have been given to them, and yet neither of them has had the ordinary decency to stand up here in this House and withdraw that remark. On an occasion in a debate here, a Labour man having talked about the necessity for providing food for the people of this country that year, even though they might go hungry next year, I, following it up, said:

"There are certain limited funds at our disposal. People may have to die in this country and may have to die of starvation."

Then I was interrupted by a Deputy saying:

"That would solve the problem"; and I replied:

"It might solve the problem, but not in the way that I desire or that the Deputy desires."

That was what happened, but yet Deputy Mrs. Concannon allows the statement to go forward to an electorate of an educated class that I had definitely stated in this House that people should be allowed to die of starvation, and she sits quiet in this House every time that statement is brought forward although she knows it is an outrageous falsehood. Not alone does she sit silent, but she used it, or at least allowed it to be used on her behalf, in order to get into this House, and got into this House as a result of that statement, although she must recognise that it is an outrageous falsehood. Well, if that sort of thing is to be introduced into University life, possibly it would be better not to have University representation which would be spoiled by that kind of ramp. I think, however, there is a reaction from that. I have had many people come to me and say that, contrary to their views with regard to humanity, they had unwillingly accepted that that was a correct statement. I may tell you that now, when they have found out how badly abused their confidences were, it would not do any good to Deputy Mrs. Concannon or the Attorney-General if they again had to face that same electorate. That certainly was dragging in acrimonious politics. It was worse. It was stooping to a depth to which I think no other constituency stooped. I do not think that quotation was used in any election address except in the University, and the only time it was used in constituencies was in phrases. Nobody said: "This is the quotation and only this." But, on behalf of these two Deputies, it was put up inside quotation marks and with a full stop, just as if it were the full quotation. Well, I would rather have all the students of the University kept aloof and hidden away in secret from political matters rather than have them abused in that way. However, that is an abnormal matter. At any rate, it has had a healthy repercussion and I do not think that sort of thing will be tried again. If it is tried again, persons in future will know that it is necessary to verify the quotations and the verification of course would have its own implication.

The Attorney-General has dragged in this foolish old argument again that the debate has run along the lines of the University Union being represented. Nobody wants it. I say that if there is the detachment of the staff—and I do not admit that—and if it was thought desirable to get these detached people some sort of position in this House or in the Seanad, I would object to it. There is a reason for University representation, but it is at the opposite people from any argument founded on detachment. It is because the Universities are so much part of the life of the country that they are worth having. They have the added virtue—and here again I must apologise, because, speaking as a University representative, one might seem to be taking the attitude of speaking from a superior attitude—it has the added virtue that a University body is in touch with the life of the country and that the University body has gone through a certain educative process which, despite the Attorney-General's clichés, I still regard as having value. They have judgment of a particular type and they are also likely to appreciate what may not be very valuable in the life of the nation, taken in the mass, but which certainly has its value as the basic reason for the election of one or two individuals into an Assembly of 153.

You have an electorate of a particular type, an electorate still closely in touch with national affairs; not a close borough, not in any way detached. You have these people able to bring a particular judgment to bear at times—it may be very seldom, but at times able to take a different angle on the qualifications put before them of certain people who are trying to become their representatives. There is the further point that a person who sits for a University is, at any rate, in a somewhat more independent position than a Deputy elected for a constituency other than a University. I am no objector to the big Party or to Party politics but, in some attempt to leaven the particular groups massed in two or three big political Parties, it is some advantage to have one or two or three people who are not always oppressed, on any measure that comes along, by the feelings that must operate in the mind of the Deputy who sits for a constituency other than a University constituency. I think a person who sits for a constituency like that knows that he can use arguments to justify himself other than can be used in the other type of constituency. He can take a different line of action. It may be even that, although small in numbers, four or five or six people, elected in that way, and representing such a vote, may have an influence for the good. What does it matter in the long run about these people not being elected by the ordinary geographical mass constituency?

We are told by the Attorney-General that an argument has been used against the people in favour of this measure that they are too logical. I do not know who used that argument. There is no logic in this. I never heard such perverted argument as there has been. The Attorney-General told us that University representation is an anachronism. I do not want to repeat this too often but, as this has not apparently been understood by the Attorney-General and, possibly, by his followers, let me repeat it again. Can a thing be called an anachronism and an anomaly when, as late as 1918, there was to be found in favour of it in this country all of Sinn Féin, all of the Irish Parliamentary Party, the whole Bench of Irish Bishops, a very big meeting of distinguished Irish graduates, not merely National University people, all the senior graduates of the University, all of the main body representing the students— the Students' Representative Council? The Students' Representative Council and the senior graduates sent a deputation to the people then representing Sinn Féin, and they also sent a deputation to the Irish Party, and both these political groups in Ireland at the time accepted the representations, and University representation became a plank in the programme of Sinn Féin. And in this year, 1936, the Attorney-General tells us it is an anachronism and an anomaly.

We are told that it only survived by some four votes in England in 1931. The Attorney-General might have been more frank and told us what was the voting strength of the House of Commons when there was only a majority of four. How many members of the House of Commons turned up to the debate? How many people thought there was any danger of University representation being taken away in 1931?

As to the mandate, at any rate, for University representation—I shall come to the Constitution later—there is a sufficiently powerful force merely to group them as I have done—Sinn Féin, the old Irish Party, the Bishops and the University graduates and students and its older but distinguished graduates. Against that what have we? I am wondering when we are going to get some attempt to make a case for the mandate against it. The Vice-President did attempt it. He said there was a resolution passed at an Ard-Fheis of Fianna Fáil. When we queried where it was, we were told it was not published. It is apparently one of the secret agreements. Then we were told by the Vice-President that if Fianna Fáil did not openly pass a resolution about it a couple of Fianna Fáil Cumainn—we were not told the particular branches —had somewhere and in some area voted for the abolition of University representation.

Up to date there is the mandate. The Attorney-General had a crowning argument to-night. Bryce now becomes an authority on University representation. I wish he was quoted in a debate on, say, a second chamber, but he is now treated as an authority on University representation. In 1894, Bryce said that we must dismiss this relic of the Stuart Kings. Why talk about this relic of the Stuart Kings when, in 1918, on the Redistribution Bill, all the groups. I have spoken about, representing certainly all that was of political value in the country at the time, were in favour, not of the continuance of University representation, but of a new University representation in this country?

Then we come to the Constitution. The Attorney-General says it has to be remembered that the framers of the Constitution were not in favour of University representation and that it was by accident it got in. It is surely a warping of the facts to describe what happened in that way. The framers of the Constitution did not include University representation in the Dáil; they did include University representation. The Dáil met to discuss that Constitution, and the Dáil decided, and I think decided without a division, to include University representation in the Dáil. The Attorney-General says that there was no mandate for it—apparently the Attorney-General lost himself even in modern history—because the Constitution put before the country did not include University representation. I understood the way the Constitution developed was this: that a constituent Assembly sat, and in that constituent Assembly the idea of University representation in the Dáil was mooted and was accepted, and once the Constitution, with University representation in the Dáil in it, had been passed, the then Government went to the country with that as their Constitution and were returned. So far from the Attorney-General's view being mildly inaccurate about the matter, it is completely wrong. The country accepted the Constitution. I am not saying that the country's attention was riveted on what was, after all, a minor matter at that time, but so far as any Constitution went before the country and was accepted, it was the Constitution which contained University representation in the Dáil.

The Attorney-General, however, perverted the fact to this, that the Constitution put before the country had in it the extinction of University representation. There never was anybody who sat here to consider a Constitution who thought of the extinction of University representation. They had at times thought of shifting University representation from this House to the Seanad, but never until the present Dáil met did anybody promote the idea of the extinction of University representation. We are taking that step— a step beyond any that was ever contemplated by any people who ever thought of this matter.

The Attorney-General again tries to get the odour of musty old history over this matter. He said that down to 1918, in England, nobody except Conservatives were returned for Universities, and then—this is the Attorney-General's reading of modern history again—it was merely proportional representation that made the difference. The Attorney-General's researches in the 1918 period have not been very profound. A great deal more happened than the introduction of proportional representation. Representation was given to the new Universities.

If we had in this community of ours Universities of the type of Oxford and Cambridge, and only those; if we had Universities into which it was difficult for the poor man's son to get, although even in that respect openings and avenues are being made, as it is, into Oxford and Cambridge, and if it could be said of our Universities, or even the modern ones in England, that they were kept deliberately as much aloof from the ordinary life around them as Oxford and Cambridge were, and possibly to some extent are still, there might be some argument founded for this step of despoiling the Universities of their representation. But does anybody think that it is a fair comparison to speak of University representation as it was prior to 1918 and the representation that is given to the National University of Ireland? Does anybody believe that, going amongst the students of the National University of this country, you will find anybody except the sons and the daughters of the ordinary democrats of the country? Is there any close borough? Is there any question of keeping the poor man's children out? Is there any disdaining of those who come in? Is there anything, in the case of the University associations, in their clubs and societies, any body in which they meet, in which there is the slightest trace of old-time conservatism or snobbery? The person who says there is knows nothing of the University life of to-day. But it is in that type of atmosphere that we are asked to discuss this measure.

Of the National University and its students—and I think to a degree the same can be said of Trinity—this can be said: that there is no difference, as far as the class of the people is concerned, between the National University and any other constituency. I think there is a difference after they have gone through the University. Again I say, despite the sneering remarks about the advantages of University education, that I think there is a change worked, and it is not worked through study merely, and it is certainly not worked simply because there is contact remote and not too frequent between the students who come to the University and the staff. But there is a definite change, and a change for the better, and that should be preserved; there is a change worked through these students meeting together as members of the same educational establishment.

I have heard no argument in this House that could stand a moment's examination based upon the reality of the situation in the Universities to-day. I can certainly understand people being prejudiced by references to Oxford and Cambridge and the type of representation that they had 50 or 60 years ago. I can understand, possibly, people being befogged by these references to relies of antiquity, to pocket boroughs and to Bryce's representations of what James I or somebody else did. Wipe that all out when it comes to a consideration of any University at the moment. The phrase is of no application. The life that is lived now is a thing that is entirely different from what used to be lived in these days and the old pocket borough that the University was has as much disappeared from the sphere of the University of to-day as it has disappeared elsewhere in political communities. Previously Deputy Mrs. Concannon asked for an example in this House— I will repeat this as given to me by report—she asked for some proof that any University interests had been furthered in this House by University representation.

When did I ask that?

It was in the second last debate and it was in the context of remarks very like what the Attorney-General made to-night, that University representation had been harmful to the Universities. A request was made for concrete examples of University interests being furthered in this House by University representatives.

I never said anything like that. I myself as a University representative furthered University interests in respect of Galway College and that is on record.

I will seek with a microscope for that further reference afterwards. But no miscroscope is required for other matters. It is notorious that at the time of the change of Government in this country, whereas one University had been left with proper buildings and proper equipment the other had been left merely with promises that, when money was easier to be got than it was in the time of the war, certain sums previously promised—certainly an upward limit had been struck for moneys that should go to the National University and promises on foot of that had been made —would be granted, but these promises were not carried out by those who made them. Those promises were, however, implemented in this House and I take credit for having done quite a lot with regard to the implementation of those promises.

The only thing I felt I had as a special charge from my constituents when I came into this House was that I should get the addition by way of buildings and equipment made good, not for the staff but for the good of the students of the institution—that I should get the addition that had for a long time been promised and that had been withheld. At one time, when I was approached with regard to a post in the Government, I took the step of calling my constituents, a group of them, together to find out whether in their view they thought that the charge given to me by my constituents was going to be made more easy or more difficult by my becoming a member of the Executive Council. It was only when I got their acceptance that I took the post offered to me and within six months of my calling those people together we had got the transfer made and the scheme that was started in Newman's time was brought to completion through this House and through University representatives arguing it and pushing it and promoting their point of view in this House, and how it can be said——

It was not said.

It was said.

It was not said, because it could not be true and it would be disproved by my own record.

Let me take the Attorney-General's phrase to-day— harm done to the Universities. It has been a topic frequent in this House on this measure that the Universities are set back and harmed by having representatives here. I could speak of other things. There are various professional activities in the country that are given a better tendency by debates here, engineered in the main and carried on in the main by University representatives, not by University graduates, but by University representatives, and the Universities owe a great deal to this House and they owe a great deal to the various University representatives who have come here and promoted their activities and the House accepted it from them that promoting the good of the Universities was for the good of the country in the long run.

I have spoken about the mandate. The Vice-President told us about the two Cumainn and the rather hidden Ard-Fheis resolution. We now have Bryce and what he said in 1894. We had another argument from the Vice-President about economy. There is going to be an economy, he said, by getting rid of six members of this House. Comparisons are odious, but are six members of this House not worth as much their weight in gold as whatever may be the requisite number of warble fly inspectors? There has been a variety of new posts made since the present Government came in. There has been money lavished on the Civil Service, on people who are remotely or semi-attached or detached to or from the Civil Service, and on people who are outside the Civil Service, and in the teeth of it all the Vice-President is so badly put to it for an argument that he has to talk about the economy that will be made in the salaries and expenses of six members of the House. Now the real argument is still to come but these are the arguments so far put forward for the wiping out of University representation. I want if possible, to reproduce the contribution made by my colleague in the representation in the University, Deputy Mrs. Concannon. She said we have already made up our minds on this matter, and we are not going to stultify ourselves by considering the matter afresh because of the action of the Seanad. The Deputy agrees with that.

I did not say that at all. If the Deputy wishes to refer to what I said, let him read that portion of my speech.

The Deputy did take the line that, having made up our minds on the matter, we would stultify ourselves by discussing the amendment of the Seanad.

No, by accepting that particular amendment of the Seanad—that we would stultify ourselves by deferring the execution of our decision to another Dáil.

By accepting a particular amendment?

The Deputy has the view that University second thoughts are always second best. Is it the fruit of the Deputy's education, or does she take up the position here as a representative of a University, that, by discussing again something that had gone to another House in a constitutional way and that was returned to us in a constitutional way, we would be stultifying ourselves?

I did not say anything of that kind. The Deputy should quote what I did say.

I have not got the quotation by me. I was paraphrasing what the Deputy said.

I object to the Deputy paraphrasing what I said—on a second-hand report of my speech.

But the Deputy had some doubts about rediscussion lest that rediscussion should stultify us.

On the particular amendment.

Because we would be reversing our decision.

Well, we would be questioning our previous decision.

It was not a question of reversing a previous decision. The amendment would stultify us by referring to another House the execution of that decision.

But it was to be referred to the electorate.

That is the Deputy's paraphrase of a speech of mine he neither heard nor read. I cannot allow myself to be misinterpreted by the Deputy.

I should be very glad to hear what the Deputy actually did say.

Dialogue may be invited but it is not in order. We are not in Committee now.

The Deputy did not want the acceptance of the Seanad amendment here because, in her view, it would lead to stultification; the gist and tenor of the Bill being not only to disfranchise the Universities but to prevent the electorate from passing a judgment on the matter. If that is even a parody of the Deputy's views——

It is a parody.

If it is even a parody of the Deputy's views it does not do her much credit. She asks us not to accept an amendment constitutionally passed by the other House asking us to refer a question to the great Constitutional authority, namely, the people—asking us not to abolish University representation until after the next election.

It was a moribund body that asked us to do that.

Even if it was a moribund body or a stricken House, it was still there. Surely, it cannot be claimed that there is a mandate for doing what is being done simply through an Ard-Fheis resolution, and the claim of two Fianna Fáil clubs, plus what Mr. Bryce said in 1894. That is the mandate, so far as we have got it. Fortified by that, and indignant at anyone questioning that mandate, my colleague, Deputy Concannon, thinks it would be stultifying ourselves to refer the question to the final judgment of the electorate to state whether they want this Bill or not.

What was Trinity's complaint in 1918?

Trinity is always in reserve. Trinity is the villain of the piece. The mandate comes from the Fianna Fáil clubs and Mr. Bryce.

When is Deputy Donnelly going to forgive us?

The Vice-President said and Deputy Donnelly joined him, that if the Trinity representatives were not so often found in the Opposition Lobby, things might have been different. Deputy Concannon must refer us to some other sources than what Bryce said in 1894.

Trinity refused to come into the first Dáil.

Yes, and there are people talking and broadcasting their views to-day who refused to come into this Dáil. But Deputy Donnelly went further than the Vice-President. He said he would even back me in any election down the country but with this proviso: that I should hold Deputy Donnelly's political views. He said he hoped to see University representation reintroduced, not for a group with views such as the Trinity Deputies hold, but for a group with Deputy Donnelly's views. That was, at least, an honest statement. It is far better put than Bryce's views as quoted by the Attorney-General.

But let us get down to bed-rock. Whatever may be said about a mandate from Constitution makers in 1919 and the Constitution that went before the country in 1922 and 1923 does not matter. Neither does the nonsense about the Fianna Fáil clubs. The Vice-President stated openly and clearly that if Trinity College had not been so often found voting in different Lobbies from the Government things might be different, and Deputy Donnelly gave us the information that University representation should not be reintroduced until there was a body found in the Universities to represent Deputy Donnelly's views. Take that argument of the Attorney-General about its being unhealthy for minorities to claim particular privileges. I do not want to argue or make any claim for privileges for minorities. What I object to is that a step is being taken here simply to harm Trinity College, Dublin. I object strongly to that because in the process of doing harm to Trinity College, Dublin, you are going to do harm to the National University, and it may harm myself. The root of the matter is not any talk of nationality or whether Trinity College is a relie of antiquity. It is that three representatives of Trinity College have behaved in a way that, at any rate, the present Government does not like. Do not leave this decision as to the value of University representation to any philosophical or political tags or even to phrases that have a certain repute, however much they may be turned down by small minds. This Bill is for the abolition of Trinity College representation and for no other purpose. Deputy Donnelly may object to that being done. He said the last day that he would not vote for this Bill but for the political pledge he had signed. I think he said that he would be joined by one other man if he were a free agent. The Deputy should remember to what he is being tied. I do not know whether or not the Deputy has so obfuscated his mind that he believes he is a real democrat, in line with the great Bryce. Nothing like that is entering into the Government's consideration of this matter. The Government's outlook was quite clearly stated in the early debates. It came out at the end of a statement by the Vice-President, and it was afterwards repeated. The Vice-President was quite courageous about it. He did not put a tooth in it. He did not hide behind any argument as to "relic of antiquity." Trinity College has not displayed as much variety in the exercise of its voting power in this House as the present Government would desire. Therefore they go and, with them, goes University representation. That is a poor foundation on which to stand when you are going to wipe out an institution like University representation which has held in this country for so long, in favour of which there are so many arguments, and for which it can definitely and clearly be said there was a mandate. Further, it can be said that no appeal was made to the country against it and, therefore, there can be no claim to a counter-mandate. I believe that there will be other results. In these days when we are getting used to what I may describe as the mechanically-propelled type of legislation, when it is considered better not to have much discussion in this House, if things go on as they are going, not merely the right of the Universities to send representatives here will be taken away but, possibly, the chance of University people getting elected by constituencies other than Universities will go also.

It is hardly worth while dwelling on the futility of some of the arguments used in this debate. We were told to consider Deputy O'Sullivan's position here—an eminent man who, the Attorney-General tells us, secured election despite repeated assaults on his position. Did he do that because he was a Doctor of Heidelberg University? No. Probably the fact that he was a Doctor of Heidelberg University told against him. If there were many people holding the views the Attorney-General holds about the detachment of Universities, it should tell against him. When you have a Government displaying the tendency that they do not want argument in the House, when argument in the House is regarded as obstructive, when the closure is frequently applied, when a Government spokesman would rather see empty benches even when he himself is speaking, because that will mean less time in debate—when you get that mentality ruling, you are really doing away with the purpose of this House. You merely want voters; you want people at the back to swell into the Lobby when the time comes. When that tendency develops, as it is developing, University Deputies will come to be regarded as a nuisance and a bore—not merely Deputies from University constituencies but University Deputies from anywhere else. No doubt it will be possible to say that Trinity College, Dublin, had an ascendancy in educational matters for a long time, and that the odds are that if you hit an educated man you are hitting a Trinity man. Therefore, you can get prejudice excited against people who put themselves up parading such a thing as a doctorate even of a foreign University. We are definitely setting —I do not assert that a number of University representatives or that the whole University representation in this House is on a particular level and the rest of the representation on another and a lesser level—to try to degrade this House from performing its proper function. If we are to have government by reason, if we are to have measures put forward to be discussed and Opposition points of view in clash, surely, when an Attorney-General thinks that the talk about clash of mind on mind is a cliche, the Government who has that man as a main representative has got to a very low level, and has a very poor opinion of the value of this House as the chief representative institution in a country still governed by debate and by reason.

In the context of the Attorney-General's thoughts, there is another argument for the wiping out of University representation. That is, that it is a nuisance. It would be far easier if we could have a meeting here only once a week, and have a Minister stand up and not merely introduce a Bill, but introduce a Bill as passed, without any further ado. Government life would be much easier. Experimentation would be far easier, and there would be no chance of people being subjected to criticism. To people who regard these circumstances as proper ones, this attack on University representation as the start of a campaign against having reason still prevail in this House, is a good move.

This matter is, I suppose, a closed chapter by this time. I suppose the House, in the main, will accept the view of Deputy Concannon that it is stultifying itself even in listening to anybody arguing against this motion.

I object to that expression. I like listening to you.

Perhaps I may put it this way—that the House will probably accept my perversion of Deputy Concannon's point of view that it is stultifying itself in listening to an argument against this motion.

I object to any rendering of my views—even by way of perversion — by a Deputy who neither heard nor read them.

One may pleasantly listen to an argument having determined not to be convinced, but that is no good. Do the people who are going to vote for this motion believe, as they think of the debates, that a case has been made for the motion based on the reality of the Irish Free State situation? Do they believe that they have treated the people honestly in this matter? They may arrogate to themselves the power of deciding what the people will hereafter say, but can they conscientiously say that they tested popular opinion on this matter at any time? Will they not admit that the only time the populace was appealed to in regard to this matter it was in favour of University representation. If that is the situation, why proceed with this motion. After all, there are 153 members of the House. Suppose you imagine a House so narrowly divided at some future time that the three representatives of Trinity College ruled the House. Suppose that were to happen, do you think these three Trinity College people could maintain that position? Would it be a good position or a comfortable position for them to occupy? Could they vote narrowly on lines of Party prejudice? Would they not have to decide with considerable discrimination how to cast votes when demanded of them? Is it worth while making this change in order to gain two seats? That is, undoubtedly; the view the Party is countenancing at the moment. Suppose there were University representatives, in the circumstances I have talked of, in a House that was narrowly divided, and that the Trinity College representatives ruled the roost, could a Government last under these circumstances? Would not a Government, after some period in office, have some matters that required immediate attention and have to make another appeal to the constituencies? Does anyone believe that representation of that sort could be permitted to rule for any length in the House? Yet, if that is not the case, what is the virtue of wiping out University seats? There is some advantage in having them. At any rate, there has been argument as to their advantage, but there has been nothing in the way of counter argument. Must we be so revolutionary that, simply because a thing is sanctioned, we must attack it, without argument as to whether the attack is going to lead to valuable results or not? It is a small matter in a House of 153 members, or whatever number the new House will consist of. It may be said logically that that representation is over-weighted. Are these the only elements that will enter into consideration? Is not some value to be given to the appeal of 1918, to every school of political thought in the country, to the Hierarchy, to the Bishops and to a group of representatives and distinguished people of the Universities? That is not so long ago and there has been no clamour since then. I heard the Attorney-General saying for the first time to-day that there was a growing feeling in the constituencies against University graduates, because of the tenacious retention of parliamentary privilege. I have never met it. No Party organiser ever told me he found that in any constituency. Deputy Donnelly is sitting quietly at the moment. I do not think Deputy Donnelly ever found that it was a matter that agitated many minds. There is no feeling about it.

On the contrary, I always suggested that University graduates were suitable candidates.

I am speaking of University representation. The Attorney-General said there was a growing antagonism against University graduates because of the tenacious retention of this particular privilege. I never found it. I do not think anyone believes it is present. Without any clamour, without any vote in a constituency, without deputations, without its being put before the people, but in the teeth of the people's vote in 1918 and in the teeth of what they accepted as part of the Constitution in 1922 and 1923, it is proposed to take this step. It may be successful. Certainly it is not being put before this House in a way that should commend it as reasonable. It is a step in the dark. It is dead against all our traditions and against the people's vote on the matter. An opinion was canvassed and it was in favour of University representation, and not an argument has been used that would hold against what happened in 1918 when sanction was set on University representation. The old-time decision of 1918 has not been disturbed since, but you are going to set it aside.

So much has been said about Trinity College representatives that I feel constrained to make a few remarks on the whole situation. The House is tired of the so-called arguments for and against University representation. I do not propose to spend much time re-hashing the old arguments, because, in the first place, the Vice-President made it plain that there was not much use doing so, and, in the second place, he made me feel sorry for him, more sorry for him than for myself. I watched him while he was speaking, and as the furrows on his forehead got deeper and deeper, I thought to myself he was more and more sorry he had to do this. I believe he was. I believe that he and some members of Fianna Fáil feel that they are taking this step with a great deal of regret. I give them credit for that. I think a great deal better of them than some of them think of themselves, because I do not think this is the end of this question. It is going to be for a time, but it is going to be revived, and things are going to work out all right later on. As a matter of fact when the Vice-President talked of arguments for and against, he proceeded to deal with some of the arguments for University representation, simply on the lines that there had been very good University representatives and also very good non-University representatives. That showed quite well that he was not really trying to argue the matter. Later when he went on to talk about University representation being non-democratic—with which I do not agree in the very least—he seemed to be expressing the opinion in the democratic equality of votes. The Vice-President knows as well as I do, or as anyone else, that that is a poor definition of democracy, and that if carried out in its completeness would lead to a very poor kind of democratic government. It simply meant this, that it was not for these reasons at all this Bill was brought forward.

It was really more to make a very deeply felt protest against the action of Fianna Fáil in this matter that I rose rather than to argue the matter one way or the other. Many of the speaker went much nearer the truth in saying that the members for Trinity College were offenders, and that it was because of their doings here that this Bill had been brought forward here. The President on several occasions stated that he was disappointed in us. I think what he meant by that was that he felt that he had ideas in his mind, schemes and policies that he wished to carry out, which he thought would meet with our approval. But I do not think that was a fair disappointment on his part. I do not think it was a fair charge to bring against us, any more than I think it was a fair charge for the Vice-President to say that elections in Universities are just as political as elections outside. I do not think they are. Though the President or the Vice-President may have been disappointed in our actions in certain occasions I am not prepared to say that I am satisfied we acted rightly on every occasion. I do not say that. But I say that we tried to act on every occasion according to what appeared to us to be our duty at the time. We may have been quite wrong. Our motive was not a Party motive, and in that sense we have been just as independent as we have claimed to be in name. We have never stood in our University on Party grounds. It is in that respect that University elections have been most different from those in constituencies through the country. It has been extremely difficult, almost impossible, for anybody to get elected in a constituency throughout the country unless he was prepared to associate himself definitely with one Party or another. There has been a small number of exceptions but that is the case generally speaking. As my colleague, Deputy Rowlette, pointed out it will be still more difficult in future under the new electoral law for anybody to be elected unless he is definitely associated with one Party or another.

The Vice-President said that this motion was not a slur on the University. I do not accept that. In removing University representation I think the slur is there, but I do accept completely that it is not so intended by him or by Fianna Fáil. But it is not because it casts any slur on the University, and it is not because I claim in the slightest degree any privilege, in the accepted Party sense of the term, for either the University or any section, that I protest against this motion to-day. I regard it as a mistake from your point of view, because you are taking away from the University the sense of its duty towards the country. I accept it as an honour to be a representative of a University in this Dáil, but I claim also that, no matter how representatives may fail at times, it is a good thing and an honour for the Parliament of the country to have representatives direct from a University amongst its members. It is their duty to play their part in the development of the country, and to take an interest in the country's work, and, on the other hand, it is a credit and an advantage to Parliament to have representatives from these Universities taking their part in the life of the country and in the work and in the spirit of its Parliament. Deputy McGilligan expressed this quite well, to my mind. A University is a special part of the life of the country and its representatives, as University representatives, are democratic in the very highest sense, because they represent a certain part of the life of the country which draws itself and is fed from the young people spread throughout the whole of the country.

A modern University, such as we claim to be in Trinity College, and such as the National University claims to be, is in my opinion an institution of the most democratic kind. Those who get to know these Universities well, will appreciate the way in which democracy, the rights of the students and the lives of the students, tell upon them as they go through the University. In that sense, I completely agree with Deputy McGilligan that they are improved by their passage through the University. The Vice-President and Deputy Donnelly miss the point completely when they say that men with University training can get elected and will be elected. I have no doubt they will get elected in future by going to outside constituencies, but that is not the point. Men having gone through a University, having spent their years in taking their professions or whatever courses they may take, get the stamp of the University on them, but they do not become University men in the complete sense of the word. They go out to follow their lives in their professional capacities. They may stand for membership of this House in these professional capacities, and they will get elected, not because of their University connection, not because of anything that may have been stamped upon them in that connection, but because of the interest they take in their professions or in the constituency for which they stand. There is something different about those who have spent all their lives in the Universities. I do not claim in the slightest degree any privilege for the teaching class or the academic class in a University any more than Deputy McGilligan does, but I think there is something to be gained by having a certain amount of representation from those who have spent their lives in the University atmosphere and who have come to realise that part of the University life should be centered on the development of the interests and the life of the country as a whole.

You are proposing to take away entirely from the University its sense of duty in that respect. You may not think much of that at the present time. You may not think it is a serious thing, but when our present bitterness and differences have to a large extent become things of the past, as no doubt they will; when we have settled down under more stable conditions to develop along lines in which Party differences will have lost much of the bitterness which characterises them, I believe that you, Fianna Fáil members, or you, Fine Gael members, if you are in power, will either of you try to bring back amongst you some representation from your national Universities—and I use the word designedly in the plural. I think you are making a great mistake by even temporarily removing University members. One thing a University does above everything else, and that is that it enables men, in a less bitter and less passionate way than can be done in outside life, to appreciate the points of view even of those from whom they differ. That a certain admixture of that should be amongst you would, I think, be all to the good. Therefore, on general grounds alone, I think you are making a mistake in passing this resolution or in bringing forward this Bill.

I think you are making an especially great and serious mistake in pressing this resolution to-day. It is not very long ago since I think the Vice-President appreciated the force of remarks made by a high dignitary of our Church in Dublin who had spoken definitely to try to increase the feeling of responsibility for playing their part in the country amongst a very large section of the country—only a section, but still a large section of the country. I think the Vice-President expressed in the Seanad his appreciation of those remarks. Now, I have reason to believe that those remarks were doing good and were likely to do good, and I think it is a most unfortunate thing that at a time when we are making an effort to bring ourselves into the position of doing as much as we can and of showing ourselves determined to take our part in the life of the country, you should set yourselves just at that time to make it difficult and almost impossible for us to take any real part in the development and life of the country.

It is not the case, in fact, that the three representatives of Trinity College speak only for it. They may be elected by a very small number of electors, but in fact it is the case that they are very largely the only mouthpiece here for a much wider section of the country who would have no chance at all of getting the right to express themselves except through our University representatives. They are a large number. Under your new Redistribution Bill they are spread throughout the country in small numbers and in separate districts, but they are a very considerable number on the whole and an important section of the people of the country, your people, who love the country just as much as you do, but who are feeling, and have felt, a sort of hopelessness about their being able to do any good. You are going to make that feeling of hopelessness more and more intense. If you pass this resolution to-night, not only will you, as my colleague forcibly put it, break the last link of real unity throughout the whole country— it is a sentimental point if you like: it is not a big link, but it is there— but you will intensify this feeling in hundreds of thousands of people that "it is of no use my doing anything: I am in too small a minority here, I cannot affect an election in my constituency, even those who think with me are too small in number to be able to produce any effect; we are virtually disfranchised." No doubt they have a vote. So much for the mathematical uniformity to which the Vice-President drew attention. But these people will have no chance of affecting an election in their district, not the smallest, and they will not be able, except perhaps in one or two cases, even to get a single person here to speak for them when we the representatives from our University cease to be here. I do not say you wish it, but you will have brought it about, and then that section will have no voice practically to speak for them at all. The President said that he was disappointed in us, and the Vice-President, I think, said much the same.

I do not wish to interrupt the Deputy. What the President, I think, said was that he was disappointed at the attitude taken up by the three Deputies for Trinity College in agreeing to the doing away with the Referendum. It was on that, I think, that he said he was disappointed.

No. His statement is much more recent than that, and there was no reference to the Referendum in it. I know you have not forgiven me for that, but I was not thinking of the Referendum. It was more recently, in debates on this particular Bill, that the President used the words that he was disappointed in the members of Trinity College and what he had in mind, I feel confident, was that we should have supported certain schemes which we did not support. But the reason was perfectly clear. Those schemes were all based on an economic policy which we, rightly or wrongly, thought was erroneous and would ultimately lead to harm rather than to good. We may be right or we may be wrong, but that was our view, and if we had not expressed our view, either by word or by vote, I think the President and the Vice-President and you would have a great deal more reason to be disappointed in us, because one thing that I have claimed and that we have claimed— that I claim still—is that we have never given a vote except when we were convinced that it was the right course for us to take in giving a vote in that particular way. Can every member of your Party say that? Can any member of your Party say it? Not if you are bound by the Party vote although I am sure there are differences of opinion among you at times. I can say that I have never given a vote in this House except when I had satisfied myself beforehand that the giving of my vote in a particular way was the right and proper course for me to take. My view may have been quite wrong, but that was the thought and intention I had in my mind.

Not including your vote on the Referendum?

Yes, definitely.

That was not the view the Deputy expressed.

It was the case as regards all our votes. If we had been as cool and as calculating as certain Deputies on your benches have so often pointed out, we might, perhaps, have sided with Fianna Fáil instead of with the other side. On many occasions of that kind one or other of two things was the deciding factor. Your plans were based definitely on one of two things, breaking up either directly or ultimately the connection which existed between us and Great Britain, or the development of an economic policy which we felt was erroneous. In view of that, how could we have acted otherwise than we did?

We may be quite wrong in thinking that your policy was erroneous. You may be quite right in thinking that those steps to break that connection were sound and economic, but we did not think that you were, nor do we think so now. We think that you were wrong, and we think so just as strongly now as we did then. How could we, holding those views, do anything except vote almost always against you?

But, again, I say the charge was not fair, because when opportunities did occur and when we felt that it was right to do so we did support you, as, for example, when the credit of the country was at stake financially. We did everything then that it was possible for us to do to support you just as on a similar occasion we had done everything that it was possible for us to do to support your predecessors in office. When your President spoke in Geneva, as he did, did we not either here or outside show that we thought he had acted rightly, that it was not an occasion for haggling, that a principle was at stake, and did we not express ourselves as pleased by the stand for principle which he had taken there?

The Attorney-General

Our President.

I beg your pardon, I do not understand.

The Attorney-General

The Deputy referred to the President as "Your President." Our President. He is the President of this State.

A Deputy

He is President of the Executive Council.

I quite agree I should have said our President. It was quite through a slip I said "your President."

The President.

A very typical difficulty in connection with that gentleman.

I do not want to raise any difficulty over it. It was quite through an accidental slip when I said "your President." Again I say you are doing a small thing in pressing this. I think you are doing an unwise thing and that you are doing something that you will be sorry for in the end. I think that, perhaps, you will be the first to remedy this in the days to come. And though I know the Resolution is going to pass, in protest I felt constrained to say something because it was quite obvious from what was said on the various sides of the House that it was because of the action of my colleagues and I who represent Trinity College that this Bill was introduced and that we have this motion now before the House.

Before the Minister concludes I just want to say a few words. Superficially there is rather a sharp contradiction between the speech just delivered by Deputy Thrift and the speech delivered by Deputy McGilligan, because Deputy Thrift has been laying claim to an attitude of detachment on broad questions of national importance, and Deputy McGilligan, on the other hand, recommended University representation very expressly on the ground that University representatives should not be detached and that they were not, in fact, detached. He indicated, I think, that if he regarded them as detached, he would not think it worth while to support their preservation. But possibly the contradiction is only superficial because when you talk about detachment you have to consider whether you mean detachment from the interests of the nation or detachment from the interests of Party.

Hear, hear. That was my point.

I have no doubt that as far as Deputy Thrift is concerned he would not claim any detachment from the life of the nation but what he does claim is that he approaches the question from an unpartisan point of view.

I think with the Attorney-General that University representation is not altogether easy to defend. I have said before in this House that in the days before the War I was a convinced opponent of University representation in Great Britain for the reason that I had never been able to see in the conduct of University representatives at West minster the sort of enlightenment, detachment and the ability to appreciate your opponent's point of view which one might expect. I was not able to see the result of the clash of mind upon mind about which we had been hearing so much. There never was throughout the nineteenth century a generous movement—there never was a broadminded movement to break away from a narrow point of view— that got any assistance from University representatives at Westminster. The very fact of their not being in the position of having to appeal to the ordinary man in the street—their electors being a special narrow and limited kind—so far from driving them into a position of detachment from Party politics seemed to have, in fact, removed from their minds all considerations except Party considerations. Consequently you find over and over again these representatives taking the part of unmitigated diehards on the very questions where you would expect to see some signs of enlightenment, broadmindedness and toleration as a result of their University connections, University education and the University electorate.

But even in Great Britain I have of late seen a change. The old Party system is broken up; new Parties have taken the place of the old ones and with that there has been a certain loosening of Party ties in the British Universities. Consequently we have lately seen—though I admit that the particular instance quoted by Deputy Donnelly was a deplorable one— we have had examples of men being returned through the British Universities who were outside the ordinary Party rut, men who are at the present moment taking a line of their own in the House of Commons. If that continues University representation in England will be saved, but if it does not continue University representation in England will sooner or later be abolished.

Now what about this country? In this country we have a special situation arising from two things—the first is that we have just got rid of our Second Chamber. We have got rid of it on paper and shortly we will get rid of it in actual fact. At the moment when that experiment is being made is it prudent to be taking further steps such as the abolition of University representation in the direction of undiluted democracy? I am a democrat. I have been all my life a firm, thorough, and complete democrat. But it still has very much to be proved that undiluted democracy in the narrow sense on the principle of counting noses and nothing more, is really going to lead to democratic consequences. So far as we have been able to observe up to the present all through the world, it is much more tending in the direction of dictatorship and towards the abolition of democracy. Nobody who is familiar with the process of popular election can really feel entirely satisfied that the vote of the most ignorant, uneducated, possibly immoral individual in the community should count for every bit as much as the vote of the best educated, or the vote of the person possessing the most desirable qualities of citizenship. It is very easy to allow oneself to be run away with by abstract notions of what democracy consists in, but in point of fact the country where democracy has worked far the best is Great Britain. I do not believe anyone here would deny that. Democracy has worked a great deal better in Great Britain than anywhere else, and may it not be because of the fact that British democracy is diluted by all sorts of things which, on the surface if you like, are illogicalities? If we are going to take the step here of abolishing the Second Chamber and making the big experiment of having only one, surely we might for the time being abstain from tinkering with this House? As has been pointed out by Deputy Doctor Rowlette, we have passed a Redistribution Bill which in effect abolishes proportional representation; it retains it in name, but removes the very things for which proportional representation is recommended. We are also abolishing the Second Chamber, and on top of all those things we are asked to sweep away University representation.

As regards the National University, I repeat what I have said before, that I think the case for its special representation is very much weaker than the case for the special representation of Trinity College. Like the English Universities, the National University has in fact returned to Parliament partisan representatives—they do not pretend to be anything else except partisans—who might perfectly well be elected, with exactly the same election addresses, for any constituency in the country. Deputy McGilligan even went the length of holding up to odium the election address that was used at the last general election by the Attorney-General and Deputy Mrs. Concannon.

On their behalf.

I do not know whether I am to infer from that that it was used against their will or without their knowledge.

You are to infer from it that Deputy Mrs. Concannon is ashamed of her life of it.

I am in favour of accuracy.

Except at elections.

It would seem, therefore, from Deputy McGilligan's own confession, that in the case of two out of three of the representatives of his own University those beneficent results of the clash of mind on mind somehow or other did not operate. An election address was issued which he said would disgrace any constituency in the country, and I have not been able to observe—and I am sure nobody else in the House has been able to observe—anything in the votes of the representatives of the National University in this House to distinguish them at all from the representatives of ordinary constituencies. Apart from their votes, what about their speeches? I admit that the Attorney-General is more moderate and reasonable in his speeches than most of his colleagues, but I think that is something that just happens to be personal to him. But, when Deputy McGilligan talks of University representatives having a different slant—that is the expression he used—from other people on the subjects that arise in this House, I search my memory in vain for any instances or indications of that different slant. Certainly, if Deputy McGilligan has a different slant from other people, it is not the sort of difference that I would expect or would wish to be characteristic of University representation. His ability is his own; whatever constituency he comes from he is a man of first-rate ability; but as regards his technique, as regards his attitude towards other members, as regards his general disposition to introduce a note of sweetness and light rather than heat into our discussions, I would not say that it could seriously be argued that he gave us a characteristic example of what University representation might be expected, by its defenders, to produce. Nevertheless, even allowing for all that, and even if there were no University to be considered except the National University, although I admit the case for it is on the weak side, still in the present state of affairs—when we are doing what we are doing in regard to the Second Chamber, and when we are doing what we are doing in regard to proportional representation—I would not disturb even the representation for the National University. It does seem to me that, on the whole, there is a better chance of representatives of ability and education coming from there than from the ordinary constituencies, and I am not enough of a theorist to overthrow that constituency because of general ideas about democracy.

Now we come to Trinity College. The Attorney-General has accused Deputy Dr. Rowlette of clap-trap because he has referred to Trinity College representation as a link with Northern Ireland.

The Attorney-General

As the last link.

As the last link with Northern Ireland. I do not quite know what particular importance the Attorney-General attaches to the word "last."

The Attorney-General

That is the part of the phrase that I thought was clap-trap.

Why clap-trap? I do not quite know why clap-trap. But, if the word "clap-trap" is in any way appropriate, it must surely be because Deputy Dr. Rowlette has in the opinion of the Attorney-General said something which was ridiculously exaggerated when he suggested that the representation of Trinity College was any sort of an important link with Northern Ireland. I hope the Attorney-General will acquit me of any temperamental tendency towards clap-trap, either towards uttering it myself or towards liking it in other people, but as far as I am concerned I agree with Deputy Dr. Rowlette, and I do attach great importance to Trinity College representation from that particular point of view, apart from any other point of view. The Attorney-General has approached this question by asking us what right have this small minority in Trinity College to demand special privileges. Is it well for themselves that they should demand special privileges? Now, I approach it from a somewhat different point of view. I am not thinking of their rights; I am thinking of the welfare of this country. There is a large Protestant population —let us not shrink from alluding to the question of religion—scattered through this country in such small numbers that it is not able to elect elsewhere in ordinary constituencies the sort of representation it would like to have. Is it a bad thing for this country that that scattered population should have in the Dáil the particular kind of representation that is afforded to it by the presence of the Trinity College members? I suggest that it is very far from being a bad thing for this country. We all of us believe in Ireland and not in the Irish Free State.


Hear, hear.

By force of circumstances, the Protestants in the North are not represented here. You may say they do not deserve to be represented here. I am not prepared to quarrel with that statement. That is not the point. The point is, is it desirable for us to realise what our population really consists of, including our population in Northern Ireland? Is it desirable for us to forget that there are two races in this island of ours, and that practically 25 per cent. of the population of Ireland is of a different religion from that of most of us, and of different racial stock from that of most of us? It is not very well indeed that we should have here in the Dáil, while we are still separated by the Border from Northern Ireland, this handful of men to remind us of the existence of the people in the North and to reflect in general, to a large extent, the ideas, the ideals and the aspirations of these people in the North, whom we want to see reconciled to us?

They believe fundamentally in the same things in which the Unionists in the North believe, but they are here as hostages. They are here to bear witness to the fact that we are a tolerant people, and not an intolerant people. They are here to bear witness to the fact that Home Rule does not mean, as used to be said in the old days, Rome Rule, and is it for the good of this country, is it for the good of our own minds, is it likely to make a good impression on the North, that we should banish them from our councils? I suggest it is an act of arrant folly and shows an extraordinary lack of imagination and lack of patriotism, and so I do not hesitate to unite my voice with those of others who are asking the Government, even at this last moment, to reconsider what they are doing.

I want to repudiate the statement of Deputy MacDermot that the Protestants in Southern Ireland are represented by Trinity College. They are represented by their members in the Dáil.

Deputy MacDermot has deplored that Deputy McGilligan brought neither sunshine nor sweetness into our councils in this House. If he expected either sunshine or sweetness in that direction, I feel sure that I shall not disappoint him when I forewarn him that I intend to introduce neither one nor the other into the discussion at this stage. I do, however, intend to introduce a little light and, possibly, a little acid. It is necessary. One cannot avoid being moved by the studied and obviously considered words of Deputy Professor Thrift, nor can I pretend to have listened to Deputy MacDermot without very considerable sympathy. His usual compelling eloquence, I think, has stated the situation in regard to Northern Ireland with extraordinarily telling effect.

I do not think that experienced members of this House will be under any misapprehension as to the trend of this debate. No argument founded on reason, no argument founded on sound commonsense, no argument founded on conviction, has proceeded from the Government Benches in defence of this resolution. Does anyone, seeing Deputy Donnelly sitting where he sits, doubt for a single moment the purpose of this resolution? I have more than once in this House paid tribute to the fact that, although I have little regard for Deputy Donnelly as a politician, I know him and respect him as an honest man. He cannot keep the cat in the bag. On this occasion, the cat in this particular bag is the prospect that at the next general election there will be five Deputies returned by the two Universities opposed to President de Valera, and only one returned to support him.

That is the reason for this resolution. That is the reason of this Bill, and there is no other reason. I speak strongly in that regard, because when Deputy Professor Thrift, and persons of the standing of Deputy Rowlette and Deputy MacDermot, intervene to plead reason, to point out the imprudence of the course proposed, they may deceive the people. They may leave the people under the impression that their arguments have been listened to, and, having been examined in a rational way, have been discarded by a Government that was not convinced. That is not so. There is only one reason for this resolution, and there is only one reason for this Bill. It is to try to buttress up the crumbling majority of the Fianna Fáil Party. Nobody doubts that Deputy Mrs. Concannon and the Attorney-General will not be returned by the National University at the next general election. One of them will get in. We all know that. One will lose the seat, and that means that two members sympathising with this Party will be returned by the National University at the next election. In all human probability, three members out of sympathy with President de Valera would be returned by Trinity College at the next general election.

The Seanad went because it dared to differ from him. An attempt was made to abolish this Party because it dared to differ from him. The Seanad was abolished because it refused to permit President de Valera to abolish this Party for the crime of differing from him, and the representatives of Trinity are about to go because they are not prepared to kneel down and adore at the personal shrine of President de Valera, and every other force in this country which he thinks he can abolish with impunity will be abolished, just as he proposes to abolish the representatives of the Universities by this resolution. Those are the plain, unvarnished facts, and when appeals are made to reason, much as they may move Deputies on this side of the House, and many of the back bench Deputies on the other side, they will not move the Government, because the Government has only one solicitude in this matter, and that is to consolidate their electoral position after the next general election. It is not the first time in man's history or in the history of nations that drowning men will clutch at a straw, and they are clutching at this straw in the hope of surviving as a result of having eliminated a potential force that would be arrayed against them. It is a futile straw but, nevertheless, it is necessary and right that the people should be kept informed of the true purpose actuating the Government in their action in regard to this matter.

Deputy MacDermot said, and, I think, truly said, that it was difficult to justify representation for a University, but it seems to me no more difficult to justify representation for a University as an electoral unit than it is to justify representation for any constituency. What rule or principle underlies the delineation of any constituency? It is not territorial; it is not historical. It seems to me to be nothing more than a matter of convenience and that you simply take a certain area, in which a certain number of people live, and you say "For the purpose of electing members of Dáil Eireann, you will vote as a resident of such and such an area." Is that any more reasonable than to say to a certain section of citizens "For the purpose of electing your representative to Dáil Eireann, you will vote as residents of the Universities where you were educated?" There seems to me no difference in principle. There seems to me no excessive privilege given to anybody, but there does seem to me to be this utilitarian advantage, that you have, in the graduate body of any University, a body of electors, everyone of whom is an educated man or an educated woman. It has ever been the claim of democrats that the surest protection for democracy was the highest standard of universal education for the electors of the country, because it was felt that the more educated the electors of the country were, the more effectively safeguarded they were against the threat of a demagogue, the more difficult it was for an unscrupulous person, who sought to compel them to act irrationally, to deceive them. We are far distant from the day when we can hope that every man and woman in this country will have the standard of education enjoyed by the University graduates of Trinity and the National, but if we could reach that day in the morning, will anyone deny that the membership of this House would be better than it now is, and that its membership would be chosen with more discrimination? Will anyone challenge the fact that if there be a demagogue in this House— and I suppose there are some—that he would think a little more often than he does now before he went down to the cross-roads with the clap-trap which has been referred to here to-night.

To Glenties!

Yes, to Glenties, I suppose.

I am not prepared to exchange discourtesies with my colleague, Deputy Mrs. Concannon, across the floor of this House or, indeed, anywhere else. I have always found that anything she said here was worth listening to, and no doubt anything she says elsewhere is equally worth listening to. I do put it to the House, however, that here are two constituencies consisting of men and women who, as far as we can see, are as highly equipped to be democratic electors as it is possible for any two groups in this country to be. Has this House nothing to get from such representatives? Surely, Deputy MacDermot will not quarrel with me if I say that from an educated electorate we should not wish for nothing but sunshine and sweetness. That does not seem to me to be a sine qua non of intellectual ability. We expect from an electorate which is highly educated a representative who will contribute something valuable to the deliberations of this House. I am not going to be misled into an examination of the personal characteristics of each University representative in this House but, taking the representation of the two Universities in this House as a whole, will anyone deny that they stand pretty high in the esteem of their colleagues drawn from all over the country? Will anyone deny that this House will be the poorer for losing them? Will anyone deny that, at any time since this State was founded, the Universities sent us representatives here who strengthened and enriched the deliberations of this Assembly? I can find no principle at issue which makes it necessary for us to eschew that advantage which, in our own experience, we know we have. There is no principle at stake. There is no infringement of the purest democracy in vouchsafing this representation to Universities, but there is a material advantage for the Oireachtas and for the country. That, combined with the other rational arguments put forward, must carry conviction to the mind of anyone who has the interests of the country at heart, rather than the interests of Party.

That, however, is not the situation with which this House is faced, and the country ought to be made aware of it. The sole and only purpose of this resolution is to deliver President de Valera from the prospect of having five opponents returned to this House at the next election and only one supporter. There is no other reason— no other inducement in the minds of Fianna Fáil Deputies—but that. To date, there is only one Deputy in the Party who has had the independence to shake off the Party Whip in so inglorious an enterprise, and that is Deputy Tom Kelly. I have not heard him intervene here to-night, and I have no doubt that it takes a good deal to turn the formidable stomach of that experienced and redoubtable old warrior in politics, Deputy Tom Kelly. This task, however, evidently proved even too much for him.

Examine your own conscience.

Deputy Donnelly has survived the burden, apparently, and will be seen staggering into the Lobby shortly, bearing it, albeit unwilling; but Deputy Donnelly knows, and I know, the real reason he will be driven into the Lobby to-night, and being as he is, before all things, a politician, he will console his conscience by saying: "Ah, well, out of this evil will come much good, and whatever chance we have of surviving at the next election, if we pass this resolution maybe we will get through."

Deputy Thrift to-night gave certain reasons why we were in favour of the abolition of University representation. They are not my reasons. I have, I hold, given fair play to every minority in my constituency. My reason for being against University representation is that I see no reason why individuals who have been spoon-fed from birth, so to speak, and educated at the expense of their own brothers and sisters, who had to toil and work to provide for their education, should possess in this country ten times the voting power of these brothers and sisters who, as I say, toiled and slaved to put them into sheltered positions. That is my reason. Take the ordinary University graduate down through the country—a member, in all probability, of the family of a small farmer, where Jack is kept at home and kept there from six in the morning till six at night, Sundays and week-days, working and toiling in order to keep Michael at school. Michael is kept at school and then goes on to the University in due course, and his brothers and sisters remain at home, as I say, toiling and slaving to keep him in the University. Time goes on; Michael gets out his degrees and leaves the University, and another sacrifice, probably, has to be made in order to get him into some position.

Deputy Mulcahy says "Ha, Ha," but he knows it better than I do. However, to continue: After that, this gentleman, who has been spoon-fed from birth, requires only 1,000 votes to send him to this House as a representative here as against the 7,000 or 8,000 votes necessary to send in an ordinary Deputy from an ordinary constituency. That is a position of privilege that I am not prepared to allow to anyone—I do not care who they be —and I have as much respect for University graduates and University education as anybody, but I am not going to concede that to them, and I do not see what privileges they should have any more than anyone else in this country. Deputy O'Sullivan alluded to the group system. He was in favour of the group system. He also spoke of of the particular period at which University representation was brought in here. When was it brought in here? It was brought in here in October of 1923, when a certain group in this country, having usurped the rights of the republican Government, came in here and endeavoured to bolster up the case that they were here representing the country by bringing in University representatives, Labour men and farmers' representatives. That was the reason why they were brought in here —to try and put a face on the case that they were the Government of the country, and in order that at any time of stress or danger these three or four votes would be there to be relied upon.

I am not surprised to hear that Deputy O'Sullivan is in favour of the group system. He was long enough associated with Dictator General O'Duffy to be in favour of the Corporate State, to that extent at any rate. Furthermore, we notice that at every general election they always put up a farmers' group and say that farmers must have direct representation in the Dáil, but within three months after the election these farmers are taken to the bosom of the Party opposite on one promise or another. That bluff is played out now, and so is this one. If there was no other reason why my vote should be cast in favour of the abolition of University representation, Deputy Thrift's statement, that they were now going to have no chance of affecting elections, would be sufficient reason. He gave us his view, and the view of those whom he represents, that the British connection should be kept up here. That was why he was voting against the people of this country having the right to a referendum.

I never said that.

Of course that was no harm. They were only the plain people, the underdogs. They were not the educated representatives.

Are the present Government in favour of a referendum?

I do not believe that even proportional representation will get the Deputy through at the next election

Are the present Government in favour of a referendum?

It does not matter to the Deputy what the present Government are in favour of, or not in favour of— he will not be here after the next election. Just as Deputy Thrift thinks it is his duty to preserve that connection by every means in his power, so it is our duty by every means in our power to abolish the representation of Trinity College here. This House has spent sufficient time in considering this matter. I have given two reasons why I am voting against University representation. One is that I do not believe in any spoon-fed individuals having ten times the voting power of the ordinary working farmers. I consider that the ordinary working farmers have as much right to special representation as Trinity College or any place like that. The ordinary workman working for his day's pay also has as much right to it, and if there is any special privilege to be given, it should be given to the ordinary worker who has to make sacrifices in order to make these University graduates professional gentlemen. These are the people who make the sacrifices. They are the people who pay the piper and who should have the right to call the tune. Deputy Thrift has now come out into the open and stated that one of the reasons he is here is to preserve that connection with England, I consider it is my bounden duty, as far as I can do it, to break that connection, and if doing away with the representation of Trinity College is going to do that, here is one vote for it.

Why do not the Government break it?

I think the Deputy was told by the Parliamentary Secretary to the President to hurry up because time was passing. This is a subject upon which we can afford to spend a good deal of time. The speech to which we have just listened was a criticism of what is termed a privileged class. It is a privileged class. The educated class in this country is privileged by reason of its own intellectual ability and its intellectual attainments. Only last night the Minister for Local Government gave certain figures relating to the improvement of public health in this country, an improvement which has been marked, not alone during the last few years, but over a long series of years. To whom is the credit for that great improvement in public health due but to the educated classes or the educated masses; to the sections of the community turned out by the Universities and to the good service which they have given to the public? They are responsible for the improvement that has taken place in the public health owing to the services given by the persons appointed to public positions.

It was due more to good housing.

If the Minister looks up the returns for the City of Dublin for 1886 and compares them with those for 1896, the year after the inauguration of the main drainage system, he will find an astonishing reduction in the death-rate in that period. If he looks at the returns for 1906, he will find that as between 1896 and 1906 there was a reduction of something like ten per 1,000 in the death-rate. That was not due to good housing, nor was the reduction in the mortality from smallpox or other zymotic diseases due to good housing. Rather was it due to the work of the medical profession. We have had in this House from the Universities members of the medical profession who have always urged the need for an improvement in public health services. During the last ten years they have given expression to what is necessary and essential in the way of public health services if we are to improve the public health of the country. If the Government are looking for a Nationalist majority, there is a sufficient Nationalist majority in this House to tolerate—that is an objectionable term to me—those who disagree either in politics or religion with the vast majority of the people. It is not because of the North of Ireland, or because of the difference politically or religiously between sections in the North of Ireland that we should not be generous by allowing representation to those who differ from us either in religion or politics. Have we any reason to be afraid of that?

We have not. Why then refuse them admittance? Why talk about a privileged class when it is well known to everybody in this House that such a representation would be an improvement to this House? There ought to be some representation here that will not be always at the beck and call of mob movements and that will not have to depend for its existence on always doing something that is popular. Some of the greatest changes that the world has ever known have come from movements which were unpopular in the beginning. We should not be afraid of having representation from one or two Universities. Is there not sufficient generosity left in the people of the country to give representation to those who differ either in religion or politics from the rest of the country? Are we becoming less generous, we who prided ourselves for so long on our democracy? What is democracy, does anybody know? Has anybody from that side of the House given expression to what is the real meaning of democracy?

Nobody knows.

If that be so, then perhaps the term ought to be less often employed. Any Deputy who gets up on the back benches opposite and declares that these people are represented in this House must know quite well that he is not telling the truth. He may not, perhaps, mean to mislead the House; he may mean that people who differ in religion or politics fundamentally from candidates put forward for election will select some individual who is closer to their point of view than perhaps another, but nevertheless those people do not get the necessary representation. Have we during the last ten or 12 years heard any complaint from those who have come in here from either of the two Universities that there has been unfair treatment of their class? We have not.

I disagree entirely with the statement made by Deputy MacDermot that there are two races here. In so far as the North is concerned, it is as Gaelic as the South; the people are of the same stock, and therefore it is not there the difference is. There is no affinity, no political affinity, nor is there any affinity on many other questions, between those who have come in here from Trinity and those who are in the North of Ireland. At least they have expressed their broadmindedness on public questions, and we know there is bigotry in the North. I regret it for the sake of the name of this country, but time will settle that question just as it has settled every division in other countries. Time must bring about a reunion here such as has been brought about in other States that are members of the British Commonwealth of Nations. For instance, time has brought about unification in Canada and Australia, and in South Africa in our time, when it seemed very unlikely that that was going to happen. It will happen here by reason of the fact that it is an unnatural division.

At any rate, I would not have a reunion resulting from anything which would be in the nature of a political attraction. We ought to get it on our merits as a people who are prepared to give representation to those who even in a minority in this country cannot get representation in the normal course. A Bill that was introduced here recently makes it practically impossible for those people to get representation.

The Deputy represents a political Party there. He does not represent the same order of people who are going to be disfranchised as soon as this resolution passes.

I represent everyone.

There is no reason why anybody cannot be elected.

No, no reason, but the Deputy might add "if he agrees with the political policy of the Party opposite and has sufficient pull to get nominated as a candidate."

All he needs is a national outlook.

A national outlook trumpeted from a Party bugle! There is very great difference between a national outlook and a Party outlook. There is not in any Party a monopoly of nationality. The Deputy is not even of Irish extraction—his name signifies it on the spot. He is possibly one of the two races mentioned by Deputy MacDermot; he is not even as national as the people in the North whom we are criticising.

The Deputy apparently is anxious to continue privileges to certain people.

I do not want to give them any privileges. I say that this House has benefited by the attendance of University representatives, and it gets advantage from that representation.


It will be remembered that the Minister here at the present moment withdraw a Bill within the last two years in consequence of the criticism that came from the representatives of one of the two Universities. Is not that some advantage? And it was not a Party case that was made; rather was the argument confined to the merits of the Bill that was introduced. Some wisdom was brought to bear on a particular question, and the result was that the Bill was withdrawn. Our attitude is largely prompted, not with the object of attracting these people in the North, but to let them see that there are people here who have the proper kind of national outlook, a national outlook that envisages a whole nation and not a section of a nation, and that there can be no real advance or improvement in the nation unless there is a national co-operation which will help to bring about that much-desired advancement and progress.

I am one of those who believe in leaving very well alone. I recognise the fact that University representation is a thing that was fought for by the leaders of the Irish people previous to my time. The Irish people having spent years in agitation and hard work in order to secure that representation, I certainly would be slow to do away with it, irrespective of the merits or demerits of University representation itself. One reason why I intervene in this debate is because, to use a word that has been used very frequently here this evening, a lot of claptrap has been spoken about what is called democracy. It would seem that democracy is a thing that is understood only by the members of the Fianna Fáil Party and the Labour Party. I happen to be one of those who were not reared with silver spoons in their mouths. I happen to be one of the hardy type of working men. I got a little education and I was brought up in a way which led me to respect those who were placed over me in authority. I would like to state in public for the benefit of the University representatives that so far as my experience goes there is no such thing as any great movement on the part of the workers of this country to do away with University representation, and I think I can speak as much on behalf of the workers as the leader of the Labour Party or any member of the Fianna Fáil Party from the President down.

I think it is most undignified and unbecoming for the House to proceed with the consideration of this matter. The Vice-President has introduced this motion and the 60 days necessary have not even elapsed. It seems to be all-important now that University representation be removed. If my memory serves me correctly, the Government have been in office 1,065 days, and they have not yet removed the Border. They are proceeding now to remove six University representatives—another great victory. At one time I expected that I would see the warriors on the benches opposite marching forward to the Border, led by Deputy Mrs. Concannon as a sort of Joan of Arc, determined to restore the Irish Alsace-Lorraine to the bosom of the motherland. Instead of that they are now out to secure a great victory by doing away with the representation of the two Universities, the National and Trinity. Doubtless we will have Deputy Corry, as usual, going to the cross-roads and talking the usual clap-trap about men having to work hard in order to give brother John a University education. We have that type of mentality prevailing all over the country at the present time.

I am beginning to feel very pessimistic as regards the future of this country. That cheap preaching, that cheap type of talk at the cross-roads, saying that every man is as good as another, and having no respect for people who are educated, will have serious effects ultimately. Possibly it may pay the members of the Fianna Fáil Party to adopt that policy at the present time, but it is not good for the future of this country, and neither is it good for the young people. I declare here as a workers' representative that there is no such thing as a demand for abolishing University representation as it exists at the moment. As I say, I am not going into the merits or the demerits of this question. I know that much argument could be used for not having University representation because of the number of votes it takes to return a University representative, as compared with the number of votes it takes to return an ordinary Deputy. But that really does not count. The fact is that most University students, at the moment, are the sons of farmers. They are not the privileged class they were alleged to be formerly. The truth is, and we might as well face the truth, that the whole reason for doing away with University representation in this Dáil is, because the University representatives have, in the majority of cases, not voted with the present Government. Therefore, they must go. There is no use indulging in hypocrisy and talking about University representation as something anti-democratic. The fact remains, and it is well known to members of the Fianna Fáil Party, that it has been decreed University representation must go because the University representatives did not respond to the crack of the Government Whip. Indeed, everything and everyone who does not respond to the Government Whip must go. The Government's own former allies who do not now see eye to eye with them must go. Even the Gaelic League must go, and the Labour Party will go in the same way.

I do not think that that is very honest or dignified on the part of a Government which said at the last election that they were out to do the best they could for all interested in this country. I hold they have no mandate whatever from the people of this country to do away with University representation, and I am going to vote against this motion. I believe the Government should have agreed to the amendment inserted by the Seanad, and that they should have postponed the Bill until the people had an opportunity of declaring whether in their opinion University representation should go or not. That can only be determined by the result of a general election.

I want to say one or two words upon this motion. The Minister stressed, and it was reiterated by other speakers, that University representatives, or rather Trinity College representatives, were sent to this House on political grounds just as much as any other Deputies. We certainly were not sent to this House on Party votes or issues. Any mandate I got from my constituency was of a general character. It was that I should do my best, in my small way, to help to form a Government and to build up our new State. I was personally very proud of that honour. Although I did not think I myself could do very much, I hoped I might be joined and followed by better men than myself, who would help to build up my University which in the past certainly did not play a dishonourable part in Irish history. Certainly, as individuals, representatives of Trinity College were honoured in the past, and are honoured still, and I hope they will again play their part in building my University into the fabric of the State, where it should be. That would be good for the State and good for the University.

I deplored all my life that we were so divorced from Irish national life. The word "national" has been overused here to-night. It was with the desire and the aspiration of uniting Dublin University with the life of the State that I entered this Dáil. I must say I was disappointed with a good deal that has been said to-night; I have very little more to say; perhaps too much has been said already. I was thinking, after hearing Deputy Corry, that his speech might close the discussion. In the old days in Greece, after they had their great tragedies, they concluded with a farce, which was an exhibition of ribaldries, indecencies and narrow-mindedness. The play is over, democracy is vindicated, and Trinity College is banished from the State. This resolution is very vindictive, and I only hope that some day Deputy Donnelly will learn to forgive. I really do not know how we sinned in 1918, but I suppose I shall learn some day. The play and the tragedy are over. I think the side taken in this matter by the Government is a deplorable one and a very short-sighted one, and I think they themselves will regret it yet. I am sorry for Trinity, but I am still more sorry for the State when I think in the broadest and widest way of our country, North and South.

Two things emerge from this debate which ought in themselves be sufficient to convince the Minister and his Party of the wisdom of not proceeding with the motion. One of these was outstanding, and came from the Minister himself. It was to the effect that, while he could not say that the Government had any mandate whatever for the abolition of University representation, he had to admit that there was a very considerable strengthening of the prestige of this House by the presence of University representatives. These were the words used by the Minister himself. Then there was the statement made by Deputy McGilligan, which was not contradicted, and is historically true, as everyone knows, that a mandate was given in 1918 by Sinn Féin, by the Irish Bishops, by the old Irish Parliamentary Party, and by everyone in the political life of Ireland at that time, for University representation. Has that been abandoned or withdrawn? These two things should have influenced the Minister against any such motion as this, and should have convinced him that University representation was an advantage to this House. As Deputy Alton has said, it was a pity, in a way, that the debate did not finish with Deputy Corry's speech, because it was certainly a very illuminating and enlightening contribution. Deputy Corry thought that while Jack, a toiler down the country, educated Mick, that Mick, after his education, did not derive any special qualification to represent anybody in this House better than would Jack. That was an extraordinary reason, but, of course, it is the type of reasoning one would expect from Deputy Corry. The Minister said the Opposition failed to get to the root of the matter. He used these words several times when introducing this motion. The root of the matter was got at by Deputy Corry and Deputy Donnelly when they spoke. The root of the whole matter is Trinity College.

I move the adjournment of the debate.

Debate adjourned to Thursday, 23rd April.
The Dáil adjourned at 10.30 p.m. until 3 p.m. on Thursday, 23rd April, 1936.