Defence Bill, 1951 — Report (Resumed).

I move amendment No. 19:—

In page 21, Section 20, between lines 11 and 12, to insert a new paragraph as follows:—

(b) officers who have retired on pension from the permanent Defence Forces and who on retirement are appointed as officers of the Reserve Defence Force in the rank held by them on such retirement or in any higher rank.

This amendment is designed to provide that officers of the permanent Defence Forces who retire will be eligible for appointment as officers of the Reserve Defence Forces in the rank they held on retirement or in any higher rank. At the moment, officers who retire from the Defence Forces on pension are entitled to receive their pensions but they are not obliged to continue to serve in the Defence Forces of the State. We have the position that a young man of perhaps 45, with 25 years' service and experience, retires on pension. That man has no obligations to serve the State any longer. In this amendment I propose that those officers would be commissioned in the Reserve in the rank they held on retirement or in any other higher rank, and that their service and experience would be available to the State until they reached an age at which they would no longer be capable of serving in the Defence Forces. We have had practical experience of that type of Reserve officer. In the 'twenties and 'thirties, officers who retired from the Regular Defence Forces were appointed to the Reserve of officers in the substantive rank they held on retirement. These men were, in fact, the vital machinery of the Reserve Forces at the time of the emergency. The State had the great advantage that those experienced officers who were then called up on the Reserve during the emergency fitted into vital administrative posts. They were, in fact, even more than the Regular Army at the time, responsible for the efficient organisation and training of the forces that were recruited and called up during that emergency period. I think the Minister and the senior officers of the Army have paid tribute time after time to the wonderful and most valuable contribution those particular officers made to the State in that period of the emergency.

Since the emergency ended, we find that the old practice of commissioning those officers in the Reserve has been departed from, and as I see it their valuable service is lost to the State. I think that the fault lies in the Defence Force Regulations which dealwith age. The same age limit was laid down for the Reserve as that laid down for the Defence Forces. That was shortly after the emergency ended. That age limit was laid down because of a feeling that they had all over the world, that soldiering was a job for the younger fellows, and that when a man reached the age of 45 he was unfit to soldier anywhere. It is a strange thing that this was the conception not only here but in countries like Britain and America. However, the Americans got rid of it very quickly. They got back to the idea of availing of the services of experienced men. They found that under the new methods of warfare where men are carried in vehicles from one point to another, it was not necessary to have the same standard of physical fitness based on youth as they used to have when the normal thing was for a soldier to march from place to place.

While, as I say, Britain and America got away very quickly from that conception — they had held on to it for a little while — we have held on to it, and the result is that those experienced officers in the 40's or the early 50's who are obliged to retire are cut adrift entirely from the Defence Forces. In the event of an emergency tomorrow or in the future, they would have to offer their services as volunteers and be called up perhaps in the rank of private for a start or in whatever rank the Minister might decide to call them up in. Obviously, the calling up of the men in those circumstances would lead to a considerable amount of confusion, whereas if they were commissioned, and were already selected for vital administrative appointments, they could fit into those appointments right away, and the emergency Army could be built around them. We will have, and we must have of necessity in this State, a small permanent force or standing Army as it is called. The efficiency of the Reserve will depend on the machinery that is there when it is called up to see that it fits properly into the Army administrative machine.

I do not want to specify the particular appointments where experience will be valuable, such as quartermasters,camp commandants, provost officers, etc. There is a whole list of them that one could mention, but there is no necessity to do so. What I am anxious to see is that we will not continue the system which we have at the moment of cutting these experienced men adrift from the Defence Forces when they retire from the permanent force. Those men who retire from the permanent force retire with a pension, and if they are to be commissioned in the Reserve, then, obviously, they would receive Reserve pay and it, added to the pension they had, would help them considerably to make ends meet. Therefore, it would be of value to the officers themselves if they were commissiond in the Reserve, but it would be of greater value to the State.

I think that this is an important matter. I think it is right, certainly up to the age of 65 or longer if you like, that any person who is in receipt of a pension for service in the permanent forces of this State should be available and at call in the event of this State being faced with an emergency. If he is not available and at call, then, to a large extent, the value of the services that he could contribute are being lost from the national point of view. Therefore, I think this is an amendment which should be accepted and I ask the House to accept it.

Major de Valera

While not necessarily committing myself to the form of the amendment which Deputy Cowan has tabled in this particular instance, in its general tenor I do very strongly agree with him on this question of retired officers in the Regular Forces or, for that matter, if some arrangement could be made about it for officers of the Reserve who cease to become active. It particularly applies, of course, to officers of the Regular Forces. From a common-sense point of view, the arguments for this seem to me unanswerable. All that I can think of is that the Department will say: "This kind of thing was not done before and we cannot chance doing it." It is an example, I suppose, of how red tape ties up things of this nature, and possibly will tie them up again.

Let us see this from a common-sense point of view. You have an officer or a number of officers. They retire at varying ages — it will depend on their rank — before they reach the age of 60. They had served in peace-time. They would be more valuable still if they had had war-time service. But during their peace-time service they have acquired an intimate knowledge of the machine. They know every bit of it. They know all the details which are necessary for its smooth administration, as well as for fitting themselves into whatever task is allotted to them. They have been constantly in touch with the machine, and even if they did nothing more than that — to be merely in touch with it — it means that their minds have been kept tuned up to the way the Army is thinking in regard to combat and administrative matters. Therefore, if they are any good at all, they have been kept right up to date.

May I make this digression? You can train a man professionally in any profession. He can secure the highest qualifications at his examinations or in professional proficiency at a certain stage, but if he does not continue to keep in touch with his profession and to practise it, he will be at a serious disadvantages compared with the man who continues in touch with it. The same kind of thing applies in regard to an army. It is the same kind of idea as to why, say, in research or anything else in the university, the contacts of people who are interested in the same things are of importance — the exchange of ideas and so forth.

It leads one to this: No matter how good a man is and how well trained he is, if he has been away completely for a number of years and you take him back, or if he has never had contact and you train him quickly as far as you can to the pitch of proficiency required, he will always remain at a disadvantage to the person who has been in continuous touch over a number of years. That is to a certain extent a digression.

The point in the net is that the officer who has been there over the period as a regular officer has, not only the professional competency, but the habit of mind, if I may call it that, that general experience, that continuing knowledgeand that intimate association and knowledge of the machine that make him familiar with every nut and bolt in it, so to speak. Why not continue the services of that man up to the end of his usefulness, if there is a place that somebody corresponding to him will have to fill some day? That regular officer will be useful, certainly up to 60. Why not use him? Looking through the debates, I see that the Minister said that you could very easily call him back. That is an answer given to us in Committee, is it not?

To some extent.

Major de Valera

My answer to that is that, if you are going to be in that position, why not ensure maximum efficiency by keeping him in touch and making the calling back simpler and more effective? That man will be all the more efficient by being kept. Common sense seems to demand that, if we are to have a reserve at all and if there are officers who are trained, regular officers of the highest category and experience that you can get, going out at an age that will still leave them below, say, 60 or even a little more, and available for those jobs to which I will refer more specifically in a moment, the obvious thing is to provide in the interim period after their retirement from whole time regular service the necessary contact with the machine to keep them in touch so that the first hand contact that they enjoyed at the moment of leaving will not be lost. That seems to be a desirable thing and, of course, the most reasonable way of doing that is to fit them into some category in the Reserve.

So far, the argument is based on the assumption that these officers would be needed and that there would be a place for them when it would come to mobilisation or some such time. I feel fairly confident that they would be, both from our experience in the past and from the experience of other organisations.

In the past, in one sense, the circumstances were somewhat different because the type of officer to whom Deputy Cowan referred were officerswho retired at a fairly early age and were therefore still in a relatively low age group when they were mobilised. Even so, let us look at it this way: In 1939, when the Defence Forces were mobilised, it was very surprising to find how many officers of the Reserve, whether young like some of us or old like some others, found themselves in administrative positions. That applied particularly in 1940 when the expansion came. If it had not been for that pool of officers who were able to fit into these positions as well as the Reserve officers and N.C.O.s who were able to take over competent positions, the attempt to mobilise an emergency army in 1940 would have collapsed.

I have already instanced the case in Eastern Command, where the officer commanding the regimental depot— that was the training depot for the whole of the Eastern Command — his successive adjutants, at one period, two out of three of the company, the commandants, including the officer commanding the advance training company — that was the company that was in charge of training N.C.O.s, and, later, potential officers, specialists, and so forth—all these happened to be Reserve officers, and when it came to mobilisation in 1940 some of these officers in the young category were wanted for outside jobs, for duty with columns, and it was a question of looking around to know where to get some of the older type of officers to fit into these posts, and they were available, from the old type of reservists of which Deputy Cowan talks.

Of the Eastern Command, I can talk with personal knowledge. Take the records officer. The whole administration of records in that command was immediately and most conveniently filled by an old Reserve officer of the type of which Deputy Cowan talks. A number of these officers were beyond what you might call their field usefulness.

I am afraid there is a bit of confusion here between the general usefulness of an officer and his services as a field-commander, jumping over ditches and all that. There is a certain amount of confusion arising in this matters because, admittedly, a number of theseofficers were certainly gone beyond the day when they would take a five-foot gate at one jump, but they were, on the other hand, more competent to handle the routine administration, to fit into the machine, to deal with Army forms, to look after stores and to get into the scheme of Army accountancy, which is a peculiar thing on its own, incidentally, and a certain amount of previous experience is desirable before you take it over. These people fitted in there very usefully.

I can visualise the same kind of thing happening in future. Certainly, on paper and on the way we are facing up to defence as we have been, it is very clear that — Dia idir sinn agus an olc — if anything happens it will be a big, bad scramble. We will have a certain number of regular troops that, if we come up against the hard fact of the matter, will be in any event insufficient. We have a completely deficient Reserve. There is no use blinking our eyes to the facts. These are the hard facts of the situation. As to our F.C.A., Second Line Reserve, we have not quite made up our minds as to what its rôle is and, even as it is, it cannot be considered as completely organised or completely equipped. In that situation we can look forward to another 1940 at some stage or another, from the point of view of mobilisation, of facing up to the task when the thing comes upon us. If that happens, I can see a lot of the old troubles developing again — taking over new posts, expanding units, having to cater for training while you are trying to mobilise and organise, that is, if you get the time, as we did on the last occasion, trying to get in, at the same time, training of leaders for new units, and so forth.

All that will lead to a somewhat similar type of picture to what we had before — a scramble, looking for people for administrative posts and not having enough trained people or people with the necessary knowledge and experience to fill all the posts. You will want the more active and particularly the regular types for primary combat jobs and staff jobs. You do not want to be wasting your best Reserveofficers in administrative posts There will be quartermasters and adjutants and so on to be found. The ideal place to find them would be from a number of officers even up to the age of 65 — I will go as far as that in some cases. I know that some of them would be quite active and good enough up to that age for some of these administrative jobs, depot commandants and posts of that sort. Then, even on the training side, there will be people to be trained and courses to be run and, again, for the planning and administration of these courses some of these well-trained officers would be very valuable.

That is no radical idea for this country. I have one case in mind and I will give chapter and verse to anybody who wants it. There was the case of a man who joined the British army as a private before the 1914-18. War and rose from the ranks during that war to be a regular officer. He joined as a regular private in 1913, or some time like that. Having served in all capacities, officer, N.C.O., and private, during the 1914 war in that army, he went out some time after the war as a reserve officer until 1939. He was mobilised again and eventually was in charge of a training establishment, actively organising and training troops for all types of work. You can look at the age factor in that for yourself. He joined as a private in 1912 or 1913. You can look at the experience and the history there for yourself. He was available for the job. The net point is that he was used in that army and used effectively with all his experience behind him.

I do not see why we cannot have the same kind of approach in this case. I know a number of ex-regular officers who went out after their period of service on pension. I could rattle off a list of names of officers who went out after their period of regular service and who, if we had them on the Reserve, would be extremely valuable. If I mentioned some of these officers, the mention of the list would be enough to prove the case. Passing through my mind is the case of some of the technical corps as well as the general service and the infantry.

It seems to me then that there is anunanswerable case for making some provision for keeping these regular officers available; not only keeping them available, but keeping them in touch, keeping up their professional interest, and, reciprocally, keeping them in contact with developments, not only locally, but so far as these are known to our Defence Forces as a whole. That is important from the point of view of keeping them in touch with the organisation of the machine, so that if they have to come into that machine as an adjutant, a quartermaster, a training officer or anything else, they will know precisely what the situation is.

The next question is how would you do it? Some of us put up a suggestion already as to how it can be done. For instance, it can be done in this way. When a man retires from active service, instead of his going out with complete freedom and merely a pension attached, he would be liable to be recalled. I think it is more or less the situation in other countries — that he would be liable to recall. Then you can go to sub-divisions in this sense. If a man went out, say, at 45, he would have another ten or 15 years of useful service there before him. You could place him in a special category of the Reserve, the retired category, and treat him as a Reserve officer by paying the additional emoluments that go with activity on the Reserve in addition to his pension. He will have that, so to speak, augmentation of his pension. It is not really a pension, because he will be coming up for training. These terms can be modified and some suitable arrangement of that kind can be made. He is kept in touch. He comes up every year for a certain amount of training and is treated as a Reserve officer accordingly. Then, at the expiration of a particular time, when he comes to the age of 55 or 60 or something like that, he simply becomes a Reserve officer as he is at present. It should be perfectly easy to work out a scheme somewhat on these lines.

Somebody may say: "What about the existing Reserve officers; are you going to force them to do this under their contract?" The answer to thatis that you can leave it voluntary for these officers at the change over period. If you leave it voluntary on the basis I have suggested, namely, that a man would have the option, I think the problem would to some extent solve itself.

Whereas, in regard to this amendment, some of the details may not be completelyad idemwith the principle of this, by trying to make some provision for keeping these men available you will have their services immediately available when they are kept there with that point in view during the interim period. The general idea we have tried to put forward should be knocked into some kind of workable form, instead of allowing an officer to go out and forget all about it, which is, I think, a waste.

Does the Minister accept the amendment?

I promised the Special Committee that I would have this question examined. It has been examined and is actually being discussed at present. Both Deputy Cowan and Deputy de Valera have made a case for the non-acceptance of this amendment by reason of the fact that they have outlined in detail the excellent services rendered by officers of this type, officers who had retired under the age limit and who, when a situation of emergency arose, were called up and appointed to various posts. These appointments were generally to administrative posts, because, when all is said and done, emergency service, which is to a very large extent equivalent to active service, requires comparatively young men to operate in the field. The retiring ages run from 50 for a captain to 63 for a major-general. I think the age limits are reasonable. One must remember that a captain at 50 years of age is a man who will be expected to lead his unit into the thickest of the fray.

That is if he is a company captain.

What else are we talking about?

He could be a quartermaster or camp commandant.

He could, or he could be in some office where he might be doing nothing but writing notes and so on just as easily. Generally speaking officers of the rank of captain are in the main company captains who are expected to be very active men. A commandant is likewise expected to be a very active man. Deputy de Valera and Deputy Cowan have given us examples from their own experience of the type of man who has been called back in an emergency and used in the capacity or category to which they have referred. Deputy de Valera referred to the desirability of keeping these men in touch. How can one keep a captain of 50 years of age in touch with the active work of a captain in the field? One must remember that at 50 years of age the man has retired and may not be called back for another ten years. At 60 years of age he could not be expected to go back into the field and lead a unit in active service even if he kept in touch during the whole ten years. Neither could any of the other people whose ages range from 50 to 63.

I have said that the Army authorities are examining this matter at my request. May I remind Deputies that Section 21, sub-section (2) (a) provides:—

"The Minister may by regulations constitute such and so many classes of officers of the Reserve Defence Force as he thinks fit and assign to any class so constituted such title as he thinks fit."

That gives the Minister the power the Deputy is seeking and it was under a regulation such as that that we were able during the emergency to call up all these officers, utilise them and avail of their services — and I agree they were very valuable — to the utmost. Furthermore, they went long beyond the retiring age since we were able to retain them under the Emergency Regulations. If the necessity arises for doing that again I have no doubt that any Minister would put all the younger and more active men into active service and avail of the services of these menin the administrative posts left vacant. If the Deputies examine that particular section they will see that the Minister will have the necessary power to do what Deputy Cowan suggests should be done in this amendment.

I take it the Minister is not accepting the amendment. I do not think it is necessary to dwell at length upon the amendment. Deputy Cowan suggests that the Reserve should be established by right for officers retiring from the permanent force and that any officer who is fit could apply for admission to it. The Minister's line is that he will select the people. That is the difference between us in a nutshell. The Minister may like the colour of one man's hair and tell him that he is commissioned and will be retained on the Reserve. He may not like the colour of another man's hair and he will say: "Out you go." That is what sub-section (2) (a) of Section 21 means.

Deputy Cowan, in his amendment, wants to give every man the right, if he is physically fit, of becoming a member of the Reserve. The Minister says that a captain of 50 years of age cannot be expected to lead men into action. Such a captain can lead them in all right, and experience has shown that the man of 50 leading a company will give better service than a man of 25 or 30, for the simple reason that the older man is not so inclined to run away. He will either stand and fight or get — one or the other. We want to strike an even balance. We want a fairly aged company commander with young fellows under him to give him the necessary gyp, as it were.

The matter depends on the administrative action the Minister takes. If the Minister automatically puts a physically fit man on the Reserve, that will be all right. We are enacting now a permanent measure, and I think the Minister should reconsider this matter and accept the amendment. It will not make very much difference, anyway. If a man is fit he will go on the Reserve by right instead of by ministerial selection.

Selection is not so hot. There may be animosities. There may be a desire to get a man out at any cost. Thatdoes not help towards the loyalty and goodwill that should exist in an army when people know they are protected up to the limits of their ability. I appeal to the Minister to accept the amendment.

I think the Minister has been wrongly advised in regard to the sub-section which he has mentioned. At the moment there is an age limit for the permanent forces. There is the same age limit for the Reserve. Therefore, if an officer retires at 45 or 50 from the permanent force he cannot be appointed to the Reserve because the same age limit obtains there. That is where the difficulty arises. I am surprised when the Minister says he asked the Army to examine this, and that they are considering it at the moment, because on 13th March, 1952, we made an even stronger case in the Special Committee than has been made here to-day, and we were assured then by the Minister that this matter would be examined. That is almost a year ago. A matter of that kind could very readily be decided within that period. I know the Minister is advised to say that a captain of 50 leaving a company is perhaps too old for that, but that cannot possibly be the advice of military men. Military men realise how important the administrative end of an army is. It does not matter how good your fighters are; if you have not the administrative machine the Army cannot function. I think it was Napoleon who said that an army marches on its stomach; the most important part of the Army then is the machinery by which the troops are fed and equipped. If one looks at an army and at the services that are necessary to maintain even a small force in the field, one realises that, while captain rank originally was captain in command of a company, it is a military rank in the military hierarchy, and that the captain fulfills many important functions other than leading a company.

Major de Valera

For instance, you could take the training point the Minister mentioned. Actually they have been employed during peace-timeand there has been plenty for them to do, assistant adjutant, assistant quartermaster in regimental units and so on. The Minister's argument does not hold water.

That is why I say the Minister has not been advised by the military men in regard to this. I had better be plain about my difficulties in regard to this Bill. We put a considerable amount of work into this Bill. Sometimes I have met military officers and I have said: "What are you doing about this Bill?" They said: "We never heard about it. We read a bit in the newspapers but we have never seen anything else about it."

Those of us who have had some practical experience of how the Army is run, know that you just cannot have this Defence Forces Bill based entirely on the advice of the civilian side of the Department of Defence. Some men in the civilian side of the Department of Defence may have the conception that in an army a captain is to lead his company on to the field. That is not the military conception. That is one of the functions of a captain. In fact, we find that company commanders in most countries have a rank higher than captain. The American and British armies have company commanders ranking as major. We have company commanders here who are commandants, and rightly so. However, an appointment is one thing and a rank is another. I am wondering whether we can get anywhere with this Defence Bill at all.

I am wondering that, too.

As far as the officers and soldiers of the Army are concerned, they have more protection under the temporary Act that is in existence than they will have under this new Act. For years I have looked forward to the time when I would be able to contribute something towards improving the Defence Forces Act and I find now I am in the position of helping to pass an Act that will bear more severely on the officers and soldiers in the Army than the present old Defence Forces Act.

The Deputy is straying from the amendment.

No. With respect, Sir, I do not intend to stray. I am talking about the matter we are dealing with at the moment. This particular section has been under discussion for a year and apparently they have not made up their mind as to whether my amendment is a good amendment or not. Three Deputies who have spoken here with experience of the actual operation of the Defence Forces advise that something like this could be done. I would agree with Deputy Major de Valera that perhaps my wording is not the best wording. I agree with his view that what we want is a liability to recall in the case of a permanent officer who is out on pension. That is why my second amendment about commissioning in the Reserve was submitted so that those men would be brought along yearly or once in every two years or whenever it is considered necessary to get a refresher course. For instance, there are new methods of accountancy. The young fellow is not worried about accountancy. The young officer always tried to get away from quartermastering or accountancy. In my young days he would not touch it with a 40-foot pole but as one gets on one finds that there is a good lot to be said for what the Minister describes as the funk-hole officers, the man who keeps the machine moving, who is there at all times, who is not like the young fellow anxious to be out having a dance, a drink or a fling.

And who knows the regulations.

Strange as it may seem, the regulations are the most important matter in the running of an army. As regards young officers who are commissioned in the military college after a very thorough course, it takes them many years before they have half the knowledge that the older officer has built up over a long period. Like Deputy de Valera I think it is a scandalous thing that we should have this deliberate waste, the loss of theservices of officers who are fully competent and fully qualified.

In opening, I made the case, as did Deputy Major de Valera, who followed me, for the old Reserve officers who are part of the Reserve and who were called up to serve in the emergency. They were the men who trained the Army, looked after the equipment and built up the emergency Army. The Minister has not referred to them. He has referred to men with experience who were brought in and commissioned during the emergency. They were a different class.

Major de Valera

And it took them some time to find out what had happened in between.

They had to be trained and their capacity had to be studied. They were generally commissioned as 2nd lieutenants; gradually they worked their way up but it took a good while for them to reach the rank of captain; whereas, if they were in the Reserve, their ability would have been discovered in the meantime and in the time of emergency they would have fitted properly into the rôle.

What we are trying to do is to ensure that a person who is on pension at, say, 50 years of age, will be liable to recall until he reaches an age when it is reasonable to assume he will not be able to render efficient service any longer unless he is a Von Manstein or somebody like that. I do not want to tie the Minister down to the actual words in the amendment but I want him to agree to the principle that officers retiring will remain liable for service, that they will be placed on the Reserve, that they will be called up and that they will get the training that will keep them in touch with military developments. I think the amount involved would be a very small sum for the State to pay to retain the efficient service of these men. If the Minister will agree to accept the principle, I do not mind who prepares the wording. All I ask the Minister to do is to accept the principle of the case that has been made by Deputies.

On a point of correction, I want to say that the view expressedby Deputy Cowan in regard to one matter is entirely wrong, though I have no doubt that when Deputy Cowan assumes a viewpoint of that kind and expresses it, he believes it. This Bill was examined section by section by the military, and it is wrong to suggest that it is purely a Bill produced by civilians. That is the point I want to correct.

Amendment put and negatived.

I move amendment No. 20:—

In page 23, Section 24 (4), line 28, to insert "subject to sub-section (5)" before "the".

This amendment and amendment No. 21, taken in conjunction, provide, in accordance with an undertaking which I gave the Special Committee, that an officer shall not be transferred from military to naval rank orvice versaexcept with his own consent.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 21:—

In page 23, Section 24, to insert at the end of the section the following new sub-section:—

(5) A direction shall not be given in respect of an officer under sub-section (4) of this section except with his consent.

The purpose of the amendment is as I have just explained.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 22:—

In page 24, Section 25 (7), line 39, to insert "subject to sub-section (8)" before "the".

This amendment and amendment No. 23 make the same provision in regard to non-commissioned personnel as amendments Nos. 20 and 21 do for officers.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 23:—

In page 24, Section 25, to insert at the end of the section the following new sub-section:—

(8) A direction shall not be given in respect of a man under sub-section (7) of this section except with his consent.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 24:—

In page 25 to delete Section 27 (1), lines 3 to 5, and substitute:—

(1) The Minister may establish a military college and so many other institutions as he thinks necessary for the training and instruction of members of the Defence Forces and of students therefor.

We had in the old Act a provision for a military college and, of course, provision for institutions. The Bill says in Section 27 (1):—

"The Minister may establish such and so many institutions as he thinks fit for the training and instruction of members of the Defence Forces."

I propose to amend that section by deleting the sub-section and substituting for it the words set out in the amendment. There are two points in the amendment. I first of all want to retain the statutory position of the Military College. The Military College has been in existence for many years. Most of the officers in the Army have graduated through the college either as cadets or through courses in the college subsequent to receiving their commission.

It may be that under the wording of the section the Minister would be able to establish by regulation an institution which we will call a military college, but the section, as worded, marks a break with tradition for which I do not see any necessity. I think it should be made very clear that we should have a military college and, as I say, so many other institutions as the Minister may think necessary. I provide additionally that there shall be institutions for the training of students for the Defence Forces, that is, for young boys who are not members ofthe Defence Forces. It may be desirable in future to have institutions where the sons of Army personnel would be trained to become eventually soldiers. I go a little further than the Minister by making provision for the training of students and I want to see retained in the statute the title of Military College.

I would be prepared to accept the amendment subject to the deletion of the words "and of students therefor". Every member of the college must be a member of the Defence Forces, otherwise he could not be in a military college. I would be prepared, therefore, with the deletion of the words "and of students therefor" to accept the amendment.

Major de Valera

Is it absolutely necessary to prohibit ourselves by legislation or, by implication in existing legislation, from accepting outside students in the Military College? It has been customary in other countries to allow military colleges to be availed of by external students. I am not suggesting that we should do that here but it might be highly desirable in certain circumstances that some people who are not actually members of the Defence Forces should do a course in one of our military colleges. I have not looked into the matter from a legal point of view but, as I say, it might be highly desirable in certain circumstances for some people to do a military course. Frankly, I think it would be a good thing if certain civilian members of the Department of Defence were obliged to do a military course and if,vice versa, some of our staff officers were required to have a knowledge of Civil Service routine.

I think it would make for somewhat more harmonious working. Aside from that point, there might be actual circumstances in which it would be desirable that some person who was not a member of the Defence Forces should be allowed to attend a course in a military college. Remember this is enabling something to be done, not saying that something must be done. If somebody suggested that we should insert a clause providing that the Minister must allow a number ofcivilians to go there, clearly I would say: "Delete it," but this is enabling legislation and I can see circumstances where it might be desirable to use a facility of this nature. In that case, I do not know whether the insertion of the words suggested by Deputy Cowan is not, in fact, desirable. I do not think the words "and students therefor" are actually apt words. I would suggest something like this: "for the training and instruction of members of the Defence Forces" and then I would delete the words "and of students therefor," and further add "and such other persons as the Minister for Defence in his discretion may nominate." Something like that would leave it completely at the discretion of the Minister.

The idea of retaining the Military College is one that I am glad the Minister accepts. Whether we get the other bit or not he is accepting this. I think he should put it in. The Minister, I think, has put his finger upon the important point that no person can be a student of the Military College except he is of army personnell. This idea of civilians being sent to it, as suggested by Deputy Major de Valera, is sheer nonsense. It would be a breeding ground for private armies.

Major de Valera

Are you bringing that up again?

It would be a breeding ground for private armies.

Major de Valera

Are we back to private armies again?

That is what you would build up if you got the chance. If I were able to go down there and if I were selected——

Major de Valera

You would know that blue was a very bad field colour.


Keep to the amendment.

The amendment includes things like that. Deputy Major de Valera has further suggested "such other persons as the Minister may think fit, including civil servants".That is being discussed at the moment. I presume that Deputy Major de Valera's amendment is perfectly in order and that the Minister could accept that wording if he felt like it.

It is not a serious suggestion.

Major de Valera

It is serious in so far as the words are concerned.

Would you try and make up your mind whether it is serious or not? I took everything Deputy Major de Valera said in this House to be serious. I think I cannot do anything else. The Minister may think it is not serious and he may take it as being not serious if he wants to, but I am not going to do that. I think that the acceptance by the Minister of the amendment with the deletion of the words "students therefor" is satisfactory to me. I am satisfied with that so long as the Military College end is retained.

I am also glad that the Minister has agreed to retain the statutory establishment because I think the Military College has undoubtedly made its name. I hope it will be there many hundreds of years from now not only with members of the Defence Forces in it but with students from other countries coming over to get training there.

I think the rest of my amendment has been misread. The amendment now reads:—

"The Minister may establish a military college and so many other institutions as he thinks necessary for the training and instruction of members of the Defence Forces and of students therefor."

What I visualised there was that students for the Defence Forces would be sent to the Military College. I agree with what has been generally said that the Military College is a place for training members of the Defence Forces and for training members of the military forces of other countries who will come here on some exchange basis. I do not think there will be any trouble about that.

Under "these other institutions" the Minister might set up a school in which the sons of serving soldiers and officers, boys from 14 years of age up, and, perhaps, the orphan children of soldiers would be trained. When they reach the age of 18 they will themselves, I am sure, be very desirous of joining the Defence Forces. That is what I had in mind. As Deputy Major de Valera said, the incorporation of the word "students" does not in any way weaken the section nor does it in any way compel the Minister to set up such a training place. It was not in connection with the Military College but in connection with the other institutions. There are all kinds of schools that the Minister will establish under this, corps schools and other different schools, but I had in mind, perhaps, that in the future there might be this idea of training the orphan sons of soldiers to be soldiers in the future.

That could be done through another institution but not through the Military College. I have in mind an institution like the old Hibernian Military School in the Park, but what the Deputy suggests is outside the scope of the Military College.

The amendment reads: "the Minister may establish a military college and so many other institutions for that purpose". It was "the other institutions" that I wanted the students for.

That could always be considered.


Does the House agree to amendment No. 24, with the deletion of the words "and of students therefor"?

Yes, the Minister to consider that aspect of it before the Bill is passed.

The other institutions?

No — the students for the other institutions.

Amendment, as amended, agreed to.

I move amendment No. 25:—

In page 25 to delete Section 27 (2), lines 6 to 15, and substitute the following:—

(2) The Minister may make regulations for the discipline, management, control and good government of such college and institutions and for all or any of the following matters in relation thereto:—

(a) the staff,

(b) the admission of persons,

(c) the curricula,

(d) the duration and description of the courses of instruction and training,

(e) the examinations to be held and the standards to be attained,

(f) the appointment of examiners and of an appeal board,

(g) the procedure to govern the hearing of appeals by the appeal board againsts the decision of the examiner or examiners.

This is a sort of technical amendment. Section 27 (2) sets out:—

"The Minister may make regulations in relation to all or any of the following matters:—

(a) the staff of institutions established under this section,

(b) the persons to be admitted to such institutions."

It is those I had in mind in connection with the sons of soldiers. The section goes on to enumerate:—

" (c) the curricula of such institutions,

(d) the duration and description of the courses of instruction and training in such institutions,

(e) the examinations to be held in such institutions,

(f) the management, control and good government of such institutions."

I altered this slightly. I say that:

"The Minister may make regulations for the discipline, management, control and good government of such college and institutions and for allor any of the following matters in relation thereto:—

(a) the staff,

(b) the admission of persons,

(c) the curricula,

(d) the duration and description of the courses of instruction and training,

(e) the examinations to be held and the standards to be attained.

(f) the appointment of examiners and of an appeal board,

(g) the procedure to govern the hearing of appeals by the appeal board against the decision of the examiner or examiners."

The proposal in relation to the standards to be attempted is a new one. Where you have a military college, the appointment of examiners is a matter which should be governed by regulations, and if a person is dissatisfied with the ruling of the examiners he should have the right of appeal to an appeal board established by the Minister. I think that is reasonable. A young man who goes into the college and remains there for a couple of years is in line in the ordinary way to be commissioned. He may find that he is marked wrongly, as he considers, on some particular paper. A decision on that might affect his whole career. It may decide whether he is to be in the Army or not.

I think there ought to be a right of appeal to an appeal board established by the Minister. I think that is a matter of ordinary justice and that there should be no objection to the amendment.

I am afraid I could not accept that amendment because I am satisfied that the section, as it is, covers adequately all the matters, including the appointment of examiners referred to in the Deputy's amendment. They are fully safeguarded.

The appeal board.

I do not think that the Minister can get rid of it in that fashion. The idea of an appeal board certainly influences me becausesometimes marking can be unduly harsh and it could affect a young man's whole career. I think that the Minister cannot just cast the amendment aside with just a few words about safeguards and saying the matter is already fully covered. I would suggest that he examine the matter in greater detail. The amendment is doing something that is wise. It states what the subjects are that will be governed by regulation. I think it is no harm at all to have these headings inserted. We would know, the Army, the cadets and everybody else would know what procedure would be followed in the appointment of the staff and the examiners. A student or a number of students might ask for an examination of papers which they sent in or they could be interviewed by the board subsequently to see if they were likely to become officers. I think the Minister should consider the matter carefully before rejecting it in an offhand manner.

If the Deputy looks at Section 113 he will see that there is provision there for an appeal to the Minister, if necessary.

That concerns appeals to the Minister. We know that.

It concerns appeals in connection with what is known as the redress of wrongs. In military colleges they are dealing with young men of 20 years of age, men who have reached the use of reason and may come to the conclusion that they have been dealt with unfairly in some examination paper, either in the way it was set or in the way it was marked. Examiners in the military sphere, in any country, may set questions which could reasonably be considered unfair. This is a matter of justice. The only difference between the Minister's section and mine, apart from construction, is that I provide an appeal board and procedure to govern appeals against the decision of the examiners. I think it is just that that should be done and I cannot see why there should be any objection.

I am satisfied that we have covered everything necessary.

Amendment put and declared lost.

I move amendment No. 26:—

In page 25, Section 30 (1) (a), line 31, before "harbours" to insert "training grounds, recreation grounds,".

Section 30 says that the Minister may construct and maintain barracks, quarters, defence works, magazines, aerodromes, ranges, harbours, piers, dockyards, dry docks and anchorages. I propose to add training grounds and recreation grounds for the Defence Forces.

This is another of the things I thought I had satisfied the Deputy on in the Special Committee, but apparently I was wrong. Under (h) of this sub-section there is power, subject to the provisions of the Act, to do all such other things as may seem to the Minister to be necessary for the efficient military defence of the State. Under that I could do what the Deputy suggests and, with that, he will probably be prepared to withdraw the amendment.

This is one of the sections on which I have a doubt. Naturally I have referred to (h), but there could be a question as to whether the efficient military defence of the State would include the provision of recreation grounds.

I know that this question came up at some stage and it was held elsewhere that the power of acquiring land for the purpose of building a barrack did not extend to the provision of a football ground for the troops. There is very little between us in this matter.

Is that a wise way to proceed to get sports grounds? Is it not better to get statutory power for sports grounds than to put it under this blanket, the defence of the State? It is a silly thing to do, in that you are abusing a power that is given forthe defence of the State in order to do a thing like this. It is only upsetting people's minds. Now that this has been adverted to, the Minister should accept the amendment and be able to say later: "This is the section on which I proceed for a sports ground."

There is not a year in which it does not occur that recreation grounds are obtained.

Is there not always a row, that you are using a cannon to kill a fly?

The Minister says (h) covers that. If he argues that way, surely (h) covers all other things in the sub-section and there is no need to put them in at all, as (h) would cover barracks, quarters, etc? To my mind, the provision of training grounds and sports grounds is just as essential to the defence of the State as the construction of barracks and so on. Like Deputy MacEoin, I think it is rather unreasonable to resort to this subterfuge under (h) to deal with sports grounds. I would like to see training and recreation grounds specifically included. It is as necessary to have them in black and white as the other matters.

Would the Minister accept the amendment?

No. I am satisfied we are fully covered.

Amendment put and declared lost.
Debate adjourned.