It is open to any Senator at this stage to make a comment on the Bill before it is finally put to the House.
Irish Nationality and Citizenship Bill, 1934—Fifth Stage.
Before this Bill is finally adopted by the Seanad, I should like to make one or two observations. In my judgment the Seanad has done very well in the active and helpful manner in which it has dealt with this Bill, and I am satisfied that that must give great satisfaction to the President; and particularly so when we find a Senator who is recognised as an authority on constitutional law, Senator Samuel Brown, stating that this is an absolutely necessary Bill, and is therefore a welcome Bill. It is more or less in reference to that statement that I want to make my observations. The statement comes from Senator Brown who has shamed, if they have any shame left, some of those people who made the treacherous statements which appeared in flaming headlines in the English Press that this Bill was conceived by the President out of hatred to the English people. This is another of those mean and brazen attempts which are very often made by people to drive a wedge between the friendship which does exist and which will exist, between the masses of the two countries. Now, Sir, I am a long time before the mast-head of public life in this country. Quite recently I was looking over some old papers, and I came across a card of membership of the Land League, bearing the date, December 19th, 1880, close on 55 years ago. During that time I have seen many movements come and go; I have seen many leaders pass away, but I trust I will be allowed to express the sincere hope, and a hope which I, at any rate, am satisfied is shared by millions of our scattered race, that the man who sits before us, President Eamon de Valera, may be spared to go on, and to reach for our country that goal, which every man and woman in this country with any spark of patriotism should stand behind him in his endeavour to attain, that goal for which so many of our people suffered and died in their efforts to attain, in the words of that noble young patriot, "that Ireland should take her place among the nations of the earth." I am a fairly old man, and I may not live to see the realisation of these hopes, but I am satisfied that President de Valera and those associated with him are on the right road, and as the son of a Fenian——
What has this to do with the question before the House?
The measure before the House is the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Bill, 1934. In my judgment that offers scope for wide discussion, especially in its concluding stages. The Senator will please proceed.
I can understand Senator Milroy objecting to Fenians——
I am not objecting to Fenians. I am objecting to irrelevancy.
The Senator ought to address the Chair.
As the son of a Fenian, I want to say that I thank President de Valera and those associated with him for the efforts they are making to re-establish the nationhood of this country.
I feel I cannot let go unchallenged the comment of the last Senator when he spoke about the friendship which exists between this country and England.
Between the masses.
I think that what he did say was that there was friendship between the masses.
I deny that on the part of a large section of our people. I would like to see that friendship established, but England must earn our friendship. So far she has not made any attempt to earn it, and where she has not bullied us, she has tricked us. Until she has learned to cease her bullying and trickery and to be generous to this country, and restore the rights she took from us, there will be no friendship between us and England—anyhow, between a large section of our country and England. I did not intend to intervene in the debate, but I feel I would not be acting justly to a large section of our people if I allowed the remarks to which I have referred to pass without comment. I am voicing also what are my own sentiments.
On behalf of women in general, I thank the present Government for the nationality it has given to its married women. Formerly a woman became of the same nationality as the foreigner she married. That was very unpleasant and in the wartimes it came home to a great many of us. Many suggestions were offered and one was that the woman, wherever the marriage took place, should have the nationality of that place. If she married a Frenchman here, she would remain Irish and if she married a Frenchman in France, she became French. Women were not satisfied with that and finally the President saw that the only thing to do was to make sure under this Act that women would not lose their nationality on account of marriage. Women have been pleading for this for years and years. I know there are many who say that something further should be obtained in the way of descent through the mother, but what we have worked for for a very long time we have got, and most Irish women are satisfied with the progress that has been gained under this Bill.
I want to make a few remarks on the speech of Senator Mrs. Clarke. She may speak for a limited number of very extreme people but, for the reasonable people of this country, Senator O'Neill expressed the view that they wished to live on terms of friendship with their neighbours in Britain. There is no reason, in my opinion, why they should not do that. Whatever may have been the history of the country in the past, there is no use in dragging it up time and time again in order to hinder further the progress of this country. We know the terrible effects of this on the country. We know about the economic war which is ruining the country and dragging it in the mud while there is talk of progress, and talk about nationality. Why do it? It is a totally false and wrong interpretation of Irish history. It may be the history that it taught in the schools, going back on the confiscations of the past as an excuse for raiding money which was due to certain people who lent it here. I maintain that was what was done.
I believe it was done by false representations——
On a point of order, I want to say that Senator Miss Browne is certainly having a very wide scope.
Is the flood barred?
The question is not in order.
Senator Foran is one of those Senators who like to interrupt when they hear unpleasant things. He is making a habit of it. We want to live in friendship with the British people and it is right and proper that that should be said here and that we should not allow any other impression to go from this country. A very large and very important—the largest and most important—section of the Irish people wish to live on terms of friendship with the British people. Senator O'Neill, when he was giving out this piece which he gave, forgot to say that the ablest legal opinion in this country and in Great Britain hold the opinion that in spite of this Nationality Bill, the people of this State still remain British citizens and that we have in it a great deal of eyewash. That is not my opinion, as I do not profess to know anything about law, but it is the opinion of the ablest lawyers in this country and in Great Britain. My object in speaking now is that some voice, no matter how insignificant, may be raised to contradict this trumpeting, as I might call it, of the extreme element in this country. I believe that the other and very much larger section of our people is too inarticulate and that is my reason for speaking now.
Senator O'Neill said that the majority of the masses in this country wished to live in peace and friendship with the masses in England and that they have regard for one another. I thoroughly agree. Senator Mrs. Clarke wants it recorded that they do not wish to live in friendship. I can assure her that she is speaking for a very small minority in this country, for a group that has been led astray by false and wrong propaganda. I know the masses of this country and I know a considerable number of the masses of the English people, and I can say that they both have a greater love for one another than for any other country in the world. I repeat it—than in any other country in the world, and I can assure Mrs. Clarke that she is wrong when she says that they do not wish to live in peace with one another. We want love and not enmity, and I think it is very bad policy and propaganda to put forward in a responsible body, and I can say that she is not speaking on behalf of any responsible section of the community of this country.
Níor thuig an Seanadóir atá tar éis labhartha brí an méid a dubhairt an Seanadóir Bean Uí Chléirigh. Níl éinne sa tír seo in aghaidh na Sasannach chó fada agus atá comhthrom na féinne le fáil againn mar shean-náisiún, ach ar an adhbhar go bhfuil muintir Shasana ag cur isteach ar ghnóthaí na tíre seo. Ní dubhairt sí go bhfuil fuath againn do mhuintir Shasana toisc gur Sasanaigh iad. Ní dubhairt an Seanadóir, ag féachaint ar na sgéal mar Eireannach, ach tuairim furmhór daoine na tíre seo. Tá furmhór muintire na hEireann, cibé dream poilitíochta a bhfuil siad páirteach leis, ar aon intinn amháin i dtaobh saoirseachta na tíre, agus i dtaobh gach cuing agus ceangal taobh amuigh den tír, agus ar an adhbhar sin, níl san díospóireacht seo ar fad ach "Beirt ag troid agus iad ar aon sgéal."
This is a matter of considerable importance, and looking at it from an Irish point of view, Senator Mrs. Clarke gave expression to the sentiments of the great majority of the Irish people. As Senator O'Neill stated, there would be no question of any hostility between the masses of the Irish people and the British nation, or the British people and the British Government, were it not for the fact that for centuries they are trying to dominate affairs in this country and to interfere with the rights of the Irish people. That is what is the cause of the spirit of hostility between the masses of the Irish people and the masses of the British people, and it would be as well to ask the lion to lie down with the lamb as to ask the Irish people to have a spirit of brotherhood and a spirit of friendship with the English people as long as this uncalled-for interference with the rights of the Irish people is taking place, and there is no use separating the masses from the classes in England. The classes in England are carrying out the wishes and the policy of the masses because in carrying out their policy the British Government is expressing the will of the English people and not the will of any section of the masses. I think it just as well that this should be made clear; it does not matter what sections or parties people may represent in this country. You will have that hostility so long as you have continued interference by England with the rights of the Irish people.
I think the last speaker's observations call for some slight rejoinder. He spoke in the present tense, mind you, about the continuous interference with the rights of the Irish people by the British. I would recall to the memory of the last speaker, to this House and this State, the fact that a Treaty of Peace between this country and England was entered into in 1921. I know that that Treaty raised very deep and acute controversy, and I think that events that have occurred since then justify me in saying that the developments that have ensued fully justified and vindicated those who stood over that Treaty and overwhelmingly destroyed anything that was in the minds of those opponents who alleged that the Treaty was a trap by which the fundamental rights of this ancient country would be subjugated. The reason I refer to it is this: whatever may have been the interference with the rights of the people of this country by England prior to that Treaty, whatever may have been the assaults up to then upon the liberty of the Irish people, on December 6th, 1921, that interference and those assaults ceased, and I challenge contradiction on that point. Ever since that date the rights secured under that Treaty have been broadened and enlarged until to-day the man who led the assault against that Treaty stands as the man who is administering it and who recognises it, and who acknowledges repeatedly that what was secured went much farther than he anticipated at that time. I am not raising this for the purpose of recalling these memories which have been recalled by previous speakers. I recall it as leading up to what I have to say upon the Bill before the House, and that is that this Bill is one which, in its main premises, is, as Senator Browne stated, unnecessary, and there is no one who, in criticising that Bill, has questioned the necessity or the desirability of the Bill defining the form and status of nationality of this State. What I would take exception to, and so far as criticism and questioning are concerned, I still hold to, is that the spirit of certain phrases in that Bill are an irritant to goodwill between this country and Great Britain. They run counter to the spirit of goodwill and the development of harmonious, amicable and equitable relations between the people of this State and the other member States of the Commonwealth. I think it was a mistake that this irritant was introduced. It was unnecessary in the Bill. It cannot do any good, and quite possibly it will do a great deal of mischief. I have not, however, approached this Bill in any partisan spirit, or with any desire to secure in the least degree a Party victory in debate, even though I could not secure it in division. I hope that this Bill will not have any harmful result, and I wish the Government good luck with it when it becomes an Act.
I do not know how much longer irrelevancies in this debate are going to continue, but the person who started it has a good deal to account for. Except for Senator Mrs. Wyse Power and the greater part of Senator Milroy's speech, nobody touched upon the Bill at all, but they started a debate upon irrelevant questions for the purposes of singing a hymn of hate about the people of this country and the desirability for love and peace with the people of another country. I think it is disgraceful that this mean advantage should have been taken in this House for anyone to sing a hymn of hate, and I would say that when the people here at home learn to love and respect each other in the way that ordinary citizens of a civilised State should, then we can discuss the question of love with the people of other nations.
Senator Milroy has done what he blames others for doing. He said nothing about the Bill that was relevant. I am going to offend in the same way but I want to say this much: I do not think it is quite right to try and make capital out of such things as hate and enmity where, in my opinion, those things do not exist. As one Senator, I wish to say that as between the ordinary common English people and myself there is no such thing as enmity, and I do not think that Senator Mrs. Clarke's speech has been taken up quite correctly. There is no personal enmity, but if enmity is to be expressed where a domineering attitude is adopted most certainly enmity can be expressed through something, and the expression of that enmity is, I think, being expressed through the person and the person is not directly concerned. Senator Milroy has gone into the realms of the past, but I do not wish to follow him, I will try to give an example of what I mean. Senator Milroy stated that following the Treaty of 1921 we were quite free. Were we? The country is partitioned and the country is occupied. In those portions of the country where I meet a British soldier there is no personal enmity between that British soldier and myself. But there certainly is an enmity expressed through him directly at the Government and at the channels through which the Government acts on behalf of the people. I think that that is a very fair interpretation of what Senator Mrs. Clarke said. I do not think that capital should be made out of the statements that have emanated from this side of the House.
I regret that Senator Milroy has left the Chamber, because I think that, in justice to himself, he should have an opportunity of listening to the views expressed by himself when still a member of the Cumann na nGaedheal Party a few years after the Treaty had been put in force. At the time the National Group was formed, Senator Milroy found it incumbent on him, as a matter of conscience, to resign from the then Government Party. He told the people of Cavan that he would give them the reasons for his resignation. A significant statement, in view of what the Senator said here to-day, was published inThe Nation of the 4th December, 1923, as follows:—
"The Treaty position is steadily drifting towards insanity, confusion and possible shipwreck. We, of the National Group, have made effort after effort to secure the calling of a National Conference to consider, discuss and formulate a policy to repair the injury effected and avert the danger that menaces. Our efforts have not materialised into anything tangible. There has been no effective response from either the Government or the organisation supporting the Government. The latter, or certain members of it, are conscious of the facts of the situation but appear powerless to move. The members of the Government seem to be so engrossed in contemplating their own rectitude and infallibility that they cannot observe the indications that point the dangers ahead."
I should like to accept the Senator's assurance that he was not seeking any Party advantage or that he was not indulging in what might be termed ordinary Party propaganda in the attack he made upon the President. His reference, I think, might justly be described as an attack. He said that the position of those who accepted the Treaty had been more than justified. I forget his exact words, but he referred to the majority Party here, and in a rather heated way to the President, as having led the forces that threatened the machine set up under the Treaty. It may not be inopportune in this connection to refer to certain representations made by Senator Milroy and five or six other very conscientious members of the Dáil who retired from Cumann na nGaedheal in order to form the National Group. According toThe Nation of the 4th December, 1923, they had submitted recommendations to their own Party Ard-Chomhairle prior to leaving. They protested that the really relevant document had been suppressed by that body and another substituted in which the following passage occurred, which, they said, could not be reconciled with the contents of the other document:—
"The present Government has a record of achievement second to none. The restoration of order, the creation of machinery of government, adult suffrage and electoral reform. railway grouping followed by cheaper rates, facilities for housing, etc., stand out over a period of extraordinary difficulties."
On a point of order. If the Senator is entitled to go on on these lines, it will be possible for the past of every Senator and Deputy to be rehearsed here.
My point is that inasmuch as Senator Milroy thought fit to make what I regard as a personal attack on the head of the State, who is justly revered by the great majority of our people, I am justified in referring to the Senator's own words when dealing with a similar matter some time ago. I shall finish in a moment, lest I weary Senator Baxter and our friends opposite.
I hope the Senator will finish very quickly.
The document goes on:
"If more has not been done, if millions are not available for works that are urgently needed, the blame lies, not on the Government, but on those who sought to build a reputation for consistency on the ruins of their country."
Here is Senator Milroy's comment on that document:
"These matters, to my mind, are not suited to the tactics of Party manoeuvring. They are too serious for that. They affect to the very core the well-being and stability of the nation, which is above the interests of any Party or any set of politicians. When we speak of policies of any Party or the Government in the Saorstát, there are certain standards by which these policies may be judged."
That is Senator Milroy's own condemnation of the tactics which forced him to leave the Party to which he gave his first allegiance. And yet he adopts somewhat similar tactics to-day. He goes on to ask: "If there is to be a break with the traditions of administration created by the British régime? If there is to be a serious effort to make the objective of each service in the Saorstát an Irish-Ireland one? If the working of the Saorstát is to be under the control and direction of those who ran these services in hostility to Ireland during the British régime or if the Saorstát Government is going to make any really serious effort to produce an economic policy which will solve unemployment?——"
I am sorry to interrupt the Senator, but it seems to me that the political pronouncements of Senator Milroy during the past five or six years are not relevant to the question before the House.
The point has been raised as to whether we who hold certain views are animated by hate of the British people or something approximating to that.
He did not say that at all.
It was insinuated, and it was suggested this was the result of teaching in the schools. I do not agree that hate is taught in our schools. To teach that would be worse than teaching trash. It would be inculcating poison.
I maintain, as a student of Irish history, that most of the history taught in the schools is trash and is responsible for an attitude of mind which is most regrettable at the present time. I am a student of history from first-hand authorities.
That statement is not relevant to the question.
I am prepared to agree with Senator Miss Browne to this extent that there must have been one school, at least, in this country in which it was really trash that was taught instead of Irish history. So much hostile criticism has been made of the statement by Senator Mrs. Clarke here to-day that I may be permitted to quote Senator Milroy's statement inThe Nation of the 4th December, 1923, as regards external influences:
"I know there are powerful influences at work to prevent that being done and to keep this country the bond slave of British economic interests. There is considerable evidence that these influences are successfully exerting pressure on Government policy."
But to-day Senator Milroy would have us believe that ever since December 6th, 1921, there has been no such thing as external interference with the State. I do not think that their so-called hate has, to any extent, been on any side. It is certainly not on ours. I do not think that any section of our people hate any other people. We do hate injustice and we do hate undue interference with our rights. That is a very different thing from hating the masses of the people of Britain.
I suppose it was inevitable that a Bill dealing with Irish nationality should give rise to a very wide and broad discussion on Fifth Stage. I must confess, however, that I was not prepared for the line which the discussion took. Senator Milroy has used the occasion to reiterate his views about the Treaty. I do not know that I can let the occasion pass, as the matter has been raised, without reiterating my views. Senator Milroy said that it was a Treaty of peace between the two countries. I wish it were so. There would not be numbered in the ranks of those who opposed it a single person if it was felt it was going to be so or that it could be so by its very nature. The difference of opinion arose from different interpretations of what it meant and what it would lead to. I opposed the Treaty because I believed, in the first place, that, to take it, would not be consistent with the position which we had chosen on declaring our independence. I did not believe it was going to be a Treaty of peace because it purported to deny rights which belonged to the Irish people indefeasibly—rights which some of the people, so long as this remains a nation, would be prepared to fight and die to assert.
A treaty of peace between our people and the people in the neighbouring island could easily have been concluded. All that was asked of the people on the other side of the Irish Sea was that they should cease to interfere here. When Mrs. Clarke spoke of the feeling which, undoubtedly, exists—there is no use in our blinding ourselves to it—she referred to a feeling of natural irritation at and natural dislike of an attempt by a neighbouring people to deny this people what they are certain are their God given rights—that is, to govern themselves in their own way. There is a very simple test as to whether we are free or not. Let the people of this island freely decide the question. Let there be a plebiscite taken of the people of this island as to whether they are satisfied with the present relations or whether for example they want to have their freedom expressed, in the form of independence, as a republic. That is a test which, naturally, would be applied by ourselves if we were the only people concerned and could apply it. The British Government have been asked to acknowledge that right and to accept that test. For many years we have been asking that. I asked it years before 1921. To this day, the challenge has never been accepted. If the Irish people were, in a plebiscite, without any attempt at foreign pressure, to decide on some form of relationship or even to decide that they were satisfied with the present relationship, then it could be asserted—I think truly—that the Irish people were in their present position as a free people. There is no use in our blinding ourselves to the facts. Nor is there any use in the people of the other island blinding themselves to the facts. The fact is patent, that the majority of the people of this country do not want, in the first place, their country divided or partitioned and, in the second place, they want the liberty to decide what their own form of government shall be —whether it shall be a monarchy or a republic. They want to have an equal voice also in deciding what shall be the relationship, if any, between this country and the country across the water. These are the rights which a free people would possess. If we have not the power of exercising these rights up to the present, surely it must be because there is some pressure from outside or some power which denies us these rights.
Let there be no nonsense about this question. I am quite willing to admit that we have certain powers in this part of Ireland. I do not want to detract in any way from the powers we have but this State has not the form that, I believe, the majority of our people would have had it take if there had not been interference or pressure from outside. The patent fact is—history shows it; go back and examine the records—that the Treaty of 1921 was accepted under duress—under the threat of war and for no other reason. That is the truth. It is said that I led the forces opposed to the Treaty. I did. I opposed it for the reasons I have broadly indicated. I have admitted, and I admit now, that I anticipated even worse things from the Treaty than the things that happened and, goodness knows, civil war was a bad enough thing to anticipate and see realised. I did not anticipate that the movement based on the Treaty would have gone in the direction it has taken as fully as it did. I am quite willing to admit that there is an immense difference between the powers that are possessed since, for example, 1926, and the powers that existed before that. There is a great difference between the position in which the Governor-General was, for example, as the direct agent of the British Colonial Office and the present position. I am willing to grant all that. I am willing to grant that there is a big difference between the present position and the position as it existed, at least so far as the British acceptance of the position was concerned. There has been, as you know, a difference of opinion as to whether certain rights did exist before the Statute of Westminster was passed or not. It has been held here that these rights, as far as the Saorstát is concerned, were possessed and in existence; but at any rate the Statute of Westminster was a recognition by Britain of the fact that there was to be no limitation of the legislative powers of the Parliament here. It is because that is so patent that I object to such criticism as we had from Senator Miss Browne, who does not know what she is talking about, and even from Senator Sam Brown, who should know what he was talking about and who, I am sorry to say, was guilty of lamentable lapses in the statements which he made here on the Second Reading of the Bill.
It was suggested that this Bill cannot do, and does not do, the things it purports to do. I have asked for an explanation from those who say that to tell us why. What in the limitation of our powers is there which prevents us from doing the things that we say we are doing in this Bill? We are repealing, for instance, the Act by which, according to existing Irish law —the law in force—it would be held that Irish citizens were British subjects. How was it that this law, if it is in force, came to be the law here? I take it that it came through Article 73 of the Constitution, but Article 73 of the Constitution, I think, makes it explicit that these laws are laws here only until they are amended or until they are repealed by the Oireachtas.
We are by this Act repealing them. We have the right to do it. There is no doubt whatever about that. No Act of the Imperial Parliament, as it was called, is able to bind us if we wish to loose ourselves from it. We have full competency to do it, and we are asserting our right to do that by this particular section in which we are repealing the British laws in so far as they may be deemed or held ever to have been in force here. Let nobody have any doubt about it. British subject is no longer, as far as our citizens are concerned, a term applicable to them under Irish law. It may be said that they may be so regarded by the law of another country. It is possible that another country, Japan, for instance, may claim that all who were born here were her citizens. If the Japanese were foolish enough to put such an Act on their Statute Book or to retain such an Act on their Statute Book, we could not very well go over and compel them to take it off. but, as I said before, it would be a piece of impertinence to continue doing that and to continue retaining it in that particular way, and I hope as far as our people are concerned, that that piece of impertinence, as it would be, will stop.
Senator Brown, apparently did not deny our competency to deal with a very wide range of matters, but he seemed to think that somehow there were one or two directions in which our competency was restricted. He seemed to indicate that the Preamble to the Statute of Westminster somehow or other interfered with the general application of the Act. It did not do anything of the kind. If Senators look up and read carefully the reports on which that Act was based they will realise that the discussions recorded in them took place precisely because it was recognised that there was to be no limit of competency, and that because there was to be no limit of competency it was desirable that there should be uniformity in certain particular matters: that as long as the States continued in a monarchical form, for example, that the law relating to the royal style and titles and the law of succession should be the same in all. It is a recognition then of competency—this recitation in the Preamble and this report of the proceedings of the conferences on which the Bill was based.
I do not agree at all that Senator Brown, who spoke on the legal aspects of this question, was right in his opinions or had any genuine foundation for them. At times he seemed to be thinking of British constitutional history as it was 200 or 300 years ago. He spoke of allegiance as if it was some special personal relation between the person of the monarch and what would be called his subject. That has gone, even out of English constitutional theory, for some hundreds of years, I think. It is realised that in the British constitutional theory, in so far as there is any allegiance at all, it is to the King in some political capacity and not as a person: that the individual personal relationship of the type of protector and protected, has gone away altogether. Again, the Senator seemed to suggest that you could have only allegiance to a person not to a country. That is not true either. You will find, if you read books on international law, constantly the phrase "allegiance to one's country" and "allegiance to a country," so that Senator Brown, I think, if he examines carefully the statements which he has made, will find that in fact they are based on altogether shaky foundations.
The position then is this: that we are satisfied that this Bill is completely effective, that it establishes a code of nationality law affecting our citizens in every part of the world. It is not a local Citizenship Bill. In 1922 the Constitution seemed, and purported, apparently, to establish such a citizenship, but that has gone. It was never, in practice, applied. That has gone legally, and in fact, and when this Bill becomes law you will have a code of nationality law applying to our citizens in whatever part of the world they may be. Remember, as I pointed out before, the Hague Convention laid it down that it is for each State to determine under its own law who are its nationals and that the question as to whether a person possesses the nationality of a particular State depends on the law of that State.
On an earlier stage I indicated the need that there was for this Bill. That has been generally recognised. I am glad to find that the representatives of the women of our country are satisfied that this Bill puts them in a position of equality. It is said that it has a defect in not allowing for descent through the mother as well as through the father. There is there only an apparent inequality. It is an inequality in phrase rather than in fact, because by the provisions that have been added to the Bill in the Dáil, following the discussions that took place on that matter, an Irishwoman who becomes a widow, or an Irishwoman who wants her children to be regarded as Irish citizens, can easily have her wish satisfied. Provision is made by which that can be done.
I am more than pleased at the privilege of being the person who has sponsored this Bill. I am pleased with it in every way. I believe that it lays the foundation, the only foundation, on which we can have real friendship with a neighbouring people. The rights which they accord to us we are prepared to consider and accord equal rights to them. It is a position of equality, the only position which will make for permanent good relations. The word "hate" was referred to. I do not know any more unfortunate type of speech than that which was delivered by Senator O'Farrell. There were a number of things he said that could be misrepresented and misunderstood. The speech appeared to me to be one which was most objectionable in every way. Senator O Maille said it was a case ofbeirt ag troid agus iad ar aon sgéal—that is to say, two people in the one point and one overstressing it. That was the difference between the point of view that was expressed, I think, by Senator O'Neill and Senator Mrs. Clarke. Senator O'Neill spoke of the desire of our people to be on friendly relations with Britain. We want to be on friendly relations with Britain just as we want to be on friendly relations with France, Germany and America, and with other peoples, but we would prefer to be on friendly relations with Britain because they happen to be nearer to us, and because there are certain relations which bring us into contact with them more directly and immediately than with other countries. That is true. Senator O'Neill laid stress upon that, but it was a statement that might be misunderstood as if it represented the complete satisfaction of our rights: as if we had had already complete satisfaction of our rights, and if at this moment there was nothing to hinder friendly relations between the two countries.
Because it was open to that misunderstanding, Senator Mrs. Clarke, wisely in my opinion, laid stress on the fact that though we desire these friendly relations, there are things at the present time which militate against these desires becoming effective. If our country is partitioned against our will, as it is partitioned, without any regard to any fundamental principle, that partition line was not drawn because within it there was a homogeneous minority whose rights had to be protected. If that was so the area would be very much smaller than it is, probably not one-third of the Six Counties would be the area where it could be suggested that there was anything like a homogeneous population that desired to be cut off from the rest of the country. Even if there was, there would still be the big question, whether a section of a population, in a case like ours, has a right to cut itself off under such circumstances. Partition was imposed by Britain against the will of the majority of the Irish people; it was imposed upon us on no just principle. That is one of the things that has prevented good relations between these two countries. Senator Fitzgerald spoke of another. Certain of our ports are held by British care and maintenance parties. It is not with our desire they are there. We have time after time told the people of Great Britain that we are prepared to pledge ourselves, and to use all our strength, to see that this country as a free country would be no menace to her safety. Time after time we told them that we were prepared to defend these coasts in such a way that no foreign enemy would be allowed to use this country as a base of attack against Britain. Britain is not prepared, apparently, to take an assurance of that sort. She wants the assurance of having forces in possession. We say that she has no fundamental right to these ports and that as long as she holds any portion of our country against the will of our people, no matter on what plea she holds it, so long will there be something standing between and preventing the good relations and the friendship that we desire, and that every right-minded Irish person desires between the two peoples.
Why can they not do that? Why not let us have our own country? We ask nothing else. If we have our own country without any interference, then it will be very easy indeed for the two peoples to come together, and to make arrangements which will satisfy the mutual interests of both. Although it merely represents two aspects of the same thing, it was no harm to have these statements from Senator O'Neill and Senator Mrs. Clarke. The one thing I think we should not have was a statement such as that made by Senator O'Farrell, because that exaggerates and throws a blame on people which is not genuinely there. Whenever a foreign power holds a country there will always be differences of opinion as to the amount of resistance that should be put up to outside interference. It is only natural that when people are starving, and when they are offered half a loaf, that there would be differences of opinion as to whether the half loaf should be taken or whether they should hold out and starve to death rather than take the half loaf. The differences between our people in the last ten years have not been differences of their making. No Irishman pretends they have been. There have been differences caused through the fact that there was pressure from outside brought upon a weaker people. It is natural that those who want to get rid of that pressure should differ in their opinions as to the extent to which it should be resisted, and the manner and the method by which it could be resisted. The sad part about it is that all our people did not realise—the one way it should be realised—that these differences were almost inevitable and could be exploited by those who did not wish well to this country; that they could exploit us unless there was some method of mutual accommodation arrived at.
I was very sorry to have heard the speech of Senator O'Farrell attributing to our people things that could not justly be attributed to them. Our people do not hate. They neither hate each other nor hate other people, as Senator O'Farrell seemed to suggest. This country has had a sad history. It has been fighting with weaker forces against stronger forces for many an age. The fight has not yet been completed. It will only be completed when every inch of the soil of this country is under the control of a Government freely elected by the majority of the Irish people.