Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Dáil Éireann díospóireacht -
Thursday, 11 May 1922

Vol. S2 No. 10


"We recommend that:
"(1) The following principles be accepted and passed by resolution in Dáil:—
"(a) That all legislative, executive, and judicial authority in Ireland is, and shall be, derived solely from the people of Ireland.
"(b) That Dáil Éireann is the supreme governing authority in Ireland.
"(2) We recommend that Dáil Éireann should decree that the forthcoming elections declared by England, be not contested, but that the present personnel constitute the Third Dáil (except that the Deputies representing two constituencies vacate their seats in Clare, Cavan, Cork, and the National University, these vacancies being filled by arrangement) and that it be accepted and understood that no issue is being determined by the election.
"(3) That pending the adoption of a Constitution for the nation, the Constitution of Dáil Éireann be revised so as to provide for a President and Council of State as sole Executive, the composition, personnel, duties, functions, etc., to be arranged by agreement between both sides.
"(4) That the Provisional Government is to act solely as a taking over or Transfer Commission, and to cease all executive functions.
"(5) That to unify the Army the Army Convention to be held as soon as may be, the Convention to consist of the delegates chosen for the banned (recent proposed) Convention and those only.
"(6) That this Convention elect a representative on the Council of State who shall be Minister for Defence.
"(7) That it elect also an Army Council which shall be in adminstrative control of the Army and responsible for nominations, appointments, commissions, etc.
"Clauses 1 (a) and (b) were unanimously accepted.
"Discussion of this draft was altogether confined to Clause 2."

I would like to ask if there is any official report on behalf of the Delegation of Officers.

COMMANDANT SEAN O'HEGARTY (who was present with the Delegation of Officers) said: This is merely a report of incidents, and it is only tending to show how we approached the problem that was put before us. The following is the report:—

"We, the undersigned five officers, who had signed the statement appearing in the Press on May 2, were summoned to a meeting of the Dáil Committee of ten at the Mansion House about 5 p.m. on May 9. The situation, we were then informed, was: Both groups had submitted proposals and of those the following points submitted by the Anti-Treaty side had been accepted by others, viz.—

"(a) That all legislative, executive, and judicial authority in Ireland is, and shall be, derived solely from Irish people; (b) that Dáil Éireann is the supreme governing authority in Ireland.

"On the other hand the Pro-Treaty group had submitted the following:—

"Recognising the fact that the Treaty, having been approved by a majority of Dáil Éireann, would in the circumstances, be accepted by a majority of the people, if put as an issue at a contested election, and desiring to evade such a contest and its conflicts we recommend that an agreed election without contests be held and a Coalition Government be formed.

"The Anti-Treaty group would not accept this proposal as it stood, and demanded the omission of the words—

‘The Treaty ... would in the circumstances be accepted by a majority of the people if put as an issue at a contested election.'

The Anti-Treaty point of view, as expressed by Mr. Boland was that while desirous of availing to the full of the advantages of the Treaty, they were not prepared to agree to a settlement which, in their opinion, committed the people to the acceptance of the Treaty as a settlement.

"The Pro-Treaty point of view, as proposed by Mr. O'Dwyer, was that they were not justified in taking any risk which might jeopardise the Treaty and lose its advantages which omission of the words objected to might do, and that the people should get some reason for disfranchisement, which an agreed election would entail.

"We were asked to find a formula of words which would reconcile both views. We realised, and so stated, that what was needed was five lawyers, but that we were doing our best. We remained at the Mansion House, and at 8 p.m. submitted the following:—

"Recognising that it is a fundamental duty of Government to make available for the people the advantages gained by the war for independence, and that the people so desired it, and accepting the fact that Dáil Éireann has by a majority approved of the Treaty, which is the vehicle of those advantages and accepting also the position created in the country by this approval, we are of opinion that a contested election now would be attended by civil strife, which would result in the dissipation of those advantages and the worsening of our national position. Accepting this, and desirous of avoiding such a conflict, in the best interests of the nation we recommend as above.'

"This was submitted as an honest attempt to reconcile the two points of view and make a basis for agreement. In this formula of words we believe that all fair minded people will realise that we have adjusted, as far as can be done, the two positions.—Signed, Dan Breen, Tom Hales, H. Murphy, F. O'Donoghue, Seán O'Hegarty."

I want to know if it was agreed that a separate report be handed in from the group of officers. We on this side of the House had no idea that the group of officers attending here were going to submit a report. At the third meeting of our Committee we found it necessary to issue a statement to the Press clearly defining our position and our terms of reference, it being clearly understood that the document submitted originally to this House, and signed by this group of officers had not the consent of this side of the House. Had we understood that those were the terms of reference that Committee, so far as this side of the House is concerned, would never have met. We called in these officers when we found that a crux had arisen, hoping that by their intervention we might compose our differences. I took particular pains to point out to the men of the Pro-Treaty side that we could not entertain these proposals in Committee until such time as they came from one of the members of the Dáil Committee. If ever we do get down to deal with the position, we hope to have official representatives from each side. I had no idea the third report would be handed in, and I am sure Mr. O'Dwyer had no knowledge of it.

Mr. Speaker, do you intend to allow this deputation to vote?

To vote as members?

Yes, to vote here.

So many surprising things have been allowed by you that I would not be surprised if that were allowed.

I wish to say that neither I nor any member of the Committee had any idea that there was to be a third report, but I wish also to say quite definitely that in the present national position I think to say anything which would in the slightest reflect on these officers would be absolutely unwise. Nobody can deny their singlemindedness.

It is better not to enter into a discussion on this particular point.

I think it is better to have the questions taken first, and then the motion for adjournment.

Very well, I take it that is agreed.