Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Dáil Éireann díospóireacht -
Tuesday, 10 Jan 1922

Vol. T No. 17


That scheme will have to be considered when we are drawing up the Constitution. I was not able to work out the scheme at the moment. These questions are trap questions. I wrote overnight from London, and a courier came across to Dublin. I informed the Cabinet I was going to see these gentlemen, and I informed them afterwards; so they knew all about it. As to the second question, that is a question when the Constitution is being drawn up. What I have pledged is that they will get a fair representation in both Houses, and I will see to it. Now I move the adjournment of the House until such time as we call it together again.

I do not know whether the President would be really wise in doing that straight off. There are a number of things he might enlighten us on by having another session. There are questions of policy to be disposed of, Republican stafis, foreign representatives, and a number of Executive matters which the House would like to have some information about. The taking over of the various offices is another matter. Ex-Ministers will, naturally, hand over their departments to the present Ministers, and I suppose the present Ministers will make arrangements for taking them over. I would suggest that to-morrow an opportunity would be given to those who want to ask questions to meet again. An opportunity will then be given to those who want information as to when the next meeting of the Dáil will be. Let us have a definite idea of what is going to be done.

Yes; something like that.

Meanwhile the President and the members of his Cabinet will have an opportunity of preparing an outline of policy.

Would it not be better if the other side made a practical suggestion for once? I mentioned a matter the other day, and there was no response. Obviously a Committee, or some kind of contact between the two sides, would meet the case. It is also obvious, if we are not to be hindered, that certain details are necessary to be arranged, and those details will take a great deal of working out. It is not fair that we should be kept here and prevented from doing our work. Questions are being asked. I say these cannot be answered, because we have not the necessary time to send anybody to the English side to ask for transfers and arrange other matters. If we are not to be hindered, I think the adjournment of the House over a certain period ought to be supported. I do not care whether the period is named or not. At any rate, tacties should be dropped, and we should get a bit of fair play.

The Minister of Finance put us into a difficulty yesterday which he has, apparently, forgotten. He informed us that every penny we were spending now was spent illegally. How can any expenditure be made until the House has sanctioned it for the next six months? Expenditure cannot be carried on until it is sanctioned by this House, as we did last July or August. That is one matter. There are several other questions, as the President suggested, that have to come up.

Would it be suggested by anybody here that we should cease at once paying the staffs in the different departments, and that we should ask back from the staffs all they have received in salaries for the past fortnight? The only expenditure that is being made is the simple routine expenditure in all the departments. I am not spending the money. All the departments have been carried on, as everybody knows, just as they had been prior to any division. And surely to goodness it would not be suggested that they should not be paid. I do not know to what extent the other side would go in any suggestion now. I do not know if any person could find fault with any expenditure on ordinary staffs.

I resent very much the suggestion that I am implying that the Minister of Finance should do anything he should not do. I resent it very much. This is an ordinary question of constitutional procedure. For any expenditure he has got to get the sanction of the House.

A statement will have to be prepared.

The newly elected President suggests that we should adjourn until he chooses to call us together again. We cannot adjourn until the ordinary business of the House is settled. Moreover we are told we cannot get questions answered without giving twenty-four hours' notice. There are some very important questions to be asked, not with a view to creating trouble, but to seek definite answers. I will oppose the motion to adjourn until those questions are answered, and until we get some idea——

There is a motion before the House.

I second the motion for the adjournment. Any members who have questions to ask should send them to the Cabinet Ministers, and the Cabinet Ministers will be in a much better position to answer them when we meet again. We can see then what is being done. It is not fair to the members of the Cabinet. Give them a chance.

I have been Minister of Finance for the last couple of hours only. All the estimates have to be prepared, and that is a fairly big task, and naturally it will take some time before they can be submitted to the House.


I move that the motion be now put to the House.

Do not try to rush the matter. We will get more harmony if there is no attempt to rush. Undoubtedly there is great anxiety on our side of the House to know what your programme for the future is. There, for example, is the question of the estimates. Instead of adjourning the House sine die, if a certain date were fixed, it would be accepted more definitely—if there was a definite date fixed at which the Dáil was to re-assemble, everything could be prepared by the new Cabinet, and they would be in a position to put the estimates before the House, when they could be fully examined. I suggest a date be definitely fixed.

I think President de Valera is acting fairly; some of the other members are not. We want to get a chance. We have not spoken about ourselves, but for three months past we have been working night and day. We were faced with the task of fighting our English opponents first, and then we had to come and fight our Irish friends, and now we have to take on as big a job as ever men took on (hear, hear). We want a chance. We cannot meet every day here and at the same time try and carry out the things. If President de Valera—I will still call him President—agrees, I will fix a month hence as the date for the next meeting, and we will meet again on this day month. Give us a chance to do something in the meantime. We cannot work as it is.

We ought, I think, to take that as reasonable. Everybody ought to regard it as reasonable (applause). The only thing we are really anxious about is the Army, and perhaps the Minister of Defence would give us some idea of what he proposes to do. I am anxious myself as an individual who knows the Army. I am anxious to know what the position of the Army will be. I fear that, unless the Army is kept intact as the Army of the Republic, we will not have that confidence—the members of the Army will not have that confidence—which is necessary if we are to keep them as a solid unit.

Suppose we adjourn until the fourteenth February. It is a Tuesday.

So far as I am concerned, and also my colleagues, we will be always most happy to meet President de Valera to discuss any matters that can be discussed. The motion is to adjourn until fourteenth February; the tenth February, which would be this day month, is a Friday—a bad day to meet on.

In reply to President de Valera's question with regard to the Army, the policy of the new Executive will be to keep the Army absolutely intact, and that, as between this date and the re-assembling of the Dáil, there is absolutely nothing that should give anybody in this Assembly any uneasiness with regard to the Army and with regard to its strength (aplause).

Do I understand that discipline is going to be maintained in Cork as well as everywhere else?

When has the Army in Cork ever shown lack of discipline? (hear hear).

I would like to ask that, if we do separate we will separate under circumstances that will appeal to our own selves and to the people, and I would ask Deputies to make no more remarks that would lead to differences of opinion.

The Minister of Defence has not quite satisfied me. He says he will keep the Army intact. What I am anxious about is that orders given to the Army will be given in the name of the Government of the Republic; otherwise I fear there might be some trouble.

The Army will remain occupying the same position with regard to this Government of the Republic, and occupying the same position with regard to the Minister of Defence, and under the same management, and in the same spirit as we have had up to the present (hear, hear).

I do not want to pin you down any further, so I will take it at that.

Before we adjourn I wish to move that the thanks of the assembly be conveyed to the College authorities for placing these rooms so long at our disposal.

I have great pleasure in seconding that proposal. The University authorities were very kind when, while I was acting as President of the Dáil—President of the Republic—I asked that we might be given accommodation here. Then as Chancellor of the University, I am delighted that this historic meeting— although for many reasons it will be a sad one—was held here (applause).


put the motion and declared it carried unanimously.

On a point of explanation; what I said apparently has not been understood, and it has been suggested I avoided saying what could have been said very simply. It is suggested I avoided saying the Army will continue to be the Army of the Irish Republic. If any assurance is required—the Army will remain the Army of the Irish Republic (applause).

The House rose.