Constitution (Amendment No. 24) Bill, 1934—Second Stage (Resumed).

Speaking last night, I appear to have been guilty of a certain rhetorical exaggeration in suggesting that every one of the 17 amendments to the Constitution made during the Cosgrave régime was retrogressive and reactionary as compared with the Constitution as originally drafted. It was an exaggeration because it failed to make qualification of the fact that the great majority of these 17 amendments dealt with the internal machinery of this Assembly and had practically nothing at all to do with the public welfare or with the guarantees of freedom. The correction only emphasises the truth of the assertion that, in so far as the amendments dealt with matters pertaining to the public welfare, this House, without very much consideration and without very much opposition, conformed to the lead given by the Executive Council. Probably, the beginning of the more important of those reactionary movements and actions on the part of this House was concerned with the removal from the Constitution of the powers to initiate proposals for new legislation. Senator Brown, in the debate on Senator Douglas's Bill, made reference to the fact that the Constitution was in the nature of a contract with the citizens. If that were so—I think that it might well be argued that it was so —a contract was made with the citizens, who felt that they were guaranteed certain rights and powers by the Constitution to initiate legislation by petition. These guarantees were deliberately and flagrantly broken, with the consent of this House, when these powers were deleted from the Constitution. There was not much opposition from Senator Brown or many of his colleagues on that occasion. One or two did make protest and they are honoured in having done so.

With regard to the Seventeenth Amendment, which has been referred to so often, Senator Blythe seems to misunderstand the gravamen of the offence which was committed by this House in respect to that Bill. The House might, I think, be forgiven, in view of its character, if it passed the Bill after consideration, but the most serious count in the indictment was that this House refused even to take time to consider the serious and important amendment to the Constitution which was comprised in that Bill. The House refused deliberately to take time to consider the proposal and, therefore, removed all possibility of having the matter dealt with as a deliberative Assembly, careful for the well-being and freedom of the people, should deal with it. There is no justification whatever for this House claiming the support of the historian or even of serious critics of this generation when it gave away completely its powers of criticism on that most important and vital amendment.

The conduct of this debate also shows that the House is determined to be more rigorous and resolute in its opposition to any forward movements —political, social or economic—in this State. We have been told that the House has been too moderate. We have been told that the House has been negligent of its duties because it has been so regardful of the interests of the Government and of the pleas made by the Government. These things are put forward as showing how generous the House has been with regard to certain matters to which it had reason to object. They are put forward, as I understand, with the implication that henceforward this House is going to be the rigorous opponent of every measure which seems to trespass upon the interests or prejudices of the Party in opposition and its detached supporters. Because that war has been declared we have to range ourselves on one side or the other, and I range myself on the side of those who say that this House has to be abolished. Having said that, I adhere to the proposition that for the consideration of legislation it is desirable to ensure that there should be examination and criticism of proposals emanating from a Government. I think that such criticism does not appertain to the present Dáil. I think that with the Dáil as at present constituted and under the procedure that has come to be normal, ordinary legislative proposals are not considered on their merits. Supporters of the Government do not take any opportunities, at least they very seldom take opportunities, of offering any criticism or suggestions or make any examination of the legislative proposals that come before them. The opponents of the Government are, in the main, determined to do their best to wreck Bills by way of amendment even after the Second Readings have been adopted. The Dáil does not seriously warrant the appellation of a critical Chamber in regard to proposals coming from the Government, and because of that fact I believe it is desirable that there should be some institution established which would ensure that the members of the Dáil would only pass legislation with their eyes open, and not merely at the suggestion of a Government.

I hope that the Ministry will decide to examine suggestions for some kind of check: a means for detached criticism, of warning, and of making proposals or recommendations for amendment. I think that such an institution ought not to have any powers of veto at all. I think it ought to accept measures that come from the Dáil as fixed so far as principles are concerned, and that it ought to have no right whatever of veto or of postponement or delay beyond the time necessary for ordinary criticism. I, nevertheless, feel that, so long as the Dáil conducts its affairs as it does at present, it is necessary that it should have advice, warning and criticism of legislative measures from a body that is somewhat detached from the Party controversies that are at present conducted in the Dáil. I believe that some such reform is possible within the elected Chamber directly. I believe that by some method of committees: the attachment to a Ministry or to a Department of certain groups of members with a different function than that of mere support of formal motions made by a Minister—I believe that if you had such committees of the representative Chamber it might obviate the necessity for a Second House at all. But while the First Chamber is built as ours is built, I think it is desirable that there should be some means of criticism and, as I say, of warning of possible consequences, so that the House, and even the supporters of the Government, should not be led into passing legislation with their eyes closed.

But those are matters that are more appropriate to a discussion of the legislative institutions of a settled Constitution, and I am pretty confident that as things are it is senseless to talk about a constitutional position. We have been even told in this House, and we know what has happened in the last few months, that whatever may have been thought of the constitutional protection and the fundamental nature of the Constitution, that it is very doubtful whether it has any fundamental characteristics at all. We know that a fight against the present Government and its activities is being waged and is going to be waged in the future on all fronts: legal, political, economic and otherwise, and that being the case I conceive it to be my duty to support the Second Reading of this Bill.

I was not present this morning for the whole of Senator Johnson's speech, but I gather from the position he took up last evening that he considers we have no Constitution: that we are still in a revolutionary period, and that it is futile to think that the Constitution we have has any sanction whatsoever. Following up that, the Senator now seems to think that there ought to be a Second Chamber or, at least, some means for examining legislation passed by the Dáil. With regard to this question of the revolutionary period, everybody knows that in 1922 when the pact election took place the great majority of the people of this country decided to accept the Treaty. I was a candidate myself at the time on behalf of the Farmers' Party, and the first question I was asked by practically every elector was: "Do you stand for the Treaty?" There is no use, therefore, in Senator Johnson describing the decision then arrived at as one which was not effective. The elected representatives of the people at that time by a great majority—I think there were only 38 abstentionists —decided to accept the Treaty and all its imperfections, if one so cares to describe it. The Constituent Assembly —its life was limited to a period of 12 months—was then set up, and it considered and passed the Constitution. A second election took place, and the people decided again, by a very decisive majority, to carry on with this Constitution. I cannot understand why now, 12 years after, we are going to be told that we are still in a state of flux, and that revolution is still in existence. The propaganda which has been used against the Seanad has been shown by you, Sir, to have been baseless—calumny. I want to point to propaganda caused by imaginary fears in the mind of the Executive Council as to their programme not being successful. Why? "The Seanad is in the way.""We must use the Public Safety Act." Why? The President's reply was:

"The Seanad as constituted would not give us power to make laws to govern the country."

That statement was made here on March 22nd.

"We could not get the Seanad to give us ordinary powers to maintain order."

That was the excuse for putting the Public Safety Act into operation, after having, during the passage of that Bill in the other House, described it as "one of the greatest coercion Acts ever passed." The excuse for using that Act was that the Seanad would not give them the powers they wanted. The Seanad was never asked to do so. He would not trust his own countrymen. He had an imaginary estimation of Senators. That breaks out in all the Ministers. We all know that Labour support is necessary for the Government to carry on. We had the Railway Bill before this House. Labour has always, as far as I remember, been in favour of the nationalisation of railways.

When the Minister for Industry and Commerce was asked during the progress of that Bill why he did not nationalise the railways, what was his reply? He apologised for not bringing in a Bill to nationalise the railways and said he was prevented from doing so by the belief that the Seanad would reject it. The Minister never asked the Seanad to deal with that question. That is the kind of stumbling block they have raised up to keep them, as they say, from carrying out the will of the people. A small second-class Bill was passed here, the Control of Exports Bill, dealing with sheepskins. An amendment was proposed by Senator Counihan dealing with the revocation of an order when the price of sheepskins fell. It was not an important amendment, but it was carried and the Minister agreed that it did not make any difference. But when he went back to the Dáil, what did he say?

"I had to accept this amendment because if I did not accept it the Bill would be held up for 18 months."

The Bill would not be held up for 18 months. The amendment would have come back from the Dáil and the Seanad would have acquiesced. These are only one or two instances of the propaganda that has been used against the Seanad, that it is an imaginary stumbling block to progress. That is not a fact. But that is used against the Seanad amongst the people as showing the necessity for the dissolution of this House.

I will not go into the question of bicameral or unicameral legislation. We know the views of the President on that question. He has told us that he has examined all the authorities and that, in his opinion, there is no way of getting a Second House which would be acceptable to him. I contend that it is not the President's duty to decide that matter. This particular type of Legislative Assembly was evolved by a committee which was set up, and which consisted of the best citizens that could be got for the work. Without any pressure from anyone these experts decided that it was in the interests of the country to have a bicameral system of government. It is not in the province of the President to decide that matter. It had already been decided by people much more competent than even a man like the President. There were legal experts, business men and politicians on that committee, and they spent a considerable time, as far as I remember, examining the constitutions of the world, and decided upon the bicameral system, which is in existence by virtue of the Constitution. There is no doubt that there has been a change in the minds of the people since the Treaty. Senator Sir John Keane, when speaking last night, referred to the play portraying Cæsar's death, and showed that while the populace agreed with Brutus, they subsequently agreed with Mark Antony. Of course, that was quite correct, but in ordinary circumstances changes did not take place so quickly.

There was no doubt but that at the time of the Treaty the people were in favour of it. Since then there has been a gradual going away from that position. Every election has shown that there is something wanting in this country, which is more or less being carried out by the policy of Fianna Fáil. I have no doubt about that whatever, because the results of the elections show it. But that particular ideal, whatever it is—I think it is separation—is always confounded with other matters. The flamboyant promises made by the Fianna Fáil Party had something to do with that change in the electorate. Nevertheless, I have come to the conclusion that there is a body, a mass body of people in this country, who are not satisfied with the Treaty position, and who will decide eventually, if they have a way of deciding, on separation from Great Britain. I am indifferent one way or another, but I would like the matter to be decided. I say that Fianna Fáil is riding for a fall in connection with this matter, because by their mismanagement of the affairs of the country, they have left an unhealed sore that is gathering every day. That is the position, especially with regard to our markets. It is going to have repercussions. I have no doubt that Fianna Fáil will be placed in a minority in consequence of the economic position, not on the merits of their case as against the Treaty position, but really on the effects of the economic pressure by their mishandling of our business in the world's markets. I am in favour of the adherence of this country as a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. I cannot see what advantage an isolated republic would be in this country and, while I know that the mass of the proletariat are in favour of it, yet there is a certain volume—a very strong volume—of opinion the other way. It is doubtful, if the question was put properly before the people, and the repercussions explained, if this country would free itself from the Commonwealth of Nations, even from motives of expediency and the benefits to be derived from that connection.

I did not intend to say anything on this matter, but some of my friends said that we should all let our views be heard. There has been ample proof of the necessity for the existence of the Seanad. The mandate derived, or which is alleged to have been derived, was not secured on fair grounds. The mandate was secured by misrepresentation, by imaginary bogeys in the mind of the people and in the mind of the Government. We know from the speech of Senator Blythe that these existed in the Cumann na nGaedheal Government as well. When the Senator was speaking last night he said that when they were considering legislation that had to pass through the two Houses, they always adverted to the line the Seanad would take in connection with their proposals. I think it is a very good thing that there should be some body of people, whose aspect of a case should weigh with those preparing legislation, and that, instead of being a bogey in the path of progress, it would be a great institution by which legislation would be considered from every aspect, by a body elected as that House was elected, representative of nearly every aspect of the country's life. Manufacture, trade, commerce, medicine, law, farming, cattle-dealing, horse production, creamery production—every aspect of the life of the nation is represented in this House. The various Senators may not be the best representatives of their class, but nevertheless they are here. That particular type of House, having to be considered when legislation is being initiated, is a considerable factor and a necessary factor in seeing that the laws that are passed are in accordance with what is considered just and right to meet each particular calling.

There is very little more for me to say. I believe that President de Valera has failed, or will fail, from his want of faith in his own countrymen. If you disagree with him, it would appear that you are anathema in his eyes, but there are many men, particularly in the Seanad, who are always open to an exchange of views even if they are opposed to him in political outlook, men who would give sound and solid advice, who would not be an obstacle in the path of progress and who would, by their knowledge and experience, be willing to help him towards that ultimate success which he considers essential in the development of this country. I, therefore, say that his lack of success, his failure, is due to that want of faith in his own countrymen. With these words, I hope that the Bill will be rejected.

This Bill has been very thoroughly debated, and considering the nature and the importance of the Bill, I am glad to say it was discussed very moderately. I do not intend to speak on the constitutional issue raised by this Bill, but I thought that I would like to say a few words before the debate concludes in defence of the Seanad, as I have been a member of this House of the Oireachtas since its inception and have personal experience of both methods of election that have been hitherto tried, in which I am glad to say I have been always successful. I have been proud of my membership of it, but to indulge in any special pleading for the retention of the Seanad would be beneath my dignity as a Senator and beneath the dignity of the House. The President has decided that the Seanad must go. He has decided that it must be abolished. He has spoken and there is nothing more to be said. I believe with Senator Col. Moore that we have allowed the Seanad to be slandered and have taken it lying down. We have been accused of being an undemocratic body whose aim is to thwart the elected representatives of the people. It has been alleged that the Seanad is ruled by Freemasons. That is the type of lying propaganda that has been carried on for many years against this House. The President must know full well that there is no truth in these allegations, but men belonging to his Party, even men who hold high office, stooped so low as to make them. One word from the President would have silenced these calumniators for ever, but that word has never been spoken.

The majority of the members of the first Seanad had no ambition for the position. For many of us in those years it was a position of some personal danger due to causes which are well known. We accepted the honour on the invitation of President Cosgrave as was pointed out yesterday by Senator Bagwell. We had no 1916 or no 1922 record. We were selected because we were prominent in some industry, in some trade, or in some special calling. Looking back now on those early days in this House I am proud to have been associated with the members of the first House and that my name is inscribed on the vellum in that casket on your table. We accepted the position from a sense of responsibility and of our personal duty to our country. We had no real love for, and did not require, the remuneration granted subsequently to Senators and so we did not deserve the sneers of Senator O'Neill when he stated that we were more concerned at the loss of our pin money than the loss of our positions.

With all due respect I never said anything of the kind.


Very well. I suppose Senator Counihan will take the Senator's word.

I withdraw my remarks and I am sorry if I misrepresented the Senator but he made some reference to pin money.

For cattlemen.

There is no doubt about it that the consideration of the £360 a year does not weigh with any man in this Seanad so talk of that kind should have an end put to it anyway.

There was no question of material gain and we had something to lose. The homes of many of us were burned, some of us were kidnapped and we were all liable to be shot at sight. All this was done by the Party of which the President was then leader but neither burnings, shootings, nor intimidation compelled a single Senator to shirk his duty or resign his post. That is the greatest crime we have committed in the eyes of the President and I believe it is for that crime we are discussing this Bill for the abolition of the Seanad to-day.

Senator Dowdall does not agree with Single Chamber government but he will vote for this Bill and trust to the President to put something in its place. I am sorry many of us who have experience of the Government's legislation cannot have the same confidence in the President, for the legislation that has been passed since the President took office has been most detrimental and ruinous to the country. I do not want on this Bill to enter into a discussion of the economic war, otherwise I could recount for the House some harrowing tales of the suffering inflicted on the agricultural community of this country. I do not consider it an opportune time to enter on such a discussion. I shall conclude by appealing to the House to back up the suggestion which you, a Chathaoirligh, made in your speech, that you would resist the abolition of the Seanad. I say that the House ought to try by every legal and constitutional means in its power to resist the abolition of the Seanad. By doing so Senators will be doing a good service to the country.

So many things I had intended to say have been already said, and so many questions I should have liked to have asked the Opposition have been already asked, that I can be very brief. I should like to refer to one criticism of the President made by Senator Westropp Bennett, in regard to some quotations that the President of the Executive Council had made. He referred to the lives of the people whom the President was quoting, apart altogether from the question of what they had said about parliamentary institutions. If Debussy or Ravel were to write a composition on counterpoint or orchestration, and were to quote Liszt, would it be a fair criticism to say that Liszt was an unfrocked priest and the father of children? Of course not. If I were to write a treatise on some abstract question such as the nothingness of nothing, and were to quote Senator Milroy, would it be wise for my friends to say why quote that man who is an anti-republican and a master politician?

Senator Westropp Bennett told us of the type of men, unfrocked priests, by whom the Church had been sold to the State. He did not quote them in anything they said or did in their other lives. I consider that merely unfair criticism. But I know why he did it. It has always been the policy of the Opposition—since Senator Westropp Bennett welded the various parts of it into what is known now as the United Ireland Party from their familiars and brought about the reincarnation and metamorphosis of the Army Comrades' Association as one Party—it has been their policy to try, in some way, to associate Fianna Fáil with Communism. That was the reason, and I consider it was grossly unfair. Another thing that interested me about this whole discussion is that there has been no mention at all of the Corporate State. I understood the policy of the Opposition was the Corporate State. Nobody told us anything about that. I understood there is no such thing as a Seanad in the Corporate State. Certainly no single example was given of such a body in the Corporate State. Perhaps some Senator who has not yet spoken will tell us something about it. It seems to me at the moment that there is a competition between Fianna Fáil and the people who support the Corporate State as to which should have the honour and glory of abolishing such a force. It would be very curious if, by some miracle, the Seanad is not abolished, and that the United Ireland Party should return and establish their Corporate State, and that we should have the agony of hearing Fianna Fáil speakers quoting the speeches which the Opposition have been making here to-day, when they proceeded to abolish the Seanad in the Corporate State. One other thing. An attack was made on the ascendancy gang in this House. I should like to dissociate myself from that, not that I think they do not deserve it—I think they do—but no similar attack was made on what I may call the descendancy gang. The descendancy gang saw the light and rejected it, but the ascendancy gang remained in invincible ignorance.

Senator David Robinson has referred to the changes in the Opposition Party, but we have accomplished nothing like the metamorphosis that Fianna Fáil has when they converted two Englishmen of different types into Republicans and placed them in this Seanad to uphold the nation. Everyone on the Opposition side of the House can claim to be purebred Irishmen and women. I cannot agree with Senator Wilson when he says that the views of the people of the country about the Treaty position have changed. I believe there has been no change, certainly not amongst the people who accepted the Treaty. Of course many of those people have since passed away, and younger people have been influenced early in their career by the unscrupulous gangs of propagandists that have disturbed the country.

I believe, at the present moment, the vast majority of the people of Ireland prefer the country to remain an independent member of the Commonwealth of Nations, because the Treaty made Ireland an independent country, no matter what anybody says. The vilest and falsest propaganda have been disseminated in speeches about foreign connection and domination, and all the humbug by which many young people have been carried away. But that is no longer true. The young people are no longer carried away, and thereby hangs a tale in connection with this Bill. I believe this Bill is Mr. de Valera's last card to keep himself on top, and to establish himself as a dictator in this country by every unscrupulous and dishonest means he can devise. His political and economic policies have been a total failure, but the people are the same people still. Certain classes have become demoralised through vicious propaganda, but there still remains the majority of patriotic and reasonable people in this country. The Government in power to-day dare not go to the country, knowing that they would suffer certain defeat. That is the reason why this Bill was introduced. It is an attempt to keep Mr. de Valera on top. As I have said, he got to the position in which he is by every dishonest and unscrupulous means, even by the means which he himself said he would adopt—wading through the blood of his countrymen. That is how he got where he is. Various attempts have been made by Fianna Fáil to stifle constitutional methods. They have failed, largely due to the fact that the majority of the people in the country, honest-minded people, refused to join Mr. de Valera in stifling a perfectly constitutional opposition. When it was found that these methods were failing to keep him where he is, this Bill, for the abolition of the Seanad, was introduced. All the eloquence, all the reasoned arguments, we heard here in the last three days have been wasted upon Mr. de Valera and those who stand by him. All his arguments for the abolition of this House have been torn into shreds by various members of the Opposition in reasoned speeches, showing that they have settled constitutional law here and in other countries and that there is no reason whatever why this House should be abolished and that there is every danger to the country in its abolition—terrible dangers. That is what struck me when I heard and admired the very fine speeches we have heard by able and honourable men—that their eloquence was wasted. They had, of course, to put our case and the case of the country in the strongest words they were capable of using, but so far as having any effect on the Government—in that sense they were wasted. They were not wasted with regard to the people of the country. Their words will reach them and will teach them what they have already begun to know, that this Seanad is a very valuable asset to them and is, in fact, the only thing standing between them and destruction at this moment.

I feel terribly humiliated for the honour of the country when I hear people like Senator Quirke speaking here, although every time he and his type speak they give us a political advantage. I do not want a political advantage where the honour of the country is being trampled underfoot. Senator Quirke represents a very numerous following of Fianna Fáil in this country and I think it is deplorable that a man of his type should be in a House like this at all. It certainly is not to the honour of Fianna Fáil and certainly is not to the honour of the country. I dislike very much being personal, but, unfortunately, we have to be sometimes. We have to strike out.

That is the position now. It has been proved beyond all possible shadow of doubt to everybody in this country that this Seanad is not only a useful institution in the country, but that it is an absolutely necessary one now if the liberties and the lives of the people of this country are to be preserved. All the talk we have had about freedom means nothing. It means the very negation of freedom, and I am absolutely convinced that if this Bill passes we shall never see another general election in this country, because a general election is not wanted now by Fianna Fáil. They know it would go against them, and if this Bill passes a majority in the Dáil can postpone the life of that Dáil to ten, twenty or fifty years so long as the thing can last; but it will not last. It is all impossible. It is coming to an end already. There is in the country the greatest organisation, the most patriotic and the most vigorous that this country has ever seen. That organisation will settle the matter with or without Mr. de Valera's opinions or methods. That will settle the matter, as Senator Blythe said here last night, but there may be some trouble about settling it—more trouble to Mr. de Valera than if he had not in a fit of anger brought in this Bill to abolish this House. That is my summing up of the matter and I believe it is true.

Senator Miss Browne has made various references and I do not propose to deal with them, but towards the latter end of her speech she indicated clearly what is in the minds of herself and her colleagues in a movement that is in the country. I think that when her remarks are read all the arguments that have been used about threatened dictatorship will be appreciated and understood. I have always tried to avoid dealing with Senator Miss Browne's contributions to the debates here. In the first place, they have been lacking in argument. They have been lacking in anything like ordered restraint and, mainly, one feels that one's sense of chivalry would be strained to the uttermost if one got into controversy with Senator Miss Browne at all.

Senator Wilson made a contribution to the debate which interested me very much. Senator Wilson, like a number of other Senators, is always frank and honest in his expression of views and, however one may disagree with some Senators, one can at least appreciate the fact that they are saying what is in their minds. They are putting their cards on the table, and however right or wrong they may be in that viewpoint, it is at least easy for reasonable people to understand their point of view. Senator Wilson, however, did refer to the Treaty. He referred to what was known as the Pact Election. Now, I do not propose to precipitate any controversy or debate on a phase in Irish history which has many regrettable features for everybody concerned, but I would point out to Senator Wilson and would ask him to consider seriously—as I consider anything Senator Wilson says seriously—the conditions under which this imposition of a Treaty was put across; to remember what was implied in the acceptance or non-acceptance of that Treaty; to remember the dicta that accompanied the Treaty, and that not only was it accompanied by the threat of immediate and terrible war but—and what is more important for the people of this country and for the future of the country—was accepted very definitely, by those who accepted it, as a stepping-stone towards the complete realisation of national freedom and independence and the republic. It was on that basis, and on that basis alone, I think, or on these three bases, that the people of the country accepted the Treaty. Judging, however, by the opposition that has grown up now, one would imagine that Parnell's theories with regard to no man setting the bounds to the march of the nation were to be set aside. The steps we have taken as a Government are quite in line even with the principles that were laid down at the time the Treaty was accepted, and we do not propose to stop on our way any longer than is necessary. I am speaking quite frankly and bluntly about the matter. We have to be conscious of what can be done, of how rapidly we can go, and with consideration of that, and with consideration of that only, is our march to complete independence and the complete republic going to be held up?

Senator Wilson has referred to the fact, or what he believes to be the fact, that the President shows a want of faith in his own countrymen. On the contrary, the President's great success as a statesman in this country is due to the very reverse of that. The President has succeeded and will succeed because of his faith in the ordinary people of this country; and, above all, he will succeed and is going to succeed because of their absolute and complete faith in him. That is an evident fact, that is a national fact and that is a thing that has to be realised, and is not realised in this House, and which I think has been the source of most of our troubles.

I do not propose to go into the arguments that have been put up on this question of the abolition of the Seanad. The President is in charge of that Bill and the President will, I expect and hope, be here to deal with the main issues which were raised. The question of a Second Chamber and the question of a revisionary body is one that has given me much thought. I may as well state quite frankly that I believe in a revisionary body. I believe that it is valuable. I see the difficulties that were indicated here very clearly last night by Senator Blythe. Senator Blythe has experience of government. He knows what goes on in the minds of Ministers and in the mind of the Executive Council when they are faced with the problems which have to be dealt with by legislation. Consciously and subconsciously certain things operate in men's minds, faced with that position. I think Senator Blythe, although he used the argument very much on his own basis naturally, and for his own ends naturally, clearly indicated those conscious and subconscious elements that have to operate in the Ministers' minds when Ministers are contemplating legislation. And if that were the case with a Government which had, undoubtedly, loyal and complete and whole-hearted support in this House what must it be in the case of a Government that has not? This House was the creation of the late Government. Thirty members of this House were nominated by the Executive Council and until 1928 there was only a small active Labour group in this House. Such a thing as real opposition to the Government did not then exist.

I say that we can judge the considerations that have to operate when we realise Senator Blythe's explanation of what they had to face with a House of their own creation. I will deal with other aspects of Senator Blythe's statement about these things later on, but I should like now to point out that in all legislation the presence of the Seanad, and especially the presence of a Seanad bitterly opposed to the present Executive, had weight and did play its own part in influencing the trend and the tendency of legislation that had to be introduced here. Ministers faced with a situation like that and faced with many acute problems have always got to ask themselves: "Can we get it through the Seanad?" It is all very well to see an analysis of the amendments that were raised in the Seanad. Many of these amendments were accepted not because they were looked upon as improvements, not because the Departments concerned wished them or looked for them, but because it was felt that if they were not accepted legislative measures of importance to the country were going to be held up indefinitely, if not permanently injured. Many of our measures had amendments accepted which injured them very seriously from the point of view of legislation in this country.

Senator Milroy referred to the absence of the President and myself from the debates. I do not think that, in all the circumstances, there is much to apologise for. I certainly would not like it to be thought that I was treating either Senator Milroy or the House with any contempt. I did not treat Senator Milroy with contempt. It is true that on several occasions I have expressed myself, perhaps, rather strongly about Senator Milroy. When interrupted and perhaps when abused by Senator Milroy, I have felt it necessary, perhaps, to say something rather sharply. But contempt for Senator Milroy does not exist in my mind. It is rather a feeling of—I am afraid to use the word—pity; but that is really all that expresses it. Senator Milroy was associated with me under many trying conditions. I knew his work prior to 1916 and for many years after 1916 and, no matter what happens, no matter how things go, there is at least one person who will try to preserve memories of that period to Senator Milroy's credit.

The Senator referred me to the fact that he had tasted the sweets of victory in elections and that he had also tasted defeat, and he wondered if I had faced an electorate and what my experience was. In 1918 and 1920 I had not the privilege afforded Senator Milroy in the prospect of membership of the Dáil in having a safe and secure constituency. I had to fight. I was told to fight a seat in Mid-Antrim where there were, I think, 3,000 Nationalist votes of one kind and another which I received in a vote of 11,000. What the future holds nobody knows. I can assure him that I have no particular ambition for a seat in this House or in any other House. The more I see of this House the more I will be glad to be quit of it.

Senator Brown made an interesting contribution to the debate. I can only say, in stressing the usefulness of this House, and its importance in checking up on legislation, that I could not help reflecting on the admission that Senator Brown made within the last couple of weeks, as to what happened when one of the most important Constitutional Bills that was ever before this House— the Bill dealing with the Referendum— was before it. Senator Brown said he was rather ashamed. He admitted that that Bill had not got the necessary attention given to it by the members of the Seanad. I do not know, but I think the case can be argued that during the period of the Cumann na nGaedheal administration the Seanad was agreeable to play a supine part, and that since the entry of the Fianna Fáil Government into power the Seanad has been anything but that.

You, a Chathaoirligh, referred to the various amendments that the Seanad had made and that had been accepted. I have already explained how it comes that a Minister may be forced to accept amendments because of what would happen if he did not. But you, Sir, omitted to stress matters of supreme importance, matters that involved the whole historical background and the whole future of this country. These were matters which the country as a whole felt had a very definite national interest. It was on these matters that we were thwarted and held up. I do not want to indulge in recriminations, but the measures held up are on historical record. It will be a matter of historical and national significance that these were deliberate obstructions to what was the will of the people. We have been twitted about the will of the people. We are told now that if we went to the country we would not be returned. I do not believe that. I have been around the country a great deal and I am satisfied that the national opinion in this country and the national outlook in this country is more consolidated behind the present Government than it ever was since 1918.

We dispute that.

Miss Browne may dispute that. That is a matter, however, that nothing can decide but an election. We were challenged on the Oath Bill. We were challenged on the annuities, and it was on that issue that an election was fought 12 months after we had been returned to office. I do not want to say the obvious thing: "Do you want an election every month?" I leave it at that.

Senator Blythe I have already referred to and I have indicated the portions of his speech which deal with the specific difficulties with which the Government is faced when it is putting through legislation in the face of a Second Chamber. I want, however, to call attention to his charge of provocation, when he charged that the present Administration and the present Party in power deliberately provoked trouble throughout the country. Senator Blythe knows, as no other man in this House knows, that that, on its face, is not accurate. It is not true. He knows, from his experience as a member of the Executive Council, that no Government deliberately provokes trouble, that no Government wants trouble and that the one thing essential for a Government is to have peace, order and orderly meetings all through the country. The present Executive's chief anxiety, its main obstacle in getting on with its work has been the trouble and the friction that have taken place throughout the country. We have resolutely set our faces against that, and it has cost the State a very considerable amount of money to afford protection to these people. The utter absurdity of charging the Government in power with the deliberate creation of trouble, with the provocation of trouble, is so obvious that it hardly needs explanation and, as I say, Senator Blythe must know that better than anyone in this House.

We will turn for a moment to what Senator Blythe does think and what he is urging, I am satisfied, throughout his Party. This is Senator Blythe's opinion, not on the Seanad, but on the Dáil; in other words, on all forms, or any form of democratic government, and it was spoken at a meeting held on Sunday, 27th May, that is, last Sunday. Surely if there was ever a provocative meeting the precipitation of that meeting in that area under the circumstances had provocation stamped all over it. Senator Blythe said:—

"The Dáil was not suitable for modern government. That type of parliament was perfectly all right when governments did practically nothing but maintain an army, police force, courts and jails. The tasks of government were now much more numerous and complicated. This miscellaneous assembly is not a suitable assembly for discussing the business of the nation. We propose to set up substitute continuous control for what has been called kangaroo democracy and, in addition, it will have assemblies that are really expert and able to discuss with full knowledge the various problems that will come before them by a system of corporations and national councils."

How is that for democracy? How is that for the argument that this is the last bulwark of democracy in the country? That is the mentality of the chief mind, or one of the chief minds, behind the whole Blueshirt movement and we are told that we are clearing the way for a dictatorship. No; we want freedom in the Dáil and the only reason for attempting to deal with this House is because the absence of that freedom made it easy for people like Senator Blythe to go on with their activities, to thwart the Government in power and to stop them taking the necessary action for the preservation of peace and leaving the way completely clear for a military coup d'état and a dictatorship on the Fascist model. I do not think that is an unreasonable argument to make. I think that all the evidences we have seen over the last 12 months and longer indicate clearly what is in mind. “The Fine Gael programme would cut out the present control of kangaroo democracy and substitute continuous control.” If there is anything implied in continuous control, it is dictatorship of an individual or a military junta. It is only by a military junta you are going to be able to maintain continuous control. It is wrong in principle; it is against all the tradition of democracy to contemplate such a thing as continuous control. Under continuous control, the outlook of the people is not going to count—and it is argued seriously that we are seeking a dictatorship!

Senator Sir John Keane made a typically honest contribution to the debate. Senator Sir John Keane knows exactly what he wants; he is quite clear about it and he makes no bones about it. He does not pretend to be as good a Republican as any man in the country nor to be as great a Christian as anybody else, like some of our Senators. He states frankly what he believes in and, as I say, you know where you are. That is refreshing in these days, but it is almost impossible to conceive, in the year 1934, with all that has happened since 1914, how a man of Senator Sir John Keane's intelligence really can live in the mid-Victorian vogue in which his mind is set and I say that with all appreciation of and all sympathy with the condition of his mind. There are things in Senator Sir John Keane's speech which invariably emerge and which indicate the superiority complex he has got. I think the worst type of inferiority complex is a superiority complex, paradoxical as it may seem, because it shows a lack of appreciation and a lack of understanding. Senator Sir John Keane states that we lack in a singular degree commonsense and stability. I do not know whether that is so or not; I think it is hardly accurate. I think the country, taking it all round, tends to conservatism and I think it is the last country in the world where very violent revolutionary outlooks will have any fertile ground. I leave aside the national issue; I leave aside the long drawn out fight between this country and the imperial idea; I leave aside the national fight specifically between this country and England. That is deeply engrained in our people and they will always respond to it in one form or another, but then we get this from Senator Sir John Keane:

"In the days before Parnell and the land agitation they (that is the landlords) were held in much respect by the people. The estate office and rent day did not arouse feelings of hostility,"

I guess that will be news to most of us.

"rather the reverse. The tenant regarded his landlord as a friend and sought his advice about his domestic affairs and disputes with his neighbours."

That may have happened in a few cases, but to say that the unfortunate tenantry or, as Senator Sir John Keane would, no doubt, describe them, the unfortunate peasantry, sought the comfort, spiritual direction and material help of the majority, or anything like the majority, of the landlords is, I say, going in face of all the facts of the history that we know. I like this though:

"It was the last tangible remnant of the old feudal spirit."

I think this is perfectly charming from Senator Sir John Keane. I think it belongs to an atmosphere that we would all like to develop:

"The owners, for their part, were in those days well endowed and many of them lived in state, gave much employment, admittedly at low rates, but none the less these landed homes formed centres of civilisation in a drab peasant land."

Can you beat it? There is a patriarchal spirit behind that—the delightful old feudal days when the squire may have brought to his dinner table the squireen, and later, on, perhaps, in less prosperous times, the jackeen, and so went down the whole social scale in this patriarchal spirit. No doubt, he read Browning and all the classics and beamed on these peasantry.

Browning was not born.

He was in your time. There is another phase to Senator Sir John Keane that I should like to correct, because I do not think he is too old yet to see the light. He has to realise that the people of this country have gone past the feudalism of those who have been here for many hundreds of years. We have to take history as it is. We have to realise that the people of this country, like the people in every other country, have grown up and have been taught to think and read. It may have been a serious drawback in education in this country but, at all events, it is there. Senator Sir John Keane may feel that it is not the right type of education, or that it is not of any quality. He goes on to say:

"In fact, I suggest that there is no country where political bribery is easier than it is here."

I suggest that that is a very serious statement, not only for us in the present Government but for the Government in the past. I suggest that it is unfair. He talks of this country as if it were a hot-bed of bribery when he says that there is no country where political bribery is easier. We were in opposition to the last Government, and in violent opposition to them, and they are in violent opposition to us. I do not think, however, that anyone can say of either of the Parties that there was ever any suggestion of bribery.

Might I explain? I did not say that bribery had been practised. I said that anybody who wants to bribe could do so, in my opinion, very easily. That is all I meant.

I think that is stating a hypothetical case which is not justified until there is evidence of its existence. Senator Sir John Keane, of course, feels that in the British House of Commons you get reasoned debate and freedom from political bribery. I wonder do you? It is not my business in this House to mention various things that came under my observation during the war. I could refer Senator Sir John Keane to many merchants in the North and many activities that were carried on during the war which, I think, would disillusion him very quickly. Perhaps Senator Sir John Keane, in his various activities and experimental work in the accountancy field of war administration, came across some of it himself. I do not know. I do suggest that no charge of political bribery, in the sense conveyed by Senator Sir John Keane, can be justified either against this Government or the last. I think there is a moral consciousness in this country that is not equalled anywhere. I have seen political bribery at its worst in other countries. I know it exists in many countries, because I have had it brought to my attention in various forms. One thing that we can thank God for is that we have been singularly free from it. But, again, it is part of something that Senator Sir John Keane cannot get over. It is the attitude of Bourbon to bourgeois. He feels, as I say, that a period which has definitely gone, not only here but everywhere else, is not going to be restored. I would suggest that, with his honest mind, he should apply himself to accepting what is inevitable. We had the same mentality exhibited by Senator Bagwell, who said:—

"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 most ignorant."

I leave it to the consideration of the House.

There have been various other contributions to this debate and, perhaps, the one that surprised me most and, I think, must have surprised many members of the House was the speech made by the Cathaoirleach at the beginning of the debate. I deliberately left this speech to the last and, in all the circumstances, I feel that it will probably be one of the most difficult things that I have ever had to do in this House to deal with that particular speech. The Cathaoirleach has presided over this House since we came into it. He was elected to the Chair by a substantial majority in December, 1928. Our votes were not necessary, I presume, for his election, but they were given to him. Our support was also given to him in 1931. I may say that until Wednesday I had been the constant defender of the Cathaoirleach. In all phases of his work here I had found him considerate and polite; not always accurate in his directions, but essentially well-meaning and well-disposed to every Party in the House. Certain members of this House, who are more spiritually akin to him than I am, have often sneered in the Lobbies and in the ante-room at his methods, his fogginess and the rest. I have defended the Cathaoirleach, and honestly defended him, because I really felt and always believed that he was not only honest but well-meaning; that he did try to discharge his duties impartially from the Chair. I think, when I reflect on some of the criticisms amounting to contempt, that I have heard in these Lobbies as regards his competence in the Chair——

Will the Senator give instances and the names of those who made these observations? I think it is most contemptible to talk like that.


The Senator is entitled to develop his argument.

Someone asked me not long ago what reasons I would put up for the abolition of the Seanad. I said there were 60 members and there were about 45 reasons. I think I must say Senator Miss Browne would be one of the first reasons.

I am quite sure of that.

However, we will not labour the matter further. I will come to the period of last Wednesday, when Senator Westropp Bennett, our Cathaoirleach, took the floor of the House. Before he went on the floor of the House Senator Douglas raised the point with regard to the reading of speeches. I was not particularly concerned with that, nor am I particularly concerned with it now. In this matter I want it to be quite clearly understood that I am expressing my conviction, my feeling, and, however anomalous it may seem that the Cathaoirleach should sit in the Chair and listen to my attack upon him, both as regards the manner in which he carries out his duties and the subject matter of his speech, I think I am entitled to, and I am quite sure he will give me, the indulgence of expressing frankly my views on the whole matter. As I say, I expressed my opinion with regard to the reading of speeches, but I am not vitally concerned with that. It did, however, contravene a distinct Standing Order and I have yet to learn that even the chairman of an association, or an Assembly such as this, has not to keep within the specific Standing Order himself. It is not only for the guidance of the House, but it is for the guidance and the conduct of the Cathaoirleach as well as the House. I submit that in your interpretation of that Standing Order you ignored the Standing Order. A Standing Order can only be set aside by motion or agreement in this House.

The more important point was your reason given at the time for taking the floor of the House and making your speech. I went to some trouble to investigate this matter and I believe the opinion that I am now going to read to you is well founded. I am not, however, dogmatic about it. You may have your view, or your legal advisers may have their views, but I submit that this argument rings sound and convincing and I put it to the House that they should try and judge the opinion that is herein expressed and decide whether or not you did commit a serious breach of the Standing Orders and of the whole spirit and position of the Cathaoirleach in this House. I find that the first time upon which this question was considered was on the 12th April, 1923 (Column 472, Vol. 1, Seanad Debates). It came before the House on that date on the initiation of the Cathaoirleach who desired to speak on the Damage to Property Bill, but felt that he could not do so unless it was declared by the Seanad by Standing Order that he could take part in the debate. In the course of the discussion the Cathaoirleach said that he would be very slow, in the absence of a Standing Order conferring that power upon him, to assume the right of taking part in the discussions in the Seanad.

As a result of the discussion on that occasion, the Seanad by motion referred the question of the intervention of the Cathaoirleach in the debate to the Committee on Standing Orders for report. The matter was considered by that Committee, who reported on the 9th May (Column 1006, Vol. 1) and recommended in the Standing Orders then proposed a Standing Order which read as follows:

"21. Should the Cathaoirleach or presiding Senator desire to address the Seanad on any controversial question whether arising in debate or otherwise he shall vacate the Chair and the Leas-Chathaoirleach, or other Senator, as provided in Standing Order 3, shall preside in the interval."

Under the power conferred by this Standing Order I find that the then Cathaoirleach addressed the House on two occasions. The two occasions were the 16th January, 1924, and the 17th October, 1924. This is the important point. That Standing Order remained in force until 1930 when, under a revision of Standing Orders, this particular Standing Order was omitted, so that the position now is that there is no Standing Order conferring on the Cathaoirleach power to address the House upon controversial questions. It seems to me, therefore, that the inference to be drawn from the fact that that specific Standing Order was omitted is that the Seanad, since 1930, did not desire the Cathaoirleach to address it upon controversial questions. It would appear to me also to be a reasonable inference to draw that in addressing the House on Wednesday the Cathaoirleach acted in excess of his functions. I emphasise the point that on the two previous occasions upon which the Cathaoirleach did so address the House, he acted under the power conferred by a specific Standing Order.

My main object in bringing that opinion forward is that I feel this debate will have historical significance and I want it to be definitely on record that you, Sir, in my judgment and in the judgment of well-informed constitutional lawyers, did not comply with the Standing Orders; on the contrary, that you broke the rules of your own House in making a speech here. I submit it is very desirable to have that on record for those who in future wish to see what transpired at this debate. I do not regret the speech that you made nor do I regret the fact that you made it under the circumstances which prevailed at the time. There are many advantages, even from a political point of view, in your having made that speech. Nothing, I think, so clearly indicated the spirit and the mentality of this House as your speech on that occasion. You, Sir, were yourself interested in certain things at one time and it is interesting to consider the attitude that was adopted to you, Sir, by a Minister of that time who is at present a member of this House.

The secret agreement of March, 1926, made by Churchill and Senator Blythe and on which Churchill in his public announcements on the annuity controversy relied for Britain's case, engaged your interest at one time. You will remember, perhaps, on 15th December, 1926, that Senator Colonel Maurice Moore proposed a resolution in the Seanad protesting against the assumed liability as unjust and unbearable. Senator Bennett, at that time, proposed an amendment suggesting that an inquiry be instituted into the whole matter. He named the Senators to form such a committee, which was to include himself and five others. At that time, it is to be remembered, the Fianna Fáil Party was not even represented here. The resolution, which was put forward at the time, would almost certainly have been passed but for a speech by Mr. Blythe, the Minister for Finance. I think that you, Sir, at that time must have sensed the early germs of dictatorship which were hovering over this country. At all events, this is how he dealt with the matter. He stated that if such a committee were set up he would furnish it with no documents, he would allow no witnesses to attend and would ignore its findings. He said that Senator Bennett's amendment was worse than the resolution. Even then there was a tie and the amendment of Senator Bennett was defeated only by the casting vote of the then Cathaoirleach, Lord Glenavy.

If anything were needed to show the subservience of this House to the Executive of the time and to Minister-for-Finance Blythe, at the time, I think that that is a clear indication. I should like, in passing, to pay tribute to your judgment and to your perspicacity in seeing the importance of that issue at the time. It showed political judgment. Here was an issue which could, obviously, have been threshed out in this House. Consider all the difficulties and all the trouble of the aftermath we have since endured which might have been spared if Senator Bennett's amendment had been carried at that time. I wonder if many Senators present this morning recollect the position at that time? I wonder if they examined their consciences and asked themselves "Did we believe at that time that Senator Bennett's amendment was a good one or were we influenced in our decision to vote against it by the dictatorial decision of the Minister for Finance at the time—that no documents would be supplied to the committee, that he would allow no governmental witnesses to attend and that he would ignore the findings of the committee?" The point is interesting from two angles—first, in regard to your outlook at the time and, secondly, with regard to the attitude of the Seanad when the Minister cracked the whip.

The main points in your long speech will be dealt with by the President, who is in charge of the Bill. I should, however, like to make a protest with regard to several points not completely relevant to the Bill as it stands, but which you made—and very unfairly and unjustly made—in your bitter, personal attack upon the President. The President does not need me to defend him nor does he need this House to defend him. The President's record stands before the country as an almost unequalled record. The President holds a place in the minds and hearts of the people of this country that has never been equalled by any statesman or leader—revolutionary or otherwise— for generations. Senators may not agree with that. They may sneer at that, but it has been proven, time and again, and, as I say, the President needs no defence from me or from this House. Your speech, Sir, was deliberately offensive. It was mean. It was unworthy of anything I had ever conceived of you, apart from the fact that you were the Cathaoirleach of this House, that you were supposed to be impartial on a controversial matter, and that you were really put into the Chair of this House to administer order and keep us all in our places. I have been almost six years under your Chairmanship. I have tried—I do not make any boast about it—to be well-behaved under you. I have tried—and succeeded—in keeping my own Party in this House orderly and well-behaved. I have had no reason to complain of your rulings. I have always experienced fair play and reasonable latitude from you. It is all the more regrettable that I have to formulate this charge against you to-day of making what I consider the meanest, the grossest, and the most abusive personal attack—and that is saying a good deal—that has ever been launched on Eamon de Valera in this country. I do not blame you for it because, frankly, I do not hold you responsible. You read a long tome. The reading of it took you two hours. I submit that you were very ill-advised and ill-directed in the compilation of that tome. I feel that, even in your own day, the record of history will make you ashamed of last Wednesday in this House. I regret that because, as I say, I have looked upon you as fair, impartial and decent. Something happened. Something was prepared for or presented to you and you delivered it with a vigour and venom such as has not been experienced on any bench or from any seat in this House before. You proceeded, with what seemed to me a political nimbleness that you are not credited with by your friends in this House, to analyse the actions of various countries in dealing with Second Chambers. Again, I would stress the fact that the vital matters, the matters which left this country open to attack both internally and externally—mainly externally—were the matters on which this House fell down and on which the national sentiment resented the presence of any Seanad in the country. The Seanad fell down on the Oath Bill and, largely because of the attitude of the Seanad to that Bill, an election had to be held. Senators have contested every step of the economic war. There is no doubt that people with the mentality of Senator Miss Browne would glory in the defeat of the Irish people in this economic war.

Yes. I will put my record against yours at any time.


I do not think, Senator, that you ought to interrupt the Minister in his speech.

I am sure Senator Miss Browne's record will stand comparison with any record in the country. The only thing is that it is all the more to be regretted if Senator Miss Browne knows better and sins against the light. The attitude of the Seanad on the Uniforms Bill is well known. Senator Blythe referred to the difficulties of a Government coming to a Second Chamber and giving a reason for this and that when it is not always possible to explain. Here was a measure which aimed at the preservation of order within the country, one which wanted to take from all Parties the right to go out and hold military parades and all the rest. What was the attitude of the Seanad on that? These were the vital things. It is easy enough to bring in an amending Bill dealing with some particular scheme, be it big or small, but as regards the vital things with which the progress and future of the nation is concerned, it was on these the Seanad fell down and on them anti-Government and anti-Irish national lines were taken.

Reference was made in the course of the debate to the Minister for Industry and Commerce; that he made disparaging references to Senators—the Jamesons and others. I have no doubt he did so, but what did he mean? He was speaking of a mentality and an outlook that no longer belong to this country; that it is not yet realised that this country is seeking to get complete independence and complete freedom, and that this House has been used as the instrument to thwart that. These people may be quite justified in their point of view. They may be speaking, and I am satisfied are speaking, what they believe to be the best thing for the future of the country, but what we have got to be concerned with is the fact that democracy in this country does not believe it.

The only suggestion that has been made towards a dictatorship in this country has come from the United Ireland Party, from the Blueshirt organisation in its various phases and forms. I know Eamon de Valera's outlook. I know him for many years. I know that there is one thing he will always stand for through thick and thin: one thing that he will not be in politics without, and that is the fundamental principle of democratic control. I know his mind perhaps as well as anybody else in the country. You, Sir, went out of your way to be offensive. It is not within your power to do Eamon de Valera harm in the hearts of the people of this country. He stands supreme as a clean Christian. You deliberately brought in the suggestion by inference and by implication that he, whilst a nominal Catholic perhaps or a good Catholic or what you will, was involved in an attempt to establish a Communistic State in this country. At least you implied that all the steps that he was taking and that we were taking as a Government were leading that way.

They are certainly.

You will find it difficult to make anyone believe that. You will find it impossible to get anyone to believe it who knows him and knows his mentality. All this abuse only enhances the store of his stock with the people. Those of us who have worked with him for years know the man and I say here—I am not given to flattery—that there has not been anyone finer, cleaner, more noble or more self-sacrificing than Eamon de Valera born in this country at any time.

It may be rubbish to you. I am not concerned with your point of view, and I do not know really that anybody else is. You join with those people who suggest that because Eamon de Valera had a father not born in this country perhaps he should be treated as an alien.

He did it himself. He claimed it, and he could not die for this country.

And he has the right to claim it and the right to be proud of it.

That he could not die for the country?

Are you going to suggest that because Pádraic Pearse's father was an Englishman that Pádraic Pearse was not one of the best Irishmen that ever lived?

He did not claim to be an Englishman when he was up against it.

And Eamon de Valera never claimed to be an Englishman.

I did not say that.


All this is outside the debate at the moment and these personalities should not be indulged in.

There are certain things that one ignores with regard to Senator Gogarty.

There is straight argument.

I have had experience of the Senator in this House for the last six years and I have never heard an argument from him only stale midnight-oil quips.

I will give you some arguments in a minute.

However, the President will survive all this abuse, even yours, Sir. I am satisfied that nothing will enhance the store of his stock more throughout the country than your attack on him, and I think nothing so justifies the abolition of this House as your personal attack on him. I have no more to say.

I move: "That the debate be adjourned until 2 o'clock." I make the proposition in view of the fact that the debate is not likely to conclude at an early hour. The President, as indicated by Senator Connolly, is likely to speak at some length.

That is the first sensible proposition I have ever heard Senator O'Hanlon make.


Is the House agreed that we should now adjourn until 2 o'clock?


The House adjourned from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. accordingly.

We have heard so much about the mandate for the abolition of the Seanad that I have a modest proposal to make. It is this: that the President should accept a postcard from anyone in Ireland who cares to write to the head of the State —and being obviously on official business it need not require a stamp—and on that, will anyone who thinks that the Seanad is the only safeguard against not a dictatorship of the future, but a dictatorship already set up, a dictatorship of the Artful Dodger, but stands between them and the furtherance of dictatorship, and incidentally between them and the safeguarding of their Post Office savings—it is a simple matter—to address a postcard to President de Valera with these words, "Retain the Seanad"? There is a note of cheerfulness before our proposed abolition, and it comes from the consideration of the character, and as Senator Connolly called it, the record of the President himself. Senator Connolly said that his record stands. It does, on a pedestal such as those you see in the museums of the world supporting a prize object. But that pedestal revolves. The President and his record revolves in the history of the last 12 years, so the hopeful note is that anything he set out to do he never did, any utterance he made, any promise however solemn, any word however deliberate—and you know how solemn he can be—he has swallowed. Every attitude he took up he has abandoned, and it is far better for the Seanad to have his enmity than the Republic to have his good will, because the Republic is further away from creation than the Seanad from destruction. We know the idea of getting rid of the Seanad came from the petulant moment he entered this House—a House already under threat, though it is incidental—that this assembly is being abolished because it did not vote for the Party interest of the time. "The most beloved figure," according to his satellite, Senator Connolly, has a majority owing to the hardest taskmaster in any country, and that is the Labour Party. Mr. de Valera took up arms against the State. He could not for a moment tolerate the Free State Constitution as it was erected by the British. Still, he finds himself in Mr. Cosgrave's shoes, whether he can fill them or not. I wish he also found himself in possession of that which is under Mr. Cosgrave's hat. Now, in this British-begotten Constitution, drawing a comfortable income, he can sit down comfortably and contemplate his hatred for England, and he can issue through the country slogans of increased hatred, with the implication that there is increased patriotism in the measure of his hate.

He reminds me of the Cockney father whose daughter had chosen the broad and primrose path; and the song records that:

"He drinks the champagne what she sends him

But he never will forgive.”

He takes the comfortable income from office under a Constitution already made for him when he came into it, but he never will forgive. Never! He will excrete dark hatred, like a cuttlefish, from the rock of the Constitution, the chief contribution to our Irish people. He has discovered the most foolable of all European peoples, foolable in that they will respond more quickly and without thinking to any ill-considered slogans about “freedom” than any other white peoples. I might put a suggestion to Senator Connolly who, in his many metamorphoses, was once Minister for Posts and Telegraphs, that he might have put a tax of a halfpenny on newspapers for every time they made use of the words “free,”“freed,” and “freedom.” His Chief asked the other day: if Ireland were free, why were the British in Cobh? There was a railway porter in Limerick some months ago who, when asked to carry a suitcase, said: “Certainly not. Not until Ireland's free!” Why are we not free? Because the British are in Cobh! Would it not be far better, instead of blinding the easily distracted eyes of politically the most foolable people in the world, if the President were to take up the burden and do some work for the country instead of exploiting its political hysteria? The British are in Cobh because the President is not in Galway, one of the finest harbours in the world. He has neither developed nor fortified it. Why does he not explain why Blacksod Bay is not developed; or develop it, instead of cutting black sods in the Bog of Allen? These harbours are utterly neglected. We used to hold it as a grievance that the British, frightened by the incursion at one time of the French into Killala Bay, took great care, when rail ways were being built, that each rail way would stop short a certain number of miles from any harbour on the western coast of Ireland. There are no harbours in Europe to compare, none so enormously valuable as the five first-class harbours of Western Ireland, all of which are undeveloped with the exception, I suppose, of Cobh. I do not know what Cobh means in the President's mouth. It is a South Devonshire word-name but it suffers from fallacious Irishness. It sounds as Irish as de Valera, and it serves to naturalise the fallacy of the grievance: “We are not free, because the British are in Cobh. I will not take up Ireland's burden until Ireland is perfectly free.” All this sort of play on the foolability of the people, this attitudinising a grievance while absolving oneself from effort, has its limitations because even the depths of the profound foolability and hallucinability of the Irish people will be reached some day. Even this political open-air lunatic asylum cannot for ever be distracted from criticising Mr. de Valera's Government by the presence of somebody in Cobh.

Of course, what is really the painful thing is that the presence of the British in Cobh is a standing example of the freedom, decency, stability and genial good-fellowship which exists under the rule of the British Monarchy. A standing contrast to the meanness, misery, victimisation, faction-fighting and loss of prosperity, and, above all, freedom which Mr. de Valera's régime has meant for the parts of the country where the British are not. Where is the stability for trade and law that citizens have a right to expect from a Government? Can anyone foretell what will befall his fortunes or what may happen to this country even 24 hours ahead? What assurance of peace have we? Who can trust or depend on Mr. de Valera?

When Mr. de Valera can produce a condition of freedom here equal to that which the British enjoy in Cobh it will be time to talk. The freedom in Cobh has not yet been equalled here. Cobh, in so far as the British are there is an object lesson of fair play, genial outlook, and a conduct of life void of hatred and malice. Is that being equalled here? I think by no means. The Seanad, too, is an example of authority and trustworthtiness in the country which is not shared by the Executive; but the suggestion made now is that when the Seanad is out of the way it will be easier for the march of the nation to march the British out of Cobh. If the President's policy is the only force of expulsion they are likely to remain there for ever. So, when we hear of all the frightful shortcomings in this country's measure of freedom because on account of Ireland's unparalleled position in the Atlantic, it is essential that the food supplies of England should be kept open, we ought to remember that 866,610 tons of shipping were sunk in a single month of the war and that our south-west coast was its principal graveyard. If Great Britain could rely on us to protect not only her sea routes but our own, there would be no need for the British in Cobh. Could the British trust him? Even so there is nothing to prevent him developing a harbour as good or even better than Cobh— Galway or Blacksod. As it is, and he has been two and a half years in office, he cannot protect even one Irish herring in any Irish harbour.

On a point of order, what has all this got to do with the abolition of the Seanad?

It has got to do with the uninformed criticism that Mr. de Valera addressed to you and the rest of his gang. I want to know why he has not developed our harbours and protected our fish instead of having to rely on his hated English——

Is the noble, illustrious, and kind-hearted Senator in order in referring to any of his colleagues as "a gang?"

That is the surgical way of putting it.

Gangrene! I am not a member of the caucus of the hereditary Lord Mayor.


I do not think the Senator meant "gang" in any offensive sense.

No. I think I am in order in pointing out the failure of the present Executive Council to attend to these matters instead of attacking the Seanad.


I think you are.

The President comes here to ask for a free hand. He has had a free hand——

We are giving you a free leg now.

But it is sprained. We have not even a gun-boat fit to protect the fisheries. Not a patrolling aeroplane. In Blacksod Bay there are 40 square miles of the finest harbour in the world utterly undeveloped but then we hear talk such as "Put them out of Cobh and we are free." That kind of blatherumskite will not deceive. There has been talk of a dictatorship coming here: but it is already established. There will be no going to the country for a mandate. It is a verdict that awaits the Government. Even Senator Connolly knows that. The Irish people or any people when they think they are in danger of a dictator envisage on the horizon some heroic forthright figure; but what have they got? The man who ambitions the post now is a man who was diametrically opposed to our form of government and swallowed it afterwards, a man who has taken up arms against the people and he is now trying to get rid of the only safeguard which the people have of that democratic principle which he mocks. The dictatorship of the Artful Dodger! It is usual to consider what will be the reactions from conditions such as these with which we are at present confronted. We were told that Communism is abolished. What is the good of wordy protestations against objections to the shadow of Communism, when the laying of foundations is connived at or tolerated? In the train, a few weeks ago a number of those young militia men or I.R.A. men, who were given a uniform which looks extraordinarily like that which the quarry gangs wear at Dartmoor, some of these recruits or ex-service men of the I.R.A. or whatever they are, were heard quoting Karl Marx and the specious claptrap about wealth not being money. Wait until they find it only in a daily ration! When Communism is discussed by young men in Ireland, it is a serious matter.

Such things were never heard of two or three years ago. There was no such thing heard as discussion of the book of the most sinister exploiter of the human soul—this Jew who saw that the only unexploited power left in the world was woman-power, and who took measures to make the hand that rocked the cradle slave in factories. Equals of men, they were as mercilessly enslaveable. That is the kind of discussion that goes on in Ireland, and yet Senator Connolly tells us that there is no Communism. There is, and there is one argument of the Communists to which there is no answer. In ancient Rome when any great presence was offended one expected that portents would be visible in the sky. Portents were visible in the sky. It is rather significant that the Irish Times of this morning gives an account of certain happenings in the sky; We are told that:

"Venus rises at 2 a.m. during most of the month. North Declination is increasing, and in consequence she continues to rise earlier until the middle of July, when she is above the horizon soon after 1.40 a.m. She has now a gibbous phase and a small angular diameter. Mars is an inconspicuous morning star and is hardly likely to be visible. Jupiter is running into daylight, and sets soon after midnight at the end of the month. Observation should be made on him as soon after sunset as possible. Satellite shadows are often to be observed. The Great Bear is standing on his nose. The Red Spot, which had almost faded out altogether of late years, has considerably revived, and was lately of a strong pink colour."

Perhaps this is hopefully prophetic. A long, long figure from the south on reaching the north-eastern sky "drifted away slowly and folded upon itself until it had assumed the shape of the letter S."

That probably was what led Senator Miss Browne to be rebuked by Senator Connolly for "sinning against the light."

"The Summer Solstice occurs on the 22nd at 3 a.m. when the Sun enters the Sign of Cancer. At the same time he attains his greatest Declination north of the Equator and his greatest altitude in our Northern skies. June 22nd is, therefore, the ‘longest day' this year. There are increasing signs of a recrudesence of solar activity, some spots being now generally visible on the Sun's disc. They are increasing both in numbers and size."

Now, to whom does this refer? Whose horoscope is cast?

Now, of course, it is very hard to connect Heaven with all this, but it is not without significance that the sky is taking cognisance of what is happening here.

I suppose one of the chief objections of the Executive Council to the Seanad is very much like that which the English people have to the Irish Sweep. They have nothing as good themselves. But how long is the attempt to lay about him at everything in our country in order to distract attention from his inefficiency—how long is this humourless harlequinade to continue? How long is this to continue? The country has never been so mulcted in money at any time during the British régime as it is at the present time. When the British authorities had full control of her income tax and her revenue she was not so mulcted as to-day; and there was this difference, that at the time the British were in control there was the assurance from Government that every class of people were allowed to conduct themselves in an honourable trade. The spectacle of the destruction of food—this one unanswerable argument for Communism—would not be tolerated then in this country. People are told that starvation is necessary or inevitable, and food has, therefore, to be destroyed. The potential wealth of the country is being ruthlessly destroyed on account of a cantankerous policy that every farmer however senile could tell you is complete folly. Fifteen million acres of land are in agriculture. One million in wheat could feed 4,000,000 of people and there are less than 3,000,000 in the Irish Free State. A hundred thousand acres would give all the beetroot necessary presumably, if there were cattle to use up the crops. A policy like that is not going to succeed, or to be justified by more destruction, by destroying the Seanad. That versatile gentleman, Senator Connolly, is now Minister for trees. Somebody remarked, Minister for gum trees as the Government is up a gum tree. It will take 20 years to know how the Senator will conduct that policy. When Minister for Fisheries he reduced the fishery grant by £35,000 or so. Now he has a chance of coming to the help of the post-card industry by returning to the post office as Minister for Posts, and give us the benefit of his accurate Northern business training.

The retention of the Seanad is of paramount importance during the régime of a Government that is utterly incapable of managing any form of life that would allow a fair chance to the individual citizen to grow up from childhood to the fulness of manhood. I think when it comes to the life of the ordinary citizen it is far better to have a Seanad that knows, at any rate, what may be expected of life in any other country in Europe no matter how poor it may be. The Executive Council's view of the life of a citizen is that he must either mend the roads, break stones, draw the dole, or send his wife for free milk. Is that a fair or honourable construction to put upon the Irish nation? Never has a nation been more contemptuously treated by any one man than has the Irish nation by Mr. de Valera. Never has any nation been so contemptuously treated in regard to its claim for life and for a place in the sun. Before you can claim to be a patriot in Mr. de Valera's eyes you have to be on the dole. The greater the destruction of the country's wealth the more people will the President have eating out of his hand. That is what the meaning of dictatorship is. He creates an artificial danger, turns the country into a great Union or Poor House and then wants to become Master of the Union. The Seanad, at any rate, understands the amenities of life. It so includes men who would be ornaments of life in any country. I challenge the Executive Council to send over the whole of their Executive to the Chicago Beauty Exhibition, and I will pick some men out of the Seanad, and then we can get a pronouncement as to which of the two teams would be acceptable in any country and could be counted upon to add to that country's intellectual achievement or to be worthy ornaments of civilisation. It is a purely fanciful thing, but it is a very fair statement of what is the actual case, and anyone can see the principle of it. There are men in this House who, because they made good, are regarded as so much the less Irishmen. They are regarded as so much the less Irishmen, because they produce the wealth here by which the Government are trying to bribe the voters, if you can call it a bribe to give a man a job on the road or a forage cap with a uniform. It is on these men in the Seanad, with wealth and with their capacity to supply wealth, that the Government is depending to carry on this destructive trick, and the Government ought to be the last people to say a word about these Senators, considering that the Excise duty is still the largest asset of the revenue.

There is one thing that will be very serious for the President when the Seanad is gone, and it is a thing that he ought to consider seriously. He will be driven to the pin of his collar and to the end of his wit, and will even be driven to the necessity for a long confabulation with his chief adviser, Senator Sancho Panza Connolly, to know on whom to put the blame when all his cards are on the table and when he is asked to render an account of his stewardship. I have a shrewd suspicion that the President sees the abolition of his own political Party coming, and that he has his eye on your job, a Chathaoirligh, because, remember, that will be the only place to put him. It must be remembered that when Lord Mayor O'Neill resigned his position we welcomed him into the Seanad. I suggest that the President, with all that "Mary, Mary, quite contrary" spirit of his, shows an undue interest in this House. I do not know when your tenure is up, Sir—I hope it will never be up—but I would not be surprised that, if and when your tenure of office does end, the President would not be averse from taking it.

It is a good thing, at any rate, that the Senator regards the President as impartial.

I do not like to strike a grim or puritanical note here. We have enough of grimness here already. I think that a little humour would be good in this House. There is very little on the opposite benches. We never see Senator Connolly smiling since he came back from Geneva. However, there was a Roundhead poet—as I said, I do not like to strike a puritanical note, even amid the 300 Roundheads who protect the President—there was a Roundhead poet, who was also, I think, a Puritan—at any rate, he was a very righteous person—who expressed himself in the following lines—and I think the House will listen to them because they will know, at the same time, that I am coming to the end of my speech. Their application is obvious. They might be written of the Seanad. Here are the lines:

"I did but prompt the age to quit its clogs.

By the known rules of ancient liberty,

When straight a barbarous noise environs me

Of owls and cuckoos, asses, apes and dogs...."

(Calves are omitted!)

"As when those hinds that were transformed to hogs

Railed at Latona's twin-born progeny

Which after held the sun and moon in fee.

But this is got by casting pearls to hogs

That bawl for freedom in their senseless mood

And still revolt when Truth would set them free.

Licence they mean when they cry Liberty;

For who loves that must first be wise and good.

But from that mark how far they rove we see

For all this waste of wealth and loss of blood."

The reason why I stand up at all is to register my opinions and my views, and to explain my action in connection with this Bill—and that is, to support it. I have listened here for the last three days to all sorts of talk and all kinds of points of view as to the reason why there should be a Second House. Some good reasons were given for the existence of a Second House, but in no instance did I hear anybody get up and say that they justified the existence or the actions of this House, as such. This House, as it is constituted now, is a sham. The very system of election to this House makes it a sham, and because of that very system you are only the puppets of a Party in the other House, if you like. These are facts. Can you contradict them?

Yes, emphatically.

That is a very mild answer and there does not seem to be very much enthusiasm behind it. But, in any case, the very actions of the members of this House, since that system of election came into being, have demonstrated their subserviency to the other House. That being so, where is the independence? What good is a Second House without independence? The very essence of success, or the justification for the continuance of a Second House, is independence, and you have not shown that. That is the position of this House, as I see it, and I give my opinions freely and frankly as I see the position myself. Consequently, I am satisfied that I was never more clear in my conscience on any subject or with regard to any vote I ever gave, than on the vote I am giving now for the abolition of this House.

The question of whether we should have a Second House or not does not come in at all, but I have listened here to the principal arguments for the retention of this House, and the principal arguments I have heard made were based on the allegation that the reason why this action was taken was because of hatred or malice. The Chairman was the only person who gave any sound facts—and, perhaps, also Senator Brown—as to why we should have a Second House; but the bulk of you talked about hatred, talked about the terrible hatred that the elected leader of this State had for this House, or had even for its people —some of you had cheek enough to say that. If you take up the Debates, however, and read the speeches of the responsible leaders of the Opposition in the other House or in this House, since President de Valera was elected President of this State in 1932, you will find that every second line contains some remark about the elected President. In every speech in connection with almost every controversial Bill that came before the other House, the principal line of argument of the leaders of the Opposition was to call the members of the Government, and the supporters of the Government throughout the country, blackguards, pups, looters and robbers. Then, after making such statements—all of which statements appeared the next day in the daily newspapers and were read at every fireside in every part of the countryside in Ireland—the leaders of the Opposition expect to be able to go down the country for the week-end, and perhaps into the very village, about the inhabitants of which they had used that blackguardly language as to the supporters of the Government, and expect to get a fair hearing. After making such statements, they expect that young Irish boys and girls, brought up decently and respectably, having read that Deputy So-and-So referred to them as looters, blackguards and curs, will look quietly at that Deputy on a platform in their native village and listen to him and remain silent. That, in my opinion, is the root cause of all the rows and dissentions down the country to-day.

Are you justifying it?

All the talk that we have heard and all the accusations that the President has instigated and is responsible for this rowdyism——

Are you justifying the attempt to suppress free speech?

If I am asked an intelligent question I will answer it. All through this debate here for the last couple of days there was the same continuance of hatred and malice, and there were charges that it was hatred and malice had caused the Executive Council to take this action. It was no such thing. It was because the President has taken you at your word, and that is that you are not capable of taking up an independent attitude and acting in an independent manner in reviewing Bills that came before you here. That is the sole reason why this Bill has been brought in. I should like to join with Senator Connolly in his remarks in connection with the Cathaoirleach. I, too, was pained at the attitude the Cathaoirleach adopted, and I am not going to allow this debate to pass without saying so. His speech was a good one while he stuck to his arguments in connection with this House. He put up hard facts. But why did he descend to personalities? It is because he has got into the tide or wharf and cannot get out of it, and the reason why he cannot get out of the tide is this: On yesterday the Cathaoirleach went to great pains to point out that he was never connected with any Party, and that he never had an interest in any Party, or any connection whatsoever with any Party——


Are these my words? The Senator should be fair. I said I was never a member of any Party.

Very well. He was never a member of any Party. I have got here an extract from the Irish Independent. I want the House not to misunderstand me either. I am quoting from the Independent, not from the Irish Press, from the issue of September 9th last, page 11. In that article the Independent quoted from a speech made by Deputy Cosgrave at a Cumann na nGaedheal Convention in the Mansion House in which, after dealing with the events leading up to the formation of the United Ireland Party by merger and mentioning the appeal made for unity, he said:

"Unfortunately that appeal fell upon deaf ears, though later many of our people lent a hand, until some two or three months ago Mr. Hogan and myself and Mr. MacDermot and Mr. Dillon were brought together. I think it is only fair to say that not much advance was made at that meeting, until it was held under the Chairmanship of An Cathaoirleach, Senator Westropp Bennett."

I challenge Senator Bennett to contradict that. I challenge him, as he did on Wednesday evening, to come down to the floor of the House and say whether he was responsible for that and to say what interest has he as Leader of the highest Assembly in the land——

Hear, hear.

Yes, the highest Assembly in the land.

I think what the Senator meant was "should be the highest Assembly in the land."

We are dealing with what he said.

It does not matter what I said; I stand over it. As Chairman of this House, as Chairman of the highest Assembly in the land, one of the constituted assemblies in the land anyhow, he took that action. He took it within 12 months after the people had registered their views and opinions for a second time. He thought it was of sufficient importance to the Opposition, about which he was so anxious, that he should use his position, quietly within closed doors, to preside at a convention to bring these parties together. For what purpose? To embarrass the vote registered by the plain people of this country. However, those are what you call difficulties, if you like, made by responsible officials in some cases. The action of the Chairman of the Seanad on that occasion was cloaked but it definitely showed that he was not alone leaning, but that he was definitely interested in, the success of those people. In his anxiety to help them along he left the Chair of the Seanad for two hours and came into the body of the House and made a speech. That speech, as Senator Connolly has pointed out here to-day, was as mean a thing as ever I listened to. I had as much respect as any man in the House for the Cathaoirleach, and I must say I never regretted having voted for him in 1928 until I heard that speech. That speech has shown this much in any case, that we all know where we stand and the people of the country know what to expect from the Cathaoirleach in this House in future. So much for that.

We have heard a lot about the work that this House has done, about the amendments it moved and got carried here and the number that were thrown out afterwards. But I happened to go into the records this morning and I find that in the ten long years of its existence this House never overworked itself anyway. In 1923 it sat on 42 days; in 1924 on 55 days; in 1925 on 41 days; 1926 on 32 days, 1927 on 40 days; 1928 on 32 days; 1929 on 40 days; 1930 on 30 days; 1931 on 30 days and 1932 on 51 days. All put together is only about a year's work in the whole period of their existence. That is to say they have actually worked a year or a little over one month in 12. Actually in one year they only worked 33 hours. Still we have been led to believe by the Chairman of the Seanad that the Seanad examined what was put before them in the way of Bills very carefully and in a very impartial manner. They went through these amendments so carefully and the work was done so methodically and with such pains that in the whole ten years of its existence it has actually worked only a little over one year. Is that something to be proud of? Does that justify your continuance as a Second House?

Will the Senator tell us how many of the Seanad got jobs in those ten years and how many of them got jobs in the last two years?

The licensed trade gave you a job anyway.

And they regret it.

In any case, that is the position so far as the work of the House is concerned, and I think it is about the best answer that could be given to the statement of the Cathaoirleach with regard to the wonderful manner in which the Seanad had carried out its hard work. He was not content with personal abuse of the President of the State, but he even went so far as to make an attack on the Irish Press because they published the fact that some people were trying to form an anti-clerical society here. All I say is, all honour to the Irish Press for publishing it, and it is a damned shame that the other papers cloaked it, because it is publicity that will bring a realisation of what is happening in the country to the people. The Irish Press by publishing it did more good than the papers that cloaked it. That is what I think about it.

Last, but not least, the principal line of argument which the Cathaoirleach used after that was that the present Executive were bunglers, that they had bungled everything. Not alone did he suggest that they had bungled all they have done up to the present, but he went so far as to say, although perhaps he did not use the words, that the President of the Executive Council was a dud statesman and that that was the reason why he was taking action to abolish this House. It is not so very long ago that the President of this country presided at a meeting of the League of Nations, and practically every country and every statesman in the world agreed that the most statesmanlike speech made at Geneva was that speech by the President of this country—and he had to come back to this House to be told he was a dud statesman. When the bitterness is so strong as all that, and when the vindictiveness that is at the bottom of your hearts is so strong, what earthly hope have we of co-operation from you and, with such leaders of the rank and file in the country, what co-operation can we expect from the rank and file? For fear we might get that co-operation, we have speeches made in this House, and in the other House, in which our supporters are called blackguards, looters and robbers, in order to keep alive the turmoil, and in an attempt to inflame the feelings of the supporters of the Government so that they will not heed even the appeals made from time to time by the President. That is the cause of all the trouble here, and you, and you alone, are responsible for it. Even now I hope you will begin to examine your consciences and at least take the long view of things. After all, we are only passing through, and let us take the long view and let us put our shoulders to the wheel and cooperate. If you do give that co-operation, even on the one item of international dispute, I believe this country will be a country well worth living in.

On a momentous occasion like this, when the House is debating the question of its own existence, I am sure all the Senators must be greatly elevated by the harangue we have just listened to. I think there is only one response for any Senator or public man who stands up in this country and asks for the co-operation of every public man in the nation's interests and then delivers an attack of the kind we have just heard, and that is to ignore what he says.

You will ignore it any way.

I cannot ignore it all. I must pass comment on one statement made by Senator MacEllin. It has been said by leaders of the United Ireland Party that young and foolish people down the country were incited to refuse a hearing to the leaders of that Party. If you ever wanted a proof positive that there is such an incitement to young and foolish people to refuse a hearing to prominent persons in this country, you have it in the words of Senator MacEllin. He said that you had men who, when in office, used foul terms towards their political opponents, and when these men went down the country——

They are doing it to-day.

——"how could we expect the young people of the country to listen to them?" Those were his words. Could there be any meaner form of incitement of the young people of this country to refuse a hearing to certain prominent persons than the words of persons like Senator MacEllin, who occupy high posts and position in this country?

I never incited anybody. I always at all times appealed to the young people to keep their heads, and I stand over that absolutely.

There have been hard things said on both sides, and there is one thing this country should do, and that is to forget most and, if possible, all, that has been said on both sides and to start anew. We had that kind of incitement here to-day, and if Senator MacEllin were on a public platform, down in some backward part of County Mayo, he would put his opinions in language which the young people would not fail to understand. This incitement and all this refusal to grant freedom of speech to individuals has led to the formation of the Blueshirts, and in regard to the Blue-shirts—I do not want to stress this point—if I did not believe that the Blueshirts were necessary to secure freedom of speech to any individual in this country, my vote would not have been given in the way in which it was given when the Blueshirt Bill came before this House, and I am not afraid to say that.

Might I ask a question?


The Senator must not intervene too often. I must try to get a fair hearing for everybody.

We have been asked what we have got to say in defence of our own existence, and why sentence of death should not be pronounced upon the Seanad. Did anybody here yet hear any of the protagonists of the Bill say anything about the Bill? I am waiting anxiously for the President's statement, because, with all respect to Senator Connolly, he did not deal with the Bill. He confined his speech to a dissertation on Senator Sir John Keane, on political bribery here and in Great Britain, and he dealt with the question of the Treaty and the Treaty position, and with the question of the landlords and the advice they gave to their tenants in other days. He dealt with the tone of the Cathaoirleach's speech and he dealt with the Cathaoirleach's so-called contravention of the Standing Orders in reading his speech; he dealt with the Cathaoirleach's action in speaking from the floor of the House; he dealt with the Standing Orders generally, and he delivered a strong statement in defence of Mr. de Valera. I should hardly use the word "defence," but he gave his opinion of Mr. de Valera as he sees him and as he knows him. There was nothing at all in favour of the Bill.

What did other Senators who spoke in support of the abolition of the House confine themselves to? Senator Dowdall said, "Abolish this Second House but let it be succeeded by another." Senator Johnson said that he stood for the abolition of this House with certain provisos. Senator Quirke confined himself entirely to a tirade against the Cathaoirleach of the House. Senator Laurence O'Neill—I cannot help referring to you, Senator— devoted a considerable portion of his speech to an effort to prove to this House that the Dublin Corporation occupied a more eminent position in the national life than did Seanad Eireann. Senator Colonel Moore came into the House to vote against the Bill and not because of the arguments put forward by the Cathaoirleach, but because of the tone of the Cathaoirleach's remarks, he decided to vote in favour of the Bill, and although he is now going to vote in favour of the Bill, he delivered to the House the statement he had prepared when he had made up his mind to vote against it.

Where are the arguments advanced in favour of the abolition of this House? What Senator has set himself out to controvert the arguments put forward by the Cathaoirleach, Senator Douglas, Senator Brown and the other Senators? There has been nothing at all said in favour of the Bill—no case has yet been made for it. I say, with great respect, that it is rather a pity that the case for the Bill should be made just before we take the vote. I think that the case for the Bill might very properly have been made by the President at the beginning of the debate and then, I take it, a lot of the speeches which have been made could have been more relevant.

There was one phase of Senator Connolly's speech with which I feel impelled to deal. Senator Connolly charged the Cathaoirleach with contravening Standing Orders. He said that he spoke from the floor of the House and that he read his speech. May I say, in connection with that— as I can quite understand that Senator Connolly may not have much experience in regard to Standing Orders and their significance—that Standing Orders are not laws. They are not and should not be regarded as laws. If they were regarded as laws, it would never have been necessary for Sir Erskine May and Bourinot to prepare their treatises on procedure in Legislative Chambers. They have never been regarded as laws. What are Standing Orders? Standing Orders are general rules for convenience in carrying out the business which is before a House. They are not laws good, bad, or indifferent.

On this question of the reading of a speech and the Cathaoirleach's attitude in that respect, let me quote the statement made by the then Cathaoirleach on 9th May, 1923, when he said:—

"As a matter of fact, in practice, that is really the way it works out, and has worked out, in the British House of Parliament. There is a sort of general rule of etiquette that no member has a right to read his speech, but unless it becomes an abuse it is ignored by the House, and the attention of the Speaker is very seldom called to it. The illustration you gave shows that there are occasions when, undoubtedly, it is desirable that the speaker should be very careful in his utterances, and in those cases the House takes no notice of the fact that a member is reading from manuscript. I think if you leave this as it is you may, perhaps, trust to your Chairman to follow on the same line. Of course, if you wish to insert the words ‘except at the discretior of the Chairman,' I do not object, but the rule, as it stands, will be interpreted by me in the same spirit.

Colonel Moore: I am quite content, whichever way it is."

The precedent has already been established in that respect. The present Cathaoirleach was not the only Cathaoirleach who ruled in that way. I do not see that there was any point in raising any objection in that particular respect on this very momentous occasion. It is the spirit of the Standing Orders that matters. Senators, no doubt, are aware that occasionally Ministers have come into this House with the typescript of their speeches in their hands. Time and again the Minister for Local Government has read his speech in this House, and other Ministers have done the same. Time and again the speeches were handed to the official reporters before they were made. If that has been actually the fact, and if it has been tolerated in this House on certain occasions, surely, on this very important occasion there was nothing very irregular and no real contravention of any Standing Order in the Cathaoirleach reading his speech from the floor of the House? Senator Connolly referred to one other matter. He said that the Cathaoirleach had received advice and help in the preparation of his statement. Of course, he did.

May I ask a question?


May I hear it?

I thought Senator O'Hanlon would refer to the other point which was made with regard to Standing Orders. I should like to point out, as I pointed out in my speech, that the Cathaoirleach at that time would not go to speak from the floor of the House until he got a new Standing Order inserted which gave him permission. That was duly inserted in 1923. At the revision of Standing Orders in 1930, that Standing Order was not included, but was specifically deleted from the amended Standing Orders. I hold that by the deletion of that——


Is this a question or a new speech?

Senator O'Hanlon purported to deal with my questioning of Standing Orders.


I dealt with it already.

I submit that he has not touched on the main Standing Order with which I was dealing, namely, the one omitted from the amended Standing Orders of 1930.


I dealt with it already. That is my ruling.

I do not think so, with all respect. I suggest that you were out of order.


With the greatest respect, when the Official Report is available, it will be seen that I have dealt with it. Senator O'Hanlon is at liberty to continue, if he likes, in my defence, but I need no defence. I have given my ruling. My ruling will be contained in the Official Report, there to be read and digested by anybody who can understand or who tries to understand. There are people who will wilfully try to misunderstand. If they do I cannot supply them with the intelligence to understand. That is the end of it.

I was putting on record your actual position. I submit that you were out of order.


That is the end of it.

Will you allow Senator O'Hanlon to proceed on this false assumption?


What is your question, Senator? I will try and answer every question as it arises.

Are you addressing me?



The question I asked is: Is the Chair going to allow Senator O'Hanlon to make a speech on a false assumption?


The Cathaoirleach is going to allow Senator O'Hanlon to make his speech even on a false assumption, as he allowed Senator Connolly to make a speech on a false assumption.

Is the Cathaoirleach going to contend that two wrongs make a right?


No, Senator.

I am not going to make a speech on a wrong assumption, and there was no wrong assumption on my part. I certainly will deal with the point which the Minister for Lands repeats. May I say, in passing, that the Minister himself has contravened the Standing Orders?

I would not be surprised. Of course, it is the Cathaoirleach's job to keep me in order, as he has done.

I would remind the Minister that Standing Order 38 definitely sets out that no member of the House shall question the Cathaoirleach's ruling. The Cathaoirleach, in that matter of appearing on the floor of the House and reading his speech, very definitely ruled, and the Minister, I say with great respect, contravened that Standing Order himself.

On the basis of the Standing Orders which, I take it, are to govern the Cathaoirleach and the members.


This matter is ended. If the Senator wishes to defend my action he is entitled to do it, but I need no defence, and I ask for none.

I am not defending you at all, Sir. You are well able to do that yourself. I have, however, a perfect right to deal with Standing Orders, and I am now going to deal with the question which Senator Connolly put. I say that the inference Senator Connolly drew from the changing of the Standing Orders adopted in 1923 is entirely wrong and erroneous.

That is an opinion.

Not at all, I will give the facts. That Standing Order, No. 21, adopted in the year 1923, provided that, if the Cathaoirleach desired to address the House on any controversial matter, he should vacate the Chair. That was altered when the Committee on Procedure sat in 1930. The inference that Senator Connolly draws is that, because the Standing Order was altered, therefore the House did not wish that the Cathaoirleach should leave the Chair to address the House. May I refer to one matter for Senator Connolly's particular information?


For the information of the House.

For the information of the House, then, and particularly for Senator Connolly's information.

Why particularly for Senator Connolly's information? Is he supposed to be very ignorant?

That is right.

This House at one time had a Cathaoirleach, Lord Glenavy, if I might respectfully mention his name, who pursued the practice of addressing, and occasionally haranguing, this House from the Chair on controversial matters. The House strongly objected to that attitude on the part of Lord Glenavy. There was one way, and one way only, to stop Lord Glenavy from haranguing the House on controversial matters.

This is interesting.

There was only one way and that was to insert a Standing Order which set out that if the Cathaoirleach wanted to address the House he should leave the Chair and come down to the floor of the House. That is why the Standing Order was inserted in 1923. Now, as to why it was altered, the reason is that Lord Glenavy no longer occupied the Chair after 1928. He was not a member of the House. The Committee which redrafted Standing Orders felt that the occasion was never likely to arise again when any Cathaoirleach would take it upon himself to lecture the House from the Chair, and so they omitted the Standing Order. These are the facts, which stand uncontroverted. verted. I can quite understand Senator Connolly falling into the error, because he could not be expected to be aware of the circumstances.

That is only an inference and an implication.


The Senator will please sit down.

In all justice——


Senator Connolly will keep silent, in all justice. The Senator has spoken quite enough and I am the judge of order here.

Good. I am quite satisfied.

We know that when Lord Glenavy was addressing the House——

Do Senators want to hear me or do they not?

I will appeal to Senators to let Senator O'Hanlon proceed to make a defence for the Cathaoirleach, because he happens to be in a very unfortunate position. Let him go ahead and make his speech.

I hope I am not saying a single thing that is offensive. I do not intend to, and I am sure the House will listen to me. Of course, I am obliged to Senator Quirke for his appeal to the House, but I am not in an unfortunate position—not in the least.

By way of explanation——

I am standing on my own legs.


What is your explanation, Senator Quirke?

I did not mean to suggest that Senator O'Hanlon was in an unfortunate position.


Very good.

What I meant to convey was that the Cathaoirleach happens to be in an unfortunate position.


Very good, Senator. You are about as lucid as you ever were.

Another charge made against the Cathaoirleach by Senator Connolly was with reference to all the facts and information with which he was furnished. Now, I am surprised that any such comment as that should have been made by the Senator. On this occasion the Cathaoirleach could not but constitute himself, and be regarded by us, as the spokesman of those who stand for the retention and maintenance in this country of a Second Chamber. If the Cathaoirleach so regarded himself, he had every right to make the statement he made, and, furthermore, he had every right to consult authorities and to get facts and figures from every quarter where they could be gleaned when making a statement in defence of the retention of this House and in making the case that he so ably made.

May I say just a few words in relation to the statements made by Senator Connolly when dealing with the Treaty position? The Senator endeavoured to justify the attitude of the present Government by saying that even the supporters of the Cumann na nGaedheal Government had regarded the Treaty as a stepping stone to greater freedom. Quite right. What we contend is that the Party which accepted the Treaty used the stepping stones. What we submit as against the Fianna Fáil Party—and I am sure quite legitimately and quite logically—is that they are not using the stepping stones, but rather they are trying to jump the river or the chasm in one spring. We cannot but object to that attitude. The Party at present in office has allowed to be destroyed our best market before they can find an alternative market. They broke with our best customer. In a sense they have in ways taken action which must have tended to make permanent the line of division between the Six Counties and the Twenty-Six Counties. That is what we object to. Their object may be the same, but the others were using the Treaty as a stepping stone to great freedom. They were using the stepping stones and they were advancing carefully, tactfully, logically and honestly, and that is why many of us could not but support them.

Senator Quirke dealt with the attendances of Senators in this House. He had nothing else to say about the Bill except the attendances of Senators, and he mentioned particularly that the Seanad sat so few times in each year.

You mean Senator MacEllin.

I apologise. I mean Senator MacEllin. Surely Senator MacEllin cannot but be aware that there are men in this House who have given practically most of their lives to public affairs? There are many who spend days before debates preparing their cases, reading up data, seeking information in order to make themselves more worthy to sit here. The Senator said that the function of a Senator was simply to come here and sometimes say a few words and then go out again. That is nothing less than a travesty; it is playing the fool with the true position. Senators must remember that there are committees. I wonder has the Senator sat on these committees? There are Joint Committees, Committees of the House, Select Committees and Committees on Private Bills. There is any amount of work for Senators to do and most of us know it. As regards the question of attendance, Deputy Cleary in the other House dealt with it. I cannot help saying that there was a little support for that on the part of Senator Dowdall when he referred to the times this House had been counted out.

On a point of explanation, I referred to one occasion on which I objected, and said that a deliberate attempt was made to count the House out.


The Senator has made his point of explanation.

There was an effort to count the House out. Senator Colonel Moore was bringing forward a motion on a most important question, the question of the land annuities.

A certain Senator at the time invited all the other Senators within reach of him to go out of the room in order that he might count out the House and stop the discussion.


I am sure the House will accept that.

There have been various statements made with reference to this House. I have here a statement made by Deputy Cleary in the Dáil. He said:

"Could anybody ever take the work of that House seriously? Look at the records. Let us ask ourselves what was the average per cent. attendance from Senators from 1922 to the present time?"

He goes on:

"Except for three or four Senators the others practically ignored the institution altogether. They only came in their numbers to the Seanad when this Government got into power and when it found that it would be able, by obstructive tactics, to hold up the work of the Government. That cannot be denied.... Their own business even was of little interest to them when the Fianna Fáil Government came into power; they must all be at the Seanad to obstruct measures passed by the Dáil."

He said that cannot be denied. That is the type of statement that is being made in the country. That is the type of information given to the plain people. That is the type of statement upon which the present Government has based its claim to a mandate to wipe out, to abolish, the Seanad. What are the facts and the figures? We were asked for percentages, and here they are. This House consists of 60 members, as everyone here knows. The average attendance out of a possible 60 was as follows: 1922-23, 37; 1924, 37; 1925, 37; 1926, 40; 1927, 37; 1928, 41; 1929, 43; 1930, 43; 1931, 45; 1932, 45; 1933, 39. The average attendance for the period of the existence of the Seanad was more than 40. To the nearest integer, that would be 67 per cent. There are no comparable figures for the Dáil, and it is, therefore, hard to make calculations. Let us, however, take the year 1933, and apply the test of the attendance in the divisions in the Dáil. The average number of Deputies who voted in divisions in 1933 was 100 out of a House of 153, which is 65 per cent. The average attendance in this House was 67 per cent., so that the attendance here, over the period of the existence of the Seanad, was slightly higher than the attendance in the Dáil in 1933.

Why are these statements made about the attendance in this House? Is that the way to get down to facts and figures? Why are ignorant statements of this kind made—deliberate, lying statements? Perhaps I shouldn't put it quite that way. The statements were probably made by men who were too lazy to analyse the figures. I could say that there was a Senator in this House who, in the year 1931, made only two out of five possible attendances, who made five out of 36 possible attendances in 1932, 12 out of 51 in 1933 and three out of 16 in 1934. He attended on 22 occasions out of 108 in that period. I want to make no capital out of that. That Senator attended three times this year—on the three days that the Blueshirt Bill was being discussed in this House. I have not a word to say against that Senator. He is a member of the Fianna Fáil Party and he attended as often as his physical capacity permitted him. He deserves great credit for coming here at the behest of his Party and giving all the attendance that was possible for him to give. As I said, I want to make no capital of that but neither do I want the statement of the Deputy I referred to to get abroad and be believed—that Senators only came in in their numbers when this Government got into power and when the Seanad found it would be able, by obstructive tactics, to hold up the Government. I have given the figures. With the Fianna Fáil Party in power the average attendance in this House was 39, while the average attendance during the last three years of the Cumann na nGaedheal Administration was 43, 43 and 45. Instead of rolling in in their strength when Fianna Fáil came into power, to obstruct them in their national work, there was a larger attendance in the last three or four years of the Cumann na nGaedheal Administration than there has been since the present Government came into office. These figures can be analysed and replied to at the appropriate time.

The charge has been made that this House is not representative of, or responsible to, the people. There is a distinguished man in this House to-day—the President of the Executive Council—who sat on a Joint Committee in 1928. He was one of those who put forward the view that this House should not be directly elected by, or directly responsible to, the people. He stated the reason—that later on it might lead to a clash of authority. I cannot help feeling that the President—he may, perhaps, choose to deal with this in his speech—had in mind that, by removing this House from its direct responsibility to the people, he was weakening this House and putting it in the position in which he now finds it—a position in which those who have the power and opportunity are trying to destroy it. There is no point in the charge made by Fianna Fáil spokesmen that this House is not responsible to the people when one of those who created the position whereby the House is not directly responsible to, and elected by, the people is the President of the Executive Council. They cannot have it both ways.

There can be only three reasons why this House is being abolished by the present Government. The first is that the Government is acknowledging the authority of the only power on earth as they say that is competent to give them orders and instructions—the people. They claim that they are abolishing this House because the people have so ordered and have given them a mandate for so doing. The second is that they will not have a Second Chamber; on principle, therefore, this House should go. The third is on the question of expediency— that it is best in their political interests that they should get rid of the Second Chamber. These can be the only three reasons for the abolition of the Seanad. With regard to the question of a mandate, Senator Sir John Keane said—I paraphrase his words—that more tosh was talked about the people's will than about any conceivable subject affecting the affairs of the country. That is quite true. To say that any Party going before the people at election times with a manifesto covering every single phase of the nation's life and activities get a specific mandate in respect of one of these matters, mentioned at the bottom of the manifesto, is absurd. I am surprised that anybody should interpret that as a direct mandate to take action.

Referring more specifically to the mandate which is claimed to have been obtained in the elections of 1932 and 1933, what were the big issues before the people then? I am not going to stress this matter beyond a few sentences. What was the case made then? What were the factors which brought about the return of the Fianna Fáil Party to power in 1932? The factors were these: The people were tired of the Cumann na nGaedheal Administration and wanted a change. In the second place, they voted for Fianna Fáil because of the promises held out by spokesmen of the Fianna Fáil Party. In the third place, the people said: "Let us give the de Valera policy a trial." These were the three factors which brought about the result by which Cumann na nGaedheal was ousted from office and its place taken by the de Valera Administration. Was there any specific mandate as regards the abolition of the Seanad? Was the issue as to the abolition of the Seanad predominantly before the minds of the people when they voted in a majority for Fianna Fáil in 1932? What happened in 1933? The result showed that Cumann na nGaedheal had not yet returned to favour with the people and that the people felt that they had not yet given the de Valera Administration a sufficient trial. They felt that that Administration had not been long enough in office to be tried out. They also wanted to strengthen the hands of President de Valera in bringing the economic war to a successful issue. In my humble opinion, those were the factors that dominated the elections of 1932 and 1933.

I want to know what percentage of the people understood the position in regard to the mandate. If the people are to give any Party in this country a mandate, then I submit that the facts must be put fairly before them. Were the facts put fairly before the people? What did spokesmen of Fianna Fáil— lots of them—say in respect of the Seanad? What references did they make to it? They said this: That the Seanad is dominated by the garrison crowd and by the Freemasons; that their work was to mutilate measures and to obstruct the Government in carrying on its national work. It was on statements such as these that the people were asked to give a mandate to the Government to abolish the Seanad. My third point is that if the present Administration feel that they have a mandate then they can only claim that they have a qualified mandate. In their election manifesto it was set out that they were asking to be allowed to abolish the Seanad "as at present constituted." If the mandate was to abolish the Seanad that and that only would be set out in the manifesto. The interpretation to be placed upon what they set out in their manifesto is this: that the Seanad as at present constituted should go, the inference being that another Seanad, differently constituted with perhaps different powers, should take its place. I submit that they got no absolute mandate to abolish the Seanad. I wanted to give a reference on that matter, a reference made by the President himself, which would have been very interesting, but as I cannot find it at the moment I will pass on.

Perhaps we may be able to help the Senator.

Would you help me, Mr. President?

It was where the President spoke of safeguards for the people: that the best safeguard for the country would be an educated people who would recognise the issues put before them at election times.

We will find that for the Senator in a moment.

Thank you. I desire to refer to another statement that the President made on the Second Reading of the Bill in the Dáil. I would ask him, if he does not consider it too presumptuous on my part, to deal with this in his concluding speech here to-day. The President, when speaking in the Dáil, said:—

"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"

With all respect, I would ask the President to set out in his concluding speech before this House who are the present day political thinkers who are coming, or have come, to the conclusion that Single Chamber government is the wisest. I have been looking up this matter and I cannot find any reputable persons who are of that opinion. Take the greatest writers on political science in Europe—Esmein, Duguit and Barthélemy. Every one of these was in favour of two-Chamber government and have so expressed themselves. I merely want to ask the President to support, by some data, his contention that most of the political thinkers in Europe, men of any repute, are coming more and more to favour Single Chamber government. As regards the advocates of Single Chamber government in England there is only one, Professor Harold Laki, the mouthpiece of the extreme wing of a Socialist group led by Sir Stafford Cripps whose recent references in certain respects did not meet with the approval of most of those in the Labour Party in England. In England, he is the one man of any repute who, in his writings, has favoured Single Chamber government. If there are any others then I am simply asking that we should have their names put before us.

There does not exist a single democratic constitution in the world which gives to a bare majority in a Single Legislature the powers which will be enjoyed by a bare majority in the Dáil if this House is abolished. This country will then be unique in that respect. I do not think it is a thing of which we should feel particularly proud: that we have thrown aside the experience of other countries and are going to give to a bare majority in a Single Chamber greater powers than are enjoyed by a Single Chamber in any other country on the face of the globe. Under the constitutions of other countries, where the principle of Single Chamber government has been introduced, safeguards have been provided against the abuse of power by the majority. You have cases where the law can be challenged by the method of the initiative and the referendum. You have cases where, through an independent President or a minority in the House, measures are submitted to a referendum, or you have the case referred to by Senator MacLoughlin—the case of Finland—where a minority can hold up a Bill until it has been passed by a newly elected Assembly after a dissolution. In practically all these countries there are safeguards of some value; safeguards much greater than those which will be provided here if the Second Chamber is abolished. In Spain you have a new Constitution. It is the work of Socialists and is ultra-democratic in its form. But the Legislature there is bound by the Constitution. A strong Constitutional Court has been set up which exercises a big controlling power on the Cortes in many respects. This Constitutional Court can reject any measures affecting the Constitution passed by the Cortes. Proposals to amend the Constitution are only effective if they are carried in the House by a two-thirds majority in the first four years, and an absolute majority thereafter. The assembly is then automatically dissolved and the Constitutional change comes into force only if it is carried in the new Assembly.

In regard to the question of policy of the present Government, based upon certain acceptances and certain principles arising largely out of inquiries and investigations made by spokesmen in favour of the Bill, may I refer to the statement made by the President in the Dáil? Speaking on the Second Reading of the Bill, he said:

"It was suggested by some speakers on the other side that all the theorists and practical people who have been engaged in the task of moulding constitutions have been in favour of the Two Chamber Parliament. That is not so. America has reminded me of it. Franklin was no mean political thinker. He stood for the Single Chamber. Adams was no mean political thinker. He stood for the Single Chamber."

The President says that as regards America, the two names which came at once to his mind were those of Franklin and Adams. They were the first names he mentioned in his opening and concluding speeches on the Second Reading in the Dáil. Members of this House who are opposed to this measure have dealt with certain persons mentioned by the President in his speeches on this Bill in the Dáil. Let me deal with the first two that he cited. He says that Benjamin Franklin was in favour of a Single Chamber. He was, but all Franklin's views on government were doctrinaire and academic and all his practical efforts in constitution-making were singularly unsuccessful. The Constitution of Pennsylvania, one of the States of the United States of America, was drafted by Franklin in the year 1776. He carried his views into operation in respect of the Constitution of that Assembly. He embodied there his two favourite ideas of a unicameral Legislature and a plural Executive. With what result? The Constitution of Pennsylvania was the least successful of the Constitutions set up in the United States in that period. It was established about the time of the American War of Independence. The Single Chamber system of government was established in 1776. It was abolished, if I may use the word, in 1790. It lasted 14 years. The great effort of Franklin, whom the President quoted, resulted in this, that the Constitution of Pennsylvania lasted only 14 years and was replaced by a bi-cameral legislature. So much for Franklin. It is interesting in that connection to note that when they were framing the Federal Constitution of the United States there was only one serious proposal in favour of One Chamber Government contained in what was called the New Jersey Plan. It was brought forward by some of the delegates from the smaller States. Its object was to prevent the establishment of a new Federal Constitution, to make permanent a system by which the States would be practically independent of any kind of central control. It would have continued the system then known in the United States as the "Continental Congress," which was little more than a meeting of delegates from the various allied States. During the discussion of the plan there was a lot of criticism of the system of Single Chamber Government. John Wilson, a well-known writer of the American Revolutionary periods, said:

"Is there no danger of legislative despotism? Theory and practice both proclaim it. If the legislative authority be not restrained there can be neither liberty nor stability; it can only be restrained by dividing it within itself, into distinct and separate branches. In a Single House there is no check but the inadequate one of the virtue and good sense of those who compose it."

These words are very applicable in the present position. I think Senator Brown very largely voiced them in another way. The New Jersey plan was dropped. As soon as it was decided that there should be a Federal Government it was taken for granted by all the delegates that the Legislature should be bicameral. The question discussed was not whether there should be a Senate, but the method of election to the Senate; how it should be constituted. When speaking in the Dáil the President said: "Adams was no mean political thinker. He stood for a Single Chamber." I do not know exactly to which Adams the President referred. There were only two Adamses to whom he could make reference as constitution moulders. One was Samuel Adams, and the other John Adams. Both of them were in favour of the Two Chamber system of government. Let us take Samuel Adams, who was relatively an unimportant person. He may have in the early days of the struggle with Britain made some references in favour of a Single Chamber administration, when he was leading the Radical Opposition in the Assembly of Massachusetts against the Conservative majority in the Council. There is no proof of that whatever, but there is positive proof that when the Constitution of Massachusetts was being drafted it was submitted to a committee of which Samuel Adams was one. They were referred to as "the brace of Adamses." The second was John Adams. The Constitution they drafted embodied a bicameral system of legislation. Therefore it cannot have been Samuel, but John, the President referred to. John Adams was a great constitution moulder. He was the first Vice-President and the second President of the United States. He was one of the draftsmen of the Federal Constitution of the United States, and was the first Minister at the Court of St. James in Great Britain. He was the first Minister-Plenipotentiary to come to Europe after the revolutionary period, when he came to seek a treaty of peace and commerce with Great Britain. That was the history of John Adams. What did he say?

The President said of John Adams— I am sorry I have to mention it again—"Adams was no mean political thinker. He stood for a Single Chamber." I want the House to note this in that context. There were friends of John Adams living in the State of Virginia, and these friends requested his views on constitution-making and moulding. John Adams embodied his views in a booklet entitled Thoughts on Government. It was an outstanding book, in this respect, of that revolutionary period. What did John Adams say in that booklet? Here is what he said:

"I cannot think that a people can be long free, nor ever happy whose Government is in one Assembly."

I think if a case were to be put forward for the continuance and maintenance of this House, it is embodied in these cogent, simple but telling words of John Adams. I take it that is the John Adams to which the President referred, because he was incomparably the most distinguished of the Adamses, and must be regarded as the constitution moulder referred to by the President, and one of the most prominent persons in the United States. John Adams proceeded to cite authoritative arguments against a Single Chamber, showing how a majority could alter the constitution, could co-opt additional members, could prolong its own existence and could continue to rule against the good sense of the people. Another quotation:—

"A Single Assembly possessing all powers of government would make arbitrary laws for their own interest and adjudge all controversies in their own favour."

He wanted a Second Chamber as "a distinct and independent branch of the legislature and to have a negative on all laws." His ideas were reflected in the Constitutions of Virginia and Massachusetts. Both these Constitutions stood out particularly strongly for Second Chambers. The system of government in these two States was, of course, bicameral and these Constitutions were the strongest and the most successful in the United States. As the Constitution of Massachusetts endures to this day, John Adams's handiwork is there to be seen. I will give a little more evidence in that respect. Before the Federal Constitution of the United States was set up, there was already in existence the Constitutions of the various States, that afterwards went to form the Federal Constitution. John Adams was sent as the first line of Ministers to the Court of St. James. While there he engaged himself in certain controversies and amongst other things wrote A Defence of the Constitution of Government of the United States in favour of the bicameral system of government in his own country against Turgot and other writers of the French Revolutionary period. In this John Adams suggested that “the rich, the well-born and the able” should be set apart from other legislators in a Senate. Senator Sir John Keane would like that.

But when John Adams came back to America, his treatises on methods of Government were there before him and the Americans noted his attitude in that respect, and when he offered himself for the first Presidency of the United States against George Washington, as a direct result —and this is set out by contemporary writers—of his attitude rather bearing an aristocratic flavour, which, I am sure, he imbibed during his sojourn in England and on the Continent, he was beaten for the first Presidency of the United States by George Washington by 69 votes to 34. I admit he made a fairly good show. He was there and then elected Vice-President, and later he succeeded George Washington as second President of the United States.

May I say one word in regard to Franklin, the other person quoted, to whom I have already referred? An overwhelming body of opinion in America was in favour of the Two Chamber system, and when the Federal Convention was summoned to draw up the Federal Constitution, a motion "that the national Legislature ought to consist of two parts" was carried unanimously. There was not a single dissentient. It is on record that the delegates from Pennsylvania, where Benjamin Franklin was the biggest man, abstained from voting, so when the motion was put that the system be a bi-cameral system, it was perfectly obvious they were in favour of the motion. They stated afterwards that they did not vote, "out of consideration to Dr. Franklin, who was known to be partial to Single Chamber government." Benjamin Franklin, that important man in the affairs of the United States, is cited by the President as having in a way given him a line on this question, and he is quoting him as a person who had convictions that a Single Chamber Government is best for the people, but the delegates of his own State did not follow him at the Convention. Out of consideration for Franklin, they refused to vote. Senators, who are members of the Fianna Fáil Party, may also refrain from voting out of consideration for the attitude of the Government towards this House. They may, or may not. But I hope that when history comes to record this event, and when certain statesmen in other countries are making a case for the abolition of the Second Chamber in their countries, they will not cite the action of Senators in the Free State Seanad as being of any importance when these Senators vote in favour of this Bill. I do not want to impugn the motives of any man, but somehow I have the gravest doubts in regard to the sincerity of many of the Senators who will give their votes in favour of a Bill to abolish a House to which they belong, when no case has been made for the abolition of that House and when every possible conceivable argument has been put up as to why it should not be abolished.

It was the President himself who referred to the dictum that it is probably better to obey the law even if you do believe that the law is wrong. What did the Government expect this Seanad to do when those all-important measures came before the House, when the Bill to extend the franchise in the local elections was before the House, and when many of us believed that the franchise should not be extended to allow the younger and, perhaps, more foolish people in this country to vote, that they should not be asked to immerse themselves unduly in the management of local affairs? What could we have done? Voted against our consciences, beliefs or opinions? What should we have done when the Blueshirt Bill came before the House? What could Senators have done? Were they expected to depart from everything which they had held, in a political way, as always sacred in the formation of their convictions, and just simply vote for the Government? Was that what was expected? I do not know. My opinion is that it would be better for the Seanad to go out in credit rather than remain here discredited. I look to Senators, while they are here, to speak out their convictions, to express them fairly and honestly, and vote accordingly. This Seanad has not been so dominated at all by one particular type of politics. I know I have been pulled over the coals on some occasions for having voted with the Fianna Fáil Party on certain proposals, and I know that Senator Wilson has also been pulled over the coals for a like reason. I think that it should be possible for level-headed, reasonable-minded men to come here and to vote according to their lights and their judgment without having one result—the result which the present administration is endeavouring to bring about here—the abolition of the House itself, and all because Senators choose to record their votes honestly and fairly.

There are in this House some eminent men and if the House is abolished the nation will be all the poorer for losing their assistance in its public affairs. There are others, like myself, who play a very insignificant and inconspicuous part in the deliberations. We shall not be missed but the country will be all the poorer for losing a House that has provided, and is likely to provide, a safeguard for the liberties of the people. The President, I think, should have some regard for the opinions of responsible people who have given this subject close thought and consideration. I think the penalty which he is endeavouring to inflict upon very honest men is entirely unworthy of him. The country, as I said, will be all the poorer, but I hope the country will not wake up when it is too late. I cannot do better than close in the words of John Adams, who said:

"I cannot think a people can be long free nor ever happy whose Government is in one Assembly."

The Senator who has just spoken suggested that it was the intention of the Government to inflict penalties upon some people. This Bill is not brought in to inflict penalties on anybody. This Bill is brought in, in the interests of good government in this country, and to enable the Irish people to march along the road they have determined for themselves. There are two questions at issue here. There is, first of all, this question as it affects this present Assembly, and there is the more fundamental question as to whether it is wiser to have a unicameral or a bicameral system of Legislature. Perhaps I should deal with them separately in that order, but before I deal with them at all I want to let the Seanad understand that I did not make the case at the start for the Bill, either in regard to this House as it is at present constituted or in regard to the question of having a Second Chamber at all. I think that it is reasonable to put the onus for proving that there should be a Second Chamber, either this existing one, or some other, on those who hold that it is necessary or wise. And why? I have given my reasons to the Dáil, and, I think, very complete reasons. If there is in any machine, whether a human machine or a material one, some part that complicates the working, and that does not seem to be essential to the machinery, is not the onus of showing that that incumbrance should be continued in existence on those who say it ought to be so continued?

They have shown it.

I shall come to that. I am speaking, at the moment, of the reasonableness of my attitude in putting the onus upon those who hold that view. I will come later to the question how far my challenge is met. At the moment I am simply stating the reason for the method I have adopted. I said in any piece of machinery, if there is a part that does not seem necessary, and is a complication to the machine, the duty of showing that that should continue to exist is on those who say that it should. I said, and gave the reasons for it in the Dáil, that a Second Chamber does not seem to be essential, at all, to the idea of representative government.

A Senator

It is like an appendix.

It does not seem to be essential. If it can be shown to have any really useful function I, for one, and the Government with me, have an open mind even yet, if it can be shown to have a useful function. We have an open mind, and when I come to conclude and deal with the arguments put forward, I shall be able to show, I think, that there has been no case made yet, anyhow, for a Second Chamber in our circumstances.

Now I said it is not essential to the idea of representative government. When we talk about a system of legislation, and about the theory of government, let us bear in mind, particularly when referring to history, that it is only comparatively recently—in the middle of the 19th Century—that you have anything like the acceptance of the theory or practice of representative government as we understand it to-day. And when we talk about machinery I would point out that even ordinary material machines are developing. Certain parts exist at one stage; some new ideas are introduced; the whole idea is overhauled, and by the introduction of some new parts, parts that were essential in the previous period are discarded as quite unnecessary. There have been developments in this idea of representative government. There has been constant development in the admission of the right of the people to govern themselves. My case, as regards historical development is mainly this; that we are drawing a wrong conclusion from our historical parallels. I would remind Senators that if they look at my speeches they will see that whenever I have introduced any appeal to history it has been to show that the conclusion sought to be drawn by those who had already appealed to history did not follow. Now, it did happen that some of the names I referred to were from the revolutionary, or advanced progressive side. It was inevitable, in the nature of things, that that should be so. You do not expect me to be able to quote people who stood for the existing system at the time, as in favour of change, any more than I expect that the people in this House, who regard their votes now as valuable to maintain certain interests and privileges of their own, would vote to give away that power. It was, also, in the particular nature of things that if I had to quote anybody I had to quote people who, in their day, were regarded as advanced politicians and thinkers and were in the line of subsequent advances. Many of them had been before their time. And, mind you, I am one of those quite prepared to admit that it may be unwise to do to-day what it might be wise to do to-morrow; because circumstances may change from day to day and all the circumstances have to be taken into account when action is proposed.

A great deal of play was made with the names I mentioned. As a matter of fact, in the case of one phrase, I used it simply because it crystallised the situation, and has been quoted by the most conservative authors and writers. I quoted a saying of the Abbé Sieyes, namely, that "a Second Chamber, if it concurs with the first, is an unnecessary complication of the machinery, and if it differs from the first it is mischievous." I quoted that statement, which is frequently quoted by conservative writers, not because I was appealing to Sieyes as a person whose character was going to inspire us. You might as well ask me if I appealed to the character of Pythagoras if I spoke of the square on one side of a right-angle triangle being equal to the squares of the other two sides. It has nothing to do with the question; I was quite right in the Dáil, and all this poor miserable attempt to make political capital out of a matter of that sort ought to be repugnant to this Assembly or any other Assembly. My effort was an attempt at the crystallisation in a phrase of one of the prime fundamental difficulties in connection with the question of a Second Chamber.

Now I have been taken up on the authorities, as they are called, that I cited. I did not cite them as authorities, but I did so to show that as thinkers and writers they were on the one side. Several historical parallels were mentioned. I shall try to deal with some of them. It has been said about Franklin that he was unsuccessful. But let us remember the period—1776 to 1790—the very period of all this question and all this talk about Constitutions in the United States, the period of revolution. Surely, we cannot say, under circumstances like that, when the central authority was finally decided to be that of a Two Chamber government, that there was a fair trial. Before I would be convinced that it got a fair trial, I would have to know all the circumstances. I submit that there is nobody here, who has either the time or the opportunity or who, if he were to devote his whole life to it, could possibly fully examine this question, which means the whole question of the history of every State in the world for 150 years; and to draw conclusions, simply because in the one case it failed and in another case it succeeded, without knowing all the facts, is, to my mind, proving nothing. You do not prove anything. I have not pretended to prove anything by these references to history. I simply said that we had Hamilton, for example, who was the practical man, and Franklin, who was the theorist. Franklin, it was suggested, was the man whose theories were put into practice and worked out. That is not the fact. Hamilton's theory of government was not accepted by the Convention. When the system was accepted he was one of its best protagonists, without a doubt, but to suggest that he was the man who drafted this Constitution of the United States, which we have seen working, is nonsense.

Again, another mistake that we fall into constantly in this matter is to confound the two systems, where you have a Federal State and a Unitary State. I admitted, both in the Dáil and here, that where you have a federal system and where there is, on the one hand, the equality of individuals as voters to be considered in the State as a whole, and when you have federal units where they insist on equal recognition, there is a very simple way of giving them that by means of a Second Chamber. In the United States that Federal Constitution was adopted largely because you had States that fought for their independent sovereignty and were not prepared to disappear completely in a unitary system.

And they are there yet.

Now, in a federal system there is obviously a place for a Second House. I do not say that there is a need for it, but it does enable a compromise to be arrived at. I am not one of those who do not realise that, in dealing with practical issues, from day to day, compromises have to be effected. In this case of the United States a compromise was effected and a totally and fundamentally different system was adopted from the system that obtains here or in Great Britain. I said, in trying to get people to think more accurately, and to draw more accurate conclusions from the study of history, that it was more or less accidental that you had this Second Chamber associated with representative government at all. It was due largely to the fact that just before the French Revolution—at about the same time as in America—you had got political thinkers who were looking around for examples of successful government, and the most successful example they could find at the time was the British example. You had there a Second House. They tried to examine it and find out its functions, and finally adopted a system of Second Chamber, but there is not the slightest doubt that the historical existence of Second Chambers is due largely to the fact that there was a Second Chamber in existence in Great Britain.

Before I pass away from this question of history, I should like to make another point. It is said, and again I question it—and, mind you, all my answers to people have been simply on the question of whether their conclusions are rightly drawn and whether they are following naturally, logically, or even reasonably, from the facts—but it is said, and no suggestion has been more frequent during the whole debate here and in the Dáil, that the existence of a Second Chamber was the great safeguard to the people's liberties. It is rather strange that we should find another note struck by Senator Sir John Keane. It is not the people's liberties—these are not really in his mind or, I suggest, in the minds of a large number of us. It is not so much the people's liberties, as they themselves would judge their liberties, but the liberties that we would condescend to think good for the people. That is a different sort of thing. I say that what history proves is that a Second Chamber is not a defence of the people's liberties or of the rights that are natural, or the rights even that are admitted to be the people's rights. I say that Second Chambers have not prevented despotism. If there is one conclusion that stands out definitely from this whole talk about history, it is that dictators have come along, with physical force behind them, and that they have swept aside Two Chamber Governments with just as little ceremony as they swept aside One Chamber Governments—and I have no doubt the same would have occurred here. I have no doubt whatever about it, and I make bold to say that if what the people feared should have occurred with regard to the Blueshirts, this Seanad would not stand in the way of a dictatorship.

Go back in history. We heard about Bulgaria, or some place where they have had a dictatorship established recently, we are told, because of a Single Chamber Government. We hear reference also to the original French Assembly when the quarrel with the king was just beginning, and a Single Chamber Government was instituted, and that France learned so much from it that they never went back to that system since. That is the same sort of argument as we had a few moments ago about Pennsylvania. What was the period in which this occurred? I would say that if there is any lesson to be learned from the French Revolution, it is not to try by methods of coercion to stand in the way of the legitimate rights of the people: not, by means of coercion, to keep the people in indigence; but wisely to try, by looking ahead, to give to the people their rights and to enable them to provide themselves with the things which they believe they have a God-given right to get. That is the lesson we have got from history—at least in such a manner as I have been able to read it. All these checks that operate in one direction only are, in my opinion, the things that go before revolution and that bring revolution about.

Now, with regard to what we are to learn from France. The lesson we are to learn from France is this: France has got a Two Chamber Government. They had actually, I think, a Three Chamber Government when Napoleon took charge, and it is rather interesting to me, by the way, when I think of it, that Sieyes was made one of Napoleon's first Senators. However, this whole question of what we are to deduce from French history is this: You had a Three-Chamber Government when Napoleon got into power, and a Two Chamber Government when his nephew came along afterwards and took charge.

Cromwell has been quoted in the Lower House. But he did not come into existence and retain power because or through a Second Chamber. He came into power by sweeping aside the King and both Chambers practically. It is the same way if you look to the Continent. Parliamentary systems as we understand them, representative systems, have been swept away, and they have been swept away notwithstanding the fact that there were Two Chamber there. Therefore, the Two Chamber Government does not give the people an adequate protection against dictators. The only way we can have adequate protection against dictators is by constantly being on guard——

The people. It is very interesting to sneer. There was not that sneering a short time ago in the Seanad when very severe actions were being taken in the name of the will of the people. There was nothing vague or indefinite about it then. There were no qualifications then about the will of the people or the rights of the people. We must have some foundation somewhere for government. You are going to have a foundation based on strong armed forces or you are going to have a foundation based upon reason and what appeals to the average person as right. I am quite prepared to argue on that; but if we are to have any basis upon this, then let us not argue with each other, because it is arguing in vain.

I am quite prepared to argue—and I am arguing this on the basis that we all admit what is here in the Preamble to the Constitution—that all lawful authority comes from God to the people and coming to the people has to be exercised on behalf of the people by their properly elected representatives. I have to start somewhere and I start there. I can only argue with people who are prepared to take that foundation. Of course, if we have Senators who think that they have some divine right because they were born with a silver spoon to govern or rule—they must logically be driven back to base their rights upon power. But if they do, they will have people to dispute that. We have had that in the past.

We have people, military leaders and others, who started out and got power to rule through the physical forces that they could command. As time passed the people accepted it very often because to change it might lead to worse conditions. There is a natural conservatism about us and there is inertia. Finally, when the ruling was not done in the interests of the people, when the people began to see that that rule was not in their interests, they began to ask this question—by what right do these people hold sway over us? Then you have the germ of the idea that has been developed and which became representative government.

I am arguing on the basis that we accept that proposition which is quoted here from the Constitution— that we admit that the people are the sovereign authority here and that their will must ultimately triumph and that anybody who takes the opposite line has got to prove his case. What is the conclusion that I draw from history in regard to this question of a bicameral legislature? It is this—that it tells us very little. Looking around at any rate, with a slight modification of that argument, looking around at the big States it is said they have the bicameral system because it is right. Now, that may or may not be true, and I am willing to give it full force by saying that it works in places and in other places it does not work.

The argument is one that we cannot brush aside lightly—the argument that the most important and influential States have this bicameral system. Naturally we ask how it comes about and then we get into this—the large part that was played by the two Chamber system in Great Britain and America. But we find that the modern States who have got the unicameral system are small States. Again the case is misrepresented there. The argument is that because they are small they are of no importance. But these are the States who got their liberties in comparatively recent times and it is only in these countries that the people were faced with the problem as to what form their legislature shall take.

I am challenged to show one single example of a successful unicameral State. There is one instance in Norway which from 1914 has been a unicameral State. It is quite true that it is divided up. There is a second discussion but it is not a Second Chamber. It is not a Second Chamber of the type that we have been arguing about here. Now, as to the modern States again, I was compelled to show that that argument was not on one side and I had to choose from those progressive States. These modern States had a problem to solve and they decided it the first time. In the other States inertia holds still. Nearly everybody in Great Britain thinks the House of Lords should be changed. They have been at it a long time. All their thinkers have considered it and they have had all the experience that their history gives them. Yet with all this they have not been able to get a basis on which to come to a reasonable agreement as to a substitute for the House of Lords. The House of Lords is retained there still because it is part of their political history and traditions and it gives certain classes in the community certain privileges.

But the moment it comes to a clash with what the majority of the people's representatives hold to be in the interests of the nation, the moment the clash occurs, as it may, the issue becomes knit. They will have to do something about it. They will have presumably much the same arguments there that we have here. I would like to pass away from the historical side of it for we can derive very little instruction in that respect as to what is best for ourselves. If we can honestly examine it with open minds and if we can prove the thesis, we will get arguments on one side and another, because this is a matter on which people will hold different views. I do not think I could do better than read what John Stuart Mill says about this question. It was questioned why I quoted him as an authority in favour of Single Chamber government. I want to say again that my whole argument was misrepresented. I was not appealing to anybody to prove a case for a unicameral system. I simply wanted to say that there was no conclusive case proved for a Double Chamber and, as I hope later to show, this is a question that has to be faced in its many aspects. This question has already taken a good deal of time. It is a question that is worth considerable discussion, and the time spent on it is well spent.

A Senator

Take time enough with it and the Seanad will never be abolished.

I did not quote Mill as an authority for Single Chamber government. Here is what he says, and it is evidence out of the mouths of my opponents:

"Of all topics relating to the theory of representative Government, none has been the subject of more discussion, especially on the Continent, than what is known as the question of the Two Chambers. It has occupied a greater amount of the attention of thinkers than many questions of ten times its importance and has been regarded as a sort of touchstone which distinguishes the partisans of limited from those of uncontrolled democracy. For my own part, I set little value on any check which a Second Chamber can apply to democracy otherwise unchecked, and I am inclined to think that if all other constitutional questions are rightly settled, it is but of secondary importance whether the Parliament consists of two Chambers or only of one."

In other words, his conclusion, having studied the matter and having thought about it, was, as I said in the Dáil, that there was too much pother about this question.

And he is dead a long time.

Having spoken in the previous sentence of what, if there was to be a Second Chamber, was the best Constitution and having stated: "It is that"—I will read it because it deals with another aspect of our question—"which embodies the greatest number of elements exempt from the class interests and the prejudices of the majority but having, in themselves, nothing offensive to democratic feeling," his conclusion is:

"I repeat, however, that the main reliance for tempering the ascendency of the majority cannot be placed in a Second Chamber of any kind. The character of a representative government is fixed by the constitution of the popular House. Compared with this all other questions relating to the form of government are insignificant."

Now, I wonder whether the Seanad will agree with me in saying that we can really pass away from all this reference to history which we only partially know and which is, like most history, written partially. We see what happens when a certain line of action is taken, but we have never had the opportunity of seeing what would have happened if the alternative, which was probably offered at the time, had been followed and all history, to that extent, concluding from the final results, shows only one thing, and that is, the effect of following the line adopted, but you are never really able to think logically or closely about what would have happened if the alternatives which were presented at the time had been followed instead. We can think about them, but we cannot appeal to history about them because they have not been history.


Might I interrupt to say that Senator Douglas dealt rather lucidly with the question of John Stuart Mill? Do you make your statement as a reply to his, because he referred to a statement in which Mill suggested that bicameral governments are very valuable?

I am speaking with reference to the arguments which have been put forward.


That is what I suggest. Senator Douglas put forward an argument——

I beg leave to make my speech in my own way.


I thought it was a reply.

I presume I am replying. I am replying to a series of arguments which have been put forward as appeals to history.


You did not listen to some of the arguments——

With all respect, I listened very patiently to a personal attack. I am making, I contend, a reference to the arguments which have been addressed to this subject by other members.


Might I point out to you that Senator Douglas made a statement about Mill and stated that you had said certain things? Do you agree with what he says or do you not?

I am not accustomed to the Rules of Order of this House——


Very well.

——but certainly what has been done now would not have occurred in the Dáil.

And ought not to have occurred here.


Proceed in your own way. I pointed out that it was a reply to criticism——

How could the President be expected to reply to every argument and every speech of the 50 or 60 speeches delivered here?

My first point was to state why I adopted the method I had adopted of putting the onus of proving their case on those who said that a Second Chamber should continue. That argument, as I apprehended it, centred mainly about history and, in dealing with that history, I wanted to arrive at a certain conclusion and to ask those who listened to me to arrive at a certain conclusion. I think that all fair-minded people who try to read history, with the real object of learning from it and of drawing the proper conclusions from it, and not simply to make a case on the one side or the other, will admit that, on this question, the opinion of Mill, as expressed there, sums up the situation; that it does not prove anything for us; that we would have to know every circumstance much more thoroughly than we can expect to be able to know them; and that, in the end, we will come to the conclusion that we are giving an importance to a thing which to-day is of comparatively minor importance. That is the only conclusion I want to be drawn. If we are to speak about Mill's views, that is another matter.

I have, I repeat, whenever I have referred to such people, referred to them simply to show what were the views that have been held on this subject, and here was a case where Mill, summing up the whole question, says that he thought there was an unnecessary amount of discussion; that it did not merit the time spent on it, and that it was not then a fundamental question. I hold that it is not a fundamental question. Speaking of history—I do not know whether it is worth referring to—one of the Senators here purported to give a history of something that happened in 1916. I do not want to waste the time of the Seanad by reading it. I can only say it is untrue.

That is in regard to the Sunday?

In regard to the Sunday. It is quite untrue. I do not want to waste the time of the Seanad by giving the actual facts of that time—there are other places in which it can be done—but there are officers of my battalion who were there and who know it is quite untrue. The historical argument can then be put aside, and, finally, we have to ask ourselves what other arguments are put forward for the retention of the Seanad—simply saying that it works. That is just the question here. Does it work? I am not now using the word "work" in the sense of "labour" or asking the question in the sense of "Do the Senators do their work?" I am sure that nobody will think that 40 or 60 people could come here and devote themselves to any subject without doing some useful work, and I have not been one of those who have attacked the Seanad on the ground that they have not done their work or been attentive to their duty or anything of that sort. I have spoken of this Seanad in this regard, that the majority of its members hold very definitely political views which are not the views of the majority of the Irish people. Senator Sir John Keane holds these views, for example, and other Senators hold them and you have only to mention their names, not to cause offence, but to give them as examples of the kind of political thought that is dominant in this Seanad, or was dominant, some time ago, and, in another direction, is becoming dominant as time goes on. This Seanad is not working here. Even if New South Wales did adopt this as a pattern we shall have to wait for 12 years or so, and I make the prediction that in 12 years' time, if there are changes of Government, the people of New South Wales will not be quite so happy about the method of selection of their Senators.

As was stated by Senator O'Hanlon, I was one of the people who proposed, not quite this method as the Senator will remember, but that the Seanad should be elected by the Dáil. I did it deliberately with the idea in my mind that we should not have in the Irish nation, during a period of transition, a body whose sentiments and whose political ideals were going to be permanently contrary to the ideals which I believed were held by the vast majority of the people. I believed that the result of that would be to create ultimately a Second Chamber the same as the First Chamber in political complexion: that is, that it would be chiefly drawn from the people and represent the people's views.

There was another aspect to which I was fully alive and which I believed, during the period of transition that Senator Johnson has referred to, would ultimately lead just to this sort of difficulty that we have here, a difficulty which I hold is inseparable from the system. You may talk as much as you like about the impartiality, the independence, and the serenity of the members of a Second Chamber of that kind, but it does not exist. We had a splendid example of that in the Cathaoirleach when he left the Chair and delivered that speech which is, if I were looking for one, the best condemnation that has been made of this House, because it showed the Cathaoirleach, who ought to be the most impartial member of this House, who above all others should have the Senatorial serenity, and who should be capable of looking at things from every angle, coming down from the Chair and delivering exactly the type of speech that would be made by the bitterest political opponent in the other House. If we are going to have an attitude like that from the members of the Seanad, let them go down to the Lower Chamber and get their authority from the people to talk in that manner.

I believe that this impartiality cannot be got when there are fundamental questions at issue such as there are in this nation at the moment. If you are going to have this House of the same political complexion as the Lower Chamber, you will have a majority of two, and the whole sky is going to fall if you have a majority of one. If this House were to continue and you were to have a majority here of the same political complexion as the Dáil, you would have a majority of two, and the whole world is going to be saved by the difference between a majority of one and a majority of two. It is perfectly absurd. I am not going to say that it is as easy to get a majority of two in two Houses as it is in one, but if you have, as you are bound to have with this system if it continues, a reproduction of the representation of the Lower House, it is either a step behind or it is in step. If it is in step, you have none of this protection, because the House here is going to be as subservient as Deputy MacDermot stated in the Dáil it had been to the previous Government. Senators here resent that.

I have heard political opponents in the Dáil speaking about the value of the Second Chamber. The amount of attention that can be paid to this as representing their real fundamental thought will be evidenced by this quotation:

"I wonder how long the Seanad is going to last. Personally, I would not mind if it were abolished to-morrow. We as a Party have not had the opportuinty of considering it. I think all citizens should think about the matter. There are some very able men in the Seanad, such as Senators Johnson, O'Farrell and Douglas, who would do better work in the Dáil. It seems to us that what functions the Seanad performs could be done by a certain development of the Committees Department and in that way we could dispense with the Seanad, and the room which the Seanad occupies could be used as a smoke room for members of the Dáil."

However, that is by the way.

Who was the speaker?

Deputy MacDermot, one of the leaders of the Opposition, It was published in the Nationalist and Leinster Times on 1st April, 1933, and was delivered on March 24th, 1933.

Deputy MacDermot?

Yes. I am sorry I had not that quotation when I was dealing with this matter in the other House. I only quote that as showing that on this matter of the utility of a Second Chamber the case is not at all proven and not at all clear. If it is an unnecessary complication, it should go. But if it does not work, if it blocks the whole machinery, then it ought to go certainly. I have been speaking about its constitution. If you are in step with the Lower House, a majority of two could be got as easily almost as a majority of one. If you are out of step, as is the case at present, what happens? If we are in office and have a majority in the Dáil, by the present method of election we may have a majority here. Our opponents may come along and, if the same attitude is adopted towards our opponents as is adopted towards us, you are clogging the machinery of government, making it more difficult in difficult times to govern, and I say that the Seanad has done this. I am not accusing the personnel of the Seanad of anything in particular. I do not say that they have any more original sin than the rest of us. I am simply appealing to the fact that they have the same amount and that this pretence that we can get an impartial Seanad will really deceive nobody who thinks deeply enough. Nobody so far seems to have been able to get at the Seanad that we have in our dreams. We have been pursuing this Seanad of our dreams whilst we close our eyes to the hard facts.

I shall recite some of the hard facts with regard to this Seanad and the present Government. Before I do it I want to explain that I am not saying that this Seanad is any worse than any other Seanad that would be composed in the same way and under the same conditions. I have been challenged by Senators with regard to Senator Jameson. I think already a member of the Executive Council has shown in what sense the words were used when he said: "You have the Jamesons." If I were speaking to-morrow I would say the "Sir John Keanes," because his mind and his attitude represent a certain thing, and I am sure he ought not to be ashamed of it.

Not in the least.

Very well. What offence is there if you want to indicate a certain attitude of mind that is known to the people, and whether you are speaking in abstract terms or in terms of the concrete? If I were speaking in that way of the attitude of Senator Bennett, the people in the country would understand me; it would be quite understood as typical, and it would not mean anything about the Senator personally, further than expressing his political views. I have been challenged with regard to Senator Jameson. A member of the Executive Council has used his name, and that Minister said to me even to-day that he only used the name because it was the first that came to his mind. He began thinking of a series of names of Senators who represented a certain political attitude, and the name of Senator Jameson, as one of the prominent Senators, came to his mind.

So far as my attitude is concerned, I would like to put this on record, if I may. I first met Senator Jameson in connection with the arrangements for the Truce in 1921. Seeing it was the aim of the British to show to the world that there was division here, I asked the representatives of the Unionists, a minority, to meet me in the hope that we might go with a united front in the interests of this country and not appear to be divided so that our opponents across the water could make play on the basis of a division here. On that occasion he, with the other members, rendered the assistance which I expected from them. They gave it fully and heartily. On a later occasion, having had that previous connection with Senator Jameson, and having, at the same time, been made aware that Senator Douglas—whether it was true or not; I was told he was—was interested in trying to bring around some arrangement of some kind, either about the Oath or something of that nature with the object of terminating hostilities in the civil conflict, when that question had to be dealt with—I asked them to meet me and they did. Again, I have nothing to say of their conduct, and I think I expressed in a letter—I sent a letter to either one or to both gentlemen to that effect—that I could not ask for people to act more impartially than they did. What is more, although their attitude was one of support of the Government of the day, they acted in a perfectly proper manner with regard to the Government which they were supporting. I just want to say that.

There is not any feeling of hostility whatever against the personnel as such, but there is naturally opposition to them on account of the difference of political views. The majority of the Irish people hold one view as to their interest and their good. It is the traditional view. Senators here whom I have mentioned, at least one of them— and Senator Sir John Keane might be classed amongst the others—are citizens of this country who must admit they are in the minority but their views as regards the welfare of this country are different from those of the others. The question is, who is to prevail? This Seanad as it was originally formed could certainly give power to the Second Chamber to hold up, and holding up at certain times means defeat. I will take the Blueshirt Bill. The Executive Council felt it was necessary to deal with a certain situation. I call it the Blueshirt Bill; it is called that, although, in fact, that is a misnomer, because it applies to all political uniforms. It was not a partisan Bill in that sense. It was introduced because there was a certain menace. Senators sit back and say: "Now, nothing has happened," but it is not through any wisdom on the part of Senators that it has not happened. It might very well have happened, and their action appeared to be a connivance at it. We might have had here what we saw recently taking place across the water —citizens who would be subjected to maltreatment by people who had banded themselves together as a military or semi-military body.

We came here pleading that it was not in the interests of peace in this country, that conflicts were bound to arise with, possibly, loss of life; that it was not possible to protect them, that it was putting an undue strain on our resources to protect people who were marching like that. We asked the Seanad, we who are immediately responsible, we who have a direct responsibility for preserving peace and order, to facilitate us. We came here with a Bill not to deprive anybody of his liberty. Surely you are not going to hold that it would deprive one of political liberty merely to say he must not march about in a semi-military uniform? Remember what was said across in Britain. The first thing is that you have a military uniform, a jacket, then a Sam Brown belt, and next you have the automatic pistol. We came along here and how were we treated? We were denied that power which we felt we needed. We were denied the passing of that law which we felt was necessary in the interests of peace.

Take the case of our predecessors here. There was no hesitation with regard to passing legislation, no time spent upon it to speak of. It was passed, and why? Ask yourselves honestly the question. If we were the Government of that day, would you have granted it? Put yourselves in the position in which you were at the time of the Uniforms Bill and ask yourselves honestly the question: If it was our predecessors who requested you to pass that Bill, would you have given it to them or not? If what we feared had taken place, if there was sufficient support in the country for that movement to have carried out its intentions, it would have been too late for the people who wanted to preserve their liberties to take action even if the Seanad then thought it might give them the power. It does not work therefore; we are not in step. That is going to happen to our successors. If we got a majority here our successors, in the period when it would be most important that they should get their measures through, would be held up because you would be politically opposed to them and would block them. The excuse suggested by Senator O'Hanlon was: Were you expected to vote against your own consciences? No, you were not.

Might I ask the President why, if there is that difficulty that he predicts—a constant antagonism between the two Houses— is it necessary to abolish this House in order to change its character?

I said there were two questions. I should have been clearer, perhaps, if I had dealt with them independently. There is the question of a Second House, whether it is necessary or advisable to the system, whether it does any real good to the particular position here. At the moment I was instancing the case here where you have this antagonism. It will not happen in New South Wales for a time because those elected are elected presumably by a majority of the Lower House, which has a Senate, therefore, probably of its own complexion, and it will work all right. It will work all right until a critical case arises. Suppose the majority in the Lower House—I use the terms Upper and Lower for convenience—want a measure of a social character or of some other character passed—a measure which, in their opinion, is for the well-being of the country. Time is of the essence of the measure, and the other House sits down to oppose that measure. Do you think that, in these circumstances, that Chamber will last any length of time? I predict now that it will not. If the issues are of any importance to the Government, they cannot continue to wait for that length of time.

Three months.


I think that the Senator should not interrupt.

I am surprised that Senators should interrupt, because I am saying nothing to hurt anybody. Some Senators are looking for argument, and I am giving them argument.

Senators are not attempting to interrupt. They are merely answering the questions which the President put.

I shall try to keep off rhetorical questions. We have here a Seanad which is opposed to the majority. Its members think politically, as has been proven. In fact, this is a political Chamber and you know it is. I am not finding fault with you when I say that. You are asked to deal with political questions and you cannot deal with them otherwise than politically. Because you have to function politically, there comes a clash at certain times. The question is whether these clashes can be permitted, whether or not they are in the general interest of the community. I hold that they are not. I hold, for instance, that the action of the Seanad in rejecting the Oath Bill was not justifiable, in view of the fact that the question had been before the country for a very long period. Senators may think differently. Somebody in the long run has to get a decision and, representing the majority of the people, we claim that the decision must be on our side. We claim that all the danger to the national interests, as we conceive them, that was involved by the holding up of that Bill at that time by the Seanad was not justifiable and cannot be justified. I say the same of the Uniforms Bill. I say that the character of the Seanad is shown by its attitude with regard to the Bill for the extension of the franchise. Of course, it will be said that these young people of 21 years have not got a stake in the country. The same argument could have been used against universal suffrage as a mode of election to the Dáil. I do not say that the analogy is perfect but the same argument, in substance, was used against adult suffrage. We know the old question—vote by class or vote by head. That was the question at the beginning of the French Revolution. It remains the question. If we are going to stand fundamentally on this principle, we must have decision by the majority of the people, because there is no other way of having order. I am not going to say that any of these things is absolute but I do say here, as I said in the Dáil, that because the alternatives would be worse, not because the thing is perfect, we have got to accept this means of settling our political differences. This House, by its action, is standing in the way of that. It stood in the way of the two Bills I have mentioned. It stood in the way, as representing a class interest, in the case of the Local Government Bill, depriving certain people in Dublin of a special class register. Therefore, we have the hard fact that the arrangement does not work, that the Seanad is preventing it from working, that you are preventing the Government from doing things that are necessary and for which it has got the authority of the people.

Senators say: "Go back to the people." Are we to have elections every second day? I agree with the Senator who said that elections do not give you specific mandates in regard to a number of things. But I think that any fair person will say that, in our last two elections, we went to the trouble of setting out in detail our programme in a way that was never attempted by our predecessors. Since we came into office we have taken these items one by one and tried to carry them through. Because the Seanad was standing in the way of the advance we were ordered to make on behalf of the nation, we, at the last election, told the people that we would abolish the Seanad as then constituted. The manifesto contained a little more than the Senator quoted. I do not suggest that he gave only the part that suited himself, nor do I say that while meaning the reverse. The reference was: "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." The Senator knows that that was quite in line with my attitude on the Committee which was set up. I regarded the number of members as too great. I am quite honest with the Seanad when I say that I myself have had a hankering after a Second Chamber. I have felt, like most of you, impressed by the fact that things were so. I suppose I have not got rid yet of the prejudice that most of us have in connection with these matters. We have been educated in a particular school. Owing to the particular type of education we received, most of us have got a certain sort of reverence for the things that have been, for the political histories and theories before our time, and we have got this fear of the multitude, which was very pronounced 100 years ago, and which was largely responsible for the bringing of Second Chambers into existence. Most of us have read our Shakespeare and, while I should not draw quite the same conclusion from it that Senator Sir John Keane draws, we have been told from the days of ancient Greece how easy it is to lead the mob. The word "demagogue" had a terrible sound in our ears. We forget the change of circumstances. We use that word as those commenting on Greek history do in regard to a man who stood in front of his crowd and had practically the whole little State listening to him. It is not so easy these days to do that. Some petty attempts were made by Senators, including Senator Bennett, to try to get prejudice worked up. The people are not going to be fooled by that. You have influences at work to-day to get people to think. It is not a question of getting a small crowd and inciting them to action. I can tell Senator Sir John Keane that it is not merely what he would call the "uncultured crowd" that can be led off like that.

There is an old Irish proverb which says:

"Never give judgment until you have heard the other side of the story."

What was wrong, the old City states, was that the people sometimes came to a conclusion before they had heard the other side of the story, and then they were in the position that those who spoke to them last had the most effect. I hope it will be like that this time. But it is not so easy at all to move a whole nation. There is a newspaper proprietor, I think a member of the Seanad, and he is not going to say, I am sure, for one moment that a person can go down to a chapel gate, for example, and move a crowd to action and have the same effect on them in their ultimate action as his work, for instance, through his newspaper going in day after day. We have got a number of influences that are at work to-day which might temper this aristocratic fear that we have got; this autocratic dread of the multitude which some author who was quoted in the Dáil wrote of in this connection.

Now, we must have some determining authority. I take it the Seanad is not going to say that you are to determine and that if there is to be a definite decision that the decision should go on your side but you want to get very near it. You want to cripple the Government at a time when the Government should take action. You want to cripple a Government newly elected to office with a certain programme in the years in which that programme would be put into effect, and by those powers of delay carried too far and extended too much you are, in fact, claiming for your House to have an effective control. What is the value of your consultation and so on? I am willing to admit that it is a very valuable thing to get the opinions of the wise and the experienced in a community. I wish that they could be got and made available for the community. I think that is the wish of everyone in every country who has thought about government. Their hope was that you might, by a Second Chamber, get such, but you get them at a tremendous price. You get them at too great a price, I would say, and this nation at the present time, assuming that we have got them, is asked to pay too big a price to get them. The price demanded is too high.

It would be a valuable thing to get those opinions, but members of the Seanad want to be like a number of other people who will offer you advice. If you consult them they will want you not merely to consult them but to take their advice and act on it. I wish that we could get a consultative body of people who could be chosen for their advice, who would give their advice and would have no responsibility once they had given it. But you will not get people—that would be degrading to a Second Chamber—to act for you on those conditions and the price for their services, the price that they demand, is a price simply that you cannot pay if you are, fundamentally, going to rest on democratic principle.

I would sum up in this way: that history and reason and practical experience have not proved the case for a Second Chamber in general. I am willing to admit, even at this stage, to a hankering after some sort of Second Chamber—of check as far as mere revision is concerned. If that was the only function it could very well be managed. There should not be much difficulty about arranging for revision. You can get that, as Deputy MacDermot said in the speech to which I have referred, by means of a slightly different arrangement. You will not get it by precisely the same people. What is the proportion I wonder of the Unionists in the Twenty-Six Counties? A very small proportion. When ultimately it filtered through a double system of proportional representation they would not have a very big number of representatives in this House, but my objection to it at any rate would still remain. The objection is that it would be out of step or in step. If it is in step, it will be no check and will be of very little use. If it is out of step it brings about a dangerous situation, a situation which the country ought not to face with equanimity.

There were a few suggestions that I have been misleading—the Cathaoirleach, particularly, in a whole page of what he read, laid stress on the suggestion—either this House or the Dáil or our people. I would not be permitted to characterise that as it should be characterised, but there was the suggestion about misrepresentations. I was placed first on the list of those who misrepresented the Seanad. I was the first of those who led this unfair attack on the Seanad. The Senator said that on the night on which the election was declared I called the Press and set the battle-cry of the campaign, that I did it in this fashion: "A hostile Seanad is constantly attempting to harass the Government by mutilating its measures or wilfully delaying them." Now, I listened to that as it was read. I asked myself: Did I in fact make that statement? I knew that if I had made it I would have had in mind the various Bills which the Seanad were actually hampering us in dealing with, and there was one, of course, that sprung to my mind at once —the Oath Bill. I did say, and I do charge the Seanad, in view of the fact that it was the principal item in our programme—that we had to struggle politically against tremendous odds to get the people to support the deletion of that Oath in the sense of facing any consequences that might flow from it— that in the face of that election by preventing that Bill from passing it was wilfully delaying our measures.

I asked myself what other ones were there. I would like, before I deal with it, to show the fallacies in Senator Bennett's statement—Senator Johnson, I think, has already drawn attention to this—of quoting mere numbers. They tell nothing. A Government may very well accept amendments which they dislike rather than have their Bills held up for 18 months or 20 months. Therefore, the fact that amendments have been accepted does not mean that, in the opinion of the Government or in the opinion of a majority of the Dáil, these amendments improve a Bill; not by any means, because the alternative which you put to us is to accept your advice or wait for 18 or 20 months, thereby leaving a Bill on the shelf during that period. Very often Governments—this Government or any other Government—have to accept amendments which are very distasteful to them. They will only invite the clash that is arranged in the Constitution in circumstances in which these measures are absolutely vital. The measures that you have held up here, and upon which we have challenged you were regarded by us as vital to the interests of the country.

I do not think, even if it were correct, that I could be accused of leading an unfair attack on the Seanad. But, in fact, it is not accurate, and the Senator who imputed to me dishonesty—a deliberate attempt to deceive was imputed—parliamentary language, perhaps, may not permit of its not being put as crudely as that but that was the clear implication— did not himself try to see whether the particular newspaper he was quoting from had the same as its neighbours. I want to put this to Senators before I give them my version of this: Suppose I were going to create the impression that the Senator represented me as desiring to create, and wanted to create that impression: to lead a hostile and an unfair attack upon the Seanad, what medium would I use for it? Would I use the Irish Times? Would it be good politics, if we only put it at that, if I were to use the Irish Times as the medium for telling its readers that they were anathema and that I was going to lead a very strong revolutionary policy? Would I have chosen the Independent? I think you will admit that I would not have chosen that newspaper. If I did want to do what the Senator suggested I wanted to do, if I was selecting a medium, of all others I would have selected a paper favourable to Government policy.

Just because I could not recollect what the other Bills were, besides the Oath Bill, I said I had better look at the newspapers. I did not have a manuscript of the interview. It was given to a conference of journalists and, I think, was spoken. When I looked back and looked at the Irish Press, in order to apprehend the full meaning, here is what I find. I would want to remind the House of the main purport of the address. The main purport of it was that stability was necessary if we wanted to show that we represented the majority of the people. I gave reasons why it was desirable that the people should re-elect us if they wanted us to continue and to be in strength sufficient to inspire confidence. One reason I gave was this: “A hostile Senate is constantly tempted.” There is a little bit of difference between “tempted” and “attempting.” I was giving in an abstract way the situation, and I said: “A hostile Senate is constantly tempted to harass the Government by mutilating its measures or wilfully delaying them as long as the Government's power of enforcing its measures ultimately was open to doubt.” The difference was between the word “tempted” and the word “attempted” or “attempting.” The Senator said: “A hostile Seanad is constantly attempting.” It is a cross between them. The Senator did not give what appeared in the Irish Press, Irish Times and Independent. I do not know what paper it was got from.


The Cork Examiner.

Some Senator may be able to tell us. It would be interesting. What is here is: "A hostile Seanad is constantly tempted to harass the Government." The Senator probably got the word "attempted" from another paper. Is it not a fact and the truth? Does not everyone in the country know that you are politically hostile to the present Government? Of course you are. The majority is hostile. You pride yourselves on being patriotic. But the majority of the people have given us a task to perform, and ultimately and fundamentally we deny that you have the right to prevent the people's will finally operating. We have appealed to Cæsar against you. We hold that the answer stands, that you have been condemned as a Second Chamber, and condemned not merely in our time, but condemned as a Second Chamber before our time. You have been condemned, not merely because you have tried to frustrate a Government to whom you are politically hostile, but because you were unduly subservient to a Government to which you were friendly. It is that subservience, I would say, rather than your antagonism to the present Government, that condemned this House in its present form, even before we were elected as a majority.

You say that with the Seanad there were certain safeguards, that it was a defence of the people's liberty. Senator Sir John Keane shows his respect for the people whose liberties he is supposed to defend. History has shown that a Second Chamber is no defence against military dictatorship. It has not been in the past, and it is not going to be in the future. As far as the defence of democratic right is concerned, the people will have to see to that defence in another form. One form of defence is not in getting certain fundamental Articles of our Constitution stereotyped. Those Articles which I read in the Preamble of the Constitution contain certain principles upon which we can agree. So far as it is possible to make them, I think we can provide means to make them as stable and lasting as in our good judgment they should be. We have had lawyers giving opinion on various questions. I notice that one of the most distinguished members here, when speaking, did not say, with regard to the security given to the judges by the amendments to the Bill, what was said in the Dáil about it. He did not deny that henceforth, when the Bill becomes law, neither the Comptroller and Auditor-General nor the judges can be touched without four-sevenths majority. He did say that four-sevenths was not eonugh. I pointed out that under the proportional representation system, and in view of the probable state of Parties, as we can see them, and what would happen to any Government that would try to outrage public opinion by acting unjustly, that the necessity to obtain a majority of four-sevenths would be a sufficient and a reasonable safeguard; that there are other Articles guaranteeing democratic right, which similarly can be safeguarded. After proper examination they can be presented either by the Executive, after having had their own private advice on the matter, or after inquiry by independent committees. The inquiry can take place if there is any suggestion the Government should be responsible for provisions of that sort. These can be safeguarded. The Articles of the Constitution which we think ought not to be stereotyped are not those referring to democratic right, but rather those which seek to deny to our people the right to be complete masters of their own domain. We do not want to see this. We do not think the people want to see it, and one of the reasons why the Seanad was already condemned in the minds of the people was that it was felt that they were put there—I will not say that they were put there originally for this purpose—but that they were there, and that their political opinions were such that they were certain to be a barrier and a block to the onward march which our people desire and to which we feel they are entitled.

I have only one point more to make. It is said that there are certain legal hurdles that we have got to cross if this Bill becomes law. It is very interesting to hear the views of this sharp-eyed guardian of the people's rights, this defender of the Constitution, this close examiner of Bills as they come from the Lower House, particularly of Constitution Bills, this critic of the drafting of Bills under the present Government, although those who draft Bills are the same who drafted them for our predecessors. It has been generally admitted, by people who know the difference and are able to judge, that probably nowhere in the world can you get better parliamentary draftsmen. They were recognised as such by us and by our predecessors. We find them, so far as our experience goes, quite competent. They are the same people who drafted Bills for both Governments. But, as might be predicted, it is only when opponents come into office that you find this Chamber waking up. They could have shown the same activity when the other Government was in office. They woke up when their opponents came into office. Until then they slept and a friendly Government left them there. There is not going to be any protection when their friends are in at all.

Senator Bennett—that is the capacity in which he spoke and not as Cathaoirleach—speaking of our incompetence and the watchfulness of the Seanad, tells us that we have bungled a number of things, that we have not completely wiped out the Seanad, that there are other references to the Seanad in the Constitution which are not abolished, that it still remains somewhere in Article 2A—the 17th Amendment. That is not much of a legal hurdle to cross. It would be better perhaps from the point of view of perfection of work, if it were not there. It would be better if it did not appear in that particular Article of the Constitution, the same as the others, but its remaining there does not mean anything except perhaps that it is not verbally clear. It has just the same effect as if there were a misprint, but it is of no legal importance because Article 12 is the operative Article and the others are consequential. As long as the Seanad has gone the functions that the Seanad will have to perform will have to remain unperformed. The rights that they may have—well perhaps I had better not go into these rights. I do not think there is any very eminent authority, home or foreign, who would suggest to the Senator that that was a very serious hurdle to cross.

We are told that we have also to face great trouble because of the right of audience in the Dáil of Extern Ministers. You remember, I think it was in regard to the 15th amendment, Article 57, that a Bill was brought here making it possible to have one member of the Seanad a member of the Executive Council. The right of audience of that member was provided for by his sitting in the Dáil. As far as Extern Ministers who were not either members of the Dáil or the Seanad are concerned, the position remains the same, the same as it was, at least, before the 15th Amendment was passed and under the old position it was assumed, because an Extern Minister was responsible to the Dáil, that he had the right of audience in the Dáil. Of course, if there was any difficulty about it he would have been granted audience by resolution or by some method that commonsense would have suggested. I do not think that the second hurdle is of any importance either.

We come now to the more material one. The Senator does not give us the name of the eminent legal authority. He gives us his opinions, and we are supposed to accept them as of weight, but I think most lawyers will say that a lawyer's opinion ultimately is only worth the reasons he has behind it and the reasons he has behind it are the things which determine whether it is of value or not. It is most interesting again how antagonism sharpens one's wits. Because the Seanad is antagonistic to the present Government it wakes up apparently, and the guardian of the people's liberties, the guardian of the liberties and the rights of the Seanad constitutionally, wakes up and finds that he must consult some eminent legal authority, and must get somebody outside this country even though that somebody might find it very difficult and take a long time to understand the constitutional position here. We have got it, however, that he accepts that outside legal opinion. He thinks it is the duty of the Cathaoirleach to get it. We are solemnly assured that, in the opinion of this eminent luminary, the amendment of the Constitution providing that the Constitution could be amended for a further period of eight years, was ultra vires, that it was null and void, and that it would be so held by any Court here. I do not believe that for one moment.

I think that anybody reading the Constitution or attempting to construe it must agree, and I think that lawyers who have more skilled knowledge and experience and ability to do these things will agree, that there was no limitation of any kind put upon the powers of amending the Constitution, and that if that applied to one Article, no Article was excluded. If limitation were the intention of that Assembly— sitting as a constituent Assembly, if we can call it such—it was not stated. Consequently I do not believe that any court would so hold. But suppose he were right, I still have the charge to make that it is rather strange that it should be discovered only now by this watchful Senator who was looking after the rights and liberties of the Seanad. This watchful guardian, the Chairman, should have thought about that at the time and he should have been just as careful at that particular time when it came up first to get this legal opinion. I daresay he could easily, at the time, have got, if not a formal opinion, the opinion of the law advisers of the Government of the day. I find no evidence anywhere that the law advisers of the Government suggested that there was any difficulty about this. When you look at the records of the Seanad what do you find? I have found that through every one of its stages there was not a word of discussion. I think it is the most interesting thing I have ever got. I looked up the record, in column 46, Volume 12 and here is what is reported:

"Constitution (Amendment No. 16) Bill, 1928—Second Stage.

Question proposed: ‘That the Bill be read a Second Time.'
The President: This Bill extends the time within which the Constitution may be amended by law."
The rest of the record reads:
"Question put and agreed to."
There was not even a question asked. Is there any evidence, I wonder, of the subservience that Deputy MacDermot charged you with in that? There was no doubt, apparently, in their minds that it could be done completely. When you come to the Committee Stage the record is:
"The Bill passed through Committee without amendment. The Seanad went out of Committee. Bill reported without amendment."
Then we come to the next stage:
"Bill reported. Order for Final Stage, May 9th."
The next record is:
"Question —‘That Constitution (Amendment No. 16) Bill be received for final consideration and do now pass'—put and agreed to."
That is the record of the careful consideration that was given by this Seanad, by all the legal luminaries that were here at the time, and this is the alternative charge that will be levelled against the Seanad, if the point in the contention of the Chairman is correct that we are contravening the Constitution and doing something that we have no right to do. Either this can be legally done or else the Seanad as a whole is charged with dereliction of duty in doing its work.

I would respectfully ask the President what is the date of that quotation, because I am commencing to examine my conscience!


I asked for the reference to the particular matters as regards my quotation. I find that the Irish Times has the words:

"A hostile Seanad has constantly attempted to harass the Government——"

"Has constantly attempted"—is that there?



"has constantly attempted to harass the Government by mutilating its measures, or wilfully delaying them so long as the Government's power to enforce its measures is open to doubt."

The words

"A hostile Seanad is constantly tempted to harass the Government by mutilating its measures or wilfully delaying them as long as the Government's power or enforcing its measures ultimately was open to doubt"

are in the Irish Press. Three papers out of four gave the same identical words. The fourth, the Irish Press, contained a glaring misprint. The words, “powers or enforcing” are nonsense. It is legitimate to assume that the word “tempted” is a misprint for “attempted”. The word “tempted” seems meaningless in its context.

They are not identical. The word "ultimately" is in one and not in the other. I do not think that anyone would suggest that the word "tempted" was without meaning in the context. It is obvious that the purport of the whole message was to make it clear to everybody that a hostile Seanad that was tempted to hamper and to harass the Government would be removed. If I were going to do that which the Senator apparently wishes again to stress, I would not have chosen, as the organ for doing so either the Irish Times or the Irish Independent as the medium for inflaming the people against the Seanad. If I were choosing a medium I would naturally choose a medium that would appeal to the people that I was appealing to. I met the representatives of the Press and spoke to them. I had probably an odd note but not a full note, but as to the whole context, I am as certain as I am of anything in my life of the word “tempted.”

A Senator

Get on with it.

If I am to get on with it, what about the interruptions?


You cannot get on with it if you attribute to me statements which are inaccurate and proved to be inaccurate.

I am speaking now to Senator Bennett who has come down on the other side. The Senator is accused by me of one thing only, of making a charge of the character of the one he has made, without having thought a little more about it, and seen all the reports about it. I looked them up, and I found that there are different reports in three papers, or different words, at any rate.


In one report. Three agree and one differs.

Has Senator Bennett the papers before him, or is he taking a note from someone else?


I have a note.

Very well. I have a note, and what I have in this note is as published in the Irish Times of the 3rd January. We can get the originals however; they are better than any note. Here is the note:

"A hostile Seanad has constantly attempted to harass the Government by mutilating its measures or wilfully delaying them so long as the Government's power to enforce its measures is open to doubt."

That is the Irish Times and that is not, if my note is correct, the Senator's statement as made here. Perhaps, as we are having this out, we may as well have it out completely. The notes I have here of the Senator's statement made from the bench yonder in the Chamber is this. Here is the Official Report of it.

"A hostile Seanad is constantly attempting"—

That is not the same as the Irish Times—“has constantly attempted” is not the same as “is constantly attempting.” They are not the same words, and they have not quite the same significance. Is not that true?


Yes, it is quite true.

The Irish Times says “has constantly attempted to harass the Government.” Then the Irish Independent says:—

"A hostile Seanad has constantly attempted to harass the Government by mutilating its measures or wilfully delaying them so long as the Government's power of enforcing these measures was ultimately open to doubt."

The word "ultimately," I think, is not in the Irish Times report. Therefore these two papers do not identically report the same thing, and neither does the statement given by Senator Bennett.


What about the Irish Press?

The statement in the Irish Press is:

"A hostile Seanad is constantly tempted to harass the Government by mutilating its measures or wilfully delaying them as long as the Government's power of enforcing its measures ultimately was open to doubt."

There is an "or" here instead of an "of." I, or any impartial person who wanted to judge only on this matter, would say that reporters, listening to a statement, and without any intention whatever wilfully to mislead or misrepresent, might have given either of these versions. I am not accusing these newspapers of attempting to misrepresent me. I think that the words were taken down in good faith and I certainly would not attempt to make the mean point that Senator Bennett, speaking in the capacity in which he then spoke, wished to make when he said that because the word "or" is in for the word "of" it is to be assumed that if there is one misprint there might be another. Why not take it the other way? Why not assume that, as he was speaking rapidly—and I was not sure myself whether he said "has attempted" or "is attempting"—it might have been the other way about? The fact, however, is that what I am supposed to have said, according to the careful Senator who accused me of incompetence and trying wilfully to deceive and all the rest of it, is to be found in neither of these publications, and if he wants his authority for it he will have to get the newspaper from which it is copied. He has probably taken it from one paper. At least, when I am charged publicly by a responsible person with attempting wilfully to deceive people, or to lead an unfair attack on a body, there ought to have been careful examination. I think I will leave it at that.


Hear, hear.

I do not think the House ought to leave it at that. I think that there ought to be an apology to the President.

No, I do not want any apology from Senator Bennett. I am very glad that he revealed his impartiality, and if in history there was proof needed that this action taken by the Government was honestly taken and well deserved, that speech will stand there as justification. I am not going to suggest for one moment that this case cannot be argued from two sides. I know that it can. I, myself, have argued it with myself and with others many a time, but I do not think that anybody, in arguing his case, ever should descend to the level to which the Senator descended. However, it is well to know where one is in these matters, and it is well for the people of the country to know that they can measure the impartiality of this Seanad by the speech which its Chairman delivered.

I should like to ask——


The debate is closed, Senator.

I only wish to ask a question.


I am sorry, Senator, but I am afraid I cannot allow you to ask a question. There was another question, however, asked with regard to the matter of the misquotation of a Constitution Committee report. Perhaps the President would like to reply to that.

Yes, I do not mind meeting challenges at any time. I was charged also by Senator Bennett with again, as the suggestion was, wilfully deceiving members of the Dáil in this matter. That matter was referred to by another Senator, but he had, at least, the desire to give fair play and he said that it was an error. If it was an error I could be accused only of one thing, and that was hastily doing something which should have been done with greater care. To judge of whether it was done with the proper amount of care, one would have to consider the use that was being made, and this champion of unpolluted truth, who lectured us in the last paragraph of his speech about truth and made the suggestion that we were liars, does not hesitate to accuse me in that manner; does not hesitate to suggest it and to say that it was my main argument. It was not my main argument. You might as well say that my reference to Mill here to-day was a main argument. I spoke of the time of delay which it was reasonable to give to the Seanad. I was defending the period of delay. I pointed out that it was a considerable period in the life of a Government and I gave the same arguments which Senator O'Hanlon probably will recollect my giving on a previous occasion when there was a question of delay. I am not quite sure whether we did discuss the question of delay at that time, but in all probability we did. I had views on this formed as the result of thinking on this and I put the reasons for those views and said, incidentally, and not as a main argument, that it was interesting—I was dealing with the history—that it was remarkable that in drafting the Constitution there were three committees. I had heard about these meetings before and understood they had separated into three committees. Whether they were three sub-committees or discussed all the things together I did not know. I did not know exactly their method of procedure, but they produced three independent drafts, and if I spoke of three committees I do not think I was attempting to mislead anybody, nor do I think that it was material whether there were three committees or only three sections of the one committee.

They produced three reports, and these reports were signed. I think each one of them was signed by one of the members of the present Supreme Court. I have them here. Before I went into the Dáil I had heard the history of the changes and before I looked at the three drafts—I have the copies of the three drafts here —I said— I have not the exact quotation of what I said but, in substance, I said something like this—that the period of 180 days—whether it was 180 days or six months was the expression used, I am not sure—was mentioned in two of these reports and that a period of four months was mentioned in another. It is suggested that because I was dealing with the period of delay I wilfully misrepresented the effect of the report that mentioned the four months' period. I did, as a matter of fact, make the mistake of reading "operative" for "inoperative," and the reason for my mistake was that I did not expect that those who had signed that report were likely to be more conservative in regard to the Seanad than the others. In other words, the suggestion is that the whole thing was turned around and that it was because it was going to give a power to the Seanad, which I did not dream anybody was going to give, that I read it in the other fashion.

The main argument, however, was that there must be a decision some time, that you cannot hold things up and keep them in the air for a long period. These Constitutions gave a power of decision by means of a referendum. In other words, they provided for a decision and did not leave it held up in the air. That is the position and that is the truth with regard to these. Again, however, I say, must not somebody be very anxious to convict me of dishonesty and falsehood who will go to the extent of saying that because things are as I have stated there was a deliberate intention to deceive?

That was clearly the suggestion in the Chairman's speech. I read what Senator Douglas said. He was very fair about it. He said I should have read the drafts more care fully, but if he reads the point I was going to make he will see that it was not essential, because what we wanted to end was the period of indeterminateness. We wished to end a position which provided for no speedy decision except by dissolution, and I do not think that in particular matters a dissolution is right. I got up to speak again, and I am prepared to meet any questions that any Senator wishes to raise.

Is it not time that these three drafts should be made public? They have been referred to here very frequently.


I would be very glad indeed if they were.

Question—"That the Constitution (Amendment No. 24) Bill, 1934, be now read a Second Time"—put.
The Seanad divided: Tá, 15; Níl, 33.

  • Chléirigh, Caitlín Bean Uí.
  • Comyn, Michael, K.C.
  • Connolly, Joseph.
  • Cummins, William.
  • Dowdall, J.C.
  • Foran, Thomas.
  • Johnson, Thomas.
  • Keyes, Raphael F.
  • MacEllin, Seán E.
  • MacParland, D.H.
  • O'Neill, L.
  • Phaoraigh, Siobhán Bean an.
  • Quirke, William.
  • Robinson, David L.
  • Robinson, Séumas.


  • Bagwell, John.
  • Barniville, Dr. Henry L.
  • Bellingham, Sir Edward.
  • Bigger, Sir Edward Coey.
  • Blythe, Ernest.
  • Brown, Samuel L., K.C.
  • Browne, Miss Kathleen.
  • Costello, Mrs.
  • Counihan, John C.
  • Crosbie, George.
  • Duggan, E.J.
  • Fanning, Michael.
  • Garahan, Hugh.
  • Gogarty, Dr. O. St. J.
  • Griffith, Sir John Purser.
  • Guinness. Henry S.
  • Hickie, Major-General Sir William.
  • Jameson, Right Hon. Andrew.
  • Keane, Sir John.
  • Kennedy, Cornelius.
  • Linehan, Thomas.
  • McGillycuddy of the Reeks, The.
  • MacKean, James.
  • Milroy, Seán.
  • Moore, Colonel.
  • Moran, James.
  • O'Connor, Joseph.
  • O'Hanlon, M.F.
  • O'Sullivan, Dr. William.
  • Parkinson, James J.
  • Staines, Michael.
  • Toal, Thomas.
  • Wilson, Richard.
Tellers: Tá: Senators D.L. Robinson and Séumas Robinson; Níl: Senators O'Hanlon and Wilson.
Question declared lost.