Committee on Finance. - Vote 29—Office of the Minister for Justice.

I move:—

That a sum not exceeding £52,800 be granted to complete the sumnecessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1954, for the salaries and expenses of the Office of the Minister for Justice.

I propose, if the House agrees, to follow the same procedure as in previous years and deal generally with the group of Estimates Nos. 29 to 37 for which I am responsible as Minister. These Estimates, which are all for essential services, show little change as compared with previous years and I am sure that the House will not expect me to give a detailed explanation of them.

The aggregate amount of the nine Estimates is £4,136,190, a decrease of £136,370 as compared with the Estimates for 1952-53.

The first Estimate, No. 29, is for a total of £79,200 for the Office of the Minister for Justice. It shows a decrease of £1,160 as compared with last year. This decrease is accounted for by economies in staff and it would have been greater but for the need to provide for the new service created by the Adoption Act, 1952. A sum of £2,304 is included in the Estimate for payment of the staff of An Bord Uchtála and to defray subsistence and travelling expenses. The chairman of the board is a justice of the District Court and his salary is borne on the Central Fund. The Adoption Act came into operation on the 1st January, 1953, and the chairman and members of the board who were appointed immediately after that date have now drafted their rules of procedure and are proceeding with the examination of some 1,350 applications under the Act which they have received to date.

The next Estimate, No. 30, is for £3,479,380 for the Garda Síochána. It shows a decrease of £129,460 as compared with the Estimate for 1952-53. This decrease is due mainly to the following causes: (a) a reduction in the strength of the force; (b) provision being made for only 52 weekly pay days as compared with 53 weekly pay days in 1952-53, and (c) purchase of cloth for uniform being reduced by theutilisation of portion of the reserve stocks purchased in 1951-52.

Since 1948, the strength of the force had fallen from 7,425, all ranks, to 6,729 (on the 1st April in this year), a reduction of 696. The force is now some 760 men below the authorised strength. The fall in numbers is due to the fact that recruiting was stopped in 1948 and not reopened until 1952. Were is not for the Order that was made on the 3rd May, 1951 (extending the compulsory retiring age of N.C.O.s and men from 57 to 60 years and of officers from 60 to 63 years) the wastage would have been much greater. Because of that Order, no fewer than 340 men above 57 who would otherwise have gone are still serving in the force.

At the present time, 2,729 members of the force have sufficient service to entitle them to retire on pension should they wish to do so. Three thousand two hundred and thirteen N.C.O.s and men are over 50 years of age and 527 more will reach that age this year. There is so high a proportion of middleaged men that no fewer than 3,740 of the present personnel will reach the age of compulsory retirement within the next ten years. In view of the fact that there are quite a number who retire voluntarily each year before they have reached the age limit, it is not unlikely that the wastage over the next ten years may be as high as 4,500.

Arrangements are being made to step up recruiting to meet the danger of a sudden exodus from the force. I agreed last year to substitute a competitive test for the previous method of selecting recruits, in deference to the views expressed on both sides of the House, though I myself am not altogether convinced that a competitive test is the best method or will get us the best material. The new arrangement is purely experimental and it will not be continued if it does not work.

It is proposed during the year to issue to all members of the force the new pattern uniform, with open-neck tunic, similar to that at present on issue to traffic Gardaí in Dublin.

The Prisons Estimate, No. 31, at £189,050, is £7,970 less than last year. The decrease is due mainly to a further retrenchment of staff consequent on the reduction of Cork and Sligo Prisons to minor status; a fall in the price of fuel; the use of reserve stocks of materials purchased in 1951-52 for officers' uniforms and prisoners' clothing and to an estimated increase of about £3,000 in the value of articles to be manufactured in prisons.

In connection with Estimate No. 32 for the District Court last year I informed the House of the scheme, which had been agreed between my Department and the Department of Finance, for the grant of established status, under Section 3 of the Court Officers Act, 1951, to certain unestablished District Court clerks. Under the scheme established status has up to date been granted to 40 District Court clerks and the cases of a further six are at present under consideration.

I do not think there is need for me to say anything about Estimates Nos. 33 to 37 for the Circuit Court, the Supreme and High Court, the Land Registry and Registry of Deeds, the Public Record Office and the Office of Charitable Donations and Bequests. Each of the foregoing Estimates shows little change as compared with previous years, any variations being due mainly to increments of salary and slight alterations in staffs.

It is usual for the Minister for Justice, when introducing the Estimates, to give a brief account of the volume of crime in the country. Last year I had to state that the situation was not good and I regret to have to say this year that the position has not improved. The interim report on crime for the year 1952 furnished by the Commissioner, Garda Síochána, shows that the upward tendency in the number of indictable crimes committed has not halted. In 1952 the number of such crimes was 14,892 as compared with 14,127 in 1951, 12,231 in 1950 and 6,769 in 1938. The increase in 1952, as was the case in the previous year, occurred entirely under the heading of "Offences Against Property." As compared with 1951 therewas an increase of 841 in larcenies of pedal cycles and to this increase I am afraid the owners of the cycles must themselves have contributed by failing to take adequate care to safeguard their machines. Of the 14,892 crimes reported 9,529 were committed in the Dublin Metropolitan Division.

The number of prosecutions for summary offences was 139,927 as compared with 145,785 in 1951 and 104,188 in 1938. The number of prosecutions under the Road Traffic Act was 81,228, offences against the intoxicating liquor laws numbered 17,688, and cases of unlicensed dogs accounted for 10,066 prosecutions. Failure of parents or guardians to comply with the School Attendance Acts resulted in court proceedings being instituted in 5,142 cases.

There is, however, one improvement which I am pleased to mention to the House; the year 1952 showed a reduction in juvenile crime. The number of juvenile offenders dealt with during the year was 2,341, a decrease of 361 as compared with 1951. There was a decrease of 123 in the number of juveniles concerned in house-breaking and a similar decrease in the number dealt with for larceny.

Before the Minister sits down will he say whether the arrears in the Land Registry Office are being cleared up?

Mr. Boland

I am informed now that there has been reorganisation and that good headway is being made towards reducing the arrears.

What is the reason for the increase in the Secret Service?

I move:—

That the Estimate be referred back for reconsideration.

There are a few matters which I wish to raise on this Estimate and I will begin where the Minister left off. The fact that indictable crimes have risen substantially over pre-war figures is a matter that should give the House some serious consideration. It is no reflection on the Minister or probably on any Minister that this situation has shown no alteration in recent years,but the fact that indictable offences have increased by more than 100 per cent. as compared with the 1938 figures is a matter that should receive serious consideration. Most of us have from time to time read the reports of the Commissioner of the Garda Síochána dealing with criminal matters. I should be glad to hear from the Minister whether he is in a position to say what investigation is being carried out in relation to the causes of or reasons for this increase in indictable offences.

It is satisfactory to note that, last year, there was a slight reduction in juvenile crime. I believe that a careful examination into the types of offences and the individuals concerned would, in certain cases at any rate, enable remedial measures to be applied. I have a feeling that, to a considerable extent, the remedies applied—whether they be imprisonment or fines or whatever they may be—are merely in the form of a penalty rather than a corrective. I believe that the Minister's Department, in conjunction with the Garda authorities and probably representatives of the judiciary, could devise or consider some system whereby corrective measures might be applied. This is a matter, which over the years, has received consideration not merely in this country but elsewhere. However, it is a reflection on society as a whole that indictable offences are more than double what they were in 1938.

There are two matters that I wish to raise in particular on this Estimate. The first relates to the congestion which exists at present in the courts, with particular reference to the High Court. I know that this is an old chestnut but it has become aggravated in recent years and each year sees a deterioration in the situation. I believe that the Minister should consider seeking advice on this matter from representatives of the judiciary, from the Attorney-General's Department, from the Bar Council and from the Incorporated Law Society. The present position of the High Court list is one of acute congestion. Many people who are not familiar with the situation attribute that to normal legal delays.

I think it is correct to say that the cause of the vast majority of the delays that occur in getting cases put down for hearing on the list is the fact that the list is already overcrowded and is not due to any delay on the part of members of the Bar or of the solicitors' profession or, for that matter, of the judges concerned. The position is that in recent years there has been a steady rise in the number of High Court jury actions.

If the list is examined it will be seen that the tendency has been for the number of cases to increase and, with the number of judges at present available for hearing cases, congestion has resulted in considerable delays, causing serious losses to litigants. I want to make it quite clear that this delay does not cause any particular losses to members of the professions involved. I suppose the members of the professions would benefit by having their cases heard, but the difficulty is to get a case listed for hearing. Very often, months may elapse before a case can be listed because of the acute congestion which exists. The position is that, each term, a certain number of common law judges are assigned for jury work. If the Central Criminal Court is sitting or the Court of Criminal Appeal, the number of common law judges available will be reduced because of the demands of these courts on the judges available. Similarly, if either of the Chancery judges available for this work are obliged to take their turn at the Central Criminal Court, a delay occurs on the Chancery side. I suggest to the Minister that the time has arrived when consideration should be given to the possibility of providing an additional High Court judge or, alternatively, that some system can be devised between the Minister's Department and the authorities concerned to speed up the hearing of the many cases at present listed. As I understand it, no efforts on the part of those concerned can speed up the delays which have occurred, and the congestion at present existing is due entirely to the inability of judges to hear thecases available. They are already overburdened with cases, and the problem of providing an extra judge is one which should be carefully considered by the Minister. I need not elaborate on the situation which has developed. I am sure the Minister's Department is cognisant of the situation, and I suggest to him that his Department should consult with the Attorney-General's Department and have the matter remedied as soon as possible.

The other matter to which I wish to refer is the traffic congestion in Dublin. Undoubtedly an alteration which was made last year has improved the situation but there are still great delays, particularly in the College Green area. Some more strenuous efforts should be made to speed up the traffic delays in the city. I know that in the near future the new bus station at Store Street will be made available and whether that will improve or disimprove the situation is a matter of conjecture. Certainly the situation at peak hours in the centre of the city, but particularly at the College Green bottle-neck, makes it essential that some remedy should be applied as soon as possible.

The Minister referred to the fact that a great number of Gardaí would retire on the age limit in the next few years. In fact, from the figures he gave it would appear that more than half the present force will retire within the next ten years. It is only right to say that the work done by the older members of the Gardaí who established the force entitled them to the highest possible commendation from this House and from the country for the work which they did, not merely in establishing a new force and establishing traditions of a very high order but for the example they have given to the younger members who have been recruited since the establishment of the force. I believe that the officers and men of the force who are due for retirement deserve the best thanks of the House and of the country.

One of the economies of the Coalition Government, that is, the stopping of recruitment of Guards, was a very false economy and we arenow paying the penalty for that, especially in the City of Dublin. In the Dublin Metropolitan Division, according to figures I have for 1952, we have only 1,452 Gardaí, and I suppose with the addition of the new recruits the number would not be a great deal more. In view of the figures the Minister gave this afternoon as to the amount of crime in the City of Dublin, that situation is anything but right and is causing a great deal of concern in the city. I would make an earnest appeal to the Minister to have the balance of the recruits he has called up appointed to Dublin City. Even then we will not have enough.

There was a call recently at the Dublin Corporation council meeting that an effort should be made to revive the L.S.F. to assist the Guards. I do not know whether that is feasible or not but at the moment in the city and suburbs there is a great number of complaints from householders and shopkeepers about the question of proper protection. It is a calamity, indeed, that this recruiting was stopped because it is obvious now that we have middle-aged men and old men trying to do the duties to-day. I agree with Deputy Cosgrave that they deserve our very best thanks for the work they have done through the years. Our police officers and detective officers are equal to any in Europe to-day. They are first-class men. I would appeal to the Minister to leave whatever men he recruits in the City of Dublin. It is a pitiful position that every Garda station is under strength, and Deputies are receiving complaints that boys standing at corners cannot be moved away. If people get in touch with the local Garda barracks they are told: "I am sorry. I cannot do anything about it. I have not enough men." We in the city should get better treatment.

There is one point about which I notice the Minister did not say anything; that is, the question I raised earlier in the year in relation to the malicious injuries code. I do not want it to be thought that I have a bee in my bonnet, but as far as the City of Dublin is concerned it is certainly creating a problem. According to figures I have, in 1933 the sum of £261was paid by the Dublin Corporation ratepayers for malicious damage. In 1953, it is £6,500. It is going up every year. For the past four years the figures are: 1949, £4,995; 1950, £4,666; 1951, £5,651; and this year's estimate is £6,500. I understand that since 1936 between Dublin and the county, close on £100,000 was paid out in malicious damage claims.

In relation to this, I know the Minister may say that we must give the people some protection. I say the protection they have is the insurance companies. In the case of practically all claims that come before the courts you will find they are covered by insurance. If a person is not wise enough to insure his property and something happens, and it is proved it has not been malicious, he gets nothing. The sooner people realise the wisdom of insuring their property and not depending on their neighbour to pay for the damage the better.

It should be remembered that this malicious injuries code is a legacy from the British Government. It was enacted at the time to protect their own, who were said or held to be our landlords. Looking back on Irish history I can safely say it was enforced to punish the Irish for what were termed as outrages but which were to my mind the results of our political fight for freedom. I do not see any reason why we should retain this enactment in force and I would ask the Minister to give it serious consideration. I am reminded of a recent court case where an unfortunate, mentally unbalanced man, damaged a window of a big store in Dublin. The judge was forced to give a decree for over £400. In this case, like the cases I mentioned earlier, that property was insured. They pay the insurance premium to protect their property and it would appear that in that and other cases the insurance companies have got off scot free. I do not think it is right that the ratepayers of any city should subsidise the insurance companies.

Is the Deputy advocating legislation?

I recommend to the Minister that he should consider it.

If the Deputy is recommending it he is advocating it. I have given the Deputy a great deal of latitude.

I appreciate that, but as regards malicious damage it is going beyond the capacity of the ordinary ratepayer to pay for it. The Minister may have his own ideas but I would ask him to consider the whole position. He could set up a commission or repeal the existing legislation if he wished. I recognise that it is a big problem but it should certainly be tackled.

The question of traffic in Dublin has been raised by Deputy Cosgrave and I think nobody can deny that it is in a bad way. For that state of affairs, I do not think we can attach any blame to the Garda, who are certainly doing their best. Until such time as the corporation improve the roads—and as a member of the corporation, I have to plead guilty to a certain remissness on the part of that body—from Dame Street to the quays there will always be congestion in College Green. However, a scheme of that kind will cost a good deal of money, which the corporation have not got at the moment. If a new road could be built from South Great George's Street to the Metal Bridge and continued northwards on the other side of the river, it would contribute a good deal towards the solution of the problem, but I am afraid we cannot do anything at the moment.

When this Estimate was before the House last year, there was some considerable comment on a statement of mine which appeared to be interpreted as an attack on lady-drivers. Some lady-drivers appeared to take offence from my statement, but what I did say was——

Mr. Boland

You are a wiser man now.

Do not bring the women down on top of you whatever you do.

What I did say was that while women drivers were generally careful in traffic, when a lady-driverputs out her hand you did not know what way she was going, and that the only thing of which you could be sure was that the window in the car was down. I must say now——

You had better be careful.

I think we all had better be careful. I must say that there is a decided improvement in ladies' driving since.

The devil a bit.

Mr. Boland

You will have them down on your head next.

There are no lady-drivers in my constituency.

The lady drivers in Dublin certainly have improved a good deal since. I must certainly say that in regard to the older ladies. I have no interest in any others. There has certainly been a decided improvement.

I should like once again to appeal to the Minister to increase the strength of the Garda in Dublin. The force certainly needs to be strengthened a great deal. I am of opinion that if the L.S.F. in Dublin were revived until such time as a sufficient number of Gardaí could be made available it would help a great deal. I observed recently a leading article in a Dublin paper which, commenting on my suggestion that the L.S.F. might be revived, said that while it might be very nice for a man in time of war to try to win honour and glory by joining the L.S.F., in peacetime he was always in danger of getting his jaw broken if he engaged in police activities. May I say that I have some experience of the fistic art and of giving lectures in the art of self-defence to members of the L.S.F., and I can tell anyone who would have any idea of attacking these men that they are likely to come off second best should they do so? I must say that any lessons which I gave them on the art of self-defence were very quickly assimilated. Some of the wartime L.S.F. men would be even better than some of the Garda boxers of the time. A number of these L.S.F. menare well trained in police duties, and since the suggestion was made that the force might be revived I have received at least 50 letters from former members of the L.S.F. stating that they would like to get an opportunity of resuming their activities at any time they are needed.

We recently got 150 recruits to the Garda in Dublin, but very few of them were natives of Dublin. There were only about five of them Dublin men. When you bring a recruit into the City of Dublin, he does not know the people there very well and he does not know how to handle them; whereas if you get an L.S.F. man who knows Dublin men he will know how to handle them. The recruit from the country is apt to push Dublin people around, and sometimes it is a rather rough push. I have seen some of them myself in recent weeks and I spoke to some whom, I thought, were not handling the people properly. People resent being pushed around in that way. If, on the other hand, you have an ordinary L.S.F. man who knows his Dublin and knows the mentality of the people there—the people of Dublin are not all as bad as some others think—he can handle crowds properly. I know the mentality of the Dublin people, and I know that if they are handled properly they are easily managed. If, however, you get a red, raw recruit from the country, until he finds his feet in the city he will not know how to handle things properly. The position at the moment is that recruits, after a short period of training, are pushed out into O'Connell Street singly whereas in former times they were allowed to walk around for a time with experienced men and sent to outlying districts until they could find their way around. I do not think that we can afford to send them out in twos and threes now, and until such time as we can, I think this suggestion of reviving the L.S.F. is not a thing to be laughed at at all. I would therefore ask the Minister to consider the suggestion I have made.

There are just a few points which I would like to make on the Vote. I want, first of all, to sympathise with Deputy Gallagher who,apparently, has been subjected to a good deal of criticism from the ladies during the past 12 months, since he accused women drivers of being guilty of all kinds of queer conduct in driving. To be fair to the women, I think I should say, and I am sure Deputy Gallagher will agree, that when court proceedings follow motor accidents you scarcely ever notice that a woman driver is found guilty of dangerous driving. I think that the men are the greatest offenders or, at least, that men are brought before the courts as a result of accidents far more frequently than women. We scarcely ever see a woman brought before the court, so that, whatever faults may be laid at the door of the gentle sex, I do not think that we can say that they are bad drivers.

I do not understand Deputy Gallagher's remarks in regard to allowing recruits from the Garda into the D.M.G. I thought that the practice was to recruit Gardaí from the main body down the country for the D.M.G., and I think that is the best system. Towards the close of his speech the Deputy commented on the fact that new recruits are inexperienced. That of course is only natural. They are inexperienced and I think that the system that obtains at present whereby extra Gardaí for the D.M.G. are recruited from those who have had considerable experience down the country is the best system.

The Deputy referred to the fact that the inter-Party Government made a saving by not recruiting Guards. I hold certain views on this question and I say that the older members of the force who helped to build that force up and to establish the sound traditions which are now being passed on to the younger members—traditions which will last long after the youngest of us is dead and gone—deserve the highest praise. We should have the greatest respect for these older members. During the little travelling I have done in foreign countries, I came up with a jolt against one fact—that our police force is second to none I saw in foreign parts. There are good police forces in countries outsideIreland, but the Guards are as good as, if not better than, the best I saw in deportment, in uniforms, in cleanliness, in courtesy, and, in the matter of efficiency, are well in advance of the police forces of most countries. I cannot speak as an expert or as a globetrotter, but, from my own observations, I would have them before the police forces of many continental countries. Many countries outside Ireland could with advantage to themselves, take a leaf out of the book of the Gárda Síochána.

One suggestion I want to make is that the time has come when the Minister should consider giving motor-cycles to some of the Guards in country areas. Many Guards in these areas have to travel long distances pushing a pedal cycle in rain and storm in order to carry out all the work they have to do. Quite a vast volume of work, other than ordinary police work, falls on their shoulders nowadays. They have statistics of various kinds to collect and they have to do work for the Department of Social Welfare on quite a big scale, work which takes up a lot of time both on the road and in barracks. The time has come when the Minister should consider providing them with some kind of mechanicaly propelled vehicles and I suggest motor-cycles. The day may come when we will see them with cars, but, as a first step, I should like to see at least one motor-cycle in a Guard barracks for the use of the Guards.

That might not involve a loss from the Department point of view, if we take into account the wear and tear of boots and uniforms in pushing a bicycle in wet weather. There is a telephone now in every Guards' barracks and people make much more use of the telephone now than was the case five or ten years ago, with the result that Guards may get calls to go long distances at any hour of the day or night. First, speed is essential in many cases and, secondly, the comfort of the members of the force must be taken into consideration. Some of the men who joined the force in the early days are no longer as young as they wereand these men, in particular, should have some such facility as this.

Without having considered the pros and cons of the suggestion, I feel that if there were one such cycle in a barracks for the use of Guards who have to travel long distances in bad weather, it would be of great benefit. It is a complete puzzle to me how the Guards in mountainous areas manage to carry out the patrols they have to do in these areas. There is often mist and rain in such districts, when the weather is fine in the plains and the mileage of roads to be covered by some of these station personnel is amazing.

I feel very proud of one statement the Minister made to-day. He said that there had been a drop in juvenile delinquency. That was taking a very disquieting trend for some years past, and, if it has been checked, it is a piece of good news for which we are all very grateful.

I should like the Minister to give us some figures, if they are available, as to what the arrears in the Land Registry Office are at the moment. That is an office which I, as Minister, and my predecessor, the present Minister for Education, were responsible for overcrowding to a great extent, due to the fact that first registrations in the Land Commission were neglected for a long number of years. First registrations were obligatory under the 1923 Land Act, and it is a good job that even now, after 26, or perhaps 30 years, a good deal of these vestings or first registrations were taken on; but, unfortunately for the Land Registry, they were neglected in the past, and it means handling registrations to the tune of 15,000 or 16,000 separate registrations per year, apart from sub-divisions and others.

The Minister told us that the Land Registry Office was reorganised, and I am glad to note that the Minister has not eased off in the vesting of holdings and that it appears to be the policy— I am in thorough agreement with it— to complete the vesting of holdings. The Minister has some experience of this because he was Minister for Lands for a while. Once they are sent downto the Land Registry Office, I should like to see sufficient staff there to deal with them, even if they have to be recruited temporarily from other Departments. In 1948, I remember, there were something like 103,000 holdings to be vested. That is a vast number, and I should like the Minister to tell us exactly what the arrears are, whether the staff has been increased, and if it has been increased to an extent which will enable it to cope with the constant stream which is pouring in every day, as we can see fromIris Oifigiúil.

Another matter which I raised on a previous occassion is the question of the boundaries of holdings. It all goes back to a High Court decision in a most peculiar case in my county, some 12 or 14 months ago. That decision took it for granted that the centre of a fence is not the boundary of a man's holding, but one side or other of the fence. I think that is a relic of very old English law and very old practice of land ownership in England which does not apply here and never did apply. If the Land Registry Office is going to proceed on those lines, it is sowing the seed of a lot of useless and rather dangerous litigation for the farmers in future.

The Land Registry Office, when issuing a copy folio map, should show clearly where the boundaries begin and end. The Minister may say, in reply, that that is a job for his colleague, the Minister for Lands, but it is not. It is a job for the Land Registry Office under the various registration acts, and I say that the Land Registry Office, when issuing a folio—if they cannot do it on the map, they should do it on the written folio, the copy folio, as it is generally known—should state clearly where the boundaries begin and end. The practice, so far as I can see, is that if a person asks for a copy of a folio, he is told that he has so many acres—53 acres, 23 acres, and so on—but the map gives only a vague idea of where the boundary really is. In many cases the boundary is undefined, although there is a red line drawn very carefully around the holding by the draftsmen on the section of the map supplied in the folio.

I am afraid that the boundary is undefined. Had I been aware of that practice when I was Minister for Lands, I can assure the Minister that I would have taken very active steps to try and ensure greater clearness about it. There have been lots of cases where litigation arose in connection with the boundary in respect of a drain or fence or a sod bank with a base six feet wide. Apparently, that is because of some old English usage and procedure. I distinctly say that this procedure has come to us from across the water. It has never been part and parcel of land usage in Ireland. Deputy Major de Valera shakes his head, but I can assure him that it has never been part and parcel of land usage in Ireland.

Major de Valera

The Deputy is talking about the presumption that if a bank is excavation out of a ditch, the bank belongs to the ditch. Is that what the Deputy is talking about?

Major de Valera

The Deputy is talking about the assumption that the man can build on the bank excavated out of the ditch because it was supposedly excavated out of his own land. That is held here as well as in England. Long before 14 months ago the courts would hold in accordance with that in the absence of other evidence.

That is not what happens. Where a drain or bank is the mearing fence between two holdings the centre of the drain or fence has always been regarded by the farmers at least in Connaught—I cannot speak for the other provinces—as the boundary. The High Court says it is on the one side or the other.

Major de Valera

The Deputy may be confusing presumption with a rule of law.

I am not. If the floor of this House belongs to me——

Major de Valera

You are in possession of it at the moment.

——and Deputy Major de Valera and we decide to divide it we then draw a line down the middle. That marks the boundary. We then erect a fence half and half on each side of the line.

Major de Valera

That can be done by agreement.

Yes, but then the High Court upsets what has been the practice in one's locality. I think it is time for the Land Commission office to fix what the boundary is. When they purport to issue a map setting out where a holding is situated they mark a line two or three feet wide round every man's holding. This has been a fruitful ground for litigation on the part of farmers. The time has come when something should be done about it. I would ask the Minister and his officials to give some consideration to that and see if they can do anything. Perhaps, it is a thorny problem but I would ask the Minister to have a talk with the officials who know about this matter quite well. If necessary they could discuss the matter with some Land Commission officials. There may be some way out of the difficulty.

I wish to say a word in connection with the pensions of the widows of Guards who died as a result of injuries while in the force. I mention this in particular because I have a case which I will bring to the Minister's personal notice. I do not, however, want to raise that case here. In regard to the pensions of the widows, the Minister should be a little bit more lenient. If he were a little bit more lenient, he would come closer to doing justice.

Major de Valera

Is this a case arising out of the Guard's duty?

Major de Valera

A Guard injured in the course of his duty?

Major de Valera

As the result of his duty?

What about a husband killed outside the course of his duty?

Major de Valera

These are two different things.

When a Guard dies from injuries received in the course of his duty, I think there should be full leniency shown to the widow. When such a thing happens everybody has sympathy.

Mr. O'Higgins

That is not a matter for the Minister.

I think it is. From my own rough and ready examination of the matter, a certain amount of discretion is left to the Minister.

Deputy Gallagher made a point in connection with lady-drivers. He was followed up by Deputy Blowick who drew attention to the fact that he never saw where a lady-driver was prosecuted.

I never even saw the driver's name up in court.

Probably the judge or justice is faced with the problem that the woman is always supposed to have the last word. That is why some of them get away with it.

Mr. O'Higgins

They are the worst drivers in the world.

I wish to draw the Minister's attention to the question of accommodation for married members of the Garda Síochána in rural areas. I do not suggest that the Minister should pursue a policy of putting up numbers of houses in every village and townland, but I believe that the matter of accommodation for married members of the Garda Síochána is one that must be faced. It is a problem which has caused a good deal of trouble and inconvenience to married members of the force for years past. Some of these Gardaí are stationed in outlying districts, and they find it very hard to get accommodation. I know of cases where they have had to accept accommodation in houses which are not fit for habitation. It is a big problem. A start at least should be made towards building a certain number of houses in various villages. The Department could arrange that whereaccommodation was available the married members of the force would be stationed in these places as against single members. I would like the Minister to consider this problem.

The new uniform worn by the Gardaí in Dublin City and now in Cork has been favourably commented upon. I would like to see those uniforms worn by the Gardaí in the rural areas. I think this should be done without any further delay. As the Minister pointed out in his introductory speech, many of the older members of the force may be retiring in a short period. Accordingly, I would like to say that these Gardaí in the rural areas would have the advantage of getting this much-improved type of uniform.

One of the most important problems in connection with this particular Vote concerns offences under the Road Traffic Act. The problem of drunkenness and, to a minor degree, the problems presented by cyclists are serious. The number of cases under the Road Traffic Act which were revealed by the figures given by the Minister shows the importance of these matters. I know very little about the problems in the cities but in rural areas at times it is a mystery that there are not many more serious accidents. I believe that the two things which are most noticeable every day on the roads are carelessness and lack of consideration for other people. I consider it a slight on the Irish people when motorists, as they so often do in driving around the country, seem to be of the opinion that every other person on the road is in their way. They seem to believe that they and they alone have the right of using the highway. The Minister may say that that is a hard problem to overcome.

Deputy Blowick, a moment ago, referred to the question of motorcyclists from a particular angle. I wish to do so from a different angle, and in the area in which I live there is very heavy motor traffic. The Guards go around in squad cars. I think that is not satisfactory because the squad car can be seen miles away. Consequently, the reckless driver, and very often the ruffian who may be behindthe wheel of a motor-car, will probably get some indication that the squad car is cruising in the area. I think it would be much more satisfactory to have members of the Garda Síochána provided with motor-cycles for the purpose of touring around and trying to catch some of the people I refer to I think that Guards on motor-cycles would be much more effective in catching these offenders than the squad cars are. It might also be a great advantage if Guards were to be around on duty in plain clothes. If so, they might be able to tip off some of those offenders.

This problem of traffic on the roads is one of the greatest which the Department has to deal with at present. There is also the question of motordrivers who are so often found incapable of driving a car. When considering these cases, we are presented with many contradictions. A number of these cases go to court. It is not for me, as a layman, to try and summarise the proceedings that take place from time to time in our courts as to whether a particular driver was drunk or not. At any rate, I believe that the law should be enforced in no uncertain manner against a person driving a motor-car who is found to be drunk or heavily under the influence of drink. There should be no excuse for conduct of that kind. The penalties inflicted on such people should be very severe. In my opinion, it is not enough just to suspend a driver's licence for a year or two years. In my opinion, imprisonment should follow conviction. If that were felt to be too severe by the justice trying the case, then I think such a person should not be allowed to drive a car for a very long period indeed. If these people are not prepared to consider other users of the road, and have no regard for their own lives, they should at least be made respect the law of the land and be made realise that everybody else has as much right to use the roads of this country as a man sitting behind the wheel of a motor-car.

We have, too, the question of cyclists. I have often heard cyclists complain of being summoned by the Guards for cycling without a light atnight, and, particularly, without a rear reflector. It is a pity, I think, that cyclists themselves do not realise what a danger they can be not only to themselves but to others through their neglect in not providing a small reflector at the back of a bicycle. We all know the dangers that can arise for a person driving a car when the driver of an oncoming car refuses to dim his lights. If a cyclist happens to come between the two cars, he can be put in a position of very great danger. The driver of the oncoming car who refuses to dim his lights puts the driver of the other car in a very difficult position. People should realise that we are not now living under conditions which obtained 35 or 40 years ago when, very often, it was a pleasure to break a law because then the law was not a law that we believed in. For the last 30 years, however, the law in force is the law of this State, and is being enforced by Irishmen. People generally should respect the law, and it would be well if the people were prepared to give their co-operation in that regard. If that were done, much friction could be avoided both inside the courts and outside of them.

The dimming of lights on motor-cars at night is a big problem. We all know that it is essential for all cars to be provided with these devices. It is poor satisfaction for a driver to find that the driver of another car, travelling at a highly excessive speed from the opposite direction, refuses to dim his lights. That is a problem which, I think, will have to be faced up to in a more realistic way than is the case at present. We have now reached the position when many of these drivers fail to realise their responsibilities and have no respect whatever for the safety of other people. They take no notice whatever of the danger in which they can put other people or of the harm they can cause by refusing to operate the device which has been so conveniently placed in their cars. I would ask the Minister to have that matter fully investigated so that some system may be found which will provide a greater measure of security on the roads.

We have heard much comment from time to time about various court cases arising out of incidents such as I have been speaking of. Deputies have spoken in praise of the services which members of the Garda Síochána have rendered to this State. I, too, should like to join in offering a word of praise to them for the work they have done. I have read the reports of many of these court cases. I have known both sides of some of these cases. People like me who have read of cases are compelled at times to believe that money can buy justice. I have known of cases where well-to-do people were able to appeal, in spite of the clear and honest evidence of decent members of the Garda Síochána. These individuals, on appeal, were able to get away with it. That is poor satisfaction to a Guard who has done his duty in an honest way. It is poor satisfaction to him to find that, on appeal, these individuals can prove indirectly that what he said was not true, because, according to the decision in some of these court cases, that is what it comes to.

Major de Valera

Is not the Guard heard on the appeal?

The Guard is heard, but the difficulty is that the Guard's evidence has not been accepted inasmuch as those people were able to succeed in the case.

Major de Valera

Is not the appeal in the Circuit Court a rehearing?

That is immaterial. I know of cases where the Guard spoke nothing but the truth, and, on appeal, people who had been fined were able to get away with it.

Major de Valera

The Deputy is criticising the judge.

I am standing by the Guards.

Major de Valera

As against the judge.

The matter mentioned by the Deputy is purely one for the courts.

Yes, but in the final analysis, the courts are accountable insome way to the Minister inasmuch as the salaries of those in the courts must be provided out of this Vote.

The courts are completely independent of the Minister in the matter to which the Deputy has referred.

There is one law for the rich and another for the poor.

That has a very bad implication.

I stand by what I say.

The Minister has no responsibility in the matter the Deputy has raised.

But he has responsibility for providing salaries for those people.

The courts are a completely independent body. The Deputy may not pursue that subject.

I am quite satisfied not to pursue it except to say that I am glad that I have said what I believe to be true. This is an Estimate on which we are all anxious for co-operation. We may take it that the remarks of any Deputy on this Estimate are meant to be constructive.

I wish now to deal with the money provided for censorship of publications. On many occasions Deputies have drawn attention to the necessity for closer scrutiny and more determined censorship of some of the periodicals coming into this country. Teachers, parents, clergy, people of all walks of life, have complained continuously of some of the filth coming into this country. We cannot close our eyes to it. We cannot adopt the attitude that we have a Censorship Board and we will leave it to them. This problem must be more closely considered so that these publications will be kept out of the hands of young boys and girls. Such stuff should be kept out of the country.

Major de Valera

The question of Dublin traffic has been raised. Frankly, the Dublin drivers could be made tohaving a good deal of experience of Dublin traffic, I wonder whether it is wholly a police problem. I think that there is very little more the Guards can do than what they are doing. They control the traffic in Dublin very efficiently within the possibilities of the situation.

One of the things that is wrong with Dublin is that we have not yet educated our drivers. If ordinary persons driving a car could, individually and collectively, see the part that they can play in Dublin's traffic problem, it would do more to solve it than many of the suggestions that have been made here on many occasions. The Guards, with the system they have, do as well as can be done in the circumstances. Of course, a more ideal lay-out would ease the traffic problem but we must take our city as we see it and there are many people who would not like to see the character of that city, in its oldest parts, changed.

The ordinary driver in Dublin can keep with the string. You can drive from O'Connell Street and across O'Connell Bridge. If you do it at present you will find a driver who has come up O'Connell Street close in to the left hand side; then he cuts across everything to cross the bridge into Westmoreland Street. A little foresight on his part would have kept him in the right lane at an earlier stage when he was driving down O'Connell Street and he would have taken a natural turning. Having gone into Westmoreland Street, he will swing right out to the other side and find himself on the outlying lane and he will travel along in that and swing across the traffic again because he wants to get into Nassau Street, whereas, if that man had started to think at Parnell Monument he could have got into the proper lane of traffic and would have flowed normally. If every driver did the same thing, it would ease much of the confusion that results from crossing.

It would be a help if the lanes were marked out quite clearly, and if there was insistence on keeping them. It would probably cost a bit of money and I do not know whether the corporation may like to do it or not. Ifrealise the part they could play and the necessity for observing the rules which are actually laid down for traffic it would be easier.

In that regard, you cannot really expect every driver to go to the Stationery Office and buy a copy of the regulations. One suggestion would be to reduce these rules to practice for the city. The rules are there generally and I suggest that somebody could reduce them to a directive. There is legal force behind the regulations as they are. I am not suggesting duplicating them but the translation of them into ordinary language and, if drivers could be got to co-operate, that would help.

Along with that, there could be cooperation in parking arrangements. I notice that very many people are shy of drawing attention to this point—I suppose because they are afraid they may offend—but the fact is that Dublin's traffic problem is very much aggravated by waiting. Again, if drivers could co-operate with the Guards in trying scrupulously to observe the scheme of things in regard to waiting and parking, it would help.

I feel that in making these remarks I am not contributing very much but my real purpose in intervening in this debate is a much more serious matter. During this week a newsagent came to me and produced two books which I will give to the Minister. He complained that such literature should be circulated in our city. Many of us are not squeamish but this literature was not fit for circulation in this city. It is not of the periodical type and I agree to a large extent with what Deputy Desmond has said about that. This was a paper-covered novel. Incidentally I have heard of the same thing since from another source. My complaint is that it is fundamentally wrong that we should allow that type of literature to circulate here when we are supposed to be controlling it, but the newsagent's complaint was, in addition to that, that if this kind of thing grows here it forces decent newsagents to sell that kind of stuff in competition because less scrupulouspeople will sell it. Both from the principle point of view and from the practical point of view, in the interest of the standard of literature that sells in the shops of our reputable booksellers and newsagents, something should be done about this. The question I would like to ask would be how that kind of literature gets into the country. For very obvious reasons I am not giving particulars here but I will give the actual books to the Minister and let him judge. Nevertheless I think that a word should come from here, in so far as the decent ordinary newsagent and bookseller should feel assured that he is not going to suffer from unfair competition of this type through such material being available for less scrupulous people to sell. That was my principal purpose in intervening in this debate.

In regard to the question of boundaries mentioned by Deputy Blowick, it would probably be a good thing to have in all cases the Land Registry maps authoritative as regards boundaries. It is a long time since I saw one, but my recollection it that sometimes they are and sometimes they are not. Sometimes they carry no more than the ordnance survey carries—which very carefully states that the map is not evidence as to boundary—while in other cases they carry the evidence as to boundary. In cases where there is a first allocation or division, where the Land Commission is concerned, there should be no difficulty about it, because in the original grant the boundaries can be carefully defined. However, I can see very real difficulty if there is anything like registration of existing title or where there is a devolution of title and previous boundaries concerned. I can also see the Land Commission in trouble and can see how the law as it stands can give us complications; and it may be that, in that particular instance with regard to particular types of holdings on registered land, what Deputy Blowick wants is not just feasible.

There is one last point, which is an important one. A question was mentioned here about the widows of Guards who died in the course of duty.In the first place, we all subscribe to the general principle that, as far as possible, we should ensure the safety of members of the force and, inclusive in that, make adequate provision for anything happening to them in the course of duty. This is something quite apart from the question of ordinary pension or death from natural causes on effective duty. I am not suggesting for a moment that the ordinary provision should not be made in that way for the person concerned and I say that of course it should be made; but in the specific case where a man's duty brings him directly into a situation of risk, where he suffers physical harm or even death, we owe a higher duty.

This is on all fours with, and is in many ways to be equated in principle to a case that some of us have argued pretty strongly in the case of the Army. In the case of the Army as well as in that of the Guards, there is excessive risk attached to the employment, and in the interest of morale it is important that the soldier or Guard, if he is going to take a personal risk in his loyalty to the service, should know and feel that the State, in its turn, will not let him down, and if it should come to the ultimate price for him in the discharge of his duty, the State will look after his dependents, that adequate provision will be made for them.

If, in either case, a man suffers injury or death, I think the provision should be based on the basis of insurance. It is not a question of mere superannuation, nor is it a question of routine pension after service. There is here a very specific risk, and there is real need, in the interest of morale and in order to have the work done properly, for real insurance in these cases. I know that in the Garda there are various provisions already existing, and I have not examined them to see whether they are adequate or not. A Guard has certain remedies, or his dependents, if he is killed in the course of duty. Never would the State fail, I think, to make some provision for a Guard who suffered injury, if the existing provisions did not cover him. It could happen, however, that a man apprehending a dangerous criminal or something like that, as in the case ofa soldier carrying out his duty, may be fatally injured, and I think it is a question of insurance then.

We pleaded this case very strongly in the case of the Army. It is a matter that should concern the Government, as a whole, and I take this opportunity, on the Estimate of the Minister for Justice, to press the point where he is concerned directly and to elicit his sympathy for the principle in all cases of State servants who, in the ordinary course of their duty, are exposed to certain risks and who should take certain risks because it is part of their duty, and who are expected loyally to go to the extent of risking their personal well-being. In those cases the State should reciprocate with adequate insurance. That certainly has not been done on the Army side. I do not know whether it is sufficiently done on the police side, but in both cases it should be done adequately.

I do not agree with Deputy Gallagher when he states that the stopping of recruiting for the Garda Síochána by the inter-Party Government was a false economy. After all, now that there are no political crimes and that this is, on the whole, a very peaceful country, I think that instead of adding to the strength of the Gardaí we should continue to reduce it. That could be done in this way, that as Guards with long service reach the age limit for retirement they need not be replaced. Something may be said for the City of Dublin, where you have the difficulties of traffic and where you have, perhaps, a great deal of hooliganism and blackguardism of various types. Down the country we have entirely too many Guards in our towns and villages and if they require an extra force in Dublin we can supply it for a certain number of years. Certainly, if it is necessary to add to the Dublin Garda force, the members should come from those having experience down the country and should not be new recruits from the Depot.

I do not think it is a good thing for the morale of the Gardaí that men, especially so many young men, should be stationed in small villages and small towns where the usual number wouldbe three or four Guards and a sergeant. Life for them is very dreary and there is very little to do. It would be much better if in those villages and country areas there were one Garda and in a nearby town a sort of central mobile unit that could cover the whole area if any serious emergency arose. In that way we could economise in the Garda. We can very well afford to send Guards from these small villages to other places where they would be required, as in the case of the cities.

I should also like to express disapproval of the method adopted recently for choosing candidates for the Garda. Recruiting began about June or July, 1951, for 300 Garda, and there were about 1,100 applicants. In justice to these applicants, I think they should have all been interviewed at least, but, instead of that, over 800 were turned down. I do not know why that was done. I am sure members on all sides of the House agree that some of these appeared to be very suitable candidates for the Garda Síochána both from the educational and the physical point of view. I believe that was done by the late commissioner, but I understand from the Minister now that that method has been changed. At the very least, candidates, provided they are willing to come to Dublin or elsewhere, should be interviewed and tested from the physical and the educational point of view.

In various towns and villages, Gardaí have great difficulty in finding housing accommodation. Quite recently, in the town of Killarney, there were three married Gardaí with 30 years' service who had to leave the houses they had been renting for years because the owners required them for themselves. These Gardaí were placed in a very difficult position. Something should be done with regard to the housing of married Gardaí. In my own village there are three married Gardaí and a married sergeant. There is only accommodation in the Garda station for the sergeant, and the other three have to find the best accommodation they can. The Minister will understandthat in a small country village it is very difficult to find a suitable house. To overcome this difficulty, I suggest that it would be better to send single men to these places and the married Gardaí where they can readily obtain suitable accommodation. In many cases also, Gardaí and their wives, for certain reasons, may be living very far apart. A Garda, perhaps, may be married to a teacher or to somebody with a business. From a family point of view, it would be well that such a Garda should be stationed as near as possible to the place where his wife and family live.

While there are difficulties in Dublin and other cities in regard to parking for motorists, I find on passing through large and small towns that there is just as much trouble in regard to parking, if there are any parking arrangements at all. When entering a town you will find cars parked on both sides of a street so that other motorists, and even cyclists and owners of horses and carts, find it very difficult to get through. I suppose the arrangements in these cases would be made by the local superintendent. At any rate it would be well, especially during the summer months and the tourist season, when there is so much traffic on the roads, if some parking facilities were provided in the towns and the villages and that people should not be allowed to park their cars wherever they like. I do not know what authority or power the Minister has in connection with the administration of oaths in our courts.

I do not think the Minister has any responsibility in that matter.

Mr. Boland


I wonder who has the responsibility? In order to prevent wholesale perjury it would be better that there should be a declaration or something like that substituted for the oath. I join with other Deputies in paying a high tribute to our police force. No matter in what country we may travel, we never find the members of the police forces there as courteous and as efficient as our own. Thatapplies to all our Gardaí, no matter where they are stationed.

Deputy Desmond referred to the position with regard to penalties on motorists when they are guilty of some offence on the roads. While he may be right in what he says, it is most unfortunate, as the Minister knows, that when these people are fined, sentenced to imprisonment or deprived of their licence they rush to Deputies and the Deputies rush to the Minister. It is unfortunate that that should be the position. Of course the Deputies must do their best, perhaps against their consciences, to try to get the fines reduced or the licences restored. I trust the Minister will give attention to the points I have raised if he thinks them worthy of consideration.

Mr. A. Byrne

I wish to pay my tribute to the officers and men of the Garda for the excellent way in which they perform their work. I am rising, however, to voice the complaint that there is not a sufficient number of Guards on duty in the City of Dublin. Everybody who passes through our streets will have to admit that. People who live on the outskirts of the city expect the Government to afford them protection for their property. I am informed, however, that every Garda station is short of the full complement of men and that the superintendents in charge of the various areas cannot supply the number required to do the duty necessary in this city. I do not want to make any special reference to O'Connell Street, Westmoreland Street or Grafton Street, but even in these streets, where the owners of property are paying high rates, there are not enough of men on duty. In the old days of the D.M.P. there was a constant patrol on both sides from Trinity College to the Rotunda. Nowadays one can go into O'Connell Street at certain hours and one finds that there are certain hours during which there are no Gardaí of any kind on duty in O'Connell Street. I think that is wrong. The residents in O'Connell Street pay very high rates on very high valuations, and the street is worthy of more attention than it is getting at the moment.

Would they not be wanted more in the less important streets?

Mr. A. Byrne

Because the property in O'Connell Street is so highly valued I think the area is worthy of more attention from the Guards. From 8 o'clock in the morning up to 10 o'clock there is no man on traffic duty in O'Connell Street. I think such duty should commence at 8 o'clock, particularly on O'Connell Bridge, because it is at that time that hundreds of boys and girls are passing over the bridge on their way to work or to school. They would reach their destination much quicker if the traffic were controlled at that early hour by the very efficient members of our Garda Síochána.

Particular attention should be directed to the failure to provide sufficient men in the city stations. The superintendents in charge of the different areas cannot be expected to send out men on duty if the Government fails to keep the force up to the requisite strenght. The Minister should take steps to allocate more men to the city areas.

In his opening statement the Minister referred to the fact that a certain number of men will be retiring on pension in a few years. During these few years will these men get an opportunity of sitting for examination and seeking promotion? Promotion in these years may add a little bit to their retiring allowances. Will these men be offered opportunities of promotion? I appeal to the Minister to ensure that promotion will not be denied these older men because of their age.

Every Deputy has received resolutions passed by the various Civil Service organisations in relation to the Civil Service Arbitration Board award. There are some very lowly paid workers in the Minister's Department. Will the Minister use his influence to ensure that the award will be implemented in so far as they are concerned? Has the time not arrived when theMinister should recommend a substantial increase in the wages and salaries of the members of the Garda Síochána? They, like everybody else, have to meet the high cost of living. Members of the Garda Síochána cannot enter into any other form of business and they have no way of augmenting their present wages and salaries in order to meet the high cost of living. I suggest the Minister should be one of the first to press for the implementation of the Civil Service Arbitration Board award and to make a recommendation at the same time for an increase in the wages and salaries of the Garda Síochána, a body which has served him so well and so loyally.

The new men recruited to the force are a fine type. They are a credit to their selectors. I hope that when they have got some practical experience in the country areas, a certain number of them will be transferred to Dublin, because there are not enough men in the city stations at the present time. Our citizens expect their property to be protected irrespective of where they live, whether it be Dollymount, Glasnevin, Drumcondra, Crumlin or Walkinstown. Their property cannot be protected if there are not enough uniformed men on duty. The population of the city is increasing rapidly and there should be a commensurate increase in the number of Garda Síochána required to protect both public and private property. I am not a great believer in plain clothes men at all. I think a man in uniform engenders a certain amount of respect in a neighbourhood and gives the residents a feeling of security.

The Department of Justice is not responsible for the old courthouses throughout the country. County councils are. But it is in these buildings that justice is administered.

As the Minister has no responsibility, the matter cannot be discussed on this Estimate.

Will the Chair allow me for a second——

If the matter does not arise on the Estimate the Chair can give the Deputy no seconds in which to discuss it.

I am sailing very close to the Minister's brief anyway, because these are the houses in which justice is administered. I have tried to raise this matter with county councils, corporations and the Department of Local Government, but these courthouses still continue to be a national disgrace. It is shocking that district justices and judges should be asked to administer the law in them.

Mr. A. Byrne

The Board of Works Estimate, Deputy.

The remarks of Deputy Hickey and Deputy Desmond to the effect that if a man is convicted in one court and appeals to another court—and that if the case is a drink case—he will get off, are unworthy. The implication was that if the man has money——

That was ruled out of order.

It is anybody's chance if he is able to get off. We, in this country, are very lucky in that we have impartial, honest and most conscientious judges and district justices. To imply otherwise is unworthy of any Deputy of this House. I suppose that the old story of any man falling by the wayside and of the just man falling seven times——

I did not cast any reflection on the judges.

Deputy Burke must deal with the Estimate.

I was pleased to learn that there has been a reduction in juvenile delinquency. I hope that trend will continue. In that regard, I want to congratulate the Minister, the Department, the Gardaí and everybody concerned. I should also like to say that our probation officers, a number of whom I had the pleasure of meeting from time to time, are doing excellent work. In particular, I should like to compliment the Minister for taking such a keen personalinterest in this aspect of crime. The probation officers have proved themselves very efficient, human and understanding in their dealings with children who have got into trouble.

We have heard a good deal of talk here about the parking of cars. This is quite a considerable problem. The Gardaí have the job of keeping the lanes of traffic clear and at the same time of finding suitable parking space for motorists. We have not enough parking places and if we had ten times more Gardaí than we have the fact of the matter is that any motorists who desires to do business in Dublin City wants to find a place to park his car— a place near wherever he wants to transact his business. The Gardaí are doing their duty. They try to keep one side of the street clear for traffic while allowing motorists to park on the other side. The sooner we realise that this is not a problem for the Gardaí alone but a problem for the local authorities and the Gardaí combined, the better. It is a problem that is reaching very serious proportions. There are parts of Dublin City in which it is almost impossible to park a car.

I want to make a plea now about Gardaí who have to travel long distances on a bicycle. One would expect that we would advance with the times. It would be a great benefit if it were possible to supply a motor-bicycle instead of a bicycle because it will be realised that in certain parts of the country Gardaí have to travel miles on a bicycle in the course of their duties. Apart from the fact that it would save the Garda concerned a great deal of effort in the way of pushing the bicycle, there is also the point of view that a motor-bicycle would enable the work to be carried out much more quickly. Cycling in all weathers is very strenuous work and that is especially true in the case of the older type of man. To-day, a Garda is a general civil servant. Not alone is he responsible for ensuring that law and order prevail in his area but he is the servant of all the other Departments as well. Over the years, his duties have multiplied. He is getting more and more to do for the various Departments. I trust thatthe Minister will look into this matter carefully.

Another matter with which I wish to deal is the housing of Gardaí—apart altogether from the sergeant in the barracks. Of course, every effort is made to procure a house in the ordinary way, but the Department of Justice, as such, will not build houses for Gardaí, and it is left to the Garda himself to try and obtain a house. I appeal to the commissioner, through the Minister for Justice, to make an arrangement with the Department of Local Government whereby a local authority will be enabled to provide houses for those Gardaí in the area who require them. The Department of Justice and the Department of Local Government should come to a mutual arrangement to assist our public servants in that regard.

Sometimes it happens that a Garda who has young children, and who wants to send them to school in a certain area, makes an arrangement with a Garda serving in that area to swop stations. It may be that the Garda in the area in which the school is located has not any young children or that, for one reason or another, he is willing to swop with the man who is anxious to make the change. I wonder if, without interfering with the discipline of the Garda force, it would be possible to arrange that permission would be given for such a change. If such permission were given, I think it would help to eliminate a lot of difficulties. I am aware that the Minister for Justice has never interfered with the ordinary discipline of the force: that is the duty of the commissioner. Nevertheless, I take this opportunity of bringing the matter to the Minister's attention. We are living in a period of the world's history when we should all be anxious to help one another as much as possible.

I want to deal now with the question of our seaside resorts, especially those near Dublin. Our Gardaí are frequently overworked at these resorts during the summer season. With the recruitment of Gardaí, I hope that in future it will be possible to supplement the number of Gardaí at our seaside resortsduring the summer season. There is very considerable traffic in these resorts at that time of the year and, in addition, some pilfering takes place from time to time. For instance, there are people who leave their belongings unguarded on the strand and who go in for a bathe. At such a time of the year, the local Gardaí require some extra assistance.

I congratulate the Minister on the way in which his Department is run and I congratulate the Gardaí and all other officials on the work they have done during the past year.

Finally, I want to say that I should like our people to realise that this is their country, that our police force is their police force and that we should appreciate the good work which they are doing. It is time for us, as a nation, to waken up to that fact. Prejudice dies hard but we should be getting over the time, 30 years ago, when the police force was a police force of an alien power. A good deal could be done, especially in the schools, in regard to the teaching of citizenship. When a Guard is in trouble or is involved in a brawl citizens should consider it their duty to come to his assistance. There may be an occasion when a Guard is in serious trouble, none of his colleagues are near him and he is going to be assaulted by some fellows who are under the influence of drink. We should help one another on occasions like that.

Mr. O'Higgins

It is a good thing to hear a Fianna Fáil Deputy saying that.

We should remember that a member of our police force is one of us and we should try to protect him. If we could develop that citizenship we might reach the time when a lesser number of Gardaí would suffice, but, in the light of recent events to which I am not going to refer further, we have not reached that period yet. However, through our local authorities, through the various organisations throughout the country and through the schools, we can inculcate a greater sense of citizenship into our people in regard to what isfair, honourable and just, and thus raise the dignity of the people of our country. By so acting we will be doing only what any country should do in the same circumstances. In other countries, I believe, the police force are assisted when they are in serious trouble. In Dublin it has been done on a number of occasions but I would like to see more of it done. It is every citizen's duty to see that nobody lowers the prestige of this country.

On this Estimate for the Department of Justice, I would like to make a few brief observations. The Minister in his opening remarks referred to the strength of the force and this question has been debated at certain length since the Minister concluded his opening speech. I have quite considerable experience of the workings of the Garda force in this country for the reason that I have travelled quite a lot within the country. Long before I became a member of the Dáil I spent a considerable time in the city. I must say I have observed in recent times that there must have been a substantial cutting down of the Garda force. When I first came into this city it was possible to observe at night far more members of the Garda Síochána than you can observe at the present time. In recent times I have noticed incidents occurring in O'Connell Street and other streets around 11 or 12 o'clock at night when you would expect that members of the Garda Síochána would be about. Of course, when you take into account that we have fewer Guards it is understandable that they cannot make two or four parts of themselves and be in different places at the one time.

I would like to see the Minister for Justice going ahead with the recruiting campaign. It is of vital importance that our Garda force would be brought up to proper strength. There is the question of the preservation of life and property within our own country and it is a very false step on the part of whoever is responsible to cut down the numbers of the Garda force. I think Deputy Palmer said that in some parts of Ireland we had spare Gardaí in our local stations. Ifthat exists in the South of Ireland I am convinced it does not exist in the West. Many new duties have been given to the Gardaí, and in the part of the country I represent we have no surplus Gardaí at all. We require whatever Gardaí we have and I would not like to think that the strength of the Gardaí in the various barracks in the West of Ireland as I know them would be reduced in any way.

It might be good for the force generally if some of those Guards were taken into the city and the younger men now being turned out of the Depot sent to the country to give them experience and to harden them up in regard to police duties. But to cut down on the numbers of Gardaí serving in country districts would be a very false move.

There is one thing I am glad to note. I have been told in recent times that transport has been provided at stations in certain parts of Ireland. I am not sure that it is general that motor transport has been provided for the Garda Síochána but I understand that a car has been provided at Ballina. That is a very good move because if Guards have to cycle long distances in the country to check up on criminals it is going to take a long time and we can assume, quite naturally, that these people will have a greater opportunity of getting away than they would if Guards had cars at their disposal. The fact that cars have been provided for members of the Garda Síochána in some stations will enable the outlying stations to communicate with places like Ballina and other centres and get a car out after the criminal type of people.

Deputy Blowick and Deputy Burke referred to motor-cycle transport. It would be a good idea, particularly in mountainous areas, if motor-cycle transport were provided in each Garda station. I said that last year on the occasion of this Estimate and so far nothing has been done. I would like to join with those who spoke on this occasion and say that I consider it is important that in crossing mountains like the Ox mountain and in hilly country the Gardaí should have motor-cycle transport.

I regret to say that many of our Garda barracks are not a credit to us. I refer first to location. I have in mind several Garda barracks in this country that are not situated at convenient centres. On many occasions people have difficulty in finding out where the Garda station is even in our important towns. They are hidden away in back streets in some instances; that does not apply all round. Motorists may observe something along the road and they may deem it their duty to report it to the Garda Síochána. If there is difficulty in locating the Garda station or the Garda naturally people will just drive away and not bother about the matter.

I have had experience of a case myself in a certain town in an eastern county where I had difficulty in getting the Garda to report what I considered was an accident. A man was lying on the roadside and I felt it was a matter which should be brought to the notice of the Garda because it might have happened that some passing motorist had struck the man. I had considerable difficulty in locating the Garda barracks in that case. I think as far as possible we should endeavour to provide the best accommodation possible for the Garda in a centre which will be easily accessible to everybody. Another regrettable matter is that many Garda stations present a sorry sight to the average observer. The paintwork on the windows and the doors is in a very bad condition. The roof in many cases is in a sad state while the sanitary accommodation is often poor and inadequate. I come across cases where the Garda are still dependent on the old paraffin oil lamp for illumination. I think that in places which have not yet been touched by rural electrification something like calor gas should be provided. Not very long ago I was in a Garda station and whether or not it was due to the fact the globe of the lamp had been broken, there was no light at all in the place and the Garda had difficulty in providing any light. I should like to impress upon the Minister the necessity of improving the general appearance of these buildings in the matter of paintwork, sanitary accommodation and other matters so asto bring the Garda into line with other public servants.

In conclusion, I should like to join in the tribute paid by other Deputies to the Garda. Generally speaking, they are a fine body of men. I had a long experience of them before ever I came to this House, both in the city and in the country, and I had always reason to regard them as men of honour and integrity who were prepared to help anybody who approached them. They were always guided in the discharge of their duty by a spirit of reasonableness. If you are reasonable with them, you will find that they will be reasonable with you. They are not just anxious to run you into court at every opportunity. If you are reasonable yourself, you will find that the Gardaí are also reasonable and intelligent. The average person will find, at the same time, that he cannot put it across them, as the saying is.

I should like also to pay a tribute to the officials of the Minister's Department. It is not very often that I have had to visit the offices of the Department, but on the few occasions on which I did, I was treated with the utmost courtesy. I want to join with other Deputies in saying that we should feel proud of the staff in the Department of Justice and the members of the Garda Síochána throughout the length and breadth of the country. I should like to impress again on the Minister the necessity of attending to the matters which I have brought to his notice, with particular reference to the question of motor transport, and the provision of proper sanitary and lighting accommodation in Garda stations.

It is not a very pleasant thing to hear that the incidence of crime is double what it was in 1939. When I heard the Minister making that statement, I wondered whether he was referring to organised crime or what the nature of the crime was which has shown such an increase. It would be interesting to have some indication from police officers as to what has been the cause of the increased crime in that period of 13 years. I was speakingsome time ago to a responsible police officer in the City of Cork, and he told me that certainly juvenile crime had increased. I asked him to what he attributed that increase, and he indicated that a good deal of it was due to bad social conditions.

I think we cannot separate social conditions from the incidence of crime, especially juvenile crime. Anybody who gives a thought to this subject must undoubtedly give some consideration to the question of bad housing, bad social conditions and the volume of unemployment. You cannot separate one from the other, because the reaction from one to the other constantly arises. I should like if the Minister would tell the House whether there has been any great increase in organised crime in the country. The Minister also made the statement that the number of traffic offences last year reached the enormous figure of 81,228.

Mr. Boland

That would include prosecutions for having no lights on bicycles and other offences of that kind.

But it includes major cases as well?

Mr. Boland

Yes, but they are not all major cases.

Deputy Burke took exception to what he termed attacks on the courts. I do not wish to reflect on justices or judges—far from it—but I do say that I should not like to see one law for the rich and another for the poor, and I am rather inclined to believe that there is a danger of that. I certainly should not like to treat lightly the statement made by Deputy Desmond. I have known cases where men were sent to prison for breaches of the traffic law, and I would be inclined to say "hear, hear" to that. I have certainly refused to lend my support to applications to lighten the sentence in cases of this kind. I know of cases that were appealed and in which the sentences were upheld. I heard of a case last October in which a man was sentenced to a period of imprisonment. That case was not appealed, but yet the sentence was changed from a term of imprisonmentto a fine. I would emphasise that if there is to be respect for the law, that law must be enforced against wealthy people in the same way as against the ordinary Pat Murphy in the streets. That is all I ask for, and I am not satisfied that, in the case to which I refer, the law was enforced in that spirit.

I heard a number of statements here to the effect that the strength of the Garda is not sufficient. I do not know that we could have a more useful service in the country than a large police force, even if that should mean a small Army. This is a matter to which, I think, we should give serious consideration. I would prefer to see 8,000 Gardaí and a smaller number in the Army, because after all the Garda are now doing a considerable amount of work that they were not asked to do in the early days, and there is room for improvement so far as the strength of the force in many areas is concerned. In that connection I should like to refer to the City of Cork. Deputy McGrath recently asked the Minister whether there were any proposals under consideration to erect barracks outside the city boundary in areas in which considerable building development has recently taken place. I took it from the Minister's reply that it will be a very long time before any Garda stations are built outside the city proper. I think it is most undesirable that areas in which upwards of 2,000 houses have been erected should be so far removed from any Garda station. I certainly would welcome a proposal to increase the strength of the Garda by, say, a 1,000 men and to reduce the number of men in the Army by two or three thousand, because after all a civil force is more important than a military force for any State or country.

Reference was made to the question of censorship. I suggest that the time is ripe for an amendment of the Censorship Act. I recently met a body of people who are interested in this imported literature and they showed me periodicals and other stuff imported from countries far removed from England which amazed me.

That is quite right.

I could not believe it until I saw it—it was shocking. Some of the comics taken from children in the schools were shown to me and I made inquiries and was informed that some of this filthy literature has been imported in bulk. What price they get it for from the country of origin I do not know, but the price charged here is exorbitant.

The higher the price, the better, I should say.

Of course. I made inquiries as to what the Censorship Board was doing and found that a defect in the Act is that unless there are three or five successive issues of a particular journal or periodical which are objectionable they cannot be stopped. I found also that there were two or three issues which were objectionable, followed by some which were semi-decent, and so the thing went on.

Would this require legislation?

Mr. Boland

It would.

That point did not dawn on me, but I suggest that it is a matter for consideration. All I am advocating is stricter censorship, and whether that is in order or not, I leave to the Chair.

I will leave it to the Minister.

Mr. Boland

It would involve an amendment of that part of the Act dealing with periodicals.

We all join in paying tribute to the Guards and to the detective force. I have had a good deal of contact with the police force in my own city for some years past and I must say that they are a very efficient force. I have received complaints from people who say they would like to see Guards more in evidence at night time, and in this respect I agree with Deputy O'Hara. I have been coming to Dublin for quite a long time, and I know that, if one walked through O'Connell Street or some of the lesser streets in daysgone by, one was bound to see a Guard in the distance.

Is it not better that they should be concealed?

Prevention is better than cure, and I am only advocating prevention, rather than that Guards should come on the scene after things have happened. There is need for an increased police force; and if any question of economy is involved, we could practice that economy in the military force.

Another matter which I mentioned to the Minister on a previous occasion is the position of the widows of Guards. It is a sad thing that the widows of Guards who served the country well should be in receipt, in some cases, of a pension of 17/6 a week.

Having said that, I suppose we will now find out whether legislation is needed or not.

I appeal to the Minister to see to it that we have a stricter censorship of the filthy literature coming into the country.

In conjunction with other Deputies, I am pleased to learn that juvenile crime is decreasing. We all accept the fact that if we could get rid of juvenile crime, we would have a much lesser number of hardened criminals in the days ahead. We have, unfortunately, quite a lot of unpleasant literature coming in, in the nature of comics, which children, in the city areas particularly, are absorbing with avidity, and there is no question that these are to a large extent responsible for crime. Proof of that is the fact that not only in this country, but in other countries, Church authorities and civil authorities have concerned themselves with this problem. I know that it is a very difficult question— the curtailing of the liberty of the subject and preventing this literature coming in—but like other Deputies, I want to stress that the bulk importation of this stuff—and the bulk of it comes from outside—should be dealt with by the Censorship Board. I feel that the Minister has some jurisdictionin this connection, and I know he is just as much concerned with this pernicious literature, of the juvenile variety particularly, and is doing his best with regard to preventing it coming in, but it ought to be brought home to the censorship authorities that they should, so far as possible, exterminate this sort of stuff.

A matter that has been raised on several occasions is the payment of out-of-pocket expenses to jurors. In my constituency, the Circuit Court sits in the south-east of the county and in many instances jurors have to travel 30 miles and more to attend this court. They may not be called, and may possibly have to return the next day at very considerable expense to themselves. Whenever this matter is raised, the Minister, whoever he may be, always says that the matter is under consideration. I say advisedly "under consideration." No Minister has yet said that it is under active consideration. I ask the Minister now to bring it under active consideration and, further, to give tardy justice to these jurors, particularly in rural areas. It very often happens that a farmer is called on at the busiest time of the year, when he is trying to sow or to harvest his crops, to act as a juror. He has no means of transport other than the public transport which often does not meet the case. Very often, that transport will not bring him to the court in time. The court may sit late and he may have to hire a motor-car, with all the expense of spending the day there and the out-of-pocket expenses in regard to food in an hotel. This is a reform which is long overdue and I ask the Minister to give it his earliest consideration.

I was very interested in hearing the different Deputies expressing their views on traffic conditions in Dublin. Deputy de Valera said that the drivers of cars could greatly facilitate traffic by observing certain rules. I am in full agreement with him, but it is easier for him and other residents of Dublin to know what the traffic regulations are. People who come to the city on a visit only periodically cannot possibly be expected to know whatthese regulations are. My experience of country people coming to Dublin for a day's shopping is that they want to park a car somewhere in the centre of the city, leave it there and carry on unhindered for the day, but the position is—and much of the traffic trouble is caused by this—that a person from the country spends the day literally cruising around the main streets or shopping centres trying to find some place to park his car. I have personal experience of that. Travelling through the city, I happened to be behind a car with a country registration. The driver of this particular vehicle was upsetting the traffic. In fact, what he was trying to do was to discover some place in the vicinity of George's Street in which to park his car. Having regard to the ordinary run of traffic, if a man turns right or left, he naturally obstructs traffic. The answer is to provide more parking facilities in Dublin, no matter how it is done. That is the whole trouble in regard to traffic. There would not be half the congestion or confusion in Dublin traffic if more parking facilities were provided. I do not think that this is the responsibility of the Minister's Department.

Mr. Boland

The Department of Local Government.

Not entirely. That has been a long-standing bone of contention.

Any advice given by the Minister will receive due consideration from the particular Department concerned. Transport for the Gardaí was mentioned. I cannot pay a high enough tribute to the members of the Garda Síochána. Other Deputies have already paid them a tribute and I am very glad to stand up and pay it to them as well. A lot of people do not realise the amount of work that is imposed on the Garda Síochána. They have virtually to do everything. In an emergency in a country district if a Guard gets a sudden call he has to answer that call and go out to a particular district. That district may befour or five miles out. It may be an appalling night with snow and ice on the roads but the Guard has got to get there as quickly as he can. I questioned country sergeants and Guards and I am told that there are no facilities available whereby they can get transport to bring them to the spot in an emergency.

Some time ago I was instrumental in bringing out the Guards in my own county in a hurry to a serious accident. That happened on another occassion in regard to an assault. The Guards had to hire a car at their own expense and go out where the incidents occured. In both cases it was urgent that the Guards should be on the spot as soon as possible. I asked them whether they had to pay for the transport out of their own pockets. They said "Yes." I think a very strong case exists, particularly in big centres, to have transport available so that when emergencies of the kind to which I have referred occur, the bigger centre may be communicated with where a sergeant or a Guard may be in a position to obtain the transport and get out to the spot immediately.

The Guards have a tremendous amount of work to do. In the case of a death they have to go to the telephone and very often they have to communicate with relations who live in other parts of the country. Often in my capacity as a doctor, I have to transmit a message to the relatives of persons who may be ill. Guards often have to go out late at night. Often the Guards are telephoned from Dublin hospitals in the middle of the night and they have to go out and deliver messages. That imposes a heavy burden on them because they have not got transport. They have to do all that work on bicycles. I think a strong case can be made for a review of transport in regard to the Guards as a whole.

There is another matter I would like to bring before the Minister. There are a few Guards who, when they became Guards, had reached the upper age limit and will not be able to receive their full pension when retiring. That does not apply as much as before asthe age limit has been extended. Every shilling counts nowadays particularly in view of the cost of living. There are not many Guards in the category to which I refer and it would not cost very much to rectify their grievance. I would ask the Minister to give them fair consideration.

The Minister mentioned that some economies were made by raising the ceiling age of retirement. I think that was an excellent thing to do. I think that it was long overdue. I would suggest that the Minister should go further and lift the ceiling a little bit more. I think he mentioned that the officers of the Gardaí have to retire when they reach 62 years of age. I fail to see why they should not be employed until they are 65 years of age. I think the age limit was extended from 55 years to 57 years in the case of non-commissioned rank. I suggest that it should be raised to 70.

It was stated by some Deputies that there are not sufficient Guards on duty in the centre of the city. If I might digress and refer to traffic control, I think some Deputies overlooked the fact that the traffic lights have to a large extent removed the need there was heretofore of having so many Guards on point duty. I fully concur with the suggestion that late at night particularly in the suburban and newly built up areas of Dublin, possibly more Guards might be required for the purpose of protection.

I would like to pay the highest tribute I can to the very fine police force we have in this country. I think they are second to none in the world. They are always courteous and dignified. They always do their best. They give a helping hand to persons in difficulties and are very considerate with first offenders. Many a hardened criminal has been made by that little want of help which the Guards are always ready to give to him who falls by the wayside. I would like to pay my tribute to the Department of Justice. I have always been met with courtesy and efficiency from the officials of the Department of Justice and I thank them very much.

A number ofDeputies referred to the increase in the number of crimes committed in the last 12 months and put a question mark after it. Personally I do not think there is any need for a question mark. In my view the increase in crime is due to an increase in crime in Britain. Deputy Hickey tried to associate the increase in crime here with social, housing and other conditions. I do not think that is correct because, after all, social and housing conditions here have improved over the past years. If Deputy Hickey's argument was correct, then one would expect a decrease in crime, but there is for some reason or other a very serious increase in major crimes in Britain. Again, that cannot be attributed to lack of social services or lack of housing because Britain has, during the last ten years, made great advances in both those respects. The influence of British crime is being felt in this country. Reading the reports of crime committed here and of trials of criminals, one will see that they bear the stamp of modern crime in England. It is a very serious problem indeed. Private property and public property are not safe, and property owners are becoming worried.

It is serious then to see that over the last three years—since 1948, I think, the Minister mentioned—the number of Guards has been reduced by 696. I do not know why that reduction took place. It may have been for economy reasons. One reason that we cannot accept is a decrease in crime. I am glad to know that during the past year numbers of recruits were brought in for training, and that soon they will be sent out to the country as Gardaí. Many more, I think, should be brought in because there will be a need for them. The Minister said that the Garda force would be recruited on a competitive basis—that is by weight and on a competitive examination. I do not think there is any other way of recruiting Gardaí or of any other body of public servants. A certain standard as regards height and weight, and of other measurements required in a member of the force, is laid down. Those accepted must measure up to certain standards which are already fixed.

The recruits must be of good character, having first of all fulfilled those two qualifications. How are we to select Gardaí other than by competitive examination? The question has then to be determined whether or not they are educationally suited for the job. I do not know, and nobody seems to know, on what basis recruitment took place last year. We have had complaints from all Parties in the House, inquiring as to what yardstick was used in the selection of recruits. No answer could be given. I do not think the Minister could find out what yardstick was used in recruiting members of the force last year. It was not height, nor was it the matter of education, because a number of persons who had the necessary height, and to spare, were turned down. They also had very good educational qualifications. I am very much in favour of having a competitive education exam. for all future members of the force who are to be recruited. Until we devise a better method of recruitment for the Civil Service and all the other public positions to be filled in the different Departments—we may be able to devise a better method than a competitive educational examination—we must, I think, recognise this as the best method of measuring a man's ability.

I should like to refer to the School Attendance Act and the way it is administered or, rather, the way in which it is not administered. It is one of the greatest handicaps that a teacher has. The teacher can prepare his work, he can impart knowledge to his class and he can take all other steps to see that his pupils acquire the knowledge which he imparts to them, but there is one thing he cannot do and that is compel the pupils to be present. One of the greatest heartbreaks of a teacher, after having given lessons for two or three days on a particular subject, is to find that towards the end of the week maybe half a dozen pupils of that class had been absent earlier in the week. The result is that he has to go all over his work again for the benefit of those who had been absent. I am loath to say it, but it is a fact that the School Attendance Act is not being properly administered and is not being put into effect.

You have teachers and clergymen of all denominations, and the Bishops when they come round for Confirmation in a parish every three years, all referring to this bogey of the bad attendance of pupils in our national schools. The Act itself is a bit complicated. First of all, the parent or guardian must be warned and if, after that warning, the bad attendance continues, the parent or guardian is then brought before the court. That seems to be a rather roundabout way of doing it, but it is the way in which offenders are brought to court. The school attendance officers sometimes wait for a very long period before they even get round to doing that. It is only in the most glaring cases of bad attendance that any action is taken. When a case does eventually reach the courts, some of the justices are very lenient indeed. They mix the milk of human kindness rather lavishly. I know of one particular case of a pupil who had over 50 days' absence in a six-month period where the justice fined the parent a penny and paid the fine himself. Where you have a thing like that happening, as well as other laxities in the enforcement of the School Attendance Act, neither the teachers nor the managers of schools will be satisfied. That kind of thing is doing a vast amount of damage to the education of our youth.

Two other Deputies referred to the question of imported literature. I am not familiar with the censorship regulations, and so I do not know what action the Minister can take under them. If, however, there is any action which he can take without further legislation, then, by all means, he should take it to prevent the importation of the type of literature that has been referred to —the type of periodical, novel and comic which are being imported. They are reaching the hands not only of our children but of grown-up people, and are doing an immense amount of harm. Such literature, as well as being morally bad, is one of the causes of the increase in crime that has taken place in this country. Crime is the beginning and end of some of these periodicals and people reading them will have tainted minds and, subconsciously, will develop a criminal tendency andwill commit crime. The Minister should take every possible step to prevent such literature from coming into the country. If the law as it stands does not permit of the Minister's intervention, he should amend the law so as to enable him to deal with the situation.

Agriculture is one of our most important industries. It is very important for record purposes that proper statistics should be available to the Department. The compilation of these statistics falls on the Gardaí. The Garda is sent out to cover a certain district. His time is limited and he has umpteen other jobs to do. This is work that should not be thrown on the force. They have not the time to do it and, therefore, the work may be done in a slipshod manner. It is a full-time job that should be done by other people. I am not going to suggest who should compile the statistics dealing with Irish agriculture but certainly it is work that should not be done by people who were employed for other work. A Garda on his way to get the information for statistics purposes may come across a crime and must attend to the urgent job of apprehending the criminal or taking particulars of the crime and the duty of compiling agricultural statistics must be left aside. That can happen on six days of the week. The Minister should see to it that that duty is shed by the Gardaí, and the Department of Agriculture should make alternative and more suitable arrangements.

I join with other Deputies in paying tribute to the members of the Garda force in general. There are some who do not measure up to the high standards of the majority. The majority are good. I want to emphasise that in that respect I differ from some other speakers. I want to say that there are some members of the Garda force who do not measure up to the standards of the majority.

I subscribe to the things that have been said about the Garda Síochána and want to give them the meed of praise that is their due from my experience of the force generally and of the individual membersof the force that I have met. I do not think that the compliments that we can pay here to the Garda Síochána will do them any good. It would be far better if we showed our appreciation of the Garda Síochána in a more practical way.

There should be an immediate improvement of their conditions, most important in that respect being salary. The Minister may not have complete control over that matter. That would be left to the Government as a whole and to the Minister for Finance in particular.

I would like the Minister to make an all-out effort to improve the Garda uniform. It may look well but, being a tunic type uniform, I would say it has been responsible for there being more T.B., more bad chests and more bronchitis than any other disease in the force. The cause of that will be readily appreciated. While the Garda is on duty, his chest is covered up and when he changes into civies there is not the same protection for his lungs. That has been a long standing complaint of the Garda Síochána. Incidentally, it has been a long standing complaint of the uniformed officials in this House. We are glad that it has been rectified in respect of these officials.

A summer type uniform has been introduced in the City of Dublin. I would urge that when replacements are being made the summer type uniform should be supplied. It may be much more expensive. I do not know. It looks better and it is due to the Gardaí who are building up their own tradition, that they should be suitably clothed.

There is one matter to which the Minister, the Garda Síochána or the commissioners might devote themselves, particularly at the present time, namely, the question of parking and traffic regulations. For many years past there has been nothing but chaos so far as traffic in the City of Dublin is concerned. I would not blame the Gardaí, as they do a magnificent job in this city in the direction of traffic. I remember one occasion about two years ago when the traffic lights were out of order for some reason and their place was taken by members of theforce, and I must say that they improved the flow of traffic considerably at those points.

I would say that a lot of the traffic chaos is caused by indiscriminate parking. I know that attempts have been made over many years, with the co-operation of the Dublin Corporation, to try to establish good parking bylaws; but travelling around the city at present one could not say that these regulations have been an outstanding success. Let me give one instance in particular, which ought to be familiar to Deputies. It is that of a place not far from here, Lincoln Place. I came by there the other morning in a motor-car and barely got through, because not alone were cars parked on either side of the road but they were parked completely around the corner. If the regulations allow that sort of thing, they are a huge joke. There is no excuse in the wide world for parking on a corner. I thought the law laid down that you had to park 30 feet from a corner, but if one goes to Lincoln Place to-morrow morning and up to 5.30 p.m. one will see cars parked on either side of the bend, right at the entrance to Trinity College. I do not believe it is the fault of the Gardaí but that of the parking regulations. The burden on the Garda in the exercise of his duty could be eased greatly if the local authority were prepared to co-operate with the commissioner or, failing that, if the commissioner exercises the power he has to insist that decent parking regulations be established, not alone for the City of Dublin but for every town and city in the whole country.

I know that in my own town, Wexford, the Guards have a tremendous amount of difficulty, by reason of the fact that the streets are pitifully narrow. The local authority has refused to say yes, aye or no in regard to the parking by-laws—at least, the majority of them have refused—and they leave the responsibility to the commissioner. That may be very laudable, but it still throws the baby over to the commissioner; and I am now appealing to the commissioner, through the Minister, to take the bull by the horns and disregard any vested interests or narrow-mindednessand go ahead with the very sensible regulation that he proposed to the Wexford Corporation. If he does so, he will find the task of the Gardaí in Wexford town will not be as big as it is at present.

The Minister ought to take power, if he has not got it, to make more severe traffic regulations. I do not know whether he must amend the law to do this or not, but I think we ought to adopt the law in force in England, under which any vehicle approaching a main road from a secondary one must be brought to a dead stop. I was present about two weeks ago at the scene of an accident where a van had whipped out of a side road on to a main road and got what was due to it —it was well bashed in the side. If the law I speak of were introduced here, it would reduce road accidents and prevent many fatal ones that occur from year to year.

I would also suggest to the commissioner, through the Minister, that he should try to establish throughout the whole country a uniform speed limit for built-up areas. One might say, against that, that speed is relative, that one could be knocked down or killed at five or ten miles an hour just as one could be at 50 or 60; but if there is a low speed limit the motor car has a better and a more definite chance of pulling up in a shorter space when it is travelling at 20 or 25 miles an hour than when it is travelling at 60 miles an hour. I suppose it would take the motorist travelling at 60 twice or three times the distance at which to pull up than it would take the motorist travelling at 20 or 25. I have particularly in mind some streets in towns in my constituency, where there does not seem to be any regard by the motorist for pedestrians or other users of the road.

I have listened here to the discussion on censorship and have heard a lot of talk about comics. I gather that the objection to these comics, and to some periodicals that get into the hands of the children, is on moral grounds. I have seen some of these comics that are read by children and sometimes by grown-ups and I cannot say that they could be condemned on moral grounds.

I would not call them "funnies", rather would I call them "fantastics." I would say they are stupid, but to say that they are responsible for crime in the country is exaggerating to a large extent.

Mr. O'Higgins

TheSunday Pressis a good example.

Well, now, theSunday Independenthas Diana and she is not clad very well. I would not take exception to these comics on moral grounds. I would rather describe them as fantastic; how any mind can assimilate the stuff in these picture stories I cannot imagine. Deputy Cunningham said they may be responsible for crime, but I do not think so. The moral in all these stories, whether of crime or adventure, is that crime does not pay.

I would ask the Minister to impress on the Film Censor the need for an absolutely strict censorship of films, not so much for the adult—if you like, not at all for the adult—but for the children. In various cinemas in the city and country, even in one's home town, one sees pictures at matinées that are certainly not conducive to good living, where children pay twopence, threepence or fourpence to get in. Films for children should be graded. I am not so much concerned for adults or pictures shown at adult performances. Adults can well look after themselves and at their age discern right from wrong and know what it is right to see and not right to see. I do not think it is fair to children that proprietors of cinemas or distributors of films should show all and everything at these matinées. One could not describe them as absolutely immoral; one could not describe them as indecent; but I think the Film Censor ought to be much more careful than he is and should grade films to distinguish between those which may be shown to children and those to which children should not be admitted. There is a very good Catholic newspaper—I cannot remember the name—which grades films every week. I am a picturegoer myself and I think it does the grading very well indeed. If the censor couldgrade films somewhat on the same lines it would be a big improvement on the present situation.

I am not at all certain that in cases of juvenile delinquency absolute justice or, if you like, justice tempered with mercy, is always dispensed. I do not blame the justices in that respect. For lack of information and knowledge on the part of the Garda and on the part of justices, grave injury may be done to juvenile delinquents. For that reason there should be some method by which a special welfare officer or a special welfare board would be put in a position to investigate and inquire into family circumstances, into the background of the delinquent and his family and, generally, find out the circumstances of the case and be allowed either to advise the justice in private, or perhaps, better still, give evidence in court.

While I am sure that the justice does take all things into consideration, he could well do with the help which a welfare officer or some local board representative of parents could give him. That would assist him greatly in making up his mind as to the guilt or otherwise of the delinquents or the punishment which he might inflict. I know there have been grave hardships imposed on families by reason of the fact that one of their members has been sent away to an institution for four, five or six years. On examination by the Minister, there may not be a lot of merit in that suggestion, but I seriously suggest that he should at least consider it.

This Estimate gives an opportunity to discuss a considerable number of matters which affect the public. One of the matters that comes up for consideration at the moment is, what is the cause of many of the happenings which have occurred recently. One should consider whether there is any fault on the part of our educational system, any fault or defect in the administration of the law by the Guards, or any fault or defect in the administration of the law by the courts. Undoubtedly, it will be agreed that in recent times—and I do not think it is entirely confined to this country—there has not been therespect for authority or for law that we should expect; there has been a deterioration.

The problem before the Dáil and the Minister is to consider what is the cause of that deterioration and how can it be cured. I am inclined to the view that the Guards cannot solve it and I do not think the courts can entirely solve it. The problem goes back into the sphere of the education of the youth. It is certainly linked up very closely with education. That is particularly noticeable in the matter which was referred to by Deputy Corish and other Deputies, the problem known as juvenile delinquency. This problem of offences committed by children, some of them school-going, some of them just left school, is a very serious one indeed.

I have often wondered whether the system we have of district courts dealing with school-going children, or even with youths up to 16 years of age, is the most satisfactory system. I am inclined to take the view that it is not a satisfactory system. I see it being administered in Dublin by a most experienced district justice, a most humane man, whose only consideration seems to be the well-being of the child in front of him. Administered even by such a justice, who has the assistance of court probation officers and also of charitable organisations, the system appears to me not to be successful.

The fundamental difficulty is that the Guards administer the law in regard to little children in exactly the same way as they administer it for adults. There is something objectionable in a youngster, very often of eight or nine years of age, who is alleged to have committed some petty theft, perhaps of sweets, perhaps of comics, perhaps of a few shillings, being interrogated in exactly the same way as a grown-up —undoubtedly in the presence of his parents—and brought to court where all the formalities are gone through as if it were a court dealing with grownups. It is true that they try to make it different by having the Guards in mufti instead of in uniform, but the whole routine of the court is exactly the same as the routine in the case of an adult criminal.

What I find about it is that youngsters going into court for their first offence get the idea into their minds that, after all, the courts are not such a bad place at all, and once these youngsters get that into their minds, there is the danger that they will fall into crime again, knowing that they will be treated in a most humane and fair way by the justice who deals with these cases. There must be a tremendous waste of time on the part of the Gardaí in dealing with cases in that way. In relation to first offenders a report should be made by the Gardaí to the parents of the child and the parents should have the obligation, as they have the obligation, of dealing with the child themselves.

Other speakers have referred to the shortage of Gardaí in Dublin and elsewhere. Even in the most minor juvenile case of a youngster of eight or nine years of age coming up for the first time before the court one will find a file of documents an inch thick prepared by the Gardaí investigating the offence. Enormous charge sheets four feet long have to be filled in. Statements have to be read out. All the evidence that would be tendered in a charge of larceny by an adult, for instance, has to be given, and the child perhaps leaves the court on probation or with a warning from the district justice. The usual procedure is to remand the child for a week so that the court probation officer can interview the parents and the school authorities and get particulars of the home life and school attendance of the particular child.

There are so many cases coming up in Dublin that the court probation system, good as it is, is ineffective for the most part because the court probation officer must depend to a large extent on the parents that he interviews giving him the correct information and he then has to obtain school reports showing the standard the offender has attained and the school attendance record from the school authorities. I think a child committing a first offence of a minor character should never be brought into the process of legal administration until it is clearly shown that no other process willdeter the child or make it amend its ways. There might be a standard of two or three minor types of offence which should be reported to the parents in the first instance. The Guards could very easily keep a note of such offences and, should the intervention of the parents prove insufficient, then the child should be brought before the court.

The question arises as to whether the court is, even at that stage, as at present constituted the best court. In Dublin City the justice has the assistance of very experienced court officers, very experienced probation officers and the assistance, too, of charitable and other organisations willing to help him in every way. Unfortunately, that assistance is not available in rural areas. The Minister might perhaps consider the idea, therefore, of setting up some type of legal advisory committee to assist justices all over the country in dealing with cases in connection with children. One of the difficulties at present is that when a child is committed to an industrial or reformatory school by a district justice it is very difficult to have the order varied on appeal because the circuit judge takes the view that experienced district justices know more about dealing with children than he does and consequently the circuit judge does not feel at liberty to vary the order made in the District Court. That is, of course, an improper and an incorrect approach but it is the approach adopted on occasions. The parent is thereby denied the opportunity of having the case against the child reconsidered in the correct atmosphere of a proper appeal court.

In the Dublin Metropolitan Children's Court on certain days of the week one goes into a very large waiting-room and there finds scores of parents and scores of children brought there from all parts of the city and kept there for anything up to two and a half hours. I do not think it is desirable that that should occur. Children who have committed different offences and who have been caught in different ways, by slipping up, by being given away or by voluntary confessionshould not be brought together to exchange stories. The particular child whose case is being considered should not be brought into touch with other children, many of whom perhaps have been before the court on several occasions. I know the difficulty, but there is at the same time a very serious problem for consideration. The Minister, in co-operation with the Garda authorities, should be able to make some arrangements to ensure segregation. It is not a good thing to have these children congregating together and discussing for two and a half hours their several offences.

A somewhat similar problem arises in regard to our industrial schools. In these schools we have two types—children who have committed no offences at all, or possibly offences of a technical nature, and children who have been found guilty, perhaps, on a number of occasions of very serious offences. I think it is genuinely impossible to apply proper corrective measures when all these children are together in that particular atmosphere. I would like to see more industrial schools with smaller numbers in each. I would like a more personal supervision than can be given where big numbers are congregated together.

I have heard many complaints from children who have been in these industrial schools that they have been treated with undue severity. I do not accept many of the stories that I hear from these children but where one is hearing a story time after time in regard to undue severity, it suggests that there should be frequent investigations into the conditions obtaining and that there should be opportunity for complaint by the children concerned. The real problem in sending children away is whether or not they are going to benefit by it or whether they are simply going to be sent away to be kept, as it were, imprisoned for a particular period so that they cannot do any harm during the period they are away. I think that that is a very big problem. We are not really dealing with it in the way we should. I realise and appreciate all the difficulties that are in the way and I take the opportunity of making those particularobservations in that regard—observations that are based on practical experience and on practical knowledge. There seems to be, not only in this country but elsewhere, a breakdown in what one might term the ordinary national discipline. It is a problem that confronts not only this Government but other Governments. I agree substantially with what the late Father Flanagan said, about the time he came over here, to the effect that there is really no bad boy. I have had experience of youngsters who have come before the court and I can see that there is a tremendous amount of good in them. If they were brought into the proper atmosphere, if they were handled in the right way, I believe there would be great hope for them. I think all of us will have to give consideration to this problem and work out some system of investigation both of court procedure and of the handling of those children afterwards. I feel very strongly that in the case of minor offences—these trivial petty larcenies— the best method would be to report the case in the first instance to the parents and to let the parents deal with it.

We have heard it said in this House that Dublin is under-policed. I have heard that in other places also. It may or it may not be so. It may be that we are 500 or 100 Gardaí short in Dublin. It strikes me that there is considerable waste in regard to our Gardaí at the moment and that a reorganisation of the force would enable the Gardaí to do much more work than they are doing at present. In a year, every Garda—particularly in Dublin—writes more than the most prolific author in this country or in the adjoining countries. A system has grown up over a number of years under which it is more important for a Garda to take a statement in a particular way than to take a correct statement of what he is told by the person who is sitting in front of him. Nothing annoys me more than to go into court and hear what is called a "voluntary statement" read out by a Garda—a statement which starts off with the complete family history of the individual. It is obvious that that history is not voluntarilygiven to the Garda but is given in answer to a series of questions that are put to the person by the Garda concerned. I think that it must be that instructions are issued from some source in the Garda authorities obliging each Garda to make out these longwinded statements. I have often come across a case of a man who is charged. When the matter is investigated the man is asked: "Did you do this?" and he replies: "Yes, I did it. I committed that robbery at 9 o'clock on Saturday night." That would be a genuinely voluntary statement. It would not take very long to write it. However, when that is translated into Garda language—"Garda-leese", I think we might call it—it runs into two or perhaps three pages. Obviously, there is a tremendous waste of effort if every Garda must, in the case of every person whom he is questioning, write down that long history. I think the Minister might have that point examined by some of his very experienced officers who have legal qualifications and who understand and know the directions of the judges in regard to statements. If the matter is investigated I think the Minister will find that certainly more than 50 per cent. of the writing done by Gardaí at the moment could be eliminated and in that way Gardaí would not be tied up with routine in the way in which they are tied up at the moment.

I do not think we want to have Gardaí parading up and down the city in uniform at all hours of the day and night. Probably it would be grand to have a very nicely uniformed Garda force marching up and down O'Connell Street but I do not think we want that. It might have looked well 40 years ago but it is not necessary now. We want a Garda force that will, as far as possible, prevent crime. The only way in which I can see they can prevent crime is by catching the wrongdoers when they commit offences. Undoubtedly, our staff of Gardaí and particularly our detective branch, have a magnificent record of efficiency in regard to crime detection in the city. Time after time, they bring up prisoners—prisoners with very bad records—before the courts in respect of, say, housebreaking and robberies,I wonder if the courts do their duty in regard to those particular people. It seems senseless to have our Gardaí going round and detecting robberies— employed on the work, day after day, or night after night and perhaps week after week—if, after eventually tracking down, say, a bunch of housebreakers who have been in that business for perhaps 20 years or more and who have come before the courts time after time, they are then sentenced to six months, nine months or 12 months, as the case may be.

We cannot have a criticism of the courts on this Estimate. The courts are a separate body and cannot be discussed.

I am not criticising them, I hope, but when the Guards have brought these people before the courts and they are punished with another six or nine months' imprisonment, they come out again in six months after getting the usual remission, to start off again a series of housebreakings and robberies that again engage the activities of the Gardaí and again result in public time being spent in the courts and elsewhere dealing with them. It is a matter which this House has to consider. It is a matter which the public has to consider and that the judges ought to consider.

I am one of those people who believe that when a person commits a first offence the Probation of Offenders Act should be applied. I also believe that where a person commits perhaps a second or even a third offence, if the circumstances justify it the most lenient treatment should be meted out provided the court is of opinion that the person will mend his ways. But when we come to the hardened, habitual criminal the case is entirely different.

I have heard from Deputies this evening some criticism of the Government or the Minister for Justice for the time being for reducing sentences imposed by the courts. I am glad that the Minister and the Government have power to review sentences. I do notaccept what Deputy Hickey or some other Deputy said here this evening that a Deputy should not bring before the Minister the case of one of his constituents who desires to have his case reviewed by the Minister or the Government. I think it is the duty of the Deputy to bring such a case before the Minister and before the Government and that no Deputy has the right to set himself up as super judge to deal with the case there and then and say: "I refuse to make such a submission to the Minister." If we were to work on that basis it would mean that no lawyer could take on the defence of a case because he would set himself up as a judge in the first instance and say: "I refuse to have anything to do with you."

It is one of our legal concepts that when a person is charged with an offence he is innocent until he is proved guilty, and until he is found guilty by judge and jury or by a judge sitting in exercise of his judicial rights, nobody has the right to say that he is guilty. But having been found guilty there is the greatest possible discretion given to a court to deal with that case and the judge deals with it at the moment on the facts that are before him. It may transpire subsequently that there are certain facts which, if they had been known to the judge at the time, might have altered his view as to the extent of the punishment. If, say, any relative or friend of the accused person comes before a Deputy and says: "We think that man was unfairly dealt with, that the court did not take into account so-and-so," it is the duty of that Deputy to bring those facts before the Minister who will have them properly investigated, who will communicate with the judge who dealt with the case, who will explain to the judge the case that is being brought up before him and ask the judge for his observations, and ask the Garda in charge of the case for his observations. It may transpire, as it has transpired on some occasions to my own knowledge in the country, that a man who has been convicted in accordance with due course of law, has been later found to be innocent.

One of the things that all of us look for is mercy and, as far as this worldis concerned, mercy is the prerogative of the Government. If a Government considers that mercy ought to be shown to a particular person, then it is their duty to show it. I think it would be wrong for any Deputy to say: "I refuse to put forward that case"; "I think he was not punished enough," or "he should have got more." I do not think very many Deputies would adopt that line, but if they did it would be a wrong line to adopt. No Deputy should be discouraged in bringing cases like that to the notice of the Minister and the Government by certain criticisms we have had here this evening.

I do not like it going forward by statement in this Parliament that there are two types of law in this country as far as the administration of justice is concerned, that there is one type for the wealthy and another type for the poor man, that there is one type for the rich and a different type for the "Pat Murphys", as Deputy Hickey said. I do not believe that is so. There are many more "Pat Murphys" in the country than there are of the other type, and under a democratic system of Government the danger is that if there was any maladministration or injustice it would be exercised in favour of the "Pat Murphys", who are in the majority, rather than in favour of the very small minority. I have had no personal experience of any maladministration as far as the Government or the Minister for Justice is concerned in this country, and when I say that I am dealing with as long a period as I have practical knowledge of the administration of justice here.

I made a suggestion here some years ago—I repeated it on other occasions —that I felt that our Gardaí should receive more promotions than they do receive. If a man joins the Gardaí at an early age, is reasonably efficient, and does his duty well, he should be entitled before he retires to be promoted at least to the rank of sergeant. That promotion should be based on his long service and on his efficiency rather than being based, as it is, on an artificial establishment which is drawn up from time to time and says: you willhave so many superintendents, so many inspectors, so many sergeants and so many Guards. I would like to see that establishment elastic. A Guard who has given long and efficient service, whether he is a Guard on point duty or whatever other duty he may be engaged on, is entitled to be promoted to the rank of sergeant before he retires from the force.

Similarly, in regard to those excellent detective officers we have, who can hold their own with detective officers of any other country, they should get more rapid promotion than they are getting. I do not know how they work in Scotland Yard, but I can read in the papers of a man who joined as an ordinary policeman in, say, 1923 in London who can go right up the ranks and can retire on full pension as a chief inspector now. As regards our very excellent detective branch, I feel that once a Garda has given more than five years' first-class service, he ought to be promoted to the rank of sergeant. These detective officers do not work on the basis of an eight-hour or a 12-hour day. If their duty necessitates it and if the type of investigation they are handling at the time demands it, those men will work for 24 hours and they will do with very little sleep; they will follow the case to its conclusion in spite of all obstacles. They give the most genuine and the most loyal service to this State and it would be a grand thing for them if they received from the State that consideration, that they be promoted in accordance with their efficiency and not in accordance with the establishment that is laid down.

The Censorship Act has been mentioned. We have several types of censorship in this country. We have the official censorship which has been mentioned by many of the Deputies and we have an unofficial censorship which is operated continuously and particularly against public men and especially against Dáil Deputies. I have personal experience of this. I myself have been subjected to that type of censorship for a long period and for more than a year my name has never been permitted to appear in the columns of theIrish Independent.

Would you blame them?

The Deputy knows the Minister is not responsible for that.

It is a censorship that has been operated against me improperly and scandalously.

The Deputy cannot continue on those lines. We are discussing the Minister's Estimate, and it does not arise on that.

I know it does not arise.

If it does not arise the Deputy knows it cannot be discussed.

I do not want it discussed. I do not even want the Minister to refer to it when he comes to wind up but I do take the opportunity of mentioning the fact that it does occur. It is wrong that there should be that form of censorship exercised and operated against members of this Dáil for whatever reasons they may want to do it.

There are many matters which could be dealt with on this Vote but I content myself with referring to the particular matters which I have mentioned. This is not a contentious Vote. It is not a Vote on which there need be any bitterness, on which there need be any strong language. It is a type of Estimate in which all of us, irrespective of the side of the House to which we belong, should co-operate with the Minister whoever that Minister may be and with the Government whatever that Government may be, in ensuring that there will be increased respect for law and order and that the machinery of justice will operate smoothly and efficiently and that those persons whom we trust and depend upon to operate the machinery of justice will be well treated by the State. I think there is no question whatever about that. Certainly so far as those matters are concerned I make this submission to the Minister hopingthat it will be seriously considered by himself and his departmental advisers and that, as a result, there may be some improvement before this time next year.

There are just three or four matters which I should like to submit for consideration to the Minister. I do not think they are matters of contention and I mention them in the hope that the Minister will apply his mind to them and consider the possibility of meeting the viewpoints that I propose to put forward. Firstly, in regard to the Guards, it has been a matter of complaint amongst the Guards for a long time that they are not allowed to vote at elections. They take the view that they are placed in the same category as convicts. I think the Guards, convicts and lunatics are the only three types precluded from exercising the franchise. There may have been good reason for having that rule at the beginning when the Guards were formed but I think there is very little reason for it now. I can quite well understand that the Guards should not take part in political activities but I do think that they should be given the franchise and not placed in the same category as convicts and lunatics. The Minister may find that there is very strong reason for it but I am not aware of it. I would ask the Minister to consider the suggestion because it is a matter of grievance amongst the Guards generally. The granting of the franchise to the Guards would not, I think, be of particular political advantage or disadvantage to any one Party. I think each Party will get the same proportion of supporters and opponents in the Guards as exists amongst the public generally.

The next matter I should like to mention is the question of jury service, particularly in the City of Dublin. The burden of jury service has increased very considerably and it seems that the number of people available for jury service has not increased proportionately. I would ask the Minister to consider altering the position so as to enable women to do jury service on the same terms as men. I am not approaching this on the basis of sexequality or anything of that kind but I do think that a very heavy burden is being placed on jurors who serve on the panel at the moment.

The vast majority of them are business people or people who are employed and it is quite a hardship on them to be called for jury service fairly often. Therefore the wider the scope of the jury panel, the better. One suggestion I would make is that women should be called upon for jury service on the same basis as men. The Minister might be well advised to consider enlarging the categories that serve on juries so as to minimise the hardships that fall on a rather limited section of the community.

The third point I should like to mention for the Minister's consideration is the rather serious arrears of work which have arisen in the High Courts in Dublin in the last couple of years. There are tremendous arrears which means that a lot of cases are not dealt with. In many instances these are cases of people with little means who have suffered damage and who are therefore deprived of the opportunity to secure the compensation to which they are entitled. We have probably failed to appreciate that, in recent years, owing, first, to the increase in the number of motor-cars and motor-car accidents, and, secondly, the increase in business, the amount of work which falls on the High Court has increased very considerably.

This problem has reached serious proportions and I ask the Minister to give it very careful consideration. The original machinery of the High Court was set up at a time when the extent of business was not as great. We had not got that tremendous volume of motor-car traffic and motor-car accidents—the more motor-car traffic there is, the more accidents there are and the more accidents there are the more litigation is bound to result— which, with the increase in the business activity of the State generally, has led to increased work for the High Court. It does seem unfair to somebody who is aggrieved that he may have to wait for a year or two years before being able to have the position rectified, and if the numbers keep on mounting asthey have been mounting in the past couple of years, the position will become completely impossible.

With regard to prison sentences, and short prison sentences in particular, in many cases, the imposition of such a sentence automatically involves a certain number of disqualifications and very often involves the dismissal of the man who has been tried and punished. That imposes an additional punishment in the case of certain people. In other words, a man who is dismissed after a prison sentence is imposed naturally suffers greater hardship than another person, a person of independent means, who does not suffer any ill-effects on the imposition of a prison sentence. I should like the Minister, therefore, to consider the feasibility of introducing some legislation which would remove any disability which might automatically follow the imposition of a short prison sentence. In addition, I ask him to examine carefully the possibility of arranging that, in the case of a short prison sentence, a month or less, the person sentenced should be given an opportunity of serving his sentence over the period of a year.

I understand that a system of that kind operates in Sweden in regard to motoring offences. In a number of cases, particularly in the case of motorists who are found to be drunk in charge of a car, the sentence is more or less automatic. They get a sentence of a month in jail but they are given a period of 12 months in which to serve the sentence. In my view, that would operate as a much greater deterrent, particularly in the case of motoring offences. In a great many cases, district justices here are, not unreasonable, slow to impose a prison sentence in these cases because they naturally have to take into account the consequences on the man's family, on his employment and so on.

If, on the other hand, a person convicted of being drunk in charge of a car who receives a sentence of a month or a fortnight in prison was given the opportunity of serving that sentence during his holidays and at week-ends— giving him also the privilege of paying for his keep during the period—it would remove the difficulty whicharises in many cases in relation to a district justice not wishing to inflict hardship on the man's family. It is felt very often that, if a man were given a sentence, his family would be deprived of his earnings during the period and, in addition, the man might lose his employment.

It occurred to me, therefore, that there would be a lot to be said for some arrangement whereby, in the case of short prison sentences of a month or under, the justice should have power to issue a certificate enabling the sentence to be served at any time over the ensuing 12 months. In some cases, it might be a much greater punishment on the offender and might have a much better reforming influence.

If the motorist convicted of being drunk in charge of a car finds that he has to spend his fortnight or three weeks' holiday in jail, and possibly a couple of long week-ends, as well, it might have quite a good influence. He will have an opportunity of thinking over the foolishness of his conduct on a number of week-ends and during the summer holidays. I urge the Minister to consider the feasibility of that course. I can see that there may be many functional difficulties and it occurred to me that the best way of providing for it would be to have a short enactment enabling the court to issue a certificate in regard to a sentence of a month or less which would provide that the person sentenced would have a period of 12 months, or, if necessary, 18 months, during which to serve his or her sentence and that the court should also have the discretion in such cases to make the offender pay for his upkeep and for any inconvenience he may cause to the State in addition to his prison sentence. This, of course, would have to be left entirely discretionary, because it is a measure which could only be applied in the case of a person who had the means. It would be disproportionately unfair to impose it on a man with little or no means.

The subject of juvenile crime has been referred to by most Deputies who have spoken. Some saythat imported literature is the cause of it and others say that the cinema is responsible, but I believe that it is a combination of factors which has caused it. Imported literature is, in part, responsible and the cinema, in part, also responsible, but, to my mind, the loosening of family ties and home life has most to do with it. We have had two world wars, with a loosening of morals throughout Europe—a condition which has had its effects here.

One of the principal factors which has given rise to juvenile delinquency is the fact that teachers are not allowed to deal as they should with delinquent pupils under their charge. They are not allowed to take a rod and slap a child who deserves to be slapped, when it might be the best thing that could be done for that child. If teachers were allowed to mete out justice as they should to these pupils, it would help to make them realise that their period of training must start somewhere.

The Minister would scarcely be responsible for that.

Another factor in juvenile delinquency is the school-leaving age. Most of the delinquents in the big cities and towns are boys between the ages of 13 and 16 years. I believe that there are a couple of years during which those people are at a loose end. If most of those young boys or girls were kept at school, where they would be under discipline and control, until they were 16 years of age their characters would be better formed. It is during the period 14 to 16 years that those people are at a loose end. It is during that period that they develop bad habits. They go out on the streets. Perhaps, is it not their fault. They may have nowhere else to go, but they should be kept in school under discipline. One of the best ways to deal with these juvenile delinquents would be to raise the school-leaving age.

I want to refer to the fees for sporting gun licences. They are a disgrace when one realises the price of shot-gun cartridges and the little there is to shoot when one pays for the licence.This whole position should be reviewed. It is not fair to impose such fees for sporting gun licences. I would not mind if the fee came back to the people who paid it by way of shooting rights and game protection in the country. No part of the fee comes back. The fees paid by fishermen are utilised to give them many amenities to which they are entitled. These fees are utilised for the protection of fish and the stocking of rivers. There is nothing at all done for the man with the sporting gun. I would ask the Minister to deal seriously with that problem. The people are annoyed because they have to pay £2 for a licence when they might not get half a dozen worth-while shots. The man with the 5/- licence is out before the birds are able to fly. He even shoots them on the nest. The man who pays the £2 licence has to keep within the limits of the law and yet he sees this thing going on.

Car loads of men from Dublin raid the country wholesale and get away with it. Nobody can stop them. People who pay the £2 licence and keep gundogs get very little out of what is going. Some of the money that is collected should be ploughed back to provide amenities in the interests of the people who take out the sporting licence. The matter is seldom brought up here. It should be brought up more often.

Do the Dublinmen go down to Meath?

If I find the Dublin fellows in Meath, they will go back the next time. They certainly do not go back empty-handed. The man with a 5/- licence should not be able to go throughout the country, shoot any game he likes and get away with it. We should tighten up the regulations and the law should be enforced. At the present moment, if I take out a 5/-licence, I believe I could go where I like and shoot anything I liked. That is the case all over the country. The man with the 5/- licence is getting away with it. Something should be done about the matter. Some schemeshould be formulated to give service to the people with a sporting licence.

They lie in bed too long in the morning.

They do not. I would like the Minister to make a statement on the matter. We feel very sore about it. For the last ten years I have paid £20, but I certainly did not get £20 value. The amount we have to pay for shot-gun cartridges during the shooting season is colossal. I hope I will not have to repeat this complaint next year. I hope something will be done about the matter. We are as much entitled to get some of the money back as the fishermen are. All we ask is naked justice. We do not mind paying for the licence if we get justice. The man with the 5/- licence is being let go throughout the country to shoot wherever he likes.

Another thing which concerns me in my county is the refusal of judges to sit in certain courthouses. An unreasonable attitude is being taken by some of them and something should be done about it. After all, we do everything we can within reason to give them the best house we can in which to hold their courts. Yet, you can never satisfy some of them. If it is not a fire they want, it is a cushioned chair, but there is never a word said for the unfortunate jurors who may have to come 15 or 20 miles in wet clothes and sit in the coldest part of the courthouse. We are taxed up to the neck to keep these courthouses up.

The Minister is not responsible for the upkeep of courthouses.

Mr. O'Higgins

On a point of order. Under the Courthouse (Maintenance) Act, surely the county registrar is responsible?

Mr. Boland

The county council has to provide the courthouse.

Mr. O'Higgins

Under an Act of this Dáil, the county registrar is responsible for the maintenance of courthouses. That is dealt with in the Estimate.

Mr. Boland

It is the county council who has to provide it.

Mr. O'Higgins

The county registrar is responsible for the unkeep of the courthouse. It is dealt with in these Estimates. It is in the Estimates now before the House.

The day has come for the State to take over the building and unkeep of courthouses. The responsibility should not be put on the ratepayers who have enough to do already. The Minister should review the whole situation, see if he can take over the whole responsibility for judges, juries and courthouses and take it off the backs of the ratepayers.

From what has been happening over the past few months there must be a great lack of Guards in the City of Dublin. Something has happened that is both menacing and alarming. Generally speaking, the country is in a normal healthy state and things are going along reasonably well but the public in general are shocked at the scenes of rowdyism and criminal acts that took place during the opening of An Tóstal in Dublin. Many people who were eye-witnesses to these events think there must be something behind these acts. There is a scheme and plan behind the whole thing. It is time the State took immediate action to see that not alone the people who broke the windows but those who urged them on are apprehended and dealt with. It was organised hooliganism on the night of An Tóstal. The people distinctly heard a whistle blown when the attack was made on the Guards and on the fountain in Dublin. At the same moment the windows of the shops were smashed. There was certainly organised effort behind that and it should not be taken very lightly.

As if that was not good enough, another hooligan came along and flung the Bowl of Light into the Liffey. I am glad that one of those hooligans was caught up with. I do hope he gets the full limit of the law.

The Deputy should not refer to that matter. It issub judice.

I am trying to say that behind all this is organised effort.It is not in the back streets that this is being worked but in some of the front streets. The Minister and his staff should know where it comes from. I know there is a live communist cell trying to create disturbance. When they find the country peaceful and quiet it does not suit them. They want the poor and distressed of this and other cities to do their dirty crimes for them.

I hope that the Minister will take action at an early date to see that those public culprits, who are known, are brought to justice and are made mend their ways. I know some of them myself and they openly flout the law. They can get up on public platforms and find they are safe in doing so. Some of them get transferred from Cork to the City of Dublin and get a higher rank in the jobs they are in. They are able to carry on their campaign as Communists and are able to get away with it. If there is any more of this rowdyism in the future, I hope it is not the poor fools but the bucks who are in the background will be caught and suitably dealt with. There should be no second thoughts about it.

There is another item which rather alarms me. It is one which should have been abolished long ago. I refer to the increase in the secret service money. I think it is a shocking state of affairs to have such a Vote. I could understand having it when we were fighting each other 25 years ago, but now that we are united and happy in a constitutional way we still find that a vast amount of money is being paid out for secret service. Will the Minister tell me what the increase in the Vote is for. who is going to get this money, and where is it going?

The Minister for Justice has no responsibility for that Vote.

If that is so, I will not refer to it further.

Mr. O'Higgins

The Minister for Finance is responsible for the Vote for Secret Service.

I am sorry. I shall pass from that.

Is it not true that some of that money is disbursed through the Department of Justice?

The Minister for Finance is responsible to this House for the Vote.

I, like other Deputies, wish to pay a tribute to the members of the Garda Síochána. I think it is only right that we should pay tribute to them. They are an efficient and manly force. I think that the first Minister for Justice, Mr. Kevin O'Higgins, showed great foresight in seeing that we had an unarmed police force in this country. My belief is that if we had started off at that time with an armed police force we would have no police force to-day. It is only right, therefore, that tribute should be paid to him and to the Government of that day for their great foresight. The Garda Síochána is a noble and a manly force. The members of it do their duty fearlessly.

I agree with Deputy MacBride that the Guards are as fully entitled to the vote as any other section of the community. I do not see why they should not have the vote. Their votes will not influence things one way or the other. They would register their vote silently and quietly like everybody else. Surely, in this matter of the vote, it is not right that they should be put in the same category as the lunatic or the criminal. I say it is a shame that they are deprived of the vote. The Garda Síochána is a law-abiding force. We all pay a tribute to the members of it for their services, and yet they are being deprived of the right to vote. They should not be deprived of that right. Most of them fought for the freedom which we enjoy, and so they are as much entitled to the vote as any other class. I would ask the Minister to give the matter serious consideration.

I should like to congratulate the Minister on the peaceful state of the country, with the exception of some disturbances which have occurred recently in this city. Apart from these, I think everybody is very pleased that the country should be insuch a peaceful state at the present time.

There is only one matter, so far as this Estimate is concerned, to which I would like to refer, and that is our obsolete licensing laws. I know that commissions have been set up to consider these old licensing laws, many of which we have had since Victorian days. We did not like Victoria. We shifted her out of Leinster Lawn, but we still have many of her licensing laws in operation. As long as they are there the Gardaí must, of necessity, enforce them.

There are many Deputies who are not acquainted, I am afraid, with our licensing laws. For example, we in the country are governed by a completely different code of laws from that which operates in the four county boroughs. I do not know the reason for that. The Minister may answer me by saying that it would be almost impossible to enforce the same code of laws in every part of the State.

Mr. Boland

The answer which the Minister will give is that it is not permissible to advocate a change in the law on an Estimate.

I do not agree.

The Deputy must not advocate legislation on an Estimate. If his suggestion would require legislation, then it would not be in order on the Vote.

I believe that the present code of licensing laws is not only obsolete but is most unfair. It puts the Gardaí into a position which no decent Guard likes to find himself in— that is, to have to enforce a law which, to my mind at any rate, was passed for this country by an alien Government with the idea of insulting our people. Perhaps there may have been some reason for it at that particular period. I believe a person could then get "a pint" for a penny, and it may have been felt that people would indulge a little bit over and above. At the present time, the numbers of people who take more than they should are few and far between.

The Minister's predecessor did give an undertaking to the House that this matter would be seriously considered. I would ask the present Minister to give serious consideration to it. I think it is time we got away from some of the inheritances which have come to us from an alien Government. There may have been some little justification for what was done then, but there is no reason to-day why we should not have a decent code of licensing laws which the people will respect and which the Gardaí can enforce without becoming an unpopular force.

Mr. O'Higgins

Many tributes have been paid by almost all Deputies who have spoken to the personnel of the Garda Síochána. It is proper that these tributes should have been paid. I do not rise for the purpose of paying unnecessary tributes to the members of a force which was associated with the formation of this State and which did much to help in its formation.

I am more concerned with the legitimate claims which are made to-day by the members of the Garda Síochána to receive adequate pay and remuneration from the State. Tributes of a verbal kind are very easily made in this House. It is very easy for Fianna Fáil Deputies, such as Deputy Burke and others, to emphasise their wholehearted admiration for the unfortunate Gardaí who are doing their duty efficiently and well, but, so far as the members of the force are concerned, they would be far more interested if Government Deputies would utilise their undoubted influence on the Minister, who must be addressed on this Estimate, to obtain for them some increase in their pay to enable them to meet up to the appalling burden of rising prices. When, by Government action 12 months ago, the price of essential articles of food was increased, the case was made here, in defence of Government policy, that adjustments in wages could be expected for people in the country.

That adjustment took place as a result of organised trade union activity in relation to those in insurable employment but the State, as a taskmaster with regard to its own employees,has shown no justice, good, bad, or indifferent. It has refused to honour the Civil Service Arbitration Award and has failed to give State employees even a modicum of justice.

That decision has pressed very hardly on the public servant who has been praised by all Deputies, the uniformed member of the Garda Síochána. I hope that the utter hypocrisy which we have heard here to-day from Government Deputies will now end, that instead of paying verbal tributes to members of the Gardaí, they will use their influence as Government Deputies in ensuring a reversal of that Government decision, the honouring of the Civil Service Award and the payment of Guards in accordance with their ability and the reputation they apparently enjoy.

From the point of view of the welfare of the State, there can be nothing worse than to have a group of men whose qualities, record and reputation entitle them to fair treatment from the State, treated as less than serfs. To continue that kind of policy is to turn a contented police force into a discontented mass and consequences of a serious kind will ensue. Whatever case may be made for other State servants, I do very seriously urge on the Minister the justice of the claim for an increase which has been made on behalf of the Garda Síochána.

We know from Gilbert and Sullivan that a Guard's life is not a very happy one. The duties entailed are onerous and multiple if we are to judge by the contributions made to this debate. The ordinary uniformed Garda to-day is the messenger-boy of every Department of State. He collects the taxes; he collects the fines; he even collects information required by the Statistics Office. He is at the beck and call of every local authority, of every central authority. The entire administration, not merely of the law, but of ordinary Government activity, rests on his broad shoulders. In those circumstances, his duties alone entitle him to be adequately paid by his employer, the State.

Apart from that, very grave consequences can flow if we have a poorly-paid police force. I do not suppose thatat any time the Gardaí would have regarded themselves as well-paid. That may have been a matter of opinion. Certainly they are now poorly-paid. If you have a poorly-paid Garda force you are opening wide the door for corruption and bribery of all kinds. I suggest to the Minister that the necessity of feeding one's family may at times override the strong principles of duty which now flourish in the Garda Síochána. The provision of proper pay and a decent increase for the Garda force should be a matter of top priority for the Minister.

I could not agree more with what has been said by my colleague, Deputy Giles, on the question of shooting by holders of a 5/- licence and shooting out of season. It is true that in the last two autumns there has been a general complaint in the country that every cock pheasant, from Cork to Donegal, was laid on the mortuary slab long before the pheasant season opened. People who might be lucky enough to have a bit of copse or wood on their land were accustomed, in the early hours of the morning in September and early October, to hear the shots go off and to know that that was another cock accounted for. The abuse of the close season in recent years has become so widespread as to cause the most complete dismay to holders of game licences. That is bad enough, but all of us will appreciate that a person who is prepared to go out shooting in the close season is not too concerned as to whether what he shoots is a cock or not. The House may take it that very considerable harm has been done to game in recent years by the utter disregard of the game preservation laws.

I do not know how that can be dealt with because often, by the time the farmer or landholder is aware that poaching is taking place on his land, the poacher may be a mile or two away from him. By the time he gets there the "bird" has flown and often it is impossible for the farmer to do anything about it. We all know, in every village and parish in the country, who is doing the shooting and it would not entail a great deal of extra vigilance on the part of the Guards to raid the houses of some of these well-knownpoachers a couple of mornings in the two or three weeks before the opening of the season. A raid or two of that kind would very quickly teach some of these people to respect the law.

There is an old feeling in the country, more or less acquired in the days of foreign occupation, that any kind of poaching was an assistance in the national movement. It is about time we killed that idea. It is about time we killed that, because the ordinary citizen in Ireland, not a man of wealth or a man of means, who pays for a game licence, who is prepared to regard the game resources of the country as an asset, is entitled to get assistance from the Guards and the State in preserving that asset for him and for his neighbours.

The fellow who gets out in the early, misty hours of the morning, shooting for his pocket, as these people undoubtedly are, prepared to kill everything wearing a feather that comes within sight of his gun, that particular fellow should be behind jail bars. I suggest to the Minister that he should consult with the commissioner of the Guards to ensure that some scheme of added vigilance will be carried out in the coming year. Unfortunately, from time to time in this country we have done much to destroy a lot of the decent rough shooting that might ordinarily be made available for the people and it would be regrettable if by our default this harm should be continued.

I would add a word or two on other matters, more proper to my own profession. I would like to raise with the Minister the question—it has been referred to here already—of delays in certain departments of the courts. In the Land Registry, despite the Minister's assurance, there is a considerable backlog. There is considerable delay in the Probate Office, where two or three years ago, when an application was made for a grant of letters of probate, the solicitor applying, or the executor interested, would reasonably expect to get the grant within the foreseeable future. I think it was some 12 or 18 months ago some bright genius discovered a camera that would photo-fessiongraph these different documents and I do not know whether or not it is interest in this particular camera that has deflected the attention of the officials there, but the position now is that the grant of letters of probate and copies of probates is now surrounded by the most appalling delay ever associated with their issue.

I want to emphasise to the Minister the great inconvenience that is thereby caused, not merely in the administration of justice itself, but in the commercial life of the city. If there is avoidable delay in the issue of documents upon which funds are released by banks and different necessary commercial activity takes place, then much harm is done. The junior member of the Government informed the country the other day that we are suffering from redundancy in the Civil Service. That may or may not be so, but if it is so I would suggest that some of those civil servants from the office of the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Social Welfare that are unnecessary should be deflected and sent to the Land Registry or to the Probate Office, as there is work there to be done and it is work of a very urgent kind.

I would also like to join with other Deputies — Deputy Cosgrave and Deputy MacBride—who referred to the present considerable arrears of cases awaiting trial and adjudication in our courts. It is a facile argument, often urged in this House, that our judges are, first of all, too numerous; secondly, too well paid; and thirdly, have too little work to do. That is a facile kind of argument that is frequently met with, one that is attractive I suppose to a certain kind of mind but which is utterly without foundation.

Unfortunately, irrespective of what Government may be in power, there has been a certain settled conviction in the minds of those who control the purse strings, that at all costs—and the cost, mind you, has been high—the number of judges should be either reduced or restricted. That point of view has led to the present appalling situation where at the end of even the last law term there were almost 100jury cases that had not been tried, because neither a judge nor a court was available for their trial. Unfortunate litigants—some of them maimed and injured, other anxious to secure a legal decision in regard to property claims, or people of that kind with questions to ventilate of urgency to them—have been deprived of their constitutional right of a judge and court to hear their claim. That has not been because any particular judge was not doing his work. As anyone who goes to our Four Courts during the weeks of jury trials will easily see, the judges are there hearing case after case, day after day, throughout the weeks, but they are capable only of doing one case at a time and there are not enough judges to meet the present legal business.

An appalling situation now arises, that a country litigant—from Leitrim, Sligo, Donegal or Cork—comes up, having to pay the expenses of perhaps 15 or 20 witnesses, to the Four Courts to have his case heard. He waits from a Tuesday through a Wednesday and a Thursday and may find at the end of the week that his case has not yet been reached. Back he has to go and come up again the following week. There are four or five extra avoidable days, because it was not possible to enable his case to be heard, by reason of prior cases on the day originally appointed. That litigant—and he is not an extreme example, because that happens every week during the law term—is involved in huge witnesses' expenses because there are not sufficient judges available to hear cases.

The yearly salary of a High Court judge at the moment is £3,000 a year. The yearly cost to litigants in avoidable expenses was estimated recently by some members of the Bar as running well over £100,000 in witnesses' expenses alone—avoidable costs—because a judge was not available and could not be available to hear their cases. I urge on the Minister that it is well worth the country's while to appoint two or three more High Court judges. People forget that in the last 20 years we have established here in Dublin a very important commercial centre. Here in this city at the moment there is a concentration of population andbusiness requiring speedy law and decisions on matters affecting trade and commerce must be secured quickly.

It is not good business for the country in any sensible term to permit a situation in which tardy justice is the lot of a litigant. I am afraid that situation will continue as long as we have too few hands doing too much work. I urge on the Minister to bring before the Government as a serious recommendation the appointment of extra High Court judges. I do not think it can be an argument against the proposition that if two or three additional High Court judges were appointed perhaps on a number of days or even for a particular week one of these judges would have nothing to do. What does it matter as long as they are available to deal with the urgent and necessary claims of citizens? At the moment, with the calls being made by the Central Criminal Court in relation to other statutory business, at the most some two judges are available, and sometimes three, to dispose of a jury panel running into 400 or 500 cases. That is not a situation we should allow to continue.

I do not think it would be proper, in view of the decision of the House some time ago to set up a parliamentary committee to deal with other questions relating to district justices and other judges, to refer to that matter here, but I am sure that the deliberations of that committee and its report will receive the immediate and urgent attention of the Minister.

I was glad to learn when the Minister was introducing his Estimate that there has been a reduction in juvenile crime. That is indeed very gratifying, because all Deputies will agree that serious consequences will result if juvenile crime and delinquency continue to increase. The social consequences of such a trend are very serious indeed. We know that in Great Britain in recent months the Government found it necessary to mark their apprehension of such a trend by very severe action indeed. I am glad that the trend appears to have been reversed in this country in the last 12 months. In endeavouring to assign acause or a reason for juvenile crime, Deputies have suggested that perhaps the reason may be faulty education. There is a lot in that, but I suppose, like many suggested causes for any illness, it is not the only one.

I always feel that in the great centres of population, at any rate, there is a marked lack of appreciation among children of what citizenship itself means. For many years back in this city people have been complaining that if, say, the Dublin Corporation plant a row of saplings or trees along the side of a street or roadway they are not there overnight before they are hacked and torn. Of course, that senseless destruction by children and young boys is only part and parcel of lack of respect for their own property and lack of knowledge as to how they should conduct themselves as citizens. When the Estimate for Education comes along, perhaps Deputies who are concerned about juvenile delinquency and criminal acts and trends will urge on the Minister for Education some course in citizenship in all our national schools. Much can be done in that direction.

Reference has been made to the manner in which Garda recruiting has been carried out. I have no objection to the manner in which recent recruiting has been carried out or to the interviews and examinations which were held. Of course a medical examination takes place. There is, however, one thing I should like to know from the Minister. I am thinking of the case of one candidate who went through the different interviews, who was placed in the last few to be recruited, but who had to pass a medical examination. He received from the commissioner information that the medical examination resulted in a decision that he could not be enlisted into the Garda. That particular candidate is left in a very appalling situation. I do not know whether it is possible in these circumstances for such a person, at his request, to be informed in what way he had failed to pass the medical examination. The Minister will appreciate that the mere bald statement that on medical grounds there is something wrong with him may cause unnecessary hardship and suffering not onlyto himself but to his parents. I do not know whether under existing regulations information is made available on request but, if not, it should be.

Mr. Boland

It is never done.

Mr. O'Higgins

I suggest that it should be done. I am thinking of one particular case.

Mr. Boland

Of course he can go to his own doctor if he is any way doubtful about it. It has always been the practice not to give that information.

It can cause a good deal of mental worry.

Mr. Boland

He can put that right by having an examination by another doctor.

Mr. O'Higgins

In the particular case I am thinking of the family doctor has expressed the view that there is nothing at all wrong with the boy. He has been rejected on medical grounds however and his parents are concerned about him. He himself is practically in a nervous state at the moment, because neither he nor his parents have the slightest idea of the ailment he is supposed to be suffering from. I am not suggesting that he should not have been rejected. I am certain that the medical advice was correct, but I do think that, in confidence, information of that kind which vitally affects him and which cannot be a State secret certainly should be given if the request is made by the boy's parents or by himself. By doing so it is possible that some particular treatment or course may be adopted which will prevent serious illness in the future.

These are the matters I wanted to raise in particular. Generally speaking the report the Minister has given the House is a satisfactory one. I want to emphasise again the strong case that has been made for an increase in the pay of the Gardaí. The reception given to this Estimate to-day and the tributes paid to the Gardaí are ample justification for the payment to these men of an immediate increase to meet the cost of living. We cannot affordin this small country to have a discontented and poorly-paid police force. I urge the Minister to look upon the proper pay of the Gardaí as a matter of first priority.

Some of the complaints made by Deputy O'Higgins arise out of ills that have persisted for very many years, indeed for centuries. Even Shakespeare complained of the "law's delays" and the "insolence of office". The law's delays are still with us. The law's delays cause severe hardship very often in accident cases because the actions do not come before the courts for a very long period after the accidents have happened and those affected have to wait for judgment for a very unreasonable period of time.

There is also delay in relation to titles and matters of that kind. I do not know whether the Minister's Department is responsible for such matters, but they cause a great deal of inconvenience in local government administration in connection with cottage plots and so on. Probably that does not come within the scope of the Minister's Department. Deputy Davern referred to thebona fidetraveller. That goes back to the old stage coach days when the people travelled by night in horse-drawn vehicles, bringing their goods to market and so on. I think it would be better to abolish these laws altogether and have a reasonable closing hour, thereby freeing the Gardaí for other essential duties. All licensed premises should close at a certain time.

It is when they are closing that you want the Guards on duty.

These old laws go back to the stage coach days.

And they are quite irrelevant on this Estimate.

They should be changed. I agree with Deputy Esmonde that the period of service should be extended to 65 years—that would only mean an extension of two or three years—in so far as the Garda Síochána are concerned. The Minister hasalready made some adjustment in that direction.

Mr. Boland

What about the promotion prospects of the others, the people who are waiting to step up?

Even a married woman teacher can continue until 60 years of age. A Garda must retire before that. I think it is most unjust. An extension of service would give them bigger pensions. At the moment they have to look for other jobs to augment their pensions, such as rent collecting, watchmen, or accountancy jobs here and there. Their present pensions are too small because the period of service is too short and the change from full pay to pension is too severe and causes unnecessary hardship.

Juvenile crime has been mentioned. In some countries juvenile crime is dealt with by compulsory military service. We have no tradition of that kind here and I do not think such service would serve any useful purpose. The possibility is that at the end of such a period of service those undergoing it would be fit for nothing else. The proper course is to extend the present educational facilities. We depend too much on a purely academic education. We should aim at developing manual instruction and technical and vocational education. If boys and girls leaving the primary schools received some education of that kind they would be better fitted for occupations and leaders of industry would take them more readily into their employment because of the usefulness of that post-primary education. That is not a matter entirely for the Minister but it is difficult to deal with a matter of that kind here and confine oneself to very narrow channels.

There is an interdependence.

That is so. Such matters have to be considered from various aspects. Many tributes have been paid to the Gardaí. We have a very efficient and courteous force which has grown out of many of its original defects. The present body of men is a credit to the country. Gardaí are engaged on many duties now upand down the country. There is very little crime and these duties give the men useful occupation. They do the work very efficiently. In general, I think we can be satisfied that the Minister's approach to matters appertaining to his Department has always been a sensible and considerate one and is appreciated generally throughout the country.

I regret that I was not present when the Minister read his opening speech. I have heard most of the Deputies who have taken part in this debate appeal to the Minister to increase expenditure in practically all branches of his Department. I agree that members of the Gardaí should be reasonably remunerated and fairly treated in regard to pension. I think, however, that in making a general demand from all sides of the House upon a Minister to increase expenditure in his Department we are not being quite consistent with our attitude towards increased taxation. There are many Deputies who, on occasion, and particularly on the occasion of a Budget, denounce a Government for increasing taxation, but the very same Deputies will vehemently demand that each Minister increase expenditure in every conceivable direction in his Department. It is time for this House to consider the alternative of effecting or attempting to effect some economies in public administration.

Following upon the widespread retirements which must occur over the next few years, I think the reorganisation of the Garda force offers an opportunity for considering at least the possibility of economy. I do not wish to be dogmatic in regard to this matter. I do not assert that economy can be effected but I think the matter should be thoroughly investigated. We have a system of Garda administration whereby the country is divided into divisions, districts and sub-districts. Each sub-district is normally placed in charge of a sergeant and three or four Gardaí. That is the normal station personnel in the small villages and towns of rural Ireland. I think we ought to consider whether it is possibleto introduce a system under which each sub-district would be controlled by one member of the Gardaí—perhaps a senior member or perhaps a married man—and that at each district headquarters you would have a squad car which would operate over the entire district. I suppose the Minister has considered that matter from time to time but I think that it is worthy of reconsideration.

The introduction of widespread telephonic communication renders it possible for every citizen to get very speedily in touch with district headquarters. It would enable the Garda who, under the system which I advocate, would be in charge of each sub-district to get into immediate touch with his district headquarters and have a squad car on the scene almost immediately. At present, it is difficult for an ordinary Garda station with an establishment of three or four men to deal with a serious offence. Assuming that somebody has committed a serious crime and is, perhaps, dangerous, one or two Gardaí may have to go out on bicycles to apprehend him. They may find it difficult to arrest the man. He may be insane or a dangerous criminal. It is difficult for the Gardaí on bicycles to apprehend and bring such a person back to the station. If, on the other hand, they had a squad car at their disposal they could be on the scene almost immediately and in sufficient numbers to enforce the law right away. There is need for consideration of that aspect of the matter. When the pedal bicycle came out about 50 or 60 years ago no doubt it was a very up-to-date and efficient machine but it is not altogether sufficiently up-to-date for modern conditions. There is not much use in having a Garda push a bicycle along a heavy country road if the criminal or potential criminal is equipped with a high-powered car. Therefore I think that in this matter we ought to try to effect some economy and at the same time produce a more efficient machine to deal with crime. I am entirely in favour of keeping at least one Garda in every sub-district— not that that one member of the Garda can achieve a tremendous amount of work in dealing with a serious crime,for example, but it is essential that the Garda, as a force, should keep in close personal contact with the ordinary people throughout the length and breadth of the country. It is necessary, in order to preserve close personal contact between the Garda and the people, that there should be at least one member of the Garda force in each station.

I think the Minister indicated that he intends extending the period of service for Gardaí. If a member of the Garda is in good health there is not very much reason why he should be compelled to retire at a comparatively early age when he must endeavour to supplement his pension by engaging in some type of part-time work. There is a good deal to be said for extending the period of service inasmuch as it enables such men to continue to earn their salaries and also to build up their service for pension purposes. Often a man of 50, 54 or 55 years of age has responsibility or, perhaps, a fairly large family, all of whom have not been fully provided for. It is a very serious hardship if he has to retire and try to make a living or to support his family on the reduced income which is represented by his pension.

I was pleased to hear Deputy Giles say that the country is in a fairly healthy condition and that things are going reasonably well. That is a slightly different tune from the tune we have been hearing from the Opposition Benches in the course of the past 12 months. It is a welcome change of viewpoint and, relatively, I think that it is true. I think the position is satisfactory. We must admit to ourselves and declare to the outside world that we are a law-abiding people. There is a campaign throughout the whole of the English-speaking world to represent the Irish people as a lawless, drunken, rowdy type of people. It is just something like the portrayal in the film "The Quiet Man". The whole policy of those engaged in publicity work in the English language appears to be to represent the Irish people as abnormal people who cannot settle down and live a normal life. That campaign has been going on for a long time and forthat reason I think it is good to hear a responsible Deputy such as Deputy Giles acknowledge that the country is in a normal and healthy condition.

Deputy Giles referred to Communism. I think it can truly be said that there are fewer Communists in Ireland than in any other country in the world. Nevertheless, it is the duty of the Government to keep an eye on the few that may have survived here in spite of the sanity and intelligence of our people. I think we would expect that the Minister would keep a close eye on these people and ensure that they do not take advantage of any incident or any political situation that might arise to incite and cause trouble.

Many citizens of this State were perturbed by the viciousness of some of the attacks that were made upon the Guards over the last 12 months. Whenever any excitement occurred in the city there was a vicious physical attack made upon members of the Garda. It would seem as if those attacks were inspired by some force which deliberately intends to destroy order and law in this State.

I was somewhat amused by Deputy O'Higgins's earnest appeal to the Minister to appoint more judges. I do not know why he does not fear that there might be some danger if the Minister adopted that course that the ranks of Fine Gael might be depleted, but I suppose there are people in public life who do not worry so long as they get a secure position, or who may be in public life for that purpose. However, I do not think that the long delays—and there are undoubtedly long delays—in regard to the hearing of cases in the higher courts, are due entirely to the shortage of judges. They are partly due to the long-windedness of respective counsel and, perhaps, to a large extent to the shortness of the working day of the courts. I know farmers and business people who have been summoned to attend the Four Courts and who have been amazed and disturbed at the brief period for which the courts sit every day. Some of those people have informed me that in many cases the courts sit for onlyfour hours, and practically the whole four hours would be taken up debating and arguing about counsel's costs.

If the Minister wants to ensure that the arrears of work that have piled up in the courts is overtaken, he ought to insist on a longer day at the courts. I do not think it would do the judges, counsel or anybody else any harm to work at least as long as the agricultural worker. The agricultural worker has to be on a tractor or following a horse all day and he is subjected to considerable strain because of his work. Maybe it is suggested that the brain of a judge is such a delicate instrument that he could not stand the strain for more than four hours. I do not accept that and even if we had to pay the judges a little overtime it would be better to ensure that they would work a somewhat longer day and thus overtake the arrears of work waiting to be dealt with.

The only people who go into the courts, both in the city and in the country and receive no compensation whatever for their time, are the unfortunate farmers or businessmen who are summoned to sit on the jury. These men have to be away from their work for many days. They are forced to neglect their business and in many cases to travel long distances. Nevertheless, no adequate compensation is provided for them. I feel their case does deserve consideration.

I have often considered that in some ways it is a useful thing that Gardaí should be called upon to collect statistical information, but if we were to have the reorganisation I have suggested it would probably be impossible for them to do that. Over the last few years we have very extensively increased the number of agricultural officers under the committees of agriculture and under the Department of Agriculture. Those people would collect statistical information in regard to agriculture much more efficiently and effectively than Guards and they could do it while calling on farmers in the ordinary course of their business.

I had great sympathy with Deputy Davern when he referred to the licensing laws and the need for their reform. He reminded me of an interviewI had with a member of the licensing trade. He denounced the licensing laws with a good measure of violence, but when I asked him what were actually the closing hours, he told me he did not know.

He did not care.

No. He simply did not know. He said they were wrong anyway.

He was "agin" the law.

The same situation, I suppose, prevails in regard to the conflict between the Minister's Department and the Local Government Department as to which of them own the courthouses. The ratepayers all over the country have been mulcted to an ever-increasing extent from time to time over the last few years since the county managers took over to improve the conditions of the courts. The question as to who is responsible for the upkeep of the courts was brought forcibly home to me some time ago at a meeting I attended as a member of a county council. When things became rather noisy an official came in and told us that the judge was distressed at the noise we were making. This angered the chairman of the county council who said: "This house belongs to us, and if the judge does not behave himself we can evict him." I suppose when people instal themselves in a place they like to make it as comfortable for themselves as they can, and I do not blame them. That is the attitude of the judges generally. They have succeeded in improving the conditions of the courts, but they have done it entirely at the ratepayers' expense.

Deputy MacBride made what was one of the best points in this debate when he said that prison sentences should be served at the offender's leisure, that is to say that a person who is sentenced to a month's imprisonment should be allowed to serve that period of imprisonment during his annual leave or on long weekends.

Or when he is going on a "batter."

Or when he thinks he needs a rest. I think the point was a good one and that the Minister should consider it carefully. It carries with it the corollary that when a person is perhaps convicted of murder and sentenced to death, he should be given some discretion as to when the sentence is to be carried out. He might even be given the option of having execution of the sentence postponed until the doctor has given up hope that he is going to live very long or until he has accumulated a sufficient amount of money to leave his family in comfortable circumstances. These are all useful points put forward by various Deputies which the Minister, I am sure, will take into consideration.

I have one last point to make. It deals with a rather delicate subject in a way but it is necessary to make it. Deputies from rural Ireland know that over the last few years in particular the destruction of sheep by dogs has become far more prevalent than in former days. I think that the law which provides for keeping dogs under control at night should be more strictly enforced. Some farmers have lost a very considerable proportion of their flocks as a result of this form of destruction and I think it necessary that the the Garda should take somewhat more resolute action to enforce the law.

Since I understand that the Minister, in his opening speech, referred to the fact that many members of the Garda are about to retire or will retire in the coming few years, I should like to express, with other Deputies, my appreciation of the good work done by members of the force in the last 30 years. I think, taking everything into consideration, that they have given a good account of themselves and that our police force is second to none in the world. I am sure that the tradition that has been established by the members of the force will be carried on. The first Commissioner of the Garda said many years ago that, regardless of changes of Government, the Garda would continue to serve each successive Government with ever-increasingefficiency. That hope, expressed by him at almost the establishment of the force, is one that has been amply fulfilled up to the present.

With some diffidence I rise to speak on this Estimate. I was hoping to get some enlightenment on the real problem with regard to the crime that obtains in this country—that is, some enlightenment on the problem of juvenile crime. I think it can be truthfully said, taking the adult position with regard to crime, that this country is extremely peaceable, and that is a matter upon which we can congratulate ourselves. It is stated that there has been a reduction in juvenile crime.

Whatever reduction has been is all to the good but let us not pin medals on ourselves. This question of juvenile crime is the gravest question that could confront any Government at the moment. I have sat here all this evening in the hope that there would be a serious approach to the question of attempting to discover the cause or causes which have brought about that grave position with regard to juvenile crime, but in the main, the effect, rather than the cause of juvenile crime, has been discussed. That is why I say that at this hour, after the matter has been so long discussed and threshed out, I feel considerable diffidence in attempting to dogmatise about it. I am going to say things that I would have preferred somebody else to say, or, at least, to make some approach to them. It was said by Deputy Hickey and repeatedad nauseamthat a contributory cause of juvenile crime is lack of education. Deputy Hickey also said that it was caused by social and economic conditions. With the utmost respect I disagree with that view. At the ages at which these categories of juvenile crime are committed, children are not either socially or economically developed. Therefore, I reject in the main the theory that either social or economic conditions, in so far as they apply to children as distinct from their parents, can be considered as contributing factors or to accept them as the cause. It is a serious matter to take advantage of one's position inthis House—a thing which I would be sorry to do—to say something which one would not say outside. That is not my make-up. I think that the fundamental cause of juvenile crime every— where—because it is not an exclusively Irish problem; it seems to have become an universal problem—is lack of parental control. Juvenile crime, so far as I see it, begins in the home. The home is the creator of citizens.

That is true, but what can you expect from a slum child?

The Deputy might take his time and let me come to the point. We must go back to the home or begin with the home. We must begin with the mother and the children. If I venture to place the source of juvenile crime in the home, then it follows that I am impeaching the mothers of all homes throughout the world. I think it is not fair, in fact, I think it is grossly unfair, by implication to impeach the teachers in this matter. I am certain that Deputies are not going about with blinkers and that they all know the position of teachers in the schools with regard to children. What are the facts? That the teachers in the schools to-day are afraid to say "boo" to the children. If a teacher says a cross word to a child, soon after the first class goes home, the mother is up to the school with her sleeves rolled up, just waiting to get at the teacher. I understand that in this situation it is essential for the teacher to have all the other teachers in the school within reach for protection. In other cases where things are done more legally, there is a solicitor's letter and probably a Civil Bill served on the teacher.

We are only burking the issue and it is a gross slander to lay the cause of juvenile crime at the door of our teachers when we know what the facts are. The real cause is the fact that there is no respect anywhere. The children are not taught to respect their parents, and, not respecting their parents, they do not respect themselves or anybody else. They have no respect for property and, as a consequence, no respect for law. The Departmentof Justice and the police are faced with the problem of dealing with an effect over the cause of which they have no control and I do not envy the Minister his position in the matter. If we are to find a cure, everybody must discharge his duty with regard to the education of children at home and elsewhere. That education, however, must begin in the home. There must be respect and obedience in relation to the simple language of the catechism which they learn and it must be applied outside.

Juvenile crime was something which was absolutely unknown 40 or 50 years ago. It might have been said, and perhaps rightly said, that some parents were too harsh with their children, but there is a lot in the old maxim of these parents: "Spare the rod and spoil the child." There are no rods used on them now, and, as a matter of fact, it is the other way about—the youngsters dictate to their parents what is to be done. The cause, in my opinion, of this universal outburst of juvenile crime is lack of parental control in the home. In the schools, the teachers, as a consequence, are not able to enforce any discipline or to control the children. Another result of it is that the education of these children suffers, because the teacher who cannot enforce discipline cannot fully discharge his responsibilities to the children in regard to providing a full and sound education.

It is really a serious and difficult problem, but the original trouble arises from lack of control at home, and we would be committing a grievous wrong if we allowed it to go forth from this House that the teachers, both male and female, are responsible for this position of affairs. I say definitely and emphatically that they are not. I hold no brief for them—there is no brother or sister of mine a teacher—but in anything I say or do, I want to be just and I will not place any blame on anybody, unless I am certain of my facts and feel justified in doing so.

No country is more free or peaceful from the point of view of adult crime and I do not say that with the object of misleading any foreigner with regardto conditions here. I am sure of it and I think we can safely make that statement boldly without any apology for doing so.

The Minister and the Guards have been belaboured in regard to traffic in the city of Dublin and again the Guards and the Department are left with the baby in this matter. I have been living in this city for about 40 years, during which period we had the whole development of mechanical transport. The local authorities have not done one iota to solve the problem in relation to traffic and transport in the city. We have sign posts saying: "No parking here,""Time limit, 20 minutes" and so on. What is going to be done about it? In my view, the real culprit is the corporation which has done nothing at all to assist the police in the matter of the provision of parking accommodation in the city, and, until they do something big, an impossible problem will confront the Department and the Guards. My view is that a man is a fool to buy a motor-car, to insure it and tax it for use in the city, because the thing is a torture.

Deputy Corish complained bitterly about the way things are done, but what are people to do? They have bought motor-cars, have insured them and taxed them, and they cannot stick them in their hip pockets when they go down the city to do business. Where are they to put them? They cannot go up on the roofs of the houses. Various suggestions have been made down through the years, but nothing has been done. Not one extra yard of space has been provided by the corporation to help the Department and the Guards in the solution of traffic conditions, which have now become chaotic.

A parking plot was provided by the corporation and the motorists would not use it.

They should be compelled to use it. We have had complaints about school attendance. In this regard, I do not wish to be taken as unnecessarily blaming the Guards, who have far too much to do in rural Ireland in relation to the number ofGuards in the stations. By reason of non-enforcement of this Act in the cities, we have children wandering around the streets and the parks and going to the pictures, as we all do when we are free. If they need money for this purpose, they try to find it somehow. There is no other way to get it but by the commission of what, in law, is a crime. It is a pity this Act could not be strictly enforced. The mother of a child has serious work to do at home. She gets the child ready in the morning for school, but the child does not go to school. She has no way of knowing whether the child is at school or not. I feel however, that the Guards are not the proper persons to use for the enforcement of the Act. They have not got the time for it, and I do not know how the Guards in rural Ireland do all the work allocated to them. The amount of work imposed on them by other Departments means that they have no time left for police duties as such.

Some 20 years ago in this House I made what I thought was a supreme effort to extract some of the gun licence money for the purpose of restocking the moors of this country with game. I thought I had the fish pretty well laid, but he shook the hook out of his mouth and disappeared. I got so disgusted that I threw in the sponge.

Mr. Boland

The fish got the hook out before we had time to land him.

It did not work. Both the Government and individuals are spending enormous sums of money on a lot of face lifting, painting, advertising and that sort of thing. I think it will be agreed that one of the best ways to attract people with money to this country—it is money we want—is by fishing and shooting. When I was hot on this matter 15 or 20 years ago, I said that for practical purposes red grouse had practically disappeared out of the country. I then stated the reasons for that. Nothing at all has been done about it. Is not that a really serious thing having regard to the amount of money that has been dished out by theGovernment and individuals to cover up and provide for the events of the last three weeks for what is merely a bubble?

There is no real attraction for a tourist to come here who has money to spend. He does not want to come here to look at flags. He wants more than that. The average reasonably physically fit man who goes to a country for a holiday wants two things. He wants shooting and fishing. One particular day may be right for shooting. Another day may not be right for shooting but all right for fishing. The reverse holds good, too. Fishing and shooting go hand in hand.

At the time to which I have referred I thought I had inveigled £20,000 in one lump sum from the Minister out of the total collected on gun licences in this country for the purpose of restocking our moors with game. I repeat that matter here now. I do not think I will ever again refer to it no matter how long I am in this House, because I do not believe in whipping dead horses. I say that £20,000 to-day would go a long way towards restocking our moors with game. Red grouse are one of the best and greatest attractions for tourists. Look at the enormous sums of money paid in Scotland, the North of England and Yorkshire by wealthy people from London and America for these shoots. We have not one shoot in Ireland upon which we could guarantee 200 brace of grouse in the season to anybody. I know every moor in Ireland and there is not one of them that could guarantee 100 brace of grouse for the season. I remember the time when I could get 100 brace within rifle shot.

That is when the Irish were not allowed to shoot them.

How are you Mr. Moriarty? When were the Irish prevented from shooting anything—even the landlords? The Deputy was born far too young to be in this House. The matter I raised was not really as serious 20 years ago as it is to-day. Had we done something 20 years ago we would now be all right. Now we have not anything. Deputies spokethis evening about shooting cock pheasants. Pheasant shooting is never as valuable to the tourist as the red grouse, because at the time of the year when tourists visit the country, pheasants are not in season. That is the real difficulty and that is the real importance of restocking our moors with red grouse.

I want to promise the House that I will never raise this matter again. I thought the Minister had met us on this matter. The people connected with the preservation of game were absolutely honest and interested. They were not poachers. They desired this thing as a national asset. Every one of them became disgusted and threw in the sponge. The matter has not been mentioned for years. Is the Minister for Justice afraid to demand portion of this money as a right for the people who subscribe to and pay for these licences? This comparatively large sum of money disappears and never comes back. Look at the amount of money that is being spent in the city to decorate it in the last two weeks. Here is a thing that would be a real national asset.

All my life I have been interested in grouse. I know what it is worth. There is no more valuable asset, and if you have not got it you have no sport for any visitors. The pheasant season is too late and visitors will have left the country. There is no game in the country. The matter is only a joke. In this connection I travelled from Mallow to Donegal, Tyrone, Ballymena and Larne and throughout that journey I did not see 50 brace of grouse. I am stating that to the Minister as an example of my own personal experience of the position. I was with dogs all the time. I want to give the Minister all the information I have. I am not hiding anything.

Then they talk about an odd cock pheasant. The thing is utterly useless from the point of view of the tourist industry and the bringing of the tourist to the country for the reasons I have given. The pheasants are not ready until about December and January, when the only visitors in the countryare those who come from England. No visitors will come from America during the winter. The grouse season opens on the 12th August, at the right time to be an attraction for visitors.

There has been talk about the Guards not doing their duty in the preservation of game. In my opinion, it would be utterly futile and useless to place that responsibility on the Guards because they could not possibly discharge their police duties and be gamekeepers at the same time. I think the solution would be to employ some local men, engaged on an estate or on a moor, who are dealing with sheep and cattle every day. If they were employed on this work at say £10 or £20 a year it would be much more effective. I think it is foolish to imagine that the Guards could do that duty. They could do a little in the way of watching cars going to a moor, or in watching shops which, for example, were selling prohibited game or fish, but I certainly would not subscribe to the proposal to make gamekeepers out of the Guards. I think they have too much to do already.

Deputy Cogan, speaking as one of the super-economists, of the penny wise and pound foolish type, tried to dissuade the Minister on the question of appointing extra judges. Apparently, it has not been discovered in this country that we have grown up, and that we are now free with all that that implies. Apparently, it has not dawned on people like Deputy Cogan that, as compared with 20 years ago, there has been an enormous increase in the number of commercial transactions which are taking place here. We have direct shipping out of this country. We have our own marine service. Commercial contracts which, 20 or 30 years ago, were made in Glasgow, Liverpool and London are now made here. The goods are delivered here at our own ports and are handled by our own wholesalers and retailers. Thousands and thousands of pounds are involved in these transactions, with the result that you are bound to have differences of opinion between the parties to these contracts, and consequently there is an enormous increase in the work going to thecourts. There could be no greater disaster than to have a hold up in the hearing of these cases.

I hold no brief for the appointment of extra judges or for the legal profession. I have no interest in them, but I have an interest in my own country, and in its welfare and prosperity, and so I say that one of the things that is vital to commerce is quick law. Time is vitally essential so far as the hearing of these commercial cases is concerned. Some of them have been lying over for years. The hearing of jury cases concerning commercial transactions is being delayed. No one knows when they will be heard. I would ask Deputies to imagine the effect which that must have on the business community. Disputes concerning commercial transactions may be concerned with contracts involving £1,000, £2,000, £3,000, £4,000 or £5,000. In view of the delays which take place, the people involved may say that they will never get them heard. Surely all that is of vital importance.

There could be nothing more deadly to commerce than to have delays in disposing of these cases. We have now become an independent soverign nation doing our own business with the outside world. One of the results of that has been a vast increase in commercial transactions with a proportionate number ending in disputes which can only be resolved in the courts. In saying that, I am not speaking for the legal profession. I am not interested in it, but I am interested in the welfare of my country and in the community in which I was born and live. I think that we should do anything we can do in order to get efficiency whether it costs £1,000 or £2,000.

Deputies, I am sure, heard the figures which were quoted by Deputy O'Higgins. He calculates that in witnesses' expenses alone it must be costing £100,000 a year to be bringing people to Dublin as witnesses and wasting their time here. They are brought here from Dublin, Cork, Donegal and every other county. They are directed by counsel to attend and, after going toall the expense of coming to Dublin and of staying in hotels for two or three days, they are told to go home again as their cases are not likely to come on. I ask Deputies to imagine all the waste there is in that way—the wastage of man hours, not to speak at all of the actual cash expenditure that is involved in bringing 15 or 20 witnesses to Dublin, keeping them here for two or three days and sending them home again. I would ask Deputies to reflect on that. There is that huge waste, and still these commercial disputes are left unresolved. I do not want Deputies to think that Deputy O'Higgins was engaged in a piece of special pleading. It was no special pleading. I was in business for a good part of my life, and I know all about it. In my time, cases dealing with commercial transactions were quickly disposed of in the courts. I put these points to the Minister, and I hope they will get his attention.

During the course of the discussion on this Estimate this evening, many deserving tributes were paid to the Garda Síochána. I would like to add my voice to them. I, like some other Deputies, would be very anxious if the Minister and the Department would see that the Garda paid more attention to this question of wandering dogs which are slaughtering sheep all over the country. It is a perfect disgrace, and something should be done about it. You have in every town and village in the country batches of hungry dogs going around. They must get fed somewhere. I think it would be much better if they were dead than that they should be allowed to wander around and cause so much destruction.

Deputy McMenamin spoke about game preservation. I agree with a certain amount of what he said. I do not agree with him on the question of spending money on restocking. I think that what needs to be done, if we are to solve this problem of game preservation, is to encourage the establishment of societies for the destruction of vermin. Our mountains, woods and hills are creeping at this moment with scarecrows, magpies and every type of vermin, which are destroying game. Ihave been interested in this matter myself for many years, and I have made efforts in the matter of restocking—pheasants and other classes of game. There is very little use in anybody interested in doing that going to the enormous amount of labour involved if there is not some effort made to destroy vermin. In parts of County Galway, particularly Connemara, there are societies who are doing their best to destroy vermin but it is quite useless to do that in parts of the country unless there is a universal effort. Somebody must come into organise that effort. Deputy McMenamin is looking for money to be spent in one direction. I think it should be spent in this direction first and it is up to the Minister to spend it that way. It is useless to spend money on trying to restock lands without first destroying the vermin.

A Deputy said that it is the man with the 10/- licence who is responsible for all the poaching that takes place. To my mind that is absolutely untrue. All over the country there are men who take out a £2 licence and who can then go out under the Garda's nose and shoot every bird they come to. They do it for profit, not for sport. They do it for the cash return. They are not an asset. The Guards should be able to put their fingers on these fellows. They know them pretty well. They should be refused a gun licence. People try to preserve game and these boys go out in the early morning and have the birds snapped up and then they disappear. To use a James Dillon expression, if there is any cod that I know of it is giving permission for the shooting of cock pheasants. That is the best excuse they have for shooting off the hens. If the Guards had authority to examine their bags I guarantee that every day of the week there would be more hens than cock pheasants found. I do not see why the Guards should not have power to do that.

I agree with Deputy McMenamin that the Gardaí are not the people who should be responsible for game preservation. I know many Guardswho are fine sportsmen. I also know a number of them who are the best poachers that can be found. They are regarded as sportsmen because they have a £2 licence, which enables them to shoot everything they come up to. People are reluctant to tell a Guard to get out of their land. He may have another way of getting back. Other ways and means should be found of dealing with the whole question of game preservation. It is not a job for the Guards.

There is another matter where the State can interfere. The Land Commission have large tracts of land all over the country and forests and bogs that they let for certain periods. The people to whom they let them never make the slightest effort to preserve the game or to destroy vermin. There are a number of people who call themselves gentlemen who come along once a year and invite their friends down for a big day's shoot but if a scarecrow hit them on the nose they would not waste a cartridge on it. They are not the type of sportsmen that I like to see. They are an undesirable type of sportsmen. A person who does not make some effort to destroy vermin is not entitled to be called a sportsman.

A number of complaints have been made about delay in the Land Registry. I would like to add my voice in urging the Minister to see if something can be done to speed up matters here.

A lot of advice has been given to the Minister to-night in connection with wanton destruction. In County Galway the average cost of erecting a pump to supply water to a townland or number of townlands is about £800. It is dreadful to find the top taken off the pump and stones put into it and the pump left useless. We have to engage a squad to go around day after day to look after the pumps.

A matter that might come under the head of restocking is the question of setting fire to bogs and gorse. It is a disgrace. In the last two or three days I have been watching miles and miles of bogs ablaze. The grouse is hatching at the moment and in many cases it is burnt and destroyed. It is a shame. The Minister should act in this matter.

Teachers have a pretty big job todo in schools. There are many matters in which they can be very effective, but on the question of destruction by children I do not know that they are so very effective. There is a school inspector in every barrack who has a certain area to deal with. He could be specially instructed so as to be able to give a lecture. Children would take much more notice of a lecture in school by the Guard than they would of a lecture by the teacher on the question of destruction. If the Guard pointed out what would happen to the children who were found doing this, that or the other thing, the children would take notice of it. He could tell them that a decent fellow makes a good citizen and a blackguard makes a very bad citizen. The Guard in charge of school inspection should be specially trained in this matter, and if he were to give a lecture even once a year it would be much more effective than a lecture by the teacher. I hope the points I have made will get the consideration they deserve by the Department.

Mr. Boland

The debate has ranged over a wide field. I do not know whether I will be able to deal with all the points raised. Without making any reflection on the Chair, I must say that the Chair was very indulgent, to say the least of it, because several of the speakers advocated legislation. In fact, one ex-Minister made four different points, each of which involved legislation. I do not like interfering in these matters, but if that were continued I could see debates lasting a very long time.

Deputy Cosgrave started off by dealing with the question of indictable crime and asked the House to inquire generally, as to the cause of it. It is very difficult, indeed, to say what is the cause and it is disturbing, although it is quite true, as Deputy McMenamin said, that we are, comparatively speaking, a peaceable country. Undoubtedly, there has been a very big increase in crime since pre-war days. As I pointed out in my opening statement, in 1939 there were 6,769 cases of indictable crime and that has increased to 14,892, nearly three times as much.

The only reason I can give for it is the aftermath of war. I imagine it is common to the whole world. During the war period people who had never committed crime before resorted to it. There were restrictions; goods could not be got and people who never stole before were found stealing during the period of scarcity. Unfortunately, crime has not decreased as we all hoped it might. I can give no other reason. There is some sort of moral degeneration as an aftermath of war.

In regard to juvenile delinquency, I agree with Deputy McMenamin that it is primarily a matter for the home. I remember once dealing with the question of unemployment or poverty being in some way responsible for it. We found on examination that, as far as statistics could show, that was not the case. I think I am safe in saying that the people with the smallest incomes are those living in the poorest quarters. I have here a table from the last report of the commissioner for 1951—it is ready but not yet printed—and it shows the number of offenders in each income category, in regard to juvenile delinquency. In the income group under £2 the number of offenders was 198—that is, juveniles; for £2 to £4, it was 529; for £4 to £6, 825; for £6 to £8, 603; and £8 and over, 503. We see there were only 198 cases for those under £2, but where the family income was £6 or £8 there were 603 cases. That shows it is not the very poor who are responsible for juvenile delinquency.

It is a good sign that there is some reduction, though it is only a small reduction, 360 fewer. We can all hope there will be fewer next year. I agree with Deputy McMenamin that it is through the home influence that it has to be corrected, and that if it is not done there there is very little chance of it being done in the school. When it comes to the notice of the Guards, it has gone pretty far. It is only when these people have been brought up for having committed the crimes that it comes within our purview.

Could the Minister say whether the rate is higher in the cities than in the rural districts?

Mr. Boland

There is no doubt whatever about that. I could get the figures but there is no question about it that it is higher in the cities.

On the question of congestion in the High Court, we have heard complaints about that already, but it would require legislation. Probably I can mention it now, if the Chair allows it to be debated. There is a proposal before the House in the Courts of Justice Bill to increase the jurisdiction in the Circuit Court, and that might have some effect. We will have to see what effect it will have.

Mr. O'Higgins

Very little.

Mr. Boland

There was the £300 limit, and there is a proposal to increase it. I do not want to criticise the judges, but I think it would be no harm if, while the congestion is on, they cut the long vacation a bit shorter and maybe arranged a longer day. It would not be any harm for them to consider that. It is very easy to increase the number of judges, but we are trying at a time like this not to increase expenses, and we hope that if this congestion is relieved there will not be any necessity for extra judges.

In regard to traffic congestion in Dublin, which was raised by Deputy Cosgrave and others, we are all very concerned about it. There is a proposal now to appoint a special superintendent to deal with traffic alone in the city and we will see what the result of that will be. We can all see the great increase in the number of cars; it is very difficult to know how to manage, as there is hardly room for them in the city at all now. The Gardaí are doing all they can. I am not trying to shirk any responsibility but, as Deputies are aware, the local authority is concerned in this matter as well as the Gardaí.

Deputy Callagher raised the question of the shortage of Guards in Dublin and suggested the revival of the L.S.F. I would not agree with that for a moment. This is a job for whole-time policemen. It is all right in a case of emergency to call on the ordinary citizen to help, when it is everyone's business and everyone must assist; but in a time like this, ordinary peacetime,it is a matter for the Guards. About 175 of these new Guards are out on the streets now in Dublin. I do not want to raise any acrimonious point at all, but I think it was a mistake to increase the age limits in the Guards as there are too many old men. A Guard has a tough job and if he has to deal with a crowd when he is 57 years of age he is getting a bit too old for that. The retiring age was 57 and I think it should have been left at that. The pension code was so arranged that he could get his full pension in 30 years. After 20 years' service each year of service counted as two years. That was done deliberately, as it was recognised that a policeman's job requires a vigorous man and consequently it was desirable that he should retire about that age.

That is done now and we are in the position that almost two-thirds of the Guards in a few years' time will be entitled to retire on pension. We have only about 1,200 of them under 40 years of age. It is all right as long as things are peaceful, but you cannot always be sure of that and you require youngish men to carry on that work. We will do the best we can to settle that.

Deputy Gallagher raised the question of malicious damage. I do not agree with him there. The suggestion of requiring ordinary traders to insure against damage during what one might call riots or disturbances would mean enormous premiums. Ordinary insurance companies would not take the insurance. It is a sort of mutual insurance that the rates of the city do it. I believe it would be impossible to get insurance companies to take that on except at prohibitive rates. I dare say the present system was brought in in the first instance by the British Government to protect their own people, but it has been so now for 30 years here, where we have had changes of Government and no Government has seen fit to change it. Every citizen should have some interest in the protection of property and if it were to be passed on like that to an insurance company there would be reactions also. I would certainly not be prepared to bring in any legislation to amend that.

Mr. O'Higgins

It does not amount to anything much in the rates annually.

Mr. Boland

It is very small.

In the country districts it very often imposes a greater hardship than in the city.

Mr. Boland

If a man's hay is burned down because someone has a spleen against his neighbour, as we have known to happen not so long ago, when people know they will have to pay up and pay their share they might be more hesitant about doing things like that. For instance, the Land Commission brought people up to County Meath under migration schemes and hay has been burned. If that were not levied on the district, there would be more of it. We have to face facts and that is a fact. I do not believe you would get any insurance company to cover these cases.

In regard to motor-cycles for Guards, some years ago a Guard was required to cycle within a limit of 12 miles but that has been reduced to eight, so he is not required to go more than eight miles from his station on a bicycle. If it is more than that he can get a car and it is paid for by the State. I think it was Deputy Esmonde said that the Guards had to pay, but I am told that that is not the case.

I did not speak about the distance; I said he had to pay for the car.

Mr. Boland

I am told that is not the case, but I would like to have more particulars about it.

Mr. O'Higgins

The Guard may have to pay it in the first instance.

Mr. Boland

He would be recouped afterwards. As to the Land Registry, I am told there is a very big improvement there. They are getting over the arrears there fairly well and I am sure there will not be much cause for complaint. The arrears are being cut down and in a very short time they expect they will dispose of them.

Mr. O'Higgins

What about the Probate Office?

Mr. Boland

I will have to inquire into that as I have not the informationat present. A number of Deputies spoke about the children's comics which are coming in. I do not know what we can do about them. We have a censorship board and an appeal board. I have not heard many complaints about them. I know there is this question of comics but it is hard to deal with them. As the law stands, there must be at least three consecutive issues of a publication which are considered objectionable before it can be banned.

Is it not a mistake to give that much liberty to anybody dumping indecent literature into the country?

Mr. Boland

That provision was inserted after full consideration. People do not like to be putting on such restrictions if they can be avoided. The parents of children should know when they are bringing these things into their homes.

I do not want to put all the blame on the parents. These are bought by the youngsters in the streets.

Mr. Boland

They are brought home and read there. If the parents were taking a proper interest in their children they would not allow them to read these comics. It is very difficult for the State to interfere in all these things. You cannot expect the State to do the job that the parents ought to do.

Or the Guards.

Mr. Boland

The parents have direct responsibility for the children and they ought to look after them. I am not inclined to extend the censorship as I think it is rigid enough as it is.

The people who are worrying about this do not blame the parents, because these comics are dumped into certain shops in different parts of the country and are read by the children before the parents see them. They are taken from them in school by some teachers.

Mr. Boland

The Guards are entitled to stop them and so are the customsofficers, but they cannot read everything that is coming into the country. The practice of the Censorship Board is to deal with complaints which are made about publications or books. The censorship officials are not supposed to go out looking for them. It would require an enormous staff of officials if all these publications had to be read by them.

A lot of them are quite harmless; some are quite good.

I am not a "goody-goody", but I saw some of them recently which were shocking.

Mr. Boland

When they are brought to the attention of the Censorship Board they deal with them. I cannot see in what other way you can do it. If a publication is really indecent it can be seized by the customs when coming in.

It has been suggested that the customs officers should be given some authority to deal with them.

Mr. Boland

They have full authority but they cannot read everything that comes in. They are doing their best.

Has the Minister anything to say with regard to the employment of women police? There is a very strong feeling about that.

Mr. Boland

I have not. I think it is a man's job. As to providing houses for the Guards, there has been no progress made in that direction and it is a pity. Deputy Corish used to raise that every year. I was hoping that something would be done. I know that power was taken in 1947 to acquire sites to build houses for the Guards, but no progress has been made in that direction. It is very desirable, but it is not easy to do everything. I know that the commissioner would often like to change men from one station to another and that some of the men themselves would like to get a change if they could geta house, but the scarcity of houses has made it very difficult. It has almost immobilised the Guards in the country. Any house which is vacant is snapped up. I do not think there is much chance in the coming year of remedying that.

What about the grading of films?

Mr. Boland

We have a film censor and an appeal board, and I have not heard any complaint about the way they work. Some appeals against the decision of the censor have been upheld by the appeal board, but I cannot say in how many cases.

Will the Minister follow the system in England where the pictures are marked A for adults and U for universal?

Mr. Boland

It is suggested that if you did that people would think that a picture was a spicy one, and it would be an incentive to them to see it.

The concern I expressed was in regard to pictures shown at matinées for children.

Mr. Boland

If you grade them, there is a certain type of person who will say: "This is a picture which I must see."

I think the Minister should consider my suggestion.

Mr. O'Higgins

We are the only country that does not grade films.

Mr. Boland

We will have it considered, but I thought the present system was all right.

What about the summer uniforms for Guards?

Mr. Boland

All the Guards are getting them this year.

All over the country?

Mr. Boland

Yes, they are all to get them. As to the question of an increase of pay for the Guards, that will depend on whether the Minister for Finance is able to get the money forthe increases for civil servants and others. I am afraid the Guards will have to wait for another fortnight to hear about that. Every Minister would like to pay people as much as he could if he could get the money without much trouble, but you have to tax people in order to get money.

Mr. O'Higgins

You have not to tax anyone this year. You have plenty of money over.

Mr. Boland

We are £2,500,000 short.

Mr. O'Higgins

There is plenty of money there.

Mr. Boland

As to Deputy Cogan's suggestion about having one Guard in each station, I do not know whether that will ever come about. I think that in this country we should have Guards to do some of these non-police duties. The country is comparatively peaceful, and I think these duties are done better and cheaper by the Guards. I always held the view that that is better than employing extra inspectors. I do not know whether the Opposition agree with that or not. I do not know whether the agricultural instructors would be able to do that kind of work as well as carrying out their other duties. I am sure Deputy Cogan would not advocate having another lot of officials to do that kind of work if you can get the Guards to do these other duties as well as police duties. I should like to see the Guards paid better and doing more of that kind of work—looking after school attendance and the collection of agricultural statistics. We found them very useful when the war broke out and when they were the rallying point for the whole country. That was one of the biggest advantages of having them in every part of the country. That is all I will say on that subject.

With regard to parking, in Wexford and everywhere else, we will have to go into that matter with the commissioner and see what can be done.

I cannot, of course, tell the courts how to deal with cases, though some Deputies seem to think I should.

Deputy MacBride urged that the Gardaí should get the vote. That, of course, would require legislation. I think the representative body was promised that their position would be considered whenever another electoral Bill was introduced. I see no reason myself why they should not have a vote.

A very short Bill would give it to them and I am sure it would be passed inside five minutes if there was general agreement on it.

Mr. Boland

Deputy MacBride raised four points which, with respect to the Chair, were all out of order because each would require legislation, but the Chair was very indulgent. In connection with the point made by Deputy MacBride that people should be allowed to serve their sentences any way they liked, as Deputy Cogan said, they might postpone serving them until they come to die.

Mr. O'Higgins

That is when they may get sentenced.

Mr. Boland

I am not an authority on game. As I said, I might have got that £20,000 if I had been left there long enough. It was just prior to our going out in 1948 that that matter came to a head. Apparently Deputy McMenamin could not use his influence on my successor to get that £20,000. He says now he will not bother about it any more. With regard to the point made by Deputy Killilea that vermin destroy the young game one would want to be sure they would not be destroyed before any restocking was attempted.

Mr. O'Higgins

What about supervision?

Mr. Boland

In relation to the particular area to which he made reference, it may be that the Guards are not looking after the poachers but, on that point, theIrish Timesof 10th April had a report of a meeting of the Irish Game Association and at that meeting the Earl of Rosse said that it was very satisfactory to see the way fines were being imposed on poachers and a great deal of gratitude was due to the Civic Guards because of the increasednumber of prosecutions. He said fines were being imposed by the courts and the Guards deserved a tribute for their vigilance.

Mr. O'Higgins

Then some effort should be made to encourage that vigilance elsewhere throughout the country.

Mr. Boland

Deputy Killilea and Deputy McMenamin both made the point that it is not the Guards who should look after these things so much as the game protectors or gamekeepers.

Mr. O'Higgins

I am not talking about preserves only.

Mr. Boland

I will pass on the suggestion and see what can be done about it.

What about the out-of-pocket expenses for jurors?

Mr. Boland

That is a hardy annual. The matter is under consideration. That is all I can say about it at the moment.

It has been under consideration for years.

Mr. Boland

Deputy MacCarthy wanted the age limit for retirement from the Guards raised to 65 years. The objection to that is that many of the Gardaí are in or about the same age. Some are waiting for promotion and bad feeling would be created if one were to extend the age for retiring because the other men would not get a chance.

Give them all a chance.

Mr. Boland

One cannot do that because they are all in or about the same age. I know the superintendents and others are anxious to get a step up and there is not very much opportunity for promotion.

Would it not be only doing justice to the Gardaí if they were able to go to the highest positionsfrom the ranks rather than have people brought in from outside to fill such posts?

Mr. Boland

They can go at present. The commissioner is in a special category. He is the only one appointed from outside.

Why should not someone in the force itself become commissioner?

Mr. Boland

There is no reason why he should not if the Government thinks he is the best person to occupy that position. The Government might not think he was the best person and bring in someone from outside.

In justice to the Gardaí, any man should be able to become commissioner just as a man in the Army can rise to the highest post.

Mr. Boland

There is no reason why that should not happen in the Garda Síochána too if the Government thinks a particular officer is the best person for the post.

Mr. O'Higgins

Would the Minister deal with the question of medical examinations?

Mr. Boland

I cannot say any more on it at the moment but I will have the matter examined.

Mr. O'Higgins

Has the Minister any view to express on the question of appointing two additional High Court judges?

Mr. Boland

I dealt with that matter before the Deputy came in.

Motion: "That the Estimate be referred back for reconsideration", by leave, withdrawn.
Vote put and agreed to.