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Seanad Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 9 Dec 1942

Vol. 27 No. 4

Censorship of Publications—Motion (Resumed).

Debate resumed on the following motion:—
That, in the opinion of Seanad Eireann, the Censorship of Publications Board appointed by the Minister for Justice under the Censorship of Publications Act, 1929, has ceased to retain public confidence, and that steps should be taken by the Minister to reconstitute the board.—(Senator Sir John Keane.)

I do not desire to delay the House much further. As a matter of fact, I had practically finished when we adjourned on the last occasion. I desire to reiterate my remarks on a few matters. Apart altogether from any indecency in any of these books, the commercialising of vulgarity—as in the case of the book I referred to particularly—at 8/6 a copy is wrong, and members of this House or of any public body should not agree in any way with such a process. Again, Senator Tierney referred to the remarks in this book as being quite common in country homes, especially in Mayo. We all hear vulgarity on the streets and in the countryside, but I object to the Senator's statement that such language was quite common at country firesides. There are vulgar people who use it on the roadside or on the street, but to say that it is used in the presence of the womenfolk of a family at the fireside is not correct. That is my experience, and I think that Senator Goulding's remark was quite correct—that the person who behaved in such a manner would be thrown out from the fireside of any country home.

Since our last meeting, I have seen references to the fact that we, the Irish people, by adopting this so-called high standard, or assumption of a higher standard than other peoples, would make ourselves ridiculous to the people of the world. Every member here knows what the stage Irishman was and how the Irishman was depicted through the stage in other countries—"Paddy with the pipe." We had enough of that. Thank God, it is pretty well killed by now. I prefer to have the Irish people depicted abroad as having a higher standard than other peoples, than to have them depicted as they were in the past by this stage Irishism. I do not wish to prolong my speech beyond saying that I regard this as a very serious matter for any body of Irishmen and especially for members of this House who represent different vocations and sections of the community. I think that we should demonstrate by our votes that we have the greatest confidence in the members of the Censorship Board in the magnificent work they are doing. Although it does not come within this motion, if possible we should look for extended powers to enable the board to stop vulgarity as well as indecency.

I do not intend to discuss the merits or demerits of the books mentioned by the mover of the motion because I think that has been done sufficiently. My object in rising is to protest on behalf of the public, not on behalf of the House, at the introduction of such a motion at all. It is futile in every way. The mover of the motion should have been well aware of the reception it would be given in this House. My protest is based on the fact that most of us, or a good number of us, came very great distances to this House in the hope of participating in some useful work, but to come here after ten hours' travelling to listen to a comparative amount of thrash about "tuppence ha penny" writers and their books is wasting the time of the House and of those whom we represent. I hope that it will not be repeated and that from this forward the committee charged with assessing the merits of motions of this kind will be more particular in not allowing motions calculated only to take up the time of the House and the country. If this is not done what should be an august House of responsible men will be turned into a House of ridicule. I hope that this little protest will cause proposers of such motions to be more careful in future as to what they bring before the House.

I wish to add my voice in opposition to the motion. I am surprised that such a motion should have been brought forward. In moving it Senator Sir John Keane quoted a certain book which has recently come under public notice, The Tailor and Ansty. He read out certain passages in an effort to prove the Censorship Board was wrong in banning the book, but I think it was clear that the passages he quoted justified the banning of the book for all time. Other books have been quoted here in support of the motion, but the quotations again showed that the Censorship Board acted perfectly properly in banning them. I think that Senator Sir John Keane has made the best case for the existence of the Censorship Board, and has shown how necessary is its vigilance. The passages he read from The Tailor and Ansty were clearly immoral. What was worse, they did not form part of the story at all but were simply tacked on for the sake of obscenity. Clearly, the motive of the writer was to introduce those topics for the sake of gain, the basest of all motives, and that is the book which the Senator cited in support of his motion. I was very surprised at that. The point was also made that 1,600 books had been banned, and that it could be possible that the board was not right in all cases. I cannot imagine any board, after reading the quotations cited by Senator Sir John Keane, failing to condemn the book containing them. I dare say that a single passage would be quite sufficient to show the general trend of the book. A great number of the books I heard about recommended the adoption of forbidden practices, and in that case there should be no hesitation in stopping their circulation. I would like to deal with what I think is the real motive behind this opposition to the censorship. I imagine that the basis of it is the defence of the liberty of the individual—the right of the individual to read whatever books he thinks fit, and the right of the author and printer to publish what they consider fit. I need not remind the House that in any Christian or civilised community there is limit to the liberty of the individual. During the year I understand that the mover sponsored another motion relating to betting shops and their suppression. As a matter of fact, I think he was right in that, and I would be glad to support him, but I ask him if he thinks that betting shops would do more harm than the free dissemination of this evil literature which he favours? Does the Senator think that the betting shops would cause more unhappy lives?

I certainly do.

That is extraordinary, and it is not in accordance with the facts as seen in the outside world. The effects of the betting shops are comparatively restricted; the effects of evil literature are more widespread and terrible. No individual, I say, can claim unbounded liberty to do what he likes. If a journal or a book were to be published advocating the overthrow of the Government by force or anything like that, I am sure the Senator would be the first to call for its suppression. I consider that such a book would not be more deadly than the books which this motion advocated. We must examine the idea disseminated through evil literature. Is it not a crime as old as humanity itself? I hold the Censorship Board is doing good work in endeavouring to suppress immoral publications. Senator Sir John Keane argues that it does no harm to allow those books to be printed and circulated, because nobody need bother to buy or to read them, and that they will do no harm to the ordinary person. We must also consider that propaganda has been reduced to a science. We see to-day each of the belligerent countries sending out propaganda to the neutrals. All the neutrals receive journals dealing with propaganda from the belligerent nations. That is because they know that these things have an effect on people when they are reiterated often enough. When that is the case with war propaganda, the effect must be still greater if you have evil literature harping all the time on obscenity. It is not a question of The Tailor and Ansty or of any of these new books. It is more than that. We have not the exact figures but undoubtedly it is a fact that much evil literature has been imported in, not single books alone, but periodicals, weekly or otherwise, from England and foreign countries. They have been coming in here for years and, through libraries, circulating to the most remote parts. As Senator O Buachalla explained, I saw some that came before the committee set up to inquire into the matter. We saw awful examples of the evil stuff that is being disseminated throughout the country. Is it the object of the mover of this motion to allow that to continue unchecked?

Senator The McGillycuddy said that it was the duty of the minority in this respect to obey the laws of the majority, but I do not really see how it is a question of minority or majority. It is a question which is as old as humanity itself, and concerns every religion and every race. I do not think there has been any difference up to the present between any of the Christian Churches or any sections of the people on this question.

Senator Sir John Keane has done good service to the country in raising it, because for the first time it will show the people what we are up against. It is well that we should face it and see where we stand in this conflict. We know that conditions in the outside world are very bad at the moment. In Europe, America and all countries there is an increasing tendency towards immorality and lawlessness. The literature from these countries portrays the lawlessness and degeneracy into which the masses of people there have sunk. It is by such literature they are endeavouring to destroy the youth of this country, just as the youth of these other countries have been destroyed by evil literature.

The purpose of this literature is clear. To-day the Government have to meet another danger, that of foreign invasion. Hundreds of thousands of our people are watching along the coast and are ready to lay down their lives to prevent invasion. There is even a greater danger confronting us, the danger of this tide of immorality which is pervading the whole world. It is the duty of the Government to defend the virtue of the Irish people against the immoral literature that threatened to overwhelm it. If these modern ideas, as I call them, got a hold, the virtue of the whole Irish race would be in danger. It is a grave question and we have to face it. I do not doubt that there are many who will laugh at that statement, but jeers and sneers matter little where the souls of our people are at stake. It is the duty of the Government not to do away with the censorship, but to extend its powers so that our country is made safe, as far as it is possible to make it. The censorship must be maintained, but it needs to be strengthened. I believe that the forces of order should be called in to help the censorship. That is necessary if evil literature is to be stopped from permeating the whole country by various circulating libraries. County council libraries see that the books are censored, but these other libraries are free to do what they like. Along with the Censorship Board, we should have the Civic Guards, and other agencies of the Government, to see that the circulation of the books, periodicals and journals I am referring to is stopped. The true answer to the motion before the House would be to have censorship strengthened.

My only object in rising is to refute the statement made by Senator Tierney when he said that discussions such as occurred in The Tailor and Ansty were general happenings at firesides in rural districts, and that such conversations should not shock anyone. I am not very easily shocked, and what Senator Keane read out did not shock me, because I heard as bad. However, I have as good a knowledge of conversations in houses in the rural parts as anybody, and those conversations are not the statements in The Tailor and Ansty. I have lived all my life in rural areas and I have visited houses in these areas, and I believe that if such statements as were mentioned were made, particularly if the women or the daughters of the house were present, the man who made them would be kicked out. I heard statements made in the hay-field and in the farmyard, but I never heard them when the women of the house were present.

Is the Senator aware that it was a woman who did most of that talk in this book? It was not a man.

The woman was the witness.

Most of the things read out were said by a woman.

Put into her mouth.

Senator Sir John Keane said that he heard these things said in cottages in his part of the country. I visited cottages in County Kerry and what was mainly discussed in these homes were politics, economic affairs or foreign affairs, and the discussions would be as intelligent as could be heard in the Kildare Street Club or in the Stephen's Green Club.

Is that all you can say for them?

That is not a very high standard.

I may say that I was not surprised to see this motion. There has been a considerable amount of discussion in the Press about the banning of books by the Censorship Board. I was prepared to hear a reasonably good case made for the motion by Senator Sir John Keane, but I must say that I was disappointed with the case he made. He was honest enough to say that it was a book he would not like his own daughter to read. If Senator Sir John Keane would not like his young daughter to read this book, why should he give an opportunity for its circulation in all the libraries and thereby enable the young daughter, perhaps, of his gardener or his butler to read it? If that book had not been banned, it would have been circulating in all the lending libraries, and anybody could read it. That statement of Senator Sir John Keane justifies in my opinion the action of the Censorship Board in banning the book.

As regards the other books to which he referred, I have read none of them, nor have I read The Tailor and Ansty. Senator Tierney advocated, in his speech, the changing of the law. Senator Sir John Keane's complaint was that the Censorship Board was not complying with the law. The best thing we could do would be to amend the law and bring it into conformity with the wishes of the people. I do not think that anybody wants such books as were mentioned by Senator Sir John Keane to be circulating in the libraries throughout the country.

I shall be very pleased to record my vote against this motion. In doing so, I feel that I shall be faithfully representing the views and wishes of the people I represent. The motion asks us to subscribe to the declaration that the Censorship Board have lost the confidence of the public. We have no evidence of that. If there is evidence, it has not come my way. Since the motion was tabled, we have had plenty of evidence that the Censorship Board has gone up and up in the confidence of the people.

What evidence have we got as regards the public? I quite agree that we have had evidence in this House, but where does the evidence concerning the public come from?

I represent a certain section of the public in this House. I have a certain amount of contact with the people I represent, and I have been careful to ascertain the views and wishes of those people during the past few weeks. I find that there is 99 per cent. agreement amongst them regarding this motion. I find, too, that, since Senator Sir John Keane tabled this motion, he has lost caste in the country. The people are asking what manner of man he is. I considered Senator Sir John Keane a very admirable member of this House, and I am sorry to see him losing caste as he, undoubtedly, has done in connection with this motion. The "Tailor" and "Ansty" are supposed to belong to a remote district in the County Cork. I understand that they are supposed to typify the people in that area as regards their sayings and feelings. I know that locality fairly well and I resent very much, and the people of that locality resent very much, being put on the level of the "Tailor" and "Ansty." It is a pity that clever writers such as have been quoted in this House— no doubt, they are clever—do not stick more closely to the rules of decency. They have a great opportunity to uplift the people but, judging by their books, they tend more to deprave the people.

The Senator who seconded the motion—Senator The McGillycuddy— made the strongest case against the motion when he referred to the conditions that obtained at Port Said where there is no censorship, and to the effect of the bad state of morality there on the physical and mental qualities of the people. That argument by the Senator is the best argument we have had in this House against the motion and I congratulate him on it. On my own behalf and on behalf of the people I represent, I congratulate the Censorship Board on the good work they have been doing. Were it not for this motion, their good work might never have been known. I hope that their good work will continue for many years to come.

It was not my intention to intervene in this debate but, after hearing Senator O'Donovan and Senator Honan, I felt that I had some responsibility for calling attention to the mentality that this motion has shown up. Senator O'Donovan would give the Censorship Board more authority and more power. I wonder would he allow them to extend their power into the economic field. To what extent would he give them additional power and in what direction? That is a serious aspect of this question in a country which loves freedom. Then, we have Senator Honan introducing a super-censorship board. He says that the committee responsible for allowing motions to appear on the Order Paper should have more power.

That is the responsibility of the Chair.

The Senator would give you, or some body, the power to decide what we should discuss.

Has not the Chair that power already?

No such power exists, apart from Standing Orders.

The Senator suggests that it should be created. Too far east is west. The Censorship Board is not all we should like it to be. The Chairman of the board thinks it is ideal and perfect. He told us that it went back to a period before Moses and he talked that length, too. In spite of all this talk, old Shakespeare was right. I do not think that Senator Sir John Keane has made a case against the board at all. His choice of books to bring before the House was unfortunate.

Three books.

I never heard such undiluted bilge as the Senator quoted from The Tailor and Ansty. I have very considerable experience in connection with a mental hospital in this city. In these asylums, one meets a large number of “Tailors” and “Anstys”. There is a fertile field there for people who want to commercialise filth. But the people there are under control. Unfortunately, there is an odd one abroad and he is a source of wealth and profit to people who wish to dish up this sort of stuff. I should not like to be the means of spreading propaganda for that kind of stuff. Senator Sir John Keane has done so. That book is, I am sure, a best seller now, owing to the attention which it got in this House. If it had not been for the attention given to it here, it would have been a “flop”. I have never read it, although there are ways and means, as Senator Keane suggested, of getting these books. That is all very well for hard-baked individuals like Senator Sir John Keane and myself. We are beyond the age when that kind of thing could have any influence upon us. But we have a responsibility to the young and immature mind. We should not make that kind of filth available to the young people, at least until they have arrived at the age of maturity when they can appreciate, or otherwise, the value of these things. We all know the desperate and terrible effect that a boy or girl, who is mentally affected in that way, can have in a school. Parents dread them, but how much more disastrous can these books be if they remain easily available to young people.

To that extent, I think that the Seanad has done a useful thing, but I sincerely hope that the mentality advocated by Senators O'Donovan and Honan, and to some extent by Senator O'Callaghan, does not represent, to any great extent, the mind of this House on these matters. We want to preserve what freedom we have. We should not be prepared to hand over to any authority or body the power to curtail it. Certainly, we do right in trying to prevent young people having easy access to the filth and bilge which we had quoted in this House. An astute writer or publisher can always make a book a best seller when action has been taken, such as has been taken in this House, calling attention to it. A certain very well-known man who did not need publicity got tremendous publicity through the action of the Lord Chamberlain when he introduced the word "bloody" into one of his books and it was held up. It gave him a great boost.

To some extent the same thing applies here. These books have got a notoriety that they would never have got were it not for this discussion. To a certain extent I think that Senator Sir John Keane has done a service in bringing this motion to clear the air, and to let the censors know that there is a volume of opinion to check them from time to time. Society is so organised that it is essential and necessary that we should have a censorship. Otherwise we would have these self-righteous people setting themselves up as censors. We saw some of their activities. We saw them going around throwing ink on screens and burning books and generally behaving as if they were the people who had the authority to say what we would read and what we would see on the screen. I do hope that the mentality represented in some of the speeches here does not represent any great volume of opinion throughout the country.

To some extent Senator Foran has said what I desired to say in intervening in the debate. I think that Senator Sir John Keane's motion is one which does not do the job that he desires. It seems to me that it is the wrong method for a person who is dissatisfied with the idea of censorship to endeavour to get a House of the Parliament to decide that a particular committee has acted wrongly. It might be no harm to say that in the question of censorship there are three stages. There has to be, first of all, agreement that there must be some kind of censorship. Then there must be an Act of Parliament. I had some difficulty in persuading an enthusisastic censor that the Board of Censorship were actually doing their job because he had seen in a country town a book which, in his opinion, should have been banned. I had to explain that the board can only act in accordance with the Act, and that it cannot act at its own sweet will. There is a statutory definition and certain powers are given, and then you have to find your board, and that seems to me the most difficult of all things. Membership of the board is a difficult and highly unappetising job, and I entirely agree with what has been said by way of tribute to the people who have taken up that job, both on the present board and on the old one. It is fair to say that every effort has been made by both Governments to get people to do that job who would do it right, but it is very difficult to get them. I could not imagine myself being asked to do a more difficult thing than to go on to that board, although I have read a fair amount of literature, and a fair amount that would perhaps be censored if it were coming out now.

There is bound to be a difference of opinion. Any board is bound to act rather in accordance with what they conceive to be the spirit of the law than the letter of the law. You cannot pass a law without using words like "obscene" or "indecent", which naturally do not lend themselves to exact interpretation so that it is impossible to have a board which will not be accused by somebody either of being too strict or too lenient. I would be the last person to prevent criticism of the board or of the whole idea of censorship, but it is impossible for us here—and I think that has been amply demonstrated by the debate— to decide, after the speech by Senator Sir John Keane giving certain extracts, and another speech giving further and, I think, worse extracts—it is impossible, I say, for us to make up our minds whether the board is right or wrong. I think we should not be asked to do it at all. I feel, also, that a member of the board should not take it as a personal offence if such a motion is introduced. One of the Senators, I think, said that Senator Sir John Keane must have a perverted mind.

On that point, may I intervene to say that when these words were used the Chair did not very distinctly hear the Senator, but the impression gathered was that the words were used in a general sense? Having since had an opportunity of examining the Official Report and finding that they refer to Sir John Keane, I would now ask Senator O'Donovan to withdraw the words.

When I used the words I was using them in a general sense, but I find in the Official Report, as published, I used the words so as to apply to Senator Sir John Keane, and in accordance with your ruling I withdraw them as far as Senator Sir John Keane is concerned. I did not use the word "perverted" in the sense perhaps it would be found in a dictionary.

Mr. Hayes

I did not make that point with a view to provoking a withdrawal. I merely wanted to take it as an example of the particular mentality that we have had in this debate. The essence of this whole Parliamentary scheme is that people in a calm and decent way should be enabled to say what they think and have a debate which would not involve that kind of criticism. We are not a judicial body and we cannot come to a determination in that sense. I would not vote for this motion because I do not believe it is true, and certainly I have not any evidence from what has been said here that it is true. There have been all kinds of extravagant statements. I know the country pretty well and I have heard a good deal of bad language in English and in the purest of pure Irish. It has been said that certain remarks would not be made at an Irish fireside. I think it is true to say that the conversation at an Irish fireside would not consist for the most part of extracts such as Senator Sir John Keane read out. With regard to what has been said about women, there is an old Irish saying and perhaps some of my friends may remember it: "Digh gach dighe drochbhean." The worst of all bad things is a bad woman and it is generally true in Irish-speaking districts that when a woman has a bad tongue she has the worst tongue of all, so there may be some people who use that particular kind of language. But it is not correct, I think, to censor a book merely because one feels that it is not doing justice to a particular district or a particular class of person. It must be obscene within the meaning of the Act. Whether that book is or not I am not able to say. I have not read it and I have no intention of reading it.

I should like to express agreement with the statement of the Minister for Justice that the Act has proved most valuable in keeping out a number of very objectionable periodicals. The question of the censorship of books is a much more difficult question. I should be very reluctant to give any added powers with regard to books. It is a strange thing that people who advocate liberty in one way are sometimes quite silent when rights of another kind are being trampled upon. It is also true that when people advocate, as Senator Foran suggests, more and more censorship, one never knows where they are going to stop. I remember when at a particular moment a very considerable class of people in the country thought that a public representative who held the particular views I hold should not be allowed to speak in the country at all. That was a particular kind of censorship to which a particular answer, and a very effective answer, was made. I deprecate the suggestion that the only method by which the Irish people can be kept right is by putting more and more shackles upon them. There is no doubt that there is a class of book which should not be allowed freely to circulate. The trouble is to find a definition which will give you power to ban that particular kind of book.

I should like also to remind Senator Sir John Keane that the word "Rabelaisian" as applied to what he read out is very much a misnomer. I used to be very familiar with Rabelais, but the word "Rabelaisian" is used nowadays to express a meaning altogether vulgar. Rabelais was a great writer, writing at a particular moment for a particular public, and he was something very much more than merely vulgar. A great deal of what is now called "Rabelaisian" has no claims whatever to be literature but is merely indecent. As far as we are concerned, all our efforts to protect our young people may very well prove to be a failure because we are living at a moment when the world is growing every day smaller and smaller, and when this country is becoming less and less isolated from its immediate neighbour, England, and its much more remote neighbour, America. If we want to protect our young people I think we shall have to take a great many more positive steps and not so many negative ones. Since we cannot remove them from certain dangers, we shall have to aim at strengthening their minds, improving their education and turning their attention to occupations of a healthy character, improving their outlook culturally and religiously, and striving to equip them in such a manner as to make them immune from certain diseases when these diseases come their way. I think on that basis we can do much more than simply by making regulations.

There is at the moment in existence, or there was before the war, an international agreement with regard to certain publications of a pornographic or indecent character. It may very well be that one of the results of this war—one never knows—will be an international agreement on censorship of some kind. It might not satisfy us but it would certainly go a certain distance. I deprecate the attitude of the extremists who want to show that our young people have a different outlook from the young people of other days. I can appreciate the point of view put forward by Senator The McGillycuddy, but I do not understand the view of Senator Sir John Keane, and of certain other people, that somehow or other we are in a new era, that the young people of to-day have a different point of view to that of their forebears, and that there is a difference with regard to indecency, obscenity and immorality. I think that obscenity and indecency in literature go back a very long way. There is very little new under the sun.

As far as we are concerned, I think we should refuse to pass this motion. For my part, I should like to refuse to vote on it because it invites me to do something which I am not competent to do—to declare that the Censorship Board has ceased to retain public confidence, or in the alternative, by another kind of vote, to say that the board retains public confidence. As far as this debate is concerned, I think no proofs have been given and that, in the nature of things, no proofs could be given which would satisfy in that regard. Having said so much, I feel that the most effective way to do something positive for our young people is to ensure that they are occupied under good conditions at proper wages and that they will get such an education as will enable them to use their leisure in a proper manner. A person of that type is much less subject to the evil influences of any kind of publication than an idle person who has little or no education.

I would be inclined to go a little further than the last speaker, Senator Hayes, in connection with this motion. I, at least, would have the courage of my convictions, and if I could not vote for the motion I certainly would vote against it. I, personally, felt very sorry for Senator Sir John Keane. He has always been, in my view, an able debater. As a general rule he spoke with common sense, but I think in this debate he has fared very badly. I think the statements made by Senator Sir John Keane and other speakers who spoke in favour of the motion have been so competently dealt with by Senator Professor Magennis and others who spoke against the motion that it is entirely unnecessary for me to add anything. I was rather amused at the attack made on my friend and colleague, Senator Goulding, by Senator Tierney. While I am inclined to agree with Senator Tierney that Senator Goulding more or less exaggerated matters in his statement, I do say that there was a good deal in what Senator Goulding said. Knowing the country as I do— and I claim to know rural Ireland as well as any other man in this House—I do say that the language quoted in this House during the discussion is not the language used by the people of rural Ireland. There may be exceptions. There are black sheep in every flock and there is a queer fellow in every parish, if you like. There are more than a few queer fellows here in this Seanad, as we have found out as a result of this debate. I have held pretty strong views as to the rights of women. I believe that a woman should have the right to express whatever views she may hold, and I do know that there are women who can use very strong language, but most of the language quoted here in this House is not the kind of language used in the country by either men or women. It is a borrowed language; the words are borrowed words. They are words which are not used in ordinary conversation. If they were ever used in country districts, by the firesides of rural Ireland, I do not believe that they were ever used in the presence of women and children without being resented, and that resentment was very audibly expressed.

I have long since passed the stage when I could be shocked by anything of that kind. I can listen, and have listened, to strong language, as most other people in this House have done, and I am not a person to be shocked; but I believe there is every reason why people should be protected from that kind of thing. As another Senator said a minute ago, if a man would not like his young daughter to read the books which were banned, there is no reason why he should like anyone else's daughter to read them.

Or himself, either?

Or himself, either. I am coming to that. There are two kinds of people concerned. For myself, I have seen too much of life to bother reading that book, and if I came across that sort of story, or found that sort of stuff in the first two or three pages, I would throw the book in the fire, which would be the right thing to do. It is not that I would be shocked or horrified, but that I believe it is nonsense. There are two stages at which people need protection, whether by the State or their own families: one stage is when people are young, before they come to a certain age, when they need protection and direction, and the other stage is when they have gone past the age of common sense. Some people are fools twice and some are fools all the time. Some people are fools when they pass a certain age. When you find an old man going to dances and making a fool of himself, that man needs a bit of advice and protection, someone to put the brakes on him, and some relation should advise him or have some nearer relation try to get some good of him. In that way, it is quite reasonable that there should be some protection given to, and some brake put on, people of that sort. We have Senator Keane rising up in wrath in this House at the very idea of anybody banning certain books, passages from which we have heard read out. As I have said, I have long since passed the age of being shocked, but I can see that there is necessity to ban them. I intend to vote against the motion and, if necessary, to force a division on it.

I believe that Senator Keane is sincere and serious about his motion. There always will be people like that. Just as there always will be people in country districts of rural Ireland who use language they should not use, there always will be a small section of the people who think this kind of stuff is all right, that it is good enough for the people of this country and that the people should be allowed to read any kind of stuff, whether they are young or old, provided members of their own families do not read it. I am not talking about Senator Keane now. They say that we should have freedom in connection with literature and divorce and various other things— except, possibly, national freedom. "Out of evil cometh good," and we should be down on our knees, thanking God that this country is in such a position that we can spend practically three full days in discussing this kind of nonsense. In the course of the debate, it was disclosed that the annual expenses of the Censorship Board were £15.

For the purchase of books.

Senator Keane is an authority on finance and, in his reply, I would like him to tell us the cost of this debate to the country, in dealing with this piece of nonsense and talking here for three days on something in which the ordinary person is not interested. Ninety-five or 99 per cent. of the people would not bother reading that kind of book, with the possible exception of a few young people who are a bit silly and a few old people who are also a bit silly I was very glad to hear people like Senators Tierney and Hayes and others, with whom I may disagree on a lot of things, say that they started to read the book and just threw it away.

I never even started. I am not guilty at all.

I accept Senator Hayes's explanation.

I did not throw it away because I was shocked.

I did not suggest that Senator Tierney would be shocked. I suggest that any person in touch with rural Ireland would not be shocked. No one would be shocked. Someone might be sick and throw it aside until he felt a little better, when he might go back to it again, though I doubt it. There always will be people who will advocate the turning loose of this kind of literature. There always will be people who would like to see on the stage something which would not be tolerated by the average members of society. There always will be people who want to read and see dirt for dirt's sake. There always will be writers who will write dirt for dirt's sake. However, to suggest that the ordinary rank and file of the people of this country have gone so far that they will appreciate that sort of stuff is a slander on the people.

We have people here also who object to the weeds inspectors. We have farmers, like Senators O'Callaghan and O'Dwyer, who will object to the weeds inspector, because he comes around at a busy time of the year and says that the weeds should be cut. But those people have common sense enough to know that such inspectors are necessary and that it is necessary to have regulations to prevent a man's neighbour from growing thistles and weeds which might blow into his fields. In the same way, Senator Keane may think that he may himself like to read that kind of book, or think it all right to read it, but he should have sufficient interest in his fellow-man, who does not want it and does not appreciate it, to protect him from having such seeds scattered broadcast over the land and getting into places where they are anything but welcome.

Senator Hayes's statement was, I think, entirely uncalled for in this debate—in connection with the type of censorship which would not allow a member of his Party to speak at all. I am not quite clear as to the point to which he was referring, but he probably referred to some member who was heckled.

Heckled with stones and rifles.

The Senator was probably referring to the time when de Valera was heckled with rifles at Ennis. We ought to have passed that stage. The only reply to Senator Hayes is that his Party, when in power, could not have any grievance about members of the Party being heckled. Instead of heckling the Opposition, they threw them into jail and locked them up so that they could not speak at all. The Senator should not be dragging that up, in face of another election. After it, probably he will be more broadminded than he is now, and will have learned just another small lesson.

It is now 4 o'clock, and the Minister for Industry and Commerce is present to take the Electricity (Supply) (Amendment) Bill.

Debate adjourned until later to-day.