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Seanad Éireann debate -
Tuesday, 22 Aug 1933

Vol. 17 No. 15

Public Business. - Recent Actions of the Executive Council.

I beg to move:—

That the Seanad is of opinion that the recent actions of the Executive Council purporting to be for the preservation of public peace and order have not been justified.

It will soon be 12 years since I first had the honour to become a member of this House and, during all that period I have never felt a greater sense of responsibility in rising to address the Seanad than I have on this occasion. Hitherto I have hesitated to take part in debates which dealt with the question of public security. I have felt it was rather the function of those who had taken an active part in the deliverance, the political deliverance, of the State, who had fought together in that cause, to deal with that special aspect of our domestic affairs—that which concerned public order. I felt that I personally had no national record, as generally understood. I was far away from the Post Office in 1916. I also felt that it would be rather in the nature of presumption for one who is reputed—and I stress the word "reputed," because I do not accept the reputation—to be a West Briton to interfere in these affairs. But times have changed and I feel that neutrals have now a duty to speak.

Senators may remember the opening words of that great Irishman who, I suggest, would be called a West Briton, too—Edmund Burke—in his opening discourse on "The Cause of Our Present Discontents." Of course, it is a classic paper. He begins by saying that it is an undertaking to some degree of delicacy to examine into the causes of public disorders, and he goes on to say that there are times of tumult and disorder when our law invests every man in some form with the authority of a magistrate. I feel such an occasion exists now. We all have a duty to perform and we all are invested in some form with the authority of a magistrate at this crisis. I feel, and I hope Senators will agree, that a special responsibility rests upon this House and every one of its members at the present time far different to that of our individual responsibility as citizens. We are an integral, although a minor part, of that sovereign power to which even the Government is subordinate. The chief part of that sovereign power is now in session and it is especially our duty to voice whatever views we may have with regard to the crisis—and I say deliberately the crisis—that now faces this country. It will be my aim to open this debate—I cannot say how it will be maintained—on what I conceive to be a proper level, to lift it out of the purlieus of Party politics, because, after all, public security is not a Party question; it is, above all, a national issue; it is the basis of all government; it over-rides all material considerations and, without public security, you talk in vain of such matters as economic betterment.

I would further remark that my motion is not confined merely to the happenings of the last few weeks or, more especially, the happenings of Sunday, 13th August. My motion is, I suggest, the logical outcome of certain policies which have been pursued ever since the Treaty and it is my hope that I may be allowed to examine the origins of these policies, for on them my case rests. I use this method of discovery by motion largely at the suggestion of the Minister for Finance. When this matter was debated, incidentally you might say, last week on a Bill, one of the provisions of which was to reduce the pay of the Civic Guards, the Minister was not very informative. Perhaps he was not prepared. Among other things he told the House that he did not know what was the rate of pay given to these specially recruited and armed Gárdaí. He said that no doubt the information was in his Department, but he did not know it himself. He further suggested that if this matter were to be raised in all its aspects it should be done by motion when the proper Minister would be present. I am glad to see the Minister is present to-day. I claim that this motion is neither wanton nor is it mischievous. It is the only way we have of raising this matter in a proper, responsible way.

The origin of this trouble, I suggest, began with what was called, and what was literally described as, the "Cease Fire" in 1923, because in the light of subsequent events it seemed to be nothing more than a ceasing of fire. You might call it a truce or an armistice. It was in no sense a surrender. The organisation behind those forces that ceased fire has continued in some form or other in existence to the present day and I suggest that, although there is not open action, it is there in being and to all intents and purposes as active as it was the day after it ceased fire in 1923. The defeated army—we may call it defeated —remained in being and it exists to-day in open defiance of authority. No purpose is to be served by trying to apportion the blame, but I feel sure many of us agree that it would be better to have ensured complete surrender and the delivery of all arms even if it had meant further damage and bloodshed. I might say it is the continuance of that body in existence that is in a large way responsible for the terrorism of juries and incidents like we saw yesterday when peaceable citizens were not allowed to carry on their trade without armed interference, and other deplorable incidents of which, I think, we might almost now in the legal term claim to have judicial knowledge.

I think it is only fair to say that the late Government did do all they could to repair this initial blunder. When I say this initial blunder I mean that they ought to have made a clean job of armed resistance in 1923. It never tolerated that body, it never countenanced it, it did its best to prevent their illegal activities, to discover their assemblies, and, as we know, when 1931 came about, and that body, or some fellowship of it—because I do not profess to know the under-world of illegal bodies or assemblies—became specially active, the Government came to Parliament and sought for and obtained special powers. I do not want to repeat it, but I do suggest that these special powers have had a very strange use in recent weeks.

Strange abuse.

Or, as my friend says, strange abuse. I do not blame any parties for inconsistency. I think inconsistency must almost be regarded as a Christian virtue. It is the duty of everybody when he finds he is wrong to change his mind. But I would emphasise this. There is now no conclusive proof that coercion is an instrument of alien rule, but rather that if you are ever to have government in face of certain facts and certain people you will have to have coercion. So do not let us any longer identify coercion with imperialism, or with that kind of thing. I think it is not without humour to realise that, used in the present instance, coercion was directed against citizens whose aims are constitutional and loyal. When the present Government came into office in 1932 the attitude of the governing authorities towards these illegal bodies was reversed. They treated them with a certain supine complacency. They did not say, as some one said in the past, that Ireland could only be governed and brought to peace by 50 years of resolute government. We all know that resolute government was only applied, in the past, in fits and starts. We remember the position created, when unfortunately one Government that was resolute was followed by successors who were irresolute. I am afraid this is a case of history repeating itself.

Various reasons have been suggested for this reversal and complete change of policy. We all understand, of course, that Governments change their policy on economic and social matters and matters of that kind. But it is unusual in any settled State to find any Government completely reversing the policy of its predecessors upon such fundamental questions as that of law and order. One suggestion is that radical philosophy which says: "Trust the people and they will behave properly—they will not let you down." Others may suggest indifference, others again may suggest inability to deal with the situation, others again may sympathise with the cause sought to be revived. I am not going to suggest which of these is right, but I suggest probably it is a mixture of all. But it does seem, in their present policy, as if the Government is unconsciously following perhaps on the road of the suggestion in another sphere made by Senator Connolly at the Economic Conference that we should not be afraid to face up to methods however orthodox or unorthodox in order to solve our present difficulties. Anyhow, as a result of this policy arms are held and are openly flaunted.

Only recently the Minister for Justice was asked a question, and he never denied the truth of it, that 70 armed men took possession of a house in West Cork and carried out week-end manoeuvres there. Nothing as far as we know was done. The Minister said it was an isolated occurrence. We would like to hear if it has been possible to discover the names of any of those who took part in the manoeuvres. There is another matter. I shall be glad if the Minister will deny that there has been an armed camp formed in the last fortnight on a hillside outside this city and within 20 minutes or half an hour's motor drive from where we stand to-day. In all these matters, as far as we know, there have been no trials and no convictions. We have had the case of kidnapping in County Cork of a creamery manager which never came to trial. Then, again, we have the O'Connor case; the Minister will know what I mean by that. We can take an accumulation of instances which show that the Government's authority is weakening in political matters. With this mass of evidence I do not think it is fair merely to ask one to substantiate charges made against the Government. The fact remains that the public are uneasy and the fact remains that in all cases where the evidence bears a political aspect the ordinary rules of law would not prevail.

Now, I would like to deal with the argument advanced in defence of this policy, on the ground of radical philosophy, on the doctrine of "trust the people and they will not let you down." It is said that there have been always arms in the country and nothing much ever happened. I do not suppose the Government will put forward the argument seriously that there have been always arms in the country and that there has been very often coercion. I do not think that you can claim with pride that the possession of arms has had a very noble record. I rather suggest that it comes badly from those who resent what I might call the portrayal of the burlesque in our Irish life to put forward seriously any argument of that kind, namely, that because we always had arms it does not matter if we still have them. More seriously, I think, we should take the possible defence that the Government could put forward that the country is quiet and that it is a contrast to what it was under the old régime. I admit that judging by statistics of crime the country is quiet. I think it is a thing we should be proud of that I can stand up here and say what I do with a sense of security, and that others in the Dáil may say much harder things than I would ever dare to say and go about their business unmolested. That would not have happened 15 years ago.

I also admit that there is a very considerable measure of liberty in this country, compared with many other countries, and that in non-political cases the rule of law operates, but I would ask you to realise how great the limitation is, that limitation of political crime, when within the orbit of political crime you have every conceivable outrage—murder, kidnapping and all that—and if the rule of law does not safeguard you in that respect, I suggest the rule of law is very imperfect. We had only yesterday a case which I suppose has a political tinge where a foreign product was seized and destroyed. I do not know the details exactly, but there was an outrage against a foreign product by armed men. They, presumably, will be protected against the rule of law on account of its political aspect. It seems to me that such a peace rests upon a totally false foundation. Sicily was peaceful so long as the Maffia were not molested, and I would suggest this country is peaceful so long as certain armed forces are tolerated and allowed to pursue their way. I admit that in trying to reduce this matter to first principles I, perhaps, suffer from the limitations of a too rigid education in an Anglo-Saxon institution. I should not be at all surprised to hear that there is some rational defence for the two-army policy and that you can get a settled Government in the presence of a regular army and an irregular army. If that is so, perhaps the Minister will instruct us as to the technique, and we may also have the assistance of one trained in the law like Senator Comyn, who, I understand, supports the policy. In view of his activities in the past, I should also like to have the assistance in this matter of Senator Johnson.

Searching and groping as fully as I can in this matter, the only similar instance of the two army policy I have been able to discover in recent times is that of Germany. I understand they have a regular army limited by the Treaty of Versailles and that they have a political army—divided into the various categories of brown shirts, storm troops and so on. I do not imagine that the Minister will call to his support this idea of a two army policy, but there is an interpretation of this whole policy which suggests itself to a certain section, and I suggest the thinking section, of the population —that it is based upon political expediency, that, finding it impossible or being unwilling to assert the rule of law, the Government has to seek peace by the sacrifice of constitutional principles. After all two armies are more likely to provoke disorder than one. It takes two to make a fight, so that when you have only one army, even if it is irregular, it is better than to have two peaceful armies both irregular, but really, in the circumstances, the Government, having got things into the position in which they are, in a way I cannot blame them. After all peace is more important than principle and so long as the Government can maintain peace on that basis, I think we shall be glad to have it so. It shall be my aim later on to show that such a peace is illusory and cannot be maintained. Following on that doctrine, that suggestion I make of expediency, we have the extraordinary result, this extraordinary use of coercion under conditions that are brimful of inconsistencies.

I should like now to deal with certain practical aspects of this policy, of what I call peace by expediency, which I do not condemn provided it can be maintained. Repression, right or wrong, is better than disorder, but I should like if the Minister would tell us specifically why he found it necessary the week before last to reinforce the civil power, and why he did not use the Army for that purpose because, after all, in all civilised countries the reinforcement of the civil by the military power is the established practice. If it unfortunately becomes necessary for Irishmen to shoot at one another why is it better for recruits—when I say recruits I mean men enlisted within 48 hours— why is it better for them to shoot than men who are disciplined and trained to the use of arms? If I might now proceed on suggestion in the absence of information, I would suggest this: I suggest that in recruiting this special force to reinforce the civil power ordinary methods of recruiting were not followed; that Government supporters were enlisted; that the special help of a prominent member of the Dáil was sought; that these men were uniformed and given arms within at least 48 hours of their enlistment; that they were put to hold key positions in Government buildings, and that they were paid at least 10/- a week more than the regular Gárda of equal rank and status. I asked for the Minister's categorical correction of these statements and not merely for their general contradiction.

Now I pass to the consequences of what I would call this two-army imbroglio. A large section of the people believe, rightly or wrongly, that this irregular force is a party army which, when the time comes, or the Government is no longer complacent, will usurp the functions of Government and take into their hands the rule of law. I must say that many of us feel that there is a certain justification for that belief. We have an extraordinary coincidence between the claims of this body, through their Press organ, and the performances of the Government. We have the claim made that "Superintendent Neligan must go," and Superintendent Neligan goes; that "O'Duffy must go" and O'Duffy goes; that the National Guard must be proscribed, curtailed or dealt with and that is done. We have the extraordinary fact that those who hitherto held under permit arms for their personal protection are now being disarmed.

As I say, I have got no proof that fact follows from cause; whether it is a case of post hoc or propter hoc. The ordinary citizen is not logical. Perhaps it is just as well he is not. But he feels these things and he sees them. Whether his belief is right or not, I think, prima facie, he forms his views with considerable justification. That is what the Minister has to deal with— not the legalities of the situation, but how people feel. The will of the people is an extraordinarily difficult thing to gauge. Public tempers and mass tempers are not fixed things based on law but on actions and methods of the most illogical kind. The Government's job is to deal with these curious feelings that have no logical basis.

With regard to the withdrawal of permits, the stock-taking defence does seem very shallow. If the Government want to know about those arms why not let their agents see them? Why not say to A, B or C: "You have a gun with a permit, let us see it," and having seen it, is not that sufficient? Why withdraw them, and, for an indefinite period, leave these poor people defenceless? I say that there is this advantage in that policy, that it immeasurably deepens the responsibility of the Government. If anything was to happen to these people who have, by Government action, been disarmed, I shudder to think what would be the effect of the indignation on public opinion. To that extent, the Government would be definitely guilty if anything of that kind was to happen. Pray God it will not.

What is the basis of government in the last resort? We have heard a lot of talk in the past about the will of the people. I suggest that the basis of government is not the will of the people, nor is it obedience to constituted authority, but it is justice of administration. If the will of the people was to say that everybody who opposed them should be murdered, that would not be government. There must all along be justice in administration, or else it is not the will of the people. A Government which does not rest on justice cannot claim the sanctions of authority. The President himself has spoken on those questions. Speaking in the Dáil on the Constitution (Removal of Oath) Bill on 3rd May, 1933, he said:—"When that is so"—that is, the removal of the Oath —"I say there is no excuse for anybody to prepare in any way for the use of force. When people are denied legitimate rights there may be some excuse for it." So government certainly depends upon allowing the people to exercise their constitutional rights. Any Government which denies these rights cannot claim the sanctions of authority.

Apply that to the position brought about by the National Guard. I do not stand here to defend the National Guard, but I say that the National Guard is the expression of conditions that the Government have created. The Government have allowed an armed force to exist in our midst. As the result of that policy the rule of law in matters political does not apply. In pursuance of that policy arms have been withdrawn from individuals. To that extent, I say the sanctions of the Government have been imperilled; that no Government could be surprised if, under these circumstances, citizens seek to protect the Constitution, to protect the right of free speech and to protect themselves. These, I suggest, are the reasons, the origins, call it whatever you like, of this force which is set up in opposition, you might say, to irregular authority. That force professes to be unarmed, loyal to the Constitution, and to seek to secure the right of free speech. It is eminently a force of which the philosophical Radical should approve. But, in seeking to justify their policy towards that force, I notice the Government give extracts from a report made last September, I think, by the former Commissioner, General O'Duffy. The Government have promised the whole report. I am subject to correction, but I do not think that whole report has been published yet. Incidentally I should like to comment on this practice of the Government in using selected documents to support their case. It is not the first occasion on which it has happened. I suggest that, if it is necessary to instruct the public on a matter, all connected documents should be published and not merely extracts from one document. If we have a confidential report by the chief of police on the aims and ambitions of one body, I think we have every right to ask for all the reports that the police from time to time have given on those armed bodies. I think it is very wrong to select reports on an institution that at least professes to be loyal and say nothing whatever about the many reports that there must have been on institutions whose aims are subversive. Even from the extract from this report we see here: "Should it at any time desire"—that is referring to the A.C.A., as it was at the time—"to adopt other than constitutional methods it can, without doubt, lay hands on a sufficient quantity of arms and ammunition to render it a very formidable insurrectionary force ..." I suggest that if we in this House desired to be unconstitutional we could very easily lay our hands on a quantity of arms.

That hypothetical thing is no justification for the action which the Government have taken. It leads almost to an element of comedy in public life when you see an armed force continue unmolested and you see the coercion which the present Government holds by its might now used to suppress a body whose aims are loyal and thoroughly constitutional. It almost has a parallel in what happened in Ulster in the years before the Treaty, when they said Lord Carson was a rebel and he said:—

"I am not a rebel; I am only taking up arms to preserve the Constitution and the Empire."

That seems to have a parallel in the action of the Government.

He also said he was a rebel.

The Senator can deal with that more fully when he takes part in the debate. So you have the position where citizens of this country cannot proceed to do reverence to their illustrious dead unless they proceed individually and by permit. They cannot proceed in organised bodies or with that demonstration that is usually associated with such occasions. It would seem strange if, in order to preserve peace, it had been necessary to prohibit, say, a ceremony like that held on Armistice Day in Whitehall. It looks as if we had reached a state of things where the observance of Treaty Day would be a more fertile source of disorder than that of Armistice Day.

Is it reasonable to expect men of pride and spirit, men who had done valiant service in the fight for the country's independence, who in civil war had been in opposition to those now tolerated as an armed body—I say that it is not human and reasonable to expect that these people will sit with folded arms trusting in a Government which has departed from the proved and accepted methods of sound government. Whether the Government likes it or not, such men will take steps to secure their own protection. If they cannot do so above ground they will do so by other means. They will not stand like a sheep dumb before its shearer or as the condemned man awaiting the hangman's rope. This is the rock, the rock of human nature on which the whole Government policy must stand or fall. I say deliberately that, in so far as the Government condones and tolerates illegality in one section of the people and withdraws all means of personal protection from their political opponents, to such an extent is the Government itself directly responsible for the activities by which unprotected citizens may seek to protect themselves. I do not stand here to condone or to excuse resistance to Government. I wish to state what seems to be irresistible and I do say that when Government departs from rules tried and proved by the experience of ages it enters a sphere—and Irishmen ought to know this well—where Government becomes partial and unjust and the whole foundation on which obedience rests is imperilled. We are in that position to-day. For this reason, I say that the Government is directly responsible for the movement which finds expression to-day in the terms of the National Guard.

I have little more to say. I have tried to the best of my ability to state the case clearly and axiomatically without Party bias, with full regard to the dignity, duty and responsibility of this House. It has been my aim to show that the laws of government rest on rules as inexorable as those of life or nature. I ask you to say that any Government that tries to serve two masters, one the Constitution and the other a Party junta, is doing a great and grave disservice to its country. It may buy a temporary respite by means of coercion, but in the long run it will give birth to strife and disorder, even to the most tragic of all conflicts, that of civil war. For a time such a Government may fool the people, but, as Abraham Lincoln says, "You cannot fool all the people all the time," and sooner or later, but possibly not before it is too late, ignominy and failure will be its fate and justly so, for it will have put Party before principle, it will have sacrificed national interests to expediency, it will have forsaken the hard and narrow road, shirked the truth and sinned against the light.

I beg to second the motion. I wish to ask the Minister a question. Is it true that, at the present time, agents provocateurs are employed by the Government and paid by the Government in certain places to provoke disturbances by attacks on men who are acting legally? I will give as a practical illustration what happened in the town of Wexford. On Sunday last a number of men were going on a parade, if you like to call it that. They were walking along the street. They were not breaking any law or disturbing the peace in any way. They were not interfered with by the forces of the State. They were not told by the Civic Guards, who were present, that they were breaking the law or interfering with anybody; but they were met by a man who had with him an organised mob who attacked these men and created a very grave breach of the peace. The man in question was associated prominently with the Irregulars during the civil war. I wish to have a direct answer from the Minister to my question. Is that man paid as a secret service agent in that place? Is he paid by the State? I have nothing else to add except that I approve of all Senator Sir John Keane has said, and I beg to second the motion.

Senator Sir John Keane started off by telling us that one time in his fertile career he was designated as a West Briton. I wonder what will he be designated as after his speech here to-day? I wonder for what reason did Senator Sir John Keane bring forward this Resolution? Perhaps it was, as he told us here on a quite recent occasion, to satisfy his followers. Perhaps it is his modesty which, I understand, those who are in close proximity to him tell us is such that sometimes he is impetuous and his friends find it very difficult to support him. Or perhaps it is to satisfy the appetites of the readers of the London Sunday Times, supplied with the elaborate report of the speech which we have just heard by the Irish correspondent with whom, I understand, Senator Sir John Keane has more than a nodding acquaintance. After the discussion which took place quite recently in the Seanad in reference to the action of the Government, this is, in my opinion, a very ill-judged and unwise Resolution. In so far as the Seanad is concerned, in my opinion, they should let it rest where it rested last week and, if the action of the Government is to be dealt with, let it be dealt with by the members of the Dáil who are, unlike the Seanad, the direct representatives of the people. In my opinion, the efforts of Senators would be better and more profitably spent in the interests of the country, looking, perhaps, after its financial outlook, than turning the Seanad, as it has been turned to-day, into a platform for party warfare.

Goodness knows, we have external trouble sufficient to contend with without the Seanad being asked to pass a Resolution which, in my opinion, will extend our internal troubles and create a great deal more bitterness amongst our people. Senator Sir John Keane's motion refers to the recent action of the Executive Council, and if the Senator had confined himself to the recent action of the Government one could understand it, but he has scavenged up everything that has taken place in this country for the past 14 or 15 years. With the utmost respect, sir, I thought that at one time you would have confined him to the motion. As the recent action of the Government had already been raised, I should have liked to leave the matter where it rested last week, but I shall endeavour to deal briefly and from my point of view with the recent action of the Government, and to do so I may have to go back a little to show that our latest trouble in this country has arisen by reason of a body of men, legitimately, no doubt, setting themselves up as an Army Comrades' Association, not in the least disguising the fact that they were supporting a certain political party, not disguising the fact that they were antagonistic to the Government and were endeavouring, constitutionally, I admit, to overthrow the Government and not disguising the fact that they were set up to counteract the activities of the I.R.A.. Somehow or another, for a reason which it is quite easy to understand, they made very little headway. In other words, they cut very little ice. The people looked on them with amusement and did not take them seriously.

That is only your opinion.

With respect, you can express yours afterwards, but, lo! we then find middle-aged women aping the principles of Nell Gwynn—"Won't you buy my pretty flowers," and pinning their pretty flowers on the breasts of sedate Senators, and we have also the inevitable photograph lest such a wonderful display of Irish patriotism be lost forever. Before I was knocked off my stroke by the lady Senator, I was saying that the people looked with amusement at the Army Comrades, when, lo! a star appeared on the political horizon, a Daniel come amongst them, and they elected as their chief, General O'Duffy, and changed their name, which is usually done in all decaying organisations, to the National Guard.

I should like to ask if there is a quorum in the House.


Yes, Senator.

Through you, sir, I might suggest to Senator Colonel Moore, that it is an extraordinary habit of some Senators in this House that when they make a speech they clear off immediately. Whether it is for refreshment, for air, or to receive the congratulations of their friends, I do not know, but perhaps that is the cause of the House being so thin. One could understand if the National Guard was set up to look after national principles, as in the time of conscription and when we were ruled by another power, but now that we have a Government of our own——

And such a Government.

Thank God you are not in it. Now that we have a Government of our own, in my opinion the title of National Guard belongs to the Government and to the Government alone. In my judgment, if it were only for the reason of having set up a National Guard, the recent action of the Government was justified. What is the Government of a country for? What is the National Army for? What are the Guards for?

That is what we want to know.

Would you try to keep your little tongue quiet? I assure you that if you let me alone I will let you alone and be glad to let you alone. As I was saying when I was lovingly interrupted by Senator Miss Browne, what are the Guards for? I am now going to make a statement with which perhaps a great many people will disagree. Is there a single sane man in this country who, in the highest flights of imagination, will say that the National Army are to fight or beat any of the great powers on the continent? Are the National Army not, and if they are not should they not be, the real National Guard of this country to protect it from civil and armed riot and, if necessary, to help the Gárda Síochána to protect the law-abiding citizens from the attentions of the gunman, the bully, the blackguard and the thief? I ask this in all reason: why should any body of men set themselves up as a National Guard to usurp the powers of the Government? Now if, when the late Government were in power, a body of men set themselves up as a National Guard with the set purpose of overthrowing the Government, and if that Government came to this House and asked, as they did ask, for a Coercion Bill or a Public Safety Bill, would they not get it, and would not General O'Duffy, the late Commissioner of the Guards, gallantly carry out the orders of the Executive in doing away with such a National Guard?

Senator Sir John Keane made reference to paying honour to the illustrious dead. It has become the fashion in recent years with new organisations and with decaying old organisations, with the object of keeping in the limelight, and to show their superior and superfine patriotism, to rattle the bones of the dead.

What about Wolfe Tone?

Other Senators like myself, may have received this invitation:—

"The National Guard: Office of the Director General, 5 Parnell Square, Dublin, 31st July, 1933.

A Chara,—I am instructed by General O'Duffy to invite you to participate in the parade in honour of Griffith, Collins and O'Higgins, which will take place in Dublin on Sunday, 13th August. The route of the parade, which will commence at 3 p.m., will be from the neighbourhood of St. Stephen's Green, past the Cenotaph to the cemetery at Glasnevin. A special place in the parade will be reserved for public representatives."

That is signed by "E.J. Cronin, Comdt., Secretary."

Did you accept?

That is my business and not yours.

I did not get one to Bodenstown.

I do not know what Senator Mrs. Costello's opinion, if she received an invitation, may be, but my opinion is that the issuing of that invitation to Senators was a most infernal piece of cheek and impudence —to ask Senators to take part in a party display. Just imagine expecting old and middle-aged Senators to trot through the streets of Dublin in a parade and to walk under the banners of the boys and girls of the young brigade. Why, it is enough to make Griffith, Collins and Kevin O'Higgins turn in their graves, to see their names used for party purposes. It is enough, in particular, to make Kevin O'Higgins turn in his grave, to see many of those leaders who, shortly before the unfortunate man was murdered, he dismissed from the Army as being mutineers, mar dh'eadh, placing wreaths on his grave to his memory. These are the leaders who now, as in the past, are leading the young men of Ireland astray.

[The Leas-Chathaoirleach took the Chair.]

If ever there was a time in the history of this country when the people, and particularly the young people of this country, should beware of some of their leaders, it is the present time. I remember, as I stated here once before, that some of those leaders who are pretending now that they abhor the gun, got the young men of this country into their net and into secret societies, and made them swear an oath to do deeds, dreadful deeds——

On a point of order. Is it right that the Senator should charge men with having compelled young men to take an oath to do dreadful deeds?


He is not charging them. He is making a statement.

Senator Milroy has a nasty little habit of interjection when the truth is being sent home. As I was saying—I defy contradiction from Senator Milroy or any man—these leaders led the young men of Ireland into their net, made them take an oath to do deeds of blood and fire, impregnated their young minds with diabolical designs which warped their minds and have warped them even to this day, such as the poisoning of the drinking wells of this country. These are the men who are now setting themselves up on a pinnacle of patriotism. I have spoken strongly——

And falsely.

I have spoken strongly——

And falsely.

There is always in this country a scavenger connected with every party.


The Senator should not be personal.

He has described himself.

I have not been personal up to this. If you, a Leas-Chathaoirligh, think I have not properly described what I have described I withdraw. My answer to the resolution which Senator Sir John Keane has proposed is that the Government would not be a Government, would not command the respect of anyone if they were incapable, afraid or ashamed to deal with any dangerous organisations which may be set up in this country. If we have a Government in power, who are doing their best, as in my judgment they are, to maintain order and who are endeavouring, according to their lights, to deal with dangerous organisations, then I am strongly against the resolution proposed by Senator Sir John Keane. In my opinion, the Seanad would be very badly advised to pass that resolution of censure on the Government. I think that they would be better advised in congratulating them on their endeavour to maintain law and order.

When my friend Senator O'Neill quotes poetry here, I always think of the lines of Robert Louis Stevenson:—

"There is so much good in the worst of us,

And so much bad in the best of us,

That it ill behoveth any of us

To speak in despite of the rest of us."

It is only when Senator O'Neill quotes poetry that he says hard things about his brother Irishmen who happen to be in opposition. I support Senator Sir John Keane's motion because I think he has made a very reasoned statement. It is time for the people of Ireland, whether they are on the side of the Government or the Opposition, to take stock. The people on the Government side should remember that in the present position of Parliament—it is a position which I want to retain—there is necessity for an Opposition. It is the duty of the people in Opposition to do their job and to point out to the Government where they are wrong. When I try to point out to the Government where they are wrong, as I did last week, I want the Government to understand that I give that advice as I should give it at a Party meeting if our Government were in power. It would be a very good thing if people on the Government Benches would give their advice to the Government at Party meetings when they consider they are wrong. I do not ask them to give that advice here but they know the Government is wrong just as I know it and I want them to give the Government their advice at their Party meetings.

Senator O'Neill said that this thing should be allowed to rest where it rested last week. If that were done, it would rest on a very false foundation. You cannot govern a country on falsehoods or by stunts and sops. The people want something solid. To the best of my ability, I say what I mean and I always mean what I say. I raise this point now because the Minister concerned is here. I raised it last day when the Minister for Finance was here and he was not able to answer. The Irish Press took it up the following day and denied my statements. I was also treated to a sub-leader in the same issue of the Irish Press but I shall not refer to the sub-leader. I propose to refer only to the emphatic denial given in the Irish Press of Thursday, August 17, 1933, as follows:—

"Emphatically Denied: Senate Statement About Army and Gárda. Quite Untrue. (By Our Political Correspondent.)

"Emphatic denials were given in high Army and Gárda Síochána quarters last night to the allegations of Senator Michael Staines in the Senate last evening. At the outset it was stated that the Gárda Síochána had failed to find any trace of the alleged party of men waiting with stones at Cabra cross-roads to waylay members of the A.C.A. on their way to town. If the party had been at the cross roads, the Gárdaí were convinced that they would be aware of it.

"With regard to the implication that the Army had refused to man armoured cars for patrol purposes in the St. Stephen's Green area on Sunday last, Maj.-Gen. MacMahon, Secretary to the Department of Defence, stated last night that it was quite untrue. The Army had not refused to carry out any instruction; neither had it expressed unwillingness to do so. If the Government required armoured cars manned by the Army they would have been provided as a matter of course. I understand that it was part of the Government's policy to leave the entire arrangements for Sunday in the hands of the Gárda Síochána, unless it became necessary to reinforce the Gárda with military. It was in pursuance of this policy that an armoured car for patrol purposes had been worked by a Gárda crew. None of the allegations, therefore, had any foundation in fact."

Not even the one which they admit, and which was the principal point I made: "It was in pursuance of this policy that an armoured car for patrol purposes had been worked by a Gárda crew." Even that is not true, according to the Irish Press. I am sorry I have not the Official Debates, but I think I mentioned cross-roads. It does not matter, however, whether they were cross-roads or straight roads. At all roads around Dublin parties of men assembled. I gave one instance, Cabra cross-roads, where they assembled with stones, and waited to waylay buses coming to Dublin with members of the A.C.A. or National Guard. The Minister is here now and I defy him, or any Department, to deny my statement. At Kingsbridge on the same evening men who had sticks were waiting to waylay passengers coming up to Dublin. At other roads there were men who had sticks and stones waiting to waylay people. I will go further and say that I am not accusing the I.R.A. of doing so. It may have been one of the new private armies that are springing up. Dublin on that Saturday evening was as completely surrounded and as completely ringed round by men armed with sticks, stones, and probably other weapons—I do not know about the other weapons— as the Royal and the Grand Canals combined ring the City of Dublin. The only difference was that the meshes of these men were spread a bit wider, because they were outside the boundary.

As to what the Irish Press accuses me of, in connection with the Army, there appears in another part of that paper a fair account of what I said about the Army. In a sub-leader that I do not want to quote, because it is not worth replying to, it is stated:

"After the Army had said it was not their job to man the cars, the Civic Guards were asked to supply men."

I would like to say that I had no intention whatever of suggesting there had been a mutiny in the Army, or that the men in the Army would mutiny. If the men in the Army or the Civic Guards mutinied, I would be the first to condemn them. There is no use in trying to slip stuff like that across me. Probably if I had used the words "Department of Defence" instead of Army I would have been more correct. I expressed what was in my mind. The Department of Defence is different to other Departments. The Department of Justice deals with the police, the courts and other matters. The Department of Defence deals only with the Army. I do not see any difference in having used the word "Army" instead of "Defence." I did not want shamelessly to insult—as I am accused of doing—the members of the Army. The point that I really made was that it was the duty of the Government, governing at the will of the people, to govern for the benefit of all the people, and not for a section. I said that it was a very bad policy to ask an unarmed force like the Civic Guards to man an armoured car to terrorise the citizens of Dublin on that particular Sunday. I agree, if it was the opinion of the Government of the day—whatever Government it was—that armoured cars were necessary, they should be put on the streets, or sent to the country, or to any place they were required in order to protect the lives and property of the people. But, when that is done, these cars should not be manned by members of the Gárda Síochána; they should be manned by members of the Army, who are trained in the use of armoured cars, and trained in the use of the guns on these cars.

Senator Sir John Keane referred to quotations from police reports. I agree with the Senator's remarks that private police reports should not be published. It has become a habit of the present Government to do so. It was not the rule previously. As it has become such a habit I would ask the Minister, when he gets the report of the Cabra cross-road business, to let the House see a copy of it. I notice by to-day's Irish Press that the Minister has already reports of the A.C.A. parades that were held all over Ireland last Sunday.

The Senator is quite right in calling them the A.C.A.

The National Guard.

The Irish Press is calling them the A.C.A.

The Irish Press called them the A.C.A. but they have changed their name, and in accordance with that it gives the different names in brackets.

The Irish Press insists to this day in referring to the Free State instead of to Saorstát Eireann, and to the Free State Government.

Is not that right?

It is right, but why not use the Irish names? I do not think my friend Senator Comyn should interrupt me so much.

[The Cathaoirleach resumed the Chair.]

I apologise.

Thanks very much. I never wanted to say all I have said, but I have repeated for the information of the Irish Press what I said on the last day, and I have given them a little more information. The Irish Press is the Government organ, and the Irish Press can put what I have just said to-day in their Kapp and Peterson and smoke it.

While Senator Staines was speaking I regret that too many Senators left the Chamber, probably to have a smoke. They could have waited to listen to his speech and to the speech made by Senator O'Neill in answer to the remarkable statement read for this House by Senator Sir John Keane. That speech of Senator Sir John Keane to which we have listened is the most remarkable tribute that could be paid to the Parliament of any country. Who can say after that speech that we had not in this country tolerance for our opponents, and that we do not respect freedom of speech when in the Parliament of this country a man is allowed to say what comes to his mind? The motion before the House is in a rather narrow compass. It reads: "That the Seanad is of opinion that the recent actions of the Executive Council purporting to be for the preservation of public peace and order have not been justified." When I read that motion I expected that Senator Sir John Keane would have delivered a speech of a somewhat different character, that in fact he would have spoken to the motion. But what did he say? He said that the "Cease fire" order represented merely the defeat of the Irish Republican Army, but that their spirit was not crushed. In that he is correct, for

"Freedom's battle once begun

Bequeathed from bleeding sire to son

Though baffled oft is ever won."

But Senator Sir John Keane wished that the Party which for the moment prevailed should make, as he described it, a clean job. He said that in the Seanad of this country—that they should make a clean job. What was the meaning of a clean job? That the Free State Government, the Saorstát Government, to adopt the correction of my friend Senator Staines, should not be satisfied with peace in this country, that they should go on with the war of repression until the last man who swore an oath to defend the Irish Republic was exterminated in his own blood. That is what it means. He went on further to say that in his youth, I suppose in the time when he was breathing what he calls philosophic radicalism, an English statesman said that all that Ireland needed was fifty years of resolute government. That was said in 1890 or thereabouts, and Senator Sir John Keane deplores that the British did not persist in the fifty years of resolute government. He said that in your Parliament to-day and you listened to him with the decorum, reserve and patience which is an honour to this House. He went further and said that instead of giving fifty years of resolute government, of repression, of coercion and of starvation to the people of Ireland, that the British were resolute only in spasms. They were resolute first and then irresolute. I have taken the words down here. He went on then to compare the British system in this country with the system which we have to-day. The Government are blamed by Senator Sir John Keane not for being resolute but for being irresolute. His complaint is that some camps, some tents are erected on top of some hill near Dublin. I know nothing of the camps that are erected near Dublin but I agree with Senator Sir John Keane that this country is peaceful. I hope he will agree with me that notwithstanding the economic war, the most deadly war which a foe could imagine, this country is prosperous in many respects.

Well surely!!

We have enough to eat. Thank God we have enough to eat.

The Senator is only thinking of the legal profession.

That is all that appears to be prospering.


Order. This is only Senator Comyn's opinion, and he must be allowed to express it.

I say it is our opponents who are the belligerent people and the intolerant people. We are the patient people. We listened to Senator Sir John Keane without interruption. The harvest last year was bountiful. The harvest this year surpasses last year's harvest in a miraculous degree. I ask Senator Gogarty if that is not so? This year's harvest surpasses last year's in a miraculous manner. Senator Sir John Keane loses patience with me. I see that he cannot endure any more of the truth. He is going from the Chamber—he is gone. Now the Senator's complaint is not that the Government is strong in its action but that the Government is weak. What would the Government do if they had the benefit of Senator Sir John Keane's advice? I will tell you what they would do. They would not, of course, recruit 300 or 400 Gardaí. No, they would call out the military. That is what he is saying. The late Government did not make a clean job of the men who struggled for the liberties of their country. The English in their 50 years of resolute government did not make a clean job of the men who withstood them. The present Ministry did not act properly because they did not call out the military and have the streets of Dublin swimming in blood. Senator Sir John Keane said that, and he was listened to with patience in the Parliament of this country. That is the greatest tribute that could be paid to this House.

May I intervene to say that I never said anything of the kind that the Senator is alleging? I realise that there must be latitude in debate, but here I am accused of saying that I wished to see the streets of Dublin swimming in blood. I never used these words.

It is in the recollection of this House that Senator Sir John Keane advocated the calling out of the military to stop the parade on that Sunday.

I am surprised that the Senator should stop me in my speech, but when the report is read it will be found that Senator Sir John Keane suggested the calling out of the military forces. It was also suggested here a week or two ago that they should be called out. I put it to this House that the Government adopted a much wiser policy. The military forces of this country should not be used against the people of this country or against any section of the people except in cases of extreme necessity. Notwithstanding what has been said, and the parade that has been made, there is no extreme necessity at the present moment. The civil forces constituted to preserve order have been sufficient. Dublin was a calm, a peaceful city on that Sunday, but if Senator Sir John Keane's advice were taken it would have been guarded by military from end to end.

What is the Senator's complaint? His complaint is that the Government have not suppressed another organisation which purports to be organised on the basis of force. It has not suppressed the I.R.A. The I.R.A. were in existence during the period of office of the last Government—ten years. They were not suppressed. I think they never will be suppressed until the object for which they were instituted is achieved.

They are the Government.

Senator Fanning says they are the Government.

Obviously they are, according to your own statement.

Everybody knows that.

They are the supreme authority.

In my judgment the I.R.A. will not be suppressed until the objects for which they were instituted long ago, when we were all united, are achieved. They have their roots in the past; they have their roots in the sentiments of our people.

The Senator will get his commission then.

And they even have the secret sympathy of Senator Miss Browne. What does Senator Sir John Keane say? He says that the failure of the Government to suppress one irregular army is due, perhaps, to the indifference, to the inability, or to the sympathy of the Government. I wonder was it due during the last ten years to the sympathy of the late Government? Perhaps it was. Perhaps in the late Government there were men who had some sort of a lurking regard for the men who held on to the principles that they for certain reasons, temporary I hope, abandoned.

We come to the latter part of the Senator's speech, which deals rather in a flimsy way with what I thought was the resolution before the House. The Government have taken reasonably strong action. They did suppress or proclaim the parade which was to be held in Dublin on Sunday week. They did proclaim parades which were in substitution and which were advertised for the following Sunday. General O'Duffy, having yielded to the Government on Sunday week, issued a statement that he would have parades at churches on the following Sunday. I am sure he thought better of it. There were no parades to Mass or in the churches, or towards the churches or near the churches on the following Sunday. I am glad that General O'Duffy, whatever his motives may have been, abandoned that idea, because whatever our differences may be, we ought not to go under the shelter of sacred things in any disputes which may arise in this country.

Why was this organisation prevented from making this display? The reason is perfectly clear. If the Government had not intervened to check this second army—to use the correct expression which has been used by Senator Sir John Keane—if the Government had not interfered to prevent this demonstration, it would have failed in its duty. Any why? Here is an organisation under the supreme command of a man who, in regard to this very organisation, the A.C.A., made a report which I will read for the Seanad. Senator Staines is right when he says that the A.C.A. is the same as the N.G.—they are the same thing. Here is the report:—

"The majority of Cumann na nGaedheal T.D.s and ex-Army officers throughout the Saorstát are also organising.

"There is no doubt that a considerable number of individual ex-Army officers are in possession of revolvers, and even rifles, held surreptitiously as souvenirs of the pre-Truce period. Further, many ex-National Army men, when leaving the Army in 1923-25, brought arms with them.

"I have, however, been informed, as already reported to the Minister, that certain members of the organisation hold extreme views, and would be prepared to urge the use of force in pursuit of their policy."

And going on further:—

"It is certain, however, that Mr. Jerry Ryan could, should the occasion arise, muster a fair number of the arms taken from Templemore Military Barracks during the mutiny."

And further:—

"Should it at any time desire to adopt other than constitutional methods it can, without doubt, lay hands on a sufficient quantity of arms and ammunition to render it a very formidable insurrectionary force and a source of extreme danger to the peace and stability of the country."

I will ask Senator Sir John Keane, with his philosophic radicalism, to put himself in the position of the Government of the day. That Government is informed by an able man—General O'Duffy is an able and efficient man—"Here is a force which has arms, which has political support, which has in its ranks men of ability, members of the Dáil, probably members of the Seanad"—I make no accusation.

Senator O'Neill, for example.

"Men with an organisation behind them, fully armed men who could, if they chose, by force become a danger to the community." The gentleman who made that report, for some reason best known to himself, becomes the spokesman and the leader of that body which is rebaptised the National Guard and, under its new name and under its new control, it puts forward a programme and a policy. Is that programme a constitutional programme?

Is that policy constitutional?

I did not ask Senator Milroy because, although he is a great lawyer, he is not a trained lawyer. But I ask the philosophic radical, Senator Sir John Keane, is that a constitutional policy? Senator Sir John Keane will not answer. The position the Senator takes up is this. I want an answer from Senator Keane as to what he thinks should be the policy of the National Guard, viewed from the standpoint of philosophic radicalism.

Is this a purely hypothetical question or is it one to which the Senator wants an answer? If he wants an answer I may say that I consider the policy of the National Guard as announced in its charter is thoroughly constitutional, and as thoroughly in accord with radical or liberal principles.

I am very glad to hear that from the Senator. That shows that the Senator, who by his speech to-day has shown himself to be a frank and fearless man, and a courageous man is, also, an honest man. Here is a body that Senator Sir John Keane would describe as constitutional. Here we have a man at the head of 50,000 men, according to his own words, who are brigaded, organised into parishes, and parishes organised into constituencies, and constituencies organised into a national force. He says that this national force is 40,000 strong, but that he hopes to have it 100,000 strong and with an auxiliary force as well.

All this reminds me of what was done by an Irish prince many years ago, who had been turned out of his clan somewhere near the county in which Sir John Keane lives. He went over to the Romans in Britain and told them it was a danger for them to have any army adjacent to their frontier or any free people in contact with their dominion. "One legion and a few auxiliaries will be enough," said he, "to conquer the disunited Irish." Does Senator Sir John Keane want a repetition of that kind of thing? Does he want three armies brigaded, organised and armed, led by military men with war experience? We may surely ask where are the arms that have been in this country for the last 15 or 17 years? Where are the arms that were taken from the barracks and where are the 40,000 rifles?


They are in the dumps.

I am not talking about the arms in the dumps. These arms are held by men who love their country. The last Government, in ten years, was not capable of getting these arms, and the present Government would, I think, be quite incapable of finding them. But the present Government are determined to allow no unauthorised arms with people if they can lay their hands on those arms, and I am glad to see that the Vice-Chairman of the Seanad says "quite right too."

I did not. I asked why do they not get the other arms.

The only arms the Government took up were from persons who had permits for them, including myself.

The Government are going to collect arms in this country from persons not authorised to have them so far as they can get those arms. I believe that to be the policy of the present Government. I believe, also, it was the policy of the last Government and I believe it should be the policy of any Government to get control of arms and ammunition and get them under the authority of the State for the time being. The policy of the Government is one thing, the power of the Government is another thing. The Government I am sure will do all it can to get control of all the arms in this country so that we may have one Government and one people—I hope a united people—and one army doing the business of the country, and one police force to preserve order in this country. That is what this Government desires. That is the thing which I think the Govern-have set out to accomplish.

Now, how have they proceeded to deal with the situation? They declared that they would not allow an assembly of armed men last Sunday week; that they would not allow them to collect together with arms. Potentially they are armed men, for actually they can be armed. They had the arms if they wished to appear with them and they could have appeared with arms on Sunday week. Were the Government right in the action they took? I think they were. I think in the present state of this country—and we are an excitable people——

You are a perfect specimen.

I am glad Senator Fanning regards me as a perfect specimen of an Irish Nationalist. I shall return the compliment to him and say that he is a fine type of a Tipperary man although most Tipperary men do not agree with him in politics. Why should the Government allow an excitable people to come together in great numbers with military formation and probably armed—at least they might be. There is no sort of comparison between a demonstration of that kind and the demonstration to which Senator Sir John Keane referred at the Cenotaph at Whitehall, because at the Cenotaph you have a united people paying homage to the memory of their illustrious dead. Here we are a disunited people. There are two irregular armies and these two irregular armies might have met. Perhaps Senator Sir John Keane would want a third irregular army also present, in order that there might be a triangular fight. The Government did the proper thing. They got three or four hundred civilians, put them into uniform, and asked the police from the surrounding districts to come in and keep order. That was absolutely perfect both in good policy and good sense, and it succeeded. No blood was shed; no disturbance took place. The most that could be said was that while the police were drafted in from Kingstown——


Dun Laoghaire.

I was trying to follow the mind of Senator Sir John Keane. It is Kingstown to him. It is, of course, Dun Laoghaire to Senator Fanning, myself and people like us. The only thing that could be said is that an unfortunate fellow who, I suppose, had not 2d. in his pocket, took occasion of the absence of the police from Dun Laoghaire to break a window, go in and rob the poor box. That is all that happened.

A Senator

Will the window not cost £50?

Three Senators made the complaint that by reason of the measures taken to prevent disturbance in the City of Dublin last Sunday week a window was broken in Dun Laoghaire, the poor box was robbed, and the man was not caught.

And the Dun Laoghaire police were walking about here doing nothing.

I am very pleased to say that the Dun Laoghaire police had no very onerous duties to perform on that day. The day passed off quietly and calmly, as did the following Sunday when parades were announced at every parish church at Mass. I say again that I am glad, whatever the motive was, that General O'Duffy or his associates did not avail of the Sacrifice of the Mass for the purpose of making a parade of any organisation. I hope as long as this dispute lasts—and I believe it will not last very long—that we shall keep as far away in our disputes from the shelter of holy things as we possibly can. That is what the Government have done. They have found it necessary to put into force a statute which was passed by the late Government in this Parliament with the approval of Senator Sir John Keane and also with the eloquent support of Senator Milroy.

I never said a word about it.

Oh, you did.

Look up the report.

Senator Milroy was silent on that occasion, but since then how many times on the public platform has he supported the action of the Government? That statute was there. That statute has been put into operation. I hope that it has been put into operation only as a method of precaution, because when it came before this House I denounced it, and denounced it in very unmeasured terms.

Do you denounce it now?

Do I denounce it now? I am very sorry that the occasion should arise for putting into force, even as a precautionary measure a single line of that statute.

Has it arisen?

There are things in that statute which I hope will not be resorted to by this or any other Government. Senator Milroy, who is so keen, asked me has the necessity arisen. He knows what has arisen. Senator Sir John Keane has said that there is one army in this country, an authorised army under the control of Parliament. There is another army, according to Sir John Keane, an unauthorised army which had its existence long back in the past. There is coming into operation a third army, according to Senator Sir John Keane, which is to be a second irregular army, which is to be in opposition to the first irregular army.

I never said that. The Senator should not put these words into my mouth.

Senator Sir John Keane ought not to interrupt me.


If you make a very bad mistake, Senator, in quoting what he said, he is perfectly entitled to correct you.

He is perfectly entitled to interrupt me if I misrepresent him, but I have taken it down in writing, and have not altered one word of what Senator Sir John Keane said. If there is one regular and two irregular armies in this country, is that not a position of danger? What would be the result of the existence of two bodies of organised men led by experienced commanders? What would be the result when each of these irregular armies were in competition with each other? That between them both, if they are allowed to continue, they would drown the voice of constitutional Government in this country. I am asked again, has the necessity arisen. I submit the necessity has arisen from the statements made by the leader of the second irregular army. In the first statement which he made he declared his dissatisfaction with parliamentary government. I think in that he was probably unwise and showed that he was a man of very little political experience. From time to time generals have subverted Parliament, but in the course of history, as far as I have read it, I have not known an instance of a single man proclaiming his intention of subverting Parliament who has succeeded in his design. The men who have succeeded in doing that, the men who have succeeded in turning out Parliaments, are men who first professed to be the servants of Parliament and who, when they were strong enough, turned their forces on Parliament. That was the conclusion at which I arrived when I read the first statement of that gentleman.

I then read what purported to be a corrected statement. Here is the corrected statement. He says he was misrepresented. "I was misrepresented when I referred to the new system in a previous interview." This is the system which he proposed to substitute for the system of parliamentary government. "It was construed to mean that I wanted a dictatorship. What I meant is a change from the present system to the most democratic Parliamentary system. There must be a Parliament"—that is a great concession from General O'Duffy—"but for the good of the country the present system of parties and politicians requires to be changed." You will be all changed. You will be put into the mincing machine and come out sausages. "The proposed change will mean the abolition of parties and constituencies and, instead, we will have representation for agriculture, labour, science, education, engineering and other vocational walks of life. I have already explained the system."

What is the meaning of that? That the people through their representatives elected in the ordinary way shall not have control in this country but that an experienced military man with 100,000 men at his command will call a few farmers, a few manufacturers together and get advice from them. That is a system of government for which the Irish people will not stand. They will not accept the overthrow of parliamentary government by military forces. It is said that parliamentary government is a foreign institution. That I deny. I say that, amongst Northern peoples, the first Parliament that was ever held was held in Ireland, on the Hill of Tara. That was the meeting of the chieftains from the various parts of the country. There was, at one time, as you know, 500 bishoprics in this country.

Each bishopric represented some sort of clan or family. In later times there were as many as sixty or seventy or eighty clans, each having a Government of its own. The representatives of each clan met in Tara and made the laws and decided the policy of this country. Therefore, I say that before there was a Saxon Heptarchy, before there were seven Governments in England, not to speak of one Government, there was a Parliament in this country. Parliament is an Irish institution. Its roots are deep in the history of this country. I hope also that they are deep in the affections of this people. I hope that the Irish people will not endure the existence of a new military force without any tradition behind it, without that sentiment of nationality behind it which inspired the Irish Republican Army and the other armies that preceded the Irish Republican Army—the Fenians, the men of '48, and Whiteboys, if you like, the Wild Geese, and all those men who in their day rose to defend the liberties of their country, hoping to achieve the independence of their country, dying one after another, sinking in failure. The Irish Republican Army, with the tradition of these men behind them, rose. They were the greatest men that ever lived in Ireland. I have said before in the Seanad that when they were united in 1921 they were the greatest men that ever lived in Ireland. I have seen men face the firing squad unflinchingly and while they were standing up to the guns other men were allowed to look through the windows and to see them fall. After that I saw and spoke to some of the men who were for trial and execution and with a valour, a manhood, a resolution unsurpassed in the history of the world, I heard these men say: "I can die as the other men died yesterday morning; I saw them die and I can die like them." We were all united then. I should like to give a little cameo of the things that are past when you were all united.

What about the men who pleaded their American citizenship and funked the firing squad?

Not a single interruption was made when Senator Sir John Keane was speaking, and the Senator has been continuously interrupted, especially by the liquor interests.

Perhaps if Senator Fanning were informed that he would be allowed to make a speech later on he might keep his mouth shut.


If Senators ask questions they must expect dissent.

It is to the credit of the Senators on these benches that they listened with so much patience to Senator Sir John Keane. I ask them now not to blemish that by being impatient with interruptions by my friend, Senator Fanning. I hope he will make a speech. I was giving the members of the Seanad a little glimpse of the days when they were all united and I still say that they were the best men that ever lived in Ireland. Some of these men——

Are under a ban now.

Some of these men are alive. You cannot dispute facts. The I.R.A. have their tradition and it is impossible for any Government to suppress the Irish Republican Army until Ireland is united and free.

We have listened to a very long, sometimes impassioned, frequently very irrelevant speech, from Senator Comyn. He is often humorous in this House with very great effect. This, to my mind, was not an occasion on which the kind of humour in which he indulged was worthy of him or of this House. His effort to criticise or disagree with the statement made by Senator Sir John Keane was perfectly fair. But when he chose to try to suggest that Senator Sir John Keane had advocated the use of the Army, or the use of any force or suggested that he wished the streets of Dublin running in blood——

I never said he wished it. I know very well that Senator Sir John Keane does not wish any injury to this country.


The whole matter was very indistinct, and I think we had better leave it to be read in the Official Report.

What I wanted to say was this. If I understood the object of this motion, it was to give an opportunity to the responsible Minister to make a statement on the present situation which would, we hoped, make, not for anything such as was attributed to the Senator's speech, but for the peace of this country, both in the near and far future. It seems to me that any speeches that may be made in this debate which are calculated to stir up bad or bitter feelings, either at the present time or with regard to the past, are not only to be deprecated but, to my mind, at the present time are definitely unpatriotic. Anything I should like to add to this debate is for the purpose of dealing with certain matters which, I think, are important to this issue, and for the purpose of suggesting to the Minister for Justice that a carefully-worded statement at the end of this debate, not for this House but for the country, might go a very long way indeed towards removing a great deal of the very genuine uneasiness which is prevalent in the country at present. Senator Comyn wound up his speech with references to certain heroes who had died for this country. I have nothing but reverence and respect for men who gave up their lives in the past, but if I have one absolute conviction it is, that at the present moment what this country wants is men who are willing to live for this country and not men who are willing to give up their lives or to kill somebody else. If we could get a band of men and women who would say: "Come what may, I will not kill any Irishman," I believe there might be some chance of an end to the kind of thing we have read in the newspapers during the last two or three years.

Senator Sir John Keane suggested that peace was greater than principle. He quoted it in a satiric way. I have been told by many of my friends of different Parties that I stand for peace in preference to principle. I am going to confess here that I would go a very long way in breach of what seemed to be principle to bring about peace. But the difficulty is that you cannot get real peace by departing from principle. You may try; you may get it for a fortnight or a month or even a year, but it does not last. It seems to me that any Government responsible for peace and order in this country, whether it be Fianna Fáil, Cumann na nGaedheal, Labour, General O'Duffy, or any other possible Government, will only get peace by applying the best possible principles that they can find, and applying them absolutely without fear or favour to every section of the community. I spent a portion of the night before last reading the debates in this House and in the Dáil in connection with the Constitution (No. 17) Act, when it was passing through the Oireachtas. I found a great deal that was instructive. I read it, principally, because I wanted to revive my memory as to the attitude I, personally, took on that occasion.

I think that, if there was any Act of recent years passed by this House —even those members who voted for it—with the greatest reluctance, it was that Act. I stated at the time that, much though I loved peace, I was not prepared to refuse those powers to an Executive Council which considered they were the only possible way by which order could be maintained. But I further stated, and I am still absolutely of the same opinion, that methods, whether used by this Government or the last Government, such as are set out in the Constitution (No. 17) Act, can never be more than temporarily successful and will not give you permanent peace, whether you are dealing with National Guards, I.R.A., or anybody else. I am of the same opinion to-day, and if this Government satisfied me that the only way in which they could maintain order in this country was by using, as they have now set in force, the provisions—all of which are in force now—of the Constitution (No. 17) Act, I would not vote against them in a motion of this kind, because there are even greater things than peace and, while we are governed as we are at the present time, the Executive Council of the State is responsible for the lives and properties of the people under their care. We can advise them, and we can criticise them, but we cannot take that responsibility from them.

I am old-fashioned enough to believe that no case whatever can be made for two, three, four or any number of armies, other than one, in any State. I can think of many arguments in this country for having none, but I cannot think of any argument for having more than one. I am not going, however, to throw any jibes or criticism against this Executive for what is called leniency. If they could have got, or could still get, an acceptance by all sections of political opinion in this country of the principle that there should only be one armed force responsible to the elected representatives of the people, and that the elected Executive, for good or evil, are, for the time being, the only people who can govern —if that could be achieved, it would be worth taking some risks. But what I do say, and I say it, having thought it out carefully, is, that you cannot get that unless you are prepared to apply exactly the same principles all around. The motion before us to-day suggests that the recent actions of the Executive Council, purporting to be for the preservation of public peace and order, have not been justified. What are the recent actions? We have only a limited amount of information, gathered from the rather unsatisfactory speech of the Minister for Finance in this House last week and from the public Press; but I take it that the recent actions mean the action of the Executive in putting into force the Constitution (No. 17) Act, their action in proclaiming certain parades that were arranged by the National Guard for a Sunday a short time ago, and their action in creating a new special armed section of the Civic Guards. I will deal with the last first, but I do not want to deal with it at any length except to give it as my conviction that it was a gross and very regrettable mistake to create a new armed and uniformed section of the Civic Guards and, if it be true as has been stated, to put them into armoured cars and use them in that way in the City of Dublin. I cannot see a great deal of difference, from the moral point of view at any rate, whether they are called soldiers or police, if they are going into armoured cars with the purpose of firing on the citizens. I cannot make nice distinctions of that kind, but I will say that it was a definitely retrograde step, because, since the establishment of the Civic Guards, we have been in the position until now of being able to say to the public that a Guard in uniform, going about the streets, was not armed. I think it is most unfortunate if we are not to remain in that position in the future and, though I appreciate and sympathise with the desire not to use the army against the citizens, I say that that would have been a lesser evil than to have created an armed force as part and parcel of the Civic Guards. I am not going into other questions involved in it except to give that as my personal opinion. I believe that, by their action of bringing into operation the Constitution (No. 17) Act, the Government have done a very considerable amount of damage to the whole situation, including the position of trade, aided and abetted—I do not mean in collusion with—by the English Press, who are always too ready to make a mountain out of a molehill as far as this country is concerned. We have had something very much like a panic and we have had people of all kinds believing that during the last four or five weeks some sudden situation of potential danger to this country has arisen—something which was not so four or five weeks ago—and that the Government have been forced suddenly to create a new force and bring this most drastic legislation into effect.

I ask the Minister here either to give the lie completely to the statement that anything occurred of any serious danger to the peace of this country, or to tell us straight out—I believe it would be far better to do so—what it is that caused these panic and sudden actions on the part of the Government. The Minister may have a great deal of knowledge that the ordinary man in the street has not got. As far as this is concerned, I am only in the position of the man in the street. I am aware of the fact that, for a considerable time, there has been a certain number of men who carry arms—to what extent I do not know—who were declared by the last Government as an illegal organisation but which declaration was withdrawn shortly after the coming into power of this Executive. I have no reason to believe that the situation has changed or changed suddenly. But it may have, for all I know. The only other information we have as to a changed situation has been the position of the National Guard. Following the debate last week, I made it my business to obtain a copy of the paper setting out the constitution of that body. I know nothing as to what other aims and objects there may be in the National Guard. If their aim or object is a coup d'état—which I do not believe —or if it be to usurp Parliament, I have no sympathy with that object, but, taking their aims and objects as I see them and read them, I find a great deal with which I am in entire sympathy— the promotion of a spirit of service in the country, and so on. I find other things of which I have doubts, but I see nothing whatever to justify the panic action and the bringing into force of the Constitution No. 17 Act. There may be other information, but we have not got it, nor have we had it suggested in any way. Senator Comyn on the last occasion said—I have his exact words; I will not take any risks:—

"The most dangerous political idea which I have heard in my experience is this—I have seen it published—that one gentleman in this country has declared that Parliament is outworn, and that he is the man to deal with the government of the country. Now any person that challenges the authority of Parliament is a potential danger to the country, and that one statement alone would be sufficient in my opinion, to justify the recruitment of the Civic Guard."

Do not let us live in a fool's paradise. I believe in the Parliamentary system. I have believed in it ever since I took an interest in political affairs, but I am not big enough fool to believe that everybody believes in it. I know and we all know if we read politics at all that in every country the parliamentary system is on its trial. We know that there are many people who would like to see some other system of government. The parliamentary system will succeed only if it is able to produce executives which are scrupulously fair in their dealings and which are prepared to protect the life and property of all individuals alike.

Senator Sir John Keane stated that he thought the movement which is represented by the National Guards was the natural outcome—I think those were the words he used—of the general policy of the Government with regard to other armed forces. I do not know how far that is true but what I do say is that if there be any truth in it, and I think there is a good deal, you are not going to suppress any movement which is growing out of the feelings of suspicion or the feelings of doubt in the minds of a large number of people by forcing it to change its name or by passing the Constitution No. 17 Act and declaring it illegal, on the grounds that it has other aims than appear on the surface, without producing proof. I would suggest to the Minister that he would find it very profitable indeed to read both his own speech and the speech of the President when the Constitution No. 17 Act was going through the Dáil. I am not going to read them here but I would remind the Minister for Justice that he, in particular, emphasised the fact that you could not suppress opinions simply by declaring an organisation illegal and that in so far as it represented real opinions you would only spread it and drive it underground to break out in a new form. I forget which of them it was, but either the President or the Minister for Justice made an appeal to the then Government in which he asked them to remember their own position a few years before and the advice they had given to other young men as to the need for organisation and the desirability of organising for what they considered a good purpose. I need not go into the details, but I should like to say the same thing to the members of this Government. It may be very interesting to them and to all of us that they have adopted an Act which they denounced, but I do not place any importance on that. One could make lots of political capital by taking their past speeches but they are now in a responsible position and they are taking the machinery which was there and which they evidently considered it right to use. For that I am not condemning them, but I do suggest to them that if they are going to be the Government of the country, they will have to apply exactly the same principles to the National Guard as they are prepared to apply to Republicans who disagree with them and who may threaten violence or may not threaten violence.

I should like to ask the Minister— and with this I will sit down—if he would tell us and tell the country exactly what is the Government policy with regard to parades irrespective entirely of what the particular organisation may be? It would appear from certain statements made by the President that the Government policy is that drilling may take place but not in uniform and not with arms —that the Government is determined not to allow drilling in uniform and with arms in public places. I have stated it very badly because I do not quite understand what the Government policy is, but I suggest that in view of this extraordinary situation that we have now the Minister should state exactly what is the principle which will be applied presumably to all persons. Is the wearing of a badge a uniform? Would the National Guard if they wore badges instead of blue shirts meet with the approval of the Government, at any rate so far as drilling is concerned? I am not trying to make points; I am simply trying to get the position made clear because I believe that the attitude of a great many persons like myself towards these organisations and towards the National Guard will, to a large extent, be determined by whether we are satisfied that they are getting the right to express their opinions and the right to organise but not the right to arm. If we are satisfied that they get that from the Government and if we are satisfied that no other body is getting the right to arm which is denied to them, I think they will get very little support indeed in any schemes for the creation of a third army. But there is the danger that if the impression gets abroad that one policy is good for one section of armed men and another policy for another section of what Senator Comyn calls potentially armed men, you are going to have this country divided as between one section supporting one group of actually armed men and another section supporting another group of potentially armed men. I cannot think of anything worse for the future peace of this country.

It was almost amusing to hear the speeches of Senator McEllin and Senator Comyn and to compare them with certain Cumann na nGaedheal speeches a short time ago in support of the Constitution No. 17 Act. Senator Comyn to-day said that "it is only the opponents of our policy who are turbulent." Cannot we get out of that attitude that it is only those we disagree with, those who are against us, who must be wrong? Does everyone not know perfectly well that on all sides there are irresponsibles? Do we not know perfectly well that it is in the interests of every person to stand for ordered government, whether it be Cumann na nGaedheal or Fianna Fáil, to prevent coups d'état or anything of the kind, and does not everyone of us not agree that if all parties would accept as a question beyond doubt that only one army can be permitted it would go almost 80 per cent. towards solving the difficulties in this country? Is it not well worth while trying for it? But you are not going to achieve it by creating the impression that there may be one army to-day, two armies to-morrow and three the day after and that some will get one kind of treatment and others another kind of treatment. I appeal to the Minister to recognise, as I recognise, that men who love their country may be planning to arm, but that the fact that they love their country does not give them justification for creating an armed force against the Government of the country and against Parliament. I would appeal to him to see if he cannot make a speech—not one which is difficult to understand and interpret like the speech we had from the Minister for Finance—and I do not blame him because it was sprung on him suddenly on another subject— but to make a statement that will give confidence not only to his own supporters but to those of us who do not support him politically but who would like to support him in maintaining order. Give us a statement which will give confidence: that every section is going to get the same kind of fair treatment and that they are going to put down all armies in this country, and that whatever means they adopt the same means will be adopted to the one as to the other. If that is done there will be a chance that out of this situation which is full of difficulty and danger we may get something which will make towards the future peace of the country.

The motion before the House reads: "That the Seanad is of opinion that the recent actions of the Executive Council purporting to be for the preservation of public peace and order have not been justified." Senator Sir John Keane, in moving that motion in a very able speech, left me with the impression that he was justifying the National Guard in proposing to do what he blamed the Government for not doing. In effect, the impression I got from his speech was that he was encouraging the National Guard to accept and undertake authority for suppressing the I.R.A. or any similar body. He may not have intended that, but reading the notes that I made of his speech as he delivered it that is undoubtedly the impression that was created. Senator Douglas spoke of the effect of recent events on commerce and the scare that has been created by the Government's action. I suggest that Senator Douglas should just go back a week or two earlier and read the newspapers that appeared from July 21st onwards. I have before me the Independent for July 21st in which there are great across the page headings “National Guard launched in Dublin: A.C.A. disappears to make way for new body: General O'Duffy the Chief: Acclaimed by Blue-Shirt Delegates: The Army Comrades' Association is no more: Its place has been taken by the National Guard, with General O'Duffy, ex-Commissioner of the Gárda, as its chief, in room of Dr. O'Higgins, T.D.: The change of name and the appointment of General O'Duffy as leader were effected at an A.C.A. Convention in the Hibernian Hotel, Dublin, last night: It was one of the most remarkable meetings ever held in the city: Blue-shirted delegates acclaimed the National Guard and General O'Duffy by springing to their feet, with hands upraised in the Fascist salute, amidst a thunder of cheers,” and so on. Following upon that, we had a number of declarations all deliberately, I think, but certainly, in fact, tending to the creation of a state of mind and to spread the idea abroad that the National Guard, under the leadership of General O'Duffy, was a new Fascist organisation, a new Hitlerite organisation with Irish associations. It is that which, in my opinion, was calculated to create any state of disquiet, panic or unrest in commercial circles. Now I think there is certain justification for that state of— panic is too hard a word—doubt and hesitation and lack of confidence because all the evidence that has been prepared by the organisation itself goes to show that the clear intention of this body was to create a new organisation to take over government which would displace the existing system of government and social and economic organisation, with the inevitable consequence that it would raise opposition and create a state of unrest and that lack of confidence that Senator Douglas and others have deplored.

I, too, have read the reports of the debates on the Constitution (Amendment) Bill that took place in this House in October, 1931. I came across this very significant paragraph which seems to me extremely appropriate. It will be found in column 2037 of the Seanad Debates, 17th October, 1931. Speaking in this House on that occasion, Professor O'Sullivan, who was then Minister for Education, said:

"There is one great danger in a crisis of this kind that any country has to face, and that we are particularly liable to. Anybody who is familiar with the movements in the last 15 years in this country knows how remarkably quickly a situation may get out of hand, how, whatever the intentions of the individuals taking part in a certain movement in the beginning may be, that movement can get out of hand. The most fatal thing that could happen would be if this situation were allowed to drift. In its potentialities you would have a much more serious conditions to contend with than this Government had to contend with in 1922 and 1923, and the result, if the Government were not capable of contending with it, would be, as I expressed it in another place, the breaking up of this country into a number of parishes, half parishes and quarter parishes ruled by the local committee with guns in their hands."

Now, if one takes a note of that and reads the constitution of the new National Guard one will see that appropriateness of it. I want to draw special attention, at the beginning, to the kernel, the very heart of this organisation and everything that is associated with it. It is that the organisation imposes a pledge to obey officers and to obey its leader and chief, called the Director-General. The pledge reads: "I promise ... that I will work under the direction of the national executive and obey my superior officers." Right through the organisation, from the Director-General down even to the parish committee or half-parish committee of the associated organisation, we have this hierarchy: that the Director-General appoints his immediate subordinate and the chief officers appoint every officer and every minor officer in the organisation, and obedience is the one and all permeating law. Now that is an important feature to be borne in mind in examining this organisation. We also must bear in mind, as has been pointed out, that it has arisen out of the Army Comrades' Association. Deputy O'Higgins at this inaugural meeting explained that:

"His mind went back a year to a night when 12 members of the Old Comrades' Association met in a room in Dublin. At that time the general impression was that Communism was rapidly growing and democracy was only a recollection, and they sent out a call to the manhood of the country to come to the rescue of democracy and to trample under foot everything unclean, ugly and menacing in the life of the country. The response was in evidence, and was evidenced by the change that had taken place in the country in the last 12 months ... Since this organisation came into being life, property, free speech, and democracy have been safe in this land."

With that faith in their own powers they decided to extend their organisation under a new leader and to multiply its membership by calling in others than army comrades and all who were prepared to accept the direction of the leader and chief officer—the Director-General. It was pointed out by General O'Duffy in his speech on the same occasion that—

"A large proportion of the membership of the old organisation is drawn from ex-officers and ex-members of the National Army, and the National Guard will thus have the benefit of highly disciplined members in its ranks at the outset."

It will be remembered by some of us that many of the men who constitute the officer-grade of the National Guards were men of prominence and great activity, relentless and ruthless in their conduct, in the days when they were carrying on the national fight, and in the days after the establishment of this State. One knows that they have been commended for these characteristics and that they are habituated to thinking in terms of military force, discipline and orders. That is what one might call the background. Then we have the constitution. Senator Douglas said he had read through it and that he found in it many things with which he was pleased to agree. I, too, read in it many things in the attainment of which I should be delighted to assist. Some of the things in it are so good that it is a great pity that the cause they embody should have been prejudiced by the auspices under which they have been floated or under which it is attempted to make them popular. The desire to awaken throughout the country "a spirit of combination, discipline, zeal and patriotic realism" is one we all commend. But the scheme of organisation lays down, as I pointed out, that the leader and chief officer shall be a director-general. The controller is to be appointed by the director-general, and right down through the hierarchy the officers are appointed. The National Guard is, in fact, a hand-picked organisation, not selected, not appointed, not elected by the membership. Even the national congress of the associated organisation is, in the main, to be a body of hand-picked military officers—"military" in the sense that the National Guard is a military organisation. I do not want to suggest that it is using armed force, but it is military in the sense that it is organised on a military basis. Do not let us forget that the members are pledged to obey their officers. The chief officer-leader is the director-general. The director-general, as we all know, took a very prominent part in the Anglo-Irish conflict. Owing to his strong activities in the North, he became known in the columns of the Morning Post as “Use-the-lead-O'Duffy.” He became the Commander-in-Chief of the Army. He was later appointed as Chief of the Gárda Síochána. Again, when trouble arose, he—the man in the gap—was appointed as head of the Army. That was in 1925, after the mutiny. He then reverted to his position as head of the Gárda Síochána. General O'Duffy, in the course of his speech, said:—

"The present Parliamentary system, which is not Irish, is in every way becoming more and more detrimental to the best interests of the people. At the meetings in Kilkenny, Waterford, Clonmel, Tipperary, and Limerick all present accepted the new policy most enthusiastically and went away determined to advocate it in their respective areas. All were unanimous in declaring that party politics had served their period of usefulness and that the sooner a change was effected the better."

The Blueshirt of August 12 contains an article from which I take the following extract:—

"Chaos grew slowly upon Italy and Germany. It is being produced here almost over-night and the youth of the country is rising with an equal speed to face the situation. Democracy, in the short space of a year, has gone mad and committed suicide——"

The writer forgot that Dr. O'Higgins had explained how democracy had been saved within that year. But that is only a minor inconsistency:—

"and a rapid choice between Communism and some system with discipline and authority as its first principle is facing the young generation here. The choice will not be difficult."

Again, quoting a speech by General O'Duffy from the Blueshirt:

"He broadly outlined the aims and objects of the National Guard, with particular reference to the difficulties of farming at the moment and the present Parliamentary system which, he declared, was largely responsible for their ills."

From the Independent of August 11, I quote another speech by General O'Duffy:—

"There must be a Parliament in the country, but for the good of the country the present system of parties and politicians requires to be changed. The proposed change will mean an abolition of parties and constituencies, and instead we will have representatives for agriculture, labour, science, education, engineering and the other vocational walks of life. Explaining the system in detail General O'Duffy said:—

"Each parish would be a unit, with a committee and officers in charge, and in that unit the various interests would have their representation. The next unit would be a group of parishes corresponding to the constituency in the present system, and that would also have its committee and officers. They would send delegates to the central body at headquarters, and they would send their representative to the Dáil.

"The people would be given a trial of the new system and then given an opportunity of returning to the old if they wished."

That is very generous, very kind, and very condescending. Note this:

"They would send delegates to the central body at headquarters and they would send their representatives to the Dáil."

Perhaps some of you have read some of the schemes of organisation of the Fascists in Italy and the Hitlerites in Germany. You might also note the similarity one might say, with the Communist International, the organisation, the government of the headquarters organisation of which is very nearly parallel with the executive government, and the powers which are very definitely indicated in the explanation by General O'Duffy. In the Blueshirt of August 12 the leading article contains this statement:—

"Not only does the National Guard, in accord with its conception of national comradeship, think that the State should assist in the organisation of economic groups, but it believes that the State should fix the constitution of the various unions and federations, and take care that they are controlled by men of good character, public spirit and sound national views."

"If it should prove necessary the State must check and reprove from without any organisation which is not behaving in a comradely manner, and the National Guard working within them all must try to instil into them such a spirit that the intervention of the State will seldom, if ever, be necessary."

Of course we should not forget the article in last week's issue of the Blueshirt. It advises members: “Get in everywhere.” A leading article with that heading while it does not use the word, advises the same thing as the formation of Communist cells, in every organisation.

"It must use its members not merely in connection with its own activities but also on the task of influencing the policy and feeling of all other public organisations into which they can gain admittance and which have or seem likely to have any importance in relation to the formation of public opinion."

"Not only should Volunteers remain in their old political organisations, if they are allowed, but if new political bodies are started and seem to be appealing to any substantial section of the electorate, members of the National Guard should step in and see that the new bodies are taken care of. What is advised in this regard might be dangerous if the National Guard had a different system of administration, if it were controlled by elected delegates. In that case it might happen that Volunteers who were in other organisations might acquire unorthodox ideas and attempt to distort the policy of the National Guard itself. As it is, however, control and direction in the National Guard came from the top."

I have a book which has been in my possession for a number of years. It is the official report of the debates in the Italian Parliament at the inauguration of what is known as Syndical Reform in Italy and the Labour Charter, containing speeches by the Prime Minister, Signor Mussolini, and the Minister Keeper of the Seals, Hon. Rocco regarding the legal relation of the collective relations of Labour. There is a good deal in this book which clearly proves to me that the compilers of the policy of this new organisation have been students of the Fascist scheme of things. When I read "the State should fix the constitution of the various unions and federations, and take care that they are controlled by men of good character, public spirit, and sound national views" I am referred to a quotation from the statement explanatory of the new law, in the report of the Commission to the Chamber of Deputies explaining the new organisation of trades union federations, etc.:—

"The other fundamental principle of the legal regulation of syndicates (that is trade unions) is the control of these same syndicates by the State. This control is exercised in two ways: by the power possessed by the State of refusing to approve the appointments of the persons directing the associations or of revoking such appointments, and the exercise of supervision and control. The power which the Government may invoke in certain cases of dissolving the boards of directors of the associations, and to entrust their administration to a commissioner, is only the result of the grant of judicial personality, for the Government has a similar right, in virtue of the general principles of our Public Law in respect of all bodies on which the State grants civil personality...

"It should not be forgotten that the persons directing the associations must continuously enjoy the confidence of the Government, and this is the best guarantee that the working of the associations themselves shall be in harmony with the objects for which they have been created, and recognised, and which renders unnecessary and useless the subjecting of each single act and decision to a minute examination by the supervisory authorities."

I could quote more of that formal statement of the position of the Fascist Government, as to how they intend to allow organisations of labour, and organisations of employers, and organisations of any economic character, to be conducted, by they themselves taking powers to appoint and to remove officials of these organisations, to ensure that they shall be of such "good character, public spirit and sound national views," according to the ideas prevalent at the time, by the director-general. That is the method contemplated in this organisation, according to this official statement, which is an almost complete replica of the scheme in operation in Italy to-day. Notwithstanding that, we have General O'Duffy saying:—

"I am above all a democrat, but I favour improving the present system, improving it in a constitutional way, moving only as fast as the people desire." ....

"Have the Civic Guard been ordered to direct all their attention to the National Guard and not to trouble about any other organisation? The answer to this question would be interesting. Parliamentary Government again!"

One sees right through these writings and speeches an indication that Parliamentary Government, at any rate—whatever else has to go— must be abolished. The system that is indicated as the successor to Parliamentary Government, as we know it, is one which is called vocational representation. I think there is a great deal to be said in favour of vocational representation. I think there is a great deal to be said in favour of the corporate idea—if it is a corporate idea in fact—in economic affairs, where the people concerned are governed by those concerned, but I think there is everything to be said against that idea when the government is to be imposed from above.

I beg to move that the House adjourn for an hour and resume at 8 o'clock.


I think Senator Johnson, who is in possession, will not take up much more time. Perhaps as soon as he finishes his speech the House will decide.

I was saying that I think there is a good deal to be said in favour of the idea of vocational representation, but there is everything to be said against the idea of vocational representation as presented by General O'Duffy. I incline to the belief that he is not very conversant with the thing he is advocating or the idea or principles involved in his advocacy. I think there are other people who know much more about it than he does, and that he is not very well informed or coached. He is allowed to say a lot of things, but there are others working who are working very clearly upon the plan and programme of the Fascists of Italy and the Hitlerites of Germany. Do not let it be forgotten that the Hitlerites did not begin with an armed body. They became armed in the end. Do not let it be forgotten, too, that the Hitlerites finished and got power as a constitutional authority. If there is one thing more than another that would be admitted in this connection, I think it is that the attempt to organise large numbers of people in this country on a military basis with a headquarters staff, commander-in-chief and a hierarchy governing every local parish, every institution, and every organisation, is undoubtedly going to lead to revolt, not merely by the I.R.A., but by every other democratic organisation that feels that its liberties are being invaded and the prospects and success of democratic movements being destroyed.

Perhaps it is true to say that a great deal of this is untrue, unreal. Perhaps it is not quite correct to assume that the organisation is as powerful as it is professing to be or as the Government has taken it to be. I read in the same Blueshirt of August 12th a report of General O'Duffy's speech at Waterford, and remember he spoke of 40,000 strong with the families amounting to 100,000 people and of getting ten times that number when the associate organisation was set on foot. General O'Duffy himself said “the National Guard is essentially a youth movement. Young Ireland recognises this fact already, for nine-tenths of the high increase in strength during the past fortnight consists of boys in their 'teens.” That may be true or not. I do not know whether he was bluffing. I do not know whether he was bluffing when he said that they had 40,000 in the organisation. But behind the bluff there is the idea of obtaining control under the militarised scheme of organisation of the political, social, industrial and economic life of this country. I think to adopt the language of Professor O'Sullivan that ought to be treated in its initial stages and, if possible, an endeavour made to prevent the development of such a scheme which, undoubtedly, would create ill-will and opposition and evoke violence.

On the other hand, there had been so much good in the social and economic proposition that I think the Government itself ought to have encouraged the discussion of some of the ideas that are broached by the organisation. But I believe that because they are being fathered by this sinister movement that what is good in them will be destroyed and the advantages will be utterly dissipated and lost. I regret to have had to form the impression from Senator Sir John Keane's speech that he was encouraging the Blueshirt organisation, this National Guard, to take upon itself the authority for doing in regard to the maintenance of order in this country, what its predecessors claim to have done in regard to the maintenance of order at public meetings, as Deputy O'Higgins claimed for the A.C.A. I regret that Senator Sir John Keane should have given the impression that he wanted to encourage this organisation to take upon itself that authority which undoubtedly ought to be retained by the National Forces.


There was a suggestion from Senator O'Hanlon that the House would now adjourn. So far as I know there are a great many other speeches promised. If the Minister would agree I think the House would be agreeable to adjourn now for an hour, come back again and resume at 8.10 p.m.

The Seanad adjourned at 7.10 p.m. and resumed at 8.10 p.m.

Senator Sir John Keane has had various motives attributed to him for the motion on the Order Paper of to-day, and the nature of the speech which he has delivered. Though I approach this matter from what I think is very definitely a different aspect than that of Senator Sir John Keane, I should like to pay a tribute to him for the calmness and the reasonable outlook which he displayed in his whole handling of the matter. There is an element of surprise in this motion, and that element of surprise, in my opinion, arises from this, that the motion, instead of being tabled by Senator Sir John Keane, was not tabled by Senator Johnson, Senator Comyn or Senator Colonel Moore.

Why should it?

My mind goes back to the 17th October, 1931, to the speeches that were then delivered. Of Senator Colonel Moore I will say nothing at the moment. The cold chain of silence has fallen upon him to-day, though, indeed, he was very voluble on the 17th October, 1931. Senator Michael Comyn, according to Senator Douglas, delivered an impassioned speech. I think that description was inaccurate. I would prefer to describe it as a flamboyant speech. It gave me the impression that the Senator thought he was in a Criminal Court addressing a jury on behalf of someone on trial for his life and, knowing that he had a bad case, he reverted to the old dodge— when you have a bad case abuse your opponent. But when I contrast the speech of Senator Comyn to-day with the numerous speeches contained in the report of the proceedings on the 17th October, 1931, I am forced to ask myself what is it that has caused this transformation of outlook. He was then invoking constitutional precedent. He was then preaching in language in which he cited legal precedents of an interesting and varied nature to the effect that nothing should be done to interfere with the liberty of the subject. To-day if there was one purpose he had in mind it was to obscure the issue raised by this motion and to argue that a situation has arisen when it is right for the existing Government to deprive the subject of his liberty.

As regards Senator Johnson, I would almost prefer to be silent. His speech to-day was something that almost makes one hang one's head in grief, if not in shame. But since Senator Johnson has assumed the role of the boy who does the chores for the Fianna Fáil Government, it is the kind of speech that one might expect. I shall refer to these matters further in a moment or two. Last week when we were discussing matters of a similar nature Senator Gogarty said the whole thing arose from a state of nerves on the part of the President of the Executive Council. If that is so then the President of the Executive Council might have found a remedy for this thing much more easy and less expensive than the move they have resorted to. If they had consulted Henry J. Rivers, 40 Lamb's Conduit Street, London, W.C.1, they would have got a cure for nerves. I have this cure which appeared among the Irish Press advertisements yesterday and which reads:—

"If you suffer from morbid fears, worry, depression, insomnia, weak nerves, timidity, blushing or any similar nervous disorder, stop wasting money on useless patent medicines and let me show you how to conquer your fear before it conquers you."

The President of the Executive Council, and the Minister for Justice cannot have consulted the columns of their own organ, or they would have seen the absolute non-necessity of recruiting this new form of armed Guards, and sending them round Dublin to over-awe the citizens. I mention that in passing, and I hope, if a similar occasion like this does arise again Senator Comyn will pass over the suggestion to the President of the Executive Council to consult the columns of the Irish Press newspaper instead of resorting to these extraordinary measures.

The main feature of this discussion has hinged upon a question of whether or not there has arisen a situation analogous to that of October, 1931—in other words, an occasion which justified the invocation of this particular Constitution (Amendment No. 17) Act, Senator Comyn and Senator Johnson tried to establish the fact that such a situation has arisen, though when that Act was passing through this House they argued vehemently that such a situation could never arise, and that that Act had powers embodied in it which should never be placed at the disposal of any Government.

Hear, hear.

I heard that slight and faint endorsement of my words from Senator Johnson. I failed to get any expression of opinion, to that effect, during the course of his observations this evening. We know what is the whole kernel of this situation. A body has risen up in this country which is feared by the Government Party as being a menace, not to the State, not to the institutions of the State, but to their tenure of office as an Executive Council. Because that is so, the Fianna Fáil Party, having control of Executive authority, proceeds to use the forces of the State to see that that movement which has grown up, not as I say as a menace to the State, but to their political tenure, shall be destroyed before it becomes too strong for them to cope with. Senator Johnson asked us to listen to certain quotations from certain newspapers. Fortunately I have armed myself with the relevant documents of which Senator Johnson would have us take cognisance. He began his citation from the Irish Independent dated July 21st. I shall begin mine from the Irish Press of the same date. On the previous day the National Guard had been inaugurated, and on the following morning the official Press cam paign against the National Guard was inaugurated. That campaign was inaugurated not because the National Guard was a menace to the State, but because it was alleged to be an auxiliary of Cumann na nGaedheal. Here is what the Irish Press said the next morning. I do not want to trouble the House with verbatim quotations, but here is the essence of the thing: it boils down to the simple fact that: “The A.C.A. is to remain the A.C.A. in everything essential except the name, an auxiliary to Cumann na nGaedheal, an opponent of Fianna Fáil and other Republican movements, the whole wrapped up in the poor disguise of woolly words about national ideals.” Not because it is a menace to the State, but because it was likely to grow into an effective opponent of Fianna Fáil, is the reason for the whole campaign.

The previous day, as I have said, was the day of the inauguration of the new organisation. In the course of his statement General O'Duffy when elected to the position of head of the new movement made this statement among others: "An important part of their Constitution declared it to be their aim to promote and maintain social order. The National Guard recognises the courts, the police, the Army and the Civil Service as fundamental institutions of the State. While I am in charge I shall ensure that the organisation will keep within the law and that illegalities will not be tolerated." That was one passage that Senator Johnson did not quote. I want to know from any Senator who may follow me if he can give a single instance where that statement of the indication of the procedure by the head of the National Guard has been departed from by that organisation. A statement follows which I have no doubt had considerable influence in stimulating the Executive Council to make up their minds. There were in fact two statements disapproving of the new body. One was a letter dated 31st July in which Miss Mary MacSwiney emphatically disapproved of the National Guard, and the second was on August 3rd, when a statement was issued by the I.R.A. also condemning the National Guard.

If what I am asserting is correct, and I challenge denial, the National Guard has broken no law. It has declared its intention to recognise and accept the institutions of this State as the institutions to uphold and abide by. Seeing that Government spokesmen in this House have tried to suggest that a situation has arisen which necessitates the application of this Act, if the only grounds upon which they can base it is the uprise and advent of the National Guard, I want to know the grounds from which they can draw that conclusion. The National Guard is a body of disciplined, organised, law-abiding citizens, who have broken no law and who do not propose to break any law. I want to know upon what grounds it can be alleged that their existence has created a situation that necessitates the application of this Constitution (Amendment) Act, which was formerly so vigorously denounced by the apologists for it to-day? I want to ask those Senators, to ask the Government and to ask this House if any situation analogous to that which existed in December, 1931, has arisen? Anyone who will consult the statement made by the then President of the Executive Council, in justifying the passing of that measure, and who will say that a similar or analogous situation exists to-day is a man who, if he knows the facts, must know that he is lying and saying something which is untrue. I do not propose to read the statement made by the then President, but I ask anyone who wants to take an informed view of what the situation is, to read the statement of the then President of the Executive Council in Volume 41 of the Dáil debates, beginning with Column 31, in which he recited, in over three or four columns a long list of outrages, murders and crimes which were bringing the State down into a condition of anarchy with which the powers which the Government had then at their disposal were utterly inadequate to cope.

I see Senator Colonel Moore smiles. He had no reason to smile then. During that discussion he said: "There is not a state of war except a few odd murders." I expected either from Senator Comyn or Senator Johnson—I could hardly take Senator Colonel Moore seriously on this point— in view of their past utterances, and in view of their past repute, when they wished to convince this House that a situation had arisen which demanded advertence to this Act, that they would have shown some indication that a similar set of circumstances had arisen as that which existed in 1931. We know that nothing of the kind has arisen. The one thing that has arisen has been a body of disciplined, young citizens whose hearts are in the right place, who have set a high standard as their ideal and who will prove, I hope, a very healthy corrective to that demoralising canker of spurious and neurotic idealism with which the present President of the Executive Council and his satellites have been rotting the civic morale of the people of this State.

I am not going to appeal like Senator Douglas to the Minister for reasons which I shall give. I know that the present Executive Council are committed to a certain course. I know that they have no intention of looking upon the affairs of this State in a detached way or of recognising that when they assume office and the responsibilities of office, they are Ministers, not of a Party, but of the whole people of the State. They have made it clear that that is not their conception of duty. One thing I do want to ask the Minister to-night, one thing I challenge the Minister to tell us before this debate is over and it is this: whether or not he is waiting until the Seanad has terminated its deliberations, until the only part of the Oireachtas that is at present in session has adjourned, until there is no longer any official part of the Oireachtas to criticise their action—whether they are waiting for the time when they will be immune from authentic criticism, to take the action which the President of the Executive Council forecast last Sunday? I want an answer to that question. I read in to-day's paper, the Independent, the statement that the Minister for Defence, Mr. Aiken, some days ago issued a circular to the Army Reserve announcing that membership of the Army Comrades' Association or the National Guard or any military or semi-military body, not lawfully—and I want the Seanad to mark the word “lawfully”—maintained by the Government of Saorstát Eireann is forbidden to officers and men of the Reserve, as is also membership of any secret society. “Any military or semi-military body not lawfully maintained by the Government of Saorstát Eireann.” Are there any such bodies unlawfully maintained by the Government of the Saorstát? The implication would appear to be that there are. If not, why the use of the words “not lawfully”? Would it not read just as effectively if it stated, “membership of the Army Comrades' Association or the National Guard, or any military or semi-military body not maintained by the Government of Saorstát Eireann”? I take it that these things are not drafted by some office boy, that these communications are drafted by people who mean what they say. The implication there is that there are military or semi-military bodies unlawfully maintained by the Government. I want to know who they are. Let us know frankly whether or not the position of the Government is this: that they are only a stalking horse for some other force, that they are only a smoke-screen to enable another force to develop its plans and that when these plans are fully matured the smoke-screen will be removed and that other force in the background will come right into what the Government consider its rightful place. We are entitled to know this. This is not a matter of Party politics. It is not a matter of whether Cumann na nGaedheal or Fianna Fáil exercises the powers of Government. It is a question of whether the citizens of this State are being tricked by a parade of words, and that, having been lulled into a sense of false confidence, before they know where they are they will discover not only the trap but the betrayal in which the present Government has indulged in regard to the citizens of this State.

Senator Comyn said that nothing happened on last Sunday week. If a similar thing had occurred prior to the advent of Fianna Fáil, if this proclamation based on this Act had come into operation with the same utter absence of justification, the words of Senator Comyn would not have been that nothing happened. He would have told this House, and told it in language clothed with the majesty of the law and with legal precedent, that Article 9 of the Constitution had been violated, that Article which ensures the right of free expression of opinion and peaceable assembly to law-abiding citizens. What was the situation last Sunday week when the men who believed that the Cenotaph out there is a monument to three great men who founded this State, without whose ability and sacrifice and statesmanship this State would not have come into being and this assembly would not be sitting here to-day wished to honour their memory? Men who venerate their memory, men who stand by their ideals, under the auspices of this new association which has come into being, not to prostitute nationalism, not to attack the State, but to maintain the State and to reinvigorate the spirit of Irish nationalism, wished to pay a tribute to the memory of these men. Under the pretence that that was to lead to a disturbance of the peace, to a breach of the law, to a shattering of the State, the whole forces at the disposal of this Executive Council were invoked. For what purpose? To maintain the public peace, to prevent any act of desecration of the memory of the dead? No. But to prevent those who stood for the ideals of those who died for this State paying that act of homage. If that is not a prostitution of the forces of this State for petty political, Party purposes then I do not know what is.

If there was no other reason for raising questions of State policy, I think that would be adequate. I could quote many statements by Ministers. I have a whole file of them here. I am taking careful note of their utterances, and I venture to say that if ever there is a raid upon my premises for seditious literature they will get as perfect a record of Ministerial blunders as it would be possible to find in the whole Saorstát. They will probably get more than that. But I want to know what is all this for. It is not in the interests of peace; it is not in the interests of impartial Government. As far as I can judge, it is in the interests of setting up a dictatorship of what I would call syncopated Republicans who with one hand are brandishing the Pope's Encyclicals, and with the other clinging to the shirt-tails of Stalin, the Russian dictator. There are people who do not seem to appreciate the seriousness of the situation, who tell us that it is unwise and imprudent of us to be raising these matters and who say:

"Trust the Government; do not rake up the dying embers of the civil war." I tell them that the civil war is being projected right from its past into the present by the actions of the present Government. I believe that when the Treaty of 1921 was secured we had secured not only the greatest victory for the Irish nation for many centuries, but we had also secured the basis for an honourable peace with England. To secure those two things, I have done what I could. War has been declared upon that basis of peace. That national victory has been besmirched and derided as a national humiliation. I say those who are keeping alive that issue are the people who are keeping alive the embers of the civil war.

The President of the Executive Council, in Thurles last Sunday, made a statement. In the course of that statement he said:—

"There was a speech which I made here which was misrepresented time after time, and it is as true to-day as it was then. The speech was intended then to undeceive the poor fools who had been deceived at that time and to tell those people that the moment the Treaty was in effect—the moment that Government was elected here under the Treaty—that a new situation had arisen in Ireland—a situation that did not exist before—and that the moment the Government was there under the Treaty, if there was anybody who tries to get supreme power except by way of getting the support of the people, then, instead will he find himself up against the forces of the elected Government."

We talk about raking up the ashes of the civil war! That was what the President said last Sunday; but the exact words he used in the same town of Thurles, in March, 1922, were as follows:—

"If they accepted the Treaty, and if the volunteers of the future tried to complete the work the volunteers of the last four years had been attempting, they would have to complete it, not over the bodies of foreign soldiers but over the dead bodies of their own countrymen. They would have to wade through Irish blood, through the blood of the soldiers of the Irish Government, and through, perhaps the blood of some members of the Government, in order to get freedom."

Those words were addressed to young men at a moment of wild excitement— young, passionate men, still thrilled with the passion of the civil war— the operation and the whole atmosphere of the civil war. If that was not incitement to assassination I do not know what it was; but I say that the spirit embodied in those words has been reacting in the minds of young men right through the period, and it operates, to a great extent, to-day.

The implication of the Senator has been denied. I ask you, Sir, whether this matter is relevant to the subject of the discussion, which is the recent action of the Executive Council.


I find it very hard to say whether it is relevant or not. The Senator is only making a quotation, and quotations have been made by other Senators during the course of the debate.

I will not give way to the Senator.

The speech which the Senator has quoted has been contradicted definitely by the speaker.


What speaker?

I am quoting the words from the current publication of the time.

But the President has stated that his speech in Thurles was intended to be a warning to the people of the dangers of civil war.


Very well, and it can be taken to be so.

That speech was made in 1922 in which it was said that it would be necessary to wade through the blood of Irish people.

On a point of information, I might inform Senator Fanning, who is not, apparently, very conversant with recent Irish happenings, that that quotation is in reference to that speech made——

Mr. de Valera made a speech on the 17th March, 1922, in which he said that if the Treaty were accepted it would be necessary to wade through Irish blood, through the blood of the soldiers of the Irish Government, and perhaps the blood of some members of the Government.

I am quoting the exact words, as reported in the Press of the time. If President de Valera wishes to withdraw the implication that was then taken from these words it is rather late in the day to do so.

The President said last Sunday that that speech was a warning and the Senator ought to accept it as such.

I have had such a long and painful experience of trying to understand what exactly the present President of the Executive Council means when he says anything that I find a difficulty in accepting that explanation. He generally says something with a back door and a front door open to him.

A Senator

A trap door!

If it does not suit the President to get out by the front door he can retire gracefully through the back door. I can quote, as bearing upon the authenticity of my indication of the implication that was drawn from that statement, the words of one of the founders of the State, the late Mr. Arthur Griffith. I remember, after that statement was made, the Sinn Fein Executive was then still in existence and the late Arthur Griffith and President de Valera, as he was then, were both members. The late Arthur Griffith said to me—these are his words: "I shall not sit in the same room with that man until he withdraws his incitement to assassination." So that, whatever may be the explanation now, that was the impression drawn at that time, and that was the impetus and the reservoir from which came the energies that impelled certain young men of this country to attempt to wade through the blood of their fellow Irishmen and through the blood of the members of the then Government of the Irish Free State. There is no use in mincing words. I am not here to play parlour games, but to face up to the realities of the situation and to face up to the question of getting this State on to commonsense and realistic lines, and to realise that the full substance of national freedom has been secured and that no alteration in titles or forms will in any way add to the powers we possess. I do not believe that it is wise or statesmanlike to play fast and loose with these precious possessions, lest, perhaps, those things which we have in our hands will disappear and leave us in a state of chaos and anarchy. It is because I believe that the present Executive Council are playing fast and loose with these things and playing the part, not of statesmanlike leaders of an important State, but the part of petty, party leaders and prostituting the high office they hold for the sake of these petty, party purposes, that I strongly urge upon this House to support this motion.

Whether this motion is passed, or is not pressed to a division, is not the important thing. The important thing is this: that we have brought before this House and the people the fact that there is a watchful eye being kept upon the operations of those who exercise the functions of Government here; that, as Senator Sir John Keane said in his opening remarks, we are facing up to this matter with a sense of our responsibility—a responsibility which we cannot evade by a torrent of words like Senator Comyn, or a set of cheap evasions like Senator Johnson. The fact remains that this whole position which has arisen and which has necessitated the motion before us to-day is absolutely without justification. For Senator Johnson to tell us that the fact that General O'Duffy proceeds to put forward certain theories in relation to the reform of Parliamentary government is adequate ground for invoking this Act is to make us believe that Senator Johnson regards us either as children or people suffering from senile decay. I do not say that these commentaries on constitutional positions by General O'Duffy are the last word in wisdom——

Hear, hear!

——but I do say that there is nothing unconstitutional, there is no breach of the law or of the Constitution and no foreshadowing of a breach of the law or of the Constitution by his suggesting theories of his own about Parliamentary conditions.

On a point of correction, might I ask the Senator if that particular quotation from General O'Duffy is a contradiction of a former statement, or if it is a fresh announcement which will probably be contradicted to-morrow?


What statement do you refer to?

I am afraid that I did not quote General O'Duffy at all. I simply adverted to the fact that certain people were commenting that because General O'Duffy put forward certain theories about Parliamentary reform a situation was created wherein this Constitution (Amendment No. 17) Act had to be invoked.

That was a statement from a leader of a certain Party.

Sit down, Michael, sit down. I am almost finished but I could say a great deal more. I read certain statements by the present Minister for Justice which he made in the Dáil about a report from General O'Duffy and when I read the Press reports I certainly felt slightly alarmed. When I read the statement in the Dáil reports I said that if there ever was a cheap attempt to bowdlerise the report and present a conclusion which was not necessarily there that was it. If it were not for considerations of time, I would proceed to justify what I say, but I do hope that in order to justify not only the action which the Government have already taken but the action which he and his chief have foreshadowed in the immediate future the Minister will be able to give us some more convincing material than that which he put before the Dáil. Otherwise, I hope that there will be a full and adequate report of the statement which he makes and, if so, I believe that the verdict of the people, which will be of much more importance than the verdict of this House, will be that the present Executive Council, in the action they have taken and in the action which they propose to take, are not safeguarding but attacking the liberties and securities of the people, that they are not safeguarding the fortunes of this State but using the forces of this State to safeguard the fortunes of their own political Party.

In the heyday of Greek drama it was usual to mollify the tragedy by a satire or kind of harle-quinade, and when Senator Comyn, whom I am glad to see present, because I should hate to talk behind his back, finds that the Government has not got a leg to stand on, he is employed as a kind of genial and reverend Punchinello. It would not be a very great want of chivalry to fail to talk before Senator Comyn because there was a time when if you were behind his back you were in danger of being run through by his Court sword on the way to Dublin Castle, so that I think though it be courteous not to talk behind his back it would require more courage to talk behind it. What is the tragedy in respect of which he makes himself the harlequin? It is a tragedy that could have been foreseen 18 months ago. After the enormous confidence trick that brought the Government to power with promises, none of which has been fulfilled except the promise of a lower standard of living all round, I asked a man, "What will happen?" He said—and I will let the House judge how far it was a prophecy:—

"When they find themselves confronted with reality, they will not hesitate for a moment to plunge this country again into disorder so as to escape in a smoke screen of destruction from their own incapacity."

Now, the Government would give anything for such a smoke screen. They are fanning that imaginary flame of the National Guard for the purpose of raising enough smoke to hide themselves. Senator Comyn said that God was with the Government because there were two good harvests. If there was an earthquake, He would be nearer to the Government to get them out of this difficulty. If God were with the Government a very temporary visit from the wandering supernumerary, Senator Connolly, would include Him in the super-tax or induce Him to take a seat on the board of the Irish Press. It is a pity He is not with the Government if He is a God of abundance. But God is not with the Government. It is the I.R.A. who are with the Government, or whom the Government is trying to propitiate. A Minister of the Government is reported to have said that the day will come when “we will throw this country over to its rightful owners.” It is a pity that that day has not come just now so that this abdication could be put down to the National Guard. The country's rightful owners are naturally the people of this country, but why is more than half the country to be excluded from ownership? Why is half the country to be presumed to be an enemy of the country? It is not an enemy of the country; it is an enemy of a junta and the most remorseless, cynical and unworthy junta that ever got into power in a country, because it has poisoned the genial wells of liberty; it has tampered with justice; it has made patriotism a byword and a party catch-call, and it has made us vis-a-vis England a miserable nation whose word is about as straightforward and as national as the name de Valera. We are looked on as an untrustworthy set of people and that is what this Government has done in a year and a half. The wheels of industry are not rolling but the wheels of a Juggernaut are to be set rolling before handing over the country to its rightful owners. They are trying to get an excuse in this National Guard for raising what could not be a civil war against men avowedly unarmed and searched for arms but a civil massacre. They will get no such excuse because you cannot by a definition or a proscription disfranchise or denationalise the better half of the country—or the greater part of the country, as it probably would be.

Say the better half.

As you are not in it I am not including you but I would like to bring you in.

It includes you and therefore it must be perfect.

I am not a gimcrack dictator. It is perfectly plain to anyone that the predicament the Government has got itself into arises from its economic policy, which will force it into a dictatorial position. Their economic policy ended in the destruction of the finest industry this country had, an industry that brought in £17,000,000 a year. One can calculate its value by the principal sum that brings that interest. They dealt with people whose intelligence is about this level: "Is it not a terrible thing to see more cattle in Ireland than men?" as if it were a more terrible thing to see more money in your house than children, because cattle mean money? With a mentality of that level to play upon they got rid of the chief and prosperous heritage which they were left by the late Government. President de Valera, who cannot think except in terms of self-denials, reduced the country by his policy to a lower standard of living deliberately. He was a kind of Trappist because he told us here on one occasion that the sooner the country was trapped into losing its cattle trade the better for it. If he had read history he would know that our national epics concern cattle— that cattle have been this country's staple from the beginning of its history. I presume that he pursued this policy on the advice of his commercial adviser, the wandering Senator Connolly. The country has lost an income of £17,000,000 a year and no amount of cuts or economies can make up for that. The result of the President's economic policy is seen in the provisions of his Land Bill and, therefore, he is finding it necessary to assume a dictatorship. He will be forced to bring himself into such a position that he can punish any man who refuses to raise cattle after September, when there will be no market for them. That would be one outcome of the Land Bill. People will refuse to raise cattle and their lands will be considered to be unsatisfactorily managed, with the result that these lands can be invaded by the owner's own children. The father will be divided against his sons. Irishmen fought for fixity of tenure, but under this arrangement the farmers of Ireland will be no more than serfs on Irish soil.

Is the Senator making a speech on the Land Bill?

I am speaking on what will be the economic outcome of the Government's policy.


I think, Senator, you are going a little outside the motion.

I said at the beginning that their economic policy got the Government into this pitiable condition of industrial collapse which has caused the nervous breakdown of the President. And we already have the Government Buildings turned into an armed catacomb. General O'Duffy at least can be found in the open air. He is still able to enjoy the freedom and goodwill of this country. The Government have got into a nervous condition so that what all this amounts to is that the people are asked to pay £80,000 a year to nurse the President in his nervous breakdown.

You would do it for much less.

I would do it for far less if the material were amenable. A much more serious aspect to this collapse is that the dead men under whom Mr. de Valera served are now withheld from honour and made anathema. Their Cenotaph may not be visited by those who wish to pay a tribute to them annually. If one were to discuss the slave spirit in this country we have a frightful example of it in this individual. Even the little reflection of freedom which came from English character—which after all evolved a form of liberty that is unchallengeable—even that little reflection of liberty about which we hear the Government mouthing here was challenged by President de Valera and we find ourselves in the position that we can only deal with England in two ways, truculence or truckling to it, never looking it in the eye as equals and men freeborn. The adoption of the slave attitude has reduced our country to a condition of disgrace. Senator Comyn opened his speech with a little poetry. I will reply with an appropriate quotation which explains a great deal of the slave mind and its conduct:

"For three things is earth disquieted, and for four which it cannot bear. For a servant when he reigneth..."

"His feet are swift to tumult,

His hands are slow to toil,

His ears are deaf to reason,

His lips are loud in broil.

He knows no use of power

Except to show his might;

He gives no heed to judgment,

Unless it prove him right.

Because he served a master

Before his Kingship came,

And hid in all disaster

Behind his master's name,

So, when his Folly opens

The unnecessary hells,

A servant, when he reigneth,

Throws the blame on someone else.

His vows are lightly spoken,

His faith is hard to bind,

His trust is easy broken,

He fears his fellow kind.

The merest mob will move him

To break the pledge he gave,

Oh, a servant when he reigneth

Is more than ever slave."

Who but the President is opening in this country the "unnecessary hells"? That is the position to which we have been reduced by a man for whose timidity the country is asked to pay £80,000 to protect him from his own groundless apprehensions. But, as Senator Milroy has said, there is a far more serious position. I would not trust President de Valera not to turn even if he were Lot's wife. He is apparently seeking for a smoke screen in order to escape from the results of his economic incompetence, and to provide himself with an excuse for tentative abdication to see how far he will be tolerated by the armed forces which govern him, at whose expense he tried to float himself before. We know the position he occupied in O'Connell street when it is reported that he escaped in the skirts of a monk. He hopes now to placate the I.R.A. and every undisarmable body by making rebels of his critics under the Constitution. He is hoping that he will be able to establish a dictatorship, that the country will be suddenly caught in a position that he will be able to bloom into further blunders and enforce his will in bolstering up a hopeless economic condition. Our cattle trade will be lost by September and the grass will be eaten to the roots. That position will require a slave-driving dictatorship. That position was envisaged by Senator Connolly in a speech which he made in Trinity College when he proposed to anticipate oncoming Communism by a Catholic Socialist Republican State—four paradoxes in the one phrase—and future insolvency by immediate bankruptcy. The timidity of the Government has created a situation which is out of control. The dumps are in the country but they have not the courage to seize them. Instead they are going about searching peaceful citizens for guns which they do not possess. That is one reason why I think the motion is more than justified. Even the guns that people were permitted to have were seized. It is not so much a matter of the guns as of getting a justifiable excuse to bolster up the Government's deficiencies due to cowardice and incompetence. These are the two root causes of the position—cowardice and incompetence. The country will not allow and will not accept a smoke screen to be made of the National Guard. The Government will have to seek some other excuse either before it assumes a tyranny or before it goes out of office, and the last excuse that this country will provide is civil war. All this affords extraordinary proof of how little interference this country has had from Great Britain when the Government has to seek for a scapegoat in its own country of its own countrymen and make enemies of law-abiding Irishmen by law.

To me, it is strange— though I cannot say I am sorry—to be reminded in a forcible way of a thing I was told in my youth: that the greatest possible punishment for a child is to beat him with a stick he has pulled himself. It is obvious from the speeches made from the Opposition Benches to-night that the members of the Opposition, who were largely instrumental in introducing this particular measure two years ago, are now feeling it terribly bad that the Bill should react upon themselves. Senator Douglas made some remarks about the humorous contributions to this debate by Senator Comyn. I listened to Senator Comyn's speech and I failed to see anything humorous in it. It struck me that Senator Comyn was in deadly earnest in everything he said, but I could not help noticing the humorous attitude of the members of the Opposition. They were, apparently, in very good humour over this motion. That forces me to the conclusion that the recent actions of the Executive Council, purporting to be for the preservation of public peace and order, have been justified. It forces me to the conclusion that deep down in their hearts the members of the Opposition are sincerely grateful to the Executive Council for the step they took in banning the parade on last Sunday week. If they would only admit the truth, they would admit that if that parade had not been banned, members of the Opposition who have been coming in here wearing cornflowers, blue shirts and so forth, would neither have the moral courage to desist from, nor the physical courage to participate in that particular parade. I believe they should be for ever grateful to the Executive Council and I believe that deep down in their hearts they are grateful to the Executive Council for coming to their relief in a particularly awkward situation.

I am sorry that Senator Staines is not here, because on this day week he made a statement which, in my opinion, should not be allowed to pass. The reason I say that is because it is necessary to couple up the statements made by the various people in Opposition to the Government, to realise the seriousness of the situation which it is attempted to create and in respect of which, to a large extent, the parade on last Sunday was banned. I am quoting from the Irish Independent of August 17, 1933. Senator Staines is reported as having said:—

"On Friday last the Government sent three armoured cars and a hooded terror into the Civic Guard Depôt in Phoenix Park. After the Army telling them it was not a job for the Army, the Civic Guards were asked to supply men to man the armoured cars. They did not get these men on Friday or Saturday but they were able to man one of the armoured cars on Sunday. That car manned by a superintendent, a few sergeants and a few Civic Guards went through the streets of the city on Sunday. They would like to know the names of the men who manned that car and what authority the Government had to try and convert an unarmed police force into an armed force and try to prevent law-abiding citizens from laying a wreath on the Cenotaph or on the graves at Glasnevin of Griffith, Collins and O'Higgins—the men who established the State and made it possible for the Dáil and Seanad to assemble in Dublin."

I should like to know if Senator Staines was really serious when he asked that question. Did he really want to know the name of the particular superintendent who, he states, manned that armoured car? As Senator Staines is not here, I ask some of his colleagues to volunteer the information. As there is no information forthcoming, we will take it that Senator Staines did really want to get that information. If that be so, what was his object in requiring it? Was it for the purpose of felon-setting, of which we have heard in the past? Did he want to point the finger at that particular superintendent so that he may be an easy victim for the members of that very harmless body, as we are supposed to believe—the Army Comrades' Association? Perhaps if Senator Staines were here, he would say, as he insinuated already, that he knew the name of that particular superintendent. If he knows the name of the superintendent and if, as he has so often said, he is out for peace, order and good government and realises the responsibility attaching to the position he holds as a member of the Oireachtas, would he be prepared to tell the Minister for Justice the name of the particular civil servant who gave him that particular piece of information? Would he be prepared to tell us how he got that information? Would he be prepared to tell us how he thought his speech could in any way help towards the promotion of peace, order and good government?

As I have said, it is necessary to connect the statements made by the various members of the Opposition to appreciate fully the good sense of the Executive Council in taking the action for which they are being criticised this evening. It is rather interesting to see this motion tabled by Senator Sir John Keane and to hear that Senator, the avowed spokesman of the landlord class in this country——

They no longer exist. The Senator refers to the ex-landlord class.

Does the Senator want to apologise for his statements in the past? Does he want to dissociate himself from the landlord class in this country? If he does we shall accept his apology.

I only wanted to point out that in regard to land the relation of landlord and tenant does not exist here under the law. There are no landlords now.

The Senator refuses to apologise for his past actions and statements?

I have nothing to apologise for.

To continue, Senator Sir John Keane, who has moved this motion and spoken to it at length, is the avowed spokesman of the banking interests in this country, the avowed spokesman of every British concern in this country. It is very interesting to see such a man standing up in this House in 1933 as the spokesman of what is very definitely a revolutionary body. Senator Sir John Keane and others may talk for hours but they cannot convince anybody in this House or outside it that there was not a necessity for the recent action taken by the Government. I am quite sure that Senator Sir John Keane knew that when he tabled this motion. The first thing that struck me when I saw the motion was that for the future this motion was to be a substitute for the worn-out slogan referred to by Senator Counihan and by other members of the Opposition: "Give us back our markets." I hope we are not going to have it dished up for breakfast, dinner and supper in every debate. I do not think, however, that there is much necessity to worry about it. I beleve that the particular army, of which Senator Sir John Keane is the sponsor in this House, is fast fading out of existence, and the sooner it does the better it is for the members of that army and for the country as a whole.

In his speech Senator Sir John Keane asked the Minister for Justice if he could be given particulars regarding the armed camp which he said existed in the vicinity of the city on last Sunday week, or on the previous night. It is rather interesting to recall the headlines that appeared in a certain English newspaper which practically stated that an armed camp lay outside the city of Dublin. I ask the Senator which of the English newspapers he was quoting from, or was he quoting from any English newspaper?

Does the Senator want an answer?

It appeared in the Irish Times and it was quite common knowledge to a good number of people that this camp was there. I have spoken to people who saw it. I have spoken to the person on whose land the encampment was. I only stated that it was common knowledge and no more.

I always found in the country districts that the people recognised the Irish Times as an English newspaper. I never believed that I would get Senator Sir John Keane to stand up and say that the Irish Times was an English newspaper. In any case if Senator Sir John Keane was not quoting from an English newspaper, perhaps he could tell the House the name of the correspondent here who supplied the information to the particular newspaper which published the news. The whole thing is that this campaign of misrepresentation, engaged in by various members of the Opposition, was nothing else but an attempt to create panic in this country, to create a lack of confidence in the Government, and to create a situation when, if allowed to continue, the people would begin to wonder what would be the name of the dictator who would be in power when they got up the next morning. It was a direct attempt to get people outside this country to come to the conclusion that a state of anarchy existed here; that armed bands were all over the country; that they were ready to march on Government buildings; ready to massacre the people, and all that sort of thing. Of course, I realise that people who have tried every other plan to get the present Government out of office should fall back on that kind of stuff, regardless of the consequences to the country. They failed in their other attempt, and they will also fail in this attempt. There was another motive behind this campaign. According to the speeches of Senator Staines he claims to know all about the Gárda Síochána. He claims to know all the secrets, and, if we are to believe his statement, he claims to be able to get valuable information. The other motive was to attempt to create mistrust in the Government services, to attempt to create a situation in the Civil Service when one member would be afraid to trust the other. It was an attempt to create something like a mutiny in the forces of the State. As a result of the recent action of the Government, Senator Staines must be convinced that he must fall back on some other method, because the other one has failed, and will continue to fail.

Senator Milroy made so many extraordinary statements that were absolutely irrelevant that I do not propose to refer to his various inaccuracies. The Senator tried to recall the situation that existed before the civil war, and to misrepresent various speakers during that period. He tried in particular to misrepresent President de Valera in connection with a speech delivered at Thurles. Senator Milroy knows perfectly well that he was quoting from newspapers that deliberately misrepresented every Irish patriot in recent years; that called for the execution of the men of 1916 and later periods; and that would be just as ready to call for the execution of Senator Milroy himself, if he had not changed his coat and turned away from the road along which he asked so many of us to follow him. There is no need for me to explain that speech. I was in Thurles the day that President de Valera delivered it. I interpreted his statement on that occasion as a warning to the young men of Ireland, as a warning as to what would be the result if the young men followed the advice given to them by particular leaders at that period. If Senator Milroy or anybody else wanted to know what the people of Thurles and the people of every other part of the County of Tipperary think of President de Valera and his various speeches, whether these speeches were made in 1916 or 1922 or 1932, they should have been there on Sunday last and they would see something which would prove to the satisfaction of any sane man that the people of Thurles are to-day more solid behind President de Valera than they were at any period since 1916.

There were thousands of people in Thurles on Sunday last at an inter-county match who did not give a damn about President de Valera.

Are these words permissible in this House?


It is hardly a Parliamentary expression.

It is a great pity that Senator Fanning does not make a speech of his own in the House. He gets plenty of opportunities to do so. I feel ashamed the Senator is a Tipperary man and that at the odd time he stands up he should use unparliamentary language. If Senator Fanning happened to be in Thurles on Sunday and if we were to judge him seriously from his various statements in this House I am afraid he would not have waited over to see the square of Thurles thronged at 10 o'clock at night to hear the words of President de Valera. The Senator would probably have retired with the rest of his class immediately the match was over. I do not want to delay the House further at this time of night. But I do not want to pass over Senator Gogarty's speech though I do not want to attach any importance to such an individual when he says that none of the promises of the Government have been fulfilled. Senator Gogarty has been absent from this country for a considerable time. Since he came back and found that some of the things the Government had promised had been carried out he has gone up on his hind legs and to-day he has fallen back.

At this late hour I would like to say only one word or two. I sympathise with the Minister because I think I am the only member of this House who ever had to occupy the position that he occupies now. For that reason I do not like to take up much time. He is now the Minister for Justice. I was Minister for Home Affairs and I was Minister when the Gárda were established. One thing that I would like to say about last Sunday week was this—that I do not think the Gárda should be asked to go out in an armoured car. I want to explain my reason for that and it is this—there are several barracks in Dublin and there are some hundreds of soldiers. The soldier does not come into contact with the civilian in the same way as the Gárda does. When the soldier is on duty he is a member of a party and there is an officer in charge of the party. Nobody knows who that officer is. The Gárdaí who were in that armoured car last Sunday week had to go out afterwards on duty as ordinary Gárdaí. The only weapon of defence they carry is the baton. They have to be prepared to take on anything that comes along. The Gárda has late hours and is often in lonely places, and if you put him into any position that is unpopular with the people you are placing him at a very unfair disadvantage. I am only referring to the matter from that particular point of view. I do not see any reason why if an armoured car is to be sent out why it should not have been manned by soldiers and not by Gárda. I think it was unfair to them. I feel I have a particular responsibility for the Gárda. I have a particular interest in them and I think they should not be treated in that way.

Is Senator Duggan prepared to volunteer the information that I asked for from Senator Staines? Is the Senator prepared to give us the name of the particular superintendent or civil servant who gave that information to Senator Staines?

I do not know their names and it is most unfair that their names should be published for——


I must ask the Senator not to reply to that question.

I was only saying that I did not know their names and that it was most unfair that their names should be published for the reason that the Gárda have to fight their own battles afterwards.

How do you know they were Guards at all?


Again I must say questions should be put through the Chair.

Well we know that they were Guards; they were not soldiers. There are enough soldiers in Dublin to man more than one car. It is most unfair that the Gárda should be asked to man those cars. That is a duty I strongly object to. On the general question I must say that I sympathise with the Minister. I do not want to take up his time. I know he is about to reply now to the various points raised. As to the display on Sunday week last I think it was unnecessary and I think it would be very much better if we had our police doing their duty in Dun Laoghaire and in other places about the city that were left unprotected. The police should have been left discharging their ordinary duties. It would be of much more importance to the people if they were. I will go further than that and say that if a similar situation arises again and if an armoured car has to be manned let it be manned by the soldiers and not by the Guards. Senator Moore suggested that the Gárda should be employed to man an armoured car. I would say to the Minister it is very much better that soldiers should be employed for nobody knows who the soldier is. Setting up the police against the civilian population amongst whom they have to go out afterwards armed only with a baton and alone, is very unfair to the Gárda. I had expected the President might be here. I would make an appeal to him which I cannot make otherwise because we are not on speaking terms. I now make that appeal to the Minister—our time would be much better employed in the interests of the people who sent us here in endeavouring to co-operate with each other in improving the conditions of the country instead of spending our time in vituperation against each other —vituperation which I deplore.

Senator Duggan in connection with the Gárda made a suggestion which seemed to me to be tantamount to a threat. He suggested that these Gárda have to go out on ordinary duties alone and that something was to happen to them because of their having manned this armoured car. Is that a threat?


I must ask Senator Duggan not to answer that.

Senator Duggan, you said that they would have to go out doing ordinary duty and that they would be on that duty alone. Is that a threat?


If questions are asked let them be asked through me and I will see whether these questions are questions that should be answered.

I only wanted to raise that point——

May I say that when I made that statement——


The Senator is not to reply. He has already made his speech.

I would like it to be known that Senator Duggan has suggested that the Gárdaí, if such went on the tender on Sunday week last, when in their ordinary capacity carrying out their duties unarmed are liable, because of what they did, to——

On a point of personal explanation, I want to make it clear that the Senator is apparently under a misapprehension as to what I meant. I said that if ordinary Gárdaí were sent out on that duty it was unfair to them. Their names should not be disclosed and it would be very unfair to them to send them out on ordinary duty afterwards, unarmed. On another occasion somebody asked that their names should be mentioned and I strongly objected to that for the reason I have given.

Would I be in order in proposing that the Minister be now heard? The hour is getting late and I think it is understood that Senators had agreed not to speak much longer than ten minutes.

I am anxious to address the House and I promise I will not speak long.

It has long been the rule that when a motion is made there should be no further argument about it and the Cathaoirleach should decide the matter.


I have no motion before me, so I must call on Senator O'Hanlon.

I propose that the Minister be now heard.


That is not a motion that I can take.

I propose that Senator O'Hanlon be heard.


I have called upon Senator O'Hanlon.

Someone has stated that the hour is late and the Minister is tired. I am not going to keep the House very long. Information has just come to the House that the National Guard, formerly known as the Army Comrades' Association, has been banned, and that military tribunals have again been set up. The personnel of the military tribunals is available. In that connection I will just ask the House to bear with me for a few moments while I read extracts from statements made by the Minister when the Constitution Amendment (No. 17) Bill, 1931, was introduced in the other House. I would like to submit to the House the Minister's statements in 1931. The Minister said:

"The Government recognise that they have been a hopeless failure in dealing with the economic position, and they look to the one thing in which they have been a success— that is, waging war upon their fellow-countrymen. In that they succeeded in the past, and they are taking advantage of this opportunity in the hope that, by waging another war and forcing the position, they may be able to get back to office again. This is not a Public Safety Act; it is a Public Provocation Act. The Party opposite are trying to work up a position that will provoke people in this country and bring about a condition of affairs that will empower them to carry on a relentless warfare so that the economic position will be forgotten and the position of the people smothered under."

Also in October, 1931, when the Bill that was dubbed a Coercion Bill by the Party at present in office was under consideration, the present Minister for Justice said:

"Does the Executive really think that the people of the country are fools? There is the possibility that they may. There is the possibility also that they think that coercion like this is going to get them a lease of office that they would not otherwise get. As speakers on this side of the House have pointed out, coercion has failed in the past. Sometimes where a Government that considered itself the constituted authority felt it was entitled to exercise coercion, it failed. Coercion in this matter, where there is no demand for it, and no real evidence or justification for it, must fail in the same way. It must recoil on this Executive."

The Minister further said:—

"It is not on the prepared statement of the President the House should decide—a statement that was carefully prepared with publicity and propaganda objectives—and which did not give sufficient evidence on which any assembly might feel itself justified in passing such a measure, especially a measure which has as its objective the proclaiming of martial law practically and the setting up of tribunals which will sit behind closed doors in the absence of the Press and the public, where no relatives of the unfortunate person being tried will have an opportunity of knowing what goes on—tribunals that will have the absolute power of life and death. I say that before powers like that are going to be given we should be very slow about passing a measure of this kind."

These are extracts from statements made by the Minister in 1931. If I made these statements as original contributions here to-night I wonder what would the Minister say. Perhaps he might deal with that in the course of his reply.

I do not intend to detain the House for any considerable length in replying to the speeches that have been made. After all, if we leave out the extraneous matter and what one might consider, perhaps, the irrelevant matter—if we leave out what is usually associated with certain members of this and the other Chamber, namely, personal abuse of the President, which they can never get away from no matter what the debate is about—it would be very easy to deal with the few points germane to the discussion that I am here to try to deal with. One must gather from the motion in Senator Sir John Keane's name that there are two actions by the Executive Council that he considers are not justified. It is rather a peculiar thing, and I think it is something entirely new to this Chamber or to the Oireachtas, that things that look at any rate even like repression should be objectionable to Senator Sir John Keane.

So far as repression is concerned, in his opening remarks he conveyed to the Seanad that it was not repression he objected to but rather as to whether there was any justification for it in the present circumstances. I gathered from him that if he had his way he would go much further. He suggested a period of 50 years. I think that was copied from speeches by Balfour and those other people with whom history has made us familiar. He talked about what should have been done by the previous Executive Council after the civil war. I gathered he was not satisfied because there was not an absolute extermination of all the elements liable to create civil war. He was annoyed that they had not gone far enough so as to make it impossible for anybody in this country to create any trouble or agitation.

The actions that have been taken by the Government on the particular questions that have recently arisen—this matter that is agitating Senators—has been long and deliberately considered by the Executive Council. The first one, I think, was the banning of the parade that was to take place last Sunday week. It is suggested by some Senator that that action was taken because of jealousy of the memory of the leaders who were to be honoured. Nothing of the sort. The fact was that a heavily armed body was going to take advantage of the occasion to show its strength in this city. We will be told, of course, this is a constitutional body. The greatest revolutionaries have always professed constitutionalism. It is not in their previous aims as stated in the newspapers that people can get any idea as to what are the real objects behind a particular body or organisation. The reason we stopped that parade—the whole purpose for which it was stopped—was because we were not going to permit a body whose members we were satisfied were armed, to march through the city. These people proclaimed that they were going to march through the city with sticks and other weapons. I do not know what they were to have sticks for. Were they to use them merely as ornaments? Is this body now banned a military body or is it not? We were told the reason we have against it is that it is a menace to political power. Is there not a normal and ordinary way in which political purposes can be secured in this country?

What about the armoured car taken in Ballina in 1922?

I think you got it back, or at all events, the remains of it. So far as larceny is concerned I do not think that arises. I just stated there is a normal means provided, what we call a constitutional means, to remove or to change or to alter the Constitution or the Government of this country. For ten years we had lectures, and a lot of talk, about the sacredness of the Constitution. We know that many people lost their lives in what we were told was the defence of the Constitution, or in repelling attacks upon it. For ten years it was driven into our heads that it was the most democratic Constitution in the world, a sacred instrument, and so on. What do we find now after ten years' suffering and bloodshed. We find that what was fought for was un-Irish. It is described as an un-Irish Constitution by General O'Duffy. Let us take the United Irishman. There we will get a better description, for there it is suggested that the people who drafted this Constitution should be thrown into boiling oil. I can imagine what Senator Douglas feels about that. All these attempts now, to try and disparage the Constitution, are made because it is no longer useful to the people who made use of it for the last ten years. That is the value of it to them to-day, but they think that is no justification for the Government to take extreme steps.

Side by side with that you have a body which originally set out for some philanthropic purpose like looking after the interests of Free State soldiers and perhaps seeing that they got back their pensions, and so on. Suddenly that body comes along on new lines of development, encouraged by Deputy O'Higgins and others. And we are to take it that while they would act constitutionally they must remember that circumstances might get the better of them. "Circumstances," said Dr. O'Higgins, "may control policy, and if that is so, policy must be controlled by circumstances." I quoted a number of statements in the Dáil and I do not want to weary the Seanad by going through them again. There is no doubt about the entire attitude of that body either as the National Guard or the A.C.A., and the statements written in the United Irishman set out their hopes and attestations with sufficient clearness. This National Guard, we are told now, is a purely political and absolutely constitutional body. If that is so what necessity is there or what advantage should it be to them that they must be dressed in uniforms; that they must be drilled, according to General O'Duffy, for the good of their health, but we suggest for other purposes.

First of all the fact that these men take the name of the National Guard suggests a certain thing. There are National Guards in this country under the control of the Government and the people. This body takes a name which suggests it is a military organisation. They get into uniform and are drilled, and we say we have ample information that they are well armed. Their latest move is that they must have different sorts of chevrons to show their different rank. There is red for headquarters staff elected by the general. He puts the word "director" before general, but I do not think it makes much difference. There is to be a green chevron for other officers. There is to be another chevron, of a different colour, for district officers, and so on for company officers.

Senator Johnson referred at some length to the method of election or selection of these officers. There is practically no election. They are selected by the general—captains and so on, down the line of military titles in this purely political and constitutional body. But there must be a general, and captains of companies, and such things who are to be selected and not elected. That is how we came to know about one of the democratic ideas that seems to be established in the country for some time, that people for office in such bodies should be selected and not elected. Anybody who wants to examine it will find that this body, although proclaiming itself to be going out against Communism, is really a hybrid organisation between Communism and Fascism. So far as stated in its own programme, and so far as ordinary people can see, it is wholly and simply a military organisation. Now that body, or its leader, at any rate, stated at the time that we threatened to proclaim this particular assembly on Sunday week, that ban, or no ban, the procession would be held. If words mean anything that meant clearly that whether the Government issued an order or not, that whatever order was issued, whether it was a ban or an order, it would be disobeyed. We know what this country has stood, for a good many years, in order to have law obeyed, but when it does not suit certain persons they say now they will not obey. We are told that the National Guard will act.

So it will.

It will act then as an illegal organisation. I have been asked by Senator Douglas for a short statement as to what our attitude was. Before I come to that I should like to refer to the other matter that I think, in Senator Sir John Keane's mind, is also unjustified. That is the setting up of a special force. Senators here have commented on the fact that we have an Army available and that the Army should be brought out. I suggest and submit that the Army should not be brought out until there is something like a question of war, and that it is only in the last resort that the Army should be brought out on the streets or in any other place; that it is only when disorder reaches the point of bloodshed or certainly of armed resistance that the Army should be brought on the scene. I am borne out in that view. Here in October, 1931, when it was put up to the Government of that time to get 800 extra men, ordinary recruiting methods were at the time done away with. Age or anything like that did not matter. They were to be selected, some from the Army, some from the Gárda, and others from ex-army officers, and so on. At that time 300 were actually recruited, very few of whom complied with the regulations that had been made and then existed. That force was being formed, but it was never completed. Owing to the intervention of the general election it reached only a strength of 300 instead of the 800 that was contemplated. The force was being formed so that every man would be armed with a rifle and a revolver. It was a Civic Guard force. Every unit of 20 was to be supplied with two machine guns and a Ford tender. It was being built up purely and simply on a military basis within the Gárda. In what we have done within the last few weeks we followed to some extent the cut-and-dried scheme we had there for us when we came into office.

From the time we came into office down to a fortnight ago not a single man was recruited into the Gárda with the exception of a boxing instructor, who was recruited some months ago on representations from the athletic club in the Depôt. That was the only man recruited into the Gárda since we came into office up to a fortnight ago. In recruiting this new force we have kept to the regulations as closely as we possibly could. It is a matter entirely for the Commissioner, and I am advised that, so far as possible, he is keeping to the regulations. If he finds that it may be an advantage from one point of view to recruit certain people who may not conform to the regulations in one respect or another, he may decide that such persons should be taken in. We know of cases in the past where men have been taken in, not in a time of crisis, taken in irregularly and where all the regulations were absolutely ignored. On the list we have one man taken in at 5ft. 3ins. You have that all over the place—5ft. 3½ins., 5ft. 4ins., when the minimum height should have been 5ft. 9ins. Then there was a certain age limit, 27, and a certain chest measurement, 36ins., and these were not adhered to. Senator Sir John Keane seems to think that this force has been recruited in some extraordinary way. He is very innocent if he did not know the extraordinary ways that obtained up to 18 months ago.

These men are being taken in in no exceptional way. They will have to go through a period of training. They will be trained as an armed unit and used as a protective unit in the Gárda. Senators will realise that since recruiting was stopped there has been a wastage in the force. It has worked out at an average of about 100 men per year. In one year it was only 80, but the average annual wastage is about 100. Senators know the numerous duties that have already been imposed on the Gárda in addition to their ordinary duties, especially throughout the country where they have to carry out regulations issued by the Department of Agriculture and other Departments. That involves additional strain and a good deal of duty. If we are going to impose other duties on the force we will have to take the necessary steps to ensure that we will have a force available to do that duty, and that it will be carried out in such a way that it will not be detrimental to the efficiency of the force as a whole. In recruiting this additional force we have followed in a very attenuated form the scheme actually drawn up and partially acted upon in October, 1931. We will not have much difficulty in working out other details from that scheme.

Senator Douglas asked me to make a statement of what the position was I repeat again that we have sufficient information that the force known as the National Guard is a heavily armed force, that we have also sufficient information that arms are being got into the country and that other attempts are being made to get arms into the country by that force.

And only by that force?

I know Senator Sir John Keane can see nothing wrong with anybody but the I.R.A.

I hope the Minister will be allowed to go on.

I will. We have made it perfectly clear on more than one occasion that people would not be allowed to parade publicly either with arms or in uniform. That challenge has been accepted so far as one body is concerned. If we get people with arms parading with arms, we are going to deal with those people. We are asked: "Why do you not go out and raid for arms?" I pointed out in the Dáil the way the other people tried to carry out that. They had definite information, in the hands of their own Ministry, that ex-Free State soldiers had large supplies of arms and they never made an attempt to try to collect them from them. They never made an attempt to get back the considerable quantity of arms taken from the Templemore barracks by a man who is the closest associate, I suppose that could be, of General O'Duffy. It was made light of by Senator Sir John Keane who tried to twist or rather tried to define the word "desire" as appearing in that report. I regret to have to quote from confidential reports but what I have said is more or less in a general way. If we were going to allow the position, as we saw it, to develop there was nothing except our intervention, when perhaps it would be too late to intervene, to prevent civil war developing. It was working up to that. There has been a lot of talk about Communism in this country. For two months back there has been slight activity in Communism but it was only when the National Guard came into being that Communism showed any strength. It has very little strength in the country and nobody knows that better than General O'Duffy himself.

Attempts were made within the last two months to try to form what they call a defence corps. They have been a failure so far as being any menace to the country is concerned. At times they had to abandon meetings and not ten people could be found to attend lectures or meetings which were held, or to come and attend their meetings. They had meetings breaking up one after the other because people were not taking any interest in them. Whatever little strength or enthusiasm they got was through a force which was not under the control of the State being there to deal with them in some particular way. All these people will be dealt with or any menace or attempt to create a situation in this country to prevent the ordinary law of this country running. We are not going to allow any body to dictate by force or threats or anything like that to the people or to take any action which will in any way interfere with the people exercising their rights in whatever way they wish to exercise them.

General O'Duffy told the last Government immediately before the election that they could hold an election which would be perfectly free from any danger of intimidation and after that perfectly free election they got Fianna Fáil back. General O'Duffy could tell the Seanad or the people of this country that immediately before the last election he was sent for by the President of the Executive Council and he was warned that he was to use all the resources at his command to ensure that there would be no public meetings interfered with. I challenge General O'Duffy to deny that. Although at that time it was suggested that we were trying to encourage the breaking up of meetings, General O'Duffy, who was then the head of the Civic Guards, got definite instructions from the President of the Executive Council that he was to use all the resources he had to ensure that there would be no interference with freedom of speech or public meetings. We know how that has been twisted into slander since. People have been trying to slander the people who were associated with us in that election and saying that we tried to prevent other people from having freedom of speech. The contrary is the fact.

The largest meeting that the Cumann na nGaedheal Party held in Trim could not have been held but for the fact that the A.C.A. were there. There were six Guards there and they were helpless because there was an organised gang of nearly 100 brought in in lorries who would not have allowed us to hold a meeting and but for the A.C.A. the meeting could not have been held.

Arrangements could have been made if sufficient notice had been given to the Guards. In cases where the Guards got sufficient notice they were very well able to preserve order. It does not rest in the hands of anybody to try and get this going as an organisation by assigning to themselves police duties. We are not going to permit that. There is a force there and the State is paying for it. We are going to secure such a position that this country is not going to go back into civil war. If General O'Duffy and his body of men, whom we are told are so patriotic and high-souled, want to challenge the Oireachtas, want to go forward with a policy of their own, they have the constitution there and they have the means to secure for them a free election. Suppose Senator Sir John Keane was going forward as a candidate and had a good policy to put before the people, I do not see what advantage it would be to him if he went out in a blue shirt with red chevrons and black trousers and a stick in his hand. I do not think that it would get him a dozen votes. There is no use in trying to gloss over this and say this is a political body. There is no use in any persons trying to deceive themselves with that. If the Government were weak and stood there and let it develop and go on like the position in Germany and Italy they might suddenly wake up one day and find themselves in the same position. Senator Johnson very appropriately quoted the statement made in the Seanad by Deputy Professor O'Sullivan. That is the same position. Senator O'Hanlon quoted me. When we came into office our first act was to remove that Constitution Act or at least put it out of active operation—suspend it. We asked the people to give us a chance to try and govern this country without repressive or oppressive measures. We felt that the good sense of the people would allow us to do that. We felt that we would have the backing of the great majority of the people in that policy. But, remember, there is a limit to which people can go in that line. If people are going to take advantage of your policy of non-suppression and of non-repressive measures you must go back and have resort to measures such as this.

The step taken under this measure was only taken when we felt absolutely bound to take it. This measure is as distasteful to us now as it was in 1931. We felt that we should be able to carry on with the ordinary normal laws without oppression or repression and I hope that when this blows over and when people will have been shown that they are not going to be allowed to go on as they like and build up a military force here—when that position has been dealt with and when we are back to the normal position again, that it will be a check on any foolish people in future copying something from another country differently situated and thinking that they can come along and do it here.

Will the Minister answer my question?

I am sorry I forgot to deal with that. Senator Miss Browne asked me about an agent provocateur in Wexford.

And elsewhere.

I know of no agents provocateur and I do not think that there are any. If such people existed I suppose they would be following the ordinary methods according to the precedent established by such people. The police would know these things. A certain person has been mentioned. I can make the necessary inquiries and inform the Senator if that were so or not. I have no information about it. I am sure that there is no agent provocateur in Wexford.

Will the people who made the disturbance be prosecuted?

That is a matter for the Attorney-General.

I have very little to say. I only wish really to protest against one interpretation the Minister placed upon my remarks—that I asked for extermination in 1923. All I asked was that there should have been such a termination of that conflict as would leave those who were fighting against the State unarmed. I do not think that that would bear the implication of extermination. It is one thing to leave arms in the hands of a defeated army of another State. It is a totally different thing to leave arms in the hands of a defeated section that is in rebellion against constituted authority. I said that the solution was not final as long as these arms were allowed to remain in the hands of those who had risen against the State. I do not think it is fair to call that extermination.

I am sorry that I gave Senator Johnson the impression that I was advocating the policy of the National Guard. That was not my intention. I was merely trying to develop the argument that some force on the lines of the National Guard or some other body was implicit in the policy of the Government. If you allow one illegal force to remain in existence, citizens who are not in sympathy with that force will feel a personal menace and they will take steps in some form or another to protect themselves. I asked the Minister specially to deal with what I call the two-army technique of a regular army and one irregular army and the risk to stable Government. He ignored that altogether, perhaps wisely. I think it is a conundrum that is very hard to answer. I do not want in any way to incite the country to disorder. Nobody would be more pleased than I should be if the Government could get peace at any price. I brought forward the motion because I personally do not believe that we can get peace under the present system of Government policy. I asked the Minister to justify this policy and he has made no attempt to do so. He has made no reference whatever to the existence of an illegal body which has effectively prevented the rule of law in matters that have a political aspect, and the Government have taken steps to proscribe a body whose aims at least profess to be constitutional. I do not quite understand the argument of Senator Johnson, that it is unconstitutional to wish, by constitutional means, to alter the Parliamentary system. I consider it is Parliamentary to wish to amend drastically the Constitution by constitutional means. It may come as a shock to Senator Johnson and others to find that in the modern world revolutions are not always to the left. In many cases, at the present time, they are taking place to the right. I do not want revolutions at all, but we have got to face facts.

And the Government have!

Well, that remains to be seen. I fully realise, and I must say everybody in the House realises, that the responsibility is with the Government. I have tried to state the case in a reasoned way and to base the arguments upon general principles. The Government have the responsibility and I am not going to embarrass them by asking the House to divide on this issue.

There is only one further point I wish to make, which, I admit, should have come in earlier, and that is that the Minister made no attempt to deal categorically with my statements about the special force. I am not going over that again, but the Minister did not deal with the matter, and people can draw their own conclusions. I made categorical statements and asked them to be corrected categorically, and I think I am entitled to assume, in the absence of a denial from the Minister, that what I said was correct. I am exceedingly grateful to the Opposition for the courteous hearing they gave me and for the very fair way in which the whole matter was treated, although I might suggest to Senator Comyn that he might have adopted the High Court technique instead of that of the petty sessions. With that exception, I am very grate ful, and, hoping that the Government will be able to ensure peace under their policy, as the last thing in the world I wish to do is to embarrass them—I do not envy them their job— I ask leave to withdraw this motion.

Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
The Seanad adjourned at 10.35 p.m., until 3 p.m. to-morrow, 23rd August, 1933.