I move: That this Bill be received for final consideration.
PUBLIC BUSINESS. - CONSTITUTION (AMENDMENT No. 13) BILL—FOURTH STAGE.
I am sorry that the Executive did not consider the question I raised here on the last occasion, namely, that of dividing the period into two parts. The Bill, as it stands, allows the Seanad to play with a Bill for a period of eighteen months without giving any indication whatever of what its final attitude towards the Bill is to be. I consider that is altogether wrong, and that there should be a definite time, say about four months, within which the attitude of the Seanad towards a Bill should be definitely declared. That is altogether beside the main question on which we object to the Bill. We object to the Bill because it gives the Seanad powers that the Seanad has not got up to the present. It makes it possible for the Seanad to delay a Bill in practice for a period that may run from twenty months up to thirty months, and the period is sufficiently long to compel an Executive that wanted to get its work done to dissolve Parliament. That is a power which the Seanad should not have. The Seanad's power ought to be restricted to that of revising and making suggestions. It is possible to defend a small Second Chamber provided it confines its activities within that scope, but to give, as is proposed in this Bill, the power to a Chamber, such as the Seanad is likely to be, of making an Executive that has been elected on a definite issue abandon its programme and go again to the people is, in my opinion, absurd. If there was a Seanad that was elected by the people, or a Seanad that was elected even by the Dáil, there might be some reason for giving them powers of that kind, particularly if the scheme of things was such that the Seanad was elected by the people and intended by them to have powers of this character, but when the Seanad is elected, in no small measure, by its own vote, to give them power like that, when they will never have to come before the people directly to account for their stewardship, is absurd, in my opinion. I have pointed out in Committee how the powers that are given to the Seanad could be used to block an Executive that intended proceeding with a programme which the Seanad might, for one reason or another, object to. The period of nine months, in practice, has worked out to be sufficiently long, and why that period was extended by the Executive Council is something I cannot understand, except on the basis that it was given because the Seanad were likely to have the same political views. The present Seanad, anyhow, are likely to share, in a large measure, the political views of the Executive, and would be a second line of defence for the Cumann na nGaedheal Party, just as the House of Lords played a traditional part in being supporters of the Conservative Government. The effect of it is going to be that a Party which will represent the people will not allow the Seanad to stand in its way ultimately, and that giving powers like this is heading for a constitutional crisis of one kind or another.
We do not believe that the Seanad is doing anything that would merit the spending of the sums of money that are being spent at the present time or that would merit keeping it there at all. Consequently, as far as we are concerned, we shall always ask the people to put an end to it, and doubly so for the reason that we have here, because the powers that are given to the Seanad are definitely intended to favour one political Party and one political programme. It is a very strange thing that the only case where the Seanad is left the power of appealing to the people is when it is a question of moving forward. If the people can be threatened, if they can be intimidated, then the Seanad has the power of referring the question back to the people in order that this intimidation may have its full effect. But if there should be any question of advancing, the Seanad has no such powers. It is only as a check and as a block that they are allowed to operate. As I have said, a period of four months would have been quite sufficient to give the Seanad an opportunity of discussing any Bill and putting in amendments upon it, to indicate their attitude upon it, and send it back for reconsideration by the Dáil. There would be a period after that in which the Dáil could consider what was going to be its attitude in the light of the circumstances in which the Bill was sent back, and that period would work out probably at from two to three months. A further period of two months is provided for which on the whole would work out to be a period such as was in the Constitution, a delaying period of nine months. But this has changed that to be a period of close on 30 months ordinarily.
I heard in the last debate surprise expressed at our attitude on these Bills. I cannot understand why anybody should in anyway be surprised at our attitude. It has been quite consistent. Time after time, I have indicated on behalf of this Party, what that attitude was. In the Joint Committee our representative indicated that attitude and he voted as I would have voted had I been there. He voted in accordance with the deliberate decision of our Party that election by the people was undesirable, in view of the fact that we believe that there was another method of election which was more desirable and which could only be considered when that first question was disposed of. When it came to that question and when it was proposed that the election should be not by the Dáil alone—the representatives of the people—but by the Seanad as well, then, of course, we had to choose between what we regarded as two evils and that choice was made definitely. When we saw all the facts before us, both as a party and as individuals, in Committee, we made that decision and it is wrong to say that we voted for the Report. We did not. That Report was a majority Report and it will be found if anybody cares to examine it that in practically every division in which there was any principle involved other than the principles we stand for here, and which we have advocated here, we voted against it or dissented from these majority decisions, so that there is no excuse for any member of the House not understanding exactly what our position is. I believe they do understand it and it is mere pretence to affect not to understand it, or to think that our attitude was inconsistent. As I have said, at the start, I regret that the Executive did not, at least when they were going to persist in this period of 18 months, consider the advisability of dividing it into two periods, a period of four months or so within which the Seanad would have to indicate definitely its attitude and the remainder of the period which would be allowed to run as the period of suspension. I see a member of the Executive Council here. Perhaps now, he may be able to give us some reason as to why they definitely decided not to break the period up into two. It seems to me that it was a very natural and reasonable division to make.
The other parts of the Bill are, of course, purely consequential and they call for little or no comment from me. What I have said to-day I have already stated on another occasion. That summarises very definitely what our objections to this particular Bill are.
What occurs to me and to most people on this side is that this amendment has been introduced for one purpose alone and that is to forestall the next Government. The tide is definitely rising. That is well known to the Government and they have brought in this Bill, giving these extra powers to the Seanad, in order that they may embarrass a future Government. There is no other explanation of it. They want to give the Seanad powers which it has not had up to this, a Seanad of their own choosing and which is going probably to be composed of the type of people who ignored the national will last evening, that is the old Unionist crowd in this country, who were objecting because the Union Jack was not floating when the Bremen fliers came to Dublin. These are the people who, apparently, are to be confirmed in power in this country, confirmed in power that they have no right to whatever. As I said, the power they have had up to this was quite sufficient for them. They were able to hold up Bills for nine months. Now it is proposed to give them power to hold them up for 18 months with a possible addition of two and a half months. That is the only excuse there is for bringing in this amendment.
I do not think I can add any more. I want to make it clear, however, that that is my opinion and the opinion of most people on this side. When the facts become known to the country it will also be endorsed by the people in the country. The provisions contained in this Bill make it, I think, one of the most important of the whole lot. Whatever you may say about the Referendum and the rest of it, this is the Bill that will give real power into the hands of a reactionary body in this country and it is the Bill which should be most carefully watched. We will take every means we possibly can to let the people see what is being done. We will endeavour to show them to whom the power is being handed.
Ní dó liom go mba cheart an comhacht atá san mBille seo do thabhairt don tSeanad—comhacht chun Bille a bheadh ag teastáil ó mhuinntear na tíre seo do choimeád siar go ceann dhá bhliain go leith. Na Seanadóirí atá ann anois—an furmhór acu—níl siad freagarthach ach d'aon taoibh amháin de chúrsai pholatíochta san Tigh seo, má tá siad freagarthach don taoibh sin féin. Is mian leo comhacht Shasana do choinneáilt beo san tír seo chó fada agus is féidir é. Daoine maoine agus rachmais isea cuid mhaith acu ach daoine a bhí in ár gcoinne sé bliana ó shoin. Dá mbeadh cead ag na Teachtaí san Tigh seo a nguthanna do thabhairt mar ba mhian leo, ní bheadh an cúigiú cuid acu i bhfábhar an comhacht so do thabhairt don tSeanad. Bhíos ag cainnt le Teachtaí a thug guthanna ar son an Bhille seo agus dubhradar liom nách raibh siad i bhfábhar an Bhille in aon chor.
Nílim i gcoinne na ndaoine atá san Seanad. Is ceart dóibh a mbarramhail féin do bheith acu ach ní ceart comhacht mór mar so do thabhairt dóibh. Tá fhios againn na tuairimí a bhí acu deich mbliana o shoin agus an taoibh ar a raibh siad an t-am sin. Deirtear gur daoine iad a "rinne obair mhaith ar son na tíre." Ba mhaith liom cloisint cadé an obair atá déanta ag lucht an tSeanaid ar mhaithe leis an tír no ar mhaithe le rialtas an tíre agus cadé an fáth agus an chúis gur toghadh iad. Cad tá déanta acu ar son na tíre? Cad i an tír a bhí i gceist acu nuair a bhíodar ag cainnt ar an obair a rinneadar ar son na tíre? Is dóigh liom gur ar tír Shasana a bhíodar ag smaoiniú nuair a bhíodar ag cainnt mar sin.
Táim i bhfábhar cothrom na féinne do thabhairt do mhuinntear na tíre uilig ach ní maith liom comhacht a thabhairt don tSeanad chun Bille a bheadh ag teastáil ó na daoine do choimeád siar go ceann dhá bhliain go leith.
Cionnus mar a thagann an dá bhliain go leith isteach?
Tá an méid aimsire do bhí ann dá leathnú faoi dhó agus ní dubhradh fós cé an fath gur ceart an comhacht sin do thabhairt dóibh.
Ach cionnus mar a thagann an dá bhliain go leith isteach?
Fiche mí, ba cheart dom a rá. Is dó liom gur contabhartheach an rud an comhacht seo do thabhairt dóibh. Bainfeár díobh uair éigin eile chó cinnte agus táim annseo agus beidh aighneas ann annsin. Ní rachaidh aighneas de'n tsórt san i dtairbhe buan-rialtais.
Níl furmhór na tíre sásta an comhacht seo do thabhairt don tSeanad. Níl aon dhabht faoi sin. "Democracy"— tá a lán cainnte mar gheall air agus deirtear gur daoine iad seo a rinne obair mhaith ar son na tíre. Ach nior chaualamair fós ce'n sórt oibre a rinneadar. Admhuighim go bhfuil sgaifte beag ann—duine as deichneabhar, b'fhéidir—a rinne obair mhaith ar son Eireann—ach sin an méid aca. Níor mhaith liom dul siar ar stáir ach nuair a chuireann lucht an tSeanaid i n-iúl dúinn gur daoine rachmais agus maoine iad, bheadh sé de chead againn fiafruí díobh conus mar a fuaireadar a gcuid maoine. B'fhéidir nách ceart dóibh a bheith ag maoidheamh as. Dá mbeadh Seanad ceart ann, b'fhéidir go mba cheart an comhacht so do thabhairt dóibh. Ach is contabhartheach agus is náireach an rud comhacht mar seo do thabhairt don tSeanad atá ann fé láthair no a bhéas ann do réir mar tá sé socruithe ag an Rialtas. Táim go láidir in aghaidh an Bhille seo.
The Deputies on the far side reiterate their objections to a suspension period of eighteen months and I do not know that anything further can be said to what has already been said. If that period of eighteen months is to be there, I do not see any particular virtue in dividing it into two periods, as Deputy de Valera suggests, and having a position by which inside the first four months the Seanad must say something definite. I do not know what the Seanad can say about any Bill that it gets in except to go through it in the different stages and let it pass through in the fashion in which they would like to see it passed through. Then that Bill would go to the Dáil. The suggestion would mean that the Seanad was under a particular obligation to carry out a certain discussion in four months and the four months might not be a reasonably long enough period to have the discussion carried out in. At any rate, it is introducing a rather arbitrary point into a period of suspension. No matter what the length of the period of suspension would be, I do not see any reason for introducing an intermediate point with regard to something which would happen.
It would shorten time considerably inasmuch as it would enable the Dáil to take such action as it might consider fit to take and it would enable a period of a year to elapse in order to make any changes that might be desirable.
In public life and in watching public discussions—and this has particular reference as between the Dáil and the Seanad—we do not live in such water-tight compartments as that we do not see what the position is with regard to the attitude of the Seanad on a particular Bill. We are proposing what we consider is a reasonable time for the purpose of letting certain sections in the Dáil make up their minds as to what issues they are likely to be faced with as a result of any action or opinions in the Seanad. It is, perhaps, really more effective that we would depend upon watching such discussions as do take place in the Seanad for the purpose of finding out the general trend and attitude of mind in the Seanad towards Bills which they have before them. It is better that we would depend on that as a guide for the purpose of letting us see what issues we are to be faced with when a Bill comes back, rather than have the Seanad, in some particular way which to me is not quite clear, indicate that they hold this, that, or the other opinion with regard to any particular part of a Bill.
The position is quite clear under this Bill. Between the time at which a Bill leaves the Dáil and the time when it returns from the Seanad, there will be ample scope for consideration. A period of eighteen months' suspension shall be allowed in case the Seanad does not pass the Bill with such amendments as the Dáil will agree to. Certain arguments have been put forward against giving this power to the Seanad. They were brought forward here just the same as arguments were brought forward on the last Bill, on which I had not an opportunity of speaking. It has been said that the Seanad is a reactionary body. One of the principal statements was, according to Deputy Fahy, that the Seanad was Comhacht Sasana —that the might and the power of England will be kept here as long as the Seanad can be kept here. We have been told that it is largely a nominated body and under the Bill that was before us on Report Stage we are going to have the perpetuation of privilege here. We have been told that people who were the nominees of certain persons—we do not know who they are——
We know very well.
We have been told that certain people are being put into a position in the Seanad in which they can perpetuate themselves indefinitely, according to Deputy MacEntee. The position in the Seanad is that there were eighteen persons elected by the people in the last election. There are fourteen going out in 1931. They were elected by the Dáil in 1922. There are fifteen persons who were nominated by the President in 1922 going out this year and there are nine persons who were nominated by the President going out in 1934. There are four casual vacancies filled by co-option under present arrangements. Exception is taken to the Seanad, while at the same time we are told that we are not discussing here the question of a Second Chamber at all. We are told that if we had a free and united Ireland a Second Chamber would be, perhaps, a good thing, but that because we are now labouring under certain difficulties nationally here, that we should do without those institutions that are good and proper things in order to carry out our ordinary work. The objection that is taken here against the Seanad being given those powers is that they are a reactionary body. Deputy Fahy has found out that some of them have riches and possessions. There is a further objection against giving people who have riches and possessions power to act as members of the Second Chamber for the normal and general purposes that a Second Chamber carries out.
As I said before on this particular Bill, the Deputies on the far side have a constitutional complex of some kind or another. They cannot understand at all why we should take an interest in what type the Seanad should be, how it should be elected and what kind of powers it should have to make it an effective body for the purpose for which it as a Seanad should exist. If the Deputies cannot see anything in our intention with regard to the Seanad than an attempt to build up institutions here that will be an obstruction to them, then nothing we can say will cure them of these delusions at the present moment and we can only get them to live out of them.
took the Chair.
You have not given us much reason for the proposals all the same.
I think we on this side of the House should welcome this Bill. It is going to be extremely useful for those who desire to see the abolition of the Seanad. I do not think, even if the vitality of the country sank a great deal lower than at present, it would ever sink so low as that when the position that is contemplated by this Bill is explained to the people, they will agree to accept it. I think it is going to make the Seanad so unpopular a body that the very oldest of us will see its death and burial. If it were explained to the people of a certain town where one of the sitting Senators has during the past fortnight failed to get twenty-five votes in an election for the urban council of which he was an outgoing member—if it were explained that notwithstanding that vote of no confidence in him, the same man and a whole lot more of the same sort of men were to have the power to hold up urgent legislation passed by the Dáil and demanded by the people, for a period of twenty months, I do not think that town would be too patient in its attitude either to the Seanad or the Government that is giving the Seanad such power as that.
About an hour ago I heard a gentleman who is regarded, and perhaps rightly regarded, as one of the best minds in the Seanad discussing this matter and talking about the Referendum that it was proposed to abolish and the compensation that was to be given. He ridiculed the Referendum as being a thing of no use, and said it would never be used by the Seanad; that it was a worthless instrument. He used a whole lot of strong adjectives towards it; he said it was an absolutely worthless instrument. That was how he described it. Yet, because that worthless instrument is being taken out of their hands, the power of holding up legislation for a period of twenty months is being given to the Seanad; that is double the power they already had. I think it is worth while to quote the President's words on the subject: "That right will now be taken away from the Seanad if that Bill becomes law"—that is, the power of the Referendum. "The compensation which is offered in respect of that particular right which is being delivered up is that they get eighteen months, or at most twenty months, as against nine." Again, he said later on: "They are giving up a considerable amount, and some consideration must be reticula stored for the consideration that is being surrendered." Yet even an hour ago a gentleman who is always regarded as one of the leaders, if not the leader, of the Party for whom the Seanad was really built up, that is to say, for whose safeguarding the Seanad was really intended, described, in my hearing, the original provision for which this great compensation is being given as being an absolutely useless thing for the Seanad. That is rather a strange matter. It shows that the President is at least generous to one of the Houses that forms the Oireachtas. He has not shown the same generosity to this House. But no one can doubt, in face of these two statements, that his generosity to the other House is unbounded. The Minister for Local Government has just denied that there is any idea behind this new proposal of limiting the power of any Government that may be formed at any time from this side of the House. He said that that was not the idea behind the Bill. Then what is the idea behind the Bill? When another stage was being discussed I ventured to speculate as to what would be the dangers in the way of very rapid or radical legislation to be anticipated in this country in the future. Are there signs at the moment that there is a Communistic movement, for instance, in the country, or is anarchy developing very rapidly in this country?
Is there any country in the world where the bulk of the people are more conservative than in this country? Is there a sign that within our generation there will be any fierce desire to rush legislation that will interfere with the interests even of the very privileged class for whom the Seanad exists? I cannot see any sign and no attempt has been made by any Minister to show that there are such signs or that there is need for this check on legislation approved by the Dáil. So far from that, I think it may be expected that if a Second House were needed it would be a House that would spur this House towards more radical legislation than it is at present inclined for. The bulk of the House represent as conservative a people as probably there is in the world, and, naturally, they share the sentiments of those people. That we should invent a House of Lords at this hour of the day, that we should confirm a House that has already more than enough power, that we should double its powers to interfere with legislation by the people's assembly, is indeed a mystery, and it is not one that could easily be explained if the people ever manifested a desire for information on the point. I do not think that one would be able to offer any explanation that would be convincing to the people.
When it was being discussed previously a private Deputy on the Government Benches said that, of course, if the Dáil found that the Seanad is holding up its legislation, if it is interfering too much, it could easily go to a general election. That is a rather curious suggestion to come from the Government side. A general election is very expensive and is by no means a desirable alternative in such a matter. We were told by the Minister only the other day that the people were tired of elections, that they were tired of all these constitutional squabbles, and that they would be glad to see an end to them. Yet, a leading Deputy on the other side suggests that one way out might be to hold a general election if a Bill is held up unduly long. It is evident that there is no use in arguing on this Bill. No case has been made for it. It has been put forward for reasons that have not been explained to the House, and, while one cannot hope that it will not pass at least we may hope that in its passing it will cause such a reaction as will quickly bring about a change that will upset not merely this legislation, but other legislation which is no less evil in its tendency.
This, along with the other Bills that have been rushed here, seems to be panicky legislation and seems to be actuated by spite and by an endeavour to gain temporary political advantage. The Minister for Local Government spoke about the Dáil being arbitrary towards the Seanad and urged that they should get this double power. If the Seanad should be anything it should be the creature of the Dáil, auxiliary to the Dáil, something that would be helpful, something in the nature of an Economic Council, something that would not hold a sword over the head of the Dáil for an unnecessarily long period. If they want to hold up legislation which is very necessary from the national point of view, they can do so, and they are the very gentlemen who will do it. The Minister explained the composition of the Seanad and tried to put a gloss upon it. These gentlemen do not change their spots any more than the leopard. Every informer and every slayer of the Irish people in Irish history are heroes to these people, and Emmet and Tone are traitors. They send their sons to England to be educated. You do not find these gentlemen in any forward Irish-Ireland movement, and you never will. They always have been, and ever will be, up against everything national, from the teaching of Irish in the schools to Gaelic games. Deputy Fahy rightly said that these gentlemen were here to see that English interests were served, and that the English domination and English ideals shall be maintained all the time. As Deputy Boland pointed out, they successfully boycotted the national demonstration of appreciation to the Bremen fliers, and you will see them displaying next November Union Jackery and in other ways insulting our national spirit.
The Deputy should confine himself to the Bill.
I would point out that as you have not been here you have not followed the trend of the argument in this debate.
It is a long way from the Bill at any rate.
That is the worst of a change. Reference has been made in this debate to the cost of the Seanad. It is a costly instrument in comparison, say, with the Second Chamber in Belfast, where they are only paid a guinea a day and their expenses when they sit. Here you have a Seanad which, to all intents and purposes, is just an arbitrary instrument for retarding progressive legislation. Though it involves too great a cost to the nation, it is proposed to give it double legislative powers under this Bill. It strikes me that this is one of the Bills which have been brought about by a political bargain for the political support of Cumann na nGaedheal by the old Unionist gang. It may achieve a certain amount of financial support for the time being, but it is one of the Bills which will open the eyes of the people to the surrender which the Executive Council have made to the gang which insults this nation at every possible opportunity.
This debate is very dull and I hope it will soon conclude. There are, however, one or two remarks which were made by the last speaker and which, in my opinion, should be answered. He conveyed the impression that the Seanad represents Trinity College. That is not the case. Trinity College is also represented in this House. He was quite right in drawing attention to the fact that Trinity College, through some oversight or, perhaps, mistaken lack of courtesy, did not show any signs of rejoicing yesterday.
I did not refer to Trinity College in particular. I referred to all the big banks and warehouses throughout the city.
There is nothing in the Bill about banks and warehouses.
So far as the present composition of the Seanad is concerned, it contains the only prominent political personages who take any interest in aviation in this country, particularly in relation to the flight of the Bremen, whereas the only interest displayed by the Party opposite has been in flights of imagination. On the Committee Stage I made an earnest appeal to members of Fianna Fáil to support the Bill. Apparently, however. I converted only Deputy Moore, who said in the beginning that he welcomed the Bill, but I am afraid he is going to vote against it. Again, I urge the few members of the Fianna Fáil Party who have shown sufficient interest in the Bill to remain in the House, to change their opinion and to vote for the Bill in the interests of their own Party. I drew attention to the fact, and it has not, so far, been contradicted, that the passage of this Bill will in no way endanger the carrying out of the economic policy of Fianna Fáil if they get a majority in this House. I pointed out that nearly all the main proposals in that policy could easily be brought within the terms of a Money Bill, whether it be simply a question of tariffs, or prohibition on imports and exports, or the grant of bonuses. All these methods by which Fianna Fáil propose to stimulate industrial activity in this country would come within the terms of what is known as the annual Finance Bill or the annual Appropriation Bill, which are declared under Article 55 of the Constitution to be Money Bills. The matter was not disputed in this House, but, unfortunately, somebody in Cork has become anxious on the question and thinks that even if the Opposition Party should introduce such legislation it would be held up for eighteen months under this Bill by the Seanad on the plea that those Bills were not Money Bills.
I think that the question is quite clearly set out in the Article of the Constitution which defines a Money Bill as a Bill "which contains only provisions dealing with all or any of the following subjects, namely, the imposition, repeal, remission, alteration, or regulation of taxation"—in other words the Finance Bill—"the appropriation receipt, custody, issue or audit of account of public money"—that would include Appropriation Bills. Within those two types of Bills—the Appropriation Bill and the Finance Bill— practically the whole of the policy of the Fianna Fáil Party, as far as economic matters are concerned, could be brought into operation. I sincerely hope however that that will not be the case. I only intervened in this matter from a purely historical point of view but I may say that the prospect of that Party ever being in a position to introduce a budget is I think outside the realms of possibility and with every week that passes, that possibility becomes more and more remote. I do not think that any Deputy in this House can expect that, in his lifetime at any rate, he will see that Party in power, but if there was ever such a possibility there is nothing in the Bill which prevents the Party from taking advantage of their position as the majority party in this House. As I have already said most people are making up their minds that such a possibility is out of the question. I think it was Thomas a Kempis who, hundreds of years ago, accurately described what is practically the unanimous opinion of the Irish people when he said that "no man securely governs who has not first learned to obey."
In considering this measure to extend the powers of the Seanad, one has to ask himself what is the reasonable cause of, or the justification for it. Knowing as we do from the debate that has taken place here, of the anxiety of the Government to consolidate a body of people in office in that Seanad, who we know quite well have nothing in common with the plain people of the country, for whom this Party speaks, we view with great anxiety the extension of powers to that Chamber. We know quite well in what direction these powers will be used. I believe the people of the country have bitter experience of the sort of assistance and consideration that they will ever receive from the Party that has been enthroned in the Seanad. Reference has been made by the Deputy who last spoke as to the impossibility or the improbability of this Party ever getting into power or being in a position to formulate a budget. I expect that he speaks on behalf of the class which he refers to and that in his case the wish is father to the thought. Whether he is a true prophet or not, we tell him and we feel that if the Government were not afraid of that change there would be less anxiety and less urgency in forcing through these Bills than they have displayed. They know perfectly well that in passing this Bill they are handing over to a Party control which will enable that Party in the Seanad to stand in the way of progress when the plain people in the country find themselves in a position to speak and act in this House. That is the sole object of this measure.
We are told that in this House we have democratic government, government derived from the people and we are told through all the inspired speeches and pronouncements from the press and platform, of the great powers and liberties which the Constitution has given to the people of this country. We are told of the sacredness of defending these rights and liberties and we have had experience of the extremes to which the Government has gone in defending them. If these things are sacred, if the people of the State are supreme, why not leave them that democratic power, even in a measure in which it exists to-day, and not deprive the people of these rights and liberties? Why this retrograde action of taking all democratic power from the people and handing back to the aristocrats, our old enemies, that power which we were told they had lost and which had been handed over to the people? If there has been any retrograde action more than another which the present Government has openly displayed anxiety to follow, if there was any measure of democracy they have endeavoured to destroy more than another, it is that which this particular game has made patent.
They have no consideration for democracy. They have flouted it at every turn, and in these Bills now they have certainly shown their hand and, as far as the plain people are concerned, they can no longer be in any doubt. It is clear that when a Party comes into power in this House, other than the present Government, they will be obstructed at every turn when they attempt to move along the way to economic or national progress. It is only as that Party consider it safe from their point of view that a Government other than the present Government will have power to proceed. Will anybody say that national and economic reform is not very pressing at present? Will the Ministers and Deputies opposite say even that the present trend of affairs can go on continuously? Will they claim that it is possible for the country to retain even its present very unenviable and precarious condition economically? Will they say that they can safely confine themselves nationally to the present status of this country and continue to govern? I am sure that they do not seriously conceive it possible for the country to go on in its present jaunty fashion driving fast to economic destruction. Bankruptcy stares us in the face, and, unless something very radical takes place quickly, I have no hesitation in saying that this country will end up very suddenly. No economic reform to deal with the present situation has been attempted by the Government, and none will be attempted, and any pressing reform that will be undertaken by any alternative Government will be obstructed by the present powers which are being handed over to this autocratic body.
These are instances of how economic reform will be retarded. We need not mention the fact that the national progress will always be retarded by the people who are receiving these additional powers from the House. I am sure that there are people here who are very glad that they have forced the Government into this action. There are people backing them because they are tied to them like lackeys and have not the courage to assert their own independence. I know they have a cringing spirit, and that it is with great reluctance they respond to the Whips and vote for these measures. They represent a class that have nothing in common with the people into whose power their liberties are being handed over. These people will have grave hesitation in going back on this issue to the people who elected them and asking for a mandate. They know that they received no mandate from the plain people for this, and for that reason they would be very much afraid to go back and ask for such authority from their constituents. If they are honest, they will assert their independence and refuse to vote away the liberties of the plain people to the ascendancy party, whose position, as far as we are concerned, has always been very well known, and we know that there is no change in it.
Deputy Esmonde dealt with the point that certain matters on the programme of the Fianna Fáil Party will not be impeded by the powers given in this Bill from coming into force because they would come under the head of Money Bills. The particular instance that I gave at another stage of this discussion was that of the Fianna Fáil Party if they were in power seeking to establish a State bank. That would not come within the terms of a Money Bill, and the establishment of that bank, if it were done within the first two years, would be delayed for two years, and might be delayed beyond the period when the necessity for which it would be set up would have worked its worst evils on the country. Then if it were taken during the last two years, if we take the average life of a Parliament at four years, it would come into force just at the time of the dissolution, and it would be another Parliament that would have the bringing into practical life of the measure created by the earlier Parliament.
Is that one of the planks on the platform of the Deputy's Party?
If Deputy Esmonde had seen our printed programme he would know that we are committed to the establishment of a central bank. There is nothing very radical in it. Most countries in Europe have already established central banks. That is one case which shows the Stone Age elements that are being introduced into the Constitution. We had a general argument in favour of another measure from Deputy Law, who argued that the English House of Lords, because it was such an absurd body, and was constituted in such a Stone Age way, worked out as a perfect institution. I suppose that his argument was that the more stupid our Constitution is, and the more stupid the basis of our Seanad and the greater the powers given to the Seanad, the more likely it is to produce good results. Of course, if one goes legislating on these lines one is at a loss to know whether one should use any intelligence in legislation at all. There is no doubt that if you are going to delay legislation for two years and set up such machinery as to hand over to a Stone Age Seanad the possibilities of holding up legislation for two years, you are going to render the real legislature, the Dáil, inefficient and of no use to the country.
It is worth emphasising again the contrast between the slowness of the Government in dealing with economic measures to save the country and the rush tactics in connection with measures like this Bill. Is the giving of these powers to the Seanad going to save the country? Is it going to decrease unemployment, raise the purchasing power of the people, lower prices, reduce emigration? Is it going to have any healthy effect on the really serious issues affecting the country? These are the terrible questions which are cutting into the life of the people. Is it going to help the farmers out of their difficulties with their debts with the banks or with their annuities, which are due? Is it going to help the finances to be collected? If not, why all this hurry? We on these benches would be the first to assist in rushing through any legislation that would help to maintain and to raise the economic vitality of the nation. Here we have rush tactics adopted to such an extent that a whole Party is called upon to vote that black is white, that this country is in danger of a state of disturbance when it is in a perfectly peaceful condition and all for the purpose of getting through what? A measure bearing on the Constitution, but which has nothing whatever to say to the economic crisis with which the country is faced. The President to-day got an indication when he paid a visit to the other House as to how feeling is going in the country and how a conservative feeling is expressing itself in certain speeches even in that other House. I hope, at this late stage, he will allow himself to be impressed by those who spoke in that other House; by those who never had association or were in sympathy with our Party, and who have been referred to by the President himself as antique furniture. At the same time, these people are sufficiently alive to the principles of Government to see the deplorable condition to which the President and his Party are bringing the country and the demoralisation they are bringing upon the deliberative Assembly. They are turning this place into something —perhaps I had better not follow up that line of argument—but the facts speak for themselves, and the facts do not add to the dignity of the House. We might as well be assisting at a prayer meeting as to hope that speech from any part of the House is going to influence the Government in the attitude they are taking up upon this Bill. The position was well indicated when the Minister for Finance said that the mistake the Fianna Fáil Party was making now was the mistake they made in adopting certain tactics on previous occasions. He said when the Republicans went into the Four Courts they made the same kind of mistake as they are making now. In other words, the implication was that as they blasted people out of the Four Courts so they were going to use parliamentary methods here which would blast us out of our position irrespective of the principles we represent and our attempt to use every parliamentary method so as to get a better mode of procedure and a better method of governing the country.
Deputy Esmonde, I think, more or less anticipated Deputy Little in trying to turn this Chamber into a place of prayer when he quoted Thomas á Kempis. The quotation I think very apt. I think it was: "No man can rightly rule who has not truly learned to obey."
"No man can securely govern."
I am glad to be corrected, because I am not too familiar with the passage. The Deputy is in a position to speak upon these matters, as it is our experience since we came here that Deputy Esmonde has learned to obey, although before we came in we learned to the contrary. We certainly have no fault to find with the Deputy since we came in.
The Deputy is arguing from the general to the particular.
I hope I will not be in the position to argue back later from the particular to the general. Deputy Esmonde argued that we would have no cause of complaint if, as he put it, in the remote possibility, we at one time became the Government. He said we could bring in practically any of our suggested reforms as Money Bills. I know Deputy Esmonde has a good knowledge of the Constitution, and he certainly did not say that in ignorance. But he must be aware that we would be up against two Articles of the Constitution if we wanted to bring in anything as Money Bills. First of all, suppose we say such a thing is a Money Bill, I think it is two-fifths of the members of the Dáil that could object to that ruling and have it referred to arbitration. It is set out in Article 35 how that arbitration is to be composed. It is to be presided over by a senior judge of the Supreme Court. We might not be able to pass that barrier, first of all. Very likely, if we did not make a good case, we would not. If it was not obviously a Money Bill we would not. Before we could come to that we would be up against a more serious Article, 37, of the Constitution. It says:
"Money shall not be appropriated by vote, resolution or law, unless the purpose of the appropriation has in the same session been recommended by a message from the representative of the Crown acting on the advice of the Executive Council."
"Acting on the advice of the Executive Council"?
So that before we could bring in any reforms we must first convince the representative of the Crown that it is a Money Bill, and, what is more, that it is a proper Money Bill for the Oireachtas to pass. Suppose, for example, and probably it would be a part of our programme, that we proposed to delete Article 37, would anybody expect that the representative of the Crown, if he has any sense at all— and I suppose he is a sensible man— would authorise that on the advice of the Executive Council and say that it was a proper Bill to bring in.
That Bill would not be a Bill to provide any money. A Bill to amend the Constitution does not appropriate any money.
If it was not a Money Bill we are held up for at least twenty months.
Does the Deputy wish to develop that point about the deletion of Article 37, because I think he has probably misinterpreted the real purpose of it.
Perhaps so. I only read it a couple of minutes before.
The real purpose of that Article is that money can only be voted by the Executive Council. If that Article were not there it would be open to any member of the House to put down a motion to vote money. The Deputy will understand what difficulty would confront any Executive Council that would have to collect the money. They are responsible for the imposition of taxation and for the collection of it. The Deputy, who has some experience of administration will understand that it would be open to any member in any assembly to propose to spend money and there must be some limit or restriction in that connection if there is not going to be national bankruptcy.
That is to say this Article is in the Constitution to prevent an ordinary member bringing in a Money Bill.
That is the real purpose of it.
In other countries where they have no King's representative they must have some method of dealing with that. If there was no King's representative here I am sure we would find some way to do it,
That would be a matter for the Deputy. He cannot get over it simply by saying we will not have that.
I do not profess to be a great statesman but I am sure that if the King's representative was to leave the country we would find no difficulty in dealing with this question of preventing ordinary members holding up the time of the House by bringing in Money Bills.
I would remind the Deputy that we are not dealing with Article 37.
I am aware of that but I would like to give the President a little advice upon the question. The President on a former occasion dealing with the constitution of the Seanad— and these are the people who are going to hold up legislation for twenty months—indicated that as a result of the bargain made between the two countries, it was undertaken by this side to give the minority representation in the Seanad for I think twenty or thirty years.
On a point of order my recollection, A Leas-Chinn Comhairle, is that you ruled me out of order when I proposed to develop that point.
I am going to a different point now. We are therefore in this position, that if, in the remote possibility that Deputy Esmonde referred to, a Bill were brought in by some other Government, because it is not likely to arise with the present Government, or that the present Government would be up against that particular section in the Seanad, you would have to get it through those people, and they have power to hold up a Bill for twenty months. That particular section of the Seanad are admittedly nominated by the Crown in this country, and again and again, outside at any rate, we have pointed out that it is a defect from the independence point of view in this country to have our Bills signed by the King and the King's representative. We have been told that it is merely a formal matter. If it be a formal matter there is no necessity for it or anything else as long as the Government has its members in the Seanad to hold up Bills for twenty months.
I should like to know if the Deputy is really serious in that statement, because it is not a fact but an absolute exaggeration. A point which, I think, was mentioned by the late President in that connection was that certain persons or interests were not represented in the Dáil. There were two or three mentioned. My recollection at the moment is Chambers of Commerce and the College of Physicians.
The Rotary Club.
I do not think the Rotary Club was mentioned. My recollection is that it was not.
Generally the antique furniture.
I do not want to delay on this particular point, but the President admits that what he stated was that a particular section in this State would get representation in the Seanad for 20 or 30 years; I would not say fair representation, but more than fair representation.
I think I said "might not."
I suppose what the President objects to is calling them representatives of the Crown.
The Deputy is absolutely at variance with the facts. The Crown was not mentioned in the proceedings from beginning to end, and my own impression is that some of those who were asked to become members of the Senate in the first instance might not have consented if they were to be regarded as Crown nominees and they were not. It is untrue in substance and in fact.
I misunderstood. I thought the nominations actually came from the British Prime Minister.
No. I might say if it is not out of order, that the list was absolutely in my own power and competence. I could have put on the Deputy and the whole of his front bench if I liked. There was nothing to prevent my doing it.
Except the front bench.
I had absolute power, but there was this limitation to my absolute power, and that was the undertaking which was given by my predecessor and which I carried out. I do not know whether I carried it out according to his views, but I did it to the best of my interpretation of what his nominations would be.
I am not finding fault with the undertaking. If everything else were right we would have no objection. I admit I am wrong. Anyway, the interests are much the same. Supposing another Government came in here and were to introduce legislation, even taking that Article there, which is one of the most innocuous Articles that deals with the Crown, if we were to take that Article 37 as an example you would very likely have that section in the Seanad to hold up that Bill for twenty months because that particular section are generally in favour of the connection we have with the Crown in this country. Twenty months is a long time. You do not know what is going to happen by that time.
Surely the Deputy does not think if his own party were elected that they would not be in for more than twenty months.
I am not speaking of my own party.
The Deputy has no fears of his own party being in for twenty months.
One does not like to be personal. Supposing a new Government whatever it may be, get over that barrier and supposing after the eighteen months the Bill is brought up again and finally goes through the Seanad you then have to go to the final barrier and have to get the signature of the King's representative. I admit that that under present circumstances is merely a formal matter, but suppose we were to come up against a question of depriving the King's representative or the King of certain powers which he holds under the Constitution, I do not know if the matter would be formal and then if the Government were to take a strong attitude on that matter they would in all probability not be joined by the Seanad. I think that on the whole we are handing powers over to the Seanad which are hardly under any conceivable circumstances going to be used for the advancement or betterment of this country, but in all probability they will be used if this country attempts to make any advance towards a more independent national status. The argument I believe which has been the most reasonable one we have heard for this Bill was that certain powers were taken from the Seanad under the Bill which has passed through this House and gone to the Seanad and this is more or less making up to them by giving them further powers than they had under this particular Article of the Constitution. I think it has been fairly well pointed out—I do not know if everyone has been convinced but it seems a rather convincing argument at any rate that by losing the Referendum the Seanad in fact lost no powers whatsoever because they were not likely, under any circumstances, to use that Referendum and because it is most likely that the Seanad would disagree with this House on a thing which was popular in the country and which the Seanad, being a conservative body, would try to hold up or prevent going through if they could at all. Therefore, by having a Referendum on the question the Seanad would almost certainly be beaten on their objection to a Bill going through. So that by losing that particular power the Seanad, as at present constituted, are not losing anything. If the Seanad was composed of more advanced people nationally, industrially or in any other way and were likely to refer certain measures to the people that would be likely to meet with popular support, you would be taking from them a real power; that is the Referendum. But in this particular case where you have a more conservative body in the Seanad than you have in the Dáil you are not taking any power from them. Therefore, there was no necessity to compensate them for a power that they were not going to use when it was not going to be to their advantage. You are giving them instead a power to hold up Bills for twenty months. It is quite evident that this power is not going to be used either to hold up Bills of the type of the Public Safety Act as we know from experience. The Bills that would be likely to be held up would be Bills giving more power, nationally or economically.
In opposing this thirteenth stepping-stone to a Republic I hope it will prove to be the unlucky one for the Government. I was very much intrigued by Deputy Esmonde when he spoke of our Party never coming into power. Speaking as one who has had his fingers on the pulse of the electorate for the last few weeks I must say that our stock is rising by leaps and bounds. In the recent elections I found that a number of people who, a few years ago, shook their heads and said they could not vote for us, either remained at home or came to vote for us. There is nothing more ridiculous than increasing the powers of the Seanad for the reason that was given. It is ridiculous to say that doing away with the Referendum was taking power away from the Seanad, because probably in a short time the Referendum would have been used to do away with the Seanad, and it would be done with the blessings of the whole people. I do not believe that one-sixteenth of the people at the present time want the Seanad. The idea of giving the Seanad power to hold up legislation passed in this Dáil for eighteen months shows very clearly that the President realises what way the country is going. I may tell him that the country is heartily sick of the manner in which this Dáil is carrying on. It is sick of seeing us for weeks and months here arguing about the Constitution which nobody wants while there is unemployment and starvation in the country. It is ridiculous to be wasting the time of an Assembly that should be doing something to help the people. If the President wants to get the whole country behind him let him place all the Articles of the Constitution here on the floor and burn them. In that way he would be doing something that would at least unite the people. Instead of taking one little Article or another let him pack the whole lot back to Georgie. In that way he would be doing something creditable. There was too much trouble in this country for the past two centuries in trying to wrest power out of the hands of these gentlemen to be now handing it back to them again. Lives were lost in trying to get it out of their hands, and it should not be given back to them now.
Again I have to make a complaint against the President in regard to this Bill, that he has not justified the proposal contained in it. What is the purpose of this delay? When the provisions for the Referendum were still contained in the Constitution there was some justification for giving a body or a section of this Dáil, or another body, power to hold up legislation passed by this House, but now that the provision for the Referendum has been practically excised from the Constitution what purpose is going to be served by permitting legislation to be held up? If the legislation is good legislation, if it is going to be profitable to the people, why not allow it to be enforced at once? If, on the other hand, it is going to be disadvantageous, if its effects and consequences are going to be evil what virtue is there in deferring that evil or suspending it for a period if at the end of that period it automatically begins to operate? Surely the President must have had some principle of public good in his mind to which he wished to give effect when he drafted this Bill. There must have been some principle of government operating. Or did he draft it in the dark and conceive it in a moment of mental aberration and simply come along and say: "I have been inspired, whether by heaven or the nether regions I do not know, and the fruits of the inspiration I put up to the Dáil and they have got to pass them whether they be for the good or for the bane of this country." What purpose, again I ask, is to be served by holding up legislation if it is good, and what benefit if it is bad if at the end of the period of suspension it comes automatically into force? If a section of this House, or if the Seanad thinks legislation is bad surely it ought then be referred immediately to the judgment of the people. If there is no machinery for so referring it then what does it matter whether it is held up or not? Would it not be better, if it is going to be ultimately evil, to let that legislation come immediately into force so that the people, experiencing the disadvantages and the ill consequences of it, should compel the Government which introduced it and which was responsible for it to repeal it.
The community as a whole are not going to derive any benefits from the proposals contained in this Bill. Who is going to derive any advantage? Can the President tell this House or answer that question—who is going to derive benefit or advantage from the proposals contained in this Bill? A certain House is going to have its powers extended. If it could hold up legislation previously for nine months, now under this Bill I think it can have power and will have power to hold it up for twenty months. Who is going to reap the advantage of that? The House which can hold up legislation is going to have its position strengthened in respect to this House. It is going to be put into a better position for bargaining and God knows, as experience in the past fortnight has shown to us, that position with respect to this Executive Council does not require to be strengthened because that particular Executive Council is under the control of that Seanad and the section of the people who are represented there in greatest strength. And the President who entered life as an Irish Nationalist, as a spokesman for the people. as a democratic representative, now when the exigencies of his political situation in this House drive him to it. he makes a bargain by which he strengthens and increases the influence of those who stood against the Irish people in the past, and under this Constitution endows that particular interest and class with a privilege which is already beginning to be denied to them in Great Britain. By what right of intellect, by what right of public service, by what right of personal merit or private character are those who compose the Seanad entitled to that special privilege? If it is given to them again I say what public advantage or benefit are the people of this Nation as a whole going to reap as a result of that transaction? I think that before this Bill goes through we are entitled to have from the President some explanation, some justification for the proposal contained in the Bill.
Deputy Esmonde, in concluding his speech, I think, said: "They cannot rightly rule who have not truly learned to obey." The President is proving to those who keep him in office, and whose votes are essential for his majority in this House, that he is entitled rightly to rule the Irish people since he has learned truly to obey them. The President is entitled to pretend to rule, to play the public pretence of ruling the Irish people because he has learned to obey those who speak for imperialism in Westmoreland Street, in Trinity College and every other citadel of the old imperialism in this country. That is his claim for office. That is his justification for this Bill, to show that he has truly learned to obey; and it is because he is willing in his obedience, because he is always amenable to their discipline, that, as was avowed today in another place, those people are tearing out of this Constitution, by their votes, the safeguards which they themselves devised for their own position, because they find that other people are turning to the use of the Irish nation the instrument that was originally forged and originally intended to prevent us from reaching the goal which we had set out to reach. Though they are doing that, though they are tearing out of the Constitution Articles 47 and 48, they are driving a bargain. They are good commercial politicians. On the pretence that they are giving something which they themselves have already realised is of no value to them, but of great value to the Irish people, on the pretence that they are surrendering these rights and safeguards embodied in Articles 47 and 48, they are securing in this Bill and under other similar Bills which the President has introduced here, further powers and privileges for themselves. They are entrenching themselves more surely here, in order to defeat what the President himself must know — because he is, after all, of the people and sprung from the people — what are after all the indefeasable aspirations of the people. Now I am anxious, if I can, to hold the President's attention, because I would like him really to give us a reasoned argument in support of this proposal——
I should have got a reasoned objection.
After all, the objections may be weak, they may be irrational, but we have no explanation to guide us. We do not know what presiding wisdom inspired the President when drafting these proposals. We do not know what were the great reasons that compelled him hurriedly, in the months that should be devoted normally to the consideration of the country's finances and the general administrative services — we do not know what inspired him to come here to us and say: "Here are nine Bills to amend the Constitution — you must pass them."
I do not think that it is any advantage to the President, any additional justification for his action, because it is ten and not nine Bills. I am perfectly willing to emphasise the fact that there are ten, and not nine. Bills thrust on the Dáil in the very months when we should be engaged on the consideration of the finances of the country on the one hand, and the administrative expenditure on the other hand, and, as my colleague reminds us, there are the claims of the farmers and the business community, to make hay while there is any sun shining in Ireland, to be considered. We have these things thrown at us, and we have to stay up day and night to consider them. We never sat up a night to consider the problem of unemployment, and we never sat up a night to consider how the Minister for Finance might lighten the burden of taxation on the people instead of having to impose upon them an extra million.
The Deputy has made up the accounts wrongly. You cannot have it both ways, you know.
If you collect from a man inside twelve months what normally you would not collect inside fifteen months——
What has that to do with the Bill?
Nothing at all.
Hear! hear! — nothing at all.
I am glad that Deputy Byrne has reinforced the Leas-Cheann Comhairle's opinion. I bow to Deputy Byrne's ruling. It has something to do with the Bill.
Nothing at all.
Am I to understand then that the Deputy thinks in a watertight compartment — that his thought has no cohesion and that one section of his brain has no connection with the other section?
He has only one section.
This has no relation to common sense.
We will leave it at that. We would like to know the reasons why, when this country has very grave financial difficulties to overcome, when the people are hard put to make ends meet, the Government instead of devoting the time of this House to the consideration of those problems which more immediately affect the daily lives of the people, should have seen fit to have thrust on the Dáil those Bills and have compelled Deputies by every form of coercion that an unintelligent majority could devise and enforce, to consider these legislative proposals. That is our great objection to them. They have come to us fresh from the brain of President Cosgrave, but without one single word of explanation to expound or justify them. In view of that we are entitled before this Bill goes through — I say goes through very advisedly, because I know that the majority in the House will be whipped as usual into the division lobbies in support of it — we are entitled to have some explanation and justification for it.
took the Chair.
- William P. Aird.
- Ernest Henry Alton.
- James Walter Beckett.
- George Cecil Bennett.
- Ernest Blythe.
- Séamus A. Bourke.
- Alfred Byrne.
- John Joseph Byrne.
- John James Cole.
- Mrs. Margt. Collins-O'Driscoll.
- Martin Conlon.
- Michael P. Connolly.
- Bryan Ricco Cooper.
- William T. Cosgrave.
- James Crowley.
- John Daly.
- Michael Davis.
- Eugene Doherty.
- James N. Dolan.
- Peadar Seán Doyle.
- James Dwyer.
- Barry M. Egan.
- Osmond Thos. Grattan Esmonde.
- James Fitzgerald-Kenney.
- Denis J. Gorey.
- Alexander Haslett.
- John J. Hassett.
- Gearoid O'Sullivan.
- John Marcus O'Sullivan.
- Patrick Reynolds.
- Vincent Rice.
- Martin Roddy.
- Patrick W. Shaw.
- Timothy Sheehy (West Cork).
- Michael R. Heffernan.
- Michael Joseph Hennessy.
- Thomas Hennessy.
- John Hennigan.
- Mark Henry.
- Patrick Hogan (Galway).
- Richard Holohan.
- Michael Jordan.
- Patrick Michael Kelly.
- Myles Keogh.
- Hugh Alexander Law.
- Patrick Leonard.
- Finian Lynch.
- Arthur Patrick Mathews.
- Michael Og McFadden.
- Joseph W. Mongan.
- Richard Mulcahy.
- James E. Murphy.
- Joseph Xavier Murphy.
- James Sproule Myles.
- Martin Michael Nally.
- John Thomas Nolan.
- Bartholomew O'Connor.
- Timothy Joseph O'Donovan.
- Daniel O'Leary.
- Dermot Gun O'Mahony.
- John J. O'Reilly.
- William Edward Thrift.
- Michael Tierney.
- Daniel Vaughan.
- John White.
- Vincent Joseph White.
- George Wolfe.
- Jasper Travers Wolfe.
- Denis Allen.
- Richard Anthony.
- Neal Blaney.
- Gerald Boland.
- Patrick Boland.
- Seán Brady.
- Robert Briscoe.
- Daniel Buckley.
- Frank Carty.
- Archie J. Cassidy.
- Patrick Clancy.
- Michael Clery.
- James Colbert.
- Hugh Colohan.
- Eamon Cooney.
- Dan Corkery.
- Richard Corish.
- Martin John Corry.
- Tadhg Crowley.
- William Davin.
- Thomas Derrig.
- Eamon de Valera.
- Frank Fahy.
- Hugo Flinn.
- Patrick J. Gorry.
- John Goulding.
- Seán Hayes.
- Patrick Hogan (Clare).
- Samuel Holt.
- Stephen Jordan.
- Michael Joseph Kennedy.
- James Joseph Killane.
- Mark Killilea.
- Michael Kilroy.
- Seán F. Lemass.
- Patrick John Little.
- Ben Maguire.
- Thomas McEllistrim.
- Seán MacEntee.
- Séamus Moore.
- Daniel Morrissey.
- Timothy Joseph Murphy.
- Thomas J. O'Connell.
- Patrick Joseph O'Dowd.
- John F. O'Hanlon.
- William O'Leary.
- Matthew O'Reilly.
- Thomas O'Reilly.
- James Ryan.
- Martin Sexton.
- Timothy Sheehy (Tipperary).
- Patrick Smith.
- Richard Walsh.
- Francis C. Ward.