I am sorry; it was in theIrish Independent for 27th April, 1959. I am sure it was in the Irish Press, too. We are asked that an informed people should be allowed to decide. In the last hours of this debate, we have been left here with no voice speaking from the Government benches, while voice after voice spoke from the opposition benches, and with no attendance except a Parliamentary Secretary for a while and the Minister for Defence.
The Minister for Defence, in helping the people to decide, spoke in Listowel on 24th of January, 1959. I think the extract is fromThe Kerryman, but if anybody doubts that it is correct, I shall hand it over. The report states:
It is necessary that the Fianna Fáil organisation should be kept at its maximum efficiency in order that the important task of ridding the country of the present dangerous system of election should be successfully accomplished, said Mr. Kevin Boland, Minister for Defence, at a meeting of Listowel Comhairle Ceanntair on Saturday night.
A little over 21 years ago our Party undertook a similar task against the combined opposition of all the elements comprising the coalition of to-day. The object then was to replace the foreign imposed Constitution, which was established on the instructions of Lloyd George and with the aid of British arms by our present opponents, by a Republican Constitution, which will need no alteration when the Six Counties, bartered away by the same people, are regained.
A number of the people here to-day will remember the unscrupulous nature of the campaign that was waged by all the Opposition Parties in their last desperate stand in defence of the British Dominion called the Irish Free State. They will remember the frantic efforts made to mobilise every sectional interest against the enactment of a free Constitution.
Then he referred to—
...those who have stood firm in face of the organised thuggery of the Blueshirts and saved democracy from distinction.
The Minister for Finance, and I quote fromThe Sunday Press of 26th April, 1959, spoke in Dublin at a 21st Anniversary Dinner of the Irish Constitution. The report says—
Dr. Ryan, who was guest of honour at the function, said this was surprising having regard to the fact that the old Constitution mentioned the King of England 23 times and never mentioned the existence of God.
—all helping the people to decide whether P.R. should go or not.
This House was in being in September, 1925, although it was not recognised by the leaders of the Fianna Fáil Party at that time. Nevertheless sometime in 1925—Deputies who want to get the exact reference can refer to the records of the Inter-Parliamentary Union Congress in Washington and Ottawa in that year —Deputy Tom Johnston, Senator Michael Hayes who was then the Ceann Comhairle of the Dáil, and myself attended the Inter-Parliamentary Congress as the Irish representatives. In front of the full floor of that congress hall, where men from the very east of the world to the west were represented, Deputy Johnston stood up to challenge a statement made by the British Prime Minister at that time about the King of England. The statement was to the effect that when the King of England was at war all the Dominions were at war and so was the Irish Free State.
The Leader of the Labour Party challenged that and challenged it with such effect that the Leader of the British Party, Sir Robert Horne, who was out of the congress hall at the time, came back and found it necessary to answer what Deputy Johnston put up. He had to admit that what the Deputy had said was right, that there was no body who could commit the Irish Free State to war except Dáil Éireann. He added that it was not much use for the Irish to act like children, playing tig, crossing their fingers and saying: "I am not playing" because if there was a strong enemy at war with Great Britain, he could very easily get an excuse for bringing Ireland into war even without the acquiescence of Dáil Éireann.
However, that is where the King of England won in the Constitution that the electorate are being told about in such an informed way in order to prepare them for knocking down the foundation under our Parliament. As for God in the original Constitution, I wonder are the Government not ashamed of themselves that, incorrectly, wrongly, and in that way, they bring the name of God into the question.
Again I ask the Taoiseach: why do we offer up our prayers at the beginning of our daily work? Why do we as individuals pray daily that we may be made partakers of the Divinity of Him who partook of our humanity? I ask that question because it is a vital one in dealing with the foundations upon which you are to build up Parliament. There can be no question of dealing with our constitutional matters by mere arithmetic, by a mere ascendancy spirit directed to material things. We must realise that the spirit of man is a much bigger thing in which to invest, and requires investment more than the development of the resources of the country, any technique or any scientific approach to things.
This House is here only because it reflects the people's wishes and reflects their strength. It is deplorable that this House should be used contrary to the wishes of the people, so that one Ascendancy Party stands in debate against the rest, determined that nobody can have a voice or a say in Parliament or make any contribution to the work of the Government except themselves. If we cannot exercise that right we shall struggle along in the way in which we have been struggling and with the record that is there, but we shall not be conducting the affairs of Parliament in the way in which our people intended. We shall be carrying on the affairs of our Parliament, dating from its establishment in 1922, in a spirit which never informed our political affairs.
By way of referring to the spirit that moved the people in the difficult days when the Parliament of January, 1919 was set up, I should like to quote, as I have previously quoted, from Col. 1314 Vol. 171 of the Dáil Debates of the 2nd December, 1958, what Arthur Griffith said in June, 1912:
If democracy is to survive as a working principle of government it can only survive on the admission of the minority to a share in representation with its strength in the government of the State
That is good enough for 1912 but I should like to go back to the higher reaches of the stream and to quote from the introduction to the first Irish Year Book that Griffith published in 1908. This was a beginning of an Irish encyclopaedia. In it various aspects of Irish life were dealt with for about four years and then stopped when the political work quickened, when the Home Rule Bill came along for discussion, when the Volunteers had to be organised. He had appealed to men of every Party, class and creed to convey in their own way their own experience and their own recommendations with regard to various aspects of Irish Life. The introduction to the book states:
The object of this book is to render available to the whole people of Ireland that information on the affairs of their country which is necessary for their defence and essential to their progress.
Then it goes on:—
...The National Council is responsible for the publication of theIrish Year Book but not for the opinions expressed by any of its contributors. Each contributor is responsible for what he or she has written, and for nothing else in this Book. Our object is to place before All Ireland a book in which All Ireland expresses itself, and when this book was projected we accordingly communicated with men and women of all parties, classes, and creeds in Ireland, inviting them to deal in the Irish Year Book with those subjects in which they were skilled. The response confirmed our faith that Irish Patriotism is the monopoly of no party, no sect, no class, Unionist and Anti-Unionist, Catholic, Protestant, Presbyterian, Methodist and Quaker, the Northern Manufacturer and the Southern Agriculturist, the man of leisure and the man of toil— all are here offering the results of their study and experience to help their country.
He wanted what he called a concise meeting place in Ireland that would represent the spirit of those who showed, in the manner in which they set out to make a contribution to theYear Book, what contribution they wanted to make to develop Irish resources, to overcome and exorcise the antagonisms that were there for historic and other reasons and to help the various classes of society to come together and exchange their views, experiences and ideas in a developing Ireland on every aspect of Irish life, Irish education, Irish agriculture and Irish industry.
So that the ideal and the principle in the foundation of the system of proportional representation that was introduced in our Constitution, and that was introduced in our Constitution in accordance with the quotation from the Taoiseach's statement in May, 1921, as the tradition of Sinn Féin, sprung from the people of all Parties, creeds and classes and sprang from a recognition that what the country needed was a Parliament with representation for each of these sections of the people, where they would know one another, overcome their differences and bring their power of work and thought and co-operation together to advance the affairs of this country under an Irish Parliament.
If the people are being asked to do such a thing, which even the Government in their statement regard as so fundamental to our people, why have they to be misled and distracted and why have the emotions aroused over the spilling of Irish blood at Irish hands, with memories of our early steps here, to be brought into the situation? Is not the very fact that we have these memories, as well as the achievements in between, a warning to us that we have to look to our true traditions, where our teaching and strength come from?
What on earth are we to think of people's concern for this when we hear the Minister for Industry and Commerce speaking of Griffith, his ideals and his works, as the work of an immature political mind? I think he said "like the back-page expressions of an immature political mind." I heard Deputy Tom Kelly, a member of the Fianna Fáil Party, stand up here and speak very emotionally of the great man Griffith was and how he slaved from one end of the week to the other. He might have had 30/- coming in. Then he found himself in the position in which, when he did go and face the British representatives to have it out in the council chamber and find some kind of a formula for reconciliation and mutual working, he had the faith he had when he came back.
I had a similar experience to that in the corridors of this House when one responsible member of the Fianna Fáil Party, in a discussion with me arising out of what Tom Kelly said and my reaction to it, said, with regard to his own leaders: "I would not follow them to-morrow if I knew where to go." I do not mention that for acrimony. I mention it because I feel that at this hour of the day we ought to be to some extent among ourselves in the position in which we can discuss history conversationally, in the same way as the British can discuss things that were of vital import and that have really brought disaster on themselves. Because what the British attitude towards Ireland, as represented by the Conservative plot or rebellion of 1912 and what ultimately flew from that has brought on Ireland has been less in achievement than what it brought on Britain and British interests throughout the world; and what it has brought on Europe and the United States, goodness only knows.
I mention these things because they are known in the hearts and minds of everybody in this House. The difficulties I speak of are as well known to the people who face us as they are to ourselves. It is because I feel that they are as close to Irish sentiment in the past, and knowledge of where Irish strength lies, that I dare to criticise them and face them in this way. We are asked by an Act of this House to suggest to the people that the Irish Parliament wants them to tamper with their foundations here and to keep minority Parties out of the House.
Deputy O'Donnell spoke to-day of the two big Parties and of the people who wanted to have nothing to do with them because of their origins. He could very well know that there are people who supported one or other of these Parties who want to get away from that and want to find themselves in a position in a Party, or at any rate in a position in Parliament, in which they can discuss Irish matters and cooperate on Irish economic matters without having every expression they make and every discussion they have tangled with thoughts of the past. These people are not allowed to escape from the bird lime the Fianna Fáil Party want to lay around everything that was done here with the pure purpose of assembly.
The Minister for Industry and Commerce has been speaking on economic matters. Let us look at just one item of the economic barometer. The figures published for the Budget discussion show that between 1957 and 1958 there was a fall of 10,000 persons in employment. In the same period there was a natural increase in population of 25,000 or 26,000. Going back to 1951, there was a fall in employment of 88,000 people. In 1958, 88,000 fewer people were in employment in the State than in 1951. In every one of these years, the natural increase in the population was there, an increase of 25,000 to 26,000 persons. Therefore, looking at our Ireland in 1958 and comparing it with 1951 we find that approximately 295,000 people are unaccounted for. I regard that as sufficient fact alone to suggest that there are serious problems with regard to employment and production to be attended to here.
The Minister for Industry and Commerce has indicated that the wiping-out of P.R. is very definitely linked with the economic drive. He is a man with long experience in the Department of Industry and Commerce. I suppose he has been in that Department for about 20 years. A White Paper has been published and a grey book has been distributed to pull together all the possible things that could be done in the Irish economy. I wonder if the Taoiseach would tell us how the wiping-out of P.R. would strengthen the people to do the work required to help our people into employment or even to maintain in employment those in employment.
There is much talk today about adult education and about relations between management and labour. Does the Taoiseach not realise that some analogous principles apply between the people and their Government, between workers and their management? In the development of management-labour relations for better production, certain principles are being arrived at and, from the point of view of man's Divine origin and his Divine destiny, consideration has been given to these things in industry. Will the Taoiseach say that they have no bearing on the relations between man and man and between people and government in politics?
In the March/April, 1959, issue of theBulletin of the Catholic Societies Vocational Organisation Education Conference, under a note headed “The Key to Management-Labour Relations” I find this quoted from the Bishop of Shrewsbury:
In the construction of good relations between managers, workmen and consumers, the corner-stone is the recognition of the dignity of the human, individual personality.
In another part of the issue, the following sentence appears:
As late as February 5th, 1956, when addressing the International Conference on Human Relations in Industry, Pius XII lamented the fact that while dead matter emerges ennobled by industrial processes, men were there corrupted and degraded.
He then said that a slow improvement was being made from that position.
Later there was a reference to his Christmas message of 1942 in which he laid down five fundamental points for the peaceful order of society, which are as follows:
(i) The dignity and Rights of the Human Person.
(ii) The Protection of Social Unity, and especially of the Family.
(iii) The Dignity and Prerogatives of Labour.
(iv) The Restoration of the Judicial Constitution.
(v) The Christian Conception of the State.
He who would have the star of peace to shine permanently over society must do all in his power to restore to the human person the dignity which God conferred upon him from the beginning ... he must favour, by all legitimate means, and in every sphere of life social forms which render possible and guarantee full personal responsibility in regard to things both temporal and spiritual.
More and more, as the days pass, Governments as such are handed more and more responsibility and are finding out more and more vocational services that they can give to the society whom they govern. All the more, therefore, the people who elect the Government have to be sure that they can have confidence that the Government are dealing adequately and fully with those matters in which the people as a whole expect their help and guidance.
With regard to the proposals in this Bill, the Government have set out to bring about a situation in which they will squeeze the independence out of the people. You may have a Fine Gael man, a Farmer, a Fianna Fáil man, a Labour man or an Independent for a particular constituency and, in the game, Fianna Fáil against the rest, with all the astonishing crown of nationalism, achievement, and all that type of thing, around the Fianna Fáil candidate. They hope to be at the head of the list, in any case, and to be a Government supported by, say, about 4,500 people out of 15,000.