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Dáil Éireann debate -
Tuesday, 29 Apr 1969

Vol. 240 No. 1

Criminal Justice Bill, 1967: Committee Stage (Resumed).

Debate resumed on the following amendment:
To delete subsection (4).—(Deputy M.J. O'Higgins.)

We were dealing with amendment 5 of section 12. This is the section which purports to give the Garda power of arrest without warrant. When I was speaking on this amendment last week I made the case to the Minister that, as it seemed to me, the power of arrest which the Minister is seeking to give the Garda here may, in fact, be exercised, if this section goes through unamended, even where no offence has been committed. The Minister corrected me on that and at the time I was inclined to accept his correction. However, on reading the section again I think the argument I presented to the Minister on that occasion was correct, and I want to take the point up with the Minister again on that account. Section 12 (4), which I am suggesting by my amendment should be deleted from the Bill and which the Minister wants to amend purely from a drafting point of view, provides:

A member of the Garda Síochána may arrest a person without warrant where——

a number of things are applicable, the first being:

(a) he is satisfied that the person has committed an offence involving a breach of the peace or has engaged in conduct that was likely to lead to the commission of such an offence,

I argued on paragraph (a) of subsection (4) that it was possible that this power of arrest without warrant could be triggered off even though no offence had been committed, and it was pointed out that the distinction I made at the time was that there were two parts in this paragraph: first, you had the case where a person has committed an offence involving a breach of the peace —that that was one set of circumstances in which under this subsection arrest without warrant would be justified—and, secondly, you had a different set of circumstances where a person has engaged in conduct that was likely to lead to the commission of such an offence, that is, an offence involving a breach of the peace.

The Minister pointed out that engaging in conduct likely to lead to a breach of the peace was in itself an offence. I accepted that and I still do, but the whole of paragraph (a) is governed by the first few words, "where" a member of the Garda Síochána "is satisfied". The point I want to bring to the Minister's attention is that, while a garda may be satisfied in his own mind either that an offence has been committed or that conduct has been engaged in that was likely to lead to the commission of an offence involving a breach of the peace, the garda may be entirely wrong, and in that sense I think I am quite right in arguing that under this subsection as it stands we are seeking here to give the power of arrest without warrant to a garda even in cases where no offence may have been committed at all.

I want to give the Minister an example of the kind of thing I have in mind. I referred on an earlier amendment to the charges of intimidation which were made from the Government benches, indeed, by Ministerial spokesmen, against the NFA some years ago. It seems to me that if, for example, the Minister for Justice, with all the weight and authority of his position behind him, goes on record in this House or elsewhere to say that some individual or some organisation has been responsible for engaging in conduct likely to lead to a breach of the peace or that they have engaged in the commission of an offence involving a breach of the peace, it would be perfectly normal and natural for a member of the Garda Síochána to accept the word and the opinion of the Minister for Justice.

There the garda would be entitled to say that he was satisfied that a person had engaged in conduct that was likely to lead to the commission of an offence involving a breach of the peace, and the reason he would be satisfied was that he was accepting the diktat of the Minister for Justice. He is not required under this section to satisfy himself from personal, visual evidence. He is not required to be present and see a person engaging in conduct likely to lead to a breach of the peace. He is not required to be present and see the offence committed or attempted. If he claims to be satisfied—I suggest he can be satisfied on the hearsay evidence of a person in authority—then, if this subsection is passed it can become operative even though a Minister, or other person in authority, as the case may be, is simply making a political speech or giving an opinion, not as a lawyer but as a politician. Now that is a very important facet of this subsection against which this House must be on guard; it can be triggered off merely by an expression of opinion by a politician or a Minister of State acting in his political capacity.

Another important matter that has been dealt with only very briefly in relation to this subsection is the suggestion that has been made that this could bring into operation a system of protective or preventive custody. I gather the Minister has no very great regard for that argument because, in the booklet which he issued in reply to some of the critics of the Bill, the Minister says at page 6:

There are, however, more fundamental misconceptions in the text. The basic assumption in the criticism is that a power to make an arrest carries with it an arbitrary power to detain a person in custody (even in "protective custody"). This is certainly not the law. In a habeas corpus action, for instance, the question to be answered is not whether authority existed for taking a person into custody but what authority exists for keeping him in custody. A power of arrest is not, and could not be, a power to detain in “protective custody”—or “preventive custody” either.

Here the Minister is giving what seems to me to be a purely legalistic answer to a fear which is abroad amongst our people, a fear engendered by the wording of subsection (4) of section 12 of this Bill. I do not think that that fear is entirely ungrounded. I accept fully that it is not the Minister's purpose, or intention, in this subsection to set up a system of protective or preventive custody, but I think it is necessary that the Minister should examine very carefully what is being provided in this section. If we scrutinise the subsection carefully we see that the fears that have been expressed may not be entirely groundless. In paragraph (a) of subsection (4) the wording used is that a member of the Garda Síochána may arrest a person without warrant where——

he is satisfied that the person has committed an offence involving a breach of the peace or has engaged in conduct that was likely to lead to the commission of such an offence.

The last half dozen words were all-important. The subsection does not say that the conduct engaged in by the person must be conduct which would necessarily involve that person himself in the likelihood of committing a breach of the peace or of committing an offence involving a breach of the peace; if the person indulges in any conduct which may lead, however far-fetched it may be to the commission by others of a breach of the peace, that person is liable to arrest, and to arrest without warrant.

I want now to give the Minister and the House an example of how this could operate. Again, I do not think this is far-fetched. I remember occasions when from the front benches of the Fianna Fáil Government in this House the country was told that it was not the business of the Government to make people or causes popular: it could very well be that a person, because of the stand he takes on a political issue, may possibly inflame public opinion and find himself, although he is acting in a perfectly law-abiding, peaceful and honest manner, in a position in which his appearance at a particular time or on a particular occasion may give rise to conduct in others which is either rowdy or disorderly. Under the subsection as it stands, that person, whether he be a politician or anyone else, is liable to be taken into custody, to be arrested without warrant, on a member of the Garda Síochána forming the view that his appearance—he has done nothing other than appear—on the particular occasion was likely to lead to the commission of an offence by others involving a breach of the peace.

What is that except a system of protective or preventive custody? Surely that is what is involved in this subsection as it stands? I should like to hear the Minister arguing against it. I am quite prepared to accept that neither he nor any member of the Government intend that that should be so, but there it is. That is what the Minister wants this House to write into our criminal legislation and that is exactly the kind of thing about which fears are being expressed.

I have said on more than one occasion that, so far as the Bill as a whole is concerned, the best thing the Minister can do is to withdraw it, to purge it of objectionable sections such as this, and to come back to the House with a new Bill which will find a ready acceptance, because there are some worthwhile provisions in the Bill. So far, however, as this particular subsection is concerned, no matter how the Minister may endeavour to amend it, the fears it has provoked will continue and the only way in which the Minister can deal with the situation now is by getting rid of this subsection entirely. I do not think it is unreasonable to ask him to do that. The whole country knows that within a matter of months, if not weeks, we will have a general election.

If we are going to discuss the general election we will be a long time on this amendment.

The Minister will be a long time on this amendment anyhow. The whole country knows there will be a general election. In those circumstances, is there anything unreasonable in asking the Minister and the Government to stay their hand and let the people have an opportunity of passing judgment on the section and on the Bill? What is the reason for trying to rush it through the House to beat the general election?

Where is the rush?

There is no need to go ahead with this section.

We have given weeks for this Stage of the Bill.

I want to say to the Minister, and I do not say it because I have any desire to filibuster on this Bill, that I regard the atmosphere that has been created by this Bill and the dangers inherent in this Bill as being such that, so far as I personally am concerned, and I think I can talk for my Party in this, we are not going to let the Minister have a free run of this Bill through the House. Whatever we can do to prevent its becoming law, before the people have had an opportunity of giving their views on it, we shall do.

That is a fair enough statement of the attitude of the Deputy's Party. So they will obstruct the Bill so far as lies in their power?

These are the gentlemen who ask for a serious discussion on these sections.

I take it that we are also discussing the third amendment on the list here?

One would think we were discussing the general election.

I should love to discuss the general election if the Minister would give us some information in regard to it. It is a matter on which all of us would like to be far better informed. Leaving jokes aside, I personally believe that this Bill is coming in here at an unfortunate time—the Minister might say that any time to discuss a Bill of this kind might be considered unfortunate—because it is true that certain people in Northern Ireland are pointing their hands across the Border and are saying, in effect: "Why condemn the type of legislation that is in operation in the North? Are they not trying to introduce legislation in the South which in some respects is slightly worse?" For that reason, I consider it a pity that this Bill is being discussed in these weeks.

I seriously suggest that the Minister should consider withdrawing the Bill. I am not saying this in order to try to embarrass him but because I think it is even being unfair to him. He is aware that, on a previous occasion, a Bill came before this House known as the Succession Bill—somebody called it that and I think it was rather an apt description of it. It was introduced in this House and it was quite a mess and was withdrawn by a new Minister when he took over and it was reintroduced in such a way that it was a big improvement. I am quite sure that if the present Minister got the job of drawing up this Bill he would draw it up in a different way—and he has given evidence of this by virtue of the fact that he has withdrawn two sections and introduced, instead, two new sections. I think that, if he started to redraft the whole Bill from scratch, rather than trying to patch up what is in fact a very unsatisfactory attempt at legislation——

The Deputy might now come to the amendment. We seem to be getting back to the Second Reading again.

No, we are not, at all. I want to bring it round to this particular amendment which is before the House. The fact that there are so many amendments to this section proves that it is one of the objectionable sections. The point I am trying to make is this. The Minister changed two sections: why not change this one also? I am sure he realises that this one is as objectionable as the others were.

But we are not discussing the section. We are discussing amendments.

Deputy Booth is not discussing anything. He rambled in here a few minutes ago and placed himself comfortably in his seat. He will get an opportunity later of making his comments, if he wishes to do so, but he will not act as Ceann Comhairle here as far as I am concerned.

I have an amendment to the section.

The Minister is entitled to refer to his amendment but Deputy Booth is discussing the way the amendment is being discussed.

I am asking that we should come back to the amendment

Mr. Tully

The Chair has spoken in regard to that matter.

(Cavan): Subsection (4) as amended.

The point of view which Deputy M.J. O'Higgins was putting for the past 25 minutes was that this particular section, if it is not amended as suggested, will give a power of arrest to the Garda which is over and above anything they are entitled to have. Nobody has more respect for the members of the Garda Síochána than I have. I have said on numerous occasions in this House, and particularly on the Second Reading, that I often wonder at the tolerance with which they treat the type of people who occasionally start out on a parade, a march, or what have you, in this country. We are all in favour of giving the Garda Síochána necessary powers but when we come across a section of a Bill which suggests that because a meeting, parade, football match or something of that kind takes place and, at that meeting, somebody gets a bit excited a garda, looking on, might decide: "That fellow would cause a row" whereas, if somebody does not do anything about it, the fellow eventually goes away. Months afterwards, the same fellow appears at a meeting, march or football match and seems to be behaving in the same way. According to what is now proposed, the garda is entitled to arrest that man on the grounds that, previously, he showed signs of creating a breach of the peace and would, on this occasion, create a breach of the peace.

I can call to mind now a well-known supporter of the Minister's Party in my constituency who was secretary of a Cumann there which eventually folded up. He was the sort of fellow who, going to anything—a football match, a meeting, what have you—all he had to hear was something likely to be controversial and he immediately started to take off his coat. The impression one got was that he was going to hit some-body—but it was just a mannerism. After a while people felt he was a bit of a fool and nobody passed any remarks. Seeing him for the first time, and seeing him take off his coat, a garda on the edge of a meeting might take a mental note of that fact. A few months later, at another meeting or football match or what have you, and seeing the man behaving in the same manner, the garda might think that that fellow should be arrested, brought to the barracks and brought before a Peace Commissioner and, if I read it correctly, that person could be kept for a week.

The Deputy does not read it correctly.

Maybe Deputy Booth will give us the benefit of his knowledge when I have concluded my speech. I am reading this only as a layman. We are not all lawyers. However, it is laymen who will read this Bill if it is passed into law and who will be wondering what they are entitled to do under the law. Everybody in the country is not a lawyer and it is a good thing that they are not all lawyers. I have a great respect for lawyers but if everybody were a lawyer it would be too bad.

——for the lawyers.

It is not an offence to take your coat off.

Deputy Booth does not go to certain meetings. I am sure the people he has at meetings would not dare to take off their coats: they would be too "nice".

It is not an offence so it is a situation that does not arise.

It is not unknown.

According to Deputy Booth, an assault is not an offence.

It is not an offence involving a breach of the peace.

It is conduct likely to lead to a breach of the peace.

Deputy Booth moves in very nice circles where the people do not threaten. I see that he is now retiring. I hope he enjoys a long life among the genteel people who would not dream of taking off their coats to hit anybody. However, we do meet people who feel strongly about things and who would be inclined to take off their coats for a row.

There is a song to that effect—"Tread on the Tail of my Coat".

I do not think Deputy Booth would know anything about that song. My amendment here is that if the Minister wants to include this particular subsection he should amend it by saying that the offence must occur within 24 hours of the previous threat of the breach of the peace. The Minister would consider that. When he was talking here last Wednesday he made the case better for me than I could make it. He kept repeating that there was no intention of dealing with the case of somebody who had in fact, over a period of months, been involved in some kind of fracas and that this was a question of a man who was at one meeting and then went to a meeting elsewhere and continued a row he had been attempting to start earlier on, or some words like that, I do not wish to be putting words into his mouth. This was the impression I got and, if that is so and if the Minister meant it, he should accept the amendment to limit the period to 24 hours.

Not to conclude, of course?

Deputy T.F. O'Higgins is so rarely here that he does not appreciate that we are on the Committee Stage.

I do not think I should waste much time on the arguments made by Deputy M.J. O'Higgins because, having said last week that we wanted a serious discussion on these sections and the matters involved, he has now served notice that he is purely play-acting and that his Party is going to do this for the purpose of obstructing the passage of the Bill. Non-lawyer members of the House should take cognizance of this and accept that every hairy old cat will be pulled out of the bag for the purpose of trying to obstruct and trying to create unrest outside in regard to something that is not in what is a simple section. He has nailed his flag to the mast and we know what to expect. I suspected this was the purpose of his tongue-in-the-cheek arguments on the section last week when he was trying to regurgitate arguments made against various sections by a certain organisation although these were answered and refuted and the existing law made clear.

I must say I have a certain amount of sympathy with Deputy Tully in trying to follow the legal jargon which is passed around the House and the special significance of some words and expressions in connection with the criminal law because, as I have explained on another subsection, certain words and expressions have been judicially interpreted under other statutes and it is natural that this is taken into account by draftsmen who know they are using words with certainty which have already been judicially defined. As far as Deputy O'Higgins is concerned it is nonsense to say that because somebody, some politician, I do not mind who it is, said that such a thing is an offence, that the Garda or the authorities would automatically act on an opinion so expressed.

Of course, I did not say that.

The absurdity of that is apparent immediately we look at it. When he dragged in the word "intimidation". I explained again that that was judicially defined but that the judicial definition does not cover the ordinary everyday meaning of the word. In respect of matters or offences under the existing law there are a number of things we would say in ordinary conversation, for instance that so-and-so was intimidated, when in fact the conduct involved would indicate intimidation in the layman's view but not in the eyes of the law, which, as I explained, is a different matter altogether. It is question of what a justice would convict upon for a breach of the peace.

Let us get on with the subsection. Again, and I think deliberately, Deputy O'Higgins does not refer to my proposed amendment of the subsection but keeps talking about it as if this amendment was not there. There are three paragraphs in subsection (4). Under paragraph (a) the garda may arrest without warrant if "he is satisfied that the person has committed an offence involving a breach of the peace". We will halt there for a moment. Here is a definite offence already committed involving a breach of the peace. In some way or other Deputy O'Higgins tries to put it over on whoever he thinks is so naïve as to accept it from him that because some politician said "so-and-so committed an offence involving a breach of the peace" the gardaí will act. Was there ever anything more ridiculous? Here the section says that the garda must be satisfied that the person has already committed an offence, an offence which involves a breach of the peace. The second leg of that paragraph reads as follows: "or has engaged in conduct that was likely to lead to the commission of such an offence". That second leg also involves an offence as the law stands, as I have pointed out. Now, paragraph (b) goes on to stipulate that the garda must have "reasonable grounds for believing that the person is likely to engage in further conduct whereby the commission of an offence involving a serious breach of the peace may occur" and paragraph (c) adds the condition that "it is not reasonably practicable to apply for a warrant". This is where Deputy Tully's amendment comes in, because (c) qualifies (a) and (b). There is no question of an arrest without a warrant unless you have these three conditions fulfilled, including that it is not reasonably practicable to apply for a warrant—in other words, that it is an urgent matter.

What I am putting to Deputy Tully is, and I will go further with the Deputy's argument, that these words "that it is not reasonably practicable to apply for a warrant" limit severely and absolutely the time factor in this whole matter because, if it is reasonably practicable for the garda to apply for a warrant—if he has time to go to a peace commissioner and get it—then he could not exercise this power of arrest without warrant. For Deputy Tully's benefit let me point out that if the garda sees a breach of the peace being committed the existing law is that he can arrest there and then without any warrant. I should like the Deputy to appreciate that that is the present law. This is a point——

If he sees, that is the important thing.

We are talking up in the clouds about this. Of course he sees it. Under this section he must satisfy himself first that an offence has been committed or, alternatively, that conduct has been engaged in that is likely to lead to a breach of the peace. All this storm in a teacup concerns a very, very rare occurrence. I still want to impress on Deputy Tully that the qualifying time factor here is that the garda does not have time, that the offence has been committed or there has been conduct likely to lead to a breach of the peace, that the parties are going to get at it again and that to try and stop that happening he can, if he has not the time to get a warrant, use this power to arrest without warrant.

There was on one occasion serious trouble between fishermen. There was trouble out at sea. One section of the fishermen landed and having armed themselves with certain weapons were about to go back to renew the fray. There was a grave danger that, perhaps, lives would be lost. But although the gardaí knew that there had already been trouble, no local peace commissioner was readily available and they could not arrest these men to prevent them from going out and engaging again in what I will call a continuing row without getting a warrant under the law as it stands—as it then stood and as it now stands. That is the purpose of this section——

(Cavan): Surely under the law as it stands if he saw them going into battle——

Let the Deputy wait until I finish. I shall answer any question the Deputy has to ask then.

(Cavan): Surely if the garda saw them going into battle, so to speak, he could arrest them then.

No. He cannot arrest them without a warrant, unless he observes them, but he is not clairvoyant; he cannot see fellows splitting each other's heads with oars out at sea. He may have satisfied himself that there was trouble. He may have a source of information when they came in, but, when they armed themselves for the special purpose of going out again, under existing law he could not, without a warrant, arrest these men so as to prevent them re-engaging in the fray. It is a situation like that—a continuing running fight—that this provision is designed to meet. The qualifying factor in time here is that it must not be reasonably practicable to apply for a warrant. If there is time then the garda cannot arrest without a warrant.

Deputy Tully said that I argued— and I do not think there can be any answer to my argument—that the subsection as it stands was restricted and that it could only be used very rarely and that, when it was used, its use almost invariably had to be confined to incidents that had occurred only a matter of hours previously. He says in that case why not put in a 24-hours limit. If the Deputy has these fears on the score of interpretation I see no great objection to adopting his suggestion. I want to point out, however, that as the section will stand when it is amended in the way proposed in my official amendment—with the overall qualifying condition that the garda can only arrest without a warrant in these circumstances if he cannot immediately get a warrant, if a peace commissioner is not reasonably available—the operation of the power of arrest without warrant will be restricted to events that have occurred a matter of a few hours rather than a day or days previously.

Would the Minister put that in?

It is only in very rare circumstances that it could go as far back as eight or ten hours because the gardaí would probably be able to rope in a peace commissioner—they would have to do so if they could—and swear an information for a warrant. In my view the Deputy's amendment would be restrictive on the amended section. That is my feeling, but if the Deputy believes—and I want to be fair to him since I know what he is aiming at but I think it would have the opposite effect—I think it could be done without any great difficulty in this way. If I adopt his suggestion, paragraph (a) of my own amendment would then read: "(a) he is satisfied that the person has, within the period of twenty-four hours immediately preceding the time of the arrest, committed an offence involving either a breach of the peace or conduct that was likely to lead to a breach of the peace". If the House and the Deputy agree, that could be inserted in this way. I think it is rather restrictive, while I understand that he thinks he is liberalising. If he understands what I am saying about the effect of my amendment as it now reads, under which the idea is to spell out more clearly the intention behind the section —that the gardaí could exercise this power only where a peace commissioner was not reasonably available or where they did not have time to apply for a warrant—but it would, nevertheless, satisfy the Deputy and the House to insert these words in this way, I am prepared to agree.

What the Minister suggests there may possibly be some slight sugaring of what still remains a very bitter pill because we object to these powers being given at all. I hope what I am about to say will appear sensible to those who are not lawyers and who want to keep as far away as possible from lawyers. We are discussing the criminal law of this land and our statute law at the moment is the result of many different statutes that have been passed not only in this House but in the Imperial Parliament in the last century. They were passed for the purpose of dealing with the extant and accumulated experience in regard to—in this context—breaches and threatened breaches of the peace and so on. Right through the last century and into this century the established position always was that power of arrest existed only in a situation in which an open breach of the peace had been committed in the presence of a constable or a Garda officer. It was never suggested or thought, despite whatever difficulties the British Government had in trying to maintain what they regarded as the rule of law in this country, in spite of unrest and open defiance, that they should have this power. It was never thought necessary. Nobody can suggest here that British authority in Ireland was benevolent; it certainly was not. There was scarcely a period in which they were not amending and altering the law in order to extend the powers they could exercise in relation to people they regarded as offenders against the law. This power was never sought.

If we look at our own experience in the past 50 years there was from time to time a situation in which people acted collectively and individually in open defiance of the law of the land. These people had it as their objective and intention, deliberately conceived, to tear down this House and the institutions of this State. There was a situation in which at times Garda officers took their lives in their hands if they went out to do their duty in accordance with their position. Many of them were shot or murdered or killed. Nevertheless, nobody in this House, no member of any Government here ever felt that a section of this kind was necessary or desirable. The position has been for well more than a century of amendments and changes in the common law that this power was never felt to be desirable or necessary. It is in that context and with that background that we on these benches look with the gravest suspicion on this proposal which so drastically enlarges the powers of arrest given to Garda officers.

Deputy M.J. O'Higgins has proposed the deletion of the subsection. I think that amendment is the best possible amendment to the section, to delete it entirely. I do not think the section would suffer as a result. The situation then would be that the existing powers, for long regarded as adequate, would continue to be so regarded and I do not think anyone would suffer. However, the Minister will not agree to that and obviously he has run away in some way from the original subsection as proposed. He now proposes an amendment to subsection (4). The Minister can appear to be reasonable when it suits him. He is a very experienced Member of this House and he is as conscious as anybody else of the need to put some appearance of virtue on a Bill which has been, one could say, universally condemned.

In this amendment, the Minister says that a member of the Garda Síochána may arrest a person without warrant if he is satisfied that the person has committed an offence. That is fair enough but it is extending to a Garda officer a power that he did not have before. The expression "he is satisfied that the person has committed an offence" is past tense. Up to this the protective machinery and the ordinary good sense of successive generations required that to arrest such a person it was necessary to get a warrant from someone not involved in the fight so that no vengeance could be excercised by a mala fide garda and no opportunity would be given to the officer to do something wrong against any person.

The Minister intends changing that and he intends according to a Garda officer a right which comes into operation on a decision by him the moment he is satisfied that such and such a person has committed an offence involving either a breach of the peace or involving conduct likely to lead to a breach of the peace.

No, it does not. If the Deputy reads the amendment——

May I say it slowly again?

If the Deputy reads the amendment, he will realise that his remarks are nonsensical.

May I say it slowly again for Deputy Booth? I am perfectly aware of what I have to read. I do not need any admonition from Deputy Booth as to what it is necessary for me to read and Deputy Booth should observe the rules of the House. I know the laborious point the Deputy is endeavouring to make.

The Deputy should make the point himself.

According to the Minister's amendment, the first condition for arrest is satisfaction by the Garda officer that the person has committed an offence involving either a breach of the peace or likely to lead to a breach of the peace. The second provision is the non-availability of a warrant of a peace commissioner but it is the Garda officer who decides that it is not reasonably practicable to apply for a warrant; he decides there is too much trouble involved in seeking one.

Thirdly, the garda has

reasonable grounds for believing that, if the person is not promptly charged with the offence aforesaid, the person is likely to engage in further conduct whereby the commission of an offence involving a serious breach of the peace may occur.

The point is that the officer is both judge and executioner. Although successive British Governments sought to impose very rigorous legislation on the people of this country they never went as far as the Minister is going now. They always prevented a situation in which a limb of the law would be accorded rights which would appear, under examination, to be unreasonable. They always tried to have some independent person who would act semi-judicially in regard to the action of a constable in order to ensure that no wrong would be done but this protection is now being swept away in this subsection even though, as I say, it was never found necessary by British legislators, despite all the troubles of this country, to change the law.

Deputy M. O'Higgins referred to the effects of this section if it is passed and it will not do any harm for me to emphasise an aspect of what he says which could be serious and is certainly relevant. It is the practice for us to be invited in this House, as, indeed, the Members of every Parliament are, to pass legislation proposed by a Minister. Very often the Minister proposing the legislation will tell us that the legislation is intended as a remedy to some exceptional and clear problem. It has happened that legislation has gone through this House because people have been coaxed into doing so by reason of the fact that the Minister has told them that the legislation is intended only for a limited set of circumstances and an example is usually given to illustrate the particular circumstances.

The Minister proposing the present legislation tells us that this section is designed to deal with a particular and exceptional kind of case and he instances an example of a row between two groups of fishermen when they proceeded to beat each other physically while out at sea. They then retired to refresh themselves and then set out again and, of course, the Garda officer concerned, not having witnessed the breach of the peace but having reasonable grounds to believe it had taken place, had not the powers to arrest the men. The Minister says that that is the kind of case he has in mind and he puts forward a reasonable proposal. I would have thought that if the Garda officer concerned had seen a militant team of fishermen having refreshed themselves and re-armed themselves proceeding to push their boats out to sea he would have known he was witnessing conduct likely to involve a breach of the peace and that, in fact, he would have arrested them. Probably why it was not done was that there was only one garda on duty and it would have taken a team of gardaí to effect an arrest. However, whatever the reason may have been we are concerned in this section—I am dealing with the Minister's amendment—with words which I may say are of general application.

I want to indicate what is clearly covered by the Minister's amendment. The first condition is the satisfaction by the Garda officer himself that the person has committed an offence involving either a breach of the peace— very well, assume that has not taken place—or committed an offence involving conduct that was likely to lead to a breach of the peace. As Deputy M. O'Higgins pointed out that is conduct likely to lead to a breach of the peace. By whom? It is not necessarily by the person himself. The words are sufficiently wide to cover the exercise by a person of his or her own legitimate rights, such exercise being opposed and obstructed by mala fide persons who want to prevent that exercise. We have many an example of it at the moment, currently and recently in part of our country. People anxious in a democratic way to walk in an orderly and peaceful manner along the streets and the roads of Northern Ireland to proclaim a legitimate demand for the according of civil rights and exercising their legitimate right to do so may be opposed by another group, the Paisleyites, who mala fide with determination set out to prevent those people exercising their lawful rights.

This may be improbable but it applies to the wording of this section. In those circumstances should such an event occur here within our present jurisdiction a Garda officer could well say that those people walking the roads to proclaim their demand for civil rights are engaging in conduct that is likely to lead to a breach of the peace, not by them but by those opposed to them, who wish to prevent them. Under the Minister's amendment a Garda officer has merely to be satisfied about that. There is no peace commissioner available.

The third condition in this amendment is that "he has reasonable grounds for believing that, if the person is not promptly charged with the offence aforesaid..." What is the offence? The offence under this section is that the person was exercising his or her lawful rights but in the circumstances a breach of the peace could flow from it. That is an offence. Secondly, if the person is not promptly charged with the offence he is likely to engage in further conduct. In other words, the person is likely to continue to walk along in peaceful protest and, therefore, there would be a serious breach of the peace and then that person is arrested.

This is obviously wrong and unjust. It is obviously undemocratic and it is obviously suppression of the rights of the persons concerned. If the Minister's amendment is passed some day in some circumstances some Garda officer under instructions possibly can arrest a person who is doing nothing more than lawfully expressing a point of view. He can arrest that person merely because the State, the administration or the Establishment is not prepared to stand up to protect that person in the exercise of his or her rights.

That is why we object to this general amendment. We view it with suspicion. We see here a secret power being given to Garda officers which can lead to the negation of democracy and the abuse of people reasonably exercising their rights. I would direct the Minister's attention as responsibly as I can to the general wording he uses in his amendment. I would like him to indicate in what way my reasoning is wrong. It is clear to me that the wording as it stands can cover conduct which, in fact, is no more than the legitimate exercise by a person of his rights. The section comes into play if that conduct is likely to lead to an obstructive process by others which, in fact, is outside the law and a breach of the peace. Therefore, this amended subsection is of general application and in my view is dangerous.

May I end as I began? What is the necessity for this? Why is it now proposed so drastically to change the law of this country? The Garda has been an exemplary force for the 50 years this parliament has been in existence and they are an example to many other police forces throughout the world, unarmed and disciplined. By their presence, their action and conduct they have instilled in those who thought otherwise at one time a respect for the law of this land. They have been able to do so without resorting to the use of force. In the course of their so doing many loyal members fell, but the others carried on. Having got over much difficulty and trouble in 50 years of our own rule a change is now proposed. Why is it now necessary to change the law in this respect? I believe this proposal has obviously been sponsored or sparked off by a limited experience in regard to a particular incident which the Minister mentioned. That is no crutch on which to base a proposal which can endanger the rights of legitimate protest in a democracy.

We view this subsection as part and parcel of other proposals in other parts of this Bill. It is part of the policy of this Bill which is aimed at fettering the ordinary safety valve of legitimate protest, preventing it and making it more difficult. In that respect I should like to join with those who condemned this proposal, amended or unamended, as a dangerous one and one which should not be passed by this House. I would urge upon the Minister to accept the proposal from Deputy M. O'Higgins to delete subsection (4). I do not think it will endanger his Bill. Other proposals in the Bill are good ones and there are some there can be a debate about. They can stand on their own feet, but the deletion of subsection (4) is not going to endanger this Bill. Its retention can certainly cause a danger to the rights of the ordinary people.

I was disappointed by the contribution of Deputy T.F. O'Higgins. He certainly did not convince me of anything, and I very much doubt whether he even convinced himself. He went into a discussion on the civil rights movement in Northern Ireland and suggested that people engaging in similar activities under our jurisdiction would be liable to arrest without warrant simply because they were exercising their legitimate rights in the face of opposition. He tried to reason that their exercise of those legitimate rights would also be conduct likely to lead to a breach of the peace from those who were unfriendly to them. If Deputy T.F. O'Higgins had taken the trouble as a lawyer to read sub-paragraph (a) he would have seen that what the Minister is suggesting in his amendment is that the garda must be satisfied that the person has committed an offence. That is the first part. The staging of a peaceful demonstration is not and cannot be an offence in itself.

The Minister suggests that the garda must be satisfied that the person has committed an offence involving either a breach of the peace or conduct that was likely to lead to a breach of the peace. It is not a question of a Garda officer satisfying himself that the person had been guilty of conduct likely to lead to a breach of the peace by itself. He has to satisfy himself an offence has been committed in the first place. A civil rights march or a peaceful demonstration is not an offence. We can entirely disregard all this high-sounding contribution of Deputy T.F. O'Higgins about the infringement of the rights of the individual or groups of individuals who stage peaceful demonstrations. That does not come into this amendment or the subsection and if the Deputy does not know it he should make himself acquainted with it.

It is obvious that the Deputy does not practise as a lawyer.

The Deputy did practise as a lawyer for many years.

The Deputy did not learn much.

I am disappointed that a practising lawyer could make such a misinterpretation of the amendment, as Deputy T.F. O'Higgins has done. He has stated categorically, as will be confirmed in the record of the opening part of his speech, that where a garda was satisfied that a person has committed an offence he has immediately a right of arrest without warrant. It was only after I had made an interjection that the Deputy took the trouble to read the sub-paragraph, which made nonsense of his original argument. The Deputy went on to say that the garda in this particular instance is the judge and executioner. I would accept such a misleading statment without much surprise from a layman, but not from Deputy T.F. O'Higgins or any other practising lawyer because he knows in his heart of hearts that that is not so.

The Garda officer is not the final authority. He is the final authority in the initial stages as to whether an arrest shall take place or not but then he must come before the court and satisfy the court that the person whom he has arrested has committed an offence involving a breach of the peace or conduct likely to lead to a breach of the peace. He has also to satisfy the court that it was not reasonably practicable to apply for a warrant. The court will be very strict on that. Finally, he has to satisfy the court that he had reasonable grounds for believing that if the person was not promptly charged with the offence aforesaid the person was likely to engage in further conduct where the commission of an offence involving serious breach of the peace might occur. Under no circumstances is a garda the judge and executioner in legal proceedings. As I have said before last week, I have confidence in the court which I think, in his heart of hearts, Deputy T.F. O'Higgins has also. The defence of the individual is the impartiality of our courts of law, and the strict interpretation by those courts of the law as it stands is also his defence. I cannot imagine any district justice, Circuit Court judge or High Court judge blandly assuming that a garda has acted in absolute good faith in arresting without a warrant. Any occupant of the Bench would be at least as anxious as Deputy T.F. O'Higgins claims to be for the preservation of the rights of the individual. I believe that where the Garda officer must appear before the court and prove that he has acted reasonably throughout the whole incident he will be reluctant to exercise this power except in cases where there is no other alternative and where the peace cannot be preserved in any other way.

There has been a lot of pompous nonsense talked when discussing this subsection. Deputy T.F. O'Higgins says that there has been no demand for this and asked why has nobody ever done it before. We are always amending the law without there being demand for it. No law is ever final. No law is ever incapable of improvement. It do not believe this is an absolutely essential, necessary and vital part of this Bill but I believe it is highly desirable.

I cannot see any sinister, hidden motives behind it. If we were to give power to the Garda to arrest and punish there might be something in it. There is no power of punishment. There is only a power of arrest under very, very strict conditions which must be satisfied before a court. I would ask members of the Opposition to treat this as seriously as Deputy James Tully has done. I feel personally the introduction of some reference to 24 hours may be a slight improvement. The Minister has suggested there may be something in Deputy James Tully's amendment. I do not think it is necessary, but if it will help I should be happy with it. I wish that members of the Fine Gael Party, in particular, would try to regard this as a serious effort to improve the law and that they would not try to use the Committee Stage of the Bill purely as a filibustering exercise to stave off the dissolution of the House.

What did the Deputy say?

I said that Fine Gael should not use these tactics to try to postpone the dissolution of the House.

Good Lord, is the Deputy guaranteeing us a dissolution?

Of course, it is not actually within my competence——

Then, stop talking nonsense.

The one temptation the Deputy would offer to the House is that if we let the Bill through tonight he would get the Taoiseach to dissolve the House.

You are always looking for an election and singing "sorry" afterwards.

The purpose of Fine Gael is to try to make sure that the Bill will not go through. Deputy Michael O'Higgins should make up his mind as to which side he is playing on. There has been no evidence to show that there is any sinister implication, even in the original sub-paragraph. I do not think the Minister has made anything more than a drafting amendment, a clarifying amendment. The sub-paragraph now in the Bill clarifies the intention. It discloses the intention more clearly and puts it beyond shadow of doubt that it is only in cases where a breach of the peace has occurred and where it is likely to recur, where somebody must act quickly and where a garda is prepared to say that in court, that such power will be exercised.

Fine Gael lawyers should remember that if the garda cannot justify his arrest without warrant he is laying himself open to civil proceedings for unlawful imprisonment. That will be in the garda's mind all the time and he will be darned careful not to exercise his power harshly or unreasonably at any time. He must protect himself. He will be acting under this sub-paragraph only where an emergency arises and where he knows in his heart of hearts that there is no alternative open to him to preserve the peace.

I am completely behind the Minister in this amendment. It is an improvement which might be improved still further by the inclusion of "24 hours", not because it would make a better sub-paragraph but because it would clarify in the minds of the public some of the matters over which a cloud of suspicion and misapprehension has been cast by people who should know better.

The last speaker forgot himself sufficiently to describe the contribution of Deputy O'Higgins as pompous nonsense. I would not describe the contribution of Deputy Booth as pompous nonsense but as utter and absolute nonsense. He accused Deputy O'Higgins of not having read the section. I do not accuse Deputy Booth of not having read it. He read it and proceeded to misinterpret it and to express views based on the opening words of paragraph (6) (a) —that the garda is satisfied that the person is committing an offence.

Of course there has to be satisfaction in respect of the committing of an offence but what is even clearer is that the person who is satisfied is the garda himself, not the courts. Deputy Booth completely misled himself in trying to mislead the House when he said that the great safeguard of citizens' liberties is the independence of the courts. I beg leave to differ. The greatest safeguard is this House, not the courts. The courts are charged with the duty of interpreting the law and here we decide the policy which dictates any enactment and here we are considering whether the policy behind this section is justifiable—whether it is an unreasonable and undue encroachment on the rights of the citizen.

Deputy Booth said that here there is no power of punishment, only a power of arrest. Is there anything more undignified to the mind of an ordinary citizen who believes himself to be innocent than that he should be manhandled by a garda and thrown into a cell? The Minister in his arguments, some of which were not powerful or cogent, underlined what I am saying. He insisted, by interruption as well as by statement, that power of arrest involved subsequently the coming to court. It involves nothing of the sort. Many a man has been arrested, put into a cell and thrown out during the night by a garda who knew he had no evidence on which he could get a conviction. The power of arrest stands by itself, therefore.

I agree with Deputy O'Higgins, and I come within the diatribe of Deputy Booth because I have been practising for some 53 years. What Deputy O'Higgins has said agrees with what I have said on the interpretation which must be put on this section and which lays the duty on this House and on every Memeber of it, particularly on the Minister, to consider whether this section is not in contravention of the Constitution. In the Constitution we have the guarantee of the rights of free assembly and free speech. If it is not guaranteed expressly in the Constitution, the guarantee of the right from arrest is the citizen's most prized right.

If the situation is that power of determining whether the person is to be arrested in the circumstances set forth in this section lies within the satisfaction of the garda, then it is wide open for consideration that citizen's rights under the Constitution are being infringed. The right of a judicial decision is based on the courts, not the Garda Síochána, and I think it is incumbent on all Deputies to determine and to decide for themselves as a matter of policy, whether we are not infringing the rights of citizens in giving power in this Bill to an ordinary garda to say: "I am satisfied an offence was about to be committed and therefore I am arresting you". That cannot be tested in court. All the garda has to say is: "I was satisfied an offence was about to be committed".

That an offence had been committed.

No amount of interruption by Deputy Booth will get over the words expressed in this section. Once the garda is satisfied, he cannot be questioned and once the garda says he was satisfied, he cannot be cross-examined on the basis of his satisfaction, on the grounds of his satisfaction and no evidence of the accused can make the court inquire into that matter.

I directed the Minister's attention— he said he would look into it—to the case of a man who was hanged because we put into the legislation the words "he is satisfied". That is what we have to consider. The words are "is satisfied that an offence is being committed". The garda must be satisfied that it is being committed, but he is the only person to say it. He is, as Deputy O'Higgins said, judge and jury. That is what Deputy Booth did not appreciate and did not know until I drew his attention to it. If we pass this Bill, all a garda has to say is "I was satisfied...." He cannot be asked on what grounds he was satisfied.

I would say he can.

If the garda says he is satisfied, that ends the matter so far as his power of arrest is concerned. If, as Deputy Booth has suggested is possible, an action for false arrest is taken, that is the absolute answer that will be put forward by counsel on behalf of the garda—that the garda was satisfied—and under section 12 of this Bill that is the end of the matter. That is a consideration of paramount importance, and no amount of casual interruption by Deputy Booth will prevent me from making this case. He has specialised in silly interruptions, and I want to make it perfectly clear that the contentions I am putting forward can be answered by him, if he likes, on his feet.

I am giving my view on this section. I am making the suggestion to this assembly here, which has the duty, in accordance with what has been decided by the Supreme Court, to consider whether the Constitution is or is not being contravened. You will find, if you look at some of the decisions of the Supreme Court on constitutional matters, they have laid down that anybody who alleges that an Act of this Dáil contravenes or is repugnant to any provision of the Constitution bears the onus of proving that himself.

The onus is on him to prove it, because they assume that the Legislature, when dealing with the enactment, considered carefully the question of whether it was constitutional or not. We all know here what happens, just what is happening to me now. Ministers and their back-benchers will throw their Order Papers at you and scoff if you raise a point about the Constitution.

That is the law anyway and I am directing the Minister's attention and the attention of the House to their very serious duty to say whether or not if, as Deputy O'Higgins has argued and cogently argued, the position is that all a man is doing is exercising his legal, constitutional rights of free assembly or free speech and a garda has the power that we propose to give him now of saying: "Although you are only exercising your rights under the Constitution I, a garda, am satisfied...and consequently I am arresting you". Whether that is constitutional or not is gravely open to doubt.

Having drawn the attention of the House to those matters I want to reiterate something which has in fact been amplified by Deputy T.F. O'Higgins this afternoon. When I spoke here last Wednesday I drew the attention of the House to the fact that, so far as I could find out from the speeches of the Minister, the pamphlet he sent out at public expense or any of the White Papers he has nowhere stated and certainly has not proved to my satisfaction that these powers are necessary to be given to the gardaí if they are to carry out their duties of preserving public peace. No case has been made that these powers are necessary and that the gardaí have been unable to discharge their duties of keeping public order without them. But there is this case and I want to repeat it again: the gardaí were able to carry on and have been able to carry on in this country even in spite of some very serious demonstrations and other tumultuous, riotous assemblies that have occurred in recent years. They have been able within their powers to maintain the peace and they have not had to have resort to arbitrary powers of arrest. It has not been stated that they were not able to do their duty because of the absence of these powers.

They did not want these powers of arrest at all. I want to say that the experience in this part of the country is that arrest has never been a deterrent to any action by demonstrators or people who wished to make their views known or to bring pressure to bear on public affairs by demonstrations, processions or anything else. Arrest has never been a deterrent in the north in spite of the explosive situation that exists up there. There have been arrests and it has never deterred people. In France, where there were frightful riots last year, they have the power of arrest and even the power of shooting. It does not prevent demonstrations where people feel keenly on something and wish to express themselves and bring pressure to bear on public opinion. The power of arrest, therefore, is not necessary to be given in this Bill.

Again I want to reiterate that there is no doubt whatever that one of the matters that are gravely affecting public opinion and causing widespread disquiet is the provisions of this Bill. One of the main objections that the public in general have to this Bill is the arbitrary powers of arrest, the additional powers of arrest, that are being given. The Minister may say he does not care for the Civil Liberties Association or any of those who have come together to maintain or preserve what they call civil rights. He may maintain that they are of no consequence. He may think that the particular association which proposes to hold a public meeting in the Mansion House to protest against the provisions of this Bill is a group of people who are to be treated with contempt, whose views are not to be regarded with anything except ridicule and even the basest motives are to be attributed to them for their views on this. I would urge upon the Minister that those people are not individuals with chips on their shoulders or grievances or people who are going out with any axe to grind for the purpose of putting out the present Government or in any way to deal with the matter from a political point of view. They do, in my considered opinion, represent the general view that is held in the country by people who not merely do not take part in politics but take a pride in that fact—the ordinary people who go about their business, not caring very much. They are very seriously perturbed by the provisions of this Bill and the powers that are being taken.

I urged on the Minister on the last occasion, I again urge on him and I will urge on him again before the Bill is finished, to take cognisance of that public opinion, not to be an engine running away without a train, not to go too far in advance of public opinion, to take account of the fact that the opinions we on this side of the House, both Labour and Fine Gael, are voicing, are opinions that are widespread in all sections of the community. It is our duty in this House to take account of this. It is incumbent on us and on the Government and Minister to take full account of that fact because we are the people who are making the policy, we are the people who are doing this and are putting this Bill into law, if we do so. We are the people who must take account of public opinion, particularly if we find, as I think we will, from an examination of this section, from the facts and from all the Minister's speeches and documents that there is no demand for this from the Garda. There is no reason why the Garda cannot get on without it as they have done before, by handling groups with discretion and tact. If we proceed with giving the Garda the additional powers that are sought in this Bill, even if they were logically, apart from factually, desirable, we are going a long way towards making the public disregard the Garda, we are going to bring the Garda into disrepute, to take away public confidence in them by reason of the fact that the people will not trust them and will be afraid of them. That would be a bad day's work for this House to do.

I want to make it quite clear to the Minister that I have no apology, good, bad or indifferent, to make to him or to the Government for the remarks I made with regard to this Bill. I want to repeat again that I speak for my Party, and, so far as we are concerned, we are not prepared to make any concessions to the Minister or the Government with regard to what we consider to be objectionable sections and provisions in the Bill. I feel quite justified in doing what I can in this House to ensure that those objectionable provisions will not be passed by this House until the people have an opportunity of expressing their views on them.

The Minister may regard this as filibustering if he likes. That is my view and I believe that in doing that I am discharging a duty which rests on me as an elected public representative in this House. I do not believe the Minister and the Government realise the extent to which they have inflamed public opinion by certain of the provisions in this Bill. If they took time off to consider the feelings they have aroused by certain of these provisions they would feel as we do, that the only way to deal with them is to drop them completely.

In case the Minister spoke about my previous appeal that serious consideration should be given to some sections of the Bill and felt there was something in conflict with what I said about opposing this Bill, there is no conflict so far as I am concerned. This Bill must get serious consideration from the House. As I said before, there are worthwhile provisions in it. I do not want to continue in a general vein, but the Minister and the House may like to know that, so far as my Party are concerned, we have already decided that many of its provisions are not matters of Party controversy, but are matters which can be dealt with by a free vote of the House. There are other provisions—and this is one of them— which we regard as objectionable and as inflaming public opinion to a degree which is altogether unnecessary, and unnecessary particularly for the reasons which have been set out by Deputy John A. Costello and other speakers this afternoon.

Up to this the Garda authorities have been able to get along, and keep the peace effectively, and preserve law and order without these new powers of arrest without warrant which the Minister now seeks to give them under section 12. Let us be quite clear about this. These are new powers. They are powers which the Garda have not had up to this. I should like to know, as Deputy Costello inquired, has there been any demand from the Garda even, for these new powers of arrest without warrant which are contained in this section, and in the subsection we are discussing? Certainly there has been no demand from the public that these powers should be given to the Garda, that we should alter our law and extend the power of arrest without warrant as suggested here.

Deputy Booth said he did not believe this was a necessary or a vital part of the Bill. He went on, I think, to say he thought it was desirable. Let us ponder for a moment on those words of Deputy Booth, that he did not believe this was a necessary or a vital part of the Bill. I accept that it is not a necessary or a vital part of the Bill. The remedy I have suggested to the Minister is to delete this provision from the Bill. In the atmosphere which surrounds this Bill, when people and organisations all over the country are up in arms against it, surely if a provision such as this is not regarded as vital or necessary, the sensible thing for the Minister to do is to drop it from the Bill?

If the Minister regards it as necessary or vital, let him get up and tell the House why he considers it to be either vital or necessary. If the Minister is armed with a demand from the Garda authorities that their hand should be strengthened by these new powers of arrest without warrant, let him stand up here and tell the House that, and tell the House the reasons why such a request has been made by the Garda, if it has been made. If he does not want to fall back on that, let him stand up and argue why these powers are necessary.

There is only one Deputy in the Fianna Fáil benches whom I know to be on record as arguing that these powers are necessary, and that is Deputy MacEntee. According to a report in the Irish Times of 15th March he had a lot to say about this Bill. We have heard the discussion here this afternoon on the reasons why this provision is suggested. It might be worth while for Deputies to consider the reasons for this Bill, as seen through the eyes of Deputy MacEntee.

With respect, Sir, if they are relevant to the amendment we are discussing.

Surely Deputy MacEntee's views are relevant?

I want to remind the Minister again that what we are doing under this subsection of the Bill, which I am suggesting in my amendment should be deleted, is giving immense new powers to the Garda authorities to arrest without warrant in certain circumstances. I have inquired from the Minister why he considers these powers to be necessary. I do not know whether the Minister intends to give me that information.

I gave the Deputy the information if he was listening but he has disregarded it.

Does this contribution from Deputy MacEntee embarrass the Minister?

Does he want to keep it off the record?

What I object to is the Deputy using newspaper quotations from Deputy MacEntee or anyone else in aid of his filibuster contribution against this Bill. I suggest that whatever Deputy MacEntee said might be relevant to the Bill itself, or to some other section, but what I am questioning is whether it is relevant to the amendment before the House.

There is only one way to decide that. Let us hear what Deputy MacEntee said and then we can decide whether it is relevant.

If it achieves the Deputy's purpose of delaying the House——

Deputy MacEntee addressed a Fianna Fáil meeting of the Dublin south-east constituency in the Grosvenor Hotel. The entire quotation might be a little bit lengthy so I will spare the Minister that. Deputy MacEntee is reported as saying:

Ours was a true democracy, in which the Government derived its authority from the directly elected representatives of the people, elected on a franchise which gave every adult elector the same weight, the same influence as every other.

It would not matter whether a mob were composed of students, of farmers, of industrialists or ambiguous social reformers, or be led by clerics or laymen, the issue would be the same; the mob should not be allowed to dictate policy to the Government, the mob must not be allowed to rule.

That has a great relevance to the amendments before the House.

Deputy MacEntee then went on:

Whether or not the mob was to rule would be resolved by the decision which the Oireachtas would take on the Criminal Justice Bill that was now before it. The root issue involved in the measure was clear-cut: Is the community to be ruled, is public policy to be shaped and determined by mobs in the street, or, on the other hand, is right and authority in all such grave matters to continue to be vested in the Oireachtas and, as heretofore, to be exercised only by the Government which, under the Constitution, is responsible to Dáil Éireann?

Does the Minister see in the present situation obtaining in this country or in this part of the country today any threat to the authority of this House?

I see the utter irrelevance of that quotation to the matters under discussion in this Bill.

Does he see such a threat to the authority of this House as would warrant giving the Garda authorities power to arrest people without warrant? I have argued on this section already and particularly on the subsection as worded in the Bill, and I think the only way to deal with this subsection is to take it out of the Bill completely.

Here we have a provision where a member of the Garda may arrest a person without warrant where he is satisfied—and Deputy John A. Costello has already dealt very fully with the meaning of this phrase—that a person has committed an offence involving a breach of the peace or has engaged in conduct that was likely to lead to the commission of such an offence. I think I have demonstrated, even to the satisfaction of the Minister, that under the provision which is proposed in subsection (4) of section 12 we may have in this country, if that were allowed to become law, a system of protective or preventive custody, and is there any more effective way of squelching opposition to Government proposals than to operate a system of protective or preventive custody? Deputy MacEntee continues with his expression of views on this Bill, and here he has gone further than the Minister. It is relevant in relation to this section and to the previous remarks I made on this section to call the Minister's attention to Deputy MacEntee's remarks in regard to the NFA. He said:

Nor should it be overlooked in relation to all this that the tide of lawlessness was set in motion by men of property. When the big landowners, the big farmers organised in the NFA, set themselves to defy the law by blocking the roads of Ireland and to cow and intimidate the Government and the Oireachtas by blockading Government Buildings and Leinster House, they blazed the trail for the forces of subversion that are now active in this country.

Surely that is a kind of situation the Minister will argue can be dealt with by this section? When we had, as we did have some time ago, Government speakers referring to intimidation by the NFA and when we have the same phrase used here by Deputy MacEntee in a quotation which I have given, when he referred to the NFA setting themselves to defy the law by blocking the roads of Ireland, surely if the Minister has any argument it is to say that that is the kind of thing he wants to enable the Garda to deal with by giving them the power of arrest without warrant. I do not think that is good enough. The laws that are there at the moment are adequate to deal with that situation. I do not want to be diverted into a discussion on the events which led to the blockading of the roads to which Deputy MacEntee refers and consequently I pass on to another portion of his speech where he says:

Recent experience had shown that the law must be strengthened. That was why the Government had found it necessary to introduce certain provisions in the Criminal Justice Bill, now before the Dáil....

Again, I want to ask the Minister is this one of the sections which there has been any demand for strengthening from anyone other than possibly Deputy MacEntee? Is this one of the aspects in relation to which the law must be strengthened? Why does he come to the House seeking to have these new powers of arrest without warrant vested in the Garda? Deputy MacEntee goes on. I had better read it in context:

Recent experience had shown that the law must be strengthened. That was why the Government had found it necessary to introduce certain provisions in the Criminal Justice Bill, now before the Dáil, to deal specifically with the menace which widespread and organised disorder in the streets or elsewhere constituted to the State and all law-abiding citizens.

Some worthy individuals had taken the view that the measures proposed were unduly restrictive. But the persons concerned had never had to carry responsibility for the maintenance of public order; they had never known how inadequate were the powers of Government in regard to it.

Is that the justification the Minister will give this House for this extension of the right of the Garda to arrest without warrant, that the people had never known how inadequate were the powers of the Government in regard to the maintenance of public order? I do not want to embarrass the Minister further, and I shall conclude with what Deputy MacEntee has to say in the last paragraph of this report:

"I trust," concluded Mr. MacEntee, "that the Government will press on with the Criminal Justice Bill. The people want it: for they are weary of disorder. And if the Opposition parties in Dáil Éireann have any doubt about that, let the Government take the issue to the country and they will come back triumphantly."

That is exactly the invitation I have extended to the Minister here this afternoon: Take this issue to the country. Do not try to force it through the House at a time when everyone knows there is going to be a general election. What is the hurry about it? We have done for 100 years or more——

We are dealing with three amendments. We are not dealing with the whole Bill.

I am dealing with them specifically. We have done for 100 years or more in this country without these powers of arrest without warrant. Let me emphasise that these are new powers, that this is not a case where the Minister can stand up and say: "We are really only putting into this section what is there already."

I did not say any such thing. If the Deputy reads the Explanatory Memorandum he will see it sets out that this is a new power.

I said it is a new power.

Exactly. I said the Minister cannot say of this that it is simply something that is there already and that it is merely appearing now in some new form or some new set of words. As he has pointed out, the Minister has not said that because this is a new power and, because it is a new power, we want to know why does the Minister think it is necessary? Deputy Booth said that it is neither a necessary nor a vital part of the Bill. Does the Minister think it is a necessary or a vital part of the Bill? If he does not, if he agrees with Deputy Booth, surely the sensible thing to do is not to go on with it remembering the way it has already inflamed public opinion and aroused fears amongst ordinary people? The Minister has pointed out that the Garda power of arrest in relation to a breach of the peace at the moment is that the garda must see the breach of the peace being committed. It must take place within his view. I think—I am subject to correction in this—that there is a further limitation even under the present law: not only must the breach, or the conduct, if it is a question of conduct likely to lead to a breach of the peace, take place in the view of the garda concerned but there must be no other way in which the garda concerned can prevent that breach of the peace. If those conditions are fulfilled—if the breach takes place in his view and there is no other way in which he can prevent that breach — then, at the moment, he has the power of arrest without warrant. That is now being altered. It is being extended in a very dramatic manner under the provisions proposed in this section.

The Explanatory Memorandum to which the Minister referred a moment ago shows the mind of the Government in relation to this. In paragraph 44 we find the kind of situation envisaged by the Minister in relation to the operation of this section. I ask the House to consider seriously if the kind of situation the Minister envisages in the Explanatory Memorandum is the kind of situation where vast powers of arrest without warrant should be given by this House to the Garda authorities. It is recited in paragraph 44 of the Explanatory Memorandum that this "relates to a situation where there is, at the time, no breach of the peace...". That is the first thing; at the time there is no breach of the peace "but where there has been one"—that is, has been one some time in the past; one of the biggest flaws in this particular subsection is that there is no limitation at all, even under the Minister's amendment, as to how far back in the past the breach of the peace may have been committed—"but where there has been one (or a threat of one) and there is a probability that there will be a further, and serious, one. The situation envisaged is one where it was known that persons who had already been involved in a fight or a scuffle would be likely to come across each other again at some particular time, or place, in the near future and to renew the fight on a serious scale." Here we have a situation in which the Minister envisages that a fight or scuffle has taken place and that it may be renewed on a serious scale. It has taken place some time in the past; under the section as it stood, when it took place did not matter. That position remains unaltered under the amendment proposed by the Minister. You have there the situation where, at some time in the dim and distant past, there has been a breach of the peace, or conduct likely to lead to a breach of the peace, to put it in the language that is ordinarily used—a threat of one is the phrase used in the Explanatory Memorandum—and a garda then, because he is satisfied that that has taken place and because he has reasonable grounds for believing there will be a further collision between certain people and a warrant cannot be obtained, can go in and arrest without warrant.

It is specifically set out in the Explanatory Memorandum that at the moment a warrant is necessary. We all know that and we have got on very well under that situation. As has been mentioned here, it is very easy for the Minister to apply the section to a particular set of circumstances and to say that, in those particular circumstances, it is only reasonable that these powers should be given. It may be reasonable in one particular set of circumstances to get powers such as these, but it may be quite unreasonable to have these powers there available to be exercised in a host of other circumstances. Remember—I have pointed this out on more than one occasion here—we should be concerned now, and the country will be concerned in the future, not with expressions of opinion by the Minister or any other Deputy here but with what goes into this Bill and, if we include powers capable of being exercised by the Garda covering a host of cases and circumstances in which, so far as the Minister and the House are concerned, it was never intended they should be exercised, then the Garda authorities are quite entitled to use them and the fact that someone comes along and says that the Minister never intended they should be used in that way simply does not matter. As the subsection is worded, what I have stated could happen. It may be debatable whether the Minister's amendment No. 6 remedies that situation. It has been argued, and argued convincingly, that it does not alter it and that the same kind of danger can exist.

We must also consider in relation to this particular matter the fact that, if we allow the Garda power to arrest without warrant, then the arrest made by a garda on foot of these powers will be lawful; the garda will be lawfully arresting the individual concerned. In section 14 of the Bill, we are also conferring on the Garda power of searching—clearing up, apparently, a doubt: I think the words in the Explanatory Memorandum are "as a matter of course". The point I want to make here is that not only does this section deal with the power of arrest but, in fact, it goes on and, once the arrest becomes lawful, other things follow from it including the power of searching without warrant. So, here we have a subsection which, in effect, conferring a power of arrest without warrant and then a power of searching the arrested person without warrant. It is a very serious subsection and the only way to deal with it is to get rid of it entirely.

It is amusing to listen to Deputy O'Higgins's talk about going to the country, running to the country, to seek the judgment of the people of the country on this Bill when every one of his Front Bench colleagues are runing like scalded cats from the country trying to find a political peg on which to hang their hats in this city. I am used to those whistlings past the graveyard by the Fine Gael speakers before elections for the past 30 years and I think the results will be the same this time. What I am quite sure is quite apparent to Deputy O'Higgins is that he has been wasting the time of the House for three-quarters of an hour on this filibuster which is utterly irrelevant to the amendments we are discussing now. Section 12 (4) has nothing, good, bad or indifferent, to do with demonstrations of any kind. The plain fact is that there are official amendments, not yet reached, which make it perfectly clear that there are to be no powers of arrest in relation to the organisation or holding of meetings, demonstrations or processions. When we come to look at these sections, 30 and 31, the new sections, this will be quite clear. I know quite well that Deputy O'Higgins is well aware of that fact but it suits his purpose to shout: "Wolf, would" and particularly it suits his announced purpose, and that of his Party, of holding up the progress of this Bill. Little cares he about the man with the flick-knife little cares he for the man with the bicycle chain. His only interest is a narrow political one—the hope that he can raise doubts in the minds of certain people outside this House and use them as political footballs.

I am very glad that Deputy J.A. Costello referred to this meeting that is to be held this week in the Mansion House by an association calling themselves The Citizens for Civil Liberties. Deputy Costello stated that this Civil Liberties Association are not people with chips on their shoulders and that they should seriously be listened to and that we should pay every attention to what they say. But according to the posters they have issued—I am referring to the Citizens for Civil Liberties meeting in the Mansion House which Deputy Costello mentioned—this organisation, Citizens for Civil Liberties, is a non-political, non-sectarian organisation. I want here and now to nail that canard because, as admitted in a recent circular issued by Sinn Féin to all its branches, the organisation Citizens for Civil Liberties was launched at a meeting held between the members of the Ard-Chomhairle of Sinn Féin, the Wolfe Tone Society and other interested people——

Including a distinguished cleric.

I shall come to that later.

He will get his head knocked.

Of course, the organisation include some people not members of Sinn Féin. They took care that it would. That, in fact, is the whole purpose of "front" organisations—to rope in a few outsiders and give the impression that the organisation is a completely separate one. The fact remains, on their own admission, that this organisation was, in fact, fathered by Sinn Féin. Some other points from the same circular are of interest. For instance, and I quote—this is from the Sinn Féin circular——

You are instructed to organise public opposition to the Criminal Justice Bill in your area. Public after-Mass meetings should be organised and, if possible, speakers from other organisations should be invited to address these meetings.

Here, again, we see the tactic of using outsiders to front for Sinn Féin. We find it again:

Organise your members to paint slogans "Oppose Criminal Justice Bill" on the roads around your area. Members who are in other organisations should organise resolutions to be passed at their meetings.

Good sound infiltration tactics—use these other organisations as propaganda tools.

It is noteworthy that two of the speakers listed are Father Austin Flannery, O.P., Prior of Saint Saviour's, and the Reverend T. P. McCaughey, Lecturer in Trinity College, Dublin. The two were amongst the original four signatories of a circular about this Bill which did the rounds last summer in Dublin. This letter began with four signatories. It was then circulated to numerous people prominent in various walks of life— the professions, the theatre, and so on. It was sent with a covering letter inviting all of these to sign. The persons approached in this way were not asked to read the Bill or the explanatory memorandum in connection with it but they were given this circular, with its statements on a Bill, some of them false and others obviously tendentious.

The circular, signed by about 40 people, was eventually released for publication—as you might guess, on the week-end before the referendum. It contained the "howler" about section 32 of the Bill which relates to watching and besetting—they said it abolished the right to make peaceful protests, including, for example, a protest march to a foreign embassy. That section in fact has nothing to do with protests and is no more than a re-enactment, practically word for word, of portion of section 7 of the Conspiracy and protection of property Act, 1875.

I am saying this as a result of the reference by Deputy J.A. Costello to this meeting and asking me to take serious consideration of these alleged non-political people. In view of these instructions sent out by the headquarters of Sinn Féin to organise people, to use them as fronts, I leave any impartial person to judge how non-political these people are. If some other speakers are foolish enough to allow themselves to be manipulated by these subversive gentlemen for their own ends, that is their affair. However, let the public take clear notice of how this is operating and what is being done by alleged upholders of civil rights, many of whom have, as their sole object to disrupt democracy as we know it in this State.

Having said so much in reply to what Deputy Costello had said here in connection with these meetings, and the attention that should be paid to these organisations, let me get on to this idea about the powers of arrest that already exist and the proposition that one must always assume, apparently, according to some interpretations here, that a garda is liable to act mala fide instead of bona fide. It is both amusing for its illogicality to hear tributes being paid about gardaí in this House and what great men they are and at the same time to hear the same Deputies suggesting they are such thugs that they will utterly abuse the power the House is giving them here to try to stop rows developing. Two important things should be held in mind. The first is that power of arrest cannot be exercised except where the Garda are in a position to follow up an arrest by charging the man concerned with a specific offence.

The last day, and, indeed, today, to my amazement Deputy Costello—I know that his field is not criminal law—reiterated this untruth, or perhaps, that is not the appropriate word, reiterated this misconception of the law which some other Deputies have, that this was only the practice, to follow up an arrest with a charge. It is not only the practise, it is the law. Let me reiterate that when there is an arrest, the man concerned can insist that there must be a charge. That is the law as it stands and it is fundamental and basic to the priciples of our whole concept of the criminal law. Of course, as I said the last day there can be release with the man's consent. Let us understand this basic principle because all this loose talk about preventive custody and about locking the people up without a charge is, legally speaking all boloney. If there is an arrest there must be a charge. If there is an arrest without a charge, the other side of the coin is that the man arrested has a case for damages for false arrest and false imprisonment.

There is a Member of Oireachtas Éireann who will be very interested to hear the Minister saying that.

If I am educating some people they should be thankful. By being here they are learning something and it would pay them to be here more often to hear more.

If the Minister is referring to me he is going to see a great deal of me.

This provision has to be seen in the perspective of the existing law. It has been the law from time immemorial that a policeman may arrest a man without warrant under the reasonable suspicion that he has stolen a penny or a pocket handkerchief.

That is the law. A garda can arrest a man whom he believes has stolen a penny, without a warrant.

Whom he believes has committed a felony. That is the law.

You can call the larceny of a penny a felony——

That is what it is.

——or not, but the fact remains that the ordinary layman may not appreciate that on suspicion of stealing a penny a garda can arrest——

Reasonable suspicion.

——a Member of this House. This section spells our the protection which is laid down in regard to arresting without a warrant. If today a garda can arrest a man without warrant, on suspicion——

Reasonable suspicion.

——of stealing a penny and if he must be trusted by the public and the community not to exercise that colossal power arbitrarily—that he must reasonably believe the man has already stolen the penny—then what is the difference between trusting a garda to exercise this very wide power which he has under the law as it stands and trusting him to exercise, within the prescribed limits, the power we propose to give him under this amendment? Remember, under the section, in order to arrest without a warrant there must be an offence committed which involves either a breach of the peace or conduct liable to lead to a breach of the peace. In addition to that, it must not be reasonably practicable to apply for a warrant and thirdly he must have reasonable grounds for believing that if the person is not promptly charged he is likely to enagage in further conduct whereby the commission of an offence involving a serious breach of the peace may occur. Why should the House assume or why should any Deputy argue, that the same police officer who under existing law can get you by the back of the neck and walk you into the station without a warrant, on suspicion of stealing a penny would act madly and run somebody in without having done any of these things?

Let me say that Deputy Costello or any other Deputy is wrong to use the expression that the garda is judge and jury. Of course, he is not. He must keep within the limitations of this section. Where this section says that if he is satisfied that the person has committed an offence involving a breach of the peace then he must have the facts on which to be satisfied. This is a question of fact. The garda must be satisfied that this man has already committed this offence and it simply will not do for him to come into court and say that he believed he had committed the offence. There must have been reasonable grounds to show that it had been committed or that the conduct was there which would mean that it was about to be committed and he must also show to the court that he did not have a chance of getting a warrant. Thirdly, he must have reasonable grounds for believing that if the person is not promptly charged with the offence it is likely that he will engage in further conduct whereby a commission of an offence involving a serious breach of the peace may occur.

Let us come down from outer space to realities. If any garda does not comply, in making his arrest without a warrant, with all the conditions set out here, then he is wide open to an action for damages for false arrest and false imprisonment. The Deputies opposite know this well but they still want to pretend that this is some extraordinary power. One would think that the powers of arrest without warrant were something that were very, very rare and very unusual. When we talk about this very limited power, this very circumscribed power, in comparison with the power of arrest without warrant already there, it shows how ludicrous is the picture being painted by the Fine Gael Party in regard to the extraordinary things that could happen under this section.

I gave only one example—that of the fishermen—on the need for the amendment but I could give several others. Remember that this is a question of stopping possible serious injury, possible serious head splitting, possible serious spilling of blood, where a row starts in one place and the gardaí know that it is quite likely that the people involved are going to gather in a couple of hours at another venue and that because of the viciousness of the spleen the same thing is liable to be continued there and already, as I said, one offence has been committed. It is in these limited circumstances, and again where they would not have time to get a warrant, that they may arrest.

I will not waste much more time on what might be called the time gap in this section. As I indicated to Deputy Tully, although I believe in restricting it rather than widening it, I would not greatly object if the 24-hour period is written into the Bill. In other words, if the 24 hours had passed since the commission of the first offence, the garda would have to get a warrant.

Let us be clear what the law is at the moment. I think Deputy T.F. O'Higgins repeated virtually everything Deputy M.J. O'Higgins said about this section. Some Deputy asked me was this section a vital part of the Bill. It is not.

Then cut it out.

Let the Deputy hold his horses. We did not have him here for this Bill until today. It is not a vital part of the Bill. It is a minor part, very restricted in its scope and application.

That is the fourth time the Minister has said that. He will have me here until the end of the Bill if he is not careful.

I am certainly not prepared to withdraw it. It is a minor provision but I am not prepared to allow people to get away with the kind of misrepresentation that we have heard. If there is any unease among any section of the public the reason is that there has been a deliberate, calculated attempt to deceive the public, an attempt in which Deputy O'Higgins joined today. I shall not allow them or him to take advantage of it. They asked me why this provision is here. It is here because the Commissioner of the Garda Síochána advised me that it is required for the purpose of preserving order and preventing a continuation of fighting or violence in the circumstances I have described. It is new because the Garda say they need it in those circumstances. It is an utter misrepresentation to say that it is intended to have anything to do with demonstrations of any kind.

I shall not weary the House by repeating all the conditions and the fact that an offence must first have been committed before it can operate and, secondly and vitally, that it is not possible or the garda does not have time to get a warrant, because of the situation with which he is faced. I think Deputy T.F. O'Higgins is completely off the ball when he talks about getting a warrant entailing going before an independent party; surely the vital thing about warrants is that the garda must swear an information and on the basis that he swears it, he can expect to get his warrant. The big difference is that in an arrest without a warrant the garda acts on whatever information he has whereas in an arrest with a warrant he must swear on oath to the information he has as a reason for needing the warrant. That is the difference. The garda swears the information, gets the warrant and makes the arrest under it and—let me repeat for the benefit of Deputy O'Higgins—once the arrest is made a charge must follow for, if not, the arresting officer faces the consequences. I think that I have covered thoroughly any reasoned argument or any real point that has been made about this section and the amendments. I certainly do not want to aid Deputy O'Higgins in his filibuster by wasting the time of the House.

The Minister was kind enough to refer to my presence here. I suppose he intended that to be a deprecating reference. I should like to remind him that I took part in the Second Reading debate on the Bill. I am here today and intend to remain here throughout the Committee Stage, whether that will please the Minister or not. Unfortunately, I was engaged in a murder case for the past fortnight. Otherwise, I should have been very glad to have taken part in the earlier discussions. But, I am fortified by the very warm and sincere welcome I have received from the Minister now that I am here. I shall continue to be here.

The Minister said that the position is that when a person is arrested he must be charged or otherwise the arresting officer faces the consequences. This is part of the bureaucratic rubbish that is doled out here by Ministers occasionally when they want to deceive this House into giving them powers. The question in the courts is whether an arrest is lawful or not. Under our present law generally speaking, with some exceptions which I shall come to, an arrest is not lawful if in fact it is not followed by a charge. That refers to the pretty wide powers of arrest which exist at present entitling a garda officer to arrest a person on reasonable suspicion that he has committed a felony, that he has wounded somebody or that he has committed treason. "On reasonable suspicion"—that is what the law now is. The Minister says: "Is it known that a garda officer may arrest a person because he stole a penny?"

There was a time in the law of this country when a person who stole a penny could have been hanged and often people were executed because, out of starvation, they had stolen a loaf. That is because the commission of any felony was a capital offence and stealing is a felony. It continues to be a felony up to the passage of this Bill and the Minister blandly says: "Do you know that a garda officer may arrest somebody for stealing a penny?" He was saying that to deceive people who are not as much alive to the niceties of the law as Deputy Booth is. The fact is that the power of arrest today—to arrest on the basis of reasonable suspicion of having committed a felony—is lawful provided a court is satisfied that there was reasonable suspicion and the certain proof that there was no reasonable suspicion is if there is no charge. So, if a garda today arrests somebody and brings him to a garda station, throws him in a cell and lets him out the following morning, of course that arresting officer will face the consequences because it is proof positive that he had no reasonable suspicion that a felony had been committed.

Let us look at this section. The Minister has been less than straightforward with the House. Here, it is not a question of reasonable suspicion. Here, we are asked to give a garda officer the power of arrest without warrant if he is satisfied—the garda officer—that a person has engaged in conduct likely to lead to the commission of a breach of the peace.

The Deputy left out——

A Cheann Comhairle, I cannot continue to be patient with Deputy Booth's unctuous interruptions every time I get on my feet.

I am just trying to keep the Deputy on the line.

I am perfectly capable of keeping on the line without any assistance from the Deputy. If the Deputy is fed up let him please leave.

No, in the interests of the public, I shall stay here and try to keep the Deputy straight.

Under the section as it stands—remember there is an amendment to delete subsection (4) —all that is required is that a member of the Garda must be satisfied that— the alternative is—the person has engaged in conduct likely to lead to the commission of the offence of a breach of the peace.

No, that an offence has been committed.

I must ask you, a Cheann Comhairle, to order Deputy Booth——

——to keep the peace.

Deputy Booth should allow Deputy O'Higgins to make his contribution.

It is not a question of his allowing me; he cannot prevent me but it is annoying to have this buzzing noise in my ear.

The Deputy is misquoting.

For the benefit of the Chair and in view of the interruptions I shall read what is there:

A member of the Garda Síochána may arrest a person without warrant where—

(a) he is satisfied that the person has committed an offence involving a breach of the peace or has engaged in conduct that was likely to lead to the commission of such an offence.

It is one or the other. Does Deputy Booth understand that? There are two alternatives, one is that an offence has been committed and the other is the engaging in conduct likely to lead to the commission of an offence. In relation to the second alternative, no offence has been committed but there is conduct likely to lead to the commission of an offence. By whom? Not by the person who is to be arrested but by anyone; by an officer opposed to the person. That is the proposal in the subsection. All that is necessary is that the Garda officer is satisfied that the person has engaged in conduct likely to end in the commission of an offence perhaps by somebody else. There is no requirement that a Garda officer must have a reasonable suspicion. He grabs the person, puts him into a cell and releases him the following morning without having charged him at all. I should like the Minister to tell me in those circumstances who can question the action of the Garda officer?

If the Deputy reads the subsection he will see it there. There is no question of the person not being charged.

I am referring to subsection (4) as it stands.

I thought that the Deputy was speaking on the amendment.

Under subsection (4), as it stands, the machinery comes into operation. I suggest that, if this power is given, arrests will frequently not be followed by a charge. These enhanced and enlarged powers were never considered to be necessary before. The Minister says that the Garda authorities say they are now necessary. Again, that causes me to view this proposal with increased suspicion. Why should the Garda authorities suddenly say they want these powers now? What has happened during the last three years to suggest that these powers are now necessary? Is it because, as Deputy MacEntee said, the farmers protested in Dublin? Is it because people showed their grievances by way of protests in the streets? If that is, in fact, what the Garda authorities are saying, we should say to them that the powers they had before were quite sufficient to maintain law and order throughout the country and, therefore, they will not be given these powers. What is being sought now is an extension and I do not believe that any case has been made for the granting of these powers either by the Minister or by any Deputy who supported him and we will certainly oppose this subsection as it stands.

Can the Minister say if the provisions of this subsection will apply to section 53 of the Bill? In other words, if, say, a small farmer or somebody like that is advocating the non-payment of rates in order to get a road repaired or some necessary improvement carried out, can he be arrested without warrant?

That has nothing to do with this section.

Question put: "That in subsection (4) lines 22 and 23 stand".
The Committee divided: Tá, 54; Níl, 39.

  • Aiken, Frank.
  • Andrews, David.
  • Barrett, Sylvester.
  • Blaney, Neil T.
  • Boland, Kavin.
  • Booth, Lionel.
  • Boylan, Terence.
  • Brady, Philip.
  • Brennan, Joseph.
  • Brennan, Paudge.
  • Briscoe, Ben.
  • Burke, Patrick J.
  • Calleary, Phelim A.
  • Carter, Frank.
  • Childers, Erskine.
  • Collins, Gerard.
  • Corry, Martin. J.
  • Crinion, Brendan.
  • Cronin, Jerry.
  • Crowley, Flor.
  • Dowling, Joe.
  • Fahey, John.
  • Fanning, John.
  • Faulkner, Pádraig.
  • Fitzpatrick, Thomas J. (Dublin South Central).
  • Flanagan, Seán.
  • Geoghegan, John.
  • Gibbons, James M.
  • Gilbride, Eugene.
  • Gogan, Richard P.
  • Haughey, Charles
  • Hillery, Patrick J.
  • Hilliard, Michael.
  • Kenneally, William.
  • Kitt, Michael F.
  • Lalor, Patrick J.
  • Lemass, Noel T,
  • Lenihan, Brian.
  • Lenihan, Patrick.
  • Lynch, Celia.
  • Lynch, John.
  • McEllistrim, Thomas.
  • Millar, Anthony G.
  • Molloy, Robert.
  • Mooney, Patrick.
  • Moore, Seán.
  • Moran, Michael.
  • Nolan, Thomas.
  • Norton, Patrick.
  • Ó Briain, Donnchadh.
  • Ó Ceallaigh, Seán.
  • O'Leary, John.
  • O'Malley, Desmond.
  • Smith, Patrick.


  • Barry, Richard
  • Belton, Luke.
  • Belton, Paddy.
  • Byrne, Patrick.
  • Clinton, Mark A.
  • Connor, Patrick.
  • Coogan, Fintan.
  • Corish, Brendan.
  • Costello, John A.
  • Creed, Donal.
  • Dillon James M.
  • Dockrell, Henry P.
  • Donnellan, John.
  • Dunne, Seán.
  • Dunne, Thomas.
  • Esmonde, Sir Anthony C.
  • Farrelly, Denis.
  • Fitzpatrick, Thomas J. (Cavan).
  • Flangan, Oliver J.
  • Governey, Desmond.
  • Hogan, O'Higgins, Brigid.
  • Jones, Denis F.
  • Kenny, Henry.
  • Larkin, Denis.
  • L'Estrange, Gerald.
  • Lindsay, Patrick J.
  • Lyons, Michael D.
  • McLaughlin, Joseph.
  • Mullen, Michael.
  • O'Donnell, Patrick.
  • O'Donnell, Tom.
  • O'Hara, Thomas.
  • O'Higgins, Michael J.
  • O'Higgins, Thomas F.K.
  • Pattison, Séamus.
  • Ryan, Richie.
  • Sweetman, Gerard.
  • Timmins, Godfrey.
  • Treacy, Seán.
Tellers: Tá, Deputies Geoghegan and Mrs. Lynch; Níl, Deputies L'Estrange and T. Dunne.
Question declared carried.
Amendment negatived.
Progress reported; Committee to sit again.