Emergency Powers Bill, 1939—Second Stage.

I move that the Bill be now read a Second Time. This Bill is simple in its construction. Its main provision is set out in sub-section (1) of Section 2 which purports to give the Government power, by order, to make such provisions as are, in the opinion of the Government, necessary for securing the public safety, for the preservation of the State, for the maintenance of public order and for the provision and control of supplies and services essential to the life of a community. Sub-section (2) of the same section sets out, by way of illustration and without prejudice to the generality of sub-section (1), the various powers which the Government will secure when sub-section (1) is enacted. The wide scope of the section is necessary, as was explained by the Taoiseach in his opening speech to-day, by reason of the fact that it is impossible to foresee all the circumstances that may arise for this country during the progress of a European war. It is obvious that many immediate difficulties will arise, some of them of considerable magnitude, but difficulties which are at present unforeseeable may also he experienced, and it is necessary that the Government should be equipped with powers to deal, and to deal expeditiously, with such difficulties should they occur. It is because of the nature of the circumstances, because of the impossibility of foreseeing future developments, because of the need for giving the Government power to act quickly in relation to these developments, that this section has been drawn in this wide manner. I am sure that no Deputy would expect the Government to be able to foretell with any precision the particular circumstances that may have to be dealt with and the powers that might be required to deal with these circumstances. It is precisely because all of the circumstances cannot be foreseen, because nobody can foretell with certainty what to-morrow, the day after, or next week may bring for us that the section has been widely drawn and the Government given power to deal with the needs of any situation that may arise by order, every such order being liable to subsequent annulment by vote of the Dáil.

The various sub-paragraphs of sub-section (2) will give Deputies some indication of the powers which the Government consider it necessary to have now. The earlier sub-paragraphs (a), (b) and (c), relate to the matter of supply, that is, the supply of essential commodities, and under these paragraphs, the Government is given power to control the export and import of these commodities, to regulate the distribution and consumption of these commodities and to fix prices. The Government is also given power to enter directly into trade and to engage in the manufacture, sale or distribution of any essential commodities.

It is obvious that these powers are necessary. The most immediate difficulty that will arise for this country is that of maintaining supplies and it is evident that some of these difficulties will be incapable of being overcome Those who had experience of the last war will realise that almost immediately following its outbreak, there was a cessation of many forms of industrial and commercial activity, causing considerable unemployment, and it is inevitable that the same will happen now. It will be the responsibility of the Government to try to minimise that effect of a European war upon our people, but it will not be possible to avoid it altogether. In the matter of maintaining supplies of raw material for industry, something has been done. Private firms have been urged by the Government, and, in some cases, assisted by the Government, to maintain stocks of such commodities for some time past, but in many cases such a course would have been impracticable either because of the nature of the stocks—not all forms of commercial materials can be stored for any length of time—or because of the difficulty of obtaining exceptional supplies or of financing their storage. In some cases, there were, in fact, physical difficulties, such as the absence of suitable storage facilities.

In the case of such firms they may be able to carry on for some time without any interruption in their normal activities. In the case of other concerns, it will be possible, we think, to make various arrangements to substitute commodities which can be utilised so as to enable them to change from one form of production to another; but there are inevitably some industrial activities which, so far as we can see at the present moment, cannot be carried on.

We have taken power to regulate exports, because circumstances may arise in which it will be necessary to prohibit the export from this country of these essential commodities, or of commodities produced within the country in respect of which it is necessary to ensure that the requirements of our own people are met before any export is permitted. We have taken power to control the import of commodities because it will he necessary to utilise our foreign exchange resources to the best advantage, and to purchase only such goods as are essential to maintain the position of our people, and to eliminate from our purchases abroad purely luxury products which we have to do without in the circumstances of a prolonged emergency.

We have taken power to direct the use to be made of imported materials, or of stocks of materials within the country. It will be necessary to ensure that these materials are utilised in the most economical way and to the best advantage. The same remark applies to the power given the Government under the Bill to control the consumption of commodities. So far as we can foresee at present, the introduction of a rationing system will not be immediately necessary except in the case of motor fuel. The early introduction of a rationing system for petrol and similar products will probably be essential, and that may have to be followed by the introduction of a rationing system for other commodities. It is impossible to be definite on that matter because no one can foresee the way a European war will develop, or the extent to which it will interfere-with the normal communications, or with the normal supplies of the country. We have only had experience of one European war, and inevitably our minds tend to conceive the conduct of this war as following closely upon the conduct of the last war. That may prove to be an entirely fallacious assumption, and that being so it is only possible at this stage to do the things that may become necessary, hoping that the need for them will not arise.

I should say that it is the policy of the Government to maintain the operation of the commercial activities of the country through the existing organisations: that is the existing private organisations, as long as possible, and that only in the last resort, only when it appears that the vital needs of the people necessitate it, will Government interference take place, or Government regulation be resorted to. It may, of course, be necessary, at quite an early stage, to fix prices for various essential commodities in respect of which a scarcity may be feared, or may, in fact arise. One of the provisions of this section gives the Government power so to fix prices. We have, of course, a Prices Act and a Prices Commission operating under that Act, but the powers of that commission, as Deputies are aware, are confined to the prices charged by manufacturers for goods produced within the country. There is a Controller of Prices established under the Act. He has got power to interfere in the case of prices charged by retail distributors in respect of individual sales, but under that Act there is no power to fix general retail prices which may be necessary here. It has already been done in Great Britain. The section gives power to the State to acquire, either compulsorily or by agreement, foreign exchange held by Irish citizens. It is obvious that that power may be necessary so as to ensure that the foreign exchange resources of the country are used to the best advantage to acquire those commodities in respect of which the country is in greatest need. I do not think anybody will question the need for the powers taken in paragraphs (e) and (f) which relate to the control of shipping and of air-craft. It is clear that such control is essential in times of war, during which ordinary communications may be vitally interfered with. We have taken power in paragraph (g) to acquire compulsorily, for the purposes of the State, any land or property.

Paragraph (h) provides for the institution of a censorship. I think that the need for a censorship in times of war, in our circumstances, will be obvious. It is probably unnecessary to elaborate on that matter. It is clear that in our circumstances it is necessary for us to take the powers which every neutral country takes in order to prevent use being made of its communications system, or its Press, or for the purpose of cither attacking the morale or supplying material to belligerents, or supplying military information to its enemies. Generally, that censorship is necessary in order to ensure that the interests of this State will not be affected by any such uncontrolled use of our communications or Press. Paragraph (i) relates to the preserving and safeguarding of official documents and information, prohibiting the publication of official information or the spreading of subversive statements and propaganda, and authorising the control and censorship of newspapers. The need of that will also, I think, be obvious.

There are various paragraphs which provide for the giving of power to the Government to prohibit, restrict or control the entry or departure of persons into or out of the State, and the movements of persons within the State. Power is also taken to provide for the detention of persons where such detention, in the opinion of the Minister, is necessary or expedient in the interests of the public safety or the preservation of the State. It is clear, I think, that some such powers are necessary.

It is true that under an existing enactment the State has wide powers to deal with certain persons who may be engaged in organisations directed against the State, but here we are dealing with a somewhat different matter to that which the legislation I have referred to was directed against. The legislation which dealt with unlawful organisations was introduced for a specific purpose, and while it is true that some of the powers which the Government propose to take under this Bill are already possessed by the Government under that earlier legislation. it might be regarded as an abuse of those powers if they were used for any other purpose than, that contemplated under the original measure referred to —that is the suppression of unlawful associations. It is clear that we must take here whatever measures are necessary to prevent individuals, either of our nationality or of any other nationality, operating in tins country in such a manner as to be detrimental to our best interests. If we have power to order the detention of persons, it is clear that the power to arrest such persons without warrant follows therefrom. If the need for those powers exists, it is clear also that there is a need for power to arrest and detain persons who are suspected of having committed. or who are about to commit, any of the offences against which these paragraphs are directed. The power which is given there is one which is taken by all Governments in circumstances such as ours, and it is necessary in order to ensure that action detrimental to the State, or to the, carrying on of the business of the State, will not be taken. The other powers follow therefrom: that is the powers set out in paragraphs (n) and (o) relating to the searching of premises, vehicles, ships. aircraft, as well as the searching of persons.

The object of paragraph (p) is to suspend the operation of, or amend or apply, with or without qualification, any enactment for the time being in force, or any instrument made under any such enactment. There are many minor enactments, the operation of which cannot be proceeded with in a case of war—very many of which would come under the Department of Industry and Commerce—and it is necessary, therefore, to have such powers to suspend the operation of such enactments, or to amend such an enactment for the time being. Some fear has been expressed that that particular power might be abused by the Government for the purpose of introducing special or extra powers with regard to social legislation, or for making changes in the law which have no relation to the state of emergency that exists. Assurances have been given by the Taoiseach that that is not intended and that, if it is felt by any substantial number of members of the House that such might be likely to happen, an early opportunity would be given to the Dáil to discuss the matter. These paragraphs are set out by way of illustration only, and they are without prejudice to the generality of the powers conferred in sub-section (1) of this section. The effect of sub-section (1) of Section 2 is to give power to the Government, whenever and so often as the Government may think fit, to make by order any such provisions that, in the opinion of the Government, are necessary or expedient to secure the public safety or for the preservation of the State, or for the maintenance of public order or the provision and control of supplies and services essential to the life of the community.

Deputies will note that, in Section 1, the word "Minister" is defined as meaning a member of the Government, whether he is or is not a Minister having charge of a Department of State; and they will also note that under sub-section (1) of Section 6 a Minister, having obtained the consent of the Government, may by order, delegate to a Minister, Parliamentary Secretary, or any other person, any power or duty of such Minister under this or any other Act or under an emergency order, or any order made under an emergency order. In view of the circumstances which we anticipate will arise, and which necessarily will increase the volume of work to be done in connection with certain Government Departments, it is considered probable that that power would have to be used in order to spread such new work as widely as possible over the whole Government service and thus ensure that whatever work may have to be done will be accomplished satisfactorily.

Does that power of delegation of authority apply to powers of arrest?

Yes. It applies to any powers given to a Minister under the Ministers and Secretaries Act.

Under any such delegated powers, an arrest may be ordered?

The Minister may authorise an arrest, or the Minister, having obtained the consent of the Government, may delegate to any person any power or duty.

Can he delegate power to, let us say, a civil servant, to arrest?

The Minister, having obtained the consent of the Government, may delegate any power or duty to a Minister, a Parliamentary Secretary, or any other person.

Any Minister?

And the powers can be delegated to, let us say, a member of the Civic Guards?

But it is not limited to the Civic Guards?

No. Sections 3 and 4 relate to the revocation and amendment of emergency orders and of instruments and directions under emergency orders; and Section 5 relates to offences, prosecutions and punishments. Section 7 gives power to a court, at its own discretion, to hear any proceedings in relation to an offence under this Act in camera, and Section 8 provides for the collection of fees upon any licences, permits, certificates or documents granted, renewed, or issued, under or for the purpose of an emergency order. Section 9 provides for the laying of emergency orders before the Oireachtas, and says that every emergency order shall be laid before each House of the Oireachtas as soon as may be after it is made and that, if a resolution annulling such order is passed by either House, within a certain period, the order shall be annulled. Section 10 provides for the validity of emergency orders and instruments and directions made, granted or issued under an emergency order and that they shall have the force of law, despite any inconsistency that might arise in connection with any other enactment. Section 13 provides that this Act will continue in force until the expiration of 12 months from the date of the passing of the Act and that it shall then expire unless the Oireachtas otherwise determine.

I think that is an explanation of the main purposes of the Bill, and the question for the Dáil to decide is whether or not it is necessary for the Government to have such powers in the circumstances in which we now find ourselves situated. According to the information of the Government, such powers will be essential, in our present circumstances, for the safeguarding of the public interest and for public safety, and therefore we ask the Dáil to provide us with these powers.

Deputy Dillon has anticipated, pretty much, my contribution towards the Second Reading of this measure. Once we had agreed to the amendment of the Constitution in a state of emergency, it was inevitable that a measure such as this would be introduced and that the Government might expect to have it carried into law. I certainly had hoped, however, that the Minister would give us a more elaborate statement than he has given with regard to each one of these clauses —and particularly with reference to sub-section (1) of Section 2—a rather ambiguously worded sub—section—which says that the Government may, whenever and so often as they think fit, make by order—in the Act referred to as an emergency order—such provisions as are, in the opinion of the Government, necessary or expedient for securing the public safety or the preservation of the State, or for the maintenance of public order, or for the provision and control of supplies and services essential to the community. Then, sub-section (2) of the same section says that without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing sub-section of this section the Government may do, by an emergency order, any of the following things—and then it sets out the particulars. Presumably, many more things can be done than are set out under the various clauses of this sub-section, from (a) down to (p), but the Minister did not give us any information regarding these. On the general questions, the Minister referred very much more to what was intended to be done rather than to what was not intended to be done by the Government. Let us take one particular case. Paragraph (h) refers to censorship, and one would have thought that an undertaking might have been offered on the part of the Ministry that, in whatever manner this particular sub-section would be administered, it was not intended that it would be used for political Party purposes, or that it would not be used to alter news which had been under censorship, presumably, in other countries.

It is to be presumed that there will be censorship of news in certain belligerent countries, and are we to assume that there will be a further censorship or alteration of such news in this country? Take, for example, the case of the radio. That has been employed in these days practically as a method of propaganda for Governments, and not as a news agency in the ordinary sense. Are we going to get something even approaching the truth? If a newspaper comes in here from, let us say, America, to which no objection has been taken by the British Government with regard to the war, will there be any censorship in connection with such a paper which might give more information to the public of this country than the newspapers circulating here? It is on such points that we should like to have further information. Then, certain powers of arrest are taken here, and no indication has been given as to what security there is for the ordinary individual of the State. I think it will be remembered that, during the last war, the British Government set up a commission under which an aggrieved person could have his case inquired into as to whether he should be interned for the duration of the war or not. Similarly, in regard to a number of those clauses, dealing with the authorisation of pretty nearly every method of regulation and control, we should like to have more information. A certain amount of regulation and necessary and advisable, but in the particular circumstances that exist at the moment we fed that we should have more information. However, it is not my intention to go through a list of the various items which can be more appropriately dealt with on Committee. As it is largely a Committee measure, I think it would be better if discussion in connection with it were left over until that stage.

I should like however, to make one reference to another clause, sub-clause (d) of Section 2, under which it is proposed to provide, on behalf of the State for the acquisition of any currency, bills, credits and balances. Without an elaborate explanation, is it not inevitable that something little short of panic would occur in that event? Surely if it is intended to do all these things, a very much more elaborate statement than was made by the Minister falls to be made. Let us examine what happened in the last war. My impression is that the British Government did not do that until 1916, two years after the war started or 18 months after, anyway. The, case in respect of these interferences calls for a more elaborate explanation on the part of the Minister. There is a clause also dealing with the buying and selling of goods. Does the Minister not know, after all the propaganda that his Party has indulged in for years past, that the first thing any trader down the country will say is: "We will not be allowed to buy or sell anything now without the consent of some Government inspector?" It would be much better to tell the House what are the Government's intentions in regard to maintaining stability and order and the continuance of the business of the State rather, than that we should have a mere recital of these special cases in which they must interfere. I think that the measure as it stands does not really call for a Second Reading speech and that points which call for comment can better be dealt with on the Committee Stage.

There are one or two points which I should like to raise. The Minister says that it is proposed to take advantage of the existing organisations for the purpose of buying or selling goods. If he is going to do that, he will have to take the shackles off. It is better to acquire supplies while they are available. The Minister also stated that they were taking very wide powers to deal with unforeseeable difficulties. If we are to judge by the way in which they dealt with some of the foreseeable difficulties, we might be pardoned for having a certain amount of doubt. I should like to refer to some matters which I do not see provided for in this Bill. Perhaps the Minister may be able to reassure me on these points. I take it that the Minister is anxious, if present difficulties continue and a state of war takes place in Europe, that we might at least review some of the things that occurred in the last war. Some of us who can recall 1914 will remember the moratorium and the money stringency at the start of that war. As well as I can recollect, money seemed to-disappear for a few days. The banks were closed and cheques could not be cashed. One of the measures adopted by the Government at that time was to take the poundage off postal orders and for a short time postal orders circulated like bank notes. Of course, after a time things readjusted themselves and that was not necessary but in a time of panic and crisis, I think the Government ought to have their schemes prepared, if it is necessary, to put postal orders on the market without charging a poundage rate. A number of large employers, for some weeks at least, paid their wages in postal orders. There were some shop-keepers—there were a very small number—who refused to take postal orders. They thought that everything and everybody was "bust." I should like to put that point forward for the Minister's consideration.

There is another point which I raised some months ago with the Minister in regard to the insurability or insurance of goods coming into this country. When I questioned the Minister he said that they were making provision to deal with that matter. Since that time the Government in Great Britain have put into effect the War Risks Insurance Act, 1939, Part II. Some Deputies will have heard the bare announcement that that has been put into effect. Apparently, that Bill was merely pigeon-holed, taken down and put into effect. I shall read the House a section from it:—

"The Board of Trade may, in the event of war, put into operation a scheme known as the Commodity Insurance Scheme in respect of King's enemies' risks on insurable goods."

I shall not burden the House by reading the whole of these provisions but they practically amount to this, that any person in the United Kingdom who wants to bring in goods which are regarded as being for the benefit of the community can bring them in and have them insured at a cheap rate. A pool rate is formed in which the Government takes the major part of the risk. There is a further part of this war risk scheme which says:—

"A person entitled to be registered before the outbreak of war will, upon the Commodity Insurance Scheme being brought into operation, be deemed to have issued to him a policy, probable period three months, and will be liable to pay a premium, at a rate not yet known, to be fixed by the Board of Trade."

The result of that is, that the war risk on the trader is about one-twentieth of the rate of other insurances in respect of goods, part of which may be coming in here.

It is also part of the scheme that the Government are prepared to insure those goods against air-raid risks. Take the position of a person who wishes to bring goods into this country. At a moment's notice he has to decide whether he will take them or not. Probably he is told on the phone or by wire that the goods are ready and he is asked if he is prepared to take them or leave them. At the present time goods which are essential for carrying on the community's work are not hard to sell. People who have been engaged in business all their lives ran in many eases only get an offer by wire or on the 'phone and it is a case, with the insurance risks, etc., of taking or leaving them. There is no possibility of referring to a Government Department asking their advice. They must just take the risk or not. If they take the risk those goods are brought in here and they have cost considerably more than if they had been brought into Great Britain. Having been brought in here there is then the chance—I do not know what the chance is, I wish I did—that they will be destroyed by air-raid action if later on this country becomes involved. There is a further risk. Supposing a merchant brings in those goods at a considerably enhanced price and that the hostilities are over very quickly, he is faced with a considerable stock of goods which he has bought at an abnormal price. I have mentioned that he has one difficulty, namely, Scylla. Now we will consider Charybdis on the other side. The Minister has mentioned that the Prices Commission is functioning. They do function and if there is a reduction in the price of a commodity they will say to the trader, "The ruling price for that should be so-and-so." They cannot help taking into account the price which he has paid for the goods he has in stock. Lest anybody might think that that is an assumption, a case of that kind his actually occurred, not where goods have been inflated by an abnormal war risk but in other circumstances. The Minister ought to tell us what steps the Government are going to take. That is what I had in mind when I spoke about taking the shackles off industry. The Minister may afterwards tell this House that he had to set up a Department to obtain goods which he would not allow the people who carry on that particular business to obtain at a competitive price.

There is another matter to which I wish to refer. In dealing with a number of commodities and giving protection to certain manufacturers the Minister has had to impose restrictions on goods coming in to this country. That is not the subject of controversy but, very often, one manufacturer may not be able to hold anything like the stocks that the number of people who would be engaged in that industry would require. But that is not the point I wish to make. In a number of other cases in connection with goods which are not manufactured in this country and which there is no prospect of being manufactured in this country at the present time this is the procedure: An invoice has to be got from the manufacturer; that has to be sent to the Irish manufacturer who certifies that he could not manufacture those goods; that is then sent on to the Department of Industry and Commerce in order to obtain a licence. When the licence has been obtained it has to be forwarded to the Revenue Commissioners and then the goods come along. Whatever excuse there is for that in the case of goods that are going to be manufactured in this country there is absolutely no reason, I contend, for that cumbersome, antiquated system in connection with goods that are not feeing manufactured, in this country. Those are some of the restrictions that I had in mind when I mentioned about shackles being taken off the existing sources of supply before the supplies disappear. Already we can see it is more difficult to obtain supplies. A case came under my notice of a contract involving about £400 worth of wages. The contractor has already spent a week trying to find out if somebody will let him have the goods. He has not yet got them. I do not know what is going to take place in that case but I do not suggest for a moment that it is an isolated incident. The Minister ought to consider very carefully, if it is not, too late, how far he can free the importation of certain goods that ought to be held in increasing quantities in this country. Of course, there are other sources. I am sure that the Minister does not want to skin this country of essential goods and leave labour with no other choice than to go across the water and obtain employment on the other side.

I quite realise that there are probably certain things which the Minister ought not to mention when he is replying and I have tried to confine my remarks to matters which I think could be quite safely discussed in this House without embarrassing the Minister or the Government. I hope that when he is replying the Minister will endeavour to meet the situation that is outlined in this Bill and how far any other special provisions ought to be inserted in it.

By the enactment of this Bill we are giving to the Government very wide and very drastic powers, powers of a kind which, in ordinary circumstances, are not given to any Government where Parliamentary authority still reigns supreme, but we all recognise from the situation in Europe to-day that a state of emergency exists and it is probably that consideration and that consideration only which induces the House to approach the consideration of this Bill calmly and with understanding. When the Bill becomes law, enormous powers will be placed in the hands of the Government. Every vital constitutional guarantee so far as the ordinary citizen is concerned is abrogated and the citizen in future, when this Bill is on the Statute Book, must depend upon the good sense and the discretion of the Government for the observance of his rights in a civilised community. It is, therefore, no pleasure, I think, to any member of the House to be asked to deal with a Bill of this nature, and I am sure it is of no particular pleasure to the Government to be compelled to ask for powers of this kind.

There are some sections of the Bill which seem to me to travel far wider than it is necessary to go in order to deal with any situation which exists and there are some sections in the Bill upon which I would like to obtain some assurances on behalf of this Party. For instance, Section 2 (1) of the Bill says:

The Government may, whenever and so often as they think fit, make by order (in this Act referred to as an emergency order) such provisions as are, in the opinion of the Government, necessary or expedient for securing the public safety or the preservation of the State, or for the maintenance of public order, or for the provision and control of supplies and services essential to the life of the community.

That is a very wide power and it is a matter of opinion under the section as to what is necessary for the Government to do in order to maintain services essential for the life of the community. I should imagine that one of the necessary conditions to be complied with in the maintenance of services would he to have the money to pay for the carrying on of the services. I should like the Minister to give us an assurance that it is not proposed under any wide interpretation or any strained reading of that section to impose taxation without the consent of the Parliament. It seems to me to he possible to do it under the section as it is at present drafted, particularly when our constitutional procedure is simply gone by the board under the legislation and the resolutions which we are passing to-day.

I pass from that to Section 2 (d) which authorises the Government to provide for the acquisition by or on behalf of the State of any currency (other than Irish currency), bills, credits, balances, etc. Here I would express the hope that the Government would speedily exercise the power conferred upon them under that section. We know, of course, that in the war situation in which Great Britain is now placed, her banks, with their international ramifications and the possibility of demands upon them, found it necessary to raise the bank rate from 2 to 4 per cent. But we are not involved in the war—at all events at the moment. We have had repeated declarations in this House by responsible Ministers of our intended neutrality, and yet the banks here have seen fit to raise the bank rate from 3 to 5 per cent. already. Raising the hank rate, of course, is going to have a serious effect upon credit. It is going to have a serious effect on private firms who have occasion to get accommodation from banks. It is going to have a serious effect on local authorities. It is generally going to mean that the servicing of loans is going to be more costly, and there will be a disposition on the part of local bodies which need money through the medium of banks to curtail activities which, in the long run, will mean curtailment of the expenditure of money on wages. That, I think, will probably show itself more in respect of housing than in any other type of national activity, and I hope the Government will exercise their power under Section 2 (d) with a view to ensuring that the banks do not in any unbridled and unapproved way simply raise the interest rates to a level which will paralyse commercial or industrial activity, or seriously reduce the degree of such activity.

Passing from that, I come to Section 2 (p) under which the Government are authorised to suspend the operation of or amend or apply (with or without modification) any enactment for the time being in force or any instrument made under any such enactment. I have already represented to the Government the very serious dangers which could possibly arise under this sub-section. I do not say that the Government definitely intend to avail of their power under that sub-section for the purpose of doing anything which, in ordinary circumstances, would be a matter for discussion in and approval by the Dáil. But there is just a danger that vigilant members of a democratic Parliament must guard against. One of the dangers inherent in this sub-section is that the Government, in a state either of panic or of ill-considered planning, might avail of this sub-section to do things while Parliament is not sitting and keep Parliament from sitting in order to get away without any criticism of what they had done.

For instance, let us take an extreme case. It may be considered that in order to prosecute a policy of neutrality effectively, or in order to safeguard certain activities which the State was compelled to enter upon as a result of the emergency situation in Europe, it was desirable to restrict public expenditure. We might discover that after we had passed this Bill, let us say, this evening, the Government might, on Monday suspend, for instance, the Unemployment Assistance Act and say to unemployed people: "We cannot afford to continue to pay these rates of benefit in view of the fact that the county is now in such a serious position because of the European situation." If the Government adopted that attitude on Monday, took that decision on Monday, the only safeguard which this House and the community have is the one provided for in Section 9 of the Bill, under which it is possible to annul the order repealing that legislation within 21 day after the next sitting of the House. But the Government could say: "We will not allow the House to sit," and in those circumstances a provision of that kind is worthless, because there is no means of annulling the order unless Parliament is sitting.

I think, therefore, that it is very desirable that the House should have some very positive assurance in respect of this sub-section. I thought in the first instance of suggesting that when we do any of the things contemplated under Section 2 (p) we should invert the normal process in respect of annulment, that is, whereas normally we say: "You can annul the order if you move to do so within 21 days next after the next sitting of the House," in this case we ought to provide that this cannot be done until the Government give 21 days notice to the Dáil of their intention to do so and secure the affirmation of the Dáil. I realise, as the Minister stated this evening, that there are probably a whole lot of minor Acts which it is not necessary to convene the Dáil for the purpose of repealing. That is a definite difficulty which one would be anxious to safeguard against. The Taoiseach this evening and the Minister later indicated that if there was any demand from responsible Deputies that the Dáil should be convened to discuss the suspension or amendment of an existing enactment it would be the Government's desire to accede to that request. Therefore, I should like to put the matter beyond all doubt, and a statement from the Minister to that effect would satisfy me. I should like him to say positively that, if any Party in this House requests the Government to convene Parliament for the purpose of discussing the suspension or the amendment of an existing enactment. Parliament will be convened for that purpose. Nobody desires to operate an offer of that kind in any capricious way. The request would only be made in very serious circumstances. But, I think it is desirable for the Government to indicate that there will be no hesitation in convening Parliament if it is intended to amend or to repeal an enactment which has got the prior approval of the two Houses of the Oireachtas.

The question of prices is referred to in this section as well, and the Minister dealt with this matter in the course of his speech. But I think we might really have got from the Minister much more information as to his intentions than he really gave us. In Great Britain, I observe that in order to protect the people from profiteering an order has been made fixing stand-still prices and it is not possible in Great Britain to charge more for a commodity to-day or to-morrow than was charged for that commodity prior to the making of the order. No such order has been made here because, of course, there is no existing enactment which permits it. But, I suggest to the Minister that one of the first things he ought to do under this Bill is to fix-prices at existing levels for the time being and to give to the Prices Commission wide powers to file the prices of essential commodities in the country. I think it is desirable that the commission should have those powers quickly. I think it is desirable that they should be able to act quickly, and I think it is desirable that they should have an adequate inspectorial staff to ensure compliance with their orders, and to ensure also that the public are not fleeced by profiteering methods in a crisis such as that through which we are now passing. Reports which have leached me, mainly from provincial centres I agree, indicate that there has been a substantial rise in the price of certain commodities in certain places I think the panic for buying which exists at the moment, and the general war scare, would probably create a situation in which there would be a tendency to push up prices. Therefore, I think the Minister should give very special attention to the matter of prices, so as to protect the consuming public as much as possible. The over-riding consideration in the exercise of the Government's functions under this Bill is that the masses of the people ought to be protected. The well-to-do, the rich people, in times of emergency or in times of war can always overcome most of their difficulties with the aid of their cheque books. It is on the poor people that the main burden of hardship falls, and I hope the Government will avail of this measure in order to ensure that there will be no hoarding by the wealthy sections of the community while the poor people are unable to purchase the barest necessities of life.

There is one other matter to which I should like to advert, and that is the question of meetings of Parliament. There is, as I pointed out previously, a provision in Section 9 of the Bill by which orders are to be laid on the Table of the House. I think it is very desirable that the House should meet as if there were no European situation such as exists to-day; that Parliament should be allowed to function as it does under ordinary circumstances; that the people's representatives should have an opportunity of reviewing the work of the Government, of bringing to the notice of the Government matters in which the people are interested, and generally of co-operating in every possible way to ensure that the nation as a whole passes with the minimum of inconvenience and disturbance through the crisis which we are facing to-day. In the exercise of its functions under the Bill, I would hope that the Government would show the utmost discretion and the utmost wisdom. It is getting very wide powers from the Dáil. It ought to recognise the exceptional circumstances under which it is getting those powers, and to administer the Bill in as sympathetic a manner as possible, with a firm determination to safeguard the masses of the people from exploitation by profiteers, and to ensure for them as far as possible the maintenance of the supplies which go hand in hand with the civilised life of this country.

I do not recollect any occasion on which I rose to support a Bill with less enthusiasm, less confidence, and as much mental uneasiness. I think it is due both to the Party to which I belong and to the Government Party to say that straight away. I have said on numerous occasions from this bench that, irrespective of political divisions and quite aside from what particular group of men happened to constitute the Government, I would stand at all times for giving any Irish Government any powers whatsoever that they asked for on any occasion when they were demanded and the Government itself said that those powers were necessary. That is still my view. Nevertheless, I must express dissatisfaction, complete dissatisfaction and disappointment with the case made.

I endorse the request made by the Minister for Industry and Commerce, speaking elsewhere within the last week and foreseeing some emergency of this kind, when he asked for the co-operation and assistance of all political Parties and all persons in public life in educating the public up to the necessity for giving the Government very special powers in a national emergence. I was and am prepared to respond to such an appeal, but let us picture the people outside this Assembly, the ordinary people who are supporting Fianna Fáil and Labour and Fine Gael, and who may not be as close up to things as we are. What is the position of those ordinary people in tins country? A couple of years ago more or less all together, led by the Government brass band, we were stumping the country to impress on the people the importance of a Constitution, a Constitution which was to protect them against every danger. It was practically, the people believed, going to feed the babies and rock them to sleep. Now, by general consent and all together in five minutes we are stripping the people naked of any constitutional rights. Now, such a thing should not be done, and hope to have the support and co-operation of the people, without the very fullest case being made, understanding the very few opportunities that ordinary people have for grappling with what I might call international affairs. Nothing has been said here since 3 o'clock to-day that is going to make it any easier for any Minister or any Deputy of any Party to go back to his constituents, meeting them in groups or as individuals, and convince them that a case was made which justified depriving them of their rights under a newly-passed Constitution, a Constitution which it was claimed had been passed by them and not by us.

I am not making those observations in any spirit of political controversy or political criticism. The Minister must foe as conscious as I am that, in regard to his own political supporters, he will find it very difficult to meet them face to face and get them to agree that the whole thing was necessary. Ministers are in possession of a vast amount of information which, for one reason, or another is not available to the ordinary Deputy, and, in addition to Ministers asking for our help in educating the public up to the necessities as they arise, we must appeal to Ministers to give us more help than they are giving us in educating the people up to the necessity for such drastic Bills as we have here. We must remember that the ordinary person would put the case as a person put it to me to-day—it would appear a fairly watertight case to the ordinary person—when he said: "There are the Poles; they are fighting with guns in their hands for their constitutional rights. The Germans, with guns in their hands, are blowing the rights of the Poles sky high. Here, a free Parliament, without guns and not under the threat of guns, are depriving their people of those same constitutional rights." I am prepared to say straight away that I, as an individual citizen or Deputy, see the necessity for it. This Government is asking for very little more powers than any Government sitting over there would ask for in a similar situation. Any Government drawn from this Dáil would look for practically all the powers that this Government is seeking and any Government would be as much entitled to get those powers as this Government is—most of the powers, at any rate.

I understand from speeches made here on a previous occasion that we had already passed legislation, and drastic legislation, to deal with law and order in any emergency that might arise in this country. I recollect that during the passage of the Offences Against the State Act, when the two exceptional portions of that Act were under discussion, the portions that would only be applied by special order, the Government spokesmen were asked to make a case for such exceptional powers. The case made was that that was emergency legislation, that they were not powers that it was intended to use in normal times, but that Europe was like a boiling pot, that a national emergency might arise at any time and that the Government had got to be armed with such powers—powers of arrest, trial, detention, search, confiscation—ruthless, drastic powers, powers that were granted to the Government to meet a national emergency such as this and powers that would not have been granted at that time as easily— the majority would have carried it—but for the case made that those powers were sought to meet the difficulties of this country only in a national emergency.

Those powers have never been used. They have never been tried. They have never been found to have failed. We are being asked here, under the guise of a Bill, a normal Bill, to make provision for supplies, imports, exports. prices, the continuation of industry and trade and commerce—all these things are coupled with such a Bill—to strip every individual citizen in this country of the last shreds of constitutional rights. There is one difference between the powers of arrest and detention in this Bill and in the Offences Against the State Act. There is only one that I can see, namely, that in the Act there was some form of trial and there was a right of appeal. In this Bill the right of trial is withdrawn and also the right of appeal.

We all claim to be democrats, and I am not going to say that if we were sitting over there we might not look for similar powers. But I am going to say that if we looked for similar powers from those benches we would be more open with the Dáil, we would make a better case and we would make it easier for our political opponents to give us those powers. My attitude is this. With regard to your powers of arrest, search, detention, internment and imprisonment, I think the powers vested in the Government under the Offences Against the State Act are the greatest powers that any democratic Government not at war could ask for, and they are the greatest concessions that any political opposition in any democratic Parliament should be expected to give to any Government in a country not at war. If that instrument is used for even half a day and found to be too blunt to deal with the situation, irrespective of who likes it or who dislikes it, I would willingly give the Government a sharper instrument and a better tool; but I do not believe in overloading a Government or the agents of government with tools when they are going to do a job.

That Act is there and it has never been used; it has never been found defective or faulty. The mere saying that that was to meet one type of trouble and it would be unreasonable to use it for another type of trouble may have something in it, but that point has to be elaborated. So far as I understood the Offences Against the State Act, it was to arm the Government with powers of arrest, search and detention of people suspected of activities against the State. It may be there is a loophole there, that it is necessary to get after people who are in this State, not plotting against the safety and security of this State, but jeopardising our neutrality by plotting against the safety or security of another State with which we are not at war. If there is a loophole, surely there must be ways and means of plugging such a loophole without bringing under the lash tens of thousands of people that it is not your intention to get after?

Remember, it just does not meet the situation to say: "We have no intention of dealing with that type of person." What I am thinking of is the mental anxiety of people who think you are after them and who think they may come under such drastic powers as these. I would rather have the support of those people behind a Government in an emergency than have those people fearing that the Government was getting after them. The Government in an emergency wants the support of every person no matter how they may have opposed them politically and it is a bad start to make perhaps not highly educated political opponents fear that a weapon is being forged to punish them for political activities.

I can see another difficulty. Aliens in this country, using this country as a refuge to plot or conspire against the security of another country—surely those exceptional cases can be met by extension or amendment of the Offences Against the State Act? If you want to get after special cases, for goodness sake do not antagonise or make hostile or nervous people whose support you should be bidding for. I could make and would make the same speech as I am making here in a Government committee room. I am making it with all sincerity, interested only in the security of the State and not the advancement of any political Party. The last four sections of the Act, if they are incorporated in this Bill merely to meet special types of cases, it is like getting a sledgehammer to kill a beetle and it will, as sure as I am speaking, do more harm than good. I would strongly urge the Government, whether it can be done in the time available by amendment, by alteration, by deletion, to meet the particular type of case I am putting up.

Now, I may say this, and I say it in no bitter spirit and not in the spirit of controversy. The Taoiseach made a case to-day. He said:

"Whom are you going to trust, if you cannot trust eight, ten or 12 men who have been in the Government eight or ten years?"

Things might be simpler in a difficulty, if special powers were only being given to eight, ten or 12 men and those special powers were only to be exercised and implemented by those men. But those eight, ten or 12 men are merely the waterpipes through which the liquid flows. When power of this kind is given to any Government it is given in fact to 8,000 or 10,000 agents acting on behalf of that Government. Special powers and the exercise of special powers in the past have given every one of us reason to be discontented It has given reason to many of us to be doubters, and it has given reason to every one of us to fear as to how those special powers will be exercised by agents of the Government.

I do not want to hold individual Ministers responsible for every act that is committed by every agent throughout the country, but I would at least ask the Minister to accept this. They have their information through their channels, and their channels of information are their own agents; Deputies in opposition have channels of information, too, with regard to uses and misuses and abuses of powers given to a Government, and their information is generally from the source. If it were not that the occasion is so unusual, and that I do not want to take up the time of the Dáil, I could give definite instances where mole-hills grew into mountains between a county perhaps 40 miles away and a Government office here in Dublin I could give instances where in good faith and honesty action was taken of a most unjust kind against individuals, because of exaggerated and sometimes false information supplied with regard to individuals.

I am not saying that to make difficulties; I am prepared to let the past be. However, I can say that honestly and in private discussion I could give instances to justify my honesty. We are giving now, or are asked to give now, far more powers than any Irish Government ever exercised; we are giving, or are asked to give, a blank cheque. Perhaps never, in the history of this State at least, did the Government get such help and such consideration from all Opposition Parties. We feel that in a national emergency, such as this we must give a blank cheque to the Government and we must give it in blinkers. We are wedged between the statement of a national emergency on the one hand and on the other the throwing open of avenues that will stir up great mental fear in people who have supported us politically up and down this country. Ministers and Deputies may say that those people have nothing to fear. I quite agree with that, that those people have nothing to fear; but that is not convincing every one of them that they have nothing to fear. There were occasions in the past when they had much to fear by misuse of powers vested in individuals outside this Parliament.

I am not asking too much, in return for the support that is being given, for the chance that we are taking, when I ask for the very fullest assurance, the frankest assurance, that whatever precautions may be taken with regard to trade, property and other things that are being subjected to special power, far and away more consideration will be given to the liberty of the humblest citizen in this State. We are giving powers to nominated individuals—not necessarily members of the Government—to walk in and search any house, to hold up any person, to submit that person to a search, to enter any home and arrest any person without charge and to detain any person without charge. We are told that these powers are needed. These powers have been given, but if harm is not to grow out of it, I would ask the Minister—even though he may be a busy man and consider it waste of time—to join with his political opponents in reassuring the thousands of people who will be mentally disturbed to-morrow morning when they see the powers that they come under, and who will be inclined to blame Opposition Deputies for having served them up on a tray as Government meat. We will help the Government, we will join in trying to educate all citizens up to understanding the necessity to vest such powers in the Government. Let the Government, in their turn, recognise that we, too, have our difficulties. Our responsibilities are not as great, but our difficulties may be just as great. Let the Government realise that in this matter some holp must be extended to Opposition Deputies, too.

I am perfectly sure that these tremendous powers will be properly used. I think it is absolutely necessary at the present time that the Government should have these powers. If the fears expressed by Deputy O'Higgins should come to anything, the Dáil will be sitting and these can be made known.

The Dáil may not be sitting.

I am afraid I can be a little more democratic than some of my friends on the left. At times like this it is necessary to have authority to deal with people in this country. However, I really wished to mention the profiteer and to add my views to anything said by the Minister as regards profiteers. I hope the Minister will deal firmly with anyone profiteering or hoarding. It has commenced already, it is going on, and it is going to start a vicious circle just as it did in the last war, all over the country and in England; and it is the poor man who is going to suffer. That is really my object in speaking to-night. As regards the other powers given in the Bill, I believe personally that they will not be mis-used by the Government. I believe that they are necessary and I believe that no honest man in this country has anything to fear from any clause in the Bill, if he is out to behave himself. I trust that the Minister will use the powers which he is being given so that food prices will be properly controlled.

When I read this Bill for the first time and examined its contents in detail, I must admit it produced in my mind a profound shock. When it became apparent, furthermore, that this Bill was practically if not a verbatim copy, at least, in its contents and substance almost identical with the Emergency Act that was passed into law within the last few days by the British Parliament, it certainly did not diminish the shock from which I suffered on a first perusal. It seemed to me that it required some considerable justification before we could undertake to accept provisions such as were set out in the Bill we are debating and which were apparently required in the emergency that confronted a great Empire, faced with the necessity, not merely of conserving its economic structure, but with the prospect of fighting such a fight as was never fought in its history before. Great Britain required provisions of a drastic nature, such as we find here, to prosecute a war for its very existence, economic and political, and it seemed to me, knowing the policy of the Government as we know it, that to preserve the neutrality of this country would require very forcible consideration to justify the giving to the Government of the drastic powers asked for in this Bill. As Deputy O'Higgins stated, we are asked to give a blank cheque to the Government. That docs not in my view completely describe the position. We are asked not merely to give a blank cheque, but, to give an uncrossed cheque to the Government, a cheque that could be passed from hand to hand, a negotiable instrument. Anyone can exercise the powers conferred in a crisis by this Bill, and the power of delegation, to my mind is one of the most objectionable features of the Bill.

However, on calmer consideration and realising our responsibility, that an Irish Government for the first time in history was faced with an unprecedented difficulty, however drastic the proposals, as an Opposition that trusts an Irish Government, even though it was formed from a Party in which we have no confidence, we accordingly are prepared to give the powers that the Government ask for. Subject to certain undertakings and if possible, subject to certain amendments we are prepared to give a blank cheque, but I appeal, certainly to members of the Government, not to ask that it be an uncrossed cheque as well as a blank cheque, and to agree to the deletion of the very drastic powers of delegation contained in the Bill. To me, with my legal experience and legal instincts, they are very objectionable indeed. We realise that the Government is faced with a very serious task. The Government can have these powers, but they must and probably do realise that they themselves are on trial in the way they will administer this Bill. Not merely are they on trial, but the whole democratic institutions of our country are on trial, and perhaps in jeopardy, if the provisions are not handled with great care, great tact and great sympathy. Owing to the position in which we find ourselves at the present time, I think it must be realised that the people of this country, however their sympathies may lie in the conflict which is about to take place—and in fact is taking place —are facing a very serious domestic and personal difficulty of their own.

Notwithstanding the fact that we have as our policy the maintenance of the neutrality of this country, there are many who feel that the lives of themselves and their children may be in jeopardy within a very short space of time. They realise, as everyone must realise, that livelihoods are being jeopardised by the position in which we find ourselves as a result of circumstances over which we have no control. There is hardly a citizen of this State who will not be prejudiced very seriously in his ordinary livelihood by the conditions that have been forced on us as a result of the conflict that is about to take place. One of the greatest tasks that the Government has is to handle the situation with great sympathy and great tact. There is no doubt, but the public are in a state of extreme nervous tension, notwithstanding the fact that we are, for the present at all events, whether as a result of neutrality or for other reasons, aside from active participation in the conflict. We are certainly faced with a very serious situation and the public nerves are in a very taut condition indeed.

May I mention in passing that I fail to understand why it was necessary last night, in that state of public tension, to have a "black-out" in Dublin, adding further to the nervous condition of our people, and putting them in the position of inquiring: "What is it all about? We are neutral. Who is going to bomb us?" I mention that although it is probable there is some reasonable explanation, but I suggest to the Government that unless these things are absolutely essential, they should not be embodied in regulations. Arising out of that remark, I emphasise that no person should think that the difficulties which are going to confront the Government from time to time will be solved merely by passing multitudinous regulations. I think the difficulties will probably very seriously increase, and I suggest with all respect, and with an understanding of the Government's difficulties, that the less regulations they have under this Bill the better for themselves, and the better for the people as a whole. Therefore, they should direct their attention to passing as few regulations as possible, and interfering as little as possible with commercial life and with the private lives of the people. I think in that way they will get better results and certainly get steadier public feeling and public nerve.

When proposing the Second Reading, the Minister for Industry and Commerce referred to the fact that it would become very necessary, in the near future, to use a rationing system in connection with certain commodities, and he mentioned petrol. As the Minister mentioned petrol, may I take that particular item to emphasise the thesis which I am maintaining here. Those who recollect the conditions that existed during the world war of 1914-1918 know that it was practically impossible to get petrol. Conditions in this country and the economic life of the country are entirely different now from what they were during the European war, and I suggest that the precedents that were set up at that time should not be slavishly followed, I accept the Minister's words that it will be necessary to ration petrol or motor fuel of various descriptions, but I ask that it should be recognised that that should be done with as little interference with the existing motor trade as possible, because there are large numbers of people in the country, and especially in the City of Dublin, dependent for their ordinary daily existence, and for the continued existence of the motor trade, on supplies of petrol. It is not merely the running of ordinary private motor cars that is involved. As to the rationing of petrol among private citizens, in the emergency that confronts the country, if there is a difficulty about the supply, the less petrol there is the less motor cars there will be, the dearer petrol is the less motor cars will be used, with less employment in the motor trade, and in the various trades that are dependent on it. I respectfully suggest to the Government that they ought to take it as a headline in connection with the suggested regulations, that they will not get the difficulties solved merely by rationing supplies such as petrol. One of the greatest tasks in my view facing the Government, apart from the necessity of maintaining the security of the State, and the safety of the lives of the people, is the maintenance of the livelihood of the people of the State, and the minimising of unemployment as much as possible.

I sincerely believe that the more you interfere by regulations of the type envisaged in this Bill with the normal progress of commercial undertakings, the more unemployment and the greater distress there will be and the more distress there will be, the more starvation there will be, and the greater likelihood there will be of internal disturbance in this State which we all want to avoid. I hope I am not adopting anything in the nature of a lecturing mood towards the Government and I hope that the Ministers will not take my remarks in that spirit. I hope, above all, that the Minister in charge of the Bill will not, as was the case on another occasion, have his controversial spirit aroused by the tone of my remarks. They are not intended in that way. I am speaking from sincere conviction and I am taking the motor trade merely to give an example of what may happen by over-regulation. As I said at the outset, we may have not merely the existence of the lives and livelihoods of the people jeopardised by the misuse or abuse, even innocent misuse, of the powers in the Bill, but even the continued existence of democratic institutions in the country menaced by over-use or misuse, however innocent, of the powers in the Bill.

May I also refer to another matter to which the Minister referred in his opening speech and which the leader of the Opposition has also dealt with very shortly—the question of censorship. I do not intend at this stage to go into that matter in any great detail at all. I do not intend even on Committee Stage to go into it, but I do think that it again is a matter in respect of which the powers of this Bill should be exercised with the utmost tact and with the greatest possible leniency towards newspapers in the conduct of their publications. I put it again not merely from the point of view of the newspapers, not merely from the point of view of the citizens of the country who are avid for information, avid for news and eager to hear the latest atrocity, but from the point of view of the nervous condition of the public. If there is an undue censorship of war news, rumours of all kinds, classes and descriptions are bound to spread. If the public is not given a fair meed of accurate information, we will have the sort of thing we were too familiar with in the last war—all sorts of wild and absurd information being disseminated and believed throughout the length and breadth of the country. It is better to know the truth so far as that truth can be told with safety to our own country, and perhaps to those countries adjoining us with whom we are in friendly relations, rather than that crops of rumours should be spread abroad and the proper and normal activities of our newspapers unduly interfered with.

Deputy O'Higgins has spoken at great length on the subject of the very wide powers of arrest and detention, and I will not occupy the House any further except in saying that he has expressed my sentiments in these matters. I had thought that the Minister when introducing this Bill would have given reasons as to the necessity for the drastic powers in paragraphs (k) to (p) in sub-section (2) of Section 2. Unfortunately I, at all events, did not appreciate the reasoning he gave as to the necessity for these provisions. I think they are more likely to give rise to misgivings and, possibly, misuse, than any other parts of the Bill. I personally have a rather strong objection to paragraph (j) and I have put down an amendment to meet the situation, for the purpose, of having it discussed and of obtaining from the Minister some information as to the class of thing the section is intended to cover. The section provides for the giving of power to make an emergency order prohibiting, the entry or departure of persons into or out of the State, and the movements of persons within the State. I can appreciate a situation where power would be necessary to prevent persons who are not citizens of this State coming in or going out of the State, or from moving freely about the State. I could appreciate the necessity, in existing circumstances, for powers to deal with such matters, but why it should be necessary to prevent me from going from Dublin to Cork, I fail to see, and under this Bill it is possible to do that. In fact, I have a very distinct recollection, of having, during the early days of my professional career, to get from the British Government a passport to eater County Clare, the Prime Minister's present constituency, in order to carry on my professional duties. I think the situation would have to be very much worse than it is now if such provisions were to be enforced against Irishmen by an Irish Government. I should like the Minister to tell us what is intended to be covered by it and, why it is necessary to have such a wide power. There is the question which I treat, I hope, with very great delicacy: is it intended to prevent ordinary Irish citizens from going from here to England for the purpose of getting work, or for other purposes, or is it intended to regulate passengers I between this country and Great Britain? I should like to know I because the section offends against my legal susceptibilities.

I have dealt with the question of delegation in Section 6 and I again appeal to the Minister not to ask us to give him, in addition to giving him a blank cheque, an uncrossed cheque. I should also like the Minister to explain at the appropriate moment why it is necessary to have hearingsin camera under Section 7. I am fully alive to the fact that there are certain types of hearings before District Justices and other tribunals which it is not desirable, in the public interest, that the public should be freely allowed to hear, but why it should be necessary in the present emergency to have in camera hearings, I am unable to appreciate, and I should be obliged if the Minister would penetrate the darkness of my ignorance on that point. There are a number of matters on which I should like to speak, but we realise that it is desirable for the Government to get this Bill at the earliest possible moment. I think I can deduce from the speeches already made that this country will not be allowed to be used as a base for the operations of any side against Great Britain. I think also that we should not allow anything in the nature of large-scale espionage to be carried on here and. generally speaking, I again appeal to the Government to use those Orders, when they make them, as sparingly as possible and to allow no element of bureaucracy to enter into the administration of the measure, or the regulations to be made under it.

I do not, think there is any citizen who realises the magnitude of the catastrophe which has overtaken Europe who will refuse to accord the Government the powers they seek in this Bill. It may be said that it will deprive citizens of constitutional rights, but one thing can be said, and it is, that this Government, no matter what its faults, is the Government democratically elected by the people of Ireland and it is, therefore, the duty of the people of Ireland to aim that Government with whatever powers they may require to enable them to govern this country. It may be said that some uneasiness may exist amongst sections of the community who are not political supporters of the Government and I should like earnestly to appeal to the Government that, having secured the support of all Parties to this measure, they should consider the advisability of setting up a national Government, in this country for the period of this emergency at least.

I hope that, while doing that, they will endeavour to secure closer co-operation from all Parties in the State, and an increased measure of confidence from those citizens who are the supporters of the political Parties other than that of the Government.

I believe that tasks of extraordinary magnitude and responsibility are facing the Government. They have, first of all, the difficult task of maintaining the neutrality of the country. They will require all the powers which they are seeking to enable them to prevent propaganda by one or other of the conflicting parties being spread throughout this country, as well as to prevent the conflicting parties from using this country to their own advantage. One of the biggest tasks facing the Government concerns the economic existence of this country, because We know that, as a result of this European war, many of our industries will be crippled. Steps must be taken by the Government to safeguard, as far as possible, the industries which we have. The greatest task of all will be that concerning the development of our agricultural industry, to such an extent that it will be able to off-set whatever deterioration may fall upon some of our existing industries.

Drastic powers are being taken. I hope they will be used to assist and to finance the agricultural industry. My hope is that all the resources at the disposal of the Government will be utilised to intensify agricultural production so that our national industry may be put in a position to survive whatever losses result from this international conflict.

I am in agreement with those who say that profiteering must be controlled. While I say that, I want to emphasise that the agricultural community must be given the opportunity to produce economically, a thing which they have not been able to do during the past ten years. Whatever machinery may be set up to prevent profiteering should not be used to deprive the farmer of getting a fair price for his produce, nor should it be used to prevent the development of his industry.

The Government will also be faced with the task of preserving peace and order in the country. As a member of the House who did not support the farreaching measure which the Government introduced some months ago because in my opinion there was no emergency facing the country then. such as that which exists to-day, I want to say that I am prepared to give the Government the powers which they are seeking to-day. The Government, I submit, should also address themselves to the task of promoting peace outside the country. I hope steps will be taken to censor unscrupulous attempts which may be made to stir up feeling against one or other of the belligerent groups, and against the circulation of vicious propaganda by one side or the other. A tremendous responsibility is being placed on the shoulders of the Government, but in undertaking that responsibility, they will have the support of every section of the community. They will earn and deserve that support if they co-operate with all organised sections in the community, especially in a matter of accepting its advice, including the advice offered to it by the agricultural community.

The members of this Party, in the short time at their disposal, have examined the contents of this measure with a very critical eye, and it is with considerable reluctance that they are prepared to give the Government most of the powers at any rate which they are seeking. I have not before me a copy of the measure which was passed in the British House of Commons in the last few days, but I am reliably informed that the Bill before us is a fairly full and accurate representation of that measure. Now, I make this point: that the British House of Commons passed certain legislation with their eye on taking an active part in a European war which I personally hope will not come about. The Government are asking this House to give them powers to protect the lives and property of the citizens of this State in a state of neutrality. That, I recognise, is the desire of the overwhelming majority of the Irish people. I do not know anybody who would take exception to the proposition that this country should be kept out of any European conflict that may take place, and to that extent it is a source of great satisfaction to know that Deputies, and all Parties in the House, are lining up behind the Government on that question.

Some of the powers which the Government are proposing to take in this measure are already contained in the Offences Against the State Act. I presume the sections dealing with these have been copied from the measure passed a few days ago in the British House of Commons. Perhaps that is the explanation for their repetition in this Bill.

I merely intervene in this debate for the purpose of getting a better explanation of this measure than that given by the Minister for Industry and Commerce when moving the Second Reading. He merely repeated the language contained in the different sections and sub-sections of the Bill. I hope that when replying he will indicate to the House, because he did not do it earlier, the sections which he thinks will require to be used right away, as well as the manner in which these powers will be used. Deputy Costello has already referred to paragraph (j) of Section 2. If the power proposed to be taken in that section is being sought for the purpose of preventing this country from being made the happy hunting ground for a lot of undesirables from Continental countries or other people who on a former occasion flocked in here, then I for one am quite ready to give the Government every support in the matter of putting that section into operation. The Government should take every power to prevent this country from being so used in the case of war elsewhere, or in a state of emergency here. They should not allow it to become a happy hunting ground for a lot of undesirable aliens. Therefore, I am in thorough agreement with the Government if they are seeking this power for that purpose, and am, prepared to give them every support in putting the section into operation. I am quite sure that the Minister is not going to use the section for, say, preventing Deputy Costello from moving from Dublin to Cork to engage in legal practice in the south.

The section to which the members of this Party take very great exception is Section 6. The Minister in dealing with that section dealt with it in a very light hearted way. But what is the power that is being sought in that section? It is this: that a Minister, having obtained the consent of the Government, may delegate ministerial authority to a Parliamentary Secretary "or any other person". I strongly object to the insertion of these words in the section. As a member of the House, I would not dream of assenting to what is proposed there: that is of allowing the Government, or a Minister, to pass over the authority which they get from this House to any person not under the direct control of the House. What is the meaning of the insertion of the words there "or any other person"? What was in the mind of the Minister for Industry and Commerce when he proposed to seek that very wide power? We certainly have not got an explanation from him in his opening speech and we hope that, when he is replying, he will let us know what was in his mind and in the minds of his colleagues in introducing such a clause, or that he will agree to wipe out these objectionable words and assure us that it is not the intention to take away from the House the powers which we have.

I notice that powers are also being sought to carry on trading and to deal —I hope, effectively—for the first time, with any profiteering which may be revealed as a result of the emergency which has arisen. It is true, as the Minister and other Deputies have pointed out, that we already have a Prices Commission operating to deal with such cases, but I have yet to get any indication from any body on the Government Benches as to where the powers of the Prices Commission were effectively used in the interests of the consuming section of the community. We have had it stated here, and proved—to my satisfaction, at least— that profiteering has been going on in this country on a widespread scale in connection with the necessaries of life. I should like to hear from the Minister for Industry and Commerce whether or not it is intended to use certain of the powers contained in sub-section (2) of Section 2, for the purpose of controlling, let us say, the flour-milling industry. I should be very glad to hear the Minister say that he would use the powers, set forth here, for that purpose, because I think it is the opinion of the majority of the Deputies in this House, regardless of Party affiliations—and certainly it is the opinion of the people outside, who have to pay for the necessaries of life —that the people who control the flour-milling industry in this country have been getting away with it for a very long time, at the expense of the consuming community. That clause, and the succeeding clause, dealing with the acquisition, on behalf of the State, of any currency, are clauses which the members of this Party welcome, because we believe—or at least we hope—that the Government will use these particular powers, for which they are seeking in this very drastic measure, in a proper way.

As has been explained already, and as is indicated in the Bill itself, provision will also be made for the control of imports and exports and also, therefore, for the regulation of transport in connection with imports and exports, if necessary. I make the suggestion to the Minister that, when making use of the powers, which, I believe, the Dáil is prepared to give him, for that purpose, he should arrange to set up an advisory body of industrialists, and people with experience in connection with transport and so on, to give him advice in the administration of these powers. I suggest that, amongst the industrialists, agriculturists, and transport organisations of this country— through whatever organisation they might be represented—he could find individuals who could give him expert advice on the administration of measures of this kind. I think that the Taoiseach has admitted or assumed, and every member of the House here assumes, that if Great Britain should be involved in a war the Six Counties automatically will be involved in such a war. That, naturally, will create serious difficulties with regard to transport, whether by rail or road, in this country and I suggest that the Minister would be very well advised to seek the assistance of such an advisory body as I have suggested. If the Government of this country really wish to give protection to the citizens of this State, and to protect the property of the citizens of the State, they should seek the co-operation of every organisation that can help them, and I am sure that that co-operation would be given willingly. They should seek the co-operation of the people who are concerned with the organisation of industry: the people who—and I say it with all respect—have more expert knowledge of such matters than even the most expert civil servant. I say that without any disrespect to our civil servants; but I think that the people who are intimately associated with the industry of this country, the agricultural industry of this country, and the transport industry of this country, if they are asked to help, could give better advice to the Minister in these matters than the most expert of civil servants.

Deputy Costello, in the course of his remarks, made a passing reference to the partial black-out in Dublin last night. Now, I do not want to go into the question of the administration of the A.R.P. scheme, but I daresay that the black-out in Dublin last night had some connection with the general A.R.P. scheme. I notice that there has been recently an appointment of a Parliamentary Secretary to take charge of the A.R.P. scheme in this country, and I hope that that will mean a speeding up of the A.R.P. work in general. I know something of A.R.P. work myself, because I went through a course in connection with it. I was obliged to go through the course for certain reasons, as were also a number of people who were connected with the transport industry in this country. That was last February, but we have not heard a word since from any body in authority as to who was to be the co-ordinating authority responsible for the carrying out of that scheme.

What provision in the Bill is the Deputy discussing?

I take it. Sir, that this would come under the Emergency Powers scheme, although I agree that no provision is made with regard to this matter in any particular section of this measure. However, I was glad to see that the Government have placed the responsibility for that matter upon a certain Parliamentary Secretary, and I hope that the Government will act as a co-ordinating authority. There is the question of the citizens who own property and there is the matter of co-operation, for instance, between the Dublin Corporation and the Dublin Port and Docks Board.

The Deputy may not discuss the administration of the A.R.P. scheme now.

I way merely referring, Sir, to the powers that are being taken here.

This is the third time the Deputy has adverted to that subject. In so doing he was sinning against the light.

I shall not go back on it again. Sir, but I hope that the Minister for Industry and Commerce, when he is replying, will deal more definitely than he did in his opening remarks with the powers sought in Section 6 of this measure, and that he will also explain, in greater detail than he did in his opening remarks, what is the intention of the Government in seeking the powers asked for in paragraph (j) of Section 2.

Within the ambit of a Second Reading speech certain matters may be referred to, but there are only two points to which I would like to refer in connection with this particular measure, each of which, perhaps, may add further to the bewilderment of an already bewildered community, and each of which is in connection with the powers sought under this measure. First of all, I should like to refer to the matter of urgency. We are told here that this matter has to be finished, at the very outside, by to-morrow evening, and from information I have acquired in a confidential way I am quite satisfied that the powers that are sought here ought to be in the hands of the Government by somewhere about that date, but I cannot understand why, if there is such urgency—which I think will be admitted—these powers were not sought earlier, and I should like to get an explanation as to that. One phrase that was used to-day by the Taoiseach was, I think, that it was for the convenience of the House, but that excuse will not wash. The British Government passed a similar type of regulation on the 25th of August. They passed it on that date and, evidently, did not think that its passing on that particular date was going to cause any special commotion amongst their own community. Even if certain people were asleep, I think that that should have been sufficient warning to us to bring in such legislation, if there were such a question of urgency. I cannot believe it possible that some thought had not been given to such a matter earlier than the 25th August.

It is quite wrong, perhaps, to say that the measure we have before us is an exact copy of the British measure but the British measure is taken as a model. This measure goes much further in detail than the British measure. I do not know that the powers given here are, to any extent, wider than those given in the British measure, but in extent of detail, and as a measure put before the public to indicate what they are to expect, they are much more far reaching. Further, there is the point that if the Taoiseach wanted to create confidence amongst the general public that this matter was correctly handled, he should have given some explanation as to why this House was not called together at an earlier date to consider this measure. If the Dáil had been assembled on the 25th or 26th August taking all the time until to-morrow, we would at least, have three days to discuss and pass these provisions by the ordinary procedure of Parliamentary Government. However, that is a small matter in comparison with what I think is the big blot on the whole measure, that we are asked to give the Government control of this wide generality of powers. We define these powers by certain paragraphs. Attention has been called to these powers from (j) or (k) down to the end. I want to know what on earth is the necessity for asking for these powers? I start off by saying that I am prepared to give the Government every one of these powers in relation to aliens, in relation to persons who are not citizens of the country or who are not ordinarily resident here. Let all these powers be taken in regard to these people. I will go even as far as Deputy Myles and Deputy Davin and say: let the powers operate against profiteers—all these powers from (j) down to the end. I will add that if the Minister will put certain bacon curers and certain millers into a special compound and bake them with some of their own bacon, I shall be entirely satisfied. But why do we want these powers against the ordinary citizen, who is not a profiteer?

Under a measure which is already in existence, the Minister can keep certain people interned. When? When the Minister is satisfied that any person is engaged in activities calculated to prejudice the preservation of peace and order or the security of the State. If the Minister is satisfied that any person, or indeed any body of citizens, is engaged in activities calculated to prejudice the preservation of peace and order or the security of the State, he may order the arrest and detention of such person or persons and put them in an internment camp. That is the power with which the Government is already armed. Yet the Government want to have 3 separate types of powers here—(j) (k) and (m). Let us assume that they get (m). They may authorise the arrest without warrant of persons who are charged with or who are suspected of having committed, or being about to commit, or being, or having been concerned, in the commission of an offence under any section of this Act. What is an offence under this Act? A disobedience of an emergency order. And the emergency order may be this, a thing that the Minister thinks is necessary or expedient for securing the public safety or the preservation of the State. The Government can manufacture an offence under sub-section (1) of Section 2. Anything may be ordered, if in the opinion of the Government it is thought to be necessary for securing the public safety or the preservation of the State.

They have got powers under paragraph (m) to authorise the arrest without wan ant of anybody charged with, or even suspected of having committed, or being about to commit or being concerned in, the commission of an offence. That being the situation, what is the necessity for asking further that a Minister can authorise the arrest without warrant of persons whose detention has been ordered or directed by a Minister? If I see a person armed with a cutlass and with daggers in his belt, in the good old pantomime fashion, I do not think it necessary to give him a couple of blunderbusses as well. What is the necessity for the special powers given in paragraph (1)? I would ask for a definite explanation as to why these extra powers in (l) and (k) are required. If the Government get (m), why do they want any further powers? There is one reason, that under the Offences Against the State Act, people who are interned may appeal to a commission. That commission has to be some sort of a judicial body. If the commission report that no reasonable grounds exist for the detention of these persons, then they must be released or alternatively, they must be brought to trial for some offence. Is that not sufficient? There is the power of arrest and detention with a commission to enquire into the case of people who are interned, and the only thing that can free these people is a report by three judicial persons that there are no reasonable grounds for their arrest.

Deputy Davin called attention to another fact. It is evident that is simply a copy of what is in the British measure. It is simply founded on the British Act, but the British Act is for a vast community with very wide possessions, far-flung possessions, engaged in a war. We, on the other hand, are observing neutrality, but it may be said that it is harder to preserve neutrality than to fight a war. That may be, but I think that case should be made. When the British Bill was introduced, the Secretary who introduced it was asked for certain guarantees and one which he did give was that they did not intend to introduce regulations that would affect the liberty of the subject, by which, he said, he meant the regulations that were enforced from 1914 to 1918. There you had a measure passed for people who were going to engage in a war—a measure designed to deal with espionage, and matters of that kind, and the Secretary in charge of the measure said that they were not going to interfere with the liberty of the subject. Mind you, I believe they will later on, but they have not done so yet. Why should we, aiming only at neutrality, give the Government already armed with these amazing powers under the Offences Against the State Act, and open to give them the powers under paragraph (m), multiply these powers to the amazing extent sought for in these other paragraphs? Why in the name of Heaven should the Minister be entitled, outside of all that, simply to order the arrest and detention of people whom he directs to be arrested and interned?

It is a smaller point but one of amazing gravity that having taken all these powers, it is further proposed that the Minister who is empowered to arrest or detain may delegate his authority to a Parliamentary Secretary or any other person without limitation. He may delegate that power. He may go further. He may delegate his power under this Act, or under an Act passed before this Act, or under an Act to be passed after this Act, or under any order made under these Acts.

The Minister's duties or obligations with regard to internment, arrest, search, or the buying of commodities may be handed over at any time to any Tom, Dick or Harry he chooses. That is not fair. If there is reason for that in a particular case, let us have the reason given. I suggest that this power of delegating authority should be limited to the purchase of essential commodities. Certainly, the power of arrest and search should not be capable of delegation or, if it is, we should, at least, preserve what we have in nearly every other Act—that where searches or arrests are allowed they must be done at the behest of a Minister for cause stated in a document and carried out by people not below certain ranks in the Gárda or military force. There is a variety of other powers in the Bill, including an amazing one which I shall raise on Committee Stage for the purpose of obtaining clarification. This Government asks that it should be allowed to acquire—to take possession of and use is quite all right—any land or any other property whatsoever. It is rather notable that, in the British measure, they deliberately and positively excepted the power to acquire land. Why we should take the power, I do not know. On the whole, if there is any reasonable explanation given with regard to the powers of arrest and detention, or if they are limited in any way—there are certain other points which I shall raise in Committee—the measure can go through. The Government have appealed to us to help to educate the country as regards this measure but they have not provided us with the material where with to manufacture these explanations. They have shown us a very big edifice but they have not supplied the straw with which to make the bricks or any other material on which the bricks could be fashioned. In those circumstances, it is impossible to educate the country in the way suggested.

While every section of the House is agreeable to giving special powers to the Government in a time of emergency such as this, when it is desirable to preserve the neutrality of the country, very searching inquiry should be made into the probable use of these powers. It is a matter of very great concern to the agricultural community as to how the powers being given to the Government will be exercised in respect of the exports of cattle and other live stock and the various forms of food. Are these to be controlled and as a consequence, will the farmers' receipts from their sales be reduced? In view of the sufferings the farmers have undergone during the last few years, from which they are only now recovering, a definite assurance should be given by the Minister in charge of the Bill as to what his policy will be regarding the different forms of production in this country and also as to what his attitude will be towards the fanners' requirements. Already, there has been a very drastic rise in the charge for maize meal and that will influence considerably the profits made by the agricultural community in the production of essential foods during an emergency such as the present. There is no question that the farmers are bound to suffer as they did during the period over 20 years ago when a drastic increase took place in the price of then-requirements, including labour and the implements of production. The farmers are vitally concerned as to how the powers in this Bill will be exercised. We should be able to go back to those we represent and be able to tell them what we have done with regard to the removal of any influences that may operate against the interests of the agricultural community.

We are in imminent danger of a shortage of petrol and the Government should say how far the supplies for the agricultural community will be rationed. Petrol is required for the lorries which carry the farmer's produce to the markets, for the tractors which plough his land and for the buses which convey him to the large towns. These are matters which will seriously affect the agricultural community. It is not many years ago since we witnessed the concern of certain sections of the people with regard to the possibility of a rise in the price of beef if the tariffs were taken off. We know that those fears did not materialise and those concerned as to the cost of food had no reason to be alarmed. The farming community are still in a desperate position with regard to the payment of rates and land annuities and also in respect of shop debts. They are, therefore, justified in demanding from the Government an assurance as to the use of these very drastic powers.

The towns will be seriously affected, too. The spending power of the farmers is the one thing that maintains the prosperity of the towns. My colleagues from County Cork will bear me out when I say that this year the towns have suffered very materially owing to the lack of spending power on the part of the agricultural community. The business community in the towns have suffered almost equally with the agricultural community. I support what my friend, Deputy Myles, said with regard to profiteering, but if control with regard to prices is only to be used against one section of the community—the agricultural community— it is altogether insufficient. There are times, when it seems as if agriculture were the cinderella of all forms of Government activity. The farmers are the most helpless section of the community when it comes to self-protection. They have to give whatever is demanded of them by the merchant and they have to accept whatever is given them for their production. The only man who has had some measure of protection in the agricultural community is the new-milk vendor near our large cities. He has had a generous measure of help. We are entitled to receive from the Minister a definite assurance that the interests of the agricultural community will not be imperilled under this Bill.

I agree with some of the speakers who have criticised adversely the excessive powers asked for in this Bill. The new Constitution of 1938 was to be a new Charter of Freedom for this country. Since the first election under that Constitution has taken place the only big matters of legislation that have come before this House have been Bills or Acts to curtail that Constitution and this is one of them. It was pointed out by Deputy McGilligan that we seemed to be more concerned about taking measures to protect our neutrality than Great Britain is concerned in taking to fight a big war. If we are to be neutral why all this fuss about it? The Taoiseach is our Minister for External Affairs and he should have known more than any other man in this country about the trend of the international situation for the last 12 months. After Munich it did not take much knowledge of international politics and history to know that we were sooner or later and sooner rather than later to be up against a big war. The Minister for Industry and Commerce in the face of that situation has told us quite recently that we should ration petrol. Why should the Minister for Industry and Commerce allow the country to get into the position that petrol has to be rationed? Why did he not stock a sufficiency of petrol?

We have every available tank full. What more could we do?

The Minister could do more. Did the Minister ask the private users of petrol to buy and store it? Much more petrol could be stored by private individuals and private companies in this way than could be stored by the Government, and this could be done without any cost to the taxpayers. I would like if the Minister could give the House and the country some idea of the amount of petrol that he has stored; would he tell us if every tank in the country is full? I hope all the tanks in the country are full and that there are many such tanks. This is the first I heard that such a provision was made and it is a very pleasant surprise to me. I accept the statement from the Minister as true. We have heard a good deal about A.R.P. A neutral country, especially an island country like this, if it intends to remain neutral, should not be so much concerned with A.R.P. as with the storage of essential commodities such as petrol, paraffin oil, coal and wheat. If we have those commodities in reasonable quantities. they should tide us over a fairly long war. In that case we will be able to maintain our neutrality. But if we have not those commodities in fairly substantial quantities, we will not be able to maintain our neutrality.

Arising out of this crisis I want to say that as regards the war of nerves that has been going on for the last year. I do agree with Deputy McGilligan that no sufficient explanation has been given as to why the Dáil was not called together sooner to consider this matter and why we were only called by a circular this morning. We received to-day a Bill practically abrogating the whole Constitution and handing over the whole destiny of the country to the Executive Council. We have had no time to discuss this matter with any of our constituents. But any person that I met and with whom I discussed this matter outside this House was loud in condemnation of the way in which it has been handled by the Government. I have no doubt the Government will use those powers fairly. But it is no harm to remind them that if people in this country have a doubt as to their using extraordinary powers they have strong grounds for that doubt. Special powers were taken by the Government before this and innocent people who were having a row over the seizure of cattle were put before the Military Tribunal. The Taoiseach laughs at that. Will the Taoiseach laugh when I ask him why he did not put the murderers of young More O'Ferrall before the Military Tribunal? I imagine he will not laugh at that. Those murderers were put before a jury and acquitted while for a comparatively trivial offence, people were brought before the Military Tribunal. Why? Everybody has formed his opinion as to why. I think the Government have learned a lot since then and I think they will act fairly in the future. In this Bill they are taking powers under Section 2 (2) (d) about currency. What they propose to do is not elaborated in the Bill nor was it elaborated by the Minister in his speech. As one who believes in a national currency, I hope that at this juncture no attempt will be made to put over a national currency.

Quite obviously why. It is because we are hemmed in. We are depending for our very living on what others will transport across the sea to us and we have only one people to transport that to us. We are entirely in their hands and grip. If those people say to us to-morrow: "Get down off your pedestal of neutrality or we will starve you", we have no option but to do so. That is the position to which we have been brought.

This is the war of nerves.

It is a war of bullets, not nerves. Let the Deputy tell the Poles it is a war of nerves. As a matter of fact the nerves are settled. It is the skin that is affected now. What are the Government going to say to that? In the early stages of the last war, postal orders and all forms of paper were pressed into currency services. That was because of the shortage of cash and ready money. Credits rose and with the rise of credits the necessary currency had to be produced. We need not go into how it was produced, nor what cover it had. I know it went up to nearly £600,000,000 in Great Britain. It stands at £600,000,000 to-day. In Ireland during the period of the war and the then high prices, that currency stood at over £30,000,000. It is now £10,000,000 in the Free State. What does that shortage of currency meant That we have not sufficient credit in this country to produce industrial development, the industrial development that requires extra currency.

If we are going to have production in this country, especially agricultural production, the Government must see to it at once that agriculture gets adequate credits and consequentially on agricultural credits, adequate currency. Otherwise there will not be production. There cannot be. That is as far as I think it would be prudent for the Government to go in the matter of currency or banking at the present time. This Dáil has been in existence for 17 years and there was plenty of time in peace, when our assets were higher than they are now, when our income was greater, when our balance of trade was more in our favour. We neglected it. Having so neglected it, this is not the time to produce a further panic. The country is panicky enough, seeing how panicky our Government is that overnight it has called the Dáil, to force this thing through. Now we are told that it must be forced through in this city at latest by to-morrow night.

It is admitted by Deputy McGilligan that these powers should be in the hands of our Government. Why did not they look for them sooner? Personally, I do not think that many of the powers are necessary. I will vote against some of them. At one time the theme was that this was a mother country. That has been entirely forgotten. Above all, it has been forgotten by the Taoiseach. In his handling of external affairs he cannot point to a single instance where he influenced British foreign policy although he had been in close contact with the British Government. In the case of sanctions against Italy, non-intervention in Spain, and in the present crisis he has slavishly followed British dictation. I am glad to see an official amendment coming forward which says:—

Nothing in this section shall authorise the imposition of any form of compulsory military service...

I thought it was disguised in the wording of the Bill. Evidently there was something to it because the Minister found it necessary to ease people's minds on this matter.

Speaking with some experience of industry and agriculture, I agree with the suggestion made by Deputy Davin. This is not the time for recrimination. Whatever the position is now, well, it is so. We can talk about what produced it another time if it is worth talking about at all in the future but at the present time it is necessary to take full stock of our resources, full stock of our ability to develop them and live as economically independent as we can during the trying years that are ahead. If war comes it may last for ten years. I would go further than Deputy Davin in suggesting that advisory councils for various forms of economic activity be set up. I think the Ministry would be well advised to set up an economic council and tap, as Deputy Davin said, the organised sources of advice. They should get advice from people having practical experience in the various phases of economic life.

If there is any question or any danger of a shortage of motive power such as paraffin or petrol it would be necessary to take census of horses in this country. I think my farmer colleagues will agree with me that we have not sufficient horses to keep the present area under tillage, not to speak about increasing it—and we will have to increase it considerably if war is ahead. We will have to treble our area under wheat. We have not sufficient horses to do it at the present time and it would involve a considerable increase in the consumption of petrol and paraffin. Not only must those supplies be made available but parts for and replacement of tractors will have to be made available or agriculture will be brought to a standstill.

The question of transport is a very serious one. Transport in the City of Dublin is running on petrol now. In the last war it was running on electricity. If supplies of petrol run out what will happen our transport services? Streets that in the memory of nearly everybody in this House had tram rails on them are now concreted over and buses are running on them. If there is not an adequate supply of petrol where will the transport service be? The country transport service is in the same position. Roads have been made for petrol-driven lorries and buses. They are not suitable for horse traffic even if it were a feasible proposition and even if there were horses to carry goods on them. We require petrol to run the buses and lorries. It is absolutely essential to the economic life of this country, to the production of anything in this country, the transport of raw material and the finished article. There should not be a rationing: of petrol but an adequate supply of petrol. If we find that we cannot get petrol we are up against an economic collapse. The situation is extremely serious. Does Depute Davin think the railway would do it all?

Oh, no, shank's mare.

It would do Deputy Davin and myself much good if we had more shank's mare, but I do not think we would relish it all the same. While I am not, satisfied about certain sections of this Bill and will oppose some sections on the whole I am sure every member of this House sympathises with the Government in the terrible task that they must take on and the terrible responsibility that is imposed on them in this matter. I would strongly advise responsible Ministers to consider the question of setting up an economic council so as to get the best practical advice. Whatever theoretical advice they have at their command would still be at their command, but they should get the best practical advice in order to produce sufficient quantities of essential commodities.

As other Deputies have said, everybody realises the position of the Government in a time of a crisis of this nature but while I might be inclined to agree with the other Deputies that one could argue the necessity for giving the Government the powers they ask for in this Bill, I would not be, inclined to agree that the Government should get all the powers they ask for without some explanation at any rate as to the manner in which they intend to utilise certain of the powers. It is rather amazing that the Taoiseach, as head of the Government, introduced to-day these two Bills. This Bill in itself, without any regard at all to the rights or wrongs, merits or demerits of the sections in it, is an entire abrogation of democratic government because the passage of this Bill by the Dáil means that for the period set out in the Bill there is going to be government by decree in this country. I do not believe that it is entirely in the public interests of this country or in the interests of the people, who will be as much affected by the scares, rumours and threats of the present crisis as the members of this House, that we should have been rushed up here and asked to consider this Bill which is giving the Government power to legislate by decree for the period set out in the Bill.

I am not at all satisfied that a number of the powers asked for by the Government in this Bill should be given without, much clearer explanation as to what is intended to be done if they get those powers. I might point out that under the Bill the Government has power to do practically anything as long as they can show that it is for the preservation of the State. The Taoiseach maintains that one of the main purposes of the two Bills introduced today is to preserve the neutrality of this State.

But, nevertheless, you are asked under this Bill to give the Government powers under which they might take some action by decree which might be regarded by one of the belligerents in the present war as an act of hostility. The Government might do something by decree which would abrogate our neutrality completely. The Government, without consultation with this House, might do an act which might entirely do away with this country's neutrality. They might, in their hurry, as they were in a hurry hustling the Dáil up to pass this legislation, issue some decree that would be regarded by one of the belligerents as a breach of our neutrality, and find themselves still more in the soup than they are at present, without any time to consider it. That is a terribly drastic power to give any Government. Under the powers given by this Bill for the preservation of the State in time of war and, in particular, for the maintenance of public order, the Government can do anything they like. Section 2 (2) sets out the detailed things they may do.

So far as paragraph (b) is concerned, it authorises the Minister to buy or sell goods of a particular kind or class, and I think this House is entitled to some explanation from the Minister as to how he visualises this power will be used. The people of the country are entitled to have some idea of what the Government will do if they get this power. We are presented with a sub-section which says that the Government may authorise the Minister to buy and sell goods of a particular kind and to engage in trade. Apart from the question of the regulation of exports and imports, there will be a number of people who will be very anxious to know what is meant by the Minister's buying and selling goods or engaging in trade. People may feel that there has been sufficient interference by legislation, and by bureaucrats established by legislation, with the commercial activities of the country without any additional interferences that might possibly happen under such a drastic Bill as this. If the Government so think fit, they can decide that the Minister shall be the sole buyer and seller of any particular commodity in this country. I should like to get an assurance from the Minister, if it is intended to interfere with any particular commodity or any particular trade, whether the produce of the agricultural community or the norrar1 commercial supplies that the country will need, that the Minister will guarantee that, as far as possible, no steps will be taken without taking into account the livelihood of the people concerned, and that no steps will be taken that will interfere in the sale of these particular goods, or with any particular trade without, if possible, consultation with the people concerned.

So far as paragraph (h) is concerned, which deals with the question of censorship, I wonder is the Minister aware of the effect that the radio will have on the peoples of the world during the present crisis. I do not know whether the Minister is aware of it or not, but over a large district in Southern Ireland last night, Radio Éireann cut off suddenly in the middle of the news. Over a radius of 40 miles, in a district in which I made inquiries, Radio Eireann last night cut off in the middle of the news. Whether that was done by the Government or not, or why it happened, I do not know. If it did not happen owing to a, technical defect, and was deliberately done by the Government because something might have been said that was not in the public interest, I suggest that it was not proper to cut off in the middle of the news and leave the people of the country wondering what was coming next and why they were not allowed to hear it.

So far as the paragraphs from (j) to (m) are concerned, it would appear from reading these that they had been drafted as if they were part of a Bill which was intended to meet internal disturbance—such a Bill as we might visualise being brought in if there were a possibility or likelihood of internal disturbance. So far as I am aware, the powers given under the Offences Against the State Act to deal with internal disturbance are adequate. Then again, the powers taken in these paragraphs are rather contradictory.

Under paragraphs (j), (k), (l) and (m), there is power given to the Minister, or persons whom he may delegate, to arrest and detain without warrant, particularly for offences under the Bill or for specific offences. Further on, penalties are provided for what may be offences under the Bill. Provision is made for summary hearing and summary prosecution of these offences. I want to ask the Minister, if the Government make a particular regulation or a particular emergency order under this Bill, and a person commits a breach of it which may be a purely technical one, is power sought to authorise the Minister to tell anybody he likes to arrest and detain that person, and, if they choose, subsequently to bring him before a district justice, as is provided for in Section 5, or, if they do not choose to bring him before a district justice, to detain him? This Bill sets out a number of offences, and 99 per cent. of the offences will be offences of a purely technical nature, possibly breaches of regulations that the Minister will make saying that people shall or shall not do this or that. Does the Minister visualise that people who may commit technical breaches of emergency orders are going to be put in the position—of course, it may never happen—that their liberty may be taken from them because the Minister, or somebody to whom he delegates powers, orders their arrest and detention?

I can visualise no set of circumstances in which the powers which the Government have already would not be sufficient to do any of the things they want to do under these particular paragraphs. If the Government are satisfied that the powers they already have under the Offences Against the State Act are sufficient to meet any internal disorder of that nature, why do they ask for they additional powers, because I must assume that they are additional powers? If they are, will the Government say why they want them and what particular set of circumstances the Government expect to have to face that they want these additional powers? I should like the Government to explain why they want these additional powers and in what set of circumstances they expect to use them.

So far as the delegation of statutory powers are concerned, I object absolutely to that. It is all very well to say that the Minister who has delegated his powers will have to assume responsibility for the acts of the person to whom he delegates them. That is not very much use, because if a person to whom he delegates his powers does something he ought not to do, there is not much good in the Minister saying afterwards that he assumes responsibility. There is no necessity for the delegation of these powers. Certainly there ought not to be any delegation except to a member of the Executive Council. I object to that completely.

As to Section 7, so far as prosecutions for offences under this Act are concerned, I see very little necessity for the insertion of such a penal section providing for hearingin camera. Under this Bill we are not dealing, so far as I am aware, with the type of offence that would be required to be heard in camera, such as espionage. It would be ridiculous to suggest that, if one of the emergency orders made by the Minister was that a hackney car driver should not drive more than 20 miles per week and a hackney driver drove 21 miles, he would be prosecuted and the Minister would solemnly make an order that that case should be heard in camera.

The Minister would not do it. It is the court that decides.

Exactly, but you are putting powers there for which there is absolutely no necessity.

The Minister has no right to order it.

I agree with you there, but you are actually putting the power there. What is going to happen? Everybody knows what happens in circumstances of that sort, particularly in a case of emergency. A prosecution of that sort takes place. The State suggests that, in the public interest, the case should be heardin camera. No matter what anybody else may say, the District Justice will agree, if he believes that the Government are right in this thing, and he must assume that the Government are right if he believes that the Dáil should give them those powers. If any man in this country believes that the Dáil should give the Government those powers, he would have to assume that they are right when they ask for a trial in camera.

The court has the power to decide.

But you are asking for those powers, and are you asking the court to assume that there is no necessity for those powers? The Taoiseach may laugh, but he knows that those powers are not asked for to have them wiped out by the District Justice.

I am amused at the case which the Deputy is making.

But it will not be at all amusing for a man held for a highly technical offence when the State asks that the case be heardin camera and the District Justice agrees. The nicest item of all in this Bill is Section 8, fees on licences. Is that a revenue measure? Is it in the hope of collecting extra revenue?

To pay expenses.

Is that all? We have the Minister's word for that?

The Minister says he will merely collect sufficient fees to pay the expenses of the Bill?

Not of the Bill. We do not hope to get that much.

As regards the power of licensing, the power the Minister has already taken to deal with any particular trade, or the sale of any particular commodity, gives the Minister and the State absolute control over the licences existing, in other words, licences to people to operate certain trades, licences to do this, that or the other thing. I again suggest that this is a highly technical power dealing with the livelihood of the people that ought not to be left entirely in the hands of the Government without consultation with people engaged in the particular trade or occupation.

As far as carrying out the urgency orders is concerned, they may be annulled within 21 days after the next sitting of the Dáil. That is just like the Minister being responsible for the powers he delegates—he will be sorry when the person to whom he delegates them does wrong. The power of the. Dáil to annul the emergency order will be something similar. If the emergency order does any drastic damage, it will not be much good for the Dáil to annul it 21 days after its next meeting.

The Taoiseach—it is already on the papers this evening—stands for neutrality. He possibly believes that himself. He may be satisfied in his own mind that he will be able to keep this country neutral. It is not for me to suggest whether he can or can not, but I should like to put this point: In those days of international negotiation, when small States all over the world were linking with other small States to preserve their neutrality, and when various benevolent countries like the United States were offering to guarantee the neutrality of small nations, did the Taoiseach ask the United States what they thought of Ireland's position, and whether they would ask the belligerants to regard our neutrality as absolute and irrevocable.

Mr. Byrne

My contribution to this debate will be very short. I unhesitatingly give to the Government my support in the request they have made for those emergency powers. They are charged with the preservation of this State, and in that direction I give them my whole-hearted support. I merely rise to ask the Minister will he, on Monday morning if it is possible, issue orders to the effect that food prices must not be increased under any circumstances. A short while ago I drew attention to the fact that there was a slight but very steady and regular increase in the price of vegetables in Dublin City. Having a recollection of the regulating of prices during the last war, I would ask him to take control of prices so far as coal is concerned, and also in regard to bread, milk, butter and eggs. I would ask him, too, to give the country an assurance regarding the supply of sugar. Sugar and milk are required for the children of the country. They are most essential. We have in this city some very fine milk distribution schemes for those who are not able to provide milk for themselves.

Those are a few small points to which I feel sure that the Government and its very excellent staff have already given consideration. I feel that within the last few months the Ministry has not been asleep with regard to those supplies, and have already safeguarded them, but I think that the attention of the Ministry should be directed towards the prevention of profiteering, especially in the case of small quantities purchased by our less fortunate people. I will leave it at that, because I feel confident that the other matters to which reference has been made—most of them, at any rate, if not all of them —have had consideration, as well as the ones I have mentioned. I feel confident that all those points have had the attention of the Government and their staff, but I do urge that, early in this coming week, notice should be served that any attempt to increase the price of supplies to our people, especially to our poor people, will be adequately dealt with.

I think that every responsible citizen of this country realises that the meeting of this Dáil to-day is no ordinary one, and for that reason I think we should all treat each other as human beings prepared to pool our thoughts and our emotions upon this occasion. It is an occasion which, perhaps, during the past six months or so we all have anticipated. I might say that what has happened in the Dáil to-day has had the attention of all the nations, of the world. It was perfectly obvious to any Deputy who was here at the commencement of these proceedings that we had a larger number of Press representatives in the gallery than we have had for many a long day. Therefore, I hope that any remarks I have to make will be treated as made by an individual with the emotions and with the feelings which must inevitably affect anyone who tries to do the right thing upon an occasion of this kind. I did anticipate that, as a result of the European situation, the Government would have seen fit to call together this Assembly before now. In then-wisdom, be it right or wrong, they only saw fit to do so when the crisis had reached its peak.

To anyone as familiar as I am with foreign languages, able to turn on the radio and listen to the broadcasts in French or German from the various capitals of Europe, escaping the control of broadcasts of our friends in England, it was obvious that Saturday was the last day upon which this Assembly should meet in order to face up to the situation and deal with the matters that were bound to arise. Quite accidentally this morning—and this is my quarrel with the Government—I happened to be in Dublin and when I opened my post I found my summons to attend this meeting here. There are several members of this Assembly who are not present to-night. It was only by reason of the fact that I was in Dublin this morning on other business and happened to open my post that I was able to find this document which we are now discussing. It was purely by accident that I was in the city: it was only then that I got the summons collecting this Assembly together.

We have discussed this document from every point of view, but we have failed to emphasise the one point of view which, I submit to this assembly, is all-important. When this Bill becomes an Act of this State, we will be as much a totalitarian State as any of the totalitarian States of Europe. I wonder if the Government, in their wisdom, have considered that point of view? I thought, perhaps, when I was reading this Bill this morning, that I was wrong. I read Section 2 (1), which is the over-riding clause in that section. I listened with very great interest to the explanation by the Minister for Industry and Commerce of the meaning of that section, and I took down word for word what he said. He said that of course, the sub-paragraphs in Section 2, which will later on, on the Committee Stage, form the chief line of debate, were merely illustrative of what could be done on sub-section (1). Someone on this side asked the Minister what does sub-section (1) mean, and this was the Minister's answer: "To give the Government power to legislate by order." That is what it means.

I am not offering any criticism at the present moment, but in my humble opinion, when this Bill is passed, there will be vested in the Executive Council of this country as great, if not greater powers as exist in any totalitarian State in Europe. I should like Deputies to realise that. We should treat each other as human beings. When I left my house this morning I came down to this assembly determined in so far as it lay in my power, to oppose this measure root and branch. In this assembly I have observed practical unanimity among all Parties, all individuals. There has been mention here of a blank cheque. Why, then, should I stand alone? I am not going to.

I have taken a very keen interest in this debate and, with the words of caution that have been used by speakers on this side and on other sides of the House, I will go so far as to say that I do not know what are the secrets wrapped up in the minds of the Executive Council, the Governmental secrets which have come across the wires from London—I say that without any offence—but, having listened to the debate here and having been alone in my opinion, apparently, I am prepared to bow to the views of the majority in this assembly and to give to the Government even greater powers than the totalitarian Powers of Europe possess. I will utter this warning, that they are on their word of honour. They have not disclosed to us, to me or to other members here, mere backbenchers in our Party, the seriousness of the situation. They are on their word of honour not to abuse those powers. I will give them my approval willingly, believing they will not abuse those powers. That is my reaction to this measure now.

The second point I have to make is this. We are considering this measure in connection with certain words in the Preamble to the Bill, and the words are "in time of war". That is the thing we all read this morning, all of us who took the trouble to read the Preamble of the Bill. The words "in time of war" convey a certain meaning to the lay mind. I, as a lawyer, would have interpreted them as meaning an occasion upon which we as a nation were engaged in war. We must now read them as meaning a time when there is taking place a long conflict in which this State is not a participant, but in respect of which each House of the Oireachtas has resolved that arising out of such armed conflict a national emergency exists, affecting the vital interests of the State. The effect is that not only are we giving totalitarian powers to our Government during a time when we may be attacked and when our army may be in the field, but we are giving those powers to the Government the very moment England declares war on Germany, and her Ambassador gets his passport and leaves Berlin. No Government in any country in the world ever asked for such rights before from a democratic assembly. I do not believe the Government ever considered that. Various Governments have asked for such rights, but they did not ask for them from democratic assemblies.

What we have always prided ourselves upon in this country is that, small nation as we are, we cherish our parliamentary representation, the democracy which it creates and the Government which it rules. I want to make my position quite clear. I have only intervened in order to point out the seriousness of the situation. It is not even an ordinary blank cheque that we have given; it is a blank cheque which, we say, even if it was not written by ourselves, has got to be cashed. We are giving the men who sit over there greater powers than Herr Hitler is exercising in Germany at the present time, than Senor Mussolini is exercising in Italy or Stalin in Russia. I say from this side of the House that in giving them those powers we put them upon their word of honour not to abuse them.

Like Deputy Esmonde, I have greatly wondered what is the necessity for rushing this Bill at the present time. Deputy Esmonde was more fortunate in a way than I have been. Deputy Esmonde has told us that he got the notice convening the Dáil when he went to his house this morning. I got no notice at all and, if I had not happened to be listening to Radio Athlone last night, the first intimation I would have got that the Dáil would sit to-day would be when I received my morning papers at 1.30 in my somewhat remote country place. That is the way in which Deputies of this House are placed. I am sure there are some Deputies similarly situated to me who are not aware that the Dáil is sitting.

That is the way in which the Dáil is summoned to deal with a Bill of very considerable—and I am minimising matters when I say very considerable —importance. I ask myself, what is the hurry and what is the necessity for the powers in this Bill? I am not an alarmist and I am not panicky, I admit, but I endeavour to look at this situation calmly and see if there is any reason for this immediate panic. Let us cast our minds back and remember what happened in the Great War, and see what is likely to repeat itself and what, is very unlikely to repeat itself. We are all aware of the fact that Germany carried out a U-boat campaign against all boats bringing food supplies into Great Britain in an endeavour to starve Great Britain. She submarined boats carrying the Stars and Stripes with the result that she brought the United States into the Great War. Docs anybody consider for one moment that Herr Hitler is going to repeat the terrific blunder which, against the advice of the German military authorities, Von Tirpitz carried out in 1916 and 1917? I most certainly do not, and I am very strongly of opinion that no boat carrying the Stars and Stripes, the flag of the United States of America, on its way to an Irish port runs the slightest danger of being submarined by any German submarine.

Secondly—and this is a matter upon which I, as a non-expert, cannot give a reasoned opinion; I can only hazard a conjecture, as I only know from various things that I have seen stated —it is considered that the submarine peril is not at the present moment as serious as it was, let me say, in 1917 and 1918. Naval experts have been working upon the matter and have devised methods of combating submarines far more effective than the methods which were then at their disposal. So, I want to know, to begin with, what is the danger of our being cut off from food supplies from foreign sources? We can get as much wheat, oil, petrol and cotton as we want from the United States of America, carried in ships owned by United States firms, with, I believe, a perfect degree of safety. It is possible, of course, that we will have to pay highly for them, that the price if those imported goods may rise very considerably, because we may not be able to give something back. This is a year, however, in which wheat has touched a record low level, and I cannot see what is the difficulty of getting an unlimited supply of wheat in American-owned ships. Has any endeavour been made to ascertain if there was any such risk of American cargo boats hesitating to bring as wheat?

The Government have sources of information at their disposal which we have not got. As far as I am concerned in this matter, I am speaking just like the man in the street who has got no more information than what ho can gather from daily papers and the conclusions ho could draw from his own readings of modern history. And as far as I can reason, at any rate, it seems to me that there is no cause on earth why the necessaries that I have specified cannot be brought into this country without risk. There seems to be no necessity for those things which are vital to us being brought through Great Britain: they can be brought to this State direct in American-owned boats. If my conclusion is wrong I would be glad to hear from some member of the Ministry where it is wrong or what he fears but, as far as I am concerned, I do not think that any reasonable man can suppose that any boat carrying the Stars and Stripes will be submarined by any German submarine in the coming war.

I am sure the Ministers have given that matter consideration, and I venture to think that those Ministers at any rate who have given it consideration will agree with me. I therefore, do not see any difficulty, though it may cost us a little more, in keeping up our sources of supply of all our essentials. What then is the necessity for these extremely drastic powers which have been asked for the control of trade, and above all, what is the immediate necessity? Personally I fail to grasp what the immediate necessity is. But it is not that part of the Bill that troubles me, it is the later powers which are given in it. Strange to say, my attitude of mind has been the very reverse of the attitude of Deputy Esmonde. He started with a revulsion against the Bill, but has gradually brought himself to the view that he will not oppose it. I had not seen the Bill until I saw it in the morning papers to a certain extent when travelling up in the train and read it rather casually. I came to this conclusion: "Here is a Government that wants powers in a state of emergency and they ought to get them." That was my first reaction, that the Government is responsible for the wellbeing of the country and, in a time of crisis, should have power, but I have discovered that I am changing very much, and every time I read the Bill I dislike it more and more. I really wonder if Deputies, if the public, and if the Executive Council understand the drastic powers that are being taken under this Bill. It is all very well for them to say: "We are taking great powers but we will not exercise them." Why ask for them?

Again and again I have heard the Taoiseach talk about that sacred thing called the Constitution, and that it cannot be altered except by a Referendum of the people. That is gone by the board. When this Bill becomes an Act—if it becomes an Act in the form in which it is at the present moment—the sacred Constitution will have been made by its author a mere scrap of paper. The Executive Council has power under the Bill to suspend the entire Constitution. I wonder if that is recognised by the whole House. It is there, and is plain. If this Bill went, through in its present form—I am sure it will not—under Section 2 (2) (p) the Government may:

suspend the operation of or amend or apply (with or without modification) any enactment for the time being in force or any instrument made under such enactment.

The Constitution is an enactment enacted by the people. We have heard that again and again. Under this Bill the Government are taking power to suspend the operation of the Constitution, to amend the Constitution, and they can do that by a mere Order in Council. What is the necessity for these drastic powers? It may be said that this can only be done for a year. That is not so. This Bill carries its own extension on its face. It is an enactment. They can suspend this Bill any time they like. They can amend it. They can make it a 20 years Bill or a 50 years Bill under its own terms. They can take any single statute,Habeas Corpus, the Land Act or any Act, and amend and do any single thing they like under the powers asked for in the sub-section. What is the necessity for that? What is the drastic crisis? What is the terrible threat to the liberties of the people? What is the awful position in which this country is placed that the Government comes to the House and asks for these powers? Personally, when I glanced through the Bill at first, I thought it was going to be merely supplementary to the admittedly drastic powers which the Government had already had for dealing with internal affairs, and I came to the conclusion hastily—and on mature consideration, I think, wrongly—that the Bill was introduced, in order that it would be a supplement to the Government's previous powers, and that certain things might arise out of the present situation which existing legislation could not deal with.

I visualised that this Bill was brought before the House, so that the Government would get power, for instance, to deal with a nest of German spies, if it was established in this country, who got information from England and communicated it to Germany, so that they could be dealt with under this legislation but could not be dealt with under existing legislation. Undoubtedly if that happened these persons would be infringing the spirit of our neutrality. I also thought that if persons in this country were hatching a conspiracy for blowing up, let me say, powder magazines in Great Britain, the Government would very rightly ask for power to deal with them, as probably existing legislation would not be able to do so. I thought it was power to deal with matters like that the Government was asking for. If the Government were asking for power of that nature they would have my entire sympathy, my help, and my vote in getting such powers. But I discovered that the powers the Government are asking for are not powers of that nature at all, and that the particular things which I thought the Government were asking for power to deal with are matters which they cannot deal with under this legislation at all unless they exercise sub-section (2) (p) to which I referred. If they allow this Bill to remain, and do not change it by Order in Council, they will not be able to deal with such matters at all, because they can only deal with

"...such provisions as are, in the opinion of the Government, necessary or expedient for securing the public safety or the preservation of the State, or for the maintenance of public order, or for the provision and control of supplies and services essential to the life of the community."

Therefore, the matters which I have mentioned, which are not necessary or expedient for securing the public safety, or the preservation of the State, or the maintenance of public order cannot be dealt with under this Bill as it stands. It is a blank cheque drawn on the bank of liberty in this State and gives unlimited power to the Government to interfere with the lives and fortunes of everyone and with existing law. As Deputy Esmonde pointed out under Section 2 (2) (p), it establishes a complete and unqualified dictatorship. Therefore, I very much wonder if it is the intention of the Government really to ask for such powers. I very much wonder, as I said in the earlier part of my speech, if they themselves realise the drastic powers they are asking for, the extent of the powers they are asking for, and the terrible abuse that may be made of these powers. I heard a great deal of self-laudation this afternoon from the Taoiseach as to how his Government had received powers for years and never abused them. Some persons have considerable powers of self-deception, but I venture to think that the Taoiseach is about the only person in this State who could honestly state that Fianna Fáil has not steadily and consistently abused every power the Dáil has given them. That, at any rate, is my deliberate and considered view. We are now asked to give these very drastic powers. We are willing, and more than willing, because you are the Government elected by the people, in a time of crisis, to give you every power you ask for and reasonably require, but we do think it is totally absurd that you should, in a time which may rather develop into a crisis than is an existing crisis, ask for powers more extreme and more drastic than a democratic Government has ever asked for from a democratic assembly.

I doubt whether if Deputy Esmonde had been able to screw up his courage to make his opposition to this Bill more effective than the statement he gave the House indicated, he would find himself alone. I think there are many of us who view with considerable alarm the powers asked for in this Bill and, personally, I want the opinion recorded that I do not think any Government should get, in present circumstances, the powers asked for. Though I am quite sure the House has already been given some picture of the extraordinary powers that are asked for, it is no harm to consider for a moment how extremely far-reaching they are. In his speech to-day, the Taoiseach made a statement which I think is very significant in so far as the activities of this Dáil are concerned for some time to come. He indicated that Ministers would be so engaged in solving, departmentally, the numerous and complex problems that arose that one could infer they would not be able to give much attention to the Dáil, and, if I am not unduly suspicious, I deduce from that statement the fact that the Dáil would not be meeting very often in the future. I think that is a prospect that holds very terrifying possibilities for the people as a whole. It is quite all right to say that no Government responsible to the Irish people am likely to abuse their powers, but, at the same time, the securing of tremendous powers easily puts a great temptation before any Government and particularly at a time when members of the Cabinet would be engaged in many activities arising out of the present crisis, it seems to me that there is a likelihood that the powers will, in fact, be used by people outside this House altogether. Even if Parliament does meet, we have to remember that a censorship of the Press will be established and that even the proceedings of this Parliament may not be reported in the Press, or, at best, reported in a very summarised fashion. The suspension of the Constitution and the abrogation of the rights of the citizens are powers which, I believe, ought not to be granted to a Government.

The powers in the Bill, and particularly those provisions dealing with the invasion of houses, arrests without warrant, and all the other drastic powers that are conferred on the Government and on the Government servant, represent an invasion of the last rights of the citizen. The provision dealing with the repeal of enactments is one which can be carried to any length, and one is tempted to ask for what reason the powers enshrined in the Bill are being sought. We are not perhaps, in a position to get an answer to that question. The reply may be that it would not be in the public interest to answer that question, but it seems to me that this state of emergency which has been talked of to-day did not arise exactly to-day. Something very significant occurred some few days ago, when the bank rate in this country was raised from 3 per cent. to 5 per cent. That very act indicated a very serious emergency for thousands of people in this country in the future, and, while not unduly pessimistic, it seems to me to indicate at least a partial suspension of public works and a complete cessation of housing and all the other normal activities of reconstruction in the country.

That is certainly a terrifying prospect for the people, and, if I may be presumptuous enough to offer an opinion, it appears to me that that emergency might have been dealt with when it arose. It represent, and will in the end represent, a very much more serious position for the ordinary people than many of the things hinted at when the powers asked for in the Bill are being sought. I am just wondering, like Deputy McGilligan, whether there is anything to be saved from the wreckage, and whether in this gloomy and terrifying situation which this Bill represents, there is anything that can be used for good. One thing occurs to me, as it will have occurred to other members of the House, that, the Government being certain of getting the powers in the Bill, we may share the hope that one provision in the Bill will be used effectively to protect the poor people who will be the consumers of food most in need of protection in the immediate future.

In the past the poor people in this country have been robbed in many ways in the matter of prices. In this terrible instrument that is being shaped here this evening, may we hope that the provisions in it will be of some value and of some effect so far as the ordinary people of the country are concerned: that they will be of value in protecting them from the robbery and extortion that is very likely to arise, and of which we already have had some indication. We have had that in the last couple of days in an increase in the price of certain foodstuffs. Like some other members of the House, I feel that this view of mine is a minority view. Very probably it is a view that is not going to affect the decision of the House on this matter. At the same time, I do not think that I ought to give a silent vote on this. I want to have it put on record that I entirely disagree with the giving of the powers here asked for to the Government. In my opinion, no Government in our time or in the future, ought to get the freedom, the latitude and the licence that we find enshrined in this Bill.

There are some sections in this Bill that I, like other members of the House, do not like, but I have always taken the view that, in any national or international crisis, the Government of the day in a democratic country like ours ought to get any powers that they think reasonably necessary. Neither I, nor the members of our Party, are departing from that view. There are some sections in the Bill which, in our opinion, are not reasonably necessary, and we hope that on the Committee Stage the Taoiseach and the Government will accept our view in regard to them, and make them less objectionable than they are. I would hope that when this measure comes to be operated it will only be used by the Government when it is absolutely necessary. If there is any misuse of its provisions the responsibility for that will be the Government's.

While, as I have said, we think it is right that in a crisis such as we are passing through the Government of the day should be given the powers that they believe to be reasonably necessary, there is one aspect of the present critical situation that I would like to refer to. I hope that the Government, when they come to operate paragraphs (a) and (b) of sub-section 2, will do so in a manner that will afford the utmost protection to consumers. The position to-day is very different from what it was 25 years ago when we had another European outbreak by reason of the fact that under the legislation passed since then the position of the consumer has been adversely affected. I do not want to see that position accentuated by anything that may be done under this Bill. Above all, I do not want to see the differentiation between agriculture and industry made worse than what it is. In this crisis agricultural produce will be subject to the international price, to a price outside our control, in the main. There will be some commodities, the price of which the Government may not be able to control, but as regards the commodities, the prices of which we can govern I hope that steps will be taken to keep them at a minimum, and that no one will be allowed to take advantage of the provisions dealing with control. As Deputy McGilligan has said, I hope that the Minister in charge will give rigorous effect to the provisions dealing with profiteering or profiteers.

I, like other Deputies, wish to register my opposition to this Bill. I want to have it on record that one, at least, of the representatives from Wicklow and Carlow is not in favour of it. Deputy Cogan went out of his way to say that he was prepared to give the Government all the power that it is seeking in this measure. We have an Article in the Constitution. which lays down that nobody, except this House, has the right to declare war. Is that right now being taken from the House by this measure? I do not see any need for this Bill. We are not at war. Therefore, I do not see why the House should give to the Executive Authority the powers of arrest enshrined in this Bill. Power is being given to intern individuals without charge. In various sections the right is given to intern without trial. I opposed measures of this kind in the past when an Executive came in and asked for similar powers at a time when the country was threatened with civil war. I did so even though the powers sought in them were not as drastic as the powers asked for in this particular Bill.

Deputy Murphy has pointed out that Parliament will be dissolved. But even if the Executive, in their wisdom, condescend to recall Parliament, the Press will not be allowed to publish any criticisms that may be directed against it in this House. I am sorry that more members have not taken an independent line in connection with this measure. I, at any rate, want to have it on record that I am opposed to this Bill. It may not be popular at the present time to do this. I firmly believe that when it is put into operation throughout the Twenty-six Counties and when certain other things may take place in the Six Counties, the people here will realise then the serious position in which they are. They will have no public representatives to voice their grievances or make a protest against certain things which they may find not to be in the interests of the people. There are certain sections in the Bill that I certainly approve of, for instance, those dealing with the control of the currency and credit of the country and with the control of supplies.

I cannot understand what Deputy Byrne said about profiteering in Dublin in the case of vegetables, because in the constituency that I come from we have acres and acres of vegetables which are lying in the ground unsaleable. To use Deputy Byrne's words, the poor people of Dublin are being fleeced by reason of the extortionate prices that are being charged for vegetables. I hope that the Minister will exercise the powers conferred on him by the Bill to prevent profiteering. I might point out to him that in the last two days, in the County Wicklow, the price of coal has been increased by 5/- a ton. The price of four has gone up by another 2/- a ton. What have the Government been doing in regard to that? I wonder will they exercise the powers they are taking in this Bill in regard to matters of that kind. I hope they will, and that they will do something to regulate prices, and thereby help to bring some relief to consumers. If the Bill succeeds in doing something along that line, it may be that there are some good points in it; but again I want to register my protest against giving any Government, whether it be Labour, Fine Gael or Fianna Fáil, such powers as are being asked for, and especially at the present time, when we are not in a state of war and when no country has declared war on this country.

I think that, besides the reply which the Minister immediately concerned will give in regard to criticisms of details of the Bill, I should intervene just to point out a few general considerations. Very strange statements have been made here in this debate, such as that no such powers were ever given in a democratic State to any Government, That is, of course, absurd. Our contention is that the crisis that we will be faced with in this country, even though we are not a belligerent, will, as far as we are concerned, approximate to the conditions in which a country is when it is actually a participant in war. Now, there is not, to my knowledge, any democratic Constitution in which provision is not made for such circumstances and in which it is not clearly foreseen that conditions of war cannot be met by the ordinary machinery of democratic government: that is, by the machinery that works well in times of peace.

Quick decisions have got to be made very often. You cannot make these decisions to meet emergencies unless you have got the powers to give effect to the decisions which are arrived at, and anybody who has had any experience at all of the working of democratic constitutions must know full well that the ordinary working of democratic constitutions is not possible without very serious danger to the State in time of war, or in time of emergency tantamount to war. It is true that this Bill gives powers for what is tantamount to legislation by decree or by order, but the States that have been threatened already with war have, in advance of us, taken measures of that kind—even the democratic States.

It has been asked here why we did not come to the Dáil earlier with a demand for powers like these. One of the reasons why we did not do so was that, naturally, we were loth to come and ask for powers such as these, in advance of a situation which would be clear to everybody to be a situation demanding that extraordinary powers should be taken to the Executive. We could have come here earlier with the main provisions that are in this Bill. No doubt we could have done so, and, naturally, we have been very much concerned with the situation that has been threatening for some months past; but there was still hope, and we had not abandoned hope until the guns began to speak. We have come here, then, to tell you that, as a Government, we cannot carry out our responsibilities in the situation which we envisage unless we have the powers to take decisions of that sort. You will have to choose either to have the Dáil meeting in continuous session to deal with emergencies as they arise in such a situation—and it is quite obvious that a body of the size of the Dáil if it is to be informed of each particular emergency as it arises, is not a body that would be able to come to a quick decision; as a matter of fact, even the Government itself to-day, becomes, for certain matters in connection with a war situation, even too big a body In consider in full detail all the consequences that might How from a decision, and, in fact, may have to delegate certain of its powers to a subcommittee in cases where a very urgent and quick decision would have to be taken. As I say, you will have to choose between leaving the decision to a body such as the Dáil or giving the powers that are sought here. It is all very well for certain people to say: "Oh, we are at peace, and there is no trouble of any kind so far as we are concerned." I should like you to realise that we may be facing one of the most terrible catastrophies in history and that, even with our knowledge of conditions in the past, we have no means of telling what the consequences of that catastrophe may be. It is all very well for Deputies, such as Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney, to get up here and tell us that we can get in any supplies we want in United States ships coming here, but how can he, or any other Deputy, tell us what the future may be in regard to this conflict? Nobody here can tell us what the consequences may be. We do not want to excite unduly the fears of our people as to what the future may bring as a result of this conflict. It may happen that this conflict may pass away without seriously affecting us, but I am afraid that, even if it were a short contest, it would not pass away without seriously affecting us because, from the moment such a conflict arises, it is going to affect all our lives, and it is ridiculous to think, if the conflict lasts for any length of time, that we would not suffer, with the rest of humanity, from the dislocation to ordinary humanity that such a conflict would cause.

It is because the future of such a conflict is unknown to us that we have to try to provide for it by making it possible for those entrusted with the responsibility of government to deal with such a situation in the best interests of our people as a whole. There is no desire on our part to shirk our responsibilities to Parliament. As a matter of fact we know, as every thinking Deputy must know, that our power to do this work will depend on the amount of public confidence that is given to us and on the extent to which we are supported by the voluntary contribution of the people. It is all very well for Deputies here to suggest that the Government will abuse the powers that are sought here. I have no objection to its being pointed out that these powers could be abused by whatever Government would be in power. but I do say that to suggest, as has been suggested, that these powers will be abused is not the way to face a crisis of the magnitude of that with which we are now faced. In view of such a crisis, the efforts of every public representative ought to be to try to get our people to realise that our nation is going to pass through a very serious time, that our whole economic life may be very seriously and even completely upset as a result of this conflict, that problems of very great magnitude may have to be root, and solved if possible; and the only way in which we can effectively face these problems and solve them—if a solution is possible—is by getting the public representatives to stand behind whatever Government is here when taking any powers that may be necessary in the interests of the nation and in the interests of public safety. Instead of asserting at the start that such powers would be abused, we ought to try to get the public representatives to tell the people—as is done in every other country in such cases of emergency— that they should all co-operate for the protection, of our own people and for the safeguarding of the interests of our own people. That is why we are here. Our only reason for seeking these powers is to have the right and the power to protect our people and their interests.

The trouble is that our people have never yet faced a situation like this in similar circumstances. They have never had, in a democratic assembly, to face such a crisis as seems to be impending now, and because we have not had experience of powers such as these being used by our own people to meet such a crisis as this, we are, naturally, suspicious; and, unfortunately, Deputies who ought to know better—and particularly legal Deputies—are helping to foster that suspicion. I do not think that any responsible member of the Opposition, or any responsible member of the Labour Party, would attempt to do that, because they must all understand, as we understand, the magnitude of the problems that will have to be met and the dangers that will be attached to the handling of these problems if this conflict should arise.

In connection with a remark that I made, I was asked for some definite guarantee as to whether or not the Dáil would meet. There seemed to be a suggestion that I was not keeping to the actual wording, and I had to point out that, while we would be anxious to have the House here, certain decisions might have to be taken with which the Dáil could not deal at the moment. We are just as anxious as the Opposition are to put our views before the public. A meeting of the Dáil, naturally, gives an opportunity to the Opposition to raise the particular doubts or anxieties that may be in the minds of the public, but it also gives us an opportunity of explaining here to the public, through our speeches, what are the reasons for any actions that we may take here, and we are just as glad to have these opportunities of explaining our position as the Opposition are. We would be only too glad of having the opportunity of explaining to the public the reasons for any action we might take. What I wanted to point out was that in the matter of dissolving the Dáil we are only human beings and that in the 24 hours a certain period of rest will have to be allowed us if we are effectively to perform the work which has to be done in an executive way in a crisis of this kind. I only said that it may not be possible to have the Dáil meet as frequently as otherwise we should like. It is to our interest, as guardians of the public good, to have Deputies here and to have the public informed of developments in the way they can only be informed by discussions in the Dáil.

I am intervening, then, to try to put this debate on the level which it should occupy. There are questions of amendments. If suitable amendments are suggested, modifications that will not cripple the Executive, we shall be glad to meet them. This morning I met by amendments certain points that were raised. We are anxious to do that but, for goodness sake, do not start putting this debate on the level that this is a device of the Executive, at a time like this, to get power to abrogate constitutional government. That certainly is not our purpose, and we are anxious that the people should understand that. We hope that Deputies will not continue on the line that has been followed by two or three speakers who have spoken here. I am surprised, because of their training, that it is the legal members of the Dáil who should have led off on that particular line. Remember that in times of crisis we cannot allow ourselves to be in a position in which the whole power of taking action that is necessary for the safeguarding of the State would be crippled, bringing, as it inevitably would bring, all idea of constitutional or democratic Government to an end. Unless democratic government is able to justify itself and to show that in times of crisis it is able to deal with the problems that arise, then there is an end to democratic government, because the people would soon realise that their interest could not be served by it. I have on more than one occasion stated my belief that democratic government is the best form of government, that it is the most suitable form of government for our people. There are a number of problems that become more difficult in a democratic government, but in the long run it is my belief that a democratic government is the best type of government for our country and for our people, having regard to their views on individual liberty. I should like to impress on Deputies that it is not right, in a crisis like this, to approach this Bill as if it were a device by the Executive to get certain powers and to make dictators of themselves, and to set aside parliamentary control. As far as the Government and I are concerned, I promise that we shall bring the Dáil together as often as it can possibly be done consistent with the public good and with the duty we have to safeguard the public interest.

I should like to support the idea of the Taoiseach to get more concentrated discussion on some of the points of this Bill but, first of all, I desire to refer to some of the matters he mentioned just now. He appears to take rather keenly some of the criticism of legal Deputies. Well, I think it would be a very bad thing for this country if our legal men lost their sensitiveness to what are the constitutional rights of our people. The sensitiveness of some of our legal men has been of very great assistance to the people of this country in winning their liberty and, since the establishment of the State, the State has been considerably assisted by some of that sensitive type of legal criticism that we have had, outside the House and inside the House. I think it would be a bad day for any House of the Oireachtas if it could not boast of some legal members who were very sensitive on these matters. I think the Taoiseach should not take so much exception to some of the criticism that has been made here. We find him here explaining that he wants an opportunity of contact with the Dáil, in order to explain through the Dáil to the country what the opinions of the Government are and what they are doing. Remember the criticism that is made here to-day is made by members of the Oireachtas who were summoned here this morning to consider this Bill. What does this Bill imply? That last night the Executive Council were putting their last touches to a Bill that was first to be seen by the general members of the Oireachtas this morning, a Bill which proposed to give the Executive power, with one stroke of the pen, or with any number of strokes of the pen they liked, to wipe out any scrap of legislation that exists in this country and, with a few more strokes of the pen, to enact, by order, any legislation they desired concerning the financial, social, and political life of the country. It is in these circumstances that the criticisms that the Taoiseach and members of the Government have listened to were made. It was proposed that this Bill should come before the House and be passed, two hours ago, under guillotine motion.

I must say that the criticism that has been made was, in the circumstances, very mild, and I think the members of the Government will realise that. When we consider the attitude of the Government last night, when we consider the position we are in now, the way this measure has been discussed, the way that the members of the Government and the Taoiseach have responded to the criticisms that have been made, that the Government now in response to the representations made are deleting the power to impose compulsory military service and industrial conscription by order, when we realise the advances we have made, I think that this session of the Oireachtas is a very considerable triumph for Parliamentary institutions in this country. It is a triumph for which not only every Party in the House, but every single member, will feel gratified. While Deputy Murphy and Deputy Esmonde may feel very considerable emotion in regard to handing over to the Government the powers contained in this Bill, I think that they, too, when they compare the conditions that existed last night and this morning with the conditions that exist now, and the condition that will exist to-morrow, will feel that there has been a very considerable achievement, and that it is an achievement that will redound to the prestige of democracy as a form of government in this country.

The Taoiseach says that he does not want to shirk responsibility for meeting Parliament, that he welcomes contact with Parliament in order to get the situation home to the country. I hope that, on Committee Stage, we shall be able to make an advance in that direction which will assure not only Deputies, but the people of the country, that the Taoiseach will not be loft without constant touch with Parliament in the present situation.

With regard to the details of the Bill, I take it that, in relation to Section 2 (2), where there are 16 specified items which the Government propose to deal with by resolution, we shall, on Committee Stage, for purposes of simplicity, economy of time and clearness, be able to take 2 (a) and deal with such questions and explanations as arise on that before we deal with (b), (c), (d) or (e). If we are to understand that questions on these sub-heads may arise separately in Committee, I shall not raise any question regarding them now. I take it that you, A Chinn Comhairle, and the Minister, will agree that these matters be discussed in that particular way.

I have no objection.

Sub-section (1) of Section 2 puts more power into the hands of the Government, as Deputy Esmonde, says, than any totalitarian State enjoys. At all events, they will have no less powers than the totalitarian States if they wish to use them. The Minister for Industry and Commerce has an amendment down which eliminates compulsory military or industrial service and the trial of persons not subject to military law by court-martial, but there still remains the power of taxation. I think there should be taken out in a similar amendment to that which is down any suggestion that, under cover of this Bill, taxation will be imposed by Government resolution.

That is already conceded.

That leaves, on the subject of taxation, Section 8. The Minister, in a remark during this discussion, indicated that the fees to be charged on licences, etc., under Section 8 were not intended to be taxation in any way, that they were intended only to be in the nature of stamp fees covering certain costs. It would help us if the Minister, in his reply to the Second Reading debate, would indicate under what headings of sub-section (2) licences may be involved, because there is no indication under any of these headings as to what are the things which may necessitate the issue of licences requiring fees. I would ask the Minister later, when we come to the section, to be a little more explicit, became we are conscious of the fact that fees on the import of cement, while not passing through the financial accounts, were actually taxation and came into the revenue as if they were customs duties. They were not customs duties, but during last year they brought in something like £49,000, and for a couple of years before that, £80,000 or £86,000. That is a point which requires to be cleared up.

The only other point to which I want to refer arises under Section 9. I have put down an amendment which would require that where a Deputy put down a motion purporting to annul a resolution made under this Act that resolution would be discussed not later than the sixth sitting day of the Dáil or not later than three weeks in any event. Some machinery like that will be required if Dáil responsibility is going to be related directly with the Government in actually applying these resolutions and if the Government is going to have Parliamentary support in having the resolutions understood in the country when there is any difficulty or trouble about them.

I want to refer briefly to one point which I consider of some importance. Before doing so, I should like to say that I do not think the Taoiseach should be surprised at the alarm expressed by Deputies at the exceptional and drastic powers asked for by the Government. It means the negation of democratic government and the great charter of liberty we got 12 months ago to preserve the freedom and rights of the citizen is going to be wiped out here to-night. In the situation of very great gravity that exists, I agree that the Government do require and must have exceptional powers. There is a serious responsibility on the shoulders of the Government to maintain law and order and the supply of essential foodstuffs. In order to maintain supplies of essential foodstuffs and other commodities not produced here, it is necessary the Government should have those powers. and it is necessary, during a period when you have rapidly changing circumstances and conditions, to come to quick decisions. I think that any reasonable citizen would agree that very drastic powers are necessary to enable a Government to deal with a situation of that sort. The supply of essential foodstuffs and raw materials, especially coal, wheat, petrol, paraffin oil and vapourising oil are of vital importance to the country.

It will be the duty and the responsibility of the Government to see that all the petrol, vapourising oil and other oils that we can get into this country will be used in the best interests of the country and that they will be used for useful productive purposes. The one thing that I want to refer to in an especial way is the supply of those oils. I would like to point out that in recent years production in this country, especially on large farms, was carried out on a more intensive system of tillage. Farmers have taken to using tractors, and mechanical farming is the order of the day. If there is any risk of the failure of paraffin oil and vapourising oil for these purposes there will be a break-down in these farms.

I am quite certain that we have not sufficient working horses in this country to substitute for the use of tractors so much used in recent years and up to the present. Deputies know that threshing operations have to be carried out by tractors driven by paraffin oil and vapourising oil. In the tillage districts where it is possible in the last few years these operations have been largely carried out by the use of tractors. It is a well-known fact that this system has come to be used all over the country. If there is any danger at all that there is going to be a break-down in the supply of the very necessary raw material in the shape of paraffin and vapourising oils for tillage operations on the farms, the effect on farming in this country is going to be ruinous. I wish specially to draw the attention of the Government to that aspect of the case. At all costs the supply of the necessary petrol and oils should be reserved for farming operations as much as possible. These are essential raw materials in farming to-day. The Government should not permit these to be in any way wasted. They should be used for no purpose except for the purpose of production.

I am quite aware that farmers are very much worried about that aspect of the case. We are in a very difficult position in that way reason of the fact that in the tillage districts the farmers have gone in very largely for mechanical farming, and unfortunately we are not in a position to-day to substitute horses for tractors and such other mechanical means. The fact is that we have not a sufficient supply of horses in the country. That is a feature of the case that the Government should keep in mind and to which they should pay very close attention. The interests of the agricultural community should be kept closely before the eyes of the Government. If there is any shortage in the supply of paraffin and vapourising oil, it will have a disastrous effect on the entire agricultural production of the country.

I would like to ask the Taoiseach one question. Will the passage of these Bills deprive the Dáil of its power and control in the matter of the declaration of war, or will the Dáil have the last word in the matter? Will the passing of these Bills deprive it of its power?

No. Quite definitely that power is in the hands of the representatives of the people. That provision is put in the Constitution. But the Constitution, in certain exceptional circumstances—that is to say, if there was a sudden invasion of the country—has given the Executive power to take whatever steps they may consider necessary to protect the State so as to repel that invasion.

In Article 28 of the Constitution, Paragraph 3, (1) and (2), it is laid down:—

War shall not be declared and the State shall not participate in any war save with the assent of Dáil Eireann. In the case of actual invasion, however, the Government may take whatever steps they may consider necessary for the protection of the State, and if Dáil Eireann. is not sitting, shall be summoned to meet at the earliest practicable date.

As far as the legal position is concerned, if this Bill is passed, then the Executive Council may declare war or resist invasion without calling a meeting of the Dáil?

I think that is true from the purely legal position, but the fact is that no Government would attempt to do it for obvious reasons. However, if anybody wishes to put down an amendment on that matter excluding this from the powers of the Executive Council, I have no objection —that is to say an amendment stating that that particular Article of the Constitution shall not be abrogated. I have heard some people say that the power given in this Bill is an ending of the Constitution. That is not the position. It is really an implementing of the Constitution.

That is quite true. The Constitution foresaw and made explicit provision for its setting aside in cases such as those mentioned. That is because the experience of history has shown that the State cannot otherwise be protected without making it possible for the setting up of machinery which the Constitution provides for setting up. That is the whole experience of history. Even ancient democracies recognised that in times of war crises this was necessary. What we have done so far as the Constitution is concerned is not to abrogate it but to implement it. The term "in time of war" was interpreted this morning by the amendment that was passed to mean not merely the time in which we were actually engaged in war, but also the time in which the circumstances were such, on account of the conflict around us, that the vital interests of the State were so affected that we might have to consider it "a time of war". It is quite wrong now for any Deputy and it is not stating the case fairly to say that we have brought in a beautiful Constitution and that we are now setting it aside. The Constitution made explicit provision for what we are now doing.

Very well, but will the Taoiseach agree, if an amendment is now framed making provision that war, shall not be declared except with the assent of Dáil Eireann, to accept it?

That war shall not be declared except with the consent of Dáil Eireann?

Deputy Mulcahy, in 1922, when he declared war on the Four Courts, did not get the assent of Dáil Eireann.

Might I suggest to all Deputies not to bring in outside matters. We have met here in a tremendous crisis for the country. We have all a common country to defend, and we cannot do that unless we put aside the memory of past differences and think only of doing the best for the future of our country. That is the spirit in which I would ask the Dáil to help us in dealing with this legislation.

I take it that the Taoiseach is reproving nobody bat Deputy Corry.

I want to say that I unhesitatingly approve of every act done in this crisis by the people of the Front Bench to-day. I will not say and I will not suggest what they themselves would have done if another Government had occupied the Front Benches. I want to mention also that I approve very strongly even of the power of arrest which the Minister is taking under this Bill. I think it is necessary to have that power; under the present circumstances I have no hesitation in standing over that power of arrest. I think the Gárda Síochána should be able to go down to the country and take away the person who is going to cause trouble to the State and to the people. I never heard anybody on the other side make the admission that it was right on the part of any other Government, to take such power. But they have taken that power themselves. They have never admitted that another Government should take it. With regard to the declaration of the Minister for Industry and Commerce, with regard to the control of exports and imports, I have this to say, that I am not so much concerned about the control of imports, but I am very much concerned about the control of exports.

I do not feel that the Minister has given this House adequate explanation as to the details of what he is going to do or what course he is going to follow. I feel that I and every other Deputy in the back benches here are completely in the dark as to what is going to happen, or what control the Minister is going to exercise. As I have already stated, I am satisfied from the legal point of view in regard to certain matters, but I am not satisfied as to the control, especially of exports, particularly after the past four or five or six years. I do not want to harp back to anything that happened in the past four or five or six years, but God knows we have had too much Ministerial interference. And what have we to export? We have so little to export that the Minister might have told us the commodities that he is going to control. I am certain he will not have to interfere in the export of cattle or butter. He has a trade pact with Germany as well as with England. We have not been told whether that is affected, how it affects us or whether it affects us at all. There is a trade pact with this Government and Germany, and there is a trade pact with the British which operates from day to day. The Minister ought not to control that. I would say to the Minister that as far as the export of what we can sell in this country is concerned, the less interference there is the better. If he goes back to the European War which started in 1914 he will remember that there was very little trade interference for a couple of years. Let the Minister not interfere too much in this matter. Let the people who have suffered during the past four or five years make the most they can if there is anything to be made. I am the last person in the world to suggest that anything should be made out of the sacrifices of people.

I am terribly afraid and terribly suspicious of the Front Bench of the present Government. I believe, us a back-bencher here in Fine Gael, that we have not been told all the facts, that we do not know the facts. We were called here by wire yesterday evening to discuss war preparations in the Twenty-Six Counties. We do not know what we are doing. We have no idea. England has not declared war. France has not declared war. There is some frontier fighting, I understand, in Poland. The situation is supposed to have been as serious 12 months ago and the Minister for Industry and Commerce was making preparations for that war scare 12 months ago. Why wire last night to call us up here? I do not care what the Labour leaders or the Front Bench of Fine Gael think. I have come up here not having the slightest idea of what I was called up for. In my home town I was asked: "What is wrong in the Dáil; what are you going to discuss?" The Government knew about this war scare. They were well informed about it from London week after week and we are called here by telegram. That is what I object to. Otherwise, I unhesitatingly agree to everything they put up in order to safeguard the people of this country, but I think the ordinary man in this country deserves more consideration. I do not mind Deputy Corry laughing. He never cared about consideration. He did not care very much for human life, I think, but I think the ordinary man in this country deserves a little more consideration than was displayed in calling the Dáil here by wire. At the same time, I believe there is a situation which necessitates something very drastic. I unhesitatingly support the Government in these Bills, but I criticise them for the way they have done this thing after what has happened during the past 12 months. I feel that they knew 12 months ago as well as they know now the position that existed.

Looking through the notes which I made here of the various points raised during the course of the debate, I think I can say that the more general objections to the Bill expressed by Deputies have been answered by the Taoiseach in the speech he made here a short while ago. He has expressed the views of the Government in relation to these general matters. On the particular matters raised, I presume we will have an opportunity of discussing them again in the discussions on Committee, and perhaps it would be preferable if I were to leave over until then what I have to say concerning those points, when it may be more convenient for Deputies to explain their, point of view in relation to them. I just want to say, in relation to certain observations that were made by certain Deputies concerning the attitude of the public, that there is no reason for public anxiety concerning any of the ordinary necessaries of life. So far as food stuffs are concerned, the supply available within the country is more than adequate to meet all our needs for a considerable period to come. It is, of course, obvious that that must be so in relation to a very large range of agricultural produce of which we are, in fact, an exporting country. Our home production is more than sufficient to meet our needs in normal times, and will be more than sufficient to meet our needs in the future. So far as those commodities are concerned—beef, bacon, butter, eggs or poultry, there is,not merely no scarcity, but there is no prospect of a scarcity, and there is certainly no justification for any rise in retail prices at the present time. So far as sugar is concerned, our available resources are sufficient to supply our requirements for at least twelve months. I say that our existing stocks of sugar, in addition to the sugar that will be available from this season's crop, will be sufficient to meet all our normal needs for many months to come. In fact, there is no reason why we should anticipate any shortage of sugar at all, and those householders who have been buying abnormal quantities of sugar in the expectation of a shortage are putting themselves to unnecessary trouble. They are also causing some dislocation of the normal machinery for the distribution of sugar.

Some temporary shortage has arisen in particular districts and with particular shopkeepers, but that temporary shortage is due to no other cause except abnormal purchases by individual customers—abnormal purchases which are entirely unnecessary and from which these individual purchasers will gain nothing. The same is true so far as tea is concerned. There is no immediate prospect of any shortage of tea that we can foresee, and I would advise the public generally against any panic buying of commodities of that kind. They will only lose by it. If there is any tendency to an unnecessary increase in the price of such commodities, we will have ample powers to check it.

At the same time, I should like to urge on the public the inadvisability of adopting the completely opposite course of buying nothing. It was, I think, the experience of some people during the last war that trade ceased almost entirely for some weeks after its outbreak. People had no experience of a war, at least a large war, in those days. We have had the experience and the public learned that during war the value of money depreciates and the value of goods tends to appreciate. Therefore, the hoarding of money, the keeping of money on deposit in banks, instead of spending it, is not likely to be good policy for individuals. The wiser course for individuals to take is to adopt what was the slogan of the last war so far as possible, "business as usual". Certainly they would be unwise to postpone purchases which they had anticipated making in the ordinary course, because they are likely to find that the goods concerned will tend to move upwards in price and they may find it cheaper to buy. On the other hand, so far as foodstuffs are concerned and all the essential commodities about which public anxiety is likely to be most keen, I can give the assurance that there is no cause for such anxiety and no immediate danger of a scarcity.

It is proposed to take power in this Bill to deal adequately with the problems associated with the control of prices and to check profiteering. One of the Deputies said by way of a joke that the power of arrest without warrant and of internment given by the Bill might be used effectively in the case of profiteers, particularly profiteers in foodstuffs. I think that is u good suggestion and one that should be considered seriously. I notice that certain other Governments in Europe have resorted to such methods to check profiteering. It is, of course, inevitable that some commodities will go up in price, but I would not like the public to get the impression that every upward movement in prices is due to profiteering. The cost of transporting goods by sea and by rail, the cost of insuring goods during that transportation, and many other items that affect the retail selling price of imported goods, will be increased, and the retail price of these goods increased in consequence. But any attempt at profiteering, that is, the taking of undue profits at any stage between the producer and the consumer of the goods, is something which has to be checked, and if discovered, very severely punished, and powers are being taken in this Bill for the imposition of such punishment.

Reference was made to the undesirability of rationing petrol, arising out of my remarks that a rationing scheme might only be immediately necessary in relation to petrol. There is, I can assure the House, no desire whatever to impose a rationing system unnecessarily. If a rationing system is imposed, it will be due entirely to the fact that the Government have no doubt whatever that a shortage of supplies will arise, and that it will be consequently necessary to ensure the best use of the available quantities. We realise that the introduction of a rationing system in relation to petrol is going to cause the disemployment of a number of people engaged in motor transportation or in the construction, repair or servicing of motor cars. That is something we want to avoid. But, apart altogether from the circumstances of a war and the effect of a war upon other supplies and communications, it is inevitable that there will be a shortage of petrol. On that account a rationing system cannot be avoided, because it is necessary to ensure that whatever quantities are available will be used for the best purposes, the purposes that Deputy Hughes was talking about, the driving of industrial vehicles and for industrial motor power rather than for private cars not used in connection with any business or occupation. The rationing system, which will be introduced when necessary, will make such a distinction between the purposes for which the motor fuel will be used, a much larger proportion of the normal quantities being given to those who require it for business purposes than to those who require it merely for private transportation.

Some reference was made to the provisions of the Bill relating to the control of exports, and some question was raised as to the need for controlling exports. It is obvious, of course, that a prohibition of exports will be immediately necessary in relation to a number of commodities. There are stocks of motor fuel in the country. Arc we going to allow these stocks to be taken out? There are, in fact, firms in this country engaged in the business of exporting forms of motor fuel, selling it to shipping firms, selling it for bunker oil. We think we should conserve immediately whatever stocks are available. It is clear that, with the Baltic closed to shipping, there is going to be an immediate shortage of timber. The Baltic countries are great suppliers of timber. Should we, in such circumstances, allow our own timber to be exported? Clearly not. There will be difficulty in obtaining raw iron and steel for iron and steel works Arc we going to allow scrap iron and steel to be exported? Clearly not. We will at least control the export, of it. The samp applies to a large number of commodities which will be required as the raw materials of industry here, and without which industries will cease to operate and people will lose employment. Such control of export is necessary.

The control of exports in relation to agricultural produce will obviously be necessary also. I think it was Deputy Brasier who spoke against having any control, as if it were going to he a matter of concern to this country only. I can inform Deputy Brasier and the Dáil that the plans of the British Government in relation to the importation of cattle, sheep, and a number of agricultural products involves the establishment in Great Britain of a central purchasing agency. There will be only one purchaser in Great Britain, and whatever quantities of these commodities are exported from this country will have to be sold to that one agency. The British are establishing that system for the purpose of ensuring that they can regulate the price at which they will buy, and if we are to protect the interests of our producers in such circumstances, it is clear that we will have to have some similar organisation at this side. These are matters for negotiation. Negotiations must, however, take account of the difficulties of the two parties, and it appears clear that there is no possibility of getting the British Government to modify their decision to purchase agricultural produce through a central agency.

The question of censorship policy was raised by some Deputies. It is, I think, possible to say that only the minimum restrictions will be proposed at the outset: Whatever tightening up of those restrictions circumstances may necessitate will come gradually, and in the light of such circumstances. I think I can assure Deputy Cosgrave that the censorship will not be used for the purpose of Party political advantage.

Would the Minister kindly phrase his words properly? I think I can assure"?

I will explain more cleary to the Deputy what I mean. I give the Deputy an assurance on behalf of the Government that the censorship will not be used for the purpose of securing Party political advantage, but I have no hope whatever that the Government will go through the war without being accused of using the censorship for that purpose. It is inevitable that it will be, because the line between what is Party politics and what is a matter of national concern is very often indeterminable. In fact, I think the Deputy himself illustrated my point by his reference to the use of the Irish Broadcasting Station as a medium of Government propaganda. I do not consider that the Irish Broadcasting Station has ever been used for the purpose of making political propaganda for the Government Party.

Perhaps, then the Minister will withdraw what he said about giving us the undertaking?

It is because it is impossible to draw a clear line in such matters that I say I have no hope that we will escape accusation, but, so far as we can secure it, it is our conscientious intention to prevent the censorship or any similar power being used for Party purposes. Deputy Dockrell, referred to a matter which does not arise directly under the Bill, but which perhaps I should mention, and that is, the difficulties which arise in connection with war risk insurance. The way in which Deputy Dockrell referred to the matter made it appear very difficult and complicated. It is not really so. The only difficulty that arose for us was occasioned by the fact that there is no Irish firm doing marine insurance at all. Our firms, therefore, insuring ships or cargoes in this country, did so through British organisations. Those firms could get and can get that insurance, but in the circumstances existing now they could only get it on a normal basis at completely prohibitive prices. Because of such circumstances, the British Government intervened for the purpose of under-writing the war risk insurance liabilities of the undertakers and associations in Great Britain. It required some little adjustments to secure that those underwriting facilities would be extended to the Irish members of the British pools so far as the ships were concerned, but there was no immediate problem so far as cargoes were concerned, except in relation to Irish ships sailing from Irish ports to destinations other than ports in the United Kingdom, because the British cargo insurance scheme extended to all ships of any nationality sailing to or from a British port. However, so far as has been possible, the whole matter has now been adjusted, and I think that no difficulty will arise in that connection in the future.

I do not wish to deal now with the other matters raised concerning the effects of the paragraphs relating to arrest and detention and so forth, or the other paragraphs which were mentioned, because I understand that we are to have each paragraph raised separately. I just want to say, in relation to paragraph (p), which provides for the suspension and the variation or amendment of any enactment, that it is clear that quite a, number of enactments would have to be suspended or amended almost immediately. One can think of many examples, but I will just give two. The Road Traffic Act requires that motorists travelling by road must have head-lights and other means of showing approach. An A.R.P. scheme may require that motorists will not have head-lights, and it is clear that whatever legal obligation rests on motorists to display head-lights and so forth will have to be modified in order to comply with the regulations of the A.R.P. scheme. The Film Censorship Act may require modification. Various enactments relating to harbour lights and aids to navigation and other matters of that kind will have to be modified. There are Acts relating to statutory authorities, their charges and so forth, which will need modification. It is because there is a very large number of enactments of that kind which may have to be modified in whole or in part that some such general provision as paragraph (p) is necessary.

We recognise that, in order to get the power necessary to deal with the circumstances we contemplate may arise, we have inserted a provision which enables us to do much more than we contemplate doing, and it is because that matter was raised by Deputies here that the Taoiseach gave an undertaking that it any Party in the House, through its leaders, represents that they are perturbed by any action taken under paragraph (p), and feel that an immediate discussion in the Dáil is necessary, as soon as possible that discussion will be arranged for. I think that must be the attitude which the Government will take to the amendment which Deputy Mulcahy proposes to move later relating to the summoning of the Dáil to deal with any motion moved under Section 9, of the Bill. I do not think we can give an individual Deputy that power to summon the Dáil, because that is what the amendment amounts to, nor do I think it is any more useful from the point of view of the Deputy than the assurance which the Government will give, that in the event of its being represented to it— not by an individual but by a group of member, of the House, or any organised Party through its leaders—that a, meeting of the Dáil for the purpose of considering such matter is deemed necessary, it the Government considers the question a reasonable one, they will deal with it forthwith. Those, however, are matters which we can discuss later on.

I just want to say now that I propose not to deal with some of the more general matters that were raised, except to express some appreciation of the difficulties which the Opposition have in dealing with this Bill. I realise what a shock it must be to any Opposition to be asked to give those powers to a Government which has not their confidence, and only the very grave nature of the crisis in which the country finds itself would justify the Government in asking for them. The fact that the leaders of the Opposition Parties here overcame their hesitations and doubts is, I think, something of which we can all feel proud, and something which justifies Deputy Mulcahy remarks concerning the democratic institutions of this State. We would. I think, have preferred ,to have introduced this Bill earlier except that to have done so would have occasioned public anxiety which might not have been justified. Some Deputies have said that we have been acting too hastily, and should have waited until next week, whereas others have criticised us for not doing it before. The Government met very frequently in the course of the past week, and on each occasion considered the question: "Is the situation such that the Dáil should be summoned?" When on Friday morning we learned that the armies were on the march we decided that the Dáil should be summoned next day— that is, to-day. Nobody could have foretold from day to day what the position was likely to be, and in fact, on Thursday, people in prominent places were apparently of the opinion that the danger of war could yet be averted, and that the crisis with which we are now dealing would not arise at all. I am sure most Deputies will agree that if that had proved to be the case, if this period of international tension had passed over without resort to war, the Government would have been justified in not having called the Dáil together and occasioned the public anxiety and commercial uneasiness to which a special meeting of the Dáil, for the purpose of introducing this Bill would inevitably give rise. There is no other matter to which I wish to refer. I will deal with the points which will arise upon the various paragraphs when we take them in Committee.

Will the Minister say, at this Stage, which of the headings under Section 2 (2) are the ones that involve licence fees?

I presume any of the paragraphs relating to the control of commodities may involve licences. For example, if we have a petrol licensing scheme we will licence people who deal in petrol. The same will apply in relation to any other scheme of control.

Section 8 deals with fees on licences, and all that. Could we know with regard to Section 2 (2) (a), whether the items there are ones that involve licences and fees?

Let me be clear. Section 8 says that

"There shall be charged, levied. and paid on the grant renewal or issue of any licence, permit, certificate or like document granted, renewed or issued...".

The term "licence" is not used with any special significance there. What ever we call a permit or licence or certificate which will enable a man to deal in petrol or get petrol may have a fee attached to it. Such fees will be merely for the purpose of recouping the administrative expenses; they will not be for the purpose of securing revenue for the Exchequer, or meeting the more general charges that might arise. The provision there is one that would ordinarily appear in any Bill providing for the control of dealings in a particular commodity.

Probably we could deal with the matter more fully on the Committee Stage. Take such a question as might arise on paragraph (g), which sets out that the Government may

... authorise and provide for the acquisition, taking possession, control or user (either by agreement or compulsorily) by or on behalf of the State of any land or other property whatsoever...

Will the question of a licence or a fee on a, licence arise in any kind of transaction that is possible under that?

I do not see how it could.

Where we have a section dealing with licences and fees on licences, and we have a number of items set out, it ought to be possible to get at what are the exact items that may be covered by licences and fees. We do want a little more assurance that there is no taxation involved in this as distinct from administrative expenses.

It is certainly not intended to be so. From the point of view of the Department of Industry and Commerce, or any other Department, if we except the Department of Finance, there is no objection to the deletion of the section. It is the Department of Finance that wants it there, so that they may recover the cost of administration.

If the Minister said it was only his Department was involved I would be less suspicions, but if this is controlled by the Minister for Finance it raises a question whether this is not a taxation measure.

It is definitely not so.

There is one point that the Minister has not dealt with, and that is the general principle which will govern the administration of this. It is a very exhaustive Bill; as some Deputies put it, it is terrifying. Obviously, it is in the administration of it that the actual weight or burden or usefulness of it will be felt by the citizens. In dealing with a similar measure in the British House of Commons, the Minister in charge of the measure gave certain solemn undertakings to the House. There they have a tradition of democratic Government perhaps longer than most other States. The underlying principle involved in that measure was the necessity of the moment, but it was emphasised that the greatest possible care would be taken not to interfere with the liberty of an individual, his property, or any of the amenities which a citizen should enjoy. Is it on the same lines that the Ministry here propose to deal with the administration of this measure? I do not want an answer now, but I think that the House is entitled to an answer on that point before the Bill passes. It may be that if an answer is given to that, we may get through the Committee Stage more easily.

If we take those paragraphs in Section 2, on their face, any citizen who has regard for the traditional respect in relation to life and liberty that has grown up in this country, and that has been referred to by nearly every person standing for election, may consider that ho has reason to be anxious, seeing that one comes to the conclusion at once that all liberty is gone. Of course the answer to it, on its broad basis, is that it is unlikely that the Government are going to imprison 10,000 or 20,000 people, but some sort of statement ought to be made in that connection. Take another example—take paragraph (a) or paragraph (b). The ordinary citizen assumes, particularly if he is a man who has not much capital at his disposal, that the Government intend to go into all sorts of business. Surely that is not the intention?

It is the intention of the Government to ensure that supplies will be obtained and distributed through the ordinary commercial organisation, so long as the ordinary commercial organisation is capable of functioning.

And they will be helped rather than hindered—it is not the intention to supersede them?

That is not the intention, so long as they serve the needs of the country.

Question—"That the Bill be now read a Second Time"—put and agreed to.