DEBATE ON REPORTS. - PROPAGANDA DEPARTMENT.
The PRESIDENT said that he had appointed a new Director of Propaganda to replace the Member for Pembroke who was arrested, and as the new Director was not a member of the House he would himself be directly responsible to the House for the Department. The new Director was reorganising the whole work of the Department. The matter of Propaganda abroad would be on a much more extensive scale, and the "Bulletin" would be got out in better and more extended form.
JOHN HAYES (Cork, West) asked if any action could be taken against provincial papers, such as theCork Examiner, whose propaganda was hampering the work of the Republic and weakening their position throughout the country by advocating a policy of moderation.
P. BEASLEY (Kerry, East) said he was very glad the Member for West Cork had broached this subject. TheIndependent and Freeman were pursuing a policy of the same nature, and the Department would try to devise some scheme for getting at such papers. They recognised that it was largely a military question.
P. O'KEEFFE (Cork, North) objected to the appointment of the new Propaganda Director, and a long discussion ensued as to whether it was constitutional to appoint a Director who was not a member of the House.
The PRESIDENT explained that the new Director was not a Member of the Ministry. He was merely the head of a Department—a civil servant— and hence the matter did not come before the House.
J. MACENTEE (Monaghan, South) disagreed with the President's view and moved:—
"That the appointment of a Director of Propaganda be held over until the Constitution and Minutes of the Dáil had been scrutinised as to the regularity of the appointment."
There was no seconder.
J. MACENTEE (Monaghan, South) then moved "That the Directorate of Propaganda be abolished," and this motion also fell through for want of a seconder.
The ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENT referred to the necessity for answering hostile criticisms in provincial papers.
After further discussion the Report was adopted.