Committee on Finance. - Vote 20—Office of the Minister for Justice.

I move:

That a sum not exceeding £278,600 be granted to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1968, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Office of the Minister for Justice, and of certain other Services administered by that Office, including a Grant-in-Aid; and of the Public Records Office, and of the Keeper of State Papers and for the purchase of Historical Documents, etc.

With your permission, a Cheann Comhairle, I propose, as in previous years, to treat the six Votes as one group so that there may be one general discussion, without, of course, prejudicing the right of any Deputy to raise a particular point on any individual Vote. The period to be reviewed in connection with the present Estimates is much shorter than is normal; Deputies will recall that the debate on last year's Estimate did not conclude until December last and ranged over the principal events and developments up to then.

The total Estimate for all the Votes for which I am responsible is £11,561,550. The total provision for the year 1966-67 was £11,568,220. The total provision for the present year is therefore lower by £6,670 than the corresponding figure for last year. The position is that provision for the Garda Síochána shows a reduction of £146,000, but this reduction is offset almost exactly by increases totalling £140,000 on the other Votes. The reason for the apparent reduction in the provision for the Garda Síochána is that the 1966-67 figures included provision for substantial back-money arising from salary increases awarded during the year under the Garda Conciliation and Arbitration Scheme.

The Vote for the Office of the Minister for Justice caters for the staff and services of the Department's headquarters, and shows an increase of £12,590. This increase is due principally to the tenth round increase in remuneration and to normal incremental progression.

I propose to refer only briefly to my Department's law reform activities, as I dealt with these in detail here last November. Several very important pieces of legislation have come into operation within the past few months. These are the Registration of Title Act, 1964, and the Succession Act, 1965, which came into operation on 1st January last, the Landlord and Tenant (Ground Rents) Act, 1967, which came into operation on 1st March, and the Rent Restrictions (Amendment) Act, 1967, which became law on 9th May.

New Land Registration Rules under the Registration of Title Act were made by the Registration of Title Rules Committee with my concurrence and these also came into force on 1st January. New probate rules will be necessary under the Succession Act and these are at present being drafted by the Superior Courts Rules Committee.

Eight new district probate registries were established as from 1st January in Clonmel, Donegal, Dundalk, Galway, Mullingar, Sligo, Tralee and Wexford. There were already six district probate registries in Castlebar, Cavan, Cork, Kilkenny, Limerick and Waterford, so that there are now in all 14 district registries in operation. These provide a convenient local service throughout the country for persons wishing to take out grants of representation in respect of the estates of deceased persons. The President of the High Court has already prescribed the new form of administration bond.

I have at present under consideration the contents of six interim reports of the Committee on Court Practice and Procedure. Three of these reports deal with the jury system, one deals with the question of increased jurisdiction for the Circuit and District Courts and the other two deal with proposals for the reorganisation of the structure of the courts on the criminal side. I shall in due course be introducing legislative proposals to deal with all these matters. The Criminal Procedure Act, based on the first report of the Committee, has been enacted and will come into operation on 1st August The main object of this Act is to achieve the virtual abolition of the deposition-taking procedure.

I am awaiting an interim report from the Landlord and Tenant Commission on the first specific matter which I referred to them, namely, the law relating to the renewal of business tenancies. My legislative proposals on any recommendations they may make will follow without delay. The Commission is also taking evidence on the second specific question they have been asked to investigate, namely, whether persons other than those already entitled should be given the right to purchase the fee simple or to obtain a reversionary lease.

I hope to bring before the Oireachtas later this year proposals to amend the law governing the payment of compensation in respect of malicious injuries to property and persons. A summary of the report of an Interdepartmental Committee which examined this question was published in 1965.

Negotiations have been commenced at official level on the question of having arrangements for the reciprocal enforcement of maintenance orders and other court judgments between ourselves and Northern Ireland and Britain. In any legislation to give effect to any such arrangements provision will also be made for the enforcement of court orders between the State and all other jurisdictions and for other aspects of mutual assistance between courts, such as the service of documents and the taking of evidence for foreign courts. I expect to be in a position to report substantial progress in this field by the end of the present year.

Other measures in contemplation include legislation to modernise procedure in the Registry of Deeds and to amend the law of trusts.

The Adoption Board made 1,178 orders in 1966. This is the highest number ever and, in fact, there has been a steady increase in the number of orders being made in recent years. The proportion of children placed by adoption societies is the same as last year, 77 per cent, and I should like to pay tribute to the excellent work being done by those societies, of which there are now 21. Six hundred and nineteen of the orders made in 1966 were in respect of boys and 559 in respect of girls. The Board continues to facilitate adoption by holding sessions outside Dublin. Twenty-nine out of a total of 82 meetings held during the year were held in various cities and towns other than Dublin.

While there has been little change over the years in the number of aliens registered as being resident here for three months or more, the influx of visitors is increasing at a rapid rate. Apart altogether from those who came here from Britain or Northern Ireland, nearly 96,000 came here in 1966 as compared with 83,000 in 1965. These figures do not, of course, include Irish citizens or British subjects. The increase in the influx of alien visitors poses problems for the immigration service and, in common with other Government Departments that are also affected, my Department has been giving active consideration to these problems.

Seventy-nine persons were naturalised in 1966 as compared with 83 in 1965, bringing the total of all persons naturalised since 1935, when provision for naturalisation was made, to 2,560.

The Film Censor examined 1,016 films, with a total footage of 3,084,525, in 1966. Both the number and the footage show an increase on the previous year's figures, which were 996 and 2,870,000 respectively. Of the total of 1,016 films, 878 were passed in toto, 89 were passed with cuts and 49 were rejected. The Censorship of Films Appeal Board examined 77 films. In the case of 22 the appeals were against cuts. Nine films were rejected by the Appeal Board, one was passed with cuts for general viewing and 41 were passed for limited viewing, 26 of them with cuts. In the case of the 22 appeals against cuts, the cuts were varied in 15 cases and unaltered in seven. In all 93 films were passed for viewing on “limited” certificates, that is, conditions were inserted prohibiting their exhibition to audiences under a given age.

The Censorship of Publications Board examined 390 books and nine periodicals in 1966. Twenty-one books were examined as the result of formal complaints from members of the public and 368 on reference by officers of customs and excise. One book was examined on the Board's own initiative. The Board made 160 prohibition orders in respect of books and three in respect of periodicals. Appeals were lodged with the Censorship of Publications Appeal Board in respect of one book and one periodical. Neither appeal was successful. The Censorship of Publications Bill, which is now in its final stages, provides for a time limit of 12 years for prohibition orders made in respect of books on the ground that they are indecent or obscene and revocation of the provision that requires the right of appeal against a prohibition order in respect of a book to be taken within 12 months.

Transfers of testamentary documents from the Principal and District Probate Registries and from the courts continued until October, 1966, when the intake of records had temporarily to be suspended owing to building operations on the two-storey extension to the Public Records Office to provide additional accommodation for the Land Registry.

The Irish Manuscripts Commission is continuing its work on the preparation for publication of the Calendar to the Council Book of 1581-86, the list of political prisoners in Kilmainham Jail during the period 1789 to 1910, the two 16th century Munster surveys and the Record Commissioners' calendars of inquisitions for the 16th and 17th centuries.

More up to date copying equipment, to serve the Public Record Office, Four Courts and the Land Registry, has been installed. It will provide both microfilm and full-size copies more expeditiously and is intended to meet a long-felt want in the facilities hitherto available.

I now pass on to the Garda Síochána Vote. This Vote shows a decrease of £146,000 on the provision in the previous year's Estimate. The decrease is due mainly to a reduction of £223,000 in the provision for salaries, wages and allowances— Subhead A—which, however, is offset to some extent by increases in other subheads.

There is an increase of over £46,000 in Subhead B—Travelling and Incidental Expenses. This is due mainly to a provision for the improvement and extension of the radio service, for which a sum of about £37,000 is included. There is also an increase in the provision in this subhead for subsistence allowances. This has resulted from increases granted following agreed recommendations by the Garda Síochána Conciliation Council under the Conciliation and Arbitration Scheme.

The cost of Post Office services shows an increase of £17,000 which arises from increased postal charges and the adjustment of undercharges made in previous years.

The increase in the provision for station services—Subhead E—arises from an increase of 16 per cent which was granted in station cleaning allowances last year.

There is an increase of £54,000 in Subhead F—Transport. This is due to the fact that during 1967-68 a considerably higher number of vehicles will fall to be replaced than were replaced during 1966-67—166 in 1967-68, as against 109 in 1966-67. Also, there is provision for the purchase of five extra vehicles, including two pick-up trucks that are required for the enforcement of the clearway traffic system in Dublin. In addition, there is an increased provision for the maintenance and running expenses of the fleet, which arises from the expansion of the fleet.

There is a substantial decrease in the provision for pay—Subhead A. This is due to the fact that the Supplementary Estimate, which was introduced in 1966-67 to provide for pay increases, included a sum of £250,000 in respect of the previous year.

As well, there is an increase of over £30,000 in the provision for appropriations-in-aid. A number of items have contributed to this increase, the biggest being the fees which are charged for reports and statements furnished by the Garda Síochána to interested parties in connection with road traffic accidents. These fees were increased in June, 1966, and the provision for receipts during the year has accordingly been increased by £14,000. The provision for receipts from the Road Fund also shows an increase.

Work on the provision of new stations and Garda houses, and on the improvement of existing premises, continued during the year. In the period 1st April, 1966, to 1st February, 1967, seven new stations and 14 married quarters were provided by the Office of Public Works and 50 houses were provided by the National Building Agency. At present, work is in progress on two new stations and 56 houses and married quarters.

Deputies will have noted that the strength of the Force, as provided for in the Estimates, shows no increase. In the light of increasing demands on the available manpower, and the worsening crime position to which I shall refer presently, it is not surprising that suggestions are made to me from time to time that some, at least, of the cuts in manpower, made some years ago in less exacting times, should now be restored. What is stressed particularly, and what impresses me most, is that the Force no longer contains any margin of manpower which could be allocated to special assignments without interfering with the minimum performance of normal police duty. The need for special assignments is, regrettably, increasing; in recent months, in particular, considerable numbers of Gardaí have had to be deflected from their normal work and locations to preserve, so far as they could, law and order in the face of the NFA disturbances and related activities. Demands such as these on Garda manpower can be met only at the expense of normal police duty, which is to prevent and detect crime and to protect the person and property of all sections of our community.

I regret to have to say that there was a sharp reversal last year in the downward trend indicated in the previous year's crime figures. A total of 19,029 indictable offences was recorded in the year ended 30th September, 1966, as against 16,736 in the previous year. The next highest figures were in 1964 (17,700) and in 1943 (17,305). Of the total of 19,029, 11,166 were committed in the Dublin Metropolitan Area and 7,863 in the rest of the country. A disturbing feature of the crime statistics is the fact that over a third of all persons convicted of indictable offences last year were under 17 and 59 per cent were under 21.

While the upward trend in crime that has manifested itself does not allow us to be complacent, it should be pointed out that the incidence of serious crime in this country is far less than in other countries and that our detection rate is very high indeed. It is not strictly fair to compare the crime situation here with that in thickly-populated and highly-industrialised Britain but it may be of interest to Deputies that the number of indictable offences per 100,000 of population in England and Wales in 1965 was 2,465, as compared with 680 per 100,000 of population here in 1966. The detection rate in England and Wales in 1965 was 39.2 per cent; the rate here in 1966 was 66 per cent. It may also be of interest, in this connection, to see how the figures for Dublin compare with those for some other cities. The number of indictable crimes per 1,000 of population in Dublin in 1966 was 19.6. This compares with 19 in Belfast, 46.4 in Manchester and 71.8 in Edinburgh, the two latter figures being for 1965. The detection rates for these cities were 52 per cent, 47 per cent and 45 per cent respectively, as against 52 per cent for Dublin.

I am satisfied that the Garda are doing a good job and I am pressing forward vigorously with the policy of providing the Force with the best modern equipment and aids to crime prevention and detection. I expect that arrangements which have been made for some major developments will come to fruition in the next few months. Further equipment is being provided to enable the radio system for Garda cars and motor cycles to be extended to a number of new centres. Car radios will be provided for the first time in Abbeyleix, Cahir, Mitchelstown, Trim, Loughrea, Athenry and Carlow. Fourteen additional motor cycle sets will be provided for use throughout the country as required.

The provision of personal radio sets of pocket size for the man on the beat will mark a new break-through in the matter of equipment for Dublin Gardaí within the next few months. Experiments with these sets have been highly successful and I expect that 130 sets, which have been on order for some months, will be delivered in two months' time.

In recent years, with the provision of extra Garda cars and motor cycles for patrol work, there has been a tendency, understandable if unjustified, among the public to regard the man on the beat as the cinderella of the Force. These new pocket radios emphasise the key position which the man on the beat continues to occupy in the prevention and detection of crime and they will make a notable contribution to the efficiency of the Force and to the productive use of manpower. In addition to the sets for Dublin, I expect to provide an allocation of pocket sets during the year for Gardaí at Cork, Limerick, Waterford, Galway, Drogheda and Dundalk.

The old adage that prevention is better than cure applies with particular force to crime, and I am taking steps to expand the activities of the Crime Prevention Unit of the Garda Síochána. The main aims of the Unit are: (a) to instruct owners of premises how best to safeguard their property, (b) to encourage the installation of burglar alarms, preferably connected to Garda stations, (c) to advise on protection of pay-rolls, bank lodgments, et cetera, (d) in general, to awaken the public to the importance of crime prevention measures. The services of this Unit are freely available to members of the public in Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Waterford and Galway. In each of these cities specially trained Gardaí are assigned to the task of helping people to protect their houses and their places of business from the attentions of thieves. A person in these cities who would like to get in touch with the appropriate member has only to inquire at his local Garda station and he will be put in touch. I might mention that last year about 500 free surveys of premises were carried out by the Crime Prevention Unit in Dublin and they also made nearly 600 surveys of cash-in-transit arrangements. In addition over 1,600 visits were paid to check up on advice already given on these matters.

I am arranging that the Gardaí attached to the Unit will, in future, partake to a greater extent than heretofore in exhibitions and in lectures to various groups and organisations. I would appeal to the public generally, and especially to those with responsibility for property, to seek the expert advice of the Crime Prevention Unit and, more important perhaps, to act on that advice.

When speaking on the 1966-67 Estimate, I mentioned that a Criminal Justice Bill was being prepared. The Bill has now been introduced and will be circulated during the Recess. It will deal with a miscellany of items. It will propose the abolition of the distinctions between felonies and misdemeanours, which have become unreal over the centuries but which affect, in a very real but arbitrary way, the powers of arrest which the police have. By that I mean that, as matters stand, the powers of arrest do not always correspond with the seriousness of the crime. I hope to introduce a more logical rule in the matter. The Bill will also contain provisions for the control of offensive weapons, including flick-knives. It is proposed to strengthen the hand of the Garda in dealing with serious crime by changes in the law relating to fingerprinting and search warrants. Another reform proposed is the abolition of the nowadays purely nominal distinction between simple imprisonment and penal servitude.

In the period immediately ahead, therefore, the difficult crime situation will be tackled on three fronts:

1. enforcement will be strengthened through a substantially-increased allocation of equipment with particular emphasis on the personal two-way radio contact for the man on the beat;

2. prevention will be encouraged through the extended operations of the Crime Prevention Unit and

3. legislation in the form of a new Criminal Justice Act will strengthen the hands of the Gardaí in the continuing war on crime.

The number of persons being charged with summary offences continues to rise rapidly. The 1966 figure was 150,213 as compared with 139,856 in 1965. Road traffic offences constitute the vast bulk of these offences—over 126,000 persons were prosecuted for road traffic offences in 1966. Over 85,000 fine-on-the-spot notices were issued for contraventions of the parking bye-laws and similar offences and in only about 11,700 of those cases were prosecutions necessary. I might mention that the Road Traffic Bill has provision for a special corps of wardens to take over fine-on-the-spot duties from the Gardaí, which will allow the latter to be reallocated to their primary task of detecting and preventing crime.

The statutory arrangements for the backing of Irish warrants of arrest in Britain and Northern Ireland and for the backing of British and Northern Ireland warrants here continued to operate smoothly. During 1966, 137 warrants, 25 of them from Northern Ireland, were received for execution here, and 113 warrants were sent from here, 18 of them to Northern Ireland. No warrants have so far been received from any of the other countries who are parties to the European Convention on Extradition nor have any warrants gone from this country to any of them.

The Vote for Prisons, the next item in the list of Estimates, is for a sum of £458,500. This sum shows a net increase of £40,050 over the Vote for 1966-67. While there is an increase under most of the Vote subheads, the main bulk—over £27,000—is to be found in the subhead for pay and allowances etc. The increase is required to meet the cost of normal incremental progression, the tenth round pay increases, increased rates of allowances arising out of agreements under conciliation and arbitration machinery and for the additional staff required to implement a recent agreement, also under conciliation and arbitration machinery, to reduce the hours of duty worked by prison officers. The present working hours are 90 per fortnight and these are to be reduced to 85 hours, the same as those approved for general and mental nursing staff employed by local authorities. The reduced working schedule will be introduced as soon as the additional staff required is recruited.

The Estimate provides for a daily average prisoner population of 570— the same as that estimated for the last two years, at a weekly cost of £15 per prisoner. As it happened, the actual daily average figures for the years 1965 and 1966 coincided at 561. As compared with 1965, the overall intake of persons, either on remand or under sentence, decreased slightly—from 3,649 to 3,580—but the actual number of these persons who received sentences of imprisonment or detention rose from 2,477 in 1965 to 2,514 in 1966. Of the total daily average last year of 561, the figure for St. Patrick's was 169 or five more than the previous year. The number of persons committed to detention in the Institution in 1966 was also higher than in 1965, being 616 as compared with 552 for 1965. These figures, I am sorry to say, show a reversal of the slightly downward trend which I so hopefully welcomed last year.

The details which I gave the House last November when dealing with the 1966-67 Estimates gave a fairly up-to-date outline of the present year's activities in the field of prison welfare work and analogous services. These services continue to operate satisfactorily. During 1966, as a result of the efforts of the prison staff, the prison welfare officers and the Prison After-Care Committee, employment during their sentences was secured for 37 prisoners who were granted daily temporary release to take up the employment obtained for them. The total earnings of these prisoners, after deductions for tax, insurance, etc., were £2,200 approximately. Over £900 was contributed to their dependants and the amount on hands on discharge was over £400. Three hundred and fifty pounds were spent on travelling between prison and places of employment and personal expenses. The expenses of the special hostel meals and amenities accounted for almost £525.

In St. Patrick's Institution 42 inmates were granted daily temporary release for employment while serving their sentences of detention and, save with one exception, all the inmates fulfilled the conditions of their temporary release. In addition to release for employment, temporary release was granted to 44 prisoners and to 48 inmates of St. Patrick's during the year for other purposes—Christmas holidays, harvesting problems, domestic difficulties, family illnesses, interviews for employment, etc. Again, in only one case—a prisoner who failed to return after Christmas—the conditions of temporary release were honoured to the full.

The development of the probation and after-care service on a State-wide voluntary basis is, thanks to the willing co-operation of the community at large and particularly the well-known charitable and religious organisations, also progressing in a most satisfactory manner. Over 250 voluntary workers are now available in 100 or more centres outside Dublin to give assistance to the courts in the supervision of young offenders and to help in the after-care of those discharged from industrial and reformatory schools and penal institutions.

Another project which is proving its worth is the Garda Juvenile Liaison Officer scheme. The scheme has been operating successfully for some time in Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Waterford, and arrangements have been completed to extend it to the following eight additional centres—Clonmel, Drogheda, Dundalk, Galway, Kilkenny, Sligo, Tralee and Wexford. Since the scheme started in September, 1963, and up to the end of last September, 2,225 juveniles had come under the care and supervision of the Gardaí participating in the work. Of this number only 211, or less than ten per cent, have since become involved in further offences.

Apart from the members of the Garda Force attached to the Juvenile Liaison Unit, a large number of Gardaí continue to participate in a most praiseworthy way in the organisation and running of over 200 boys' clubs throughout the country. It would be remiss of me to let this occasion pass without recording my indebtedness to the voluntary bodies, the many private individuals and the employers whose generous efforts and ready co-operation proved so helpful a factor in the discharge of my responsibilities for the prisons and for St. Patrick's.

The next Vote is that for the courts. At £616,000 it shows an increase of £33,000 over the year 1966-67. The additional provision is required in the main to meet the tenth round increase in remuneration and some increase in the number of posts, mainly in Circuit Court and District Court Offices.

The District Court, Circuit Court and Superior Courts Rules Committees have actively been engaged during the past year. The District Court Rules Committee continued their work in connection with the general revision of the existing District Court Rules. The Committee submitted for my concurrence Rules, made during the year, providing for the revision of the fees payable to summons servers. The Circuit Court Rules Committee made the Circuit Court Rules 1966 relating to certain increases in solicitors costs and the Circuit Court Rules 1967 providing for the revision of fees payable to summons servers. These Rules have received my concurrence.

The Superior Courts Rules Committee submitted for my concurrence two sets of Rules made during the year providing for a number of miscellaneous amendments to existing Rules and a revision of the costs allowed in judgment by default cases. I should like again to pay a special tribute to the judges of the several courts who are voluntarily assisting the work of the Department of Justice in what I might describe as personal, non-judicial capacities. I refer to the justices and judges who are serving in the Bankruptcy Committee, the Censorship of Films Appeal Board, the Censorship of Publications Board and Appeal Board, the Committee enquiring into Court Practices and Procedures, the Commission enquiring into the law relating to Landlord and Tenant and Ground Rents and a Committee recently formed which is making enquiries relating to reform of substantive law. The extent to which I am indebted to the judiciary in these respects is very great.

Estimate No. 24 is that for the Land Registry and Registry of Deeds. The figure of £311,800 for the year 1967-68 represents an increase of £53,870 over 1966-67. Again the additional provision is necessary to meet the tenth round increase in remuneration and the cost of additional staff required to discharge the new duties arising for the Land Registry under the Registration of Title Act, 1964, which, as I have already mentioned, came into force on 1st January, 1967.

The business received in the Land Registry, which had increased progressively during recent years, showed a decline in 1966. Typical of this decline was a drop in the number of dealings received for registration from 37,052 in 1965 to 33,875 in 1966. I am satisfied, however, that this falling-off in business is temporary and that the upward trend will be resumed again in 1967.

In the case of the Registry of Deeds the number of registrations, which had risen from 24,689 in 1962 to 29,508 in 1964 and dropped to 27,879 in 1965, dropped further in 1966 to 25,411. Applications for searches which had increased from 6,249 to 6,709 over the period 1962 to 1964 and had dropped to 5,233 in 1965 increased slightly again in 1966 to 5,324.

With regard to the provision of additional accommodation to meet the needs of the Land Registry in the years immediately ahead, the construction work on a two-storey extension over the Public Record Office which commenced last May is progressing favourably. As I mentioned in moving the 1966-67 Estimate, the contract calls for completion in January, 1968.

I have now completed all the necessary arrangements for the provision of the additional legal, technical and administration staffs required to gear the Land Registry to cope with the additional work involved under the new Act. The necessary legal staff which I have already reported as having been recruited on a temporary basis are now in the process of being replaced on a permanent basis by means of an open competition for established legal assistants which has already been held. However, the difficulties that I have reported as being encountered in the last two years in recruiting the necessary technical and clerical staff to fill existing vacancies and to provide for the new Act have continued. Additional mapping draughtsmen have been assigned from a competition that was held recently but it has been found necessary to hold a further competition to complete the requirements: this competition is at present proceeding. With the co-operation and assistance of the Ordnance Survey Office, a special crash programme of training was organised for the newly-recruited draughtsmen and they are now employed in clearing the backlog of business, involving mapping, that has been giving cause for concern for some time. Some of the clerical staff required have already been assigned from the 1966 competitions and further assignments are still being made. The rate of assignment will receive a fresh impetus within the next few weeks when successful candidates from this year's competitions start to become available. I expect that all the Land Registry's requirements of clerical and technical staff will have been met within the next few months.

The final Vote makes provision for the Office of Charitable Donations and Bequests. The Estimate for 1967-68 is £12,650, that is, £180 less than the total provided for this service in 1966-67. The decrease is accounted for principally by a net fall in the cost of salaries due to the replacement of senior by junior officers.

The useful and valuable work of the Commissioners continued during the year. Cash amounting to £7,097 and stocks to the value of £52,588 were transferred to the Commissioners during the year 1966, and on 31st December last the nominal value of investments standing in their name was £1,998,895.

It remains for me to express my sincere thanks to the members of the various voluntary boards and commissions which are associated with my Department for their valuable services during the year. As I have said before, I have, since my appointment as Minister for Justice, been deeply impressed by the extent of this unpaid public service and by the way in which the persons concerned have carried out their duties.

I do not want to do this in any acrimonious way but I think that I and other Deputies interested in speaking on the Estimate for the Department of Justice are entitled to voice our protest against the very short notice given of the arrangements made.

It was short for me, too.

I was informed only a short time before noon today that this Estimate was to be taken. There were several matters I would have proposed dealing with and I did not even get the opportunity of putting my material together, never mind preparing to speak on this Estimate, and I gather from the Minister's intervention that he was taken at short notice as well. But, at least, he is in a position where he has his speech prepared and ready to deliver at any time. Deputies such as myself and others who wish to speak on this are not in that position. In future, the Government should make some effort to order their business so that reasonable notice is given to Deputies who wish to participate in the discussions.

Indeed, it is quite clear—although I do not want to re-open the discussion which took place at Question Time today—that the Minister, too, must have been taken by surprise, because I should imagine normally he would have made the statement he made here at Question Time in conjunction with his Estimate speech if he had been aware of the fact that the Estimate was to be taken today. However, I do not want to be acrimonious about it, but it is a protest I would like to make and I would ask the Minister to convey it to whoever is responsible for ordering these things on the Government side.

In the course of his speech the Minister covered a lot of ground. He has demonstrated the importance of the Department of Justice in many respects. They are concerned not only with the Garda Síochána but with all the ancillary operations such as the courts, prisons, the administration of charitable donations and bequests, the Land Registry, the Registry of Deeds, the Probate Office and the various District Probate Offices.

People might have been surprised, had the Minister not explained it, to discover a drop in the Vote for the Garda Síochána. I know that that is more apparent than real, for the reasons the Minister gave, namely, that a Supplementary Estimate had been introduced. The Minister referred to the possibility of expanding the Garda Force. I was not entirely sure as I followed his speech whether he has made up his mind about it. He did not seem to me to pursue that particular suggestion to a conclusion. Speaking for myself, I think there are sound reasons for expanding the Garda Force. Certainly, if there is any suggestion at all, any suspicion in the mind of the Minister or the Department that we have too few Gardaí to do the job requiring to be done in relation to crime detection and law enforcement, I would not hesitate to say to the Minister that he should with all possible speed expand the numbers in the Garda Síochána.

I have on many occasions from these benches referred to the role which the man on the beat plays in crime prevention. That cannot be overemphasised. I am glad the Minister referred to it and to the fact that the man on the beat is at times regarded as the cinderella of the Garda Síochána. The Garda on the beat is the particular unit in the police force which possibly plays a more important part in crime prevention and detection than any other. Any of us will appreciate that, if a uniformed Garda is seen in any vicinity, the mere presence of the uniform will have a salutary effect as far as the committing of crimes or offences in that vicinity is concerned. I am glad to note from the Minister's remarks that he appears to be attributing what I would regard as their proper importance to the men on the beat.

I am just raising this by way of query rather than by way of complaint. It seems to me that the Minister when he referred to the steps being taken to counter the growth of crime—and unfortunately, on the figures the Minister gave, it is a question of crime increasing — seemed to be in-indicating that reliance was going to be placed to a great extent on equipment rather than manpower. I think the two must go hand in hand. I do not want to underrate the importance of modern equipment such as walkietalkie sets and the manoeuverability of guards on wheels, whether in patrol cars or as motorcycle patrols, but I think the effective way of dealing with both the prevention and detection of crime is by relying on manpower.

That brings me to another topic I mentioned in other years—the Minister has not referred to it this year, and I hope that is a good augury—the question of the closing-down of small Garda stations in rural areas. I would be glad to have the Minister confirm that, by omitting reference in the course of his speech to the closing of any rural Garda stations, it means none was closed during the period now under review. We have had the experience over past years of many small stations in rural areas being closed down. The justification normally given was the absence, or the near absence, of crime in the areas. I have expressed the belief before this that the absence of crime in these areas may very well have been due to the existence in them of the Garda stations. I hope the fact that the Minister has not referred to any closures means that none has taken place.

He did refer to a fairly startling increase in the number of indictable offences in the year ended 30th September, 1966, as against the previous year. In the year ended 30th September, 1966, the figure was 19,029 as against 16,736 in the previous year. Later on, he referred to an increase also in convictions on summary charges. That is a fairly radical increase and possibly the most disturbing thing about it is the fact mentioned by the Minister, that approximately one-third of the persons convicted were under 17 years of age and nearly 60 per cent under 21 years of age. In view of those figures and in face of the necessity to deal with the situation where that growth in the crime rate is being maintained, I am surprised and disappointed that the Minister should refer in the course of his remarks, as he did, to the difficulties which the Garda had experienced with the NFA.

So far as the NFA difficulties are concerned, I want to state quite bluntly that I do not think the Government are entitled to any bonus marks for their dealing with that situation. I do not want in the course of remarks dealing with the Department of Justice to embark on a speech in connection with the NFA but I am entitled to make the point that many of the difficulties which were experienced should be laid firmly at the feet of the Government. The difficulties which were created in recent months which led to the jailing of farmers, the difficulties which the Minister and the Taoiseach encountered in trying to find a way out, were, to a large extent, brought on their own heads by the Government and by the failure of the Government to recognise the situation which was developing.

The Deputy may not embark on a discussion on the NFA.

I am going to relate my remarks directly to the Department of Justice. The Minister will recall that, in the main, the farmers were jailed arising out of fines imposed on them as a result of the road blockade. Notice of the intention to engage in that form of activity was given well in advance by the NFA. To my mind, that was the time for the Minister and the Government to make their position clear, to make it clear that, if the law was broken, action would be taken by them against those who broke it. They did not do that so far as I can recall. Neither the Minister nor any other member of the Government uttered a single word of warning.

We are not discussing other members of the Government. We are discussing the Minister in relation to the NFA.

I accept that, and I accept that the Leas-Cheann Comhairle is entitled to say that. Neither the Minister nor any other spokesman of the Government, so far as I can recall, uttered a single word of warning at that stage when a word of warning would have had a desirable effect, when it would have enabled those who had given notice of that form of activity to realise that it was outside the law and would involve the consequences of activities outside the law. It seems to me that the Minister having been silent on that occasion, could be said to have condoned what was done. When the blockade took place, the Government acted after some time and the situation of which we are all aware arose. The real cause of it was the failure of the Minister, and I would, if I am permitted by the Chair, relieve the Minister of some of the burden of this responsibility because I think it was open to the Minister's colleagues to voice the warning also on that occasion. That was not done and these difficulties arose. Consequently, I say that the Government are not entitled to any bonus marks for their handling of that situation.

Now we find the Minister, in introducing this Estimate, saying that the need for special assignments is increasing. He says:

In recent months, in particular, considerable numbers of Gardaí have had to be deflected from their normal work and locations to preserve, so far as they could, law and order in the face of the NFA disturbances and related activities.

In this respect also there are no bonus marks going for the Minister. To my mind there was no need for the show of force made on a number of occasions in relation to the NFA difficulties. If that were the reason the Minister felt there was a necessity for an increase in the strength of the Garda, I would stand out against him. I believe there is a need for an increase because of the growth of real crime, because of the figures the Minister has given of an increase in indictable offences from slightly over 16,000 to slightly over 19,000 between 1965 and the end of September, 1966.

The Minister referred from time to time in his statement to new legislation that is proposed. I should like to ask him in that context whether or not he intends introducing legislation in connection with publicans' licences. The Minister is aware, as I am, that the licensed trade has been agitating for legislation which would have the effect of reducing the number of licensed premises in this country. I do not intend here to go into the various arguments that are made in support of that point of view. All I want to say is that there does seem to be a number of strong arguments and the case as presented to me and, I am sure, presented to the Minister also, seems to be a fairly weighty case and well thought out. I should like to know what examination the Minister has made in connection with the subject and what his proposals are. Does he intend bringing proposals before the House in connection with it?

The Ground Rents Bill has, of course, now become an Act and is in operation. I do not suppose the Minister would from his records be in a position to say how it is functioning and to what extent people are taking advantage of it, but, if that kind of information is available to the Minister or his Department, I should be glad if he would give it to the House. I cannot see any very great evidence that the Act is being operated to any large extent by lesses at present. Probably that is a pity. It may be that I am not aware of the situation but I do not see any great evidence of activity and I should like to know what the Minister thinks about it.

The Minister referred also to the fact that he was going to introduce legislation dealing with malicious injury, certainly to persons——

And property.

——and property. In that connection I want to reiterate a plea I made here in other years, that is, to consider the position of a person who goes to the assistance of a Garda. At the moment, except on a fairly ex gratia basis, if such person is injured in going to the assistance of a Garda there is no fund on which he has a claim for compensation. All he has is his common law right of action against the person who caused his injury. A person who discharges his civic duty in that way deserves to be put in a position where he can, as a matter of right, be compensated.

We include that in the Bill also, giving a statutory right.

Good. There is another matter I want to ask the Minister to consider. He has referred to the reports of the Commissions which deal with legal practice, and so on, and to the fact that interim reports have been presented dealing with such things as trial by jury. I have a particular view in regard to trial by jury. I do not intend to open a discussion on it now. It is worth while and it is worth while preserving, but I do think it is time that we in this country decided to do something which would enable jurors to receive some type of reasonable compensation for their services as jurymen. I am not advocating that they should be paid to act as jurors or that they should be remunerated in that way, but we all know that there are those who are called upon to give jury service and who, by reason of giving that service, are at actual loss to themselves in their businesses or, possibly, to their families if a man is in a small way of business and may not be able to arrange for assistance except at a cost. We should at least consider a code which would enable those serving on juries to be compensated to some extent, if it is not possible to do it fully, for losses which they incur as a result of their service.

The Minister has referred to the fact that new probate rules are under consideration. Again may I, just by way of reminder, refer to a matter I raised here before—the present Minister for Labour referred to the point on some previous discussion here—that is, the fact that some of the present probate forms seem to be quite anomalous. For example, in relation to some of the forms of affidavit where a will is being exhibited—I have not got one of the forms here with me; as I say, I did not get an opportunity of putting things together—my recollection is that the will is referred to in the affidavits which I have in mind as being "hereunto annexed" and, in fact, if the will is annexed to the affidavit by any physical means, a clip or a pin or anything of that sort, then a further affidavit will have to be filled to explain the marks which the clip has made in the will. So that, for practical purposes, except by holding the two together at the time they are being sworn, as far as I can see, you cannot annex the will to the affidavit. That is a kind of anomaly that should be cleared up whenever new forms are being drafted.

The Minister referred also to measures which are in contemplation in connection with the Registry of Deeds. Here again, from a practical point of view, there are some changes that could be made which would be very simple to bring about but which would be of very considerable benefit both to legal practitioners and to their clients. I am thinking in particular of the necessity which exists at the moment, and has existed for a long time, of presenting memorials on parchment to the Registry of Deeds in order to have a deed registered. I do not see the necessity for that at all. Parchments are expensive and at times it is not possible to procure them at all. They seem from time to time to be difficult to obtain. They are merely a synopsis of the deeds. That synopsis, which is required for record purposes in the Registry of Deeds, could be supplied in a variety of other ways.

It would be quite a simple and certainly inexpensive matter for solicitors when they are registering deeds to make an additional full copy of the deed on ordinary deed paper and to lodge that in the Registry of Deeds. In the event of the deed becoming lost or destroyed in the course of time, there would be a full record in the Registry of Deeds. If it were considered that that would create filing difficulties in the Registry as against the comparative ease with which memorials could be filed, then I would suggest that arrangements should be made to permit memorials to be lodged on ordinary paper or possibly on deed paper. These possibly are technical matters, but the Minister has practical experience of them, I am quite sure, as a lawyer and, while they seem to be matters of detail, he will appreciate they are matters which could be of considerable importance both to solicitors and to their clients.

The Minister referred again this year to the Crime Prevention Unit of the Garda and listed the main aims of the Unit as being four in number:

(a) to instruct owners of premises how best to safeguard their property,

(b) to encourage the installation of burglar alarms, preferably connected to Garda stations.

(c) to advise on protection of pay-rolls, bank lodgments, etc.,

(d) in general, to awaken the public to the importance of crime prevention measures.

I should like again, as I did on previous occasions, to pay tribute to this particular service of the Garda Síochána. It is doing very useful work. The lines on which it is working are excellent. Certainly, from what I have seen, the type of people engaged in this advisory work are extremely competent and capable officers and the more this kind of work can be encouraged the better. In connection with this, I do not know whether it is the Crime Prevention Unit —I suppose it is—who participate in "Garda Patrol" on television. The Minister might have referred to the part that programme on television can play, and I feel sure is playing, in this question of crime detection, if not crime prevention. It is a good programme and it is not necessary to spell out the useful service that television can provide for the Garda in connection with both crime prevention and crime detection.

The Minister referred also to the Garda Juvenile Liaison Officer scheme and I am glad to see that that still seems to be operating satisfactorily and to be achieving good results. He referred to the fact that, out of a total of 2,200 juveniles who came under the care of the Garda in connection with this service, only about ten per cent subsequently were in trouble. That is a good record.

The Minister then dealt with what he seemed to regard as a kind of three-pronged attack on crime. He said:

In the period immediately ahead, therefore, the difficult crime situation will be tackled on three fronts:

1. enforcement will be strengthened through a substantially increased allocation of equipment with particular emphasis on the personal two-way radio contact for the man on the beat;

2. prevention will be encouraged through the extended operation of the Crime Prevention Unit.

Of those two particular methods certainly I have no criticism to voice but he refers also to legislation in the form of a new Criminal Justice Act which will strengthen the hand of the Garda in continuing war on crime. In an earlier reference to that, the Minister said it was intended to strengthen the hand of the Garda in dealing with serious crime by changes in the law relating to fingerprinting and search warrants.

I suppose judgment on this must be suspended until the proposals are known and set out in the form of a Bill. It seems to me that legislation on those lines is concerned more with the question of detection than with the question of prevention. I would feel—I do not want to go into this in any detail—that many people would be perturbed if there is legislation in the offing which would involve any widespread expansion of powers in connection with search warrants and fingerprinting. However, as I say, we can only suspend judgment on that until we see the terms of the Bill to which the Minister refers here only in a general way.

I do not think there are any other points I have to make. As I said at the beginning, but for the fact that we have all been taken at short notice in regard to this Estimate, it would have been possible for Deputies who wish to contribute to the debate to have prepared themselves for it.

I should like to join with Deputy O'Higgins in protesting against the manner in which this Estimate has been kicked about this House for the past 24 hours or so, so that spokesmen on this Estimate were given very little notice that it was to be introduced.

I had very little notice myself.

Blame the Minister for Agriculture, Deputy Blaney, for that.

Is the Minister not in the Government any more?

That makes it even worse because if we are going to have a full and complete discussion and the full views of the Members of the House on this Estimate or any other Estimate, it is necessary that a fair amount of notice be given to the House. I found myself in the position of trying to put my views together while the Minister was reading his speech.

While six Votes are covered by this Estimate, I think the main discussion will arise on the Vote for the Garda Síochána. I am glad to see extra provision for extra cars, motorcycles and radios and other technical equipment that will help the Garda in crime prevention and detection. The Garda should diversify the type and make of car used. The cars seem to be practically all of one type, make and colour. Recently, I noticed for the first time since they became motorised that the Garda have changed car colours but they should go further and have a change of make also.

It is very disturbing to note that again the crime rate has risen. In the past few years, it has been indicated in the Minister's speech that the rate is rising each year, particularly in city areas. It is no consolation to give comparisons between the detection rate here and elsewhere. We must do everything possible, whether it is more manpower that is needed or more technical equipment, to prevent and detect crime, principally to prevent crime. In spite of our high rate of detection, for which all credit to the Garda, the crime rate is still rising and the higher the rate of detection the better the deterrent to a criminal or potential criminal. The more the likelihood of being caught, the less chance there is of a potential criminal attempting a crime.

I was glad to see that the advice of the Crime Prevention Unit is being availed of but the annual Estimate speech of the Minister should not be the only means of advertising this Unit, which is not sufficiently advertised. I know we have the television programme but in the country we feel there is some neglect in this respect and people may feel that this particular and very important unit of the Garda Síochána is not available to them. Something more than reference to it in the Estimate is required in order to bring it home to the people in rural areas that this service is available to them just as it is to city shopkeepers, merchants and factory owners. Could the Minister give any statistics of the number of places broken into that have had the advice of the Crime Prevention Unit and the relationship of those figures to the number of places broken into which have not had that advice? That would be important in advertising the work of the unit.

The time has come for a very careful scrutiny of the manpower arrangements in the Garda Síochána. While it is not explicitly stated in the Minister's speech, I feel he is telling the House that we have not enough Gardaí. I am inclined to agree with that view when at the present time we have new legislation such as the recent Road Traffic Act imposing extra duties on the Gardaí that will take up countless man hours. Some provisions of the Road Traffic Act may entail three or four members of the Garda being fully employed for perhaps four or five hours in one night. Traffic itself is also increasing each year and we can see that in regard to the speed limit the enforcement of the law leaves much to be desired. This is due to the lack of manpower. I do not suggest it is due to any neglect on the part of any section or any members of the Garda but there are more important matters for them to attend to, particularly in regard to crime, so that we see, in certain parts of the country, that the speed limits are just a mockery.

There is an increase in legislation not only in regard to roads and traffic. The Minister also made reference— which I welcome—to the proposal to ban offensive weapons. Other measures will be proposed from time to time involving extra duties for the Garda. It appears that the number in the Garda has not been rising for some years past.

I was sorry to hear the Minister refer to the NFA and to the alleged problems which that campaign created for the Garda. The Minister could have made his point without referring to the NFA because for a number of years we have had numerous festivals, race meetings, big hurling matches and so on for which a large number of Gardaí have to be drawn from other areas. That leaves these areas very much undermanned. There is a case for increasing the number of Gardaí without trying to justify that increase on the ground of NFA activities.

I should like to have a clear definition from the Minister as to the duties of the Garda in regard to the recovery of the bodies of drowned people. There seems to be no one person or organisation responsible for the recovery of the bodies of such persons. It is for local voluntary effort to recover the body. Direct responsibility should be placed on somebody in this regard. A drowning tragedy makes it difficult enough for the family without adding the burden of trying to locate the body.

In recent years wandering animals, particularly those belonging to the travelling people, have been giving serious trouble to residents in both urban and rural areas. These animals wander into front and back gardens. It would appear that the powers of the Garda Síochána in this connection are not all that they should be and it might help if the Minister would review the poundage fees. These fees were fixed a long number of years back. An increase in the fees might help to prevent the nuisance these animals constitute.

Before I leave the Garda Síochána, I was rather surprised to find that the Minister did not make any reference, good, bad or indifferent, to the work of the ban-Ghardaí.

I apologise for the lack of chivalry.

I am sure they will appreciate that.

It was unintentional.


Has the Minister any intention of increasing the scope of their duties or placing some of them in other centres throughout the country? He might make some reference to that when he comes to reply.

The Minister outlined three headings under which it is proposed to tackle the crime situation. In my opinion, he omitted two very important ways in which that situation can be tackled. First of all, the public image of the Garda Síochána must be preserved at all costs. I do not want to enter into the implications of the discussion which took place here at Question Time today but one of the best friends, if not the best friend, the Garda Síochána have in the prevention and detection of crime is the public, the man in the street, and it is most important therefore that the public image of the Garda Síochána should be preserved. They have a high standing in the community. They are respected. They are honourable men. They do their duty well. It is up to the Minister and to all of us here to see that that public image is maintained. From time to time an odd few may do something which results in adverse publicity but the whole Force should not be condemned because of the actions of the very odd few. My appeal would be for the greatest possible co-operation between the Garda Síochána and the public.

The second best weapon in the fight against crime is the press. The time has come, in my opinion, for a clear and definite understanding of what is required on both sides. During the recent seizures in Kilkenny, it was brought to my notice that a photographer and a reporter on one of our national newspapers were very badly treated. Hostile language was used by one member, just one, of the Garda Síochána. That kind of thing should not happen. There should be the fullest co-operation between the press and the Garda Síochána. Arrangements should be made to facilitate the Press in every way. If the present liaison breaks down, a wrong image of the work of the Garda Síochána will be created.

I hope the building of houses for members of the Garda and the provision of better accommodation for the single men will continue. In some areas accommodation for single men leaves much to be desired. Houses have been built for married men but many more are needed, especially now that the local authorities find it difficult enough to house their own applicants. They could not possibly cope with applications from members of the Garda. Many more houses are needed and the present drive should be continued.

I was disturbed to learn recently that certain Members of this House were refused permission to visit some of our prisons. Every Deputy should have the right to visit and inspect these prisons at a reasonable time and to investigate any complaint he may receive on behalf of a constituent. I did not want to visit any of the prisons at that particular time but I felt that any Deputy should have that right to investigate any complaint he receives in respect of a constituent.

On one occasion, I had to make a visit to Mountjoy Prison and I was taken aback somewhat by the waiting-room facilities there for people visiting prisoners. When I went there, it was packed tight and people were standing around the area outside it, leaning against the wall and trying to find as comfortable a position as possible. It was a Saturday evening and things may not be as bad on other evenings. According as people left the waiting-room, others moved in and, in due time, I got a seat in the waiting-room but it was still packed tightly. I was appalled at the way people had to pack into that small room. I imagine it was hard enough on some of them to go to Mountjoy to visit their friends or relations there without having to put up with such conditions sometimes for 15 to 20 minutes, and to be put standing, before that, outside in the cold in the passageway was really adding insult to injury.

There is an increase of £54,000 in the provision for transport for the Garda Síochána, with which I fully agree. Is transport for the Minister included in that £54,000? If it is, then very little would be left for the Garda Síochána.

No, it is not.

I am glad of that.

The figure is not large enough.

I wonder if the provision of more motorcycles is the best thing possible. I should think that mini-cars would be better. Because of our climate, motorcycles are really safe in this country for only about four months of the year. In the long run, for reasons of health and reasons of safety, mini-cars might be more suitable. They can carry more than one person and would give protection and a little extra comfort.

I appeal to the Minister to transfer responsibility for the maintenance of courthouses from the local authorities which, in recent years, has been a heavy burden. Many local authorities have fulfilled their obligations in this regard, much to the expense of the ratepayers in the respective local authority areas. The time has come to transfer this responsibility to the Department of Justice.

I wish the Minister every success in his efforts to keep the crime rate down. I trust that when he comes to present his Estimate to this House next year he will be able to report that the present upward trend in the crime rate has been halted and in fact that crime is on the decrease.

I suppose it will be agreed that the Minister for Justice has one of the toughest tasks in the Government, as is the case with his counterpart in every other country. Some people have scant respect today for the law. We are inclined to look to the Minister for Justice and the Garda Síochána to take certain action when we ourselves do not play our full part. In recent years, there has been emphasis on crime prevention. I think the television programme "Garda Patrol" is getting the message across. People are more co-operative with the Garda and are taking their advice on how to prevent crime. Whoever thought of this programme is to be complimented. It is a very homely programme. One gets the impression that the Garda is speaking just to one person and one feels that there is scope for co-operation there.

I am not happy with the increase in crime in the city or that we are doing enough to prevent it and, particularly, to show our youth that crime does not pay. There is also the necessity to look after a young person after he has been sent to prison perhaps for some small crime. I have in mind a case where some young boys stole from a motorcar. Motorists are to blame to some degree for leaving valuable and expensive toys lying in the car. To a child or to a young boy, this is a grave temptation. The expensive toy or the camera, and so on, is lying there just beyond his reach. It is a challenge to him to take it. The car may not be locked or perhaps only insecurely locked. While the motorist may lose an article costing a few pounds, the boy or girl may lose his or her freedom for a while and will always bear that stain. I do not approve of stealing but there is such a thing as temptation and motorists should not display anything in their cars which will tempt a young person to steal. In the poorer parts of the city, one very often sees a big car parked with lots of articles lying around in it. That constitutes a great temptation to some young people.

Very often, Members of this House are asked to try to obtain the release, after a certain time, of a boy who was sent to prison if a job can be got for him. This puts a great onus on a Deputy to obtain a job that will not be a blind alley but that will give the young person some hope for his future. There is the onus to ensure that it will not be a job that will just get the young person out of prison. I want to pay tribute to the staffs in the prisons and to the Chaplains who do their utmost to ensure that, when persons leave prison, they will get jobs of the kind that will make them want to remain out of prison or out of the reformatory. It would be well worth while to have a special section of the Garda and the prison authorities— who, already, are doing an excellent job—to go more deeply into this point of ensuring that, if a boy or girl is sentenced, then the corrective treatment will be such that they will have no desire to find themselves back again in prison or in the reformatory.

I should like, again, to pay tribute to the prison staffs who have not a very nice job but who are doing excellent work. I am glad to note that the amount for their salaries and wages has increased, presumably because of the increases given in the course of the year. I have not been too happy about the position of the ban-Ghardaí in this city. Many years ago Dublin City Council petitioned the Minister to establish this Force and we had in mind that they would do social work among women who needed help. It makes me very annoyed at times to see ban-Ghardaí patrolling and doing ordinary police duty, for which they were not established, while at the same time we have a grave problem in regard to many young people who get into trouble.

Did they ever put a traffic sticker on your windscreen?

I have no windscreen. I do feel that the ban-Ghardaí should really be looking after women, particularly, in the city.

On social work: hear, hear.

We must admit that we have a grave problem in regard to prostitution and the ban-Ghardaí could help in solving it. Some years ago I mentioned the case of a young girl who was rescued by some men after attempting suicide. The Garda were sent for and some fine big men came in the squad car. One can imagine the terrified look on that girl's face when she found herself surrounded by these Gardaí. No ban-Gharda was sent.

They were too busy putting stickers on cars.

Here was a case where a ban-Gharda should have been sent for, to deal with this young girl. I went to the then Minister for Justice and he promised that in all cases where it was possible, ban-Ghardaí would be sent. I do think there is a great potential being wasted there. The problem in regard to women in this city is a very grave one and we should not shut our eyes to it. The Department and the Garda should pay more attention to it in order to prevent vice from becoming rampant.

There is a capitation grant to Our Lady's Home and St. Magdalen's Home of £350, which is an absolutely miserly sum. I am a member of a body which works hard during the year to raise money for one of these homes. It is tough going. Most of them do not receive a State grant and I like to think that we will not receive a grant but, at the same time, the capitation grant for these homes which do receive grants, in which some of the occupants are women who are merely homeless and who have not committed any crime, is very small. We could, indeed, be a little more generous.

Members of the medical profession are often in the headlines because drugs have been stolen from their cars. Everybody becomes anxious in case children find the drugs and are poisoned. I wonder if the Minister would rap the medical profession and ask them to be more careful when carrying drugs in their cars? These matters are greatly publicised but there are cases which do not reach the newspapers. The press will always play up anything which is sensational and in this regard I must refer to an event which occurred last week. The two evening papers had nothing to be proud of in regard to a report that a person had been stabbed to death. This was on the placards and on the front pages of the newspapers and the point is that later it was shown that the man had died from natural causes. While I would be the last to suggest that there should be censorship imposed on the press, they will have to show a greater sense of responsibility or else the State will be forced to take some action in the matter.

Deputy Pattison mentioned speed limits in the city and we do know that they are a joke. I do not blame the Garda because they are doing their best to make people realise how senseless it is to speed through the bottom of Grafton Street at 70 or 80 miles an hour. They cannot chase everyone who breaks the speed limits. The only thing they can do is to see that, when a person is convicted and sentenced, he will pay the full penalty. In this regard, I sympathise with the Minister. It is good to see that a man has been caught breaking the law and has gone to prison, but then perhaps the wife of the man comes to me and says that she has five children, that her husband is in prison for a traffic offence, and asks me what will I do as she is living on social welfare payments and the children are going wild. I do what most other Deputies do : I write to the Minister hoping that he will make the decision I do not want to make, to get the man out of prison for the sake of the family. I often wonder if there is not some way in which a man who breaks the law in this way can be penalised other than by sending him to prison. No solution comes to mind but there must be a solution to make him pay some penalty and not penalise the innocent wife and children.

There is still a number of unsolved murder cases and Deputies will agree with me that, when there are unsolved murder cases in the city, the rumourmongery starts and every public man is told about these unsolved cases. I would urge the Minister to continue the investigations into every unsolved murder case until the responsible people have been brought to justice. In conclusion, I would appeal to the Minister to reiterate his opposition to any extension of the drinking hours in the city to 2.30 a.m. This was rumoured some time ago and it had a certain amount of backing from a semi-State body. At the moment the drinking hours appear to be long enough and I would oppose any extension into the early hours of the morning.

This year, many Deputies, if they were free to express their real feelings and the feelings of their constituents, would express concern with regard to the administration of justice. In the year under review, there has been a violent conflict of opinion between different organisations and the Government. In that context, we have seen the Garda Force being used in a variety of ways and the courts, particularly the District Courts, used also in relation to the imposition of penalties for a variety of offences.

It is to be recalled that only a little over 12 months ago offences were alleged to have been committed by farmers who came to picket Leinster House. Following their arrival, hour by hour the Black Maria was paraded in front of Leinster House and the farmers were escorted into it by members of the Garda Force and subsequently appeared and were charged in the District Court with breaches of the Offences against the State Act. That is one thing. Consistency in the administration of justice, consistency in relation to a point of view, may often conceal inadequacies in thought but at least has a merit in it. But we all recollect that, shortly after these farmers were fined for what it was alleged they had done and while many of them who had refused to pay their fines were expecting to be arrested, some mysterious fairy godmother appeared in the Department of Justice: coincidentally the Minister— apparently unasked for—decided to mitigate all the fines.

As I said before, they came to my office and petitioned me.

An association, which certainly reached a degree of fame throughout the country it had not previously enjoyed, an association dealing with milk in Leinster paid, unasked for, the fines imposed on these farmers.

I put that right long ago.

It is perfectly clear that was a political move. It is perfectly clear that was the Minister for Justice shedding his ministerial responsibility and becoming Deputy Brian Lenihan, anxious to achieve a political act.

The Deputy is shedding any sense of responsibility.

I want to record that there is public uneasiness with regard to the manner in which the Minister blows hot and cold in relation to matters of this kind. Either our law is there to be respected and enforced, or it is not. When we have the Minister for Justice adopting a rigid and implacable position one particular month in relation to one particular group and then bending over backwards to do a package deal and to get over one obstacle after another——

——with another organisation.

——an entirely different organisation—one begins to wonder what actually is happening. I want to suggest that the people throughout the country are fed up with all this coming and going. They are fed up with these ministerial pronouncements, with this cry of "Wolf, wolf, wolf" time after time and they no longer pay much attention to it. It is to be borne in mind that it is the duty of the Minister for Justice, as the responsible member of the Government in this regard, not merely to see that justice is administered through the courts but also to see that breaches of the law are prevented. It is to be recalled in this year under review that not only was the Minister told and the Government informed that there would be obstruction of the public roads but a trial test day of obstruction was carried through. We saw the situation in which large, heavy agricultural machinery was driven at less than an inch an hour along our public roads with members of the Garda Force, apparently under instructions, standing by and looking on. The Government did not one thing about it. Then we had an announcement that next time, hour given and date given, the roads would be obstructed and blocked. I think it is fair to say that many of us had the experience when these roads were blocked that not only did the representatives of the justice arm in this country do nothing about it and the Government do nothing about it but they actually stood by with folded arms.

What was the purpose of this? Surely in that context, in that situation, due notice having been given, if ever it was a situation in which the Minister had the responsibility to act to prevent a breach of the law then he had that duty there and then? It is not surprising these unfortunate people felt that what they were doing was in no way wrong when they were almost given governmental approval for their plans.

You cannot have it both ways.

Again, following that series of road obstructions, the same thing took place once more. We had the situation in which farmers were charged and fined. There were suggestions that a universal direction had gone out to all district justices that this matter was to be dealt with seriously, and so on. I do not know whether that happened or not. I sincerely hope it did not. We had the Minister issuing statements to the press saying he had piles of evidence of such-and-such an offence available. It seems to me a most extraordinary interference by the Minister for Justice in the administration of justice. We had all this going on, farmers being jailed, and then what happens? Just when the Spring Show had started, apparently there was a sudden unbending and some kind of deal is alleged to have been made.

I am going to suggest it does not look well for the administration of justice to have suggestions made about deals here and there to get over this and that. Consistency is important. Then, after that, there was apparently a lack of communication or a misunderstanding as to what the Minister said or as to what was said to the Minister. But then the situation hardens once more and we have the whole thing over again. I am going to suggest that the result of all that is that there is general uneasiness with regard to the administration of justice. I hope we will see the end of it. I hope that this experience this year will be a help to all sides and all sections to realise that, in a democracy, if a point of view is to be expressed, if influence is to be got in relation to a particular policy and if the Government of the day are not amenable, the way to exercise that influence is in the ballot box, as was done recently. That would be effective and would have a salutary effect. There is no other legitimate, lawful or useful means in a democracy except that.

Hear, hear.

I think we can all agree on that. I hope that lesson will have been fully learned by both sides.

May I raise one particular matter? I am sorry to have to do so. It is not in relation to the principles involved in the NFA dispute. I would ask the Minister to examine what happened in Edenderry at the time it was alleged that cattle were being prevented from being taken from that mart. The information given to me may not be accurate, although it is vouched for by a number of people whose word I respect. I am told that something approaching a police State existed in Edenderry on the day of the mart. I am told that a member of the Garda Force invaded property that was private property and, although requested to leave, refused to do so. I am told that a particular officer behaved in an outrageous, uncivil and unnecessarily abusive manner to many members of the public and to people who were lawfully there. The Government may be doing something in another sphere about cattle marts but we have the right here, for which many of our people fought, of private property and I cannot understand the basis on which members of the Garda went into these premises and refused to leave when asked to do so.

They did not go into the Mansion House when they were asked to do so.

That is true. If it was a case that there was a particular person there who was asked to leave and refused to do so then the Garda could remove him. Instead of that, there was a virtual take-over of the mart by the Garda officers concerned. There is always some room for an excess of zeal by particular officers and frequently they cannot be two meticulous as to what exactly they are entitled to do; but to bring from all over the midlands of Ireland some 200 or 250 Gardaí into the peaceful town of Edenderry caused absolute fright to the townspeople and made them feel that something approaching civil war had broken out. That was an unnecessary abuse of the functions of the Civic Guards. I do not wish unnecessarily to criticise any particular person but, on the evidence available to me, at least one particular Garda officer brought no credit to the uniform he was wearing. If that incident is now closed, I would suggest that, in a period of quiet, there should be an examination of what took place and that the Minister should review the reports available to him. That is all I want to say on that matter.

I feel that the whole position in relation to the NFA dispute over the past 12 months has not been a good one and has led to public uneasiness. One can understand anyone making a mistake. The Minister frequently had to face difficulties and the Government frequently had to face up to certain decisions. They are all fallible persons. No other section of the community are more fallible than the present Government but I blame them for being consistent in one thing, in being inconsistent, and for allowing considerations of political expediency to enter into the administration of justice. That is bad so far as respect for the law of the land is concerned.

What were people to think when they saw a rival farming organisation the members of which were picked up outside this House in a Black Maria a few months previously and then released from prison shortly afterwards?

Because their fines, their mitigated fines, were paid.

They were paid by somebody else. There may be subterfuges and everything else but there is no doubt about the fact that the members of the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers' Association got away with it, although they were taken away in the Black Maria.

The Deputy is not going to bring agriculture into the debate on this Estimate?

The Black Maria is not agriculture.

I protest against this ruling and about calling me to order.

I was not speaking to the Deputy; I was speaking to Deputy Dillon who was interrupting.

I was saying that the Black Maria had nothing to do with agriculture.

Deputy O'Higgins was giving the difference between what happened in the case of one farming dispute and another.

He was describing the Black Maria outside this House.

I am sorry the Leas-Cheann Comhairle was not following my speech with his usual close attention.

I was following the Deputy very closely and I did not intervene until he left the rails.

In relation to what happened in May of 1966, an example was given which was acted upon later. That example was the introduction by the Minister into the administration of justice of considerations of political expediency. As a result we had all this confusion and ignoring of the law from last Christmas and in the early months of this year. Such a situation should not have been allowed to develop and I hope we will never have a repetition of it.

I intend to deal with only one matter this evening but I would urge on the Minister that it is a matter the remedy for which is long overdue, that is, the position of juries. We have every lawyer, from the judge down, in the court-rooms of this country being well paid for doing very little work, while, on the other hand, you have the whole side of a country being denuded of manpower because men are dragged into court day after day for no remuneration whatever. In the present state of manpower in the rural community, it has become practically impossible for some of these jurors to attend. I have seen men get up at five o'clock in the morning to do their ordinary work, the milking of cows and the getting out of the milk, so as to get into court on time and then sit there for a judge or somebody else to say whether they are wanted or not. They have to do this at their own expense and then have to return home and do the rest of the day's work. It is time the system were either paid for or ended. It has gone on for too long and has gone too far. I have seen up to 50 men outside Cork Courthouse waiting to know whether they would be required for jury service or not. If an unfortunate man could not attend, the judge would impose a fine of £3—for nothing. I suppose that, if he refused to pay, extenuating circumstances would not be taken into account and the man would have to go to jail.

Unless the milk producers would pay.

I support what has been said here in connection with the court-houses. When one has been a fairly long time in public life, one sees the law expanding year after year. I saw the time when Cork Courthouse was occupied as to threequarters of the space by the local authority's various offices, their roads and rates departments, and so on. Gradually, the local authority have been driven into one or, at most, two rooms of that courthouse. Why the ratepayers of the county should have to pay for that is more than I can understand.

Where did they find the kinds of judges they have? They must have been reared in hothouses. There was one fellow complaining of a draught and would not sit any more because there was a draught of fresh air coming through the window. Another was complaining because facilities were not provided for boiling the kettle to make tea.

Most of them were carefully brought up and nurtured in Fianna Fáil cumainn.

I sympathise with the Deputy's misfortune. He would be an ornament —I will not say of use—on any bench.

What has happened to Martin Corry? Has he gone mad?

Deputy Corry should exert his influence on the next occasion.

Is he well?

He was very careful: he said "Ornament."

I said he would be an ornament—not of use.

That is more like you. Now I am easier in my mind. I was afraid that something had happened to you.

We have heard a great deal here this evening about the NFA dispute. First we had a description of one farmers' organisation outside Leinster House.

I would point out to the Deputy that it does not arise on this Estimate.

With all due respect, it has been very fully dealt with here. I am only following in the footsteps of other Deputies. We had the spectacle outside Leinster House of farmers being picked up and arrested for picketing there while, at the same time, another farmers' organisation was rushing in to see the Minister, Deputy Haughey—another farmers' organisation rushing in to him and doing what the meanest, most miserable, labour organisation in this country would not do, passing the picket.

Acting Chairman

It has nothing to do with the Estimate.

I regret that the Leas-Cheann Comhairle was not here to hear these matters discussed and to hear Deputy Dillon's description of the Black Maria.

He is not the Leas-Cheann Comhairle; he is the Cathaoirleach.

That was the dispute, the fight, between the two farmers' organisations. The Minister was reprimanded also because he did not take steps to prevent, on the one hand, and because he took too many steps to prevent on the other. I do not know what general instructions were issued but I do know that that blockade or slow-down was very effectively carried out in Cork. Their orders were well observed by those carrying them out. There were only two prosecutions in the county of Cork. The job was done as per instructions and was not steamed-up by any of the ex-Blueshirt regiment who had been working previously in other counties, showing the road. There were only two cases in which prosecutions could be brought for the whole of that day and, in one of those cases, the fine was paid before arrest and, in the other case, the person concerned spent one night in jail and paid the fine the next morning. In my time any fellow who led the troops led them and took what was coming to him afterwards. Those are the facts. The Department of Justice probably thought that there would be some kind of reasonable blockade with farm machinery, and so on, such as was carried out in Cork city, where only two prosecutions could be brought on that day. It was carried out but it was carried out properly and efficiently and well. Every praise to those concerned.

Was there any connection between that and the fact that the Taoiseach was the sitting Deputy for Cork city?

The Taoiseach was not Taoiseach at that time.

But he was coming up the mountain.

No. I can sympathise with Deputy Dillon's disappointment in that respect. I know he had hopes but, unfortunately, the hopes were blasted by the people in a general election.

It was their right.

Now the Deputy has to take his medicine, like everyone else. I cannot be sorry for the Deputy on all occasions. I have expressed my sympathy for the other Deputy sitting on the front Fine Gael bench, whose disappointment I also regret. More than that I cannot do.

Try to put it right.

We should be sorry to hear that the Deputy had changed.

I am not responsible for the system under which these things are done. I do not approve of it. I will be quite frank about mat.

Which things?

I never did and I never will. No profession should be set apart. If a member of my family qualifies as an engineer and applies for a State post, he has to go before an Appointments Commission. His qualifications are examined there, and he gets the job on his qualifications. The same applies to a medical officer, if he applies for a dispensary post. He is placed in the same category. Why pick out lawyers and put them in a category by themselves? It has almost come to the point now that, on the day they get their degrees, there is a little box on the table and each one walks past the box, puts in his hand and pulls out his slip: that tells his future course of action, whether it is to be Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael. There is no Labour slip in the box because they have no hope of getting anything from those poor devils. That is the manner in which their politics are decided.

And the box on the table of Taca?

The taxpayer has to pay for the State solicitors, for the State barristers, for the legal advice of the man who gets his briefs from the State. The taxpayer has to pay for all that and I maintain the taxpayer is entitled to the best legal advice that can be got for money and not the best legal advice got on the colour of any man's——

Is the Deputy then dissatisfied with the appointments?

I have had my say. The Deputy has sat there dumb.

No; I am getting up next.

The Deputy has sat there dumb with the rest of the lawyers. The only time I heard them here was for threequarters of an hour today trying to get a public inquiry out of which they could obtain a couple of briefs. That is the miserable thing that has crept into this House in a few years. I shall leave it at that.

This is a desperate business. The Government will have to reconsider these appointments.

I am giving my opinion. I have no Taca or anything else. The ordinary people sent me here. They have sent me here for the past 40 years.

And never gave the Deputy a £100 plate dinner.

For the past 40 years I have done the job I was sent here to do and for 43 years I have been sent into Cork County Council to do the job there, and, to show how they appreciated that, they put me in at the top of the poll this time. When Deputies opposite have done that, they can talk. I have expressed my viewpoint and it is not the first time I have expressed my viewpoint in connection with this section of the community who are picked out here for special treatment. That is fundamentally wrong.

Has the Deputy any suggestion as to how these appointments should be made?

The Deputy has been here quite a few years.

And each year the Department of Justice Estimate came up he never had the guts to open his mouth on it.

I have spoken on the Department of Justice Estimate every year.

I have never heard a complaint from any of the lawyers over there, but, because they could not get briefs outside, they came into this House to earn a living. I have never heard one of them complaining about this sort of injustice.

There must be some lawyer harassing Deputy Corry.

I do not wonder that the Deputy had to come in here.

There is some lawyer at him somewhere, probably myself.

To get away from those contentious matters, I should like to know from the Minister why certain areas have been picked out for Garda houses and others left out. There is a great scarcity of houses in the town of Cobh, for example, and I suggest to the Minister that, instead of dodging the column like two other Departments and making the ratepayers pay for houses for their personnel, he should have some Garda houses built there.

We have heard all this talk about the increase in crime but I would suggest to the Minister that the most serious crimes committed in this country at present are committed by people for whom other Departments claim credit. I am alluding to the tourists——

Surely not crime.

——those who come into this country. I would gamble with the Deputy that the fellows who get ten years here for robbery are people who come in here and are counted as tourists.

This is a most mischievous contribution.

I challenge contradiction when I say that the greater portion of the more serious crimes, bank robberies, whipping of motor cars, embezzlement, and so on, are committed not by Irish people but by people who come in here. If the Minister examines the papers over the past six months, he will find I am correct. Those people will get bank managers to give them a couple of thousand pounds, although they would not give you or me a pound.

Surely the Deputy is not seriously suggesting that 50 per cent of the serious crimes are committed by aliens?

I am stating that at least 50 per cent of the more serious crimes committed in this country are committed by people who come in here from other countries.

There is no foundation for that at all.

No, there is not.

You are not keeping a proper check: I do.

That is not true.

I can prove it any time. The last matter with which I want to deal is speed limits. Whatever co-operation there is between the local authorities, the Department of Justice and the Superintendents of the Garda, it takes two years from the time the county council put forward the proposition, say, for a 30-mile limit to the time we can get authority to carry it out and in the meantime many lives are lost. There are not sufficient precautions on what, in my opinion, are suicide roads. Within three miles of my house, eight people have been killed in the past nine months.

Is there a bend in the road or is it a long straight stretch?

A straight stretch where you have people going at 80 or 90 miles an hour. The speed limit should not be more than 60 mph because no man can control or pretend to control a car at 80 mph. My attention was brought to this particularly when in the end we had to get a county council employee to get the children across the road morning and evening when they were going to and coming from school because of the speed of passing traffic. Warning notices were provided but proved ineffective. One man was pulled up who had been going at 80 mph. The sergeant said it took him 200 yards to stop and this man's statement was that the children should be able to look after themselves.

The figures in England support Deputy Corry's contention that, when you impose an overall speed limit, the accident rate drops.

We shall have to bring in a maximum speed limit of about 60 mph which should be fast enough for anybody. The road between Whitegate and Midleton was brought to my attention last week. It goes between two non-municipal schemes of houses and cars are travelling at 90 or 100 mph on that road.

Why can the local authority not put up speed limit signs?

The local authority cannot put up a 30 mph sign without the authority of the Department of Justice and the Department of Local Government.

The Department of Local Government: I am merely the enforcer.

But there must first be consultation with the Garda Síochána.

That is right.

A conference was held two years ago in Cork at which proposals were put up regarding speed limits but no report has yet come back to Cork County Council, and that is a fair while ago. I am giving facts as I know them and as I have seen them in my own experience.

I urge the Minister not to have me coming here in ten years' time complaining about the conditions of jurors. The present conditions should not exist. No man should be asked to do public service by coming day after day to a courthouse to find out whether he will be picked for a jury or not. No man should be put in the position of having to leave his work or business to serve on a jury while there are educated whippersnappers earning £20 to £50 a day doing the same thing, saying: "My Lord," and losing the cases on many occasions. I am making a comparison between the legal profession whose members between them may earn anything up to £1,000 in a day when, at the same time, 40 or 50 unfortunate country boys have to come to the court, or if they do not they will be fined £3, and may then be told "We do not want you until tomorrow", or "You may be needed this evening". If there is anything repugnant to the Constitution, that is, in view of the provision for equal rights for all citizens. Some of the legal profession might consider that.

The only other proposition I put up is that the Minister should not put on the ratepayers of Cobh the expense of building houses for the Gardaí. The Department should build them themselves. We have enough to do to provide houses for the Army and the Navy without having to provide houses for the Gardaí also.

I hope Deputy Corry will not have left the House before I have wished him another ten years here, the ten years which he hopes to be able to use in complaining on behalf of his constituents, on the one hand, and in blaming the lawyers for their misdemeanours, on the other.

This is an Estimate for £11.5 million. It covers a wide field of activity from car-parking to cinematograph footage down to staff and their equipment to the last degree. This is an important Department and, because of that, it is essential that it be well run at all levels. I suppose it is better to put the complaints first. I have great sympathy with the views expressed by Deputy Corry regarding court-houses and houses for Gardaí. For far too long has the provision of court-houses been left to the local authorities. It is not easy, in times of increasing costs, for a local authority to provide court-houses of the kind that should be provided over all the area administered by that local authority, particularly in large and rather poor counties such as Galway, Mayo and Donegal where there must be many court-houses, in view of the farflung nature of the territory and the difficulty of the terrain.

I do not know what can be done about that but it might not be a bad thing if the Department did take over the provision of court-houses and, seeing that they are responsible for staffing them and to some extent for equipping them, there is no reason why they should not provide court-houses that will be fitting places for the administration and dispensation of justice.

In speaking of court-houses, one thinks immediately of the court staffs. Although I belong to that profession much maligned by Deputy Corry, I want to say that in all our courts, from the District Court right up to the Supreme, the staff is constituted of men and women of very special qualifications and, over and above those qualifications, they are men and women devoted to their duty and dedicated to giving good service, and that service is given despite what Deputy Corry says.

The appointment of people to the Bench at its various levels will always be a matter for discussion, but, until somebody thinks of some better way than the present way, I am satisfied to leave it as it is. I cannot think of any way in which the members of the judiciary could be selected other than by the Government. It has been suggested, quite vehemently in years gone by, that appointees of a particular Government—I am not now talking of any particular Government—could not be relied upon by non-supporters of that Government. In my experience, nothing could be further from the truth. I and my colleagues appear before men who were very much opposed to us in political life; we appear before them satisfied that we will get from them the same fair play as can be got from somebody appointed by a Government sympathetic to us. It is high time the notion that somebody appointed by a Fianna Fáil Government will show favour to Fianna Fáil supporters were dissipated and banished entirely from the thoughts of any of our people. They are our own judges. They are our own people. They are the same as anybody else in any other walk of life. They have a job to do and, in my opinion, and in my experience, they are doing that job extremely well.

I do not share Deputy Moore's view that the Ban-Ghardaí should be devoted entirely to social work. The BanGhardaí were selected and trained to assist in the general administration of justice. It may not be the thing for a Ban-Gharda to spend her time putting notices on windscreens, imposing on-the-spot fines, and so on. Neither is it any part of a Ban-Gharda's activity—I should like an assurance from the Minister in this regard; I do not know whether or not the practice has ceased —to engage in trying to catch people who may be interested in seeking the company and enjoyment, remuneratively, of other kinds of ladies. I hope that practice has stopped.

For some time.

I am delighted to hear that. Reference has been made to the Garda programme on television and the part it plays in the detection and prevention of crime. It is an excellent programme. If anything, it is probably a little too short but it gets the message over and does good work. It establishes a link between the police and people in their own homes which is psychologically very important not alone from the point of view of helping in crime prevention and detection but also from the point of view of establishing a healthy liaison between the police and civic-minded citizens. Far too often, we see situations in which a Garda is set upon by people who are either drunk or criminally minded. Far too often, we see citizens looking on and, on occasion, obviously enjoying the difficulties in which the police find themselves. It is high time we got rid of the idea that the police are the enemies of the people. The police are there to protect us, our property and our children. They are concerned to administer the law of the land and prevent people from offending against it.

I had a rather interesting experience recently in Green Street Court-house. I had appeared in three trials in a row and, at the end of a particular trial, I felt an obligation to pay a tribute to the Gardaí involved. In all three cases, right from the Chief Superintendent down, there was no arrogance shown at any time towards the prisoner. He was treated with the greatest kindness and deference: he was treated with courtesy and humanity. Yet there was never—not once—the slightest deviation from the path of duty. Now, had I made an attack on the Garda—if it were deserved. I probably would—the newspapers of this country and of other countries would have seized upon it and sent it far and wide. Not one word of the tribute I paid to the Gardaí on that particular occasion found its way into print.

I am with the Deputy all the way. That is the cause of a great deal of trouble.

We all have little spots of trouble with the Garda from time to time. Very often we are not right. It should be made clear, and should be fully understood by all our people, that the Garda are our brothers, our neighbours, specially selected to do a special job, to protect us, our families and our property. If at times a member of the Garda appears to lack tact or go off the rails, that is not an indictment of the Force as a whole and I would never accept it as such. In every walk of life, there is always bound to be somebody who will err in such a way as to have the finger pointed at the whole of the community in which he lives.

The legislation in relation to the identification of dogs does not appear to be observed as well as it might be and it is a matter to which the Garda should direct their attention. Sheep killing has continued and is occurring even on a larger scale. In many cases known to me, it has not been possible to identify the dogs, although they were seen, because they were not wearing the collar and identification mark required by law.

I do not know what we shall do about car parking. This city is a certain size and towns are a certain size. There must be a limit to the amount of space available for parking A certain amount of tact, understanding and humanity must be employed by the Garda towards people. Recently, some people made the case in the District Court that they had to attend at a certain place because their offices were there, and so on. I was pleased to note that the district justices were extremely lenient when the defendants made that case to them.

With regard to speed limits and road accidents, although I should not like to see it happen until I am a little older, at any rate, I am inclined to agree that a 60 miles per hour speed limit all over this country would be a good thing. I should not like to see it started as an experiment because experiments tend to remain in operation. I am inclined to think, having regard to British figures published since the imposition of the overall speed limit, that speed, probably more than drink, has to do with road accidents. With the increase in the number of cars and the threatened further increase, I do not know but that the time has come when we should have a central road accidents bureau where matters can be dealt with specially and directed in that regard to it.

While there is an increase in crime, on figures, I think it is probably to be found in certain age groups of certain kinds of young people. One cannot walk certain streets in this city without being jostled by people of indiscernible age and almost indiscernible sex. Those are the chappies and lassies to whom the Garda could well give a jostle rather than have ablebodied men placing pink tickets on the windows of motor cars round about.

The Minister referred to a new Criminal Justice Bill. I do not know whether it will provide for an increase in the powers of the Garda in relation to crime. I should not like to see any increase in powers creeping into an Act of Parliament, particularly in the kind of legislation that would enable the police to make an inroad on the liberty of the individual, and so on, but certainly, once crime is noticed and detected, I would give the Garda probably a little more power than they have at the moment to deal with the particular class of offender to which I refer.

The Minister mentioned a speeding-up and improvement in the Land Registry and it is about time that was done. The turn-out of maps from the Land Registry, for example, is very bad. Solicitors, acting for clients who need these maps in a hurry, are almost reaching the limit of their patience in this regard but there is nothing they can do but wait. There has been a slight improvement in my experience recently but a great deal of leeway remains to be made up.

We know very little about censorship. The Minister tells us that over 1,000 films were examined this year and that something under 1,000 were examined last year. He tells us that nearly three million feet of film was examined last year while, for this year, the number of feet is over three million. He tells us that so many films were accepted in whole and so many films in part. He tells us that so many films were rejected outright. I do not know that we are entitled to any more information if we are to be kept on a high moral plane. We do not know why these were rejected in part: I take it that it is on general standards of decency and morality and there might be some other reasons. How does a man sit through three million feet of film? This is a much-coveted job. I hope he has assistance of some kind. Certainly, if 49 films were rejected over the year, it represents almost one a week. I suppose he would be compensated somewhat by seeing something that is prohibited to the rest of us but there must be a powerful amount of titillation in three million feet of film.

The Minister referred to law reform and Deputy Corry referred to the jury system. I want to see jurors, whether in the city or in the country, adequately remunerated for the service they give. I do not want the service they give to be construed as the day they serve as distinct from the day they come and go home again. When a man comes 30 or 40 miles at his own expense there should be some remuneration per day for that and, in addition, if he is called upon to serve on the jury, he should be paid extra for that. It will not cost an awful lot. I think the Minister is bringing in something about this. I hope the remuneration to jurors will be adequate not like the miserable pittances in the legal aid system which I hope he will soon be reviewing as well and will make one fee for, say, a murder charge for people defending in a murder charge rather than half of that fee for attempted murder which, at the moment, could carry the same penalty.

Apart from remunerating jurors, I want the jury system retained. A citizen has no better guarantee of his life or his liberty than when it is entrusted into the hands and minds and consideration of 12 of his fellowmen. There are people I know who are anxious to get rid of the jury system, who feel sort of intellectually superior to it. They think that jurors are people who do not and cannot understand. If a juror, or a jury, does not understand, then it is not his fault. Very often, it is the fault either of the people addressing them or the people charging them. In my experience, juries do understand and jury verdicts are, almost without exception, the proper ones in relevant cases. Trying to get rid of jurors and the jury system is something that is springing from this new idea of humanitarianism, a new liberalism, which for the most part is pseudo, completely false, and which means you have to be, as it were, not fully out of step but half out of step and then pretending all the others are out of step because they are not doing it as you are doing it. We are going too far in this country, and indeed in the whole world, with this idea of more liberalism, of being advanced and of being "with it", and in all these almost teenage phrases being adopted in practice by the grown-ups. I want to keep the jury system for that reason.

On the question of law reform, I want to say we should not be erring in this regard with pseudo-liberalism and pseudo-humanitarian attitudes. As time passes, I am proud to recall that I divided the Seanad of this Legislature twice to retain hanging for certain offences. I want to say, having regard to my experience and having regard to knowledge gained elsewhere, that the day is not far distant when the Government must bring back hanging for more offences than it is provided for in legislation now.

It is now clear that the abolition of capital punishment as a deterrent has not worked, on the figures. It is now clear that the abolition of capital punishment has made it easier for an innocent man to be convicted on a capital charge, now non-capital, when he would have been convicted probably of a lesser charge under the older penal code. I am expressing this as a personal view and I am not commiting my Party to it—I should love to be able to commit them to it and to commit the whole House to it—that hanging should be restored as a deterrent, not necessarily to be used on all occasions but certainly to be there so that it could be used and that people would know it was there. Under the present scheme of things, there is no deterrent of any kind.

Let us not be carried away by ideas of civil liberties. When we are talking about taking away life and humanity entering into it, all that people talk about is the life of the person who has taken a life without any reference to the consequences for the family of the person whose life he has taken. Let us forget about this kind of mollycoddling humanity. Humanity can be exercised, even though you have capital punishment on the Statute Book. Humanity can always be exercised by a humane Government and a humane Minister, as it has been at all times in the past under any Government in this country, but, until such time as it is restored, you are going to have trouble and more trouble and the lives and property of citizens will be less secure.

Mr. Barrett

Earlier today, during Question Time, the Minister referred to a certain attitude which he alleged had been taken by the Fine Gael Party in regard to the death of a man in a Garda barracks in Cork. I regret very much that the Minister took that attitude and that he alleged that we on this side of the House were adopting a partisan attitude towards the unfortunate tragedy which marred the scene in Cork.

I said "some of you."

Mr. Barrett

The Minister should advert to the advice given to him during Question Time and should undertake that some further inquiries will be made into this incident. I have the fullest respect for the views the Minister expressed on this matter and I am not making any suggestion whatever against the Garda Force in Cork but I am saying that the ordinary man and woman in the street are faced with the facts of the case and these are that a man went in in perfect health physically, from the point of view of no bones being broken and no internal organs damaged, at about 6.30 one evening and came out dead.

He was not in perfect physical health.

Mr. Barrett

The Minister can answer me when he is replying to the debate. The man came out suffering grave physical effects to his body and internal injuries——

The Deputy is being totally irresponsible.

Mr. Barrett

If the Minister would be good enough to allow me to make my speech, he can answer when he comes to reply.

I will answer this evening, quite fully.

Mr. Barrett

The facts are that this man came out dead, suffering from grave injuries that happened in the Garda barracks——

There is not a scintilla of evidence——

Mr. Barrett

——and no explanation——

On a point of order——

Mr. Barrett

There is no point of order involved. I am entitled to allege that happened in the barracks.

There is not a scintilla of evidence to support that.

Mr. Barrett

The Minister is not employed by the Garda: he is employed by the people to ensure that people are protected against any——

I want the truth to emerge, the truth based on facts, and there is not a scintilla of evidence to base that——

Mr. Barrett

I am asking for the protection of the Chair and I am entitled to it. Obviously the Minister does not want me to speak on this matter. The Minister was grossly negligent and——

The Deputy is quite hysterical.

Mr. Barrett

He was grossly negligent and stupid in his approach to the inquest. He did not get a shorthand note taken of the proceedings at the inquest. If the Minister had done so, he would now be informed of what happened at the inquest, what was said by the witnesses, and he would be able to enlighten the House——

The Deputy is not in his proper senses.

Mr. Barrett

If the Minister would talk up so that I could hear——

I said that the Deputy is not in his proper senses, and I can forgive him.

Mr. Barrett

The Minister is not in a proper position to look after the Department of which he is in charge. The first thing done in any ordinary investigation of a civil kind is that a note of the proceedings is taken and for any Minister who has any legal knowledge to allow an inquiry of this nature to proceed without a complete shorthand note of the proceedings being taken indicates that he is incompetent.

Progress reported; Committee to sit again.