Sinn Féin Funds Bill, 1947—Second Stage.

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

I am sure that most Senators have already, through the Dáil Reports, made themselves acquainted with the chief features of this Bill. At the same time, I suppose it is right I should give the Seanad a full explanation of the whole position. Most Senators know that the purpose of the Bill is to dispose of certain funds which were lodged in court as far back as 1924. These were funds that belonged to the Sinn Féin organisation. As Senators know, the organisation was established first in 1905, then reorganised in 1917, becoming a great national organisation and commanding the support of the vast majority of the Irish people up to 1922.

In 1922 the division took place, mainly as the result of a difference of opinion with regard to the Treaty which was signed in December, 1921. When the Treaty was signed, and the difference of opinion had made itself manifest, an effort was made to keep the Sinn Féin organisation from dividing. That effort was continued, with a certain amount of success, up to about the 28th May, 1922, when it was agreed that the election which was pending should be held under certain conditions, the conditions being such that they enabled the organisation to remain united. After the attack on the Four Courts and the opening of the civil conflict, of course, the division then became such that there was no hope of the organisation remaining united.

Some time about 1923 an effort was made by those of us who opposed the Treaty to rebuild the organisation. The position at that time was that some of the principal officers remained on one side and some had gone to the other. It happened that, of the officers who went on the other side—that is on the side in favour of the Treaty— were the two treasures of the day. They had been the treasurers, and they were Mr. Eamonn Duggan and Mrs. Wyse Power. In 1924, in view of the division and on taking legal advice, they lodged these moneys in court. Perhaps I should mention a circumstance which I mentioned in the Dáil, that is, that at the first post-Treaty meeting, I think, of the Sinn Féin executive which was a body of 24 members—nine consisting of members of the officer board and 15 other members of the standing committee— it was proposed and agreed unanimously that I should be constituted as sole trustee. There was no trustee, as such, in the organisation other than the treasurers. I, however, did not seek to get at that time—because I had hoped that one way or another it would be possible to get the organisation reunited notwithstanding the differences of opinion—and I did not press to get control of these moneys, although on one occasion, shortly after the resolution being passed under which I was made trustee, one of the treasurers approached me and asked did I wish to have the moneys handed over to me. I said I did not want to show at the time any particular anxiety to get the funds handed over to me because I did not want to take any action that might suggest that the division was absolutely inevitable.

That gives the House the conditions under which the moneys were lodged in court, as I have said, by the treasurers of the day. Now these moneys remained there until the two treasurers died. Mr. Duggan died in 1936, and Mrs. Wyse Power died in 1941. After her death, her personal representative, her son, Judge Wyse Power, came to me and suggested that these moneys should now be disposed of. He suggested a method of using them, and suggested to me legislation. I suggested then that he should see the surviving members of the old executive of the organisation with a view, if possible, to getting agreement as to the proposed method of the disposition of the funds. He interviewed, I think, all of the surviving members of the standing committee of Sinn Féin and reported to me that, with one exception, they were prepared to meet me to discuss the matter. As far, I think, as he could find out, they were not opposed to the method that was proposed for the disposition of the funds. There was one exception and there were some further negotiations with the person concerned and later he died.

Now, during the period in which these considerations were taking place, which would be about the autumn of 1941, apparently the members of the organisation, as it exists at present, became aware of the proposal. I do not know whether it was with a view to stopping or trying to prevent the proposed legislation or for what other reason, whether it was to make good what they regarded as their claim, but they gave notice that they would claim them in court. That claim, I think, was formally made early in 1942. The Attorney-General and Judge Wyse Power were cited as defendants. When I heard this my first feeling was: "Well, all right, let the matter be decided in the courts." I thought that was going to be the position, until the years passed and finally no action being taken by the plaintiffs the defendants gave notice of motion that the case be dismissed for want of prosecution. There were some preliminary hearings, but at any rate the date for the trial was fixed for October, 1946. Meantime a new action arose. The plaintiffs had some differences with their solicitor. He was not willing to give them the papers when they were changing over to another solicitor. They brought an action in court demanding possession of these papers, and the application was dismissed. Then there was a question of an appeal to the Supreme Court.

Somewhere about that stage I made inquiries as to what costs had been incurred and as to what the further costs were going to be. To my amazement, I was told that the costs before the hearing at all would have amounted to something between £7,000 and £8,000. If the matter then went to hearing, and as it was likely to last for some two or three weeks, the costs of the hearing would run to from £6,000 to £7,000, and if there was to be an appeal the costs were going to run to another £6,000 or £7,000. These were the estimates that were given to me by our law department, which had no interest in any way in exaggerating what the costs were likely to be. Altogether, it was estimated that the legal costs of this case, if it were conducted to a finish, would be about £20,000. That is in respect of a sum of, as I was informed, £24,000. I felt that it was outrageous that moneys which had been collected in the way in which these moneys were collected should be spent in that manner. The Government came to the conclusion that the proper thing to do was to proceed, as was intended originally, with the legislation which had been actually in hands before the plenary summons had been issued in the pending action.

As regards these expenses, some of the lawyers in the Dáil, who know more about these things than I do, were astonished at the amount. I assure the House that I was more than astonished when I heard that, before the case went to hearing at all, a sum of £7,000 or £8,000 had been spent. The explanation I got was that the case of the claimants had been traversed by the Attorney-General so that they would have completely to prove their claim. That meant a very close history of a certain period and an examination, year by year, of the position of the organisation which claims the funds. When disclosure of documents was asked for, a pile of documents was presented without any selection.

Of course, with every step taken by the plaintiffs, the defendants had to take a similar step in protecting the interests with which they were concerned. These documents were printed. I intended to bring to the House the big printed volume containing these papers. I understand that it was thought that, when there was such a mass of documents, it would be as easy to print them as to have them typed. It was felt, too, that that would make for the convenience of counsel and those who would be dealing with the case—that the time which they would lose otherwise would justify the printing. I am not a judge of these matters. I have no experience of court proceedings, but I do know that there are cases on record in which a dispute between parties was carried to such an extent that, when the case concluded, the successful litigant had nothing but the success of his contention as a result. The money had all been spent on law charges.

I felt, perhaps, more keenly about this matter than I should have felt if I had not been personally associated with the collection of the funds or if I had not occupied the peculiar, nominal, trustee-position which I had occupied. I felt that it was not right that money collected in that fashion should, in a dispute between parties, be wasted. I should say that, back in an earlier period—1924-26—I had endeavoured to bring about agreement between the various parties—into which the original organisation had been split up—for the use of these moneys for a purpose which would be regarded as a common purpose by all of them. You had the big organisation to which the moneys had been subscribed from 1917 to 1921. That was split roughly in two at the time of the division over the Treaty. Then, those with whom I was associated reorganised the Sinn Féin organisation, doing our best to maintain the constitution as it was and to maintain the continuity of the organisation. During the period I tried to get agreement. I thought that the purpose most likely to secure agreement was the language cause and that the moneys should be devoted to that cause. The old Sinn Féin organisation, the Sinn Féin organisation revived or reorganised in 1923 and the organisations that continued afterwards had the restoration of the language as a common objective. It seemed to me that that was a right and proper purpose and one to which the funds might be devoted. However, efforts in that direction met with failure.

Perhaps, I should say that not merely was the great national organisation of 1917-21 divided into roughly equal parts in 1922 but, in 1926, as a result of a proposal as to the future programme of the organisation which I put forward, there was a division again. Again, the division was very close—about fifty-fifty also. We left the organisation and formed Fianna Fáil. The other organisation dwindled until the position was reached that the body claiming the moneys to-day would represent only a tiny fraction of our people—very tiny compared with the great organisation to which the moneys were subscribed. If this case were decided by the court, I do not know on what principles the claim would be determined. I do not know any case which could be regarded as parallel to it. It might, for instance, be decided on the basis of continuity. For myself, I can say that everything I could do to preserve continuity in the period 1923-26 I did. What was done afterwards, I do not know. I do not know what case could be made for continuity.

It was suggested in the other House that one of the reasons for the action we are taking was some reluctance on my part to go into the witness-box. I should have nothing whatever to worry about in the witness-box. I should have only to give the facts as I knew them. I should not have to formulate any thesis, once the matter had left my hands and I had not to determine the issue. I should only have to give the facts to the court, as I knew them, and those facts, so far as I am concerned, would be very easy to give. I have given them in the main here. It was suggested that I might have been parading as president of Sinn Féin. I was president of reorganised Sinn Féin between 1923 and 1926. There was no question of "parading"; it was a fact. That organisation, under that name, which had been disputed, fought elections all over the country and a number of its candidates were elected. So far as I am concerned, all I should have to do would be to give the facts in court as well as I could remember them or, if documents were brought to my notice, to state whether, to my knowledge, these documents were genuine or not.

In cases of this kind what one has to satisfy oneself about is whether one is acting justly or wisely, as I said in the Dáil. So far as justice is concerned, I have no doubt whatever that the proposal here is a just proposal, because the body concerned never had possession of these moneys. It is a mistake to suggest that we are confiscating moneys, as if the existing Sinn Féin organisation had had possession of them. They never had possession of them. The moneys remained unclaimed from 1924 until the date of the action, which followed proposed action by us to bring in legislation. The body which claims the moneys on the basis of continuity would not represent the substantial organisation to which the moneys were subscribed. If a test could be applied as to what purpose the subscribers of these moneys— assuming they roughly represented the organisation—would desire them to be devoted to, I have no doubt, if there were any means of ascertaining their wishes, they would, by an overwhelming percentage, say that these moneys should not go to the body claiming them at present. I have no doubt, therefore, that what we are proposing to do is just. I do not know what principles may be applied in court in regard to determining how far continuity could be proved, and if it could be proved how far it would be a determining consideration. The next thing is: Is it wise that we should do this? I say it is wise. I think it is extremely wise that the money subscribed should not be merely wasted in law costs. A question may arise as to whether the method of disposition, as proposed in this Bill, is the best method. I have confessed in the other House, and I am repeating it here, that I had one objection myself to this method of disposition. There is the fear that the administration costs would be so high that the money that would eventually go to the people who are intended to benefit might be substantially diminished. That was a serious objection. There is no pretence about this being an attempt to meet the case of persons who are not in good circumstances as a result of their activities.

It was better in my opinion that this money should be spent in the relief of distress of this particular type than wasted on law charges. The objection, of course, has been made to this that it is legislation of a peculiar character, that it is retroactive and so on. Well, the same consideration arose here before and anybody who cares to look up the debates of the Seanad will find it. It was when the Land Act of 1926 was being passed here. The Senators who were here at that time will remember. It was the famous Lynam v. Butler case. There was a good national reason put forward at the time for the Bill. So far as principle was concerned, it was opposed for the same sort of legal reasons that were put forward in the Dáil against this Bill. You will remember what happened on that occasion was that the Supreme Court had come to a certain decision and there was a proposal to take the Bill from the Supreme Court to the Judicial Committee of the British Privy Council. That was objected to on national grounds and also on the grounds that it was not in accordance with certain agreements reached at the time. The arguments that were put forward very ably at the time by Senator Browne, who was a distinguished lawyer, were based on the same sort of grounds as they were based on in the Dáil. From his point of view, leave had been given in the courts to appeal and the case being in the courts, should not be interfered with here and we should not come in in the middle of a judicial process.

It was a case of going to a court outside the country.

I am quite willing to admit that there was a difference, but I am saying the case was made here that we should not interfere in a judicial process. It it interesting to read the debate. Senators will find it interesting as it deals with some of the general considerations that occur in a case of this kind. First of all, it was suggested that it was unconstitutional: that in any case retroactive legislation of this kind is bad. The Minister who was dealing with it pointed out that, far from being exceptional and rare, legislation of a retroactive character is very common. When I say very common, I mean that there are several cases in every Parliament that can be cited. It was suggested that it was an interference with the proper functions of the court.

It was argued by the Minister that Parliaments and legislators in all countries must have the power, and that it is not merely desirable but it is essential for them to declare the law and to change the law if it is in the public interest that the law should be changed: that no individual in a community has any vested right in the law and that, if a legislature deems that the law should be changed, it has the right to change it. Normally, the function of the courts is to interpret the law and to declare the law, but the Legislature can come along and say, where the courts have given a decision, that the law should be otherwise than it had been declared to be and that it shall always be deemed to have been otherwise than it was declared to be. Ordinarily, cases like these will not be as frequent as ordinary legislation, but it comes down eventually to the fact that the Legislature must be master of the law and must be master of the law from day to day. But there is one thing that the Constitution very definitely says we cannot do, and that is to declare an action to be an infringement of the law when it was not an infringement of the law on the date when it was committed. That is very definite. In other words, you cannot declare a case to be illegal that was not illegal at the date on which it was committed. There is a curious converse to that, you can declare acts to be valid which were invalid on the date of their commission.

The Minister dealing with the matter in the Seanad in those days gave two or three examples, and, in fact, the cases he cited at the time were rather interesting in themselves. So far as I remember, there was one case which arose in respect of charges made by the British Government during World War No. 1. These charges were made in respect of certain licences which had been given. It was a milk company in Wiltshire which had taken the action, in which they resisted the claim for some £15,000 in charges. The case was taken to the highest courts, and they won. The Legislature then came along and decided that these charges which the court had held to have been invalid at the time were valid, and said that any cases pending were to be dealt with on the basis of the new law, and not only cases pending, but also the cases in which adverse decisions had already been given against the Crown. There is an obvious case of the validation of acts which were invalid at the time they were done. The indemnity Acts usually passed at the end of wars are typical examples of that validation of acts which might have been held to have been invalid.

There was another case which was interesting, too. It was about territorial waters jurisdiction. I think it was the "Franconic" case, in respect of which the majority of the judges decided in a certain way. The decision did not suit the policy of the British Government, and they promptly brought a Bill into Parliament saying that the King's jurisdiction extended beyond the shores to such an extent as was necessary for defence. I have not read the case closely, but that was the general line.

Apparently, they were restricted to some short distance—three miles or some such distance—and, notwithstanding the decision, they declared the law to be different from that which the majority of judges had declared it to be.

Another case was the case of McDonald v. Shand, relating to a distinction between regular income and certain profits or bonuses which could be valued only after the year was out. There was a distinction between these which led the civil servants of the day to think they had a good case, and they immediately took legal steps with a view to getting these bonuses separated from their income and freed from income-tax. The British Government thereupon brought in a Bill immediately, which settled the matter, a Bill which said that all cases pending, cases which were in the courts and so on, should be dealt with on the basis that the judgment which had been given should not stand and that the position should be deemed always to have been different from what the courts decided it to be.

These, I think, are the cases which were cited as examples here when this type of legislation was questioned in the early stages. I have a number of other cases of more recent date which bear out the point I am making, that this type of legislation is not extraordinary or exceptional—I should not say "not extraordinary", as I do not want to suggest that it is the ordinary type of legislation, but that it is frequently found. I have mentioned the cases of the Wilts Dairies, of McDonald and Shand and of the civil servants. This is the sort of clause which was put in the 1924 Act to cover the case of the civil servants:

"For the purpose of any assessment to income-tax for any year which is made on or after, or has not become final and conclusive before, the 13th day of June, 1924, or of any deduction on account of income-tax for any year, any increase of or addition to any salary, remuneration, pension, annuity or stipend by way of war bonus, and any other like temporary increase or addition granted in order to meet the rise in the cost of living, shall be, and shall be deemed always to have been, chargeable to tax as salary, remuneration, pension, annuity or stipend, as the case may be, and not as perquisites."

I have spoken of the case of Lynam v. Butler, and there is then the case of the deputy registrar in bankruptcy in Cork. It was a case in which if the Deputy was acting in accordance with the law, he should not have acted in a certain way, and a law was passed, following a decision of the High Court quashing orders made by the deputy registrar on the ground that he was not authorised by law to exercise the functions of the registrar. That Act was passed on the 24th June, 1926, to validate the acts and orders of such deputy registrar. It was, in other words, a validation Act. Section 2 of the Act declared that every act done before the passing of this Act by the deputy registrar in purported exercise of a power which the judge had purported to delegate to him and which the judge could have lawfully delegated to the registrar was deemed to be and always to have been as valid and effectual when done by the deputy registrar as if it had been done by the registrar. The section was declared not to apply to any order of the deputy registrar which was quashed by the High Court before the passing of the Act; there was an exception in that particular case.

I have another case here, the Finance Act, 1929. A case was pending, and it was one in which it was thought the power to take papers was going to be a crucial matter, and, in anticipation of the case that was likely to come into court, Section 30 was put in. That section declared that the power to inspect and take copies of documents conferred by Section 26 of the Finance Act, 1926, included and had always included power to remove all or any such documents. It was a declaratory Act in respect of a case in which there was a doubt, and it declared the law to be of a certain type in anticipation.

I have here a case in which there was a reversal of a decision of the Supreme Court, the Performing Rights Society v. Bray Urban District Council case in 1928. That reversed a decision given by the Supreme Court under the Copyright Act of 1911. It declared retrospectively the subsistence in Saorstát Eireann from 5th December, 1921, of every copyright of the kind which had been declared by the Supreme Court not to be subsisting. In other words, it stated the direct contrary of what was stated by the Supreme Court. It thus deprived the defendants of the benefit of the decision in their favour, that they had not infringed any copyright, but it protected them and others to the extent of precluding any right to damages or otherwise in respect of an infringement before the passing of the Act. The case subsequently came before the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, which held that the Act precluded them from doing anything other than discharging the order of the Supreme Court as to costs.

That was a very peculiar case. The court held that copyright did not exist, but the Legislature declared that it did and was to be deemed always to have existed, but it prevented those who might have been aggrieved from proceeding to claim damages for contravention of the copyright.

I have another case here, the Courts of Justice (No. 2) Act, 1931. This statute declared that a certain method of awarding costs in the Circuit Court and a certain principle of taxation in respect of such costs should be and be deemed always to have been valid. This had the effect of overruling the decision of the Supreme Court in the case of Quinn v. Stokes (1931). The Act, however, excluded from its operation any costs directed by the Supreme Court before the passing of the Act to be taxed on any particular principle appointed by that court in respect of those costs. I do not want to tire the Seanad, but I have three or four more cases. It is no harm to have a variety of them. If they were classified I think it would be found that they were types where the Legislature had intervened after the Supreme Court had given a decision and declared the law to be different from what it was. There were cases in which appeals were pending. You will find that there were also cases in which Acts were passed in anticipation when legal action was pending and that the Acts stated that any actions pending should be dismissed.

Then there was the Land Act of 1936. Section 13 of that Act extended retrospectively the power of the Land Commission to reduce standard purchase annuities under Section 38 of the Land Act of 1933 to cases of holdings subject to a judicial rent. Apparently it had been held that "judicial rent" was not covered by Section 33 of the Act. The Act declared that, although it was held they were not subject, these particular judicial rents should be subject to the clause and subject to reduction. In the case of the Marquis of Lansdowne v. The Land Commission in 1936—Irish Jurist Reports, 1—the Supreme Court had held that Section 38 of the Act of 1933 did not extend to such holdings.

The statute of 1936 went on to provide that the extended power could be exercised in relation to a particular holding subject to a judicial rent, notwithstanding any order or decision to the contrary in respect of that particular holding made or given before the passing of the Act, if so made or given on the sole ground that such holding was subject to a judicial rent. Evidently this deprived the plaintiff in the particular case, as well as all others, of the benefit of the decision in his favour. In the same Land Act of 1936, Section 17 contained retrospective amendments of Section 28 of the Land Act, 1933, relating to warrants of the Land Commission for the levy by distress of arrears of annuities. It had the effect of nullifying the decision of the High Court in the case of Halpin against the Attorney-General (1936)— Irish Reports 266—and it contained a provision providing that any action or other proceeding pending at the passing of the Act in respect of anything done under Section 28 of the Land Act, 1933, should not be further prosecuted or proceeded with if and so far as it was grounded on all or any of the matters retrospectively set right by the provision in the Act of 1936. There is a case in which it was decided by the Legislature that action should not be further prosecuted or proceeded with— if the argument against this Bill is that it is an offence or against the independence of the courts to interfere with decisions by legislation. That case shows that it has been done. There have been some cases in America which were looked up, and in those cases it was found that whenever there has been a question of the right of the Legislature to pass retrospective legislation it has been affirmed.

I do not think that in the case to which the Taoiseach refers Mr. Halpin's rights were affected.

You have cases where you exclude particular individuals but you deal with others. It was regarded as a test case. When a case is decided and the result is contrary to what the Legislature feels in the public interest they come in and sometimes permit the individual in a particular case to get the benefit of his decision. It would be interesting, if I had time to analyse cases of various kinds and to show exactly the stage at which the Legislature had come in—to what extent they did, or did not, permit a particular person who won a case to get the benefit of the decision he had already obtained. They have done it in both ways.

This is an interesting one, the Accidental Fires Act, 1943. This is a case where there was a fire in Athlone and it spread from a factory and caused considerable damage. Action was taken against the owners of the factory by some people who suffered damage, and it was held that the Accidental Fires Act, 1715, did not cover the case of a factory. It covered a "house." The Legislature took action. I am reading these notes because it is better to have the actual particulars of the cases rather than that I should give a paraphrase. The Accidental Fires Act of 1943 remedied the decision of the Supreme Court in the case of Richardson and Webster v. the Athlone Woollen Mills, 1942— Irish Reports, 581. It was to the effect that the word "house" in the Act of 1715 did not include a factory and that, accordingly, the defendants were liable for damage caused by the escape of a fire originating, even though accidentally, in their factory. The statute in effect extended the protection against the consequences of an accidental fire to a fire originating in any building, while it left the benefit of the decision in their favour to the plaintiffs in the particular case——

That is the real point.

I hope to find examples of others. The Lansdowne case is one.

The Taoiseach is speaking from files and I hesitate to criticise them. My recollection is that he was allowed the benefit in one particular instance on which he appealed but was not allowed the benefit in the others.

I did not read the original case and I have to depend on notes. My impression—from the notes, but I may not have interpreted them correctly—was that that was definitely one case and I think that I will find some others in which an individual in a particular case did not get the benefit of the decision. While the Accidental Fires Act, 1943, left the benefit of the decision in their favour to the plaintiffs in the particular case, it provided that any proceedings in connection with the fire pending at the passing of the Act should be discharged and made void, subject only to relief as to costs. This provision deprived a number of persons, damnified by the particular fire, of any remedy against the defendants—which they would have had if the decision had not been dealt with by statute. In other words, the Legislature, the representatives of the people, coming together, felt that the protection that was given by the 1715 Act should apply to a factory, and those who suffered damage and felt that they had a case, according to the existing law, were deprived of a benefit that they could have got by proceeding on the basis of the law as it had been. It is interesting to read the sections of the Acts that deal with the cases I have mentioned, to see the words given there and the similarity between the words used in them and the words used in this Bill. Section 1 (1) of the Accidental Fires Act, 1943, says:

"Where any person (in this section referred to as the injured person) has suffered damage by reason of fire accidentally occurring (whether before or after the passing of this Act) in or on the building or land of another person, then, notwithstanding any rule of law, the following provisions shall have effect, that is to say:—

(a) no legal proceedings shall, after the passing of this Act, be instituted in any court by the injured person or any person claiming through or under him or as his insurer against such other person on account of such damage;

(b) if, in case the fire occurred before the passing of this Act, any such legal proceedings were instituted after the 16th day of November, 1942, and before the passing of this Act, and are pending at such passing, such legal proceedings shall be discharged and made void, subject to such order as to costs as the court in which such legal proceedings are pending or a judge thereof thinks fit to make."

It will be seen that the Legislature stepped in there and stopped a pending action.

Again, in the Land Act of 1936, Section 13 (2) reads as follows:—

"The power conferred on the Land Commission by the said Section 38 of the Land Act, 1933, as extended by the foregoing sub-section of this section to fix the standard purchase annuity for a holding in the manner provided by Part II of the First Schedule to the Land Act, 1923, may be exercised, in the circumstances mentioned in the said Section 38, in relation to a particular holding subject to a judicial rent notwithstanding any order or decision to the contrary in respect of that particular holding which was made or given before the passing of this Act and was so made or given on the sole ground that such holding was subject to a judicial rent."

That is to say, cases which had been decided were upset.

This is Section 17 (4) of the same Land Act, 1936:—

"No action or other proceeding instituted in any court before and pending at the passing of this Act against a county registrar in respect of anything done by him under a warrant issued by the Land Commission under Section 28 of the Land Act, 1933, shall (subject to the next following sub-section of this section) be further prosecuted or proceeded with if or in so far as such proceeding is grounded on all or any of the following allegations, that is to say, the allegation that the charge by such county registrar in relation to such warrant of any fees or any expenses which might lawfully have been so charged if the foregoing subsections of this section had then been in force was unlawful, or the allegation that such warrant was invalidated or prejudiced by the addition to the moneys thereby certified of any fees or any expenses which might lawfully have been so added if the said foregoing subsections had then been in force, or the allegation that the levy under such warrant of any such fees or any such expenses was unlawful."

I am afraid I would find it difficult to paraphrase that, to get the full force of it. In any case, it was another instance of declaring the law to have been different from what it was when certain decisions were arrived at.

I think I have given the Seanad sufficient examples to show that it has not been extremely rare for the Legislature to step in when cases are pending and when it is felt that the law might be declared by the court to be different from that which was felt by the Legislature to be in the public interest. If the Legislature at any time wants to change the law, it is its proper function and prerogative to do so. The Legislature makes the law at any particular time and it is quite obvious that, if it were going to be debarred from performing its duty by a simple rushing into court of individuals who might consider that they had some rights which were going to be affected, legislation consequently would be held up. The Legislature is supreme in that case.

The suggestion that there is some interference with the liberty of the courts seems to me to be absurd. The courts in giving their decisions decide on the law as it is, as they find it to be. The most extraordinary, the greatest of its powers is exercised by the Legislature when it comes in and says, whatever may be said by the authority whose proper function it is to declare what the state of the law is: "You may have declared the law to be so and so; we, as the sovereign law-making authority, declare the law to be otherwise than you have declared it and declare it always to have been otherwise." It seems to me that the making of a statement of that kind is an exercise of power far greater and far more entrenching upon the ordinary function of the court than what is proposed when an action is pending and you declare that the subject of the action shall be dealt with in a particular way.

I am not going to deny that one should examine all such cases very carefully and that there should be some very good public reason before the Legislature takes action of this kind. I am quite prepared to hear Senators argue that it is unwise to do this and even in a case like this that it should not be done. But that is quite a different thing from holding that it is contrary to the Constitution or contrary to the functions which are given to the Legislature and to the courts. A suggestion has been made that it is unconstitutional for us to do this. My answer is that nobody has been able to show me specifically in what respect it is unconstitutional.

There has been a vague idea that it is somehow contrary to some latent spirit in the Constitution. That has been dealt with already by the courts themselves. There is an interesting case of an American decision which was adopted and approved here in the case of the State (Ryan) v. Lennon, 1935 (Irish Reports, 170, p. 236). The words of that decision were:—

"Courts cannot nullify an Act of the State Legislature on the vague ground that they think it opposed to a general latent spirit supposed to pervade or underlie the Constitution where neither the terms nor the implications of the instrument disclose any such restriction."

When I have asked for the specific section of the Constitution which this Bill contravenes, I have been met with suggestion that there is some sort of a general spirit in respect of which it is contrary to the Constitution. My answer is that the American declaration which the courts here have adopted, is a sufficient reply to that point. It is difficult to see what other points need to be covered. If anybody holds that this is contrary to the Constitution, well there is a way for testing that. Everybody knows that anything we pass here, or purport to pass, is null and void to the extent to which it is contrary to the Constitution, and that the Supreme Court finally decides the matter.

In conclusion, may I summarise? I have given the history of the funds and I have shown Senators the merits of the case as well as I could. I have dealt with the legal arguments that have been used against the Bill. I have shown, I think, by the examples I have given that this type of legislation is certainly not unheard of, if I may put it that way. It certainly is heard of. We have had examples of it in all Legislatures. I admit that it ought to be rare, and that there ought to be a good case made for doing it. I think that here the case is a good one. It was on that basis that I introduced the Bill originally, and I commend it to the House for Second Reading.

May I ask the Taoiseach one question of which I have already given him notice? The Taoiseach stated that a sum of between £7,000 and £8,000 was involved in costs prior to hearing. Of course, I appreciate that is an estimate. I should like to know, however, the basis of that estimate as between the three parties before the court: that is an estimate of the costs incurred by Mrs. Buckley, an estimate of the costs incurred by Mr. Wyse Power, and an estimate of the costs incurred by the Attorney-General. Do these estimates give the total of the figure mentioned?

The note that I have states that up to the present, the costs of the plaintiffs are estimated at £2,800, of Judge Wyse Power at £4,000 and of the Attorney-General, £750. These three figures make a total of £7,550. Of course, that is an estimate. Senators will have noticed it was a round figure I gave; the total in all is estimated to be about £20,000.

The further estimates were not segregated in the same way?

No. They were based on the idea that the hearing would last three weeks, and that there would be six senior counsel and three junior counsel engaged. If the hearing would end in three weeks, the estimate was that the figure would be between £6,000 and £7,000. Then, if there was an appeal, the sum put down here for costs is from £6,000 to £7,000.

The motion which has been moved is: "That the Sinn Féin Funds Bill be now read a Second Time." The most important part of the Bill is to be found in sub-section (1) of Section 10, which provides:

"On the passing of this Act, all further proceedings in the pending action shall, by virtue of this section, be stayed."

Disliking that in principle, and disliking its operation in this particular case, I put down this amendment:—

"That Seanad Eireann declines to give a Second Reading to any Bill dealing with the Sinn Féin funds until the court's proceedings at present pending in relation to these funds have been determined."

Now I would like to address myself to that narrow point. I do not desire to follow the Taoiseach into the number of examples which he gave us.

In the first place, the funds here mentioned are funds about which some of us, including, of course, the Taoieach himself, know quite a good deal. The Taoiseach has given, quite calmly, a reasonable history of these funds with the exception, I think, of the date which he puts for the Sinn Féin split which we need not quarrel about. The Sinn Féin movement, which was a movement against the British and not a movement against any Irish Government, was split when the Taoiseach himself declared against the Treaty in December, 1921. In spite of any effort made after that, I think there was no hope of keeping the Sinn Féin organisation together, nor was it correct that it should be so kept because the objects for which it had been originally founded were no longer available to it. The Sinn Féin movement was split into the Anti-Treaty and Pro-Treaty Parties, the Pro-Treaty Party being the majority. The view of the Pro-Treaty people was very clearly indicated in doing what they did. As the Taoiseach has mentioned, they lodged the funds in court. The Treaty majority of the Sinn Féin Party made no claim to them nor indeed did the Anti-Treaty Party either.

Like the Taoiseach, I have fairly clear and definite views politically, but I want to speak, not judicially and not legally, of the entire invalidity of the claim of any political body now to these funds. I think that the use of the name "Sinn Féin" against an Irish Government is a perversion of the ideals of Sinn Féin and of those who founded it; but I do not want to allow my personal views of history or of politics either, present or recent, to intervene between a litigant and the decision that a litigant is entitled to, it seems to me, in the courts.

I would like to say at the outset that I do not argue that this Bill is unconstitutional. I cannot subscribe in any way to the argument that there is some vague spirit in the Constitution to which this Bill is opposed, and that if there was, the Supreme Court, or any court, would hold in that way. Neither am I arguing that this is something which Parliament has not got the power to do. We certainly have power to do it, but the question that arises is, whether we should do it. We should be opposed to it as a matter of general principle, and we should be opposed to doing it in this particular case. But Parliament in the end, when you come down to what is called brass tacks, means a Parliamentary majority. What we are invited to do in this Bill—in a political case dealing with politics in the courts —is to interpose a political majority, namely, the Fianna Fáil majority in both Houses, between a political litigant and the decision which that political litigant is asking the court to give. That is a bad thing.

You can talk about the powers of Parliament. I am entirely with the Taoiseach about the powers of Parliament. Parliament has the power here, as elsewhere, entirely to discredit Parliamentary institutions. Every Parliament has in itself the power to discredit itself and, in discrediting itself, to discredit similar institutions everywhere. What it all comes down to is that in this case a political majority is being interposed between the judges and the litigant, who happens to be a politician. That is an extremely bad principle to which this House should not agree. The Taoiseach has given a number of examples of validation Acts. There is no analogy whatever between what we are doing here and Acts passed to validate certain acts done by soldiers, policemen or civil servants. That is a common type of Act, which has no parallel to this measure. Nor has an indemnity Act any similarity to it, nor Acts which concern the public revenue, nor is the Lynam and Butler case a similar case. As the Taoiseach made very clear—very fairly—Lynam and Butler was a case concerned with vindicating the right of this Parliament to make the law, and the right of the courts in this country to declare the law, as distinct from the judicial committee of the Privy Council, which was an outside body, the right of which was denied. That is not an analogy, either.

The arguments in favour of this Bill, as put up by the Taoiseach, are roughly that the courts might take a narrow and an inequitable view of this case. Translated, an "inequitable view" really means that the courts might decide this case in a way which the Taoiseach would not approve. Has the phrase any other meaning? Does not everybody know that, when the courts decide in my favour, I think they are magnificent but, when they decide against me, I say that they have decided on a narrow, technical basis. That is, in effect, what the Taoiseach says. Similarly, we have been told that it is for the public good we should intervene between this litigant and the judges. The public good means, in effect, what a Parliamentary majority thinks what it should be at a particular moment. That is the interposition of a political majority between the litigant and a decision.

There has been some talk about the Dáil and Seanad being a court of equity. That is a complete misunderstanding of what a court of equity is. It suggests that a court of equity decides by commonsense and common reasoning, that it looks at a litigant and says: "This fellow is all right; he has a good case; let us decide in his favour." A court of equity does no such thing. It is bound by rules and precedents. It is a complete—and, apparently, a wilful—misunderstanding of what a court of equity is and what a Parliament is to confuse the two things. We can, of course, make law for the judges but any given person should have a right to a decision on the law as the law stands when that person initiates his action. We ought not to interfere between the litigant and the existing law, whatever it is. I sympathise with the Taoiseach and, indeed, with the courts, in their endeavour to find what legal basis there is for giving a decision in this case.

The amount of money involved when the costs will have been paid will be less than £16,000. In a Budget of £69,000,000, £16,000 is a very small sum and it seems to me that it would be no harm to spend that sum of £16,000 in vindication of the principle that any person, no matter how insignificant and no matter how the Taoiseach and I, combined, might dislike his politics, should have an opportunity of going to the courts, putting his case, whatever it is, to the courts, within the rules the courts observe and on the law as it stands when the action begins. The law may be altered subsequently and has frequently been altered subsequently. The judges themselves sometimes say, when giving a decision, that the law should be altered and it is altered for future cases. But it should not be altered for a particular case which is at issue. One wonders whether the Taoiseach would be so enthusiastic for the powers of Parliament and the Parliamentary majority if he were not himself the person who controls the Parliamentary majority. I take leave to doubt that he would.

There are certain provisions in this Bill which we can deal with in Committee. The Taoiseach himself takes a very naive view of the courts. He thinks that he would have nothing to do if he went into the courts but give his evidence—state the facts. Did the Taoiseach ever hear of a witness being cross-examined—a perfectly sincere and truthful witness? My sympathy often goes out to such a witness. Any lawyer will tell the Taoiseach that going to court to give evidence is not entirely a matter of stating what you know and leaving it at that. Lawyers have a habit of cross-examining which can be very disconcerting. A couple of years ago I was involved in a case of theft by a charwoman in my place. A detective-sergeant said to my wife: "Madam, if you go into court to prosecute this woman, you will think by the end of the day you are after stealing the stuff yourself". My lawyer friends, of whom I have many on different political sides, confirmed that detective-sergeant's view of the courts. I do not think that the Taoiseach is so simple. I do not think that his giving evidence would be as simple as he thinks. I could, certainly, supply some questions for cross-examination about his history of Sinn Féin which would not be so easy to answer.

There is in this Bill a provision which we can deal with in Committee and which I think is quite wrong. I think that the introduction of the Chief Justice is quite wrong. I do not know who originated it but it is impossible to put the Chief Justice into this Bill and to keep him immune from criticism. I do not intend to criticise him but I think that to put him into this Bill in this way in a completely non-judicial capacity is wrong. The Comptroller and Auditor-General or the president of the St. Vincent de Paul Society or the head of the Department of Finance, who would have peculiar qualifications, could have been mentioned in the Bill, because the function to be exercised is not a judicial function. Not being a judicial function, it leaves the unfortunate man who is introduced open to criticism. It shows a certain lack of discernment that the Chief Justice should consent to be introduced into a Bill in this way —a Bill which is open to the argument that it is directed against the courts. I think that that is a relevant and cogent argument. There are many other matters which one could raise in Committee.

We have a Budget of almost £70,000,000. The amount of money involved in this case will be £16,000, when the costs are paid. I am not sufficiently skilled in the intricacies of court actions to deal with this question of costs, but £16,000 is a very small amount. When you take out of that £16,000 the cost of administration of Section 13, the amount of money left for dependents of people who gave national service and who are now in needy circumstances will be very small indeed. The Taoiseach comes to us with the Chief Justice on one arm and the 1916 men and the needy members of the pre-Truce forces on the other arm. He says: "You cannot hit me now with these two in my arms." The relief of distress is an object with which everybody would sympathise. Personally, I have more sympathy with the Taoiseach's first thought, that the money should go to cultural purposes.

The principle of this Bill is bad. The precedent created by the Bill is extremely bad. None of the cases the Taoiseach has quoted is really analogous to this case. This is a case, as I said at the beginning and as I shall conclude by saying, in which proceedings have been taken by a political body. They are taking proceedings at their own risk. I do not know why any fund should pay the costs of a litigant who presumes to make a claim to it. If I see some trust fund and go into court and say: "Part of that is mine," surely I should not be paid my costs if I fail to prove my claim. If people go into court at their own risk and with their own money to endeavour to prove their claim to a particular fund, I think it is a bad principle and an extremely bad precedent for Parliament which, in effect, means the political majority, to intervene between the litigant and the judges. The judges should be left to give a decision. If the judges were to find it impossible to give a decision, if the case were thrown out for want of prosecution or if a decision were given which, in practice, it would be impossible to carry out, then there would, presumably, be a case, after consultation, for some kind of Parliamentary action. In this instance, it seems to me that we have a very bad precedent and I am entirely opposed to it. I feel so strongly about it that I think we ought not to pass the Second Reading of the Bill, though I have frequently declared that we should not oppose the Second Reading of a Bill but rather try to amend it in Committee. This Bill could only be amended to satisfy me in one particular—if sub-section (1) of Section 10 were taken out:—

"On the passing of this Act, all further proceedings in the pending action shall, by virtue of this section, be stayed."

If this sub-section were taken out of this particular Bill then the Bill would have no further value and this is the only amendment that would seem to be satisfactory. I am against the Bill root and branch and I do think that members of this House who have the responsibility of taking a detached view of all these matters should say that these people, no matter how insignificant they may be, should be allowed to put their case to the courts without Parliament being permitted to intervene between them and the courts and oust them. They are our courts. We set them up ourselves and every citizen has the right of resorting to the courts. Legislation of this kind would prevent the citizen from exercising that fundamental right. Here is the case of Mrs. Buckley and the Sinn Féin organisation, so called, against certain people. It quite equally could be a case of Patrick Kelly against Patrick Murphy, a case where the Legislature would intervene and say that it knows the rights that Patrick Murphy is entitled to and will give them to him by a Bill. That strikes at the very root of the whole system which provides that the Parliament makes the law and the courts administer the law as they find it. For this reason I hope the Seanad will adopt my amendment.

I second the amendment moved by Senator Hayes. I was very glad when I heard from him that he proposed to move an amendment on these terms. It seemed to me to set out clearly the main objection to the Bill and that it was the best method by which the Bill could be debated in this House. I am obliged, personally, to the Taoiseach for the very interesting explanations he has given us. He said that everyone in this House would have read the Dáil debates. I think he is wrong if he thinks we all read the Dáil debates. For very good reasons, I think, I was away from Ireland and I had not the time since I returned to read them. It was only from glancing over past newspapers that I gathered the debate had taken place and that it had engendered unnecessary heat. I hope that it will be discussed here on a perfectly frank basis of an honest difference of opinion.

I agree with Senator Hayes when he says that Parliament has the right to pass a Bill of this kind. He means of course a constitutional right and I equally agree with him and I would like to make the case even stronger than he did that Parliament should not do so. No Constitution could restrict legislation to such an extent without being so rigid as to be unworkable. The functions of the courts and of Parliament may be set out in general terms by saying that it is an accepted principle that Parliament makes the law and when it is made it is for the courts to decide, judicially, what this law means, with the fundamental right of Parliament to come in afterwards and say that it does not want the law as it was declared by the courts. But in the interval, from the time the courts' decision is made until Parliament has acted, that is the law.

Senator Hayes emphasised the fact that Parliament does and probably always will represent a political majority and that it is highly undesirable for a political majority to intervene in a political case in the courts. I think it is highly undesirable for a majority in Parliament to intervene in any case and particularly in this case because it happens to be one in which the interests of a minority are involved. I think that minorities, for whom I have some little claim to speak, have not absolute faith in Parliament. They recognise that subject to changes from time to time Parliament will and should represent the will of the people and that they must submit but they believe that finally, minority rights, which are guaranteed for them to some extent in the Constitution but far more by the general tolerant attitude of the people, are secure to them through the courts. I believe that where Parliament sees fit to intervene in a case that is before the courts and says that it knows better what to do and does in fact intervene it is adopting a very dangerous practice. I believe it weakens the confidence of minorities.

The Taoiseach referred to a number of legal cases. As a fair-minded man in matters of this kind, he will, I am sure, appreciate that no one at this stage could be conversant with the details of all these cases unless he had an intimate concern in them at the time. Some of the cases he referred to do not seem to me to be relevant and others had a certain amount of relevance. He referred to the Lynam-Butler case and the Land Bill, 1926. I was a member of this House at the time and I have a very clear recollection of what took place. The actual discussion in the House was relatively short. There were some long speeches, but only a few members took part. Discussion outside the House was very lengthy and of very considerable importance. I had just then been invited to join what was known as the Independent group. I think I had been a member for two or three months. It was for a short time, at any rate. A meeting of this group was called, quite unusually I think, by the then Chairman of the House. He wanted to lay before this group their absolute duty of opposing this Bill and the principal reasons he gave I can remember as clearly as if it were yesterday. In his opinion, if the Bill was passed it would create a precedent that would be followed by Parliament and by an interference with cases before our own courts. I thought he was wrong. I argued with him and finally a majority of this Independent group decided not to oppose the Bill.

I believe this case is fundamentally different. A court which ought not to have, and, to my mind, had not, any proper authority, namely, the Privy Council, was likely to be asked to give an opinion. There was no secrecy about it. The Bill was introduced frankly and for only one purpose—to maintain what we then were trying to establish and which, I am sure, the Taoiseach had sympathy with, or which he appreciates we were trying to establish then, as he has continued to establish it since, that is, the political independence of this country. To me, it was necessary to take that action, which was not to interfere with the decision of an Irish court but to prevent a decision by a court outside the country which claimed to have authority. I thought it was justified, and I still think it was, but I recognise now that the warning of certain lawyers, including the then chairman, had some validity, that there was a danger that, having started with a court outside the country, we would want to do the same thing with our own courts.

As I have already said, I cannot follow in detail the other cases, except that I have a recollection which is not nearly as clear that the Performing Rights Society case was a similar case, designed for a similar purpose. With regard to the other cases, I will read carefully the case made by the Taoiseach and, if necessary, at a later stage, may think fit to refer to it. A few of the cases I remember and I also remember expressing my own doubts as to whether it was proper or whether it was worth it, but I do not believe that in respect of this case of £20,000 or even £50,000, even if the Taoiseach were right in saying that the courts might have come to a foolish and unwise decision, which I doubt very much, it is worth establishing this principle, or that, even if he is right, it would be possible to justify one more case. He agrees with me that it should be rare and I think it is a pity it has been done.

I have no strong political feeling in the matter. The period to which he referred is a period of which I have a fair amount of knowledge. I had friends on both sides during the split. I remember clearly, as do many other members of the House, the period of unity with a considerable amount of pride, though one did not agree by any means with everything that was done, but the period immediately after is a period which I, for my part, am trying to forget, which I have no wish to revive and the discussion of which, except where it becomes necessary, has no particular value. It is not from that point of view that I am opposing the Bill. I am opposing it because I honestly believe it is a mistake. It is not worth it for what might be achieved, even accepting everything the Taoiseach said with regard to this case. It is, to my mind, a good thing, even if it wastes £20,000, to see certain political minorities in this country recognising our courts and going to them, and I think it is a tragedy, when that has happened, that Parliament should see fit to intervene. These are my grounds for seconding the motion and for hoping that the Bill will not be proceeded with.

I think it a pity that this motion to refuse a Second Reading to this Bill should have been put down, but I hope that the debate will proceed on the good lines on which it has so far proceeded and that the acrimony displayed in the other House will not be introduced here. However, a definitely Party political note has already been introduced into the discussion and I fear that the debate may continue on these lines. We in this House have discussed legislation up to the present with a view to amending it and, where necessary, we have criticised details which came before us, with a view to getting the Government to bring about improvements. To-day, the Opposition have adopted a different attitude. Senator Hayes, in moving this motion, has not really spoken with his heart in what he said. He was as much concerned with the collection of these funds as any other member of the House. They are, to all intents and purposes, public moneys and national funds, and it is therefore quite fitting that the Government—call it a Party majority, if you wish, but they represent the people, and in this regard they are operating specially on behalf of the people in respect of moneys collected to secure the independence of this country—should see that these funds are not frittered away. The phrase "frittered away" was first used by the Leader of the Opposition in the other House, but there was a complete about-turn afterwards, and it is unfortunate that the same atmosphere should be introduced into this debate, although I still hope that the acrimony displayed in the other House will not be introduced.

To my mind, the question which arises here is: who began it? From the history given to us, with which Senator Hayes agrees, it was in an attempt to anticipate the Legislature that these proceedings were brought into court, so it is not a matter of the Legislature interfering with the courts but of people seeking to use a procedure of the courts to interfere with the Legislature. When, in the national interest, these national funds were to be used on behalf of the victims, and the dependents of the victims, of the fight for freedom, when the Legislature was about to see that this money was disposed of in the interests of the people, certain people tried to use the courts to prevent that being done. Therefore, it is not a matter of the Legislature interfering but of people trying to utilise the judicial machinery to interfere with what the Legislature seeks to decide.

To my mind, there is nothing of retroactive legislation in this and I think cases quoted are not at all comparable with this case. Here is a fund belonging to the people which has been lying in the courts for 25 years. The Government, in its wisdom, decides that it is time this fund was devoted to the use of the nation and we are asked to legislate in respect to the distribution of this fund in accordance with this Bill. There is nothing retroactive about that. It may be retrospective, if retrospection means looking back, and we have to look back at what has happened, but I do not think there is anything in this legislation which could be regarded as retroactive. This fund has been lying there for 25 years and now that the emergency is over the Government feel that those who lost their means of support should benefit from the disposal of the fund. It is meet and proper that we in the Legislature should be only too anxious to utilise that money on behalf of the nation. I have no qualms of conscience whatever in using my vote in the direction of securing that the money will be used on behalf of the nation. We are not confiscating the money of anybody. This was money subscribed by the people for the securing of the country's freedom and is not the money of any one individual, or money which any individual has a right to claim.

I should like to refer to points raised by Senator Hayes and by Senator Douglas. The action taken in 1926 was taken to prevent an outside body, namely, the Privy Council, having any right to pronounce on matters coming before the courts. It is a pity that Senator Hayes and his colleagues did not follow that line all through as, in that case, we would have been saved much time, as well as acrimony, when the present Government removed the right of appeal to the Privy Council. I am glad that Senator Hayes asserted that this Bill is in no way contrary to the Constitution and that it is right and the sensible thing for the Oireachtas to do, to see that money which all parties agree was subscribed for a purpose, should not be frittered away in legal costs. There are legal men on both sides in this House and, therefore, I do not want to say anything about legal men, but law is a very costly process for any individual who, unfortunately, has to undertake it, either on his own behalf, or on behalf of anybody else. That reminds me of a story that is told in my town of two litigants going to the same solicitor and that solicitor writing a note to another saying: "You pluck one, and I will pluck the other."

They are not all Cork men.

Mr. O'Donovan

Here we have a series of pluckings from funds belonging to the nation. We should stop that. It is not a case of one plucking one fat goose and another plucking another fat goose, but frittering away funds for the benefit of lawyers. This £24,000 will be going into lawyers' pockets for which it was never intended. I think we would be very lax if we allowed that to occur. That was the policy of the Opposition, but there seems to have been a complete change. I appeal to Senators who may wish to support the amendment, which really means a rejection of the Second Reading, to examine their consciences and to do what is just and best for the nation.

In view of the appeal that has been made to examine our consciences and to act right by the nation, I think I am bound to say what I intend to say. Senator O'Donovan complains about the plucking that will take place if this Bill is not passed. I direct attention to the fact that there has been a fair amount of plucking done already. The money subscribed, to which reference has been made, was £8,000 and by the wise dispensation of Providence and the hard work of the Irish people, it has become £24,000, so that £16,000 of the total amount involved was not subscribed voluntarily by the Irish people, but was extracted from them in profits under the dispensation of the Central Bank and other institutions provided by this Parliament. I shall not pursue that further. The feeling I have is that the intrinsic value of the little hoard involved may be very small, but in order to get our claws on it, we are invited to outrage a great principle, and that principle is that the ordinary citizen has the right to go to the courts for a determination of any claim he makes. If he is foolish or ill-advised the courts punish him by not allowing him his costs.

Until this Bill was introduced there was never a suggestion anywhere that one of the parties to a claim would get no costs whatever. I take it that if Mrs. Buckley and her friends in the Sinn Féin organisation could not show the courts that they had a meritorious claim they would get no costs. In any event, we ought not to discuss it on that basis. The question, whether a plaintiff or a defendant should get costs, is of little importance compared with the principle which I have endeavoured to state. I am insisting that the cases which were quoted this evening by the Taoiseach show that this is not the first occasion in which Parliament has been called upon to reverse court decisions. We know that that is true.

We know what happened in the case of Lynam v. Butler, which I need not discuss. But somebody standing up in this House 21 years from now will probably quote this precedent to justify something else, of which the Taoiseach will not now approve. After all people change, political views change, and if in any change that occurs we encourage people to interfere with institutions, which we put up, because the institutions do not do what our successors want, then we are setting an example which will have far-reaching consequences. Those who are voting for the Second Reading should bear in mind that they are voting for something which may produce effects 21 years from now, which are not anticipated.

This case is distinguished from any cases cited. This is a case in which a number of private citizens gathered together in an ad hoc organisation claim that they are the owners of certain trust funds which are in the custody of the courts. The Taoiseach may take the view, the Attorney-General may take the view, and this House may take the view, that they are not the lawful owners of these moneys, but it is unwise for us to pronounce judgment on the case, in view of the fact that there is not a member of this House, or of the other House, who supports the Sinn Féin organisation.

What we have been asked to do is to say that a body of people who do not subscribe to the views of this particular political organisation are to be the judges in their cause. I think it is unwise, that it is a bad precedent and one that some of us may live to regret. I agree entirely that it is the practice of this Parliament to set aside the effect of court decisions and there is nothing peculiar to this country in doing so. In fact, I take the view— although I do not suppose many would subscribe to it—that Parliament should interpret the Constitution and not the courts. I argued that before, I remember arguing it with the Taoiseach many years ago, that it was an unwise thing to permit the courts to interpret the Constitution. Therefore, I am not a slavish advocate of the view that the courts are sacrosanct and that we have no right to interfere with them at all.

If ordinary citizens believe they have a claim to property, they ought to have an opportunity of submitting their claim to the courts in a most competent manner and the courts should be permitted, except in isolated cases, to determine that claim. The case of Lynam and Butler was clearly an isolated case. There are other instances, such as the Land Act of 1936. The Athlone case was one in which the lawyers and the people believed for very many years that the law was such and such, but they discovered to their amazement, on the matter being tried in court, that it was quite the contrary to what they believed. What Parliament did then was to step in and say: "We are going to restore the law to where we believed and the country believed it stood until this decision." Unfortunately, if you are going to contest these cases in court, they are going to cost money, but we cannot avoid that. Personally, I would prefer that, if the lawyers must live, they would have an opportunity of doing their plucking in a case like this rather than that they should do it where a workman is injured and brings his case to the courts under the Workmen's Compensation Act.

There is a principle involved here and it is dangerous to ignore its implications. The grounds on which we are asked to set aside the right of the court to determine this issue are extremely unsound. Under this Bill, a considerable sum, probably one-third of the total amount involved, will be paid out in costs to the contesting parties. There is a small sum left and we are told that this small sum is going to save from destitution a number of people who sacrificed their all on behalf of this country. In the first place, I say it is a scandal, so far as the Government and Parliament are concerned, that the people referred to are in the state of distress to which reference has been made here. That is the weakest ground on which this case can be made —the ground that there are people who made great sacrifices and are now in destitution and require the aid of the country. That is a scandal and should not be advanced as an argument in support of this Bill.

Is there any reason why the issue should be brought to a conclusion now? This money has been lying there for 25 years. Is there any reason why, if the Sinn Féin organisation fails to establish its claim, it would not continue to lie there for the next 75 years? At the end of 75 years from now, when those who occupy our places are celebrating the centenary of the Truce or the Treaty, whichever it may be, there will be a capital sum of £750,000, at the present rate of going—and I am sure the Taoiseach is most determined that interest will continue to accrue, under the system he has established, for the next 100 years.

Perhaps interest will be abolished in the interval by somebody.

I tried to warn the House that that is one of the things this Bill might be used to do, in case it receives the approval of the House. We cannot object to other people using the precedents set for them and using them to their own advantage. However, as long as we know what we are doing, as long as we know that we are establishing precedents, I am satisfied that the step should be taken. If the Government and the House believe that the Sinn Féin organisation will fail to establish its claim, there is a very good reason for allowing the money to lie there. It has already lain with the courts for a quarter of a century and nothing serious has happened. It has grown out of all proportion, multiplied three times in the last 25 years. It might well be left there until other people, less closely connected with the incidents which led up to the money being in court at all, may form a conclusion as to how it should be used.

It has been my practice in this House to urge that the House would not refuse to give any Bill a Second Reading as, by refusing a Second Reading, the House precluded itself from amending the Bill and at the same time did not prevent the Bill becoming law. This Bill becomes law whether we like it or not, but I do feel that in this case we cannot amend it. It would be foolish to try to amend it, as it is all in one principle. The principle is to set aside the right of the people to have recourse to the courts. I am not prepared to vote for that and, therefore, I propose to vote for the amendment.

Business suspended at 6 p.m. and resumed at 7 p.m.

I do not propose to delay the House on this Bill, but there are one or two matters to which I desire to advert. I want to make it clear, as Senator O'Donovan has said, that although I intend to be extremely definite and firm in the observations I have to make, I do not intend to do so in a manner that could, perhaps, be described as acrimonious. The Taoiseach, in his opening speech, told us that he did not mind being a witness in an action: that he had nothing to hide and nothing to be ashamed of. It so happens that I have just come from a court where I had nothing to hide and nothing to be ashamed of. I was a witness in a case, and at the conclusion of it, both the judge and the opposing senior counsel said that I had nothing to hide and nothing to be ashamed of, but while that is so I was in the witness box for five and a half hours. If the Taoiseach wants a little bit of advice from me, let me tell him that, no matter what his views may be, it is not, and would not be, a pleasant prospect for him. I do not think that it would be true for the Taoiseach, or for anybody else, to say that they did not dislike going into a witness box. However, that is only in the lighter vein.

There is a fundamental principle involved in this Bill for which I must vote. Before doing so, I should like to state my reasons briefly. The Taoiseach bases his whole case for the Bill on this—I do not think he will suggest that I am misquoting him in any way—that its purpose is to avoid eating up the funds. The Taoiseach gave us the figure of £7,000. I am taking a rough figure, and I quite appreciate that the Taoiseach was right in discussing this in round figures. He gave that figure of £7,000 and, in reply to a question of mine, said that the costs had been involved as to £2,800 by Mrs. Buckley, as to £4,000 by Mr. Wyse Power and as to £750 by the Attorney-General. I want to make it perfectly clear beyond all question so far as I am concerned that, I think, the incurring of £4,000 in costs by Mr. Wyse Power—and that these costs should be paid—is a thing that this House cannot, under any circumstances, stand over. The situation is perfectly clear. These funds were collected at a time when, if I may be forgiven for saying so, I was too young to take much notice of such things as money in these proportions. At any rate, these moneys were lodged in court in or about 1924 by the persons who then held them — Mr. Duggan and Mrs. Wyse Power. Mr. Duggan died, and Mrs. Wyse Power became the last of the two people who had lodged them. When she died she left as her personal representative Mr. Charles Henry Wyse Power, who is referred to in the Bill.

Charles Stewart Wyse Power.

I accept my friend's correction. Mrs. Buckley came along and instituted proceedings to have it declared that the funds belonged to her. When I say to her, I mean to her organisation. The defendants who were nominated in that proceeding were Mr. Wyse Power, as personal representative of the last surviving treasurer, and the Attorney-General. The sum of £4,000 has been incurred to date in respect of the costs of Mr. Wyse Power. I want to make perfectly clear that there was no necessity whatever in law for these costs to be incurred. I do not want to go into legal technicalities but Mr. Wyse Power was what is called a bare trustee. It was necessary that he should be cited as a defendant because he happened to be a representative of the person who lodged the money in court. Having been so cited, it was necessary for Mr. Wyse Power to put only two lines of defence on the records of the court—"I submit to the judgment of the court." He would, after that, have only to instruct the most junior of junior barristers to go into court and, when the case opened, to get up and say, "My Lord, I submit to the jurisdiction of the court." That is all a bare trustee has to do. What in actual fact happened was: he decided he would like to have a hand in dealing with this case and in respect of the presentation of the arguments to the court. In order that he might make a splash—£4,000 has been incurred.

There is always a desire by a judge that the two sides of a case should be argued. That is right and proper. A judge does not like to decide a case without having had both points of view put before him. If Mr. Wyse Power was the only defendant, it would be right and proper he should take some positive action. But he was not. The proper person to deal with one side of the case was the Attorney-General, just as Mrs. Buckley felt she was the proper person to take the side of her organisation. I want to say most specifically that I object very strongly, indeed, to the costs of Mr. Wyse Power, which were so needlessly and so absolutely unnecessarily incurred, being paid as a result of this Bill or the costs incurred in his behalf being utilised as an argument to show the necessity for this Bill. In fact, they should never have been incurred. If the matter went to court, the Attorney-General should apply to the court that his costs be restricted to the costs of a bare trustee. It is quite clear to the Taoiseach's advisers, as well as to me, that the costs of such a trustee would, at most, amount, after the hearing, to a matter of £200 or £250, rather than to £4,000, which has already been incurred, and a further £2,000 which the Taoiseach estimates will be the cost of the hearing. There is no doubt whatever that these costs were totally unnecessarily incurred. They should never have been incurred and they should not be paid for that reason. There was a perfectly ordinary, established system of dealing with a situation like that. This should have been left a dispute between Mrs. Buckley, on the one hand, and the Attorney-General on the other hand, and the intervenor should have put in only a two-line defence and got a junior barrister to say: "I submit to the judgment of the court." Instead, he chose to make a splash and I do not see why this fund should be required to pay for a splash which was totally and entirely unnecessary.

This is a pending action. It is an action which is already before the courts. Whether it has been there too long or too short is not for us to say. It is an action which is already before the courts and Mrs. Buckley, presumably, thinks that her organisation has a right to this money. The Attorney-General, presumably, thinks that she has not such a right. I do not think that any of us is in a position to say accurately and truthfully which of them is right. I do not want to prejudge the issue. Let me assume for the moment that Mrs. Buckley is right and then assume that she is wrong. Suppose Mrs. Buckley succeeds in establishing to the court that her association has a right to these funds. Does the Taoiseach think it proper, notwithstanding that the court would so decide, that the right of her association should be done away with? I do not think it is. I think he is taking the view that she is wrong if she is not going to be able to establish her claim. Very well, then, let us consider that. If she does establish her claim then we should do nothing to prevent a litigant who started litigation from being successful in that litigation. If she does not establish her claim, and let me be crystal clear on this, not one penny piece of her costs will be paid out of the fund.

There is no doubt whatever about that being the law. There is no doubt whatever that when a person who has no claim whatsoever, comes in and makes a claim and fails to substantiate it that that person will not be given any costs. If she substantiates her claim she will, of course, get her costs and her association will get the fund. If she fails she will not be paid her costs. I have already expressed my view on Mr. Wyse Power's costs. The only costs which will be payable out of the fund are the costs of the Attorney-General. No matter whether Mrs. Buckley succeeds or fails the Attorney-General's costs will be paid out of the fund. That is absolutely truthful and correct. But on the figures which the Taoiseach gave me in reply to a question, the Attorney-General's costs are about £750 and the costs between the three sets of litigants are £6,000. Dividing that by three we get a figure of £2,000. It seems that the total cost, if Mrs. Buckley is not successful, will be £2,750 with a trivial amount of perhaps £250 for Mr. Wyse Power, making a total of £3,000. It becomes quite clear, therefore, to me that we were being asked to surrender what I consider an absolute vital principle for a sum of £3,000 in costs.

What is the principle? As I understand it it is a principle of every democracy that the one real protection of the individual's rights in that democracy or civilisation is that there will be someone there to hold an even scales and to determine that no matter whether a man is powerful or weak, if he wants to get his rights or what we commonly call justice, he will be able to go to this someone and ask him to protect him as a weak person against someone who is stronger and to give to him his rights, the rights to which he is entitled. As I see the situation, we are asked to abrogate this principle. I personally cannot in conscience assent to this abrogation. I do not want to take the Taoiseach through the long list of examples he gave. I only want to meet him on his own ground in respect of one of them and I will be quite frank in saying that the one which I am taking is the shortest one I can find. I did not select it because it was more favourable to me but because it was an extremely short Act and therefore much easier for me to discuss. It is the Accidental Fires Act of 1943. The Taoiseach very properly explained the circumstances in connection with this Act.

What occurred was there had been a fire in the Athlone Woollen Factory and as a result of a definition in an earlier 18th century Act a fire in a house and in a factory was not the same. Two people, Richardson and Webster, whose property was damaged as a result of the fire, were able to prove this in court and got from the Athlone factory damages for the accidental fire which had broken out at the factory. These people went into court and got a declaration that the Athlone Woollen Factory must pay to them damages as to what they had suffered as a result of the fire which started accidentally in the Athlone Woollen Factory and which spread, as fires will spread, to their property. They went to the court and got a decree and the court ordered that the amount of their damage would be paid. I forget the exact amount, but it does not matter in the least either to the Taoiseach or myself. That is what happened in respect of an accidental fire and the Accidental Fires Act and that, in my view, is what should happen in this case. In the first section of that Act it was very specifically phrased that the judgment of the court in the case would not be upset. It was very specifically phrased that the Athlone Woollen Company had to pay the damages of the plaintiffs and it was also very specifically phrased that the existing court decision was being left unaltered and that future decisions of the court, after this decision and after the Government's intention had been made known in regard to it, would be taken not on the interpretation of a 200-year-old statute which was out of date but in relation to the new law.

The date of the original Accidental Fires Act was 1719. At that time the ordinary factory that we know was not a concept at all. Factories are a modern concept. It was quite right and proper that as soon as the defect in the law had been noticed the defect should be put right and the defect was put right by the Accidental Fires Act of 1943. There was a provision in that Act to ensure that there would not be a multiplicity of proceedings from the time the legislation was introduced, for the good reason that in our legislation various stages of Bills are taken and usually at different times so that we may consider between these times what are the exact implications. In case a multiplicity of proceedings should be started a date was put in after which, it was announced, no proceedings would be dealt with. It seems to me that that was an absolute and perfect analogy, quoted not by me but by the Taoiseach, with regard to what should happen in relation to these funds.

There is at present a case before the court. That case should be brought to hearing. If the plaintiffs do not want to bring it to hearing, the Attorney-General should bring it to hearing, and if the plaintiffs do not want to go on with it, the Attorney-General should get it dismissed. The Taoiseach should then—and I appeal to him to do so—announce that no one else need start any action about these funds, and, when the existing matter has been dealt with, it will be perfectly correct to introduce legislation of this or somewhat similar nature by which he would get exactly what he wants without abrogating or violating the principle that the courts in any circumstances will not be interfered with by Parliament, in any effort to prevent an individual, however weak, however insignificant, from being able to say at all times: "In these courts lies the real protection of my democratic rights." That is what the courts are for, and unless the courts are to deal with the individual application of the general principles which we lay down, unless we are to deal with the general principles which operate for A, B, C, D and E and leave the courts to decide whether A or B, within these general principles, is correct, we are starting along a road which will lead us further than anybody realises or appreciates to a position in which the ordinary rights of the individual can be tampered with at will, no matter who may be the Government of the day.

I cannot see why exactly the same procedure cannot be carried out with regard to this fund as was carried out in the case of the Accidental Fires Act. It seems to me that the proper course was taken there, and it seems to me that the Taoiseach believes the proper course was taken there, because he quoted that Act in support of his contention. It seems to me that it is not even yet too late for him to deal with this matter in that way, and it is certainly not too late for this House to deal with it in that way. I ask the Taoiseach, if he has any doubt whatever about this matter, to submit to this House a certificate from the Attorney-General that the course I have indicated in respect of Mr. Wyse Power could not have been adopted, and that he could not have gone into court and said: "I submit to the jurisdiction of the court". I ask the Taoiseach to tell us what his advisers tell him would be the costs in that event, and whether I am not right in saying that a mere nominal sum of perhaps £250 would be a much more correct estimate instead of £4,000 as the costs of the hearing if the correct course had been adopted. If there is a fund in court and a person claims that fund and does not succeed in his claim, he will not get his costs, and I feel strongly that this House should not determine that an unsuccessful and unjustified claimant should get his costs. I feel very strongly that for what is, in effect, a trifle, a principle which I am quite certain my friends on the other side hold really dear, as I do, and a principle in which I believe they, as I, believe is being violated and abrogated and that this step will without question in the future be quoted as a dangerous precedent, a precedent which may mean in the future that we will travel even further down this slippery path.

We are all glad to see Senator Sweetman looking so well after the ordeal he went through in the courts for the past few days.

He got his costs.

I think he has been confused by the inquiry into lunacy that went on on that occasion, because his arguments have got very mixed. He has quoted the Athlone Fire Case and has said that it was proper to pass the Act in that respect, although there were several cases pending at the time which that Act put an end to, and not alone were these actions pending, but they were certain of success, because there was a decision of the Supreme Court to the effect that a factory was a house within the meaning of the Act of 1719 and they were entitled to compensation. There, certain actions were pending, and, one might say, already decided, and all that was necessary was to go into court to get compensation. Yet the Oireachtas stepped in and said: "You will get no compensation because we will pass a Bill to prevent your getting it." That Act was passed in 1943 to deprive these people of their rights, and, in the same way, in the Lynam-Butler Case, people were deprived of their right to go to the Privy Council. In the case of the Performing Rights Society against the Bray Urban Council, the plaintiffs had actually succeeded in their action and had got their injunction with very heavy costs, when the Oireachtas stepped in and said: "You will not get a penny of these costs which the courts have decided you are entitled to." I do not know how Senator Sweetman can reconcile his argument that we ought not to pass this Bill because a case is pending, in which the plaintiffs, according to Senator Hayes, have no rights whatever——

I did not say that. I did not make any declaration whatever about their rights at law.

I gathered from Senator Hayes's argument that Sinn Féin at that time meant the people of Ireland——

That sounds more like the Taoiseach. I do not think I said that.

——that the funds were collected in order to fight against an enemy country, that they could be used for no other purpose and that, unless the plaintiffs intended to carry on that policy, they would have no right to the funds. That is what I gathered.

That is a desperate travesty of what I said.

The Senator implied that, if he did not state it. If one followed his arguments to their logical conclusion, that is the only conclusion one could come to. I have pointed out that in the Lynam-Butler case, the case of the Performing Rights Society and other cases, the Oireachtas stepped in and deprived people of their rights. Senator Hayes said that there is no analogy between those cases and this case. There is no analogy. I agree with him in that. In the case referred to the private rights of the individual were interferred with by the Oireachtas. These funds do not belong to the plaintiffs; they were public funds.

Is not that the question to be decided?

It is not. Senator Sweetman said that the plaintiffs might claim them, not for themselves but for others. Is it not clear that Mrs. Buckley and her co-plaintiffs cannot claim that they are entitled to these funds? Therefore, no court could award them these funds. The funds are in court and the court has to decide if they have a right in law to bring forward a claim. If they have a right the court is not going to give them the funds but will make what is called a primary decree. I think Senator Kingsmill Moore and Senator Sweetman will agree with me in that. The court will then direct the chief clerk to have an inquiry to decide who are the parties entitled to the funds. Let us approach this matter from the practical point of view. We know that the courts will be tied down by the terms of the law. We know that all men are equal in the eyes of the law. The poor man is equal to the rich man, and the rich man is equal to the poor man. The court has first to decide who are entitled. Persons who existed at the time the funds were subscribed would be primarily entitled.

We know that in the Local Government Act of 1898 there was a section which sets out that if a man is owed a debt by a county council, he must sue for it within six months, or within three months after the end of the half year. The reason for that is that the ratepayers who were there when the debt was incurred should pay, and not people who came after them. In the same way, we must assume that the courts will hold that this money should go to people whom it was intended to benefit. The chief clerk gets an order to inquire who these persons are. If they are dead he will inquire who their personal representatives are.

Is there such a person as the chief clerk?

There used to be in the British days, but not now.

We will call him the registrar.

There is the equivalent.

We will call him the equivalent. He is directed to hold an inquiry to find out the people to whom these funds will go. Who are to get the cheques? Are certain rich members of this House or the other House to get cheques? What will the cheques amount to, shillings, pence or halfpence? Is the rich man to be entitled to as much as people who are now in want? The court cannot decide between the rich man and the poor man. It must give the same amount to the rich man as the poor man, to the rich woman as to the poor woman. Is that justice? What did the donors of the funds wish? Did they wish them to be given to people who are now opulent? Would they not prefer the funds to go to people who suffered most, by reason of the fact that they might be their fathers or brothers and, probably, as a result, are in poverty? Would the plaintiffs suggest that the money should go in that inequitable manner? I suggest, not for a moment. Would anybody or any member of this House make such a suggestion?

Was there ever a case in which a measure like this was more necessary? Take it that the plaintiffs proved to the court that they were correct in bringing this action, and that a primary order was made for the distribution of the funds, a scheme would then be adopted. Would it be to all members of the old Sinn Féin organisation the money would be given? Would it be to all old members of the I.R.A. or Cumann na mBan? Who is to prove their claims? Would long affidavits have to be filed in every case showing that a person was a member of Sinn Féin, of the Volunteers or of the I.R.A. for certain periods? Would other members oppose the affidavits and say that they should get the funds? Would it not be impossible for the courts, acting in accordance with the law, to distribute these funds? Is not the only way that by which they would be given to the few who are in want and to cut down the numerous claims?

The funds were not subscribed for that purpose.

They were subscribed to support the struggle for Irish freedom.

Who is to judge, that they are to be given to people who struggled for the freedom of Ireland? Senator Tunney may have certain ideas of law that I have not got. If the Senator were to decide the case he would probably do so in a different manner from that of a judge. He knows perfectly well how a judge would decide the case. He would decide according to certain principles, according to the different categories of people for whom these funds were intended at that time.

They were intended for the nation.

I am sure we will hear Senator Tunney on that very ably and that he will tell us what the judges will do and how this fund can be distributed very simply and very cheaply and without any great expense. I agree with Senator Sweetman and do not think the costs will be as great as mentioned by the Taoiseach. I do not agree that costs amounting to £4,000 could have been incurred. That is more than the plaintiffs' costs of £1,800 and the Attorney-General's costs of £750. I believe they will be much less than that. However, we are not concerned with that, as the costs will be taxed by the taxing master, who will allow nothing more than the amount incurred; and if he finds in the bundles of documents lodged in court that one-tenth or one-fiftieth should not have been lodged, he will not allow for them and the costs will be toned down accordingly.

It is when the order is made for distribution from the funds, when the affidavits of the numerous people will have to be met, that the money will go and it is very hard to ascertain what those amounts will come to and whether the costs each person will incur will not be more than they will receive and the money will be useless to each party. I do not know whether Senator Tunney would object to paying certain people and he knows as well as I do of certain poverty-stricken people whose sons and relatives took the most active part in the fight for Irish freedom.

Senator Tunney knows of many who did not do anything for Irish freedom and who are getting money from Ireland, though they do not deserve it.

We are not talking about those who are getting money. I am certain the Senator would not object to the money going in the manner I suggest, where it will be of some use to somebody. If this Bill is not passed into law, the money will be useless and nobody will benefit; whereas if it is passed, the money will be of great advantage to some people who now require it very badly.

I really cannot understand Senator O'Dea's attitude. I suppose my not being a legal man is the reason. Everybody knows, and no one better than Senator O'Dea, that these moneys were collected to go towards freeing this nation and everyone knows that what the people in the Sinn Féin organisation stood for has not been accomplished. Ireland is still unfree and those people, even though they are a minority, to-day, nevertheless have remained true to what the majority of the people stood for at that time. I would like to remind the Taoiseach that his respect for majorities a quarter of a century ago was not the same as it is to-day. I know he will pass this Bill, because he has a majority in both Houses to support him, but I would remind him of his statement 25 years ago: "The majority of the Irish people were always wrong; it was only a minority that was right."

I doubt very much if I said that. I would like to see that quotation.

He made that statement in 1922.

I would like to see it.

I wonder if I could find it for him. In 1922 he said that for 700 years the majority of the Irish people were always inclined to go wrong and only a majority was right. Probably this is the minority now that remained true to the ideals of Sinn Féin.

I think what the Taoiseach said was that the majority had no right to do wrong.

That was another statement at another time.

I wonder would the Senator, for a few minutes, come to the Bill before us.

This has a bearing on the Bill. If the Taoiseach would think in the same manner, he would not interfere with these funds. I am one of those who believe that the majority of the Irish people have gone wrong now, just as he believed it at that time. Surely this £24,000 should be left to the people who remained true to Sinn Féin, to use for whatever purpose they think wise? They have the first claim on it. It was subscribed for that and none of the subscribers has come forward to request the money back. I have never heard of one asking for it or saying that it should be taken off those people.

I would like to remind the Taoiseach and Senators that in the last quarter of a century it has been the aim of those in power to get recognition for the courts. One of the points the Taoiseach always played on was that there must be some starting point, that we must at least have the courts recognised. His predecessors did the same, and I assume rightly so. Now you have even the Sinn Féin Party prepared to go into the courts, but the Taoiseach will not allow them. There is a big change-over and a change beyond my understanding.

Senator O'Dea has stated that he would like these moneys to go to certain people. So would I like to see moneys going to people who served this country, but have we any guarantee, even if this Bill is passed and we are unanimous about it, that the money would go to the right people? Let us think of the I.R.A. pensions and the I.R.A. medals, where you have members of this House actually coming in flaunting medals, who were never in the I.R.A. movement, who are supporters of Fianna Fáil. I have seen them and my statement defies contradiction. When that can happen in connection with medals, what may happen in connection with the allocation of sums of money?

I think a person can be deprived of a medal.

I would like the Senator to name the people.

Are we not bad enough?

I will give the names, if necessary. I do not like to mention names, but I am sure Senator O'Dea knows the names well.

Read out the names.

I will not read out the names.

The names are not in the Bill, anyway. The Senator must be relevant to the Bill.

The taking away of these people's right to go to the courts is a tragedy. The majority of the people outside can see things very well and when they see that the Government takes part in a transaction of this kind it does not help to raise the morale of the people or raise respect for law and order. It is a very serious thing if the Government exercises its majority to take away the rights of the people. The money was collected for a certain purpose and should be used for that purpose. That purpose is not yet achieved and there is no one who should even take that money, no matter what his circumstances, until that purpose is achieved, namely, the complete freedom of Ireland. Who else has any claim on it but those people? Those people stand for the policy of Sinn Féin, namely, the complete freedom of Ireland. It may be that the rest of us have gone away from that. However, I am not going into that now.

These people stand for that and no one can say that there are not people on the executive of Sinn Féin, even though small in number, who did their part in the fight for Ireland. I will name them—Sceilg, did he not do his part for Ireland; Brian O'Higgins, did he not do his part in the struggle for the freedom of Ireland? These are names for which we should have some respect. I appeal to the Taoiseach to withdraw the Bill. Let the case go into the court and the court will make a decision. The Taoiseach should be a proud and happy man to see that every section within the nation is prepared to go into the courts. I say that the allocation of these moneys to individuals is downright bribery, especially when we see that so much deceit has taken place in connection with previous awards. We have men in receipt of I.R.A. pensions who never fired a shot while there are others who did a lot and they did not get one bob. I again appeal to the Taoiseach, in God's name to withdraw the Bill and have respect for the courts that his predecessors and himself helped to establish over portion of this country.

Mr. Hawkins

One finds it rather hard to follow the trend of the debate on this Bill. In moving his amendment, Senator Hayes informed us that he agreed that the Oireachtas had power, and that it was good at times that this power should be used to introduce legislation of this kind.

I did not say the second thing ever.

Mr. Hawkins

The only complaint he had was that it was being introduced by a political majority. All that one can say is that the political majority is a majority not to his liking. I wonder what form of majorities we can have in a democratic Assembly if not political majorities? The second point raised by Senator Hayes is one that, as he said himself, can be debated on the Committee Stage, namely, his objection to the appointment of the Chief Justice as chairman of the board that is to be set up.

Senator Duffy who followed much on the same lines as Senator Hayes made some extraordinary statements. He agreed that the Oireachtas had this power and that it should keep it; that it was a power that might be utilised with great benefit in the future. I assume he was looking forward to the time when his Party might be in power, and could then introduce measures of this kind or similar ones. He said, however, that the present Bill was an outrage on the rights of the citizen, because it deprived him of being able to go into court. It is quite clear from what the Taoiseach has said that this is not a case of depriving the ordinary citizen of his right to go into court. This is a case where the people in a great national movement subscribed to a fund for the purpose of establishing an Irish Government. That was the aim of the people who subscribed their money and of the workers in that national organisation. A time came when a difference of opinion arose with regard to what had been accomplished by the organisation. The present contestants in this case are not the people who raised this money. It was raised by the original Sinn Féin organisation and was subscribed for the purposes which I have stated. A sum of £8,000 was lodged in court, and that has now accumulated to about £24,000. It is not a question of depriving those who hold that they are the sole Sinn Féin organisation of their right to this money. This Bill does not propose to do any such thing, but it proposes that this money should not be frittered away in legal costs. We have the statement that a considerable portion of it has gone already in that way.

It is surely not gone?

Mr. Hawkins

The bills are there and they will have to be paid.

They should not be paid, in my view.

Mr. Hawkins

I am not going into the legal questions. Senator Duffy made the point that it was not a matter of £24,000, but rather of the original £8,000, and said that the balance of £16,000 was raised by the sweat of the Irish people. Yet he was prepared to allow the £16,000 raised, as he said, by the sweat of the Irish people, to be frittered away in the law courts by the lawyers.

On a point of order, I did not say that. What I did say was that I would let the courts decide to whom it belonged.

Mr. Hawkins

The point is that if the courts were to decide to-morrow that the claimants to this money are the persons to whom it should be legally paid, then the £16,000 will still have to be paid in costs.

Not unless the courts so decide.

Mr. Hawkins

The costs will have to be paid. Senator Duffy also made the request that this Bill be not proceeded with because, as he said, the money has lain in the courts for 25 years, and would it not be a good thing if it had to lie in the courts for 75 years more? Then, I suppose, a Bill might be introduced, not by the present Fianna Fáil Government, but by its successors. Does Senator Duffy think that if a Labour Government were in power in 75 years' time it would be a good thing if it had such a power?

Yes, and got into power by the same tactics as Fianna Fáil.


The Senator should allow Senator Hawkins to proceed.

Mr. Hawkins

The point is that if it were allowed to remain in court for 75 years I would have a good deal of sympathy for the judge—I may say that I have not much sympathy for judges or legal people—who would have to try to decide as to who are the rightful successors—the Sinn Féin or any other organisation—to these funds.

A question has been raised as to the uses that are going to be made of this money. Under the proposals that are before the House, a board will be established to administer the funds and help those who have given service to this nation in the past. Those people may be in need of assistance now. Surely there is no more fitting way of utilising these funds than by helping those who lost their health and everything they had in the fight that was carried on in this country?

Reference was made by Senator Tunney to people wearing service medals and possessing service certificates. I think that that is a great insult to people who have given service to this country.

If they gave service, it would be all right. But the wearing of medals by some of them—I call them hypocrites.

Mr. Hawkins

The claims of those people have been tested and established before a court set up by the Oireachtas. It is not right that a member of this House should make such references to members of this or the other House —that they are not entitled to the certificates or medals which they may have received. That sort of talk might be all right at a crossroad at election times but it is not language which should be used in this House, nor should such references be made to men who served their country well in the past. I do not wish to go on in this strain because I must say that the Bill has been received in this House in a much better spirit than it was in the other House.

I must straighten my halo.

Mr. Hawkins

The only surprise I got was when I saw Senator Hayes' amendment on the Order Paper. So long as I have been in this House, Senator Hayes has been one of those who advocated that whether a Bill was a Government Bill or a Private Member's Bill, the Second Reading, at least, should be passed without opposition. He, probably, put down that amendment for the purpose of opening up discussion. No member on this side of the House or any other side could make as good a case for this Bill as the Leader of the Opposition Party did in the Dáil. When the Taoiseach asked leave to introduce the Bill in the Dáil, General Mulcahy, the Leader of the Opposition Party, asked that the Taoiseach might, before proceeding further, give an outline of the Bill. That was done. General Mulcahy said:—

"I think anybody with any connection with that matter in the past or having any connection with the law must agree that the courts could not arrive at a settlement of any satisfactory kind in a case of this particular nature and that any court action simply meant frittering away money. It is regrettable that money has been frittered away in legal costs since 1922, when the matter could have been decided in a sensible way and some decision come to without giving the courts an expensive job which they could not be expected to do. It is for these reasons that I raise a technical objection to the Bill, but we shall be glad to see the terms of it and to give it any consideration that may be necessary."

Later, he stated:—

"Normally, I would ask for a longer period so that we might have more time to consider the Bill but, if the position is that every week that passes additional funds are being wasted in legal expenses of one kind or another, then I think that the sooner the question is settled the better."

I think that the sooner this Bill is passed the better.

Mr. Patrick O'Reilly

Like Senator Sweetman, my approach to this measure should be fairly tolerant because I had no active association with the Sinn Féin organisation. I was rather too young for that. Nevertheless, I could hardly restrain myself from interrupting Senator Tunney. I felt, however, that, if I did that, I should be doing what he did in the case of Senator O'Dea. No member of this House should make wild, sweeping statements about men being paid money illegally. Whether Senator Tunney meant unemployment assistance and such payments, I do not know. If I felt as Senator Tunney feels, I should not make use of Parliamentary privilege to make wild and sweeping statements. What I should be inclined to do, and what I hope I should have the moral courage to do, would be to report such irregularities. We must have irregularities in the administration of any measure. I hope we shall have a perfect system in heaven but I think that irregularities in the administration of any measure in this country or in any other country cannot be avoided. Senator Tunney should realise that. If he is aware of false declarations made to obtain old age pensions or unemployment assistance or if he sees abuses in the administration of such schemes, surely he, as a member of Parliament, should not come in and make wild statements but should have the moral courage to report the irregularities. The same thing applies to his reference to the Old I.R.A. medals. He asserted that people got them who are not entitled to them. What I would be inclined to do, and what I hope I should have the moral courage to do, in such circumstances, would be to laugh at those people long enough to make the wearing of the medals ridiculous even to themselves.

I see in this measure provision being made to take out of the courts a substantial sum subscribed by the Irish people in the heyday of Sinn Féin, when the Irish people were, probably, better united than they ever were before. I hope they will be as well united again. That money was subscribed for a particular national purpose and nobody of commonsense will suggest that Sinn Féin now stands for the same thing. Senator Tunney tried to suggest that there was continuity. He even argued the Sinn Féin case, said they were right and that the minority always happens to be right. If I felt in that way, I should resign from this House and go and join them.

On a point of explanation, I was quoting what the Taoiseach said 25 years ago.

Mr. P. O'Reilly

You should have your reference when so quoting. I should be inclined, if I felt as the Senator does, to resign and join the minority, which is always right.

Better come to the Bill.

Mr. P. O'Reilly

I am keeping close to it. I see in this measure a scheme whereby this money will be used for the relief of distress amongst members of the Old I.R.A. and a number of other bodies who gave service when this country needed service. It is far better that the money should be disposed of in this way than in senseless litigation. It might be argued by lawyers that the functions of the courts are being interfered with. There are people, particularly lawyers, always anxious to uphold the rights, privileges and dignity of the courts. By the application of a little commonsense these people should realise that the courts are intended, in the administration of human law, to achieve human justice. Any man who exercises commonsense will have to admit that human law and human justice are two entirely different things. The principle of human justice will be better achieved by the passage of this Bill than by having this case decided in the courts. Coming to the Bill, I am not too happy about Section 13. Certain bodies are there mentioned and only members of or the dependents of members of those bodies will be entitled to get benefit. Their service must have been rendered between 1916 and 11th July, 1921. I suggest to the Taoiseach that that section should be examined. I have come across cases of hardship in which people gave good service to the Sinn Féin organisation. They gave service far greater than the firing of shots. Senator Tunney referred to people who never fired a shot. I know people who never fired a shot but who gave immense national service to the country. Will the dependents of such people who may now be destitute be precluded from getting any help under this section?

They are included.

Mr. P. O'Reilly

I am very glad to hear they are included. I am not a lawyer, and I may not have interpreted the section properly. When I read this Bill it struck my mind that there was a case in County Clare of a farm labourer who lost his health but did not qualify for a pension and is now in hospital with pleurisy. I thought it would be much better if the money was applied to people such as he than to be dissipated in legal costs. I would like to mention the case in County Leitrim that appears to be analogous to this particular one we are discussing. When the Dáil Eireann loan was being raised many years ago a certain group of people in Leitrim felt they were out of step. They were not very enthusiastic at any rate and public opinion may have forced them to come along to the secretary of the Sinn Féin club there. They wanted to subscribe £1 to the loan. The secretary told them that the lists were closed but they insisted on subscribing and he took their money in the only way he could take it as secretary of the club. He took it as a subscription to the club. They were made very well aware that the loan was closed. Many years went by and then the Government of Saorstát Eireann decided to redeem the loan with interest. These people decided they would take action and they took this secretary of the club into court.


Keep to the 1947 Bill.

Mr. P. O'Reilly

I have stated that it is an analogous case to this.


It has got nothing to do with this Bill.

Mr. P. O'Reilly

Very well then, I have said all I have intended to say. I agree that this money is better disposed of in this way.

I rise to support the amendment. I do so not out of any regard for the particular organisation involved in this case or out of any desire to oppose what is really a Government measure. I do so for the reasons set out by the proposer of the amendment and for other reasons, namely, that I object to a Parliamentary majority being used to prevent a case being heard, a case that has been before the courts for a considerable period. I suggest that this is an undesirable precedent and will affect the very high prestige which the courts enjoy, if persisted in. I am quite satisfied that there was a period when the disposition of these funds could have been achieved in a manner devoid of anger and bad blood but that period and opportunity, unfortunately, have passed away and some of us, at any rate, cannot contemplate a return of the latter again in our time. Consequently, I hold that there is nobody more competent or qualified to investigate the question of these funds than the courts of the country. Because of their ability and fair-mindedness they have created a favourable impression, not only in this country but in every part of the world where people happen to be and have become familiar with their work. Our judges when appointed make a solemn declaration before Almighty God that they will discharge their duties without affection or ill-will, without fear or favour and we have no reason to assume that in this case they will deviate from their undertaking. Surely the ability of the Oireachtas is not reduced so low as to be unable to devise other measures to succour those who suffered because of their association with the national struggle and are debarred from pensions for technical reasons. Why depend on these funds?

I hold that if this Bill goes through though it will be a victory for the Government it will be a victory at a very dear cost. There are in this country small sections that from time to time for political purposes try to infer that our courts are courts in which there is no fair play for the poor man. I do not feel that we are doing anything to disabuse that idea, if a Bill such as this becomes law. I hold that in a matter of this kind once a case is listed for hearing in the courts the State should not interfere until the case is disposed of. From time to time we hear in open court or read of justices and judges making vigorous protestations against efforts made to contact them in the interests of a particular case. Such interference is referred to as contempt of court. I have no doubt of the Taoiseach's sincerity in bringing forward this Bill. I am quite satisfied that in his own mind, and quite a number of people agree with him, the desire is to prevent this money being frittered in legal expenses, and to devote it to the needs of people who were identified with the national struggle and were not provided for by legislation.

There is, however, such a thing as public opinion in this country, and public opinion is very much agitated by the pros and cons of this case. Quite a big volume of public opinion is inclined to the belief that this Bill has been initiated to save the Taoiseach the embarrassment that would be caused if he were to be summoned as a witness in this particular case. Personally, I am quite satisfied that if the case were at hearing and if the Taoiseach was called he would have the answers that many people would have who happened to be identified with the movement from the earliest years. But a witness under cross-examination by legal experts is very often embarrassed and there are many people, and personally I am one of them, who would like to save themselves such embarrassment if they could. I do not like lawyers in court. They are very amiable outside court. What has been very much before my mind since this Bill was introduced is that if an ordinary Senator or Deputy—or a member of our Front Bench here—happened to be called as a witness in a particular case in which he might not like to give evidence and if he promoted a private Bill to have the case taken out of the court and investigated in a different manner what would the fate of the Bill be? I have no doubt that it would be laughed out of existence; and if any Deputy or Senator endeavoured to contact a judge connected with the hearing of that case, it is very doubtful if the reaction would be so ridiculous.

I am quite well aware, and I appreciate the argument, that Legislatures make the laws and that of course the people who make the laws have the right in certain eventualities to dispense with the laws they make but in a matter of this kind where members of the Legislature at one period of their lives were identified and quite a big number of us were identified with the Sinn Féin organisation—and we have no regret for that—it would not come well for such people to be identified with a measure now which would interfere with funds collected for definite purposes and even though these funds are being frittered away in legal costs if there is a desire to prevent that, why not pass a Bill to tie them up and take them out of the hands of the lawyers and perhaps at some time in the remote or proximate future there would be an atmosphere more suited to the settlement of the question than at present exists. Many of us recollect with feelings of pleasure the time when in the fight for independence or before the fight for independence certain Irishmen taken before courts set up here by the British Legislature denied the authority of these courts to try them for alleged political offences. At that time quite a big number of people in the country derided such action and were inclined to look upon it as foolish but within a very short period the vast majority of the people endorsed the action of those men.

There is no reason at present why, directly or indirectly, any action should be taken which could by accident or design be called a repudiation of the courts or a denial of their ability to try any case coming before them. If it came from any of the judiciary that this was a case which they felt would be better settled out of court I could understand a Bill of this kind but in view of the fact that the particular case has been before the courts for a considerable time and that there has not been even the remotest hint that it was outside the competency of the court to deal with it it is very inopportune that the matter should be taken up now. I believe that if this Bill goes through there will be unfortunate actions so far as the prestige of our courts is concerned and certainly a blow will be struck at their honesty, their integrity and their impartiality.

The only aspect of this Bill upon which I should like to dwell is the fact that it tends to interfere so seriously with the jurisdiction of the courts. Here is a body which wishes to submit its claim to what is supposed to be and what is in fact or should be the only really independent authority in the country and this Bill says: "No. We will not allow you to do so. We will decide this matter ourselves". Thinking over the various remarks made, I was reminded of something which used to happen in ancient Rome thousands of years ago. When the people reached the age of 21 the population was regarded as being more than sufficient for the resources of the locality and they were told to go and fend for themselves elsewhere and the people did so. I take it there is a parallel here in that the Sinn Féin organisation can I believe show a continuity of authority from the very beginning. Some of the members remained faithful right through and others left the organisation and it is, I suggest, reasonable and human to expect that these people who were there from the beginning should think they have a right to say in what manner the funds should be disposed of.

I had to deal with a small fund raised in connection with the emergency. At the end of the emergency we found ourselves with a surplus in hands and the problem arose: What was to be done with that surplus, how it was to be disposed of? The majority of the committee in charge decided that the people who subscribed the money should be consulted and given an opportunity either of taking the money back or suggesting a way in which the money should be applied. We carried out that suggestion. We sent circulars, issued advertisements and so on, and in one or two cases at most the people concerned stated that they wished to get their money back, but the vast majority of the people who subscribed expressed their preferences in different ways. Reference has been made during the course of the discussion to the fact that it would be impossible to pay each person 100 per cent. That is quite true. But the plan we adopted was to take the money which remained as the numerator and the amount of the original fund as denominator and reduce all the subscriptions proportionately. The plan worked out quite well. As a matter of strict justice, the people who subscribed this particular money should be given an opportunity to say in what manner it should be disposed of, but here we propose to take over the money and arbitrarily say that we will dispose of it in a particular way.

A lot of water has flowed under the bridges since Sinn Féin was established, and I venture to say that the minds and outlooks of the people have changed very considerably since then. I remember often arguing with people who said that one particular school of politicians were the only pure-souled patriots in the country and it would appear from the argument that the vast majority of the people were really bad. My answer then was: "If they are so bad as that, is it worth while trying to save them? Should we not let them stew in their own grease and not bother about them?" I say: "There is good and bad in all of us. We differ in our outlook no doubt but we are all of the same blood and the same race." I suggest that the method proposed in the Bill of disposing of these funds will not tend to bring about that state of unity that so many of us dream about.

If I might make a suggestion, it would be that there ought to be some sort of a commission formed on which all political Parties, including Sinn Féin, would be represented and that the whole matter should be considered in a friendly sort of way with a view to seeing what would be the most reasonable way of disposing of these funds. Using the power of the existing Government you are going to perpetuate bitterness for all time. The repercussions of this will last for centuries, I should say. It is not going to do very much good ultimately to the Party in power at the moment and it is going to perpetuate that bitterness which is unfortunately so rampant at the present day. We are all anxious to get rid of this famous Border question, but I put it to the House, in passing, that this sort of contention about money is not going to create a favourable impression amongst our fellow-countrymen in the North or amongst those abroad. If it were at all possible to dispose of these funds in some friendly way I suggest that that would be the proper way.

Reference was made by Senator O'Dea to the fact that if the case came before the courts they would simply appoint a clerk to inquire into the proper method of procedure and distribution. Would not that be a rational thing to do so as to get some sort of organisation for the disposal of the money? I do not see any objection to that. In regard to precedents that were quoted it would take experienced lawyers to find out their exact application. Circumstances differ, and without knowledge of the circumstances in the several cases, we could not freely accept any one of these precedents. I do not care what Government was in power, I would say that it would be very discreditable if the effect was to interfere in the slightest degree with the independence of the courts. There is a feeling abroad—I know it in my official capacity from contact with others—of scepticism and cynicism that is not good for the country. If the courts cannot be utilised then I am afraid there is no future for this country.

The enthusiasm that was abroad when Sinn Féin was a rising force is something that we ought to try to restore. I hate that bitter Party feeling that has been introduced into this question. I should like to abolish all that, and to try to get all Parties to look at and to decide this matter on a national basis. I realise the difficulty of establishing claims to these funds, but those who subscribed should have the right to say in what way they are to be disposed of. I appeal to all to see if anything could be done to settle this question in a more friendly way. I think the interests of the nation would be best served by cutting out all the Party and political bias that appears to be associated with the distribution of those funds.

I am reluctant to intervene in this debate, but I want to intimate that I intend to vote against the amendment. Perhaps I had better give some reasons for doing so. The Bill having been discussed on different stages, I believe the manner in which it proposes to dispose of these funds to be an admirable one. I do not think any better way could be suggested unless Senator Hayes and myself, as was suggested, were to dispose of them in view of our long association with the Sinn Féin movement. Much stress has been laid on the frittering away of the funds by litigation. That point does not appeal to me. I think that picture was overdrawn. If funds were frittered away in litigation, well, the lawyers are worthy of their hire just the same as the labourer, and they will always make as much as they can out of other people's difficulties. I do not question the motives of those in the Sinn Féin organisation. I believe they are people of principle and that they are acting within their right. Members of the Oireachtas who were associated with Sinn Féin are capable of deciding this question. The manner proposed is an equitable way so that the money would be devoted to the class of people they would like to help. I do not think any case was made for the amendment. I believe the House should deal with this matter.

Money has been described as the root of all evil, but there was not much money for distribution in the organisation 40 years ago. After being in Sinn Féin for a few months I was appointed honorary secretary to the Executive Council, and remained in that position until the famous convention of 1917 at which the Taoiseach was elected President. I was afterwards attached to Sinn Féin as honorary secretary of the Central Branch. It is pretty bad that at this stage we should have a quarrel over £25,000, more particularly when the intention is to dispose of the money in the interests of a very deserving section of our people. I remember 1917, when the remnants of the Sinn Féin organisation gathered at Harcourt Street with the object of making a new push. Everything was disbanded after the Insurrection, but I remember that Arthur Griffith proposed me as honorary secretary. I refused the honour at that period, particularly as there was one who was much more worthy of the position, and who is now an officer of this House. At the time we had no money. I think we had £9 to pay one man, who is now an officer of this House, his first week's salary, and also the salary of the late Senator Milroy, who was appointed national organiser. At that time we were reorganising the Sinn Féin clubs. Having built up the organisation, then it would be difficult to find out who was really entitled to these funds.

The records of Sinn Féin that were in my custody are all gone. I am sorry to say that in a Black-and-Tan raid a revolver that belonged to the Taoiseach was also taken. It would be difficult to get the names of those who were associated with Sinn Féin up to 1920. While it has been suggested that Senator Hayes and I should dispose of the funds, I think the way proposed is better. I think Senator Sweetman said that he did not see why they should be asked to pay costs. People will ask why we should pay costs.

That is what I said in regard to both parties.

If the amendment is accepted there will be no chance of getting a better way of deciding the matter. What is suggested in the Bill is fair. I do not see that any better way could be devised. I am sure that the funds will be disposed of to the best advantage of those for whom they were intended and, for that reason, I am supporting the Second Reading of the Bill and intend to vote against the amendment.

Tá suim speisialta agam sa Bhille seo. Bhíos ar an ard-chomhairle nuair a thánamar le chéile chun machtnamh ar an gceist seo. Is minic a bhíos ag smaoineamh im aigne fhéin ar an chaoi is fearr chun an t-airgead d'úsáid. Dhá uair ar a laghad dheineas caint ar an scéal le Bean an Phaoraigh agus thuigeamar, agus daoine eile a bhí ag caint ar an gceist cheanna, go raibh slí ar leith chun an t-airgead sin a chur chun maitheasa agus is dóigh liom gur luas an scéal leis an Taoiseach uair dá rabhas ag caint leis. Is léir go raibh an tuairim chéanna againn go léir, isé sin, an t-airgead sin a chur ar leith ar mhaithe leis an ngluaiseacht seo atá ag saothrú na Gaeilge.

An uair sin ní raibh aon rud beartaithe in ár n-aigne i dtaobh conas a thiocfaí air sin, ach anois ó tá Bille tairgthe agus beartúchán déanta, is dóigh liom gurb é an rud is éifeachtaí nó an socrú is réasúnta ná go ndéanfadh an tOireachtas críocha an airgid sin a shocrú agus gurb é pribhléid agus ceart an Oireachtais é sin a dhéanamh. Trí nó cheithre bliana ó shoin, is cuimhin liom go rabhthas chun an beartú sin a dhéanamh agus bhíomar go léir sásta. Anois is dóigh liom gurb é an chomhairle is fearr ná an chuid a mhaireann fós a bhí ar an ard-choiste ceannais sin a thabhairt le chéile agus é d'fhágaint fúthu sin cad ba chóir a dhéanamh. Faghfaí in a mease sin comhaontú ar cad ba cheart a dhéanamh leis an mbeagán airgid seo. Táim sásta gurb é an tOireachtas an chumhacht nó an t-údarás ceart chun an scéal seo a réiteach agus a dheimhniú cad é an socrú a déanfar i dtaobh an airgid seo. Táim sásta leis an gcuid seo den mholadh.

Nílim sásta leis na críocha a bhfuil se beartaithe anois an t-airgead sin a chaitheamh orthu. Cúis díomá do na daoine a thuig an scéal, nó a chuir suim sa scéal le 25 blian, go bhfuil athrú aigne anois ann agus ná bacfar leis an nGaeilge. Tá cúiseanna nua beartaithe anois. Ní h-amhlaidh atá aon dochall ormsa go dtabharfaí an t-airgead do dhaoine bochta an dearóile a bhfuil riachtanas acu leis. Táim lán chinnte nach leor chuige sin in aon chor an méid airgid atá i gceist anseo. Ní dóigh liom gur beart ró-ghalánta é an beagán airgid seo a tabhairt chun na críche sin. Ní leor é agus ní raghadh sé aon tslí chun an phráinn a shásamh. Músclóidh sé ana-chuid éilimh agus beidh daoine mí-shásta díomách toisc ná fuaradar rud as— agus gan é ann. Sin cúis mí-shásaimh domsa. Is rud ró-shuarach ar fad é chun na críche sin. Níl ach £25,000. ann agus ní raghadh sé deich faoin gcéad den tslí chun na daoine sin a shásamh. Má tá daoine mar sin ann, nach réasúnta a mheas gur cóir don Rialtas beartú eile a dhéanamh chun fóirithint orthu sin? Ba choir go ndéanfaí beart chun soláthar dóibh i slí éicint eile, seachas breith ar an mbeagán beag airgid seo chun saghas leath-shásamh a dhéanamh ar éilithe beagán daoine agus ana-chuid acu díomách ina dhiaidh sin.

Má tosnófar le £16,000 ar an scéim seo, ní leor an méid sin agus caithfidh an Rialtas teacht ansan agus a thuille airgid a sholáthar ar dhóigh éicint eile as ciste phoibli.

I leith na coda eile den scéal, isé an rud a bhí in aigne chuid againn, nuair a bhímis ag caint ar shaothrú na Gaeilge, ná go bhfuil airgead ag teastáil go géar chun amharclann Gaelach a chur ar bun. Tá ceannáras sásúil ag teastáil i gcóir gluaiseacht na Gaeilge ar fad agus chun cabhrú leis na daoine atá ina bun. Tá airgead ag teastáil chun an litríocht a chur chun cinn, chun leabhra d'fhoilsiú agus scoláireachtaí a bhunú. Tá ana-chuid gluaiseachtaí Gaeilge go bhféadfáí an t-airgead seo a chaitheamh leis. Bheadh díomá orm dá ndeanfadh an Rialtas na cuspóirí sin a chur i leataoibh agus an t-airgead seo a chaitheamh ar chuspóir eile nach féidir a shásamh leis an mbeagán beag airgid atá ann.

Maidir leis an gcuid eile den scéal, is dóigh liom gurb é an tOireachtas an t-údarás ceart don ghnó seo, chun socrú a dhéanamh. Baineann an t-airgead seo leis na fáthanna agus na gluaiseachtaí a chuir an Tigh seo agus an Tigh eile agus an tOireachtas iomlán ar bun agus níl aon dream eile is mó cheart acu chuige sin.

Isé mo thuairim i dtaobh an Bhille seo—agus is aigne measctha atá ann— gurb é an tOireachtas an dream ceart agus an t-údarás ceart chun an t-airgead a riar, ach tá díomá orm i dtaobh na críche.

Tá cuid mhaith dá ndúirt an Seabhac a n-aontaím leis. Ní sinne a cheap an Bille sa gcéad áit. Mheasamar, nuair a tháinig an scéal os comhair an Rialtais, go mb'fhearr i bhfad claí leis an scéim a tugadh dúinn ná scéim nua a thabhairt isteach. Na rudaí adúirt an Seanadóir faoi na smaointe a bhí aige féin agus faoi gan dóthain airgid a bheith sna cistí chun aon bheart éifeachtach a dhéanamh ar mhaithe leis na daoine a luaitear sa mBille agus atá i nganntanas faoi láthair, d'fhéadfaí na rudaí céanna a rá faoin nGaeilge agus an scéim a bhí aige chuici. Nuair a bhí an cheist os comhair an Rialtais chuimhníomar ar an nGaeilge agus, sa deireadh, is é an tuairim a bhí againn go mb'fhearr ligean don scéim mar a tháinig sí ón duine a chuir chugainn ar dtús í.

I was just saying that I shared some of the views which were put forward by Seanadóir Ó Siochfhradha. I think I indicated at the start that I had tried in years gone by to get agreement, when it was easier to get agreement than it would be to-day, on the use of these moneys for Irish language purposes. When this scheme came before the Government, we considered it and we felt that the objections that have been raised by Seanadóir Ó Siochfhradha to use the money in this particular way—its insufficiency and so on —that the same type of argument could be used against the use of it for the language.

Now we have got a great distance, I think, in this House. We have made a good deal of progress when we compare the position reached with the position we had in the other House. I think we have general agreement here that what we are proposing to do is not beyond the competence of the Oireachtas, and that it is within our power to do it. The only question we have to consider is whether it is advisable or not. I take it that is ultimately the net point between those who are in favour of the amendment and those who will support the Bill— Is it desirable or is it not?

Before I come finally to deal with that question, I would like to deal with a few suggestions which, I think, I heard expressed by some Senators. There is one thing—and I think it is not right that it should go abroad without somebody objecting to it—and that is, the idea that it is the courts that are the protectors of the people. If democracy is to be protected—and the sooner our people get to realise this the better—it is to be protected by the National Assembly, the Parliament. It cannot be protected anywhere else because the Oireachtas can pass any laws it wants to within the Constitution. If it passes these laws, whether they are just or unjust, whether they are in favour of liberty or against liberty, the courts have no option but to obey these laws and to carry them out. It is all nonsense in the long run to suggest—it was suggested very strongly in the other House and here—that the protection of the rights of the citizens depends on the courts. The protection of the rights of the citizens, in the last resort, depends on the Legislature. There is no doubt whatever about it.

Although it probably would not stand any close analysis as a definition it does seem to me—this arose in the Dáil—that the making of laws is the determination of rights—the determination of rights between individual members of the community, the rights of one section of the community, perhaps, against another section. Every time we make a law we either confirm or, as most frequently happens, we change rights to which no individual in the community has a vested right except in so far as it is preserved by the Constitution—which, too, can be changed by the people—or in so far as there is some fundamental, human, natural right which positive law has no right to change. When we are dealing with matters of this sort in legislation, we are, in fact, changing the position of rights. No individual in the community has a vested interest in the existing law—rather, I should say that he has not a vested right, though he may have a vested interest in it. What I am contending for here is the principle that we can change the law, and that the courts have nothing to do but to obey the law when it is made for them, to interpret and apply the law at the date on which they are giving judgment. That is fundamental, and is not a question of the independence, so to speak, of the courts. The independence of the courts has another meaning, and a very proper meaning, and that is, that when they are performing their functions, which is to interpret the law at the time at which they are giving judgment, there shall not be any exercise by the Executive—generally, when there is any talk about protection, it is against the Executive it is directed—of interference with them in their functions. I do not think anybody would seriously contest the truth of what I have said, that the fundamental guardianship of the rights of individuals in the community lies with the Oireachtas. In doing what we are doing, we are simply exercising a sovereign right in so far as we have a sovereign right under the Constitution.

It has been suggested by Senator Sweetman, I think, that the cases I gave really did not bear on the subject. I am quite willing to admit that no analogy whatever is a perfect analogy. You will rarely get a case which is completely on all-fours with a previous case. My purpose in giving these particular cases to the Seanad was that I wanted to show that it was wrong for Senators—and for Deputies in the other House—to suggest that what was done in this case—dealing with a case which was before the courts—was unheard of. I wanted to show by examples that the Legislature had on several occasions, both in this Parliament and in other Parliaments, come in when a case was before the courts—when the courts had given a decision, even the highest courts in the various countries—and said: "You have declared the law to be such-and-such; notwithstanding what you say about it, the law shall be deemed to be otherwise". If anything were said to be an encroachment upon the province of the courts that would appear to me to be an extreme instance of it. Yet, that has been done, and it has been done in cases where it was held that the public interest demanded that it should be done.

I think Senator O'Dea dealt properly with Senator Sweetman's remarks in regard to the Accidental Fires Act. Senator Sweetman was making the point that the particular individual who had got damages in court was allowed to get his damages, and that the Legislature had only come in to prevent other cases being brought. As Senator O'Dea has pointed out, however, that is just the point of the example—that there were a number of other people who had suffered damage, and the Legislature came in and said: "Because we think the old Act under which the first plaintiffs got damages is completely out of date and does not fit modern conditions we say that the others should not get damages." The Legislature came in from the point of view of what they regarded as the public good and said: "Although you have a good case in law, nevertheless, we deprive you of your right to go and get your claims made good." We, as members of the Government, carefully considered that. We said: "Here are citizens who have suffered serious damage. In the present state of the law, they would get damages. Are we to deprive them by legislative action of those damages?" We came to the decision, having regard to the general state of the law with regard to accidental fires, that it was right that that should be done. Listening to the case put forward by Senator Sweetman, I wondered whether we were really sound in our decision to leave the person who got the judgment his decision. Why should he, because he happened to be the first person to put up a claim, get preference over the others and secure damages? As a matter of fact, I could well understand having the question argued here in that sense. One of the advantages of deliberative assemblies is that we hear the two sides of a problem.

As Senator Sweetman was speaking, I was debating with myself as to what side I would take if that question were before a meeting of the Government. I must say that I was inclined to move in the opposite direction to that in which the Senator apparently wanted me to move. I am assuming that the facts, as stated, are right. I was wondering if we were right in giving the person who came forward first the right to damages and in depriving other people, who had an equally good claim, of their damages. I suppose it was done out of respect for what has been represented as a big principle here. The person in question had got a decision. A stronger case can be made for those who have got their cases heard than for those whose cases have not been heard. I assure the House, however, that I debated with myself here the justice of giving damages to one man and depriving others of damages in similar circumstances. That shows how one can approach these considerations from different angles.

Notwithstanding what Senator Sweetman said, I did give instances of a particular individual who succeeded in the courts—even in the highest court —and was deprived by legislation of the advantages of the judgment. I mentioned the cases: Section 17 and Section 13 of the Land Act, 1936, are examples. I shall not go over the cases again. There were some British cases which I also mentioned. These cases show that the action we are asking the Legislature to take is not one which is completely unheard of. I am at one with members of the Legislature who say that action of this sort should be taken only rarely and when there is proved necessity for it. We differ as to whether that necessity exists in the present case. Let us take a broad view. These moneys have been in court since 1924. No organisation claimed them. I want to say quite frankly that I, too, would have let sleeping dogs lie. Over that period, we could have brought in a Bill such as this if it was a question of using a Parliamentary majority and if there was any desire on the part of the Government to deal with these funds. When the representative of the surviving treasurer came to me, I asked myself, as Senator Sweetman asked himself, what particular, direct interest the representative had. I did not ask him that particular question. The way I answered the question in my own mind was that, as the representative of his mother, who was one of the two treasurers who had put these funds in court, he was anxious that they should be protected and defended by him in the same way as she would have protected and defended them. Rightly or wrongly, that was the answer I gave to my own question. I asked myself whether we should do as suggested and bring in legislation. I was fully alive to the implications of doing anything of the kind.

Senator Hayes suggested that I have a naïve view of the position of a witness in court. I have no naïve view of the task which confronts a person who brings a measure such as this into Parliament. I have a good deal of experience in that direction. I did not have to wait until I came to the Dáil or Seanad to know that there would be a considerable amount of opposition by members of other Parties who, very naturally, oppose measures brought in by the Government and give the other side of the case. I do not at all hanker after bringing in a measure of this kind. I felt, however, that there was a duty on me to do so. If we do only the things that are pleasant, we shall very often not do the things which we should do. The word "hanker" brings to my mind a story of a certain man who had to do something unpleasant and said he "could eat crow, but did not hanker after it". That was rather my attitude in regard to the duty I should have to perform if I were called as a witness before the court. I am not so ignorant of the position of a witness in the hands of hostile lawyers, as to hanker after that position. I do not want to pretend that I hankered after it, but I did not fear it in the sense suggested in the other House. I felt that my duty in the matter should be performed and that, if such questions as "When did you stop beating your wife" were put to me, I should have sufficient sense to protect myself or the court would protect me. There was no motive of the kind suggested—that this Bill was brought in solely to avoid my being called as a witness.

Did anybody suggest that here?

I do not think that anybody suggested it here—my mind was reverting rather to what was suggested in the other House.

We cannot discuss other places.

I agree, but the argument is, so to speak, a public argument.

There might be something in it.

The question then is: Why was this Bill introduced? I have told the House quite frankly why it was introduced. This scheme was brought to me, and I urged that the surviving members of the old Sinn Féin organisation should be consulted. I understood that they were prepared to come to a meeting, and it was then that this pending court action was started. I want to point out that the order of time was quite the opposite to that which has been suggested. It was that the courts were being used to block contemplated action by the Legislature, and not the other way round, and the question was whether we should permit that or not. I must say that I was inclined to permit it, and, when I was told that action was going to be taken in the courts, I shrugged my shoulders and said: "Let it go to the courts". It was only when I saw that we were going to have a series of actions of various kinds, when I realised that we would have motions of various kinds coming up which would mean that the money would be frittered away and when I got this estimate of the expenses, that I said we would not be justified in allowing this money to be frittered away in that fashion. That was the final determining factor in the decision we took.

Senator Sweetman has questioned the costs. I only asked for an estimate of the costs, and I take it that those who gave them to me had no interest in deceiving me in any way, but the figure I got seemed to me to be huge. My view with regard to this whole question of costs, which was argued in the other House, too, was this, that one of my fears with regard to a trust fund was that if a person can show a reasonable interest—and "reasonable" has to be determined by the court—in a case, he can get his expenses, if he has a proper locus standi, from the fund, and, for that reason, there is not the same care exercised by people who have these funds to fall back on, as there would be if the expenses were coming out of their own pockets.

I believe I would be the best of the witnesses the present Sinn Féin organisation could get on their side. I have no hesitation in saying that everything I could do from 1923 to 1926 to maintain continuity, I did; but if it had been suggested about that time that we should make a claim on the funds in court, my view would have been that we should not make that claim, because I doubt whether I could establish such substantial continuity as would satisfy the courts. I did not know enough of the law to decide whether the judges would feel constrained to have reference to the question of formal continuity rather than to what I would call the substantial facts. I did not mean anything derogatory to the courts in saying that the courts might have to decide differently from what all the facts revealed, because I felt that the courts would have to follow some sort of precedent. I did not know what these precedents might be and, if they were based on the question of continuity, it is possible that the organisation might be held to have been continuous. I do not know what happened after I left the organisation—whether those who remained were as cautious and careful about trying to preserve the continuity as I was—but the fact is that I do believe that there was a sufficient case to present to the court to make it possible that they would get their costs.

Senator Sweetman seemed to dispute that. It is a question of whether, in the opinion of the judges, there was sufficient ground for their making the case, whether they could show that their claim from the point of view of continuity was such that they were entitled to get their costs. They might get their costs.

And not get the fund?

Yes, in my opinion; but again I am not a lawyer.

And I am not so skilful a lawyer as to pit myself against the skilful lawyers, but the Taoiseach and I will have to agree to differ individually.

We might get assistance. I did not put that question as such to our legal advisers, to be quite frank. I thought I knew enough about this matter from my experience generally to be satisfied that unless a case can be shown to be unreasonable, the court would be inclined to give costs. Perhaps before I come to the Seanad again, I might have an opportunity of getting advice on the point.

And so might I.

At the moment, my view is that it would depend on the unreasonableness of the case put forward. With regard to those defending the fund, the defendants, I cannot give the Seanad the exact position that Judge Power would occupy before the courts. He is cited as a defendant. He could, as suggested by Senator Sweetman, have washed his hands, so to speak, of it, but the court would have to decide whether he was entitled to wash his hands of it. Seeing that he did not do so, the court would have to decide whether he should have done so or whether he had sufficient interest, as the personal representative of the last surviving treasurer, in defending the trust and opposing the claim of the others to justify him in taking active measures to defend them. I took it, at any rate, again without seeking much advice, that, as he was a lawyer who knew the law very much better than I did, he would not be such a fool as to incur considerable expense if he did not think that a court of law would allow him his expenses if the case went to trial.

I am not a very great betting man, and I would not bet a lot against the Taoiseach's opinion on the first point, but I would bet everything I have in the world against his opinion on the second.

Again, that would have to be determined, but my view was that he was an interested party in defending the trust and was entitled to take such legal measures in the way of defence, employing counsel and so on, as would effectively defend it. I do not know to what extent the Attorney-General, if an active defence was not being put up by the other defendant, would have to incur more expenses than he has incurred at the moment. I take it that, when they were both cited as defendants, while the interests which the Attorney-General had to defend were not quite the same as those which Judge Wyse Power would have to defend, nevertheless, inasmuch as they were both opposing the claim of the present-day Sinn Féin organisation, the right hand must, so to speak, have known what the left hand was doing, and if certain expenses were being incurred by Judge Wyse Power in preparing papers and so on, I do not know to what extent the Attorney-General would feel that work which he would have to do otherwise was being done already and that there was no necessity for duplicating it; but in any case the first shock I got was when I saw the big printed volume, a huge volume, containing all the papers which had been discovered. The proposal in the Bill is to pay the costs in the way provided, on a solicitor-and-client basis in one case and a party-and-party basis in the other.

On the question of costs, then, I had naturally to feel that if this case went to court and went the whole of its course, the estimate of costs sent to me would, in fact, be incurred, or some sum in the neighbourhood of it, and the sum of money left for division was going to be so small that the situation would be like that in the old story, which I mentioned elsewhere, of the pilgrims and the oyster. The pilgrims were disputing whose the oyster was, one saying that he saw it first and the other that he smelled it first, or something of the sort. A lawyer came along and offered to settle the matter. He settled the matter by gulping the oyster and giving one shell to each. I am not using that against the lawyers, but merely on the point of the costs of litigation.

In approaching this matter, I tried to change the original Bill proposed to us as little as possible, and we have only to agree to differ on the question whether what we are doing is just and wise. I believe that what we are doing is just. I believe it is wise, and, what is more, if there is a question of public opinion, I believe public opinion will be in favour of what we are doing. The public will feel that it is right and just that these national moneys, for they were national moneys in the broad sense, should not be frittered away in legal costs, that they should be used for some purpose which would commend itself to the majority of the people who had subscribed the funds or who were in the organisation—those of them who are still left. It has been suggested that these moneys should be given back to the subscribers. If that had been possible, I assure the Senator who mentioned it that it would have been accepted; but there is no possibility of that. There is no means of determining the individuals, so it would be a vain quest to try to distribute these moneys proportionately or pro rata in that way.

Mr. O'Reilly

I realise the difficulties.

I do not think that any scheme that could be devised would effect that purpose. Then, it is only a question of whether we are wise in doing this. It has been suggested that this would be a precedent. People are very foolish who think that precedents are necessary when people want to do certain things. There will always be a first time for doing anything, and it would be a very small safeguard for the freedom of individuals in the nation if they had to depend on the fact that a precedent had not been established for taking a particular course. The fact is that a precedent will not alter matters if the will is there not to abuse it; and if the will is there to abuse it, you cannot help it whether you have a precedent or not.

Every precedent makes it easier.

I do not deny that. Just as I was able to give cases to show that it was not unknown, so someone will do with this Bill. There will be opposition and people will say it does not apply. My own belief is that it would be very difficult to get a case where the circumstances are like this. I doubt if it would be possible to establish any case that will be sufficiently similar even to be remotely analogous to the present one.

I hope not.

Circumstances may arise of a different kind, and it may also be regarded in such a case as being in the public interest to do something else in this way. It has been suggested that it may be worth the waste of the money to let the case go on in the courts and that a certain bitterness would be created by our taking the course proposed in the present Bill. It seemed to me, listening to the Senators here, that if the courts gave a decision that these people were not entitled to the money, they would be attacked as doing something unfair.

If the courts decide that these people are not entitled to these funds, then introduce a Bill like this and I will vote for it.

We would be dividing the shells, I am afraid! That is the trouble about that solution. The advice given by the Opposition at the moment is simply that it is well worth while letting this money go in order to avoid misrepresentation of the action of the Legislature. It is one of the things I foresaw—one of the unpleasant aspects of the work I have had to do in this matter—that it could be suggested that the majority in Parliament which supports the Government at the present time is being misused for certain purposes. That would be misrepresentation, but very often you have to do a thing and face misrepresentation about it if you regard it as right. I do not believe in allowing myself to be dissuaded from doing a thing which I think right and proper, simply because certain people will misrepresent me and point to my action as a wrong use of the Parliamentary majority.

We have had elsewhere that question of the use of the Parliamentary majority. If the majority happens to be one group, apparently there is something wrong, but, if it is made up of a number of groups, a majority is all right. I must say I have not got to the stage when I think a person's vote to be of less account because he adheres to a certain Party as a means of putting certain policies through. I believe we would be better off and that Parliamentary institutions would work better if we had only two Parties instead of a large number. I am certainly not going to agree with any suggestion that, when the majority is made up of people who belong to a certain Party, it has any less rights or is in any way inferior to a majority made up of groups; and I do not think the Opposition is ever any stronger by being made up of groups instead of being in a single Party.

We have to decide this matter, and I know of no other way than that of allowing the majority to decide it. We are not likely to get agreement. Someone said I had spoken about the possibility of a "foolish decision" by the courts. I do not think I used that term. I did say that the courts might be compelled, by whatever principles they are bound to follow, to take a view of this which might not be the view of the Legislature, which could take a broader view and is not compelled to follow precedents and could take all the facts into account.

I think I have dealt with most of the points raised and I have simply to ask the Seanad to give this Bill a Second Reading. I am surprised that there is a difference of opinion. I have argued it with myself. I think that, in the long run, when this matter is argued out and when full account is taken of all the circumstances, the course that is proposed in this Bill is better than the suggestions that have been made by the Senators who have expressed opposition to the measure.

The question was: "That the Bill be now read a Second Time." An amendment to omit certain words has been proposed. I am putting the question on the amendment in the form prescribed by Standing Order No. 72, sub-section (3). The question is: "That the words proposed to be omitted stand part of the question."

The Seanad divided: Tá, 22; Níl, 15.

  • Campbell, Seán P.
  • Clarkin, Andrew S.
  • Concannon, Helena.
  • Corkery, Daniel.
  • Crowley, Tadhg.
  • Farnan, Robert P.
  • Hawkins, Frederick.
  • Hearne, Michael.
  • Hogan, Daniel.
  • Kennedy, Margaret L.
  • Longford, The Earl of.
  • Lynch, Peter T.
  • McCabe, Dominick.
  • McEllin, John E.
  • O'Buachalla, Liam.
  • O'Dea, Louis E.
  • O'Donovan, Seán.
  • O'Reilly, Patrick.
  • O Siochfhradha, Pádraig.
  • Nic Phiarais, Maighread M.
  • Quirke, William.
  • Ruane, Thomas.


  • Counihan, John J.
  • Crosbie, James.
  • Douglas, James G.
  • Duffy, Luke J.
  • Hayes, Michael.
  • Horan, Edmund.
  • Johnston, Joseph.
  • Kyle, Sam.
  • McGee, James T.
  • Madden, David J.
  • O'Reilly, Patrick John.
  • Ruane, Seán T.
  • Smyth, Michael.
  • Sweetman, Gerard.
  • Tunney, James.
Tellers:—Tá: Senators Hawkins and S. O'Donovan; Níl: Senators Crosbie and Sweetman.
Committee Stage ordered for Wednesday, 21st May, 1947.
Question declared carried accordingly.
Bill declared read a Second Time.
The Seanad adjourned at 10 p.m. until 3 p.m. on Wednesday, 21st May, 1947.