I move the Second Reading of the Bill. The object of the Bill as set out in the long Title is:—

An Act to make provision for securing that future members of the legal profession shall possess a competent knowledge of the Irish language.

The Bill is not intended to apply to those who are at present law students or who are over 16 years of age. It is introduced really to carry out the national policy initiated in the first Dáil and carried on by succeeding Dála. It is based to some extent on the report of the Gaeltacht Commission and the White Paper issued by the Government in connection with that Commission. Article 4 of the Constitution says:—

The national language of the Irish Free State (Saorstát Eireann) is the Irish language but the English language shall be equally recognised as the official language.

The position with regard to the Courts of Justice seems to be the reverse of that—that English is the language used, whereas Irish is practically not tolerated.

The chief reason for the introduction of the Bill is that the legal profession as a whole has not shown very much inclination to give ordinary justice to the status of the Irish language in the courts. Paragraph 80 of the Gaeltacht Commission Report recommended that the Executive Council should approach the governing bodies of the legal, medical, engineering and other professions with a view to securing that after a reasonable period citizens of the Saorstát would not be admitted to membership of those professions in the Saorstát without an adequate knowledge of Irish. The medical and engineering professions are in a different category to the legal profession, as solicitors and barristers practising in the courts enjoy certain privileges by being allowed to practice in these courts, so that they are practically officers of the courts. I consider that it is the duty of this House to see that the officers of these courts will fall in with the national policy of the country and secure that in the shortest period possible the Irish language will occupy its proper position.

It is probable that many Deputies, as well as many people outside, do not realise what the position is with regard to the Irish-speaking districts; the number of people in these districts who speak Irish only, and the peculiar position they are in because they cannot obtain the services of solicitors and counsel who will be able to understand them when giving instructions. I quote from the Gaeltacht Commission Report, and shall just give one item of the numbers of people in each country who are Irish speaking. In Donegal there are 52,647; County Mayo, 54,939; Galway, 75,574; Clare, 18,824; Kerry, 43,472; Cork, 39,271; Waterford, 14,522, and some thousands in the counties of Sligo, Roscommon, Limerick, Tipperary and Dublin, and throughout the rest of the country. I do not know whether any ordinary Deputy can realise what it means for people in those areas who have not a knowledge of English when they cannot get either solicitor or counsel able to understand them. I know that District Justices with a knowledge of Irish, as far as they could be obtained, having regard to the limitations of the legal profession with regard to Irish, have been appointed in those areas and, therefore, people there have the advantage that those justices are able to understand them in the Irish language. But owing to the fact that no arrangement has been made by the legal profession to secure that the Irish language should be one of the subjects for examination, even as an optional subject, so far as solicitors are concerned, there is no chance of their being ever able to secure the services to which they are entitled. I think it should be provided, by statute if necessary, that those people should have legal assistance in cases that they bring before the law courts. That necessity will be all the better realised if we take the illustration of an English-speaking district, where the people did not know any Irish, and consider what would happen if no solicitor could be engaged except an Irish-speaking solicitor in that English-speaking district who would conduct the case on behalf of people in a language which they did not understand. It is easy to see how unsatisfactory that would be.

Considering the thousands of people on the Western seaboard who speak Irish only, I think it is the duty of this Assembly to see that those people, who pay their quota of taxation, should be given the same facilities as are provided by the State for people in other parts of the country. One would imagine that they should receive even greater consideration than the people in the English-speaking districts, from the view point of seeing that they get ordinary justice. From the point of view of national policy, it is essential that the legal profession should be brought into line with every other institution in the State.

Now, with regard to this Bill, Section 1 merely deals with definition. "The expression ‘the Chief Justice' means the Chief Justice of Saorstát Eireann, and the expression ‘the Incorporated Law Society' means the Incorporated Law Society of Ireland acting under their present or any future charters." I am not a legal man and do not understand very much about Law. I am not concerned with the technical and legal sides of this question and I am not concerned with the legal profession as such, from the technical or legal point of view. I am only concerned to see that people get the service to which they are entitled and that the legal profession as a whole shall render that service. But it is well that we who have to deal with this subject in this House should first have an idea of what the Incorporated Law Society is. They have certain powers under the Solicitors (Ireland) Act, 1898, and as Section 8 of that Act is referred to later on in the Bill. I think it well to read that section for the benefit of members who have not heard it before:—

"The Incorporated Law Society are hereby authorised and required to hold at least three times in the year"—I may mention that that phrase "three times in the year" has been amended by an Act of 1923 to "twice in the year"—"commencing with the 1st day of January, 1899, and in every succeeding year a preliminary examination, an intermediate examination and a final examination; and the Society shall, subject to the provisions of this Act, have the entire management and control of all such examinations and shall have power to make regulations with respect to all or any of the following matters (that is to say), (a) With respect to admission to apprenticeship, the attendance of apprentices at lectures, and other matters connected therewith; and (b) with respect to the subjects for, and the mode of conducting the examination of candidates; and (c) with respect to the times and places of examination, and the notices of examinations."

Therefore, it will be seen that the Incorporated Law Society has full control of the solicitors profession and, therefore, it is that a particular section of this Bill deals with that body.

Section 2 provides: "This Act shall not apply to any person who is over the age of sixteen years on the first day of January, 1928." I know that some Deputies will not be satisfied with that.

I hope that Deputies will consider that it should be made applicable to those over the age of sixteen. After all, any person living in this country for a number of years, unless he was living in the clouds, could clearly understand the tendency of the country was to a greater Irishising as a whole. That was really the national policy. That being so, for some time back any person going in for a particular line of business or profession could well understand that the Irish language was an essential subject. As a matter of fact, the educational facilities that have been provided by the State for the people justify that. At the same time it might possibly be that there would be a hardship on some people. I know that there are Deputies who consider that the terms of that section are too drastic and that the age should be made even lower. However, it is based really on the Commission's report, and I am sure that that report has received every consideration from the Government. The Government issued a White Paper, and I would like to quote a paragraph from it which says: "In view of the fact that the use of Irish in the courts is handicapped because few solicitors or barristers are capable of doing their work in Irish, the Government is of opinion that no person who is under sixteen years of age at the date of the issue of this paper should hereafter be admitted as a solicitor or barrister without a competent knowledge of Irish." Consequently, we put in the age of sixteen years as being in our opinion most suitable and the age that would really satisfy most of the people concerned.

Section 3 says:

No person shall be admitted to the degree of barrister-at-law unless before he is so admitted he satisfies the Chief Justice, by such evidence as the Chief Justice shall prescribe, that he possesses a competent knowledge of the Irish language.

I must say I do not understand quite clearly what the position of barristers is and how they are admitted to the Bar. If any Deputies require knowledge on that subject I am sure there are members of the House who will be able to enlighten them. I am not concerned with that particular item; my concern is to see that the business of the courts will fall into line with the national policy and that those engaged in the courts will get a knowledge of the Irish language. I understand the Benchers of King's Inns—I do not exactly know the term, and perhaps it is the Honourable Society at the King's Inns—consist of forty-six members, including Judges of the High Court and the Supreme Court and certain leading members of the Bar. So far as I understand, that body has made Irish an optional subject for examinations. Some members of it appear to realise that there is such a thing as the Irish language. There may be some criticism of the wording of Section 3, but that can be dealt with at a later stage. If we get this Bill through it will be a step in the right direction. I think we will succeed as regards the

Benchers of King's Inns in having a satisfactory test so far as the Irish language is concerned.

Section 4 says:

(1) The subjects prescribed by regulations made by the Incorporated Law Society under Section 8 of the Solicitors (Ireland) Act, 1898, as amended by the Solicitors (Ireland) Act, 1898 (Amendment) Act, 1923 (No. 10 of 1923), for every examination held by them under the said Section 8 as so amended shall include the Irish language as a compulsory subject, and the Incorporated Law Society may by such regulations prescribe the mode of conducting every such examination in the subject of the Irish language.

(2) Every person who becomes a candidate at any examination held by the Incorporated Law Society under Section 8 of the Solicitors (Ireland) Act. 1898, as amended as aforesaid shall be required to pass in the subject of the Irish language as prescribed by regulations made by the said society under the said Section 8 as so amended and as extended by this section and in the manner so prescribed, and no such person shall, unless he so passes in such subject, be qualified to receive the certificate appropriate to such examination given by the said society to candidates who have been successful thereat.

The reason it is necessary to introduce this Bill at all is because of the fact that no effort was made to bring in the Irish language. I understand representations have been made to the Incorporated Law Society with a view to getting them to make Irish a subject in their examinations. Nothing so far has been done, and I think it is now time that arrangements should be made in order to secure that all solicitors in future will understand Irish. If this Bill were passed five years ago we would be in a different position with regard to the courts to-day. We hope in four or five years we will be in a better position than now as a result of the operations of the Bill.

Does the Deputy include doctors in that?

I have already referred to doctors, but perhaps the Deputy was not present at the time. I am not concerned with doctors now. They and members of other professions are private individuals. I submit that the legal profession is in an entirely different category. The members of it are given business in the courts set up by the State, and I submit that they are practically officers of the courts. Consequently, we take the liberty of seeing that they will understand the language of the country, the official language of the State.

I now come to Section 5.

Ní gá é leigheamh.

Tá go maith. At the same time, I might mention that I have heard Bills being explained here in which other Acts were mentioned, and I did not know what they meant. They might have meant very little, but I think it is desirable that where an Act is mentioned the section should be quoted so that Deputies would understand. There are many members of the House connected with the legal profession, but for the benefit of the House generally I think it would be well to quote Section 31 of the Solicitors (Ireland) Act, 1898, which is referred to in Section 5:—"A person who has obtained from the Incorporated Law Society a certificate of having passed a final examination may apply to the Lord Chancellor"—of course, it would be the Chief Justice now—"to be admitted as a solicitor, and thereupon the Lord Chancellor, unless cause to the contrary is shown to his satisfaction, shall, by writing under his hand, admit such person to be a solicitor in such manner and form as he may direct." The section is made quite clear.

I have explained that the Bill became necessary owing to the attitude adopted by the legal profession, and I think I have sufficiently explained the subject-matter of the Bill. I now submit it for the approval of the House. This is not, of course, a party or sectional measure. I expect it will meet with the approval of all parties. It is not in any way drastic. I think Deputies will recognise it is a very reasonable measure, and it is intended to secure the results we have in view without inflicting any great hardship on anybody. I do not believe anyone will consider it is a hardship owing to the facilities offered in recent times for persons obtaining a knowledge of the Irish language. I appeal to Deputies to give the Bill their cordial support, and I hope it will be put through the House without very much trouble. Certain Deputies have stated here that they regret very much they cannot speak the Irish language, and that they were not given facilities to learn it when they were young. People generally say that they are most sympathetic to the Irish language, and are very sorry they cannot speak it. Deputies will realise there is no hardship being inflicted on anybody in this Bill. I believe that the boys and girls who are now studying Irish will, when they come to more mature age, thank the members of the Dáil for having made such arrangements that they will be able to obtain a competent knowledge of the language which the Deputies themselves regret they are unable to speak.

Anois, ba mhaith liom labhairt leis na daoine ag a bhfuil an Ghaedhilg. Iarrfainn orra cuidú linn chun an Bille seo do chur tríd an Dáil agus é do chur i bhfeidhm.


Is maith liom cuideath leis an bhille seo atá anois ar a dara léigheadh roimh an Dáil.

Ní shaoilim go bhfuil feidhm ar bith le h-oráid fhada le n-a mholadh.

Bille gairid atá ann a chuireas d'fhiachaidh orainn ceart agus cothrom na féinne a thabhairt don Ghaedhlic i gcúirteanna dlighe na tíre. I ndiaidh an ghluaíseacht náisiúnta a bhí againn i nEirinn le fiche bliain no níos mó badh doiligh liom creidbhél go mbeadh teachta ar bith chomh dall agus go rachadh sé i n-éadan an bhille seo anois. Nach leagann artiogal a ceathair den bhunreacht síos dúinn gurb í an Ghaedhlic teanga náisiúnta na tíre?

Agus mar sin do, sé ár ndualgas feidhm a bhaint as an teanga sin agus í a chleachta chomh minic is thig linn i ngnaithe poiblidhe na tíre.

Sin an rún agus an intinn a bhí ag na laochraí móra fuair bás leis an stát so chur ar bun agus ba chóir go leanfadh sinne lorg na laochra sin.

Muna ndéanfam nílimíd ar an chasan ceart. San am i láthair níl an Ghaedhlic ar chlár scrúduithe Chumann na nDligheadóirí san tír seo. Caithfear an neamairt sin a léigheas agus sin an fáth a bhfuil an Bille seo roimh an Dáil.

The declared policy of the Saorstát is to restore Irish as the national living language of the country. The time has come to have the implications of that policy in this country determined by a policy of carrying it to its logical conclusion. Otherwise we would be only stultifying ourselves by giving the attention that we are giving to the Irish in the schools. The country has already made up its mind that the money spent in teaching Irish in the schools is well-spent money, and that it is impossible to build up in this country a self-reliant, self-respecting and vigorous nation unless behind the bulwark of the national language. Once you admit that then it follows that it is our duty to the Irish language to have it used in every department of our national life. Now, we are already doing this in our Civil Service and in the Local Government services and it would be illogical to insist on a knowledge of Irish in these departments and not to insist on having Irish in the courts. There are few departments of public life that so much enter into the life of the community and concern the life of the community as the Courts of Justice. If you want proof of this you have only to see how much space the Press gives to the reports of the courts. It would be absurd to insist on having the Irish language in every other department of public life if the people have to fall back on English every time they enter a law court. It is a commonplace to say that you cannot have Irish in the courts unless solicitors and barristers know how to speak Irish. No hardship is imposed by this Bill because the young people coming out of every school in Ireland now have learned Irish. Besides, the standard of legal education will be gradually raised by insisting on the students having a competent knowledge of the national language.

I am sure that Deputy Flinn will be happy to hear that on this occasion those dumb-driven cattle to whom he so often refers as being driven by the Government Whips will not be driven on this occasion and when he comes to vote on this question he is bound to find himself in the same lobby with some of these dumb-driven cattle. Deputy Conlon in his very modest and disarming speech summed up the grounds of my objection to this Bill. I object to this Bill. I do not want to enter into a general discussion of the question of Irish and its place in the national life. I accept the policy of the Government on the Irish language. The question is how are we going to carry it out? I am not hostile to the Irish language. I would have pleased a great many of my supporters in the past if I had been hostile to the Irish language. Twenty years ago I did my best to learn the Irish language, and it is only the other day that I found my old copy of O'Growney. The language was not then as popular as it is now.

Deputy Conlon told us that he knew very little about the law. That is rather a peculiar qualification for bringing in a Bill dealing with the legal profession. That is one ground of my objection. There is another objection. Deputy Conlon referred to the report of the Gaeltacht Commission. The Gaeltacht Commission in their report recommended the Government to approach the governing bodies of the legal profession. Deputy Conlon is not the Government, and the governing bodies of the legal profession have not been approached by the Government so far as I know.

This is a very much broader question.

Now, if there had been any discussion with the governing bodies of the legal profession, at least with the Bar, one fact would have arisen very early in the debate, and that is the fact that there are reciprocal arrangements between the Irish Inns of Court and the Inns of Court in London. Members of either Bar, by complying with certain formalities laid down by the Benchers of that Bar, can be admitted to the other Bar. No examination is necessary. This, as I say, is a reciprocal arrangement. It has been used very much more by members of the Irish Bar who have taken up a practice in England than by members of the English Bar who have come to this country. The whole arrangement is based on a mutual recognition of the examination, and if we suddenly impose an additional examination it will mean, almost unquestionably, that the English Bar will have an excuse for breaking off an arrangement which is probably resented by some of their own practitioners. Deputies who were in the fourth Dáil will remember the great pains and attention we had to give to the Bill creating the medical register. The question is a similar one in this case. It cannot be solved by a Private Deputy's Bill. It could have been solved by the Government in consultation with those who control the profession. I know that this is not an absolutely fatal point to the Bill. I will admit that at once. It could be dealt with by an amendment on the Committee Stage. But it is a point which should be taken into consideration, and I use it as an illustration of my objection to Deputy Conlon bringing forward the Bill in this fashion. I am very anxious to find out his reasons. I gather that one of the reasons given for introducing this Bill was that there are litigants in the Gaeltacht who find it very difficult to get barristers and solicitors to appear for them in court and to whom they can make their instructions plain.

Deputy Conlon reminds me of the celebrated fable of Mrs. Partington, who took a mop to keep out the Atlantic, except that Deputy Conlon is Mrs. Partington inverted. To remedy a comparatively small evil he proposes to upset the whole of two large professions. Of course it is possible to get Gaelic-speaking solicitors and barristers —there is one of the latter sitting behind me—and as demand creates supply there will undoubtedly be barristers and solicitors practising in the Gaeltacht in increasing numbers who can understand their clients when they speak in Irish. I will go so far as to say that in twenty years' time a man will be very unwise to brief counsel or instruct a solicitor to appear in court for him who has no knowledge of Irish at all, or who at least would be unable to follow the arguments of the opposing barrister or solicitor if they used Irish. I think that that is bound to come within twenty years' time. But there are solicitors who never go into courts at all, whose work is of the family type—office work—the preparation of trusts, administration of deeds and settlements, the making of wills and the drawing up of marriage settlements. I should say that the majority of Dublin solicitors do not plead in court, though they may go into court to see how counsel instructed by them are carrying on cases. A considerable number of these firms are what are called family concerns, in which the son succeeds the father.

Take the position of a solicitor who intends to have his son join him, first as a partner and then as his successor. The son may now be sixteen years of age, but he was not sixteen on the 1st January. He may be at a school where Irish is not taught. There is one such school, a school which has sent very many distinguished men to the Bar and to the solicitors' profession. It is situated, just across the Border, in Northern Ireland. Deputy Haslett will know it. They may teach Irish in that school; I do not think they do, and they are certainly not obliged to do so. It would be a great hardship if such a boy would have to break his school career and have to go to another school where he would be two years older than the other new boys, and where he would have to acquaint himself with a different system of instruction and adjust himself to an entirely new atmosphere. I do not say that there are very many such cases, but that would be a hardship.

Certainly this Bill is liable to create hardships. As I have said, Deputy Conlon has disarmed me by confessing that he does not know very much about law. If this Bill gets its Second Reading, as it probably will, it will, under Standing Order 79, go to a Joint, Special or Select Committee. It is conceivable that there might be nobody on that committee who is a member of the legal profession or who has any knowledge of law. Then the Bill would come back to the Dáil practically in its final form, without having been fully considered from the legal point of view at all. I hope that when the Selection Committee appoint a committee to deal with this Bill it will take that point into consideration and will put on Deputy Little or Deputy Ruttledge, or at any rate somebody who has some knowledge of the procedure of the profession. It seems to me that we might very easily do harm by proceeding too hurriedly in this matter. It is a matter that will be dealt with sooner or later, but I believe that it can be dealt with by evolution, not by revolution, not by suddenly imposing from outside a special order on two professions that are proud of their traditions and proud of their membership. It will be done gradually, by an increasing demand for counsel and solicitors who can speak Irish. My own opinion is that the sole qualification for entering the two professions should be fitness, and that is the only standard that you should take into account.

I hardly think that I will be creating very great surprise by opposing this Bill. Undoubtedly in his exceedingly moderate statement Deputy Conlon has somewhat disarmed opposition. From what I could gather, he bases the necessity for this Bill upon two principal grounds—the first being the furtherance of what he described as the national policy, and the second the necessity which he seems to think there exists in certain districts for legal practitioners having a knowledge of Irish.

In regard to the first, I am merely following my own consistent attitude by opposing this Bill. I have opposed all forms of compulsion in every branch of life in this country with regard to the teaching and the knowledge of Irish. I have stated over and over again that, in my view, compulsion is not the proper means to secure that this shall be a more Irish-speaking country than it is to-day. I am not going to enter into that now. But to come to the particular reason for the introduction of this measure, namely, the necessity for having legal practitioners with a competent knowledge of Irish in certain districts, I assure Deputy Conlon that there is no profession in the world, from my knowledge of it, where, if there is a demand for something, there shall not be a supply forthcoming than in the legal profession. If there is a demand for Irish-speaking lawyers there will be Irish-speaking lawyers. When it is a question of compulsion let us consider whether, if Section 4 passes, and a boy about to engage upon his legal studies passes an examination in Irish, does Deputy Conlon seriously mean us to think that that young gentleman, when he has just been called to the Bar, or admitted as a solicitor, will have a sufficiently fluent knowledge of Irish to be able to converse in that language with his clients or to conduct his case in that tongue? I do not think so for a moment. He would have to go much further; he would have to take up Irish seriously, and he would have to make himself conversant with it to a much greater extent than by merely passing a qualifying examination. If not, what is the position? Is that examination to be so stiff and so severe that nobody is to be allowed to pass unless he is able to converse freely in the Irish language? I hardly think that that is the proposal put forward in the Bill.

With regard to the differentiation that has been sought to be made between members of the legal profession and others in this respect, I very much venture to differ with Deputy Conlon in that regard. He said that lawyers were more or less officials of the courts, and he went so far as to say, in winding up his speech, that this principle of compulsion should be applied to the legal profession in that the legal profession should be brought into line with every other institution in the State. Now, I suggest that he is beginning at the wrong end. Why not start with the first institution of the State? Why should we be allowed to be elected to the Dáil without a knowledge of Irish? Why should we not have to pass an examination in Irish? Why should that compulsion be applied to people who are supposed to be semi-officials of the courts, and not applied to those who are the spokesmen and the representatives of the nation in the national assembly? I think that Deputy Conlon has not gone half far enough in this Bill. I think he should have introduced a Bill proposing that in every walk of life Irish should be compulsory, and especially that it should be compulsory in the Dáil. He said he did not propose to make the principle applicable to engineers or doctors, and I presume not to architects either, or even to family grocers in the country. All these people come into far more direct contact with the people than do barristers.

Or rate collectors.

Rate collectors, as my friend says, and auctioneers who, every day of their lives, as well as doctors and others, come into direct contact with the people. If it is necessary to have Irish compulsory to benefit the litigants in Irish-speaking districts, surely it is far more necessary to have Irish compulsory for medical practitioners, because I think it is certainly more important that medical practitioners should know what their patients are saying than even that counsel should know what clients are saying to them. Therefore, I think, not only on principle, but in detail, this Bill should not be allowed to pass. If I might say so, it is an inconsistent measure. It was introduced for one specific object, dealing with one particular profession, to carry out a general policy. I believe if that is the settled policy of the mover of this Bill, if he believes that Irish should be made compulsory in every walk of life, why not come forward with a thoroughly business-like, all-round comprehensive, consistent measure, and not introduce a mere miserable little nibbling proposal at one particular profession?

In regard to the profession itself, personally I am not aware that either of the governing bodies, the Bar Council on the one hand, or the Incorporated Law Society on the other hand, have been consulted in this matter, and I think in that regard that Deputy Conlon has been found wanting. If he had consulted the Bar Council or the Honorable Society of Benchers, he would have discovered that Irish is now an optional subject. It is not a compulsory one, but any student who desires to be called to the Bar or admitted to the solicitors' profession, may take Irish as one of his subjects. Deputies can take it from me that if young gentlemen going forward to practise at law in this country know, as Deputy Conlon seems to know, that there is a demand for Irish-speaking lawyers, they will take Irish as one of their optional subjects, and there will not be any necessity for compulsion at all. I was not altogether pleased with what the Deputy said about the attitude of the legal profession. I really think that was hardly fair. I do not think the legal profession as a whole has been hostile to the Irish language.

I meant the governing bodies.

I do not think even the governing bodies are, and in legal parlance I would be inclined to call for proofs of that statement. Though they may not be in favour of compulsion, I think at the same time they have never displayed any undue hostility to the language itself. There is another aspect too; if there are so few Irish speaking lawyers, whether solicitors or barristers, and if there is such a demand for them, I think Deputy Conlon is behaving very unfairly towards those men, because there must be a premium upon their services, and they must be sought after everywhere. If they are so much in demand, and if there are so few of them available, surely to goodness they must be having the time of their lives. I would suggest that for those the proposals in this Bill certanly create a hardship. The Deputy also says that there is no hardship in his compulsory proposals. I am not going to enter into that question now, because my attitude is, or should be, pretty well known on the question of compulsion. I think there might not be much hardship. I do not ground my opposition at all on the question of hardship. I ground it on the question of compulsion entirely, in the light of my view that compulsion will not only not render Irish more the language of the country, but it has actually, and is at the present time, making Irish and the study of it more obnoxious to the people. Deputy Conlon certainly has introduced the measure in an exceedingly able, clear, and moderate way, and I have no objection to any member introducing a Private Bill in this House. I welcome every attempt on the part of a Deputy to do what he considers right in the nature of Private Members' legislation, but I think this Bill, certainly in view of the speech we have listened to from the mover, and also in view of the provisions it contains, is inconsistent and unnecessary, and a Bill that would not meet with the approval of the general public.


Táim ar aon intinn leis na Teachtaí a thug isteach an Bille seo. Is dó liom go mba mhaith an rud é an dlí do chur ar na dlíodóirí teanga na tíre do chuir i bhfeidhm i gcúrsaí dlí. Is dó liom go bhfuil gach Teachta ar an dtaobh so de'n Tigh ar an intinn céanna liom. Tá a lán daoine san tír seo, buidheachas le Dia, agus tá sé socruithe acu teanga na tíre do chur i bhfeidhm i ngach treo ar fúd na tíre. Is cuma linn an bhfuil an Teachta Réamonn ná an Teachta Cúipéir sásta leis sin, nó ná fuil. Tá sé socruithe againn na teanga do chur i bhfeidhm agus tá súil agam nách fada go mbéidh an Bille seo mar dlí againn.

I would like to give my personal support to the Bill which has been introduced by Deputy Conlon. If this matter had not been dealt with by Private Deputies' Bill, and it had been left to the Government to take some action on the White Paper which was prepared in connection with the report of the Gaeltacht Commission, it is quite probable that we would have proceeded differently. Most likely the line of action of the Government would have been to approach the Benchers of the King's Inns and the Council of the Incorporated Law Society, and to point out to them the constitutional position of Irish and the needs of the Gaeltacht. The Government's declaration of policy on the Gaeltacht's Commission report indicated that they should do something to secure that future entrants to the legal profession should have a knowledge of Irish, and if the two bodies had promised to hold examinations, and to require a reasonable standard of Irish in the future, probably the Government would have simply given publicity to those promises and have remained satisfied with them.

I do not think, however, that it is any harm to have the matter put on a legislative basis, or that it is any harm to have, in addition to any promises that the governing bodies of the two branches of the legal profession might be willing to give under pressure, a statute dealing with the matter. On the other hand, there is no ground for criticising Deputy Conlon for introducing the Bill simply because the two governing bodies of the profession had not been approached and consulted. After all, those two bodies are in a position to know what the national policy about the Irish language is. They know that the main political parties of the country have been in favour of the preservation and revival of the Irish language. They know that a big political party at one of its functions, long before the rise of the Sinn Fein movement, passed a resolution in favour of compulsory Irish in the National University. They know what has been done in recent years, and they have taken no action on that knowledge. The Benchers, I believe, have recently made Irish an optional subject at the preliminary examination. That, perhaps, is a little advance, but to my mind, except as an indication and a recognition that the times have changed, it is of no practical value. The council of the Incorporated Law Society, on the other hand, as far as I know, have done nothing. They have not changed their position about Irish in recent years, and they have declined to move with the times. I think I am right in saying that.

Is the Minister speaking from his own knowledge? Is he aware that for years the council of the Incorporated Law Society have made Irish one of its subjects?

I understand that they have made Irish an optional subject for entrants, but the society has made no change. The other body was perhaps further back in that respect, and it has come on a trifle, but the Incorporated Law Society has made no change. I think it has been suggested to both bodies that they should make a change. To the best of my knowledge it was reported in the newspapers that at a meeting of the Benchers the question of making Irish compulsory was discussed and divided on, and that the proposal was defeated. So that if these bodies have not been approached by the Government in recent years, at any rate they knew what the movement in the country was, and I think it was up to them, without any approach being made to them, to make some advance. For that reason I think that nobody can rightly criticise Deputy Conlon's action in introducing this Bill and attempting to force the hands of these bodies. I think also that this is a matter that may be properly dealt with by people who have not any intimate knowledge of law or of the working of the legal profession. This Bill does not deal with the technical side of the matter at all. It simply deals with one aspect.


It deals with the curriculum.

It is not the professional curriculum. It is a matter on which any lay person can quite as well offer an opinion as a person who has technical training or knowledge. I would be inclined myself, at any rate, to put the need for action designed to produce the results that this Bill is designed to produce, on a wider ground than Deputy Conlon has based it.

He referred to the people of the Gaeltacht who might have no knowledge of English, and he said that they ought to be able to consult members of the legal profession in their own language. But I think we really must go further than that, and we must look forward to the time when anybody who chooses to use Irish will be able to have his legal business done through Irish. As a matter of fact, the Irish language was pushed to its present position by consistent and long-continued pressure on the part of the British Government, and some of the results of that pressure are still continuing. One of them is that the Irish language could not be used where the people would be willing to use it, because professional men and others are unable to use it. I have seen in the Irish-speaking districts doctors who had no knowledge of Irish and who were occasionally obliged to bring in the dispensary porter to interpret for some people who came to consult them. That means in these particular places, as regards the clients of the doctor, the old pressure for killing the Irish language was still being continued. Steps have been already taken, so far as the medical profession in the Irish-speaking districts is concerned, to see that only doctors with a knowledge of Irish are appointed.

As to the courts, I think it is essential there should be solicitors and barristers in all parts of the country as soon as possible able to do the work of people through Irish who want it to be done through Irish. Some Deputy asked what the standard should be. I think perhaps it would be necessary to start with a somewhat lower standard than would be insisted on a little later on. We have to recognise the difficulties of the position and, to some extent, the difficulties of individuals. In the Committee Stage of the Bill it may be possible to put in something that would define more accurately the standard of competence required than anything in the Bill at present. That does not really affect the principle of the Bill. It is a matter of detail. There are, perhaps, other matters of detail that would require consideration and some amendment in Committee. One of the Dublin newspapers, while accepting the Bill, commented on the case of foreign students who might come here simply for the purposes of study. If it is desired, I have no doubt that some amendment could be introduced into the Bill that would meet their case. So far as the question of reciprocity is concerned, I think there is very little real point in that. I do not think there is going to be an interchange of barristers in future. I think under the new conditions that people who have practised five years—that, I believe, is the period —at the Irish Bar are not so likely to desire to go to the English Bar, and consequently even if the provisions for reciprocity that exist were lost I think it would be no great matter.

In any case, in taking the steps that are necessary to preserve the Irish language and to prevent the conditions which operate against the preservation of the Irish language continuing, we cannot be held up for the sake of the convenience, and it is only a question of convenience, of a few individuals. It may be that the age of sixteen is too low or too high. The Government in preparing the White Paper on the Gaeltacht report thought it was a reasonable age, and that no hardship that would fall on any person, who last year was only sixteen years of age and who did not know Irish, should deter us from taking action. He would be obliged to acquire it before he could become a barrister or solicitor. I think that, while the matter might have been dealt with differently, Deputy Conlon proposes to deal with it upon lines that are quite reasonable and quite proper, and which will probably settle the matter most satisfactorily, and with less possibility of question and difficulty afterwards than would be the case in other methods that might be adopted.

Is áthas linn an Bille seo a bheith os comhair na Dála ach má's maith is mithid é. Tá lúb ar lár annseo agus annsúd ann ach is féidir gach locht mar sin do cheartú. Tabharfhaidh an Bille adhbhar machtnaimh d'adhbhar dligheadóirí agus don aos dlí, agus is maith an rud san. Nuair a bhí Bille os ár gcomhair roinnt mí ó shoin do chuireas leasú isteach. Do ghlac an tAire Dlí agus Cirt leis agus thug sé seort geallamhainte go mbeadh Bille eile os ar gcomhair—Bille níos leithne a chuirfeadh an Ghaedhilg ar agaidh níos fearr. Níl fhios agam an bhfuil an Bille réidh ag an Aire idtaobh ainmniú na mBreitheamh no cathain a bheidh sé. Sílim go bhfuil an Bille seo ró-bhog agus ró-chumhang. Deirtear in san mBille nach mbainnean sé le duine atá níos mó ná 16 bliana d'aois. Cé'n fá? Nach bhfuil Gaedhilg riochtanach in sna bun-scoileanna agus ins na meadhon-scoileanna le sé bliana anuas. Ba mhaith liom fhios d'fháil cá raibh na daoine seo, ná fuil Gaedhilg acu, ar scoil? Do réir mo thuairime, ní bheadh sé as an slí 18 mbliana do chur isteach.

Is deacair socrú do dhéanamh i dtaobh an méid Gaedhilge ba cheart a bheith ag adhbhar atúrnae. Ach is gá deimhniú éigin a bheith ann nach mbeadh an Ghaedhilg mar chúis mhagaidh acu.

Mar gheall ar mic léighinn i gcúrsai dlí o thíortha eile, ní deacair é sin do shocrú. Is féidir alt beag a chur isteach san mBille ar ball á rá nach mbeadh an Ghaedhilg riochtanach dóibh.

Mar gheall ar malairtiú le Sasana, mar adubhairt an tAire Airgid, níl aon deacracht ann. Ba mhaith liom fhios a bheith agam cá mhéid dligheadóirí a théidheann anonn go Sasana agus cá mhéid a thaganns anall annso ó Shasana. Dhein an Teachta Cúipéir tagairt do scoil ná fuil suidhte san Stát seo. Ach ní i gcóir na daoiní seo atámuid ag ceapa dlí. Ma's mian leis an tír sin fanacht amuigh, biodh sé mar sin. Ní orra san ba chóir dúinn bheith ag smaoineamh.

Tá a lán scoileanna sa Stát seo ina bhfuil teagasc ar fáil i ngach adhbhar léighinn agus má's mian leis na daoine seo dul go háiteanna eile ní ceart dúinn dlí do cheapa a bheadh oiriúnach dóibh. Mar gheall ar an sgéal sin— malairtiú le Sasana—tá an iomad cainnte den tsaghas sin i gcúrsai tráchtála agus déantúisí agus eile ag dream áirithe. Deir siad, nach féidir leo dul ar aghaidh mar gheall ar an nGaedhilg. Is mithid deire do chur leis sin. Mar adubhairt an t-Aire Airgid agus an Teachta O Conalláin, tá furmhór na ndaoine i bhfabhar an Ghaedhilg do bheith riachtanach ach tá daoine áirithe ann adeireas nach é seo an dóigh an Ghaedhilg do chur chun cinn. Ach bhí seans ag na daoine seo an Ghaedhilg d'fhoghluim 20 bliain ó shoin agus níor dheineadar san.

Do labhair an Príomh-Bhreitheamh os comhair na Benchers cupla bliain ó shoin mar gheall ar Ghaedhilg a bheith riachtanach san scrúdú ach buadhadh air. Má's rud é nach ndhéineann siad sin ar a dtóil féin, caithfear chur in a luighe orra é do dhéanamh.

Dubhairt an Réamonach ná teastuíonn an Ghaedhilg ó na dligheadóirí i sna cúirteanna. Bhíos i gcúirt i gConnamara uair éigin agus bhí fear amháin ann nar thig fiú is focal amháin de'n Bhéarla. Do labhair an Breitheamh as Béarla leis an bhfear sin agus ní raibh an fear in ánn é a fhreagairt. Dubhairt an Breitheamh gur náireach an rud nach raibh an Béarla aige. Tá éagcóir mhór da dhéunamh ar mhuinntear na Gaeltachta agus tá siad in a dtost, gan stiúradh, gan dóchas.

Tá an Ghaedhilg riachtanach san Ollscoil agus tá Gaedhilg ag doctuirí agus eile atá ag teacht amach ach ní gá do na dligheadoiri céim Ollscoile do bheith acu. Aontuím leis an Réamonach go mba cheart Gaedhilg a bheith riachtanach d'inniltheoiri, sagairt agus daoine eile. Shaoilfea ó daoine áirithe go mba cheart an Ghaedhilg do choinneált in ait bheag, chiúin san iarthar agus an Béarla a bheith in uachtar in gach áird eile den tír—Béurla a bheith ag na daoine léigheannta, gallánta agus roinnt Gaedhilge do bheith ag na daoine san iarthar. Ní mar sin a thuigimíd an sgéal—ar aon taobh—annseo. Ní éagcóir é ar aoinne san tír seo iachall do chur air an Ghaedhilg d'fhoghluim. Is beag an t-ualach an t-eolas. Má tá eolas ag dligheadóir ar an teanga naisiúnta, ní rachaidh sé in aghaidh a chuid eolais san dlí.

Tá rudaí ins an mBille agus is gá iad do leasú no d'athrú. In Alt a 3, tá ainm an Phrímh-Bhreithimh curtha sios ach tá bórd scruduigheoirí ann i gcóir na n-adhbhcóidí. Is furus sin a leigheas. Dubhairt an Teachta Cúipéir go mbeidh an sgéal ceart i gcionn 20 blian ach ní féidir an sgéul a bheith ceart san nGaeltacht muna bhfuil an Ghaeltacht ann. Caithfimíd an sgéal do shocrú anois. Támuid-ne ar an dtaobh so ag cuidiú leis an mBille seo. Is é mo bharúil ná fuil sé láidir go leór agus go bhfuil sé ro-bhog ar daoine áirithe.

I just want to say that I propose to vote for the Second Reading of the Bill, which I consider is a very modest measure indeed. Deputy Cooper, when speaking on the measure, said that we should proceed by evolution, and not by revolution. I do not know if anyone could call this measure revolutionary. It applies to anyone who was sixteen years of age on the 1st January, 1928, but it will not apply to anyone who was over sixteen at that date. It means that persons will not, at the end of five or six or seven years, be admitted to the legal profession unless they have a knowledge of Irish. I have heard no substantial argument against the measure. No one said that it would be a hardship if it comes into operation, and I do not think anybody could say that. If they were to hold that view, they ought to consider what has happened in the case of another body of public officials in the country—namely, teachers. When the Free State came into being, there were many teachers in the country who had not a competent knowledge of the language, but they were compelled by regulations to acquire that knowledge within a certain number of years, and we had the spectacle of a number of men and women, some of them up to the age of forty and fifty, going to classes and to courses to acquire the necessary knowledge of Irish. We have not heard any complaints from them on that score. Compared with the demand made on that body of officials, the demand made here is an exceedingly modest one.

I would suggest to the mover and the seconder of the Bill that between now and the Committee Stage—I am assuming that it will get a Second Reading —they might consider whether the age mentioned in the Bill might not be fourteen years. That possibly will make it a more modest Bill, but it is not from that point of view that I raise the point. It is a purely technical point, and I raise it because at that age children will be changing from the primary to the secondary school. If the figure were eighteen years of age, I would not be so much inclined to raise the point. However, it is at the age of fourteen that the break from one school to another occurs. I do not wish to press that point unduly, of course. I had not an opportunity of looking at the Bill until to-day, but I suggest to the mover and seconder that some consideration might be given to that point between now and the Committee Stage. I think it is a Bill which is necessary if we are serious in the matter of making Irish the national language and the spoken language of the country, because it is essential, in the courts especially, which are so much in touch with the ordinary lives of the people, that those who speak the language should not be under any disability in the matter of having the choice of a lawyer who will represent their interests when they are engaged in litigation of any kind.

The principle underlying the Bill is one of compulsion. I have explained to the House on a previous occasion that I am against that principle. I opposed it when it was applied to education. I hold that any of us should be free to select whatever subjects we consider most suitable for the careers we are going to follow. I hold that view very strongly. We have taken one step further, and a Bill has been introduced by a private member with, I take it, the approval and support of the Government, to carry this question of compulsion a stage further, and, without any interview or intimation of any kind, it is now proposed to apply the principle to two very important professions in the Saorstát. Apart from the question of compulsion, I question the wisdom of attempting to make changes in two important professions without any consultation with those professions. I think that that is a very unwise principle for this House or for any Government to adopt. Let me alter the circumstances slightly to show the force of that argument.

If a Private Bill were introduced which would make it compulsory on all apprentices to have a knowledge of Irish before they enter trades, I can imagine the way the Labour Deputies, headed by the Deputy from Cork, would protest against such interference on the part of the State with their trades, and I would support them. Now we have exactly the same principle applied to two professions. It is a distinction without a difference. I think we are approaching this question in the wrong way in applying that principle without any previous consultation of any kind with the professions concerned. That, to my mind, sets up a principle which this House ought to be slow to follow. Deputy Conlon, in introducing this Bill, stated that residents in the Irish-speaking areas had difficulty in finding lawyers and others with whom they could consult freely in any legal matters with which they had to deal. I move a good deal through various parts of the Saorstát, and I have not heard any serious grievances of that kind. There have been occasionally isolated cases here and there, and, as Deputy Redmond pointed out, if there is a demand for that particular type of lawyer, as soon as it becomes known to the profession the supply will be forthcoming.

The demand has been there all the time.

The Deputy points out that the demand has been there all the time. I am not sure that more is not being made of this Irish-speaking problem than is justified. I have had the privilege of carrying out work and employing men in all parts of the Saorstát and I can quite candidly say that I have not yet met a man who was not able to understand the English language and the English coinage. Doubtless there are cases in some more remote places in the State where the inhabitants are very largely bi-lingual, but I think there are extremely few cases where English is not spoken and clearly understood. It, therefore, appears to me that the stress laid on this particular recommendation is much more than the circumstances justify. There is another aspect of the question to which I would like briefly to refer and that is the hardship that this Bill casts on a number of young people. It is common knowledge in this House that those two professions are very largely recruited from what are known as the middle classes. As many of us can recall, families well known in the State have sent their sons for many generations into one or other branch of those professions. It is also well known that most of these young people to-day are educated in schools outside the Saorstát—some of them immediately across the Border, some of them further north, and some of them across-Channel. That has been the custom in those families for generations.

You lay down in this Bill a regulation which states that those under sixteen years of age on the 1st January last shall have a knowledge of Irish of a certain standard if they are to follow the profession which their forefathers followed for generations. These young people have no knowledge of Irish, and any of us would be inclined to say that at the age of sixteen the average education of young people is fairly well completed. This Bill makes it compulsory on them, if they are to follow the profession of their forefathers, to start at that particular age and acquire a knowledge of Irish. That to my mind is a distinct hardship. At least five years' notice should be given of a change of that character so that any young people who are going to follow those professions would have an opportunity of learning Irish at a time when it can be more easily acquired than at the age of 16. It is a hardship on those approaching 16 years of age, and to my mind the principle is one to which we should not agree.


Aontuím leis an Bhille seo. Tá a fhios agam go bhfuil sé ana-dhian ar mhuinntear na Gaeltachta nuair a théigheann siad isteach 'sa chúirt agus nuair ná fuil aon abhcóide dlí le fáil acu go bhfuil an Ghaoluinn aige. Tá a fhios san agam go maith toise gur chaitheas tamall san nGaeltacht. Tá breithimh san nGaeltacht ná fuil an Ghaoluinn acu agus anois agus arís tagann daoine isteach san chúirt ná fuil aca ach an Ghaoluinn.

Tá sé ana-chruaidh ortha-sud. Tá an sgéal mar a gcéanna ar fuad na Gaoltachta. Tamall o shoin, chualas ó seanfhear san nGaoltacht gur chuaidh sé isteach 'sa chúirt agus ná raibh duine in san gcúirt in ánn é do thuisgint. Níor fhéad sé duine d'fháil chun plé ar a shon agus do theip ar a chúis. Ní ceart san.

Tá a fhios agam go maith ná fuil na dligheadóirí dáiriribh i dtaobh na Teangan. Thuigfí ós na teachtaí a labhair annso ar son na dligheadóirí ná teastuíonn an Ghaoluinn uatha. Taobh amuigh de sin, má táimíd dáiriribh i dtaobh na Gaoluinne agus na Gaoltachta, nách ceart an Bhille seo do chur i bhfheidhm? Mar a dubhairt teachta tamall ó shoin, is ceart iachall do chur ar gac duine an Ghaoluinn do bheith aige as so amach. Tá daoine ins an tír seo ar thaobh na Gaoluinne, mar 'eadh! Ach nil aca, ach, mar a deirtear imBeurlalip sympathy. Is ceart iachall do chur ar na daoine seo bheith dáiriribh mar gheall ar an nGaoluinn mar ataíd idtaobh rudaí eile. Tá súil agam go dtiochfaidh an lá nuair ná bheidh cead ag aoinne teacht isteach 'na leithéid seo d'ait ach duine go bhfuil an Ghaoluinn aige. Nuair a bheidh Dáil Eireann i gceart againn— nuair a bheidh na Sé Conntaethe againn chó maith leis na conntaethe eile—annsan, tá súil agam go mbeidh sé d'iachall ar gach Teachta Gaoluinn do bheith aige.

I rise to support the Second Reading of this Bill and to say that so far as I am personally concerned—and I feel sure I can speak for every member of the Labour Party on this matter—I would be prepared to give to the Irish language movement every support possible consistent with the needs of the people. We know that the ordinary people of the country, and particularly public representatives, have a certain diffidence in dealing with this question of Irish. This Bill might easily be made a peg upon which to hang a discussion as to the whole educational position, particularly in regard to the teaching of Irish and its effect upon the education of the youth of the country. I have said that there is a diffience, and that diffidence, or perhaps it would be better to say lack of moral courage, on the part of many of our people, and our public representatives particularly, arises from two causes. It is not considered by some to be politic to say what they think for fear of arousing the antagonism of certain interests, clerical or lay. For that reason it would be a very useful contribution to this discussion if we were to examine the whole situation apart from the position of law students. However, I have to confine myself to the Bill. I want to suggest that the language cannot be considered as a thing apart from any other subject of the curriculum. While subscribing to the view that everything should be done to encourage the study of the Irish language and make it the spoken language of the country, I hold certain views, particularly in connection with the learned professions. All educationalists know that some people are more adaptable than others to certain trades or professions. It is within our own knowledge that there are many men to-day serving, perhaps, behind a drapery counter who would make excellent carpenters or joiners, and many men who are carpenters and joiners who would make excellent salesmen and who may be a failure at their trade. So it is also with the learned professions. To enter these professions one must have a certain adaptability so far as languages are concerned. I do not believe any educationalist will deny that. There are certain people who have a bent in the direction of languages. A wonderful mathematician may be an absolute failure in the learning of languages, and a person who can learn languages very easily may be an absolute failure as a mathematician. I think that will be generally accepted. I have in mind the case of a young man whom the educational authorities considered would make an excellent medical man, but who, because of his want of adaptability to learn the Irish language—to acquire the low standard required by the entrance examination to the university—was unable to qualify. It may be said that he must have a very low standard of intelligence to be unable to pass that simple examination in Irish, but the fact remains that he has no adaptability as far as languages are concerned. I have it on excellent authority that he had all the attributes that would go to make an excellent medical man.

I want to point out the position to-day of the Irish language in relation to the home life of the ordinary parent. Let us be quite frank and honest with ourselves and have no window-dressing. We might say that is not politic, but let us at least face up to the facts of the situation. Here is what takes place in most of the homes, particularly in the cities and towns. A boy or a girl is at school in one of our educational institutions. I think it will be admitted by national and secondary teachers, university professors and others, that co-operation in the home is really the greatest asset the teacher has. So far as the education of children is concerned, to what extent is that co-operation present to-day? I say deliberately to a very limited extent indeed. A boy or a girl comes home from school with a text-book in Irish. I have seen algebra taught through the medium of Irish, and that algebra is brought to the home. The educated parent who has not a knowledge of Irish has no possible chance of helping that child. I am speaking now of at least 95 per cent. of the population of the cities. A boy or a girl comes home with an exercise written in Irish. Where is the parent who can point out the errors in that exercise? Some dozen years ago a parent could go over the home lessons of a child and correct them. To-day the parent cannot do that. So far as the co-operation of the parent with the teacher is concerned, that phase of the educational life of our country has gone west.

Personally, I am prepared to do everything that will tend to make Irish the spoken language of the country. In the meantime I do not want to inflict any hardship, particularly on men or women who may have an aptitude for the legal or medical professions and be hindered in their career or turned away from such a career altogether. It has been suggested that if this were made a test for entry into any of the trades or crafts the Labour Party would object. The Labour Party would not object if we had not too many young men in a hurry who want to ram the whole programme down our throats at once. I want to suggest seriously to Deputy Good, or anyone else who has any misgivings as to the attitude of the Labour Party, that we are "all out" to get the language established, but we want to have it done not in a hurry, but in the way that the country can best assimilate it, namely, by a slow process.

Try it on the other dog.

So far as the sons and daughters of the working classes are concerned, my experience is that they are suffering very seriously as a result of the present system. But I know that the revival of the Irish language will go on, and while we are certainly inflicting a very severe handicap on the present generation of children, I know that even if you stop the progress of the Irish language now, in ten or twenty years' time it will come on again and you will be inflicting a further sacrifice on another generation of Irishmen and women. I want to be quite frank and do not want to be misunderstood. I have not been in any way ambiguous in what I have said. I believe in my heart and soul that the present generation of children have been sacrificed educationally. There are matters upon which I should like to hear Deputies make themselves vocal in this regard. The school-going population of this country can never hope to be absorbed into employment here unless there is a radical change in our whole economic outlook and system.

Is Deputy Anthony not aware that the schools throughout the country that have been most thorough in the teaching of Irish have also had the best results not alone with regard to Irish but for every other subject taught in the schools?

I may say that I am not aware of that.

Well, it is true

I know how these results can be engineered. I was in the trade myself and I know all about it.

When Deputy Anthony begins to lecture us on education I think we ought to have a right to question him. If he makes a general statement, and is not prepared to support it by proof, when he says that the interests of the country have been sacrificed, in an educational sense, by the Government policy in regard to Irish, I ask him to give the data upon which that is based, so that we can reply to it, because that is the type of propaganda going on without any corroboration or proof in support of it.

On a point of order, may I ask if we are discussing the Education Estimates or the Bill before the House?

Deputy Anthony is in order.

I am supporting this Bill. I may point out when I am asked for data, I did not come prepared with data, but I could easily refer the Deputy to the national schools in the country. We can appraise the intellectual standard of the children of to-day and compare that with the intellectual standard of twenty years ago and that is sufficient data for me.

I may say I appraise the standard of the national schools by the reports of the inspectors which I have read in the past few years and I see nothing whatever in these reports to give any shadow of foundation or support to the statement Deputy Anthony made.

I would not like to reflect, in any way, on the character of the inspectors.

I want to make it quite clear that we cannot allow this debate to become a debate on the results in the national schools. The Deputy must keep to the Second Reading of this Bill.

I am always most anxious to reply to any criticism made upon anything I say.

The Deputy said the reports were cooked, but he did not quote them.

I did not suggest they are cooked, but when there is a master chef in the Education Office in Dublin, it is easy to see what the poor under-dogs may do in the country. He who runs may read. If anyone puts an advertisement into the papers asking for a junior clerk, and asking boys of fourteen or fifteen to reply, he can form a true estimate, not of their writing, which is a matter upon which I do not place much value, because I am a bad writer myself, but of their spelling, geography, and mathematics. That is my answer to the question.

That would be relevant to a discussion on the Estimates, but not on this Bill.

It was made relevant by the interruptions. So far as the legal profession is concerned, I find very few sympathise with the lawyers, but while one might be prepared to inflict upon these budding lawyers the greatest amount of hardship, I want to say that, from what I have already intimated as my opinion, it is possible that by insisting upon a standard of Irish for our lawyers—barristers, solicitors and others—we may be closing the door against people who might possibly emulate Edmund Burke and other great men. I think I have made it clear that certain people have an aptitude for languages that other people have not. We may lose to the profession of the law, as to the profession of medicine, men who would otherwise render good and distinguished service to the country. What I have said is not in any way antagonistic to the learning or acquiring of the Irish language and to using what pressure we can without making it compulsory. Give a reward, for instance, to the budding lawyer who has, in addition to his other qualifications, a sound knowledge of Irish, but I would not like to see it made compulsory. I am absolutely against compulsion. That is my position.

I support this Bill. Dealing with the matter of compulsion in education, my own experience has been that all education is compulsory. All the education I ever got I got it because I had to get it. I think that is true of the average boy. Generally speaking, he takes the subjects he has to take having regard to the profession he is going for. When it came to the time for me to study law I found it was not possible to fit in Irish and to study my legal subjects. At the same time if Irish had been compulsory it would have facilitated me in learning Irish properly. Once it was made compulsory it would mean that the system would adapt itself both to that in such a way that proper grinds would be given and the language would be properly taught, and it would not have been a hardship to me to take up that subject rather than some other subject I was compelled to take up.

Really, I have not much sympathy with those who say it is a hardship on children of a certain age to be directed to take up one subject rather than another. As for the matter of compulsion, perhaps Deputy Good is one of the people who should not talk about compulsion, because he himself has tried in the past to impose compulsion in the matter of the price of bricks, when he had a monopoly in that commodity, and he even went further when he tried to use compulsion upon me, in an irate mood one day, to prevent me referring to the subject again in this House. He is the last man in the world who should come here complaining about compulsion when he himself is such an artist in selective compulsion. One of the speakers seemed to be put about as to whether solicitors and barristers are officers of the court. Of course they are. It is a very sound argument. The mover of the Bill thought all officers under the State are persons who are more or less under the same standard, and that it is inconsistent to oblige officials to have a knowledge of Irish and at the same time to allow others who are, technically speaking, officers of the State, to escape.

I have great hope that this measure will lead to something even better than it purports; I mean that young men will be forced in the beginning to learn Irish, and that may have the effect of attracting them to Irish. I do not care how Imperialistic they are. They have all underneath their skins somewhere or other a feeling for Ireland; they have all an attraction towards Ireland. They have chosen Ireland to live in, and because they are human beings they have developed a subconscious Irishness in them which they are hardly themselves aware of. When they are children the gate is open to them to learn the Irish language, and in a certain percentage of cases where you have developed of a more highly-developed human sympathy, with higher ideals and natural instincts, they may be very well attracted into studying Irish properly and following it from a cultural point of view. At present the Irish language is in an outcast position, economically and culturally, and until the educated classes have been somehow intrigued into learning it properly, I am afraid it is going to remain in that position. If you get the professional and educated classes enthusiastic about Irish there will spring up a cultural and modern Irish which at present, except in a few shining exceptions, is absent.

I regret that the Government did not approach the Incorporated Law Society. I admit frankly that the prospect of getting satisfaction from them is not very great. But as a matter of form and as an act of courtesy, and as a means of strengthening the hands of those who would afterwards be applying to us after the attempt was made and failed, it would be better if that had been done. But taking things as they are, the moving forward is so slow that anything is better than nothing. Of course, I think there is less to be said for the Benchers than for the Incorporated Law Society. It is, perhaps, because I belong to the one trade union and not to the other that I say that. But the Benchers were approached, and certain high officials in this country did their best to push the Irish language and they failed hopelessly. I know that. So far as the Incorporated Law Society is concerned, I cherish the hope that they may voluntarily do a great deal more than is implied in this Bill. I have seen deeds which were drafted in Irish, and I know of certain attempts that were made by individual members of the profession to push the Irish language. The effect of that was at that time simply to make people angry, and it became more or less impossible to progress with any degree of effectiveness upon those lines. One argument stated here was that solicitors who practised mostly in their offices would not require to have a knowledge of Irish. But according as the Irish language becomes used in the legal profession more deeds will be drafted in Irish. After all, there is no reason in the conveyance of house property and other matters why the deeds should not be in Irish. As that progresses, it will be necessary for solicitors to have sufficient knowledge to be able to get at the root of the matter that is in the deed. I hope when this Bill is passed that the Incorporated Law Society and the Benchers will adapt themselves to the new situation, and that instead of trying to act against the spread of the Irish language they will go further than this Bill; that they will give scholarships to those who have a better knowledge of Irish in legal matters.

Legal jargon is an unbroken ground, and so are the terms to be used in deeds. This is being done at present in the Acts of the Oireachtas, but in all other legal matters there is yet to be produced a phraseology suitable to modern conditions. And that will have to be done. It would be a great deal better if we could get the real assistance of the profession than to be up against a hostile and reactionary feeling which would simply create a conflict and make the matter more difficult to carry out. As far as those who will be put to a certain inconvenience owing to the fact that they have been educated in English schools or in Northern schools are concerned, I think the answer is that first of all there is no reason why Irish boys or girls should be educated in English schools. God knows there are plenty of educational establishments of every shade of religion that are quite competent to educate the Irish people for Irish life. If we can persuade the Northern schools, by passing this little measure, to teach Irish in their schools so much the better.

You have a hope.

An argument was put forward here by a Deputy that it would be a hardship upon Irish barristers who wanted to practice at the English Bar if this Bill were passed. I wonder how much longer are we going to continue that particular form of extravagance and spend money on educating our best brains for the purposes of export.

Would you forbid them being exported?

You can go any time you like.

Deputy Flinn has always the habit of being personal. He is only a nonentity.

Liverpool is still open to Deputy Flinn.

Lastly before moving the adjournment of the debate, I want to say that I have nothing to say to this particular quarrel.

The Dáil adjourned at 2 p.m. until 3 o'clock on Wednesday, 24th October, 1928.