The Minister for Posts and Telegraphs yesterday, in giving his explanation for his selection of a sub-postmaster in Baltinglass, brought in my name. I wish to state that my recommendation was made in response to a request by an F.C.A. officer who asked me for it on the grounds that an F.C.A. officer was an applicant for the position. As I thought it right that membership of the F.C.A. should be taken into account in making these appointments, I gave a recommendation some seven or eight months ago. I did not know Mr. Farrell. Neither did I know the local circumstances. I had no idea that this appointment would be the cause of depriving a lady, who had 14 years' faithful service behind her, of her position. The recommendation of the other member of my Party——
Personal Explanations by Deputies.
The Deputy is speaking for himself in a personal explanation and a personal explanation cannot include anyone but himself.
In any case I find it hard to believe that a recommendation from me or other members of the Fianna Fáil Party——
That has nothing to do with a personal explanation.
——was the determining consideration with the Minister responsible for the making of this selection.
The Deputy has exceeded his promise to me.
I can appreciate the Deputy's embarrassment and the embarrassment of his Party.
What is happening now?
There is no debate on the matter.
"No better man——"
Go away and hide your head in shame.
"No better man could be found for the job," he said.
What about your appointment of your brother in Córas lompair Eireann?
That statement has been made before by Deputy O'Leary. I think it is an allegation which I should be allowed to correct.
That is so.
The General Manager of Córas Iompair Éireann is now and always has been appointed by the Board of Córas Iompair Eireann. Prior to the recent Transport Act any member on the Board of Córas Iompair Eireann was elected by the shareholders of that body. If any Deputy believes that appointments to such boards are liable to be subjected to political influence, then anyone who reads the names of the members must, I think, hold a contrary view. I understand that the selection was originally made by a special committee which consisted of the following: the Chairman, Dr. Lombard Murphy, Chairman of Independent Newspapers, Limited; Mr. John McCann and the Right Honourable James MacMahon.
Is this another personal explanation?
It is, yes.
All innocent men!
I shall be extremely brief. Unfortunately I was unavoidably absent from the House yesterday due to the fact that I had to attend a meeting of the estimates committee of the local——
That has nothing to do with it.
I noticed in the morning papers, and I heard it on the radio last night, that my name was mentioned in the House yesterday by a Deputy in connection with the appointment of a postmaster at Baltinglass. A Deputy asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs for the names of those who recommended a particular applicant.
Would the Deputy briefly state how he is affected in the matter?
My name was amongst the names of those Deputies who, the Minister said, recommended Mr. Farrell. I certainly recommended Mr. Farrell. I was given to understand that the applicant had no job and that he had been working on his grandfather's farm until it was sold 12 months ago. I certainly made very strong representations to the Minister.
The Deputy rose on a particular point which he promised me he would raise; he has not done so yet.
I understand that Deputy Cogan made a statement in the House to the effect that I used threats to induce the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs to make this appointment. I assure both the Chair and the House that that statement is quite untrue. I made no threats. I recommended Mr. Farrell. I stand over my recommendation. I would do the same again if the opportunity occurred. If this Government cannot stand over and defend its appointments, then it should take up the challenge issued by the Leader of the Opposition, Deputy de Valera, and go to the people on a general election.
If we make an appointment we shall stand over it and I stand over my recommendation in this case.
I will not have any more on that.
I would like to make an explanation.
The Deputy asked me if he might rise on a matter in which he thought he was aggrieved. I read over the debate and I do not see anything in it to which the Deputy should object. In the second place, the Deputy was present when the statement to which he now objects was made. The rule is that if a statement is made in the House to which a Deputy objects, because he thinks it reflects upon him, he must make his objection at the time the statement is made. We cannot have points of explanation days afterwards from people who were present at the time the statement was made. I do not think that either the Deputy's honour or integrity was impugned in the slightest degree by the statement to which he now wishes to refer.
Do you mean to suggest that where a deliberate statement that I supported an appeal to the young men of the country to join the L.D.F.——
I might say, though perhaps it is not my function to do so, that members of the L.D.F. were promised they would be considered for office later and might get some preference. I do not think there is anything wrong in that.
I never made such a statement. It is grossly inaccurate and it is quite untrue. It is most unfair on the part of the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs to make the reference he did.