Public Business. - Constitution (Amendment No. 24) Bill, 1934—Second Stage.

Question proposed: "That the Bill be now read a Second Time."

At the last election the Government made it clear that if they were re-elected, and if our Party got a majority, it was intended to introduce legislation to abolish the Second Chamber; at least to abolish the Seanad as at present constituted. It was indicated at the same time that consideration would be given to the question whether a Second Chamber should be retained at all. A year has passed and considerable consideration has been given to that question by the Government. The position is that we have come to the conclusion, not merely that the Seanad, as at present constituted, should be abolished, but that no argument has so far been put forward for the retention of the Second Chamber. We feel that any propositions that have been put forward, and any case so far made for the retention of the Second Chamber, have not been convincing. We have, accordingly, introduced this Bill. From a theoretical point of view we believe that no case which is sound can really be made for a Second Chamber. We believe also that the Seanad has justified all the apprehensions which, from a theoretical point of view, might be felt with regard to the action of any Second Chamber. I said in the Dáil that I did not regard a Second Chamber as in any way a necessary part of a representative system of government; that in fact, in many respects it would conflict, and does conflict, and is certain to conflict, with any such scheme of genuine representative government. The Bill is a simple one. It proposes to amend Article 12 of the Constitution, so as to abolish the Seanad as a Constituent House of the Legislature, and to make certain consequential changes in the other Articles of the Constitution.

I do not think it is necessary to cover here the ground which was covered several times in the Dáil. I am sure Senators are aware of the arguments by which the Government supported its case. I do not wish to delay the House by repeating these arguments. The position then is that the Dáil has passed the Bill, not exactly in the form in which it was introduced, but passed it with two amendments. In a sense the amendments destroy the symmetry of the Bill, but they were introduced to meet certain views expressed by members of the Opposition. The amendments make it impossible to bring in the motion, provided for in the Constitution for the removal of either the Comptroller and Auditor-General, or of the Judges, except the motion is passed by a four-sevenths majority, and with the present system of proportional representation, it is felt that a four-sevenths majority could only be secured when there was co-operation from other Parties with the majority Party; in other words, a majority that could not be secured purely by Party vote. The reason for which it was introduced would have to get the support of other members of the Dáil. It is in that form the Bill is coming to you, and it is in that form we hope you will agree to pass it. I say, "we hope," but we are not very sanguine in the hope. Meantime, if you should not pass it there will be a period in which we can take certain steps that it is intended to take, to meet a certain position that will arise when the Seanad, as a constituent part of the Legislature disappears. There are certain Articles in the Constitution guaranteeing democratic rights, and it is our intention to have these carefully examined, with the idea of putting them in a position somewhat like the position now occupied by the Comptroller and Auditor-General, and the Judges, with regard to their removal. There is the position in which these Articles cannot be removed by a simple majority but possibly by a majority that would be specified, by some fraction of the total membership such as four-sevenths in the case of the Comptroller and Auditor-General, or, perhaps, by a simple majority provided the view of the majority of the Dáil is supported by the majority of the people in a referendum. That is the position as it is at the moment. I do not think there is anything further I need say.

Cathaoirleach

Nearly ten years ago a very important motion was tabled in this House by Senator Douglas, dealing with the problem of our relations with the Six Counties of Northern Ireland. That was a subject on which my predecessor in the Chair, Lord Glenavy, was eminently qualified to speak. So he created a precedent by asking another Senator to take the Chair, and he addressed Senators from the floor of the House. Since I succeeded him I have always maintained a rigid impartiality, but on this question of the abolition of the Seanad I am not, and cannot be expected to be, impartial. I have presided over this House for nearly half the time it has been in existence, and I have acquired an intimate knowledge of its work— knowledge which, in the nature of things, is open only to the occupant of the Chair. I have also learned much of the history and practice of other Legislatures and have come to realise the supreme importance of the Second Chamber in our own. After much thought I have decided that, in view of my special knowledge, I cannot in conscience remain silent; and so I have decided to follow, on this unique occasion, the precedent set up by Lord Glenavy and to address Senators on the subject from the floor of the House. Having discharged what I believe to be my duty, I shall resume my impartiality as between all Parties and groups. Will the Leas-Chathaoirleach please take the Chair?

The Leas-Chathaoirleach took the Chair.

The President began his concluding speech on the Second Stage of this Bill in the Dáil with the following words: "It might be worth while to deal with a few of the misrepresentations before we get down to the real principles behind this Bill." I think I can do no better than to follow his example. I hope to deal in the course of my speech with the real principles behind this Bill, but first of all I propose to deal with some of the grosser misrepresentations. No honest man can doubt that for years past this House has been the victim of almost every kind of calumny that the Government, their followers and their propaganda experts could devise. As Deputy O'Higgins said in the Dáil: "Propaganda has slandered that body. Propaganda slandered every man and group of men that ever stood up in this country to do a decent day's work. The Seanad was the subject of slander, of propaganda and of misrepresentation."

In dealing with these misrepresentations I propose to give the President pride of place, and out of his numerous misrepresentations to select what appears to me to be one of the most serious. On the 7th June last year a Bill was introduced in the Dáil to amend the Constitution so as to reduce the period for which this House has power to suspend a Bill from eighteen months to three months. In his Second Reading speech the President placed great reliance on the fact, as alleged by him, that one of the three drafts drawn up by the Constitution Committee in 1923 proposed to give the Seanad a delaying period of only four months. His actual words are:

"There were three drafts. A period of 180 days occurred in two of them and in the third a period of four months was mentioned. The intention was that there would be one preliminary month in which the Bill presented to the Seanad was to be discussed, and then a delaying period of three months. In the Constitution as passed by the Dáil, a period of 270 days was allowed, but that was in conjunction with the Referendum."

In his concluding speech in the same debate the President went on to explain why he had referred to the original drafts. He said:

"It was to show that a body, consisting of three separate committees, which was approaching the question of a Constitution in the detached frame of mind in which Deputy MacDermot suggested matters of this kind should be approached, having been asked to consider Constitutions and forms of government and to come to a calm decision as to our form of government, did not propose a longer period than the period we are proposing here. I think that, in itself, is proof that this proposal of ours is not brought in in purely a biased frame of mind, for the purpose of facilitating this particular Executive, but that it is brought in, having considered carefully—as I can say the Government has considered—what would be the reasonable period of delay which should be given to the Second Chamber. I ask the House to think of that and to weigh its value; that we had three committees of experts that had no immediate political axe to grind, that were given this task of considering what should be the Constitution—under certain limitations, I will admit—of the State here, and that these committees suggested a period which is, practically, the period provided for here in this Bill."

These are the President's own words. Now as to the facts. There were three drafts, but only one committee; but that is by the way. Now if this particular draft submitted to the Government by experts who had no political axe to grind had really contained what the President said it contained he would undoubtedly have been provided with a strong argument for his proposal to reduce the suspension period to three months; and it was, in fact, his main argument. But his version of what it contained was completely erroneous. This matter was fully and adequately dealt with by Senator Douglas on the Second Reading debate of the Bill in this House on the 11th July, 1933, but the President, who had been in charge of the Bill in the Dáil, failed to attend the Seanad and he has never given any explanation in the matter. The truth is, as revealed by Senator Douglas, that apart from Money Bills the proposal in the draft in question was, in effect, a provision giving the Dáil three months to agree with the Seanad and, if it did not do so, it would either have to drop the Bill or submit it to a Referendum. As Senator Douglas remarked, this would have placed the Seanad in a dominating position in all legislation except finance. Thus the President stated the exact opposite of the fact. Instead of being given a delaying power of only three months, after which the Bill would be passed over the head of the Seanad, the Dáil was given three months to agree with the Seanad, after which the Bill would be dead.

The next misrepresentation on my list was made on the Second Reading of this Bill in the other House by the Minister for Finance (Mr. MacEntee), who spoke as follows:—

"Most of the men who constituted the majority against the Uniforms Bill in the Seanad were nominated by the last Government as a result of what I might call the khaki election of 1923. They received no direct mandate from the people. They were the creatures of our predecessors."

What are the facts? I have examined the division list on the Uniforms Bill, and I find that 18 Senators voted for the Bill and 30 voted against it, a total of 48. Of this total of 48, only five were nominated Senators. Two out of five (Senators Dowdall and Mrs. Wyse Power) voted with the Government in favour of the Bill. The remaining three (Senators the Earl of Granard, Guinness and Sir John Keane) voted against the Bill. How can one adequately describe the conduct of a man who publicly states that most of those who constituted the majority in the division on this Bill were nominated by the last Government as a result of what he calls the khaki election of 1923? Incidentally he knows of course that the nominations to the Seanad were announced in the Dáil on the 6th December, 1922, and that the general election did not take place till the 27th August, 1923—nearly nine months later. The Minister could have discovered the facts in five minutes by reference to Flynn's Parliamentary Companion.

The Minister's Parliamentary Secretary (Mr. Hugo Flinn) is no less unscrupulous. In the course of his speech in the same debate he remarked:

"Now, of course, the Seanad has done nothing. It has not interfered with legislation at all. It has let all legislation go through in the nicest possible way, and it has improved it."

If this statement had been meant seriously and not ironically it would have been not far from the truth, as I hope to show later on. But, turning suddenly from irony to ferocity, Mr. Flinn goes on:

"It cut the heart out of the Land Bill. The Control of Manufactures Bill was made futile."

As regards the Land Bill, the Seanad inserted 31 amendments in the Bill, of which 18 were agreed to by the other House and 13 were not agreed to. The Seanad gave way in every case, but suggested an alternative amendment in one case. This was of a minor character, and it was agreed to by the Dáil. How anyone can truthfully say that we cut the heart out of the Land Bill I frankly do not know. If the amendments were not considered by the Government to be improvements, they would, of course, not have been accepted in the Dáil. Turning to the Control of Manufactures Bill, I find that the Seanad inserted 29 amendments, all of which were agreed to by the Dáil with the exception of eight. The Seanad did not insist on six of these, but insisted on two, and made two further amendments for the purpose of correcting mistakes made by the Government. The Seanad never at any time threatened to hold up the Bill if its amendments were not agreed to in full. The two amendments which remained were agreed to by the Dáil with modifications, and the Bill became an agreed measure. If the Bill is futile, it is through no fault of the Seanad, which did its best to correct the more outstanding mistakes in it. The reason for its futility is to be found in other directions, and these were pointed out to the Minister in charge of the Bill during its passage through the Seanad. So much for Mr. Flinn.

The House will recollect that on the 20th March last we made a simple amendment to the Defence Forces Bill, reducing its period of operation from 12 months to three months. That was all. The only inconvenience to which the Government was put thereby was the necessity of passing a fresh Bill through the Oireachtas this summer in order further to extend the period. Yet on the following Sunday at Mullingar we find the ex-Minister for Justice (Mr. James Geoghegan, K.C.), who, as a lawyer, presumably has some regard for precision of language, stating that the Seanad had so mutilated the Army Bill as to produce a condition of chaos if a strong man were not at the head of it.

Two more quotations and I am done with this part of my subject. As a result of their victory at the last general election, the Government claim a mandate to abolish this House. How was that mandate obtained? I will tell you. On the 3rd January, 1933, the day after the dissolution, Mr. de Valera summoned the representatives of the Press to Government Buildings and delivered to them an address which was, in effect, his battle-cry to the electors. In what terms did he refer to this House? As follows:—

"A hostile Seanad is constantly attempting to harass the Government by mutilating its measures or wilfully delaying them."

Exactly a week later, his Minister for Justice, Mr. P.J. Ruttledge, told the electors at Balla that every Bill they had passed was being held up, particularly by the Seanad. When taxed with this statement in the Seanad on the 11th July last, the Minister did not deny having made it. He could not do so, as it had been reported in the Irish Press.

Now these two statements are vitally important, as they set a headline for the Fianna Fáil Party at the general election, and the mandate obtained for the abolition of this House was obtained as a result of them and of statements like them. I shall therefore subject them to a short examination.

Mr. de Valera's first administration lasted from the 9th March, 1932 to the 2nd January, 1933. I propose to give you the exact figures regarding non-Money Government Bills received by the Seanad from the Dáil during that period, with particulars of how they were dealt with by us here. I leave out of my calculations the Constitution (Removal of Oath) Bill, which is a special case, and also the Agricultural Produce (Cereals) Bill, which we were prevented from finishing owing to the dissolution. Apart from these, we received 22 such Bills, 16 of which were passed by us without amendment and the remaining six were amended as follows:—

Dairy Produce (Price Stabilisation) Bill, 1932. 15 amendments inserted, all of which were agreed to by the Dáil.

Control of Manufactures Bill, 1932. 29 amendments inserted, 23 of which were finally agreed to by the Dáil and 6 not agreed to. The Seanad did not insist on these amendments. This was a very faulty Bill and, therefore, gave us a great deal of trouble. I have already dealt with this matter.

Eucharistic Congress (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill, 1932. 3 amendments inserted, all of which were agreed to by the Dáil.

Control of Prices Bill, 1932. No less than 34 amendments were inserted, all of which were agreed to by the Dáil.

Housing (Financial and Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill, 1932. 12 amendments inserted, all of which were agreed to by the Dáil.

Therapeutic Substances Bill, 1932. 1 amendment inserted, which was agreed to by the Dáil.

This gives a total of 22 non-Money Bills, 16 of which passed unamended and the remaining 6 of which were amended, a total of 94 amendments being inserted, of which 88 were agreed to and 6 not agreed to and not insisted upon. There was no unavoidable delay over any of these Bills.

Some of the Bills which passed through this House unamended had been fiercely contested in the Dáil. I will give you two examples. The Dublin and Blessington Steam Tramway (Abandonment) Bill introduced for the first time the principle of compensating persons who had fought against this State during the years 1922-1924. The Cumann na nGaedheal Party in the Dáil failed in their efforts to amend the Bill, and they tried to get their supporters in the Seanad to move a similar amendment in our House. They were unsuccessful in this attempt, and no such amendment was moved. The Army Pensions Bill, 1932 was a revolutionary measure which conferred pensions on the post-Treaty members of the Irish Republican Army, Cumann na mBan and others who fought against this State. The Cumann na nGaedheal Party in the other House attempted to exempt from its provisions persons who had killed or attempted to kill members of the Oireachtas or who had committed arson against their property. They were unsuccessful, and no such amendments were moved in our House, the Bill being passed without amendment in the minimum of time.

Now this statement of Mr. de Valera's that a hostile Seanad was constantly attempting to harass the Government by mutilating its measures or wilfully delaying them is thus seen to be completely untrue. Also the statement of his Minister for Justice that every Bill they had passed was being held up, particularly by the Seanad. But these were the basis of the Fianna Fáil Party's campaign against this House at the general election, as a result of which they claim a mandate to abolish the Seanad. Of what value is a mandate given as a result of such false statements as these? Of course, it has no moral value at all.

I leave this part of my subject now. It is obvious that over a long period the poison gas of calumny has been of set purpose directed against this House of the Oireachtas by Mr. de Valera and his followers. There is too much talk about liberty in this country, and too little attention paid to the things that ensure it. It is the truth that makes men free, and it is its opposite that binds them. There can be no liberty without liberty of the mind, and there can be no liberty of the mind without truth.

It is regrettable that it should be necessary to enter into arguments for or against Second Chambers in general, as it introduces somewhat of a debating society atmosphere into our proceedings. But as Mr. de Valera has himself raised this issue, it is necessary to follow him and expose his many fallacies. His attitude in the matter is that of a dictator pure and simple. When, as here, he sets out to destroy, it is not for him to show he is right, but for his opponents to prove he is wrong. He puts everybody on the defensive. This is what he says:

"It is on the shoulders of those who stand for having a Second House in the Legislature must rest the responsibility for proving that such a House is necessary."

He also tells us that—

"Historically, the idea of having a Second House in the Legislature has been the result, to a very large extent, of accident. It is not at all essential to the idea of representative government. In fact, it is, I might say, obnoxious to the idea of truly representative government."

And he challenges anyone who speaks of the dangers of the Single Chamber system to give him and his Government a single example of disaster following the adoption of that system. Such ignorance of history and of political science is truly deplorable in a Minister for External Affairs; and one realises with a sense of humiliation that these utterances are read by educated people abroad wherever the Dáil Debates are circulated. It would not be difficult to show from the history of countries the world over that the Second Chamber system is the result not of accident, but of wisdom born of painful experience; and that the adoption of a Single Chamber system has almost invariably resulted in dictatorship or disaster or both. But as Mr. de Valera has relied on authorities from three countries—England, France and the United States of America—I propose to take up his challenge and to consider the history of two of these, and to examine him home. For the sake of brevity, I omit England. The history of that country between 1641 and 1660 is almost too well known.

First of all, let us take France, Mr. de Valera quoted the well-known dictum of the Abbé Sieyés, the most famous, or infamous, of the constitution-mongers of the French Revolution, to the effect that if a Second Chamber is of the same political complexion as the First Chamber it is useless and if it is of a different political complexion it is mischievous. In this instance Mr. de Valera did not give the name of his authority, but this was provided for him by Mr. Cosgrave. Mr. de Valera subsequently acknowledged the source and appeared to make a grievance of the fact that Mr. Cosgrave had said that the Abbé was an unfrocked priest, adding:

"as if that had something to do with it."

He also said that Condorcet was of the same opinion. Of course it had everything to do with it. Sieyés was one of the leaders of the French Revolution. The abolition of the Church became one of their principal aims, just as this generally becomes the aim of revolutionaries to-day. Parliament then consisted of Three Estates, the Nobles, the Church and the popular assembly, called the Third Estate. "What is the Third Estate?" said Sieyés. "Everything. What has it been hitherto in the political order? Nothing. What does it desire? To be something." So they enthroned the Third Estate as a Single Chamber, guillotined the nobles and abolished God. They set a living gilded actress in our Lord's place on the high altar of Notre Dame and turned the Madeleine into a Temple of Glory. What a man for the President to cite in support of his argument for a Single Chamber! He also claims Condorcet as an ally. Condorcet was one of the chief pamphleteers on the popular side during the Revolution. He was a complete sceptic in religious matters. He was President of the National Assembly at its bloodiest epoch. His work is on the Index Librorum Prohibitorum and may not be read by Catholics except under a dispensation. These are two men on whose opinions the head of the State in this country has the audacity to rely as regards the merits of Single Chamber Government!

The National Assembly of the French Revolution, i.e., the Third Estate, appointed a Constitution Committee on the 14th July, 1791, to draft the new Constitution. Lally-Tollendal, one of its members, had said, a month after the fall of the Bastille:

"With one Chamber you can destroy everything: without two Chambers you can found nothing."

The Constitution Committee reported strongly in favour of a bicameral Legislature on the English model. But the revolutionaries of the National Assembly would have none of it. They decided upon a Single Chamber system by a majority of 849 votes to 89, the majority including the statesman Mirabeau. This Single Chamber was a colossal failure and ended in complete disaster. It lasted for less than six years, when it was supplanted by the Directorial Constitution of 1795, which provided for a Legislature of two Houses. In the words of one of the foremost writers on political science:

"Already, within six years of its initiation, the Single Chamber experiment beloved of the doctrinaires had been abandoned, and France, gradually returning to normal health after the wild orgies of the revolution, declined any longer to be scared by the dilemma propounded by the most famous of her constitutional architects."

The architect referred to is the Abbé Sieyés, and the dilemma is that which was so foolishly quoted by Mr. de Valera in ignorance of the fact that it and its author have long ago been discredited. Mirabeau became a convert to the Two Chamber system and remarked:

"Of all tyrannies the most insupportable is that of a Single Chamber."

France had learned its lesson, and never again, except for a brief space under the Second Republic of 1848, did it renew the experiment.

One final word about the Abbé Sieyés. Here is what a modern writer says of him and his works:

"The more perfect the form of a Constitution, the less successful it often proves in actual operation. Had it been otherwise, the name of the Abbé Sieyés, instead of being a byword for contemptible incompetence, would be honoured among the greatest of political architects."

A byword for contemptible incompetence!

So much for Mr. de Valera's challenge to anyone to give him a single example of disaster following the adoption of the Single Chamber system. So much for his statement that the idea of having a Second House in the Legislature is the result, to a large extent, of accident. Of course, he guards himself by saying that if such an example can be provided it will be found to have been due to something other than the system. This is the kind of utterance one naturally expects from a man who is incapable of learning the lessons of history. You can never prove him wrong, because he will never acknowledge himself to be wrong.

Mr. de Valera next considered the United States of America, and so I follow him there. He alleged that Adams and Franklin were both in favour of a Single Chamber, but failed to point out that, if so, the collective wisdom of the United States went against them and established a Two Chamber system right from the beginning. Not much sign of an historical accident here! However, he mended his hand when continuing his speech on the following morning and admitted that the Senate of the United States is the predominating Chamber; and he made this incredible statement:

"If, to-morrow, we had the union of this country, and if there were to remain in the Six Counties a certain local Parliament, and we were constituting here an all-Ireland Parliament, a very good case could be made for a Seanad on somewhat similar lines."

I wish he had elaborated this statement a little more. It would have provided some amusement for students of political science. Of course the Senate of a great Federation like the United States of America can have no practical interest whatever for people situated as we are here, whether we accept the status quo of a Free State within the British Commonwealth or envisage, as Mr. de Valera appears to do, a republic for the whole of Ireland.

I do not propose to deal with Adams and Franklin, but I shall read for you some extracts from the writings of one of their contemporaries, Alexander Hamilton (1757-1804), who is second only to George Washington among the founders of the United States, and with whom, as statesmen, Adams and Franklin are hardly to be compared.

Hamilton was Washington's First Secretary to the Treasury, and it has been truly said that his influence is stamped on every page of the American Constitution. Listen carefully to what he says, for he is one of the most profound political thinkers of the modern world.

"A Senate, as a second branch of the Legislative Assembly, distinct from, and dividing the power with, a first, must be in all cases a salutary check on the Government. It doubles the security to the people, by requiring the concurrence of two distinct bodies in schemes of usurpation or perfidy, where the ambition or corruption of one would otherwise be sufficient.... The necessity of a Senate is not less indicated by the propensity of all single and numerous assemblies to yield to the impulse of sudden and violent passions, and to be seduced by factious leaders into intemperate and pernicious resolutions. Examples on this subject might be cited without number; and from proceedings within the United States, as well as from the history of other nations."

Notice that he says that examples could be cited from within the United States. I shall give some of these in a moment. And again:—

"As the cool and deliberate sense of the community ought in all governments, and actually will in all free governments, ultimately prevail over the views of its rulers, so there are particular moments in public affairs when the people, stimulated by some irregular passion, or some illicit advantage, or misled by the artful misrepresentations of interested men, may fall for measures which they themselves will afterwards be the most ready to lament and condemn. In these critical moments, how salutary will be the interference of some temperate and respectable body of citizens, in order to check the misguided career and to suspend the blow meditated by the people against themselves, until reason, justice and truth can regain their authority over the public mind."

"Misled by the artful misrepresentations of interested men"! What was it that Mr. de Valera told the electors?

"A hostile Seanad is constantly attempting to harass the Government by mutilating its measures or wilfully delaying them."

I have pointed out that the United States Senate can have no real interest for us. Mr. de Valera would have been more practical if he had told us something of the Legislatures of the individual States which compose that Federation. He may be interested to learn, if he does not know it already, that not one of them consists of a Single Chamber. The experiment of a Single Chamber was tried in three of the States, namely, Pennsylvania, Georgia and Vermont. In each case it led to graft, dishonesty, and incompetence. In each case the experiment was soon abandoned, but not before the Single Chamber had violated a number of the principal features of the American Constitution. That is to say, the result was one of the disasters which Mr. de Valera challenges us to show. But no doubt he will say that these were historical accidents, and that the blame lies somewhere else.

Before leaving this debating society atmosphere, I should like to quote for you some representative opinions on this subject. Mr. de Valera blandly told the Dáil that

"the more modern thinkers who are dealing with present day affairs are gradually coming to the conclusion that, when all is said and done, a Single Chamber Government is the wisest."

I wish he had told us who these more modern thinkers are, and had quoted what they say. All he did was to quote a qualified statement made by the third Earl Grey in 1853, but he forgot to mention that it was this Earl Grey who was instrumental in conferring representative institutions on Cape Colony and New Zealand, and that these Colonial Parliaments consisted of two Houses. Here is what this same Earl Grey wrote in 1858—five years later. It is much more apposite to present conditions here, and presumably represents his second thoughts on the subject.

"In those popular governments where no obstacle exists to the immediate accomplishment of every change in the law which is demanded by the majority of the people, it is found that that majority is disposed to act under the influence of sudden impulse rather than that of deliberate conviction."

Here are the representative opinions which I spoke of. Sir John Marriott, who is one of the foremost English writers on Political Science, says:—

"The modern world has, with a singular measure of unanimity, decided in favour of two Legislative Chambers."

This, of course, is obvious. No country of any importance under full constitutional government in the world to-day is under a Single Chamber system. In America, such countries as Costa Rica, Guatemala, Panama, Honduras and Salvador. In Europe, Albania, Bulgaria, Esthonia, Finland, Lichtenstein, Latvia, Lithuania and Spain. In Asia, Persia and Siam. Many of these have succumbed to dictatorship under Single Chamber rule, Bulgaria being the latest example. Can any sane man set this miserable list against the great and prosperous nations governed under a bicameral system and we find himself in agreement with Mr. de Valera?

Here is a quotation from Henry Sidgwick:—

"The main need for which a Senate is constructed is that all legislative measures may receive a second consideration by a body different in character from the primary representative assembly and, if possible, superior or supplementary in intellectual qualifications."

Finally, the late Sir Henry Maine, whose Ancient Law has become a classic, says emphatically:—

"What then is expected from a well-constituted Second Chamber is not a rival infallibility, but an additional security. It is hardly too much to say that, in this view, almost any Second Chamber is better than none."

Having regard to what I have said about France, I should like here to turn aside for one moment to consider the danger to religion involved by the Government's proposal to abolish this House. Single Chamber Government in this country will, in my opinion, inevitably lead to a dictatorship of the Left, and that means revolution.

Now it is the general experience that a revolution of that type is fraught with grave danger to the Church. It has happened in Russia. It has happened in Mexico. It has happened in Spain, where one of the first Ministers under the republican régime was an Irishwoman. And if anyone, cleric or lay, thinks that the seeds of such a situation are not present in this country he is living in a fool's paradise. We have here in the Irish Republican Army a substantial military force, armed and trained, the objects of which are definitely revolutionary and Communistic in character, and which has been condemned by the Church.

What about the Blue-shirts? Do not quote all on one side.

Let me not be misunderstood. I do not suggest for one moment that Mr. de Valera is anything but a loyal son of the Church. His reliance on the constitution-mongers of the French Revolution is doubtless due to foolishness and to his ignorance of French history. But I do confidently assert these things: that his policy in establishing Single Chamber Government will lead, as it has led elsewhere, to a dictatorship of the Left; that the condition of penury to which the greater part of our population is rapidly being reduced under his misrule will render them a ready prey for the men of revolutionary ideas who are active in this country; and that there is a grave danger that he will ultimately be swept aside and his place taken by extremer men than he is. I fear he may find that someone will play Robespierre to his Danton, or Lenin to his Kerensky. It is a fact of some significance that a society calling itself the Secular Society of Ireland was recently formed in Dublin and that the only Dublin daily newspaper to give it publicity was the Irish Press.

I now pass from the general to the particular, and from theory to practical politics. Our two principal functions here are revision and delay. Some time ago I felt that it would be of interest to see how the manner in which we have discharged these two functions compared with other Second Chambers within the Commonwealth. In order to provide a fair test, I took the decennial period 1923-1932, and the appropriate figures, so far as we were concerned, were given to the Seanad by Senator Douglas in his speech on the Second Reading of the Bill to reduce our power of suspension to three months. I felt that our work here would certainly bear comparison with that done elsewhere, but the result of my investigation amazed me, and I think it will amaze the House when I give them the figures, as I now propose to do. I have received from Ottawa and Capetown tables showing the number of amendments inserted in non-Money Bills by the Senates of Canada and South Africa for each of the ten years 1923-1932. I have also received tables showing how many Bills in each of those years received from the Lower House were rejected by the Upper House in those Dominions. If the House will bear with me I propose to read out these tables, so that they may be printed on our records. I shall then analyse them.

First, as to the exercise of the power of revision. In order not to delay the House unduly, I propose not to read Part I of the Table, as it gives the figures for each of the ten years and is rather long. But I should like it to be printed in the Official Report as a matter of record. Part II gives the summary, and as it is short I shall read it.

INFLUENCE OF THE SEANAD ON LEGISLATION.

DECENNIAL PERIOD 1923-1932.

TABLE SHOWING HOW BILLS INITIATED IN THE DÁIL (OTHER THAN MONEY BILLS) WERE DEALT WITH BY THE SEANAD, WITH COMPARATIVE FIGURES REGARDING BILLS RECEIVED FROM THE HOUSE OF COMMONS OF CANADA BY THE CANADIAN SENATE AND BILLS RECEIVED FROM THE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY OF SOUTH AFRICA BY THE SOUTH AFRICAN SENATE.

PART I.—BILLS OTHER THAN BILLS REJECTED OR HELD UP.

YEAR

Total Bills

Unamended

Amended

No. of amendments

Agreed to

Not agreed to

1923

Irish Free State

39

25

14

99

97

2

Canada

61

39

22

111

107

4

South Africa

24

17

7

7

6

1

1924

Irish Free State

52

31

21

219

213

6

Canada

63

35

28

86

85

1

South Africa

22

16

6

6

6

0

1925

Irish Free State

38

23

15

194

185

9

Canada

47

35

12

57

51

6

South Africa

32

20

12

12

10

2

1926

Irish Free State

37

21

16

76

76

0

Canada

11

9

2

38

38

0

South Africa

28

17

11

11

11

0

1927

Irish Free State

32

19

13

269

268

1

Canada

62

50

12

52

51

1

South Africa

25

14

11

11

9

2

1928

Irish Free State

31

23

8

67

59

8

Canada

42

34

8

35

32

3

South Africa

19

13

6

7

4

3

1929

Irish Free State

38

26

12

58

56

2

Canada

53

49

4

15

15

0

South Africa

11

7

4

6

6

0

1930

Irish Free State

27

19

8

80

80

0

Canada

43

36

7

11

11

0

South Africa

32

17

15

16

16

0

1931

Irish Free State

42

28

14

87

85

2

Canada

43

37

6

18

15

3

South Africa

33

20

13

13

12

1

1932

Irish Free State

25

19

6

94

86

8

Canada

40

37

3

8

8

0

South Africa

22

12

10

10

9

1

NOTE.—The number of South African amendments for the years 1929 and 1930 are not available, and so the figures inserted in the above Table in respect of those two years are conjectural, regard being had to the number of Bills amended in those years.

PART II.—SUMMARY OF THE FOREGOING.

DECENNIAL PERIOD 1923-1932.

——

Total Bills

Unamended

Amended

No. of amendments

Agreed to

Not agreed to

Canada

465

361

104

431

413

18

South Africa

248

153

95

99

89

10

Irish Free State

361

234

127

1,243

1,205

38

It will thus be seen that in these ten years the Canadian Senate inserted 431 amendments, of which 413 were agreed to and 18 not agreed to; the South African Senate inserted 99 amendments, of which 89 were agreed to and 10 not agreed to; our House inserted 1,243 amendments, of which 1,205 were agreed to and 38 not agreed to. The amazing fact is thus revealed that, so far as revision is concerned, this despised and maligned Seanad of ours has done roughly three times the amount of work done by the Canadian Senate and more than ten times the amount of work done by the South African Senate.

I have not succeeded in obtaining the appropriate figures for the United Kingdom and Australia, but from tests I have made I believe the figures for Australia to be somewhat less, and the figures for the House of Lords to be considerably less, than those for Canada. There is no doubt whatever that the revision work done by you here during the period in question far exceeds that done by any other Second Chamber in the British Commonwealth of Nations. The amendments I speak of here have not been matters of controversy, and provoked no clash between the two Houses. They were inserted here and accepted by the other House as definite improvements in legislation, whatever Party was in power. I hope that Senators will bear these remarkable facts in mind, and that the Government and the country will not be allowed to forget them. If this House should be abolished, what substitute can possibly be provided which will be capable of performing the function of revision in a manner comparable to that in which it has been performed here?

I now turn to the exercise of the power of delay, which is our second function. Here is the comparative table of Bills rejected or otherwise held up by the Senates of Canada, South Africa and the Irish Free State during the decennial period 1923-1932:—

PART III.

BILLS REJECTED OR OTHERWISE HELD UP.

YEAR

Canada

South Africa

Irish Free State

1923

4

0

1

1924

12

0

0

1925

5

2

1

1926

2

2

0

1927

2

3

0

1928

3

3

0

1929

4

0

0

1930

1

1

0

1931

0

1

0

1932

0

1

1

TOTAL (Decennial Period 1923-1932)

33

13

3

You will see that in this period of ten years no less than 33 Bills have been rejected by the Canadian Senate and no less than 13 by the Senate of South Africa, while our figure is only three. Even if you extend our period right down to the present day, our figure is still only six.

Would it be possible to tell the House how many of these Bills which the Canadian Senate held up were Government Bills of a major character and how many were private members' Bills?

They were all Government Bills. They were all introduced by the Government, and I presume they were Government Bills of a major character. Let us go into this matter in more detail. I choose South Africa for a detailed comparison because its position is politically more comparable to ours than that of any other member of the Commonwealth. From the foundation of the Union of South Africa in 1910 right up till 1924 the Party in power was the South African Party, first under General Botha and then under General Smuts. Roughly speaking, this Government Party consisted of the British element and those of the Dutch who were favourable to the British connection. The principal opposition Party consisted of the Nationalists, led by General Hertzog, whose attitude towards the British connection was, to say the least of it, doubtful. Now here is the point which I wish Senators to notice. When General Hertzog formed his Government in 1924, he was faced with a Senate in which there was an Opposition majority. This Senate could have held up any Bill (excepting an Appropriation Bill) until the next session of Parliament—which usually meant a whole year, in view of the unwillingness of any Government to necessitate members of Parliament coming very long distances to attend Parliament for more than one session in a year. Actually, the Senate did reject three Government Bills of the highest importance, in regard to which feeling ran very high both in the country and in Parliament, as is obvious from the bitter tone of the debates.

The first great clash occurred shortly after General Hertzog took office, when the Senate rejected the Mines and Works Act, 1911 (Amendment) Bill, 1925. This was the so-called colour bar Bill, which raised the racial question in an acute form. In order to get consideration of the Bill, at a Joint Sitting of the two Houses (the final arbiter in cases of disagreement between them) the Government again introduced the Bill in the session of 1926, when it was again rejected by the Senate. A Joint Sitting was thereupon convened by the Crown and the Bill was passed on a division. The same procedure was followed later in the case of the Precious Stones Bill and the Iron and Steel Industries Bill. In all these cases grave delay and serious inconvenience were caused to the Government by the action of a hostile Senate, and feeling was extremely bitter. In these circumstances, what did the Prime Minister do? Did he propose to abolish the Senate? Not for one moment. Why? Because he is a statesman and a constitutionalist, and not a revolutionary. More than that, he had power under the Constitution at any time to procure a dissolution of the Senate, and the new Senate would undoubtedly have shown a Nationalist majority. But General Hertzog did not even do that. For six years, from 1924 to 1930, he voluntarily left in existence a Senate in which there was an Opposition majority. He and his Government calmly and resolutely followed the constitutional course. There is surely a lesson for us here.

Last Friday, on the Fifth Stage of this Bill in the Dáil, when the President was asked by Deputy MacDermot: "Why not do as the people of South Africa did?" he replied: "If South Africa is satisfied, that is their affair. We were an ancient nation before South Africa was thought of." That is not the answer of a statesman. We have here two Senators, one on either side of the House, who have lived in South Africa; and I think they will bear me out when I say that there are two compelling reasons why the people of South Africa are contented to remain in the Commonwealth, and why, as General Smuts said in Johannesburg ten days ago, secession is now as dead as the dodo. One is, the paramount necessity for the Dutch and the English to maintain a united front in view of the great disparity of their numbers compared with those of the native races. This hardly concerns us, but the other reason does; and that is, that those who might otherwise be secessionists know that a Republic would not be possible for more than three out of the four Provinces which form the Union. The devotion of the fourth Province, which is Natal, to the British throne and the British flag is such that its adherence to a Republic is out of the question. Here is another lesson for thoughtful men in this country.

What would happen if they declared a Republic?

I am telling the Senator the facts if he is able to appreciate them. Now I propose to deal with the reasons given by the Government for seeking to abolish this House of the Oireachtas. It is urged against the Seanad that it has not proved to be an impartial body of men and that its attitude towards Mr. de Valera's Government has been essentially different from its attitude towards that of Mr. Cosgrave. I propose to refute this contention by an examination of the facts, though it is only too evident that facts make little appeal to the present Government and its followers. This is obvious from the Second Reading debate on this Bill in the other House. In Matthew Arnold's phrase, they are in eternal rebellion against the despotism of fact; and when the facts fail them, as they almost always do, they discreetly ignore them, and prefer to rely instead upon rhetoric and upon creating an atmosphere of passion.

However, let us examine their contention. Figures speak for themselves, and I propose to read you tables showing (a) the number of non-Money Bills dealt with by this House during Mr. Cosgrave's administration and (b) the number of Bills so dealt with during Mr. de Valera's administration. I exclude Bills rejected or otherwise held up. In the case of Mr. de Valera's administration, I give the separate figures for 1932, 1933 and the five months of 1934 which end to-morrow.

A.—MR. COSGRAVE'S ADMINISTRATION (9 YEARS).

Total Bills

Unamended

Amended

No. of Amendments

Agreed to

Not Agreed to and not insisted on

338

216

122

1,150

1,120

30

B.—MR. DE VALERA'S ADMINISTRATION (2 YEARS AND 3 MONTHS).

1932

22

16

6

94

88

6

1933

64

41

23

272

248

24

1934 (5 months)

19

6

13

99

98

1

TOTAL

105

63

42

465

434

31

You will see that the proportions are similar, but that the work of revision has been somewhat heavier under Mr. de Valera's administration. It is an alarming fact that the number of Bills we have had to amend this year is more than double the number of those passed unamended. The Government seems to grow more incompetent as time goes on.

In the Second Reading debate in the other House, the Minister for Industry and Commerce freely admitted that the Seanad had been of service in making useful amendments to Bills since his Party came into office, but alleged that the reason was to be found in the laziness and incompetence of the Opposition Party in the Dáil. But surely the Minister is not so stupid that he fails to realise that this argument cuts both ways? The number of amendments inserted by this House from August, 1927 to January, 1931, when he and his friends formed the Opposition, is proportionately the same as the number inserted from January, 1931 to the present time. If the Opposition in the Dáil is lazy and incompetent now, what adjectives shall we use to describe the Fianna Fáil Opposition from 1927 to 1931?

So much for the exercise of the power of revision. Now for the power of delay. During the Cosgrave régime this House held up one Bill and rejected another. During the present administration it has rejected or held up four Bills. I do not count the Constitution (Amendment No. 19) Bill, 1933, because in this case the fault clearly lies with the Government in failing to consider the Message sent to the Dáil by this House requesting a Joint Committee. The four Bills rejected by us were the Constitution (Removal of Oath) Bill, the Local Government (Extension of Franchise) Bill, the Local Government (Dublin) Bill and the Wearing of Uniform (Restriction) Bill. Four Bills out of a total of 109! Is it not remarkable? Just reflect a moment. Here is a frankly revolutionary Government, an anti-British Government, attempting to function as a Republican Government within the British Commonwealth of Nations. Senators were elected under the Constitution and swore an oath to be faithful to it. It is the duty of a Second Chamber to prevent violent change. And yet out of 109 Bills they have held up only four! Every weapon forged by this Government for the prosecution of the so-called economic war with Great Britain has been left in their hands. Bills which effect a violent change in the country's economy, incidentally ruining the agricultural classes, a community from which many of our Senators are drawn, have even been improved here, and the improvements have been accepted by the Government and the other House. When the Government demanded haste, these Bills were passed in haste. Bills which alter the Constitution in such a way that, if they do not actually break the letter of the Treaty of 1921, they certainly violate its spirit, have been passed without a division and almost without debate. Only has the Seanad interfered when it was either a matter of conscience with them to act as they did or else because they felt that their interference was necessary to protect the people from tyranny or to prevent the Government doing something cynically wrong to serve purely political ends. When Senators survey their work during the past two and a half years, they may well, like Clive, be astonished at their moderation.

I do not intend to deal with the merits of these four Bills that were rejected or held up, but I do think it right to refute one argument which is used by the Government against this House. It is alleged that the Seanad is a biassed assembly because it accepted Mr. Cosgrave's word that the Constitution (Amendment No. 17) Bill was necessary and so passed it into law: whereas when Mr. de Valera came along later with his Bill to ban the wearing of uniforms it refused to act similarly. There is no true comparison between the two cases, in my opinion. Mr. Cosgrave's Bill was rendered necessary by a crescendo of murder, outrage and intimidation, and no words were needed from Mr. Cosgrave to convince Senators that it was so. The passage of that Bill enabled the State to place its ban upon organisations that have been banned by the Hierarchy of the Catholic Church as sinful and godless. Within nine days of his election as President, Mr. de Valera removed the ban of the State from those organisations, leaving only the ban of the Church; and I am sadly afraid that it has proved inadequate.

The circumstances surrounding the introduction of Mr. de Valera's Bill were entirely different. The organisation against which it was directed had conducted no campaign of murder, outrage and intimidation; or, if it had, the Government failed to tell us of it. Instead, we were told that the existence of that organisation constituted a standing provocation to disorder in others. "You cannot make people or causes popular"—and so you suppress them! This moonbeam from the larger lunacy is akin to one of the reasons adduced by Mr. de Valera for abolishing this House, namely, that our existence constitutes an incitement to revolution. Such arguments are inadequate to convince educated men. Senators who have no connection or sympathy with the Blueshirt movement were not convinced by them, and they refused to give Mr. de Valera his Bill.

Incidentally, I hope it will never again be my lot to listen to such an oration as that delivered here by Mr. de Valera on that occasion. If Senators had had any doubts as to how they should vote, I think the question would have been settled by Mr. de Valera's speech. It was a remarkable oration, and, as I say, I hope never to hear its like again. Sanity and logic were completely swept away in one passionate tornado of fury against his political opponents. One of our most respected Senators was told to shut his foul mouth. We have not been used to hear such language in this Chamber. The League of Youth was accused of advancing under the shelter of the law, as if the law did not exist for the purpose of protecting the people from tyranny. Mr. de Valera has yet to learn that toleration is an essential element in true statesmanship, and that the very meaning of toleration is the suffering of people to say and do things with which you are not in agreement, provided that they act within the law. It did not escape Senators that Mr. de Valera's oppression, actual and attempted, of the League of Youth was in sharp contrast with his attitude towards the Irish Republican Army, which under his régime has been permitted the greatest latitude.

There is one important matter which I should like to mention here. When the Government and its supporters tire of misrepresentation and abuse, they always come back to one argument, which they evidently regard as a trump card to play. They point to the indecent haste with which this House passed the Constitution (Amendment No. 17) Bill. I accepted a motion to take all stages actually before the Bill had been passed by the Dáil. This was the first offence. We met specially on Friday, the 16th October, 1931, and passed the Second Stage and Committee Stage, the Bill having left the Dáil only that morning. That was offence number two. We met on the following day and passed the remaining stages, never having met on a Saturday before or since. That was offence number three. This unheard of crime against political decency is supposed to be without parallel, but I have a fairly good memory in matters of this kind. On the 14th July, 1932, a Bill was introduced in the Dáil which, in its power for evil, actual and potential, far surpassed the Bill of which we have been speaking. This was a Thursday. The Bill was passed with indecent haste by the Dáil on the following day, Friday, 15th July. Its title was the Emergency Imposition of Duties Bill, 1932, and it marked the beginning of the economic war. Before the Bill had been passed by the Dáil I was approached by the Government and requested to summon a meeting of the Seanad for the following day, Saturday, and to accept a motion to take all the stages of the Bill on that day. I accepted the motion and expressed my willingness to summon the meeting for the Saturday, but the notice was so short that we were afraid that there would have been a good deal of inconvenience and that we might not get a quorum. They said that it would suit them just as well if we summoned a meeting for the Monday. I did so, and this was the only occasion in our history, so far as I am aware, on which we have met on a Monday. A preliminary notice was sent out to Senators on the Thursday and, as soon as the Bill had actually passed the Dáil, this was supplemented by a formal summons. The Minister for Posts and Telegraphs opened the debate on the Second Reading and explained that—

"The Executive Council have decided that it is necessary during the long recess that adequate powers be vested in them, to deal in such manner as to them may seem wise, with regard to what may be frankly called a reprisals attitude, in regard to the imposition of a tariff on such goods as may be coming here from Britain or elsewhere."

What was the attitude of the gentlemen on my left who have been reviled so continuously for being anti-national? Did they attempt to hold the Bill up for the 21 days or to obstruct it in any way they could? Not at all. Senator Brown said:—

"This Bill gives to the Executive Council in this country powers which were never given before in the history of Parliament."

Nevertheless, he continued—

"To my mind there should be no question here of obstruction or delay. We are assured by the Ministry that this Bill is necessary in the crisis which I admit they have created, but they tell us it is necessary and that if we deprive them of the weapon that this Bill will give them in this economic crisis they would not have fair play. I therefore think, though I say it with great reluctance, that we ought to give a Second Reading to this Bill at once."

The debate lasted five hours and the Second Reading was passed without a division. Owing to the late hour, the motion to take the remaining Stages of the Bill was not proceeded with, but the House agreed to take the remaining Stages on the Wednesday, leaving one day to intervene for the framing of recommendations. No shorter period would have sufficed. The Seanad passed all the remaining Stages of the Bill on the Wednesday, in less than four hours. They made five recommendations to the Bill, three of which were accepted by the Dáil. As the Bill was a Money Bill, the Government need not have accepted any of them, and the fact that they accepted three of them shows that they were considered to be improvements. One was vitally important, as it interposed a safeguard to protect the people against arbitrary action by the Executive. It provided, in effect, that if at any time when an order was made by the Government imposing these duties (which, as you will recall, were to be in the nature of reprisals) the Dáil should stand adjourned for a period of more than ten days, a majority of members of the Dáil might by notice in writing require the Ceann Comhairle to summon a meeting of the Dáil.

Now I shall tell you a bit of secret history, of which I have first-hand knowledge. The moment this Bill was circulated, it was carefully scrutinised, and we had high legal opinion to the effect that it did not come within the definition of a Money Bill contained in Article 35 of the Constitution. When, on the Friday, it was certified as a Money Bill, it was open to the Seanad to demand a Committee of Privileges, the Chairman of which would have been the senior judge of the Supreme Court. If we had done so, and the Committee had decided that the Bill was not a Money Bill, the result might have been disastrous for the Government, because the Bill could then have been held up by the Seanad for 18 months. Even if the Committee had decided that the Bill had been correctly certified as a Money Bill, its passage would have been delayed for the greater part of 21 days. There was no difficulty whatever in obtaining the necessary 24 Senators to sign the requisition for a Committee of Privileges. The matter was privately discussed and the leaders of the Independent group threw their whole weight against it, on the ground that it was unfair and undemocratic to deprive the Government of a weapon which they regarded as of supreme importance in the prosecution of the so-called economic war. The proposal was thereupon dropped.

Let me remove another misconception. It is alleged that the majority in this House are the mere tools of the Opposition Party in the Dáil. This is, of course, demonstrably untrue, as I have shown in connection with Mr. de Valera's first administration. The figures show that they were not less active in moving and inserting amendments during the Cosgrave régime than they are now. In both cases, their amendments have generally been the result of bringing a fresh mind to bear upon a particular problem. They are not, for the most part, amendments previously moved and rejected in the Dáil. Now I do not want to say one word in disparagement of the members of the Fianna Fáil Party in this House. My relations with them are excellent, and I hope they will continue to be so. But their actions in this matter of revising legislation, which is our principal function, have been in such sharp contrast to those of the Opposition that I feel bound to refer to the matter. When the Fianna Fáil Party were in opposition in the Dáil, numbers of amendments were moved by Fianna Fáil Senators in this House; but they generally consisted of the self-same amendments that had been moved by their Party and rejected in the Dáil. Often, indeed, I was handed the green sheet of Dáil amendments, with the names of Fianna Fáil Deputies struck out and the names of Fianna Fáil Senators inserted. There was little evidence of independent thought. Since the advent of Fianna Fáil to power, there has been almost a complete cessation of all this activity. Government amendments are sometimes moved by Fianna Fáil Senators as a matter of convenience, but it is seldom that we hear of any others from them. The conclusion I draw is that what the Government falsely accuse the Opposition of here is true of their own supporters. Doubtless any Government Senator who made a practice of moving unauthorised amendments to Government Bills in this House would have to reckon with Mr. de Valera's displeasure.

Now I shall take you behind the scenes again. At the end of last July we had before us an important Bill dealing with the prosecution of the so-called economic war. Certain amendments had been tabled for the Committee Stage by a prominent member of the United Ireland Party and a prominent member of the Independent Group. It was found impossible to reach agreement on them and a motion was carried on a division to adjourn further consideration of the Committee Stage until the 16th August. I happened to leave the Chamber at the same time as the Minister in charge of the Bill and I asked him casually if the Seanad's decision had placed him in a difficulty. He replied, "None of you realises what a difficulty it places me in." I thereupon took a very unusual step. I asked the Leas-Chathaoirleach to join me in my room, and also three other Senators who were prominently identified with the decision we had just taken; two of them were from the United Ireland Party and one from the Independent Group. In the absence of the Leas-Chathaoirleach and myself, I got Senator O'Farrell to take the Chair and made strategic arrangements for Senators to keep on talking for another half hour at least. We all met the Minister in my room and talked the matter over. At first there was a good deal of feeling over my action. But I knew that the men I was dealing with were honourable and fair-minded men and I also knew, what they did not, that there were delicate negotiations in progress in London and that what the Seanad had done had tied the hands of the Minister. Well, we talked it over and before the half hour was up we had decided to ask the House to undo what it had just done, and we parted good friends. The necessary motion was drafted. We all came back and we put the matter through the House with the minimum of explanation. We met specially the next day at 12 o'clock and put the Bill through all its stages and the Minister went away satisfied.

Now this proves two things. First, that the Independent Group does not take up an unreasonable attitude towards the Government, still less an attitude of hostility. Second, that the United Ireland Party in this House does not take its orders from anyone outside. If it did, the Senators in question would undoubtedly have been expelled from their Party for a breach of party discipline, since the real trouble was over some vital amendments which they agreed to waive. These amendments, as usual, had been put forward on their own responsibility, and they withdrew them sooner than embarrass the Minister. It seems to me that these two Parties are not alone in preserving their independent outlook. I hope I am not wrong in thinking that the Labour group in this House also preserve to themselves some freedom of action. May it always be so! One pledge-bound Party in the Seanad is quite enough; and, if I may say so without offence, I hope it will be a long day before Senators belonging to the United Ireland Party or the Labour Party take any notice of what Mr. Cosgrave, General O'Duffy or Mr. Norton may wish them to do, instead of deciding matters for themselves.

One of the distinguishing marks of the present Government is its incompetence in the preparation of proposals for legislation. It has been well called an Amending Bill Government, because few measures of major importance remain long on the Statute Book without being succeeded by Bills the purpose of which is to repair defects which ought to have been apparent to Ministers but were not. A good many mistakes are set right in this House, but we cannot possibly cope with them all. Now it might have been expected that even a grossly incompetent administration would have been able to make a satisfactory job of such a relatively simple matter as taking the Seanad out of the Constitution. The present Government takes much more care over the drafting of Bills to amend the Constitution than it does over ordinary Bills. We have Mr. de Valera's own word for that. Here is what he said on the Committee Stage of the present Bill:—

"There is probably more consideration of them, of their ultimate effect, and of the principles behind them than there is in the case of ordinary measures."

Of course if this Bill to abolish the Seanad had been drafted and introduced in haste, we could not expect these considerations to apply. We were certainly given to understand that this was the case. It is common knowledge that during the Second Reading debate on the Wearing of Uniforms Bill supporters of the Government were going round among Senators conveying the warning that, if the Seanad rejected the Bill, a Bill to abolish the Seanad would be introduced next day. This fiction of cause and effect was kept up during the Second Reading debate on this Bill in the other House, and it was not until the Committee Stage that the truth was let out. Here is what Mr. de Valera said about it:—

"It had, in fact, been under consideration. It was kept, if you like, more or less in cold storage. It did not matter a great deal what particular time it was brought in. The Bill would get into law some time. There was no hurry then, and no hurry up to the present, and we thought it was a suitable time to bring it in."

So that the threat during the Blueshirt debate was all moonshine. Sentence of death had been pronounced by the camarilla, and the Lord High Executioner was merely awaiting the most auspicious moment in order to carry it out.

However, the point is that we are right in assuming that this Bill was drafted with just as much care as any other Bill to amend the Constitution, and we have Mr. de Valera's word for it that they give much more care to Bills of that class than they do to ordinary Bills. This Bill was subjected to a critical examination here as soon as it was circulated. As a matter of interest, I might state that the examination was all over in 15 minutes, but the result was surprising.

Doubtless the President's instructions to the Law Adviser were to take the Seanad out of the Constitution; and he seems to have adopted the rough-and-ready, rule-of-thumb method of deleting the obnoxious words wherever they occur. This has had some ludicrous results. For example, Article 18 will in future read as follows:—

"Every member of the Oireachtas shall, except in case of treason, felony, or breach of the peace, be privileged from arrest in going to and returning from, and while within the precincts of Dáil Eireann, and shall not in respect of any utterance in Dáil Eireann, be amenable to any action or proceeding in any court other than Dáil Eireann."

As the Oireachtas is defined under the new dispensation as the King and the Dáil, we find that President de Valera is gracious enough in this Article to confer immunity from arrest on His Majesty should be contemplate a visit to Leinster House. Further examples could be provided of the result of this slovenly and unintelligent method of amending the Constitution, but perhaps one is enough.

Here is another point. The original Constitution contained eleven transitory provisions, to act as a bridge between the old régime and the new. Transitory provisions seem obviously to be called for if the Seanad is to be abolished, but they are not contained in this Bill. I am left wondering what will happen when this Bill is about to become law under Article 38A of the Constitution, assuming its rejection now. Presumably, there will be some Bills before us, including possibly even some Money Bills. Other Bills, perhaps, will have been sent back to the Dáil with amendments with which the Dáil may not agree. What is to become of all of these Bills? Perhaps it is assumed that the Seanad will exercise a Griselda-like patience in face of the imminent dissolution of the conjugal tie with the Dáil, and wipe the slate clean before the decree is made absolute. A more probable explanation is that the Government never thought about the matter at all.

These defects, though slovenly, are not necessarily fatal; but worse remains behind. The Bill purports to remove the Seanad from the Constitution. Have the Government performed the surgical operation satisfactorily, or have they bungled it? Of course they have bungled it. At the General Election of 1932, and also after they emerged from it victorious and formed a Government, Mr. de Valera and his Ministers loudly proclaimed their firm intention to repeal forthwith the hated Article 2A. Since then, they have taken it to their bosom, and it has seemed at times that it is almost the only Article of the Constitution which they are prepared to respect and to operate, come what may. Now what do we find? In all the seven extensive sub-sections of Section 25 of that Article this House of the Oireachtas appears, yet no proposal is made in this Bill to remove it therefrom. At first sight, one might suppose the reason to be that the Government have too much respect for Article 2A to alter one word of it; but other mistakes in the Bill supply a more probable reason, and that is, that the Government's unfortunate Law Adviser, when engaged on constitutional business whether in the courts or the Oireachtas, almost invariably falls down.

Hence, the Government have failed to remove the Seanad completely from the Constitution. Have they bungled further in their surgical operation so as to cut out something else which they had not intended to cut? Unfortunately, that is so. Article 57 of the Constitution at present runs as follows:—

"Every Minister shall have the right to attend and be heard in Seanad Eireann and in Dáil Eireann."

It is proposed to delete this Article in its entirety, instead of merely deleting the words "in Seanad Eireann and." This proposal involves much more than the abolition of the Seanad. It infringes another, and quite a different principle of the Constitution, and I go so far as to say that it is outside the scope of the present Bill. Article 51 creates an Executive Council, which shall consist of not more than 12 nor less than five Ministers. Article 52 provides that the members of the Executive Council shall be members of Dáil Eireann, save that one may be a member of Seanad Eireann. Article 55 provides for the appointment of Ministers who shall not be members of the Executive Council, the idea in the minds of the framers of the Constitution being that it might be found desirable to appoint to such posts men outside party politics who were distinguished for their knowledge of certain specialised work. The Cosgrave Administration in the beginning appointed two such men to the portfolios of Agriculture and Posts and Telegraphs. These were the so-called Extern Ministers, and they both happened to be members of the Dáil. There was no constitutional reason, however, why they should have been: and if they were not, then Article 57, as amended in 1929, gives them the right of audience in the Dáil. If any future Administration chooses to appoint as Extern Ministers experts who are not members of the Dáil, they will find that their right of audience has been taken away by this Bill. This may or may not be a good thing, but the point to seize on is that it was never intended.

I think that what I have told you is little short of sensational. Not only have the Government failed to remove the Seanad completely from the Constitution, but they have inadvertently tampered with another, and quite a different, principle of the Constitution. These mistakes cannot be put right on the Committee Stage in this House, because there will presumably be no Committee Stage. They cannot be put right when the Government send us the Bill a second time under Article 38A of the Constitution, because the only permissible amendments under that Article are those rendered necessary by the lapse of time. Errors due to incompetence and ineptitude are not provided for.

I am afraid this is all rather hopeless from Mr. de Valera's point of view. If ever he attempts to put this Bill into operation, he may have at least four legal hurdles to face:—

(1) What is the legal effect of the fact that the removal of the Seanad from the Constitution is incomplete?

(2) Does the fact that the right of audience of the Extern Ministers is swept away impair the validity of the Bill?

(3) More serious, was the amendment made in 1929 to Article 50 of the Constitution, whereby the period wherein amendments may be made to the Constitution by way of ordinary legislation was extended from eight years to 16 years, a valid amendment having regard to the provisions of Article 2 of the Constitution?

(4) More serious still, is an amendment such as this, which changes the fundamental character of the Constitution, an amendment within the scope of Article 50, so that it may be validly made by way of ordinary legislation and without a Referendum?

When the time comes, the Cathaoirleach may have to ask these questions on your behalf; and if he does, it will fall to the High Court under Article 65 of the Constitution to answer them.

In the circumstances, I thought it well to obtain legal advice on the last two points I have mentioned; and so I prepared a case for Counsel's Opinion, and sent it, with all the relevant documents, to one of the most eminent constitutional lawyers in the English-speaking world—a gentleman who is unconnected with this country and has no interest in our political controversies. He has favoured me with his Opinion. For obvious reasons, I am not now going to give you his arguments, but there is no reason why I should not disclose his conclusions. Speaking out of the wealth of his experience of constitutional law, and treating these matters strictly from the legal aspect, he is of the opinion:—

(1) that the Constitution (Amendment No. 16) Act, 1929, whereby the period within which amendments of the Constitution may be made by the Oireachtas without submission thereof to a Referendum of the people was extended from eight years to 16 years, is invalid;

(2) that the Bill to abolish the Seanad is not an amendment of the Constitution within the meaning of the Constitution.

So that, when all is over, it is not impossible that the Seanad will be found advancing—to use Mr. de Valera's phrase—"under the shelter of the law."

Why not say "President de Valera"?

Leas-Chathaoirleach

Senator Westropp Bennett.

Mr. Comyn rose.

Leas-Chathaoirleach

Is this a point of order?

The point of order is this: that the Chairman of this House in making a speech refers continually to the President as "Mr. de Valera."

Leas-Chathaoirleach

This is sufficient. Senator Westropp Bennett.

Am I to use the word "President"?

Leas-Chathaoirleach

Continue your statement in your own way.

Now what is the object behind this campaign to abolish the Seanad, bolstered up as it is by calumny and by a false representation of history? Undoubtedly the object is to establish a dictatorship, and a dictatorship of a particularly obnoxious kind, namely, one that masquerades in the guise of parliamentary government. It is agreed on all sides that Mr. de Valera's domination over his followers in the country, over his Party in the Dáil and over his Ministers is absolute. They none of them dare to cross his path or to raise their voices once he has spoken.

"I am Sir Oracle,

And when I ope my lips, let no dog bark!"

He brooks no argument. Whatever he says is right, and if he is proved wrong it is because he has been wilfully misunderstood. If his actions are proved by time to have been misguided, and his plans gang agley, it is because other people are traitors. The constitutional Opposition in the Dáil are traitors, and I suppose the only reason why a similar epithet is not hurled at Senators is because they are supposed to owe no allegiance except to England. It is the familiar story of the behaviour of an inferior when put in a position of authority, which is as old as the Bible.

"He knows no use for power

Except to show his might;

He gives no heed to judgment

Unless it prove him right.

And when his folly opens

The unnecessary hells,

A servant when he reigneth

Throws the blame on someone else."

Now a competent dictatorship is a possible system of government, though I believe it to be profoundly unsuited to the temperament of our people and I do not think it would be tolerated here for a single day. But an incompetent dictatorship is surely of all forms of government the very worst. Even the thought of it is abhorrent to right-minded men. No one can doubt that Mr. de Valera's real aim is to establish a dictatorship. No one can doubt that he would be in a position to do so once this House were abolished. No one can doubt that his innate incompetence would result in quick disaster, but that anyone who ventured to stand in his way, whether judge, public official, or anyone else, would receive very short shrift. The abolition of the Second Chamber has proved to be the forerunner of a dictatorship in many countries to-day. Mr. de Valera is out for uncontrolled power, and that is why he regards the abolition of the Seanad as a necessity. The reasons he adduces for desiring to abolish this House are seen to be a tissue of misrepresentations. But necessity, they say, is the mother of invention.

Some time ago, in one of his frequent broadcasts to the United States of America, Mr. de Valera subtilely suggested a comparison, on the model of Plutarch, between himself and Abraham Lincoln. These historical comparisons are interesting and stimulating, and I propose to give you another one. Senators will see as I go on how relevant it is to this question of the abolition of the Seanad. It all sounds like a fairy tale, but my facts are strictly correct and are documented throughout. In the year 1926 the Prime Minister of New South Wales was Mr. J.T. Lang, a Labour leader of extreme views. He was a man of a quarrelsome, dictatorial type, and he picked a quarrel with the Legislative Council, which was the Second Chamber of the Legislature.

I want to know, on a point of order, if it is in order to criticise members of Parliament in other countries?

Leas-Chathaoirleach

I do not know whether it is criticism or not. Continue, Senator.

He said that they had rejected Bills for which he had a mandate and that they were thwarting the will of the people; and so he brought in a Bill to abolish the Second Chamber. In May, 1927, he picked a quarrel with the King's Representative. He had asked the Governor to appoint extra members of the Legislative Council in order to swamp opposition to his Abolition Bill, and had been refused. So he tendered his resignation and appealed to the country. He was defeated at the ensuing general election, held in October, 1927. But New South Wales was not yet done with Mr. Lang. He came back to power on the wave of general depression three years later, and in little more than a month introduced a Bill to abolish his old enemy the Legislative Council. But while he was out of office a Bill had been passed providing that the Legislative Council could not be abolished without a Referendum of the people. Mr. Lang attempted to dispense with this formality; but the Supreme Court of New South Wales granted an injunction against him, and later ruled that the Abolition Bill could not be presented for the Royal Assent until a Referendum had taken place. Mr. Lang appealed to the High Court of the Commonwealth of Australia, but he was beaten again on the 16th March, 1931. And so his opponents "advanced under the shelter of the law."

Shortly afterwards, Mr. Lang started another quarrel. He did not see why his Government should follow the practice of previous Governments and pay to the individual British bondholders in London the interest due on the New South Wales Government bonds; so he defaulted on these bonds, thereby gravely injuring the credit of his State. Instead of transmitting to London the interest on these bonds, as he was legally bound to do, he retained them in the State Treasury. This action embroiled him with the Commonwealth Government. The Commonwealth Government had no desire other than to live at peace with the Government of New South Wales, but they pointed out that they themselves would have to pay the bondholders if New South Wales defaulted. A bitter struggle followed. The Commonwealth Government paid the interests on the bonds, and proceeded to recoup themselves out of the revenues of New South Wales. This meant that New South Wales would have lost its credit and lost its money, too.

With all due deference to our Cathaoirleach, I think that this is entirely outside the matter under discussion. Senator Bennett is entirely out of order in discussing this matter.

Leas-Chathaoirleach

I do not think so.

I cannot see any relevance.

I am proving the necessity for a Second Chamber to prevent disaster occurring to the interests of the people.

Leas-Chathaoirleach

Continue, Senator.

So Mr. Lang affixed seals on the Federal offices in Sydney, the capital of New South Wales. The Federal agents removed the seals. Mr. Lang sent a circular letter to Government Departments instructing them not to hand over the revenues to the Federal Government. Then came the break. Mr. Lang's Government was dismissed by the Governor for refusing to withdraw this circular letter. The people of New South Wales by this time had had enough of Mr. Lang, and he was defeated at the ensuing General Election of May, 1932, by one of the biggest majorities on record. Latest advices from Australia received within the past fortnight show that Langism, as it is called, is on the wane in the whole Commonwealth. Labour is returning more and more to the leadership of Mr. Scullin, an Irishman of statesmanlike and moderate views.

Now comes the climax of this story. The saner elements in the political life of New South Wales, who now form the Government, had long been studying the problem of substituting a reformed Second Chamber in place of the nominated Legislative Council. They studied the various bicameral constitutions in the modern world, and in the end they came to the conclusion that the best model they could take for the Senate of New South Wales (which, incidentally, contains a large Irish population) was the Seanad of the Irish Free State. They have modelled their new Second Chamber quite frankly upon ours. A Bill for this purpose was introduced in the Legislative Assembly on the 13th September, 1932. It passed into law on the 16th December following, and received the Royal Assent on the 1st February, 1933. A Senate has been created of 60 members, elected by both Houses voting together on principles of proportional representation: one quarter retires after three years, one quarter after six years, one quarter after nine years, and the remaining quarter after 12 years. The election of the first Senate took place in November-December last, and it held its first meeting a couple of months ago. The result has been hailed with universal satisfaction, not only in New South Wales but throughout the Commonwealth. It is felt that New South Wales has at last settled down to a period of sane constitutional government, having learned its lesson by bitter experience. One foreign observer points out that the Senate now established in New South Wales is the exact type which Mr. de Valera proposes to abolish here; and he rather unkindly adds that perhaps that is nothing in its disfavour.

Another matter remains to be dealt with before I close. An indecent and unmanly attempt has been made to prejudice the Seanad in the eyes of the ignorant by introducing the element of religion and of stigmatising as Unionists the members of the Independent Group in this House. I shall give you some quotations. Here is what Mr. de Valera's Parliamentary Secretary said at Waterford on the 7th April last:

"They could not afford to let the Seanad stand in the way of the march of the nation—— There was a group in the Seanad which represented the old English element, and they were trying to impose a new kind of Dublin Castle rule with blue shirts, and attempting to make a national government, elected by the majority of the people, impossible."

The Leader of the Labour Party in the Dáil puts the matter more crudely, but not less falsely. He tells the people that they are going to get rid of the bankers, the brewers and the Unionists, and pleasantly refers to:

"the soupers, the proselytisers, the remnants of the old ascendancy gang."

It makes me almost despair of the ultimate sanity of my country when I hear this vile farrago of nonsense issuing from the lips of these political losels. These neo-Nationalists pay lip service to Tone and Davis, but they violate every principle that these men ever enunciated.

We know no religious distinctions in this House, nor do we own any divided allegiance. In 1922 we came here as comparative strangers to each other. The Treaty and self-government had brought us together politically for the first time. But we have now sat together for 12 years and we have long ceased to meet as strangers. The rest of us have learned to know and respect the qualities of intellect of these men, their high-mindedness, their inborn love of liberty, their genuine devotion to Ireland. In the troubled days of the civil war, when their names in particular were listed to be shot at sight and the houses of many of them were reduced to ashes, they attended here in spite of actual arson and threats of murder; and their principal concern in dealing with the Public Safety Bills then before us was to mitigate any harshness they might contain, to see that what had to be done was done in due form of law and to preserve so far as possible the liberty of the subject. Historians in the future will not fail to take note of these remarkable facts.

Not so long ago, when one of the Bills brought in by the present Government seemed to some of our Catholic Senators to threaten the land owned by regious communities, it was one of their Protestant fellow members who took the documents home and, with his skill and legal learning, drafted an amendment to meet the case. No one thought anything of it, because we take these things quite naturally here. Unobtrusively and without advertisement, we have been realising in our persons and in our work the ideals preached by Tone, Davis and every man who had a true conception of Irish nationality.

After our 12 years' experience, I, for one, am not going to stand here and allow my friends to be calumniated. Speaking as an Irishman, to Irishmen, of Irishmen, I acclaim these men as my brothers.

I suppose not even Mr. de Valera and his followers will dare to traduce the name of Alice Stopford Green. This great Irishwoman found her closest friends among the Senators I have just spoken of, because she recognised in them the qualities of which I have spoken and knew that they loved Ireland as dearly as any of us. When, in the generosity of her heart, she presented to this House the casket which is standing on the Cathaoirleach's desk, failing health prevented her from attending here to read in person the message which accompanied her gift; and it was read on her behalf, at her request, by a member of the Independent group, one of the kindliest, ablest and most lovable Irishmen I have ever met. I shall read you part of that message:

"My purpose was that the shrine should contain a vellum roll, on which every member of the first Irish Seanad elected up to this date should sign his name. And that the shrine should be placed on the Table at the opening of every meeting of the Seanad—now and in the future—to be a perpetual memorial of the foundation of this body, and a witness in later times of its increasing service to the country."

This reads ironically now.

Also inscribed on vellum, by resolution of this House, and placed within the casket, is the speech of the donor, which was delivered for her by another member of the Independent group. It is one of the noblest and most inspiring pieces of prose ever written by one of Irish blood. Listen to this extract from it:—

"From the beginning, Ireland has been rich in her hospitality to men of good-will coming within her borders. And at all times there have been incomers who have honourably responded to that generosity, and have become faithful members of her people. She has had her reward among the strangers who under her wide skies have felt the wonder of the land, and the quality of its people, and have entered into her commonwealth."

Of such are the men now reviled by the followers of Mr. de Valera and as such they were recognised by Alice Stopford Green. Who shall say that her judgment was wrong?

If the day ever comes when Mr. de Valera has his will and the Seanad ceases to exist, I hope that, before we part, we shall by formal resolution consign the casket and its contents to the safe keeping of the Royal Irish Academy, where it will stand as a memorial of what we stood for and of what we strove for, even though we strove in vain. But I do not think that the day of our dissolution is at hand. Men of good-will here and in the country may take comfort from some words of Demosthenes which I propose to read. I shall read them slowly, for they are as true to-day, and as pregnant with wisdom, as when they were first addressed to his fellow citizens, more than 2,000 years ago, by the greatest orator of the ancient world:—

"It is impossible, men of Athens, impossible, for one who commits injustice, breaks oaths and indulges in falsehood to acquire lasting power. Once in a way, and for a brief season, such a course of action may succeed, and, fed with hopes, make, it may be, a brave show of blossom. But time finds it out, and it falls to pieces of itself. For a house, I take it, or a ship or anything of that sort must have its main strength in its substructure; and so too in affairs of state, the principles and the foundations must be truth and justice."

We have justice, honour and truth on our side, and the issue is between constitutional government on the one hand and an incompetent dictatorship on the other. The gage has been thrown down by Mr. de Valera and I formally pick it up on behalf of this House. The people are the final arbiters, and when the issue is put before them in its true light, as I am sure it will be, I have personally no doubt as to the result.

I am rather sorry at the departure from the House of the President, because there were some things that I should have liked to say to him. As one conscious of his own wickedness, it is with considerable diffidence that I venture to take part in this debate. In fact, if the President had remained I intended to offer an explanation to him. On the last occasion that we had the honour of a visit from him, he made a polite suggestion for the purification of the atmosphere. I should like to explain, if it is not too late, that the doubtful condition of the atmosphere on that occasion was due to the fact that earlier in the evening I had been quoting the more choice scurrilities of certain Ministers. After what happened on that occasion I felt that our doom was sealed, and I am only amazed at the moderation of this Bill. For the enormity of our offence in thwarting the President's will and in refusing to bestow upon him immediate and terrible powers to annihilate his political opponents, I expected something more drastic than mere abolition. In fact, I should not have been surprised if some of the more obnoxious of us had found ourselves under the continuous suzerainty of the Minister for Defence at Arbour Hill, or had been subjected to the same methods of gentle suasion which, under the direction of the President, were applied to prevent this House from functioning in 1922.

As it is, we must be thankful that we are only being wiped out legislatively. Indeed, the marvel is that this did not happen two years ago, and that the abolition of the Seanad did not precede the abolition of the Oath, the derating of the Governor-General, and the many beneficient measures which this sapient, far-seeing Government took to make this country safe for ochlocracy. Considering the reputation of this House in Government circles, it is amazing we have been permitted to live so long. The Pope is quite a respected personage in Portadown in comparison with the standing of the Seanad in the more ignorant Fianna Fáil quarters. What I cannot understand is why the first dash of Fianna Fáil Ministers after they had taken office should have been to Arbour Hill to release the I.R.A. prisoners instead of to Leinster House, with a piece of Free State artillery, to make an end of "the last stronghold of British Imperialism."

However, it is only now that our turpitude has been wholly discovered and that punishment, long overdue, is being meted out. Even after the last general election, when we had been guilty of the enormity of again refusing to pass the Oath Bill until negotiations were opened with the British for the settlement of the economic dispute— negotiations which had been promised the people during the elections—we did not incur the anger of Jupiter. The President was then content to introduce a Bill merely to curtail our powers of delay. Of course, the President has given his reasons for making two bites of the crab apple. He has explained that last year's measure was only temporary—to enable him to make up his mind as to what form a Second Chamber should take or whether or not he should have a Second Chamber at all.

That was the reason given in the Dáil by the President for ignoring the popular mandate which he claimed he had received at the election for our abolition. But I suspect there were other reasons—animated reasons—and these animated reasons exist in this Chamber here on my left in the person of the distinguished Senators who support the Government. I think I am not far wrong in saying that it was consideration for the susceptibilities of our colleagues and not inability to make up his mind—although that is a characteristic of the President—that held back his hand from administering his preparation of gall and wormwood in a single draught. We are grateful to our colleagues for the respite, and I take this opportunity of saying that my one pang of regret in the passing of the Seanad will be occasioned by parting company with them. I have always regarded with profound awe the stoical fortitude of these Fianna Fáil Senators in lacerating their finer feelings and outraging their high principles by coming into this citadel of the enemy and associating with degenerate Irishmen, West Britons, traitors and friends of traitors like our unworthy selves on these benches. That experience must have been strangely harrowing to men of lofty purpose and celestial ideals. It was really too much for the country to demand of them. But they degraded themselves nobly in the country's cause. They sullied themselves by contact with us, and now their red martyrdom is at an end. This Bill brings them what I am sure they regard as a happy release from a life of tribulation and trial. I feel quite sure that, one after another, they, who have deigned to stoop in order to conquer, will get up and assure us of the joyous satisfaction with which they are going to sign their own death warrants.

I can imagine the noblest Roman of them all—Senator Comyn—getting up and exclaiming dramatically after the fashion of the gladiators: "Ave Caesar! Morituri te salutamus." No doubt, some of our friends cherish a faint hope of a legislative reincarnation when the President gets his letters patent for an Irish Republic from Mr. Thomas. As for the rest of us, degenerates—there is not even a post mortem hope. Our cup of iniquity has, at last, been filled. The presence of one just man saved the Cities of the Plain but the presence of even a score of just men, including that veritable Cato amongst the Colonels— Senator Colonel Moore—will not save this House.

We are "a clog upon progress." We are a "menace to the improvement and welfare of the country." We have "acted in a way that is obviously detrimental to the country's interests." We are regardless of our responsibilities and have acted in a partisan manner. We are "acting as a political Party and playing a narrow, political game." We are "a political Seanad." This is a formidable indictment. The offence of being political is sufficient in itself to warrant the abolition of one of the Houses of Parliament. This House was established under a Treaty of which the majority of the people of this country approved and which the majority have not yet directly repudiated. Any "political game" that has been played by the majority of this House has been a game to uphold and maintain that Treaty. That is how we have acted "in a narrow political way." May I ask in what way have the Senators who support the Government acted? Have they played a non-political game? Have they acted independently of the Government? Have any of them ever cast a vote against the Government? They should have done so to conform to the President's idea of being non-political. Of course, to support Fianna Fáil is to act nonpolitically while to oppose it is to play a narrow political game and to deserve, if not damnation, at least abolition.

Forgiveness: absolution.

But while the President deprecates a political Seanad, the Vice-President approves of political public boards, so long as he thinks he can get a majority on them. Last year, when advocating the extension of the franchise to non-ratepayers Mr. O Ceallaigh silenced the argument that the reform would introduce politics to public boards by defining "politics" platonically as "public affairs", and, added the liberty loving Mr. O Ceallaigh, "Surely to God a public authority is entitled to discuss public affairs." Apparently the Seanad is not to be allowed to do so.

This Bill clearly indicates that the trend of the President's mind is that there should be only one political Party in this country, and that that Party should be his. Stalin once sarcastically voiced the attitude of the Bolshevists to other parties in these words:

"Here in Soviet Russia one of the parties rules while the others are kept in jail."

That is exactly what is wanted here, and the real offence of the Seanad is that it has refused to give President de Valera the power to put his opponents in jail and assist him in bolshevising the country. With the Seanad out of the way, complete bolshevisation is only a question of a very short time. The process has already begun. Our once prosperous farmers are now being treated as the kulaks were in Russia, and the progress to State socialism is developing with a rapidity sufficient, at any rate, to satisfy Mr. Maxton, the Clydesider, who, after coming across to see the President last January, announced when he went home that President de Valera's ideas of Socialism were good enough for him. Of course, all this is done in the name of democracy. The President is now a great stickler for democracy and renders liberal lip-service to the principle of majority rule. But when he was trying to crush democracy and the will of the people, he discovered that majority had weaknesses. That was the time he is reported as saying to the representative of an American newspaper—The Chicago Tribune—“We all believe in democracy, but we do not forget its well-known weaknesses.” We do not hear anything about “democracy's well-known weaknesses” now that the President has got his majority. Democracy has shed its weaknesses. It is now infallible, and, as the inspired apostle of democracy, President de Valera decrees the abolition of this House. The existence of a Second Chamber is, in his view, incompatible with the idea of democracy. In trying to justify this Bill, and in endeavouring to conceal the petty motives that have inspired it, the President gave a long dissertation in the Dáil on the question of Single Chamber versus Double Chamber government. As the Cathaoirleach pointed out, he informed the Dáil that he had been studying the question since 1928, and that he had “read books on Second Chambers and their history and their value as part of governmental machinery, and during all that time he did not hear a single good argument which would convince him that if we were starting here a new Constitution a Second Chamber would be either necessary or fundamentally useful.” He described himself as a Conservative, and ranged himself with Franklin and Adams and the third Earl Grey as great political thinkers who were in favour of Single Chamber government. The President went on to say that

"The more modern thinkers who are dealing with present day affairs and conditions are gradually coming to the conclusion that, when all is said and done, Single Chamber government is the wisest."

He did not mention who the modern thinkers were. Perhaps they were Deputy Corry and Senator Connolly. Certainly neither Franklin nor Adams, nor yet the third Earl Grey—whose 1853 quotation was given by the President—could be described as modern thinkers.

If the President wanted modern support for his Single Chamber policy he surely, after five years' study of the subject, could have given us, instead of blue-moulded theories of Franklin and Adams and Earl Grey, some practical experiences of political thinkers in countries where Single Chamber government is at present operating.

There are several of these countries both in America and Europe, and it is strange that the President was not able to cite even one of them as a model of good government. Consider the range he had. In America he had Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Salvador and Panama. In Europe he had, of course Russia, Turkey, Spain and smaller countries like Latvia, Albania, Esthonia and Bulgaria. All these countries are enjoying the blessings of Single Chamber government. It is strange the President could not give us some quotations from the utterances of the statesmen or political thinkers of Costa Rica or Panama, or even from Albania or Bulgaria, showing how they appreciated the manifold privileges of Single Chamber government. The President, however, did not even mention the name of one of these favoured nations. He did not advert to the fact that nations like Yugo Slavia, which originally adopted a Constitution providing for Single Chamber government without check, subsequently abandoned this for Double Chamber government. Instead, the President challenged the Opposition to give a single example of the disastrous effects of Single Chamber government. He saved himself in advance by adding that if such an example were given "it would be found that the disaster is not due to the Single Chamber system operating in these countries, but to other causes."

I am quite sure that the President would have no difficulty in proving that the conditions of perpetual unrest that exist in the countries I have mentioned are due to the state of the weather. But it will strike ordinary folk as significant that while the strongest Second Chambers are found in the most stable and prosperous countries and in great Republics, like the United States and France, Single Chamber government is found to be operating almost invariably in countries whose names are synonymous with discontent, insecurity and instability. In almost every one of these countries Single Chamber government has resulted in personal dictatorship. I do not know whether President de Valera would regard that as a disaster or not. Perhaps some members of the Labour Party would. If any of them think that in voting for Single Chamber government they are voting for democratic ideals, then they should investigate what is happening to-day in countries like Turkey, Esthonia, Albania and, only the week before last, in Bulgaria. In every one of these countries, Single Chamber government has developed into dictatorship, and we know that, in the South American countries I have mentioned there is a bi-monthly upheaval, due to a fight for supremacy between rival dictators.

When the President did make up his mind to alter the Constitution here unicamerally, I regret he did not extend his studies to the constitutions of certain Continental countries which one would have expected would have appealed to him as models. I am disappointed he did not consider, for instance, the Spanish Constitution of 1931, which contains a number of constitutional checks which, when the Seanad is abolished, might with profit be adopted here. The principal constitutional check is called "A Court of Constitutional Guarantees." This Court is composed of a President designated by Parliament and the President of the Higher Consultative Court; the President of the Court of Accounts; two Deputies freely chosen by the Cortes; one representative for every Spanish region; two members elected by all the Colleges of Lawyers; four professors of the Faculty of Law elected from amongst all the Faculties of Spain.

That Court is established and is competent to decide: (a) Appeals against the unconstitutionality of law (b) Protection of individual rights when appeals before other authorities have failed; (c) Conflicts as to legislative competence; (d) Examination of powers of Elector Delegates who, with the Cortes, elect the President; (e) Criminal responsibility of the President. President of the Council and the Ministers.

That is what Spain did to protect herself against Single Chamber government. If the President wanted a model there is one for him, but I am afraid it would prove even more embarrassing than the present Seanad. Perhaps the Constitution of Esthonia would provide him with something more suitable for his requirements. The Constitution of the Esthonian Republic, adopted in 1920, provided for one Chamber only, upon whose acts there was no check whatsoever. The Head of the State was Minister-President, who combined the offices of Prime Minister and Head of the State. The State Assembly or Diet passed Laws, determined the Budget revenues and expenditure of the State and decided as to loans and other matters in accordance with the principles of the Constitution.

Last year, 1933, a Party called the Liberators—I suppose they would correspond with the Fianna Fáil Party here—who claimed to represent the national spirit against what they denounced as the shilly shallying of the Government demanded constitutional reform. The proposals for constitutional reform were submitted to a Referendum and they were carried by 416,000 votes to 157,000 and the constitutional reform thus carried, and which came into force on 24th January, 1934, provides for—

"The election every five years of a President to arbitrate, to conduct national and foreign policies, legislate by decree, draft the Budget, appoint and dismiss Ministers and high officials, dissolve the Diet and hold elections and command the Army."

That is what Single Chamber Government in Esthonia led to. I suppose the Esthonian Nortons and Davins supported the Single Chamber principle there in the interest of green democracy.

The Cathaoirleach dealt with the misrepresentation to which this House has been subjected. This House of the Oireachtas has been subjected almost to as much vilification by President de Valera and his Party as was the Government of Mr. Cosgrave. At the last two general elections, the cry of the "Freemason Seanad" won for them as much ignorant support as the bribe of the land annuities. This House has been misrepresented as a warren of Freemasonry. I know little or nothing of the Masonic Order but I have been informed that at no time since the foundation of the Seanad has the number of members of that Order exceeded three. Three out of 60—and the spiritual and temporal welfare of the 60 is in dire peril.

The Cosgrave Government, in compliance with a promise given by Arthur Griffith, afforded representation in this House to a minority which was at variance politically with the people of this country. Why did Griffith endeavour to conciliate that section of the community? Because he desired to weld them into the Irish nation, because he wanted to make the nation whole. That was Griffith's dream—to get men, hitherto estranged, interested in their own country, to convince them that there was a place— and an honoured place—for them and theirs in a free Ireland. Griffith was the successor of Davis, and the men who quote Davis to-day and who make pilgrimages to the grave of Tone do their little narrow-minded best to antagonise and embitter every man who was reared up in a different national creed from their own.

Some of the members of this House and of the other House were admittedly opposed to our claim for self-government in the past. But when this State was established they accepted the new situation and they have worked loyally, earnestly and eagerly for the welfare of their own country and ours since. To my mind that was one of the great triumphs of the Treaty. It enabled us to demonstrate our sense of fair play and it enabled these men to show their appreciation of it by giving their services whole-heartedly.

This Bill in depriving a minority of an adequate interest in the affairs of the Oireachtas is going to do immeasurable harm to this country. For some years past we have been winning, by means of education, the loyalty of the children of the people whom the ex-Unionist Senators represent. They have been discovering a new Ireland, a friendly, kindly Ireland, in which they hope to find a welcome and an honourable place when they emerge from school. This Bill is a rebuff to the minority and to the children of the minority. It is not enough for a majority to be just. It should be generous. This Bill is ungenerous. It is calculated to create suspicion and anxiety in the minds of fellow Irishmen. It will, in all probability, undo much of the good work done in the past ten years. If I thought there was an atom of generosity in either the Government or their allies in the Dáil I would appeal to them for the sake of the country to deal generously with the political minority and to visit their vengeance solely on our heads. But I feel such an appeal would be idle and futile. They do not understand generosity. They are strangers to it. The bleatings of their ignorant backbenchers advertise it, and their own acts demonstrate it.

As the Cathaoirleach told us, we had Deputy Norton, the Leader of the Labour Party in the Dáil who can cross to England and fraternise with Mr. George Lansbury and Sir Stafford Cripps, referring to his own countrymen here as "soupers, proselytisers and members of the old ascendancy gang." But this form is no worse than the unseemly conduct of Ministers who denounce, as enemies of the Irish people, members of this House whom they have privately approached within the past twelve months to go across to England and to find out for them on what terms England would settle the economic war. They were, presumably, sufficiently worthy to be entrusted with an important confidential mission for Fianna Fáil but when they refused to be intimidated into voting for the victimisation of a political party they were denounced as enemies of the Irish nation by the very men who had previously sought their good offices. That is the action —not of statesment but of tricky ward politicians. That is the kind of sharp practice that we are told is going to attract the people of the North and to bring about Irish unity.

When President de Valera was advocating the passage of the Blueshirt Bill in the Dáil, and attempting to outlaw political opponents, he was an exemplar of Christian charity and good-will. He appealed for the loyal assistance of all Parties in running the State. When he is abolishing the Seanad and depriving as far as he can the minority of any voice in the public affairs of this State—he does it proclaiming that the minority should have fair play—disclaiming any feeling of vindictiveness or of hate of political opponents, and with the words of Thomas Davis on his lips. When reminded by Deputy MacDermot of the effect on Partition of this Bill abolishing the Seanad, the President blandly assured the Dáil that his policy would bring about the end of Partition sooner than the policy of his opponents.

What a farce to pretend that the policy of gratuitously antagonising Britain, of denouncing everything British and of boycotting British goods is going to attract into this State 1,000,000 people who have been brought up in the British tradition and to whom allegiance to Britain is almost part of their religion. The policy which this Government is pursuing at the present time, instead of tending to end Partition, will ensure its permanence. Nobody knows that better than President de Valera. By his present and past policy he has done more than any living man to stabilise Partition and to confirm the majority in the North in its determination to hold aloof from us.

Those of us whose political education did not begin in 1914 know that Partition had its origin in the unreasonable doubts and suspicions of the majority of the people in the Six Counties. They refused to entrust their destiny to untried Irish nationalism. After the Treaty was signed the only way to dissipate those doubts and suspicions was to liberate Irish nationalism from its shibboleths, to release it from its straight-jacket, to prove its capacity, to prove its economic wisdom, its sense of justice, its tolerance and the honesty of its administrative ideals.

That was the policy of the last Government. It tried to make this a highly efficient modern State. It showed a desire to cultivate friendly relations with our Northern countrymen. It let them see, without any loss of self-respect, that Irish nationalism was neither intolerant nor sectarian. It proved to them that administration both by State Departments and Local Government bodies would be unimpeachably impartial by passing a law which ensured that all appointments to public positions would be made in merit alone.

Notwithstanding all the declarations of the demagogues in the North that they would never join the Free State, nobody who was in touch with Northern opinion, especially with the business opinion of the North, could fail to observe that there was gradually developing a respect for the Free State. In a few years that respect would have grown into confidence. With confidence established the end of Partition would have been in sight. That prospect has now been dimmed, if not altogether destroyed. The policy that was bringing it about has been replaced by a policy of antagonism to the North and its ideals—by a policy that has vivified the old spirit of distrust and bitterness which we all had hoped was passing away for ever.

It does not require much perspicacity to appreciate that the policy that has deliberately provoked an economic war with England, and has brought about economic chaos here, is going to have little attraction for the people of the North. On the other hand—with economic chaos here—with our farmers deprived of the only market that matters—with exhibitions of political intolerance such as attacks on public meetings and on political opponents— with vapourings about using the gun to achieve a Thirty-Two County Republic, we are simply warning off the North. That is what Fianna Fáil policy has done, and so long as that policy prevails, to talk of attracting the North and bringing about Irish unity is ludicrous.

The Bill which we are at present discussing, coming after the various other political Bills, is just another milestone on the road that is leading away from Irish unity and into a land of stratagem and illusion. We have been given diverse reasons for the introduction of this measure. President de Valera told the Dáil that it was the result of high Government policy and was a calculated and deliberate act. The Minister for Industry and Commerce, while the ink on the measure was still fresh, hastened down the country and told his audience with exceeding delicacy that as the Seanad would not have the Shirt Bill they had given them a Shift Bill. The Minister is, of course, especially since his visit to Ottawa, an authority on fashionable attire. I presume he will be known in the future not as the Minister for Industry and Commerce but as the Minister for Industry and Chemises. He is, however, more candid than his Chief, who told the Dáil that the Bill had been under consideration for a long time—and that in fact it had been in cold storage—I presume along with the Republic. It seems to me to bear more evidence of the lava of Presidential ill-temper than of the coolness of prudent statesmanship.

It is easy to see that this Bill is the product of ill-temper. It bears all the marks of intemperance. Because this House refused to quail before President de Valera, President de Valera determined that it must go. In that he was consistent if nothing else. His rôle has always been that of Dictator. There is no room in this country for anyone who refuses to offer incense at his shrine. But even dictatorships come to an end. Instead of bringing about the millennium they bring about their own Nemesis. In endeavouring to encompass the destruction of this House President de Valera may find that he has encompassed the destruction of his own Government. In that way the present Bill may be, to use a famous phrase, "A blessing in disguise."

I have read through the whole of the Second Reading debate on this Bill in the Dáil in order to try and ascertain the real grounds on which this Bill is being proposed by the Government. I learned one interesting thing, and that is that the President does not expect us to pass the Bill, and that he is relying on a period of at least a year further to consider the position. Apparently he recognises that no Second Chamber which has any conception of its duty would vote for its own abolition without any indication whatever of the alternative constitutional provisions, if any, which are to be proposed.

We must consider this Bill as it has reached us, and it is clear that it is not simply a Bill for the abolition of the present Seanad. It is not even a Bill solely for the establishment of a Single Chamber Parliament. It is a Bill to amend the Constitution for the purpose of establishing one House of Parliament, in which a bare majority of the members will be able to control every function of government, legislative, executive and judicial, including power to alter the Constitution to suit its own needs.

I wish to call your attention, a Leas-Chathaoirligh, to the fact that there is no responsible member of the Government present at the moment when Senator Douglas is making a most important speech. May I ask whether I may not move the adjournment of the debate until some member of the Government arrives? The importance of the occasion is sufficient to warrant such action.

Leas-Chathaoirleach

There is a representative of the Government present, although he is not a member of either House of the Oireachtas, and I take it that he will make a record of what is being said.

We also have the Government Whip present.

Perhaps Deputy Milroy will come over to this side of the House and represent the Government.

I would be ashamed to do such a thing.

The President has pointed out that certain other countries have Single Chamber Parliaments, but I challenge him to quote any Single Chamber in Europe, or indeed in the world, which has the powers which this Bill would give to the Dáil. I have examined every European Constitution and I cannot find one. It may be that similar powers will be found in countries governed by dictators. I have no information as to the constitutional provisions, if any, now in force in these countries. If this Bill becomes law, any measure, no matter how revolutionary, could be passed into law in one day, provided that there was a majority of at least one. The same majority could abolish every constitutional safeguard of freedom—free speech—freedom of the Press—freedom of conscience and the free profession and practice of religion. A bare majority, even if elected for another purpose, could establish a Communist or Socialist State—property or bank deposits could be confiscated, or our whole monetary system changed. If this Bill passes, a would-be dictator has only to obtain a majority of one, and he can constitutionally use that majority to abolish the Dáil or to render opposition illegal in order to establish himself in power. The Government seems to suggest that this kind of criticism is unfair. I ask: Why is it unfair? Is it not simply the truth? I do not suggest that this Government proposes to do these things or any of them, but this Government will not last for ever. We have been told repeatedly that General O'Duffy is aiming at a dictatorship. If Fianna Fáil are sincere in these statements and really believe them, why make it easy for him to be a dictator? I do not believe that Fine Gael has any such intentions, but, as I have already stated in this House, I consider it the height of folly to pass legislation which will make dictatorship easy.

It is, of course, quite obvious, as stated by the President, that a dictatorship backed by force can be established whether the Parliament consists of one or of two Houses. No constitutional provisions can, of themselves, prevent revolution. But this Bill makes a dictatorship possible which is not backed by force. It makes it easy to establish dictatorial government in a constitutional manner without the use of force in the first instance. But, once established, such a dictatorship can rule by force because it will have the complete command of all the armed forces of the State as well as the control of the police and the Civil Service. That is what I mean when I say that this Bill makes dictatorship easy.

After the Bill was introduced the Government made a feeble and reluctant attempt to safeguard the independence of the judges, but it was quite impossible to do so without safeguarding the whole Constitution, which evidently the Government was not prepared to do. Its attitude was stated very frankly by the Minister for Industry and Commerce. He said that if it becomes necessary in the mind of the Government to exercise the power to remove judges, that power will be exercised. He also stated:—

"The majority in this Parliament is entitled to enact any legislation it likes."

That, to my mind, is the attitude of the dictatorial State. The Minister's statement reveals very clearly the difference between the Government's conception of the State and that which I conceive to be the democratic attitude. A majority has no right to use its power to do what it likes. Only legislation which the majority honestly believe to be in accordance with the people's wishes should be enacted.

The new sections in this Bill, providing for a four-sevenths majority, before judges or the Auditor and Comptroller-General can be removed from office, are to my mind almost useless. A majority of one could amend the Constitution as altered by this Bill, and then the same bare majority could remove the judge or judges they objected to and they could arrange it so that they need not give any reasons for their action.

One great objection to this Bill is that the Constitution finally ceases to be a fundamental law and is left, like all other Acts, at the mercy of a bare majority. I think it is important for us to realise that the people do not derive power from the Constitution. Its function is to set up the institutions through which the people shall govern themselves and to define and limit the powers entrusted to such institutions. The Oireachtas was established by the Constitution and any power it may take to itself outside the Constitution is usurpation unless the people have been consulted.

An effort is being made by the Seanad to save the Constitution as a fundamental law by the Bill introduced into this House to provide for a possible referendum for constitutional amendments. I am accused of inconsistency because I introduced that Bill and because I voted for a Bill abolishing the Referendum for ordinary legislation. There is a clear distinction between a referendum for ordinary Bills and one for amendments to the Constitution. On reading the Dáil Debates on this Bill I find that, if I am inconsistent in drawing this distinction, I am in very interesting company. The President was in favour of a referendum for ordinary legislation in 1928, but now he considers that: "It would be difficult in our particular circumstances." He admits, however, that in the future it might be desirable for amendments to a written Constitution.

The Cathaoirleach resumed the Chair.

On a point of order, I want again to raise the point I made a while ago. Senator Douglas is making a criticism of most important fundamental proposals, and there is no Minister here to listen to him. There can be no intelligent reply given in this debate if there is no member of the Government here to listen to the speeches that are being made. I asked would I be in order in moving the adjournment of the discussion in order to give a Minister an opportunity of attending.

Cathaoirleach

We have no power to compel any Minister to attend. I ask the Whip of the Fianna Fáil Party if he thinks a Minister will attend.

I do not think that the President can be present——

On last Saturday I received notice and was informed that the proposed arrangements as to the discussion on this measure had been put before the President, and that he agreed with what was suggested. I would like to know if you, A Chathaoirligh, or anyone else, have been informed that circumstances have arisen after that intimation was made that the arrangements which had been then made would not suit the President's arrangements and would be altered. I think the House is being trifled with and treated with contempt, and I think it is intolerable.

Cathaoirleach

We have no machinery to compel the attendance of the President. The President was apprised of the course to be followed.

I have great sympathy with Senator Milroy, but we would be only doing ourselves harm if we were to adjourn because no person is present to represent the Government. This is a Bill to abolish this House and nothing that will be said here will have the faintest effect, so far as the Government is concerned. That does not mean that what is being said here will not have great effect upon people, many of whom will be very anxious to read what is being said here. If this Bill passes, I think the arguments for either a referendum for constitutional amendments, or the delay of such amendments until the next general election, will be unanswerable.

The supposed justification for this revolutionary measure, and it is a revolutionary measure as it now stands, seems to rest on three main arguments:—

(1) That the present Seanad does not do its work adequately or impartially, and should be abolished. (2) That the Government received a mandate for this Bill at the last election. (3) That, on the whole, Single Chamber Government is best, and that at any rate the President is unable to discover any satisfactory method of electing a Second Chamber which would be worth the cost to the State.

These seem to me to be the three main arguments I can get out of the debates. A great many side issues were introduced into the debate in the Dáil, some of which I will deal with briefly later on. The three main arguments would seem to be those which I have mentioned, and I ask the indulgence of the House to enable me to deal with them in detail.

The first and main argument is the real or supposed partiality of the Seanad in its work and it has been stated again and again that the Seanad serves no useful purpose and that it has never defended the liberties of the people. That kind of statement supported by a few instances of the Seanad's action will of course go down well on Party platforms, and I often wonder would we hear the same kind of argument if the President and his followers had taken their seats in the Dáil at the establishment of the Free State, and if, as would probably be the case, they now had a majority in this House. I have always stated that I would welcome attempts to improve the constitution of or methods of election to the Seanad, but I do not, for one moment, admit that the charges levelled against it by certain Ministers and by the rank and file of the Fianna Fáil Party are either fair or accurate.

I have been a member of this House since its inception. I have missed comparatively few of its sittings and I am convinced that any impartially-minded man, even in the Fianna Fáil Party, who will take the trouble to go through its proceedings from the beginning will be forced to admit that there is an honourable record of useful work and most of it work which is rarely, if ever, done in the popular Chamber of any country. Bills have been carefully examined and revised and, except on a few big political issues, there has been a minimum of Party feeling. The suggestion that the general idea is to obstruct the Government is untrue. In 11 years, seven Bills have been delayed—two under the last Government and five under this. Does the Government imagine that all the Bills passed by this House since it came into power had the approval of the majority? Some, it is true, won general assent, but very many were passed because the House did not consider it the function of a Second Chamber to delay them having regard to the recognised policy of the Executive. Take the five that were held up; two were constitutional amendments, and two were alterations to local government franchise. The fifth would have given powers to the Executive which the majority of the House believed would be used against the constitutional Opposition. I am not discussing their merits now, but I would ask the President if he were here would he not have taken the same action if he had believed the same as we did, would he not have taken exactly the same action? I believe that any independent constitutional expert would agree that these are just the kind of Bills which it is right and reasonable for a Second Chamber to delay. The strongest argument against the Seanad that I know of is that it should have delayed more Bills in the past, especially those which amended the Constitution. Even granting its faults, I am convinced that, when events of the present time come to be reviewed by an impartial historian, there will be very little serious criticism of this House as to the manner in which it has fulfilled its functions as a Second Chamber.

When the Bill which proposed to reduce the delaying powers of this House was being considered, Senator O'Hanlon contributed a very useful speech setting out the way in which this House had endeavoured to safeguard the liberties of the people. I, also, made a long speech, which was carefully prepared and which set out in detail the work of the Seanad: that has been further very usefully supplemented by you, Sir, to-day. I have been unable to find in the debates in the Dáil or elsewhere any attempt to answer or reply in detail to either of these speeches. I wonder did the President trouble to read them? The only answer I have seen is a repetition of the old falsehood that the Seanad has never done any really useful work.

But even if, for the sake of argument, it is admitted that the present Seanad does not do its work in a proper or satisfactory way, that is no argument for the abolition of a bicameral legislature, much less for the establishment of a Single House in which the majority has absolute power, which I repeat is the proposal before us to-day in this Bill.

There was, however, one part of the President's speech which seemed to admit that there is a need for the revisory work which has been done by this House. I will quote his words:

"We could, of course, adopt here the system they have in Norway. It has been operated successfully in Norway over a considerable period. They have frankly faced that situation. What they do in Norway is that after an election they select from the House a number of the members who form what is called a Second House. That Second House has certain functions. If there is any difference of opinion it is resolved within three days by bringing the two Houses together as one. We could, by changing the Standing Orders, provide that there be a committee of the House selected for the purpose that would re-examine Bills, after they have got to a certain stage here, from the point of view of improving them and so on, and they could, if we desired it, impose such a delay as will be thought advisable in any particular case."

(Dáil Reports, Vol. 51, Col. 2142).

Such a committee, set up by Standing Orders, would be almost worthless. It would be at the mercy of the majority, and when the Executive were in a hurry Standing Orders would be suspended and the committee dispensed with. The President admits as much when he says such delay could be imposed as was thought advisable in any particular case.

It is rather a pity that the President did not give the Dáil a little more information about the actual position in Norway when he suggested that the Saorstát might possibly accept the system in operation in that country. It is very different indeed from the situation which will exist here if this Bill becomes law. In Norway the Second Chamber is created by the Lower House which, immediately after an election, proceeds to select one quarter of its members proportionately according to Parties, and these selected members form the Upper Chamber, which has its own President and staff, and which remains unchanged (except for casual vacancies) until the next general election. It might be expected that a House so elected would always agree with the Lower House, but in fact differences do occur. The President said that these differences are settled within three days by bringing the two Houses together as one. I wonder how he calculated the three days. He omitted to mention that the two Houses in Norway do not meet together until the Upper House has twice rejected a Bill from the Lower House, and that when they do meet together a two-thirds majority is necessary to pass the Bill. The President also failed to tell the Dáil that even when a two-thirds majority of the two Houses sitting together passes an amendment to the constitution it does not become law until after the next general election, and even then it must be passed again by a two-thirds majority of the newly elected Parliament during the first or second ordinary session.

Norway takes adequate steps to safeguard its Constitution, and if in the future the Government decide to propose the adoption of the system in Norway, it is to be hoped that they will not leave out its most important provisions. The committee which drafted the Constitution of the Saorstát very carefully examined the Norwegian Constitution and, although they recognised its merits, they did not consider that it would provide the best kind of Second Chamber for this country. The general standard of political knowledge is very high in Norway and it is probably because of this fact that this method of electing a Second Chamber has proved practicable. It would not work satisfactorily in this country. I do not believe that the ablest members of the Dáil could be persuaded to form themselves into a Second Chamber. No Senate that does its work effectively can expect the same publicity as is given to the House which controls the Executive, and the elected members of the Dáil, who formed the Upper House, would not enhance their chances of re-election by so doing. If, however, it proved possible to persuade the ablest members of the present Dáil to become a Seanad, I am afraid the Dáil itself would suffer and would become a mere machine for registering Executive decisions.

The second argument used in support of the Bill is that the Government are carrying out a mandate. This I suggest is absurd. In a manifesto issued just before the election, the President said:—

"We propose to abolish the Seanad as at present constituted and if it be decided to retain a Second Legislative Chamber, it is our intention to reduce considerably the number of its members."

How this can be construed as a mandate for this Bill which gives absolute power to a bare majority in one House is beyond my powers of comprehension, but if it satisfies the conscience of the Government, I do not suppose there is any use arguing it here. But I would put it to the President that he has no right to use the powers he has been entrusted with by the people to alter the Constitution in such a way that a bare majority can do anything and everything, until the people have been consulted. And I would remind him that we are legislating not only for this Government but also for its successors, whoever they may be.

The people are the rulers in this State, and if they wish to elect a Single Chamber with absolute power to the majority, they can do so, but I repeat that I do not believe any democratic parliament has a right to take this power to itself without directly consulting the people. A considerable part of the President's speech at the conclusion of the Second Stage of the Bill in the Dáil consisted of arguments in favour of Single Chamber government, and he made some extraordinary statements, which, in my opinion, he failed entirely to prove. He stated that:—

"The more modern thinkers who are dealing with present day affairs and conditions are gradually coming to the conclusion that, when all is said and done, a Single Chamber parliament is the wisest."

My reading leads me to the exact contrary view. There are, of course, Party politicians in many countries who wish to abolish the Upper House, but I cannot think of any modern writer, of first-class standing, on general constitutional subjects who advocates Single Chamber government. I would be glad if the President would let me know the names of the modern authorities to whom he refers, as I would like to read them. The quotation he gave in his speech was from the third Earl Grey, who wrote in 1853, which is not my idea of a modern writer. Incidentally, I may mention that from Greville's Memoirs we learn that the third Earl Grey was mainly characterised by

"his contempt for the opinion of others, and the tenacity with which he clung to his own."

Referring to the fact that most democratic countries have Second Chambers, the President stated:—

"When we reflect on how these countries, in the main, got these Second Chambers, we begin to lose much of our admiration for them."

Later on he stated:—

"These Second Chambers, for the most part arising from historical causes, have been due to the fact that the people did not get completely into their own."

He did not in that speech make any attempt to proves these statements except by reference to the House of Lords, and I respectfully suggest to this House that these statements do not fit in with the facts. The large majority of European Constitutions were created at a much later date than 1853, which the President regards as modern. A very large number were passed by constituent assemblies, elected on a democratic franchise, and I find no support, except in the case of England, for the President's statements. If he will examine the various Constitutions of Europe he will find that the old Second Chambers depending on historical causes and on privilege have been swept away, but that the large majority of European countries created new Second Chambers to take their place, and that most of the present Upper Houses in Europe are not due to the people having failed to come into their own, but are the result of the deliberate choice of the people, democratically expressed through their representatives, in favour of a bicameral Legislature. Why not get our minds away from England and British precedent and see if we cannot profit a little from the experience of other European countries?

In view of the President's arguments, I propose to give this House some details of the present provisions in the European countries which maintain the bicameral system, and I trust the President will let us know what it is in the origins of these Second Chambers that makes him "lose admiration for them."

Of the European Constitutions now in force, the oldest are:—Sweden, created in 1809; Norway, in 1814—he approves of Norway—Belgium, in 1836; Holland, in 1848; Switzerland, in 1874, and France, in 1875. All of these have, of course, been amended since these dates, and in none of them are the present Second Chambers representative of privilege. In Sweden the Second Chamber is elected on almost universal suffrage by persons of 24 years of age and upwards, and I have already referred in detail to the system in Norway. In Belgium two-thirds of the Senate is elected and one-third co-opted from distinguished citizens. The Dutch Senate is elected by local government bodies, which themselves are elected by the universal suffrage. In Switzerland the Upper House represents the Cantons, and no one will question the democratic character of the Swiss Constitution. The Senate in France is elected by the French and Colonial Departments. All the other bicameral States in Europe have modern Constitutions. In Hungary the Constitution was adopted in 1920 by a National Constituent Assembly elected on universal suffrage. The same applies to Austria, but the date was 1919. The Czecho-Slovakian Constitntion was also passed by a democratically elected Constituent Assembly in 1918. Rumania had a new Constitution in 1923. The present Danish Constitution dates from 1915 when the old Upper House was abolished and a new Second Chamber created, the members of which are elected by electoral colleges. Greece used to be unicameral, but in 1926 a new democratic Constitution was adopted with two Houses of Parliament. The new Portuguese Constitution of 1933 provided for two Houses and was passed into law after being submitted to a plebiscite of the people. Yugo-Slavia was unicameral, but in 1929 a kind of dictatorship was established. In 1931 a new Constitution was proclaimed with two Houses of Parliament.

The only independent States in Europe which have Single Chamber Constitutions—and I think I am up-to-date—are Turkey, Esthonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Finland and Spain. Surely this list is in itself significant. Is there one country in the list which the Saorstát would wish to follow? It was suggested in the Dáil—I think by the President, but I am not sure—that it was up to those who believe in a Second Chamber to prove that Single Chamber government has been a failure where it has been tried. It has never been tried in the revolutionary form which this Bill proposes. I showed in my speech in this House a fortnight ago that almost all European States, whether bicameral or unicameral, safeguard their Constitutions against hasty or ill-considered amendment. I need not give the details again. But even in the form in which it has been tried, it is clear that Single Chamber government has been anything but a success. It is perhaps too soon to judge the results of the Spanish experiment, but it has certainly failed so far to give stability or contented government to Spain, and the attitude of the first Single Chamber in that country to religion was condemned by every right-minded person in the Saorstát.

Finland has a Single Chamber Government more in name than in fact, for the President there is elected by electors chosen by popular vote at a different time to the elections for the Parliament. He is not responsible to the House and he has all the usual powers of a Second Chamber. He can initiate legislation. He amends Bills passed by the Parliament and returns them for consideration, and he can delay Bills until after the next general election. Every one of the remaining Single Chamber countries has a record of marked political instability and I would suggest to the President that he should study their recent history.

Two of them, Bulgaria and Latvia, have recently established dictatorships; two others, Turkey and Esthonia, have altered their constitutions in order to give such power to their Presidents as to create virtual dictatorships. Of the remaining country—Lithuania—we find it recorded in Europa, which is a recognised authority on European affairs, that

"Stability has not been a marked characteristic of the Governments, nor of the political situation generally."

In 1926, a Government of the Left was overthrown by military force. The Clerical Cabinet that followed had a precarious existence until the Premier resigned after an attempt to assassinate him.

Four of the States with Single Chambers were previously under the old Russian Empire and naturally the standard of political education is backward in these countries. Every allowance must be made for the circumstances, but the fact remains that the general record of most Single Chamber Parliaments has been instability and uncertainty. Just the very situation we wish to avoid in this country while we are endeavouring to build up our State and our trade and industry.

The speech made by the President on the Final Stage of this Bill in the Dáil contained a great deal of argument which he himself admitted was not strictly relevant. I find it difficult to resist the temptation to deal with some of the subjects introduced by him, but I will content myself with referring only to two parts of his speech which have a direct bearing on the Bill. He seemed to quote John Stuart Mill as an advocate of Single Chamber government, and I think he was not correct in doing so. Marriott opens his book on Second Chambers with a quotation from John Stuart Mill, which I think worth reading to the House. Mill wrote:—

"A majority in a Single Assembly, when it has assumed a permanent character—when composed of the same persons habitually acting together, and always assured of victory in their own House— easily become despotic and overweening if released from the necessity of considering whether its acts will be concurred in by another constituted authority. The same reason which induced the Romans to have two consuls makes it desirable there should be two Chambers; that neither of them may be exposed to the corrupting influence of undivided power, even for the space of a single year."

The President also made an extraordinary and a very one-sided attack on the French Senate. He mentioned that Gambetta only accepted a Senate as a compromise, but he omitted to mention that afterwards Gambetta became its staunch supporter and in 1882 declared that the principle of two Chambers.

"is the guiding principle of all democratic government."

Mr. de Valera, having described the French Senate as "equally bad" when compared with the House of Lords, and stated that the average age of French Senators is about 60 years, went on to say:—

"Their history is that they have been uniformly a force acting against ordinary modern social development. They opposed old age pensions. They opposed the abolition of child labour. They opposed holidays for workers. They opposed the income tax law and, up to this day, they have prevented the enfranchisement of women. In other words they have been uniformly opposed to the modern conception of democratic freedom and democratic right."

For the head of the Government of this State, who is also Minister for External Affairs, to use language such as this in regard to one House of Parliament of a great and friendly neighbour, without adverting to the valuable work done for the nation by that House, would seem to be, to say the least of it, indiscreet, even if it were a fair statement of the facts, which I very much doubt.

The leading authority, I am assured, on political science in France is Professor Joseph Barthélemy. In his book, "Le Gouvernement de la France," published first in 1919, he devotes a chapter to an examination of the composition and functions of the Senate. He remarks at the outset:—

"The Senate is charged, in the Constitution, with a mission of moderation, of balance, of stability. Its duty is to offer a resistance, at least for the time being, to the ill-considered impulses of the Chamber of Deputies, who are younger, more numerous and a more direct product of universal suffrage."

I should mention that my quotations are from the 1924 edition, and were made from the original French by a friend with a good knowledge of the language, who very kindly gave me his assistance. M. Barthélemy proceeds to show how the Senate is equipped for this work and how in his opinion it discharges it satisfactorily. If anyone is inclined to accept the President's words as a fair statement of the facts, I would advise him to read M. Barthélemy's book. His method is obviously fair and reasoned and he sets out in detail the points in regard to which the French Senate has been the target of criticism. It is a significant fact that the very charges made against the French Senate by Mr. de Valera are identical with those adduced by M. Barthélemy, and more remarkable still, they are quoted by the President, with one exception, in exactly the same order as in M. Barthélemy's book. As this can scarcely be mere coincidence, I assume that the book is the source of Mr. de Valera's information, and, if so, I am amazed that a man in his position and with his responsibility should use the criticisms of M. Barthélemy without at the same time giving his rebuttal of them.

Professor Barthélemy is clearly convinced of the value of the Senate, of which he is a very strong supporter, and summarises his conclusions under five heads, (a) to (e), as follows, which, I think, I should read:—

"(a) All delays in legislation cannot be attributed to the Senate."

He points out that the Chamber has its share of responsibility. He mentions in particular that there has been general agreement in favour of reform of the judiciary and in favour of the suppression of the scandal of public executions, and asks why no action has been taken by the Chamber.

"(b) When we reckon the instances of opposition by the Senate, we must take into account the fact that these are frequently discounted by the Chamber itself."

Professor Barthélemy mentions that the Chamber not infrequently passes scamped or unsuitable Bills with the knowledge that the Senate will either revise or reject them. It is interesting to note that M. Guyot, another well-known authority and an ex-Minister, concurs, and states that the Chamber deliberately accepts proposals which are dangerous, in the hope and belief that they will be rejected by the Senate.

"(c) The fact that there are two Houses does not constitute an obstacle to really urgent reforms."

M. Barthélemy gives examples of urgent measures passed promptly by both Houses, including a law to deal with the anarchist menace, passed in one day in 1894.

"(d) Laws are never passed with sufficient slowness from the point of view of their draftmanship."

"(e) Laws ought to be made slowly from the fundamental point of view."

He deals under these heads with the value of delay and mentions that

"a few good laws are worth more than many which are bad or simply mediocre."

He also points out that the example of countries where a Referendum exists, shows that persons in political positions are often quite wrong in their ideas of what the people desire.

The Professor concludes the chapter with the following significant words:—

"The existence of a Second Chamber is the fundamental institution of all organised democracy."

I have referred at length to the French Senate, because I felt that the attack made on that body by the President should not be allowed to pass unchallenged. There is not, I am reliably informed, one writer of importance on political science in France who favours Single Chamber government.

The Minister for Industry and Commerce, in his speech on the Second Reading, attempted to discredit this House by appealing to ignorance and prejudice. He spoke of

"the Granards and the Jamesons and the like,"

presumably alluding to ex-Unionists, who have been or are members of this House. He did not go to the trouble of ascertaining the facts. The ex-Unionists have never been in a majority in this House at any time. The Minister stated that the balance of power in the Seanad is held by a group that could not get one seat at any general election. I presume he refers to the group to which I have belonged for the past six years. His statement is not true. In the first place, this group, which now consists of nine members, does not hold, and never did hold, the balance of power in this House, and in the second place, one of its members was elected directly by the people in a Seanad election. There are several members of the group who, like the Minister, reside in County Dublin, and they would have just as good, if not a better chance of election to the Dáil in that constituency as the Minister himself. The members of this group are not all ex-Unionists. The late Senator Mrs. Stopford Green was a loyal member of the group, and I do not believe she was ever a Unionist, and I can truthfully say that I myself have never ceased to work for the political independence of this country.

The reference to the Granards and the Jamesons was unworthy of any man in a responsible position. Lord Granard has always favoured self-government— he is an Irishman with large interests in this country and I see no reason why he should not be a member of its Parliament. He does not, however, happen to be a member of the group referred to by the Minister. I find it hard to find words to express my disgust at the reference to Senator Jameson. I know of no man more loyal, or who has given more unselfish service to this country than Senator Jameson. He was, perhaps, more than anyone else, instrumental in arranging the truce which ended the war with England. He has never allowed his past political opinions to interfere with his work for the good of his country. When Mr. de Valera invited me to go to see him, with a view to bringing the civil war to an end, we discussed the names of various persons who might be associated with me in carrying on negotiations with the Cosgrave Government, and when the name of Senator Jameson was mentioned, Mr. de Valera expressed his opinion that he knew him to be a man of the highest honour and integrity, and that he felt sure he would be willing to help his country. At the close of the negotiations a report was prepared by Senator Jameson and myself and shown to Mr. de Valera, who sent me a letter stating that the report gave a strictly accurate account of the negotiations, and that he considered it perfectly fair to his point of view. This report was read to the Seanad in order that the public might know exactly what had taken place in a manner that would be quite fair to both sides. The Minister for Industry and Commerce may not have personal knowledge of the work done by Senator Jameson, but no one knows better than the President how ready he has been to serve this country, and I was very surprised indeed that the President did not immediately repudiate the attack that was so unjustifiably made upon the Senator by one of his Ministers.

It was the considered policy of the Provisional Government to do everything possible to make it easy for the political and religious minority in this country to co-operate in the building up of the new State and in doing so they were only carrying out the avowed policy of Arthur Griffith and Sinn Féin. The Constitution provided for this in three ways:—By proportional representation, by university representation in the Dáil, and by a special minority nomination during the first 12 years of the Seanad. The Government this year propose to reverse this policy. They are trying to abolish both the Seanad and university representation, and they are endeavouring seriously to minimise the value of proportional representation to a small minority by greatly increasing the number of constituencies with only three members. Why are they so anxious to reduce minority representation? Theoretically, I admit, a majority has no obligation to facilitate a small minority in obtaining a share of the work of government. But is this change in the interests of the country as a whole? Is it wise, having regard to our desire to convince the Six Counties of the North that they should voluntarily join the rest of Ireland? To my mind, it is quite wrong and foolish even from the point of view of Fianna Fáil.

Most persons who belonged to the old political minority have accepted the Saorstát and are amongst its most loyal citizens, although they may not support the Fianna Fáil Party. If this Government ever hope to bring about a united Ireland they will have to convince Irishmen in the Six Counties that the rights of minorities will be fully respected. The fears of Ulster Unionists may seem to us to be unreasonable and absurd, but they are genuinely held by many people and they will not be lessened when a responsible Minister objects to a Second Chamber because it contains "Grandards and Jamesons" and a small independent group of nine members, most of whom were ex-Unionists. The President is right when he states that a properly governed State with stable conditions is going to have more attraction for people in the Six Counties than anything at the present time, but his policy is in the opposite direction, and he is now proposing to set up Single Chamber government. which has been followed by either instability or dictatorship, or both, in almost every country which has adopted it.

Dictatorships have grown out of mass discontent and dissatisfaction with governmental and political conditions. Young people anxious to do something for their country have grown impatient with Party politics. Much that is good and admirable has been achieved at the cost of individual political freedom, which is a price that I, for one, would not willingly pay in this country. What I most object to in Nazism and Fascism is the assertion of the absolute supremacy of the State over the individual. There is not much danger in the Saorstát of an individual dictator, but I believe there is a grave danger of a dictatorial State, which under the guise of democracy will govern autocratically, and slowly but surely suppress all opinion, no matter how honest, which is opposed to it. During the past few years more and more autocratic power has been given to the Executive, and if you will compare the powers which were given to the Executive under the Constitution in 1922 with the powers they now enjoy, you will see that the Saorstát has already progressed a considerable way on the road to the dictatorial State. But the Government is not satisfied with those powers. The more power they have, the more they want. The Seanad is in the way, therefore it must go. It cannot veto legislation, but it can insist on its being fully discussed, and it may even delay it for 18 months, or until a general election. And the abolition of the Seanad gives a good opportunity to add to the powers of an Executive which has a subservient majority behind it, even if that majority is only one or two. The people may not notice that nothing is provided to take the place of the Seanad. They may not discover that power will be given to a bare majority to take away individual liberty until it is too late. In the future some Party or some Executive Council may find that free speech or the right of free assembly is in the way of their programme, and these things will go in a like manner, only with greater ease if this Bill passes into law. Perhaps some Executive will find it difficult to govern with a small majority and will abolish the Dáil. It has been done in other countries.

This is a Bill to make dictatorial government easy and it should not be passed into law until the people have had an opportunity of understanding what it means and expressing their opinion. Real democracy requires the cultivation of the type of mind which listens to every point of view and forms its opinion slowly and deliberately. Second Chamber government, if it functions properly, should ensure the calm consideration and examination of all important legislative proposals. It should bring into the affairs of the State persons who have ability and experience who are not unduly influenced by purely Party considerations and in most countries it has succeeded in doing so to a greater or lesser extent. This is an aid and not a hindrance to democracy and it is because they recognised this fact that so many of the new democratic states deliberately created bicameral parliaments. Without exception they found difficulty in creating satisfactory Second Chambers, but they preferred to have the best Second Chamber they could devise, rather than run the risks of Single Chamber government.

The Seanad sent a message to the Dáil suggesting the appointment of a joint committee to consider improvements in the present Second Chamber. They did not receive even the courtesy of a reply. The President stated in the Dáil that this would not be the best kind of a committee to consider the question. Why did he not take steps to set up another kind of committee to examine the methods adopted in other countries in the light of Irish circumstances and from their report it would not have been difficult to devise new methods of creating a Second Chamber which would have been worth trying? I am forced to the conclusion that the Government knew quite well that the better the Second Chamber the more effective it would be and therefore a greater check on an autocratic executive, and that this is the real reason why they did not set up any committee or take any serious steps to consider an alternative to the present Seanad.

It is our plain duty, not only to reject this Bill, but to do everything in our power to prevent its passing into law until the people of this country have had an adequate opportunity to understand what it means and until they have had an opportunity of expressing their opinion.

In the case of a Bill like this where the subject is so generally understood it is almost impossible to avoid going over to some extent the ground that has been gone over before. I shall do that as little as possible though I do say even though it is very difficult to avoid it, I shall do that as little as possible. If I do it, it is because it is not practicable to avoid it entirely. I should like to begin by saying a few words on the question as to whether the Seanad has justified its existence during the past 12 years. That is a period of which much is liable to be forgotten. It was a revolutionary or, at least, a post-revolutionary period— a period of new men and new measures. Naturally, it was a period of very heavy legislation. A great many of the new laws were of an experimental character. It was a period of the government of Ireland by Irishmen, the government of Ireland according to Irish ideas for the first time for four generations and, if we look at the matter in another way, perhaps for many generations. Under those circumstances—conditions of change, development and furtherance of national aspirations—has the Seanad played a purely obstructive part? That is alleged. The Seanad was, of course, originally nominated and was never elected, like the Dáil, by the people. Has there been continuous friction between the two Houses? Not at all. An enormous number of Bills have been greatly improved in this House—improved, if I may say so, by consent and as a result of debate, exchange of view and new facts brought to the consideration of the subject which had not emerged in the other House. Bills have even been entirely altered here and the laws on the Statute Book of this comparatively new State are very much better than they would have been if there had been no Seanad. During these 12 years, successive Governments, consisting mainly of members of the other House and always of Party men—that is, of course, inseparable from Parliamentary Government—have utilised this House to improve their own Bills. That is a point to which I wish to call attention for a moment. Not only have Ministers in charge of Bills willingly accepted amendments proposed by members of this House but they themselves learned a great deal here. As a result of what they learned, they have on many occasions brought whole lists of amendments of their own before this House. These amendments have been carried here, have gone back to the other House and have been accepted there. In that way, Bills have been remodelled because of the attention given them in this House. The experience of the past 12 years shows that, as a result of the action of this Chamber, the State has a very much better set of laws than it would otherwise have. It is proposed to throw all this overboard and to deprive the people of their greatest guarantee of moderate government, the greatest security for life, liberty, property and all the other things which should be enjoyed in a civilised country.

This is a revolutionary proposal. If it is carried, it will make not for the further establishment of democracy and liberty but for the establishment of a dictatorship by Party—one of the worst kinds of dictatorship we can possibly have because one man will not be responsible in the same way as in the case of any ordinary dictatorship. Why is this revolutionary change in our Constitution to be made? We are given all kinds of reasons. But what is the real reason? Is it because we rejected some of the Bills the present Government sent us because we thought they were not for the ultimate benefit of the country? Is it because we are a Party House? No. A great many of us are not Party men at all and have strongly criticised Bills promoted, not by the present Government, but by previous Governments.

I should like to refer to a couple of the Bills which we have rejected. There was, first, the Oath Bill, brought in by the present Government. That was the first definite overt insult to our nearest neighbour and our best customer. That was the beginning of a loss of good-will, which is very likely to ruin this country in the long run. There followed action in connection with the annuities. That was an act of Government, not a Bill. That was the great default. As a country we refused to pay our just debt for a very generous piece of legislative action. The British Government pledged their credit to put the farmers of this country in a better position. It was largely the British people who put up the money, and they got paid, the credit of their country being pledged to it. We are paying just as if we had not refused to pay, but we are paying in a different and much worse way. The result of all that is that we have lost a tremendous amount of good-will, which is very important to us. The country's credit, both moral and financial, has suffered very much, and the greatest industry of the country is going quite steadily to ruin. The Seanad is not responsible for that. I have no doubt that that is one of our crimes. That was the greatest mistake the present Government made—a mistake they cannot escape from, because it is so obvious. The ill-effects of it are injuring hundreds of thousands of people day by day. No doubt it is one of our great crimes that we did not, as a House, associate ourselves with that action. We were against that. The President would have the country believe that he has done great things for the agricultural community in the way of export bounties, subsidies, encouragement of tillage and other things. That is all a smoke-screen. The value of all these things, taken together, is as nothing compared with the loss of our market and the position into which the President has got the country. All that fails in the balance against the loss of market. The acid test is the smuggling of cattle, which is going on across the Border. I think I should be justified in calling attention to certain figures given in the Irish Times of May 4, in that connection, because this is really one of the great issues before the country.

"In the Parliament of Westminster, Mr. Ormsby-Gore (First Commissioner of Works) replying, in Mr. Elliot's absence, said he was advised that on April 16, the following prices for cattle ruled at the fairs near the Border, at Naas in the Irish Free State and at Camlough in Northern Ireland—

Irish Free State Shillings

Northern Ireland Shillings

Calves under 9

months

30

105

Yearlings

50

140

Six-quarter olds

95

170

Large Stores

110

230

Fat Cattle over 18 months

150

270

"Mr. Ormsby-Gore added that he had no information concerning the second part of the question."

If these figures are proven—one may assume, under the circumstances, that they are substantially correct—it is very remarkable. If we had these prices there would not be so much trouble. Why have we not these prices? Simply because of the action of the present Government, and they want to go on doing more of this class of thing and to get this House out of the way so that they may be able to do it.

As regards the experience of the civilised world on this question of Single Chamber and Two-Chamber government, I do not propose to say very much because it has been very fully dealt with by others who know more about it than I do. I should, however, mention that the countries that have got Two-Chamber government now are: England, France, U.S.A., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Czecho-Slovakia, Denmark, Egypt, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Newfoundland, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Poland, Portugal, Roumania, Uruguay and Venezuela. Out of these 31 nations, more than half are republics. As regards the three important exceptions from that list—Russia, Germany and Spain—Russia, as a matter of fact, has two legislative Chambers, the Union Council and the Council of Nationalities, and all legislation must be by consent of the two bodies. One cannot judge by Germany at the present moment because there is really not parliamentary government there at all. Spain has only had Single Chamber government for a short time and it is experimental. There are great safeguards in Spain, safeguards which are almost equivalent to the existence of a Second Chamber. So much for world experience and the world view.

Let me examine for a moment the President's view. I desire to make some short quotations from the debate in the Dáil and to make some remarks upon them. I am justified in doing that, because the President, when here this afternoon, practically referred this House to that debate as being the standard debate and said it was not necessary to go over the matter again. The first quotation I wish to make is as follows:—

"I read books on Second Chambers and their history and their value as a part of governmental machinery, and during all that time I did not hear a single good argument which would convince me that if we were starting here a new Constitution a Second Chamber was either necessary or fundamentally useful."

All I can say is that though the President may have read a lot of information on that subject, he must have read it with the fixed determination that whatever he saw with his eye he would refuse to admit to his mind. The next quotation I wish to make is as follows:—

"What was it I wrote in the manifesto which was our election programme? I said this: ‘We propose to abolish the Seanad, as at present constituted, and, if it be decided to retain a Second Legislative Chamber, it is our intention to reduce considerably the numbers of its members.' What is the meaning of that? I say that it is quite plain. It indicated that the present Chamber, as at present constituted would, undoubtedly, go. It indicated further that if there was to be a Second Chamber —and it left that question clearly one to be determined, to be determined by this House, to be determined by the Legislature and by the ordinary methods of determining it —it would certainly be reduced in its numbers."

If that was in his manifesto, why did he not bring in a Bill to reform the Seanad? He practically gave the reason at the same time. It is the Dáil that is to settle the question about a Second Chamber, purely and simply. That is his idea of how the matter ought to be dealt with. Why? Because he has a majority. Is a Second Chamber any good? The President thought of possible kinds of Second Chamber which might be good. That seems very contradictory. There is another quotation which I wish to make. The President said:

"We have two Chambers in many other countries and they work. That is a very important argument... If we reflect on how these countries, in the main, got these Second Chambers, we begin to lose much of our admiration for them.... They had it all to themselves in the start and it has been a continual struggle over the centuries for the people to win just a little bit of their right to govern themselves from the chiefs and princes who held the power originally and, therefore, history tells us that these Second Chambers have been a remnant, a part of the defensive armour of—I will use the word without any reference to words that have been used recently—the ascendancy class."

Well, really when the Leader of the Government, or the country, says a thing like that, having regard to his knowledge of this House, it is perfectly ridiculous. I dislike very much doing so, but I feel justified in making such a remark á propos of anything said by the man who ought to be the leading statesman in this country. But the thing is so flagrantly contrary to fact that I felt justified in doing so. At another point that I wish to refer to in that debate the President asked:—

"How are we going to get those men? Are they to be nominated by the Leader of the Opposition if he should be in power? Do you think that when nominating them he will not go through the list and make sure that there is a majority in that body which is not going to prevent him from putting his programme into execution?... He would prove quite clearly that he had nobody in his programme if he nominated people who were going to oppose him. I frankly confess that, if I had the nomination, I would scan very carefully the list of my nominees to see that I was not going to erect something which would be a barrier to the things that I thought should be done in the interests of the nation and that the people had elected me to do."

There you have the kernel of the whole thing, and there I wish to make a personal reference. As a general rule personal references in a House of this kind are a mistake, but this has such a direct bearing on what I am going to refer to that, I think, the House will bear with me. When I was invited by Mr. Cosgrave to accept nomination for the Seanad I told him that I was surprised, but also honoured by receiving such a communication from him; that my answer did not entirely depend on myself, as I would have to ask my employers if they would consent. Consent was given. I saw Mr. Cosgrave and I told him that I thought it was most desirable that there should be no misunderstanding whatever between him and me. If I accepted his nomination for this House I asked him whether he realised that I was a Unionist, an unrepentant Unionist to this extent, that at the end of 1922 I believed it was not in the best interests of this country that political separation from Great Britain should take place, and that I believed time would very likely show it. Although that was so I said I had no desire to try to bring about union again, nor did I regard such a thing as practicable, but that nothing was in my mind in the political line except to do what I might be able to do to help the country along, as I was just as fond of it as those who were not ex-Unionists. Mr. Cosgrave told me that these facts were partly known to him, that they made no difference whatever, as he wanted people representing different points of view in this House, as he thought that that was the proper thing. That was his attitude, and that was his point of view. That was how he got over this alleged insuperable difficulty of nomination. That was the point of view of a statesman; the other point of view is not that of a statesman.

A spirit of servility or sycophancy has manifested itself, but not now to kings and nobles for hope of reward. We have a different kind of sycophancy now. We have Legislative Chambers and political platforms, and we are told of the matchless wisdom and nobility of the masses, of the voice of the people. They have been described as "the plain people," whose voice of ultimate wisdom must prevail, because they are sound of vision. That is mere political clap-trap, in the main, and nothing less. That kind of thing is done to excite the passions of people, and politically to bribe them so that you can get their votes. That is what that kind of thing is done for. It is the modern tendency. The other idea has gone long ago, and is entirely extinguished.

In view of all that has been said by previous speakers I do not think I will refer any more to that debate, because the points have been covered. The matured public opinion of this nation is not really to be got by votes of the different people composing the nation. It is well known that there are multitudes of persons who never give serious thought to the results of serious measures advocated by the Parties for whom they are voting, for the very good reason that they do not understand these issues and could not be expected to understand them. They cannot see beyond the immediate objective. They are under the domination of politicians or of organisations. They have not got the knowledge or are not sufficiently interested in things to judge the results. You cannot blame the average voter. The great mass of voters in every country must be like that. You cannot blame them. But you can blame political leaders who try to utilise them, and of course newspapers which are devoted entirely to vote-catching.

When a nation has had a long experience of political self-government the people acquire a sub-consciousness, a sort of political wisdom, and are not likely to do themselves as much harm as a people who have not had long experience of responsible self-government. In this country we are in the position, obviously from the facts of the case, that there has not been long experience of self government. It is only a recent thing, a matter of 12 years. I have not a very high personal opinion of political slogans, but in this country we do not seem to have got to a stage of seeing political principle beyond sheer personalities, such as "Up Dev." or "Up O'Duffy" or "To hell with them." We see a great deal of that in this country. I am not mentioning that in a spirit of levity. It is a serious thing. It shows that a very large proportion of the electorate are quite incapable of dealing with real political questions. They do not know about them, or question them, and therefore they go in for the purely personal attitude. It is in fact the personal factor that counts a great deal in the politics of this country. I am very sorry to have to say that. That makes all the greater necessity for a Second Chamber.

The issue is not only here, it is a world issue, whether the more intelligent of the electorate is going to have a large share in government, or whether a country is to be governed entirely by people who are the most numerous, and obviously the most ignorant. Extreme unchecked democracy without the check of a Second Chamber does not tend to the continuance of parliamentary government and does not tend to liberty. Of course we are all in favour of liberty. Both parliamentary government and liberty are important things, as being the voice of the people. Now they are told that there must be one Chamber. I wish to point out that this one Chamber arrangement is against the continuance of parliamentary institutions, because by stages it brings about a state of affairs whereby they become untenable. I will give one example and I have no doubt it might apply universally. When they got independence and when Italy became united, the first Parliament, after the death of Cavour, who was a very great man and might be called Italy's civil liberator, Garibaldi being the military leader, the country was governed by a Parliament elected on a very high franchise. Things went on very well in the early days of united Italy, but the inevitable process began of one Party in the political machine trying to go one better than the other. The franchise was lowered and lowered, and the result was that Parliament became dispirited. Finally there was an outburst of Communism, during which many people suffered and there were many deaths. Then they had a dictator who seemed to be far better than the parliamentary institutions. We did not hear our President come out boldly with the admission that dictatorship was a good thing. What the President advocates would lead to dictatorship. I cannot see how it can help doing so.

I referred to the reasons why this Bill was introduced. We remember how it was introduced. It was as a result of this House holding up the Bill known as the Blueshirt Bill. It will have been noticed that although we were terribly abused by the President for having held up that Bill, that a similar Bill for a similar sort of reason was introduced into the House of Commons recently and was practically not listened to. They decided in the House of Commons, for the same kind of reason, that they would not have that Bill, that things would find their own level. That was an indication at all events that we were not acting here entirely for political reasons. We had a certain amount of indirect reason, the same reason that another body elsewhere had for dealing with a similar measure, as the majority here did. On that occasion we were addressed in terms of great violence by the President. He was very angry with this House. He was very different to-day.

I must say that nothing could have been more moderate than the way the President addressed us to-day. But the sequel was that he went away, and neither he nor the great majority of this House have heard any of the arguments. That is rather indicative of the whole thing. Parliamentary argument is only heard when it is an argument with which you agree, when it is the argument of the people who are your own supporters, and the voice of the people is only the voice of the people to the extent that the people are the people who give you their votes. I hope that in this House we shall be undeterred by any consideration other than that of duty, that we shall go on doing our duty to-day and as long as we continue to exist, and that we shall hold up any Bills that we consider should be held up, right to the end. There are circumstances in which one cannot say very much but it is generally in one's power to save one's character. Let us do so while we can, by holding up this Bill.

Had I known before I came to the Seanad to-day that the Standing Orders would have been suspended to allow each and every one of us to read our speeches, I assure you that I would have availed of the opportunity and, with all my intellectual friends around me, burned the midnight oil and produced a speech which I would consider worthy of this occasion. Then I would have handed it to the Press. It would not matter whether I dropped a few lines or not in reading it; it would be published in the usual course. My lady friends would get a copy of it and I should go down in history as being a wonderful orator. Perhaps I would run a chance of having a little blue bird painted on my breast. I am not going to follow either Senator Douglas or Senator Bagwell as to their pedigree in political matters. I leave my pedigree in political matters where it has been all my life. I am not even going to say at this last moment in the Seanad that I am anything better or anything worse than any of my fellow-countrymen or my fellow-Senators. I am not going to follow other speakers in going all over the world, to find what the people do there. I am going to pin my faith on what the people think in the bogs, the mirelands, the mountains and the towns of this country. I am going to take into account, in the few words that I say on this Bill, what will please them and please them alone. I am not frightened in the least, as my old colleague in the Corporation, Senator Mrs. Wyse Power, and many other Senators like Senator Staines have reminded me, by abolition, because we have been abolished already in another body, with the joyful consent of this House. The former Government abolished a body which, in my opinion, was a more important body than the Seanad, and did far more national work for the country than the Seanad. To use an expression for which, perhaps, you, A Chathaoirligh, might haul me over the coals, I would be inclined to say that for abolishing the Dublin Corporation, it serves you damn well right to be abolished now.

There was one part in the speech of Senator Douglas with which I am quite in agreement. That was where he referred to the unhappy statement —I can call it by no other name—that was made about Senator the Earl of Granard and Senator Andrew Jameson. Owing to the position of supreme importance which I once held in this city, and in this country too, I came into very close contact with these two men. I came into very close contact with Senator the Earl of Granard when, I think, he was Chairman of the Food Control Committee of this country. He performed a very good and useful service in conserving the food supplies of this country at a very dangerous and troubled time during the Great War. I do not mind stating, without breaking any confidence, that Senator the Earl of Granard rendered me a very signal service in alleviating the lot of many of the political prisoners who were in English jails at that time. It is only fair, in view of the unhappy attack that has been made on Senator the Earl of Granard, that I should make that statement.

The same remarks apply to Senator Andrew Jameson. I know Senator Jameson all my life. I always looked upon him as a Unionist, but that did not in the least affect my admiration for him. You always knew what Andrew Jameson was going to do. For my part, anything that Senator Jameson said I would believe before I would believe the oaths of many others. In a very troublesome period in this country, Senator Andrew Jameson was one of the men who came forward to help the people. I saw them around the table at the Mansion House, he and other Unionists in this country, and I am sure that the President will admit that they gave great help to him and to Arthur Griffith in bringing about the truce which was eventually established. Knowing these things, I think it is most unhappy that they should be singled out for attack.

To get back to the Bill proper, I am not going to follow all the arguments, even theological arguments, that have been used against it. The main factor, in my opinion as to the utility of a Second Chamber is to be found in the respect which it creates or its effectiveness as far as it is impartial. My friend, Senator Toal, has referred to our funeral. At first sight I admit it is very difficult for the Seanad to look upon this Bill with an impartial eye. There are few people, except perhaps those awaiting canonisation—and I am greatly afraid there are few Senators heading in that direction except, perhaps, Senator Wilson, a real Fingallian—the inspiration has come from Senator Toal—who would like to join in a prayer of thanksgiving at their own wake or look joyful or take a joyful interest in their own funeral.

To get back to mundane things, it might appear vulgar for me to say that any of us in this Seanad would find it difficult to wear a smile at the destruction of our pin money in these hard, perilous, material times. I have a perfectly open mind as to whether the country wants a Second Chamber or not. One of the chief speakers asked: "If the country wants a Second Chamber, why not let it have it?" I say "Amen" to that, but I do not agree, nor I never have agreed with the arguments that have been used by the Opposition in regard to this Bill, that a Second Chamber is wanted to act as a kind of bearing rein on the Dáil. What kind of bearing reins are we going to have on the Seanad?

Then the argument is used in opposition to this Bill, that a Second Chamber will retard hasty and ill-considered legislation. In my opinion such suggestions are a reflection on the Deputies of the Dáil. They are not alone a reflection on Deputies of the Dáil, but they are a gross insult to the intelligence of the people of this country who have sent the members to the Dáil. Who are the members of the Dáil? The direct elected representatives of the people. From the members of the Dáil the Government are selected. The Government are the servants of the people, and if the Government do not do their duty they are accountable to the people, and to the people alone. With all respect, they are not accountable to the Seanad. Who are the Seanad?

Yourself.

And you. Who are the Seanad? Are they the elected representatives of the people?

Some of them are.

Some of them, like my friend. Senator Fanning, but most of them are not. I am being as respectful to the Seanad, every member of it, as I can. In the first instance, years and years ago, was not the Seanad a nominated Assembly?

Only half of them.

How were the others elected?

The other half was elected by the Dáil.

Half the membership was nominated by the Government and half elected by the Dáil. It was a nominated Assembly, not directly elected by the people.

Elected by the people's representatives.

I did not interrupt anyone and I claim your protection, Sir.

Cathaoirleach

You must be allowed to proceed, Senator. If your statements are found to be inaccurate, then other Senators will have the opportunity of dealing with them later.

I might say things that I would not like to say because my friends used to tell me in the years gone by that I had a very bad temper and a bitter tongue. The Seanad in those days was a nominated Assembly. A certain number of Senators were elected for a period of 12 years and others for a shorter period. During those 12 years Senators owed allegiance to nobody. They could do as they wished.

That is absolutely wrong.

They could tell even the Government or the people to go to Purgatory. Later on, speaking under correction, a certain number of Senators were elected by the people. For some unknown reason that practice was discontinued. Later, speaking again under correction, if there was a vacancy in the Seanad the members of this House nominated— they elected—the incoming Senator. Later, again, the provision was made that the Seanad should be elected by its members and the members of the Dáil voting together. Some Senators —this is where the hardship comes in —were elected for a period of nine years. During those nine years you are not really attached to, nor do you give allegiance, to anyone. You could, if you so desired—as many have desired—tell the people and the Government to go to a place where they do not shovel snow.

As I have stated, a Second Chamber to be respected and effective must be impartial. Has the Seanad been impartial? During the time the late Government were in power—a period of ten years—I think I heard you, Sir, say to-day that only one Bill sent to this House from the Dáil was thrown into the wastepaper basket. During the two and a half years that the present Government have been in office four Bills have been, practically speaking, thrown into the wastepaper basket. I would remind the House that one of these Bills in particular had the hallmark of the people's will stamped upon it. Therefore, I think I have to my own satisfaction made my conscience clear that the Seanad has not been impartial as between the two Governments. On that score I consider that the President is fully justified in the action he has taken towards the Seanad as at present constituted.

Frankly, seeing the position that he is in, I do not think he could have taken any other course. Let any man or woman in this House put himself or herself in the President's position. He and his Government have got a mandate from the country to do certain things. By the way, I may say that we hear a great deal now about the will of the people. That mandate, in the form of a Bill, was introduced in the Dáil and passed all its stages there. It came to the Seanad, and the Seanad conscientiously, no doubt, rejected it. Is that not retarding the work of the President and his Government, the work that he was put into power to do? He is in the position that he cannot carry out the mandate that he got from the people, or do the work that the people put him in power to do. The President might as well sit still or resign, and if he did not take the action that he has taken, the great personal regard that I have for him would turn into disrespect for his ability to lead.

A great many speeches have been made in opposition to this Bill. A great many leading articles have been written on it. May I say, Sir, that your excellent statement up to a point to-day, well thought out and nicely delivered, portrayed a picture of great sorrow: the great calamities that may overtake this country if this Bill is passed. There was a great deal of anger created in the Dáil when the Bill was passing through there. The usual stock-in-trade argument was used: "Oh, it means a dictatorship; it means this and it means that." The very same leading articles were written and the same arguments were used when the Oath Bill was going through, the only difference being that you, Sir, did not make any statement on that Bill as you did to-day on this Bill. When the Oath Bill was going through, the same anger was created in the other House and the same things were predicted. The downfall of democracy in this country was predicted, but the Oath Bill was passed. The Oath had gone. There are few tearful eyes after it and it caused few sleepless nights. My dear departing friends, you are here to-day. You are to go out and what happened in connection with the Oath Bill will happen in the case of the Seanad when it goes to its just reward. Popularity! You are a fickle lass. No one knows it better than I do. To-day on the crest of the wave, reverenced and respected; photographers waiting for us to take our photographs, to put our pictures in the papers, but to-morrow when we are gone even the photographers will turn their backs upon us.

But, Sir, it is very significant indeed that after all the tall talk, if I may put it that way, in the Dáil, that everything that was predicted would happen, may I point to one fact as showing—I do not like to say that it is a dishonest interest or a hypocritical interest—the little interest that was taken in this Bill. When the division on the Final Stage was challenged in the Dáil we find that out of 153 Deputies 54 voted for the passage of the Bill and 38 against. I leave it to Senators to count the number of absentees.

How many voted for it?

Fifty-four.

Is that a majority of the Dáil?

Now, do not question me. I am only giving these figures and facts. The Senator can make his own speech and I am sure he will.

And that is the will of the majority.

In spite of all the caterwauling, if I may so put it, that went on in opposition to this Bill in the Dáil what do we find? That 54 voted for it and 38 against and that there were 60 absentees.

The division on it was taken on a Friday afternoon.

Senator Wilson suggests that it was a fast day—a fish day—that was responsible.

Deputies wanted to catch their trains to get to their homes.

Some of the absentee Deputies may have a valid excuse for their absence. I suppose that when they go before their constituents they will render an account of their stewardship as to why they were absent, and that like all good and godly politicians they will have an excuse handy. A week or so ago we had a Bill introduced in this House by Senator Douglas. It was referred to to-day. That Bill proposes to give back to the people a right that was taken from them some years ago. Senator Douglas and Senator Samuel Brown are two men for whom this House has undoubtedly great respect. The two of them, wrapped in a white sheet of repentance, have come here to apologise for their youthful indiscretions; for having taken that right from the people. Good men as they are— it is a good man or a good woman who admits his or her fault—they are now taking steps under that Bill to set right the wrong that they inflicted on the people of this country. It was a very significant thing, as you will remember, Sir, that on the Second Reading of that Bill no division was challenged. When the question was put from the Chair, out of 60 Senators there were 14½ present. Someone has asked me where the half comes in. I am not going to explain, but perhaps I should. The situation was something like that in which Napoleon found himself when he was crossing the Alps. When he was in the middle of the Alps the great Napoleon said:

"I am half way up and I am neither up nor down."

The Senator to whom I have referred was half way in and half way out. But to come back to the serious part of the programme. We, Senators, men and women, own no allegiance to anyone. There is no one to ask us to render an account of our stewardship. We can go off, and take our holidays, and enjoy our sports and tell the people or the Government to go where they like. As I said, a great many speeches have been made in opposition to this Bill; a great many leading articles also have been written. But the speech that struck me most—it was referred to to-day and it had a wonderful effect upon me—was the speech made by a Deputy for whom I have always held the greatest reverence and respect. Anything that Deputy says always gets attention in the public Press. On this occasion, he got a wonderfully good Press. I am referring to the statement made by Professor Thrift in the Dáil on this Bill. That speech of Deputy Thrift was, to my mind, well thought out and well considered. He said if this Bill was passed it would breed revolution in the country.

Now I know Professor Thrift for a great number of years, well over 40 years. I have had many a tussle with him on the field of sport. He was always renowned for his honesty; he was always out to win, as a good sportsman should, but he was never known to say an unkind word or to take an unfair advantage of anyone. The reasons I have enumerated Deputy Thrift's good points are these: That in going through life I have never found a good sportsman to be a good politician, and I have never found a good sportsman to be a good political prophet, although an honourable one. Consequently, much as I appreciate Professor Thrift's good points, I would not like to follow him as a political prophet. But I follow him to this extent, that I take the very opposite view to Professor Thrift, and say that if this Seanad stands in the way, as it has stood in the way, of the carrying out of the people's will; if the President is frustrated, as he has been frustrated in carrying out the people's will, then, in my opinion, you would see revolution, and real revolution, and as I have been through a few revolutions already, I do not want to see another one; and if it was only for that reason alone I am going to vote for this Bill without any qualms whatever.

Listening to my friend Senator O'Neill I was reminded of Goldsmith's river "remote, unfriended, melancholy, slow." Senator MacLoughlin would describe his utterances as that of a lachrymose banshee waiting for the revolution with which we are to be presented as a result of the action of this House. Senator O'Neill says if this Bill is not passed, if the will of the people is frustrated, if Deputy de Valera is to continue to be frustrated by the action of this House, then, rebellion is at hand, and I suppose the first man to man the barricades will be Senator O'Neill himself.

A day or two ago there was made from 2RN, Athlone Broadcasting Station—the announcement that on the Final Stage, in the Dáil, of the Bill for the abolition of the Seanad, President de Valera tore to shreds the arguments of his critics. I wonder if President de Valera is going to tear to shreds the arguments presented here to-day to which he has not condescended to listen. There is one thing I want to say, with all the emphasis that I can command, and it is this: that a more remarkable, unprecedented act of deliberate discourtesy I cannot recall in any responsible Assembly than the way in which the President and the Minister, who is a member of this House, have acted towards this House to-day. I cannot consider, and I cannot believe, that their action was other than deliberate —an attempt to show their contempt for those who they allege stand in their way.

However, let this be remembered: It may yet be a little premature for the President to order the presidential wreath for the obsequies of this House. It may be in accordance with Ministerial etiquette that the Minister for Lands and Forestry deliberately absented himself from this House, the only House that has given him a stand in the political life of this country. There are some of us who have had varying fortunes in the political field. Some of us have faced the electors, and secured the confidence of the electors, at various times; and on other occasions met with rebuffs. I do not know whether the Minister for Lands and Forestry ever faced the electors, but if he did, he never yet secured a vote of confidence from them. He came here to-day first taking notes as if preparing to answer statements made. Then he followed his leader out of the House and appeared no more. I say he and the President by their action have shown a discourtesy deliberate and unwarranted which, I think, this House should mark in the most emphatic manner possible. For that reason, I am drawing emphatic attention to it so that it may get such publicity as my remarks may secure for it. I hope that to-morrow we shall have some responsible Minister here during the debate. I hope the President will be present because it is his Bill. I hope that a discussion in which the continuance or extinction of a fundamental institution set up within the Constitution is challenged and the utility of that institution is questioned—I hope that the conclusion of that discussion, with all its fundamental and far-reaching implications, will not be marred by the entire absence of those responsible for this Bill; I hope they will not remain away as if they had no ability to meet the case put before the House here to-day, and which, I am sure, will be supplemented to-morrow. Senator O'Neill in his rather peculiar kind of advocacy of this Bill seemed to indicate that so far as he was concerned it was a reprisal for the abolition of the Dublin Corporation.

I do not think that is a very statesmanlike point of view. But if he takes a higher standpoint, and views this matter from the point of view that this Seanad serves no useful purpose, then he can do something towards the fulfilment of the abolition of the Seanad, in that he can, first of all, secure the abolition of one-sixtieth part of this Assembly by going out of it.

Oh, no. The vacancy would have to be filled.

But so far as Senator O'Neill is concerned a sixtieth part would be abolished. As it is now 8 o'clock, the hour at which we agreed to adjourn, I move the adjournment of the debate.

Debate adjourned.
The Seanad rose at 8 p.m. until 3 p.m. to-morrow, Thursday.