SUPPLEMENTARY AND ADDITIONAL ESTIMATES—RESUMED. - VOTE 65—ARMY PENSIONS.

I move:

Go ndeontar suim bhreise ná raghaidh thar £39,607 chun íochta an Mhuirir a thiocfidh chun bheith iníoctha i rith na bliana dar críoch an 31adh lá de Mhárta, 1928, chun Pinsin Chréachta, Liúntaisí agus Aiscí fé sna hAchtanna Arm-Phinsean, 1923 agus 1927, agus chun Síntiúisí Iolardha mar gheall ar a Riara san, agus chun Pinsin d'íoc fé Acht na bPinsean Seirbhíse Mileata, 1924.

That a supplementary sum not exceeding £39,607 be granted to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending 31st March, 1928, for Wound Pensions, Allowances and Gratuities under the Army Pensions Acts, 1923 and 1927, and for Sundry Contributions and Expenses in respect of the Administration thereof, and to pay Pensions under the Military Service Pensions Act, 1924.

The Army Pensions Act, 1927, was enacted on the 3rd April of that year. No provision was made in the Estimates (1927-28) for expenditure under that Act. It now becomes necessary to provide for expenditure under that Act for the current financial year, and this Supplementary Estimate includes such provision. The gross total of the Supplementary Estimate is £40,060, of which £25,060 represents the estimated gross expenditure under the Act of 1927 during the present financial year. The balance of the gross Supplementary Estimate (£15,000) represents the additional sum required to meet the expenditure during the current financial year under the Military Service Pensions Act, 1923. The number of pensions under that Act which it was estimated would come for payment during the year 1927-28 was 2,495. The number of payments beginning in January last was 2,979. It is estimated that at the end of the financial year the number of pensions for payment will be 3,050. The additional sum of £15,000 is to cover these extra numbers. In this connection, the Estimate for this service for 1927-28 was prepared in December, 1926, and it was not possible to estimate as closely as would be desirable the number of military service pensioners who would be in receipt of pensions during the financial year, 1927-28.

I know that it is not allowable on a debate on Supplementary Estimates to go into the whole question of the Act under which the money is spent. Our attitude, however, towards the general question of pensions is pretty well known, and to-day we simply want to confine ourselves to opposing this additional sum of £39,000, which the Minister for Defence says he requires. In 1927, when the Committee on Public Accounts were examining the accounts of the Army Pensions Department, the Auditor-General reported that he had not seen the details upon which the awards were based. In their report for the year 1927, the Committee states: "For the purposes of audit, a request had been made that the original applications for military service pensions should be forwarded to the Audit Department. This request elicited the response from the Board of Assessors that the Board could not agree to forward the documents mentioned."

The Deputy is, I think, dealing with sub-head (1)—"Pensions granted under the Military Service Pensions Act?"

The procedure followed in such cases as this is to deal with the matter by sub-heads so that, if the Deputy goes into this sub-head now, other Deputies will be precluded from mentioning anything that occurs prior to sub-head (1). Before the question of military service pensions is gone into, it will be necessary, if other Deputies desire to raise other points, to raise them now.

I do not know if other Deputies desire to raise other points.

That brings us down therefore to sub-head (1). Deputy Aiken is dealing with the report of the Public Accounts Committee in regard to the accessibility of certain documents for the Auditor-General. That seems to be a general question that does not arise on this Supplementary Estimate. The matter has been dealt with by the Public Accounts Committee in their report, and it has again been dealt with this year by the Committee, whose report has been presented to the Dáil and will shortly be in the hands of Deputies. The main question should be dealt with either on the main Estimate for Army Pensions, including military service pensions, or on a motion concerned with the report of the Public Accounts Committee, but I do not think it arises on a Supplementary Estimate for a sum of £15,000. The matter will arise later when the main Estimate for 1928-29 must be voted.

If Deputy Aiken goes on to deal with sub-head 1, am I to understand that we cannot raise matters under sub-heads (a), (b), (c) and so forth?

In that event, if Deputy Aiken would give way, I want to raise a question under sub-head (a) dealing with wound pensions. I would ask the Minister to look into a couple of cases, which have been brought to the notice of his Department recently, in which men were awarded pensions for wounds some time ago, such awards being classed as final awards and based on evidence submitted to the Board that the amount given was adequate. It was stated that the individuals concerned would improve in health and that the compensation given was sufficient because of that improvement. I brought to the notice of the Minister's Department two cases in which his Board were entirely wrong in their judgment and, having given an award to a wounded person, that person, instead of improving in health, got much worse. He had to attend hospital and undergo operations regularly from that day to this, and two months ago he was in hospital undergoing an operation. This man made a claim to have his case considered with a view to getting proper compensation for his injuries, but the officials of the Minister's Department were steadfast in saying that he got a final award and, no matter what his condition was now, they would not budge an inch.

The two men to whom I refer are victims of a wrong judgment of this Board who based their award on the evidence before them that the men would improve. One man has got considerably worse and is likely to get much worse, and I do not think, because of some ruling of the Minister's Department that that individual—and there may be others—should be denied justice by the Minister or those who act for him. Perhaps I would be allowed to draw attention to the fact that when an award is given under the Workmen's Compensation Act doctors appear for a claimant, and on the medical evidence an award is made but, if the doctor is found to have been wrong in his judgment and an award is made on that evidence, there is always an appeal to a higher court, and very often a decision is reversed and an award is made and compensation given for disability. I would ask the Minister, if such a case comes to his knowledge, to see that a man suffering, say, from 75 per cent disability should not have been put out, two years previously, on a gratuity, or a disability allowance, equivalent to 10 or 15 per cent. disability, and that if a mistake was made there should be some way of bringing that case to the notice of the Government, and, further, that the Minister's officials should not write a stereotyped letter saying that as a final award was made on such a date it could not be re-opened. I say that it should be re-opened if the circumstances warrant it, and I hope the matter will be given consideration.

We offer no opposition to awards being given to men who were wounded, or to the dependents of men who were killed. As a matter of fact, had we the distribution of public funds we would think it our duty to see that all men who were disabled, either in the Black and Tan war or during the civil war on either side, would receive an award to enable them to live, and also that the dependents of people killed during the Black and Tan war or the civil war would get an allowance to enable them to live. We object to this £15,000, item I—pensions granted under Section 4 of the Military Service Pensions Act, 1924. I will not go into the question of giving service pensions to men who never asked that they should be given to them when they were joining up, or who were never promised these pensions when they were joining up from 1916 to 1921. I will simply confine my remarks to this item of £15,000. I submit the Dáil has not enough information to warrant it voting this sum. As I have already pointed out, the Committee on Public Accounts have not seen the original applications, and no one except the members of the Board of Assessors has seen them. As far as I can learn, and as far as is generally known, the Board of Assessors consists of three men appointed by the Minister for Defence. These are political appointments, but perhaps I had better not go into that now.

The opportunity to do so will arise again.

The position is that the Dáil has no information directly, and none of its servants appointed to audit accounts has seen the details upon which the awards are based. I asked the Minister for Defence, for my own information, a question as to the years of service given by people who were awarded military service pensions, and which entitled them to those pensions. After three months the Minister forwarded to me a list of pensioners, and he said:—

"Having regard to the heavy expenditure of time and labour that would be involved in obtaining the other particulars asked for by you, the Minister feels the result to be obtained could not possibly justify such expenditure."

The Minister gave me the name of each pensioner, the amount he is receiving yearly, and also the county in which he is resident. I submit these details are not enough. In going through them I noticed that a large percentage of the pensioners are resident in Dublin, and also that the county of Meath has a large number of pensioners. I do not know the names of the men in County Meath, but I think I could not justify to myself—even from the point of view of the Minister that people who served during the Black and Tan war and during the civil war on the Cumann na nGaedheal side are entitled to a pension—voting for the sum required by pensioners in County Meath. I do not know, even from the Cumann na nGaedheal point of view, how such a large number of men in County Meath could have earned these pensions. People in other parts of the country when they were fighting made some noise, but it was very silent warfare in County Meath, as far as I know. In thinking over it, I am of opinion the only explanation regarding these pensions in County Meath that could be given is that the Minister was giving pensions to the old Fianna that are lying in Tara. There is no other possible explanation for it, as far as I can see. I think before the Dáil votes the money to the Minister for Defence, it should know exactly how it is to be spent, and how the people who are going to get it have earned it. We are dealing with public funds administered by three men who are direct nominees of the Cumann na nGaedheal Party, and the money in this case can be used altogether for political purposes. Regarding County Meath, if the Minister is not paying out money to the old Fianna that are lying in Tara, he must be paying it to men who were in a secret army, because as far as the ordinary public are concerned, the people in County Meath had not an army that was making very much noise or doing very much public duty during the Black and Tan war.

In thinking over County Meath, and when the idea of the secret army came into my mind, I remembered that the head of the I.R.B. in County Meath is now the Cumann na nGaedheal Organiser of the secret army there— the secret Cumann na nGaedheal army of pensioners. Even though they did not do very good work during the Black and Tan War they can do it for the Cumann na nGaedheal organisation during the general elections or the by-elections. If these men are getting pensions for honourable service during the Black and Tan War why does not the Minister publish the full particulars? Why does he not tell the public of the people to whom they should render homage for services rendered to the country? Not alone has the Minister refused to tell the general public who these men are but the Board of Assessors appointed by him has refused to give particulars to the Auditor-General or his staff. Quite recently one of the Parliamentary Secretaries—and I think he will hardly deny this—when the list of people to whom pensions were awarded was going to be published in a local paper interfered and tried to prevent publication. They are even afraid to let people know the list of those to whom pensions have been awarded. That is a rotten state of affairs. It is bad for the country in general, and very bad for the people who are getting the money. Giving pensions to able-bodied men is likely to create a general prejudice against pensions, and I, for one, am for giving pensions to men who were disabled fighting for any cause they believed in, and for giving pensions to the dependents of men who fell fighting for any cause they believed in. I took part in the civil war, and I know that many of the men we were fighting against were misled by men opposite into the belief that the cause for which they were fighting was the right one for Ireland. Any of them who was disabled, or the dependents of any who fell, I would like to see getting pensions. This practice of giving secret pensions to people for secret service— service that is not public—is wrong and prejudices the whole case for giving honourable pensions to men who gave honourable service. I hope the Dáil will not give this £39,000, £15,000 of which is proposed to be allocated for these secret military service pensions.

Deputy Aiken has, of course, gone outside the Supplementary Estimate. However, I suppose, that is one speech. Something has to be said, and I suppose there is no harm in letting it be said. I will have to let the Minister reply at the right time. We are not concerned here on the general question under any of these sub-heads. Under sub-head 1 the main sum has been voted, but the question is why the Minister wants £15,000 now, and why he did not know before that he wanted this money. The general question of military service pensions, including the matter Deputy, Aiken has mentioned, will be under discussion when the main estimate comes up in the next month or two, so that the debate must now be confined to the Supplementary Estimate alone.

As you, sir, have stated the question which the Dáil has to consider is why the Minister requires an additional £15,000 to meet pensions due under the Military Service Pensions Act, 1924. It is obvious that the Minister has had to incur an expenditure under the heading of this Vote in excess of what he anticipated. The fact that the whole administration of the Act, and the circumstances connected with the distribution of these pensions, are shrouded in secrecy makes it impossible really for the Dáil to know why the additional £15,000 is required. I submit that I am in order in maintaining that as the main purpose of the Act was to enable the Government to buy the neutrality, or, at any rate, buy off the hostility of a certain section of the population, the purpose for which the £15,000 is required must be the same. The Minister, apparently, found that the amount he had estimated at the beginning of the year for that purpose was inadequate. There were, of course, two General Elections during the year Particular constituencies had to be made safe for Cumann na nGaedheal candidates, and consequently the Dáil is now called upon to pay the price— £15,000. The extra seat that was won, in Meath, and I think the extra seat won in Dublin are hardly worth the price to the nation. I do not think the Deputies who are now in the House, but who were not in the last Dáil, in consequence of the expenditure of this sum, however valuable their services may be, are of sufficient value to justify the Dáil voting £15,000 for the pleasure of having them here. The whole purpose for which this money is required is one, I think, of which the Dáil should not approve. We think the paying of pensions in this secret, furtive manner for services given, or alleged to have been given, in the I.R.A. is going to debase the whole tradition of the I.R.A., and is going to sully the record which the Irish Republican Army is handing down to history. That ideal of voluntary service, freely given to the nation in a time of national stress, given without any hope of pay or reward, is an important legacy given us that we must be careful to safeguard, and if the Dáil lightly approves of the payment of rewards for services in this manner it is going, I believe, not merely to debase that tradition now, but it is going to make it impossible for some future generation to get the same service at some particular moment of national stress. The men who fought in that particular time are undoubtedly entitled to the consideration of the people of the country. They are entitled to be given every opportunity of securing an adequate and decent livelihood in Ireland; they are entitled to favourable consideration whenever it is possible to give favourable consideration, in the allocation of posts under Government control. They are not, however, entitled to pensions and I am proud to say, and I think the majority of the people of Ireland are proud to say, that the vast majority of them are not asking for pensions and would not take pensions. The fact that particulars——

I do not like to interrupt the Deputy, but, on a point of order, would not his present remarks be in order on a motion that the Military Service Pensions Act should be repealed? They are scarcely in order on this Vote.

I am afraid the Deputy is debating the principle of awarding pensions.

The fact that particulars concerning the particular services for which these pensions are being given have been refused, not merely to the House but to the Auditor-General, is one that Deputies must take into very serious consideration. They have a duty, as representatives of the people, to see that the money paid in taxes is used to the best advantage of the nation. There is a suggestion that it would not be in the national interests to publish the circumstances relating to the services given by the pensioners.

We will have to go into that on the main Vote. That is certainly an important main question.

Nevertheless, I submit that £15,000 is a very substantial sum for the Dáil to pass without proper consideration.

The main question of the Vote is not being decided. This is only a question about £15,000 now. I had been prepared to be quite liberal in this matter, except for the fact that this question the Deputy is going into is contained in the report of the Public Accounts Committee for the current year, which will soon be in the hands of Deputies. When that report is in the hands of Deputies, and when the main estimate comes up, the matter is bound to be discussed, so that we are anticipating it; in other words, discussing on a very small issue a very big issue which will arise on the big issue. Deputies are not being debarred at all by having the matter postponed.

Your suggestion, if I take it as a suggestion and not as a ruling, that for the convenience of the House it would be better to discuss this matter on the main estimate rather than on the supplementary vote, is one that I have considerable sympathy with.

I am ruling that the question as to the production of documents to the Auditor and Comptroller-General is a question that cannot arise on a supplementary estimate.

I think I will find it very hard to get around that particular ruling.

The Deputy has been very successful so far.

I will conclude by asking the Dáil to reject the Minister's request for an additional sum of money of a very considerable size, because of the very reason that the Committee of Public Accounts has under consideration that the facts are not being given, the facts which would enable the Dáil to make up its mind as to whether or not such pensions should be awarded. The point I want to make is this, and if it is out of order you can rule it out and I will accept your ruling——

When the Deputy has made the point.

The point is, that it appears to me, from the remarks of the Committee, these pensions are not really being awarded for services given at all, but that the assessors are, as it were, awarding so much per head for the men shot by the pensioners, a suggestion that it was not a case of service, but a case of the actual value of the work done that was taken into consideration when the pensions were given. I submit that that is the continuation of a mentality that grew up in the ranks of the controlling authority of the Irish Republican Army during the Truce—a mentality that tended to exalt the value of the man who carried out individual enterprises and to discourage the value of the man who served in the rank and file. I suggest that if pensions for service are to be awarded at all, they should be awarded on the strength of the period of service given, and on no other grounds. If two men joined the Irish Volunteers on a particular day, and if each of them did everything he was asked to do from that until 1921, if they carried out every order transmitted to them then, they are both on an equal basis when it comes to the awarding of pensions, irrespective of whether one man did one thing and the other man did something that was less spectacular or less important. If that basis for the awarding of pensions was adopted, merely for service, and the nature of the service, in so far as there was no disobeying of orders at any time, was taken into consideration, there should be no reason why full details could not be furnished. I conclude, therefore, by asking the House to reject the Estimate on the ground that not merely has the information not been given to the House which would justify it in making up its mind, but that whatever information is in this report is such as would justify the House in rejecting the Vote.

I am going to find it very difficult to get out the points I wish to make, in view of your ruling.

I feel that Deputy Aiken and Deputy Lemass have done very well in getting out the points they wanted to make. If the Deputy's points are anything like theirs I think he ought to be satisfied with the performance up to date.

We are precluded from referring to the Report of the Committee of Public Accounts on the year 1924-25, and published in 1927, for the purpose of this debate. I have no intention of referring to the Report of the present Committee, because it has not yet come out. The point is this: As far as I can find out from any of the records or any of the debates, I am satisfied that unless a Minister, in asking for money from this House, specifically states that that money is not to be subject to the audit of the Comptroller and Auditor-General, that that money must be audited by the House. Further, I see no suggestion in the debates when this 1924 Military Service Pensions Act was introduced, from any member of the House, that the audit of this account was going to be restricted in any way.

The question of the availability of documents before the Comptroller and Auditor-General is not a suitable subject for a debate on a Supplementary Estimate. It has been ruled out of order, but in spite of its having been ruled out of order this point has been raised.

Would I be in order in asking that the names and services of those men for whom this £15,000 is required, be put before the House? I cannot see what is the sense of introducing a Supplementary Estimate if we are not allowed to criticise why money is required in excess of what was originally estimated, and particularly where we are satisfied, as I am satisfied, that this House is not in full possession of the facts concerning all the individuals who benefitted under this Act. I would like to know if the Minister for Finance suggests that we should defer this matter and introduce a motion for the repeal of the Act, or to correct and check it with regard to the points with which we disagree. If he is prepared to say that he will accept such a motion, I will be quite satisfied and will sit down, but I am not so sure that he will.

No, but I will undertake not to interrupt the Deputy while he is introducing it.

It is very hard, knowing the facts surrounding this Military Service Pensions Act, to keep strictly in order according to your ruling, but there is this point. The Title of the Act states definitely that it is a Military Service Pensions Act, that the individuals who benefit under this Act are men who have rendered military service. Yet the actions of those administering the Act would tend to suggest to the mind of anybody trying to get behind it that the men who are getting the pension for military services are ashamed to admit what these military services were. I have yet to hear of any individual, benefiting from the Military Service Pensions Act as a pensioner, who will admit what his pension is for, and that is exactly what the attitude of mind on the part of the Government amounts to. It is tantamount to suggesting that these men must be protected from the public for the service they have rendered. It is a service that neither they nor we can be proud of. I would like to see that situation altered. Either the Government admit that these people are being paid for secret service, that they are being paid for acts over which they cannot stand, or it ought to be made public. Let it stand at that and let the House vote on it. But do not say: "These are military service pensions, but we are not going to tell you where the men served, how they served, what they did, or what they are getting these pensions for." I suggest to the Minister for Defence that if he is prepared to enumerate the individuals who will benefit under this Supplementary Estimate, to enumerate every detail of their services and state if they come within the Act. I am prepared to vote for it. But otherwise I feel that I must vote against it, because I do not believe that the Act is being administered in the spirit in which it was proposed, and in the spirit in which it was discussed and carried through. I appeal to Deputies, particularly those on the Independent Benches, to realise that they are condoning an irregularity in passing a Supplementary Estimate in this manner. where the House does not know whether it is really secret service or military service pensioners who are benefiting.

Before the Minister replies I wish to ask him if he is aware that on the 7th March a circular was issued from the headquarters of Cumann na nGaedheal as follows:—

A Chara,—

A meeting of all Army pensioners of Oglaigh na hEireann of Dublin City and County will be held at 5 Parnell Square on Sunday, the 11th March, at 12.30, to consider the best means of protecting ourselves against attacks from the Fianna Fáil Deputies. We did not fight for our pensions. Will we?

That circular is signed by Padraig O'Daly. I would like to ask the Minister what is his view of that circular, and if he can give us any information as to the manner or nature of the fight referred to.

With regard to what Deputy Byrne said about the final awards, I regret he attributed it to the attitude of the officials in my Department. I regret very much that these final awards have to be regarded as final. I am advised legally that a final award cannot be re-opened. I regret that, possibly for the very opposite reason to that which Deputy Byrne regrets it for, I being the Minister for Defence and responsible for the finances of that Department, while Deputy Byrne is a man with a large heart and is concerned with the humanitarian side of it only. Unfortunately I am precluded, not only from re-opening a final award when a man disimproves with a view to giving him a higher amount, but also from reopening it when his condition improves with a view to making a diminution in the amount of his pension.

Most of the other speakers, I think, were hopelessly out of order, if I may say so, but they got in a certain number of what I will call scurrilous remarks about the administration of these pensions. In response to questions from various Deputies, I had a list issued of all pensioners, giving the amounts of their pensions and the counties in which they reside. Anyone living in any of these counties, if they are intimately and well acquainted with what happened during the pre-truce period, can judge for themselves if these men on the list of pensioners were eligible for pensions. If anyone comes along and proves that a man received a pension on false pretences, there is, of course, a perfectly simple legal method of dealing with him. There is no secrecy whatever about these pensions. The Act says that pensions shall be awarded for military service which is defined as active service in the rank of officer, noncommissioned, etc. The basis of a pension is time. A certain valuation is given for certain periods: for instance for the last few years from 1916 onwards. A pension depends upon time and upon rank. It is not merely enough for applicants to say that they gave active service. Applicants for a pension are called upon to give evidence to prove that they had given active service during the period they claimed for. The evidence that may be adduced, therefore, does not mean that we pay by what you might call piecework. I think that was what Deputy Lemass said. It does not mean that It is merely evidence to prove that during a period between such and such a date a man was giving active service.

There is no secrecy whatsoever about this. A full list has been given of the men who have been awarded pensions, with the names of the counties in which they reside. As these Deputies over there who, remarkably enough, care to fling about these suggestions of corruptness——

On a point of order——

If they are so convinced of the corruptness of the administration of this Act they have, I consider, in their hands a means of challenging it. They have a list of the pensioners, with the amount of the pension granted. These pensions can only be granted to men who have given active service during the pre-truce or post-truce period, so that Deputies on the opposite side are in a position to judge and even to challenge.

The Minister is not aware of the difficulty with regard to that. As far as I am concerned, I may say that I have consulted a number of old officers of the Dublin Brigade and we were unable to identify half the names on the list.

Perhaps these old officers are like so many people who for instance, took part in the Easter Week Rising, but whom nobody ever saw there.

Nobody saw the pensioners.

The Deputy stated that it was the duty of the Dáil to see that the money voted will be spent in the best interests of the nation. I think that these pensions are being spent in the best interests of the nation. There were other moneys which this Dáil was called upon to pay which were not, I think for purposes that were in the best interests of the nation. I think, therefore, that the extreme solicitude of Deputy Aiken, for instance, for the Dáil moneys might be directed in another direction.

It was raised last week in another connection.

In my opening statement I explained how this Supplementary Estimate comes to be asked for. It is due to the fact partly that the Act of 1927 was passed on the 30th April last year, and that no money was voted. It is also due to the fact that the Board of Assessors got through their work rather more quickly than was anticipated. Because of that a bigger number of pensioners than it was thought would be on the list had to be provided for during this financial year. This additional sum is only to make up for that additional expenditure. When a Deputy asks for a list of the people who benefit by this sum of £15,000, it is like as if somebody asked Deputy Briscoe whether he gets his £360 a year out of the tax upon beer or out of the income tax. One does not segregate these things. You have a list of all the pensioners up to a certain date, and you have there quite sufficient data to prove, if you are so convinced of the truth of your suggestion, that we are paying not for service in the Army pre-Truce or post-Truce, but for secret service. Every Deputy on the opposite benches knows as well as I do that that suggestion is absolutely unfounded, unwarranted and untrue.

I understood the Minister to say definitely that there was absolutely no secrecy about awarding these pensions. Is that so?

I said that Deputies opposite have ample means of challenging any corruptness in the method of giving pensions. The details of service provided by the men in proof of their being on active service during any one period is given confidentially by those men and I personally do not propose to make it public.

Is the Minister aware that the list of pensioners in my constituency supplied by the Department was deliberately camouflaged so that we could not get any information from it? We could not know whether Michael MacCarthy was resident in Cork City, North Cork, East Cork or West Cork.

What I asked the Minister was: Will he give us the means of identifying these pensioners? Will he give us the names and addresses and the years in which applicants claimed they gave service to the State?

And the unit in which they served.

The Deputy can raise that question on the general Estimate.

I do not remember suggesting to the Minister that there was any evidence of corruptness or any suggestion of corruptness. What I did say was that I understood the Minister to say definitely that there was no secrecy about this matter. There is no secrecy under the Act I will admit but I have a record where they claimed privilege——

——of secrecy and these pensions are awarded in secrecy and under a guarantee of secrecy. In regard to my £360 a year I believe it comes out of the same fund as the Minister's £1,700 a year.

The method under which pensions are granted is perfectly clear. It is quite open. When a man comes forward and gives evidence in confidence which we can test and query, if he gives us detailed information which it might not be to his interest to have made public, referring to the nature and the period of his service, I am certainly not going to make it public. When we are satisfied that he gave the services for which he claimed a pension we grant him a pension, and we are prepared to let everybody know that he is getting that pension. If people are in a position to say that he has not given the service for which he has been awarded a pension then we can challenge the pension.

I want to ask the Minister under what section of the Act do the Board of Assessors claim that they have the right to withhold particulars from the Auditor-General on which pensions were assessed?

Is it by way of pension or out of the £10,000 Secret Service money that the Minister's Secret Service agents in the Six Counties area are being paid?

I have no Secret Service agents in the Six Counties area.

And if the Minister had they are not paid from this Vote.

Will the Minister deal with the circular issued from the Cumann na nGaedheal offices? Will the Minister state whether he has any information concerning the threat of violence against the Fianna Fáil Deputies contained in that circular which was issued from the Cumann na nGaedheal offices?

I understood the Deputy to say that certain Army pensioners were meeting to consider how they should protect their interests as pensioners against Fianna Fáil attacks.

The meeting is a meeting of all Army pensioners summoned to meet in the Cumann na nGaedheal headquarters, and the circular asks, "Will we fight for our pensions; will we protect ourselves against the attacks of Fianna Fáil Deputies?" It is signed by Padraig O Dalaigh, of whose particular method of fighting some of us have very considerable personal knowledge. If he proposes to fight in the manner which he adopted, for example, at Ballyseedy, it is likely to be a serious matter for some of us. The Minister might assure us that the pensioners who are being paid out of this Vote will be instructed to adopt constitutional methods in their opposition.

The first I heard of the circular was when the Deputy read it out. Nobody knows better than Deputies on the other side that the term "fight" is a rhetorical term. I presume that what these pensioners may be afraid of is an attack upon their pensions by the Fianna Fáil Deputies when they propose to award pensions to other people for their services in attempting to destroy this State and in waging war on the Irish people. Perhaps those pensioners feel that when that is done there will not be enough money to pay their pensions. They are trying to mitigate the pensions, perhaps, proposed to be paid to members of a criminal organisation who waged war on the Irish people.

A la the Minister for Local Government, that is a lie.

I understand the Minister for Industry and Commerce is a member of the organisation from whose headquarters this circular was issued. He has already signed another Cumann na nGaedheal circular from the same place. Was he consulted in regard to this one?

He did not reply when he had an opportunity.

He was very discreet on that occasion.

Question put.
The Committee divided: Tá, 79; Níl, 44.

  • William P. Aird.
  • Ernest Henry Alton.
  • Richard Anthony.
  • James Walter Beckett.
  • George Cecil Bennett.
  • Ernest Blythe.
  • Séamus A. Bourke.
  • Henry Broderick.
  • Seán Brodrick.
  • Alfred Byrne.
  • John Joseph Byrne.
  • Edmund Carey.
  • Archie J. Cassidy.
  • John James Cole.
  • James Dwyer.
  • Barry M. Egan.
  • James Everett.
  • Desmond Fitzgerald.
  • James Fitzgerald-Kenney.
  • Denis J. Gorey.
  • Alexander Haslett.
  • John J. Hassett.
  • Michael R. Heffernan.
  • Michael Joseph Hennessy.
  • Thomas Hennessy.
  • Mark Henry.
  • Patrick Hogan (Galway).
  • Richard Holohan.
  • Michael Jordan.
  • Patrick Michael Kelly.
  • Hugh Alexander Law.
  • Patrick Leonard.
  • Finian Lynch.
  • Arthur Patrick Mathews.
  • Martin McDonogh.
  • Michael Og McFadden.
  • Patrick McGilligan.
  • Joseph W. Mongan.
  • Daniel Morrissey.
  • Richard Mulcahy.
  • Mrs. Margt. Collins-O'Driscoll.
  • Hugh Colohan.
  • Martin Conlan.
  • Michael P. Connolly.
  • Bryan Ricco Cooper.
  • Richard Corish.
  • Sir James Craig.
  • James Crowley.
  • John Daly.
  • Michael Davis.
  • Peter de Loughrey.
  • James N. Dolan.
  • Peadar Seán Doyle.
  • Edmund John Duggan.
  • James E. Murphy.
  • Timothy Joseph Murphy.
  • James Sproule Myles.
  • Martin Michael Nally.
  • John Thomas Nolan.
  • Richard O'Connell.
  • Thomas J. O'Connell.
  • Bartholomew O'Connor.
  • Timothy Joseph O'Donovan.
  • John F. O'Hanlon.
  • Dermot Gun O'Mahony.
  • Gearoid O'Sullivan.
  • John Marcus O'Sullivan.
  • William Archer Redmond.
  • Patrick Reynolds.
  • Martin Roddy.
  • Patrick W. Shaw.
  • Timothy Sheehy (West Cork).
  • William Edward Thrift.
  • Michael Tierney.
  • Daniel Vaughan.
  • John White.
  • Vincent Joseph White.
  • George Wolfe.
  • Jasper Travers Wolfe.

Níl

  • Frank Aiken.
  • Denis Allen.
  • Neal Blaney.
  • Gerald Boland.
  • Patrick Boland.
  • Seán Brady.
  • Robert Briscoe.
  • Frank Carney.
  • Michael Clery.
  • James Colbert.
  • Martin John Corry.
  • Fred. Hugh Crowley.
  • Tadhg Crowley.
  • Thomas Derrig.
  • Frank Fahy.
  • Hugo Flinn.
  • Andrew Fogarty.
  • Seán French.
  • John Goulding.
  • Seán Hayes.
  • Samuel Holt.
  • Patrick Houlihan.
  • Stephen Jordan.
  • William R. Kent.
  • James Joseph Killane.
  • Mark Kilelea.
  • Michael Kilroy.
  • Seán F. Lemass.
  • Patrick John Little.
  • Ben Maguire.
  • Thomas McEllistrim.
  • Seán MacEntee.
  • Séamus Moore.
  • Thomas Mullins.
  • William O'Leary.
  • Matthew O'Reilly.
  • Thomas O'Reilly.
  • Patrick J. Ruttledge.
  • James Ryan.
  • Timothy Sheehy (Tipperary).
  • Patrick Smith.
  • John Tubridy.
  • Richard Walsh.
  • Francis C. Ward.
Tellers:—Tá: Deputies Duggan and P. Doyle. Níl: Deputies G. Boland and Allen.
Motion declared carried.

Might I draw the attention of the Chair to the disorderly manner in which Deputies congregate in the Division Lobbies?

Better be disorderly in the Lobby than in the House.