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Dáil Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 13 Nov 1963

Vol. 205 No. 10

Borough Constituency of Cork: Issue of Writ—Motion.

I move:—

That the Ceann Comhairle direct the Clerk of the Dáil to issue his Writ for the election of a member to fill the vacancy which has occurred in the membership of the present Dáil consequent on the death of Deputy John Galvin, a member for the Borough Constituency of Cork.

In doing so, I am exercising my right as a Deputy and, although it may not be in accordance with tradition or precedent, I do it for these reasons. It has been suggested in various quarters that it may not be convenient for one reason or another, either convenient for the Government or the other Parties contesting the election, that the election should be held at this particular time before Christmas. However, we cannot be too worried about our own convenience. What really matters is the convenience of the electorate and if I am interpreting the wishes of the people in my constituency properly, they are clamouring for an opportunity of expressing their opinions at the poll immediately and do not want to wait until after Christmas to do it.

It is significant that on his return from America the first public statement made by the Taoiseach was one which expressed views which coincide exactly with the sentiments I am now endeavouring to express here. In the Cork Examiner he was reported as saying when interviewed at Dublin Airport —and this has not been contradicted:—

A defeat for the Government in the forthcoming Cork by-election——

He had good sense enough to be able to anticipate that anyway.

——would not necessarily mean that there would be a general election. Stating that the Cork by-election would probably be held before Christmas Mr. Lemass said: "Surely the fate of the Government does not depend on one by-election."

He thought the most important consideration regarding the moving of the writ was the convenience of the electorate in the area but it was good democratic practice that the vacancy should be filled without undue delay.

He said that he saw definitely the possibility of a by-election in Cork before Christmas. Therefore, it is my duty as a Deputy for that constituency to draw your attention Sir, to the fact that this vacancy does exist in the present Dáil and I am quite sure that my colleagues representing Cork city and the adjoining constituency, the Minister for Industry and Commerce and the Lord Mayor, Deputy MacCarthy, will be able to convey to the Taoiseach that what I say is correct.

Not as far as I am concerned.

A Daniel come to judgment.

The people of Cork city want an election now. They want an opportunity now of giving their verdict on the turnover tax and the other various activities of the Government. I do not think it is any sharp practice on our part. The Minister for Industry and Commerce and Deputy MacCarthy may disagree with me but I am prepared to put it to the test. I do not think it should be dependent on a debate across the House between the Minister for Industry and Commerce and myself or the Lord Mayor of Cork and myself. I am prepared to put it to the test of the people of Cork and with the democratic set-up which fortunately we have in this country, nobody can resist that.

Is the motion seconded?


I second the motion.

The conspiracy thickens.

On a point of order, I seconded the motion.

There are some established decencies in our public life which I suggest should not be put aside and there are also certain traditional procedures of this Dáil which should not be lightly disregarded. These considerations have involved the acceptance heretofore by all political Parties in this House of the practice that a motion to fill a vacancy in the Dáil caused by the death of one of our colleagues should be moved only by a member of the Party to which the deceased Deputy belonged and when that Party so decided. There has been no exception heretofore in the whole history of the Dáil——

That is wrong. Go back to 1958.

There has been no exception heretofore to this practice in the whole history of the Dáil.

If you go back to 1958, you will find Deputy Ó Briain tried to move a motion after the resignation of a Deputy.

Deputy Casey may not be able to understand that Fianna Fáil Deputies have at least as much respect for the memory of our dead colleague, Deputy John Galvin, as the Fine Gael Deputies had for the late Deputy Belton. In the case of Deputy Belton, a period of about ten weeks passed between the creation of the vacancy and the submission by a Fine Gael Deputy to the Dáil of a motion for the issue of a writ for the by-election. We might have considered it to be to the advantage of our Party to have that election held earlier but the Fine Gael Party, however, decided that they wanted to have the election in May and they had a right to take that decision. Because of the considerations of decency and the traditions to which I have referred, it did not enter our minds to move the motion for the issue of the writ ourselves although we could possibly have carried such a motion against the opposition of the Fine Gael Party. The submission of this motion by a Deputy of the Labour Party in the case of the vacancy caused by the death of one of our members, Deputy John Galvin, has introduced a new and, I think, deplorable element in the procedure of the Dáil which we can only regret. This cannot be undone now but I think many Deputies will wish to dissociate themselves from it.

Whatever our views as to the date on which the Cork by-election should be held or as to any Party advantage thought to be involved, I would ask all members of the Dáil, outside the members of the Labour Party, who wish to have our traditional procedure and the decencies of public life maintained to reject Deputy Casey's motion.

This sanctimonious declaration on the part of the Taoiseach is not becoming and does not serve the purpose of maintaining the respect for our parliamentary institutions which should be the concern of all of us. This House operates under its Standing Orders which it is your function, Sir, to enforce but also it functions under certain conventions which in our wish for the preservation of parliamentary institutions, we have, in common, accepted. That fact means the agreement of all of us to accept the rough with the smooth. If we dissent from a ruling made by you, Sir, under Standing Orders we must accept that ruling, unless we propose by the appropriate censure of your conduct to do otherwise.

Similarly, there is a convention in this House since I have been a member of it. That convention is that if one of our colleagues should die, there should be a suitable period of respectful mourning, which I always understood to be measured as one month, and thereafter it is open to the Party to which that member belonged to move the writ with all the respect due to a deceased colleague and to his family. Circumstances such as holiday periods and other considerations have forced us from time to time to postpone the moving of a writ but it is surely manifest that where issues of a critical character are joined between the Government of the day and the Parties in Opposition, after the suitable period has passed, the Government should move the writ for the by-election at the earliest possible occasion.

Note the danger of departing from that observance. If we are to vary our conventions to the point of saying that no delay on the part of the Party whose member has died will ever justify the moving of the writ by anyone else, it comes within the power of the Government of the day never to move a writ. Surely no one will say that is a situation that anything could justify? If the writ had been moved within the time of mourning, I would have demurred.

Deputy Casey did not wait for the month.

That is a lie. You will not get away with that.

This is a matter for calm consideration without acrimony. I do not think it can be contested that the customary period has elapsed as of the 10th or 11th of this month. I want to submit to the House that in the situation now obtaining where the issue of the turnover tax is being hotly contested——

What you mean is that decency does not matter but that your Party advantage does.

The Taoiseach will not irritate me into participating in any unseemly behaviour. The appropriate period having elapsed, and I believe it has elapsed, the Government were faced with notice that a Labour member of the city of Cork had decided to have the matter put to the test of a popular vote of the people of the city of Cork. Had the writ been moved before the customary period had elapsed, I would have demurred and I am quite convinced that Deputy Casey and no other Deputy would have sought to move it within that period.

Why did you not move it?

I did not move it because up to yesterday it would not have been seemly to move it and I had the right to expect that a member of the Government Party would have moved it. I am well aware that anyone who tries to maintain the standard of decent relationship that should exist between the Opposition and the Government is likely to be faced with nothing but scurrilous abuse and insolence by the present Government. If we are to preserve parliament in this country as an effective system of Government there must be some amongst us who are prepared to make sacrifices to ensure that.

I, therefore, put it to the House that when the Government did not move the writ in the special circumstances which obtain and when they gave no indication of their intention of moving it in the early future, it is required, bearing in mind the acute issue joined in the country at the present time as to whether it is just to raise the revenue of this State from a tax on the essential food, fuel and clothing of the people, that an early opportunity should be taken to submit that question to the electors of Cork as it has already been submitted to the electors of Dublin who have given a clear and vigorous verdict. I believe that it is the failure of the Government readily to face that issue with the people that has made the course adopted by Deputy Casey justifiable today. I said myself in Cork that the Government had a duty to come out and face the people. They have that duty. They should have discharged it themselves, and if they are not prepared to come willingly to the people, we will do all in our power to drag them there.

I intervene in this debate only because of the act which the Taoiseach has thought fit to put on here this time.

A speaker on this side of the House has also offered, and I imagine that the Chair should rule that the speakers should come alternately from each side.

Let the Chair decide. You are not going to decide for the Chair and everything else.

I will call the Minister after Deputy Norton.

I have an engagement in the Seanad and it may be that I will be called there before I have a chance of talking here.

The Seanad can wait.

In that case, I will ask Deputy Norton to give way.

If by speaking now, I would inconvenience the Minister in the slightest, I shall be very pleased to give way.

I call on the Minister.

Another precedent.


In moving this motion, Deputy Casey presumed to speak for the electorate of Cork and called my name and that of Deputy MacCarthy to witness that he did so. Deputy Casey's Party represents a very small minority of the electorate of Cork. I, representing the Party with the biggest vote in Cork, would not presume to speak on behalf of all the electors of Cork, but in so far as I can read the minds of the people of Cork, I want to say that they do not want an election coming at this time. I am not going to accuse Deputy Casey of indecent haste because there has been a precedent for the moving of a writ at a time thus far removed from the death of a member, but the precedent has been established by the Party of which that Deputy was a member and not by another Party.

So the Taoiseach was talking cod.

He was not talking cod. Deputy Casey should be ashamed of himself.

This was deliberately put back to Saturday morning.


It should be obvious to Deputies that the Chair cannot secure order unless it gets the co-operation of Deputies.

And Ministers.

Ministers are Deputies.

This is the only time some of them are heard in the House.

It is obvious that I cannot secure order unless Deputies co-operate. Deputy McQuillan insists on interrupting whether I am on my feet or not. I will exercise the power conferred on me by this House to remove any Deputy who interrupts. Deputies ought to co-operate with me in endeavouring to secure order in the House. The dignity and decorum of the House are in question. Deputies ought to help me in trying to secure order and preserving the dignity and decorum of the House.

Deputy Casey submitted this motion on the 28th day after the death of Deputy Galvin. I think it was unseemly, and if there was haste, the necessity for that haste should be in the judgment of the Party of which Deputy Galvin was a member, of his colleagues who would be familiar with his family circumstances, and therefore, to that extent, I suggest that the putting of this motion by a member of this House who is not so familiar was unseemly.

Deputy Casey gave it as one of the reasons for moving for the issue of this writ that the electors of Cork needed this further representation in Dáil Éireann. There are at the present time four surviving Deputies of Dáil Éireann representing Cork city. The Lord Mayor represents an adjoining constituency and lives within the environs of the city. There are four Senators living in Cork or in the city suburbs. Therefore, I submit that to advance this as a reason for haste in bringing about this election is a completely spurious one.

When the Dáil reassembled, there was unseemly haste on the part of Fine Gael in bringing forward a motion, which they expected to win because of the death of Deputy Galvin within a matter of days of his death, and when you, Sir, ruled out that motion and it was obvious to the Labour Party that you would have to rule it out under the Standing Orders, the Labour Party acted then as the Fine Gael catspaw in putting forward a motion that would be debated here.

You explain all that to the electorate in Cork.

I will explain something more if the Deputy will listen to me. Deputy Dillon stated in Cork last Saturday night, and I believed him, that he would propose to move this writ if the Government did not do so after Christmas. It is the Government's intention to move the writ after Christmas. I deduced from that statement by Deputy Dillon that he had a decent regard for the conventions of this House and respect for deceased members. His performance here today is nauseating. Deputy Casey having moved his motion for the issue of the writ, it was seconded by Deputy Dillon.

It was not.

It was. Deputy Casey's Party have put up a candidate and they know well that they have not the slightest hope of winning the seat on behalf of the Party. Therefore to that extent again I accuse Deputy Casey and his Party of being the catspaw in this motion as well, for Fine Gael. The normal time that it would take to have an election, assuming the writ is moved today, would be not less than 21 days. Therefore, the by-election would inevitably be held within two weeks of Christmas. Cork city is a busy city. There is a tremendous degree of business activity in the city. I have canvassed the opinion of business people and of ordinary citizens and I assure this House that the people in Cork in so far as I can ascertain their wishes do not want the inconvenience of a by-election within a fortnight of Christmas.

The last precedent we have is the one the Taoiseach quoted when the Fine Gael Party delayed some three months. The nearest precedent we have to this occasion was the death of the late Deputy Dr. Tom O'Higgins who died at the end of October, 1953. It was within the power of this Party to move the writ at that time, if we were to adopt this precedent here to-day, but the writ was not moved until the next succeeding session of the House in the spring. The election took place towards the end of February. At that time there was no concern about leaving Cork without a Deputy.

But there was no turnover tax at that time.

We shall turn you over.


Surely Deputies can restrain themselves for at least a quarter of an hour and allow the Minister to speak.

The death was 1st November, 1953.

And the by-election took place about 18th February, 1954.

There was no Dáil in session.

It would have been possible to move the writ within a couple of weeks of that.

Anyhow, the result was the important thing and it would be the same again.

There was a subsequent by-election in Cork and there was an equally successful outcome for the Fianna Fáil Party when Deputy Moher was swept into this House by a huge majority.

What are you afraid of, so?

I am suggesting it is the prerogative of the Party whose member has died to move the writ and there is no suggestion that the Government will delay moving the writ indefinitely. Having observed the ordinary decencies, the electors of Cork will get the chance to fill this seat and decide as they wish on Government policy to date in the early spring, immediately after the House resumes.Therefore, I cannot see any justification for the allegation that the Government are now avoiding, or will in the future avoid, moving the writ and so avoid holding the by-election.

Whom did the Minister canvass?

I am putting a question to the Minister.

I sincerely hope that if the hopes of Fine Gael are realised and they win this seat, Deputy Casey's supporters will not regret that he was the cause of——

That is a very cheap jibe.

——bringing about such a situation that unemployment figures in Cork will be as high as when this Government came into office in 1957.

Repeat that in Cork and see if you will get away with it.

I intervene in this matter only because the Taoiseach put on one of these unctuous, silky, humbugging performances in connection with this business and he did so to give the impression that everybody in the House—certainly everybody except those under Fianna Fáil control—was engaged in the exercise of insulting the memory of the Deputy who represented Fianna Fáil in Cork city, the late Deputy Galvin. That is not so and the Taoiseach knows it. It is quite unfair and untrue and indeed quite reprehensible and unscrupulous to suggest here that any Deputy on these benches is engaged in insulting the memory of the late Deputy Galvin. The people who make that criticism should say: "Let him who is above criticism cast the first stone".

What is the position? Are we all children, or is it just that this rot of humbugging has penetrated so deeply into the membership of this House that nobody can distinguish the truth from the fraud in this matter? What does the electoral law say? It should determine when we hold by-elections. The electoral law says that you may have a by-election in 15 days, excluding Sundays. That is the law on how early by-elections can be held. Yet this motion is moved almost five weeks after the Deputy's death so that we have complied almost to the extent of twice as much as the electoral law on the subject requires. In this case the Deputy has been dead four weeks last Friday so that as far as hurting his memory by dates is concerned, that charge carries no weight and has no foundation whatever.

Does everybody not know that the question of a by-election is always a matter of political tactics for whatever Party is vitally concerned? Does everybody not know that holding a by-election is always a question of buying time? It is purely a political stratagem. It is a question of whether the memory of the late Deputy is so good that you should catch it quickly and get more votes——



You were planning this over his grave.

Or is it a question of waiting until something else arises, something that might arrive on the political scene in order to tempt the electorate to vote in a particular way for a particular Party? If the Government have something they are going to produce, to delay the election is better for them. If the Opposition see that the Government are going to run into a jam or are in difficulty at the moment, an early election is good for the Opposition. Or do the Government set themselves up as holy men——


We did not sell the aeroplanes as you did when you were Minister for Industry and Commerce. You sabotaged the workers of the country.

That comes oddly from a man so close to realities. We are discussing the filling of a vacancy in the Dáil and this Deputy is talking about selling aeroplanes.

That is what you did. You sabotaged the workers in 1957.


You are all nervous over there.

Deputy Burke should cease interrupting.

It is very hard when you hear such hypocrisy.

Is the immediate future the most suitable time for a by-election?The Labour Party think there ought to be a by-election as soon as possible so as to restore the normal representation for Cork constituency. When I say that the Labour Party believe that the immediate future is the best time in order to restore the democratic representation to the fullest level in Cork, I am in goodly company. I know of the Minister for Industry and Commerce repudiating the Taoiseach when he was speaking but when the Taoiseach came back from America full of wisdom, with the air of liberty blowing in a refreshing manner all round, he was asked to express himself on the question of the writ for the Cork by-election. This is not the Labour Party's action; it is that of the Taoiseach. This is what he said:

A defeat for the Government in the forthcoming Cork by-election would not necessarily mean that there would be a general election.

Stating that the Cork by-election would probably be held before Christmas, he said that surely the fate of the Government did not depend on one by-election. He thought the most important issue regarding the moving of the writ was the convenience of the electorate in the area, but it was good democratic practice that the vacancy should be filled, and filled without undue delay.

There is the Taoiseach. The election should be held and the convenience of the electorate should be considered. The Taoiseach comes down firmly on the over-riding consideration that there should be an election before Christmas. That is what this motion in the name of the Labour Party seeks to achieve. Is there anything wrong with that? There is nothing wrong with it except that an early by-election will not suit the Fianna Fáil Government. Why? Because an early by-election is going to rekindle all the bitterness, all the opposition and all the detestation of the Government's turnover tax. That will be fought in Cork during the period of the by-election. It will be fought in the Press reports in the national papers. The Government, knowing what they have done on the people by the imposition of this tax— the seriousness of it can only be measured when you let the Tánaiste out to talk about it—hope that if in the period of good cheer and peace on earth to men of goodwill they can get something of that kind injected into the people, many of them might have forgotten about the turnover tax by the time they come to vote in January or February next.

Get Professor Williams to do it.

The Taoiseach is no amateur in Irish politics. No cuter bird ever got into this assembly from the point of view of judging political strategy. The Taoiseach knows perfectly well that the longer the period he can put between the 1st November —the date of the implementation of the turnover tax—and the time the people come to mark their ballot papers in Cork, the better chance he will have of not losing so many votes in Cork.

Hear, hear.

One honest but very simple man. The Taoiseach has a haunting memory that he lost North-East Dublin because 6,500 electors who voted for Fianna Fáil in the last election deserted Fianna Fáil in the by-election.Somebody in the Government benches who is a mathematician might work that out on the basis of an equal loss in Cork city. If you work it out on that basis, certainly Fianna Fáil can lose the seat in Cork city very easily.

Labour will not win it though.

Young Parliamentary Secretaries should be prudent.

Is Deputy Norton trying to deliver the seat to Fine Gael?

You make that calculation and I bet you will scratch your head two or three times when you have done it. Here is the ghost before Fianna Fáil: "We lost 6,500 votes in North-East Dublin even before the turnover tax was on; how many will we lose in Cork when the turnover tax is being felt by the people?"

Are you going to present a seat to Fine Gael? Is that Labour Party policy?

You will get nowhere unless you are prudent. I notice the bookmakers' prices have not been chalked up here tonight as to what the odds are in Cork.

They are being laid already.

Will the Parliamentary Secretary name the odds?

I will make a book.

You should take the advice of the Opposition and not do it. It is an unequal struggle for you. The Government, knowing the hiding they got in North-East Dublin before the turnover tax was imposed, have a shrewd suspicion they are going to lose another very substantial number of votes in Cork. If they lose any votes in Cork, they will lose the seat there. That is not palatable to the Taoiseach or to the vanity of Fianna Fáil. It is not calculated to keep this Government on that side of the House.

Do your Party hope to win it?

Yes. As far as we are concerned, we hope that at last political intelligence will awaken in Cork and we will get votes in this by-election which previously went to Fianna Fáil, to Fine Gael and to Sinn Féin.

Notwithstanding the protestations by the Taoiseach and the Minister for Industry and Commerce and the applause from the wings, the plain fact is that there is no question of insulting the memory of the late Deputy Galvin or no question of breaking any previous practice in this House. We are more than complying with the law which was passed on the initiative of Fianna Fáil. The simple issue is: is it better to have the election now or is it better to wait until after Christmas? The Taoiseach says it is better to have it now and that we should have it by Christmas. In the first blush of his return from America he gave that advice to the people. We say with him "You are right. We ought to have it now." The people ought to have a chance of pronouncing on the turnover tax. They were not told about it in the last election. It was not in operation when the by-election was fought. It is now in operation and the people of Cork city should be given an opportunity of interpreting the feelings of the people of the country on the question of the turnover tax. That is why we want the by-election, so that the people can, in fact, express their views on the turnover tax.

The Taoiseach said there were certain things he wanted to preserve in Irish life. One of these things he said —with a gulp in his speech—was the kind of decency we had known and practised here without interruption for nearly 40 years. The Taoiseach ought to remember that decency in Irish public life was very seriously injured in the vote which took place in this House a fortnight ago, and the Taoiseach played a prominent and unworthy part in that odd transaction.


It is very interesting to hear Deputy Norton saying the people should be consulted about the tax that has been put on by the Government.

Do not tell me you are back from America.

I seem to remember that——

——instead of a turnover tax, Deputy Norton and Fine Gael supported a selective purchase tax of up to 15 or 20 per cent. Did they say then they could not implement that tax until the people were consulted?

Come down to Cork and say that. That is what we want you to do.

Not at all. They imposed the tax and the result was that 25,000 people were thrown out of work and out of industry in one year.


Within one year of the institution of this system of raising taxation, 100,000 people were registered as unemployed.


To-day we have a different position. Because of the good financing by a Fianna Fáil Government, we have emigration reduced to the lowest figure ever.


Unemployment is 60,000 fewer than it was when Deputy Norton put on his tax.


We are all grown up in this country. The people are grown up and they realise that, if they appoint a Government to govern, and as long as that Government have a majority in the Dáil, it is not only their right but their duty to propose taxation that will enable the Government to carry on the work that the people want carried on. The reason Fianna Fáil were put into office in 1957——


—and have been kept in Government since is that the Coalition failed to do the work the people wanted them to do and it was because of that failure they put in a Government——

Wives, get your husbands back to work.

Where are the 100,000 jobs?


Order. Deputies might allow the Minister to speak without interruption.

Deputy Norton was not afforded that courtesy.

When the Taoiseach decides to have an election, we will have it, and I can tell you, you will be very sorry for it on that side of the House.



The Minister has the wind up.

The very people who would be shivering in their boots if there were an election would be the Labour Party because they would be shown up——

Try it out.

—for what they are, collectors merely of second preferences. That has been their tradition.

Most of the Labour Party in this House headed the poll.


I would advise the Coalition-Government-that-hopes-to-be to be a little bit more——

Which Coalition Government? Is it the one in office now?

Is it the Minister's Coalition?

I am advising them to be a little bit more on-coming and open with the people.

Come to Cork, and let the people in Cork decide.

Suppose there were a general election tomorrow—we can give you that, too——


Go, go.

We can give you that, too.

Wake the Taoiseach up.

The Taoiseach is not paying attention.

We can give you a general election and you will get it in the neck. The people are not such damn fools——


Hear, hear.

——as to elect a Coalition Government.

Is it the present one? Which one?


Which one?

The people are not such damn fools as to believe that a Coalition Government would make any greater success of their policy, if they were returned again, than they did on the last two occasions.

The Minister is not helping his side, you know.

He is doing his best.

I should like to know, and not only I should like to know, but the people would like to know——

Yes, they would.

There is no use showing yourselves up for what you are, but the people would like to know——


They would—exactly.

——what the Coalition propose in place of the 2½ per cent turnover tax.

When is the Minister going back to New York?

The people are entitled to know whether under the Coalition who hope to get in——

Or the one that is in.

——the proposals operated under Fianna Fáil policy will continue and, if so, how they will be financed. If we are to continue help to industry, agriculture, social services and education, money must be raised.

By sinking all the ships to the bottom of the sea.

Money must be raised. If you are not going to raise it——


——by a turnover tax in what way will it be raised?

Resign, and we will tell you.

Will an attempt be made to raise it in the same manner as in 1956 when 25,000 workers were thrown out of employment in industry?

Let the people of Cork decide that.

Will it be raised in the way in which it was raised in 1956, when 60,000 people emigrated from the country?

100,000 jobs.


Will it be raised in the way in which it was raised in 1956 when the level of unemployment rose to 100,000 people? That is what the people want to know.

What about the 100,000 jobs?

Deputy Lynch and others should cease interrupting.The debate is not confined solely to one side of the House.

On a point of order, I submit, Sir, that the speech now being made by the Minister for External Affairs is out of order on this motion but would be in order before the electorate in Cork.

Is it not a fact that the Taoiseach has even got to tell the Minister to keep quiet.

Order. The Minister for External Affairs.

There are some people here in this Dáil and, if they had any decency, they would keep quiet.

The Taoiseach told the Minister to shut up and sit down.

There are certain people on the opposite side of this House and they are bound to the old principle that there is no use in being stupid unless you show it.


Hear, Hear.

I must congratulate the Minister on living up to his nickname of "Egghead".

The Minister is more intelligent than I thought he was.

If the Deputies opposite think they can shout me down, I want to warn them they will not succeed.

The Minister is helping us all the time.

That is not the way it was 40 years ago.

Forty years ago, you were Fine Gael.


It is less than 40 years since the Deputy was kicked out of Fianna Fáil because they could not stomach him.

I appeal to Deputies on both sides of the House to cease this disorder.

The Minister is fomenting the disorder.

A little harmless merriment does everyone good.

There is nothing unusual in having an election postponed for a couple of months.

Because you cannot decide.

We can go back to the records. On many occasions, Fine Gael, when they were on their own, postponed an election for three or four months. Sometimes they held it in a shorter period. While the Coalition were in office, they often postponed an election for much longer than the period the present Government propose to postpone the election in Cork.

They had one every six months.

Everyone knows that the convention up to now——

Has not been held.

They cannot decide.

Everyone knows the convention——

Deputy Flanagan must cease these interruptions, and that applies to Deputy O'Sullivan as well.

Everyone knows the convention——

Was postponed.

Everyone knows the convention of this Dáil has been, in relation to by-elections——

We do not want a lecture.

Everyone knows that the convention of this Dáil in relation to by-elections has been——

——that it is the Party to whom the deceased Deputy belonged who moved the writ. Are Fianna Fáil in any way wrong in insisting that that convention should not be broken, seeing it has existed for such a long time? The Taoiseach has the right to decide——

He did, at the Airport.

The Taoiseach has the right to decide when there is to be a general election and he has also the right to recommend to the Dáil when a by-election will be held to replace a deceased member of Fianna Fáil.

Is the Minister quoting that?

Deputy Casey had already spoken.

Quote the authority for that.

The Taoiseach has the right to decide, by the Constitution, when a general election is to be held.

Oh, a general election.

The Taoiseach has the right to decide when a general election is to be held and the Taoiseach, as the Leader of Fianna Fáil in this Dáil and as Taoiseach, has the right to propose the date on which a by-election——



That is not so.

The Taoiseach has the right, as Leader of Fianna Fáil and as Taoiseach, to propose the date on which a by-election——



The Taoiseach has the right to propose, as the Leader of Fianna Fáil and as Taoiseach, the date on which a by-election should be held——

He has no such right.

——to select the date on which a by-election should be held to elect a member to replace a deceased member of Fianna Fáil.

You are embarrassing the Taoiseach. You should sit down.

Deputy Casey must cease these interruptions.

What the Minister is saying is not correct and you, too, know that.

It is correct. It has always been a member of the Party to whom a deceased Deputy belonged who moved the writ for the by-election.

Why is the Chair accepting the motion?

The Chair will not accept the motion because Deputy Dan Breen is not here yet.

I said that the convention has been up to now that it is a member of the Party to whom a deceased Deputy belonged who has the right to move for the writ.

Anybody can move it.

Neither the Labour Party nor the Fine Gael Party have the right to deny Fianna Fáil that right and even if they attempt to deny it, we shall do our utmost to oppose it.

I had no intention of intervening in the debate until the Minister for Industry and Commerce had the temerity to rise and announce on behalf of the electorate of Cork that they, the electorate, did not wish to have a by-election as soon as possible. I know that in his inner self the Minister is as convinced as Deputy Casey of the fact that the electorate of Cork are most anxious for an election. I rise mainly to corroborate Deputy Casey's statement that the electorate of Cork are most anxious to get at the throats of the Government, and I know the Taoiseach knows in his heart that is so.

The Taoiseach has spoken in this House on many occasions and also from public platforms on our economic policy and has underlined that we must be prepared to take risks. I wonder why this sudden access of prudence on this occasion, because this appears to be the one risk the Taoiseach is not prepared to take. I should like to know why. If the Taoiseach is as convinced as the Minister for Industry and Commerce professes himself to be that the electorate do not want the election, why did he speak in the way he has done today?

There is one other matter arising out of the performance of the Minister for Industry and Commerce when he took on the garment of order and spoke of ordinary decencies, suggesting that the Parties on this side were outraging these decencies. As Deputy Casey and Deputy Norton have pointed out, the first person to moot the by-election before Christmas is the person who does not now want it. The Taoiseach said that there would most likely be a by-election before Christmas. Unless he wants to have my constituents voting on Christmas Eve, he should be ready to move the writ now being moved by Deputy Casey. Since the Taoiseach has already spoken, perhaps some member of his Party will tell us why there has been this change of mind? Further arising out of this question of the ordinary decencies, I should like to recall that when the late Deputy Frank Fahy died, on 12th July, 1953, the writ was moved on 31st July.

Moved by the Fianna Fáil Party.

Nineteen days.

Where were the ordinary decencies then?

I had no intention of taking part in this discussion until I heard the Minister for Industry and Commerce and the Taoiseach adopting the role of Pontius Pilate. All I would say is that they should understand we in the Labour Party who knew the late Deputy Johnny Galvin have as much respect for him and, perhaps, say a prayer for him——

That is why they wanted to steal his shoes and give them to Fine Gael.

The Minister for Industry and Commerce told us what happened in the 1950's, and let me now make it known to all that the Taoiseach and Leader of the Fianna Fáil Party at the time, in 1949, prohibited the Cork city and county members of Fianna Fáil from attending the funeral of the late Deputy T.J. Murphy. There was only one Fianna Fáil Deputy at that funeral and he was Deputy Corry. The rest took their orders from Fianna Fáil headquarters.

There was no such thing.

It is true.

It is an untrue statement.

Let the Taoiseach not act the Pontius Pilate. The people of Ireland have been fooled too long by him.

I do not intend to labour the question of decencies. I leave that to the House. I shall labour another issue altogether.

Let the Deputy tell us about political expediency. He lectured on it the other night.

I am concerned with the people voting when they have a cool mind and not when they are excited by all forms of poison, including the wholesale profiteering being carried on by the people who made the Opposition victory in North-East Dublin possible. I have a strong belief that the shopkeeper element who represent the Opposition would inflate and are deliberately inflating their prices so as to inflame the mind of the electorate on the day of the election.

Is that what Fianna Fáil say?

They would conspire and they have conspired. The evidence is that the people have not complained about the 2½ per cent in the past two weeks. They accepted a tax of only 6d. in the pound. They accepted that they were getting certain reliefs. Their complaint and the complaint of the ladies who will march around tomorrow is not the 2½ per cent but the profiteering which has been alleged here today.

It was stated by one Deputy on the Opposition Benches that there was profiteering of up to 16 per cent. All people who did not constitute the backbone of the Opposition in north-east Dublin or who were not the pals of the Opposition would be against profiteering to that extent which is purely to inflame the people and to influence the way they vote. We want the election when the people know what they are doing, when they can vote in accordance with the truth and not in accordance with lies and artificially inflated prices encouraged by the Opposition.


Deputy Sherwin is entitled to be heard, just as any other Deputy and Deputies should not combine to shout down another. It is most disorderly.

If you have to shout one man down, you have a poor case. I speak my mind and I speak from my conscience. The people have a right to decide when they have heard both sides, with everybody's cards on the table. They have a right to know what the Opposition taxation policy would be. They have as much right to decide as a jury would in a court. A jury before they make a decision, are entitled to hear the evidence from both sides and they also can expect a learned judge to point out the relevant facts, what is material and what is immaterial. The Opposition do not want that kind of decision.

Oppositions live on misery; they live on calamities. I read a short time ago that when an American countryside was struck by a cyclone, the Opposition in Miami were clapping their hands. The Opposition here would be delighted if the tax jumped to 50 per cent. They want the people to decide while one side has the cards on the table and they have their cards up their sleeves. Such an election would be a fraud, equal to the fraud perpetrated in the old rotten boroughs where candidates made people drunk. The Opposition here want to set the electorate drunk with lies. If the election is held in February or March, people will know what wages they are getting and what prices they have to pay. An election in any other circumstances, in the circumstances the Opposition want would be a lie and a fraud and would not do justice to anyone.

I did not intend to intervene, and would not do so, but for the statement made——

Two Fianna Fáil Deputies in succession.

Deputy Sherwin, an Independent, has just spoken.


As I said, I did not intend to speak in this debate and would not do so, but for the statement made by Deputy Desmond. I have been a member of the Fianna Fáil Party since its inception, a foundation member: I have been a member in this House since June, 1927, and a member of the Fianna Fáil Party during the whole period; and I never heard an instruction such as that alleged by Deputy Desmond here. The late Deputy T.J. Murphy was a personal friend of mine. I attended his funeral and I am sure other Deputies attended it as well and there was no such instruction from anyone. It was a wrong statement to make.

It was a disreputable allegation.

As far as this matter is concerned, the people of Cork will decide and there will be many a mournful face over there when they have made their decision. The people of Cork are very well aware of the position that obtained, that we had a Labour Minister for Industry and Commerce and that 200 men and their families had to leave Irish Steel in Cobh to get employment in Britain, due to his administration as Minister.

That is a falsehood.


Deputy Corry has made a statement which is absolutely false. He has produced no evidence in support of it. It is contrary to the facts and contrary to what is contained in the official files. He knows that but persists in saying it.

There were 560 men employed in Irish Steel.

I have denied the truth of that statement to the Chair and Deputy Corry should be made to withdraw it.

The Deputy is being disorderly. This is not a point of order, as I have pointed out to the Deputy.

It is in order. I have denied the statement and he should be made to withdraw it.

The Deputy should not stand when the Chair is standing.

I will raise the point when the Ceann Comhairle is here.

You can raise it when you like.

You will do your duty now, for the Fianna Fáil Party.

The Chair always does its duty.

Then do not pretend to be neutral.

There were 560 men employed in Irish Steel when the present Taoiseach left office as Minister for Industry and Commerce. When we came back into office, there were fewer than 300 men employed there and those are the facts.

Could I make a point of order? Is it not the practice in this House that if a Deputy denies a statement made by another Deputy, the statement must be withdrawn? Is that not the practice of the House?

The charge made by Deputy Corry is a political charge and political charges have often been made in this House and not withdrawn.

I have given proof of the facts.

You have not.

I am not the Ceann Comhairle and I have no intention of intervening in the scrap between Deputy Dillon, Deputy Corish and Deputy Casey as to which of the three is to lead the largest party at the next election.

Fianna Fáil will be the smallest.

I have been representing a good portion of Cork and a good portion of the present constituency of Cork city for a long number of years and I have seen some of those opposite brought in out of the dung heap and disappearing again pretty quickly.

Is this in order?

You got a queer old fright the last time.

I would not have intervened in this debate but for the statement made by Deputy Desmond. I got up to refute that statement which I consider one that should not have been made here. I have been a member of the Fianna Fáil Party for a long time and I am aware of all the facts. I attended the funeral of the late Deputy Murphy as I would attend the funeral of any other Deputy who was a friend of mine. We may have our rows in here but when we go outside the House, we are all friends again. I think the scramble going on between Deputy Dillon and Deputy Corish as to who will get the most kudos out of the unfortunate death of Deputy Galvin is a scandal and a disgrace and is no credit to any member of the House, no matter what his feelings may be.

What about the Taoiseach?

This thing will not get very far with the people of Cork. There will be a lot of red faces here when we start to trot to the polls. I have given what I know are the facts of the matter and when the people know them, those people over there will be sorry.

I think there is something nauseating in the spectacle of a largely unwanted Government clinging to office and proposing to vote deliberately for the purpose of preventing portion of the electorate, namely the people of Cork, from passing judgment on their policies.

When I hear the Taoiseach and other members of his Party lecturing here about decency and dignity, I remember that there are Deputies on these benches whose close relatives laid down their lives in helping the establishment of parliamentary democracy in this country.

It is, I think, true to say that for us democracy is now a right, but in present circumstances it is not going to be a fact until we drag the Fianna Fáil Party before the electorate.


I had no intention of intervening in the debate but now I think it is taking a rather peculiar turn. I wonder is the Cork by-election to be fought here? The whole question involved is whether, in future, when some member of this House dies, any member of any other Party may within the next day or two move the writ for the filling of that vacancy. No one here has attempted to deny the fact that never before in this House has a member of one Party endeavoured to move a writ when a member of another Party died.

When Deputy Mongan died, the Fianna Fáil Party tried to move the writ because it suited their political book at the time.

Never before was it attempted.

When Deputy Mongan died, Fianna Fáil tried to do it.

It has never been done in the history of the Dáil.

No member here has asserted that ever before has a member of one Party attempted to move the writ when a member of another Party dies. Is it sought now to establish a new precedent whereby, if one of the Deputies opposite dies tomorrow, a member of another Party could move the writ for that vacancy in a week's time?


I have been a member of this House for 12 or 14 years and I have been associated with elections for a much longer period and one thing that stands out in my mind more than anything else is that when there was a mass howling over there for a general election, they were sorry afterwards. There were 14 or 15 elections and we won practically every one of them. We will win this one, too. There were very few of them we did not win.


We never were afraid of an election. We could win them and we did win them, and we will win in the future, so do not cod yourselves.

I found it very difficult to suppress my indignation when I heard the Taoiseach in his first few sentences replying to the speech made by Deputy Casey. I believe that the allegations and insinuations of the Taoiseach were not alone scandalous but fraudulent, but it seems to me that no matter when the Cork by-election is fought, the main plank in the political platform of the Fianna Fáil Party will be the allegation that disrespect has been shown to the late Deputy Galvin. The Taoiseach has talked about precedent and convention. I want to assure him and the House that in making their decision to move for the issue of the writ, the Labour Party and particularly Deputy Casey were conscious all the time of the respect due to Deputy Galvin and to any Deputy who died. The Labour Party were very careful to observe all the conventions as far as respect to a late Deputy was concerned.

We handed in notice of motion in relation to the issue of this writ on last Saturday morning. Deliberately, we did not do it for Wednesday morning, Thursday morning or Friday morning because we wanted to observe the usual conventions. We realised that to have it moved here on Wednesday, it would have to be in by Saturday. Now the month has passed during which it is usual to pay respect to a Deputy who has died.

I want to say frankly that we decided to break with precedent. The Minister for External Affairs in a speech in which he had a lot of gesticulations talked about the right of the Taoiseach as Leader of the Fianna Fáil Party to move for the issue of the writ in respect of a vacancy caused by the death of a member of his Party. Despite what the Taoiseach said at the Airport about having the election before Christmas, we knew that the Taoiseach and the Fianna Fáil Party had no intention in the wide earthly world of having this election before Christmas. It was precisely for that reason that we decided to break with precedent and, if we could by putting this motion to the House and having it accepted by the House, force the Government and every other Party in the House to face the Cork electors.

It has been mentioned by some Deputy, and I think it is the perfect answer to the Taoiseach, that we are becoming a bit fed up with the fraudulent attitude of the Taoiseach when he talks about the decorum of the House and about precedent and convention. But does he remember so well to examine his conscience now in relation to the attitude of the Fianna Fáil Party when, 19 days after his death, they decided to move the writ to fill the vacancy created by the death of one who had been Ceann Comhairle, the late Deputy Frank Fahy? Therefore on that score there is no question of precedent. On the contrary, if precedent was broken, it was broken by the Fianna Fáil Party of which the Taoiseach is a member, when he or they moved to have the vacancy filled 19 days after the death of Deputy Fahy.

It is a question of who moved the writ.

There are two allegations made by the Taoiseach. One, that we have been disrespectful to the memory of the late Deputy Galvin. If he compares our attitude in moving for this writ with the attitude of the Fianna Fáil Party in moving the writ to fill the vacancy created by the death of the late Deputy Frank Fahy, he must agree that we certainly showed respect to the memory of the late Deputy Galvin. He ought to examine his own conscience about the respect shown by the Fianna Fáil Party to the late Deputy Frank Fahy. We moved this deliberately because, frankly, we want to put the issue of the turnover tax to the people.

Or the exploitation of the turnover tax by people on the other side of the House and by traders who are members of that Party?


I did not expect such an allegation from the Deputy, though I might have expected it from the Deputy in front of him.

Deputy Corish is in possession.

I am not concerned in my contribution, which will be very brief, to talk about the turnover tax or about either 100,000 unemployed or 100,000 jobs. I do not think that this is a discussion where we should talk about the turnover tax, social welfare, health or any of the other matters mentioned in this debate. If the Government Party think they have such a tremendous case in respect of these things, all we ask is that the speeches made from both sides of the House be made in Cork city and that the people there be allowed to decide.

So they will. It is a question of when.

The Taoiseach said when he came home from the United States that the election would be held before Christmas. There is no point in talking about disruption of business, because if the motion is passed here today, it means that the election could be held in the first week of December.

If the motion is passed, there will be a general election. Do not have any illusions about it.

That is the big stick for the Independents.

It is not a threat; it is a statement of fact.

It is an acknowledgment by the Taoiseach that nothing he has said since last April and nothing he has said in the past two weeks has done anything to persuade the Independent members of this House that he is right, because now in what he is saying he is threatening the Independents.

I am not threatening.


I do not know why the Taoiseach should pretend to be hurt and to be concerned or to make allegations of lack of respect in the Labour Party for the late Deputy Galvin. He does not believe that.

You are trying to sole the shoes to make a present of them to Fine Gael.

Did you show respect for the late Deputy Frank Fahy? Will the Taoiseach answer that?

It was the Fianna Fáil Party who decided it. Is Deputy Corish trying to destroy the precedent that it is the Party to whom the deceased Deputy belonged who decide?

Yes, in this case certainly, because the Taoiseach still refuses to go to the country or to the people of Cork. That is the reason we want to break with precedent.

You know quite well that that is untrue.

I want to ask the Taoiseach a simple question. He made the allegation in the first few sentences of his speech that the Labour Party were showing disrespect to the memory of the late Deputy Galvin because we moved for the issue of the writ over a month after his death. I ask the Taoiseach if he will examine his allegations in view of what has been said here, and not contradicted, that the Fianna Fáil Party moved the writ for the constituency for which the late Frank Fahy sat 19 days after his death.

Why did you not move a motion for the writ for North-East Dublin?

Has the Taoiseach any comment on the respect shown to the late Deputy Frank Fahy?

It is a question of the Party concerned deciding. That is the only issue.

The Taoiseach made two allegations against the Labour Party: first, that it was the right and prerogative of the Party within which the vacancy occurred to move the writ. He can have his opinion on that. We want deliberately to break the precedent on this occasion. Secondly, the Taoiseach alleged we had shown disrespect to the memory of the late Deputy Galvin by handing in a notice of motion to move the writ less than a month after his death. I simply ask him has he any comment to make on the moving of the writ by Fianna Fáil in the case of the late Deputy Frank Fahy 19 days after the man's death.

Once a precedent is broken, it is gone for ever.

The usual interruption we have had from the Taoiseach lately, and the general one from other members of his Party, is typical of what has been said today: "Do you want to make a present of the seat to the Fine Gael Party?" We are not concerned with either Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael. Does the Taoiseach want us to disappear from the fight in all these by-elections?We certainly will not leave this by-election to Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael. We have our own policy to pursue. Whether we win or lose the election, the important thing for us is to build the Labour Party.

I suggest the Taoiseach is hanging on to office. He will hang on even with half a vote. He and the Minister for External Affairs ask us what we will do in the event of no Party receiving an overall majority. They think they are clever in that. The Taoiseach forecast in his speech on the No Confidence motion that a time would come when no Party would receive an overall majority. The Taoiseach is afraid to face up to that sort of situation, where we could say to him: "What will you do? Will you face up to your responsibility as a minority Party?" Fine Gael will have the same responsibility; but you are trying now to put that sort of responsibility on to the Labour Party.

We are interested neither in Fianna Fáil nor Fine Gael. You ask us if we will join a coalition. I think we make it abundantly clear, prior to the last election, on 6th October, 1961—and we behaved according to that statement—that we would not join a coalition. The Minister for Social Welfare can give up asking us questions of that kind. Our concern is for the Labour Party and not for Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael.

The most significant thing about this attempt to break the precedents of the House is that the motion to move the writ——

Three Fianna Fáil speakers have been called.

The Leader of the Labour Party had spoken, and a member of the Fine Gael Party was called before the Parliamentary Secretary.

The most significant thing about this attempt to break the precedents of the House is that the motion to move the writ was proposed by one wing of the Coalition and seconded by the other.

That is a lie, and the Minister knows it.

The Deputy may not make such a statement.He must withdraw it.

When the Leas-Cheann Comhairle sits down.

The Deputy will withdraw the statement.

I withdraw the word "lie". It is a deliberate untruth.

That is the same thing. The Deputy will withdraw the words.

I withdraw.

It is only a fortnight since we had other evidence that this Coalition still exists in fact.

Is it the one in office—the Sherwin-Lemass coalition?

When the Fine Gael motion was ruled out of order, as they knew it would be, they had the other wing ready to step in and repair their mistake.

That is a falsehood.

We have had further proof today that this Coalition still exists. One thing clear in all the controversy being created by the Opposition Parties is that they are determined to go to every extreme not to let the people see what is the alternative to the present Government and what is the alternative method of financing the programmes of the Government. The more these stunts are tried in the House, the clearer it is becoming to the people that the alternative is what they had before: a Fine Gael-Labour Coalition. That is the circumstance which caused the people to return Fianna Fáil in 1957 with the largest majority any Party ever got in this House.

It is now becoming clearer to the people that if by any chance they should be misled into creating another indeterminate position as a result of the next general election, the only alternative is a return to the type of government which brought the country to its knees on two previous occasions.

Deputy Norton had the honesty to say that this motion was proposed because they had decided this was the most suitable time for them to have this election. I concede that to them. It is the most suitable time. They are likely to get in the foreseeable future no more suitable time to have an election.They are afraid to wait until such time as the people have had reasonable experience of the operation of the Government's methods of financing their economic and social programmes. This is a comparatively suitable time for the Opposition, when they have by every conceivable means arranged for themselves a temporary set of favourable circumstances. It is well know that, as a result of Fine Gael and Labour propaganda and intrigue, they have inspired a certain amount of profiteering, which they are ascribing to Government taxation.

You have fallen down on the control.

We know that Fine Gael and Labour have temporarily succeeded in getting certain people to increase their prices by unjustified amounts——


Why not control them?

When we see this unseemly haste by the Labour Party in seeking to move the writ, the thought naturally arises: can the Labour Party not depend on their new-found friends, the racketeers and profiteers, to continue their campaign for a month or two?

Another untruth.


Do the Labour Party and Fine Gael realise that this inspired profiteering will collapse under the combined forces of Government action and the natural forces of competition? That is why they have decided to try to jump the gun to get this by-election held while this profiteering they have induced——

It was you who induced it.

And the Taoiseach made that man a Minister.

I concede it would suit us better to wait until the people see this taxation in operation, uninfluenced by the Opposition's machinations. We have decided on a new method of financing our economic and social programme and the Opposition have used every method to try to sabotage it because it daily becomes more clear how much the people benefited by getting rid of the Coalition Government.

A Deputy

Haughey and Boland got on all right.

I have nothing to do with it. The Opposition are afraid people will have time to see what it would involve if they decided to make a change at present. They are afraid the people will have time to consider that there must be either a cessation of the Government's programme of economic expansion or else there must be some other form of taxation such as the form that the Coalition——

Which Coalition?Is it the Sherwin-Leneghan-Lemass coalition?

The only one there is, the Fine Gael-Labour Coalition.


They know that the only alternative method of raising finance is some such means as that which caused the mass unemployment and emigration of 1956-1957.


Neither section of the Coalition will tell the people which they have decided on, whether they have decided to cut down expenditure or to raise the necessary money to continue services as they are at present by means of penal taxes that must result in a restriction of output and a lessening of chances of employment for our people.

There will not be taxes on food.

After a month or two, when this tax has settled down and when the profiteering you have produced has stopped, the people will have more time to think and will realise that it is by means of this very minor addition to taxation that we are financing improved social services and the Programme for Economic Expansion put forward by the Government. That is what you are afraid of——

The Chair is not afraid of anything.

That is why Fianna Fáil have always, almost from their foundation, remained as the largest Party in this House and will continue to do so—because we have respect for the intelligence of the people.

Why do you not have it now?

The people will have the facts and have time to consider and will be able to exercise their judgment in an intelligent way——

As in North-East Dublin.

I know you have had temporary successes. There were two occasions when by misrepresentations and by reckless promises——

100,000 jobs.

——you succeeded, not in winning the election but in creating an indeterminate result so that after the election you were able to come together and form a temporary Government.

On a point of order, might I draw the attention of the Chair to the fact that Private Members' Time is fixed from 6.30 to 7.30 p.m. Would there be a possibility of any arrangement whereby this debate would be brought to an end in time to allow Private Members' Business to be taken?

On the same point of order, when the business of the House takes precedence over Government business, it takes precedence over Private Members' Business and goes on automatically.

If the Taoiseach is concerned only with the question of who moves the writ, we are prepared to withdraw our motion if the Taoiseach is now prepared to move the writ himself.

Do I understand that Private Members' Time goes by the board to-night?

That is not correct. Private Members' Time commences at 6 p.m. and continues until 7.30 p.m.

The House is already on Private Members' Time. We cannot have it both ways. I was suggesting the House might decide to have this division now.

No. Might I put this submission to the Chair: This is not a motion during Government time. It is a motion of the House and it was because of that it was called by the Chair, notwithstanding that it had not been put down on the Order Paper by the Government. If it takes precedence over the business of the Government, surely it should take precedence over Private Members' Time.

May I make a suggestion to help the Parliamentary Secretary? The Taoiseach is mainly concerned, we understand in the course of this debate, with the fact that a precedent of long standing is that it is the right of the Party to which the deceased Deputy belonged——

Is this a point of order?

——to move the writ. That was the gravamen of the Taoiseach's worry. Can we get over that and restore peace and happiness in the House by allowing the Taoiseach to take over our motion and we will all gladly accept that solution and have the election without any further differences?

Like Pontius Pilate, he rises to wash his hands.

Then there will be no tears to dry.

Has the Chair ruled as to whether this debate takes precedence over Private Members' Business?

I understand this question has never arisen before. It could, if desired, supersede all other business and continue.

I merely wanted to say that the reason we want this election to take place later, after Christmas rather than before it, is, first, that there is no urgent need to cause this disruption during the busy season. Secondly we always prefer that people should be able to make up their minds on the facts and should be given a fair chance to do so. That is all we ever ask. I know this is not going to influence the Opposition Parties in the least because they are incapable of having respect for the intelligence of the people. Traditionally, they try to stampede the people when there is a set of circumstances that could be misrepresented by them in their usual irresponsible manner.

I know there is no danger in my pointing out to the Labour Party why it is that in a country like this, with 500,000 trade unionists, or more, the Labour Party is only the third smallest Party in the Dáil. It is because of the fact that you also have contempt for the intelligence of the people you purport to represent here. We are the people for whom the trade unionists of this country vote. They have sufficient intelligence to realise that here again the Labour Party are attempting to use them as a catspaw; the attempt is to get them to vote for Fine Gael, which is a thing they have never done, and never will do.

Give them a chance.

Fianna Fáil will be the smallest Party in the next Dáil, and the Minister knows it.

You will never see that. We are not in the least afraid of an election.



We are quite prepared——


Say that again.

We are quite prepared to go to the country on the basis of our record, but we would like the people to know clearly what the alternative is.

My brave little man.

The alternative is a return to the Fine Gael-Labour Coalition that brought disaster to this country on two previous occasions. We would like to give the people time to realise that the only alternative method of taxation to what we propose is the same type of taxation as created 100,000 unemployed and an annual emigration of 60,000, as happened under the previous Coalition.

And 50,000 houses built.

We are quite satisfied that, once the profiteering you have induced dies out——

On a point of order, the Minister has made an allegation that you are engaged in profiteering. The Chair has persistently allowed the Minister to use the second person but has often upbraided others for using the second person.

It is as well to say now that the second person should never be used. The third person should always be used. I do not know if the Minister used the second person.

He is talking rubbish anyway.

I did use it and I apologise for using it, but, when one is subjected to continuous cross-examination by the Opposition, it is very easy to slip.

The Minister is talking nonsense. No one pays any attention to him.

We are not in the least afraid of an election.

But the Minister will not have it.

We are not in the least afraid of an election at a suitable time, and a suitable time will be when the people are in a position to see things clearly. For the Opposition, a suitable time is when they can create as much confusion as possible. As far as we are concerned, a suitable time——

——is when this tax has been in operation for a little while and the people see the benefits that flow from it; they will be in a position then to assess the situation clearly.

It is time, I think, that we came back to reality. Fianna Fáil have tried in their typically naïve way to cloud a straightforward and simple issue. They are afraid of their lives to face the public. It is as simple as that. The Taoiseach, exercising his usual ghoulish intrigue, may try to interweave a suggestion of bad taste for alleged breach of precedent, but that is just poppycock. The late Deputy John Galvin was respected by most people in this House and if some of those who were interrupting here to-day had been in Cork city on the morning we buried him, they would have seen a very fine tribute paid to a man who had done his honest share according to his lights in this House. To suggest that there is some impropriety or some lack of decency in moving for this writ 30 days after his being buried is just so much nonsense. Because of the exigencies of the national situation, we want to challenge the Government in a very large constituency where a diverse cross-section of opinion is available. To suggest there is some satirical motive or some insult to the sanctity of a man's memory, or even a breach of precedent, is just so much rubbish because, God knows, the Party who preach that now are the very Party who themselves refused to accept the will of the Irish people when they were asked——

You are back to that again.

I was in this House when indecent haste was exercised in moving the writ after the death of the late Deputy Frank Fahy and that was before the Parliamentary Secretary or the Minister for Social Welfare was in this House. We in Cork have no misconception of what the Government's attitude is. The Government are afraid of the issue. The Minister for Social Welfare in his sustained and misconceived mumbo-jumbo has let the cat out of the bag. You are afraid while the ire of the people persists because of the new turnover tax. The Minister for Social Welfare wants time so that someone can pour a little balm or ointment on the situation.

Deputy Sherwin has the audacity to come in here and talk about letting the people calm down, and he is the very person who almost suffers a minor volcanic eruption himself. He knows as much about Cork as a pig does about beagling and, as for Deputy Leneghan, I know more about a pub, with no beer, than he does. I am here by the will of the people, by the will of more people than will ever support you, you poor old omadhaun. Why do you not vote with us and we will have an election tomorrow?

I never voted for the Black and Tans, thanks be to God.

Thanks be to God, my family put them out of this country, and I am not ashamed to admit it. In fact, Deputy Leneghan's family helped to put them out of it, too. His father was a fine member of the National Army. But I will not take any insults from a little Mayo upstart.

You are too thick to take insults.

The simple fact is that the Government are literally afraid of Cork because you are afraid of getting the hiding of your lives in Cork.

Deputy O'Sullivan objected, and rightly so, to one Deputy addressing another across the floor of the House.

I should hate, Sir, to involve you in the Cork argument.


The Labour Party have some claim possibly on the Ceann Comhairle.

I would advise the Parliamentary Secretary not to go into history. We all remember when Deputy Fahy died.

Deputy Collins, on the motion.

The people in Cork are anxious to have a go at the Government but the Government persist in sheltering behind the four feathers in their own tails. They refuse to give the people an opportunity of recording their verdict on the turnover tax. It is as simple as that. If there are some who believe this rubbish about the people not feeling this 2½ per cent turnover tax, let them go down into the highways and byways of Cork and they will get their answer. Why do you not accept Labour's challenge now, if you think something has been hurt in principle? Why do you not move the writ, now that 30 days have gone?

In due course and at our convenience.

Your convenience was 19 days when it suited your purposes but now you come in here, crawthumping Judases, hiding behind the mantle of decency and respectability.

You should be on the Abbey stage.

You do not know the principles of decency. If you did, you would give the decent Irish people in Cork city the opportunity to record their answer to the turnover tax.

The Deputy is still using the wrong personal pronoun, even though I admonished him several times.

Deputy Sherwin accused the Opposition of enticing people to profiteer. I notice he accused only the Opposition and I regard that as an admission that he is no longer in the Opposition or independent, that he is now officially Fianna Fáil. If there has been profiteering, surely it is the fault of Deputy Sherwin and his Minister for Industry and Commerce. Repeatedly, the Labour Party have advocated price control but what did we get by way of reply? All we got was sidestepping, and Fianna Fáil promises that in all probability cannot be fulfilled. Certainly these promises will be useless to the people if they have to wait and see.

We know there has been a huge increase in prices and that the Minister for Industry and Commerce has failed in his duty to do something about it. For that reason, the people should be given the opportunity to say whether the Government are right or wrong, and there is no better place in which the people can do that than in Cork city, the constituency which the Minister for Industry and Commerce represents.He should not be afraid to face Cork to determine whether he was right or whether he was wrong.

The Minister for Social Welfare suggested the election should be held at what he called a suitable time. He suggested arrangements should be made to have the issue presented clearly. I would be rather interested to ascertain what the Minister meant by "a little time". Surely it is not unreasonable to take serious notice of the Taoiseach's statement when he indicated after his rest in America that the by-election would be held before Christmas?

It is apparently suggested now it should be held over until April or May. What will happen in the interim? What has happened up to the present time, since the turnover tax was imposed?What relief will be extended to the people who are being exploited by the effects of this turnover tax? What will happen to the people about whom Deputy Sherwin purports to be so concerned—the old age pensioners, who will not get their increase until 1st January? Is Deputy Sherwin's Minister not prepared to do something about that before 1st January? I seriously suggest he should. There have been all sorts of statements, some before the turnover tax was imposed and some since, in the Fianna Fáil attempt to take the people's mind off the turnover tax. Some of these statements were made deliberately to misrepresent. We had the Tánaiste over the weekend saying there was an argument going on between Fine Gael and the Labour Party about who should be Taoiseach. That is a deliberate untruth.

And he knew it.

It is so very true. Of course it is the truth.

Can the Parliamentary Secretary prove it? A statement of that sort must be proved. Another thing I have to complain about is that there is in this House a Deputy who continues to mumble and very frequently use bad language, but unfortunately it does not reach your ears, Sir, despite the microphones. That gentleman earlier today said that I was an unknown snob, or an unaccounted for son of a policeman. My father was a labourer and I am not ashamed to say it. I do not think that is funny. When I told him that, he invited me outside. I hold that statements of that kind should not be made. Perhaps there is something wrong with things here. I seriously suggest that such statements should be amplified and that unfair and indiscriminate interruptions of that kind should be sat upon.

It is about time that was said. We have had too much of it.

He is a decent, independent man.

You are welcome to him.

Having heard now what that Deputy said, does the Parliamentary Secretary still say he is a decent independent man? I presume Deputy Leneghan stands over what he said.

I did not hear him say it.

If this man is referring to me, I never said it. I will not be intimidated.

I submit——

Sit down.

Did you say "sit down"? How dare you.

Do not intimidate Deputies.

I have had to refer to all Deputies during the afternoon. I am concerned about the dignity of the House and every Deputy elected to this House should remember that. I am asking them to remember it. The conduct here this afternoon has not added much to the dignity of the House.

I think the Fianna Fáil Party will be as quick as anybody to agree that there is a strong objection among the people to the turnover tax. Fianna Fáil should bear that in mind. They did not ask the people about it beforehand; they had no mandate for it. They have now been given the opportunity to ascertain whether the people agree or not. Prior to its introduction, the people in Dublin North-East had an opportunity of saying how they felt about its proposed introduction and we know what happened. It is only democratic now to afford the people of Cork an opportunity of saying how exactly they feel about the tax. Promises, letters to employers and trade unions do not answer this. The people should be consulted. It was they who sent Deputies to this Chamber and it is most unfair for the Taoiseach and his Party to disfranchise the people of Cork as they are now doing.

I had no intention of contributing to this debate one way or the other. However, one has to examine one's conscience on occasions of this sort. Two weeks ago, I voted in this House on a vote of confidence in relation to the manner in which the Taoiseach was conducting the affairs of this country. With the exception of the 2½ per cent turnover tax, I said I was satisfied and that I felt the people were satisfied. However, may I say that looking into the matter and resorting to every bit of moral courage I had, I subsequently voted with the Government?I had voted against the Government in the space of two or three months.

Various references have been made this afternoon which do not affect me very much because I am not quite so over-sensitive, and when one Deputy refers, as Deputy Collins does, to the four feathers of the Government, as long as he does not suggest one of them is white, I do not mind. I have listened very carefully and, after the Taoiseach's statement, lest he or anyone else should infer that I am afraid of a general election, I have decided to support the motion in the name of Deputy Casey. I am supporting the motion because I cannot conceive why the Taoiseach has any hesitation in going to Cork. If the seat is to be lost, there will be another day.

However, I do think that your remarks, Sir, a few moments ago were true and that the conduct of the majority of the House this afternoon was reprehensible. I do claim that in the past, whether as chairman of a football team meeting or anything else, I demanded respect from those who were at the meeting and if I did not get it, I adjourned the meeting. It is deplorable when Deputies who ordinarily carry themselves with dignity can so lose their sense of dignity, because they have the privilege of this House, as to speak in relation to other Deputies about cheque books and the like. Is there any Deputy who could honestly imply that a cheque book would make any difference to me? It did not 40 years ago and it will not now.

It was said in the debate a few weeks ago that I was supposed to be Fianna Fáil in disguise. It was never suggested that I was inclined towards Fine Gael. I did come in here under the caption of Independent, honestly Independent, and if it is to be suggested that my vote with the Government two weeks ago lessened my independence, perhaps tonight's vote will offset that. I am not motivated by that but I cannot see why the Taoiseach will not say: "Yes; we will have the by-election in Cork before Christmas." It is not too much to ask. He knows when he is going to have it. I am satisfied he does not want to put it off. Personally, I would not like to be contesting an election in December or January. It is not the ideal time. I am not a member of a Party and no Party in this House can insinuate that I am partisan.

I am on the official records as stating two weeks ago in regard to the turnover tax that I was influenced by the assurance of the Taoiseach that any privation caused to the people would be remedied. I am disappointed that there are not sufficient inspectors going around the shops in Dublin trying to prevent what is gross racketeering.We had Dublin Opinion and other such magazines depicting Government inspectors looking over hedges checking on the farmers. They are not checking on the shopkeepers who are not adhering to the 2½ per cent. I have stated that I believe that a purchase tax of some sort is a very good thing, if it is not imposed on food. Why cannot we decide on units of 5/-, 10/-, or 20/- and thus facilitate putting a tax on each item?

I reiterate my confidence in the Taoiseach in his general approach but certainly not in the manner of his approach to the House this evening. I believe—and I am on the official record as having said this—it was not the Opposition who won North-East Dublin, that it was the 2½ per cent tax that won it. If the same thing happens in Cork, the Government will then realise it was a mistake to tax food.

I hope Deputies will not continue to approach this matter in the unfair manner which they have adopted so far. I had great respect for the late Deputy Galvin. He was a very good friend of mine. I did think—I have somewhat changed in my opinion now —that there was a type of indecent haste, a rush to capitalise on the death of a person, but today we have evidence that it is not indecent. I trust that before we adjourn tonight, the Taoiseach will accede to the appeal I made to him to set a date for the by-election, to go out and win.

There is only one simple issue at stake here now. Are we to turn our backs completely on tradition? The Taoiseach has opposed Deputy Casey's motion on the ground that since this Dáil was founded, it was always the Party to which the late Deputy belonged who moved the motion. The question before the House is not the turnover tax but whether we are to throw this tradition to the wind. That is the sole issue we are concerned with.

When the by-election is held—this week, next week or the week after— does not matter all that much to people who have been in public life for a long time. We are here to-day and may not be back again. After every election, about 25 per cent of Deputies do not come back.

I hold that our traditional procedure should be observed. It is a dangerous precedent that is being established here tonight. While I may be guilty of some heat in the interruptions, I have never been guilty of personal abuse of any of my opponents but I would like to say that while it may be the Labour Party's turn tonight to introduce this motion, it may be our turn in less than two years' time. You are establishing a precedent now that may be used against any other Party here. I am a great believer in tradition and in the procedures that have grown up in this Assembly since it was established by the will of the Irish people and, while it may be good political practice for the Labour Party to get Deputy Casey to introduce this motion now, it might be equally good tactics for Fianna Fáil to do the same to the Labour Party in a year's time.

When Deputy Casey had moved the motion, he sat down and the Ceann Comhairle asked who was seconding the motion and the Leader of the Opposition did so.

That is not correct. The seconder of the motion was Deputy Corish.

It does not really matter.

Let us be correct.

It was the Leader of the Opposition who seconded it. Deputy Dillon got up and said he seconded the motion. Whether it had been seconded before that, I did not hear. What Deputy Dillon has done here tonight is to establish another dangerous precedent. What he has done here tonight may be used as a precedent by some other political Party to take political advantage of him. In political life, the wind blows very frequently from one way to the other but it frequently blows to the advantage of the Opposition. I hope we will never come to the condition in which we would do what has been done here tonight and I am sorry that we are breaking a tradition in that respect.

It is a matter for my Party to say whether the election will be held now or at some future date, but I want to reply to some of the statements that have been made here. We have had a lot of talk about going to the country and having a decision from the people on the turnover tax, but let anyone in Ireland with any political savvy ask himself why Fianna Fáil introduced that turnover tax. I am a politician, as is the Taoiseach and all the other members of this Party. We are alert enough to know that when we increase taxation on the people, we are going to lose favour. Do you think we are doing this out of spite? That is the way in which it has been misrepresented to the people.

I admit that temporarily our political stock may have suffered as a result of this but we are a national Party and as a Party concerned with the well-being of our people, we are putting the national interest before our own interests. Every one of us is a politician and it would be easy for us to go before the people and say that everything in the garden is lovely. Every member of the Opposition knows that it is not in our interest politically to increase taxation, but what are we to do? We are putting the national interests before our own interests.

The last speaker expressed his concern with precedent and his concern for tradition.This House has been functioning here for over 40 years. The Party of which Deputy Burke is a member stayed outside the House for a number of years and did their utmost to be-little it in the minds of the public. They came in eventually in 1927 and when, in 1927, there was a vacancy in the House because of the death of a Deputy, they moved a motion of No Confidence in the then Government. They did not wait for the filling of that vacancy because they knew that when it was filled, there would be a vote against their motion. That motion was defeated by the casting vote of the Chair and the then President of the Executive Council held a by-election and won it. He then dissolved the Dáil and went to the country and got a majority from the people.

That was the time when Ministers and leaders of Government were concerned with the views of the people and were never willing to shelter behind any kind of a majority in this House in order to avoid consulting the people. They talk about precedent. Forty years of Parliamentary history have passed inside this chamber. By-elections have occurred from time to time and once a vacancy has occurred, the motion to move the writ has been tabled. This is the first time a motion to move a writ has been opposed. Here tonight a precedent of many years' standing is being broken by the Fianna Fáil Party. They have decided to oppose a motion for the issue of a writ for the holding of a by-election. I do not suppose that anywhere where there is constitutional parliamentary government, such an example as this exists, that a Government Party or indeed any Party should suggest that a vacancy in the Dáil should not be filled. To me, it is incomprehensible. Never before have we witnessed a Party inside this House endeavouring to use a majority to prevent a vacancy being filled. That is a most dangerous precedent. Why is it being done? All pretence is swept away now. The Taoiseach started off by saying that he was concerned with decency and respect for the dead. Still as the debate went on, it began to emerge that the real reason Fianna Fáil are opposing this motion is that it is politically inopportune for them to have an election. In other words, they would lose it. If that is carried to a logical conclusion, no writs for by-elections might be moved ever in the life of a particular Dáil. If a Party with a majority feel that the political winds are blowing against them, they can prevent the safety valve of public opinion being used.

By-elections are important. If we are to ensure that the Irish people continue to respect our institutions, we must avail of the constitutional means which are there, that is, that from time to time if a vacancy occurs, the people are consulted and allowed to express their opinion. If we are to have what clearly Fianna Fáil would desire to have, a situation in which, because they have a majority, they may follow any policy they decide should be followed and at the same time prevent the people being consulted when a by-election is possible, then the danger may be that a move will take place outside and against this House itself. The House was strong enough 35 years ago to resist such a move when a concerted effort was made at one time to tear it down. It is important that those who may have at that time been party to that move and are now inside the House should not, by blundering and indeed by cowardice, create a similar situation.

It is wrong that a motion for the issue of a by-election writ should be opposed, and the people who oppose it are certainly not serving proper democratic and parliamentary government.

May I refer to one other thing? It is part of the Fianna Fáil technique. I know it well myself, and from bitter experience. They are inclined to say something whether it is true or false and by dint of repeating it, get people to accept what is said. The Minister for Social Welfare in the course of this debate stated that the Opposition —and I think he said both the Labour Party and the Fine Gael Party—had induced or been party to profiteering by traders and shopkeepers. The Labour Party have spoken for themselves.I want to say on behalf of the Fine Gael Party that there is not one word of truth in that charge. On the contrary, here in this House when the Budget Statement was read by the Minister for Finance last April, the Leader of the Fine Gael Party——

The current leader.

—the current leader of Fine Gael and the next leader of this country. In the course of the Budget discussion, the Leader of the Fine Gael Party foretold that one effect of the turnover tax would be to induce an upward spiral of prices. He was faced by the statement made on behalf of the Government by the Taoiseach and subsequently by the Minister for Finance that competition would keep prices down and in fact the turnover tax would be absorbed by shopkeepers and traders themselves. We know that not to be so and we foretold that what has happened would happen. If ever anyone or any political Party had warning of the errors they were committing, this Government and this Party had warning of those errors.

Deputy Burke says that the Taoiseach and the rest of the Fianna Fáil Party are all politicians. Of course they are. It does not take any oratory from Deputy Burke to convince us that Fianna Fáil did not bring in the turnover tax for the sake of making themselves popular. Of course they did not. It was a mistake, a cardinal error, made by them. They did not think it out clearly. It appealed to them as being a cute political move at the time and they did not see its ramifications. Now Pandora's box has been opened. The Taoiseach has given the green light for everything. We are to have an upward spiral of prices and all the rest of it, just because of the error made in the last Budget.

In any event, here we have tonight the regrettable spectacle of a Government Party breaking all precedent in the parliamentary life of this House and opposing a writ for a by-election. That is unheard of. It never happened before. I remember well some years after I came into this House when the late Deputy Mongan died. He had been for many years a revered and respected member of this House. I do not deny in the slightest that the particular by-election that was caused by his death could not have been won at that time by the Fine Gael Party and it was not convenient for us to move the writ to have the vacancy filled. Indeed, we would have liked, if we could, to have avoided the necessity, but the Fianna Fáil Party were out for the seat and declared when a month had scarcely passed that if we did not table that writ, they were going to do it and of course we moved the writ. The by-election was held and a new Fianna Fáil Deputy came into this House.

Political expediency served their book at that time. There was no tut-tutting from the Taoiseach about convention and respectability and regard for the dead Deputy. There was no talk about important parliamentary precedents or anything of that kind. As long as it suited Fianna Fáil, that writ was going to be moved either by us or, if we did not, by them. Now here is a queer kettle of fish. The Taoiseach who loves elections, the man who learned rough stuff in America, has come back here full of fight and will not fight. The Government Party are going to win every election. They always win according to Deputy Burke. They are bored winning. But they will not have an election.

For the first time, the writ in this democratic Parliament is opposed by a Government who feel they have a majority. I do not know what the people will think. I know it would be wise to use the safety valve there at the moment and allow the people to give an expression of their opinion in Cork. If the Government succeed in doing the undemocratic thing they are trying to do by preventing this writ being moved, it will serve them no good. I prophesy it will cause more annoyance in Cork and elsewhere.They will not stave off an election. Inevitably, this Dáil is becoming unrepresentative, and once that happens, it is time for a general election.

I should like to support this motion. It is significant that the Taoiseach interrupted one Deputy to point out that, if this motion were carried, it would mean a general election. That was meant as a threat to the Independent Deputies who, in their wisdom or otherwise, are keeping the Government in office. It was a deliberate attempt at political blackmail in order to hold on to office. The unfortunate Independents who are keeping the Government in office should realise that the Taoiseach's sole ambition at this stage is to hang on as long as possible in the hope that the fortunes of Fianna Fáil will improve sufficiently to allow him have an election next May or June and to jettison the Independents on whom he depends for his political life at present.

Politically speaking, the Taoiseach's arguments here this evening can only be described as a bag of eels. He sought to extract the last ounce of sympathy from the public because of the death of a Deputy in Cork and to say it was a desecration to suggest the by-election should be held so soon. That was his opening gambit. But when it was brought home to him that in 1953, when a member of his own Party died, the by-election was held within 19 days, he changed his course and said he did not mean that at all. His argument now was that only the Party to which the deceased Deputy belonged could move the writ. On that basis, the question of time no longer arises. The by-election writ would be moved within 24 hours if the deceased Deputy belonged to Fianna Fáil and it suited them to move it.

I am not interested in this raiméis and humbug about the so-called traditions of this House. If that is the type of tradition to be held up to the public in the future, it is time an end was put to it. It is sheer hypocrisy to suggest there is a tradition that only the Party to which the deceased Deputy belonged is entitled to move the writ. There is nothing in the Constitution about it or about Party politics. If an Independent Deputy dies, who is to move the writ? He is here with as much right and prestige as the member of any of the major Parties. It is the right of any Deputy after a certain period to move the writ. That is envisaged in the Constitution, which was quoted by the Minister for External Affairs. If he goes up to the Park, he will get six slaps for his lack of knowledge at present.

Mention was made of profiteering. Interestingly enough, it came mainly from the Fianna Fáil benches. They admit now that a spate of profiteering is rife in the country. They suggest it is going on because of inspiration from the Opposition Parties. Did anybody ever hear a more ridiculous proposition?Who are the people profiteering, according to Fianna Fáil? I have here a list of the biggest companies in this city—insurance companies, industrial companies and big firms—all of whom subscribed to a petition to the public for funds for Fianna Fáil.

Is the Equitable there?

I will not mention the names of the firms. I have them all there on a list issued by the Fianna Fáil General Election Finance Committee.Is it not true that the majority of the industrialists in this country, with the protection and featherbedding given to them by Fianna Fáil over the years, have been in the Taoiseach's pocket since these industries were started? Is it not true to say that they have now stabbed their protector in the back by overcharging and profiteering?Have they not kept Fianna Fáil in office by their big subscriptions over the years? Now they have betrayed the man who protected them. It is sad for the Taoiseach to find that the very people to whom he gave an opportunity to batten on the Irish public, who have overcharged over the years without even waiting for a turnover tax, are the very people who have let him down.

I know for a fact that Fianna Fáil are as sore as can be with their business friends who have let them down. The argument put to these people by Fianna Fáil over the past two months has been: "Why did you not wait until the turnover tax was in operation a while before putting up your prices in order to have your own crack out of it? Why did you do it at present?" That is the line of approach Fianna Fáil have made to their business associates in this city and throughout the country: "You let us down; you should have waited until the coast was clear before profiteering." These people give no thanks. There is no mercy in politics. They were protected by Fianna Fáil in the past, but they have now decided they have got the most they can and that they will overcharge while they have the opportunity before Nemesis overtakes them.

As Deputy O'Higgins pointed out, the Taoiseach has sworn confidence in competition as the best means of keeping down prices. I do not know how many times he has told Deputy Dr. Browne and myself, when we suggested price control machinery, that we were wild men trying to do something wrong, trying to bring in dangerous practices that were in operation behind the Iron Curtain. His answer always was that the only way to prevent profiteering was healthy competition. Now he has found there is no competition. He is on record as saying that price control machinery will not work. Therefore, all avenues of escape are closed to him.

One of the reasons why I want to see the people getting an opportunity of passing judgment on this Government is to prevent the idea circulating that the Minister for Industry and Commerce is serious in setting up price control machinery. The Government have said they do not believe in the efficacy of price control machinery. Therefore, when the Minister says he will set up such machinery, we know it is only for the purpose of gulling the public. You must believe in something in order to operate it efficiently. The public should be made aware of that and given an opportunity of expressing their decision on it without delay.

When the Taoiseach arrived back at Shannon, with his chest out and full of American corn, he said he would possibly have the by-election before Christmas. Now it is a crime for anybody else to suggest it should be held before Christmas. He has decided he does not want to face the public on this issue. To my mind, it is not a question of being fair to the public; it is a question of deceiving the public. This Government are a minority Government.They are not there with the good wishes of the majority of the people. Tonight we have seen the Taoiseach show the iron fist when he said: "If this motion is carried, there will be a general election." He sought to put a shiver of fear down the backs of every Independent in the House. I should like to congratulate Deputy Carroll on his honesty in saying that he was not going to be intimidated by the Taoiseach's blackmailing tactics. Deputy Carroll said he would vote for this motion tonight. It is a terrible comment on public life when the only way a Government can stay in office is by political blackmail. The Taoiseach would be doing a service to the community — perhaps not to Fianna Fáil—by going to the country tonight rather than having a by-election. If he does that, he would give the general public the most welcome Christmas box I can think of.

My remarks on the motion will be brief. I rise mainly to contradict one or two statements made by Government speakers earlier. The Taoiseach himself opened his attack on the motion, moving from one foot to the other. He said first that it was not right that a motion should be moved in so short a space of time after a Deputy's death. When it was subsequently pointed out that the Fianna Fáil Party had, in fact, moved the motion on the death of the late Deputy Frank Fahy inside 19 days, he changed his tactics and said it was the prerogative of the Party to which the deceased Deputy belonged to move the writ.

There was no question of time at all. There was one moved before the Deputy was buried. The Fine Gael Party moved it in the case of the late Deputy Paddy Hogan. It was their own decision and nobody questioned it.

You mentioned the Month's Mind.


Deputy Tully should be permitted to speak without interruption.

May I compliment the Taoiseach on his research since he spoke in the House? He has obviously found out a few facts that he was not aware of previously because the first point he made was that it was unseemly to move the writ before the Month's Mind——

No; my point is that it is up to the Party concerned.

I have been here practically all the afternoon and heard practically all the speeches made. The Taoiseach started on that theme and it was echoed by the people behind him who spoke. One of the remarkable things in this House is that when a debate such as this is taking place, a number of people come and perch themselves on those benches opposite, people who have never spoken from the time they came here, and in unison, they hurl insults at speakers on this side. Is it not extraordinary that if they want to speak, they do not stand up and do it like men instead of keeping up this crying and caterwauling behind the Taoiseach?

It is not all one-way traffic.

There are a few exceptions, I admit, but it is nearly all from the benches behind the Taoiseach. The Taoiseach's second point was that the moving of the writ was the prerogative of the Party to which the deceased Deputy belonged. Up to now, apparently, it has almost been that way; but there is this point, and it has been made on at least two occasions: if we follow that to its logical conclusion, there would be no onus on them to move the writ at all.

That has happened also.

Is that what you are planning?

Our bush telegraph is fairly effective and we are told that Fianna Fáil have no intention of moving the writ as long as they can get away with it. The jibe was also hurled by the Taoiseach that we were trying to present the late Deputy's shoes to the Fine Gael Party. Let me remind the Taoiseach—he will not forget this in a hurry—that in the 1957 general election, Fianna Fáil got 15,000 first preference votes in County Meath and in 1959 when they fought a by-election, they scraped home only by the skin of their teeth, and not over Fine Gael but over a Labour candidate.I should like to tell the Taoiseach that if he watches what is going to happen in Cork, he will probably see a repetition of that there, except that it will be a question of Labour scraping home over Fianna Fáil.

The question of the turnover tax has been mentioned and we had the man in shining armour riding out in front of the Taoiseach prepared to slay all his enemies, the Independent Deputy from Dublin city. He made a statement that is so ridiculous that it hardly merits an answer at all, that the people in the Labour Party—he particularly mentioned the Labour Party—tried to incite shopkeepers to raise prices. Obviously, he does not read the papers because even the Irish Press has given credit to Labour speakers again and again in this House and all over the country in condemning any attempt by anybody wrongly to raise prices. If that is supposed to be encouragement to raise prices, I do not know where Deputy Sherwin gets his idea. He obviously wanted to say something which would tie him up with the Party and I suppose that was the best line he could take. Let me make clear that we in the Labour Party are determined to oppose, on any occasion, every attempt to extort money from the public, whether that is done by the Government or by the shopkeepers at the behest of the Government.

I am not a great believer in tradition because there are a great many traditions here and in many other countries that are not what they are supposed to be. If everybody adhered to them, we would still be walking and would have no roads and no means of transport. We would probably be cooking our food at a turf fire or a wood fire. There is such a thing as evolution and as the years go by, changes have been made, changes for the better. After tonight's debate, the Taoiseach will probably be very much wiser and will probably realise that this business of trying to maintain that there is only one way to do anything, that is, as it has always been done, is all cod. In fact, no harm can be done at all in having a change. I am prepared on behalf of the Labour Party, if the Taoiseach is so concerned about this division, and if it hurts him so much to feel that someone, other than Fianna Fáil, should propose to move the writ, to withdraw the motion for the issue of the writ if the Fianna Fáil Party will move it in this House tonight.

Do I take it the Deputy was concluding?

No, Sir. I think none of us can be very pleased with the manner in which my motion has been debated here this evening. The Taoiseach set the climate, and a very bad climate it was, as the first speaker on behalf of the Government in reply to my motion. Apparently he was not prepared to discuss the motion, or to invite the House to consider the motion, on its merits alone. Rather did he see fit to indulge in a personal attack on me; he pretended, indeed, that he was in a position to lecture me on the decencies of public life.

None of us here is, I think, over-sensitive, but anybody in public life is sensitive to the extent that, if he feels there is a genuine criticism of and an allegation against his conduct, privately and publicly, he gets a bit worried about it. I can tell the Taoiseach that the value I place on his criticism is to disregard it entirely. I have been in this House for the past ten years. I have been in public life in Cork for the past 13 or 14 years. I should be worried what the people of Cork thought of me and about my conduct, publicly and privately, and I am prepared to put it to the test in Cork, but I am not particularly worried about the opinion expressed by the Taoiseach, with his tongue in his cheek, shedding crocodile tears for the late Deputy Galvin.

The late Deputy was a personal friend of mine and I am prepared to put that to the test. I would be worried about what the relatives, family and personal friends of the late Deputy would think of me if I were, as alleged, guilty of any misdemeanour in moving this motion here. I am satisfied in my own mind that that is not so and the Taoiseach then cannot assume the role of the person who should attack me and say I have ulterior motives in doing this.

My motion tabled here today was simply a reiteration of the point of view expressed by the Taoiseach on his return from America. None of us knew until we read in the paper what point of view he might have regarding the Cork by-election. When he was interviewed at Dublin Airport, on his return, he said that he felt that the ordinary democratic process should take its course, that he was not a bit worried whether he won or lost the seat in Cork. He expressed the view actually that he would lose it, and rightly so; but, irrespective of that, he thought the election should be held, and there would not be a general election. Subsequently, of course, he was pulled by the coat and his colleague, the Minister for External Affairs, who dreads a by-election in Cork, and his colleague, the Tánaiste, must have said to him: "You must be daft to make a statement like that at Dublin Airport". It was then the Taoiseach proceeded to mend his hand.

I well appreciate the difficulties of the Taoiseach in this matter. First of all, he does not want an election anywhere at the moment, particularly not in Cork. He does not want a by-election in Cork and there is a political advantage for him in postponing it. Over and above that consideration, all of us are aware of the difficulty he has in selecting the candidate to carry the banner of Fianna Fáil for the constituency.I shall not delve into that. Indeed I would not attempt to increase the worries of the Taoiseach in that respect but, quite obviously, there is no first-class candidate willing to put his head on the old chopping block to get it knocked off in a by-election in Cork before Christmas. We know the jockeying that is going on at the moment. We know the intrigues within the Party regarding who should be the candidate, or the fall guy. Indeed the Taoiseach has worries in that regard.

The Minister for Industry and Commerce made an unworthy contribution here, unworthy of Deputy Jack Lynch, and unworthy of the office he holds at the moment. He also has his worries. All we are saying here is that we believe there should be a by-election in Cork. The people demand it. The Minister for Industry and Commerce challenged my authority to say that on behalf of the people of Cork and reminded me that I was a Deputy with 6,000 votes. Deputy Barrett and Deputy Anthony Barry also represent Cork. Surely the three of us represent some major section of the electorate of Cork and all of us say that the people of Cork demand that there should be a by-election.

I challenged the Lord Mayor of Cork, Deputy MacCarthy, to get up here and say the people do not want it. Did we hear from him? I was here most of the evening and he certainly did not say anything while I was here. Of course, he is too clever. He knows well the view expressed by Deputy Barrett, Deputy Barry and myself is the correct view: the people want an election; they want an opportunity of expressing their opinion on the turnover tax and on the activities of the Government generally. They want that and they should have it. It is no answer to that public demand for the Taoiseach to endeavour to engage in the niceties of the situation, to exercise himself with some old outworn precedent and tradition to be debated across the floor of the House because somebody did such a thing on such a date and someone else did something else on another date.

The fact of the matter is that the people of Gurranebraher and Spangle Hill are not interested in traditions and precedents in this House. What they are interested in is the fact that they are paying more for their bread, for their butter, for their tea, for their sugar, for their boots, for their shoes, for their clothing. That is what they are interested in and, if the law of this country and the Standing Orders of this House permit me, as a Deputy representing the city of Cork, to move the writ and to express the view of the people of Cork that there should be an election, then I should be failing in my duty if I failed to do so.

Our Party Whip has made an offer: we will certainly not force a vote if the Taoiseach accepts the offer. If he is so concerned about the niceties of the situation, with which, frankly, we are not concerned, and if it will salve his conscience, we will withdraw our motion, on condition that he forthwith tonight tables a motion moving the writ for the by-election in Cork before Christmas so that the people in the city of Cork will have an opportunity of expressing their views.

I do not think anybody has been led astray by the arguments put forward by spokesmen on the Government benches. We all know that at the moment, up and down the country, in every constituency, the matter of the turnover tax is the issue to which people are addressing their minds and on which they are expressing their opinions. It so happens that, through the unfortunate and deeply lamented death of Deputy Galvin, it falls to the people of the city of Cork to exercise their vote in that regard, and I think the Taoiseach, if he believes in what he says, and the Minister for Industry and Commerce who is a Deputy for Cork city, should decide to hold the election immediately and send down clients like our friend, the Minister for Transport and Power, to make in Patrick Street some of the statements and the claptrap we have been hearing at meetings of chambers of commerce and elsewhere where they cannot be challenged.

That does not arise on the motion.

Having heard all the irrelevancies here this evening, I am surprised that you, Sir, are not allowing Deputy Casey——

I am not allowing him to speak on something that does not arise.

I am simply suggesting that the members of this Government, the spokesmen for this Government, who take such great pains to avail of every opportunity to put their policy before the people, might reasonably be expected to go before the people in Cork now instead of endeavouring to convince certain Independent members of this House. They might instead go through the whole democratic process of putting the issue before the people who are, after all, responsible for sending us here. I invite them to come to Cork to hold this election now and I think I can guarantee them if they do that they will get a Christmas box in Cork they will not forget for a while.

Question put.
The Dáil divided: Tá, 67; Níl, 71.

  • Barrett, Stephen D.
  • Barron, Joseph.
  • Barry, Anthony.
  • Browne, Michael.
  • Browne, Noel C.
  • Burke, James J.
  • Burton, Philip.
  • Byrne, Patrick.
  • Carroll, Jim.
  • Casey, Seán.
  • Clinton, Mark A.
  • Collins, Seán.
  • Connor, Patrick.
  • Coogan, Fintan.
  • Corish, Brendan.
  • Cosgrave, Liam.
  • Costello, Declan D.
  • Costello, John A.
  • Coughlan, Stephen.
  • Crotty, Patrick J.
  • Desmond, Dan.
  • Dillon, James M.
  • Dockrell, Henry P.
  • Donegan, Patrick S.
  • Dunne, Seán.
  • Dunne, Thomas.
  • Esmonde, Sir Anthony C.
  • Everett, James.
  • Farrelly, Denis.
  • Flanagan, Oliver J.
  • Gilhawley, Eugene.
  • Governey, Desmond.
  • Harte, Patrick D.
  • Hogan, Patrick (South Tipperary).
  • Barry, Richard.
  • Belton, Paddy.
  • Blowick, Joseph.
  • Hogan O'Higgins, Brigid.
  • Jones, Denis F.
  • Kenny, Henry.
  • Kyne, Thomas A.
  • Lynch, Thaddeus.
  • McAuliffe, Patrick.
  • MacEoin, Seán.
  • McGilligan, Patrick.
  • McLaughlin, Joseph.
  • McQuillan, John.
  • Mullen, Michael.
  • Murphy, Michael P.
  • Murphy, William.
  • Norton, William.
  • O'Donnell, Patrick.
  • O'Donnell, Thomas G.
  • O'Higgins, Michael J.
  • O'Higgins, Thomas F. K.
  • O'Keeffe, James.
  • O'Reilly, Patrick.
  • O'Sullivan, Denis J.
  • Pattison, Séamus.
  • Reynolds, Patrick J.
  • Rooney, Eamonn.
  • Ryan, Richie.
  • Spring, Dan.
  • Sweetman, Gerard.
  • Tierney, Patrick.
  • Treacy, Seán.
  • Tully, James.


  • Aiken, Frank.
  • Allen, Lorcan.
  • Bartley, Gerald.
  • Blaney, Neil T.
  • Boland, Kevin.
  • Booth, Lionel.
  • Brady, Philip A.
  • Brady, Seán.
  • Breen, Dan.
  • Brennan, Joseph.
  • Brennan, Paudge.
  • Breslin, Cormac.
  • Briscoe, Robert.
  • Burke, Patrick J.
  • Calleary, Phelim A.
  • Carter, Frank.
  • Carty, Michael.
  • Childers, Erskine.
  • Clohessy, Patrick.
  • Colley, George.
  • Collins, James J.
  • Corry, Martin J.
  • Cotter, Edward.
  • Crinion, Brendan.
  • Crowley, Honor M.
  • Cummins, Patrick J.
  • Cunningham, Liam.
  • Davern, Mick.
  • de Valera, Vivion.
  • Dolan, Séamus.
  • Dooley, Patrick.
  • Egan, Kieran P.
  • Egan, Nicholas.
  • Fanning, John.
  • Faulkner, Padraig.
  • Flanagan, Seán.
  • Gallagher, James.
  • Geoghegan, John.
  • Gibbons, James M.
  • Gilbride, Eugene.
  • Gogan, Richard P.
  • Haughey, Charles.
  • Hillery, Patrick.
  • Hilliard, Michael.
  • Kennedy, Michael J.
  • Kitt, Michael F.
  • Lalor, Patrick J.
  • Lemass, Noel T.
  • Lemass, Seán.
  • Leneghan, Joseph R.
  • Lenihan, Brian.
  • Lynch, Celia.
  • Lynch, Jack.
  • MacCarthy, Seán.
  • McEllistrim, Thomas.
  • MacEntee, Seán.
  • Meaney, Con.
  • Medlar, Martin.
  • Millar, Anthony G.
  • Moher, John W.
  • Mooney, Patrick.
  • Moran, Michael.
  • Ó Briain, Donnchadh.
  • Ó Ceallaigh, Seán.
  • O'Connor, Timothy.
  • O'Malley, Donogh.
  • Ormonde, John.
  • Ryan, James.
  • Sherwin, Frank.
  • Smith, Patrick.
  • Timmons, Eugene.
Tellers:— Tá: Deputies Tully and Casey; Níl: Deputies J. Brennan and Geoghegan.
Question declared lost.