Nomination of Members of Government: Motion of Approval.


Go gcomhaontóidh Dáil Éireann leis an Taoiseach d'ainmniú na dTeachtaí seo a leanas chun a gceaptha ag an Uachtarán chun bheith ina gcomhaltaí den Rialtas:—

That Dáil Éireann approve the nomination by the Taoiseach of the following Deputies for appointment by the President to be members of the Government:—

Seán F. Lemass,

Seán Mac an tSaoi,

Séamas Ó Riain,

Proinsias Mac Aogáin,

Tomás Ó Deirg,

Gearóid Ó Beoláin,

Oscar Mac Tréinfhir,

Seán Ó Maoláin,

Pádraig Mac Gabhann,

Erskine Childers, agus

Tomás Breathnach.

It is not necessary that I should indicate the portfolios. I have had very little time to decide on these finally, but for the moment, with certain provision which I have mentioned, we have the following: Seán F. Lemass to be Minister for Industry and Commerce, and I propose also to nominate him as Tánaiste; Seán MacEntee to be Minister for Finance; Séamas Ó Riain, to hold provisionally the two portfolios of Social Welfare and Health; Prionsias Mac Aogáin to be Minister for External Affairs; Tomás Ó Deirg to be Minister for Lands; Gearóid Ó Beoláin to be Minister for Justice; Oscar Traynor to be Minister for Defence; Seán Ó Maoláin to be Minister for Education; Pádraig Mac Gabhann to be Minister for Local Government; Erskine Childers to be Minister for Posts and Telegraphs, and Tomás Breathnach to be Minister for Agriculture.

Lest what I have said about reservations would be misunderstood, I wish to say that I had not an opportunity of doing this with the care that I should exercise ordinarily if I had time and therefore these appointments are to be regarded as not finally fixed. I expect that they will in fact be fixed and that there will be very little change, probably no change at all.

In regard to Social Welfare and Health, I think these two portfolios are too heavy for one individual to carry for any length of time, but it is desirable in regard to these Departments that the Minister who had been in touch with them should hold the joint office just for a short while, until we understand what the situation in those Departments is. I want to point out to the Dáil that these are not fixed.

The motion is: "That the Dáil approve the nomination by the Taoiseach of the persons named, for appointment by the President to be members of the Government."

Mr. Costello

When the Dáil has approved of the appointment of a Deputy as Taoiseach, it would be normal and natural that it would be left within his discretion to appoint the members of his Government and to allocate to those members so appointed their different portfolios. I appreciate the difficulty which the Taoiseach has in finally announcing the allocation of his portfolios amongst the various members of the Government to-night. Accordingly, I do not wish to criticise or in any way comment upon that allocation. I feel bound, however, in view of the peculiar circumstances in which this Government was formed, to register a protest against it.

During the course of the discussion to-day on the nomination of Taoiseach, various Deputies took the opportunity in their speeches to give their interpretations of the results of the General Election. So far as I was personally concerned, I interpreted the result of that election as a direction to me, so far as it was possible, to form a Government on the basis of an inter-Party Government.

In offering myself, or allowing myself to be nominated, I felt that I was doing what the majority of the electors desired me to do. I have no doubt that the vast majority of the electors desired an inter-Party Government. I have equally no doubt that some of the Independent Deputies who voted against the inter-Party Government were voting against the very people who elected them to this Dáil even as Independent Deputies. It is, therefore, because of the action of these Independents rather than anything to do with the Taoiseach or the members of his proposed Government of his Party that I am to-night registering a protest.

I want, if I may, a Chinn Chomhairle, with your permission, to refer just briefly in passing to a very outrageous suggestion that was made by Deputy Peadar Cowan this afternoon against me. At the time, I intervened very hurriedly but I hope emphatically to state that there was no truth whatever in that suggestion. I want to repeat here in public to-night that it was a false, shameless and foundless suggestion, giving a real impression of the type of Deputy who was capable of making that charge. I was personally thanked and my colleagues were thanked by the particular individual concerned for giving him merely information which he asked for last night at a late hour from me and which I gave him. I made no offer whatever to direct his choice. I gave him facts for which he asked; I gave him information for which he asked, and I was personally thanked this morning by him on the telephone for what I had done. That Deputy Cowan should have made such a charge against me. I repeat, is outrageous, false and utterly without foundation and I want to have that repudiation both of the charge and of Deputy Cowan's action in making the charge on the records of this House.

We as an Opposition approach our task and duty as an Opposition in the same spirit as we approached the task of forming and carrying out the inter-Party Government of this country three and a quarter years ago. We joined together as a group and my colleagues did me the profound and lasting honour of asking me to lead them with the sole purpose and desire of doing what was proper and good for the people of this country and for the Irish nation. There was not one single one of us that wanted any office for ourselves. We wanted to give whatever contribution we had to give in the circumstances existing three and a quarter years ago. I believe that we gave a notable contribution to the history of this country, to the economics of this country and to the prosperity of the people of this country.

When I found myself in the position that I did find myself in as a result of this General Election, I made no bargain with anybody. In so far as I was concerned, there was nobody on offer for me. It was perfectly plain from the manner in which I had conducted the Government of this country for three and a quarter years that I was available for anyone that wished to consult with me, to confer with me or to have any information from me. That was the attitude I adopted in connection with the formation, or possible formation, of a Government for anyone who wanted to see me. Nobody got any offer or any guarantee from me. There was no Independent, so far as I was concerned, that was on offer to me or was capable of being sold to me. I was prepared to do what I believe the Irish people wanted me to do, if it was possible, to form an inter-Party Government in accordance with the mandate they had given. I make no suggestions as to the motives which affected any Independent Deputy in what he did. That is a matter between him and his constituents and his own conscience but I do register the protest here against the action of these people who, I believe, have acted contrary to the mandate of their electorates. They have put the Government in a very difficult position, a position in which the Taoiseach was elected by the slenderest majority in the history of this House, a majority which probably would not have been secured had we not felt it our duty to do what perhaps we might not have done, to nominate a Ceann Comhairle. We felt that even by doing that we had lost what might be regarded as a valuable vote in the subsequent voting that had to take place. We felt that we were bound to carry out our public duty and to see that the business of the country was carried on.

Now, just as we approached the task of forming a Government three and a quarter years ago in that spirit of giving our services to the Irish nation and the Irish people, with that same spirit we approach the task of carrying on the Opposition to the present Government. I think it is a good thing in a democratic country that there should be an Opposition. To this present Government, formed as it is, with the tail that it has, it is a very great safeguard to the Irish people that we have a strong and united Opposition. As we were in a Party Government, so I believe we will be in opposition and we will not, I believe, do what the Fianna Fáil Party did, when they were in opposition, oppose for opposition's sake.

So far as we are able to give any contribution in assisting the Government in tasks that are necessary and proper and for the benefit of the people, they will get every assistance and co-operation from us. But we will, I believe, be a vigilant and a very watchful Opposition. We will take care that the liberties of the people are safeguarded so far as we can secure it, and I believe it will require the utmost vigilance on our part to see there is no victimisation and no encroachment upon the liberties either of free speech or free expression of opinion or freedom of association in whatever period this Government may retain office. That assurance I wish to give to the Taoiseach and his proposed Government, that we will not oppose merely for opposition's sake, that we will give them co-operation so far as they are carrying on the policies of which we approve and which we believe are in the interests of the country.

We have ended to-day, or rather, I should say, put a period to an unfinished chapter of Irish history. It is a bright chapter in Irish history, I can say, for myself and my colleagues. It is an unfinished chapter, because I believe the Irish people will again at the next election, be it sooner or later, in no uncertain way, emphasise what they wanted at this election, an inter-Party Government of the type that had carried on this country for three and a quarter years with such beneficial results. Therefore, the record that we leave behind us is a record of unfinished work. We have had a very short time within which to carry on the work we set out to do. Short as it was, we did beneficial work. We hope to see that the present Government will continue that work and we will be watchful to see that it is continued properly, efficiently and well.

In particular, one of the outstanding features of the work of the last Government was the work of a capital nature, capital projects financed on the basis on which they were, by means of capital repaid by an annual repayment which appears in the Book of Estimates each year. We will see as far as we can that those capital projects shall be continued and brought to fruition and we will be vigilant and watchful about the course of the works which we have started to see that they are well and truly carried through.

With your permission, a Chinn Chomhairle, I would like to finish what I have to say — I believe it to be relevant in the context of the unfinished work which the last Government left behind them — by paying a tribute to my colleagues in that Government, to each of those colleagues, to each of the Parties which are unbroken here to-day, who worked so hard and gave such loyal service in spite of certain people who acted in their own selfish interests for the purpose of keeping their own seats in the Dáil. We are here to-day as an Opposition with those Parties united; we were never beaten as an inter-Party Government; our Parties never broke away from one another; we faced the country as an inter-Party group and we abide by the result of to-day's decision in the Dáil as an Opposition united and stronger by reason of the association and interchange of ideas we have had during the past three and a quarter years.

I think that we can make a valuable contribution to the welfare of the State in the years that may be before the present Government whether they be long or whether they be short. From all my colleagues, with the exception of one, I got profound loyalty and the hardest work which I believe has ever been put in by a set of people in the interests of this country. We got loyal, faithful service and they spared themselves neither effort, work, time nor energy. No words of mine could express the feelings I have for those people: for William Norton, of the Labour Party, for my colleagues of my own Party, for Joseph Blowick and his colleagues in Clann na Talmhan and for my old friend and loyal colleague, Seán MacBride. For the former Minister for Posts and Telegraphs. I have a special esteem and regard. He was slandered and defamed by people and by Press unjustifiably in connection with a particular incident; his constituents have given the answer to those slanders and those libels. I have left to the very last perhaps the outstanding person in my former Cabinet, James Dillon, the former Minister for Agriculture. The work which he has done will prove to be of lasting value to the farmers and to the general prosperity of the country, not for decades but for centuries to come. He has left a beneficial mark on the land of Ireland and has pointed the way to the future prosperity of the agricultural community. He, too, has received what may possibly be regarded as a tribute from the defamers and slanderers; he has been defamed and slandered and that is the best tribute which anybody can get as a politician in this country. He has left the mark of his genius, his constructive imagination and fertile brain on the agriculture of this country, but we who have sat with him day after day know that he gave a far more valuable contribution than his contribution to agriculture because his mind, his experience and his integrity were always at our disposal in the very difficult problems we had to face during the last three and a quarter years.

I cannot end without expressing the profound gratification and satisfaction which I have, and which will last with me until the end of my days, that I was associated with the Labour Party in an inter-Party Government for the first time in the history of this State. It was to me a matter of profound satisfaction that I worked and worked in the closest harmony, with a unified policy, with no dissensions, no divisions, and no bargaining with the members of the Labour Party, that we in Fine Gael, who were supposed to be conservative, the close-fisted Party, the representatives of the rich if you please, were able to work and find ourselves in close sympathy with the representatives of the working people of this country. That is to me personally a matter of profound satisfaction which will be to me a memory for the rest of my life.

For the past 30 years no Government has even taken office in this country under more favourable circumstances than those in which the present Fianna Fáil Government takes office to-night. Thanks to the work of the past three years we have brought to this nation of ours a domestic peace that it has never known before; we have brought stability to the nation, and we have given our people a standard of living incomparably better than they had in 1947 under the administration of the Government now in office.

One of our first acts on taking office was to repeal the penal taxes which the present Government imposed in 1947 on cigarettes, on tobacco, on beer and on cinema seats. We gave back to the people £6,000,000 per annum by the repeal of these taxes. If the present Government had been in office during the past three and a quarter years they would have siphoned out of the pockets of the people no less than £20,000,000 in taxes on these commodities. We remitted these taxes; the people, therefore, are £20,000,000 better off than they would have been if the Fianna Fáil Government had continued in office since 1948. I want to know now from this Government whether on the minority which they got in the recent election they will reimpose these taxes on the people because they managed to manoeuvre themselves into office to-night. The country is entitled to an answer to that question.

During the past three years the last Government's record in respect to housing has completely eclipsed anything which was done in the realm of housing in this country during the past 30 years. Not only did we gear up the housing machine which we found rusty and creaking in 1948, but we have built during the last three years no less than 24,000 houses which are to be seen in every part of the country. The new Minister for Local Government, on going to the Custom House to-morrow, will find abundant documentary evidence of the fact that the outgoing Government built 24,000 houses for the people during the past three years. Remember that the new Minister for Local Government has good reason to thank Deputy Keyes for the fact that there are 12,000 houses in course of erection and that there is no reason in the world, if that machine is not interfered with by the Fianna Fáil Minister for Local Government, why we should not continue to produce houses at the rate of not less than 12,000 houses per year for the years to come. We have now reached the situation that, given competent government and no niggardly approach to housing, we can solve for all time the housing problem in the large town, in the smaller town, in the village and in the rural area within three years from this date. We can now so organise our housing activity, thanks to the housing machine which Deputy Keyes and his predecessor, the late Tim Murphy, built up, as to ensure that housing will not be an issue in any general election held three years from this date.

Look at this Government's record in respect of employment. We have, during the past three years, put 37,000 additional people into insurable employment. The records are there and they can be examined. Deputy Dr. Ryan can go into the Department of Social Welfare and he will get there to-morrow statistics that will convince him that during the past three years we put 37,000 additional people into employment. There are more people to-day in industrial employment in this country than at any time in the past 30 years. So far as unemployment is concerned, we have reached now an all-time low record. There are less people unemployed in this country to-day than at any time in the past 100 years, and that fact cannot be gainsaid either. Therefore, in the realm of employment or in the realm of unemployment, not only have we put more and more people into work but we have succeeded in keeping our unemployment figures down to a level that we never attained in this country in the past 100 years. That is a record of which we are entitled to feel proud.

Take this Government's record in the field of social services. While our predecessors could not afford a miserable £500,000 for a modification of the means test for old age pension purposes in 1947, we in 1948 introduced the Social Welfare Bill which not only modified the means test but increased old age pensions, blind pensions, widows' and orphans' non-contributory pensions. On that measure alone we spent not the £500,000 we asked Fianna Fáil for in 1947, but an additional £2,500,000 which has gone into the pockets of old age pensioners, blind pensioners and windows and orphans during the past three years and for each of these years. We increased workmen's compensation during our period of office by no less than 33 per cent., bringing the rate of benefit to a higher level than it had ever reached before.

We have given to this Government a cut and dried Bill on social security. It passed through this House on the Second Reading. It is the best Bill this country has ever seen in the sphere of social security. For the first time it gives our people a comprehensive scheme of social security. It gives them benefits they never had in the past 30 years — benefits they did not get under Fianna Fáil's 16 years of office. I want now to ask Deputy Cowan if he has got a guarantee from the Fianna Fáil Government that that scheme will be proceeded with. Has he got a guarantee that that Bill will not be dropped? Has he got a guarantee that the opposition to that Bill, manifested by Fianna Fáil when they were in opposition, will not be pursued by the same Party when it is functioning as a Government? That Bill assured the working people of greater sickness benefits, greater maternity benefits, greater widows' and orphans' pensions, increased unemployment benefits, new death benefits, new retirement pensions, old age pensions of £1 a week, blind pensions of £1 a week, a further modification of the means test and the conditions so modified as to permit thousands of additional persons to qualify for old age pensions who do not qualify under the existing code. That Bill is there. It may be reintroduced into the Dáil next week and it will have the support of the Labour Party and, I hope, of ever other Party concerned with giving a charter of social security to the toiling masses of our people.

We were told by Deputy Lemass in 1948 that Fianna Fáil had a cut and dried scheme on social security in the Department of Social Welfare. We were told that, when Deputy Dr. Ryan was leaving office. I searched the Department's records from top to bottom and I got officials to search the records from top to bottom and the only thing I could find in the Department was a document the size of a quarter of a foolscap sheet of paper on which Deputy Dr. Ryan had written about 20 words not connected with social security at all. The Department is there now. Find your scheme when you go back. You will not. Only one single document of the size of a quarter of a foolscap sheet, with 20 words about social security, in fact, about statistics, could be found in the Department of Social Welfare — showing the abiding care and the deep thought which our predecessors had given to the problem of social security. Produce in this House next week your 1948 scheme. I defy and challenge you to do it now. Not a single thing had been decided. You left us the job of deciding about 500 issues which had to be decided before a scheme of social security could be introduced. Produce the scheme you are supposed to have left there — or apologise for the misrepresentation of 1948. I bet you will do neither.

Look at our health services. In 1947 we were spending £615,000 per annum on our health services. Look at the 1951 Estimates — £4,225,000 made available by the outgoing Government for its health services. Never before was there such a substantial increase for health services as during the period 1947-51.

Look at the national income. In 1947 it was £318,000,000. In 1950 it was £363,000,000 — all denoting the progress and the courageous approach to problems which characterised the Government with which the Labour Party was associated during the last three years.

Turn to our exports. In 1947 our exports were £39,000,000. In 1950 they were £72,000,000 — nearly twice what they were in 1947.

If we turn to economic matters and look at wages, what do we see? We remember in 1947 statements made in this House and statements made on the platform by spokesmen of the Fianna Fáil Party that if the trade unions or workers demanded further compensation than the inadequate compensation which, up to then, they had received for the rise in prices during the emergency, the Fianna Fáil Government would introduce legislation for the purpose of freezing wages. That was the intention in 1947. You even left behind you the draft proposals which you intended to bring before the Dáil to freeze the wages and to prevent the trade unions from exercising the constitutional rights which they have exercised in this country for 75 years, if they dared to try to get compensation for the workers for the depreciation in their standard of living due to the wage freezing policy practised by Fianna Fáil during the emergency. Wage freezing was no part of our policy. Not only did we kill, and I hope kill forever, the wage freezing mentality of our predecessors but, in addition, we dealt liberally, broadly and generously with demands for increased wages wherever these wage increases necessitated Government approval or Government sanction or Government regulation in one way or the other.

The position to-day is that every class of worker in this country has a wage level immeasurably better than he had in 1947. We killed wage freezing, and we killed the mentality behind wage freezing. Our people can now negotiate freely and conclude collective agreements with employers. While we were in office there was never any danger of the Government with which we were associated lending itself to making the trade unions impotent, while the employers were free to fight with both hands, as the last Government planned to do. We have given to our people to-day, and it is acknowledged by everybody who has any contact with the workers, a standard of living immeasurably better than they had in 1947. Organised bodies like the teachers had striven for arbitration for 30 years and civil servants had striven for arbitration for a like period.

We have given arbitration boards so that disputes between them, on the one hand, and the executive Government on the other hand, may be arbitrated upon, free from the element of coercion and free from any suggestion of injustice — arbitrated upon and pronounced upon by an independent chairman mutually acceptable to both sides. By that we have brought into the teaching profession and into the Civil Service a measure of contentment that never previously existed. They know now that the last word does not rest with the Minister. They know now that an independment mind will be brought to bear on their problems, on the injustices under which they may suffer, and that, subject to the overriding authority of the people's Parliament, this Assembly, they can now get a verdict implemented once they secure that verdict from an independent arbitrator.

Let us come to the field of agriculture. We have brought to agriculture a prosperity that it never previously experienced. You can get as much to-day for a rabbit as you could get for a calf when Fianna Fáil were in office. We have brought to the farmer a prosperity that he has never previously enjoyed. We have given to the agricultural worker increased wages, and, if we were in office for another week or two, he would have got a further increase in wages. We had given him holidays with pay, and we have given him a weekly half-holiday. These three things have been done in three years, and not a single one of them was done during the 16 years that the Fianna Fáil Government was in office.

Yes, and we have done more than that. We repealed the External Relations Act——

Hear, hear!

——the greatest fraud and make-believe that was ever inflicted on this country. The Labour Party can claim this pride and this privilege that when that Bill was going through the House we voted against it then because it was a deception. It was a make-believe, and we have had the privilege of seeing it off the Statute Book of this country, maintaining all the time the same consistent line in 1949 that we had adopted in 1938, when we tried to persuade that Government not to proceed with such an odious Act of Parliament.

We now, at all events, have made our constitutional position clear before the world. The murkiness and the muddiness of our constitutional position is gone, and gone for ever. We no longer have to explain to a foreigner the kind of Republic we are because they could never understand the kind of Republic which kept the President in residence in the Park and in the background, while we used a British King to accredit our representatives to foreign countries. That type of magpie republic is gone. The bird is now one colour. This Republic is one colour. It has got a President. He is the domestic head here, and he is the external head who accredits our representatives to foreign countries, and we have dispensed with the services of his Britannic Majesty.

I listened over the last three years to speeches made by members of the Fianna Fáil Party regretting the repeal of the External Relations Act. I challenge them now to reintroduce it and stop the lamentations about it having been repealed. Let them reintroduce it, and let those opposite who dearly love a king have something to play with for their short period in office.

We cleared up that mess. We put the President in his rightful place in this country. He is our domestic head and he is our external head, and nobody now doubts his authority. We have ceased to have to explain the unusual kind of Republic which, as I say, kept the President in the background and which found a British King as the organ of our external relations with other Powers. That make-believe is over. There is no further need to worry about our constitutional status here. The world knows it, and if you leave the situation as it is to-day you will never get yourself into the same mess that you were in from 1938 until 1949.

Yes, and we have done more even than that. There is not a single political prisoner in an Irish jail to-day. This was the first Government for 30 years that never passed a coercion Bill through this Dáil, and our Government was the first Government which had no executions. We had no military tribunals, and because of that we brought to the country the peace which it knows to-day. Leave that position so. Do not get lonely, and do not go hankering after the strife, the bitterness and the acrimony which had disgraced public life here for too many years.

I want to put this to the House, that nowhere in the long and chequered career of our people has more progress been made than was made during the past three years and made under difficult circumstances, under circumstances which were not conducive to large-scale spectacular programmes. Will Deputy Lemass look up the speech which he made in Letterkenny in October, 1947? He said that, surveying the international and national scene, in his view, the four years — 1948, 1949, 1950 and 1951 — were, in his own words, "to be the hardest and the grimmest years in Irish life". It was against that background that we took office. It was against that background that we managed to make these near-miracle achievements. It was against that background of promised hardships and grimness that we were able to do the things which we have done during the past three years.

Hear, hear!

There was no grimness or harshness for the past three years because, in so far as it was a correct diagnosis of the situation, we shielded the people against it.

Marshall Aid helped a little.

It was not your fault that we got any. We got sabotage.

Hear, hear!

Look up your Fermoy speech now. We go out of office to-night. I, speaking for the Labour Party in this matter, am proud of our record over the past three years, proud especially of the part which the Labour Party played in the outgoing Government and proud of the things they succeeded in getting done under the auspices of that Government. I want to say to the new Taoiseach if you intend to continue that good work, if you intend to introduce in this House measures which will make for the betterment and well-being of our people the full support of the Labour Party may be assumed. I have to say at the same time that wage freezing or repression will not be tolerated by the Labour Party and governmental indifference and indolence will not be tolerated. We will give support to every good measure, to every progressive measure and everything aimed at improving the standard of life of our people but we will be no party either to an activity or to the enactment of measures which are not calculated to improve the lot of our people. This Government has a hard task to live up to our record.

A Deputy

Wait and see.

Well you know it. I bet you this. You will not be a month older until the Taoiseach will be telling you that.

What about Deputy Paddy Smith?

I bet you that within a month's time you will be anchored to the hair shirt economics of the Fianna Fáil Party. However, we can watch the efforts of this Government with more than usual interest because it is a rare and strange combination.

Away back in 1948 Deputy Cogan gave utterance to these views when the Government of that day was being elected. At column 33 of the Official Dáil Debates, dated 18th February, 1948, he said:

"There are two logical courses before us. We must adopt either this idea of representation of all Parties or abolish the system of proportional representation. The two things do not fit; the system by which the people elected the Dáil, the system of proportional representation, does not fit in with the idea of Party Government. We must either abolish one or the other and I am hoping that to-day we will, for all time, abolish the idea of Party Government in this country."

Deputy Cogan, whatever his other deficiencies may be, cannot say that somersaulting is one of them. In the same speech he described the present Taoiseach as King Herod who sought to annihilate small Parties just as Herod was anxious to annihilate small children.

He has since been annihilated.

And he prayed then that Deputy de Valera would not again be given the power to wreak possible vengeance on the Deputy Cogans who are merely managing to live a rather hazardous existence. He said more than that. He selected Deputy MacEntee for special mention. The other Deputies and the Ministers in the Fianna Fáil Party ought not to get unduly jealous of this, especially when I read the tribute to Deputy MacEntee.

We have been told that already to-day.

It will bear repetition. Deputy Cogan then said:—

"When I tried to instil into the mind of that senile delinquent, the Minister for Local Government, some sense of responsibility and when I reminded him of the danger of midwinter election which would inflict a grave injustice on a large section of the rural population by depriving them of their right to vote I was told by that gentleman that I was suffering from cold feet."

Deputy Cogan's feet apparently have not warmed since then.

Would the Deputy give the reference?

The reference, Sir, is at column 30 of the Official Dáil Debates of the 18th February, 1948. That is the view Deputy Cogan has of Deputy MacEntee, a senile delinquent and that is what he is going to vote for this evening—a senile delinquent, as the Minister for Finance.

It is a fool who would not have changed his mind on greater enlightenment.

There is a confirmation of it.

Put a muzzle on him.

Let us be clear on this. Let Deputy Cogan's constituents be clear on this. He has voted to-day for the Taoiseach who thought so little of Deputy Cogan's views that he has come back here this evening with, as Minister for Finance, a person who Deputy Cogan said was a senile delinquent in 1948 and God knows what deterioration has set in in the meantime. Is that what Deputy Cogan's electors authorised him to do? Did they give him authority to vote for a person certified to be a senile delinquent by the said Deputy Cogan. I certainly would love to see the rather touching and tearful reconciliation between Deputy Cogan and Deputy MacEntee. One can imagine what that reconciliation would be like. I would like to know from Deputy Cogan to-night whether he is going into the lobby to vote for the person he described in such rude and vulgar terms in 1948 and to elect him as Minister for Finance now. Deputy Cogan owes it to the House and to his constituents to say whether he asked them for votes to vote for a person who is so deficient in qualifications for a post as Deputy MacEntee is in the eyes of Deputy Cogan.

Deputy Cowan told the Taoiseach yesterday that the reason he was voting for Fianna Fáil was as a protest against the Irish Bishops' interference in politics.

Were you there?

The Deputy said it in the House before.

He said it to-day.

Deputy Cowan said that to me yesterday.

I can go to my constituents and get a renewal of confidence every time because they know me. Deputy Cowan a few years ago was frequently criticised and, indeed, on many occasions, blackguarded by Deputy MacEntee for being the Czarlike chief of the Vanguard organisation which Deputy MacEntee wrote down as the wildest and most irresponsible Communistic organisation in Europe. Deputy Cowan knows how he was abused by Deputy MacEntee about the Vanguard organisation, and Deputy Boland, the present Minister for Justice, took a hand in lambasting Deputy Cowan as well about the Vanguard organisation. We all know that.

Mr. Boland

Quote me if I ever did.

Mr. O'Higgins

You will get plenty of quotations.

Why has Deputy Cowan so many defenders on the Fianna Fáil Benches to-night? Does not everybody know that Deputy Cowan was lambasted by this House because of his associations with the Vanguard organisations. He is now engaged in propping up the Government composed of the people who did the lambasting, and he has demoted himself from being the Vanguard of the people to being the mudguard of Fianna Fáil. There will be another touching reconciliation when Deputy Cowan meets his lambasters.

I remember on one occasion, I think it was in 1948, when the present Taoiseach spent a substantial amount of his time and energy in a denunciation of what he described as mixum gatherum Governments. Is this the kind of Government you had in mind? He has got a collection of every kind now, political flotsam and jetsam to try to keep Fianna Fáil in office, and I am telling you that I wish him the best of luck with some of them. I would not have the support of some of the gentlemen at any price.(Interruptions.) You are now going into office. Conduct yourselves. Now that you are a Government Party you cannot go round doing the rowdy.

This Government will take office now. Deputy Cogan and Deputy Captain Cowan both hope that they will last for five years because elections are perilous things for them and they will do their best to hang on to the Fianna Fáil lifeboat and keep it up, no matter how tempestuous the seas may be.

We have a good captain, anyway.

I do not think that the lifeboat will ride the seas so very long. I prophesy for it a short and ineffective career, and I wish you and the tight-rope walkers that are supporting you the best of luck.

There is one warning I will give you. While you remain in office, short though that period may be, keep your hands off the workers' wages and keep your hands out of the people's pockets.

I am intervening because of a very bitter statement made by the Taoiseach against me this evening. I will now quote from the Official Report what I said to-day. Deputy Dillon, when speaking, made the suggestion that certain Independents who, apparently, were for sale had found themselves in the Fianna Fáil shop windows. I consider that a rather nasty suggestion. It was a suggestion that was pursued by Deputy O. Flanagan and other Deputies subsequently.

And in a cartoon in the Irish Press.

A dirty campaign was carried out against those Independents who had the courage to do what they thought right. I was never asked by any body, Fianna Fáil or inter-Party, to vote for them until to-day. I was asked definitely—and I must say this—would I vote for the inter-Party if a Labour man was nominated as Taoiseach. I said I had my mind made up and I would not.

Now the cat is out of the bag.

That was at 3 o'clock. At 3 o'clock I was fawned on by everybody. At 4 o'clock I was a dirty scoundrel. Now here is the official record of what I said to-day after Deputy Dillon spoke:—

"Captain Cowan: In case some of Deputy Dillon's speech might be misinterpreted, I think that if we were to have a discussion with three of his colleagues—the Taoiseach, the Tánaiste and Deputy Dr. O'Higgins —we would find how difficult they found it in the early hours of this morning to persuade a young Independent Deputy to act against his conscience and his convictions.

The Taoiseach: A Chinn Chomhairle, I wish here and now to repudiate the suggestion made by Deputy Cowan. There is no truth whatever in it.

Mr. Dillon: The Deputy knows that it is not true.

Captain Cowan: No interviews with an Independent Deputy this morning?

Mr. Dillon: Did I not say we interviewed you and everyone else and were proud to do it, but scorned to say we would buy them.

Captain Cowan: No one is talking about buying, but to persuade a young Independent Deputy to act against his conscience."

That is the Official Report. I ask Deputy John A. Costello and Deputy William Norton, who has just left the House, and Deputy Dr. O'Higgins did they this morning see a young Independent Deputy and spend hours with him. If they did, for what purpose? In the early hours of this morning when all decent Deputies were asleep in their beds getting ready for to-day were the inter-Party interviewing this young Independent Deputy? For what purpose? Was it to get him to vote for the inter-Party set-up or was it not? And then Deputy John A. Costello has the temerity to stand up here and make the offensive and bitter speech he made against me here a few moments ago.

Mr. Costello

It is absolutely true, and it was not half bitter enough.

No. There is nothing too bitter for me in doing what is right, namely removing people from the Government side of the House, people that I think are not fit to be in Government and putting them over there in Opposition.

Mr. Costello

The bitterness was founded upon the Deputy's allegations and the unfounded charge made against me and my colleagues.

I have read what I said to-day. Deputy John A. Costello has not read it.

Mr. Costello

I heard it.

The Deputy heard part of it. Then the Deputy comes in here to make a bitter, nasty speech against me. I do not mind that. I am used to bitterness in public life. I am used to being maliciously and slanderously attacked. I have survived it so far and I will survive it in the future. It is shocking to think that in this inter-Party set up there are types such as some of the types that appeared here to-day with their dirty muck and mud slinging just because I did what I thought was right. Had I voted for Deputy John A. Costello and kept him in Government I would now be a very fine fellow and anyone that would dare to attack me would get their answer from my colleagues. Colleagues! I am only learning something now about the dirtiness of political life and the alleged friendliness and loyalty of colleagues.

For the reasons I stated to-day I made up my mind that I would vote against the inter-Party Government. I made no promise to my constituents that I would support the inter-Party Government.

If my constituents understood anything at all they understood that I had brought about the general election and I had caused the inter-Party Government to go to the country. I was completely astonished at that Government's attitude in the Dr. Browne crisis. I thought that a Government that acted as they did in that crisis was not fit to be a Government in this or any other country. I gave due and solemn warning here when the Estimate for the Minister for Agriculture was being debated that I would vote against it. Had I and some of my colleagues voted against it we would have defeated the Government. In order to avoid defeat the Government postponed the Vote and then went to the country. No one can say that I went before the electorate to support the inter-Party Government. Had any one of my constituents asked me the question during the election I would have told them that I would have to think twice before I would vote for an inter-Party Government.

Why did you not say that on Sunday last when you were asked the question?

I was asked what would I do and I told them that I would do what I thought was right and I would explain my reasons for my action in the right place, namely, in this House. I have done that to-day. I can laugh now when I hear Deputy Costello and Deputy Norton talking about the great Opposition they will be. Do we not all know that the half of them will never appear in this House again?

A Deputy

You will not come back anyhow.

I shall be here doing my duty in this House but I can say that a very large proportion of the Deputies over there will be very seldom in this House in future. I know they will be looking after their private business as they did when they were in Opposition before.

Wait and see.

There is one set of people who will not bring about the defeat of this Government and that is the group that is over there.

A Deputy

We shall leave it to yourself.

Maybe. It is one of those things about which I do not think anybody need have any qualms of conscience. If the Fianna Fáil Government bring in a measure, which I think is not right, I shall say so and I shall vote against it. I do not think anyone need have any doubt about that. If, on the other hand, I think it is a good measure and that it should be supported, I shall support it. In doing that I shall be carrying out my rôle as an Independent Deputy who is tied neither to Fianna Fáil, to Fine Gael nor to anybody else in this House. Deputy Norton refers to the flotsam and jetsam. That would have been very welcome to Deputy Norton to-day. He would have clutched at it, and held on to it to-day if he could, but he did not. I am sorry about one thing. Here we had an inter-Party Government. They seemed to be very fine fellows, very nice, very courteous and gentlemanly while they were over here but now that they are over there what are they? Cornered rats.

An expression of that kind is not parliamentary, and should not be used.

Of course it is a gentleman's remark.

I certainly shall not use it. It is most improper to use it here.

I take it the Deputy withdraws it?

A lot of people laughed at it.

Certainly, I withdraw it. I am not concerned with who laughs at it or who does not laugh. As I have said, they were very nice, courteous and gentle on one side but we see another aspect when they are on the other side. We see bitterness obtruding itself and bubbling out over there. We hear the snarl. If that snarl reminds people of anything, well let them have their own thoughts about it. Anyway I intervened only to nail that suggestion of Deputy Costello that I stated anything that was wrong here to-day. I stated the truth and he knows it.

Mr. Costello

It is not the truth.

It is grossly untrue.

I am asking, did three of you this morning interview an Independent Deputy?

That is not what you stated. Repeat what you stated.

Let me take it by stages. I want to know did they interview this Independent Deputy for hours this morning?

This is disgraceful.

Did they interview this Independent Deputy for hours this morning?

You are not in the District Court now.

I am asking Deputy O'Higgins did he interview——

Deputy O'Higgins will answer you if he gets the opportunity but he will answer in regular fashion and in accordance with the rules of parliamentary procedure.

I shall leave that answer to the judgment of the House for Deputies to make their own deduction from it. In other words, in the early hours of the morning they were down explaining to this Deputy what a fine fellow he was for acting in accordance with his conscience in voting against them.

Deputy, you are disgracing yourself.

Deputy Dillon was not there.

You will be ashamed of yourself.

Three Deputies interviewed this Independent Deputy this morning—a Taoiseach, a Tánaiste and a Minister for Industry and Commerce.

And he voted against his conscience!

You are disgracing yourself.

I am taking it step by step. First, I am satisfied they were there; secondly, I am satisfied that that morning exercise was not just for the sake of their natural health although it might be of some advantage to their political health. However, I do not want to say anything about it. Three Ministers saw that young man this morning. This man, it was known, had been elected for a particular purpose. They were not there to suggest that he should vote against his conscience — not at all.

Why does he not come in and speak for himself?

Maybe he will.

You were not there and you are speaking from hearsay.

I think I have exposed the bitterness of the attack made on me to-day by Deputy Costello. I did not expect that form of bitterness from him. I was prepared to leave what I said to-day on the record.

Mr. Costello

It was quite untrue.

It is shameful.

Deputy Cowan was not there.

I was prepared to leave it as it stood on the record. I am prepared to leave it there now and to leave it to every person who is listening to me to judge who was and who was not correct.

Statements have been made and insinuations and implications put forward by Deputy Cowan with regard to a young Deputy who has entered this House for the first time to-day. I do not know that young gentleman personally. I met him last night for the first time. I believe him to be an honourable gentleman and I would be prepared to leave it to that Deputy to ram these untruths down Deputy Cowan's neck. The circumstances are these. A representation was made to the then Taoiseach that there was one young Deputy who had to cast an important vote to-day, the first he had ever cast in the nation's Parliament and that he wanted to know as clearly as he could what steps were being taken with regard to the mother and child scheme and to what extent it had progressed. The Taoiseach, as I think his successor would do, agreed to meet that young Deputy and to give him all the information that he possibly could. He asked me to be present as a medical Deputy and as the person who had been in touch with the Medical Union and our late colleague, Deputy Dr. Browne. We met that young gentleman together with a businessman of repute and standing in this city who, I expect, will answer Deputy Cowan in the public Press. We gave that young gentleman, who is a member of this House and can speak for himself, all the information that we could with regard to the health scheme and the Taoiseach refused to attempt to prophesy the developments of the future.

The Deputy understood his position and we understood ours. In the whole of that interview, he was not asked for his vote by any one of us. He said he wanted to know the facts and the circumstances, get the maximum amount of knowledge and then make up his mind for himself as to what he should do. One remark I did make. I said:—

"You are a young Deputy, a professional colleague of mine. You have just come into the Dáil. You have got as much information as we can give. Do not make the mistake of lying ‘doggo.' I shall have respect for you if you go into the other Division Lobby and vote for Deputy de Valera. I will have none if you lie ‘doggo' and go neither to the right nor to the left."

I do not know what is the intention of the Government in regard to the Adjournment. Normally, the procedure would be to adjourn now as it is 10.30 p.m.

There are other speakers.

Whatever you wish.

On a point of order. May I respectfully submit that it is manifestly unlikely that those who wish to contribute to this debate will find it possible to do so within reasonable limitations of time to-night and, without the slightest desire of unduly protracting the business, may I suggest an adjournment? I take it from the Taoiseach that that will not seriously inconvenience him.

The only question is that there is no Government for the moment.

A first-class one.

There is, I suppose. The point is, is it desirable that you should have a Taoiseach on one side and members of the Government on the other?

I think it is better to clear up the matter.

Mr. Costello

Perhaps we could agree to sit late.

It is obvious that there could not be a division after half-past ten without agreement. Of course the House can do anything by unanimous agreement, but it must be unanimous.

Would it be possible to agree to sit in the morning at 10.30 and undertake to-night to finish by a particular hour to-morrow?

Would it not be better if we could finish to-night? There are Financial Bills to be dealt with.

I think it would be better if we could finish to-night. I do not know whether it would meet with the approval of the House that we should sit until 2 a.m. or not later than 2 a.m.

I was going to suggest half-past eleven.

What I am suggesting does not prevent you from finishing at half-past eleven.

This is a matter of very great importance, and I think the House, especially the Government, would be unwise in limiting the time for the discussion. I am sure the Taoiseach will agree that this is something which should be finished to-night. We have started it and let us get through it even if we have to sit until 6 a.m. It is public business of importance and we must go on with it. I think Deputies should not be prevented from speaking as long as they like. If a Deputy desires to speak for hours, he should be permitted to do so.

Will you agree to Deputy Morrissey's suggestion of 2 a.m.?

I take it it is unanimously agreed to put the question not later than 2 a.m. There is another matter I should like to mention for my own convenience. I assume that the House will agree that the Deputies who act as Deputy-Chairmen should continue to act.


I had not intended to take part in this debate and I only intervened on that one point. I regret very much that the gallant Captain, who was so free with his charges 20 minutes ago, has beaten a retreat in face of a challenge and I ask that that should go on the records of this House. When he asked me as one Deputy to answer certain points and give a certain account and that was in process of being given he skedaddled. But, as I said earlier, I am prepared, in the main, to listen to the Deputy who voted against this Party to-day— Deputy Dr. ffrench-O'Carroll. At no time during that interview, which was not sought by the then Taoiseach or any member of the then Government, was there any attempt whatsoever made to influence that young Deputy to vote in our favour or against his conscience, as stated. What we were determined was to give him the fullest information as to the progress of the mother and child scheme in the belief, and in view of the propaganda that was used during the election, that if there was full knowledge of the progress made and the rapidity with which the work was being dealt with he, in his own judgment, and one colleague of his at least who campaigned on the ground that there would be no mother and child scheme, if he were honest, would change his attitude with regard to the continuation of the life of the Government.

Moreover, as evidence that there was no attempt to influence that young Deputy or his vote, he asked, on leaving the room, was he free to give to Deputy Dr. Browne all the information we had given him last night. The answer he got was that he was not only free to give all that information to Deputy Dr. Browne but that he was free to give it to anybody or everybody else; that there was no prohibition, that he could publish it in the public Press. He thanked the then Taoiseach profusely for his kindness and courtesy, in view of the very heavy strain on him at that time, for having given so much of his time to explaining the position. He rang up this morning again to thank the then Taoiseach, Deputy Norton and myself for what he referred to as our great kindness and patience in dealing with him. That is the answer to Deputy Cowan. I do not believe there is a Deputy that doubts the truth of what Deputy John A. Costello stated and what I am stating now. When you read the name of the outsider that was there with Deputy ffrench-O'Carroll and when you read his statement as against that statement, you can measure the worth or the worthlessness of Deputy Captain Peadar Cowan.

I said to Deputy Cowan, when he was speaking, that, consciously or unconsciously, he was disgracing himself. I am certain that, when he has perused all that falls to be said of the incident to which he referred, he will be ashamed that he so far amazed those who knew him from afar only, and who heretofore have felt that, though he might often be misguided, he was straight and honest in speaking of things as he saw them. I do not mind confessing he took me in, but that is the way he seemed to me. He can never seem so again, and I do not think he can blame me for amending my evaluation of him by his disreputable performance this evening.

I want to intervene, Sir, in respect of something which is very precious to me. When I entered the Department of Agriculture I found installed there Deputy Patrick Smith's ten fields of inspectors. They were scheduled for the annual axe which was to throw them into temporary unemployment in June to be remustered in October for the chastening of recalcitrant farmers throughout the country. I abolished their functions but was happy to get Government sanction for their permanent employment, not in the role of bailiffs and emergency men, but in the role of land project officers who considered it a privilege to call on farmers at their invitation and in the proud capacity of public servants. Deputy Smith nailed his agricultural policy colours to the mast in eloquent, incisive and picturesque language. I would remind the Taoiseach, when he asks in such moving accents for co-operation from the Opposition to-day, of the six blessed hours that I sat in front of his new Minister for Local Government while he regaled me with variations on a theme of ten fields of inspectors for recalcitrant farmers when my Estimate came up for discussion in this House.

One of the most significant things that happened since Deputy Lemass was sent to Tipperary a month ago to announce that Fianna Fáil had abandoned compulsory tillage is the announcement to-night by the Taoiseach that he has abandoned Deputy Smith and that Deputy Smith is now in the dog house on the quay — the agricultural prophet, Deputy Smith, whose prospective occupation of the Department of Agriculture moved Deputy Jack Flynn, the champion of the small farmer, to see in Upper Merrion Street a little farmer instead of a 50-acre rancher like Deputy Dillon. Deputy Flynn must feel distressed to discover that the little farmer from Cavan has been thrown overboard with his ten fields of inspectors and his policy. But, appropriately enough, if one can envisage him with an anchor tied around his neck, he has been relegated to the quays as Minister for Local Government. What humiliation, what degredation will prove excess for the faithful servants of Fianna Fáil? Will they be required to lie down in public to have boots wiped on them before they revolt against the dismal discipline of the solid Party?

I felt that when my wretched predecessor was repudiated contemptuously by Deputy Lemass at Tipperary he would have approached his leader and asked him to redress the situation in the country. But he did not; he took it like a man, or the Fianna Fáil notion of a man. The man who was going to break down the farmers' fences, burst in their gates and bring them to the subjection of his illuminated will spoke prophetically because he bowed his neck for the yoke; when political expediency directed Deputy Lemass and Deputy de Valera to hold on to the two sides he bowed his neck to have the yoke locked about him. I do not mind his disappearance—his grotesque disappearance to the quays; he was ludicrous as Minister for Agriculture; he will be a harmless joke in the Custom House.

I note that he was replaced by a Deputy who, when he was named, caused the whisper to run around the benches: "Who is this fellow? Where did he come from?" because Deputy Tom Walsh had suddenly developed into "An Teachta Tomás Breathnach". Now Deputy Thomas Walsh could not bid the cat good morning in Irish. His knowledge of Irish begins with "A chara" and ends with "Mise le meas mór," and I doubt if he knows the "mór." But he is now an Teachta Tomás Breathnach. Having identified the Gael as Deputy Tom Walsh of Kilkenny, I discover that he is Minister for Agriculture. Now, contemptible as has been the prostration of Deputy Smith and his chastisement by Deputy Lemass and Deputy Childers, what shall we say of Deputy Walsh who was brought crawling to Castlecomer in his own constituency, bidden to attend before Deputy de Valera and in his presence to say that he had never advocated compulsory tillage, that all he had done was, when rebuking Deputy Dillon for his lack of foresight and prudence, to say across the floor of the House: "Should you continue in this reckless way, you may create a situation in which no tillage will be done save under compulsion." I challenge Deputy Thomas Walsh to deny that he said that in Castlecomer. I have the report of it and I will produce it on request.

That is the man who on the night before the last Dáil adjourned said that he was proud to say that he had always believed and then believed in compulsory tillage as the right agricultural policy of this country, and who when the House re-assembled on the following day — it was Deputy Tom Walsh who moved the adjournment — and when he was called upon by the Chair to resume the debate — this is all in the Official Record of this House — said that since the previous night he had been jibed for that somebody in the heat of debate had goaded him into espousing compulsory tillage, and he wanted to say now, after a night's reflection, in cold and calm deliberation, that whoever else in the Fianna Fáil Party might have views on that subject, he wanted to say what his view was, and that was that compulsory tillage should be a permanent feature of the agricultural policy of this country in fair weather and in foul.

That is a legitimate view, and I do not condemn him for staunchly standing for his view. I disagree with him, but where are we going if a Deputy, who on the eve of a general election makes such a statement, goes before his own constituents with these words on his lips and in the knowledge that, as was the annual custom of the Department of Agriculture, the Official Report of the debate on the Estimate for the Department of Agriculture would be sent to every county committee of agriculture for their perusal, and in the knowledge that these statements are on record, submits to the grotesque humiliation of being dragged down to Castlecomer in the middle of his own county, and not being allowed to say: "I am sorry for what I said in Dáil Éireann. I withdraw it. I have changed my mind," but being compelled to say: "I never said it." The reward for perfidy of that kind is that this country is told that that unstable, undependable, wretched servant of a tyrannical taskmaster is to occupy what, in my judgment, is the most important office in an Irish Government after that of the Taoiseach and the Tánaiste.

I want to ask the Fianna Fáil Party again have they no shame? Surely to God they are not going to start out on this their period of office, be it short or long, setting the standards of the gutter. Surely they are not going to start out by demonstrating before the country that their own members are required to perform like dancing poodles in a circus. Surely they are not going to publish before the country that one of their own members should stand where I am standing and pledge his faith that this is his belief and that, popular or unpopular, he proclaims it, born of his experience as a farmer, and, as the price of office, to get up in the presence of his own neighbours not to recant his folly but to deny he ever uttered it. I am asking the Taoiseach now — he was present at Castlecomer and he heard Deputy Walsh speak there in the presence of his constituents and he knows that the report of Deputy Walsh's speech on the last day this House sat is substantially true — to answer for presenting that man to this House as Minister for Agriculture.

I impute no blame against him or Deputy Smith for reneging on their policy of compulsory tillage under the pressure of an election campaign. They had a right to do that. They had a right to get up before the people and say: "We have changed our minds; we have been educated and we stand the political tempest of admitting the mistake in the presence of the electorate and, admitting it, we withdraw from our position hitherto held and now for ever reject compulsory tillage as a permanent feature of Fianna Fáil policy." That is a legitimate honourable procedure and it tells the people all they are entitled to know; but I am asking the Taoiseach, who protests his desire to maintain decent standards in the public life of this country, how he justifies recommending to this Dáil as. Minister for Agriculture a man whose only recommendation for the post is that he was prepared to prostitute himself politically on Deputy de Valera's platform in the midst of his own neighbours.

I think I have a right to ask for a guarantee from the Fianna Fáil Party that, when they have sought the suffrages of our people on the representation that compulsory tillage is no part of their policy, they will require an Teachta Tomás Breathnach — preferably in Irish and, if he does not know it, then in English — to get up in this House and withdraw the opinions which he is on record as holding on the last day on which the 13th Dáil sat.

Until he does, I cannot understand how a Party which has jettisoned compulsory tillage can recommend him to Dáil Éireann. This is not the occasion to cover a wide field: I limited myself to two topics on which I have said all I desire to say. One is that I think Deputy Cowan has disgraced himself to-night and the other is that if there is any decency in public life the Taoiseach will do something about the outrage of presenting Deputy Tom Walsh to this House as a Minister for Agriculture even under the disguise of An Teachta Tomás Breathnach.

I cannot help feeling a deep sense of regret that the Taoiseach who has been elected to this House to-night did not choose to do the biggest act of his life, even if it was to be the final big act of his life by responding to the appeals which I made to him some days ago and to-day again, to cast aside the bitterness and the hatreds of the past and to provide a nationally representative Government — which is what the people want. I challenge the Taoiseach to dissolve this House to-morrow on that issue and to go to the country. I guarantee that 80 per cent. of the people of this country would vote in favour of a nationally representative Government if they were given the opportunity.

I have respect for the Taoiseach. I have known him and worked with him; I have followed his leadership during the civil war and before the civil war; I have probably from this side of the House a greater degree of respect for his political attitude in the course of the last 30 years than any other member on this side of the House. I think I have been able to divest myself of any particular prejudice concerning these past events. I think that the people want to forget those past events. I do not think that any useful purpose can be served now by seeking to apportion blame on one side or another. Probably, in 50 years' time, some historian will pass judgment and in that way blame will be apportioned. We are far too close to the situation to be able to write the pages of history now.

Let me say this—even if it sounds cruel, it is not intended to be cruel. The Taoiseach has had a long active life, he has done many things for this nation with which I agree; he has done many things with which I profoundly disagree. He has been the bone of contention in the public life of this country for the last 30 years. A great many people have respect for him. He is not getting young. If this Dáil were to last its full term, I think I would not be doing anything but facing realities if I said that he was not likely to be desirous of being reelected Taoiseach in five years' time. Why not, therefore, do the big thing, the generous thing, and help, once and for all, to bury this bitterness? Why not do what he knows, as I know, the people want done — form a nationally representative Government composed of representatives of the four leading Parties in this House, pledged, above all, to bring about the unification of the country, and, secondly, pledged to the economic development of the country and its economic reconstruction?

It has been said in criticism of me on a number of occasions that I had raised too much optimism, while I was Minister for External Affairs, on the issue of Partition. I now say this, with a full sense of responsibility, with a full knowledge of the position as it is and as it has been for the last year, that I am satisfied that if the Taoiseach were prepared to get together with the other Parties in this House and form a nationally representative Government, on that basis Partition could be ended within two years.

That is like the other thing.

Like what other thing? Like the repeal of the External Relations Act — which could not be done, he told us, and which has been done? Why not try it, at least? Is it not obvious? We are a small nation, we have a tremendous national objective to achieve; is it not obvious that the united effort of the different parties will make the task easier to achieve? Is it to be cast aside because of prejudice? Or because of pride? Or because, possibly, a few Party members want jobs? Are they the consideration? Surely Eamon de Valera of 1916, of 1921, of the civil war, should be able to rise above that? He knows that the Irish people want him to do that. He knows that he would get the co-operation of the people in doing it. As I said earlier to-day, a lot of this is artificial. In social contacts, people who took different sides in the civil war, who belong to different Parties, can mix together, can dine together, can play bridge or golf together. They can go to the same churches. They can take part in charitable works. They can belong to the Gaelic League together and work together in that. They can belong to the G.A.A. and work together there. Why is it not possible to do it when it comes to running the affairs of the country? Why maintain these divisions which in most cases are devoid of reality? We heard to-day from Deputy Lemass reference to a statement which was issued after the election by the Taoiseach, Deputy de Valera, a statement of policy which, word for word, had been taken from our policy, mainly from the policy of Clann na Poblachta. It was done advisedly, as a result of some bargaining that was going on behind the scenes. That we know. But, it illustrates the lack of reality of political differences that it should be possible, after an election campaign, for a main political Party to produce a programme of 17 points taken practically word for word from an outgoing Party. Yet, when it comes to placing the national interest before the interest of Party we are told "No, it cannot be done."

Are we not entitled to know why it cannot be done? Are the people not entitled to be told why Deputy de Valera will not sit around a table with the leaders of the other Parties and run the affairs of the country? Is there any secret about it? Why not tell the people what the answer is?

I am sorry if I am speaking with some heat on this. I did not intend to introduce heat. I am earnestly anxious to see this done. I believe it is essential for the national welfare. I believe it is essential for the purpose of bringing about re-unification of our country. I believe it can be done. I have faith in it. I feel the people have faith in it. I had hoped that Deputy de Valera might have availed of this opportunity. I had broken the ice to a certain extent by participating in the inter-Party Government during the course of the last three years. I know that there are some people in his Party who are opposed to it, more opposed to it than he is, but surely he should be big enough to rise above those differences. Surely, he should be big enough to tell his Party or to tell whatever members of his Party are opposed to it that every political leader must be prepared to place the interests of the country above the interests of a Party. I have urged it strongly in the hope that possibly still Deputy de Valera may revise the attitude he has adopted in relation to this matter either now or within a short space of time.

As to the Government which the Taoiseach proposes to us, I would like him to consider this point of view: I agree entirely with what Deputy Norton said earlier when he pointed out that the country had never been in a stronger position economically, politically and socially than it is to-day, that from every single aspect of our political, economic or social life the country is better off to-day than at any other stage in its history. I agree entirely with that but, while I agree that no Government since this State was founded has ever been handed over a better national position than is being handed over now to the care of the Taoiseach, Deputy de Valera, I would say this, that no Government probably has undertaken a more dangerous task than the task which Deputy de Valera is undertaking now because he is undertaking to try to run this country with a minority support and with the majority of the people definitely opposed to his Government.

This is a minority Government. A majority of the people clearly expressed at the poll their opposition to a Fianna Fáil Government. By a decisive majority they reflected their view by the T.D.s which they elected and sent here belonging to the different Parties, even allowing for probably one of the most dishonest hoaxes that was ever played upon the Irish people by a number of Independent Deputies who sought their votes on the pretence that they were independent of the Fianna Fáil Party. The first thing we find is that even in this House it is only by using a subterfuge — quite a legal subterfuge, quite a constitutional one — that you avoid the position of having a tie. It may be correct legally, it may be correct constitutionally, for the Ceann Comhairle to avail of his legal right to vacate the Chair in order to provide a vote and to take part in the division. It does not rectify the position that this Government will be a minority Government. That is going to create many, many difficulties. It is the Government of the country and as such is entitled to the support of the people, to the support of this House. It will get my support in any constructive measure that it takes but I think it is well that the Taoiseach and this House should appreciate the delicate and dangerous situation on which this Government will tread as a minority Government. I was glad when I heard Deputy de Valera say this evening that the names which he had submitted were only provisional.

I do not want to say anything which may sound like a personal attack on any Deputy in this House but I must say — I think it is my duty and my responsibility to say it, as I have considerable experience of this particular matter — that the Deputy whom the Taoiseach proposes as Minister for Justice, in my view, is constitutionally incapable of being a responsible Minister for Justice. I have had in the law courts of this country experience of that Deputy as a witness and I have had experience of his activities as Minister for Justice. I cannot forget that it was under his ministry that a young man was allowed to lie naked in solitary confinement for months until he was driven practically insane and on hunger strike under conditions that were described by the prison doctor as conditions under which the doctor would not allow his dog to live. I do think that it would be a fatal error for the Taoiseach to place that particular Deputy again in charge of the Department of Justice even if he were a reformed character. I know that when that announcement will be read in to-morrow's papers it will have reactions throughout the country and the Taoiseach must bear in mind throughout the lifetime of this particular Government that he has not got the support of the majority of the people and is treading dangerous ground. I am prepared to give him all the support I can in order to ensure that we will have peace in this country, that we will not revert to the position which was originally created by this particular Deputy, that we will not have military courts, executions and a new cycle of repression, but I do think that it is an act of provocation to restore that Deputy to the Ministry of Justice because I think that Deputy constitutionally unfit for that post and that he will be so regarded by the Irish people. As the Taoiseach has indicated that these nominations are purely provisional I hope that he will consider what I have said and consider it seriously and take it as a sincere expression of my view in the matter.

I am very glad that the Taoiseach has decided to appoint a Minister for External Affairs and I am glad that that Minister is Deputy Aiken. I was afraid that no separate Minister might have been appointed.

I think it was a wise step to take and I can assure the Taoiseach and Deputy Aiken that they will have my full co-operation in anything I can do to be of assistance, and I hope that my criticism will be of a constructive nature in dealing with our external affairs.

I doubt whether the appointment of Deputy MacEntee to the Department of Finance is a wise one. I say that not because of any objections to Deputy MacEntee — his bark is usually worse than his bite I think and certainly worse than the effects of his bite — but I do think that Deputy MacEntee's concept of finance belongs to the last century, that is if one is to judge his financial views from various articles written by him from time to time. Go right back to the middle of the Victorian era; sterling assets — build them up; starve this country of investments; have plenty of unemployment and emigration — that is the policy that he has been advocating so far.

And gold bullion.

I think that Deputy MacEntee has possibly reconsidered his financial views since he wrote in the Sunday Press some time ago. Certainly if that is his policy it is one which will be disastrous for the country. Deputy MacEntee might be quite a good Minister in another Department, but I do not think that Deputy MacEntee will be a good Minister for Finance.

I do not want to add anything about Deputy Smith. I do not know Deputy Smith well enough. I have seen Deputy Smith's behaviour in this House; certainly it is not the type of behaviour which I would expect from any responsible person.

I do not know whether the omission of Deputy Little from the Government has any significance.

Surely he will be running for Leas-Cheann Comhairle.

I think that Deputy Little was a good Minister in many respects and I think that he would be a better Minister for Posts and Telegraphs than Deputy Childers. I would prefer to see Deputy Little in control of our radio station than Deputy Childers. Frankly I would not be very happy to see Deputy Childers in charge of our radio station. I think it is a pity. I hope, therefore, that it may be possible to include Deputy Little in the Cabinet.

I am not saying these things by way of being provocative; I am saying what I know a great many people will think when they open their morning papers to-morrow. As far as I can I shall try to ensure that any criticism I may have to offer from time to time in this House will be constructive criticism and in so far as it is the policy of the new Government to work for the economic development of the country, to work for the re-unification of this country, to pursue broadly the policies which we have been advocating, this Government will receive my co-operation and I will not indulge in destructive criticism. I would again ask the Taoiseach to bear in mind that while he is receiving the country in better condition, his Government has taken over a very difficult job because of the fact that he undoubtedly has not got the support of the majority of the people.

I think I should probably give a word of warning to the Taoiseach as to some of his new supporters. Many things have been said in the course of the election campaign, and many things have been said in this House to-day with which I have not dealt publicly and with which I do not propose to deal publicly to-night because it is too late. Some day I shall deal with them. I ask the Taoiseach, Deputy de Valera, to take this from me for his own protection. In the course of my life I have lived through a couple of bad national splits and I have seen a great many different types of people. I was in jail and I was on the run with many different types of people, and I have seen many political difficulties of one kind or another. I have never met a more cynically, maliciously disposed person than the leading Independent, who is now supporting the new Government. I do not in any way blame the Taoiseach, Deputy de Valera, for having obtained his support. He is entitled, I take it, to accept support from wherever he may get it. However, I think that, in fairness to himself, he will take that assurance from me until he finds out the fuller facts for himself. The controversy and crisis which occurred in connection with the mother and child health service proposals were only side issues in a treacherous conspiracy which had been afoot for some very considerable time before but had little or no relation to the mother and child health service proposals. These proposals were used merely as a convenient weapon in a given situation.

I am not quite certain but I think that the Taoiseach, Deputy de Valera, said that the appointment of Deputy Dr. Ryan as Minister for Health and as Minister for Social Welfare is only a temporary measure. I hope that the Taoiseach will find it possible at the earliest opportunity to separate these two ministries again.

I had expected that the people who were so anxious to-day for all Parties to come together and to help out in the difficult position in which we found ourselves would have adopted a different attitude in this House. They did not. Attacks have been made here to-night on a number of Independent Deputies. Why? What is an Independent Deputy? To my mind an Independent Deputy is a Deputy who gets up on his own two legs in a constituency and, independent of Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, Labour, Clann na Poblachta and of every other fellow, says: "I am the man you should elect."

Let us examine the circumstances under which this Government left office. This Government left office because Deputies Dr. Browne, McQuillan, Cowan, Finucane and Lehane had definitely refused to support them any longer. It was, therefore, a case of get out or be kicked out— and they left just because they could not take it. Each one of these Deputies went back to his own constituents to give an account of his action in connection with the putting out of the Government — and each one of them got the decision of his constituents that he had done right and he was sent back again.

I am not going to dwell now on the campaign of calumny and lies which operated up and down the country — barefaced lies in many instances. I have here just one instance to put before the House. In a report in the Irish Times of the 22nd May, 1951, the ex-Minister for Lands, Deputy Blowick, is reported as follows:—

"Referring to the new House of Parliament which at one time Fianna Fáil proposed to build at a cost of £11,000,000; Mr. Blowick said: ‘The House we have at present is all right; its the boyos and the buckos who are going into it who are all wrong.'"

What is wrong with that?

That is a good description of the elected representatives of a National Parliament. I was wondering who was the lunatic who was mad enough to dream of spending £11,000,000 on new Houses of Parliament. I cast my mind back and I searched. After a bit of searching I discovered it. I knew at the outset that only one man would be guilty of that kind of a game. Remember that these are the Houses of Parliament that Fianna Fáil were going to build. Here is the quotation from the Official Report of the 25th May, 1945, Volume 97, column 1027:—

"Now, in connection with building, I have a few brief remarks to make. There is plenty of work to be done in regard to building, and I think it is a terrible mistake for us to shy away from undertaking great enterprises in the immediate future because they appear to cost a lot.

This is a time when we should mobilise credit and use it boldly and resolve, if necessary, to repay it over the next 100 years. The extension of credit should not deter us from embarking on bold schemes at the present time, always provided that they are good schemes. As a start in that direction, one good thing would be to build a new Oireachtas, and it would prove to be an economy in the long run. We are eternally patching and tinkering with these buildings in order to make them adequate to fulfil the functions of an efficient Parliament. It is common knowledge that half the Deputies cannot find accommodation in which to write a letter. Even the Ministers' rooms are inadequate and they have not proper facilities. We are trying to get our meals in a restaurant which is built on top of the boiler house and in which no person could sit in the months of August and September. The permanent officials are obliged to sit in cramped quarters up at the top and their teeth are made to chatter with the noise of the machinery in the basement because we are trying to dislodge a beetle through the medium of a vacuum cleaner in the roof. I understand that the roof is now infested with beetles and that it shall have to be rebuilt."

I wonder was it beetles in the roof or bats in the belfry James was suffering from.

That statement was made quite solemnly in the Dáil on the Estimate for the Office of Public Works on the 25th May, 1945. I need not tell any member of the House who was the lunatic who was mad enough to make it. It was Deputy James M. Dillon. That was Deputy James Dillon's statement on a new Dáil building in respect of which we were to borrow boldly and repay in a 100 years, not, mark you, to build houses for workers, but to build new Houses of Parliament for the boyos and the buckos alluded to by the late Minister for Lands. Now, these were the kind of lies and frauds by means of which these Deputies succeeded in crawling back here. Fancy any responsible Minister of State getting up at a public meeting and referring to the new Houses of Parliament which at one time Fianna Fáil proposed to build at a cost of £11,000,000, and stating, as Deputy Blowick did: "The House we have at present is all right; it is the boyos and the buckos in it who are all wrong." Now, there is one of the lies nailed. I made a search. I am a fairly good hand at poking out things. I said to myself: "I wonder is there any fellow now who would be bad enough to make a statement like that," and I hit immediately on James.

The Deputy must not refer to a member of the House in that way.

I hit immediately on Deputy James Dillon, the ex-Minister for Agriculture. That is number one. I could speak here for three or four hours dealing with all the lies. I heard Deputy Norton speak about Labour and the number of people that had been put into employment. My mind goes back a bit. I will be bringing pressure to bear on some of my own gentlemen some of these days. I make no bones about it.

I have a memory of what the position was in my own constituency when the Fianna Fáil Party came in as a Government. It is a pretty long memory and a pretty sad memory. We had flocks of crows roosting in the flour mills in Clondulane. We had the machinery in the Midleton flour mills measured for removal. We had a scrap heap on the island of Haulbowline giving employment to 20 persons. We had a caretaker in Rushbrook dockyard. We had to change all that. It took time and hard work on the part of the greatest Minister for Industry and Commerce that we have ever had in this country, Deputy Seán Lemass. I went to work on that, and the day on which we handed over there were 400 persons employed in Irish Steel.

We had 220 in constant employment in Rushbrook dockyard, and an oil refinery at Haulbowline. There was also, on the wall of the general manager's office in Irish Steel, a plan for converting the furnaces into oil-burning ones which would mean an enormous reduction in the cost of the production of steel in this country, with a guarantee by Deputy Seán Lemass for an extension of sheet steel there. I have spent the past three years in this House begging and craving those friends of the workers who came in here to endeavour to get something done and to get the guarantees given by Deputy Lemass carried out. But what did I find? I was told that the matter was being investigated, that this was a serious matter and was under very close investigation. I was told that it was handed over — the Lord between us and all harm — to the Industrial Development Authority. These were the answers that were given to me here over the past three years.

What is the position to-day? We have seen in Henry Ford's, in Cork, men being sacked in tens and twenties because there is no sheet-steel. I should say that three-quarters of the machinery required for the sheet-steel mill was purchased by the Fianna Fáil Government in 1939 and was placed there ready for erection. The balance of it was to be purchased by Deputy Seán Lemass in 1948 as soon as the machinery became available. This is 1951. Where is the employment for the 420 men? Deputy Norton told us of the increased employment which they had given. We saw none of it in my constituency. This is what we saw. We again saw attempts to create a scrap-heap, and to have what was going on in Haulbowline from 1927 to 1932 — an auction of essential machinery every six months for scrap, while the oil refinery was being removed. I raised the matter in the Dáil early in April. I was then told by the late Minister for Industry and Commerce that he was not going to interfere in preventing the removal of the oil refinery. After the election was announced we had belated statements being made. When the Clann na Poblachta chairman of the Cobh Urban Council made a public statement that the staff and the workers for the taking down of that machinery for removal were in the town of Cobh, we had belated statements being made by two Deputies that that was not going to be so for the present—until after the 13th June.

That is the kind of game that was being played in my constituency as far as employment and industry are concerned. It took me and the Fianna Fáil Government nine months before I could get the Clondulane mills reopened in 1933. It took me only one interview, thank God, with the owners of the Midleton flour mills to stop the removal of machinery from it.

That is a tough history. I see that Deputy Hickey is troubled. Let him consult the general manager in Henry Ford's to-morrow when he goes back and he will tell him that the sheet-steel that could be produced for the past two years out of the sheet-steel mills in Haulbowline is now impossible to get for any money. It cannot be got. If Deputy Hickey had bestirred himself for the past three years he might have got the Minister for Industry and Commerce to pay some heed to my appeal in that matter.

You have every chance now. You can fix the matter up in no time.

We will do it. There is no doubt about it. We have five good years before us now.

And you will get every support from me in that direction.

Before I finish dealing with Deputy Norton, I would like to refer to an extract he read from a speech by Deputy Cogan. Deputy Cogan at that time had not the experience of another jockey in the saddle.

Wait for a few months and he will have the experience.

He found that the Herod out-Heroded Herod. To use a simile of the Minister for Agriculture— Deputy Dunne and a few more of the boys opposite should have found the same thing — I often met an old farmer in my country who had a sow and a litter of bonhams. He went out in the evening and the sow had a litter of 15 bonhams, but when he came out after the tea he had only ten. That is the most apt description of the Fine Gael boys opposite. They are like the sow and the bonhams. Five are gone. Like the sow who ate the bonhams, they ate or absorbed four Labour and six Clann na Poblachta Deputies' seats.

Be careful. They might come back.

Those are just two items from a pretty long list that I wish to deal with here. I now come to agriculture. The inter-Party Government put a Minister in charge of the Department of Agriculture who had publicly stated in this House that the beet was gone up the spout after peat and wheat, God speed the day. That is the Minister who was put in charge of agriculture in this country.

Be careful now. You are treading on dangerous ground. Now tell us why Deputy Smith was dropped.

Deputy Patrick Smith was the best Minister for Agriculture we have got yet.

A Deputy

What about the ten fields of inspectors?

They are the fellows who are sent into the bakeries. We know what happened to them all right, 10½d. a stone black market tax on white flour.

On a point of order, will Deputy Corry state if he is prepared to give 1/6 a gallon now for milk.


Deputy Keane will sit down. That is not a point of order.

1/6 a gallon.


You must contain yourself, Deputy Keane.

Do not embarrass him.

I will deal with every point before I finish, even at the risk of holding the House up after 2 a.m.

This is the only chance you will get of speaking.

I know it is touching the Deputy fairly closely. I ask the Acting-Chairman to see that I am not interrupted.


If the Deputy did not look for interruptions he would not be interrupted so frequently.

I am going to deal with the question of beet just as we found it. In 1948 we had an interview with the general manager of the sugar company, who agreed that beet growers were entitled to an increase of 4/6 a ton on beet. That had to get Government sanction, and Government sanction was refused.

That is right.

That was for the 1949 season. The result was a reduction in acreage of 6,600 acres of beet. In February or March, 1950, the Minister darted out on the world market to provide sugar instead. He purchased that sugar from the Chinaman in Formosa for £12 a ton more than he paid the Irish farmer or the Irish labourer for producing it at home in the field and in the factory.

The Minister did not.

The Government did.

The sugar company.

Be careful now.

Deputy Morrissey can tell us who did it. As a matter of fact I will go further and say that there was a complaint that the sugar was costing too much and one cargo was sold at an enormous profit on the high seas.

By the general manager of the sugar company on the Government complaint that it was costing too much ; £12 a ton on 36,000 tons of sugar of the Irish people's money was grabbed out of the pockets of the working farmers of this country, out of the pockets of the labourers, Córas Iompair Éireann, and out of the pockets of the workers in the four beet factories.

It is nearly as dear as Argentine wheat.

In March, 1950, I put up an appeal to Deputy Morrissey—it will be found in the Official Report—to call a conference of the beet growers and the sugar company to see if we could not succeed in discovering some means by which we could increase the acreage of wheat and get the sugar produced by our own people in our own country. He refused to do so.

I refused to be blackmailed by the Deputy.

Three months ago this gentleman who refused to be blackmailed by the Irish farmers went out and purchased in Cuba this time 74,000 tons of sugar and paid for that £1,387,000 more than the Irish farmer or the Irish labourer or the Irish factory worker got for producing the sugar at home. Let us examine this to its logical conclusion and let us see the so-called prosperity of agriculture. This past Government was prepared to pay to the Chinaman £12 per ton more and to the Cuban nearly £1,500,000 more for producing sugar than it paid to the Irish labourer, the Irish farmer and the Irish factory worker for producing it at home. That Government paid for that sugar with the Irish people's money.

The next item I will deal with is milk. I happen to be a member of a milk producers' association in Cork. That association went to the trouble in the Fianna Fáil Government's time of getting the costs of production. Deputy Smith, then Minister for Agriculture, increased the price of milk on those costs of production. He was neither afraid nor ashamed to meet the milk producers' association. It was not the creamery suppliers he was meeting. He was even prepared to meet a small little milk proprietors' association from County Cork. He increased the price of milk in March, 1947. Since then appeal after appeal has been made here in connection with the price of milk. Deputy Cogan tabled a motion asking to have the price brought up to an economic level. A vote was taken here on that motion and we had these friends of the workers, plus the friends of the farmers—the Lord between us and all harm—trotting into the Lobby. For what? To vote against the farmer getting an economic price for his milk.

He will get it now, will he not?

Let us follow this again to its logical conclusion. What happened? In order to show that the farmers were quite satisfied and were producing plenty of milk——

Be careful now.


Deputy Keane must restrain himself.

In order to show that the farmers were producing plenty of milk Deputy Dillon, Minister for Agriculture, went looking for a market for butter. He went to his dearly beloved friends across the water and they offered him 271/- per cwt. The Minister came back and he issued an ultimatum to all the creameries. In the meantime the cost of production had gone up by 2d. per gallon.

Be careful now.


Deputy Keane must cease interrupting.

The Minister came back and issued his ultimatum. For five long years you will get 1/- per gallon as against Deputy Smith's 1/2. What was the result? In order to prove that there was a surplus of butter and that the farmers were producing more than the people could eat he went and sold butter on the Continent. Then, lo and behold, he went looking for butter. He could only get "Brian Boru" stuff and he bought "Brian Boru" stuff and paid a pretty hefty price for it. He paid more for it than he got for his own.

In the first six months of 1950 the Danish Government sold on the Continent of Europe 288,000 cwts. of butter at an average price of 436/- per cwt. If any Deputy is interested I will give him the exact particulars as to where it was sold. It was sold, for instance, in France at 463/- a cwt. while our butter was sold by the then Minister for Agriculture at 365/- a cwt. The Danish people sold their "Brian Boru" butter about which our people complained so bitterly at 463/- a cwt. while our butter was sold at 365/- a cwt. Let us examine this coolly and quietly and let us see why Deputies like Deputy Cogan and others thought it was high time to put an end to the high jinks. What is the position to-day? If I state here publicly that we will have to go abroad immediately and purchase more butter on the Continent and pay anything from 430/- to 500/-per cwt.——

You will do what you did before — reduce the ration to two ounces and then we need not import any.

We need not reduce it at all if we buy the "Brian Boru" stuff. The same policy was being adopted in regard to the land of this country. We had the very self-same policy that left the crows roosting in Clondulane flour mill.

The Deputy should not remind me of things that it would be better for him to forget.

I hope to remind Deputy Hickey of a good deal before I finish up here at a quarter to two.

Do you remember the time you said you hoped they would be eating rats.

I am sorry the Deputy's daddy is not here to take him home, give him his bottle and put him to bed.

Do you remember the time when you said you would bring the people home from America? Do you remember that?


Deputy Keane will please keep quiet.

That is the position as regards butter supplies to-day. Deputy Morrissey now makes a very cool suggestion, one we did not hear from him when he was a Minister. He says bring back the ration of two ounces. The ex-Minister for Agriculture, in order to prove that the farmers were producing plenty of milk and were not badly off, sold a share of our butter at 98/- a cwt. less than the Danes got for their butter on the Continent of Europe. I can guarantee this much to Deputy Hickey: it is very hard to establish decent dairy herds here. It takes a very long time for a man to get a decent dairy herd.

Before the Taoiseach leaves the House, may I put a point? Perhaps Deputy Corry would sit down while I am putting my point. The Deputy is long enough in this House to know what order in the House is. The House agreed unanimously on my suggestion, in order to facilitate the Taoiseach in the formation of the new Government, to sit not later than 2 a.m. The Deputy who has just been speaking has announced his intention to speak until 1.45 a.m. If that is his intention, I propose to ask the House to agree to extend the sitting from not later than 2 a.m. to not later than 6 a.m.

Again on a point of order, may I ask if the Chair would not regularise its directions with regard to interruptions——


That is not a point of order. The Deputy is long enough in the House to know what is.

Has the Taoiseach agreed to Deputy Morrissey's suggestion?

The House agreed to prolong the sitting until 2 a.m. There was unanimous agreement on that and I do not think that it can be altered now without the unanimous agreement of the House again.

That is the reason I am making the point. I am making it only because of the announced intention of Deputy Corry deliberately to obstruct the business and to use up the remaining time of the House.

I should like to say one word before this goes further. With the exception of ten minutes occupied by the Taoiseach in announcing his Ministry, the whole of the time of the House up to the present has been occupied by Opposition Deputies who have got up here one after another in wilful obstruction.

It is obvious we are wasting the time of the House now. We had better dispose of the matter before the House.

I do not think that Deputy Corry was serious in the statement that he would speak until a quarter to two. I do not know whether he was or not, but I did not understand it in that way. Perhaps I was not attending sufficiently to the debate. I do not think there was any suggestion that he would speak until a quarter to two.

The Deputy made that statement.

If that were so, I am afraid I would have to agree to an extended sitting. On an occasion like this, it is natural for members of the Opposition who wish to speak to get as much time as they want.

If I am allowed to continue, I shall take only about ten minutes to conclude.

Tell us about the rats.

I can assure Deputies that it would take me a month to expose all the sins committed by the people opposite while they were sitting here. I am not going to take up the time of the House to-night, but I hope to have the pleasure on later occasions of dealing with them again. I was explaining to the House the position in regard to butter and milk supplies in the country. I stated that it takes a long time to build up a dairy herd. I never yet knew a farmer who got rid of his cows and left dairy farming, to go back to it. I say that as one who has been a dairy farmer all my life. We have a difficulty to contend with that did not exist three years ago. You have also the difficulty of Sunday milking. The people engaged in production are entitled to be recompensed for all these additional difficulties. I am one who is convinced that the ordinary agricultural labourer is not half paid, and I state that here above board. I say also that the jokers who got 20, 30, 40 to 60 per cent. increases in their salaries should at least be prepared to allow somebody else to get some increased income. You cannot come along and hold a fixed price — a freeze price, as Deputy Norton called it — over the farmer who has to produce these commodities, while at the same time his costs and expenses are increasing. These expenses were raised enormously while the farmer was held at the 1947 price, until he got the insult of 1d. per gallon last month on the eve of the election.

You will wipe that insult out.

These are the facts. I expected Deputy Dunne and those associated with him to be more farseeing and to look further ahead when Deputy Cogan's motion to increase the price of milk came before the House.

Did you hear what Deputy Cogan did with the half-acre farm labourers when the question of their wages came before this House?

I am not entering into the game of tit-for-tat.

I shall tell you all about it.

Deputy Dunne and his colleagues voted against an increase in the price of milk.

The Deputy is now going into the details of agricultural policy.

Would Deputy Corry tell the House what increase in the price of milk he wants?

Deputy Corry on the motion before the House.

I am going over, as well as I can, the attacks made on the different proposed Ministers here to-night. I was dealing with the reasons why Independent Deputies made up their minds to get rid of that Government. I say here and above board that an Independent Deputy is an Independent Deputy. He is an individual Deputy. He is not tied to Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil, Labour or Clann na Poblachta. He is here purely as an Independent Deputy elected by the people to voice independent views and, therefore, is not, and cannot be, tied to any particular Party.

What is an independent independent?

You have five years to do penance and you should allow Deputy Corry to speak for a few moments.

That is very good advice. It is a penance to have to listen to him.

There are other matters that I would be very anxious to deal with, but I have said enough to convince Deputies. Judging by the number of interruptions that I have got and the anxiety of ex-Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries to curtail my time, I am getting a little bit under their hide. That always gives me a certain amount of amusement. I do not think I am making an effective speech until I hear the boys over there grousing; then I know that I am getting under their skin a little bit. I believe that this Government will run their full term of five years; I see no reason why they should not. I can say, as a kind of half-independent fellow, as an individual who got more for my constituents out of any Government that sat here than any five Deputies over there, even from the last crowd——

That is right; your bank balance is getting bigger now.

Deputy Morrissey alluded to blackmail a while ago. We got 12/-a ton more for beet this year, and the first place the Minister for Industry and Commerce and the Minister for Agriculture saw it was in the public Press and they dare not say "No", because it was still less than the nigger got. I have given good reasons why I went all out here three months ago to get rid of that Government. I spared no effort night or day and I make no bones about it. I was determined that their time had come. I was determined that the unfortunate agricultural community would get some measure of justice, fair play and fair economic prices. I was also determined that, in any emergency, we would have growing on the soil of Ireland food enough for our people. As workers in my constituency had been deprived of employment through this policy of abeyance, through the policy that left the steel mills lying idle, through the policy that allowed ships to be repaired in the Dublin dockyard that should be repaired in Cobh and ships repaired in Germany that should be repaired in this country, I was determined to do my part to get rid of that Government and I did so.

I thought it was Deputy Cowan who did that.

At the end of the operations, we are having a different viewpoint to-night. I do not intend to go into all the reasons that tempted the other Independent Deputies not to support the Fianna Fáil Party. I think that all Parties here should give a little help and see how we will get on. Instead of all the criticism and attacks that we had here to-night, we should have a little of the unity which was talked about this morning. We did our best to help you out; we gave you every assistance in our power. I was in the unfortunate position of having to point out your faults.

On a point of order. Deputy Corry mentioned some time ago that he would continue speaking for a certain period and my colleague, Deputy Morrissey, raised the matter with the Taoiseach. If Deputy Corry thinks he is going to get away with this——

That is obviously not a point of order. Deputy Corry said that he would speak for ten minutes or so.

He has been speaking for 20 minutes.

He has not. He has been speaking for just ten minutes.

I know that your assessment of time is better than mine, but I am looking at the clock and I certainly——

The Deputy will resume his seat.

He got more time than he would get on any ordinary occasion.

If the Deputy persists, I will have to ask him to leave the House.

It is not my intention to delay the House further. I have put the points as well as I could and if I have exceeded my time a little the fault lies with Deputies who are carrying on here just the same tactics which they adopted during the elections. I have put the case as fairly as I could. Attacks were made and I only got up to reply to some of them.

The Deputy said all that before.

I am urging Deputies to help as far as they can to get employment in this country for our people, to see that our agricultural community are fairly dealt with, and by that I mean the workers on the land, be they farmers or labourers. We should give them all a fair "do". As far as work is concerned, I mentioned one incident where men are being laid off in tens and twenties each week at the Ford works for want of steel.

On a point of order, I definitely will be removed from the House if the Deputy is allowed to continue. I think it is very unfair.

Rather than any unpleasantness of that description should arise here on the first day of the new Government, I will sit down.

It is very appropriate that the Deputy should have opened his speech by making accusations of lying against Deputies on this side of the House and finish up himself on a lie. We have got from Deputy Corry what we usually get from him in this House — a speech which was a mixture of hypocrisy, vulgarity and falsehoods. The Deputy is running away as he always does. The Deputy has not the "guts" to sit down and take his medicine. The Deputy is now running away. After "handing it out" for the last three-quarters of an hour, the Deputy is afraid to remain here because he knows very well that I can expose him in five minutes. The Deputy's exit from the House makes it unnecessary for me to continue any further. I have succeeded in showing not merely to the people on this side of the House but to the people on the other side of the House that Deputy Corry is just a craven little coward who gets up under the protection of this House and makes abusive and dirty attacks on people inside and outside the House and then runs away. I challenged the Deputy to stay here but he would not. I have been listening to Deputy Corry in this House for well over 20 years. He has never changed his spots. Deputy Corry, in the interests of the farmers, talked about the Government that was in office and that is in office up to the present moment. As a farmer, Deputy Corry knows — and if he were an honest man he would admit it — that there was more money put into agriculture in the last three years than in the previous 16. Deputy Corry's bank balance is far bigger to-day than it was three years ago. I could deal with the points raised by Deputy Corry and his misrepresentations about Haulbowline and about the position in Ford's, but I am not going to delay the House as there are other people who wish to speak. I have exposed Deputy Corry very effectively and I am satisfied.

Now that there is already evidence that the tumult and the shouting is dying, I think it is time that we got back to the fact that the people of this country have still to live even with a change of Government.

I was interested to hear the announcement of the Fianna Fáil Cabinet. I propose to address myself as briefly as possible to the constitution of the Cabinet in some respects. I want some enlightenment upon what is in store for the workers of this country in so far as some of the members of this Cabinet are concerned. I was elected to this House with a mandate from a certain section of the people. I did not crawl in as Deputy Corry says. I was not like some of the members of the Fianna Fáil Party who managed to get in on other people's preferences. I was elected by the workers of County Dublin in no uncertain fashion. I want to ask some questions on their behalf at this critical juncture in the history of our nation.

As we all know very well, the most important position in any Government is that of Minister for Finance. Who have we in charge of finance? A gentleman, Deputy Seán MacEntee. I do not know what the opinion of the more well-to-do sections of the people of this country is regarding the attitude of Deputy MacEntee in matters of wages of workers. I know what my experience has been during the progress of Fianna Fáil rule. I know what the experience of thousands of county council employees throughout the country was when Deputy MacEntee had some modicum of power as Minister for Local Government. Not so very many years ago—not in 1921 or 1922 as some people were so fond of harping back to during the election time but in my own lifetime—I recall very well when Deputy MacEntee was Minister for Local Government, the late Tim Murphy, God be good to him, one of the best Ministers and one of the best Deputies who ever stood in this House—and members of all Parties in the House will acknowledge that— as a member of Cork County Council represented that the road workers, who were paid something like 45/-, should get an increase of 10/- a week. That proposal was approved by all Parties, and even by that stage Irishman, Deputy Corry, who was present at that meeting.

When that proposal went before Deputy MacEntee for an increase of 10/- a week for road workers—men who are paid a miserable wage—he sanctioned an increase of 1/- per week for these men and for their families. We used to call him "Shilling a week MacEntee." What will his policy be as Minister for Finance in the present Government? Are we going to have the the same attitude of complete contempt working people? Are we going to have the same attitude of complete contempt for the needs of the working class families throughout this nation? We have had nothing but contempt from Deputy MacEntee in the past and now he is in the position — the most important position—of Minister for Finance.

The events of to-day have amazed many people, but nobody more than me. We had supporting the nomination of a Minister for Finance, whose name is a by-word in this country, particularly in rural areas, for repression, for low wage standards, for disregard of the working conditions and for indifference as to whether the working people live or die, none other than the revolutionary leader of Irish labour—Deputy Captain Peadar Cowan. It is not so long ago since Deputy MacEntee spent several hours endeavouring to prove beyond yea or nay that Deputy Cowan was a paid agent of the Comintern. Do we remember that? Of course we do. Deputy Cowan has taken unto himself the right to criticise the Labour Party. Some of us did not come to the Labour Party through other channels, through the media of other Parties: some of us were bred in the Labour Party tradition, were reared during adolescence with a Labour Party background; some of us have learned Labour policy and principles from some of the greatest men who ever stood in this country. I myself had the honour to learn labour principles from the late James Larkin, God be good to him, and I will take no monitoring, no instruction from Deputy Cowan or from anybody else as to how I should act in the interests of my constituents. I do not claim to be on both sides of the fence at the same time as others do. I am not all things to all men. I claim to represent only the working people of my constituency and I take no dictation or instruction from Deputy Cowan who invoked the sacred name of the late James Connolly during the course of this debate and dragged it down to what I consider to be a very low level.

I am not in agreement with the selection of certain gentlemen who were nominated to act in this incoming Government. Many of them, of course, are honourable men, and I do not wish to make any personal attacks on any of them. However, I do think that some of them should not have their names mentioned in the same breath as that of James Connolly. If anybody in this House who cares about the problems of workers, anybody who is conversant with what happened during the last three years, wants justification to vote against the Fianna Fáil Party in this Vote all he has to do is to watch Deputy Patrick Cogan—the symbol of reaction. The Fianna Fáil Party ought to be proud to have him in their ranks. We are proud and glad to give him to them.

Everything that was suggested, during my short term of office here, that was of benefit to the people, everything that might give the lowly agricultural worker a better standard of living—for example the half-holiday, which we fought through this House almost to a successful conclusion, and the Social Security Bill—was opposed by Deputy Cogan. He raised his mournful voice and tried to prevent the implementation of any proposal for the benefit of workers. The Fianna Fáil Party knows that all this is quite true. You should be proud to have him, and Deputy Cowan must feel happy in his company.

I want to ask, as we are discussing the composition of the incoming Cabinet, what will happen now in relation to the underpaid workers employed by county councils, when we have so illustrious and progressive a gentleman as Deputy Patrick Smith in charge of Local Government. Like the Minister for External Affairs, Deputy MacBride, I have not had very much experience of Deputy Smith other than what I have gained from observation of his activities and acrobatics when on these benches, but it gives one to think that, if the fate of the road workers, many of whom voted for Fianna Fail, many of whom voted for the slogans and catch cries during the recent election, is to be placed at the tender mercies of Deputy Patrick Smith, it will be many a long day before they get any kind of a deal in the same way as they got a fair deal from Tim Murphy or Michael Keyes in the matter of wages.

We have an able man appointed as Minister for Industry and Commerce— possibly one of the most able men in the House—a man whose speeches here have at all times been remarkable for the absence from them of personal animus or malevolence which is a rare thing to find in the Fianna Fáil Party in Dáil Éireann, Deputy Seán Lemass. He was responsible during certain recent periods of Fianna Fáil rule for the introduction of standstill wages Orders. When challenged at election meetings during the recent campaign on these issues, he said that Fianna Fáil did not propose to introduce any more standstill wages Orders, unless they were necessary. The much-publicised 17 points upon which some of the so-called Independents have based their reasons, or alleged reasons, for lining up with a single Party in this House made no mention of the abolition of standstill wages Orders and gave no guarantee that we would not again see such standstill Orders. Do we not all know that, whatever may have been said of Fianna Fáil in the first years of their existence, in the latter and last years of their existence they became a Party which was closer to the industrialists and the moneyed classes of the country than to the people.

One Independent to-day, Deputy McQuillan, made a very courageous speech. He took a very courageous stand and made a very constructive speech on the issue which confronted him—whether or not to vote for Deputy Costello as Taoiseach. He said that, so far as he was concerned, there was no essential difference between the larger Parties in this country, that the only difference was a difference of personality in relation to what happened 30 years ago. Is that not true? Is there anybody who can deny it? Is it not a fact that the only difference is the clash of personality which occurred over a split which I do not remember and which many new members of this House do not remember, but which still dominates the political life of this country and which has no more reality than what happened during the famine years? I believe that, to all intents and purposes, the major political forces might well merge. I have never made any secret of my political credo in this House or outside it, nor do I propose to do so in future. I believe that the future of this country lies with the Party to which I belong, but I should like to make some inquiries of the new Administration as to what their intentions are.

Deputy Cogan waxed eloquent and drove away many of us from the House on many a night in despair and boredom on the question of the price of farmers' milk. Are we going to have 1/6 per gallon, paid now by the Fianna Fáil Administration for creamery milk? That is a question I should like to have answered. It is a question which Deputy Cogan's constituents in Wicklow and the creamery suppliers throughout the country would like to have answered. I want to know whether the constructive work accomplished by the Labour Party in the recent Administration, the implementation of the policy of the Labour Party with regard to holidays for agricultural workers, is going to be undone by Fianna Fáil. I want to know whether the proposal which has passed through the Agricultural Wages Board, which has been pushed through by the organised body of the agricultural workers for an increase of 7/6 per week for agricultural labourers is going to be sanctioned by the incoming Fianna Fáil Minister for Agriculture, Deputy Walsh.

These are important matters. These are matters which vitally affect the daily lives of thousands of our people and thousands of my constituents. I want to know whether the housing drive which we inaugurated, and the like of which was not seen in this country before, is to be continued and geared up still further to get a solution of the terrible problem we have here, particularly in Dublin City and County. The only effective answers we can get to these questions are facts and not talk. We want houses built for the people on the same scale as that on which they have been built in the past three years under a Labour Minister. We want them built quickly. We do not want the type of house built in the coming years that was built during some of the years of the Fianna Fáil Administration. If anybody wants to see what type of house I refer to, I will take him to my constituency where he will see labourers' cottages built 14 years ago which are only fit to be condemned and knocked down because they were built with sea-sand and mud.

The attitude and the mentality of those who were responsible was that anything was good enough for the working people. We built houses, thank God—Michael Keyes and Tim Murphy can claim credit, and the Labour Party can claim credit, for building the best class of houses ever built for the working people of this country. We want that continued; we will watch to see that it is, and every member of local authorities belonging to the Labour Party, whether inside or outside the Dáil, will keep a brief on that and we will see that nothing is left undone and that anything which needs to be exposed will be exposed.

So far as we are concerned, this battle is only beginning. I never subscribed to the idea that the be-all and end-all of political effort in this country was all-Party or inter-Party Government. I am an unrepentant believer in the future of my own Party. I was brought up in that tradition; I live in it and I will die in it. At times it may be necessary to make alliances to improve the position of the working people. James Connolly was one who laid it down that were it possible to gain Irish freedom by means other than the use of the gun he would have used those means, that were it possible to gain it by the ballot box in his day he would have done that. He was a believer in realities, a believer in using every tactic that would improve the masses of the people. That was what has governed every act of mine in public life and I believe every act of the Labour Party. I think there has been quite a lot of cainnt in aisce or useless talk during the course of this long day. It is essential that the incoming Government bends its mind to the problems that beset the ordinary people, that it does not give undue consideration to the needs of those who are well enough fixed, that it pursues a policy in the future of trying to help the most helpless section. I hope that the incoming Government will change from the attitude it had some two, three or four years ago when it was asked here in this House by members of the Labour Party to increase old age pensions from 10/- to 12/6d. and it went a unit into the Lobby to say: “We cannot do it; we will not do it.”

That is not true.

I have proved it here before.

It is not true at all

It is true and I have proved it here before.

It is not true. We did increase them.

It is true and I will prove it before many hours are out.

Prove it.

If some of my colleagues here will get the quotation for me.

The rest of your argument is like the houses.

You could not afford £500,000 for old age pensions. Is that not a fact?

What Deputy Dunne says is not a fact.

For a modification of the old age pensions.

Casual wages should be exempt. Have you put it into your Bill?

Is it or is it not correct? I do not propose to make false statements.

The Deputy has made a false statement.

I am convinced that it is correct, as I read it in the Dáil Debates. There was a motion down in this House to increase old age pensions some five years ago, possibly in 1946.

It was put to the House and voted against by the Fianna Fáil Party.

It was done by the Fianna Fáil Party.

You did not give it through the home assistance officer. Answer that.

I believe that the attitude of the Fianna Fáil Party in the latter days before 1948 was one of complete neglect so far as the ordinary people were concerned.

Yes, but tell the truth all the same.

If I am wrong, no one will be more quick to rush to apologise than I am—but I am not.

You are wrong.

On a point which I am sure you will be prepared to accept, a Chinn Chomhairle, to assist Deputy Dr. Ryan and Deputy Dunne, it was in October, 1947, on a motion proposed by Deputy O'Higgins and seconded by Deputy Costello to increase old age pensions and which was defeated——

No, it was not. That is wrong. The old age pensions were increased in April, 1947, by 2/6 in the country and 5/- in the city.

Deputy Dunne is entitled to make a statement.

But not a wrong statement.

They went up by nearly £2,000,000 in three years.

On a point of order, would it be right that Deputy Childers refused the right of a Deputy to go and approach the resident officer for the old age pension?

He was perfectly right in that.

And that is the gentleman we are getting back again?

I hope so.


I remember as a very young boy hearing it shouted from every crossroads and every political platform, some time around the end of the Cumann na nGaedheal period of Government, that the old age pension had been reduced by 1/-.

That is a fact.

Let us proceed. Let Deputy MacEntee contain himself. With the advent of the new Messiah of political parties, that was restored to 10/-. Sixteen years of Fianna Fáil administration passed, and I do not think the Fianna Fáil administration could be accused of undue haste to increase the old age pensions.

Social services went up from £4,000,000 to £13,000,000 during our period of office.

During 16 years there was 2/6 increase in old age pensions. Labour increased the old age pension by 5/- to 17/6 inside a matter of a couple of months.

We raised it from £4,000,000 to £16,000,000. The Deputy need not continue quoting figures for us.

Labour increased it to 17/6 and more people were enjoying it because the means test was modified. I have the advantage over Deputy Childers there, inasmuch as I am a member of several old age pension committees—I wonder if he is—and I meet old age pensioners every day of my life.

So do we.

I am dealing with their problems and I know them. I want to know from this incoming Minister for Social Welfare what the policy will be in regard to old age pensions. Deputy Norton made it clear that, in conjunction with the passing of the Social Welfare Bill, it was proposed to increase old age pensions to £1 a week and to modify the means test so as to ensure that persons could be earning or in receipt of a pension of £1 without it being counted in regard to pension. That may not be very much, or seem of very great importance, to Deputies not in touch with realities, but to those of us who are, it is of supreme importance to the old people of the country. I want to know if that guarantee made by the previous Administration will be implemented, and how soon, by the incoming Minister for Social Welfare.

I did not intend to take up so much time, as the hour draws late and I feel there are others who want to intervene. I believe there are certain political elements within the walls of this House who will reckon it a sorry day that they cast their vote in favour of a single, all-powerful, omnipotent Party. I am quite certain that the Fianna Fáil Party which has now become the Government has every reason to compliment itself on the manner in which it has manoeuvred politically the diverse elements which have been brought together and upon whom the responsibility of deciding the fate of this nation was placed. It has often been said that it is a sorry pass that it should happen that the political fate of the nation should be placed in the hands of a handful of people. It is a bad thing in any democracy, but it happened. I believe, as I have said at the outset, that the policy of Fianna Fáil in years to come—that is, if it lasts years; possibly it may only last months; it is immaterial to some of us how long or how short it lasts, but it is not immaterial to some of the Independents—will prove to be the same as it was in the past, a policy whereby working people were made pawns of as voting blocks and forgotten about to a large extent except for an odd sop here and there through the years when it came to practical politics.

I believe the time will come when all these animosities and personal differences to which I have referred will disappear. Irish politics seem to have been based upon personal differences and little else. For the best part of my lifetime, as long as I can remember and for as long as I have heard about, Irish politics were based upon personal differences between leaders. I noticed during the recent campaign, and other Deputies also noticed it, that whereas the electorate were described as being apathetic, they were not apathetic but were listening and thinking of what the candidates were saying. The time when a shout as to what happened 30 years ago was effective is dying fast. The people are beginning to think and are applying intelligence to politics. That is a very good sign. It is a sign that Labour is on the advance because Labour appeals to the logical people.

Is that why it dropped votes? Is that why it dropped four seats? People are thinking and you dropped four seats.

I want to protest against what Deputy Dunne said when he referred to Independent members of this House and against the words used by the editor of the Evening Mail and by our newspapers generally in the last couple of weeks when they said that the Independent members of the Dáil, above all, should be the last to want an early election, or used words to that effect. It has always been known, and the events of to-day have proved, although proof was not necessary, that any man who was returned to this House as an Independent, as was his duty, voted on all and every occasion' according to his conscience, according to what he thought his constituents felt was best, whether it was in connection with a small matter such as an amendment to a Bill or a big matter such as the election of the Taoiseach. I do not know of any occasion in the last 29 years when an Independent member of the House voted otherwise than according as he thought his constituents wanted him to vote. As an Independent member, I want to protest most emphatically against the rotten dirty campaign that has been carried on by the newspapers of this country in the last few weeks.

Secondly, I want to ask the new Government to take a little lesson, if they can, from the fate which befell the last Government. The main criticism which I have heard against the last Government in the last three and a quarter years is the same as I heard for the previous ten and a half years against the Fianna Fáil Government. It was Dublin City to a large extent and the larger towns of this country which brought about the defeat of the Fianna Fáil Government which had lasted for 16 years. The main reason for the defeat of Fianna Fáil in February, 1948, was that they had failed to keep the cost of living for the people of the City of Dublin and the larger towns within reasonable bounds. The same fate has befallen the inter-Party Government of which we have had experience in the last three and a half years. They failed to keep the cost of living within reasonable bounds.

But you kept them there as long as you could.

Rightly or wrongly, the impression has been got throughout the City of Dublin, the City of Cork and the larger towns, that the inter-Party Government endeavoured to outdo Fianna Fáil in pampering and kowtowing to the farmers of this country at the expense of the townspeople and the taxpayers in general. Let the new Government take a lesson.

Will you take a lesson?

Let them bring down the cost of living by 50 points within a few months.

It is not my intention to detain the House at this early hour of the morning. The subject of the debate that is in progress is of the very greatest possible importance for the future of this country. The motion which the Taoiseach has moved concerns the appointment of a number of Deputies of the Fianna Fáil Party and the House has been asked to approve their appointment as Ministers. It is our duty now to consider whether those men are capable and efficient or otherwise.

I want first to express my keen disappointment at the non-appearance of the name of Deputy Peadar Cowan on this list. I am at sea as to why the name of Deputy Cowan is not on this list. I cannot understand why the names of some of those who were responsible for the rebirth of Deputy de Valera as Taoiseach are not on this list.

We are not constructing a Cabinet; we are discussing the nominations that are made.

Mr. Flanagan

The Taoiseach has presented us with a number of Deputies and has asked this House to approve of their appointment as Ministers.

Now let us take them. The name of Deputy Seán Lemass appears on this list and we are asked to approve of his appointment as a Minister of State. Let us be fair in our criticism and let us keep exactly to the motion before us. Deputy Lemass is one of the brainiest men in this House. If there is such a thing as efficiency, Deputy Seán Lemass is its embodiment, and no one can deny that. He must be given credit where credit is due. In all his speeches in this House as Minister or in Opposition I have seldom heard him indulge in personalities and in my opinion he qualifies to be a Minister of State. No matter what else may be said about him he is capable, he is efficient and he has plenty of brains. Deputy Lemass would be a wonderful Minister and would do wonderful work if he had a policy, if he had something to go on, but we find that a good man with common sense, brains and intelligence will be elected by this House as Minister to pursue a policy which does not exist and that will be a difficult task for Deputy Lemass.

Next appears the name of Deputy Seán MacEntee. I have known him for a long time. Deputy MacEntee is a pleasing, smiling, pleasant-looking little man, but there is no knowing the low depths of indecency to which he can stoop. In my opinion, not alone is he unsuitable and unfit to be a Minister but even to be in the company of decent people. He has brought more disgrace upon himself, upon his Party if such were possible, and upon this country, than any other human being who has ever existed. I am greatly surprised that the Taoiseach, who has the name of being straight and honest among those who do not know him and never saw him, has included in his list of nominees such an indecent creature as Deputy MacEntee to occupy the post of a Minister of State.

Is that in order?

It must be in order to criticise the names before me.

There are limits to the criticism the Deputy should indulge in. "Indecent creature" is a term which should not be applied to any Deputy in this House.

Mr. Flanagan

Deputy MacEntee may not be as bad as all that, but he is as near as possible to it. I cannot possibly hurt the feelings of Deputy MacEntee. He has not such.

The Deputy should not try too far.

Mr. Flanagan

If we are to have Deputy MacEntee in charge of the Department of Finance, it will be a greater disaster and catastrophe for the country than if we were unfortunate enough to have Deputy Smith in charge of the Department of Agriculture, but that disaster will not befall us, thank God. Deputy MacEntee has the name of being decent among his friends. Who his friends are or how many they are is something I do not know and could never find out, but it will not be many weeks before we find out whether Deputy MacEntee will be decent with the various Departments, with Deputy Walsh——

The Deputy is travelling too far. We are discussing Deputy MacEntee's administrative capabilities as Minister.

He is not Minister and his main qualifications for the Ministry proposed——

I suggest that the Deputy should apply himself to that and not to any personal characteristics of the Deputy.

In the event of Deputy Walsh being appointed Minister for Agriculture, Deputy Childers, being appointed Minister for Posts and Telegraphs and Deputy Derrig being appointed Minister for Lands, what sort of frown will be on the face of Deputy MacEntee if those men present him with an Estimate required to run their Departments efficiently, if they are serious in their wish to provide services and which their Departments will need in order to maintain the efficiency of the past three years? I believe that Deputy MacEntee will not be an easy Minister for Finance for any of his Government colleagues to get on with, nor do I believe that the Minister for Local Government to be, Deputy Smith, will have the co-operation of Deputy MacEntee in providing the funds necessary for the upkeep of his Department. Deputy Aiken is mentioned. I do not propose to say anything more about Deputy MacEntee except that I think he is an unfortunate person to be Minister and I am voting against him.

That finishes him.

Deputy Dr. Ryan is on this list. Is there anyone in this House who can stand up and say that Deputy Dr. Ryan is anything but a decent, harmless man? That is my experience of him and I know him since the first moment I walked into this House. Is there a more inoffensive man in this House than Deputy Dr. Ryan? I do not think there is. Could you speak to a nicer man even when he was Minister for Agriculture, for Health or for Social Welfare? He was always helpful. I never approached Deputy Dr. Ryan in years past when he was Minister but I was received with courtesy and with open arms. I believe that he is better as a medical doctor than he will be as Minister of State, decent and all as he is. Remember that Deputy Dr. Ryan is a man who does not indulge in the personalities so frequently indulged in by his colleague, Deputy MacEntee.

Deputy Derrig is mentioned. If there is one "thick" in this House it is he. He is as thick as could possibly be. I have never heard him speak but he murmured or groaned a few words in Irish which even the best and most fluent Irish speakers ever in this House could not understand. Deputy Mongan, God rest him, and the former Deputy MacFadden could make neither head nor tail of him when he spoke in the native language and no one could understand him in English. The right and proper place for Deputy Derrig would be the seat beside Deputy Eugene Gilbride, as far away as possible from the front benches. Now, however, he is being put in charge of the Department of Lands, no less. I wonder will he now stop the division of lands because, during the last few years of the Fianna Fáil Government, land division was completely at a standstill.

Deputy Moylan was responsible for that. But it is all the same who the Minister is. It is "the Chief," as he is called, who dictates the policy. I wonder if "the Chief" is going to close down the Land Commission and say that no more land is to be divided; that it is the policy of Fianna Fáil not to divide land—as it was their policy for the last four years during which they were in office. I have got a lot to say to Deputy Derrig on this matter, but I shall reserve it until his Estimate comes up. I shall then have a fuller opportunity of discussing it.

I regret that the next name which appears on the list is that of Deputy Gerald Boland, who has been allotted the portfolio of Justice, no less. I think that of all the calamities that could befall the Fianna Fáil Party, this is the greatest. Deputy Gerald Boland is a misfit. Some call him a decent man. He seems to be very popular in his own Party, and he seems to be popular with Deputies who are now in opposition. You would hear them saying from time to time: "He is not a bad old skin. He is a decent fellow." I think that I have more brains in my heel than Deputy Gerald Boland has in his head. I think that he is unfit to be a Minister and I will vote against him.

You have a high conceit of yourself.

It is a nice thing to have. It is nice to be a little proud. I think that any Fianna Fáil Government would be mighty healthier without the inclusion of Deputy Gerald Boland. The proof of that statement is the manner in which Deputy Gerald Boland was elected in the recent elections for Roscommon. I have seen him in this House, when he was a Minister, with the perspiration falling from his forehead when he had men under his control and dying from hunger strike in Portlaoighise prison, and when he was awaiting the arrival of a British hangman to hang Irishmen during the Fianna Fáil régime.

I saw the perspiration on his brows at such times, but the perspiration on his brows on those occasions faded into pale insignificance in comparison with the perspiration which was on his brows in Roscommon courthouse at the counting of the votes in the last general election. I think that, if the election were fought again in Roscommon, Deputy Gerald Boland would not be returned as a member of this House because I think that the people of Roscommon, whom he has had the honour to represent for some years past, have at last discovered that he is an unfit person to represent them and that his election on the last occasion was a mere fluke. I have the greatest pleasure in opposing in the strongest possible manner the appointment of Deputy Gerald Boland as a Minister of State.

Deputy Oscar Traynor appears next on the list. Deputy Traynor is, like Deputy Dr. Ryan, a decent, harmless man. I have never heard Deputy Traynor indulge in personalities. If he is elected, I wish him luck. To give credit where it is due, he is another decent man, whatever else may be said about him. But Deputy Traynor is going to have a very difficult job, and not from these benches here, to satisfy Deputy Major de Valera. How he is going to do that, I do not know. It is between them; if Deputy Oscar Traynor is going to comply with all the defence requirements of Deputy Major de Valera, he is going to have a very difficult job. The best place he can go to is Inchcore where he will be as near as possible to the Aspro factory, because he will require them. It is possible that Deputy Major de Valera was not serious in his defence agitations but, if he was, I do not envy Deputy Traynor the difficult task which is before him.

I wonder if Deputy Traynor, if he is elected, is going to have the tramp and the clank of heels on the barrack parade grounds. I wonder if he is going to contemplate conscription. I wonder what he is going to do about the allowances which Deputy Major de Valera has been agitating for, even at an increased rate, for Army officers and members of the Defence Forces.

If Deputy Traynor is elected as Minister for Defence, I hope he will give the Old I.R.A. pensions to the men whom we have arranged to be called up before the service boards or before the referee and the pensions board, and I hope that, now that he is in a position to do so, he will answer the question which he asked while in Opposition, namely: what is the definition of "active service" in accordance with the Military Service Pensions Act? Now that he will be Minister for Defence, will he define the term "active service" and will he tell us who will qualify for pensions and whether the Old I.R.A., for whom Fianna Fáil have wept so bitterly in the past three years, will get the treatment which Fianna Fáil said they would get if Fianna Fáil were returned to office.

I shall not be disappointed with Deputy Traynor. Whatever else may be said about him, I think that he is sincere. However, he cannot give the pensions without approaching Deputy MacEntee, and if Deputy MacEntee is Minister for Finance he will say: "There can be no consideration for the I.R.A. because we cannot afford it unless we put another penny on the stout and the cigarettes." That, in my opinion, is going to provide Deputy MacEntee with a series of headaches. I wish him a recovery from all these headaches. Bad and all as he is, and he is bad enough, I do not wish him any hard luck in that respect.

Deputy Seán Moylan appears next on the list. Deputy Seán Moylan is a man who has a national record. Like Deputy Seán Dunne, I feel that the less I hear and know of national records the better. It would be a good job if the term "national record" were forgotten completely in this House and never again mentioned. I cannot understand how Deputy de Valera, as Taoiseach, chose a man to be a Minister of State who could not be elected to the Cork County Council. Deputy Moylan could not become a county councillor. The Taoiseach, Deputy de Valera, does strange things. I know by the frown on Deputy de Valera's face that he is the most disgusted man in Leinster House to-day because he has to ask himself the question: "How am I going to keep Deputy Cowan, Deputy Cogan, Deputy Dr. ffrench-O'Carroll, Deputy Dr. Browne and Deputy John Flynn in step? What sort of tune must I strike up in order to keep them in step?"

The ragtime band.

Mr. Flanagan

I know by the Taoiseach that he has given some sort of a guarantee to those people that he will not go to the country for a general election. But, despite the fact that he has said to these Independent Deputies: "Come in with us: keep us there and vote for us," one of these days he will say to five or six of his own men: "Stay at home next week. You are not well"—and poor, poor Deputy Cowan and his three or four Independent colleagues will walk into the division lobbies and find that Fianna Fáil have been defeated. The Taoiseach will then say: "It is not my fault. We are beaten now and we are for the country." I see that Deputy Seán Moylan is allotted the portfolio of Education, the Lord be praised. Surely that is not true. Deputy Seán Moylan, Minister for Education. That is a greater shock than to hear of Deputy MacEntee being Minister for Finance.

Deputy Patrick Smith is to be the Minister for Local Government. That man is daft. I shall say no more about him. His performances in this House during the past three years have been disgusting and disgraceful. His conduct and his manners will have to improve if he is again to occupy a ministerial post. I think he is as crazy as any crazy being to-day. Instead of the Deputy being sent to the Custom House it is to Grange-gorman that he should be sent. Deputy Childers also appears on the list. I think so little about him that I will not mention his name. He is unworthy of any comment. His accent is evidence of where he was educated. I will say no more about Deputy Childers, but I will vote against him if it is possible.

If you are not bringing the character of this House down to the lowest level, then I do not know what to think.

You did it to-day.

The next on the list is Deputy Thomas Walsh. I know Deputy Tommy Walsh very well, and I can classify him with Deputy Dr. Ryan and Deputy Traynor as being a decent man. Whatever else can be said about him, no one can dispute the fact that if there is a gentleman on the Fianna Fáil Party it is Deputy Tommy Walsh. It is quite true that he is a decent man. I honestly believe that he has a difficult job if he is going to be Minister for Agriculture. It is only a few weeks since, when speaking on these benches, he said there should be compulsory tillage, while we have Deputy Lemass saying that there will be no compulsory tillage. Deputy Smith says there should be compulsory tillage. This is where I find that Deputy John Flynn has been disappointed. In the course of his speech to-day, he said that one of the finest Ministers for Agriculture we ever had was Deputy Smith. Now, in his first hour of office the Taoiseach has let down Deputy John Flynn. That is a cause of grave disappointment and distress to Deputy Flynn, that the champion Minister for Agriculture is not Minister for Agriculture any more. Deputy Flynn must be disillusioned, wherever he has gone to. He has disappeared. If there is a rat-hole in Leinster House he is there in despair because Deputy Smith is not Minister for Agriculture.

I ask that Deputies should not make references to rats or rat-holes. It is an expression that should not be used in respect of any member of this House.

The only reference that was made to rats was made by Deputy Cowan to-day.

The Chair is not discussing who made a reference to rats. Deputy Flanagan says that a Deputy is in a rat-hole.

I said he was gone into a rat-hole.

I do not see any difference whatever.

On a point of order——

There is no point of order.

I can see that Deputy Walsh, as Minister for Agriculture, is going to be met with serious opposition from Deputy Paddy Cogan if he inflicts compulsory tillage on the small-holders on the slopes of the Wicklow mountains. I can see a falling out if Deputy Walsh does not provide loans for the broken-down farmers in the Wicklow mountains for whom Deputy Cogan has been pleading for some time past. I can see these things coming. I wish Deputy Walsh every success, but he has a difficult job.

Deputy Cowan made a speech in this House to-day that I did not think it possible could be made. I spoke about two months ago and I made certain references to the ex-Minister for External Affairs, Deputy MacBride. I am now beginning to think of examining my conscience.

Yes, I have a conscience. Deputy MacEntee envies me my conscience because he has not one himself.

That is information for the House.

When I heard Deputy Cowan's speech to-day and saw Deputy Dr. Browne voting for Deputy de Valera as Taoiseach, I wondered how, in the name of God, did Deputy MacBride tolerate those men. Deputy MacBride has been very bitterly criticised. I am beginning seriously to think whether all the criticism which has fallen on his shoulders should have fallen on them when he had to put up with men who only came out in their true colours to-day. It has been my first experience of what I call real treachery to see the manner in which Deputy Dr. Browne and Deputy Peadar Cowan conducted themselves in this House to-day.

Deputy Cowan made a speech in the course of which he referred to an interview he had with the ex-Taoiseach, Deputy Costello. I want this House to listen carefully, and I want the new Taoiseach to listen carefully to this of the man that put him into office and that made him Taoiseach. Deputy Cowan met me in the precincts of this House yesterday evening and said: "Is it not a wonder that Costello has not sent for me to talk things over and ask me what I was going to do?"

Are private conversations going to be mentioned now?

You mentioned a good deal about Baltinglass.

I want to clear Deputy Costello on this. I said, in the presence of another member of this House, to Deputy Cowan that there was nothing to prevent him from walking in to the Taoiseach. He said: "No, I would like the Taoiseach to send for me." I immediately spoke to the Taoiseach, and said that Deputy Cowan would like to see him. The Taoiseach immediately 'phoned up. Deputy Cowan and myself walked into Government Buildings. We met the Taoiseach. The Taoiseach said these words: "Peadar, you would like to discuss something with me?""Well, Taoiseach," he said, "I thought you might at least have sent for me as an Independent and asked me what I was going to do." The Taoiseach said: "If that was the case I would have to send for every individual Independent, and whether I win or lose I will have no bargaining."

There is a little more. Deputy Cowan sat down and I sat at the table. We chatted and Deputy Cowan said: "Oh, I do not think I will vote for you." He said: "I am going to vote for Fianna Fáil as a protest against the Bishops dictating to your Government." These are the words he used in my presence, that "As a protest against the Bishops ruling the Government, I will vote for Deputy Éamon de Valera". It is because of that Government's stand to comply with the Bishops of Ireland that Deputy Cowan has chosen to vote for Deputy Éamon de Valera as Taoiseach. I was listening to-day and I heard the then Taoiseach use these words in this House which Deputy Cowan attempted to withdraw or deny. Let there be no confusion. To the Taoiseach he said: "My real reason is as a protest because the Bishops of Ireland are ruling your Government." That is how Deputy Éamon de Valera captured Deputy Cowan's vote.

I want to tell the Leader of the Fianna Fáil Party that his Government is not in office to-day because of good policy. It is in office because of jealousy, bitterness and hatred. That is why it is there.

That is why you are making this speech to-night.

No. The Government is in office to-night because we were envied the good work we were doing and because Deputy Cogan was jealous of the progress and was jealous of the success of Deputy Dillon in his capacity as Minister for Agriculture. He could not stand it. The jealousy overflowed and he had to get Deputy Dillon out. Believe me—the Taoiseach must agree with me—that a Government which is built on the foundations of jealousy or hatred cannot have the blessing of God, success or good luck. It is because of hatred, jealousy and spite that Fianna Fáil are in office to-day. This Government takes over office in the morning and when the Ministers go into their offices, there is nothing surer than that they will not find there any schemes or plans. When our Ministers took over office the shelves were packed to the fullest capacity with files and plans. The files were weighed down with dust. They were surrounded and covered with cobwebs, but we removed the cobwebs, blew off the dust and disposed of the files and schemes. The schemes were not left to be a resting place for cobwebs. They were put into operation and few schemes were left. Action is what took place.

I hope that the Taoiseach in his wisdom will not again embark on the crazy, daft schemes that Fianna Fáil had in those offices, to pull down all the buildings in Merrion Street and build new Government buildings. Are they now going to remove the Children's Hospital and put a Garden of Remembrance so that the Last Post can be sounded and all the Fianna Fáil warriors can say: "God rest the dead" while the children are left without a hospital. I would like a statement as to whether those crazy, daft schemes are again to be the policy of the Fianna Fáil Government.

I have heard speeches—good ones and bad ones—but the most sincere speech I ever heard came from the lips of Deputy McQuillan. Deputy McQuillan could not be bought. Whatever else may be said about Deputy McQuillan, he has a principle. He is straight. Nothing could buy him. Every possible attempt was made to get Deputy Jack McQuillan to do a certain thing but, unlike Deputy MacEntee and like Deputy Flanagan, he has a conscience. For that reason he acted in accordance with that conscience. He has a principle and he is a millionaire because of that. The reason he is a millionaire is that no money could buy his principles. I hope that the people of Roscommon will bear in mind that, whatever representatives they have, Deputy McQuillan is at least honest, straight, decent, dependable and cannot be bought. I hope and trust that the people of Roscommon will bear in mind the fact that Deputy McQuillan is an honest man.

Before sitting down, I would like to know whether we are now going to have a mother and child welfare scheme with no means test to satisfy Deputy Dr. Browne. Is the Taoiseach now going to sneer and jeer in the face of the Irish Hierarchy? Is the Taoiseach now going to accept the rulings of the Bishops of Ireland or is he going to tell them to take a running jump at themselves and to keep their noses out of Government affairs because he wants to keep Deputy Cowan and Deputy Dr. Browne as the two principal feathers in his tail? The Taoiseach is a Catholic and a good Catholic. Whatever else may be said about him, that is true. I wonder whether he is now going to give this House the mother and child welfare scheme without a means test? That is what I would like to know and that is what many Deputies on this side of the House would like to know.

I am wondering, whether, in order to capture the imagination of Deputy Dr. Browne, Deputy Cowan and, I believe, to some extent of Deputy Dr. ffrench-O'Carroll, who is a young man—I met him only once; he is a decent man; he has an honest appearance and it is only as times goes on we will be able to see whether it is his appearance is honest or whether it is real honesty— this understanding has been given to them: "If you vote for us we will give you the mother and child scheme without any means test." How on earth can the Taoiseach say to-night that he is in office, thank God, if it is on the vote of a man who condemned the Bishops of Ireland? I am glad we did not get his vote because we would have neither luck nor grace with it. Will the Taoiseach now tell the Irish people that he has with him the two men who defied the Hierarchy of Ireland? It is those two men who flouted the Bishops of Ireland and put Deputy de Valera, the Taoiseach, into office. The Taoiseach would have been straighter and would have had more public confidence behind him if he had said to Deputy Dr. Browne and Deputy Cowan: "Keep as far away from me as you can. I do not want to get into office on insults offered to the Irish Hierarchy." If there is one man who has played a big part in insulting the Church and Bishops of Ireland to the disgrace of any Catholic, that man is Deputy Cowan, whose vote has Fianna Fáil in office. Did I ever think that a Catholic Irishman like the Taoiseach would ever get office on the vote of a man who publicly renounced the Bishops of Ireland in no uncertain way on more than one occasion? Office that has been secured on that score is one that can be neither healthy nor lucky, and cannot be crowned with that success, good luck and blessing of God which any Irish Government needs to progress and keep with the times.

I am sorry that this has happened. I am sorry that any Government should be elected by the vote of Deputy Captain Cowan since I believe that, now that Deputy Captain Cowan is behind the Fianna Fáil Party, that Party agrees fully with the manner in which he has insulted our Bishops, denounced their views and refused to accept their guidance and their help. The Taoiseach, Deputy de Valera, must be a party to that. All his Ministers must be a party to it since they have in their company now no less a person than Deputy Captain Cowan.

I will vote against the nominees of the Taoiseach for the reasons I have given. I think that Deputy John A. Costello should be a proud and happy man to-night since he can now say to himself: "I have left office. I have gone and thank God, Deputy Captain Cowan, with his anti-Catholic doctrine, has not been responsible for putting me back." We are proud to be defeated by the vote of Deputy Captain Cowan. Certainly I am proud to be defeated.

If there is one man in Fianna Fáil who must be unhappy at this moment it is the Taoiseach because his present company is bad, unsound and unwholesome. There are very decent men and women in the Taoiseach's Party but, as sure as I am standing here to-night, the man who will wreck the Taoiseach and his Government is the man who put him and his Government into power here, Deputy Captain Cowan.

If he had voted for your Party he would be a saint; he would be canonised.

I want now to direct the Taoiseach's attention to the last note I intend to strike to-night. I want the Taoiseach to listen carefully to my remaining remarks. He has appointed a number of Cabinet Ministers. I believe that if these Ministers are to give good and valuable service they should be adequately paid for their work. There are very few Deputies who would have the pluck to say that no Deputy can conscientiously discharge his duties on his present allowance.

That does not arise here.

I am asking the Taoiseach when he appoints his Ministers——

That does not arise.

——to ensure that they will be paid for the work they do.

That does not arise on this motion.

Then I hope to have an opportunity of raising this matter on another occasion. As I said, I will vote against the Taoiseach's nominees. I think the set-up is unsound. When Deputy de Valera was in opposition he said, in reference to the inter-Party Government: "They were not elected to office but found themselves in office." How true that is to-day about his own Government: "They were not elected to office but found themselves in office."

On a point of order, is it the intention of the Taoiseach to make a statement on policy or are we to take it that the policy of the Government is that published in the newspapers?

May I remind the House that the Vote must be taken before 2 o'clock? I do not know whether the Taoiseach would like to make a statement in conclusion.

Are we to take it that the 17 points programme published some days ago represents the policy of the new Government or will we have a statement of policy from the Taoiseach to-night?

Irrespective of what Deputy Corish thinks, I have a right to speak.

The Vote must be taken before 2 o'clock. I do not know whether the Taoiseach desires to say anything.

I would like to say a few words in conclusion.

The Taoiseach.

I am not waiving my right in favour of anybody. I think I have a right to speak.

Deputy Keane will resume his seat.

Deputy Keane will not resume his seat.

Then Deputy Keane will leave the House.

Deputy Keane will do that. Deputy Keane could do what Deputy Smith did—I am in two minds on the matter—and be removed from the House.

Deputy Keane withdrew from the House.

There are three or four points to which I would like to refer, but I am afraid that time will not permit me to do so. The first point I would like to deal with is with reference to the former Ceann Comhairle. It has been suggested that there was something improper in his voting to-day on the motion for the election of the Taoiseach. The suggestion was that he did not have to go forward for re-election to the Dáil, and that therefore, for some reason or other, it was not proper that he should vote. Everybody knows that the reason why the Ceann Comhairle is automatically returned to the Dáil is because during the period he occupies the Chair he cannot take part in debates and cannot represent his constituents. The procedure has reference to the time that has passed; it has no reference to the future. The moment the Ceann Comhairle relinquishes office, as has been pointed out by the Chair, he becomes an ordinary member of the House and is entitled to exercise all the rights of such a member.

There is another point in connection with this matter. The former Ceann Comhairle wished to retire for health reasons some months ago. He informed me of that fact, and I asked him not to retire. I think he also informed the then Taoiseach that it was his intention to retire. There is, therefore, no question of his leaving the Chair on this occasion in order to have a vote. There would be nothing improper in his doing so, but the fact of the matter is that notice of his pending retirement was given a considerable time ago.

As I have mentioned the former Ceann Comhairle, I think it is my duty —indeed I regard it is a privilege—as Taoiseach to-night and as Taoiseach for most of the period during which the former Ceann Comhairle served the House to pay tribute to the manner in which he occupied the Chair and conducted the business of the House. I think he gave satisfaction to everybody, and I deeply regret that at the end of his period in office any reflection should be cast upon him such as was cast upon him here to-day.

Since it is an important occasion to have a Ceann Comhairle retiring after such a long period in office it might be desirable to have a formal expression of appreciation when we next meet.

That is perfectly true.

That does not change my view that this was a mean political trick.

It had occurred to me, too, that we should pay formal tribute and we will be able to take the opportunity of doing that in the near future. But I feel I must avail of the first opportunity offered to repudiate the suggestion made.

There are two or three other points. There was a suggestion made about a minority Government and a suggestion of an all-Party Government. I cannot deal with these point to-night but I shall take an early opportunity of doing so.

Question put.
The Dáil divided: Tá, 75; Níl, 66.

  • Aiken, Frank.
  • Allen, Denis.
  • Bartley, Gerald.
  • Beegan, Patrick.
  • Blaney, Neil T.
  • Boland, Gerald.
  • Boland, Patrick.
  • Bourke, Dan.
  • Brady, Philip A.
  • Brady, Seán.
  • Breathnach, Cormac.
  • Breen, Dan.
  • Brennan, Joseph.
  • Brennan, Thomas.
  • Breslin, Cormac.
  • Briscoe, Robert.
  • Browne, Noel C.
  • Buckley, Seán.
  • Burke, Patrick.
  • Butler, Bernard.
  • Carter, Frank.
  • Childers, Erskine.
  • Cogan, Patrick.
  • Colley, Harry (Henry).
  • Collins, James J.
  • Corry, Martin J.
  • Cowan, Peadar.
  • Crowley, Honor Mary.
  • Crowley, Tadhg.
  • Cunningham, Liam.
  • Davern, Michael J.
  • Derrig, Thomas.
  • de Valera, Eamon.
  • de Valera, Vivion.
  • Duignan, Peadar.
  • Fahy, Frank.
  • Fanning, John.
  • Flanagan, Seán.
  • Flynn, John.
  • Flynn, Stephen.
  • ffrench-O'Carroll, Michael.
  • Gallagher, Colm.
  • Gilbride, Eugene.
  • Harris, Thomas.
  • Hillery, Patrick J.
  • Hilliard, Michael.
  • Humphreys, Francis.
  • Kennedy, Michael J.
  • Killilea, Mark.
  • Lehane, Patrick D.
  • Lemass, Seán.
  • Little, Patrick J.
  • Lynch, Jack (Cork Borough).
  • McCann, John.
  • MacCarthy, Seán.
  • McEllistrim, Thomas.
  • MacEntee, Seán.
  • McGrath, Pa.
  • Maguire, Patrick J.
  • Maher, Peadar.
  • Moran, Michael.
  • Moylan, Seán.
  • Ó Briain, Donnchadh.
  • O'Reilly, Matthew.
  • Ormonde, John.
  • O'Sullivan, Ted.
  • Rice, Bridget M.
  • Ruttledge, Patrick J.
  • Ryan, James.
  • Ryan, Mary B.
  • Sheridan, Michael.
  • Smith, Patrick.
  • Traynor, Oscar.
  • Walsh, Laurence J.
  • Walsh, Thomas.


  • Beirne, John.
  • Belton, Jack.
  • Blowick, Joseph.
  • Browne, Patrick.
  • Byrne, Alfred.
  • Byrne, Alfred Patrick.
  • Cafferky, Dominick.
  • Cawley, Patrick.
  • Coburn, James.
  • Collins, Seán.
  • Corish, Brendan.
  • Cosgrave, Liam.
  • Costello, Declan.
  • Costello, John A.
  • Crotty, Patrick J.
  • Crowe, Patrick.
  • Davin, William.
  • Desmond, Daniel.
  • Dockrell, Henry P.
  • Dockrell, Maurice E.
  • Donnellan, Michael.
  • Doyle, Peadar S.
  • Dunne, Seán.
  • Esmonde, Anthony C.
  • Everett, James.
  • Fagan, Charles.
  • Finan, John.
  • Flanagan, Oliver J.
  • O'Sullivan, Denis.
  • Palmer, Patrick W.
  • Redmond, Bridget M.
  • Reidy, James.
  • Reynolds, Mary.
  • Giles, Patrick.
  • Hession, James M.
  • Hickey, James.
  • Dillon, James M.
  • Hughes, Joseph.
  • Keyes, Michael.
  • Kyne, Thomas A.
  • Larkin, James.
  • Lynch, John (North Kerry).
  • McAuliffe, Patrick.
  • MacBride, Seán.
  • MacEoin, Seán.
  • McGilligan, Patrick.
  • McMenamin, Daniel.
  • McQuillan, John.
  • Madden, David J.
  • Mannion, John.
  • Morrissey, Daniel.
  • Mulcahy, Richard.
  • Murphy, Michael P.
  • Murphy, William.
  • Norton, William.
  • O'Donnell, Patrick.
  • O'Gorman, Patrick J.
  • O'Hara, Thomas.
  • O'Higgins, Thomas F.
  • O'Higgins, Thomas F. (Jun.).
  • O'Reilly, Patrick.
  • Roddy, Joseph.
  • Rogers, Patrick J.
  • Rooney, Eamon.
  • Spring, Dan.
  • Sweetman, Gerard.
Tellers:—Tá: Deputies Kennedy and Ó Briain; Níl: Deputies P.S. Doyle and Spring.
Question declared carried.
The Dáil adjourned at 2.10 a.m. until Wednesday, 20th June, at 3 p.m.