Prohibition of Forcible Entry and Occupation Bill, 1970: Report Stage (Resumed).

Debate resumed on amendment No. 8:
In page 3, line 34, to delete "encourages or".
—(Deputy T.J. Fitzpatrick(Cavan).

I speak as a supporter of amendment No. 8 in the name of Deputy Thomas J. Fitzpatrick. This proposed change may sound, perhaps, like a not very important change, not a very extensive change, affecting only two words but, yet, it stands at the very core of our opposition to this section. We object, of course, to the entire section. We object to the entire Bill, but it is this word "encourages" particularly which is the most objectionable feature of the whole objectionable Bill. The Minister has claimed —it is a bold claim—that the word "encourages" or the word "advocates" in this Bill are equivalent to the word "incite", that they add nothing to the meaning. That is essentially the claim I wish to investigate in some detail this morning, the claim that the words "encourages or advocates" are the same in their essential meaning as "incite", the claim that they would give the Minister no new powers. I want now to go into some detail about that. As the Minister makes this claim we will have to see if that claim stands up in the light of accepted authority on the English language and in the light of usage. To pursue that may, I am afraid, take some time. As I mentioned last night, if there is objection to the consumption of time in this matter, we agree; we think we should not have to discuss this matter at all. There is a way of dealing with that; it is by withdrawing section 4.

In my remarks on amendment No. 7 I covered a good deal of ground concerning the generally objectionable character of section 4 and the Chair extended to me a certain amount of latitude, for which I am grateful; I do not propose to seek any such latitude today because I shall be concentrating very, very closely indeed on the meaning of the words in the amendment and the meaning of the words in the section as it will stand without amendment and as it will stand if this amendment is carried.

I want to make this point: we do not yet know whether or not the Minister will accept this amendment. He could. He had an opportunity of speaking last night after Deputy Fitzpatrick's very able, very cogent speech introducing this amendment. The Minister was here for part of that speech. He looked in, looked at his own brief, and then he walked out again. He is a rather restless Minister and we have not seen much of him during this debate. He was not there when Deputy Fitzpatrick sat down, as he did, I believe, at about ten past ten last night. There was an opportunity for the Minister to come in at that time and say what his attitude is to this amendment.

Is he accepting it or not? There is a rumour that he may be about to accept it; I sincerely hope that that is the case but we would not be justified on the basis of any rumour in dropping our sustained detailed support of this amendment and opposition to this section. I would make the point that if the Minister does indeed accept this amendment he will be accepting a most significant change in his Bill and that his Bill as it will then stand will be frustrative of what I believe was his main purpose in bringing in this Bill. I shall be coming a little later to the Minister's statements and to what I think his purpose is in bringing in the Bill. I think that this word "encourage" is the key to his intent, what I think may well prove to be his baffled and frustrated intent, as regards this part of the Bill that deals with the Press. The word "encourage" was intended to cast a wide net so that anyone against whom the Minister feels particularly strongly for some reason can be drawn into that net. Before long, I shall proceed to demonstrate with all the resources which English lexicography permits— and they are very considerable—just how wide that net is. That net in the hands of this Minister would be a weapon which we propose to strike from his hands if we possibly can. That is the activity in which we are engaged.

But before I proceed to that portion of my remarks which will take up most of my time I am obliged, for certain reasons, to look at some of the things which Deputies opposite have said about, in particular, the Labour Party, about the character of our support of these amendments, the character of our opposition to section 4. It may be helpful to the House— and I want to be helpful to the House if I can at all—and to the Press also, to indicate the broad lines on which I shall be speaking. First of all, I want to deal with a number of Fianna Fáil points made in the debate. As these are very miscellaneous, very heterogeneous, sometimes very farfetched, I shall be obliged in this part of my speech, in dealing with these things, to range a little bit widely, but no more widely at any point than the debate has already ranged, than it has been carried by Deputies who did not stick very closely to the amendment and by one Deputy who admitted, after he had been speaking for half an hour, that he did not know what the amendment was on which he was deemed by courtesy of the House to be speaking.

So, let me take up then some of these miscellaneous points, bearing in mind that I shall, after that, come to a different kind of exercise, much more closely bearing on this amendment, because I am in no way distracted from it by irrelevancies or semi-relevancies which have been introduced into this debate, though I may say with respect, a Cheann Comhairle, I am not at all questioning the Chair in allowing them. I think the Chair deserves to be congratulated on the handling of this debate in realisation of the important, far-reaching character of the issues raised by this amendment, in not restricing the debate to too-narrow and technical description.

The first point I would take up is a point—and this is not irrelevant at all; this is a point basic, I think, to the whole discussion of the amendments relating to section 4—made by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Education, Deputy O'Kennedy. Members opposite made the point yesterday—which was fair enough— that we should not purport to quote what people said unless we can quote from the official record. This is good counsel and I shall follow it here. Of course, it often happens that one is not able to quote from the Official Report because the Official Report is simply not available; it is not in printed form and it is not always easy and convenient to get one's hands on a typescript and, in those circumstances, I think a Deputy is justified, as Deputy Fitzpatrick certainly was yesterday, in quoting or paraphrasing at least from memory what one heard a Deputy actually say. But I recognise that the method is fallible; for that matter the Official Report is sometimes fallible, but I agree it is the best source on which we can rely; so, let us consult it.

I wish to refer to the remarks of the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Education, the gentleman who holds that very responsible post in our Republic, Deputy Michael O'Kennedy. I propose to quote from our debates of Friday, 16th July, 1971, Volume 255, column 1790. The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Education, Deputy O'Kennedy referred to members of our party. He brought in the question of civil disobedience and that is what I want to say something about here. I agree with the Parliamentary Secretary that this is an important principle and a somewhat difficult one and that it is relevant to the purposes at which the Bill purports to be aimed and therefore relevant to the discussion of any amendment of it, but the Parliamentary Secretary said, speaking of the Labour Party:

They are so anxious now to ensure that the principles of civil disobedience be established in our law —these principles that derive from no source of authority—that they are prepared to create new criminal offences to accommodate those principles of civil disobedience. That may be the fashion in other countries where some of the Labour Deputies in their various peregrinations may have met them, but it is not the fashion here ...

He goes on to say:

Possibly what Deputy Cruise-O'Brien wants us to do here ... is to substitute for the principles of civil obedience the principles of civil disobedience. Deputy Cruise-O'Brien appears to hold these principles of civil disobedience as sacrosanct. Whence they have derived we have never been told.

A Cheann Comhairle, you are about to be told now.

Deputy Cruise-O'Brien referred to street protests in America, with which he is not unfamiliar.

Correct, and I am proud of it.

They have, apparently, been drawn from some unknown source, not indeed, from the consensus of society. They have been drawn here from this unknown source and the whole purpose——

is something or other which is not relevant. Then, again, he says these principles derive from no source of authority. "No known source"—I am very, very sorry that a gentleman should be Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Education, God help us, who says that the principles of civil disobedience have no known source, who hints they may be derived from Karl Marx or somebody whom no decent man, not even the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Education, would claim to know about. I do not intend to waste much time on that aspect of the matter, but all this exercise was a genteel way of saying what some of those gentlemen over there have less genteel ways of saying, that is to say, that the Labour Party is a bunch of dirty communists. That is what this little belated, forlorn exercise in McCarthyism was all about. Speaking on the amendment to this section, I shall pay the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Education the dubious compliment of believing that he does not know what the sources are for the principle of civil disobedience and I shall proceed to tell him.

Let me begin with the great classical source for the principle of civil disobedience. Let me not be misunderstood here. These gentlemen pretend that anyone who advocates or encourages the view that in certain circumstances civil disobedience may be justifiable and is justifiable are attempting to subvert all law, all organised society, the whole structure of civilisation. This is what men in authority have eternally claimed about this, and equally eternally in every age the principle has been asserted that unjust law is not binding. Men and women—and women have done it as often as men—have taken it upon themselves to defy, to break a law which they believed to be unjust. I do not say unjust in some minor way. There are minor injustices in the law and the people are not justified in breaking the law for any minor reason. It is only when some great principle is involved that a man or woman may have to stand up, or sit down, and say: "No. I will not put up with this, not even if it is the law."

That principle, that theory, is probably as old as human society. I grant that it is in a sense an alien doctrine. It is an alien doctrine to any man to whom the whole heritage of western culture, the whole of European culture, is alien; if that is alien, then so be it: the principles of civil disobedience are alien. They did not originate in some parish in County Cork, County Limerick or any other county. They are at the source of our civilisation. I do not want to make any disrespectful reference to any county; it is not part of my purpose at all, but my purpose is to try to show that these principles of civil disobedience derive from and are as old as the great twin sources of all our culture, that is to say, all of the culture of Europe. I say "Europe". I do not say "western Europe" because I believe the culture of Europe to be essentially one, and to spring from the same sources which have affected the Slavonic world quite as much as western Europe. These two sources are, of course, the Judean and the Hellenic.

I do not know where the Labour Party Leader is going to sit.

His seat is more secure than that of the Parliamentary Secretary's Leader.

It is sometimes a little difficult to collect one's thoughts when one is interrupted, and it will be found, I think, that if I am interrupted very much it may slow me down, that I may have difficulty in resuming my thread of thought and may need, for the sake of consistency and coherency, to repeat a little part of what I said before in order to keep my discourse going towards its proper end.

I am allowing the Deputy to re-open yesterday's debate on amendment No. 7 for the purpose of a personal explanation. I hope it will be brief.

It will be as brief as I can make it, but the Parliamentary Secretary, Deputy O'Kennedy, spoke at some length and there was an innuendo in what he said; I wish to reject it and I think I am entitled to reject it.

Yes. The Chair has allowed the Deputy to make these remarks, but he should come to the amendment, as Standing Order No. 46 forbids the re-opening of a debate. That is what we are doing at the moment, re-opening a debate on an amendment that has been dealt with by the House.

May I crave your indulgence a little in this matter? It is of some importance for our group here. The point is that the allegations which were made against us and, in particular, the insinuations that were made against us, which were very serious insinuations, were designed not only to discredit and disparage our approach to the last amendment and the whole of section 4 but to cast in advance a shadow on what we would say on this amendment or, indeed, what we would say on anything. I think we are entitled to clear our names by defining the nature of the principles—and they are very great principles—which we have been accused of defending and which we have, in fact, the honour of defending, and I hope we shall be allowed to do it. I do not intend to spend any very long time on this, a Cheann Comhairle; I appreciate your point, but I did want to establish the antiquity and respectable character of these principles. The locus classicus in antiquity for the principle of civil disobedience is the play Antigone by the poet Sophocles. In that play a sister casts a handful of dust, which is, of course, a Greek ceremony of burial, upon the body of her brother.

Her brother was an enemy of the State ruled over at that time by a man called Creon. She, by casting that handful of dust, committed an illegal act. The king made a proclamation: "No dust to be cast on this corpse—penalty, death." She unquestionably broke the law. She was guilty of an offence under the law then in force at that particular place and time. She was brought before the king and the following brief piece of dialogue—Deputies need not fear that Sophocles will be inflicted on them at any great length—took place. Creon says, in a spirit which is present with us still, to Antigone:

Tell me, tell me briefly;

Had you heard my proclamation touching on this matter?

Antigone says:

It was public. Could I help hearing it?

Creon says:

And yet you dared defy the law.

Antigone replies:

I dared.

It was not God's proclamation. That final Justice

That rules the World below makes no such laws.

Your edict, King, was strong,

But all your strength is weakness itself against

The immortal unrecorded laws of God,

They are not merely now: they were, and shall be,

Operative for ever, beyond man utterly.

That is the classical enunciation of the principle of civil liberty in that speech of Antigone to Creon. Creon's answer is also the eternal one. Creon says:

I'll have no dealings

With law-breakers, critics of the government:

Notice how those categories run together. Creon said it 3,000 years ago and it is still being said that law breakers and critics of the Government are identical in the minds of men like Creon and in his humble and diminutive successor, the Minister for Justice.

I'll have no dealings

With law-breakers, critics of the government:

Whoever is chosen to govern should be obeyed—

Must be obeyed, in all things, great and small,

Just and unjust!

That is the spirit of Creon and as I say it is the locus classicus; most things would come as an anti-climax after Sophocles.

However, let us note on the other side of our Judean-Hellenic heritage the same holds good under the Egyptian, Babylonian and Roman power —I am not going into the history of all those places. The Jews asserted the prime thing of the higher law time and again. There is something above the laws of this place and time and where your law breaks that higher law will ignore it. It may be a principle in which with the liability of humanity to err there is some danger of arrogance; there is that in the position of Antigone too, but there is also something important and essential to our human nature and essential also to the moral growth and development of our society.

In the Christian tradition again and again priests, nuns, lay people and others have on occasion dared to break the laws of the places in which they found themselves where they thought those laws incompatible with the higher law. They have often done that side by side with humanists and with people whose conception of a higher law is somewhat different from theirs. They are doing it today. There are bishops, priests, lay people, all kinds of people, who in South Africa day after day, are steadfastly breaking laws which they believe to be evil—the apartheid laws which are upheld there. They do that although these laws are undoubtedly part of a code of law deemed to be binding on all the citizens of South Africa and on all those who sojourn there. These men and women set a higher law above all that. They are deliberately, persistently, day after day, hour after hour, in breach of the law. We honour them for it, at least most of us do, because we too believe those laws to be wrong. We are implying by that if we believe a law to be profoundly and utterly wrong on an important matter one has a moral right to break that law although one may have a penalty to pay for that.

Before I leave this matter of civil disobedience let me put an extreme case. Deputies opposite speak as if there are no cases in which civil disobedience could be necessary although they of course stand in a tradition which holds that something much more than civil disobedience can be not only proper but necessary, that is armed violence and armed rebellion. That is what they have said. That is where their Partheon stands. That is where their whole cult is and now they have the nerve to accuse us of improper behaviour for suggesting that civil disobedience may only sometimes be necessary.

Let me put an extreme case to the House. This position would have to be held by a man who said that civil disobedience is never justifiable, the law must always be carried out. The German people, within living memory, had a code of laws known as the Nuremberg Laws and under those laws and under the regulations and practices which were encouraged by the legal German Government to grow up around them, it became a capital offence to be a Jew. It was a similar offence to harbour a person; they were mainly Jews who were proscribed by the law. What would a decent person do who was approached by a Jew fleeing from the operation of those laws, fleeing from murder? Any decent person if he had any guts at all would harbour and shelter that fugitive and help him to escape from the operation of these iniquitous laws.

What would a person who holds what seems to be Deputy O'Kennedy's principles on civil disobedience do? Since apparently he does not know even what the sources are for the idea, I do not know what he really thinks, but he speaks as if he believes that anyone who holds that civil disobedience is ever justifiable is a scoundrel, a crypto-commi and all the rest of it. If he holds those views, and if he holds them logically—I do him again the limited honour of believing that he does not hold them or any other views very logically—and if he were approached by a Jew in those circumstances, he would of course as a law abiding citizen of the Third Reich do his duty, he would hand that Jew over to the officers of the law and the officers of the law would take that Jew off to the gas chamber. That is the logical consequence of saying: "No civil disobedience ever." If a person would not hand over that Jew then he has no right to say or imply "no civil disobedience ever".

The roll of civil disobedience martyrs includes not only Henry David Thoreau in America and Mahatma Gandhi but also Terence McSwiney. I have said enough about civil disobedience but it was important to make this point of principle and to make our clarification on it so that it may be seen in what general spirit we approach this amendment, not in the spirit imputed to us but in a quite different spirit altogether. I am impressed by your admonition, a Cheann Comhairle, and will be guided by it. I do not need to spin out time with Fianna Fáil amendments. I have matter enough to keep me going for a considerable time without that and the object is not to spend time. The object is to strip away the irrelevancies and innuendos which the party opposite have intruded into the debate and to make it as clear as we can how utterly coercive is the case in favour of the amendment. This needs to be done. We need to pare away the obstructions. It will not be long before we get the main point which is the meaning of the amendment and of this section. This amendment comes as a last resort after an attempt to delete the whole section was defeated. Some of these points must be discussed. One point which was made repeatedly in the debate concerned the visit of the South African Spring-bok team and the attitude taken to the team at that time.

The Deputy has spoken for 35 minutes. The Chair allowed him to make this personal explanation——

Is a time limit to be imposed?

Would the Deputy please listen to me? The Deputy has been speaking for 35 minutes since the Chair allowed him to make his personal explanation on another amendment. It is against Standing Orders to reopen the debate——

On a point of order——

I am not finished with Deputy Conor Cruise-O'Brien. Would the Deputy please resume his seat? There is an amendment before the House and I feel that the Deputy should come to the amendment now.

I am coming to the amendment.

The Deputy has been discussing amendment No. 7 and what the Parliamentary Secretary said on that amendment.

May I, with respect to the Chair, try to make clear the point which I think I have not got over? I am not addressing myself to any point made which was relevant only to a previous amendment but in the discussion on the previous amendment Deputies made general points which affect our approach, misrepresented by them, to the whole of the section. I shall be as brief as I can. I would like, a Cheann Comhairle, to be able to reply on these particular points. I would be very grateful for just a moment of forbearance to enable me to clear one or two points raised by these gentlemen before I proceed directly to the amendment.

I think the Chair has been very lenient. As I pointed out, the Deputy has been speaking for 40 minutes on this personal explanation and I feel that he has no intention of coming to the amendment.

I can assure you you are quite wrong.

I wish the Deputy would come to the point and prove that by relating his remarks to the amendment.

On a point of order, surely on the present amendment it would be quite proper to speak about the Springboks' visit where, if this Bill becomes law, if the Press encouraged people to protest against a visit of the Springboks they would be breaking the law. I suggest that Deputy Cruise-O'Brien is within his rights in speaking about the Springboks' visit.

The Chair pointed out to Deputy Fitzpatrick, when he moved amendment No. 8, that we could not have the same debate on amendment No. 8 as we had on amendment No. 7. I said that it had not the same scope and that the same points could not be averted to.

With respect, if an action would infringe amendment No. 7 and the same action would infringe amendment No. 8, or bear on amendment No. 8, we are quite entitled to speak about it and the Chair cannot, with due respect, misinterpret Standing Orders.

The Chair is not misinterpreting Standing Orders. The Chair is endeavouring to get the Deputy in possession to come to amendment No. 8, which he has not mentioned in 40 minutes.

The record will show that I mentioned the amendment several times. I made detailed references to the amendment on a number of occasions. It is unfair to say that, a Ceann Comhairle. A Deputy was allowed to speak for a half an hour without knowing what amendment he was speaking on. I am acutely conscious of the necessity to remain within Standing Orders. I accept that the Chair has made a ruling and I bow to that ruling. I accept it, but may I in doing so register a protest that we have been attacked here. The Springboks issue was raised by many Deputies, including Deputy Moore, Deputy Burke and Deputy Dowling. How could they have been speaking with relevance to the amendment when one of them did not know what amendment he was speaking on? It was part of a general attack on the Labour Party.

That is not true. Deputy Dowling knew what he was speaking about.

Could I have the Chair's guidance on this matter?

Those gentlemen were allowed to bring up argument after argument.

The Bill we are discussing would make it an offence to encourage people. A new word has been introduced into the legal interpretations. If, in the event of the Springboks visiting this country in the current year a newspaper or a commentator advocated that people should protest or encourage people to protest against that visit they would be in breach of law if this Bill goes through.

Not true.

Surely we are entitled to speak on that? I did not ask for guidance from the Parliamentary Secretary but from the Chair.

This is a gross misrepresentation by the Labour Party.


I have asked for the Chair's guidance.

If Deputies relate their remarks to the amendment before the House they are in order, but Deputy Cruise-O'Brien has been speaking for 40 minutes on something that was said yesterday by a Parliamentary Secretary on another amendment. The Chair allowed him to do so in order to make a personal explanation, but it is not in order to continue the debate on an amendment that was discussed yesterday.

There is no Deputy on the benches opposite who is capable of saying what Deputy Cruise-O'Brien has been saying for the past 40 minutes.

There is a rumour circulating that Deputy Cruise-O'Brien will take three days to discuss this amendment.

What right can the Deputy have to speak of such rumour?



Would the Chair please display some impartiality in this matter?

On a point of order—

This is not a point of order.

I will not be suppressed by Deputy Cruise-O'Brien.

The Deputy will be suppressed by the Chair.

(Cavan): The Deputy must obey the Chair.

Notice taken that 20 Members were not present; House counted and 20 Members being present,

I am pressing my point of order.

Am I in possession?

Deputy Cruise-O'Brien.

Is the Deputy in possession of his faculties?

Has everybody read what the Irish Times had to say yesterday about Deputy Davern?

Would Deputies please cease interrupting? I would ask the Deputy in possession to please come to amendment No. 8, which is to delete "encourages or"?

I am bowing, as I must, to your ruling but I do so under protest. These gentlemen have made grave imputations and smears against us which were repeated here even under your eye and we are to be gagged under pretext that they were related to a previous amendment to which they bore no specific connection.

The Deputy is not being gagged. With the permission of the Chair he has been speaking for 40 minutes so as to allow him to make a personal explanation on amendment No. 7, which amendment was dealt with by the House yesterday. If the Deputy has nothing to say on the amendment before the House, I would ask him to resume his seat.


Hear, hear.

He is only warming up yet.

The amendment in which you are interested hinges on the words "encourages or". It seeks to remove those words as particularly objectionable. I have no legal training or experience. The pressing of this amendment has been conducted with immense ability and determination by Deputies Fitzpatrick and Cooney of Fine Gael. I shall not follow them or try to overlap in any way what they have said. I suppose each Deputy who has spoken so far has introduced something of his own experience or of his training, competence or reason and that should be so. As I say, I am not a lawyer but I am an humble student of the English language.

Let me say something that may be a little heretical and which may even scandalise Members opposite: I love the second official language. Of course Members opposite speak English only under constraint because when they were in their cradles the Black and Tans held bayonets over their heads and made them promise that they would use Irish only for purely ceremonial purposes.

This seems to have nothing to do with the amendment.

The amendment is in English. We have not received any official translation of the word "encourage".

Why is there no Irish text of the Bill and of the amendments?

That does not arise on the amendment. If the Deputy has nothing to say he should resume his seat and allow business to continue.

Is the Chair suggesting that we are not entitled to have an Irish text of the Bill?

Would Deputy Desmond please keep out of this? He does not understand it.

I am making the point on this amendment that the words of the amendment are not available in the Irish language and that therefore, I would like to make a distinction because I would not know what words in Irish might be used.


There might be a fine distinction between "spreagadh" and "gríosadh". I would like to see how they would relate to the Irish word for incite. I would like all that to be discussed and I would like to hear Deputies here who know Irish better than I, and there are several such Deputies— Deputy Tunney, for example—distinguish between these words in the first official language.

Is the Deputy suggesting that that affects the meaning of the word in the Bill? Is the Deputy not aware that the official language for Bills is the English language?

That is no consolation to the people in the Gaeltacht.

I am delighted that Deputy de Valera has made that point. As I would expect from the Deputy it is a highly relevant point, just as much of what he has said and which has been quoted during the debate has been relevant. How is this question of Irish relevant? Of course, as Deputy de Valera points out, the Irish version will not be the legal text of the Bill; but the constitutionality of the Bill will come to be tested and in the Constitution, as Deputy de Valera is aware, the Irish text is the text.

Only for the interpretation of the Constitution.

When the Bill is tested, the constitutionality of words in English will be tested by reference to the language of the text in Irish. That is what will have to be done by reason of this very Irish Constitution.

I think the Deputy is under a misapprehension.

I am always willing to accept correction and instruction from Deputy de Valera.

I may be wrong in this but in the Constitution it is the Irish text that rules for the interpretation of the Constitution while it is the English text that rules for the interpretation of legislation and this does not affect the issue when it is being tested.

That is an almost metaphysical distinction——

It is a legal distinction——

——but as far as my poor, humble understanding goes it is the Irish text, if there is conflict between the Irish and the English text——

For the Constitution.

The Irish language takes precedence. The Irish text is deemed to be the true, the orthodox, the "kosher" text of the Constitution.

Of the Constitution.

It will be the English text of the Bill that will rule.

A rather interesting point has come up here relevant to this amendment.

Anything to get away from the amendment.

I am speaking on the amendment, on a particular aspect. I am complaining, and it is important for constitutional reasons that I should complain that there is no Irish text for this amendment. We have no official text of this amendment in the first official language.

Of course, the Deputy is aware that the English text applies to the Bill and the Irish text is a translation.

I am aware of this and this is pertinent to the point I was making. The point I was making is a little complicated so I hope the House will bear with me. If we had the Irish words of the amendment and of the Bill then Deputies who know Irish and use that language in the sense of discrimination, in the sense of distinction, these Deputies could elucidate for us the meaning of these words in Irish. I agree, of course, that the meaning of these words in Irish has no bearing on the statute as such but if this Bill is passed one of the first things that will happen will be that its constitutionality will be tested. In the Constitution and in discussion of the Constitution it is the Irish text which will prevail. The Irish text is deemed to be the true text of the Constitution.

In regard to the Constitution.

In regard to the Constitution. The English text reads:

Where the President signs the text of a Bill in one only of the official languages, an official translation shall be issued in the other official language.

I gcás an tUachtarán do chur a láimhe le téacs Bille i dteangain de na teangthacha oifigiúla agus insan teangain sin amháin, ní foláir tionntú oifigiúil do chur amach insan teangain oifigiúil eile.

So you have to have an official translation. The Bill will be judged on its constitutionality in the light of a text in the Irish language. The Irish language and the English language are different in many ways. They are rather remote from each other, branches of the Indo-European family. Their assumptions and systems of distinction are different. We would have liked to have had a discussion on words like "spreagadh" and "gríosadh", on their relative meaning, on the usage of these words in our ancient literature and to see whether "encourage" or "advocate" and a Gaelic word for "incite"—I am not sure what it would be—would correspond in that official version which I think becomes relevant through the fact that it is the Irish language which is used for the final test of constitutionality.

I do not want to labour that but the fact that these amendments and this Bill are not before us in the Irish language, in a text which is going to be subjected to close semantic scrutiny, is an index of the hypocrisy of our Government towards this matter, a purely ceremonial use of the Irish language. There is much more I could say there but I do not intend to do so.

I wish to discuss the meanings of four words. I think you will agree that these are words which are pertinent to our discussion. The four words are "encourages", "advocates", "or"—those are the three words which are in the amendment— and the word which the Minister claims to be identical with them, the word "incites". Deputies who have spoken before have rightly drawn attention to dictionary definitions of these terms. They have used dictionaries which are good working dictionaries, suitable for day to day purposes such as we all use almost every day, I suppose, but this is a matter where a Minister is claiming that a pair of words in the English language correspond exactly with another word in the English language, adds nothing, that "encourages" adds nothing to "incites", that "advocates" adds nothing to "incites", that these words are all the same. They may be all the same to him, and he has told us his view of that, and would have us accept on his authority that these words are all the same, change the law and let us go. It is our duty to be critical of this and for this purpose I have brought here the Oxford English Dictionary. This is the dictionary of which the Shorter Oxford Dictionary, in two volumes, is a reduction, the Concise Oxford Dictionary is a still further reduction and the Shorter Oxford Dictionary a smaller one still. There is, I think, a Pocket Oxford Dictionary, the smallest of all. The Pocket Oxford will do for some things but I am afraid it will not do for this. People talk about words as if they were exact synonymns. The Minister is particularly cavalier in his approach. Almost any word will do for another if the word will enable him to get at whoever he wants to get at. Let me look at what the Minister said on this subject. Although he spoke in relation to a previous amendment it is of clear relevance here. I shall quote from the Official Report for Friday, 16th July, 1971—Volume 255, columns 1782 to 1784. The Minister for Justice placed on the record a letter which he apparently wrote to the Cork Examiner. It is dated 9th June, 1971. It has been quoted here before, but I wish to relate it to the rather detailed exercise of the examination of the meaning of these words. I quote:

... The editorial sets out to explain to your readers that, because the effect of a section in the Bill is that it would be an offence for a person to incite others to commit a crime...

He used the words "to incite others". Notice that in informing the public about the Bill he does not tell the public in Cork what the Bill actually says. He says what he says its effect would be. I think Deputies will form their own opinion as to whether that is an entirely honest or candid procedure. He gets in the word "incites" which is not in the Bill at all for very good reason, because the Minister wants to extend the scope of the law to catch in its net people whom he has not been able to get at, as he says, so far. He says:

Obviously your leader writer must be unaware of the fact that it is already, and has from time immemorial been, a criminal offence for anybody—be he journalist or otherwise—to incite another person to commit a crime.

This may be so but it is not incitement we have here, it is encouragement or advocacy.

At the moment we are dealing only with two words "encourages or".

Is the Chair saying that I cannot refer to "advocates"?

The amendment is in relation to the words "encourages or".

Is it not correct that the Bill, as amended, would include the word "advocates"?

The Deputy can deal with it on the section later if he wishes.

Will we have an opportunity to do so on the section?

(Cavan): Can we deal with it on the section?

No, I am sorry. The only words we are dealing with at the moment are "encourages or".

As we will not have a chance to deal with it on the section, perhaps there might be a certain tolerance granted now?

The Deputy may deal with it on Fifth Stage.

There is a point of order here which interests me. It may be my lack of experience and, perhaps, the Chair would give me some guidance on it. There are two words referred to in the amendment but the amendment refers to a particular line in the Bill. In discussing the relevance and significance of the amendment, surely the words stand in a sentence of the Bill? Am I correct in assuming that one is in order if one discusses the particular sentence the amendment seeks to alter? Surely one would still be in order simply discussing not other sections of the Bill, or even the whole of the particular section, but the actual line it is intended to amend? Otherwise it seems to me one could not look at the sense of the amendment if one were confined to the formal words of the amendment. Perhaps, the Chair could give us guidance on this matter.

It may be strange to hear this suggestion from the Government side but I respectfully submit to the Chair my support of the general line adopted by Deputy Keating. To restrict debate on the amendment solely to the two words without reference to the other words in context would stultify the debate. I am making this point for my own sake for the future. I realise it might be regarded as extraordinary to make this point but it is my opinion that if speakers are confined to the two words it will stultify the debate.

(Cavan): I was about to suggest that a discussion of the section with and without the amendment must be relevant.

Discussion of the section is not relevant at this stage.

(Cavan): Discussion with and without the amendment must be relevant.

The significance of the words the Deputy proposes to debate, as set out in his amendment, is in order.

(Cavan): If I were moving the amendment and if I could not discuss and put to the House the effect of section 4, first, as unamended and, secondly, as amended, I would not be capable of putting an argument for the amendment.

The Chair is concerned that words are being brought into the discussion other than the words in the amendment. There have been quotations in regard to other words. The Chair is not concerned with these but is only concerned with the words in the amendment.

(Cavan): I do not wish to argue with the Chair but I suggest a Deputy is entitled to discuss the section with the word “encourage” omitted and with the word “advocate” left in.

It is the significance of the words in relation to the section without introducing other words.

Surely the Chair will accept we are discussing an amendment to two lines—lines 34 and, automatically, 35—in which we are seeking to delete "encourages or". With respect, I submit that we are in order in discussing not only the general context of section 4 but particularly sections 2 and 3. Section 4 states:

A person who encourages or advocates the commission of an offence under section 2 or 3 of this Act shall be guilty of an offence.

Sections 2 and 3 are specifically related to part 1 of section 4. When I speak I have no intention of confining my remarks to this narrow field.

It is hoped that the Deputy at all stages will respect the ruling of the Chair in these matters.

I respect the ruling of the Chair but I respect Standing Orders even more.

I have already said the Deputy is entitled to deal with the significance of the words in relation to the section in which they appear.

I understand and respect the Chair's ruling. The relevance at this point of the linking of the words "encourages or advocates" to the section is that we must show why we deem it advisable to get the words "encourages or" deleted. Part of the case for that is that the Minister in his defence in the Cork Examiner and elsewhere has urged that not merely is “encourage” equivalent to “incite” but it is equivalent to “advocate”. If it is relevant to discuss one of these things it is relevant to discuss the other because it is the Minister's claim that the terms are identical. Therefore, because of the Minister's claim we may take it that the three word are identical and if we talk about “encourages” we cannot avoid talking about “advocates” or “incites”——

The Chair is not concerned with what the Minister wrote. The Chair is concerned with the text in front of the Chair, both on the amendment and on the section.

With respect, I submit many things have been spoken in this debate which are a lot less relevant than "encourages or advocates" in relation to this amendment.

The Chair is concerned that we keep to the words in the amendment and the section. The Chair has not before it the text of "incite".

In view of the fact that the Minister used the words in defence of his Bill—which are on the Official Record—can the Chair have the heart to tell me they are not relevant?

The Chair understood the Deputy was quoting from a letter.

I was quoting from a letter the Minister deliberately read into the Official Report—at column 1782, Vol. 255 of the 16th July, 1971. My point is that the Minister is arguing the terms are the same because he has stated that from time immemorial it has been a criminal offence for anyone to incite another person to commit a crime. The Minister also said:

It follows that there is no possible basis for what is said in the editorial.

The Minister substitutes another word in his explanation for the word he has in the Bill and he says it follows from the other words he has used that there is no basis for the attack on the Bill. What kind of logic is that? The Minister has made the claim that "encourages or advocates" is the same as "incites" and he has stated that the words "encourages" or "advocates" add nothing to the law as it stands. The Minister then must meet the objection that, if this is so, why is he putting them into the Bill. Why does he put such an extraordinary price on keeping the Bill that he resists this amendment, if resisting this amendment is what he is doing? We do not know yet what he is doing but, if he is resisting it, he is certainly wasting a great deal of time. The Minister has made the claim that these words are identical. Then what is his case for introducing these novel words? I think the only reason, so far as I know, that he has given here is the curious one that the words "encourages" or "advocates" are more modern words than "incites". He is apparently stung by having been accused at some time of archaism and he wishes to expunge forever this affront to his dignity by substituting "encourages" or "advocates" in this section of the Bill for "incites", claiming they mean the same thing. I do not think they do. You see, he implies at another point —he says they mean the same thing but he does not speak as if they do— that this is why he is holding on to section 4.

I shall quote again now from the Official Report of 16th July where the Minister gives us his reasons. He is, I think, rather candid in this about his reason for holding on to section 4 and making such a pother about section 4. Of course, in section 4, we must always understand that, when someone is talking about section 4, he is talking about it with the words we object to in it, "encourages" or "advocates," and these words which we are now trying to get out form the entire gravamen of the case against the section of the Bill as well as the case for this amendment. At column 1781 the Minister said:

It would have been very easy for me to introduce this Bill with sections 2 and 3 and without section 4. It would have been easy for me, when section 4 was objected to, to drop that section from the Bill but, if I had done so, I would have been failing in my duty to get at the subversive organisations and the people who made it their business to stay in the background but to encourage and advocate...

It is interesting to note that here the Minister says "encourage and advocate", but that is not what he says in the Bill; in the Bill he says "encourage or advocate". With "encourage and advocate" you have to prove two things but with "encourage or advocate" you have to prove only one thing. With respect to Deputy Cooney, when he spoke about this Bill creating an offence he misstated; I think it creates two offences, "encourages" or "advocates."

Is the Deputy taking into account when "and" is "or" and "or" is "and?"

I speak here as a layman and a student of the English language. I certainly do not speak as a lawyer and the many lawyers on both sides of the House, if they wish to do so, will be able to instruct me on points of law. And I shall be very grateful for that. I am grateful for what I have heard from several Deputies here on this matter and Deputy de Valera will, I hope, have an opportunity of speaking after me and I hope that he will take that opportunity and, if he does so, I hope he will be able to correct anything wrong that I have said. I am here dealing with the ordinary meaning of terms it is proposed to introduce in the course of changing our law.

I hope the Deputy will speak fully on the word "or" as a layman.

I assure the Deputy I will speak on the word "or", as a layman of course, but as a layman who can draw, as all of us can, on the numerous resources of English lexicography.

Some of which we see before us.

Some of which we see before us.

... if I had done so, I would have been failing in my duty to get at the subversive organisations...

Now, at one and the same time, this section means nothing at all. It does nothing but it also enables the Minister somehow to get at these subversive organisations. What is the key to that reply by the Minister? I will show that the key is that the Minister knows that "encourages" is not the same as "incites", that it throws a wider net, and he hopes to catch in that net some people he has in mind.

We cannot solve this problem and neither can we solve a lot of other similar or analogous problems unless we get at those who are in the background and those who are members of organised subversive groups.

So it enables the Minister to do something and it does not enable the Minister to do anything. We do not know. That is the puzzle. But he gave us that reason for the Bill—it will enable him to get at organisations which are subversive. We do not even know what these are. I think it is highly probable the Minister would regard the Irish Labour Party as a subversive organisation. And he will get at us. I am sure he would dearly like to, if he thought he could get away with it, and so would some of his colleagues. This is a very literary session of the Dáil.


The House would wish to deal with the amendment.

The word "poltroon" does not appear in the amendment. This section will enable the Minister to get at subversive organisations. We do not know from the Minister—he has not told us, not yet—how it will enable him. We believe it is these words "encourages or advocates", "encourages" in particular, which he thinks——


We were at the point that we know that the Minister thinks that the section, an unspecified part of the section—it may be the word in this amendment, or it may not—will enable him to get at some unspecified people whom he dislikes and whom he describes as members of organisations which he considers subversive. Is the word "encourages" the key to that? We think it is. The Minister has said very little—he could, of its nature, say very little—about his reason for putting in words he claims are identical to a word which is already a part of the law and the usage of which has been defined in various legal decisions. My point is, of course, that that word is hemmed in by restrictions because of these decisions, but "encourages" is more flexible. What specific reason has the Minister given for putting in these words "encourages or advocates"? The reason he has given is that these words are somehow more modern or swinging.

More with it.

More with it, more-where-it-is-at, than the word "incite". That is an interesting claim, but it does not happen to be true. The words "encourage" and "incite" are, in fact, of equal antiquity. Encourage is not a modern word at all. It is as old as the English language in its standard form, as old as the earliest printed books in English. It dates back to the late 15th century. It was used by Kett and so was "incite". They have been there all along, part of the English language for as long as we know it, from the time it emerged as a standard language out of the various dialects which had prevailed up to then. This term which this Minister, who advises us about the meaning of words, tells us is a modern word is a 15th century word, of 15th century coinage.

It is true that the word "advocate", which is identical with "encourage" according to the Minister, is of more recent coinage. It was first used by Edmund Burke in the 1760s and it was objected to as an innovation by Benjamin Franklin in 1789. There is that to be said for the Minister's claim that this is a modern word. It is not a modern word. There is also the claim that the——


There have been references to the use by an tUachtarán of a dictionary; I think it is all to his honour that as a scholar and a gentleman he had recourse to lexicography when matters of serious moment of definition were under debate. One should do that, I think. It is very wrong for people to hold the practice of consulting a dictionary in disrepute. We had the claim that these are more modern terms, that "encourage", this 15th century word, is more modern than "incite", that other 15th century word. That is a reason given and it is as weighty as any of the other reasons we have been given for changing our law in this matter, putting in "encourages or advocates".

There is another reason for which we might have some respect. At least on the surface it seems plausible. That is the claim that this is ordinary plain language of the man-in-the-street. The Minister knows that in any pub you drop into you will hear people talk about advocacy and advocates and so on. He claims that this is ordinary plain language and the Minister has this ambition to make this statute plain. That is why I suppose we have in section 1 of the Bill:

... any person having an estate or interest in land (including a person who remains in occupation of land after the determination of his tenancy therein), the owner of the servient tenement (in relation to an easement or profit à prendre), the owner of an easement or profit à prendre (in relation to the servient tenement) and, in relation to land or a vehicle,...

That is right. I mean, whenever the Minister drops in to see Deputy Gallagher there is talk of profit à prendre, I am sure.

The Chair would like the debate to be kept relevant to the amendment which is before the House and, to be relevant, the Chair thinks the debate should centre around why the words should be deleted and the significance of these words in relation to the section.

I thought I could hardly be faulted for diligence in seeking out the significance of the words.

It is a good thing there are not three words involved.

There are four words involved.

It is a good thing there are not four-letter words involved.

I shall leave those to the Deputies opposite.


I have a great deal to say that is highly pertinent to the amendment. I want to look at the meaning of the word "encourage". I think I am not out of order in talking about that word.

The debate to be relevant must centre around these words and why they should be deleted and their significance in relation to the section.

Would it not be right to discuss the meaning of the word "encourage" and why there is an amendment to have it deleted?

That is what the Chair is saying.

That is what Deputy Cruise-O'Brien is doing.

Notice taken that 20 Members were not present; House counted and 20 Members being present,

I propose to read, with the permission of the Chair——

Could we have the reference, please?

The Parliamentary Secretary is only delaying the House.

Deputy Cruise-O'Brien should be allowed to proceed.

The Parliamentary Secretary has asked for the reference. The reference is to the Oxford English Dictionary in 12 volumes with one supplementary volume which is the highest lexical authority on the English language and all the other Oxford dictionaries are abridgements of this. I thought it necessary to bring this in because the Minister is making claims about the meanings of words which are wrong and I propose to demonstrate how wrong they are.


Intellectual arrogance.

Deputies on all sides of the House might help by allowing the Deputy in possession to speak.

I would agree there would be intellectual arrogance if I were, as the Minister for Justice is, telling people by my mere authority this word means such-and-such.

Another smart remark; bringing democracy into disrepute; playacting.


The Chair will insist that the debate proceed in an orderly fashion. If the Chair cannot get the co-operation of the House then other steps must be taken to deal with the matter.

I should like then to proceed, having cited my source, which is the Oxford English Dictionary——

There was a Fianna Fáil Taoiseach one time who had recourse to the Oxford Dictionary in order to define "republic".

Who was he?

The President, Mr. de Valera.


If Deputies do not cease interrupting, the Chair will ask them to leave the House.

I should like to make a brief explanation of the principles on which the larger Oxford English Dictionary, the real authority on the English language, works. It is based on the series originally known as A New English Dictionary, a great work of 19th-century scholarship. It is described as a dictionary based on historical principle, that is to say, it examines the meaning of a word; it does not just give a pat definition. It is conscious of the fact that language is a living web, that the shades of meaning change in different contexts, and it relates words to other words in ways which are extremely significant. In the course of this it is concerned to establish usage. The whole system depends on usage. You see before you this rather strange and wonderful panorama of the way in which a word has evolved. Of course, like any lexicon, a dictionary is only an abbreviation or condensation of actual usage, and it is the usage that is important.

The first meaning of the word "encourage" is "to inspire with courage, animate, inspirit". A reference is given in Caxton, 1489: "They were greatly encouraged with good hope." Smith, in 1637: "God would have Joshua encouraged with all the encouragement that may be." Another 17th-century use is that of Drumm. Of Hawth: "By encouraging those who for their own interest pretend religion." That is a rather interesting one. It seems they were around in the 17th century too.

I think they are still around.

Defoe, 1722: "That which encouraged them was that the city was healthy." Emerson, 19th-century usage: "Whatever appeals to the imagination wonderfully encourages and liberates us." It is encouraging even to read some of these usages. There is a subset of meanings, and there is an early usage in More's Utopia:“This verily is the chief cause that hath encouraged me.” In 1647, Ward: “Prayers to the God of power and goodness would encourage your hearts.” Steele—and the gentlemen opposite will like this: “Jack was encouraged at this success.”

Jack who?

It does not say, but it seems to have happened a long time ago. He has not been having so much encouragement since then.

Notice taken that 20 Members were not present; House counted and 20 Members being present,

What I completed there was meaning one of the word "encourage" according to the Oxford English Dictionary. There are four main shapes of definitions, shall we say, which the dictionary uses. The second one will please the Minister very much at first sight: “To inspire with courage sufficient for any undertaking; to embolden; make confident”. This is a somewhat more specific one. I want people to try to see the point I am making here. The point is that the word “encourage” casts a very wide net, that it includes terms with narrower spans such as “incite”, and it includes much weaker words; we shall be able to see that in some of these usages. I have to quote the entire definition and to pursue the meanings also of the words used to define the word if we are to get exactly what will be done by including this word “encourages”. I shall faithfully read out definitions and usages which would seem to conform to what the Minister has said. My point is, very roughly speaking, that it is not enough to be rough or vague in this matter as the Minister has been. The nub of it is that “encourages” includes “incites” but “incites” does not include “encourages”. “Encourages” includes some wider, weaker usages which enable a net to be thrown, which enables people to be got at, to use the Minister's own words, who could not be got at if it were just left at “incites”.

This, therefore, is my purpose in pursuing with as much diligence as I can muster the span of meanings covered by this word "encourage": "to inspire"; the second meaning then: "constructed to, with substantive as object"—this is the kind of thing the Minister has in mind; you are encouraging someone to do something—"transitive"; "to inspire with courage sufficient to any undertaking; to embolden; make confident". We have a 16th-century use from Eden: "That they might be encouraged to do the like". A 17th-century usage in Hobbes's Leviathan:“Presumeth on his force ... which encourages him to commit the same again”. That is the type of meaning the Minister has in mind. Notice about this modern word what its antiquity is, these 15th-, 16th- and 17th-century usages. This is the word which the Minister intends to force upon us in order that his legislation may appear modern, that he may have a more modern image. It is a very petty purpose in legislating anyway. Then we have an 18th-century use in Cooper: “John Gilpin first encouraged you to write”.

It is a good job he is in the Labour Party.

No other party would accept him.

I shall have to make the point in my own defence that sometimes when I am interrupted I am likely to lose my place. I am reading here rather fine print and I am constrained to use a magnifying glass. Each time I am interrupted I am so very sensitive and it hurts me so much that I sometimes lose my place on the page and then it is necessary to look for my place again and in doing so there is a danger I might consume more time than I would wish. I do not want to consume any more time than is necessary to demonstrate the danger of this word "encourages" and the related word "or" which I am coming to in a moment. There is another early 19th-century use of this word which is very important in the link of meaning to this word "encourage". Miss Ferrie, in 1824, writing a letter, says: "I feel encouraged to the liberty I am going to take by the kindness you showed me." Notice that if you show somebody kindness you may be encouraging him to do something. It may be kindness to a potential law breaker, a kind act to a person engaged in squatting.


That was nice of Deputy Haughey. It would be a charitable act on the part of Deputy Haughey. It would have been treated as an offence if this Bill was an Act. We know that Deputy Haughey has strong objections to this section, not strong enough to enable him to vote against it, but strong enough to enable him to express strong opinions.

I apologise, a Ceann Comhairle, for that deviation. Mrs. Forrester at the end of the 19th century, in 1882, says:

Encourage yourself to say these things now you are in Paris.

She did not say these things at all.

It is possible there are errors in the collection.


Deputies should not interrupt. They should listen to the Chair. The Chair seems not to have any influence on the debate. Nobody seems to respect the Chair.

With respect, I protest.

The Chair is speaking of the interruptions.

I am relieved about that.

Does the Chair recognise that it is being sneered at by the speakers opposite?

That is not true.

It is part of the half-cleverality that is going on.

There is a 16th-century use which is not quite clear to me. It reads:

The wych thyng undowtydly wold incorage basse stomakys to endevur themselfys dylygently.

Then you have a 17th-century use, Prynne, as follows:

To the which I have beene the more incouraged by a Divine Providence.

All this is in the highly modern content which we have to have in our law. It is extraordinary how slowly things change. This is important to the point I am trying to make. The next usage is the one on which the Minister depends for this extraordinary claim that encourages and incites mean the same things. This is particularly important.

Notice taken that 20 Members were not present; House counted and 20 Members being present,

I was making the point that this particular definition I am coming to which is 2 (b) in the Oxford English Dictionary set of definitions and usage is the one on which the Minister would rely. The Minister says that “encourages” and “incites” are exactly the same. I agree with him that “encourage” in 2 (b) and “incite” are the same thing or include the same things. We have:

to incite, induce, instigate; in weaker sense, to recommend, advise.

I correct myself, and I would like to say that the Minister's claim that "encourage" means exactly the same as "incite" is true for this small bit, for the first half of the Oxford English Dictionary definition 2 (b), running up to incite, induce and instigate. Then you have the weaker sense after the semicolon “to recommend, advise”. It means that this has the same meaning running out from “incite” at one end to “to recommend, advise”. Therefore, all these meanings are dragged into this statute by the use of the word “encourage”, the word we are trying to get out. It would make it an offence not merely to incite but to recommend or advise. These are quite weak words. The Minister is trying to get at those who recommend and advise by pretending that they have incited. This word has a wide span so the definitions are important here.

The first usage is a very early one. It is 1483, Caxton's Cato. It is exactly the usage the Minister has in mind. “They encourage some persone to do euyl.” That is what the Minister has in mind. He pretends that the word “encourage” which he would substitute in this Bill for the ordinary wording of the common law has only this meaning. There is a more innocuous 17th-century use by Sir R. Dudley in the Fortesque Papers—“to incurrage his Highnes to undertake a matter of that consequence”. John Dryden uses it, “Water him and encourage him to thirst again, with Bran”. Jowett the classical scholar uses it in his Plato in 1875—“We are not encouraging individuals to make right or wrong for themselves.” Another meaning is to encourage, to come, to invite. I will not waste time on the usages of that because it is obsolete and rare. There is a third usage of some importance—“to stimulate (persons or personal efforts) by assistance, reward, or expressions of favour or approval”. Expression of approval comes in on that and it is very vital. This is the lexical proof of what we have been saying and the lexical disproof of what the Minister has been saying about the effect of this to stimulate persons or personal efforts by assistance, reward or expressions of favour or approval, to countenance to patronise. Even to countenance a thing, not to be angry, not to denounce people in the Fianna Fáil Party—“The ruffian wrote an editorial in which he did not condemn the recent case of squatting”—that is enough. These are the span of meanings, these are the set of meanings which the Minister has the effrontery to tell us are covered by the word “incite”. I shall have to come to the word “incite”.

The Deputy should not rush himself.

I shall try not to be too superficial.

It is essential for any Fianna Fáil Deputy to extend his vocabulary.

Notice how this word swings out in different directions as one would expect of an ancient or common word in the English language. After to countenance, to patronise, there is a semi-colon and "also, in bad sense to abet". There are good senses and bad senses of this word; there are weak senses and strong senses, there is a whole range of proliferation of meanings in this word.

What does the Deputy mean by "strong sense"?

By "strong sense" I would mean the incitement fan. This is a very important point in relation to this Bill. Incitement is always deliberate. I speak here subject to correction by the many legal men who are present but I think incitement implies mens re. A person who incites has to intend the consequences of his actions and if they are criminal actions he has to intend that criminal consequence.

Lord Kenyon in "R. v. Higgins” in 1801.

I thank the Deputy. I wish to express my deep personal gratitude for the store of legal learning which has been so generously deployed here by my friends on the Fine Gael front bench.

Would the Deputy say he coalesced on that occasion?

I shall look up the definition of that if the Deputy likes. I do not think the Chair would patronise or countenance it. I was answering a question raised by Deputy Browne. A strong use in the sense in which I am using the term is a term like incite where there is a conscious, deliberate attempt to move a person in a given direction, which is known. If you incite a man to a crime you are a partner in the crime, that is what you intend him to do. You tell him to "get up there and throw that bomb" or as the Provisionals are saying in Derry now, "Get out there and throw that stone so that the British troops will fire back and there will be somebody dead." That is what we mean by incite but encourage can be done without voluntary intent at all. Something an editor writes or says may encourage somebody whom he had never seen to do something he had never dreamt of. It is altogether wide. We see in the structure of meanings of this under countenance and patronise even if he refrains from doing anything, even if he is just quietly countenancing something, if he is encouraging somebody by his example to go out and do something which may be criminal.

"Encourage" looks just a little word like any other, a tiny change in the statute, but quite suddenly the floodgates are open and opening the floodgates is the intention here. The Minister wants to throw out this net so that he may "get at" anyone he dislikes. He dislikes a great many people and we do not know just who he wants to get at at the moment but "encourage" is flexible enough to let him get in his net a great many people. I am holding up the meshes of this net, latent in this word "encourage", for the Chair's inspection, under this important section 3, to stimulate, to countenance, to patronise, and at the end, in bad sense "to abet". This the Minister says is what he means. He means to abet, he does not mean to countenance, patronise, et cetera. The word will be there, irrespective of the meaning the Minister for Justice may assign to it. If this section is passed unamended it will have in it the word “encourage” and when that is being interpreted lawyers will look at their own legal precedents but they will also have in mind the common meaning of the word as generally understood. It is these set of definitions, they are not something dreamt up from the sky by the pundits who prepared the Oxford English Dictionary, they are a reduction to order of the meaning of this word as it has accumulated through time based primarily on the speech and assumptions of ordinary people but carried to us in printed books, newspapers and letters. That is the scope of the net and that is why the Minister wants it. He does not want it because it means the same as incite, which it does to only a part of its extent, not because it is a more modern word which it demonstrably is not— I have demonstrated that—and not because it is in common usage, which is neither here nor there. The reason he wants it in is that it includes all these other sub-meanings, any one of which can be used.

By the Attorney General.

The following are the illustrations in usage of section 3 which includes stimulate, countenance, patronise and also in bad sense.

That is interesting.

Why not discuss the Irish usage of these words?

The Deputy was not here for the earlier part of my remarks. I would be very happy to discuss the Irish usage if we had an Irish text of the Bill and the amendments. I am not here to plead for anybody. We should have an Irish text. It has become the practice in this House, the majority of whom deem themselves to be the guardians of the great treasury of the Irish language, not to waste time with the Gaelic when there is business to be done. The Irish is for commemorations and similar pious occasions. Since the constitutionality of this Bill is in doubt and will be tested and since the text of the Constitution that will have priority will be the Irish language, this text should be before the House in respect of the Bill and the amendments. Of course, it is the Government who are responsible for this Bill. Discussion on the Bill should be in both languages. We should have before us Dinneen and other more modern authorities. We should have, too, the Academy dictionaries and we should be searching these to find out what is the meaning of the Irish words that the Government are proposing because that would be very useful to the lawyers when they come to examine the constitutionality of the Bill.

Could we come back to the amendment?

The Deputy is deploring the absence of an Irish text.

Acting Chairman

I gather that.

The absence of Irish in the amendments is due to the fact that it is impossible to amend in Irish a Bill that is printed in English. I was making the point not spontaneously but because I was challenged on why I was discussing the English language of the Bill that is before us in that expressive language and which is not in the other expressive language in which it could have been printed.

It was not a challenge. It was an invitation to the Deputy to embark on the Irish words.

The Deputy cannot discuss an Irish text of the Bill when there is no such text available.

Acting Chairman

Perhaps the Deputy will develop his argument on the amendment.

I accept the distinction being offered as between a challenge and an invitation. I am happy to see such distinction coming into vogue here because sometimes we are, perhaps, inclined to brush over the finer meanings of the words. Therefore, this is a welcome change. We have here, too, a 17th-century book, one that was not published to abate students industry but to encourage it, "abate" being the opposite of "encourage". Then there is an 18th-century usage by Lady Mary Wortley Montagu which says:

No woman dare encourage two lovers at a time.

Could we have the remark again?

I thought there would be a market for that over there. It is a good saying.

On a point of order, is it in order for the Deputy to attack Lady Mary when she is not here to defend herself?

If the Deputy is talking about modern terms, I think he is behind the times.

Acting Chairman

Deputies should allow Deputy Cruise-O'Brien to continue his contribution.

I should like to refer briefly to one point in connection with that. I should not wish it to be thought that I would wish to insult the memory of any lady, living or dead. I hope I have never done so and that I never will do so but authors have their ordinary share of vanity and I think the lady would like to be quoted and to think that so long after her death she is being quoted in an assembly the coming into existence of which she never dreamed.

She always had a sense of humour.

I would say more than humour.

I have been asked for an Irish usage and we have one here from Richard Brinsley Sheridan who, in this publication of 1777 said:

paying them...

meaning tradesmen

is only encouraging them.

The next one is in Buckle's History of Civilisation:

Why should we call upon Governments to encourage those who write our books?

To their great credit, the Government over there during the term of office of Deputy Haughey as Minister for Finance, did encourage those who write our books. We give them credit for anything they do that is good in the same way as we resist anything they do that is bad. Then, we have Rogers writing in 1866:

The bailiffs were allowed to encourage adventurous boys in bringing young birds for purposes of training.


I think he meant birds in the ornithological sense. Then there is an interesting usage in relation to our amendment and our Bill:

Among the group who encouraged the Press of taxdom was Richard, Duke of Gloucester.

If somebody like Richard, Duke of Gloucester, were to encourage the Press and if it was a section of the Press which gave aid or countenance or patronage to the activities of squatters, then, the modern equivalent of Richard, simply by encouraging the Press, would fall within this great net which the Minister has sought to smuggle in here. He has not told us candidly what he is doing. If he had been honest he should have come here and said: "People are getting away with things which they should not be getting away with. Incite is not enough. I want you to untie my hands and give me a wider usage so that we can reach out and take in people we are not getting. In order to do that the word `encourage' is necessary." If he had done that, while we would certainly have continued to oppose the section and press the amendment, we would have done so with respect for the honesty and the candour of the man who came forward and told us exactly what he was doing. But we cannot have any admiration for a man who seeks to widen the scope of the law for a purpose that is quite unknown and who then tells us that the law is not to be changed in any particular because "encourage" is the same as "incite" and that he is only modernising. He is just bringing in this word "encourage", which was first used in the 15th century, because it is a modern word and it is a good thing to do. That is the only reason he has given for this word. He has given us another reason and a more honest one for the section which is that it enables him to get at people whom he cannot get at while the law remains as it is. That is what he wants. That was what he said on section 4 as a whole. What he said on "encourage" was not honest because he was not being clear and candid with the House. At least he was not being any more clear and candid with the House than Deputy Jim Gibbons, the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries, deemed it appropriate to be on a well-known occasion. How candid that was each Deputy must judge for himself. I have dealt with the third set of meanings for "encourage". I now come to the fourth. No, I do not come to the fourth. I do not want to skip over anything.


If I were to skip a single usage or if I were to fail to mention that a given usage had become obsolete or was rare this could rightly be used against me by these benches. I am giving them the lot. I am giving them the whole structure and fabric of this terrible word "encourage", terrible in this context but of course also a beautiful word. I do not wish to attack the word "encourage" as such but the word "encourage" smuggled into this Bill as a supposed synonym for "incite". That is dangerous and we will not have it. That was 3 (a). I am glad to see a certain group of Deputies are following me with attention. I am encouraged.


I suspect the Deputy was not around in Lady Montague's time but could he give us a little more detail?

If I have been too sparing with the detail. I apologise.

Notice taken that 20 Members were not present; House counted and 20 Members being present,

In considering the range of meanings of this word "encourage" which is one of the two words of the amendment which I have the privilege of supporting we had reached as far as sub-meaning 3 (b). This meaning is "to allow or promote the continuance or development of a natural growth, an industry, a sentiment". I want Deputies to see that there is a serious purpose in this investigation of the range of meanings of this word, the word which the Minister claimed to by synonymous with "incite", which has a different range of meanings. The Minister, because the range of meanings overlap, tries to bulldoze the House into believing that the range of meanings is the same. Overlapping and being the same are not the same thing and that is the point we are trying to get at.

What is the word?

The word is the one which figures in the amendment which the Deputy, if he had been here a little longer, would perhaps have absorbed. "Encourages or".

A Deputy

You did not call for him earlier.

I did not think he would have to be called for. I thought he would be all agog in such a debate. The word we are discussing is "encourage". I shall read that definition again: "To allow or promote the continuance or development of a natural growth, an industry, a sentiment, to cherish, to foster". Notice the span between the two words "allow" and "promote". "Encourage" can be feeble or it can be strong and the Minister wants to include the feebler range of meanings because it will enable him to get at people he would not get at otherwise, wording in an editorial which might not be incitement but might be encouragement. Notice that extraordinary weak word. I want to emphasise the weak usages here because it is the weak usages which distinguish this from "incite" which has only got strong usage. The usages given of that—an early usage, 16th century, Yarnton: "If the iron manufacturer be not encouraged." Of course you can encourage good things as well as bad. What the Minister has in mind are things which he thinks to be bad but things he thinks to be bad we might well think to be good. We do not know what is in the Minister's mind but we can find out what this word means.

I have been accused by some Deputies of making a display of education. Nothing of the kind is involved here. If anything is being displayed and urged on Deputies, encouraged, advocated, it is willingness to learn, to go to a good source, see what is said, pursue the meaning of the word through all its different ranges.

The Deputy is not, of course, inciting them to learn.

I knew Deputy FitzGerald could not resist.

I would if I could incite them. If I knew that the consequence of my act would be that they would learn something I would incite them to learn. I do not think learning is yet a criminal activity. Some of these Deputies behave as if it were. You have in Congreve: "I have encouraged a pimple here too." Then a relevant usage. All these usages are relevant because they are part of a pattern of meanings of this word "encourage" which we want to get out of this Bill. We are willing to expend some considerable effort on getting this word out. The Government could save themselves a lot of trouble if they omitted "encourages" from the Bill.

The next usage is particularly relevant. It is Knox's Winter Evening in which it is stated: “books of controversy are less encouraged.” If this Bill goes through with the word “encourages”, books of controversy will be less encouraged, or rather they will be less encouraged if they are on one particular side of the controversy. The aim of this Bill is to ensure that people who think in ways the Minister does not like will not be able to speak out: the aim is to gag and that is what we are opposing.

Deputy Keating spoke recently on the scientific use of this term and this has a bearing on the subject. A 19th-century usage gives us: "sunshine encourages the perceptible growth of flowering plants." The Minister claims that this term "encourages" is modern, but in fact it was used in the 15th century. It is nonsense to suggest that the Minister is using this word because it is "mod". George Eliot in a rather sinister sentence—which one might expect from that dark and tragic mind—remarked "he grasped at a thought more actively cruel than any he had ever encouraged before". I do not think that sombre insight is relevant here although it might be.

The word "encourages" is also used in a humorous way—to put spirits into liquor. I think it is rather unlikely that it would be made an offence in that context. I should like to state I am not arguing that if this Bill becomes law all of these meanings will be applied indiscriminately. I am trying to establish what might be called the ecology of the word, the structure of the word and its strength and reach. There is a 17th-century usage in Hobbes's Thucydides:“encouraging their want of knowledge with store of men”— in this context it means to compensate for and this is part of the range of meaning. In Fuller's History of Cambridge in 1655 we have the great humanist, Erasmus.

Let us have anyone else but him.

I am sorry the Deputy has an objection to the great humanist.

Acting Chairman

The Deputy in possession should be allowed to speak without interruption.

Perhaps the Deputy will be reconciled to Erasmus when he hears that Erasmus sometimes encouraged his faint ale with the mixture—in other words he put whiskey or something stronger in.

I am refusing to listen to this.

We thought the Deputy was enjoying it.

So much for the usage of the verb "encourage" but there is much more to it than that. If it is a crime to encourage, encouragement is also a crime and an encourager is a criminal.

The Deputy is being very funny today.

I hope that I can be funny at times and that I can be serious at times and that I do not confuse the two.

The Deputy is being informative.

I am drawing on the greatest, the fullest and most respected sources of information we have regarding the meaning of the word we are trying to get at—to use the Minister's vocabulary. The Minister wants to get at some unspecified persons and we want to get at the word "encourage" in the context the Minister would have it.

If it is a crime to encourage, by definition encouragement is a crime. It is my pleasant duty to read a definition of the word "encouragement". Incidentally, I forgot to mention the etymology of the word "encourage" which, I assume, Deputies know already. It comes from the French word encourager, which derives from the word “coeur” meaning heart. It means that it is not just a matter of deliberately inciting someone to do something but it means even to cheer up the person who is on his way to squat in Hume Street; it means to say “Good Morning” to Deirdre McMahon. That is encouraging but it is not instigation and it is not covered by the present law. However, it would be covered by this Bill and this is the intention to get at them. I am giving a brief run through the usage of the word but I am sure other Deputies will develop this theme from the sources of learning which are available to them but not available to me. I must look up the word in the dictionary.

The Deputy is encouraging his colleagues in an abuse of the House.

I did not know the Deputies opposite objected to the length of the debate and it certainly cannot be said that the word "encourages" is not on this amendment. I know I have the protection of the Chair in pursuit of the meaning of the word "encourage" which is one of the two words in the amendment. I know the Chair will protect me in the discussion of the words envisaged by the amendment, the words stated to be equivalent to them by the Minister and the words stated to be equivalent to them by the dictionary—though, again, it is a question of covering the area. I would deal with this to that extent extensively. There are others who will, perhaps, deal more intensively with the meanings of these words. Encouragement then, the action or process of encouraging, the fact of being encouraged, see senses of the verb—I doubt if I would be justified by that injunction here, see senses of the verb. Do you think that would justify me, this instructive dictionary would justify me, in beginning to read all over again? I do not think so. I think that would be taking up the time of the House unnecessarily. This is a thing which I should never do. But there was a reference from those benches over there to a joke—that this whole thing is a joke. There have been jokes in the course of this debate and I do not see why humour should not be a part of our debates, if kept within reason. But there is also something very serious. We are trying to take out this word and we are trying to take it out because of its range of meaning and that is what justifies us exploring the range of its meanings, the vast ultimate unexplored range of its meanings, to show what we are letting ourselves in for if we let this word "encourage" go. We want to hammer it out. We think we have a right to hammer it out. We are given for this word "encourage" a spurious excuse that it is exactly equivalent to another word to which it is not exactly equivalent and we are going to show that it is not exactly equivalent to that other word and it takes time to explore the full range of incite and encourage.

It is time well spent.

We shall also have a look at "incitement". The Minister has made it appropriate that we should. We are investigating a claim made by the Minister. The Minister would, of course, like us to take that claim just on his "I say so". That is what it means. But we will not do that, we will go to the source of it. We are now at the source of it and I want to remind Deputies that is what we are at. This has a purpose. This is not, as it has been called, a filibuster. It is a strictly pertinent, relevant inquiry into the meaning of a word.

Notice taken that 20 Members were not present; House counted and 20 Members being present.

I pointed out that, if we make "to encourage" a crime, we also make related words criminal activities, so it is pertinent to discuss them in the context of this amendment. The first related word is, I find, one which we discussed just a moment ago in the Oxford English Dictionary:“encouragement”: the action or process of encouraging, the fact of being encouraged. Notice this duality. Encouragement can be both on behalf of the person who is encouraged or the person who is doing the encouragement.

This is the crucial point.

I am sure Deputy FitzGerald will be speaking later and I hope he will develop some of the semantic aspects of this.


You see the duality and the ambiguity of these words; you see the way the word reaches out to both the active and the passive in the transaction. All of this, every bit of it, all these dualities, all these sub-meanings, they all widen this big net the Minister is trying to smuggle in here in a small package. You can put a big net in a small package and that is what he is doing here. "Encouragement" is also an old word. It will interest Deputies, I know, to hear that it is not as old a word as the verb. The verb is older than the substantive. This is interesting. Sometimes the contrary is the case. I would not spend time here discussing the age of words—it is not normally pertinent to our debate—but this Minister makes the alleged age of this word his sole case and he is wrong about the age. He does not know how old the word is. He thinks it is a modern word. He thinks it was brought in in the "Four Glorious Years", which is where his knowledge of history begins, but it was not. It goes a bit further back as I am beginning to try to show.

The Deputy will refer to Grafton's usage in 1564.

Deputy FitzGerald, who makes such useful interventions here from time to time, has drawn attention to Grafton's use in 1564.

Acting Chairman

I would like to draw the attention of the House to the fact that Deputy FitzGerald and other Deputies will have a chance of speaking for themselves later on and I would prefer the Deputy now to speak on the amendment.

I shall try to do that. I thank the Chair for his admonition and advice. I read out the wrong date because my eyesight is not as good as it was. I apologise to the House for this, as I hope I always shall, if in any respect, however small, I am guilty of misleading. I shall not come here and make references to the penny catechism and try to get away with it that way. If I mislead the House, I shall apologise and if I ever do mislead I shall do it unintentionally, as I did just now. It was 1568. "King Edward purposing a light encouragement of noble and worthy knights..." There is the usage and, in fact, it is the earliest usage of the substantive as distinct from the verb. Then we have J. Dickinson, of course, in 1598—"For his more encouragement viewing in his mistress' countenance no clouds of discontent..." That was what encouraged him, that he saw in his mistress' countenance no clouds of discontent. The word "mistress" did not enjoy in the 16th century quite the same connotations as the Deputies opposite seem to suppose. These are modern connotations.

Here is Goring in the Hamilton papers which were printed in 1880 but the actual usage is 1776: "What encouragement whatever those ill-affected with you may gather..." That is an example of the kind of use of "encouragement" which the Minister says he intends. It comes within the ring of meanings that belong to what the Minister says he intends. There is outside that ring a largely unexplored area, which we are not trying to explore, of weaker meanings. Yarnton has it in 1677: "The encouragement of the iron and iron manufactors..." and in the very beginning of the 18th century, in 1700, we had Wallace in a collection later published by the Oxford History Society, saying: "This riding-master went hence finding little or no encouragement of anyone desirous to learn..." That is a very good description of the present state of Irish education. That was Wallace, but Shaftesbury has it in his Characters in 1737: “Inward deformity growing greater by the encouragement of unnatural affection.” That is, again, the kind of usage which comes within the stamp which the Minister pretends is the only stamp that this word has but it has, as we have seen and, as in my summing up later on I shall be pointing out, a range of meanings which include much weaker meanings and enables, therefore, more people to be pulled in.

On what day will the Deputy be summing up?

That depends on a number of factors, how vast the range of meanings turns out to be and, perhaps, to some extent my own individual possibilities. Jowett has it in his Plato which is one of the main 19th-century sources for the great dictionaries. Plato, he says, gives no encouragement to individual enthusiasm. That is a weaker meaning.

Neither do the Government.

"Plato gives no encouragement to individual enthusiasm." That is to say, it is possible to give encouragement to individual enthusiasm. That is a possible meaning of "encouragement" which Plato would not produce for reasons of his own which we must all respect in the case of Plato. He refuses to give this encouragement to individuals. This is the sense of the wider use of "encouragement". If you gave encouragement to individual enthusiasm, let us say, the enthusiasm of somebody who might, in certain circumstances, squat in a building, that would be encouragement within the meaning of this Bill, if our amendment is refused. If you were to say that it was a scandal and a disgrace that Hume Street should be turned down, then you would be giving encouragement to the enthusiasm of people. You would not be directly intending a criminal act but by giving encouragement to the disposition of those who might so be, you would fall within the meaning; so that not only those who are engaged in actual criminal acts or incitement to them, but the kind of people who, in general sympathise with the motives that have led them to undertake this, perhaps, misguided criminal act, are brought within the net. I think that particular point is relevant from Plato.

There is a legal use from the Law Reports in 1883: "The object of this society being the encouragement of saving..." Deputies opposite will say they do not want to do anything like making it illegal to encourage saving. Nobody is claiming they want to do that. We are not saying that they do not want to encourage saving but what we are saying is that the kind of meaning of the word "encourage" which developed as in "encouragement of savings" is very wide indeed. A general discourse on the importance of thrift would be encouraging saving just as a general discourse on the importance of preserving architecture would be encouraging people who were trying to defend such architecture by means that seemed appropriate to them. Even if you had not incited it, there you would be caught.

In discussing the offence which the word in the Bill, "encourage", would create, I have been led also in my exploration of this range of meaning to explore the contours of meaning encompassed by the noun because the noun, "encouragement", becomes an offence under this section. The other words linked with this are equally relevant to the amendment and these also in good time I propose to explore. As I have explained, it is a question of exploring the whole range of meanings covered by "encourage" and its related words to show that these overlap "incite" and go beyond it, that "encourage" is a much wider word that it does not conform to what the Minister says and is not just a bare equivalent of "incite". It is a bigger word. I have also had to point out that the Minister has only given one reason for bringing it in since he says it does nothing and that it is a modern word. I have established that it is not a modern word, that the verb derives from as early as the 15th century and the noun from, I think, the 16th or 17th century. In any case, it is not a modern word. We have been given no other reason for it than that it is supposed to be a modern word.

The Minister, we have pointed out, was given an opportunity to reply to Deputy Fitzpatrick's amendment last night. He could have come in and said: "I accept it." That is what he would have done if he were a wise man. As he is not a wise man, he did not do so and it is necessary for us, therefore, to go into the meaning of this word in some considerable detail in order to show in the context of this Bill just how dangerous such a word is. If the Minister objects to that he has a remedy, which is to come here and tell us at last what he should have told us earlier, that he accepts this amendment. We do not want some other woolly substitute for the amendment; we want our amendment and that is the minimum we want. The Minister will be very wise if he accepts the amendment at this stage. I think many of his colleagues will most heartily congratulate him if he does accept it.

Returning to the discussion of the meanings we have here in the Oxford English Dictionary on which I am drawing for the purpose of supporting this amendment which I have seconded and which seeks to remove the dangerous word “encourage” from the Bill, we have not only a verb and a substantive but we also have an agent, a person who does this act of encouraging, a person who encourages. This word is “encourager”. It is not a word which is in very frequent use but it is a word which has been used, which is in the dictionary, and if this Bill becomes law and this section is retained unamended, then a person here defined as an encourager will become a criminal. He will be a criminal by reason of having committed an offence created under this Bill and by falling within this enormously wide span of meaning which is covered by the several words contained here.

Debate adjourned.