asked the Minister for Justice if he will give a list of the persons in Saorstát Eireann in respect of whom orders have been issued from his Department to the Post Office authorities that their letters should be opened; if he will state the number of such orders in force on January 1st in each of the years from 1923 to 1928; and if any such order has been issued at any time in respect of correspondence addressed to a member of the Dáil.
CEISTEANNA—QUESTIONS. ORAL ANSWERS. - OPENING OF LETTERS.
I cannot undertake to give any information in respect of the particular cases in which warrants to detain communications in the post have been issued to the Post Office.
Will the Minister answer the concluding part of the question as to whether any such order has been issued at any time with respect to correspondence addressed to a member of the Dáil?
I can only answer to this extent, that certainly since the Deputies have taken their seats in the House that no such order has been made.
Can the Minister give an indication that letters found to have been opened in error will eventually be forwarded to the person to whom they are addressed?
If the Minister should comply with Deputy Lemass's request, will he also furnish a list of the persons whose letters in 1922 and 1923 were removed from the custody of the Post Office and subsequently returned to the addressee marked "Censored by the I.R.A."?
Did you get any of them?
I think the Deputies might carry on this conversation with the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs.
I would like to point out that the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs said there was no such thing as a censorship. He does not agree with the Minister for Justice at all.
There is not a censorship of letters. There is power to make an order that specific letters shall be dealt with. Of course, that is pretty frequently done in the case of letters about lotteries and the sending out of circulars outside the country.