Public Business. - Constitution (Removal of Oath) Bill, 1932—Second Stage (Resumed).

Deputy Cosgrave, those who agree with him in the Dáil and various other people speaking here decline, they say, to give this Oath Bill a Second Reading pending negotiations and agreements between the Executive Council and the British Government upon the question at issue. All the opponents have based their opposition on that particular point. Senator Brown says it does not matter in the least what the Irish people think. It is only a question of what the English people think. Senator Douglas wishes the question referred to the British Privy Council, and another Senator says that we were quacks for bringing in this Bill.

It will be seen that the main point is the demand for negotiations and agreement with the British Government. It is on this demand that I shall consider the matter. It will, I think, be generally admitted that in this world the experience and the precedents of the past are the best guides and, in fact, the only guides we have to guide us in any decision we may take. No person would advise a friend, nor would a doctor advise his patient, to adopt any means that have never yet succeeded either to his knowledge or to that of any medical man. I think I can show very clearly that the methods set out in the amendment produced in the other House have been adopted by many well-meaning Irishmen and have always resulted in dismal failure, generally with sorrow and misfortune to the person who proposed them.

If in my pursuit of examples I have got to look back a considerable way, I will, before I finish, bring the matter up to date, and to the life of the last Government. The first instance that occurs to me at the moment was in the time of George I. George I., in order to pay his mistress, the Duchess of Kendal, had contracted with a man in Birmingham to send over to Ireland a large quantity of bad halfpence, with the object, as Dean Swift suggested, of ruining the very beggars in Ireland, after having previously ruined the rest of the population. On that occasion the organs of public opinion in England said that all who opposed the bad halfpence were Papists, and enemies of King George, and they taunted the opponents of the measure that their arguments had no weight with the people of England. Senator Brown will note this. Dean Swift replied to these attacks and he said:

"Our neighbours, whose understandings are just on a level with ours, have a great contempt for most nations, but particularly for Ireland. But thank God the best of them are only our fellow-subjects and not our masters. Let them persuade the people of England that we are in the wrong to reject the halfpence and let me persuade the people of Ireland to reject them, and then let them do their best and their worst."

I think if we take an example from Dean Swift we will not be very far wrong. The controversy was conducted in a tone as little respectful or deferential to the English halfpence and their promoters as could be devised, and the consequence was that the bad halfpence were taken back, and a good deal of bad language sent instead, an article of English export to which we are too well accustomed to regard as objectionable, however objectionable it may be.

Here we are 200 years later with Mr. Thomas and the English trying to impose their will on Ireland, and the two nations engaged in a barging match. There was more backbone in the time of Swift in Ireland than there is at present in the Seanad.

Another matter wrung from England was equality of trade between the two countries in the pre-Union days, a demand of simple justice against which English opinion clamoured as it has always clamoured when its own selfish ascendancy has been in question. Was it by subservient or even respectful appeal to English justice that manifest right was gained? We tried that long and vainly; it was not until the Volunteers of Ireland demanded freedom of trade with arms in their hands that English opinion, to quote Edmund Burke, "was taught wisdom by humiliation, and not a town in England presumed to have a prejudice, or dared to mutter a petition" against the just right they had so long and so selfishly resisted.

There was then the question a few years later of Catholic Emancipation, a case of an oath by the way. The mode of respectful appeal was tried long enough, and tried by such men as Burke, Grattan, Plunkett and Sheridan, but it was not until O'Connell took up the question and conducted it in a tone so little deferential to English opinion that, in the language of "The Times,""his popular rhetoric was a tissue of abuse of every man, woman and thing English," that British opinion gave way and the Duke of Wellington, the greatest soldier of his day, had to admit that at last the Irish had found the real key to the door of the British Constitution.

There was also the question of the tithe agitation in this country which wrung justice from the British. This agitation succeeded merely by peasants with pikes and pitchforks. After that came the land agitation which succeeded by boycotting and such acts. I think that we have got not very much to encourage us in the way of making appeals by negotiations. The discussion on the Oath Bill in the Dáil has simplified the matter in the Seanad. Deputy Cosgrave said that the negotiations on both sides were dependent solely on the agreements between different nations. It is quite clear that the nations did not really agree even at the time, and I think the different sides even when the Treaty was signed differed in opinion.

On a point of fact, I did not like to interrupt the Senator while he was speaking, but I want to say I did not suggest that this or any other Irish question should be referred to the British Privy Council.

This Bill though in itself so short and simple, in its implications is not so simple. These have been widely discussed and we have had so much criticism and gratuitous advice from the Press and so many threats by Ministers both inside and outside this House as to how we ought to vote that it is unlikely that these debates will be productive of very much conversion of opinion. But the Bill is so very important to the nation and the responsibility of us Senators to the country is so great that I think it is right that those of us who have something to say should state their views even at the risk of saying sometimes things which other people have already said.

I hold that this Bill is a revolutionary measure. In that respect it is not unprecedented, because we had in this country ten years ago or so a revolution. That revolution was established by law, by the Constitution of the Irish Free State Act of 1922. By this Bill another revolution is or may be involved, but there is a great difference between the two revolutions. The first may be described as a revolution by agreement with another country or another nation immensely more populous and powerful than ours, our nearest neighbour, our best customer, and, if allowed to be so, our best friend. By this revolution, that is to say the first one, the people of this country gained the management of their own affairs.

That had been the aim of the great majority of them for many generations. But that first revolution was not all gain. The people of this country lost something but what they did lose they lost knowingly and voluntarily. They did retain the advantage of membership of the British Commonwealth of Nations. This second revolution, I hold, gains nothing real and it may lose a very great deal that is real. It throws away the goodwill of Great Britain and of other nations and it throws it away with a gesture which, if not so intended, will I am satisfied be taken as an insult by the other party to the Treaty. I am aware that the President says that this Bill or the effect of this Bill is not the breaking of the Treaty. That is a matter of opinion. I hold personally that it is a breach of the Treaty. I hold that it is a breach of the Treaty legally, constitutionally and in spirit. The President is an idealist. I make no apology for so describing the President. There is nothing original in doing so. A great many people often speak of him as an idealist, and it is not a term of opprobrium nor intended to be so. But talking as an idealist is quite a different thing to having an idea. I consulted a dictionary on this matter and I find the word idealism defined in this way: "a system of thought in which an object of external perception is held to consist of ideas." I am not myself an entire materialist but I too have ideals and in this connection my ideal is that the people of the Free State should cease to dissipate the national forces hating and insulting their nearest neighbour; but that they should work to become an increasingly prosperous part of the British Commonwealth of Nations. It is also my ideal that the Irish Free State should keep faith beyond all doubt. If this Bill comes into operation, I do not know what the consequences may be, and I am certainly not going to prophesy. I do believe however that this country runs the risk of becoming a small isolated State, thrown back upon its own resources, having lost the goodwill of its nearest neighbour who buys nine-tenths of our exports and, worse than that, that it will have lost credit in the world of civilised nations. In this connection, perhaps the Seanad would permit me to cross the t's and dot the i's of the speech made at our last meeting by General Sir William Hickie. The country to which he referred but did not mention by name was Germany. That country is and has been for a long time in a very unhappy state and who can reasonably deny that that nation's present troubles are very largely the outcome of having broken faith and broken a treaty to which she was a signatory, having called that Treaty a scrap of paper? Nobody trusts or respects a nation that does that.

That dishonourable action was conceived in a spirit of national vanity and arrogance which will take many years to live down. That nation willingly allowed its leaders to commit it to that dishonourable course. On the question of the mandate as affecting this Bill, the President unquestionably, gave the removal of the Oath a prominent position in his speeches before and during the General Election, and so did many of his Ministers. But he said also that he had no mandate to break the Treaty. Whether the Bill does or does not break the Treaty is a matter of opinion, but as regards the implications and possibilities of this Billqua breach of Treaty, I would wish whether it is a breach of the Treaty or not to draw the attention of the Seanad to a matter of first importance which I think bears upon our responsibilities. The President says that he has no mandate to break the Treaty but that he has a mandate for this Bill and that this Bill does not break the Treaty, but that is a matter of opinion. The legal meaning of words in the Treaty or the meaning of the words of Acts of Parliament involves the circumstances in which the Treaty was made. All these are most complicated things. We Senators have all more or less experience of serious affairs, we are more or less competent to examine such a document. We are competent to form an opinion one way or the other. Can the average member of the electorate do this? Can he or she give a mandate for a Bill of this kind in full knowledge of the effect of the Bill on the welfare of the nation? Why, certainly not. There are many thousands of electors who do not know the meaning of the word “treaty,” who if they were asked what was the meaning of the Treaty could not give a correct answer. As to forming an opinion on the issue whether this Bill breaks the Treaty or not, the average elector is entirely incompetent to give a judgment on a question of considerable difficulty on which trained legal minds differ. Nobody can blame the average elector for that. The mandate for this Bill, therefore, to my mind, should and does carry far less weight than a mandate given by the electorate on different and simpler Bills under different circumstances.

To those of us who believe that this Bill does break the Treaty, on the President's own showing, I would say that the Government have no mandate at all except that the majority elected them and that the Oath was not the sole issue at the general election. The responsibility is theirs and the question of a mandate should not be allowed to weigh too largely in this matter. The responsibility is the Government's and ours. We are here, members of the Second Chamber, to do our best for the country. I ask this question: why should this thing be done? What is the national need for this Bill? The President told us at our last session that he is against tests on the merits. I disagree, because I think that practically you must have tests in a matter of this kind. It is very easy to criticise the form of tests but essentially it is a guarantee of friendship. If you do not give that, you have no right to the material advantages of friendship. The President said—not here, but on another occasion—that he had no desire to create bitterness. When I read these words, being a plain man, it put a considerable strain on my credulity and it brought to my mind the following quotation:

"Perhaps it was right to dissemble your love,

But why did you kick me downstairs?"

The Minister for Finance was much more definite on the Second Reading of this Bill in another place. He gave reasons for asking for the acceptance of the Bill. I will quote his words: "This Bill will help to preserve peace in this State and to restore the manhood, and self-respect and the dignity of the people of the Twenty-six Counties, and because it will ultimately make for the unity of the country as a whole." As a statement of policy, that is clear and definite. Whether it is practical depends upon whether you believe the conditions to be what the Minister apparently believes them to be. I do not believe that. On the contrary, I think the conditions are quite different. Now, I do not associate only with people of my own kind. My life for many years has caused me to meet all sorts of people. I assert that, generally speaking, the people of this country are not suffering from a sense of loss of manhood or loss of dignity or loss of self-respect, nor do I see why they should. They may be told that they are. That is quite a different thing. For my part, if I were to make an agreement with another man and broke that agreement without even consulting him I should not gain, but I should lose such sense of dignity and manhood and self-respect as I possess. I should feel that I had acted in passion. Who act in passion most naturally and completely? Children. As regards the preservation of peace, the introduction of this Bill may restrain for the moment the activities of that element in the State whose system of conduct is governed by the principle of "might is right"—that is,their might! Their trouble is not constitutional disabilities. It is something quite different from that. They have no real sense of the meaning of freedom. About a year ago I was talking to a friend of mine, a man of the people, a very fine specimen of Irishman of his class, no longer young, but a fine man physically, and he told me that some years ago when this “right is might” element were having things very much their own way, he asked a younger man why he engaged in these activities. The answer made by the younger man was that he did it in the cause of liberty. My friend cross-questioned him as to in what respects his liberty was unduly restricted. The younger man had some difficulty in proving his case, and he became sullen and angry. Then, as my friend told me, out it came at last. “I want,” said the younger man, “to do what I bloody well please.” My friend said to him: “If that's what is the matter, I think I will show you in a very short time that if you do what you bloody well please, it would be as bad for you as for me. Come on now into the field and take off your coat. Although I am an old man and you are a young man, let us see who is the better man.” And—would you believe it?—he declined the offer. Now that element will never be conciliated or satisfied by legislation or by a Bill of this kind or by any other Bill. The next consideration in the speech of the Minister for Finance was that this Bill would make for the unity of the country as a whole. The partition of Ireland—that country of which all of us here are fond, although in very different ways—is a deplorable thing.

Will this Bill tend to re-unite it? I am a Southern Irishman—a Tipperary man—and owing to the special facilities I had while making my living I know something about the North, not so much as Senator Connolly and other members of the House, but still I know a good deal about it. I say that this Bill does not tend to re-unite the country. On the contrary I think it tends to crystallise and to consolidate partition. I say that its mere introduction has put back the prospects of unity for many years. The reasons that have been mentioned have been admirably stated but, in my opinion, they are idealistic reasons and are not well founded. Apart from State considerations, constitutional and legal interpretations, political exigencies, gratuitous advice from the Press, and threats from Ministers, you have to consider when dealing with this Bill two great comprehensive issues. They are both of vital importance to the welfare and the happiness of this country. There is first, the material prosperity issue. I may say that you cannot go on showing your dislike, insulting your nearest neighbour and the customer who buys about nine-tenths of your exports, and expect him to go on buying them. Whether tariff retaliation will ensue as a result of this Bill I do not know, and I am not going to try to forecast. I say that already there is a great loss of good-will. The second issue is that of national credit in the widest sense of the word, and in the moral sense, which incidentally is also an asset of great material value. For about ten years the national credit of this country has stood high. It has been good in the widest sense of the term. As an individual, that affects very materially my sense of pride and my sense of citizenship, I should bitterly resent it if that national credit was lost, or even seriously diminished.

Whether the effect of the Bill is to break the Treaty or not is a matter of opinion. In my opinion it does. One thing I am quite certain it breaks it in, is the spirit of friendly and honourable agreement. It affects the international position of this country, quite apart from Great Britain. It is a spirit of extremely isolated nationalism, revelling in past wrongs and enjoying hate. I will give an example of that. In a recent speech the Minister for Defence stated that the British investment market was the most dangerous in the world. I am not referring to the accuracy or otherwise of the statement. The House can take that at its own value. I am referring to the spirit in which the statement was made. It is an insulting statement to a country with whom there is a Treaty. It shows an unchristian spirit, and, to my mind, an extraordinarily unwise one. I believe this Bill to be bad morally, and I believe it to be foolish and nationally harmful. I believe also that those who applaud it now will regret that it ever came into existence and that they will see their mistake. With a full sense of responsibility I cannot vote for the Bill even on the Second Reading. I will vote against it.

From the speeches that have been delivered up to the present one may assume that there is substantial agreement for the removal of the Oath. Differences begin to arise when the possible results and the method of removal are considered. To me the President's case seems to be a clear case. That does not say that I am agreeing with him, but it seems to me that he made a logically clear case. He based the Oath on Clause 2 of the Treaty. He said that the Oath is in that Clause by implication, and that Clause 4 of the Treaty is merely the form of the Oath. Clause 2 of the Treaty deals with the question of status, and as this country has advanced in status with Canada and the rest of the Dominions, he argues that he is entitled, if he wishes, to remove the Oath, because we are a free country, internally and externally equal to one another, and therefore quite justified in doing so. There is a good deal of logic about that. The President's statement implies that he wishes to remain inside the British Commonwealth of Nations. Otherwise there would be no use talking about equality of status. There are seven nations joined together, equal in status, and the President argues that the fact of equality of status implies that he wishes to remain amongst these seven nations. Otherwise the painter would be cut. As the nations are equal there is no use arguing about equality of status.

The President by implication wishes to remain inside the British Commonwealth of Nations. The only qualifying clause to remain there being allegiance to the common Crown, the question arises then: "Can you give allegiance to the common Crown without a test Oath for the members of the Parliament?" That is the only question at issue. If the President can prove— and it is a good, sound proposition— that you can show allegiance to the common Crown without this test Oath there is no question but this country has a right to be inside the British Commonwealth of Nations. I am not going into the legal aspects of the case. I am examining the case put up by the British, because it is really a question between the British and ourselves. The British case depends entirely on what is called the contract made in the Treaty of 1921. They say that we have broken our contract, that the Oath is an integral part of the Treaty. Their case is that if that Treaty is broken, what would be the use of making a contract in Ottawa with people who broke the contract? What was the contract in the Treaty? The contract was to set up a system of government in this country similar to that which existed in the various Dominions, and which existed in England. Undoubtedly that was the contract, and as a means to that end they inserted the Oath. Looking back at that time we have to ask whom were the British dealing with. They were dealing with Sinn Féin revolutionary republicans; they were dealing with people who had set up a Parliament here in 1918, and who for over three years, resisted the power of the British and ruled this country. Naturally the British Government had to tell their people that they got a recantation of Republicanism from the Sinn Féiners. The Treaty means that one gives up Republicanism and pursues a system of government in the Free State which means that the King is, in theory, at any rate, head of the State, the administrator of our laws, and takes part in our legal actions. If the Secretary for the Dominions, Mr. Thomas, was wise, and if he knew this country well, he would congratulate himself on the fact that ten years after the signing of the Treaty; and for the first time, everyone in Ireland had accepted the Treaty; that the anti-Treatyites were now pro-Treatyites, because they acquiesced in the form of government set up by the Treaty.

The only question is: Does allegiance to the King enable us to be part and parcel of the seven nations forming the British Commonwealth? I say it does. Members of the Executive Council acknowledge the King and the Crown if they carry out the law. It will not do for men carrying out the law and acknowledging the Crown to say, as the President said, that when the people are ready for a Republic he would lead them to it. That is not a positive statement. It is a statement of a negative kind which shows that the people are not ready for a Republic, and until they are the President is remaining in the British Commonwealth of Nations. I do not think that is a fair statement. I think the President should give a positive assurance that from the time he took up office as one of His Majesty's Ministers—President of the Executive Council—he should acknowledge allegiance or at least carry out the Constitution which means allegiance to the Crown, which is composed of seven nations.

A good deal of speculation is centring round what will happen when the seven nations meet at Ottawa. I say definitely that nobody going to Ottawa has a right to question our appearance there. Our Constitution has the King in it as part of our Parliament, and our Constitution has the King as administrator of our laws. Our judges are giving the King's opinion in the laws they administer, and who can say that we are not giving allegiance to the Crown under conditions of that sort? I think it is quite possible that anybody who considers the matter seriously, with a view to finding out whether we are giving allegiance to the Crown, will find that without the test here. And there is no contract broken so long as the system of government that it was the main purpose of the Treaty to set up in Ireland is carried on by the Executive Council.

We know from what he says that the President is pretty sure of his ground. Anyone listening to him would be sure that he is sincere in the opinions he has given; but when we hear one member of the Executive Council speaking in a different frame of mind and expressing doubts as to what will be the outcome of this Bill, another consideration arises. The Minister for Agriculture, speaking in Enniscorthy about three weeks ago, said that if we lose preference in the British market we would lose about £900,000 a year, but we would gain £3,000,000 by keeping the land annuities. Is that the expression of opinion of a member of the Executive Council who has no doubt as to the issue here? He, at any rate, is not in the same frame of mind as the President. The Minister for Industry and Commerce says that the people of the Free State are prepared to take their liberty in instalments. I take that statement to mean that we remain as we are until later, but that, when the people desire, we shall leave the Commonwealth of Nations. That would be a satisfactory state of affairs, and it is the President's idea, I think. But if we are going to Ottawa to come to an arrangement with the seven nations, I think it is due to the people of this country to state that the Government is prepared to govern this country in accordance with the Constitution and law and that the removal of the Oath can make no difference whatever and that the King remains. The President need not put that into his speech and he can say it any way he likes; but let the seven nations understand that, so far as we are concerned, the King remains, and that the common Crown is there, and that the only fact that qualifies us as a member of the seven-country league is allegiance to the common Crown.

That is not based on the five points or the seven points. Senator Brown spoke about two points, but the proper definition was given by Lord Balfour in 1926 when he said: "Autonomous nations free internally, and externally equal to one another, but giving allegiance to the common Crown." So long as the President definitely states that he is giving allegiance to the common Crown, he has every right to go to Ottawa, and nobody has a right to question his right to go there. That is my personal view so far as I can examine the position.

Many Senators have assumed that this Bill is an insult to the people of Great Britain. Nobody has proved it is an insult. I cannot see the insult. If there is any insult in it it is not from us; it is the other way about. The President simply sent a message from our Government to Mr. Thomas, Secretary of State for the Dominions in London, to say that he was about to do certain things, and the Minister got up in Parliament and made a most sensational statement, and the British papers published scare headings and all the ill-will resulted from that. But surely the President is not to blame for all that? It is Mr. Secretary Thomas who is to blame. If he knew the Irish mind, and if he knew that up to the present this country has always been divided on this point, and if he knew that now for the first time in ten years everyone is agreeing to the Treaty, he would be complimenting himself on the triumph of British diplomacy, rather than fulminating threats against us across the Channel.

Now the main thing that we desire in this country is unity between North and South. The most extraordinary part of that is that the Nationalists in the North, and His Majesty's Minister for Posts and Telegraphs here, proclaimed themselves Republicans. We who think that the only thing that can bring unity is to stand inside the British League of Nations, think that is wrong. But in the last election the Nationalist Leaders in the North advised the electors in Southern Ireland to vote Fianna Fáil when they knew that Fianna Fáil stood for Republicanism. We who think the right thing is to remain inside the British League of Nations were amazed at the Nationalists of the North advising our people in the South to vote for the Fianna Fáil Party, which always stood for a Republic. When Senator Bagwell talked about the division of this country, how does he explain the Nationalist leaders of the North asking the Nationalists in the border counties to vote Fianna Fáil at the last elections? It is a most extraordinary state of affairs. They seem to know what they want perhaps better than we do.

Now everyone assumes that this Bill is breaking the Treaty. Many of those who have spoken say that the Bill does break the Treaty, and based their points on that assumption. If they look at the Treaty from my point of view they will see that the main object of the Treaty was to set up a system of government functioning here. How could the Treaty be broken? I ask the President seriously to make a pronouncement. It is not fair, if things happen, that we should be placed in a bad position economically. It is equally unfair to the people if they are led into that position unknown to themselves. If the President would stand forward and regularise the position and say that he is adhering to the Constitution then we would have the first plank towards reunion in this country and evidence that we were on the right road towards that reunion that we all so desire.

I approached this question from a standpoint somewhat different from some others who have spoken in favour of the Bill. I am one of those who gave allegiance, if one may use the word, to the revolutionary Government which preceded the signing of the Treaty, and acknowledged the validity of the resolution which was passed approving of the Treaty, and which, in my view, gave the Treaty the force of law. I feel that this Bill, so far from violating the Treaty, fulfils the Treaty and vindicates the attitude of those who stood as I did for the acceptance of the obligations of the Treaty as passed by the democratic Parliament of Dáil Eireann in the early session of January, 1922. But I acknowledge now, as I asserted in the course of the Constitution debates in 1922, that the Constitution fell far short of the Treaty, that it was a declension from the Treaty and placed this country in a position inferior to that which the Treaty established. Hearing the discussions, and reading the debates that took place, I am forced to the conclusion that the critics of this Bill are not criticising this Bill; they are criticising a Bill which they expect to follow this Bill —some future Bill—of which they believe this is the prelude. I wonder whether the assertion is that this Bill breaks the Treaty, or that this future Bill is going to break the Treaty. Which is the inviolable document? Is it the Treaty or some agreement subsequent to the Treaty?

I read, and re-read, the Treaty many times, and cannot find any undertaking making it obligatory to include in the Constitution any section which provides that before taking their seats members of the Oireachtas shall take the prescribed Oath. Nor can I find in the Treaty any agreement which lays it down that any amendment of the Constitution or of any amendment thereof or of any law made thereunder is to be void and to have no effect if it is repugnant to the Treaty. As to the claim that this is an International Treaty, and that it recognises that both parties are of equal status, free and sovereign in their territory when the Treaty was made—and this was the claim of the late Government and the advocates of the Treaty in 1921 and 1922—the limiting clauses of the Constitution, and the Constitution Act, deny the principle of sovereignty deny free growth and development.

If it is held, as the British held, that this country was not of equal status, not free and sovereign in 1921 and 1922, that before the Treaty we were a rebellious province, and that when the Free State was established whatever limitation applied to the British Dominions applied to this country, that constitutional rights and powers had been granted by British Acts of Parliament, then I claim that by new agreements, by later interpretations of status under the Treaty, this Bill is justified and necessary to make the law conform to political facts. I agree with Senator Bagwell that the circumstances under which the Treaty was made are involved when discussing this Bill. I think the first important thing to take into account is that the Treaty contained what one might call the over-riding provision which says, in effect, that Ireland, with a Parliament having powers to make laws for the peace, order, and good government of Ireland, is to have the same constitutional status in the community of nations known as the British Empire, as the Dominion of Canada, the Commonwealth of Australia, the Dominion of New Zealand and the Union of South Africa, and shall be styled, and known, as the Irish Free State. I emphasise the words "with a Parliament having powers to make laws for the peace, order and good government of Ireland," which was confirmed by the relative clause of the Constitution which was later adopted and which stated:

All powers of government and all authority legislative, executive and judicial in Ireland, are derived from the people, and the same shall be exercised in the Irish Free State (Saorstát Eireann) through the organisations established by or under, and in accord, with this Constitution.

The important thing to my mind in relation to this Bill is that the Parliament that was established had power to make laws for the peace, order and good government of Ireland. It is known, of course, to everyone of adult age that there were differences of interpretation as to what the Treaty meant. Claims were made by the advocates of the Treaty in December, 1921, and January, 1922, and contrary claims and declarations were made in the British Parliament as to what the Treaty meant and as to what were to be the powers of the Irish people and the representatives of the Irish people in regard to the Constitution. This Bill is directly confined, as far as I can read it, to amending the Constitution and the Constitution Act. It does not make any reference to altering the Treaty in any way, manner or form.

I am afraid I shall have to ask the House to bear with me while I make a few quotations, because this matter has assumed an importance that we did not think it deserved. In the course of the discussions on the Treaty in the Dáil we had various statements as to the position that was achieved by the signing and acceptance of the Treaty. It was pointed out, I think fairly, that as the joint signatories signed the document it was a recognition of the Republican Government of Ireland, a revolutionary government. The Treaty was signed on behalf of the British delegation, obviously and clearly a delegation from the British Executive, and on behalf of the Irish delegation, delegated by whom and from what? Obviously and clearly from Dáil Eireann. There was a recognition there of the position of Dáil Eireann and the Dáil, by agreeing to that Treaty, accepted a certain climb down from the position which had been claimed and asserted. We had Mr. Kevin O'Higgins, for instance, saying:

It is true that by the provisions of the Treaty, Ireland is included in the system known as the British Empire, and the most objectionable aspect of the Treaty is that the threat of force has been used to influence Ireland to a decision to enter this miniature league of nations. It has been called a league of free nations. I admit in practice it is so; but it is unwise and unstatesmanlike to attempt to bind any such league by any ties other than purely voluntary ties. I believe the evolution of this group must be towards a condition, not merely of individual freedom but also of equality of status. I quite admit in the case of Ireland the tie is not voluntary, and in the case of Ireland the status is not equal. Herein lie the defects of the Treaty. But face the facts that they are defects which the English representatives insisted upon with threats of war, terrible and immediate.

I draw attention to Mr. O'Higgin's view at that time, that the position under the Treaty was not that of a voluntary entry into the league of nations known as the British Empire, that the status was not equal. I call attention also to a recent declaration of Deputy McGilligan in regard to status:

But I did go across to Conferences over and over again to make sure that the status we claimed as inherent in the Treaty settlement was definitely shown to be there. I claim to have succeeded in that. But whatever I desired to achieve at those Conferences was limited by this, that there was no question of attempting to break the Treaty. The Treaty was accepted, but there were certain clauses subject to different interpretations founded upon the point of status which we recognised as a growing thing. We wanted to see that the full fruit should be got from the Treaty.

The status was a growing thing. Mr. O'Higgins clearly saw that it was not a case of equality of status in 1921, and it is claimed now that, as a result of considerable pressure, agitation, negotiation if you like, there has been a different interpretation placed upon the Treaty, and the position now is recognised to be what some of us believed was the position in 1921, if we had asserted and maintained our assertions, that the new interpretation of the meaning of the Treaty has been freely recognised by the various conferences and ultimately acknowledged, I might say, in the Statute of Westminster. But it is argued that we are not to take any notice of that recognition of the different interpretations, that we are not to assume that that is the effect of a new agreement and, as I said a few minutes ago, we are driven almost to the question: what is the Treaty that is supposed to be broken by this Bill? The Bill deals only with the Constitution. Is it some agreement, made after the signing of the Treaty, which led to the settlement of the Constitution in the form as it was passed in September in this country and in December in Britain? Is it some agreement regarding that that is alleged to be broken? If it is I can quote very good reasons why we should not take too much notice of it, first that any such agreement has not been made explicit and laid before the people of this country, and second, that Britain had already bound herself to register any such agreement with the secretariat of the League of Nations, and that any such Treaty or agreement which was not so registered would not be binding until so registered. The promises that we made to the Dáil in 1921 in regard to the making of the Constitution have some considerable relevance to this question. Deputy Hogan at the time, for instance, said during the Treaty debates:

.... so far as the relationship between Ireland and Great Britain is regulated by that Oath, Ireland is an equal under the letter of that Treaty with England, and if England is a sovereign State so is Ireland under the letter of that Treaty; I believe that to be good constitutional law.

Professor Hayes in the same argument said:

..... the Constitution of the new State is to be drawn up by the Irish Government, and I trust that Government and I trust the Irish people to see that it will be drawn up properly. In this connection much has been made of the words "subject to the provisions of the Treaty." But why did we go to make a Treaty at all if we object to the words "Provisions of a Treaty" occurring in it? The provisions of this Treaty make no restrictions on the Irish Constitution. The Irish Constitution will derive, not from this Treaty, not from any Act of the British Parliament, but from the Irish people.

Professor MacNeill arguing on 22nd December said:

The Minister for Local Government read a certain number of contrasts between what was so according to law or according to constitution, and what was so according to facts. Now the facts are there—and even if anyone should dispute them, I say it is the standpoint of an Irishman not to dispute them but to insist upon them—the facts are there, that the component parts of the community of nations which is described in one part of the Treaty as the British Commonwealth of Nations— the status of these different component parts is this, that they are with regard to each other in a position of complete equality, and also with regard to each of them to itself —each of them is a sovereign State in its own domain; and if it fell upon me, supposing this Treaty to be ratified in future, to declare the terms, to declare the manner in which these provisions ought be and must be interpreted and applied, I should say beforehand—taking the standpoint of an Irishman, and not regarding myself as an Attorney-General for the British Government —I should claim on the facts, and not on some antiquated theory, for Ireland's equality of status with all the other members of that community and for the right of complete national sovereignty in our domain; and I would hold that every provision, every article, every term, every word of that Treaty should be understood subject to these principles; and I believe that in placing that construction upon the Treaty we should have the support—if not of Imperialists in Great Britain—we should certainly have the support of South Africa, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, for it is to their selfish interest that that construction, and that construction only, should be placed upon these terms; and I would bear in mind that the status of Canada has been declared in what now amounts to a constitutional definition—the status of Canada has been declared to include the right of secession.

Those were the arguments that were used to the Dáil as to who would formulate and decide upon the articles which were to constitute the Constitution. A month or two later writing to myself as Secretary to the Irish Labour Party and Trade Union Congress, Mr. Arthur Griffith, in his capacity as head of the Republican Government after the Treaty had been signed and approved, replied to a letter I had written to him conveying a decision of the Irish Trade Union Congress in these words:

The opinion of the Congress, strongly held, is that before any Constitution for Ireland can command the allegiance of the people it must be submitted to a thorough discussion by an Assembly in which all parties have had an opportunity to secure representation.

Mr. Griffith concluded his reply to that by stating:

As for the Constitution, this will be placed by us before the electors. The candidates returned at the election will act as a Constituent Assembly to pass and prescribe the Constitution. This Assembly will be a sovereign body, and no one recognises more clearly than I that it is not for us to bind or diminish its sovereignty in advance. Clearly, an Assembly empowered to pass and prescribe the Constitution has also title to pass and prescribe it in the form most agreeable to itself.

On the other side of the water, while these discussions were taking place, the Premier, Mr. Lloyd George, on the 14th December, 1921, said, dealing with the question of the machinery for transferring governmental power from Britain to Ireland:

With regard to the permanent arrangements, these must be formulated by the Irish representatives themselves. Here we are going to follow the example which has been set in the granting of every Constitution throughout the Empire. The Constitution is drafted and decided by the Dominion, the Imperial Parliament taking such steps as may be necessary to legalise the position. Any proposal in contravention of this agreement will beultra vires, The position of the Crown must therefore be assured. Relationship to the Empire must be established, the rights of Ulster safeguarded, and likewise provisions for the protection of religious minorities must be incorporated. Within these limits, Ireland herself determines the Constitution of her own Government.

Senator Douglas referred on the last occasion of our meeting to the Committee which, at the request of the Provisional Government, had formulated the Constitution, having regard to the Treaty and its requirements, and no doubt having in mind what people on both sides of the water had said about the Treaty. That Committee formulated a Constitution which, I am quite certain, assured the position of the Crown, assured the establishment of the relationship to the Empire, that the rights of Ulster were safeguarded, and that religious minorities were protected. Those are the conditions which Mr. Lloyd George, as Prime Minister of Britain said having been secured and made right, the rest was absolutely within the powers of the Irish Assembly. Note what Mr. Lloyd George said about following the example which had been set in the granting of every Constitution throughout the Empire. Lord Bryce on the following day, the 15th December, said in the House of Lords:

The process to be followed will be that the new Constitution will be drafted by Irishmen in Ireland, by those in fact with whom we have made the so-called Treaty. That was the process which was followed in the case of Canada and Australia. The Canadian Constitution was drafted by a Committee of Canadian Statesmen in conjunction with the Colonial Office, and was then enacted by us by the Act of 1867. Similarly, after much longer discussion, the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Australia, prepared by two Conventions which sat there, was ultimately enacted in this House by the Statute of 1900.

Lord Curzon, on the 14th December similarly told the House of Lords:—

The first duty of this Provisional Government, when it is instituted, will be to draw up the new Constitution within the lines laid down by the Articles of Agreement. The Constitution will be limited by these boundaries; it will not fall short of them. Now in drawing up that final Constitution....

The Marquess of Salisbury: Does the Noble Marquess say that the Constitution will be drawn up by the Irish Provisional Government and not by the Government here?

Lord Curzon: Yes. The draft, at any rate, will be drawn up by the Provisional Government that is set up.

While we note a conflict even at that early stage as to the interpretation of the Treaty and as to the understandings that had been arrived at between the parties to the Treaty, we come to the Constitution draft prepared by the Committee which had been set up by the Provisional Government, a Committee which, let us bear in mind and never forget, was composed probably of the most expert and authoritative people that could be found in this country, one of whom has been, for some years, the Chief Justice, two others, judges who are now on the Bench, Senator Douglas, and a Secretariat which was exceptionally able in such matters. That Committee drew up a Constitution within the limits of the Treaty, containing all the safeguards that were required by Mr. Lloyd George, and undoubtedly, I make bold to say, satisfying the requirements of the Treaty as it might have been interpreted by any impartial or reasonable interpreter.

Circumstances developed after the signing of the Treaty, which made the position of the backers of that draft Constitution very difficult. They were the beginnings of a civil war, resistance to the Treaty was showing itself in many forms, a very large proportion of those who had been associated with the Republican movement violently dissented from the Treaty, and prepared themselves to resist it by force of arms; and it was under these circumstances that the Constitution as drafted in accordance with the terms of the Treaty by the Constitution Committee was submitted to the British Ministry. Why it was submitted to them, I do not know. But no doubt their position was a very difficult one. On the 21st September, 1922, during the Second Reading of the Constitution proposals Mr. Kevin O'Higgins said:

I hold that we would not have been acting up to our full duties or acting up to our full responsibilities if we placed this country in a position where there was even a chance of the Treaty being lost if we could help it.

There was a chance of the Treaty being lost if the Provisional Government had insisted upon the Treaty being interpreted in the way that had been promised, in the way that the Constitution Committee had decided was a legal interpretation, a reasonable interpretation, an Irish interpretation. I quote from the Dáil debates of the 21st September, 1922. Mr. Kevin O'Higgins said:

Try to remember that when we went across to London the Truce had been broken, grievously broken, frequently broken here. Try to remember that British soldiers and British ex-policemen who were covered by the terms of the amnesty that had been issued were being shot almost daily, almost as a matter of routine. Try to remember that certain people differing from the majority in religion, and perhaps also, and I am not sure of that, even in political outlook, were driven from their homes and from their positions in greater numbers than I was aware of until quite recently; and do not let us say that because things happened elsewhere, that it was right they should happen in the territory over which we have theoretical jurisdiction. It is not right. And it was in that atmosphere and in these conditions, in which any day or any week might have brought back the British power, that we found ourselves in the position of having to produce for the country before the elections, a Constitution which it was agreed should be in its final form—a Constitution for which we were prepared absolutely to stand. The Constitution was discussed with the British representatives. I hold that we would not have been acting up to our full duties or acting up to our full responsibilities if we placed this country in a position where there was even a chance of the Treaty being lost if we could help it.

One can read into that very clearly that the draft Constitution prepared by a committee of eminent authorities in accordance with the Treaty was not satisfactory to the British Government. And they decided that new clauses should be inserted and that a different class of Constitution should be enacted. It was not the Constitution which was to emanate from the Irish people but a Constitution which was to be built up upon a skeleton no doubt prepared by the Constitution Committee but containing provisions which the Constitution Committee would never have agreed to put in, and I am tempted to think that it is that agreement that is held to be sacred, not the Treaty but the agreement between the two Governments which said that this was the Constitution that they were going to enact and the Constitution that they had agreed to. I want to know from the following speakers if anybody can speak on behalf of those who formulated that Constitution or agreed to that formulation, whether that is the agreement which is now held to be sacred and inviolable.

The question has been raised as to the position of the Constitution in relation to British legislation; as to whether it clearly gives the Oireachtas of the Irish Free State when established the powers that we claimed, and which we believe this country is entitled to. Quite appropriate to this comes the letter with which Senator Douglas is familiar. On the publication of the Constitution, which, as I have indicated, was promised to be laid before the electors and which was published on the morning of the election as a broadsheet supplement to theFreeman's Journal, that Constitution was the subject of a letter in The Times by Professor Berriedale Keith. Berriedale Keith has been a very useful authority in this country in his frequent comments upon the powers and authority of the Irish Free State legislature. He said in the course of that letter: “The Constitution vests legislative power in the Irish Parliament but it is ineffective as it stands to exclude the predominance of Imperial legislation and the application of the Colonial Laws Validity Act, 1865, which applies to all British possessions abroad save where specially excluded. It will be necessary to confer sole and exclusive power on the Irish Parliament; the Imperial Act approving the Constitution will then operate as a renunciation of Imperial legislative supremacy.”

That is the view of Professor Berriedale Keith, but the phrase "sole and exclusive power" did not appear in the final Constitution as drafted and the purpose of Professor Berriedale Keith's language in that particular paragraph has not been recognised, certainly by British authority until within the last year or so, if even now. If this "sole and exclusive authority" is assumed to have been granted to the Free State Parliament, can it be said that the powers of the Irish Parliament are being wrongly exercised in passing this Bill? I look upon Article 4 of the Treaty in this way: That is the Article which prescribes the form of oath. The Treaty arose out of two situations—the setting up of the revolutionary Government, the Republic of Ireland on the one hand, and the passing of the Government of Ireland, Act, 1920, following the Government of Ireland Act, 1914, on the other hand. Parliament was to be set up with power under the Treaty, Article 1, provided that its relationship to the Imperial Parliament and Government should be that of the Dominion of Canada and the other British Dominions. Then the question arose as to what was to be the form of oath. Was it to be a Republican Oath? The Parliament which had been established under the revolutionary Government had had an Oath, the Oath of loyalty to the Republic. The Parliament which had been established under the Government of Ireland Act, 1920, had an oath of allegiance to the King. The Government of Ireland Act, Section 18, sub-section (2) reads as follows: "The law for the time being in force relating to the qualification of the members of the Commons House of Parliament of the United Kingdom and the taking of any oath required to be taken by a member of that House shall, save as otherwise provided by this Act, apply to the members of the Senate and the House of Commons of Southern Ireland, and the members of the Senate and members of the House of Commons of Northern Ireland."

That sub-section was included in the Government of Ireland Act amongst a series of sections relating to the qualification of members and so on of the several Houses of Parliament, and when we read that the Oath to be taken by the members of the Parliament "shall be in the following form," I read that to be not in the form of loyalty to the Republic, not in the form of allegiance as enacted in the British statutes, but in the form set out; that if the people of Ireland and the representatives of Ireland, in making a Constitution, were prepared to include amongst the qualifications of the members of Parliament those who had taken a particular form of Oath, then the form to be taken was prescribed. That must have been in the view of Senator Douglas and the Constitution Committee because they assumed that the form of Oath, as he said last week, would be prescribed in the Standing Orders of Parliament, and, obviously, if anything could be called domestic and internal it is the requirement as to the qualifications of the members of Parliament.

I said that a great deal depended upon whether the alleged breach of the Treaty or agreement was in relation to the Treaty signed on December 6th, 1921, or some subsequent agreement, and I took a note of the definition of what is a treaty, repeated twice in the Dáil by Deputy Finlay. I do not know to what degree Deputy Finlay is an authority on constitutional law, but I think probably he is as good an authority as there is in that House. It would be a good thing to know if this definition is in accord with the accepted doctrine on constitutional matters. Speaking on the Second Reading debate on this Bill in the Dáil, Deputy Finlay said, as reported, cols. 831/832 of the Debates for April 28th, 1932: "Any contract or agreement between two States or countries, irrespective of the form, is a treaty and is binding on both the contracting countries until they mutually agree to rescind or vary it, and cannot be rescinded or varied by the action of one party without the consent of the other..." And on the Report Stage of this Bill, on the 19th May, as reported in col. 2066 of the Dáil Debates, Deputy Finlay said:

That a Treaty is a contract between two States not depending on its mere form but de pending on its substance by which the two contracting States are bound ...the fact that one of the contracting States at the time the treaty was entered into was not a recognised Government did not convert the document which they executed into anything but a treaty. You had here in 1921 functioning in this country ade facto Government which claimed international recognition; that they went forward and negotiated this Treaty and a Treaty it became when approved by the people of both countries.

If that is a fair interpretation of what is a treaty, I presume that Deputy Finlay meant it to cover these subsequent agreements which Senators Brown and Douglas last week referred to when they said: "It was incumbent upon the partners in the British Commonwealth to confer and negotiate before they made any alteration in the law as regarded matters of common concern."

Might I ask the Senator if by subsequent agreements he means agreements made by the Imperial Conference, because my reference was intended to refer to agreements made at the Imperial Conference, and not to any private agreement?

I see, but then we have the position that Senator Douglas is not asking us to condemn this Bill because it violates an agreement made subsequent to the signing of the Treaty of December, 1921. It is not a subsequent agreement which is in question in the mind of Senator Douglas.

Not any subsequent agreement specifically between this country and Great Britain.

I hope that is also the view that is shared by other opponents of this Bill, because I make bold to say that in the circumstances nobody will deny the authority of the Oireachtas to alter in any way it pleases the Constitution of the Irish Free State. In fact, more or less there has been an agreement that so far as the legal powers are concerned there can be no obstruction of any kind. The only question which arises is whether such alteration would automatically evict us from the British Commonwealth of Nations. But so far as I can understand this Bill and the arguments in regard to it we are not only not exceeding the legal powers, but we are not violating the spirit of the Treaty as interpreted to-day by the members of the respective Governments of the Commonwealth in the light of the Conference reports.

I come now to the argument which Deputy Finlay, Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney and others used in regard to Section 2 of this Bill. The passing of Section 2 of this Bill repeals Section 2 of the Constitution Act. I am in somewhat of a quandary over this, because to me it is much the most important part of the Bill, and much the most desirable, though it appears to others to be the most offensive, for it is alleged that Section 2 of the Constitution contains the phrase "which is hereby given the force of law," and that if Section 2 is deleted from the Constitutional Act by that fact the Treaty will no longer have the force of law in this country.

I am not a lawyer and I do not pretend to put my views against those of lawyers like Senator Brown, Deputies Finlay, McGilligan and Fitzgerald-Kenney, but I think I am competent to ask a few questions. Take the Constituent Assembly, the Provisional Parliament or the Third Dáil, whatever name you like to give that body that was elected in June, 1922, and to which the Provisional Government nominally was responsible. What were the powers of that body to enact this Constitution? There appears to be a curious muddle to me, a legal muddle of a major quality. It was said by Deputy Finlay quoting the judgments of the courts here that "there is no power in the British Parliament to legislate in respect of the Irish Free State after the 6th December, 1921." I am quoting from the Official Debates, 19th May, 1932, col. 2067. "The position as decided here by the judges is this: They declare that the Treaty took effect from the 6th of December, 1921, and that the British Parliament had no power whatsoever to legislate for this country as from the 6th of December, 1921." Then he goes on to say "the only sanction which is given in this country for the Treaty is our Act of 1922. I will go further. Before the President and his Party came into this House, the Oireachtas had declared its position with regard to the British Parliament and its power to legislate here subsequent to the 6th December, 1921. If the President will look at Section 40 of the Finance Act, 1926 ..." and so on.

Well now the Provisional Parliament passed certain legislation called the Constitution Act, or the Third Dáil passed certain legislation, or the Constituent Assembly or whatever name you like to give it. In Free State documents, that is to say, documents issued on the authority of the Free State, it is recorded that it was pursuant to the passing of the Irish Free State Agreement Act that that Parliament was elected —the Irish Free State Agreement Act of March, 1922. Prior to that, it will be remembered, in accordance with the Treaty itself, members elected for the Parliament of Southern Ireland, had been called together to give their approval to the Treaty. Dáil Eireann had already given its approval to the Treaty and resolutions were passed approving the Treaty. I wonder whether that body had any validity in law because only four out of 30 or 40 people who assembled had subscribed to the Oath of Allegiance as required by the Government of Ireland Act, 1920. Those who are talking about the validity of the Constitution should bear in mind that the Provisional Assembly — the Provisional Parliament—of 1922 contained so many members none of whom had taken an oath either to the Republic of Ireland or to any other authority of any kind. That is to say, that the Constitution rests upon a decision of an assembly which had not taken an oath, and this particular Constitution Act was enacted by a body which had taken no Oath of Allegiance to anybody or anything.

[The Leas-Chathaoirleach took the Chair.]

Deputy Finlay relies upon the passing of that Constitution by that Assembly and I am not quarrelling with him if he is regarding that Assembly as a revolutionary authority; but to quote it as though it were in the region of a Statutory Body or a competent legal authority according to either British or Irish law is to me a little bit curious and doubtful, especially when I remember what Deputy Blythe, then Minister for Finance, said during the course of the Constitution debates. The Party with which I was associated opposed the Second Reading of the Constitution Bill. It was passed in a House of 128, I think, by 47 members voting for it. The Labour Party voted against the Second Reading because it was a document unfair to the Treaty, and some discussions subsequently took place as to whether that Assembly or Provisional Parliament or Third Dáil Eireann was competent to pass legislation. The Free State Agreement Act, that is, the British Act, enacted that for the purpose of giving effect to Article 17 Orders in Council might be made transferring to the Provisional Government powers and machinery and causing the election of members for constituencies in Southern Ireland "and the members so elected shall constitute the Houses of Parliament to which the Provisional Government shall be responsible and that Parliament shall as respects matters within the jurisdiction of the Provisional Government have powers to make laws in like manner as the Parliament of the Irish Free State when constituted." In our innocence, we assumed that that Provisional Parliament or Dáil Eireann or Constituent Assembly had powers to make laws in like manner as would the Parliament of the Irish Free State when constituted. Some doubts had been raised by certain statements that fell from the lips of Ministers and I thought it necessary to get that Parliament to declare that it had power. A Resolution was moved and finally adopted with a slight amendment claiming that such powers were at the disposal of that assembly, but a little later we had a statement from Deputy Blythe, Col. 2040, 1st November, 1922, in which he said:

The Resolution was proposed by Deputy Johnson in the first instance, because he had not taken the trouble to read the Free State Agreement Act, or if he did read it he did not read it with any care and did not take the trouble to see what it means.

That may have been quite true. We had been but three months in the position of legislators. Deputy Blythe went on to say:

In the Free State Agreement Act it is laid down that the people elected for constituencies in the Twenty-six Counties shall constitute the House of Parliament to which the Provisional Government is responsible. It does not say that that House of the Parliament shall have power to legislate. It says that Parliament shall have power to legislate. That means that there is a question involved of the Royal Assent. There is no power in this Dáil to legislate without the Royal Assent; so far as the Free State Agreement Act goes, that is the only power it has, unless it chooses to exercise the inherent, inalienable and indefeasible power it has to repudiate the Treaty. There is no power, unless we choose now to have this Royal Assent given, other than the manner that we laid down in our own Constitution, and we are not prepared to do that. And consequently for all practical purposes the Dáil has not the power.

Nevertheless the Dail passed the Constitution Act. Not only did it prescribe the Constitution but it passed the Constitution Act containing Clause 2, which never received the Royal Assent until it received it as an appendix or schedule to the British Constitution Irish Free State Act.

In view of those facts, I am somewhat at a loss to understand where the lawyers are in this matter. If they are standing upon the inherent right of an Assembly elected by the Irish people to enact any law it wishes, then I am with them. But, that being the case, surely there can be no reason whatever in opposing this particular Bill, which does not touch the Treaty but only seeks to amend that Constitution Act which was passed in those circumstances and to fulfil, as I said at the opening, the promises made to Dáil Eireann and to the people as to what was intended by the Irish signatories to the Treaty.

Now we come to the question of negotiation, and here I am free to say that as to the method or manner or form of dealing with this Bill I am not in agreement with the Government. I think it would have been tactically wise to have come to the Dáil and the Seanad and find out from the Seanad, as Senator Douglas expressed it last week, whether there was to be unanimity as to the desirability of removing the Oath from the obligations placed upon members of the Parliament. That would have been a tremendously powerful weapon in the hands of Ministers and would remove very many of the misunderstandings, difficulties, hazinesses and doubts that have arisen over this Bill. But that is a matter of method only.

I am not prepared to quarrel over a matter of method when I am agreed entirely and whole-heartedly with the purpose to be attained. And now we take it that all these awful consequences that are supposed to be in store for us if we pass this Bill are to follow simply because of the method of approach, or because of some breach of courtesy, or because some fault in manner has been committed. Is that the suggestion? Are we to assume that the British people and the British Government are going to take these drastic steps that are threatened simply because of a fault of approach? I do not think so. If members on this side of the water cease from—I was going to use the word that Mr. Birrell once used—acting as "carrion crows" it would be desirable. But on this question of negotiation we have Senators Douglas and Brown taking a line on which I do not think they are quite in harmony. Senator Brown asserts as his opinion that the passing of this Bill will constitute a breach of the Treaty. Senator Douglas apparently is not so sure of that, but he is concerned with the breach of the common understanding that in matters of common concern there shall be conference, negotiation and consent.

The suggestion is that there should be negotiations. Senator Douglas says that if you negotiated and could not get agreement, then the Government would come to the people here and if the people here recognising the consequences said "yea" then all would be right. Am I to understand from the Senator that there would be no breach of the Treaty then, there would be nothing dishonourable provided we negotiated first? If Deputy Finlay is right there can be no departure from the Treaty until both sides agree. Senator Colonel Moore, I think, was leading up to the point that there had been negotiations for some time past, so far back as 1926 about the Privy Council. The Irish interpretation of the Treaty in respect of the Privy Council was raised at the Imperial Conference and negotiations have been pursued ever since until a few months ago, or a year ago. Deputy McGilligan told us, as Minister, that he was about to introduce a Bill removing for ever any question of the right of appeal to the Privy Council. That was after six years' negotiation. And yet on the debates of the Statute of Westminster we have the British view of the right of appealing to the Privy Council was expounded by no less authority than the Solicitor-General, Sir Thomas Inskip. Prior to that, in 1928, after two or three years negotiations between the two Governments and after certain rather drastic action had been taken in this Parliament concerning this question, Lord Chancellor Hailsham said:

"My noble friend goes on to ask whether the Irish Free State Government have given an assurance that the decision will be accepted at once and carried into effect. If by that my noble friend means that they have given an assurance that the Irish Free State will accept the decision of the Privy Council as final upon the law no such assurance is needed, because they are already bound by a Treaty to accept that view, and the fact that they are willing to appear before the Board and to argue their case before the Board shows that they appreciate their position. There is no doubt in the minds of anyone that the decision of the Privy Council once given will be a decision which declares the law and finally declares it."

And then, as I said, three years later, negotiations still proceeded. Sir Thomas Inskip, the Solicitor-General, on the 20th November last year, discussing the Statute of Westminster, said:

"The Privy Council it is true is a question of great difficulty, and has been the cause of some bitter and acrimonious words at various times in the Irish Free State. I have not time to develop the question at great length to-day, but let me remind the House of one or two things. The legal position is not always agreed by everybody to be exactly what I for one claim it to be. I have no doubt at all, and I believe that all my honourable friends will agree with me that it is implicit in Article 2 of the Treaty that the right of granting special leave to appeal to the Privy Council is part of the Constitution of the Irish Free State. That is not the opinion of the representatives of the Irish Free State. We differ on that point. I suggest that the right of appeal to the Privy Council is implicit in Article 2, and I believe that every constitutional lawyer in this country would say that that is the case. The Irish Free State is based upon the model of Canada—Canada in 1921 had the right of appeal to the Privy Council, and so we say that the Irish Free State has the same right of appeal. The argument of the Irish Free State is that since 1921 there have been constitutional developments in the relations between the Dominions and Great Britain, that when, in 1926, the Balfour declaration was made, granting not independence but autonomy to our self-governing Dominions, this characteristically British development of the grant of autonomy to our self-governing Dominions resulted in the same position being given to the Irish Free State as to Canada, who if she pleases, can unilaterally without our concurrence get rid of the right of appeal to the Privy Council. That is not the view of His Majesty's Government, and it is fair to say that the Attorney-General and other representatives of the Crown and the Prime Minister have made it plain that the right of appeal to the Privy Council is an essential part of the obligations between this country and Ireland. If we put it into the Bill it will not dispose of the view held by the Irish Free State, and once again we come back to the question as to whether it is better that this matter should be discussed by concurrence and agreement between the two Parliaments and Governments of two equal parties, ourselves and this Dominion, or whether we should try and force our legal view upon the Irish Free State—we may conceivably be wrong in our view, although I do not think we are—and say that we will put into this Bill and bind the Irish Free State to the view we hold."

Now, sir, when legal representatives of the British Government can say that in 1931 in the discussions on the Statute of Westminster, which is quoted as the final declaration of the equality of status of the Irish Parliament and the British Parliament it seems to me to be absolutely necessary that we should have a clear understanding of our own status in this Parliament and what our position is regarding the Constitution of this State. The question of the mandate of the Government has been raised but I am not too particular about mandates. I do not believe that to get a mandate is possible so long as the view of the last Government is to be maintained that there should be no referendum and that there is to be no specific reference to the people on matters of legislation.

We were told here last week by Senator Douglas that the Seanad had another function and that was of seeing that the people are consulted on any issues of vital importance to the country on which they had not been consulted at the polls. And he asks the Seanad to act on this Bill with regard to this particular function. The Seanad did not think it a matter of vital importance to the country when it passed the Constitution Amendment Bill last year. That was a matter that could be dealt with by the Seanad in an hour or two. It did not think that the Bill abolishing the Boundary Commission and agreeing to the abolition of the Council of Ireland and finally declaring the cleavage between North and South was a matter of vital importance to the Irish people, and the Seanad did not, not even at the suggestion of Senator Douglas, think fit to ask the people, to declare on that matter. If a mandate is required without a plebiscite, without a referendum, then it seems to me that the Party which has consistently for several elections declared itself out to abolish the Oath and made no secret whatever of it which declared from the housetops that its purpose whenever it got into power was to alter the Constitution and abolish the Oath, when that Party has steadily increased its membership until it obtained the powers of government, I say that no other mandate can be asked for by any Constitutionalists or believers in Parliamentary government. I for one, and indeed I think I speak for the Party I belong to, regret this question of the Oath has been forced into the forefront and we expressed our opinion that it was not a matter of supreme importance at successive elections. Notwithstanding our view Fianna Fáil is now the Government in authority and once that Party has brought to the Oireachtas a Bill of this type it seems to me incumbent on every person who believes in the right of Ireland to self-government, to autonomy and complete control of its own affairs, who believes in democratic rule, to support them in this Bill and if possible to get it out of the way. We believe that it is infinitely more important to deal with the very much more pressing matters of social and economic concern but we do believe—at least I believe—that if this kind of question is to be allowed to remain rankling as it is in the minds of so many people, and if an attempt to remove it is going to cause any international difficulty then it seems to me that the solution of the social and economic questions that will arise will come not through Parliamentary government but by some other method. The question was raised in the other House as to the requirement of Article 18 of the Treaty which stated that if approved the Treaty shall be ratified by the necessary legislation. I think it will be found, if one goes first to the Constitution and secondly to the Statutes that every item on which this Oireachtas could possibly legislate, being the concern of the country, is embodied in the Statutes. We could not be expected to legislate or indicate that Ireland should have the same status in the community of nations, known as the British Empire, as Canada. That is not a matter for our legislation. Every item of that Treaty which is required to be ratified by the necessary legislation is embodied in one statute or another of this Parliament except the form of oath to be taken. If the form of oath to be taken in the Treaty was ever mandatory I suggest another question for the lawyers is will it not still be mandatory after the passing of this Bill. It was declared in the Constitution that the Acts of the British Parliament that were in force at the coming into effect of the Constitution which were not out of harmony with the Constitution itself would remain. Article 73 reads:—

Subject to this Constitution, and to the extent which they are not inconsistent therewith, the laws in force in the Irish Free State at the date of the coming into operation of this Constitution shall continue to be of full force and effect until the same or any of them shall have been repealed or amended by enactment of the Oireachtas.

I do not know whether it is sound law to say that if the requirement of the Oath in the Treaty was mandatory at any time that it is still mandatory after the passing of this Bill. I think it is, but I do not think it was ever mandatory in the sense that has been argued. Certainly it was never mandatory in the sense that it should be put into the Constitution. But all the talk at the present time is concentrated upon the intentions of the Government, in removing this from the Constitution. Even though they said to-morrow that they intended to press that it should form part of the Standing Orders of this House presumably it would still remain as a bone of contention and strife and war between the two countries. I think the opponents of this Bill on this side of the water, and the objectors on the other side of the water are not thinking of the Bill. They are as I said at the beginning discussing some Bill of the future and are considering the whole question in the light of the political character of the President of the Executive Council. I for one would be glad indeed if this question were cleared out of the way as quickly as possible. I hope the Seanad will not be so foolish, so unwise and so unpatriotic as to follow the advice given last week by Senators Brown and Douglas. If they are, well it is a matter simply of delay, a matter simply of allowing a political matter to retain the front of the stage and to occupy the attention of many people in this country who would much rather be concerned in dealing with social and economic matters. This Dáil, this Seanad, this Oireachtas, grew out of the revolutionary demands for independence and self-government. It is believed by the great mass of the population that absolute independence and self-government have been secured. If by the action of this Seanad it is made clear that neither self-government nor independence has in fact been achieved then we are going to have further trouble, further strife, further political agitation, and the hope of dealing successfully with social and economic problems in this legislature rendered futile and peace and progress frustrated.

As to the value of oaths in general, I find myself in the main in agreement with Senator Douglas, and as only a minority in this country really understand this controversy and very few care whether this Oath is taken by members of the Oireachtas or not, it is obviously a useless means of expressing a guarantee; the fact, however, that it has been artificially raised to the position of a national issue brings an unreality into the debate which makes it difficult to know where we stand.

On one point I am clear, and that is that no logical arguments which appeal to ordinary reason will have the slightest effect on the President's attitude with regard to this Bill. He has told us that he will have this Bill at any cost or, to adjust the words of a famous churchman, "It were better for sun and moon to drop from heaven and for those who live in this country to die of starvation in extremest agony than that this Bill should not become law." That is what the word "at any cost" should convey when they are spoken by a responsible politician, and their application does not present a bright outlook for this country. That the President, according to his own lights, is sincere in this matter I do not question, but in regard to the means by which he seeks to gain his end I frankly disagree.

As the Leader of a Government which, on this issue, is not representative of the people, he is asking us to give our assent to an illegal act the consequences of which will retard the country's progress, both economically and morally, for years.

The Treaty has been ratified by the people on several occasions and honoured by both parties until, as the result of propaganda astutely placed before a people who for the first time were beginning to feel the pinch of the world's economic depression, the opportunism of the Labour Party in the Dáil gave Fianna Fáil the chance of misdirecting the affairs of this State.

In the Treaty the British people asked us to agree to a symbol of unity —the unity of a great group of nations in the face of the world—a symbol which the other partners in the Commonwealth find neither degrading nor inconvenient and "intolerable." Instead of profiting from the strength which comes from unity, the President seeks to lead us out of that group of nations and to make of this nation a beggar on horseback. In pursuit of the policy which he is now trying to force on the country, his Party went to the election war with a wooden horse—a horse painted with extravagant promises which it well knew it would be impossible to fulfil—and it was seized by the covetous, the discontented, the dishonest, and the ignorant, both young and old. It is necessary to go back to the Act of Union to find anything approaching a parallel to the political allurements contained in the Fianna Fáil programme at the last election, and no bigger bribe has ever been offered to a peasant population than the land annuities; it speaks volumes for the good sense and honesty of the Irish people that the turnover of votes was not a larger one.

The horse was pulled in and in the morning the electors found not the promised economic benefits but the removal of the Oath Bill. I doubt whether Fianna Fáil got 1,000 additional votes on that score, and if they did, does that constitute a mandate to disown a national agreement which has been repeatedly accepted by the people?

One of our main claims to nationality rests on the fact that we are a mother nation who has sent her sons and daughters to make and people other lands; their opinion has loomed large in many a national crisis in the past and it would seem that it should be considered now. Can the President show us that he has a mandate from the millions of Commonwealth citizens who are of Irish blood to separate them from this country? Not only can he not do so, but the leaders of these people have seen fit to address the Government and in chosen words have expressed concern at the news from this country. The Government Press has stated that these communications were inspired; I can imagine no greater impertinence to men of the standing of the Commonwealth Prime Ministers; it is a suggestion that these men whom the Free State delegation propose to meet at Ottawa, are, if not venial, at any rate subservient and without a sense of their position and responsibility.

The President's position is that this is an internal question; I agree—but that it is internal to the Commonwealth and that an attitude which precludes discussion between the partners may, in practice, build a wall round us which will intern both ourselves and our produce from the rest of the world.

It has often been said that the Englishman does not understand the Irishman; it is evident that the President makes no attempt to understand the Englishman and either does not understand, or deliberately ignores, the effects which his uncalled-for policy is having and will have in increasing degree on the British public as distinct from the British Government.

For no tangible benefit—at the expense of the livelihood of the majority of the people—he is pitting the resources of this small country against the force of British public opinion. It was the British public which forced its Government to enter the World War to honour in the spirit an understanding with one neighbour and in defence of the treaty rights of another. These people are saying and will go on saying with increasing force and with unfortunate results for this country, "We will not buy from a people who have broken a solemn agreement, we will get what we want elsewhere and where there is a friendly feeling for us, and we will get it at the Irishman's expense;" and they are saying this at a time when things are getting better in England and there is neither difficulty nor distraction to provide our historical opportunity. That this want of understanding is not confined to the President was very clearly exemplified in a recent speech by the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs when he is reported as having told his audience that sentiment does not enter into our trade relations with England. No greater mistake was ever made so far as the Englishman is concerned and I fear this country will suffer for this attitude of mind.

If it must be done and as the least of two evils, I say try your ill-considered tariff policy and at the cost of further unemployment learn the lesson of its futility from its results; but I wish to place it on record that I have said that the removal of the Oath by means other than inter-Commonwealth discussion will bring our export trade to vanishing point and when there is no power to buy or to employ, such new industries as may meanwhile be brought into being will have but a short life and create further unemployment difficulties.

Except as a means of informing the public, discussion of this matter is of little use because no logical arguments appear to have effect on the sponsors of this Bill. This fact is the clearest indication that this is but the first step on the road out of the Commonwealth, and were not the Oath available some other vehicle would have been found to carry the President and his Party on their self-appointed way to that Republic which was envisaged under his auspices in 1922, and was to some extent brought into being at that time by members of the present Ministry: "the Republic where all industry will be controlled by the State for the benefit of the workers and farmers. All transport, railways, canals, etc., will be operated by the State—the Republican State—for the benefit of the workers and farmers. All banks will be operated by the State for the benefit of industry and agriculture—not for the purpose of profit-making. The lands of the aristocracy will be seized and divided amongst those who can and will operate them for the national benefit"; the Republic where there is only one place for the business man, the investor and the bourgeois. A pretty picture!

Coming as it did from a responsible Minister I was surprised at theempressement with which Senator Connolly warned the House last week of the consequences in the event of our not adjusting our views to his requirements in this matter and I was relieved to hear him eliminate one possible construction which might, in the light of previous occurrences, reasonably be placed on his words.

There are however other possible lines of action which he may have had in mind at the time and I think that the House is entitled to know whether in the event of our not seeing eye to eye with Fianna Fáil, we are to expect a Cromwellian removal of the Casket, or a Dictatorship as a substitute for constitutional rule.

In the matter of the interdependence of the Oath and the Treaty the people have been deliberately deceived and it should be broadcast to them that the removal of the Oath without inter-Commonwealth discussion will in effect put them outside the Commonwealth and its benefits and that such is the real issue.

I believe that it is our duty to the country and that the great bulk of the people expect us to deal with this measure in such a way as will give them time to realise, before it is entirely too late, an opportunity to protect themselves against the great injury which it is sought to do to this land of ours.

It is inconceivable to me how people can get excited about a Bill of this kind. An attempt is being made to magnify and elevate to the importance of an epic what is, in fact, only a second-rate melodrama. Surely nobody can seriously contend that the removal of the Oath will make any difference in the actual, as against the theoretical, relationships between the Irish and British peoples? Already we are informed that quite a number of Deputies, including the President, slipped into the Oireachtas without taking the Oath, even under the Constitution as it now stands. The discontinuance of that farce will not alter the views of those who believe that friendly intercourse between the two nations is best for both. Neither will the maintenance of the pretence that certain people have taken an Oath which, in fact, they have not, and in any case strongly object to, make them good neighbours in spite of themselves. It is all a matter of sentiment, and sentiment cannot be regulated by legislation. Senator Wilson has pointed out to the Opposition that the King still remains part of the Constitution, and that there is no indication that the Government desire a Republic, or would indeed have it even if pressed upon them.

In the Fianna Fáil Party in the Oireachtas I have been only able to identify two Republicans, Deputy Breen in the Dáil, and one member of the Seanad. A test like the Oath in the Constitution is as useless as it is obsolete. It is a relic of the day when the divine right of kings was an article of political faith. The only bond of real value, in my view between any two States, is one of mutual trust and mutual respect. In fact, the institution of a test such as the Oath indicates suspicion, and to that extent is more harmful than helpful. The statement of the British Secretary for the Dominions notwithstanding, I believe that if Britain took punitive action because of the passing of this measure, she would simply make herself look ridiculous. The traditions of that country in matters international would lead one to believe that a due sense of proportion will be observed, and if that is done then no serious reactions will result. I support the Bill if for no other reason than for the purpose of getting the wretched controversy out of the way for ever. I must say the promoters of the Bill, and some of its supporters, have made the position unnecessarily difficult by the arrant nonsense they have indulged in. We are cutting a frayed cotton thread and they would make us believe that we are severing shackles of forged steel. No shackles are being severed, because none exist except in the imagination. They call all the world to witness the wonderful patriots they are, when in fact all that is being done is to discontinue a formal farce, what they themselves admitted was merely an empty formula, and in doing it there is not even an element of personal risk to those who would have themselves hailed as heroes.

One might well say: "Heroism! What comedies are enacted in thy name." The gloomy forebodings of the Opposition are based, I might say, on the ill-considered statements of Mr. Thomas, which were merely childish reactions to equally childish statements from this side of the Channel. It strikes me that one embarrassing aspect of the problem is the fact that both the President and Mr. Thomas are Celts with a flair for the dramatic, and in this, as in other matters, they have had concentrated on them an amount of limelight out of all proportion to the importance of the question at issue. The President declares that unless he gets this Bill, strife will ensue. Let him have it, and the angel of peace will descend upon the land, and strife and tumult will be no more. I hope he is not over-optimistic. We have all heard of the war that was to end war, and that was to make the world a place fit for heroes to live in, but as somebody aptly put it, it left the world a place that only heroes could live in. The President says no delay nor negotiations of any kind must take place. Like the boy in Pears' bath: he won't be happy till he gets it. At all events, we have his word that the Bill is essential for the maintenance of internal peace, and that in itself should be sufficient reason why we should pass it.

Personally, I do not believe it will make any real difference in the outlook or activities of that section who have refused to recognise the Oireachtas as thede jure Parliament of this country. I am not so concerned with them, I am concerned with the Government Party. I want to remove from them any justification, real or imaginary, for giving either moral or implied support to elements who would impose by violence a minority dictatorship upon our people. Once remove from the enemies of democracy in the country the implied or moral support of the Fianna Fáil Party and they will soon see the wisdom of adopting constitutional methods, and developing some respect for the views of the majority of their fellow citizens. The Labour Party has been criticised for supporting this Bill. They would be criticised whichever side they took. At least, it can be claimed that our attitude is, at all events, not a vote-catching one. On the two previous occasions on which we were bracketed in the public imagination with the Fianna Fáil Party, the results were disastrous for us. If there is an election in the next few months the Government Party will make as determined an effort to wipe us out as will Cumann na nGaedheal.

Let me say, in passing, that I am one of those who believe unflinchingly and unrepentingly that the maintenance of the traditional independence of the Labour Party in the Oireachtas, free from all entanglements, commitments and alliances, whether public or secret, is the only lasting hope for the Irish Labour movement and all that it stands for. Not even the transitory personal success of those ex-Labour leaders on the other side of the Channel, who grew too big for the movement that gave them eminence, can convince me to a contrary view. I believe that the Labour Party, in order to discharge its functions faithfully and efficiently, should be free to deal with all measures on their merits, to approve and speak for those measures which they approve of, and to fearlessly criticise and, if necessary, vote against methods and measures of which they disapprove. I can see no lasting benefit, or dignity, accruing to the workers of this country if the Labour Party in the Oireachtas be allowed to play a tin whistle in the Government band, no matter what Party is in power.

It is argued that we have no mandate for our action. That is admitted. We have none, and we asked for none. The matter was not sufficiently important in our view to make it an issue in a General Election, when there were so many questions of vital importance to the economic life of the nation that required attention. On this and similar academic issues our considered policy as set out in "The Nation Organised," and as approved at our Annual Conference, less than a year ago, reads as follows:

We believe that the country needs a rest from agitation for mere political changes so that attention can be devoted to the solution of the much more serious economic and social problems which so closely concern the national life. The powers of government that have been won ought to be used to the utmost for the economic and social betterment of the people.

Faulty as the Treaty and Constitution are from the standpoint of national sovereignty and republican democracy we know of nothing in either which imposes any limitation upon economic, social or cultural progress.

That was the keynote of the policy we placed before the electors, but comparatively few responded to it. It was too commonsense; it promised no miracle; it lacked thrills; it kept too close to the facts of life. We are, therefore, entitled to assume that the country does not desire a policy of that kind, and on a matter of that kind before the House we are perfectly entitled to take the course which is best and even inevitable in the circumstances. Had we our choice there are many questions of vital economic importance that would get precedence of this Bill, but this does not satisfy the Government in office, and the alternative to letting them have their way is another General Election with, perhaps, possibly ruinous results for the country as a whole. That would, in our opinion, be too dear a price to pay, and in the long run the beneficial measures which they have promised may come as quickly as if one had to fight and win an election on the mere question of precedence. But in any case, those who ask us for our mandate did not hesitate to alter the powers of, and method of election to, this House, and to abolish the referendum and the initiative, without obtaining, or asking for a mandate from anybody.

We have been asked by certain sections to save the country. The Labour Party is about fed up saving the country from the depredations of its patriots, and in return all it has got is blame for most of the nation's folly and credit for none of its gains. I should say that I differin toto from those who profess to believe that this Bill does not constitute a breach of, at least, the spirit of the Treaty. I for one, decline with thanks the shelter of a lawyer's gown in what I am doing in voting for this measure. I look upon the introduction of lawyers at this stage to invent excuses for us as a most undignified and cowardly proceeding. A crafty lawyer may try to make crooked roads look straight, but he cannot for long deceive anybody possessed of average intelligence. Surely the Treaty debates show beyond mistaking that Deputies, both for and against the Treaty, believed the Oath to be mandatory? That was the main bone of contention, and we are now told at this stage that this is not so, and if that is the position, are we to be told that the devastating civil war was embarked upon, that blood and treasure were dissipated, and an aftermath of bitterness created which still poisons the well-springs of every department of public life in this country, in order to get rid of a test which could have been disposed of peacefully by simply omitting it from the Constitution, without in any way violating the Treaty? If that is the contention, then I say the ghosts of the dead should haunt the waking and sleeping hours of those responsible for that terrible holocaust.

Ten years after the start of the civil war we have the legal camp-followers of Fianna Fáil called in to absolve their Party from the charge of Treaty-breaking in removing the Oath. What a pity they were not called in in 1922 instead of 1932! Our experience in connection with legal opinions on the land annuities leads me to pay little attention to the legal advice of lawyers where politics are concerned. There we had two groups of the most eminent lawyers at the Irish Bar giving two absolutely conflicting opinions. Yet we are asked to believe that the political views of these two groups of lawyers had nothing whatever to do with the type of advice they gave. I am prepared to accept that point of view, but that being the case, I cannot conceive that they are of the slightest use to me in making up my mind in matters of this kind. I believe, however, that this practice which has grown up of late tends to bring the great profession of the law into public contempt. Owing to the difference of opinion between the legal experts, a difference which happens to coincide remarkably with their political affiliations, I, for one, prefer to form my own opinion in a matter of this kind, and I have no doubt in my mind that I am violating the Treaty in voting for this Bill, and I think it is better to be honest about it. I believe it to be a breach which is of no material consequence, and one which the internal conditions make it inevitable that we should commit, seeing that the Government will not agree to any form of procedure other than this Bill. They insist upon this Bill as the price of internal peace, and I am prepared to accept it in its present form as the price I am prepared to pay for that internal peace.

I, for one, believe that the same result could have been obtained by other means, although I have not reached that degree of political skill where I can claim infallibility. We must trust, however, that the inherent good sense of the people on both sides of the Channel will prevent them from making economic war upon each other. I am anxious to get this question out of the way, so that the economic need of the country may be attended to. I want to give the Government Party an unimpeded opportunity of implementing their election pledges for the purpose of providing work for all, even if it means going outside the present social system, to quote the President's words; the establishment of widows' and orphans' pensions, the solution of the housing problem, and the many other admirable items they lifted out of the Labour Party programme. What would the alternative be—a bitter, useless election fight over a barren issue, and another set-back to the economic life of the nation. The right of this Parliament to enact this Bill has been raised. It has been raised only by the Government Party. This is merely setting up a straw man for the pleasure of knocking him down.

This Parliament has a right to pass this Bill, and the right to repudiate the whole Treaty, if it so desires. That is not the question at issue at all. What this Parliament cannot do is to break a treaty and to keep it at one and the same time. One of the parties to any treaty may propose to do something which normally it has a perfect right to do, but it may at the same time constitute a breach of some particular treaty, or at least the other contracting party may contend that it does. In all such cases the normal course is for negotiations to take place, or for the matter to be referred to arbitration. However, I am afraid that anybody in this country who suggests anything of that kind is immediately denounced as an enemy of the State. Believing that the Bill is, at least a breach of the spirit of the Treaty, I am not going to agree that the proper course has been adopted. I may be wrong, but I believe a satisfactory settlement could have been arrived at if the normal course of procedure between equal nations was adopted. Even if unsuccessful, if they failed, the Government would be in a stronger moral position than they are to-day in going forward with this Bill.

Failure to enter into negotiations has always presented itself to me as a sign of weakness instead of strength. It is not bravery, but bravado. The President and his Party are too disposed to mistake jingoism for patriotism, and a worm's eye view for a national outlook. What would the Minister for Industry and Commerce think if a trade union, believing it had certain rights which it did not think the employers were likely to concede, started off by going on strike? He would not be satisfied by being told that in view of certain statements made by the employers, the trade union side felt that negotiations would be useless; yet that is the attitude our Government has taken up in connection with this Bill. I am afraid that a perfectly satisfactory settlement by negotiation would not have been acceptable on this side of the Channel.

I appreciate the difficulties of a political party as well as anybody else, and I know a spectacular gesture of defiance was probably considered necessary to satisfy a certain noisy section of the Government followers. To serve a spectacular party requirement, the Government has tended to damage the reputation of this country so far as its method of dealing with international questions is concerned. The more independent we become the greater are our responsibilities. As an independent nation we must, in order to retain our status, adopt the methods that independent, civilised nations adopt in their relationships with each other. A Government is in the position of a temporary tenant of an estate, who must not spoil the tenement, pawn the heirlooms, or dilapidate the property for his successors. The good name and the good manners of this State should not be placed in pawn to suit the party requirements of any Government in office for the time being.

The Government would doubtless say: "We are only adopting this method because England, whom we still look upon as an enemy, is the other party concerned. Where all other nations are involved, of course we are going to adopt the methods that civilised communities employ in international affairs." That simply won't wash. We cannot continue to have diplomatic and commercial relationships with Great Britain and at the same time, in our intercourse with that country, completely ignore the methods which all civilised and self-respecting countries adopt, and which we would adopt if any other country were concerned. If the Government want to show their antipathy to England, why not sever diplomatic relationships altogether and have done with it? I would like to know whether we look upon Great Britain as an enemy State, or whether we look upon it as any other of the States in the comity of nations.

However, these are all matters of procedure and the present Government has set a standard of its own of which the incident at the French Legation was an example. We cannot have a battle royal on the hustings on questions of procedure, important though they may be. The Government believe they are taking the right course. They will have to answer to the country for their action. I would only say that if, as a result of the procedure adopted, the farmers of the country are prejudiced in the British market, I, for one, do not envy the task of the President and his Party in the agricultural constituencies. However, there is always the hope that the good sense which is inherent in the majority of the people will assert itself and that even as a result of the passing of this Bill, without negotiation of any kind, we shall only have reactions, if any, of a very minor character. I am convinced that the majority in this House heartily support the principle of the Bill and only disagree with the procedure adopted. I would appeal to the Government not to deal with everybody who does not see eye to eye with them as an enemy of this country. Surely there must be some sense of decency in political life? If we cannot disagree, on matters of detail even, without being denounced as enemies of the country, then no one with any sense of self-respect would stay in political life. You will only have hypocrites who will pretend to agree with what they entirely disagree with at heart, or you will have those who do not mind but rather enjoy the viler side of politics so far as language and actions are concerned. I believe that the great majority in this House have approved of the principle of the Bill and approve of the removal of the Oath but disagree with the method of procedure.

Probably there are others who genuinely object to the Bill in principle and I would suggest to them that in voting for this Bill in its present form even from their point of view, they are choosing the lesser of two evils. I would ask all concerned to try to visualise what chance there is at a General Election of having the whole facts of this situation calmly and soberly examined and an intelligent result obtained. You have only to look at the experience of the leader of the Opposition in the Dáil in Cork recently. He does not belong to this House but at least he did those things that I believe entitle him to be dubbed as a patriot. He was certainly there in 1916. He was through the Black-and-Tan period and I believe carried his life in his hands for a long time. Yet he was prevented by two dozen latter-day patriots from getting a hearing in the constituency in which he polled 18,000 votes at the last election. The light was switched off and the platform stormed by people who shouted "Up De Valera" as their battle-cry. If that is the position in regard to a man who was head of this State for ten years what chance is there for any lesser light getting a hearing on this matter if he takes an anti-Government attitude? I am not saying that what happened here is different to what happened elsewhere. Hamilton was stoned on the streets of New York and Washington was denounced by his political opponents for his alleged mock pageantry of monarchy and apish mimicry of kings. The Democratic Press of the day declared on his retirement from the Presidency that "the man who is the source of the misfortunes of our country is this day reduced to a level of his fellow citizens, and is no longer possessed of the power to multiply evils on the United States. If ever there was a period for rejoicing this is the moment." That was the Democratic Press of the day on President Washington. What a horrible reflection if one day the same may be written of President De Valera by those who now acclaim him! I would suggest that he can console himself in the knowledge that to-day Democrats and Republicans visit Mount Vernon every year to pay homage to the memory of Washington as America's greatest patriot. He is dead long enough to be appreciated. Strange to say, both he and Hamilton were denounced because of their refusal to encourage the ancient bitterness and strife between Great Britain and the United States. Many people had hoped that the critical economic condition of the country, the coming of the Eucharistic Congress and the approaching Imperial Economic Conference at Ottawa would have induced the Government to postpone any measure calculated to destroy confidence in trade, to complicate our international relations, or to frighten away timid visitors. Once the Government had given their pledge to the country there could then, on a matter of this kind, be no urgency and the complications and the disturbances inevitably associated with controversial legislation would have been postponed to a more favourable period.

[The Cathaoirleach resumed the Chair.]

Other counsels prevailed, however, and the Dáil having passed this measure I earnestly suggest to a section in this House that the most statesmanlike thing they can do is to pass it. The alternative will be one of the most bitter elections this country has seen. There will be developments that will prevent freedom of speech, and all at a time when the economic situation is more serious than it has been for any period during the last ten years. Is it worth that? We want above all internal peace in order that we may have external relationships worthy of the name with any other country. There may be differences, in regard to details and in regard to principles—there is certainly a difference of opinion regarding the method of procedure—but these must all, I am afraid, be submerged because the internal peace of the country above all demands a period of peace if we can have it— peace from academic politics—so that the best minds of the whole of the citizens, and above all the attention of the Government and its advisers, may be concentrated on trying to find a solution of our economic ills.

I believe it is useless to carry on the debate as to whether this Bill is a breach of the Treaty or not. I am quite clear that it is a breach of the Treaty and I must say that I believe it is meant to be a breach of the Treaty. It is the beginning of the end of the Treaty. It has been said several times that the majority of the people care nothing about the Oath. That is quite true. The majority of the people who voted for Fianna Fáil at the last election care nothing about the Oath. There are some who go round shouting "We will not take an oath to the King of England." I submit that that idea was manufactured by the propaganda of politicians. There would be no opposition to the Oath amongst the ignorant people throughout the country if the Oath was not misrepresented and if they had not been trained to that idea. It is not a natural or a patriotic objection to something which they cannot do without a violation of some sacred principle. It is propaganda put into the people's minds by political propagandists. I am not going to say another word as to whether the Bill is a breach of the Treaty or not. I believe it is. I do not agree with a single word in the Bill. I do not agree with the principle of it. If I agree to let the Second Reading pass without a division it is only in deference to the opinion of those who have spoken and whom I regard as wiser than myself. What I am going to deal with is this—and it is at the root of the whole thing—the claim of the Fianna Fáil Party to be the only patriots and the only genuine successors of the national leaders who lived and died for this country. That is their claim. We who stand for the Treaty are called Imperialists, materialists, traitors and other nice names. These terms are being constantly hurled at us. I propose to deal with the claim of the Fianna Fáil Party to be the only true successors of the national leaders of the past. I think I shall have no difficulty in proving that claim to be false, and all the talk about the Oath being an intolerable burden merely mischievous nonsense. I shall go back further than Senator Col. Moore's fraudulent halfpence. I shall go back to the beginning of the English domination in this country and I hope I will not keep the House too long before I come to the present day.

Take plenty of time.

In the year 1175 a Council was held at Windsor which the Ard-Righ of Ireland, Rory O'Connor, attended. He promised King Henry II allegiance and backed his allegiance with a tribute of a certain number of hides in the fashion of the time. President De Valera in the Oath he drafted in the notorious Document No. 2 not only offered allegiance, but a very considerable amount of money— £10,000 yearly, I believe—as a token. The attitude of all the national leaders of the past was this: They never denied allegiance to the King on condition that there was no manifestation of the King's power, no interference in their affairs, and that they were allowed to have their country and their land in their own hands. That was their attitude. Anyone who studies Irish history from first-hand sources knows that these are the facts. Let me come down the long and glorious line of heroes whose names stand out in the pages of Irish history. Take Art MacMorrough Kavanagh from my own county. He stands out as a very noble character. When King Richard II came here Art MacMorrough Kavanagh destroyed two of the finest armies that ever stood on the soil of Ireland. After that when it came to making peace he met King Richard in Christ Church and went to the point of kneeling and offering allegiance if he ceased interfering in this country. No one can say with any truth that the King, the British Government or the English in any way interfered in the slightest degree during the ten years that we have had the management of our own affairs by a native Parliament. We are now absolutely free to do whatever we like and for the first time from 1169 until 6th December, 1921. Ireland never previously was treated as the equal of England and was never free from English domination. No hero down the long line of those who fought for the freedom of Ireland denied allegiance to the King. Of course, the Oath is misrepresented in the country.

This is not an oath of allegiance to the King of England; it is no such thing. It is an oath of allegiance to the head of the Commonwealth and promises faithfulness to the other members of the Commonwealth through its head. But of course it would never do to let that idea into the heads of the heroes who exist at the present time. They have been told constantly in order to keep their spirits up that they are degraded and crushed to the ground because their representatives have to make a promise of faithfulness to the other members of the Commonwealth of Nations. A number of nations coming together for their own benefit and protection must have some head of the society or the Commonwealth and nobody has suggested any possible head except His Majesty King George, nor can they.

Let us come to Shane O'Neill. Every leader of the Irish from Shane the Proud to Patrick Sarsfield fought for the one ideal, the independence of Ireland, the freedom of Ireland, the liberty of Ireland. Not one of them refused allegiance to the King. Sarsfield fought for King Charles and the exiled King was the toast of the "Wild Geese." They never repudiated the Crown or the King—not one of them. Hugh O'Neill, one of the ablest generals and most astute politicians who ever lived, destroyed the fine army of Elizabeth and sent Essex to the block and when he had done that he sent the heads of a Treaty to the Queen—a Treaty that would be acceptable to him for peace between the two countries and promising his allegiance to the Queen. He promised to acknowledge her for ever as his liege lady. The Treaty which Hugh O'Neill asked for did not represent anything like the power that the Treaty of '21 gives to Ireland.

I am not going into the circumstances that brought about that Treaty. It was signed in more enlightened times and there were special circumstances at the time that made it possible for such a Treaty to be made as that of December, 1921. The fact of course is that these heroes and patriots that I have mentioned were realists. They wanted the substance and cared nothing for the shadow. Now we in this enlightened age are being asked to throw away our Charter of freedom for something that does not affect and that will not have the slightest effect on our daily lives. We are asked to throw the whole substance of freedom away for that. Another O'Neill, an able general trained on the Continent with no parochial ideas, fought for King Charles I, and when the King was beaten he was ready and willing to make a Treaty with the Republican Cromwell if only, always, he could free Ireland, and get her clear of English domination. These are facts of history and no one can contradict them.

I am coming down now to more recent times. If I skip periods of Irish history and do not name every National leader and hero separately I do not suggest that they did not stand forth in the same way. Yes, they did, everyone of them, but I shall come down now to Wolfe Tone—the special patron saint claimed by Fianna Fáil— the man in whose shoes they claim to stand. I say they have no right to claim to stand for the ideals of Wolfe Tone. He was an honest, unselfish Irishman. What were his ideals? To unite the whole people of Ireland, to abolish the memory of all past dissensions and to substitute the name of Irishman in place of that of Catholic, or Protestant or Dissenter. Here are people who claim to be representatives of Wolfe Tone coming to us with an appeal which would clear away and uproot for ever any hope of unity with our fellow countrymen in the north. Their work since the Treaty was signed has made that unity more remote but this will finish it for ever—if this Bill passes. Never again will our countrymen in the north trust us or come in and I must say I do not expect them to come in. If I was a native of the north I would not come in so long as I could remain out; the whole performance of Fianna Fáil as a party is a violation of the principles of Wolfe Tone. They will go down to Tone's grave in a few days and rant and rave there. I do not know any man who has more reason to turn in his grave than poor Wolfe Tone. In his time the idea of Republicanism was in the air after the American War of Independence and French Revolution. The United Irishmen of that time took up the idea when all other efforts failed, and when all appeals to a stubborn oligarchy for any measure of justice for Ireland were treated with contempt. They had no other choice, they had no special liking for it, they cared for nothing but their country, its peace and its progress.

No Irishman worthy of the name will gainsay the verdict of Thomas Davis. Of all the men whose names stand out in the last century in Ireland Thomas Davis is the ideal, the emblem of noble ideas and of the purest patriotism. What was the verdict of Thomas Davis? It was: "On an equality with England, and out of reach of her rapacity there is nothing in the privilege of the Monarch to which Ireland could be averse. The respective advantages of each country would compel from them mutual respect and the Throne would ever be the honourable medium of adjusting international differences. What could lead to separation? Injustice, treachery, crime on either part."

That is the verdict of Thomas Davis. Since the Treaty of 1921 was signed England has not violated the Treaty in the smallest degree. No suggestion of treachery or crime has come from her. We who stand by the Treaty and believe in it, are called Imperialists and traitors, but I say that we are a very good company. If this Bill passes, the Treaty is broken. It will have no reality because the ratifying clause is gone. We shall be in the same position as if the Treaty had never been ratified. Undoubtedly we will go out of the British Commonwealth of Nations. We may have a Republic, or whatever you like to call it, thrust upon us. Apart from our helplessness as a small isolated country, or rather part of a country, Republicanism has no special virtue. Judged by its results as a system of government in force in other countries it has no virtue at all. It is in reality foreign to Irish traditions and Irish temperament. Would it bring peace if we had a Republic to-morrow? I am afraid if we had a Republic there would be more quarrelling, more bitterness and more enmity than ever, because there would be different people looking for different kinds of Republics. You would have some contending for a Republic of the United States variety, and some for a Republic of the Soviet Russia variety. These are the extremes, and with the seeds of Communism sown in the country I would not like to say which party would win, the representatives of the United States type or of the Soviet Russia type. The seeds of Communism are sown in the country and they are being well watered at the present time. I have heard since I came into this House from the Labour Benches that that Party did not want a Republic of the United States variety. I would like to know what they do want. A prisoner who came out of jail recently said that they were going to fight for a Republic, for which so many generations of Irishmen had died. That is ridiculous. No one died for a Republic. They died for Ireland. Republicanism was used as propaganda. That was the position of Republicanism when the Treaty was signed. It was meant to be something like a lever to get more than you expected. I read somewhere, though I believe President De Valera denied it, that he compared the Treaty negotiations to the selling of a cow. You ask £20 for the cow, but you hope to get £18. We are told that theraison d'être of this Bill is to bring peace to the country. Will it bring peace? There are elements in the country that have stated over and over again that they do not care a hang about the Oath of Allegiance and that the abolition of it is not going to satisfy them. They want the whole Treaty abolished and to go back, I do not know where, but I suppose to 1921. Certainly if the Oath of Allegiance was abolished to-morrow it would not satisfy them. There are different kinds of peace.

I read a public statement made in 1920 by a very eminent Bishop of the United States concerning a tour that Mr. De Valera made there. There was in America a powerful society at that time known as the Friends of Irish Freedom. Mr. De Valera did not agree with them. He quarrelled violently with them. The Bishop relates that he induced a Judge of high standing to accompany him to a meeting for the purpose of bringing about a reconciliation between President De Valera and some of the Friends of Irish Freedom. The Judge went with him; a conference was held and lasted four hours. When it was over the Judge said to the Bishop: "I am sorry I came. I am disillusioned. I thought the President of Ireland was a bigger man. His idea of harmony reminds me of Li Hung Chang's, who said the harmony he loved best to hear was the ring of the headman's axe on the necks of his opponents." That is one variety of harmony.

There is another variety of peace and harmony. It is described in a terrible book, calledPacata Hibernia written in the sixteenth century—it describes a country flattened to the ground, a country of waste lands with the peace of death over it. That is another kind of peace. I say that if the present reckless career of the Government goes on a time may come when President de Valera may sit down and write a modern version of Pacata Hibernia. Ireland may be crushed and pacified. I believe that this Bill is an attempt to do by subtle means what Fianna Fáil failed to do in 1922 by rather crude and desperate means. I believe it is meant to be the beginning of the abolition of the Treaty and nothing else.

Others have stressed what will be our position amongst the countries of the world. We shall have lost our good name for ever. We shall never be trusted again. We shall go back to the rubbish heap, to being a place that nobody cares for, or knows anything about. A good many years before the Treaty was signed I remember being asked in a foreign country where I came from. I said Ireland. They said "Oh, Ireland! That is the part of England where the Catholics live, is it not?" Nobody knew or cared where Ireland was, or what it was before the Treaty of 1921.

They knew it before 1169.

We shall go back to that position that we were in then, with about as much power and influence in the world as the people of Tibet.

The Fianna Fáil Party claim to be the only patriots. The dictionary meaning of a patriot is a man who loves and serves his country, not a man who adopts a particular form of government or wants it. Of course we know Dr. Johnson gave a different version when he said that patriotism was the last refuge of a scoundrel. I do not want to suggest that that applies to Fianna Fáil. There is a thing that stands out in my mind more than anything else that happened. What was the very first action of the opponents of the Treaty? It was to go into the Four Courts here in Dublin and make an arsenal of the Record Office where the most precious possessions of Ireland were kept, priceless records which can never be restored. Other countries regard records of far less value than ours as of such importance that they adopt extraordinary means to protect them and spend vast sums on their protection. What was the first action of our patriots? They put their bombs and their explosives into the strong rooms of the Record Office which blew it up two hours after they evacuated, and destroyed not only the most precious possessions that this nation had or will ever have, but maimed several national soldiers. Bits of the records were found miles away from Dublin. That stands out in my mind as the records will stand out in the history of the future as the vilest crime that has ever been committed in this country. No foeman, whether Dane, Norman, or Englishman, ever struck such a desperate blow at the heart and soul of Ireland as was struck on that day in June, 1922. There is one Minister in the present Government who relates amongst his achievements that he was present in the Four Courts in 1922. There is another member of Dáil Eireann who wrote in a letter after that big explosion: "Congratulations on your bomb. Let me know if you have any more like this." I give these as examples. The man who wrote that letter is a member of the present Dáil. These are the examples of the people whose lofty souls cannot bear the idea of the Oath of Allegiance. It is an intolerable burden to them. That attitude of mind can be seen in little corner boys and flappers through the country who are the only true patriots. We are Imperialists. I have been called an Imperialist myself. I do not wish to say any more except this: that I believe we are fulfilling our function in this Seanad in delaying this Bill so that the people of the country will realise what exactly it means to them. For that reason alone I agree with the suggestion of other members of the House to let the Second Reading pass without a division and to have the Bill amended in other stages, but that does not mean that I agree with the principle of the Bill. I do not, and I believe I stand in shoes as good as any Fianna Fáil hero. I represent the national leaders of Ireland when I do that, because I do not care a button for anything but the freedom, peace and progress of this country. I hope that the Seanad will agree to do as was suggested by Senators Brown and Douglas.

At the outset, I should like to congratulate the Leader of the Labour Party on the magnificent exposition of the case in support of the Bill. I think it would have been well if all Senators had remained in the House during the course of his contribution to the debate. I have no doubt that if any Senator approached the matter with an open mind, be he a supporter of the Treaty or a person who believes that the termination of the agreement entered into in 1921 would be beneficial to this country, he would benefit by the contribution that Senator Johnson made. I am sorry that I cannot say the same for the contribution made by his colleague. It was anapologia for the step that he is taking, apparently notwithstanding all his manoeuvring and dialectics, without conviction. He has never missed an opportunity in this House, since I entered it, to have a slap at the Fianna Fáil Party, and to-day, even when supporting the Bill introduced by the President of the Executive Council, the Leader of the Fianna Fáil Party, he could not miss an opportunity of slashing out. That is a purely personal estimate of his speech, and I am sorry he is not here to hear it. In other words, my attitude towards his vote is this: Thanks for nothing. I was not going to enter into the debate at all. I spent two and a half hours here, like most of you, on last Wednesday listening to the diatribe of another absent member, Senator Milroy. One expects in an Assembly such as this to have arguments developed by some sections claiming that the retention of the Oath is a thing which they hold sacred. It is expected that individuals would be found to hold that the abolition of the Oath is a breach of faith, that it besmirches the national honour and that it tramples under foot all hope that we may have in the future of entering into contracts with other countries; but it is a terrible thing, in my estimation, to find a man who was just as much opposed to the Oath in 1921 as we on these benches, developing his arguments along that line and endeavouring to hold that Oath, and not content with holding the Oath but endeavouring to prove not merely to this Assembly but to the listening world, so far as his word reaches the world, that the Irish people enjoy or otherwise the benefits of the Articles of Agreement of a Treaty by a free vote of the Irish people. He went further, and endeavoured to develop the argument that the Irish Free State, or Twenty-six Counties of Ireland, remain in the British Commonwealth of Nations by a free vote of the Irish people. That, to me, is a thing to be very much regretted, that in the same generation a man should be found who held and prosecuted the Republican ideal and suffered for it, to go out of his way, as he said himself, and distinctly and deliberately make these assertions. It will take an awful lot of eyewash to convince his friends that he believed they were true. The kernel of his speech in the debate last week was: “We have had since 1921 several elections, and I say it distinctly and I say it deliberately that at each of these elections the Treaty was the dominating issue.”

In the first place, the Treaty never was submitted to the Irish people at any election. The first election after 1921, after the acceptance of the Articles of Agreement, was held early in 1922. I am going back that far merely to place on record and on the record of this House the historical fact that that election then fought had no reference whatsoever to the Treaty, not the slightest reference to the Treaty. It has come to be known as the Pact Election. It has come to be known as the Pact Election because the writ was issued by the Republican Government for the holding of such an election after an agreement had been entered into between the leader of those who were in favour of the acceptance of the Treaty, the late Michael Collins, and the present President of the Executive Council of the Irish Free State. And that Pact secured, so far as it could possibly be secured on paper, the holding back of the Constitution which has been so much referred to to-day, until the Irish people got an opportunity of re-electing a new Government, a Coalition Government not on the basis of the acceptance of the Treaty, but in order to discuss and hammer out a Constitution which was promised to be afterwards referred to the Irish people. That election was fought throughout Ireland, throughout the Twenty-six Counties at least, no writs having been issued for those constituencies inside the Six Counties where Republican representatives were not opposed. When we went to the country on that Pact Election those who were opposed to the Treaty and those who were in favour of the Treaty stood on the same platform. I myself, as an individual member of this Party and a then member of Dáil Eireann, stood on the same platform with Deputy MacEoin in Athlone and with the late Laurence Ginnell. The same thing happened in practically every constituency in Ireland. And what was our appeal? Our appeal to the people was to support those who were standing shoulder to shoulder as brothers during the last few years of the Black-and-Tan terror. We said: "It is only by doing that that you can maintain peace in this country. Trust us to stand by the Irish people. Stand by the Pact which was declared at the Ard-Fheis of Sinn Fein to be superior to the Treaty if it was thought that it was an infringement of Treaty rights." That declaration was made by the late Michael Collins. In other words, the people were asked to back the candidates who stood for the Pact regardless of the effect on the Treaty and regardless of its acceptance or rejection by the English people or the English Government. And the people responded. And some of those who here to-day and last week prated so much about mandates might well remember the result of that election. The majority of the elected representatives of the people, 73 per cent. of the elected representatives of the people, were elected on the basis of that Pact to secure peace, to hammer out the Constitution which it was promised during the Dáil debates would be a Republican Constitution, and to submit such a Constitution to the Irish people when it was so hammered out. And those people who prate to-day about mandates—where were they in 1922 when that Parliament of the Irish Nation was elected but was never permitted to assemble? Senator Miss Browne has referred to the bombardment of the Record Office. We were in no way responsible for the bombardment of the Record Office. The bombardment of the Record Office took place two days before the Parliament of the Irish people was going to assemble.

Senator Milroy made his statement distinctly, as he said, and deliberately. It certainly was distinct, and it certainly was deliberate. And if I classify his statement as an historical untruth I make him a present of his own adjectives. Again, the idea that our nation has lost its conception of honour has been put forward in this House over and over again by Senators. The idea has been put forward that our respect for international agreements, pacts or treaties has disappeared, that in future no nation will respect us because of the attitude we took up regarding the abolition of this Oath, the taking out of this Oath from the Constitution of the Irish Free State. In the course of the debate not one but several Senators made reference to the high standard of honour that England had, the high standard of honour that England had for treaties and pacts. Two of the speakers at least referred to England going to war in 1914 in order to honour her Treaty obligations with Belgium. I think it is too late in the day to endeavour to convince people of that sort of stuff when every Blue Book in Europe has exposed that piece of fiction.

Yes. And during the time that this great honourable nation across the water was defending the small nation of Belgium, and protecting small nationalities all the world over, what bond was she entering into with other countries, including our own, the only one that concerns us? Let those who take cognisance of England's honour think of the dead whom England was responsible for bringing to Gallipoli, of the Irishmen that England was responsible for bringing to Gallipoli and leaving dead on the sands there, and let them think of the other Irishmen who were brought to Flanders under false promises and false contracts, the soldiers and the English Army of Irish blood. Are they cognisant of the fact that in 1918, four years after the war was started, the two following documents were issued with the authority of the British War Office and published broadcast throughout Ireland and elsewhere? The numbers are (417) 5626. 3.20,000. Falconer G. 5. Listen to this as an example of England's honour:—

The Star-Spangled Banner is unfurled for the fight. There is not the slightest ambiguity about the language of President Wilson: "Territory, sovereignty or political relationship—any or all of these— to be settled upon the basis of the free acceptance of that settlement by the people immediately concerned."

The President also said:

"We are concerting with our Allies to make not only the liberties of America secure, but the liberties of every other people as well."

And then these words are in italics:

No man can read these words without applying them to Ireland as well as to Belgium, Poland, the Jugo-Slavs and the Ukraine. The Allies (and America clearly states this) cannot undertake to free the peoples under Germany and Austria and leave other peoples under a system of government which they resent. America, speaking through its President, declares that “the liberties of other people” are as valued and are to be made secure, aye, as the liberties of America. Will Ireland fight for this freedom? America will see her rights are secured.

That document was issued by the great country that is so honourable and painstaking as to live up to its obligation and its bond with other people. The next one is:

The Allies declare in specific terms that they are out to give freedom to small nationalities. The Central Powers, Germany and Austria, refuse to declare any such thing, and their treatment of Belgium, Servia, Montenegro, and Roumania in the present war is enough to show their principles and method. But they go further and ask the Allies to agree to close out all nations not in the enjoyment of freedom prior to the war. The Allies refuse. Is it not in the interest of Ireland then to test the public declarations of the Allies and aid them in the fight they are waging for small nationalities? They cannot then in the face of Europe give freedom to all the small nations and leave Ireland out.

Those statements were issued broadcast throughout Ireland under the jurisdiction of the British War Office in 1918, four years after the Home Rule Act was placed on the British Statute Book, an Act which was hung up, and hung up until 1920, when Lloyd George and those associated with him honoured their bond with the Irish nation by disrupting it, by dividing Ireland into two sections and establishing in each section a Government that no Irish representative ever voted for either at home or abroad. And not content with dividing Ireland, they launched against the people of Ireland because they dared to assert the principles which they themselves inculcated in our people—they let loose their Black-and-Tans and gave us a reign of terror for three years which was unequalled in the history of any civilised nation, and unparalleled in our own terrible history from 1172 when the Normans came.

We have heard of an alleged threat made by Senator Connolly against Senators who do not see eye to eye with the Government. The interpretation of Senator Connolly's words was made by a Senator, who, to say the least of it, is glib. But any fair-minded man listening to Senator Connolly would know well that no killing was ever intended. But what about other threats that were made during the discussion? I refer now to one that came from Senator General Sir William Hickie, a very definite threat:

I beg this House to remember the fate of that country, infinitely greater and infinitely more powerful than we, which on an historic occasion refused to honour a certain scrap of paper.

We were reminded by Senator MacGillicuddy that the country referred to was Germany. It was quite obvious.

Senator Bagwell.

Senator Bagwell, excuse me. It came from that corner at any rate. Senator Bagwell, in case we might not know the reference, emphasised the fact that it was Germany. And we all know what happened to Germany. "Take care of yourselves." If that is not a very definite threat against this Assembly, against this Parliament, against this section of the Irish people over whom we have jurisdiction—if this is not a direct threat against the Irish people, I have yet to learn what a threat is.

We have been told that this Bill is a breach of the Treaty. We have been told at the same time that we have equality of status, and we have been told over and over again in this House that under the terms of the Treaty and under the developments that have taken place since the time of the Treaty—especially under the Statute of Westminster—that we can do practically anything inside our own domain without reference to any other member of the British Commonwealth of Nations. And yet what a storm is raised when the first step is taken by a National Government to advance on the road to freedom—to amend an Act of the Oireachtas, the Constitution Act!

Senator Johnson has emphasised the whole atmosphere surrounding the formulation of the Irish draft Constitution as submitted to England. It is fair to admit that it is possible that, had the circumstances of the time been more favourable to the delegates who went across to London, they might have stood up harder to the British in the interpretation of the Treaty. I am saying that, in all fairness to those who were in favour of the Treaty, but the fact of the matter is that the best constitutional lawyers with whom I have discussed the question agree that the Constitution as dictated by England is a superior document to the Treaty itself. Personally, so far as I am concerned, the sooner we are rid of the Treaty the better. The argument put forward by the President of the Executive Council, and in this House by Senator Johnson regarding this particular Bill, based primarily on the acceptance of the Treaty if you will, is a logical and reasonable argument, an argument which should be acceptable to every Irishman, namely, that in this Oireachtas resides the right to change any law in this State. If we deny that right to ourselves, we cannot expect other people to assert it. I look upon the Bill as a step forward, and I make no bones about that. I do not believe that the Articles of Agreement for a Treaty of 1921 spell finish to the amount of freedom that this nation has a right to enjoy. I believe that we must go forward, and the first movement forward that has been made in a national way is this movement for the abolition of the Oath from the Constitution, this Oath prescribed to be taken by those who intended to take their seats in the Parliament of the Twenty-Six Counties.

A lot of talk has been made about the anxiety for the people in the Six Counties, and that talk, strange to say, has been made by those who know least about the Six Counties. Senator Wilson put his finger on the spot when he said that it was a remarkable thing that the Nationalists inside the Six Counties area were in favour of the Fianna Fáil Government because through the national declarations of the Fianna Fáil policy and the hope that that policy would be put into operation they had got the idea— rightly, I say—that there was a hope for them that the Fianna Fáil programme and policy would lead them out of the land of bondage. That is the striking fact, but the concern of those who spoke in favour of the unity of north-east Ulster was for another group in the north-east, namely, those who have always been opposed to the idea of national independence in this country.

Our concern, in the first instance, is for those who feel conscientiously that they cannot enter this Assembly while that test is put before them. Our concern is to give them an opportunity of entering this Assembly so that every section of the community of the Twenty-Six Counties shall be represented in this Assembly. That is the first step. Let us unify those within our own jurisdiction first and then let us consider the problem of those outside our own jurisdiction who are willing to come in.

On a point of order, I wish to draw the attention of the Cathaoirleach to the fact that some gentleman in the Strangers' Gallery is giving vent to his sentiments and is causing interruption.


We cannot allow that. I did not hear the interruption and I would request any member in the Strangers' Gallery to refrain from making comments.

We had another argument put forward: If we do this thing, which all of us recognise we have the right to do, there is a threat of an economic war or an economic blockade of Ireland. We are going to lose our best customer! Where are we going to find our alternative markets? I often wonder, when I hear these arguments, if the people who made them are really serious.

Yes, quite serious.

We do not deny that at the moment England is our best customer but we assert that we are England's best customer also—10 per cent. of her trade. In the first quarter of 1922 the British imported from Australia and New Zealand £25,000,000 worth of goods and exported £7,000,000 worth to them. At this rate the adverse balance of trade would be almost 70 millions at the end of 1932, but the adverse balance of trade with Ireland at the end of 1932 would be only a quarter of a million and yet from Canada and the Free State they imported £15,000,000 worth of goods and exported £10,000,000 worth. Will any business man believe that England is going to drop that good customer for the sake of an empty formula, for the sake of a farce as it has been carried on in this House? I for one do not believe it. We have been asked to state what guarantees have we as to where it is leading.Quo vadis? Where are we going if we do this thing? Are we going to become an isolated unit? I would ask some of these protagonists of the British Empire or the British Commonwealth of Nations—because I cannot see the line of demarcation between the two, where one begins and the other ends—whither does our connection with the Empire lead? We hear a lot about co-equality and about discussion on matters of common concern—matters of common responsibility probably will enter into it too. Is it not mooted at the present time that at Ottawa they are to discuss the possibility of Imperial defences being taken on a Commonwealth basis? They are also talking about Imperial finance. Whither does that lead us? How are we to know that at the end of a year we will not find ourselves in a worse bog financially and in every other way by having our connection with the British Empire and Commonwealth of Nations than if we were an independent State or isolated Twenty-Six County Republic if you like?

One Senator spoke here last week, and I personally was surprised that he did not develop his arguments further. That was Senator Brown. I have great respect for Senator Brown's knowledge of the law and experience and I believe that his arguments in connection with the legal aspects would have been well worth while but he dismisses the whole question. He says: "I do not propose to argue the question whether the removal of the Oath in the Constitution is or is not a breach of the Treaty." Is not that the very purpose of the debate?

That is what was raised by the outcry from the Opposition.


No, no.

Yes, yes—definitely so. Then he goes on to refer to the President's argument regarding the rights of the Free State as compared with Canada and the other members of the British Commonwealth of Nations —that the Free State is on an equal footing and that nobody would deny the right that they have inherently to abolish their oath of allegiance. Senator Brown goes on to say that when the President makes this statement he "forgets Section 7 of the Statute of Westminster. The Canadian Constitution is embodied in the British North America Act of 1867, and under Section 128 of that Act every member of the Canadian legislature must take the prescribed oath of allegiance to the King, and Section 7 of the Statute of Westminster declares that nothing in this Act shall be deemed to apply to the repeal, amendment or alteration of the British North America Act, 1867 to 1930." That cuts two ways. You cannot argue that the Statute of Westminster gives co-equality and at the same time claim that it excludes Canada. If it excludes Canada, why not the Free State?

They only excluded Canada at her own request.

It does not matter. Co-equality does not exist then whether at her own request or otherwise she is excluded. If Canada is excluded by Section 7 of the Westminster Act from eliminating the Oath of Allegiance, how then can you have co-equality? Co-equality does not exist because the removal of the Oath in Canada is governed by a British statute. You cannot have it both ways. I did not intend to speak at such length at all, but there is just one thing to which I would like to draw the attention of the House before I conclude.

I want to refer to the type of mentality that produces confusion here or elsewhere, and which besmirches the honour of the Irish nation much more deliberately and more effectively than anything that can be said in favour of this Bill or anything that can be suggested in favour of this Bill. One Senator in this House interrupted Senator Connolly last week and insinuated that those behind the Government at the present time in favour of the abolition of the Oath were about to take action against those who were against the Government—that they were about to take action of a drastic nature. The Senator actually suggested shooting. That sort of libellous statement should not be allowed to go, and I think the Senator should have been hauled up.

But that Senator goes out of his way to besmirch the honour of the race. He does it, as I said before, glibly, if you like, wittily. He does it in such a way that it will make an appeal to a certain section of the people across the water. He does it at the same time hitting our people here. If this "carrion crow" stuff goes on more harm will be done to the honour of our race than could be done by anything said in this House. He says: "The historical and unwelcome truth is that nobody can make a people free if they are not free." Good. But people can prevent people from being free if they have the might like England has in our case. Then he goes on to the consideration of those who are really the Irish people. The writer is Senator St. John Gogarty. He talks about the "unemigrated boys and girls...who are to speak for the Irish race, give mandates...and to rule out as nonentities the far greater and more important numbers of the Irish who are within the Commonwealth abroad and at home." I regret I have to draw attention to this article in the absence of the Senator. I would like him to be here. From whom are we to get mandates if not from the Irish people?

From what periodical is the Senator quoting?

From an English paper, theNational Graphic of May 5th, 1932. He says: “The peasant is to call the tune.” We have heard a lot from the benches on which that Senator sits about the sanctity of mandates. The peasant is to call the tune. Yes, the Irish peasant has called the tune, and we are going to see that that tune is played. “This, I think is the kernel of the nut: the most foolable part of the nation are to be played down to by appeals to their hatred of the ‘oppressor,’ and in turn are to authorise their leaders to do what suits them best on the authority of what they proceed to call exclusively the Irish nation.”

I do not think that we have called the section of the nation that backed us in the last general election the Irish nation, because we did not consult the Irish nation, only a portion of it. We long for the day when we will be able to consult the whole Irish nation, and that day will come, judging from the last election. Then, with an air of regret he says, and in this he is very reminiscent of 1916 and 1921: "Those whose only contribution to the Irish nation would have been, but for the quota on emigration, to leave it, are, with their fathers, on small farms which could not support them, to define and decide the destiny of the rest of the nation." Imagine any legislater of another country writing about his fellow-citizens who are forced by economic circumstances to seek a livelihood in any other country—writing such words as those that "their only contribution to the Irish nation would have been, but for the quota on emigration, to leave the country.""And they are with their fathers on small farms which could not support them." If some of the ranches of some of the buckos who are opposed to this Bill were divided amongst these people they would not be scratching for a living in the Donegal hills or amongst the rushes in Meath. "To define and decide the destiny of the rest of the nation ....""It is this body of farmers and their youngsters whose avarice has been played upon, and an appeal made to the dishonesty whereby their leaders were not ashamed to take for granted, and so have ‘withheld' a million of annuities from their own Government already." That is a libel on the tenant holders. It is not true to write that of the Irish people. I say it is deliberately untrue. If a responsible member of a responsible assembly such as this were so interested in the amount of money collected by the present Government in the way of land annuities he could have got the figures and have made a true generalisation. But he apparently goes out on his own for a cheap jibe at the Irish nation to make it appear that we are a nation of robbers and thieves, and that we are avaricious. For the benefit of the House I will read the actual figures got from the Department of Lands and Fisheries with reference to the collection of land annuities for the month of May this year and last year.

Is this in order?

Definitely in order.


Perhaps the Senator will allow me to reply to that. It is slightly on the border line, and perhaps the Senator will not go too far in that direction.

Is a discussion on land annuities germane to the Bill before the House?


The economic situation was discussed and a reference to the land annuities is germane.

Speakers on the opposite benches made references to the economic situation, and some of them brought in the question of the land annuities. I have some figures here as to the actual position. They are figures I suggest that some people would not like to hear. At any rate I think it is well worth while placing them on the records of this House, so that this lie can be overtaken and that any others who are tempted to make similar statements will be prevented from doing so. I will read the figures as quickly as I can. This is a table showing the number of payments made by tenant purchasers and the amount under all Acts for the weeks ending 7th, 14th, 21st and 28th May, 1932, and the corresponding figures for the similar periods in the year 1931.


No. of Separate Payments

Amount to the nearest £

1931, May 1st-7th



1932, May 2nd-7th



1931, May 8th-14th



1932, May 9th-14th



1931, May 15th-21st



1932, May 16th-21st



1931, May 22nd-28th



1932, May 22nd-28th




1931, May 1st-28th



1932, May 2nd-28th



I think you will all agree that that is a pretty good average for the year and that the exaggerated statements made by Senator Gogarty in theNational Graphic is a gross libel on the annuitants. Then, again, the mentality of this writer is shown where he states——


Senator, this is rather a personal attack and I think you are going too far with it. It is not germane to the debate.

I bow to your ruling, but I submit it is germane to the debate in view of the fact that the members of the Party to which he belongs have already made similar statements which are untrue statements for the purpose of proving that we have not a mandate from the Irish people. I have already referred to people who have spoken here, but Senator Gogarty is the protagonist of the Imperialists——


I have allowed the Senator to go so far, but I must now ask him not to continue in that strain.

The Senator said "that this country could be run by a town manager and a committee to advise him and without the elaborate paraphernalia of universal franchise." I suppose he would like to act as chairman of that committee himself. That is the sum total of the Senator's contribution in the Seanad to the sanctity of mandates, the will of the people, and so on. I would ask all those who have open minds, especially those who had any association with the national movement in the past to visualise the situation. There are men and women who have definitely decided not to come in here and will not come in because of this Oath of Allegiance. Let us remove it and give these people an opportunity of coming in to this Assembly in order that we may be able to hammer out a national policy which will bring us another step further to the achievement of the national desire for absolute independence.

I move the adjournment of the Seanad to 3 o'clock to-morrow.

I second that.

I oppose this motion. This House met this day week after an interval of three or four weeks and sat from 3 o'clock until 7.30 o'clock. I would ask the members of the Seanad to bear in mind before they give a decision on this vote what the costs are to the country in the matter of Senators' expenses coming up here to this Assembly and sitting for three and a half hours discussing a measure of this sort.


It is four and a half hours.

The motion is to sit to-morrow.

Will the Senator kindly permit me to finish? Senator Douglas in his speech regretted that this measure comes forward as a block to more urgent measures. Notwithstanding that he proceeded to delay this measure so as further to block the important social measures which are needed. It is rank hypocrisy and taken with the decision of this House on the last occasion it is another argument for the abolition of the Seanad as it is at present constituted.

I rise to support the motion. I think that Senator Dowdall should know that there are in this House some senior men and it is a very long time for them to sit listening to the debate for four and a half hours. I think it is a quite reasonable thing on that account to move the adjournment at this stage.

I hope we will adjourn until to-morrow but I am hoping that there will be an understanding that this stage will be finished this week.


There can be no guarantee of finishing it.

What I wanted to suggest was that we should sit on Friday to finish it.

I want to say that we on this side of the House have no desire for obstructing the Bill or wasting the time of the House. That is the position so far as this Party is concerned.

Question put.
The Seanad divided: Tá, 26; Níl, 17.


  • Bagwell, John.
  • Bellingham, Sir Edward.
  • Browne, Miss Kathleen.
  • Costello, Mrs.
  • Counihan, John C.
  • Desart, The Countess of.
  • Dillon, James.
  • Douglas, James G.
  • Duffy, Michael.
  • Fanning, Michael.
  • Farren, Thomas.
  • Garahan, Hugh.
  • Griffith, Sir John Purser.
  • Guinness, Henry S.
  • Jameson, Right Hon. Andrew.
  • Keane, Sir John
  • Kennedy, Cornelius.
  • McGillycuddy of the Reeks, The.
  • MacLoughlin, John.
  • O'Connor, Joseph.
  • O'Hanlon, M. F.
  • Parkinson, James J.
  • Staines, Michael.
  • Toal, Thomas.
  • Vincent, A. R.
  • Wilson, Richard.


  • Chléirigh, Caitlín Bean Uí.
  • Comyn, K.C., Michael.
  • Connolly, Joseph.
  • Cummins, William.
  • Dowdall, J. C.
  • Johnson, Thomas.
  • Linehan, Thomas.
  • MacEllin, Seán E.
  • MacKean, James.
  • MacParland, D. H.
  • O'Doherty, Joseph.
  • O'Neill, L.
  • Phaoraigh, Siobhán Bean an.
  • Quirke, William.
  • Robinson, David L.
  • Robinson, Séumas.
  • Ryan, Séumas.
Tellers:—Tá: Senators Wilson and MacLoughlin; Níl: Senators Dowdall and O'Doherty. Question declared carried.
Question declared carried.
The Seanad adjourned at 7.40 p.m. until 3 o'clock on Thursday, June 2nd.