On Wednesday I ventured to put before the House a few reasons why this Bill should have unanimous support, on the grounds—First, of its desirability rather than its necessity; and, secondly, that a competent knowledge of the Irish language can be used as a machine by which ability can be tested just as well as any other subject which is or is not compulsory. As a matter of fact, ability to learn a language is in itself a test of intelligence. On that occasion I asked that Deputies who would vote for this Bill should not feel that they voted for it because they would thus prevent what a previous speaker called the return of the British Empire. It is desirable that we should forget all those things which existed before the English left this country. We are in quite a new position now; and the fact that we can sit here to-day, debating whether or not in a certain number of years persons who enter a certain profession should have a certain knowledge of the Irish language, is proof, if proof were needed, of the change that has come over the country. In that respect I hope it is not improper to refer to a report that I saw in a newspaper published outside the area of jurisdiction of the Saorstát, according to which an important and responsible person in the Northern Parliament is alleged to have said: "What is this Legal Practitioners Bill but another attack on the Protestant religion?" I want to say that it is not an attack on the Protestant religion. The very fact that some of the ablest leaders and supporters in the language movement belong to that persuasion is, perhaps, itself a sufficient answer, but there underlies and exists as a corollary to that the idea that, if persons in this country raise any matter of a popular nature, it is at once meant as an attack on Protestants. I think Deputy Teirney referred to raw material for persecution with regard to these people. Protestants living within the area of the jurisdiction of Saorstát Eireann must not look upon themselves on every occasion as raw material for persecution. I am sure they do not, and that the Minister in Northern Ireland who made that remark would really serve the Protestants of this State better, and possibly of his own, if he refrained from referring to the system of government and the treatment of the minority here, until at least he and his Government give to the minority in that part of Ireland the freedom and equality which his co-religionists get here.

This question of compulsory Irish has nothing to do with religion. It is only a few weeks ago that I was speaking to a parson in Toronto. I am not quite sure what particular brand of Protestantism he preached, but we spoke Irish. He learned his Irish in Trinity College, Dublin, and he told me that he was very pleased to see that when the Irish people got the opportunity of restoring the language they availed of it. He said that notwithstanding the big difference between the two of us in matters of religion, in matters of tradition, and matters of association generally, there was one thing in common which nobody in the room—and there were several hundred people in it— appreciated, and that was the Irish language. The restoration of the language as a means towards unity is a thing which should not be forgotten.

resumed the Chair.

I think it was Deputy Thrift who referred to the desire of the world to get from the Tower of Babel idea, and the necessity as a result of the conquering of distance to remove other barriers. I think the fact that space is conquered, and that travel between nations has become so easy, as well as the introduction of the cinema, and the reproduction in this country of pictures made, I do not know where—especially, I would say, in America—instead of being arguments against this Bill are arguments in favour of it. We still hear an attack on what was called Anglicising influences. I believe that there is, even in this country, a danger of being over-Americanised. Even the people in England themselves fear that. Much more should we, and the study of the Irish language would be one barrier against over-Americanisation. So that Deputy Thrift's argument with regard to the Tower of Babel is entirely the other way. As distance is being conquered we must put up barriers to protect us against the evils of that conquest of distance. The other chief argument against the Bill is the fact that neither of the two professions were approached when it was being introduced. I think the proposer of the Bill explained the cause of that. He said he was not quite clear as to who was responsible for the education of the students, and I am sure he can tell the House that when this Bill goes into Committee both professions will be accorded the respect which not only he but every member of the House wishes to give them.

I rise to support this Bill, which is, to my mind, a plain, straightforward measure in compliance with the general policy of this Government and with what is likely to be the general policy of any future Government. First of all, we must recognise the fact that Irish is the official language in this country. That fact seems to have been overlooked by most of those who spoke in opposition to the Bill. Other reasons given against the Bill were that the two bodies concerned —the Benchers and the Incorporated Law Society—were not consulted before the measure was introduced; that it may inflict hardship on the parents of budding judges; and also that it may affect the general education of the boys and girls of the future. I fail to see that the first objection is an argument against this measure. I am long enough in public life to remember that certain people have always closed their eyes to what was happening around them, that they adopted what I might call an ostrich attitude to new movements that came along, and in every instance that that policy has been adopted by those who at the moment were in power, they found it to be the wrong line, and they failed to see that it would afterwards swamp themselves. I do not know if that was so in this case, and I would be unjust to the Incorporated Law Society and the Benchers if I said that they adopted that policy.

But at first glance it would appear that, if that is not their attitude, they have failed up to this to recognise the importance of the language. That fact is emphasised by a document I have in my hand. Since it started to legislate this House has printed its enactments in Irish; this House has actually supplied to the Incorporated Law Society and the legal schools textbooks that are supplied to no other profession, by which those who are going on for the legal profession have at their hands, without the expenditure of one penny, the means which will enable them to become proficient in the language of the country. They go into the Law Library, they have the books there, any student who has a groundwork of Irish can follow them, and while he is reading and learning Irish he can also be learning the law. That is an argument that, I think, the Benchers and the Incorporated Law Society cannot resist.

With regard to the objection on the head of hardship on the parents, I fail to see that there is anything at all in that objection. One subject is to be prescribed by the State for our future Judges, and one subject only, and the study of that subject will mean a competent knowledge of the language of the country. I fail to see why any parent should object to that who intends to send his son to the Bar, and so far as I can see that argument is a very poor one to put forward. I do not like introducing religion into any debate, here or outside, but Deputy O'Sullivan quoted a Minister in the North of Ireland as having said that this was an attack on Protestantism. That is not so, and if I might follow that up, without touching on religion, I will say that those people who are strenuously opposing the Irish language, whom I might call the last ditchers—men who fight to the last—when they find that their opposition is unsuccessful will be the very first people to see that their sons and daughters are proficient in the Irish language, because it will mean jobs and preferment for them in the future, and they know the road. No hardship will be inflicted on these people, but, as I said, they are last-ditchers who will fight to the very last against anything that they dislike, but when they are beaten they will see that they are in for the plums of office when the time arrives. As to the hardships which this will inflict on the law schools, I have heard a good deal of talk to the effect that the law schools will be depleted, that the students will go somewhere else. That cannot hold water. But what hardship will be put on students in the law schools, of whom presumably at least 90 per cent. will have got a fundamental knowledge of Irish before they go to read for the profession? No hardship will be placed on them, and it is not at all likely that the law schools will be affected by the introduction of Irish as a compulsory subject.

There is another aspect of this case, and it was brought home to me very forcibly during a recent visit which I paid to one of our courts. I happened to drop in when a rather interesting case was being argued, and it brought home to me very forcibly the necessity for the members of the Bar to have a working and a competent knowledge of Irish. This case turned on the spelling and pronunciation of the language, and I venture to say that there were not two—perhaps not one—of the men engaged in that case who had a rudimentary knowledge of that language. If that is so to-day, before Irish is a compulsory subject, what will happen in the future? These cases will frequently be coming into the courts, and it will be absolutely essential that our lawyers should at least understand the Irish language so that when points arise they should be able to put them clearly to the witnesses, the judge and the jury.

The Minister for Justice, in his very admirable speech, gave us some little idea of what exactly is expected from a student entering the Kings Inns. He said it is not even essential for the student to know English, but that what is really required of him is the study of law. He did say that it was necessary to know a little Latin. Possibly, for example, it will also be necessary for him to know that it is not good form to eat peas with his knife or to take soup with his fork. That is also one of the subjects that are necessary to get him to the Bar. But what hardship is going to be inflicted on this learned profession, who have only to know a little Latin and then study law, if they be required to possess in addition a knowledge of the language of their own country? I fail to see how there is any hardship imposed on them. There can be no objection to this Bill so far as it deals with the Bar.

I come now to the Incorporated Law Society. The students who intend to qualify and practise as solicitors must pass an examination which, according to this Bill, must be set by the Incorporated Law Society. What objection can there be to it? True it is that the Chief Justice is final arbiter as to whether they ought to be admitted as solicitors or not. I think it was Deputy J.T. Wolfe who strongly objected to such a power being left in the hands of one man. As the Minister for Justice said, that man does not ask for that power, and I am sure he would be very sorry if it were handed over to him. But somebody must decide. The Incorporated Law Society have it in their own hands and, without anticipating events, I would say that it would be quite reasonable for the Chief Justice —if the section is to remain in the Bill placing that duty on the Chief Justice —to say to students seeking admission: "You can pass the examination which the Incorporated Law Society have prescribed, and that will satisfy me as to your competent knowledge of Irish," provided always that the Incorporated Law Society deals with this as a serious question, and sets a standard which will enable lawyers to have what is described in the Bill as a competent knowledge of the Irish language.

I do not think I need say any more on the subject, except to compliment Deputy Conlon and Deputy MacFadden on introducing this Bill. I also hope that although this is a private members' Bill we will find that it has very strong Front Bench support. There is another aspect of this measure on which I would just like to say a word. This is a private members' Bill. It is my first experience in dealing with private members' Bills or in speaking of one of them that ever had a ghost of a chance of succeeding in this House. This Bill is setting a new example to private members to seek out matters of this kind. Even if some sections in this Bill were objectionable—and there is not one that I would call objectionable —I would still consider myself in every possible way bound to support it because it is a private members' Bill.

I rise to oppose this Bill because I am convinced that every man whom I represent here is equally opposed to it. I do not believe on these occasions in sitting here and saying nothing. I intend to vote against the Bill and I think it is only right that I should give some of my reasons for doing so. In the first place, we hardly know whether this Bill is a Government measure or a private member's Bill. If it is not a Government measure——

It does not matter.

It matters a great deal in the result. If it is not a Government measure it looks like what you would call a back-door movement. Deputy Conlon, in introducing the Bill, started off by telling us about his ignorance of the law——

On a point of explanation, I wish to say that that has been stated on several occasions. What I stated was that I had no concern with law or with the legal profession as such, but I was concerned with the people in the country who desire to be provided with this service in Irish.

I accept Deputy Conlon's explanation. I will pass from that. I wonder if the Deputy is equally ignorant of the Gaeltacht. I do not know if he represents any portion of it, but I think as to the figures that he has given in connection with the Gaeltacht that I will be prepared to dispute them. He says that in Donegal there are 52,000 and some odd hundreds of Irish speakers. I suppose that figure is got from the census.

From the Gaeltacht Commission Report.

I do not like to say much about the Gaeltacht Commission. The mildest form in which I can put it is that they were a band of enthusiasts who went down there to find a certain thing and they found it. Where did the Gaeltacht Commission get their figures of Irish speakers in Donegal? I think I know as much about Donegal as any Deputy here and I defy any man to produce 52,000 Irish speakers or even 52,000 Irish speakers who can say anything more than "Goidé mar tá tú." That is about the extent of their knowledge of the Irish language, or the knowledge of those people that I came across during the last census. I filled dozens of census papers and I asked the people did they speak Irish and they said they did. I questioned them again and if they knew the expression for "good-morrow" or "good luck" in the Irish language, that is all they did know, and that is about all the Irish most of them have. If those are the people who want Irish-speaking barristers and solicitors the whole thing is reduced to a farce.

How many thousand people would you say are in Donegal who can speak Irish?

I am not in a position to say and neither is anybody else. That is a matter that cannot be found out, because whoever goes to take the census cannot take it correctly, and everybody in this House knows that well.

They know that the Deputy was never in sympathy with the Irish movement.

I did not interrupt the Deputy and I never interrupt anybody who is speaking here. I expect the same treatment myself. These interruptions show me that a member of this House who has not got the majority with him must be talked down. Now, I will not be talked down. I have a right to come here and voice my opinions whether they are objectionable to the majority of the House or not, so long as I conduct myself.

It seems to me that I hear a great many opinions here that are objectionable to the majority. In fact, the majority of the opinions I hear are objectionable to the majority in the House, and the Deputies concerned seem to get a very good hearing.

At the time I was interrupted, I had reached the stage of saying that the Gaeltacht Commission were a band of enthusiasts. I would not go so far as to say that the dice were loaded before they went down there at all, but I would say this—that they were determined to bring in a strong recommendation such as they did bring in, and that they were determined to, and did find grounds for it. We know that when people go to look for a certain thing they will find it. My experience—I do not give way to any member of the House in my knowledge of the Gaeltacht—has been that the Gaeltacht native speaker, the man who can speak no English, is almost impossible to find. We are told again and again what a hardship it is on those unfortunate people to have to come into court and not be able to get a solicitor to interpret their wishes and to understand the fine points they make. Well, the only occasion on which I have seen a witness sticking to Irish when it was known that he could speak English, and when it was afterwards proved that he knew English well and better than the Irish, was for the purpose of defeating the ends of justice, because the opposing side had no knowledge of Irish whatsoever.

In passing, I would like to refer to Deputy O'Hanlon's remarks about the Law Courts in Dublin. Does the Deputy mean to say that the knowledge of Irish that would be necessary to enable a student to pass an examination to be called to the Bar, and to practise in the High Courts in Dublin, would put that barrister in a position to interpret the difficult and fine points of the meaning in Gaelic? I do not think that knowledge would ever be acquired by members of the Bar in conjunction with their legal knowledge. I think it would be impossible. Matters of that sort have to be referred to very eminent scholars.

As another instance of the difficulty of finding a native speaker, a good many members of the House receive invitations to various functions printed in Irish. I have received several invitations of that kind, and I am very sorry and I take this opportunity of apologising for my neglect in not answering them. I could not find in a hurry, within a reasonable distance, anybody to interpret them in parts of Donegal, and on occasions, when I have found interpreters, they have told me that the modern Irish is not Irish at all—that it is a mixed language. And yet we were told by a Deputy the other day that this is one of the purest and oldest languages in Europe. If it is, then the others must be pretty mixed. I took up an Act of the Oireachtas and I observed one side of the paper printed in Irish and one side in English. Without any knowledge of Irish, I could certainly tell what the Act was about, because it seemed to me that fifty per cent. of the words are modern words borrowed from the English language and simply Gaelicised. Yet we are told that this is one of the oldest and purest languages in Europe. I heard the other day of an invitation issued by a high dignitary in this country in Irish, and he invited his friends to a garden party. That particular invitation was translated. To show that the modern words are very largely put into use in the Irish language of the present day, the translation by a native speaker of the invitation indicated that it was to a meal in the other man's cabbage garden. That proves that thousands of words have to be made up in order to meet modern requirements. Of course I quite agree with some Deputies that we should not have garden parties, because we are getting away from the spirit of the nation by having them.

Deputy O'Sullivan referred to a conversation that he had with a Protestant clergyman in Canada. I had a conversation with a Roman Catholic clergyman in this country, an Irish priest who had been forty years in America. The question of compulsory Irish cropped up, and he was very strong on the point that we should not persist in compulsory Irish, and his reason was that, for all the wrongs that ever Ireland suffered from England, she is more than compensated by giving the Irish peasant the English language when he goes to America. He is there put on a level with the American citizen right away, and he does not lose ten years in acclimatising himself and learning the language of the country. Another Deputy stressed a point which seemed to me ridiculous. He said there were arguments for the commercial use of Irish. It always seemed to me that the strongest argument against the Irish language was that it had no commercial use outside this country. It certainly has a commercial advantage in this country in the sense that it has a bread and butter use, and it is used for a bread and butter purpose more than it is used from the point of sentiment. The day of sentiment has passed, but the day of bread and butter has come, and when a Deputy gets up and advocates that if we would be able to send out our invoices in Irish the exports of the country would increase enormously because of the fact that we would be recognised as a distinct nation, and that we had a language of our own, I think he is altogether on the wrong line. The fact is that nobody outside of this country would be able to read the invoices. The actual custom observed in other countries is quite the reverse. The Germans send out their invoices to this country in English, and the English people send their invoices to other countries in Spanish, or in other languages, as the case may be. If they did not do so they would not do very much trade.

Does the Deputy deny that the Germans would accept our invoices if they were written in the Irish language?

I am not in a position to deny or confirm that statement. One Deputy spoke in a rather bullying way to those who would dare to offer any criticism on the Bill. It was what I might describe as a toe-the-line speech. I do not think that anyone now cares for that type of speech. The day for that is gone, and well gone. I think the time has come now when any man in this country, if he has a fair case to put up, should have freedom in order to put it up, let him be right or wrong. I would like to come to the cost of this compulsory Irish. I am not in a position to say what the cost of compulsory Irish is, or the cost of the enormous amount of printing done. I am not in a position even to estimate what it costs. I would like to point out, however, that a very big lot of money is involved. We had the other day from the Labour Benches a strong plea, which I would like to support, for pensions for widows and orphans.

A red herring.

Never mind the red herring. It is not a question of a red herring or crocodile tears. I am not coming out for the first time to support pensions for widows and orphans. I was a member of a Commission which recommended that, and I was in unanimity with the rest of the Commission in recommending that, long before any Deputy on the Labour Benches thought of putting forward the motion. There is no case here of a red herring or of crocodile tears. I must say that that is not a fair way in which to meet a man when he puts up a case.

I meant to say that this Bill is brought in here in order to counteract a particular motion brought forward from the Labour Benches.

Does the Deputy suggest that?

It looks like it.

Will the Deputy vote against it?

The amount of money that we are spending on this subject would help to bring relief in respect of many social services. I can speak with authority on this, because I live near the Border. It is constantly cast up to me by my neighbours that we can spend thousands of pounds on the Irish language, and yet there are many social services that are more needed. They often ask me how it is they cannot get certain facilities and the people on the other side of the Border can. It is very difficult to explain. If I said to them that we have to pay for the teaching and training of the children here in the Irish language they would probably point out to me how much more necessary the money was in other directions. The fact remains that there is no red herring about this problem. It is a solid fact that the money spent on the teaching of Irish would, if applied in that way, put the social services of this country in the position that they would not be behind the social services in neighbouring countries. The people along the Border feel more concerned about some alleviation of the conditions there than they are with the teaching of Irish. They would prefer to see an alleviation of conditions connected with the Border. They would benefit far more if the money were spent in that way than they can benefit in spending the money on the teaching of Irish.

A long and sad experience has shown me that no Bill ever comes up to the hopes of its supporters or to the fears of its opponents. During the past week I have heard panegyrics upon this Bill which would be reasonably adequate to the achievement of Catholic Emancipation. I have heard jeremiads which would possibly be exaggerated if applied to a penal code of the 18th century. So moderate a speaker as Deputy Sir James Craig, with whom I find myself frequently in agreement, talked of this Bill as tyrannical. That may be a proper epithet to use, but only as the same word might be used with regard to about three-fourths of the activities of every modern State. For the life of me I cannot see why it is more tyrannical to require of a law student that he should have a knowledge of Irish than it is to compel unfortunate children to spend long hours in school. Personally, I am one of those eccentric people who, like Bernard Shaw, think that to imprison children for hours every day, especially children who are hungry, cold and wet, in our schools every day, is a monstrous interference with liberty. In that perhaps I am eccentric, but where I am not eccentric is this: if I point out that in every other direction the State takes up the duty, rightly or wrongly, of interfering. The State tells us what we may eat and what we may not drink. It is about to tell us, if a certain Bill passes, as I suppose it will, what, with the gracious permission of the Minister for Justice, we may be graciously permitted to read.

I know that I shall be told that this Bill interferes with the rights of certain learned bodies. I hope that I have a proper respect for a profession of which I am a humble member and with which I have a certain very dear hereditary connection, but I do not see how the State can accept, without reservation, the idea of imperia in imperio.

The Minister for Justice has already pointed out that this Bill does not dictate to those learned bodies what they are to do in the matter of legal education. What it does do is to say to the barrister or solicitor using our courts, "You shall not practise in the courts unless you fulfil certain conditions as to a competent knowledge of Irish." Therefore, it becomes a question not of what is lawful but of what is expedient, and we have Apostolic authority for saying that these are two very different matters. Expediency is governed so surely by what is practically reasonable. The position here is that I find myself disposed to be very doubtful about the case made by the promoters of this Bill. What does seem to me is this, that one of two things must inevitably happen. Either the standard of competence in Irish will be set so high as to make it practically impossible to attain or, on the other hand, so low as to become merely an ornament to the individual attaining it and of very little practical value.

Like my friend Deputy Cooper, in the days when Irish was not so universally popular as it is to-day, I made a really strenuous and honest attempt to learn something of the language. If I remember rightly, I struggled as far as the Fifth Book of O'Growney. When I had reached that remarkable point, if I saw a lady coming down with an empty can in the direction of the well I was able to say to her in an execrable accent, which I suppose she did not understand, "An bhfuil tú ag dul chun tobair?" And even to this day, when I find myself in a really crowded fair, with cattle charging in sixteen different directions, with the drover trying to anticipate them going into sixteen different places at the one time and attempting to prevent the cattle preceding him into sixteen different public-houses in the village, I say to the harassed man in a bland and endearing fashion, "Tá an bhó óg." But I am sorry to suggest that this remarkable attainment of mine would scarcely enable me to cross-examine an Irish-speaking witness in the courts.

In my own district where I live, where, perhaps, unlike Deputy Myles, there are a large number of real Irish speakers than in his, I find it almost impossible very often, without the aid of an interpreter, to learn what some poor old man or woman is trying to tell me for the subsequent enlightenment of the Minister for Local Government on the subject of his or her old-age pension. These are people who, whether they speak English or Irish, are only anxious that one can understand them. Imagine the position of an ordinary young gentleman bred up on O'Growney and faced with an altogether unwilling—I have the greatest liking and respect for our Irish speakers, but I would not say that they are always entirely innocent of guile— witness in the courts and attempting to cross-examine him. Of course, I may be wrong. That may be because I only studied O'Growney. Perhaps a course of study in one of the summer colleges or institutions where the living tongue is used might enable a young man, in a relatively short time, to obtain such a real acquaintance with the language as would enable him to make real practical use of it in his profession. If that is so well and good. If not, then it appears to me the thing will be simply a snare and a delusion.

I am not greatly impressed by the arguments of my friend, Deputy Cooper, that this Bill would inflict any great hardship either on young men or on their parents. Quite apart from the provisions of this Bill, if I were a young man beginning life in this country and intending to live here. I should, in my own interests and quite apart from any higher consideration, certainly endeavour to obtain a competent knowledge of Irish. Now this Bill is for good or evil. Personally, I think it is for good. This State is going to be at any rate a partially Gaelic State. That is the declared intention of the Government, and of any Ministry that is likely to follow the present Government. I am not going to follow previous speakers into a general consideration of the value or otherwise of the compulsory teaching of Irish in the schools.A priori I should say that a bi-lingual child is likely to be more intelligent than a uni-lingual child. I think that all experience, as well as theory, goes to show that if you awaken the intelligence for one purpose you awaken it for all purposes. I am quite certain that the man or the woman who knows French and English is likely to be more intelligent and more awake to various aspects of life than the man or the woman who knows only one language. I cannot for the life of me see why the same thing should not apply to Irish and English. Now, there are thousands of words, associations and habits which are hidden from us, or, at any rate, are only with difficulty comprehensible by those of us who are ignorant of Irish. I, personally, cannot help thinking that even a barrister or solicitor is likely not to be less efficient in his profession if his studies have spread themselves a good way beyond the strict narrow limits of an ordinary legal education.

It may be that, having arrived as I have, rather slowly and in opposition to my first inclination, at the conclusion that I have personally no sufficient ground for opposing a Bill introduced by two esteemed colleagues, and which is in consonance with the general policy of this Government and of any Government likely to succeed in coming after it, I am influenced by the fact, sad and undoubted, and I am afraid too open and evident that I am myself over sixteen years of age. I am therefore, able to take the impartial and detached view of the matter which was attributed by a poet some years ago on a certain famous occasion to an eminent writer, Mr. George Moore, when he came out in favour of the Irish language:—

"I've puffed the Irish language, and I've puffed the Irish soap, I've tried them on my nephew, with the best results I hope, For with this older, dirtier George I have no heart to cope."

Like some more eminent characters, whose names, if I recollect, were Tweedledum and Tweedledee, I can be assured that the rain will not fall on this umbrella. I have, I hope, succeeded in my purpose in moderately annoying all the combatants in this discussion.

I am not in favour of this Bill, and although I am not it does not mean that I in any way wish to be-little the Irish language, or to pour cold water on those who are enthusiastic in fostering it, but I do not think compulsion is the proper way of fostering the language. Instead of fostering it, it may kill it. My views are largely those of Deputy Thrift, and I do not propose to have these re-stated. There is something about this Bill which seems to me very curious. When, as it is proposed, in six or seven years' time there will be many young barristers and solicitors with a competent knowledge of Irish appearing before a court, naturally these young men will be anxious to air their knowledge, but there is no provision whatever as to making those who are to hear them know the Irish language. I think comparatively few of our judges and magistrates have a competent knowledge of Irish. If there were a really sincere purpose in the Bill I think the proposer should have put some section in it making it compulsory that every judge and magistrate in six years time should have a competent knowledge of Irish, as otherwise I fail to see that justice can be properly administered. I think Deputy O'Hanlon said that Irish was the official language of this country. That may be so according to the Constitution, or by an Act of the Oireachtas, but, and Deputy O'Hanlon knows that as well as I do, although Irish may be the official language it is not really the language of the country, and all the business of the country and of the Dáil is conducted in English. When I was seeking election for the Dáil a number of my constituents objected to any compulsion in the matter of the Irish language, and, therefore, I would not be doing my duty here if I did not express those views on the subject.

I feel some diffidence in addressing the House on this subject, because I happen to have been a member of what Deputy Myles referred to as a band of enthusiasts. Whether one is an enthusiast or not, one does not like to appear prominently in that capacity before the public. I got some consolation from the latter part of what Deputy Myles said, for he went on to describe the difficulties in the fostering of the Irish language under present conditions, as the people are mainly interested in bread and butter. He will admit that I am at least a bread and butter enthusiast on this subject. I must confess I feel neither a great deal of enthusiasm nor dismay about the whole question, because, like Deputy Law, I have some doubts as to whether this Bill will achieve all that its promoter apparently sets out to achieve. On the other hand, I believe that the people who complain about the principle of compulsion in this whole matter are aiming their blow in a wrong direction, are fighting a battle already lost, and would be much better employed in devoting themselves to other aspects of this question of Irish in schools and Irish in general. What I am afraid is likely to happen under the Bill is that you will get a situation in regard to the legal profession very much like the present situation in the universities. Irish will be a compulsory subject for entrance. Every entrant will have to pass a qualifying examination, but that examination will by no means ensure that the person who has passed it has a good spoken knowledge of Irish.

Sometimes I find myself astonished at the attitude of mind of people like Deputy Myles, and perhaps even Deputy Law, who seem to think that a competent spoken knowledge of Irish is practically impossible. They remind me of a famous Canadian humourist who joked in that strain about Greek. He said a friend of his used to read a page of Thucydides every night before he went to bed. This humourist was very much offended at the boast, and he said he did not believe any one could read a page of Thucydides. It looks as if Deputy Myles were in that position about Irish. I do not see that the question of the number of Irish speakers there are in any part of the Gaeltacht has very much to do with this subject. Even if there were only a few Irish-speaking people left in the Gaeltacht, it would still be the duty of any Government who had the interest of the country at heart to do all it could to foster and spread the Irish language. As long as there are even half a dozen Irish speakers left it will be the duty of whatever Government is here to see that more speakers of Irish are turned out, and that everything possible is done to prevent the language dying out altogether.

Opponents of this Bill make the statement that speakers in the Gaeltacht do not want Irish, and that there are not so many speakers of Irish in the country as there are supposed to be. They are talking in a completely irrelevant manner. The struggle on behalf of the Irish language will and must continue as long as there are half a dozen Irish speakers left in the country. Apart from that, I fail to see what injustice is done to anybody by asking that he should have even a competent reading knowledge of Irish acquired in school. That is what I am afraid this Bill will bring about in the case of lawyers, that though they will have acquired a reading or written knowledge of Irish, they will not be able to use the language in the Law Courts in the Gaeltacht. Although it would not be more than half the full object of the Bill, still I would regard that as a very valuable achievement, for suppose Irish were to die, it would be still well worth holding that everybody in this country should learn Irish in some way or other as a written and spoken language.

Except we are prepared to throw away all our history, and everything that has happened in this country up to a hundred years ago, I do not see how we can look forward to a system of education that will not include, as a compulsory part of that education, even a written knowledge of the Irish language. This Bill will probably not succeed, for a long time at any rate, in doing any more than bringing that about; but I consider that would be well worth bringing about in the case of lawyers. On the other hand, I am inclined to think that it would be possible to go still further than this Bill goes in regard to the Irish-speaking districts, and that we might even from the present time try to secure that in certain courts, in certain districts, no one from now on will be allowed to plead—I mean no lawyer who is at present beginning his education, I do not mean lawyers who are at present practising—that, after a certain date, no one will be allowed to plead in these courts in certain districts like Galway, and parts of Donegal, and Mayo, without being able to show that he had not only a competent written and reading knowledge of Irish, but a competent speaking knowledge as well. In that way we would achieve a double object which I am afraid will not be achieved by this Bill.

While I am all in favour of seeing that Irish is taught properly in the schools, even as a written and spoken language, it is more important to see that everything possible is done to keep the language alive where it is alive at present. Except for the Church, and perhaps medicine, there is no activity which is of so much importance in this respect as the legal profession, because it is not only what actually happens in the courts that matters, but the fact that a great deal of what people read consists of reports of what takes place in courts. If the business of these courts was carried on in Irish, it would mean that the news which people read in Irish-speaking districts would be, to a considerable extent, more in Irish than it is at present. In that way you will be giving very valuable encouragement to people who have had no great reason for keeping the language alive, and who undoubtedly are not always enthusiasts in the matter, to do what they can to keep it alive where it is still alive.

With regard to the whole question of compulsion, as I said, those who deal with this matter always as a matter of compulsion are aiming their blow in the wrong direction. There is no really sound logical argument against compulsion in the case of Irish, any more than in the case of mathematics or Latin. It can be argued, just as in the case of mathematics and Latin, that compulsory Irish in the schools only achieves in most cases a very small result; that if it is not very well taught you only get a written and reading knowledge—you do not get a spoken knowledge. If those who are opposed to compulsory Irish on alleged educational grounds will give up talking about compulsion and confine their attention to the methods by which it is at present being taught in the schools, and how far these methods may be improved, how far even a better written and spoken knowledge of Irish can be given, how far the cultural materials that exist in the Irish language can be used for educational purposes, they will be doing a great deal better work for the people whom they represent as well as the country generally. I have always believed, and I think I can speak with a certain amount of knowledge on the subject, that if Irish were properly taught in the schools, apart from the question of spoken Irish, it could have a greater value for the Irish people than French, German, Latin, Greek or any other cultural subject, except perhaps English. Even those who disapprove and think that at present things are going too fast, even those who have misgivings on the whole question, will be better employed in devoting attention to seeing that what Irish is taught is properly taught, that where, for instance, as is generally the case, it is not possible to get a perfect and competent spoken knowledge of the language from the schools, at least some educational and cultural value will be got out of the language. My own misgivings have always been in that direction—that even yet we are not getting the fullest educational value that we might out of the language. I do not think there is anybody to blame—I think the circumstances are purely to blame. I believe if we could come to an agreement on that question we could leave the whole question of compulsion aside as being irrelevant, because we already compel people to do all sorts of things and we do not do them any great harm. We could come down to discussing the methods by which Irish is taught, the results we are trying to achieve, and how far the methods we are using are successful in achieving these results.

I should like to see this Bill somewhat supplemented, to see more attention devoted to the districts where Irish is still spoken, because I believe that the knowledge of Irish which will be achieved by the Bill will, unless great care is taken, be of very little use in Irish-speaking districts. I do not say that out of the Bill it will not be possible, if care is taken, to get a spoken knowledge of Irish as a qualification, but what I am afraid of is that, as time goes on and the thing becomes more and more familiar to people, a standard qualifying examination will be set up which hundreds of students will pass every year and which will require another examination afterwards, and a much more rigid and stringent examination, to find out whether any of these students has a competent spoken knowledge of the language. For that reason, we would be doing better, if we want to secure a spoken knowledge of Irish which can really be of use in court, if we added to this Bill some provision that in certain courts in certain areas a competent spoken knowledge of the language will be required after a certain time. Even as the Bill stands, I am prepared to support it as a reform in our educational system, and in that respect I cannot see that the legal profession or its authorities have any complaint. They have had five years in which to bring their legal education into line with the rest of the country in the matter, and if they have neglected to do that, it is high time that some other authority should bring them into line. For that reason I support the Bill as a reform in education, and I hope either that it will be extended in the direction I suggest, or else that, when it is in operation, attention will be paid to secure that nobody will be allowed to practise after a certain date in courts in Irish-speaking districts unless he has not only a competent knowledge in the writing and reading sense, but also a competent spoken knowledge of Irish.

Do labhair mé cheana ar an mBille seo—

Níl uaim anois ach cúpla ceist do chur ort, A Chinn Chomhairle. Ní thuigim i gceart cad a déanfar leis an mBille seo —Bille do thug beirt Theachtaí príomhádeacha isteach. Téidheann sé os comhair Coiste——

Coiste speisiálta.

Agus an mbeidh faill againn, nuair a bheas an Bille os comhair an Choiste, leasuithe do chur isteach?

Raghaidh an Bille seo—Bille a thug beirt Theachtaí príomháideacha isteach—os comhair Coiste speisiálta. Tuitfidh an rud céadna amach annsin a thuitfeadh amach i gCoiste annso agus beidh cead ag lucht an Choiste sin leasuithe do thabhairt isteach. Annsin, tiocfaidh an Bille, mar atá sé leasuithe, os comhair na Dála.

The procedure with regard to the Committee Stage of the Bill, under the Standing Orders, is that being a Private Deputy's Bill it goes to a Select, or a Special or a Joint Committee. The proceedings of a Special Committee are identical with the proceedings of the whole Dáil. Amendments may be moved by members of the Committee. The Bill, as amended, if it is amended, comes back to the Dáil and can be dealt with as the Dáil decides.

I am opposed to this Bill. I think it is born of enthusiasm and that it is likely to issue in mischief. I do not want to be unjust to Deputy Conlon, but I quote his words he said: "I am not a legal man and I do not understand very much about law. I am not concerned with the technical and the legal sides of this question and I am not concerned with the legal profession as such." That is a confession that perhaps may disarm criticism to some extent, but it does not relieve him of the responsibility of introducing a Bill dealing with the most technical and thorny subject, the education of the lawyers. There were many points in this debate on which I was tempted to rush in and talk. The arguments surged to and fro, and it is very hard even now to find something like a secure anchorage, some point from which one might start. I thought, perhaps, at one time that Deputy Anthony had conceived the situation as it presented itself to me. But I think the best analysis, an acute, deft, professional analysis, of the Bill was given in the speech of the Minister for Justice. He touched upon two points that are not in the Bill and which make the Bill to me an undesirable measure at the present moment to introduce into this House.

It was the Minister for Justice who pointed out so clearly that this Bill involves a new principle. "It is different," he said, "from any other measure that has passed through this House because up to this compulsory Irish has always been associated either with a grant of Government money or with employment, the remunerations of which comes out of public or semipublic or local funds." Again, the Minister pointed out that the Benchers could not make Irish compulsory. "They do not educate in languages at all; they educate in law." These two facts have been lost sight of in the whole of the discussion and I do not think that we ought to lose sight of them.

We have been asked to look at the logic of the situation. I admit that the logic of the situation is on the side of the supporters of this Bill. By our Constitution Irish is the national language, but logic is a very bad rule to apply to life. Logic often leads to disastrous legislation. We should look not at the logic of the situation but at the facts, and at the facts in the present-day Ireland. One speaker invited us to look at Bohemia, or at CzechoSlovakia or Esthonia. I only want Deputies to look at Ireland, and it is a fact that at present in Ireland Irish isde jure the national language, but de facto English is. I am not shutting my eyes to the fact that it is the aspiration and the intention of the Irish people to bring back Irish, but I urge that we should proceed in a reasonable and in a decent way.

In a very enthusiastic speech that carried him away, however, Deputy O'Connell suggested that the opposition to this Bill comes from an environment of hostility. Now, that is certainly not true of the people that I claim to represent; they do not live in an atmosphere of hostility to Irish as such. I am an Irishman myself, and to me everything Irish, and particularly anything old in Ireland is very dear. I am not a man to stand by and listen to anything Irish being sneered at, especially the Irish language; I never have. But I dislike, as an Irishman, anything like compulsion or intrusion, or any attempt to bully. That tone is in this Bill, and I do not like it. Even that tone entered into the speeches of some of the Deputies who have spoken. The Minister for Finance indiscreetly, if not improperly, talked of forcing the hands of the benchers. Another Deputy jocosely talked of this Bill as a piece of judicious persuasion. I resent that. I think any Deputy in this House would resent that. Another speaker went so far—I am sure, if he thinks over it in cold blood, he will be sorry—as to say: "We all remember how Irish was killed in this country.""Persecution"—he used that term—it was that led to its disappearance, and he said he would go so far as to employ the same methods, even persecution, to restore it. That is not the way that a party of Irishmen should discuss this Bill, and think about it. I do urge that Deputies have forgotten that this is a new Bill to deal with an ancient institution —I shall call it that—which deserves well of this country, and deserves at least, from the legislators of this country, a little courtesy.

For the Inns of law we have are very old institutions, and old institutions have a little pride. They are perhaps a little slow, a little touchy, but if they have done their work well they deserve a little regard, which I hold the promoters of this Bill have not shown them. Irish jurists are known, and have been known, as competent and distinguished far beyond the shores of this country. The Inns, as a teaching body, have done their duty, and their reward has been largely the good name of their corporation. They have been proud because they have brought credit on this country by those great traditions. Some years ago I was in a building not in Ireland, and with some particular pride I saw four statues of the great jurists of that institution. Three of them were Irishmen, who came from the Inns of Dublin. It made me proud and, I think, would make every member of this House proud. I think, to an old institution of this sort, one should show a little regard. If the promotors of this Bill were so anxious that Irish should be part of the education of the future lawyer—it is inevitable it will be, because there is compulson of facts at work—so anxious that the Inns should take note of this fact, they might have proceeded in a more courteous and, I hope I am not wrong, in a less demonstrative and advertising fashion. The Inns are an old institution. They may be a little behind the times, but I think that the promotors of this Bill have not gone the right way about setting the works right. They have acted, I think, like the watchmaker at the mad hatter's tea party. The mad hatter discovered that his watch was two days wrong and he protested to the March hare, "I told you butter would not suit the works.""It was the best butter," the March hare said meekly. "Yes, but some crumbs must have got in as well," the hatter grumbled. "And you should not have put it in with the bread knife." I am sure Deputy Conlon put the best Irish butter into the works of this Bill, but he put in a few nasty crumbs with it, those of compulsion, and he put them in, not with a bread knife, but with a bludgeon. I do not think the results will be good, either for the Inns or the country. What we should remember is the Inns are there to provide us with good jurists, to insure that we will have good lawyers. I am not going to enlarge on what has been put before you by some lawyers. They have shown you the damage that will be done to the schools by the fact that you will lose a great number of foreign law students who still come over, to my knowledge, a far larger percentage than the ten per cent. Deputy O'Hanlon talked of. To have a good school it is essential that you should have numbers, because the standard is set as much by emulation, rivalry, and contests of wit between the students themselves as by the lectures of their teachers. The bigger the school, with certain reservations, the better the teaching and the higher the standard. You are going to diminish your law schools now by the departure of any student who might possibly think of getting the degree of Barrister-at-Law with a view to practising, not in this country, but probably in South Africa, or Australia, or who might want it for some professional purpose. There was some talk of why we should educate men for emigration, but you are doing worse; you are going to make Irishmen emigrate to get education. Our students, who will look for a bigger market, for a wider field, perhaps, will go to London or Belfast to get their legal training.



I do not like compulsion. I do not think this compulsory Irish is going to be the foundation-stone on which you are going to build a united Ireland. I know if you want to teach a person anything, you make him want to learn it first. It is this element of compulsion that makes the subject distasteful to some inhabitants of the Free State. You may say that it is from ignorance, that they do not know Ireland. I admit there is a certain amount in that. Teach them Ireland first; teach them their local history; then they will take a wider interest in things Irish; they will want to learn the language, and then you will find Irish going ahead. Compulsion is not the cement of society or State. It is good-will and understanding. Those are the things I would like to be able to introduce into this country, and if it could be done by a private Bill I would be very glad to sponsor it myself.

I listened with very considerable interest to the speech delivered by the learned Deputy, Professor Tierney. He suggested that solicitors practising in the Gaeltacht courts should have a thoroughly practical knowledge of Irish. I agree, and say it is most desirable that in the Irish-speaking districts of the Gaeltacht the people interested in law cases should have Irish-speaking advocates. I go further and suggest to the promoters of this Bill that they should incorporate a clause or a section making it obligatory that the Land Commission processes for service in the Gaeltacht would in future be issued in Irish. I am perfectly sure that if that suggestion is incorporated in the Bill it will bring great consolation to the inhabitants of the Gaeltacht.

I have certain views with regard to the provisions of this Bill. It is necessary, and I am sure that it will be necessary. I do not think it is going to impose very severe or extraordinary hardships on the young men studying for the legal profession. It is very desirable that the native language of the country should be propagated. I always held and maintained in this country that steps should be adopted for the preservation of the national language as have been adopted in Wales.

Has such a Bill come into Wales?

Has the Public Safety Bill come into Wales?

The boys of to-day will be the men of to-morrow, and I think it is necessary to preserve both the national language and the national character.

The speeches against this Bill could be divided into classes. There were speeches which those of us who are in favour of the Bill could listen to with considerable attention and considerable sympathy in an endeavour to understand the outlook of the opponents of this measure. There were, however, other speeches of which we had one or two disgraceful samples and which only tended to breed resentment and perpetuate the differences which divide this nation. We listened, I did particularly, with a good deal of sympathy to the speech of Deputy Sir James Craig. We know that the outlook of him and his colleagues is very different from ours. They have a different tradition behind them and they do not, for that reason, attach the same importance to the language question as we do. We are conscious of a great mutilation of the Irish language. Though we are compelled by ignorance, and sometimes by want of practice, to speak in English in this House, we on these Benches, and, it is quite clear, the great majority of those on the Cumann na nGaedheal Benches, regard Irish as their native tongue. From the point of view of language especially, we are typical of the great mass of the people who sent us here. We do not speak merely as individuals. We speak for the overwhelming proportion of the citizens of this country. We feel that in the past a great wrong was done to us and our nation and that that puts upon us the duty of doing our utmost to redress that wrong.

It is in pursuance of that, and not because we wish to nullify one wrong by perpetrating another, that we feel that every encouragement must be given to restore the Irish language to its proper position. We want to see our children growing up and learning the language of which we were deprived. We want them to be able to use it in every walk of life as their native tongue. Therefore we do not desire that any section of the citizens, which by virtue of the statutes of the State enjoy a monopoly of certain things within the State, should be absolved from the obligation which, we feel, rests on every citizen in Ireland to make himself in all things a perfect Irishman.

It has been said that this Bill is an attack upon the privileges or prerogatives of certain of the learned professions. The professions enjoy a privileged position in this country. They have a monopoly of power to do certain things but, as that monopoly has been granted to them by the State, the State is perfectly entitled to attach certain conditions to the exercise of such monopoly. There is no undue compulsion therefore upon the Benchers or the Law Society if we in this Dáil decide that in the future the governing bodies of the legal professions in this country will accept in a practical way the fundamental principle of the laws of this country, that we are a nation and should have all the characteristics of a nation, and that therefore no man will be competent to practise one of the learned professions upon the citizens of the State unless he accepts to the full the implications of that citizenship. That is our position.

Another argument has been used, namely, that, if Irish is to be made compulsory our people who are compelled to go abroad will suffer a severe handicap. I do not know upon what ground that argument is based, but certainly the results of the Intermediate and Leaving Certificate examinations during the past year do not in any way bear that out. There we had the remarkable spectacle, so far as the Intermediate examinations, at any rate, were concerned, that practically all those schools in which instruction was given entirely through the medium of Irish headed the list in every case and secured practically 100 per cent. success in the case of all pupils presented. There is no school in the Saorstát which uses English as a medium of instruction able to equal that record.

What about the O'Connell Schools?

I am referring to the Intermediate certificate.

That is what I say. The figures contradict you.

They do not. In the case of Glasnevin, for instance, every pupil except one passed—47 out of 48 were successful. The same remark applies to the Convent of Saint Louis in Monaghan, and to the Preparatory School in Dingle. I have not the exact figures at the moment, but I looked at the lists very closely. That is the one thing that appealed to me when listening day after day to the statements that the enforcement of the rule concerning Irish was detrimental to education in this country. Apart from that, I think the answer that we have to make to those who say that we are imposing Irish upon our children and that it is going to be detrimental to them when they go abroad is this— Why should we educate our children for export?

Because they cannot get employment at home.

If the principle which Deputy Good is anxious to put into operation operated in this country it would mean that our children should be educated, not in order to follow avocations at home but to follow avocations abroad. If we should base our education upon the general theory that the depopulation of a country was desirable and was something which would inevitably——

Should children not be educated to earn their living at home and abroad?

The normal assumption upon which a Government should proceed in regard to matters of education is that the children going through the schools will be able to earn their livelihood at home.

Mainly, and chiefly, particularly in a country whose population has diminished from 8,000,000 to a little over 4,000,000 in two generations. We are not overpopulated in this country by any means. Italy is, possibly, a case where the growth of population exceeds the capacity of the country to maintain it, but I wonder what sort of shrift Mussolini would give to Deputy Byrne or Deputy Good if they went to Italy and addressed to him an argument similar to that which they are using here? If they said to Mussolini: "Ten per cent. of your people go abroad each year in order that they may be able to earn their livelihood in the United States where English is universally spoken. You must base your whole school curriculum upon the principle that every child in Italy has to be made an English-speaking Italian——"

That has never been stated.

It seems to me that the argument which you used in regard to Ireland is the one you are logically bound to apply to Italy.

I will leave that side of the question now and come to another matter. I said there were two classes of speeches against this Bill, those which we could listen to with sympathy, and the arguments which we could attempt to controvert. There is another class; there is the speech, for instance, which we heard from Deputy Wolfe. Now, Deputy Wolfe has adopted an almost unique attitude towards this Bill, because he did not base his opposition to it upon mere utilitarian grounds, as Deputy J.J. Byrne or Deputy Good did; he took the matter to a far higher plane. It was the ethical consideration that moved Deputy Wolfe.

It always does.

His opposition to this Bill was inspired, if you like, by moral courage. It seems strange that we should hear Deputy Wolfe mouthing platitudes about moral courage, because just before that discussion a Bill passed its Second Reading in this House —the Censorship of Publications Bill— to which I think Deputy Wolfe is opposed.

I am not opposed to it, and I do not know why that story should be invented by you, except that most of your stories are like that— fairy tales.

I understood that the Deputy spoke in this House for the educated minority in this nation.


I did not speak on the Censorship Bill at all, and why you should suggest that I did I do not know. I do not know why a Deputy should use his position in this House to state what he must know to be entirely untrue, and I submit it is not in accordance with the traditions of this House.

Do I take it that as a whole the Deputy is in favour of the Censorship Bill, and of every word and of every section in it?


The Deputy may take it that I am in favour of the Censorship Bill, and that, unlike Deputies who sit in other places, I only vote for a Bill and for its principle when I am in favour of that Bill.

I regret it, but I was under the impression, as I said before, that Deputy Wolfe spoke in this House for the educated minority. Am I to understand now that he speaks for the uneducated minority?


I speak for myself, and I speak now absolutely and confidently in favour of the view that I have on the Censorship Bill, on which I did not speak. Why the Deputy should take it on himself to assume that I have offered other views I do not know, and he does not know. In other words, he does not know what he is talking about.

Possibly, because I do this moment——


I ask does the Deputy still persist in the charge against me— that I voted in favour of the Censorship Bill, with which I did not agree, and on what grounds does he make that charge? Has he even now the manliness to withdraw?

I assumed that because Deputy Wolfe spoke for the educated minority——


You have not the moral courage to withdraw, even when you do make a fool of yourself.

I have not yet said that Deputy Wolfe spoke on the Censorship of Publications Bill. I have not yet said that. I assumed that he was opposed to it.

Perhaps the Deputy will now address himself to this Bill.

I was addressing myself to the speech of Deputy Wolfe on this Bill when the Deputy interrupted to correct a misapprehension under which I laboured.


Does the Deputy even now withdraw the suggestion he made against me? I want to know if he has any moral courage in his whole composition. He made an utterly false charge against me—a charge without foundation. He knows it to be so, but he has not got the moral courage to withdraw it.

If Deputy Wolfe will for the moment remember that he is not in a police court browbeating a witness and will allow me to proceed I will possibly satisfy——

Surely Deputy MacEntee will accept the denial of Deputy Wolfe?

I am going to accept the statement of Deputy Wolfe——


Are you going to withdraw?

—that he is in favour of the Censorship Bill.


Are you going to withdraw?

I did not say anything that I have to withdraw, beyond that I was under a misapprehension— that I thought he was opposed to the Censorship Bill.


Because I voted for it?

I do not know whether you were here to vote for it or not.

Address the Chair.

Now, I find that the Deputy, contrary to my mistaken opinion of his attitude, is in favour of the Censorship Bill.

The question is not whether the Deputy was in favour of the Censorship Bill or not. That does not arise on this Bill.

It does, because the Deputy's opposition to the present Bill——

It does not arise on this Bill.

On high grounds of moral courage I am glad to learn that the Deputy was in favour of the Censorship Bill, but the Deputy is generally very vocal about these contentious matters, which he is either in favour of or opposed to. It is an extraordinary thing that when the "Irish Times" was calling for three men to come into the field of Thermopylae against the Censorship Bill, Deputy Wolfe did not get up——

Deputy MacEntee must come to the Bill at once, and leave the Censorship Bill.

I am coming to it. I am dealing with the gentleman who opposed this Bill on moral grounds.

The Deputy must deal with this Bill, and not with what Deputy Wolfe said on the Censorship Bill.

Very well. Since the disgraceful speech made by Deputy Wolfe on this matter must go unanswered, I do not think there is much point in my going on—since obviously, the Leas-Cheann Comhairle does not wish it to be referred to.

I cannot allow Deputy MacEntee to misrepresent what I said. I have not prevented Deputy MacEntee from answering the speech which Deputy Wolfe made on the Legal Practitioners Bill, but I have said that I will not allow Deputy MacEntee to go back to discuss what was said on the Censorship Bill, which is not under consideration now.

I was going to discuss what was not said on the Censorship Bill.

The Deputy is at liberty to discuss this Bill, or what was said on it, but not any other Bill.

I was discussing what was said on it, with reference to what was not said on the Censorship Bill.

Deputy MacEntee must not quibble with the Chair.


He is doing nothing but quibbling.

Deputy Wolfe has interrupted me for the last ten minutes and has prevented me from saying what I had to say. If he is afraid to hear me, I will sit down and leave him to the mercy of my silence.


You can do nothing but quibble.

The Deputy must now proceed to this Bill.

Another statement against this Bill was made, but it was not made in this House. I think the Deputy who made the statement should on this occasion part company with Deputy Wolfe. Deputy Wolfe is opposed to the Bill.


Quite right.

Because he is animated by moral courage.


Hear, hear.

The other Deputy who has opposed the Bill has not the moral courage to repeat in this House the statement he made outside it.

He is here.

There is only one thing I would like to say with regard to that statement, and that is that the Deputy who made it seemed to labour under a misapprehension, a misapprehension which was corrected, I think, by my colleague, Domhnall Ua Buachalla. Deputy Hennessy is perfectly entitled to use "Mac" or "O" before his name. He is perfectly entitled to describe himself as Deputy Mac Aonghusa. That Irish name is sometimes anglicised as Hennessy, and sometimes anglicised as Guinness, but whether it was Guinness or Hennessy that prompted the Deputy's letter I am unable to unravel.


Will you allow me to mention one matter which does not affect this Bill?

It cannot be dealt with at this point.

I am opposing this Bill because I believe it will not achieve the object it sets out to achieve— namely, the restoration of the Irish language. I oppose it because I believe it is an absolute waste of time, and an unnecessary expenditure of money, to bring in any Bill of this nature at present. I am one of those who believe in the restoration of the Irish language, and I am not going to do anything by word or act outside this House that would prevent the progress of the language. I know that Irish is the official language of the State, and that being so, it naturally follows that Irish is being taught in all the schools in the Free State. We must, therefore, reasonably hope that within a period of, say, five or six years—the period set out in the Bill within which it will be necessary for students to have a competent knowledge of Irish—every boy and girl in the Free State will have a fairly competent knowledge of the language. That is why I ask what is the necessity of introducing this Bill?

I am opposing the Bill because I believe that one of the greatest mistakes we make in Ireland in connection with anything we take up is over-enthusiasm. We have not that perseverance which is essential to follow up a thing to the bitter end. We will simply pass this Bill, as far as I can judge by an overwhelming majority, and very little more will be done to encourage the use of Irish throughout the Irish Free State by any of the Deputies in their own constituencies. I oppose this Bill also because I resent with all the force at my command the taunt that the people opposing it belong to the West British type. I very much resent that insinuation, because if I am a West Britisher in opposing this Bill there are, at least —and I emphasise this fact—7,000 West Britishers in County Louth at the present time who are prepared to support me in my attitude. I believe there are thousands of Irishmen in the Free State who are as anxious as I am for the preservation of the Irish language, who will be opposed to this Bill for the simple reason that it means compulsion. Compulsion never succeeded in Ireland, and never will.

I am more or less opposed to the Bill also because I think it is being introduced, not for the purpose of seeing that clients will have solicitors who will be able to converse with them in Irish, but simply as a measure of political expediency, with a view to future elections. Everybody knows—and they are slow if they do not—that the chief Opposition in this House are making progress as a result of making the restoration of the Irish language one of the chief planks in their programme, and as one of them very aptly remarked, the child of to-day will be the citizen of to-morrow. I go further and say that the child of to-day will be the voter of to-morrow. That is really the idea behind this Bill—nothing more or less than to clip the wings of the chief Opposition Party in the progress they are making throughout the Free State as a result of their advocacy of the Irish language. Now, that is not a very honest way of meeting a big question like this.

If, as is laid down in the Constitution, Irish is the official language of the State, it should have been the duty of the Government to bring in this Bill, and they should not have allowed it to devolve on a private member of the Government Party. Am I to understand that the position is that certain prominent members of the Government Party who could not possibly hope to secure election without the aid of these West Britishers, as they are termed in this House, when the next election comes, can say, when they are twitted as regards their support of this Bill: "You cannot criticise me. It is not a Government measure, because it has only been introduced by private members of the Party," and when the same members are being taunted by enthusiasts as regards the restoration of the Irish language they can say: "See now what has been done by members of our Party for the preservation of the Irish language. Not long ago you criticised us for our delinquencies in regard to the restoration of the Irish language". That is not an honest way of dealing with such a very important subject as the restoration of the Irish language.

As I say, I am out for the restoration of the Irish language. I believe that the teaching of the language in the schools will not retard the educational progress of the children in the schools. It might be of interest to Deputies to know that I myself have spent five years in the study of Irish, and have at the moment a fairly competent knowledge of the Irish language, in addition to other languages. The study of Irish is not retarding the progress of any child attending school. I do not agree with those who opposed the Bill when they advanced that argument. The fact of the matter is that it more or less improves the education of any child to have it bi-lingual.

I do say that compulsion will not secure the restoration of the Irish language. The language will only be restored by long-continued efforts on the part of those who, by virtue of the position they hold, are the only people who will restore the language, and those are the teachers in the national schools, the Christian Brothers' schools, the secondary schools, and the great educational establishments that are scattered over the whole Free State. It will take time. A lavish expenditure of money will not restore the Irish language. It will take years and years.

I move the adjournment of the debate.

Debate adjourned.