Committee on Finance. - Vote 56—Defence.

I move:—

That a sum not exceeding £4,335,710 be granted to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1953, for the Defence Forces (including certain Grants-in-Aid) under the Defence Forces (Temporary Provisions) Acts, and for certain administrative Expenses in connection therewith; for certain Expenses under the Offences against the State Acts, 1939 and 1940 (No. 13 of 1939 and No. 2 of 1940) and the Air-Raid Precautions Acts, 1939 and 1946 (No. 21 of 1939 and No. 28 of 1946); for Expenses in connection with the issue of Medals, etc.; for Expenses of the Bureau of Military History; and for a Grant-in-Aid of the Irish Red Cross Society (No. 32 of 1938).

The gross Estimate for the Defence Vote for the financial year ending 31st March, 1953, totals £6,646,955, the net figure being £6,503,570, showing a net increase on last year's figure of £1,035,610. The gross figure is made up of the pay, allowances and maintenance of the Army and First and Second Line Reserves, costing slightly over £4,000,000. The pay and allowances of civilians with units and at headquarters is estimated to cost £775,000, while warlike and other stores will cost approximately £1,600,000, the balance including a figure of £63,000 for Civil Defence, being by way of miscellaneous and other expenses.

The Estimate has been framed on the basis of a peace establishment of 12,743 all ranks, including 1,270 officers. This figure was approved by the Government on the recommendation of the General Staff as the minimum Army strength which, with Reserves, would be necessary to enable expansion to be carried out with the least possible delay on an active-service footing. The present Estimate does not provide for the full number, but has been reached on the basis of the progress of recruiting and in the experience of the general trend of discharges of time-expired soldiers.

At this stage, I think it proper to say that if the present trend of recruitment continues it may be necessary at a later stage to review the financial provisions in the light of the actual Army strength. When the Estimate was framed it was assumed that the average strength over the year would be approximately 20 per cent. lower than the full peace establishment and a deduction has been made on this basis from the sub-heads concerned.

The pay and maintenance of the First Line Reserve is estimated to cost £83,865 making provision for 4,790 all ranks. The provision made falls short of that made in the previous year by approximately 20 per cent. The decline in the strength of the First Line Reserve is a cause of concern but an effort made last year to recruit men directly into the Reserve proved fruitless. With the increasing strength of the permanent force, it is hoped that the First Line Reserve will in due course receive a steady influx from men who have completed their engagement with the permanent force.

The provision for the Second Line Reserve (F.C.A.) covers an average strength over the year of 21,000 all ranks anticipated to cost approximately £255,000. The attendance at training of this reserve has not been as regular as might have been anticipated and provision is made for approximately 10,000 all ranks undergoing training during the year with something over 1,000 attending for special courses. The Second Line Reserve is composed of partially trained men but in case of an emergency would be an important factor in assisting the permanent force to reach an active-service footing. In this arm of the force also there has been a decrease in strength from 33,000 to 21,000 all ranks.

In addition to the military establishment set out above, the Estimate also provides for the pay and allowances of 2,100 civilians with units and at headquarters. Some 1,500 of these employees are attached to units and are composed of tradesmen, helpers, semiskilled workers, storemen and analogous grades.

Of the gross figure £1,600,000 provided in the Estimates for stores required during the year, a sum of £928,000 has been provided for warlike stores, including naval requirements. It will be appreciated that with the general world rearmament situation supplies of warlike stores are difficult to acquire. The gross provision under the sub-head amounts to £1,681,000 and while every effort will be made to acquire warlike stores up to the full value of the programme, it cannot be stated in present conditions whether it may be possible to secure within the year all the items for which a gross provision has been made in the sub-head but if these stores can be obtained they will of course be gladly accepted. Wherever such material could be found, efforts have been made to secure it. Contracts in the neighbourhood of £850,000 have been placed for suitable warlike stores of which sum £265,000 has already been advanced in accordance with the conditions of the contract. Deliveries against these orders have already begun and a steady flow of the remainder throughout the year is expected. Negotiations have also been opened for the purchase of other types of warlike stores and arrangements in this direction have now been completed by the signing of the contract. Other contracts for the purchase of small arms ammunition have been made and these are expected to bear fruition within the financial year.

General stores, as distinct from the warlike stores of the Army, will cost approximately £720,000. This sum is comprised of approximately £362,000 for cloth for uniforms, £88,000 for renewal of mechanical transport, £71,000 for aircraft renewals, and the balance on the purchase of other corps equipment and materials for maintenance and minor new works.

Under the head for civil defence, the gross estimated requirements are £263,000 approximately, but again it cannot be stated whether all the material and equipment for which provision has been made will become available, and for that reason a deduction from this sub-head has been made, leaving the net figure £63,000 approximately. In the same way as warlike stores, any material for which provision has been made will be accepted, and should the cost of this material exceed the net provision in the sub-head, the matter will be reviewed later in the year in regard to the financial circumstances existing on the Vote generally

I am glad to say that civil defence is making definite progress and, while the development may be slow, the whole is working towards a concerted plan. Broadly speaking, the scheme envisages three main stages, first, the appointment and training of civil defence officers, secondly, the appointment and training of instructors and, thirdly, the recruitment of volunteers to man the varied services which will make up civil defence. While we have completed the first stage, progress is slow on the remainder, due to the non-availability of the appropriate equipment. The School of Civil Defence opened in June, 1951. Twenty-six civil defence officers have been appointed for specified cities and towns. Five courses have been given at the school, and 146 persons, comprising civil defence officers, officers of local authorities, health and the Garda Síochána have attended. Early this year work began on the building of training ranges. It is anticipated that these will be available in July, when a course for general instructors will be held.

It will be observed that the Estimates include a sum of £20,000 by way of Grant-in-Aid to the Irish Red Cross Society. The figure shown last year of £21,000 included a grant for relief of distress in Italy following the floods, so that the net grant to the society was £1,000. In explanation of this large increase, I might say that the Irish Red Cross Society initiated a recruiting drive and a general reorganisation of the society. The establishment of units consisting of trained members who would co-operate with the Army Medical Corps in time of emergency and assist in civil defence was the primary objective aimed at by the society.

The recruiting drive met with considerable success and following the initial training which has been completed at a number of centres, the recruitment of members for the Voluntary Aid Division is now being initiated. In addition to recruitment, the society, as part of its reorganisation programme, commenced a scheme for the building up of stocks of emergency hospital supplies, uniforms and accessories as well as for the replacement of its fleet of ambulances which require renewal.

The society is not and could not be expected to be in a position to meet the exceptional expenditure incurred or contemplated on the measures and activities in question which have a direct bearing on national defence. It is estimated that for the period ending on the 31st March, 1953, the society will have expended on these matters a sum of approximately £24,500. In addition, a sum of £12,000 approximately will have been spent by the society in connection with activities directly calculated to increase the society's membership and thereby useful from the national defence viewpoint. One thousand eight hundred pounds approximately have been paid by way of Grants-in-Aid to the society towards this exceptional expenditure.

It is estimated that the society will have a deficit of over £15,000 in its accounts by the end of March, 1953, with no liquid assets available. In the circumstances and having regard to the expenditure which I have mentioned on activities relating to national defence, I am making provision of a Grant-in-Aid of £20,000 to the society in the financial year 1952-53.

Of the remaining provisions in the Estimate, one item of £37,500 for advertisements may call for comment; £37,000 of the figure has been provided to cover advertisements to aid the campaign for recruits during the year. The House will, no doubt, be glad to learn of the success of the recruiting campaign and here I should like to pay a tribute to the help and assistance which has been given by the Dublin Press and provincial papers. Since the advent of the campaign upwards of 3,000 recruits have been accepted and of these a large number are boys under 18 who have responded to the innovation call of youths of this age to enter the service of the Army of their country. This figure fills a large portion of the gap between strength and the establishment and with the continuation of the campaign throughout the year it is hoped to bring the strength up to full establishment. I am glad to say that the standard of recruits offering themselves is most satisfactory.

During the year, courses continued at the military college and the various corps schools. Selected officers were sent abroad for courses of a military and technical nature.

The general training of the Army is on a satisfactory footing and is all that might be expected of it from the resources available, while the health of the troops maintains an excellent standard. The co-ordination of the continuation of education for the younger recruits is in hands and these boys will not suffer in that regard by reason of their service in the Army.

There is little need for me to remind the House that the world situation has not eased in any respect, and while the nations of the world, big and small, are strengthening their defences either on their own initiative or in combination with other States, this country, for reasons which have been so often stressed in this House, must rely on its own resources and on its own strength. As one of the last countries in the world relying for its defences upon a voluntary army, the Government feel that this faith in its citizens is justified and are striving to build around a strong cadre of highly trained officers and men a nucleus which, with the Reserve, the F.C.A. and numerous other men, already trained or partly trained in the country, would, in a very short space of time, resolve itself into an efficient fighting machine.

For their part the Government are investigating possibilities of procuring up-to-date equipment and armaments and making arrangements by courses abroad to train key personnel in the use of modern weapons. Within the slender resources of the State, therefore, this Estimate provides for the requirements of the peace time cadre upon which the defences of the country are built. For the last couple of years it will, I think, be obvious to all clear-thinking people that the strength of the Army has been permitted to dwindle well below the danger level. This Estimate aims at providing for the requirements of the peace time Army up to a total of 12,743 all ranks, and it will be my duty for so long as I am Minister to use all my resources to endeavour to bring the Army strength to that figure, at which I hope to keep it.

What the future has in store for us it is difficult to say, but if Press and radio information is evaluated even conservatively it will be clear that there has been little if any slackening in the preparations for war and while in the end it is hoped that prudence, common sense and righteousness may prevail, this nation without alliances relying solely on justice, integrity and its own strength of purpose must maintain the minimum strength approved by the Government upon the recommendation of the Army authorities.

In presenting this Estimate to the House I do so with confidence having within the additional cost of £1,000,000 provided for additional strength, increased pay for both officers and soldiers, greater supplies of warlike stores and at the same time providing for the maintenance of an efficient Army capable of expansion to meet an emergency in the shortest possible time.

While many of us may not believe in the urgent necessity for the present recruitment, I take this opportunity to offer our congratulations to the Minister on the success of his effort in that respect. I have always felt, and I have said so in this House, that in any circumstances where danger threatened us or the imminence or likelihood of war presented itself, there would always be a ready and willing response from the people generally throughout the country. But, as I say, we might feel, whether rightly or wrongly, that this is not the particular time for intense recruitment for the Army.

The unfortunate feature has been that, in the main, young men have been drawn from that part of Ireland where they are most needed to give the impetus to the greater production now called for from all sides of the House.

Notice taken that 20 Deputies were not present; House counted, and 20 Deputies being present,

I want to say that there are certain features of this Estimate that it is our duty as an Opposition to inquire into. I feel that the wrong method is adopted in respect of some of the large charges shown in the Estimate. If I question the Minister rather exhaustively on certain features of this Estimate, I should like him to appreciate that I do it not in any spirit of animosity, but purely in a spirit of inquiry. I should like to know the estimate of the cost of warlike stores which the Minister will be able to obtain in the year. I am led to believe that it was the Minister's predecessor who initiated the mission that went to Sweden, and that ultimately got us certain types of equipment. I am sure the Minister will be generous enough to pay whatever tribute may be due to his predecessor in that respect. I am also informed that it has taken a period for any flow of equipment to come. Are we continuing a policy of acquiring obsolete or obsolescent types of material? Are we purchasing the rejects or the castoff equipment of other armies who have made further progress? Is that the type of equipment we are getting? I want to know whether there is a very gross overestimate of cost in this Estimate, and whether the Irish people are being asked to carry a burden of taxation under this Estimate that, in fact, will come back, in a large measure, in Appropriations-in-Aid in the next account? I suggest it might be better if the Minister adjusted his Estimate to the extent of basing the figure for warlike stores on the amount likely to be obtained and, should fortuitous circumstances make available to him more than that amount, he can come back to the House at a later stage and ask for further money. He knows it will not be denied to him. It has never been denied to anybody.

This Estimate shows an artifical enlargement that, ultimately, is an unjustifiable impingement on the taxpayer. I want the Minister to tell us, so far as he finds it reasonable or politic so to do, our sources of supply. Are we in any way getting aid from N.A.T.O.? Are we in any way getting arms from America? When he is replying, the Minister might indicate the present situation. If, as he has suggested in his opening remarks, the war clouds are still as ominous as before, can he indicate any arrangements which are being made, and if no arrangements have been made will he indicate how we are going to make available to our strengthened Army the equipment which it might need? It is easy to criticise and I appreciate that that criticism may well be offered to myself. One is forced to ask, however, whether an argument about an Army of 10,000 strength and an Army of 12,000 strength is a real argument.

Notice taken that 20 Deputies were not present; House counted, and 20 Deputies being present,

We have to ask ourselves the question that must alarm anybody who is genuinely interested in defence problems, namely: how are we going to get over the difficulty of the Reserve? How is it that a tremendously large pool of already trained personnel has not given the response that one might reasonably expect to the First Line Reserve? I think the Minister and the House will be ad idem that our method of defence is a small kernel in the standing Army with the First Line Reserve and the F.C.A. as the main sources of expansion. If that is so, I should like the Minister to be frank with the House as to the real difficulties with regard to the First Line Reserve and how he hopes to overcome them. I can assure him that where I personally am concerned, and where any of my colleagues who have served in the Army are concerned, he will get every possible support in the advancement and enlargement of the Reserve. The matter is a source of grave agitation to the minds of those people who are interested in the Army. It seems extraordinary that we cannot get that impetus which we had before.

We had it prior to the emergency. Because it was my privilege to be in the Volunteers prior to the emergency I assert there was a response then that seems to be lacking now. If the Minister has some solution for that, I wonder if he could indicate it to us because I feel that there is where one of the real strengths of the Army must be built. If that difficulty can be got over, the general pattern of the Army will be infinitely stronger. I am anxious to see, not so much the men who have completed their term of service becoming the nucleus of the real strength of the Reserve, but all the spirit and enthusiasm that were present in the emergency Army and the personnel that left the Army highly trained seven or eight years ago, welded once more into the camaraderie of the Defence Forces. That is an immense reserve that should be tapped. It is one that was trained in a very exhaustive way during the emergency. It is one that carries with it all the hallmarks, so typically Irish, of a really quasi Volunteer Army as, in the main, the emergency Army was.

There are features disclosed in the Estimate generally that must give satisfaction. The improvement and the amelioration of conditions of service and the improvements in pay must inevitably give satisfaction to us all because they are gradually leading to contentment in the ranks and in the officer ranks. As I have often said in this House before, many of the difficulties in a small army such as ours must of necessity surround the conditions of pay and service. They have been considerably and substantially ameliorated. In general, we owe that much to the Army. I hope the instalment they have got will find its realisation in complete satisfaction in the near future

There are many difficulties of a small nature upon which I want to query the Minister as distinct from in any way harrying him. I wonder if there will be any impetus to the drive to settle the quarter question for the Army, whether houses and married quarters will be built in the areas where they are urgently needed? Sometimes, driving through the Curragh, I have wondered whether the whole end of Pearse Park, with its officer quarters of wood and huts, will be replaced some day by adequate houses commensurate with the status and rank of the officers who dwell therein? I know that the Minister is up against immense difficulties there and that what I am advocating will involve further expenditure of money. What I am anxious to learn from the Minister is not so much the plan for the immediate present but the envisaged plan. I want to get from the Minister, if he thinks it politic to give it, the new type of co-ordinated plan that must be in the Department of Defence in relation to Red Cross, civil defence and military defence in the matter of their having to be integrated into one national organisation for the purpose of general defence. I would like the Minister to inform the House as to how far his efforts have gone in civil defence, what particular type of A.R.P. protection is contemplated, what particular method of evacuation is contemplated and what is the general basis of the new A.R.P. training?

I think that in regard to its basic principles the public should be enlightened as early as possible so that, when the ultimate appeal will go out for recruits to turn up to the classes of trained instructors and that kind of thing, sufficient interest will have been stimulated to make sure that a wholesome interest will be taken in this development. Does the Minister or the Government really adhere to the belief that the war clouds are as ominous to-day as they were before? If so, we would like an earnest of the effort the Government are making to co-ordinate and consolidate general defence.

We suffered, when we were in office, from a protracted barrage that seemed to indicate that the fate of this nation depended on whether there were 9,000 odd men or 12,000 men in the Army. I want to know if there has been any substantial improvement in the weight of armour, ammunition and equipment behind the forces as distinct from the personnel itself? I want to know whether or not there was not a good deal of political blowing in that artificially created scare? Does the Minister or any Deputy in this House honestly believe that the question of the obtaining of 2,000 or 3,000 recruits would relieve many of the really serious difficulties that face us in defence matters? I one time indicated my view in this House that if there is going to be a war, and if the Government feel that war might be inevitable, there would be no neutrals in it. I want to know if there is any proposed defence union in the event of an attack by certain powers?

We are agitated in our minds as to what real progress has been made, not so much in the recruitment of personnel as in the mobilisation of opinion towards defence in general. No matter whom we may be called upon to fight, in the ultimate analysis it is a decentralised army of small dimensions, working in co-operation with local volunteer defensive groups to which this nation must resort. We will never be in a position to put large armies in the field.

It is the duty of the Minister, if he is genuine in his belief that the war clouds have not been dissipated, to indicate to us what measure of improvement the Government has been able to effect in the defence-consciousness of the people. I am not quite so pessimistic as the Government is. I feel that the threat of war, which was imminent in the early days of the Korean conflict, has now receded. Because the great democracy of America and the people of England have had more time in which to rearm, the threat of war grows gradually less day by day. I do not believe any nation, no matter how powerful it may appear to be, will ever be in a position to take on the armed powers of Western Europe, backed by the great democracy of America.

I do not think we are justified in stimulating any great degree of consciousness of the threat of war in the minds of our people. I believe that our effort should be diverted towards developing production and not towards drawing people away from the land. Production will be a vital and most integral part of our defence. If the Government really believes that the war clouds have not been dissipated, then we are entitled now to be given a composite picture of the steps taken by the Government and the Minister for Defence towards the unification and co-ordination of the various Volunteer services, the Reserve and the Army into a worth-while and workable unit.

What particular type of A.R.P. equipment does the Minister hope to obtain? What particular type of training does he envisage? In answer to parliamentary questions the Minister has told us that certain people have been sent away on certain courses. He has told us that a civilian defence school has been opened. What type of training will be given in that establishment? Will it be training in a real sense? Will it be training with dummy equipment? Will it be training with improvised kit? Are we justified in large-scale expenditure on obsolete equipment? We may be told that such equipment is better than none. Is that the only justification that can be made for it? What efforts have been made to improve the situation? I know that the Minister is fully alive to it. Has any progress been made in obtaining certain types of equipment?

I do not want anybody to get the impression that I am prepared to sacrifice one iota of our sovereignty or independence in order to obtain up-to-date equipment. Have the possibilities been examined of obtaining such equipment from England, America or N.A.T.O.?

The Minister's recruiting drive has been an unprecedented success. In the main the call has been answered by the young men in the rural areas. In the circumstances is that type of recruitment wise? At one end of the Front Bench we have the Minister for Agriculture, aided by the Taoiseach, shouting for increased production and for a greater effort on the land. We have people constantly complaining that rural Ireland is being denuded of its youthful population. Is the recruitment then of young personnel from the rural areas altogether wise? May it not ultimately prove a disaster? No one is more anxious than I am to have the Army brought up to full strength. In the state of crisis that is alleged by the Government are we justified in asking the taxpayer to pay more and more for Army services while at the same time drawing the young people away from the production on the land?

I have no intention of interfering in any way with the Minister's effort to get this Estimate through, but I am postulating questions which are worrying the general public. I would like to tell the Minister that people are asking, in the present situation of harsh taxation, whether we are justified in seeking all this money for defence. They want to know, and are entitled to know, what they are getting in return for this expenditure. It is not in any spirit of futile inquiry that we are asking these questions. The Minister owes a duty to the public that is infinitely greater than mine, and we all owe a duty to the public to inquire, when expenditure on defence has reached the figure that it has this year, what is the justification for it.

I am anxious to know, in passing, when the Minister hopes to be able to press on with the permanent Defence Bill. Candidly, I had hoped to see the Report Stage of that Bill coming into the House before the Minister's Estimate. I feel that, with the amount of work that has been done on the Bill, there is a good deal of urgency about getting it completed in view of a likely early dissolution of the Dáil. I want to press that point home with the Minister. When one considers the services and the arduous hours of time that were given to the consideration of the Bill in Committee, I am wondering whether it would not be wiser, if at all possible, to put it through now. The Army are anxious to see it in its final form. I think, too, that we in this House who have any Army connection are more than anxious to see it on the Statute Book. I want to conclude on the note that I started on of paying a genuine tribute to the Department, to the Minister and to the Army for the success of its recruiting drive, reserving as I do the right to question its wisdom.

I want to open my speech on the same note of praise as that on which Deputy Collins concluded his. I congratulate the Minister on the success of his recruiting drive. I, for one, have no doubt whatever, though Deputy Collins seems to have a doubt, as to whether we are justified in spending money on the Army at this moment. In my opinion, if we did not spend that money and bring the Army to such a strength that it could be of proper use in an emergency, then all the money that would have to be spent on an Army under strength and ineffective would be wasted. It comes down again to the question as to whether or not we should have an Army at all for defence, or whether we should only have it as an auxiliary police force.

This country, to my mind, is well worth defending when one bears in mind the number of lives and the treasures that were lost over the years in order to achieve its freedom. I do not think there can be a doubt in any Irishman's mind that the country should be defended to the very best of our ability. That being so, I want to say that it is our duty to make our Defence Forces such that, if an emergency should arise, we will be able to cope with it to the last ounce of our strength. In order to do that, we must put the Army authorities in the position in which they will be able to carry out that job. Successive Governments have gone into this question, and have decided what is the very minimum that will enable the Army to do that. I think it is admitted, as a result of the experience gained during the last emergency, that an establishment strength of 12,500 men for the Army is the absolute minimum. Consequently as I say, I have no doubt that, if the Army is to be effective at all in an emergency, the money spent to achieve that strength is well spent, and indeed is an absolute necessity for the country.

In connection with the recruiting campaign, I think it is well that some public criticism should be made, and publicity given to a statement made recently in court about a criminal being let off to join the Army. I think that is very bad. I think a statement of that kind would help to keep decent young fellows out of the Army. Our Army is not to be a refuge for criminals.

Deputies

Hear, hear!

I think that some publicity should be given to that statement. I hope, too, that we will not have a repetition of it because the young men going into the Army are representative of the very best of our people. We have all the greatest regard for them, and I think it is very wrong that a statement such as that should be made in a public court.

I was very glad to hear the Minister say, in his opening statement, that £260,000 worth of warlike stores had been obtained, and are actually in process of delivery. That is very good news to hear. I was also glad to hear his statement that small arms and ammunition were obtained, and that he hoped the full delivery of them would be made during the year. It is well that these stores should be built up to as strong a reserve as we can possibly achieve. Deputy Collins questioned as to whether they were obsolete or not. I do not know, but while we are in the position that we are not able to provide them for ourselves I suppose we will have to do with the best that we can get. Certain steps were taken in years gone by in connection with that matter—steps that would help to put us in the position of providing some of those things for ourselves. Unfortunately, these steps were discontinued on the grounds of economy. We will have to start taking those steps again.

I notice that a sum of £63,000 is being provided this year for Army vehicles. I would like to know from the Minister whether that means increased numbers of Army vehicles or whether it is for mere replacement. Does it mean that the vehicles in the Army have got into such a state that this sum is needed in one year to make replacements?

I was glad to hear the Minister's statement about the Red Cross Society. To my mind, it is very necessary that that society should be kept in as strong a position as possible. It is of great importance to the country in peacetime and more particularly in wartime. On the subject of civil defence I, like Deputy Collins, would like more information on the programme being carried out. We know that certain officers have been appointed and that certain arrangements have been come to, but no information on these matters has reached the public. I would be glad if the Minister could give us more information on that point.

The strength of the F.C.A. has not reached the figure desired by any of us. I feel we should extend our congratulations to the young men who are manning that force at present and giving their time to it. To my mind, it would be a good idea if the Army authorities were to give more attention to the conditions under which the F.C.A. work. This organisation, to my view, does not hold out sufficient attraction to the ordinary young man. Its personnel are confined to the rifle battalions and are not allowed to have anything to do with machine-guns. I heard of a case where an enterprising officer actually got possession of a machine-gun and tried to train some of the F.C.A. personnel on its uses. When this was discovered, the officer was hauled over the coals and the machine-gun was taken from him. I do not think it is right that the F.C.A.'s training should be confined to just the rifle. They should be taught how to use other guns and should be given other war training as well. This would give them a bigger interest in the force. Take the case of a man who has been in regular training for, say, two or three years; he knows everything that is to be known under the present programme and tends to lose interest in his work. I should like the Minister to give some attention to that side of the question. I feel that if the work in the F.C.A. were made more attractive far more of our young men would take it up.

I have very little else to say on this Estimate. I would like to congratulate the Minister on the success of his recruiting campaign. Without recruits, we can do nothing, no matter what stores we may have. We must have men, and I feel that the Minister has made very good progress in this respect, considering the short time he has held office. When he comes to this House next year, as he will, with his Estimate, I hope he will be able to report further improvement.

Lest I might forget it, I would like, at the outset of my remarks, to express wholehearted agreement with some of the things that have been said by the Deputy who has just sat down. In his reference to the F.C.A., he said that keeping its personnel indefinitely handling no heavier types of armaments than the rifle bred monotony, and that that monotony resulted in a falling away of members. He maintained that those men should be equipped in the knowledge of arms which embraced the machine-gun at any rate. I had not the full advantage of being in the House when the Minister was speaking, but I understood him to state that the strength of the F.C.A. at the present time is 21,000, and that the effective strength is 10,000.

That would not be correct.

What would be the effective strength?

21,000 men is the effective strength, and we expect 10,000 to go on annual training.

We can leave out the expectations with regard to annual training. I am quite sure the Minister shares with me the view that a far higher number should be induced to go on annual training each year. I feel certain that more would go if the pay were better. Various steps were taken during my period in office to make the financial conditions more attractive for those who reported for camp training. Very much better conditions were not secured during that time, but there were hopes that, within a year or so, further inducements would be held out and that a greater number would go on annual training. However, I do not think that any step forward has been taken in that direction since.

It is unreasonable to expect men to lose money as a result of turning up for annual training. I hold very, very strongly that, when the F.C.A. personnel turn up for such training with the regular Army, they should receive marriage allowance, children's allowances and every other allowance in the way of pay in addition to the ordinary training bonus that is given. I maintain that they should be equated with the conditions existing for soldiers. 21,000 of an effective F.C.A. strength in a country with our population is, in my opinion, nothing short of a disgrace. We know very well that the L.D.F. had a strength of over 100,000. The F.C.A. even recruited under different conditions, had a strength in the neighbourhood of 80,000. The effective strength was double the present effective strength and I saw in my early days in the Department of Defence an F.C.A. that was withering and it was withering really because it was not getting enough attention and enough encouragement from the Army. If anybody had the choice of a defensive machine as between an army, we will say, of 50,000 and a small army with an F.C.A. strength to build it up to 50,000, any man with a military mind would say that the army of 50,000 is preferable. It would be more highly trained, more scientific and better equipped. If we are talking about facing the world or facing even a considerable portion of the world we should begin at least by facing facts.

What are the facts of the situation? You have recruited up to the highest degree and you managed to get together an army of 12,000, the recruits being mainly boys recruited on an attestation period that was never known before in this country, a two years' attestation period. With all the goodwill in the world and with all the vigour that could be applied you are able to get an army barely in the neighbourhood of 12,000 on a two years' attestation period, taking boys at 17 years of age.

That is the position as far as human beings go. That is one side of the Army. The other side of the Army is the armament side. The armament side in the world we live in to-day is the important side. At the beginning of this century an army only meant so many men in uniform and a rifle of sorts. Get your men together, give them a rifle and there you had your army. It was men that mattered. To-day the men matter very little. It is machines that matter. It is the weight of machinery that matters and the heavy equipment. To face facts what is the position to-day? We are the cinderella of the world when it comes to the purchase of arms. The Minister knows it, I know it and it is well that the Dáil and the people should know that we are living in a situation where we are outside all the military combinations that make up the world we live in. The supply of arms produced is given within one or other of those many military combinations, the Soviet combination, the United Nations, the Atlantic Pact, the Mutual Aid bloc, and so on. All the heavier types of armaments, whether produced in America, Britain, France, Czechoslovakia, Sweden, Germany or any other country you like to name, are only circulated within one or other of those combinations. The Minister tried for years in the past when he was a Minister—and I am certain he has tried even harder in the last year—to secure warlike stores, heavy armaments, proper equipment on modern lines. Certainly I tried as hard for three and a half years as any Minister ever did. What I got was next to nothing and there was such a delay about what I did get that one had nearly forgotten the order when it arrived.

As regards the arms arriving at the present moment from Sweden, it was in the winter of 1950 that that particular avenue was opened up and a free hand was given to the Army to go out and inspect and, if the supplies were suitable and approved, to buy to the maximum amount they could get; but they were only comparatively light arms and I do not think that is a continuing supply. They are coming here at the moment and with the exception of that, up to machine-gun level, there is not a country in the world that would supply us with military equipment of the heavier type. One time we hired or bought a few Churchill tanks. They were obsolete at the time we hired them but, obsolete or otherwise, they were better than nothing. They were the first, and presumably the last, thanks to reach this country.

Those are facts and there is no good is stide-stepping them. The Minister knows the truth of what I am saying and I know it absolutely. You can talk about friendly countries, America, or any other country you like. Go to them for arms; they entertain lavishly, they are very nice, very polite and courteous but "we cannot supply outside of the combination we are committed to." What is the order of priorities—the Atlantic Pact, U.N.O., the Mutual Aid pool, and the countries outside of those combinations most nearly menaced by the Soviet Bloc; after that a handful of countries like ourselves. In other words, when the dish is not only emptied but licked clean and a hole through the bottom, if there is anything left we can get into a scramble with other countries.

That is our position with regard to armaments and it does not matter whether you write down in that Book of Estimates £1,600,000, £860,000 or any other figure. You will only get a tiny driblet of warlike stores and that driblet will entirely consist of the lighter arms, no heavy armaments.

During my time over there I was denounced year after year and outside from platform after platform because I had not war-like stores in sufficient quantities, because I had not an Army equipped fully in the modern sense. The people denouncing me knew very well that such supplies could not be secured. I am not denouncing them because they have not succeeded or are not likely to succeed in procuring such materials. They are just not there. The Minister cannot be blamed. His colleagues cannot be blamed.

For your information we have got heavy equipment.

I know the quantity you have got and I know where you got them. The arrangements for those purchases were made before the Minister's time.

There were no contracts entered into. The contracts were entered into by myself.

That is true as regards the contract but I said the preliminary arrangements.

I am not denying for a second that the Minister made every possible effort to obtain whatever equipment was procurable. I am only correcting him on the fact that the contracts were entered into in my time, that we had, in fact, got heavy equipment in relation to machine-guns to which he is referring.

The contract was entered definitely in the Minister's time for the Swedish supply.

The efforts to secure supplies were made before my time.

And the agreement to supply—

I am not so sure of that.

I am perfectly certain.

I am not going to dispute it.

One of my last acts in the Minister's office was to give sanction for a mission to go to see if the type was suitable, whenever they were ready to go. There was some suggestion that there might be a hold up by the U.N.O. people, but as soon as that was cleared, they had authority to go. However, I am not trying to score a point over the Minister. If the Minister is in a position to get all the supplies he wants—I am not talking about a few pieces of heavy equipment for training purposes—in the way of heavy armaments, I do not see why he is reducing what he says is required for heavy armaments. He puts £1,600,000 in the Estimate and reduces that by £860,000 in respect of supplies which cannot be procured or delivered. If, at the end of this year, when the Minister or some other Minister comes along with the Estimates for next year, that £860,000 is expended, I shall be the most surprised Deputy and also the most pleased Deputy in Dáil Eireann; but the Minister knows, no matter what he may say about heavy equipment, that it is not procurable, except, as I have said, in driblets. You will always get enough to keep you blooded, but you will not get enough to equip your Army, even your Army of 12,000, or anything like it.

In that situation, if you cannot equip your Army of that size on modern lines, you cannot any longer rely on equipment. You have to go back and rely on men, and, with a proper use of the F.C.A., with proper attention from the Army, with enthusiasm from Army headquarters and with drive from the Minister, there is no reason why that force should not reach a figure of 100,000. A force of 100,000 riflemen and machine-gunners is not a force to be scoffed at. Concentrated over an Island of this size it is a formidable force. I am not going to say that it would beat all comers, but it is a very formidable force and a force of that nature distributed throughout the whole country is a far more effective force than a force of 10,000, 11,000 or 12,000 men equipped with rifles and machine-guns, and a few samples of heavy material. If you cannot have one, then the other is the thing to concentrate on.

Here, by the way of criticism, might I say that the F.C.A. is not getting the attention from the Army it got heretofore? Heretofore, half the officers of G.H.Q. above the rank of commandant were out every week-end with the F.C.A.—surprise visits, inspections and paying the unit the compliment of a very high G.H.Q. officer moving amongst them. It gave the impression to the F.C.A. units around the country of headquarters taking a deep and intense interest in them, of the Army relying on them as a competent weapon in the event of an emergency arising. That was the importance of these visits, to give them the conviction that the Government and the Army were looking to them as a really important defence force, as a fighting unit. That has practically disappeared. I do not care how many turn up for annual training, induced by more attractive conditions, if the F.C.A. is not kept on its toes in maximum numbers, with your present numbers you have no defence force whatever.

With 12,000 highly trained expert soldiers, soldiers trained to the last degree in the science of war, each one of them able to act as a trainer or instructor for larger numbers, and with half-trained men to the extent I have mentioned outside the Army and subject to mobilisation in the event of war, you have something like a defence machine that the people can look to with a certain amount of confidence.

But with these 12,000 men, even well equipped, and a dwindling handful of 15,000 or 20,000 outside, not properly looked after and not made to feel that they are an important element in the nation's defence, you have nothing and any money you are spending is waste. The manpower is there; the spirit is there; the tradition of the citizen soldier, the volunteer fighting man, is there; and the desire to defend the country, not because it is a good job, not because the pay is good, and not because barrack life is comfortable, but to defend the country for the payment of nothing a year, is there. That is the spirit that exists up and down the country and it is invaluable, if it is properly used and properly led.

I know there is always a difficulty in getting the army to lean towards the F.C.A., to pay sufficient attention to the F.C.A. What was done in my time had to be done by drive, drive, drive, by continuous prodding, by always asking what was done last month. Otherwise, the F.C.A. would be allowed to fade away. That drive is not there at the moment and the F.C.A. feel it. A complimentary speech now and then does not fill that vacuum. The Army must be mixed up closely, continuously and intimately with the F.C.A. Not only that, but the F.C.A. cannot be treated as children. They cannot be treated like young boys just playing soldiers around the floor, given a rifle, kept forming fours, asked to slope arms and shoulder arms, and engaged in annual shooting competitions with the rifle, but nothing else. Those men, when they join and get their first experience of military training, take an interest in military matters and know very well that the elementary weapon—in fact, nearly the obsolete weapon—is the rifle; and that if they are being taken seriously by the Army, by the Minister, by the Government, they will at least be trained and equipped with the arms that are procurable and are available, that is, with machine-guns at the very least. Inside every F.C.A. unit there should be at least a small group trained in the very heaviest material we have. That would convince them that we are looking at them and looking to them as part of the real defence machinery of the State.

I am not advancing these particular arguments or making these statements by way of criticism: I am advancing them as a person as interested in the security and the defences of this country as anybody sitting opposite. I know it cannot be done by a small number, what any country would regard as a handful of regular soldiers of a standing army, no matter how well equipped. The Minister has got his maximum number, he has got his recruits, he has reduced the attestation period, he has reduced the age limit. He has allowed for a big falling away in the year in numbers. The Book of Estimates shows that the number he expects to carry throughout the year is 10,000, that is, that big numbers are due to leave. Those are the figures given to us in the published Estimates. Does the Minister claim that, even with full equipment and allowing for the numbers inside an army that it takes to service the few in the field, that is a defence force on its own?

Let us take the 12,000, equipped. How many of those could take the field? In a modern army, does it not take three behind to one in front, does it not take three service men to keep every fighting soldier in supplies? You could take a quarter of this, 3,000, as being an effective fighting machine, the others servicing that odd 3,000. What is that? Is not that a joke? Standing alone, is it not a joke? Standing alone, it is not an army, it is not a defence force. However, if standing beside them and with them and mixed up with them in the event of war, you had 80,000 to 100,000 capable of using the machine-gun, highly trained in the rifle, capable of quickly absorbing and acquiring knowledge of the higher type of armaments, then you would have something worth while.

There is not good in spending big money on one and starving the other; there is no point in spending £1,000,000 on one and begrudging the pennies to the other. What money is available has to be soundly distributed with a view to turning out and giving to the country the most adequate defence machine that the country can throw up under existing circumstances. The strength or impressiveness of a ceremonial parade should not be the deciding factor. I would rather have a small ceremonial parade with a lot of out-of-step, half-trained, volunteer soldiers making up the numbers but knowing that those half-trained, out-of-step, volunteer soldiers were there in their tens of thousands, equipped up to machine-gun standard and ready in the event of any emergency, than to have a few thousand of those and 9,000 or 10,000 Regular Army men highly trained.

I would implore the Minister to look up what attention has been given to the F.C.A. in the last 12 months and compare that with the previous 12 months and ensure that such attention will be given to the F.C.A. that they will take an interest in their work and that they will hold their strength; that, as young fellows leave school and come up to the proper age in their neighbourhood, they will be attracted to the F.C.A.; that the old-timers will show, by graduating from the rifle to the machine-gun, and so on, that the Army is taking an interest in them, that the country is relying on them, and that they are not just left playing around month after month and year after year with the weapon that they are entirely master of and could use in their sleep.

I want to give a reality to the force and I think the situation is sufficiently serious and sufficiently permanent to impress on the Minister, on the Army and on the Dáil that we are never going to have an army equipped as a modern army is and should be and that we have got to rely on numbers. We cannot get the numbers into the Regular Army without jeopardising the economy of the whole State, without lowering production to such an extent that the end would be worse than the beginning. We are never going to get it. During the course of the last year I happened on one occasion to witness two battalions passing through a village—two wartime battalions. They passed in front of me and when they had finished passing I had not seen one man, and they had all passed me by. Every one of them was in mechanised heavily armoured vehicles of one kind or another, infantry being brought up, and so on. Can we ever reach that standard? Can we ever reach it when nobody can supply us, nobody will supply us; and is there any use in talking about producing the requirements here at home?

We know all this very well. The Minister knows it, as his Government was there for 16 years before. They went there with the history of years of criticism of the previous Government for not having armament factories in the country, for not at least producing small arms. They went into the matter. They never produced a bullet. They never produced a factory to produce a bullet. Why? Because even if we started a small arms industry in this country, three days' working of that particular factory or industry would give the Army its year's requirements and the production for the rest of the year, if the industry remained working and the wheels revolving, would just be a drug on the market. We are not going to produce it at home. We have not the raw material to produce the equipment for a modern army at home, even if no other factors entered into it. We must rely on numbers. We cannot take sufficient numbers into the Regular Army and pay them as full-time soldiers, so we must look outside the Regular Army for a sufficiency of numbers. That is there in the F.C.A. The spirit is there, the example is there, the tradition is there. All that is wanted is the inspiration, the drive and the gesture of encouragement from the Department of Defence.

It is very necessary, having regard to the state in which we are informed our finances are this year, that there should not be overestimation in any Department. The Minister in introducing his Estimate to-day indicated the possibility of having a surplus due to the fact that he might not be able to expend the moneys for which he is budgeting. As other Deputies have stated, if those stores, become available during the year, the House would be in full agreement in giving the Minister authority to spend the additional moneys in acquiring those stores rather than give any impression to people that we were in any way regardless, in dealing with an Estimate, of the economic factors governing the financial situation.

The good results of the recruiting drive brought from both sides of the House congratulations to the Minister on his success. I agree that it is a good thing, under ordinary circumstances, to have an influx of new blood into the standing Army, but we must equate that to conditions in rural Ireland, where to-day production is definitely being held back by the unavailability of suitable labour. Some three or four weeks ago, on one of the finest days for sowing operations, when people were working hard to get as much tillage done as possible—I know many farmers who had to cut down their beet acreage this year because they could not get help—we witnessed some 1,700 able-bodied men being marched into the Theatre Royal to see a film show. That is a matter for which the people who were working from dawn to dark in those days would not give much credit to the Government. If the additional numbers now in the Regular Army have been achieved at the cost of a loss to the Second Line Reserve, by drawing off some of its members from a condition of life, wherein they were able to engage in productive employment and volunteer their spare time for the service of the country, thereby rendering double service to the nation, that is highly undesirable. It would not be at all advisable to take men from these walks of life and put them into barracks, where, to use an Army expression, they may become "browned off" after some time by the conditions there.

It is a matter of some consequence, a matter to be deplored, that the increased number of recruits in the Regular Army has necessitated a calling back of officers and training N.C.O.s attached to F.C.A. units throughout the country. The greatest blow to the Reserve was the withdrawal of the N.C.O.s after the emergency, during the period when that grand force was left hanging fire for nearly a year and a quarter, and did not know whether they would be wound up or maintained as a permanent reserve, as part of our defence force. During that period the men who came out, by their example, by the manner in which they carried out their duties, brought much appreciation of our national Army to people who prior to that had no opportunity of getting to know the types of men we have in our Army, and they brought to places far distant from Army centres an appreciation of the fine life it is, the healthy life it is, to serve in the Army. The withdrawal of those men meant that the force disintegrated, and we had up to a few years ago merely a paper strength. It is important that the members of that force should be effective members. It would be impossible for the administrative staff to ensure that that will obtain if the number of administrative officers at present attached to the force was diminished further.

I would join with Deputy Dr. O'Higgins in asking the Minister to treat men who go in for annual training in the same way as men in the Regular Army are treated. I know from my experience over seven or eight years, that many members of the F.C.A., particularly in the officer class, who are engaged in business, lose considerably as a result of taking time off from their businesses for the purpose of giving it to the administration of their battalions or companies in camps. A great service is being done in training those who avail of the opportunities at both the summer camps and winter training centres, and everything should be done to see that as many as possible avail of the opportunity of training.

I agree that a week or fortnight in such a camp is worth any amount of weekly training at home but I would like to see the regulation being rigidly enforced that any member of the force would not be permitted to avail of that training unless he was clocking in his weekly training hours at the centres provided at home.

I hope and trust that the diminution in the number of training N.C.O.s will not result in the training of the F.C.A. becoming in any way slipshod. No matter how good the F.C.A. member may become as an N.C.O. or officer, it is vital that the regular training N.C.O. and the regular officer would be kept in the battalion and company centres as a direct contact between the Regular Army and the Second Line Reserve. I feel that you would never get from the recruits coming into the force the same degree of co-operation, the same degree of effectivenss, as you would get from instruction given by members of the Regular Army. Consequently, I would like to be assured by the Minister that, in concentrating on training of the recruits in the Regular Army, the training being applied for some time past in the Second Line Reserve will not in any way be affected.

I agree entirely with Deputy Colley in his references to some statement apparently made in court when an accused person was discharged so that he might join the Army. I think such types should be refused admission to any section of our Defence Forces, because the recruitment of even a very small number of such types would inflict untold damage on the morale of the Defence Forces. Officers of the F.C.A. in charge of local companies take on a great responsibility when bringing boys into camps during the summertime or at any other time. They bring them away from their homes, many of them for the first time, and they take on a responsibility which is well realised by the parents of these boys. Parents certainly make it quite clear that they regard the officer in charge as being responsible for these boys during the period they are away from home. I think it would be very damaging if these lads were brought into contact with any persons such as those to whom Deputy Colley referred, who would be directed into the Army instead of being interned in places provided for the detention of those who seriously transgress the law.

I join with Deputy Dr. O'Higgins in urging on the Minister that it is about time that the monotony attached to courses which these lads attend should be ended and that more interesting courses of training should be provided, otherwise they will not look forward to their period of training or participate in the courses, with the same degree of enthusiasm as they would if they knew they were going to learn something new. Time after time lads who had given good service during the emergency were brought in and treated as raw recruits, forming fours on the parade ground as if they had never before gone through these simple exercises and they left the training camps without adding in the slightest to the knowledge which they possessed when they came in.

I think men attending such courses should be trained at least in the use of light automatics. I agree that a certain amount of revision is desirable but, from the point of view of maintaining the men's interest and sharpening their intelligence, I think the humdrum revision stuff which is dished up to them year after year in training should be reduced to a minimum. I hope that in future much more interesting programmes will be drawn up so as to entice these young men to come to the camps in future years and so as to enable them to bring to their comrades who have remained at home the message that they can gain considerably, even though they may have to make some sacrifices, by attending these training courses in camp.

I would say that a tribute is due to the Regular Army personnel assigned to the training of our Second Line Reserve in which I am particularly interested. Not having had an opportunity of being a member of the regular forces myself, I am not wholly conversant with conditions in the Regular Army, but I regret to have found, when meeting members of the regular forces, particularly in the last two or three years, a certain amount of animosity against the Second Line Reserve. Members of the regular forces regarded it as an economy force, something which was inimical to their interests. It was only after officers and N.C.O.s of the Regular Army had been engaged in training members of the F.C.A. that they began to appreciate that they had men under their charge who were extremely enthusiastic, who were prepared to learn all they could of military tactics and to bring themselves up to a standard which would gain them promotion in the ranks, and that, in fact, these lads had a higher incentive than men engaged by the hour or the day, watching the clock, perhaps, for the time when they could go off duty. They found that even when these lads had finished their day's work on the parade ground, they frequently spent many hours in addition in study so that they could bring to their battalions and companies additional credit by way of winning competitions and by acquiring a higher degree of knowledge and becoming better trained in every branch of defence.

I do not think I have much more to add beyond saying that I consider the Minister was remiss in his duty when a scurrilous article appeared in a certain Sunday paper—not a paper produced in this country, but a British paper, with an extensive circulation throughout the country—reflecting on the men who were volunteers for the Second Line Reserve. The article reflected on their officers and the motives which inspired their actions. I think that nothing short of a ministerial statement should have been made at that time, but not a single line appeared, not a word from any officer in the regular forces or any indication that it was the opinion of the authorities that everything contained in that article was incorrect and injurious to the Defence Forces of the country. I regret to have to say that, because, on this Estimate, it is desirable that contributions from all sides of the House should be entirely contructive and free from any contentious element. I am sorry that the Minister, before the matter contained in the article spread throughout the country, did not issue a statement completely controverting the untruthful allegations in it.

In conclusion, I would repeat what I said at the beginning, that I consider it important that we should concentrate at the present time on ensuring that we do not recruit men into the Regular Army at the expense of production in other fields. We should ensure that any facility afforded men in the past to devote their spare time from their regular avocations in agriculture and industry to military training should be made available to them in the future—not alone services which they had in the past, but any additional services which they may require. They well deserve these facilities in recompense for sacrificing so much of their time to voluntary training, so that, should the occasion arise, they will be in a position to take their place in the field side by side with the men in our permanent Defence Forces.

I regret that I have to disagree with Deputy O'Sullivan when he states that there was, or is, any question of animosity by the Regular Army towards the F.C.A. From my experience, derived from mingling with many officers and men of the Regular Army, I think I can say that that is not correct. There may have been one or two isolated instances but I think it is only fair to the members of the Regular Army, especially the officers, that it should not go out from here that that is so. We appreciate that the men of the Regular Army, especially the officers, have the interests of the Army and the country at heart. It is their career. These men realise that members of the F.C.A. voluntarily devote a great deal of their spare time to training and that there is no room for anybody to look down their noses at them or to show any animosity towards them. I know some of the officers who are dealing with the F.C.A. They are very keen on their job and very pleased with the work the F.C.A. men are doing. You may get one or two private soldiers who may feel that they are great men because they are in the Regular Army and the others are only amateurs.

They are the people to whom I was referring.

I am glad to hear that. You may get one or two men in the Regular Army who may have that feeling, but I do not think it should go out from here that there is any animosity on the part of the Regular Army towards the F.C.A. because that is not correct. I agree with the suggestion made that something should be done with regard to training the F.C.A. men in the use of the heavier types of armament. I know that young men joining the F.C.A. are very keen and anxious to acquire knowledge of every type of armament. Every effort should be made to give these keen young men and boys every opportunity to train themselves in the use of the heavier type of armament.

Deputy Dr. O'Higgins stated that at one time high-ranking officers of G.H.Q. now and again visited the F.C.A., but that that has ceased. If that is so it is a pity. I think visits from high-ranking officers of the G.H.Q. would have a very beneficial effect. The Minister should see that these high-ranking officers go around again and mix with the F.C.A. men. It would give the F.C.A. great encouragement and would show that not only the G.H.Q. but the Government and the Minister were taking a very keen interest in that force. The Minister should try to revive that practice.

I am sorry I was not here for the Minister's opening statement, but I am very keenly interested in civil defence from the Dublin Corporation point of view. I happen to be the chairman of the Dublin Corporation Civil Defence Committee, and I regret to say that nothing has happened as far as Dublin is concerned. It is time that the Department of Defence should get the civil defence committees of every local authority together and have a heart-to-heart talk with them. We have requested the Department to meet our civil defence officer and our civil defence committee. That is a step in the right direction in order to get something done in regard to civil defence. I know that it is the duty of the local authority to make all arrangements but we cannot do it without the help of the Department. Nothing whatever has happened to my knowledge in Dublin except the appointment of a civil defence officer, for whom we recently got a headquarters. It is time that we should know exactly where we stand, and for that purpose get together the civil defence committees throughout the country and representatives of the Department of Defence.

You should give the position of civil defence officer to a man who had served in the Army.

The civil defence officer in Dublin is a highly qualified man and we are more than satisfied with him. I can only speak for Dublin, and the man appointed as civil defence officer there is certainly a first-class man who has the wholehearted co-operation of every member of the Dublin Corporation.

Has he any military knowledge? That is the question.

We will not go into that. He is a first-class man and we are satisfied with him. Deputy O'Sullivan mentioned an article in an English Sunday paper. Was that article as injurious as the recent statement made by Deputy Fagan?

I never heard of any statement by Deputy Fagan, but many people throughout the country read the article in that English Sunday paper.

A lot of people read the statement by Deputy Fagan. A statement by a Deputy would have more effect than a statement in an English Sunday paper. Unfortunately that injurious statement got a good deal of publicity, and Deputy O'Sullivan should have dealt with that. My chief purpose in rising was to deal with the matter of civil defence. It is about time that the Department of Defence got in touch with the local authorities to see what can be done to let the people know where they stand in connection with civil defence.

Mr. Byrne

It is the Minister's desire and the desire of every Deputy to build up a happy and contented Army. I put it to the Minister therefore that the provision of sufficient married quarters for our serving soldiers is a matter that must be attended to at the very earliest possible date. If we want to have a contented Army and if young men are to make the Army their career and give 21 or 25 years' service, one of the first things we ought to provide are sufficient married quarters so as to allow soldiers to get married and settle down and, in addition to that, increase the marriage allowance so as to meet the very high cost of living at the moment. With other Deputies, I congratulate the Minister on the success of his recruiting drive, but I stood up specially to ask the Minister what his intentions are concerning the provision of additional married quarters for the Army and the increasing of the marriage allowance.

I should also like to pay tribute to the Army for the manner in which they carried out their duties during the last 30 years. At the same time, I do not believe in having an Irish national Army until such time as this country is united. I believe that we should have a national militia in which every young man of military age would be trained in the use of weapons to defend his country. While there may have been periods during the last 30 years when a national Army was needed, I am satisfied that there has been a vast waste of money and manpower, that these men could do far more useful work producing food for our people. I believe that a review of the whole situation is needed. I do not think we should carry on as we are doing, keeping 12,000 men in ideal conditions on big pay while there is such an amount of work to be done on the land. Many farmers cannot get men to work for them to produce food for our people.

A recruiting drive is going on to get young men to join the Army, and many young men with spirit will join the Army. I believe, however, in every young man getting a military training. Give him proper training and make him into a man who, when the call comes, if it should ever come, will be able to play his part in the defence of this country. I believe it would help to cut down a lot on the vast amount of ignorance and snobbishness which is displayed by certain people in this country towards our Army. There are young men in this country who should serve in the defence of this country, but who would never do it. The aim of their parents is that when they are 17 or 18 they will join a foreign army. They will spend the best years of their lives in the service of another country. I want to see these young men mixing shoulder to shoulder with the other young men in this country and serving Ireland before any other country. That is why I want to see a national militia, where every man will do his duty. I want that snobbish attitude to end. Those men would not serve in an Irish Army. They would sneer at the Irish Army, but they would serve in other armies. I want them to serve the interests of their own country first.

My outlook on the National Army is well known. I am entitled to my own opinion and I am not afraid to air it. I believe in facing realities. I am satisfied that the economy of this country is strangled, because it has to maintain three armies——

——the National Army, the British Army in the North of Ireland, and also the armed police force there. This country cannot cope with that situation. We hear talk of the desperate plight of the economy of this country. Why? Is it not a fact that we are carrying too big a load—an idle load—which the country cannot afford to carry? We must face the fact that some day this thing must stop. Even though we have a Border crux, I do not see why we should not make common cause, North and South, in the defence of this country. If we were attacked by any outside force, the first thing that would happen would be that the Border would go and that North and South would fight together in the defence of our island. Is it not right, therefore, that there should be common cause in the defence of this island if world war should break out? The matter of the Great Northern Railway was settled amicably by the North and the South. So was the question of the Erne scheme and also the matter of the Foyle fisheries. I do not see, therefore, why the North and the South should not meet and try to come to some agreement in relation to the defence of our country. There is no way of securing the removal of the Border other than by peace and goodwill. I believe that it betrays smallness on our part that we are not big enough to face that fact. We are the bigger factor in this country. We could contribute by being big enough to stop this face-saving and to see if there is any way of easing the burden of three armies in this country. We should try to come to some agreement about having a unified force for the defence of the whole island. I believe that a vast amount of manpower and money could be saved if we could come to some agreement in that connection. I am satisfied that the country cannot continue to maintain that vast amount of idle men. They are trained men who are ready to do their duty, but they are too much of a burden on the resources of this little island. It is too small and insignificant for that.

I am satisfied that our neutrality will depend on the best interests of democracy. The Allies in the last war deserve every credit for the manner in which they respected our neutrality at a time when they were in a death struggle. We should make it clear that we appreciate their action very much. Nothing would have suited Britain or America more than to land an army here in defence of their own way of life —a thing which was done in many countries in Europe. I believe that they will respect our neutrality in the same way in the future. I believe that the position has changed vastly in the past few years and that there is now a common cause of Christianity. I should not be ashamed or afraid to line up with that cause. I believe we should fit in somewhere. We say that we can fit in nowhere until the Border is removed. We are doing nothing one way or the other at present to remove the Border. Thank God we have never tried to remove it by force, because we would not succeed in any event. I believe an effort should be made to come to some arrangement about the defence of this island. The nations of the world are lining up in a menacing attitude and borders will count very little in the struggle that looks like taking place.

We should pay a tribute to the United States of America and to those other countries who are sending their sons to fight in Korea in defence of Christianity and democracy. While we are sitting here free and well protected those great nations are pouring out their wealth and their blood in defence of Christian ideals and the things which we hold dear.

I am a soldier. I served in the National Army and I am proud of every day I spent in that Army. I am satisfied that the men in our Army are being trained in the best interests of the country and that they are doing a noble service, but at the same time I think that it is a vast waste of money in a small country that cannot afford to waste even one penny. There is far too much make-believe and a good deal of face-saving in connection with this whole matter.

The people are being deceived. Every year that passes we are told of the menaces and dangers which lie ahead. Every time Fianna Fáil are returned to office the first thing they want is to raise a huge Army, no matter what it costs, and they always say that there is some danger around the corner. We are told that if we have not 12,000 men ready to go on the field to fight, and die if need be, for this country then we are lost. I believe that if we had 1,200,000 men in this country ready to fight and die in the defence of this nation and that if a larger power wanted to wipe us out they could do it overnight and we could not stop them. We should not be ashamed or afraid to say that. Every man should be trained in a small way as a soldier but at the same time left to do this ordinary work on his farm or in the factory. Let us not have a standing Army in the Curragh or anywhere else. All that is needed is the formation of an Army which can be called upon in time of danger. Having 12,000 or 15,000 men standing idle is a complete waste. We are told, of course, that it is a great insurance, that it is always there to meet a threat. A far greater insurance is a contented and prosperous countryside, where the people are free and happy and where they work from morning to night in the building up of their own lives. The people ought to be prepared to put down the spade and take up the gun if needs be, but there should be no waste of time keeping people standing idle on a barrack square. This island is too small and too poor to bear that weight of manpower and money. The Minister and the Fianna Fáil Party in particular ought to realise the damage they have done to this country over a long number of years by always referring to this threat of danger. I am satisfied that if there is immediate danger we will fit in some place and do our duty but there is no immediate danger.

We see the line-up in the world at the present time, and we must fit into it somewhere. That line-up is Christianity on the one hand and the Red menace from Russia on the other. Ninety-nine per cent. of the people of this country will be prepared to take their stand if need be in the defence of Christianity. In the interest of the economy of the country an effort should be made for the unification of an Irish defence, a national defence that could, perhaps, fit in with our neutral policy, and also give satisfaction to both America and those other countries who are lining up in the defence of Christianity.

To think that we can meet and defeat all-comers is all rot and nonsense, because we could not live on our own for two months. Our economy would hardly allow it. We are not so independent in the matter of food and manpower that we can meet all-comers. We could meet very little. We are in the unfortunate position that we cannot produce either a .22 bullet or a shotgun cartridge in this country. We have to go begging all over the world for arms. We got supplies— obsolete, outworn and discarded—here and there. Yet we talk about taking on all-comers. We have to equip our Army to fight with those weapons. We are living in a modern fast-moving world, and it is just bunkum to tell the nation we are fully equipped and ready for battle, when God and the world knows we are not.

During the last war, we had nothing in the way of equipment except the old discarded British Lee-Enfield rifles which the British would not issue to their own soldiers, but they were good enough for us. At present we are getting nothing except discarded equipment that would not be used in a modern war. I count buying obsolete weapons a vast waste of public money, and I think we should face up to the matter. My outlook is far different from that of the Minister of the Fianna Fáil Party. I believe there was too much bunkum spoken here, and I am satisfied that if there was less talk and more work on the land, in the farms, and in the factories, in an effort to build up the economy of this country, it would be far better.

Some months ago we were told that we were almost bankrupt. Now we are told that we must keep a vast standing Army. We are told that we can only get third-rate equipment. The whole thing is utter nonsense. We were told that 30 years ago we met and defeated the British Army. I was in the fight, and I say that that is the greatest humbug. I lived in the Midlands, and from 1917 to 1921 there were not half-a-dozen poor old Peelers killed in the whole war. We were told that we beat the might of the British people. We did no such thing. Outside of a few flying columns here and there and a few skirmishes that took place, we did not fight at all. The young generation should not be told this class of bunkum. We fought and every man did his duty. That and the luck we had won the fight for us. It was as a result of that fight we got the little freedom that we have.

Our fight was a very small and insignificant one. I was through it all. I served in ambushes, in prison and in the civil war and I was out in the open, fighting all the time; but, from 1917 to 1921, I do not believe we killed six people in the Midlands. I was through the whole civil war, and what we were doing from morning to night was running like hell after one another. There was not a shot fired. We would go into a barracks for a drink and, on looking out at the countryside, we would see five or six places go up in flames. We would try to catch the boys, but we could not, as they were gone. Yet, we were fighting bloody battles. I am sick of that kind of talk. I would like the people to realise the true facts. We should not always be trying to say we are a fighting nation and ready to take on all-comers.

We could not get one man, perhaps, in 50 to join the Volunteers at that time. All we had were 20 men, and they were the pick of the parish. The others would not join. We would not let scores of others join, because, if we did, one's neck was gone. That was the mighty call to fight for independence. Those men who went out to fight did so with a full knowledge that they were going to fight and die, and were proud to fight. We saw our young men on the gallows. I want the House to realise that it is only a few thousand who fought that fight.

In 1924, when the Military Pensions Act came along, there were tens of thousands of men looking for pensions for battles they never fought. The true fact is that there were not 3,000 fighting men in the country.

The Deputy is travelling away from the Estimate.

This country cannot afford three armies—a southern army, a British army in Northern Ireland, the British Army and a northern police force, all maintained at considerable expense. The economy of the country cannot carry the load that is on its back. I think it is time that those in authority should face up to the position and do something about it. If there is to be a line-up let there be a common defence north and south. There is no reason why the orange and green cannot blend. We could meet and agree in the matter of the G.N.R. and the Foyle Fisheries and I do not see why we cannot meet and agree on a common defence for this little island. I am satisfied that there are good men in the north and south who would extend the hand of friendship to one another. We should have a common unified front and then we can talk business and make our economy fit the situation.

We should have one common defence force for the whole country and do away with all the rot. I believe the whole thing is a racket. The Border is being kept there for the purpose of making certain people rich overnight. We are too cowardly and mean to face up to the situation and until the Border is removed we will get nowhere.

Having listened to the speech made by Deputy Captain Giles I feel compelled to make some reply, particularly in relation to the defeatist attitude he seems to have adopted. I am both amazed and surprised that he should refer in the fashion he did to the I.R.A. activities down in the Midlands in the old days.

It is a good job you never came up before me.

I am surprised and amazed at his reference to the very unimportant work, according to him, done during the days of the Volunteers. One is prompted to ask: if the facts are as stated by Deputy Captain Giles, where did all the generals and the captains come from?

That is what I want to know.

His castigation of the activities of the I.R.A. and his reflection on the men who composed that body are not deserved. I admit the fighting strength during that period was only about 3,000 men but we had behind us, as we have to-day, a second line of defence. We had the people behind us also. To my mind it was that combination that enabled us to achieve the success we did. When Deputy Captain Giles says that our Army should be cast aside and that we should admit that we have nothing to fight for and, even if we had, no hope of defending ourselves, he is not stating the true facts.

In connection with the L.D.F. and the F.C.A. I would like the Minister to take note of some suggestions I have to make. The greatest response in connection with the F.C.A. comes from the young men in the rural areas. There is nothing like the same support in the large towns. Possibly there are too many counter attractions. The one difficulty under which these men labour at the moment is lack of halls and accommodation for training and lectures. I do not think it is fair to expect men in the rural areas to travel five, six or seven miles to some hall and I would suggest to the Minister that an effort should be made to provide huts for these men.

It was very easy for all of us during the emergency to join the L.D.F. There was a certain threat of danger at the time. When the emergency passed it was only the people who were really sincere who continued on in the F.C.A. and I think we should pay tribute to them for their sincerity in that respect.

I do not think public representatives on the whole are giving the F.C.A. the co-operation and support it deserves. The young men are not being encouraged to join to the extent to which they should be encouraged. All of us who are interested in the defence of our country should do our utmost to encourage every young man to join this organisation.

In connection with the suggestion I made with regard to the provision of huts, I would like to point out to the Minister that it is an expensive business at the moment sending lorries for F.C.A. personnel for training purposes. If the huts were provided more work could be done and probably the men would have a greater incentive to attend lectures and so forth. In some parts of West Limerick these men have to traverse seven or eight miles of mountain in order to attend meetings. Most of them work hard during the day and it is not fair to place that burden on them. We will have to rely on the F.C.A. for a second line of defence behind the Regular Army.

It is ridiculous to say that we should not have an Army of 12,000 men. If we adopt that attitude we will leave ourselves open immediately to anybody who cares to walk in here. I was a member of the I.R.A. I had experience in the Black and Tan war and in the civil war—not on the same side as Deputy Captain Giles, of course. I believe we will always find young men to answer the call if and when the occasion arises. Everything possible should be done to encourage the young men to join the F.C.A. To those of us who had experience in the I.R.A. Deputy Captain Giles's remarks in relation to that body and the work done by it can be described as nothing but extravagant.

I am in complete agreement with what Deputy J. Collins has said and in complete disagreement with what Deputy Captain Giles has said. The fact that we have our own Army to-day and our own police force is due to the work done by the young men who were in the I.R.A. I was in the Volunteers in 1914 and I heard Padraig Pearse address the company to which I belonged at the foot of Vinegar Hill. The field was lined with Volunteers. In those days one had to buy one's own cap and haversack. That time has passed and we are all getting older. We have a number of Old I.R.A. men here. Some have gone to their eternal reward. They were the men who made this Parliament possible. It is sad to hear the extravagant statements of Deputy Captain Giles after all these years. A certain tradition has grown up. Next Sunday in Wexford we are honouring the memory of the men of 98.

An army is, of course, essential. It is very pleasant to see the Army parading on St. Patrick's Day and on Easter Sunday. Every small country needs an army. Small countries cannot depend on other nations for their defence. We want our F.C.A. I have seen parades of these men and they are a credit to their officers and to all concerned with their training.

One thing that is causing dissatisfaction is the appointment of civil defence officers. I know areas in which there are ex-captains and lieutenants, and yet the people who have been appointed to such very important posts as civil defence officers did not serve one day in the Army. That is causing great dissatisfaction. As Deputy J.J. Collins has said, we are not getting the same number of men from the cities and towns as from the country. I think the reason is that those who served in the Army during the emergency were let down. They did not get employment when it was there. To-day, many of them are serving in Korea; they are in the British Army and in the British coal mines. These were men who served during the emergency. They had to leave the country. That is the fault of the Government which did not provide work for them and keep them at home. Some of the finest men from my own area are to-day in Korea. They are leaving daily and going into other armies. We have free emigration to-day for Irish chaps. They are going to foreign countries where, I suppose, they will end up in the armies of those countries if war breaks out. That is a sad thing. No matter what Government is in power, it is its duty to provide employment and keep our men at home.

When jobs are going under local authorities it is not politicians who should be put into them. That is what is happening. The men who served in the Army, and who are fit to take up these jobs, should get them. That is why we have our young men standing aside to-day when a recruiting campaign is going on. The position is that it is only young lads, who have just left school, you see going off in the Army vans. They are hardly able to carry a rifle. The other men say: "No, we have enough of that; what did we get for our five years during the emergency? We got unemployment and emigration." The young men to-day who have seen that will say: "Well, what did the boys get who joined the Army, and what will we get when it is over?" That is why we have not a good recruiting drive. That is the plain fact.

The Minister should see that, if he takes a married man into the Army, his wife and family will be provided with a separation allowance. That would encourage him to go into the Army. There are men who would go into the Army to-morrow, young married men, but because no provision is made to keep their wives and families, they have to remain on the unemployment list. If they have good payments and good separation allowances I have no doubt at all that the Minister would get all the men he wanted for the Army, and would not have to take little boys who have just left school. It is sad to see mothers crying when their little boys are leaving the towns in the Army vans.

On the exchanges at the moment there are over 60,000 people unemployed. The majority of these men would be in the Army if the conditions were better. I say to the Minister that he and the Cabinet should examine this. If there is going to be war in the near future, then this nation, like all other nations, will have to prepare, and will have to get the cream of the country into the Army. The Minister will get the men if he makes suitable provision for them and gives good conditions. What happened to the men who served the State dur-the emergency was that they were thrown on the scrap heap. Now, we have young fellows being appointed civil defence officers by the county managers, who never served one hour in the Army. That is an insult to the ex-officers, sergeants, and men like them. I think that should be carefully considered. I think that any person who is put into such an important position as that of civil defence officer should be a man who has served in the Army. He should not be taken from a county council office, or any place like that. That is all I have to say.

The Minister for Finance sallied forth to Carlow this week, and the dutiful camp followers of the Fianna Fáil Party turned up to hear him address them on the Budget, but somewhat to their astonishment——

What has that to do with defence?

That is exactly what occurred to me.

That is it exactly. It has not got anything to do with it.

(Interruptions).

I must extend the benevolence of my charity to the rag end of Fianna Fáil. This absurd little creature spoke about the Budget and then proceeded to talk about an article from their military correspondent in the London Times and to explain to the intelligent Fianna Fáil citizenry of Carlow that, if they would not vote for his Budget, for the love of God to vote for him in order that he would be able to defend them in the event of war. I have the greatest sympathy with the Minister for Finance in his desire to address the citizens of Carlow about any subject on the face of the earth except the Budget, but I think he does his colleague, the Minister for Defence, a disservice if, in the desire to cover his own flank from the whips and scorpions of coming criticism of the Budget, he draws down the military correspondent of the London Times for the purpose of persuading the people of this country that war has suddenly become imminent, and for that reason there must be no discussion of any domestic issue, since to conduct such a discussion in such a situation would be something approximating to treason.

I have noted that whenever Fianna Fáil gets into a hot spot they start a war—an economic war or a civil war or a dollar war, or some kind of a war to distract attention from their domestic activities. I want to remind the House of this important thing. I remember 18 months ago, when they were feeling a bit in low water, that there was a terrific howl of the imminence of war from these benches, where Fianna Fáil were then. I remember Deputy Vivion de Valera cross-questioning us closely as to how far we had stockpiled against the imminence of war. I remember the present Tánaiste, whom we all rejoice to see sunburned and back from his adventures, warning us that if we did not accumulate substantial reserves against the imminence of war we were guilty of treason. Deputies will note that, having accumulated these reserves on a historic scale, the Tánaiste of to-day and Deputy Vivion de Valera are hurrying around the country wringing their hands and saying that we are in ruins because we have these accumulated stocks in hand.

The Minister for Industry and Commerce says that we paralysed Irish industry as a result of our accumulated stocks. I do not agree with him. I think that, in the situation in which we find ourselves, it is a reassuring thing to know that there are excessive stocks of a great many commodities in the country at the present time. I think that the desirability of maintaining a full year's reserve is, perhaps, one of the most important strategic and morale considerations in relation to any defence policy. As regards the imminence of war, I want to say that it is no service to our people to start war scares every 12 months, because it distracts the minds of our people from this fundamental fact that, so long as the Cominform operates from Moscow, war may break out any Monday morning. War will be started when the Cominform in Moscow think it is advantageous to start war, not later and not earlier. Nothing that happens outside would induce them to go to war a day sooner than it suits their over-all purpose. I move to report progress.

Progress reported; Committee to sit again.