There are no questions on the paper, but there is private notification of two questions. One is by Deputy Darrell Figgis, and the other is by Deputy O'Connell.
AN CEANN COMHAIRLE:
Mr. DARRELL FIGGIS:
I gave private notice to the President to ask the President if his attention had been drawn to the fact that all copies of last night's issue of the "Republic" were seized from the newsboys and destroyed, and if in view of the fact that the Government has not hitherto interfered with the publication of this sheet, and has not issued any Proclamation notifying that its sale was illegal, whether it is the intention of the Government to recompensate these lads and to issue a Proclamation for the future?
I got this question to-day at 1.20, and it is dated 4th October, 12.20 p.m. I had no information up to that moment that last night's issue of the "Irish Republic" had been seized. My attention has been drawn to this journal on a couple of occasions, and in a recent issue occasion was taken to publish something about a member of the Civic Guard. I have a report here from the Commissioner of the Civic Guard, concerning the individual who was slandered. The report says:— "Sergt. Fox resigned the R.I.C. on the 31st April, 1915. He immediately joined the I.R.A. and was appointed an N.C.O. He afterwards was appointed successively 2nd Lieut., 1st Lieut., Captain, and later Vice-Comdt., 4th Battalion 1st Brigade, 4th Western Division. His Brigadier was the late Alderman Devins, T.D. On the formation of the Republican Courts he was chosen as a District Judge for North Leitrim. He was also County Secretary for the Belfast Boycott in Leitrim, Secretary of the Manorhamilton S.F. Club, and Secretary of North Leitrim Comhairle Ceanntaiar. He was invariably chosen as Delegate from Co. Leitrim to the Ard Fheis. He was a much wanted man in Leitrim and after several unsuccessful raids he was captured by the Black and Tans and brought from prison to prison and detained until the general amnesty on the 9th December. On his release he immediately reverted to his rank in the I.R.A. He joined the Civic Guard on the 9th March and was promoted Sergeant on the 1st April. He never held the rank of Sergeant in the R.I.C., and was never stationed in Thurles. His only station was in Limerick County." Now, I mention that because certainly I do not mind what sheets like this have to say about myself in the least bit. I rather enjoy it, but I think in the case of an organisation such as the Civic Guard it is the duty of the Government to have these men's character free from any slanderous publications like these. It was stated in the journal that one of the Free State witnesses was Sergeant Fox, "one of Neville's friends in Court recognised Fox as the Sergeant who had been stationed in Thurles during the Black and Tan terror, and was present and raided her home and subsequently assisted in its destruction." My own firm belief and conviction from any of the cases I have investigated is, that this particular sheet contains more lies than any other publication of the kind that I have ever seen or heard of. I do not know that there is any funds out of which the Government can recompense these lads, but if I am informed of the amount of loss they have suffered by reason of this seizure, I will see what can be done.
Mr. DARRELL FIGGIS:
Arising out of that answer, I would like to say that I was not in any way questioning the suppression of this sheet, but I was merely asking the question. I would not like it to go out to the public that I was at all questioning the suppression of this sheet by reason of the matters that the President has thought well to introduce into his answer. I was merely thinking of the fact that these boys had all bona fide sold this journal, and had now suffered some loss, and I was desirous of ascertaining if that loss will be made good for them.
As far as I know, practically everything in the way of allegation that I have seen in that sheet is a lie. Now, the second question is from Deputy Thomas O'Connell, "to ask the President whether his attention has been called to the letter which appears in this morning's paper, signed by the Rev. Joseph Smith, C.P., Vice-Rector of Mount Argus, with reference to the treatment of a particular prisoner, and whether, in view of this and many similar complaints which have been made, the Government will consider the advisability of acting on the suggestion which has already been made in the Dáil, and set up an independent Committee which will inquire into such complaints and furnish a report to this Parliament." I have seen the letter. I understand that the Rev. Joseph Smith is not an impartial person, and I am making, or I am going to make, inquiries into this case. I do not know that an independent Committee would be advisable.