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Seanad Éireann debate -
Tuesday, 20 Mar 1934

Vol. 18 No. 11

Defence Forces (Temporary Provisions) Bill, 1934—Committee.


I have given the most anxious consideration to the amendments to the Defence Forces (Temporary Provisions) Bill, 1934, of which Senator Blythe has given notice. I have, of course, nothing to do with the merits of the amendments, but I have had placed before me all the arguments that could, I think, be adduced from the point of view of Parliamentary practice, both for and against their acceptance. There are cogent arguments on both sides, but the factor which has had most weight with me is the time element and the repercussions that might ensue if the Bill did not become law by the last day of this month.

I accordingly rule that the amendments are out of order, as being contrary to the principle of the Bill as read a second time. But, in view of what I have said, I do not propose to regard my ruling as a precedent.

I am prepared, however, to allow to be moved an amendment to limit the operation of the Bill when it becomes an Act, and Senator Blythe, who has been informed of my ruling, has intimated that he proposes to move as an amendment to Section 1 that the figures and words "31st day of March, 1935," be deleted in line 19 and the figures and words "31st day of July, 1934," substituted therefor. This amendment, if carried, will limit the duration of the Act to four months instead of one year.


The Defence Forces (Temporary Provisions) Acts, 1923 to 1933, shall continue in force until the 31st day of March, 1935, and shall then expire.

I move:—

Section 1, in line 19, that the figures and words "31st day of March, 1935," be deleted and that the figures and words "31st day of July, 1934," be substituted therefor.

I am very glad, Sir, that you have stated that you do not regard your ruling on this matter as a precedent, because I think the points at issue will have to come before the Seanad again. They certainly will have to come before the Seanad again if the amendment which I now propose is agreed to. I wish to limit the duration of this Act to the 31st July next for the purpose of having the matters in these amendments which have been ruled out of order brought before the House and a method devised by which they can be tested. It would be better still if the Government reconsidered the matter and, when introducing the next continuing Bill, embodied in it some clauses such as I have set out in the amendments on the Order Paper. In the early days the Defence Forces (Temporary Provisions) Act was considerably amended. Afterwards the Bill became a mere continuing Bill, but it was always intended, both by the past Government and by the present Government, that permanent legislation should be introduced. That, I think, was very necessary because in fact the legislation that now governs the Army was never considered in detail by the Oireachtas. It was hurriedly passed in 1923 in the Dáil, and if I am not mistaken I think it was disposed of in one day in the Seanad. Since that time only small portions of it have been reconsidered, and only very minor amendments have been made.

It might have been possible to continue the Act again without amendment but for the action that has recently been taken by the Government. We have a volunteer force started, I suppose as a branch of the Reserve, which is to be spread all over the country for the organisation of that force. We have had 20 men commissioned who have not had training as military officers. As I said on the Second Reading of the Bill, I think it is a terrible and a most unfortunate thing that the Government should commission these men and should put them in charge in the various counties as administrative officers.

I fear gravely that the organisation of this force, unless the Government can somehow mend its hand, holds the gravest possible menace to the future peace of this country, and for the preservation and respect of the democratic rights of its citizens. I certainly cannot get out of my mind the belief that the intention of the Government is to make this force a Party political force, owing special allegiance to them, beyond the normal allegiance that any army should owe to the duly-constituted Government of the country. I think it is almost sure to develop along lines that will be extremely unfortunate for the country, that young fellows who are going into it and who could quite perhaps naturally develop the right ideas, will not have an opportunity of doing so, because there will be an atmosphere of partisanship and partiality around them. It is rumoured that not only has the Government appointed these men, who have no qualifications for the positions—but who have, shall we say, a lurid political past—as administrative officers, but it is said that there has been private canvassing through Party channels for the first recruits, so as to get men who are political partisans of the Government into the various units first to get them trained as non-commissioned officers, and ultimately to make them officers of the Reserve. I believe, when one sees what has been done in the case of administrative officers, it is only natural to believe that.

As far as I am concerned, I regard this movement of the Government as of the gravest menace to the country. I do not know whether there is a positive intention on the part of the Government to deny the people their right to change the Government or not. At any rate they seem to prepare, by getting the instrument into their hands, to take that line, if later they decide on it. Take these 20 men who have been commissioned, whose past, as I have said, has been a political and a partisan past. I would deplore their being commissioned at any time. I think if a force such as this is to be organised, it ought to be organised by officers whose outlook is as professional as possible—by capable officers with a professional outlook, and with as little interest as possible in politics. But, if these 20 men were to be commissioned, then, if they had to be sent for two years to the military college, and if they had spent their time learning something of military forces, certainly they would get a new and much more satisfactory outlook, and while some of them might remain political partisans, I think they would have a better conception of their duties as officers of the State, and the danger of their introduction to the force would be very much reduced indeed. The same thing applies to any other officer that it might be intended to recruit. Personally, I think it would scarcely matter, if there were some political discrimination in the selection, because if they began to take their work seriously there would be a less dangerous element in whatever partisanship that might attach to them. Apart from the dangers of creating a partisan army, by the line the Government has pursued, I think it is undesirable that we should begin with a low standard of qualification and of professional capacity. It is undoubtedly a difficult thing in any sort of part-time force to keep the standard up. The danger is that it will become entirely slovenly, and so undisciplined as to be of no value at all from the point of view of the defence of the country.

Senators have all heard the old story about the Duke of Wellington when he saw the levies that were sent out to him at one period of the Peninsular War. They were untrained and ill-equipped. When he was asked what he thought of the new troops he said: "I do not know what effect they will have on the enemy, but, by gad, they frighten me." The sort of force that the Government has created, if it begins with this low standard, will probably not annoy any potential enemy, but would certainly be enough to frighten ordinary law-abiding citizens. If we are to have a force along volunteer lines, we ought to make up our minds that we are going to have a good force, which is going to have a high professional standard, and that we are going to require the officers to be keen about their work. I do not think we can ever get that if we begin with these 20 administrative officers as the standard and as exemplars for future officers of the force.

The Minister for Defence stated that these men had previous experience of fighting. I will say nothing about that, except this, that the experience they had could be of no value to them as officers of such a force as is being created, because any warfare in which it was engaged would be carried on under radically different conditions. The guerilla fighting here was done when the British Government professed to be maintaining law and order here; when it professed to regard all the people as its people, except those actually engaged in operations against it; when its commanders, by reason of that theory, were tremendously handicapped, and when it was consequently possible for men on our side to pursue a certain line of tactics. These things would be utterly impossible if we had a foreign army, from whatever country, invading this State. In present circumstances the whole population would be enemies of that invading army, and it would not be subject at all to the handicaps to which the British forces were subjected, so that any experience these men gained in the past would be experience which would be of no value at all. They would require to begin right at the beginning, to study and to learn the elements of military science and art.

There is just one other thing I would like to say in connection with this matter. After all, the main purpose of a defence force of any sort is not to wage war successfully, but to prevent war taking place. If a defence force is to prevent war taking place, it must have a reputation for efficiency and good organisation. It seems to me that a body started as this volunteer force is being started, can never have a reputation for efficiency, and consequently can never do that thing which, above all, any defence force should do, to protect the country to which it belongs from being attacked. It is only the second best thing to be successful in resisting attack. I regard this whole matter of the organisation of the volunteer force as one that can only be satisfactorily arranged after due consideration, and on a basis that will meet with general acceptance from the people. I believe it can only be built up slowly, that the attempt should only be made to do so slowly, and that the Government should begin by training the personnel to take charge of it, and to conduct the actual training of the men who will be recruited. The Government have nothing at all to lose, unless it is doing what I said I feared it is doing, building up an armed political wing of its own. Unless it is doing that, it has nothing to lose by taking time over this and proceeding in a business-like way. I am moving an amendment to the Defence Forces (Temporary Provisions) Bill, so that the Bill will come before us, either as a continuing Bill or in permanent legislation, say in the course of a month or six weeks, and that before introducing new legislation the Government will decide to act as a Government should, decide to build up any force on the basis of efficiency, and on a basis acceptable generally to the people, and that it should altogether get away from the idea of getting partisans together and swearing them into a force so that they will not lose their feeling of partisanship and putting arms into their hands.

I do not know if the Government proposes to distribute arms to these men, or to distribute arms widely through the country. Certainly, if they do, nothing but calamity can follow from such a course, because men untrained in this way will certainly, in many cases, use the arms against neighbours, and if the arms are distributed in such a way, some neighbours will go after them and nothing but calamity can come. I see no prospect of any good to the country on the basis of taking one section of the population, and putting arms into their hands, and organising them with their own partisan officers. There may be differences of opinion in the Seanad as to the desirability of having such a force at all. I am satisfied that if a force were to be organised along proper lines there would be overwhelming support for it. Individuals and certain groups would, perhaps, disbelieve in the necessity for it but, so far as the great majority of the people are concerned, they would regard the formation of such a nonpartisan force as an asset to the country. I would like to say one other thing about this procedure of the Government. I think the most precious thing a State can have is an army that is loyal and disciplined, with a thoroughly constitutional outlook. Such an army is a protection to the general mass of the people from both internal and external force.

It is widely believed, and widely feared, that the intention of the Government in organising this force is, not to supplement the existing Army, which is loyal and efficient, and rooted in the Constitution, but to replace that Army by this partisan army. I certainly think the Seanad should not take any steps that would assent to any such course—if that is the intention of the Government. It is because it is widely believed and feared that such is the intention that I put down one of the amendments which the Cathaoirleach has ruled out of order; that a man should not be promoted beyond the rank of captain until he has had five years' service as an officer. I do not know whether it is the intention of the Minister for Defence to make some of these men who are without knowledge—and who when commissioned were regarded as the awkward squad—colonels or major-generals. If that is the intention, or if he takes any such course, certainly the people of the country can look out for a definite attempt on the part of this Government to deprive them of their democratic rights. If that is not his intention he will have no objection to having these men serving a reasonable period before being promoted to high rank, and having them absorb a spirit of discipline, which requires time, and to get a professional outlook. I think this whole matter is one which the Seanad cannot, in justice to itself, leave over for consideration for a year, and let the Government do what it likes in the meantime. The Seanad ought to pass this amendment, and force the Government to make a clear declaration in the matter, and also, by acceptance of legislation, restore confidence to the people. I do not know whether the Minister is aware or not, but I may tell him that there is grave alarm in the country about this proceeding. There naturally cannot be, among certain sections of the people, an attitude which would accept this Government's word in regard to democratic rights, because the members of it have, in the past, gone out in arms against majority rule. Therefore, their words will not be trusted as the words of men who, in the past, had taken up a different attitude. Because their words will not be trusted, they should, by their acts, inspire confidence, and their acts may not merely mean some modification of the policy which they have been recently pursuing in regard to the Army, but the acceptance of proper legislative safeguards.

I support Senator Blythe's amendment. He has said that the word of the Government cannot be trusted in this matter. Everything I have seen and heard points to the fact that this is to be a political army. We were told by the Minister, on the Second Reading debate, that that was not the intention of the Government at all, that they wanted to get people of every class on these Sluagh Committees. One Sluagh Committee I know of is almost entirely composed of the Fianna Fáil club. I referred here on Second Reading to the activities of one of these area officers from the time he came into the country to the moment he got his commission and put on his uniform. He spoke from Fianna Fáil platforms and attended entertainments and meetings under the auspices of Fianna Fáil and I.R.A. combined. His career as an Irregular leader was one which inspires all decent people with the greatest horror. It was one of peculiar brutality. I could mention incidents that happened under his leadership which would make a Christian's blood run cold—incidents of gross brutality. I shall not inflict particulars on the House but I could give an account to anybody who wants it. I may mention that the selection of this particular man——

Is this relevant to this amendment?


I think it is relevant.

The selection of this man has caused great discontent amongst even Fianna Fáil followers. A lot of people thought they were cut out by nature for this position—£400 a year, a fine motor car, a house and other advantages. I do know that the selection of this man, without any training as an officer of the Army, is revolting to people who have always followed Fianna Fáil. I speak only of what I know. What Senator Blythe has said about uneasiness in people's minds with regard to this volunteer force could not be exaggerated. The people believe that it is a political army and that the Government are going to do what they did before—make war on the majority when the majority will have voted them out of office. People cannot be blamed for attributing that motive to the Government. They have every reason to attribute it to them. The leopard does not change his spots and the Fianna Fáil Government are the same people as they were in 1922, when they went out in arms against the majority of the people. They talk about majority rule now but who is going to believe their professions? Nobody. I support the amendment and I hope that the Seanad will adopt it.

As the Minister for Defence is here, I do not want to labour this question. I should like to point out, however, that when amendments were carried to Defence Forces (Temporary Provisions) Bills, they were carried in the form of additional legislation which was embodied in the measure at the time the Continuance Bill was before the House. This Continuance Bill has been repeated year after year. On the Second Reading, the Minister for Defence indicated his desire to have a permanent Bill introduced, which would eliminate the need for the introduction of this Bill every year. I do not know whether the Minister is wise in that or not. I do not know sufficient of the technique, from the Army administration point of view, to offer an opinion on that. I know that in other Parliaments the Army Vote comes up each year in the form of a Continuance Bill. In some other countries it is considered that the debate on the estimate is adequate. However, I should like to point out that the idea of the volunteers is not a new idea. I think that the ex-Minister for Finance, Senator Blythe, was himself largely responsible for encouraging the idea of the volunteers. I believe that quite a considerable amount of money was spent in an effort to develop a volunteer corps. I do not know how much money was spent or how many recruits were secured but I believe that the scheme was not altogether the success that the Senator hoped it would be. I think that it is unfair to have in this House abuse and criticism of men who have contributed to the service of the country.


It would be better if the Senator would not interrupt.

I am ignoring entirely what Senator Miss Browne said. I am referring to what Senator Blythe said. I do not regard Senator Miss Browne as being in any way responsible for any statement she makes in this House, particularly when she indulges in personalities concerning persons outside the House.

Come down the country and find out what the people think.

No doubt, we shall go to the country some time. What has to be remembered is that we are the Government. What has not yet sunk into the consciousness of people here and outside the House is that we are the Government. It is all right for Senator Miss Browne to say that nobody believes our word and that nobody has any confidence in what the present Government says. That may be so but when that was tested, at no very distant date, the approval of the country, given in 1932, was endorsed. That was at the last election. While we are the Government we are entitled to hold that we represent majority opinion in this country. I was interested to hear Senator Blythe's apologia for the British military régime during the Black and Tan period—the period when guerilla warfare was in operation here. His words seemed to carry a condemnation of the whole practice of guerilla warfare——

Not at all.

The Senator made it perfectly clear to those concerned that, had the British really adopted full army tactics and indulged in full military activities, guerilla warfare would not have succeeded. I do not think that that is going to do any good to this country. I do not think that the country will show any appreciation of the expression of such sentiments in this House. However, that is a matter between Senator Blythe and those outside the country who will be quite conscious of what he says. Is there any reason to suppose that we cannot expect decent citizenship and loyal service to the State from the recruits that will come into the volunteer force? Surely we know the history of all the Army movements since the Free State was established. I think that it comes very badly from any member of the former Executive to cast aspersions on the honesty or loyalty of any body of men who pledge themselves loyally to the service of the State. After all, consider what would have been the position if we had adopted that attitude of mind when we came into office. We assumed that those servants of the State, whether in the military, the police or the Civil Service would feel that they had a moral responsibility to the Government, irrespective of what Government was in power. In the main, we have had no reason to regret that assumption. If we had approached the problems we were faced with when we came into office with the mentality that Senator Blythe has revealed, what would have been the result? I think that it is very dangerous for any responsible person in this House to indicate that there is any reason to doubt the loyalty of any servant of the State who comes in and contracts for the performance of certain duties. There is no intention to make this volunteer force a political force. We have had to exercise more patience and more toleration since we came into power than practically any Government in Europe had to exercise. We have been faced with sabotage of the worst kind. We have been threatened openly with a political army——

One can only read and use one's intelligence in reading.


Senator Blythe talks about the Seanad forcing the Government to do certain things. That is the keystone of the whole position in this country at present—that a Seanad, created as we know it was created and in no way democratically representing the people, is to be used to force the Government to do certain things. That is a menace here at the moment. It is a menace on this type of thing and it is a menace on other things. It is not for me to say just now that that menace is going to be met, but met it will be. I suggest to Senators that they ought to consider very seriously just what that position is liable to drift to. We are going through a very difficult and delicate time, same as people in other countries are going through. There is a considerable amount of unrest in the mentality of people generally. There is, in one case, a move towards Communism and, in the other case, a move towards Fascism. We want neither, and we are not seeking to do anything but what we have been democratically elected to do. I suggest that that should be seriously considered. I am not going to speak of the attitude of the Minister for Defence as regards the possibility of accepting such an amendment. The Minister is here and can speak for himself. If I were in his position I would reject the amendment on the ground of precedent and on the ground of its not being seriously intended to do anything but cause obstruction. If it is necessary to have a permanent Army Bill—according to some, it is—then let us have it, but let us remember that a permanent Army Bill is not going to be built up in three or four months. That is my view and it is for the Minister for Defence to indicate what his views are in that respect.

It is rather curious that last night I was reading "Gulliver's Travels" and I came across a couple of passages that I might fittingly quote here. The author was describing the inhabitants of Laputa and the passages I dropped upon are exactly exemplified by the last speaker. I quote these passages because they have a bearing on the outlook and the attitude as expressed by the Minister. The description of the inhabitants of Laputa was that:

"Although they are dexterous enough upon a piece of paper in the management of the rule, the pencil and the divider, yet in the common actions and behaviour of life, I have not seen a more clumsy, awkward and unhandy people, nor so slow and perplexed in their conception upon all other subjects, except those of mathematics and music. They are bad reasoners and vehemently given to opposition, unless when they happen to be of the right opinion, which is seldom the case ...These people are under continual disquietudes, never enjoying a minute's peace of mind; and their disturbances proceed from causes which very little affect the rest of mortals.... In conversation they are apt to run into the same temper that boys discover, in delighting to hear terrible stories of sprites and hobgoblins, which they greedily listen to, and dare not go to bed for fear."

Now let us consider the hobgoblin representations made to us of the disquietudes of the Minister for Lands and Fisheries, amongst which we find the menace of some private army and the alleged menace of civil war for some time past. There used to be a question asked until quite recently: "Who started the civil war?" So far as I can see we are soon to be confronted with the question which is going to take the form of "Who is going to start the next civil war?" If the facts presented to us are any indication of that, one thing seems certain and it is this: that the present Government are well aware that they are creating an atmosphere that might lead to civil war. The Minister said that the critics of Ministers did not seem to realise that they are the Government. Speaking for myself, I say, unfortunately, I realise they are, and, I wish they would appreciate the fact themselves, that they are the Government and not merely the head men of a political party. But the fact that they are the Government does not endow them with the attributes of infallibility which the Minister seemed to imagine was conferred upon them by their alleged mandate. It does not render them immune to criticism. The fact that there is this emphatic and deep criticism of certain actions of theirs, instead of being a cause of resentment in the minds of Ministers should make them pause and ask whether or not, after all, they may not be possibly wrong, and that there may be some cause for this criticism.

I think the Minister for Lands and Fisheries did injustice to Senator Blythe in the construction he tried to put upon his speech. If there is one thing that Senator Blythe stressed, and which I would like to emphasise now, it is this: that if we are to have a volunteer force—and I certainly can see usefulness if a disciplined and trained body of young men were kept in the reserve, not exactly in the Army, which might in certain circumstances be required to be called up to fill up the wastage or the loss of man power in the Army—let it be a proper volunteer force. Ministers who are responsible for the launching of this scheme should be scrupulous to see that no action of theirs, in connection with the formation of such a force, could be considered by critics as tending in any way but in that direction. They should be scrupulous to see that no action of theirs would give the impression that they wish to create a partisan force. Does the Minister for Defence or the Minister for Lands and Fisheries, or any of their supporters, seriously suggest that the Government has been scrupulous in not doing anything that would suggest that this was going to be a partisan force? I think it is a pity that the step was taken which has caused this criticism—that is, the appointment of the 20 officers. "Raw recruits may chance to shoot Napoleon Bonaparté." From the point of view of the Army, these men are raw recruits. They are not the type of men, from the point of view of capacity or military achievement, of a kind of stamina and morale which is necessary. What is the movement behind this? Is the Minister trying his hand to see if he can get 20 raw recruits posted in the new army? If he succeeds in that, and that that is taken as a precedent, then he might find some pretext for demobilising the officers of the regular Army who are there at present and filling up their positions with other raw recruits. There is the danger that you are not only going to give this new force a partisan bias but that you are going to strike a deadly blow at the morale of the regular Army. Is this desirable? Is this what is wanted? If it is not wanted, let us know what is the purpose in mind.

The Minister made the plea of bringing together men who had been on different sides in the civil conflict. If that was what he wanted, why did he take these 20 raw recruits from the one side? Surely he could have gone 50-50, and shown his desire to bring together such men, to heal the wounds of the past conflict, and to bring in a new spirit that would rise above the civil war spirit, and that would make for the complete elimination of bitterness. But we have reason to believe that such objects as were stated by the Minister are the real objects in view. Certainly the spirit shown by the Minister for Lands and Fisheries, and the acrimonious, bitter manner in which he tried to discuss this amendment, is not an assurance of a desire for any better spirit, but for a continuance of the acrimonious spirit carried into this force. I want to challenge the Minister for Lands and Fisheries with regard to one statement he made. He said they were threatened since they became a Government, with sabotage. I want to know when, where and by whom. He made the definite statement that the present Government were threatened with sabotage. From where did that threat come? By whom was that threat made?

I would point out that there has been a decided policy to sabotage the Government in regard to the payment of annuities, in regard to the payment of rates and through the whole view of the Government put forward by certain members of the U.I.P.

The annuities?

Yes. You have only to read the daily papers.

Is there any serious spokesman in the Fianna Fáil Party who will talk about a conspiracy not to pay the annuities? If anyone could be indicted for bringing about a conspiracy not to pay the annuities it is most certainly the Fianna Fáil Party.

Senator Milroy has read "Gulliver's Travels." I would ask him to extend his reading further to Mommsen and to read the celebrated passage under the heading of the catastrophe of the Celtic nation. That was a catastrophe arising not from cirsumstances outside themselves but from the character of the people; their desire to attribute to each other the foulest motives, their delight in public meetings; their delight in interrupting meetings which caused a law to be passed—and a very proper law—more than 2,000 years ago to the effect that a hole be burned in the tail of the coat of any man interrupting a public speaker. Now public speakers like Senator Milroy are as much responsible for disorder and disturbance as a man who takes an active part in it. I am sure Senator MacLoughlin will agree with me that a public speaker, if he wants to create a row or a disturbance at a public meeting, has nothing to do but to make some injurious attack in his observations in reference to a political opponent and especially if it be false. Let us have no more of that sort of thing. You will have no more of it if you read that passage that I mentioned. I recommend Senators to read it and to read what led to the catastrophe of the Gaelic nation, that is before they got the benefits of intercourse with the Vikings who came amongst us 700 years ago. Senator Blythe has proposed this motion. I hope in his sober moments he does not expect that motion should be carried because I believe Senator Blythe does not wish to precipitate a dangerous situation. I think he must have moved this motion for the purpose of calling attention to the fact that 20 guerilla leaders were given commissioned rank. The Senator knows better than anybody in this House that if any alterations are to be made in the Army Act they ought to be made by substantive enactment, and not by an amendment of the Army Bill which must pass as a matter of course if the Army is not to be dissolved on the 1st April next—Fools' Day. Because unless this Act is passed there is no right to enforce discipline for one moment, the soldiers could march out of barrack and officers would have no legal right to enforce discipline against them.

Therefore, it is at a very serious and critical point that he introduces an amendment of that kind. As he knows very well, any alterations that are necessary in the Army Act can be brought forward by substantive enactment. Senator Blythe very fairly states that for the defence of this small country a volunteer force is desirable. It is the only possible force which can effectually defend this country and the system of warfare—I commend this to Senator Milroy—the only system of warfare by which this nation can be defended is guerilla warfare——

I do not agree at all.

——for this reason, that it is in guerilla warfare the whole strength and moral force of a nation is put forth in resistance to an invader. He says that you are to pass this amendment because he does not believe and, as he says, a great many people do not believe, in the honesty of this Government. Are you, by your vote, to let it go forth to this country that the Seanad does not believe in the honesty of the present Administration elected by the people? Do not think for a moment that you have not a serious responsibility. I differ in some respects from Senator Connolly when he says that we are not an elected body. We are an elected body in a very essential sense; we are elected by the elect or, to use a simile which some of my friends will understand, the members of the Dáil are the "feints" and we are the pure spirits. We are the second distillation. There should not be any disparagement of us for that reason.

At the same time we ought not to disparage or disgrace ourselves by becoming partisans. We ought not, by our vote, sanction a charge made here as the basis for this amendment, that this force, ostensibly recruited for the highest national purpose, for the defence of this country, is really recruited as a partisan force, to keep the present Government in power after the people have decided that they shall not be in power. These men will be sworn. They will be sworn to defend their country. We never made an imputation against the police force who were recruited by our political opponents. They have been loyal to the State. The Army which was recruited, and which was employed to fight against many men who are at present in the Government, is loyal to the present Government, because the present Government represents the majority of the people and is the Government, not a Party.

Senator Blythe, also in the ardour of his eloquence, referred to these 20 men as ignorant men, having no training as military officers. I do not know very many of them, but I know a good many of the guerilla leaders who have made a name for themselves and made an honourable place for their country in the annals of the world for the last 17 or 18 years. They were guerilla leaders of the greatest ability. Does Senator Blythe forget so soon some of the great battles that were fought in Munster? I shall remind him of one battle, the battle of Crossbarry, where a column of 150 Irish soldiers lying beside a railway line were surprised at 2 or 3 o'clock on a Spring morning, encompassed on three sides, at a place 14 miles from Cork, 7 miles from Bandon, 11 miles from Kinsale. They were attacked by an adequate force of Imperial soldiers led by an able and brave man. The Irish were commanded by two men—I do not know whether they are amongst these 20 men —whose names will go down in the annals of this country as the greatest guerilla leaders perhaps that Ireland has produced. One of them is Liam Deasy and the other, the second in command, Barry. They, by the greatest art and consummate skill, worked out through the only bottleneck that was left and got to safety. How did they do it? They saw that the British second in command, the captain—I do not know his name; Major Percival was the leader—a very brave man, had advanced. He had the barrack-room training, but Deasy had the training of the guerilla leader. The British captain was pushed back, and then again the Irish retreated, but they left a sharp shooter behind. The English captain advanced when "crack, crack," the British hero fell and the battle was over. What is more, that was the decisive battle against the British. The Government decided there and then that they were not dealing with the mere iron of young Irishmen but they were dealing with Irish iron led by hard and tempered steel. That was one of the incidents which brought about the Truce.

Will Senator Blythe say that Liam Deasy, Barry or Joe Barrett from Clare are not to get commissions as officers unless they have one year's training in an Irish military college, these superlative leaders? Does he say that Liam Deasy is not fit to be in charge of a squad of men unless he gets two years' training from some other officer of no distinction or that he is not to go outside two miles of the Curragh Camp? I am sure that if Senator Blythe considers these matters he will see how absurd are the arguments which he puts forward for the consideration of the Seanad. Speaking on the matter generally, I agree with him that we should have a volunteer force. It is the only possible force to defend the country. I should hope that that volunteer force would be recruited as a national force on a national basis and that there should be the most complete co-operation between all Parties. Surely the time has come when the leading men who have made sacrifices for their country, should do something to prevent this eternal squabbling, this eternal misrepresentation, this eternal attribution of base and mean motives. It is unworthy of the men who have made such sacrifices for their country. Senator Blythe has made it perfectly plain that he asks you to pass this amendment as a vote of censure, as a statement on your part that you believe that the present Government is a Government of dishonest men, who are perfectly determined to use this force against their country. It is not fair to ask you to do that, because as I have said in the beginning, I have the highest appreciation of this Seanad. I regard it as an essentially elected body, twice elected, twice born let us say, and therefore I think you ought not to injure or ruin your reputation by precipitating the quarrel which would naturally arise from attributing to the Government base and unworthy motives. It would precipitate that conflict. Senator Blythe has said that he hopes that arms will not be given to these men. I want the Seanad to understand that it is not the gun that makes an army.

Or the uniform either.

Or the uniform. I wish Senator Sir John Keane had intervened in this debate by speech rather than by interruption. It is the brigading, it is the words of command, it is the orders, and the obedience to the orders, that make the army. When you have it regimented, when you have it in squads, then you have nothing to do but to put a rifle into the soldier's hands. You remember the wooden guns and what they led to. If this bad feeling between us is to continue, I think it is desirable that it should be kept on harmless ground, as far as we can. I think nobody intends to have any further conflicts in this country, nobody certainly who has been through the past two conflicts. I am perfectly sure that Senator Blythe and those who were in high positions associated with him do not desire it. I think, therefore, that an amendment of this kind, which will be eminently calculated to intensify bad feeling and to precipitate conflict, should not be proceeded with.

I am not going to talk about the merits of the amendment in so far as it turns on the organisation of the Army or the volunteer force, but I do want to support Senator Comyn in his references to the statements made by Senator Blythe and Senator Miss Browne regarding the untrustworthiness of the Government. If one wants to understand the meaning and the causes of the present discontents in this country, I think one need only read in the morning paper— if one has not heard the speeches here to-day—the last few sentences of Senator Blythe's speech, endorsed, of course—yes, of course—by Senator Miss Browne. One does not take much notice of the words that are repeated time and again by Senator Miss Browne, but Senator Blythe is in a different position. I think I am right in affirming that he endorsed what he believes to be a very widespread opinion in this country: that this Government cannot be believed, that its promises are not taken as honest promises and that its assertions cannot be heeded at all. Now if that is to be the spirit of discussion in this House, if that is the spirit in which Government activities in the country are to be understood and argued about, then it is absolutely impossible to carry on parliamentary discussion and quite impossible to think of government by democratic rule.

I do not know whether the Ministers will deign to take part in this debate at all unless some members of the House, who usually do not support the Government, are prepared to dissociate themselves from the attitude adopted by Senator Blythe. It is entirely futile for a Minister to take part in a discussion if it is understood beforehand that nobody believes a word of that Minister. I simply draw attention to the impossibility of carrying on parliamentary work if leading men in the Opposition, especially one who has held the office of Vice-President of the Executive Council, can utter the language that Senator Blythe uttered to-day.

I certainly did not say anything like what Senator Johnson represents me as having said.

What did you say?

I said that in the matter of democratic and majority rule, this Government cannot be expected to have their word trusted on that particular matter because they had been in arms against majority rule in the past.

The Official Report will show what the Senator did say.

The Government Party may thank Senator Connolly for my speech on this amendment. He accused us of sabotage. I challenge him to prove that any member of the United Ireland Party ever stood for people refusing to pay their annuities or their rates when they were able to do it. I am in agreement with a good deal of what Senator Comyn said. Like most Irishmen I was born with a bad temper.

The Senator never showed it.

I always felt it was a bad thing and did my utmost to control it. It is one of the few vices that I have been able to master. Senator Comyn talked about the Army and said that it would have to be dissolved on All Fools' Day if Senator Blythe's amendment were accepted. Nothing of the kind need happen under the amendment, because the Government will have until the end of July, that is four months more, to consider the position. Senator Comyn did not make any reference to the men who fought in 1916 and who made this State possible. Some of them have died in the Dublin Union. Others of them were promised by the present Government that they would be looked after, but when they meet on All Fools' Day they will be able to tell the people of this country that they have not been looked after. The Labour Party has given its support to this Government because it was going to bring in, amongst other things, a Widows' and Orphans' Pension Bill, but on All Fools' Day, 1934, the Labour Party will know that this Bill has not been introduced; that what has been introduced is this Army Bill which gives the Minister power to mobilise a Party force, and the Government want it to be rushed through before All Fools' Day.

I have no objection at all to a territorial force, but it must be for all the people. It must be open to all sections of the people; there must be no canvassing for this section or for the other section to get control of it. Senator Connolly mentioned something about this being the army of the Government. At the formation of the Civic Guard force I said in one of the first speeches I made that the Civic Guards were to be the servants of the people. I did not say that they were to be the servants of the Cosgrave Government or of any other Government that might come after it, but I said they were to be the servants of the people. I also said to them: "Your predecessors, the R.I.C., were trained to believe that they were the masters of the people." I said: "You are not to be the masters of the people; you are to be the servants of the people and you are not to be the servants of any Government." I object to Senator Connolly's statement. He spoke as if the Army were the servants of the Government. I also strongly object to a speech the Minister for Justice made at a recent function in the Depôt at the Phænix Park. In the course of that speech he said that the Guards were the servants of the Government, but in justice to the Minister it is only fair to say that later, in the course of the same speech, he pointed out to the Guards that they were the servants of the people.

Now instead of abusing each other can we not get down to this: that a Government is there to govern all the people for the benefit of the people, but do not be doing it in a Party spirit? Senator Comyn, I think it was, who spoke about a guerilla force. He mentioned certain names. I have as much respect for those he mentioned as the Senator has, but what good is a guerilla force if any outside country attempts to invade this country? Why should the question of an invader arise at all? We are a maritime country and are we going to send our fishing boat out to prevent an invader from landing in this country? It is ridiculous to talk about guerilla warfare, and anyway, it was not the guerilla fighters who won the fight here against the English, but the people of this country who stood behind the guerilla fighters and gave the enemy no information. They helped the fighters in every way they could. Can we not be united, forget our partyisms, Party armies and Party guards? I do not know how the country will stand it at all if this thing is to continue. The Government have been entirely responsible for this. None of the speakers on the Government side this evening mentioned a word about the treatment General O'Duffy got. I do not want to mention his case particularly, but everybody knows about it. They did not mention anything about the O'Connell-Hogan Official Secrets case, nor did they mention a word about Commandant Cronin, who is a prisoner to-day in Arbour Hill. While we are sitting here he is a prisoner in Arbour Hill, and for what? Because he would not sign a guarantee or give bail that he would keep the peace, a thing he has always done. He is a law-abiding, peaceful citizen and simply because he refused to put that in writing he has to do his three months in Arbour Hill. How long is this kind of thing to go on?

Like my old friend, Senator Staines, I had not intended speaking in this debate, but unlike Senator Staines I have a very bad temper and I very often show it. In addressing the House on this question I labour under two shortcomings: one is that I am not capable of giving any quotations. The desire to do so seems to be rampant here to-day. The second shortcoming that I labour under is that I was not here for the whole of Senator Blythe's speech, but what I did hear of it enabled me to make up my mind definitely as to the action I would take on this Bill. Senator Blythe, followed by Senator Miss Browne, took up the attitude that the word of the Government could not be trusted. I am in complete agreement with Senator Johnson as to the way in which he dealt with those remarks. If the word of the Government cannot be trusted then there is no use in the Seanad meeting here or in considering Bills sent up to it by the Government, because if we do so we will simply be acting the part of hypocrites. I do not know whether there is anything in the point made by Senator Comyn that if this Bill is not passed before the 1st April the Army may have to be disbanded and may no longer be a disciplined force.

In my opinion the amendment moved by Senator Blythe defeats the object he wants to attain. If it is carried it will make the volunteer force a partisan organisation, because men will be prevented from joining it, as, undoubtedly, men were prevented joining the Army some years ago, owing to legislation that was on the Statute Book here. When that was removed it enabled many young men to come in who otherwise would not do so. I desire to register a strong protest against the statements made by one who was a Minister in the late Executive, and also against the statement of Senator Miss Browne, that the word of the Government could not be trusted in this matter.

I suppose I should say something on this Bill as I had more experience of army life and of irregulars and volunteers than most of those present. Senator Blythe stated that the volunteer force would be of no use unless it was trained in camps and drilled in squads by drill sergeants. Is that really a correct statement or is it merely what occurs to a person who has not considered the matter?

I did not say that to begin with.


I do not think Senator Blythe said that.

That was my understanding of what the Senator said and I was listening carefully. There is no doubt that some people who have not considered the matter would say that this is contrary to experience and to historical usage. These things have happened at all times. Irregulars or people with no military training have often won victories over large numbers of drilled soldiers. I will give an instance, that of South Africa. Some 100,000 British soldiers with all the implements of war were sent out there to fight against farmers, most of whom had not been drilled, but who were organised and had previous experience of what was required of them. The war in South Africa lasted for several years and it cost the British Government millions of money. Even the end was very unsuccessful. No one can say that the people who fought against the British in that war did not fight well and that on many occasions they did not defeat the British.

And you amongst them.

Then take the American War of Independence. The British sent out large numbers of trained soldiers and generals to fight that war. It lasted for three or four years, the British being opposed by farmers who were ill-trained, but the result was that the irregular volunteers who formed the American Army drove the British out of the United States. There have been many occasions when whole armies surrendered. When the French invaded Spain they were driven out mainly by irregulars. As some of those who led the people in South Africa were referred to, would Senator Blythe suggest that General Botha, General de Wet, or General Hertzog should be sent back after the war to be trained by some other army, seeing that they were able to teach the British a good many lessons in warfare? It would be a different thing to send them back to be trained and then not to allow them into the South African Army unless they were trained in barracks. The fact is, that there are two, if not many, methods of warfare. Special circumstances have been satisfactory at different times, one having won as many victories as the other. The question for this country is: shall we have such a force here? We had a trial that was not successful. There was a great deal of bloodshed on both sides. I commanded the volunteers for a long time when they numbered about 150,000 men. Why has Ireland been divided for 700 years? Has anybody looked back to see why? Because the old Celtic system was totally opposed to training bodies of regular soldiers, to live as soldiers and nothing else. Trained bodies of men came into the country and built castles. The struggle with irregulars went on for several years, there being occasional fighting. That shows that a nation that is not prepared to defend itself will be conquered. That is the reason Ireland was conquered by England, Ireland having no military standpoint. How has the British Empire been formed? I am not going to say anything against it, but the facts are that whenever any nation was not fit to defend itself an armed nation, like Great Britain or France, stepped in and annexed the country. The Chinese did not know what war was. They hated warfare, being a peaceful nation, and although there were three or four hundred millions of them, certain countries like England, America and others stepped in and took control for the time being. The same thing happened in India. The Indians were not prepared and were conquered. Ireland will be conquered and will be annexed if she is not prepared to defend herself. England has territorials. Why should we not have territorials here? Because people on the opposite benches do not happen to be in office, or for some other reason, they cannot get out of their heads the old ideas of quarrelling. That is wrong. I do not believe in perpetual quarrels and I ask the Opposition to join with us and to get all the people into the new army. If the spirit is good the thing can be done. There is a conception that the few people to organise this force are to be taken from one side. I am not saying that that is so. Suppose it is. Did not the other side create an army and put their own people into jobs for ten years? I do not say that they could have done otherwise. Perhaps there was no option. Surely the other side might now be allowed to help, even in a small way. They have not attempted to drive out those who did not take their side. A little sympathy, good will and toleration will probably do more for the country than fighting. I hope the Bill will go through and that, when carried, it will be worked properly. It is not an easy thing to do.

As a brother officer of the last speaker, who also served in the British Army, I do not care to allow his statements to go unchallenged. I am not going to quarrel with him to the full length of the discussion, but the Senator asked how it was that the British Government was so successful and how the British Empire had been built up. I venture to suggest that, except in this country, the British Empire has been built up because it understood the art of government, which was to ensure the co-operation of the people based on justice and fair-play.

I am sorry to interrupt the Senator, but anyone who reads the history of the occupation of India, or who reads Macaulay or Burke's description of what happened there at the time Warren Hastings went to that country, would form a totally different opinion.

I am quite able to deal with that, considering that only lately I was very much moved by the play "Clive in India," which almost brought tears to my eyes when I thought of the greatness of the British Empire and of the injustice meted out to Clive by the financiers in India and by politicians who knew nothing of the facts. I am not going to say any more about that, except that I can meet the Senator on that point. With regard to his expression regarding military training, all I could gather was that it was better if we had no regular army and that, as in South Africa, the whole nation should rise in arms spontaneously if attacked. In South Africa they were individualists. The people knew the country and were trained marksmen, which was a great advantage. The Senator suggests that we might disband the regular army and depend on guerilla warfare. That has nothing to do with this matter. I am sure Senators feel that they have some right to consider this matter carefully before asking the House to take a vote which could be read as one which obstructs the Government. I considered this matter and I cannot see that such a vote would amount to obstruction. There is a very serious apprehension with regard to the policy of this Government in the formation of this reserve force. The Minister for Defence justified his policy by reference to the territorial organisation of the British Army. There is no parallel at all. If I am right, such liason as there might be between the military and the territorial elements in the British Army is settled by the lord lieutenants of the counties, who are outside politics and I think, partly, by county councils. There is no parallel whatever for taking people who within the last ten years were in revolt against majority rule and bringing them in to act as administrative officers in regard to the new force, creating a situation—the Minister can tell me that I am wrong—whereby unless these newly commissioned officers approve of the recruits offering, these recruits will not be accepted. I take it that that is virtually the position. Every new recruit will have to be regarded as suitable by these new officers, who have not had regular military training. It is not a question of distrusting the Government but of examining the proposals of the Government. There seems to be a lot of feeling at the suggestion that the Government should not be trusted but it is our business to scrutinise and examine Government measures. Does Senator O'Neill suggest that the Government should be given a blank cheque, that they should be given all the powers they seek? Our duty is to question these things and, under the normal procedure, we have not got time to do so in the present case. I think that it is only right that we should have an opportunity to consider this whole matter because, rightly or wrongly, there are grounds for apprehension. This proposal would enable the procedure to operate so as to allow the House time to introduce amendments after due and careful consideration. The Government will get their Army Act for three months. They will merely have to come back in three months and have this matter further considered. If that is so, I do not see how the House is treating the Government in a distrustful way or how it can be accused of obstructing the Government.

I am as anxious as Senator Blythe is to bring forward the Army Bill which is at present in course of preparation, but I am not prepared to agree to his amendment for two reasons. The first reason is that I am not prepared to admit that the Seanad or the Dáil should restrict this Government any more than they restricted the previous Government in their operations in regard to the Army. The second reason is that it would be impossible for the Department of Defence to get the Bill which is in draft through the Parliamentary draftsman's office before the three months, or even before the coming autumn. I have been pressing the Attorney-General and the draftsman's office to deal with the Bill. They assured me that they could not deal with it before the coming autumn. A great part of Senator Blythe's speech amuses me, because it reveals a sour-grapes attitude. Senator Blythe, in the amendments which he proposed here and in his speech, endeavours to prevent the Government from being successful in a policy which he tried and in which he failed—and failed after spending many thousands of pounds of the taxpayers' money. He is at the moment having his own little private army. He can have a captain or a commandant or a general appointed inside 24 hours, and changed after 24 hours. But he does not want us to get the Army strengthened to the extent that neither he nor any other enemy of the Irish people can try any of their little tricks on this country. Senator Blythe left the Seanad under the impression that the area administrative officers we have appointed received no training. That is not true. They have had more training in the military college than, at least, one-third of the present Army officers. I am not saying that it is necessary that a large number of the officers should go through two years or even one year in the military college. As a matter of fact, that would be waste of time for some of them, but the truth is that 19 of these area administrative officers spent over two months in the military college in the Curragh. They are men who had training in guerilla warfare, and the military staff down there informed me that a large proportion of them were the most promising pupils they had for a long time. However, I am not to be taken as being against officers or all cadets doing a couple of years in the military college. I think it would be a good thing, and it was my intention, that these men, as soon as they could be spared from their work, should spend a further period in the military college. The position in regard to the officers at present serving is that 61 have never been through the military college. Only 23, out of a total of 545, have done one year in the military college. About 400 of them did six months or nine months in the military college from time to time, and it is my hope that we shall get them all through a longer period. We cannot agree to Senator Blythe's amendment. As I say, it would not be possible for the Parliamentary draftsman to deal with the Bill, which is at present ready, before that time. I think that this Government is as well able to run the Army as the previous Government was. Senator Blythe was the very man in the last Government who started the Volunteer Reserve. He has an amendment down which seeks to prevent us from commissioning an officer in the Volunteer Reserve before he has served a period of five years. Before the Senator had a single man recruited into the Volunteer Reserve, he had commissioned the officers.

That is not true.

That was the first step he took. If the Senator comes along with me, I shall show him the files in which he stated that the first thing to be done was to get the officers.

Cadets. They were taken in as cadets.

They were appointed as officers.

No such thing.


This dispute cannot be settled here.

The fact is that that Volunteer Reserve was started and thousands of pounds spent in order to get a couple of hundred men. The officers were there in charge of them from the first day they went in. Senator Blythe talked about the grave alarm caused by this volunteer force. I am sure he was gravely alarmed, but men of good will, who want to see democratic rule, were delighted that the young men should get an opportunity of coming forward and offering their services to the Government instead of being pulled into the private armies which are at present cutting each other's throats. I always stood, and the Fianna Fáil Party always stood, for democratic rights. We stood for them when the people who stood against them were Senator Blythe and his friends. They quashed the Dáil in 1922 and they quashed the Dáil courts, and if I have my way they will never get an opportunity of doing it again. We are going to see that the ordinary people will get an opportunity of ruling themselves in spite of any small, internal clique and in spite of any external majority. The men whom I have asked to come into the volunteer force are coming in on the clear understanding that they are to serve whatever Government is elected by the people. We are not like Senator Blythe and some of the other people who say they want one thing and do the other. They effected a coup d'état here while mouthing about the will of the people. Senator Blythe is mouthing about the will of the people while I know very well that he is trying to go ahead with his I.R.B. tactics again and start another secret army.

I should like to have an opportunity of asking the Minister to withdraw that allegation, which is entirely untrue. It is a deliberate falsehood uttered against me by the Minister. I am pursuing no tactics aiming at the establishment of any sort of secret army. I am doing nothing but seeking to ensure, so far as I can, that the majority vote will determine national policy.

The old stunt. I am not saying that the Senator is trying to organise all the Blue Shirts into a secret army. He will give anybody who likes to turn up a blue shirt, but all the Blue Shirts are not allowed into the real force.

There is only one force and that is not a secret force.


I must ask the Minister to accept the statement of Senator Blythe as regards his own organisation. He may not agree with it but he must accept it.

Senator Milroy said that the organising of the Volunteers was a deadly blow at the morale of the regular Army. I think that Senator Milroy was once a mutineer—Mutineer Milroy. I am not prepared to go into his history. In spite of the attempts by Senator Blythe and Senator Milroy to disrupt the Army and sap its morale —Senator Blythe said that the idea was not to supplement the regular Army by the Volunteers but to replace it by the Volunteers—in spite of all that, the people and the Army know that the Government is doing exactly the correct thing, both from the military and national point of view, in supplementing the regular Army by these Volunteers. Senator Blythe tried to do that himself but failed because he could not get the young people to join. We are succeeding. We are going to succeed, in spite of the two private armies which are trying to defeat the Government, in getting an army that will be really loyal to the Government elected by the people.

Senator Blythe alluded to the distribution of arms to the volunteers. I hope the time will come here, and that before long, when we can with safety distribute arms to the volunteers in the same way as the Swiss Government distributes arms amongst its soldiers. I do not think it has arrived yet but I hope it will come before long, when people like Senator Blythe will see that they cannot try their tricks with success. The volunteers are not a party political force, as he says. In spite of him and the United Ireland Party, we have got into a number of sluagh committees members of the United Ireland Party. I appealed to the United Ireland Party when we were introducing the Estimate in the Dáil to co-operate in making the volunteers a success. They voted against the Estimate for the volunteers, thereby setting a headline for their supporters throughout the country to boycott the volunteers, when they were approached to help in organisation. But in spite of that, members of the United Ireland Party have come forward in every district and are giving help in getting recruits of the proper type into the volunteer force. I am delighted to say that that is a fact. I want to say that I did my utmost to prevent the civil war and I was not in a position to carry my wishes into effect but I am a member of the present Administration, of a Government that has the same ideas as I had before the civil war, who hated the internal strife in the same way as I did, and I am glad to see that they see eye to eye with us on this volunteer question and we mean to make it a success because it is not alone the best guarantee against another civil war but the best possible guarantee against invasion by an outside Power. I am delighted also that the young men of the country are offering their services in a way which is a great satisfaction to the Government and the Army officers who are in charge of the recruitment of the volunteers. It is not true to say that the volunteers are under the control of 20 newly-appointed officers. I pointed out here on the last occasion that the volunteers come directly under the control of the Headquarters Staff and that associated with 20 new officers who are at present engaged in organising sluagh committees and recruitment for the volunteers, are at least 50 officers of the regular Army. Senator Milroy asks why did we not bring in ten men from one side and ten men from the other. We brought into the National Army 20 men who had fought against the other 500. We have brought the 20 men in to be associated with the 500. We have associated with the work of organisation about 50 of the other side. I think it is much better that men who saw the disasters caused by civil war should be working together in trying to get the young people into a disciplined Army and that in charge of that work should be men who know the dangers and what civil war can do. I hope the Seanad will not agree to Senator Blythe's amendment. There is no reason in the world for passing it. This Government is as capable of managing an army as the last Government was and it has proved itself to have been more capable of organising a volunteer force than ever its predecessors were.

Could the Minister see fit to give a specific answer to my question: if the certificate of one of these newly commissioned officers is necessary before a recruit is accepted?

The recruit offers his services in the first instance to the sluagh committee. The sluagh secretary, after examination of character, passes on the different recruits. They are then accepted or rejected by the area administrative officer, and the recruiting officer is sent out. The area administrative officers are not the attesting officers. The attesting is carried out by a regular Army officer sent down for that purpose. The actual attesting is carried through by an attesting officer who is most convenient at the particular time.

Am I right in saying that an area administrative officer is one of these newly commissioned officers?

And that there must be a recommendation from one of them before a recruit can present himself for attestation?

He must agree.

The Minister made a statement that on every sluagh committee there were representatives of the U.I.P. That is not true with regard to one which I know.

All the sluagh committees I have approved of, and I have seen about 50, include in every one of them people who supported the U.I.P. or the Cumann na nGaedheal Party over five or six years ago.

I know one committee and that is not so.

I would like to say that when the Minister is referring to myself or anybody with whom I associated, as contemplating tricks, he is making an attack without any foundation whatsoever, and a charge which I find it difficult to believe that he is sincere in. I am afraid he is allowing political spite to bias and blind him in regard to a purely political movement which is very threatening to his Party and no doubt causes him to have occasional nightmares. With regard to the initiation of the volunteer service units, I had something to do with it, and I would like to say there were no officers appointed in the manner which the Minister indicates. First, it was realised that only a beginning could be made owing to the political differences, and only a few units were attempted. So far as they were concerned, the arrangements for officering them were: a certain number of young men were selected as graduates, and instead of going for drill and instruction only one night of the week they went three or four nights. They were not selected on a political basis. They included men who had been opposed to the Cumann na nGaedheal Government, and men who during the Treaty and civil war had been on the side of the Minister. I remember being Acting-Minister for Defence, and at the time there was some consultation with the officers on the selection board about the matter. I said that we should stretch every point possible in order to get those who were in opposition to the Government of the day, because I was anxious, so far as we might be able, that the force should be entirely on a nonpolitical basis. If the Minister will simply do now what was attempted to be done, then he could make a great success of this volunteer force. Instead of getting one or two representatives of the U.I.P. he could get as many as he desired, and instead of getting some recruits who might be our supporters he would get as many of them as supporters of his own Party, if he would set out to show by action and not by words that the force would be a nonpolitical force that would serve every elected Government and have no interest but the interests of the country at heart.

Amendment put.
The Committee divided: Tá, 27; Níl, 18.

  • Bagwell, John.
  • Barniville, Dr. Henry L.
  • Blythe, Ernest.
  • Browne, Miss Kathleen.
  • Costello, Mrs.
  • Counihan, John C.
  • Crosbie, George.
  • Dillon, James.
  • Douglas, James G.
  • Duggan, E.J.
  • Fanning, Michael.
  • Garahan, Hugh.
  • Gogarty, Dr. O. St. J.
  • Griffith, Sir John Purser.
  • Guinness, Henry S.
  • Keane, Sir John.
  • Kennedy, Cornelius.
  • MacLoughlin, John.
  • Milroy, Seán.
  • O'Connor, Joseph.
  • O'Hanlon, M.F.
  • O'Rourke, Brian.
  • O'Sullivan, Dr. William.
  • Parkinson, James J.
  • Staines, Michael.
  • Toal, Thomas.
  • Wilson, Richard.


  • Chléirigh, Caitlín Bean Uí.
  • Comyn, K.C., Michael.
  • Connolly, Joseph.
  • Cummins, William.
  • Dowdall, J.C.
  • Duffy, Michael.
  • Foran, Thomas.
  • Johnson, Thomas.
  • Keyes, Raphael P.
  • Linehan, Thomas.
  • MacEllin, Seán E.
  • MacParland, D.H.
  • Moore, Colonel.
  • O'Neill, L.
  • Phaoraigh, Siobhán Bean an.
  • Quirke, William.
  • Robinson, David L.
  • Robinson, Séumas.
Tellers:—Tá: Senators Blythe and Milroy; Níl: Séumas Robinson and David Robi nson.
Amendment declared carried.
Question—"That Section 1 as amended stand part of the Bill"— agreed.
Section 2 agreed to; Title agreed to.
Bill ordered to be reported with amendments.

I move: That, notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in Standing Order 85, the Report Stage of the Defence Forces (Temporary Provisions) Bill, 1934, be taken to-day.

I beg to second.

Question put and agreed to.
Bill received for final consideration and passed.